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Kim Findlay, Author on a Catamaran

I met Kim Findlay this summer during an autbor takeover. When I discovered she lives on a boat with her husband and dog, I knew I needed to host her. She’s brave and fascinating. Friends, here’s Kim.

Five years ago, I was working as a CPA in Toronto. We had a sailboat we used for vacations and down time. I was excited that I’d just had two Harlequin romances published. Now, I live on a catamaran in the Caribbean fulltime. My only work is writing, and I have eight books published, seven with Harlequin, three more contracted with Harlequin and coming out next year, and three with a small publisher. The only accounting I do is for our own taxes.

How did it happen?

I don’t really think I’m adventurous, but I did go to university in Virginia, knowing no one, and then took a teaching job in Winnipeg (find North Dakota and then go north from there) so I am willing to try things. But this adventure? This was my husband’s idea.

He’s always gone 110% on any hobbies he has. When he was scuba diving, he moved up to mixed gas diving. With motorcycles, he had a dual sport and went way off road as well as taking long (days long) trips. He wanted me to share his adventures, but I’m a poor swimmer with a phobia of water plants, and a week after getting my motorcycle license, I was rear-ended on the bike, had to get my ankle pinned, and when I next drove a motorcycle he swore he could see white knuckles through my gloves.

Then a diving buddy took him out on a sailboat about ten years ago, and it was love as soon as the sails filled. This was a hobby I could share. We stay on top of the water, and once the sails fill, it’s usually very zen. We rarely go faster than six or eight knots. Sailing is long periods of calm interspersed with intervals of frantic activity. Spouse does most of that activity.

My spouse has had high stress management jobs, and when one ended in 2018, he thought it was time to live his dream of cruising on a sailboat. He knew it would be great. I had doubts. It’s one thing to live on a boat for a week or ten days on vacation. But 24/7 for an indefinite period? I wasn’t sure about that.

He proposed a test year. We’d take our boat (not really a cruising boat) for a season. Leave at the end of the summer and make our way south. If we didn’t like it (I wasn’t sure we’d make it to the coast with both of us on board) we could come back. Our sons had just graduated university, so we left them with the dog and the house and gave it a try. I closed up my accounting business and had time to write.

Since we’re now living on the boat, you know the test year went well. We left Canada in August of 2018. We flew home in April of 2019 after selling the boat, prepped our house to sell, then bought a catamaran and flew down to make this permanent in August of 2019.

It isn’t perfect. There are issues with living in the equivalent of a tiny house off grid floating on the water. But the rewards outnumber those drawbacks for us. I have asthma that cold air triggers, and down here it’s warm all the time, if not actually incredibly hot. The writing has worked out, which is a long-held dream. I like making our own water and power and being mostly independent. I’ve got used to climbing up into my bed, pumping the toilet instead of flushing, and going without some of the products available back home.

There are a lot of people doing this: long time sailors, and some who decide this is their dream and just take the leap. I’m glad we had the test year, so I didn’t feel trapped by this decision before I knew how it would be without an end date.

It’s been worth leaping off the cliff and doing something that seemed impossible. If you want to know more about this, www.kimfindlay.ca. Facebook: KimFindlayAuthor, Twitter: @missheyer74 and IG authorKimFindlay.  I mostly post pictures of where we travel, and of Charlie.

Dog life on a boat.

Charlie, our cocker spaniel, adapted pretty well. He spent the first month or so as a full-time boat dog while we were in Shelter Bay Marina in Panama, where we bought our catamaran. Since we were on a dock, he got several walks every day to do his business. That changed when we started travelling, and we are rarely at a dock anymore.

Charlie has decided our starboard bow is where he goes toilet. We have a saltwater hose rigged up permanently so we can wash it down. When we left Panama, we had a nine-day crossing to Puerto Rico, so there was no option to get to land. He was great! Kept watch with whoever was on duty. Now he’s done several crossings. He’s not fond of the rough ones, but he’s happy to be with his people. Normally, we take him off the boat for a walk every morning. He’s always anxious to get to land, but just as anxious to get back to the boat – typical dog!

Learning to jump in and out of the dinghy, our ‘car’ that takes us from the boat to shore, was a bit of a curve. He fell in, several times. He can swim, but prefers to have his feet on the ground, with water no higher than his belly. Now, he rarely misses.

There aren’t very many Cocker spaniels down here, so he’s become kind of famous. People know and remember him who don’t remember us. And if you go to AJ Car Rentals in Marigot in SXM, ask for the Charlie rate.

Writing on a boat:

It’s not a big space, inside the boat, so there aren’t that many places to write. There’s the nav table, but that’s the captain’s spot, and my one leg tends to go numb if I write there very often. We have a table in the cockpit, but it’s pretty hot there in the afternoons, and the sun can shine in. I usually write at the salon table, though sometimes I have to move because the boat is on anchor and changes position with the wind. That means the sun can come in from a new angle as well. I sometimes jump around to avoid the glare and try to get any breezes going.

I’ve never been a plotter, and I don’t have a board with post-its and scenes set up, which is a good thing. There’s no option to do that here. No free wall space, and paper can have a rough time around this much water and humidity. I’m fortunate that once I start writing, I lose myself in it (same as when I’m reading) and the world around me is gone. I’m good with a place to sit, my laptop, and some internet access. I’ve written on planes, trains and busses. I’ve got words down in laundry mats and beach bars.

Sometimes though, the scenery is very distracting.

Looking at your pictures, I understand how the scenery can be a distraction. Kim, thanks so much for sharing your story with us!

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Summer Book Lovers Giveaway

I’m excited to join Celebrate Lit in their Summer Giveaway. Look at the what you have an opportunity to win.

  1. Brewed With Love by Kimberly Rose Johnson
  2. A Little Something Sweet by Laura Ashwood
  3. Forgotten Memories by Penny Zeller
  4. Cold Dead Night by Lisa Phillips
  5. Every Good Gift by Urcelia Teixeira
  6. Sabotaged Mission by Tina Radcliffe
  7. This Side of Yesterday by Angela Meyer
  8. Once Upon a Farmhouse by Angie Dicken
  9. Finding Her Amish Home by Pamela Desmond Wright
  10. The Soldier’s Unexpected Family by Tanya Agler
  11. Caught and Collared by Jackie Layton
  12. Alive Again: Find Healing in Forgiveness by Sarah Howley
  13. The Essence of Humility: Live and Love Like Jesus by Lynn U. Watson
  14. Forever on the Bay by Lee Tobin McClain
  15. The Dream Weaver’s Bride: Asenath’s Story by Jenelle Hovde
  16. Her Hometown Dream by Rachelle Paige Campbell
  17. Remember Texas by Laura Conner Kestner
  18. Lineage of Corruption by Robin Patchen
  19. Valerie’s Verdict by Hallee Bridgeman
  20. Cornerstone by Nancy J. Farrier
  21. The Deadly Shallows by Dani Pettrey
  22. Shielding the Tiny Target by Deena Alexander
  23. THE COWGIRL’S REDEMPTION by Mindy Obenhaus
  24. Don’t Give Up on Me by Jodi Artzberger
  25. Her Tycoon Hero by Narelle Atkins
  26. A Love Restored by Kelly Goshorn
  27. Sarah’s Choice by Pegg Thomas
  28. A Rebel’s Promise by Sara Blackard
  29. Season of My Enemy by Naomi Musch
  30. A Misplaced Beauty by Amy L. Walsh
  31. Paper Dolls by Kara R. Hunt
  32. Healing Skye by Janet W. Ferguson
  33. Discover Your Joy by Louise Piso
  34. Texas Cold Case Threat/Death Valley Double Cross by Dana Mentink
  35. Book, Chapter, & Vows by Chautona Havig
  36. Blended Lives by Melissa Wardwell
  37. From Shore to Shore by Tabitha Bouldin
  38. Night Songs by Jennifer Sienes
  39. Fireworks in Friday Harbor by Annee Jones
  40. Draw Me to Your Side by Marguerite Martin Gray
  41. Texas Strong by Nan O’Berry (Sweet Promise Press)
  42. Grace on the Mountain Trail by Misty M. Beller
  43. Season of Hope by Sara Jane Jacobs
  44. Hunter’s Rose by Carole Brown
  45. The Awakening of Miss Adelaide by Linda Brooks Davis
  46. The Dressmaker’s Secret by Kellyn Roth
  47. Shades of the Heart by Ann Marie Bryan
  48. To Stand in the Breach by Danielle Grandinetti
  49. A Groom for Christmas by Courtney Lyman
  50. A Caffeine Conundrum by Angela Ruth Strong (Mountain Brook Ink)

I hope you’re excited!

Here’s the link to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/1f449/summer-book-lover-s-multi-author

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Sabatoged Mission

Tina Radcliffe was one of the first people to encourage me as a writer. I won a drawing where she was going to critique the first few pages of my manuscript. To my delight, Tina called me. She told me how I could make the story better, and more importantly, she built me up and made me believe in myself.

Tina’s first Love Inspired Suspense is Sabotaged Mission, and I’m so excited for her. Are you curious? Here’s the back cover blurb…

Framed and on the run…

With nowhere left to hide

When a failed mission leaves CIA operative MacKenzie “Mac” Sharp injured and her partner presumed dead, going off-grid is the only way to survive. But her old flame, CIA officer Gabe Denton, has tracked her down and led a well-connected enemy right to her door. Now with someone trying to frame and kill her, working with Gabe is the only way to clear her name…and stay alive.

I love the cover! I’ve lived in many towns with dangerous train tracks, and this cover can cause nightmares.

Here’s a little more about Tina.

Tina Radcliffe short bio

A freelance writer for over twenty years, Tina Radcliffe is a Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers Honor Roll member. A four-time ACFW Carol Award finalist, Tina’s Harlequin novels have won the ACFW Carol Award, the Holt Medallion and appeared on the Publishers Weekly Bestseller list. Besides her novel-length fiction, and her independent publishing releases, Tina has sold over three dozen short stories to Woman’s World Magazine. A US Army Veteran, former registered nurse, and library cataloger, Tina resides in Arizona, where she writes fun, heartwarming romance and cozy mysteries.

Visit her on the web at https://www.tinaradcliffe.com/

This is Tina and her furry friend, Chloe.

I hope you’ll read Sabatoged Mission and discover just what an amazing author Tina Radcliffe is.

Here’s a link to her book on Amazon or buy it at your favorite bookstore.

https://amz.run/5JDm

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My Friend Tina and a Giveaway

Tina and me

I can’t say enogh nice things about Tina Radcliffe. She’s a wonderful person, an encourager, a fantastic friend, and an amazing author. I could go on, but let’s discuss Tina’s new book.

Today you can begin buying her Love Inspired Suspense Sabotaged Mission.

Framed and on the run…

With nowhere left to hide

When a failed mission leaves CIA operative MacKenzie “Mac” Sharp injured and her partner presumed dead, going off-grid is the only way to survive. But her old flame, CIA officer Gabe Denton, has tracked her down and led a well-connected enemy right to her door. Now with someone trying to frame and kill her, working with Gabe is the only way to clear her name…and stay alive.

Doesn’t it sound amazing?

You can find Sabotaged Mission at Amazon or wherever you like to shop. https://amz.run/5JDm

Tina has graciously offered a prize to one commenter. I’ll draw a winner this weekend. Please leave a comment and join us as we celebrate the release of Sabotaged Mission.

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More Pets and Their Authors

Dogs never lie about love.

This week more authors have joined us to share their fur babies.

Heather Weidner is the author of Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries, Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mysteries, and the Delanie Fitzgerald Mysteries. Here are her fur babies.

The brunette is Disney and Riley is the other cutie.

Love Inspired Suspense author Connie Queen’s great Dane keeps her company. Here’s Murphy.

Connie said, “He is severely protective over us and has valiantly defended us from a unicorn float and a rock just in the past couple weeks. But if the neighbor’s pig sneaks over to eat all his dog food, he  welcomes him and doesn’t make a peep. If you want to watch tv at night, prepare to turn the volume up to cover up his snoring.

Mary P. Karnes, author of Simply the Best, shared this picture.

Mary and her sweet dog.

Rosalie Spielman, author of Death Under the Sea, is the proud human to Tango the dog and Beah the cat.

Julie Brittany is the proud owner of Brittanys.

Here are her fur babies, Belle and Brie.

Sherrinda Ketchersid is a lover of stories with happily-ever-after endings. She’s also a lover of dogs. She’s the proud owner of Phineas and you can often find Sherrinda dog sitting.

Sherrinda and Phineas.

“Be the person your dog thinks you are.” – C.J. Frick

“You can not look at a sleeping cat and feel tense.” – Jane Pauley

Tina Radcliffe’s cat Chloe keeps her company when she writes. Keep your eyes open for Tina’s new Romantic Suspense Sabotaged Mission coming out soon.

Tina and Chloe

Author Kim Findlay lives on a boat with her fur baby, Charlie.

This is her boat dog, Charlie. He was four when they moved aboard full time, and he adapted very well.

Not everyone knows how to love a dog, but every dog knows how to love a person.

Romantic suspense author Sharee Stover keeps us entertained with stories about her faithful German Shepherd Dog, Niko.

Niko

Deborah Dolan Hunt, the author of The One-Eyed Pug shared the inspiration for one of her characters.

This is Chewy Belle who is one of the main characters in Deborah’s chapter book The One-Eyed Pug

Here’s our Westie. He’s been part our our lives since 2006. He keeps us entertained and active.

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Dog, dogs, dogs

Are dogs an author’s best friend? It’s possible. A few of my author friend graciously agreed to share their pets with us.

Kim Davis was the first to reply to my request for pet pictures. This is Missy, Kim’s 17-month-old mini Goldendoodle. She thinks that whenever Kim sits down to write, Missy needs to demand her attention. In order to get her words in, Kim gets up 1-1/2 hours earlier than usual. Kim also gets writing done while Missy is sleeping or playing with friends at doggy daycare.

Missy’s person, Kim Davis is the author of the Cupcake Catering Mystery Series.

Money can buy a good dog, but love makes his tail wag.

Judith Gonda shared a picture of her beloved Poms with us.

Judith’s Poms Olivia (Ollie) and Isabella (Izzy), are her inspirations for her main character’s Poms in the Tory Benning mysteries.

Properly trained, a person can become a dog’s best friend.

#Linusthebeagle is Tanya Agler’s best friend. Tanya is known for writng clean romances.

Keep up with Linus on Twitter by finding #LinustheBeagle.

Nobody will keep your secrets better than your dog.

Ruth J. Hartman is known for writing romances and mysteries. Ruth’s cats keep her company while writing.

Ruth’s calico is Remmie, the gray striped is Molly and the orange and white is Murray.

“Cats are connoisseurs of comfort.” – James Herriot.

Catherine Kennedy Hornsby made me laugh with her reply to my request. “Define pet.”

I believe she helps this little guy out.

Mystery and historical fiction author, Michelle Bennington shared a picture with us.

Michelle’s cockapoo, Maple.

Mystery author Lane Stone shared her beloved dog with us.

This is Cordy, which is short for Cordelia. She’s 3 1/2.

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

Join me next week, as more authors share their beloved pets with us.

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Georgiana Daniels

I’m excited to welcome back my friend Georgiana Daniels.

Georgiana Daniels an author, part-time librarian, and full-time plate spinner. “Busy” is her middle name, but when she finds a nugget of free time, she enjoys knitting, reading, and fumbling around on the piano to the dismay of others. Though previously published in romance and women’s fiction, she’s done a 180 and returned to her first love–mysteries! Georgiana lives in central Arizona with her husband and kids, and she’s always on the lookout for her next great adventure.

Welcome, Gerogiana.

Hey there, Jackie! Thanks so much for hosting me today. It’s always fun to visit your blog and chat. Connecting with other people who love cozies as much as I do is one of my favorite things to do!

When did you know you wanted to write cozy mysteries? 

Funny thing—I started writing mysteries when I was in 7th grade. But somehow I got all switched around and wrote all the other genres, namely romance and women’s fiction, before returning to my first love. Cozy mysteries are fun because I can incorporate humor, food, pets, and romance into one story!

Tell us a little about your series.

The KC Crumb Mysteries follow social media maven-cum-amateur sleuth KC Crumb as she and her multi-generational pals from Crumb’s Bakery solve murders. There’s also a hunky hero and KC’s killer canine named Pooh Bear! I have a blast every time I sit down at the keyboard. I never know what the gang will be up to next!

What do you admire about your sleuth?

KC Crumb has so many qualities that I wish I had. She can think on her feet, sneak into any place she must to hunt for clues (even a mortuary, in the latest book!), and she does it all with fashion and flair. Unlike me, KC can pull together a stellar party or event in record time, and nothing flusters her. I would love to be like KC!

Does she have a sidekick? What’s special about this friend? 

In addition to KC’s canine companions, she has a posse of special ladies who help her solve mysteries. Her closest sidekick is Verity, a librarian and expert in self-defense. Verity tries to help KC be her better self, as Verity has a penchant for telling the truth at all costs. Since I, too, am a librarian, Verity holds a special place in my heart.

Besides your series, who is your favorite sidekick?

There are so many great sidekicks out there! My all-time favorite, though, comes from TV. Ethel Mertz from I Love Lucy is the best sidekick ever because she is reluctantly pulled into the shenanigans but is always there to support her best pal. The episode where Ethel gets the spotlight when they visit her hometown is one I could watch a zillion times and never get tired of it!

What’s your secret to juggling normal life and writing?

Well, if I had a normal life, I might be able to answer this question, LOL! Between homeschooling, working part time as a librarian, earning a master’s degree, working online, and shuttling the kids to 8 million activities, it’s always been tricky to make time to write. I can’t even tell you how many of my books were written in the car—a.k.a. my mobile office.

That, I suppose, would be how I juggle it. Instead of waiting for ideal writing opportunities, I write whenever and wherever I can. One time I even wrote a chapter on my phone. For someone with fat thumbs, it was quite a feat! Learning to write in 30-minute segments really helped, too. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish when you set a timer.

Once again, thank you for hosting me! It’s been a fun chat.

Thank you for joining us!

Back Cover for A Crumby Way to Die:
Social media maven KC Crumb is loving life—until her ex-boyfriend James Carlisle arrives in Beaver Bluff to win her back. She must do whatever it takes to send him packing before he ruins her chances with hunky police officer Antonio Hamson. But when the unpopular owner of the B&B where KC’s ex is staying is skewered during an evening soiree, all eyes turn to James as a suspect.

KC and her friends from Crumb’s Bakery must sort through the suspects who were at the party, including a cagey caterer, an electrician, and a mystery man caught on video. Can KC and the bakery gang figure out who murdered the B&B owner before things get too sticky? Or will the killer stick it to one of them next?
 
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09WSVN966
 
Or readers can start the series with Crumbs of Passion for only .99!
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08X6799LW
 
 

If you’d like to connect with Georgiana, here are some ways.

Back Cover for A Crumby Way to Die:

Social media maven KC Crumb is loving life—until her ex-boyfriend James Carlisle arrives in Beaver Bluff to win her back. She must do whatever it takes to send him packing before he ruins her chances with hunky police officer Antonio Hamson. But when the unpopular owner of the B&B where KC’s ex is staying is skewered during an evening soiree, all eyes turn to James as a suspect.

KC and her friends from Crumb’s Bakery must sort through the suspects who were at the party, including a cagey caterer, an electrician, and a mystery man caught on video. Can KC and the bakery gang figure out who murdered the B&B owner before things get too sticky? Or will the killer stick it to one of them next?

Or readers can start the series with Crumbs of Passion for only .99!

Social Media Links:

Website: https://georgianadaniels.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorgeorgianadaniels

Instagram: https://instagram.com/authorgeorgianadaniels

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GeorgianaD

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/georgiana-daniels

Newsletter Link where readers can download a free short story, The Mystery of the Missing Groom:

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Lane Stone and The Collector

Today, I’d like to introduce you to my friend, Lane Stone. She has graciously offered to give one lucky commenter a $10.00 gift card to Starbucks.

Lane Stone

Hi Lane, tell us a little about your book. Does your protagonist have a sidekick? 

The Collector is my first non-cozy book.  Art expert, Emma Kelly, must stop a world war on art while protecting a very big secret.  Since she has a secret life, no sidekicks for her.  She does have some amazing women friends. Elisa is Director of the Vatican Museums. Bobbi runs an escort service made up of men, which the police overlook because she fights sex trafficking in New York City.  Florence is the first woman CEO and president of the Metropolitan Museum.

Who is your favorite sidekick from any cozy mystery?

Umm, if the Lord Peter Whimsey books are cozies, can I call Harriet Vane a sidekick?  I’m not sure of either.  Harriet has such depth she might be another main character. Here are a few real cozy sidekicks:  In Arsenic and Adobo, Mia Mansala’s protag Lila’s best friend, Adeena, is very funny. In Carolyn Rowland’s paranormal Haunted City series, the sidekick is her deceased aunt. In Judy Murray’s Chesapeake Bay Mysteries her sidekick is her daughter. In so many cozies these days, pets are sidekicks. You gotta love that. And I have to say I’m enjoying writing scenes with the sidekick I have in my November book, Dead Men Don’t Decorate.  Opal is the only cruise boat captain on the Potomac River.

When did you realize you wanted to write? Have you always enjoyed reading mysteries?

My favorite part of any job I ever had was the writing part.  I was in corporate human resources and when I was doing something as mundane as writing a training manual, I felt like I was doing what I was supposed to be doing.

Oh, yes. I’ve always loved reading mysteries. 

Where is your favorite place to write? Do you have a favorite snack and/or drink by your side when you write?

Pre-Covid I wrote at Panera almost every day. The white noise worked for me. Now I write mostly in my office in Lewes.  I tried writing on the beach and quickly learned that’s what writers on TV or in the movies do – not IRL.  The beach is good for plotting, but not the actual putting words on the screen.

Do you remember the first cozy mystery you read? 

Of course, they were YA’s.  Mystery at Medicine Wheel is the book I still have. The sleuth is Annette Funicello. 

Do you have a favorite light house?

The light house I volunteer for!  I’m on the board of the Delaware River and Bay Light House Foundation.  We own and maintain the Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse.  It sits on a breakwater wall and is still an active aid to navigation.

Lane, it’s a beautiful lighthouse!

Tell us about your dog. 

Ah, my favorite subject! Cordy is a three-year-old schnauzer who makes our lives interesting.  It’s like she has love running through her veins. 

You can find Lane on her webiste: http://www.lanestonebooks.com/

Lane, thanks so much for stopping by.

Friends, be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a Starbucks card.

Sidekicks

Favorite Sidekicks by Christina Romeril

Christina Romeril

Christina and I have become friends through agency Zoom meetings. I’m excited she agreed to spend time talking sidekicks with us.

There is a truth universally acknowledged, that sidekicks, especially interesting and quirky ones, are a necessary staple of cozy mysteries. A cozy without its sidekicks would be like a hot fudge sundae without the hot fudge. The sidekick(s) give a cozy the pizzazz.  

When I was young, in my Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew phase, I was determined to be either a sleuth or a sidekick. On one occasion, I actually set out on my bicycle to solve a mystery, but I got tired halfway to my destination and went to Dairy Queen instead. If only I’d had Trixie by my side to keep me focused. 

Let’s review the purpose of a sidekick in a cozy:    

  • They give the MC (main character) someone she can bounce ideas off. 
  • Some of these quirky characters help solve the mystery.  
  • The sidekick provides the MC someone to involve in their hijinks. 
  • Sidekicks can help add some humor to the story.  
  • They can provide information or clues. 
  • A good sidekick can help the MC get into or out of trouble. 
  • They also provide the opportunity for interesting subplots. 

There are several sidekicks I particularly enjoy in the many cozy mystery series I read. But one of my absolute favorites is Lance from Ellie Alexander’s Bakeshop Mystery series. He is the artistic director for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and has such a fun and quirky personality. I adore his sarcastic sense of humor. I can see us going for many a yummy beverage at a local coffee shop while he tells me the inside scoop on the town’s inhabitants. I would definitely want him to be my BFF if I lived in Ashland. 

Sidekicks come in all shapes and sizes. Some sleuths don’t have one particular individual that helps them solve the crimes, but instead have a small group of characters that collectively help, or hinder, as the case may be. I love Libby Klein’s Poppy McAllister’s senior sidekicks’ shenanigans. J.C. Eaton also have a fabulous set of senior sidekicks in their Sophie Kimball Mystery series. And finally, Jackie Layton’s got a plethora of fun and interesting side characters in her Low Country Dog Walker Mystery series, including a darn cute German shepherd named Sunny. 

If I were to advertise for a sidekick it would sound something like this: Seeking sarcastic, funny, adventure loving sidekick over thirty (better make that forty, I’m no spring chicken.) Will even consider furry, four-legged canine over two. Quirky, eccentric, and unconventional traits would be considered an asset.  

My upcoming debut novel, A Christmas Candy Killing, also happens to have a cast of quirky sidekicks. My favorite of the bunch is a retired pharmacist and hypochondriac named Drew Fletcher. My sleuth even has a twin sister, Hanna, to help her explore her inner Miss Marple 2.0.  

A Christmas Candy Killing

Now that I’ve told you about my favorite sidekicks, tell me about yours! You can find me on Facebook and Instagram @ChristinaRomerilWriter as well as at www.christinaromeril.com.  

Christina, thanks so much for visiting today. It’s been fun!

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What is a cozy mystery?

So many people have asked me this question the last few years. I’ve been asked by everyone from a bookstore employee to a friendly lady on a recent flight I took to Texas.

My friend Leah Dobrinska has answered this question on social media recently. I asked her to share here, and she graciously agreed. So, here’s Leah.

Leah Dobrinska

Hi everyone! I’m Leah Dobrinska, and I was thrilled when Jackie asked me if I’d be willing to write a guest blog and talk about cozy mysteries. Thanks, Jackie!

As someone who is relatively new to the genre (although I must say, I’ve wanted to be Nancy Drew for as long as I can remember!), I understand how the term “cozy mystery” can trip people up.

For context, I cut my teeth writing small town romance novels (think the Hallmark Channel, but with a little less cringe), but I recently announced that I got a book deal for a cozy mystery series. When I shared the happy news with my family, friends, and followers, I was met with a lot of excitement in response, but also a lot of confusion. Everyone wanted to know: what exactly is a cozy mystery?

Those of us who read and write within this genre understand that “cozy” is not merely an adjective describing the mystery, though in many cases cozy mysteries are, in fact, cozy-feeling books. But, what I’ve had to explain to my people is that cozy mysteries are actually an entire subgenre within the category of mystery, suspense, and thriller books. They are so much fun!

So, what will you find if you grab a cozy mystery off the shelf? First, what you won’t find is graphic details. Cozy authors stick to the tenet that the murder happens off the page. That means cozies are free of explicit descriptions. Yes, the murder is acknowledged and is the catalyst for the entire book, but it becomes almost a jumping off point for the intricacies of the investigation.

And who completes that investigation, you ask? An amateur sleuth, of course! This is one of my favorite aspects of cozy mysteries (again, Nancy Drew forever!). I love the thought of an every-day person bringing a bad guy to justice. An added bonus is that the majority of amateur sleuths in cozy mysteries are women, and I’m all for a strong female protagonist.

Our sleuth is usually in a position within the community to investigate. She’s plugged in in some way that allows her to glean information pertinent to the case. After all, she’s not a professional…the key word in her description is amateur. But she must have a good reason for investigating. Maybe she becomes a suspect and wants to clear her name. Or maybe she’s trying to help out a friend or save her business from going under.

She’s not in this alone, though. Cozy mysteries are also known for their great casts of characters. Fans of cozies have come to expect amazing sidekicks and recurring characters throughout cozy mystery series. In a similar vein, many cozies are set in small towns or close-knit communities. These well-rounded casts and delicious settings make it feel like every time you pick up a book in a particular series, you’re returning to visit a group of friends.

Another thing cozy mysteries are known for is having a hook. The term “hook” can be confusing for those unfamiliar with the genre, but all it means is that a cozy series is typically centered around a particular theme. In most cases, this hook, or theme, is associated with the amateur sleuth’s day job or hobby. There are so many hooks to choose from (truly something for everyone!). Here are a few common ones you’ll see if you’re browsing the cozy mystery shelves:

  • culinary cozies
  • bakery cozies
  • bookshop cozies
  • library cozies
  • crafting cozies
  • holiday-themed cozies
  • wedding-themed cozies
  • real estate or home improvement cozies

The list goes on. And the cool thing about cozy mystery hooks is that readers can find something that’s in line with their interests or they can pick up a book with a hook they know nothing about and learn something new in the process of reading.

This is getting to be a longer post than I expected. Clearly, I could talk about cozy mysteries for days! To wrap things up, here are a few other cozy mystery staples you’ll likely run across if you spend any amount of time exploring this genre.

  1. Puns. The title will often be a play on words of the book’s hook or theme. You’ll see clever plays on words within the book’s text, as well.
  2. Furry creatures. There is almost always a dog, cat, or some sort of pet within the pages of a cozy mystery.
  3. A romance subplot. Sometimes, though not always, a love interest for the amateur sleuth gets introduced. Cozies are also known for their love triangles.   

Whew! That’s all she wrote for today, folks. If you want to learn more about cozy mysteries, I just finished a series of videos on my Instagram account (@whatleahwrote) and Facebook page (Leah Dobrinska, Author) diving into this question, as well. Take a look if you’re interested.

I’d also love to have you join my newsletter community. You can sign up at leahdobrinska.com/newsletter. Newsletter subscribers get first dibs on all my bookish news, so they’ll see the cover and blurb for my forthcoming cozy mystery, Death Checked Out before anyone else!

Right now, newsletter subscribers will receive a FREE small town romance novella from me, just for signing up to be part of my favorite community of readers. And if you’re into small town romances, you can find my books, Love at On Deck Café and Good To Be Home, available on Amazon and Barnes & Nobel’s website. Happy reading!

Massive thank you to Jackie for inviting me to be featured on her blog! I adore cozy mysteries, and I hope you’ll find one that piques your interest, and give it a try.

Leah, thank you so much for joining us today. It’s fun to visit with a friend who’s also passionate about cozy mysteries.

Friends, here are some ways to connect with Leah.

Website: https://leahdobrinska.com/

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Good to Be Home

Love at On Deck Cafe