Being a C.K. and How if Affected My Writing Life ~ Heither Weidner, Mystery Author

I heard my friend Heather Weidner on a podcast, and she mentioned she is a cop’s kid. I was intrigued and asked her to share her story with us, and she graciously accepted.

Heather Weidner

I’m a C. K. (Cop’s Kid). Growing up, I thought everyone talked about murder and crime at the dinner table. It wasn’t until I got to college, that I learned this wasn’t always the best conversation.

One of my first jobs was to pick up the shell casings at the range after my dad practiced. My sister and I would “borrow” his nightscope and high-powered binoculars to see what we could see in the backyard in the dark (usually the neighbor’s poodle). I loved the green glow. Way before paintball was popular, he and I melted down my old crayons to made dummy bullets for the SWAT team to practice with.

I can’t count the number of times we went out that he got paged to report to work. One time, we were returning a rented video to the store (that tells you how long ago this was), and a guy ran out of the A&P. He was being chased by the manager and some staff for shop-lifting. My sister and I spent the afternoon waiting for my dad to do the booking paperwork. I learned most of the police ten-codes for the radio by elementary school. That radio’s squawk was just part of our daily lives before cell phones. And I got in trouble once when I was helping wash the police car, and I turned on the siren. I’m pretty sure I startled our neighbors.

He was a superhero to my first grade class on career day. He blasted the siren in his police cruiser, and then the police helicopter landed in the field next door to the school. (It was way cooler than the insurance guy’s presentation.)

My dad always gave interesting gifts. Through the years, I’ve received a DNA kit in case I ever disappeared, and I needed to be identified. One year, he gave us a folding ladder in case of a fire on the second floor. I have lots of containers of heavy duty pepper spray and those little gadgets that will break your car window and cut your seatbelt if you drive off a bridge.

I have loved mysteries since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew, so it was a natural fit to write what I loved to read and watch. My dad is still my best resource. He’s now retired from forty-six years of service on the Virginia Beach police force. He has lots of amazing stories. Plus, there are just some things you don’t want to Google like, “Hey, Dad how long will a body stay submerged, what does a meth lab smell like, or what’s a handy poison that folks have around the house?”

Heather’s dad.

I was so fortunate to have such a great childhood in the 70s and 80s. He put in long hours, and it was scary when he was called out in the middle of the night for emergencies. But I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. I mean, I learned some life skills. How many six-year-olds do you know who can make dummy bullets?  

Heather is with her uncle here, but she’s wearing her dad’s hat.

Thanks for sharing these fun memories with us, Heather.

Friends, here’s some information to get to know Heather better.

Biography

Through the years, Heather Weidner has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager. Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers is the first in her cozy mystery series, the Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries. She also writes the Delanie Fitzgerald mystery series set in Virginia. Her Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mysteries debut in 2023.

Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, Deadly Southern Charm, and Murder by the Glass, and her novellas appear in The Mutt Mysteries series.

Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.

 Social Media Links

Website and Blog: http://www.heatherweidner.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeatherWeidner1

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heather_mystery_writer/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8121854.Heather_Weidner

Amazon Authors: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HOYR0MQ

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/HeatherBWeidner/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/heather-weidner-0064b233?trk=hp-identity-name

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/heather-weidner-d6430278-c5c9-4b10-b911-340828fc7003

Book Links

Apple Books: ‎Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers on Apple Books

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09GGBFWT5

Barnes and Noble: Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers by Heather Weidner, Paperback | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com)

BookBub: Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers: A Jules Keene Glamping Mystery by Heather Weidner – BookBub

BookShop: Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers a book by Heather Weidner (bookshop.org)

Booktopia: Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers eBook by Heather Weidner | 9781685120375 | Booktopia

FNAC: Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers – Dernier livre de Heather Weidner – Précommande & date de sortie | fnac

Goodreads: Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers by Heather Weidner | Goodreads

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/vintage-trailers-and-blackmailers

Target: Vintage Trailers And Blackmailers – By Heather Weidner (paperback) : Target

Thalia: Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers von Heather Weidner – eBook | Thalia

Book Summary

There is nothing like finding a dead body, clad only in a red satin thong, on your property to jolt you from a quiet routine. Jules Keene, owner of the posh Fern Valley Camping Resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is thrust into the world of the Dark Web when one of her guests, Ira Perkins, is found murdered in the woods near her vintage trailers. Jules quickly discovers that the man who claimed to be on a writing retreat was not what he seemed, and someone will go to any length to find what he left at her resort. Jules, along with her Jack Russell Terrier sidekick Bijou, has to put the rest of the missing pieces of a blackmailing scheme together before her glamping business is ruined.

Jules’s resort, set in the heart of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains near Charlottesville in the quaint town of Fern Valley, offers guests a unique vacation in refurbished and upcycled vintage trailers. Hoping to expand her offerings, she partners with her maintenance/security guy to create a village of tiny houses, the latest home DIY craze, but a second murder of a reporter interrupts Jules’s expansion plans. Curiosity gets the best of her, and she steps up her sleuthing to find out what Ira Perkins was really up to and what he was really hiding at her resort.

Release Day

Today is Caught and Collared’s release day. Some call it a book birthday. Whichever you prefer, I’m celebrating.

To begin the celebration, I have a prize for one commenter chosen at random. To make it easy, tell me if you listen to podcasts. Do you have a favorite?

Here’s the blurb for the fourth book in A Low Country Dog Walker Mystery series.

When a scavenger hunt turns up a dead body, dog walker Andi Grace Scott will have to make a dogged effort to collar the culprit . . .

Setting out for a day of fun on her town’s first-ever scavenger hunt, Low Country dog walker Andi Grace Scott is dismayed to find an unattended dog wandering the streets—but that’s nothing compared to the shock she gets when she finds a dead man floating in the swimming pool of the dog’s owner. What’s more, she’d seen the very same man having a very public altercation with his wife just the night before. Despite being warned off the case by the local sheriff, Andi Grace can’t help nosing around to find out who’s behind the foul deed.

It turns out the victim was a well-known radio personality who focused on cold-case investigations and was rumored to be breaking a huge story on his next show. As Andi Grace digs deeper to learn who may have wanted him dead, she’s faced with a suspect list that includes a cold-hearted widow who stands to inherit a bundle, a local country star with family demons to hide, and any number of unknown criminals who may have been the focus of the victim’s big reveal. Whether the motive was love gone bad, a career under duress, or a killer’s deadly secret, Andi Grace knows she’ll have to act fast before she becomes the next cold case herself . . .

You may see this little guy in Caught and Collared. Isn’t he a cutie?

Don’t forget to answer the question, and I’ll announce the winner later this week.

Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers

Congratulations to Heather Weidner on Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers. The title is so cute, and the story is great.

Here’s my quick review of Heather’s newest book.

Jules Keene is focused on her vintage trailer camping resort. Her priorites shift when a dead guest is discovered in the woods and her aunt is questioned by the authorities. Jules decides to help catch the killer, but she already has a full plate. Now Jules must stop the culprit, keep her guests satisfied, grow her business, run for president of the town’s business council, and stay alive when the bad guys come after her. This book is a joy to read.

Here’s the blurb:

There is nothing like finding a dead body, clad only in a red satin thong, on your property to jolt you from a quiet routine. Jules Keene, owner of the posh Fern Valley Camping Resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is thrust into the world of the Dark Web when one of her guests, Ira Perkins, is found murdered in the woods near her vintage trailers. Jules quickly discovers that the man who claimed to be on a writing retreat was not what he seemed, and someone will go to any length to find what he left at her resort. Jules, along with her Jack Russell Terrier sidekick Bijou, has to put the rest of the missing pieces of a blackmailing scheme together before her business is ruined.

Jules’s resort, set in the heart of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains near Charlottesville in the quaint town of Fern Valley, offers guests a unique vacation in refurbished and upcycled vintage trailers. Hoping to expand her offerings, she partners with her maintenance/security guy to create a village of tiny houses, the latest home DIY craze, but a second murder of a reporter interrupts Jules’s expansion plans. Curiosity gets the best of her, and she steps up her sleuthing to find out what Ira Perkins was really up to and what he was really hiding at her resort.

If you’re interested in reading Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers, here are the links:

Book Links:

Apple Books: ‎Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers on Apple Books

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09GGBFWT5

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Vintage-Trailers-Blackmailers-Heather-Weidner/dp/1685120369

Barnes and Noble: Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers by Heather Weidner, Paperback | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com)

Booktopia: Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers eBook by Heather Weidner | 9781685120375 | Booktopia

FNAC: Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers – Dernier livre de Heather Weidner – Précommande & date de sortie | fnac

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/vintage-trailers-and-blackmailers

Thalia: Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers von Heather Weidner – eBook | Thalia

Kate Lansing…What’s In A Name?

While we all know 2020 was a terrible year, I made friends through social media. Kate Lansing is one of my new friends, and she has graciously stopped by for a visit.

Kate is also a cozy mystery author, and I’ve enjoyed reading her books.

What’s in a Name?

What’s in a name? Yes, a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet, yada yada yada. But in general, I’ve found that names carry weight. They can add depth to characters, offer an opportunity for humor, and bring fictional worlds to life.

For example, one of my favorite things to learn is what people name their pets. It’s like a snapshot of their personality and instantly tells me something about them. Are they foodies with a cat named Baguette? Comedians who dubbed their dog Horse? Or book nerds that celebrate their favorite wizard by constantly calling for Gandalf? (My cat’s name is Maple, btw, in case anyone else harbors similar curiosities).

So, in the writing of my Colorado Wine Mystery series, it figures I spent an inordinate amount of time coming up with names. For characters (Parker Valentine being the protagonist), Parker’s winery (Vino Valentine), her cat (Zin, short for Zinfandel, naturally), and the handcrafted varietals themselves.

For the fictional wines, I leveraged alliteration and the picturesque setting of Boulder, Colorado, while also **maybe** having a little too much fun with puns.

There’s the Chautauqua Chardonnay that becomes infamous in the first book, Killer Chardonnay, based on one of my favorite parks in Boulder, with hiking trails, climbing, and even an amphitheater (where I once heard Stephen King speak!).

Along those lines are the Pearl Street Pinot, based on the quirky outdoor mall, Mount Sanitas White, an ode to one of my favorite hiking trails, and even Ralphie’s Riesling, named after the local college’s mascot (go Buffs!).

In the second book, A Pairing to Die For, I introduced the Jail Break Red, a blend Parker perfects during harvest while simultaneously trying to prove her boyfriend’s innocence. And another personal favorite: What Happens in Viognier.

The third book in the series, Mulled to Death, comes out in October, and there’s a lot of attention on the Snowy Day Syrah, fitting since it takes place at a ski resort over a weekend getaway.

If you had your own winery, what would you name the varietals? Do you put as much thought into names as I do?

Author Bio: Kate Lansing is an award-winning short story author. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, daughter, and a chair-napping tabby cat named Maple.

Website: http://katelansing.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lansingkm

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kmlansing/

Buy links for A Pairing to Die For:

Penguin Random House: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/621061/a-pairing-to-die-for-by-kate-lansing/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Pairing-Die-Colorado-Wine-Mystery/dp/0593100204/

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-pairing-to-die-for-kate-lansing/1137073696

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/a-pairing-to-die-for/9780593100202

Kate, thanks so much for stopping by. Our Westie is named Heinz. My young son named him after Heinz Ketchup and his favorite football player at the time, Hines Ward.

Bag of Bones Release Day

Thanks for joining me as I celebrate the release of Bag of Bones. It’s the third book in A Low Country Dog Walker Mystery series.

Curious what it’s about? Here’s the blurb:

Does one good turn deserve a murder?

Despite all her good intentions to focus on a healthy lifestyle and leave crime solving to the professionals, Andi Grace Scott has run right smack into another investigation—literally.  Who’d have thought caring for stray cats and a healthy morning beach run could lead to murder?

Andi Grace has found another body and a young woman who needs help.  Solving this puzzle will come with a cost.  This time, catching the killer will require Andi Grace to confront her past relationships and truths about her deceased mother.

I would love for you to join Andi Grace Scott on her third adventure.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/34NtLvv

Kobo: https://tinyurl.com/y3f8g2vt 

Bares & Noble: https://tinyurl.com/y4crbcnf 

Google: https://tinyurl.com/y4a6gwu6 

My New Friend Carol Ayer

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Carol, congratulations on Peppermint Cream Die! It’s such a cute title. Tell us a little about your story.
The story features Kayla Jeffries, a 35-year-old home bakery owner. She identifies as an introvert and a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP).  When her elderly friend is murdered, she overcomes her natural tendency to avoid stress and overstimulation and helps apprehend the killer. Along the way, she meets a handsome restaurateur, adopts two rambunctious cats, and makes a lot of baked goods.

Where is the setting? How did you decide to pick it?
The setting is a fictional oceanside community called Seaside Shores in the (also fictional) town of Oceanville, California. The setting is loosely based on the Central California town of Monterey, a place I love to visit as often as I can. I think I chose it as a form of wish fulfillment–I would love to live in Monterey but can’t (it’s very expensive!). My character gets to live somewhere similar and I can live there vicariously.

How long have you been writing? Did you always dream of writing or have you always worked as an author?
I’ve been writing since childhood. As soon as I realized that books were written by people and didn’t just magically appear in the world, I wanted to write my own. I started submitting to magazines and publishers when I was 8 (but, alas, didn’t get published until I was an adult).
Do you have any pets? (If yes, can you include a picture of them?)
I do! I adopted Rainn (see attached picture) from a shelter about two years ago. She will turn 4 soon. She and my last cat, Sammie, inspired a few of the (hopefully humorous!) storylines in my series.

Do you have a favorite beach or vacation spot?
Yes, as mentioned above, I love Monterey, California. I’ve also had the good fortune of visiting Maui three times, and what can I say? It’s so beautiful that it doesn’t feel real.
Where can readers find you on social media?


Twitter:  @carol_e_ayer

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

Do you have a recipe for Peppermint Cream PIE?


I do! Here it is:Super Simple Peppermint Cream Pie: Ingredients:Pre-made chocolate cookie pie crust5.1 oz.  box instant vanilla puddingMilk to prepare pudding8 oz. heavy whipping cream2-3 miniature candy canes, crushed up (you can also use peppermint candies) 

Directions:
Make the vanilla pudding as directed, including a crushed-up miniature candy cane.  (Because I don’t have a food processor, I use a plastic bag and a hammer; this can get messy if the bag breaks).Pour the pudding mixture into the pie crust and chill in the refrigerator until set.Whip the cream, again including a crushed-up miniature candy cane.Spread the cream across the chilled pie.If desired, add another crushed-up candy cane on top of the pie.Enjoy!

One last question…What is an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person)?Answer: HSPs make up about 20 percent of the population (I am an HSP myself). We deeply process sensory stimuli. We are adversely impacted by things like loud noises, scratchy fabrics, and florescent lighting. We easily get stressed by too much going on, criticism, and performing in front of others. On the plus side, HSPs tend to be creative, conscientious, and compassionate, and we have strong positive reactions to art, music, and nature. Most HSPs are introverted but a certain percentage are extroverts.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Carol!

Peppermint Cream Die can be found at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Target.

https://www.target.com/p/peppermint-cream-die-hsp-mysteries-by-carol-e-ayer-paperback/-/A-81089555#lnk=sametab

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/peppermint-cream-die-carol-e-ayer/1137435729;jsessionid=BDE22D7EC8B8B7A44A5C4719258D1471.prodny_store01-atgap16?ean=9781603816298

Rainn on her tower.

Quotes from Joanne Fluke

In case you don’t know who Joanne Fluke is, she’s the author of the Hannah Swensen books. Hallmark also picked up some of the books to make into movies.

In honor of National Chocolate Chip Day, I decided to share some quotes from Joanne.



“IT was the time of day when Lake Eden residents decided it was too late for a breakfast cookie and too early for a lunch cookie.”
― Joanne Fluke, Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder



“The secret of high finance…if you really need a loan, you won’t qualify. And if you don’t need a loan, all the lenders will line up to give you money.” Peach Cobbler Murder

“If chocolate were a mandatory part of breakfast, people wouldn’t be so
grouchy in the morning.” Strawberry Shortcake Murder

“If God gave Dad Alzheimer’s, He’s got to understand when Dad forgets what church he belongs to.” Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder

“You’ll never see a hearse towing a U-Haul.” Joanne Fluke

“There was no greater gift than making someone laugh. People who laughed were happy.” Apple Turnover Murder

“Solving crimes certainly wasn’t as easy as they made it seem in the movies.” Chocolate Chip Murder

I hope you enjoyed these quotes from Joanne Fluke, and I hope you get a chocolate chip cookie soon.

Dog-Gone Dead

Thanks to all of you who’ve joined me on my writing journey. I appreciate your support, and I’m so excited to announce Dog-Gone Dead is now available.

It’s available in paperback and e-reader. If you’re interested, here are the links.

Thanks so much, and I hope you have a great weekend!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2AGWF4N 

Kobo: https://tinyurl.com/ybo4pr8t 

Barnes & Noble: https://tinyurl.com/ycf7765c

 Google: https://tinyurl.com/y8u6sf45

Apple: https://tinyurl.com/ycyjno6b