Writing the Cozy Mystery by @_NancyRadke

I had written what I thought was a cozy mystery in my Sisters of Spirit series, entitled Stolen Secrets. So before writing Any Lucky Dog Can Follow a Trail of Blood, a cozy mystery for the Diehard Dames series, I reviewed what constituted a cozy mystery to see how close I came.

Cozy Mystery

Pssst… you can get STOLEN SECRETS free, Oct 8th through the 11th. Did you hear that? FREE! Now, back to the blog…

Cozy mysteries have a theme, showing a level of expertise.

In Stolen Secrets, the hero has a computer security company that the heroine, Angie, learns about. In my Lucky Dog series, the heroine, Jenna, is an expert on the Lewis and Clark Expedition, traveling around the county with Lucky, her dog, to check out artifacts, while the hero is a big city detective, transplanted to a rural county. He needs her knowledge of the people and the county to solve the mysteries.

Cozy mysteries are often set in a small community or rural setting.  

Stolen Secrets is set in a houseboat community on Lake Union in Seattle. The houseboat people include a wise old grandmother that the hero, Ryan, helps. Angie stays at the elderly woman’s home. In my Lucky Dog series, the setting is a small town in a rural county. The people in the town and county can all be suspects.

Cozy mysteries involve a middle-aged heroine.

Oops, missed this one on Stolen Secrets. Angie is twenty-two, a former Olympic gymnast left homeless by a series of happenings. Ryan gives her both a job and a place to stay, giving her back her self-respect. In Any Lucky Dog Can Follow a Trail of Blood, both Jenna and Craig are in their thirties. Craig really likes his best friend’s wife. And he doesn’t think he find anyone for himself. Jenna has male friends, but none she wants to get serious with.

Cozy mysteries are G-rated.

That’s the only type of book I write, so both fit this criteria.

Cozy mysteries are usually part of a series.  

Stolen Secrets is linked to several other books through the characters, including Courage Dares, Tennessee Touch, and A Tennessee Christmas. Of these, Tennessee Touch is the one with the most mystery in it, as the group try to figure out who is killing pro-football players. Any Lucky Dog Can Follow a Trail of Blood is the first of the Lucky Dog series, which is part of the brand new Authors’ Billboard Diehard Dames cozy mystery series.

Diehard Dames

The Diehard Dames first set, now available, is Murder Is to Die For. Here’s a sample of Any Lucky Dog Can Follow a Trail of Blood, which is in that set. Jenna has found a dead body at the top of Lone Willow’s Trail and called for the sheriff.

Excerpt:

“Are you all right?” Sheriff Craig asked, bending over to check on her. “It’s hard for anyone to sit with a dead body.”

Jenna was glad that he realized it. She was still sitting on the ground where her weak legs had dumped her. “Sort of.”

He touched his hand to her shoulder. “Do you need help getting up?”

“Not really.” But it would be nice. Maybe she did need help. She hadn’t tried to stand up yet.

He must have heard her thoughts, or else from experience knew that a woman sitting on the ground near a body was there because her legs wouldn’t support her. He put his hands under her arms and lifted her up, holding her long enough that she could gain her balance and stand on her own. He left one hand on her shoulder, maintaining contact.

“Thank you,” she said, and meant it. She took hold of his arm while she kept her face averted from where the forensic team was working. He must think her pretty weak, to react in such a way. She was somewhat ashamed of herself. Farm folks were supposed to be tougher than this.

She liked holding onto his arm. He had rolled up his sleeves almost to the elbows, leaving his forearms bare. They reminded her of her father’s, who had been a strong, healthy man before he’d been killed by a falling tree. Sheriff Craig was a solid figure of a man, and his arm offered the support she needed right now.

But she had to let go so he could do his job, and she did so reluctantly, silently chiding herself for needing his support. She wasn’t a child.

But he didn’t step away, just stood there next to her, his hand still on her shoulder, and his very presence gave her strength. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Nodded as she began to feel stronger.

“Okay, now?” he asked, still not moving.

“Yes. I don’t want to keep you from your work.”

“They work fine without me.” He motioned toward the forensic team and stayed where he was, his concern clearly readable on his face. “I’ll talk to you more, get your statement, once you’re really ready.”

Wasn’t that now? But no, she was still very upset. He had gaged her feelings better than she had. She closed her eyes, struggling to gain control of her emotions.

One of the forensic men straightened up and shook his head. “Shouldn’t there be some shotgun pellets in the fence post?” he asked the team leader. “I mean, given the angle?”

The leader, Lance Newman, nodded. “This isn’t adding up, Craig,” he called out. “There should be a lot more blood here.” He turned to the other three members of his team. “That means we need to be even more careful collecting the data. Step back, re-asses the situation and assume this wasn’t an accident.” He put a lot of emphasis on the word, “wasn’t.”

 

Murder Is To Die For, the first boxed set of the Diehard Dames cozy mystery series!

The Diehard Dames have put together their very first boxed set. If you love cozy mysteries, then get ready for Murder Is To Die For!

Now on sale for only 99 cents at Amazon! Free in KU!

AMAZON

We’re doing something new at Authors’ billboard. In the past, we’ve been known for our gripping romantic suspense, laugh-out-loud romantic comedies and lots of steamy romance. We’re still going to bring you a plethora of great new stories in all of those romance genres, but we’ve ventured into new territory and we’re pretty excited about it. Cozy mystery!

Cozy mysteries are much different than romance in that they are a subgenre of crime fiction. The detective is an amateur sleuth, the murder is committed “off stage” and the story usually takes place in a socially intimate community such as a small town. Cozies can be humorous and also include romance—but the focus is on solving the mystery.

We’ve put together a boxed set of four brand new stories titled Murder Is To Die For. Miss Marple, anyone? If you’ve never read a cozy mystery, think of J.B. Fletcher, the famous mystery writer turned amateur sleuth in the popular television series Murder, She Wrote.

In Murder Is To Die For, the stories are as diverse as they are delightful!

Diehard Dames don’t give up!

These ladies are smart. They’re clever. And they never give up.

Whether on a quest to solve a murder or to right a wrong, they’re tough and determined, ready to step forward when needed.

Join these daring and tenacious amateur sleuths as they solve crime in this collection of ALL NEW Whodunits. Special new release price, too!

Just because they’re amateurs doesn’t mean these ladies can’t get the job done. A few foils, fumbles, and missteps taken only make their tasks more challenging and interesting. Enjoy a few giggles as crime-solving takes on a bright new glow in these light-hearted international mysteries by New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Authors.

Meet the Dames:

Mimi Barbour: Murder in the Mall: The proprietor of a bakery finds the owner of the shoe store murdered. All the mall owners have reasons for this horrendous deed, but who is the culprit? In this small town full of upstanding, warm-hearted people, who can possibly be the cold-blooded killer? New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author.

Denise Devine: Dark Fortune – “Your life is in danger, watch out for the stranger.” Fortune telling was just bunk, right? Stephanie hoped so. USA Today Bestselling Author

Dani Haviland: Crazy Ladies in Capes Debut – Louie witnessed a murder… Or did he? Midtown Anchorage is overrun by crime and this group of little old lady activists is ready to do something about it! USA Today Bestselling Author.

Nancy Radke: Any Lucky Dog Can Follow a Trail of Blood – When Sheriff Craig leaves the city and arrives in the rural county of West Falls, he is soon dealing with the murder of a man everyone wanted dead. So, who wanted him dead the most? He finds that when switching from pavement to mountain trails, a dog with a good nose is a necessity. So, is a pretty woman. USA Today Bestselling Author.

Snuggle up and grab the first ever Cozy Mystery Box Set from THE AUTHORS’ BILLBOARD. MURDER IS TO DIE FOR, DIEHARD DAMES, AMATEUR DETECTIVE SERIES.

Murder is to Die for Meme

Now on sale for only 99 cents at Amazon! Free in KU! Get your copy now!

AMAZON

Have you entered our October Contest? Click here to enter.

 

My grandchildren’s favorite meal

My children and the extended family children and grandchildren started eating cannelloni at a very young age, and grew up calling it their favorite meal. I usually prepare it in advance, freeze it, and do the final cooking just before serving. It’s always a winner at family reunion and big holidays.

Cannelloni  Recipe

  • Prepare the mix:
  1. 3 eggs
  2. 1 ¾ cups of 2% milk
  3. Tsp of butter 1 cup of flour

Mix together in a blender or mixer. 

 

 

  • Prepare the pancakes (or crèpes)
  1. Use an electric skillet or any other type but adjust the stove temperature to 400o  
  2. Melt ½ a Tsp of butter in the skillet at 400
  3. Measure ¼ cup of the mix and pour over the melted butter 
  4. Spread evenly in the skillet 
  5. Remove when cooked and slid in a plate 
  6. Repeat until the whole mix is made into pancakes
  7. You usually get 10 big pancakes with one dose of mix.
  8. I like to cut all the pancakes in half.
  • Prepare the filling
  1. 1 lb of ground beef 
  2. 1 small onion 
  3. 1 tsp all spice 
  4. Salt and pepper 
  5. 1 cup Ragu tomato sauce

Darken and cook the ground beef, onion and spices, until well cooked. Add the sauce and simmer till the meat is done. Set aside.

  • Rolling the cannelloni
  1. Use a clean plate. Arrange one half pancake on it.
  2. Transfer a Tsp of ground meat over the pancake and roll it over to form a cannelloni.

Repeat with the rest of the pancakes. With this dose of mix you can prepare about 20 small cannellonis or 10 big ones.

 

  • Cooking

    The tomato sauce and sprinkled parmesan cheese still needed to be added when this picture was taken.

  1. Spray the the pan with Pam Brush the bottom with tomato sauce.
  2. Arrange the cannellonis in a 9×13 pan in two rows.
  3. Pour enough tomato sauce to cover each cannelloni
  4. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese or Romano cheese.
  5. Bake at 300o for 20 minutes.

Bon appétit.

Here is Bosty, my grandchildren’s dog waiting for Grandma to have him taste whatever she’s cooking that smells so good.  

I use some of my recipes in my romance novels, whenever I have a grandmother of Italian or Greek background.

 


On sale at Amazon. Cozy mystery. Book 2 of The Senator’s Family Series.

FAKE FIANCEE:   https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NAW3TRE/ Joshua Dutton’s lifestyle and tabloids pictures threaten his father’s senatorial campaign. His parents insist on finding him a sweet temporary fiancée to repair the damage.
With only her German shepherd for friend, Emma Cassiero struggles with a heap of problems. Attraction sizzles between her and Josh, but no one mentions the secret deal made by her stepmother and the Senior Duttons. When the truth comes out Emma is devastated. Were Josh’s kisses part of the charade? Has Josh lost her or would he be able to team up with her German shepherd to love and protect her?

On sale at Amazon. Cozy mystery. Book 8 of The Senator’s Family Series.

HALF A DOZEN WITH LOVE  https://www.amazon.com/DP/B08HKQSRYC

When a tragic accident deprived Tammy Fletcher of her loving parents at the age of nineteen, she pledged to take care of her five brothers and sisters, ranging in age from eight months to sixteen years. But she’s up against her greedy step-aunt who wants to get her hands on the children’s trust fund, and the CPS caseworker who insists on putting the children in the foster care system.
Dr. Jack Conan, the orthopedic surgeon treating the children’s grandmother, is both impressed by Tammy’s efforts to keep the family together and irresistibly attracted to the gorgeous and so-serious young woman. Determined to help her, Jack goes out of his way to solve her dilemma. Will his unorthodox solution only complicate Tammy’s problems—or bring her into his arms?

 

Mrs. Morris and the Ghost–first book signing!

Writing a story together is an intimate thing to do—it requires trust, lack of ego, and shared vulnerability. A similar writing style helps, and saved images of the world you’ve created along with actual pictures of the characters so that you each have them come to life in the same way in your head is important.

Differences also make the story richer. You might see things one way, but your co-author could see them another, and coming together in a compromise will be a middle ground that the reader may find more familiar as well. Each author is as unique as the reader. For example, I am not a big seafood person, but Patrice loves mussels. To my surprise, Charlene, our heroine, loved mussels too! Thank heaven that Patrice and I both love wine haha. I can’t imagine Charlene swilling gin.

Over fifteen years ago, Patrice and I started off unpublished but goal-oriented, meeting weekly at critique group, dedicated to being published, which in our minds, meant success. Six New York publishers dwindled to five. Self-publishing came on the scene. Patrice and I were published in various ways but until this joint effort, hadn’t made it to traditional publishing. Writing for Kensington has opened another door for us on our writing path and we couldn’t be more thrilled.

us at Murder on the Beach bookstore

Patrice and I were friends and critique partners long before writing this cozy series together. It is our differences, as well as our similarities, that make us a great team! (whatever you do, don’t get her started on track lighting…)

Success is not a straight road but you have to take steps, even small ones, toward your goal. It’s been said before but is worth saying again that life is all about the journey. Choose your fellow travelers well 🙂

Thank you to everyone who has helped promote/support Mrs. Morris and the Ghost—Mrs. Morris and the Witch will be available in April.

www.traciwilton.com

Don’t forget to enter the Authors’ Billboard August contest–good luck!