Widening Our Circles

Edith here, just home from most of a week in a Pennsylvania convent retreat house with two fellow authors, one being Wicked Accomplice Kim Gray (and the other a great friend of the Wickeds, Ramona DeFelice Long). I have many new words under my belt, a tired driver’s butt, and evening after evening of laughs in the bank.

I’ve been thinking about how to widen the circles of people who know about my books.

WideningCircles

Yes, I’m wearing the slightly uncomfortable Self-Promotion hat. But we all have to do it. We authors never want to tell people, Read my book! Buy my book! But … in fact, we want people to read our books. Buy them, ask their library to buy them, tell their friends what a great read they are. Because this is how I and most of my fellow Wickeds make our living.

Christine Green, a savvy digital strategy friend (she made my fabulous new web site), says marketing is letting people know what you have. So how do we let people know what we have to offer without losing readers?

FriendsJournalMaxwell2Earlier this month a few of you might have seen my link to an article I wrote. When I heard the national Quaker magazine, Friends Journal, was having an Arts issue, I wrote an essay about how being a Friend governs how I write and market my crime fiction. My premise was that Quaker values of peace and integrity might be seen as conflicting with a career of writing about murder, deceit, betrayal.

The journal published my piece on how I reconcile those conflicts and how my faith and values guide all my writing. Within forty-eight hours the article had been shared hundreds of times. My Quaker Midwife series now has a far wider potential audience than it did, and readers know about my contemporary series, too.

This spring I heard from multi-published mystery author Kaye George that Wildside Press is publishing trilogies of short stories – which don’t have to be original submissions. I got word while I was on retreat that my proposal for a trilogy of three Quaker Midwife short crime stories has been accepted! Two of the stories were nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Short Story. I’m thrilled to widen my circles of readers for these stories – and possibly for the books, too. Stay tuned for news on title and release date.

Authors Mollie Cox Bryan, Lynn Cahoon, and Peg Cochran recently started a Facebook group for writers of farm-based mysteries. When they asked me to join, I initially hesitated. They all have new books coming out, but my publisher didn’t renew the Local Foods Mysteries beyond Mulch Ado About Murder, the fifth in the series. That said, my organic farm books are a perfect fit with that group, so I agreed.

Down on the Farm Writers

I’ve had great reception to my weekly Wednesday posts over at Down on the Farm Mystery Writers and I think it’s bringing new life (and sales) to these books I worked so hard on. You should join the group! It’s open to all, we just have to approve new members.Death Over Easy

My Country Store Mysteries? I’m not quite sure how, but they seem to sell themselves. I don’t want them to languish, though. I love sharing recipes here and there and talking about topics like vintage cookware, bicycling, and home renovation on various blogs where I’m lucky to be invited as guest. I’m super excited to have Death Over Easy, book five, releasing at the end of July!

Another market-widening opportunity presented itself a couple of years ago. Kurt Anthony Krug writes articles for college alumni magazines and I met him at a literary fair in Michigan. He interviewed me, but I never saw the article. Three weeks ago a friend sent a photograph of the page in the Indiana University Alumni Association Magazine where I am featured. The magazine has a huge reach, in paper and digitally, and I’m delighted to have a presence there. And of course Indiana is where the Country Store Mysteries are set. Read the interview here.

IUAlumniMagArticle

As always – and I’m sure I share this with my fellow Wickeds – I could be doing more. Should I be creating and posting memes? Doing more on Instagram? Paying to boost ads? Then again, I have the next book to write. And the next and the next. And if I don’t write the best book I can, the whole career is down the drain!

AudioCoverAmazonReaders: How do you like to learn about new authors and about new books from your favorite writers? When does promotion flip over to turning you off?

Share in the comments and I’ll send one of you (US only) my last audiobook of Biscuits and Slashed Browns, the just previous Country Store mystery.

The Night of the Flood

I fell in love, first with the concept of The Night of the Flood, and then the book when it came out in March. It’s interesting, unique, gripping, and in turn poignant and funny. I loved it so much I’m giving away a copy to one person who leaves a comment.

Alan Orloff, one of the contributors, interviews the two intrepid editors, E.A. Aymar and Sarah M. Chen.

Alan Orloff: You two (Ed Aymar and Sarah M. Chen) should be commended, not only for the sterling end product, a buzz-generating novel-in-stories (THE NIGHT OF THE FLOOD), but for surviving the task of editing/babysitting/torturing 14 thriller writers, all with mayhem on their minds. Let’s start at the beginning. Can you describe the genesis of this fascinating project?

E.A. Aymar: It was an idea originally proposed, in a different form, by J.J. Hensley. He, along with seven other writers in this book, regularly contributes to The Thrill Begins, and we had all become good friends and fans/supporters of each other’s work. He had the idea to do a joint collaboration on a project, and it morphed into THE NIGHT OF THE FLOOD.

That said, J.J.’s a terrible person and we really don’t want his further association with this project. So Sarah and I kept his name off the cover, refused to give him credit, and you should probably just delete that preceding paragraph. Fine to keep this one, though. (Sherry here. For those of you who don’t know this crew — this is a joke and J.J. has a story in the book.)

Author Alan Orloff

AO: Getting fourteen writers all on the same page seems daunting. How did you manage it (without bloodshed or lawsuits)?

EA: Oh, we all weren’t on one page. That would have been a very short book. 

AO: Ha ha, that was a good one.

EA: Anyway, we had a very loose outline to which everyone adhered, and the stories were split hourly. Writers were free to borrow elements from each other’s work and occasionally did, and that worked well turning an anthology into a novel. We did take pains to avoid repetition, more in word choice than theme. For example, there were a lot of references to the town name (Everton) and “The Daughters,” the group of women who blow up the town’s dam and instigate the rioting that night. We made sure to space those out.

AO: Getting two editors on the same page seems daunting. How did you manage that? Can you describe your east coast/west coast working relationship? 

EA: First off, let me say that Sarah M. Chen is the best partner a co-editor can have. She’s thorough, funny, and razor smart. We paired up sort of incidentally, and she’s really an absolute dream to work with. And I don’t know how or why she puts up with my crap.

Regarding communications, we exploited all sorts of modern technology and went back and forth on texts, e-mails, vaped smoke signals, and (very rarely) phone calls. From ideas to editing to promotion, we ran stuff by each other and made sure we were on the same page. Safe to say that we’re both intensely proud of this book, and want to give it the best treatment possible.

AO: With fourteen different stories/writers, I imagine there were some significant continuity issues. How did you make sure the book flowed as a unified story?

Author E. A. Aymar

EA: I kind of addressed that earlier, but I’ll add something to that earlier point. Having good writers makes editing so much easier. Good writers tend to be inventive, and the contributors did a great job of ensuring continuity on their own. And then Sarah’s sharp eye caught discrepancies like the position of the moon or the changing height of the water.

We approached this idea as a group, so we all, essentially, began at the same starting point. That was a huge, and unforeseen, help in unifying the concept.

AO: Publishing a book is more than just writing words, doing a few revision passes, and shipping it off to the publisher (the wonderful Down & Out Books). After it’s complete, there’s the “other” stuff: promotion, marketing, sales, making book trailers, collecting awards, enforcing restraining orders against disgruntled authors. Can you describe some of those efforts?

Author Sarah M. Chen

Sarah M. Chen: It was a collaborative effort from everyone as we pooled our ideas together on different ways to market and promote. One of the benefits of working with such experienced writers is that I learned so much. Normally I just go through the usual social media channels, but there’s so much more than that. Like the UrbanaAMA app. Ed and I answered questions about editing / writing an anthology via video and it was a blast. I’d never had a book trailer done before and thanks to Ed, we had our very own cool book trailer. I want to say that Ed was really good at organizing our promo efforts, generating ideas, and just getting us psyched about our little project. He was a great cheerleader. Other contributors promoted the book through their respective newsletters and did things like scavenger hunts. And I don’t want to forget Down & Out’s efforts. They did an incredible job sending out review copies to everyone, including Publisher’s Weekly, Foreword Reviews (they even made FLOOD a Book of the Day!), and Crimespree. D&O provided us with some awesome promo graphics to spread all over social media.

AO: What has been the response to THE NIGHT OF THE FLOOD within the crime-fiction community, from both writers and readers?

 SMC: It’s been amazingly positive so far and I’m grateful for every single review. The blurbs we received early on blew me away as well. (AO adds: From Lee Child – “A brave concept brilliantly executed.)

AO: A second book with a similar multiple-author novel-in-stories concept, THE MORNING OF THE KILLERS, is on the drawing board. A brief description, please? What lessons learned from FLOOD will you apply as you plan, edit, and promote it?

SMC: It’s a novel-in-stories so it’s similar in concept but it’s not a sequel. Contributors can use their FLOOD characters though if they’d like. We haven’t officially announced it and we’re still hashing it out but it involves a crime boss, infidelity, and bounty hunters. I’m really excited to be working with the same writers as well as new ones. And of course, co-editing with Ed again is a bonus. He really knows how to rally all of us together and spearhead a lot of the promotional efforts. I’m telling you, he’s our cheerleader.

 We have more writers involved in this project, so Ed and I are cobbling together a loose outline after all of us agreed on the basic premise. From there, all the contributors will bounce ideas off each other and flesh out the storyline even further. Chris (Rhatigan) is a fantastic editor and we’re excited to be working with D&O again on this project. A perk working with so many writers is that there’s a good chance I’ll learn of some new platforms and ideas on promotion as I did with FLOOD.

AO: What other projects do you have on the horizon?

 EA: The first half of this year has been all about THE NIGHT OF THE FLOOD, chiefly in regards to promotions. I have a standalone coming out from Down and Out Books in March 2019, called THE UNREPENTANT, and Sarah and I are going back and forth on THE MORNING OF THE KILLERS. We haven’t officially announced it as of this writing, but Down and Out likes the concept and we’re set for a 2020 publishing date (with many of the same contributors as THE NIGHT OF THE FLOOD, along with some new faces). And I have an essay coming out in the second UNLOADED anthology this July. And…oh, I guess that’s it.

SMC: I have a few short stories that are set to be released in upcoming anthologies, including MURDER A GO-GOS, edited by Holly West and released by Down & Out Books. All stories are inspired by song titles of The Go-Go’s. This is one I’m extremely proud to be a part of. All proceeds are to go to Planned Parenthood.

AO: Thanks for a great interview, Sarah and Ed, and stay dry!

Readers: Do you have a favorite theme (or hook) for a book or anthology?

Bios

Sarah M. Chen has published crime fiction short stories with Shotgun Honey, Crime Factory, and Betty Fedora, to name a few. Cleaning Up Finn, her noir novella with All Due Respect Books, was an Anthony finalist and IPPY award winner. For more info, visit sarahmchen.com

In addition to The Night of the Flood, E.A. Aymar writes a monthly column for the Washington Independent Review of Books and is the Managing Editor of The Thrill Begins, ITW’s online resource for aspiring and debut thriller writers. He also runs the Noir at the Bar series for Washington, D.C., and has hosted and spoken at a variety of crime fiction, writing, and publishing events nationwide. He has never won an award, so let’s get on that. For more info, visit eaymar.com

Alan Orloff has been a finalist for the Agatha and Derringer Awards. His eighth novel, Pray for the Innocent, came out earlier this year. He’s published numerous short stories, including “Rule Number One,” which was selected for The Best American Mystery Stories 2018 anthology edited by Louise Penny and Otto Penzler. For more info, visit alanorloff.com

About THE NIGHT OF THE FLOOD

“Each of the 14 varied and fitfully amusing stories in this solid anthology takes as its starting point the destruction of a dam and the subsequent flooding of Everton, PA. Aymar and Chen deserve kudos for putting together a distinctive anthology.” —Publishers Weekly

It happened the night Maggie Wilbourne was to be put to death, the first woman executed by the state of Pennsylvania in modern times. That was when a group of women passionately protesting Maggie’s imprisonment struck. They blew up a local dam, flooding the town of Everton and indirectly inspiring a hellish night of crime and chaos.

Fourteen of today’s most exciting contemporary crime writers will take you to the fictional town of Everton, with stories from criminals, cops, and civilians that explore the thin line between the rich and the poor, the insider and the outsider, the innocent and the guilty. Whether it’s a store owner grimly protecting his property from looters, an opportunistic servant who sees her time to strike, or two misguided youths taking their anger out against any available victim, The Night of the Flood is an intricate and intimate examination of the moment when chaos is released—in both society and the human spirit.

Contributors: E.A. Aymar, Rob Brunet, Sarah M. Chen, Angel Luis Colón, Hilary Davidson, Mark Edwards, Gwen Florio, Elizabeth Heiter, J.J. Hensley, Jennifer Hillier, Shannon Kirk, Jenny Milchman, Alan Orloff, and Wendy Tyson.

Praise for THE NIGHT OF THE FLOOD:

“Plenty of complex characters and hard edges. Take a breath, then hang on and enjoy this entertaining romp.” —Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author

“Bravo to all the authors who contributed to The Night of the Flood, a collection of brilliant short stories about residents of the dysfunctional town of Everton who are thrust into the turbulence of decisions that will forever change who they thought they were. A stormy page-turner that will leave you wanting more.” —Sandra Brannan, author of the award-winning Liv Bergen Mystery Series

“A brilliant, multi-leveled concept, Faulknerian in its structure. A novel in stories. Wow. Fourteen exciting crime writers create a rare three-dimensional mosaic of a doomed town and the night hell flooded through it. Terrifically exciting. Wonderfully inventive.” —David Morrell, New York Times bestselling author of Murder As a Fine Art

“A brave concept brilliantly executed.” —Lee Child, bestselling author of the Jack Reacher Series

“An impressive collection of stories from some of the most talented writers working in the crime genre today.” —BOLO Books Review

And the Winner is…

Happy first day of summer from the Wickeds!

Drum roll, please. Plucked at random from the 1000+ entries in the Wickeds’ Summer Reads Giveaway, the winner is Sharon Wilson Shook. Congratulations, Sharon! We wish you many happy hours of reading.

The following prizes will be winging their way to Kentucky. (Okay, more likely they will be riding in a truck, but that doesn’t sound nearly so exciting.)

These wicked good books…

* STOWED AWAY by Barbara Ross
* DEATH OF AN AMBITIOUS WOMAN by Barbara Ross
* BLUFFING IS MURDER by Tace Baker
* CALLED TO JUSTICE by Edith Maxwell
* DEATH OVER EASY by Maddie Day (Advanced Reader Copy!)
* TAGGED FOR DEATH by Sherry Harris
* I KNOW WHAT YOU BID LAST SUMMER by Sherry Harris
* JUST KILLING TIME by Julianne Holmes
* WHISPERS OF WARNING by Jessica Estevao
* WHISPERS BEYOND THE VEIL by Jessica Estevao
* MURDER IN AN ENGLISH VILLAGE by Jessica Ellicott
* PURRDER SHE WROTE by Cate Conte

Plus this cool beach stuff

…a beach tote, beach blanket, waterproof cell phone case, water bottle, cover up, flip flops, and sunglasses!

Thank you to all who entered. We’re thrilled with the results and will definitely be doing another big giveaway before the holidays–along with the offerings you’re used to seeing on the blog.

The Wickeds hope everyone has a glorious summer filled with wonderful books.

Wicked Wednesday – Favorite First Lines

As writers, we know how important the first line of a book is. It sets the tone for the whole book and pulls you in (or doesn’t). Some are totally unforgettable. Wickeds, I’m wondering, what’s your favorite first line from one of your books?

WickedFirst Lines

Liz: I still get a kick out of the first line from Purring Around the Christmas Tree
“The whole night could’ve been straight from a 
Norman Rockwell painting, if only Santa hadn’t dropped dead in his sleigh as he rode up to light the Frog Ledge Christmas tree.” 

Edith: I love that one, Liz! Here’s mine from Called to Justice: “The day had seemed an unlikely one to include death.” It goes on to show a sunny festive Independence Day parade in 1888. But I think my most favorite is from my Agatha-nominated short story, Just Desserts for Johnny: “She hadn’t planned on killing Johnny Sorbetto that winter. He had promised her so much.”

Julie: My favorite first line from a published book is from Clock and Dagger, which I wrote as Julianne Holmes. “I was running late. Again.” I love that Ruth Clagan, my protagonist in that series, is a clock maker who is always late. That idea came from my editor, and is genius.

Jessie: My favorite first line from any of my books thus far has got to be my very first from Live Free or Die written as Jessie Crockett. “Beulah Price’s body looked like a hotdog that been left on the grill too long.” It is grim but the protagonist’s voice tickles me.

Barb: My favorite first line in one of my novels is from Fogged Inn. “Jule-YA! There’s a dead guy in the walk-in.” From a short story is it “In the Rip,” in Best New England Crime Stories 2012: Dead Calm. “Phil broke up with me on New Year’s morning as if propelled by the force of some terrible resolution.”

Sherry: This is my favorite from my very first book Tagged for DeathA gun shot sounded. I jerked the phone away from my ear. This time I hung up first.

Readers, what’s the best first line you’ve read or written? Tell us below!

The Detective’s Daughter – Officer Dad

Hi Readers! Interrupting today’s regularly scheduled program to announce the winner from Friday’s giveaway with Tonya Kappes! Carlrscott – please message us at the Wicked Cozy Authors FB page with your information. Congrats!

 

Kim in Baltimore wishing she were still lounging on the beach in Rehoboth.

June is the month we celebrate our fathers. For this reason, I thought it would be fun to talk with other daughters of detectives. Our guests today are Kathie Lewandowski Richardson and Heather Baker Weidner. I have known Kathie most of my life. Her dad was once my dad’s partner on the force. Heather is a mystery author whom I recently met at Malice Domestic and we bonded over our dad’s  shared occupation.

Growing up, I felt I had been treated a bit differently by my school friends and neighborhood children, especially when I was a teenager, because my dad was a cop. I asked the ladies how they felt on this subject.

Heather: I grew up in a city where my dad was a police captain. As a teenager and college student, it felt like my dad hindered my life. He gave me a hard time about two clubs my friends and I liked. He knew what was going on and where, but it just felt smothering when I was twenty-something.

Kathie with her dad

Kathie: Yes, It was difficult. I grew up in a small community where everybody knew each other. The adults knew my dad as a well-respected BCP officer who worked hard and excelled in everything he did. Dad climbed to the ranks of Major and retired in 1995.  There was a teacher who nicknamed my dad Johnny Law. He portrayed my dad as the enemy to the kids in his class who were twelve and thirteen years old and very impressionable. They were at an age where some were experimenting with smoking, drinking and even drugs. The kids were afraid to hang out with me because of what this teacher said and I had a very small circle of friends during that period.

Dinner times with my dad were always interesting. He enjoyed sharing stories about his day with me and my sister. He never went into the gory details, but would describe how he had solved the mystery or puzzle. I believe I write mysteries today because of him.  Kathie had a different experience, but I learned Heather’s dinner time was similar to mine.

Kathie: Dad never shared “cop” stories with us when we were children. He never talked about it until after he’d retired and my sisters and I were in our thirties. He raised five daughters, so he believed if he told his little girls stories about cops and robbers, it might frighten us. One story I do recall was about when he and his partner chased a suspect on foot through the streets of Baltimore. The suspect made his way to a rooftop and jumped down with Dad’s partner right behind him. The partner ended up breaking both his ankles and though my dad was more concerned about his partner than the suspect, he still had to pursue him. He found the suspect, unable to move because he had sprained both of his feet in the fall, just around the corner.

Heather: We grew up talking about murder and mayhem at the dinner table. I didn’t realize it wasn’t polite conversation until I went over to friends’ houses. Our conversations were always interesting, and they probably provided good information for later stories. I love mysteries and puzzles. Dad went to work every day to solve mysteries. He’s also a great story teller. He’s retired now, but he’s still my best law enforcement resource. I still ask him things like, “Hey, Dad. What does a meth lab smell like?” Some things you just don’t want to Google.

Kathie’s dad was John Lewandowski. He was a tall man with a good disposition and kind eyes, a man you wouldn’t be afraid to ask for his help. He car-pooled with my dad and every weekday Mom and I sat in front of Central District waiting for them to be finished work. Mr. John was always nice to me. I asked Kathie did she feel her dad was a stricter parent due to his job. Kathie said, “Yes, I believe he was more strict because he was aware of what was happening on the streets and he wanted to protect us.”  I had to agree that I felt the same way about my dad. I was very sheltered. Any time I went out Dad seemed to know my every move by the time I returned home. I think all the cops in the city of Baltimore were on the lookout for me. I couldn’t get away with anything and knew better than to try.

Our dad’s were also responsible for some of our first jobs. Heather told me her first job was picking up shell casings at the police range when her dad was done practicing. She also spent several weekends melting old crayons to make practice bullets for the SWAT team. That sounded like a lot more fun than the job my dad got me -finger printing bodies in the morgue! An experience every eighteen-year-old kid needs.

I think we all agreed our dads are our heroes and I’m pretty sure the love we feel for them has little to do with their jobs in law enforcement.

I’d like to thank Heather and Kathie for taking time out to answer my questions. To learn more about Heather go to www.HeatherWeidner.com. Heather blogs regularly with Pens, Paws, and Claws authors.

Dear Readers, What was your dad’s occupation? How did their job help to shape you?

 

 

Lucky

BREAKING NEWS: CONGRATULATIONS HOLDENJ

You are the winner of the Advanced Reading Copy of Murder Flies the Coop!

Please contact Jessie at jessie@jessiecrockett.com to provide your mailing address!

Jessie: In New Hampshire, until school finally gets out for the year!

lotto-484801_1920I spent several days last week with friends and over dinner one evening the conversation turned to the topic of luck. My friends each mentioned that they usually play the lottery when the prize grew to mind-boggling levels. They were incredulous when I said that I never  buy a ticket myself. They wanted to know why it was that I never took a chance and invested a mere dollar for a shot at the enormous prize.

I replied that wasn’t the way luck seems to show up in my life. While I think of myself as a very lucky person raffles, lotteries and prizes awarded for being the correct caller to a radio show are not where my good fortune ever seems to appear. The conversation moved on but I continued to mull the notion of luck over again and again.

I realized with suprise that I believe my luck might be finite and that I daren’t squander it on things I’ve never shown an aptitude for in the past. Bargains are my strength. Perhaps it is genetic or maybe it is the result of being raised in a part of the world that values thrift. Whatever the reason, I have been blessed with the knack of finding just what I want at a price I am delighted to pay.

Startlingly good deals on everything from cashmere sweaters, to knitting needles to real estate appear in my orbit in a pleasing and predictable way. I realised I am almost afraid to ask for more by stopping in at the local convenience store for a lottery ticket. Somewhere in the back of my mind lurks the shadowy belief that the universe will withold its generosity if I exhibit such greed.

I’ve also been incredibly fortunate in my family, my friends, my colleagues and my readers. I feel luckier than I can say to have so much love and support and fun in my life and can’t imagine risking such blessings.

Perhaps it is silly to believe in luck at all. Surely it is superstitious to think that I am an important enough entitiy to be under such cosmic scrutiny. Still, I find I am happy to pass up the purchase of a scratch ticket if it means I can keep receiving all the bounty I have thus far. My life is more than lucky enough already!

Readers, do you believe in luck? If so, in which ways are you lucky? One lucky Murder Flies The Coopcommenter will receive an advanced reading copy of my upcoming Beryl and Edwina mystery, Murder Flies the Coop!

Jessie loves to connect with readers through her newsletter. Sign up for news, appearances, giveaways and the stories behind the stories right here!

Welcome Tonya Kappes…and a giveaway!

Liz here, and I’m excited to welcome Tonya Kappes, author of the Camper and Criminals Cozy Mysteries, to the blog! Tonya and I met on Facebook, like many of us do these days, and then we discovered we had another connection – we’re both Gabby Bernstein fans. I love when lives intersect, don’t you? And today she’s talking about making connections with readers. Take it away, Tonya!

CAMPER BANNER

How do you like to connect with your favorite author?

Long before social media, I’ve been connecting with readers. Initially, it started out with a blog similar to the Wicked Cozy Authors. Actually, I didn’t even have a book contract when I joined, but I started my connection with readers.

It’s a connection that so hard to describe. Every decision I make in my travels or my author giveaway goodies, I think about the reader. When Facebook came along, it was a game changer for me. I was able to put faces to names and if I was going to a book signing, I was able to connect instantly with readers in that area.

Tonya Family (6)As we all know, Facebook has changed a bit and with so many authors and so many groups, it can sometimes feel a little impersonal. That’s why I started my Cozy Krew reader group a few years back. I missed the small intimate group of readers where we discussed books and actually a lot of us became such good friends.

A couple of years ago, I’d gotten an idea about hosting my own reader event. It was something that truly popped into my head during a Kentucky snow day. It would be an event where it was just catered to the readers.

I wanted something different. Not just a book signing. Something fun for everyone and not to promote me. I wanted to celebrate the reader. It dawned on me that I can’t be everywhere at once, so I decided to host something once a year at a different location. The more I muddled the idea in my head, the more excited I got and started my search on mystery themed idea. After all, it had to do with mystery!

I came across mystery diner trains. How fun would that be???? I Googled these such events and quickly found out these trains can be rented out. You got a mystery theater along with a meal while riding on a train! Seriously….how fun is that????

It turned out to be a ton of fun! This year is my fifth year doing the train and I couldn’t be more excited to see the readers. The event has turned into a weekend of fun. The first night we all get together in the hotel and have a pizza party along with some sort of mystery game. The next morning we meet up for breakfast, maybe do a little sight-seeing in the town we are in before we head out to the train for the adventure. Afterwards, the readers can buy books or just hang out. It’s so much fun.

damesI think I get more excited about seeing my readers than they get meeting me. It’s magical! This photo was taken last year during the Two Dames on a Mystery Train event in Lockport, NY. This year we’re headed to Knoxville, TN….next year is rumored to be out west…but y’all know how small town gossip goes, right? Or is that just common in my southern mysteries?

If you’d like to check out Two Dames on a Mystery Train, please head on over to my website and click on the Two Dames on a Mystery Train tab. I’d love to have you come join us!

I’d like to thank Liz and the Wicked Cozy Authors for having me today. It’

s been a WICKED good time! And…I have to say (I told Liz this too), I’ve never connected to a group of authors and I’m a smidgen jealous with their amazing retreat. I think it’s so cool how much they adore each other and have each other’s back!

Readers, how do you like to connect with your favorite authors? Leave a comment and win a print signed copy of DEAD AS A DOORNAIL and a bag of IT’S A SOUTHERN MYSTERY, Y’ALL goodie bag. Tonya giveaway