Edith here, happy to welcome Peg Cochran, a fellow cozy author who also writes about murder related to farming! Here’s the blurb for her newest mystery, Sowed to Death:
The county fair is the highlight of the year for the small town of Lovett, Michigan—especially for food-and-lifestyle blogger Shelby McDonald, who writes as the Farmer’s Daughter. She’s submitting jams and jellies she’s created from the produce she grows at Love Blossom Farm in hopes of harvesting a blue ribbon. But the townspeople get more than just the excitement of hayrides, tractor pulls, and cotton candy when Shelby’s neighbor and volunteer fireman, Jake Taylor, extricates the body of Zeke Barnstable instead of a dummy during a demonstration of the Jaws of Life. The fact that Jake and Zeke were known to be at odds plants suspicion in the minds of the police. As evidence against Jake grows, Shelby knows she has to plow through the clues to weed out the true killer and save her friend.
Doesn’t that sound fun? And she’s giving away a copy to one commenter here today. Take it away, Peg!
An Agent by Any Other Name…
When I first starting looking into getting an agent for my work, I had a fairly limited view of what an agent does—they sell your book and make sure the contract isn’t entirely in the publishing house’s favor.
I was thrilled when agent Jessica Faust of BookEnds agreed to take me on, and I quickly learned that an agent does so much more than get you a book deal and vet your contracts.
An agent—a good one anyway—is a collaborator, editor, nag, supporter, career coach and someone who forces you to write the dreaded synopsis even when you don’t want to.
My newest series, The Farmer’s Daughter Mysteries, is a case in point. It started with our annual “what are your plans for this year?” conversation (career coach) wherein I indicated a desire to take on a new cozy series.
From there, we tossed around possibilities (collaborator) and Jessica mentioned her idea for a cozy series revolving around a lifestyle blogger who lives on a farm. I liked the idea despite the fact that a) I’ve never lived on a farm or even near one and b) I can’t grow anything and can barely keep a plastic plant alive.
Peg’s only plant
But I was game so I ran with the concept and put my own spin on it. I made the blogger a widow with two children, added a couple of possible romantic interests, complicated things with a brother-in-law who reminds my protagonist a little too much of her late husband, and then tossed in a dead body.
From there, I submitted three chapters, which I rewrote with Jessica’s subsequent feedback (editor) and then created the series overview and synopsis for the first book (synopsis enforcer).
Jessica was excited about the idea and occasionally emailed to ask how it was going (nag). Finally it was done and on submission. The first publishing house we approached turned it down, but Jessica assured me that it would find a home (supporter).
Jessica then did the two things I knew an agent did: sold it to Berkley Prime Crime and made sure the contract was in order.
I don’t know if I’m just lucky and Jessica is exceptional (which I suspect she is) or if this is the industry norm. Either way, I can’t imagine negotiating the tricky waters of a writing career without someone like her!
Mystery writing lets Peg Cochran indulge her curiosity under the guise of “work” (aka research). She put pen to paper at age seven when she wrote plays and forced her cousins to perform them at Christmas dinner. She switched to mysteries when she discovered the perfect hiding place for a body down the street from her house.
When she’s not writing, she spends her time reading, cooking, spoiling her granddaughter and checking her books’ stats on Amazon. Peg resides in Michigan with her husband and Westhighland white terrier, Reg. She is the author of the Sweet Nothings Lingerie series (written as Meg London), the Gourmet De-Lite series, the Lucille series, the Cranberry Cove series, The Farmer’s Daughter series, and the Reluctant Debutante series debuting in the fall of 2018 from Random House. You can find her at www.facebook.com/pegcochran, @pegcochran (twitter), pegcochran (Instagram), and www.pegcochran.com.
Readers: Have you ever lived on a farm and/or would you like to? Do you have a green thumb or a black one like mine? Remember, Peg is giving away a copy of Sowed to Death to one commenter here today!