About J.A. Hennrikus/Julianne Holmes

J.A. (Julie) Hennrikus writes the Clock Shop Mystery Series (JUST KILLING TIME (2015), CLOCK AND DAGGER (2016), CHIME AND PUNISHMENT(2017)) under the name Julianne Holmes, the Theater Cop series (A CHRISTMAS PERIL(2017)) as J.A. Hennrikus, and the upcoming Garden Squad series as Julia Henry. Julie is an arts administrator and arts advocate. She tweets her writing life as @JHAuthors, and her other life as @JulieHennrikus. She is on Instagram as @JAHenn. Her website is jahennrikus.com, and she blogs with WickedCozyAuthors.com and KillerCharacters.com.

Talking to You

By Julie, grateful someone else shovels the snow here in Somerville, because we got a lot on Tuesday

WHICH ONE_Dear Readers,

Do you have any idea how much your support of this blog means to all of us? A lot. That’s the answer. We love that you respond to our posts, we love that when we meet you in person we feel as if we know you already, we love the support you give our guests, and we love that you celebrate each new book with us. This year we will hit the fifty book mark (and go past it) on the blog, so there’s been a lot to celebrate!

Today I’d like to ask your opinion on a few things. There are so many paths to communicate with folks these days, but I wonder which are the most effective? Do you mind if I ask some questions, and you can let me know what you think in the comments?

First of all, do you like newsletters? What kind of content do you enjoy in the newsletter? Most of the other Wickeds do them, but I haven’t done one yet. Thinking I should, so I’d appreciate your thoughts. I’m thinking about a quarterly newsletter, BTW.

How would you feel about the occasional video post rather than a written one? I’ll admit, I had never been a video fan, but lately I’m rethinking that. I’m taking a class online right now, and like the video format. It makes me feel more engaged with the instructor. For my work at StageSource one of our interns has been doing videos for us, and they are getting great responses. Also, I needed to fix something so I did a search on YouTube. What a great resource for walking you through projects. Anyway, it’s made me wonder about doing short videos once in a while for all of you.

For the past few months I’ve been using Instagram more and more, though I’m not great at it. I’ve also started a Instagram for my writing life (@JHAuthors) which is separate from my personal life (@JAHenn). I am not a visual thinker, so it’s been a little tough, but I am trying. I am also on Facebook and Twitter. While I love these platforms for connecting with folks, I wonder if there is a preference for all of you? I am on Pinterest, but unlike some of the other Wickeds I don’t use it well.

Final question for all of you–I wonder if the Wickeds should try to Facebook live sometime we’re all together. Would that be fun to try? We’re all going to be at Malice–maybe we could pull something together there. Again, until recently I didn’t understand how compelling these could be, but now I see how much fun it can be to interact with folks.

Let me end this blog post the way I started. Thank you all for being part of the Wicked Cozy Authors community. I love blogging with the others, and interacting with you.

Thank you for indulging my curiosity. I look forward to reading your thoughts in the comments!

The Superpower of Fun

By Julie, in disbelief that it is going to be in the 50’s today


FunThis time of year is always a bit of a blah for me, and this year is no different. In fact, because of a bout with the flu, I’m feeling more blah than normal. And retrospective. My gratitude list, which is long, wasn’t doing the normal job of getting me out of my slump, so I decided to reboot a bit, and shift my lens.

Last week I went to a presentation on the most recent Culture Track study. Part of the presentation has been sticking with me all week. It was about the prime motivating factors for participating in culture. (The definition of culture is also shifting, which is fascinating.) These are the top five reasons their data pointed to:

5. Learning something new
4. Feeling less stressed
3. Experiencing new things
2. Interest in the content

And the number one reason people indicated motivated them to participate in something cultural?

Having fun.

Earlier this year, I went to the memorial service for a wonderful Boston actor, Tommy Derrah. One of Tommy’s mantra’s was “if it isn’t fun, don’t do it.” Tommy’s ability to find the fun in everyday is part of his legacy, and one of the reasons he will be greatly missed, but not soon forgotten. I’d already been thinking about that phrase, and what it means to me, and then I learned that fun is a prime motivator for a lot of folks.

That doesn’t mean don’t work hard. That doesn’t mean that the work has to be light-hearted all the time. I had fun going to Hamilton, hardly the happiest of stories and a musical that makes me ugly cry at the end every time I listen to it. But the experience of seeing it onstage gave me joy, a complex expression of fun.

I’ve been thinking about my own life. How do I shift from blah to fun? How do I ensure that my legacy will be “she had fun, and helped others have fun”? How do I shift to finding joy even in the tough times? How can I lighten up a bit, and enjoy the ride more?

What about my work? Certainly the cozy genre means that fun is part of the contract we make with our readers. Even when we take a darker turn, satisfaction for the reader is one of our goals. Is satisfaction another expression of fun? I think perhaps it is.

Lately I’ve been noodling a slightly darker suspense story. I’m writing down the ideas as they come to me, while I continue to work on the two novels I have plotted already. I’m wondering–will writing something new be fun? I acknowledge that the process will be challenging, but will I find it fun?

More precisely, if I don’t find it fun, why would I put myself through it?

As a middle-aged, cranky Yankee, I have undervalued fun. I see that now. My mid-February pondering leads me to the question–can I reframe, and find the fun?

I’m going to give it my best shot.

How about you, dear readers. Do you have fun? If you could do something fun right now, what would it be?



Wicked Wednesday: Biscuits and Slashed Browns

BiscuitsToday we are celebrating Maddie Day’s Biscuits and Slashed Browns release! A reminder about the book:

For country-store owner Robbie Jordan, the National Maple Syrup Festival is a sweet escape from late-winter in South Lick, Indiana—until murder saps the life out of the celebration . . .

As Robbie arranges a breakfast-themed cook-off at Pans ‘N Pancakes, visitors pour into Brown County for the annual maple extravaganza. Unfortunately, that includes Professor Connolly, a know-it-all academic from Boston who makes enemies everywhere he goes—and this time, bad manners prove deadly. Soon after clashing with several scientists at a maple tree panel, the professor is found dead outside a sugar shack, stabbed to death by a local restaurateur’s knife. When an innocent woman gets dragged into the investigation and a biologist mysteriously disappears, Robbie drops her winning maple biscuits to search for answers. But can she help police crack the case before another victim is caught in a sticky situation with a killer?

In honor of the newest Robbie Jordan adventure, let’s talk about breakfast, Wickeds. What is your favorite “eating out” breakfast?

Jessie: I don’t have a specific favorite place for breakfast. What I do favor is breakfast in beautiful hotels. I love to sleep in and then head down to a restaurant in the hotel about an hour before they stop serving. I like to ask the waitstaff for a carafe of coffee and then let them know they needn’t worry about me any further. I sit with a notebook and a stack of postcards and nibble and people watch. It is a bit of a travel ritual for me. I’ve done it in Orlando, Vegas, San Francisco, NY, China, Iceland, Brazil, and in the U.K.

Sherry: Jessie, that sounds like a fabulous way to spend a morning. Congratulations on the new book, Edith. I love to order something more complicate than we would make at home. Sigh, with my cooking skills that’s almost anything. It’s a great time to try something new, especially regional dishes. I have to say I tried fried toast in England and it wasn’t my favorite!

Barb: I love diners. For any meal, really, but especially for breakfast. My two favorites in Portland are Becky’s and the Miss Portland. Favorite orders: Omelet with cheese, ham and onions, or blueberry pancakes with syrup and bacon. I’m making myself hungry just typing this.

Liz: I love diners too! And I especially love when I find a diner that has food I can eat 🙂 Omelets are usually my go-to, with mushrooms and spinach, and home fries. And coffee. Lots of coffee!

Julie: I love breakfast, and could happily eat it for every meal. I am an Eggs Benedict fan. I usually order it, since I never make hollandaise sauce at home. Lately, the S&S (a favorite local spot) has expanded on my go-to with Eggs Oscar. Poached eggs on potato pancakes, topped with asparagus and crabmeat. And, of course, the sauce. So. Good. That said, I’m also a pancake fan, and if I’m in a diner I always ask about the special.

Edith: Thanks for helping me celebrate, Wickeds! For breakfast out, I often order crispy  hash browns, which are so hard to make at home, with a fried egg. Like Julie, though, I don’t make hollandaise sauce at home, and I once had a California Benedict with avocado to die for.

Readers, help us celebrate this book birthday by sharing your favorite breakfast!

Some of the Wickeds Plot Our Work

By Julie, scurrying to make January goals!

Jessie told me about the Plot Your Work Planner a few months ago. I bought it, started to use it, and told Liz about it. The three of us are writing several books in 2018, so there are high hopes for the efficacy of this planner. We got several questions about it on a Wicked Wednesday a few weeks ago, so we thought we’d let you all know how it is going.

Jessie: I’ve been really pleased with this partucular planner. I attended a session at the NINC conference back in October about it and was delighted to discover that someone had done the work setting up a planner that addressed the unique challenges multiple deadlines present. I use additional planners for other parts of my life but none of them have really helped me to keep on top of large, long term projects with several stages.

Taking a full year look at how all the moving parts fit and don’t fit together has helped me to have more clarity and accountability about what I can expect and cannot expect to accomplish. A nice extra touch is the paper quality. I love to use fountain pens whenever possible and lower quality paper doesn’t take the ink well. This planner doesn’t allow the ink to ghost, feather or bleed. A total win in my book!

Julie: Jessie, I can’t wait to see you in person and walk through this planner together. I am finding my way in, but am not sure I’m using it “correctly”. That said, one of the things I like is that I can make it work for me. I’ve got the two books I’m writing, the book that’s coming out in August, and the book I’m noodling all in the planner. The prompts for different sections take on different meanings depending on the project. Like Jessie, I find the ability to map it out really helpful.

I also have to agree on the quality of the paper. I’ve taken to fountain pens as well, and there isn’t any bleed. I was also encouraged that they just came out with an A5 size for a travelers notebook, and sort of wish I’d waited. I will likely try that next, since the large size stays at home, and it would be nice to have it with me. For folks wanting to try it out, that may be the ticket.

There’s a Facebook page, and an Etsy shop. I’d recommend ordering from them. This is a writer’s tool that works, at least so far.

Liz: I really like this planner too. Although I have to say I let it overwhelm me a little bit. I haven’t used anything other than pencil yet because I keep screwing up! And I’m terrified to use the stickers in case I mess up…

That said, I love all the pieces it pulls together to get you organized. The weekly action plans are awesome, and you can track your habits, identify the top items to focus on, and even list gratitude lists. And it has lots of notes pages, which is especially helpful. When I’m about three-quarters of the way through a book I often have to go back and write out timelines for both main and subplots, and those always end up getting done in random notebooks that I can never find again when I need them. So this is solving that problem!

Very happy with it, and have to stop being afraid of it and take full advantage of all the benefits.

Readers, any other planners out there that have helped you wrangle your life, writing or otherwise? Leave us a comment! (But don’t tell Julie, because she already has way too many planners going!)

Wicked Wednesday: Our 2018 Books!

Wicked Wednesday!We Wickeds were busy in 2017, and 2018 will be proof of that. Friends, what books under which names will be released when?

Liz: Cate Conte’s second Cat Cafe Mystery, Purrder, She Wrote, will be out next August. The 7th Pawsitively Organic Mystery, Murder, She Meowed, will be out next fall/winter sometime – no pub date yet!

Sherry: I Know What You Bid Last Summer the fifth Sarah Winston Garage Sale mystery releases on February 27th! And I think The Gun Also Rises (book six) will come out at the end of December. Like Liz, I’m waiting to hear for sure.

Barb: Yule Log Murder, the holiday novella collection by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, and me comes out October 30, 2018. Steamed Open, the seventh Maine Clambake Mystery, comes out December 25, 2018.

Edith: Biscuits and Slashed Browns, Country Store Mystery #4, comes out in six days (written as Maddie Day)! The third Quaker Midwife Mystery, Turning the Tide, releases on April 8, followed shortly by my short story, “A Divination of Death” in Mystery Most Geographical, the Malice Domestic anthology which releases at Malice at the end of April. Mulch Ado About Murder, Local Foods Mystery #5, comes out in paperback June 26. And Death Over Easy, Country Store Mystery #5 (also written as Maddie Day), will be out at the end of July. Yes, it’s a busy year for me.

Jessie: I am looking forward to the release of the paperback version of Murder in an English Village in August. The second Beryl and Edwina Mystery, Murder Flies the Coop, launches a month later, at the end of September. And, I have plans to finally make the second Granite State Mystery, Body of Water, available. Look for it between June and August!

Julie: In 2018 I will have one book coming out–the next in my Theater Cop series, With A Kiss I Die. It will come out on September 8.  Can’t wait for you all to read Sully’s next adventure!

Writer friends, tell us about your 2018 books! Reader friends, any 2018 titles you’re particularly looking forward to?

A Wicked Welcome to Marian Lanouette

By Julie, sloshing around in Somerville

allWe’re thrilled to welcome Marian Lanouette to the blog today! We’ve known Marian for a few years, and enjoy seeing her at Sisters in Crime New England meetings, and at the New England Crime Bake. We’re so thrilled to share Marian’s publishing news today! Welcome Marian!

I’d like to thank Julie and the Wicked Cozy Authors for inviting me as their guest today. I’m excited to be here and talk about how my Jake Carrington thriller series has developed before finding a home with Kensington. I’m also looking forward to visiting with them next month at Geoff Symons Forensic Seminar. Have you signed up for this fabulous seminar yet?

Writing has been cathartic for me. After my 2009 quadruple bypass surgery, I decided to concentrate my time on my writing. Before then life got in the way, working crazy hours, I never seem to have much time for the one thing I wanted to do—writing. I was working on another book at the time when Jake popped into my head and wouldn’t leave me alone. I put aside the current book and decided to work on Jake; he was the one shouting the loudest. Much to my surprise, six months later I was rushed back to the hospital. I needed three stents to open up three of those clogged bypasses. In that timeframe my husband and I decided I would become a full-time writer and do away with the stress of an accounting career.

I’m happy to say that I’m now writing the fourth book in the Jake Carrington series titled All the Dirty Secrets. And in 2017 I signed a four book deal with Kensington Publishing Corp for the first four books in the series. What stunned me, was the first two books in the series had been published previously; first by a small press out of Canada, and then self-pub by me.

I had achieved some success in the self-publishing area and caught the attention of an editor at Kensington. It floored me when they contracted the two previously published books along with two new ones. Working closely with my editor Michaela and her staff, I’ve added new content as well as sprucing up the endings in those books to make a stronger and more enjoyable read. This collaboration comes to fruition on February 27th when All the Deadly Lies, the first book in the series is released.

At book signings, writers and readers asked if they had previously published a book if it had a shot at a publisher acquiring them. I’m a true optimist. I believe that anything is possible. How I reply to these questions is that first you need a dream, the ambition, and the commitment to working towards those dreams. You also need to learn the craft of writing which includes the technical side of it, and the business side of it. I stress how important it is for writers to network and go out and meet people. A group of my writing buddies make fun of me because I always have a business card with me. If you make eye contact with me before we depart each other’s company you’ll have my card in your hand. I’m talking waitresses, grocery store clerks and the readers and librarians I meet at all my signings. I think it’s good business, but I find it fun and exciting to meet new people and learn about them. Authors need to keep that in mind.

I’m a people person and I love networking. The most important thing about networking is that you never know where an opportunity can pop up. I met my editor at a charity gala, in Boston, that was put on by another author. That night I not only met my future editor, I met my future agent. I did not accept the invitation to be one of the guest authors at this function for any other reason than I believed in the charity it was benefiting. The plus side of this appearance, I was rewarded with an introduction to two people I love working with.

marianWhen asked for advice about writing, I offer up what has benefited me over the years. First write the book of your heart and then network—join writing groups, church groups, craft groups, any group you are truly interested in, and give small seminars at those meeting to get comfortable with public speaking. More important than anything, go out and meet people and remember to enjoy the whole experience.

BIO:  A self-described tough blonde from Brooklyn, Marian is the author of The Jake Carrington Thrillers, a gritty thriller/suspense series. As far back as she could remember, Marian loved to read. As a child, she was especially intrigued by the Daily News crime reports. Tragically, she knew someone who was murdered. The killer was never found. This event ignited Marian’s desire to write books where good prevails, even in the darkest times.

You can buy All the Deadly Lies at all the regular places,, including AmazonB&N, and Kobo . Stay up to date on Marian’s books by going to her website, and following her on FacebookTwitterPinterestPinterest 2Goodreads, and on her Amazon Author Page

Wicked Wednesday: Writing Goals for 2018

Wicked Wednesday!Well Wickeds, what are your writing goals for this new year? Are you using any new tools, or programs, to help? Let us know!

Jessie: I ordered the Plot Your work planner for 2018. I have loaded some projects into it and am pleased with the way it takes so many parts of the job into consideration. There is a lot to it and it can feel a bit daunting but for planner enthusiasts who are writers I would highly recommend giving it a look.

Liz: I ordered it too, Jessie! I’m diving in now. So actually using it is one of my goals…aside from that, I have three books to write and a non-contracted book that I’m desperately trying to revise and move forward with.

Sherry: Turning in three Sarah books in the last twelve months (okay one hasn’t been turned in yet but is due on February 1st) has kept me from writing much else. I started a light romance in June and it’s about halfway done. I’m looking forward to finishing it. I’m also writing a short story that’s due in June. Short stories are a huge challenge for me. And then my head is overflowing with ideas — everything from Sarah to new series ideas.

Edith: I have three and a half books to write from now until January, so my writing goal beyond finishing those on time is modest: write one new short story, my best yet. I’ve had a few glimmers of inspiration dancing around for a suspense novel, and if they make themselves more clear I’ll try to arrange some time for looking at that, too.

Barb: This year I want to write something really funny. Not only with the gentle humor that I hope readers find in the Maine Clambake Mysteries, but laugh-out-loud funny. I want to write a novel-length book in the third person. I want the eighth, as yet untitled, Maine Clambake Mystery to be the best book in the series to date. I’m daunted by each of these, but I think that’s good with goals.

Julie: Thanks to Jessie’s recommendation, I have the Plot Your Work Planner as well, and have been using it to do that, and to figure out how I am going to get it all done this year. I have two books on contract. I also have a suspense novel that is tapping on my brain. Like Barb, my goal is to stretch myself as a writer. Push to make these my best work, stretch to test new genres, and to dream about other goals. My other big writing goal is to give everything a chance to sit and marinate for a bit before I edit-that is a question of managing time.

Writer friends, what are your goals for 2018? Readers, work goals? Craft goals? Reading goals?