About Sherry Harris

Sherry Harris started bargain hunting in second grade at her best friend’s yard sale. She honed her bartering skills as she moved around the country while her husband served in the Air Force. Sherry uses her love of garage sales, her life as a military spouse, and her time living in Massachusetts as inspiration for the Sarah Winston Garage Sale series. Tagged for Death, first in the series, will be out in December 2014.

Welcome Guest Shari Randall — My Cozy Mystery Mistake

Shari will give a copy of Curses, Boiled Again, Book One in the new Lobster Shack Mystery series, to one lucky commenter.

Hi, Wickeds! Thank you for inviting me to visit. It’s always a pleasure to hang out with you.

I just launched my debut mystery, Curses, Boiled Again! It’s been a whirlwind – I feel like a little kid playing at the beach who gets knocked over by a wave. Whoa! What just happened?

I’ve enjoyed every surprise but now things are getting serious.

I’m getting reviews.

On one hand, it’s wonderful that readers are taking the time to share their feedback about the book. Plus Amazon likes authors to get reviews, and God knows, we want Amazon to be happy.

And the reviews have been great, for which I’m thanking my lucky stars.

But a couple of reviewers pointed out that I’d forgotten to put something in the book. My cozy mystery mistake?

I’d forgotten a recipe.

My series is set at the Lazy Mermaid Lobster Shack, a cedar shingled little spot set in Mystic Bay, Connecticut. Any resemblance to other charming New England tourist towns is entirely intentional. Colorful buoys cover the sides of the building and an antique mermaid figurehead welcomes diners at the door. Inside, the walls are covered with shelves of owner Gully Fontana’s mermaid collection, which she calls her “mermaidabilia.”

The book is full of people cooking, savoring, and talking about delicious Connecticut style lobster rolls.

What’s Connecticut style? It’s simple summertime goodness – freshly cooked lobster served in a buttery, toasted hot dog bun with melted butter poured on top. That’s it. It’s so simple, I didn’t devote a page to a recipe.

Aunt Gully, the owner of the shack, does whip them up that way but she also adds her own Lobster Love sauce, a sauce with the complex flavors of a lobster bisque.

Ah, that Lobster Love sauce.

Dear reader, I have no idea what’s in the Lobster Love sauce. The folks lucky enough to taste it aren’t sure what’s in it either, but they describe it as magical, the taste of summer in New England. They beg for the recipe.

Since I know Aunt Gully better than anyone I know she’d want me to own up to my mistake. I’ve decided to share the secret of the Lobster Love sauce right here on Wicked Cozy Authors.

The secret: there is no one recipe. Aunt Gully makes the Lobster Love sauce a different way every day.

But all that talk of lobster rolls has made readers hungry, so if a craving for lobster hits, here’s a recipe I think Aunt Gully would approve. It’s a bisque, and don’t we all love lobster bisque? Enjoy it now as a savory soup or save it for summertime, and enjoy it, if possible, with a water view.

Easy Lobster Love Bisque

Takes about an hour to make! 6-8 servings

2 lobster tails, cut in half

2 cups water

1 TBSP salt

2 TBSP olive oil

1 sweet onion, diced

2 ribs celery, sliced thin

1 garlic clove, smashed

2 TBSP tomato paste

2 cups dry white wine (if you don’t want to use wine, replace with stock)

1 TBSP fresh thyme (2-3 sprigs)

1 bay leaf

1 TBSP paprika

3 cups fish stock (or you can use chicken broth)

1 14 oz can fire roasted, diced tomatoes

¼ cup heavy whipping cream

½ cup half and half

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

If you like spicy, at the end add some of your favorite hot sauce, to taste.

In 2 cups of salted water in a large pot, steam lobster tails (shell side down) until cooked through (approx. 5 minutes)

Carefully remove tails from the water. Put in bowl. Reserve cooking water. Let the tails cool then remove the meat and reserve the shells.

In a large pot, heat olive oil over med-hi heat. Add onion and celery and cook until onion is translucent (approx. 4-5 minutes). Stir in garlic and cook for one minute. Stir in tomato paste and cook 1-2 minutes.

Add the wine to the mixture, deglazing and scraping the bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add herbs, paprika, stock, reserved liquid from the lobster pot, and tomatoes. Add reserved shells to the pot. Let simmer 45 minutes.

Remove the shells, strain mixture, and blend with immersion blender until smooth. (If you’re not fussy, you can skip straining the mixture.) Stir in cream, half and half, and lemon juice.

Chop the lobster meat and divide among soup bowls. Ladle bisque over the meat and enjoy!

Readers: What is your favorite restaurant with a view?

Shari Randall lives in a mid-century money pit on the Connecticut shore. When she’s not committing murder (on the page, of course) she enjoys dancing, reading, and volunteering at her local library. You can see what’s new with her at https://us.macmillan.com/author/sharirandall/.

 

 

Welcome Guest V. M. Burns

Allison Herndon  is the winner of The Plot is Murder! Send your email to SherryHarrisauthor@gmail.com

Thank you to the Wicked Cozy Authors and Sherry Harris for inviting me to guest blog today. I’m pleased to give away a copy of my debut novel, THE PLOT IS MURDER to one person who leaves a comment (U.S. ONLY).

Here’s a little bit about the book: Samantha Washington has dreamed of owning her own mystery bookstore for as long as she can remember. And as she prepares for the store’s grand opening, she’s also realizing another dream—penning a cozy mystery set in England between the wars. While Samantha hires employees and fills the shelves with the latest mysteries, quick-witted Lady Penelope Marsh, long-overshadowed by her beautiful sister Daphne, refuses to lose the besotted Victor Carlston to her sibling’s charms. When one of Daphne’s suitors is murdered in a maze, Penelope steps in to solve the labyrinthine puzzle and win Victor.

But as Samantha indulges her imagination, the unimaginable happens in real life. A shady realtor turns up dead in her backyard, and the police suspect her—after all, the owner of a mystery bookstore might know a thing or two about murder. Aided by her feisty grandmother and an enthusiastic ensemble of colorful retirees, Samantha is determined to close the case before she opens her store. But will she live to conclude her own story when the killer has a revised ending in mind for her?

As an avid cozy mystery reader, I like to think I’m pretty knowledgeable about mysteries and cozy mysteries in particular. Now that I’m also a cozy mystery author as well as a reader, I feel an even closer bond to all things cozy. I belong to a lot of Facebook groups which read, discuss and promote mysteries. Recently, someone posted a question to one of those groups about research which has stuck with me. The poster mentioned traditional mystery writers were known to participate in police ride-a-longs and attend conferences to gain authentic details as research for their books. The question was what types of research techniques do cozy authors use for research?

The question of research most likely stems from the nature of cozies. Unlike hard-boiled P.I. books or police procedurals, cozy mysteries feature an amateur sleuth. The protagonist could be anyone from an elderly village spinster, as in Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, to a busy housewife and single parent like Jill Churchill’s Jane Jeffrey mysteries, or even a baker like Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swenson mysteries. The reader doesn’t expect an amateur sleuth to be knowledgeable about forensics, ballistics, or police procedures. In fact, one major appeal of cozies is the innocence (or sometimes ignorance) of the amateur sleuth who stumbles into precarious situations and yet still manages to find a way to put the pieces of the puzzle together to figure out whodunit. Just because an amateur sleuth doesn’t need to know the difference between the various types of guns or bullets doesn’t mean research isn’t important. In fact, accuracy and research are as important for cozy authors as in any other type of mystery; however the difference is the type of research.

One of the common elements of cozy mysteries is themes. There are cozy mysteries with dogs, cats, culinary cozies with recipes, wine lovers, tea lovers, knitting, and practically any other type of theme you can imagine. As a dog lover, I often flock to cozies featuring dogs and include them in my own series. While I own poodles and know quite a lot about them, I am in no way an expert. I find myself researching information about poodles to make sure I have my facts correct. One of my favorite types of cozies is British historical (or any type of historical). Reading and writing historical mysteries requires a great amount of research (I once spent hours trying to find out where Scotland Yard was located in 1938). In the end, I asked myself does it really matter to the story and moved on. For me personally, I have been blessed to meet several former police officers who graciously allow me to pick their brains and bounce ideas around.

They say the devil is in the details. That holds true not only when writing about blood splatter and bullet striations, but in making sure readers feel a part of the protagonist’s world. In my book, THE PLOT IS MURDER, there is a story within a story. So, I need to make readers see the beauty of the Lake Michigan shoreline of Southwestern Michigan as well as the manor house charm of 1938 England. Between the internet, reference books, and my police friends, I strive to provide enough authentic details that will help the reader stay in the story until the big reveal.

In the twenty-first century, readers have access to a seemingly infinite amount of data along with countless social media outlets. Now, more than ever, it’s important for authors to utilize a variety of research methods to insure accuracy. Regardless of the type of mystery, details matter.

Readers: What kind of research have you done?

Social Media:

Website: http://www.vmburns.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/vmburns

About V.M. Burns

V.M. Burns was born and raised in northwestern Indiana. She has a degree in Political Science and Urban Studies from Northwestern University, a Master of Science in Administration from the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. By day, she is a training supervisor at a call center, and at night she writes cozy mysteries. After spending most of her life in the Midwestern United States, she is now thawing out in eastern Tennessee with her two poodles.

Growing Up Jersey — Welcome Guest Libby Klein

The winner of Libby’s book is Jane Dietz! You will get an email from Libby!

I met Libby at a Chessie Chapter of Sisters in Crime meeting last fall and was delighted to hear about her new series, the Poppy McAllister Mystery series, from Kensington. The first book, Class Reunions Are Murder, came out on January 30, 2018. Libby is giving away a copy of the book to a commenter! Please join me in welcoming, Libby!

I grew up in south Jersey. Exit Zero. Technically the Villas which would have been like exit two, but they didn’t make an exit two because no one wants to go to the Villas. I lived down the street from a seemingly defunct button factory. It was apparently in operation until recently, but we never saw anyone there. No cars, no people. It’s like there were secret underground tunnels that only night workers knew about. In a word – creepy.

The Villas was not exactly a hotbed of activity since it was mostly populated by summer homes and settlers who had arrived on the Mayflower. Most of Cape May County was deserted in the off season.  If my dad passed more than four cars during his fifteen-minute drive home from work he was like, “Whoa! What’s with all the traffic!” Then he complained that rush hour was out of control.

When most people refer to New Jersey as the armpit of New York, they mean north Jersey. In south Jersey you’re the armpit of Philly. Yoose eat your cheese steaks and Italian hoagies and root for the Flyers and the Eagles or you’re a mook. Everyone knows it.

My high school was small, my graduating class had roughly 200 students, and I had to walk four blocks to catch the bus – which I think constitutes child abuse in today’s society. After school activities were very popular because there was literally nothing else to do other than going to the mall. And by mall, I mean the tiny little strip of about fifteen shops in Rio Grande with the K-mart, two screen movie theater and Rick’s Pizza.

When I was a kid this was a huge culture shock for me. I came from the urban sprawl of the suburbs just outside of Washington DC. We had high rise apartments, public transportation, and a different nationality of restaurant on every corner. New Jersey was cornfields and asparagus farms. You rode your bike to the deli to get your mom capicola and provolone and the good hoagie rolls because she bought tomatoes at the farm stand on the way home from work. You can’t have a good hoagie without the good hoagie rolls.

In the summer, the population of Cape May exploded from four thousand residents to forty-thousand shoobies. Shoobies are what we call the tourists who wear socks with their sandals and order everything on the side when they know they’re gonna eat it anyway. You want to be known as a shoobie all you gotta do is order a “steak and cheese” or a “sub.” We’ll still sell it to you, but now it comes with a side of disdain. You gotta learn the language if you don’t wanna be a mook.

Our little two-lane roads get so clogged with shoobies it takes forever to go a couple blocks. They descend upon the beaches and bed and breakfasts in a clash of humanity fighting for a blanket sized patch of sand to call their own. They come to rent bicycles and beach chairs, line up for miles to buy water ice and frozen custard with rainbow jimmies. They loll about in the Atlantic Ocean, basking in the blistering sun under the constant rumble of single prop planes pulling banners that advertise everything from Reef and Beef Happy Hour to Marry Me Tina.

Growing up in a resort beach town means you’re the one who works those pancake breakfast shifts before going to your booth on the boardwalk. Your nights are spent trying to cajole shoobies into three for a dollar balloon darts and water gun horse races under the constant drone of “Watch the Tram Car Please.” You gotta mind your Ps and Qs because your tenth-grade science teacher is making the funnel cakes next door.

Everyone works as much as possible in the summer because they gotta make the money last all year. Your uncle works on the fishing boats at the crack of dawn to bring in tonight’s clams casino while grandma chambermaids for tips, so she can blow it all in Atlantic City on her day off. Your teachers don’t got time to put together lesson plans the last few weeks of the school year. They’re too tired from bartending now that the clubs are open. No one’s complaining.

Some people say there’s a rudeness here, a brusque attitude common to south Jersey. Maybe it’s the Philly influence. Maybe it’s the rampant humidity or the mosquitoes the size of salt water taffy. Maybe they’re just tired from working two jobs on their feet all day so they can have the luxury of heat this winter and they don’t got time for no shoobie funnel cake emergency. Whatever it is, they don’t mean anything by it. Once you get to know them, they’ll give you the shirt off their back. Just be aware that the shirt will probably say “Welcome to New Jersey. Now go home.”

Readers: Have you ever lived or visited somewhere that was a culture shock?

Bio: Libby Klein graduated Lower Cape May Regional High School sometime in the ’80s. Her classes revolved mostly around the culinary sciences and theater, with the occasional nap in Chemistry. She has worked as a stay at home mom, climbing the ladder up the ranks to the coveted position of Grandma. She also dabbles in the position of Vice President of a technology company which mostly involves bossing other people around, making spreadsheets and taking out the trash. She writes from her Northern Virginia office while trying to keep her cat Figaro off her keyboard. Most of her hobbies revolve around eating, and travel, and eating while traveling.

 

Cats Take Over A New Series — Welcome Back Linda Reilly

I want to start with a huge thank you to Sherry Harris for inviting me to guest blog today with the wonderful Wickeds! I’m pleased to give away an e-Book of ESCAPE CLAWS to one person who leaves a comment.

When I first hatched the idea for a series that featured lots of cats, I had no idea how challenging it would be to weave a large cast of cats—eleven, for starters—into a full-length mystery.

I started by imagining a crotchety, aging woman living on a thinly-inhabited island somewhere off the New England coast, her house overflowing with rescued felines. The problem with said thinly-inhabited island…not enough people to populate a story. Even more daunting—not enough people to adopt cats, a necessary element of the series. Plus, the woman’s niece (the intended protagonist), had to seek her out, help her care for the cats, and (possibly?) make a life for herself there.

So, what if I made the island larger, more populated? But wait . . . wouldn’t that mean adding a ferry to shuttle people to and from the mainland? I wasn’t sure, but the mere mention of anything larger than my grandfather’s old rowboat made me run, screaming, for the Dramamine.

Nope. The island setting wasn’t working for me. I needed a cozy town, one where I could imagine a charming home on a bluff overlooking a picturesque town center. I looked to my own state of New Hampshire, where quaint villages abound. I selected one based on its location only and created my town from scratch. I named it Whisker Jog and chose an old Folk Victorian house as the primary setting.

The crotchety woman morphed into a kind, intelligent, fifty-something school teacher sidelined by arthritic knees—a woman who hadn’t seen her estranged niece, Lara, for sixteen years. Lara is a watercolor artist who’s been living in a studio apartment above a Boston bakery. She makes ends meet by working part time in the bakery.

And then came the cats. I love cats, but the task of naming and describing nearly a dozen of the furry felines suddenly overwhelmed me. Not only did each cat need his or her own personality, but each one had to be laced into the story . . . and still allow Lara time to solve a murder.

Last there was the mystery cat—the beautiful Ragdoll with the startling blue eyes who had an eerie knack of slipping in and out of the story without warning. Here is one of Lara’s early encounters with her:

Sparkling blue eyes, alight with curiosity, regarded Lara from the arm of the tufted sofa. Blue sat very straight, her dark tail curled around her fluffy form. Her coloring was stunning—like a cream-colored cookie whose edges had been dipped in a dark, exotic chocolate.

No sound came from the cat. She seemed content to have Lara watch her, not skittish in the least.

Lara held her breath and remained very still. In the past, Blue had been a mystery cat—there one moment, gone the next. This time, Lara was determined not to let her out of her sight.

It was my fabulous editor at Kensington who suggested that I write a Feline Cast of Characters. I’d already been working with a loose, messy version, so it was a natural leap to writing one that readers could enjoy, too. Best of all, it helped me highlight the key features of each kitty’s personality.

Readers: What kinds of settings do you most enjoy when reading a cozy mystery? Do you favor a particular locale? Seaside? Eatery? Bookstore?

Bio:

Armed with a degree in Criminal Justice, Linda Reilly once contemplated a career in law enforcement. But life took a twist, and instead she found her niche in real estate closings and title examinations, where the dusty tomes in the Registry of Deeds enticed her into solving mysteries of a different sort. A dyed-in-the-wool New Englander, Linda lives in southern New Hampshire, where she loves solving mysteries of the cozy type. When she’s not pounding away at her keyboard, she can usually be found prowling the shelves of a local bookstore or library hunting for a new adventure.

Social Media Links:

Web site:  www.lindasreilly.com

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

https://www.facebook.com/CatLadyMysteries/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LindaSReilly7

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

The Detective’s Daughter

Breaking news! Jennyjc is the winner of Julie Moffett’s contest. Jenny please send Sherry your contact information and she will get it to Julie: Sherryharrisauthor@gmail.com

The flu has hit the Wickeds! Kim we hope you feel better soon. We are bringing you this encore post — the very first one Kim wrote almost four years ago.

Today we introduce Kim Gray, winner of the 2009 William F. Deck – Malice Domestic Grant. We met Kim at the Seascape Writers Retreat in 2009. Her stories of growing up as a detective’s daughter fascinated us and now she will be sharing them in a monthly column. Welcome Kim!

By Kim Gray In Baltimore City

Today we introduce Kim Gray, winner of the 2009 William F. Deck – Malice Domestic Grant. We met Kim at the Seascape Writers Retreat in 2009. Her stories of growing up as a detective’s daughter fascinated us and now she will be sharing them in a monthly column. Welcome Kim!

With a mother who grew up as a grave digger’s daughter, and a dad who was a homicide detective for over thirty years, is it any wonder I spend copious hours contemplating death? I can’t see an abandoned glove without wondering where the remains of the owner might be. Every discarded trash bag left along the side of the road has the potential for holding together a dismembered body. Even the innocence of a free floating balloon brings my thoughts to mayhem. I can not help myself.

kimbabypicAs a child, I didn’t spend a great deal of time with my dad. He worked everyday, after all, this was Baltimore City, a place synonymous with murder. Dad was a busy man. He was also a man of few words. There wasn’t a great deal of conversation during dinner, for my mom was also a quiet person. On the nights Dad brought home a folder of a case he was working on, well that was a treat. On those nights he actually talked with us. There was nothing he loved more than to discuss a case. I hung on every word and they seeped through my skin and into my bloodstream.

On occasion Dad would let me run an errand with him. We’d be driving down a street and he would point out locations where bodies had been found. Later in life I referred to this as Dad’s Homicide Tour. It was interesting and if he were alive today I believe he could have had an enterprising business.

kim's dadThe story I remember most clearly occurred near St. Paul street, in a very posh neighborhood. Dad pointed to a large Victorian house on the corner. “See that third floor window, over to the right? Well, we were called in there for a suspicious death. Parents claimed the boy hung himself. But I could see straight away it was wrong. Everything was wrong. The kid had a bruise around his wrist and the rope just wasn’t right. Found out within an hour the stepfather had a history of domestic abuse. He killed the kid, said it was accidental.”

So many stories were similar to that one. Hardly a street was passed without a story of some poor person and their final moments in Baltimore. As hard as I tried to pay attention, listen to every syllable he uttered, I wish I had written it all down. At the time it didn’t matter what he said,or what story he told. I only cared that he was talking, sharing a story and some time with me.

On a summer night a few years ago I was sitting at a red light in a very posh neighborhood of the city. My own children were very young and my dad had been dead three months.  Looming ahead of me was a Victorian-style mansion. “Hey guys, see that house?” I asked my kids. They were busy looking at books in the back seat. “Well, years and years ago Grandpa Charlie was the lead detective on a case there.”

And so the tour continues to this day,with me passing the torch to the next generation of homicide hunters.

Readers: What traditions do you carry on with your kids?

The Perfect Geek Gift — Welcome Back Guest Julie Moffett

Giving the Perfect Gift at a Geek Wedding

We are delighted to welcome back Julie Moffett celebrating the release of her tenth book in her fantastic Lexie Carmichael mystery series.  Julie is giving away an ebook of No One Lives Twice (or another book of hers if you have that one) and a “This Princess Saves Herself” magnet to a random commenter on the post.

Here is a bit about the book:

Geek girl Lexi Carmichael has tackled her share of formidable tasks, but nothing quite as daunting as serving as maid of honor at her best friend’s wedding

When I agreed to stand by my best friend, Basia, on her big day, I had no idea what I was in for. Bouquets and unflattering evening wear I can handle. But between disgruntled dates, a beach venue and suspicious packages, what else can go wrong? Oh, right—my parents don’t know I’ve moved in with Slash. Oops?

Thankfully, I’ve got everything semi under control, at least as far as Basia and Xavier know. They can leave for their honeymoon happy, knowing Elvis, Slash and I will keep things safe at home.

Meanwhile, Elvis and Xavier’s boss at ComQuest has asked X-Corp—well, me—to take a quick trip to retrieve a sensitive company package from the British Virgin Islands. No hacking involved. Just show up, accept the package and bring it home safely. A cushy assignment, and a safe one. Right?

Wrong. Things start to unravel the minute I set foot on the boat to the island. Before I know it, I’m up to my neck in thugs, sand and trouble. I’m going to have to work fast to stop the bad guys before the sun sets for good on this unexpected beach vacation…

Here’s Julie, uh, Lexi:

Lexi Carmichael, the geeky heroine in my humorous, mystery series, gets stuck as the maid-of-honor at her best friend’s wedding in my latest release, NO REGRETS (out January 8th). Can she survive the ceremony without screwing things up too much? What about the toast and the first dance? More importantly, what should she buy as a wedding present for the new couple, especially since the bridegroom is a geek first-class?

Just in case you (or someone you care about) finds themselves in the exact same situation as Lexi, I’m here to help you out.

Excellent Wedding Gifts to Give the Geeky Bride/Bridegroom

(Courtesy the ThinkGeek retail website and Amazon)

  1. His and Her Hans and Leia hand towels. Enough said.

  1. A Thor Ragnarok money clip, tie clip and cuff links. Feel the power (not to mention the brawn).

Go Retro! A Guardian of the Galaxy Star-Lord Walkman with headset.

 

4. It’s warm and snuggly, perfect for newlywed cuddling— the Dr. Who Tardis throw blanket!

5. All you need is a little wine to get things “sorted” out. Yes, it’s perfect! The Harry Potter Hogwarts wine glass selection!

Readers: Let me know if I missed anything awesome or if you have any good, geeky ideas!

———————————————

NO REGRETS is the 10th book in Lexi Carmichael series. Here is a bit about the book:

Geek girl Lexi Carmichael has tackled her share of formidable tasks, but nothing quite as daunting as serving as maid of honor at her best friend’s wedding

When I agreed to stand by my best friend, Basia, on her big day, I had no idea what I was in for. Bouquets and unflattering evening wear I can handle. But between disgruntled dates, a beach venue and suspicious packages, what else can go wrong? Oh, right—my parents don’t know I’ve moved in with Slash. Oops?

Thankfully, I’ve got everything semi under control, at least as far as Basia and Xavier know. They can leave for their honeymoon happy, knowing Elvis, Slash and I will keep things safe at home.

Meanwhile, Elvis and Xavier’s boss at ComQuest has asked X-Corp—well, me—to take a quick trip to retrieve a sensitive company package from the British Virgin Islands. No hacking involved. Just show up, accept the package and bring it home safely. A cushy assignment, and a safe one. Right?

Wrong. Things start to unravel the minute I set foot on the boat to the island. Before I know it, I’m up to my neck in thugs, sand and trouble. I’m going to have to work fast to stop the bad guys before the sun sets for good on this unexpected beach vacation…

 About the Author

Julie Moffett is a bestselling author and writes in the genres of mystery, young adult, historical romance and paranormal romance. She has won numerous awards, including the 2014 Mystery & Mayhem Award for Best YA/New Adult Mystery, the prestigious 2014 HOLT Award for Best Novel with Romantic Elements, a HOLT Merit Award for Best Novel by a Virginia Author (twice!), the 2016 Award of Excellence, a PRISM Award for Best Romantic Time-Travel AND Best of the Best Paranormal Books of 2002, and the 2011 EPIC Award for Best Action/Adventure Novel. She has also garnered additional nominations for the Booksellers’ Best Award, the Daphne du Maurier Award and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Sign up for Julie’s newsletters (about 5 a year) for a chance at prizes and free books at her website: www.juliemoffett.com. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

 

Check out Julie’s brand new YA spy mystery, White Knights, here.

For the Love of Reading

By Sherry — Home from a chilly Northern Florida to a freezing Northern Virginia

I have a lot of things to thank my mom for, but probably none more than my love of books. We had lots of books in our house. We made weekly trips to the library from the time I was really little. Then the bookmobile started coming to a park an easy walk from our house once a week.

Mom would read a chapter of a Bobbsey Twin book to my sister and I every night. But she had a devious plan which was to get us to read on our own. I was a bit more of a reluctant reader than my sister. The plan worked because who could stand to wait until the next night to find out what was going to happen next.

There was a large collection of Bobbsey Twin and Nancy Drew books in our house. When there was a book fair at school we were each allowed to pick a few books. Oh, the joy! My second grade teacher wasn’t the best so I fell behind with my reading compared to my peers. Thankfully, I had a third grade teacher who noticed. She took to giving me extra books to take home to read out loud to my mom. And my mom always made time for me to do that. Soon I was back on track and have been a voracious reader ever since.

My dad loved to read too and as we grew up we were always trading around mysteries and thrillers. I remember us all reading the Deadly Sins series by Lawrence Sanders. And books by Sidney Sheldon. There’s an image in one of them I still can’t get out of my head.

My mom is a big fan of cozy mysteries and an avid reader of our blog. She’s introduced me to as many authors and series as I have to her. Years ago it was Lillian Jackson Braun and Dorothy Gilman, more recently Joann Fluke and Diane Mott Davidson. I’ve, of course, introduced the books by all the Wickeds and so many other friends. (A signed book makes a great gift!)

It’s something we will always share.

Readers: Who instilled a love of reading in you?