Where are the Wickeds at Bouchercon Toronto?

by Barb, who is already in Toronto

Julie suggested a three word post for today, “In the bar.”

Four of the Wickeds, along with Wicked Accomplice Sheila Connolly, will be in Toronto this week for Bouchercon, the World Mystery conference. It’s true, you will find us in the bar, and we love seeing old friends and meeting new ones in the “white space” of a conference, when there’s no agenda and no program to pay attention to.

But you can also find us in particular places at particular times and here they are:

Wednesday, October 11, 1:00 to 6:00, Sherry, Edith and Barb will be attending the SinC into Great Writing, Alex Sokoloff’s workshop, Screenwriting Tricks for Authors, sponsored by Sisters in Crime National. (Pre-registration required.)

Thursday, October 12,

  • Noon to 4:30 pm, Edith and Barb will be at the autographing free books at the Kensington Hospitality Suite in the Grand Ballroom Foyer. Sherry will make a couple of cameo appearances, though she’ll also be attending the Sisters in Crime national board meeting. We’ll be giving away glasses cases and micro fiber cleaning cloths. Come and see us.

  • 2:30 to 3:30 pm, Sheila Connolly will be on the panel “Comfort Reading,” these authors keep the stakes high while their books read like a warm blanket, with Cheryl Hollon, Joe Reese, J.R. Ripley (Marie Celine), Marty Wingate and Elizabeth J. Duncan moderating, in Sheraton A, with a signing immediately after in the Book Room.
  • 7:30 to 9:30 pm, we’ll be at the Opening Ceremonies, paying extra close attention to the announcement of the winners for the Macavity Awards. Edith is a nominee for Best Historical.

Friday, October 13, 8:30 to 9:30 am, Sherry Harris will be on the panel, “Write What You Know,” how like authors are their characters? with John Burley, Susan Furlong, Nick Kolakowski, Dr. L. J. M. Owen and J.T. Ellison moderating, in Sheraton B with a signing immediately after in the book room.

Saturday, October 14,

  • 7:30 am, we’ll all be attending the Sisters in Crime Breakfast, (though Barb will be sneaking out early to go to her panel) in the Grand Ballroom East. (Reservations required.)
  • 8:30 to 9:30 am, Barbara Ross will be on the panel, “A Recipe for Death,” cooking up culinary mystery plots, with Leslie Budewitz, Maya Corrigan, Suzanne Trauth,  and Linda Wiken (aka Erika Chase), and Mo Walsh moderating in Sheraton B, and signing immediately after in the book room.

Sunday, October 15,

  • 8:30 to 9:30 am, Julianne Holmes/J.A. Hennrikus will participate in “Thespian Readings,” author reads a section of their own work, then another reads it as a
    character-actor, with Kimberly G. Belle, L.A. Chandlar, R.J. Koreto, Catriona McPherson and David A. Poulsen moderating in Grand West and signing immediately after in the book room.
  • 9:30 to 10:30 am, Edith Maxwell / Maddie Day will be on the panel “Medical Mysteries,” lives are at stake with these stories, often in more ways than one, with Colin Cotterill, Alec Peche, Christine Poulson, Melissa Yi, and Wendy Walker moderating, in Sheraton C and signing immediately after in the book room.

If you’re at Bouchercon, please say hello. If not, never fear, Liz and Jessie will be holding down the fort, though they’re each having adventures of their own. (I’ll let them tell you those stories.)

Readers: Will you be at Bouchercon 2017? Have you ever been? Would you like to go?















Welcome Back Sara Rosett!

JHolden is the winner of Sara’s book! Thanks to all of you who entered!

I’m so happy to welcome back Sara Rosett! Mother’s Day, Muffins, and Murder is the TENTH book in her Ellie Avery Mystery series! I met Sara the same night I met Julie Hennrikus at the banquet at Malice Domestic in 2005. Sara had just sold her series to Kensington and we bonded over both being military wives.

Sara is giving away a copy of Mother’s Day, Muffins, and Murder! Leave a comment below by midnight Saturday EDT for a chance to win!

Dream vacation destination?

Anywhere in Europe. I’m not picky! I haven’t been to Prague and would loved to go there.

You’ve just won the lottery. What’s the first thing you do/buy?

This isn’t a physical thing, but I think I’d hire someone to clean my house. Having someone else clean for me would be true luxury.

Favorite mystery/thriller movie?

I love classic movies like North by Northwest and To Catch a Thief. A contemporary favorite is RED.

Favorite junk food? Chocolate. The darker, the better.

What’s one food you absolutely can’t stand? Cooked spinach. Raw spinach is great. Love it in salads, I just don’t like the soggy mess that it turns into when it’s cooked.

What’s one talent you wish you had?

I wish I could sing. I’m tone-deaf and clueless about most musical things.

M&Ms or Godiva?

Both please. I never set limits where chocolate is concerned.

Favorite time of Day?

I’m a night owl. I love curling up with a good book and reading past my bedtime.

Tell us a little about your book. Did an event or idea inspire the book?

Mother’s Day, Muffins, and Murder came about because I wanted to write a story set at an elementary school. I’d already explored many aspects of my main character’s life. Ellie is a military spouse, a professional organizer, and a mom. Other books in the series have focused on the military spouse and organizing angles, so I thought it would be fun to center the book on the school. When your kids are in elementary school, there is a high level of involvement—classroom parties, Field Day, and volunteering in the classroom. I wanted to write about those things and weave a mystery into the setting.

What’s your writing style? Outline or no outline?

Writing without an outline of sorts would be terrifying! I always have a plan with the major points the story will hit. Sometimes it stays the same; sometimes it changes a lot. When I’m writing a book, I write every weekday morning for a couple of hours. I start at the beginning and write through to the end before I go back and revise.

What do you wish you’d known about either the craft of writing or the business of publishing when you first started writing?

I wish I’d known how much publishing was going to change! If I’d had a crystal ball I would have been scribbling away, stock-piling stories for when the ebook revolution hit. I’ve learned a lot about being nimble and keeping an eye on the horizon in the last few years.

What’s up next for you? What are you working on now? 

I’m working on the draft of the seventh Murder on Location mystery, Death at an English Wedding, which is another series that I write. It’s set in England–(obviously!)– and I have the best time escaping to the misty green countryside in my mind when it’s blazing hot and humid where I live. It also gives me a reason to travel—research!

Sara Rosett is a bestselling mystery author. She writes the Ellie Avery series, the On The Run series, and the Murder on Location series. Publishers Weekly called Sara’s books “satisfying,” “well-executed,” and “sparkling.”

 Sara teaches what she knows through the How to Outline a Cozy Mystery course. She loves to get new stamps in her passport and considers dark chocolate a daily requirement. Find out more at SaraRosett.com and sign up to get a free ebook from Sara.

Readers: If you won the lottery what is the first thing you would do/buy?



Wicked Wednesday — Trapped!

foggedinncoverWe are celebrating the release of Fogged Inn by Barbara Ross today! Here’s a bit about the book: An autumn chill has settled over Busman’s Harbor, Maine, but Julia Snowden is warming up the town by offering lobster stew at the local diner. When her landlord discovers a dead body in the walk-in refrigerator, Julia must figure out who ordered up a side of murder.

Nothing’s colder than a corpse–especially one stashed inside a sub-zero fridge. The victim spent his last night on earth dining at the restaurant bar, so naturally Julia finds herself at the center of the ensuing investigation. Lost in the November fog, however, is who’d want to kill the unidentified stranger–and why. It might have something to do with a suspicious group of retirees and a decades-old tragedy to which they’re all connected. One thing’s for sure: Julia’s going to make solving this mystery her early bird special…

A group of strangers are trapped together in Julia’s brand new restaurant. So Wickeds have you ever been trapped somewhere alone or with a group of people? What did you do? What about the people you were with?

Julie: I can’t wait to read this book! The only time I’ve been trapped is by storms here in New England. Usually, of late, I’ve been alone in my apartment. In the past, I’ve been with my family. I am overly cautious about being stuck somewhere due to weather and move to shelter as soon as they whisper “storm”. I’ve got to admit, the idea of being trapped freaks me out.

Liz: I’m with you, Julie! I’d much rather be virtually trapped in one of Barb’s books! Anxiously awaiting Julia’s newest adventure – I can’t wait to get back to Busman’s Harbor.

Edith: I’ve been trapped talking with someone who made no sense although I wasn’t really trapped, because I could say, “Oops, gotta get to a meeting!” I’ve certainly been trapped next to someone on an airplane who really, really wanted to talk with me for the whole flight. In that case I just closed my eyes until they shut up. And I felt trapped in my marriage for a few years, but I wasn’t, really. It just felt that way. I also can’t wait to read this installment, Barb! Congratulations.

Barb: My most vivid memory of being trapped was in a glass elevator with both my grandmothers at the 1964 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadow, Queens. I hadn’t known until that moment that one of my grandmothers was claustrophic and the other was acrophobic! (No wonder I’m a mess.) During that same trip, we were trapped in the Disney Small World exhibit for about 45 minutes. You haven’t been trapped until you’ve heard those animatronic youngsters sing that song twenty times. I thought my unsentimental parents, who had to be talked into going on the ride in the first place, were going to lose their minds. Years later, taking my own kids on the same ride at Disney World, I experienced flashbacks.

Sherry: I’ve been trapped in the house a couple of times during tropical storms. But I think my scariest experience was during college when a friend and I were driving down Interstate 80 around 10:00 pm and my car broke down. There were no cell phones back then or hazards lights on my 1965 Rambler. We were far from any exits and could only see the lights of one house far across a field. Oh, and it was winter. Every time a semi went by it shook the whole car so we got out and stood on the side of the road. Finally a van pulled over. We were happy and scared. It was a bunch of obviously high guys who were going to a concert in the next town. I gave them ten bucks and asked them to stop at a gas station and send a tow truck. Happily, they did!

Jessie: Like Sherry, my only trapped situations involved a vehicle. Once, I broke down on the side of the highway. I had a job in a retail store 52 miles from my home and it happened after my 11 pm closing shift on a Black Friday. Yes, the day after Thanksgiving. I was wearing all black, a pair of heels and had no warm coat or cell phone. I sat in my car with my hazard lights on for about 45 minutes hoping a police car would stop before I decided to walk to the tollbooth. I had gone only a few feet when a car pulled over and offered me a ride. The driver said it was seven miles to the toll booth. I sent out a little shout to the universe that a sign the guy was a serial killer would be appreciated. When none appeared I climbed in and pressed myself against the door, ready to throw myself out if things got creepy. As it happened, the driver was a really nice man who ended up driving me all the way home. I’ve never left home without a pair of walking shoes and a coat again.

Readers: Have you ever been trapped? How did you deal with it? Let us know!

Oops I Did It Again

By Sherry where winter is rattling at the door once again

I did it again. I do it every time. I hit 50,000 words and I feel like I’m done even though I know I’m not. This time it’s book four, A Good Day To Buy. Now, I know this book is an empty shell in some ways, there’s not much description and I haven’t grounded my characters in a place that the reader can see. I know there is still a lot of work ahead of me (at least 20,000 words!).

IMG_7796I knew I’d blogged about 50,000 words once before so I looked up that blog post and re-read it. There’s some excellent advice in the comments section. In that blog I mention another one I wrote called Making A Scene. There I found another whole great comment section full of advice. One bit I’d completely forgotten. Hallie Ephron had mentioned the book Story by Robert McKee. So I went to the library and checked it out. I’ll be reading it this week.

As I started revising I kept thinking about something Barbara Ross had said in another post. I searched past posts of the blog until I finally found it. Barb in a post called, I Write Therefore I Think, said this: Lately I’ve been wondering if I could approach a novel by asking, “What do I want my readers to feel?” and “What do they need to know (or suspect, or fear) in order to feel it?” I know I haven’t pulled that off yet and I’ll keep it in mind as I revise.

Then there are three things I try to include in each book. The first is incorporating the theme of garage sales and trying to make sure it’s part of the story not something that’s wedged in because it has to be there. Second is a bit of military life. I was astonished to see a figure the other day that said only one percent of people serve in the military. One percent. The third is to share a little bit of the history of Massachusetts that I love so much. It’s a delicate balance with all three to make them important to the story and a natural part of it at the same time. I feel like I’ve done a good job with the first one this time but not much with the second and third.

Another thing I still need to make sure to include is the story arc. When I turned in book three, All Murders Final!, last June I didn’t know if there would be any more books in the series. So there is some fancy footwork in that one to make sure things are tied up but to also leave the door open if the series continued.

Then there’s the end to A Good Day To Buy. Yes, Wickeds I know last time we talked I had two endings, well now I have three. I really think I’m going to have to write the beginning of book five, I Know What You Bid Last Summer, before I can figure out which ending to use. For better or worse, I’m sending it off to Barb Goffman this week. She’ll find the weak points and plot holes so come May, book four will be off to my Kensington editor.

Readers: What do you do when a project isn’t going quite the way you planned?

A Christmas Novella

Hi. Barb here. It’s August and it’s hot and humid for Maine and I am sitting on the porch thinking about Christmas.

So, I haven’t exactly announced this anywhere yet, though I haven’t been quiet about it, either, so let this serve as the “official” announcement. I am writing a holiday novella about Julia Snowden and Busman’s Harbor for Kensington for fall of 2016. (I don’t have the exact release date, but it seems to me Kensington’s holiday books usually come out in October.)

foggedinncoverKensington has done a series of these books, packaging novellas by Joanne Fluke, Laura Levine and Leslie Meier. I had read them and really enjoyed them. The truth of the matter was, I desperately wanted to be in one. So when I sent my proposal for books four through six to Kensington, I set the fourth (Fogged Inn) the week after Thanksgiving and the fifth (Iced Under) in mid-February, neatly side-stepping the holidays. I confided my desire to some of the Wickeds during our retreat in 2014, but I never mentioned it to my editor at Kensington, John Scognamiglio, or my agent, John Talbot. In other words, I never said anything to anyone who could actually do anything about it.

So imagine my surprise when I got a call from John Talbot in January of this year telling me I’d been offered the chance to write this novella. Even he was surprised. “Sort of out of the blue…” he said. Hey, universe. Thanks!

gingerbreadcookiemurderThis novella will include stories by Leslie Meier, who writes the Lucy Stone Mysteries which are set in Tinker’s Cove, Maine and by Lee Hollis, who writes the Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mysteries set in Bar Harbor, Maine. I’ve known Leslie for a number of years through Sisters in Crime New England and she’s someone I really admire. I also like Lee Hollis’ books (actually, the brother-sister writing team of Rick Copp and Holly Copp Simason). So I am psyched!

The theme is Maine, obviously, but also eggnog. And I just happen to have been savoring, for years (you’ll excuse the pun) a killer eggnog anecdote. So, again, kismet.

candycanemurderHow is writing a novella? The truth is, I am bursting with over-confidence. My short stories are always too long, and my novels are always too short, so I’m hoping the novella (defined by Kensington as 20,000 to 30,000 words) is my “natural length.” I have the whole story in my head (unusual for me). I also have the tone, which I’m hoping will be a little more lighthearted and funnier than the Clambake series as a whole, but still very much a part of it. I just have to, you know, write it. It’s due January 15, which would be highly doable, except that Iced Under, the next book in the Maine Clambake series, is due March 1. Ulp.

I’ll let you know how it goes. Meanwhile, I am thrilled to have the opportunity!

What about you, readers? Do you like these collections? Just the right length to sample a new author, or too short to satisfy?