Wicked Wednesday: Happy Double Book Birthday!

We’re so excited about the dual release of Maddie Day’s Death Over Easy and Cate Conte’s Purrder She Wrote! Here’s a little about both books:

Death Over Easy (1)

Restaurateur Robbie Jordan is ready for the boost in business a local music festival brings to South Lick, Indiana, but the beloved event strikes a sour note when one of the musicians is murdered . . .
 
June’s annual Brown County Bluegrass Festival at the Bill Monroe Music Park in neighboring Beanblossom is always a hit for Robbie’s country store and café, Pans ‘N Pancakes. This year, Robbie is even more excited, because she’s launching a new bed and breakfast above her shop. A few festival musicians will be among Robbie’s first guests, along with her father, Roberto, and his wife, Maria. But the celebration is cut short when a performer is found choked to death by a banjo string. Now all the banjo players are featured in a different kind of lineup. To clear their names, Robbie must pair up with an unexpected partner to pick at the clues and find the plucky killer before he can conduct an encore performance . . .

cover REVISED - Purrder She Wrote

Purrder She Wrote is second in the pawsitively charming new feline mystery series set off the New England coast, where curiosity leads to some killer small-town secrets….

It’s the grand opening of Daybreak Island’s cat café, where customers can get cozy with an assortment of friendly felines―and maybe even take one or a few home. Co-owner Maddie James is purring with excitement over her new warm-and-fuzzy venture. . .until she becomes entangled in a petty drama between one of her volunteers, an ardent animal-rights activist, and a wealthy woman who insists on adopting a calico kitty―right this instant. The catfight that ensues is bad enough for business. But when the snubbed socialite is found dead with a tell-tale catnip toy on the scene, suspicion lands squarely on Maddie’s staffer. Now, with her reputation and her career prospects on the line (to say nothing of her budding romance with a handsome pet groomer) Maddie must do whatever it takes to solve the crime―before her nine lives are up.

Wickeds: Both these books are set in eating establishments. What’s your favorite café or breakfast and lunch restaurant? What do you like to order?

Jessie: Because I live in such a small community I don’t really have a local breakfast place or even a cafe. I do love to visit cafes whenever I travel, especially if there is a view of the street or outside tables to enjoy a spot of people-watching! I order a double espresso and enjoy taking my time sipping it and watching the world go by.

Sherry: Congratulations on the new books! We have a locally owned restaurant called Spartans. They have everything from great Greek food, to pizza, to all kinds of sandwiches, and beyond. I love their chicken souvlaki which comes on pita.They only serve breakfast on Saturday and Sunday but you can’t go wrong.

Barb: I am in book jail and have been pining to go out and explore more establishments in our new city of Portland, Maine. So far, I have lots of favorites. The Blue Spoon is a place where we’ve taken lots of visitors. My favorite dish there is chicken-under-a-brick.

Edith: Thanks dear Wickeds! Of course, I’d prefer to eat at Pans ‘N Pancakes, Robbie Jordan’s place. But since it’s fictional, I’ll opt for Market Square Bakehouse a block from my house in one of the former mill buildings. You can sit outside and people watch, enjoy a good coffee and pastry, and even do some work. I also love any breakfast joint that makes really good crispy shredded hash browns.

Congrats, Maddie and Cate!

Readers, join our celebration and tells what your favorite café or breakfast and lunch restaurant is.

It’s Twins!

Edith here, delighted to share a book birthday with Liz!

When Liz and I learned our new books were coming out on the same day, we started plotting, of course. What could we do to celebrate the release of Purrder She Wrote, the second Cat Cafe Mystery, and Death Over Easy, the fifth Country Store Mystery? She and I live three hours apart, so bubbly for lunch was out. And we hadn’t planned far enough ahead (Liz is now rolling on the floor laughing) to arrange a joint bookstore event.

So I said, “How about a Facebook party?” Lots of folks are doing them. Everybody gets to sit at home in their comfy clothes, have fast and furious chatting via their fingertips, meet some new authors, and win fun prizes. Liz said, “Sure!” We’re both writing under pen names for these two books, but we don’t mind sharing our real identities.

We hope you’ll join us tonight from 7-9 Eastern (uh, daylight, not standard) time over on the party page.

Book Launch LM 2

We’re delighted that most of the Wickeds are going to join us, plus friends of the Wickeds Lucy Burdette, Shari Randall, and Maya Corrigan. You’ll be able to ask questions of these two as well as of Jessie, Sherry, and Julie – and Liz and me, of course – and enter to win a different giveaway every fifteen minutes.

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Edith and Liz wearing their official Writer PD shirts!

The cake will be virtual, I’m afraid, and you’ll have to supply your own celebratory drink. But I promise it will be a lot of fun (like the fun Liz and I had at the Writers Police Academy nine years ago). You know you’re going to want to help us party tonight!

In Purrder She Wrote, Co-owner  of the Cat Cafe Maddie James becomes entangled in a petty drama between one of her volunteers, an ardent animal-rights activist, and a wealthy woman who insists on adopting a calico kitty-right this instant. But when the snubbed socialite is found dead, suspicion lands squarely on Maddie’s staffer, and Maddie must do whatever it takes to solve the crime-before her nine lives are up.

Death Over Easy gives us an annual  bluegrass festival at the Bill Monroe Music Park in neighboring Beanblossom. A few festival musicians are among Robbie’s first guests at her B&B, along with her father, Roberto, and his wife, Maria. When a performer is found choked to death by a banjo string, the musicians on stage are featured in a different kind of lineup. To clear their names, Robbie pairs up with an unexpected partner to pick at the clues and find the plucky killer before there’s an encore performance.

Readers: Have you been to other virtual parties? What works and what doesn’t? Will you be joining us tonight?

 

Kensington and Barnes & Noble Team Up Again for a Sale

Hi, Wickeds Fans (and Not Yet Fans)! From July 10 to August 20, just in time for beach reading, Kensington and Barnes & Noble are offering another Buy 3, Get the 4th Free Sale.

This time the books include two Wickeds first-in-series, Flipped for Murder, first in the Country Store Mysteries by Maddie Day, and Clammed Up, first in the Maine Clambake Mysteries by Barbara Ross. If you’ve been resisting the charms of these series, now might be the time to plunge in. Plus the sale includes books by Friends of the Blog, including Carol J. Perry, Devon Delaney, Alex Erickson, Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis and many others. (If we skipped you inadvertently, let us know in the comments.)

As always, we went in search of the endcap display for the sale out in the wild. Here’s Edith at the Newington, New Hampshire B & N near Portsmouth.

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Barb is living somewhat B & N deprived in Maine. (There’s only one and it’s in Augusta.) But here are the books at the Framingham store in Massachusetts.

Edith: And here’s the full display in Newington. As you can see, every store displays them differently.

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If your store doesn’t have one set up, ask them! And if yours does have the end cap,  we wouldn’t mind if you rarranged our books to be top, front, and center. Just saying…. ;^)

Here’s a link to the Kensington page which shows all the books included in this round of the sale. (Scroll down once you get there.)

Here’s a link to the B&N sale if you’re buying online.

Readers: Happy shopping! Is there a book series you’ve been wanting to start? Let us know in the comments.

A Wicked Excellent Retreat

by Julie, still basking in the glow of hard work, good food, and wonderful friends

A WICKED EXCELLENT RETREATSix years ago Jessie, Barb, Edith and Liz had newly minted contracts, and decided to get together for a weekend to figure out what that meant. The next year Sherry had a contract, and she and I were invited to join the weekend retreat. That weekend the Wickeds were born. We got the blog up a few weeks later, in time for Liz’s release, followed shortly by Edith and Barb.

My contract came through shortly thereafter, and the six of us have been gathering for this 48 hour retreat ever since. Some years have been mostly about writing. This year the focus was on the business of being a Wicked. That isn’t to say that there wasn’t laughter, great food, lots of wine, and fabulous conversations. There was all of that, and more. But five years into this community that we all cherish, we had conversations about how to continue to build, celebrate our successes, support one another through deadlines, and navigate the twists of turns of life.

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We are six very different women, with different points of view. We don’t always agree, but we do always listen to one another. Over these six years we’ve become friends, certainly. We’ve also come to respect one another enormously, respect our paths, and offer advice when asked for it.

This year we helped each other plot, met up with Lea Wait (who’s new book Death and a Pot of Chowder by Cornelia Kidd comes out tomorrow!), talked about an editorial calendar for the blog, had a conversation about the book business that lasted the better part of a morning, shared new skills with each other, created some new work flow for the blog, and wrote down releases and deadlines through 2019. My mind is whirring, but I’m excited about the conversations, and rejuvenated by spending time with my friends. I know you will all love these new ideas, which we’ll be rolling out this summer.

One personal note–as I mentioned earlier, I did not have a contract when I joined the blog. I will forever be grateful to these women for inviting me on board, lifting me up along my journey, and becoming dear friends. We’ve been figuring out the best way to be Wickeds along the way, and are so grateful to you, dear readers, for coming along with us.

Readers, do you go on retreat with friends? Tell us about it in the comments!

Wickeds, what did I miss in my recap?

Murder on Cape Cod Cover Reveal!

News Flash: Sheila Golding is the randomly selected winner of the author apron! Congratulations. Sheila, please send your mailing address to edith at edithmaxwell dot com and I’ll get the apron out to you.

Maddie Day here, otherwise known as Edith, at Barb’s Boothbay Harbor home with all the other main Wickeds on our annual retreat, and boy, is it ever lovely.

I’m using one of our occasional Saturday posts to share some exciting news. The preorder page for Murder on Cape Cod, complete with a special exclusive edition cover, is finally ready over at Barnes & Noble. This is book one in the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries, due out December 18, and I’ve been waiting to show you all this cover for a while. I’ll celebrate by sending one commenter a special author apron!

Here’s a little about the series, but you’ll be hearing more about it in coming months.

The series is set in the quaint fictional Cape Cod village of Westham, which is replete with a salt-water taffy shop, craft distillery, gourmet ice cream store, fudge shop, nautical-themed gift shoppe, bakery and cafe, sushi restaurant, lobster shack, and indy bookstore. The shops are bookended on each end by churches, with the town hall, library, and police and fire stations in the middle. Many of the proprietors are members of the Cozy Capers book group – a group that reads and meets to discuss one cozy mystery every week – as are the almost-due-to-retire police chief, the head librarian, and the town clerk. Unfortunately, murder starts popping up in and around the town’s shops.

Mac Almeida is our protagonist, a wiry thirty-six year old with short black curls, who owns and operates Mac’s Bikes, a bicycle repair and rental shop serving locals and tourists alike.  She lives in a tiny house behind the store. Her parents reside in the UU rectory, her half-brother and his little daughter live in a local lighthouse, and her baker boyfriend is just down the road, too. I’ve loved setting up these new characters and this fictional town.

So are you ready for the cover? Ta-da!

MURDER ON CAPE COD with sticker 1.5

I love it! As you can see, Murder on Cape Cod is an exclusive deal with Barnes & Noble for the first year, but after that Kensington Publishing will re-release it on all platforms. My agent and my editor were both excited about the unusual arrangement, and who was aprontenpercentI to say no? The books will have seaside-based recipes and lots of intrigue. Oh, and murder – on the bike trail in this book!

Readers: Who has been to Cape Cod and what do you love about it? If you haven’t, what’s your favorite waterside place to visit (or live)? I’ll send one of you an author apron!

What Has Writing Taught the Seven Sinister Sisters?

Edith here, delighted to host the Seven Sinister Sisters, a group I joined up with this winter and spring. We are seven authors with new books coming out, and we’ve been guest blogging all over cyberspace since January. You can see where we’ve been and where we’re still scheduled on our Facebook page. Commenters here today will be entered into our grand giveaway!

Seven Sinister Sisters

For today’s post I asked my sisters this question: What has writing taught you? Here are our answers in no particular order.

Becky Clark: Gosh, where to start? All the obvious ones: work ethic, self-discipline, organization, finish what you start. But also writing has given me a pretty thick skin. Don’t get me wrong, negative reviews always sting, but writing has taught me that everyone has different likes and dislikes. I’m sure I always knew that, but when you mostly hang out with your like-minded husband, kids or kids-in-law, you forget that not everyone has, say, your weird sense of humor, or sees what you were trying to do with your writing. I’ve learned not to take things too personally.

Sue Star: 1. Discipline—I can’t not write.  Even when I’m on vacation I write every day, even if it’s only a paragraph.  2.  Passion—if I don’t feel that burning desire to dig into a project, it’s not worth doing.  Passion is the magic footprint that makes a story sparkle.  3.  Instinct—I’ve learned to trust my instincts about a story. Then “magic” happens, and a story ends up writing itself.  4.  Art—I’ve learned that I can paint, too.  No matter the form, creativity is all about the journey, not necessarily the destination.

Pat Hale: Writing has taught me not to take things personally. In my early days of writing when I received a rejection, it would take days to get over the disappointment and self-doubt. I’ve learned that rejections are not personal and they’re often the best way to learn. After the initial disappointment (still happens, but doesn’t last as long), I remind myself that the editor/agent isn’t rejecting me, but telling me I need to work harder and make my work better. Not personalizing rejection has been a hard learned but excellent lesson that has carried over into every area of my life.

Shawn McGuire: Writing has taught me to be more present in life. I think I notice things more, partly because my writer’s brain is always looking for details, partly because I’m naturally nosey. Part of noticing more means understanding people better. There’s a reason why people are the way they are—whether they’re simply having a bad day or because something happened in their life to make them a curmudgeon. Writing makes me dig down to uncover those reasons. I feel like I’m more understanding of most people, less tolerant of others.

Leslie Karst: That even when a task seems terribly daunting—such as composing an eighty thousand-word manuscript—if you simply keep at it, following through with the process step by step (or page by page), before long you will have finished. Completing the first draft of the manuscript that became my first Sally Solari culinary mystery (Dying for a Taste) was an incredibly powerful confidence builder, both for my writing career and for my life in general. Reaching that goal is all about perseverance and follow-through, and about having a belief in yourself.

Cathy Perkins: The first thing writing taught me was patience! Not just the waiting to hear from agents, editors, and reviewers, but the patience to learn the craft. To not be in a rush to publish before the story is ready for prime time.  Equally important though, writing has shown me how generous the author community is. I’ll never forget how kind and inclusive Sophia Littlefield, Nicole Peeler and Janet Reed were at my first Malice – my first conference and my debut novel. Talk about nervous! They set the bar I’ve tried to reach in helping other authors in this crazy place we call publishing.

Edith Maxwell: For me, being a writer has taught me that I have to show up every morning and write, but also that I have to trust the story enough to let it float sometimes. I’ve learned the value of discipline, and much of writing is in fact hard work. I also now know I can’t control everything. Characters occasionally take their sweet time revealing what comes next or why they acted the way they did.

Readers: What has your occupation, favorite hobby, or pastime taught you?

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Our next stop on the tour is April 3 on the Killer Characters blog. Here’s where you can find each of us in the meantime:

http://www.patriciahale.org

http://www.edithmaxwell.com

http://www.lesliekarstauthor.com/

http://www.cperkinswrites.com

http://www.shawn-mcguire.com

http://www.rebeccawriter.blogspot.com

http://www.BeckyClarkBooks.com

To celebrate our new releases, the Seven Sinister Sisters are having a giveaway!

Seven lucky winners will receive an ebook from one of us.

One GRAND PRIZE winner will receive a signed copy from each of us!

Enter to win by leaving a comment. Our tour runs from January 6th to April 30th and we’re answering a different question at each blog. Leave a comment at every blog for more entries! We’ll draw the winner from the combined comments at the end of our tour.Tour graphic Seven Sinister Sisters

 

 

Four Wickeds and Lots of Friends in Portland, Maine on April 10

by Barb who is packing up in Key West and preparing to head north too soon

On April 10, from 7 to 9 pm Jessie, Liz, Edith, and Barb will be at an exciting event in Portland. Maine. Co-sponsored by Print Bookstore and Kensington, the evening is billed as a Cozy Mystery Author Palooza. The event will be held at at local brew pub. Partner vendors will provide delicious beer, drinks and snacks. You can get all the details on Print’s website here.

Rising Tide Brewing
103 Fox Street
Portland, ME 04101

The authors coming include

Anne Canadeo, author of KNIT TO KILL
Maddie Day, (Edith Maxwell) author of BISCUITS AND SLASHED BROWNS
Devon Delaney, author of EXPIRATION DATE (out 4/24/18, pre-orders available at the event)
Kaitlyn Dunnett, author of X MARKS THE SCOT
Jessica Ellicott (Jessie Crockett), author of MURDER IN AN ENGLISH VILLAGE
Sally Goldbenbaum, author of MURDER WEARS MITTENS
Leslie Meier, author of BRITISH MANOR MURDER
Liz Mugavero, author of CUSTOM BAKED MURDER
Carlene O’Connor, author of MURDER IN AN IRISH CHURCHYARD
Barbara Ross, author of STOWED AWAY
Misty Simon, author of CREMAINS OF THE DAY
Lea Wait, author of TIGHTENING THE THREADS

We’d love to see our New England peeps there!

So Wickeds, a brew pub is an unexpected place for a cozy mystery signing. What the most unusual author event you’ve participated in–place or any other factor?

Julie: I so wish I could be there to cheer you all on! What a wonderful event, and a great lineup! As to my most unusual place–I need to get on this. So far they’ve been pretty standard, but I aspire to sign in a brew pub, so there’s that. I expect tons of pictures my friends!

Edith:  Probably my most unusual event was my dual launch of Called to Justice (written as Edith Maxwell) and When the Grits Hit the Fan (by Maddie Day). I had my two personalities interview each other at a local indy bookstore. It was fun and the audience loved it. And if you don’t get enough great beer at our Portland event, come to my launch party on April 11 in Amesbury! Please see my web site for details.

Jessie: Several years ago I did a murder mystery night event at Zorvino Vineyard in Sandown, NH. The organizers had invited several mystery authors to play roles in the event along with a bunch of seasoned actors. It was a ticketed event and part of what was included was a signed copy of a book by one of the authors. There must have been over two hundred mystery enthusiasts in attendance. I got to play the victim!

Barb: This question caused my mind to travel over a lot of venues. Hard to believe I’ve been at this for 7 and 1/2 years. What I saw was a whole lotta libraries and bookshops, and the occasional auditorium, theater or classroom.No place unusual. I think one of the most unusual things was after my first book, The Death of an Ambitious Woman, was published. When I showed up for a library visit, there was a lovely display with my photo and bio–and no book. “I’m sorry, your book was stolen,” the librarian reported. I didn’t know whether to be insulted or flattered!

Sherry: Have a fantastic time in Portland! The strangest was the time a bookstore put me in the children’s section and I had to keep telling parents not to buy my book for their children. Last week the Centreville Regional Library set up an event for me at the Winery at Bull Run here in Virginia. It was a lot of fun.

Liz: For my very first book launch for Kneading to Die, I did it at The Big Biscuit, the pet bakery in Massachusetts. These are the wonderful people who supply me with recipes for the books. It was such a fun experience – dogs and people abounded, and there was even a doggie cake for Shaggy and her friends. One of my favorite times ever.

Readers: What is the most unusual place you’ve been to or done a book talk?