Kensington Cozies on Sale in March at Barnes and Noble

From March 3 to April 8, Barnes & Noble and Kensington have teamed up to offer a special  promotion–Buy 3 Kensington cozy mysteries and get 1 free!

You can scroll down this page to see the covers of all the offered books. http://sites.kensingtonbooks.com/kensingtoncozies/BN/

But wait, there’s more!

Everyone who buys a Kensington cozy mystery from the B&N in-store display between 3/6/18 – 4/8/17 and registers their purchase at http://sites.kensingtonbooks.com/kensingtoncozies/BN/ will automatically be entered for a chance to win:

  • 1 Grand Prize: Two copies of a new cozy mystery each month for an entire year so you can share the book with a friend.
  • 5 Runners-Up: One surprise cozy mystery ARC.

Note: The same sale is going on at B&N online, though purchases there do not make you eligible for the contest. Here’s the link for the sale. https://www2.barnesandnoble.com/b/select-mystery-novels-buy-3-get-the-4th-free/_/N-2q0o

But wait, there’s even more!

There’s a special end-of-the-aisle display featuring 30 Kensington cozies at every B&N. Wickeds Sherry Harris, Maddie Day (aka Edith Maxwell), and Barbara Ross all have their latest mysteries on the shelf, along with lots of other great books, including mysteries by Friends of the Wickeds, Carol Perry and Lea Wait.

We thought it would be fun for some of the Wickeds to get their photos taken with this special display or with their displayed book.

Sherry: Here I am at my local Barnes and Noble in Fairfax, Virginia! It’s always a thrill to see my books in a bookstore. My husband took the pictures and we only got a few strange looks from the many customers in the store.

Edith: I found the Wickeds’ books (and New England friend of the Wickeds Lea Waits’s, too) top and center at the Barnes & Noble in Peabody, Massachusetts, and convinced a fan browsing the mystery shelves to take my (goofy expression) picture.

Edithatbandn

Here’s Friend of the Wickeds Carol Perry with the display. Carol has three books on the endcap: Grave Errors, It Takes a Coven, and Caught Dead Handed.

Barb: There’s only one B&N in Maine, in Augusta, not in Portland where I was last week. Now I’m back in Key West and there are no B&Ns anywhere on the Keys, so I’m posing below in our backyard with Stowed Away, which is on the display.

We’d also like to give a shout out to our friend, Lea Wait. As Edith said, her book Twisted Threads is on the display. Lea was going to participate in this post with us, but her husband is ill. Anyway, you should buy her book, because it’s terrific. In fact, you should buy 3 and get 1 free!

Readers: Tell us if you spied this end cap in your local B&N, and where it is. We’d love to see a pic of you with the array, too!

Stow-Away Snake

By Liz, already wishing for summer…it’s freezing in these parts!

So Barb had a teaser the other day in the blog about a stow away story I’d shared with the Wickeds at one of our retreats. I thought in keeping with the theme of her release day for Stowed Away, I’d share my story with all of you. But I’ve gotta warn you – it’s pretty disturbing!

So it was a really hot summer day – the kind I’m wishing for right now, in fact – and I was off to work. I was working in Hartford at the time. I was wearing sandals, and these particular sandals tended to slide off my feet. So I didn’t think much of it when I was driving and my toe brushed up against something. I thought it was the gas pedal, that maybe my shoe had shifted or something. Forgetting about it, I reached over to pick up my coffee from the center console.

And a snake slithered right through the console and vanished into the backseat of my car.

I’m pretty sure I screamed. I have no idea how I didn’t rear end the 18-wheeler in front of me. Oh, and did I mention I was merging from one highway onto another?

I had no idea what to do. In my mind, the snake was the size of a boa constrictor, and I imagined it was readying itself to wrap around my neck and strangle me, causing a fifty-car pileup on I-84 and killing me instantly. So I was driving looking over my shoulder to make sure this didn’t happen.

Being in the middle of a merge, there weren’t a lot of places to pull over. When I finally reached a spot where I could get on the shoulder safely, I did so, then jumped out of the car and opened all the doors. I had no idea what to do next.

I didn’t see my passenger anywhere. I checked the whole backseat, pulled out the dog’s blanket, checked under the seats. Nothing. At this point, my hair was suffering from the 80-degree, high humidity weather, and I must’ve looked like a crazy person on the side of the road. Or a drunk person, although it was barely nine a.m.

I wandered to the front passenger side of the car and happened to glance in the window. I wish I had been thinking clearly enough to take a picture of what I saw.

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The contaminated purse

This snake, who was clearly messing with me, had hopped into my Coach purse and was sitting there, looking around, tongue sliding in and out as he surveyed his new domain.

I opened the door, took the entire purse and threw it down the embankment. Then I waited ten minutes to make sure he’d slithered away, and I went and collected my things. I had some qualms about the bag itself – I mean, what if there were snake eggs in it or something?? but in the end I had no choice, since I had no other purse.

I went to work, a bit late and a bit disheveled, but I have to admit it’s been a great story ever since.

Oh – and it took me a few days to figure out how he’d come to stow away in my car. I’d put a bag of recycling that had been in my trunk in the driveway because I needed the room. When I put the bag back in  my car, it must’ve had a bit more than water bottles in it…

Readers, has anything creepy ever showed up in your moving vehicle? Or anywhere else it wasn’t supposed to be?

Wicked Wednesday — Stowed Away

We are celebrating the release of Stowed Away the sixth book in the Maine Clambake Mystery series by Barb! Here’s a little about the book:

It’s June in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, and Julia Snowden and her family are working hard to get their authentic Maine clambake business ready for summer. Preparations must be put on hold, however, when a mysterious yacht drops anchor in the harbor—and delivers an unexpected dose of murder . . . When Julia’s old prep school rival Wyatt Jayne invites her to dinner on board her billionaire fiancé’s decked-out yacht, Julia arrives to find a sumptuous table set for two—and the yachtsman dead in his chair. Suspicion quickly falls on Wyatt, and Julia’s quest to dredge up the truth leads her into the murky private world of a mega-rich recluse who may not have been all that he seemed . . .

The title made me wonder if any of the Wickeds had ever stowed away. So it’s confession time Wickeds. Did you ever stow away? Sneak into somewhere you really weren’t supposed to be? Sneak a friend in? Or did you sneak out? If not what kept you from doing it?

Playing frisbee in the deserted coloseum in Pompeii

Barb: I can’t recall ever stowing away, but I am an inveterate sneaker-inner. Specifically, houses under construction are like catnip to me. As soon as the construction crew leaves for the day, I am there. I’ve done this since I was a kid and the last time was probably three years ago. I’ve always been interested in houses, as anyone who reads the Maine Clambake Mysteries knows. “Is your protagonist an architect?” one exasperated member of my writers group once asked me (sarcasm intentional). My most brazen sneaking-inning was during my post-college European tour. My friend Joanne and I took the train from Naples to Pompeii to find the site was closed due to a strike. We had neither the time nor the funds to return. As we debated what to do, three American boys came along and somehow we all egged one another into sneaking in. It is the eeriest thing in the world to be in a village where time has stopped with only four other people. I will never forget it.

Edith: Ooh, Barb, I’m the same with houses under construction! Can. Not. Resist. Poking around through walls that are only bare studs and climbing up stairs that are barely more than ladders? Candy to the illicit soul. I’ll even confess to a bit of, ahem, “hanky-panky” with a paramour in a house under construction. And I’ve definitely snuck out early from events I’d been reluctant to attend in the first place. And not a bit of remorse stains my conscience. I won’t have any remorse about sneaking away to read Barb’s book tomorrow instead of working, either!

Julie: I am a permission seeker. Always have been. Maybe that needs to be a 2018 goal. Stow away a couple of times. Barb, congratulations on this release. Cannot wait! I so love this series!!

Liz: The one place I considered sneaking in was the old, abandoned Norwich State Hospital property in Norwich and Preston, Connecticut. I have a thing for old asylums (yes, I know it’s creepy and weird) and I also wanted to use the setting for a book. I’m fascinated by not only how it was when it was a place, but the ways in which it settled into abandon. I desperately wanted to get into the tunnels underneath that connected the buildings on the massive campus. At the time, I worked as a reporter for the local newspaper and I had some contacts, but I could never finagle it. The buildings, and especially the tunnels, were dangerous – collapsing in places and full of asbestos. The area was also patrolled by security, which was a bit daunting. So I had to settle for some really great pictures I found online.

Jessie: I’m with Julie. I have run this question through my mind over and over and cannot think of any incidents of sneaking in or sneaking out. I almost jumped on the back of a moving train when I was eight but decided at the last minute not to grab on. The only places that ever make me want to sneak in are private gardens whose leafy bowers peak out through wrought iron gates. I saw a few in the UK and also occasionally in cities in the States and they always make me curious. Julie, want to plan a sneak -in with me this year?

Sherry: When we settled on this topic for today’s blog my first thought was where have I sneaked into that I’m willing to admit publicly? I couldn’t come up with anything so I turned to three long time friends (Carol, Cheryl, and Sherry) who knew me in my misspent youth. Sherry tried to say we sneaked into the library during college, but we knew that wasn’t true. But then Carol came up with something I’d all but forgotten. In high school during the summers we would sneak into apartment complexes swimming pools. Our town had a plethora of public pools and I can’t quite remember why we didn’t go to them. I’m guessing the apartment complexes had better chairs, less people during the day, and were less crowded. Or there were hotter older guys — that certainly would have been a big draw at the time.

Readers: Have you ever sneaked into a place you weren’t supposed to? Where was it? If not why not?

Three New Maine Clambake Books to Come! (And a Giveaway!)

by Barb, sitting in her front porch in Boothbay Harbor, Maine on the most gorgeous day

I’m thrilled to announce that Kensington has asked me to write three new Maine Clambake Mysteries after Book 6, Stowed Away, coming December 26, 2017. And, bonus for me, and I hope for you, there will also be a second Christmas-themed novella. I’m so happy to have the opportunity to tell more stories about Julia Snowden, her family and their friends and Busman’s Harbor, Maine.

In September, 2014, when I announced books four through six, I thought I knew what those books were about. You can read my descriptions here. The first two, Fogged In and Iced Under did get written, though the title of Fogged Inn changed slightly. The third book, Elvered After did not.

The original plan was to set three books during the tourist season–Clammed Up, Boiled Over, and Musseled Out–and three in the off season. But then I had the chance to write my first Christmas-themed novella, “Nogged Off,” and that made three Maine Clambake stories that took place in the fog, ice, and snow. So my editor at Kensington, John Scognamiglio, and I decided we needed to get back to sunshine and lighthouses and clams with book six.

Kensington also felt that most people wouldn’t know what elvers are, and when they discovered they’re tiny, transparent baby eels, it wouldn’t help the book’s appeal. (Not to mention, what would be on the cover?) I, on the other hand still love the story. Did you know that the elver fishery is the second largest by revenue in Maine? That opposite of most sea animals, eels go to the salt water of the Sargasso Sea to spawn and return to the fresh water of Maine’s rivers to mature? That a Mainer with an hard-to-get elver license and a place on a river to fish can make a year’s income in nine weeks? That the elvers are sold to eel farms in Asia to become sushi and other delicacies? That elvers are worth $350 a pound and the business is transacted in cash, so people are walking around the docks with tens of thousands of dollars in cash in their pockets? Plenty of reasons to kill someone, right?

But I’ll reluctantly put the elvers aside for now to explore other aspects of life on the Maine coast. And try to answer some burning questions, for example…

  • Are Julia and Chris going to make it?
  • Will the Snowdens rebuild Windsholme, the mansion on their private island?
  • Will Julia’s mother’s extended family be in more books?
  • What’s up with Julia’s father’s family? Don’t they live in Busman’s Harbor? Are we ever going to meet them?
  • And Chris’s family. Why does he never talk about them, even when asked directly?

I know some of the answers, but not all of them, and I can’t wait to find out.

I do know what’s in the holiday novella, which is my current WIP, but I’m not telling!

Readers: Do you have any feelings about the burning questions above? Is there anything you’d like to say about what you hope happens in the Snowden family saga? Let me know and one commenter on the blog will win a Snowden Family Clambake tote bag.

There are also three chances to win a tote bag offered in my newsletter, where I announced the new contract today. If you’d like to sign up for my (very occasional) e-mails, you can do so here.

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Cover Reveal–Stowed Away

It’s time for the cover reveal for Maine Clambake Mystery#6, Stowed Away!

The book is already up for pre-order on Amazon here.

I’m very excited about this cover which incorporates many of my suggestions, including the lobster holding the engagement ring. Here’s the Pinterest board I linked to when my editor asked for cover ideas. It’s spring again in Busman’s Harbor as you can tell from the strawberries and asparagus.

Here’s the description from the back cover.

it’s June in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, and Julia Snowden and her family are working hard to get their authentic Maine clambake business ready for summer. Preparations must be put on hold, however, when a mysterious yacht drops anchor in the harbor—and delivers an unexpected dose of murder . . .
 
When Julia’s old prep school rival Wyatt Jayne invites her to dinner on board her billionaire fiancé’s decked-out yacht, Julia arrives to find a sumptuous table set for two—and the yachtsman dead in his chair. Suspicion quickly falls on Wyatt, and Julia’s quest to dredge up the truth leads her into the murky private world of a mega-rich recluse who may not have been all that he seemed . . .

Readers: What do you think? Do you like the cover? Would you pick up the book?

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Wicked Wednesday: March Into Spring

Edith here, and it’s March! Not sure quite how that happened so fast this year, but let’s

©Photo. R.M.N. / R.-G. OjŽda

March, from Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry

march through our Wednesdays together this month. Today I want to know how each Wicked plans to march forward into spring. Many of us have been pretty much holed up during the winter, ignoring the weather and doing some concentrated writing. But spring will launch later this month. How do your work habits change in the spring? Do you get itching to plow both the ground and the fertile soil of your imagination? Do you start working out on your porch or taking more sunny plotting walks? What one step will you take differently this month?

Liz: I’m so excited it’s almost spring! The biggest difference this month for me? I’ll have turned my book in so won’t be working on a crazy deadline while trying to do a million other things! Seriously, this entire winter has been crazy and I’m not sorry to see it go (well, I’m never sorry to see winter go). But I think once I catch up on a few things, I’m going to get myself onto a more serious writing schedule. Probably early in the morning, maybe outside if I can manage it. I’ve let a lot of my routines go during a difficult few months, and need to get them back.

Edith: We’re all pulling for you, Liz! For me, I’m just looking forward to taking any steps. I’ve had a tough first month  post-knee surgery, and when I tried to do a slightly tiny bit longer slow walk on the weekend it really messed me up. But I find all the light in the sky, the sounds of birds again, and the crocuses and daffodils poking their green shoots up out of the cold ground inspiring and stimulating. I know I won’t be able to garden again until the weather really warms up, so I’m going to use that inspiration to finish a first draft this month, and hopefully be able to march lots better before April, too. I’m also, of course, marching toward my double release – When the Grits Hit the Fan on March 28, followed closely by Called to Justice on April 8!

hydrangesSherry: It’s been spring most of the winter here in Northern Virginia. My hydrangeas are leafing out, windows have been open, and I’ve spent a lot of time outside. I’m starting out March with my mom and family in Florida celebrating her 90th birthday today. After that I’ll be gearing up for the release of A Good Day To Buy (shameless self promotion warning — it’s available for pre-orders right now) on April 25th. It’s always an exciting and nerve-racking time!

Barb: Happy birthday to your mom, Sherry. She is one of the Wickeds’ most stalwart fans. Like Liz, I should be turning in my book soon, the sixth Maine Clambake Mystery, Stowed Away. Then, for some insane reason, this spring I’m doing eight appearances in five weeks. Four are conferences that require pre-registration: the Maine Crime Wave, Malice Domestic, Muse and the Marketplace, (where I’m teaching a class, Four Lies People Will Tell You about Marketing Your Novel ) and the Massachusetts Library Association Conference. Four are at bookstores. Various combinations of the Wickeds will be at all of the bookstore events, and we’ll all be together in Nashua, NH on April 19 and in Bethesda, MD the Thursday night before Malice. For those of you who are coming in early for the conference, we’d love to see you there! You can always find my events on my website here. It’s going to be a crazy spring, but I’m very much looking forward to it.

Jessie: Unlike the rest of you I have no plans. Living in northern New England teaches you that spring will break your heart. Just when the daffodils poke their heads up through cold cracks in the earth a foot of snow covers them and makes you wonder if you’ll see them again. So I don’t plan for spring; I prefer to sneak up on it when it isn’t looking. I ease out through the door on a sunny day and perch gingerly on the porch swing to eat my lunch in the warmth of a sunbeam and hope not to jinx things.  I peek at the lengthening days with the barest of glances so as not to scare them off. I whisper to my family the first time I notice there is no frost on the grass in the morning. I’ll make plans come summer.

Julie: This winter has let us taste spring a couple of times, and I am forever grateful for that. Last week it got close to 70. Delightful. Of course, here in New England once it hits 40 we take off our hats and scarves and unzip our coats. I have a lot to work on book wise, but can’t wait for windows to be open.

Readers: What changes for you with the onset of spring? How do you march differently?

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Wicked Wednesday: Writing Goals for 2017

writing-goalsWickeds, we all have deadlines, series, proposals, and blog posts that are keeping us busy. What are your writing goals for 2017?

Sherry: Since I went to the Sisters In Crime conference on Adapting Your Work To Hollywood in Los Angeles last April I’ve wanted to write a story to try and sell to the Hallmark channel. I’ve pondered and discarded many ideas and think I’m finally on to one. I’m also writing a couple of new proposals. And working on what is next for Sarah!

Barb: For the first time in years, I don’t know what my writing year holds. Maine Clambake #6, Stowed Away is due in March. Then I’ll work on the proposal for the next three, along with a short story I’ve promised to an anthology. The rest of the year is a blank. Fingers crossed for a series renewal, but if not, there are plenty of things I want to accomplish.

Edith: I’ll be writing three books: Cozy Capers Book Group Mystery #1, capewaterfreestockcropQuaker Midwife Mystery # 4 (IF my contract is extended…), and Country Store Mystery #5. <gulp>  Oh, yeah, and keeping up with blog posts, book releases (three in three months), two short story anthology releases (bringing total releases to FIVE in three months), and every other writing task. But I’m living my dream and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Liz: Lots on the horizon! Like Barb, I’m working on book six in the Pawsitively Organic series, due April 1. After that, will also be writing a proposal for three more (so more finger crossing!). I will also be working on book two in the Cat Cafe series by Cate Conte. And I have another passion project that’s been in various stages of editing for a long time. This is the year that I want to get it finished and sold. And who knows what other fabulous opportunities will come along??

Julie: I am working on copyedits for CHIME AND PUNISHMENT, and then have two more novels to write. So I am working on a plan for the year that allows time for writing, and for editing. I love Sherry’s goal of thinking Hollywood. If I can figure out the time, I need to try and write a screenplay, or a stageplay, and learn how that works.

Jessie: I am plotting away on my next mystery in my Beryl and Edwina series. I have a proposal to write, revisions for one book to complete and copyedits coming up for Whispers of Warning, the next Change of Fortune mystery. It looks like it will be a busy year!

Writers, friends, and fans: What are your work goals for the year? How about hobby goals, or other pursuits?