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.

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 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.

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.


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!

The Mainely Needlepoint Mystery Series Continues with Threads of Evidence

threadsofevidenceHi. Barb here. You may have noticed that my fellow Maine author Lea Wait has joined us a few times in the last year. That’s because Lea is the prolific author of the Mainely Needlepoint cozy series, the Shadows Antique Print traditional mystery series, as well as historical novels for young people. On of those, Uncertain Glory was an Agatha nominee this year.

Today we’re celebrating the recent release of Threads of Evidence, the second book in the Mainely Needlepoint series. I loved the first book in this series, Twisted Threads, so when I had a chance get my hands on an Advance Reader Copy of Threads of Evidence, I jumped at it!

I wasn’t disappointed. The second book in the series moves protagonist Angie Curtis along from the original crisis that brought her back to Maine. Now she needs to figure out how to make a life for herself. The book broadened and deepened my appreciation for Angie, as well as for her grandmother and the other members of the Mainely Needlepoint collective AND provided a great mystery yarn. What more could you ask? These books are slightly grittier than the average cozy, but still well within the cozy definition.

Lea’s a neighbor and a friend, so I thought we’d have a chat about Threads of Evidence.

Barb: Since you and I both write about coastal towns in Maine that include both working people and summer people From Away, to some degree we are always writing about class, a topic that makes many Americans uncomfortable. It’s not so much the money (thought that matters) but also expectations, opportunities, and experiences. In Threads of Evidence, in particular, the worlds of summer people and working people intersect, both in the past and the present. How do you think about class as you write? How do you think it is expressed in your Mainely Needlepoint stories?

Lea waitLea: First of all – thank you for inviting me back to visit the Wicked Cozies, Barbara!

I’m excited about Threads of Evidence, the second in the Mainely Needlepoint series (after Twisted Threads).

In Threads of Evidence there are two sorts of wealthy visitors from away. The Gardeners have had money for generations, and built their large Victorian summer “cottage” as a retreat in the 19th century. When the last person in their family died, the estate was left, empty and discarded.

Now it has been bought by a newly wealthy Hollywood actress and her artist son. The Gardeners viewed themselves as, in many ways, patrons of Haven Harbor – they gave large parties for everyone in town, and donated generously to the local fire and police departments as well as the country club. Those who remember them best are those who worked for them – the caretaker of their estate; Mrs. Gardener’s hairdresser. Their daughter, Jasmine, took for granted opportunities (like education and travel) that those her age who lived in Haven Harbor either just dreamed about, or worked very hard to obtain. Some of those clashes in expectations may have resulted in her murder.

The new owners of the Gardener estate spend money freely, and not always, in the eyes of local residents, wisely. But the local people, including Angie Curtis, the protagonist of the Mainely Needlepoint series, accept payments they believe are too generous.

People like these are part of the fabric of Maine.

twisted threadsBarb: In Threads of Evidence one of your major characters is a celebrity. Often in fiction, celebrity is shorthand for rich and recognizable, but you’ve created a fully fleshed-out, three-dimensional character. How did you think about Skye West as you wrote her?

Lea: When I lived in New York City, some years ago, I knew people involved in show business. All of them, including those considered famous, had worked very hard to get to where they were. Skye West grew out of some of those friendships. She sees her world clearly, and appreciates both the work she’s done to get to where she is in her career (and that she continues to do) – and the people who, in different ways, helped her to get there. She sees her decision to buy and restore the Gardner estate – and find out what happened to Jasmine Gardner in 1970 – as something she owes to her past. A way of giving back.

Barb: I have to admit, I’m one of those people who can take epigraphs or leave them. I often don’t read them if I’m really in the flow of a story. But I found the quotes from needlepoint works of girls and young women in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in Threads of Evidence particularly moving. How do you go about finding these quotes?

Lea: Ah! The epigraphs! I have them in my Shadows Antique Print mystery series, and some readers love them … write to me about them and ask more questions. So I decided to also use them in the Mainely Needlepoint series. Some of the epigraphs are quotations about needlecraft from 19th century and earlier literature and books or magazines written for women. But my favorites are the quotations from samplers stitched by young women in the sixteenth through 19th centuries. (As some readers have pointed out, some of these samplers are needlepoint … some are cross stitch or other embroidery. But I love them all.)

Some of those quotations I’ve seen on samplers in museums, antique shows, or homes. Some of them I’ve found in museum catalogs of sampler exhibits. Some are from books on the history of samplers. I keep a running file of possible quotations to use in future books.

ThreadandgoneBarb: What are you working on now?

I just finished Shadows on a Morning in Maine, the 8th in the Shadows Antique Print Mystery series, which will be published in about a year. Next on my list: Dangling by a Thread, the 4th in the Mainely Needlepoint series. (The third in the series, Thread and Gone, will be published in early January, 2016.) In my spare (?) time I’m also working on a couple of picture book biographies for young people. So – not bored!

Barb: Thank you, Lea! Anyone have questions for comments for Lea? Jump in!

Lea invites readers to friend her on Facebook and Goodreads, and to check out her website,, where there’s a link to a prequel of THREADS OF EVIDENCE, and questions for book group discussions. She would love to visit (in person or via Skype) your library, book group, or school.

Welcome Back, Author Lea Wait

by Barb, in sunny, warm Key West (don’t hate me)

Lea_Wait.jpgRegular readers of the blog will remember my friend author Lea Wait was here in September. Then she talked about the latest book in her Shadows Antique Print series, Shadows on a Maine Christmas. At the time, she mentioned her new Mainely Needlepoint mystery series was coming soon. Well now the first book in the series, Twisted Threads, is here and we’ve asked Lea back to answer some questions about it.

About Twisted Threads: Angie Curtis had a rough Maine childhood, which only got worse when she was ten and her mother disappeared. At eighteen, Angie took off for any place other than Maine and ended up working for a private investigator in Arizona. Now she’s 28, her mother’s body has been found, and Angie returns to Haven Harbor vowing to find her mother’s killer. When she finds her grandmother’s needlepoint business is in trouble, she also agrees to help out there. She doesn’t know “helping out” will mean solving another murder, and confronting some of her childhood fears.

TWISTED THREADSBarb: While you’ve always written more than one thing, because you write for children and adults, Twisted Threads is the first book in your second mystery series for adults. How did you think about creating a second series? Was it a very different experience than creating the world of the Shadows mysteries?

Lea: When I started the Shadows series I hadn’t been published. Truthfully, I wrote the first in the series (Shadows at the Fair) to prove to myself that I could sustain a book-length manuscript. I was focused on writing one book at a time. For fun, I made each Shadows Antique Print mystery reflect a different classic mystery tradition, from the Gothic house mystery (Shadows on the Coast of Maine) to the academic mystery (Shadows on the Ivy) to the wedding mystery (Shadows on a Cape Cod Wedding) and the Christmas mystery (Shadows on a Maine Christmas).

shadows on a maine christmatI was a beginner: I didn’t think through my decision to set different books in the series in different places. (Maggie Summer is an antique print dealer who travels to do antique shows and visit friends.) Some readers who grew attached to various characters, like Maggie’s best friend, Gussie, wanted their favorites to appear in every book in the series. I’d consciously hoped to avoid the “Cabot Cove” syndrome in which eventually everyone in the village seems destined to die. But, instead, I set up a different challenge.

I know a lot more about writing mysteries now than I did when I set up the Shadows series!

Barb: Angie Curtis in the Mainely Needlepoint series is a very different protagonist than Maggie Summers in the Shadows mysteries. They’re different ages and have vastly different backgrounds. Because of this, the challenges they deal with and their goals are very different as well. How did you create Angie Curtis? Was it a conscious goal to keep her so far away from Maggie?

threadsofevidenceLea: Yes! Angie is a high school graduate who grew up in Maine. She’s single and street-smart and 28. She’s worked for a private investigator, she knows how to shoot, she’s been known to drink too much, and there have been more men in her life than she’s willing to admit to anyone but herself.

Maggie, on the other hand, grew up in suburban New Jersey, has a doctorate and is both a professor and an antique print dealer. She’s a widow in her late 30s who is hearing her time clock tick … she wants to be a mother. She has issues, too: she’s sometimes too focused on her jobs or on solving a crime to think of other people. And after a poor marriage, she has trouble trusting men.

Maggie can be brave; Angie can be reckless. Maggie wants to settle down; Angie needs to resolve issues left over from her childhood.

The Shadows books are from Maggie’s point of view, but written in the third person. The Mainely Needlepoint series is written in first person, so we see the world through Angie’s eyes.

As a writer, I wanted to challenge myself by choosing a heroine who was very different from Maggie. And I’m having a lot of fun learning to know Angie!

Uncertain Glory, Lea's 2014 book for young people

Uncertain Glory, Lea’s 2014 book for young people

Barb: Twisted Threads takes place in a harbor town in Maine, a setting I know you know a little something about. How did you create Harbor Haven and how is it both different than and similar to your real Maine town?

Lea: Hmmm. Yes. You do have a bit of knowledge about Maine harbor towns. I love both your home in Boothbay Harbor … and your books set in Busman’s Harbor!

The Shadow series does include a Maine community. Weymouth, a fictional village, is on a tidal river, very similar to real Maine towns like Bath and Wiscasset and Damariscotta. Again, in setting up a new series I wanted a new setting. Haven Harbor, Angie’s home town, looks out to sea. It has a working waterfront, a few tourist areas, and its own lighthouse and islands. (But no clam bakes!) It is more similar to your Boothbay Harbor, and to Belfast, and other towns in Down East Maine.

Barb: What are you working on now?

Lea: Kensington, the publisher we share, wanted a new Mainely Needlepoint book every six months (!) So this month I’m celebrating the publication of Twisted Threads, doing copy edits on Threads of Evidence, which will be published next August, and writing Thread and Gone, the third in the series. When I hit a rough spot or really need a break I work on the next Shadows book … Shadows on a Maine Morning. So – not bored in Maine this winter!

Readers–do you have a question or comment for Lea?

Biography: Maine author Lea Wait writes the 7-book Shadows Antique Print Mystery series and historical novels for young readers set in 19th century Maine. She adopted her four daughters as a single parent; now she’s the grandmother of eight, and married to artist Bob Thomas. For more information about Lea and her books, see her website, and friend her on FB and Goodreads.

Welcome Author Lea Wait

by Barb, back from Paris for a week and a half now (sniff)

Author Lea WaitLea Wait isn’t a Wicked Cozy, though she’s certainly (over?) qualified to be one. She shares a New England home base, an agent (John Talbot–though since Lea also writes historicals for younger readers, she’s multi-represented), and a cozy series (more on this). Lea is a neighbor in Maine and has been a fabulous mentor to me on this journey. Today, in celebration of the publication of Shadows on a Maine Christmas, the seventh book in her Antique Print Mystery series, I’m asking her some things I’ve been wondering about, and I thought you might like to listen in.

!cid_487CF410-53E3-4F9A-B4E9-3E3180900689Barb: This Shadows book is a Christmas book. I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of a holiday book. What caused you to write it? The right time in the series? In your characters’ Maggie and Will’s lives? Did your publisher ask for a Christmas book?

Lea: Christmas is my favorite time of year, and I wanted to write about the wonders of Maine winters. The previous six books in the Shadows Antique Print series took place approximately every three months, but Shadows on a Cape Cod Wedding left some personal issues hanging at the end of October, so I felt Maggie and Will needed to get together again soon. Christmas was the perfect time. I’ve heard some publishers ask for “holiday books.” Mine didn’t. But Maggie and Will needed one!

CapeCodweddingBarb: Shadows on Maine Christmas is your seventh Antique Prints Mystery. On Wicked Cozies, we have authors who’ve just turned in their first, second, or third book in a series. What advice do you have for authors working a long-term series? What do you wish you had known?

Ah. The series. So many issues come up when you’re writing a series. When to set each book. Within weeks of each other? In different seasons? Different years? Do your characters stay in one town and you gradually kill off everyone who lives there or do they travel, finding crime wherever they go? But perhaps the biggest challenge is developing your character emotionally, and having her make life decisions without interrupting the crime solving. How long does he (or she) vacillate between two love interests? Can a series continue after the protagonist marries? Has children? Moves to another town? Changes professions? Authors have done all the above – some more successfully than others. One danger to be aware of is killing off a character that readers love. It’s been done. (Not by me. So far, anyway!) But some readers never forgive.

!cid_5DD80D18-4277-43A2-92BE-A87ACD38DB1B@maine_rrBarb: In addition to your mystery series, you write historical fiction for middle-grade readers, like your latest, Uncertain Glory. What’s the single biggest difference between writing for young readers and for adults?

I love writing historical novels, and, so far, I’ve focused on historical novels for ages 8-14. All five of my historicals are set in Wiscasset, Maine. Rivers and mountains change very little over thousands of years. Houses can last hundreds of years. I wanted to show a town that stayed more or less the same over the years, but in which its citizens, and the way they lived their day-to-day lives, changed as the years passed. My books (Stopping to Home, Seaward Born, Wintering Well, Finest Kind, and now Uncertain Glory) are based on real people who lived in Wiscasset, and real events. I love bringing the past to life. My main characters are ages 11-14: ages at which major life decisions were made during the 19th century. Other than that, and that they’re a bit shorter than my adult mysteries, they’re as serious… perhaps more serious than my mysteries. My historicals are read by adults as well as young people. I don’t write down to my readers.

twisted threadsBarb: What’s next for you? What are you working on now?

Lea: Thanks for asking! The Shadows series isn’t over. But I’m excited about a new mystery series beginning in January, 2015, with Twisted Threads. The Mainely Needlepoint series is set in Haven Harbor, Maine. Its protagonist is 28-year-old Angie Curtis, who had a rough time growing up in Maine, and has spent the last ten years working for a private investigator in Arizona. When her mother’s body is found, Angie returns to Haven Harbor to find her mother’s killer, face her own past, and help her grandmother with her custom needlepoint business. I just finished Threads of Evidence, the second in the series, which will be published a year from now. Later this month I’ll be working on the third book in that series, and beginning another Shadows book. And I have several books for young people in the works, too. Not bored!

Gentle readers–so that was our conversation. Do you have questions for Lea? Ask away!

Lea’s Bio

Lea Wait says that through some time warp she really grew up in the 19th century. A former corporate manager and adoptive single parent of four daughters who is also an antique print dealer and expert on Winslow Homer wood engravings, she is now married to artist Bob Thomas and she lives in a house built in 1774. She channeled Homer himself when writing the 5th in her contemporary Shadows Antique Print Mystery series, Shadows of a Down East Summer, in which Homer and two young women who posed for him are major characters. Lea also writes historical fiction (19th century, natch) for young people, collects seaglass, loves to row, and invites you to friend her on Facebook.