Goodbye, Mabel and Sharon Rose

Most times it is quite sad saying goodbye. Especially if it is to someone or something we’re going to miss. Some of us like to say, ‘see you later.’ Of course, if we are planning to see them the next day or week, that makes sense. If it is someone we do not expect to see again, it is sad but we have to use the ‘real’ word – goodbye. For example, I was underlining a paragraph in a book on my computer and did not realize that the highlight had spread to every paragraph. While I thought I was deleting the highlights in one paragraph, I was in fact deleting all of them! It was a sad goodbye because it meant starting all over again.

Sadly, now it is time to say ‘so long’ to Mabel Wickles. Mabel is the protagonist in my Parson’s Cove cozy mystery series. I must say that I have enjoyed writing about her adventures. She and Flori Flanders make a great twosome. As the English say, they are as different as chalk and cheese. Flori is married to Jake and has a large family; Mabel is single and has a houseful of cats. Missed by a Hair was the first Parson’s Cove mystery and it was published in 2004. When my contract was up, instead of renewing, Mabel disappeared from the scene. I did not feel my writing did her justice.

After writing two more Mabel books, I decided to look for a publisher again. In 2012, I joined Cozy Cat Press. CCP was brand new to the publishing scene. At that time, there were four authors: Patricia Rockwell(our publisher and author), Diane (one of Patricia’s close friends), Al, and me. I am sure it was a learning process for all of us. This was the first time I had used the internet for publishing and had no idea what I was doing most of the time. Patricia was very patient. During the following four years, I wrote four Parson’s Cove books and came to know and appreciate other CCP authors.

So, you might wonder, why is the Parson’s Cove mystery series disappearing again? Once again, I am looking through my books and realizing I need to make some changes. This time I need to work at it at a slower pace.

Many years ago, I removed another book – it was called Who Needs Enemies?. The main character was Beryl Swallows, an ex-cop and now private investigator. Since then, she has reappeared in Virtual Enemies and now in a new book, Case Closed. not.

My hope is that while I am taking my time with Mabel, I can also work on another Historical Fiction book. As you can see, I have much work ahead of me.

Oh, did I say ‘goodbye to Sharon Rose’ too? That’s right, I will publish all my books from now on using my name Sharon Mierke. The world of books seems quite filled with Sharon Roses so in order for readers not to be confused, I will use my last name – even though most do not know how to pronounce it! For those of you who are curious, it is pronounced Merkee.

Well, I refuse to say ‘goodbye.’ Perhaps, ‘see you later,’ is more appropriate. Best wishes to everyone and happy writing.

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Meet Author Tim Hall

Tim Hall
Tim Hall

This is an interview I did earlier with Tim Hall and his book, Dead Stock. 18702673 Since then he has also released the second book in the Bert Shambles Series titled, Tie-Died. 51lxkv3zbhlGet to know Tim a little better and find out how he relates to his series.

Where are you from?

The Gramercy Park section of Manhattan.

 Where did you grow up?

Long Island. I preferred Manhattan.

What interests did you have as a child?

Writing! I wanted to be a writer at age 10.

Who influenced you when you were a child?

JRR Tolkien, Ray Bradbury, Edgar Allen Poe and Agatha Christie. My mom and dad too, of course!

Where do you live now?

Manhattan, Upper East Side.

Do you have a family?

Yes. A wife and one boy, who’s 8. Three siblings, a big extended family of in-laws, and my mom is still on Long Island and doing well at the tender age of shut-the-hell-up.

What are your hobbies besides writing?

Cooking, running, painting.

Is writing your main career and if not how did you choose your main career?

I’m a graphic artist by day, which I fell into because I needed to do something than being a messenger or moving man, which I did in my early 20s. At one job I started teaching myself how to use the small Mac they had in the back room, and it went on from there.

What makes Tim Hall Sad? Mad?

Cruelty of any kind makes me unspeakably sad, so I try to avoid it. Our current political/media culture, that glorifies welfare to billionaires while demonizing the poor and unlucky as “lazy” makes me enraged. When Rupert Murdoch dies I’m going to find out where he’s buried and leave a mess on his grave. I hate bullies.

How did you get the idea for Dead Stock?

It’s based on an old story fragment that I wrote more than 20 years ago, which I found in a box at my mom’s house a few years back and started rewriting from scratch. I don’t remember the inspiration for that fragment, but I was reading a lot of James Ellroy, Elmore Leonard, Sue Grafton and Lawrence Block that summer, I remember.

Is Bert Shambles anything like you?

Yes and no. I also grew up rather poor, from a broken home, but I was never in trouble with the law or owned a cool car. The most we have in common is that he wants to get off Long Island, just as I did when I was his age. Also, he’s much more genuinely sweet than I am.

How did you hear of Cozy Cat Press?

My agent was trying to sell DEAD STOCK for more than a year, but although the major houses loved the sound of it, they all turned it down once they learned it was a male protagonist—a real no-no in Cozy Land, but also the real why I wanted a male character…I love cozies and just wanted to read something that would appeal to a reader like myself!

What do you want people to know about Tim Hall?

I didn’t do it.

Give us a final statement that sums up your life.

I am truly the luckiest guy in the world, and extremely, absurdly happy. Don’t let the sometimes bristly exterior fool you. I’d live forever if I could.

Tim can be found right here on this blog.  Visit our author pages.

 

Revisiting Our Interview with Lisa K’s Book Reviews

We decided we should re-blog a post from a year ago highlighting reviewer,  Lisa A. Kelley from Lisa K’s Book Reviews. Find out what happens in the day of a reviewer.

A big thank you to Cozy Cat Chronicles for                                                                                                                                               inviting me. I consider it an honor to be here.4995372-32995302_20-v1.jpga

 

My name is Lisa A. Kelley and I’m a cozy mystery book reviewer and blogger. My blog is Lisa Ks Book Reviews. I’m a major animal lover and never remember life without at least one dog being in it. I love everything that has to do with cupcakes. I also love to take a day and just go out and take random photos. I’ve been slacking on that however since I started my blog. 

 

Ah yes, my blog. How it got started: About 4 years ago I went through a very long reading dry spell – over a year long. My sister, who is also a big reader, couldn’t stand seeing me not reading. So, she handed me a cozy mystery about a cupcake bakery and told me to give it a try. What did I have to lose? Oh. My. Goodness! I was in love with that book! I went back and read everything the author wrote. Cozy mysteries were now coursing through my blood. 

 

Next came the joy of discovering new authors. The more I read those wonderful books/series, the more I wanted to know about the authors. So I got online and started looking and researching. And thank you Facebook, I started interacting with the authors and learning so much about them.

 

One important thing I learned was how crucial it is to write a review. Authors count on reviews (good ones) to help them keep writing. Those numbers and the pre-order and first week sales mean everything to authors, their publishers, and us readers, if we want to see the books/series we love continue.

 

I started writing reviews for everything I read and posted them on Amazon. The only place I knew of at the time, but now I post to at least six different sites, not counting my blog. But when I wasn’t reading or writing a review, I found myself bored. I’m on disability, so I’m home all the time. I thought there must be more I could do.

 

July 3, 2013, I started my blog. My first review was posted and I actually got a comment on it from a reader! A reader who to this day, still follows my blog and I’m happy to call friend.

 

Then I interviewed my first author. Then I did my first giveaway. Then an author approached me asking to be on my blog! Wow, I was stunned. And now just over two years later, I feel like I’ve been doing this all my life. Like I was born to do it.

 

Now, it’s my mission in life (Dramatic sounding I know), to do whatever I can to help cozy mystery authors get the word out about their books, to help readers like myself to find new and wonderful titles, and to just continue having a grand time with the wonderful readers and authors I have come to know.

 

I’m looking forward to riding more of this wonderful ride, and I hope you will join me on my journey!      

Make sure you visit Lisa’s Blog.                       

Two Cozy Cat Press authors nominated

 

AURORA, Ill.Sept. 3, 2016 — Independent publisher of mystery books, Cozy Cat Press, today announced that two of its authors––Alice K. Boatwright and Vicki Vass––have been announced as finalists in Chanticleer’s Murder and Mayhem Novel Writing Contest for 2016. Boatwright’s mystery Under an English Heaven and Vass’s Murder by the Spoonful are the books being honored.

According to Cozy Cat Press publisher, Patricia Rockwell, “We are extremely proud of Alice and Vicki.  The Murder and Mayhem contest is one that is quite meaningful to us because it honors cozy mysteries specifically.  The fact that two of our authors have been selected as finalists for this prize, is especially gratifying.”

Alice K. Boatwright’s book, Under an English Heaven, is her first Ellie Kent mystery and her first book with Cozy Cat Press. She is also the author of Collateral Damage, three novellas about the long-term impact of the Vietnam War, which won the 2013 Bronze Award for Literary Fiction from the Independent Publisher Book Awards. She formerly lived in the Cotswolds for several years, and now divides her time between the U.S. and Paris.

Vicki Vass has written more than 1,400 articles for The Chicago Tribune as well as Women’s World, The Daily Herald and Home & Away. Her science fiction novel, The Lexicon, was inspired by her journeys in the jungle of Sudan, Africa, while writing about the ongoing civil war for World Relief. She has also authored Killer Finds, Pickin’ Murder, and Key to a Murder in her Antique Hunters Mystery series with Cozy Cat, as well as a new series Gem Hunter. She lives outside Chicago, with her writer, musician, husband Brian, their 20-year old son Tony, kittens Pixel and Terra, Australian shepherd Bandit, seven koi and Gary the turtle.

For more information about these and other cozy mystery authors, and about Cozy Cat Press, readers may visit the company’s website:  www.cozycatpress.com. For more information about Chanticleer’s Murder and Mayhem contest: http://www.chantireviews.com/2016/08/18/the-mms-chanticle….

 

 

Book of the Month

Hi everyone!

Where did August go and why did the temperature change overnight? Suddenly, I’m sleeping longer in the morning and feeling chilled even when it’s still warm outside. That’s what autumn does to a person. For many, this is the best time of year. It isn’t mine but then I tend to be a bit of a killjoy. As each day gets cooler and each leaf flutters to the ground, my mind suddenly fills with pictures of blowing snow and icy roads. Sorry about that!

There is, however, something to look forward to every month of the year – whether it’s 35*Celsius (very hot) or -25*Celsius (very cold) – and that is my Book of the Month!

September’s book on Kindle for 99 cents is calamity@thecarwash.

A marital spat at a car wash turns deadly – and Mabel Wickles, Parson’s Cove’s amateur sleuth, isn’t buying the claim that the victim’s wife bashed him over the head with a brick. However, when the woman confesses to the murder, Mabel decides to investigate the crime herself – along with help from her best friend Flori, her cat Sammy, and a busload of senior citizens.

Not Great!

And I know I have your attention because there are so many things in life that are ‘not great.’ For example, it could be the weather. Right now, my husband is in bed with  heat exhaustion. We live in a part of the world where it’s so cold in the winter that by March, you are starting to dream about heat. At that point, you doubt you could ever get warm and you would be thrilled to just sit and sweat. Well, guess what? You get heat for three months and you are longing to get cooled down again. Of course, there are other aspects of the weather that are not great either – like tornadoes and flooding.

I’m thinking of something else though and that’s getting older. Now, I know it’s inescapable so there’s no point in moaning about all our aches and pains. Today, I’m dealing with one depressing truth about aging and that’s your memory. Where the heck does it go?? Friends tell me that I have an amazing memory. And it’s true, I can remember when I was a very small child. Many memories are so fresh, it seems like yesterday and not seventy years ago. So, you ask, what’s your problem, lady?

I’ll tell you my problem: Why can’t I remember things that I did a couple of days ago? Or even yesterday when I told my husband that I’d put his phone in a certain place? Why was it somewhere else where I was sure it wasn’t? Now, you know my problem.

What is bringing all this to my mind? As I started to check some of my past blogs, I noticed something. In May, my book Perplexity on P 1/2 was on for 99 cents. No, that can’t be! It is August’s Book of the Month. Surely, I couldn’t have put the same book on only a few months apart. I do have six Parson’s Cove mysteries so why would I keep repeating one book? I’ll tell you why – I am over seventy and have a lousy memory!

On the other hand, I might be able to get away with a few things. Who can get upset with a senior who sports a blank look on her face when she’s in trouble? I wouldn’t try it with a big tough traffic cop though – you might end up having to forfeit your driver’s license.

So, as far as I can remember, my two books on sale this month for 99 cents are Perplexity on P 1/2 (which I’m sure you remember was for that price in May) and Sarah’s Valley. If you didn’t get them then, you’d better get them now because who knows when I’ll remember to put them on special again!

https://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Rose/e/B00BL8HTZY/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

Another tough one…

Hello everyone! It’s the second Thursday of the month. I’ve had one month to prepare for today’s blog. What am I doing? It will be Thursday in a couple of hours and I’m wondering what on earth I’m going to write.

How do people write a blog every day? Bloggers are amazing people. Their brains must be bursting with ideas. Do those thoughts pile up in their minds overnight and then as soon as their eyes open, they sit down and words coming bubbling forth onto the computer screen? The thing is you can’t write fiction. I could sit down and write fiction every day, no problem. Much different to write down real thoughts and feelings. Who even wants to do that? Not me. Well, maybe once a month is okay.

I have to admit I don’t have time to read very many blogs every day. I do enjoy two of my friends’ blogs though – Julie Seedorf and Blanche Manos. Their blogs are sometimes about books but much of the time they write about deep feelings, family, friends, or tests of faith. I’m always impressed and come away with an emotion – it might be happy, sad, but generally reflective. My hat is off to these two talented writers.

Today was a special day for me. I spent it with my daughter. Of course, that is always special as most mothers understand. However, today was different in that I accompanied my daughter to an appointment at one of our hospitals. It was something that I had to have  when I was her age.At that time, she worked at the hospital so I was relieved that she could come with me. Fortunately, our healthcare system is much more advanced than it was many years ago. Sadly, ultra sound was not available for my mother and she succumbed to uterine cancer many years ago. I was a survivor and my daughter will be carefully monitored. Sometimes the ‘good old days’ were not ‘good’ in many ways.

Soon July will be over. This month’s BOOK OF THE MONTH is Slip and Go Die. My historical fiction, The Widow’s Walk, is also 99 cents for July.

http://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Rose/e/B00BL8HTZY/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

Self-Induced Solitary Confinement

out of charge

By Julie Seedorf

I had my week planned. I was cat sitting my grandkitties, and I would be alone the entire week. My plan was to write, write and write some more and finish my next book.

I arrived at my daughter’s house on Sunday after coming back from my son’s house and his wedding in Iowa. That meant we had traveled for hours. I left my husband at home so he could get ready for a few days fishing up north and then I proceeded north myself to cat sit.

I was ready. After my daughter and her husband left for the airport at 5:30 a.m. I went back to bed intending to get a few more hours sleep. I did wake up again at 8 o’clock and had no energy to pursue anything but laying on the couch, reading and watching television and taking a nap. The only thing I did that day was feed the cats, change the litter box and scrounge in the fridge for food, being too lazy to go to the grocery store. I was tired. I was detailed out.

The next morning I woke up somewhat more energized. I made it to the grocery store and stocked up on food for a few days. When I got back to my grandkitties, I again sat on the couch and read a book. I would write later in the day. Their couch is very comfy and again I took a nap.

By Wednesday I figured out I needed the time to rest. I needed a week away from noise, looking at all the repairs and housework that was needed at my house, and away from the noise of social media and the all the details of my life.

We don’t think of all the details we take care of on a daily basis that exhaust us emotionally and physically. For me that means interacting on social media, writing, cleaning, taking care of my outside plants, washing dishes, cleaning toilets and sending cards to those who have died and have birthdays and are sick. It means cleaning litter boxes and feeding cats and buying groceries. It means remembering all my grandchildren’s birthdays and kid’s birthdays and finding the appropriate presents. It means paying bills, figuring my meager checkbook and keeping track of schedules.

My social media schedule includes everyday interacting with my readers and other authors via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and other sites. It means promoting my books, scheduling interviews, doing interviews, writing guest blog posts, writing my own blog, keeping up with my website and doing promotion for another business and keeping my Amazon author page up to date. It also means reading books by other authors whose books aren’t out yet. We read our friends work to make sure it makes sense before it is published or if it needs a short blurb for the cover. We all share our work so we can make it the very best.

Details rule my life, and because there are so many my old head spins round and round. You might tell me that is my own choosing, and it is. It is now my career and all that comes with it, and I do love my career. It is my dream job. But I realized I was tired and needed to rest instead of write so my brain could churn out creativity again.

My planned writing retreat became a solitary time to rest, reflect and rejuvenate. I saw a quote on the day I was to begin my solitary week and it said: “If you want to be strong learn to enjoy being alone.”

As an only child, I didn’t like being alone. I always surrounded myself with friends. As an adult, I didn’t like going anywhere alone and I always made sure I had someone with me. Alone by myself was not a place I liked to be. As I grow older, I find that I like being with myself from time to time. As a young adult, I think my fear of being alone was because alone I might have to contemplate my life — who I was and whether I liked myself. It was easier to be in the noise than to look at myself and the qualities I didn’t like or look at what was happening in my life that I didn’t want to face. And I felt weak alone.

Last summer I spent three weeks cat sitting with my grandcats, and I learned many things about myself. I don’t mind spending time with me or taking a retreat by myself. I can shed off the details and rest and reflect. I can eat when I want to eat, sleep when I want to sleep and write, paint or go out and learn a new craft. I can wallow in reading or television or take a solitary walk and enjoy nature. I become in touch with me again because I get lost in the details of life during the year. I knew it was something I had to do again and was excited when given the chance to do it this year again.

On my “me” fweek this year, I did manage to write but it was late at night. When the urge hit I could pick up my computer and pound away and not disturb anyone. I could sleep in and know no one would be coming to the door and I wouldn’t be disturbed by the phone or others in the house. I could drink a glass of wine in the morning on the porch and have a cup of coffee in the evening and stay up late watching the strawberry moon. I was free to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it.

Now I am ready to be back in the real world with others and hopefully I will be a better person to be around because I have again become in touch with me.

If you get a chance I would recommend a solitary retreat to everyone. It might change your life.

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