“ADAPTING TO HOLLYWOOD”

Sisters in Crime, an organization of crime writers and readers, sponsored a conference last weekend to teach us the inner workings of the TV and movie industry.  My takeaway is that Hollywood is like a blender of money that someone took the lid off and turned on.

The conference started with a presentation by Pam Veasey, executive producer of CSI:NY and CSI: Cyber, on how to pitch your book series to Hollywood. At the end of the day we would be pitching our series to producers and agents for possible adaptation to TV or a feature film, and she wanted us to be ready. She told us that producers, agents, studios would rather have a published book, than an idea. And that we’re storytellers, so we should tell a story, rather than outline a plot.  Don’t pitch dialog.  Pitch action.

All the panelists made it clear that they do not want anything coming in over the transom.   Trust me, authors asked about that in each session.  Remember the phrase, “have your people call my people”?   Yep, that’s how it works.

I’ll jump ahead here and tell you my pitch went really well, if I do say so myself.  She said she loved the premise of my series.  (Three former Georgia beauty queens start a detective agency and, because they haven’t told their husbands, have to meet their clients at the local Cracker Barrel.)  She even took the books to read.  Then she emailed on Wednesday to say that my books were “a fun romp,” but not for her.  Though my series wasn’t chosen, just pitching was a wonderful experience.

For successful projects, having your series or book optioned is the next step.  The option buyer has a period of time to exercise the option and then begin production.  By far most optioned projects never see the light of day.  Some books are optioned 8 or 10 or 12 times, and never made.

Let’s say, your work will be going into production, the next step is hiring a screenwriter.  Most contracts include some amount of collaboration with the author.  EVERY speaker that covered this said that how the author communicated with the screenwriter and producer, and responded to their comments determined the extent of their involvement.

Some authors want to try writing screen plays themselves.  Author, and now screenwriter, Megan Abbott, said that she didn’t read books on script writing because they made her anxious.  Instead, she read all the high quality scripts she could get her hands on.  However, another speaker recommended Pam Douglas’  Writing the TV Drama Series.

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Hollywood is such a different world and it was fascinating to have a peek inside – but I wouldn’t want to live there.  On the downside, I found how they ignored new media unsettling.  Something about it felt familiar. Oh, yeah.  Remember when Crown Books and Borders thought no one would ever be interested in that little Amazon thing?    And then all the agents and publishers poo-pooing indie writers?  Hmmm.

I loved hanging out with author friends I don’t see that often, and making new friends.  We’ve promised to keep in touch and we meant it – because this isn’t Hollywood.

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A New Year, A New Book, A New Giveaway!

by Julie Seedorf

Happy New Year from the crew at The Cozy Cat Chronicles! This blog began in the middle of the year and we have had our ups and downs. We are still fine tuning the blog. We hope you have investigated all the writers of this blog and their fine books. Stay tuned for 2016. We hope to grow and become a firm presence in your life.

I have been busy over the past few months finishing my new book, The Penderghast Puzzle Protectors. The residents of Brilliant Minnesota, which is the name of my new series, have been hit with a series of strange burglaries, someone is stealing pieces of their hardwood floors. They form a group to help the local police solve the mystery and the puzzle of Brilliant Minnesota that the founders left behind. There are twists and turns, a few dead bodies and lots of fun  you might not expect. Hopefully the new book will be out sometime in February.

I also am excited to announce that all four of my Fuchsia Minnesota Series books are now out in Audiobook. Since it is the New Year and my goal for today is to finish the last read of The Penderghast Puzzle Protectors before sending it off to the publisher, I am going to make this blog short and offer a random giveaway.

All you have to do is comment on this blog and after midnight tonight (of course, I am not staying up) I will choose eight winners, if we have eight comments or more to receive a copy of one of my four audiobooks. I will be giving away 2-Granny Hooks A Crook, 2- Granny Skewers A Scoundrel, 2- Granny Snows A Sneak and 2-Granny Forks A Fugitive. You can comment about the New Year, the old year or how you are feeling today or be silly and tell a clean joke, or whatever. Make sure it is G-rated or it will be deleted. Make sure you share this website with a friend so they can enter too.

I hope you also connect with all of us on our own blogs, sign up for our newsletters and check out our books. Start the New Year right with a Cozy Mystery. Reviewer Lisa A. Kelley  likes Granny and I wanted to also invite you to visit her website where you can view her reviews and find new books to keep you reading. Thank you Lisa Kelley  945880_10153887042942792_1484111262765586949_nfor supporting Cozy Authors and for the shout out and pictures of my books on your blog today.

Don’t forget to comment.

 

Cooking Cozy Authors

The holidays are upon us.  Let’s impress, without the stress! Here are 3 easy recipes to do just that-

Patricia Rockwell’s Family Favorite Green Beans

Someone once said Thanksgiving was turkey served with 17 carbs. I’m always on the lookout for a noncarb side dish. Here’s an easy one from Patricia Rockwell, author of the Essie Cobb Senior Sleuth Mysteries, GHOSTED.

Sauté chopped bacon and add some chopped onions and continue to sauté until browned.  Add several cans of green beans with juice and simmer for several hours.

Susan Spencer-Smith, author of Corpse in the Cookery.  These recipes are from her cookbook, THE PREACHER LADY’S COOKBOOK FOR THE HUNGRY HEART.

I love that the corn pudding can be made with frozen corn. Check out this punch recipe.  For years it seemed like someone was always pregnant during the holidays. I got in the habit of having something nice as a nonalcoholic drink. I was happy to see this recipe for Cranberry Punch.

Corn Pudding

20 oz. frozen kernel corn, about 4¼ c.

4 eggs, beaten

2 c. milk or light cream

⅓ c. finely chopped onion

¾ tsp. salt

⅛ tsp. pepper

2 tsp. sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter large casserole dish. In large bowl combine all ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Pour into prepared dish. Bake 1 hour or until set.

Cranberry Punch

4 c. cranberry juice

¼ c. sugar

4 c. pineapple juice

1 T. almond extract

8 c. ginger ale

In large container combine cranberry juice, sugar, pineapple juice and almond extract. Chill. Add ginger ale just before serving.

Here’s one of my recipes. These flavors really pair nicely with Thanksgiving’s usual suspects. Enjoy!

Oven Roasted Grapes with Salad Greens

3 cups seedless red and white grapes (about 1 pound), halved crosswise

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Small red onion, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red-wine vinegar

4 cups mixed small greens such as baby kale, baby Swiss chard, red mustard, or red mizuna

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Arrange red and white grapes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt. Bake until grapes have shrunk to about half their size but are still juicy, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Let cool.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onions for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, and cook until onions are golden brown, about 2 minutes more. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Flip onions, and season with a pinch of salt. Cook, flipping, until onions are tender and browned on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in vinegar and remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Stir in red & white grapes. Let stand for 20 minutes or more.Top greens with the grapes and onions just before serving.

More recipes from cozy mystery authors can be found in COZY FOOD. I have two super easy appetizer recipes in there.

Mish Mash Wednesday! Sales, Books and Thank You.

Photo from ClaraDon Flickr
Photo from ClaraDon Flickr

Today is a day to give thanks to our Veterans. We here at The Cozy Cat Chronicles would like to say thank you to all those that served and sacrificed and continue to sacrifice for us each day so that we can have the freedom we do today.

 

 

 

We don’t have a guest post today so this is our chance to highlight some of the things going in the lives of the Cozy Cat Chronicles authors.

 

Scent of a SwindleAuthor Joyce Oroz has a new book released by Cozy Cat Press. It is called Scent of a $windle. Visit Joyce Blog or pick up a copy on Amazon.

 

 

 

 

GrannySkewers

Julie Seedorf has her book Granny Skewers A Scoundrel on sale for .99 until November 28.

 

 

 

 

 

mise_Diane Weiner has Murder Is Elementary  on sale for .99.

 

 

 

 

Cold_Case_ConundrumStop in to Sharon Rose Mierke’s Blog and see what she is up to this week. Sharon is the author of the Parson Cove Mysteries. Her latest book is the Cold Case Conundrum and is on sale for .99.

 

 

 

 

 

A_Nate_To_Remember

Barbara Jean Coast is working on her new mystery, so if you need to catch up here is her latest and greatest, A Nate To Remember.

 

 

 

 

Pickin_Murder-3Vicki Vass Tedeschi has a new book out published by Cozy Cat Press. Pickin’ Murder is part of her Antique Hunters Series.

 

 

 

 

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Amy Beth Arkawy , author of  Killing Time and Dead Silent also has her own Blog Talk Radio Show. Her show features a wide variety of topics. Some of our Cozy Cat Press Authors guest from time to time. Here is her interview with our own Vicki Vass. Blog Talk Radio.

These are just a few things happening with some of our Cozy Cat Authors. Subscribe to our page and get the latest news on new releases from our 12 authors along with specials they might run for the holidays.

 

 

LETTERS_FRONT_1800pxStop in at Rita Seedorf’s website and see what she is up to today. Her latest book is Letters From Brackham Woods.

 

 

 

 

The Baffled Beatlemanica CaperVisit Sally Carpenter’s Amazon Author Page and find out more about her mysteries. They will keep you reading long into the night.

 

 

 

 

51sAAnXc4qL__SX312_BO1,204,203,200_Visit Lane Stone books to keep up with Lane’s busy life. I have it on good authority that she is steeped deep in writing her next book. Her last book Current Affairs is deliciously delightful and mysterious.

 

 

 

 

Tie_DiedWe can’t for get about the talented Tim Hall. He too was a guest on Amy Beth Arkawy’s Blog Talk Radio show talking about literature and his Bert Shambles Mysteries.

 

 

 

 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00071]Leslie Matthews Stansfield is the author of the Madeline Teahouse Mysteries. Visit her Goodreads Author Page to learn more about Leslie.

 

 

 

 

Remember to thank a Veteran today.

GRADING SUMMER 2015 MOVIES

Time to say good-bye to summer. If you’re a movie lover like me, it’s also a time to look back at the second most important time of the year – summer movies.
My favorite was Ricki and The Flash. For me, this was a story about the incredibly high price you pay when you try to lead an authentic life. It’s hard and most people won’t understand you.
On the bottom of my list was Entourage. It was so bad I couldn’t get up and leave. Not clever, and even the bathroom humor was bad bathroom humor. Tomorrowland, however, I did leave in the middle of.
Among the action movies, I loved Mission Impossible, Rogue Nation. This franchise does what it does really well. Another fun movie was Man From U.N.C.L.E., which was part action movie, part period piece. Speaking of period pieces, Mr. Holmes was beautiful to watch but slooooow as molasses. The Gift had a classic scary movie vibe. Loved it, too. No Escape was exciting. Owen Wilson was seen as an unusual choice for the lead, but he pulled it off. Aloha starred Bradley Cooper, who never ceases to amaze me. I also saw Minions. Don’t judge me – I took pity on a friend whose wife was hosting her book club, leaving him with the two little girls. Sandra Bullock is such a good actress, even when she is only using her voice. Speaking of good actresses, Melissa McCarthy was wonderful in Spy.
Time to rest up for the Christmas movies!
Do let me know your favorite summer 2015 flick.

Lane

Enjoy:  http://www.rickiandtheflashmovie.com/site/

 

HOW NASA TAUGHT ME NOT TO FEAR LONG BOOKS

On December, 2014, NASA and I took arduous, successful, and fortunately for both of us, separate journeys. NASA’s Orion capsule left lower Earth orbit and climbed to 3,600 miles. That was a big deal, when you consider the International Space Station is about 250 miles from Earth.

And I read Eleanor Catton’s 830 page tome, THE LUMINARIES, winner of the Man Booker prize. The last time NASA ventured beyond lower Earth orbit was in 1972, when Apollo 17 went to the moon. It’s been about that long since I’ve read a book as long as THE LUMINARIES. It’s a masterpiece and I congratulate her. The setting is New Zealand, 1866. The story follows thirteen, disparate people working to solve a mystery, actually three mysteries that may or may not be related. It’s complicated – you might even say it’s rocket science.

The mathematical structure of the book has been widely talked about. The first chapter is the longest. The second is half the length of the first. The third is half the length of the second. And so on. Tension and pace build as the reader is propelled through the ugliness and decency of New Zealand’s gold rush. Some critics called this a gimmick, but I think it’s a message to the reader. Any idiot can go into the unknown, but treatment of the details will get you to your destination and back safely. The book has no sagging middle. It never loses altitude.

The scientists at NASA are no slouches at math, either. Four and a half hours after takeoff, Orion returned to Earth at a speed of 20,000 mph and came within a mile of its target.

In interviews, Catton discusses her interest in astrology. Her chapter headings give clues to the life of the point of view character for the section. Like, “Mercury in Pisces.” I have no idea what that means, but I do know that NASA plans for Orion to go to the house of Mars in the 2030’s.

The success of the mission seemed to give NASA a much needed confidence boost. I knew the feeling. Could I handle the 640 page BONE CLOCKS by David Mitchell? Was I ready?  I read it and I loved it, too. Two long books in a row and I lived to tell the tale.  Woohoo!

What’s the longest book you’ve read — or attempted to read?

Lane Stone, Tiara Investigations Mysteries

Follow Abby, The Menopause Dog on Twitter

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The Editing Pen

1545577_100200456993347_5454265566458776792_nToday D.A.  Sarac (aka Annie EditingPen) is the guest on our Blog.  She describes herself as a playwright, editor, mom

(Also a Scotland obsessed, British historical fan, black belt in Tae Kwon Do, very new runner trying to keep up with her track and cross-country running daughter.)

Annie started reading at age three and probably found her first grammatical error shortly thereafter. Following decades of haunting libraries and bookstores, the university world opened its expensive arms and welcomed her into its bookshelves. From watching her first play performed in college, to sitting through critiques and performances of her early works in graduate school, to directing and writing for her own theatre company in L.A., and finally to writing for a pretty popular dot com entertainment company, Annie thought it was time to offer her education and experience to other writers. Now the mother of an amazing daughter, who also began reading at age three, Annie is delighted to combine the world of books, words, red pens, and funny puns from around the Internet into a tidy Editing package.

“Some books leave us free and some books make us free.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is our interview with Annie.

Who is Annie Sarac?

I’m a combination of Mom, Playwright, Editor, and Observer.

 What kind of books do you like to review?

I love to review Cozy Mysteries, British Historical Fiction, non-fiction, and anything related to the Theatre.

When did you start the Editing Pen?

EditingPen.net is relatively new.  After reviewing so many books over the years, I saw a need for good editing. Since I could happily edit all day (but the day job gets in the way), I wanted to combine my writing degree, teaching background, and editing history into one pretty package.

​  What is different types of editing that you do? New authors are occasionally confused with the difference, can you explain?

There is proofreading, copyediting and line/substantive editing, and developmental editing. Each level has a higher involvement of attention. My proofreading covers grammar, sentence structure, punctuation, and some format cleanup, such as making sure your chapter headings and fonts are consistent, and ensuring the clean use of dashes, bullet points, and capitalization.

For the more daring author, I provide copyediting services, which include balancing sentence type and variety, eliminating unnecessary words, offering suggestions for sentence cleanup, clarifying phrases or confusing words, correcting modifiers, verifying paragraph sequence, and clarifying presentation of quotes, images, links, and style/author’s voice. And more.

Many authors choose the copyediting first, then finish off the project with a good proofread after all the changes and suggestions have been merged.

 Are there other author services that you offer?

Indeed I do. Before your project heads to the editing desk, you may need some developmental analysis. This stage provides a critique and analysis of Form, Style, and Structure, including Plot, Character, Thought/theme, Language, Melody, and Spectacle. I offer suggestions about the core intentions and goals of the story, underlying premise, character development, character through line, goals, obstacles, secondary characters, use of dialogue and sensory description, narrative voice, pacing, and tone.  The author can either have this along the margins of the draft, or as a written separate report.

I also love hosting blog tours so I can share the joy of finding new books to read.​

I am also here to offer chocolate truffle taste testing with honest reviews.

 What makes Annie sad? 

Not having any cookies in the house.  Actually, there are many things that make me sad, but then I’d get sad just thinking about them.

 What makes Annie glad? 

Lots of things make me glad and happy.  Hearing my daughter’s giggle, calling my dad and hearing his ‘high-lo’ greeting, remembering my trip to Scotland, setting up a new style guide for the next book to edit, watching one of my plays performed, and reaching for my cup of tea as I’m settling in with a good British mystery.

 

What makes Annie mad?

Injustice/unfair treatment. And when the internet goes down or if my car decides to misbehave.  Car problems bring about a curse word or two.

 

Do you have a favorite quote and how do you apply it to your life?

There are so many wonderful quotes out there and each has a place depending on what kind of day I’m having.  “Hand over the chocolate and no one gets hurt” is a good one.  “Do what ye will and it harm none.”  And “what goes around, comes around.”  I read those as don’t mess with other people’s business and other people (and the government) should stay out of my personal business, and be careful of what you do as it will swing back at you times three.

Coffee or Tea?

Tea.  English or Irish Breakfast with a wee bit of soy vanilla creamer.

Donuts? or Fruit?

Donuts.  Then a piece of fruit to take away some of the guilt. Then another donut because I had something healthy.

Is there anything else that you would like to say?

Yes.  A big thank you.  I have written many plays in my day, but not sure if I could tackle writing a book. So thank you to all the authors who give me hours and hours of such pleasure, entertainment, and inspiration. Both my daughter and I started reading at age three, and we have devoured so many books since then. We want more. So keep writing.

You can visit with Annie and find out about her services at: Sign up for Giveaways: www.editingpen.net
Follow me on Twitter:       https://twitter.com/EditingPen
Friend me on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/theEditingPen

 

 

The Mystery of the 25 Year Old Cake

Lane Stone
Lane Stone

When Larry & I got married 25 years ago, the tradition was to freeze the top layer of your wedding cake, and eat it on your first anniversary. Do couples still do that? Just wondering. Would someone please post and let me know? We froze it, and then left it in that state.

Anyway, our cake has moved with us from home to home, freezer to freezer. Almost every time I put food in or got food out of the freezer I saw it and thought, “We really should do something about that.” Larry NEVER noticed it. Now this is a guy that can tell you to the ounce how much ice cream he has left. When he was in Vietnam he promised himself that if he got out of there, he’d have as much ice cream as he wanted, and so he eats ice cream every night. Once I went backpacking and came back to see he had filled the freezer with 11 cartons of ice cream. But he never noticed the big aluminum foil rectangle in the plastic bag. Go figure.

On Wednesday, I put the cake in the refrigerator to thaw. More out of respect for this culinary senior citizen, than for any health reason. Yesterday morning, I warned Larry he better not be late, told Larry how much I was looking forward to enjoying the cake with him.

After dinner last night, I brought the cake to the dining room table. As I opened the freezer bag, we both pulled back. I’m happy to report no noxious odors were emitted. Emboldened I pulled away the aluminum foil. It came off in tiny strips. The cake was hard as a rock. We stared at it for a minute then Larry said, “It’s held up amazingly well, just like us.”

Though the cake was like a block of concrete, the cream cheese frosting still felt like cream cheese. I tasted a bit of it. Thought I would die. Horrible. The cake was dried out and I gave up trying to eat it. I still had the taste of the icing in my mouth and wanted to go to the emergency room. Being too embarrassed to admit I had eaten 25 year old anything kept me home. I’m fine now. Thanks for asking.

“What do we do with it now?” Larry, which in Swahili means, ‘he who is afraid to eat 25 year old frosting,’ asked.

I realized I hated to think of our freezer without our wedding cake in it. So I wrapped it back up and we returned it to its rightful place. And there it will stay until our 50th.

At Cozy Cat Press we believe in happy endings!

cake 4cake 3

Introducing the Cozy Cat Chronicles!

Hi there, guys and dolls! Today, I’d like to share with you a new adventure with some of my best author friends. Some of you may know all about them, but there may be a few new writers and stories for you to enjoy, so settle on in and do a little perusing yourself. Click on any of the highlighted phrases to go to the information mentioned.

First of all, there is the new blog, The Cozy Cat Chronicles. Here we’ll have a daily blog post from our various authors, plus a guest post once a week. The members of our blog site are:

Barbara Jean Coast – yours truly and author of the Poppy Cove Mystery Series.

Tim Hall – writer of the Bert Shambles Mysteries.

Sharon Rose Mierke  – storyteller of the Parson’s Cove Mystery Series.

Joyce Oroz – spinning yarns in the Josephine Stuart Mystery Series.

Julie Seedorf  – telling tales in the Fuschia, Minnesota Series.

Rita Seedorf  – pens the Moira Edwards Mysteries, along with Margaret Albi Verhoef.

Leslie Matthews Stansfield – scribes the Madeline’s Teahouse Mysteries.

Lane Stone – wordsmith of the Tiara Investigations Mysteries.

So there you have us in a nutshell. We’re still growing and shaping our site, but do come and play with us. To check out all of our books, click to here to find them.

Also, there is now The Cozy Cat Chronicles Facebook page and Twitter account, where you can interact with the authors, learn about our events, appearances, and featured and new releases from Cozy Cat Press, and some of our other mysterious friends. Do join in on the fun :-).

Toodles,

Barbara Jean

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