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Showing posts from June, 2009

An Interview with Laurien Bereson

Pamela: Lauren, tell us about the books you write and give us a little back story on how you became an author.

I write cozy mysteries about an amateur sleuth who teaches school, has two young children, and who breeds and shows Standard Poodles. The majority of the series revolves around the world of dogs in one way or another and I've tried to explore many different aspects--from breed competition to obedience, training, grooming, therapy dogs, and in the most recent book, doggie day care.

I have always been a writer. Even when I was five years old, I composed little "books" and bound them together with colored yarn. The process of becoming an author took considerably longer, however, and I guess the best way to explain how I became an author is to say that I simply kept writing books until one of them finally sold.

What type of writing schedule do you have?

It usually takes me about 7 months to write a book. I start in January and finish in August, just in time to start pro…

Summer Movies

Summer Movies

The movie KILLER HAIR, based on the book by Ellen Byerrum is a wonderful blend of mystery, wit and humor. I watched the movie and even if I were paid to say this which I am not it's the best movie since Hallmark came out with the Mystery Woman Mystery Movies.
Alicia Silverston, has found her niche and I hope Ellen has many more of the books in this series made into movies.
Lacey Smithsonian is the sleuth and ace columnist of our new mystery ear. Fashion, shoes, to die for hair smart and sassy does not cover Lacey, let's just say if I were ever murdered call Lacey and let the cell phone ring until she answers. Lifetime Movie Channel should be applauded for basing this new movie series on Lacey Smithsonian.
The setting is D.C. the fashion is fun and the hair salon is to die for or to die in but it doesn't matter because the movie is full of a fine cast and killer clues. This is the feel-good about murder movie of the year.

An Interview with Ellen Byerrum

Tell us about your writing schedule.
My schedule is changing since I left my full-time job as a reporter a few weeks ago. But when I worked, I would regularly visit a coffee shop, book store, or library. I’m trying to find my rhythm again.

Tell us about your books and where the idea came from for Lacey Smithsonian.
I was reading a lot of mysteries where the female sleuth was bright and clever and witty and could go mano-a-mano with the guys, but she didn’t know how to dress. It drove me crazy, so I came up with a fashion reporter who can read clues into what people wear. Naturally, she is wonderfully dressed and loves vintage clothing.

Okay, tell us about the movies and how KILLER HAIR and HOSTILE MAKEOVER went from the written page to made for television movies.
Sisters in Crime sponsored a conference on how to sell your book to Hollywood . After a great schedule of workshops, a studio tour, and an advanced showing of the Dexter premiere, along with about 80 writers, I pitched my book to …

Review of Killing Bridezilla by Laura Levine

Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Kensington; Reprint edition (April 1, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0758220448

Out of the blue, Jaine gets a call from her former high school tormentor - Patti. She wants Jaine to write her wedding vows for her. Well, Jaine needs the money, how bad can it be? The assignment? To re-write the Balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet to be more current and hip - not to mention with a happy ending. Turns out Patti is just as mean and cruel as she was in high school. She is the bridezilla from Hell and she actually HIRES a model as a bridesmaid because her "friend" didnt lose the weight she wanted.The list of people who hate her is long and when she is murdered during the wedding, the suspect list is long.

Jaine decides to investigate and learns a lot of dirty little secrets and just how horrible Patti was.
I really enjoyed this book (along with the rest of the series) and enjoyed revisiting the adventures of her lovely cat Prozac and the emails from her crazy parents. …

2008 Bram Stoker Awards

Superior Achievement in a NOVEL- DUMA KEY by Stephen King (Scribner)

Superior Achievement in a FIRST NOVEL- THE GENTLING BOX by Lisa Mannetti (Dark Hart Press)

Superior Achievement in LONG FICTION - MIRANDA by John R. Little (Bad Moon Books)

Superior Achievement in SHORT FICTION - THE LOST by SARAH Langan (Cemetery Dance chapbook)

Superior Achievement in an ANTHOLOGY - UNSPEAKABLE HORROR by Vince A. Liaguno and Chad Helder (Dark Scribe Press)

Superior Achievement in a COLLECTION - JUST AFTER SUNSET by Stephen King (Scribner)

Superior Achievement in NONFICTION - A HALLOWE'EN ANTHOLOGY by Lisa Morton (McFarland)

Superior Achievement in POETRY - THE NIGHTMARE COLLECTION by Bruce Boston (Dark Regions Press)

The trophy, which resembles a miniature haunted house, was designed by author Harlan Ellison and sculptor Steven Kirk.

HWA also presented its annual Lifetime Achievement Awards and its Specialty Press Award. F. Paul Wilson and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, who both received Lifetime Achievement Awa…

Review - Dare to Die by Carolyn G Hart

Title: DARE to DIE
Author: Carolyn Hart
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Series Mystery
ISBN: 978-0-06-145303-8

Iris Tilford, returned home to Broward's Rock, to right a wrong. Iris hasn't been able to shed the night many years ago of the death of a friend. The truth is a lot of people would like nothing better than to forget what happened to Joycelyn that night. The week before her death Joycelyn's brother had died of an overdose of drugs. Then Joycelyn they said slipped or maybe took her own life a week latr. But Iris, thinks that somewhere between life and death lies the truth and that she holds the key to what really happened that long ago night.

Iris, has been going to AA and NA and she feels she must make ammends but she also feels that the truth about Joycelyn is more murky
and even if she muddies the waters the truth must be sought.
Annie, meets Iris and befriends this lonely shell of a woman. She instantly likes her and invites her to a party at the pavillion. Iris

Review - Doggie Day Care Murder by Laurien Berenson

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Kensington; Reprint edition (August 4, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0758216068

Melanie Travis is a new mother (again) and very very tired when her friend Alice decides to go back to work. Alice wants to sign her dog up at the local dog daycare center but she wants Melanie to check it out first since she knows more about dogs than she does. Well, that leads to Melanie being there when one of the owners' dead body turns up. And Melanie is once again doing her amateur sleuthing.

I have enjoyed every book of this series. I love the characters and the dogs. LOL This one Went really fast for me because I did actually pickup on many clues and activitely figured out the motive. Doesnt always happen for me, so it was fun.

Guest Blogger - Jessica Conant-Park

Ah, the life of an author… Pouring creative energy in manuscripts, never out of plot points, confident in our abilities to engage the reader, lucrative contract after contract line up… Ha! Hardly. For most of us, being a writer is a lot tougher. Especially these days, when book deals are getting harder and harder to come by. I’ve spent the past few years writing the Gourmet Girl series, safely tucked away in the security of a three-book and then a two-book deal. But now I’m in foreign territory that I not so affectionately call, “The Hideous Wait.” I’ve finished out my Gourmet Girl books and have written a YA book that my lovely agent has sent off to ten publishers. How exciting, right? Um, no. Terrifying, nerve-wracking, nauseating (on some days), and miserable. There is simply nothing fun about waiting for rejection.

Yes, I know, I shouldn’t assume the book won’t get picked up. It’s a good book, too, if I do un-modestly say so myself, and I hope beyond hope that it gets published. Bu…

Review - The Stalking Lamb by Marian Babson

Author: Marian Babson
Paperback Mystery
Published: 1974

Sister's Ginny and Amy join their friend Belle when Belle returns home to England. For Amy and Ginny this is a vacation adventure of lifetime. Belle leaves her two friends while she travels to visit her grandmother. So Ginny and Amy take in all the sights but one day Ginny refuses to budge as she wants to stay in bed. She's is tired and doesn't want to go sight seeing or to a movie, certainly not to lunch.
Amy takes off on her own and before she knows it she has met a charming stranger named Aaron. Soon Aaron is a fixture with Amy and his friend Zlot has taken up with her sister Ginny. The four of them party and have great fun together. Then one day Amy and Ginny discover they have been robbed except it isn't their things missing but all the beautiful and expensive things in the home that Belle's family uses when they visit London. It could only be Aaron and Zlot who h…

Review - State of the Onion by Julie Hyzy

AUTHOR: Julie Hyzy
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
White House Chef Mystery Series
ISBN: 978-0-425-21869-3

White House Assistant Chef Olivia Para's, (Ollie) to her friends and coworkers found the perfect gift for retiring White House Chef Henry Cooley a commemorative silver frying pan. Too bad the Secret Service Agents had to confiscate the pan when Ollie had to use it to stop a White House Intruder before he could get to the President Of the United States.
Still the intruder aptly named (Naveen) is stopped and arrested, the excitement doesn't end there as by the end of the day Ollie has more on her plate than she can handle. Naveen told her that he had to get a message to the President, her Secret Service Agent boyfriend (Tom MacKenzie) warns her to stay out of snooping into what has been dubbed a top secret mission by the Secret Service. Of course all is not going smoothly in the kitchen as Ollie is one of two nominated to replace Henry as Exceutive White …

Guest Blogger - Nancy J. Cohen -- Writing in Multiple Worlds


Plotting a mystery for me is very different from how I plot a fantasy romance. With a mystery, I’ll start with the setting or the victim. Perish by Pedicure, for example, was inspired by my attendance at a beauty trade show in Orlando. I took notes that later became the basis for my research. Having decided to set the story at a hair show, I relocated it to Fort Lauderdale.
Here we find Marla Shore, my hairdresser sleuth, taking a job as assistant hairstylist at a beauty show. She’s employed by Luxor Products and sees this as a stepping stone to career advancement. It’s her first such experience and she wants to make a good impression with her new colleagues, including an old college friend.

Now for the victim. On Marla’s second day at the job, the company director is found dead. Determining the suspects is easy. Who are the victim’s friends, family, and associates? Who has something to gain by the victim’s death…

Review - Witch in the House by Jenna McKnight

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Avon (September 25, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0060843691

Jade is a witch. She has a good track record with her spells. One day she casts a spell for a client and one for herself at the same time. Only the candlewax of both run together blending the spells. When Matt shows up at her door, she tries desperately to use her magic to make him go away. Meanwhile he has his own purpose to being there.

This was a charming story, with romance, magic, humor, snowmen galore, and a Pierce Brosnan look-a-like hero. A very fun, entertaining read.

Review - Miss Julia Delivers the Goods

Title: Miss Julia Delivers the Goods
Author: ANN B. ROSS
ISBN: 978-0-670-02065-2
Genre-Cozy Series Mystery

Hazel Marie is feeling poorly, she can't keep anything down and she is losing weight and she is tired all of the time. Miss Julia is worried enough to escort her to the doctor. A battery of tests are ran and soon Hazel Marie finds herself in a hospital bed and what they find wrong with Hazel Marie is scandalize in Miss Julia's eye.
Then right when Julia thinks her plate is full enough to feed China, her husband Sam has HIS house broken into and what is missing could cause a lot of scandal for a lot of folks. His taped interviews and files on certain people who live in the county and wouldn't want their dirty laundry aired is what's missing. Well wouldn't you know J.D. Pickens the best detective and investiagator around has up and moved. But Sam tracks him down and soon J.D. is staying at Sam's house and is on the case. That is wi…

Guest Bloggers - Joyce and Jim Lavene

What is YOUR good luck charm?

A very popular writer friend of mine, who would kill me if I mentioned her name here, confessed recently that she has a lucky habit. When she sends in a new manuscript to her editor, she includes a dried four-leaf clover somewhere in the packaging. She claims she hasn’t had a book rejected in 10 years because of it. That’s quite a feat!

While I won’t mention my friend’s name (she kills people in her books in excruciatingly painful ways), it made me think about writers and their habits.

Writing is not only a lonely occupation; it’s a very insecure one. I don’t know anyone, from NY Times bestselling authors, to those hovering on the brink of their first advance, who don’t bite their nails waiting to hear back from editors and agents. No one is EVER really sure if they’ll be able to sell their next book.

I have friends who have been published for years, only to have their agents dump them or their editors retire, leaving them to the tender mercies of people who …