Nancy's Notes From Florida

Cover Reveal – Box Set Five

January 15, 2022

Box Set Five, the final set in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries Box Set Collection, will launch on February 15, 2022! Take a look at this fabulous cover by Kim Killion from The Killion Group. It reflects the book’s setting that starts out over the December holidays with the first title.

BHD Box Set 5

Copyright © 2021 by Nancy J. Cohen
Published by Orange Grove Press
Digital ISBN: 978-1-952886-20-1
Cover Design by The Killion Group, Inc.
Digital Layout by Formatting4u.com

In this trio of adventures, Marla solves a murder at her day spa in the midst of the December holidays, investigates her best friend’s suspicious car accident, and enters a bake-off contest at a farm festival where she discovers a dead body in the strawberry field. She even saves a neighbor and her pet from a cat-astrophe in a bonus short story.

Tuesday, Feb. 15, 7:00 – 8:00 pm EST, Book Launch Party with Fun & Prizes at Cozy Mystery Launch Party site on Facebook – SAVE THE DATE!

Included in this Volume:

FACIALS CAN BE FATAL
During the frenzy of the December holidays, the last thing salon owner Marla Vail needs is a dead body slathered in a green facial mask at her new day spa. Hoping to salvage her reputation, she determines to track down the killer. Gold Medal Winner in the Readers’ Favorite Book Awards 

HAIR BRAINED
When hairstylist Marla Vail’s best friend, Tally, is hurt in a suspicious car accident, Marla assumes guardianship of her infant son. She launches an investigation while praying for her friend’s recovery. First Place Winner in the Chanticleer International Book Awards 

HAIRBALL HIJINKS (Short Story)
A cat, a crook, and a confused neighbor cause mirth in this cozy mystery short story.

TRIMMED TO DEATH
Savvy hairstylist Marla Vail enters a charity bake-off contest at a fall festival sponsored by a local farm. While she waits to see if her coconut fudge pie is a winner, she finds a dead body planted face-down in the strawberry field.

GET YOUR COPY HERE

Add to Goodreads TBR List

Click Here if you want to get caught up in the entire Box Set series.

Box Sets

Do you prefer print, ebook, or audiobook? Leave a comment below and I’ll do a drawing for a free copy of Box Set One on next Friday.

 



• Posted in Blog • Tags: , , , , |  6 Comments


Disney Doings

January 13, 2022

We visited Disney World twice in December for double the pleasure. First we visited Magic Kingdom. The magic got somewhat lost on our twenty-minute trek from the parking lot back in the wilds to the ticket and transportation center. No trams meant an unexpected hike. Then more walking until you get to the actual entrance. We decided to wait in line for the Jungle Cruise ride since we hadn’t been on the latest version, but after a crowded wait where we were packed into lines with no social distancing (we wore masks), we had to leave for our lunch reservation.

   Magic Kingdon        Jungle cruise

 

   

We had a delicious meal at Liberty Tree Tavern that’s essentially a turkey dinner with a gooey toffee dessert. This was almost worth the angst in getting there.

       

After lunch, the park was getting more crowded and the skies cloudier. We quit to head back to the parking lot. Naturally the monorail wasn’t working and we had to take the ferry. Finally made it back to our parking lot in the land of the forgotten and were rained on before reaching our car. Not the most magical experience this day. I will not return here until the trams are running again or else we’ll have to pay extra for preferred parking.

Our day at Disney Springs was better. We met our kids for an anniversary lunch at Paddlefish which was very enjoyable. Here’s my clam chowder and crab cake meal.

     

We strolled around to view the Christmas trees. There wasn’t any defined trail like in previous years. These were scattered among the stores.

         

We passed a concert by a band and watched our grandson on a train ride with his mom. Not sure which one of them loved it more.

       

Next trip, if we care to brave the crowds, will be Epcot for the food booths at the arts festival. I’d definitely get the preferred parking although it grates on my nerves to have to pay extra when the free trams should be running. The magic isn’t what it used to be.



• Posted in Blog • Tags: , , , , |  Be The First To Reply!


Planning a Sequel

January 10, 2022

When you’re writing a series, how do you know what comes next? Book One lays the groundwork, introducing the setting, characters, and premise for the entire series. How can the second book build on this beginning?

Planning a Sequel

That depends on if your stories are more episodic or serial in nature. For whodunits, we’re more episodic with a different murder mystery to solve in each book. The crime is the focus of the plot, like exploring a new planet on each episode of Star Trek.

But this is only your main character’s external conflict. What about their internal angst? Here’s where you can introduce a serial element. By this, I mean an overarching thread that isn’t solved in book one. This thread deals with the protagonist’s struggle to overcome obstacles to achieve her ultimate personal goal. Each book should evolve from this core inner conflict.

In my Bad Hair Day series, hairstylist sleuth Marla Vail progresses in her dating life and matures to overcome past traumas and to embrace a happy future. But once your character fulfills her destiny, you’ll have to throw in another wrench to clog the wheels. This means that when one thread is tied up, you’ll need to introduce another source. Each story should evolve from the personal issues introduced in the previous story as well as any external problems that remain.

   First Four

A romance series is more likely to feature spinoffs, or a new set of protagonists per book. These stories might take place in the same town or share a theme, thus adding a commonality. i.e. A missing object must be found or something bad will happen. Each book would then focus on the protagonists revealing a new facet to this mystery, perhaps leading to another clue. It would reflect on their inner journeys as well. This is in addition to whatever external conflict is affecting their relationship.

Or in a science fiction series, perhaps the evil galactic warlord must be stopped. The heroes have many adventures along the way, making friends and enemies as they seek to end the tyranny or to prevent a worse threat from emerging.

Drift Lords Series

Think of Harry Potter. Readers know he’ll have to face Lord Voldemort someday. Meanwhile, he has other villains to defeat. Along the way, he has to find the courage and power to defeat his mortal enemy.

Your cast of secondary characters can provide plenty of opportunities for sequels based on their goals and conflicts and interaction with the protagonist. Give one a prominent role in the next story and focus on this person’s problems. Your hero gets involved because she cares about this character. She’s also grappling with some aspect of her own personal struggle to overcome.

It all goes back to the writing advice that your main characters must grow and change. What would normally happen next in this person’s life?

Figuring out what to write next hasn’t been a problem for me. The biggest obstacles have been time and marketing decisions. What about you?

GIVEAWAYS

Booklover’s Bench

Enter Here to win a free book from Booklovers Bench

BB January 2022

King’s River Life Magazine

Leave a comment on my guest post “Keeping a Series Fresh” for a chance to win an ebook copy of STYLED FOR MURDER. 



• Posted in Blog • Tags: , , , , |  Be The First To Reply!


Setting Goals for 2022

January 3, 2022

Happy New Year! At this fresh beginning, we set our goals for the coming months. As writers, we can divide these into Creative and Business Goals. The former may involve writing the next book or trying a short story, while the latter can include marketing efforts or reissuing titles in different formats.

Setting Goals 2022

First, let’s look back to see what I’ve accomplished in 2021. It was a productive year, coming after the pandemic started and we had a major move that sapped my creative energy through the latter half of 2020.

Last Year 2021
Wrote and Published Styled for Murder, #17 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries
Published Box Sets 1-4 in my mystery series
Offered a Sales Promotion for Permed to Death
Added my mystery titles to Google Play

This Year 2022
Write and Publish book #18 in my series, tentatively titled Star Tangled Murder
Publish Box Set 5 – Scheduled for Feb. 15 launch date
Revise standalone mystery Murder at Your Service
Do more audiobooks
Consider publishing romance backlist as paperback editions

Some of these choices are economical. I’d love to offer my early romances in print editions, but would enough readers buy them to offset the cost of formatting and cover design? Or should I attempt to do those myself using online tools? These are business choices I’ll have to make later.

Ditto for the audiobooks. These are very costly to produce, and I’ve only done 4 out of 17 titles. I don’t care to do royalty share, so this leaves the burden of cost up front to me. If I was sure I’d make back my investment, it would be a no-brainer, but that’s not happening. Another possibility is selling the rights to the remaining titles, if that’s even possible.

Setting Goals for 2022 #writingcommunity #writers Click To Tweet

Here’s a question for you, dear readers: Aside from the next Bad Hair Day mystery, which of the above options appeals to you? Or would you like to see me do something else?

GIVEAWAY
Enter Here to win a free book from Booklover’s Bench

BB January 2022



• Posted in Blog • Tags: , , |  Be The First To Reply!


A Eureka Moment

December 15, 2021

Every author likely goes through a phase when we are waiting for inspiration to strike. Or perhaps we have a plotting problem and need to find a solution. If you’ve been thinking about this issue for some time, the response will pop into your head at unexpected moments. It’s like a lightbulb turns on in your brain with just the answer you need.

A Eureka Moment

It’s ironic that I was slated to speak to the Citrus Crime Writers chapter of Sisters in Crime on “Creating Settings that Sizzle.” I was struggling to figure out the setting for my next Bad Hair Day mystery.

It had been several weeks since I’d started preliminary research for this book on topics that interested me. But I still lacked the single cohesive factor I needed. In my blog post on the Five Stages of Writing, I mention Discovery as number one. This is wherein you discover the story before you begin writing. I knew the inciting incident had to take place at a fairground or a park. I had several disparate elements that I couldn’t tie together. What was I missing? The setting within a setting, which I’ve discussed in a previous post. I needed a group of people who knew each other, but I couldn’t repeat what I’ve done before. This will be my 18th book in the series, and it becomes a challenge to keep things fresh.

I sat on my couch, intending to ruminate about the plot, when EUREKA! The answer popped into my brain! It was PERFECT for what I needed!

It’s amazing how the subconscious works. This is why you need to give yourself time during this discovery phase and not rush things. Gather the story elements, let them stew in your mind, and out will come the answer you need.

I’d visited this place and wrote a blog on it. I had an album with over sixty photos. And there was even a haunted house with ghost tours on the premises! Moreover, this setting within a setting was located at a fairground and would have a built-in group of suspects.

I’d have to adjust things a bit to fit my scenario, but this idea hit the nail on the head. I even remembered an episode of The Brokenwood Mysteries that took place in a similar setting. I’ll watch it to see how they set things up. Fortunately, I have the DVD in my collection.

You never know when a research trip will pay off. As a writer, you should take notes and photos wherever you go. At some point in the future, you might need those notes to set a scene or an entire story in that place. Every site you visit becomes a potential goldmine.

Now I’m excited to bring the pieces together. I’ll have some weaving to do but I have my basis to get started. At this point, I can determine the suspects. Then it’s a matter of figuring out their secrets and interconnecting them. All of this takes place as part of the Discovery phase before writing the story. More research may be required but at least now I have a direction to follow. I’m excited to see where the trail will lead.

My fellow writers, have you ever experienced this Eureka moment? It’s a glorious feeling, isn’t it?

GIVEAWAY

Enter Here to win a free book Dec. 1-18 at Booklovers Bench in our monthly giveaway.



• Posted in Blog • Tags: , , , , |  Be The First To Reply!