Nancy's Notes From Florida

Coconut Rum Cake

September 11, 2021

If you are lacking coconut rum in your liquor cabinet, feel free to use any other type of rum or flavored spirits in this basic cake recipe. You’ll get a delicious, moist cake any way you make it. Don’t worry about the calories. They dissolve in your mouth with each bite.

Ingredients
15.25 oz. box yellow cake mix
3.4 oz. box instant vanilla pudding
4 large eggs
½ cup water
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup coconut rum
1 cup chopped walnuts

Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. coconut rum

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water, oil and rum in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat on low for 1 minute and on medium for 2 minutes more.

Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan. Sprinkle chopped nuts on the bottom. Pour batter evenly on top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes on center rack or until toothpick test comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a knife along edges to loosen cake and then invert onto plate.

Mix glaze in small bowl and drizzle over cake. After cake completely cools, cover and keep at room temperature until ready to serve.

Leftovers may be stored in the refrigerator or frozen for later use.

Coconut Rum Cake



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New Mystery Release – Box Set Volume Four

September 10, 2021

I am excited to announce the release of The Bad Hair Day Mysteries Box Set Volume Four: Books 10-12

Bad Hair Day Mysteries Box Set Four

Copyright © 2021 by Nancy J. Cohen
Published by Orange Grove Press
Digital ISBN: 978-1-952886-19-5
Cover Design by The Killion Group, Inc.
Digital Layout by Formatting4u.com

In this trio of adventures, hairstylist sleuth Marla Vail discovers the matron of honor stabbed to death under the cake table at her friend Jill’s wedding. She gets married and moves into a new house with a dead body next door. Her honeymoon at a dude ranch turns dangerous when ghosts from the past stir up more trouble than the horses.

SHEAR MURDER

Hairstylist Marla Shore is weeks away from becoming a bride when she walks down the aisle as a bridesmaid at her friend Jill’s ceremony. Things take a turn for the worse when the matron of honor ends up dead under the cake table. Lots of folks aren’t sorry to see Torrie go, especially since the bride’s sister knew their deepest secrets. But when suspicion falls upon Jill, Marla wonders if her dear friend is truly innocent. She’d better untangle the snarl of suspects and iron out the clues before the killer highlights her as the next victim.

“Shear Murder is another stellar outing in Nancy J. Cohen’s Bad Hair Day mystery series.” Lorna Barrett, bestselling author of the Booktown Mysteries

HANGING BY A HAIR

Marla’s joyous move to a new house with her detective husband, Dalton, is marred by their next-door neighbor who erects an illegal fence between their properties. When Dalton reminds the man of local permitting laws, tempers flare—and worse, the neighbor is found dead the following day. Before her husband’s investigation can begin, he is removed from the case due to a conflict of interest. Now it’s up to Marla to clear his name and make the neighborhood safe again.

Suspense Magazine “Best of 2014” Cozy Mystery

“Marla is short for marvelous. If you like your mysteries ‘cozy,’ you’re going to enjoy every minute you spend with her!” Joanna Campbell Slan, bestselling author of the Kiki Lowenstein Mysteries

PERIL BY PONYTAIL

Marla and Dalton’s honeymoon at an Arizona dude ranch veers from dangerous to downright deadly faster than a horse headed to the corral. With her husband’s uncle—the resort owner—on the suspect list for murder, Marla races to prove his innocence. She hopes her blind trust isn’t misplaced, especially when she learns Uncle Ray has secrets he’d rather keep buried. With her new family in jeopardy, she’d better saddle up her sleuthing skills to figure out who’s adding to the spirits at a nearby ghost town before someone she loves gets hurt.

Third Place Winner in the Arizona Literary Awards

Peril by Ponytail ropes in the reader in Nancy J. Cohen’s captivating new tale, which deftly braids together deadly secrets, long hidden resentments, and romance on the range.” Ellen Byerrum, bestselling author of the Crime of Fashion Mysteries

Order Now

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09BJY9L7X
Apple – http://books.apple.com/us/book/id1579075191
BN https://bit.ly/3yf1Xh6
Kobo – https://bit.ly/3im425e
Books2Read: https://books2read.com/BadHairDayBoxSetFour

Box Set 4 in The Bad Hair Day Mysteries is now available! #cozymystery #boxset Click To Tweet


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Animal Kingdom Safari

September 4, 2021

We took a break and went to the Animal Kingdom at Disney World to make use of our annual passes. Our parking space was within easy walking distance of the entrance so we were lucky in that regard. We walked along the shady paths toward Africa.

Animal Kingdom

After stopping at Starbucks for some snacks to refuel our energy, we headed onto the Kilimanjaro Safari ride. No wait in the line, which we also saw later at Expedition Everest. The park is so spread out that it didn’t seem terribly crowded. We got front row seats in our safari vehicle.

   

The animals were strolling about or lazing in the heat. We viewed quite a few as you can see from these photos.

           

We lunched in Dinoland at a fast food place where we could sit indoors and enjoy the air-conditioning. On our way out, we browsed in the shops and then headed home tired but happy.

   

 

GIVEAWAY

Enter Here Sept. 1-18 to win a free book from Booklover’s Bench. 

Booklovers Bench Sept Giveaway



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The Babies in the Drawers

August 27, 2021

Most authors have several manuscripts gathering dust in their drawers. These are our unsold babies, books we wrote along the journey to becoming a published author. Are they really that bad, or were they merely not ready for the right market at the right time?

The Babies in the Drawers

Aside from the corrections that our more skilled eye could now see to make, are these books worth pulling out and making saleable? Would readers who like our series books even want to read a stand-alone?

And yet it’s sad that these early books will never get to see the light of day. The characters are all alone with nobody to appreciate their stories or the time and effort we put into them. They contain the building blocks of our careers.

What do I have hiding in my drawers? I’ll share my secrets with you. In return, let me know if any of these raise your interest. Some of these stories are so old that I don’t have digital copies. The typed manuscript is what you get. We won’t mention the Star Trek novel proposals hidden away, but I have those, too. Let’s check out the rest of them from earliest to latest:

Key of Death – A retired spy living in the Florida Keys encounters an enemy from his past who leads him to the Cuban exile community in Miami.

The Root of Evil – A scientist living abroad comes home and deals with a mystery. I don’t even remember what this one is about but it’s a long book.

Garden of Love – Floral designer Penny Winters is hired to plan a dream wedding for entrepreneur Whip Lanigan but finds herself falling for his charms. How can she compete with his elusive fiancée?

Lethal Designs – When a lovely botanist and a businessman meet over murder in Key West, they become entangled in a web of deceit where the ultimate betrayal is their own.

The Disappearing Diet – Nutritionist Regina Kent takes a job at exclusive Hillcrest Resort, where guests check in but they don’t check out.

Murder on the Menu – When two chefs meet over murder in New Orleans, they become victims of a dangerous conspiracy and a passion as hot as a Creole sauce.

These next ones were attempts at restarting my mystery career after I’d been published and was seeking a new publisher.

Murder at Your Service – When personal assistant Keri Armstrong discovers her favorite client dead in bed, she risks her reputation and her life to find the killer.

Murder at the Yacht Club – Newsletter editor Claire Rollins finds more than she bargained for when death stalks the members of an elite yacht club.

What is the lesson learned?

Persistence pays. Keep writing. “Never give up. Never surrender,” as they say on Galaxy Quest. Each book improves your skills as you learn more about the craft. It may seem as though you are climbing a mountain, but a beautiful vista awaits you on the other side. One final push might get you there, but you won’t make it if you quit. So keep following your dream and the road to publication might be just around the next corner. It takes hard work and dedication, and when you do find a publisher, this doesn’t end because then you have to learn all about marketing.

Excerpt from LETHAL DESIGNS 

The eerie whistling sang through the night like a banshee, ebbing and flowing on the wind. Lani had never heard it before, and she’d been to the Galleon Marina in Key West enough times to recognize the familiar sounds. This one was different, disturbing in its strangeness.

She paused on the dimly lit dock, her sharp gaze scanning the darkness. Row after row of boats faced her in serene solitude, like sentinels of the night. Even the breeze, salty and laden with moisture, seemed to be whispering words of warning. A feeling of foreboding swept through her, chilling her despite the warm summer air.

Tightening her mouth, she strode forward. Her feet were bare, and the wooden boards felt cool and damp as she padded silently toward Don Cambridge’s yacht. Slip number sixty-six lay just around the next corner.

She spotted his boat right away. The bridge light was shining like a beacon which usually meant he expected visitors. Shrugging, she quickened her pace. Even if he already had company, he’d be glad to see her. She’d just gotten back from Miami and couldn’t wait to share her thrilling news. Don knew how much she’d wanted to win that research grant. As her best friend, he’d celebrate her triumph.

Nearing the vessel, she listened to the sounds of the night. The eerie whistling had faded, its melody a faint wailing that floated on the wind. Creaking and clicking noises from boats reverberated all around. Water trickled from through-holes and waves splashed onto rocks. Water, the music of the sea. 

Music. Lani stopped abruptly.

Don’s yacht was ominously silent. She didn’t hear any music coming from his stereo. Don always played it nonstop and loud enough to be heard outside but not too loud to violate the codes. He’d never turn it off unless something was seriously wrong or he was ill. Maybe he’d fallen asleep and had just forgotten to turn out the lights. But that was unlikely. Ten o’clock was like the middle of the day for Don the Night Owl.

Concern propelled her forward. Grasping hold of the boarding ladder, she climbed up onto the carpeted aft deck where her glance rose to the empty bridge. He’s not here. That leaves the cabin area below.

To be continued… or not. How many manuscripts are hidden in your drawers?

How many manuscripts are hiding in your drawers? #amwriting #pubtip Click To Tweet


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Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche

August 24, 2021

Enola Holmes is back! Nancy Springer’s nationally bestselling series and breakout Netflix sensation returns to beguile readers young and old in Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche.

NANCY SPRINGER is the author of the nationally bestselling Enola Holmes novels, including The Case of the Missing Marquess, which was made into the hit Netflix movie, Enola Holmes. She is the author of more than 50 other books for children and adults. She has won many awards, including two Edgar Awards, and has been published in more than thirty countries. She lives in Florida.

Nancy Springer

Q: What inspired you to write the Enola Holmes series?

NS:   My literary agent suggested writing books with a “classic chassis,” so I did some set in the King Arthur mythos, and some based on legends of Robin Hood, and then moved on to the world of Sherlock Holmes.

Q: How do you feel about the film based on your book?

NS: I love it, which surprises me, because I don’t generally like the movies based on books I respect. Actually, I don’t generally like movies, period. I find them too intense. They make me shake, and give me bad dreams.

Q: Are you planning to write more titles in the series?

NS:  I’m working right now on another Enola Holmes novel. I don’t yet have a title for it, and who knows whether it will ever be published? There’s no way I can tell at this point whether it will be good enough.

Q: What has been the biggest challenge with this series so far?

NS:  The amount of research I’ve had to do. Getting the historical setting correct.

Q: What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

NS:  To stick to one genre, which I totally have not done. Or do you mean writing advice? I had good advice early on about story logic, and synchronizing the psychodrama with the external drama, and lingering longer with the most emotional scenes.

Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche

ENOLA HOLMES AND THE BLACK BAROUCHE 

Enola Holmes is the much younger sister of her more famous brothers, Sherlock and Mycroft. But she has all the wits, skills, and sleuthing inclinations of them both. At fifteen, she’s an independent young woman–after all, her name spelled backwards reads ‘alone’–and living on her own in London. When a young professional woman, Miss Letitia Glover, shows up on Sherlock’s doorstep, desperate to learn more about the fate of her twin sister, it is Enola who steps up. It seems her sister, the former Felicity Glover, married the Earl of Dunhench and per a curt note from the Earl, has died. But Letitia Glover is convinced this isn’t the truth, that she’d know–she’d feel–if her twin had died.

The Earl’s note is suspiciously vague and the death certificate is even more dubious, signed it seems by a John H. Watson, M.D. (who denies any knowledge of such). The only way forward is for Enola to go undercover–or so Enola decides at the vehement objection of her brother. And she soon finds out that this is not the first of the Earl’s wives to die suddenly and vaguely–and that the secret to the fate of the missing Felicity is tied to a mysterious black barouche that arrived at the Earl’s home in the middle of the night. To uncover the secrets held tightly within the Earl’s hall, Enola is going to require help–from Sherlock, from the twin sister of the missing woman, and from an old friend, the young Viscount Tewkesbury, Marquess of Basilwether!

Enola Holmes returns in her first adventure since the hit Netflix movie brought her back on the national bestseller lists, introducing a new generation to this beloved character and series.

My Book Review

I stumbled across the Enola Holmes YA mysteries by accident. I’d seen the Netflix film and absolutely loved it. Naturally, I had to follow up with the books, which I proceeded to devour. When offered the opportunity to host Nancy on her upcoming blog tour for Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche, I leapt at the chance.

Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche by Nancy Springer
In this enthralling adventure, Enola Holmes and her brother Sherlock accept a case involving a missing woman. The client has received word from her twin sister’s husband that Lady Felicity had caught a fever and died. He had her body cremated. The twin doesn’t believe a word of this odd message and hires the sleuthing duo to find out what really happened. When it turns out the Earl of Dunhench’s first wife expired in a similar manner, Enola believes it can’t be a coincidence. Using her skills at disguise, she gains entry to the nobleman’s gloomy mansion. Here her situation rapidly deteriorates as she begins to suspect the horrifying truth. Suspenseful and clever, this story is one you won’t be able to put down.

ORDER YOUR COPY NOW: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250822963
Release Date is August 31st, 2021

 



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