Nancy's Notes From Florida

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.



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Best Book 2021

December 3, 2021

I have some exciting news to share that just can’t wait! This has been a busy time with Thanksgiving, my birthday and the first night of Hanukkah all rolled into one weekend. Now I’m gearing up for the rest of the holidays before hopefully getting back to writing again. Meanwhile, I am thrilled to announce the items below.

Suspense Magazine

STYLED FOR MURDER has been chosen as a “Best Book of 2021” in the Cozy category by Suspense Magazine. Look for a feature in the upcoming December issue. https://www.suspensemagazine.com/

I am beyond excited about this honor and want to thank my fans, friends and family who voted for my book. You guys are the best!  

The Big Thrill

“Having reached Book 17 in the A Bad Hair Day Mystery series, hairstylist-slash-amateur sleuth Marla Vail is almost as familiar with murder as she is with up-dos.” Read the scoop in an exclusive author interview by Allison McKnight in the current issue of The Big Thrill from International Thriller Writers. https://www.thebigthrill.org/?p=73206

ITW


Woman’s World Magazine

STYLED FOR MURDER was featured in Woman’s World Magazine in the Book Club section on page 8 in the Nov. 29th issue.

Woman's World

Here is their review:

“A charmingly funny whodunit unfolds when hairstylist and savvy sleuth Marla Vail gets a frantic call from her mother saying she found a dead body in her bathroom during a remodel. The victim turns out to be the project manager, who had a reputation for shady dealings. When Marla’s stepfather, Reed, becomes a suspect, Marla digs deeper for clues. Now, she’ll have to put all the pieces together to nail down the truth!” Woman’s World Magazine, Nov. 29, 2021

Upcoming Events

Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, 8:00 – 9:45pm, Cozy Holidaze Party with Booklover’s Bench Authors – Fun & Prizes! https://www.facebook.com/NewReleaseParty

Cozy Holidaze Party

Saturday, Dec. 12, 2:00 – 3:00 pm, “Creating Settings that Sizzle” Writing Workshop with Nancy J. Cohen via Zoom for Citrus Crime Writers, https://www.facebook.com/events/322966752607646
If you’re not a member but want to attend, please email us at citruscrimewriters@gmail.com  

Awards, Events, & Giveaways from @nancyjcohen #cozymystery #mysteryseries Click To Tweet

GIVEAWAY

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



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Copper and Crime

November 27, 2021

Researching a book can lead authors down a proverbial rabbit hole when they stumble upon an issue of interest. Such was the case for me when I decided to look into copper thefts.

While writing Styled for Murder, my latest book, I got stuck in the middle. I needed a spark of inspiration to spur the story forward, something exciting to research. When I shared my dilemma with my critique partners, one of them mentioned copper thefts. My book involved remodeling scams and this topic came to mind.

Bingo! I’d heard of this crime, and it would fit the story perfectly. As I delved into the research, I discovered all sorts of new twists. I was off and running and didn’t stop until the end. This had been exactly the spark I’d needed. So what is this crime that can affect average residents like us?

Copper is a valuable commodity. Crooks sell it to scrap metal dealers for a high price. Construction sites are favored targets along with abandoned buildings. Crooks have plenty of time after workers leave for the day to sneak in and strip out whatever they want. They can cause a lot of harm that way.

In one instance, thieves ripped open the walls on a building scheduled for demolition. They cut out the copper pipes and wires. Unfortunately, they didn’t turn off the main water valve, and the construction company had to pay for the resultant utility bill. Builders have to balance the cost of security against the potential replacement of stolen goods along with damage repairs.

Why do bad guys target copper in particular? This metal is used in critical infrastructures such as electrical sub-stations, cell towers, phone lines and water systems. Copper provides a reliable connection and is corrosion resistant. Thieves can make thousands of dollars per month from selling copper to scrap metal dealers.

“How does this affect the homeowner?” Marla, my hairstylist sleuth, asked her friend Tally while at lunch in a restaurant. 

Tally snorted. “Your central air-conditioning units may use copper piping for the water supply and refrigerant lines along with the inner coils. If the thieves take these components, you might come home one day and have no air-conditioning. The metal is also found on propane tanks. Thieves might cut the pipes at ground level near the meters and then rip away the piping. Your house would lose its gas supply, meaning you’d turn on the range and nothing would happen.” 

“I’d be more afraid of a dangerous leak caused by a cut pipe. Doesn’t a security system offer protection against people stealing this stuff outside your house?” Marla asked, thinking of the video cameras and exterior lighting around her place. 

“Nope. I remember reading about a case where a man took ten minutes to crawl beneath a house and cut out a hundred feet of plumbing pipes using a plumber’s tool. They’re fast, so by the time you receive an alert, they’re already gone. Nothing is ever secure to a determined criminal.”

Fortunately, new regulations have made scrap dealers more responsible, which has been helpful in preventing these thefts. Being an alert and observant neighbor is always a good idea, too.

We learn all sorts of eclectic things when researching a story. I hope this information has been as illuminating for you as it has been for me. Are you aware of any construction problems in your area?

Copper and Crime #bookresearch #cozymystery Click To Tweet

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STYLED FOR MURDER is mentioned in Woman’s World Magazine on page 8 in the Nov. 29th issue! They call it a “charmingly funny whodunit.” Get your copy NOW at your local newsstand. Last chance before the next issue comes out.

Books make great gifts for the holidays! Get one for yourself and gift another to a friend.

STYLED FOR MURDER by Nancy J. Cohen

When hairstylist and savvy sleuth, Marla Vail, gets a frantic call from her mother that there’s a dead body in her shower, Marla realizes this wasn’t part of the home renovation plans. The victim turns out to be the project manager, who had an untrustworthy reputation in town. Disgruntled customers, unpaid suppliers, and the design company’s staff are among the suspects, but Marla is more concerned about her stepfather’s connection to the victim. Can she flush out the clues and nail the killer before he strikes again? Recipes Included!

Get your Copy Here – https://books2read.com/StyledforMurder

Did you miss out on these guest blog posts? If so, visit them now! 

Cinnamon and Sugar and a Little Bit of Murder, “Peach Cobbler” RECIPE, BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY, https://cinnamonsugarandalittlebitofmurder.com/peach-cobbler/

Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST, https://www.literaryau.com/2021/11/styled-for-murder.html

Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – “Is Garlic Good for You?” GUEST POST https://insatiablereaders.blogspot.com/2021/11/great-escapes-virtual-book-tours.html

Books a Plenty Book Reviews – “Edible Gold” GUEST POST https://booksaplentybookreviews.blogspot.com/2021/11/blog-tour-guest-post-review-giveaway.html

Christy’s Cozy Corners – AUTHOR INTERVIEW https://christyscozycorners.com/2021/11/styled-murder-mysteries-interview/

Novels Alive – “Bone China Origins” GUEST POST https://novelsalive.com/2021/11/17/guest-blog-bone-china-origins-by-nancy-j-cohen-plus-giveaway/

 Dru’s Book Musings – “A Day in The Life of Marla Vail” GUEST POST https://drusbookmusing.com/2021/11/17/marla-vail-2021/

 Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW https://www.escapewithdollycas.com/2021/11/16/styled-for-murder-bad-hair-day-mysteries-by-nancy-j-cohen-authorinterview-review-giveaway-great-escapes-book-tour-nancyjcohen/

Storeybook Reviews – “Book Research Can Save Lives” GUEST POST https://storeybookreviews.com/2021/11/newrelease-guest-post-styled-for-murder/

 My Journey Back – “Zucchini, Eggs and Criminals” RECIPE POST http://myjourneyback-thejourneyback.blogspot.com/2021/11/zucchini-biscuit-bake-recipe-and.html?

Killer Crafts and Crafty Killers, “The Case of the Cheesy Hash Browns” RECIPE POST https://anastasiapollack.blogspot.com/2021/11/cooking-with-cloris-cheesy-hash-browns.html

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Last Chance to get Permed to Death ON SALE for 99 cents! Start reading the Bad Hair Day series with book #1. Sale ends soon.

Order Now: https://books2read.com/PermedtoDeath

 

I’m going to take a break from blogs over the Holidays unless something noteworthy occurs, so Have a Wonderful and Safe Holiday Season!

Nancy

 

 



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On Sale – Permed to Death

November 18, 2021

PERMED TO DEATH, #1 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries, is on sale for only 99 cents! Special deal available Nov. 14 – 30, so hurry and place your order now! Get one for yourself and send another as a gift to a friend.

Hairstylist Marla Shore is already having a bad hair day when one of her clients dies in the shampoo chair at her salon. Then Detective Dalton Vail accuses her of putting poison in the woman’s coffee creamer. Grumpy Bertha Kravitz might not have been Marla’s favorite customer, but she wouldn’t have murdered the lady. With her reputation at stake, Marla decides it’s up to her to unmask the killer.

Combing the woman’s privileged world for clues, Marla discovers the town is crawling with potential suspects. Bertha’s son is resentful about being written out of her will. Her shady business partner has secrets to hide, and then there’s the niece, who inherits Bertha’s fortune. But Marla might have to look closer to home for the culprit. Her janitor has vanished without a trace, and one of her stylists leads an upscale lifestyle that doesn’t match her income.

As the case grows more snarled, Marla determines to unravel the clues. She’d better hurry before the smart detective discovers her scandalous secret, or he’ll pin her with a motive and lock her away in a place where a bad hair day will become permanent.

“Marla the beautician is a delight!” Tamar Myers, author of the Pennsylvania Dutch Mysteries

“Fast-paced and jaunty.” Publishers Weekly 

“A plot with more tangles than an uncombed perm.”  Kirkus Reviews

Permed to Death is a beauty of a read. The characters are believable, the mystery is well-plotted, and the suspense is a real manicure-ruiner.” I Love a Mystery

“An amusing tale, buoyed by a likable amateur sleuth and enhanced by the South Florida atmosphere.” Sun-Sentinel

Permed to Death is a good book to start reading while waiting at your favorite salon for your hair appointment.” Cozies, Capers, & Crimes

Get Your Copy Here:

Amazon Kindle – http://amzn.to/21WIzxi
Apple: http://books.apple.com/us/book/id1092922954
BN Nook: https://bit.ly/3kC4Tzq
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1TDZxRH
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=3LU8EAAAQBAJ
Books2Read:
https://books2read.com/PermedtoDeath

On Sale for 99 cents - PERMED TO DEATH, #1 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries #cozymystery #onsale #firstinseries Click To Tweet

Follow my Virtual Book Tour to celebrate the Nov. 16 release of STYLED FOR MURDER with Reviews, Excerpts, Giveaways, Interviews and Recipes

GIVEAWAYS

Enter Here Nov. 14 – 24 to win my box set collection

 

Enter Here Nov. 1 – 18 to win a free book from Booklover’s Bench – Last Day!

Win a Free Book Nov2021



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New Release – Styled for Murder

November 16, 2021

STYLED FOR MURDER, #17 in The Bad Hair Day Mysteries, is now available in print and ebook formats. Happy Book Birthday!

Styled for Murder

When hairstylist and savvy sleuth, Marla Vail, gets a frantic call from her mother that there’s a dead body in her shower, Marla realizes this wasn’t part of the home renovation plans. The victim turns out to be the project manager, who had an untrustworthy reputation in town. Disgruntled customers, unpaid suppliers, and the design company’s staff are among the suspects. Which one of them wanted the foreman to pipe down about their shady dealings?

Meanwhile, the lead investigator sets his sights on Marla’s stepfather, Reed, who’s keeping secrets from his family. Reed has a past connection to the victim and won’t come clean about what he knows. As Marla drills deeper, she’s showered with suspicions, but nobody’s willing to leak any information. She needs to hammer down the prospects, or time will drain away and the murderer will strike again.

To flush out the culprit, Marla taps into her pipeline of resources. Can she assemble the clues and demolish the alibis to nail a killer? Or has someone designed the perfect murder? Recipes Included!

Styled for Murder
Copyright © 2021 by Nancy J. Cohen
Digital ISBN: 978-1-952886-21-8
Print ISBN: 978-1-952886-22-5
Cover Design by The Killion Group, Inc.
Digital Layout by Formatting4U.com
Cover Copy by BlurbWriter.com

Join me TONIGHT at 7:00 – 8:30 pm EST for a Book Launch Party with Fun & Prizes. Bring your friends! https://www.facebook.com/NewReleaseParty

Book Launch Party

View the Book Trailerhttps://youtu.be/yT95QwTzT58

ORDER NOW – Remember that books make great holiday gifts!
Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09DYN9YG6
Apple – https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1583387985
BN – https://bit.ly/3jF7Uz7
Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/styled-for-murder
Google Play – https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Nancy_J_Cohen_Styled_for_Murder?id=y69FEAAAQBAJ
Books2Read – https://books2read.com/StyledforMurder

Print Copies – Order Online
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Styled-Murder-Nancy-Cohen/dp/1952886228/
BN: https://bit.ly/3jF7Uz7
Bookshop.orghttps://bookshop.org/books/styled-for-murder/9781952886225
Indieboundhttps://www.indiebound.org/book/9781952886225
BooksAMillion  – https://bit.ly/3EE1F62

Booksellers and Librarians – This title is also available from Ingram

BookBubhttps://bit.ly/3BDjBfw
Goodreads https://bit.ly/3DIuAGm
Pinterest Board – https://www.pinterest.com/njcohen/styled-for-murder/

STYLED FOR MURDER, #17 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries, is now available! #newrelease #cozymystery Click To Tweet

Follow my Virtual Book Tour for excerpts, reviews, interviews, recipes and giveaways!

Great Escapes Book Tour

 

ON SALE

Permed to Death, #1 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries, is on sale for 99 cents Nov. 16 – 30! 

PTD Sale

GET YOUR COPY HERE:

Kindle
Apple
BN Nook
Kobo
Google Play
Books2Read

GIVEAWAYS

Enter Here Nov. 14 – 24 to win my box set collection

 

Enter Here Nov. 1 – 18 to win a free book from Booklover’s Bench

Win a Free Book Nov2021



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