Preparing for a Hurricane

Preparing for a hurricane should start on June 1st at the beginning of the season. But once a storm is headed your way, it’s time to gear up for action. We are expecting a tropical storm from Isaias here in Broward County later today, but other areas might be more impacted. Then again, storms have been known to suddenly strengthen and change direction. Even if you’re in the forecast track and not expecting much, it’s better to be somewhat prepared than none at all.

Preparing for a Hurricane

HURRICANE PREP LIST

1. Buy bags of ice. Put on lower shelves in freezer, and later in fridge if power is out, so melting ice doesn’t flood the interior. Or freeze water in plastic containers to help keep food cool. You can also use empty water bottles instead of discarding them. Turn fridge to coldest setting ahead of storm.
2. Buy bottled water, fruit juices, sports drinks, and caffeinated beverages that you can drink cold or at room temperature. Fill plastic pitchers, thermos bottles, and other containers with tap water and refrigerate for drinking.
3. Have enough food in stock. Fruits that keeps well: grapes, apples, bananas. Applesauce and other packaged fruits are good buys. Get bread for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. You can buy peanut butter in individual portions. Get snack packs with hard cheeses, crackers, peanut butter, dried fruits, apple slices, or grapes. Canned chicken, baked beans, and nuts are good sources of protein. Canned tuna or salmon tend to smell more if there’s no garbage pickup. Or buy the tuna in a pouch. Maybe make a sandwich ahead of time so you have a grab-and-go lunch.
4. Cook and eat the perishable foods in your freezer and refrigerator. Hard boil your eggs, and make sure you cook dinner early as the storm approaches in case the power goes out. If you wish, have a cooler handy. When the power goes out, put a block of ice inside along with the refrigerated foods you’re likely to eat first. This will save you from opening the refrigerator door too often.
5. Consider boarding your pet at a kennel or make plans to secure your pet with enough supplies.
6. Back up important computer files. Send an email to yourself at another online address with your most recent files. Back up to a flash drive that you can carry around.
7. Bring in all loose objects from outside.
8. Do the laundry.
9. Perform personal grooming essentials. It’s hard to shave and wash hair with no lights, and the water might get contaminated.
10. Fill gas tank in car.
11. Get extra cash to have on hand. ATMs won’t work in a power failure.
12. Pay bills due or coming due.
13. Charge cell phone, tablet, and other portable electronics. Get a portable charger.
14. Prepare a list of repairmen and tree trimmers who might be needed.
16. Buy hand sanitizer and moist wipes in case the water is contaminated.
17. Have paper plates and cups on hand along with plastic utensils and paper towels. Also invest in duct tape and plastic sheeting to use if a window breaks.
18. Stock up on trash bags to clear away debris.
19. Place a flashlight or battery-run lantern in each room or in a central location. Keep extra batteries in stock. Candles can be a fire hazard, and they don’t provide enough light to read by in the dark. Carry a flashlight with you wherever you go in the house in case the power blinks out. For any solar-powered devices, make sure they’re well exposed to light beforehand.
20. Put insurance papers and other important documents, including copies of recent utility bills, into a plastic bag for quick departure, or store copies in a separate location. Scan them into your computer files and backup to the Cloud. Put other important papers into a plastic container. Some folks suggest putting these papers into your dishwasher or washing machine, as they are waterproof inside, and closing it tight.
21. Buy an emergency hand-crank radio that also comes with a light and a cell phone charger. I like the Eton brand, which is sold on Amazon. Make sure the one you get has a USB port for charging your devices.
22. Learn how to open your garage on manual in case power goes out. Keep instructions handy. Also know how to turn off the low battery alert on your security system if you have one.
23. Get a Kindle or other e-reader with a backlight to use when the power goes out. Keep it fully charged.
24. If you think water might get into the house, put some clothes into a large plastic garbage bag and seal it.
25. Prepare your safe room. Put blankets on the floor unless it’s carpeted. Add a portable radio, lantern, e-reader, snacks, water bottles, and emergency papers in a plastic bag. Put your purse in there. Also have a go-bag with portable electronics, chargers and other emergency items.
26. Keep the air-conditioning temperature very low so when the power goes, it’ll stay cooler a little longer.
27. Add a first aid kit to the supplies you might need.
28. Have a place you can call outside your area that every member of your household knows about in case you get separated. Then you can call this number and let everyone in your household know where you are and that you’re okay.
29. Take photos of your furniture, prized possessions, and appliances. If you can, fill out a spreadsheet with dates and place of purchase as well as cost. Store these in the cloud for insurance purposes.

Preparing for a Hurricane #tropicalstorm #hurricane Click To Tweet

What else would you add?

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A Writer’s Job is Never Done

Authors have all sorts of administrative tasks, from answering emails, to fielding workshop requests, to creating book ads, to keeping up with social media and writing blogs. These behind-the-scenes duties can keep us busy from morning to night.

A Writers's Job is Never Done

When I’m in a creative phase, the writing comes first. But right now, I am taking a moratorium from writing to get these other jobs done. Yesterday, I spent the morning updating all the buy links on my website. This was necessary since I’ve added my full-length Bad Hair Day mysteries to Ingram. Readers should be able to order the entire set in print at their local indie bookstore. The paperback editions are also available at Barnes and Noble, but they have to be ordered online because they’re coming from another distributor.

Meanwhile, I finished the final proofing for my first futuristic romance trilogy that required substantial editing. I’d written these traditionally published books years ago and needed to bring them up to my current standards. These will need new covers and reformatting. Hiring a cover designer is next on my agenda. If I have to help search for images, that could take hours. At least I already have a concept in mind for each series. I’ve also asked ACX for my audiobooks to go non-exclusive so I can put them “wide” in terms of distribution. Once I get the rights cleared, I’ll kick this project into gear.

Price promotions and box sets are on the horizon also, but these will involve a learning curve. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while but had to get all my books uploaded first.

A Writer's Job is Never Done #amwriting #writingcommunity Click To Tweet

As you can see, these are full-time tasks. Once they are completed, I can move on to new works. Or maybe by then, this virus will be gone and I’ll want to enjoy life and being a grandma. Who knows? At the moment, we have to take things day-by-day.

Thankfully, as a writer, this doesn’t mean much in the way of adjustment. Our normal routine is to stay home in front of the computer. Since we are in forced isolation, we can get even more done if we focus on our work and not the daily news. So batten down your hatches. Make a list of all these nagging tasks you’ve been meaning to do as a writer. And get to work! Use this time to your advantage. What will be the first item on your list?

Florida Writers Organizations

I’ve compiled a list of Florida writers organizations for those of you seeking like-minded individuals in the state. It’s by no means an exhaustive list, so feel free to add to it or adapt it for your needs. But if you’re new to our semi-tropical paradise and are looking to get connected with other writers, I hope this group list will help.

Florida Chapter of MWA (Mystery Writers of America)
http://www.mwaflorida.org/
SleuthFest (annual conference)

Sisters in Crime Chapters
https://www.sistersincrime.org/

Citrus Crime Writers
Central Florida Chapter
https://citruscrimewriters.wordpress.com/
https://www.facebook.com/citruscrimewriters/

Florida Gulf Coast Sisters in Crime
Sarasota
http://flgcsinc.com
https://www.facebook.com/FloridaGulfCoastSistersinCrim/

Florida Treasure Coast Chapter
https://www.facebook.com/FTCCSinC

Northeast Florida Sisters in Crime
Jacksonville
https://nefloridasistersincrime.org/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/756160537854016/

Florida Chapters of RWA (Romance Writers of America)
https://www.rwa.org/

Central Florida Romance Writers
Orlando
https://www.cfrwa.com/

First Coast Romance Writers
Jacksonville
https://www.firstcoastromancewriters.com/

Florida Romance Writers, Inc.
Miami/Ft. Lauderdale/Palm Beach
http://www.frwriters.org

Southwest Florida Romance Writers
Naples/Fort Myers
http://www.swfrw.org

SpacecoasT Authors Of Romance
Melbourne
http://www.authorsofromance.com/

Other Florida Writers Groups

Florida Authors and Publishers Association
http://www.myFAPA.org
FAPA Conference; President’s Book Awards

Florida Writers Association
http://www.floridawriters.net/
Satellite Groupshttps://floridawriters.net/membership/writers-groups/
Florida Writers Conference; Royal Palm Literary Awards

Florida West Coast Writers, Inc. (formerly Tampa Area Romance Writers)
Tampa
https://www.fwcwriters.com/

Gulf Coast Writers Association, Inc.
Fort Myers
http://www.gulfwriters.org

Orlando Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers
Orlando
https://www.meetup.com/Orlando-Science-Fiction-and-Fantasy-Writers/

Pine Island Writers
St. James City
http://www.pineislandwriters.org/

Sarasota Creative Writers Meet-up Group
Sarasota
http://www.meetup.com/The-Sarasota-Creative-Writers-Meetup-Group/

Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Group of JX
Jacksonville
https://www.meetup.com/SFFJAX/

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
Florida Region
https://florida.scbwi.org/

South Florida Writer’s Association
Miami
http://southfloridawritersassn.org/

Space Coast Writers Guild
Melbourne
http://www.scwg.org/

Writers Groups by Location
http://writersrelief.com/writing-groups-for-writers/#florida

List of Florida Writers Organizations #writingcommunity #Floridawriters Click To Tweet

Facials Can Be Fatal Guest Post

Hi, today I have a guest post “The Story Behind the Story – Facials Can Be Fatal” at Suite T, and I urge you to take a look. I discuss part of the plotting process for Facials Can Be Fatal and the research that helped me write the book. So go on over to https://southernwritersmagazine.blogspot.com/2020/07/facials-can-be-fatal-story-behind-story.html for a behind-the-scenes glimpse and leave a comment to let me know you were there.

 

 

Facials Can Be Fatal

I am excited to announce the reissue of Facials Can Be Fatal, #13 in The Bad Hair Day Mysteries. 

Facials Can Be Fatal

Copyright © 2017 by Nancy J. Cohen
Published by Orange Grove Press
Digital ISBN: 978-1-952886-04-1
Print ISBN: 978-1-952886-05-8
Cover Design by Boulevard Photografica
Digital Layout by www.formatting4U.com
Cover Copy by BlurbWriter.com

Salon sleuth Marla Vail determines to peel back the truth when a wealthy socialite has a fatal facial at her day spa in this stylish cozy mystery.

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. The victim, Valerie Weston, had been a major donor for Friends of Old Florida, a nonprofit historic building preservation society. Marla’s stylists are scheduled to work backstage at their upcoming gala fashion show, but Val’s demise might put a crimp in their plans.

Hoping to salvage her reputation, Marla determines to track down the killer. Although Val had been well liked by most people, she may have stumbled onto secrets that others would kill to keep. Soon Marla is unraveling clues involving historic buildings, family journals, pirates, and shipwrecks off the Florida coast. She’d better prepare for a body count that has nothing to do with hot stone massages and everything to do with murder.

Readers Favorite Gold Medal Winner    Royal Palm Literary Award Finalist

“Take a twisty mystery, add a cast of amiable characters, a dash of family drama, and a pinch of South Florida during the holiday season—they all add up to the recipe for a delightful cozy!” —Lucy Burdette, bestselling author of the Key West Food Critic Mysteries

Facials Can Be Fatal was originally published Five Star (Gale/Cengage). This Author’s Edition has been updated with added bonus materials.

Get Your Copy Here:

Amazon Kindle
Amazon Print
Apple Books
BN Nook
BN Print
Kobo 
BookBub
Goodreads
Books2Read

Booksellers & Librarians – This title is available at Ingram

“The death of a philanthropist has Florida salon owner Marla Vail tearing her hair out… Marla needs Valerie’s death solved pronto so she can go back to planning her blended family’s joint Christmas-Hanukkah party and fending off their inquiries about when she and her new husband plan to have a baby.” Kirkus Reviews

“Pirates, hidden treasures, secret identities, murder… Book 13 in Nancy J. Cohen’s Bad Hair Day Mystery series has that and a whole lot more! This is the first cozy mystery I’ve read where the main character is married to the sexy detective on the case and I love that! The Bad Hair Day Mystery series books are captivating and exciting. It only took reading one book for me to become a fan.” Missi S., Cozy Mystery Book Reviews

“If Cut ’N Dye hair salon owner Marla Vail was hoping for a quiet holiday season, she’s in for a disappointment. Instead, it’s going to be a Hanukkah and Christmas season of murder, secrets, a hidden treasure, and family expectations. The fast pace will have readers swiftly turning the pages of this compelling holiday mystery.” Cynthia Chow, Kings River Life Magazine

“The story had more twists and turns than a pretzel. And I ate them all up! It is really fast-paced and kept me thoroughly engaged to the end. I especially liked Marla and her detective husband as a sleuthing duo and Marla’s relationship with her step-daughter. The combination gives a relatable real-world feel to the story.” Mayor Sonni, Readerpolis

FACIALS CAN BE FATAL - Hairstylist Marla Vail hits a snag when a client has a fatal facial at her day spa in this humorous #cozymystery Click To Tweet

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Software Upgrades

It’s really difficult to change to a new software program when you’ve used the same one for years. I knew I would need to get Office 365 when I bought my husband a new computer and I went to use Word to bring up one of my Dropbox files. Oops, no Microsoft Office program came installed on his device. I’d been using Office 2010 on mine for a decade. But now the death knell sounded for this ancient but steadfast program.

I did my initial research to learn 365 Personal would suit my needs. But still I put off the dreaded day of upgrades. Would it mess with my Outlook inbox or my Word files?

And then the unthinkable happened. I got a message from Malwarebytes, one of my security programs, that it had fended off a bit of ransomware. I’d been getting a number of email spams lately too, making me wonder if my computer was compromised. Then all of a sudden, I couldn’t access Word anymore. I got an error message that said, “Your device can no longer support this App.” Huh?

I restarted the computer, scanned the system files with Malwarebytes and Norton, and Word still wouldn’t open. I could always try to reinstall Word 10 with my old disk. But why bother? I had to upgrade anyway, and updated programs are supposed to be more secure. So I took the plunge and subscribed for $69.99 per year.

Installation was easy, and all my prior files seem accessible. The same functionality exists although I may have to hunt for one or two items on the nav bar. Otherwise, the programs look similar to my old ones and yet different.

Outlook automatically signed in to my email server and changed to an IMAP account. My old one is a POP account and it’s still here. So now I have two Outlook accounts, which means duplication of all incoming posts. I’ll have to copy my folders from the POP to the IMAP account and then delete the older version. Let’s hope that goes well.

Upgrading can be difficult, but it’s more often the mindset that is the obstruction rather than the program itself.  I hope this will be the case here. I’m also hoping I don’t have a lingering virus or malware that disrupted things initially. Time will tell. At least this new version of Word is up and running. Whew!

The lesson learned is that if you need to upgrade your software program (or your computer, for that matter), don’t delay. Do it sooner rather than later.

GIVEAWAY

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

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ONLINE WORKSHOP

Wednesday, July 15 at 3 p.m.  “Blogging, Posting, & Tweeting Your Way to Success” with Nancy J. Cohen, a writing workshop sponsored by South Florida Book Festival. Click here to Register
For more information about #SOFLOBOOKFEST go to www.sfloridabookfestival.com/2020

 

Mystery Movies

Looking for something new to watch on TV that will provide a pleasant escape from the news? Check out my updated list of favorite films in the mystery genre or movies involving writers. Many of these murder mystery movies are good examples of cozy mysteries, wherein an amateur sleuth solves a crime involving a distinctive cast of characters, an interesting setting, and a focus on relationships rather than forensic details. Watch for the clues, the setting within a setting, the quirky characters, and the other elements of a cozy. If you want a better definition, get a copy of Writing the Cozy Mystery. Here is my list of favorites in this genre.

Mystery Movies & TV Shows

FILMS

AMERICAN DREAMER with JoBeth Williams and Tom Conti.
This classic tale of intrigue is one of my favorites. A romance novelist wins a contest and a trip to Paris. En route to the awards luncheon, she’s in an accident and suffers a head injury. She wakes up believing herself to be the heroine in her favorite books. A spy caper follows that’s all too real, as she teams up with the author’s handsome son who thinks she’s a nutcase. That is, until someone tries to kill them. http://amzn.to/2qZVEhl

DROWNING MONA with Danny DeVito and Bette Midler.
This funny whodunit in a small town has a cast of wacky characters. Classic example of a cozy. http://amzn.to/2rkArzR

GOSFORD PARK with Helen Mirren and Jeremy Northam.
This English drawing room mystery takes place at a country estate. Aristocrats and servants alike have secrets that slowly unravel during a hunting party weekend. Albeit a bit slow-paced, this film requires repeat viewings to catch the nuances. http://amzn.to/2rklnC8

HER ALIBI with Tom Selleck and Paulina Portzkova.
This hilarious escapade finds mystery novelist Phil Blackwood falling for a suspected murderess while he searches for inspiration to unlock his writer’s block. Did the mysterious and beautiful foreigner have a hand in the victim’s death? If so, was he foolish to vouch for her alibi and bring her home? And are the accidents that occur after her arrival truly accidents, or is Phil next in line for his guest’s lethal hijinks? http://amzn.to/2qjtafC

KNIVES OUT with Daniel Craig.
When a wealthy patriarch is murdered in his ancestral home, a detective investigates. If you can tolerate Daniel Craig’s fake southern accent, this is an amusing mystery with a surprise twist. https://amzn.to/2YxG6BU

MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY with Woody Allen and Diane Keaton.
A Manhattan housewife thinks her next door neighbor is a murderer. She enlists her friends to search for clues. http://amzn.to/2qZEEIb

MURDER 101 with Pierce Brosnan.
English professor Charles Lattimore assigns his class to plan the perfect murder as a literary exercise. When he’s framed for a woman’s death, he has to find the killer before the detective on the case finds him. Will his students help him solve a real murder, or is one of them guilty? http://amzn.to/2qje0qK

Crime scene

MURDER BY THE BOOK with Robert Hays.
A mystery novelist thinks he’s hallucinating when his hero appears in front of him and talks back. He’s been thinking of changing to a new series and scrapping the sleuth, but now he needs the fellow’s help to solve a real murder. http://amzn.to/2qZrQzF

MURDER MYSTERY with Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston.
A disgruntled cop and his wife go on a European vacation to reignite the spark in their marriage, but they end up getting framed for murder and have to track the killer to clear their names. Entertaining TV movie with a cast of wacky suspects. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1618434/

MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, a remake of the classic Agatha Christie tale, with Johnny Depp, Judi Dench, and Penelope Cruz in an all-star cast. While not an ideal representation of the book, this film is worth viewing for the scenery and to see the actors in their roles. https://amzn.to/3eyZtAa

MY COUSIN VINNY with Joe Pesci, Ralph Macchio, Marisa Tomei, and Fred Gwynne.
In this funny courtroom drama, a New York lawyer on his first case defends two men in Alabama who are mistakenly accused of murder. Watch for clues in this hilarious mystery. http://amzn.to/2qnMisB

THE BOY NEXT DOOR with Dina Meyer and Cory Monteith.
A romance writer goes on a retreat to a small town to seek inspiration for her next story. When her next door neighbor is found dead, the chief of police suspects her. Even when her place is ransacked and someone tries to run her off the road, he discounts her theories and refuses to look into the incidents. It’s up to our heroine to prove her innocence and uncover the killer before his next attack turns fatal. http://amzn.to/2qZQXEi

TOWER OF TERROR with Steve Guttenberg and Kirsten Dunst.
This fun Disney film follows a down-on-his-luck journalist and his niece who investigate a story about the mysterious disappearance of five people at the abandoned Hollywood Tower Hotel in 1939. It’s a mystery along with a paranormal twist. https://amzn.to/2YAz4wn

TRUE MEMOIRS OF AN INTERNATIONAL ASSASSIN with Kevin James.
This Netflix original movie features a novelist whose fictional escapades become real in a comedic action-adventure film. After a publisher changes his novel about the experiences of a global assassin from fiction to non-fiction, the author is abducted and ordered to kill a foreign president. Each denial of his true identity gets him deeper into trouble. The only way to survive is to assume the persona of his fictional character. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1542768/

TV SHOWS

THE BROKENWOOD MYSTERIES with Neill Rea and Fern Sutherland.
http://thebrokenwoodmysteries.com/
Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Shepherd and Detective Constable Kristin Sims solve mysteries involving a limited number of suspects, most of whom know each other, in a distinct setting and with a definite sense of humor. Emphasis is on the relationships between characters and personal motives rather than forensics. Each episode is a perfect example of a cozy mystery despite the lack of an amateur sleuth. https://amzn.to/2Nwd3II

The Brokenwood Mysteries

HIGH SEAS – A Netflix Series
Two sisters discover deadly family secrets and murder on a 1940’s luxury cruise from Spain to Brazil. The cliffhanger endings of each episode will compel you to binge-watch. So many plot twists you’ll be shaking your head either in confusion or in admiration for the writers. Dubbed in English. https://www.netflix.com/title/80233258

MISS FISHER’S MURDER MYSTERIES with Essie Davis and Nathan Page.
The Honorable Miss Phryne Fisher solves crimes in 1929 Melbourne, Australia. Essie Davis plays the lead while Nathan Page plays her romantic interest, Detective Inspector Jack Robinson. Miss Fisher’s spectacular outfits, along with her feisty independent nature, bring a flashy elegance to the genre. http://amzn.to/2qjwVle
Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tearshttps://amzn.to/389Opr0

Ms. Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysterieshttps://acorn.tv/msfishermodernmysteries/
Phryne Fisher’s niece, Peregrine, investigates murders in 1960s Melbourne with the help of handsome Detective James Steed.

HALLMARK MOVIES AND MYSTERIES has many cozy series on the small screen. http://www.hallmarkmoviesandmysteries.com/

Need a clue for what to watch on TV? Check out these Mystery Movies & TV Shows #entertainment #mysterymovies Click To Tweet

So there you go. If you have some free time this weekend, look up these films and have a good time. What are your favorites?

 

Cozy Mystery Giveaway

Enter Here June 23–29 to win up to 25+ Cozy Mystery eBooks & bonus paperbacks in this multi-author giveaway. My book, Shear Murder, is included!

Cozy Mystery Bonanza

Cozy Mystery Book Giveaway

Cozy Mystery Book Giveaway

 

Cozy Mystery Giveaway

Enter Here June 23 – 29 to win up to 25+ Cozy Mystery eBooks and bonus paperbacks in this multi-author giveaway. My book, Shear Murder, is included! 

Cozy Mystery Bonanza 


Upcoming Events

Please join me at one of these upcoming online events. It would be great to see some friendly faces in the virtual crowd.

Monday, June 29, 4:00 pm Chat with author Nancy J. Cohen
Nancy J. Cohen will discuss her cozy mysteries set in Florida with a touch of humor and a hint of romance via Zoom. Sponsored by National Council of Jewish Women Palm Beach as part of their “What’s in the Author’s Bag?” program. **Pre-registration and fee required. https://ncjwpalmbeach.org/whats-in-the-authors-bag/

Wednesday, July 8 at 3 p.m. Self-Publishing Made Simple with Nancy J. Cohen, a writing workshop sponsored by South Florida Book Festival
Do you have a novel that doesn’t fit genre guidelines or a personal project you want to self-publish? Or perhaps you want to reissue backlist titles or become a hybrid author? In this workshop, award-winning author Nancy J. Cohen will discuss setting up your own imprint, buying and assigning ISBNs, preparing your manuscript, ebook and print distributors and marketing tips. Register here: https://broward.webex.com/broward/k2/j.php?MTID=t2837d4c885a368ab35e39866caaa2420
For more information about #SOFLOBOOKFEST go to www.sfloridabookfestival.com/2020

Wednesday, July 15 at 3 p.m. Blogging, Posting, & Tweeting Your Way to Success with Nancy J. Cohen, a writing workshop sponsored by South Florida Book Festival
Blogging is a proven route to building followers. You can start even before you’re published by sharing your writing journey. Or perhaps you already have a blog but want to increase your subscriber list. How can you attract more followers? In this workshop, we’ll discuss how to get started blogging as well as useful techniques for Facebook and Twitter. Register here: https://broward.webex.com/broward/k2/j.php?MTID=t652b81d9202dca80961d83990b69b036
For more information about #SOFLOBOOKFEST go to www.sfloridabookfestival.com/2020

Enter to win 25+ cozy mystery books in a multi-author #giveaway Click To Tweet

Story Dream – The Jewel in the Eye

Story dreams can inspire writers to write entire books. These can be vivid tales that we don’t want to let go when we wake up. We have to continue the story to its fitting end.

Mine are usually in the scifi/fantasy genre, although on occasion I’ll have one in the mystery or suspense arena. Circle of Light, my first published book and winner of the HOLT Medallion Award, began with a dream. It was so exciting that I didn’t want the dream to end. I had to finish it, and I did. This led to two more books in my Light-Years series. Scenes in Silver Serenade also were inspired in this way.

Dreamer Fantasy

Now there’s this one. It could easily be adapted to my Drift Lords series, which still needs the final three installments. I left it as a trilogy but with more to come. My attention turned to mysteries, but obviously this genre is still on my mind. So here is the dream. Let me know if you’d want the story to continue.

Enter the Dream

I watched this dream as though it was a movie. I am in it and yet I am not. A man is strapped to a table and about to be stabbed through the heart with a dagger. He is inside a temple where he’d attempted to steal/recover an ancient relic. The temple’s keepers have captured this Indiana Jones-type hero. He figures he’s a goner, but at the last minute, someone stays his assassin’s arm.

This person says he’ll save the hero but only under one condition. The hero must marry his daughter. Heck, why not? the hero thinks. He can figure a way out of it later. He agrees, and the rescuer asks for his word. Our hero has a stalwart reputation for integrity. He offers his promise to comply.

His rescuers whisk him aboard the savior’s ship. Before he can think of a way to escape his pledge of honor, the wedding commences. He stands beside the presiding authority at the far end of a gallery filled with seated guests. While presenting an outwardly calm appearance, he wonders why the father must force a man to wed his daughter. The woman must be truly ugly. As though to confirm his theory, she appears in her bridal gown fully veiled. He can’t see through the thick gauze. The veil remains on during the ceremony until its conclusion when he is told he may kiss the bride.

Wedding Couple

This is the moment of truth. He steels himself to face her and not betray his emotion.  But as the slender woman raises her veil, his mouth gapes in astonishment. She is the most beautiful creature he’s ever seen! She has long wavy blond hair and features that could have been carved by angels. He kisses her soft lips and is smitten by her beauty.

Blond Woman

They stride down the aisle to booming applause. What’s the catch? Does she turn into a werewolf at night? Is she a vampire who will use him as her next victim? Or is this beauty itself a glamour spell, and she’s hideous in her true form?

After the wedding feast, they retire to their cabin. The girl is shy about disrobing. Maybe she has horrible scarring from some childhood event. But no, her skin is smooth as silk and her body as desirable as his ultimate dreams.

She seems ashamed of an insignificant birthmark and claims it is the mark of a demon’s spawn. According to her people’s legends, at the age of thirty, she’ll turn into a monster that devours its young. Her parent’s story reinforces this belief. Her mother was said to have been visited by the devil because her husband was away at war when she allegedly conceived. The baby’s birthmark confirmed the superstitions.

Yet the heroine doesn’t fully believe this tale. She’s heard rumors of a ship in the harbor around the time the conception would have taken place. Could it be her mother knew of a secret exit from the castle and she’d met with a man from this vessel? How else could she have gotten pregnant when she’d been barren in the ten years she had been married? Had she been the one to spread rumors about a demon conception to allay suspicion about her infidelity?

The heroine means to discover if she is another man’s child. If the hero helps her with this goal, she will aid him in finding the coveted Jewel of the Eye. He needs this treasure’s power to right a terrible wrong that was done years ago. And so their quest begins. It turns out that the Jewel in the Eye is the hero’s new bride. She has a power….

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So what do you think? Write the story or let it go? Have you ever been inspired by a dream?

 

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Peril by Ponytail Reissue

I am proud to announce the reissue of Peril by Ponytail, book #12 in The Bad Hair Day Mysteries. Peril by Ponytail was originally published by Five Star (Gale/Cengage). This Author’s Edition has been updated with added bonus materials. Now available in new e-book and trade paperback editions.

Peril by Ponytail

Copyright © 2015 by Nancy J. Cohen
Digital ISBN: 978-1-952886-02-7
Print ISBN:    978-1-952886-03-4
Published by Orange Grove Press
Cover Design by Boulevard Photografica
Digital Layout by www.formatting4U.com

Marla’s honeymoon at an Arizona dude ranch turns deadly when murder and mayhem threaten to unhorse her new happiness in this award-winning cozy mystery set in the perilous west.

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 their relative 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
Readers’ Favorite 5 Star Review
Honorable Mention in the Readers’ Choice BTS Book 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, author of the Crime of Fashion Mysteries

Arizona Literary Award  Readers Favorite   BTS Award Readers Choice Finalist

Excerpt from Peril by Ponytail

Dalton flung her to the ground and shielded her with his body as the chandelier crashed to the floor with a huge clang and the sound of shattering glass. Clouds of dust and slivers of crystal billowed into the air.

“Uncle Ray, are you all right?” he called once the debris had settled.

“I’m still here. Are you guys okay?”

Marla, crushed under her husband, wriggled free. “We’re fine. Aren’t we?” She brushed off her clothes after Dalton helped her to stand. Her body trembled. She folded her arms across her chest while her racing heart calmed.

“That was close,” Dalton said, his face somber.

His gaze scanned the catwalks, as did Marla’s. She didn’t discern anything unusual. Had she imagined the shadow before? Or the hint of laughter in her ears now?

Historic theaters would never again hold the same appeal for her.

Raymond’s eyes blazed behind his spectacles. “This wasn’t any accident. We could have been killed.”

“I should go up there and take a look around.” Dalton turned to Marla. “Why don’t you wait outside? It’s not safe in here.”

“All right, but please be careful.” She couldn’t leave this place too soon in her opinion.

Waiting on the street, she considered who might have been following their movements. Somebody had noticed them entering the old theatre and had taken advantage of the opportunity to cause harm. Had it been a member of Raymond’s crew or someone else?

“How well do you know your workers?” she asked Raymond when he and Dalton had rejoined her. Dalton’s negative shake of the head indicated his mission hadn’t proven fruitful.

“We’re on passable terms. I wouldn’t say I know each guy personally.” Raymond gestured expansively. “Let me show you the hearse before you go. We discovered it intact, and it only needed a bit of polish.” He led them down the street at a fairly steep decline.

A hearse. Oh, joy. They’d nearly ended up in one.

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Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54119610-peril-by-ponytail

“Cozy fans will have fun.” Publishers Weekly

“Hairdresser Marla Vail spends her honeymoon at the dude ranch from hell. As usual, it’s just a matter of time before Marla risks life and limb to help her husband solve a case that’s bigger than either of them anticipated.” Kirkus Reviews

“Ms. Cohen is the queen of the cozy mystery. With a large cast of interesting supporting characters; plenty of dangerous, suspenseful action scenes; an attractive, well-drawn setting; and a charming representation of the Marla-Dalton relationship, Peril by Ponytail will more than fulfill the expectations of Ms. Cohen’s fans and win the admiration of new readers.” Phil Jason, Florida Weekly

“Blending a dude ranch, ghost town, and the beautiful Arizona countryside with murder and mayhem, Cohen once again delivers a tantalizing tale…The story is filled with suspense and mystery, but also humor, touches of romance and family bonding.” Mason Canyon, Thoughts in Progress

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