A New House

Moving into a new house is a daunting task. It can be more difficult than leaving your old place. Packing to move involves shoving stuff into cartons and sending it off to your destination. But at the other end, you have many decisions to make. You have to decide not only where everything should go but what you need to do to make the house comfortable for your needs.

There’s a reason why we forget what it was like to move before. Like any traumatic event, we’d prefer not to remember the details. Here we planned ahead to have new carpets installed and the painting started before we moved in. The to-do list kept me up at night as I kept adding items. If your house is brand new, you don’t have many of these issues. If it’s a resale like ours, often the owners will have left window treatments and lighting fixtures that can be desirable. This house is twenty years old and hasn’t seen much in the way of renovations. We know the a/c units need replacement, but since they are working, other things must take priority.

Window treatments are number three after carpets and paint. While we kept the blinds, out went the original valences and drapes. That left us with no coverings on the living room window, family room sliding glass doors, patio door in our bedroom and two guest bathroom windows. At night, we have nowhere to go for privacy except our home offices and the master bedroom, and the latter is thanks to our daughter mounting a temporary blackout drape on the door. We won’t feel comfortable until these openings are covered, among other things. But then at least we’ll be able to go somewhere else to read at night if we can’t sleep.

Blackout Drape

What’s next? Stay tuned for the continuation of our moving adventures. And thank you for listening. It is cathartic for me to relate these details, and it helps me get back into the writing mode.

Moving into a new house takes adjustment #moving #awriterslife Click To Tweet

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The Big Move Begins

Greetings, dear friends. These last few months have been tumultuous as we prepared to move from our house of forty years into a new place near where our kids live. As we get older, it becomes evident that we need to be close to family for mutual support, and the pandemic brought home that nothing else really matters. And so we spent the Fall months packing our belongings and missing the friends that we would leave behind. The virus already had isolated us and sent us to virtual or phone visits. In a way, that detachment helped the process of moving.

American Van Lines made everything go smoothly. Alan B., our moving coordinator, answered my calls promptly and stayed as our agent throughout the process. It took three days for the actual move. On the first day, the guys arrived to pack our things. We’d already taken many of our small fragile items to store at our condo in Windermere. They packed everything else, including all our books and art works. They loaded the two vans on the second day, leaving us with an empty house. Afraid to book a hotel room due to the rampaging virus, we slept overnight on the carpeted floor of our daughter’s former room. It had to be one of the most uncomfortable nights we’d ever spent. Don’t our empty rooms look forlorn?

Then came moving day. At dawn, we headed north on Florida’s turnpike. We arrived at the house around 11am, having had the foresight to stop off and buy a quick take-out lunch. Not long afterward, the movers arrived. They unloaded the furniture and placed it where we wanted. All the boxes went into the garage. And that’s where many of them sit now. Alan called us daily to make sure everything was going smoothly and so did Elena, another team member. I was impressed by how carefully this company handled our items and their professional courtesy. I had paid extra for insurance with a high deductible, and while a few small items and an older tv had problems, they weren’t worth a claim. Then began the job of unpacking and deciding where to put everything, but that’s the topic for my next post.

Nancy J. Cohen talks about The Big Move Click To Tweet

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Year-End Goal Review

As a writer, it’s important to do a year-end goal review to see what you’ve accomplished and what has yet to be done. This will help you in setting goals for the new year. Aside from moving to a new location, this is what I’ve completed:

Goal Review

CREATIVE GOALS

Publish Easter Hair Hunt, #16 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries – DONE.
Published March 10, 2020

Reissue mystery backlist titles and update earlier covers – DONE.
a) Updated mystery covers and/or interior back matter for 14 books
b) Reissued in ebook and paperback:
Shear Murder – April 14, 2020
Hanging by a Hair – May 23, 2020
Peril by Ponytail – June 14, 2020
Facials can Be Fatal – July 14, 2020
c) Added all Bad Hair Day Mysteries to IngramSpark for new trade paperback editions

Revise and reissue romance backlist titles – DONE.
Reissued the Light-Years Series in September and the Drift Lords Series in November – 6 books total.

Put Writing the Cozy Mystery into audiobook – NOT DONE

BUSINESS GOALS

Bundle books into box sets – NOT DONE.

Schedule Price Promotions – NOT DONE.

Go wide with audiobooks via Findaway Voices – DONE

Year-End Goal Review #writers #writingcommunity Click To Tweet

In conclusion, I published one original title and finished reissuing all my backlist titles. Now I’m ready to move forward once my home office is reorganized and my life is put back together. A vaccine is on the horizon, which hopefully will allow socializing again and in-person events in the not-so-distant future.

How about you? Are you happy with what you’ve gotten done?

Happy New Year and thanks for sticking with me during these tumultuous times!

The Big Move

My husband and I are about to embark on a grand adventure. After forty years in our cherished house, we are moving four hours away to be near our kids and grandson. It’s not easy when we’ve remodeled this house to suit our style and we love the neighborhood. It’s difficult saying goodbye to our friends and leaving our favorite local restaurants. In a way, the pandemic has helped by isolating us from everyone. Meetings have been cancelled. We can’t get together with friends. So we talk on the phone and visit via Zoom. We can do the same things from our new location.

At the moment, we feel as though we have two lives. One half of us is still in our long-time residence getting it ready for sale and the moving van. The other half is planning ahead to what we want to do in the new house. Hopefully, the rewards will be worth the angst in the end.

In the meantime, my posts (and my writing) will be taking a back burner to these disruptive changes. I’ll resume at the beginning of next year if all goes well.

Have a wonderful holiday season and thanks for understanding.

Until later,

Nancy

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Warrior Lord Reissue

I am excited to announce the reissue of Warrior Lord, Book Three in the Drift Lords Series. This title was previously published by The Wild Rose Press. A fantasy wedding in Las Vegas turns into a nightmare when contest winner Erika Sherwood realizes she’s married an alien in this action-packed fantasy paranormal romance novel.

Warrior Lord

Book Three in The Drift Lords Series
Copyright © 2014 by Nancy J. Cohen
Published by Orange Grove Press
Digital ISBN: 978-1-952886-15-7
Cover Design by The Killion Group, Inc.

Pottery sculptor Erika Sherwood marries a stranger at a Las Vegas casino after they win a game together and agree to split the reward. It isn’t until her life is threatened that Erika realizes the wedding was for real and her husband is an alien. A warrior from another planet, he’s come to Earth to quell an invasion of beasts from another dimension.

With their location exposed, Erika and her new husband need to make a fast escape. They plunge into a whirlwind of danger, passion, and heart-pounding suspense in their pursuit of a weapon that can defeat the enemy. More alarming are the feelings Erika develops for the taciturn warrior. Will he leave her when their mission is done?

A Drift Lord and swordsman of the Tsuran, Magnor tricks the redhead into marriage when he realizes she is one of six women prophesied to save Earth. But as they race to prevent an apocalypse, he wonders if he risks his heart more than his life.

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Excerpt

Cameras aimed at her, and a wedding march blasted from the speaker system. She resisted the urge to press a hand to her aching temples.

Magnor waited for her under the canopy where myriads of tiny lights twinkled. He looked proud and tall, an unreadable expression on his face as he watched her step forward. His cape swung behind him, making him look like an avenging god with his impressive height and sword.

She took her place at his side and together they faced Dennis. The official held an open book in his hands. Dennis began the brief ceremony, his words bypassing her brain as she stood rooted in place, immobilized by the rapid pace of events.

“With the power invested in me by the State of Nevada and the city of Las Vegas, I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride.”

Erika’s head whirled. Not even fifteen minutes must have gone by. Was this what passed for a Las Vegas wedding?

What a sham. She supposed that every minute they were on the air, it cost money.

Magnor’s head descended, and he pressed his mouth to hers. As far as the TV viewers were concerned, they’d been married. The exchange of rings had felt real. She wondered who’d given him the one he’d slid onto her finger. Dennis, most likely.

The ruddy-faced official shook their hands, gave Magnor the key to the honeymoon suite, and said their new car would be available for pickup from the valet. As for the cash, it was theirs for the taking. He handed them a large-sized signed check made out to Mr. and Mrs. Magnor.

“Oh, and one more thing,” Dennis said. “I’ll need your signatures on these documents, please. It’s simply a formality, but we do need permission for the resort to use your likenesses for publicity. These papers also include transfer of title to the car, tax forms and such.”

Erika signed with a shaky hand. In her frazzled state, she couldn’t be bothered to read the details.

Magnor followed suit, then grasped her hand in his and raised it in the air. The watching throng cheered loudly.

“That’s it then, wife.” His low, rumbly voice broke through the haze in her head. “You’re mine now.”

Praise

“Cohen’s third book in her Drift Lords series is an action-packed thrill ride from start to finish. She effortlessly blends fact with Norse mythology and fiction to create a fabulous tale, layered in detail and rich in texture.” Muddy Rose Reviews

Warrior Lord held me spellbound with this story of soul mates trying to save the world. This book has action, adventure, and romance. If that is not enough for you, this book will have you at the edge of your seat. I love mythological beings and incorporating them into a modern story takes a lot of skill and creativity…A great read.” Drue’s Random Chatter

“A fun combination of action, adventure, sci-fi, mystery, mythology, and romance. I loved this book and cannot get enough Drift Lords.” WiLoveBooks

“I really felt connected to these characters. This is an entertaining read and definitely will leave you satisfied.” The Book Maven

Warrior Lord is a fast-paced science fiction tale with suspense and romance. Erika, the sculptor from Earth and Magnor, a warrior lord on a mission to find the book of Odin, fall in love while fighting his enemies. A very-well written book that kept me reading and guessing until the last page.” Reader Forever

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A fantasy wedding in Las Vegas turns into a nightmare when contest winner Erika Sherwood realizes she’s married an alien. WARRIOR LORD #pnr #fantasy #romance Click To Tweet

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Back-to-Back Book Releases: Yay or Nay?

Launching a series all at once can be a daunting task. You have to plan the promotion campaign with tight deadlines. This release schedule was a new venture for me. With two backlist trilogies, it made sense to book the releases close together. This meant getting all the titles ready before the pre-order dates.

Once I’d completed my revisions, here is what came next:

  • Assign individual ISBN Numbers and add to Copyright pages (optional but recommended).
  • Mention this title was previously published by your former publisher if it’s a reissue.
  • Add new front and back material.
  • Complete formatting for each book.
  • Add updated book covers to website.
  • Convert book into digital and/or paperback formats.
  • Set release dates.
  • Add book to vendor sites and schedule as pre-order.
  • Create memes for series as a whole and for each individual book.
  • If running a sale, create memes for sale book(s).
  • Write tweets for each title and for overall series.
  • Schedule a newsletter.
  • Book ads if desired.
  • Write blogs for Cover Reveals and Reissue dates.
  • Add distributor links to scheduled blog posts and website.
  • If a reissue, decide if you want to link to earlier versions to retain reviews.
  • Claim your titles on BookBub, Goodreads and Amazon Author Central.

I decided to run a pre-order sale. With the titles respectively at $.99, $1.99 and $2.99, this would give readers a saving of $6.00 over the regular retail price of $3.99 each.

There appeared to be a spike in sales for each book on their release dates, presumably due to preorders. The first book in each series had the most sales. I’m experimenting with these books on Kindle Unlimited and will evaluate the results once the royalties start coming in.

Would I do this again? Not for original titles. You’d have to write all three of them first and then promote your books to the next millennia. It gets tiring fast. There’s a reason why publishers produce one book a year in a series. You need time to contact reviewers, plan a promotional campaign, schedule ads, write copy, and so much more. It’s easier for backlist titles when you already have reviews, but you still want to attract new readers with fresh covers and added bonus materials.

In conclusion, a back-to-back publication schedule may work for more energetic writers, but I wouldn’t do it for my original works. I need more time for advance planning. In this case, though, with all three books in each trilogy already written, it was easier to get them ready for a fast launch.

Back-to-Back Book Releases: Yay or Nay? #bookpromotion #pubtip Click To Tweet

Have you ever rapid-released several books in a row? How did that work for you?

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Warrior Rogue Reissue

I am excited to announce the reissue of Warrior Rogue, Book Two in the Drift Lords Series. This title was previously published by The Wild Rose Press. A fashion designer and a space warrior race to fulfill an ancient prophecy and save the world. “Star Wars” meets “Romancing the Stone” in this adventurous fantasy paranormal romance novel.

Warrior Rogue

Book Two in The Drift Lords Series
Copyright © 2013 by Nancy J. Cohen
Published by Orange Grove Press
Digital ISBN: 978-1-952886-14-0
Cover Design by The Killion Group, Inc.

Fashion designer Jennifer Dyhr’s world turns upside down when she hires a hunky actor for her video game commercial. No sooner do they board an aircraft and take off when they’re assaulted mid-air by alien invaders. Even more dangerous are the man’s sensual caresses that ignite the embers in her heart.

When space ops warrior Paz Hadar falls through a spatial rift onto Jen’s film set, he soon realizes she is essential to his mission. Not only must he protect her, but his success depends upon her special powers. As they struggle to stay one step ahead of the enemy, he discovers that fighting his attraction to the lovely Jen is as much a challenge as keeping them both alive.

Finalist in the 2014 Carolyn Reader’s Choice Awards
Finalist in the Reader’s Crown Awards by RomCon®

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Excerpt

Jen tilted her head, taking the plunge. “I’m just wondering where we’re going with us.”

“Are you embarrassed because of my job, is that it?”

“I brought you home to meet my parents, didn’t I?”

“That’s not a proper answer.”

She folded her arms across her chest. “All right, I really like you. I want to be with you. But what happens when your mission is over?”

His gaze hardened. “I go back to my job.”

“Exactly. You leave me. You leave Earth.”

“Why, would you come with me?” For a moment, something flickered behind his expression.

“Not if you’re a space jockey hopping from one port to another. I want to settle down and have a family.”

“Well, then I guess you’ll have to look for someone more stable and suitable to your goals.”

Hurt and disappointment slashed through her. “I guess so. Someone like you can never understand drive and ambition. You just know how to kiss women or kill people.”

She regretted the angry words as soon as she flung them at him, but his refusal to consider her feelings wounded her.

He grinned, but his eyes were two cold ice chips. “I’m very good at killing, Jen. It’s my best trait. Too bad you don’t count that among your requirements for a mate.”

Praise

“This is an exciting read set in a rich, detailed, and fascinating world peopled with interesting characters…A fast-paced read with a dash of romance.” Coffee Time Romance

“Highly recommend this epic adventure filled with passion and drama.” Eclipse Reviews

“Rips in the space fabric, special powers, and naked men, oh my! This is a book you will devour in one fell swoop! Nancy J. Cohen has created a very realistic world with characters you cannot help but love.” Faerie Tale Books

“You have aliens, interstellar heroes, mythology, dragons, demons, and demi-gods all rolled into one. Most of the story is fast-paced action, but there is a nice dose of romance thrown in. It all managed to work well together.” Jessica Loves Books

“Cohen’s futuristic, paranormal romance series blends aspects of science fiction with magic and mythology then tops it off with steamy sexy scenes that are so hot you will need a fan and a mint julep drink to cool off. I love the Drift Lords so much I dream of having one of my own.” Manic Readers

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A fashion designer & a space warrior race to fulfill an ancient prophecy & save the world. WARRIOR ROGUE #pnr #fantasy #romance Click To Tweet

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E-Books vs Print Books for Giveaways

As part of a book promotion campaign, many authors routinely offer giveaways or contests with books as prizes. Whether these are e-books or print copies depends upon author preference, publisher, supplies and cost factors.

Book Giveaways

Traditionally published authors may receive a carton of advance reading copies for reviewers or to use as giveaway prizes. They can easily supply print copies but may not have the option to give out digital editions. This factor might be curtailed now due to print run delays amid Covid-19 changes.

Suffice it to say that these authors can offer books as prizes in a format approved by their publisher. If they only have print copies available, they can opt to gift an e-book copy by purchasing it themselves. But considering the cost of e-books published by traditional houses, that’s no small sum. Some publishers may offer a digital format for reviewers or put it online at one of the known sites such as NetGalley. It’s up to each author to inquire as to what’s available. Or maybe the publisher is willing to mail out print books on behalf of the author.

On the other hand, self-published authors can make their own choices in this regard. They can order print proofs and send these out as advance reading copies. These books, usually trade paperbacks, cost more for the author as there are no free books from a publishing house. As an alternative, indie authors can offer digital review copies only or give the reviewer a choice.

As for contest prizes, indie authors can choose to give away either print or e-book copies. This is a personal preference, but again one must consider the cost. Print books are more expensive when you add in the shipping charges that can be considerable. This is before we spend on postage to send the print book to the reader.

Lately, I’ve been offering exclusively digital copies, not only for the cost issue, but also because I don’t care to stand in line at the post office during a pandemic. I have cartons full of first edition print copies of backlist titles I’d love to give away to readers, but they’ll have to wait until it’s safer out there.

Hopefully, you’ll be more understanding of why authors may offer one format or the other. It’s a personal choice dependent upon our publisher, formats available for our titles, how much we can afford, and how much we’re willing to risk our health during these uncertain times.

Be aware that even if you don’t own a dedicated e-reader device, you can download digital files onto your home computer or tablet. It’s great to get a signed print book as a contest prize, but please realize this is not always possible. At Booklover’s Bench, where we do monthly giveaways, you’ll see both e-books and print copies in the Prize Vault. Enter Here for a chance to win.

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Warrior Prince Reissue

I am excited to announce the reissue of Warrior Prince, Book One in the Drift Lords Series. Inspiration for this story came from the Maelstrom ride at Disney’s Epcot theme park. The tale begins in Orlando and involves sinister theme parks, ancient prophecies, and Norse myths. “Star Wars” meets “Lord of the Rings” in this action-packed fantasy paranormal romance novel.

Warrior Prince

Book One in The Drift Lords Series
Copyright © 2012 by Nancy J. Cohen
Published by Orange Grove Press
Digital ISBN: 978-1-952886-13-3
Cover Design by The Killion Group, Inc.

When mythologist and Florida resident Nira Larsen accepts a job as tour guide for a mysterious stranger, she’s drawn into a nightmare reality where ancient myths come alive and legendary evils seek to destroy her. To survive, she must awaken her dormant powers, but the only person who can help is the man whose touch inflames her passion.

After a dimensional rift in the Bermuda Triangle cracks open and an ancient enemy invades Earth, Zohar—leader of the Drift Lords—gathers his troops to defend the planet. He doesn’t count on a feisty redhead getting in his way and capturing his heart. Nira has the power to defeat the enemy but also to enslave Zohar’s soul. Can he trust her not to betray him?

Warrior Prince was previously published by The Wild Rose Press. This Author’s Edition has been updated with added bonus materials.

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Excerpt

Zohar followed her into the living room. “We have the data crystals…crystal to examine, and the shipping address in Windermere to investigate.”

“What about looking for that island?” She spun to face him. “Send Borius to get a reading of those carvings when you find the place. If he’s got a phase gun, those natives won’t be a threat. And while you’re at it, check the other ley lines for signs of Trollek activity.”

“We cannot do so with the jamming device activated.” Zohar glanced at a lizard scurrying along the air-conditioning unit by the window.

She followed his line of vision. The creature skittered away into a crack. “You don’t need to scan for cors particles. If the Trolleks put Drift World near the Bermuda Triangle, maybe they have gateways near other Vile Vortices. See if you can locate a place where lots of people go, like a casino or another theme park. Maybe that’s where they’ve hidden the jammer.”

“Good idea.” Zohar beamed at her. “I’ll have Paz use the ship’s sensors to scan those regions.”

“Meanwhile, I have my own things to do. Let’s meet back here later to exchange reports.”

“You cannot go alone. I will accompany you.”

“Not this time. I have your diamond ring. If I need help, I’ll use it.”

She considered how little the ring meant to him. Did lovers give such tokens to each other on his world? Had Zohar ever wanted a woman so much that he’d pledged himself to her?

Realizing how little she knew of his background didn’t make her any happier. It only widened the gap between them and brought home the fact that he’d leave her someday.

Zohar regarded her with a stern expression. “Promise you will summon me should you gain news of Grace. You are not to attempt a rescue on your own, understand?”

“Yes, sir. Or should I say, rageesh. What does that mean anyway?”

Yaron sauntered inside. “It means our captain is—”

“Their commanding officer,” Zohar finished, giving him a warning glare.

Despite all she had done for him, Zohar still didn’t trust her. So be it. She’d search for Grace while he pursued his mission. And once it was done, he’d leave and she’d never see him again.

Good riddance. The man disrupted her life, distracted her from her goals, and played havoc with her hormones.

As the men huddled to discuss their plans, she slung her purse strap over her shoulder and headed for the front door. 

Praise

“The author weaves scifi and ancient Norse mythology in this sexy tale of danger and love.” Alyssa Maxwell, author of the Gilded Newport Mysteries and A Lady and Lady’s Maid mystery series

“I’m a huge fan of Nancy Cohen’s Bad Hair Day Mysteries and was thrilled to discover her latest book, a terrific mix of science fiction, mystery, and sizzling romance.” Mary Kennedy, Author of the Talk Radio Mysteries.

“Nancy Cohen’s new Drift Lord series is terrific. The world building as she meshes contemporary times with other planets and mythology is outstanding.” Traci Hall, bestselling author of the Scottish Shire Mysteries and the By the Sea romance series

“Cohen’s Drift Lord series weaves science fiction, fantasy, and ancient Norse mythology into a sexy tapestry of action, adventure, and love. A fun read.” Muddy Rose Reviews

“For a funny bone tingling non-stop action and adventure scifi thriller with a swirl of romance, Nancy J. Cohen’s Drift Lords series is one you won’t want to pass up.” Oh, for the HOOK of a BOOK!

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Norse myths, magic, & murder mingle in this fast-paced fantasy paranormal romance #pnr #fantasy #romance Click To Tweet

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Morality in Mysteries

In discussing the mystery genre, writers often mention how crime fiction reflects the current state of our society. Morality in mysteries is another important consideration. What are the lessons learned by the protagonist, and in extension, by our readers? Personally, I don’t give heavy thought to these notions when I write a novel. Mostly I aim to entertain. My goal in writing the cozy mystery is to help you escape from reality and enjoy a fun, lighthearted tale. But could there be a morality lesson buried in our stories upon a closer look?

In the earlier Bad Hair Day Mysteries, my hairstylist sleuth seeks redemption for a past mistake. When Marla was nineteen and babysitting a toddler, the child accidently drowned in a backyard pool. I meant to educate readers about this preventable tragedy. Guilt drives Marla and motivates her to solve the crime in Permed to Death. When she meets handsome Detective Dalton Vail, this guilt prohibits her from progressing in their relationship. He has a teenage daughter, and she doesn’t want children. She has to forgive herself before she can move on in life. She volunteers for the Child Drowning Prevention Coalition and helps solve murders to bring justice to victims. This is how she atones for what happened and remembers she has a good heart.

Lesson One — You can move on from past mistakes and be a better person.

As Marla and Dalton grow closer, Marla comes to care for his daughter, Brianna. Their relationship still has its bumps, because Dalton also has some emotional baggage to cast away before he can move ahead. But finally, by Shear Murder, Marla has accepted that she’s stronger with Dalton and he realizes that she completes him.

Lesson Two — Finding love can strengthen you, not cause loss of independence or self-identity. 

But Marla is still nervous. As their nuptials approach, she buries herself in solving another case rather than face wedding details and bickering relatives. Finally, she finds the courage to accept her new family with enthusiasm and love. She sheds her fears and looks forward to a new tomorrow.

Lesson Three — We need to accept who we are to ensure a brighter future.

These moral lessons resonate because they’re universal truths. Mostly, the morals in my stories involve the sleuth as she learns to appreciate the meaning of family. The focus is not on the criminal mind or what effect the crime has on the victim’s survivors. Cozy mysteries focus on the sleuth and her life. In this way, her character growth issues reflect the problems we face in the real world.

That’s why I like reading cozies, too. They’re about someone like you or me who is a lot braver and who has the guts to chase down the bad guys. Along the way, we live vicariously in the sleuth’s world and enjoy seeing her relationships grow and change.

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How about you? Do you determine a theme ahead of time, or does it emerge from your writing as you develop the story? Do your tales focus on the criminal’s motivations and the repercussions of the crime, or more on the sleuth’s life in general? 

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