Happy Homicides 4: Fall into Crime anthology– A bountiful harvest of 12+ cozy mysteries plus a special bonus file of recipes and craft tips. Regular price 99 cents. Look for my original Bad Hair Day cozy mystery novella, “Haunted Hair Nights.”
Two-for-One Limited Time Offer: Buy Happy Homicides 4: Fall into Crime and get Happy Homicides 3: Summertime Crime absolutely FREE! Two books for the price of one (only 99 cents) –and you get two enormous bonus files full of recipes and craft project ideas for no extra cost. This offer is good from Aug. 29 to Sept. 11.Order Now!
Permed to Death, book #1 in the Bad Hair Day cozy mystery series, is now available in audiobook at Audible and iTunes. Narrated by the talented Mary Ann Jacobs from Voice Over Visions.
Hairstylist Marla Shore is giving grumpy Mrs. Kravitz a perm when her client dies in the shampoo chair. If that isn’t enough to give her a bad hair day, handsome Detective Dalton Vail suspects Marla of poisoning the woman’s coffee creamer.
I’ve learned a lot from doing an audiobook for the first time. I’ll be describing the experience in upcoming posts. Meanwhile, my new audiobook needs reviews, so I hope you will help spread the word. For audiobooks, reviews are especially helpful on Audible and iTunes, where you can set up free accounts. But they’re also welcome on Amazon, BN, and Goodreads.
You can listen to audiobooks on your iPhone, tablet computer, or ebook reader device. Have a long car trip or commute coming up? Listen to an audiobook. Do you routinely jog, walk, or spend time on the treadmill? Listen to an audiobook. Have trouble seeing well enough to read lately? An audiobook will fulfill your need with less effort. Want a new way to relieve stress and lower your blood pressure? Lie on the couch, close your eyes, and listen to an audiobook. Keep in mind that you can gift an audiobook to someone else. Also, if you buy the Permed to Death Kindle ebook, you can get the audiobook at a discount.
Or make your own clips and send me the links when you post to social media!
Body Wave (Bad Hair Day Mystery #4) ebook is on sale for $1.00 at Smashwords until July 31. Coupon Code SSW75. Marla the hairstylist goes undercover as a nurse’s aide to help solve the murder of her ex-spouse’s third wife. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/580614
I’m excited to announce the Author’s Edition of Murder by Manicure (Bad Hair Day Mystery #3). Murder by Manicure was originally published by Kensington. This edition has been revised and updated with added bonus materials.
Join my Book Launch Party for the Author’s Edition of Murder by Manicure (Bad Hair Day Mystery #3) March 24, from 2-4pm EDT https://www.facebook.com/NewReleaseParty Fun & Giveaways! Guest authors Alyssa Maxwell, Joanna Campbell Slan, and Maggie Toussaint will be joining the party.
Hairstylist Marla Shore joins a fitness club to get in shape but discovers a dead body instead of an exercise routine. Jolene Myers—a client at Marla’s salon—has drowned beneath the frothing waters of the whirlpool. When Homicide Detective Dalton Vail determines Jolene’s death was no accident, Marla decides to give her deductive skills a workout and help solve the case.
Jolene had few friends at the fancy athletic club. As Marla gets to know everyone, she wonders who might have targeted Jolene for a lethal soak in the hot tub. The shady pharmacist? The smarmy city councilman? Or maybe the vocal animal rights activist? The fitness club staff had no fondness for Jolene, either. How far would they go to keep their secrets? When another member turns up dead, Marla intensifies her efforts to nail the killer and wrap the case. If she fails, the next buff body on its way to the morgue might be hers.
“Marla Shore is a beguiling, very clever sleuth who teases out every clue. Absolutely delightful!” Jill Churchill, author of the Jane Jeffry & Grace and Favor mystery series.
“Cohen fashions her Bad Hair Day series with plenty of humor, snappy repartee and even a healthy helping of current events.” The News Press
“In Murder by Manicure, a southern sleuth who’s a cut above the rest pulls out all the stops to wrap up another nail-biting murder that will leave readers eagerly awaiting their next appointment with Marla Shore.” Barnes & Noble Ransom Notes
“Observations about makeup, hair, and apparel mix with humorous, sexy overtones and catty remarks. A solid series addition.” Library Journal
“This series is hilarious and very enjoyable and contains many hijinks.” The Best Reviews
“For the reader who enjoys the twists and turns of a tale by Mary Higgins Clark, Murder by Manicure is a must read!” ReaderToReader.com
One of the topics I’d researched for Hair Raiser was pre-need funeral plans. I firmly believe people should address this issue before their demise. It saves your loved ones from having to make these choices during a difficult time. You get to choose what you want, and when the time comes, all your heirs have to do is make a phone call. You can pay off the cost in installments, instead of your surviving family members having to come up with a lump sum later on. So don’t avoid the issue and put off for tomorrow what you can do today.
Marla interviews a suspect in Hair Raiser who happens to be a funeral director. Her excuse for seeing him is ostensibly to get information on a pre-need plan for herself. I hope you find this interview to be useful for your own planning needs.
Excerpt from Hair Raiser by Nancy J. Cohen
“Let’s talk about funeral plans,” Marla said.
From the way Stefano glowered at her, she figured he was wishing she could make use of one right now.
“Is this going to be a package for two people?” he snarled, pen poised in his fingers. His glance dropped to her ringless left hand.
“No, this is just for me.”
“You should think ahead. At some point in your future, there may be a significant other. I assume we’re talking about a traditional ground burial rather than a mausoleum?”
“I guess so.” She had no wish to be preserved for eternity in a tomb like Romeo and Juliet. Besides, she believed her religion required a ground burial.
“Purchasing two plots now will save you money because land prices keep rising. In the event you don’t need the second plot, we’ll buy it back from you. Consider it a hedge against inflation.” Pushing a chart in front of her, he pointed to various sites marked out in squares. “Which cemetery section appeals to you?”
Marla moistened her lips. “It doesn’t matter, whichever costs less.”
“That would be the newest section.” He circled two spaces. “Do you prefer a chapel or graveside service?”
She gave it serious consideration, mortality being on her mind after viewing Riley’s body and being shot at herself. “A graveside service would be easier on my family, so let’s go with that one. Is there a price difference?” Squinting, she tried to read what was on the upside-down form.
“It’s $420 for use of the chapel as opposed to $275 for a graveside service.” At her nod, he continued. “Next there’s a basic charge for the professional services of the funeral director and staff. That’s $1870. This includes arranging conferences between family and clergy, filing necessary permits, planning the funeral, placement of obituary notices, and coordination with other responsible parties. It also includes administrative expenses for the use of our facilities.”
“You have a choice about embalming. May I ask your religious preference?”
He nodded sagely. “Jewish people usually don’t embalm unless you’re going into a mausoleum. It’s my understanding, and correct me if I’m wrong, that the religious directive is to return to the earth as quickly as possible.”
“Okay, no embalming.” She felt uncomfortable discussing these choices, but it made sense to do so before you needed them. What a relief for your relatives to make one phone call in the event your prearrangements became necessary. Ma had paid for a plan, and Marla was grateful. She dreaded the day when she’d have to use it, but that was better than having to make hasty decisions later while coping with grief.
“You’re going to have other expenses.” Stefano reversed the general price list so she could see for herself. “Transfer of remains to the funeral home is $290. Use of a hearse will be $275. Dressing and casketing is $145. Since you’re not embalming, refrigeration is required, which costs $395.”
I’d always wanted to die broke, she told herself sardonically. “What’s this opening and closing that you’ve circled?”
“That’s for opening the gravesite and closing it after the service. Also, I recommend a concrete vault. It gives more protection than a concrete liner, which is more porous. Now let’s discuss choice of caskets.” He stood, gesturing for her to follow. “We have a casket room so you can see the selections.”
Oh, joy. She couldn’t wait.
Trailing behind, she entered a room where up to twenty coffins were on display. Detaching herself emotionally wasn’t hard. She didn’t want to think about herself lying in one of those boxes.
“The Jewish religion calls for your casket to be made of all wood, meaning pegged and glued with no metal parts so the body can get back to the earth quickly.” He showed her a few samples. “See, no nails or metal hinges. Or, if you go into a mausoleum, embalming is required along with a sealed metal casket. Choices include steel, copper, and bronze, like this one here.”
Her eyes bulged. The price tag of $37,995 made her throat constrict. Hopefully the ones made from wood were more reasonably priced. She surveyed the different styles ranging from solid mahogany with a polished finish and a champagne velvet interior at a cost of $19,995 to a plain pine box for $795.
“How about this one?” she asked, pointing to a solid poplar design with a polished maple finish and beige crepe interior. It ran mid-price range at $2,695.
Stefano ran his fingers lovingly over the smooth service, his dark eyes gleaming in appreciation. “Beautiful, isn’t it? Of course, if you prefer a velvet interior, we have a similar one for an extra $800.”
“No, I like this. What’s next?” Uncomfortable in the confined space with Stefano looming beside her, she headed through the door and back toward his office.
“Clergy fees, death certificates, prayer books, yarmulkes, acknowledgment cards, a guest sign-in book. Then there’s an archiving fee and sales tax on the merchandise.”
He’d been writing everything down on a proposal form, and now he pulled out a calculator to get the total. “Here’s the best package I can give you,” he said circling a number that made Marla cringe. “We have a payment plan available if you’d like to stretch this out over four years with no interest. It includes our personal protection program. If, God forbid, something happens to you after a year, the rest of the premiums are waived.”
“Terrific. Can I take this home to study?” She’d contact another funeral home to compare prices. Babs had told her Stefano charged exorbitant fees. Upon his approval, she folded the papers and stuffed them into her purse.
“Who handled the arrangements for Ben’s funeral?” she asked, knowing the answer but wondering how he’d react.
He grimaced. “One of the Levinson places took care of him.”
“They weren’t the ones involved in that voodoo case, were they?” She’d read a news article about a mortician convicted of performing voodoo rituals by stuffing dolls stuck with pins into a dead man’s chest cavity and chopping off his hand.
“No, that was somewhere in north Florida.” Thrusting stiff fingers through his gray hair, Stefano regarded her from beneath heavy brows. “Levinson’s is a nation-wide chain. Conglomerates now own more than fifty percent of the mortuaries in this county. Most people don’t realize it when they choose a place. Ownership may have changed hands, but the old names remain on the signs.”
“Doesn’t that hurt your business? Yours is one of the few family-owned firms left.”
“We still provide more personal services than the chains, and their prices tend to be higher. Did you know they charge up to sixty-two percent more than independents for the same items?”
Yeah, right, pal. Like your prices are cheap? “You’ve managed to stay viable.”
“I heard a rumor that Ben was suing you on behalf of some former customers,” she said, switching topics glibly to provoke a response. “Did that have anything to do with Pre-Need plans? What guarantee is there that I’ll get what I pay for?”
He shifted uneasily. “You have to trust me, Marla.”
No problem. I’d trust you like I would a snake.
NOTE: Hair Raiser (Bad Hair Day Mystery #2) was originally published by Kensington Publishing Corp. This Author’s Edition has been revised and reformatted with added bonus material.
Warrior Prince, book one in my Drift Lords series, is free today at The Wild Rose Press and through the weekend until December 3rd. Order for FREE Here
Set in a contemporary world woven with magic, intrigue, romance, and suspense, Warrior Prince is based on Norse mythology. Nira Larsen is having a bad day when she gets attacked at a seedy employment office in Orlando, FL. Rushing to her defense is a team of men clad in black and carrying futuristic weapons. Their leader offers her a proposal. He and his men are strangers in town, and they need a local guide. Would Nira be interested in taking the job? Eager to earn extra money, she accepts. Thus begins her descent into a nightmare of ancient prophesies, legendary myths, and danger.
Drift Lord leader Zohar Thorald recognizes Nira as one of the prophesied women destined to prevent a coming apocalypse, and he determines to keep her safe. But can he keep himself safe from her charms? Not only does she have the power to defeat the enemy but she could easily enslave his soul.
“With a mix of humor and action, this exciting intergalactic romance is based on an Old Norse legends brought up to date for a new generation…Warrior Prince is not only a great romance but it’s about two strong people. This journey is fast paced and exciting as our characters fight the bad guys and find true love.”—Night Owl Reviews
“For a funny bone tingling non-stop action and adventure sci-fi 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!
“This is a most enjoyable tale, with suspense in more than ample supply, leavened with romance, mystery, and mythology. Cohen excels, too, in creating memorable and quirky characters, both ‘real’ world and mythic. There’s something here for everyone to enjoy!” —Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore
“Cohen’s Drift Lord series weaves science fiction, fantasy, and ancient Norse mythology into a sexy tapestry of action, adventure, and love.”—Muddy Rose Reviews
Your experiences and travels provide fodder for future works and should be recorded. When I wrote travel journals years ago, little did I realize that I’d be mining those notes decades later for my Drift Lords series. I’d been to Hong Kong in 1978. Yet today, many of the sights, sounds, and sensory impressions remain the same. Thus I sought my notes for Warrior Rogue, where a scene takes place in that great city. Ditto for the other locations around the globe for my paranormal series—Los Angeles, Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, and Arizona. You never know when a bit of research will come in handy.
I’ve been journaling my travels ever since I can remember. And I never related this talent to my father’s writing ability until I edited his 1929 true life travel adventure titled Thumbs Up. Who knew this is where my drive to write everything down came from? Thanks, Dad. And from my mother came the attention to detail. She described every scene in a way that made me more observant.
And now, for my latest Bad Hair Day mystery, I’ve turned again to my notes. Years ago, I accepted an invitation to go backstage at a fashion show to observe the goings-on. In particular, I took note of the hairdressers and their role in prepping the models. I used all this info in a chapter I just completed for my current WIP.
How did I find this material? I write my observations, travel journals and on-location research notes in various small notebooks. I use colored tabs to divide the sections. Then I sticker them with a number and detail the contents on a separate list. Conference notes, on-scene research and experiences that may someday be relevant to my work go into these journals. So this time, I looked on my list and saw Fashion Show under number two. I pulled out this notebook and there they were: copious notes that would prove highly useful for my scene in progress.
Here’s an excerpt:
Marla had brought four stylists plus herself for eight models. She’d let her staff do the actual work while she supervised. She had supplied each of them with Luxor products specifically for this event. The fashion designer had sent pictures of each woman ahead of time so her staff could consult on the look. Yolanda wanted a sleek, elegant appearance to go with her gowns.
In another corner, the makeup artist was laying out her cosmetics. Each model would head over there for a touch-up once her hair was done.
Marla glanced at the racks of gauzy, glittering dresses, wishing she had time to examine each gown and drool over the creations. Sparkling burgundy, bright yellow, sexy black, tropical turquoise, sublime coral, chocolate and lime stood out in satins, silks and chiffons along with sequins, seed pearls and intricate beading. A separate rack held a dazzling array of wedding gowns. Who else but a wealthy socialite could afford these outfits? Each one cost thousands of dollars. With a sigh, Marla realized this was the closest she’d ever get to high society.
Yolanda bustled about, greeting each person and keeping her tote box at hand. What was in there? Needle and thread for last minute repairs? Jewels to go with her gowns?
“Thirty minutes per person, ladies,” Yolanda shouted. “That’s the goal.”
Marla winced. That wouldn’t give them much iron time. “The guests have to eat dinner yet. It’s still relatively early.”
“Our show starts before the entrée course to get people in the mood for dancing. We have to get the models through makeup and into their gowns by eight-thirty at the latest.”
“How many changes does each girl have to make?”
Yolanda pursed her lips. “The show is divided into four segments, although the bridal procession at the end requires only four models. So some girls will have three changes and some will have four. You’ll have mere seconds between scenes to fix any stray hairs, so make sure your stylists do their jobs right the first time.”
The lesson here is for you to pay attention to your surroundings and experiences. Take notes on ANYTHING that might become useful to your writing. Chronicle your trips and record the sensory impressions along with unusual observations, sights and experiences. Take notes during conference workshops. Then organize the material so you can find it later. Consider it a legacy to pass down to your kids. They might throw out your journals, or they might treasure them like I do my parents’ writings. Never miss an opportunity to record a slice of life.
Do you take random notes when you go places, even if you can foresee no immediate use for them?
Don’t forget to visit me over at The Kill Zone, where I blog on alternate Wednesdays. This week my topic is Attending a Writers Conference, very appropriate since I’ll be at the Novelists, Inc. event in St. Pete Beach.
CLICK HERE to Enter my Release Day Contest April 26-May 19! You can win a hand-made troll figurine by Trolls of Norway or a runner up prize of a signed copy Wicked Women Whodunit.
No purchase is necessary. You must be at least 18 years old to enter. By submitting your entry, you agree to be entered into the author’s email newsletter list. Your information will not be shared with anyone else, and you may unsubscribe at any time. Winner will be notified by email. Author is not responsible for transmission failures, computer glitches or lost, late, damaged or returned email. Winner agrees for their name to be used in conjunction with the contest on the author’s social media sites.
Join the Launch Day celebration on my Facebook Page (and Like the page while you’re there)– today only!
Leave a comment and be entered into my grand prize blog tour drawing for a $25 Amazon or BN gift card.
Have you ever met anyone you consider could be a troll?
She seems like everything he despises—until her beauty challenges his warrior’s heart.
When fashion designer Jennifer Dyhr loses her lead actor for a video-game commercial, a replacement literally drops from the sky. Reluctant to let him leave, she hires him as a model for her studio. But when terrorists attack their flight home, Jen must awaken powers she didn’t know she had to protect them both. Will she be able to keep her heart safe from the sensual man beside her?
When space ops warrior Paz Hadar falls through a spatial rift onto Jen’s set, he soon realizes she is essential to his mission. Not only must he protect her, his success depends upon her special powers. But 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.
And here is a brief excerpt after Jen and Paz make an emergency landing in their business jet on a remote Pacific island:
“Come on, we can’t waste time.” Paz signaled to her from the open hatchway.
She staggered toward him. Peering outside, she was glad to note they didn’t need the emergency chute. They could easily jump the short distance to the ground. Holding her long skirt, she leaped after Paz onto the beach.
He caught her in his muscular arms and gently eased her down. His tousled hair, determined jaw, and ocean blue eyes had never looked better.
“Thank you. You saved our lives.” On impulse, Jen rose on her tiptoes and kissed him.
She’d only meant it to be a brief expression of gratitude, but Paz’s gaze intensified. He swept her into his arms and gave her a passionate kiss that left her breathless.
“We’re safe now.” He broke away with a regretful expression. “At least, for the moment. But we shouldn’t linger.”
“For the moment? What does that mean?” The memory of those ugly men who’d attacked them returned with full force. “You know who assaulted us, don’t you? When are you going to tell me what’s going on?”
“Let’s summon help first. I need to put my comm unit back together. If we can hook it into a local network, you can call your people.”
“I have my cell phone.” She patted her purse.
His hand clamped onto her arm. “We should scout around. Our landing probably attracted attention, and we don’t want the wrong people to find us.”