I am proud to announce the release of A Bad Hair Day Cookbook featuring over 160 quick and easy recipes from my home kitchen to yours!
This cookbook was a labor of love. I’ve enjoyed posting on my social media sites about my cooking classes, food tastings, kitchen experiments, and other adventures in dining. My list of recipes grew until the idea came to me to compile them into a cookbook. I hope you enjoy making the recipes for your friends and family as much as I enjoyed sharing them.
BOOK LAUNCH PARTY tonight from 7:00 – 8:30 EST. Fun & Games! Join us online at https://www.facebook.com/NewReleaseParty/
Are you having a bad hair day? Whip out your whisk, snatch up your spoon, and prepare your palate. Inside the pages of this cookbook are recipes that will bring you good cheer.
Enjoy 160+ tasty recipes from Nancy J. Cohen’s popular Bad Hair Day cozy mystery series. Included in this cookbook are excerpts, cooking tips, and anecdotes written by hairstylist and savvy sleuth Marla Vail. From appetizers to desserts, Marla offers cooking tips and tricks along with commentary about the dishes she prepares for her family. Whether you’re a skilled cook or an eager novice, this cookbook will unravel the mystery of cooking. Put on your apron and plan to make some killer recipes! Bonuses Include:
• Meet the Sleuth
• Introduction by Marla Vail
• Cooking Tips
• Excerpts from Series Titles
• Themed Menu Suggestions
• “A Sabbath Dinner” by Nancy’s Mother
For Home Cooks, Mystery Fans, and Cookbook Collectors
Digital ISBN: 978-0-9997932-4-4, Orange Grove Press, $4.99
Print ISBN: 978-0-9997932-5-1, Orange Grove Press, $15.99
“Reading through this cookbook has revived my interest in getting back in the kitchen.” Rhonda Gilliland, Author and Editor of the Cooked to Death Series
“Mysteries and cookbooks belong side by side on readers’ shelves. A Bad Hair Day Cookbook serves up both food and justice.” Christine A. Jackson, Ph.D., Author of Myth and Ritual in Women’s Detective Fiction
“A BAD HAIR DAY COOKBOOK brings to readers the amazingly delicious recipes from the series of the same name. Easy, fancy, and favorite standbys, they’re all covered, making this book packed with something for everyone!” Lisa K’s Book Reviews
“Designed for busy cooks who may not be out solving crimes, but whose time is equally challenged.” Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review
“This book is not only a treasure to add to any cookbook collection, but a pleasure to read.” Emily-Jane Hills Orford, Readers’ Favorite
Amazon Kindle: https://amzn.to/2mgwoTZ
Amazon Print: https://amzn.to/2mlIR8W (Coming Soon!)
Apple Books: https://apple.co/2kS12mf
BN Nook: https://bit.ly/2kvrySl
BN Print: https://bit.ly/2QpGu1W
VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR
Please follow my blog tour Nov. 20 – 30 with guest posts, interviews, excerpts and giveaways.
Enter Here Nov. 18 – Dec. 4 to win a Kitchen Gift Box including a signed copy of A Bad Hair Day Cookbook.
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NEW RELEASE! I am proud to announce the reissue of KILLER KNOTS, #9 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries.
Hairstylist Marla Shore is looking forward to a romantic interlude with her fiancé, Detective Dalton Vail, on their first Caribbean cruise. Her excitement hits a snag when she discovers his parents have come along for the ride. It isn’t how she might have chosen to meet her future in-laws, but she hopes they’ll have smooth sailing ahead.
The first sign of trouble is a mysterious note addressed to Martha Shore on her cabin door. Marla assumes the sender spelled her name wrong but is disturbed by the message. When she meets her dinner companions and learns they’ve received similar notes, she suspects something isn’t kosher, and it’s not the lobster on the menu. Moreover, Dalton’s parents have been seated at another table by mistake. Is it merely a mishap, or something more?
Their tablemates all seem to know each other as colleagues from an art museum, where an artist died recently under dubious circumstances. When her dinner companions start disappearing one-by-one, Marla realizes they’re headed for stormy waters. If she doesn’t find the culprit fast, she might end up with a one-way ticket to Davy Jones’s locker.
Killer Knots was originally published by Kensington. This Author’s Edition has been revised and updated with added bonus materials.
Print ISBN: 978-0-9997932-3-7, May 21, 2019, $14.99, Orange Grove Press
Digital ISBN: 978-0-9997932-2-0, May 21, 2019, $3.99, Orange Grove Press
Cover Design by Boulevard Photografica
Digital Layout by www.formatting4U.com
Order Here: https://amzn.to/2IXkA23
Print Edition coming soon!
“Delightful…The Love Boat meets Sex and the City. A charming heroine and a hero to die for, pick this one up posthaste!” MaryJanice Davidson, NY Times Bestselling Author
“Fans of vacation mysteries will enjoy watching Marla find her way through this light whodunit.” Publisher’s Weekly
“Overeating isn’t the only danger when a Florida hairdresser and her fiancé take a Caribbean cruise. As passengers start to disappear, Marla suspects lobster thermidor isn’t the only thing aboard that’s not kosher.” Kirkus Reviews
“Cohen’s latest Marla Shore novel shines with the compelling drama of an old-fashioned whodunit. A cruise ship is the perfect setting for this closed-door mystery.” RT Book Reviews
“Killer Knots lures you with balmy breezes, exotic ports of call, and an intriguing mystery. Kick back with your favorite tropical libation and enjoy the sailing.” Reader To Reader
“This fun cruise ship cozy makes it seem as if you are on the cruise–the food, activities, ports, music, description of the ship–everything is described in luscious detail. Set sail for a fun read.” Armchair Interviews
“Set on a cruise ship headed for the balmy Caribbean, stormy relationships and murder brew on the horizon. Maybe the hairstylist should have caught a clipper ship instead (ouch!). This Bad Hair Day mystery is a stylish read.” The Murder Circle
Hairball Hijinks: A Bad Hair Day Cozy Mystery Short Story, is now available in ebook format.
Digital ISBN: 978-0-9985317-4-8, $0.99, Orange Grove Press
Hairstylist Marla Vail agrees to help find a neighbor’s lost cat and discovers a ransacked house where more than the pet is missing.
Savvy hairstylist and super sleuth Marla Vail visits her friend Tally who just got out of the hospital after a serious car accident. Marla has been caring for Tally’s baby and is sad but grateful to return him to his mother. She and Tally reconcile their friendship that had become estranged before the crash.
Happy to have her friend back, Marla is about to leave when a knock summons her to the door. It’s a distraught elderly neighbor who claims her cat is missing. Marla, unable to turn down a person in need, accompanies the lady home. But when Marla enters the house, she realizes much more is missing than a lost feline. The place has been ransacked, and when she calls the police, they inform her the neighborhood has been beset by a series of thefts. Can she find the crooks before they cause another cat’astrophe?
Bonus One: An interview with Marla
Bonus Two: 5 new recipes!
Bonus Three: A sneak preview of Trimmed to Death
Spoiler Alert! This story comes after Hair Brained, #14 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries. It contains spoilers so you might want to read that book first.
With special thanks to Lois Crockett for suggesting the story title.
Marla hastened to the front door. After a glance through the peephole, she opened the door to face an elderly woman with white hair.
“I heard you were taking care of Tally’s affairs after her accident, and I recognized your car in the driveway. You have to help me,” said the lady with a frantic expression.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t believe we’ve met.”
“I’m one of Tally’s neighbors. I understand you’ve a reputation for solving crimes. Thanks to your efforts, the police discovered who hurt Tally and her husband. Poor thing to lose her man that way. Now my guy is missing. I can’t find Mr. Stanton anywhere.”
“What do you mean?” Did the woman really address her spouse in that formal manner?
“I went out on some errands. When I got back, he was gone. I don’t know how he could have slipped out of the house on his own.”
Marla gave her a sharp glance. She wanted to learn more, but Luke had quieted, and she didn’t dare risk waking the baby by asking this person inside. Besides, it wasn’t her house. She didn’t have that right.
However, Marla couldn’t turn the woman away. Her natural inclination was to help people, so she stepped outside and shut the door behind her. The first order of business was to determine if this lady was legit or a scam artist preying on folks in the community.
Customer reviews are always appreciated and very much needed for a new title!
TRIMMED TO DEATH is now available for Pre-Order. This title, #15 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries, will be released on Sept. 25, 2018.
I always thought I wasn’t clever enough to come up with good plot twists. Short story writers have the market on this writing technique. Especially in the mystery genre, short fiction often relies on an unexpected twist for its punchline at the end.
So how can cozy writers come up with enough surprises to keep the reader turning pages? Sometimes you can plan ahead. I’ll write a synopsis before I begin writing the actual story. But something happens along the way. The characters, setting, and story elements stew in my brain, and out pops a surprise I didn’t anticipate. This is what I call story magic.
How can you get it to work for you? Review what you’ve written, and note any plot threads that you’ve introduced but failed to resolve. How about that minor character who makes a brief appearance on stage but whose role might be significant? Or the connection between two characters you didn’t expect? Or maybe a new character arrives on scene who upsets the balance among your suspects or your recurrent cast. Who is this person and how do they relate to the plot? To the other people in your story? Why did this person arrive at this time and for what reason?
In other words, pick up on clues that you’ve left for yourself. You’ll be surprised at what you find. If you are taken by surprise, so will your readers be amazed at your plot twists.
You can go back later and revise your synopsis accordingly. Meanwhile, go with the flow and see where it takes you. You’ll be pleased by your reviews when you have a few surprises along the way. Here are some of mine that are particularly pleasing in this respect:
Facials Can Be Fatal
“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.” Readeropolis
“I recommend this book to those who are cozy mystery fans and enjoy a sleuth mystery with many twists and turns.” Readers’ Favorite
“The storyline is fast-paced and keeps readers guessing to the end. There were several different twists and turns this story could have taken. I was surprised at the outcome.” Socrates Book Reviews
“You are always thinking and on your toes while reading this book. And when you get to the end and everything is revealed….it will blow your mind!” Cozy Mystery Book Reviews
“The story actually has a couple of mysteries within its pages and all is worked out by the end, but there are a lot of plot twists along the way.” Carla Loves to Read
“There were several twists and turns, plus many red herrings in this book. Just when I thought I knew what was going on, the author threw in a few extra curves to have me scratching my head.” Socrates’ Book Reviews
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Research Insights – Shipwrecks and Suspense
I like adding bits of history into my mysteries. In Facials Can Be Fatal, I mined our Florida past concerning shipwrecks. Did you know the waters off Florida teem with sunken vessels? Spanish galleon ships alone may account for up to forty wrecks off our coast. Millions of dollars in silver, gold, and jewels lay at the bottom of the sea, much of it undiscovered. But Spanish treasure ships are not the only ones sunken off our shores. Pirate vessels, slave ships, merchant transports, and Civil War ships plied these waters, too. Storms, shallow water, coral reefs, and pirates were responsible for many of the wrecks.
Buried treasure has long been exploited in stories, and my book is no exception. An old family journal is recovered that hints at a nefarious past for a couple of characters. How does this relate to the present? That’s the key that my hairstylist sleuth must uncover. Marla and her husband, Detective Dalton Vail, travel to Key West to learn more about Florida’s history from a reporter who has an interest in Dalton’s latest case. The victim is society matron Valerie Harper, who expired in the middle of a facial at Marla’s day spa.
Here’s how the conversation goes with the reporter:
“The waters around Florida have seen ships flounder for decades, starting with Native Americans who used dugout canoes to travel up and down the coast. As civilization increased, ships and boats became vital to our development. Waterways were the most efficient means to transport people and cargo. Florida became a hub for maritime trade routes, but our waters can be treacherous. Hence we have a large number of shipwrecks offshore.”
“What about treasure ships from Spanish fleets?” Marla asked, shifting in her seat.
“My estimate is that maybe thirty to forty Spanish ships, dating from the 1500s to the late 1600s, lay at the sea bottom. The Spaniards would pick up gold, silver, jewels, and rare spices from the Caribbean islands and the South and Central Americas. Sometimes, they’d stop at a mint in Mexico before grouping together to return home. Or they’d gather in Havana and leave from there under convoy.”
“But not all of them made it.”
“That’s right. They’d get grounded on our reefs or floundered during hurricanes. For example, the Tierra Firme fleet set sail in 1622 from South America. Twenty-eight ships headed home to Spain. They ran into a fierce storm off the Florida Keys. Both the Nuestra Señora de Atocha and the Santa Margarita were lost. In 1985, Mel Fisher discovered the Atocha’s resting place and its treasure.”
“That’s amazing,” Marla said. “Those ships must have been heavy with all the gold coins, silver bars, and jewels aboard. No wonder they sank. Who owns the salvage rights to a sunken ship?”
“According to the Abandoned Shipwreck Act of 1988, any historic find becomes the property of its respective state.”
To accomplish my due diligence, I paid a visit to the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, a fascinating attraction in Key West. Here you can see many of the relics recovered from the Atocha. Read about my experience and see my photos HERE. Shipwrecks and buried treasure will always provide fodder for stories.
Do you like a bit of history mixed in with your mystery? Does it enhance the story for you?
For more details on Facials Can Be Fatal, CLICK HERE.
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ENTER HERE July 6 – 20 to win a signed ARC of HAIR BRAINED (Bad Hair Day Mystery #14). Hairstylist Marla Vail determines to learn the truth when her best friend is hurt in a suspicious auto accident.
MYSTERY MOVIES and TV SHOWS
In addition to the classics like Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie, here are some of my favorite films in the mystery genre or movies involving writers. A happy ending is a must for my taste. This list does not include the Hallmark Channel mystery movies of which I’m also a fan.
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 is an English drawing room mystery that 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 Phillip 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 Philip next in line for his guest’s lethal hijinks? http://amzn.to/2qjtafC
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. Probably my favorite Woody Allen film out of all of them. 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
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
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 fellows in Alabama who are mistakenly accused of murder. Watch for the 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
THE BROKENWOOD MYSTERIES with Neill Rea and Fern Sutherland.
I’ve bought the DVDs. Otherwise, you can find this show on the Acorn TV Channel. 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. http://amzn.to/2qjcPYl
MISS FISHER’S MURDER MYSTERIES with Essie Davis and Nathan Page.
The Honourable 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. Warning: Miss Fisher’s spectacular outfits threaten to steal the show. http://amzn.to/2qjwVle
MIDSOMER MURDERS with John Nettles and Jane Wymark.
A police detective and his deputy solve murders in small town England. Some people love this show. I couldn’t get into it but it might appeal to you. http://amzn.to/2qSu0Cu
ROSEMARY AND THYME with Felicity Kendal and Pam Ferris.
Two ladies in England solve mysteries together. One is a plant pathologist. The other woman is separated from her husband. I haven’t watched too many of these but they caught my interest. http://amzn.to/2qj87ty
Disclosure: I am a member of the Amazon Affiliate program. These are affiliate links.
So here you go. If you have some free time this weekend, look up these films and have a good time. Keep watch for Murder on the Orient Express, an upcoming theatrical release and remake of the classic Agatha Christie tale, with Johnny Depp, Judi Dench, and Penelope Cruz in an all-star cast.
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Cozy Mystery Giveaway, Feb. 28 – March 6
Enter Here to win up to 40+ cozy mysteries, including an ebook copy of Hair Raiser.
(40) Winners of Individual eBooks (randomly selected titles)
Tropical Treats Giveaway, Feb. 21 – March 14
Enter Here to win a Tropical Treats package with a blue scarf, a blue crystal pendant necklace from Effy, a West Indies cookbooks, and a signed hardcover copy of Killer Knots (Bad Hair Day Mystery #9).