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
I am pleased to reveal the cover for Peril by Ponytail due out in October from Five Star. This title will be #12 in my Bad Hair Day Mysteries.
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’s 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.
Shipping date: September 16, 2015; On-sale date: October 7, 2015
ISBN: 9781432830984, $25.95, Five Star
“Peril by Ponytail ropes in the reader in Nancy J. Cohen’s captivating new tale, which deftly braids together deadly secrets under the sand, long hidden resentments, and romance on the range.” —Ellen Byerrum, Author of the Crime of Fashion Mysteries
I’ll be making more announcements as time goes on, but if you’d like to be considered for a review copy, please notify me along with the sites where you post (your actual page, not just “I post on Goodreads).
We continue with my recap of panels and workshops at SleuthFest. These are my interpretations and notes, and any misstatement is my error. Photos are viewable from my Facebook Page. Like my page, then click on Photos, Albums, and SleuthFest 2014.
Bestselling Author Laura Lippman discussed what it means to be a professional writer. Publishing has changed in terms of e-books, self-published writers and hybrid authors. “The conversation has become so charged and so vitriolic. I’ve yet to see any reliable numbers on either side.” The argument for traditional publishing is couched in money and control.
No one argues that self-publishing will lead to better books. This avenue can produce as good a book as traditional publishing. But where is the true masterpiece in self-publishing? “Show me a masterpiece that could only have come” from a self-published work.
Find someone you can trust to tell your dreams about publishing. What are you prepared to do to get there? Professionalism is taking your work seriously, and being respectful of other people’s time and expertise.
Laura calls indie publishing “a less precise euphemism” for self-publishing. The key is in doing the work and reaching a reasoned decision to self-publish but not for instant gratification. Is the work ready? Be a ruthless critic of your own work. The goal has to be to write the best book you can. Your words are your legacy. Make them precise. Make them good.
Chaos is one of my favorite things about fiction. This is especially true in a cozy mystery. I truly enjoy the insane amount of juggling required by the heroine. As a woman, I can relate to the pressure and frustration of handling too much- minus the murder investigation, of course – and it’s fun to see the scenarios unfold on someone else for a change. I can relate. It’s no secret women handle unthinkable amounts of responsibilities while maintaining the peace and meeting unreasonable expectations of others. We hold down the household, punch a time clock, volunteer in the community, date, please our family, entertain our friends and so much more. (We really are the more miraculous portion of our species. In my humble opinion). Which is why we all deserve a good book and a break from time to time.
As writers, it’s our job to connect strangers with a character we dreamed up. Chaos is a common ground we can use to our advantage. When I fall into a great new cozy or amateur female sleuth series, I immediately connect with the heroine if she’s got her hands full. I nod along and smile, thinking, man-oh-man am I glad it’s not me this time. My heart goes out to her. It’s hard keeping things afloat, and honestly, the chaos can be pretty entertaining when I’m not on the business end of things.
As I write each mystery, I want my heroine overwhelmed, well-liked and spread paper-thin. I want readers to feel the pull of hands on her time and person. So, as I plot and scheme a fun new investigation, I ask myself “What do I do every day?” and then “What do my friends do?” What keeps us so busy? The snowball method takes over from there because the short answer is we do too much.
Piling up the trouble is a great writers’ tool. It’s a fun and easy way to increase the chaos and pacing of a story. It keeps the pages going and stops the story from stagnating. I spend extra time on my outlines peppering in all the commitments my heroine, Patience, has to maintain in addition to surviving the wrath of a provoked killer and exploring the leads in her investigation, not to mention all the people she wants to please.
Add responsibilities to connect readers to your heroine. Give her problems they can all relate to, like family and romance. Those things are complicated. Messy. Real.
In my newest release, Murder Comes Ashore, I’ve piled up the everyday things that make a woman bananas. As my heroine pursues her investigation, (the crux of the story), she’s drawn away repeatedly by phone calls from clients, impromptu visits from family and a frustrating love triangle she’d prefer not to think about. She’s running from a killer, volunteering at the grade school and questioning birders about anything unusual they might have seen since the murder. Local law enforcement is running a parallel investigation and they get in her way, too.
Adding reality to the fiction anchors readers to your story. Who can’t related to a boss that expects us to show up on time? Or a sister who takes it personally if you’re five minutes late for dinner? The predicaments don’t have to be fantastical because they’re fiction. Take the things that make you the craziest and share them with your heroine. It is fun to move the burden onto someone else and it bridges the gap between you and women readers everywhere. Hey, it’s no fun when I have to fold laundry, check homework assignments and explain to my mom why I haven’t called all week, but when those things fall to a character, I smile because we share common ground. And us XX chromosome types have to stick together.
If you’re looking for a fun new mystery to cozy up with, I hope you’ll consider my new release, Murder Comes Ashore. It’s packed with chaos and a heroine who understands. Besides, who couldn’t use an island escape right now?
Murder Comes Ashore
Patience Price is just settling into her new life as resident counselor on Chincoteague Island when things take a sudden turn for the worse. A collection of body parts have washed up on shore and suddenly nothing feels safe on the quaint island.
Patience instinctively turns to current crush and FBI special agent Sebastian for help, but former flame Adrian is also on the case, hoping that solving the grisly crime will land him a win in the upcoming mayoral election.
When the body count rises and Patience’s parents are brought in as suspects, Patience is spurred to begin her own investigation. It’s not long before she starts receiving terrifying threats from the killer, and though she’s determined to clear her family’s name, it seems the closer Patience gets to finding answers, the closer she comes to being the killer’s next victim.
Julie Anne Lindsey is a multi-genre author who writes the stories that keep her up at night. She’s a self-proclaimed nerd with a penchant for words and proclivity for fun. Julie lives in rural Ohio with her husband and three small children. Today, she hopes to make someone smile. One day she plans to change the world.
Murder Comes Ashore is a sequel in her new mystery series, Patience Price, Counselor at Large, from Carina Press.
Join our imaginary conversation in a restaurant between two mystery writer friends:
Writer A: “I need to kill somebody while they’re getting a facial.”
Writer B: “How are you gonna do it?”
Writer A: “I’d like to use poison.”
Writer B: “You can’t involve the beautician. That would be too obvious.”
Writer A: “I know. What if my victim has one of those mud masks applied, and she has to lie there with a towel on her face for ten minutes or so? The beautician might leave for a few moments, at which time somebody can come in and smother the woman?”
Writer B: “Smothering works, but it doesn’t use poison. What if the killer taints the mud instead?”
Writer A: “Then the beautician would have to wear gloves when applying it so she wouldn’t be affected.”
Writer B: “How long do you want the victim to take to die? You’ll need the poison to be fast acting if she’s dead when the aesthetician returns.”
Writer A: “Yes, it should be quick. I have a book on poisons at home. And I don’t want it to be immediately evident to the cops that the woman died from unnatural causes.”
Strange Male Voice: “Are you talking about us, ma’am?”
Writer A and B glance up. Two policemen are standing by their table.
Cop A: “You’ll need to come to the station, miss. The customer in the next booth says you’re planning a murder.”
Writer A glances at their nosy neighbor. “We’re mystery writers. I’m talking about my next book, Fatality by Facial. Here, have a bookmark.”
Cop B: “No kidding? You know, I’ve always wanted to write a mystery. How do you get published? Do I need an agent?”
Writer A and B abruptly get up, pay their tab, and leave after exchanging bemused glances.
So if you were the plotting partner, how would you suggest doing the deed?
The twists and turns will keep you guessing to the end and just about the time you think you have it all figured out she surprises you by steering you away with another clue. The author is always keeping you guessing as to where the story will lead you next. Ms. Cohen has just joined the list of my favorite authors and I look forward to reading the other books she has written. I hope you find Hanging by a Hair as great as I did.
Marla Vail, owner and operator of the salon Cut N’ Dye, and her husband, Detective Dalton Vail a homicide investigator, moved into Palm Valley recently following their recent marriage. They are attending their first Home Owners Association meeting when Dalton stands up to the Board president, Alan Krabber, for breaking the association rules after forcing another resident to comply with one Alan himself was breaking. After the meeting the man makes a suggestive offer to Marla within Dalton’s hearing followed by some very bigoted and derogatory remarks and Dalton loudly puts Alan down. Unfortunately for Marla and Dalton, Alan was their neighbor and a bigot and religious fanatic. To say life has its trials and tribulations in Palm Valley is an understatement.
The following day Alan hires someone to erect a fence and plant some trees. The problem is that he is having the fence put on the Vail’s side of the property line and is planning on planting trees whose roots will quickly grow into the pipes of their sprinkler system. After another loud shouting match between Dalton and Alan, which was heard by neighbors, Dalton threatened to go to the zoning board regarding Alan’s lack of property survey, building permits, and the workers’ failure to have a business license. The following day Alan Krabber is found dead, hanging from his second story banister railing. Dalton is removed from the case and neighbors are quick to tell the police of Dalton’s confrontations with Alan and the heated words they exchanged. Dalton is one of many named a person of interest. How on earth was such a vile man elected president of the HMA board?
Suddenly their quiet community is a hotbed of liars, thieves and a murderer who has not finished. Marla must be careful as she tries to prove to her husband’s new partner that he had nothing to do with the murder of Alan. The killer is watching and Marla is starting to become an unwanted nuisance that needs to be permanently removed. The body count is rising and Marla is finding more suspects every day. Can she figure this out, prepare the first Seder in their new home, cope with her mother and her on again, off again relationship with her crass and obnoxious boyfriend, and all the drama going on at the Cut N’ Dye?
Hanging by a Hair is the latest in the Bad Hair Day Mystery series, but is written in such a way you can easily read as a standalone novel. Not so good for me is the fact I fell in love with Marla and Dalton and their extended family and friends. Now I need to get the other books in the series to see if they are all this fascinating. The characters in the book are very well developed and balanced with enough good and bad traits to make them believable. Nancy Cohen has provided numerous clues, both blatant and subtle, to keep you invested in the story.
—Night Owl Review by MerryNoelle
Book Blurb for Hanging By A Hair
Marla’s joyous move to a new house with her husband, Detective Dalton Vail, is marred by their next-door neighbor who erects an illegal fence between their properties. When Dalton reminds the man of the local permitting laws, tempers flare—and worse, the neighbor is found dead the following day. Dismayed when Dalton is removed from the case due to a conflict of interest, Marla decides it’s up to her to find the killer. Can the intrepid hairstylist untangle the clues and pin down the culprit before he strikes again?
One night in Scottsdale, I was invited to do a booksigning and discussed at The Poisoned Pen Mystery Bookstore. After a quick gourmet dinner nearby at Virtu, I entered the inviting store and introduced myself to the staff. Lee, Patrick, and David were all very helpful. They were enthusiastic about my books and set up a ring of chairs for guests.
The seats quickly filled and a lively discussion ensued. I talked about my Bad Hair Day mysteries and related how I was researching my next mystery while in Arizona. I’ve already written the synopsis for Peril by Ponytail and determined my cast of suspects. But I can’t begin writing without seeing the setting details in person. My experiences already caused me to make plot changes and altered my impression of the desert.
A good time was had by all. Many thanks to the Poisoned Pen. Hope to see you guys again soon! If you’re in the Scottsdale area, be sure to stop in. http://www.poisonedpen.com
I am excited to announce that Hanging By A Hair, my 11th Bad Hair Day Mystery, has a tentative release date of April 2014 from Five Star.
Marla’s joyous move to a new house with her husband, Detective Dalton Vail, is marred by their next doorneighbor who erects an illegal fence between their properties. When Dalton reminds the man of the local permitting laws, tempers flare—and worse, the neighbor is found dead the following day. Dismayed when Dalton is removed from the case due to a conflict of interest, Marla decides it’s up to her to find the killer. Can the intrepid hairstylist untangle the clues and pin downthe culprit before he strikes again?
We all hate dealing with homeowners associations, right? Marla’s neighbor happens to be the HOA president for her neighborhood. This story is easily relatable to anyone who’s had a dispute with their neighbors or a conflict with their HOA Board of Directors. Otherwise, it’s a fun ride on another whodunit express with Marla and Dalton.
Shear Murder, Bad Hair Day Mystery #10, has sold mass market paperback reprint rights to Harlequin’s Worldwide Mystery Library. I am excited that this title will be available to readers in yet another edition. No word on a pub date or availability, but I’ll keep you posted.
Meanwhile, if you have a Kindle or have downloaded the free Kindle app to your computer/tablet, you can get the ebook copy from Amazon for the reasonable price of $3.19.
I have a research trip scheduled to Arizona for next Fall, and you’ll have to read the end of Hanging By A Hair to see what this is all about. Please sign up on my website for my quarterly email newsletter if you want to stay informed.
If you are a writer living in Florida, you are lucky to have so many writing organizations to join. You need not worry about working in a vacuum. So if you reside near any of these sites, check them out and consider attending a meeting or two. Many of them also hold conferences so be on the lookout for news and announcements that will help you further your writing career.