Check out the video from my speech at the Manatee Performing Arts Center in Bradenton. It was part of the Manatee Arts and Lecture Series.
Contest Alert! Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench. Check out our other features, including a weekly Let’s Talk discussion with our authors.
Great review of Peril by Ponytail by Phil Jason at Florida Weekly.
My new website has launched! Come and take a look:
I love the colors, artistry, and layout. It’s SO much better than what I had before. Thanks to Dee Tenorio for her amazing talent and design. I highly recommend her services at Laideebug Digital.
So what do you think? I’ve needed this upgrade for a while, so I am excited to have finally done it. Now you can view my books based on series or genre. It’s so much easier to navigate.
Between my book launch for Peril by Ponytail and getting the website up to speed, I haven’t had much time for blogging. And I’m leaving soon for the New Smyrna Beach Book Festival and Bouchercon, so I’ll be gone for the next few weeks. This means I’ll have lots to talk about when I get home, but you’ll have to wait a bit to hear it. In the meantime, you can follow my tweets and posts on Facebook for when I’m able to go online. This hiatus might last until November unless I can squeeze in a post before my next events in Bradenton, FL. For details on these events, Click Here.
So enjoy the beginning of the Fall season, and I’ll talk to you soon. Thanks for your support!
Contest Alert–One More Day!
Enter Now to win a Collectible Handcrafted Porcelain Drummer Doll or one of two runner-up prizes – a pair Arizona crafted earrings and a signed paperback Hanging by a Hair. I bought the doll while in Arizona doing research for Peril by Ponytail. U.S. Residents only please.
I’m interviewed over at Frankie Bow’s site for the last stop on my blog tour.
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
Spring Into Summer Contest—March 24 to April 3
Enter to win a signed hardcover Shear Murder and $10 Starbucks gift card or one of two ebook copies of Hair Raiser https://nancyjcohen.com/fun-stuff/contest/
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.
Print Edition: https://www.createspace.com/5253406
Add to Goodreads List: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24478683-hair-raiser
Enter to win a signed hardcover copy of Shear Murder & a $10 Starbucks gift card. Two prizes to be awarded. https://nancyjcohen.com/fun-stuff/contest/
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.