Happy Holidays!

Hi all!christmas_happy_holidays

I celebrate Christmas and it’s one of my most favorite times of the year. But whatever you choose to celebrate, I hope you take time to spend with family and friends and enjoy this holiday season!

Here’s a song written and performed by my friend Larry Whitler of WOCA The Source radio in Ocala FL. Enjoy!


Cozy Mystery EBooks for the Holidays by Connie Knight

Connie Knight

Connie Knight


Long ago, old-fashioned stockings hanging on the mantel above the fireplace were filled with wonderful holiday gifts like candy canes, oranges, walnuts and ribbons—or, if you were naughty, filled with lumps of coal. Books in the old days seldom appeared in anyone’s stocking. They were too precious and rare. Today, more books are written and published than ever before. EBooks can fill a stocking called Kindle or Nook with gifts that satisfy the Christmas lists of everyone you know.

Another advantage: eBooks are inexpensive compared to hardbacks or paperbacks. Also, some are $.99, or free, when ambitious authors want to distribute their books. Readers are more important than dollars and dimes. If you have friends who love to read, you’ll fill their holiday stockings in no time at all. And you’ll fill their free time with eBooks to read, curling up with a cup of hot chocolate near the Christmas tree.

What particular genre do your friends love? My friends love cozy mysteries, the kind of novel I love to read and also to write. Cozy mysteries feature women sleuths who find clues to bloodless murders and solve the puzzles involving greed, jealousy or revenge. They’re set in a small town or neighborhood, like Agatha Christie’s novels starring Miss Marple. A little romance adds to the story, too.

What setting do your friends enjoy? The small towns for cozy mysteries can spring up anywhere. Agatha Christie moved Hercule Poirot from English manors to Paris to the Orient Express in Egypt. My Texas ranch land setting sheltered the Hargrove Family Cemetery, the center of Cemetery Whites, the beginning of the Caroline Hargrove Hamilton Mystery Series. Caroline Hargrove Hamilton and her cousin Janet become amateur sleuths when they decided to find whoever murdered Professor Harrison. They found his body when they visited the family cemetery; then they set off on a trail of clues. Detective work put Caroline and Constable Bob Bennett together; they became friends–and romantic, too.

A cozy mystery series, set in a small town surrounded by ranch land, develops a group of family and friends who live in certain houses and see each other predictably. In my second novel, Chances Choices Changes Death, Caroline’s cousins and friends solved the death of a single mother and found her young son who disappeared. This story is set on a large ranch where Caroline and Janet took Western riding lessons and their cousins, Donny and Danny, worked for the summer. There’s a murder to solve, bad men to find, good men to love, weddings on the way, engagement rings encountered, and adoptions of two boys without parents. Lots of things happen in a small town!

Novels may offer some specific items that interest your friends. In Cemetery Whites, genealogy of the Hargrove family and Texas history are explored. In Chances Choices Changes Death, trail riding takes Caroline and Janet to a run-down small adjacent ranch that seems threatening. They’re also introduced to Marilyn’s Steel Dust horses, ancestors of the quarterback horses. Marilyn is working on restoring the old breed.

Do you know of an author with a series of books that your friend enjoys? Some well-established authors may have new books on the market; see what your friend thinks about this book or that. New, independent authors—indieauthors—may offer eBooks that your friend knows about, or would like to find out about. See what you can find. Amazon listings include reviews, author pages, excerpts of the book, comparisons—you should be able to find eBooks that your friend will enjoy.

And while you’re shopping for eBook gifts, keep yourself in mind—especially if you like cozy mysteries. There must be a list of special books just right for you.


Connie Knight’s interest in Texas history is reflected in Cemetery Whites. Murders in 1875 and 2010 are solved, with the detective’s family history unraveling to reveal information. Knight’s hobby of gardening produced the title Cemetery Whites. The victim’s body is found sprawled in a patch of white irises in an old family cemetery. The flowers with that name still exist today, at old homesteads and in current gardens, including Connie Knight’s.

Connie Knight now lives in Houston and has just finished a second mystery, Chances Choices Changes Death, a sequel to Cemetery Whites. Chances Changes Choices Death Cover (1)She is now working on her third mystery novel in the Caroline Hargrove Hamilton Mystery series.


Facebook https://www.facebook.com/connieknightauthor?ref=br_tf

Twitter @conniejs59

Buy links:

Chances Choices Changes Death


Cemetery Whites Cover1611Cemetery Whites


An interview with Pepper O’Neal

PepperO'Neal_Author_Badge-300x300Award-winning author, Pepper O’Neal is a researcher, a writer, and an adrenalin junkie. She has a doctorate in education and spent several years in Mexico and the Caribbean working as researcher for an educational resource firm based out of Mexico City. During that time, she met and befriended many adventurers like herself, including former CIA officers and members of organized crime. Her fiction is heavily influenced by the stories they shared with her, as well her own experiences abroad. When she’s not at her computer, O’Neal spends her time taking long walks in the forests near her home or playing with her three cats. And of course, planning the next adventure. http://www.pepperoneal.com

Facebook URL





PJ: How long have you been writing? 


Pepper: About 20 years. I started first in non-fiction doing research and writing articles for private clients, then I moved into writing fiction about 5 years ago.



PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer? 


Pepper: When my first fiction book was published in 2011. In fact, I had 3 novels published that year by two different publishers.



PJ: Is the writing life what you expected when you started out? If not, how is it different? 


Pepper: I don’t know that I had any expectations in particular. I was published the first time in the fifth grade when I won a competition and had an article published in the local newspaper. Since then I always intended to be a writer, and though I started in non-fiction, I was prepared to work hard, revise, revise, and revise again. I also didn’t expect my first novel to be a breakout novel, as I have enough author friends that I know it is not as easy as it sounds.



PJ: The general public seems to think authors are relatively wealthy. Without prying too much, has your writing income lived up to expectations? 


Pepper: Yes and no. When my first book was published, I didn’t think anyone would buy it, so I was pleasantly surprised to find myself on my publisher’s best sellers list. However, as they were a very small publisher that only published ebooks, the income was still minimal, even for one on the best sellers list. I have since moved to a different publisher, and while I haven’t gotten anywhere near wealthy, my books do sell well and my fan list keeps growing, so I try to focus on that and not on how much money I am making or not making.



PJ: Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed? 


Pepper: Not really. I write because I can’t not write, and my focus has always been on the story that demands to be told. Before I was published, I worked at trying to get good enough to get published. After I achieved that goal, my focus shifted a bit to not letting the quality of the books drop simply because I was now published. I wanted each book to be better than the last, which means I have to constantly strive to be a better writer.



PJ: How long did it take you to get published the first time? 


Pepper: About 2 years after I seriously started writing fiction.



PJ: Would you do anything differently if you had it to do over again? 


Pepper: I would have started writing fiction sooner. I put it off because I didn’t think I could do it, but my stories kept pushing until I gave in and started writing novels.



PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas? 


Pepper: Well, it helps that I work out of my home office, anyway, for my day job as a free-lance researcher. But I make lists—lots and lots of lists—and then do the most important thing on the list. What doesn’t get done today gets transferred to tomorrow’s list. It also helps that I work well under pressure.



PJ: What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer? 


Pepper: Fans emailing or writing to tell me that they like my work. That makes all the frustration, sleepless nights, and writer’s block worth it.



PJ: What is the single most disappointing thing that happened to you as a writer? 


Pepper: All the rejection slips before I got my first book published.



PJ: What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work? 


Pepper: When the reviews for Blood Fest: Chasing Destiny, the first book in my paranormal shifter series, while most of them were 4 and 5 starBF-CD-300x450 reviews, the reviewers all pointed out something that I had missed. Nothing major, just a minor plot point that I should have addressed. I try to make sure I catch all of those myself now.



PJ: With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others? 


Pepper: My characters are based on real people that I met while working in Mexico, the Caribbean, and other exotic places in the world. And my characters’ real-life counterparts are usually willing to vet my books and let me know if something doesn’t work or if they would or would not do something in particular. I think that this makes my characters more authentic than if I tried to make them up completely from my imagination. My friends also have been to even more interesting places than I have and they have fascinating stories to tell. So I can mix in real events in with my imaginary ones. And, after all, truth is often stranger than fiction.



PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet? 


Pepper: Don’t give up. Never, never give up. If you do, you will never know if you could have made it had you tried just a little longer.



PJ: What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work? 


Pepper: I am not good at self-promotion. I just want to write. So I try to write good stories with interesting characters that will sell because people like them and tell their friends. Had I known how much promotion was required of an author, even one who doesn’t self-publish, I might have considered another career.



PJ: What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you? 


Pepper: Knowing how to promote and writing a decent, short pitch.



PJ: Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention? 


Pepper: We don’t have any where I live.



PJ: Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order: 


Love Potion No. 2-14

Blood Fest: Chasing Destiny

Blood Fest: Cursing Fate

Black Ops Chronicles: Dead Run

DeadMenDontBlack Ops Chronicles: Dead Men Don’t



My next title Blood Fest: Running Scared will be released next spring.




PJ: Where can we buy them? 


Pepper: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Books, Scribd, www.blackopalbooks.com



PJ: What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work? 


Pepper: Most of what I write in my fiction stems from actual fact. While I don’t, of course, know any actual shifters, my characters and the things that happen to them are based on real people and real events that happened either to them or to me or to someone else I know. Things may have been adjusted, adapted, or tweaked to make them fit the story, but the kernel of truth is there if you dig deep enough.


Cozy Food and other delights by Nancy Lynn Jarvis

CNNIMG_4957-1“I know her, and her. Oh, I know her. Oh, I love her books, and hers, too.”


It may seem like a strange way for a woman looking at a cookbook to react, but it isn’t, really. When people turn “Cozy Food: 128 Cozy Mystery Writers Share Their Favorite Recipes” over and start reading the back cover—which is a top-to-bottom list of all the contributors to the cookbook—that’s often the response I hear. That’s because “Cozy Food” isn’t only about recipes; it’s a who’s who of cozy mystery writers.


But let’s talk about the recipes for a minute. Because the cookbook features an international group of writers, recipes come from all over the world. Although most recipes are from the present day, one of multiple-time Agatha Award nominee Kaye George’s series is set in the time of Neanderthals so she submitted a recipe for mammoth meat jerky to feed a tribe (and a modified version for modern humans who have to settle for using beef.) Amy Myers included the in-verse version of The Poet’s Recipe for Salad from her Victorian Master Chef series. If you want a proper Salmagundy recipe from the table of a twentieth century British aristocrat, Judith Cutler contributed one.


If your culinary skill set involves opening a few boxes of mixes and dumping them in a bowl, there’s Susan Furlong Bollinger’s Chocolate Dump Cake. If you lean more to gourmet cooking, try Sally Berneathy’s (aka Sally Carleen, Sally Steward, and Sara Garrett) Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake. If you’re looking to make something fun with your kids or grandkids there’s Margaret Grace’s (aka Camille Minichino) No Bake Mini “Hamburger” Cookies. And Sparkle Abbey and Laurie Cass submitted several pet treat recipes lest we forgot our favorite four legged-detective assistants who so often grace the pages of cozy mysteries.


Because Elaine Orr’s has had cooking disasters in her personal life, she asked her friend Leigh Michaels, writer of over one-hundred regency romances and two cookbooks, if she could borrow a couple of muffin recipes for “Cozy Food.” Looking for comfort food? Try new Anthony Award winner Catriona McPhearson’s the tastiest Mac you ever did Cheese. Wishing you were in Hawaii? Cindy Sample offers you a Tikki Goddess. Vegetarian? Check. Vegan? Check. Gluten intolerant? Check. Insane about chocolate? Huge check. There’s a new favorite recipe for everyone in “Cozy Food.”


And then are those 128 authors. (129 actually, I forgot to count me.) They’ve submitted biographies written with the same wit and entertainment value found in their books. Recipes, authors, bios, and book buying links are all round-robined so you can see what your favorite character likes to cook or find a great recipe and track down the author who put it in the books, Any way you go, you’re sure to find fabulous recipes for all occasions and tastes and your next new favorite cozy mystery writer to read.


P.S. Don’t miss the outtakes pages where writer comments that didn’t fit elsewhere but where too funny to consign to the trash bin found a home.Front-Cover-Small




You can find Cozy Food and see Nancy’s other books on my Amazon Author Page here.


Read opening chapters from all the books at http://www.goodreadmysteries.com  and say “Hi” at Goodreads


and Facebook