Thursday, April 12, 2018

Seven Sinister Sisters on Genres

Edith Maxwell/Maddie Day here. The Seven Sinister Sisters are on a blog tour and we're giving away books! We are seven authors with new books coming out this winter and spring, and we've been guest blogging all over cyberspace since January. You can see where we've been and where we're still scheduled on our Facebook page.

I asked everyone to answer the following question: If you could write in another genre, what would it be? Here are our answers in no particular order.

Edith Maxwell: I would love to try my hand at science fiction. I used to read a lot of it, especially the fabulous late Ursula LeGuin. But right now I have my hands full writing two cozy mystery series and one historical, so sci fi is going to have to take a back seat.

Sue Star: I already do.  I write science fiction and fantasy as Rebecca S.W. Bates, magical realism as Cameron Kennedy, and horror as Minta Monroe. Growing up, I always dreamed of becoming an astronaut. I chose a different path, learning that it’s more fun to make up adventures. Building other worlds, whether realistic or fantastic ones, appeals to me, as I have faith that justice will be served and humanity will find a way to survive. Although I started my writing career with science fiction, now I spend equal time writing both. 

Becky Clark: Erotica. I hear that's where the money is. But since I'm a puritanical straitlaced prude, I think it might not keep me in the lap of luxury to which I've become accustomed. So I'll change my answer to "middle-grade romps." I may be a prude, but I punch above my weight with playground fart jokes. I'd still write mysteries, though, because I believe every single story is actually a mystery, whether they call it that or not. No matter what, there's always some story question that needs to be resolved.

Our next stop on the tour is April 18 on the Chicks on the Case blog. Here's where you can find each of us in the meantime:

To celebrate our new releases, the Seven Sinister Sisters are having a giveaway!
Seven lucky winners will receive an ebook from one of us.
One GRAND PRIZE winner will receive a signed copy from each of us!
Enter to win by leaving a comment. Our tour runs from January 6th to April 30th and we’re answering a different question at each blog. Leave a comment at each blog for more entries! We’ll draw the winner from all the combined comments at the end of our tour.

Readers: What genres do you like to read? Which won't you go near?

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Twice Honored

Edith here, still riding on a joy cloud!

Why am I riding on a joy cloud? I learned last week that Called to Justice, my second Quaker Midwife Mystery, has been nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Historical Novel! Delivering the Truth was nominated last year, so I've twice been honored in this category.

I am nominated with four other stellar authors:

Rhys Bowen for In Farleigh Field
Jessica Ellicott for Murder in an English Village
Susan Elia MacNeal for The Paris Spy
Renee Patrick for Dangerous to Know

I know all these authors, and they are all gracious, talented, and friendly. I've read Rhys and Jessica's books - and loved both of them.

In Farleigh Field is a standalone mystery and tells the story of an upper-class English woman doing her bit during World War II by working with the top-secret codebreakers. Plus a mystery, of course.

Murder in an English Village, Jessica's debut in a new series, is a delightful 1920s tale of two old friends meeting up again - and then solving a murder in the village. (Jessica Ellicott is a new pen name for my good friend and Wicked Cozy Authors blogmate Jessie Crockett.)

The Paris Spy is a suspense-filled Maggie Hope spy novel, set during World War II. This time she's on a double mission in occupied Paris, and it's very dangerous, indeed.

The only one I haven't yet read is Dangerous to Know. This series is about movie fashion designer Edith Head and amateur sleuth Lillian Frost solving crimes in the late 1930s in Los Angeles. How can't I enjoy a book with a character named Edith?

What isn't dangerous to know is what talented authors I am nominated with. I hope you'll pick up a copy of each of these fabulous historical stories.

The Agathas are awarded by attendees at Malice Domestic, the annual conference for the traditional mystery, held in Bethesda, Maryland every year at the end of April. From the Malice web site: The Agatha Awards honor the “traditional mystery,” books typified by the works of Agatha Christie and others. For our purposes, the genre is loosely defined as mysteries that contain no explicit sex, excessive gore or gratuitous violence, and are not classified as “hard-boiled.”

Of course I hope Called to Justice wins in this category, but if not I can heartily applaud the book that does

Readers: Which of these awesome authors have you read? Will you be at Malice this year?

Monday, February 5, 2018

The Fun of Plotting

by Linda O. Johnston

It's plotting time!

I'm currently finishing the editorial process for the fourth of my Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries for Midnight Ink.  Pick and Chews will be a May release.

I also have a deadline coming up in a few months for number five in the series.  No name yet.  I started plotting it a while ago and had to set it aside because of other writing commitments... but I'm back!

As always, it's fun to reunite with established characters and create new ones that'll be important to this new book.  That includes the dogs, of course. 

How to plot?  Well, I've established a general procedure over many years of writing that I call my plot skeleton.  It's somewhat based on screenplay plotting.  Yes, I'm a plotter, not a pantser.  In other words, I start by creating a plot that I turn into a loose synopsis and work from there.  I don't write by the seat of my pants as pantsers do--at least not much.  Sometimes my characters aren't completely willing to follow my established plot, and I tend to listen to them.

Every writer's procedure is different, of course, even though some might have similarities.  I've been at this for a while and so my subconscious, on whom I rely, tends to follow it even if I don't give it orders to do so.

So, subconscious of mine, plot on!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Tumbles, Broken Bones, and Book Launches

Today's blog article will be short and sweet. I recently took a tumble which resulted in me falling on my shoulder and breaking my collarbone and multiple places. In the long run, I will be just fine. In the short run, typing with one hand is a little problematic. But I wanted to share the great news about the launch of my 5th Downward Dog Mystery, Pre-Meditated Murder. Reviews so far are fabulous, and I hope you give the book a try.
If you happen to live in the Seattle area, I would love it if you came to see me in person. Please join me in celebrating my book's birth at the Edmonds Bookshop on Saturday, February 3, from 1 to 2 p.m. I'll be giving real-life hugs, signing books, and generally having an awesome time.

The rest of the book launch for Pre-Meditated Murder is going on as scheduled, and the reviews from my first blog tour are pretty fabulous. I've copied the below from the tour host’s page at Great Escapes Blog Tours. Check out the page at this link and enter the Rafflecopter drawing for a free copy of the book.
These characters are realistic, fun, smart, determined and very centered most of the time. I love the role Bella plays in each mystery. ~Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book
Starting and ending with romantic surprises, this yoga-centric novel takes the reader to unexplored locations on a roller coaster emotional run. ~Laura’s Interests
PRE-MEDITATED MURDER is a compelling read. Expectations of love are challenged and explored in this multilayered mystery. ~Cozy Up With Kathy
Okay, I just totally fell in love with this book!…  There is quite a bit of drama, a captivating investigation, and a heart-wrenching finale that kept me hooked until I ran out of pages to read. ~Books a Plenty Book Reviews
I love this series. I never expected that Michael had a secret wife. I’m not sure I liked that twist, but I couldn’t stop reading. I just had to find out how it would all end. I was completely engrossed in this one. ~Socrates’ Book Reviews…
I loved Rene, Kate best friend, she is brave, funny and I would love to read more about her! ~Varietats
That's all for now. Much love to all of you, and I hope to see some of you on February 3rd.
PS--Want your very own copy of Pre-Meditated Murder? It's available now  in e-book and paper back copies everywhere!

Check this link for some local ideas.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

How Hard Is It to Turn a Tide?

Edith here, gearing up for the release of Turning the Tide, Quaker Midwife Mystery #3. 

Actually, I don't think it's possible to turn an oceanic tide. It's not a little boat. It's not even a giant ocean liner or tanker. Our earth's ocean tides are mighty gravitation-powered forces. They come around more or less twice a day, with two high tides and two lows. The moon influences them. The weather influences them. We dinky humans have no effect, unless on a grand climate-change scale.

Don't trust me on this, though. I write novels, not science articles. But I'm pretty sure it's true. So why would I name a book if turning a tide isn't even possible?

The story opens at a meeting of the Amesbury Woman Suffrage Association a few days before election day in November 1888. We now know this was more than thirty years before women got the vote by the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the US constitution in 1920. But that didn't mean women weren't already protesting and lobbying for the right to express their opinions at the ballot box.

Gradually, inexorably, women were turning the tide of opinion toward allowing half the adult population to vote. In the same way as with the movement to legally enfranchise African-American men, Quakers were in the forefront of the women's rights movement. Midwife Rose Carroll joins forces with other Amesbury suffragists in this book, and her mother - a well-known activist for the cause - comes to town to stand in solidarity across from the polls on election day, as does Elizabeth Cady Stanton herself.

I'm so excited that this book will reach the reading public in three short months! In the meantime, I have five advance reader copies itching to reach the hands of avid fans. I'll give one away to  a commenter here today.

Readers: Do you vote? If not, why not? What do you think of when you exercise your right, not even a century old, to mark that ballot or pull that lever, whether in a local election or to name the next leader of the country?

Agatha- and Macavity-nominated author Edith Maxwell writes the Quaker Midwife Mysteries, the Local Foods Mysteries, and award-winning short crime fiction. As Maddie Day she writes the popular Country Store Mysteries and the new Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries. 

She is president of Sisters in Crime New England and lives north of Boston with her beau, two elderly cats, and an impressive array of garden statuary. She blogs at,, and Read about all her personalities and her work at

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!

by Linda O. Johnston

Yikes!  This post just sneaked up on me.  The first Monday of the month is also the first day of this new year.

This will be short since I'm still celebrating.  Plus, I'm still dealing with deadlines--nothing unusual about that. 

But I'm looking forward to an exciting and fun new year of writing and reading and family time (including my dogs, of course) and more.  I also look forward to more interaction with the Midnight Ink team and other MI writers.  Good bunch of people, and I hope the new year is great for all of them!

Do you have plans for today?  This week?  This month?  This year?  January is a good time to work on all kinds of plans.  I've got lots in mind, and I suspect you do, too. 

So... Happy New Year!  I hope you have a wonderful 2018.  And beyond, of course.  Plan well, accomplish much, read and write a lot, and above all else, have fun.

Linda O. Johnston is currently writing the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries for Midnight Ink.  Her most recent one was Bad to the Bone, and the next in the series, Pick and Chews, will be a May 2018 release.