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Linda O. Johnston Featured Author

April 1, 2021 by in category Featured Author of the Month tagged as , , , , ,
What Did I Miss? | Linda O. Johnston | A Slice of Orange

Linda O. Johnston enjoys writing, romance, puzzles, and dogs.

A former lawyer, Linda  is now a full-time writer and has published 52 books so far, including mysteries and romantic novels. More than twenty-five of them are romances for Harlequin, including Harlequin Romantic Suspense and Harlequin Nocturne. Her latest release is Colton First Responder for Harlequin Romantic Suspense.

She has also written several mystery series including. The Kendra Ballantyne Pet-Sitter Mysteries, which was a spin-off of the Pet Rescue Mysteries and  The Superstition Mysteries. Pets, especially dogs, frequently show up in Linda’s novels

She is currently writing a lot of books for Harlequin. Three new Harlequin Romantic Suspense books will soon be released. The first up is Her Undercover Refuge in July 2021.

In addition to blogging for A Slice of Orange on the 6th of every month, Linda blogs at Killer Hobbies, Killer Characters, the Midnight Ink authors blog, and Writerspace.

Linda enjoys hearing from readers. Visit her website at www.LindaOJohnston.com or friend her on Facebook.


A Few of Linda’s Many Books

BAD TO THE BONE

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BAD TO THE BONE
COLTON 911: CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE
COLTON FIRST RESPONDER (The Coltons of Mustang Valley)

COVERT ALLIANCE

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COVERT ALLIANCE

FOR A GOOD PAWS

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FOR A GOOD PAWS

HER UNDERCOVER REFUGE

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HER UNDERCOVER REFUGE

PICK AND CHEWS

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PICK AND CHEWS

PROTECTOR WOLF

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PROTECTOR WOLF

SECOND CHANCE SOLDIER

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SECOND CHANCE SOLDIER

TO CATCH A TREAT

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TO CATCH A TREAT

TRAINED TO PROTECT

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TRAINED TO PROTECT

UNLUCKY CHARMS

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UNLUCKY CHARMS

VISIONARY WOLF (Alpha Force)

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VISIONARY WOLF (Alpha Force)

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Spotlight on Debra H. Goldstein

September 24, 2019 by in category Spotlight tagged as , ,
Debra Goldstein | Jann Says . . . | A Slice of Orange

Judge Debra H. Goldstein is the author of Kensington’s new Sarah Blair cozy mystery series, which debuted with One Taste Too Many on December 18, 2018. She also wrote Should Have Played Poker and 2012 IPPY Award winning Maze in Blue. Her newest release is another Sarah Blair cozy mystery, Two Bites Too Many.

Her short stories, including Anthony and Agatha nominated “The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place,” have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies including Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Black Cat Mystery Magazine, and Mystery Weekly. 

Debra served on the national boards of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. She is a past president of Sisters in Crime’s Guppy Chapter and is the president of the Southeast Chapter of Mystery Writers of America.

Find out more about Debra

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Jan Ryan’s Interview with Debra


Excerpt from Two Bites Too Many by Debra H. Goldstein

a cat and a dog looking at a glass of liquid

The rising decibel of the mutterings in the room indicated the natives were getting restless. Her mother had joked that nothing could start without Lance, but it wasn’t like Maybelle to keep people waiting.

Sarah checked her phone to see if she had a message from her mother.

None.

Commotion near the door used by the council members caught Sarah’s attention. Bailey, the loan officer, stood in the doorway. This time he wasn’t burdened down with a pile of papers when he scurried into the room toward the dais. If it was possible, Sarah thought his face was even paler than before. Although he went straight to Anne Hightower, who sat erectly next to Lance’s empty chair, instead of quite facing Anne, Bailey was intently scanning the audience. He froze when his gaze met Sarah’s.

“It’s Mr. Knowlton. He’s dead!”

Not sure if she’d heard right, Sarah maintained an unbroken stare with Bailey. Only when he repeated “he’s dead” and added “your mother” did she break the linkage of their gazes to push her way out of her row and the auditorium . . .


Some Books by Debra H. Goldstein

DAY OF THE DARK

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DAY OF THE DARK

FOUR CUTS TOO MANY

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FOUR CUTS TOO MANY

ONE TASTE TOO MANY

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ONE TASTE TOO MANY

THREE TREATS TOO MANY

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THREE TREATS TOO MANY

TWO BITES TOO MANY

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TWO BITES TOO MANY
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TWO BITES TOO MANY BY DEBRA H. GOLDSTEIN—A REVIEW BY VERONICA JORGE

September 22, 2019 by in category Book Reviews by Veronica Jorge, Write From the Heart by Veronica Jorge tagged as , , , ,
a cat and a dog looking at a glass of liquid

Debra H. Goldstein strikes again!  With the pen that is.  Her new cozy mystery, TWO BITES TOO MANY, Book 2 of her Sarah Blair Mystery Series, reunites the reader with the twins, Sarah and Emily.

We first met the twins in Debra’s debut cozy mystery novel, One Taste Too Many, (reviewed by this writer in the January 22, 2019 post).  Emily, a chef, was accused of poisoning her sister Sarah’s ex-husband.  The twins combined wits and skill to find the real killer.

In TWO BITES TOO MANY , Sarah’s receptionist job at Harlan’s law office is going well. The town is bustling with activity as the bank, town council, businesses and residents share ideas and lock horns debating rezoning plans. The battle lines are divided between those who want a more upscale Main Street and those who want the town to remain as is. In the midst of this tug of war is Sarah’s sister.  Emily’s culinary career is on the rise and she’s awaiting news on the bank loan that will turn her dream of opening a gourmet restaurant into a reality. Her hopes get crushed when the bank officer denies the loan.

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The twins’ mother, Maybelle, a formidable woman and a substantial client of the bank, takes it upon herself to champion her daughter’s cause. Unbeknownst to Emily, Maybelle confronts Lance, the bank president and leading town council member. When Lance turns up dead, the prime suspect is . . . Maybelle!

It appears that the killer has used the confusion caused by ambitious bankers, disgruntled relatives and residents, varying town factions, and chefs competing with each other to be the best, to create the perfect recipe for murder.

Sarah and Emily plunge into a frantic investigation and race against time to uncover the truth and save their mother from a murder charge.

A cozy mystery with just the right amount of intrigue, suspense and humor, TWO BITES TOO MANY is engaging and entertaining. Debra will keep you guessing, and reading, to the end.

If mystery is not your genre of choice, not to worry, Two Bites Too Many is a good story that will satisfy every taste.  So go ahead, grab the book and take a bite or two!


Sarah Blair Mystery Series

ONE TASTE TOO MANY

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ONE TASTE TOO MANY

TWO BITES TOO MANY

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TWO BITES TOO MANY

THREE TREATS TOO MANY

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THREE TREATS TOO MANY

FOUR CUTS TOO MANY

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FOUR CUTS TOO MANY
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Creating a Setting for Your Cozy Mystery by Carol L. Wright

June 13, 2019 by in category From a Cabin in the Woods by Members of Bethlehem Writers Group tagged as , , , , ,

Carol L Wright

This month on From A Cabin in the Woods, we are featuring editor and author, Carol L. Wright.

Carol L. Wright escaped a career in law and academia for one in writing. She loves writing her Gracie McIntyre cozy mysteries where, unlike in life, justice always prevails. The first in the series, DEATH IN GLENVILLE FALLS, was a finalist for both the 2018 Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award and the 2018 Next Generation Indie Book Award. She also writes short stories in many genres that have been published in a variety of literary journals and award-winning anthologies. She is married to her college sweetheart, and they live in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania with their rescue dog and clowder of cats. Find out more on her website,  and on Facebook at Carol L. Wright, Author.

 

 

 


Creating a Setting for Your Cozy Mystery

Carol L. Wright

 

When we think about the setting for a cozy mystery, Murder She Wrote’s Cabot Cove or Agatha Christie’s St. Mary’s Mead often come to mind. Indeed, the term “cosy,” as the Brits spell it, was coined to describe Dame Agatha’s mysteries. Following these examples, most cozy writers choose a closed community as the backdrop for their murder. But, there is much more to a memorable setting for a cozy than being located in a small town.

Once, only British settings were deemed appropriate for cozies. As recently as twenty years ago, some said cozies had to be set in England or in New England. But Jessica Fletcher travelled widely, and even Christie set some of her mysteries on an isolated Indian island (And Then There Were None) or at an exotic hotel (A Caribbean Mystery). Many readers, in fact, love to learn about new places while trying to solve a mystery—so long as those places aren’t too off-putting. Harsh settings are usually reserved for harder-edged fiction.

With the idyllic small-town disappearing in the modern world, it’s not necessary to recreate a Cabot Cove. Since part of a cozy setting is the feeling of comfort and normalcy, you can set your mystery any place you wish, so long as you give your readers a feeling of familiarity. Anything from an ancient castle to a city neighborhood, a ski lodge to a desert island, a vacation resort to an Amish community will work just as well. Almost any place will do where people are thrown together and know (or get to know) each other.

 

Real or Fictional 

But, should your setting be real or fictional? Both have their challenges.

If you use a real place, you need to be familiar enough with it to be sure you don’t get it wrong. Residents of that place must be able to imagine your story on the familiar streets of their home. You can’t place an event at the intersection of 15th Avenue and 26th Street in Manhattan, for instance, since anyone familiar with New York would know that would put you somewhere in the Hudson River. Such errors take readers out of the story and cause them to question the rest of your “facts.” It might even cause them to give up on your book altogether or leave (yikes!) a bad review.

Besides accuracy, when using a real setting you need to beware of potential libel if you use real businesses or real people’s names—or even substitute fictional names but do not sufficiently conceal the real entity upon which it is based. You might think that a business owner would love to have the free publicity of being in your novel, but not all would—especially if they’re to be associated with a murder. If they believe your novel casts them in a false light, they can sue. Even if you won a lawsuit, it would cost you so much to defend it that you would regret using real names/businesses. If you must use real people or businesses, get a written release from them. For more on this, see: How to Use Real People in Your Writing.

The Details

The other option, of course, is to use a completely fictional setting. If you do, you will need to provide all the details of the terrain, climate, and culture of the place to allow your readers to become immersed in your fictional universe. Think about Carolyn Hart’s Broward’s Rock Island, SC, or my own Glenville Falls—a college town nestled in Western Massachusetts. While each is within a known region, the towns, their businesses, modes of transportation, and traditions are creations of the authors.

Even fictional settings can reference real places in a general way. In my Gracie McIntyre mysteries, I mention UMass-Amherst, Springfield, and Boston, MA, but the action of the story occurs in my fictional town of Glenville Falls. In Sherry Harris’s Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mysteries, that happen to be set in the area where I grew up, her town and the name of the nearby Air Force Base are fictional, but she mentions surrounding towns, roads, and landmarks. Reading them gives me a feeling of being back home. Done well, incorporating real places can help sales to the area’s current and former residents—especially if you do book signings there.

Back Ground Characters

Another part of the setting is your background characters. These are definitely NOT the folks who will drive your plot, kill your victim, or solve the crime. They’re the person who takes orders in the coffee shop, the mail carrier who delivers the threatening letter, or the security guard who lets people into the gated community. If the location of your story were a room, these characters would be the furniture.

As with any room, you want your furniture to add color, interest, and comfort to the setting. One character might have a colorful accent (pillow?) or mode of speech. Another could give the sleuth a place to rest and think a bit. Another could shed some light on the story. While these characters might serve a small role in the plot, they then go on about their fictional lives, unconcerned with what is happening in the rest of the novel. Still, they leave behind their imprint on your readers’ sense of place.

Once you have your setting—both the room and the furniture—you have the cozy world in which to spin your tale or your series. And, if, like me, you’re a “pantser”—one who writes by the seat of your pants rather than plotting everything out in advance—you might well be surprised to find that some of the lovely setting you’ve created ends up changing your story in ways you never anticipated.

What do you look for in a cozy setting? What are some of your favorite cozy settings?

 

 

 


Books by Carol L. Wright

A CHRISTMAS SAMPLER

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A CHRISTMAS SAMPLER

A READABLE FEAST

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A READABLE FEAST

DAY OF THE DARK

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DAY OF THE DARK

DEATH IN GLENVILLE FALLS

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DEATH IN GLENVILLE FALLS
FUR, FEATHERS AND SCALES: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Animal Tales

LET IT SNOW

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LET IT SNOW

ONCE AROUND THE SUN

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ONCE AROUND THE SUN

ONCE UPON A TIME

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ONCE UPON A TIME

THE WRITE CONNECTION

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THE WRITE CONNECTION
UNTETHERED: SWEET, FUNNY, AND STRANGE TALES OF THE PARANORMAL

WRITE HERE, WRITE NOW

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WRITE HERE, WRITE NOW
CHRISTMAS ON NANTUCKET AND OTHER STORIES

 


 

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More Promotion – Including Romance by Linda O Johnston

May 6, 2019 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston tagged as , , , ,

I’m writing this post early since I’ll be in Bethesda, Maryland, for Malice Domestic from May 2 through 5—and this post will be up on May 6.  And now For A Good Paws, my fifth Barkery & Biscuits Mystery, is officially available.  As I’ve mentioned, For A Good Paws is the last mystery in the series—and my last published novel from Midnight Ink, which is going out of the publication business.  Sad—but still enjoyable to have a new mystery published!

Since I’m writing this before I leave for Malice, I can’t tell you how much fun I had, but you can be certain I did have a lot of fun.  For one thing, I’m scheduled to be on a panel called Paws on the Case: Pet Related Mysteries.  For another, I’ll be joining some fun writers at the dinner table for the Agatha Banquet, including others who write about dogs and other pets!  And I also hope to be getting together with some former Midnight Ink authors and the former editor, too.

This month I will also be out there promoting romance fiction.  First, I’ll be one of the authors attending Romance Authors Day at the Anaheim Public Library on May 18.  Later, I will be on a panel of three at The Ripped Bodice, the only store dedicated strictly to romance, on May 23, along with Sheila Roberts and Meg Tilly.   

Oh, and by the way, since you obviously read the Slice of Orange blog, you most likely saw my interview by Jann Ryan a couple of days ago.  Jann has been a wonderful friend for many years–and she’s the one who introduced me to Romance Writers of America and its Orange County Chapter quite a few years ago!

So, Happy May everyone.  Hope you read a lot—and enjoy it.

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