Crime and Mystery

Grab a cup of tea, homemade raisin bread and a Mystery perfect for Valentine’s Day!

    A mystery with a romance, Aunt Bea’s Legacy combines what many readers love: a quaint English village, some friendly and not so friendly ghosts, twists and turns in the mystery and romance and a surprise ending. And I love a mystery whose ending I can’t guess! Main character, Lucy Dixon is a chef. I love reading about her baking and canning, living on a small working farm. Very inspirational for those of us who dream of orchards and berry patches and herb gardens. Lucy is an appealing character. While a confident chef, she is unsure of herself in terms of relationships and life’s choices.She decides to leave her London chef’s position to stay at her aunt’s house in order to find out how her aunt died. What are the noises that haunt the house, from footsteps to crying, from screams to eerie images? Is this why her aunt was found dead with a fireplace poker in hand? Her aunt’s will requires Lucy to live at River View for one year to inherit the house. Her love for her aunt, who helped raise her after her mother’s death, is part of the reason for her increasing love for River View. “In…

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Civil War Mystery nourished with a Civil War favorite – Fried Apples!

Time Expo Time Exposure by Lynne Kennedy In Time Exposure, Lynne Kennedy makes Civil War photography the lens of her novel. “Photography hugely impacted the way society viewed the war….I combine my love of history and science with my penchant for mysteries!” Lynne does a superb job—an intriguing mystery, wonderful characters and exciting history.  All make this a fabulous read. Lynne Kennedy's Time Exposure.     Buttery Fried Nutmeg Apples During the Civil War, favorite sweet side or dessert was Fried Apples. In the field, it was typically made in a cast iron pan over a fire and worked well with tart apples. A variety of sweeteners could be used from honey or brown sugar, more available than white at the time. The Gibbs Museum in Charleston, South Carolina mounted an exhibit of Civil War photographs, which I went to see a few years ago. The black and white photographs were clear and surprisingly modern. There was the heroic; there were also the photographs that were brutal, unnerving and full of war’s agony. There was the view of Robert E. Lee’s home, with Union soldiers on the porch, his property made into the now national cemetery at Arlington. Lynne Kennedy’s Civil War historical novel, Time…

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Murder and Plum Cake? Sounds good to me!

Just for fun, I took a stab at writing in the style of author Elin Barnes to introduce the Plum Coffee Cake! Susan Saffron and Darcy walked into a small Palo Alto restaurant on University Avenue and took a booth in the back, away from the window. “So what do you want?” Darcy asked, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. The hair immediately came out. “I need some serious caffeine!” Saffron said. Darcy motioned the waitress over and read her name-tag. “Two coffees. What’s good in a coffee cake, Lisa?” Lisa smiled at the two. “The bakery just sent over a plum coffee cake to die for! Want me to bring over 2 pieces?” Darcy nodded. “But maybe not to die for.” Elin Barnes’ Justification for Murder Saffron Meadows is being stalked. Someone is trying to kill her. Repeatedly. Speaking to a police detective, she confides, “I feel as if I’m in a bad movie. These things don’t happen to regular people.” ‘You’d be surprised,” he said. At the ame time, Saffron is in a long relationship with Ranjan Balasubramanian whose family is arranging his marriage with a string of beautiful candidates from India. Her doctor’s patients are committing suicide.…

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Reading about a Cop’s Cop.

Foodie Lit: A genre of novel and memoirs filled with food stories and recipes Each month, I’ll share the magic of a good foodie lit read and one of its recipes. Cooking and recipes in books take us into the mind of the character or narrator and brings us into the book’s kitchen to see, smell and share the lives within.                     ​Or I’ll take a good read and, with the author, find a recipe to pair with it! Either way, here’s to cooking and reading together                                                              John Hickman’s Black Bear Killer. Reading about a cop’s cop. Nothing like being a cop and writing a mystery about a cop. You just feel that Sheriff Dell Hinton is the real thing. Author John Hickman, a 25 year veteran of law enforcement, told me, “Dell is basically my alter ego. If I had continued in law enforcement, my ideal retirement job would have been as a Sheriff in a small, rural community.” The crimes and investigations may have a ring of reality…

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The Importance of Book Covers: Interview with Heather Campbell

Book cover layouts play an important role in the overall presentation of stories, and often times readers first judge a book by its cover. This year indieBRAG has put together a cover contest of books chosen by the indieBRAG Team. These covers were chosen based on several factors including; 1) professionalism 2) visual appeal 3) creativity and 4) fit with the story/genre. We have asked the ladies of the indieBRAG Interview Team to discuss with us the importance of book covers, what they like, want to see more of and so on…Today Heather Campbell talks with us about this. On the scale one to five, how important are book covers to you? I would say a 4. If I'm buying in store it is still the thing that makes me pick it up. If I'm just browsing online it's less important, but seeing a friend share a great book cover will still make me go look it up. Why are they important to you? It's all about what catches my attention primarily, but it also shows value, especially if it's independently published, that the author/publisher spent the time to make their book look polished. What do you not like in book covers? After…

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Crime Fiction with Award Winning Author Douglas Carlyle

We’d like to welcome two time award winning author Douglas Carlyle to take part in our crime fiction week. Doug, when writing crime fiction, there is usually several characters involved. What is your advice in presenting each character so they stand out? There will be a protagonist and an antagonist in any crime fiction novel. Both must have a strong presence. The author must directly and indirectly describe the physical and intellectual attributes of the good and evil characters, but only with enough detail so as to allow the reader to embellish with his or her own pallet of colors. As the author, I find opening the window to the inside of our hero (heroine) and villain equally exciting. However, for me, one distinguishing feature is that as for the protagonist, humor sets that character apart from the antagonist. I’m not speaking of being a deadpan jokester. Rather, he/she may have a dry wit, colorful language, peculiar quirks. Humor attracts the reader to the good side and allows them to fall in love with that character. I think it is important for writers to give conflicting reasons for their characters to be criminals. For readers to find that connection-if you…

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Writing Crime and Mystery Novels!

The indieBRAG Crime and Mystery Series   I am pleased to introduce RAR Clouston author of The Covenant Within Bob, welcome and thank you for sharing with us- Stephanie:   When writing crime fiction, there are usually several characters involved. What is your advice in presenting each character so they stand out? Bob: At the risk of sounding like my social psych professor in what seems like an eternity ago during my undergraduate days as a psychology major, we are all the product of both nature and nurture. And this is never truer than with the villains who populate thrillers and mystery stories.  We are shaped by the multitude of forces, both genetic and social, that make us who we are. What drives someone to a life of crime, or even worse, to become a heartless killer? An obvious answer is that they were the offspring of truly evil parents who gave them tainted genes, or raised them in a cruel and heartless home, or both. But there are also exceptions to this as evidenced by the cases of cold blooded killers who came from a “normal’ home. My point is this: we are all different and as such a writer…

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Crime Fiction With Award Winning Author Kathryn Guare

Crime Fiction is a popular worldwide and indieBRAG has many great award winning authors who write in this  fascinating genre. Today Stephanie talks with B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Kathryn Guare who wrote Deceptive Cadence. A story we highly recommend. Stephanie: When writing crime fiction, there is usually several characters involved. What is your advice in presenting each character so they stand out? Kathryn: Most of the effort goes into developing the main protagonists, of course, but I think the minor characters are important as well. They offer an opportunity to add layers of color, and the main characters are made richer if they are interacting with something other than cardboard cutouts. When you’ve got a lot of characters, it’s easy to be lazy and pull stock figures from central casting (hairy-chested Russian arms dealer with lots of neck jewelry), but if I spend a little more time on it, I can always come up with a unique and more complicated three-dimensional person that I find more interesting (what if the Russian arms dealer is also a committed yoga practitioner? How would that change his physical appearance, mannerisms and personality?) Stephanie: I think it is important for writers to give conflicting reasons…

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