New dragon cozy–all the new things

I’ve been super busy the last week or so. Let me show you the list:

I’ve got the paperback of Malicious formatted and almost ready to go. Just waiting on my proof copy to show up. Not quite ready for sale yet, alas!

The whole Puzzle Box trilogy, Malevolent, Malcontent, and Malicious, are available in a single omnibus now. I’m debating turning it into a paperback, because it’s kind of a tome. For sale now on the platform of your choice! Except Smashwords. Smashwords is a pain.

I also got off my tush and finished the edits on the second dragon cozy mystery I’ve been working on. Here it is!


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A fad diet has swept Carefree, Arizona. Tianna, drake shifter, has her hands full trying to invent a type of ice cream that meets the diet’s rigorous standards before the celebrity creator arrives. But when the diet creator turns up dead, Tianna must call upon her drake skills to sniff out the culprit.

A whirlwind of intrigue sweeps her in, from shifty cameramen to secretive publicists, as well as an abandoned chihuahua who knows more than she lets on. Helped (and hindered) by her friends Katie and Bruce, Tianna must find the killer hidden among the tour team before they leave town, letting the killer escape and strike again … or before Tianna gets too close and winds up on ice.

Available now on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited!


 

There you have it, folks. Where I’ve been when I’m not shmoozing around social media … working! Next project is launching this superhero trilogy. Still working through edits on that, as well as building covers for it. Trying to make it look as epic as the story inside truly is. 😀

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Bad cozy mysteries are educational

Over the weekend, the kids and I hit the library. I’ve had a hankering for a nice, fun cozy mystery, so I browsed around and picked up one at random, pretty much because of the cover. I won’t give out the name of this unfortunate book to keep from embarrassing the author, but it’s probably nobody you know.

I started reading, and … well, oh my. It’s pretty bad when the detective commits almost as many crimes as the killer (and victim, in this case).

The premise is that the heroine runs a restaurant (like most culinary cozy heroines). She has the bad luck to find her shady business partner dead in the kitchen.

At this point, most books would go into the crime scene, the clues, all that jazz.

Not this one. The heroine and her sister grab the body and drag it into the alley behind the restaurant “so as not to ruin business”.

I was astonished at this, and utterly certain that this would come back to bite them. So I kept reading in suspense.

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Apple pie via Wikimedia Commons

The heroine’s lowlife sister steals the dead man’s wallet and goes on a shopping spree with his credit card, leaving a plain trail for the police. This puts the spurs to the heroine to solve the mystery before the cops close in.

Continually astonished at the stupidity of these characters, I kept reading, waiting for the hammer to fall.

The body disappears, then reappears in a lake up the road. The investigation begins. The heroine is sweating bullets. The suspense mounts. Clues contradict each other and many secrets come to life as the suspects sing like canaries. Typical mystery stuff.

And then … the killer is found. And for some reason, the cops stop asking questions about who moved the body, and they quietly stop investigating the credit card fraud.

WHAT.

I got all the way to the end.

No consequences for the heroine and her sister’s asinine actions. The police just drop everything. Tampering with a crime scene is a felony! Credit card fraud is a felony! There should have been some kind of repercussions, but … just … nothing.

I got on Goodreads and found that a lot of people threw the book at the wall over this. I also learned that in book 2, the heroine steals the victim’s car. So … I think I’m done with this series. The detective can’t run around committing crimes and getting away with it. If she’d had to pay a fine, at LEAST, I would have bought it. But … just getting away scot-free?

Let that be a lesson to you, authors. Don’t let your characters get away with anything. Let them make bad choices, sure, but then let the consequences come back to bite them. Otherwise, readers will be throwing your book at the wall and saying nasty things on Goodreads.

Here are some other cozies you should read instead:


Fire and Ice Cream – cooking in books

In his book On Writing, Stephen King observed that people love to read about work. That’s why Tom Clancy novels are thinly disguised manuals about how things work, yet people read them by the truckload.

The cozy mystery crowd is the same way. Is there knitting on the cover? There’d better be technical knitting stuff in the book. In one of my Facebook groups, a reader complained that Silence of the Flans didn’t actually have any flans in it.

When I read mysteries that involve the victim being poisoned via blueberry pie, I want to know about that pie. Did it have a normal crust? Or was it a Marie Calendars sour cream blueberry pie? Is there some twist to baking it, like all the tricks it takes to make a perfect cheesecake? How do you hide a bitter poison in a sweet confection, anyway?

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The cozy mystery genre is hot right now, but it’s been flooded by a lot of indies who don’t really understand the genre. They promise a culinary cozy, then the dessert in question is barely mentioned. Does the heroine run a cupcake bakery? Tell me about cupcakes. I want to know the sizes, the types of batter, the way the icing is piped. Does the heroine sell those tiny cups of frosting that were so popular a few years ago?

When I set out to write a culinary cozy with dragons, I picked ice cream, since it’s my favorite dessert. I love eating it and I love making it. In the book, the heroine debates things like almonds vs walnuts in rocky road. She constructs the perfect coffee ice cream.

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I looked up tons of recipes as I wrote. Having never made Rocky Road before, I checked that out. Turns out it’s a kind of frozen chocolate pudding with nuts and marshmallows folded in. I researched coffee ice cream. You make a custard with coffee in it, the higher quality, the better.

This book is packed with cooking. When the heroine isn’t interviewing people or eavesdropping on conversations, she’s mixing up ice cream or batches of brownies. At home she cooks breakfasts worthy of a restaurant.

Food is comforting. Eating it with friends is comforting. In all my books, across all genres, my characters experience downtime and safety with food. I guess I have too much hobbit in me.

My first dragon cozy, Fire and Ice Cream, launches today. I hope people like it, because I want to write twenty more of these. The characters are adorable and the mystery is fun to figure out. And there’s so much food.


fire-and-cre-cream-coverTianna Tokala is starting a new life in Carefree, Arizona, working in an ice cream parlor. She also has the magical ability to turn into a small dragon called a drake. All she wants is a quiet life where she can make ice cream with her wonderful ice breath.
But when her manager is found dead with a bowl of Tianna’s Rocky Road ice cream beside her, Tianna springs into action. With a knack for observation and her enhanced drake hearing, she delves into her manager’s smoky draconic past.
Aided by a secretive drake, a single mother, and a four-year-old dragon shifter, Tianna must unravel the web of lies that surround this dragonic death … or there may be more fire than ice cream.