Monday, November 22, 2010
Getting "Cozy" with Cindy Sample and Penny Warner...plus a book giveaway!
Cindy Sample wanted to be a detective like Nancy Drew when she grew up. However, she changed her mind in her teen years and decided to write mysteries instead. She worked in the field of real estate and mortgage banking for a while before writing DYING FOR A DATE, which combines bad dates, real estate, a few dead bodies and plenty of giggles. She also writes the popular “Hot Flash” column for the Gold River Community Newspaper and is co-chairing the Left Coast Crime Convention in 2012. Her next Laurel McKay book, DYING FOR A DANCE, will be released in August, 2011 (L&L Dreamspell).
Penny Warner has published over 50 books, including over a dozen party books. Her latest book, HOW TO HOST A KILLER PARTY, is the first in a new mystery series featuring event planner, Presley Parker, and set on Treasure Island and Alcatraz in the San Francisco Bay Area. Book two, HOW TO CRASH A KILLER BASH, is set at the de Young Museum, and HOW TO SURVIVE A KILLER SÉANCE, set at the Winchester Mystery House, comes out March, 2011 (Penguin). Her non-fiction book, THE OFFICIAL NANCY DREW HANDBOOK, was nominated for an Agatha Award.
Since Cindy and Penny both write cozy mysteries, we invited them for a joint visit to Chick Lit Central, where they are sharing their "thankful" lists. We enjoyed what they had to say and hope you will too. In addition, they're each offering two copies of their latest books (Cindy's is "Dying for a Date" and Penny's is "How to Crash a Killer Bash") to some lucky readers in the US and Canada. (That's four chances to win a book!)
My list could go on for pages but rather than clog up the blogosphere I’ll list my top five.
*First of all, I am thankful that my two wonderful children have turned into such incredible adults, especially considering the fact that their mother was a traveling executive/single soccer mom. No one ever wanted to trade lunches with my kids! My daughter and son are amazing people and I couldn’t be prouder of them.
*I am grateful that I was born to a woman of character, generosity and enormous love. My mother has been my rock throughout my life and everyone who comes in contact with her has been blessed with her presence.
*I am thankful for the wonderful circle of friends who have supported me in my new career and who have willingly read and re-read my first novel DYING FOR A DATE. I’m also thankful for their intriguing stories which may occasionally show up on the written page.
*I am thankful that my new life as a published author has brought me into contact with so many new friends, mystery fans, budding and well-established authors, who have embraced me and the humor in my first novel with so much enthusiasm.
*I am grateful that Kit Kat is now making their delectable bars in dark chocolate which has helped increase my daily word count.
*I am thankful that I just celebrated my sixtieth birthday and I can still swivel my hips and cha cha to work off all of those calories from # 5.
*And of course, special thanks to Melissa and Melissa for giving me this opportunity to give thanks.
Aside from being thankful for the usual things—health, happiness, family, and friends—I’m thankful for my muses. As a writer of cozy mysteries, I’ve been lucky to have a number of muses—goddesses, spirits, or real people—who inspire my creative works. Here’s my list of nine muses I’m thankful for:
#1: Little Lulu. If it weren’t for this little moppet in a red dress, I wouldn’t have learned how to tell a basic story at a very young age. Lulu taught me that every story has a beginning, middle, and end, plus some snowball fights and a love-hate relationship with a guy named Tubby.
#2: Nancy Drew. Duh. By reading Nancy Drew mysteries, I learned about how to write good cliffhangers—and keep readers turning the page, even if you don’t really exist (like Carolyn Keene.)
#3: Agatha Christie. The dame had a knack for churning out over 80 plots, and she made each one seem fresh and original—even if the all characters seemed to be somewhat similar. Her plots ran the gamut from “everyone did it” to “no one did it” to even “the narrator did it.” What an inspiration.
#4: Compromising Positions. The book by Susan Isaacs was a breakthrough in the realm of mystery fiction, because it was the first time a nice suburban housewife with no detecting skills solved a murder and saved the day. And she did it all with humor.
#5: An Unsuitable Job for a Woman. P.D. James really got me thinking about how writing mysteries featuring female sleuths was no longer an unsuitable job for a woman like me—and I didn’t even have to be British. But I did want to change my name to Jemima for awhile there.
#6: Julie Smith, Susan Dunlap, Lia Matera. This Cerberusian trio was among the first Bay Area women I discovered in the library who wrote about Bay Area female sleuths—and it was love at first read. One of my favorite Sue Dunlap scenes featured a Banana Slug Festival and the climax taking place in a torrential rain. Talk about setting!
#7: A is for the Alphabet mysteries. Sue Grafton broke even more new ground with her compelling characterization of Kinsey Milhone. I loved the matter-of-fact voice, the clever titles, and the thrilling ride in and around Santa Teresa.
#8: Janet Evanovich. She put in the laugh track with her fresh take on quirky characters—Lula, Grandma Mazur, Cousin Vinnie—and made me wish I lived in the exciting city of Trenton, New Jersey, was a bounty hunter, and had two hot guys fighting over me.
#9: Last but not least—in fact probably the one muse that’s had the most influence on me—is my mother. I used to come home from school every day and see her typing away at the Olympia typewriter, crafting stories, news articles, and other literary works. She’s my true muse, and I’m lucky to have her continued encouragement and inspiration to this day. Thanks, Mom.
Special thanks to Cindy and Penny for sharing their "thankful" lists and for offering the books to give away.
How to win "Dying for a Date" or "How to Crash a Killer Bash":
Please comment below with your e-mail address.
(Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page if you can receive messages there.)
1. Please tell us: Who is your favorite mystery book or TV series character?
2. Please tell us: What is one thing for which you are thankful?
3. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
4. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
5. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)
US/Canada only. Giveaway ends Thursday, November 25th (yes, Thanksgiving) at midnight EST.