Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Like Mysteries? Like Prizes? Introducing Hart Johnson

My friend Hart Johnson and her friend Elizabeth Spann Craig both have books coming out June 5th. This is Hart's VERY FIRST BOOK!!!! So, I congratulate her on that.

They are releasing what's called cozy mysteries. Don't know what that is? Let me tell you, in Hart's words:

Cozy Mysteries are like Mystery-Lite—there is still a dead body (or two), still a mystery to solve, and still lots of twists and turns. But they are
low on gore (murder happens off the page), low on violence (happens off the page), low on sex (though not necessarily anti-innuendo or ogling—again, just not on the page) -- the whole thing is kept very PG-- and because the sleuth is an amateur, they are also low on technical forensic or police procedural language, making them very approachable. (and far easier for a non-cop to write)

But in ADDITION, they also tend to have
a lot of humor, some quirky characters, a recurring cast, and frequently there is a THEME (Elizabeth's is quilting, mine is gardening).
Here is the contest they are running:

Crazy Cozy Blogfest

The idea is to think of the craziest, zaniest set-up for a cozy mystery you can—this is strictly for entertainment value—we don't plan to take these ideas and actually write series (though if you think YOU want to, go for it!). But we are asking you to come up with
a wacky theme, a zany sleuth, a crazy setting for your OWN Crazy Cozy Mystery idea.


1)  Sleuth (age, occupation, maybe a little family info)
2)  Sidekick (either friend or foil, but someone who always seems to be around)
3)  Setting (town, city, or other sort of place)
4)  Theme (go nuts)
5)  Twist (be as creative as you like)

Write it up in 150-250 words (so short)--for the blogfest portion anyway—we want people to be able to read a bunch of these without too much burden. Keep the traditions in mind, but we are judging on entertainment value--which we enjoy most, not how realistic it is to make a best seller. We want people to laugh.  WE want to laugh. (so consider those rules more like guidelines, really)

And then please include either our book brief descriptions, a brief word of promo, or a link for people to FIND more if they want to (find info at the end of the blog).
Okay, so without further ado, here is my entry into Hart and Elizabeth's Crazy Cozy Blogfest Contest!
Lily Walter, 32, is the secretary of the Rainy Day Youth Soccer Club. She’s the single mother of one daughter, Faith, 12. Her parents, Jim and Fancy, are a curmudgeon, and an airhead with a hearing problem. They treat Lily as if she were 16, and are always trying to marry her off. Lily’s only interested in one man, Faith’s soccer coach, Scott Simpson.
Enter Kitty Clark, 28. Also a single mother, daughter Ashley plays Faith’s soccer team. Lily is terribly jealous of Kitty; she’s younger, prettier, and rich. She is also after the handsome coach, Scott Simpson.
The setting: rainy Seattle, Washington. The theme: select soccer. We all know how ugly that can get.
Sudden Death
When the president of the club Mike Martin ends up dead, everyone is surprised until Trixie Jones, whose daughter Valerie plays for Mike, runs up and collapses on his casket professing her love. Most surprised are their spouses, and all assume one of them is the killer.
As Lily goes through soccer club paperwork, she finds Mike has some enemies: A disgruntled parent whose daughter has been cut from Mike’s team, a coach with complaints of inappropriate behavior, and a treasurer who has been embezzling funds to pay off a gambling debt.
In a crazy turn of events it wasn’t the spouses, angry parent, deviant coach, or pilfering treasurer who killed Mike. It was Valerie, daughter of Mike’s lover. Upon being arrested she said, “Mike committed a foul—I gave him a red card.”
Prizes: (yes, I said prizes! erm...not extravagant, but we wanted to give you something) Each Elizabeth and I will choose our favorite and BOTH winners will get BOTH books (signed).

We'd love help promoting the blogfest, as well. Feel free to take the button and banner and/or share the Linky Tool below. And I'm sure you will be hearing more about this over the next two months.

Quilt or Innocence
Beatrice has a lot of gossip to catch up on—especially with the Patchwork Cottage quilt shop about to close. It seems that Judith, the landlord everyone loves to hate, wants to raise the rent, despite being a quilter herself… But when Judith is found dead, the harmless gossip becomes an intricate patchwork of mischievous motives. And it’s up to Beatrice’s expert eye to decipher the pattern and catch the killer, before her life gets sewn up for good.

Elizabeth Spann Craig
: Elizabeth writes the Memphis Barbeque series for Penguin/Berkley (as Riley Adams), the Southern Quilting mysteries (2012) for Penguin/NAL, and the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink. She blogs daily at Mystery Writing is Murder, which was named by Writer's Digest as one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers for 2010 and 2011.

As the mother of two, Elizabeth writes on the run as she juggles duties as Girl Scout leader, referees play dates, drives carpools, and is dragged along as a hostage/chaperone on field trips.



Barnes and Noble

Indie Bound

Mystery Writing is Murder

The Azalea Assault
Cam Harris loves her job as public relations manager for the Roanoke Garden Society. It allows her to combine her three loves, spinning the press, showing off her favorite town, and promoting her favorite activity. She's just achieved a huge coup by enlisting
Garden Delights, the country's premiere gardening magazine, to feature the exquisite garden of RGS founder, Neil Patrick. She's even managed to enlist world-famous photographer Jean-Jacques Georges. Unfortunately, Jean-Jacques is a first-rate cad—insulting the RGS members and gardening, goosing every woman in the room, and drinking like a lush. It is hardly a surprise when he turns up dead. But when Cam's brother-in-law is accused and her sister begs her to solve the crime, that is when things really get prickly.

Alyse Carlson
: Alyse Carlson is the pen name for Hart Johnson who writes books from her bathtub. By day she is an academic researcher at a large midwestern university. She lives with her husband, two teenage children and two fur balls. The dust bunnies don't count. This will be her first published book.


Barnes and Noble

Indie Bound

Confessions of a Watery Tart

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