God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
In May 2013 my newest historical romance releases, A Heartbeat Away, from Abingdon Press’s Quilts of Love series. This one takes place in
during the Battle of Antietam. Meanwhile, my three cozy mysteries have released
this spring for .99 cents each on all platforms through Smashwords, and on
Amazon for Kindle. Sharpsburg, MD
I’ll scheduled your Abingdon book on this blog if you like. Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
It has! I’m amazed how hard it is for me to sit down and enjoy a book now. I’ve become very selective in the books that I read and often find my attention drifts far too easily when I am able to predict what will happen next. And then there’s that whole internal editor thing. . .
What are you working on right now?
Vacation! Actually, it’s a working vacation since when I’m not writing I’m usually marketing or working on my Website or articles for interviews (ahem!). But I am also enjoying the time that I have to myself without a deadline looming. My next big project is probably going to be reconfiguring my Website. But the funny thing is, I keep procrastinating. . .
What outside interests do you have?
I love to walk outside and I’ve developed an interest in photography. I also very much enjoy helping younger writers find their confidence. But my very favorite thing to do is to go places with my daughter. We have so much fun together!
How do you choose your settings for each book?
For me, setting needs to add something to the story, enhance it. I want readers to learn something by reading my historical romances, mainly because I loved learning about new places when I used to devour them as a teen.
I enjoy history, so nothing pleases me more than to find a little-known fact in history and to dig a little deeper. For example, we visited
years ago and I tried to think of one book I had read that had used the horrific
of 1889 as a backdrop. I decided I wanted to do more research on the subject
and the more I delved into the fascinating accounts of that fateful day, the
more I wanted to use it as a natural conflict within a story. Promise of Tomorrow was born! Promise of Yesterday came about when I
discovered a little known fact about a Confederate captain riding through the
town of Greencastle upon his retreat from Gettysburg. That fact
became the backstory for my main character.
Cozy mysteries were a little more tricky. Since the characters are the main draw for most cozy mystery lovers, I tried to keep the setting rather tame, and it was also the first time I used a fictional town--Maple Gap,
Normally I rely on authentic maps for my historical romances, so it was fun to
be able map out my very own town and name the businesses.
What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
I think the one thing I most wish I’d know was that writing really IS rewriting, and that by rewriting you are making your manuscript better and stronger. I can’t tell you how many times I labored over the first three chapters of a manuscript before I finally decided I needed to finish the thing. Then came the process of editing it, which I did over and over and over. . . But I learned so much from that experience and didn’t realize it at the time, but with every rewrite I was incorporating something I had learned into the story to make it better. Hindsight is indeed 20/20.
What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
Don’t be afraid to learn, whether it be about writing or research. You can push far beyond your comfort zone and live to tell about it! And, as I’ve already touched on, writing is rewriting. Don’t be afraid to hack away useless phrases or delete entire pages or start over--every time you make a change to the story you are getting that much closer to making it shine!
Tell us about the featured series.
In Murder on the Old Bunions LaTisha Barnhart is experiencing Empty Nest Syndrome after seven kids, she has decided to pursue her degree, but when her former employer turns up dead and the finger of accusation turns her way, LaTisha decides it’s time to take action and put her education to work.
The series continues in Polly Dent Loses Grip. LaTisha and Hardy are moving his mother-in-law into an assisted living facility when one of the residents takes a fatal fall from a treadmill that’s ruled an accident. It’s up to LaTisha to find the culprit when the director initially refuses to get the police involved.
Your Goose is Cooked finishes up the trilogy as LaTisha’s hired cook overhears a man hiring a hitman to take out the mayor. When she is almost struck by a driver wearing a wig, LaTisha knows time is running out, and if she doesn’t catch the crook, her goose just might get cooked.
Please give us the first of book one.
Something about the Out of Time antique store didn’t feel quite right that Tuesday afternoon. The rattle of that annoying bell Marion Peters insisted on hanging over the front door combined with the shock of cool air against my hot skin and managed to fry all my circuits and make me feel a little crazy. Kind of like the days when my kids each used to demand all my attention at once.
“Mercy, Marion,” I reached up to still the clattering noisemaker and called down the narrow building toward the soda fountain Marion used as a counter, at the back of the store. “When you goin’ to bless us all by removing this thing?”
No one answered. Strange, that. Silence is not one of
Marion’s virtues. Come to think of it, her
Virtue list is pretty short, if you get my meaning. And no one enters Marion’s store without her
verbally pouncing on them with news of her latest purchase of quality
merchandise or her daughter Valorie’s most recent show of academic brilliance.
My sweet husband, Hardy, set the bell to rattling all over again as he heaved his plaid pants a little higher and stepped inside the shop and out of the New Mexico sunshine. He shot me a grin that sported his pride and joy—his lone front tooth, covered in gold. But the sight of his weathered black face and grizzled gray-black hair has filled my heart with contentment for going on thirty-eight years. ’Course, I don’t let him know that too often, or he’d be thinking he’s got me wrapped around his little finger.
Hardy shut the door and gazed up at the spastic bell. He reached to silence the thing, fingertips three inches shy of meeting their goal. His cocoa eyes rolled in my direction, waiting. You see, Hardy’s as short as I am tall.
I reached up to squelch the bell and patted him on the head, not bothering to hide my smile. “Where’d you disappear to? I looked all around the library for you, then gave up and came here.”
Hardy’s grin didn’t dim. “Went to Payton’s to talk music. He tried to sell me a book on playing the banjo.”
“You don’t play the banjo.”
“How am I supposed to know? I just got here myself.” Reaching around Hardy’s slender form, I opened the door wide enough to set the bell to making noise and slammed it hard. We both cocked our ears toward the room for any sound to indicate
’s arrival. Marion
Hardy guffawed. “Never thought I’d enter a place owned by Marion Peters and not hear her mouth flapping.”
I sailed past the old Broadwood concert grand piano that took up one side of the room and peered into one of the two boxes of books I’d purchased earlier in the day.
had grudgingly agreed to let me leave the boxes until I could fetch Hardy to
haul them for me. “I suppose we can just take this box and go. Wonder where the
other one is?” Where was that woman? “ Marion !” Marion
Lot o’ wind in them lungs for an old woman.”
“You better shut your trap, Hardy Barnhart. Years of yelling after you has given me my lung capacity.
Hardy’s eyes twinkled. “She’s giving you the silent treatment. I figure she’s still mad at you for—”
Marion can hold a
His words came to me through the filter of my own warring thoughts. Something wasn’t right. I could feel it.
never left the store without flipping the sign from OPEN to CLOSED. And forgetful she’s not. Ask anyone
who has ever done her wrong. I glanced back at the door. The sign definitely
“You go ahead and load this box into the car, I’m gonna look for the other one.”
Hardy shuffled forward. “You paid for them?”
I sent him a healthy dose of the look I made legendary with my children. “Of course.”
He held his hands up, palms out. “Just askin’. If LaTisha Barnhart is thinking of starting a life of crime, I want to make sure I get cut in on the loot.”
This man. He makes me crazy. I glanced down the length of him and smirked. “Got your drawers hitched too high again, don’t you? I can always tell—you start spouting crazy things.”
“Yeah, like the day I said, ‘I do.’ ”
“That’s not what you said. You said, ‘Yes, ma’am.’ ”
I peeked into the box. The old books, covers frayed and worn, were neatly stacked, and definitely the ones I’d purchased. I motioned to Hardy and he lifted the box to his shoulder. I turned and mentally itemized the merchandise in the store. Having worked at Out of Time until my youngest left for college last fall, I knew exactly where everything should be. A few dustless outlines proved recent sales had helped boost
receipts, but other than that things looked normal. And why shouldn’t they be?
The store didn’t hold much. A huge oak bookcase, a mahogany secretary, and a cherry dining room set, took up most of the twenty-one-foot length. Thanks to her going-out-of-business sale,
overpriced stock now sported tags well within the price range of Maple Gap
folk. The store’s impending closing had surprised many of the citizens.
Everyone figured Marion’s elite clientele of
wealthy collectors both here in tourist-laden New Mexico
and across the United States
would keep Out of Time a thriving landmark for many years.
So much for that thought.
The scent of old books and dust hung heavy in the air. A draft of cold air raised shiver bumps on my arms. I stilled myself, turned, and studied everything again, forcing deep, calming breaths. Something was eluding me. Whatever stirred my senses to high alert seemed to be strongest at the counter. I returned there and sucked in another breath. And that’s when I caught it. A certain strange scent. What was that odor?
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Cozy Mystery Magazine: http://www.cozymysterymagazine.blogspot.comTwitter: @sdionnemoore
Thank you, Sandra, for introducing us to your cozy mysteries.
eave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of one of the books. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)
The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.