Hey HGTV, Find J.C. Eaton a Dream Writer’s Escape
We just finished watching an episode of “House Hunters International” (HGTV) where a lady sold her home in the United States and bought a dream house in Costa Rica, overlooking the beach, so she could have the perfect place to write her first novel. Well, we hate to admit it but we’re jealous. We’d love the perfect place to write our novels, too.
Don’t get us wrong. We love hearing the sound of the garbage trucks as they careen down our block and clang the metal cans. Or the windows shaking when the trains roll by. And nothing rivals our neighbor’s voice yelling to her mother, “You left your teeth on the counter again.”
If we were safely ensconced on some Caribbean island, we’d be listening to the sound of ocean waves and tropical birds and who knows what kind of masterpieces we’d be able to produce living in virtual paradise.
We wouldn’t simply be writing novels, we’d be living them. With that in mind, we decided to get serious about our dream locales. In a flash, we traded the island life for what we’d like to call “Country Gentry Living.”
We’d write from our charming cottage in a small village outside of London, complete with a housekeeper who makes splendid breakfasts and provides tea and scones for us in the late afternoon. The cottage, that we’d affectionately name “The Good Life,” would be walking distance to a quaint little town with a bakery shop, candy store and small produce market. We’d write lovely Romance novels while enjoying the view of our impeccable garden.
It would be glorious except for one teeny weenie snafu- we don’t write romance.
So, we’d uproot our splendid garden and trade gentrification for snazzy city dwelling. Our new abode, a fabulously re-modeled condo overlooking the main plaza in Madrid, would allow us to slip downstairs to enjoy early evening tapas and drinks with the locals, engaging in conversation and speculation. Anything from painting to politics. We’d dine in different restaurants each night and eat churros every morning. Our complex crime novels would reflect the soul of an international city.
Compelling, yes, but apparently we’d forgotten a minor detail – we don’t write crime novels.
Fine, we’d leave our classy condo and move to a lovely Victorian house situated across from a quiet bay in Cape Cod where we could walk barefoot on the beach and open our windows at night to let in all the soft ocean breezes. A local cook would arrive early in the morning to prepare our meals and clean the house, leaving us all the free time in the world to write our delightful children’s books.
OH NO! We don’t write children’s books. Neither of us can draw, either.
We’d be forced to shutter the Victorian dream house and trade it for an Adirondack lodge that overlooked Lake Champlain. With an abundant kitchen staff and a pantry that held enough fortification for a decade, we could hike the woods in autumn, cross-country ski in winter and kayak in the spring and summer. When not indulging in nature’s own retreat, we’d be writing our mystery-suspense–adventures.
Unfortunately, that’s not our genre.
Good-bye Adirondacks and lake living. Reykjavik, Iceland awaits. We’d ride past the volcanoes on Icelandic horses and immerse ourselves in geothermic geyser pools. We’d drink coffee at the Kringlan Mall and do all sorts of people watching from our quiet little table at the Café Bleu. At home in our ultramodern apartment overlooking the cityscape, we’d plot our espionage thrillers.
Too bad we don’t write espionage thrillers, although Jim is totally addicted to them!
Farewell Iceland! It would be on to the Riviera and our gracious hotel apartment on the Cote d’Azur. With a full time wait staff and more amenities than we could imagine, we’d be writing our historical fiction in opulence and style.
Historical fiction? Oh dear, that’s not us either.
We’d toss the beach towels on the sand and head off to Scotland. A moody landscape, an old castle and a relentless chill in the air. We’d be warming ourselves in front of the giant fireplace at a restored castle north of Edinburgh. Our housekeeper and our cook would ensure we had toasty blankets for our bed and savory roasts for our meals. With our faithful Scottish wolfhounds at our side, we’d hardly notice the fierce winds as we sat down to write our gothic horror novels.
Gothic horror? We may read it, (especially Ann ) but we don’t write it.
We had to face it, our quirky Southwest community was the perfect place to pen our cozy mysteries. Where else could anyone get excited over Bingo night or two dollar movies? We had our bake shops, bagel places and taco stands where we picked up more gossip for plotlines than fleas in a dog park.
And while we don’t have a housekeeper or a cook, we do have a new vacuum cleaner and cell phones with our favorite take-out places on speed dial. Our computer/office/pile of books and scrap paper, overlooks our giant AC unit and our neighbor’s cactus garden. If that’s not inspiration, we don’t know what is.
We absolutely love crafting humorous cozies with nosy neighbors, reluctant sleuths and enough twists and turns to keep everyone guessing, including us. That HGTV lady may have her Costa Rican dream house but we’ve got five cantankerous cats and one neurotic dog. True, no ocean views but hey, there’s nothing quite like the sound of pottery crashing on the tile floor when the dog decides he’s had enough of the cats’ shenanigans.
Thank you both so much for stopping by today!
Booked 4 Murder (Sophie Kimball Mystery)
1st in Series
Setting – Arizona
Kensington (June 27, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
Kindle ASIN: B01LYPJE1G
Never judge a book by its cover…
Sophie “Phee” Kimball is not a cop. She’s a divorced, middle-aged mom who works as an account clerk for the police department in a small city in Minnesota. But her retired mother, Harriet Plunkett, is convinced Phee is the only one who can solve the mystery of a cursed book. According to Harriet, four members of her book club have already succumbed to the deadly curse. Harriet insists Phee catch the next plane to her retirement community in Sun City West, Arizona, to investigate.
Is her mother just bored and lonely? She does have a new pet—a long-haired chiweenie (half Chihuahua, half Dachshund)—for company and a host of pals (although that number is admittedly dwindling). Phee is certain that their book club selection isn’t cursed, but is somebody really knocking off the ladies? As Phee starts to uncover dark secrets hidden in plain sight under the blazing Arizona sun, she’ll need to read between the lines before it’s someone else’s final chapter….
Oh my word! This is a wonderful debut!
Sophie “Phee” Kimball works for the police department in Minnesota in the office. The only detecting she does is hunting down receipts for expense reports but her dear mother assumes that she can kill the curse that is killing members of her book club. She begs her daughter to come to Sun City West, Arizona before another member ends up dead. Phee tries to calm her mother and put her off until the holidays but Harriet demands her presence immediately. After to talking to one of the local detectives she decides to head to Arizona, knowing he will be able to sort out any details she does find. Hopefully she can close the book on this mystery and get back to her own life in the “star of the north”.
I liked Phee right away but it took a bit for Harriet to grow on me. The way she expected her daughter to drop everything to do something she had no experience in was a little off putting but truthfully there are many moms in the world that expect their children to do the same, maybe not solve murders but handle many other issues. After the first couple of chapters some of Harriet’s requests were pretty funny. But that woman is PUSHY and extremely demanding.
Sun City West, Arizona is a retirement community and made for a very interesting setting. The early dinners, bingo games, clubs, and movies all ring true to the lives of the some senior citizens I know. It also gave Phee places to meet the suspects on her growing list as she tried to disprove all her mother’s theories. I found it delightful that she came up with her own version of a “murder board” to keep tracks of everyone and how they were connected as she tried to figure out what was really going on.
The story was very well written with a plethora of red herrings. I figured out a tiny part of the mystery early on but I uncovered the rest right along with Phee. I appreciated the fact that she knew she needed help to tie all the loose ends together and reached out to the detective and his techy friend back home. Even long distance the three of them made a great team. This story took several different tangents in the route to the big reveal and it truly was a very big public reveal.
The authors have laid a great foundation for this series. Plenty of room for the main characters to become more fully defined. The setting also gives the possibility of many supporting characters and mysteries.
A fine mystery filled with captivating characters and just enough humor to tickle your funny bone. I am very excited for the next installment, Ditched 4 Murder will be out November 28, 2017.
Ann I. Goldfarb
New York native Ann I. Goldfarb spent most of her life in education, first as a classroom teacher and later as a middle school principal and professional staff developer. Writing as J. C. Eaton, along with her husband, James Clapp, she has authored the Sophie Kimball Mysteries (Kensington) set for release in June 2017. In addition, Ann has nine published YA time travel mysteries under her own name. Visit the websites at: www.jceatonauthor.com and www.timetravelmysteries.com
James E. Clapp
When James E. Clapp retired as the tasting room manager for a large upstate New York winery, he never imagined he’d be co-authoring cozy mysteries with his wife, Ann I. Goldfarb. His first novel, Booked 4 Murder (Kensington) is set for release in June 2017. Non-fiction in the form of informational brochures and workshop materials treating the winery industry were his forte along with an extensive background and experience in construction that started with his service in the U.S. Navy and included vocational school classroom teaching. Visit the website at www.jceatonauthor.com
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