Welcome Heather Weidner!

So happy to have Heather Weidner visiting today. Although she’s stopped by before (as one of the Mutt Mystery authors), I’m thrilled to have her here today. Heather is the author of a brand new, truly fun and clever cozy mystery series set in an upscale trailer resort, called the Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries. Glamping is all the rage and this book with its plucky heroine will be, too. VINTAGE TRAILERS AND BLACKMAILERS is the first in the series.

First up, I’ve asked Heather a few questions about the book and the characters.

Is your “glamping” series inspired by a real place, and have you ever been “glamping”?

I have been on lot of camping trips through the years to determine that I’m not a roughing-it kind of girl. I’ve been eyeing some glamping sites, and I hope we can schedule a trip now that the worst of the plague is over. My husband does a lot of home improvement and car/camper/boat restorations, so we watch a lot of HGTV and YouTube. I ran across a show a while back about a couple who restored vintage trailers, and they were amazing. I thought that would be a good idea for Jules in Fern Valley, so she and her father saved about 50 trailers from the scrap heap. She themes each one’s name and décor with something from history or pop culture like the 1947 Robin Hood Trailer that is decked out in honor of its namesake, the 1959 Sunliner Caravan that sported a posh pink Barbie fashion design in honor of the year that the camper and the doll debuted, and the 1953 Redman New Moon, decorated in honor of Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball’s movie from the same year, The Long, Long Trailer.

How much time did you spend mapping out the resort and the town?

It took me a while as I was plotting the first book. I drew a map of the resort and tagged the trailers. At the end of VINTAGE TRAILERS AND BLACKMAILERS, Jules’s maintenance/security guy approaches her with a deal to add tiny houses to the resort. I am fascinated by all the creativity that goes into designing these spaces. Minimalism is the key. Most are between 400 and 1,400 sq. ft., and if the owners plan to transport them, they have to fit withing one traffic lane on the road. All of the tiny houses at Jules’s resort have book/author themes and cool little touches for the guests like revolving bookcases or cozy reading nooks.

Jules is such a fun character to get to know. Other than Jules though, who is your favorite character in this book and why?

I really like to write Roxanne’s character. She is Jules’s closest living relative who is free spirited and protective of her niece. She’s always into something, and sometimes, she has no filter with her sharp quips and retorts.

Jules, like many of your heroines, is full of sass. Is there any part of her that is based on you? Do you and Jules share any characteristics at all?

Jules and I both have red hair and the feisty spirit that goes with that. We also both have Jack Russell Terriers, and we both love the mountains. Jules is more impetuous that I am.  She often runs toward danger without much thought about the consequences, especially if it leads her to clues about the murder on her property. I would dial 9-1-1, and let the authorities do the investigating.

This is subjective, of course, but fans of what writers or books would love this new series?

This series would appeal to cozy mystery lovers who like female sleuths with interesting occupations. I think fans of Tonya Kappes, Libby Klein, Sherry Harris, Ellen Byron, Barbara Ross, Tina Kashian, and Diane Kelly would like the Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries.

And a few questions for Heather about herself and her writing:

What are you reading right now? Anything special on your TBR list?

My TBR pile takes up 3 shelves in my bookcase. And there is a stack on my nightstand and my desk. I just finished Jennifer Bee’s THE KILLING CAROL. Next on my list is Louise Penny’s A GREAT RECKONING.

I have to ask the requisite question, plotter or pantser?

Both. I start out with a detailed outline (that later becomes my synopsis), but as I start to write, sometimes the characters take over. And I veer from my outline. Though I do try to stick to the plan where I can because it keeps me from writing myself into a corner and getting bogged down in the middle of the first draft. I can finish a novel that I’ve completely outlined much faster than when I try to “pants” it.

Give us a quick glimpse into your writing process? Do you have a special time and place you like to write? Do you set word goals?

I usually write at my desk upstairs. The big window overlooks the woods, so there are plenty of squirrels, chipmunks, birds, and other critters that visit frequently. My two Jack Russell Terriers have beds in the office, so they hang out and help me plot and write dialogue. I still have a day gig, so my writing day starts at 5:00 AM. I write until I log into work at 7:30. I write on my lunch hour, and if I didn’t hit my word count, then I’ll do some more in the evening. I try to do 1,000 words a day on work days and 3,000 words on weekends/holidays. If I am consistent with this word count, I can now finish a cozy mystery in about 2.5 months. (My first novel took 5 years to write and another 2 to get published.)

What can readers expect from you next?

I am working on the last of three books for the Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mysteries. My agent just sold this three-book series, so I will be excited to see the release dates. In this series, Jade Hicks inherits her grandmother’s Christmas store in the tiny beach community of Mermaid Bay, Virginia which is near the historic triangle of Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown.

Of course, it’s been great having Heather stop by. She is–without a doubt–one of the hardest working writers I know! Be sure to check out her Delanie Fitzgerald series, too. Thanks, Heather!


Through the years, Heather Weidner has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager. Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers is the first in her cozy mystery series, the Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries. She also writes the Delanie Fitzgerald mystery series set in Virginia.

Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, Deadly Southern Charm, and Murder by the Glass, and her novellas appear in The Mutt Mysteries series.

Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.

Social Media Links

Website and Blog: http://www.heatherweidner.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeatherWeidner1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeatherWeidnerAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heather_mystery_writer/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8121854.Heather_Weidner

Amazon Authors: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HOYR0MQ

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/HeatherBWeidner/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/heather-weidner-0064b233?trk=hp-identity-name

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/heather-weidner-d6430278-c5c9-4b10-b911-340828fc7003

Book Links

Apple Books: ‎Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers on Apple Books

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09GGBFWT5

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Vintage-Trailers-Blackmailers-Heather-Weidner/dp/1685120369

Barnes and Noble: Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers by Heather Weidner, Paperback | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com)

BookBub: Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers: A Jules Keene Glamping Mystery by Heather Weidner – BookBub

BookShop: Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers a book by Heather Weidner (bookshop.org)

Booktopia: Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers eBook by Heather Weidner | 9781685120375 | Booktopia

FNAC: Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers – Dernier livre de Heather Weidner – Précommande & date de sortie | fnac

Goodreads: Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers by Heather Weidner | Goodreads

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/vintage-trailers-and-blackmailers

Target: Vintage Trailers And Blackmailers – By Heather Weidner (paperback) : Target

Thalia: Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers von Heather Weidner – eBook | Thalia

Book Summary

There is nothing like finding a dead body, clad only in a red satin thong, on your property to jolt you from a quiet routine. Jules Keene, owner of the posh Fern Valley Camping Resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is thrust into the world of the Dark Web when one of her guests, Ira Perkins, is found murdered in the woods near her vintage trailers. Jules quickly discovers that the man who claimed to be on a writing retreat was not what he seemed, and someone will go to any length to find what he left at her resort. Jules, along with her Jack Russell Terrier sidekick Bijou, has to put the rest of the missing pieces of a blackmailing scheme together before her business is ruined.

Jules’s resort, set in the heart of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains near Charlottesville in the quaint town of Fern Valley, offers guests a unique vacation in refurbished and upcycled vintage trailers. Hoping to expand her offerings, she partners with her maintenance/security guy to create a village of tiny houses, the latest home DIY craze, but a second murder of a reporter interrupts Jules’s expansion plans. Curiosity gets the best of her, and she steps up her sleuthing to find out what Ira Perkins was really up to and what he was really hiding at her resort.

Make Room for More Mutt Mysteries

There is no doubt these have been difficult weeks (and months!) for all of us, and time feels a bit like it’s standing still. What day is it again? 😉 Anyway, like so many others, I’ve been searching for some positives. As an author, the first thing that comes to mind is that being home means more time to read. Right? Right! That’s what I thought. And more reading means more looking for new books. That’s why I’m thrilled to introduce the authors of the Mutt Mysteries. These four writers combine two of my favorite things in the world: mysteries and dogs! What could be better?

The mystery-solving mutts are back! To Fetch a Scoundrel, the second in the Mutt Mysteries collection, features four tail-wagging novellas. Each story puts pups’ noses to the ground, as scandals are unleashed and killers are collared. Once you’ve finished reading these tall “tails,” you’ll no longer wonder, “Who let the dogs out?” You’ll just be glad somebody did!

I’ve invited all four authors here today to share news about their book as well as photos of their own dogs! Oh, and they’ll answer a few questions, too. Welcome to Heather Weidner, Jayne Ormerod, Rosemary Shomaker, and Teresa Inge.

This is the second in your series of Mutt Mysteries. Are the stories related to the first in the series? Are there any recurring characters? Do any of the Mutt Mystery characters appear in other books?

Jayne Ormerod: My two Mutt Mysteries stories, “It’s a Dog Gone Shame” in To Fetch a Thief and “Pawsitively Scandalous” in To Fetch a Scoundrel, are both stand alone novellas. My favorite part of writing is exploring new characters.

Heather Weidner: To date, the stories are stand-alones. Teresa’s are the only ones with recurring characters.

Heather’s Jack Russells, Riley and Disney

Rosemary Shomaker: The Mutt Mysteries novellas are standalones from one another and from book to book, with the exception of Teresa Inge’s novellas. She uses the same cast of characters.

Teresa Inge: Catt Ramsey is a recurring protagonist. She owns the Woof-Pack Dog Walkers in Virginia Beach. She appears in each book with her trusted sidekicks Cagney and Lacey who help her solve crimes and murder along with her sister Emma and family friend Jonathan Ray. My Mutt Mysteries characters do not appear in other books. Catt Ramsey and her crew appear only in the Mutt Mysteries Series.

How did you come to work together on this project? What was the writing process like? While each story is separate, has there been any thought to crossover?

Jayne Ormerod: The collaborative genre has really become popular, as it gives the reader an opportunity to explore many authors for the cost of one book. Heather, Rosemary, Teresa, and I worked together on some short story collections, and we admired each other’s’ story-telling talents. So when this project came up, we pulled together and got writing. There have been a few brainstorming sessions at the Williamsburg Winery (halfway between Richmond and Hampton Roads so a perfect location, and, of course, there is added benefit of wine), but the rest of the writing process was through electronic communications.

Heather Weidner: The four of us have worked together on anthology projects before. This idea formed at a planning session for a short story anthology. The four of us (in Williamsburg, VA) decided to do a project that was dog themed. Each author writes her story individually. The common themes are the dogs, mysteries, and the cozy mystery subgenre. My characters, Delanie Fitzgerald, Duncan Reynolds, and Margaret the wonder dog are going to make an appearance in the third installment of the Mutt Mysteries series.

Rosemary Shomaker: We are members of Sisters in Crime, and our stories have been included in some of the same anthologies. Some of the Mutt Mysteries writers have worked together to produce mystery anthologies. We formed friendships while marketing anthology projects and bonded over our love of dogs. For Mutt Mysteries, we work together to decide a theme and timeline, but then we write our drafts independently. Come editing time, though, we circulate and comment one another’s work. We share production duties with most falling ton Jayne in her role as Bay Breeze Publishing maven. We work cooperatively on marketing.

Rosemary’s sweet dog, Current

I’ve thought to suggest crossover stories, as I think that would unify the novellas. Maybe we’ll begin with cameo appearances of main character across novellas.

Teresa Inge: The four authors have appeared in other anthologies together, so there was a natural evolution to creating the series. Plus, the authors are friends and respect each other’s writing talents and understand the business side of writing. The writing process? We come up with a theme for each book along with a deadline and then start the editing process along with marketing and promotion when the books are published. I have not thought about crossover, but it’s a great idea to promote each story that way.

To Fetch a Scoundrel features four short stories about mystery-solving mutts. What kind of dog is in your story and what is their special mystery-solving skill?

Jayne Ormerod: Natti, short for Natural Light beer (named by a fraternity boy . . . what else can I say . . . ) is a black Lab mixed with something big. The talent he brings to the table is his innate ability to tell the good guys from the bad guys with just one sniff.

Heather Weidner: Oliver is the Director of Security at a small racetrack in rural Amelia County, Virginia. He is a Rottweiler who loves hanging out in the office and taking long walks. His intrepid nose helps find clues that eventually lead to the murderer.

Rosemary Shomaker: “Ruff Goodbye” features a miniature poodle and a black Lab. The poodle acts as comfort animal, protector, alarm (barking), and character judge. “Cloud’s” protective and comfort actions are his superpowers. The black Lab’s role is unique. “Clarion’s” watchful presence speaks of stability and dependability, as well as comfort. He is beloved by the patrons at Len Hayes’ bar, The Beacon. Clarion is the story’s nonjudgmental keeper of secrets.

Teresa Inge: Cagney and Lacey are terriers that help their mom, Catt Ramsey solve crimes. They sniff out clues and alert Catt to dangerous situations.

If the dog in your story could be any human detective (on screen or literary), who would they be?

Jayne and her dogs, Scout and Tiller

Jayne Ormerod: Richard Castle, from the TV show Castle. Both hang around real detectives but are just kind of along for the ride.

Heather Weidner: Oliver is usually quiet, but inquisitive. He’s muscular and imposing. I think he’d be a lot like Spenser or Hawk in Robert B. Parker’s classic series.

Rosemary Shomaker: I picture Cloud as a male version of a timid but determined Barbara Havers from Elizabeth George’s Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley mysteries. Cloud/Barbara is restrained due to his/her quavering confidence and general introverted nature until the stakes get so high that he/she has to act! I see Clarion as a solid, no-nonsense Frank Cannon detective as played by William Conrad in the 1970’s “Cannon” television show. Clarion, like Cannon, is powerfully built and non-loquacious.

Teresa Inge: These dogs would be canine Nancy Drews since they get involved in precarious situations and love being a part solving crimes and helping their mom, Catt Ramsey, catch the bad guy.

What funny story can you share about one of your own pet(s) – current or past?

Jayne Ormerod: Easter, 1988. We had two mutts, Kimo, a shepherd/husky mix, and Commodore, the biggest, dumbest (but most loveable) dog we have ever owned. He was the inspiration for Natti in my story. Some friends joined us for dinner. While our heads were bowed in prayer, I saw a flash of brown out of the corner of my eye. Right where the plate of Honey Baked ham sat. Hmmm. Curious. Thinking/hoping/praying it had been a trick of the light, I kept my eyes cast sideways through the blessing. A moment later, a black snout appeared and snatched a piece of ham off the stack and disappeared under the table. I’m ashamed to admit I yelled something very inappropriate during the Easter blessing. But lesson learned; from then on, the meat dish is always placed in the center of the table!

Heather Weidner: My husband and I share our home with two crazy Jack Russell Terriers. They’re from the same litter, and it’s like living with perpetual three year olds. When they are too quiet, they’re into something. And both are way too smart and inquisitive for their own good. Riley, the brother of the pair, loves to eat paper. I have to watch trashcans and recycle bins because he finds new and creative ways to get in them. (One time he ate a $20 bill that was in my open purse.) I was proud of myself for outsmarting him. I bought lidded cans that had a lever at the bottom to open the top. Ha! That would keep him out of the trash. Two days later, I heard the bathroom trashcan bump around and open. Riley figured out how to step on the lever for easy access.

Rosemary Shomaker: One summer long ago, my cat Bootsie disappeared. A week later, the family next door returned from vacation and found Bootsie (female) cavorting with their male cat in their house. They’d boarded their dog but left their cat at home and had a friend check on him a few times. Who knows how Bootsie gained entry to their home? The family returned Boostie to us, and a few weeks later, a litter of five was born! Love nest? This was way back in the early 1970s before pets were routinely spayed and neutered.

Teresa Inge: I have two dogs, Luke and Lena, who are shepherd mixes and named after my husband’s grandparents. At first, some family members were surprised by their names since the original Luke and Lena were their grandparents, too, but now they love that we chose those names. I never met my husband’s grandparents Luke and Lena since they both passed away before I knew my husband, but I’ve seen photos of them, and I’m glad we decided to name our pets after them. 

Teresa with her dogs, Luke and Lena

Will the third in the series be the last? Have you considered writing other “animal/pet” mysteries?

Jayne Ormerod: I, for one, plan to continue writing Mutt Mysteries as long as I’m having fun! I enjoy having pets in my stories, but they do need tended to. For instance, you can’t have a detective jump on a plane to follow a suspect from Charleston, SC, to Honolulu, Hawaii, without first making accommodations for the pets at home. It can be done, just adds to the writing challenge.

Heather Weidner: All of my stories and novels have some animal in the story. Pets are so integral to a lot of people’s lives. We are working on the third in the series now. I’m hoping that the series continues. I like writing novellas, and it’s fun to work on group projects.

Rosemary Shomaker: I’m still part of the Mutt Mysteries family but am sitting out the next book. You’ll see pets in my subsequent stories, but I’ve learned that my stories are often on the long and heavy side, and are not the fast-paced, quick reading suited to cozies.

 Teresa Inge: I hope the series will not end with the third book. I love writing the series and having my protagonist Catt Ramsey appear in each book. It’s been so much fun to write about Catt and her sidekicks Cagney and Lacey. I have considered writing other “animal/pet” mysteries. I am considering writing my own dog walking series since I now have a following with readers in this series who love mysteries and animals.  

More on the Mutt Mysteries and the authors:


Twitter: @MuttMysteries1

Facebook: @MuttMysteries

Click on one of these links to purchase your copy:


Barnes & Noble


BAM! Books a Million

Jayne Ormerod grew up in a small Ohio town then went on to a small-town Ohio college. Upon earning her degree in accountancy, she became a CIA (that’s not a sexy spy thing, but a Certified Internal Auditor). She married a naval officer and off they sailed to see the world. After nineteen moves, they, along with their two rescue dogs Tiller and Scout, have settled into a cozy cottage by the sea. Jayne is the author of over a dozen published stories, from novel length to short-short.

Social Media Links

Website: http://www.jayneormerod.com

Jayne Ormerod’s Life’s a Beach blog: http://www.jayneormerod.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jayne-Ormerod-Author-189923671068546

Heather Weidner is the author of three mysteries in the Delanie Fitzgerald series. Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, and Deadly Southern Charm. Her novellas appear in The Mutt Mysteries series. She is a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Guppies, International Thriller Writers, and James River Writers. Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.

Heather earned her BA in English from Virginia Wesleyan University and her MA in American literature from the University of Richmond. Through the years, she has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager.

Social Media Links

Website and Blog: http://www.heatherweidner.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeatherWeidner1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeatherWeidnerAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heather_mystery_writer/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8121854.Heather_Weidner

Amazon Authors: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HOYR0MQ

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/HeatherBWeidner/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/heather-weidner-0064b233?trk=hp-identity-name

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/heather-weidner-d6430278-c5c9-4b10-b911-340828fc7003

AllAuthor: https://allauthor.com/profile/heatherweidner/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyBjyB0zz-M1DaM-rU1bXGA?view_as=subscriber

Rosemary Shomaker writes about the unexpected in everyday life. She’s the woman you don’t notice in the grocery store or at church but whom you do notice at estate sales and wandering vacant lots. In all these places she’s collecting story ideas. Rosemary writes mystery, women’s fiction, and paranormal short stories. Stay tuned as she takes her first steps toward longer fiction.

Social Media Links

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rosewritesva/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/vaforestrose

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8121853.Rosemary_Shomaker

Teresa Inge grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries. Combining her love of reading mysteries and writing professional articles led to writing short fiction and novellas. Today, she juggles assisting two busy executives and is the president of the Sisters in Crime, Mystery by the Sea chapter. Teresa is the author of the Virginia is Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, and the Mutt Mysteries series. 

Social Media Links

Website: https://www.teresainge.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/teresa.h.inge

Twitter: https://twitter.com/teresainge7Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/teresa.h.inge/

Favorite Line Fridays: First Summer Read

“All I will say is that you show up for your friends on their hardest days. And you hold their hand through the roughest parts. Life is about who is holding your hand and, I think, whose hand you commit to holding.” – Taylor Jenkins Reid, DAISY JONES & THE SIX

and this…

“I think you have to have faith in people before they earn it. Otherwise, it’s not faith, right?” – Taylor Jenkins Reid, DAISY JONES & THE SIX

daisy jones
Daisy Jones & The Six

Technically, I read this before the summer started, but I can’t think of a better book to take to the beach or pool or wherever you like. The style is original. The writing is strong. The characters are compelling.

However, I will caution those who don’t want to read about 1970’s era musicians and their antics, this book is not for you. (Note:  There have been many assumptions about who may have inspired some of these characters with Stevie Nicks being the most obvious, but there are so many to choose from – it’s a fun game!)

So, for those who love music and/or a great story, I say pick this up.  Grab your towel and sunscreen and enjoy!

P.S. I loved this book enough to go back and read another by Taylor Jenkins Reid – THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO.



Last month, I offered my newsletter subscribers the chance to win a copy of the new mystery anthology, DEADLY SOUTHERN CHARM. I was overwhelmed by the fantastic response and I’m thrilled to announce the winner is Linda Pinkham!!!! (Linda, you will hear from me soon!).

I also offered a copy of the anthology to one lucky NEW SUBSCRIBER (someone who signed up in the last month). Again, I am grateful for the great response and my new subscriber who will soon be receiving her copy is Barbara Tobey!!!

Although this contest has come to an end, it was such fun that I will definitely do it again. If you want to watch me “play detective”, hear updates, and learn about giveaways, you can subscribe to my newsletter HERE.

Favorite Line Fridays SPECIAL EDITION: From the Authors of DEADLY SOUTHERN CHARM

What happens when eighteen authors each have a story to tell, a story that is set in the south, features a memorable leading lady, and is infused with a dash of mystery? You get the brand new anthology that award winning author Hank Phillipi Ryan calls “deliciously devious” and USA Today and NYT Bestselling author Ellery Adams says is a “keep-you-up-at-night collection”. This brand new anthology is already garnering rave reviews and while I am honored to have one of my short stories included, I am even more thrilled to have a few of the wonderful authors visit my site today to talk about the book. Here’s what they had to say:

The stories in DEADLY SOUTHERN CHARM are all set in the South. Do you have a favorite Southern mystery? 

Heather: I love learning about different locales with regional mysteries. My favorite southern ones are by Sherry Harris, Maya Corrigan, and Ellen Byron.  

Lynn: You know, I don’t really think of books divided up by regions. Thinking about a few I like, Julie Chase has a fun cozy set in New Orleans. Charlene Harris (of course.) And Laura Child’s scrapbooking mysteries also set in New Orleans. 

Mollie: I’m with Lynn on this. I don’t think of books that way. I do love the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris. Also, I love Rita Mae Brown’s mysteries.  

Frances: While traveling in Hilton Head a number of years ago, I visited a local bookstore selling mysteries by Kathryn Wall. She’s a Northerner who retired to South Carolina’s Low Country, and has written 13 books in her series featuring financial planner Bay Tanner. The first one I read was IN FOR A PENNY, and I’ve been hooked ever since. 

Kristin: I love visiting the deep South, which provides both a textured setting as well as unique characters. My favorite southern-set novels tend to be more Women’s Fiction/suspense, rather than mystery. I love reading works by Sue Monk Kidd, Kristy Woodson Harvey, and newly published author, Gina Meil.  

Genilee: I love any story written around the New Orleans/Lafayette, Louisiana area just because I love the grit and character of that city and have experienced the Cajun culture of Lafayette first-hand. 

J.A.: I enjoyed the Harper Connelly series by Charlaine Harris. UP IN HONEY’S ROOM by Elmore Leonard is a fun read. His lead female character, Honey Deal, is funny, smart and sassy, with a Southern dialect that makes you crave homemade grits and buttermilk biscuits. 

Stacie:  Harper Lee’s TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD was definitely the first Southern novel I fell in love with; and I was fascinated by William Faulkner when I was in college.  More recently I’ve enjoyed Margaret Maron’s series beginning with Bootlegger’s Daughter, maybe because my own family has stories about a prominent bootlegger great aunt among my Tennessee roots.   I also really like to read Donna Andrews and Mollie Cox Bryan. 

DEADLY SOUTHERN CHARM is an anthology that features female protagonists. Who is your favorite fictional female character? Why? 

Mollie: Definitely Eve in the JD Robb “In Death” series. Talk about a strong female character!  

Heather: I like mysteries with strong female protagonists. Nancy Drew was my first favorite sleuth. She was young, smart, and had the freedom to solve crimes that the adults couldn’t. She was my gateway sleuth to other mysteries. 

Lynn: I really loved following Diana Bishop’s character in A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES. The book is part mystery, part romance, definitely paranormal, and part historical. Diana is the character I want to be when I grow up – a researching academic with a magic problem. 

Frances: A current favorite is Ruth Galloway, a forensic archeologist in a mystery series by British writer Elly Griffiths. Ruth is a very approachable character. She’s smart, career-oriented and professionally competent, but struggles in her personal life to live up to the expectations of her family.  

Kristin: That’s a tough question, because most of the novels I read are driven by female protagonists. A current favorite is Texas Ranger Faith McClellan by Virginia author LynDee Walker proves to be a tough, smart, yet vulnerable main character. I look forward to reading more of that series. 

Genilee: Eve Dallas of the JD Robb stories gets a second vote here. I’m totally flabbergasted by how strong yet feminine she is. I’m also totally bonkers in love with her husband and love the relationship the two have. Nothing allows me to escape better than a trip involving Dallas and Rourke. 

J.A.:  Dr. Maura Isles from the Jane Rizzoli series by Tess Gerritsen. I liked her in the TV series, but I enjoyed her more in the books. Her backstory in the books is unique and interesting. 

Stacie:  I adore Miss Marple.  She totally out thinks everyone, every time, without putting anyone down or vaunting her own prowess.   

As an author, do you have a favorite quote from one of your books or stories? 

Heather: This is my favorite quote from my story, “Art Attack” in DEADLY SOUTHERN CHARM. “I love that goblet,” Ilsa said. “It’s irresistible to a specific type of man—the greedy and dishonest sort who see its legend as a challenge…” 

Lynn: For me, this quote from Cat Latimer, female protagonist of A STORY TO KILL, Book 1 of the Cat Latimer series, sums up my love of writing and being an author quite nicely.  “I love this office. I always wanted to write here. Not grade papers, not work on lesson plans, just write the stories in my head.” 

Frances: This is from “The Girl in the Airport” in DEADLY SOUTHERN CHARM: The storm system had hit Atlanta around three o’clock that afternoon, part of a wide mass of squalls that muscled in from the Atlantic and quickly smothered the entire East Coast. Powerful winds slammed against the airport terminal as churning black clouds dumped torrential rains onto the tarmac. The “on time” flight notices on the departure board flipped to “delayed” – first one, then three, then all the rest, succumbing one after another like helpless victims of a particularly contagious strain of flu. 

Kristin: This quote is from my short story, “Unbridled” in the Lethal Ladies anthology, DEADLY SOUTHERN CHARM: …a large, dark shadow entered the far side of the stable and trotted toward us. Spade’s saddle was empty, his stirrups bounced drunkenly, and his broken rein scraped the brick floor. He slowed to a walk as he entered his stall, and then nipped at his hayrack, content to be home. But no Gina. 

Genilee: From the short story, “Adventures with Heroes” in my latest book (RELATIVE CONNECTIONS): The most prominent features of this area were windmills; gentle giant sentinels of the fields, their sweeping arms reaching towards the vivid blue sky. They were an awesome site, but slightly scary to a girl used to neat suburban streets and pavement. 

J.A.: This is a quote from my story, Keepsakes, in DEADLY SOUTHERN CHARM: A hint of a smile on the woman’s lips offset the formality of the portrait. It made her seem, impish. Maybe it was one of the reasons she’d snagged three rich husbands over the last six decades. And managed to outlive them all. 

Stacie:  I love this sentence from my story in Deadly Southern Charm, “Southern Sisters Stick Together”, spoken by the protagonist’s cousin Burnell, who is a policeman: “We could never prove he drugged her…but I’m afraid this piker, whoever he is, will do it again.”  It shows how committed Burnell is to protecting the public and providing justice for victims, and his commitment involves his cousin Vera in protecting both her friend and her enemy from a predator. 

Thanks to all of these wonderful authors for stopping by. To learn more about them and the other authors in DEADLY SOUTHERN CHARM, you can check out the following links:


Twitter: @LethalLadiesCVA

or at Sisters in Crime Central Virginia

To find the book, go to Amazon or Wildside Press.

P.S. If you’d like to be entered for a chance to win a copy of DEADLY SOUTHERN CHARM, be sure to sign up for my VERY occasional newsletter–that’s the one where I “play detective”. The winner will be announced May 15th. Click Here to sign up today.

Favorite Line Fridays (On Wednesday!!!)

DSC meme“Regina had torn down the old house with its tin roof and charming porch and built–well, Lillian didn’t really know what it was. The outside was pink, the color of that horrible medicine. It had king-sized double doors, Mediterranean arches, and dozens and dozens of lights. They came on like clockwork every night, the glare blinding. She’d often thought it was a wonder they couldn’t see that house lit up clear to Charleston.” K.L. Murphy, “Burn”, DEADLY SOUTHERN CHARM

If you’re looking for southern grit, strong leading ladies, and a dash of mystery, you must read the just released DEADLY SOUTHERN CHARM. This fabulous anthology features eighteen stories from some of my favorite authors (and edited by the bestselling Mary Burton and Mary Miley). Of course, I’m thrilled my own story, “Burn”, is included in this great book from Sisters in Crime. DEADLY SOUTHERN CHARM is available right now, so go grab your copy OR sign up for my newsletter to be entered to win a copy! I’ll announce the winner May 15th! Happy reading!