Monday, January 3, 2011

Changes Keep Coming

I know, I know, I keep changing the look of the blog. To be honest, I have no idea what I am doing. I have never worked on a blog before and have been doing a lot of research on how to make an impact with my blog and get more followers. I want it to be gender neutral, but I have to admit . . . . purple is my favorite color. I'm sure I will change the look the more I poke around Blogger. I have found that it is part of my DNA to be a researcher. I look up EVERYTHING! The blog will stay purple until I change my mind again-probably tomorrow. For now, I am a bit frustrated with Blogger and its limited options and my limited knowledge. I am going to call it a night and hope for more patience tomorrow.

Until then . . . .Meg

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A New Year

Hi Everyone!

It sure has been a while since my last post. Once Thanksgiving hit this year, I was one busy lady. I finally got my Donna F. Crow book, but haven't started it yet. Since I had to wait forever for it to come in the mail, I sunk my teeth in Laura Alden's Murder at the PTA. Love it! Since I am a stay-at-home mom with a son in elementary school, it really hits home. I'm not an active member of the PTA nor have I ever attended a meeting, but I have certainly heard enough about the PTA at my son's school and know how it works.

This is Ms. Alden's first book and I can't wait for the second. It is a great cozy murder mystery. I don't want to give away the plot, but look forward to finding out who the killer is. I haven't a clue. That to me means its a good book. Some books make the killer easy to spot, not my favorite. I like to keep guessing until the end.

Hope everyone had a great holiday season! Happy New Year 2011 to all! -Meg

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Still waiting

Hi everyone!

Just a quick update to add to the blog to keep it somewhat active. Unfortunately, I am still waiting for Donna F. Crow's book "A Very Private Grave" to arrive from I usually don't have to wait this long, but I am chalking it up to all the shipping they must have to do for the holiday season.

While I have been waiting for this book, I read a "cozy" book, but it wasn't about murder. Sometimes, I just need a break from the murder mystery world and enter another one for a while. I've decided that I love books that are set in the South. I am hoping to visit some of those beautiful southern states one day. My first stop will be South Carolina. That's about as far as I have gotten with my "bucket list". I am going to blame Anne George for my love of the South since she was the first author I read in the cozy murder mystery world where the setting was in the South.

I have decided that after I read "A Very Private Grave", I am going to ready Laura Alden's "Murder at the PTA". That one sounds right up my alley, being a stay at home mom and all. I can't wait! I may have to bump this one up if Amazon doesn't deliver to me soon. I can't stand to not have a book available to me to pick up and read whenever I get the chance.

If anyone has read either one of these books, I'd love to hear your opinion on them!

Until next time . . . . .Meg

Monday, November 22, 2010

A big warm Thank You

First off, I want to send out a big warm Thank You to the ladies that have contacted me and have welcomed me to the blog. I truly appreciate you reaching out and making contact. I have a feeling this is going to be a fun journey for me.

I have made contact with a few authors and am excited that they will be contributing to the blog. My first contact has been with Donna F. Crow. She has a new murder mystery out, A Very Private Grave, which is her first book in the new series The Monastery Murders. Before I have an author contribute to the blog, I have to read their book first. I feel that by reading the author's newest book, I will have a better feel for what to ask them and understand better where they are coming from. It's kind of like my own homework assignment. So starting this week, I will begin A Very Private Grave. I am really looking forward to it!

Somehow, I have to find the time to sit down and read with Thanksgiving hot on my heels. I am hosting this year. I love to host Thanksgiving (mostly because I LOVE to cook), but it certainly cuts into my time to read. My two passions are reading and cooking.

I am planning on contacting Donna F. Crow within the next few weeks to contribute to the blog.

If you happen to be reading A Very Private Grave, please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have for Ms. Crow and I will do my very best to get them answered for you.

Happy Reading . . . .oh and Happy Thanksgiving! -Meg

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

An Introduction

Hi Everyone!

My name is Meg and I contacted Donna about taking over the Cozy Murder Mysteries blog. I am a huge fan of Cozy Murder Mysteries and came across this blog while searching for some new cozies to read.

I plan on keeping the "Why I Write Mysteries" column and "Q & A" with cozy murder mystery writers. I am hoping to get to "meet" some of my favorite authors.

A little about me, I am currently a stay-at-home mom to my two sons. One is 10 years old and the other is 1 1/2 years old. I started reading mysteries in general back in 2002. My first ever mystery was a Mary Higgins Clark one. The more I read, the more I realized how much I loved mysteries. My first Cozy Murder Mystery was by Anne George called "Murder Boogies with Elvis". I have read all her books in the series and fell in love with them.

I think that everyone has their own definition of what a Cozy Murder Mystery is. To me, it takes place in a small town, with a lot of descriptive language so that you feel like you can imagine yourself living there. You get to know the characters and love to read about them developing as the author continues to write book after book about them. I love the thought of getting a good Cozy Murder Mystery book to read, crawling up in a nice soft spot with a cup of coffee and throw and just letting myself be taken away by the story.

My favorite authors are Anne George, Diane Mott Davidson, Leslie Meier and Joanne Fluke.

I would love to hear from the "Cozy" followers about what they would like to read about in this blog and am open to any ideas that may improve it and help us gain even more followers.

I look forward to getting to know you all! -Meg

Friday, February 26, 2010

Are Crime Fiction Cliches Comforting?

Are Crime Fiction Clichés Comforting?

By: Brooklyn White

We’re all guilty of using them once in a while or more often too; in fact, clichés are a constant weapon in any writer’s arsenal. The problem with using them however is that you have to be careful not to rub your readers the wrong way – one too many of them and they’re bound to label your writing a bundle of clichés that has no originality at all. Crime writing is an especially difficult genre when it comes to avoiding clichés; it’s so full of authors who exploit them and use them even without realizing they’re doing so, and very often, they continue to enjoy success even though they resort to clichés.

But clichés are not all bad; actually, they can be quite comforting and even necessary at times, like when:

• Readers are comfortable with a certain style of writing: I hardly ever read new authors unless I’m forced to do so because I have nothing else to read. That is when I explore new options and select one person whose writing suits my taste in books. In the course of this process, I’ve found that I gravitate to a certain kind of books, those that are written in a style similar to my favourite authors. Now these new books may not have the same clichés as the old ones, but the situations are similar, as is the method of solving the crime. Come to think of it, all of us choose what we’re comfortable with when it comes to change. So when clichés cause déjà vu, they may not be all that bad.

• You have the same protagonist in all your books: If your hero is the same person (or team) in all your books, you’re bound to use clichés more often than not. Take the Perry Mason books written by Earl Stanley Gardner – Perry Mason, Della Street and Paul Drake are recurring characters, and almost every book features a case which is seemingly unwinnable at first glance, but which Mason solves with his usual ingenuity and quick wits when there are hardly any options left or time remaining. But you put up with the clichés because you know that Mason’s sense of deduction more than makes up for the rest of the banal stuff.

• You’re writing a spoof: Any self-respecting spoof (it may not respect other books, but it sure does respect itself) must be full of clichés so that readers know it is a spoof from the word go. So you’re forgiven for using them, or rather, if you don’t use them, you’re not likely to be forgiven.
So if you feel the clichés flowing from your fingers onto your screen, don’t worry too much. Just eliminate the ones that seem too obvious when you’re doing your edit and keep the rest as part of your artistic license.

This guest post is contributed by Brooklyn White, who writes on the topic of Forensic Science Technician Schools . She can be reached at

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Why I Write Mysteries - Phyllis Smallman

Editor's Note: Welcome to Phyllis Smallman for today's 'Why I Write Mysteries' Column. Harriet Klausner, one of's premier reviewers, says about Sherri Travis, Smallman's sleuth, in Margarita Nights: "She makes the tale fun with her sass, spunk and spitfire sleuthing. " Enjoy!

Why I Write Mysteries.

Phyllis Smallman

When I was asked why I write mysteries it didn’t take me long to come up with a dozen solid reasons. To start with, writing is the most fun you can have with your clothes on and mysteries are the most popular form of fiction in the world. But more than that, I love mysteries, love to read them and love to write them.

The often reluctant and unprepared hero or heroine goes on a quest - often a life and death struggle, taking us with them on an epic adventure to right wrongs, to see justice done or to discover truth.

These stories of crime explore the dark side of human nature; greed, anger, jealousy and even love when it’s beyond control. All of these emotions are at the heart of a good mystery. Cautionary tales, they tell us what happens when our emotions get out of control.

Mysteries hold up a mirror to society, showing it without its make-up on, revealing all its warts. Mental illness, drugs, and the social problems we all have to deal with in our neighborhoods, workplaces and yes, even our families, are examined. We see how ordinary people deal with extraordinary circumstances, how they cope with what life sends them. And all this wrapped up in a puzzle.

Stories about crimes spot-light our fears. Each of us feels as vulnerable to crime as we do to disease. All those little security signs in flower beds are the new crosses over doors to tell misfortune to move on.

And how many of us think human beings are becoming less moral and more violent? Remember the first crime stories appear in the bible. Cain murdering Able, Joseph being sold into slavery, the bible is full of tales of theft and murder and even tales of the slaughter of babies. And you think identity theft is new? Think of Jacob stealing Esau’s birthright.

Human nature flows through crime books, entertaining us, frightening us and even educating us. That’s why I love a mystery! I have a new one out in March, A BREWSKI FOR THE OLD MAN. Holding your brand new book in your hands, well, it doesn’t get any better than that.

Phyllis Smallman