January 8 2018

Welcome an Edgar and ITW Thriller Award Nominated Author Laura Benedict!

I can’t believe its been over ten years since I first met Laura Benedict in the hotel lobby at the 2007 Thrillerfest Conference. I was in line to register and Laura was standing in front of me. Now, I might be an introvert, but no one has ever called me shy. We had a nice little chat and next thing I know, we’re having dinner in the hotel restaurant. Since that night, Laura and have been good friends. She’s been a great support to me through my entire publishing career.

Besides adoring Laura as a person, I absolutely LOVE her writing. She has a style that is unique and a voice that is so powerful that I can never put her books down. When people ask me what writer do I aspire to be like, I always have to say Laura, so when Laura asked me if I might be interested in submitting an idea for the Trouble Series, I jumped at it!

Please welcome Laura Benedict to the house!

Tell me about your latest book.

SMALL TOWN TROUBLE is my first cozy mystery novel. Up to now, I’ve only written mystery and surreal short stories and suspense novels with a supernatural twist. It was so much fun to explore the lighter side of mystery.

Trouble, the black cat detective, barely has his paws in the bluegrass before the saucy stepmother of his friend Erin Walsh is kidnapped. But before he can help Erin solve that mystery, one of Erin’s closest friends is also murdered. Noah Daly, the handsome son of the man ultimately responsible for Erin’s mother’s death, wants to help Erin find some answers—and get to know her better. But is Noah involved in the latest tragedies surrounding Erin? Only Trouble can sort it all out, and help Erin discover the truth.

SMALL TOWN TROUBLE is book 5 in the Familiar Legacy Series. Each book in the series is written by a different author.

What is your writing routine like?

I’ve always dreamed about being one of those writers who gets up at the crack of dawn and writes a chapter before breakfast. **cue raucous laughter of my entire family** After nearly three decades of writing, it hasn’t happened, so I should probably give up on it, don’t you think?

After a slow morning of hot tea, reading the news, and breakfast after a workout, I’m ready to sit down around 11:00. I work until 1:00 or so, break for lunch, and work until it’s time to fix dinner. Around deadline times, I also work after dinner, sometimes until way too late at night. Just last week, my husband got up at 6:30 to find the dishwasher still running because I had started it at 3:00 a.m.!

Where is your favorite place to write?

 My very favorite place to write is at a quiet beachside café when it’s about 75 degrees, the sun is shining, and there’s unlimited espresso, shortbread cookies, and cheese. But since I live in Southern Illinois, nowhere near a beach, I usually settle for my extremely comfortable home office, which is filled with family pictures, artwork, and books.

Which of the characters from SMALL TOWN TROUBLE would you like to drink a bottle of wine with?

Definitely Shelby Rae, Erin’s stepmother. She’s a little bitchy and narcissistic, and narcissists love to tell stories about themselves. You never know what’s true and what’s not, and they’re never, ever dull.

Who is the last writer you met and went all fangirl over, and when?

Last September at Bouchercon in Toronto, mystery writer Louise Penny was the Guest of Honor. She was mobbed most of the time, but I was with a writer she knew well, and we all stopped in a hallway in the hotel’s convention center. I made an absolute ass of myself and asked for a photo with her. She was super gracious and kind. I’m still over the moon about it and don’t even care that I was probably gabbling like an idiot. I adore her work.

Milk or Dark Chocolate?

Definitely dark, but milk will do in a pinch.

What would you call your autobiography?

She Wasn’t Good, But She Had Good Intentions.

What’s Your Next Book?

Oh, I’m glad you asked! Next February I have a straight suspense novel coming out with Mulholland Books called THE STRANGER INSIDE. It’s about a woman who comes home from a trip to find the locks on her house changed and a strange man living inside.

Oh, that sounds so creepy and delightful at that same time! Thanks for coming Laura!

You can check out all the books in the Trouble Series on Amazon.

To learn more about Carolyn Haines, the creator, please visit her website.

Check out the Familiar Legacy Blog and all the authors!

Laura Benedict is the Edgar- and ITW Thriller Award- nominated author of seven novels of suspense, including the forthcoming The Stranger Inside (February 2019). On the lighter side of mystery, Laura wrote Small Town Trouble, a cozy crime novel, for the Familiar Legacy series. Her Bliss House gothic trilogy includes: The Abandoned HeartCharlotte’s Story (Booklist starred review)and Bliss House. Her short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, and in numerous anthologies like Thrillers: 100 Must-ReadsThe Lineup: 20 Provocative Women Writers, and St. Louis Noir. A native of Cincinnati, she lives in Southern Illinois with her family.


January 3 2018

How We Write: Writing Fast

I have an insane publishing schedule for 2018. If I were to sit down and think of the books I have coming out (some already written) and how many I have to write, I’d pull all my hair out and anyone who knows me, knows I’m obsessed with my hair.

When people look at what I published last year and what is scheduled for this year, they all ask: How do you write so fast?

The next question is: And produce quality work?

First, I need to qualify the majority of the books coming out in 2018 are Novellas ranging from 25k words to 40k words compared to my 60-80k work novels. Also, when writing novellas, I’m focusing only on one plot line, no subplots, and essentially the only characters I’m developing are the hero and heroine.

I think the biggest reason I can write so fast is that I plot out a series of novellas. For example, the Witches and Werewolves series inside the Sassy Ever After Kindle World created by Milly Taiden, will have four books. The covers have already been created, which means I have titles: Lady Sass, All That Sass, Neon Sass, and Painting Sass. I have a theme in this series, besides witches and their werewolves and that is its all set in the entertainment business. Lady Sass is about a model and a photographer. All That Sass is about an actress and a producer. Neon Sass is about a singer and a guitarist. And finally, Painting Sass is about a painter and a princess.

While I’m writing one book, I’m keeping a notebook full of ideas about the other books as they come to me. Also, I often write the series at once, even if a book isn’t due till the end of the year because its all fresh in my mind.

But I think the reason I can write so fast is that it’s my job, my hobby, and its also how I deal with stress sometimes. I spend the majority of my day writing, talking, or thinking about my characters. If I’m watching TV or a Movie, I’m analyzing story. If I’m out grocery shopping, I’m thinking (which often means shopping takes forever!). Of course, I’m also an empty nester, so that helps.

But mostly, have my critique partner, Casey Hagen who I’d be lost without her. She gives me a kick in the ass when I need it. She listens to me babble about nothing for 2 hours until the light bulb goes off and we’ve just plotted two of my boos! Casey and I brutally honest with each other, so our critiques are not for the weak at heart. We say exactly what we think. But we also encourage each other and help each other through crazy ass deadlines.

I’m really excited about another Kindle Series also created by Milly Taiden: Paranormal Dating Agency and my series in the world is: Twilight Crossing. The first book comes out February 9, 2018.

A burnt-out warewolf cop…
An innocent human teacher…
Two weeks of passion…

Chaz Ferguson has sat on the Twilight Crossing Council for the last ten years, policing the paranormal world, making sure that injustices to humans as well as paranormal creatures are punished to the fullest extent of the law. There is nothing he loves more than his job. So, when he’s forced to take a vacation, he has no idea what to do with his time. Hi mother along with his boss, set him up with an appointment with Gerri Wilder at the Paranormal Dating Agency, telling him it will change his life.

Chaz doesn’t necessarily want to change his life.

But he is tired of the rat race and wouldn’t mind a warm female body, even if for only short period of time.

Daphne Jade hasn’t had good luck with men her entire life. She has a tendency to attract the whackos of this world. When she takes a date arranged by Gerri Wilder, she has no idea she’d be dating someone from out of this world. The paranormal realm was something she’d been sheltered from. She’d never met a werewolf, much less one being her soul-mate.