Friday, May 06, 2016

Female Mystery Writers Create Box Set

Guest Blog by Judy Alter

Sleuthing Women: 10 First-in-Series Mysteries, the box set, is the creation of Lois Winston, USA Today bestselling author, creator of the Anastasia Pollock Crafting Mysteries and an award-winning author of mystery, romance, romantic suspense, humorous women's fiction, children's chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and as Emma Carlyle. Lois is no stranger to anthology projects—she edited Love, Bake, Write, featuring Brenda Novak and over a hundred other authors, and was a contributor to the anthology Happy Homicides and the box sets Romance Super Bundle I, Romance Bundle II: Second Chances, and Romance Bundle III: Always & Forever.

Sleuthing Women is her most ambitious anthology to date—it brings together the first book of series by nine authors. Lois decided that if she could sell a collection of first books cheaply enough to entice readers, she could get readers hooked on the series and persuaded to read more in each series. Her only stipulation to authors was that a series had to have at least three titles.

My contribution is Skeleton in a Dead Space, the first of six Kelly O’Connell Mysteries. I was inspired, if that’s the word, by a dead space in my own kitchen—a narrow spice cabinet between a deep pantry and a deep oven and storage above and below. I now am pretty sure there’s an old brick chimney behind my dead space—it may be holding the roof up for all I know.

With that idea rattling round in my brain, I noticed a house being remodeled in the nearby Fairmount National Historic District. Suddenly I thought, “There’s a skeleton in a dead space in that house,” and I had my idea for a novel—my first published mystery. The Fairmount Neighborhood in Fort Worth, Texas, is very real, as are several places mentioned—The Old Neighborhood Grill, Nonna Tata, Lili’s Bistro, and others. That’s been fun for local readers, but the actions of this novel never happened, to the best of my knowledge, and the characters are also fictional. This is a work of the imagination, as are all the other books in Sleuthing Women. Hope you enjoy!

Sleuthing Women: 10 First-in-Series Mysteries is a collection of full-length mysteries featuring murder and assorted mayhem by ten critically acclaimed, award-winning, and bestselling authors. Each novel in the set is the first book in an established multi-book series—a total of over 3,000 pages of reading pleasure for lovers of amateur sleuth, caper, and cozy mysteries, with a combined total of over 1700 reviews on Amazon, averaging 4 stars. Titles include:

 Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, an Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery by Lois Winston—Working mom Anastasia is clueless about her husband’s gambling addiction until he permanently cashes in his chips and her comfortable middle-class life craps out. He leaves her with staggering debt, his communist mother, and a loan shark demanding $50,000. Then she’s accused of murder… 

Murder Among Neighbors, a Kate Austen Suburban Mystery by Jonnie Jacobs — When Kate Austen’s socialite neighbor, Pepper Livingston, is murdered, Kate becomes involved in a sea of steamy secrets that bring her face to face with shocking truths—and handsome detective Michael Stone.

Skeleton in a Dead Space, a Kelly O’Connell Mystery by Judy Alter—Real estate isn’t a dangerous profession until Kelly O’Connell stumbles over a skeleton and runs into serial killers and cold-blooded murderers in a home being renovated in Fort Worth. Kelly barges through life trying to keep from angering her policeman boyfriend Mike and protect her two young daughters.

In for a Penny, a Cleopatra Jones Mystery by Maggie Toussaint—Accountant Cleo faces an unwanted hazard when her golf ball lands on a dead banker. The cops think her BFF shot him, so Cleo sets out to prove them wrong. She ventures into the dating world, wrangles her teens, adopts the victim’s dog, and tries to rein in her mom…until the killer puts a target on Cleo’s back.

The Hydrogen Murder, a Periodic Table Mystery by Camille Minichino—A retired physicist returns to her hometown of Revere, Massachusetts and moves into an apartment above her friends' funeral home. When she signs on to help the Police Department with a science-related homicide, she doesn't realize she may have hundreds of cases ahead of her. Retirement Can Be Murder,

A Baby Boomer Mystery by Susan Santangelo—Carol Andrews dreads her husband Jim’s upcoming retirement more than a root canal without Novocain. She can’t imagine anything worse than having an at-home husband with time on his hands and nothing to fill it—until Jim is suspected of murdering his retirement coach.

 Dead Air, A Talk Radio Mystery by Mary Kennedy—Psychologist Maggie Walsh moves from NY to Florida to become the host of WYME's On the Couch with Maggie Walsh. When her guest, New Age prophet Guru Sanjay Gingii, turns up dead, her new roommate Lark becomes the prime suspect. Maggie must prove Lark innocent while dealing with a killer who needs more than just therapy.

 A Dead Red Cadillac, A Dead Red Mystery by RP Dahlke—When her vintage Cadillac is found tail-fins up in a nearby lake, the police ask aero-ag pilot Lalla Bains why an elderly widowed piano teacher is found strapped in the driver’s seat. Lalla confronts suspects, informants, cross-dressers, drug-running crop dusters, and a crazy Chihuahua on her quest to find the killer.

 Murder is a Family Business, an Alvarez Family Murder Mystery by Heather Haven—Just because a man cheats on his wife and makes Danny DeVito look tall, dark and handsome, is that any reason to kill him? The reluctant and quirky PI, Lee Alvarez, has her work cut out for her when the man is murdered on her watch. Of all the nerve. 

Murder, Honey, a Carol Sabala Mystery by Vinnie Hansen—When the head chef collapses into baker Carol Sabala’s cookie dough, she is thrust into her first murder investigation. Suspects abound at Archibald’s, the swanky Santa Cruz restaurant where Carol works. The head chef cut a swath of people who wanted him dead from ex-lovers to bitter rivals to greedy relatives.

Interested? Here are the Buy Links:

Judy Alter is an award-winning novelist and the author of six books in the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries series: Skeleton in a Dead Space, No Neighborhood for Old Women, Trouble in a Big Box, Danger Comes Home, Deception in Strange Places, and Desperate for Death. She also writes the Blue Plate Café Mysteries—Murder at the Blue Plate Café, Murder at the Tremont House and the current Murder at Peacock Mansion.

Finally, with the 2014 The Perfect Coed, she introduced the Oak Grove Mysteries. She is also the author of several fictional biographies of women of the American West, including Libby Custer, Jessie Frémont, Wild West Show roper Lucille Mulhall, pioneer physician Georgia Arbuckle Fix (in Mattie), and Etta Place of the Hole in the Wall Gang. Her latest book, just released, is The Gilded Cage, set in late nineteenth-century Chicago.

 Her work has been recognized with awards from the Western Writers of America, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the National Cowboy Museum and Hall of Fame. She has been honored with the Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement by WWA and inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame and the WWA Hall of Fame. Judy is retired as director of TCU Press, the mother of four grown children and the grandmother of seven. She and her dog, Sophie, live in Fort Worth, Texas.


Lois Winston said...

Thanks for featuring Sleuthing Women today, Julia! Working with the other authors on this project was an amazing experience.

Camille Minichino said...

It has been a great treat to discover new-to-me blogs thanks to Lois and the wonderful authors in this set. Thanks, Julia!

Camille Minichino said...

It has been a great treat to discover new-to-me blogs thanks to Lois and the wonderful authors in this set. Thanks, Julia!

Vinnie/ said...

Judy, I enjoyed hearing about the inspiration for your first book. Maybe we should do a post where we all share our starting nuggets.

Julia Buckley said...

Thanks--nice to see that we all share a love for this genre!

Jonnie jacobs said...

I really enjoy hearing about what inspired other authors to write a particular story. Thanks for an engaging tale.

Judy Alter said...

Thanks all. It's really fun to share the story of the origin of Skeleton in a Dead Space, because I can still feel that "Aha!" moment when I looked at that house and realized there was a skeleton in there.

Maggie Toussaint said...



I love that moment when a story idea crystallizes in your head. I had that same thought of story creation while I was stomping around in the woods looking for my stupid golf ball and I thought to myself, "this would be a great place to put a body". (On paper, of course!) Eventually I gave up golf altogether but I still look at places and consider what they'd be good for...

So nice to be included in this wonderful collection. And Lois, you were so kind to wrangle us into order. I wondered if when you got all done, you sat back like the head guy on the A-team and said, "I love it when a plan comes together."

Thanks for featuring Sleuthing Women Mysteries! Maggie