Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Autumn’s Sweet Whisper

This week finally feels like Autumn here in Texas, despite an awful tornado touching down in North Texas where my grandsons live. Still, today the air is cool and crisp as Autumn should be.
   With the change in seasons the appeal for a nice cup of something warm and soothing seems a necessary part of the afternoon, along with a good book to read. I love books! Even if I never purchased another one I have enough to last a lifetime. 
  Currently my husband, daughter, and I, are reading through the Redwall Abbey series-22 books in all. They're full of adventure, good versus evil, and lovely descriptions of food enjoyed by the goodbeasts in the stories. I even have the Redwall Cookbook for added inspiration. The books are appropriate for any age.
   If you're looking for books that are more mystery than adventure and are cozy and clean please checkout our Cozy Books page and give them a try. If you enjoy them, good reviews are always appreciated.
My new teapot and cup and saucer this year serving Grandma's Pumpkin Spice tea from East Anora, NY.

Happy Autumn!

Nancy Jill Thames

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Rest Your Body While Improving Your Mind

Just as a vacation is supposed to reinvigorate, reading will improve your mind while you relax, unless, of course, you are reading something bloodthirsty or vile, which I'm sure none of you lovely readers do. And even at that, the news reports say nightmares are good exercises to help get us out of difficult situations. Great! 
   Every afternoon after completing my chores, I look forward to laying on the sofa, cuddled in a micro fleece throw, with phone, newspaper, and current book in hand. When I'm finished (after about three hours) I rise, make a cup of tea, and eat a small supper. I'm rested just enough to make it though the movie du jour with my husband. 
   I believe this routine contributes to good health and a happy disposition. Some exercise their bodies. I like to exercise my mind.
   For some good cozy mysteries that probably won't give you nightmares, check out our Cozy Book Page.
See you in my books!
~Nancy Jill Thames

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Choose Books Wisely-Good or Great?

For some GREAT books check our 
           Cozy Books page.
           Have a great day, dear readers!

~Nancy Jill Thames 

Sunday, June 30, 2019

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Fingerprints, Bonanza, and the Chinese

One night, hubby and I were watching Bonanza—an episode we’d seen several times. (If you’re not familiar with Bonanza, it’s a vintage cowboy-ish television show set in the 1860s. You can read about here.) In this episode, Little Joe Cartwright was arrested for murder, but at the end of the show, he was proven innocent in court.

So, what does this have to do with cozy mysteries? Well, it wasn’t law enforcement that helped prove Little Joe innocent, it was Hop Sing, the Cartwright trusty cook. Like a good sleuth, he used his own wits to prove that Little Joe didn’t handle the murder weapon by demonstrating how fingerprints work. And what was fascinating to me about this was that Hop Sing claimed that people in his country had been using this technique for years. 

The first time I saw this particular Bonanza, I asked, “Really? Are they for real?” Everyone knows fingerprints weren’t used until Sherlock Holmes. (Just kidding.) But seriously, I did wonder if the writers of the show made this up, or if they had facts to back up their story. 

Out came my trusty laptop. I looked it up, and the writers of Bonanza didn’t disappoint me. China, in fact, had a lengthy history of using fingerprints (and hand prints).

The earliest example comes from a Chinese document entitled “The Volume of Crime Scene Investigation—Burglary”, from the Qin Dynasty (221 to 206 B.C.). The document contains a description of how hand prints were used as a type of evidence. Chinese officials pressed their fingerprints into clay seals to seal documents. And when the Chinese began to use silk and paper for documents, they used hand prints as a means to make contracts legal. In 851 BC, Abu Zayd Hasan, an Arab merchant in China, witnessed Chinese merchants using fingerprints to authenticate loans.

That means that though the story of Hop Sing, Little Joe, and the fingerprints was fiction, it could have happened. I just love cool historical facts, especially when they involve crime solving.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Hetty Wainthropp Investigates

I’ve discovered a new-to-me British cozy mystery series from the BBC called Hetty Wainthropp Investigates. The show aired on the BBC from 1996 through 1998. I watch it for free on Acorn TV, which I access through Amazon Prime for a small additional monthly fee. (My husband would argue that if I’m paying a monthly fee, the shows aren’t really free. Sigh. Must my bubble really be burst?)

Anyway, Hetty, played by British actress Patricia Routledge, is a retired pensioner who decides to become a detective after solving her first mystery, which (of course) she just stumbled into. To the chagrin of her husband Robert, after her first successful case, she gets business cards printed and takes out an ad in the paper to advertise her new detective business. Robert is irritated by her chosen new profession, especially when it bites into the family budget, but he often helps her investigate. Along the way, she gains a slightly delinquent teenaged sidekick name Geoffrey who becomes like a family member. Their relationships are entertaining and grow in warmth as the series continues.

Hetty is no-nonsense, bold, and forthright, but she’s also kind. She’s known to give hugs and make sure people have food to eat. I enjoy the interactions between her and other characters. She often refers to her “little grey cells,” which is a phrase Hercule Poirot used. Here’s a typical Hetty-like quote: “This is a real puzzle. Something's gone arsy-darsy somewhere.”

I'm enjoying it more with each program. The first few episodes were a little odd. The conclusions weren't as satisfying as they might have been. No one was arrested and carted away in handcuffs, which my cozy author self would prefer. But episodes are getting better. And the best thing for me is the shows are gentle, with no blood and gore. No creepy factor. Sometimes there’s not even a body. No terrible language. No awkward sexual stuff. And no bad language. I did have to turn on the subtitles because some of the British accents make the dialogue hard for me to understand.

All in all, I really like the series. We're going to watch all of them.  

I’d love to hear comments from our readers who have watched this series. Comment on our Facebook page: Cozy Mystery Magazine

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Interview with Author Roseanna White

Roseanna is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author, with numerous books to her name. I had the pleasure of meeting her recently when she taught a session at a writers’ conference I attended. The timing couldn’t have been better—she was my next planned author interview in Cozy Mystery Magazine’s series about Guideposts continuity mysteries. Without further ado, here’s Roseanna!
Congratulations for the publication of “Greater Than Gold,” the fourth book in Guideposts mystery series, Secrets of Wayfarers Inn. I just finished reading this book and really enjoyed it. I liked the way you incorporated a real event (the Marietta Sternwheel Festival) into your story. 

The mystery in this book was based on a lost treasure—jewelry. I know you write a lot of historical fiction, and I’m sure that entails much research. Was the idea of lost jewelry based in any way on a true historical fact that you happened upon, or perhaps a story that you came across in your historical research? I did notice in your note to the reader at the end of the book that you love treasure stories.

I do indeed! But actually, this treasure plot was one the team at Guideposts had already come up with as they conceived the series—but I was super excited when I saw it fell to me to write it! I do love treasure stories and have written several books that incorporate that theme. So when it came time to figure out the missing treasure for Greater Than Gold, I dug a bit into Southern history but mostly used my imagination to try to figure out what treasure might have been found by an antique elevator…and what effect it could have on the people who found it years later.

This mystery series is a collaborative process from beginning to end, which isn’t the traditional model for writing a book. What was your favorite part or parts about the collaboration?

It’s been so much fun to get to know the other authors and brainstorm together! We created a blueprint of the inn based on the descriptions in book 1 and what we all needed for our stories, which was fun. And I’ve just loved the group-effort of everything from naming characters to ironing out plot points so that they remain consistent with everyone else’s stories. It’s a challenge, but one that has proven fun.

How does writing in a collaborative fashion like this impact your own writing, if at all?

It hasn’t really had a great impact on how I write my solo novels…though balancing these books with my other releases requires a lot of dedication and prioritizing, and I’ve been so blessed to have a family who supports me in this busy season!

What is your favorite thing about writing for this series?

That would have to be the friendships forged behind the scenes with the other authors. The stories themselves are fun too, of course, but I’ve really appreciated getting to know this amazing team.

What is your favorite thing about the location? Have you visited Marietta, Ohio? Studied more about it?

I have been to Marietta, though it was many years ago. I actually applied to Marietta College back in the day! It’s only about 2 hours from where I live, so I have a basic familiarity already with things like climate and landscape. Google Maps has been a huge help refreshing my memory and filling in the blanks though. (How did people write books before the internet??)

You are a very busy person. In addition to writing numerous books, you design book covers, homeschool your children, and help your husband with his publishing company, WhiteFire Publishing. Can you tell us a little bit more about your other pursuits?

Yes, I believe in keeping busy. 😉 Between my writing, editing, designing, and homeschooling, I really don’t have a ton of what you would call free time, LOL. But I do enjoy knitting, reading (of course!), and baking when time permits. This year those extras have been rather lacking as I spend so much time writing, but I enjoy them when I can!

Please tell us about your other recent book releases, where our readers can contact you and find you online.

My current historical series, Shadows Over England, was just completed September 4 with the release of An Hour Unspent (following book 1, A Name Unknown and book 2, A Song Unheard). The series follows a family of thieves from London into the opening months of World War I, as they accept jobs from a mysterious man to aid England in the war. It’s been an incredibly fun series to write, as I learned how arts played a role in the war and explore themes like heritage, prejudice, and identity and combine them with things like books, music, and clockmaking.

I also just released an audiobook of A Heart’s Revolution—originally published as Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland in 2011. I re-released the paperback with the new cover and title in March and was excited to bring it to listeners as well.