Tag Archives: mystery

Lynn Cahoon-author The Tourist Trap Mysteries.

Whimsical Wednesdays

a blog delving into the mystery of our guest author

Today I’m interviewing multi-talented author, Lynn Cahoon. Lynn is a member of my amazing goal setting group and is one of the few people left from our original group who still posts her goals.  And I think that may be one reason why she’s so successful! Lynn writes romance featuring everything from bull riders to the fae, and while she’s a fabulous romance author, she’s here today talking about her third book in the Tourist Trap cozy mystery series which comes out on Monday, November 10th! I’m a huge fan of cozy mysteries, nothing like a murder to keep me entertained for hours, and I loved Lynn’s first book GUIDEBOOK TO MURDER. Please welcome Lynn Cahoon to Jessica Aspen Writes!

Hi, I’m Lynn Cahoon, author of The Tourist Trap mysteries along with several romances that feature hot cowboys, warlocks, and surfer dudes, not in the same book. Yet. My third release in the mystery series hits e-readers on November 10th and is called If the Shoe Kills.

    • The tourist town of South Cove, California, is a lovely place to spend the holidays. But this year, shop owner Jill Gardner discovers there’s no place like home for homicide. . .


As owner of Coffee, Books, and More, Jill Gardner looks forward to the hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers. But when the mayor ropes her into being liaison for a new work program, ’tis the season to be wary. Local businesses are afraid the interns will be delinquents, punks, or worse. For Jill, nothing’s worse than Ted Hendricks–the jerk who runs the program. After a few run-ins, Jill’s ready to kill the guy. That, however, turns out to be unnecessary when she finds Ted in his car–dead as a doornail. Officer Greg assumes it’s a suicide. Jill thinks it’s murder. And if the holidays weren’t stressful enough, a spoiled blonde wants to sue the city for breaking her heel. Jill has to act fast to solve this mess–before the other shoe drops. . .

  • Hi Lynn, what are your hobbies or other interests that get you away from the stress of writing?
    • My husband and I have made 2014 the year of fun. We bought ATV’s for trail riding for our anniversary. And now, we just purchased a lot and trailer (which from now on is officially called The Cabin) in a recreational subdivision in Central Missouri. I love finding flowers and animals while I ride.
    • I used to play darts 2-3 times a week and I’m pretty good, for a girl.
  • What made you decide to write and furthermore what pushed you to be a published author?
    • I knew I had stories to tell, but thought I’d do it someday. When the kid was grown, when I retired, when I wasn’t busy with life. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I realized someday may never come. So I started writing and selling essays and short stories. Then I tried my hand at novel writing. One victory spurred another and on June 4th, 2012 – my first full length book was published.
  • Give two random thoughts, quotes, or surprising tidbits about yourself, something that might surprise your readers
    • Positive thinking creates a doorway through which opportunity loves to walk.
    • Never give up, never surrender.
  • I love that quote, it’s one of my favorites too! Do you have a writing mentor? Do you mentor anyone?
    • I have a writing mentor which now has turned into more of a friendship/accountability partner. Laura Bradford, the author –not the agent, writes cozy mysteries and romance. Her first bit of advice she ever gave me? Finish a book. Any book. At that time I had 4-5 chapters on 4-5 projects.  Now we set and report weekly goals, successes and opportunities.  I’m blessed to have her in my life for the friendship as well as the career guidance.
  • Have you faced big challenges in your writing?
    • I feel like I’m challenged every time I start a book or hit the saggy middle in the WIP. I learned a big lesson with my last book that I just turned in on September 30th. If I write daily or consistently, I do better with the story and the edits. I’m not a binge writer. I need to set down every day and just start writing, even if I’m convinced I don’t know where the story is going. Writing will lead me down the right path, and if it’s a dead end? That’s for editing time.
  • Describe your working environment. You can include things about your day/schedule.
    • I have a day job, so I have to be protective of my off work hours. I ‘read’ by listening to audio books during my commute. I work each morning for at least a ½ hour, then again at night when I get home (after I work out.) My goal is 10,000 words a week – which if I get 2K a day, I don’t have to work weekends. But I typically do.  Except for Sunday. Sunday is up to me if I write or not, even if I haven’t met my weekly goal. I call it No-Guilt Sunday.
  • Pantser/Plotter/or both? Tell us how you work.
    • I think you can see from my answers above, I’m a Pantser. But I do outline, in my own way. I have a notebook page with 25 chapters written out on one side. Chap 1, Chap 2…Etc. Then under each chapter heading, I put in what I think is going to happen. Like Dead Body under Chapter 3’s heading. Even if I don’t put that in the specific chapter, I make sure I work in it somewhere. And I keep track of page numbers as I want my chapters to be at least 10 pages. Which is about 2500 words. Crazy, but it works for me. About 1/3 of the way through the book I write up a new cleaner list with only the chapters I need to write. So that page might start on chapter 12 and be two columns instead of three. As I finish a chapter, I cross it off.  Makes me feel like I’m moving forward. Then I do it again, especially if I’m  procrastinating writing.
  • Have you had many rejections? How did you deal with them? How did they push you?
    • I’ve come so close with Harlequin American I could scream. I get great revise and resubmit letters. Of course, I didn’t understand them when I got the letter, but I think I’m honing in on what works for them. My theory is if you get rejected, you find somewhere else to send the story to or you self-publish. I’ve also been writing shorts for Woman’s World. That’s a graduate level course in rejection. I have sold two stories in the last three years, but I get many rejections due to ‘implausible’ plot or actions. With WW shorts, when a rejection comes in the mail, I write and send a new story out. I’m determined to crack the code again.
  • I tried with Women’s World. Congrats on getting in, they’re tough! Do you have a writing schedule? How do you juggle writing, family, work, and life’s surprises?
    • I’d love to give you the secret, but I think it depends. I believe in balance. I only have a bit of time every day that I can write, however, I love the days when I can put down 2K a day for a week or so. It really keeps me in the story. I’ve mentioned before I have a goal accountability partner. I’m also on two different goal groups. I hate it when I have to admit my time has been spent more in front of the television than the computer screen. Right now I’m writing (or editing) first thing in the morning when I’m fresh. I write a blog at lunch at work (IF I take lunch) and then I either write at night to hit my word goal or write another blog. I spend way too much time refreshing Facebook and my email.
  • Are you self-publishing? Why or why not?
    • I am and I will in a bigger way in 2015. I released a winter novella set in The Bull Rider’s world of Shawnee Idaho. I wanted Cash, who gets dumped in book one, to have his own HEA. Shawnee Holiday is available exclusively on Kindle (for now.)
  • What’s unique about this particular book.
    • If The Shoe Kills features a work experience program called Work Today. I attended one of these how to find a job programs when I was fresh out of college. Combine my gratitude for their experience with my own work experience in the social service field, I have a lot of knowledge and respect for the programs. I hope others spread the Christmas spirit this year with those less fortunate.
  • Was there anything that surprised you while writing this book?
    • I’m always surprised with the ending. J I typically know who the culprit is, but the why, that’s what I struggle with because I truly don’t think like a killer. At least on my good days.
  • Loved book number one, so let us know will there be any sequels to this book?
    • Yep, If the Shoe Kills is Book 3. Guidebook to Murder released in April and Mission to Murder in July. Both have hit the USA Today best seller list and Guidebook hit the NYT list at #21. I’ll release three more Tourist Trap Mysteries starting in March 2015.

 If The Shoe Kills

if the shoe kills by author lynn cahoonThe tourist town of South Cove, California, is a lovely place to spend the holidays. But this year, shop owner Jill Gardner discovers there’s no place like home for homicide. . .

As owner of Coffee, Books, and More, Jill Gardner looks forward to the hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers. But when the mayor ropes her into being liaison for a new work program, ’tis the season to be wary. Local businesses are afraid the interns will be delinquents, punks, or worse. For Jill, nothing’s worse than Ted Hendricks–the jerk who runs the program. After a few run-ins, Jill’s ready to kill the guy. That, however, turns out to be unnecessary when she finds Ted in his car–dead as a doornail. Officer Greg assumes it’s a suicide. Jill thinks it’s murder. And if the holidays weren’t stressful enough, a spoiled blonde wants to sue the city for breaking her heel. Jill has to act fast to solve this mess–before the other shoe drops. . .


Cozy Mystery

ISBN-10: 1601833067

ISBN-13: 978-1601833068

214 pages

Amazon –  http://www.amazon.com/Shoe-Kills-Tourist-Trap-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00KM9O6SQ/ref=la_B0082PWOAO_1_3_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1413423386&sr=1-3 

Nook –  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/if-the-shoe-kills-lynn-cahoon/1119633675?ean=9781601832405&itm=1    

November 10, 2014



lynn cahoon authorUSA Today and New York Times, best-selling author, Lynn Cahoon is an Idaho native. If you’d visit the town where she grew up, you’d understand why her mysteries and romance novels focus around the depth and experience of small town life. Currently, she’s living in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander. She lives with her husband and four fur babies.


Author Web or Blog Site: http://www.lynncahoon.wordpress.com

Facebook: – https://www.facebook.com/LynnCahoonAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LynnCahoon

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Lynn-Cahoon/e/B0082PWOAO/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1





Filed under guest post, Whimsical Wednesdays

A Voodoo Dream—Is It a Nightmare?

Welcome to Whimisical Wednesday

a blog for fabulous writers

It’s Whimsical Wednesday, the day I may or may not blog and you never know what to expect. Today, on Jessica Aspen Writes, I’m lucky to showcase romantic suspense author, Alana Lorens. I met, Alana, at Margie Lawson’s Deep Immersion workshop. Up on Margie’s Mountain there is magic and mystery in the air. Why else would so many of the women I met up there have become such terrific authors? Including, Alana. You may remember my showcasing her previous romantic suspense books in the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyer series, Conviction of the Heart, and Second Chances. (Click HERE for the post) And I know you’ll want to check out her other books (written as Lyndi Alexander) as well (see her bio below for more info.) Without further delay…here’s Alana!

A voodoo dream—is it a nightmare?

New Orleans is a fabulous old city of the South, a culturally-rich city that draws from roots in Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. The French Quarter, in particular, is often recognizable by its cast-iron balconies the french quarterand its colorful streets full of delightful little shops where one can find objets d’art and many other interesting things.  new orleans blue doors

But New Orleans has a darker side, also long set in its history. As anyone who’s been following the current season of American Horror Story: Coven knows, voodoo has been practiced in the city and surrounding areas for many years, and the name most associated with voodoo in New Orleans is that of Marie Laveau.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines voodoo as: A religion practiced chiefly in Caribbean countries, especially Haiti, syncretized from Roman Catholic ritual elements and the animism and magic of slaves from West Africa, in which a supreme God rules a large pantheon of local and tutelary deities, deified ancestors, and saints, who communicate with believers in dreams, trances, and ritual possessions. Also called vodoun.

voodoo alter museum  As in most practices, the majority of those who practice this religion use it for purposes of good—to heal the sick, to help the hungry, or those addicted to alcohol or drugs through direction of spiritual energy and protective amulets called gris-gris. But there are those who use its arts for evil, to gain personal power, to mete out revenge, and to harm others. This is the picture many Hollywood films have used to demonstrate voodoo and its practitioners, often with dolls stuck full of pins or blood-soaked curses.

voodoo dreams by alana lorensVOODOO DREAMS is the story of two separate lawyers from Pittsburgh, who innocently jet off to the city of New Orleans at Mardi Gras to escape their worries and troubles, only to find a whole lot more waiting for them there—as well as the possibility of love.

When her big trial goes bad, corporate attorney Brianna Ward can’t wait to get out of Pittsburgh. The Big Easy seems like the perfect place to rest, relax, and forget about the legal business. Too bad an obnoxious—but handsome—lawyer from a rival firm is checking into the same bed and breakfast.

 Attorney Evan Farrell has Mardi Gras vacation plans too. When he encounters fiery and attractive Brianna, however, he puts the Bourbon Street party on hold. He’d much rather devote himself to her—especially when a mysterious riddle appears in her bag, seeming to threaten danger.

Strangely compelled to follow the riddle’s clues, Brianna is pulled deeper into the twisted schemes of a voodoo priest bent on revenge. To escape his poisonous web, she must work with Evan to solve the curse. But is the growing love they feel for each other real? Or just a voodoo dream?


The voodoo priest Copper placed the boat in the fire, and it vanished in a burst of white flame.

“Damballah has received your petitions!” he proclaimed. “We shall now glorify him!”

He bent before the altar and reached into a screened box. A flourish of drums preceded a moment of reverent silence as Copper drew out a huge gold-flecked python. He held the undulating snake up in the firelight. The monster had to be at least ten feet long.

A dancer moved forward to take it from the priest. It curled around her as Copper oiled his hands from a jar on the altar, then massaged the snake.

“Great God Damballah, we hail your presence among us,” he intoned. “Those who have gathered pray your blessings upon us and the granting of our deepest desires.”

The dancers slowly weaved forward in a line, backs undulating in rhythm, giving the appearance of a snake themselves. In sharp contrast, Brianna now stood still, eyes closed.

Evan wanted to call out to her, but found his voice missing. Again.

What was it with these ooga-booga guys anyway? The next one that shut him up would have his attitude seriously adjusted.

Copper moved toward Brianna, a silver dagger in his hand. Where had that come from?

The dancer with the snake followed close behind him.

Evan tried to jump up but found himself stuck to the bench.

Copper took Brianna’s hand, turning it palm up. A slice of the dagger slit her finger. She didn’t even react.

Red blood collected on her finger, and Copper held it over the snake’s head until it dripped onto its nose. The snake’s tongue flicked out, tasting the blood. Copper pulled gently on Brianna’s arm until it was extended. The snake inched up Brianna’s stiff arm, poking its ugly face around the back of her neck, slithering down her other arm until it graced her like an evening stole. She shifted to bear its weight, standing with her arms out as if crucified.

His own skin crawled, as the snake moved around Brianna’s bewitched body. She’d shared with him how much she’d hated all the snake depictions at the museum. How could she calmly let this happen?
VOODOO DREAMS is FREE!!! December 17-21 at Amazon.com 

Bio:  Alana Lorens dreamed for many years of being a spaceship captain, but settled instead for inspired excursions into fictional places with fascinating companions from her imagination that she likes to share with others. She has been a published writer for over thirty years, including seven years as a reporter and editor at a newspaper in Homestead, Florida, with a list of eclectic publications from horror to tech reporting to television reviews. She writes urban fantasy and science fiction under the name of Lyndi Alexander. The Elf Queen, her first novel, was released by Dragonfly Publishing in July 2010; the series continued with The Elf Child, The Elf Mage and The Elf Guardian. She’s now working on the space opera Horizon Crossover series, and a YA trilogy, The Color of Fear—the first book, WINDMILLS, was published by Zumaya Publications this summer.  Writing as Alana Lorens, she produces romance and romantic suspense, including the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyer series, standalone novels of romantic suspense,  CONVICTION OF THE HEART, SECOND CHANCES, and the latest, VOODOO DREAMS, released by The Wild Rose Press in October 2013.

She is a single mother of seven, with two special needs children at home with her in Pennsylvania, and she volunteers at her local shelter for domestic violence victims, believing in every person’s right to be safe.

For more information, see Alana’s website and check out her Facebook page to become a friend!  Happy holidays to you and enjoy!

all photos in this post (with the exception of the cover for Voodoo Dreams) are credited to Alana Lorens


Filed under guest post, Magic, romance, romantic suspense, Suspense, Whimsical Wednesdays

Bunnicula VS Scooby Doo- How Scared Did You Like To Get As A Kid?

Thursdays Bite

a crazy who-dun-it blog

I’m excited to say I almost have a cover for my fae fantasy romance, The Dark Huntsman. It’s close, really close. And as soon as I have it I’m going to have to decide if I should share it right away or do something spectacular and have a cover reveal blog hop. What do you think? Let it burn a hole through my fingers and post it as soon as I have it in my hands? Or dole it out in a month and plaster the web with it’s amazing gorgeousness?

When I was a kid Scooby-Doo was the rage. I couldn’t wait to watch on Saturdays. In fact, it was one of the few Saturday Morning Cartoons I did watch as super heros and comedies did not rock my world. But mystery, ah yes, that was something that I could get my teeth into. And there was always the chance that it might not be Mr. Chan under the sheet, or Mrs. Brown behind the plot. There might be a real ghost or monster or demon.

But there never was. Sigh.

Actually, that was a good thing. I liked to flirt with being scared, but Scooby-Doo was about my pace. Not for me the RL Stine Goosebumps books that creeped out generations of kids. Or later on , Chris Pike’s creepy novels. No, I was more a Scooby and Shaggy kind of gal. Books like Bunnicula were my speed. I did ramp it up in middle school and got creeped out by VC Andrews, but I never made it to Stephen King. Just the thought of reading the Shining gave me the willies.

Even now I love a little chill and mystery in my books, but I’m still avoiding King. Honestly, he has the best ad campaign ever. I am so scared by his books that I can’t even crack the spine.

Movies now, there I take a little bit more risk. Not for me the hide-behind-the-door and jump-out-at-you creepies. No, I like suspense movies. Big surprise there. Some of my favorites include Ghost Story, What Lies Beneath, and The Others.

That subtle creeping up of the story, the feeling that something evil lurks behind the door, but isn’t really there…all that is what I like now about being scared. How about you? Are you a Scream fan? Do you like slasher movies? Or are you like me and like the movies where the suspense is just as scary as the spooks?

Want first hand news about releases and sales on my upcoming books? Sign up for my special announcement email blast HERE.


Filed under About the Author, Thursdays Bite