Christal Ann Rice Cooper on April 13, 2019

Christal Ann Rice Cooper on April 13, 2019
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Thursday, January 17, 2019

#11 INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION- Nancy Cohen's "TRIMMED TO DEATH"




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****Nancy J. Cohen’s Trimmed To Death is the eleventh in a never-ending series called INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION where the Chris Rice Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one specific excerpt from a fiction genre and how that fiction writer wrote that specific excerpt.  All INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION links are at the end of this piece. 

Below Title Photo- Nancy Cohen with her coffee mug in her writing studio.  January 15, 2019.  Copyright permission granted by Nancy Cohen for this CRC Blog Post Only

Name of fiction work? And were there other names you
considered that you would like to share with us?   TRIMMED TO DEATH

Fiction genre?  Ex science fiction, short story, fantasy novella, romance, drama, crime, plays, flash fiction, historical, comedy, movie script, screenplay, etc.  And how many pages long?   Cozy Mystery.   288 pages

Has this been published? And it is totally fine if the answer is no.   If yes, what publisher and what publication date?
Yes; Trimmed to Death is book 15 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries.   Published by Orange Grove Press on Sept. 25, 2018

Where did you do most of your writing for this fiction work?  And please describe in detail.  And can you please include a photo?   I have a dedicated home office. I am surrounded by books and memorabilia and writing-related gifts I’ve received or bought for myself to commemorate my published works.  At my corner desk, I have a Dell computer. On my left are sets of drawers and my LaserJet printer. To my right are how-to writing books in the crime fiction field, copies of all my books in various print formats, a world clock, and a pencil holder from Area 51. Flashlights, emergency radios, and portable lanterns stand at the ready in case we have a power blackout during hurricane season.  I use a separate mahogany desk for correspondence, such as paying bills and sending greeting cards. On the wall are a bulletin board and various framed awards I’ve won.











What were your writing habits while writing this work- did you drink something as you wrote, listen to music, write in pen and paper, directly on laptop; specific time of day?   I wake up very early and go to work while sipping a cup of coffee. My program of choice is Word on a desktop computer.  
No music; I need silence to think. When I’m in a writing phase, I set myself a goal of five pages a day or twenty-five pages a week. Revisions might be one chapter per day or ten pages per day, depending on the extent needed.

What is the summary of your fiction work, TRIMMED TO DEATH?   Savvy hairstylist and amateur sleuth Marla Vail enters a charity bake-off contest at a fall festival sponsored by a local farm. While she waits to see if her coconut fudge pie is a winner, Marla joins a scavenger hunt where people playing character roles are the targets. Instead of scoring points with a live person, she finds a dead body planted face-down in the strawberry field. Who would want to cut short the life of food magazine publisher and fellow bake-off contestant Francine Dodger? As she investigates, Marla learns there’s no shortage of suspects. Can she unmask the killer before someone else gets trimmed from life? Recipes Included!


Please include an excerpt and include page numbers as reference.  The excerpt can be as short or as long as you prefer.
Page 50-52 in the print edition: Hairstylist and amateur sleuth Marla Vail is speaking to Carlton Paige, a food critic and judge at the farm festival bake-off contest where Marla stumbled upon a dead body in the strawberry field. Marla encounters Carlton at a dog park and engages him in conversation.

They discussed canines for a bit, and then Marla steered the conversation to the harvest festival. “It’s a shame what happened there. We were having such a good time until Francine was found.”

“Weren’t you the person who discovered her body?”

“Yes, it was horrible. Would you like a seat on the bench? There’s plenty of room, and our dogs don’t want to leave anytime soon. Your lab is getting quite friendly with our golden retriever.”

“Thanks, and please call me Carlton.”

“Can you think of anyone who might have wanted to harm Francine?” she asked him, wishing she’d worn a hat. The scorching sun warmed her scalp.

“Beats me. Her magazine is popular. You’re married to that police detective, aren’t you? What does he say?”
Dalton is wondering if Francine was meant to be the target. She’d been wearing Alyce’s jacket and got hit from behind. Maybe the killer attacked the wrong person.

“He doesn’t share those details,” she replied. “I noticed how you were startled to see Alyce at the festival bandstand. Didn’t you expect her to be there when the winners were announced?”

Carlton’s face blanched. “I thought she would have left already.”

“Really? When the judge’s verdict had yet to be shared with the crowd?”

“I’d told my wife about her, you see. Sally was supposed to get her off my back.”

“What do you mean?” 
His lips thinned. “Can I count on you to keep this confidential?”
“Aside from sharing it with my husband, yes.”

“Thanks to bloggers like Alyce Greene, my readership is eroding. Her online site is so popular that it’s stolen my audience. I’m aiming to become editor of the newspaper’s entertainment section. That won’t happen unless I can increase my followers.”
“So you begrudge Alyce her success?”

“She’s undermining my ratings. Now I know this doesn’t sound nice, but my wife figured out a way to discredit Alyce. She knew something about her. Francine and Sally are acquainted from the gym. I suggested that Sally put a bug in Francine’s ear about Alyce.”
“What did you hope to accomplish?”

He avoided eye contact, staring at the ground. “I thought when Alyce heard the rumor going around, she’d get upset and would leave the festival early.”

“What information does your wife have on Alyce?” Marla asked, appalled by his intent.
“She didn’t share it with me. You can talk to Sally if you want to learn more.”

“I will, thanks. Do you have any theories about who might have bashed Francine on the head?”

Her mild tone didn’t fool him, because he stiffened. “Ihope you don’t think it was me. I’m not a violent person.  My talent is using words, not implements, to get my points across.”

Implements? Did he know a shovel was used as the murder weapon? Or was it a guess, since the police had issued a public statement that a blunt instrument was involved?

Or perhaps his wife, fearful of him losing his job, took matters into her own hands. A visit to the woman rose to the top of Marla’s to-do list.

Why is this excerpt so emotional for you?  And can you describe your own emotional experience of writing this specific excerpt?   Carlton’s actions were despicable. He deliberately sought to ruin another member of the food industry community.  It only made his reputation, already in doubt, lower in Marla’s estimation. She resolves to continue her investigation, a sign of her tenacity and unwillingness to walk away from a challenge.


Other works you have published?   I’ve written 8 science fiction romance novels, 2 novellas, 1 short story, and 15 books in my Bad Hair Day mystery series (Below) I am also the author of Writing the Cozy Mystery: Expanded Second Edition.  This is a concise writing tool that will teach you how to write a winning whodunit. It’s also useful for fans who want to read about the behind-the-scenes writing process, or seasoned authors who need tips on how to keep a series fresh.




Anything you would like to add?   Advice for New Authors:  Follow the 3 P’s: Persistence, Professionalism, and Practice, and you’ll be on the road to success. You’re the only one who decides which path you take. Keep writing, and never give up.




Nancy J. Cohen writes the Bad Hair Day Mysteries featuring South Florida hairstylist Marla Vail. Titles in this series have made the IMBA bestseller list, been selected by Suspense Magazine as best cozy mystery, won a Readers' Favorite gold medal, and earned third place in the Arizona Literary Awards. 
Nancy has also written the instructional guide, Writing the Cozy Mystery. Her imaginative romances have proven popular with fans as well. These books have won the HOLT Medallion and Best Book in Romantic SciFi/Fantasy at The Romance Reviews.   A featured speaker at libraries, conferences, and community events, she is listed in Contemporary Authors, Poets & Writers, and Who's Who in U.S. Writers, Editors, & Poets. When not busy writing, Nancy enjoys fine dining, cruising, visiting Disney World, and shopping.

Contact links for you?

Booklover’s Bench: https://bookloversbench.com

INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION links

001   11 15 2018 Nathaniel Kaine’s
Thriller Novel
John Hunter – The Veteran

002   11 18 2018 Ed Protzzel’s
Futuristic/Mystery/Thriller
The Antiquities Dealer 

003   11 23 2018 Janice Seagraves’s
Science Fiction Romance
Exodus Arcon

004   11 29 2018 Christian Fennell’s
Literary Fiction Novel
The Fiddler in the Night

005  12 02 2018 Jessica Mathews’s
Adult Paranormal Romance
Death Adjacent

006  12 04 2018 Robin Jansen’s
Literary Fiction Novel
Ruby the Indomitable

007  12 12 2018  Adair Valerez’s
Literary Fiction Novel
Scrim

008  12 17 218 Kit Frazier’s
Mystery Novel
Dead Copy

009 12 21 2019 Robert Craven’s
Noir/Spy Novel
The Road of a Thousand Tigers

010 01 13 2019 Kristine Goodfellow’s
Contemporary Romantic Fiction
The Other Twin

INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION links

001   11 15 2018 Nathaniel Kaine’s
Thriller Novel
John Hunter – The Veteran

002   11 18 2018 Ed Protzzel’s
Futuristic/Mystery/Thriller
The Antiquities Dealer 

003   11 23 2018 Janice Seagraves’s
Science Fiction Romance
Exodus Arcon

004   11 29 2018 Christian Fennell’s
Literary Fiction Novel
The Fiddler in the Night

005  12 02 2018 Jessica Mathews’s
Adult Paranormal Romance
Death Adjacent

006  12 04 2018 Robin Jansen’s
Literary Fiction Novel
Ruby the Indomitable

007  12 12 2018  Adair Valerez’s
Literary Fiction Novel
Scrim

008  12 17 218 Kit Frazier’s
Mystery Novel
Dead Copy

009 12 21 2019 Robert Craven’s
Noir/Spy Novel
The Road of a Thousand Tigers

010 01 13 2019 Kristine Goodfellow’s
Contemporary Romantic Fiction
The Other Twin

011 01 17 2019 Nancy J Cohen’s
Cozy Mystery
Trimmed To Death

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