Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Just in time for your
Valentine's Day reading pleasure!

From authors

Summer Prescott ~ CeeCee James 
Patti Benning ~ Gretchen Allen ~ Stephanie Damore
Carolyn Q. Hunter ~ Karin Kaufman
Donna Walo Clancy ~ Jodi Rath

9 Sweet Valentine Cozy Mysteries

Lots and lots of chocolate.
Grab a cup of cocoa and get ready to spend Valentine's Day with a heart-warming collection of 9 Valentine's themed Cozy Mysteries from some of the most popular authors in the genre. There are short stories, novellas and full-length books in the set, all of which are sure to grab you from the first page and take you on a thrill-filled ride through the sweetest holiday of the year.



LKBR:  Thank you for being here today, Jodi!

JR: Thanks so much for having me, Lisa! I’m thrilled to be here.

LKBR: Please tell us a bit about you, and your book/series.

JR: Oy, where to begin? I was an HS English teacher for close to seventeen years. Two years ago, I took a risk to pursue a passion for beginning my business—MYS ED LLC. The business is split into two parts: education—where I teach online professional development courses to Ohio teachers, write for educational affiliations, blogs, and publishers. The other side of the business is writing my mystery series: The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series. Book one, Pineapple Upside Down Murder, came out 11/23/18. Currently, I’m in a Valentine’s Day anthology with eight other cozy mystery authors. I wrote a short story that continues where book one left off called “Sweet Retreat.”

The idea for the series came to me when my grandma gave me her 70-year-old cast iron skillet for Christmas in 2017. Also, she gave me our family’s secret recipe for pineapple upside-down cake—she has only ever made that cake in that pan for all those years! This is where I got the idea for the series and the first book.

LKBR: Any hints or spoilers you can give us about your next book?

JR: My second book comes out June 21, 2019, and is titled JalapeΓ±o Cheddar Cornbread Murder. Here’s a peek:

Financial fraud of elderly villagers in Leavensport, an urban sprawl threat to the community, disastrous dates, cross-sell marketing gone wrong, and another murder? Jolie Tucker is ready to try dating again. Well, she has no choice—since her family auctioned her off to the highest bidder. Her best friend, Ava, has agreed to a double date, but both friends find out hidden secrets about their partners as well as deception by one of the village’s own, who will soon be found dead. This plot is sure to be spicy!

LKBR: Have you ever written a scene that you loved but had to remove it for the sake of the story?

JR: Yes, kind of, well . . . It was a long journey to finish book one. The book started as a “regular” mystery—not a cozy. There was a scene in the original that was, IMO, hilarious—but risquΓ©. It dealt with the protagonist ending up in a mud fight in a bar. This a far cry from my cozy series—which I LOVE—but that scene would not be appropriate for this series.

LKBR: Have you ever gotten reader’s block? Just find it hard to get into reading because you are so into your writing?

JR: I’m a perfectionist. When I first begin writing draft one—I get nervous because I want it to be perfect the first time. That is impossible—so at that time I end up reading more. Once I get over that hump and sketch out the story and begin writing—I tend to hit this groove where (and I don’t realize this when I’m in it—it’s only later that I look back and understand) the story writes itself. I should say that happened with book one and with the short story. I’m hoping that will happen with everything I write. It doesn’t happen with the nonfiction that I write, though. I don’t know—when I’m in the middle of the story, the best I can explain it is—it feels like something or someone takes over and pushes me through to the end. It’s SO cool and fun! So yeah, that is the point in my writing where I don’t know much of anything else because my mind becomes consumed with the story I’m writing.

LKBR: Are there any magazines/publications that as a writer you subscribe to? Are these or others something readers could also benefit from?

JR: I subscribe to Publisher’s Weekly. I recently did this when I began writing—but I can see where avid readers would benefit from the magazine too. They tend to create themes for the issues, and it’s nice to see the top 10 to top 100 in different genres—something that works for both readers and writers.

Secondly, I subscribe to Southern Cast Iron magazine. One of the fun things about writing a fourteen-book series on cast iron skillets is I add recipes at the end, and I get to test different recipes. My monthly newsletter also contains recipes a lot. I like to look at Southern Cast Iron magazine for ideas and inspiration for the story and the recipes! I think if readers love to cook with cast iron or have never done so but want to try—this a great magazine to have!

LKBR: Is there anything you would give up if you thought it would make you an even better writer?

JR: No, I’ve been through a lot in my life—good, bad, and ugly. I wouldn’t change anything because it brought me to where I am today and made me into who I am today. I believe that writing is like life—it’s a journey. Being a perfectionist, it bothers me knowing that book one will not be as good as book five or ten—yet that’s the realization of it all. No magic wand can make me a better writer—only continuing to write will do so.

LKBR: Any new projects in the works?

JR: ALWAYS! LOL! I talked about book two earlier. Book three is titled Turkey Basted to Death and will come out November 15, 2019. It is a holiday book. Also, I give away freebies multiple times a year for newsletter subscribers (here is a shameless plug for my newsletter—go to this link to subscribe to my monthly newsletter: I wrote two flash fiction prequels to book one that I sent to Rath’s Readers (my newsletter crew). February 7, 2019, is when the Valentine’s Day anthology comes out, so I will do two more pieces of flash fiction between the short story “Sweet Retreat” and book two in June. Then, between July and October, there will be a short story. In December there will be a short holiday story and a box set of the first three books with the flash fiction and short stories included in the set.  That is only for The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series. I write educational articles monthly, have a YA book in the works, a children’s series going, and a psychological thriller that I’ve started too—not to mention the courses I teach. I pretty much work seven days a week, all hours of the day—but work is not the correct term. I love every part of what I do. It’s a passion—so it feels like play!

LKBR: If you could ask your readers three questions, what would they be?

1. How often do you read outside of your comfort zone?
2. Do you write notes in the margins or type notes in your e-reader?
3. Who is your favorite fictional villain—and why?

LKBR: Where can readers go to learn more about you and your books?

Facebook Author Page to follow:
Twitter: @jodirath

LKBR: Thank you so much, Jodi for letting us get to know you better!

JR: Thanks so much for having me today, Lisa! It was a blast!

Releases Thursday 7th
Pre-Order today for only .99!


In other news

Friday, February 8
Please check out my interview over at 
 Chicks on the Case

This is my second time hanging out with wonderful authors...

Ellen Byron ~ Becky Clark
Marla Copper ~ Vicki Fee ~ Kellye Garrett 
Leslie Karst ~ Cynthia Kuhn  
Lisa Q. Matthews ~ Kathleen Valenti

(I wonder if I can get them to adopt me)

Leave a comment while you're there.
I'll be checking in that day and a couple after to answer them!

Don't forget
Friday, February 8!


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  1. Wow that's a lot of cozies to help you to fell the love any time of the year! Thanks for interview and info on the upcoming event.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net