Tuesday, November 9, 2021

I'm back!
I've had a great break and am back at 100%. 
Okay, 95%. Alright! Alright! 75%, but I'm here! 
I've enjoyed all your comments over the last couple of weeks. 
I'd love to see them keep coming now that I'm back with you all!

I'm so happy to welcome to the blog, author
Lorie Lewis Ham!

At 35, children’s book author Roxi Carlucci finds herself starting over again after her publisher drops her book series. With no income, she has to pack up her life on the California Coast, along with her pet rat Merlin, and move in with her cousin, P.I. Stephen Carlucci, who lives in Fresno, CA. The one redeeming factor is that Stephen lives in the Tower District—the cultural oasis of Fresno.

Stephen talks Roxi into helping out with a community theatre production, which is also a fundraiser for a local animal rescue. Little did she know that someone would be murdered during a rehearsal, and that she and Stephen would be hired to find the killer. The killer has to be one of Roxi’s new acquaintances since the theatre was locked at the time of the murder, but no one seems to have a motive. How can they solve a murder without a motive? Could the local gossip website hold any clues? Can they stop the killer before they strike again?

Did I Accidentally Write a Cozy?

By Lorie Lewis Ham

When I started writing my new mystery novel, One of Us, I didn’t start out to write a certain “type” of mystery. I wasn’t even certain what the mystery would be, or what occupation my main character would have. I simply knew where it would be set and who my main character was.

Roxi Carlucci is in her mid 30s and started out as a children’s book author who ran a pocket pet animal rescue (hamsters, rats, guinea pigs, etc.) on the California coast near Santa Cruz. But by the time I got serious about writing this book, nothing felt right about it anymore except her. So what she was going to be became what she had been—she had been a children’s book author but her publisher had dumped her series, and without a job, she wasn’t able to keep the rescue going.

At the beginning of One of Us Roxi finds herself unemployed and moving to Fresno, California to stay with her cousin PI Stephen Carlucci while she tries to reboot her life. But she doesn’t move to just anywhere in Fresno, she moves to the Tower District, which is the cultural hub of the city. Needing something to do in the meantime, Roxi volunteers to help with a local theatre production, which is also an animal rescue fundraiser. When someone involved in the show is murdered, Roxi helps her PI cousin find out who the killer is. In the end, she becomes a part time PI and entertainment podcaster.

I didn’t sit down with the goal of writing a cozy—I just wanted to write a mystery. In my head, it was more of a traditional mystery since she becomes a part time PI, but when you look closely at the book, One of Us does follow a lot of the cozy mystery tropes. No on the page violence, nothing graphic, no sex, only minimal/mild strong language, and the Tower District does have a bit of a “small town” feel even if it is part of a big city. Plus, there are plenty of quirky characters.

What I wrote was simply the story I wanted to tell and I guess it reveals a lot about me. While I read across the sub genres of mystery/crime fiction, when I write, I’m not interested in writing graphic violence. What I am interested in is the puzzle itself and the characters. My own language isn’t particularly colorful, so that’s what comes out of my character’s mouths. While sex scenes definitely don’t stop me from reading a book, I tend to skim over graphic ones. The Tower District just happens to be a place I love, and like anywhere that is interesting it is filled with quirky characters. 

So if all of this makes One of Us a cozy that’s fine with me. If it doesn’t, I’m okay with that too. I just wanted to write a good story with a mystery and great characters at its core. I hope wherever your mystery reading tastes lie, that you give One of Us a chance, and that you enjoy it, whatever label you put on it.

One of Us- A woman starting over. A gossip website. A handsome playwright with a dark side. A director with an explosive temper. And a murder without a motive. It’s a mystery set in the historic Tower District—Fresno's dining, arts, and entertainment hub.

One of Us is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble online, and Kobo.

Lorie Lewis Ham lives in Reedley, California and has been writing ever since she was a child, and publishing since she was 13. For the past 11 years, Lorie has been the editor-in-chief and publisher of Kings River Life Magazine, and she produces Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast where you can now hear an excerpt of her new book One of Us. You can learn more about Lorie and the new book on her website mysteryrat.com, where you can also sign up for her newsletter, and you can find her on Twitter @mysteryrat and Facebook.

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  1. Welcome back, Lisa! Hope you had lots of fun.
    Congratulations to Lorie on her first book.
    Happy Tuesday,
    Pat T

  2. Thank you for hosting Lorie Lewis Ham! Enjoyed reading the guest post and learning more about both book and author. Everything she described about the book is exactly what I look for in a book. "One of Us" sounds like an amazing read and I can't wait to dive in reading it.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  3. This book looks wonderful. Would love to read and review this book in print format as well as the author's other books. Love books like this.
    I was so captivated and intrigued I followed the author.

  4. Thanks so much for having me here today!

  5. Welcome back. Glad you had a great time off.

  6. I think it's telling when you mention that you read across genres. Makes your writing richer, probably more adventurous. I look forward to reading your book. Good luck, Lorie.