An Interview with Alison R. Solomon

Hi there everybody! Today I have a real treat for you. I’m interviewing Alison Solomon the author of two great crime suspense novels, Devoted and Along Came the Rain. I’ve read both and enjoyed them immensely. I’m really looking forward to the May 20th release of her latest novel and the first book in a new series for her, Timing is Everything. It will kick off her Gulfport Mystery Series.

First off, I have an ‘Alison’ story to tell:

Last year I attended my first GCLS Convention in Chicago. I had every intention of arriving plenty early on the opening day of the con but traffic conspired against me. When I finally got there, the opening session was starting.

I signed for our room, and while my wife took our bags upstairs, I rounded the corner into the conference hallway and almost ran into Alison, a membership director for GCLS then. Now, I’d never met her in person before, only ‘spoken’ with her on Facebook. She greeted me by name and gave me a big hug. She told me to wait to register, steered me into the meeting room for the opening and stood with me for the next ten minutes or so, and then steered me right back out to the registration table. It wasn’t the last that time she offered guidance and support that day or for the run of the con. She’s good people and if you ever get the chance to meet her, you’ll see exactly what I mean.

Tell us about Alison Solomon; who is she?

Anne: A weird question to get us started: Are you spring, summer, fall, or winter? Please share why.

Alison: Summer! I love sunshine. I grew up in the UK and had to learn to embrace the rain. At 18, I moved to Israel and have never lived in a cool climate since. I find sunshine energizing, peaceful, and warming. And that’s the kind of person I’d like to be.

Anne: The U.K.? So then, tea or coffee?

Alison: Tea. You can take the girl out of England but you can’t take England out of the girl.

Anne: LOL. I figured! I’m right there with you though. I love tea.

Anne: If you could live anywhere on this planet, and take everything that you love with you, where would you choose to live?

Alison: Right where I am! Gulfport, Florida sits on the Gulf of Mexico, and is small, beautiful, charming and friendly. Our library has the first LGBTQ Resource Center in Florida and was recently awarded a national library award for its innovative LGBTQ programming. I’ve lived in Israel, Mexico and California and while they all had a lot to offer, I truly found my home here. I do wish the rest of my family lived here too, though.

Anne: If you could visit any place in the world, where would you choose to go and why?

Alison: The Australian Barrier Reef. When I was 19 I hitchhiked down to the Sinai peninsula and discovered the barrier reef there. Ever since, whenever I snorkel at a reef, I’m always a little disappointed because nothing lives up to the Sinai. But I believe Australia would.

Anne: Now, I’ve met you and listened to you speak. You sound like you were American born and raised to me, with that mix of accents so many of us that have traveled this country have. So, I have to ask, can you fake any accents?

Alison: I speak multiple languages; English, Spanish, Hebrew and some French and people usually have a hard time trying to figure out where I’m from whichever language I’m using. My UK family think my English sounds completely American. Americans think I sound as if I’m from New England. When I lived in Israel and spoke only Hebrew, a local storekeeper was convinced I was Russian and would speak to me in Russian because he didn’t believe it when I said I wasn’t!

Alison on Reading:

Anne: All fiction writers start out with a love of reading and books first. Tell us about your journey from reader to writer. First, what is your favorite childhood book?

Alison: The Fortunes of Doria by Pamela Grant. It was my mother’s favorite novel and she passed it on to all of us. Written in 1931, it follows a very spirited, independent, young girl who lives with her mother and grandmother and yearns to go to a girl’s boarding school. Doria is strong-willed, adventurous, creative and has a mind of her own.

Anne: I’m sorry to say, I’ve never read it but it sounds wonderful. I’ll have to look for it.

Anne: What literary character is most like you?

Doria, in The Fortunes of Doria

Anne: Ah! I see, now.

Anne: Where did your love of books, storytelling, reading, and writing come from? Your mother?

Alison: Yes. My mother read to us every night before we went to sleep. As a child, every Saturday afternoon I would walk to the local library, take out 3 books and immediately start to devour them. Plus, it’s a family thing. When my father died, he had over 10,000 books in his library. He built one in the garden when he ran out of space in the house!

Anne: Wow! And we all think we have a lot of books!

Anne: Have you ever gotten reader’s block?

Alison: Definitely. I keep a journal listing all the books I read, and I find I have cycles. For a while, I just wasn’t interested in reading novels and only read memoir. Then I discovered domestic suspense novels and read a whole bunch of those. And then there are those times when I just don’t feel like reading at all, and I go to my other love,  jigsaw puzzles!

Alison on Writing:

Anne: Let’s talk about writing now. Inquiring minds want to know: Does writing energize or exhaust you?

I often compare writing to doing a 2000 piece jigsaw puzzle. There is nothing more exhilarating than finding the piece you’re looking for and watching how the picture comes together in ways you didn’t expect. On the other hand, all puzzles have a large expanse of something (like sky) and that part can be excruciating to work through!

Anne: Tell us about your new book, Timing is Everything.

Timing is Everything by Alison SolomonAlison: Kat Ayalon will fight tooth and nail to find the driver who smashed into her friend Wynn and then fled. She’ll also do whatever it takes to protect the new love of her life, Gordy, whose only goal is not to get on the wrong side of the law. After all, she’s always been better at taking care of others than herself. But when the worlds of her friend and her lover collide, Kat is faced with the toughest choice of all: How can she help both Wynn and Gordy if supporting one means selling out the other?

Anne: Timing is Everything is available for pre-order from Amazon right now. It will be more widely available at launch on the 20th (Sunday).

Anne: So, since this is the start of a series for you, I have to ask, do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

Alison: Great question. If only I’d realized from the beginning that readers want connections and that there might be characters I wanted to pursue. Along Came the Rain is set in a fictional county (Jade) that in my mind was based very much on Pinellas, where I live. The second half of my second novel, Devoted, is set in the town I live in, Gulfport.  Finally I got it — Timing Is Everything, is now officially Book One in The Gulfport Mystery Series and includes characters from the first two novels.

Anne: Almost all of my own books are connected and the readers love it. Right readers?! Seriously though; you’re going to find that writing in series works out well for you. And, you can always go back to the other two books and follow up those stories.

Anne: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Alison: It’s not a secret exactly, but in Along Came the Rain, the protagonist, Wynn, struggles with being extremely absent-minded to the point that could indicate dementia. People who don’t know me ask, “What made you think of her as a character?” Friends say, “I saw a lot of you in Wynn!”

Anne: How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your books?

Alison: As well as telling a good story, I like to look at topics that are current and relevant. Timing Is Everything includes the issue of a woman who, though legally in the USA, is terrified of being deported. As a former immigrant myself, I know how insecure you can feel until you actually have your citizenship. Even more so in today’s current climate. In Devoted, I wanted to portray someone who has to struggle to integrate her sexuality and her faith. I grew up orthodox Jewish, so I know this process well. And as mentioned previously, I wrote about someone with memory problems because I know of so many people my age and a bit older who constantly wonder whether what we’re going through is normal, or the beginning of Alzheimer’s.

Anne: Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write in more than one, how do you balance them?

Alison: I love reading books that make you question a character’s reality—an unreliable narrator like the heroine of The Girl on the Train who is an alcoholic, the unfaithful husband in Gone Girl. I enjoy writing in a number of genres. Last year I made a book of first chapters and asked my email list subscribers to let me know which one they wanted me to write next. Almost everyone said, “Kissing the Rabbi’s Wife,” which is my memoir. I’m still working on it.

If your readers contact me, I’ll happily send them a link to the book of first chapters.

Anne: Readers, please see the contact links for Alison, below.

Anne: I always ask this question because the answers are always fascinating and, sometimes helpful to me personally with my own books; how do you choose your characters names?

They mostly choose themselves. I have a character in Along Came the Rain named Barker. Readers ask if it’s her first or last name and I tell them I don’t know – it just came to me that that’s who she was. The protagonist of Devoted was called Erica/Rikki almost until publication when I realized she was actually Ashley/Ash. I seem to have a penchant for names that begin with K. When I got to Timing Is Everything and wanted to use characters from previous books I discovered Kat and Kallie would be in numerous scenes together, so Kallie had to decide to change her name! Luckily she’s an adopted teenager so it was a reasonable thing to do.

Anne: LOL…I’ve so been there, what with writing in series!

That’s all we have time for today. Please check out Timing is Everything on Amazon. The links to contact and connect with Alison are below.

Twitter: @AlisonRSolomon
Amazon page:


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The Mother of All Giveaways – Win a Kindle Fire 7

Are you a mother? Do you have a mother? Do you mother someone else? You do? Good! You can enter the ‘Mother of all Giveaways to win a Kindle Fire 7. There will be five lucky winners in all but this giveaway is only for a limited time, so hurry!

mother of all book events giveawayWhat do you have to do? It’s simple. Click this link right here or the graphic: The Mother of all Giveaways

You enter for chances to win by tweeting, giving a Facebook like or by following authors on Bookbub…authors like me!

Bookbub will send you new release alerts and deal alerts from each author that you follow. Your email address only goes to them and they will only use it when an author you follow releases a new book or lowers the price of an existing book and features it with them. No daily spam! That’s a promise. You can set up a quick profile with them to get their daily discount email newsletter though. You tell them what genres you like to read and the platform you prefer (Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, etc.). It doesn’t have to be Kindle. They’ll send a newsletter every morning that has a heavily discounted – or free – book in that category or categories.

Back to the Mother of all Giveaways:

You can find me in the middle column under ‘LGBT’. My books run a gamut of mystery, cozy and romance, of course, but it’s expensive to be featured in multiple categories, you know what I mean? So, I’m just in the one category along with my good friend and fellow author Niamh Murphy. Show her a little love too, please. She’s got a fantastic new fantasy series with dragons coming out that, if you follow her, Bookbub will let you know all about her new releases too.

Don’t need a Kindle Fire? Hate entering giveaways? You can still follow me on Bookbub and get new release and discount notifications. Just click the big red button in the column on the right.

Happy reading, happy Mother’s Day (whether you’re a mom or not) and good luck!

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Paris, Adrift by Vanda is Out!

A couple of months ago I interviewed my friend and fellow author, Vanda right here on this blog. She mentioned that she hoped for a release of the third book in her Juliana series, Paris, Adrift in late March or early April. It didn’t make it out then but it’s here now!

Paris, Adrift

She wanted a safe harbor for their love. But rough waters could destroy any hope of starting over…

The book cover for 'Paris, Adrift' by VandaParis-bound, 1955. Alice “Al” Huffman can’t wait to reach the City of Light. As soon as their ship arrives, Juliana’s singing career will get the spotlight it deserves and the two women will finally bring their relationship out of the shadows. Or so Al thinks.

Before the SS United States hits land, a stranger approaches Al with a Broadway contract for Juliana. But the offer comes with a threat that can’t be ignored. And unless Al can find a way out, Juliana’s comeback could come crashing down before it even begins…

As she hides the awful truth from Juliana, Al searches for an answer before another obstacle destroys their last chance for happiness…

Paris, Adrift, 1955 is Book 3 in a breathtaking LGBT historical romance series. If you like pulse-pounding suspense, characters who tug at your heartstrings, and true-to-life portrayals of 1950s Paris, then you’ll love award-winning writer Vanda’s stunning series of novels.

Buy Paris, Adrift and set sail on a harrowing journey of love today! It’s available exclusively at Amazon and free to read via Kindle Unlimited.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon FR | Amazon AU | Amazon IN

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Loving Blue in Red States: Savannah Georgia

The sixth short story in the Loving Blue in Red States series, Savannah Georgia is now out. ‘Savannah’ is the story of two twenty-something young women who meet innocently on a tour. One is the tour guide and the other is one in need of her guidance…in more ways than one. Things only get more complicated from there.

For a limited time, it is exclusive to Amazon and free via Kindle Unlimited.

The blurb for Savannah:

Ghosts of the past help along a modern-day coming out.

The Loving Blue in Red States Series - Savannah GeorgiaJo Lynn isn’t happy with her life in tiny Birdsville, Georgia, but she doesn’t feel like she has a lot of choices. She loves her job with Magnolia Springs State Park and she could advance in a career with the parks…if she had the nerve to buck the wishes of her mother and head out on her own.

A tour of Savannah with friendly, outgoing tour guide Calli, leads to an all-new worldview for Jo Lynn and maybe even a little courage to change.

Savannah is the sixth short story in the Loving Blue in Red States series by Anne Hagan. It was preceded by, Sweetwater Texas, Birmingham Alabama, Jackson Hole Wyoming, Perryville Missouri and Salt Lake City Utah. Look for other short stories and novellas to come out in this series throughout 2018.

The inspiration for the story:

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John BerendtOn January 31st of 1994, Random House published John Berendt’s book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the original release.

The book, which reads like a novel, is essentially a true crime story of the trials of Jim Williams, an antique dealer and Savannah, Georgia socialite for the murder of Danny Hansford, a male prostitute. Williams was tried four times for the crime before a jury was finally able to reach a verdict. No spoilers here!

I read ‘The Book,’ as it is still called in Savannah, years ago. I also saw the 1997 movie based off it. Both are quite compelling, and both spawned an industry of tourism into deep south, coastal Savannah that hasn’t let up in the 25 years since the first publication. When I decided to include Georgia in one of these stories, Savannah was the first city to spring to mind for a setting because of the impression the book and subsequent movie made on me.

If you ever get the opportunity to visit the city of Savannah, take it. In the meantime, check out Berendt’s award-winning and Pulitzer Prize nominated book.

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The Murder and Intrigue of Secrets by Barbara Winkes

I’m currently reading Secrets by my friend and fellow author, Barbara Winkes. I have to tell you, I was intrigued by Marsha and interested in learning more about her background from the opening lines. Then, Jessie’s appearance on the scene throws a nice wrench into her carefully made plans. But that villain? Who is this guy?! He shows up promptly in chapter two and gives me the creepy crawlies from the word go. Nice work Barbara! You’ll have me up reading half the night tonight just trying to figure out who he is!

Secrets is currently on sale for just $.99 for a very limited time. You can buy it exclusively at Amazon or read it free via Kindle Unlimited.

Secrets by Barbara WinkesThere is nowhere to run…

Disillusioned with the direction her life is going, Marsha Taylor wants to get away, to find out what’s left of her dreams. Picking up a hitchhiker along the way wasn’t her intention, but Jessie, a woman with troubles of her own, is hard to resist.

A mishap on the road forces them to make a stop in a small town called Diamond Lake. Residents are on edge since a brutal murder happened in the area not long ago.

Everyone has their secrets…some of them are deadly.

How’s that for a book blurb? And Diamond Lake? There’s one such lake in a pretty remote area of Canada I once had the pleasure of traveling through. Barbara is Canadian…in case you weren’t aware. Now, there’s no ‘town’ to speak of in the real Diamond Lake area but there are a couple of dozen homes and a business or two sprinkled through the primary crossroads area, just off the Trans-Canada Highway. I could totally see this setting in northern Ontario as the setting for a murder mystery. Totally. Scary stuff.

Buy Secrets, a true mystery-thriller, read it too, and let me know what you think. Let’s have a book chat!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon IN 

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Lesbian Light Reads Boxed Set Sale

Elizabeth Andre is having a sale on the hot – hot – hot boxed set, Lesbian Light Reads Volumes 1-6. Right now, for a few more days, you can get it for just $.99. Hurry! This is a limited time offer that won’t last long.

It’s available at Amazon (USUKCA – AUIN), Barnes & Noble for the Nook,  at Kobo and at Apple iTunes.

Lesbian Light Reads Volumes 1-6:

Six stories of lesbians meeting the women of their dreams, having sex, falling in love and having sex again.

These lesbian contemporary love stories include graphic sex and are for adults only.

Lesbian Light Reads Volumes 1-6 Boxed SetLove’s Perfect Vintage (Lesbian Light Reads 1) by Elizabeth Andre

Would you let your mother find your next girlfriend? Beautiful thirty-two-year-old African-American Aisha Watson works hard all week and plays hard all weekend. But her heart was recently broken, and she’s not even sure she wants to be in love again after a series of dating disasters. Aisha’s mother decides to find her a nice girl.

Journey to Passion (Lesbian Light Reads 2) by Jade Astor

While attempting to recover from a failed relationship, Andrea treats herself to a vacation to Rome. There she meets an American who has traveled to Italy to restore classic artwork for a museum. The sparks fly fast and hot between the two women.

Lesbian With Dog Seeks Same (Lesbian Light Reads 3) by Elizabeth Andre

Beautiful African-American Jordan is quite happy spending most of her free time hanging with her dog Minnie. She doesn’t need a girlfriend. Her life is just fine as it is. Jordan’s life begins to change one early Sunday morning when Minnie meets Arrow, a golden retriever, at the dog park, and Jordan meets Arrow’s owner, a sexy woman with pale translucent skin and hazel eyes. Minnie likes Arrow. Jordan slowly realizes that she likes Arrow’s owner even more. She has to find her again, even though she doesn’t know her name and begins to realize that her life will be even better with this woman in her life.

Bodies in Motion (Lesbian Light Reads 4) by Elizabeth Andre

How often does a woman get to rewrite her past and stake a claim to her future in one fell swoop? Gorgeous Shondra Frazier gets that chance. An ex-girlfriend from college, Lynette Johnson, pops back into Shondra’s life at nearly the same time that she meets Denyse Gabriel, one of the few African-American female Ph.D. physicists in the world. Shondra realizes attention from Denyse, with her long black hair and high collar tweed jacket, is what she wants. Denyse, however, is heading to a months-long project in Antarctica while Lynette is sticking around and more than willing to keep Shondra company. Shondra has to decide whether she will stay safe and start up again with her long-lost college love or if she will wait for Denyse to return.

Right Time For Love (Lesbian Light Reads 5) by Elizabeth Andre

When Hannah, a 65-year old retired nurse, goes on a Caribbean cruise with a bunch of her friends all she wants to do is win the euchre tournament. She’d like to fall in love, but suspects it may be too late for her. On the cruise, Hannah recognizes an old friend from decades ago and realizes that it may never be too late for love. Joyce is a fellow retired nurse who lost her husband five years before and hasn’t had love since. Hannah is afraid of being Joyce’s vacation lesbian experiment. Joyce never thought she would find love again, and it never occurred to her that love would take the form of a woman. Together they navigate the rocky waters of love found when they both least expect it.

Landing Love (Lesbian Light Reads 6) by Elizabeth Andre

All Lila wants to do this winter is skate. The beautiful 20-something figure skater is done with dating until mini-skirt season. Then one crisp morning, Lila meets Ashley. Not only is Ashley stunningly good-looking with long ash blond hair, she can land an Axel, an advanced jump that has eluded Lila. Ashley agrees to coach Lila the following weekend. When Ashley doesn’t show, Lila realizes that she wasn’t that serious about taking a break from dating, and she doesn’t care if she ever lands an Axel. She does care about kissing Ashley again.

Enjoy! Happy reading!

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Short Fuse Lesfic Book Sales by Niamh Murphy and A.E. Radley

A couple of my lesfic author friends were a bit remiss – because they’re busy as all get out – to let me and some of our other contemporaries know that they had ebook sales running. Two great books are on sale for a very limited time for just $.99 (US). Get these in the next day or so, before the price goes back up:

Escape to Pirate Island by Niamh Murphy

Escape to Pirate Island by Niamh MurphyYou can’t run away from yourself…

The year is 1720 and two young women are about to find themselves in more trouble than they could ever have imagined possible.

Cat Meadows is a smuggler who’s built her reputation on the backs of unsuspecting souls.

Lily Exquemelin has been left nothing by her father but his troubles and his treasure map.

Forced to make a desperate escape, they each find themselves on a Trans-Atlantic adventure that will pit them against pirates, mutineers, lost treasure, and each other!

Can they learn to trust one another and escape the clutches of their would-be captors or will their past’s finally catch up to them?

Find out in this swashbuckling, romantic adventure!


Mergers and Acquisitions by A.E. Radley

Mergers and Acquisitions by A.E. RadleyKate Kennedy prides herself on running the very best advertising agency in Europe.

One day her top client asks her to work on a lucrative project with the notoriously fastidious Georgina Masters, of the American agency Mastery.

The temporary merger causes a fiery clash of cultures and personalities. Especially when Georgina sets her romantic sights on Kate’s young intern, Sophie.

The links to both books are US links. These deals are available in other countries. Additionally, both books can be read free via Kindle Unlimited.

Happy reading!

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A Lesbian and Bi Women Fiction Survey to Benefit Us All

In 2017, lesfic author AE Radley set out to survey readers of lesbian and bisexual (F/F) themed fiction about what their reading habits and their views on lesfic and bi women themed books. Her questionnaire focused on things like preferred publishers, pricing, covers, blurbs, editing and more. Though the responses came from only a small subset of lesfic and bi novel readers (less than 300), her findings were eye-opening for the authors and publishers of the books we love.

You can view the 2017 lesfic survey results here or by clicking anywhere on the graphic below.

2017 Survey GraphAE put together an all-new survey for 2018. Your helpful input would be greatly appreciated. If you’d like to participate, it will take about five minutes of your time…unless you really want to voice your opinion and write out some of the reasoning behind your responses.

To help out, you can take the new survey here: Lesbian and bi women Fiction Questionnaire 2018

Thank you very much for your participation and thank you for reading lesbian fiction!



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Romance and Mystery eBook Giveaways

I just wanted to post a quick note today. There are a couple of eBook giveaways going on over at BookFunnel that you might be interested in. All the books are free…in exchange for your email address to the author. You can download as many as you like in your preferred format, to your favorite device.

The first of the two eBook Giveaways is ‘Amazing Romance‘. There are 67 books in all by nearly as many authors. They range from historical to contemporary, straight to lesbian (mine – Broken Women), and sweet to sexy. I don’t believe any M/M fiction is in this group, but I could be wrong. There seem to be plenty of stories about brides, billionaires, the mafia and so forth, though! And, there are plenty of bare-chested male covers to go around.

Amazing Romance eBook Giveaway

The other eBook giveaway is ‘Amazing Mysteries‘.  There are 15 books in the group including my cozy mystery, The Passed Prop. These are primarily mystery/suspense novels with a few cozies, a puzzler and a couple of mystery/thrillers in the mix. In other words, there’s something for every mystery reader’s tastes.

Amazing Mystery eBook Giveaway HeaderGet some free books and try out a few new to you authors. Come back and let me know what you picked up and how you liked it.

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Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Anyone?

My wife works for a company that likes to send her to another part of the state for training a couple of times a year. The last time was late in March, for a week. I’m not a huge TV person. We have a few shows we watch together and that’s about it. We both like movies though. She loves the dancing, singing feel-good kind and I do too, to a point. I like mysteries even better. I tend to fill up the DVR with all the mystery movies that will fit and then watch them in the evenings when she’s away.

That’s what I did in March. For a couple of weeks, before she left, I scanned Spectrum’s listings and recorded all of the mysteries I could find, that I hadn’t already seen. Back when I was a younger devotee of all things sleuthing, I loved shows like ‘Murder, She Wrote’. I watched every episode. These days, that show and several other oldies but goodies play on the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries channel. That channel has, in the last few weeks, been a boon to my mystery movie watching habit.

Real Murders Aurora Teagarden Book 1I recorded a few ‘Murder, She Wrote’ episodes for old times sake but I was more intrigued by all of the original ‘cozy’ style mystery movies playing on the channel. There were mysteries based on the Aurora Teagarden series of books by Charlaine Harris (of Sookie Stackhouse book and television series fame). Aurora, or Roe, as she is more commonly known, is a woman after my own heart, a crime-solving librarian.

Garage Sale Stalker by Suzi WeinertThen, there are the  ‘Garage Sale Mystery’ movies starring Lori Loughlin in stories that revolved around sinister things that happen surrounding items she buys at yard sales, garage sales, estate sales and so forth. The sort of ‘shopping’ that’s always been a hobby of mine. The movie series is based on the Garage Sale Mystery series of books by Suzi Weinert.

A High End FinishIt didn’t stop there.  Hallmark has produced mysteries starring singer/songwriter (and poet) Jewell; the Fixer-Upper Mysteries’. She and Colin Ferguson go around renovating old Victorian homes and solving crimes. Those movies are based on the popular Fixer Upper Mysteries‘Series by author Kate Carlisle.

Murder in the court house by Nancy GraceAlso, there are the Hailey Dean Mystery movies based on the book series written by former television legal and political commentator, Nancy Grace. Hailey is a former prosecutor so there’s an element of the legal professional aspect to these books and movies.

And, let’s not forget the original, made for TV (by Hallmark) ‘Mystery Woman’ movies starring Kellie Martin that aren’t based on actual books, but that take place inside the ‘Mystery Woman’ bookstore. There are 11 separate cozy style movies that are among the first Hallmark mystery movie productions. Hallmark first aired them from 2003 to 2007. They’re enjoying quite a resurgence.

There are other series, of course. I recorded a couple of dozen of these little 2-hour gems…as many as my older model DVR would hold. I’m still going through them and occasionally watching or recording ones I missed in the first go around. This weekend, there’s a new Aurora Teagarden one on, ‘Reap What You Sew‘. It doesn’t seem to be based on a specific Harris book, but I’ve already got it set to record; just in case I’m involved in ‘life’ and I can’t stop to watch.

I put a video link in here for a sneak preview but, in case it doesn’t work, here’s the direct link: Reap What You Sew Sneak Peak. 

I’ve enjoyed my little breaks, watching books I’ve loved and stories that are similar to them come to life on our not so small screen. I dare say, I’ve even learned a couple of things about the construct of a good mystery. Those things said, I find mysteries adapted for television from books all a bit lacking when it comes to the element of surprise and the presentation of clues.

I’ve been able to easily solve the identities of the killers early on in most of the movies. There’s typically a visual clue that gives it away if you’re sharp-eyed enough to catch it the first time it’s presented. As a writer of these sorts of puzzles, I just sit there and think, ‘that thing they just showed, that’s going to be important later.’

 In so many of these movies, the obvious suspects are never the killer. Never. It’s typically a bit player, someone who’s been helping the sleuth all along or someone who doesn’t seem like a major player until the third act…what would be the last few chapters of a book. Often, I’ve noticed, the killer has an unwilling accomplice who covers for them out of fear for his or her own life or out of some sense of misplaced loyalty. Sometimes this person becomes the second victim. Other times, he or she hangs on to the bitter end and goes down with the killer or has a change of heart and gives the killer up.

Knowing the killer early doesn’t ruin my enjoyment of the movies. I still get a kick out of them. What it does do – with the ones based on books – is make me go back to the original novel and see what the author did to hide the killer. You certainly don’t get visual cues in a book. To keep you guessing, the author needs to weave a good story around the clues she drops.

How are you at solving the crimes in a mystery movie?

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