Edith’s Got Some News!

Edith here, north of Bostonchampagne-bottle-cork2

I have two piece of awesome, exciting, delightful news that I’ve been sitting on but now have permission to let loose on the world.

FIRST, Kensington Publishing has renewed my Local Foods Mysteries contract for two more books. This is immensely gratifying to me, and I hope to my readers. It feels like a validation from the publisher, pretty darn nice for a still-beginning author. I’ll be getting to work later in the fall on Compost Mortem, which takes place during March, with controversy surrounding locals vs. the nouvelle riche in town, the sudden death of a local chicken farmer, and avid volunteer Alexandra coming under suspicion of murder. It will release sometime in 2016.

SECOND, I’m heading out on a research road trip to Indiana Saturday. Why Indiana? Because I have a new three-book contract with Kensington Publishing for a Country Store cozy mystery series set in the beautiful, hilly part of southern Indiana known as Brown County! I’ll be writing under a brand-new pseudonym, Maddie Day (because the publisher wanted me to, that’s why). And I’m super, extremely, radically excited about the new gig. Let me give you the series blurb first:

antiques-11In the Country Store Mysteries, chef and carpenter Robbie Jordan remodels a country store full of antique cookware in fictional South Lick, Indiana, and turns it into a local breakfast and lunch establishment called Pans ‘N Pancakes. She doesn’t plan to have murder on the menu. But small-town secrets and bitter rivalries put sand in the batter and before Robbie knows it, her new life is a lot more complicated than she had expected.

Doesn’t that sound like fun? And here’s a quick paragraph about Book One, tentatively titled Flipped for Murder (can any of you come up with a punnier title for me?):

Stella, the mayor’s difficult assistant, is found dead the night of the store’s grand reopening with one of Robbie’s trademark cheesy biscuits stuffed into her mouth, and the future of Robbie’s new life is threatened. Is the killer the competitor country store owner who wants to sabotage Robbie’s project? The former mayor who thinks Stella rigged the election? The new mayor with a tricky past whom Stella was blackmailing? Or someone else? Robbie uses her skills as a champion puzzle solver to salvage her business and help the small-town police put the murderer behind bars.

But really, you might ask, why Indiana? Well, I spent five happy years earning my

Maxwell Hall, IU  Bloomington
Maxwell Hall, IU Bloomington

doctorate at the flagship Indiana University campus in Bloomington, one that generations of Maxwells attended and of which my great-great-great grandfather was one of the founders (also: my great-grandfather was first dean of the IU Medical school, my grandfather was captain of the IU basketball team in 1916, and my own father was an undergrad there). Think huge university in a small town. You can walk or ride a bike everywhere. People are friendlier and talk more slowly than in the northeast. And neighboring Brown County is as hilly and pretty as Vermont.

The seed for this series was this: a fellow grad student named Benjamin story-inndropped out of the IU Linguistics PhD program in the late 1970s. With his girlfriend he bought a run-down country store in the town of Story, and fixed it up into a breakfast restaurant as well as a bed-and-breakfast establishment. They served whole-wheat banana walnut pancakes, which I make to this day, and which will figure prominently in my books. The Story Inn still exists, although my friends don’t own it any longer.

When I was imagining how this series might play out, I conjured up a twenty-seven-year-old woman named Robbie Jordan who grew up in Santa Barbara, California. Three years after Robbie moves near her mom’s sister Adele in Brown County to work as a chef, Robbie’s carpenter mom dies suddenly. Robbie uses her savings and a small inheritance to acquire the country store.

beanblossom covered bridge
Bean Blossom covered bridge

I’ve been having a ball remembering and researching phrases and pronunciations from that part of the country. “I might could do it for you.” “Faster than green grass through a goose.” “I can’t eat another bite ’cause I’m as full as a tick.” Actual small town names are awesome: French Lick, Bean Blossom, Gnaw Bone, Floyds Knobs, and so on. When I saw South Lick Creek on a map, I knew that was the name of my fictional village.

I’ve already written about three-quarters of the first book and I’m delighted with the secrets, secondary characters, and food that’s popping up. Meat gravy for the biscuits, but also miso gravy for the green-eyed vegetarian lawyer that Robbie might just be having some feelings for. The big-haired, bigger-than-life mayor Corrine and her high heels. The secret of the Italian father Robbie never met. And more. You can expect it to release in the fall of 2015.

I’m leaving Saturday to spend a week in Bloomington and Brown County soaking up the local culture and dialect and, yes, spending a couple of nights in the Story Inn. I can’t wait. Whole-wheat banana walnut pancakes, anyone?

Readers: Any title help for me? I need three! And if anybody has dialect tips for southern Indiana/northern Kentucky, please share.

83 Thoughts

  1. Fantastic news, Edith, and I know you’ve been busting to be able to share it publicly. Congratulations.

    I’m afraid I’m not very good a titles. I’ll leave that to others. But I’m fascinated by the backstory of why you chose Indiana. We all have these little secrets, that aren’t really secrets – it’s just that the people around us don’t know them. Unless, of course, you’ve grown up and remained in a small town. I can imagine the “secrets” your characters know about each other that Robbie doesn’t yet know and how that will play out in the series.

    Best of luck.

  2. Many congratulations Edith!!! You are one busy gal. Hope you have a great trip to Indiana. Love the new series idea sounds like you have a cereal killer on your hands – bah-da-dum! The cheesy biscuits are grate 🙂 (I know, don’t give up my day job!)

  3. Edith, your new series sounds delightful. I haven’t spent much time in that part of Indiana, but we drive through it on our to St. Louis a couple of times a year. You’re right; it is beautiful and the people are friendly. Love stopping for lunch there. I look forward to reading these books.

  4. Congratulations! Your hard work paid off and the creativity keeps flowing. I can’t wait to read the new series and I love your Local Foods Mysteries.

  5. Congrats, Edith. I look forward to your new country store series, but I do hope someday you will be able to continue the Tace Baker series. 🙂 A few titles: Fatal Flapjacks, Flapjacks are Fatal, Flapjack Fatality; Corn Pone(s) Poison; Pancakes, Waffles and Stabbed; Battered Biscuits, Biscuits and Graveyards, Biscuits, Gravy and Graveyards; Eggs Over Murder, Omelets and Fatal Omissions; Granola and Graveyards; Graves and Granola; Grave Granola; Berries and Screams; Berries with Screams; Orange Sluiced; Slashed Browns.

    1. Readingprincess, the second Lauren Rousseau book, BLUFFING IS MURDER, will be out on November 11! And I love these titles. Am writing them all down.

      1. Thank you for the compliments, Edith/Barbara/Sherry! However someone mentioned Cereal Killers; that is hilarious! Why would anyone want to kill cereal? LOL Edith, I am thrilled about BLUFFING IS MURDER! Barbara, love your series too!

  6. Congrats Edith, way cool news, especially since I’m a Kensington Remote Reviewer. I’ll be watching for your books on the monthly release lists I get…

    Funny thing, my B.I.L. is an Indiana Alumni also… then his daughter followed him there for her BA in Journalism, and a return visit a few years later for her J.D..

      1. It means that I get an e-mail every month with the complete list of new titles coming out and get to pick and choose the books I’d like to read and consider for review.

  7. Congrats on both series!!! Really looking forward to your new one, and this gives me more motivation to push the first local food mystery up the TBR mountain range.

  8. More titles: (Egg) Strata Strangle; (Eggs) Benedict Bash; Strangled Eggs; Grits and Gravitas; Quashed Quiche; Muffin Menance; Menacing Muffins; Menaced by Muffins

  9. Congratulations on the extension of the Local Foods mystery series and on your new Country Store series. I love the Local Foods series. The new series sounds like fun also…looking forward to it.

    1. Thanks, woofmew! Yes, there is a cat in the new series, of course. A long-haired black and white named Birdy who suspiciously resembles the junior cat (of three) in our non-fictional household.

  10. Congratulations, Edith, on the continuation of your Local Foods mystery series and your new series with Kensington. What a great family story about IU Bloomington.

  11. So happy for you & me, too. Congratulations on 2 more in Local food series. The new country store series sounds like a fun read. All the suggested titles are better than anything I could come up with; but biscuits and graves really invokes the feel of down home cooking. One order of biscuits & graves with a side of slashed browns for me please! Enjoy your research trip! Please get to writing I’m impatiently waiting!

    1. Thanks, Lindar! So glad you are impatient for more books. Believe me, I’m working almost as hard as I can (must be said that I could omit things like exercise, gardening, and cooking from my life, but I wouldn’t be very happy…)

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