Welcome Terrie Farley Moran!

By Sherry

crhteeWe are so please to have Terrie Farley Moran with us today. I got to know Terrie last spring when we were both nominated for an Agatha Award in the best first novel category. Congratulations, again to Terrie for her win with Well Read Then Dead! Terrie is giving away a cute Caught Read-Handed (isn’t that a great title) T-shirt to a commenter today. So leave a comment and an email address!

CaughtReadHanded_newcomp.inddHi All. Caught Read-Handed, the second book in the Read ’Em and Eat cozy mystery series was released a few weeks ago and I am having a fine time wandering around the blogosphere visiting friends both old and new. I’m so excited that the Wickeds invited me back to visit them and all their terrific readers. (Thanks Sherry.)

Happy as I am that book two is out in the world, I’m struggling along writing book three of the series. I’d love to say “writing cozy mysteries is great fun” but that would be less than truthful. Writing anything is work. Hard work.

But you take research—that’s where the fun is! I am so pleased that my daughter recommended the gorgeous and tranquil (excluding the occasional cozy murder) Fort Myers Beach as the home of the Read ’Em and Eat Café and Bookstore. As part of my research naturally I read all the books that the café’s book club members read, and it would be silly not to dabble in the book-related food the café serves. (Think Old Man and the Sea Chowder, Green Eggs and Ham or Harper Lee Hush Puppies.) I freely admit there are few things I enjoy more than books and food but I am happily surprised at how much I’ve come to love the study of the flora and fauna of southwest Florida.

FTMyrsBchshellsFor one thing I had no idea the extensive variety of sea shells that can be found in the Gulf of Mexico, although I did know that all sea shells start out as the home of mollusks. Did you know that clams, mussels, oysters and scallops live in bivalve shells? That’s what you’d recognize as two sided hinged shells. How about those elegant tulip shells? Did you know they are called gastropods? Say what? Gastropods—it seems that gastropods are univalves and have snails inside with a large foot-like stomach that pushes through a hole in the shell wall to propel the gastropod around.

I still have a lot to learn about shells but one thing I can tell you for sure is that in Fort Myers Beach it is against the law to collect an occupied sea shell. If the mollusk is at home, you must leave the shell alone.

mcgregor_blvd_sb_app_victoria_aveAnd what about those splendid palm trees decorating beaches, streets, parks and lawns—every surface imaginable? I am astounded by the sheer variety of palms, ranging from Dwarf Palms that max out at ten feet high to the more usual palm trees that reach twenty to thirty feet at maturity. For absolute grandeur there is the Florida Royal Palm which reaches a height of one hundred thirty feet and seems to live forever. In fact when Thomas Edison wintered in Fort Myers a hundred years or so ago, he bought and planted a couple of hundred Royal Palms along the roadway now known as MacGregor Boulevard, which led to Fort Myers earning its nickname “City of Palms”.

And of course there are alligators, red-shouldered hawks and large orange sulphur butterflies, not to mention the Florida panther, which lends its name to the state’s ice hockey team. I spent far too much time studying them all. And don’t get me started on the massive assortment of fish. Oh, and flowers, dazzling flowers. Some varieties bloom nearly all year. If you want to know about snakes, you’ll just have to read Caught Read-Handed.
Okay, okay, you’re right. I am having way too much fun, but hey, when was the last time you canoed through the mangrove trees on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River and called it “research”?
A writer’s life is always interesting.



Agatha Award winner Terrie Farley Moran is the author of Read ‘Em and Eat cozy mystery series including Well Read, Then Dead and Caught Read-Handed. Her short mystery fiction has been published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and numerous anthologies. Her stories have been short-listed twice for Best American Mysteries. Terrie’s web address is http://www.terriefarleymoran.com She blogs at http://www.womenofmystery.net and can be found on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/terriefarleymoran

43 Thoughts

  1. You make research sound like so much fun that I might start a 2nd or is it 3rd career. 🙂

  2. Enjoyed the first book in the series and am looking forward to the new one which should be waiting for me when I get to a friend’s place in VA next week.

    1. Thanks you for letting me know. Nothing makes a writer happier than having someone say she enjoyed a book.

    1. It is a lot of fun. The trees are lovely and you can often see the fish because the water is clear.

  3. Terrie, great post and thanks for visiting today! Your research sounds like a lot of fun. One of these days I’m going to set a book somewhere exotic and fabulous just so I can go on the research trip.

    1. Thanks for having me Liz. Research is always fun. Much of my short mystery fiction is set in New York City where I have lived my entire life but I still have to research. Is Father Duffy’s statue on 47th street or 48th? What year was the cornerstone ceremony at the UN? Stuff like that–no canoes!

  4. Next time I go to Fort Myers to visit my mom – I will have to do some research of my own! LOL

  5. Good morning. I’m so happy to see everyone. Thanks to Sherry and the Wicked Cozies for inviting me to visit. Okay so, ladies when you are in the canoe paddling through the mangroves, don’t forget to bring a rubber ball, like a Spalding. What for? If an alligator comes to close to you, you throw the ball in the water on the other side of the ‘gator and he will respond to the splash and head in that direction. I can’t guarantee that the ploy works because I haven’t had to use it which is the advantage of sticking to a flotilla of canoes and kayaks rather than going it alone.

    1. Not sure if it would work but better to try!

      When I was in LA, I took a swamp tour and they threw marshmallows to draw the alligators closer. Who knew marshmallows attracted them?

  6. Terri sounds like an interesting author, will need to add to my TBR list…

  7. Sounds like you’ve had a lot of fun researching and learned quite a bit, too. Good luck getting book 3 to behave.

    1. I do now realize I should have been a researcher for my entire life. I was a bit late in discovering how much fun it is. Book 3 is doing it’s best to make me insane but I will triumph in the end. How’s that for a positive spin??

  8. Hi, Terrie! Great to see you here. I agree about research. It’s much easier for me than writing. (Love that tip in the comments about alligators!) I’m struggling through book three, too. Wishing you the best with writing and everything else. 🙂

    1. Susan it is always great to see you! Are you going to B’con Raleigh? If so we can have a toast to book 3s that we have known and conquered.

    1. Robin, you are a sweetheart. Thanks so much for your good wishes and support.

    1. Sue, I am such a New Yorker. What got me out and about was my daughter moved to Florida and then she had kids. *sigh* Gotta see the grandkids.

  9. I wish all research on books involved hush puppies. In fact, I think I will make it so. Delightful article!

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post and I can’t fault you on the hush puppies. I will say that Caught Read-Handed has a fabulous recipe for Miss Marple Orange Iced Scones. The recipe was developed by Karen Owen from A Cup of Tea and a Cozy Mystery blog. Wow can that girl bake!

  10. Good idea to leave the little mollusk’s shell along – would you want somebody picking up your house while you were still in it? 🙂 Usually the shells I found were empty.
    Would love to win the t-shirt. Read the book too.

    1. You are so right. Most shells are empty but once in a while, especially in places as shell-y as the Gulf Coast a mollusk gets pushed inland by the water. And people think it is funny to try to get the mollusk out of the shell. You should hear me talk about the sea turtles. They mate in spring, leave their eggs in the sand and never come back,so it is up to us not to disturb the nests. Hatching time starts soon and goes until October. If the babies don’t make it into the water, they don’t make it at all. See-my head explodes with all this research.

  11. Your research sounds like a lot of fun! Can’t wait to read this book. Thanks for the chance at a tee shirt!

    1. Research is great fun except I have to stop myself from letting the research get in the way of the writing.

    1. not to late. I think this giveaway closes at midnight 7/31. Good luck.

  12. I have both books in this series. I haven’t gotten to them quite yet, but I plan to read them back to back. They look wonderful!
    Research the way you’re doing it sounds fun! Thank you for the giveaway!

    1. I know what you mean. When I find a new series I try to read a few together so that I get to be friends with the characters . I hope you do enjoy the books when you have a chance to read them. Let me know. Good luck in the giveaway.

  13. Terrie, as a fan who’s read and loves both books, I can see how your research paid off. The setting isn’t just a backdrop, it’s an integral part of the story. I’m looking forward to book three.

    1. Thanks Anita. It is always a joy to receive a compliment for a writer as terrific as you are.

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