Guest: Peg Cochran

Edith here, happy to welcome Peg Cochran, a fellow cozy author who also writes about murder related to farming! Here’s the blurb for her newest mystery,  SowedtoDeathSowed to Death:

The county fair is the highlight of the year for the small town of Lovett, Michigan—especially for food-and-lifestyle blogger Shelby McDonald, who writes as the Farmer’s Daughter. She’s submitting jams and jellies she’s created from the produce she grows at Love Blossom Farm in hopes of harvesting a blue ribbon. But the townspeople get more than just the excitement of hayrides, tractor pulls, and cotton candy when Shelby’s neighbor and volunteer fireman, Jake Taylor, extricates the body of Zeke Barnstable instead of a dummy during a demonstration of the Jaws of Life. The fact that Jake and Zeke were known to be at odds plants suspicion in the minds of the police. As evidence against Jake grows, Shelby knows she has to plow through the clues to weed out the true killer and save her friend.

Doesn’t that sound fun? And she’s giving away a copy to one commenter here today. Take it away, Peg!

An Agent by Any Other Name…

When I first starting looking into getting an agent for my work, I had a fairly limited view of what an agent does—they sell your book and make sure the contract isn’t entirely in the publishing house’s favor.

JessicaFaustI was thrilled when agent Jessica Faust of BookEnds agreed to take me on, and I quickly learned that an agent does so much more than get you a book deal and vet your contracts.

An agent—a good one anyway—is a collaborator, editor, nag, supporter, career coach and someone who forces you to write the dreaded synopsis even when you don’t want to.

My newest series, The Farmer’s Daughter Mysteries, is a case in point.  It started with our annual “what are your plans for this year?” conversation (career coach) wherein I indicated a desire to take on a new cozy series.

From there, we tossed around possibilities (collaborator) and Jessica mentioned her idea for a cozy series revolving around a lifestyle blogger who lives on a farm. I liked the idea despite the fact that a) I’ve never lived on a farm or even near one and b) I can’t grow anything and can barely keep a plastic plant alive.

IMG_3769
Peg’s only plant

But I was game so I ran with the concept and put my own spin on it. I made the blogger a widow with two children, added a couple of possible romantic interests, complicated things with a brother-in-law who reminds my protagonist a little too much of her late husband, and then tossed in a dead body.

From there, I submitted three chapters, which I rewrote with Jessica’s subsequent feedback (editor) and then created the series overview and synopsis for the first book (synopsis enforcer).

Jessica was excited about the idea and occasionally emailed to ask how it was going (nag). Finally it was done and on submission. The first publishing house we approached turned it down, but Jessica assured me that it would find a home (supporter).

Jessica then did the two things I knew an agent did: sold it to Berkley Prime Crime and made sure the contract was in order.

I don’t know if I’m just lucky and Jessica is exceptional (which I suspect she is) or if this is the industry norm. Either way, I can’t imagine negotiating the tricky waters of a writing career without someone like her!mlc 9-15

Mystery writing lets Peg Cochran indulge her curiosity under the guise of “work” (aka research).  She put pen to paper at age seven when she wrote plays and forced her cousins to perform them at Christmas dinner.   She switched to mysteries when she discovered the perfect hiding place for a body down the street from her house.  

When she’s not writing, she spends her time reading, cooking, spoiling her granddaughter and checking her books’ stats on Amazon.  Peg resides in Michigan with her husband and Westhighland white terrier, Reg.  She is the author of the Sweet Nothings Lingerie series (written as Meg London), the Gourmet De-Lite series, the Lucille series, the Cranberry Cove series, The Farmer’s Daughter series, and the Reluctant Debutante series debuting in the fall of 2018 from Random House. You can find her at www.facebook.com/pegcochran, @pegcochran (twitter), pegcochran (Instagram), and www.pegcochran.com.

Readers: Have you ever lived on a farm and/or would you like to? Do you have a green thumb or a black one like mine? Remember, Peg is giving away a copy of Sowed to Death to one commenter here today!

111 Thoughts

  1. Well, not a real farm, but we always have grand plans for our veggie garden every year! Experience always has us toning it down a bit! Right now, I am figuring out how to stake up a monster tomato plant that is already bending its’ cage! Looking forward to the new book!

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    1. Ah, home grown tomatoes are the BEST! We did grow tomatoes one year–well my husband did. They were fantastic. But we’ve since moved to a condo where my lack of gardening skills are no longer a problem!

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  2. I’ve never lived on a farm but as a child we did have a garden with tomatoes, corn, peppers, beans (lima and green beans), peas, carrots and beets. My mother’s flower gardens were beautiful, especially her rose garden. We also had rabbits, gerbils, fish and of course cat and dogs. I am sure I would enjoy reading Peg Cochran’s latest book.

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  3. My parents always had a garden…I can still remember the taste of warm veggies that i could pluck at anytime I got hungry! Now we go to the local Farmer’s Market!

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  4. Yes, I helped my Grandparents farm in the 60’s & 70’s when it was still small family farms. Thanks for the chance to win this new series.

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  5. I remember visiting my grandparents in West Virginia when I was very young, they didn’t really have a farm but had what they needed to survive. A garden chickens, a pig. My mom said she had a pet pig when she was a kid, she dressed it up and pushed it around in a baby carriage. I also remember we had to use an outhouse. Yuck!! pgenest57 at aol dot com

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  6. I have lived in a very small farm. I would love to live on a bigger one. My husband has a green thumb. He can grow anything. I do not, but I would enjoy raising animals.

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  7. I’ve never lived on a farm, but we went farm hopping a couple years back. Once a year here in N.C. (I don’t think they’ve done it in a couple of years) farmers open their farms to the public for a day and tell us about how it operates and sell you their produce. I bought sausage from one of the farms and I can tell you it was the best sausage I’d had in decades. Literally. When I ate it it immediately brought back memories of when I was a little girl and used to wake up from the aroma of breakfast sausage sizzling in the kitchen. I hadn’t tasted sausage like that since back then. It was so delicious I begged my mom to give me the pack she bought!!
    I have a few orchids in my downstairs office that I try to remember to water. (Which reminds me I need to go water them, LOL.) Other than that I’m pretty sad when it comes to growing stuff.

    Wow! You’ve written a lot of different series! Thank you for telling us about the importance of an editor. Sowed to Death sounds like a fun cozy mystery. I like the cover too.

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    1. The cover is a fun story! My editor asked me for some suggestions for the cover and along with other pictures, I sent along a picture of a painting I’d found online of a county fair which features in the book. I thought it would give the cover artist some ideas. The marketing department liked the painting so much they contacted the artist and got permission to use it on my cover! I looked the artist up and recognized the scene in one of her paintings in her portfolio–it was the College Green at Ohio University where it turned out we’d both gone to school! So the cover is extra special to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I have never lived on a farm but always enjoyed visiting my great Uncle Charlie’s farm when I was a kid. I love the “smell” of a farm. I loved the first book in this series. I hope you win the second. But if not I will buy it.

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  9. Thanks for joining us today! My grandparents had a farm. I enjoyed the orchard, wildflowers in the woods, and rides on the tractor. But I need sidewalks, people, shops, restaurants, and airports.

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  10. I don’t live on what most people would consider a farm, but we do have a small vegetable garden and a cat who loves to play in our garden. I do not have a green thumb, but my husband does…he is a landscaper.

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  11. Welcome, Peg! It’s great to have you here. My great-aunt and uncle had a sheep farm in New Jersey. My main memory of it from when I was little is that sheep are very, very stupid.

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    1. Where in NJ? Apparently my great-grandmother had a farm in Spotswood, NJ but that was before my time. Not even sure I’m spelling that right–only ever heard it talked about. Sheep are incredibly stupid. I’ve been to the sheep dog trials where for several days the dogs show off their skills herding the sheep. The pattern is always the same but the sheep never catch on!

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  12. I had a boyfriend that lived on a farm with sheep. One of the lambs lost his mother and my boyfriend’s mother brought him in to keep him alive, wrapped in a blanket in the kitchen. His name was Spanky. One day, Spanky disappeared and they were having lamb stew for dinner.

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  13. Looking forward to reading g your newest book very much. My husband grew up on a small farm in CT. and as a teen, worked at neighboring farms too. We had small family gardens for many years after we were married and our married daughter still loves to have her children plant and garvest the fruit and produce. I would still have tomatoes and summer squash if we didn’t live in a townhouse with rules of no ground planting. Pots just don’t do it!!! Thank goodness for local farms and daily picked vegetables at the farm stands.
    !!! Thank you for the chance to win your book.

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    1. Cynthia, pots can be hard, can’t they? I have all my vegetables in pots now that we spend summers in a place with a tiny, tiny yard. I love to grow chard in pots because it is beautiful as well as tasty! And I have found one or two types of tumbling cherry tomatoes that have really good flavor. It isn’t the same as a large garden but it feels like summer to me and there aren’t many weeds:)

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  14. I grew up in the country and we had all kinds of animals. We had a pony named Snoopy, many dicks a special older duck we called Papa. We had a dwarf bunny named bun bun. I had no luck in the garden. Anything I touched wilted and died. Cannot wait to read your new book 📚

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  15. Looking forward to this series. On my TBR. I have never lived on a farm even though I have stayed for portions of a summer near farms & walking by the cows daily. My uncle raised rabbits & chickens. thanks for the chance.

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    1. My grandparents raised rabbits and chickens too. My great-grandfather always said he didn’t like the taste of anyone’s chicken dinners except for my grandmother’s. She never did tell him it was actually rabbit.

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  16. I live in the country on a couple acres. I’m a redhead and my thumb is as green as my hair. If you want a dead plant, bring it in the house. But my husband is the gardener. I take care of the stuff when he brings it in the house! We are hunters and gatherers. Love the sound of the story. Thanks for the chance to win.

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  17. I’ve never lived on a farm, and that’s a very good thing. I can’t even keep a cactus alive. Seriously.

    (Already have the book so don’t enter me in the drawing.)

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  18. I have never lived on a farm, but we used to visit my Uncle’s farm when we were kids. We use to play in the barn and the hayloft and got to ride on the farm tractors in the fields. It’s a great memory, but i don’t think I would want to live on a farm now.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Farms seem more romantic in notion than in reality to me too. I love the idea and respect all the work that goes into them but don’t think I would want to make the committment it takes.

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  19. My folks bought some acreage when I was a young adult. We had a few a few pigs and a couple of heifers. Also, a huge garden. Received a call from someone down the road, telling us one of the heifers had gotten loose. She was in their front yard. This lady had plastic flowers stuck in the ground in front of her house. There stood our black Angus heifer with this giant purple flower in her mouth. One of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.

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  20. I’ve never lived on a farm but since 1953 I’ve lived in a area surrounded by farms so it doesn’t matter I haven’t got a green thumb.. My husband was a farm boy and he would tell what was growing as we were driving somewhere and later as we flying our own plane he often tell me to look down and see the beautiful quilt the plants made. He never out grew being a farm boy at heart and this city girl appreciated that.

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  21. I haven’t ever lived on a farm. However my grandparents had one. I loved to help my papa feed the animals. We would also fish in the pond and have picnics at the farm. Thanks for a chance to win! kristilewis dot lrc at gmail dot com

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  22. Not a farm but we do have a garden. My tomatoes were doing great until tomato horn worms got to them. Destructive creatures!

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  23. Yes my husband and I owned 40 acres of citrus. It was a magical beautiful place where we lived in nature’s glory. Living in a farm or ranch you learn that the rhythm of nature drives life with a new appreciation for each season in its glory. I have always since been uniquely connected to nature, growing and seasons. Life was gloriously beautiful. Thank you for the chance.

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    1. Maybe a hobby farm bed and breakfast would be a good business for someone. They could charge guests for the pleasure of helpign with the chores. And the guests could try out farm life without the commitment.

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  24. Living on a farm has always seemed like fun to me. I have not ever lived on a farm though. It’s probably a good thing because I also struggle to keep any kind of plant alive. I love flowers and fresh home grown vegetables but have a tendency to kill everything off.

    I also just ordered the first book in this series yesterday. I can’t wait to read it!

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  25. Lovely post. Book looks really interesting. Didn’t live on a farm. But did live out in the country near farms. Often helped my neighbors with their chores and other projects. As for a green thumb. No me. But my Mom? Give her a plant that has been a withered husk for two months and in four it’s climbing the walls. My son who asked me to babysit his cacti for 9 months says I am the only person he knows who can kill a cacti. And I did not over water. Grow herbs for cooking mostly.

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  26. My Dad bought a farm many years back in Anna, Texas, as a hobby. After not much luck with raising crops, he and his partner decided to raise cows. They had just enough cattle for about 10 kids to run after and herd (me and my 4 sisters and his partner’s 5 boys, and sometimes neighborhood kids thrown in!). They kept the old tractor, and it had a platform on the back that we used to get to ride on as our reward, over the very hilly land. I would not trade those days for anything!

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  27. My son will be leaving the service and has asked my husband and I to join his family as they research starting their farm. A new adventure awaits us!

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  28. I guess I am between a green thumb and a black one. I do have 2 plants that are over 15 years old. I’ve managed to keep them alive. We haven’t had a vegetable garden in years but if I remember right we didn’t do to badly. Nothing spectacular or gigantic. Fresh tomatoes from New Jersey are the best – there’s just something about the flavor that can’t be beat. I love all of your books. I’m always looking for new authors. You landed on my list about a year ago. Keep up the good work. More people would be happier if they read- allowed themselves to be transported to another world.

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  29. I have never lived on a farm but my parents both were ‘country folk’ born and raised in rural AR. I visited my family there once as a child and loved it! I was born, raised and still live in CA’s San Joaquin Valley which is the heart of The Golden State’s farmland. I inherited my dad and Grandma’s green thumb. Although I have been disabled for years and can’t physically make and tend a garden luckily I’m not the only one in the house who can grow some juicy tomatoes, crisp zucchini and many more delicious veggies. Good luck to all andthank you for this chance to win 🙂

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  30. I grew up in a small town smack dab in a walnut orchard! My dad always had the best gardens–zucchini, cucumbers, beans, corn, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, etc. I, on the other hand, do not have a green thumb at all!

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  31. I have never lived on a farm. I admit that I don’t want to get too close to cows and horses and pigs. My grandfather raised chickens when I was a child and that was more than enough for me. I used to have a green thumb for house plants but haven’t had any in a couple of years. I hope to one day again. I love fresh veggies, especially tomatoes, warm off the vine.

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  32. from the time I could walk my grandparents and parents had me in a garden ..they raised vegetables to use and sell and grandma had flowers ..am good with flowers but not best with vegetables. would love to read your book even though I haven’t read first one

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  33. I’ve never lived on a farm and couldn’t imagine the responsibility of taking care of so much. I have the blackest thumb ever…which is probably a disappointment to my mom and grandma since they can grow anything! haha!

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  34. I’m a city girl so no farm living for me. My aunt and uncle used to have a farm and farm animals. I think they had at least one horse. I have a black thumb.

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  35. I have never lived on a farm, but we would visit my oma’s home in Germany every summer. I loved the cows, chickens, pigs, cutting hay, and every smell and thing about it. I am a really good gardening if I may say so myself. I had a wonderful garden at my home before I moved back home with my parents. It was mostly ornamental, but did have a nice garden for veggies. I have a question for you. Will Death with Malice ever be published in real book form? No need to enter me in the contest, loved the book!

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      1. Weird it showed you as having contributed a story to it? Thanks anyway. Yes Oma’s farm was the best!

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      2. Kay, you are so right about the book! I’d totally forgotten about it. One of my books IS in that volume! I’d forgotten about that! But what can you expect from someone who ran around the house tonight looking for her glasses only to discover they were on top of my head! Sadly the book won’t be out in paperback.

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      3. Oh good. The heat does a number on me and hated thinking I had embarrassed myself so badly, lol. I know how it is though, so no worries. Too bad. I do not read ebooks. They keep trying to force me to do it, but I am going to hold out as long as I can 😉

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  36. I would love to live on a farm or at least experience one day on a farm. I don’t have a green thumb. Thanks for the chance.

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  37. My thumb is so black plastic flowers shudder when I walk by. Two exceptions: 1) a few years ago, I planted 5 tomato plants at a friend’s hobby farm. I ended up with 450 usable tomatoes! I’ll be eating canned tomatoes until I’m 90; 2) three house plants that live in spite of me. One is 40 years old. I’ve killed many cacti and jade plants along with countless others.

    I’m excited to learn about your new series and would love to win your freebie!

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  38. Unfortunately, I have a black thumb. My favorite Uncle was a chicken farmer, and I visited quite often when I was a child. My first teaching contract was with a small country school, and I boarded on a dairy farm for a little while, until I found an apartment near the school that I could afford — my contract was for $3500 a year, and this was in 1972!

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  39. My husband grew up on a farm, so we always had a huge garden in our backyard. The weeds grew as well as the vegetables, but it was great to eat fresh veggies. Sadly, he passed away last fall and I could not bring myself to plant this year. Hope to get back to it next year though.

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  40. I’ve never lived on a big farm but we have lived on parcels of small acreage for the last 25 or so years. I couldn’t see me living in town now. We do usually have a big garden. Hubby is the green thumb person though. I laugh and tell him if he can grow it then I can pick and cook it. Sounds like a pretty even exchange to me. Means we always have some fresh or freshly put up goodies on the table. We haven’t been able to do much last few years because we were full time caregivers to my parents. Then this year we up and moved to the other end of the state. At 64 that is a BIG deal let me tell you. We miss the fresh veggies and I can’t wait to get back into the growing business again.

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  41. Two of my favorite authors, hello Peg and Edith. My grandparents had a corner city lot devoted to a vegetable garden. I have a small area, 9′ x 11′, and this year have Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, Cauliflower(first time) tomatoes, basil, and rosemary. Had 4 heads of broccoli, a couple ounces shy of 5 pounds. The tomato plants are nearly 5 foot tall.

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