Edith here, also known as Maddie Day, writing madly on my last day of solo retreat on Cape Cod.
As most of you know, I am under contract to write three mysteries a year. I also try to push out a short story or two annually. And this year I’m co-chair of the New England Crime Bake for the second time. Wouldn’t you think that would keep me busy enough, seeing as how I also like to watch movies with my sweetie, eat meals, keep in touch with my sons, help my elderly friend, exercise daily, and be active in my spiritual community?
Then…last year my editor at Kensington Publishing asked if I would like to write a Christmas-themed novella for a three-story collection. It’s like the collections Barb has written for lately. I’ve never written a book set at Christmas, and I know they are popular with readers. It’s hard to turn down an invitation like that from the senior editor at Kensington. Still, I’d never written that length of story, which is either a really, really long short story or a really, really short book. And I had enough on my plate.
So, naturally, I took a deep breath, swallowed hard, and said Yes. My editor said the title would be Christmas Cocoa Murders and wanted it to include, well, cocoa. My novella was to be by Maddie Day, featuring Robbie Jordan in her Indiana country store. Okay, I could do that. I brainstormed story ideas with the Wickeds last spring, and Jessie had the brilliant idea to include a chocolate lab puppy named Cocoa, who might or might not be involved with the murder.
I’m not quite sure how I squeezed it in, but somehow a window of time opened last summer and I wrote madly away until I had about 27,000 words and a complete story. I learned my two co-authors would be Carlene O’Connor and Alex Erickson, both of whom write successful cozy series.
And now, voila, the collection has a cover, is in production and is up for preorder!
Isn’t that fun? The book releases September 24, right smack in many people’s shopping window. Because books make the best gifts! My novella is called Christmas Cocoa and a Corpse. Robbie makes Mexican hot chocolate packets to sell in her store. And then…
When local businessman Jed Greenberg is found dead with a chocolate lab whimpering over his body, the police start sniffing around Robbie Jordan’s country restaurant for answers. Was it something in Robbie’s hot cocoa that killed Jed, or was it Cocoa the dog? As the suspects pile as high as her holiday tree, Robbie attempts to get to the bottom of the sickly-sweet murder . . .
Readers, Do you like Christmas mysteries? How about chocolate labs?