Christmas Cocoa, Anyone?

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.

chocolatelabpup
Photo by RichardF at English Wikipedia, via Wikimedia Commons.

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!

christmascocoa

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?

55 Thoughts

  1. I love Christmas mysteries and chocolate labs. One needs a large house and fenced yard for them once they are no longer puppies.

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  2. I’m not dependent on a book being set at Christmas but on occasion I do like a holiday themed murder mystery. I’ve enjoyed Vicki Delany’s 3 book Year Round Christmas series so far. And you know that I’m up for a new Robbie Jordan story.

    And while I’ve had no experience with chocolate labs, how could one not like dogs?

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  3. Hi Edith,

    I’m a big fan of Christmas mysteries, so I’m really happy to learn that I’ve got an early Christmas present to look forward to this September. Thank you, Edith! And today was a day when I could really use some good news to brighten my day.

    I suspect that holiday-themed mysteries are big sellers for publishers, which explains why there are so many truly TERRIBLE ones out there. I know because I’ve read them all I’ll read a holiday mystery at any time of the year (which is actually odd, since I’m a terrible Scrooge about seeing holiday decorations in stores before Thanksgiving … these days, even long before Halloween).

    Of course, I’ll read a LOT of them around the holidays. It always puts me in that Christmas mood and fills me with joy (even if it means that someone has dropped dead from poisoned Christmas cocoa … or that Christmas Cocoa has put poison in someone’s Christmas cocoa).

    Of course, that photo had me immediately going awwwwww. You had me at Woof, fellow.

    So thanks, for raising my spirits, Edith. I’m looking forward to it. And hopefully Barb will come through with a a third one for us as well. Now if Sherry, Liz, Jessica, and Julie would just get with the program, we’d really have cause to celebrate!

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  4. WOW! “Christmas Cocoa Murders” sounds like the perfect Christmas cozy. Can’t wait to read your novella “Christmas Cocoa and a Corpse”. I love Robbie Jordan stories and this one sounds perfect for her. Excited at the prospect.

    Yes, I love Christmas mysteries! While in the holiday spirit, I likes to keep the cozies in like mind sometimes. As for chocolate labs, I am a dog lover and love all breeds. I’ve owned both large and small breeds before. In fact, I owned a lab once although he was a black on. It’s just as I have gotten older, seems that my dogs have gotten smaller. I guess because of the time and energy are easier to keep up with as we get older.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

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  5. What ambition and discipline you have! I look forward to the book. I do love Christmas stories and the novellas like Barb’s are perfect. That cover is so cute, and so is that chocolate Lab. Out of loyalty, though, I have to put 16-year old sweet Pugs like our Pep first.

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  6. I enjoy the Christmas books by authors I already read,but I don’t seek them out.
    Also enjoy cocoa but don’t often make it.
    Labs however are wonderful. I’ve raised more than a dozen for Guide Dogs for the Blind. We also had a chocolate lab as a pet for many years.

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  7. I love Christmas or any other holiday themed mystery. I’m not a big fan of dogs (being a true cat lady), but I have a story about a chocolate lab. Years ago, I had a boss who was blind and had a guide dog. It was a chocolate lab named, yep, you guessed it, Cocoa. We traveled a lot in business and he was a great traveling companion. But when running free, labs do like water, and Cocoa could always find the stinkiest, slimiest water to wallow in before getting back into my car! Loved him.

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  8. I love Christmas cozies! Looking forward to this one.

    But I counted the second Country Store mystery as a Christmas cozy. Yes, it’s set at the beginning of December, but Robbie was working on decorating the store for the holiday.

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  9. I love Christmas mysteries and any dog, cat, bunny, horse, etc. I always wait in the line to pet the rabbits at the Farm Show.

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  10. I love Christmas mysteries! I also like any story with animals…especially dogs. A chocolate lab is perfect. I has a black lab, so I labs are very special to me!

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  11. I am looking forward to this book I enjoy holiday stories and who dosn’t like chocolate labs especially puppies. A killer no way.

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