Writing in Shorts– Loulou Harrington

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This is the third of fourteen interviews to celebrate Happy Homicides 6: Cooking Up Crime.

Loulou Harrington writes the Myrtle Grove Garden Club cozy mystery series and recently contributed to the mystery anthologies Happy Homicides 5: The Purr-fect Crime & Happy Homicides 6: Cooking Up Crime.

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She is also the author of nine romances for Harlequin. Check out the covers. Aren’t they great?!  Classic Harlequin.  

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Loulou is a gardener herself and is always posting the loveliest photos of flowers on her facebook and twitter pages. Follow her and thank me later.  On to the interview—

When and why did you begin writing “in shorts”? Is it harder or easier than full-length novels?

I began writing “in shorts” for the Happy Homicides anthologies just this year. For me it’s harder than writing a full-length novel. Even though it takes much less time to complete, I think it takes just as long, for its size, as a full-length book would take.

What is your favorite short story anthology beside the Happy Homicide series?

My first introduction to an entire book of short stories was the Nick Adams stories by Ernest Hemingway. It’s still probably my favorite.

As an author, what has been your most embarrassing moment, typo, or gaffe?

My first published books were Harlequin romances, and probably the most embarrassing moment was early in my writing career when a male co-worker and friend brought one of my books to work with him and began reading part of a love scene aloud when I walked into his office. It wouldn’t have embarrassed me nearly so much if it hadn’t been an open cubicle where anyone could hear him over the walls. Luckily, by the time I got him to quit, he had me laughing, too—and thankfully he never did it again.

What is your favorite vacation spot to be in shorts? (I want you to say Miami, but no pressure. wink)

Miami. Seriously, I love that whole area, from Ft. Pierce to Key West. From around Biscayne especially, and down through the Keys, my husband and I have spent weeks at a time in an old sailboat exploring the area. Whether reading about it in shorts, full length books, or visiting in person, the Miami area has been like coming home for me for many years. I get nostalgic just thinking about it.

Since this edition of Happy Homicides is food themed, I have to ask—What is your favorite comfort food?

My favorite comfort food? Oh, man, that’s hard, but if I had to choose one food that goes all the way back to my childhood and is still something I can’t get enough of, it’s southern-style cornbread dressing like my mother made for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and very special Sunday dinners. Turkey with cornbread dressing and cranberry sauce is all I need to feel like it’s a holiday any day of the week.

YUM! Makes me wish next week would hurry up and get here already. Download Happy Homicides 6: Cooking Up Crime before the long holiday weekend. Be it for the food themed stories and bonus recipes or for a distraction from your relatives, it will be a great addition to your library. 

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Keep checking back with Cozy in Miami for the rest of this interview series. Joanna Campbell Slan, the mastermind of the Happy Homicides anthologies, will be joining us.

 

 

 

Miami Interview #2

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This is the second installation of my author interviews. I am trying to think of a catchy name for the series and could use your help. Comment on the blog if you have a good title idea. Mine are: The Fab 4 Questions, Authors <3 Miami, Authors That Swim with Sharks. Help!

Onto the interview, please welcome Kait Carson to Cozy in Miami.

Kait CarsonShe and I are members of the Sisters in Crime organization, a network of mystery writers. Kait lived in South Florida for many years and uses it as the setting for her books. Her Hayden Kent series (Henery Press) is about a diver.

DBBW coverHer Catherine Swope’s series is about an ex-cop turned real estate seller that finds murder in Miami.

MMCoverWorkHDRBienvenidos Kait!

1. Have you ever been to Miami? Please tell us the one thing you found delightful or unique about “The Magic City.”
I lived in Miami and around Miami for more than 30 years. It has always been a Magic City. In more ways that anyone would ever expect. What I find most delightful about it is that the City, and surroundings, are a wonderful mix of tourist kitsch and metropolitan drive. Miami is a parallel universe. On one hand a thriving commercial/financial center, on the other, Seaquarium and Parrot Jungle. What surprises me is how little the two worlds interact. As for unique, there’s iconic Miami Beach, what the locals call South Beach. It’s the one that was featured in Miami Vice and Burn Notice. Tourists are always surprised at how small the Miami Beaches are. Not so South Beach. By Miami standards it is huge. Definitely the place to see and be scene.

2. What is your favorite novel set in Florida and why?
Besides my own books? Oh so many, and not all set in South Florida. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings wrote about Florida. Although her books were contemporary when they were written, they now provide a wonderful look back in time. Anything by Carl Hiaasen. He manages to capture and combine the absurdity and gritty underbelly that is South Florida. Florida has always had that two-edged sword reputation. It’s a place where swampland was for sale and a borrow pit could be turned into the magnificent Venetian Pool.

3. Tell us about your writing and main characters.
I write about Florida. South Florida. I have two series, the newly debuted Hayden Kent Series from Henery Press and the Catherine Swope series that I independently published. The Kent series is set in the Fabulous Florida Keys. Hayden is a paralegal and a scuba diver. She persuades her favorite dive captain to let her dive alone on the wreck of the Humboldt. In the wheelhouse of the wreck, she discovers a dead body wrapped in an anchor line. When it turns out that Hayden has ties to the deceased, she uses the skills of both her hobby and her profession to solve his murder. The tag line for the series says it all. Under water, no one hears your screams. Catherine Swope is a woman with a past. She is a former cop who quit the force when she returned fire and killed the teen shooting at her. Although the shooting was justified, she is still trying to find a way to forgive herself. She’s a Realtor now, selling the high-end real estate that seems to flourish in Miami. Unfortunately, she finds dead bodies, and somehow, the circumstances always implicate her.

4. Would your main character(s) be a fish out of water in Miami or would they dive in and swim with the sharks?
Oh very much at home! In fact, it nearly is their home! Hayden often swims with the sharks –

 

Gracias for the visit Kait.

 

 

Something new for you (Miami Interview #1)

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From time to time I will be interviewing other authors (mostly cozy writers) and asking them the same four questions.  Today’s post is the first of my interview series.

Please welcome Joyce Ann Brown.

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  1. Have you ever been to Miami? Please tell us the one thing you found delightful or unique about “The Magic City.”

I’m from the Midwest; so Miami draws me with its warmth and its location near the coast. I’ve had the pleasure of attending the Sony Ericsson Tennis Open on Key Biscayne a couple of times. I got to see Serena Williams, Andy Roddick, Bob & Mike Bryan, and many other world class players in one of the most beautiful settings I can imagine. On one side of the island we could see the Intercostal waters and Miami proper, on the other side the sparkling Atlantic. All that sunny beauty and tennis, too! What could be better?

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  1. What is your favorite novel set in Florida and why?

Because of Winn-Dixie has to be my favorite novel set in Florida. It’s a young adult book, and I was a children’s librarian. The small town setting is in Florida, sure, but the quirky, heart-warming characters and the scraggly dog could be from any town. They all become an extended family for young Opal and help her overcome her personal unrest. They help us all grow in understanding.

 

  1. Tell us about your writing and main characters.

My plots and characters are a compendium of stories I’ve heard or read, people I know or have met, and places where I’ve spent time. My Psycho Cat and the Landlady Mystery series are set in a cozy neighborhood in Kansas City, an area I know intimately. I write what I see and feel and weave it all together into imaginative stories.

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  1. Would your main character(s) be a fish out of water in Miami or would they dive in and swim with the sharks?

Although my amateur sleuth lives about as far inland as one can get from Miami without heading for the opposite shore, she follows clues anywhere they take her. In Catastrophic Connections, she streaks swimmingly through breathless encounters in the Virgin Islands where she is fishing for answers. If you asked her, “Beth, would you attempt to track down a vicious villain in Miami?” she’d say, “No way.” But, never fear, her spunk and sense of justice would obligate her to dive right in.

Thank you, Joyce. I hope you visit South Florida again soon.

 

 

The Perfect Diner

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I just had breakfast with my friend at her neighborhood diner.  We were playing catch up on three weeks of phone tag. In Miami life moves fast. Three weeks (and that was only the highlights) took two hours of quick talk between bites of tostada and sips of coffee.  We are both Cuban so, the speed of the conversation was rapid and peppered with español. She has just started a new job and I had just returned from my family reunion road trip so there were plenty of stories to tell. There is nothing better than good eats with a good friend . . .  and the name of the diner could not have been more perfect  . . .

cozy corner Now, I’m off to work on a short story about a wedding. I don’t know who dies or by what means yet but I have the setting down. (read last weeks post)