Tag Archive for: Lynn Cahoon

Saying Goodbye and Planning for the Future

Hi Gang,
I’m turning in my Stiletto heels with this post. The amount of writing and promo and releasing and of course, the day job, has caused me to cry uncle.

If you don’t know, I have two series – The Tourist Trap and the new Cat Latimer Mystery series that releases to book stores in September 2016. I have the lovely cover, but I’ve been sworn to secrecy until my publisher does a cover reveal. So watch for that coming up.

I hate not doing things well, and I’m struggling to get everything on my list completed. So I’ve been contemplating what I can juggle. I’ll be focusing my blogging on my website – www.lynncahoon.com
Stop by soon. There’s a gooey butter cake recipe that was the hit of the Thanksgiving table this year.

Anyway, I wanted to leave you with my favorite time management techniques since it’s almost time to set new goals (or resolutions) for 2016.

#5 – List out what you HAVE to do. Set these deadlines in ink on your 2016 planner. What? You don’t have a planner? Get one. Digital or paper (I still love my paper), a planner is an easy way to set reachable goals each month and adjust when emergencies happen.

#4 – Set annual goals – Want to save money? Set a yearly goal, then work at it each month. You’ll be surprised how fast those dollars add up if your consistent. Same with word count. You don’t write a 100K novel in a week. (Or at least I don’t, but I hear rumors it’s been done.) You write it by getting your daily word count done every day. 500 words a day equals  176,000 words in a year. Or a novel plus two weeks of vacation time.

#3 – Divide your goals into month’s targets. It takes me just about two months to write a cozy. A little less to write a contemporary series size romance.  I know what I’m writing all of 2016 and had to move some of my want-to-write projects to 2017. A successful author early in my career told me they had a spreadsheet for the next five years on what they were writing. Now that I’m contracted, I understand the necessity of her process.

#2 – Make a weekly to do list – I have a list I write in my planner each week, filling in the days with appointments or book related activities. This week, I’m attending my critique group, so my word count for that day will be slim to none, but I can adjust to other days. Planning to reach goals during the week gives you the flexibility and accountability.

#1 – Do one thing today before 11 am that moves you toward your goal. Just one thing. Rinse and repeat tomorrow.

I hope that helps you take your dreams and turn them into reality.  I’ve enjoyed my time here with the Stiletto Gang and I’m sure I’ll see many of you out there on the web. Thank you for being part of my virtual family.


Stiletto Gang Black Friday Gift Guide

by The Stiletto Gang

Want to avoid the crowds, but still get a little shopping done?  Sit back, peruse this list of 2015 Stiletto Gang Releases, and order the gift of the written word from the comfort of your own couch.

Sparkle Abbey

Downton Tabby (The Pampered Pets Series)

Amazon 5 Star Review: How would you like to find a dead body in a swimming pool, have two friends disappear, be followed by a black SUV and have your ex try to take away your clients? That’s what Laguna Beach’s animal therapist and sometime sleuth, Caro Lamont, faces in another page turning, suspense filled, and occasional humorous adventure as she tries to find a killer, disappearances of two friends, and dealing with a scurvy ex.

Need a treat today? Of course you do! Grab some snacks, your fav drink, and settle down in a comfy place and relish this latest mystery that’s pet friendly too!

Paula Gail Benson

Let It Snow: The Best of Bethlehem Writers Roundtable, Winter 2015 Collection

Discover tales, all as different as snowflakes, in “Let it Snow: The Best of Bethlehem Writers Roundtable Winter 2015 Collection.” The multiple award winning Bethlehem Writers Group, LLC brings you stories in a range of genres selected from their bi-monthly Writers Roundtable Journal. So, while the weather outside is frightful, curl up by the fire, read, and Let It Snow.

Fish or Cut Bait: A Guppy Anthology

Fish or Cut Bait, the latest installment in the Guppy Anthology Series, presents a collection of mystery stories by rising stars of the mystery and suspense field. Tales of revenge and retribution…police detectives…cozy characters…hardboiled P.I.s…there’s something here for every fan of crime and detection!

Killer Nashville Noir: Cold Blooded

Bestselling authors Jeffery Deaver and Anne Perry join rising stars like Dana Chamblee Carpenter and Paula Gail Benson in a collection that proves Music City is a deadly place to be when your song gets called.

Marjorie Brody

Twisted, a novel of psychological suspense

Amazon or Barnes & Noble

A gang assault at a high school dance forces a young teen to confront the secret she hid from everyone, including herself.

TAA Best Young Adult Fiction Book Award, Honorable Mention, Great Midwest Book Festival, Finalist Red City Book Awards, 2015 Best Reads-Middlesex County College Library

“6 Stars Out of 5!” TWISTED, a multi-award winning psychological suspense, addresses sensitive issues in a stay-up-late, page-turning way.

“Brutally honest,” yet “tasteful,” and “hopeful.”  NYT Bestseller Sharon Sala declares TWISTED “Unforgettable.”

Anthologies, featuring Marjorie Brody

Short Story America Anthology, Vol. I, II, III, and IV

Short Stories by Texas Authors, Vol. I

Lynn Cahoon

Killer Run (A Tourist Trap Mystery)

Jill Gardner—owner of Coffee, Books, and More—has somehow been talked into sponsoring a 5k race along the beautiful California coast. The race is a fundraiser for the local preservation society—but not everyone is feeling so charitable…

The day of the race, everyone hits the ground running…until a local business owner stumbles over a very stationary body. The deceased is the vicious wife of the husband-and-wife team hired to promote the event—and the husband turns to Jill for help in clearing his name. But did he do it? Jill will have to be very careful, because this killer is ready to put her out of the running…forever!

Dressed to Kill (A Tourist Trap Mystery)

Jill Gardner—owner of Coffee, Books, and More in the tucked-away town of South Cove, California—is not particularly thrilled to be portraying a twenties flapper for the dinner theater murder mystery. Though it is for charity…

Of course everyone is expecting a “dead” body at the dress rehearsal…but this one isn’t acting! It turns out the main suspect is the late actor’s conniving girlfriend Sherry…who also happens to be the ex-wife of Jill’s main squeeze. Sherry is definitely a master manipulator…but is she a killer? Jill may discover the truth only when the curtain comes up on the final act…and by then, it may be far too late.

The Bull Riders’s Collection

Saddle up and get ready to ride with three of the sexiest cowboys in spurs. These heroes aren’t afraid of danger or a challenge, and neither are the sassy, smart women in their world. Slip on your boots and get ready to crown these men champions of the heart with The Bull Rider’s Brother, The Bull Rider’s Manager, and The Bull Rider’s Keeper

The Salem Gathering (The Council Series)

A babe in jeopardy, a coven on the loose, and only one witch hunter team can save them.
Parris McCall knows her best friend’s life in in danger, but when Parris gets orders from The Council to track down Coven X, she has no choice but to follow orders.

Ty Wallace knows there’s more to The Council’s directive than meets the eye. Can he figure out what’s not being said before he loses Parris to her distant relatives or worse, forever?

Kay Kendall

Rainy Day Women

“5 Stars! Kendall delivers a spectacular mystery. The protagonist, Austin Starr, balances being a wife, a mother and an investigator with great skill. This is definitely a coming of age story, for women and for our country. A revolution occurred during the sixties, changing the roles for women, politics and war. She shows it all.

Bethany Maines

High-Caliber Concealer (A Carrie Mae Mystery)

All Carrie Mae’s top covert agent, Nikki Lanier, wants is a quiet vacation on her grandmother’s farm. But her visit is complicated by dangerous drug smugglers, the childhood sweetheart who broke her heart, and the sudden arrival of not only her mother (who is obviously hiding something) and her teammates, but also her current boyfriend – CIA Agent Z’ev Coralles. Now Nikki must choose between doing what’s right and revealing what she really does for a living, if she wants to keep all of them alive. Nikki may be a High-Caliber Concealer, but this time it might not be enough.

An Unseen Current

When Seattle native Tish Yearly finds herself fired and evicted all in one afternoon, she knows she’s in deep water. Unemployed and desperate, the 26 year old ex-actress heads for the home of her cantankerous ex-CIA agent grandfather, Tobias Yearly, in the San Juan Islands. But soon. Tish is thrown head-long into a mystery that pits her against a handsome but straight-laced Sheriff’s Deputy, a group of eccentric and clannish local residents, and a killer who knows the island far better than she does. Now Tish must swim against the current, depending on her nearly forgotten acting skills and her grandfather’s spy craft, to con a killer and keep them alive.

Marilyn Meredith / F.M. Meredith

Not as It Seems 

Tempe and Hutch travel to Morro Bay for son Blair’s wedding, but when the maid-of-honor disappears, Tempe tries to find her. The search is complicated by ghosts and Native spirits.

Violent Departures

College student, Veronica Randall, disappears from her car in her own driveway, everyone in the Rocky Bluff P.D. is looking for her. Detective Milligan and family move into a house that may be haunted. Officer Butler is assigned to train a new hire and faces several major challenges.

Julie Mulhern

The Deep End

Swimming into the lifeless body of her husband’s mistress tends to ruin a woman’s day, but becoming a murder suspect can ruin her whole life.

It’s 1974 and Ellison Russell’s life revolves around her daughter and her art. She’s long since stopped caring about her cheating husband, Henry, and the women with whom he entertains himself. That is, until she becomes a suspect in Madeline Harper’s death. The murder forces Ellison to confront her husband’s proclivities and his crimes—kinky sex, petty cruelties and blackmail.

As the body count approaches par on the seventh hole, Ellison knows she has to catch a killer. But with an interfering mother, an adoring father, a teenage daughter, and a cadre of well-meaning friends demanding her attention, can Ellison find the killer before he finds her?

Guaranteed to Bleed

With his dying breath, Bobby Lowell begs Ellison Russell, “Tell her I love her.”

Unable to refuse, Ellison struggles to find the girl the murdered boy loved. Too bad an epically bad blind date, a vindictive graffiti artist, and multiple trips to the emergency room keep getting in the way. Worse, a killer has Ellison in his sights, her newly rebellious daughter is missing, and there’s yet another body in her hostas. Mother won’t be pleased. Now Ellison must track down not one but two runaway teenagers, keep her promise to Bobby, and elude the killer—all before her next charity gala committee meeting.

Cathy Perkins

So About the Money

CPA Holly Price juggles dodgy clients, flakey parent, ex-lovers and a murdered friend before she gets to the bottom line in this fast and fun read. ~ Patricia Smiley, bestselling author of Cool Cache

When Holly Price trips over a friend’s dead body, her life takes a nosedive into a world of intrigue and danger. With an infinitely sexy cop—Holly’s pissed-off, jilted ex-fiancé—threatening to arrest her for the murder, the intrepid accountant must protect her future, her business…and her heart…by using her investigative skills to follow the money, before the killer decides CPA stands for Certified Pain in the Ass…and the next dead body is Holly’s.

Linda Rodriguez

Every Hidden Fear 
“This suspenseful and sensitive tale of small town secrets is captivating from page one. An absolute page-turner!” – Hank Phillippi Ryan, Agatha, Anthony and Mary Higgins Clark award winning author

“Engrossing” – Library Journal

“A peaceful college town goes berserk in Rodriguez’s solid third Skeet Bannion mystery.”– Publisher’s Weekly

“Cherokee heritage and the often very painful legacy of secrets have long been hallmarks of this excellent series. … Every Hidden Fear is another very good read from an award winning author and a book well worth your time.” – Kevin’s Corner: Book Reviews and More

Being thankful by Lynn Cahoon

Sometimes the days come and go so fast, I barely have time to think, let alone be grateful for the good things that have come to my doorstep.  November is traditionally our month to slow down a bit and think about all the things that we should be thankful for.

Maybe its a hold out from our more agricultural past where the fields would be cleared and the harvest put up by this time. Growing up, the hay was cut, bailed and stacked, ready to feed the livestock over the winter. 

Our freezer was filled with frozen veggies and the pump house shelves filled with home canned jars of tomatoes and fruits. My favorite was the jars of pears my mom put up each year.  Oh, and the grape juice. Yum.

Now, my canned food comes from real cans I can buy any time from the grocery store less than a mile away. I don’t live on a farm and my garden produce is little more than a memory.

Yet, we still need to slow down and take the time to let our souls recreate after a long year. And get ready for the upcoming season.

So here’s a few things I’m thankful for in 2015

My family. We lost my mother and my step father this year. I’m thankful I still have my sisters and brothers to torment me, in the loving ways siblings can.

My husband. He was in a bad accident early this year and I almost lost him.

My writing career. I love my writer family including my publisher, my editor, and new to the crowd this year, my agent. May we all continue to prosper in 2016.

My readers.  Because the above paragraph wouldn’t even be possible without the readers who love visiting South Cove as much as I do.

My friends. Near and far, these people make me laugh and hold me up when I’m unable to stand on my own feet.

Your turn, what are you thankful for? 


Summer Romance Turns to Murder by Lynn Cahoon

So I just got back from RWA Nat’ls, held in NYC. What’s a mystery writer doing at a Romance conference?

There were a lot of us there. Maybe we were the secret recruiters… Come to the dark side, we have cookies…

Seriously, there’s a lot of cross over with romantic suspense and mystery. I moderated a panel with five women who write for Intrigue as they talked about the mystery side of their writing and how it melds with the romance. Helen Kay Diamond got to talk about the villains, which is the best part of writing the story.

All it all, it was a great conference. I was inspired by the constant litany of Never give up, Never surrender. Well, at least I kept hearing the tune. It’s my favorite quote and I’m sure I heard a version of it from each of the keynote speakers.

I ate too much, laughed a lot, learned more, and came home inspired and with at least one bright and shiny idea.

Next month it’s New Orleans and the Writer’s for New Orleans conference. Now where did I put my Hermione costume?

Killer Run releases August 18th – Have you pre-ordered your copy yet?

Jill Gardner—owner of Coffee, Books,
and More—has somehow been talked into sponsoring a 5k race along the beautiful
California coast. The race is a fundraiser for the local preservation
society—but not everyone is feeling so charitable…

 The day of the race, everyone hits the ground
running…until a local business owner stumbles over a very stationary body. The
deceased is the vicious wife of the husband-and-wife team hired to promote the
event—and the husband turns to Jill for help in clearing his name. But did he
do it? Jill will have to be very careful, because this killer is ready to put
her out of the running…forever!

Dressed to Kill -Releases June 23rd

Hey Gang,

Dressed to Kill – sounds like a book someone on the Stiletto Gang would write, doesn’t it? Dressed to Kill is book #4 of The Tourist Trap mysteries with my amateur sleuth-slash-coffeehouse-bookstore owner, Jill Gardner.

I adore fashion, but like Jill, you’re more likely to see me in a pair of cotton capris and a tank top, especially in the summer. I’ve given up the fight to be fashion forward, now, comfort is higher on my priority list, especially since I spend a lot of time in front of the computer, sitting. And my bottom is beginning to mold to the shape of my office chair.

So when Jill finally meets her new boyfriend’s ex-wife, she’s shocked at how much Sherry looks like she’s running for Miss California rather than just running a small town clothing store. The girl knows her fashion, and she’s not afraid to use it. Or wear it, even when South Cove is more California casual.

Which puts my yoga pants (which I LOVE) to shame.

So what about you? Are you comfortable in heels and pearls? Or would you rather be in flip flops and a cute charm necklace?

I think you know where I stand already. 🙂


BTW – if you like your books in paper format, you’re in luck. Dressed to Kill is already available for your reading pleasure. But the Kindle version releases on June 23rd.

Dressed to Kill

Jill Gardner—owner of Coffee, Books, and More in the
tucked-away town of South Cove, California—is not particularly thrilled to be
portraying a twenties flapper for the dinner theater murder mystery. Though it
is for charity…

Of course everyone is expecting a “dead” body at the
dress rehearsal…but this one isn’t acting! It turns out the main suspect is the
late actor’s conniving girlfriend Sherry…who also happens to be the ex-wife of
Jill’s main squeeze. Sherry is definitely a master manipulator…but is she a
killer? Jill may discover the truth only when the curtain comes up on the final
act…and by then, it may be far too late.

Barbara Vey Weekend – Notes from the other side

I have to admit, I’ve never been to a reader’s luncheon before. So when my writer friend, Megan Kelly told me I needed to check out this event in Wisconsin, I hesitated.

Tickets went on sale so the NEXT day, I decided to check out what tables were open. I was hoping to snag a chair on Duffy Brown’s table. Duffy’s a cozy mystery writer, like me, and I was excited to meet her.

Besides, Tess Gerritsen was going to be the keynote speaker. Tess is great, funny and entertaining. I decided I’d go.

There were three seats left. Not three seats on Duffy’s table. Three seats out of the five hundred they’d set aside.

So I nabbed a seat with Kimberly Lang, a contemporary romance writer who specializes in Southern settings.

Best decision I ever made.

Not only did I learn a lot about marketing and branding over the weekend, I had a chance to relax after a stressful first quarter. And I won a pretty amazing door prize, entry to and lodging for Heather Graham’s conference in September in New Orleans.

Now that was worth the five hour drive and the price of admission.

And I got to meet an author I’d launched my career at Crimson Romance with – Kate Fellows.

Have you been to a reader’s luncheon?

Finding time to write

Hi gang,

It’s been a busy spring for me, not only am I finishing writing Tourist Trap #6, I had edits and page proofs for Dressed to Kill (Tourist Trap #4) and Killer Run (Tourist Trap #5). I love revisiting South Cove and making sure all the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed.

I’ve also been juggling some serious family health issues.  The good news is the bulk of the appointments and worries are crossed off the lists. The bad news is I’m worn out.

So it’s been a struggle to find the energy to dive into the work in progress and find my creative spark that makes the stories fun for me to write and, hopefully, fun for the reader as well.

As a new author, I heard my peers complain about not having enough time to write. Like the universe would just stop the world for a day, let us get 3000 – 5000 words and then restart the rest of life. Kind of like having our own Samantha from Bewitched. Remember when she wanted to have a private conversation with her mother? If I had a superpower or knew witchcraft, that’s the one spell I’d want to perfect.

I might even use the time to take a long, hot bath and catch up on some reading. Okay, maybe I shouldn’t have the power. 🙂

Instead, I’ve been going back to basics. I’ve made a writing plan, set out weekly and daily word goals, and have been turning off the internet while I write. When I reach the first 1000 words, I take a break. Then, and this is the important step, I come back and write for 1000 more. Writing 3000 words a day and having a full time job is doable, just maybe not sustainable for the long haul.

Good news? I only need 20000 more to finish. And, for me, the last part of the book flies while I tie up loose ends and put my main character in jeopardy. I just have to remember she needs to save herself rather than wait for help to arrive.

I’ll let you know how it goes next month when I return.

The Idea Store by Lynn Cahoon

Last summer, before my life turned upside down, I committed to joining Toastmasters at my workplace. Since August, I’ve given one speech.

This month, I’ll be giving two, one in a competition. Crazy, right?

The good news is I’ve been speaking in public since my first job where I was the radio girl who listed off the new, hot job opportunities available at your local unemployment office.  Then I spent over ten years training the regional staff at Idaho’s Health and Welfare department. Want to know how to deal with computer issues, or what assets count against Medicaid? I’m your girl.

But the speeches I’m giving this month are more personal. And I’m hoping I can keep my emotions in check while I’m talking. The first speech talks about where the ideas come from for my books. My mother asked me the same question. “How do you come up with all these ideas?”

The answer I gave her was kind of broad, but I’ll tell you the true writer secret. We’re magpies. We take bits and pieces of everything we’ve ever did, seen, or heard for our stories.  We’re taught to write what we know, so my first published book was The Bull Rider’s Brother.

No, I’m not a bull rider expert. But I love cowboys. Especially those in tight fitting jeans and a pearl snap western shirt? Add in a hat and boots, and I’m gone. The book’s first line tells you a lot about my main character Lizzie, but also, a lot about the author – me.

Cowboys aren’t easy to love, but they sure are easy on the eyes.

Then I mixed three or four of my favorites sites in the Idaho mountains and imagined the new town of Shawnee Idaho. I added in two brothers, the older being way too protective of the younger, to the point it affected his own happiness, threw in a too cute kid and a main character who’s been burned by love, one too many times.

All things I know about.

There’s a saying that authors pass around that says use your life history to season your writing. If  the people you know wanted to be painted in a positive light, they should have been nicer to you on the way.

I love this.

So where is your idea store?

If you’re interested in starting the Tourist Trap series before Dressed to Kill launches in June and Killer Run, in August, eKensington has Guidebook to Murder on sale for the month of March – digital $1.99. Check out the story that started it all….

Mystery She Read by Lynn Cahoon

I’m in a reading mood. I adore getting lost in a story, reading through the hours until my body is stiff and my dogs are chewing on my leg, trying to get me to let them out….

Okay, maybe not that.

I’ve been working on a presentation for my RWA chapter (go MoRWA) on Killer First Lines. Authors are warned away from several starts, one is this classic Snoopy line, “It was a dark and stormy night.” We’re told not to use it. It’s weather and setting and boring.

Except, if you’re Madeleine L’Engle and writing A Wrinkle in Time. I loved that book growing up. As a fatherless child, myself, this story gave me hope that my dad too, was just on another planet, waiting to be magically pulled back to my life.

Yes, there are reasons I’m an author. Like my mom asked, “How do you make up all these stories?” I would have thought she knew I’d been doing it all my life.

Authors don’t give up their imaginary friends, we just give them lives in our books.

Another book I loved as a kid was The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. I loved the story of a little boy driving through the fantasy world through a tollbooth that showed up in his room, just because he was bored.

Boredom doesn’t happen for authors as we’re off imagining a new world. And it that gets boring, I need to change up the story.

So what was your favorite book as a kid? Was it mystery related?


Oh, and if you want a bit of romance for your Valentine’s Day, I have a novella in My Sexy Valentine. My story, The Twelve Days of Valentines, twists the classic Christmas song into a how to win your love in 12 days.

Recreation – or Re-create?

Yesterday I hit send on an email to my editor with my fifth Tourist Trap book. I sweated the deadline on this puppy as I had hip replacement surgery mid November. Coming into December, I had about 15,000 words done out of 72000 I ended up with to finish.

 I worried about finishing.

I worried that even if I finished, would the story come together. 

I worried I couldn’t write on my laptop in my living room.

But it came together. I love the story and the role one of my characters, Aunt Jackie is taking on. I love watching the characters come alive and the little whispers I get when I read an interaction. Like seeing a couple notice each other and start to fall in love.

My next book I’m doing really bad things to a really nice person. And frankly, I can’t wait to get started. (insert evil laugh here.)

South Cove is becoming more and more real to me as I write each book.

Today I started a long overdue novella to finish off The Council series. Then I’ll be back in South Cove, causing havoc with my character’s lives. 

But right now, I’m taking a mini break and relaxing. Time to heat up some apple cider and eat junk food because I finished a book.



Do you love series? If you haven’t started The Tourist Trap Mysteries, Guidebook to Murder is on sale for $1.99 Check out the book that hit the NYT’s list this summer.

Buy here – Kindle or Nook