Tag Archive for: Tourist Trap Mysteries

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.


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? 


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.

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

What are you reading and welcome to December By Lynn Cahoon

The end of the year is always a time of reflection and planning for me. I go over out budget, try to see where we can make adjustments, look around the house for remodel ideas, and examine my writing career. I also take stock of my health. Just call me a Covey convert. I love his books about goal setting and looking on ways to improve your life.

This year, I’m kind of being forced to do something I never plan time for. I’m resting. I had a hip replacement two days after I released my last book -IF THE SHOE KILLS. Yep, I’m a planner. I also had a crown done last month since apparently I can’t have dental work done for six months now.

So I’m tucked in my recliner with a comforter over my legs as I write this post.

What have I learned the last three weeks? I hate asking for help. I push myself too fast, too far. And you can watch cooking shows 24/7 on cable.  And I can write on my laptop.

The weather here in St. Louis isn’t helping. We had highs in the 70’s yesterday and today we have freezing rain.

I’m planning a soup day with a good book as soon as I get my words in today. And although my house doesn’t have a fireplace, I’ll be imagining one like this to warm my toes….

Help me out here… What are you reading? I need to stock up my Kindle.


Magna Cum Murder – a visitor report By Lynn Cahoon

Last weekend I drove to Indianapolis, Indiana for a my first mystery conference, Magna Cum Murder, sponsored by Ball State.

The weekend was beautiful, both outside and in the historic Columbia Club where the conference was held. According to the valet, the Club was built in 1924. The great lobby was filled with dark wood and a stone fireplace, perfect for burning clues in a pinch. The place was soaked in history.

Friday I attended a fascinating presentation by Karen Cooper, a retired CSI from Florida, on how to find a burial site in the wild.  From finding the grave, including pointing out disturbances on the soil, to excavating, Karen gave us a real life look into how law enforcement handles buried victims. We even talked about the most likely suspects based on body positioning.

Then we had an speaker who wanted to talk about the workings of arson investigation and the use of science in criminal cases.

That evening, we were on our own for dinner, but the conference had set up a screening of an old noir movie for later. I spent the time preparing for the panel I was moderating on Sunday.

Saturday morning I had my first panel talking about twists in mysteries. Although we all could point to twists in books and movies, talking about adding them into our writing process was difficult. Mainly we agreed that we hope for a twist, but just write the plot we’d planned.

Sunday’s panel was on the topic of romance in mysteries. Some of my panelists but one wrote romantic suspense and the other two, like me were cozy writers. We had a spirited discussion on the increase in sex in current day stories, and the change over time on what a ‘normal’ woman as your amateur sleuth could get away with and still be seen as a creditable investigator.

Between panels, book signings, and chatting up readers and other authors, my weekend was filled with mysterious goings on.

Have you attended a mystery conference?  


Squee — IF THE SHOE KILLS is out in print now and the digital release is a week away – November 10th!!!!

The tourist town of South Cove, California, is a
lovely place to spend the holidays. But this year, shop owner Jill Gardner
discovers there’s no place like home for homicide. . .

As owner of Coffee, Books, and More, Jill Gardner
looks forward to the hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers. But when the mayor
ropes her into being liaison for a new work program, ’tis the season to be
wary. Local businesses are afraid the interns will be delinquents, punks, or
worse. For Jill, nothing’s worse than Ted Hendricks–the jerk who runs the
program. After a few run-ins, Jill’s ready to kill the guy. That, however,
turns out to be unnecessary when she finds Ted in his car–dead as a doornail. Officer
Greg assumes it’s a suicide. Jill thinks it’s murder. And if the holidays
weren’t stressful enough, a spoiled blonde wants to sue the city for breaking
her heel. Jill has to act fast to solve this mess–before the other shoe drops.
. .

Virtual friends

Welcome to the new age….

Did you have a pen pal as a teenager? Someone you wrote long, emotion filled letters about your life, your hopes, your dreams that lived far enough away to keep your secrets?

I loved getting and sending my letters. Until real life stepped in and we lost touch.

Now, I have virtual friends. People who live across the world that I keep in touch with, hope for, dream with.  Some I’ve met, some I might never meet in person.

But whenever we do, it’s like old friend reunion time.

Like last month when I got to meet our Stiletto Gang member, Dru Ann Love.  She’s as charming and bubbly as her Facebook posts show her to be.

I’m also friends with fellow Stiletto Gang member – Laura Bradford.

I’ve met a lot of my friends on line and now, in person. I love having that feeling of meeting old friends even though we may have only met once in person.  Now that I’m starting to attend more mystery conferences, I may be running into you soon. 🙂

Tell me about your virtual friendships? Are they as good or better than old fashion pen pals?


FYI – to (celebrate my birthday month) prepare for the release of IF THE SHOE KILLS November 10th, Kensington has put the digital version of MISSION TO MURDER on sale for #99cents all of October. Don’t miss the second book in the Tourist Trap Mysteries.

Buy at Amazon/Nook