"All the best stories in the world are but one story in reality -- the story of escape. It is the only thing which interests us all and at all times, how to escape."
--Author Christopher Benson



Wednesday, July 13, 2011

COZY WEDNESDAY - With Author Laura Alden (Giveaway too!!)

Laura Alden had the second book in her PTA Mystery Series, Foul Play at the PTA, come out on July 5th.  This is a series set in my home state of Wisconsin in a fictional town that would be very close to where I actually live. I loved the first book in the series, Murder at the PTA, and couldn't wait to to get my hand on this one.
To add to my excitement Laura is here to Guest Post today!!!

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday Laura!!!!

Thanks so much for inviting me to guest post on your wonderful blog! Many outstanding writers have appeared here, and I’m honored to be among their ranks.

Now that my second book has been released, I suppose it might be time for me to consider that…well…that I’m a writer, too. And it might be time for me to realize that when I hear, “Oh, there’s that author,” that, instead of looking around to see if it’s someone I know, I might consider the possibility that I’m the one being talked about.

Weird. The whole writing thing can be just plain weird.

For instance? Well, writers often talk about the moment they first considered themselves Real Writers. The moments vary tremendously, of course. For some it’s their first rejection letter from an agent. For others it’s getting an agent. For at least one author I know it’s the moment she decided to be a writer, and for many it’s the moment their first book was accepted for publication.

Me? Well, every time I think that maybe I am, in fact, a Real Writer, I’m confronted with evidence that I’m not. If I were a real writer, I wouldn’t consistently think that everything I write is complete junk, destined to be tossed aside in the rewrite and probably wasn’t worth writing down in the first place.

If I were a real writer, every day I would trot with joy to the computer and sit down with eagerness to begin writing. This is often true, but certainly not always. Some days writing is nothing but a chore to be tackled, on par with cleaning the bathroom and writing the mortgage check.

But last week something happened that made me think that maybe I really am a writer.

My husband and I were in the car, driving somewhere. It must have been on a weekday, because my briefcase was in the back seat, out of reach, and I didn’t have a spiral memo pad in my back pocket or purse with it’s accompanying golf pencil stuck through the circling wires. (Unfortunately, 100% of the dress pants I now own don’t have back pockets deep enough for a 3” x 5” pad of paper. Useless things, those pockets.)

We were driving through town. I saw a child playing with a dog and a piece of a plot fell into my head. Sweet! That was what an upcoming scene needed. A little twist, a bit of conflict. It would make the scene better, stronger, faster. Yes, that’s what it needed, and as soon as I wrote it down, I’d be all set. All I needed was to write it down….

“What’s the matter?” my husband asked. “You made a funny sound.”

“I don’t have pencil and paper.” My hands clenched and unclenched. “I need to write something down. Right now!” Panic was rising. I could feel it tightening in my chest and up into my throat.

Without something to write with, I wasn’t complete. Without a way to write down the plot bits spinning out of my head, I wasn’t whole. I needed pencil and paper like I needed air to breathe. I needed to write like I needed food, shelter, and clothing.

And that’s when I knew for sure: I am a writer. And I probably will be, forever and ever.

Laura I knew you were a writer from your first book, page 1!!!!!! It drew me in and didn't let me go!!!Thank you so much or being here!!!


An Obsidian Book
A Penguin Book Group
2nd Book in the PTA Mystery Series
ISBN-10: 0451234081
ISBN-13: 978-0451234087

Beth Kennedy owns The Children's Bookshelf in Rynwood, Wisconsin. The holidays are quickly approaching and one of her employees would rather spend time watching her grandson learn to swim than come to work. Beth has no choice but to let her go.  The perfect applicant, Yvonne, arrives to apply for the for the newly open position before Beth can even post a Help Wanted advertisement. She loves books, children and steps right in and helps get all the holiday books stocked.  Too good to be true, maybe, she has a little prison stay in her past, for murder, but DNA evidence proved her innocence and she was released.

This probably would have only caused a small stir in this little town outside Madison but the crime level is up again in Rynwood. After the last PTA meeting, one of the members, Sam Helmsetter, is found strangled to death in his vehicle in the school parking lot. The new president of the PTA is convinced that Beth's new employee killed Sam Helmsetter.  She organizes a boycott of The Children's Bookshelf until Beth fires her new employee and the police arrest her.  Beth and her best friend Marina realize that the real killer is on the loose and just may be one of the PTA members.  To save Yvonne's neck and reputation they know they have to do a little investigating on their own and help the police bag up the real strangler and try to keep themselves from from getting shredded in the process.

Yes, Laura you are a writer and a fabulous storyteller.  I loved this one even more than the last.  

This author is growing.  The plot was more complex, the characters more defined, the story paced even better than the last. Beth's romance with Evan is progressing at a perfect pace, as are the relationships Evan has with Beth's children. I love the part where Evan saves the day in a really important way. The author also brings the now famous WisconSINS blog back into the picture.

This a a fresh and vibrant addition to this delightful series.  A cozy mystery not to be missed!!!

Laura's kitties, aren't they cute?
That's Eddie on the left and Sinii on the right,
Eddie and my Sherlock could be brothers.
Laura Alden grew up in Michigan and graduated from Eastern Michigan University in the 80’s with a (mostly unused) Bachelor of Science degree in geology. Currently, Laura and her husband share their house with two very strange cats. When Laura isn’t writing, she’s working at her day job, reading, singing in her church choir, or doing some variety of skiing. Laura’s debut novel, “Murder at the PTA” was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Her second book, “Foul Play at the PTA,” was released on July 5.  For more check out Laura's Web Page.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Now thanks to the wonderful people at Penguin, 
I am able to give away 2 copies of this awesome book!!
U.S. and Canadian Residents Only
Contest will end at 11:59 p.m. CST on July 27
Winners will be chosen using Random.org
Followers will receive an extra 2 entries!!
Leave a comment for Laura for an additional 5 entries!!
Just fill out the form below to enter.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 


Na said...

Hi Laura, congratulations on releasing your second book. You are a writer in my eyes and I am happy to have discovered a new author. I am new to the cozy mysteries genre but they are growing on me, aside from the warm, fuzzy covers, I like being actively involved in a story playing detective. I grew up on NANCY DREW and have a love for mysteries. I will be keeping an eye on your books.

holdenj said...

Congrats on your continued success Laura! I, for one, thought you were real all along. I really enjoyed the first Wisconsin based PTA mystery and can't wait to read this one.

Yvonne said...

This sounds great! Love the heroine's name :)

debbie said...

It is interesting what each author has to go through before they feel they are a real writer.
Your book sounds really good, I would love to read it.

Booklady said...

Great series.I'm highlighting cozy mysteries for my book club (we'll be reading one for August) and your books are at the top of my recommendation list. After all, we are a punch of educators, so PTA mysteries really have a connection for us.

Pamela Keener said...

I love the story about not having pen and paper when you need them. That is true in my case so often. I love the kitties too. Congrats on your new book it sounds great.
Love & Hugs,

Cozy in Texas said...

Lovely interview. Always interesting to hear how a story gets started.

Carol N Wong said...

Congratulations for writing great books. I love cozies and would love the chance to be your fan.


Becky said...

I enjoyed your interview and look forward to reading this book.

cyn209 said...

thank you for this giveaway!!!
congrats & best of luck to Laura!!!!


PoCoKat said...

Congratulations Laura!

dollycas aka Lori said...

Laura is having trouble commenting o here is a message she asked me to post.

Thanks so much, everyone! Hearing that people enjoy my books makes it all worthwhile. And for those of you who might read my book(s), I'm crossing my fingers that you enjoy it/them!


Better is Possible said...

Hi Laura - I can't wait to get my hands on your books. I love a good mystery and a PTA setting sounds intriguing. If I don't win a book, I'll be heading to the bookstore (online of course), to make a purchase.
And Dollycas...thanks for hosting!

Marie said...

Great post Laura! Your cats are cuties. I can't wait to read your new book.

Anonymous said...

Great interview - Being a cat owner myself always love the pictures - would love to win a new book.

DarcyO said...

Laura, may you always have a pencil and pad nearby. Congrats on your new book!

Victoria Zumbrum said...

Laura congratulations on your new release. I can't wait to read your books. Tore923@aol.com

Dru said...

Laura, congrats on the release of Foul Play.

Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

Laura congratulations on your second book! I think PTA meetings are a brilliant setting for a mystery plot. I must say I am a bit partial to Wisconsin since I live here myself! I can't wait to see how this series plays out. Your kitties are adorable!

Liz V. said...

Have read about the PTA series, most recently on Lesa's Book Critiques. Thanks for the reminder to look out for the books and for the chance to win one.

Best wishes to Laura on the success of her series.

Darlene said...

Congratulations on your continued success! I have a soft spot for cats, so I loved seeing the picture!

Thanks for the giveaway!

Morgan Mandel said...

It's very true. Opportunities come when you least expect them and pen and paper are nowhere in sight. Love your book cover. I, and many other writers, get those feelings of inadequacy, but we're a stubborn bunch who won't give up.

Morgan Mandel

mamabunny13 said...

Laura, congratulations on releasing your second book! :D

Sherry said...

I really enjoyed the interview and look forward to reading your books.

sstrode at scrtc dot com

Carol M said...

This sounds like a great series! I would love to start reading it!

Stacie said...

I look forward to reading this series. Congrats on the newest release!

Thanks for the giveaway :)


nicolesender said...

I love stories based in the Midwest; especially in Chicago and Wisconsin.