Happy Release Week, LOST LEGACY!

Annette3Annette Dashofy stops by the Hen House to celebrate the release of LOST LEGACY, the second in the Zoe Chambers Mystery Series, and chat about launch parties, Pete and Zoe’s future, and her plans to donate royalties to the Alzheimer’s Association.

It’s been less than a year and you’re already releasing the second Zoe Chambers mystery. How crazy is it launching your first two books in the same year? (And is celebrating any different the second time around?)  

Crazy’s a good word for it. It’s been an educational year for sure. Writing, revising, editing, and promoting all at the same time! But I’ve loved every minute of it. As for celebrating the second time, it’s every bit as exciting as the first, but I do have a better sense of what to expect. I hope. The first time I was blindly going along for the ride a great deal of the time. This time I’m trying to steer. A little.

AnnetteSpeaking of celebrating, how did you celebrate LOST LEGACY’s book launch party?  

Once again I’m having my party at Mystery Lovers Bookshop, which is my home away from home. Everyone’s invited. I was debating what to provide in the way of food, and both my husband and my critique buddy requested a cookie tray! Who am I to argue? Especially since this book is dedicated to my dad’s memory and he was a cookie addict. So, yes, there will be cookies. And chocolate wine since that seems to be my signature beverage.

We loved them in CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE, and now Zoe and Pete slowly grow closer in book two. Can we expect more romance between the pair as the series progresses? (Any hints about what’s in book three?)  

While I tend to carefully plot out my mysteries, I really don’t plan ahead for Zoe and Pete’s relationship. That seems to take on a life of its own as I write, and they surprise me every chance they get! I can tell you this much about the third book: it’s a roller coaster ride for both of them with some very HOT highs and some very deep lows.

Zoe has to juggle a murder investigation, a terrifying parental visit, and newly unlocked secrets concerning her deceased father. LOST LEGACY has so many layers of family drama! How much of that comes from your own experiences (or experiences of those close to you)?  Annette2

My family is really normal and—dare I say it?—boring. So Zoe’s family drama is definitely not based on my own experience. However, I’m always fascinated by family dynamics and the way childhood relationships evolve into adult ones. I’ve drawn from a number of friends and acquaintances to get a feel for Zoe’s dysfunctional bond with her mother as well as her continued grief over the loss of her father.

You’re clearly very active in Sisters in Crime. How has being part of such an organization influenced your writing career?  

Oh, my, where to start? I honestly don’t think I’d be published if it weren’t for the guidance and support of SinC. The workshops, retreats, and mentoring they’ve provided have been instrumental in my growth as a writer. The networking opportunities have been fantastic. I’ve made wonderful friends from all over the world through this organization. And I couldn’t ask for a better group of cheerleaders. They’ve been my street team for helping to promote both CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE and LOST LEGACY.

We hear you’ve decided to donate a portion of your royalties from LOST LEGACY to an Alzheimer’s charity. How fitting, considering Pete’s dad has Alzheimer’s. In addition to the story line, what else made you choose that charity specifically?  

I’ve had several family members fall victim to Alzheimer’s, including my dad. I watched him deteriorate from a vital, active robust man into someone who couldn’t even feed himself. It was devastating to watch and I’m sure even more devastating to experience. So writing Harry (Pete’s dad) was a true labor of love. It just made sense to me to take the tribute that extra step and donate a portion of my royalties from the book’s sales to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Murder Takes a Dive…

Deadly Secrets THE DEEP END by Julie Mulhern

THE DEEP ENDA day at the country club turns deadly! We love this vintage look for Julie Mulhern’s THE DEEP END, a compelling humorous mystery set in 1974. Betrayal and blackmail haven’t been this entertaining since the release of Nixon’s secret tapes. So break out the mini-dress, disco ball and your favorite seventies swag, because THE DEEP END  hits shelves on February 17,  2015.

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.

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?

As always, feel free to reach out if you have questions or comments – to the Hen House or Julie.  We’d love to hear from you.


Hen House Staff

CAFÉ CRIMINALE is now on sale in Poland!

Gratulacje, to our very own Terri L. Austin.  In the States, we know this fab mystery as DINERS, DIVES & DEAD ENDS.


Happy Release Day! LOST LEGACY by Annette Dashofy

Small Town Scandal

LOST LEGACYA long-standing family feud and Zoe Chambers’ own family secrets come to light in LOST LEGACY, the follow-up to Annette Dashofy’s bestselling CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE. Grab your copy of the page-turning sequel today!

“Intriguing, with as many twists and turns as the Pennsylvania countryside it’s set it.” — CJ Lyons, New York Times Bestselling Author

“A big-time talent spins a wonderful small-town mystery! Annette Dashofy skillfullly weaves secrets from the past into a surprising, engaging, and entertaining page turner.” — Hank Phillippi Ryan, Mary Higgins Clark, Agatha, and Anthony Award-Winning Author

Lost Legacy has it all: an absorbing plot, compelling characters, haunting echoes from the past, and a protagonist you’re going to love. A must read.” — Don Helin, Award-Winning Author of Secret Assault and Devil’s Den

As always, feel free to reach out if you have questions or comments – to the Hen House or Annette.  We’d love to hear from you.
Hen House Staff

Happy Release Day! WRITES OF PASSAGE

WRITES OF PASSAGE  Edited by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Inspiration for the Writer’s Journey

WriWRITES OF PASSAGEting is one of the most rewarding careers in the world, but also among the most challenging. That’s why we’re thrilled to announce the release of WRITES OF PASSAGE, an inspiring collection of essays from Sisters in Crime, created for writers of all levels. Compiled and edited by bestselling author  (and past SinC president) Hank Phillippi Ryan, WRITES OF PASSAGE offers encouragement and insider tips from fifty-nine authors who’ve been there.

Writes of Passage is the centered book every author needs… Its insightful essays will surprise you and renew you every time you open it, for as long as your writer’s journey continues.” – Laura DiSilverio, 2014 President, Sisters in Crime; Author of the Lefty-Nominated Swift Investigations Series, the Mall Cop Series, and The Reckoning Stones (2015)

Writes of Passage is a magic-box of wise words for those cloudy days. Like a lunch-date with your funniest, kindest friends, this book will remind you that you’re not alone.” – Catriona McPherson, Agatha, Macavity, and Bruce-winning Author of the Dandy Gilver Series and the Anthony-Nominated As She Left It

As always, feel free to reach out if you have questions or comments – to the Hen House or Hank.  We’d love to hear from you.


Hen House Staff

Something Wicked This Way Comes…

On With the Show! MACDEATH by Cindy Brown

MACDEATHIt’s opening night for MACDEATH! Aspiring actress and amateur sleuth Ivy Meadows has landed her dream role, but will it turn into a nightmare? Grab a front row seat for Cindy Brown’s first in the series on January 20, 2015!

Like every actor, Ivy Meadows knows that Macbeth is cursed. But she’s finally scored her big break, cast as an acrobatic witch in a circus-themed production of Macbeth in Phoenix, Arizona. And though it may not be Broadway, nothing can dampen her enthusiasm–not her flying cauldron, too-tight leotard, or carrot-wielding dictator of a director.

But when one of the cast dies on opening night, Ivy is sure the seeming accident is “murder most foul” and that she’s the perfect person to solve the crime (after all, she does work part-time in her uncle’s detective agency). Undeterred by a poisoned Big Gulp, the threat of being blackballed, and the suddenly too-real curse, Ivy pursues the truth at the risk of her hard-won career–and her life.

As always, feel free to reach out if you have questions or comments – to the Hen House or Cindy.  We’d love to hear from you.


Hen House Staff

WRITES OF PASSAGE – Cover reveal day!

A  Writer’s  Handbook  WRITES OF PASSAGE  Edited by Hank Phillippi Ryan


You’ll need tools and supplies and most of all, this wonderfully inspiring guide. We’re honored to present the new cover for WRITES OF PASSAGE: Adventures on the Writer’s Journey. This lovely collection of heartfelt essays comes from the Sisters in Crime The Writing Life Series. Compiled and edited by bestselling author Hank Phillippi Ryan (and past president of SinC), each page of insider wisdom will encourage you on your own writer’s journey. Grab your pack and head for your favorite bookstore, because WRITES OF PASSAGE releases on September 9.

The path of a writing career can be rocky and twisty and full of dead ends. But it’s also well-traveled, and in Writes of Passage, fifty-nine mystery authors offer the secrets that helped them navigate their success.

When you’re in need of an author’s roadmap, “pick up this book,” as Hank Phillippi Ryan says in the introduction. “Open it to any page. The sisters of SinC have shared their personal journeys, and they have many tales to tell.”

As always, feel free to reach out if you have questions or comments – to the Hen House or Hank.  We’d love to hear from you.


Hank Phillippi Ryan chats with the Hen House

Henery Interviews WRITES OF PASSAGE editor Hank Phillippi Ryan

hank glasses cuThis week we’re celebrating the release of Writes of Passage, a Sisters in Crime collection of inspirational essays about the craft and business of writing. We’re thrilled to get a few words with the fabulous Hank Phillippi Ryan, about her experiences and thoughts while editing Writes of Passage.

HP: Let’s be honest: the writing life by nature can be isolating. With viewpoints from fifty-nine fantastic authors, Writes of Passage offers something writers need most: encouragement from other writers. What inspired you to publish this terrific compilation of essays?

HANK: Oh, yes, the solitude is one of the things a writer really must embrace—there’s no way to be successful without it. But the difficulties start when we forget reality—that we’re not the only ones sitting at our computers (or writhing on the couch, or complaining to our spouses) and wondering how the main character will prevail, how to make the next page unique and fabulous, how to choose just the right words. But at Sisters in Crime, we say “You write alone, but you are not alone.” And that’s the impetus behind this! NO matter what obstacles you’re facing, no matter how discouraged you are, a Sister has been there before! And she’s powered through it, and prevailed.

Bottom line, they say you can only learn from experience. What they don’t say—it doesn’t have to be your own. That’s what Writes of Passage is all about.

HP:  Writes of Passage is organized into eleven parts, all focused on different aspects of the writing life, from big-picture solitary tasks like thinking about plot, to enjoying the craft, to being a part of a writing community. Which part resonated with you the most?

WRITES OF PASSAGEHANK:  Depends on what day it is! There’s a section called Thinking. Each of us begins a new part of our lives every day—so I dip into those essays when I’m at the starting gate, trying to figure out what comes next. Committing, I think about that every day. Working, you know me. And Enjoying? I can’t tell you how many times, in the midst of frazzlement of plot-confusion and over-scheduling, I remind myself: “Hey! This is great! This is what you always dreamed of.” And then I laugh, and embrace it all, and go on.

HP:  As 2013 president of Sisters in Crime, you worked with writers and authors of all levels. If you could give those hesitant beginning writers some advice toward making their dreams come true, what would you tell them?

HANK:  I know I am supposed to say “persevere.” And yes, that’s wise and necessary. But my real advice is “Be brave” and “This is very difficult” and “Honor your craft.” I see too many people designing covers and planning parties and choosing pen names when they haven’t even written their books—and okay, that’s fun! But a real writer writes. And writes again, and revises, and learns, and reads-reads-reads, and writes again. It’s difficult. It’s gosh, impossible. But when it’s good and right, you know it. Don’t rush, don’t be too full of yourself, work hard. And when you say—whoa, I can’t do this, it’s too difficult—then, I say, pat yourself on the back. You’re doing it.  

HP:  Hank, you are the bestselling author of six award-winning mystery novels. Plus, you’re an on-air reporter for Boston’s NBC affiliate, president of Sisters in Crime, AND yet you still find time to edit brilliant books like Writes of Passage. I think I speak for writers everywhere, when I ask: what on earth is your secret for time-management and productivity?

HANK: Oh, I am laughing. Thank you. Well, carry-out food, and someone else does the laundry. And I don’t multi-task. I pick one thing, I do it, I move onto the next, I have lists. I have word count charts. I have three calendars. Four.  

Eight years ago, when I was first writing my first book PRIME TIME, I was stuck in the middle (been there? done that?). So I called my mother, as we all do if we’re lucky, and I said “Mom, I am so freaked out. I love my book, and I think it could be pretty good, but I don’t think I can finish it.”  

She paused, then said, “Well, honey, you will if you want to.”  

(And it won the Agatha for Best First.)  

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about that. It’s all about my obsession, my desire, my commitment. (And luck! There’s SO much luck!) I know there’s only so much time—so when was the last time I went on vacation? Six years ago? Parties, movies, days off? Never. So do I sacrifice? I suppose you could look at it that way. But I see it as a conscious choice. And luckily, I have an incredibly supportive husband. And I love it, every minute. Yes, even the minutes that are disappointing and annoying. Hey, it’s the writing life. And something wonderful is always around the next corner.

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