Friday, October 7, 2016

Guest Post: Linda O. Johnston - Unlucky Charms

Guest Post: Why Cozies?
by Linda O. Johnston

I'd like to introduce author Linda O. Johnston to Midnight Ink's blog! Her forthcoming release, Unlucky Charms, will be hitting bookshelves, and she would like to take a moment to share why she loves writing her wonderfully entertaining cozies so much. 

Why Cozies?  Lots of Reasons!

            I'm a writer.  A novelist.  I make things up and love it!  Currently, I write two cozy mystery series and two subgenres of romance.  I enjoy them all--and I especially love writing cozies.

            Why?  For many reasons. 

            First, in a cozy mystery series, I create a protagonist I enjoy working with and hope to work with for a long time to come.  They often have similarities to me.  What!  Am I writing about myself?  Not really.  But I'm a superstition agnostic like Rory Chasen, who's featured in my Superstition Mysteries.  Do I think all superstitions work?  No, at least not necessarily.  And some have opposite interpretations--black cats, for example.  They're supposedly bad luck here in the U.S. but good luck in other parts of the world.  And there are many people here who love them despite their bad reputations and even find them to be lucky.

            But... well, I do cross my fingers a lot, and knock on wood, and try to keep track of other superstitions, even if I don't necessarily believe they'll come true.

            On the other hand, my protagonists aren't always like me at all.  I also write the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries, where Carrie Kennersly is a veterinary technician who owns both a bakery for people treats, and a barkery where she sells some of the healthy dog treats she's developed.  Now, once upon a time I wanted to be a veterinarian but decided against it when I realized that I would have to cut animals open, even to save their lives.  And these days I'm not much of a cook, although I used to do a lot more.  But I love what Carrie does, even though I don't aspire to it.  Although why someone in her position winds up having to solve murders... well, that's the nature of cozies!
            My first cozy series was the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries.  Kendra was a lawyer who lived in the Hollywood Hills with her tricolor Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Lexie.  At the time, I was a lawyer, and I still live in the Hollywood Hills, plus my older Cavalier is a tricolor named Lexie... But fortunately I was never accused of an ethics violation while practicing law, nor do I stumble over dead bodies.

            More things I like about writing cozies?  I get to kill people off--figuratively, of course.  But if someone harms me in some way, someone resembling them can wind up dead in my novels.  That happened recently...  

            Then there are the love interests.  Unlike in the romances I also write, a relationship in a cozy series can take some time to develop and even change.  No sex on the page in cozies, but readers can use their imaginations about what happens in the bedroom.

            I can figure out interesting ways to kill people, too--such as incorporating superstitions.  Then there are the friends and sidekicks I enjoy creating, such as Martha Jallopia, who owns the Lucky Dog Boutique in the Superstition Mysteries.  Rory winds up running her shop after Pluckie, her lucky black and white dog--another superstition-- saves Martha's life.

            Perhaps most important of all to me are the pets I incorporate, mostly dogs, like Pluckie in the Superstition Mysteries, and Biscuit in the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries.   The love interests also have to have dogs, or they wouldn't be love interests.  And of course my romances often include dogs, too.

            Not all cozies include pets, though those that do seem popular.  There are other themes, and that's another fun thing about cozies: they usually have themes, like superstitions or the barkery, or restaurants or particular types of food, or special locations, or other things the protagonists like or do for a living... or dogs or cats.

            So, yes, I enjoy cozying up with cozies, both to read--and, most especially, to write.  Hope you like them, too!


Unlucky Charms is Available Now!

Rory Chasen, manager of the Lucky Dog Boutique in Destiny, California, hopes her new line of good-luck doggy toys will be a hit, especially the stuffed rabbits with extra-large feet. The timing of the line’s debut proves ill-fated, though, as several local shops—including Rory’s—are ransacked and vandalized with spilled salt and other unlucky charms.

The most likely culprit is disgruntled real estate agent Flora Curtival, whose issues with the town give her a motive. But after Flora is murdered and one of Rory’s toy rabbits is found with the body, Rory needs all the luck she can get while trying to determine just who killed the superstitious vandal.

Linda O. Johnston (Los Angeles, CA) has published over forty romance and mystery novels, including the Pet Rescue Mystery series and the Pet-Sitter Mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime. She also writes the Barkery & Biscuits Mystery series for Midnight Ink. You can visit Linda at


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