Monday, August 4, 2014

Writing a Mystery Without Really Trying {+ Giveaway}


The Cat, The Vagabond and the Victim coverIt’s a pleasure to welcome author Leann Sweeney here today for a pre-celebration of her upcoming release tomorrow, THE CAT, THE VAGABOND AND THE VICTIM, the sixth installment in her Cats in Trouble Mystery series.

To kick off the celebration, Leann will be joining us to talk about ‘How to Write A Mystery Without Really Trying (See, I DO Tell Lies for A Living!).’ In addition, thanks to Leann and the lovely Danielle at Penguin Group, I have a print copy of this fun new cozy murder mystery to giveaway. Please see the end of the post for more details on that.

Here’s a brief description of THE CAT, THE VAGABOND AND THE VICTIM:

Heir of the cat...
      When Clyde the cat travels two hundred miles back home only to find his former owner dead, the story makes national news. While everyone seems eager to tell Clyde’s incredible tale, someone needs to step up to care for him. Because the media attention is creating chaos at the local shelter, cat quilter Jillian Hart agrees to foster the loyal orange tabby, hoping his location is kept secret.
      But while the media circus around Clyde continues, Jillian learns the real story behind his owner’s death—he was murdered. Why would an elderly man already dying from a serious illness become a murder victim? As the local police search for an answer, Clyde makes another escape.
      Jillian is drawn into the case when she finds Clyde has returned to his home again—and he’s found another body. When the motive behind these murders is finally revealed, Jillian understands Clyde is in danger of becoming the next victim, and she must help find the killer before the claws really come out.… 

Now please join me and give a warm welcome to Leann. 

I spent a good portion of my life hoping to find out what I wanted to be when I grew up. Oh, I was an RN, worked in various areas of nursing, but that was for security, so I could help provide for my family. What did I truly want to accomplish? What would I do with this time on earth?

My "first" third job was raising puppies (#1 I was a wife and mother and #2 I was a nurse. I had Shelties to be specific—many, many Shelties. Messy job and not very profitable, but oh so fun. Nurses and moms are used to poop and pee, after all. But all along I knew what I wanted. I was just too afraid to admit it to myself. Fear of failure is a powerful thing.

As my two kids grew I remember one day pointing my finger at them and saying, "Find a job you love, find your passion," and suddenly the unconscious became conscious. Was I leading by example? No. I believe it was the very next day I went out and bought my first copy of Writers Digest.

That was in 1989. My first book was released in 2004. No, you cannot write a book without trying, and trying ... and trying some more. You must face rejection and heartbreak and confront your ego. You must understand there is no correct way to write a book, but there are hundreds of wrong ways. The learning curve is steep, the pain, the exhaustion, the self-doubt will shut you down if you let them. I repeat. You cannot write a book without trying really, really hard to learn what a "voice" is, to trust yourself after you have cut yourself to pieces over and over.


So, being a mother was the key to everything. I looked into their pre-teen eyes to offer advice and found answers for myself lying there. The first mystery I wrote turned out to be the first book published in 2004. How many times did I rewrite it? I'd guess a hundred. I believed in that book even when I didn't believe in myself. Then came the cat series and I have now published eleven books in two series. I love my fictional cats and in the new release, I have created a fur friend I wish I could have sitting on my lap right now. I hope you like Clyde as much as I do! 

Leann, thanks for joining us today. You are so right about having to really, really try no matter what path you take in life. You can never succeed without trying.

Let me share a bit of background on Leann.

Leann Sweeney was born and raised in Niagara Falls and educated at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Lemoyne College in Syracuse, NY. She also has a degree from the University of Houston in Behavioral Science and worked in psychiatry. Formerly a school nurse, she has been writing in the mystery genre for many years. 

Leann is married with two grown children and has lived in Texas for most of her adult life. She resides in South Carolina with two cats and a labradoodle named Rosie after her first series.


For more on Leann and her writing, visit her website, connect with her on Facebook and Twitter, and visit with her when she blogs at Cozy Chicks.

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

This giveaway is for one print copy of THE CAT, THE VAGABOND AND THE VICTIM. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end Tuesday, Aug. 12. 

To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and following the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load, so please be patient. The winner from this giveaway will have 72 hours to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. The email will have ‘Thoughts in Progress Leann Sweeney’s Tour’ in the subject line, just so you know what to watch for (in case it goes into your spam folder).

Thanks so much for stopping by today and visiting with Leann. Have you always known what you wanted to be when you grew up or is that still a work in progress?

*This post contains affiliate links. a Rafflecopter giveaway

75 comments:

  1. Hi Mason - Leann certainly reminds us that perseverance is key! I love the cover of her book .. and then to turn her 'work' into her passion by writing about the various scenarios makes perfect sense .. cheers Hilary

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    1. Thanks Hilary! It is ALL about perseverance. :-)

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  2. It's a reason I keep writing even though it's hard. I want to look back at my life and not have regrets. Great post. We have to lead by example.

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    1. Thanks Clarissa. Keep at it because if you write, you will it do it forever, no matter what. It's who you are. :-)

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  3. The bio has changed a little. I live on a lake in South Carolina now with two cats and a labradoodle named Rosie after my first series. I am no longer a school nurse, but I miss those runny-nosed kids everyday!

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    1. Leann, thanks again for visiting and I'm so sorry about the bad bio. I made the changes you mentioned. Wishing you much success and keep following your dream.

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  4. You gave yourself some wise advice, didn't you? Writing books isn't my dream, but through them I've found part of my purpose.
    Congratulations on your latest, Leann!

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    1. Thanks so much Alex. Books are the love of my life!

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  5. LOL - actually, I do have a cat sitting on my lap right now.

    The secret to life is finding your passion and your calling. Good to hear you found yours.

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    1. Thanks Diane. Writing is something I must do. It's no longer a choice and I am glad for that! Did you say 'cat on your lap?' Please tell me about him or her! I have Clyde in this book because someone told me about their Clyde who has just gone over the bridge. Had to include him!

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  6. you have to be able to write how you want, or why write at all...thank you for the chance to win :)

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    1. Thanks Lisa. Yes, write what you know has always been a huge part of my process.

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  7. I absolutely LOVE this series. I am even rereading the series to be ready for it. (fingers crossed I win).

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    1. Thanks so much, Tonya! Fingers crossed here, too!

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  8. I can't wait to read this book. I love books/series that involve cats. :)

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    1. Thanks Teresa! I have loved cats for as long as I can remember. Dogs, too. And birds ... and squirrels ... and you get the picture! :-)

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  9. Mason - Thanks for hosting Leann.

    Leann - I've always believed in following your passion. It's good to hear that you did. And I'm convinced that children learn to follow their own dreams by watching the way their parents go about it. I wish you continued success.

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    1. Thanks Margot! You are so right. And if having a daughter who is a dance and performance artist in NYC and a son who has never, ever used the degree he earned and still became very successful isn't following dreams, then I don't know what is. :-)

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    1. at first, yes ... but most people love a happy ending ... including me! :-)

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  11. I can't wait to read this book and I'm glad you became a writer.

    Dru

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  12. I really like the Cats in Trouble series. Glad Leann kept writing.

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  13. What ever would we do without our cats! Keep writing - and we'll keep reading.

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    1. Thanks Karen. I would be LOST without my fur friends--and as long as give me contracts, I'll keep writing!

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  14. My daughter, just last week, asked me if I ever thought about writing a book. I said no. She said oh, you just like to read them. I didn't explain to her all the work that goes into writing a book. I can not imagine all the work it takes to create one book! But I get that it takes a ton of work! Thanks for writing good books!

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    1. Thanks Elaine. It was a challenge (and it still is) but I think it was what I was meant to do.

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  15. I am so glad you persevered. Lots of big kids are comforted by your books.

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  16. I like the cover of this book.
    CABWNANA1@bellsouth.net

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    1. I wish I could take credit for cover art, but I always give the art department plenty of ideas.

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  17. I own and love every book in this series. Thanks, Leann!

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    1. Thanks so much Barb! That means so much! :-)

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  18. This book would be delightful and captivating. Thanks for this wonderful feature and giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  19. No, I have never known what I wanted to do in life, I just take it as it comes along and see where the road takes me. I love the cover!

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  20. I am constantly changing what I want to be when I grow up.
    Since I am well past my mid point, I need to narrow down my choices so I can fit more in.
    I am not sure I'd want a cat that keeps discovering dead people.

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    1. I don't think I'd want that either ... and ALL the cats don't find dead people. Mostly it's those darn humans! :-)

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  21. Love what you said to your kids about life! I have always said that you work to live , you don't live to work! Love cat books because my friend and I love to read them together! She's a cat freak and I love mysteries!! Ronnalord(at)msn(dot)com

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    1. Thanks Ronna. Sounds like you and your friend are a perfect fit! (Lucky for me!!)

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    2. Yes, we really enjoy your books!!

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  22. I've been writing for a long time too. Your book looks like a good read!

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  23. I like kitty, cozy, mystery books. Thanks for writing them.

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  24. I cannot wait to start this series!!!
    thank you for the giveaway!!

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  25. Sounds like a really interesting read...would love to try it out!

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  26. I always wanted to be in politics--run for office--change the world, but I settled for being an accountant. I think people who love what they do are so lucky.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

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  27. I am definitely still a work in progress. I agree that people who love what they do are very lucky. I'm on Leann's mailing list and just got my postcard in the mail today about the new title! Can't wait! Thanks~
    JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Thanks so much. The postcards make great bookmarks and it's nice to have a photo of the cover if you have an ebook reader.

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  28. Wow, I didn't know you were from Niagara Falls! My son's Third grade teacher's last name was Sweeney in a small school district about an hour from NF! So great to hear about someone local! Well, sort of local. We are about an hour away.

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    1. Yes Annette! I grew up in Lewiston after a few years in the Falls and a few years near Liverpool England. Where are you in NY?

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  29. I always knew that I wanted to be retired when I grew up and I finally made it 8 months ago. Life is good.

    lag110 at mchsi dot com

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    1. Congrats! It's a great feeling to be doing what you love on your own schedule.

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  30. One of my favorite series. Thanks for the postcards.

    gibsonbk@hiwaay.net

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    1. You're welcome and thanks for the kind words!

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  31. I can hardly wait to read. Looks great!

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  32. I've read several of Ms. Sweeney's bools and loved them—thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of her latest! triumph!

    skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

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  33. I can not wait to read this. Looks awesome!

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  34. Have been looking forward to this book!


    patucker54 at aol dot com

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  35. Hope that you have to do fewer re-writes as time goes on! I admire your perserverance.

    P.S. Thank you for the post card about this book. I put in the wall beside the calendar.

    CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

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  36. I have the first two in the series. I have five cats. I see you were born in Niagara Falls. I once visited Niagara Falls in Canada.

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  37. What an inspiring interview, thank you! & the book looks wonderful!

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  38. Awesome interview, this sounds like a great read!! Thanks for the chance to win.

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  39. Thanks, Leann, for sharing your story. And thanks for hanging in there all those years before being published!

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  40. When in high school I first thought about studying law, or I wanted to be an architect. But by the time I graduated, I decided I wanted to be an accountant. I graduated with a Bachelors in Bus Admin and Accounting, and did work in bookkeeping for a few years until I had my first child and then we moved to another state. After that my employment was in various things, but often in some way connected to the insurance field -- even working in the accounting department of the corporate office of a mutual insurance company! And in another one of our moves I became an insurance agent for property and casualty. I was the spouse of a career Air Force enlisted man, we have 2 children, and now he's a pastor so I'm a pastor's wife [certainly never would I'd envisioned growing up!
    I have to say, Leann, I love the name of your cat, Clyde. That was my grandfather's name so your cat will certainly become one of my favorites.

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I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.