Thursday, May 15, 2014

Nancy J. Cohen’s Hanging By A Hair {+ Giveaway}

Hanging by a Hair coverIt’s a pleasure to be participating in author Nancy J. Cohen’s Great Escape Virtual Book Tour for HANGING BY A HAIR, the latest release in her Bad Hair Day Mystery series.

As part of the tour, Nancy has graciously answered some questions about her writing and is offering an awesome giveaway – a tee shirt and signed print book. Please see the end of the post for the details. In addition, I’m sharing my thoughts on this fun mystery.

Hanging By A Hair (Bad Hair Day Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
287 pages
Publisher: Five Star (April 18, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1432828142
ISBN-13: 978-1432828141

      Marla’s joyous move to a new house with her husband, Detective Dalton Vail, is marred by their next-door neighbor who erects an illegal fence between their properties. When Dalton reminds the man of the local permitting laws, tempers flare—and worse, the neighbor is found dead the following day.
      Dismayed when Dalton is removed from the case due to a conflict of interest, Marla decides it’s up to her to find the killer. Can the intrepid hairstylist untangle the clues and pin down the culprit before he strikes again?

Please join me in welcoming Nancy.

Mason - What four questions about your new book and/or writing do you wish readers would ask you, but no one ever has?

Did you meet any surprises in writing HANGING BY A HAIR?

Although I write a complete synopsis before beginning the writing process, sometimes the story can take a new direction along the way. I love when this happens because it’s story magic at work. When you know the characters and they float in your head, new ideas can arise when you least expect them. Thus I have a woman in this story who, in her teenage years, was whisked to Europe by her parents to get her away from her boyfriend. This past relationship was a surprise in itself, but suddenly it popped into my head that her parents had another reason to remove her from society. 

Back in the day, it wasn’t seemly for single women to get pregnant. Often they journeyed abroad if they decided to have the baby and then gave it up for adoption. Secret Baby alert! This popular trope often shows up in fiction, and it never fails to work. Now I had an added dimension to my story that was not planned nor written into my synopsis. It worked out great because now my main characters had a new lead to follow. What happens to the secret baby in my story? That’ll remain a surprise.

Did you go on any research trips for this story?

HANGING-BY-A-HAIR-SMALL-BANNERYes, there’s a scene at Marco Island where Marla and Dalton go to interview a suspect’s mother. This location is our favorite summer weekend getaway. The beaches are pristine. The fine dining is plentiful. And the atmosphere is relaxed and laid-back. Marco Island is south of Naples on Florida’s west coast. We shop at my favorite boutique for colorful tropical wear, and I used that setting for the interview scene. It’s always fun when I can put my favorite Florida locales into my stories. It gives us a change of scenery from Marla’s salon and home town.

What did you learn that was new and different?

Research involved a number of topics. The state law regarding bones is one example. Florida cemetery law states that if you uncover human remains, you must stop all excavating and notify authorities. If you fail to report your find, you can face a second-degree misdemeanor. Modern Indian tribes, medical examiners, and archaeologists may get involved. Remains less than seventy-five years old fall under the jurisdiction of the medical examiner. 

I also learned about Preppers. Would you believe our country has up to four million believers? These people stockpile survival gear, weapons, and food supplies and even build secret bunkers because they’re afraid of worldwide disasters. The religious aspect of this movement is the Rapture. They do similar preparations for sinners they care about who may be left behind. These Preppers might be right, but I can’t see devoting your life to what may happen in the future. The present is what counts, and that’s the conclusion Marla reaches, too.

How can your fans help you?

Readers can be helpful in a multitude of ways, and I’d be grateful for even one of them. Here are some suggestions:
*Spread word about my books to other readers.
*Suggest my titles to your local book clubs.
*Write a customer review on Amazon, BN, and/or Goodreads.
*Add my book to your Goodreads TBR list.
*Buy one of my books as a gift for your mystery lover friend or hairdresser.
*Follow me online and share my posts.
*Mention my books in online forums and groups.

Feedback also helps. Sometimes I feel my blogs aren’t reaching anyone, and then I’ll get an email from somebody saying how helpful they find my posts. So readers are out there, but they don’t always like to comment.

The same request for feedback applies to my books. A reader might feel shy about writing to an author. But I’d like to know if you want me to keep writing the Bad Hair Day series. What would you like me to write next? How can I help fulfill your needs as a reader? Have you signed up for my newsletter, and if so, what kind of prizes would you like me to offer in my contests?

The current publishing climate is great in that readers and writers have connected in ways never before possible. But unless you speak up, your voices won’t be heard. Good rapport is a two-way street. I want to hear from readers!

Nancy, thanks for joining us and sharing these questions (and answers) no one had asked before. From a reader’s point of view, it can be a bit overwhelming to write to an author. You just can’t image they would find time to read what you wrote. You make an excellent point here why it’s important.

Now here’s a bit of background on Nancy for those of you not familiar with her.

Nancy J. Cohen writes the humorous Bad Hair Day mystery series featuring hairdresser Marla Shore, who solves crimes with wit and style under the sultry Florida sun. Several of these titles have made the IMBA bestseller list. 

Nancy is also the author of Writing the Cozy Mystery, a valuable instructional guide for writers on how to write a winning whodunit. Her imaginative romances have proven popular with fans as well. Her titles in this genre have won the HOLT Medallion and Best Book in Romantic SciFi/Fantasy at The Romance Reviews. Active in the writing community and a featured speaker at libraries and conferences, Nancy is listed in Contemporary Authors, Poets & Writers, and Who’s Who in U.S. Writers, Editors, & Poets. Currently, she is serving as President of Florida Chapter Mystery Writers of America. 

When not busy writing, Nancy enjoys reading, fine dining, cruising and outlet shopping.

For more on Nancy and her writing, visit her website and blog, as well as connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.

HANGING BY A HAIR is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Now here are my thoughts on this intriguing story.

HANGING BY A HAIR by Nancy J. Cohen

If you’ve ever had neighbors that lived too close for comfort, then you’ll get a laugh out of author Nancy J. Cohen’s latest release, HANGING BY A HAIR.

Marla Vail is hoping she and her husband, Palm Haven PD Detective Dalton Vail, will make new friends attending their first homeowners’ association meeting. But things go downhill when Dalton calls the association president, Alan Krabber, on failing to follow the rules himself. The woes escalate when Krabber, who is also their next door neighbor, puts up a privacy fence on their property.

The trouble really begins when Krabber is found dead of an apparent suicide. But when the suicide looks like murder, Dalton is the prime suspect and taken off the case. Marla has no choice but to fine the real killer before her husband takes the fall for murder or someone else becomes a victim. Krabber has secrets Marla has to uncover if the killer doesn’t stop her first.

This is a delightful story that flows smoothly and at a fast pace. The author combines mystery and murder with a dose of humor and a touch of romance for a well-balanced read.

The characters are well-developed, realistic and a bit eclectic for an intriguing unified cast. Cohen’s eye for detail and rich descriptions places the reader in the middle of the action and in the Florida sunshine.

HANGING BY A HAIR is the 11th installment in the Bad Hair Day Mystery series, but can be read own its on without new readers being lost in references from prior adventures. This is a madcap murder mystery that will have you laughing and guessing until the very end.

Hanging by a Hair by Nancy J. Cohen, Bad Hair Day Mystery Book #11, Five Star, @2014, ISBN: 978-1432828141, Hardcover, 287 Pages 

FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me as part of the author’s blog tour in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.



You can find out more about Nancy and this entertaining cozy mystery at the following blogs participating in the tour.

May 13 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post
May 14 – Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf – Interview
May 16 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – Review
May 17 – Chloe Gets A Clue – Interview
May 19 – Queen of All She Reads – Review, Guest Post
May 20 Books-n-Kisses – Review


This giveaway is for a Hanging by a Hair tee shirt and a signed print copy of SHEAR MURDER. To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instruction. It may take the widget a few seconds to load, please be patient.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Do you enjoy reading books featuring locations you can actually visit?

*This post contains affiliate links.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Funny series title.
    Fans don't always comment on blog posts. I have a lot that lurk. (Yeah, I have a lot that comment as well.)
    Good luck, Nancy!

  2. Nancy, thanks again for stopping by today. Your research was quite interesting. Wishing you much success.

    1. Thank you, Mason. I appreciate this opportunity...and the great review!

  3. Mason - Thanks for hosting Nancy.

    Nancy - Marco Island - what a lovely place to visit for research! And I agree with you about paying attention to what readers have to say. I like it that modern technology allows connection between author and readers. I wish you success.

    1. It's wonderful to have a dialogue directly with readers. That's the biggest benefit of the technology age.

  4. Intriguing story line. I especially like the "What did you learn" part of the interview. I always like to come away from a book knowing something new.

    1. I have to learn something new for each book. That's what makes it special for me. I'm already formulating the plot for my next mystery, but the issue at hand hasn't struck me yet. It has to be a topic I'll want to research.

  5. congrats to Nancy on her book!

  6. I love it when a synopsis is only a suggestion. You still get from beginning to end, but what happens in between is more fun to write. Congratulations, Nancy!

    1. That's so true. And the story can change, meaning you have to go back and revise your synopsis accordingly when the book is finished. But it's so helpful to have a synopsis as a writing guideline along the way.

  7. Congrats Nancy. I love the "Bad Hair Day Mysteries" idea.

    1. They're fun stories to write. And who hasn't had a Bad Hair Day?

  8. I can't wait to get the chance to read this book. It sound very good. Great interview too by the way.

  9. I always enjoy finding new cozy authors that seem interesting. Gladly read and review their books. Sure would rather read about bad neighbors than have bad neighbors!! Ronnalord( at) msn ( dot) com

    1. Many of us can relate to having bad neighbors or a contentious Homeowners' Board of Directors. It's one of the joys of living in a community.

  10. This sounds like a series I would enjoy! Thank you for the giveaway!

    1. I hope you'll give my books a try, Carol. Thanks for stopping by.

  11. What an informative interview! I like that you mentioned the Florida law regarding old bones. Tidbits of research like that often stick in my head too. For anyone who's hoping to win Nancy's book, hope twice as hard! It's a great book, and I recommend it.

    1. Thanks so much for the compliment, Maggie. It appears from your new paranormal mystery, Gone and Done It, that we both have a fascination with digging up bones.

  12. This was a very interesting interview and feature. Thanks for this giveaway and your wonderful books which are unique. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  13. What a great interview. I really liked how Nancy showed the process of how something popped into her head for the story, and how much interaction is important for today's authors. I struggle at times, but try to make a point of leaving a review for most reads! Thanks for the chance to win!

  14. I'm sure those reviews are appreciated, holdenj. I am grateful anytime a reader leaves a customer review of my books. These are increasingly important for readers discovering new authors to try.

  15. are you continuing with this set or are you off to something different? Love this Cozy Mystery, TFS.

    1. Sherry, I've already turned in book #12 in the Bad Hair Day series and have begun the plotting process for book #13. But I also write romance. You might want to check out the Drift Lords Series that I write for Wild Rose Press.

  16. These neighbors are murder, literally! "Mystery and murder with a dose of humor and a touch of romance for a well-balanced read." I love it!

    1. This story was fun to write, Sharon. So many of us can relate to having less than desirable neighbors.


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