After one too many corporate mergers, Cindy Sample found herself plotting murder instead of plodding through paperwork. Her first novel, Dying for a Date, combines bad dates, real estate, a few dead bodies, and plenty of giggles. The sequel, Dying for a Dance, which she describes as Murder She Wrote meets DWTS, was a finalist for the LEFTY Award for best humorous mystery. RT Book Reviews says “Sample’s sleuth is an endearing character readers will adore.” To learn more about Cindy and her books, visit her at her website and blog.
Cindy is offering a copy of either book to one of our readers who posts a comment or title suggestion for the next book in her series. Read on to find out how you can also win a box of Hangtown fudge. -- AP
Humor and Homicide in Hangtown
A primary character in any cozy mystery is the village or town where the story is set. If you’re dropping dead bodies all over the place, most small towns would prefer that you not dump them on their doorstep.
But if you’re an author who combines humor with her homicides and you happen to live in a town referred to as “Hangtown,” there’s no choice but to concoct what I refer to as a “reality cozy series.”
Hangtown was the original name for the town of Placerville where Laurel McKay, my protagonist, and I hang out. I create crimes. She solves them. They don’t take kindly to troublemakers around here, which could be why some of the locals strung up a few gold miners one hundred fifty years ago.
You have to love a town with a sense of humor! I originally debated the wisdom of setting my series in an actual town located in the Gold Country of California. I knew that readers would demand 100 percent accuracy, and so far, no one has questioned the veracity of any of my local descriptions. What I did not anticipate was that tourists from all over the United States and England would actually visit sites mentioned in my books. Breakfast at Sweetie Pies, a shopping spree through Placerville Hardware (oldest hardware store west of the Mississippi), a wine tour of David Girard Vineyards in Coloma and a slab of tawny port fudge (Laurel’s favorite) purchased from the Candy Emporium.
My fans were thrilled to find the actual venues mentioned in my book. But one thing perplexed them. They couldn’t find the places where the dead bodies lurked! I explained to my readers that proprietors prefer you don’t kill people in their real establishments.
But then a funny thing happened on the streets of Old Hangtown.
Store owners started approaching me and asking me to hide a body in their store. Wineries were dying to have me stuff someone in a barrel of aged wine. The orchards in Apple Hill were loaded with good hiding places. Nothing like a caramel-coated corpse. And the historic Gold Bug Mine was a perfect spot to mine for murder.
With more than enough locations and plots for me to choose from, the only dilemma I now have is the title for my next book. In keeping with my current theme of Dying for a Date, Dying for a Dance and Dying for a Daiquiri, I need a title for a mystery that will occur when a real wagon train rolls into Hangtown for our annual Wagon Train Week.
My first attempt is Dying for a Dude, so I’m fairly certain anyone can improve on that. Leave a comment or potential title for the next book in the series, and you’ll be entered into a drawing for an e-book of either Dying for a Date or Dying for a Dance. Plus my favorite title will also win a box of Hangtown fudge!
Thanks for joining us today, Cindy! Readers, let's hear some title suggestions for Cindy. And please, either include your email or make sure you check back on Sunday to see if you're the winner. Remember, we have no way of getting in touch with you otherwise. -- AP