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Friday, September 7, 2012


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


Marguerite Lafayette said...

Love the idea of these books I think Dying for a Chance or Dying to be mine (yours) work, but I'll keep thinking

Cindy Sample said...

Hi Marguerite. Thanks for the titles. Those are excellent. Keep thinking and commenting. That makes my job easier:-)

Marguerite Lafayette said...

LoL, Thank you. I love thinking up titles and such.

Dying for Romance
Dying to be Heard
Dying for the Spotlight
Dying to be Remembered
Dying in your arms (wait isn't that a song?)
Dying to Duel
Dying is so Cruel

Okay I think I am done for now...

Hope ya have a great weekend :)

Jodi said...

I like your theme. I thought dying for a deputy (if you're thinking Marshall Dillon cowboy town). If you don't find what you're looking for, though, you could try http://www.onelook.com/reverse-dictionary.shtml. I go there when I want a word that starts with or ends in a certain set of letters. You type in the letters you want and then put one of those little stars either in front of behind - depending what you're looking for. Choose common words only to get common words only - duh, I guess. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Sounds interesting and maybe "Dying for the Boat" ----thanks for wonderful opportunity!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

I think it's wonderful when you can use an actual historic place as the setting for a mystery novel. This seemed like an excellent idea! You have great titles so far.

Jacqueline Seewald
THE TRUTH SLEUTH--now both in large print from Thorndike Press

Anonymous said...

This is so cool. A friend was just telling me we needed to go check out hangtown and I was telling him about these books that I love and now we can go and maybe even hunt for fake dead bodies. This just keeps getting better and better. Cannot wait for the next book!

Heather Haven said...

I will follow Cindy Sample anywhere. Love her writing, love her wit, love her. I have no suggestions for a title, but glad the town opened its arms to you. You deserve no less. Thanks for the usual heartwarming blog. So Cindy!

pat canterbury said...

I always knew the folks in Placerville had a sense of humor but for store owners to want a dead body IN their place! That's priceless. Will think of a suggestion for the next Dying For novel.
Pat Canterbury

Cindy Sample said...

Marguerite, Jodi & anonymous. Tks for the title tips. So many I never thought of before. Looks like I'll be writing for a very long time!

Cindy Sample said...

Heather, thanks for the kind comments. And back at ya. I love your series. I'm glad the town has opened its arms to me and my series because we can tell from that photo they don't mess around!

Cindy Sample said...

Hi Pat. You couldn't ask for a better town to combine humor and homicide than Hangtown. These folks can find more places for me to stick bodies than I could ever dream up!

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

It sounds like your are bringing Old Hangtown back to life, Cindy. Good for you - it's a great place to visit and a great place to set at story. :)

Dying for a Desperado

traveler said...

Dying for Despair.
Dying for the Devil.
Dying for Desire.
Dying for my Darling.

petite said...

dying in Daylight.
Dying for the Drover.
Dying for Diamonds.
Dying is Destiny.
Dying for Doom.

Claude Dunn said...

aduCindy......looking forward to the new one!

How 'bout: Dying for a Donut.....or Dying for a Dry Spell, or DoubleDate, or Dimple, or Dare, or.....
I'm sure Marti will have some other ideas.

Claude Dunn

Pauline B Jones said...

Dying to Death? Sorry! LOL! Fun blog post!

Cindy Sample said...

Paisley, you know better than anyone how great Hangtown is, even when YOU changed the name to Paradise Pines. Love your new series!

Cindy Sample said...

Traveler & Petite are obviously NOT dying for a dictionary! Great titles. I may never leave my keyboard again.

Cindy Sample said...

Hi Claude from one of my favorite bookstores. How much coffee have you had this morning? You are on a roll!

Peter Green said...

Cindy, The title that sticks naturally to my tongue after a ong wagon journey is:
Dying for Drink. The innuendos can be worked into the plot, an you're good to go.

It's amazing how involved people get with the landmarks in your stories. When I read I keep a book of detailed maps of Europe, a Plan de Paris and a world atlas at my side, so I can locate, "place" and visualize the settings.

Cindy Sample said...

Hi Peter. Since DYING FOR A DAIQUIRI is book 3, I may have to hold off on DYING FOR A DRINK for a book or two. I don't want my fans to think Laurel is a lush. However your comment about maps got me thinking that I need a map of Hangtown with scenes from the book and of courses those places where the dead bodies keep popping up!

Stephanie Queen said...

All those ridiculously fun titles!

I can't believe there's any good ones left--but how about

BTW, my fave is Dying for a Daquiri--It has attitude!

Cindy Sample said...

Hey Stephanie. I like your title. Thanks for the comment on DYING FOR A DAIQUIRI. I love that title - the only problem is pulling myself away from the research and back to the keyboard:-)

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Dying for a Ride
Dying for a Roll
Dying for a Wheel
Dying for Real or Reel
Dying for a Seat

I love thinking up titles, but I usually to it when I'm halfway through writing a book.

Placerville is one of my favorite places. Fun post, Cindy!

Cindy Sample said...

Hi Marilyn. Based on your titles, you are DYING FOR A DRIVE! I know how fond you are of this area. Tks for taking time from your blog tour to comment!

Kaye George said...

It's so ULTRA cool the shop owners want a body in their shops! Has anyone said Dying for Hardtack? That's about all I can come up with.

Cindy Sample said...

Isn't it hilarious,Kaye? This may call for a shoot-out on Main Street. So far it's either a corpse in the Candy Emporium or a homicide in the hardware store!

Love your title suggestion!

Kaye George said...

Well then, Dying for Candy or Dying for a Tool. Hm, maybe not.

Kathy said...

Is your wagon train just going to be on paved roads or out on a prairie somewhere? If there are any dirt roads involved, how about Dying for a Duster which is a long coat worn by horseman to keep their clothes dust free. I've watched way too many westerns thanks to my dad.

Cindy Sample said...

DYING FOR A DUSTER is definitely doable. These guys and gals take the wagon train from Reno, over a very steep grade (about 9500 feet) for a 120 mile trip that takes about 10 days. They almost always encounter snow even in early June. I was late to arrive this year so my shot was on the freeway and not as they were driving through town. Once they arrive in Hangtown, they kick up their heels because at the end of the trip they really are DYING FOR A DANCE!

Terri Dunn said...

Dying for a Deal
Dying for a Deed
Dying for a Delivery
Dying for a Dessert
Dying for a Deodorizer (LOL)
Dying for a Departure
Dying for a Deposit
Dying for a Depot
Dying for a Deputy

I'm done! LOL!!
Terri Dunn

Cindy Sample said...

ROFL,Terri. I must admit I'm a bit partial to DYING FOR A DEPUTY, since that's the term for law enforcement in these here parts. But DYING FOR A DEODORIZER probably wins the most unique title award!

Shalanna said...

I think _Dying for a Dude_ is pretty good, actually. It captures the vibe of cowboys and wagon trains.

_Dying for a Deputy_ could work well if it fits (Terri's suggestion).

Dying for deliverance, for sure, because who wouldn't want to climb off that train at the first opportunity. . . .

Dying from the altitude is what *I* would be doing. Couldn't have much fun in higher elevations because I have altitude sickness. But that wouldn't fit the book!

Jennifer said...

Dying for Debauchery
Dying for a Delivery
Dying for a Diner
Dying for a Drifter
Dying for a Double-Barreled Shotgun
Can't wait to read your next books!

Barb Goffman said...

Hi. How about Dying for a Dalliance (might be too similar to Dying for a date, though dalliance is a little more sexual)? Or Dying for a Dalmatian?

Nancy Means Wright said...

Cindy, this is utterly delicious. I love that Hangtown, and the thought of a caramel coated corpse. Actually,for titles I like Dying for a Dude. Or maybe Dying for a Dummy? If you can make a wax or fabric or stick model of the dude? Oh well, silly thought.

Cindy Sample said...

Hi Shalanna. We won't make you take the wagon train but you can definitely come to the party. I'll make sure Deputy Dude gives you a twirl!

Cindy Sample said...

Boy, it's hard keeping up with y'all. Okay, Jennifer, how about DYING FOR A DELIVERY AT THE DINER BY A DOUBLE-BARREL SHOTGUN CARRYING DRIFTER.

Whew! I'm dying for a little debauchery myself right now!

Cindy Sample said...

Barb, you're the first to come up with a Dying for a Dalmatian. That brings a hunky fireman to mind. I think Laurel could work with that:-)

Cindy Sample said...

Thanks, Nancy. I'm leaning toward DYING FOR A CARAMEL-COATED DUDE. I'll be in Apple Hill tomorrow selling books, eating apples, and lurking around those vats of gooey caramel! Hopefully I won't be the one to become caramel coated:-)

Mary Beth Magee said...

Cindy, I'm thinking "Dying for a Dray" since you're going for the wagon train theme. After all, a dray is a horse-drawn wagon for carrying beer and any self-respecting wagon master should appreciate having one of those along! Maybe you could get the beer tips from Leslie A. Diehl! LOL (And remember we're saving "Dying for a Demitasse" for when you and Laurel come to visit New Orleans!) Love ya, girl.

Tiffany N. York said...

"Dying for a break" or "Dying to solve a mystery"?

What a great fan base you have!

Cindy Sample said...

Hi Mary Beth. There will be definitely be a DYING FOR A DEMITASSE down the road. I'm already planning the trip to research it and see you!

Cindy Sample said...

Tiffany, how nice to meet you. Thanks for jumping on the wagon train with us. After all of these titles, I will be Dying for a Break!

Julie S. said...

Dying for Some Dynamite
Dying for a Dude Ranch
Dying for a Desperdo

????sounds like fun. Glad I found your blog :)

Tara said...

I think Dying for a Deputy, suggested by Jodi early in the comments fits the character and the series. Love it.

Cindy Sample said...

Thanks, Julie. I'm glad you found us. DYING FOR A DUDE RANCH is infinitely superior to DYING FOR A DUDE! So many ways for Laurel to get into trouble!

Cindy Sample said...

Hi Tara. DYING FOR A DEPUTY is pulling in a few votes so far. I'm sure Detective Hunk will be pleased. I'm so glad you like the series!

Barb Beacham said...

I am dying for you to hide a body at Dyer Lake where I live! There is a huge spill hole at Dyer! Something to think about! :)

Love the settings in your books! Keep them coming Cindy!

Karen Mayers said...

This is the liveliest blog I've ever seen. My title suggestions:
Dying for a Clue
Dying for a Reststop
Dying in Drag
Dying for a SquareDance
Dying for Love
Dying for a Good Cause
Dying for Democracy

Christina Pelletier said...

Dying for a Donut

Cindy Sample said...

Hi Barb. DYING FOR A DEAD GUY IN DYER LAKE would work. I had no idea there was a spill hole. This county is just rife with possibilities!

Cindy Sample said...

Thanks, Karen. I'm glad you enjoyed this post. I'm having a ton of fun with these comments. You brought up a whole bunch of new suggestions. I can't believe I never thought of square dancing!

Cindy Sample said...

Hi Christina. DYING FOR A DONUT has so many possibilities. Perhaps a body covered in powder sugar!

Kathy McIntosh said...

Can't wait to read your books. Spent time in Placerville while visiting my sister and brother-in-law in Shingle Springs. Love Sweetie Pies and the hardware store.

So many good suggestions already.
Maybe ...
Dying on a Dare
Dying on a Draw
Dying for Desperadoes

Kathy McIntosh said...

Just thought of another
Dying for Deodorant

Cindy Sample said...

Hi Kathy. I'm so glad you could visit Placerville. The gold country has it all, quaint towns, apple farms, wineries, and a few authors who keep ruining the landscape with dead bodies.

Love your titles!

jenny milchman said...

A town with a sense of humor for an author with one :) Great to see Cindy here!

Cindy Sample said...

Hi Jenny. Thanks for dropping by. I spent the day with artists & tourists at an apple farm yesterday. Where to hide my dead bodies was the topic of the day!

Pam said...

How about "Dying for a Dead Man's Hand?" I found this definition online: "Dead Man's Hand - A poker hand consisting of a pair of aces and a pair of eights. Traditionally, Wild Bill Hickok was holding this hand when he was shot dead by Jack McCall. Some sources dispute the hand, saying that it really contained two jacks, not aces and two eights." http://​www.legendsofamerica.com/​we-slang.html

Cindy Sample said...

Lois, thanks for letting me blog about Hangtown, home of my humorous series. We had so many wonderful comments and title suggestions. I may be writing for another 100 years!