Sally Carpenter is native Hoosier now living in Moorpark, Calif. She’s written four books in the Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol series. She plans to launch a new cozy series soon. Learn more about Sally and her books at her website.
Cozy “shorts” for Winter Reading
Anthologies are like buffets, you can sample new-to-you foods before committing to a full entrée.
Patricia Rockwell, my publisher, was looking for a way that readers could “try out” her authors. She’s is the founder of Cozy Cat Press, a small press with over 40 authors and 100 books.
She’s also the editor of Cozy Cat Shorts, a new anthology of short stories from 25 CCP authors hailing from across the U.S. and Canada. Some wrote a new story featuring the protagonists from their series books. Others used new characters and settings. All the tales are suitable for cozy fans, no graphic language, violence or sex.
My contribution is “The Puzzling Puppet Show Caper.” The past months I’ve been working on a new series, so returning to my old series hero was a hoot. He’s such a colorful character that I had no trouble jumping back into “his” world and finding a new mystery for him to solve.
Sandy Fairfax is a thirty-eight-year-old former teen idol making a comeback and each new gig somehow includes a body. Like the TV character he played in his teens, Buddy Brave, Boy Sleuth, Sandy starts poking around where he shouldn’t and nearly gets killed before naming the murderer.
The story idea came when I was watching DVDs of The Muppet Show and thought, “Sandy would have made a great guest star on the show!” So I put Sandy on a kids’ TV show with some rather unstable puppeteers.
Also, my high school had a TV studio and the seniors produced puppet shows on closed circuit TV for the local elementary schools. I learned about how to operate a hand puppet. In fact, my first published piece of writing was a puppet script!
While writing the “death trap” scene in the story, I had Sandy in a pickle. How would he escape? The solution made me laugh out loud for several minutes. I don’t know if other readers will find this moment hilarious, but it was one of the joys that makes writing so enjoyable.
The other stories are fun reads too. Here are the authors and their story titles,
Amy Beth Arkawy, “Rabbit, Rabbit, White Rabbit”
Allen B. Boyer, “Apology for a Mystery”
C.F. Carter, “Dead as the Dickens”
Linda Crowder, “Paw and Claws”
Glen Ebisch, “The Return of Bigfoot”
Bart J. Gilbertson, “The Leopold Test”
Helen Grochmal, “Merridy’s Happy Family”
Lorrie Holmgren, “The Locked Room”
Bret Jones, “Modus Operandi”
Mary Koppel, “Mr. Wednesday”
Elizabeth Lanham, “The Hygienist”
Owen Magruder, “The Man in Tan”
Jane O’Brien, “Murder at Pepperberry Lake”
Joyce Oroz, “Bored to Death”
David Pauwels, “Cisco Maloney and the Case of the Missing Keys”
Emma Pivator, “A Lesson for the Teacher”
Joe and Pam Reese, “The Worst Sin”
Megan Rivers, “Story Stones”
Patricia Rockwell, “Walkers”
Rita Gard Seedorf, “Hope Against Hope”
Rae Sanders and Annie Irvin, “Idle Hands”
Lane Stone, “Foreign Affairs”
Margaret Verhoef, “Missing Digits”
Carmen Will, “And the Answer Is . . . “Murder””
Cozy Cat Shorts: “The Puzzling Puppet Show Caper”
The latest gig for former TV star Sandy Fairfax is a guest appearance on the long-running children’s TV series, “Uncle Albert’s Farmhouse,” a tired show declining in the ratings and budget. When one of the puppeteers dies during taping, Sandy suspects the unscripted death scene was not accidental. But his sleuthing lands him in the crushing arms of a huge, murderous puppet.