Avery Daniels's Blog

May 15, 2021

Lefty Mystery Awards

Book awards often open us up to new authors or series. Here is this year's Left Coast Crime book awards, the Lefty!

Winners are listed first each category.

Lefty for Best Humorous Mystery Novel
✫ Ellen Byron, Murder in the Bayou Boneyard (Crooked Lane Books)
° Jennifer J. Chow, Mimi Lee Gets a Clue (Berkley Prime Crime)
° Carl Hiaasen, Squeeze Me (Alfred A. Knopf)
° Cynthia Kuhn, The Study of Secrets (Henery Press)
° J. Michael Orenduff, The Pot Thief Who Studied the Woman at Otowi Crossing (Aakenbaaken & Kent)
° Sung J. Woo, Skin Deep (Agora Books)

Lefty for Best Historical Mystery Novel
(Bruce Alexander Memorial) for books covering events before 1970
✫ Catriona McPherson, The Turning Tide (Quercus)
° Susanna Calkins, The Fate of a Flapper (Minotaur Books)
° Dianne Freeman, A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Murder (Kensington Books) here is a review of the 1st in the series (click here)
° Laurie R. King, Riviera Gold (Bantam Books)
° Ann Parker, Mortal Music (Poisoned Pen Press)
° James W. Ziskin, Turn to Stone (Seventh Street Books)

Lefty for Best Debut Mystery Novel
✫ David Heska Wanbli Weiden, Winter Counts (Ecco)
° Daisy Bateman, Murder Goes to Market (Seventh Street Books)
° Mary Keliikoa, Derailed (Camel Press)
° Erica Ruth Neubauer, Murder at the Mena House (Kensington Books)
° Richard Osman, The Thursday Murder Club (Viking)
° Halley Sutton, The Lady Upstairs (Putnam)

Lefty for Best Mystery Novel
✫ Louise Penny, All the Devils Are Here (Minotaur Books)
° Tracy Clark, What You Don’t See (Kensington Books)
° S.A. Cosby, Blacktop Wasteland (Flatiron Books)
° Matt Coyle, Blind Vigil (Oceanview Publishing)
° Rachel Howzell Hall, And Now She’s Gone (Forge)

Hopefully you find your new book to read from these award-winning mysteries!
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Published on May 15, 2021 11:31 Tags: lefty-awards

April 5, 2021

Cozy Mysteries: Quarantine Comfort

During the pandemic and days of quarantine at home, away from crowds or super spreader events, book sales took off. People who hadn't read for years picked up books again and that translated into about a six percent increase in sales.

The statistics show that police procedurals and gritty crime fiction didn't do as well in book sales. But the kinder, gentler murder mystery - the cozy, seemed to do very well and gained recognition as a great escapist read.

The Associated Press had an article on March 7, 2021 about cozy mysteries being a salve during the quarantine.

"For those who find their dreams in books, there’s a group of readers who are hungrily consuming a particular style of narrative to escape from the past year’s reality: “cozy” mysteries. In an unfathomably complex year, a gently told tale of murder and mayhem whittles the sharp edges of reality to a manageable, smooth surface.

“Murder is definitely dark, but in a cozy the reader is with the protagonist every step of the way as each clue is revealed,” says Michelle Vega, executive editor of Berkley, who works with several cozy authors. “You can enjoy the perfect cup of tea and pretend you’re sitting in that comfy bookshop with the protagonist, smiling along with the banter as she and friends figure out whodunit. It is escapist perfection.

... The genre’s parameters are few: no swearing, no sex, and little to no gore. Just what the pandemic-era doctor ordered.

“The cozy mystery is a familiar way to encounter the two seemingly unreconcilable realities of death and country peace at the same time,” says Sarah Allison, an associate professor of English at Loyola New Orleans who is working on a book about “escape reading.”

“The restoration of order at the end of the novel might be less significant than the way this genre makes beautiful scenery and grisly details feel like they go together naturally,” she said in an email. Such mysteries, she says, promise a messy murder and a tidy resolution, “a welcome contrast to the way we’ve all been suspended between life as it was before COVID and life as it will be after.”
Murder but gentler: 'Cozy mysteries, a pandemic-era balm by Tamara Lush
Read the full article here.

I know cozies are like mystery comfort food. Besides their lighter and humorous tendencies, cozies usually reveal the killer, thus justice is served and balance is restored. Also, the main character is instrumental in the killer being brought to justice, reinforcing that one person can make a difference. Both of which are spirit-raising during a global pandemic. But I suspect that the element that is the real salve during troubled times is the mainstay of cozy mystery series, the quirky family and friends that populate the tight community in the books.

These characters, from the spunky sidekick to the wacky neighbors or laugh-out-loud family, become friends to the reader. Sometimes the featured pets are just as important. These are friends you want to spend time with and can't wait to get back together. The beauty is, they are only a book away. That has to be incredibly soothing, to return to people that make you laugh and feel good in a series.

Consider the "Cat Who" book series by Lillian Jackson Braun with thirty whopping books. The main character and his two Siamese cats became near family to fans, along with the residents of Pickax and Moose County (400 miles north of everywhere!) It was so popular that there is a companion book, quiz book, cookbook, reunion cookbook, and a parody book. Even though the author is dead, the Facebook page continues.

All this to say, the characters become friends and during quarantine, that is some of the best medicine, friends to help your through! There might even be the book boyfriend in the cozy that gets your through as well. What do you think makes the cozy mystery such a comforting read during troubled times? Share in the comments. Also share what cozy helped you through a tough time. Let's be real.

For me, during financial difficulties I find cozies help me get my mind off the worries. I definitely find my favorite series' characters are like friends who I enjoy spending time with that helped me though the sense of isolation during quarantine. BTW, I have been quarantining for a year since I have a health condition that puts me at high risk. So this was a significant help.
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Published on April 05, 2021 13:00 Tags: cozies, cozy-mystery-quarantine-comfort

March 14, 2021

Upvotes Needed!

I received a wonderful review on Reedsy Discovery. That was a the first step in a journey on their site.

At Discovery, there is a point system in place so that the most UPVOTED books will be featured on the website’s main page and the next newsletter.

You can help me be featured in their newsletter and main page listing by upvoting my book (account needed but free). This would be a tremendous help and I would be very grateful for your support in this.

Please go here and upvote Arrowed: Arrowed on Discovery
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Published on March 14, 2021 12:05 Tags: discovery, help, reedsy, upvote, vote

February 24, 2021

March Month-long Blog Tour

Blog Tour Banner

Please join me at these book tour stops and leave comments. Access all the links from the hub (click here) There will be interviews and other fun things.

Monday, March 1

Virtual Book Tour Kick Off at PUYB Virtual Book Club
Tuesday, March 2

Book Teaser Feature at YouTube
Wednesday, March 3

Guest Blogging at Blogging Authors
Thursday, March 4

Interview at b for book review
Friday, March 5

Book Review at Books for Books

Monday, March 8

Book Review at Eastern Sunset Reads
Tuesday, March 9

Interview at Chapter Break
Wednesday, March 10

Book Review at Community Bookstop
Thursday, March 11

Book Review at Sefina Hawke’s Books
Friday, March 12

Book Feature at Lisa’s Reading

Monday, March 15

Interview at A Blue Million Books
Tuesday, March 16

Book Teaser Trailer Feature at The Writer’s Life
Wednesday, March 17

Book Feature at I’m All About Books
Thursday, March 18

Book Feature at Book Bloggin’ Princess
Friday, March 19

Book Feature at StoreyBook Reviews

Monday, March 22

Interview at My Bookish Pleasures
Wednesday, March 24

Book Feature at Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews
Friday, March 26

Book Feature at Jazzy Book Reviews

Monday, March 29

Book Review at Laura’s Interests
Wednesday, March 31

Book Feature at The Faerie Review
Book Feature at The Magic of Wor(l)ds
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Published on February 24, 2021 19:22 Tags: arrowed-book-blog-tour

February 19, 2021

Great review of Arrowed!

Susan Sewell of Reader's Favorite reviewed my book and I am so honored by her thoughts on my soon-to-be-released 4th book in the series, Arrowed. Here is part of the review:

"Part of a sensational murder series, Arrowed (Resort to Murder: Book 4) by Avery Daniels is a delightful amateur sleuth mystery. It is engaging from its intriguing introduction until its thrilling conclusion. Tenacious and irrepressible, Julienne's character is likable as well as relatable.

I especially loved the character contrast between Julienne and her boyfriend's ex-girlfriend, Tiffany. Tiffany makes a fabulous antagonist and is a perfect foil for Julienne. Their friction and ambivalence enhance the storyline with a juicy bit of tension and conflict.

I was very impressed with the development of the characters. Each one is a strand in an elegant tapestry, and their varying personalities and roles strengthen the weave of the storyline. Even in absentia, the General, Mason's father's presence is felt without disrupting the flow and enhances the storyline.

It is a superb murder mystery that will delight those who love cozy mysteries with a hint of the paranormal and solved by a feisty female protagonist."

Here is the full review on the site:
Reader's Favorite review

Like all creative endeavors, you worry how it will be received and I am blown away by this review. Thank you Susan and Reader's Favorite.
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Published on February 19, 2021 10:23 Tags: arrowed-review, cozy-mystery-review, resort-to-murder-review

February 17, 2021

Nurture Your Reading Habit

In 2020, the Covid 19 Corona virus saw many people staying home more and picking up books to occupy the mind. This was a fantastic outcome from a bad situation. As we move on, let's keep the reading habit alive. Reading fiction is not only enjoyable, but it makes up better people.

The University of Rochester reviewed 14 previous studies on the correlation between reading fiction and exhibiting empathy towards others. The results showed reading fiction produced improvement in personal interaction and compassion for our fellow man and woman. That's according to a Jan 25, 2019 article in Inc. titled "New Study: Reading Fiction Really Will Make You Nicer and More Empathetic" Reading fiction isn't a magic cure for social ails, but the world could sure use more empathy and compassion right now.

The New Yorker magazine's article "Can Reading Make You Happier?" by Ceridwen Dovey dated June 9, 2015 describes "Bibliotherapy as a very broad term for the ancient practice of encouraging reading for therapeutic effect." Bibliotherapy is where a therapist prescribes certain books, fiction and non, to help you with areas of your life such as a broken heart or career worries. This is real and becoming a bigger deal. It is due to the ability of a novel to allow the reader to live a simulated life for a few hundred pages, feel that character's joys and pains, to simulate walking a mile in another's shoes. In the process, discovering truths about yourself. A good book club is a social way to go about this self discovery with a social benefit.

Reading fiction is also a great stress release. Whether you get your adrenaline pumping in a harrowing thriller or science fiction novel or you get the rush from a romance, you have spent time outside your personal struggles and pressures of life and lived through another's eyes. I know I cherish that aspect, as well as "living" in other time periods, experiencing other cultures and "armchair traveling".

How do you nurture the reading habit as the world is blossoming again with the end of the virus tunnel in sight?

Some of these suggestions are so easy since you are a Goodreads member!

Join a book challenge. There are reading challenges on book blogs and Goodreads where you share your progress with others in that challenge. You can do a solo reading challenge at any time. For a few years I ran a historical mystery reading challenge on this blog. Just do a google search or check on Goodreads. If you want to go it alone, set yourself a stretch goal, perhaps read 50 (or another number) books this year and work to meet that challenge.

Set a regular time each day for your reading. You may need to cut short television or web surfing time to ensure your success, but it is so worth it. What is you best time to read? During your lunch time, an hour before sleep, before work, when you just wake up? Find the best place to read as well. It should be distraction free and comfortable. It will vary for everyone what fits that description. Make this time special with your favorite cup of tea or similar treat.

Read books that you enjoy, that sweep you up in the story. This is key to continuing a reading habit, find authors whose writing you can count on to transport you. Don't feel you must finish a book if it isn't working for you. You may find a month later that book might spark your imagination better.

Have a book with you at all times. That is easier these days with ebooks and reading apps on our cell phones. I have read in line at the grocery store and post office.

Maintain a list of the books you want to read. You will feel good marking off the books. This is a self-nurturing move showing importance to something that makes you feel good.

Keep track of your reading. You can use a simple pen and paper, your bullet journal, or electronically on Goodreads or LibraryThing. Besides the basics of the title and author you can include the start and finish reading dates, and a sentence or two of what you thought about the book.

On a budget? Find a discount book store, used book store, or your local library and get to know the staff. Sign up for your favorite author's newsletter so you know when their works are on sale. There are many sites like Bookbub that notify you about book deals based on your reading preferences.

Make reading a shared family value. I grew up discussing the books we were reading at the dinner table. My mother devoured historical fiction and talked about the actual history woven into the stories she read. That is one big reason why I love history.

Finally, start a simple blog to post your reading experience where family and friends can keep you on your reading habit and recommend books. There is no pressure if you are using the blog as a forum for family and friends to participate in your reading journey. You don't have to make it highly analytical, just chat about what you read and what you liked.

These are a few ideas to keep you going on your reading habit. Thanks for reading this!
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Published on February 17, 2021 13:10 Tags: reading-habit

February 6, 2021

Wintertime Giveaway

Hello Fabulous Folks,

Here is a great opportunity for you.

Follow some amazing authors (including yours truly) on Bookbub for a chance to win a $300 Amazon gift card! The more you follow the more chances you have to win! You can also come back every day for special tasks that will earn you daily entry points!

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Published on February 06, 2021 11:57 Tags: gift-card, giveaway

January 27, 2021

Join Me On Bookbub

I would be honored if you followed me on Bookbub. It's a great way to stay in touch, especially if you are already a member of the site. I'll see there!
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Published on January 27, 2021 11:09 Tags: bookbub-page

January 25, 2021

Cover Reveal--Arrowed

The fourth book in the Resort to Murder mystery series is in edits. The cover is complete, and I think it is fantastic. Check it out and let me know what you think.

The release date is March 1st, but it will be on preorder before that.

So, what do you think? Great, right?
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Published on January 25, 2021 13:56 Tags: cover-reveal, fourth-book

January 4, 2021

Let's Keep In Touch

I truly appreciate your interest in my books and your desire to be in know. The best way to find more information about Avery Daniels, my books, current projects, and general shenanigans is to join my newsletter. You will be the first to hear news and upcoming deals. I will give you insider glimpses into my writing life and general special treatment. I look forward to getting to know you better as well :-)

Let's Stay Connected.
Sign up for my newsletter to receive advance news and special offers. Click Here to become an exclusive insider.
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Published on January 04, 2021 13:40 Tags: exclusive-insider-news, newsletter