Housekeeping Post: Awards Eligibility for Desdemona and the Deep

Helllooooo there! I keep seeing these things pop up, and so: voila! AWARDS POST!

The only thing of mine that has come out this year (I think) is Desdemona and the Deep.

With regards to the Nebula word count requirements, I believe it would be considered a leeetle novel.

I think if it were to be considered for any other award–Locus, Hugo, or World Fantasy–it would be considered a novella (as it was written to be one), though I did a slip or two of the fingers in the editing stage and WHOOPS went my word count.

If thou’rt of a mind to do’t, go ye forth and READ my Des, and then–should she please thee, Phossy Gals et al–go on and give her a GREAT GOBLIN GOB OF VOTAGE RIGHT WHERE THE GOBBIN GETS GOOD!

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My Completely Idiosyncratic Reaction Upon Finishing Gideon the Ninth

i.e., I’m a big weirdo, and I keep getting weirder. Thankfully, Carlos Hernandez was there to bear witness, and so all is not lost but preserved for the archives.

Yours Truly,

C. S. E. Cooney

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Gaskell’s North and South

I am having TOO MUCH FUN reading Mrs. Gaskell’s NORTH AND SOUTH. I must go on reading despite a (medically contained) headache. I do keep jumping up to tell Carlos things I am noticing or reading bits aloud to him.

I first discovered Elizabeth Gaskell in my mid-late 20s, in my Chicago aerie, having been given (by my doughty Mima) a VHS copy of WIVES AND DAUGHTERS, which I finally watched one day whilst dying of the flu and supping myself silly on Mrs. Shaw’s Italian sausage soup—which is full of garlic.

Later, in Rhode Island, in my early 30’s, my mama Sita and I came across the Cranford DVDs at our beloved Westerly library.

Upon learning that both of these class-spanning, intellectually curious, women-complex series were based on books by the same person—a woman!—Charlotte Brontë’s friend AND BIOGRAPHER!—I sought out the books and read them.

I know, I know. I came to this knowledge late. I am ashamed of what I never learned in school. Surely this novel must’ve come as second nature to EVERYONE ELSE I KNOW.

Reading these books, I comprehended what the TV adaptions had hinted at: that Gaskell was what I’d been wanting for years without knowing it. Someone I loved more than Austen or the Brontës! Someone who was taking a complex look at societies in her time—all levels of society—how they mingled, how technology and industry were changing everything, the sleepy habits of centuries. Her characters embody the shifting landscapes; the landscapes are characters too.

I’ve always meant to make a thorough study of Gaskell, so if any of you know any good biographies…?

Recently, I watched the NORTH AND SOUTH series, which I’d been meaning to for a long time. I knew suddenly that the hour was upon me, for it involved a factory—I surmised from the previews—and a factory plays such a large part in my current wip, I WILL MAKE A RUIN OF MYSELF. I wanted some architectural visuals, with moving parts, so I sat down to it.

It was wonderful, wonderful—or so I thought! But about halfway through the series, I read a comedic article about all the ways in which the series failed the book—which really spurred me to get the book. (Yes, from the Savoy Bookshop!)

I still loved the series though, and will revisit it.

And, really, the book is extraordinary. What a place to start from in the character of Margaret Hale: this sleepy, shallow, luminous creature—likable but SHAKEABLE!—whom pain and travel and curiosity and good sense must awaken. Childlike, and constrained to feelings of guilt and shame to find that not only is she growing up, but she’s more grown up than her parents! What an iron core she has, and doesn’t even know it yet. How I want to throttle her.

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Nerdy Nerdy Hot Sauce Post!

HOT SAUCE UPDATE: please put your own suggestions in the comments!

PHOTO 1: Carlos and I loved ALL these depicted, need to order more. ETA: ORDERED MORE.

Queen Majesty: (ALL their Hot Sauces ROCK!) Jalapeño Tequila & Lime Hot Sauce; Scotch Bonnet & Ginger Hot Sauce; Red Habanero & Black Coffee Hot Sauce
Pirate’s Lantern (I am on BOTTLE #4 of Pirate’s Lantern, hot mustardy, not sweet, amazing with lox)
Small Axe Peppers: The Bronx Greenmarket

PHOTOS 2-5: Our current “stable” of hot sauces: will order several again. Particularly the Apple Cilantro by Pepplish Provisions and the Charcoal Ghost (another Queen Majesty Hot Sauce: the best ghost pepper of all of the ones we’ve tasted.

Funken Hot” by Karma Sauce is Great! We really like Howler Monkey too! And we TOTES ADORE “Alex’s Ugly Sauce

PHOTO 6: BLECH! DID NOT LIKE, COULD NOT FINISH. Burnt or sour or weird-tasting. But the bottles are funny, so we are keeping them to make something later!

Tee hee. “Rectum Ripper.” Tee hee.

PHOTO 7: Next up to try! The HEATONIST’s latest Trio Pack!

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Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market: A Dramatic Reading

When my book Desdemona and the Deep came out in July from Tor.com, Carlos and I conceived of the idea of doing an “Influences” video. Namely, a dramatic reading of Christina Rossetti’s poem “Goblin Market.”

I got in contact with Omar Rayyan, the renowned artist, whose art I’ve loved for years (it’s all over our walls), and who recently illustrated a gorgeous edition of Goblin Market: also found here (Indiebound) and here (Amazon).

With the artist’s permission, I’ve used his illustrations in my narration.

It took a LOT LONGER to edit (being a total n00b in these matters) than I’d anticipated–even with Carlos’s help. Carlos has so much on his plate–the darling–but he found time to help me even with his second novel for Disney Hyperion due. HE COMPOSED THE SCORE FOR ME TOO!

I want to thank Kiri (AKA photographer Marie O’Mahony), who first read Christina Rossetti to me, possibly on the floor of my mother’s bathroom, when we were kids; somehow we often ended up in there, reading Shakespeare or long-form poetry. I think because both doors locked and we could escape my brothers?

I also want to thank writers, poets, friends, and goddesses Amal El-MohtarJessica Wick, and Caitlyn Paxson for running Goblin Fruit Magazine for so many years; I mention the magazine in the intro and outro both, for love.

Much love,

C. S. E. Cooney

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PAPER: An Ae Freislighe on the Eve of Our 2nd Anniversary

For Carlos Hernandez

I shall try a new form, I think. First: because it will amuse my beloved; second: because forms are hard–and because a level-up challenge seems particularly appropriate at this moment–this very moment–when I am at my ease, and he is sitting perpendicular from me on this L-shaped couch, racing time to finish the last chapters of his novel; third, because I want to.


Here are the rules to the Ae Freislighe form, (pronounced  “ay fresh-lee”) from which I have copied a little below.

  • Quatrain stanzas (4-line stanzas)
  • 7 syllables per line
  • Lines 1 and 3 rhyme together, but they rhyme as three syllables (xxa)
  • Lines 2 and 4 rhyme together as two syllables (xb)
  • The final syllable, word, or line of the entire poem should be the same as the entire poem begins (the poetic term for this is dunadh)
  • Poem can be as concise as one stanza and scale out as far as a poet wishes to push it

PAPER: Ae Freislighe

Autumn is our cityscape
Last-gasp roses, gutter leaf
Monster mask and witty jape
Hot wind, sly rainfall’s mischief

You, near, lounging: ankles crossed
Haircut I gave you grown out
Brows drawn, in prose-tangles lost
Coffee enough to drown doubt

Book: this pressure in your chest
Book: released and billowing
Book: your labor and your quest
Book: high-burning, slow-glowing

Soon I’ll read it page to page
Then–done, turned in, time for us
Work outlives us, age to age
Long after we’ve gone to dust

Tender, our shared history
Over the rest, gently drape
This scrim of dim mystery
Autumn is our cityscape

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Citymeals on Wheels

This month’s DESDEMONA’S TITHE is to Raices, and it comes due on the full moon–which is in about 11 days. That is coming, but it is not today’s work.

The other day, Carlos and I got a letter from Citymeals on Wheels. Perhaps it is because I have been writing to both of my living grandmothers more lately, and feeling the fragility of all our lives so keenly. I should have written them more often, for years. When Gene died, I regretted not writing to him more often, not calling him because I was never very good on the phone–though he was! Oh, I regretted many things.

Anyway, what caught my eye about the Citymeals on Wheels letter was that, included in the text asking for help with delivering meals to homebound elders during the holidays, was a placemat, with a line on it where one can sign one’s name. A beautiful sort of personal touch, I thought.

I approached Carlos rather tentatively and asked if we could maybe sign it in memory of his mother. A delicate question, you may well imagine.

He stopped what he was doing (making music), got up from his synthesizer, and hugged me. That was answer enough.

Emma would feed people. Emma always fed people. And so will we, in her name.

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A Celebration of Desdemona and the Deep in Reviews and Pictures!

Dear Friends,

Publishing is so funny; Desdemona and the Deep came out from Tor.com not even three months ago, but it seems in some ways it was another lifetime.

…Another season, anyway, and the world rolls on. It debuted in the bright heart of summer, and now it’s the first day of October.

But in many ways, Desdemona really is an Octobral book, isn’t it, with its goblins and bargains, its tithes and transformations. I hope that this October and for many Octobers to come, readers will discover Desdemona for the first time, or take it out for a re-read, or use it as a basis to play dress up! That Alyssa Wynans cover is such a perfect palette for autumn!

Here are some pictures from both my book launches, and some gorgeous fan art that my beloved friend Caitlyn Paxson made for me as a present. WHAT A GIFT!

Also to celebrate, I received news of three great reviews for Desdemona today all from Locus Magazine, October 2019 issue! One from Liz Bourke, one from Amy Goldschlager (for the audiobook), and one from Rich Horton!!!

Yikes! I let my subscription Locus lapse in the furor of summer: TIME TO RE-UP!

Here are some snippets:

C.S.E. Cooney won the World Fantasy Award for her collection Bone Swans. She has a strong – even glittering – track record with short stories, but Desdemona and the Deep is her first book-length work . . . At any other length, it would lose something of its impact: shorter, and it would not have time to build up the momentum for its series of punches; longer, and the effect of its short, sharp, furious poetic dismantling of assumptions would be diluted away from its pointed achievement . . . Desdemona and the Deep is an eloquent, elegant novella about power, art, consequence and change. It’s also pleasantly queer and drunk on language, which appealed to me deeply. I recommend it.”

– Liz Bourke, Locus

Professional audiobook narrator Cooney . . . reads her own tale with joy and confidence. She is delighted to tell you her story and you will be delighted to hear it. Cooney also does a great drunk voice, and some really fun character voices. I particularly liked the voice of the assistant to Desdemona’s mother; it reminded me a lot of Jane Horrocks’ character Bubble on Absolutely Fabulous, if Bubble were American and somewhat smarter. Edgy, romantic, earthy, and colorful.

– Amy Goldschlager, Locus (audiobooks)

I’ve been looking forward to C.S.E. Cooney’s Desdemona and the Deep for quite a while, and having arrived, it doesn’t disappoint . . . The best thing about this book is the prose – lush images and glorious words mix in a sometimes comic and sometimes earnest olio. . . There is always the music of the writing, and the comic coloration, and the engaging and just awakening Desdemona to keep us entranced.

– Rich Horton, Locus

And now some PICTURES!

This first gallery is from my first launch at the Savoy Bookshop and Cafe in Westerly, Rhode Island, where I lived for five years. So many people helped with this event! My friends even decorated the store to look like the Valwode!

And here’s the second launch, at the GLORIOUS Astoria Bookshop in Queens, where I currenly live. This place is wonderful! Please check it out if you get the chance! Well-worth an adventure!

And here is my darling Caitlyn’s fan art!

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SciFi/Fantasy I’ve Narrated: With Narrator’s Opinions!

SERIES

Mayhem Wave Series
By Edward Aubry

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Series

This was the first series I’d done wherein a fellow author heard me read some of my own work at a convention and, understanding that I narrated for Tantor Audio, specifically requested me to read his work when Tantor bought the audio rights to his books. What an amazing boost to my confidence! I will always be grateful. These are big, sprawling, unpredictable adventures with everything from dinosaurs to fairies to high tech trains to cannibal houses to dragons to laser guns. Okay, maybe not laser guns. But maybe not NOT laser guns too. It’s an interesting world full of colorful characters. This was also the first instance that, after a few weeks in the recording booth, I happened to glance in the mirror, and was surprised by the sight of my own face. I’d been so immersed in Aubry’s world for so long that I’d forgotten what I looked like, and expected to see a different character’s face instead of my own. Time in the “Whisper Room” can be very strange!

1. Prelude to Mayhem
2. Static Mayhem
3. Mayhem’s Children

Fate Weaver Series
By ReGina Welling, Erin Lynn

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Series

After I recorded the first book in this series I got a note back requesting me to be a little more “funny.” This was such a challenge; how to be vocally funny? They are indeed funny, fast books, full of witches and wisecracks, gods and gallivanting. I wanted to do them justice. One of the things I tried was really “activating my cheekbones”–basically, smiling while talking. Relax, have fun, but also concentrate on varying the vocal levels, so as to help the jokes land better and more naturally. And there were many jokes! These are glib, sassy books–even occasionally steamy! Sort of a mash-up of a mystery, a matchmaking rom-com, mythology and good ol’ fashioned MAGICK.

1. Match Made in Spell
2. All Spell is Breaking Loose
3. To Spell and Back

Grimm Agency Series
By J.C. Nelson

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Series

This is one of your put-upon protagonist must-save-the-world series, with a lot of interference from those who wish to invade, rule, and/or destroy it. It’s in the vein of, say, Buffy or Supernatural–taking place in a world like ours, except . . . paranormal. Now, I recorded these a while ago, but I remember I had SO MUCH FUN with the voice of one of the main villainnesses in particular: I believe, the Faerie Queen. She was French. Plenty of action, some romance, some friendships made through rescue and then through work, and MANY monsters to fight!

1. Free Agent
2. Armageddon Rules
3. Wish Bound

Cat’s Eye Chronicles
By T.L. Shreffler

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Series

First of all, the author of these books was just so sweet to work with, very communicative. I rarely have a chance to interact with the author, and for fantasy books especially, I really crave contact! Since I write fantasy, and since so much of the language of fantasy is invented, I want to make sure I am interpreting the writer’s vision as close to correctly as, well, an interpreter can! Second of all, I really enjoyed voicing the Harpies. You heard me: there are are harpies. Third, I started getting a little crush on Crash/Viper, and let me tell you, there’s nothing quite like living in the voice of your latest crush.

1. Sora’s Quest
2. Viper’s Creed
3. Volcrian’s Hunt
4. Ferran’s Map
5. Krait’s Redemption

STAND ALONE BOOKS

Inherit the Stars
By Tony Peak

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Book

This, again, was pretty early on in my narration career, but I do remember that author Tony Peak was SO AWESOMELY PROMPT and COMMUNICATIVE in his response to my request for pronunciations. I mean, I think he overnighted them to me via email. That was extremely helpful, because this is a sci-fi novel, with many kinds of planets and peoples. I remember this book had many female characters, including the protagonist–there was, in particular, a soldier (a captain? a general?) whom I particularly liked, and loved every time I got to voice her. I also remember noticing the strong colors of this book: lurid, alien, beautiful neons, like a favorite weird movie remembered from a 1980’s childhood. Also, I recall the sensation of being slightly cold the whole time I was recording: since the cryosleep chamber plays an enormous role in the plot!

The Rattled Bones
By S. M. Parker

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Book

Now, this was a really interesting read–and one I’d’ve read on my own had I just picked it up at random to read for pleasure. It’s YA and it’s a mystery–and it’s also a ghost story. There are horrific elements: historical racism (really awful stuff, and sensitively researched, I thought) and vengeful spirits. This is also a book about grieving. The teenaged protagonist Rilla Brae is QUITE powerful: a young lobster-boat captain. I’ve never read a protagonist like her before. I really loved her, and her grandmother, and her strange, wild, maritime adventure. I remember there was a complicated friendship, a realistically unsatisfying relationship–followed by a much better one. And so many cool things about MAINE!

Starlings
By Jo Walton

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Book

Ah. Ah! I have already blogged separately about narrating Starlings, because it was SUCH an experience! If you are interested, please read it at this link.

Suffice to say, this book was an HONOR and a HOOT to narrate, and I was SO EXCITED to have the chance! Not only did I get to do a good bulk of the stories (with my co-narrator Rudy Sanda doing the others), but I got to narrate the poetry. AND A WHOLE ONE-ACT PLAY! WITH ALL THE VOICES! I never felt so much like Mel Blanc in a Looney Tunes cartoon in my whole life!

Here is my favorite Audiofile Magazine review I ever got for anything I’ve done:

Beginning with a rousing introduction, C.S.E. Cooney offers an enthusiastic narration of Walton’s first collection of short fiction and poetry. All told, there are 20 stories, a one-act play, and 15 poems, many of which are populated by memorable characters and marked by sly humor. The challenge for the narrator of a collection like this is allowing for each piece to have a life of its own, rather than disappearing among so many others. A second narrator, Rudy Sanda, delivers a couple of stories, but the strength of the audiobook comes from Cooney. With Cooney’s deft narration, playful energy, and ease with accents, listeners have the opportunity to lose themselves in each fantastical story. A.S. © AudioFile 2019.

Mad Hatters and March Hares
By Ellen Datlow (editor)

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Book

If you stan Lewis Carroll, I think the stories in this book will both feed your obsession and challenge it.

As with the above-mentioned book, Mad Hatters and March Hares was another of those rare works that blew my skull apart at the sutures to try and voice. (Co-voice, actually, with the fabulous Eric Michael Summerer.) In addition to being an audiobook narrator, I also write fantasy; I even had a story in this particular anthology, my first work published under Editor Ellen Datlow, another scion of the genre! Also as with Starlings, I was so anxious about doing right by these stories–not least because I either knew or held in high esteem most of the authors–that it was one of the most difficult books I’ve ever narrated. Nothing shows me my own limitations as a voice actor so ruthlessly as being given something so beautiful and varied and brilliant to narrate that I almost can’t bear it. But I was the one on the ground, and I did my absolute best–sweating the entire time!–and I will forever be humbled to have had the chance.

Bone Swans and Desdemona and the Deep
By C. S. E. Cooney

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About These Books

Well, these two books are my own works–which sold to Tantor Audio and Recorded Books respectively. Bone Swans: Stories is my collection, and won the World Fantasy Award in 2016. Desdemona and the Deep was just released in July of this year (2019). The collection, comprising five novellas/novelettes, runs a gamut of flavors: from sword and sorcery, to a couple re-told fairy tales, to a fantastical murder mystery, to . . . something that’s just plain nightmarish carnival weird. The second is a standalone work juuuuuust longer than a novella (word count-wise) but meant to be one nonetheless.

They both are full fantasy books, all of the stories taking place in different secondary worlds. Although: HINT–the story called “How the Milkmaid Struck a Bargain with the Crooked One” in Bone Swans takes place in the same land as Desdemona and the Deep, only the latter is several hundred years in the future, in the equivalent of our “Gilded Age.”

I wish I were a full-cast of Academy Award-winning actors, each with their impeccable timing and distinctive voices and emotional surprises. I wish I could match in the air what these works sound like in my head. But I have to say, I also love, love, love, love, love narrating my own work. I have read aloud from my stories my whole life to anyone who would sit still long enough to listen: my mother, my brothers, my best friends, and now–my husband–and the idea that I am also reading my own work aloud to people I may never meet is deeply satisfying and warming.

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Mystery Series I’ve Narrated, with NARRATOR OPINIONS

WITCH CITY MYSTERIES
by Carol J. Perry

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Series

The first book in this series was the first book I’d ever narrated, and so it will always be very special to me. I love Lee Barrett in all her guises: real psychic disguised as fake psychic, teacher at an arts’ school, investigative reporter. I like how much she likes (and knows!) her cars. And I really like all the Salem history woven in. Plus: CATS! Plus: WITCHES! 

1 Caught Dead Handed (2014)
2 Tails, You Lose (2015)
3 Look Both Ways (2015)
4 Murder Go Round (2017)
5 Grave Errors (2017)
6 It Takes a Coven (2018)
7 Bells, Spells, and Murders (2018)
8 Final Exam (2019)
9 Late Checkout (2019)

Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries
By Ellery Adams

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Series

This is one of those slipstreamy, multi-genre books. It’s a mystery, yes–but there is also MAGIC! I love a good magical food book, and this one has plenty of that, plus a horde of fabulous aunties always sticking their noses in. And fairies. And sirens. And firefighters. So. Yeah! Warning: you will want to eat pie more than you ever have in your life if you read these. I MADE SO MANY PIES WHEN I WAS RECORDING THESE! Savory and sweet! My favorite was a bacon, onion, apple, cheddar pie!

1. Pies and Prejudice (2012)
2. Peach Pies and Alibis (2013)
3. Pecan Pies and Homicides (2014)
4. Lemon Pies and Little White Lies (2015)
5. Breach of Crust (2016)

Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries
by Cheryl Hollon

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Series

I love learning more about different kinds of glass-making and glass-blowing techniques in each book. The main character, Savannah Webb, is a patient teacher–and her wide array of students are always getting into scrapes. My favorites are the elderly twins, though: Rachel and Faith. They’re in every book, and grow more goofy and lovable every time we meet. I really love the community in this book as well, the close friendships across different ages, artists, and neurotypes. Plus! An adorable Weimaraner! (For you dog lovers.)

1. Pane and Suffering (2015)
2. Shards of Murder (2016)
3. Cracked to Death (2016)
4. Etched in Tears (2017)
5. Shattered at Sea (2018)
6. Down in Flames (2019)

Margot Durand Cozy Mysteries
by Danielle Collins

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Series

Another series that is bound to make you hungry–and to want to go on a cruise. These are desserty-books, with dreamy, dreamy pastries, and with a no-nonsense protagonist who makes room in her life for the unexpected–and opens her heart and home to family, even when they’re being a bit troublesome.

1. Croissants and Corruption (2017)
2. Desserts and Deception (2017)
3. Pastries and Pilfering (2017)
4. Muffins and Murder (2017)

Cat Latimer Mysteries
By Lynn Cahoon

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Series

These books are awfully fun because the protagonist, Cat, is a writer and an introvert–but she runs a writers’ retreat in Colorado–where she’s forced to interact with people! Her best friend does all the extravert meet & greet stuff, and the food–so, like any good cozy, droolworthy recipes abound–but Cat still has to step up and be social from time to time. She gets better at this as the series continues. She’s constantly under deadline, and constantly finding dead bodies. Animal interactions include (eventually) a very fine horse, some kittens, and a hot handyman.

1. A Story to Kill (2016)
2. Fatality by Firelight (2017)
3. Of Murder and Men (2017)
4. Slay in Character (2018)
5. Sconed to Death (2019)

Stormy Day Mysteries
By Angela Pepper

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Series

Stormy Day just kept making me laugh! Unusually for the cozy mysteries I’ve done so far, she has a great relationship with her father (mostly the parents in cozies are deceased or absent or hard to get along with, with a few exceptions), who is a retired police officer. She’s also a small business owner and an entrepreneur. Her problem is not clumsiness or reckless behavior; her hamartia is an overabundance of efficiency! Interestingly complicated friendships as well. I quite enjoyed these books, and would have read them on my own had I just randomly picked them up.

1. Death of a Dapper Snowman (2014)
2. Death of a Crafty Knitter (2015)
3. Death of a Batty Genius (2015)
4. Death of a Modern King (2015)

Tara Holloway Mysteries
By Diane Kelly

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Series

What I liked best about this series was that they weren’t primarily about murders–the mysteries are primarily TAX FRAUD! This is so refreshing and interesting–and makes for a nice change. They aren’t bloodless, though–but they are rompy, and full of shenanigans, and Texas, and some great partnerships, business relationships, friendships, and romances!

1. Death, Taxes and a French Manicure (2011)
2. Death, Taxes, and a Skinny No-whip Latte (2012)
3. Death, Taxes, and Extra-hold Hairspray (2012)

Daisy’s Tea Garden Mysteries
By Karen Rose Smith

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Series

Another delicious series. And I mean, the soups! The sandwiches! The muffins! AND OH THE TEAS! I always come off narrating one of these books with a strong urge to go to Alice’s Tea Cup in New York, where I live; they serve fancy teas there. SO MANY LITTLE SANDWICHES! Anyway, a great cast of characters, takes place in Amish country so there are friendships across cultures, and I like that the protagonist is middle aged, widowed, with two daughters. She is extremely thoughtful and sensible, but also just about to begin a new and beautiful chapter in her life: as a businesswoman, yes, but also as a woman whose daughters are all but grown, and who is only now growing past her grief. If only people would stop dying in her vicinity!

1. Murder with Lemon Tea Cakes (2017)
2. Murder with Cinnamon Scones (2018)
3. Murder with Cucumber Sandwiches (2019)

Purr N Bark Pet Shop Mysteries
By T. C. LoTempio

Narrator’s Opinion: What I Like About This Series

This is the most recent book I’ve narrated (in fact, I just got back yesterday from the studio), and the best thing about it are the two cats: Purrday and Kahlua. But also: small town Connecticut as a sort of updated old-fashioned noir comedy backdrop. And two out of work actors back from Hollywood who decide to take the latest murder investigation into their own hands. My favorite character is the protagonist’s sidekick, Gary. I HAD SO MUCH FUN DOING HIS VOICE! I love him. Large cast of friends, huge gossip network, and too many motives abound!

1. The Time for Murder is Meow (2019)

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