Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Blog Tour: Hanging By A Hair by Nancy J. Cohen (Review/Guest Post/Giveaway)

About the Book

Genre: Cozy Mystery, #11 in A Bad Hair Day Mystery Series
Publisher: Five Star
Release Date: April 2014


Marla’s joyous move to a new house with her husband, Detective Dalton Vail, is marred by their next-door neighbor who erects an illegal fence between their properties. When Dalton reminds the man of the local permitting laws, tempers flare—and worse, the neighbor is found dead the following day. Dismayed when Dalton is removed from the case due to a conflict of interest, Marla decides it’s up to her to find the killer. Can the intrepid hairstylist untangle the clues and pin down the culprit before he strikes again?

My Review

Marla and her brand new detective husband, Dalton Vail, are excited to move to their new house, but everything is far from perfect. Their next door neighbor puts up an illegal fence way too close to the Vail’s property. At a community meeting Dalton gets into a fight with the man, which doesn’t go all that well since the guy also happens to be the president of the homeowner’s association. None of this sits well with Marla’s intentions to make friends in her new neighborhood.

It goes from bad to worse when the neighbor is found dead in his house from an apparent suicide. It doesn’t take long before the Vails begin to suspect foul play and not suicide. Dalton’s argument with the man puts him in line as the number one suspect and he’s immediately taken off the case, but that doesn’t stop Marla from snooping around. She knows her husband is no killer.

Marla meets up with a cast of characters that go from zany to downright mean. It doesn’t stop her from getting to the bottom of this case before anyone else gets hurt.

This is the 11th book in the series and only the second book I’ve read. I read the previous one and enjoyed that too. I desperately need to make time to read this series from the start. I want to see how Marla grows as a character, but I can honestly say it didn’t deter me from enjoying this book. It’s funny, quirky, fast-paced with just the right amount of romance and humor mixed in with the mystery. Great series!

For reading challenges:
2014 Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge
2014 ARC Reading Challenge
2014 My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge

FTC Disclosure: The author provided me with a copy of this book to review for this blog tour. This did not influence my thoughts and opinions in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.

Author Guest Post

Plotter, Pantser, or Prepper? by Nancy J. Cohen

Among fellow writers, we ask each other if we are plotters or pantsers. Do we plot our stories out ahead of time, or wing it as we go along?

Normally, I’ll write a synopsis before I begin the story. It acts as a writing guideline in addition to a sales tool later on. Although the direction might change when the characters take over, I couldn’t start a book without this narrative. First I’ll plan my crime in terms of the victim and suspects. Then I’ll give each suspect a motive and connect these people to each other through their secrets. At that point, I’m ready to sit in front of the computer and develop my synopsis.

Recently, I’ve discovered another aspect of this process. Maybe we should consider ourselves Preppers as well, since we are preparing ourselves for whatever might result when we launch our book into the world.

Real Preppers exist. They are survivalists who believe in disaster preparedness to the extreme. I researched this topic for Hanging By A Hair, book #11 in my Bad Hair Day Mysteries.

Imagine my surprise to learn this country has up to four million followers of the Prepper movement. They’re concerned with global meltdowns caused by natural disasters, worldwide pandemics, economic collapse or devastating wars.

But rather than yield to fear, Preppers train in self-defense and first aid. They stockpile survival gear, weapons, and food supplies and even build secret bunkers. Books, TV shows, podcasts, and blogs offer a multitude of advice on how to get ready. The religious aspect of this movement, the Rapture, has its own believers. If you’re expecting to ascend to Heaven, you’d better stash supplies for those sinners among friends and family who’ll left behind.

So how does this relate to Hanging By A Hair? One of the characters is involved in the Prepper movement. Reading about this part of our society was an eye-opening experience for me. So it was for Marla, my hairdresser sleuth. Her conclusion is that we shouldn’t worry about tomorrow. The present is what counts, and we need to make the most of it. If you’re always afraid of what might happen, you miss being in the moment and the joy it can bring.

That goes for a writing career, too. You can’t worry about how your book is going to fare or what reviewers might say. You just have to make your story the best it can be and put it out there for readers to find. The ultimate way to prepare is to study the craft, treat your career as a business, be professional, and give back to other writers as much as possible.

What kind of person are you? Do you schedule every hour, prefer to muddle through the day, or prepare for events you haven’t foreseen?


All commenters on this blog will be entered into a drawing for an ebook copy of Shear Murder.

About the Author

Nancy J. Cohen writes the humorous Bad Hair Day mystery series featuring hairdresser Marla Shore, who solves crimes with wit and style under the sultry Florida sun. Several of these titles have made the IMBA bestseller list. Nancy is also the author of Writing the Cozy Mystery, a valuable instructional guide for writers on how to write a winning whodunit. Her imaginative romances have proven popular with fans as well. Her titles in this genre have won the HOLT Medallion and Best Book in Romantic SciFi/Fantasy at The Romance Reviews. Active in the writing community and a featured speaker at libraries and conferences, Nancy is listed in Contemporary Authors, Poets & Writers, and Who’s Who in U.S. Writers, Editors, & Poets. Currently, she is serving as President of Florida Chapter Mystery Writers of America. When not busy writing, Nancy enjoys reading, fine dining, cruising and outlet shopping.

Author Links

Linked Inhttp://www.linkedin.com/in/nancyjcohen
Google Plushttps://google.com/+NancyJCohen

Purchase Links

AMAZON           B&N

Tour Participants

May 13 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post
May 14 – Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf – Interview
May 15 – Thoughts in Progress – Review, Interview
May 16 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – Review
May 17 – Chloe Gets A Clue – Interview
May 19 – Queen of All She Reads – Review, Guest Post
May 20 – Books-n-Kisses – Review

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Looks great, thank you for the chance to win :)

  2. I tend to be a "list" person. Not on the list, more than likely don't get done. Excited about reading this book it sounds like a good one.

    1. I make lists too, they help prioritize the tasks you need to get done.

  3. Thank you for the opportunity to win! (My fingers are crossed) :)

  4. I agree with your comment about not worrying about what reviewers say and just writing the best book possible. Excellent advice.

    1. You have to overlook the negatives as a writer and keep going. Otherwise, one could too easily become derailed.

  5. I'm a reformed pantzer and now I always plot first. And while as a former Girl Scout I appreciate the benefits of being prepared, worrying about what terrible things might happen (out in the world or writing-wise), is not how I want to live! Spontaneity is good, and so is optimism!

    1. In my opinion, it's best to live life for today. Some preparation for disaster is important, like for hurricanes in South Florida, but to focus on what might happen takes away from the present.

  6. I'm a Pantser all the way, and would be a Plotter before I'd be a Prepper. Usually, by the time a book is released, I'm well on my way writing the next one. Obsessing about how the book will do would stifle the writing of that next one, so I just do what I love, which is writing. The sales and reviews are "gravy" as far as I'm concerned. But then, I do like gravy.

    1. We all like gravy, but you are right in that we can't worry about how our book will fare or obsess over reviews and ratings or we'd get too discouraged.

  7. Sounds great. I need to get caught up on the series.

    1. I hope you'll get to read all 11 books, Patricia!

  8. This sounds like a fun series, and one I hadn't heard of before this, so I'm glad to be introduced to it. In answer to your question: In real life, I'm probably more a panster than a plotter or a prepper. I tend to muddle through (not always successfully, as I've been known to forget an appointment or have to get things done in a crunch at the last minute.)

    1. I'm just the opposite, Lark. I line up my tasks for the day ahead of time. But I admire your ability to go with the flow.

  9. My gosh, it doesn't seem that there are already 10 books in this series before this one---I must be enjoying they!!!

    1. Yes, Sue, and I've already turned in book #12.

  10. No doubt about it. I'm a plotter! I create a chapter-by-chapter outline before I begin writing. It's subject to change, of course, but without it, I can't write more than a page before I'm "stuck." And, I suppose, there's a touch of the prepper in me too. Oh,how I'd love to be a pantster but it's just not in the cards. LOL

    1. Sometimes I'll also use a storyboard, or a poster sized board divided into squares for the chapters. Then I stick Post-It notes up for the various plot points. LOL, Patricia. I could never be a pantser.

  11. This look like a fun book, I love the title.

  12. TONYA has won the ebook copy of Shear Murder. Please contact me with your email address.

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.


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