A Cora Crafts Mystery by Mollie Cox Bryan (Review of Books)


This series is a craft retreat mystery series which is set in Gap, North Carolina (not a real place).  The main characters, Cora Chevalier and Jane Starr plus daughter, are transplants who are setting up a new life for themselves.  Actually, they are doing what they love and making a living. 

Death Among the DoiliesEath Among The Coilies


This is the first book in the series of “A Cora Crafts Mystery” .  Cora Chevalier and Jane Starr (and her daughter) are starting over.  Cora worked in a woman’s shelter which caused her to have a stress related condition.  Jane is getting over a violent relationship, while raising her daughter in a new environment.  They are transforming a Victorian estate into a craft retreat business. Unfortunately, their first retreat includes a murder where Jane’s fingerprints are found at the crime scene. Not to mention the fact that they are not popular among the regular town folk.  This is not a great start to their business.

A Book Review (4. 5 stars)

What I really like this about this book was Cora.  I can relate to Cora’s stress related condition, I have a chronic illness that reacts to stress.  If I don’t have my medicine handy or I don’t take it regularly plus water, I am in a great deal of pain.  This retreat plus Cora’s blogging really intrigue me and gave me pointers on my blog plus really increased my desire to get out of the classroom. 

Anyway, the book was great, I stayed up and read the book cover to cover. The book is a page turner, the concept is great.  Also, I liked the fact that it was realistic measure of how people could solve a mystery and run a business at the same time.  Wonderful read!

No Charm Intended

SynopsisNo Charm intended

This is the second book in the series “A Cora Crafts Mystery”.  Cora Chevalier and Jane Starr (plus daughter) are hosting a “wildcrafting” retreat.  However, Jane’s nanny (Gracie) has disappeared and their technology is going haywire.  The guests are going on Nature hikes in order to find things for their crafts and Jane is teaching them how to make charms.  Gracie’s boyfriend is the chief person of interest and as a result has been kicked out of his home.  The ladies take him in and proceed to uncover clues in order to locate Gracie.

A Book Review (4.3)

I wasn’t as excited about this book as I was with the first book.  That doesn’t mean I didn’t like the book, I just wish more time was spent on the wildcrafting part of the story. I know it is a cozy mystery, not a cozy crafting story, but the information about the wildcrafting was good and I liked it.  Also, the technology that was incorporated into the story wasn’t that new for me, I just didn’t like all of the drugs incorporated into the story.  It was bit over the top for me.  Once again, I LIKED THE STORY, HENCE THE STARS.  You should read it!!!!

Macrame Murder

Macrame MurderThis is the next book in the series!! Can’t wait to review it!!!

Meet Barnaby Hazen

Barnaby Hazen.jpgBarnaby Hazen is an author, editor and musician. Driven strongly by collaboration, it seems natural his first venture into writing began with a friend. Seven Eleven Stories periodical took shape in 2014 and just one year later, Seven Eleven Forgotten and Other Stories  debuted with a full-length collection featuring nine strange tales on convenience store fiction.

In 2017, Misfortunes of T-Funk, the first in a series, pulls directly from Hazen’s own life in music. Having been a lifelong, dedicated listener, teacher and performer, his latest novel incorporates his self-recorded and produced musical tracks directly into the chapters of his new novel. Hazen’s music illuminates his main characters and further elaborates on the story, creating a unique and personal soundtrack for readers of the book.

Having spent years as an educator, Barnaby’s time as an elementary school music teacher particularly inspired him to become involved with The Bud Hawthorne Revue.  He writes and edits the publication, along with Mr. Hawthorne himself, and is eager to continue offering contributions to literary culture given his unique perspective on writing. 

Hazen lives in Taos, New Mexico with his wife Sarah and their adorably troublesome pets.

Stay current on all of his upcoming fiction at SevenElevenStories.com.

Website: SevenElevenStories.com

sevenelevenshortstories Author Barnaby HazenBarnaby Hazen Barnaby Hazen

Book Review: Misfortunes of T-Funk


This is original music from the book:misfortunes-of-tfunk-cover-REVISE.jpg

This synopsis is from the press kit that I was sent by the marketing agent:

An ensemble sets off on a dark comedy of errors and uncertain conclusions, featuring original music throughout the story.

Theo and Judah, two childhood friends, are trying desperately to find an audience for their hard-edged, “grunge” music as they move past their twenties and feel the need to establish careers. Together, they enroll in an unusual college, called The University of Jazz and Music Technology.

Attracted at first by the means within the school to professionally record their own original music, the two friends embark on what could be a lifelong journey.  But the endeavor has an alternate effect, as Theo begins to question his musical efforts with Judah.

Entanglements with co-eds quickly complicate matters. Theo and Judah hit as many rough spots as any amateur band may find along the way, including a disastrous mini-tour of the northwest during spring break. Little do they know, the misfortunes have just begun…

To read more about the book, there will be a Free Kindle Promotion through Amazon from April 1-4th, so may be worth mentioning, so you can download a free copy and read the rest!

Book Review plus 4.3 stars:

I don’t think that I have ever read a book quite like this one, it includes music, some pretty interesting issues and interesting angles.  My daughter (she is an award winning metalsmith and semi-goth) had to explain the music to me because it was a little out of my depth and knowledge.  Once she did it was easier to understand the issues, as well as, Theo and Judah journey.  It reminded me of some of the things my daughter has experienced.  However, I spoke with other people my own age and they seem to understand the story and thought it was an interesting concept.

Upon looking at the book through that scope and the fact that I thought the writing was good.  I recommend the book as sit down with a glass of your favorite drink type of read.  It is an interesting and compelling read.



Author Barnaby Hazen highlights contemporary fiction with musical tracks embedded directly into the pages of his novel

TAOS, N.M. — April 2017  — Misfortunes of T-Funk (Apr. 1, 2017) follows two musicians who refuse to quit. The contemporary fiction release from Barnaby Hazen also embeds his own musical tracks directly into the chapters of the novel to further immerse readers into the story.

Trying desperately to find an audience for their hard-edged “grunge” music, Theo and Judah are childhood friends who enroll in an unusual college called The University of Jazz and Music Technology. Attracted at first by the means within the school to professionally record their own original music, the two friends eagerly embark on what could be a lifelong journey – but the endeavor has an alternate effect.

It’s something the author knows all too well, as Hazen pulls directly from his personal experience in music. “I must admit,” said Hazen, “I’m having a lot more fun putting fictional characters through such hardship than I had on my own.” 

The author’s decision to incorporate his original music into the chapters of Misfortunes of T-Funk is an excellent compliment to the story. Each of the four recordings are placed at significant moments in Theo and Judah’s story sometimes in direct relation, other times as an ironic side trail, but always intentionally to enhance the reader’s journey through the book. 

Hazen’s storytelling style is influenced by Henry Miller, as well as Russian authors Fyodor Dostoevsky and Vladimir Nabokov – in particular, Nabokov’s Invitation to a Beheading. “It’s fearlessly, unapologetically ‘outside’ as we say in jazz,” said Hazen. “But the alienation, absurdism and disassociation rang a chord when I read it that triggered something in me –  a realization about there being no rules when you have a voice and something to say.”

Hazen is an author, editor and musician, and regularly contributes to the education-based journal The Bud Hawthorne Revue. In 2015, he debuted a full-length collection of nine-strange tales on convenience store fiction in Seven Eleven Forgotten and Other Stories.


Website: SevenElevenStories.com

sevenelevenshortstories Author Barnaby HazenBarnaby Hazen Barnaby Hazen

Author’s website:  http://www.sevenelevenstories.com/

Twitter: @BarnabyHazen

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sevenelevenshortstories

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/photo/author/14389185.Barnaby_Hazen

Amazons: https://www.amazon.com/Misfortunes-T-Funk-Book-Barnaby-Hazen-ebook/dp/B06XF33K95/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1489435900&sr=8-1&keywords=Misfortunes+of+T-Funk

Virtual Blog Tour: http://www.rogercharlie.com/misfortunes-of-tfunk-virtual-tour

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                       

Contact: Samantha Lien at Roger Charlie

720-425-3933 sam@rogercharlie.com

Twitter: @samijolien

The Middle

Most of the books that I read are mysteries, however I do like women’s fiction and historical novels.  The books do need to have a Christian slant, aka a moral compass.  I don’t really like reading books where the individuals are checking out each other’s body parts and then exploring them in the bedroom.  Not my thing!

When I read a book, I like to get hooked right away but I will read into the third chapter just make sure, then I will put the book down and think about reading it later that week.  In addition, to a lack luster entry, the middle.  saggy middleOh man the middle, I mean some authors seem to just want

  •  begin the ending
  • add a bunch of unnecessary material
  • ramble
  • provide unnecessary information or in the case of series revisit the previous book

This is my biggest pet peeve in a book AND they don’t just occur in one type of book, almost every genre has them and almost every author has at least one book that has this saggy, baggy middle.

Please look at the middle and if I every write a book like that cite this blog as a my come uppance.  So what to do?  Well I have down a bit of research that I hope will help resolve this issue.

  • Sagging middles are generally the result of weak structure.
    • make the first two-thirds of your novel as structurally sound as the ending.
  • Some writers suggest adding a climax; a new character or a boomerang
    • see the first statement, make sure whatever you add keeps the novel structurally sound.
  • Do something different; but make it part of the story

There is a theme, no matter what you do as you are writing keep the middle interesting!!





Let’s Salute the Week

This week has begun on a high note:

There was a falcon on the bird bath and moose out by the side of road eating his breakfast.


This will be illustrating some new authors TO ME and their books.  Most of them are on their sophomore book.  I got that expression from the Drew Carey show.  He stated that the third show is considered the sophmore show, so I borrowed it for my description of the books.


I decided that I will address some aspects of the book that really irritate me (my pet peeves):

Here are a few:

  • a sludgy middle
  • too much from the previous story/book
  • a character switch (I remember this quote, but not who said it; “the reader should know as much as the author.”  Translation:  I don’t like transition that come out of no where just to satisfy the ending.

My blog plans are listed above.

Finally . . .

I am going add another page to this blog for my story.  I will be writing a mystery (not a big surprise) story.  After reading the interviews from Mystery Thriller Week, I think it would be interesting to illustrate the process.

Let it all begin!!!





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