Friday, April 5, 2013

Beach Chat with Lois Lamanna


 
Got your attention with that photo, right? 
It’s in honor of today’s guest, but you’ll have to
read the post to find out the connection. 
 
           Anyone published by the now defunct Avalon Books is an automatic member of an elite community of writers.  We call ourselves AVALONERS, and even though the publisher has since been gobbled up by the mighty Amazon machine, we still remain active in our exclusive online community.  This is how I met today’s guest, not just a fellow Avaloner, but a mystery-writing Avaloner (a rare breed, indeed, as Avalon published mostly romance.)  So, since I love a good cozy mystery, I downloaded her first book,
Matrimony and Murder.  I found it very similar to The Blond Leading the Blond, in that two middle-aged women stumble across a dead body while in OHIO!  And the coincidences continue, but I don’t want to ruin the story for you.  I know you’re going to want to read her books, but first, let’s get to know a little more about today’s guest.


Today we’re chatting with:  Lois Lamanna

Most cherished beach memory:  After eleven and a half months, an eight hour drive, and a traffic jam on the causeway while the drawbridge raises and lowers, I love to open the car windows. In that moment when the summer heat blasts me in the face the sun burns my skin, and I smell the ocean, I can feel my spirit renew.
 
Recommend a beach read:  I read what I write, cozies. On my bookshelf, I have four Diane Mott Davidson books, three Joan Hess novels, and two books by Lorna Barrett. I would recommend any of these. Time at the beach is too short to be weighed down with anything heavier.

One author, living or dead, with whom you'd like to sip Mai Tais with on Waikiki BeachMark Twain, a great writer and showman. I don't know if I would like to go one on one with him, but I would like to hear him talk about the issues of the day. I'm fascinated with the writing methods prior to the delete key on the computer.

Worst non-writing job you ever had:  After thirty years of teaching, I took a minimum wage job packing muffins. I wore a hair net, ear plugs, and a lab coat. There were three conveyor belts shooting muffins toward me, rattling boxes over my head, and delivering filling cartons. It was like the Lucy and Ethel episode in the candy factory. I was supposed to pick up three muffins in each hand, only my hands weren't big enough. I had muffins flying everywhere. I quit after one four hour shift.

Favorite quote or saying:  Winston Churchill - "Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm."

Song that you dance to (when no one is watching):   Rolling Stones - "I can't get no satisfaction." I start bobbing my head just thinking about it.

Three of your favorite things:
o       My silver gray Crossfire convertible. My husband gave it to me as a retirement gift. It is better than any anti-aging moisturizer on the market. I am immediately twenty years younger when I sit in it.
o       Naps/800 thread count cotton sheets
o       Hugs from my adult children

Two secret vices:
1, Scratch off lottery tickets
2. Decluttering, which means I secretly throw away some of my husband's junk.

One pet peeve:  Drawers and doors that not completely closed

More about Lois Lamanna:

           I have already disclosed most of the important aspects of my life. I have been married to my high school sweetheart for forty years. We have two children, no grand children - yet. I have two shih tzu dogs. I am a retired high school teacher. (I did not teach English.) I am a reader, not a writer. When I ran out of cozy mysteries at the library I decided it was time for me to start writing a series of my own. I got my first idea for a book when I went fishing in Canada. It was the most boring activity. I started to imagine what I would do if I saw a dead person floating in the lake. When I got home from that trip, I secretly started writing. I didn't tell anyone until I had 65 pages written. The part I like the best about being a writer is giving author presentations at libraries and senior centers.

          Lois Lamanna can be reached at mysterypen@comcast.net.

Cozy Mysteries by Lois Lamanna:

Matrimony and Murder, Thomas & Mercer December, 2011 
     The sisters Marlene Webb and Bethany Cunningham attend the wedding of a distant cousin hoping to find information for the family tree. What they discover is a body in the church basement, a tactless police officer, a cosmetic case containing fifty thousand dollars and a hidden family secret. 
     Self described as being over-fifty, over-weight, and over-educated, the sisters have obvious personality differences. Bethany is generous of heart and, well, let’s just say, Marlene is not.
     When the groom is arrested at the reception, the sisters are challenged with the task of proving his innocence, after all, no family member of theirs would commit murder, or would they?
      To counterbalance the serious subject of murder, the book contains some slapstick humor. Marlene continually steps in undesirable substances, fails to notice the obvious, can’t remember names, and when she tries to hide fifty thousand dollars in her bra, the results are ‘eye popping.’

     Click here to buy Matrimony and Murder


Facets of Murder, KDP October 2012
     Senior sales associate Cleo Anthony excuses herself from the selling floor to repair a chipped fingernail, leaving Jessica to deal with a man demanding to see Kathy.  Later, when Cleo is found dead, the man becomes the chief suspect and only Jessica can identify him.  Questioned by the police as the last person to see the victim alive, Jessica's involvement and interest in the case deepens.  She becomes the victim of a burglary and threats.  
     Rather than take a passive role, Jessica starts questioning the people who knew the dead woman. Following the journey of Cleo’s life from high school ‘bad girl’ to executive’s widow to jewelry salesperson takes Jessica to places she would rather not go and she does things she would rather not do.

     Click here to buy Facets of Murder


Clarity of Murder KDP January 2013
         Her personality was as strong as her name. Principal Steel Harding set lofty standards, earning a begrudged respect from the students and sneers from the staff.
        When Jessica Ambrose stepped into Principal Harding's office to deliver a report, she discovered the slain body of the head of the high school. The secretary prints a list of the faculty, crossing off the names of the few people who had no reason to want the principal dead.
         Only after Principal Harding's death was it discovered that she was the heiress to the Harding Steel fortune.
        Clarity of Murder is the second book in the Jessica Ambrose Jewelry Box Mystery. Read Facets of murder to discover the spark that ignited the romance between Hal Pearson and Jessica and how Jessica obtained her jewelry knowledge.

          Click here to buy Clarity of Murder

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