Countdown to Book Launch

I’m delighted to announce that my cozy mystery will launch on on May 15th. What’s a cozy mystery you ask? Ironically, when I started writing Second Bloom, I had never heard the term myself.

The word “cozy” says it all. Whatever you picture when you hear that word–a fireplace, a steaming pot of tea, a fluffy comforter, the smell of bread baking in the oven–that’s what to expect from a cozy mystery. Jessica Faust of Book Ends Literary Agency explains it this way:

“When you read one you feel like you’re being embraced by a world you want to be in. You’ve found new friends and maybe a protagonist who inspires you or who could easily be your best friend. The book itself doesn’t move too fast, there tends not to be a lot of blood, usually no more than one body…”

Like so many other mystery fans, I developed a  love of traditional and cozy mysteries reading Nancy Drew books, graduating to Agatha Christie as I got older. As I wrote in my November blog: “Especially when the world seems gray and gloomy, whether literally or figuratively, I know no better escape than reading about a plucky heroine who says and does all the things I can’t, a shero who conquers the bad guys and finds true love with some hunky hero.”

I got the idea for Second Bloom, the first book in my Holly and Ivy Mystery series, sitting in the garden at the Daniel Webster Inn on Cape Cod. My sister and I were admiring the flowers and I said something about Rosemary and Thyme, the PBS cozy mystery series that featured two women gardeners as amateur sleuths. Suddenly I got the spark of an idea. Wouldn’t an American version be great…a series about two sisters who garden and solve mysteries? And that’s where it all began, the summer of 2010.

The resulting book, Second Bloom, is  a cozy mystery about Holly Donnelly, a 55-year old adjunct English professor, and her younger sister, 52-year old Ivy Donnelly, a recently widowed, retired nurse. The look-alike sisters are reluctantly drawn into the investigation of an elderly neighbor’s murder when Juan Alvarez, Holly’s trusted gardener, is accused of the crime. Holly fears police detective, Nick Manelli, assumes Juan is guilty and won’t conduct a proper investigation, while Ivy feels the “hunky” Manelli is not only a good cop, but also a possible romantic match for her sister. The burning question is: can the clues the sisters unearth from neighborhood gossip about the victim’s family, a politically connected neighbor and a powerful real estate developer help save an innocent man, or will the gardening duo dig up more than they bargain for?

Tomorrow, April 27, I leave for Bethesda, Maryland to attend the annual Malice Domestic conference. This gathering is an annual fan convention  that celebrates the traditional mystery. As you can guess, these are “my people”. I’ll be there spreading the word about my imminent launch…all those years of marketing have not been lost on me.

If you like cozy mysteries, I hope you’ll check back here on May 15th. If you subscribe to my blog, you will automatically get notified when the book goes on sale and, if you subscribe before May 15th, I’ll send you Holly’s recipe for Honey Oat Bread.
Until then, wishing you sunny days and cozy nights!

24 thoughts on “Countdown to Book Launch

  1. I can’t wait to curl up and escape with this cozy mystery and a cup of tea by my favorite author, Sally Handley. I know I will not be able to put this book down once I start! Wish I had that Honey Oat Bread recipe.

  2. Wow, Sally, great news! I look forward to reading your book in May. (Busy as I am, it may take me until June, but still…)

  3. Congratulations! Wishing you all the best. Can’t wait to read your book! Janice

  4. Well, off you go! I’ll be sure to drink to Holly and Ivy! Way to go, Sally!!!!

  5. I look forward to reading the book. Congrats on this new chapter of your life!

  6. Sally,
    Congratulations on the launch of your first book! I hope it is a great success. I look forward to reading it.

  7. Just ordered Second Bloom and can’t wait to get started. Enjoyed meeting you on the Garden Tour. You can come swing in our swing anytime. Durden and I became fans of Rosemary and Thyme while living in Surrey, England, a few year ago. What a great idea to give us a couple of American gardening detectives! Looking forward to a whole string of Sally Handley mysteries.

  8. Sally, your first book is a real page turner! Cozy mysteries have never been my cuppa but I loved Second Bloom. I found myself looking forward to coming home from work and reading more. I look forward to spending more time with Holly and Ivy…and that hottie, Nick!

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