On The Bench Archive


Image by Markus Winkler from Pixabay

Who you gonna call?

Sometimes even the best amateur sleuth needs help solving a crime. Is there a mystery character that you would love to team up with on a case?

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Image by Sofia Livarinen from Pixabay

What sets your cozy apart?

Cozy mysteries are a popular subgenre, and readers have more of a choice than ever when it comes to buying books. What do you think makes your cozy mystery series unique and appealing to readers?

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Keep your nose out of my investigation!

For this month’s On the Bench question, we turned to the question of sidekicks. Our characters are all answering the question, who is your closest ally in your sleuthing adventures…and who do you wish would keep their nose out of the investigation?

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Up close and personal — getting to know you

Our question of the month has to do with feedback from readers and how we incorporate that into our writing. We’re all aware that cozy mystery fans are often very engaged with the genre, so this month, we’re all answering that big question, how do we incorporate reader feedback?

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Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter

We’re talking about the magic of music — name that theme song!

Whether you’re a reader or a writer, you’re probably influenced by TV shows or movies and the soundtrack that goes with it. Of course, once there is a movie, there’s no question about a character’s theme song. But today, we’re all weighing in on what the theme song would be for our characters.

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Humor — it’s all about the timing…or is it?

Humor is often an essential element in cozy mysteries. This time, on the bench, we’re talking about that elusive subject of how to make readers laugh at just the right moment. So, the question of the day is, how do we infuse humor into our writing without detracting from the suspense?

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What we do when we’re not writing.

As authors we’re pretty much forced into a high-tech existence, what with computers and email and Zoom presentations and so on. When you need an escape, what low-tech games or activities do you and your family enjoy?

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Most embarrassing moments for our characters

For this month’s On the Bench post, our authors asked their characters to reveal their most embarrassing moments from their lives—either on or off the page. Look out, because these characters have had some cringe-worthy moments.

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Best advice ever. On writing.

Writing is like any other activity…everyone has an opinion on how best to do it. What is the most valuable piece of writing advice you’ve been given over the years?

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rubber boots

Rain boots or barefoot?

When it comes to braving puddles from April showers, rain boots or bare feet? And if the former, what color are they and what drew you to them?

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Favorite sayings

You’ve heard the old adage, March comes in like a lion, and out like a lamb. What’s your favorite saying that involves the weather, and do you find it true or not?

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Fresh Starts

Fresh Starts - Feb 2023 On the Bench postA new year can mean a fresh start. What fresh start has your protagonist had to make…or what changes are they thinking of making?

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Worst Job Ever image

Worst. Job. Ever.

At some point, almost every writer has held a job outside the publishing industry…some fulfilling, and others not so much. What’s the worst non-writing job you’ve ever had?

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September 2022 - back to school memories

It’s back to school time

It’s September, the traditional beginning of a new school year. Do you have a grade school memory that still lingers with you after all this time?

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What's your guilty pleasure?

It’s crunch time!

It’s deadline time, it’s midnight, and your stomach is growling. What snack do you eat when you need a bit of energy to power on through, especially when you know no one is watching?

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Ready…set…steal a character!

This month, we all weigh in on which character from a book by any other author, living or dead, would we secretly like to “steal” and put into our own books…and why? You might be surprised by the answers!

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sentimental commercials

The group weighs in on sentimental commercials

You must be made of stern stuff not to get a bit misty-eyed at some of the heart-tugging commercials on TV these days. What past or recent commercial (happy or sad) is guaranteed to “get you in the feels” every time it comes on?

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Playing the name game — which one do you like?

Oh, those character names! Are they good? Not? Will readers like them. The author’s dilemma is a huge one because the right name can make—or break—a character. Or will it? Our authors weigh in and ask for your ideas, too!

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Secondary characters on the bench

Secondary characters need some love, too!

Secondary characters can sometimes steal the show. For this month’s Characters on the Bench post, we all weigh in on the question of which character from any of our books do we think deserves their own novel or series…and why? The answers may surprise you…

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The trouble with favors

It’s happened to us all. We try to do someone a favor, and it backfires (sometimes spectacularly). What good turn have you done for a person (or has someone done for you) that didn’t work out quite as planned? Find out what our authors have to say as they weigh in this month on the issue of favors.

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On the Bench and talking about traveling

On a trip, I need bathroom breaks. That usually equates to a stop at a Starbucks for coffee. While my wife doesn’t mind a stop at Starbies, she usually draws the line at places with porta-potties. Her usual comment is, “That’s easy for you.” Hey, I get it. Biology is biology. There are no two ways around that!

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Authors on the Bench

December’s Question Any traveling “detours” that drive your companions crazy? Do they ever end up in your books? Diane A.S. Stuckart: I much prefer to travel by car than any other way, and I love those ubiquitous roadside markers that commemorate births and deaths and battles and so on. If it were up to me, […]

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Happy Holidays To You

Holiday Cheer from All of Us We’re delighted you enjoy visiting with the authors of Booklover’s Bench. Nancy J. Cohen, Maggie Toussaint, Diane A.S Stuckart, Cheryl Hollon, Debra H. Goldstein, Terry Ambrose, and Lois Winston wish everyone a joyful holiday season. This year we’re each sharing our favorite holiday beverage. Cheers to all! Let’s hear […]

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Characters on the Bench

November’s Question Fancy footwork: what shoes would we find on you/your protagonist’s feet, and what footwear would you/they never be caught dead wearing?  Maggie Toussaint: While my catering sleuth tends toward practicality in her everyday footwear, River Holloway Merrick loves black stilettos. I’ve never been able to successfully walk in high heels of any height, […]

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Characters on the Bench

October’s Question What’s the best place to eavesdrop on conversations, and have you used this in one of your books? Cheryl Hollon: When I was working on a long-term contract in England, my husband and I frequently took the train for a weekend getaway. The conversations were fascinating, especially if they were on a cell […]

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Authors on the Bench

September’s Question Seeing what animal/landmark/famous person was a memorable first in your life? Debra H. Goldstein: I had three memorable “first” famous person sightings. When I was five, I saw Howdy Doody and Buffalo Bob at a charity show and excitedly managed to get my not-so-excited dad picked to be part of a skit with […]

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Authors on the Bench

AUGUST’S QUESTION What mystery-based TV show(s) do you enjoy, and why? Nancy J. Cohen: I love the Hallmark Movie & Mystery Channel because their cozy mysteries are the type I enjoy. These are mostly lighthearted and fun with a dash of romance. I also am a fan of The Brokenwood Mysteries on the Acorn Channel. […]

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Characters on the Bench

July’s Question What outrageous character names tickle your fancy? Terry Ambrose: I’m terrible with outrageous character names! However, I’ll give this a go. How about a femme fatale named Scarlett Ribbons? Or a boss who was called Malum Dictatum? The psycho could be Doozy McCoozy. And a stalking ex could be Folle McVey. Nancy J. […]

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