MURDER AT THE BARN DANCE
A “Maia Saves the Day!” Mystery
Intrepid farm girl Zoey Granger is just trying to carve out an independent life as a writer and photographer, but murder seems to follow her just as closely as her little pet goat, Maia. Not to mention a handful of ex-boyfriends. And when one of them starts receiving death threats, Zoey can’t help but get involved. Someone’s out to get cattleman J.T. Martin, but it will take Zoey—-and the tutu-wearing goat who always finds the clue—-to uncover the secret truth and bring order back to Sugarberry, West Virginia.
Here’s a little Q & A I had with myself to help answer any questions.
Q: Suzanne, WHAT IS THAT?
A: It’s a sexy cozy mystery novella. As Wikipedia explains, cozy mysteries, also referred to simply as “cozies,” are a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humorously, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community. (An example would be the Miss Marple books by Agatha Christie.) “Murder at the Barn Dance” is the first of what I intend to be a series.
Q: What is a novella?
A: A “novella” means that it is shorter than a full-size book, but much longer than a short story. A novella is the perfect length for passing the time while, say, sitting through a series of volleyball games when your daughter is on the bench because she broke her foot.
Q: You call it “sexy”–are there love scenes? Who is this novella intended for as a reader?
A: The love scenes are not detailed. You can let your grandmother read it. Or your 16-year-old daughter if she’s a mature reader. But it’s definitely not a children’s book. It’s intended for adults or mature teens. There is no graphic sex, violence, or foul language. This novella is intended for anyone who enjoys stories including animals, farm and small town settings, humor, suspense, romantic adventure, and fun–like a comedy, mystery, and romance all rolled up in one.
Q: Why did you choose to self-publish it?
A: Because I’m a control freak! Okay, that’s only part of the answer. I’m a long-time traditional publishing writer. I’ve had over two dozen romance novels, plus recently a memoir, published via traditional publishers. The world of self-publishing has really come into its own in the past few years, so I decided to dip my toes in the waters as an adventure. I’m writing these novellas for pure fun and I wanted to make them available directly to readers at a budget price.
Q: I’m interested in self-publishing. How did you do it?
A: I’m using Smashwords as my main distributor, making “Murder at the Barn Dance” available through Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony, Kobo, almost everywhere digital books are sold. I’m also distributing myself directly through Amazon. The novella is available via digital download only, for your Kindle, Nook, iPad, etc. If you don’t have a Kindle or other reader, by the way, you can download and read on your computer, phone, and so on. (Personally, I use a free Kindle app on my phone to read. I know that’s not for everyone, but I love it.) The cover art was created using one of my own photographs, with a graphic effect added. This is the photograph, which I took of Maia several months ago.
The rest of the cover was created by my friend Jerry Waters using the barn board background from photographs he had taken of my barn.
Q: The protagonist in the series, Zoey Granger, sounds a lot like you! Is this series based on your life? Is it a true story?
A: No. This is pure fiction. I do, however, believe in the principle of writing what you know. Every fiction book I’ve ever written includes pieces and parts of me and people that I know as well as settings and other elements that I connect with through my own life and experiences. Writing fiction is sometimes a bit of a role-playing game. Zoey Granger is more interesting, adventurous, bold, and exciting than I am. She has been a lot of fun to work with!
Q: What about Maia? Isn’t she a real character?
A: Maia, of course, is Maia, and is the most accurately portrayed character in the book. Since she’s a goat, I don’t have to worry about her feelings and I can write about her just as she is. In the story, Maia plays the caprine sidekick to the heroine, who goes with her everywhere and somehow always manages to uncover the clue and save the day.
Q: Zoey has a lot of boyfriends and ex-boyfriends. Are these men based on real people?
A: Maybe. If I occasionally feel the urge to maim, shoot, imprison, or otherwise harm a boyfriend or ex-boyfriend, fiction is the way to go, don’t you think? Of course, not all of the sexy men surrounding Zoey are bad guys. There are a few good ones, too. Zoey enjoys the company of men, and even the bad ones have their redeeming qualities. Like me, Zoey finds men horribly enticing.
Q: Where can I buy it?
A: Almost everywhere!
For Sony, Kobo, etc, I do not have those links, but if you use those retailers, just put “Murder at the Barn Dance” and Suzanne McMinn in your search bar at the site and you will find it. You can also buy it directly from Smashwords here.
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it, and look for more Maia Saves the Day mystery novellas in the future! I’ll announce when more are available.
And please share this post with your friends!
And tell them Maia says hi.