12.17.2006

HH Com 101

"Home Fires Burning" is a traditional mystery set in Wisconsin, a cozy state known for its nice people -- and for Senator Joe McCarthy, Jeffrey Dahmer, and the loner who inspired "Psycho." Alison York works hard to be nice. She gritted her teeth through an amicable divorce, and now she's bought an affordable bungalow on a dead-end street, determined to rebuild a stable home for her kids.

When the kids gripe about the dumpy house, she's patient. When fire, flood, frogs and feuds plague her new neighborhood, she stays upbeat. But when the neighborhood busybody drops dead after eating poisoned potluck soup, Alison realizes the "bad luck" won't stop -- and her children won't be safe -- until the saboteur is caught.

With the police investigation stalled, Alison decides to unmask which of her friendly but oddly assorted neighbors has been inflaming old grudges and why -- before her house goes up in smoke and her kids move back with their father. She'll gossip, snoop, and even ask rude questions, if that's what it takes.

No more Ms. Nice Guy….


That is a hook. It's funny. It's focused.
Bleak House Books in Madison Wisconsin doesn't do cozies....too bad!

23 comments:

Bonnie Shimko said...

If the book is as good as the hook, I'll have my Borders card ready for this one. Nice!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I like it all except for calling Wisconsin cozy. I'd use a million other adjectives -- beautiful, cold, rugged, full of cheese and beer and fanatic sports fans. But cozy?

Otherwise, this is one I'll be on the lookout for. Absolutely.

judy merrill larsen said...

As a former Wisconsonian, whose first novel was also set in Madison, I say, GO BADGERS! This sounds fun--good work!

michaelgav said...

This is the best hook posted so far. Good way to kick off Miss Snark Held Hostage, Day Three.

Jennifer Barnes said...

This one sounds great. It definitely has a niche in the market, alongside Jennifer Weiner's GOODNIGHT NOBODY and the books about the demon-hunting soccer mom. Well done!

carlynarr said...

I agree-- this one sounds really funny and quaint! Not overly much going on, either, which is apparently more difficult to accomplish than it seems.

Anonymous said...

I did like it, but this bugged me. She gritted her teeth through an amicable divorce,. If it was amicable why did she have to grit her teeth through it?

And asking rude questions is the end of Ms Nice Guy? That's hilarious. Cause there is nothing worse than asking rude questions.

Zuleme said...

I liked this one a lot too, but as a New Englander, I can imagine Wisconsin as cozy ( because we think of it as Mid Western with friendlier people than us Yankees) and I took it that No more Ms. Nice Guy meant that asking rude questions was only the beginning.

I'd read it for fun on a nice rainy day with a cat on my lap.

Zuleme said...

oh yes, the title is great too. A nice joke on Keep the Home Fires Burning.

Inkwolf said...

Awright, a mystery that takes place on my home planet! Er, state, I mean. :D

Sounds like I'd read it, even if it wasn't, of course. Not enough cosies out there...

HawkOwl said...

I liked "fire, flood, frogs and feuds," but it's another layman-solving-mysteries plot, so hell no. But you sound like a very competent writer. I'd ask if you have anything else.

skybluepinkrose said...

I'm in!

ya author said...

I don't read cozy mysteries, but this is by far the best hook--best *anything*--that's been posted to the crapometer.

Congratulations, #101!

Anonymous said...

I don't read mysteries. I'd pick this one up.
Let us know when it's out!

Xiqay said...

I laughed out loud at the first paragraph.

I've been to Wisconsin. I have friends from there. And I am totally pulled in by this hook.

Great job. I'll be looking for this on the book shelf. Please let us know when it's available.

Seriously.

Virginia Miss said...

Well done author! I'll buy it.

Kathy said...

Thank you so much for your encouraging words, Miss Snark and Snarklings. I'd reworked that blurb so many times, I couldn't tell if it worked or not. Whew! And as a bonus, I get feedback on improving my opening. This is a great holiday gift.

Off to tweak those 750 words one more time. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Generally I like it a lot, although I may be alone in hating the title. But "saboteur" seems like an awfully mild word for a murderer, even if poisoning the neighborhood busybody is entirely justified.

Rei said...

Consider me alone in not quite getting what's better about this than any of the other dozens of "layman investigates murder" hooks posted here.

Of course, "layman investigates murder" isn't a trope that I read, so perhaps it's just me.

Anonymous said...

Okay, so how come nobody else seems to get that the hook is just the promotional copy for the back of the book?

Once the book is written, pretend to be the PR flack at the publisher. (Yep, I've been a PR flack...but not for a publisher.)

This one worked. If you can't read it in less than three minutes while standing in the bookstore, or if it has more than two names, or if it has a bunch of backstory, it won't work.

Cool.

Keetha said...

Excellent. I'd probably read this book based just on the first paragraph.

Anonymous said...

I like the premise, but I think that you need to bring the jeopardy to Alison's family more into focus. Okay, a neighbor drops dead at a potluck (I'm betting on the tater tot casserole and not the soup), but why are the kids in danger? Have there been near misses at Alison's house? A bit more tweaking required, but I'm ready to open the book and read the first few pages. Good work!

~Nancy said...

Well done, author! (Pun intended. ;-))

Mysteries were my first love (with books, anyway ;-)), and this sounded like something I'd pick up (love the bits of humor hinted at in there).

Good luck with it!

~JerseyGirl