You may recall from a recent post that I’ve been busy working on a ‘cozy’ series with a strong romantic element. (If you’re not entirely sure what a ‘cozy’ is, think Charlaine Harris’s Aurora Teagarden or Lily Bard novels, or Cleo Coyles ‘The Coffeehouse Mysteries’ or MC Beatons Agatha Raisin books. Basically, small-town murder mysteries with an engaging central character.) Well, I’m delighted to say I’ve just signed a deal with St Martins Press for the first books in my ‘Yoga Cafe’ series featuring yoga instructor Keeley Carpenter. The first one will be in the shops January 2016, and the second, ‘Death in a Seated Twist’ January 2017 – at the moment it’s still a work in progress, so if I’m not posting as much as usual that will be why, as I’m on a very short deadline!
I’m really having fun with these book, they’re the sort of thing I like to read, and has also been a breath of fresh air after eight months writing ‘Eyes Wide Open’ my second crime novel and sequel to the number one bestselling ‘When I Wasn’t Watching’. Although I personally think ‘Eyes’ is my best work to date, it’s darker themes made the writing process more overwhelming than I’ve been used to. These books on the other hand allow me to combine my two favourite genres; romance and crime. Another great thing about cozies is there is usually some form of reader ‘takeaway’ which means I’ll also be including yoga breathing and postures that correspond with the story, and a few vegetarian recipes at the end of each book.
Here’s a sneak peek of a few pages from ‘Downward Facing Death’…
As this new vision of masculinity approached, Keeley noted how Jack nodded at him with obvious respect and Tom seemed to shrink into himself almost as if he expected chastisement. Who was this guy?
‘Hello Ben,’ Jack said in the same tones he might have said ‘Greetings, your Highness,’ and Keeley experienced a moment of confusion, then an ominous dawning clarity. How could she not have realized it was him? The dimple in the chin should have given it away instantly.
Benjamin Taylor. Immediately Keeley once again felt like that shy, plump eleven year old and felt herself blush from the roots of her hair to her shell pink painted toenails. She took a deep breath and let it out in increments through her lips, curling her tongue. It was a breathing technique designed to cool unwanted emotions. For the first time, it didn’t work, only made her cheeks flame hotter as she accidentally let out a low whistling sound that sounded very much as if she had appraised him and liked what she was seeing.
Ben turned to her and raised an amused eyebrow.
‘I wasn’t whistling at you,’ she said hurriedly, ‘I was, er, doing my breathing exercises.’
Now Ben looked both amused and perplexed. Jack jumped in before Keeley could embarrass herself any further.
‘This is George Carpenter’s girl. It’s her that’s taken on the old shop.’
Was Keeley imagining things, or was there a sinister tone to Jack’s voice? As if they all knew something she didn’t. Ben looked at her, his expression now grim, and Keeley felt her stomach sink. Something was very definitely wrong here. Ben held something up to her face and it took a moment for her to register what it was.
A police badge.
‘I’m Detective Constable Taylor,’ Ben said, ‘and I’m going to have to ask you a few questions.’
‘Er, about what?’ This homecoming was rapidly turning into an episode of the Twilight Zone. Ben looked surprised.
‘She doesn’t know,’ Jack said, shaking his head.
‘Miss Carpenter,’ Ben said, his words dropping like stones, ‘someone tried to burn down your shop last night.’