Wednesday, November 30, 2011

January Appearances for AFFAIRS OF STEAK


Here's what's coming in January!

January 3, 2012

January 3, 2012
Arlington Heights
Click here for more info and directions.
update - Had a great time! Thanks for coming out!

January 7, 2012 (Saturday)
You're invited and no RSVPs necessary
Books, wine, snacks...
1:00 - 3:00
Centuries and Sleuths Bookstore
7419 W. Madison
Forest Park, IL 60131

January 12, 2012 (Thursday)
3:45 - 4:15 Living Well (WMBD, CBS affiliate)
Television Interview on Living Well

Peoria Public Library
6:30 PM - North Branch

January 14, 2012 (Saturday)
1:00 - 3:00 PM
ELA Public Library
Lake Zurich, IL
with Jamie Freveletti, David Walker, Bryan Gruley

January 17, 2012 (Tuesday)
12:00 - 2:00 PM
The Center
Palos Park, IL
Reservations are required and, as it's a luncheon, there is a fee involved (includes a copy of AFFAIRS)
Call for more information: 708 361-3650

January 28, 2012 (Saturday)
Aunt Agatha's Bookstore
Ann Arbor, MI
213 South Fourth Avenue
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104 
2:00 PM

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Strange finds on the Internet and at home

Two finds to talk about today. One makes me crazy, one makes me hopeful.

Crazy first. Here goes:

If you want to be shocked, take a look at this Amazon page and check out the price differential between "new" and "used"

As I've mentioned before, my first book, Artistic License, was first published in hardcover in 2004, and then released in paperback. It's out of print now, but it's apparently still being sold. I noticed the prices on that link today. Seriously? Over $100 for a copy of Artistic License? Those sellers have got to be kidding. But then again, asking price isn't selling price. I have to admit I hope no one is buying copies at those inflated prices. Especially since the story is available as an ebook on and Amazon and Smashwords for $3.99. Full delivered price. Same story, same adventure. Different method of delivery.

Those prices made me crazy and I just had to vent.

Now... for the find that makes me hopeful.

My husband and I did some cleaning and purging this weekend. Lots of "stuff" we forgot we had. One of the boxes we started through was labeled "Pictures of people we don't know." It's exactly that. My grandparents kept lots and lots of photos - great, old-fashioned portraits of weddings and other milestone events. I'm sure they knew all these people. Some years back I asked an aunt and uncle if they recognized these folks and we were able to put names to some of the faces. But there still remain a lot of photos of people we just don't know.

I've decided to post a few here and hope that in this wonderful connected world called the Internet, somebody may recognize a friend or family member from way back. If we can make a match, I would be more than happy to return a photo to its surviving family members.

Look at the wedding photo above. The poor bride looks bored out of her mind, doesn't she? Not particularly happy, either. The flowers are amazing, though. I'm assuming she had four bridesmaids and the photographer scattered them about to add interest to the picture. 

The photographer, if you can't make it out, is Gatkowski Studio, 1946 West 21st Street, Chicago. "Near Robey" whatever that means. 

Some hints: I'd bet that most, if not all, these people lived in the Chicago area in the early part of the 20th century. I'd also bet most were of Polish descent. I'll put a couple up here today and see where it goes (if anywhere).

The family portrait to the left was taken by Smit & Young, 9035 Commercial, South Chicago.

For those of you not from the area, these two studios - both on the south side - are pretty far apart.

Oh, and I have PLENTY more where these came from.

(Click on photos to see them close up)

Monday, October 03, 2011

Before and After Pictures

Regular readers of this blog already know that I'm a closet ST fan (well, maybe not so closet-y) and that my first professional sale was a Star Trek short story for a Pocket anthology. But, for those of you new to this site, here goes:

Our youngest daughter, Biz, and I got our geek on this weekend and attended the Star Trek Convention in Chicago, near O'Hare. We came away with some fun photos and even better memories. What struck me most about our interactions with Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, and John deLancie was the energy with which they tackled what had to be an incredibly grueling weekend. These gentlemen were amazing.

Kudos to them all, especially Jonathan Frakes and Brent Spiner. The lines for their photo-ops were beyond belief. When Biz and I got in line (forgoing a portion of the Klingon Christmas Carol to do so) there were hundreds of people ahead of us. The line, about three deep, stretched at least two football fields in length. That's where we started. When we exited after our turn the line had stretched out again -- just as long -- after us. Wow. And the two stars' autograph lines (Biz and I don't do autographs) were neverending. All weekend.

**Let me just admit right here, that if MY signing lines were half as long, I would be over the moon.**

Despite the constant... and I do mean constant pressure from fans, they remained charming, funny, and warm. I was completely impressed.

What I wanted most from this weekend was for Biz to have a good time. You know how it is. No matter how old they get, you don't want your kids to be disappointed when they're counting on an event, or a person, to come through. I can say, without hesitation, that John deLancie, Jonathan Frakes, and Brent Spiner (her particular favorite because he said she was so cute) made the weekend for her. And for that I am grateful.

Now... you'll notice the pictures here. Yeah, we splurged and I popped for photo-ops with these guys. The thing is, although it's cool to attend a Star Trek convention with your mom, it isn't so cool to post pictures of the event with mom that your friends might see. Biz and I agreed that I get to be in the pictures and she gets to crop me out.

I got to spend a fun weekend with my daughter. Cropped out or not, somehow, I think I still win.

PS - I met the writer of one of my favorite TNG episodes there. When we talked and I told him about the WHChef series, he seemed interested. Turns out he's had some success bringing books to the small screen. Will this go anywhere? Who knows? But it was really cool meeting him.

PS-2 - You know how all three of these stars are handsome on screen? Well, I can assure you they're even more handsome in person. Just FYI

Friday, September 23, 2011

We have a winner!

As promised, one lucky commenter won a $10 bookstore gift certificate.
Some readers were unable to leave comments on the blog, but be assured that everyone who emailed me to let me know they'd encountered that glitch had his or her name entered too.

The lucky commenter who shared her Comfort Reads is:


I'll be in touch soon!

Thanks, everyone, for sharing YOUR favorite comfort reads!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Share YOUR favorite comfort reads!

We all have comfort foods we turn to when we need a delicious treat that's guaranteed to satisfy. We have favorite TV shows, movies, and books that do the same.

I know I can depend on chocolate to cheer me up, the Dick Van Dyke show to make me laugh, Star Trek to transport me away, and The Sound of Music to start me singing.

But what about books?

What book (or books) do you turn to when you need an excellent read? Do you re-read at all? I know many people with well-worn copies of favorite tomes, and just as many who swear never to repeat read because there's just too much the world has to offer, so why duplicate?

Two of my favorites are pictured here. These are my go-to stories, my comfort reads.

Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury takes my breath away with his poetic prose and gripping tales. Whenever I read this one I come away believing it's possible to change the world and believing I can make a difference. Better yet, I come away believing I should.

, by Diana Gabaldon is rich enjoyment at its finest. Just as Claire is transported by forces beyond her control to 1745, I'm pulled into her story from the moment she and Frank begin their second honeymoon, just before she marries Jamie. Confused? It's worth reading, trust me.

I've read both of these books multiple times. I fully intend to read them again.

Why? Because doing so gives me comfort, enjoyment, and excitement. I love these books and their authors and I sigh with pleasure every time I crack open their spines because I know I'm in for a fabulous ride.

What about you?

Here's your chance to share your favorite comfort reads. In the comment section below, tell me (and other readers of this blog) which books you turn to when you need a story you can count on. If you never re-read, tell us that, too. Do you have a favorite author who you turn to again and again? Do you save his or her new releases for those days when you need something you can depend on?

This should be fun. I've shared mine, now I hope you'll share yours in the comment section below. One lucky commenter will win a $10 bookstore gift certificate! I'll announce the winner after Bouchercon, specifically Friday, September 23rd. That gives everyone plenty of time.

I can't wait to hear all about YOUR comfort reads!

Friday, September 02, 2011

C'est Fini and Random Rambling

Every so often I get the urge to speak French. Mind you, I'm not very good at it, and needed to be reminded by a nice man at Notre Dame that I should have said "Nous allons," rather than "Vous allez" when I asked where we needed to go to stand in line. I knew that... I swear I did, but I got nervous speaking such a beautiful language in front of native Frenchman.

For the record, I have difficulty capitalizing the word "French" when I'm typing about the language. A throwback to my high school class where we learned that francais was not automatically capitalized the way English is. Also, for the record, I occasionally dream in French. In these dreams I speak the language fluently and I know precisely what I'm saying.

Anyway, my post today has nothing to do about speaking French, but has everything to do with "C'est Fini!" It's done.

For those of you on Facebook, you know I'm talking about Grace #3, a/k/a Manor House Mystery #3, a/k/a GRACE AMONG THIEVES (working title). I've been busy writing and rewriting over the past months, and I've fallen far behind on things like email, reading, posting, newsletters...

But now I'm finished!

I read Grace #3 aloud, as I always do with my manuscripts, and it's finally ready to be turned in. As you can guess from my working title, there have been thefts at Marshfield Manor and Grace is drawn into the investigation, doing her best to prevent Bennett from losing more of his treasures, and to help find the thief who killed one witness and injured another during his escape.

I'll send the file to my editor on Sunday. Why am I waiting? Because I sometimes dream about mistakes I've made or last-minute wording that needs fixing. Yeah, these things pop into my head when I'm asleep. No, I'm not usually speaking French during these dreams, but I do like to give the final manuscript a chance to stew in my overworked brain for a couple of days. Sunday it goes in. And Monday I start reading for fun.

I've given myself one week to read for enjoyment before I jump back into writing. Next up, Ollie #6, which is as yet untitled and its plot not quite fleshed out. Shh... don't tell my editor.

Then comes Bouchercon September 15 - 18, where I'm honored to be part of a Friday panel that includes Donna Andrews, Shirley Damsgaard, Rosemary Harris, and Joanna Slan, with the incomparable Katrina Niidas Holm as moderator. DEATH BY GOOD INTENTION. How fun! I'm very excited.

Saturday brings another panel - this one I'm moderating. Panelists include Avery Aames, JoAnna Carl, Ellen Crosby, and Cathy Pickens. Am I a lucky moderator or what? Our title: YOU SMELL LIKE DINNER. Gotta love it.

All of the rambling I'm doing here is my weird way to celebrate getting GRACE AMONG THIEVES finished. There's nothing better for taking weight off one's shoulders than having a manuscript done on time and I'm feeling a little bit giddy.

You're probably wondering why the book cover for AFFAIRS OF STEAK is up top, at the beginning of this post. That's because I'm excited about its upcoming release. Yep, it's still a few months away, but I warned you I'd be rambling here today, didn't I? If there's one thing I've learned it's that months *fly* by - especially when facing a deadline. I didn't want to forget about giving Ollie a shout out. She's facing trouble this time for sure. She and Peter Everett Sargeant are assigned to work together on a project. If you've read any of the White House Mysteries, you know what a nightmare this is for her. Oh, and of course, murder's involved...

For more information about any of my books, please click the tabs above. They'll take to you pages for the White House Chef Mysteries, the Manor House Mysteries, and my ebook page. I kept the pages simple, but let me know if you think they need more.

Whew! Rambling done. Final Friday tasks ahead, and I'm eager to get them done.
Talk soon!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Outlining a Successful Writing Career

To Outline or Not to Outline... that's a question I hear often from aspiring writers and even among established authors. There are as many writers opposed to outlining as there are those who depend on the process to get them through the next book. In the interest of sharing, here's my take on the subject:

Did I ever mention that I never thought I had what it took to complete an entire novel?

I did complete a few novels when I was a kid, but they were short. More like novellas, or extended short stories. Nancy Drew under a hundred pages.

As an adult, I concentrated on short stories. I loved writing short so much that as soon as I'd finish one I'd start a new one. The best part was they didn't take long to write. I could immerse myself in one character's world for a few days, come up for air, and then dive back in---but this time into an entirely new situation. I loved that. Still do.

But back in about 2001, with encouragement from another writer, Michael A. Black, I finally agreed to give novel writing a chance even though I didn't believe I could stay with the process for three hundred pages. I was convinced I'd give up well before "THE END."

He strongly suggested I come up with an outline first to help guide me through this first attempt. Could it get any worse? An outline? Uh-huh, yeah. Right. I hated having to come up with outlines in school and I couldn't imagine creating one that wasn't for an assignment. Ick. Ick.

But he promised it would make all the difference. And it did. That first novel eventually became my first published novel - Artistic License - a standalone romantic suspense. The book you see here is the ebook version. The original novel debuted in hardcover in 2004 and went into a second printing. How cool is that? When it went out of print and rights reverted to me, I asked my daughter to design a new cover and I put it up on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.

But back to the outline: If I'm anything at all, it's polite. Mike pushed the issue. He was sure this would work and I was just as certain it wouldn't but I didn't want to be rude and say so. What happened? I gave it a try. I came up with an outline that sketched out a series of scenes I envisioned.

I had to admit, the process was more fun than I'd expected and once I got into it, I truly enjoyed myself. I started to clearly see the characters I'd be writing about and I understood their motivations as I jotted down ideas for specific scenes. You need to understand, though, that this was a super short outline -- one 8 x 11 sheet of paper divided into about 24 grids. I wrote really, really small.

I finished with a flourish and then had to face the hard truth. Even though I'd completed this now-awesome outline, the fact remained that I still had to actually write the novel. It certainly wouldn't write itself. And it would be a waste to not use all these great ideas now that they were on paper. You know that feeling, don't you? LOL

There was one major worry, however. Would I be bored with the story now that I knew what was going to happen at the end?

Just the opposite. As I dove into writing, fleshing out these characters and putting them into jeopardy, I realized I wasn't tied to the outline with barbed wire the way I'd expected to be. But what about those wonderful, awesome ideas I was so certain would make great scenes? Slashed some. Used others. The best part was when the characters took control and told me what needed to happen next.

I'll give you an example. In Artistic License there's a character named Pete. He's rather slimy and despicable, but I needed a character like him to serve a purpose in the early chapters. He was supposed to enter, interact with my protagonist, Annie, and walk back out again. All done. Gone. We never should have seen him again.

Except... Pete had other ideas. He showed up on schedule, but true to his character, he stuck around and became part of the central story. Rather than fight him on the matter, I went with my gut and decided to see where he'd lead. I have to admit, the contemptible runt knew what he was doing. In real life, I wouldn't want to spend five minutes with the guy, but on paper, he was a whole lot of fun.

What is the point here? For me -- a new writer who had never completed an entire novel -- outlining provided the structure I needed to keep moving forward. Every time I finished a scene, I returned to the outline to see what I'd planned to come next. I can't tell you how many times a change I'd made while writing, a character I'd added, or a conflict I'd created required a change to the original outline. I didn't rewrite the outline, I just kept updating with notes -- and arrows -- and cross-outs -- and whatever I needed to keep the ever-evolving story on track.

Outlining was the very best thing I could have done.

I outlined my next several books the exact same way, but over time I've changed the process slightly. Now I begin with a blank sheet and I put my protagonist's name in the center. Because I write mostly murder mysteries, I then have to come up with a victim as well as a killer. I have to admit right here that Mr. or Ms. Killer doesn't always turn out to be who I think they should be. That's part of the fun of discovery. But I do start out with a plan in mind.

These days I use Post-it Notes on laminated boards to outline my stories. I place Day Markers (Monday, Tuesday, etc.) along the left edge and go from there. I added this step after one of my books accidentally wound up with two Saturdays in a row. (Nope, I won't tell you which book. But a friend noticed it after the book was in print. Yipes!)

Do I adhere to my outline all the way through? Never. Does the story progress exactly as I'd planned?
No. It's just like life. No matter how good your plans are, the unexpected happens. Things change. And that's the beauty of it all, isn't it?

With ten published novels behind me now (some even hitting bestseller lists - woo-hoo!!!), I've learned to trust the process. I do my job setting things up. Then the characters do theirs: shanghaiing all my careful plans.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Julie Hyzy is the award winning author of two bestselling series: the White House Chef Mystery series, and the Manor House Mystery series.
She also has several of her out-of-print titles available as ebooks for Kindle, Nook, etc.
Visit her website at

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Nancy Drew would be so disappointed - update!

Take a look at this 1930 edition of The Hidden Staircase:

I found this in our basement when I was nine years old. I was supposed to be helping my parents clean, but when I found the pile of books that had been my mom's when she was a child, all bets were off. I remember sneaking away to a cool patch of cement under our back stairs. This had once been an outside spot until the home's previous owners walled it in, creating a back porch above and my secret little alcove where dust, spiders, and forgotten building materials took up residence. In other words, the perfect place to read a mystery. A hidden hideout to read The Hidden Staircase.

I zipped through this story the first time I read it and I remember feeling that terrible dread as the number of pages yet to read became fewer than the number of pages I'd already read. I wanted more of Nancy's adventures and yet as I turned each page, I knew I was drawing closer and closer to THE END. Then, to my surprise and infinite joy, I found this on the next-to-last page: 

Indeed, Nancy Drew's days of adventure were by no means over. Before many months had elapsed she was destined to be involved in another mystery case, equally as baffling as the one she had just solved. Readers who wish to follow her strange adventures may do so in the next volume of this series, entitled "The Bungalow Mystery."

There were more?? 
Yep, and from the sound of it, lots more! 
This was turning out to be the best day ever. 

Over the next few years I collected every Nancy Drew I could get my hands on. The books sported yellow spines now and it got so that I could spot them in my local Woolworth's or Korvette's half a store away.

The thing was, I wasn't content to simply read Nancy Drew. I wanted to be Nancy Drew. I set off to conquer bad guys, determined to see justice served and to right the atrocious wrongs heaped on unsuspecting, innocent victims. Looking back, I think I probably terrorized the people I spied on as I fervently scribbled notes about their comings and goings and set up stakeouts outside their homes. I was so convinced of an elderly woman's murderous tendencies that I often spied in her basement windows looking for evidence of her grisly crimes...but that's a story for another day.

When I couldn't find a single conspiracy to uncover, I invented some of my own and began writing the Mary King Mystery series. I was determined to be published by the time I was 12.

Didn't happen.

If you've landed at this blog you probably already know that I did manage to get published. Admittedly, my success came quite a bit past my tween years, but I'm doing well with both my White House Chef Mysteries and Manor House Mysteries. I also have another series that originally came out in hardcover --- the Alex St. James series -- but it went out of print some years back. Thank goodness for eBooks. Alex is back on Kindle, Nook, and on other friendly ereaders near you (eBook tab at top of page).

In all my books and short stories thus far, my protagonists ---Ollie, Grace, and Alex --- are very Nancy Drew-like. They're strong, resourceful, respectful of authority, and unfailingly polite. They have many differences of course, but they're all optimistic in nature and willing to fight for what's right. Nancy Drew would be proud.

Good old Nance would not be so pleased with Riley Drake nor with Bets Tracer. These are my two newest protagonists. Riley -- whose first adventure, Playing With Matches, has been featured on this blog before; and now Bets --- who can't quite get the hang of this PI business, who waitresses in a local joint to make ends meet, and who is more than a little rough around the edges. 

Cover by Robyn Hyzy 

Bets is introduced - fresh today - in Tracer's Blues, an anthology of three short stories that gives you an idea of what life is like for an inexperienced girl trying to establish herself as a PI in Chicago.

She needs help, and though she gets it from an unlikely source, she never seems to rise above the rank of amateur.

The three shorts are "Blue Angel," "Something Blue," and "Blue Morning." All three are available in this single volume, Tracer's Blues on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords and are written under my N.C. Hyzy pseudonym.

Just a reminder... N.C. stands for "not cozy." Language and situations are a little more coarse than you'll find in Ollie's or Grace's adventures. But there's a little bit more humor, too.

I hope you'll give them a try. And to entice you further, I'm offering a Kindle only sale from now through the end of August. Here's the deal:

Buy one of my three mystery ebooks listed below on Kindle between today and August 30, 2011 and send me proof of purchase (forward the receipt from Amazon) via email: JulieHyzy (at) gmail (dot) com (no spaces) before September 4th:

As of August 12, 2011, THESE THREE TITLES ONLY:

Deadly Blessings by Julie Hyzy
Deadly Interest by Julie Hyzy
Playing With Matches by N.C. Hyzy 

As soon as I receive your proof of purchase, I'll "gift" a copy of Tracer's Blues by N.C. Hyzy to you.

I deeply regret not being able to do this via Nook. I love my Nook, but BN doesn't allow me to gift titles the way Amazon does. If you purchase via Smashwords and want to take advantage of this offer, let me know. I should be able to make that work.

If Nancy Drew and Bets were to meet up, I have no doubt that Nancy would quickly enlist her friends Bess and George to help convince poor Bets to undergo a makeover. The foursome would then pile into Nancy's blue roadster and, with Nancy's titian hair flying in wind, drive to the nicest and most expensive makeover boutique in River Heights where Nancy would generously cover all expenses.

But...I like Bets the way she is. I hope you do, too.


Robyn decided to tweak the cover and has presented me with this new version. I'm in the process of updating the Kindle and Nook sites. Smashwords to follow.

Robyn put a gun in Bets' hand and added these incredible bricks to the background. I love it! What do you think?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

New Life for an Old Blog - I'm going with my gut

It's like this: I believe there are a lot of people in this world who are blogged out. Readers and bloggers alike. There are exceptions, of course, and let me take this opportunity to send a shout out to my friends at the oh-so fabulous Mystery Lovers' Kitchen where the wonderful women there come up with great stories and great recipes every single day. I do miss being part of that group, but I couldn't keep up with the weekly posts.

I'm digressing. Let's try this again...

I've had this blog for years now, but I don't think I've ever posted more than three days in a row. I could go check (I won't) but I bet I've averaged fewer than five posts a month. If that.

Internet-savvy experts tell us that if you don't post every single day, you risk losing readership. Or, at a minimum, you risk losing the opportunity to build readership.

That may be true, but I find blogging to be so "me, me, me-" centered that I'm uncomfortable doing it. When I have news or want to share a success I'm happy to do it here, but then - again - that's all about me. I get tired of talking about myself. And - I dunno - maybe it's just my upbringing, but it feels icky and conceited.

So what to do?

Being an author these days means you must have a way for readers to contact you. I have a website, so that's covered. Websites, however, have limitations. I don't have personal control over content because I'm not that tech-savvy. It often takes weeks to get updates implemented or a new book cover put up there. There are times I want things done... now. Or I have a fun story to share... now

Facebook is great for interacting, and believe me, I do. But (shocker!) not everyone is on Facebook, and while I can get away with fun quips and questions there, if I want to share a particularly poignant or profound story, that isn't the place for it. I can leave a link there and get into the nitty gritty here.

So what's all this about, anyway? And what does it have to do with my gut?

I'm glad you asked.

From now on I'm going to post only when I actually have something meaningful to say. Or when there's information to share. Despite what all the experts say, my gut tells me it's wrong to use this space to simply blather about nothing, just as long as I do it every day. I haven't done that very much in the past, and I've felt guilty about *not* blathering. Can you believe it? No more.

Starting today I'm revamping. I may post once a week, I may post once a month, I may post two days in a row if necessary. But when I do post it will be because there's a story to share. Something worth reading.

I hope you'll continue to stop by. I've added a subscribe button to make it easier. If you don't want to worry about visiting or missing a blog, just subscribe in the box above and we'll be all set.

In the meantime, please take a look around. Even though the setup and design are new, even though I've added pages and learned (sort of) what RSS means, I'm sure I can still make improvements. Let me know what you like and what you don't. My favorite thing is to hear from readers... leave a comment or drop me an email! The next couple of days may see a few glitches. I expect that, and if you happen to visit during one of them, my apologies.

Help me give new life to this old blog.
Thanks for listening.

Stay cool out there...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Changes in the works...

As you can probably tell from the haphazard look of things, this blog is changing.

A whole new look, a whole new feel, is in store.
Stay tuned...

New Short Stories soon...


I'm very excited! My new short stories - the Blue Trilogy by N.C. Hyzy, is coming soon. I came up with a fun character named Bets Tracer who desperately wants to be a private investigator. Problem is, she's not terribly good at it. She keeps a waitress job to pay the bills, but is determined to succeed despite her lack of talent. These shorts are little bit rougher around the edges than my usual stories - which is why I'll publish them under the N.C. Hyzy name - and they're a little funnier. At least I think so.

As you may have guessed from "Cover Here" above, all I'm waiting for now is my cover to be finished. My daughter Robyn Hyzy is finishing it right now. Woo-hoo!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Clue in the Conservatory

I thought this photo was appropriate. You may have already seen it on Facebook, but as I'm in the middle of PLANTing CLUEs in Grace #3 (ha ha, get it?) I wanted to share a picture that inspires me. LOL Not really. But I think it's fun. Curt is Mr. Body, of course. And, if you haven't already guessed, this is taking place in the Conservatory. You can spot the stand-ins for Colonel Mustard and Mrs. Peacock. What you can't see are Professor Plum's purple shorts. But they're there. And this photo was taken at the Biltmore Estates, which... as you know is a wonderful inspiration to me whenever I'm writing for Grace.

Mostly this photo sums up our family vacation. Lots of laughs. Lots of pictures capturing goofy moments. But I played, so now I need to pay. I need to get a whole bunch of words written, pronto. Don't get me wrong, I'm having a blast. Love when I can just sit and pound out stories. The humid weather outside is just making ever more grateful to be at my computer in the cool house.

By the way, I may have already told you this, but Grace #3 may be titled Grace Among Thieves. I mentioned it to my editor when I was out at Malice Domestic and she seemed to like it. I do.

And... I'm posting two days in a row. Do I get an attagirl?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Long overdue updates

My new cover!!
Affairs of Steak
coming January 3, 2012

I just love the covers Berkley comes up with! This one has a particularly sinister feel, don't you think? I'd have to say that this new story is a bit darker than prior Ollie adventures. But then again, this time she's assigned to work with Peter Everett Sargeant on a project. Poor Ollie!

As you probably know, I'm no longer posting weekly at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen. Do I miss it? Oh, yeah. Every day! But I have a couple of deadlines and I've fallen far, far behind. As much as it broke my heart to do it, I had to give up the kitchen. And I had to give up Killer Characters as well. Both blogs are fabulous places, and if you haven't already, I encourage you to get to know the wonderful authors there.

I don't want to disappear completely from the blogosphere so I'm going to do my best to post here more often than I have been doing. Yep, you've heard that one before. This time, however, with fewer commitments, I may be able to get posts up at least once a week (I'm shooting for more often). Of course I'll be talking about books, but also just regular stuff.

First of all - a writing topic. If you don't get the Chicago Tribune, or you didn't see this article, take a look here. My husband saw it in the paper yesterday and pulled it out for me. I think he's tired of all my punctuation complaints. I'm always chastising him for his misuse of apostrophes, and catching mistakes on signs. The nice thing about this article was the conversation it generated yesterday morning. My husband, youngest daughter, and I had a nice chat about serial commas. Pretty exciting life we lead, don't you think?

Second - health and wellness. My husband and I went to listen to a wellness coach at the local library last week. The guy, Tom Kens, is also a friend from our Toastmasters club so we had another good reason to go. The place was packed, and although Tom stressed a lot of healthy changes we already knew about, or had already adopted, he did offer a few tidbits of information that inspired us to try harder. The goal is not necessarily to lose weight - it's to eat healthier and be healthier. I'll update from time to time. Maybe...

Third - our family vacation. Yep, we survived. Three daughters, one minivan, two weeks. We visited Biltmore Estates, Colonial Williamsburg, Washington D.C. (lots more on that later), Boston, and Niagara Falls. Throughout all the driving, we listened to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on CD.

After two weeks of 24/7 companionship, we're all still quite fond of each other and we have a lot of great pictures to prove it. I'll share some stories in upcoming weeks.

Lastly - my trusty old desktop died when we got home. I had a long, nasty week trying to get a new one set up only to find out that it would hiccup (screen freeze) whenever I was typing. Of course, this problem didn't make itself known until I'd transferred all my files. Anyway, after hours on the phone with a tech, I wound up taking it back to Best Buy. I then headed directly to my nearest Apple store and bought a desktop there. Paid roughly twice as much for it, but peace of mind is worth a lot.

So, what's new with you?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Kindle Book Two-for-One (sorta) Offer

My ebook, PLAYING WITH MATCHES by N.C. (Not Cozy) Hyzy, could sure use some reviews on Amazon. So, I'm willing to trade...

If you write and post a review on (it's not required that you like the book, though I hope you do), alert me via email (see details below) after the review posts and I'll "gift" you your choice of one of my other Kindle ebooks or short story collections below. It's kind of like getting a two-for-one. A BOGO sale. Buy One Get One. You buy, read, and review Playing With Matches and you get one of the following for free:

Artistic License - a standalone romantic suspense and my first published novel

Deadly Blessings - Alex St. James is a news reporter in Chicago. In this "first in series" book, she takes on corruption in the Catholic Church.

Deadly Interest - Second in the series, Alex seeks to find out who killed her elderly neighbor and along the way discovers much more than she bargained for.

Deadly Shorts - Two Alex short stories

Short Story Collection - Two non-mystery stories

Mystery Short Stories - Two short stories by N.C. Hyzy

Science Fiction Short Stories - Two short stories by S.F. Hyzy

I have no idea if this will take off and hundreds of people will want to write reviews, or if no one will even notice this post  I plan to announce it on Facebook and Twitter over the next day or so. Because I'm paying for the gifted books myself, I need to limit this offer to the first 25 people who post reviews. 

Here are the important details in order to get a free Kindle book:

- You need to read Playing With Matches by N.C. Hyzy (a slightly harder edged mystery than what I usually write) and be one of the first 25 to post a review on its page. There are five reviews there right now, so there are only 20 chances left.
- Once the review is posted and available to the public, let me know by contacting me at my email: JulieHyzy(at)gmail(dot)com. Please use the email address associated with your Kindle account.
- Please also tell me which book you want gifted to you.

*NOTE* If you've already read and reviewed Playing With Matches on Amazon, thank you! Now, drop me an email with your choice of the above ebooks and I'll get it right out to you.

Do you have any questions?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Grace hit Number Four!!

I'm very excited! My editor at Berkley shared some great news with me today. GRACE INTERRUPTED hit the mass market mystery bestseller list at #4! Woo-hoo!!

This isn't an online list. As a matter of fact, I think it's an industry list that only editors and agents receive. But it helps them see how a new title is faring in the market.

I'd seen my friend, Lorraine Bartlett's (Lorna Barrett) Facebook post about SENTENCED TO DEATH hitting that list at #1. No surprise there, because Lorna's Booktown mysteries are wonderful and always do extremely well on bestseller lists.

But, I have to admit, I had my fingers crossed when I emailed my editor to find out how Grace was doing. My editor's email this morning came as wonderful news! I'm just thrilled.

Thank you to everyone who helped me! The first week - release week - is so important for new books. That first week can make or break a series and I'm grateful to all my readers for helping me make this coveted #4 spot!!


PS - Pictures from my book launch party are up on FB!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


I'm having a party to launch GRACE INTERRUPTED, and YOU'RE INVITED!!

Woo-hoo! This will be fun.
Here are the details:

Sunday, June 12, 2011
Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore
1:00 - 3:00

7419 W. Madison Street
Forest Park, IL 60131

Lots of fun, snacks, networking, and -- of course -- books!!
Hope you can be there!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Friends don't let friends self-publish bad books

Let me begin by stating that I have encountered many good self-published books. Heck, I have a few titles I've recently put up myself on Kindle/Nook/etc. so that makes me a self-published author in addition to being a traditionally published one.

But this weekend I encountered what is possibly the *worst* self-published book ever printed. A slim hardcover (a few clicks of research informed me that the author paid about $1,200 to have this tome brought to life), it is lifeless, lacks any sort of story arc, and -- unbelievably -- is filled with artwork (I shudder to even refer to it as such) drawn by the artist herself. The artist/author is an adult, but the drawings look like a five-year-old's refrigerator art.

I am not kidding. And I'm not exaggerating.

As you know, I write books. My daughter, Robyn, is an illustrator (her website is here). The person who lent me the book did so because she thought it might inspire us to work together to create a children's book of our own. While Robyn and I have talked about that possibility, this book serves to inspire nothing but disbelief that anyone thought it worthy of publication.

I wish I could share the book's title here, but that would just be mean-spirited on my part.

Here's the thing. Someone must have seen this manuscript before the author submitted it to the printer. Someone must have seen these drawings. The author must have shared this with friends. I can only hope that this author's friends attempted to talk her out of spending more than $1,000 to put this into book form. I can only hope.

If she persisted, she must have believed in her story. But the author had to have known in her heart of hearts that the story stunk and the drawings were even worse.

Really, I can't even tell you how bad this was. When I shared it with my family, they were all open-mouthed, aghast. I swear it wasn't just me.

The thing is, this teeny tiny (20 page) hardback book is priced at almost $30. The author sold it to an acquaintance of mine for less than that because they're co-workers.

I understand my acquaintance buying it. We all try to support those we care about. And by the time the book was published, it was too late to change anything, anyway.

No one likes to be criticized. And once a book is published and distributed, it's usually not a good idea to tell your friend what you think they did wrong.

BUT... writers usually share their works with friends, first readers, and family before they bring it to the world. Someone who cared about this woman should have talked her out of publishing. They should have suggested she wait. Maybe the urge would have passed. They should have suggested she read other children's books. They should have suggested the story have a beginning, a middle, and an end. They should have begged her not to include those drawings.

Here's the thing: there are so many wonderful books out there. So much wonderful art. If you have a friend who's intent on publishing himself or herself, and you're convinced what they've created is great, then - by all means - encourage them to pursue their dreams. But if what they've created is not ready for publication, please give an honest opinion. Save them from disappointment and possible embarrassment.

Companies are getting rich off of writers' dreams. The woman who wrote this book probably believed that parents would rush to pick up her "charming" story. I know that won't ever happen. If you saw this book, you would agree.

Who wins in this situation? The company who printed the book. That's it. They have $1,200 on their income statement. And what did they provide this woman? Five (5) copies. Seriously. She must have paid even more to have extra copies made because she's selling them where she works. What an opportunity, huh?

Again, there are good books out there that are self-published. Lots of them. And I believe that people should be persistent in following their dreams. No question about that. But before a writer plunks down significant dollars to see his or her name on a book spine, that writer ought to have enthusiastic support from those around her. If that enthusiasm is missing -- if all support is tepid at best, maybe it's time to rethink the "opportunity."

Let's help each other. Friends shouldn't let friends publish bad books.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Brand New Alex St. James Short stories

I'm very excited to announce two Alex St. James short stories, "Sanctimony" and "Criminal Intent,"are now available on Kindle and Nook! They're combined in one ebook: DEADLY SHORTS (don't you love the title? LOL).

I uploaded yesterday and they're up (very quickly, IMHO) today.

In case you want to have a look, here are the links:

So nice to be able to share more of Alex's stories. She was getting a little restless!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


When I try to include the Kindle link, the cover reverts to the prior one, but I *did* just upload today, so I guess I ought to give them a little time to get the page changed. I'm so impatient, though!

In the meantime, here's a sneak peek at the new cover for DEADLY INTEREST

It's still the second book in the Alex St. James series, still the same story.

But... here's a little news...

A set of two Alex St. James shorts will be up very soon. I uploaded those today too. Fingers crossed Amazon and Nook move quickly!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Merry May Sale

There's a MERRY MAY SALE going on!
A collaboration between Backlist eBooks and Smashwords.

Here's the link to a site listing all the ebooks on sale: MERRY MAY

Have fun!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Back from Malice... but still not caught up!

Wow. Malice was wonderful. And the Festival of Mystery at Oakmont blew me away. I wish I could post bunches of pictures here, but as usual, I forgot my camera during most of it.

Got home Tuesday. Drove up to Biz's college and moved her back home Wednesday. Had all new windows installed here yesterday. Today is "put the furniture and drapes back" day and I'm barely making it.

It's nuts here. Yeah, Mother's Day weekend coming up too. I think we'll have my mother-in-law here this year, but tomorrow and early Sunday are up for grabs. I may opt to stay home and read (ha ha!) or shop for shades. I've got great new windows but I'm reluctant to drill into them to re-install my mini-blinds. But I'm not prepared to buy all new window treatments. Thank goodness my drapes are still going to work.

Anyway, it's been a little hectic here. I'm trying desperately to get back to writing Grace #3, while still talking about GRACE INTERRUPTED, which comes out in less than a month. I feel so far behind this time!

I had planned to send out a newsletter at the end of April and then another on my release day, but I think I'm opting to just send the single issue on June 7th. Don't forget, I'm throwing a launch party and you're invited. More on that later.

Plus this time, I've got a few extra appearances scheduled.


Great to stop in here and chat for a second. Now back to putting my house together...

Talk soon!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

And this is why Grace got a cat...

I've mentioned this before, but I never planned to have a cat. And to be honest, this one is only on extended loan until our middle daughter is out of school. Yes I can hear you all now... "sure, sure."

This is Kitka. She's the main reason why Grace finds a kitten (Bootsie) on her driveway in my next novel, Grace Interrupted.

So in this cozy mystery, instead of simply solving a murder, running all of Marshfield Manor, and dealing with cranky Frances, Grace has to find out who the real kitten's owners are.

To find out if she's successful in any of the above, please tune in June 7th when Grace Interrupted debuts!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My first *Free* title on Smashwords!

Free stories!
Help yourself!
This is free to download from Smashwords. Here's the link.
And let me know what you think.

The collection (2 stories) includes "Evenings for Vylette" and "What's Real."

These are neither mysteries, nor sci-fi. These are just stories and characters who spoke to me. Hope you enjoy them.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I'll trade you... An ARC for a review?

Woo-hoo! I have a couple of ARCs** here for GRACE INTERRUPTED, the new Manor House Mystery that comes out June 7th.
My publisher has sent out copies to all the major publications and I'm hoping for reviews (fingers crossed they like it!), but people these days rely heavily on Amazon and BN online reviews to make their reading decisions. I can't tell you how much a good review on those sites helps. But they do.

In any case, if you're willing to consider writing a review and posting it on Amazon and/or BN, I would love to send you an ARC of the new book. No strings attached, of course, but it would mean a lot to me.

And although I really, really hope you like the new book and your review is positive, that's not a condition either.

After posting this, I have no idea if I'll get two requests or a thousand, so I'll make up a deadline - April 15th (easy enough to remember). If I get more requests than I have ARCs, I'll draw names.

Again, if you're willing to consider writing a review and posting it on or around June 7th, the day the book debuts, email me at JulieHyzy (at) gmail (dot) com and put GRACE INTERRUPTED ARC (or somesuch) in the subject line.

It's so scary when a book is about to come out. I always, always worry.

Thanks for your help! Happy reading!


** These are the uncorrected proofs. I found a number of typos and I made changes but all those corrections took place after these were produced.

Featured on DCR

Two of my titles are featured on Daily Cheap Reads. Sounds cut-rate, doesn't it? But this is a wonderful spot for Kindle owners to see what's available. and everything is $5 or less. Pretty excited to see both Alex St. James novels up there.

Do you have a Kindle, a Nook, another eReader, or do you prefer to stick with books?

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Buffalo West Wing featured at

Hey, guess what? Buffalo West Wing is featured on!

What a fun site, full of recipes and great information! I'm very excited to be part of it.
I'll probably add a link here on the blog for future reference. Stay tuned.

By the way... Grace Wheaton is talking about the next book today at!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Another VR Glitch!

I sent out a newsletter last week and received notice that some peopled unsubscribed. Now, I *always* check the names of those who unsubscribe and I confess I've been surprised in the past by people who have opted out. Among these folks have been many good friends. Why on earth would they unsubscribe? It never made sense to me.

Imagine my shock last week when I checked out who had unsubscribed and discovered that ...(wait for it)... I had unsubscribed to my own newsletter. Yes, really.

You may remember from an earlier post that Vertical Response will *not allow* me to ever add back anyone who has unsubscribed. But this was ridiculous. I need to keep my own email in the mix so that I'm able to double check all newsletters that go out.

In a heartbeat I was on the phone with Vertical Response. (To their credit, their customer service is pretty good.) I didn't yell, didn't shout, didn't say, "What the heck is wrong with you people??" even though I wanted to. But I admit my voice went up an octave or so when I told them their system had evidently kicked me off of my own list. I then told them that they'd lost all credibility with me. What about all those friends who had unsubscribed? Suddenly I realized that maybe they hadn't.

I had two important goals: Figure out how this happened so that it wouldn't happen again; and, get myself back on my own list!

Surprise, surprise - there *is* a way to re-add people from this end, but there's a final step required that the recipient has to complete. Okay. Got it. I added myself back and then clicked the email confirmation. Whew! At least I was back in on my list.

But how did this happen?
You won't believe it.

In the past I've always asked my newsletter recipients to forward the email to friends who might be interested in my books. Why not, right? Books are always best when recommended by others. At the bottom of my emails I included a "Forward" link and I even offered a prize to one lucky person who forwarded my information.

Foolish, foolish me.

Let's say that you kindly and generously forwarded my email to a bunch of friends. Let's say one of those friends looked at it, thought "Oh, no, something more for me to deal with!!" and decided he or she didn't want to ever receive emails like this again.

If that person clicked "Unsubscribe" in the bottom of the email, he or she effectively unsubscribed you from ever receiving my newsletters again.

So, in essence, I've been shooting myself in the foot by asking folks to forward.

I have no idea how many of my unsubscribes are genuine, and how many are because of this forwarding issue.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Working on Grace #3

Feeling pretty good about my writing today. Just over 2,000 words, so far.

Finally, finally got started on my third Manor House Mystery after Grace Under Pressure and Grace Interrupted (coming in June).

It took quite a while to figure out what sort of plot I wanted to work out this time. Although I don't know the details, I like to have a sense of what's going on in a book before I start. I used to outline like a fiend. Then a little less so. Now I outline loosely, and I use that term loosely. I've got a few basic ideas going for the start of the story, and I expect to grow it from there as I write.

This time, too, I've decided to try a new approach. I'll write the entire first draft as fast as I can to get the story in place. At that point I'll go back and actually make it into a story, rather than just a list of "what happens next."

I'm trying out titles, too. My front-runner: GRACE AMONG THIEVES.

What do you think?

PS - Next newsletter is scheduled to go out tomorrow morning!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Newsletter Sign-up

I'm putting the finishing touches on my next newsletter. The last one I sent was back in January, so I think I'm a bit overdue.

If you're interested in receiving it, please sign up on this blog. One thing to remember -- Vertical Response (the company I work through) won't allow me to send unless readers "confirm" in the follow-up email they send.

I actually have 82 people who signed up, but never confirmed. Vertical Response won't let me manually input the addresses, because they're extremely afraid that clients who do that may actually be spamming.

So, if you signed up, but you haven't been receiving newsletters, you may need to sign up again. And confirm.

Lots of steps. I wish I could streamline things, but they won't let me.

Anyway -- it's coming soon! Please sign up today!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Grace Interrupted Bookmarks!

Okay, here goes...

I'm excited to offer bookmarks for GRACE INTERRUPTED, the second Manor House Mystery. The book comes out June 7th, but I'm hoping to let the world know it's out there before the big day.

Would you be willing to help by sharing bookmarks with your friends?

Here's the plan...

If you're willing to take 5 (five) bookmarks and pass them along (mailing 5 costs the same as mailing one, and since I only make a few cents more than the cost of a postage stamp per book, I'm doing the best I can to maximize promo dollars), let me know and I'll get them in the mail to you.

Last time I did this I was inundated by requests from people who saw the word "Free" and wanted 1 bookmark. Because some of these were clearly auto-generated requests by machines not interested in books, or mysteries, or human beings, I'm now forced to make a few rules.

1) Email me at:
Put BOOKMARKS in the subject header

2) Your request must provide some proof that you're human. "Hi, Julie," would work. Or "I belong to a book discussion group. Please send me X number of bookmarks."

3) U.S. addresses only.

4) The minimum request is 5 bookmarks. If you'd like 10, 20, or even 100 because you work in a library, or have boatloads of friends who read, or plan to hand them out at your place of business or next party - by all means, let me know. BTW - this counts as your "proof that you're human."

5) If you don't think you'll be able to pass bookmarks out (for instance: you're unable to get out or are otherwise limited), but you really, really want one, send me a note separately.

6) I will post a notice on this blog when this offer ends. Not sure when that will be. Last time I had to do it almost immediately because of so many out-of-U.S. requests and because of all the computer-generated ones. Ack! What a headache!

7) I reserve the right to refuse any requests that don't meet the above guidelines. I likewise reserve the right to fulfill requests that don't meet the guidelines.

I think that about covers it! Sheesh, so many rules for bookmarks. But you wouldn't believe the requests I received. Crazy!

Thanks for bearing with me.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

S.F. Hyzy makes her debut on Kindle!

Okay, it's official - S.F. Hyzy (my science fiction pseudonym) is now live with two short stories on Kindle.

The first short is "Dissident" which won the Phobos Award a few years back and was originally published in the anthology ALL THE RAGE THIS YEAR.

The second was my also-ran. It made it to the semi-final stage of the Phobos contest, but wasn't ever published. Until now.

Hope you enjoy them!

Friday, March 04, 2011

Two Mystery Shorts

Woo-hoo! I got my first mystery short stories up on Kindle!

Here's the link:

Included is my Derringer Award winning short, "Strictly Business." It originally appeared in THESE GUNS FOR HIRE, an anthology about hitmen edited by J.A. Konrath.

Also included is a brand new short about a mom taking her daughter to college in Florida. That would be tough enough, but throw in a serial killer...

Lastly, I've included the first chapter of Playing With Matches... just to give you a sample of N.C. Hyzy's new protagonist, Riley Drake.

All this, for 99 cents! Gotta love these new ebooks, don't you?

Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, March 03, 2011


A couple of days ago I called a local business about getting an estimate for some work to be done here at our house. We spoke on the phone for a few minutes and I discovered she's not just the estimator, she's the owner of the business. Cool. We made an appointment for 10:00 this morning for her to come out to assess.

Ten came and went. So did 10:10 and 10:15. At 10:20 (because I've become less willing to tolerate rude behavior and because it should take fewer than 5 minutes to get here from her office) I called. Left a polite message, "Weren't we on for ten o'clock this morning? Please call me."

No return call. Nothing.

Hours later, I found an email on my old, little-used AOL account. In my spam folder. She'd written it last night, letting me know she needed to reschedule. In the message she said she hesitated to call because she believed the number I'd provided was a daytime number.

What the heck does that mean???

I *never* gave her my email, so I never expected her to contact me that way. If she thought she wouldn't reach me via my "daytime number" (which, for the record is my all-the-time number) in the evening, why didn't she call first thing in the morning? Sure would have saved me an hour of checking out front to make sure I wasn't missing the doorbell.

Sheesh. I lost time today. I *hate* losing time. Like -- grind my teeth hate it.

I replied to her email telling her that I would have much preferred a phone contact. She and I had *never* emailed, so why she chose that method of contact I'll never know.

Part of me wants to write her off and take my business elsewhere. Part of me wonders if some emergency made her brain go wonky and that's why she messed up. Either way, I'll have to assess ... assuming she ever gets in touch with me again.

Most business owners bend over backward to make sure they don't lose a sale. I would have expected an explanation by now.

Oh well...

Monday, February 28, 2011

New Phone - Welcome to the 21st Century!

So one of the cats (Kitka, of course) swiped my phone down the basement stairs and cracked it on the concrete floor. Good bye trusty little Nokia. I had it for a long, long time. The folks at the phone store claimed I'd had it since 2002, but I really think I upgraded once since then. Oh well, it didn't matter. As of yesterday, I became the owner of a smart phone.

Yeah, right!

So blasted smart it doesn't come with an instruction manual.

I tried to get my favorite ringtone installed on the new device. No luck. I had to wait for my middle daughter to come home to fix that for me. Once I got it, though, I learned how to upload others pretty easily, so it was worth the angst.

This morning I figured out how to silence the alerts on incoming emails while keeping alerts noisy for texts. I *think* it's working. We'll find out soon. The emails are silent - which is great. Just waiting for a text to ensure I didn't accidentally silence those, too.

Now that I've gotten all this crazy phone stuff handled and I feel like a real 21st century citizen, I can get to my real work - writing!

Best of all, now that I know how they work (and don't) my characters can more believably use smart phones!

All good!

Friday, February 18, 2011

PLAYING WITH MATCHES is live on #Kindle and #Nook!

Woo-hoo!! Finally! I'm excited to announce that PLAYING WITH MATCHES, the first novel released by my alter-ego N.C. Hyzy, is now available on Nook and on Kindle.

A quick warning: This book is not cozy! The language is slightly more coarse, the situations slightly more ... edgy. Riley Drake is a private investigator in Chicago and she doesn't take grief from anyone.

I don't want to disappoint any cozy mystery readers with a new title that doesn't match their expectations - hence, the N.C. Hyzy pseudonym.

Remember: N.C. = Not Cozy!

Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I spent the last week or so formatting/fixing/analyzing/reformatting and finally, uploading a new title to Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords. I have *no* idea if they'll come out properly. Sure, I did the preview, but I've been hearing horror stories about garbled uploads lately, so my fingers are desperately crossed.

My daughter did a wonderful cover for this new title. I can't wait to announce it here... and show off the great cover, but I'll wait until I know the book is live. Don't want to jinx myself.

The waiting is tough!

But finally, at least, I can get back to writing. The next Grace book awaits. This would be book #3. Someone asked me the other day what I had planned for her. I started talking about all the relationships... what may be happening with Frances, what's up with Jack, and updates from Grace's sister, but as I was talking, I realized I had no murder yet! These characters are just so real to me that I think first about them, then about the plot!

Speaking of Grace books... I just received my galleys/pass pages from Berkley. This is my last read-through to check for typos and mistakes. No room for big changes, just the necessary ones. I always get so nervous going through these. What if I find a huge inconsistency?

I'll be working on that project early next week. Keep your fingers crossed for me, okay?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Backlist eBooks!

As of today I'm officially a member of Backlist eBooks!

This busy group is comprised of print-published authors who have decided to release (re-release, actually) their out-of-print titles as ebooks. Great news for Kindle and Nook readers!

My backlist titles (Artistic License, Deadly Blessings, and Deadly Interest) are in their Kindle bookstore here. Just scroll down and click on my name. Lots of great authors there, huh?

Oh, and Backlist eBooks has a Facebook page too! Come visit and "Like" our page!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Barry Award nominations!

I am *very* excited to announce that EGGSECUTIVE ORDERS has been nominated for a Barry Award in the Best Paperback Original category.

Woo-hoo!!! So excited! So happy! And look at that list! What wonderful writers, all. I am humbled and honored to be included among them. And absolutely giddy. Can't help it!

The full list is below.... plus a little extra.

The Barry Award Nominations 2011.
The nominees for the 2011 Barry Awards have just been announced. Voting is done by the readers of Deadly Pleasures magazine. The winners will be announced at Bouchercon (September, in St. Louis, MO).

*More about the Barry Awards at the end of the list

Best Novel

NOWHERE TO RUN, C. J. Box (Putnam)
THE LOCK ARTIST, Steve Hamilton (Minotaur)
MOONLIGHT MILE, Dennis Lehane (Morrow)
BURY YOUR DEAD, Louise Penny (Minotaur)
SAVAGES, Don Winslow (Simon & Schuster)

Best First Novel

GUTSHOT STRAIGHT, Lou Berney (Morrow)
ROGUE ISLAND, Bruce DeSilva (Forge)
THE POACHER'S SON, Paul Doiron (Minotaur)
SHERLOCKIAN, Graham Moore (Twelve)
THE HOLY THIEF, William Ryan (Minotaur)
ONCE A SPY, Keith Thomson (Doubleday)

Best British Novel

STARTED EARLY, TOOK MY DOG, Kate Atkinson (Doubleday)
BLOOD HARVEST, S. J. Bolton (Bantam Press)
NIGHT WHISPERS, John Connolly (Hodder & Stoughton)
THE WOODCUTTER, Reginald Hill (HarperCollins)
THREE SECONDS, Roslund & Hellstrom (Quercus)
FOURTH DAY, Zoe Sharp (Allison & Busby)

Best Paperback Original

THE HANGING TREE, Bryan Gruley (Touchstone)
THE DEAD LIE DOWN, Sophie Hannah (Penguin)
EGGSECUTIVE ORDERS, Julie Hyzy (Berkley)
FEVER AT THE BONE, Val McDermid (Harper)
THE RHETORIC OF DEATH, Judith Rock (Berkley)

Best Thriller

13 HOURS, Deon Meyer (Grove Atlantic)
AMERICAN ASSASSIN, Vince Flynn (Atria)
THE BRICKLAYER, Noah Boyd (Harper)
BOLT ACTION, Charles Charters (Hodder U.K.)
ON TARGET, Mark Greaney (Jove)
THE REMBRANDT AFFAIR, Daniel Silva (Putnam)

Best Short Story

Mitch Alderman, "Requiem for Antlers" (AHMM Jan.-Feb. 2010)
Robert Barnard, "Family Values" (EQMM Feb. 2010)
Caroline Benton, "The Body in the Dunes (EQMM Jan. 2010)
Loren D. Estleman, "The List" (EQMM May 2010)
Terence Faherty, "The Seven Sorrows" (EQMM Mar.-Apr. 2010)
Ellen Larson, "When the Apricots Bloom" (AHMM July-Aug. 2010)

The Barry Award is named for Barry Gardner, who was one of the best fan reviewers in the world. He died in 1996 and the editorial staff of Deadly Pleasures magazine decided to keep his memory alive by naming this award for him. For a biography, courtesy of Deadly Pleasures, please click Barry Gardner's name above.

I am so happy to make this announcement. Good luck to all!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Killer Characters

All this talk about Love Is Murder, and my first novel, ARTISTIC LICENSE, got me to thinking... it also got Annie Callaghan, my very first protagonist, thinking.

She's blogging today at

Come visit and share your favorite standalone protagonists.

Monday, February 07, 2011


I am so very excited to announce that Grace Under Pressure won the Lovey Award for Best Traditional Mystery at the Love Is Murder Mystery Conference this weekend.


All those who won, especially Tasha Alexander, and Laura Caldwell, spoke about how much they love Love Is Murder. It truly is the warmest, most welcoming conference out there. But I was touched most personally, by Jamie Freveletti's speech. In it, she too talked about how much she enjoys Love Is Murder, but she went on to tell about her first time at the con. About how she and I met. Because her critiquer hadn't shown, and my critique-ee hadn't either, those in charge of the manuscript critique program put us together.

From the first sentence, I knew. Jamie can write. Powerfully and with incredible energy. On Saturday night, with her Lovey in her hand, she told the story of her first Love Is Murder and how encouraged she was to hear that I loved her work. Jamie can, indeed, write. She's amazing. She's won many awards... The Thriller Award and the Barry, I believe. Plus -- she's been tapped to write the next Ludlum novel.

What's especially great about this story is that at *my* first Love Is Murder, I met Debbie Brod. At that time Debbie not only had five books out, she was also an acquisitions editor for Tekno/Five Star and she agreed to read my first manuscript. Looking back, it was nowhere as good as Jamie's, but Debbie called me later with unbelievable news. Five Star wanted to publish me.

Debbie and Jamie are incredibly talented women. I'm just so happy to have met them at Love Is Murder and very lucky to count them both as good friends.