Monday, March 10, 2008


Barbour Publishing is launching this line of cozy mysteries called Heartsong Mysteries. You can find out more about it here:

My first book in this book club comes in September and if you’ve been reading along the earlier posts you’re getting an idea of the fun all our authors are having being involved in this new line of books.

Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple stories are the classic example of cozy mysteries.
On television, think Murder She Wrote.

My next turn to blog I’ll talk more about my own cozy mystery coming in September, the first of a three book series. But I’ll give you a blurb for now:

Of Mice…and Murder
By Mary Connealy
Being named in Great-grandma’s will was like hitting bankrupt on Wheel of Fortune. The whole family held their breath while the wheel ticked around and around, or rather while the lawyer opened the envelope. Then the wheel stopped on Carrie’s name and everybody else heaved a sigh of relief.
Carrie the heiress. Great.
Clean up the house.
Clean up the yard.
Clean up Great-grandma’s rap sheet.

Carrie hates mice and loves the big city. So why is she living in a huge mouse infested house in her dinky hometown? The dead guy in her pantry closet is the most interesting thing that's happened since she came home. Of course the carpenter who's helping her trap her mice and solve the crime is pretty interesting, too.
I created Carrie out of my own mouse phobia. How about you? Anyone else afraid of mice? Any other phobias?
The only truly unrealistic thing that happens in my small fictional town of Melnik, Nebraska, is...Carrie staying in that house once she sees the first mouse. The rest of it, an oversized stuffed mouse, a dead guy in the closet, a crazed pie-baker and a mouse obsessed drama queen, sure...those could happen. But staying in that house with the mice?
No way.
So tell me what makes you go EEEEKKK!!!!!


Karen said...

Eight books all at once does seem like a daunting pile, doesn't it? I'm already through my first. I closed my eyes, reached in the pile, and grabbed out Recipe for Murder by Lisa Harris. After that fun read, I'm one-third through Murder in the Milkcase by Candice Speare. It's like the proverbial candy store and I'm the kid!

Mary Connealy said...

C'mon, Karen, what's your fear. :)
Or are you AFRAID to tell me.

I loved the cover on Murder in the Milk Case, chilling. LOL I love all the covers.

I'd hoped to get through the first book in time to do some kind of review for this blog but I didn't make it.

Sandra Robbins said...

I have lots of fears, Mary, but one of my greatest is the fear of heights. So you can imagine my trip to the Grand Canyon was really interesting. I kept pulling my daughter and granddaughter away from the edge. It's a long way to the bottom of that big hole!

Sandra Robbins

Eileen said...

Snakes. Bar none, that's my biggest fear. Slithering, slippery snakes. ewww. But they'd eat Mary's mice, huh?

Can't wait to start reading cozies.

NancyMehl said...

Hmmmm. Although I try hard not to fear anything, I must say that I'm not crazy about heights, flying, MRI machines, and milk... Oh, wait a minute, that's Monk. Scratch the milk. The rest applies.

But my strangest "fear" is that someone will try to mouth something important to me in a group situation. You see, I cannot read lips. I don't mean it's difficult, I mean I CANNOT DO IT! I've had friends test me because they think I'm kidding, but they've gone away convinced that this is some kind of strange disability.

So...if I'm ever in a room with you, and you've got something important to tell me that no one else can know, either save it or tell someone else. No matter how hard you try, I will NOT be able to understand you! And it's embarrassing!!!

Missy Tippens said...

I've enjoyed the other posts! :)

I also got my first shipment of 8 books. Yikes. My TBR pile may become even more dangerous.

ooh, Mary. Good story idea for ya! :)

I don't have a true fear of heights. I go to high places just fine. But if any of my children get near any sort of edge, my stomach hits the floor. They know it causes me physical pain and love to torment me!


Darlene Franklin said...

I have this theory. What scares you in a kids' movie continues to haunt you as an adult.

For my mother, it was Snow White stumbling through the dark woods.

For me, it was Bambi running through the woods on fire. I'm TERRIFIED of lighting a match.

For my son, it was Jaws. He thought a shark would show up in the swimming pool. (Okay, Jaws isn't a kids' movie. So why did the day care show it?)

Ausjenny said...

Im scared of dogs and im also scared of big spiders im slightly better with big spiders as long as they are not in my room if in my room then i freak out.
not really into mice either.

i also am scared of dogs even little dogs. some if i can get to know i am ok with but they do scare me and if they lick me that freaks me out big time. where i clean once a week they have 2 poodles who think i like them and like to jump on me they cant seem to work out i dont like them.

Anonymous said...

Mary, Of Mice ... Murder sounds very cozy! I am not normally a cozy-mystery gal, but gotta feeling that's all gonna change come September.

Oh, and what makes me go EEEKKKKK???

Uh, one-star reviews.

Julie L.

Gina Welborn said...

Would you rather sky dive or go on a 500-loop roller coaster?

Every person I've asked that today has chosen sky dive. Nope. I just can't do it. I'd rather puke my guts out looping around than freefall from airplane.

Yes, I fear falling from great heights.

I'm not too good with bridges over water. Okay, I'm awful with them. Although to my credit, I've quit closing my eyes which has really helped with driving.

Ausjenny said...

Gina i would go on the rollercoaster in a heartbeat. although 500 loops may do me in.
but i love rollercoasters. I haven't skydived but would do it over bungee jumping.
dont have a problem with heights unless my balance is out then i tend to be a bit dizzy.
oh been watching a midday movie about killer ants so i am now not liking ants (never did as im alergic but now im well lets say giving them a wide berth)

Ruth Logan Herne said...


Afraid of mice?

I'm having a hard time with this one. No one who lives on a farm, in an old farmhouse, is allowed to be afraid of mice because you can't get away from the little suckers.

And that's what D-Con is for, right? Or glue traps? To be honest, though, I've actually said eek! when spotting one which I'm totally embarrassed to admit because tough-as-nails women don't say: Eek!

But I did. I rationalized that it was the startle reflex and not a fear factor.



Janet Dean said...

Looking forward to your cozy, Mary. I don't fear them, but mice and spiders give me the willies. As a historical writer I'm allowed to say that. We had a mice family take residence in our basement and took out 16. Thank goodness my d/h wasn't traveling during this time because I could never touch a trap with a mouse in it.

The worst experience I had with spiders, I slept through. We stayed in a cabin in a KY park. The place was invested with spiders. When I took off my nightgown the next morning, a huge hairy spider leg fell out of it. Just thinking about it makes me shiver.

What do I fear? Flying, deep water, heights. I suppose I could add the dark.

I'm a mess.


Mary Connealy said...

Lots of terrified people here. You know, I don't think falling from a great height counts as a phobia, I mean c'mon, that's just good sense.

Mary Connealy said...

spiders? No problem. I can smash one to death with my bare hands. No kidding. I mean, I don't LIKE them and I kill them and get them out of my house asap, but fear? Eeek? Nope.

I try and call my mouse fear a 'startle' reflex but there's just more to it than that. And yes, I DO live in an old country farm house. There is NO ESCAPE. And we have decon and glue traps and snap traps and cats.

I'm armed like a Ghost Buster for Mice.

My place of work isnt too bad since I changed buildings but the first building I was in MICE EVERY DAY. I brought in glue traps because I just think they work better BUT they don't kill the mice. They just stick them to the glue. So then you've got a live mouse in your trap


The horror of it.

I am SURE I took a mouse out EVERYDAY for at least sixty days my first winter on the job. And I provided the glue traps so it cost me a fortune, they're $3.00 a piece. Yes, I know how much they cost.

But it was just the price of my sanity.

Someone, either because they noticed me or for some other reason, brought in an exterminator. A guy in a cool green uniform with a truck and stuff. He said, (paraphrasing), "Don't worry your pretty little head about mice, Lil' Missy, I'll take care of 'em for ya."

I told him do anything and everything you can think of, but unless you're going to stand in my classroom with a broom and smash the mice when they run out of their hole, I'd just keep on putting out my traps, thank you very much!

Mary Connealy said...

Sandra, Have you seen that new see-through bridge thing on a Grand Canyon? It's like a horseshoe shaped walk way that arches out a ways into the canyon, then back and people go out on to it.

I stared at a PICTURE of that and wondered if I could go out on it.

And I'm not particularly afraid of heights.

Mary Connealy said...

I can pick up a snake with my bare hands.

I mean, there's a startle reflex again, like spiders. But snakes don't bother me none. Just MICE MICE MICE!!!!!

It IS a phobia. Carrie, my heroine in Of Mice...and Murder keeps trying to explain that to people. It's a phobia. It's not rational and NO I'm not going to some shrink to cure me of it because the only possible treatment would be exposing me to mice and

I do make that exact EEEK sound when I see one too. I can't reproduce that sound in normal life. I've tried.

Tina M. Russo said...

I have a fear of falling, not particularily heights. Just falling.

When I was five I fell down an escalator at a Sears Dept. Store and landed on an unsuspecting woman who cushioned my fall.

Mary Connealy said...

Do you remember when Michael Jackson dangled his child out that window? Remember seeing that on tv over and over and over again?

I had a phobia-like reaction to that. I could just see that baby falling. Gave me bone deep shivers. It still does while I'm typing this.

Glad you hit someone 'cushioned' Tina.

Janelle said...

Phobias? Hmmmm. Nope. Don't think so. I've killed mice, snakes, and spiders without a problem. I think the only time I've ever said EEEK was when I was just a kid helping ship corn from our bins and my dad ran his finger up the back of my leg pretending it was a mouse. He did that right after we watched a neighbor helping us grab an actual mouse up his pant leg and squish it's head. So yes, EEEK actually left my lips.

I wouldn't ever use a sticky trap again. I have quite the story about those things. If you want to read about it, you can find it on my blog at under the title of Say It Ain't So. YUCK.

I did have a five foot chicken snake chase me once...after I tried to kill it and only succeeded in making it mad. I guess snakes come the closest to being a phobia...if I have nothing in hand to kill them.

And I've actually sky dived. Just wanted to know what it was like. Quite fun, actually. The skull caps they make you wear aren't all that fashionable though. But bungee jumping? No thanks. You can have that thrill.

Great post, Mary. Can't wait to read your book.

CHickey said...

I'm not really scared of anything. Call me brave, or foolish. Whichever fits. I detest bugs and spiders, but aren't really afraid of them. Now, this will sound silly, but I'm afraid of running out of things i.e. toilet paper, food, batteries, you name it. So, I tend to be a bit of a packrat.

Mary Connealy said...

My mother-in-law is one of my very best friends on the planet, such a cool lady, 89 years old in April.

She used to help her dad shell corn. Anyone know what that is?

Her job? Stand outside the corn crib and grab the mice that'd run out of the crib, by the tails, and smash their heads in before they could bite her.

She loved it. Thought it was fun trying to get the mouse before it got her.

She just laughs at me when she sees I'm afraid of mice.

"It won't hurt you, honey."

Yeah, I've heard it all before!!! It will too hurt me.

One crawled up my sister's leg once in a car while we were driving to school. Her screams made my OTHER sister slam on the brake and swerve to the side of the road. I jerked the door open and was waiting to jump out until the car stopped. Then my friend who rode to school with me, (we were in the back seat together), shoved me out.

While I was rolling on the side of the road, I notice her, Joani, poised to jump out too, but she waited until the car stopped.

So that hurt.

Frances said...

My second greatest fear is heights. The first one is too scary to talk about.

I'm also afraid of mice, so reading your book is going to take a lot of courage. But I know I can do this.

Mary Connealy said...

It has been suggested by many that maybe I shouldn't have written a book with creatures in it so many people fear and loathe. On reflection, there might be some truth to that?

I promise, at no time does anyone do anything courageous and the main part about mice is them zipping out, Carrie screaming, then the mouse being chased by an incredibly hostile cat named Grizzly.

Gina Welborn said...

I don't think falling from a great height counts as a phobia, I mean c'mon, that's just good sense.

Now now, Mary. Insulting my phobia just ain't cooth. If I had good sense, I wouldn't have the phobia to begin with.

Mary Connealy said...

Well at least falling from a great height could kill you. A mouse?

I guess I'd better not play, "My Phobia is Insane-er then Your Phobia."

I'm not sure that's a game I'd like to win.

I had a brother who was terrified of chickens. They can be pretty fierce when you're trying to steal their eggs out from under them.

But about wimps. :)

Sandra Robbins said...

Mary, I did see that walkway they've built to extend over the edge of the Grand Canyon. I could NEVER walk on that thing. What if an earthquake happened at the exact minute I stepped onto that clear platform? Eeeeeeek!! I can't stand to think about it.

Sandra Robbins

Janelle said...

>>>She used to help her dad shell corn. Anyone know what that is?

Her job? Stand outside the corn crib and grab the mice that'd run out of the crib, by the tails, and smash their heads in before they could bite her.<<<

Yep, I know exactly what that is. And we also loved waiting for the mice to run out...not so much as a game because if we let them get away, they'd always end up in our house. One year, we had so many little hairy 'visitors', our alarm clock was the mouse traps snapping all night. My sister woke me up once by jumping on my chest...screaming that a mouse was perched on hers and having a stare down. That made my other sister jump onto my bed (top bunk). The three of us managed to reach over and flip on the light...only to find another mouse peeking at us from the slightly ajar top drawer of our dresser, its little nose whiskers wiggling as it sniffed at us. Ever tried to sleep three girls in the top bunk of a twin sized bed? Not a pretty picture.

Susan Page Davis said...

Okay, Mary, I wonder how many people out there are afraid of falling ON mice?

Jeannelle said...


You mentioned corn husband and his brothers used to have the job of hitting rats with shovels in the corn crib on corn shelling day.

You can pick up a snake!!! Bless you, my dear.....I could never do that.

I've never flown on a plane, and don't know if I could.....maybe its a phobia thing, I'm not sure.

I can't stand being in total darkness.....I was once on a tour in Mammoth Cave and the guide turned off the lights for a few seconds.....the most awful feeling gripped me and I had to fight the urge to scream.

Your book blurb was fun to read!

Mary Connealy said...

Oh, Janelle! shame on you for sharing that story. Nightmare time. Even in my mystery, with my horrified heroine, I never sank so low as to let a mouse in her bed.

Mary Connealy said...

And Susan, yes I think you're on to something.
Fall from a great height and land on a mouse...while breaking a mirror on Friday the 13th.
How's that. LOL

Mary Connealy said...

And Jeanelle's a farm girl. She's tough. Oh, wait, I'm a farm girl, too. Hmmmmm....

I'm sure I'm the one with the problem.

Jeanelle's got a blog I hang around some Called Midlife by Farmlight. She lives on an Iowa dairy farm. My husband was a dairy farmer for the first 27 years of our marriage.
It's interesting. She's a writer at heart, too, just like us cozy mystery authors.

Ausjenny said...

Mary your mother in law sound really couragous. (boy i need a spellcheck) I dont do mice i tend to also scream.
but when i was cleaning out the garage so the neighbour could use it for his new vintage car. (ok its not new if its vintage but its new to him) i saw a mouse and im then thinking good think that corners done cos i aint going near there so i decided i would make noice i talk to myself anyway so just a bit louder and sing to let it know im here dont comeout. but i didn't scream i was really brave.

but huntman spiders really freak me out. at a youth camp i was in my sleeping bag and this boy threw on me so after the iniatial freaking out i was fine only to see it wasn't dead it was moving towards my head. i lost it but it died!
then when cleaning at a friends i picked up a hitchhiker getting the mail. i thought it was moth and had knocked it of. no as i go past the mirror this humogous spider is on my back the mop and bucket got knocked over the spider got flicked and finally killed but the 2 dogs kept trying to lick me which freaked me out even more cos i thought it was the spider so they were evicted and i had a melt down. so i really fear huntsman.

Mary Connealy said...

I Googled Huntsman Spiders.

Oh, they are huge and hairy and tarantula like. ick, ick, ick!!!!

And you lived through one of those, huh? Brave girl.

If I have to go into a place where I've seen a mouse there's lots of banging on the door before I open it and stomping and talking really loud. I want it to have plenty of time to escape.

Mary Connealy said...

Oh, I forgot, my heroine also gets in the habit of leaping into the hero's arms when ever she sees a mouse. Which the hero, being a hero, decides he likes, and vows to protect her from Mice...and Murder forever.

His main battle for her affections is with the cat, of whom Carrie becomes extremely fond, thanks to his vicious, mouse chasing nature.

Ausjenny said...

where are all these men when i need them and yes huntsmen are big not as hairy. but hey i can let them live if they are not in my room, or where i am.

Oh they dont survive in the toilet and yes we get them there. i tend to spray them then feel sorry for then and use the broom to finish them off.
but now im imagining them in here and thats scary.
thankfully they dont like it our house when its 100 outside!!!!!!!

Mary Connealy said...

You know, my husband is afraid of heights. He says he is and I believe him.


He climbs these metal ladders on the outsides of his grain bins and fools around with the augurs and such on top of the bin.

He climbs on our house to adjust the television aerial and he climbs the windmill to oil squeaks.

He hates it but he does it.

I, on the other hand, am NOT afraid of heights. But, he one time asked me to come up on the roof with him, because he needed two hands on the aerial and
"OH MY GOSH!!!!"

Do you remember old Sylvester and Tweetie cartoons where a dog would come up behind Sylvester and bark and he'd jump and sink his claws into the ceiling and hang there, his fur sticking out in all directions, looking like he'd been zapped with an electric jolt?
That was me on that roof.
I was so so so NOT happy up there.

Still, I don't really consider myself phobic about heights. We swung from a rope hanging from the rafters in our barn all the time when I was a kid. We got up really high. I even fell off it once.

It never bothered me.

Ausjenny said...

you remind me of a previous pastors wife. they were moving and needed some stuff from the shed. I didn't realize Julie was scared of heights but they had a loft where the boxes were adn needed on. so up the ladder she goes and finally makes it gets whats needed slowly. then shes how am I going to get down. I said one step at a time. but ihave to say it was interesting. she was half up when i relized she had a problem other wise i would have done it for her but she was so proud when she finally got down.
then she told her Hubby who just looked at her and said i would have gotten them for you. but she was so excited. I know know why she didn't climb Ayers Rock

Anonymous said...

Mary, you crack me up! You are too funny.

Me, I'm afraid of water and wasps and bees. So I figure I will die because I'm driving on a bridge over a ravine with a raging river below...and a yellowjacket hits the edge of my window and plops on my chest or in my lap. Oh yeah, I'm a gonner!

Nightmares are made of that.

Rachel Overton

(Looking forward to my next review project. It's sitting on my desk, waiting for me to finish the proof job I'm in the middle of. Something about clueless cowboys.........???!)

Anonymous said...


Mary Connealy said...

Rachel, You've got Clueless Cowboy? All Right! Rachel will save the day. :)

Go for it, Girl. I eagerly await your commands.

Mary Connealy said...

One of my little nieces was seriously afraid of water. Since we went on a vacation together every year for about a decade, to a lake, that was serious.

She obsessed about how deep it was. But I kept telling her, "look kid, it doesn't matter if it's 100 feet deep, anything more than an inch over your head and you're in big trouble."

Somehow that didn't help. :)

Anonymous said...

Hey! They're suggestions, not commands!...Maybe by the time they go through JoAnne, they become commands, I don't know. :-)

I have to say, I took a quick peek when JoAnne sent CC to me. Or, I meant to take a quick peek. Next thing I know, there's this little chickie lighting into this great big city slicker dude, and...oh. Gotta get back to work. Yeah. It's got a good start!

You're mean!! Your niece was well aware of the fact that it only took a little water to make trouble. But that was a LOT of water. Somehow, I figure you're probably her favorite aunt though, huh?

I almost drowned in a too-full summer camp pool when I was 10 or 12. Lifeguard didn't notice. Once I regained the surface and my feet on the pool floor, I got out and didn't get back in the water until my husband made me--years later!

Well, I took baths. And showers. Come on!

Poor guy--he's part fish, and boy did he marry a landlubber. Oh well. I must make up for we are, 23 years later! LOL


Mary Connealy said...

My book, Clueless Cowboy a fun romp with country girl/city boy.

Rachel's life"
husband fish/wife camel.

Or no, camels aren't fun. Let's make you something more fun Husband Fish/Wife Sleek Siamese Cat. :)

Well, except cats eat fish.

Hmmmm....... 23 years this lasted, really?

Well, I'll just write anything and you can edit it to make sense, how about that??? :)

Anonymous said...

Are you calling me a camel???!!!!

Did you forget I have your baby, sitting right here next to me on my desk?!

A camel. Well, I don't spit. I might retain water. Yeah, that's what I'll blame me on!

Too bad the sleek Siamese cat thing doesn't fit though. I'm probably more like the Himalayan we actually have. Except for the furballs.

I like being silly with you, Mary. But if you're going with this story line, we might have a few problems. :-)

**giggle, guffaw, choke**

It's getting late. I'm getting goofy. I'd better shut up now!--RO

Mary Connealy said...

Hey, I took camel back!!!

Anonymous said...

Very funny reading. I need you to get a list of all you known upcoming titles on your website! Or is that too much teasing when they come out so slow.

Mary Connealy said...

I seriously should get such a list. I think I'll do it. I've got a few in the works that aren't listed yet. :)