Tag Archives: Nikki Andrews

Thursday Redux with Nikki Andrews

My Thursday Redux guest today is Nikki Andrews, a multi-published author as well as my editor extraordinaire. She shares a humorous character interview with Maculato a canine featured in Framed that will make you want to hit that buy link.. A blurb, excerpt, and buy links follow the interview.

Today 2 Wild Women Authors are pleased to welcome author Nikki Andrews, who brings Mac (short for Maculato), from Framed, a current release from The Wild Rose Press. This interview first appeared on Wild Women Authors in November of 2012, and has been updated.

perf5.000x8.000.inddWhere are you from?

I’m in Nikki’s murder mystery Framed. I’m the most important character because I catch the bad guy!

What is Framed about?

It’s about how my human, Elsie, and her friends at the Brush & Bevel gallery figure out who really killed artist Jerry Berger and his model Abby Bingham. It’s kind of complicated for a dog to understand, but I get to help.

What made you choose bird hunting as a profession/career?

I was born to it. I’m a German short-haired pointer. Hunting is in my genes, and my wonderful human, Elsie, has helped me develop my talent.

Knowing what you know now, if you had it to do over again, would you stick with bird hunting or do something different? 

I like hunting birds. It’s fun to get out in an open field and flush them into the air. I love to catch their scent and watch them fly away. I like hunting in the woods, too, except for having to get groomed for ticks afterwards. But—please don’t tell Elsie—what I really love is chasing frogs. They’re so funny and you can never tell which way they’ll jump. I could chase frogs all day long!

What is your biggest fear?

Getting separated from my human or lost in the woods. Sometimes I run off after a bird, but I always know where Elsie is, even if I don’t come right away when she calls.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why?

Enzo, the dog in The Art of Racing in the Rain. He’s so smart, and he gets to ride in a real race car. His people love him so much. And he even comes back to life as a human! I’m not sure I’m ready for that yet, but someday I’d like to try it.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

“Find a bird, Mac!”

DSC_3292 (3)To Nikki:  Which writer or character, from either books or movies, has had a major impact on your writing?

Must I limit it to one? I go back to Tony Hillerman again and again for the sheer beauty of his writing. Although it is as spare as the land he describes, he packs more emotion into it than many more florid writers. Dick Francis’s novels are a joy to read because of the research he blends so seamlessly into them. Not only do you get to solve the mystery, you have the pleasure of learning about a different trade or career. I try to bring a little of both Hillerman and Francis into my writing.

With regard to research, where did you start for this novel? Did that lead you down different paths, thereby changing the original concept?

I worked as a picture framer for nine years and I loved it. Almost all my research springs from that experience. I should state right here that although I collected many stories and character sketches from my time at the art gallery, the people in my book are most definitely not  real-life transplants. At most, the staff, vendors and customers served as inspirations for my fictional people. No artists were harmed in the writing of this novel.

I was very lucky in my research. When UPS did not have the lost and found policy I imagined, I searched out an independent courier to learn about her trade. She was very helpful, as were the police chief I talked to and my contacts in journalism. To my gratified surprise, I wasn’t so far off base that I had to make major changes in the book.

Blurb

When a long-lost painting turns up at Brush & Bevel, a decade-old mystery is reawakened. What really happened to artist Jerry Berger and his model Abby Bingham? Was it a murder-suicide, as the police proclaim, or was it something far more sinister?

Gallery owner Ginny Brent and her loyal staffers, Sue Bradley and Elsie Kimball, each take a different path to unravel the mystery. Together, their discoveries start to form a cohesive whole. But as they get closer to the solution, they discover to their horror that art is not the only thing that can be framed.

Excerpt

“Were they lovers?”

Jenna asked, wide-eyed. “You always hear that about artists and their models.” Then she blushed.

“Oh, no! Jerry never had any interest in her as a woman.”

“But they died,” Jenna prompted, absorbed in the story.

Ginny nodded. “Ten years ago last winter. They went missing during a snowstorm. The police went nuts trying to find them. At first, everyone assumed they had just run off together, but it wasn’t like that. Mike, her husband, really stirred things up, insisting something had happened. He forced the cops to look into it.

“It took the authorities about three weeks to find them. A hunter came across them in the snow.” She looked rather sick. “The coyotes had been at the bodies, but it looked like he killed her and then himself. Mike moved out west and never came back.”

She sighed and returned to the present. “All of which means you may have a gold mine on your hands, Jenna. Let us clean it up, verify it is what I think it is. There may even be a signature under all the grease and smoke. Would you feel better if we came up with an agreement about what happens then?”

Sue and Elsie excused themselves and went to the workshop down the stairs from the gallery. “I’d forgotten he killed himself,” Sue said.

“Don’t you believe it,” Elsie replied. “Jerry wouldn’t hurt a fly. That was no murder/suicide. It was a double murder.”

Tell us a bit about your publisher. How did you hear about them? What influenced your decision to submit to them? Tell us a bit about their submission process. How long did it take from query to release?

My original publisher was L&L Dreamspell. I was very happy with the results at Dreamspell, but sadly, they went out of business after the death of one of the owners. The Wild Rose Press graciously stepped up and republished Framed after doing a new edit and creating a new cover. Framed is still the same story, but it has been improved.

TWRP is an independent publisher with a terrific reputation and has won many awards for its work. I’m thrilled to be one of their authors. Because of the unusual circumstances of my book and several others from L&L Dreamspell, the query to release period was somewhat shortened. TWRP’s policy is to release a book no later than one year after contract. From what I’ve seen, the process normally takes about nine months. The editing was thorough and the new cover is clean and enticing.

To learn more about Nikki and the stories she creates go to: www.nikkiandrewsbooks.com and http://www.scrivenersriver.blogspot.com

To purchase Framed in print or ebook, go to Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00HJEHFV2 or Wild Rose Press: http://www.wildrosepublishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=5515

 Thank you for dropping by, Nikki. Best of luck with Framed.

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An Author’s Desk: Nikki Andrews

This Sunday’s “An Author’s Desk” guest is Nikki Andrews. Nikki is a very special guest because she is my editor extraordinaire at Champagne Books. Why extraordinaire? Because when Nikki’s finished editing, I know the story is the best that it can be. Nikki is the standard by which I judge editors. Nikki is also an extraordinary author of cozy mysteries and sci fi. Here’s Nikki in her own words …

“And what do you want to be when you grow up, little girl?”  “A cowboy.” Note, I emphatically did not want to be a cowgirl. Later, when the question became, “What would you like to do for a living?” my answer was specific, even if  I had no idea how to make it happen. “I want to read.” Many years passed, but I’ve finally reached my goal. I’m now happily working as an editor for two independent publishers as well as freelance. My great joy is working with writers like you, Rita, and being midwife to some wonderful books. My only regret is that sometimes I have to write a rejection, but even then I try to offer suggestions to help the writer improve.

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DSC_4531The first thing you should notice about where I write is that it’s flanked by windows. One window looks over my backyard garden and into the woods that separate me from my neighbors. The other has a view of our small stock pond, frequented mostly by frogs, deer, foxes, a wide assortment of birds, and the rare fisher cat. In an ideal world, I’d write on paper with my back propped against a tree, but the realities of creaky old bones and a plethora of no-see-ums have driven me indoors. Still, I need these windows to the natural world when I write. Other than that, I prefer silence. No music, TV, or company. I guess I’m easily distracted. Oh, look, a purple finch!

You might also be able to see the little brown horse on the top shelf. She represents my muse, a buckskin mare named Irish. Irish has been my companion, guide, mentor, and salvation for more years than I care to admit.

I have a bit of a split personality when it comes to my writing style. I start out as a total pantser, with almost no idea where my story will go. Like Ray Bradbury, I follow my characters down the hall, typing madly. Later I write a brief synopsis and a sketchy outline, neither of which rule for very long. I have very persnickety characters with quite definite ideas of what I should write.

Two projects vie for my attention at the moment. Both are sequels to Framed. In the longer one, A Thousand Words, the women of Brush & Bevel gallery find themselves investigating the death of a journalist, and in Oil & Water, an art show in Lobster Cove, ME, (a shared universe created by The Wild Rose Press) leads to mayhem and intrigue. Both stories feature the New England quirks I’ve come to know and love, with a bit of humor thrown into the mix.

And one day I will get back to my series about saving the universe with music, motor racing, and cyclically-gendered alien time travelers. So many stories!

Framed, Nikki’s featured story is a cozy mystery published by The Wild Rose Press (April, 2014). According to Nikki, “The best job-job I ever had was working at an art/framing gallery for nine years. Alas, there was no Chowdah Bowl nearby. The staff, customers, artists and neighbors of that shop serve as models for Framed, but I altered, amended, added, subtracted, invented and blended freely. No artists were harmed in the writing of this novel.”

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Framed by Nikki Andrews (The Wild Rose Press, 2014)

perf5.000x8.000.inddWhen a long-lost painting turns up at Brush & Bevel, a decade-old mystery is reawakened. What really happened to artist Jerry Berger and his model Abby Bingham? Was it a murder-suicide, as the police proclaim, or was it something far more sinister?

Gallery owner Ginny Brent and her loyal staffers, Sue Bradley and Elsie Kimball, each take a different path to unravel the mystery. Together, their discoveries start to form a cohesive whole. But as they get closer to the solution, they discover to their horror that art is not the only thing that can be framed.

Buy Links for Framed:  AMAZON / The Wild Rose Press,

Nikki’s Links:  Webpage / Twitter  / Blog   /  Amazon Author Page  / The Wild Rose Press Author Page  / email: nikki@nikkiandrewsbooks.com

Thank you, Nikki,  for visiting and sharing your story and your book. Tomorrow, A week of Ancient Plagues   Rita Bay

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New Releases & Hush Puppies

It’s been a while, but I’m in the middle of writing a sequel and preparing for two book releases this Tuesday (September 3rd). Finding Eve is the second of my Lyons’ Tales shapeshifter novellas. It is absolutely a stand-alone read. I personally hate to read the second or third book in a series and find that I have no clue what’s going on. 

Thank you to my editor extraordinaire, Nikki Andrews, who gives 100% on every paragraph with a cyber-smile. Thanks also to Trisha Fitzgerald for her magnificent cover. You can check out the cover on the left and click to read the blurb and an excerpt. The buy link will be active Tuesday.  Also released is Shared Whispers, an anthology of fifteen stories by Champagne authors. Check out the cover on the left, click to read the blurb and an excerpt of Nimue’s Daughter, a contemporary Arthurian fantasy in which Merlin battles the Armageddon.

hushpuppiesWhen I was writing about my hometown military romance, Search & Rescue (see  graphic on left), I ended with the story of a mullet fry–an all-day group fest. Today, I’m sharing my favorite recipe for Hush Puppies which are deep-fried with the fish. Tomorrow, I’ll post my personal tartar sauce and remoulade recipes for seafood. 

HUSH PUPPIES

1 ½ cups yellow or white cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 can cream-style corn
milk, as needed
finely chopped jalapeno pepper, optional to taste

Preparation:  Mix dry ingredients. Add onion, corn, and Jalapeno pepper (if desired). Mix well. Add milk for consistency, if needed. Drop by tablespoons into deep hot fat, about 360°. Fry until golden brown.
Tomorrow, Tartar Sauce & Remoulade.  Rita Bay

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Welcome Author Nikki Andrews

My guest today is author Nikki Andrews. She writes mystery and scifi and makes yummy fudge. Check out her recipe and the blurb for her most recent book, Framed, from L & L Dreamspell.

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Marshmallow Spoon Fudge

 The renowned knitting teacher Elizabeth Zimmerman claimed there was no such thing as a mistake in knitting, only “new design elements.” I didn’t fully understand this claim when, as a new and self-taught knitter, I chose a worsted weight yarn for a baby gift. Hey, it was pink, blue and white. That made it baby yarn, right? My “receiving blanket” turned into a crib cover. The new mom was very gracious about it.

A similar principle applies to cooking. Who knew that cinnamon tastes great in beef stew? The egg yolk in the cake icing didn’t work so well, though. I was seven, and making a cake to celebrate the birth of one of my siblings. My favorite mistake/design element came when I was making fudge with my two preschool boys underfoot. Here’s the recipe, from a tub of marshmallow fluff:

Marshmallow Fudge

5 cups sugar                                       10 oz evaporated milk

¼ pound butter                                 16 oz marshmallow fluff

1 tsp salt (I usually leave out)          1 ½ tsp vanilla

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)  24 oz. chocolate chips.

  1. Combine sugar, milk, butter, fluff and salt in a very large saucepan over low heat. Stir until blended.
  2. Bring to a boil over moderate heat. Boil slowly, stirring constantly, for five minutes.
  3. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate and nuts until chips are melted. Pour into  a buttered 9×13 pan and cool.

Spoon Fudge

Same ingredients as above, but:

  1. As above.
  2. Bring to a boil over moderate heat. DO NOT BOIL FOR FIVE MINUTES.
  3. As above.
  4. Eat with a spoon.

One of the boys, or maybe it was both, got bored with all the stirring. It was either chase after him and let the fudge burn, or hurry the recipe. Guess which one I chose. Boiling sets the sugars so the fudge will solidify. By the way, don’t worry if your fudge sets up despite your neglect. It still tastes great.

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FRAMED

Framed coverNikkiAn artist and his model are discovered dead and coyote-gnawed in a remote snowy field. The New Hampshire State Police declare it a murder-suicide.  But where did his last painting disappear to? What happened to her jewelry?  Who is the true guilty party?

Brush & Bevel owner Ginny Brent has more reason than most to doubt the police. After all, she was Jerry Berger’s mentor and agent. When the lost painting reappears at her art gallery ten years later, Ginny seek answers. She knows Jerry didn’t kill himself or Abby Bingham, the model pictured among the trees in Jerry’s painting. Can she discover who did?

Ginny’s loyal staffers, Sue Bradley and Elsie Kimball, employ their own methods to find the truth. Elsie follows her exuberant young bird-dog into the forest and through frog-infested puddles to a pile of glacial erratics that might be the setting for the painting. Is that important? Sue cleans years of smoke and grease from the canvas and puzzles over the strange markings revealed under the gunk. What could they possibly mean?

In between worrying about the array of sharp cutlery at the neighboring Chowdah Bowl, fulfilling the sometimes whimsical needs of their clients, and planning to frame and unveil “The Lady in the Wood,” the three women learn that art is not the only thing that can be framed.

Read more about Nikki and her stories at http://www.nikkiandrewsbooks.com/  Click the cover to buy.  Tomorrow, Author Duo, Angelica Hart & Zi

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