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Interview With Mystery Author Sunny Frazier/Book Review/Book Giveaway

IN THE April 2 ISSUE

FROM THE 2011 Articles,
andBooks & Tales,
andEvery Other Book,
andMarilyn Meredith,
andMysteryrat's Maze
SECTIONS

by Marilyn Meredith

Marilyn Meredith interviews Lemoore mystery author Sunny Frazier and reviews her second book, Where Angels Fear. At the end of this article are details on how to enter for a chance to win a copy of both of her books!

Sunny Frazier

Marilyn: I know a lot about you, Sunny, but the readers don’t, and I bet you can come up with some answers that would surprise even me. First, will you tell me about your background?

Sunny: I was born into a Navy family and the most interesting experience of my childhood was living on Midway Island at the age of seven. I’ve experienced two life-defining moments and they resembled each other in topography: Midway and Puerto Rico, where I was stationed during my own Navy career. Something about being on a tropical island speaks to me.

Other than that, childhood was pretty chaotic until we settled at N.A.S. Lemoore when I was 10. Too many schools, no time to make friendships–I’m sure it has affected me as an adult. I used books as a coping mechanism.

Marilyn: This is a two-parter: When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer? And second, when did you fall in love with mysteries?

Sunny: I realized I had potential to be a writer as a 7th grader. I penned a series of updated fairy tales set in the ’60’s for the amusement of my friends. They were confiscated by a teacher who kept me after class and said, “Do you realize how incredibly talented you are?” Up to that point, I thought everyone could write. I didn’t think I was doing anything special.

Of course I read Nancy Drew. You were nobody unless you owned the books and could discuss them with other 6th graders. But, I seriously fell in love with mysteries when I discovered The Cat Who books by Lilian Jackson Braun. I bought them for the titles (I like cats).

Marilyn: What gave you the ideas for the books in your series?

Sunny: I combined two things that were important in my life at the time: working for an undercover narc team and astrology. I’d been doing horoscopes since I was 19, got the position in the detective unit at the age of 40. All I really did was write about the cases we worked on and made my protagonist a closet astrologer. It really was a no-brainer.

Marilyn: Besides writing, I know you have another job that keeps you very busy, how about sharing with our readers about that job?

Sunny: I’ve taken the position of acquisitions editor for Oak Tree Press. I never saw myself as a business person, but it turns out that this aspect of publishing is something I love. There are so many good manuscripts floating around out there that need to be published and I have a publisher, Billie Johnson, who trusts my instincts as to what will sell. She has even allowed me to propose two new lines: Wild Oaks Westerns and Mystic Oaks Paranormal. My schedule is often grueling as the goal is to publish a certain number of titles a month, but making new careers for writers is rewarding for both Billie and me. It’s a labor of love.

Marilyn: Promoting is such an important part of writing and you’ve done some mighty interesting things along the line of promoting, how about telling about what you do both online and in person.

Sunny: I have done two things I think were unique in promotion. First, I created The Murder Circle, which is a quirky gossip column of the mystery community. I use no real logic in choosing which books to mention, just whatever strikes my fancy at the moment.

I don’t read the books, just look at the synopsis or feature some odd fact about an author’s life. The range is from bestselling authors to self-published. I don’t use it to promote my own books. The Murder Circle not a blog and is now listed as a professional site. I have a readership of over 2,000.

The other idea I concocted is The Posse. Eighteen months ago I started putting e-mail address together of people who wanted to learn marketing and promotion. When I do marketing, which is usually on Sundays, I send the group e-mails nudging them to sites that will expand their knowledge of the publishing world. I help them build name recognition and become familiar with the names of individuals important to the writing community. The idea took hold at Killer Nashville and now the Posse is a buzz word on the Internet. We are three dozen strong and when we flock to a site en masse, we dominate. I try to personally thank each posse member who contributes a comment and nag those who don’t.

Marilyn: You’ve got a big event coming at the end of October, something I’m looking forward to also. How about letting the readers know about it and how they can participate, too?

Sunny: A small group of us have planned a writing conference at sea. While we happen to be mystery and true crime authors, the conference part of the cruise is for everyone and is free. We sail on October 30 from Los Angeles for seven days down the Mexican Riviera: Cabo San Lucas, Mazetlan and Puerto Vallarta. The conference is held for three days that we’re at sea and then the rest is free time.

We have a Beverly Hills agent aboard as well as Billie Johnson and me taking pitch sessions. There are workshops and panels and a whole track dealing with the Las Vegas mobs. Prices start at around $500 a berth and there are many freebies, including $50 onboard spending, open bar reception, champagne, conference T-shirts and bookbags (with lots of books!) and quite possibly a Halloween party with free drinks. For more info contact Beverly@cruisingsmart.com and check out the cruise website.

Marilyn: And one final question…what do you do for fun? Or maybe a better question would be when you’re not busy with the writing world what do you like to do?

Sunny: My professional life is my fun. Historical non-fiction is my guilty pleasure and I take time to nuzzle the kitties. I love TV and Netflix. I travel to many conferences, always good times, but I love coming home and staying in my robe all day working at my computer. Those are the best of times.

Marilyn: If there’s anything else you’d like the readers to know do tell us.

Sunny: I caused riots in Haiti, Germany and can never re-enter Colombia again, but those are stories for another time. Stay tuned.

Learn more about Sunny on her website.

Where Angels Fear, Book Review
Review by Marilyn Meredith

Author Sunny Frazier is a friend of mine and I have to confess that I just recently got around to reading her latest book, Where Angels Fear. Why it took so long I can’t tell you. Christy Bristol is the main character and sleuth in this tale and at times I had a hard time separating her from her creator. There is a lot of Sunny in Christy. Both work with astrology, both are single, both love cats. There is plenty more—but I’ll let you figure it out. As always Sunny does a terrific job portraying the San Joaquin Valley background from the lethal fog to the hazards of the crazy farm roads and their drivers. Where Angels Fear centers around a sex club and, of course, some nasty murders. Christy steps way out of her comfort zone to investigate. The dialogue is crisp, the story fun, and for anyone who enjoys a murder mystery with a dollop of humor, this one is for you. To put it in simple terms, I loved it. You did a great job with Where Angels Fear, Sunny, don’t you think it’s time for another one? (Where Angels Fear is available as a trade paperback and as a Kindle e-book from Amazon.)

To enter for a chance to win copies of both of Sunny’s books, simply email KRL at life@kingsriverlife.com with the subject line “Sunny”, or comment on this article. U.S. entries only please. A winner will be chosen next Saturday, April 9, 2011.

Marilyn Meredith is a Springville, CA mystery author and an ongoing contributor to our Local Literary section. Be sure to visit her website; fictionforyou.com

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 M.M. Gornell
Twitter: @mmgornell
April 2, 2011 at 3:34pm

Always great hearing about Sunny, not only a good author, but also a great friend to other authors! I’ve followed her guiding light more than once…

Soooo agree on what constitutes “The best of times!”

Continued success Sunny, you’ve worked hard!

Madeline

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2 Lesley Diehl
Twitter: @lesley.diehl.1
April 3, 2011 at 7:48am

I always love reading about Sunny. Her idea of the posse is the best. It has gotten me connected to sites that are both interesting to read and possible outlets for promoting my work. She bought my manuscript for Oak Tree, Dumpster Dying, so it’s clear she has great taste! Besides, she loves cats and I love cats. There’s no more to say.
Lesley

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3 Holli Castillo
Twitter: @Hollicastillo
April 3, 2011 at 11:01am

I would like to read at least a short story about those riots and the events in Colombia–come on, Sunny, why are you holding out on us?

Holli

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4 J. R. Lindermuth
Twitter: @jrlindermuth
April 3, 2011 at 12:35pm

Yeah, come on, Sunny. Don’t hold out on us. We want to know what happened in Haiti, Germany and Colombia.
As always an interesting interview. Sunny is the guru of marketing.

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5 Robert O'Hanneson April 3, 2011 at 1:17pm

The mystery woman reveals bits a pieces about herself in e-mails and blogs. Just when you think you have her figured out, she surprises you. I can’t wait for the next chapter.

Bob

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6 Stephen Brayton
Twitter: @SLBrayton
April 3, 2011 at 1:36pm

You liked Drew, I like Hardy Boys. (Here’s a secret, don’t tell anyone. I still read them…)

Good interview.

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7 Marja McGraw April 3, 2011 at 3:04pm

Your ending comment about Haiti, Germany and Columbia was like writing a cliffhanger! I hope you’ll explain soon.

Great interview, and it sounds as though you’ve lived, and are living, an interesting life. And thank you for all you do for the Posse and in your position as Acquisitions Editor. Your generosity is appreciated very much.

Marja

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8 Sunny Frazier April 3, 2011 at 3:19pm

Oh Holli, you just want to hear about my bad girl side! The truth is, I was young and dumb and seemed to find myself in the oddest situations. I was NOT smuggling cocaine out of Bogota, I had no idea I was shooting photos of the armory in Port-au-Prince and apparently wearing a Navy uniform in Hanover, Germany doesn’t go down well with the natives. Then there was the incident in the top secret British sub in Antigua. . . .

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9 Lesley Diehl
Twitter: @lesley.diehl.1
April 4, 2011 at 4:57pm

Okay now, I get it. Once we learn the end of one story, you tempt us by throwing out another crumb. This could go on indefinitely. Maybe it should, but how many jams can one woman get herself into? How many jams can Sunny get herself into? Many, many, I suspect.
Lesley

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10 Penny Manson April 3, 2011 at 5:26pm

What a great interview! Sunny is the best friend a newbie writer can have to help figure out the ins and outs (and a few ups and downs) of a complicated business. It’s hard for most of us who “just want to write” to know what else we have to do in this brave new publishing world if we actually want someone other than our moms to read our work. (Not that mom’s don’t count; If you’re reading this mom, ya know I love ya!) Thanks for taking the time to reach back and offer a hand up, Sunny. We are your posse and you rule!

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11 Victoria Heckman April 3, 2011 at 7:09pm

Great job, M, as usual. And Sunny never disappoints! I’m really enjoying this new website venue and thank you Lorie for turning us on to it!

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12 Theresa Varela
Twitter: @Theresa_Varela
April 4, 2011 at 6:16am

Great interview, I love hearing more about Sunny. I’m a pretty new posse member and have learned so much about marketing and the business end of writing. I’m ready for Sunny’s next novel-can we hear about that?
A recent post from Theresa Varela: Paranormal Levels the MundaneMy Profile

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13 Lorie Ham
Twitter: @myteryrat
April 4, 2011 at 9:29am

Thanks Victoria! I hope to keep providing more and more great mystery related articles, interviews & giveaways as time goes on!
I’ve known Sunny forever and I too would like to hear about the next book!
Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher

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14 Virginia Walton Pilegard April 4, 2011 at 11:46am

Thanks, Marilyn, for a great interview. Thanks, Sunny, for being a friend and a

Thanks, Marilyn, for a fine interview. Sunny is one of the most affirming friends I have and one of the most gifted writers I know. Virginia

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15 Sue McGinty April 4, 2011 at 2:13pm

Haiti, Germany, Colombia? Have to hear about those.

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16 Sunny Frazier April 4, 2011 at 4:05pm

Someone contacted me off-site to ask about those International “incidents” I vaguely described. Here’s a bit more info:
I came close to being thrown into a Haitian prison for photographing a nice building that turned out to be their armory. This general came up and demanded my camera, which I refused. Then he wanted my film (I was doing an article for the base magazine) so I refused. Then he wanted to arrest me. The Navy can’t even save you under those circumstance. About 50 natives at the Iron Market, who I’d made a good impression on, surrounded the general, grabbed me and took me into hiding. Close call.

It could have been worse in Bogota when I kicked the federale while blocking the baggage section in the belly of the plane. See, the tour group left earlier than they told me and the Navy officer I’d hooked with (Lee). They took all our luggage–including our passports. We took off in a taxi, ran across the tarmac as they were loading baggage on the plane. Lee threw himself into the belly of the plane (he was crying!) to search for our bags. I guarded the door, fought off the guard. Nobody knew what we were doing. The government let the plane leave, but authorities came on board in Venezuala and wouldn’t let the two of us go duty free shopping at the terminal (I wanted a charm for my bracelet). Apparently they were notified of our misbehavior. We had to go to the Judge Advocate General on our Puerto Rican base and file a report. He wasn’t happy with us, but we didn’t get thrown in the brig.

And in Northern German, close to the East German border (before the wall came down)–all I was doing was wearing my uniform in the train station. This East German man started screaming at me, a West German soldier screamed at him, a civilian screamed at the German soldier, everyone started yelling and taking sides, punches were thrown and a if it hadn’t been for the Spanish soccer team pulling me out of the mess, it could have been an international incident.

But, in my defense, the U.S. didn’t invade Grenada until AFTER my visit. I had nothing to do with that little war.
See. I’m innocent of all charges.

(all this before I turned 24. . . .)

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17 Sally Carpenter April 4, 2011 at 5:10pm

Everything I ever wanted to know about Sunny–thanks for sharing! She is the greatest acquisitions editor in the universe! Sunny was a great help in getting my manuscript up to speed and now it’ll soon be an Oak Tree title. As for cats, I have a big fat black stinker who is no help whatsoever in writing mysteries. He stands in front of the monitor so I can’t see the text and fusses for more food.

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18 Darlene Cirinna April 5, 2011 at 9:52am

LOL… Which is why I keep a spray bottle of water on my desk! I only have to reach for the bottle and my Lil Lulu is GONE!
A recent post from Darlene Cirinna: RETURN TO SENDERMy Profile

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19 Jean Herny Mead
Twitter: @jeanhenrymead
April 4, 2011 at 5:24pm

Very nice interview, Marilyn and Sunny. Come on, Sunny, you’ll have to write a blog about your exploits in Colombina, Haiti and Germany. Or a novel, maybe?

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20 Maggie Bishop
Twitter: @maggiebishop
April 5, 2011 at 3:11am

Wish I could go on the cruise but I live on the east coast and avoid flying. I, too, was raised military (Air Force) and think it helped with my writing in making me open to new ideas and cultures. Great interview, Sunny. Hope we meet in person one day.
A recent post from Maggie Bishop: Who is Lil Hardin and why does she matter by Susan FleetMy Profile

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21 J. R. Lindermuth
Twitter: @jrlindermuth
April 5, 2011 at 9:35am

Glad you got out of those places safely. None of their prisons would have been fun.

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22 Marja McGraw April 5, 2011 at 3:32pm

Thanks for sharing your “shady” past. You gave me my laugh for the day. And you look so innocent. : )

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23 Regan Taylor
Twitter: @Msregantaylor
April 6, 2011 at 7:56pm

I combined two things that were important in my life at the time: working for an undercover narc team and astrology. I’d been doing horoscopes since I was 19, got the position in the detective unit at the age of 40. All I really did was write about the cases we worked on and made my protagonist a closet astrologer. It really was a no-brainer.
<<<

No brainer? No brainer you say? That sounds like sheer genius to me! What a great idea. Of course I relate to both but even if I didn't that is an oustanding combination!

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24 W.S. Gager
Twitter: @wsgager
April 7, 2011 at 5:31pm

Thanks for the heads up on the “rest of the story” Sunny. As usual, you don’t disappoint. Thanks for a great read that you had to keep going to the end to make sure you didn’t miss anything!
Wendy

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25 penny April 8, 2011 at 6:05pm

WOW oh Wow! So that is “the rest of the story”? When I first met Sunny I asked to kneel at her feet, carry her luggage and just stay close so I could learn from her. It is still true today AND the more I learn, the more there is still to learn. (Plus, I don’t have to have all the near misses.) Brava Sunny. Thanks for sharing it all with us.
Thanks, Marilyn, for a fine interview. I have made this one of my favorite sites so I can continue to follow the exploits of successful authors like Sunny.

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