Bogged Down by Murder’s Author and Editor Kathy Cretsinger

Delighted to have Kathy Cretsinger with me today. Welcome, Kathy.

Thank you, Cindy, for inviting me to be on your blog. I love writing and talking to people about writing.

My writing career began several years ago. My friend, Wilburta Arrowood, visited me and told me I could write. I’ll have to say I had doubts. I wanted to write but had no idea how to get started. Wilburta helped me to get the writing bug.

After attending several conferences, I decided to self-publish my first book, and I began Mantle Rock Publishing in 2012. Little did I know I would not have time to write for myself, but we published a lot of books in the last eight years, several were best sellers.

In July 2020, I sold most of the company to a friend, and she started Scrivenings Press. Now, I have time to write for myself and publish a few books for friends. This brings me to my first book in two years, Bogged Down by Murder.

My husband grew up in a community in Tennessee called Shady Valley. Shady Valley is a beautiful part of heaven nestled in the Appalachian Mountains. Three mountains surround the valley, and the Appalachian Trail runs through the top of Holston Mountain. The other mountains are Cross Mountain, which the Trail also runs across, and Iron Mountain. There is only one way to leave the valley without going over a mountain, the Gorge. The Gorge is part of Cherokee National Forest and includes an area called Backbone Rock. Beaver Dam Creek runs through the forest, filled with trout and rolling over rocks.

Inspiration for this book came from my daughter. We were leaving the valley after the Cranberry Festival a couple of years ago, and someone said something about Shady Valley. My daughter said, “Nothing shady ever happens in Shady Valley.” My brain began to turn, and I started working on this book. There are cranberry bogs in Shady Valley, not placed by human hands.

Shady Valley has a lot to offer people. It is secluded, quiet, and peaceful. We love to go to Shady Valley to visit with family, but we especially enjoy a slower pace of life. You buy with cash or check.

Tell us a bit about this mystery.

Imagine this. A city woman inherits a farm in Shady Valley, and she has to live there for six months to get the inheritance. She owns a large company that teaches people how to eat and live healthy. Shady Valley is a farm community. Most everything is either fried or not what she eats. She dreams of changing the community to eat as she does, no bread, fried food, potatoes, rice, sugar, or most meats. My mind began to go in different places, but I eat a lot like that. I knew the difficulties Daisy would encounter.

My writing this book, in particular, was encouraged by my husband and daughter. They kept me on track with everything. I had never written a cozy mystery, but now I love them. The series, Nothing Shady Ever Happens in Shady Valley, has several more books in my head. The next book will release in the spring, “Death by Doubloons.” My husband keeps telling me to finish other projects I’m working on and to finish this book on time.

My favorite place to write is in my office. The office is not the most glamorous place, but the best place for me.  I have Age-Related Macular Degeneration. I can’t see the screen of a laptop, but I have my laptop hooked up to a large screen. I have tried other places, but this is the best for me. I can think better, and I can close the door, even lock it.

A giveaway

There will be a drawing for a copy of Bogged Down by Murder. To qualify, you must leave a comment on this blog. The book releases August 31, 2020, but the E book is on preorder on Amazon. Click here.

More about Kathy

Kathy Cretsinger and her husband migrated from the hills of East Tennessee to the flatlands of Kentucky several years ago to be close to their children and grandchildren. This brought another change in their lives. Kathy began publishing her books, and a few years later, she decided to help other authors who are having a hard time in the publishing industry by starting Mantle Rock Publishing LLC. Recently, Kathy sold most of her publishing company to Scriverings Press.

Kathy loves being close to her family and enjoys growing orchids, which continue to multiply. She is now finding more time to write the books that have lived in her head for the last few years. Visit her at where she has a weekly blog.



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Behind the Scenes with LeeAnn Betts

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Today I welcome Mystery writer Leeann Betts to Jubilee Writer. We are  celebrating her newest release Silent Partner, number nine in her cozy mystery series By The Numbers.

Silent Partner – The Story Behind the Story

By Leeann Betts

Readers often ask where I get an idea for a story, and my answer usually is, “I don’t know.” Which is usually correct. I don’t know. Most always when a story comes to me, it’s because of the crazy way my brain combines three or four separate incidents, characters, stories, or a combination of all three.

The idea

The idea for Silent Partner began about four years ago when my husband and I talked about taking an Alaska cruise. Seemed like the perfect setting for a cozy mystery—a captive audience, so to speak, as well as a contained pool of suspects all forced into close proximity to each other. Exactly what an author looks for in a mystery novel.

The Title

At the time, I played with the title Cold, Hard Cash because of the Alaska location, icebergs and glaciers, and because the body would be found on a glacier or a larger iceberg floating past. However, two things happened: I came out with an unplanned book because the cruise was delayed, and the title of that book was Petty Cash, so I didn’t want two books with similar titles; and I went on the cruise and learned that during this time of year when the story is set, in May, the icebergs floating south are too small—more like ice chunks, really—for a body, plus the only access to a glacier is by helicopter, which few people would do.

The Setting

So, as I spent seven glorious days aboard the Amsterdam, I looked around for alternatives to where the body would be found. And one day, hubby and I were out walking the deck, and a crew member came out through a door leading to a part of the ship we hadn’t seen before, leaving that door ajar. Hubby headed for the door, but the crew member turned around and said he couldn’t go through there. Despite hubby’s protests, we were denied entry until a couple of days later when we sailed into a bay and sat before the impressive Hubbard Glacier for about three hours. Then we were encouraged to go onto the bow, and to eat pea soup at 3:00, and to wander around. And I learned there was nothing there but the bow of the ship. Not too interesting.

The Cover

However, the next day as I passed the same spot where we saw the crew member exit the bow, I saw water on the deck and footprints leading toward the door. The perfect cover shot!

cover image(1)

The Suspects

As I worked through my plot, the characters came to life. I had run a promotion where one winner won the opportunity to be named as the killer, one of the suspects, or the victim in this book, and that person wanted to be a suspect, which I wrote in.

The backdrop

I use much of the itinerary, the staff, the crew, and the events from our cruise as backdrop for the mystery, changing some names but leaving others intact. I’ve had help in research from a cruise ship law attorney, and from a man overboard detection system technician.

The Main Characters

And as much as Carly and Mike are like me and my husband, they are still very much their own “people”. I am not nearly as quick on the comebacks as Carly is, and my husband has never said I’m a full-time job. Apart from that – well, I’ll leave it to you to figure out where the imagination begins and ends.

The Back Cover of Silent Partner:

Carly and Mike take the vacation of a lifetime–an Alaskan cruise. Unfortunately, Carly can’t turn off her nose for trouble. Or mystery. Pretty soon she’s embroiled with a series of allegations, innuendoes, overheard conversations, and even a shoving match. And before she knows it–a body. Can Carly figure out who the killer is before she ends up floating on an iceberg—or worse?

The Author

Leeann Betts writes contemporary suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical suspense. Silent Partner is book 9 in her cozy mystery series. In addition, Leeann has written a devotional for accountants, bookkeepers, and financial folk, Counting the Days, and with her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, has published two books on writing, Nuggets of Writing Gold and More Nuggets of Writing Gold, a compilation of essays, articles, and exercises on the craft, as well as a contemporary suspense, In Search of Christmas Past. She publishes a free quarterly newsletter that includes a book review and articles on writing and books of interest to readers and writers. You can subscribe at or follow Leeann at All books are available on in digital and print, and at in digital format.

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Books: Amazon  and Smashwords:

The Giveaway

Question for readers: If you could take a cruise anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? Leave a comment for the chance to win a free print (US only) or ebook version of Silent Partner.

Readers, if you don’t comment you’ve no chance to win.