Love, Die, Neighbor: The Prequel to the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series

A Prequel to the Mystery Series that has won the hearts of fans all over the world!

As the mother of an active toddler and the wife of an often absent husband, Kiki Lowenstein already has both hands full. But when the Lowensteins move into their new house on the same day the construction crew leaves, Kiki must learn to juggle boxes, baby, and big expectations. Her determination to be a good neighbor hits a serious roadblock when she angers the Nordstroms, the couple who live next door. Then Sven Nordstrom dies under mysterious circumstances, and Kiki is forced into the one role she never planned on playing: amateur sleuth.

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Meet Julie Seedorf…

Joanna’s note: This is the first of a new feature. Each month I hope to introduce my readers to my author friends.

Name: Julie Seedorf


Facebook info:

Name of your series: The Fuchsia Minnesota Series and The Brilliant Minnesota Series

One line that describes your series: Mystery and mayhem in a wildly unusual community whose crimestopper is old and wrinkly and leaves no stone overturned to get her man or…woman.

Name of most recent book: Granny Pins A Pilferer or not in a cozy genre, Two Little Girls.

Buy link: the series:

1. What gave you the idea for this series?

I have strange ideas and this one happened accidentally. I started a silly story on my blog and it turned into a tale about a fictional community in Minnesota with an over-the-top Granny. The ideas kept coming as I was writing. Each book gives the characters more depth. I never planned on five and soon six. They just happen to fall into place.

2. Which character is most like you?

I would like to say Granny, Hermiony Vidalia Criony Fiddlestadt, but not because I am like her but because I would love to become her. She has grit, determination, believes old age doesn’t exist, has a deep love for her kids but is cunning and funny.

3. What’s the hardest part of writing?

Finding a time when I do not get interrupted. It happens often and the world intrudes. It is hard to balance column writing time too, along with my freelance newspaper gigs so it slows me down. I get impatient when I can’t work on my book because I can’t wait to see how it ends.

4. What inspires you to keep writing?

My readers and my imagination inspire me. I see a story everywhere but not the same story everyone sees. I see goofy and how things could be different. I feel constricted by rules and regulations. Not the rules we need to be able to have a civilized society but by the ones imposed upon that are a little ridiculous. I remember when there were no rules on what you can have in your yard or what color you could paint your house. So when I see something so restricted I want to throw silly into it.

5. What would you say to other would-be writers who have yet to get published?

I would tell them to believe in themselves. I had a point after I was accepted by a publishing company and had a contract, where I questioned my writing style and the way I write when I am planning a book. I can’t do an outline because they restrict me and I felt as if the way I was writing was wrong because it was different from all my author friends. And then I couldn’t write. An artist friend told me while critiquing one of my paintings, that we had to be true to our talent and not try and change to another’s standards. We can learn and hone our craft but we are each unique in the way we do things. Because of that someone will like my paintings even though they are not as polished as hers. The same can be said for writing. We don’t all read the same type of books. There is room for everyone. So keep going and know who you are. If you can’t find a publisher, find a good editor and publish yourself but beware of vanity presses. Once you are out there a publisher may find you.

Kiki Lowenstein and the Watermelon Festival

By Joanna Campbell Slan

Detweiler smiled at me as I handed him a tall glass of iced tea. “I think you should go.”

I turned from him to our kitchen window.  Summer in St. Louis can be oppressive, and today was no exception. Each morning, moisture condensed on our windows, thanks to the A/C inside and the moist heat outside.  Old washcloths worked well to sop up the liquid and clear the glass so that we could see outside.  The lawn rolled on and on, a thick green carpet, perfect for welcoming bare feet. The happy shrieks of our two older children brought a smile to my face. They loved running through the sprinkler, an activity totally new to our adopted son, but one that my teenaged daughter enjoyed every summer.

“It’s a long drive.” I felt my face scrunch into a frown. “Three and a half hours.”

“Good. That’ll give you two plenty of time to catch up.” Detweiler came up behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist. “Kiki, you two were friends for a dozen years. I know you miss your relationship with Mert. She’s offering you an olive branch. Take it.”

“Take it and drive all the way to Vincennes, Indiana?” I turned so I could look into my husband’s amazing green eyes. “That’s a long, long branch, isn’t it? Okay, she wants to be friends again. Or does she? Is it possible she needs a co-pilot, and I’m the only person available? Maybe she doesn’t really even want me to go along with her.”

Detweiler leaned in close and kissed me lightly on the lips. “If she didn’t want you to come along, she wouldn’t have invited you. Mert asked you to go with her to Indiana because she wants to spend time with you. Quit being such a cranky pants. Now tell me–what did she say you two would be doing?”

For a second, I opened my mouth to protest. He’d already decided I should go. I still had my doubts. Sure, Mert and I’d been best friends since that fateful day we’d met in the cleaning products aisle in Home Depot. But all that had changed when she blamed me for her brother’s involvement in a shoot-out. Unfortunately, the target for the bullets had been little old me. As much as Mert had loved me, she loved her brother more.

“What are your plans?” Detweiler prompted me. As usual, he smelled of Safeguard soap and light cologne. He wasn’t a guy to soak himself, but he always smelled good.

Resistance was futile. I released the tension in my body and enjoyed the comfort of my husband’s arms. “A watermelon festival. That’s what our plans are. Mert assured me that it’s a major big deal in Vincennes. In fact, the town used to be called The Watermelon Capital of the World.”

Detweiler threw his head back and laughed heartily. “Who knew?”

I agreed. “There you have it. If I decide to accompany my friend, we’ll be driving three and a half hours to gore ourselves on all the watermelon we can eat. Woop-de-do.”

Again Detweiler laughed, but this time the sound was richer. “Lighten up, babe. It’s summertime, and the melons are easy picking. I predict that you and Mert will have a blast.”

“Right.” I tried to keep the sarcasm out of my voice. In my heart of hearts, I knew he was right. This was my chance to mend fences with Mert. I needed to grab it.

But a three and a half hour drive in a truck for the purpose of eating watermelon? That did not seem very compelling. No, not at all.

~To be continued~

In Part II, we’ll visit Vincennes, Indiana, vicariously. A heat wave is the least of the problems that the two women face. Somehow they get involved in a crime. (Or did you guess that might happen?)

Debra H. Goldstein

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