Not the Usual Suspects organized by Cindy Brown

We are Not the Usual Suspects, a group of Pacific Northwest mystery writers who have banded together to contemplate life, mystery and of course, murder. Though not all of our mysteries are set in the Northwest, we all agree that living here inspires our writing.

I’m Cindy Brown, author of the Ivy Meadows series, madcap mysteries set in the off, off, OFF Broadway world of theater. I grew up in Washington State, spent 20+ years in Arizona, then moved back to the northwest. Though my books are mostly set in Arizona, my writing is definitely influenced by living here. Three big reasons:

Rain. I LOVE the rain. I love the way it makes me want to stay inside and write and read while it drums on the roof. I feel like it’s watering my soul.

The Reading and Writing Culture. People here read. On the bus, in the parks, even while walking down the sidewalk. You’re as likely to have a conversation about the latest bestseller as you are to talk about a hit TV show.

The Sensuality of the Seasons. I knew that I missed the seasons when I lived in AZ, but I’d forgotten the smell of violets, the slow circling fall of a leaf from the tree, and how wonderful homemade chicken soup tastes on a cold winter day. I definitely think that experiencing this present sense of place makes me a better writer.

I’m Kate Dyer-Seeley and I write the Pacific Northwest Mysteries featuring a very bumbling young journalist who bills herself as an intrepid adventurer to land a gig writing for Northwest Extreme magazine, when in reality her idea of sport is climbing onto the couch without spilling her latte.

I’ve lived in the NW for my entire life and love getting to give readers a glimpse into this corner of the world. Here are three of my favorite things that sum up the Northwest and why it’s prime for mystery writing.

Beer—Portland, Oregon is known as the microbrew capital of the world. Quite literally you can walk a block in any direction and run into a pub. The best way to puzzle through putting a plot together is over a cold pint on one of the city’s many outdoor patios on a sunny, spring day.

Wild West—There’s an element of the Wild West that permeates life here. I think it’s naturally in our DNA, leftover from brave settlers who ventured to this unknown territory, and maybe because there’s an abundance of opportunity to connect with nature and get outside. From Portland you can drive a few hours and end up on the Oregon Coast, in the Cascade Mountains, Columbia River Gorge, or even the high dessert. People embrace individuality and adventure, which makes for great material.

Weather—Portland’s ever-changing weather always finds a way into my writing, but the rain and gloomy skies during the winter rarely stop people from getting outside. You grab a raincoat, pull on some boots and hit the trail. Just don’t bring an umbrella!

I’m Kelly Garrett, author of the upcoming YA mystery The Last To Die, which features an anti-hero protagonist that lives by her own honor code. My short story “Sage Advice” is Poisoned Pen Press’ anthology Bound By Mystery, which came out in March 2017, and it features a twenty-something-year-old hipster obsessed with coffee and extremely good at fixing problems.

As a native Oregonian, I love showcasing the state in my writing. As someone who grew up in rural areas of the state, it’s natural that my protagonists tend to be slightly sarcastic women (or teenage girls) with a strong sense of self-reliance.

Rain is one of my favorite things. It makes coffee taste better. The continual pattering of rain on the roof is a lullaby at night. Added bonus: when your Subaru is covered in mud from a few jaunts into the backcountry, the rain does an excellent job softening up the dirt stuck to your car, making it easier to clean.

One thing I love about the book scene in Oregon is that you can find amazing independent bookstores all over the state. I grew up behind a rare-and-used bookstore that I visited often as a teenager. Small towns from Baker City to Lincoln City, from Ashland to Astoria, all have bookstores with curated selections.

I’m Angela M. Sanders. Take a wilderness rich with indigenous people; add a few decades of intrepid pioneers in covered wagons; sprinkle with a century of loggers, fishermen, and hopeful immigrants; and toss in some graying hippies and tattooed hipsters. Stir well. Add a pinch of tech engineers and footwear designers imported from around the globe, and you get the people who make up Northwest Oregon. Two of my series take place here: one featuring a vintage clothing store owner in Portland; and one centering around a kite shop on the Oregon coast (written under my pen name, Clover Tate). I love Northwest Oregon for this mix of old school and high tech. I adore our famous independent streak and our optimism. I salute our focus on individuality. Neither series would be the same in a different setting.

About the authors
Not the Usual Suspects is a group of rain-soaked, caffeine-fueled, slightly quirky mystery writers from the Pacific Northwest who are inspired by its setting and/or sensibility. They include Cindy Brown, Kate Dyer-Seeley, Kelly Garrett, and Angela M. Sanders. They hang out together on Facebook at Not The Usual Suspects.

Giveaway: 4 books! The winner will receive e-copies (Nook or Kindle) of Oliver Twisted (Cindy Brown), First Degree Mudder (Kate Dyer-Seeley), Bound by Mystery (Kelly Garrett), and Blown Away (Angela M. Sanders/Clover Tate). Leave a comment below for your chance to win. The giveaway ends April 21, 2017. Good luck everyone!

97 responses to “Not the Usual Suspects organized by Cindy Brown

  1. Linda Kuzminczuk

    Love the covers of all 4 books. Looking forward to adding these books to my TBR pile.

  2. Patricia Lafferty

    I am a transplant from Philadelphia to Phoenix. I love Arizona!! The Northwest is so different from here. So many beautiful places to visit. These books sound so readable. Sure hope I won!!pkl

  3. Linda Herold

    This is a fantastic giveaway! My kind of books! Thanks for the chance!!

  4. Julie Fetcho

    Love the cover for First Degree Mudder and not 1 but 4 authors to add to my list.

  5. These are new to me authors but I enjoyed reading the biographies and scenerios of each author and book. I’d love to win.

  6. Let me in on this MAD-CRAZY giveaway!!!!
    Thank you!!!

  7. I would love to win. All the authors are new to me but sound like fun people who would write great books! Thanks for the chance to win!

  8. Kathy Gonzales

    These are all new to me authors, I would love to get a chance to read their books !

  9. Grace Koshida

    I loved learning about how the Pacific NW has influenced each of these authors! I enjoy reading Cindy and Kate and am glad to have found out about Kelly and Clover’s books. Thanks for the chance to win!

  10. Thank you for hosting all of the authors and their books on your blog today. I enjoyed gaining knowledge about each of them. Thank you for the chance to obtain their books in your giveaway.

  11. 4 authors and my kind of gals. There characters and approach to writing is quirky, individual, and with a sense of fun, inquisitiveness, and get the job done right. Looking forward to reading these stories.

  12. Great introduction to the authors and their books.

  13. What a great offer! All 4 books sound really fascinating. I hope I win.

  14. Celia Fowler

    I enjoyed “meeting” all of you — great post, Dru!

  15. Mary Jane H.

    What a great lineup! Thanks.

  16. Bonanza!! Thanks for the giveaway.

  17. I’m caught up on Kate’s books, halfway there with Cindy’s, and woefully behind with Angela’s and Kelly’s. I have thoroughly enjoyed the ones I’ve read!

  18. Barbara Hackel

    WOW! What an eclectic and exciting group of authors. While I have read some of their books, I still have many to experience obviously! Thank you ladies for telling us about yourselves and your books. I love rain as well-it is good weather for napping, reading, and hanging out with loved ones. Or laying in bed with one of your books and falling asleep while reading! It may or may not have happened that way before around here…
    Thanks to Dru Ann for an imaginative introduction to 4 authors who deserve more exposure and attention, regardless if they have been on your blog before or not. 🙂

  19. Candace knight

    Thank you for the chance. All of these books sound great. I can’t wait to read them.

  20. What an awesome prize package. Thank you for the chance to receive e-copies of books from these wonderful authors.

  21. These all sound great. Going on my TBR list for sure.

  22. Nice collection of talent.
    I look forward to some great reading.

  23. Lori Bonkoski

    I love to read books from people from the Northwest. It feels like home when I read them! Thanks for all your work on your books. I’m excited to try them all!!

  24. MaryAnn Forbes

    What a great giveaway opportunity; thank you!

  25. Susan Slovinsky

    Thank so much for introducing me to even more new to me authors and for the chance to sample their wares.

  26. I love finding new authors.
    I hope I win one of these

  27. I have always wanted to visit the Pacific Northwest.. Thanks for the chance to visit there through this giveaway!!

  28. All of these books are on my TBR list. Great giveaway, thanks for the chance.

  29. Christi King

    I’ve read a couple of Kate Dyer-Seeley’s books and enjoyed them. I’m excited to add three other new-to-me authors to my TBR list!

  30. Love the PNW! Second best to traveling there is reading books by PNW authors. Thanks for the chance.

  31. I’ve only read Cindy Brown before (The Sound of Murder is so funny!) and would love to read other mysteries from the great northwest!

    • friendlybrown

      Oh, thank you! I love that book, too. And BTW, Marge and Arnie and Lassie come back in my new book, Ivy get Your Gun (out May 16).

  32. Jennifer Hansen

    Would love to read any of them! parkeremma2003 at yahoo dot com

  33. All the books sound great. Thanks for the chance to read them.

  34. Wow thank you. I discovered Cindy Brown’s series when I went on the Rose City Yarn Crawl. I love the titles!

    • friendlybrown

      Thank you- I have a great time coming up with them. Were you at the yarn shop in Multnomah Village? I only live a few blocks from there.

  35. Amanda Wilcox

    Love these ladies and am proud and privileged to call the Northwest home with them. I love that such amazing books come from my own backyard. They are all so talented, easy to talk to and wonderful women!

  36. Marilyn Watson

    Wow…sound like a wonderful mix. How fortunate that the four of you write and such different plots. Sounds fantastic…

  37. Thanks for the chance to win these books!

  38. Thank You so much for all the giveaways you have Dru. These all look like really great books. Thanks for the chance to win them. 🙂

  39. These look terrific – I will be checking out these authors! I am also thinking that I need to check out the Northwest.

  40. Thanks for the info and intro to the group!!

  41. *** WINNER ***
    of Oliver Twisted by Cindy Brown, First Degree Mudder by Kate Dyer-Seeley, Bound by Mystery by Kelly Garrett, and Blown Away by Clover Tate is Dianne B.