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Archive for March 3rd, 2017

Lynn Cahoon: Ski Trip, anyone?
Friday, March 3rd, 2017

As a newly divorced woman, I wanted to do something just for me. So that winter, I rented cross country skis and drove the thirty minutes to Bogus Basin, a small ski resort near my home town. I felt reckless. I worried about my car breaking down on the snowy two lane road. I worried about falling and hurting myself. Who would take care of my son? How would I pay my bills without the income I brought in from my second job waitressing? Why was I even spending my only free Saturday morning doing this stupid thing?

Then I pulled the car over in the cross-country parking lot and stepped out into another world. The air felt cold and clear on my face. I bought my day pass, strapped on my skis, and headed down the trail. All of a sudden, my worries disappeared and all I could think of was the routine of my workout. Left, right, left, right. The pace was slow, but steady and as I wound my way around the mountain, I realized that my new life could be like this exercise. One step at a time. Sometimes, I got to slide down a small hill taking advantage of the ease, then I had to climb another one to repeat the process.

I realized my skiing was a metaphor for life. Sometimes it’s easy, maybe goes a little too fast, and sometimes you have to work for what you get. I loved those mornings when I was able to get away from the day to day of my busy life and experience some joy.

So when I was writing the second book in the Cat Latimer series, I wanted a way for Cat’s retreat guests to learn more about each other as well as find the zen I had found that morning on the ski hill. Of course, fiction never quite turns out the same as the reality it mirrors, so the guests found more comfort and relaxation in the ski lodge bar instead of on the slopes. And that’s a whole ‘nother story.

Have you ever tried something new, just for you?

Fatality by Firelight


Cat Latimer’s Colorado bed-and-breakfast plays host to writers from all over. But murder is distinctly unwelcome . . .

To kick off a winter writing retreat, Cat and her handyman boyfriend, Seth, escort the aspiring authors to a nearby ski resort, hoping some fresh cold air will wake up their creative muses. But instead of hitting the slopes, they hit the bar—and before long, a tipsy romance novelist named Christina is keeping herself warm with a local ski bum who might have neglected to tell her about his upcoming wedding.

Next thing Cat knows, her uncle, the town sheriff, informs her that the young man’s been found dead in a hot tub—and Christina shows up crying and covered in blood. Now, between a murder mystery, the theft of a rare Hemingway edition, and the arrival of a black-clad stranger in snowy Aspen Hills, Cat’s afraid everything’s going downhill . . .

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The world outside still clung to the previous night, the shadows not quite releasing their hold to the breaking light over the mountain ridge outside Aspen Hills, Colorado. With the first rays of morning, the fresh snow glistened and covered the lawn all around 700 Warm Springs.

Cat Latimer, owner of the Warm Springs Writer’s Retreat, housed in the old Victorian, sat at the kitchen table drinking a mix of hot chocolate and coffee. With a dab of freshly whipped cream, Cat thought Shauna’s winter concoction was just about the most perfect drink ever invented. Her friend, Shauna Mary Clodah, had taken over the role of cook, planner, and manager for the writing retreats. Shauna was a petite, pretty, Irish redhead that cooked like an angel. The small group sitting around the table was drinking the “virgin” version of her mixture. Later, the retreat guests would have the option of adding a shot of Bailey’s Irish Cream or Kahlúa to their cups, an invitation to the muse.

Right now, her guests were tucked in their beds, sleeping. Which was where she wanted to be instead of sitting here in the kitchen. But then she took in the smell of coffee and chocolate mixed together and she sighed in delight.

“I can’t believe you’re taking the group up the mountain. I thought this was supposed to be about writing. They aren’t going to get many words written by spending the day skiing.” Uncle Pete had become a regular at the breakfast table, both when the retreat was in session and when it was just Cat and Shauna milling around the empty house. Her uncle was Aspen Hills’ police chief and Cat’s closest relative.

“It’s part of the Colorado experience.” Cat explained, thinking about her own manuscript sitting on her computer waiting for her to make time to write. The phrase making time to write was a joke. She either wrote or didn’t, and today her word-count chart would show a big fat zero, unless she had the mental energy when they returned from skiing. During the first retreat, she’d managed to get a few pages written—before one of her guests wound up dead in his room. This retreat she’d promised herself that she’d focus on her own work, even when they had guests. Shauna was in charge of the day-to-day activities when the retreat was in session. Cat’s job was to be the resident writer and set a good example as a professional writer. A job that sometimes was harder than other days, especially if she got drawn into a Facebook rotating loop of cute kittens or the occasional photos of hot guys—or worse, one simple question that grew into a research project on the entire history of the Salem Witch trials.

Today was about building relationships and having experiences. Writers needed both.

About the Author

Lynn Cahoon is the author of the NYT and USA Today best-selling Tourist Trap cozy mystery series. Guidebook to Murder, book 1 of the series won the Reader’s Crown for Mystery Fiction in 2015. She’s also pens the recently released, Cat Latimer series. A STORY TO KILL, book 1, came out in mass market paperback September 2016.She lives in a small town like the ones she loves to write about with her husband and two fur babies. Sign up for her newsletter at

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