Wednesday, 3 August 2022

#IWSG August #How #travel influences #writing - A new #cozymystery from Elizabeth Varadan

 Hi all!

Welcome to the August IWSG. Today I'm not answering the optional question. Instead, I'm talking about connecting with blogger friends and how travel influences our writing.

The awesome co-hosts for the August 3 posting of the IWSG are Tara Tyler, Lisa Buie Collard, Loni Townsend, and Lee Lowery!

Many bloggers have abandoned blogging for Facebook or Twitter or some such, but there are a few die-hard bloggers still around to keep me company.

The blogosphere is a wonderful place. I know I'm not the only one who has made friends for life and who has gone on to meet some in person, turning a digital friendship into a personal one. If we're feeling insecure, chatting with a blogger friend is often the antidote.

Even when blogger friends are only digital, I've found them awesome writing partners because we're in a truly global community and help each other in several ways:

- I often flick off a quick email about words/phrases/spellings that might be used in, for example, the US, as my books are marketed to a primarily US audience. 

- I can ask a blogger in a certain city something only a local might know and they can do the same. I had a recent query about words/phrases that would have been used in early Australia, for example, and I was happy to oblige.

- I can flick off the first chapter of a tricky manuscript when I just can't nail it. Bloggers as beta readers are worth their weight in reciprocal opportunities.

- I've made good virtual friends due to travel. When I was traveling in Portugal a few years back, Elizabeth Varadan asked me to check something in the Portuguese city of Braga. She since moved to the city in question herself. Like me, Elizabeth likes to write the settings she knows, and her travels influence her books.

I asked Elizabeth one question:

What influence on your writing did living in Portugal have?

I first went to Braga specifically to get first-hand information for my first book in the series. At that time my husband and I had been traveling to Galicia to a village vacation home we had bought, but I wanted to set a mystery in Portugal, so I checked to see what Portuguese city of interest was close enough to Galicia to visit — and it was Braga. I had done research online and made contacts online as well whom I met on our first visit in spring of that year, when the series opens. This was in 2014 (the year of the series).

 We fell in love with Braga. It’s an historic city with art, beautiful gardens, and interesting architecture, and, like Galicia, both a Roman and a Celtic history. We ate at restaurants I had chosen from online, and we made lovely friends who told us about events and new places. Walking the streets, visiting the shops, having the tactile and logistic sense of the place made all the difference in the details I could use in my books, as did the feel of the weather and the light at differing times of day. Now, of course, after many visits, followed by living there for over a year, it’s so familiar. I can close my eyes and picture a particular building or the angle of a street, feel the cobblestones. Not to mention being able to recall foods I savor.

Does Elizabeth have your attention?

Released on August 4, is her new cozy mystery, set in Braga, Portugal, titled Deadly Verse. It's about a stolen manuscript by Portugal's most famous Renaissance poet, Luis Vaz de Camoes. 

Sounds intriguing to me. This is what people are saying:

"Deadly Verse is a colorful and fascinating journey to Braga, Portugal. The murders, plot twists and turns, plus memorable characters will keep you reading until the surprise ending."      Cindy Sample, National bestselling and award-winning author of the Laurel McKay Mysteries

 Two Americans in Braga, Portugal, are given an ancient poem by the country's famous poet to safeguard. When their friend is killed, the couple are drawn into the ruthless world of antiquarian booksellers and collectors. What sets this mystery apart are descriptions of the Portuguese setting, festivals, food and traditions. Varadan's writing becomes poetic when describing country and city she clearly loves.      Sunny Frazier, author of the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries

 If you like cozy mysteries of the Sherlock Holmes ilk, support Elizabeth as she releases her new novel to the world (whilst winging her way back to the States). 

Elizabeth Varadan is a former teacher and Sherlock Holmes fan who writes poetry, children’s fiction, and adult mysteries. She and her husband live in Sacramento, California. They love to travel and divide their time abroad between Braga, Portugal, and Galicia, Spain.

 Varadan’s stories, flash fictions and poems have appeared in literary magazines and anthologies. Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls, a middle grade mystery featuring Sherlock Holmes, was published in 2015 by MX Publishing. Her story “Kidnapped” was included in a 2016 Holmes-related story collection, Beyond Watson, by Belanger Books, and “What the Raven Knew,” was included 2019 in Sherlock Holmes, Adventures in the Realms of Edgar A Poe. In 2017 Belanger Books published her picture book, Dragonella, in English and in Spanish, followed in 2018 by a children’s story collection, Carnival of the Animals. In 2019 her chapbook, Saudade, Thirty Poems of Longing, was published by Finishing Line Press.

Author Links




Amazon author page:

 Link to Trailer

 Release date

August 4, 2022

 Purchase Information

Amazon (allow a few days following August 4th)

Belanger Books (allow a few days following August 4th) 


A post from me wouldn't be complete without a shout out from WEP. If you'd like to join a group of enthusiastic writers, check out the August 1 post where the new challenge is explained. 

How could you resist writing something in response to this? You have two weeks to come up with your masterpiece!

A couple questions for you -

- Have you made excellent blogger friends?

- Do you swap intelligence regarding your WIPs?

- Do you read cozy mysteries?

Please support Elizabeth with an encouraging word as she embarks on a new adventure, settling back into the US.

Thanks, blogger friends,

I couldn't find a picture of a Portuguese Custard Tart (Pasteis de nata) - I was too busy eating them to take a lot of snaps, so you'll have to make do with Crème brûlée and coffee from Paris.



Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Cool you visited Braga.
I connect through blogging. I'm on Twitter, but there is no connection there like there is here. I will continue.

Elephant's Child said...

I am endlessly grateful for the connections I have made here in the blogosphere. And frequently learn from those connections. I hope that Elizabeth's latest book goes really, really well.

Pat Garcia said...

I've never been to Braga but Portugal is a country I would like to visit. I had a few friends from Spain some years ago but have lost touch with them.
As for blogging, I blog but not often. I have met some cool people however on IWSG by blogging once a month and on the WEP who have helped me when I needed help.

Shalom aleichem,
Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

A Hundred Quills said...

Deadly Verse sounds very interesting. All the best to Elizabeth.
I love blogging because I can rant about my writing without really being judged vis-a-vis Twitter or Facebook.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Congrats to Elizabeth on her new book. I agree with you and Alex that blogging is a good way to make writer friends. I have not connect the same way on Twitter.

Jemi Fraser said...

I continue to blog in order to connect to my blogger friends. It's not a place where I find many readers for my writing, but I love the connections I have with fellow authors!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Where is Braga?

I've reached out to several bloggers and my authors for tips and been blessed to get them.

Liza said...

I agree that blogging is a way to stay connected. I'm on Twitter occasionally, but it doesn't really fit my inner rhythm!

Nick Wilford said...

I agree that having firsthand experience of a setting definitely makes the writing more vivid and authentic. There isn't really a way to replicate that.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Thanks, Denise, for featuring me and my new book on your post today. I love the world of blogging and have made some really nice friends through blogs. (Some of them are right here today! :-) ) It's a very sharing and supportive world. Have a great rest of your week.

cleemckenzie said...

I love Portugal. I spent some wonderful days and nights there, so I understand Elizabeth's attraction for that country. Braga sounds delightful and I look forward to learning more about it in her book.

Also, yay! You must have tweaked something on your blog because I can now comment.

Michelle Wallace said...

Congrats to Elizabeth!

I agree about the connectivity via the blogging community!
Our blogs are the only authentic online platforms that nobody can change. Other social media platforms are always subject to policy changes/updates and can be altered at the drop of a hat. So I think we should hold on to our blogs and continue to support bloggers and the blogging community.

Coffee from Paris? Yes, please!!

Denise Covey said...

@alex - Portugal is a great place to visit, so medieval.

@sue - We all help each other in some way.

@elizabeth - My pleasure. That's what it's all about.

@Pat - It's great when we can help each other.

@Natalie - I'm always happy to visit your informative blog. Thanks.

@Lee - I hate not being able to reply individually by reverting to pop-ups but it's better to have people comment.

@Michelle - I use other social media, but blogging is where connections are made and treasured.

@Nick - Visiting is pure gold.

@Lisa - I agree. Blogging floats my boat. It's more time consuming, but still..

@Diane - Braga is a gorgeous medieval city in Portugal. A reminder that Portugal was once a power in the world.

@Jemi - Yes, blogging is to meet/maintain friends. I learned a long time ago that it's not the place to sell books - that's a whole other ballgame.
Although I've pretty much got all your books on my kindle and some other bloggers, too.

Olga Godim said...

I love my blogoverse friends. They are always ready with support and encouragement.

Damyanti Biswas said...

These are some lovely pictures. Congratulation Elizabeth!
The blog verse is so vast, that I learn so much from my fellow bloggers.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi Denise!

Well, you know my answer to blogger friends! I have met many over the years, especially in my early stages of blogging. One day...I hope to meet up with you in some marvelous city abroad! I loved blogging and still do, but now it seems to be so much more difficult with BLOGGER changing everything. I can FINALLY leave a message here because for a while, I couldn't! UGH.

Thanks for the lovely comment you left. I did answer you there, if you have time to drop back again. I am happy to tell you that I will be submitting something for the WEP. I KNOW you will enjoy it. LOL Have a great week!

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi Denise!

I tried to leave a message yesterday, but apparently, it didn't go through. I hope this one does. As you know, I am a veteran blogger and have loved blogging for years. For the first five years or so, I was honored to meet many blogger friends throughout the states, and I HOPE one day we will meet in some incredible destination! I am counting on it. LOL

I hope blogging continues, but BLOGGER is making it more and more difficult these days. I have been considering changing to WordPress.

Congrats to Elizabeth on her exciting book! How fun to set a story in an international local when you live in the states. It is a dream come true! All the best to her.

I will be submitting something I KNOW you will love for the WEP! I can't wait for you to read it. Hope all is well!

Denise Covey said...

@ Olga - blogger friends are precious.
@ Michael - Oh, I hoped I'd fixed the comment problem. So excited you're going to submit to WEP in August.
@ Damyanti - We go way back don't we kiddo?

J Lenni Dorner said...

I do feel like I have a dozen blogger friends who normally trade monthly reciprocal comments. I suppose it can depend on how narrow a definition of friend has to be. "Someone of mutual affection, liking, and support." Based on a Google summary of the definition, that should count. ❤

“Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.”
―Anne Herbert
My IWSG blog post discussed my love of originality. I'm looking forward to the bout of books readathon and WEP's flash fiction later this month.
Life threw me a curveball with a neighborhood crisis this week, but we got through it.
Winnie the Pooh is the world’s Ambassador of Friendship. In the US, National Friendship Day is the first Sunday of August. #FriendshipDay2022

J Lenni Dorner (he/him 👨🏽 or 🧑🏽 they/them) ~ Reference& Speculative Fiction Author, OperationAwesome6 Debut Author Interviewer, and Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge