Sharleen Johnson Rhinock has been writing for several years and has published novels in three different genres, including historical, cozy mystery and romantic suspense. After the death of their much-loved 14-yr old Norwich Terrier, Sharleen and her husband have become cat people. They own two black and white domestic shorthairs, often called “Tuxedo” kitties. They were “rescues” and came with their own set of quirks and foibles.
Sharleen and her husband, Joseph Rhinock, live in Ooltewah, TN, a growing suburb of Chattanooga.
Her interests are still gardening, genealogy, casino blackjack and every handicraft known to humanity. She especially enjoys helping new writers learn the mysteries of this lonely pursuit.
There’s an eight hundred pound gorilla in the room. Everybody knows he’s there, but nobody wants to talk about him…except me. I’ll talk.
In my first seven books of romantic suspense and two historicals, I wrote a lot of love scenes. But, I ask you to stop and think. How many nice, pretty words are out there in our American vocabulary to describe an act as old as time? Darn few. And I figure I’ve used all of them more than once. Remember, I said nice, pretty words. Finally, I grew jaded, tired of my fruitless search for those illusive words.
Then it dawned on me…Cozy Mysteries. They kill people and they do it without sex. Oh wow! I could be the next Agatha Christie. After all these years, I’ve found my new niche.
So, I headed to Amazon (virtually speaking) and purchased a stack of cozy mysteries by many different authors. Several notable things kept popping up: a continuing character (female amateur sleuth), plus dogs and cats solving mysteries.
Hey, I’m a big animal lover. I can do this. I used to raise and show Dandie Dinmont Terriers–a rare breed from Scotland. I was an instructor at the local Obedience Club (B.A. that’s before arthritis). As I grew older, I decided on a smaller breed and switched to Norwich Terriers. After he died and I got even older (bone years are the same as dog years), we decided to switch to cats–they don’t need to be walked or taken to obedience classes.
My monumental decision was made. I would start writing Cozy Mysteries. I was giddy with excitement as I turned on my computer and stared at the blank screen. Hmm, I was going to have to think about this one for awhile. Most of the cozy mysteries I’ve read had either a dog or cat solving mysteries…but not both. Eureka! I would use both and what a delightful duo they have turned out to be.
Jack is a Doberman Pinscher, 90 pound of sleek hard muscle, graduated from three training academies, then flunked the final exam. He’s quick to explain through no fault of his own. He wears a badge–K-9 Officer for the Gatlinburg Police Department.
Jill is a Siamese cat with chocolate points. Twelve attitude-laden pounds of dynamite with a short fuse.
Next I needed my human companion. She had to be an independent woman, yet vulnerable. Someone with a past, someone you will care about. That woman became Annie Murphy Malone.
My final task was to find a location. A real one. Some place I’d been to physically. I live in Chattanooga. What better spot than the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. I chose the old part of Gatlinburg…downtown. In this location I created my own little area that I named “Olde Towne.” It’s far away from the glitzy, glamorous tourist destinations. It’s where the real citizens of Gatlinburg live and work. This is the backdrop for my SMOKY MOUNTAIN MYSTERY series. Smoky Mountain Murder, Smoky Mountain Mayhem, and I’m in the process of writing Smoky Mountain Meltdown. Fourth in the series has already been coming together in my mind, Smoky Mountain Miracle.