Crab Bait, like the two earlier novels, Bottom Feeders and Starfish, is set on the Long Beach Peninsula. In the new mystery, the Merry Widows of the North Beach Peninsula may be just a tad too merry. They’ve formed a geriatric belly dancing troupe, The Veiled Rainbow, and are having the time of their lives spending the insurance money they received when their respective husbands died, deaths that all happened under mysterious circumstances. Meredith Avery, Sylvia’s mother, a three-time widow herself, has been instrumental in helping these women take out hefty life insurance policies on their spouses shortly before their deaths. What else might Meredith have led them to do?
“My mystery books are cozies,” says Jan, “and cozy mysteries are a very specific genre. They have no graphic violence, no obscene language, and no explicit sex scenes. What they do have is an amateur sleuth who works with the local police department in a small town to solve crimes. There’s a quirky cast of characters, and lots of humor.”
Jan has lived in Long Beach, Washington, since 1977. She began writing a humorous, personal experience newspaper column that continued for 10 years, garnering 11 state awards from the WNPA. Her column’s popularity led her to become one of the top five contributing authors to the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series, publishing 36 stories during the past 8 years.
In 2012, Jan became the Grand Prize winner of the Coast Weekend serial mystery chapter contest. This inspired her to begin writing her lighthearted and fun cozy mystery series, which she describes as “like Murder She Wrote, but with a lot more humor.”
Jan has also written five collections of humorous short stories, two poetry chapbooks, one collection of short romances, a book about her 252-pound weight-loss journey, and nine one-act plays. She has been published in numerous magazines, including Guidepost, Star, and Woman’s World.
Copies of the three mysteries will be available for sale and signing at WordFest.
Mason Loika will be reading a selection of his poetry, including the song “The Spin We’re In,” recorded in 2004. In addition, he will read from a story he wrote for the Bucks County Herald, and a short story entitled “Phantom of the Night.”
Mason has written as a reporter for the Miami News, the Miami Herald, and the Bucks County Herald, covering entertainment in radio, television, movies and music. He also wrote the nonfiction Gulag to Rhapsody: A Survivor’s Journey (2012) about a former prisoner-of-war who survived 2½ years in the same Soviet gulag that later imprisoned Russian dissident Alexander Solzhenitzen.
Mason recently moved to Longview from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where he wrote reviews of live concerts for such artists as the Marshall Tucker Band, Heart, and Norah Jones, as well as local bands.
There will be an open mic period following the presentations.
The monthly gathering of readers and writers meets the second Tuesday of each month, 6:00-8:00 PM, at Cassava. The events are free and open to the public.
Cassava offers a dinner menu for those who wish to enjoy a meal with the readings, as well as local wines and brews.
For more information, contact Alan Rose at www. Alan-rose.com.