A Forty-Year Dream Come True

I’m happy to welcome multi-published author Jodi Rath. Today, Jodi shares her writing journey and the books in The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series.

Here’s Jodi!

In 1978, I was a five-year-old child who took my mom’s old magazines into my playroom and played magazine. I know it’s a very creative title for the company! I’m an only child, so my stuffed animals and my dolls served as my employees. You have to understand that I had no clue what it meant to run a magazine. My mom watched the re-runs of Mary Tyler Moore Show, and although I know now it was about the news—I used to watch the show with my mom while she would flip through magazines. I liked to tear up her magazines and then put them back together in different forms and use red markers through things.

My mom read to me all the time as a kid. As I grew older, I was always reading. In fifth grade, we went to a local fair, and I signed up to win a set of encyclopedias! I won the full set of World Book Encyclopedias. We bought a bookshelf just for those. I used to close my eyes and pick one—then do the same to pick a topic in the book. I’d read about the topic, take notes, and write a story about the topic. This was for fun.

In ninth grade, I used to go to the library at my school, and I found a poetry book by Langston Hughes. I sat and read some his work. From there, I began exploring more poetry. It got to the point where I was checking out as many books as the librarian would allow me to check out. In high school, during the summer months when other kids were hanging by the pool or at the mall I could be found in the basement of my house or in my room reading Sweet Valley High or poetry or any books you can imagine.

I played sports and had friends, but I was one of those kids who had one or two good friends. I never cared about being in a group or having a lot of friends. I played volleyball and basketball from fifth grade through my senior year, but for me, it was showing up and doing it and being a team on the court. I felt no need to know anyone beyond the court.

As a college student, I was the same way. I’d go to class—I was an English Literature major—do the work and go home and devour the books and write the papers. It was fun for me. As a professional adult, I’ve bounced from insurance jobs to advertising/marketing jobs, to VP of a credit union, to education for the last twenty years. I never changed. I was the person who showed up at work—did the work, and during lunches and breaks, I found a place to be alone and read and write.

Working in education drained me because I cared about my students so much. One of the reasons I read and wrote so much as a kid is to escape. There were some abusive issues with my biological father that continued well into my adulthood with my first husband. My step-dad was a blessing in disguise, but I lost him to prostate cancer. So, it was important for me to work with teens to help them understand that even though things can be bad, life can get better. If there are people in your life that don’t treat you well, it doesn’t mean that good people don’t exist.

This entire period of my life, I always wanted to be a full-time writer. Once I became an educator—I really wanted to combine education and writing. So, in February 2018, I started a business MYS ED LLC (Mystery and Education). I teach online working with teachers; I write for educational affiliations, blogs, and publishers on deadline and work with teachers to help them write about their experiences, AND I write The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series—a cozy culinary series. So, at age forty-five, I’ve finally got to make my dream come true.

What’s even BETTER is that recently, I’ve partnered with The National MS Society and True Colors United with the cozy mystery series. A percentage of my profits for the mystery series will go to both organizations to help those that navigate MS and to help LGBTQ homeless youth.

Since the business began, I’ve written numerous educational information and wrote three books in The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series: Pineapple Upside Down Murder is book one; Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Murder is book two; Turkey Basted to Death is book 2.5 A Holiday Book, and in 2020 there are four more books coming in the series.

So, if you’d like to get something for yourself to entertain you WHILE giving to two great organizations, then buy some of the books and enjoy it! Pass on the news—the more I sell, the more I give!

Blurb for Pineapple Upside Down Murder Blurb

Welcome to Leavensport, Ohio where DEATH takes a delicious turn!

Introducing Jolie Tucker, the introverted yet passionate restaurant co-owner of Cast Iron Creations. When her grandma Opal becomes the prime suspect in the murder of Leavensport’s local chocolatier, Jolie goes on a search for answers—only to find out that her family’s secret recipes may not belong to the Tucker family at all. Jolie’s job, family, and livelihood are all on the line.

buynow

Blurb for Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Murder

Welcome to Leavensport, Ohio where DEATH takes a delicious turn!

Financial fraud of elderly villagers in Leavensport, an urban sprawl threat to the community, disastrous dates, cross-sell marketing gone wrong, and another murder? Jolie Tucker is ready to try dating again. Well, she has no choice—since her family auctioned her off to the highest bidder. Her best friend, Ava, has agreed to a double date, but both friends find out hidden secrets about their partners as well as deception by one of the village’s own, who will soon be found dead. This plot is sure to be spicy!

Amazon | All other e-platforms

Blurb for Turkey Basted to Death

Welcome to Leavensport, Ohio where DEATH takes a delicious turn!

Thanksgiving is here, and Jolie Tucker has had quite the year! She is ready to sit back and relax with family and friends. But this is Leavensport, OH—so get ready for intense therapy sessions, dysfunctional family holiday gatherings, uninvited guests, and an inner-city teen advocate found DEAD—stabbed in the ear with the turkey baster!

Amazon | All other e-platforms

Blurb for Blueberry Cobbler Blackmail

Welcome to Leaven—oh wait—Santo Domingo, where DEATH takes a DELICIOUS turn!

Family bombshells, sibling rivalries, blackmail, and a trip that could be deadly…and the new year has only just begun! After a disastrous Thanksgiving, Jolie Tucker is beside herself and feeling the walls closing in around her. She feels like she needs to escape Leavensport before she loses her mind. She unexpectedly gets her wish when her best friend and co-owner of Cast Iron Creations, Ava Martinez, gets a terrifying email revealing that her papa, Thiago, is in danger in Santo Domingo. The girls are off on a dangerous adventure in new territory. Will they be able to save the day before danger finds them?

Preorder here

Bio

Moving into her second decade working in education, Jodi Rath has decided to begin a life of crime in her The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series. Her passion for both mysteries and education led her to combine the two to create her business MYS ED, where she splits her time between working as an adjunct for Ohio teachers, educational writing, marketing consultant work with authors, and creating mischief in her fictional writing. She currently resides in a small, cozy village in Ohio with her husband and her eight cats.

Newsletter link to A Mystery A Month—Sign up for my monthly newsletter to receive a free Mystery a Month and a chance to win prizes for those who guess the right answers! http://eepurl.com/dIfXdb

Website | FB Author Page | Twitter | Bookbub | Goodreads


10 Important Life Lessons My Cats Have Taught Me (and how they live on in my writing)

I’m happy to welcome author Jodi Rath to the Power of 10 series. Today, Jodi shares ten important life lessons she learned from the felines in her life and her new release, Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Murder.

Here’s Jodi!

10. No matter how bad life can be, learn to be resilient and love IN SPITE of it all. Our cat Stewart has one-eye from being abused as a kitten. Yet, when we adopted him, we thought we couldn’t do it because it would be too sad. Stewart doesn’t care at all that he has one eye. He loves us unconditionally and is the happiest little guy in the world. He is on the cover of book two, Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Murder, that comes out 6/21/19 and plays a role in the book.

9. Sleep is a good thing. Cats sleep A LOT. I’ve always been one to sleep a routine 6 to 8 hours a night. After I began my business, my sleep schedule has changed a lot. My cats remind me to take naps if I can’t get a full night sleep. No, they aren’t running a business—but they also aren’t stressed, and they sleep a lot—AND their fur is shiny and beautiful! Great for us ladies and our skin too!

8. When it’s time to play—PLAY HARD LIKE NO ONE IS WATCHING! Recently, we adopted three five-week-old kittens. We mostly have adopted adult cats because most people want kittens. Our adult cats are playful at times, but they prefer food and sleep to play. NOT THE KITTENS! They are NUTBALLS! They do love to sleep and eat, but when they play—it’s like they are partying like it’s 1999! That’s important in life—adults need to play and let loose at times—AND don’t worry about who sees you or what they think. My three little girls, Lily, Lulu, and Luna, sure don’t care!

7. Race doesn’t matter. One of the themes of my culinary mystery series, The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series, focuses on a small village where the villagers are tolerant and caring for those around them. They aren’t so much with outsiders when people from the city (politicians) begin to buy up land for urban sprawl purposes, and the villagers have to (what they think) “allow” outsiders in. Being tolerant means being tolerant to ALL—not just to those that it is easy to be tolerant to—think about it. That makes no sense anyway. Some of my cats are black; some are orange and white, some are golden brown, some are black and white mixed—they don’t look at the color of each others’ fur and judge based on that or stereotype—they equally love each other as is.

6. Stop and smell the flowers every so often. We keep fresh flowers in our house weekly. Our cats get SO excited when we bring them in, and they always are on the counter wanting to smell them and maybe be sneaky and chew on the stems too. My husband and I have bought or picked fresh flowers weekly for each other for 17 years now. It makes a HUGE difference in our relationship.

5. Good litter box manners are important. Enough said! LOL

4. Don’t sweat the small stuff. We’ve had 16 cats in 17 years—never more than nine at one time. Many passes, especially when we adopt them as adults. Our first cats, unfortunately, are the ones we learned from. They would do things, and we would punish them getting SO upset. Once we lost them, we realized how stupid we were being. Some scratched furniture here and there? Who cares? It’s things—the things do not give unconditional love and trust.

3. Keep your mouth shut when you snore. My husband snores while sleeping on his back—LOUDLY. Stewart, the one-eyed cat, did not appreciate it—he sat on Mike’s mouth while he snored. Mike freaked out in the middle of the night. I’ve never laughed so hard in my entire life!

2. Understand your place in life. We do not own our cats—we are their servants. We want it that way! They bring us joy and happiness. I’ve had a very good reason not to trust many people in my life—I’ve dealt with abuse as a child and in a first marriage. I’ve worked with many teens who have experienced horrific trauma. Not all people are bad—but animals love unconditionally.

1. Advocate for those without a voice. I learned this lesson the hard way when my 13-year-old diabetic cat was taken to a vet we typically don’t see, and she recommended we take him to the vet ER. We did; they kept him, and everything in us said not to let them. They kept him four days, and he died of a blood clot. None of that had to happen. We trusted those with an education that we didn’t have—but our hearts told us differently. Maybe he would have died anyway—but he would have at home—we spent close to 13 years loving and spoiling him, and he had diabetes for six of those years. We never left overnight to be sure he got his insulin twice a day. Because we didn’t advocate for him, he suffered for it. Trust your instincts and be willing to live with consequences.

Blurb

Welcome to Leavensport, Ohio where DEATH takes a delicious turn!

Financial fraud of elderly villagers in Leavensport, an urban sprawl threat to the community, disastrous dates, cross-sell marketing gone wrong, and another murder? Jolie Tucker is ready to try dating again. Well, she has no choice—since her family auctioned her off to the highest bidder. Her best friend, Ava, has agreed to a double date, but both friends find out hidden secrets about their partners as well as deception by one of the village’s own, who will soon be found dead. This plot is sure to be spicy!

Buy Links

Amazon | All other e-platforms

Author Bio

Moving into her second decade working in education, Jodi Rath has decided to begin a life of crime in her The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series. Her passion for both mysteries and education led her to combine the two to create her business MYS ED, where she splits her time between working as an adjunct for Ohio teachers and creating mischief in her fictional writing. She currently resides in a small, cozy village in Ohio with her husband and her nine cats.

Website | FB Author Page | Twitter | Bookbub | Goodreads

Sign up HERE for my monthly newsletter to receive a free Mystery a Month and a chance to win prizes for those who guess the right answers!