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Jocie worked at several jobs before landing her ideal one as a librarian, a perfect segue to becoming an author.
With a soft spot for U.S. Veterans, she chaired her local Veteran’s Oral History Project, and her work with the program lead to her speaking before the project committee at the U.S. Library of Congress. She has won several awards for her non-fiction writing on a multitude of subjects.
Her fiction writing has received the Author / Ambassador at Library Journal Self-e Authors, Winner Queen of the West Reader Favorite Award, Amazon Bestseller – Historical, Double finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards in the Mystery and Humorous Categories, and her novel Baer Truth received 4.5 stars from RT Book Reviews.
Writing romantic comedy and humorous cozy fiction, Jocie can find humor in most everything. She lives in the Midwest on Dust Bunny Farm with her family and Diesel the Wonder Dog. When not writing, she grows ArnoldSwartzaWeeds in her garden and camps whenever the opportunity presents itself.
So Josie, welcome to the discover word Smith. How you doing today?
[00:02:43] Jocie: I’m doing great. Thank you very much. Have electricity, have air conditioning, have coffee. I’m
[00:02:48] Stephen: happy. We’re connected. Little inside joke for us,
right. Okay. So before we get started talking about your book tell us a little bit about who you are, what you like to do, where you live, that type of thing.
[00:03:03] Jocie: Sure. I’m Josie McCabe. I live in the Midwest USA, which is the Buckeye state go by tent state. that far I’m west Iowa, but I’m more Cincinnati, but I have been riding pretty much.
I first started 17 actually, and I’ve been riding on and off ever since. So most of the time I’ve written nonfiction for magazines, advertising, publications PR packages, that type of thing. And then I was librarian for almost 20 years. So pretty much all of my life has been centered around books. Some form another we have a huge garden. I love to garden. And when I don’t do that, we have a little RV and we’ve managed to hit 48 outta 50 states. Wow. NICE’s great.
[00:03:54] Stephen: Yeah. So I’m gonna, you didn’t drive the RV to Hawaii?
[00:03:59] Jocie: Nope. Nope. We swam
[00:04:01] Stephen: Canoe. . Down by where you live, have you been to the dollar book swap?
[00:04:08] Jocie: I have not. Oh, okay. They’ve got two different sales here, but that’s one. I’ve not been
[00:04:13] Stephen: to it. It actually is grown from a Amazon book depository warehouse. So the first time my son and I went, we thought we were go get shot at like a cocaine drug bust or something. It’s really scary looking
[00:04:30] Jocie: is it in Cincinnati
[00:04:32] Stephen: than it’s closer to Dayton?
I think, but it’s a little bit in between. See,
[00:04:37] Jocie: I don’t know that one. I know Amazon has a fulfillment facility and Louisville or Lexington maybe. Yeah. Louisville. But no’s Lexington and they have one in Wilmington, Ohio, which is actually an error, but I didn’t know they had any other one around dating.
[00:04:56] Stephen: Yeah. Yeah. You should go check it out. It, it doesn’t have the new books so much as some old stuff. Oh, that’s.
So you were a librarian, you said you’ve been around books your whole life. Yeah. So writing just came naturally to you, or was there a reason you wanted to start writing?
[00:05:13] Jocie: Stories came naturally. I was the kid that could make up the best story in the world to get out of trouble being an Irish background gift of GA and storytelling.
And most of my family being from the south, they could tell a Whopper too. So it was in the DNA, but at the same time, my mother was a voracious reader, always a veracious reader. And so there were always books in the house and she would read aloud to me and got me started on storytelling.
And when I was a kid, basically, I lived at the library. Other kids got out, got into trouble, went into sports, whatever I was at the library sneaking between the shelves. And at that time, unlike today, you had to have parental permission to go from the children’s side of the library, into the adult side of the library.
And I would crawl between the shelves in order to go to the, of the library and read Warren peace, cuz I was that child. So
[00:06:13] Stephen: so it just came naturally. You’ve always involved. It did.
[00:06:19] Jocie: And it was good escape. There were some tumultuous times when I was younger and libraries saved my life.
So I owe my, I owe a lot of what I am to books.
[00:06:29] Stephen: Got it. Nice. All right. So tell us about your book.
[00:06:32] Jocie: I’ve written almost 20 books. The series that I’m working on now, which seems to be my most popular is a cozy mystery series. It is the Mason Dixon series. The first book is the line is drawn and it began I’m my family’s token Yankee
All of my family is from the Southern us. And my mother used to tease me as a child that I could go from the south to the north, just with the snap with accent or with words it’s a buggy in the south. That’s a grocery card up here and I always laugh that I can go from you guys to y’all in the same sentence without giving a beat.
So I thought it would be fun. What if there were actually two sisters, a Northern sister and a Southern one who didn’t know that each other existed. And that’s where the story kind of took off. Nice. Okay.
[00:07:27] Stephen: So are all your books cozy mysteries?
[00:07:31] Jocie: No, they’re not. I actually have I can’t figure out what I wanna be when I grow up.
I have a romantic comedy series called the three bears, Staten Wyoming. That was actually my first series. And that was published by a regular, legitimate publisher. I got the rights back later and it’s still one of my best selling series. But. When I write it, it just turned into a mystery versus a romantic comedy.
There is the romance element and it is funny, but there’s a mystery in each book. And I thought this really isn’t a romance. It’s a mystery with romance in it. So and then I have a historical set, an ancient room, and then I have a little series of tea reading mystery. So it’s of, it’s still a mystery and it’s still a cozy mystery, but it does have just to touch a paranormal to it maybe the good witch on hallmark, that kind of okay.
[00:08:27] Stephen: Okay. Yeah. I like that. You said, so the line is drawn. What’s that would you say is similar to another book series or something on TV or whatever.
[00:08:35] Jocie: I don’t know that it’s similar to too much. Obviously it has elements of being a coy mystery and a detective type novel, but the girls in it were separated at birth and, or shortly after they didn’t know the other existed, then they’re actually twins. One is from Boston, Massachusetts, and the other one from Huntsville, Alabama.
So there’s quite a disparity there between the two of them. The, this premise starts out that they were called to Washington DC about each one of their parents. One was raised by the father one by the mother died on the same day. And so they end up getting this notice to go to Washington about settling their estate, which kind of blows their mind cuz neither of their parents have an estate.
And when they get there, that’s when they discover each other. And the gentleman that’s about to tell them everything about their past and what they wanna know is suddenly assassinated in front of them. An agent gets them out into a safe house that their parents have set up for them in Virginia Beach.
And once they get there as the plot unwinds, they discover as they’re getting drunker and drunker over margaritas, that, you know what, we’re pretty good at detective stuff and blah, blah, blah. So they think if they started detective agency, they’ll be able to search for secrets about their parents without really raising red flags.
That, that isn’t the case. . And of course, every time they get a little bit closer to the truth about their parents and what happened, a dead body literally falls into their life and they try to solve that mystery as they go. So each book is complete in and of itself in that it has a murder or two and they solve it.
But there’s always an ending open end where they’re trying to find the truth about their
[00:10:25] Stephen: parents. Nice. Okay. It almost sounds like the adult cozy mystery version of a parent trap
[00:10:32] Jocie: Maybe it could be yeah. Something similar to that. Huh? Because my daughter, when she was like 10 made me watch it 478 times maybe that’s
[00:10:42] Stephen: And here’s my Jessica Fletcher, little muse Funko pop oh my girl.
[00:10:49] Jocie: Yeah.
[00:10:49] Stephen: Okay. And she’s not standing up now. write cozy mysteries. Is that what you normally like to read? Or did you just fall into how how’d you get to choose cozy mystery?
[00:11:01] Jocie: Actually my reading. I’m every guy’s favorite girlfriend, because I love thrillers. I’m the Jason born Jack car, Brad DNCE Flynn reader.
And I, I love those books. It’s this little part of me. He goes, yeah, it could be that bad. And the other part of me goes really, are you kidding? You and my mother would get along really well.
how I love those and I’m the one it goes somewhere with my husband and they’ll be talking about weapons.
And all of a sudden I know about this Russian gun and my husband’s like, how do you know? I’m like Jack car but actually, and I don’t, if I’m writing mystery, I don’t read it. I don’t want it to cloud what I’m reading, but I did grow up with the Nancy grew, the Hardy boys, all of those kind of books that I’m sure had a, had an influence.
[00:11:52] Stephen: Yeah. Nice. I loved Hardy boy growing up had tons of them. Yeah. So you mentioned one of your earlier books was more traditionally published and I take it. These now are independent. So do you try and do traditionally or you’re just independent now or I’m pretty
[00:12:10] Jocie: much totally ending now. I did go the traditional path and I found that I was still doing all of the work, basically as far as doing any of the marketing and all of that.
So why not just do it on my own and get more of the royalties as I go and. Also, I was rejected quite a bit because my books don’t fit into a particular genre. As I said, my romance books are not truly romance. They’re more mystery and they’re not romantic suspense. There’s not a big, yes.
The couple goes together and ends up writing off into the sunset, but they’re solving this unexpected mystery as they go. So it doesn’t fit like a Harlequin. It’s not, it doesn’t fit into their parameters and some of the mysteries don’t because they’re too humorous. Most people, if they read a mystery they don’t find humor in dead bodies.
I do. So I’m referring, you don’t wanna take anywhere where you need to be in polite society. So did you like the TV show castle?
I love castle. Yes.
[00:13:24] Stephen: You were saying all that. That was one of my favorite.
[00:13:27] Jocie: And I’m a huge fan of star Trek. I’m a Treky from
[00:13:30] Stephen: way back. Oh, me too. Oh I got to interview Armen Shimerman who played quirk a couple episodes ago.
Yeah. Oh, wow. That’s awesome. Yeah,
[00:13:39] Jocie: he was a great actor. Really? Very
[00:13:41] Stephen: underrated. Yes. He was a great man. He was stuck in Kansas city cuz he was under COVID watch. He was doing a play, but he was had stuck in his room. So he is I’m really bored and have nothing to do. You just wanna talk for a while?
So I got to talk to him for an hour after the podcast, I mean I like dang
[00:14:00] Jocie: well often on that one, people always go, oh, what’s your favorite character, which is kinda like asking about your favorite child, but. Always my engineers were the favorite. I’m like, seriously, the, that the enterprise would not have run without the engineers.
You could eliminate the captain and all of them, if ones were Scotty and O’Brien and all those Jordy, they would’ve made situations, but I have to say my favorite character of all of them would be curing their Reese. Oh, OK. BS nine. She was tough. She was re she never lost her faith.
And even in spite of a lot of obstacles that were thrown at that character, and she was one tough lady character. And think about it. She’s S facing down the Robb with a 40 year old chip. So I’m like, yeah that’s my favorite character. Nice. If I grow up, I be like,
[00:14:54] Stephen: off topic a little bit.
We’re on another track, but I gotta, out of all the new star Trek shows, what do you like in those.
[00:15:04] Jocie: Honestly, I haven’t seen any of those. I’ve been so busy with their things and I don’t have paramount plus, so that’s, and as I said, the rural area on a farm, I’m lucky to get Netflix on occasion.
[00:15:16] Stephen: they have one that’s Christopher pike and the enterprise before Kirk, and I’ve really been wanting to watch it. And I just haven’t had the time to even watch it.
[00:15:26] Jocie: yeah, I think that would be interesting. I’d like to see how they do it, the movies, I can’t see I’m all that thrilled with, because they went so far from the actual story plot that I was annoyed.
So because there was a lot they could have worked with without changing some of the storyline,
[00:15:43] Stephen: but man, if you ever get to watch star Trek discovery, drop me an email and let me know what you think, because it’s way off of the rails. I’m still trying. So for your books, let’s get back on topic of what we should be talking about.
You get me stuck on all the sci-fi stuff. what’s the feedback from readers with your books?
[00:16:05] Jocie: I’ve had very good feedback. I’ve had great reviews, just not a whole lot of ’em. I’m one of those people who I could market someone else’s books with a plumber. I’m great at marketing someone else.
I’m terrible at marketing myself. I feel like I’ll date myself here, herb Tark. The used car salesman who trying to market myself. It’s very difficult for me to do that. That’s probably, if I can do it without actually conversing with people, I’m better. If I can just do it on paper but the feedback I’ve gotten has been great.
They like the premise of the story. In fact, pretty much every one of my readers, I have a personal reader group line McKay’s Mavericks, and they wanna see it made into a movie or a TV series. Cause I think it really fun as a TV series. Spielberg, if you’re listening, I am a,
[00:16:57] Stephen: so what would you prefer? Do you like a movie or TV show better?
[00:17:01] Jocie: Probably TV show, because I think people invest in characters in a TV show. You come back week to week. It’s almost like having a a Sunday family dinner, so to speak because you, you go each week and you build upon this character. You build relationships, you watch them do that throughout the series.
And I think that’s why I like writing a series. And as an author, even though my books are standalone, if you start with the first one, you see how the relationship has built over time. And I think that’s why people like series. That’s why people like TV shows
[00:17:37] Stephen: And I’ve been finding it interesting because you five years ago and before, just about everybody was like, oh, I want a movie.
I want a movie. I want a movie, but things have changed so much. And there’s so many good shows and people are realizing they, they can get more character into a show, more story, and really dive into some of these books better. And the books translate much better into an, a TV show, an eight episode, 10 episode show.
And it’s changed the world’s totally changed from just five years ago. And before I think more people are saying in TV nowadays.
[00:18:13] Jocie: yeah. I think a movie a lot of times is like you read the book, you see the movie and of course there’s two different formats. I’ve done some script writing too, and it’s a very different format, but you only get a peripheral part of the story and.
When you write a script, based off the book, you have to just get certain points because you’d have to have an eight hour movie in order to do most books. Whereas with TV, you can do that eight hour movie and one hour increments, right? So you can build on those characters, you can get more depth of story.
[00:18:47] Stephen: Yes. I just watched a Reacher on Amazon and I’d never read a Reacher book, but I was like, this is a great series. Nice action. But a good storyline, good characters. It is.
[00:18:59] Jocie: So yeah, they do well with Reacher in giving you that little snippet of backstory so that you understand where that character’s emotion comes from.
And the gentleman, I can’t think of his name, but the gentleman that plays Reacher oh yeah. He was a green arrow on the Smallville TV show back 20 years ago. Yes. He put on 40 pounds and beefed up a lot. Yeah. Go. I know go look. I was 20 years yeah. Go look it up. You see him back then. He is this skinny little dude, and then you see him on return.
[00:19:34] Stephen: He is really beef. So I was like, wow, I’ve read
[00:19:38] Jocie: your books and not taking anything away from Tom cruise, but he is not the character when you see Jack Reacher in your head, and this young man is yeah, he
[00:19:49] Stephen: is who as Reacher. I honestly like the Amazon TV show better than both of the movies.
So I did too. Yeah, I did too. They were really good. And I had never read a Reacher book until after I watched the Amazon series. Yeah. Really,
[00:20:05] Jocie: as I said, I’m the thriller reader. Yeah. And now I’m watching Jack Carist
[00:20:11] Stephen: so. Oh, okay. I haven’t seen that.
[00:20:14] Jocie: Very good. Very it’s you almost have to wait a week between them because it comes at you so hard and fast.
So yeah. Most of people like me don’t but yeah, I had to wait a few days between I’m up to like episode four or five and it’s like sugar overload, so to speak, if you have to take it in small
[00:20:34] Stephen: towns personally, I prefer to do that anyway. I don’t like to binge anything. I watch, so no, I like
[00:20:40] Jocie: to yeah.
Carry it out a little bit and enjoy. Yeah.
[00:20:43] Stephen: Yep. So Josie your book, all your books, where can we find those? I assume on Amazon, but is there anywhere else we can find that?
[00:20:51] Jocie: Yeah, I have ’em on other formats and honestly never sold any other than when I go to book signing. And I sell a lot of hard copies at book signings, but I never sold in any format except Amazon.
So they’re pretty much exclusively on Amazon. I do have a few on Barnes and Nobles. But most, almost all of them are. In fact, all of them are on Amazon, but there are a few, I think the bear series and and Mason Dixon are both on Barnes and Nobles.
[00:21:21] Stephen: Okay. All right. And do you have a website?
[00:21:25] Jocie: I do.
It’s Josie mckay.com and Josie, my Josie spelled a little weird it’s J O C I E, which means I get. Porn and French for some reason. On my
[00:21:36] Jocie: account wow. Okay. But it’s Joseph
[00:21:40] Stephen: mcca.com. I will make sure we have the website, correct. On the show notes. We don’t wanna be sending people to the wrong place and really get the wrong idea about your writing.
[00:21:50] Jocie: me and my, it comes to me in my spam folder and you always get spam, rude and crude spam here and there. But suddenly once I started using Josie, which is actually my grandmother’s name is Jocelyn. And so she spelled it with a C for Josie. And and when I did that, then it’s I got we’re coming in my spam filter from France.
Although on the plus side, I can say some pretty dirty curse words in French now that they never taught me in high
[00:22:17] Stephen: school. , that’s always a positive side. There’s gotta be a good side. I
[00:22:23] Jocie: may not use them in the right context What’s your plans for your next book?
I am currently working on Mason Dixon five, and I also have a tea leaf reader, mystery it’s out there, and there are a series of short stories.
And so I should have one of those by the end of this year as well. So hopefully by September, I’ll have the next Mason Dixon and by December I’ll have the Nextt lead mystery. Nice. Okay.
[00:22:48] Stephen: So off of your book for a little bit what are some of your favorite books and authors that you like to read?
[00:22:56] Jocie: I have a list I have a lot I read a lot of nonfiction, as I said in my real world job, I write for many blogs and magazines.
So I do a lot of nonfiction reading. But I am in I love Vince Flynn, Brador James Rawlins, Jack Carr. I read. And then I read, I do read first just fun, which would be like Kate London, she reads a wonderful little romance series. Sandra Brown love Janet Ivanovic. And there’s a few, probably lesser knowns that I enjoy reading.
Christine, Raymond, which writes, she writes mysteries and she’s not a very big name, but she writes some lovely books. I enjoy Kim foster writes a series is burglars the premise of hers. And I think it’s a three book series is the main character is a cat burglar. And she works for an agency of cat burglars, and she’s dating an FBI agent.
So it, it makes for some fun and interesting moments. Nice. And it’s got a lot of humor in it. My thrillers I love to read thrillers, but if I read other genres, I like to have a little bit of humor at them.
[00:24:09] Stephen: Okay. So if you had to name one book as your favorite book of all time, what would that be?
sorry. Of all time,
[00:24:18] Jocie: if I’m going on emotion and something that has evoked a lot of emotion, it would have to be made. The education of little tree to kill a Mockingbird 1984 those kind of books, just for their depth of character depth of story, because though they really can evoke a lot of emotion. Yeah.
[00:24:45] Stephen: game one. I like authors, cuz I get a lot of authors that are like, oh, I like thrillers. Writing them and reading them, but then you get some that are like I write humor, but I read historical texts and so it’s really interesting to see what different things people read BA compared to what they’re writing
[00:25:06] Jocie: it is.
It very much is. It’s like right now, I’ve just, I got an order from Amazon and I have a book on canning a book on a permaculture, a book on no-till farming. And I’m like, I’m yeah, I’ll just leave it there.
[00:25:20] Stephen: yeah. I always listen to the podcast. They’re like you should get people coming that buy books in similar.
So you’re also bots and I’m like, man, you ought. See my also bots. I’ve got every genre that you know, that I’ve got and read. And I was reading Dean Kos and Isaac Asamov at the same time, going back and forth. Yes, I’m the one that I’m sure is on some alphabet agency watch list. I no doubt about it.
[00:25:48] Jocie: because of material I read. Yeah. There’s a couple I’ve gotten from other authors. One of them, and right now it’s an ebook. So I don’t have it in front of me, but it was how to kill somebody and keep them dead. And it was a an ex or ex-police officer and he was talking about in the movies.
You see somebody shoot somebody and they’re
Jesse, you froze up.
Oh, you still there?
Jesse you back.
[00:26:16] Stephen: You there. I kinda hear something.
[00:26:18] Jocie: No sound.
[00:26:20] Stephen: There we go. I hear you.
[00:26:23] Jocie: Hey video.
[00:26:25] Stephen: Yay.
[00:26:26] Jocie: I have no idea. Everything just went, poof that
[00:26:29] Stephen: yeah, you froze.
[00:26:31] Jocie: Uhoh
are we off? Nope.
[00:26:35] Stephen: You came back for a second. There you are you
[00:26:37] Jocie: there?
[00:26:40] Stephen: Hello? Here you, there you are.
[00:26:43] Jocie: Okay.
[00:26:44] Stephen: Are we back? I think so.
[00:26:47] Jocie: okay. Cause you’re not moving fine. Okay. Slowly a little delayed, but you there.
[00:26:53] Stephen: Okay, good.
[00:26:54] Jocie: I’ve got two backup internets here and I’m sorry.
[00:27:00] Stephen: It’s okay. Good. I’m glad we got back on. We had been talking about books and authors.
Next question I was gonna ask is, do you have a favorite bookstore close to where you live?
[00:27:09] Jocie: Oh, hello,
[00:27:11] Stephen: you there. I’m here.
[00:27:13] Jocie: Are you there? Yes.
Yeah, it keeps cutting out.
[00:27:16] Stephen: I see you move a little bit every now and then
[00:27:19] Jocie: I’m not hearing you.
[00:27:21] Stephen: Joie you still
[00:27:22] Jocie: there.
Oh, okay. I saw you. I can hear you.
[00:27:26] Stephen: I saw you mute and you came back a little bit. Yeah, I was
[00:27:30] Jocie: trying to see if that’s cuz it looked like it had been marked out, but no, it was
[00:27:37] Stephen: okay. Let’s. Seems back on, maybe
[00:27:41] Jocie: okay. I’m so sorry. And some trouble with living in a rural area. This is what I deal with all the time.
People say, oh, I have 25 megs and it’s so slow and I’m cursing them under my breath, but
[00:27:53] Stephen: yeah. Yeah. I live in a rural area. Yeah. I live in a rural area too. We don’t get really great most of the time. No, they, the guy even said the whole road is fiber, but they won’t do fiber from the road to the house is just the old copper lines.
So you’re limited to speeds and I’m like, that’s so ridiculous.
[00:28:15] Jocie: Yes. So yes it is. Is yes. All right. Yeah, we can’t get Cape on mean I can get dish, but anyhow, let’s I’m I apologize. No,
[00:28:25] Stephen: that’s okay. We’ll try again. What I was asking where you live, do you have a favorite bookstore that you like to go to.
[00:28:31] Jocie: I did. We had one, it was books and company, but it’s no longer there. There is one in Lebanon, on mul it’s Mulberry street books. And I enjoy going there. It’s a small privately owned family owned bookstore. And I do enjoy
[00:28:45] Stephen: that. I think I’ve been to that one actually one time. Yeah, it’s really cute.
[00:28:48] Jocie: It’s downtown Lebanon. Lebanon’s kind of a little historical town and you can still get burgers and fries at the ice cream shop and then go to the bookstore. So that’s a fun Saturday for nerds like me.
[00:29:00] Stephen: I like that. All right. So before we move on to author stuff if you ran into somebody and they said Josie, why should I buy your book?
What would you tell ’em?
[00:29:11] Jocie: Because you want in today’s world, you might need to laugh because they will make you laugh. And it’s just pure 100% escapism. I’m not making a point, a political moment, a grandstand it’s just absolute humor. And that’s it just. Escapism. Okay. And I’m just, I’m so thrilled when somebody takes their hard earned money and buy a book.
I just, even if it’s just one, I’m like somebody bought one of my books, they actually thought it was worth spending money on. And it it’s still a thrill. It never gets old, okay. Great. Josie, I appreciate you sharing all that with, about your books with us. And I wish you luck on it.
Thank you very much. And thank you for hosting me today. And I’m sorry about all the weird complications
[00:29:56] Stephen: That’s part of a if we were all Stephen King, we’d have better internet and computers and stuff,