I love making up book titles. Don’t you? But I have a feeling most authors don’t come up with a title first and then devise the plot!

DYING FOR A DATE was an easy choice for the first book in my Laurel McKay Mystery series. My single soccer mom was struggling to juggle her kids, a career and post-divorce dating. As a single working mom myself, I had plenty of stories to share. People frequently ask how much of DYING FOR A DATE is based on reality. My answer –– fifty percent memoir and fifty percent fiction. But I’m not sharing which is which.

Although no one has died on my watch. Yet!

Since I’d taken up ballroom dancing as a hobby, the sequel, DYING FOR A DANCE, was also an easy choice. Once I discovered the sleazy underbelly of competitive ballroom dancing, the book practically wrote itself. Picture MURDER SHE WROTE meets DANCING WITH THE STARS.

Kona Rosaritas

By the third book, I needed a vacation. I flew to Hawaii and dragged my protagonist along with me. Then I discovered there is no letter “D” in the Hawaiian alphabet. Luckily, for me, the restaurants and bars all serve delicious daiquiris on their menu. I readily admit DYING FOR A DAIQUIRI was the most fun to research.

I love accessorizing my outfits with a matching tropical drink!

My current WIP (work in process), DYING FOR A DUDE, brings the action back to the gold country during Hangtown’s Wagon Train week. I’m still plotting organically (AKA writing by the seat of my pants) and have no idea what will happen to Laurel and her gang. The only thing I know, for certain, is that a stagecoach chase scene is bound to show up somewhere in the book.

I’ve learned that a writer’s work is never done. While I’m plotting DYING FOR A DUDE, I also need to plan ahead for the next book in the series which will be DYING FOR A …

Hmmm. It looks like I’m short a title or two.

So that’s where you all come in. It’s time to vote for the perfect title for the fifth book in the Laurel McKay Mysteries. Here are my top choices:

The Apple Hill farms are dying for me to write DYING FOR A DONUT, and I’ve always wanted to powder sugar someone to death.doughnut with bite out

How about murder at the Golden Hills spa owned by Laurel’s best friend, Liz? We could call it DYING FOR A DIET. Or after a rigorous workout, Laurel might prefer…


A few people have previously requested DYING FOR A DIAMOND? Would that mean the romance between Laurel and Tom Hunter is heating up?  Diamond ring


It’s your turn now. If you choose one of the titles above, or comment with one of your own by midnight, April 1, you’ll be entered in a drawing to win a $25 gift card anywhere you choose.

Also, feel free to leave a plot concept or two. If it gets incorporated into one of my books, you’ll definitely be acknowledged. You may even play a part yourself!

To celebrate this terrific contest, the DYING FOR A DATE e-book is now on sale for the first time ever at the unbelievably low price of .99.  The sale goes through March 25th so be sure to tell all of your friends. And even the people you don’t like.  I’m sure they could use the laughs too!

The winner of the $25 drawing is Deb Julienne! Thanks all for the comments. The next DYING FOR title will be announced as soon as Laurel and Tom make up their minds. I’m DYING FOR A DECISION!





  1. Liz jasper on March 17, 2014 at 10:50 am

    Donut, no question. :)))

  2. Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Why does that not surprise me:-) With a poisoned sprinkle or two?

    • Bobbye Terry on March 17, 2014 at 11:44 am

      I once co-wrote a book called Fat Chance, great seller! I go with Dying for a Diet, Who knows what they put in those power shakes?


      • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 11:55 am

        I love your title, Bobbye. And now you have me worrying about my protein shakes!

  3. Liz jasper on March 17, 2014 at 11:42 am

    Nah, sheet gluttony. Donuts are very yummy. 😉

  4. Mark Rosendorf on March 17, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    Off he top of my head…here’s some ideas:

    Dying for a Death

    Dying for an Idea (a tongue in cheek double meaning)

    Dying for a club (perfect for a mystery novel)

    Hope those help…


    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 12:21 pm

      Aren’t you creative! Thanks for coming up with some new titles, Mark.

      • Mark Rosendorf on March 17, 2014 at 12:50 pm

        Btw, that last one should have read “Dying for a Clue” not club. That teaches me not to proofread before hitting send. LOL

        • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 1:13 pm

          Thanks for clarifying. I like Clue better than Club:-) I had visions of Cave Men duking it out!

  5. Allison Brennan on March 17, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    I like the last two — Dying for a Diamond (I can practically see the heist story write itself!) and Dying for a Detective. You’re so fun and original!

    A toast to organic writers … 😉

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 12:37 pm

      Allison, it was your presentation that made me realize it was okay to just go with the flow and I’m certainly having fun doing it! Thanks for voting.

  6. Pat on March 17, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    I like Dying For a Donut, but there’s another author who writes similar to you who has a similar series and she already has Dying for a Danish. It’s part of Leighann Dobbs’ Lexy Baker Bakery Cozy Mystery Series. I think I’ve seen a Dying For a Donut title as well, but it escapes me where I saw it.

    I’d stick with Dying For a Detective, but that’s just me.

    Or, since Laurel always refers to herself as “pudgy,” perhaps Dying For A Diet? Maybe Dying For A Dachshund (if her kids want to adopt a stray dog and it could belong to some gangster’s kid or something), or Dying For A Desoto (she could find a dead body in a restored car at the car show in downtown Placerville).

    Just some stuff to think about. That’s all I’ve got this early on a Monday morning.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      Lots of great suggestions. I didn’t even think about all of those great dog names – Dalmatian, Doberman, Dachshund.

  7. Jaci Muzamel on March 17, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Could there be a better title than one involving a DONUT? Of COURSE not! Die for a detective in the last book of the series!

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 1:30 pm

      And I could serve donuts at the launch! I like your idea of Detective at the very end of the series although I hope that’s not for a very long time!

  8. Sarah on March 17, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Dying for a Daffodil. Setting could be on Daffodil hill. It just opened for the season.
    Dying for a diplomat. Some sort of political death.

    Dying for a Duke
    I do like the donut idea.

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 1:32 pm

      Sarah, thanks for voting and the new title ideas. I love Daffodil Hill. I’d also like to take a trip to England and I’m sure Laurel will want to come along with me so why not DYING FOR A DUKE!

  9. Teresa Judd on March 17, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    As tempting as donuts and desserts are, I think I would go with Dying for a Diamond. Could mean an engagement ring or as someone mentioned a jewelry heist.

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 1:33 pm

      I always wanted to write a heist caper. I like it!

    • Dawn Owens on March 17, 2014 at 2:29 pm

      Like Daffodil Hill!

      • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 2:34 pm

        I do like DYING FOR A DAFFODIL. They’re all blooming right now!

        • Paula Springer on March 17, 2014 at 6:38 pm

          Hey Cindy,

          I think I’d have to go with Dying for a Detective. (Maybe you can spin off something where Det. Hunter helps solve the crime, so he and Laurel can spend time together…:)

          I also like an Italian theme, but set right here in El Dorado County. With the Son’s of Italy Italian Club located in El Dorado Hills (that has members from Placerville to Folsom), Papa Gianni’s Italian Restaurant in Cameron Park, and so many Italian’s here in El Dorado County, I also like “Dying for Al Dente Pasta”…

          • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 10:08 pm

            Hi Paula. I just played detective and found you in spam. I like the Italian theme – Dying for Al Dente Pasta. I’m dying for some pasta myself right now!

  10. Kathey Norton on March 17, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Dying for a Second Chance
    Dying for Another Night
    Dying for One More Night
    Dying for Glamour
    Dying for Fashion
    Dying for Attention
    Dying for Excitement
    Dying for Entertainment
    Dying for Thrills
    Dying for Adventure

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 1:36 pm

      And how many cups of coffee have you drunk this morning, Kathey? Those are great!

  11. Joe Prentis on March 17, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    How about dying for a chance?

    I just tried something new. I had a cover designed shortly after I started my current WIP. Just looking at it seems to give me another source of inspiration to keep me writing, and that is what this is all about.

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      I agree, Joe. I like to start planning the cover art early. It’s highly motivating!

  12. Dawn Owens on March 17, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    As a dog person, I would like Dying for a Dog. I wonder if Laurel runs across a dead body somewhere (as she has a tendency to do) with a dog that won’t leave its deceased owner so her kids convince her to bring the dog home just until they find out who the dead guy is so they can return the dog to the family. But the guy’s only family was his dog – which is why he was able to so easily fly under the radar when he . . . . . . .

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      Dawn, that is a wonderful plot idea. We already have a cat named Pumpkin and I think a dog would create just the havoc we need. Dogs are so loyal to their owners, aren’t they?

      • Dawn Owens on March 17, 2014 at 2:21 pm

        I’m going to have to go back and re-read the books so I can find Pumpkin. But I am sure that Pumpkin would love a friend. Just please have a nice big dog and not one of those yippie ones. That poor cat deserves a big dog to push around!

        And they are loyal. When the house burned down it was Duke (our great dane) that woke Kyle up. And when Kyle ran outside in hysterics to try to put out the fire with a hose (that was also on fire) it was Duke that stayed with Karl (2 yrs old at the time) and barked to let Kyle know where they were in the house when Kyle ran back in since Karl had left the bed. That’s about as loyal as you can get!

        • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 2:22 pm

          Wow. That is a story. I definitely need to get your Duke in one of my books. What a hero!

  13. Dawn Owens on March 17, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Or Dying for a Decaf – but does anyone REALLY find themselves dying for a DECAF? Ever?

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      No, never:-)

    • Mariella on March 30, 2014 at 1:18 pm

      I love Dying for a Decaf! There’s got to be a way to make that work! Laurel could be going on too many coffee dates.

      • Cindy Sample on March 30, 2014 at 1:20 pm

        Ha ha. Laurel is definitely one over-caffeinated amateur detective. And so is her creator. Thanks, Mariella.

  14. sara hyman on March 17, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    my favorite of those is “Dying for a Dessert” – here’s the logic

    Dying for a Dessert – everyone can picture their particular type until it matters in the book, if a specific dessert ever matters.

    Dying for a Diet – NO WAY – too many young people are developing eating disorders, i have no feeling for a comic mystery with this one

    Dying for a Donut – they just are not my favorite dessert – not to say I won’t eat them, but I rarely go out of my way for one

    Dying for a Diamond – unless Laurel or a friend is getting engaged, save this title for that.

    Enjoy LCC, wish I could be there.


    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 2:16 pm

      I love your analysis, Sara. We’re going to miss you at Left Coast Crime. I felt the same way about diet as a title but figured I’d throw it out there because I had a great plot concept that tied into it. I’m glad you like Dessert. So do I, which is why I’m dying for a diet that includes dessert!

  15. Jacqueline Seewald on March 17, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    I’ll suggest Dying for a Deal–a bit vague but encompassing. Of the four you’ve already suggested, Cindy, I like Dying for a Donut and Dying for a Diet equally. But it all depends on the plot you develop.

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 2:23 pm

      That’s a new one, Jacquie. And I’m always dying for a deal myself. Thanks for voting.

  16. Judy Miller on March 17, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    How about Dying for a Dare?

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 2:12 pm

      That’s a must read title. Love it, Judy.

  17. Dawn Owens on March 17, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    OK – one more! How about Dying for a Delivery? Fed Ex or UPS lost a package. That will strike suspense into the heart of many – LOL!

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 2:35 pm

      Hmmm. Or maybe a baby:-)

      • Dawn Owens on March 17, 2014 at 2:42 pm

        That might have to be Dying for a Diaper! Ha!

  18. Linda Lovely on March 17, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Dying for a Dork…with a cyber-related plot. Don’t think you could get away with Dying for a Dick (as in detective, of course). Dying for a Dummy… with a quiz-show plot.

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 2:47 pm

      I really love DYING FOR A DORK. And you aren’t the first to mention Dying for a Dick (the detective) of course:-)

    • Cindy Robinson on March 17, 2014 at 3:12 pm

      Uh… Dying for a Decorator, of course. I think that one could write itself too from your personal experience. (Would I end up dead?… well, preferably the installer!)

      Or Dying for a Dumpling – what’s in some of those Asian dishes? Party planning: Dying for a Drummer; Appliance mishap – Dishwasher/Dryer. Seaworld/boating setting – Dying for a Dolphin; competitive dog showing – Dying for a Dalmatian/Dachshund/Dane; horse racing – Dying for a Derby

      What about the art world, Cindy. You’ve got that nailed. Let’s see – Dying for a Degas

      • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 3:20 pm

        All right, Cindy Robinson. Those are awesome. I went to the Kentucky Derby once and now I think Laurel must go as well. I love horse racing. Dying for a dumpling could also be Dying for Dim Sum. A mystery set in San Francisco?? And then it will be time to decorate!

  19. Penny Manson on March 17, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Of the options mentioned “Dying for Dessert” is my favorite.
    If she is ready for a diamond but he is not it could be “Dying for a Decision”, Under stress from all the adventures could be “Dying for a De-caf”, A day at the racetrack could be “Dying for a Dark Horse” or a trip to a dude ranch could be “Dying for a Duel”. Whatever you pick I know it will be a fun read, it always is.

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 3:21 pm

      You’re so creative. I can see I need to write a lot faster!

  20. pat canterbury on March 17, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    I love Daffodils so I’d go with Dying for a Daffodil. I can imagine the cover already. My next favorite from your fans is Dying for a Dog. You could use almost all the “D” suggestions and have Laurel mysteries for the next 20 years!

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 3:23 pm

      At the rate we’re going, Pat, I’ll have enough titles for 40 years! Since I talk so fast it may be time to start dictating my books. Oh, there’s another one. DYING FOR DICTATION.

  21. deb on March 17, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Donuts definitely, because with your sense of humor I can just imagine how hysterical it would be.
    What about Dying for a Debate (election story)
    Dying for a Deal or Dying for Dollars (a game show story)
    Dying for a Debutant (country club story)

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 3:59 pm

      Hey, my favorite new author, those are great new titles. This is a very creative group!

  22. Donna Del Oro on March 17, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    I like DYING FOR A DIAMOND. An aging, retired film star (I’m thinking Liz Taylor) who owns a world-famous diamond of incredible value and is killed during a robbery…or disappears? She can be the great aunt of your heroine’s friend…or hero’s uncle in Hollywood. You’d have to go to Hollywood and Beverly Hills (and stay at the Hyatt Regency!) to do research. Hey, want an assistant?

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 4:00 pm

      Hmmm. I wouldn’t mind going to Beverly Hills for research. What’s that famous old hotel there that I can’t afford? Must sell many more books to research this one.

  23. Joyce Mason on March 17, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    I like Detective, Dog and Diamond. It would be fantastic to keep with the D-theme. Here are a couple other ideas that popped into my head:

    Dying for Desi Arnaz – Laurel finally realizes her life is a modern-day version of I Love Lucy combined with a mostly unwanted CSI. In an effort to simplify her life and to program herself for more sit-com and less murder mystery, Laurel becomes addicted to watching “Lucy” reruns. She starts having literal dreams of a Desi-like man who comes into her life—a little less chauvinistic, but still dashing and hot-blooded. Of course, this gets her into more trouble than ever …


    Dying for a Donation – Laurel does some charity fund-raising and is surprised to find out that her murder magnet is just as strong in in the world of do-gooders. Is there no where she’s safe from crime?

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      I still laugh at those I LOVE LUCY reruns. The lines are timeless. Hmmm, DYING FOR A DONATION is definitely doable.

  24. D. K. Christi on March 17, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    I would choose Dying for a Diamond – and set the mystery on a cruise ship in the Caribbean with a little voodoo thrown in from some of the islands. The word, “diamond” is also double d’s which seems to fit nicely on your list. I see the diamond as something inherited and lost…dkchristi, author of Ghost Orchid, a mystery of love and redemption originally published by L & L Dreamspell

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 4:03 pm

      DK, I went on a DWTS cruise on January and I’m dying to set a book on a cruise ship. But I couldn’t come up with anything better than DYING FOR A DOCK or DYING FOR A DECKHAND. And they were selling diamonds everywhere we stopped! Great suggestion.

  25. Betty Ackley on March 17, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    My suggestions for titles are:
    Dying for a Dare
    Dying for a Debt
    Dying for a Damsel
    Dying for a Deed
    Dying for a Deal
    Dying for a Direction
    Dying for a Dream
    I have no plot ideas. I just like alliterations!

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 4:04 pm

      Wow. I never thought of Dream. That has so much potential. And Damsel could work if I turn it into a historical theme. Obviously I’m an alliteration junkie too! Thanks, Betty.

  26. June Gillam on March 17, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Like best so far:

    Dying for a Duke. (prefer one syllable words to die for and hey, get yourself to England. I’m off to Ireland in the summer for House of Eire.)

    Also like

    Dying for a Diamond

    Will be thinking … Of more…

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 4:05 pm

      Lucky you. Bring back a duke for me and you, okay?

  27. Colette Noble on March 17, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Dying for a:

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      Very nice, Colette. And you included two new ones – DUET and DALLIANCE. You can go so many directions with those two.

  28. Maureen Rumsey on March 17, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    I like Dying for a Diamond and Dying for a Dog. A heist might be fun. Since I wrangle pit bulls at the local animal shelter, Dying for a Dog has personal appeal.

    But so does Dying for a Donut. Especially those cinnamony, appley Apple Hill donuts. It’s a fall ritual to buy a box of Jonathons and have a donut. I always buy a bag to bring home to Nevada City but I must confess, they don’t always make it.

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 4:40 pm

      My daughter made me ship a box of High Hill donuts to her in Montana. She said they held up even a week later. I doubt anyone has ever had any left that long before:-)

  29. Pat Morin on March 17, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    i like Dying for a Dream, and Dying for a Diamond. Both. I think, would take Laurel into a different worlds. Maybe there can be a double, triple meaning for “a diamond in the rough” –The dream could be based on a dream she has that seems to be reality, or even dreams (desires) of hers that haven’t been fulfilled, and she goes on a quest … of course, Laurel always finds more than she is seeking. Just finished Dying for a Daiquiri–great, great fun!

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 6:06 pm

      Dreams and desires. I like them both. And we all know there’s nothing Laurel likes better than a quest. I’m so glad you enjoyed DYING FOR A DAIQUIRI. See you in a day or two!

  30. Sara on March 17, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    DONUT!!!!! And there should be a hole in the middle of the plot. 🙂

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 6:06 pm

      Ha ha. I try to avoid those “plot holes” you know!

  31. Nikki Andrews on March 17, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    Dying for a Deed–real estate fraud
    Demon–supernatural hijinks
    DeLorean–envy and greed in the world of high-priced exotic cars. Think research in Monaco…
    Deputy–Texas Rangers, anyone?
    Diadem–intrigue among the aristocracy

    Okay, now I’m getting deep into the dictionary.

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 6:07 pm

      Now I’m dying for a dictionary. Those are great, Nikki. Actually, the police in El Dorado County are deputies. Hmmmmm.

  32. Elaine.Faber. on March 17, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    Cindy – You’ve received so many suggestions already, your head must be spinning. All great titles and stories that beg to be told before you’re 102 years old. Yikes
    I’m sure whatever you choose will be great. Good luck. Hope to see your at Monterey this weekend.

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 6:09 pm

      I certainly can’t say I’m lacking in titles or plots now, can I? I’m leaving for Monterey early tomorrow, Elaine. See you there.

  33. Kathy Asay on March 17, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    If you remember, my husband was one of the first to suggest Dying for a Donut. He may have been thinking of the cliche of cops and donuts rather than the Apple Hill kind, however. So we would still vote for the food.

    I also like Diamond–it’s classy and will make a wonderful title when the time is right.

    Have fun. See where YOUR imagination takes you.

    • Cindy sample on March 17, 2014 at 7:06 pm

      tell Jeff he gets full title credit if Dying for a Donut becomes reality.

  34. Louise Pledge on March 17, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    My favorite of yours is “Dying for a Detective”. My favorite for another book is “Dying for Daisy”. Of course, the heroine’s name would have to be Daisy :).

    • Cindy sample on March 17, 2014 at 7:03 pm

      thanks Louise. I can do an entire gardening series with daisy, daffodil and dahlia. I do think detective will make it in there one of these years.

  35. Carolee on March 17, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    So many great ideas. Nothing clever to add, so will cast my vote for my favorite, Dying for a Diamond. Lot’s of great jewelers locally, fun research! 😉

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 7:17 pm

      Diamond seems to be getting a good number of votes. Definitely in the finals!

  36. Cynthia Farrell on March 17, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    Dying for a Delight
    Dying for the Dawn
    Dying for Deliverance
    Dying for De’Satisfaction…

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 7:15 pm

      Wow. Lots of new titles there! You’re so creative.

  37. Amy Brantley on March 17, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    Not sure why, but I love the sound of Dying for a Double or Dying for a Double Shot.

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 9:20 pm

      With Laurel’s penchant for all things caffeinated, a double shot of espresso is a likely scenario. Thanks, Amy.

  38. Kelly on March 17, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    How about Dying for a Detour? I see car chases and twists and turns in the plot, loads of fun!

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 9:20 pm

      I can see the movie right now! Thanks, Kelly.

  39. Alyx Morgan on March 17, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    I still need to read Daquiri, & soon, Dude. But I like either Dying for a Detective or Dying for a Diamond for your subsequent book.

    For Detective, the plot point could be fairly easy; that Laurel is hoping for things to heat up more between them, AND maybe that he’s the key suspect in a homicide, so he can’t investigate it.

    If you choose Diamond, it might be that Laurel overhears Tom mentioning some hints about a diamond & wonders if it’s regarding her & a ring, but it actually turns out to be a murder at a baseball game.

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 9:19 pm

      Good one Alyx. I never even thought of a baseball diamond. And since it’s fiction, we’ll let the Chicago Cubs be in the World Series. Go Cubs!

  40. Rena Gunn on March 17, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    Well, I have to vote for Dying for a Donut in honor of my husband, the original Donut Diva. We know every donut shop from Sacramento to Boston and Maine to Nashville. Thanks to the Airstream (Amelia), we have been able to taste donuts from coast to coast. He was devastated to find a lack of donut shops in Denver, all taken over by bagel shops…even Winchell’s.

    I can see a plot involving injuries to innocent bystanders as the slightly ADHD Laurel pounces on the rolling donuts that escape her brown bag at Apple Hill.

    By the way, on a scale of 1 to 10, Apple Hill donuts score a perfect 10!

    PS. A 2nd vote goes for Duke/Dog. Loved Dawn’s story about the dog and fire
    with the burning hose!
    PPS. To all those writers who have posted, I am an old mortgage banker…obviously not a writer!

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 9:18 pm

      I had no idea that Bill was a Donut Divo?? I do remember how excited you were when Krispy Kreme arrived in Sacramento. My only highway claim to fame is that I have a personal relationship with every fast food ladies room along the Highway 80 corridor! Nice plot idea. I may just steal it:-)

  41. Karen Phillips on March 17, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    Okay, Cindy, are you sitting down? How about “Dying for a Dirigible”!
    Before you say, Wow – how many daiquiris have you had??? Just think of what an exciting adventure this could be! Shades of Hindenburg … and does Goodyear still use the blimp to advertise?

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 8:42 pm

      Ha ha. I actually have a plot for that. I’m trying to figure out how you’re going to squeeze that name on one of your awesome covers!

  42. Lisa Ford on March 17, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    I am still pushing for Dying for a David. Off to Florence Italy Laurel can go (and of course Cindy to do her research). Maybe she is there on a honey moon, maybe she is there to find Italian love. Of course I think you are better at this plot part than I am. I just like the idea of running around the world doing the research!!

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 10:05 pm

      Wow. I’m still trying to get Detective Hunk to propose with DYING FOR A DIAMOND and you already have Laurel on her honeymoon!I’ve never been to Florence and I think it’s time for a vacation and a new adventure.

      • Vinnie Hansen on March 17, 2014 at 10:17 pm

        I was going to suggest Dying for a Dare, but someone beat me to it. What a great bunch of titles you’ve elicited.

        • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 10:30 pm

          It still counts toward the contest, Vinnie. Isn’t this fun. Based on all of the titles I’ll be writing until my 125th birthday!

  43. Kim Gillis on March 17, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    I like Dying for a Dessert. Before I read the choices I was thinking of a similar idea like Dying for a Dumpling where Laurel decides to take cooking classes and stumbles into a big mystery. Hope you are doing well.

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 11:01 pm

      Thanks, Kim. Cooking is a mystery for Laurel as it is, but I’m sure she’d eat an apple dumpling or two!

  44. Maddy on March 17, 2014 at 11:06 pm

    I like Donut best, but Diamond gives you a lot of options too. How about dying for a Dream, partly because it’s sufficiently vague; ambition, nightmare, vision etc. and because it opens up a myriad of possibilities.

    • Cindy Sample on March 17, 2014 at 11:07 pm

      Dream just became a very strong option as well. I’m already plotting! Thanks, Maddy.

  45. Melanie Bedwell on March 18, 2014 at 12:01 am

    Hey Cindy!
    Have you thought about Dying for a Ditty? Since Laurel has a singing voice that rivals a cat in heat, she takes voice lessons to be able to keep up with her manly man’s deep, rich baritone (in any Gold Country town you’d like to set this in)…little does she know that her instructor is a foreign asset working at GD Aerojet. She somehow notices odd people watching outside her instructor’s home studio or follows her instructor to an unusual location like an observatory in Mt. Aukum (oh, wait! that’s a winery) and gets mixed up at a secret drop location. Tom Hunter has to find and save her…you get the idea! 🙂

    • Cindy Sample on March 18, 2014 at 12:22 am

      A ha. Espionage in El Dorado County! I like it.

  46. Suzanne Lilly on March 18, 2014 at 8:35 am

    I love Dying for a Diamond. There are so many good titles here. Has anyone mentioned Dying for a Drama?

    • Cindy Sample on March 18, 2014 at 11:01 am

      No one has mentioned DYING FOR A DRAMA yet, Suzanne. Good one. Of maybe for a Drama Queen. I’m glad you approve of DYING FOR A DIAMOND. I know that’s a sure thing. Sometime in the future. Thanks for commenting.

  47. Bonnie on March 18, 2014 at 9:54 am

    How about:
    Dying for a Dealer. You know, a loser gambler in Las Vegas.
    Dying for a Drummer. Musical group that goes wrong.
    Dying for a Dumpling is yummy, unless it is poisoned at the bakery or after it leaves the bakery.
    Lots of great suggestions; so many choices, your series could almost go on forever.

    • Cindy Sample on March 18, 2014 at 11:02 am

      DYING FOR A DUMPLING is yummy. Especially from Apple Hill. And you are the first to suggest Dealer and Drummer. I like them both. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Keep thinking of those titles!

      • Bonnie on March 22, 2014 at 1:29 pm

        One more:
        Dying for a Dollar – Wall Street Thugs; investigating these thugs would definitely be a hazard to your health.

        • Cindy Sample on March 29, 2014 at 6:54 pm

          I have a plot forming as I type. Excellent one, Bonnie.

  48. Carole Taylor on March 18, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Hi Cindy,
    I came up with a dozen, but when I read the posts I saw almost all of them. I like dream (working toward some project, maybe remodeling or going back to school), drama (she’s in little theater), detective (of course), dessert, debt and dog. They all have possibilities, plot wise. Donut seems a little too silly.
    So I’m left with one suggestion: Dying for a Downpour. In California, aren’t we all!
    Best regards,

    • Cindy Sample on March 18, 2014 at 11:45 am

      Another new title! Good one, Carole. And thanks for voting on some of the other ones. We really are dying for downpour, aren’t we?

  49. Sheryl Longsworth on March 18, 2014 at 11:48 am

    How about “Dying for a Deli?” A new illicit drug has been invented which is being distributed via deli sandwiches. A trip to New York may be in order for research. Or how about “Dying for a Departure?” Laurel stumbles on to a terrorism plot while waiting for a flight and foils the bad guys! Or how about “Dying for a Doll?” about an obsessive doll collector that will do anything to complete his or her collection, including using “live” dolls, which Laurel coincidentally bears a striking resemblance to one of the sought after dolls.

    • Cindy Sample on March 18, 2014 at 12:00 pm

      Some more new ones. Sheryl, those are awesome. I especially like Dying for a Deli. Which could lead to Dying for a Dill Pickle:-)

  50. Linda Griffiths-Gish on March 18, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    How about “Dying for a Degas.” Perhaps a priceless Degas is put up as collateral on a loan Laurel underwrote only to have it declared a fake after the owner is murdered. Laurel could be accused of being in on the loan scam? Job and reputation at risk? Could involve the Crocker Art Museum (love that museum!) or to the Metropolitan in New York or maybe you’d have to go to Paris!

    I like the “Dying for a Diamond” title as well, but am with the majority on nixing the “Dying for a Donut.”

    • Cindy Sample on March 18, 2014 at 12:16 pm

      I think Diamond is in the lead although Donut has quite a few voters on Facebook. It must be that photo that is enticing them. I love DYING FOR A DEGAS, one of my favorite artists. I can work with that:-) Thanks, Linda.

  51. Sheryl Longsworth on March 18, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Or how ’bout “Dying for a Dune Buggy?” Laurel could head to the Nevada desert for her next adventure. Or the obvious “Dying for a Doctor” or “Dying for a Dentist?” Plots are plentiful with the medical professions. “Dying for Dark Chocolate?”

    • Cindy Sample on March 18, 2014 at 12:17 pm

      My dentist is DYING for me to write Dying for a Dentist. I wonder if he’d give me a discount? I can’t believe Laurel and I didn’t think of Dark chocolate! Excellent choices.

  52. Margaret Lucke on March 18, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Do you want the titles all to be Dying for a D______, with the alliteration. Here are a few more that I haven’t seen mentioned (apologies if I’ve repeated one I skipped over in skimming the comments):
    Dying for a Dinner — set in a restaurant or at a special-event banquet.
    Dying for a Dinosaur — taking a kid to a natural history museum can be murder.
    Dying for a Desert — takes place somewhere in the Southwest.
    Dying for a Dune — takes place at a beach.
    Dying for a Dreamboat — self-explanatory.
    Dying for a Darling — also self-explanatory.
    Dying for Daybreak — after a long, hard night.
    Dying for a Daydream — what goes wrong when you let your mind wander.
    Dying for a Devil — someone fell for a bad guy.
    Dying for a Double Cross — betrayal is always a good motive.
    Of your current options, my favorites are Donut and Diamond. I also like the suggestions of Drama and Dream.

    • Cindy Sample on March 18, 2014 at 12:40 pm

      Margaret. You are a double D star! Thanks for all the new suggestions and for voting on the other four.

  53. Sheryl Longsworth on March 18, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    There’s always city names too like “Dying for Detroit” (I have a number of family members who are either working for or retired from working for Detroit automakers you could interview), “Dying for Dixieland” a music mystery. “Dying for a Drummer” about a crazed groupie or roadie or perhaps jealous band-member? “Dying for a Dummy” about a murderous ventriloquist that assumes the personalities of his show’s alter-egos to commit murder. Perhaps you can fly to Vegas and interview Terry Fator?

    I never thought there were so many interesting words starting with the letter “D”!

    • Cindy Sample on March 18, 2014 at 8:05 pm

      I never realized there were so many interesting D words until this blog post. I would love to see Terry Fator in Vegas! I do like Dying for a Dixieland Band:-) It could take place during the Sacramento Jazz Festival AKA Music Festival. Wouldn’t that be fun.

  54. Gemma Juliana on March 18, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    My head is spinning! So many of my thoughts were already listed but there are a couple I didn’t quite see:

    Dying for a Divorce

    Dying for a Diva (I saw the reference to a Donut Divo above, but my thought is a Drama Queen type Diva)

    Dying for a DDD — referring to bra size — maybe a porn queen was offed

    Another take on that could be Dying for 3D (a movie cinema death event)

    From the ones you mentioned, I LOVE:
    Dying for a Diamond
    Dying for a Diet (as one who is always on one) and
    Dying for a Detective

    At this stage, I’d say you’ve got about four dozen books to add to the series, Cindy? How fast can you write?

    Thanks for including me in this very fun exercise!!!

    • Cindy Sample on March 18, 2014 at 8:07 pm

      I was wondering when someone would come up with Diva. My opera friends have been begging me for that one for years. Thanks for voting said the other woman who is always on a diet! There are some GREAT plot concepts here. Must learn to write faster!!!!

  55. Eileen Magill on March 18, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    How about:
    Dying for a Doctor (so many ways you could go with that)
    Dying for a Damsel in Distress (a Triple D!)
    Dying for Daylight (creepy!)
    and the sequel to Dying for Diamonds: Dying for Divorce!+

    Looking forward to your panel at Left Coast Crime 🙂

    • Cindy Sample on March 18, 2014 at 10:55 pm

      Ha ha, Eileen. You’re the first to come up with a triple D. I’m not sure how my cover artist would feel about that:-) I’m looking forward to seeing you at the conference. The panels they’ve put together are wonderful!

  56. Sid Castro on March 19, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    Hi Cindy,
    Dying for a Deal (you get to go to Reno or Vegas…. a gambler.out of control OR someone who is into a shady fraud.)
    Dying for a Dish ( either a good-looking dame … good sleeze factor) OR a plate of lasagna loaded with deadly mushrooms).
    Dying for a Day (attempted murder…. does it finally succeed? Could incorporate the old “Queen for a Day” motif.
    Dying for a Diploma (murder in a writing class? student? teacher? administrator?)
    Dying for a Dime (rate coin in the wrong hands OR murder over perceived selfishness…. the reading of a will? or a comment made to a homeless person?)
    Dying for a Drama (relationships and then actually going to a play)

    I personally like the Diploma one since, as you might remember, I’m a former English teacher.

    • Cindy Sample on March 19, 2014 at 12:30 pm

      Hey, you have some new ones, Sid. Very nice. Laurel wouldn’t mind a trip to Vegas and she’s always DYING FOR A DEAL. Or maybe DYING FOR A DEUCE?? Thanks.

      • Sid Castro on March 21, 2014 at 1:03 am

        Dying for a Dumbbell (murder in the workout room…. what kind of workout?)
        Dying for a Dummy (ventriloquist or a stupid guy)
        Dying for Dallas (trip to Texas…. one way of course)
        Dying for a DeSoto (or a Deuce Coupe)
        Dying for Denial (honesty and reality don’t always mix)
        Dying for a Dirt Bag (a bad boy; just what every girl wants)
        Dying for a Delivery (something goes mysteriously wrong in the hospital)
        Dying for Distance (over-controlling guy or helicopter girlfriend lead to gruesome ends)

        Hope this adds to your collection, Cindy.

        • Cindy Sample on March 29, 2014 at 6:55 pm

          Sid, I am never going to be able to take a vacation with all of your creative titles and plots. I love them!

  57. Ana Manwaring on March 29, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    I love Dying for a Donut! And Detecive. And here’s more:

    Dying for a Destination
    Dying for a Dugout
    Dying for a Designation
    Dying for a Doohicky
    Dying for a Dramamine

    Thanks for coming to our SINC dinner AND donating a copy of Dying for A Daiquiri to the grand door prize! You’re the BEST!

    • Cindy Sample on March 29, 2014 at 6:54 pm

      Thanks for organizing that great SinC dinner. It was one of the highlights of the convention. And you’ve managed to come up with additional new titles. I’ve been dying for a cruise-themed book – DYING FOR A DRAMAMINE could be become reality. Although DYING FOR A DOOHICKY sounds very mysterious!

  58. Deb on March 31, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    I want both…Diamond for a thief story, and Donut for a mystery

  59. Linda on March 31, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    I DO like DIAMOND …… doesn’t mean a diamond from Tom. It could be a diamond heist she unwittingly becomes involved in….. maybe by hosting a jewelry party and somehow the CZ’s are real!!
    OR, she buys a diamond necklace at a yard sale or from Craigslist LOL and it proves to be stolen goods….

    All the other D’s are good as well…. sounds like you may have titles to last a life time, just need lots of story lines and plots!

    • Cindy Sample on March 31, 2014 at 4:47 pm

      I love these wonderful plots you all have come up with. If I give up sleeping, I might be able to get all of these Dying For books written!

  60. sara hyman on March 31, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    I still like Dying for Dessert as I analyzed earlier this month. You definitely need to take these titles and save them on a list near the computer and see which one jumps at you as you start the next book. Inspiration would jump out from where you leave expect it

    • Cindy Sample on March 31, 2014 at 5:24 pm

      I was surprised more people didn’t vote for DYING FOR A DESSERT. Laurel and I are certainly always dying for one, preferably coated in chocolate. It’s going to take me a full day to go through the titles and plots and they’ll be sitting right next to my laptop. But Laurel and Tom are basically running the show now, and it won’t be until the end of DYING FOR A DUDE that I even know their next move. They’re so mysterious!

  61. Louise Pledge on March 31, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Right now I’m Dying for a Dishwasher (that works–human or otherwise), but I think my favorite is still Dying for a Donut. I’m afraid with “Diet”, I’d have to change it to Dying BECAUSE of a Diet (or a poisoned donut would, also, work, I guess ). You name it what you want, and I’ll buy it. How’s that for a Deal? 🙂 I’m Dying for another Cindy Sample hit. And pardon my silliness, I’ve taken too many meds today :(.

    • Cindy Sample on March 31, 2014 at 6:23 pm

      LOL, Louise. I’m always dying to read your comments:-) And watch out for those meds!

  62. Jennifer on March 31, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Much as I love Diamond, that needs to be saved for later hen you finally get them together for good. Donut can be about trying to stick to a low carb diet during Apple Hill time with pie everywhere.

    • Cindy Sample on March 31, 2014 at 8:24 pm

      Great. Now I can pay multiple visits to Apple Hill in search of the perfect donut. And at the rate I’m creating conflict for Tom and Laurel, DYING FOR A DIAMOND is a few books down the road! I think. One never knows with those two.

  63. Melanie on March 31, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    Perhaps “Dying for a Dentist”. It’s time to really “put some teeth” into some healthy competition and get ol’ Tom Hunter to commit!

    • Cindy Sample on March 31, 2014 at 8:39 pm

      My dentist thanks you! That Tom does need a nudge or two, doesn’t he?

  64. Lisa Dane on March 31, 2014 at 11:06 pm

    “Dying for a Dénouement”?

    • Cindy Sample on March 31, 2014 at 11:08 pm

      Well that has to be included eventually, doesn’t it? Thanks, Lisa.

  65. Michele Floyd on March 31, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    “I asked my husband and son and their vote was Dying for a Divorce, I hope that is not a hint. Dying for Directions!

    • Cindy Sample on April 1, 2014 at 12:01 am

      Ha ha, Michele. It’s so nice to hear from you. I think we’ll have a diamond long before we have a divorce. But I’m always dying for directions!

  66. Anne Baxter Campbell on April 1, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    How about “Dying for a Dare?”

    • Cindy Sample on April 1, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      Anne, I like it. And it will fit on a book cover!

  67. Pamela Cardone on April 1, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    If DYING FOR A DING-DONG is a problem for the people who just bought the Hostess brands, I’ll stick with DONUT. 🙂

    • Cindy Sample on April 1, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      Maybe I’ll save DYING FOR A DING-DONG for a short story. It really is catchy. But you can’t go wrong with a donut, can you?

  68. Betsy A. Riley on April 2, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Some of these have already been mentioned (but not always with a plot tip)
    Dying for a Dictionary–set at a scrabble tournament
    Dying for a Designer Dress–calls for a research trip to Paris or Milan
    Dying for a Dashiki–trip to Africa?
    Dying for a Dentist–cracks a tooth on a trip to Europe? or theft of gold teeth
    Dying for a Doggie Door–getting in? or getting out?
    Dying for a Dolphin–somewhere tropical for sure–maybe Key West?
    Dying for a Doughboy–WWI veteran’s descendant finds something in his memorabilia
    Dying for a Desk Job–tired of running around?
    Dying for a Daddy/Daughter Dance — HA! FOUR D’s
    Dying for a Day–maybe has a movie role as a corpse

    • Cindy Sample on April 2, 2014 at 12:55 pm

      You have some new ones here, Betsy. These are great. Laurel and I always appreciate plot recommendations!

  69. Betsy A. Riley on April 2, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Dying for Dirt–death of a gossip columnist
    Dying for Double D’s–implants gone wrong
    Dying for a Delorean
    Dying for a Debutante (or Dilletente)
    Dying for a Drive (or a Dive)
    Dying for a Diary

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