Blog posts about the Rabbi Aviva Cohen Mysteries and their author Rabbi Ilene Schneider

Archive for July, 2014


My favorite women’s clothing store, Coldwater Creek, will be closing all of its brick-and-mortar and online sites in just over a week. I have been buying my clothes from them since they were a catalog only retailer. I estimate that at least 90% of my wardrobe is from them. If I count only those clothes I wear every day, especially before I retired, it’s probably closer to 95%.

I love their clothes. They fit well, they hold up well, they wash well, they are fashionable without being trendy or flashy. And that may be why, despite the fact that “everyone” I know of a certain age shops there, they have gone out of business.

The clothes are durable, so there’s no need to replace them every year or so when they wear out. (The exception are 100% cotton jerseys, which tend to become misshapen after several washings. Or maybe it’s the dryings. Or maybe it’s because I never bother to follow cleaning instructions.) I have one plain black “travel knit” shift that can be dressed up or down depending on what I wear over it. I’m not sure how old it is. It is so versatile that shortly after I bought it I got a second one, worried that I would somehow damage the first and not be able to replace it. The backup dress is still folded in tissue paper on a shelf in my closet.

Plus, because they’re not trendy, the clothes don’t look dated. They stay in my closet (and on my body) for years before I give them to charity, and then usually only because I’ve worn them so often I’ve gotten bored with them. I have a few things that may be 10-15 years old.

The very reasons I like Coldwater Creek – durability and timelessness – are probably why they haven’t shown a profit since 2007. I’ll have a discount coupon begging to be redeemed, will go to the store, and not find anything I want to buy because I already have the same thing at home.

And what does that have to do with writing? (Thought I’d forgotten the topic, didn’t you?) A book series has to stay fresh and innovative to remain popular. I have stopped reading some authors on my “must read” list because they are writing the same book every time, just changing the names and settings. Or there’s no character development: the main characters don’t age, the events of previous books don’t affect their behaviors or attitudes. Why spend money on a book I’ve, in essence, already read? Yes, they may be comfortable, they may still hold interest, but eventually, they become stale. And if they’re classics, I’ll just re-read them, not buy new ones by the same author. Unless it’s something fresh.


Thanks to all of you who wished me congratulations on my taking first place for short stories and for flash fiction at the Public Safety Writers Association conference. Much appreciated!
Fellow author Amy Bennett invited me to post on her blog, offering a few “words of wisdom” to aspiring authors:
If you missed reading my award-winning (love saying that!) short story “Miami Snow” in the Fall 2013 issue of, it has just been reprinted in Kings River Life:


My short story “Miami Snow” and my flash fiction (200 words) “Perfect” both took 1st place in their categories at the Public Safety Writers Association conference. (This is the group that awarded UNLEAVENED DEAD 1st place for best mystery novel last year.)

PSWA 2014

Heading to Vegas for the Public Safety Writers Association conference, which awarded UNLEAVENED DEAD 1st place last year for best mystery of 2012. On 2 panels: 2:30 Friday on “What are setting and dialogue and how should you use them?” And 10:15 Sunday on “The aspects to be considered when writing a series.”


I hate to brag (no I don’t), but …. On the DorothyL listserv, there’s been a thread about what people want to know before reading a new author. One participant posted:

“The first thing I look for in a book is a well-told story with believable characters. That said, I discovered Ilene Schneider’s mysteries because they were about a rabbi and I am a clergyperson myself. I started reading Elizabeth Moon’s works because we were in the Marine Corps at approximately the same time/era — in both cases, however, I keep reading because the books are excellent.”