The ExPat Returneth

Sunday, April 3, 2016

My Spring Newsletter: Cherry Blossom Season, Upcoming Cherry Tucker Book, and Spring Winner

Read my spring newsletter issue here: Larissa's Spring 2016 News.

It's Cherry blossom season in Japan and I'm sharing a recipe for a popular ohanami dish.

I've also got news for the upcoming Cherry Tucker mystery, A COMPOSITION IN MURDER!

Plus info about our House Hunters International debut, my newsletter subscriber winner, and upcoming events in Japan and the US!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Guest Post: Larissa Reinhart | Mysteristas

Reflections on Georgia in Japan
I’ve lived in Japan four times over the last twenty years. This summer’s return has garnered me a lot of room for reflection. In the five years since my last move, I’ve had five books and a novella published. I actually began writing on our last stint in Japan: one manuscript that will never see the light of day and my first Cherry Tucker mystery. Both stories were set in Georgia. Now I’m back in Japan and still writing about Georgia.
Why Georgia while in Japan? Setting aside the obvious—write what you know—I’ve often mused over the similarities between the South and the Land of the Rising Sun. And so I don’t reflect for days, I’ve whittled down a much longer list to three topics.THE BODY IN THE LANDSCAPE front
Lipstick. In the South, ladies still wear hats to church and lipstick to the market. I’m talking capital L ladies, now. The no white after Labor Day rules are still taught in polite society and children still do cotillion. In fact, where I lived, getting your child an invitation to cotillion classes can get competitive.
In Japan, ladies wear lipstick to the market, dress up for shopping and lunch, and still do kimono or yukata (a cotton, less formal kimono) for ceremonies and special occasions. As do men (except for the whole lipstick thing). There are specific suits and dresses for funerals, weddings, graduations, and any number of events. Lipstick and blush. Heels and pearls. Hats and parasols. If hoop skirts caught on here, we might have an East/West Gone With the Wind mashup. And I’d never rule out anything in the Japanese fashion scene.
Read more by clicking the link below!
Guest Post: Larissa Reinhart | Mysteristas

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Body In The Landscape by Larissa Reinhart | THE BIG THRILL

Click the link above for the full interview from The Big Thrill Mazgazine.
By  November 30, 2015Read More →

The Body In The Landscape by Larissa Reinhart

I think all writers are interesting in different ways, but Larissa Reinhart amazes me. She may be a southern Georgia girl but she lives in and loves Japan. Go figure—and go figure on getting her next book if you want sassy characters and humor. I was glad to e-meet her.
The novel is the fifth Cherry Tucker mystery. Cherry’s a struggling portrait painter from small town Halo, Georgia. Her sassy spitfire reputation has her in trouble back home, so when invited to paint the winning portrait for Big Rack Lodge’s Hogzilla hunt contest, it seems like a paid vacation. While landscape painting she discovers the body of local ne’er-do-well and, of course, embroils herself in hunting for the killer. Which is not the brightest of ideas when surrounded by hunters. Just sayin’.
Where does your Cherry Tucker series, of which this is a part, fit in the category of “cozy mysteries”?  Is there a range of cozies or sub-genres within?
I think it depends on where you’re looking. For example on the big sites—like Amazon—the Cherry Tucker Mysteries are listed under Amateur Sleuth, Humor, and Cozies, with a subgenera of Crafts and Hobbies (as opposed to Culinary or Animals).
In some conferences I’ve attended, we’ve discussed a new genre for cozies, the “modern cozy” which calls for more action, stronger language, and more sexual situations than traditional cozies. The Cherry Tuckers definitely have a strong romantic component, but I’m aware of my audience in terms of language and sex (I always say the books get a PG-13 rating). However, I try to drive scenes with action and dialogue rather than the slower pacing of traditional cozies.

I also like a new component to cozies that I’d like to call Chick Lit Cozies. They’re written in first person, from the female protagonist point-of-view, and there’s a strong subplot focus on character development arcing over the series like in Chick Lit. In Cherry Tucker, Cherry’s got romantic issues with the local deputy Luke Harper, an ex-husband as a best friend, and a missing mother whose disappearance is connected to Harper’s stepfamily. In relation to issues stemming from her abandonment by her mother, Cherry chooses to play amateur sleuth rather than confront her own problems. Each book leads to another piece of that puzzle, although they can be read out of order.
Your fabulous sense of humor comes through in your books, your reviews and even on your fun website.  Do you have to work at this great aspect of your series and your main character?
Thanks so much! It’s hard to know if other people will find humor in what you think is funny. THE BODY IN THE LANDSCAPE is a little darker than the others, probably because we were going through some family difficulties at the time. It’s hard to keep things light when everything around you is so heavy. However, I’m a cheerful person. I love to laugh and act silly, and I love playing with words, so maybe that’s what comes through in the writing. (I hope so, anyway.) I have a lot of fun imagining Cherry in scenes that make me giggle.
I giggle pretty easily, though. I also snort laugh a lot. If you’ve ever met me at a conference, you might have witnessed this. Unfortunately. I’m also constantly sticking my foot in my mouth, which helps in writing characters like Cherry. That whole “write what you know” axiom.
I also love (and write) small town setting and eccentric characters.  Can you give us some background to your choice of “South of the sweet tea line”?  And tell us a bit about Cherry?
You do know there’s a sweet tea line, right? North of it, when at a restaurant, you’d say, “I’d like iced tea.” That comes without sugar. South of that line, you’d say, “I’d like tea.” That sweet tea. Or for weirdos like me, “unsweetened tea.” And if you order unsweetened tea, they’ll hand you Sweet’N Low.
It’s like the Mason-Dixon, except friendlier and less controversial.
As for a small town setting, I grew up in a village of six hundred. Andover. And had to be school-bussed to another town of three thousand. Orion. Orion had sidewalks. And a Pizza Hut (eventually). My mother still lives in Andover. Whenever I talk to her, our conversation usually takes a turn toward, “Do you remember SoAndSo?” “No.” “They went to high school with you.” “Still don’t remember.” “Maybe they went to high school with your sister.” “Maybe.” “Anyway…” So I know small towns.
Cherry Tucker is full-on sweet tea and small town, but smaller because she was raised on a farm. And she’s a classically trained artist (she graduated from SCAD in Savannah). So she gets a bit uppity about art, but very redneck about everything else.
Author Sophie Littlefield remarked that your writing is like lemonade, “a balance of tart and sweet.”  Do you work at this, or does it seem to come naturally?
That’s hard to answer! I’m tart and sweet, too, so I guess it comes naturally. However, I have to control the tart, because it’s too easy for me to let Cherry get snarky. Because of her childhood issues, she’s got a dark side and a sharp tongue. I get a lot of editorial comments on reigning in her uglier side!
For a Georgia writer who seems to have “Georgia on her mind,” can you explain your love for Asia, especially Japan?  Why will you be returning there soon, even though you will still write your Cherry Tucker/Georgia series?
I’m in Japan now, actually! I’ve been living here off and on for the past twenty years. I’ve a husband who’s fluent and works for Japanese companies, but I love it. Love the culture, the food, the people. Love the everyday adventures.
There are a lot of similarities between Japan and the South. A love of tea and fried foods. An emphasis on politeness and propriety. Strong focus on family and tradition. Things move a bit slower here, too. And you wear lipstick to the Piggly Wiggly here, too. Which is not called the Piggly Wiggly.
Can you give authors (and busy professionals in general) any advice about balancing real life with the demands of writing and promotion?
I wish I did better. It’s really hard. I’ve two young girls. I’m living in a country where (for me) grocery shopping is a challenge. And we only see my husband on weekends and holidays, so the time we’re together is reserved for family. Summer is especially difficult for me.
Promotion definitely eats into my writing time, too. I can take hours making logos on Canva or playing on social media (probably because I enjoy both). So I really have to budget time. After the girls go to school, I have a block reserved only for writing. The internet is a wicked siren, so sometimes I must shut her off. My progress feels slow, but I can see the word accumulation and that’s what keeps me sane.
It’s all about scheduling. And turning off the interwebs. And rewarding yourself with chocolate.
Can you tell us what you are working on next for Cherry and company?  Do you have other future author plans beyond this delightful series?
You’re so sweet! I’m writing Cherry Tucker number six now (untitled so far), but it’s set in Halo in an upscale independent living home. Through Cherry, I’ve come to realize these places are not unlike a college dorm, so that’s been fun. Lots of keggers and mosh pits…I’m kidding. But for an amateur sleuth, you can’t do better for gossip than in an independent living home.
I have another humorous mystery series in the works, also set in Georgia, but with a detective and wannabe detective set in a mountain resort town. The first manuscript is in “someone’s” hands now and I’m waiting for the determined fate of that series.
Like most writers, I have a slew of other projects I’d like to be working on (any progress on cloning?). Out of the ten million ideas, I’d really like to bring some Georgia girls to Japan, particularly in a Chick Lit/Women’s Fiction story I’m developing and a paranormal detective series I work on between other projects. I’d love to have something for my Japanese friends to read and relate since redneck humor gets a bit lost in translation.
larissaA 2015 Georgia Author of the Year Best Mystery finalist, Larissa writes the Cherry Tucker Mystery series. The first in the series, PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY (2012), is a 2012 Daphne du Maurier finalist, 2012 The Emily finalist, and 2011 Dixie Kane Memorial winner. The fifth mystery, THE BODY IN THE LANDSCAPE, releases December 2015. Her family and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit, now live in Nagoya, Japan, but still call Georgia home.
Visit her website, find her chatting on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads, or join her Facebook street team, The Mystery Minions.

About the Author: 

Karen Harper is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of contemporary suspense and historical novels. Her books have been published in many foreign countries including Russia, where she recently made the bestseller list for her Tudor-era thriller Mistress of Mourning. Her next suspense novels are The Cold Creek Trilogy: Shattered Secrets(Sept. '14); Forbidden Ground (Nov. '14) and Broken Bonds (Jan. '15). Visit Karen and follow her on Facebook.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Launch Party for The Body in the Landscape on Facebook

Celebrate the release of Cherry Tucker's 5th Mystery!
On Facebook (Party in your PJs!) 
Tuesday, DECEMBER 15TH 
PARTY WITH 18 HENERY PRESS AUTHORS: Larissa ReinhartGretchen ArcherSusan M. BoyerTerri L. AustinLynDee WalkerAnnette Dashofy,Wendy TysonArt TaylorKait Carson AuthorShawn Reilly SimmonsJulie MulhernRitter AmesChristina FreeburnNancy Cole SilvermanDiane VallereSybil Johnson, and Cindy Brown, author
Games, Prizes, Book chats, and shenanigans. 
Hoots and hollers on tap. 
Schedule (all times are pm EST)
7-7:30: Gretchen Archer & Susan Boyer 
7:30-8 Terri L Austin & LynDee Walker 
8-8:30: Annette Dashofy & Wendy Tyson 
8:30-9: Kait Carson & Art Taylor
9-9:30: Shawn Simmons & Julie Mulhern
9:30-10: Ritter Ames & Christina Freeburn
10-10:30: Nancy Silverman
10:30-11: Diane Vallere
11-11:30: Sybil Johnson
11:30-12: Cindy Brown
And your hostess: Larissa Reinhart, serving virtual wings, beer, and chocolate cupcakes.
With sprinkles, of course.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New Cover for Cherry Tucker #5 THE BODY IN THE LANDSCAPE

If you missed the cover reveal on Dru's Book Musing, you can see it now.
Releasing December 15th, THE BODY IN THE LANDSCAPE, is Cherry Tucker's fifth full-length mystery set at Big Rack Lodge in Georgia. 

Cherry's been asked by Max Avtaikin to paint the winning portrait in a Hogzilla hunt. It seems like a paid vacation from trouble at home. Back in Halo, Georgia, a Hatfield-McCoy-style standoff builds, forcing Luke and Cherry to keep their relationship secret. She’s ready for a weekend away, hobnobbing with the rich and famous of hunting.

As the weather turns the Georgia sunshine to bleak December rain, Cherry’s R&R goes MIA when she finds the body of a local man. While the police believe the local drunk took an accidental spill, Cherry has her doubts, particularly when a series of malicious pranks are targeted at the rifle toting contestants and she’s warned off investigating. With loyal companions at her side — sort-of-ex-husband Todd and a championship bayer named Buckshot— Cherry tracks suspects through a forest full of pitfalls and perils. And all the while, a killer’s stalking the hunt party with Cherry and the contestants in their crosshairs.

Hunting may be a part of country life, but these hunters aren't like Cherry's neighbors. Y'all know that Cherry and rich and famous just don't mix well. Kind of like vinegar and honey. Lucky for Cherry, she's got a new four-legged friend that appreciates her quest for justice and creative thinking. 

And in more exciting news, DEATH IN PERSPECTIVE, Cherry's fourth mystery was the finalist for the 2015 Georgia Author of the Year Best Mystery. First place went to David Darracott for WASTED. Congrats to David! We're happy for the second place finish to such a wonderful Georgia author. Thank you to the Georgia Writers Association for hosting the awards.

Friday, July 10, 2015

THE BODY IN THE LANDSCAPE Cover Reveal 7/14 at @DrusBookMusing & Georgia Author of the Year Finalist News

Y'all hop over to Dru's Book Musings ( on Tuesday, July 14. We'll be revealing the cover of THE BODY IN THE LANDSCAPE, A Cherry Tucker Mystery #5, with a special giveaway to celebrate! This cover is my favorite of all the Cherry Tuckers and I can't wait for you to see it!

In other news, I'm so pleased to announce that DEATH IN PERSPECTIVE, A Cherry Tucker Mystery #4 (Henery Press), was the finalist for best mystery for 2015 Georgia Author of the Year! I wasn't able to attend the ceremony, but was so happy to get the news. Thanks so much to Georgia Writers Association for sponsoring the awards.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Larissa Reinhart's Spring Newsletter: On Moving to Japan

From my spring newsletter which you can also read HERE.

Hey Readers!

In this South (& Far East) of the Sweet Tea Line newsletter
  • The Big Move
  • Winner, Winners!
  • Upcoming Releases
  • Thanks to Orion Western District Library
  • Book Club Buzz
  • Summer 2016 Book Tour

The Big Move

In two weeks, my daughters and I (and more importantly, Biscuit) will be flying to Japan, where we'll be moving to Nagoya. This will be our fourth time to live there. My husband moved to Japan in February and we're anxious to join him, but sad to leave our friends here in the U.S.

Ironically, Nagoya is where we lived five years ago, and where I first conceived of Cherry Tucker and wrote Portrait of a Dead Guy.

This year's been a hard one for our family. We've been separated from my husband since December when he had to move to Columbus, OH (where the American headquarters of his Japanese company is located) and then to Japan. Last summer he lost his job with his Atlanta-based company. For those of you who have gone through job loss, you know how hard that is. 

However, we are blessed that his new company would have us move to a city familiar to our daughters (age 9 and 12), even though it's overseas. Strange as it is, moving to Japan is an easier transition for them. It looks like we'll even be living within walking distance of their old school friends.  

Our (seemingly) biggest hurdle has been getting Biscuit to Japan. Japan is one of few countries that doesn't have rabies. Understandably, they have an extremely thorough process to make sure rabies stays out of their country. Biscuit's process started back in October when we thought moving to Japan might be a slight possibility. He's had an 180 day quarantine (at home) that began with a microchip and a new rabies shot, followed by a second rabies shot and blood test exactly 30 days later, and is now ending with a lot of paperwork including my driving to a USDA lab to get a seal stating that he's rabies-free two days before we fly out. So far, everything has lined up and Biscuit will be flying in our cabin under our seat.

The Japanese Animal Quarantine office in Narita Airport has been so sweet. Japan loves animals and all the work you have to do to keep a pet in Japan is their effort to make sure pets stay healthy and safe. I can't wait to share pictures of Biscuit in Japan with you!  

We're also excited that a popular television show about moving overseas has taken an interest in our story. We still don't know if we'll be on the show, but the process to get on has been fascinating. We've had a few interviews, made a home video, and filled out a long application. I'll definitely use the research for my Maizie Albright series. Maizie is an ex-child actor, who starred on a popular teen detective series and as an adult, forced into in a reality show by her manager. When a judge orders her to leave Hollywood, she heads back to Georgia to try her hand at detecting. I'm so thrilled to have the opportunity to learn some of the ins and outs of reality TV first hand!

Stay in touch with me on social media! I'll keep you updated on book news and events here, but you can get snatches of life in Japan on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. I love staying connected with you!

Happy Reading!


Winning Winners!

Spring Newsletter Subscriber Winner: Congratulations to L Cooper, this quarter's newsletter winner!

The Spring Newsletter Swag Pack

Next newsletter subscriber drawing will be in August! Sign up HERE.

More congratulations to Julie H for winning my Facebook Bon Voyage drawing! She received a signed copy of Death in Perspective (#4).

Congrats to Karin Hamburg, my latest Mystery Minion for winning a Cherry Tucker swag pack.

Watch for upcoming contests related to the newest Cherry Tucker release, The Body in the Landscape (#5)!

Upcoming Events & Releases:

A Cherry Tucker Mystery #5, The Body in the Landscape
Releasing later this year.

Cherry Tucker's escaping problems in Halo with a trip to the Big Rack Hunting Lodge to paint the winning "kill portrait" for the hogzilla hunt contest. Between an accidental death and a serious of malicious pranks, Cherry fears the hunting party may be the prey for a vengeful stalker.

Look for the cover release on Dru's Book Musings this July!

In The Body, Cherry's new sleuthing companion, Buckshot, has four legs and a tail. Watch for the Guess the Breed Contest on Facebook!

Do you enjoy Southern Writers Magazine? Check out my March 2015 article, "Let's Do Lunch." I wrote the article about readers' luncheons because I love them. They're a wonderful way for readers and authors to meet on a casual yet more intimate level. A big thank you to authors Heather Leonard, Barbara Vey, and Hildie McQueen; readers Catherine Peterson and Maria Moody; and Wetumpka librarian Tammy Lynn for allowing me to quote them for this article.

What else am I working on?
  • Cherry Tucker #6 (untitled): Cherry's solving murders in an Independent Living Home
  • I'm waiting to hear what will happen with Fifteen Minutes, book one in the humorous mystery series: Maizie Albright: Star Detective.
  • Two Chicklit books:  The Golddigger, for my Easy, Georgia series and Biscuit Girl in Noodle Land, about a runaway bride from Georgia in Japan.

Western District Library Talk & Signing

(Orion, IL)
Cindy Sparkman basket winner

Thanks to all who came to Orion Library's signing! I loved meeting everyone & seeing so many old friends. What a wonderful last even before I move to Japan.:) I really enjoyed sharing a chapter from the upcoming Cherry Tucker mystery, The Body in the Landscape.

Book Club Buzz

Book Ends book club of Dahlonega, is getting a Cherry Tucker surprise! I look forward to meeting you on Skype soon!

If you're interested in Skyping me into your bookclub, give me a shout at Your evening book club meeting will be my morning in Japan. No problem!

Summer 2016 Book Tour!

I'll start planning my Summer 2016 Book Tour this summer and I need to know where to make my stops. Want to help?

Areas I'll definitely visit:

Eastern North Carolina

Atlanta, GA area especially metro-South

St. Louis, MO and Metro East (IL)

Northwestern IL (near the Quad Cities) 

Areas I might visit:

Dallas, TX area

Columbus, OH area

Areas I can visit:


Nashville or Chattanooga, TN

Kansas City

Raleigh/Durham, NC

North Georgia or the Savannah area

Western NC or Eastern SC

mid-Indiana and central KY

Central and Eastern IA



If you & your friends would like me to come to your town, please email me at and I'll try to arrange it as I criss-cross the country. 

I could also use friends to set up venues. If you don't have a connection to a library or book store, we can meet in a local coffee shop or eatery. I've done signings in coffee shops and those can be really fun. We just need to let the coffee shop know ahead of time and have it scheduled so we can get the word out!

I'd love to visit you while we're living in Japan. Please contact me and I'll see if I can arrange a trip to your country/city.

In the future, I might try to visit the UK as well...

I also will remain, as ever, on Facebook (particularly with the Mystery Minions Street Team), TwitterPinterestGoodreads, & Instagram. (Instagram: Particularly if you want pictures of anything weird I may eat. Or oddly written English signs. Or Japanese goats & other fauna.)

And we can all meet at my Facebook Release Party for The Body in the Landscape! Date and time TBA!