Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, Monday, mystery on February 19, 2018

Death by a Whisker: A Cat Rescue Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (February 13, 2018)
Hardcover: 320 pages

Getting used to life back home in Deer Park, North Carolina, Sydney McCall and her right-hand tabby, Toby, are helping her sister Kat run the local animal shelter. Syd and Kat are all excited about the prospect of the shelter’s newest fundraiser: shopping channel queen Ulla Townsend. Shelter admin Maggie Shayne vehemently refuses to have anything to do with the woman, but the fundraiser ensues as planned. That is, until Ulla turns up dead in the middle of the event.

The cause of death is determined to be an allergic reaction, but Syd and Toby are sniffing out something fishy. When Syd met Ulla, it was clear she was distasteful and rude. And right before the event, Syd spotted some behind-the-scenes drama between Ulla and her manager. As they begin to investigate, they realize there is no shortage of suspects, and Maggie is at the top of the list.

Now Syd and Toby must claw their way to the truth before everything goes paws up at their animal shelter in Death by a Whisker by national bestselling author T. C. LoTempio.

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Guest Post

OK You’ve written your book – now what do you call it?

T. C. LoTempio

You’ve spent hours, days, creating your little masterpiece, your baby, and finally – you’re done!  Now comes the hard part – what do you name it?

Sometimes thinking up a title for a book is even harder than the actual writing of the tome itself!  How do you come up with the perfect title? Well, I’ve found there are four things to consider:

  1. Make it Easy

A title that’s easy to remember goes a long way.  There are a few ways to make your title memorable:  Alliteration is always a good choice (Wind in the Willows, Christmas Carol).  Making it short is a good idea also:  Gone With the Wind, Little Women, Scarlet Letter.  OK, they’re classics but you get the idea.

  1. Hold their Interest

Just as your characters should be interesting, so should your title!  What makes a title interesting? Well, contradictory qualities help. (War and Peace)  Also, descriptive titles are eye-catching (Fahrenheit 451 comes to mind)

  1. Genre Indicative

Sometimes people like titles that clearly indicate the genre. For example, you’d hate to buy a book where the title indicates a romance and find out it’s a Neo-Nazi thriller instead, right?  Cozies are a good example of genre indicative titles, particularly where animals are concerned. My own series, which features a detective tuxedo cat, has titles like Meow if it’s Murder and Claws for Alarm.  Likewise the Cat Rescue seres, titled Purr M for Murder and Death by a Whisker. The titles don’t’ always have to refer to the feline characters, though. the Black Cat Bookshop series by Ali Brandon has titles that are more indicative of the location rather than the feline sleuth: Plot Boiler, Words with Fiends, A Novel Way to Die.

  1. Make ‘em Laugh!

Lastly, what attracts attention more than anything else?  A title with a bit of humor, or perhaps a “punny” one.  Many are inspired by popular movies:  Dead Witch Walking and For a Few Demons More, by Kim Harrison and Arsenic and Old Books and Twelve Angry Librarians by Miranda James are good examples.

You should research titles in your particular genre to see what the most popular titles are. What do they have in common?  Note the ones that seem particularly effective (sales figures help) and try to figure out how you might replicate them in terms of your own book.

Of course, the content of your novel should also be a factor.  Sometimes a line taken right out of the book can make a wonderful title. Check your text for memorable phrases or sentences.  Is there one line from the book that can sum it up?

Basically, a great title can be a popular expression, a play on words, an association of events – a title can be many things, but what it should be is something that will guide people right toward your book on the shelf!    A title, as long as it fits the story, can be simple.  And, as with writing, where choosing a title is concerned, practice makes perfect!


About the Author

fred-profileWhile Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic. She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – and in Spring 2017, the new CAT RESCUE msyteries from Crooked Lane! She, Rocco and company make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York.

ROCCO’s blogWebsiteFacebookTwitterGoodreads


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Posted in Cover Reveal, Cozy on February 19, 2018


Beauty is skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone. And doesn’t our Sheriff Kenni Lowry know that? Well, she knows a lot of things.

Lucy Lowell takes great pride in writing negative reviews in the local newspaper for anything that does not go her way. When Lucy is found dead, it appears to be from natural causes.

But Sheriff Kenni Lowry knows there is more to it because the ghost of her grandfather, the ex-sheriff, is standing over the body.

His presence can only mean one thing: Murder!

Since Kenni’s relationship with Deputy Finn Vincent has heated up, Kenni is having trouble conducting the investigation without Finn questioning her every move.

Can Kenni unravel the mystery on her own or will she have to tell Finn the real reason she knows it was murder—the ghost of her poppa?

It’s blowin’ up a storm and only Kenni knows how it’ll end.








































Dead as a Doornail by Tonya Kappes
will be available May 15 from Henery Press!

It is Available for Pre-Order Today!!

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Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book

Posted in 5 paws, Cozy, Monday, mystery, Review on February 12, 2018


Former soap opera actress Veronica Walsh is recovering from her first holiday season in the retail world when she is pulled from retirement to star in a community production of Blithe Spirit. Delighted to play the part of a medium, Veronica must soon also assume the role of amateur sleuth when she finds the play’s director shot dead behind the theater.

Teaming with stage manager Sophie Morrissey, Veronica’s hunt for clues to the murder of Gigi Swanson leads her to a cast of colorful behind-the-scenes characters and a stunning Act Three finale. Will it be a triumph for Veronica, or will the curtain close on more than her career?


Veronica Walsh is caught back up in a mystery and this time it hits close to home as the producer of the local community theater is killed.  Of course, Veronica has to investigate, that is her nature!  But at least this time she has the blessing of a local police detective to do some sleuthing and report back to her.

The mystery of this series is very well written.  In this installment, there are many likely candidates to be the murderer but it isn’t until the end when the truth is unwound that the killer is put in the spotlight.  I kept going back and forth between several characters, wanting them to be the murderer but with no real facts or evidence to support that desire.  I was a little bit surprised when the true killer was revealed, but not too much only because I had worked through most of the characters and there weren’t many characters left to be the killer.

There is an easy camaraderie between many of the main characters.  They are close friends and support each other in many ways, including doing crazy things to unearth a killer!

I have also enjoyed watching Veronica and Mark’s romantic relationship blossom.  It is very subdued in the book, but you can catch undercurrents of their appreciation for each other.

We give this book 5 paws up and eagerly await the next book!

About the Author

Jeanne Quigley grew up reading mysteries, watching soap operas, and vacationing in the Adirondacks, never imagining these pleasures would inspire the Veronica Walsh cozy mystery series. Jeanne’s love of characters—real and fictional—led her to study Sociology and English at the University of Notre Dame. Jeanne has never been a soap star, but she has worked in the music industry and for an education publisher. She resides in Rockland County, New York and is a member of the Sisters in Crime.

Website * Facebook * Goodreads

Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on February 10, 2018

Clairvoyant and Present Danger (A Bay Island Psychic Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Berkley (February 6, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages


Whoever said that dead men tell no tales has never met Cass Donnovan…

Cass has always relied on her abilities to guide her, but after communications with a ghost land her in the middle of a murder investigation, she has to wonder if her gifts are really more a curse.

Cass knows she is meant to help track down the killer–much to the chagrin of local law enforcement–when the apparition leads her to a dead body on the beach near her psychic shop, Mystical Musings. But the police are not the only ones who wish Cass would stick to reading palms. Someone is trying to scare her off, and it will take all her powers of premonition to catch the killer before Cass herself becomes the next victim…

Amazon * B&N * Kobo * Penguin * BAM

Guest Post

Do You Believe in Ghosts?

By Lena Gregory

Whether or not ghosts exist is a big debate in my house. My daughter and I firmly believe in ghosts, while my husband and one of my sons do not. My youngest son, Logan, who is only seven years old, has no firm opinion yet, but he is part of the reason I believe so strongly. Of course, I had other…encounters before these, but that’s another story.

My younger brother, Chris, passed away when my son was only four months old. Chris and I shared a love of reading, especially mysteries, and I often feel his presence while I’m writing. Chris always had the best hair, thick, full, and loaded with natural highlights. And he always kept it long, at least past his shoulders, even after he became an air traffic controller.

Late one night—we don’t keep normal hours in my house—I was sitting on my bed writing.

My youngest, who was about two at the time, was lying across the bottom of the bed watching his iPad. He looked over, then past me, and frowned. “Who’s that?” he asked.

I turned around but didn’t see anything. “Who’s what?”

“That guy with the long hair?”

I jumped and spun toward the direction he indicated—because, you know, that freaked me out a little—but I still didn’t see anything.

He just shrugged and went back to watching his show as if nothing unusual had happened.

I continued writing, a little spooked but kind of comforted too. I’d always felt Chris’s presence, but Logan kind of confirmed it.

Four generations of my family lived in the same small town, and most of those who have passed on are buried in the local cemetery, so Logan and I often walk through the cemetery, and Logan collects rocks and sticks to leave on the headstones.

One day, while we were walking through the cemetery, alone, he pointed toward a small, closed, locked storage shed in the middle of the cemetery, not far from my mother-in-law’s grave. “I want to go in there,” he said.

“In where?” I asked.

“In that house where the lady just went.”

I’m not gonna lie. We left, then. Quickly. Because believing in ghosts in an odd, detached sort of way is one thing, but I can assure you, having your two-year-old point out a woman entering a locked building in a completely deserted cemetery is something else entirely.

While writing Cass’s story, I tried to keep that debate in mind. Cass sort of believes in ghosts, but she doesn’t believe she actually talks to them. She thinks she uses years of psychiatric training and her uncanny ability to interpret people’s feelings to form a logical opinion and turn it into a “reading.” Of course, her customers think otherwise.

Her friend, Stephanie, believes completely.

Bee is another story. He swears he doesn’t believe in any of that mumbo-jumbo, but he really goes out of his way to avoid anything otherworldly. So, is he a true non-believer, or is he terrified ghosts might actually be real? I’ll leave it up to you to figure it out.

So, what do you think? Do you believe in ghosts? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think and if you’ve had any experiences that contributed to your opinion.

About the Author

Lena lives in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island with her husband and three children.

When she was growing up, she spent many lazy afternoons on the beach, in the yard, anywhere she could find to curl up with a good book. She loves reading as much now as she did then, but she now enjoys the added pleasure of creating her own stories.



There are 2 giveaways on this stop!

I am giving away an e-book copy from Amazon
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There is also this tourwide giveaway!

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on February 8, 2018

A Well-Timed Murder (Agnes Luthi Mysteries)
International Mystery
2nd in Series
Minotaur Books (February 6, 2018)
Hardcover: 352 pages


Swiss-American police officer Agnes Lüthi is on leave in Lausanne, Switzerland, recovering from injuries she sustained in her last case, when an old colleague invites her to the world’s premier watch and jewelry trade show at the grand Messe Basel Exhibition Hall. Little does Agnes know, another friend of hers, Julien Vallotton, is at the same trade show—and he’s looking for Agnes. Julien Vallotton was friends with Guy Chavanon, a master of one of Switzerland’s oldest arts: watchmaking. Chavanon died a week ago, and his daughter doesn’t believe his death was accidental. Shortly before he died, Chavanon boasted that he’d discovered a new technique that would revolutionize the watchmaking industry, and she believes he may have been killed for it. Reluctantly, Agnes agrees to investigate his death. But the world of Swiss watchmaking is guarded and secretive, and before she realizes it, Agnes may be walking straight into the path of a killer.

Tracee de Hahn’s next mystery, A Well-Timed Murder, is another magnetic mystery that will engross readers from the opening page to the stunning conclusion.

IndieBound * Books-a-Million * Apple

Guest Post

Today we welcome Tracee to StoreyBook Reviews and she shares with us what inspired this book.

A book about watches? Not exactly. Although I did start writing A Well-Timed Murder with watches on my mind. More accurately I wanted to showcase Baselworld, the amazing annual watch, jewelry and gemstone extravaganza. I strolled through the show, putting myself in the mind of a criminal, then in the mind of my protagonist, Agnes Lüthi. Theft? Murder? Both easily imaginable.


But A Well-Timed Murder is also about timing outside of time-keeping watches. So much in life depends on timing – we have all imagined what would have happened if we’d arrived a moment earlier at the scene of a traffic accident if we’d taken a different class in college and not met the man we married. How does timing play into love and life? How does it affect what product sells and what languishes on the shelves?

When a well-known watchmaker dies in A Well-Timed Murder, Agnes is pulled into the investigation by her friend, the aristocratic Julien Vallotton. Delving into the world of precision and luxury timepieces, time and timing take on more importance. Was it Guy Chavanon’s involvement with time that caused his death, or was it a mistake of timing?

To find Chavanon’s killer Agnes steeps herself in the roots of the watchmaking industry, all the while wondering if she is making a mistake by ignoring where he died, the seemingly innocuous boarding school his son attends. My husband’s influence can be felt in the introduction of a boarding school. He started at a Swiss boarding school when he was barely nine, a bit young in my opinion (again, timing!). I’ve enjoyed our trips to his school to visit former teachers and reunite with fellow students and always found it an amazing melting pot of sorts. The students come from all over the world bringing their respective languages and cultures together during the crucial teenage years. My fictional boarding school was another opportunity to think about timing – and while I won’t give anything away, it plays a significant role in the life of the headmistress.

Timing also plays a role in Agnes’s personal life. While she’s on the trail of the killer, her attention is pulled toward Julien Vallotton, a man who easily inhabits the world of luxury watches. They met at a significant moment in her life – a few months after the death of her husband and during her first murder case. Isn’t there a saying about relationships that start under pressure? Typically it doesn’t bode well. Agnes and Julien have a chance to test this in A Well-Timed Murder. His background and daily life are – in her mind – so far removed from hers that a relationship seems impossible. His attention plays into her insecurities and challenges her to think about the next phase of her life. A life without her husband.

Ultimately timing will play a role in Agnes’s hunt for Chavanon’s killer and in the possibility of new love. And timing will set the killer on the path of his next victim.

About the Author

Tracee de Hahn is the author of the Agnes Lüthi mysteries, which were inspired by her years living in Switzerland. Prior to writing full time she practiced architecture and was head of university alumni relations at a major west coast university. Currently, she and her Swiss-architect husband live in southwest Virginia with their Jack Russell Terriers. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America.

Website * Facebook * TwitterPinterest * Instagram * Goodreads


There are 2 giveaways!

This first is a hardback copy of A Well Timed Murder (open to US residents only) that I am hosting.

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The second is a tour wide giveaway and includes a copy of the book and some swag.

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on February 4, 2018

The Phantom of Oz (An Ivy Meadows Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Henery Press (January 30, 2018)
Paperback: 268 pages


Creepy munchkins. A mysterious phantom. And a real Wicked Witch. Are you ready for it?

Actress and part-time PI Ivy Meadows has been hired to uncover the cause of the creepy accidents that plague the roadshow The Wizard: A Space OZpera and find out who dropped a chandelier on the Wicked Witch of the East.

Was it the ghost who haunts the Grand Phoenician Theatre? A “wicked witch” in the cast? Or is it someone—or something—more sinister?

It’s Ivy’s most personal case so far.

Her best friend Candy, who’s touring with the show, is caught in a downward spiral of self-destruction, and is in more danger than she knows.

To save her friend and the show, Ivy must answer even tougher questions: Do spirits really exist? What is real beauty? What does friendship mean?

Ivy needs to learn the answers, and fast—before Candy reaches the point of no return.

Books in the Ivy Meadows Humorous Mystery Series:

MacDeath (#1)
The Sound of Murder (#2)
Oliver Twisted (#3)
Ivy Get Your Gun (#4)
The Phantom of Oz (#5)

About the Author

Cindy Brown has been a theater geek (musician, actor, director, producer, and playwright) since her first professional gig at age 14. Now a full-time writer, she’s lucky enough to have garnered several awards (including 3rd place in the 2013 international Words With Jam First Page Competition, judged by Sue Grafton!) and is an alumnus of the Squaw Valley Writers Workshop. Though Cindy and her husband now live in Portland, Oregon, she made her home in Phoenix, Arizona, for more than 25 years and knows all the good places to hide dead bodies in both cities.

Website * Twitter * Facebook


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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on February 3, 2018

Vangie Vale & the Strangled Strudel (The Matchbaker Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Montana
Hummingbird Books (January 4, 2018)
Print Length: 330 pages


You could call it the straw that broke the camel’s back but it was more like a Montana forest timber.
Just when Vangie Vale’s life was getting back to normal after a murder that rocked her little Rocky Mountain tourist town, she found herself in the middle of another murder… as the chief suspect.

Vangie stood shocked on the side of the curb as the sheriff stretched yellow crime scene tape around the front of her new bakery. Wouldn’t this make a lovely headline in next week’s paper: Local Baker Kills Parishioner With Pudding. Vangie’s road back to good graces as a part-time pastor was bumpy enough already. This would be a roadblock. Can’t have that.

Guest Post

My Fan Group

On Facebook, I have a wonderful group of Vangie’s friends who all congregate with me to talk about the books and our lives. We occasionally talk about Vangie, and as I was preparing for this book tour, I asked them if they had any topics for me to talk about in my guest posts. I borrowed some of their questions to write about. Here are some of the ones they posted.

* How did Vangie start baking?

Both her mother and grandmother were great bakers. They used to bake for every holiday and every special occasion, and Vangie learned from them. When they died—her mother first, and her grandmother after that—Vangie started baking as a way to connect with them. So, in a very real way, she bakes as an expression of love.

* What’s her favorite thing to eat or cook?

Vangie loves sandwiches, of all kinds. But she has a special fondness for grilled cheese sandwiches. That’s one of the things Derek noticed about her when she was recovering from a gunshot wound. She made grilled cheese sandwiches of every kind, using every bread and every cheese she could get her hands on. It’s also insanely easy to make. She does like that since she doesn’t like spending a lot of time taking care of herself. That sounds familiar for a lot of us, I imagine.

* What made her want to be a pastor?

Vangie has always felt a lot of responsibility for other people. And she loves the hands-on work of the church. She likes being able to counsel people and give spiritual direction but to refer them when they have psychological issues beyond her ability to handle. There are very clear boundaries for her, and she likes that. Except when it comes to people she feels responsible for. Then, the boundaries of the law are… fuzzy. J

* If she could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would she go and why?

Hawaii or Jamaica or somewhere that is 100% beach. She loves the feel and smell and sound of the beach. The best vacation she ever went on was to Puerto Vallarta. She loved the way the forest seemed to swallow up the land, all the way to where the beach started. It was beautiful. But next time, she really wants to go somewhere that’s all water and sand. She grew up going to the Outer Banks all the time, so she likes the ocean. It’s probably her favorite place in the world. OBX forever.

About the Author

Rebecca Syme writes small town romance as Becca Boyd and cozy mystery as R.L. Syme. She is a long-time foodie and loves fancy cheese. Becca calls the mountains of Montana her home and draws inspiration from the beautiful vistas and heartwarming people. She is the USA Today bestselling author of the Line of Fire series of sweet romances and part of the Chick Tales series set in Somewhere, TX. You can find her on Twitter talking #fancycheese or #Chopped, and on Facebook with her fans in Becca Nation.

WebsiteFacebookBecca Nation FacebookTwitterGoodReadsAmazon Author Page


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Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, Monday, mystery, Review on January 22, 2018

Murder of a Good Man (A Piney Woods Mystery) by Teresa Trent
Cozy Mystery

1st in Series
Setting – Texas
Camel Press (January 15, 2018)
Paperback: 256 pages


When Nora Alexander drives into Piney Woods, Texas, to fulfill her dying mother’s last wish, she has no idea what awaits her. First she is run off the road, then the sealed letter she delivers turns out to be a scathing rebuke to the town’s most beloved citizen and favored candidate for Piney Woods Pioneer: Adam Brockwell. Next thing you know, Adam has been murdered in a nasty knife attack. Suspicion instantly falls on Nora, one of the last people to see him alive. After all, everyone in Piney Woods loved him. Or did they? Nora learns that her mother had a complicated past she never shared with her daughter. Told not to leave town by Tuck the flirty sheriff, Nora finds a job with Tuck’s Aunt Marty trying to get the rundown Tunie Hotel back in the black. The old hotel was Piney Woods’ heart and soul in its heyday as an oil boomtown. Now the secrets it harbors may be the key to getting Nora off the hook. She’s going to need to solve the mystery quickly to avoid arrest, or worse: becoming the killer’s next victim.


An intriguing start to a new series set in the Piney Woods of East Texas. And since I have family in East Texas, I felt like I was right at home.

Nora is a strong and independent woman that is on one last mission for her mother, to bring a letter to a man in this small Texas town. However, less than 24 hours later he is murdered and Nora is the prime suspect. And as with all cozies, she has to uncover the truth as to who murdered Adam Brockwell and clear her name.

There are quite a few interesting town citizens that play an important role in helping Nora uncover the truth and clear her name. And by getting to know these people, she also makes some friends and learns some history about her mom that she never knew before arriving in this town.

The mystery was quite an adventure and I think I only suspected this character because there was no one else that seemed a likely suspect. There were some clues but not many to try and decipher the motive and reasoning for Adam’s death.

It would be remiss to omit a budding romance and Nora has caught the Sheriff’s eye. He is quite smitten with her and there are a few witty comments he makes that will definitely make you chuckle.

There is even a touch of the paranormal to this story and it added an intriguing twist.

We give it 4 paws up.

About the Author

Teresa Trent lives in Houston, Texas and is an award-winning mystery writer.  She writes the Pecan Bayou Mystery Series, is a regular contributor to the Happy Homicides Anthologies. Teresa is happy to add her Henry Park Mystery Series to her publishing credits with Color Me Dead, the first book in the series. Teresa has also won awards for her work in short stories where she loves to dabble in tales that are closer to the Twilight Zone than small town cozies. When Teresa isn’t writing, she is a full-time caregiver for her son and teaches preschoolers music part-time. Her favorite things include spending time with family and friends, waiting for brownies to come out of the oven, and of course, a good mystery.

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Posted in Book Release, Cozy, mystery on January 20, 2018

I’m a little late announcing this new release, but I do love this series and have this book on my Kindle to read (just a bit behind!).


What does Eli Marks have up his sleeve this time? Well, let me tell you, no matter the mystery, his sleight of hand always does the trick.

Eli’s trip to London with his uncle Harry quickly turns homicidal when the older magician finds himself accused of murder. Not Uncle Harry!

A second slaying does little to take the spotlight off Harry. Instead it’s clear someone is knocking off Harry’s elderly peers in bizarrely effective ways. But who?
The odd gets odder when the prime suspect appears to be a bitter performer with a grudge…who committed suicide over thirty years before.

While Eli struggles to prove his uncle’s innocence—and keep them both alive—he finds himself embroiled in a battle of his own: a favorite magic routine of his has been ripped off by another hugely popular magician.

What began as a whirlwind vacation to London with girlfriend Megan turns into a fatal and larcenous trip into the dark heart of magic within the city’s oldest magic society, The Magic Circle.

No one does intriguing magic and page-turning humor like John Gaspard. Pick it up and see if you can figure out the trick first.

If you have not read this series yet, you can pick up the first book, The Ambitious Card, for just $0.99 on Amazon right now!

There is also this FREE short story, The Invisible Assistant available.

Comments Off on #NewRelease – The Linking Rings by John Gaspard @jgaspard2 #mystery #cozy
Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on January 20, 2018

Murder at Fantasia Fair: A Provincetown Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
HomePort Press (September 28, 2017)
Paperback: 282 pages


Wedding coordinator Sydney Riley never thought she’d get caught up in a murder investigation, but she became an amateur sleuth when her boss was killed during Bear Week. Now she’s back, this time as the Race Point Inn hosts Provincetown’s venerable transgender event, Fantasia Fair… and murder is once again an uninvited guest!

It’s all hands on deck at the inn as visitors arrive for the week-long event and Sydney helps coordinator Rachel Parsons organize the occasion. Guest Elizabeth Gonzalez is attending with her spouse, Bob, who–as Angela–is taking a bold first step into a whole new existence. Angela, Elizabeth, and Sydney learn the ropes and politics from other guests, some of whom have attended annually for more than forty years.

But the next day, Sydney’s detective friend summons her to one of the town beaches where Angela’s body has been found–with a knife in her back, a knife stolen from Adrienne, the Race Point Inn’s diva chef.

Fair organizers and attendees try and carry on as Provincetown is overrun with police, press, and rampant speculation. Sydney, her boyfriend Ali, her friend Mirela, her boss Glenn, and a host of Fantasia Fair participants scramble to find out who killed Angela–and why–before the killer strikes again.

Guest Post

Today, character Sydney Riley joins us and shares some poignant thoughts with us!

They tell me I drink too much Diet Coke.

Actually, National Public Radio recently had a story on artificial sweeteners and it concluded that there’s no evidence of a link between the sweeteners and cancer. NPR notwithstanding, my boss is always getting on my case about the Diet Coke. It’s not that he has to pay for it—I don’t generally get my fix from the bar at the Race Point Inn, which is where I work as wedding coordinator—but he knows I’m one of the reasons the inn fills up in the summer, and he doesn’t want to take any chances with my health.

I was drinking Diet Coke the afternoon of the wedding I’d arranged on the Bay Lady, one of the two schooners that berth in Provincetown in the summertime. We generally do our weddings right at the inn—we have a lovely patio with a trellis and a bower and the whole wedding nine yards—but these guests wanted theirs to be “at sea,” and so I arranged for it. The captain would officiate, I got Adrienne our diva chef to do the catering, and the string quartet from the Cape Cod Symphony agreed to come along for the private sunset sail around the harbor.

In other words, everything was perfectly aligned for a hands-free, straightforward wedding, and believe me when I tell you that there aren’t enough of those!

I wasn’t planning on actually going on the schooner myself. Adrienne’s delicacies had been delivered; the string quartet was in their evening dress, looking a little lost at the end of MacMillan Pier as if they were posing for a fashion shoot with an unlikely backdrop; and now the limo carrying the bride and groom was pulling up. The bride saw me and realized that she really couldn’t handle all these people on her own and she needed somebody to orchestrate—no pun intended—the event. So it looked like I was going on a harbor cruise after all.

Like I said, it should have been a straightforward wedding. I’d forgotten that one of my talents is attracting dead bodies.

The Bay Lady typically has two crew members besides the captain. There was an additional one on for this cruise, a waitress to serve the champagne and delicacies after the ceremony itself. She’d gotten there early to take the dips and hors d’oeuvres onboard, and presumably was in the small area below-decks arranging it all.

I’d had one too many Diet Cokes, though, and so as soon as I was on board I headed down there myself to use the bathroom. And found the door blocked.

By the waitress. Who was dead.

If I ever write the definitive book for wedding planners, I’m going to specify that death and weddings absolutely do not go together. Avoid that combination at any cost. The bride promptly had hysterics. The groom looked like he was going to be sick—and, a moment later carried through with it. The guests and the string quartet stood on the pier looking dazed. And the police arrived.

What does the savvy wedding planner do when a body shows up at the ceremony? She moves the ceremony, of course! I called a friend who’s an officiant and told her to meet us at the inn. I called Adrienne and ordered new hors d’oeuvres, pronto. I called a couple of taxis and got them to whisk everyone back to the Race Point as soon as the police took names and numbers and released them (nobody had seen anything, anyway). Fair means or foul, I was going to get this wedding done.

And please understand that this body had nothing to do with me. Really. Yeah, it’s true that I’ve come across murders during several of Provincetown’s theme weeks—Bear Week and Fantasia Fair in particular—but this one wasn’t a murder, it was a suicide (she poisoned herself, as it turned out, and had planned to slip over the side once the schooner was out in the harbor, only it was faster-acting than she’d assumed), as I pointed out to my friend Julie, who’s the head of Provincetown Police’s detective unit.

Julie was unimpressed. “You still are the one who found the body,” she pointed out.

“Only because of the Diet Coke,” I protested.

Maybe I should consider giving it up, after all.

About the Author

Jeannette de Beauvoir grew up in Angers, France, but has lived in the United States since her twenties. (No, she’s not going to say how long ago that was!) She spends most of her time inside her own head, which is great for writing, though possibly not so much for her social life. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or traveling… to inspire her writing. The author of a number of mystery and historical novels, de Beauvoir’s work has appeared in 15 countries and has been translated into 12 languages. Midwest Review called her Martine LeDuc Montréal series “riveting (…) demonstrating her total mastery of the mystery/suspense genre.” She coaches and edits individual writers, teaches writing online and on Cape Cod, and is currently writing a Provincetown Theme Week cozy mystery series featuring female sleuth Sydney Riley.

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