Posted in Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on December 12, 2017

The Tulip Shirt Murders
Mystery – Humorous
2nd in Series
Sandpiper Productions (November 15, 2017)
Paperback -246 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-0999459805
E-Book ASIN: B077CSZ53X

Private investigator Delanie Fitzgerald, and her computer hacker partner, Duncan Reynolds, are back for more sleuthing in The Tulip Shirt Murders. When a local music producer hires the duo to find out who is bootlegging his artists’ CDs, Delanie uncovers more than just copyright thieves. And if chasing bootleggers isn’t bad enough, local strip club owner and resident sleaze, Chaz Smith, pops back into Delanie’s life with more requests. The police have their man in a gruesome murder, but the loud-mouthed strip club owner thinks there is more to the open and shut case. Delanie and Duncan link a series of killings with no common threads. And they must put the rest of the missing pieces together before someone else is murdered.

The Tulip Shirt Murders is a fast-paced mystery that appeals to readers who like a strong female sleuth with a knack for getting herself in and out of humorous situations such as larping and trading elbow jabs with roller derby queens.

 

Scribd * 24Symbols * Playster

Guest Post

A Playlist for My Novel, The Tulip Shirt Murders

Thank you so much for letting me visit today. The Tulip Shirt Murders is the second novel in my Delanie Fitzgerald mystery series. She is my sassy private investigator who zips around Central Virginia in her black Mustang (usually with the radio blaring).

I love music. It has always been a huge part of my life, and I have playlists for reading, writing, editing, and revising. Music is always on at home or work. (As I write this, the Zac Brown Band is blasting on my computer speakers.) I love all kinds of genres, but I seem to gravitate back to songs from the Big ‘80s. Songs from my high school and college days will always be my favorites. And that era plays a huge role in the first novel in my series, Secret Lives and Private Eyes.

Private investigator Delanie Fitzgerald, and her computer hacker partner, Duncan Reynolds, are back for more sleuthing in The Tulip Shirt Murders. When a local music producer hires the duo to find out who is bootlegging his artists’ CDs, Delanie uncovers more than just copyright thieves. And if chasing bootleggers isn’t bad enough, local strip club owner and resident sleaze, Chaz Smith, pops back into Delanie’s life with more requests. The police have their man in a gruesome murder, but the loud-mouthed strip club owner thinks there is more to the open and shut case. Delanie and Duncan link a series of killings with no common threads. And they must put the rest of the missing pieces together before someone else is murdered.

In this book, Delanie learns about larping, trades elbow jabs with roller derby queens, has her car stolen, tracks down some bungling bootleggers, and chases down a serial killer.

So here’s my playlist for The Tulip Shirt Murders. These songs make me think of Delanie, her fiesty spirit, her nose for trouble, and of course, her beloved Mustang.  (Click on the links to watch the videos)

  1. Adam Ant’s “Goody Two Shoes”
  2. Robbin Thompson’s “Candy Apple Red”
  3. Kelly Pickler’s “Red High Heels”
  4. Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song”
  5. Robbin Thompson’s “Sweet Virginia Breeze”
  6. Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive”
  7. Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark”
  8. Jake Owen’s “Barefoot Blue Jean Night”
  9. Keith Urban’s “Jeans on”
  10. Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”
  11. The Beach Boys’ “Fun, Fun, Fun”
  12. Wilson Pickett’s “Mustang Sally”
  13. Chuck Berry’s “My Mustang Ford”
  14. Jason Aldean’s “Tattoos on This Town”
  15. Toby Keith’s “Whiskey Girl”
  16. Rascal Flatts’ “Fast Cars and Freedom”
  17. Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise”
  18. Rascal Flatts’ “Life is a Highway”
  19. Jim Croce’s “Roller Derby Queen”
  20. George Jones’ “White Lightnin’”
  21. Brad Paisley’s “Moonshine in the Trunk”
  22. Mark Wills’ “Nineteen Something”
  23. Bowling for Soup’s “1985”
  24. And of course, Hall and Oates’ “Private Eyes”

Music is such a big part of our lives. We remember lyrics from songs that were popular ages ago, and it invokes a variety of emotions. This list makes me think of my sassy character and the adventures she has as she tries to track down bootleggers and a serial killer.

SBR here – I watched several of these videos and they put me in a dancin’ mood!  Plus many are what I grew up with way back when.  Definitely take a peek!

 

About the  Author

Heather WeidnerHeather Weidner’s short stories appear in Virginia is for Mysteries and Virginia is for Mysteries Volume II. Currently, she is President of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, and a member of Guppies and Lethal Ladies Write. Secret Lives and Private Eyes is her debut novel.

Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.

Heather earned her BA in English from Virginia Wesleyan College and her MA in American literature from the University of Richmond. Through the years, she has been a technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager.

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December 11 – Lori’s Reading Corner – GUEST POST

December 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

December 12 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

December 13 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 13 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

December 14 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – SPOTLIGHT

December 14 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

December 15 – Ceticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 16 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 17 – Varietats – REVIEW

December 18 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

December 19 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW

December 20 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – REVIEW

Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on December 8, 2017

Mister Mottley and the Dying Fall
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Incorrigible Publishing (October 27, 2017)

Synopsis

The only way out is a long way down.

Edmund Mottley, Specialist in Discreet Enquiries, is in a precarious position: his old flame Susan needs his help. Her new fiance is accused of murder, and she wants Mottley to clear his name.

Mottley would rather jump off a cliff than get involved, but when Susan is threatened by a shadowy crime syndicate, Mottley leaps to her aid.

Mottley and Baker, his intrepid valet, pursue the case to an island of otherworldly beauty. But the island is haunted by secrets, treachery, madness, and … something more.

Every clue crumbles under their feet, pushing Mottley’s powers of deduction — and Baker’s loyalty — to the limit. With his own life on the line, can Mottley save Susan before time runs out?

The Mottley & Baker Mysteries are classic whodunnits set in the Golden Age of 1930’s traditional detectives. If you like Miss Marple’s pastoral puzzles or Albert Campion’s rollicking adventures, you’ll fall hard for this cozy historical mystery.

Guest Post

 

The only way out is a long way down.

Edmund Mottley, Specialist in Discreet Enquiries, is in a precarious position: his old flame Susan needs his help. Her new fiancé is accused of murder, and she wants Mottley to clear his name.

Mottley would rather jump off a cliff than get involved, but when Susan is threatened by a shadowy crime syndicate, Mottley leaps to her aid.

Mottley and Baker, his intrepid valet, pursue the case to an island of otherworldly beauty. But the island is haunted by secrets, treachery, madness, and … something more.

Every clue crumbles under their feet, pushing Mottley’s powers of deduction — and Baker’s loyalty — to the limit. With his own life on the line, can Mottley save Susan before time runs out?

The Mottley & Baker Mysteries are classic whodunnits set in the Golden Age of 1930’s traditional detectives. If you like Miss Marple’s pastoral puzzles or Albert Campion’s rollicking adventures, you’ll fall hard for this cozy historical mystery adventure.

Excerpt

The atmosphere in the Albion Club could never be called vivacious, but on a dark and chilly October afternoon, with a fire blazing and the lamps lit, it was positively soporific. For Edmund Mottley, Specialist in Discreet Enquiries, it was a refuge when one of his many aliases might have attracted unwelcome attention.

It was also an excellent place to catch up on missed sleep. He was just resting his sleek, caramel-coloured head on the red leather wing of his favourite armchair, the protective camouflage of The Times slipping from his fingers, when a well-known face, red and square as a child’s toy hay barn, was thrust into his own.

“Mottley!”

“Bah!” Mottley sat up. “Oh, it’s you. You might have given me apoplexy.”

“Look here, Mottley, it’s about this bounder Susan’s engaged to…”

“You’ve let your sister get engaged to a bounder?” Mottley tutted as he refolded The Times. “Very remiss of you, George. I may have to report you to the Committee.”

“Well, that’s rich!” George Parton snorted. “Your sister could be engaged to five people at once and you’d never know.”

“Of course I would,” Mottley replied. “She’d ring me just to crow about it.”

George scrubbed at his close-cropped brown hair. From the laces tied askew on his shining wingtips, to the missed patch of shaving soap behind his left ear, it was plain that the phlegmatic George was driven to distraction – or as near to it as he was likely to come.

Mottley leaned back in his chair. “But laying aside my sister (as she’s well accustomed to), tell me more about this bounder. What’s his name, for instance?”

“Kenward. Denis Kenward.”

“I hate him already. And what proof have we of his bounderism, notwithstanding his pernicious habit of becoming engaged to the fair Susan? I’m all ears, as the cornfield said to the scarecrow.”

“I do wish you’d shut up, Mottley. I mean, it’s frightfully serious.”

“Sorry, old bean, go on.”

“He’s murdered someone.”

Mottley pursed his lips. He stared at his old friend, slowly turning his head to regard him out of one eye, like a falcon contemplating a distant rabbit.  George blinked, and Mottley was gone. He shifted himself in a hurry, to follow Mottley’s rapidly-disappearing form into the dining-room.

He found Mottley perched, tailor-fashion, on the dining-room table, the newspaper crumpled beside him.

“What are you doing?” George yelped. “That’s unsanitary.”

“It’s the only room where all approaches are visible. Now, when you say murder…”

“They think he threw some cove over a cliff.”

Mottley leaned on his elbows, his chin propped on his index fingers. “Start at the beginning and don’t leave anything out.”

George pulled out a dining chair and sat. “You see, Kenward’s old man was some sort of industrial genius – invented a new kind of collar stud or what not. Made a bloody packet out of it, along with his business partner. This past spring, Dad joins the great majority and Kenward beetles about winding up the estate. Well, the wheels of the probate court grind slowly but they grind exceedingly small, and it turns out the business partner has been diddling the books. The company’s worth two pencils and an old soup tin, and there is no estate. There’s an awful row, and the business partner, name of Dismore, obligingly goes and falls over a cliff. It looks bad, Mottley – very bad.”

“Over a cliff? Kenward and Dismore? Collar studs, indeed. My dear idiot, you’re talking about Pneumatic Industrial Automation!” Mottley took up the newspaper and shook it. “It’s the biggest sinking since 1912 – they’re playing ‘Nearer my God to Thee’ at Bank junction, and Wall Street’s not safe for pedestrians.”

“Yes, well, there you are then.”

Mottley perused the front page. “I see it doesn’t name the son – what is it, Denis?”

“Oh, not in The Times. The tabloid press are using his name all right,” said George.

“Has he been arrested?”

“Not yet, more’s the pity. No body found, no inquest, no charges.”

“More’s the pity?” Mottley whistled long and low. “It’s one thing to take a scunner at the chap, but you’d see him hang?

“No, no, no.” George shifted in his chair. “Of course not. I just want Susan shot of him.”

Mottley levered himself to the edge of the table and let his legs dangle. “What is it you want me to do, exactly?”

“Well… Can’t you convince her that the sort of fellow who gets himself mixed up in this sort of thing isn’t the sort who is… our sort?”

“Do you really think Susan’s disposed to take my opinion on anything?”

A sudden recollection made George grimace. “Never mind all that. If you’d just nose about a bit, I’m sure you can find something that will put her off him. He’s a nasty bit of work. I’ve always thought so, but she just won’t see it.”

“You’re asking me to take this on?” Mottley hopped off the table. He leaned back on his hands and shook his head. “George, when I take a case, I look for the truth. Innocent or guilty.”

George stood. He set his jaw. Mottley knew too well the set of a Parton jaw was not to be trifled with.

George turned to go. Over his shoulder he remarked, “Come round for drinks tonight. Kenward will be there. You’ll see. Just try to talk some sense into Susan. She listens to you.”

Mottley muttered to his friend’s back, “News to me.”

About the Author

Ellen Seltz worked in the entertainment industry for twenty years, from Miami to New York and points in between. Her primary roles were actress and producer, but she also served as a comedy sketch writer, librettist, voice artist, propmaster, costumer, production assistant, camera operator and general dogsbody.

She turned to fiction writing in the vain hope that the performers would do as they were told. Joke’s on her.

Ellen is a native of Birmingham, Alabama, where she now lives with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys vegetable gardening and vintage-style sewing.

Website Join my mailing list and receive a free copy of Book 1, Mister Mottley Gets His Man.

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November 29 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 30 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

December 1 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

December 2 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

December 3 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT

December 4 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – REVIEW

December 5 – Island Confidential – GUEST POST

December 6 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

December 7 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

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December 9 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW

December 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW

December 11 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

December 12 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on December 6, 2017

The Culinary Art of Murder (The Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
The Wives of Bath Press (November 27, 2017)
Print Length: 281 pages

Synopsis

Lee’s Uncle ‘Tío’ is smitten with a visiting chef at a Silicon Valley culinary arts institute. When the lady is arrested for two murders, a fellow chef and the dishwasher, Lee Alvarez, lead investigator for Discretionary Inquiries, Inc., the family owned detective agency, agrees to help find the real killer. But undercover work at the institute proves to be more difficult than whipping up a chocolate soufflé. The killer tries to get Lee out of the way and permanently. But just who is it? The lady chef? One of her two sons? Or one of the other inmates from a cooking school with secrets as plentiful as sauces? Can Lee find the real killer before her own goose is cooked? And if it turns out to be the ambitious southern belle chef, will Tío ever forgive Lee for sending his new lady love to jail?

Guest Post

On my mother, The-Never-Had-A-Bad-Hair-Day, Lila Hamilton Alvarez

By

Lee Alvarez

 

My mother makes me crazy. I say this because she is perfect. I once heard a joke that went like this: Two men are drinking at a bar. One man says to the other, “What brings you here every night? For me, my wife can’t do anything right. I can’t stand being around her.” The second man shakes his head and replies, “It’s not my wife’s faults that are killing me. It’s her virtues.” The first man says, “Wow! You have my sympathy. That’s even worse.”

I can relate to the second man’s point of view like nobody’s business. All my life I have lived in the shadow of the most beautiful, in-control, stylish, intelligent, and knowledgeable woman on this planet, my mother, the Blond Ice Princess.

Since I was a little kid, my girlfriends used to tell me how lucky I was to have such a ‘with it and gorgeous’ mom. When I got a little older, all my boyfriends developed huge crushes on her. I think most of them hung out with me, just to get to her.

When Dad was alive, he said Mom was the only woman alive to clean fish in a beaded Halston gown. Mom would respond, while arching one of her eyebrows, that she didn’t see anything wrong with that, because she always wore an apron. Then they’d both laugh. It was a running joke between them.

These two were seriously in love. Dad worshiped Mom and Mom adored Dad. They were a modern day Romeo and Juliet, he the Mexican immigrant made good, and her the Palo Alto blueblood.

I’m told I take after my father in nearly every way. Dark hair, twilight colored eyes, fiery temper. When I was a kid, everybody said, “Lee’s got Roberto’s features but not his fixtures.”

Not that anyone ever said this around Mom. First of all, too crude. Gender-based innuendos are not made around L. H. Alvarez. She would be scandalized. And secondly, my mother can’t stand it when people use nicknames or abbreviations. She calls it lazy. I have been called Liana, since I dropped out of the womb. Whoops. Scratch that remark. Back to being too crude.

And what really makes her crazy – ha ha – is how at the tender age of eleven, I became enamored of Dashiell Hammett, the quintessential writer of hard-boiled detective stories. Dad had given me a set of the famous writer’s books for my birthday and, man oh man, it changed my life. I never looked back. Becoming a PI was the next logical step.

You could say I cut my teeth on Sam Spade. That’s who I emulate. Of course, I like to wear a Vera Wang and sip on a Starbuck’s mocha latté as I emulate.

Well, after all, I am my mother’s daughter.

About the Author

heather-havenAfter studying drama at the University of Miami in Florida, Heather went to Manhattan to pursue a career. There she wrote short stories, comedy acts, television treatments, ad copy, commercials, and two one-act plays, which were produced, among other places, at the famed Playwrights Horizon. Once, she even ghostwrote a book on how to run an employment agency. She was unemployed at the time.

One of her first paying jobs was writing a love story for a book published by Bantam called Moments of Love. She had a deadline of one week but promptly came down with the flu. Heather wrote “The Sands of Time” with a raging temperature, and delivered some pretty hot stuff because of it. Her stint at New York City’s No Soap Radio – where she wrote comedic ad copy – help develop her long-time love affair with comedy.

Her first novel started the Silicon Valley based Alvarez Family Murder Mystery Series.  Murder is a Family Business, Book One, won the Single Titles Reviewers’ Choice Award 2011, followed by the second, A Wedding to Die For, 2012 Global and EPIC finalist for Best eBook Mystery of the Year. Death Runs in the Family won the coveted Global Gold for Best Mystery Novel, 2013. DEAD….If Only won the Global Silver for Best Mystery Novel, 2015. Her fifth novel of the series, The CEO Came DOA, won the Global Gold Medal 2017 and Dan Poynter Legacy Award 2017.  The Culinary Art of Murder is the sixth book of the series.  She loves writing this series mainly because she gets to play all of the characters, including the cat!

 

Heather’s other series, The Persephone Cole Vintage Mystery Series, is set in Manhattan circa 1942, during our country’s entrance into WWII. The Dagger Before Me, Book One, was voted best historical and mystery novel by Amazon readers in October, 2013.  It was followed by Iced Diamonds. Book Three, The Chocolate Kiss-Off, is a 2016 Lefty Award Finalist Best Historical Mystery.

On a personal note, her proudest award is the Silver IPPY (Independent Publisher Book Awards) Best Mystery/thriller 2014 for Death of a Clown. The stand-alone noir mystery is steeped in Heather’s family history. Daughter of real-life Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus folk, her mother was a trapeze artist/performer and father, an elephant trainer. Heather likes to say she brings the daily existence of the Big Top to life during World War II, embellished by her own murderous imagination.

Heather gives lectures, speaks at book clubs, and moderates author panels in the Bay Area, as well as teaching the art of writing. She believes everyone should write something, be it a poem, short story or letter. Then go out and plant a tree. The world will be a better place for it.

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December 1 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW

December 1 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT – blogger unable to post

December 2 – Cinnamon, Sugar and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW

December 3 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

December 4 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

December 5 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT

December 6 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

December 7 – A Holland Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 8 – T’s Stuff – INTERVIEW

December 9 – My Reading Journeys – CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 10 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

December 11 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

December 12 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – INTERVIEW

December 13 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

December 14 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT

Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on November 30, 2017

Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder – Andi Anna Jones Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Imajin Books
Date of Release : NOV 30, 2017
150 pages

Synopsis

Andi’s step-mother is a real piece of work!

But is Ruby a murderer?

Andi Anna Jones, so-so travel agent/amateur sleuth, puts aside her resentment of her father’s widow and books a 60th birthday cruise to Cancun for Ruby and three friends. Never does Andi imagine the cruise will lead to the murder of a has-been lounge singer—or that Ruby will be the main suspect.

Flirting with more than danger after arriving in Mexico, Andi connects with the charming local sheriff, Manual Rodriquez. After an embarrassing night involving the sheriff, too many margaritas, and a Mariachi band, a chance to check out an eyewitness to the murder leads her to Las Vegas.

In Vegas, a mysterious meeting in the Bodies Exhibition, a body preserving in the prep-room, and an evasive owner of a dance studio, give Andi clues to help Ruby. But when Andi is mercilessly drugged and locked in a storage room, she realizes dear old step-mom isn’t the only one in jeopardy.

Guest Post

It All Starts With Reading

Mary Cunningham, author, Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder

When I was a kid, I had to cross a busy downtown street to walk the two blocks to the public library. Mom would take me across that first street then let me walk the rest of the way to my favorite spot on earth; well, except for the high school gym on Friday night basketball game night.

I guess you’d call me a tomboy. I loved sports; playing and watching. Although, I still had fun cutting out paper dolls with my friend, Cynthia, and playing with her Easy Bake Oven (I was so jealous she had one and I didn’t!)

But, back to the library. I’ll never forget the summer I discovered sports biographies. A whole set of them! Probably due to my yet-to-be-discovered OCD, I commenced reading them in order – A-Z.

I’ll never forget the thrill of learning all about Hank Aaron. I was a huge fan back then of the Milwaukee Braves outfielder. In 1957, as a 10-year-old, I would sit in front of the TV keeping stats during the Braves games. In a record-breaking year, he hit an 11th inning home run that propelled the Braves to the World Series, where he led underdog Milwaukee to an upset win over the New York Yankees in seven games. Yep, “Hammerin’ Hank” was my idol.

I tore through the biographies in record time. Patty Berg, Jim Brown, Althea Gibson, Pancho Gonzales, Byron Nelson, Warren Spahn. Then, the unbelievable happened. I finished Babe Didrikson Zaharias. Finished. Caput. A through Z. There were no more.

I was crushed.

I muddled along reading Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and then got interested in historical fiction. Then I got bored with the writing and storylines that I considered beneath my reading and comprehension level.

As luck would have it, my aunt replaced the ancient librarian who had been in her position for, oh, around 108 years. Or, at least it seemed like it. What a refreshing change! Nothing against Miss Georgia, but she single-handedly destroyed my older brother’s love of reading. It was the summer after his fourth-grade school year. He took “The Bears of Blue River” to the desk to check it out. Miss Georgia wouldn’t let him read it. “This is a Fifth Grade book. You’ll have to wait ‘til then.” Barely a month away. My brother, who had a bit of a stubborn streak, left the library and never returned, to my knowledge.

Back to my reading boredom. Between my eight grade and freshman year, the aforementioned librarian, my beloved Aunt Gertrude, began setting books aside she thought I’d enjoy reading. To Kill a Mockingbird, of course, and anything by Steinbeck. I graduated to slightly steamier novels like Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor, and later, in high school, Lady Chatterley’s Lover. She made me swear not to tell my mother she let me check that one out. I believe I hid the book under my mattress until I finished reading and returned it, safely, to the library.

I now consider myself to be a pretty fair writer. My children’s book series, Cynthia’s Attic, has been well-received by readers of all ages. My new series, Andi Anna Jones Mysteries, is making its debut and am I ever excited! Writing these mysteries has given me a new perspective. While I love writing for middle-grade, it does keep the creative juices flowing when you change things up every now-and-then.

I wouldn’t be writing, however, if not for one important fact.

It all starts with reading!

About the Author

Author, Mary Cunningham, grew on the northern side of the Ohio River in Corydon, Indiana. Her first memories are of her dad’s original bedtime stories that no doubt inspired her imagination and love of a well-spun “yarn”.

Childhood experiences, and a recurring dream about a mysterious attic, inspired characters, Cynthia and Augusta Lee, for her award-winning middle-grade series, Cynthia’s Attic.

Through the author’s horrifying stint as a travel agent, protagonist, Andi Anna Jones, travel agent/amateur sleuth, sprang to life. This series gives extra meaning to the phrase, “Write what you know.”

Cunningham is a member of The Georgia Reading Association, and the Carrollton Writers Guild.

When she gives her fingers a break from the keyboard, she enjoys golf, swimming and exploring the mountains of West Georgia where she makes her home with her husband. Together they’ve raised three creative children, have 2 granddaughters, a grandson, a great grandson, and an adopted, four-legged, furry daughter, Lucy.

Margaritas, Mayhem, & Murder: Andi Anna Jones Mystery #1 will be released NOV 30, 2017 by Imajin Books. Book # 2 is in process.

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November 26 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

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November 27 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

November 28 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW

November 29 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

November 30 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST, SPOTLIGHT

November 30 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 1 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

December 1 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

December 2 – Queen of All She Reads –  SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery, women on November 28, 2017

Hunting Hour: A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery
Mystery/Police Procedurals/Woman Sleuths
3rd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (August 8, 2017)
Hardcover: 320 pages

Synopsis

Deputy Mattie Cobb is in a dark place and has withdrawn from Cole Walker and his family to work on issues from her past. When she and her K-9 partner Robo get called to track a missing junior high student, they find the girl dead on Smoker’s Hill behind the high school, and Mattie must head to the Walker home to break the bad news. But that’s only the start of trouble in Timber Creek, because soon another girl goes missing—and this time it’s one of Cole’s daughters.

Knowing that each hour a child remains missing lessens the probability of finding her alive, Mattie and Robo lead the hunt while Cole and community volunteers join in to search everywhere. To no avail. It seems that someone has snatched all trace of the Walker girl from their midst, including her scent. Grasping at straws, Mattie and Robo follow a phoned-in tip into the dense forest, where they hope to find a trace of the girl’s scent and to rescue her alive. But when Robo does catch her scent, it leads them to information that challenges everything they thought they knew about the case.

Mattie and Robo must rush to hunt down the kidnapper before they’re too late in Hunting Hour, the third installment in critically acclaimed author Margaret Mizushima’s exhilarating mystery series.

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Guest Post

THE VALUE OF SEARCH AND RESCUE DOGS

By Margaret Mizushima

 

Throughout the past thirty-five years, my veterinarian husband and I have shared our lives with a pack of dogs. When our children were young, we decided to train two of our dogs in search and rescue. A tragic event in our community precipitated this decision.

We live in an agricultural area nestled against the foothills of the rugged Rocky Mountains in northern Colorado. The mountains to the west offer scenic pleasure in the form of river rafting, fishing, hiking, and picnicking for locals as well as tourists from all over the country. Countless families spend weekends and vacations on the river or hiking in the forests without incident, but family fun can turn deadly when a loved one, and especially a child, strays from the group and becomes lost.

In 1978, soon after our older daughter was born, a ten-year-old boy disappeared while hiking with his parent on the Gray Rock Trail in the Cache la Poudre Canyon north of Fort Collins. The media reported that this child and the adults he was hiking with made it to the top of the trail and had turned around to head back downhill. The boy asked if he could go ahead and meet them below. After gaining permission, he hurried ahead on his own. When the rest of his party arrived at the trailhead, he wasn’t there. Trace of him has never been found, and he remains missing to this day.

People speculate that this child misread the twists and turns of the trail, became lost in the wilderness, and subsequently perished. Others believe that he was kidnapped and taken far from his family and our community. His family erected a memorial for him at the Gray Rock trailhead, and I stop each time before hiking there to say a prayer for him and his family.

Sometime after our second daughter was born, we decided to head for the mountains to camp on summer weekends when we could take time away from the vet clinic. Memories of this devastating event motivated us to train at least one of our dogs in search and rescue, primarily so that we would have the option of our own dog tracking our child immediately if necessary. We joined a search and rescue training group, taking our Rottweiler, Ilsa, and our Austrailian shepherd, Jessie.

Wow, the things we learned! This is where I learned the value of using water to moisten mucous membranes to enhance scenting ability as well as how to combine the search and rescue equipment with the activity involved. At first, the dogs were allowed to play and socialize, but as soon as search harnesses came out, the tone became serious. You could observe which dogs caught onto this over time and which ones struggled to switch off the urge to tussle with the other dogs.

Dog owners themselves laid down the scent trail, keeping it very short in the beginning and then following a training protocol to increase the difficulty in incremental steps as the dog advanced through the stages. Once the scent trail was set, the dog owner would hide, and the group leader would set the dog onto the track. The best reward in the world is finding someone you love at the end of the track, and dogs did a happy dance as they joyously reconnected with their “lost” owners. Gradually, strangers were substituted for owners, and that joyful response still carried over at the end of each search.

Thankfully, we never needed to use our dogs to search for lost children, but our entire family, kids included, enjoyed those months of training and reinforcement of search skills. Due to job commitments and time constraints, neither my husband nor I were able to join the county search and rescue team ourselves, but we gained a new respect for the level of dedication and fitness required of these volunteers.

In those days, I had no idea that someday I would write a mystery series that featured a German shepherd K-9 with search and rescue skills. It’s safe to say that this experience helped set the stage for the creation of K-9 Robo and his handler Deputy Mattie Cobb, and I invite you to join me in their adventures.

About the Author

Margaret Mizushima is the author of the Timber Creek K-9 mysteries, which includes Killing Trail (Crooked Lane Books, 2015) nominated for an RT Reviewer’s Choice award for best first mystery, Stalking Ground (Crooked Lane Books, 2016) a finalist in the Colorado Book Awards mystery category, and Hunting Hour (Crooked Lane Books, 2017). She has a background in speech pathology and practiced in an acute care hospital before establishing her own rehabilitation agency. Currently, she balances writing with assisting her husband with their veterinary clinic and Angus cattle herd. She enjoys reading and hiking, and she lives on a small ranch in Colorado where she and her husband raised two daughters and a multitude of animals.

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November 24 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

November 24 – Because I said so – Adventures in Parenting – REVIEW

November 25 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

November 26 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

November 27 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

November 28 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

November 29 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, GUEST POST

November 30 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 1 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

December 2 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – INTERVIEW

December 3 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 4 – FUONLYKNEW – REVIEW

December 5 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST

Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on November 18, 2017

 

A Fatal Collection (A Keepsake Cove Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Maryland
Midnight Ink (November 8, 2017)
Paperback: 264 pages

Synopsis

Callie Reed makes a long overdue visit to her aunt Melodie, who lives in a fairy-tale cottage in quaint Keepsake Cove, home to a bevy of unique collectible shops on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Just as they’re beginning to reconnect, Callie discovers her aunt’s body on the floor of her music box shop. Grief-stricken, Callie finds she can’t accept Melodie’s death being called accidental. How could her strong and healthy aunt take such a fatal fall? And why was she there in the middle of the night?

As Callie searches for the truth, signs seem to come from her late aunt through a favorite music box, urging Callie on. Or are they warnings? If Callie isn’t careful, she could meet a similar deadly fate amid Melodie’s collection.

Guest Post

Creating Characters

Mary Ellen Hughes

“Am I in your book?” Friends ask me that, looking hopeful, worried, or a combination of the two. They’re assuming my characters must be people I know, that I’ve simply changed the names and maybe hair color. But no, I don’t do that.

That’s not to say they’re not in my books, but never all in one piece. That makes me sound like one of those killers who scatters body parts in various places. But what I mean is that I’ll mix and match traits from people I know or who I’ve run into. Maybe even a few actors, though probably not the glamorous ones who wouldn’t blend in with my small town characters all that well.

For example, in one of my earlier books, A Taste of Death, one of my minor characters was a bit of a town busybody. Not terribly likeable for many people, so I certainly wouldn’t want a friend to think she’d been portrayed as one. But I made her the size and shape of a woman I saw often, a checker at our local supermarket. But I darkened her hair and gave her shoe button eyes, which I’d noticed on another woman who seemed particularly alert—the kind of trait a busybody would have, right?

But my supermarket checker was very reserved, not the personality I needed. So I livened up my character and, remembering the greeting I often heard from a friend (a very nice lady), I had her sing out, “helloooo!” whenever she spotted someone whose brain she wanted to pick. This, unlike my reaction with my friend, caused other characters to cringe and want to run. I’m pretty sure my friend or the other two ladies never recognized the parts of themselves I scavenged from them, though I still think of them all when I reread those scenes.

Why not use the whole person? Some writers do, and it works for them. Many will auction off a character for a future book at a mystery convention and use the buyer’s name and characteristics. I admire those who can work with it, but I find it too limiting. Even with the permission of the person, if I thought a scene called for that character to say or do something not very bright or somewhat embarrassing, I’d probably hold back and end up with a nice, but not very interesting, character.

Do I ever put myself in my characters? My family members claim they see me there, sometimes, so I guess I do, though never consciously. My main characters have always been younger, prettier, smarter, etc. etc., so if I’m in them at all it’s as a kind of wishful thinking. And I wouldn’t want to find myself in some of the jams I’ve put them in.

Callie Reed, the protagonist in A Fatal Collection, gets herself in trouble when she closes in on her aunt’s murderer, but manages to keep a cool head through it all. More so than I probably would in the same situation. Callie’s also only twenty-nine, single, and has a cute, upturned nose, none of which describes me. I’m not entirely sure who I scavenged her from to make the whole Callie, but seeing her gradually take form, from just a name to a real (to me) person was exciting, as are all the characters I’ve written. An author, I’ve discovered, works a little bit like a sculptor, shaping and molding, sanding down or adding color until the “person” is just right. The advantage we have over the sculptor is that our creation then moves and talks, and sometimes runs in different directions than we originally planned. But that part is the fun of it all.

You think an author is totally in control of the characters she’s created or the stories she writes? Sometimes we’re just as surprised as you are.

About the Author

Mary Ellen Hughes is the bestselling author of the Pickled and Preserved Mysteries (Penguin), the Craft Corner Mysteries, and the Maggie Olenski Mysteries, along with several short stories. A Fatal Collection is her debut with Midnight Ink. A Wisconsin native, she has lived most of her adult life in Maryland, where she’s set many of her stories.

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Posted in Giveaway, Guest Post, Historical, romance, Western on November 15, 2017

TO MARRY A TEXAS OUTLAW

Men of Legend, Book 3

by

LINDA BRODAY

  Genre: Western / Historical / Romance

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Date of Publication: November 7, 2017

Number of Pages: 384

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Hunted by lawmen, those seeking the bounty, and other outlaws hoping to become famous for killing him, Luke Weston survives by little more than his wits. He expects the bullet that will end his life to come any day. He’s cheated death too often.

Over the last two years, Luke has been working to right his wrongs and claim his birthright. Only one thing stands in the way of atonement—the murder of a federal judge. Only he didn’t do that. Armed with nothing more than the alias Ned Sweeney, Luke searches for the man who framed him. He’s only an hour away from catching him when he spies a woman bound and gagged in the middle of the prairie.

She looks dead but her eyes fly open at the sound of his footsteps. Worse, he discovers she has amnesia. He can’t just leave her so he tamps down his frustration over missing Sweeney again and loads her into a nearby wagon that bears all the markings of his family’s ranch.

In the weeks of trying to help the woman he calls Rose learn her identity, Luke finds himself falling in love with her. She’s sweet and funny and makes him dream of impossible things. Then they meet a boy and learn her name is Josie.

As her lost memories tumble back, Luke faces his greatest fear. Can he make Josie his wife before he loses everything?

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Praise for To Marry a Texas Outlaw:

“A gunslinger who’s better than he thinks he is; a lovely amnesiac; a young, wannabe gunslinger; an abused boy; a scruffy dog; and a sadistic killer make the third book in Broday’s outstanding family saga an unforgettable journey through the Old West.” — Booklist Starred Review

“This is one author that knows how to tie you in knots keeping you on the edge and making your smile through it all. She gives you death and heartbreak as the west is known for with plot that pulls you in. I couldn’t put this down and had to know what was going to happen next.” — Cyn’s Reviews

“This densely plotted historical continues Broday’s tradition of well-realized, emotionally rich novels.” — Publisher’s Weekly

“Broday’s gritty depiction of the Texas frontier will strike a chord in the hearts of fans who long for proud, rugged cowboys and strong-willed women.” — Romantic Times 4 Stars

“Whew! What a story! Good thing Linda Broday didn’t struggle to find words for her story the same way I’m attempting to find words to express just how much I love not only this book, but this entire series as a whole. To Marry a Texas Outlaw is a thrilling conclusion to a delightful and much-loved story of the Legend family that delivered so many emotions.”  Michelle, Goodreads Reviewer

“There is one guarantee, with a Linda Broday book, you’re going to experience a true heartwarming-Broday story with so much action that it’s impossible to put down. With her books you are always in for the ride of your life.” — Tonya Lucas, Goodreads Reviewer

Ending a Series

Guest Post by Linda Broday

With the To Marry a Texas Outlaw release comes sadness. This is Book #3 Men of Legend and it concludes the series. Everything is wrapped up and tied with a big red bow.

Luke finally reveals what turned him into an outlaw. He’s kept this secret over three books. The defining incident happened when he was fourteen years old and he paid a very high price for his actions. Also in this book, he finds his place in the family but does it come too late? I don’t want to reveal this powerful black moment.

He’s afraid to love again because each time he reaches for something it disappears. Josie is fully up to the task of helping him open his heart though. She’s so funny (probably the most humorous character I’ve ever written) and offsets his dark, seriousness perfectly.

But back to Men of Legend ending. I’m always very sad to say goodbye to characters who have become like family to me. I’ve lived with these men for over a year—eating, sleeping, keeping them in my every thought. I’ve loved them, laughed with them—and cried with them. A lot. We’ve had amazing experiences together and the Legends will always remain in my heart.

I have some happy news though. I’m not entirely saying goodbye to these hunky men. Luke, Sam, and Houston will appear in varying degrees in my brand new series – Texas Outlaw Heroes – that will begin next year.

In fact, Luke and Josie have started a mail order bride service for men and women who must remain under the radar. I think you’re going to like these stories. Book #1 of that is about Clay Colby who was Houston’s head drover in Heart of a Texas Cowboy. And you’ve already met Tally Shannon, one of the women living in Deliverance Canyon, that I introduced you to in To Love a Texas Ranger. She also plays a big role in this book of Luke’s—To Marry a Texas Outlaw.

First though, enjoy the story you’ve waited so long for. Luke and Josie are going to take you on a wild ride so hang on tight and keep your feet in the stirrups. If you fall off, you’re on your own. They’re too busy to come back and get you.

Linda Broday, Historical Western Romance Author  I’m a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 8 full length historical western romance novels, with another set to release 2017, and 10 short stories. Watching TV westerns during my youth fed my love of cowboys and the old West and they still do. I reside in the Texas Panhandle on land the American Indian and Comancheros once roamed. At times, I can feel their ghosts lurking around every corner. Texas’ rich history is one reason I set all my stories here. I love research and looking for little known tidbits to add realism to my stories. When I’m not writing, I collect old coins and I confess to being a rock hound. I’ve been accused (and quite unfairly I might add) of making a nuisance of myself at museums, libraries, and historical places. I’m also a movie buff and love sitting in a dark theater, watching the magic on the screen. As long as I’m confessing…chocolate is my best friend. It just soothes my soul.

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11/10/17 Author Video Books in the Garden
11/11/17 Review Texan Girl Reads
11/12/17 Excerpt Margie’s Must Reads
11/13/17 Review Tangled in Text
11/14/17 Character Interview The Page Unbound
11/15/17 Guest Post StoreyBook Reviews
11/16/17 Review Books and Broomsticks
11/17/17 Top Ten List A Page Before Bedtime
11/18/17 Review Chapter Break Book Blog
11/19/17 Scrapbook Page Reading by Moonlight

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on November 12, 2017

King Harald’s Snow Job (King Harald Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Conger Road Press (August 1, 2017)
Paperback: 302 pages

Synopsis

It’s early December and Andy Skyberg is itching to blow town for a weekend of holiday cheer with old friends—including a date with an attractive divorcée who thinks he’s hot.

But first, Aunt Bev needs a teensy bit of help. She’s managing the Girls’ Weekend Out event at the Beaver Tail Resort and could use some extra muscle. Andy figures he can spare a few hours before hitting the road.

Mother Nature, though, has other plans. A giant blizzard makes an unexpected turn. Andy and his pooch King Harald find themselves snowbound—in a hotel full of hard-partying women, stranded travelers, a hockey team, a man-eating novelist, a belligerent blogger, and one violent, devious jewel thief.

Before you know it, man and mutt are up to their noses in another case. It’s a winter wonderland of fast-paced fun and merry madness, as the sleuthing duo dig out from King Harald’s Snow Job.

Guest Post

Blizzard Buddies

In my newest mystery, my human and doggy sleuths find themselves snowbound at a luxury resort when a powerful blizzard makes an unexpected turn and socks them in. As they investigate a jewelry theft and assault in the resort, outside the snow is going sideways and piling up inch-by-inch and dangerous wind chills set in. Roads are closed and no one is going anywhere for a while.

Anyone who’s lived in a northern climate—as I have all my life—knows what it’s like when a foot or two of snow comes blasting in. With modern weather reporting, we have enough advance warning to gas up the snow blower, pull out the roof rake, and buy enough food to feed a Super Bowl party. As the white stuff comes down, and keeps coming, a certain resentment arises in one’s breast. How dare Mother Nature keep me away from the symphony concert tonight! Doesn’t she know I have important things to do?

But watching the billions of flakes (probably a lot more, actually) coat everything in white is a bit like taking a natural tranquilizer—it slows your tempo and induces calm. You accept that there’s nothing you can do until the storm winds down. It’s a great time for popcorn and a double feature. Or a cozy-reading marathon. Or whipping up a feast. Or yakking on the phone with friends.

Actually, my favorite part comes when the action’s over and weather radar’s big blue blob has moved on east. Then I get to sally forth with my orange plastic shovel (I prefer plastic; snow slides off easier) and commiserate with the folks I call my “blizzard buddies.” Some of them are neighbors I rarely see, so we get to catch up a little. Others just like to chew the fat, as we stand leaning on our shovels. I have fond memories of good post-blizzard chats with neighbors now long gone.

I especially remember the guy down at the south end of our alley, where I would trudge to clear the alley mouth. (That’s where you are most apt to get stuck in snow, transitioning from alley to street.) We talked about all kinds of stuff, from the work we were doing to his days in the navy back in WWII. I still kind of miss him. Funny thing was, though, après-blizzard was the only time I talked with him. Otherwise, it was just a wave driving by.

A good blizzard—however inconvenient—is much like Robert Frost’s celebrated fence that makes good neighbors. It brings us closer together, with a mutual cause, for at least a day. And unlike things like hurricanes and tornadoes and floods, it’s not likely to kill you, unless you take foolish risks.

And a big ol’ blizzard makes a great conversation piece that lasts a lifetime. I mean, did I ever tell you about the Great Halloween Blizzard of ’91? I went out and measured 34 inches in my backyard. It took days to shovel all that white stuff. Why, we were stuck in the house so long that…

About the Author

RichardAudryRichard Audry is the pen name of D. R. Martin. As Richard Audry, he is the author of the King Harald Canine Cozy mystery series and the Mary MacDougall historical mystery series. Under his own name he has written the Johnny Graphic middle-grade ghost adventure series, the Marta Hjelm mystery, Smoking Ruin, and two books of literary commentary: Travis McGee & Me; and Four Science Fiction Masters.

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November 1 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – COZY WEDNESDAY

November 2 –  Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 3 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW

November 4 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST

November 5 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

November 6 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

November 6 –  Queen of All She Reads  – SPOTLIGHT

November 6 –  View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

November 7 – Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf – REVIEW

November 7 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

November 8 – FUONLYKNEW – REVIEW

November 8 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT

November 9 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

November 10 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

November 11 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

November 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on November 12, 2017

Much Ado About Murder: A Shakespeare in the Catskills Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (November 7, 2017)
Hardcover 265 Pages

Synopsis

Costume designer Charlotte Fairfax has another murder on her hands as she prepares for the latest performance of the Catskills Shakespeare Theater Company, Much Ado About Nothing. The company’s steady growth enables them to cast star British actress Audrey Ashley, who arrives on scene to play the lead role of Beatrice. But things immediately get more complicated when Audrey insists the company replace the current director with new, up and coming British director Edmund Albright.

Edmund plans to change the popular romantic comedy, which alienates several people associated with the production. And the list of people he upsets only grows: the laid off former director, the hotel owner’s secretary, and even Audrey herself. Just as Edmund’s plans are about to come to fruition, his body is discovered on his sofa, holding a gun in his hand. His death is quickly ruled a suicide but Charlotte thinks otherwise. Why would Edmund, on the brink of greatness, kill himself? And in such an American way?

With a whole cast of characters to investigate, Charlotte is determined to unmask each one before it’s final curtain call on the whole production in award-winning author Elizabeth J. Duncan’s third Shakespeare in the Catskills mystery, Much Ado About Murder.

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Guest Post

How Charlotte Fairfax and the Catskills Shakespeare Company came to be

The germ of the idea for Charlotte Fairfax, costume designer/amateur sleuth in the Shakespeare in the Catskills series, came when I was dog walking in Toronto with my friend Marlene. Occasionally we spotted a friendly-looking, middle-aged woman walking a little terrier, and Marlene pointed her out to me.

“That’s Sandra,” Marlene said. “She used to work in the costume department at Stratford.” That’s Stratford, Ontario, Canada, not Stratford Upon Avon, England, but never find. The Stratford Festival in Ontario mounts a season of fine Shakespeare plays every summer.

A woman who works in classical theatre, in costume design. Hmm. Now that’s an intriguing idea for a main character, I thought.  Fabrics? Interesting. Shakespeare? Bottomless. And she’d be at the heart of the theatre company, creatively involved, able to go anywhere, talk to anyone, and yet she’s in the background. Not quite invisible, and not quite front and centre, as an actress would be. Just there.

I pictured this character in her workroom, fitting a costume on an arrogant actor, while he completely ignored her. Or offering a bit of comfort to an unhappy actress, and slipping in a few pointed questions alongside the tea and sympathy.

What you’re looking for in a protagonist is a deep well from which to draw, and a compelling assortment of possibilities that all come together to excite you as an author. If they don’t, this character probably isn’t going anywhere.

I was excited about this character, and wanted to work with her, but had no projects where I could use her, and didn’t even have a name for her. But I made a few notes, and then tucked her away, knowing that her time would likely come. The great thing with writers is that few ideas are ever wasted.

And then, a couple of years later, Crooked Lane Books was looking for a new series, and I was invited to pitch a few ideas. I offered several concepts, including a proposed series that would feature a costume designer in the Shakespeare theatre in Stratford, Ontario.

Crooked Lane liked the costume designer, liked the Shakespeare, but suggested that the series be set in the Catskills. When I did a little research, and realized how revitalized and up and coming the Catskills are, the setting turned out to be perfect.

So I fleshed out my costume designer. She’s English, and began her career with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford Upon Avon.  She’s in her early forties. She’s smart and attractive. I like her. And finally, I gave her a name. I decided to call her Charlotte Fairfax. It just seemed to suit her.

So if you’ve ever wondered where authors get their ideas, sometimes it all starts with a friend pointing out a woman across the street walking her small dog.

Unfortunately, Sandra moved away before any of the Shakespeare in the Catskills books were published, and I never got the chance to thank her for being the inspiration for the amateur sleuth in my new series.

But as a little tribute, Charlotte Fairfax has a small dog, and if you visit Jacob’s Grand Hotel in upstate New York, home of the Catskills Shakespeare Company, you may just catch a glimpse of the two of them. If you do, be sure to give them a little wave.

 

About the Author

Elizabeth J Duncan is the author of two mystery series – Shakespeare in the Catskills and the Penny Brannigan mystery series set in North Wales. She is a two-time winner of the Bloody Words Award for Canada’s best light mystery and lives in Toronto.

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November 2 –  Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 3 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

November 4 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

November 5 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

November 6 – Valerie’s Musings – INTERVIEW

November 7 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

November 8 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

November 9 – Bea’s Book Nook – REVIEW

November 10 – The Montana Bookaholic – CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 11 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

November 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

November 13 – Varietats –  GUEST POST

November 13 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

November 14 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 14 – A Holland Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 15 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on November 11, 2017

Of Spice and Men: A Pancake House Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Alibi (November 7, 2017)
Print Length 280 pages

Synopsis

Lights. Camera. Murder? Wildwood Cove’s star turn is soured by a sneaky killer in this delicious cozy mystery from the USA Today bestselling author of The Crêpes of Wrath.

Bonus content: includes original recipes inspired by the Flip Side Pancake House menu!

With a Hollywood film crew in town to shoot a remake of the horror classic The Perishing, the residents of Wildwood Cove are all abuzz. Even Marley McKinney, owner of The Flip Side Pancake House, can overlook the fact that the lead actress, Alyssa Jayde, happens to be an old flame of her boyfriend. After all, the crew loves Marley’s crêpes—so much so that Christine, the head makeup artist, invites her onset for a behind-the-scenes tour. But when Marley arrives, the special-effects trailer is on fire . . . with Christine inside.

The cops quickly rule Christine’s death a murder, and Alyssa a suspect. Marley’s boyfriend insists that the actress is innocent, but when Marley sticks her nose into the complicated lives of The Perishing’s cast and crew, she discovers more questions than answers. It seems that everyone has a hidden agenda—and a plausible motive. And as the horror spills over from the silver screen, Marley gets a funny feeling that she may be the killer’s next victim.

Sarah Fox’s addictive Pancake House Mysteries can be enjoyed together or à la carte:
THE CRÊPES OF WRATH | FOR WHOM THE BREAD ROLLS | OF SPICE AND MEN

Guest Post

The Pancake House Mysteries follow the adventures of Marley McKinney, amateur sleuth and owner of The Flip Side pancake house in the seaside town of Wildwood Cove, Washington. Marley searches for clues and solves murders while serving meals and chatting with customers. The Flip Side’s chef, Ivan Kaminski, is a wizard in the kitchen, and diners have a long list of delicious breakfast foods to choose from whenever they come in for a meal. While I have several favorite dishes from The Flip Side’s menu, the following are my top four.

Maple Pecan Sticky Rolls

When Ivan added these to The Flip Side’s menu, they were an instant hit. Deliciously gooey with an incredible blend of cinnamon, maple, and pecans, Marley has serious trouble resisting these sticky rolls whenever a batch comes out of Ivan’s oven, and I can’t blame her one bit.

Strawberry Vanilla Pancakes

I have to make these at least once each year during strawberry season. The flavors of the fresh strawberries and vanilla blend perfectly together. Delicious with or without maple syrup, I will happily eat these pancakes for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Pumpkin Waffles

These waffles are a fall favorite of mine, although I’ve been known to indulge in them at other times of year as well. They have just the right amount of pumpkin flavor and when topped with maple syrup they’re absolutely scrumptious. I probably eat these waffles for dinner as often as I do for breakfast. At The Flip Side, pumpkin waffles are a popular seasonal item, available from the beginning of October into December.

Pumpkin Pie Crêpes

This is probably my all-time favorite item from The Flip Side’s menu. Another seasonal item, these crêpes keep the customers coming back for more and more and more. I love to eat these crêpes for brunch or dessert, but they can be enjoyed as a sweet breakfast as well. Topped with whipped cream, The Flip Side’s pumpkin pie crêpes are absolutely heavenly.

If you’d like to enjoy these delicious breakfast foods, the recipes for The Flip Side’s strawberry vanilla pancakes and maple pecan sticky rolls can be found in the second Pancake House Mystery, For Whom the Bread Rolls. The recipes for pumpkin waffles and pumpkin pie crêpes can be found in the third and latest book in the series, Of Spice and Men.

About the Author

Sarah Fox was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she developed a love for mysteries at a young age. When not writing novels or working as a legal writer, she is often reading her way through a stack of books or spending time outdoors with her English Springer Spaniel.

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