Posted in Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery, suspense, Thriller on October 16, 2017

HIDDEN SEA

by

MILES ARCENEAUX

  Genre: Mystery / Thriller / Suspense

Date of Publication: November 2017

Number of Pages: 384

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Charlie Sweetwater saw Mexico—especially the Mexican Gulf Coast—as a spiritual second home. He’d worked, played and lived there for much of his life, and thought the country suited him better than anywhere this side of his home on the Texas Coast.

But now a worrisome and potentially dangerous development has shown up on Charlie’s radar. Young Augustus Sweetwater, affectionately known as Augie, hasn’t reported in after completing a south-of-the-border sales trip for Sweetwater Marine. Raul, Augie’s father and Charlie’s nephew, is worried sick. Drug cartel violence in Mexico has reached epidemic proportions and Augie’s path took him through the heart of the narcotraficantes’ territory.

Charlie figures Augie just went off the grid to do some well-deserved fishing, surfing and beer-drinking at the end of his trip. He’d done the same in his time. But as Augie’s unexplained absence grows, Charlie and Raul become increasingly alarmed and set off for Mexico to bring their boy home.

What they unearth is far more than the sum of their fears. The familiar and friendly Gulf of Mexico has turned into a hidden sea plagued by smugglers, human traffickers, crooked politicians and even pirates. And Augie is lost somewhere in the middle of it all.

Charlie and Raul must summon an unlikely cast of characters to aid them, including a hilariously dissolute ex-pat musician, a priest whose faith struggles against the rising tide of refugee migration, a Mexican tycoon who may have secrets of his own and a beautiful maritime “repo man”. At the end of their quest, as the deepest secret of all is revealed, Charlie Sweetwater learns that neither Raul and Augie, nor the Gulf of Mexico, nor even himself, will ever be the same again.

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Praise for Hidden Sea

“A riveting story from Texas that wanders down the cartel-invested Gulf Coast of Mexico and drifts across to lawless Cuba. The characters are as salty as the sea and the plot pulls you along as powerfully as the loop current.” – W.F. Strong, Stories from Texas, Texas Standard Radio Network

“Hidden Sea is a total blast: smart, funny, and riveting, with unforgettably colorful characters and a world so alive that you’ll swear you’re really there.” – Lou Berney, Edgar Award-winning author of The Long and Faraway Gone

“In Hidden Sea, Miles Arceneaux tosses us in the drink of a timely contemporary adventure tale with the Sweetwater clan, complete with pirates, slave ships, family secrets, and the mother of all plot twists, in his patented Gulf Coast noir style.” – Michelle Newby Lancaster, Contributing Editor, Lone Star Literary Life, NBCC Literary Critic

Miles Arceneaux on Writing the Gulf Coast

(First published, May 5, 2016, Mystery People Blog)

The dilemma of writing mysteries set on the Texas Gulf Coast isn’t an absence of compelling characters to drive the plot and flesh out the scenery. On the contrary, there’s too damn many of ‘em to ever winnow down, even over the course of four (so far) novels.

It’s an embarrassment of riches, folks. What the Texas coast lacks in terms of sun-kissed white sand beaches, beautiful people and tony resorts (instead of Donald Trump’s sumptuous Mar-A-Lago, we’ve got the No Esta Aquí Lounge, featuring u-peel-‘em shrimp and cockfights on Sundays), we make up for in local color. Always have.

The stomping ground for my characters is Texas’ Coastal Bend, which runs roughly between Galveston and Corpus Christi. It’s a complex and fascinating array of bays, barrier islands, estuaries and wetlands that has been a magnet for dingbats and reprobates ever since Texas’ first tourist, Spanish castaway Cabeza de Vaca, stumbled ashore near Galveston in 1528, only to encounter our first Chamber of Commerce, in the form of the six-foot tall, tattooed, alligator grease-coated, ritualistically cannibalistic Karankawa Indians.

Since then the area has been as popular as Padre Island to spring breakers among a historically diverse human subset of pirates, freebooters, smugglers, colorful drunkards, pennyante empire builders, refugees and fugitives of every description, silver-tongued conmen (and women), top-shelf bullshit artists, and congenitally lying fishermen. There have been female temptresses who can turn gold wedding bands into cheap pewter with a glance, and men who have changed their names and fled to sea to escape them.

Let’s put it this way: If Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, the Coen Brothers, Molly Ivins (RIP), Gabriel Garcia Marquez and any local fishing guide sat on the deck of a Port Aransas oyster bar pounding Papa Doble daiquiris for, oh, all night, they might have come up with my fictional counterpoints of the real-life characters who give the Coastal Bend its savor.

It’s close to a photo finish, but I’d say on the balance I enjoy writing about the women of the Texas Coast more than their male counterpoints. The women not only have to put up with the men, they frequently have to force Joe Bob et.al. to confront, sometimes under extreme duress, the better angels of their nature.

In one of my tales, a particularly enterprising fry cook picked up a cast iron skillet and did a Joe DiMaggio off the skull of a B-list gangster. In other areas of the country, this might be construed as assault. In my part of the world it’s considered behavior modification. As a West Texas buddy of mine once remarked, he never understood all the fuss about Women’s Lib: “All the chicks I know are armed,” he remarked.

BookPeople, MysteryPeople and especially Scott Montgomery have been surpassingly supportive since my debut thriller starring the Sweetwater clan, Thin Slice of Life, was published in 2012. Likewise, with LaSalle’s Ghost, Ransom Island and, most lately, North Beach. I’m humbly grateful. Still, with all respect to Scott and MysteryPeople, I’m not certain these epistles fall neatly into any “mystery” category. They are not locked-room mysteries by any means, neither are they noir, hard- boilers nor whodunits. I guess “comedic novel of suspense” about covers it, though that takes up a lot of real estate on a book jacket. Still, it’s a mystery to me what’s gonna happen to all these rascals when I start out on a new one, so there is that.

Though the issues in my books, including the clash of cultures, the erosion of time, the nature of friendship and loyalty, might (I hope) seem nuanced, the characters at the heart of the story are pretty simple. I write about men and women you can root for and enjoy hanging out with, bad guys who are low-down sons of bitches who get what’s coming to them and supporting characters who make you laugh, shake your head or maybe both.

We’re not talking Dostoyevsky here.

In the end, to paraphrase our former future governor (cq) Kinky Friedman, I write to entertain Americans in their airports, by their swimming pools and on their skiffs when the fish aren’t biting.

There is a thing called a “Texas Fairy Tale.” A regular fairy tale, say about Cinderella and them, starts out “Once upon a time…” A Texas fairy tale, on the other hand, begins, “You ain’t gonna believe this bullshit…”

So that’s me: Miles Arceneaux, Texas fairy tale writer. Let’s drink to that.

 

“Miles Arceneaux” is the pen name of three long-time Texas friends. James R.  Dennis is a former attorney turned Dominican friar who lives in San Antonio. Brent Douglass is an international businessman from Austin. John T. Davis, also of Austin, is a journalist and author. Together, as “Miles,” they have been featured authors at the Texas Book Festival, the San Antonio Book Festival, and the Lubbock Book Festival.

Website * Facebook * Twitter

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GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!

Grand Prize: Autographed copies of all five Gulf Coast series books by Miles Arceneaux + a copy of Geoff Winningham’s Traveling the Shore of the Spanish Sea — The Gulf Coast of Texas and Mexico

Two Runners-Up: Each win an autographed copy of Hidden Sea

October 11-October 20, 2017

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10/11 promo Texas Book Lover
10/12 Review Forgotten Winds
10/12 ICYWW #1 Bibliotica
10/13 Review Missus Gonzo
10/14 Excerpt 1 Syd Savvy
10/14 Author Interview A Page Before Bedtime
10/15 Review Texan Girl Reads
10/16 Guest Post StoreyBook Reviews
10/16 ICYWW #2 Chapter Break Book Blog
10/17 Review Hall Ways Blog
10/18 Excerpt 2 Books and Broomsticks
10/18 Playlist The Page Unbound
10/19 Review Reading By Moonlight
10/20 Review Tangled in Text
10/20 ICYWW #3 The Librarian Talks

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on October 15, 2017

The Case of the Clobbered Cad (Nosy Parkers Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Journey Fiction (August 4, 2017)
Paperback: 302 pages

Synopsis

Inspired by the famous Girl Detective, the members of the Olentangy Heights Girls’ Detective Society, affectionately known as the Nosy Parkers, spent their formative years studying criminology, codes, and capers. Unfortunately, opportunities to put their unique skills to work were thin on the ground in the post-war boom of their little corner of suburbia and they eventually grew up to pursue more sensible careers. Until…

Heather Munro’s youthful devotion to The Girl Detective led to a passion for digging around in history. Now pursuing her Master’s Degree in Celtic Studies, Heather must balance exploring Edinburgh with her determination to excel in her all–male classes at the University. Unfortunately, on her first night working in the Archives room, she discovers the dead body of a visiting professor, the same would-be lothario she’d hoped never to see again.

As clues come to light, it’s clear someone hopes to frame Heather for the murder. Besides her quirky landlady, whom can she trust? How can she clear her name? The police and the American Consul have plenty of suspects, but only two seem to have both motive and opportunity: Heather and the quiet Scottish historian she longs to trust.

 

Guest Post

Okay readers! You are all big fans of mystery and suspense, right? But how well do you know your authors and their work? I’ve brought a self-test. Five groups of eight authors from many subgenres over the last century.  It’s a great reminder of the broad spectrum of stories that fall in the mystery genre!

Keep track of your points and let us know in the comments. If any of you say 40 points, then I will wonder if you are a librarian or stretching the truth!  Along with points, let us know what stories here you’d love to read and which one you’d most recommend.

My recent release, The Case of the Clobbered Cad, is set in 1956 Edinburgh, and my heroine is a young woman who, as a young teen, was a big fan of The Girl Detective. It’s one thing to read adventures, and another to have to face a murder yourself! Written for grown-up fans, The Nosy Parker series blends classic mystery, amateur sleuth and a touch of romantic suspense. Come sleuth with us!

About the Author

Debra E. Marvin tries not to run too far from real life but the imagination born out of being an only child has a powerful draw. Besides, the voices in her head tend to agree with all the sensible things she says. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, and serves on the board of Bridges Ministry in Seneca Falls, NY. She is published with WhiteFire Publishing, Forget Me Not Romances, and contracted with Journey Fiction, and a judge for the Grace Awards for many years. Debra works as a program assistant at Cornell University, and enjoys her family and grandchildren, obsessively buying fabric, watching British programming and traveling with her childhood friends.

Twitter * Facebook * Website * Pinterest * Amazon Author Page * Instagram

 

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on October 14, 2017

Mining for Justice (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
8th in Series
Midnight Ink (October 8, 2017)
Paperback: 384 pages

Synopsis

Chloe Ellefson is excited to be learning about Wisconsin’s Cornish immigrants and mining history while on temporary assignment at Pendarvis, a historic site in charming Mineral Point. But when her boyfriend, police officer Roelke McKenna, discovers long-buried human remains in the root cellar of an old Cornish cottage, Chloe reluctantly agrees to mine the historical record for answers.

She soon finds herself in the center of a heated and deadly controversy that threatens to close Pendarvis. While struggling to help the historic site, Chloe must unearth dark secrets, past and present . . . before a killer comes to bury her.

Guest Post

Keeping It Local

I grew up on the east coast, and it never occurred to me that I’d end up in the Upper Midwest.  After one trip to Wisconsin, I applied for a job at a living history museum, packed my rusty Ford Pinto (this was 1982), and moved.  In the thirty-plus years since then, I like to think I’ve become a true Midwesterner.

So it’s not surprising that when I began creating what became the Chloe Ellefson Mystery series, I decided to set the series right here.   Protagonist Chloe is a curator at Old World Wisconsin, the historic site where I worked for twelve years.  As the series has developed, different books take Chloe to other historic sites and museums in Wisconsin and, occasionally, surrounding states.

Some of my own favorite authors – Margaret Maron, William Kent Krueger, the Hillermans – write/wrote with a strong sense of place.  I love getting to know their characters’ terrain in increasing detail as each series progresses.  I love visiting what are obviously beloved landscapes, and learning about different cultural aspects of each.

I try to instill those same elements in each Chloe Ellefson mystery. Old World Wisconsin, the nation’s largest museum dedicated to the history of rural life, is featured in several books. Chloe has taken readers to an old lighthouse on an island in Lake Michigan and to all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder homesites.  Settings have also included traditional museums, such as Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Iowa and the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis.

The series also celebrates Wisconsin’s diverse ethnic heritage.  Strands of historical fiction, braided with Chloe’s contemporary plotline, have featured Norwegian, Swiss, Danish, Polish, and German characters. The stories honor everyday people – the challenges they faced, the foods they ate, the folk arts they practiced.

The 8th book in the series, Mining For Justice, delves into the lives of Cornish miners and their families, who arrived in Southwest Wisconsin in the 1830s to mine lead.  It was difficult for the immigrants to find their way in the rough “diggings,” but they did – and managed to create a community from the rough frontier.

The Cornish arrived in the territorial period, a decade or more before Wisconsin became a state.  Some of those settlers’ homes have been restored at Pendarvis Historic Site in Mineral Point, WI.  When Chloe Ellefson arrives to spend a week as a guest curator, she is eager to learn more about the early Cornish women, who were largely illiterate and so left no handy diaries or letters behind.

Finding a skeleton in the root cellar of Cornish stone cottage gets the week off to a rocky start!  And it soon becomes clear that Chloe’s investigation into the life of a immigrant named Mary Pascoe is leading her straight into danger.

I hope that readers find Mining For Justice a rollicking good read.  If the book gives them a new glimpse of the fascinating state I call home, so much the better!

About the Author

Kathleen Ernst is a social historian, educator, and author. Her Chloe Ellefson mysteries reflect the decade she spent as a curator at a large outdoor museum, and feature historic sites in the Upper Midwest.  Library Journal says, “Ernst keeps getting better with each entry in this fascinating series.” Kathleen has also written many mysteries for young readers.  Honors for her work include a LOVEY Award and Agatha and Edgar nominations.  Kathleen lives and writes in Wisconsin.

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October 5 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

October 5 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

October 6 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW

October 6 – Girl with Book Lungs – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

October 7 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

October 8 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

October 9 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

October 10 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

October 11 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

October 11 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

October 12 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

October 12 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

October 13 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

October 14 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

October 15 – Lori’s Reading Corner – GUEST POST

October 16 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW*

October 16 – Readeropolis – INTERVIEW

October 17 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST

October 18 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on October 13, 2017

Murder on the Toy Town Express: A Vintage Toyshop Mystery
Cozy Mysterry
2nd in Series
Setting – New York
Crooked Lane Books (October 10, 2017)
Hardcover: 304 pages

Synopsis

Liz McCall has come to love running her father’s vintage toyshop back home in East Aurora, NY, so when the Train and Toy Show comes to town, she’s all aboard for a fun toy-filled weekend. The only hitch is that her childhood bully Craig McFadden, now local business rival, has set up a booth next to hers. But the fun and games are over when Craig falls from the ceiling in a publicity stunt gone wrong.

What was initially thought to be a fatal accident proves much more sinister. Pulled into the case by her feelings for both Ken, the police chief, and Jack, her high school sweetheart whose brother is one the prime suspects, Liz dives headfirst into the investigation. But as she digs deeper, she’s shocked to learn her father may have been the intended target.

The trouble train is barreling down and Liz may have just bought herself a first class ticket in Murder on the Toy Town Express, Barbara Early’s delightful second installment in her Vintage Toyshop mysteries.

Amazon * B&N * BAM *  INDIEBOUND * Book Depository

Guest Post

Why set a mystery series against the backdrop of a toy shop?

Well, it all started with a place. When I wrote the Bridal Bouquet Shop series (as Beverly Allen), I came to love the fictional town in Virginia where the story took place. But one thing always bothered me. I kept waiting for an eagle-eyed Virginia reader to tell me I messed something up. So I checked and double-checked everything. Was it soda or pop…or something else? Middle school or junior high? So many common expressions vary by geography, and it was giving me fits. Fortunately, I had a few locals I could message and get good answers, because it’s not always convenient to hop in the car and drive to Virginia.

When developing a new series, I wanted to stay a little closer to home. The village of East Aurora, NY, is one of the coziest towns I’ve ever encountered. There’s a quirky five-and-dime with a proclivity for puns, and an array of mom-and-pop Main Street shops and eateries that would stand up to any fictional cozy town. Of course, when I was scouting it out, I might have gotten a few odd looks when I said things like, “Now this would be a great place to find a body.”

Once I had the location, I needed to decide what business or occupation my amateur sleuth would specialize in—at least when she wasn’t stumbling over those dead bodies. I toyed with several ideas. (Ha! Pun unintentional.) I was browsing through the Chamber of Commerce website when I learned that the village was sometimes called Toy Town, based on its long history of toy manufacture. So first I thought toy shop, then the thought struck. Vintage toys.

Soon I learned that there was such a thing as vintage toy shows. When I went to my first, I became a fan. It’s hard not to ooh and aah over all those toys from my childhood, many I might have not thought about in years. It’s really more about nostalgia sometimes than it is toys. Not all of us have a vintage toy collection, but most of us have fond memories of our childhood playthings!

It was just such a show that became the inspiration for the backdrop of Murder on the Toy Town Express, which features the death of a comic book dealer at a Train and Toy Show—very similar to one that takes place near me twice a year.

Except nobody has died at the real one, at least I hope not!

About the Author

Barbara Early earned an engineering degree, but after four years of doing nothing but math, developed a sudden allergy to the subject and decided to choose another occupation. Before she settled on murdering fictional people, she was a secretary, a school teacher, a pastor’s wife, and an amateur puppeteer. After several years living elsewhere, she and her husband moved back to her native Western New York State, where she enjoys cooking, crafts, classic movies and campy seventies television, board games, and posting pictures of her four cats on Facebook. She writes the Vintage Toyshop series and the Bridal Bouquet Shop Mysteries (as Beverly Allen).

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

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Giveaway

There are 2 giveaways today – I am lucky enough to give away one of these prize packs which includes a brightly colored vintage toyshop tote bag, key ring, train whistle, bookmarks, and assorted fun toyshop swag (color and selection will vary).

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Check out the other blogs on this tour

October 9 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 9 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

October 10 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

October 10 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

October 11 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY

October 11 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

October 11 – Writing Pearls – REVIEW

October 12 – The Power of Words – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

October 12 – Blogger Nicole Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

October 13 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST,  GIVEAWAY

October 13 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY

October 13 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – GUEST POST

October 14 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY

October 14 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

October 15 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

October 15 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

October 16 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

October 16 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

October 17 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

October 17 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY

October 18 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

October 18 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

October 18 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on October 10, 2017

A Room with a Brew (A Brewing Trouble Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Berkley (October 3, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages

Synopsis

It’s Oktoberfest in Pittsburgh, and brewpub owner Maxine “Max” O’Hara is prepping for a busy month at the Allegheny Brew House. To create the perfect atmosphere for the boozy celebration, Max hires an oompah band. But when one of the members from the band turns up dead, it’s up to Max to solve the murder before the festivities are ruined.

Adding to the brewing trouble, Candy, Max’s friend, is acting suspicious… Secrets from her past are fermenting under the surface, and Max must uncover the truth to prove her friend’s innocence. To make matters worse, Jake’s snooty ex-fiancée shows up in town for an art gallery opening, and she’ll be nothing but a barrel of trouble for Max.

Guest Post

Why Pittsburgh?

By Joyce Tremel

I’m often asked by readers why I chose Pittsburgh as the setting for my Brewing Trouble series. The reasons are numerous. Anyone who has read the books so far has probably figured out by now that Pittsburghers are a little different. We use expressions like “n’at” and “yinz.” We call thorny shrubs “jagger bushes.” We often use the word “jag” which comes from the Scots-Irish and means “thorn.” When we call someone a “jagoff” we’re not swearing—it just means they’re a jerk, or a “thorn in our side.” There are websites and dictionaries explaining Pittsburghese to non-natives. I actually bought my editor a Pittsburghese dictionary for Christmas.

Pittsburgh is a beautiful city. It’s gone from being a smoky, dirty place in the early twentieth century to a clear and bright high-tech oasis. It’s home to Google and Uber. It’s the first city where Uber is testing self-driving cars. (Frankly, if they can navigate here, they can drive anywhere. We have streets that aren’t even streets—they’re tiny alleys, or sometimes just concrete steps on a hillside.) Our hospitals and medical centers are always on the cutting edge of the next important breakthrough. The University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University are leaders in research in neuroscience and robotics. There’s a vibrant downtown and cultural district. And one of my characters, Candy Sczypinski, would be highly upset if I didn’t mention the sports teams—the Pirates, the Penguins, and Candy’s beloved Steelers.

I can’t forget to mention the food. We Pittsburghers like to eat! Part of the fun of writing this series has been figuring out what my characters are eating or cooking in certain scenes and developing the recipes. Around here, we love Buffalo Chicken Dip and pierogis, so I invented a recipe in To Brew or Not to Brew (book 1) that combined the two—Buffalo Chicken Pierogis. And what goes better together than caramel and chocolate? Not much, so I came up with Caramel Pecan Brownies in Tangled Up in Brew (book 2). They are to die for, by the way. I had a great time planning the recipes in A Room With a Brew (book 3). Since it takes place around the time of Oktoberfest, I included some German recipes along with some distinctly Pittsburgh recipes like Ham Barbecues and that picnic staple, Pretzel Salad. Never heard of it? I guess you’ll need to read the book. It’s delicious!

We like to have a good beverage or two to wash down all that tasty food. Craft breweries are abundant in the Pittsburgh area. In the real Pittsburgh neighborhood of Lawrenceville where the fictional Allegheny Brew House is located, there are now four craft breweries. Max O’Hara would feel right at home. Pittsburgh also has some top-notch restaurants that rival any you’d find in New York City. You can even find a winery or two not far outside city limits.

It’s also a friendly city. Residents are always quick to help out anyone in trouble. You can often find a fire hall or church hall hosting a spaghetti dinner to raise funds for someone with a medical issue, or for a family who lost their home in a fire. If a stranger asks someone for directions, we’re always happy to show them the way—as long as we don’t have to use north, south, east, or west. We’re more likely to say, “Turn where the Isaly’s used to be.” We might be the only city where the natives give directions on what used to be in certain locations.

So you see, Pittsburgh really does have everything. Maybe in the future when readers ask me why I chose Pittsburgh, my answer should be, “Why not?”

 

About the Author

Joyce Tremel was a police secretary for ten years and more than once envisioned the demise of certain co-workers, but settled on writing as a way to keep herself out of jail. She is a native Pittsburgher and lives in a suburb of the city with her husband and a spoiled cat.

Her debut mystery, To Brew Or Not To Brew has been nominated for the 2015 Reviewers’ Choice award for best amateur sleuth by RT Book Reviews. The second book in the series,Tangled Up In Brew was released in October 2016 and chosen as a “Top Pick” by RT Book Reviews. It was the winner of the 2016 Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Amateur Sleuth. It was also named one of the Best Books of 2016 by Kings River Life Magazine..

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October 2 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

October 2 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT  – family emergency

October 3 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW

October 3 – Blogger Nicole Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 4 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

October 4 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT

October 5 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

October 6 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW

October 7 – Bookworm Cafe – REVIEW

October 7 – Reading Is My SuperPower – GUEST POST

October 8 – A Cozy Experience – REVIEW

October 9 – Laura’s interests – REVIEW

October 9 – Valerie’s Musings – INTERVIEW

October 10 – The Montana Bookaholic – SPOTLIGHT

October 10 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

October 11 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

October 11 – T’s Stuff – INTERVIEW

October 12 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW

October 13 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 13 – – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

October 14 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

October 14 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

October 15 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW

Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on October 7, 2017

 

Crepe Factor (A Scrapbooking Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
14th in Series
Berkley (October 4, 2016)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425266700
E-Book ASIN: B01AHKY37I

Synopsis

The Winter Market in the French Quarter is in full swing, but murder isn’t taking a holiday in the latest from the New York Times bestselling author of Parchment and Old Lace

The holidays are a busy time for scrapbook shop owner Carmela Bertrand—but not so hectic that she doesn’t have time to enjoy browsing the booths at the Winter Market with her best friend Ava. The last thing the ladies expect to see is a lurching man stabbed by a serving fork, dying in front of them.

The victim is loathed restaurant critic Martin Lash, who posted his scathing reviews on the Glutton for Punishment website. And the prime suspect is New Orleans restauranteur Quigg Brevard—who was seen giving the critic a tongue-lashing minutes before someone stuck a fork in him. An old flame of Carmela, Quigg asks for her help, which does not please her current beau, Detective Edgar Babcock, to say the least.

Before her relationship is the next victim, Carmela needs to find a murderer who had no reservations about punishing the culinary curmudgeon…

Scrapbooking tips and recipes included!

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Guest Post

I am thrilled to have Laura Childs here on StoreyBook Reviews especially today since it is my birthday!  Welcome Laura!

Carmela Bertrand owner of the Memory Mine scrapbooking store located in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter and Ava Gruiex her best pal and confidant are out for an evening’s fun at the charming Winter Market set between Jackson Square and the broad expanse of the Mississippi River. The evening quickly goes awry when they come across restaurateur Quigg Brevard in a raucous argument with a food critic, ending with the critic throwing a bowl of gumbo against the back wall of Quigg’s booth. Since Carmela and Quigg were an item once upon a time, she and Ava try to quiet Quigg down but can’t get him to stop ranting.

Determined not to ruin their night out, the ladies move along sampling this and tasting that. Ava mixes a glass of Chablis with a glass of Merlot and is quite pleased with the pinky result. Suddenly she spots a black leather corset that she cheerfully describes as “A bondage lover’s dream.” As Ava slips behind a curtain in the back of the booth to try on the garment, the booth begins to pitch to and fro. Then a man stumbles around the edge of the booth and knocks it to the ground. It’s Martin Lash, with a serving folk caught firmly in his neck. He dies at Carmela’s feet.

Remembering the fight Lash had with Quigg Brevard just a few minutes earlier, Carmela knows that she is going to hear the riot act when her current boyfriend, Detective Edgar Babcock, arrives at the scene. Sure enough Babcock is irked at seeing Carmela there, but his head is about to explode when it becomes evident that, while Carmela is a witness, Quigg Brevard is a suspect.

Carmela promised Babcock that she will stay as far as possible away from both the investigation and from Quigg Brevard, but when Quigg begs Carmela for help, well, what’s a girl to do? If the girl is Carmela Bertrand, she begins to snoop immediately with Ava by her side.

I would say that nothing could possibly be more fun than roaming around the French Quarter with Carmela and Ava looking for clues, except perhaps joining the girls as they motor boat through the bayou with their old Cajun pals Moony and Squirrel. That is a ride you don’t want to miss.

About the Authors

laura-childsLaura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fund raising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:

The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

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t-f-moranShort-listed twice for The Best American Mystery Stories, Terrie Farley Moran is delighted to introduce mystery fans to the Read ’Em and Eat café and bookstore, which debuted with Well Read, Then Dead. followed by Caught Read-Handed and Read to Death released in July of this year.  The only thing Terrie enjoys more than wrangling mystery plots into submission is playing games and reading stories with any or all of her grandchildren.

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September 24 – Cinnamon, Sugar and Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW REPOST, RECIPE

September 24 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW REPOST, GUEST POST

September 25 – Socrates’ Book Reviews– SPOTLIGHT

September 25 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

September 26 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW REPOST

September 26 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT

September 27 – Bookworm Cafe – REVIEW

September 28 – Writing Pearls – REVIEW

September 28 – Valerie’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

September 29 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 29 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

September 30 – The Power of Words – SPOTLIGHT

October 1 – My Funny View of Life – REVIEW

October 2 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – REVIEW

October 2 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

October 3 – Varietats – REVIEW, GUEST POST

October 3 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

October 4 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

October 5 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 6 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

October 6 – Teresa Trent Author Site – CHARACTER GUEST POST

October 7 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

October 7 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST

Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on October 5, 2017

Cup of Tea Books, a PageSpring Publishing Imprint
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Release Date – August 29, 2017
236 pages

Synopsis

Crime reporter Colleen Caruso has an appetite for romance…and trouble. When someone tries to poison Ken Rhodes (her handsome boss and boyfriend), Colleen vows to hunt down the culprit and serve them up to the police. She’s whisked away into the scrumptious world of restaurants and gourmet food as she tangles with four culinary divas from Ken’s past.

Trouble is, Colleen doesn’t know when to turn down the heat.

Is this Jersey Girl’s investigation a recipe for disaster?

Or will the poisoner get their just desserts?

Guest Post

Why I Love a Good Murder

Have you ever given at least a passing thought to knocking someone off? Be honest. Take a deep breath, shake off those feelings of guilt, and look back at your human interactions over the past several days, particularly moments with those who cause relatively a minor faux pas. You know exactly who I mean: the endlessly opinionated uncle, the twenty-something teen in a speed mobile tailgating your sluggish van, or that busy mom-on-the-go sitting at the next table screaming into her cell phone while you’re trying to peacefully dine at your favorite restaurant. How about the granny with 28 items in the 10 or less check-out line? Or that frenemy who consistently remarks “you look like you’ve gained some weight” each time you run into her? If we’re truthful, we will admit to at least six instances over the past month where we’d have loved to stick a knife in our husbands’ backs for things as trivial as forgetting to take out the garbage.

Consider the overbearing boss, the cheating spouse, and/or the neighbor from hell – people whose bad conduct is far more worthy of murder in the great scheme of things. Wouldn’t it be satisfying to envision these folks sipping a tainted beverage, getting tossed from a plane, or being drowned in an overflowing sink?

These are reasons I write about murder and have used these examples of ways to kill in my Jersey Girl Cozy Mysteries. After all, I couldn’t very well commit an actual murder. People can get into serious trouble for doing that sort of thing. They can also get arrested, put to trial, and are often convicted – which means a stint in prison or a death sentence, depending on where you performed the dastardly deed.

Reading a good murder mystery is an excellent way to live vicariously through the perpetrator. Almost as good as writing about a homicide, our imaginations can soar to new heights as we envision our on-again, off-again friends, neighbors, and pesky relatives bite the bullet. And as with writing, reading about the act is perfectly legal and comparable to a pressure-release value. You can imagine tossing that sometimes “friend” from a plane without her trusty parachute, yet you don’t have to murder anyone. This has already been done for you. Doesn’t that feel good?

I wonder if this how the term “blowing off steam” came about.

About the Author

Jo-Ann Lamon Reccoppa is the creator of the Jersey Girl Cozy Mystery series, which includes New Math is MurderHide nor Hair, and the latest installment, Another Man’s Poison. Her short fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies. Reccoppa worked as a stringer for Greater Media Newspapers for many years and wrote hundreds of articles, covering everything from serious medical stories to restaurant reviews. She draws on her past newspaper experience to create quirky characters and outlandish scenarios for the Jersey Girl Cozy Mystery series.

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October 2 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

October 3 – Valerie’s Musings – INTERVIEW

October 3 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – SPOTLIGHT

October 4 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

October 5 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

October 6 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

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

October 8 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST

October 9 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST

October 10 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 11 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

October 12 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

October 13 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT

October 14 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

October 15 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

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

 

Beware the Orchids (A Shady Acres Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Forget Me Not Romances, a division of Winged Publications
Release Date – February 4, 2016
Paperback: 216 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1944203061
E-BOOK ASIN: B01BI6RAGG

Synopsis

Ditched at the altar, Shelby Hart tosses down her bouquet, quits her job, and accepts a position as gardener and event coordinator at an upscale retirement community. Her first day on the job results with a dead body in the greenhouse under the orchids and with her as the prime suspect!

Toss in a handsome handyman, quirky characters, and a flirtatious grandma and the fun never stops.

Guest Post

Dreams Change

I’ve been making up stories since I was little. Almost since the time I learned to read. Interestingly enough, I wanted to be a teacher. Being an author didn’t occur to me in any shape or form, although I always wrote my stories down. No, I was pretty emphatic about being a teacher.

Funny how God often has other plans. I didn’t go to college (kind of need to in order to be a teacher). I got married right out of high school when my boyfriend joined the Air Force. It wasn’t until my second marriage and almost twenty years later that I became a teacher of sorts. First, girl scouts, then Sunday school for ten years, then foster care for nine more years, then I worked in an Elementary School as a Detention Monitor, and now I teach workshops on writing. Maybe not a teacher in the normal sense, but still a teacher all the same.

And, I keep writing my stories down. While working at the Elementary School, I had opportunities to write while supervising students. As time went by, I wrote more and dealt less with children. My dream was changing.

Or…was teaching ever what I was meant to do in the first place? Perhaps teaching truly was only a child’s dream. The trials of my life have led me to this point. Had even one thing changed, I might not be making a living doing what I love…a job that enables me to hang at conferences with like-minded peeps, stay at home with hair undone and no makeup, wearing comfy clothes. I can set my own hours, even write while traveling.

Yes, I’m convinced I’m right where I was meant to be.

 

About the Author

cynthia hickeyMulti-published and Best-Selling author Cynthia Hickey had three cozy mysteries and two novellas published through Barbour Publishing. Her first mystery, Fudge-Laced Felonies, won first place in the inspirational category of the Great Expectations contest in 2007. Her third cozy, Chocolate-Covered Crime, received a four-star review from Romantic Times. All three cozies have been re-released as ebooks through the MacGregor Literary Agency, along with a new cozy series, all of which stay in the top 50 of Amazon’s ebooks for their genre. She has several historical romances releasing in 2013 and 2014 through Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents, and has sold more than 150,000 copies of her works. She is active on FB, twitter, and Goodreads. She lives in Arizona with her husband, one of their seven children, two dogs and two cats. She has five grandchildren who keep her busy and tell everyone they know that “Nana is a writer”.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

 

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September 20 – FUONLYKNEW – REVIEW

September 21 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

September 21 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 22 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 23 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

September 23 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

September 24 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

September 25 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

September 26 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

September 26 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

September 27 – Books a plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

September 28 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST

September 29 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW

September 30 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

October 1 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW, GUEST POST

October 1 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

October 2 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

October 2 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW

October 3 – Christa Reads and Writes – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Cozy, Guest Post, mystery on September 29, 2017

The Bell Tolls (A Hollis Morgan Mystery) 
Traditional Mystery
5th in Series
Camel Press (June 1, 2017)
Paperback: 256 pages

Synopsis

Hollis Morgan has survived imprisonment, received a pardon and persevered to finally become a probate attorney. Tough as she is, her newest case will further test her mettle. She discovers her client, Matthias Bell, is a deceased blackmailer whose last wish was to return the damaging documents letting his victims off the hook. It falls to Hollis to give them the good news. But it becomes apparent that Bell was murdered, and the victims of “Bell’s tolls” are now suspects.

Hollis’ white-collar criminal past has left her with keen survival instincts. A gifted liar, she knows a liar when she sees one. A lot of people in this case are lying and one is a killer.

On top of that, she’s also representing a dying stripper, a wealthy widow whose estranged daughter spurns her attempts at reconciliation, but whose husband sees the potential inheritance as mending all wounds.

Clients aside, Hollis is defensive and wary. Her mother, who hasn’t spoken to her for years, needs a kidney, and Hollis is a match, but neither are ready to put away the past. With Hollis’ fiancé and emotional support off on an undercover mission for Homeland Security, she must count on her own survival instincts. She is swept along on an emotional roller coaster as her absent love and her family’s coldness take their own toll.

Work is her salvation. The specter of a killer keeps her focused. Hollis has always had to rely on her wits, but now she finds that others who don’t have her well-being in mind are relying on them as well.

Book 5 in the Hollis Morgan Mystery series, which began with The Fallen Angels Book Club.

Guest Post

BIRTH OF A SERIES

By Rae James

I didn’t start out wanting to write a series, but it was clear to me by the time I reached sixty-thousand words, that Hollis Morgan, my protagonist in the Hollis Morgan Mystery Series, had much left to say.

My first book was in first person, a voice initially I was not that comfortable with, except that I could hear Hollis whispering in my ear. Her reactions, thoughts, and words all spilled out onto the page – her story was not only about fighting for a second chance, she wanted redemption. Once book one was launched, later books were written in third person-close and I saw the world through Hollis’s eyes.

Book one, The Fallen Angels Book Club, poured out of my keyboard. The members of the book club were all white-collar ex-felons, and were as different and complex as any miscreant ensemble. The fact that they shared a love of books took precedence over their unfortunate deviation from the law. Now considered social outcasts, they fought hard to regain society’s acceptance and even harder to re-gain their own self-respect. Unfortunately, their efforts are discounted. They are obvious suspects when a member of the club is murdered mimicking the plot from one of their book club selections.

But Hollis’ story couldn’t end with the resolution of the crime. I wanted to know what would (or could) happen to Hollis Morgan. Would she tire of having to prove herself to society that she deserved to be trusted?  Or, would her innate sense of helping those who, like her, just needed a second chance, move her to confront risk, face danger and her own worst fears?

The outline of a series revealed itself to me.

Books two through four, not only reveal the character development and growth of Hollis, the plot lines are more complex and darker. Hollis’s resolve to remain true to herself while resisting letting down the towering walls she has built up, becomes harder and harder to do. Her encounter with others, who not only need her professional skills, but with whom she finds she must trust to share a part of herself—is her series character arc.  While each book stands on its own, readers will enjoy experiencing Hollis’s evolution from a brash, standoffish ex-con into a thoughtful, confident but still brash young woman.

The trick for any mystery series (for any book, really) is to keep the reader engaged and vested in the plot, anticipating and eager to find out what lies ahead. A book club of ex-felons not only contains a caldron full of sub-plots, it creates the major opportunity to keep readers’ attention. Today’s world is full of distractions and short attention spans, but when your sub-plots are as intriguing as your main plot, readers will not put down the book until the last satisfying page.

Subplots are essential to a series. These stories within a story not only provide tension and multi-layered suspense, subplots weave dimension to characters allowing them to express themselves differently under potentially different situations. Hollis comes from a dysfunctional family that contributes to her isolation, but we see in how she reacts to confrontations with her family that she keeps hidden her vulnerability when responding to her clients. For them, she’s as “tough as nails”.

It’s important to write characters that readers care about. When you’re writing a series, the storyline has to be gripping for the long haul. In my case it had to be six books long. This is key not only for mysteries, but for any work of fiction, as well. Shallow or stereotyped characters are not sympathetic, they are boring. An antagonist has dimension when they have at least some redeeming qualities, and becomes a complex character that enriches the storyline. In a like manner, a flawed protagonist will keep readers turning the pages of your mystery, because it’s unexpected and if the flaw is an emotional wound—even better.

 

About the Author

R. Franklin James grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. From there she cultivated a different type of writing—legislation and public policy. After serving as Deputy Mayor for the City of Los Angeles, under millionaire Richard Riordan, she went back to her first love—writing, and in 2013 her debut novel, THE FALLEN ANGELS BOOK CLUB was published by Camel Press. Her second book in The Hollis Morgan Mystery Series, STICKS & STONES, was followed by THE RETURN OF THE FALLEN ANGELS BOOK CLUB, and THE TRADE LIST. THE BELL TOLLS, book five was released in June 2017.

R. Franklin James lives in Northern California with her husband.

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check out the other blogs on this tour

September 20 –  Varietats2010 – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

September 20 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

September 21 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 21 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW

September 22 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW

September 23 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

September 23 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST

September 24 – The Editing Pen – GUEST POST

September 25 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

September 26 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

September 27 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY

September 28 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW

September 29 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

Posted in Cozy, Free, Guest Post, mystery on September 28, 2017

In The Stars: A Humorous Romantic Mystery (Amber Reed Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Self Published
Publication Date: December 11, 2014
Print Length: 364 pages
ASIN: B00QXFNP62

Synopsis

One desperate phone call is all it takes to turn Amber’s previously dull day into one speeding scarily out of control!

Amber Reed’s at work making up the horoscopes for the local newspaper and wishing for some excitement in her life, when she gets a phone call offering her just that.

Plunged into the middle of a celebrity murder investigation she’s desperately trying to convince the scarily handsome special agent assigned to solve the case that she can help him catch the killer.

Amber’s soon battling something far more dangerous than she could ever have imagined – and it has nothing to do with the equally scary chemistry fizzing between her and special agent Charlie.

Is it Amber’s wish for more excitement in her life which has landed her in big trouble – or is her fate written in the stars?

In The Stars is part of the fun, romantic Amber Reed Mystery series:

In The Stars (book 1)
On Trial ( book 1.5)
Precious (book 2)
Forever Mine (book 3)
Past Perfect (book 4)
Stop The Beat (book 5)
Paradise Lost (book 6)

Guest Post

A Wedding Day Rescue…

My name is Amber Reed. I used to have a really boring job but now I’m training to be a support investigation officer for the Celebrity Crimes investigation Agency (CCIA) – how cool is that? How did I go from desk job to racing around trying to solve mysteries and catch the bad guys do I hear you ask? Great question! Well, that’s a whole other story and you can check out In The Stars, book 1 in this fun and flirty mystery series, for that life changing adventure. I will share that it involves a rather handsome special agent who works for the CCIA called Charlie. You’ll have to read the book to find out the rest! So, anyway, here I am now … about to be whisked off from agency boot camp training in a helicopter would you believe? Where am I going? Join me as we find out…

 

“You’re ready.”

I struggle to catch my breath. Tucking a strand of sweaty strawberry blonde hair behind my ear I gasp, “You’re sure?”

James, my agency trainer and mentor, nods and smiles. “Yep. I’m sure.”

When I signed up for the chance to become a support officer for the Celebrity Crimes Investigation Agency (otherwise known as the CCIA) I knew my apprenticeship would be tough. I’ve fought to put aside the aching limbs, lack of sleep and mental demands of these past few months and keep my eyes firmly on the prize – my dream job.

If I do manage to complete my apprenticeship, and still be alive at the end of all of this, then hopefully the agency will offer me a job as a support officer. Right now though, I’m wondering if James is right. Am I really ready for the next stage of my training? It doesn’t feel like it. Despite all the efforts to build up my fitness I’m still gasping and out of breath after facing the assault course from hell. I have to confess, I didn’t realise throwing myself into muddy ditches, climbing trees and being abandoned in the middle of nowhere with just a map, compass and bottle of water would be the type of assignments I’d be put through. I mean, I’m applying to be a support officer, not a special agent. But as James pointed out, if I get this job I will work alongside agents, and where they go in order to solve a case, then so do I.

The steady beat of helicopter blades makes me shield my eyes and peer into the skies above the hundreds of acres of woodland, moor and hills which surround agency training camp.

“That’s our lift,” James says, gesturing towards the helicopter now coming in to land in the field just across from us. “You’ve got ten minutes to pack your stuff and meet me back here. This will be your final challenge. Fail this one and you’ll be on your way home with no job.”

Nerves and anxiety bubble up inside of me. This is it. My last chance to prove myself. My last training exercise. Whatever I am about to face will determine my life from this point on. “Only ten minutes? Where are we going anyway?” I shout above the sound of the sinister-looking black helicopter.

“Yes, you’ve only got ten minutes, so you’d better get a move on,” James shouts back. “I’ll explain later where we’re going and why.”

In the helicopter I sit back and focus on the horizon, forcing myself to think positive thoughts. I will not allow the rising tide of nausea and anxiety to take hold. I will not let negativity and doubt worm its way into my head. I think of Charlie instead. My Charlie. We’ve been dating for several months. He’s off working on yet another case at the moment. He’s a CCIA special agent and right about now he will probably be coming to the aid of some celebrity somewhere around the globe. He’s prohibited from telling me the details of what he’s investigating because it’s against agency rules. In addition, as all of the CCIA’s clients are famous, everyone has a big fat privacy clause written into their contract. Between his investigation caseload and my time at CCIA training camp we haven’t seen much of each other lately.

The helicopter suddenly dips alarmingly and it looks as though we’re heading in to land at our destination. My stomach performs several somersaults and I’m glad I didn’t have time for any lunch. I feel hot and cold at the same time. What have I got myself into? What will my last test be?

I gulp and remind myself to stay calm.

I can do this.

I can do this.

Can’t I?

We’re landing on the helipad of a large country house which looks vaguely familiar. It’s built of Cumbrian stone and slate and looks very impressive. Where have I seen it before?

“This is the Roseby Hotel,” James says, unclipping his seatbelt before we’ve even touched down.

The Roseby. Of course. That’s why it looks familiar. I’ve seen it in loads of magazines and on the TV. It’s a five star hotel frequented by the rich and famous. Nestling in acres of private grounds, it sits part way up a hill in the Lake District, a few miles from the tourist town of Delamere.

“This way,” James instructs. “The hotel is hosting a celebrity wedding. The happy couple and their guests have taken over the whole of the Roseby for three days with their family and friends. The wedding photos have been sold to Celeb Spotter magazine.”

A tingle of excitement runs through me. This is the kind of life I could lead if I pass this assignment and get offered a job with the agency.

“The wedding ceremony is scheduled for seven o’clock today and will take place in the marquee in the grounds,” James continues.

I glance at my watch. Seven o’clock. That’s in just over an hour.

“So what goes wrong? Does somebody shoot the groom?”

“You’re about to find out exactly what’s happened,” James replies. “Follow me.”

 

Do you want to continue this adventure? Do you want to read this book for free? You do? Brilliant!

Simply head to my website www.zannamackenzie.co.uk and you’ll discover how you can download a free copy of On Trial (a wedding day mystery) and join my fun and exclusive reader group.

Hope to see you there!

About the Author

ZannaMI write romantic comedy mysteries and when I’m not writing I can be found gardening (trying to grow tomatoes in the British climate is a major challenge!) walking the dogs or reading.

I’m a former therapist, a fan of the great outdoors – especially Scotland, the Lake District and Derbyshire’s Peak district – and also something of a dreamer!

Home is a village on the Derbyshire / Leicestershire border in the UK with my husband, our 4 Labrador dogs, a vegetable patch that’s home to far too many weeds and an ever expanding library of books waiting to be read.

At every opportunity I can be found scribbling down notes on scenes for whatever novel I’m working on and I love it when the characters in my work in progress novels take on minds of their own and start deviating from the original plot!

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads * Amazon Author Page * Pinterest * Google+ * Wattpad * Blog

check out the other blogs on this tour

September 21 – Carole’s Book Corner – GUEST POST

September 21 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

September 22 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

September 23 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

September 24 – The Montana Bookaholic – GUEST POST, SPOTLIGHT

September 25 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

September 26 – Valerie’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

September 27 – Socrates’ Book Reviews  – SPOTLIGHT

September 28 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

September 29 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

September 30 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

October 1 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

October 2 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW

October 3 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

October 3 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

October 4 – Jane Reads – REVIEW, GUEST POST