Nancy J. Parra is my guest today and I am so excited about her brand new series!!
Hi- thanks to Lori for having me on the blog today. She is featuring escapes on her blog this summer. Like most of you, my childhood escapes were in books. I remember reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “The Long Winter” in the middle of an un air-conditioned summer and still shivering from the cold. You know you have great writing when that happens.
If you follow me on Facebook you know I travel a lot for my day job. But my favorite escape is to Upper Peninsula of Michigan where my parents have a small house on a lake. It is quiet and calm. The air is fresh and smells of trees and the coolness that can be found in the great white north. My mother says they are rich because they get to live in such a beautiful place. In the morning we drink coffee and listen to the loons call from across the lake. I tease my dad that he is an “Old Poop” like Henry Fonda from “On Golden Pond.”
In truth my parents try to lure me up there for good as a perfect writer’s retreat, but I am so spoiled. The internet in the north is spotty at best. Cellphone reception is best up the hill, across the street and on top of a very large rock in the middle of the woods. (Okay, truthfully, they discovered that there is a new cell tower by the lake so you can also go down to the lake and get good reception.) Meanwhile, I am hooked on social media and stopping to do an internet search for research on a story point the moment it comes to me. Things that can’t be done easily there.
We won’t talk about the fact that this January my parents lived in the coldest place On the planet – based on statistical norms. It was even colder than both poles. Then the snow was well over the top of the cars-and that wasn’t the plowed drifts that was simply what fell from the sky. I think I’ll keep my escapes to the better weather months.
In my opinion, if you live in a place you can no longer use it to escape. At least that is what I learned in my twenties when I lived on a tropical pacific island for 18 months. That completely ruined me for places like Hawaii.
My books are all based on places I’ve lived. This month’s release-Engaged in Murder , book 1 in the Perfect Proposal series from Berkley is set in the Chicago, Illinois suburbs. Close enough to the big city to enjoy the museums and night life and theaters. Except that our heroine, Pepper Pomeroy, is far too busy building her new business and sleuthing out dead bodies to even think about nightlife. Toni Holmes, lead in the Gluten free “Baker’s Treat” Mystery Series from Berkley, lives in small town Kansas where the locals know everything about everyone and the kids cruise Central for their nightly entertainment. Last of all is Allie McMurphy, of the Candy-Coated Mystery Series set on Mackinac Island Michigan. Mackinac is one of the best treasures in the USA. It is a small island that time forgot as cars are not allowed. People get around by foot, or bicycle or horse drawn carriage. The tourists come for the quaint Victorian summer homes, the genteel perfection of the manicured grounds and the world’s best fudge.
I wouldn’t trade any of the settings as they all bring me back to a time and a place that tugs at my heart and I hope you find the communities and the stories a wonderful escape. Of the three settings, which is your favorite?
About This Author
Nancy J. Parra’s discovered she had a severe gluten allergy and had to give up her second favorite passed-time, baking. Six months into her forced new diet, she was back in the kitchen figuring out how to make her own gluten-free baked goods and soon posted delicious pictures on the web. When a good friend suggested she mix her two loves-baking and writing, she wrote her first cozy mystery, Gluten for Punishment (A Baker’s Treat Mystery), was released in 2013 and Murder Gone A-Rye was released May 6, 2014.
Engaged in Murderthe first in a Brand New Series by set in the Chicago Suburbs featuring a wedding proposal event planner turned amateur sleuth. Available now!!
With an MA in Writing Popular Fiction, Ms. Parra has written articles on writing, and has given workshops on writing techniques to various library and writers groups.
Visit her website at www.nancyjparra.com for more information, a list of her books and full reviews.
Engaged in Murder
(Perfect Proposals Mystery)
A Brand New Cozy Mystery Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (June 3, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Ben Perini
Cover Design by George Long
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
E-Book File Size: 2527 KB
There’s no planning for murder…
Pepper Pomeroy has found herself unemployed after being let go from her job as an event planner. Her sister’s boyfriend, Warren, asks her to help him plan the perfect way to propose to her sister. It just another event. She can handle this, no problem. She does such a great job he tells her she should open her own business. When he tells her this he doesn’t know about the drunk guy she found in the bathroom, who wasn’t so much drunk as he was dead. Or does he?? Before that marriage takes place Pepper needs to be sure her sister isn’t marrying a murderer.
Pepper is a fantastic protag, red unruly hair, a little jealous of her sister’s life, but she is an independent, creative woman determined to get her life back on track. Even if she has to solve a murder while she does it. She does put herself in a few dangerous situations.
I really enjoyed the relationship she has with her parents and her sister. They are a typical mid-western family. Her parents want to help Pepper get her business going even offering her old room back and half of another room for an office. They also want to pay for her sister Felecity’s engagement party. Pepper handles her parents offers perfectly.
The mystery was well plotted as well. It really kept me guessing and when the clues started to come together I didn’t think there were enough pages left to solve it. I almost thought we were going to have a cliffhanger. Thank you Nancy for not doing that to us.
This is a truly awesome start to a new cozy series. I could actual picture in my mind the entire story and I can imagine the plethora of directions Parra can take us with Pepper and her family.
Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”