Music is Murder: A Musical Murder Mystery by B.J. Bowen #GuestPost / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Music is Murder: A Musical Murder Mystery
by B.J. Bowen


I am delighted to welcome Barbara Bowen to Escape to Dollycas today!

Many Musings, Mostly Musical: The Origin Story

By B.J. Bowen

My cozy series, Musical Murder Mysteries, began twenty-five years ago. I was a professional musician and had loved cozy mysteries for years. A symphony orchestra seemed a perfect setting for a mystery, with its intrigue, and air of elegance. At that time, I wasn’t expecting to write seriously, but wanted to let off steam and escape to a different world. I once saw a list of a hundred professions, ranked by the most satisfaction experienced by its employees. Symphony musicians were number seventy-six, just above prison guards at seventy-seven; writers were above that, but I don’t remember exactly where.

When I had the opportunity, I joined a writer’s group. I was awed by the other writers! They were imaginative problem solvers, able to think up twists and turns, while teaching the basics of writing by example. They also taught diligence. You had to have a certain number of pages written, or you couldn’t participate.

When that group disbanded, missing my fellow writers, I put Music is Murder in a drawer and forgot it.

Then the symphony folded, and I had to find another job. The manuscript, when I thought of it, seemed to belong to another life.

It wasn’t until twenty years later, when I quit work to take care of my mother, who had dementia, that I took up writing again. I figured I’d sell the novel and write more to make my living. No problem, right?

After a few rejections, I began to study professional writing. First off, at 25,000 words, my “opus” was way too short. Secondly, writing wouldn’t pay unless you had a following, a publisher or the willingness to self-publish, and were very prolific. And, most importantly, marketing had changed in the era of Facebook, Twitter, and ebooks.

But writing kept me sane. I could go into a world of my own creation and escape monitoring medications, dodging mail scams, and changing the diapers of the woman who had changed mine. So I kept going, expanding the novel: developing the characters, giving them life and backstories, escalating suspense.

Then I found my current writing group. Recommended by a friend and consisting of published writers led by a former English teacher, they encouraged me, nurtured me, and were my friends. I kept at it. They helped me shape up the manuscript, begin to understand modern marketing, and find an agent, who helped me find a publisher.

So, how did the series develop? Playing in the symphony was a place to start. Working out the problems I wrote my characters into forced me to find solutions and gave me an alternate reality. Encouragement from others kept me going and contributed in no small way.

How do your accomplishments find life? Answer in the comments. I’m curious about your responses and look forward to reading your answers.

Thank you, Barbara, for visiting today! 

Keep reading to learn more about Music is Murder!


More About Music Is Murder

Music is Murder: A Musical Murder Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Camel Press (June 8, 2021)
Paperback: 242 pages
ISBN-10: 1942078161
ISBN-13: 978-1942078166

When a symphony musician is murdered—bashed with her own bassoon—flute player Emily Wilson becomes the prime suspect. To save herself and secure justice for her murdered friend, she must find the killer.


In the close-knit, unforgiving environment of the symphony orchestra Emily makes her way through the tender egos and warped relationships of her fellow musicians to find tantalizing clues. Blackmail, the victim’s abusive ex-boyfriend, an angry neighbor, and a shifty Symphony Board member all lead her to feel she is on the right track.


With the dogged Lieutenant Gordon on her trail, she must flee from the police so she can continue her search. She unexpectedly finds a loyal female friend and the possibility of a new man in her life. But she must learn to trust again after her failed and abusive marriage. With time running out, will she be able to evade the lieutenant, face her personal demons, and clear her name?


About B.J. Bowen

Barbara Bowen is a freelance writer. She was a finalist and Honorable Mention in the 2018 Focus: Eddy Awards for her article, “Letting Go with Grace,” published in Unity Magazine. Ms. Bowen is also an accomplished professional oboist who played with the Colorado Springs Symphony for nineteen years.

Drawing on her quirky fellow musicians and orchestral experiences, she created the mystery series, “Musical Murders.” The first is “Music is Murder” (Release date, 6-9-21). The second is “Ballistics at the Ballet” (Release date TBA) The third is “Fireworks on the Fourth” (Release date TBA).

She is a member of Sisters in Crime, lives in Colorado with two canine friends, and has a stock of musical puns and a song for any occasion. Contact Barbara at: or

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7 thoughts on “Music is Murder: A Musical Murder Mystery by B.J. Bowen #GuestPost / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

  1. Having had a mom with Alzheimer, I can so relate to Barbara’s need to find an escape. I’m glad she continued on with writing because “Music is Murder” sounds like a marvelous book and one I would great enjoy having the opportunity to read. It’s on my TBR list.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  2. OOHH… this book sounds and looks fantastic. Love the book cover, title blurb, review… Would love to read and review in print format. This book sounds enjoyable, a page turner

  3. Congrats on your new book! It sounds intriguing and I have added it to my TBR list. Thank you for sharing your path to becoming a published author.

    1. Thanks, Bonnie! I’m glad Music is Murder is on your TBR list. I hope my experiences are helpful. Most of all, enjoy the book!

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