Posted in Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Interviews

Special Guest – Dianne Ascroft – Author of The Heritage Heist (Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries) #Interview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


The Heritage Heist (Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries)
by Dianne Ascroft

I am so happy to welcome Dianne Ascroft
to Escape With Dollycas today!

Hi Dianne,

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hello everyone. I’m Dianne Ascroft. I grew up in Toronto, Canada, and moved to Britain three decades ago. I’ve been gradually downsizing from city to town to countryside until I’m now settled on a farm in rural Northern Ireland with my husband and an assortment of strong-willed animals. I enjoy the outdoors so when the household chores are completed (my least favourite part of life) and I’m not writing, I go for long walks and also spend time with our cat. For many years, we had a pair of goats as companions until the last one died several years ago. Now our constant companion is our tortoiseshell cat (yes, one of the cats in my cozy mystery series is modeled on her).

I wrote historical fiction, often with an Irish connection, for several years before veering off into cozy mysteries. The Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries series is a joy for me to write. Writing stories set in my homeland Canada has been a nostalgic journey for me and I enjoy every minute of it.

What are three things most people dont know about you?

For approximately two decades, I played the Scottish bagpipes and loved playing and competing with a pipe band in parades and piping contests in Canada, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

I’m the only right-handed person in my family.

I can’t ride a bicycle.

What is the first book you remember reading?

Dick and Jane grade-school readers. Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham also stands out vividly in my mind.

What are you reading now?

I always have a ‘stack’ of books waiting on my Kindle but the one I’m currently reading is Last Night with Tokyo Rose by Alexa Kang. I like to read a mix of cozy mystery and historical fiction, as well as the odd contemporary fiction in between.

What books have most inspired you?

There are loads of books that I could name, but I really admire Diana Gabaldon’s storytelling skill and her ability to interweave stories that unfold over several books. I’m also inspired by Laura Bradford’s ability to write compelling mystery plots and the way Leighann Dobbs weaves a believable magic world and engaging characters into her stories.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

For several years I wrote Second World War fiction, set in Northern Ireland. Then a couple of years ago I decided to have a change of pace. I had an idea for a mystery series and I knew a small town in Canada that would be the perfect setting for it. I think that part of the enjoyment of reading a cozy mystery is losing oneself in a pleasing setting. So, I fictionalized the small town that I knew as Fenwater and the first novel in the Century Cottage Cozy Mystery series evolved from there. I wanted to create a place that beckons readers to step in and stay a while, and characters that readers would remember. Cozy mysteries allow me to explore the characters and the place, as well as the mystery at the heart of the story.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

I do much of my writing at a desk in the corner of the spare bedroom in my house but my favourite place to write is at the dining room table, often with a cup of tea on the table beside me, and our cat draped across my knee (or sitting beside me tapping my leg with her paw). My husband is next door in the living room so, if he misses me, he can pop his head through the doorway to reassure himself that I’m still there. There’s a small window on the wall opposite and a patio door beside me so the room is bright and cheery. But, since they look out onto the side lawn and the farmyard respectively, the view doesn’t distract me – unless, of course, a hare hops through the farmyard and stops to glance around, or a cow escapes from a field and comes wandering over for a nosy at me through the patio door (both have really happened).

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

The seeds that sow the ideas for my cozy mysteries come from many different places: incidents that happen to me, random thoughts that cross my mind and bits of trivia that catch my attention So far in this series, each story has been linked to a beautiful, cherished historic object: a watch that survived the sinking of the Titanic, a rare Haida Indian carving, a cameo brooch, and in this novel, an antique quilt. I’ve been a keen patchwork quilter since I was a teenager so when I stumbled across information about the tradition of wholecloth quilting in the Scottish Borders region, where the original settlers of my fictional town Fenwater came from, I had to weave it into the plot of The Heritage Heist. In the Scottish Borders town Hawick, their wholecloth quilts have a ‘broken heart’ and thistle motif. In this design, the stitching never meets at the top of the heart to complete the shape. I modelled the antique quilt in The Heritage Heist on this design. My character Lois is wowed by the exquisite workmanship in the beautiful counterpane when she first sees it and she keenly feels its loss when it’s stolen. She is even more perturbed when one of her friends becomes the prime suspect in the theft of the cherished textile.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Probably the most difficult aspect of the process for me is deciding what the theme of the story is and how the plot has to develop to reflect this. I spend time thinking about a new story and jot down my ideas before I begin to construct the plot. Once I have a list of ideas and information about the characters and the events in the story, I try to pull them together into a coherent plot. The theme then blends into the background but guides the development of the plot. As I pull the plot together, I check to be sure the story flows in a believable way and each character’s actions and the reasons behind them make sense. As I write the story, I frequently refer back to my plot outline to be sure it is still on course.

What do you think makes a good story?

I think a story needs to be compelling, one that will matter to the characters and the reader. This doesn’t mean that it has to be a larger-than-life blockbuster that includes a huge cast of characters and many flashy settings. It can be set in a small place with characters that live relatively ordinary lives. But there must be a significant problem or conflict for them to solve, and events must drive relentlessly forward until the problem or conflict is resolved. As well as the underlying problem or conflict, the characters in the book need to touch readers’ hearts and make readers want to root for them.

Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

Lois Stone, the main character in the Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries series, is very like me in many ways. After years of doing detailed historical research for my previous books, I wanted to write stories that wouldn’t involve a huge amount of research. So, as I created Lois, I deliberately added some of my own likes and dislikes to her personality. That made it very easy for me to bring her to life. Lois and I have had different experiences but there’s more of me in her than in any other character I’ve ever created.

What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

I would describe my cozy mystery stories as heartwarming with a hint of history. For me, it’s important that the characters and place both appeal to the reader. I usually focus on characters that are people readers might meet and the kinds of places that everyone knows. The world of powerful corporations or the rich and famous isn’t for me. I don’t want to write larger-than-life places or people – just ones I hope readers will connect with. My goal is to warm readers’ hearts and put smiles on their faces. My mysteries have tension and drama, but perhaps in a more understated way than some other books do.

Also, I guess it goes back to my beginnings as a historical fiction author, but I can’t help throwing historical elements into my stories. Objects that have been stolen in the novels and novellas in this series include an artifact from the Titanic, a rare Haida Indian carving, and an antique wholecloth quilt. And in Out of Options, the prequel novella to the series, the story is set in a community divided over whether to continue to uphold their ‘dry’ status almost a century after the town voted to ban the sale of alcohol.

Whats next on the horizon for you?

The next novel in the Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries series, of course. I had an idea for Book 3 in the series recently and I’m busy sketching out the plot for the book. It will soon be fleshed out enough for me to start writing. The novel will be available later this year.

Thank you Dianne for stopping by today. 

More About Dianne Ascroft 

 

Dianne Ascroft writes the Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries, set in rural Canada, and The Yankee Years historical sagas, set in WWII Northern Ireland. She has a passion for Ireland and Canada, past and present. An ex-pat Canadian, Dianne lives on a small farm with her husband and an assortment of strong-willed animals.

Her previous fiction works include An Unbidden Visitor (a tale inspired by Fermanagh’s famous Coonian ghost); Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves: A Collection of Short Stories (contemporary tales), and a historical novel, Hitler and Mars Bars, which explores Operation Shamrock, a little known Irish Red Cross humanitarian endeavour.

Author Links

Website     Newsletter    Facebook page

Twitter: @DianneAscroft

 

About The Heritage Heist


The Heritage Heist (Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Publisher: Independently Published (December 15, 2020)
Paperback: 278 pages
ISBN-13: 979-8581502389
Digital ASIN: B08QMHW6DD

A fall fair, a cornered craftsman, an heirloom heist. When an antique quilt that is a cherished part of Fenwater’s past disappears from the market before her town’s fall fair, it’s up to Lois to resolve the quilt quandary.

 

Middle-aged widow Lois is enjoying her second season in her new town and her century house, away from the dangers of big city life in Toronto. She can’t wait to experience her first old-fashioned fall fair, complete with hot apple cider. But when the local market is burgled, her enthusiasm for the upcoming festival plummets. During the break-in one of the security guards is badly injured and an antique quilt, on loan from the museum, vanishes. Her friend, Bruce, designed and built the display case and has one of only two keys to secure it. That makes him a prime suspect in the theft. Lois won’t let Bruce’s reputation, nor the trust his customers have in the bespoke furniture maker, be damaged by the allegation. She’s determined to piece the clues together to find the quilt, clear Bruce’s name and save a piece of Fenwater’s history.

 

And so begins a week of deepening friendships, hot apple cider, calico cats, backseat shenanigans, hazy housemates, and few puzzle pieces to work with, set against the backdrop of a rustic market building amidst stately stone architecture, the crackle of flames in the hearth, a blaze of colour on leafy residential streets and the scintillating scent of cinnamon.

 

The Century Cottage Cozy Mystery series is set in rural Ontario, Canada during the early 1980s.

 

A tale for fans of Cindy Bell, Leighann Dobbs, Dianne Harman and Kathi Daley.

Purchase Links:



US:  Amazon 

For other countries

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
February 10 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
February 10 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
February 11 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
February 11 – Novels Alive – SPOTLIGHT
February 12 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW
February 13 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
February 14 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
February 15 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
February 15 – Kaisy Daisy’s Corner – SPOTLIGHT
February 16 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – GUEST POST
February 16 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 17 – Brooke Blogs -SPOTLIGHT
February 18 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
February 18 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 19 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
February 19 – Here’s How It Happened – GUEST POST
February 20 – Literary Gold – REVIEW
February 21 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
February 21 – I Read What You Write – SPOTLIGHT
February 22 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 22 – My Journey Back – RECIPE
February 23 – Diane Reviews Books – CHARACTER GUEST POST

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here to Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Posted in 2021 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Interviews New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Jodi Linton – Author of The Hiker’s Guide To Murder – #Interview | #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @JodiLinton1

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so happy to welcome Jodi Linton
to Escape With Dollycas today!


The Hiker’s Guide To Murder (A Southwest Exposure Mystery)
by Jodi Linton


Hi Jodi,

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I live in Texas with my husband, two kids, one dog, and two cats. When I’m not writing my next cozy mystery, I’m working the day job at the family business my husband and I run together.

What are three things most people don’t know about you?

Give me a recipe and I’ll cook it. I love to cook, and try new foods.

I recently discovered my love for home decoration. Since we’ve been staying home, because of 2020 and 2021, we started to remodel our house, and I realized I really do a décor taste. Lol. I’ve enjoyed putting various styles together to find my own.

And third, I’ve traveled to several countries before I was married. My hope is once it’s safe to travel again, I can take my husband to see some of the countries I visited in my youth.

What is the first book you remember reading?

R.L Stein books.

What are you reading now?

I just finished It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time by Kyle Scott. It was my first time reading her, and I adored it. Her dialogue is so witty and sharp, and fast.

What books have most inspired you?

Sookie Stackhouse books and Stephanie Plum. After reading both series, I knew I had an itch to write my own mystery series.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

I started out in romance. I sold my first series back in 2014. It was a mystery, that after the sell, I beefed up the romance in edits. I guess I’ve always enjoyed writing a book with a case as the plotline.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

Not really. I have an office set up in my bedroom.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

Life. Travels. My latest series, A Southwest Exposure Mystery Series, I gathered my ideas from our regular family trips to Red River, New Mexico and Salida Colorado. We went rafting, mountain bike riding, hiking, and even fed chipmunks in a ghost town. The only thing we didn’t find was a dead body like my heroine, Andie Sullivan. Thank goodness.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

The whole thing. I’m not kidding. I’m writing my 12th book, and each book has its own challenges. Sometimes it’s that little imposter syndrome voice echoing in my ear. Other times, it’s finding time to write as well as do mom duties and day work stuff.

What do you think makes a good story?

For me, it’s the character’s relationship and dialogue. I’m big on dialogue. – You are going to like my review 🙂

Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

Andie Sullivan. I protect the people in my circle, but also strive to be the best person I can be for myself, and make sure I’m fulfilled in life as much as my kids are. I’m also quiet nosy. So, I’d probably make a good cozy mystery sleuth.

What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

They’re set in a unique setting, open with action, and I try to blend my case plot with a romantic arc so the reader roots for both outcomes. Having written romance for so many years, the romantic angle is ingrained in me, and I knew I wanted a strong romance plot to play second fiddle to the mystery solving. I felt it grounded the characters in reality.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

Writing book three in A Southwest Exposure Mystery Series, RAIDERS OF THE CAMPSITE.

Thank you so much, Jodi, for visiting today. 

More About Jodi Linton

Hey Y’all,

I’m just a girl from Texas, minus the big hair…and oh, yeah, a horse. My crew consists of two kiddos, one which inherited my makeup addiction, and a husband still living out his garage band dreams, but in our closet next to my shoe collection.

I love to hang out with my readers, discussing books, recipes, and just everyday shenanigans. I got started in the romance community, which you might know a few of my books from there. Now, I’m all about the cozies…and the coffee. Yeah, can’t forget that.

I’d love for you to come and join my reader group, Jodi’s Book Corner, or come like me on Facebook to discover my books. And chat. Naturally.

Author Links 

Facebook     Website   Twitter    BookBub

Youtube   Instagram  Jodi’s Book Corner   Newsletter

About The Hiker’s Guide to Murder


The Hiker’s Guide To Murder (A Southwest Exposure Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – New Mexico
Independently Published (February 1, 2021)
Print length: ~200 pages
Digital ASIN: B08D28ZCMB

Hiking the Kindling National Forest is a birthday tradition for the Sullivan siblings—pitching camp, roasting s’mores… a dead body? Not exactly the fun party outdoor guide Andie Sullivan planned for her brother, Kyle. Welp.

 

When the body is identified as a local who worked at the parks department, Andie decides to put her clue-solving skills to use. Winter tourism is at stake, and if word gets out that Bushwhack has another killer on the loose, she can kiss that sweet revenue goodbye.

 

Easier said than done. Meanwhile, Sheriff Zac Mars is neck and neck with her on uncovering clues, proving solving the latest murder in town is harder than powering through a mountain bike tour on an energy bar breakfast. Racing against the clock, Andie must uncover evidence to make her mountain community safe for ski bunnies. But as one new plot twist turns into another dead body, Andie learns not everyone likes meddling civilian sleuths. If she’s not fast enough, the killer may find her before she finds them.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Andie Sullivan and her brother Kyle hike the Kindling National Forest every year for Kyle’s birthday. A day for just the two of them usually. This year three people truly is a crowd especially when the third person is dead. The woman found in a cave was an employee of the Parks Department and her death could really affect Andie’s bottom line. Sullivan’s Adventure Company depends on tourists coming to Bushwack and dead bodies tend to deter their visits to the area.

So Andie starts some sleuthing on her own much to the dismay of Sheriff Zac Mars. Despite their age difference and the fact that Andie used to babysit Zac, you could cut the romantic tension with a knife. He knows she is not going to back away from the case so they make a friendly wager as to who will solve the case first. Then Andie finds another body and realizes she could be next. She may have taken her last hike.


After reading The Killer Outdoors I couldn’t wait to return to Bushwhack, New Mexico to see how Andie was fairing and what kind of adventure she, Zac, and Kyle would take us on next. I definitely wasn’t disappointed.

I really enjoy these characters. Andie is such a strong protagonist. She is independent and smart with a drive to succeed in her business and in life. She isn’t sure about starting a relationship with Zac but he is making it very clear that he wants to be more than friends. She feels the attraction, she just needs to be sure she isn’t making a mistake. Of course, Kyle isn’t shy about adding his two cents. And neither is Vivian, Andie’s friend who is always up for a little amateur sleuthing.  Ms. Linton has created a splendid cast of characters. Their relationships feel natural and the dialogue is superior.

The author also treats her readers to another fast-paced mystery. Trailing along with Andie was so much fun. I was totally caught up in trying to solve the mystery. I thought I was on the right track but then came that twist that jumbled by thinking and made perfect sense. The second book in the series, the second time I was surprised at the reveal.

What I really liked was the romantic vibes between Zac and Andie blended effortlessly with the mystery bringing some comedy to several situations while never detracting from the main story.  Sometimes it is hard to hit that balance but Ms. Linton does it very well.

Great characters and a first-rate story. I read The Hiker’s Guide To Murder incredibly fast, all in one sitting. I never once thought of putting it down. I am very excited about the continuation of this series. Raiders Of The Campsite hits shelves April 13. 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Read my review of The Killer Outdoors here.


Purchase Link – Amazon –

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Great Escapes for The Hiker’s Guide To Murder (A Southwest Exposure Mystery)
by Jodi Linton

I enjoyed the plot. It was a fun ride along with Andie as she looked for clues and annoyed the Sheriff.
~My Reading Journeys

This was a quick and easy read with a fun storyline. I loved the interaction between the characters. Once I started reading, I had a difficult time putting the book down.
~Literary Gold

A light, quick read good for around a campfire or safe in your own home.
~Laura’s Interests

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
February 8 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
February 8 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
February 9 – I’m All About Books– SPOTLIGHT
February 10 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 10 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
February 11 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
February 12 – Literary Gold – REVIEW
February 12 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
February 13 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 14 – I Read What You Write – SPOTLIGHT
February 15 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
February 15 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
February 16 – Here’s How It Happened – GUEST POST
February 17 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW  
February 17 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – SPOTLIGHT
February 18 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
February 19 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 19 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 20 – Diane Reviews Books -GUEST POST
February 21 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!


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.”

Posted in 2021 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Giveaways Interviews New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Alexis Morgan – Author of Death by Intermission (An Abby McCree Mystery) #Interview / #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @Alexis_Morgan @KensingtonBooks

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so happy to welcome Alexis Morgan
to Escape With Dollycas today!

Hi Alexis,

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up near St. Louis and attended college there. My husband and I decided we would like to live near the mountains and jumped at the chance when a job offer made it possible for us to move to the Pacific Northwest. That where we’ve made our home for the past forty-plus years. I’ve published close to fifty

books, novellas, and short stories across different varieties of romances and most recently I’ve been writing cozy mysteries.

What are three things most people dont know about you?

I’ve always been interested in dinosaurs and once took my family all the way to Bozeman, Montana, to visit the paleontology museum there.

When I was in high school, I got to interview movie director Otto Preminger (Exodus, Anatomy of a Murder) for my school paper.

My favorite musical is The Lion King.

What is the first book you remember reading?

I’m sure I read other books before this one, but I loved BLACK BEAUTY and read it numerous times when I was a young reader.

What are you reading now?

Molly Harper’s ALWAYS BE MY BANSHEE.

What books have most inspired you?

I read across multiple genres and have learned a lot from a wide variety of authors. Early in my career, Linda Howard’s MIDNIGHT RAINBOW brought into sharp focus what kind of heroes I wanted to write in my own books. In WRITTEN IN RED, Anne Bishop amazes me with her complex world building. It makes me more conscious of how the setting in my books needs to be three dimensional and real enough to thoroughly ground the reader in the story.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

I’ve always loved reading mysteries—Agatha Christie, Mary Roberts Rinehart, Dick Francis, Ellis Peters, and so many more. I found myself wanting to create my own amateur sleuth and watch her adventures solving murders.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

Yes, I love to write in my office especially since I need to have music on to concentrate. I go into my office close the door, and crank up the volume while I get lost in the flow of whatever story I’m working on.

 Where do the ideas for your books come from?

Most often, my stories start with a specific image and the story spins out from there. For example, my newest release, DEATH BY INTERMISSION, all started with me “seeing” someone sitting on a lawn chair just inside the tree line in a park. He appears to have simply dozed off, but he’s actually a murder victim. From that single image, I had to figure what he was doing there in the first place and who would have risked killing him in such a public place.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

I think threading in all the clues, red herrings, and possible suspects in just the right mix to draw the reader along for the ride without revealing too much too soon.

What do you think makes a good story?

For me, it’s all the elements in the story that come together to make me as the reader really care about the characters and what happens to them. I can always tell I’m reading a great book when I reach the end and I really wish I could spend more time in that world and with the people in it.

Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

I’d like to think there’s a little of me in Abby McCree, the amateur sleuth in my cozy series. While I don’t really want to solve murders myself, I like how she does her best to take care of the people she cares about. I also love her relationship with Zeke, her mastiff-mix roommate. He’s loosely based on the two bulldogs in my life.

What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

Since moving to Snowberry Creek, Abby McCree gets drawn into serving on various committees and community projects around town. This allows me to have Abby encounter people from all different walks of life—the quilting guild, the veterans group, bikers, bar owners, local police, homicide detectives, etc.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

The fifth Abby McCree Mystery, DEATH BY THE FINISH LINE, will be out later this year. In the meantime, I’m working on possible new adventures for Abby to see what other kind of trouble she can get into.

More About Alexis Morgan

Alexis Morgan is the USA Today bestselling author of over forty-five novels, novellas, and short stories that span a variety of genres: American West historicals (as Pat Pritchard); paranormal and fantasy romances; contemporary romances; and cozy mysteries. A RITA® Award-finalist, Alexis Morgan is a member of RWA and Sisters in Crime. She lives in Washington State and can be found online at AlexisMorgan.com.

Author Links –Website –  Facebook – Twitter –   Blog

About Death by Intermission 


Death by Intermission (An Abby McCree Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Publisher: Kensington (January 26, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1496731255
ISBN-13: 978-1496731258
Digital ASIN: B087Z9CVW8

Abby McCree spends a summer showing family films under the stars—only to end the season with an unexpected slasher flick . . .

 

Ushered once again onto another committee by the mayor of Snowberry Creek, Washington, Abby is tasked with keeping the box office receipts of the town’s Movies in the Park nights. Cut to the director’s chair from where she’s suddenly organizing the summer’s last feature. From the opening scene through the final credits, Abby feels she’s earned nominations for best volunteer, best movie date with her tenant Tripp Blackston—and best daughter for ignoring her mother Phoebe’s own movie date with Owen Quinn.

 

Unfortunately, Abby and the others are treated to a post-credits scene: the body of local insurance agent Mitchell Anders. This discovery is followed by a plot twist revealing that the murder weapon comes from Owen’s food truck. With her mother’s boyfriend suspected of murder, Abby starts her own investigation determined to shine a spotlight on the real killer . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Abby McCree finds herself in charge of another Snowberry Creek event. This time it’s a family film in the park. Everyone seems to have enjoyed the movie, especially Abby who took in the movie with Tripp Blackston, and Abby’s mother, Phoebe who attended the show with her new boyfriend, restauranteur, and food truck owner, Owen Quinn but they didn’t watch most of the movie because they were making out like teenagers and making Abby cringe.

When the movie was over and the park cleared out Abby, Phoebe, Tripp, and Owen took on the tasks of putting equipment and tables away and picking up any litter left behind. They also found a man who appears to have had too many adult beverages and is sleeping it off. But as Abby gets closer she realizes the man isn’t sleeping, he’s dead. He is identified as Mitchell Anders, the new insurance agent in town, and we quickly learn that he has been stabbed. Stabbed with a chef knife belonging to Owen.  Abby doesn’t know much about Owen but when her mother asks her to help clear his name she can’t say no. She also sees the tension between Phoebe and police chief Gage Logan so to keep the peace she needs to get involved. Hopefully, she isn’t making a huge mistake.


The characters I have come to love return, and they are joined by Abby’s mother Phoebe visiting from Seattle, Owen Quinn, who has come to town to open a restaurant and food truck, and his employee, Jada. Abby and Tripp’s relationship is moving along nicely. I love the two of them together but her mother doesn’t. In fact, her mother found issue with almost everything Abby did and all of her friends. She was a cantankerous woman throughout most of the story and Abby really did try to keep her cool but finally blew. I found Abby’s reactions to be very realistic. Her mother’s attitude and actions were a little over the top but the relationship challenges did add a unique slant to the book. Again the lovable mastiff Zeke stole my heart.

The mystery was very well constructed. Owen is holding something back and there are a wide variety of clues that open up the suspect pool. One glaring clue was found in an intriguing place and when discovered broke the case wide open. I really enjoyed this twist and the manner in which it was handled. The way all the subplots entwined with the main plot really kept those pages turning.

Death by Intermission is a superb addition to this series. Ms. Morgan knows how to give her readers a stellar mystery to solve laced with a nice amount of humor and the perfect amount of romance. She has placed her characters in an interesting small town that always has an event or two for them to get believably involved in.

I was smiling as the book drew to a close. I can’t wait to see what these characters are up to next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Death by Committee here
and Death by Jack-o-Lantern here and Death by Auction here


Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N –  Kobo – GooglePlay  –  IndieBound 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Great Escapes Parise for Death by Intermission (An Abby McCree Mystery)
by Alexis Morgan

The combination of the murder mystery, the family dynamics, and small town interactions keep the story moving and the reader engaged. Cozy mystery fans will not be disappointed with this one.
~Christa Reads and Writes

I liked the protagonist and her approach to the crime. Dialogue felt realistic. Her motivation for investigating was also believable.
~Mysteries With Character

Intelligent, well-developed characters, a smart well-plotted mystery, a spark of romance, a sweet big dog, and laugh out loud moments make DEATH BY INTERMISSION a fantastic book that shouldn’t be missed.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

This was a fun, fast-paced cozy mystery. I liked the small-town setting, the characters (especially Abby and her boyfriend/tenant, Tripp), and her lovable, protective Mastiff dog, Zeke.
~View from the Birdhouse

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
February 1 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
February 1 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 2 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 2 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW
February 2 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 3 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
February 3 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – GUEST POST
February 4 – Mysteries with Character – REVIEW
February 4 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
February 5 – Cozy Up WIth Kathy – REVIEW
February 5 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW
February 5 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
February 6 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
February 7 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
February 8 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
February 8 – I Read What You Write – SPOTLIGHT
February 9 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – GUEST POST
February 9 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 10 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
February 10 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here to Find Details and Sign Up Today!


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.”

Posted in 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Interviews Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Marc Jedel – Author of fISh OUt of WaTER – An Ozarks Lake Mystery #AuthorInterview / #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am delighted to welcome Marc Jedel to Escapes With Dollycas today!


Hi Marc, 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

After years of working in high-tech marketing, I decided to try writing novels. I figured I had plenty of experience crafting fiction. It was just called emails, ads, and marketing collateral in my day job. Like my character, Marty, in the Silicon Valley Mystery series, I now live in Silicon Valley, work in high-tech, and enjoy bad puns. Like my characters Jonas and Elizabeth, in the Ozarks Lake Mystery series, I grew up in the South and spent plenty of time in and around Arkansas.

What are three things most people dont know about you?

1) Played professional soccer while completing my year as a Rhodes Scholar,

2) Nominated for both Pulitzer and Nobel prizes for my previous novels,

3) Likes to make up answers when asked questions for which he doesn’t have a good response. LOL, Good one.

What is the first book you remember reading?

I’d have to say it’s a tie between Go Dog Go and The Cat in the Hat. This might also explain my love for puns and entertaining word choices. What’s not to love about a story that has great wordplay and shows off awesome party hats?

What are you reading now?

I’m reading a variety of cozy mysteries to catch up on what’s popular as I try to avoid reading them while I’m in the middle of writing one. I tend to bounce back and forth between cozies, sci-fi, non-fiction history, and fantasy books.

What books have most inspired you?

I wasn’t originally planning to write mysteries. However, a few years ago, I picked up my wife’s copy of a Janet Evanovich novel. She got mad when I didn’t return it until I’d finished. My wife that is, not Janet. Janet would probably be happy because I’ve purchased a number of her other books and even consulted her How I Write book when I started my first book. I wouldn’t even mind if Janet decided to tell all her readers that they should try my books too (in case you’re reading this, Hi Janet!) Since then, I’ve read many other mysteries and cozy mysteries and enjoy the good ones for a light, humorous read.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

I’ve wanted to write a book since I was young. For the longest time, it seemed I couldn’t come up with a good plot. Yet, my writing research clearly demonstrated that having a plot is critical to a book’s success.

One day, I received this awesome birthday drawing from my nieces. And my kids, or nieces, or one of our friends’ kids had done some crazy things. Probably all of the above. One thing led to another and the idea formed to loosely base a mystery with a self-absorbed, fashion-backward software engineer, his sister, and his nieces on my life. It’s clearly fiction. I mean, I’m not a software engineer.

With my novel, Fish Out of Water, I started a completely different series with very different characters, different humor, and different style of sleuthing. This seemed to be a way to keep things fresh for me and my readers. But I’ll continue writing stories in both series.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

I guess my “special place” would be in front of my computer. I have been known to jot down ideas, fragments of conversations, and funny lines on my phone. Typically I write at a sit-stand desk with an extra wide monitor. The original concept was I would have my writing open on one side of the display and my notes or outline on the other. All too often, it seems like the writing is on one side but the other side has my internet browser or email open and distracting me.

 

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

Most of the ideas came initially from some strange news article that I stumble across. Unfortunately, I can’t explain this because these often wind up serving as inspiration for the ending of the story. For Fish Out of Water, I wanted to write a more typical cozy mystery but illustrate the different perspectives of someone new to an area versus someone who grew up there. As my wife had grandparents who owned a small ranch in Arkansas and I spent time in and around Arkansas growing up, I thought it would be interesting to show both sides.

 

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Figuring out new, interesting, and plausible ways to kill someone is actually way more challenging than one might think. Especially when you’re trying to do it in such a way that an amateur detective can figure it out without involving any help from the police and I don’t want the readers to guess whodunnit. I’m very gratified when readers tell me they couldn’t guess who was the killer and why until the reveal. Yet all this requires some very unusual internet searches. I’m just glad no law enforcement officer has knocked on my door yet to ask why I was looking up something unusual.

What do you think makes a good story?

1) Great characters that people will care about. 2) Interesting plot that excites them to turn the pages faster. 3) Reasonable actions. I hate stories where the entire thing could be resolved if only the characters would call each other or ask someone an obvious question.

 

Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

Marty Golden, my protagonist in the Silicon Valley Mystery series, is the most like me. Family and friends would tell you that he isn’t much of a stretch of the imagination for me to write, but I’m comfortable with that. Of course, Marty is the younger, funnier, cooler, and more handsome version of myself that I imagine I see in the mirror each morning. But Elizabeth and Jonas Trout in Fish Out of Water also have a disturbing number of similarities to me. I don’t know that I could write a first-person point-of-view novel and not have at least some resemblance to the protagonist.

What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

I’ve become bored by cozies where the protagonist runs a bakery, bookstore, or bed & breakfast and this supposedly amateur sleuth gets extensive help from the police. So I made sure my characters don’t work with the police and have different jobs. Having both a male and female protagonist with different point-of-view chapters in Fish Out of Water also allows me to show very different takes on suspects and other characters and go to different places.

My Silicon Valley Mystery series is especially unique with its male protagonist who’s not particularly competent, nor especially brave, as the amateur sleuth. Setting it in Silicon Valley is also unusual for cozies but worked well. Despite finding himself thrust into challenging situations, Marty isn’t exactly hero material. He has a wonderful combination of wit, irreverent humor, and sarcasm mixed in with nerdy insecurities, absent-mindedness, and fumbling but effective amateur sleuthing skills. He’s got an active inner voice and doesn’t do a lot of advance planning. Instead, he throws himself into solving problems. Sometimes, he even succeeds.

Whats next on the horizon for you?

I’m continuing to write in both series. My next two books will be book 2 in the Ozarks Lake Mystery series, titled: Swimming with the Fishes, and I’m also working on book 5 in the Silicon Valley Mystery series, titled: Huh? Why? and Punch (say it aloud fast a few times). More novels in both series are planned.

Thank you Marc for visiting today! I loved your answers!

More About Marc Jedel

 

For most of my life, I’ve been inventing stories. Living in many places around the United States, including a lot of time in the South, has given me a particularly keen appreciation for those who feel like a “fish out of water” sometimes.

My writing skills were honed in years of marketing leadership positions in Silicon Valley. While my high tech marketing roles involved crafting plenty of fiction, we called these marketing collateral, emails and ads.

The publication of my first novel, Uncle and Ants in the Silicon Valley Mystery series, gave me permission to claim “author” as my job. And achieving Amazon Best Seller status gave me even better adjectives to use in front of “author.” This has led to way more interesting discussions than answering “marketing.”

Telling the stories in the Ozarks Lake Mystery series has given me an enjoyable opportunity to spend time with characters that somewhat resemble people I’ve known. Writing alternating chapters from the perspective of each spouse of the newlywed Trout couple allowed me to experience multiple personalities without getting a visit from mental health professionals.

Author Links – Website    BookBub     FaceBook     LinkedIn    GoodReads 

About fISh OUt of WaTER


fISh OUt of WaTER – An Ozarks Lake Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Arkansas
Publisher: BGM Press (January 8, 2021)
Number of Pages: 275

A small-town homicide. A community swamped in secrets. Can married amateur sleuths bait and capture the killer before the truth slips away?

 

Elizabeth Trout had escaped her rural Arkansas hometown. Compelled to sort through her deceased grandmother’s belongings, she and her new husband Jonas make an unexpected trip to the family ranch. But when the property manager turns up dead, Elizabeth is rocked when her ex-boyfriend-turned-deputy arrests her for the murder.

 

With incriminating evidence and the sheriff convinced he’s got the right suspect, Elizabeth and Jonas must fish for clues on their own. But with a multitude of potential culprits and her husband’s contrasting personality, Elizabeth fears she may be left dangling on the hook for a crime she didn’t commit.

 

Can these newlyweds net the real killer before Elizabeth is jailed for murder?

 

Fish Out of Water is the charming first book in the Ozarks Lake Mystery series. If you like quirky characters, clever twists and turns, and puzzling whodunits, then you’ll love Marc Jedel’s humorous tale.

Buy Fish Out of Water to reel in a slippery catch today!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Elizabeth and Jonas Trout have traveled from Portland to her home town of Jenkins, Arkansas to deal with her inheritance from her grandmother. Along with her mother, a local doctor, they are sorting through furniture. artwork, photographs, and more to get ready for an estate sale and future sale of her grandmother’s home. Before they can even get started on the project Elizabeth is arrested by her former boyfriend, for the murder of Duncan Fowler. Fowler was a schoolteacher, and property manager hired to help Elizabeth’s grandmother with her ranch. Elizabeth did have a public altercation with the man over some property damage but she didn’t kill the man. The Sheriff thinks he has more than enough evidence to convict her of the crime so it’s time for the Trout’s to do a little fishing for some better suspects. There are not many secrets in this little town but they reel in a whopper that should catch the real killer and land them behind bars.


The Trout’s are a very likable couple with excellent taste in dogs and their names. The puppy on the cover looks just like our recently deceased dog and we have named our new 10-week old pup, Daisy Mae, so you know the canine character immediately stole my heart. Elizabeth’s mom is a doctor and sometimes the medical examiner. She seems to be in non-stop motion tending to her patients or another cause. Because of Elizabeth’s arrest, she can’t have anything to do with the body but that doesn’t mean she can’t get information to clear her child’s name. The victim, Duncan Fowler had a lot of irons in the fire and at one point or another, it seemed like the entire town of Jenkins had a reason to kill the man. I enjoyed the small-town atmosphere and all the residents we met in this first Ozarks Lake Mystery. The characters developed nicely over the course of the story but there is plenty of room for growth as the series continues.

Keeping with the fishy theme, the mystery was filled with red herrings. The Trouts needed a huge net to hold all the suspects and patience as they tried to weed out those with a motive but clearly not the killer. With some nice twists, I was in the dark as to who the guilty party was until near the very end. I did figure out some other aspects as to how the story would play out though. One part didn’t completely fall into place by the end of this story but probably will in the next installment. The ending was exciting and surprising as all the clues fell into place.

This is the first book I have read by Marc Jedel after seeing so many wonderful reviews of his Silicon Valley Mysteries. What always caught my attention was his liberal use of humor so I jumped at the chance to read and review Fish Out of Water. I was thrilled to see his sense of humor shined in this book as well. He also filled this story with plenty of Southern charm.

Fish Out of Water was a delightful whodunit with truly engaging characters and a complicated mystery that I found to be completely entertaining. I am anxious to read the next book in this series, Swimming with the Fishes, I have also added all the Silicon Valley Mysteries to my wish list.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Purchase Links: Amazon

Also by Marc Jedel


TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops.
February 1 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
February 1 – My Journey Back – CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 2 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
February 2 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 3 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW   
February 3 – FUONLYKNEW – REVIEW
February 4 – Literary Gold  – CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 4 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 5 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT
February 5 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT
February 6 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST
February 7 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 8 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
February 8 – Adventures Of A Travelers Wife – GUEST POST
February 9 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 10 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 11 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
February 12 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST
February 13 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 14 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

 

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here to Find Details and Sign Up Today!


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.”

Posted in Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Interviews

Grand Openings Can Be Murder (Bean to Bar Mysteries) by Amber Royer #AuthorInterview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @amber_royer


Grand Openings Can Be Murder (Bean to Bar Mysteries)
by Amber Royer

I am excited to welcome Amber Royer to Escape With Dollycas today!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m Amber Royer, author of the Bean to Bar Mysteries.  I’m also the author of the Chocoverse space opera trilogy, and the choc-centric cookbook There are Herbs in My Chocolate.  I fell into this whole chocolate thing by accident, when the local herb society I participated in asked me to do a presentation combining culinary herbs and chocolate.  Since chocolate has become my schtick, I’ve embraced it.  I’ve visited cacao plantations and craft chocolate factories, tried my hand at making chocolate in my kitchen, and started growing cacao trees indoors at my husband’s office (the tallest of our trees is now as tall as I am).   I’ve been a creative writing coach/writing instructor for going on a decade and a half.  I teach adult novelists, and aspiring teen writers.  My philosophy about books and writing is that you should go in with a plan, and understand the structure and desired meaning of what you are going to write, viewing fiction in a similar way to how a journalist approaches a news assignment: plan first, write second.  I started developing worksheets to use with my classes, and recently compiled those into a workbook: Story Like a Journalist.  I live just north of Dallas, where we have two excellent bean to bar chocolate companies, and a TON of chocolatiers, bakeries and restaurants that specialize in chocolate desserts.

What are three things most people dont know about you?

1—I enjoy flying stunt kites.

2—I’m left-handed.  (Just like the Man in Black in the Princess Bride.)

3—I have zero sense of direction and once made a map for someone that came out upside down.

What is the first book you remember reading?

Ramona Quimbly Age 8.  I know I participated in my local library’s summer reading program from a very early age, and I probably read picture books before that, but Ramona was the first one that made a real impact and made me want to read the rest of the related works.  I actually look like Ramona at that age, as she is drawn on some of the covers.  I loved her world, with Henry and Beezus and Ribsy.  It felt like discovering a whole group of friends.  Which, honestly, lays a pretty good groundwork for writing a cozy mystery, since they usually have a large cast of your protagonist’s friends, family and workmates that make up the community the book is set in.  And you hope the reader comes to think of them as friends.

What are you reading now?

The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan.  I did a bit of research on how other authors are incorporating chocolate in their manuscripts before this year’s – virtual – Dallas Chocolate Festival, where I did an informal chocolate book meetup.  This one sounded so interesting I bought it.  There are two storylines, one in the present and the other in 1972, and both play out in Paris, centering around a chocolate shop and a lost love.  I just got to the point in the story where the modern-day protagonist has traveled from England to France and starts working at the chocolate shop.  She is realizing she’s going to be mopping floors, not designing recipes.  So far, it’s a fun read.

I always include at least hints of a romantic subplot in my own work (even the science fiction), so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I like stories that focus on friendships and romantic relationships.

What books have most inspired you?

Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island has always been a big influence on my overall writing style.  There’s the whole thing about adventure and plot twists, counterpointed by character relationships.  I love the dynamic created between Jim and Silver, who are on opposite sides, and yet emotionally are what the other is missing.  Silver’s the father figure Jim lost, and Jim represents the honor Silver wishes he could get back.  Another thing I love about Treasure Island is how nothing is ever wasted.  Every bit of foreshadowing comes back up, in unexpected and important ways.

Mysteries that have inspired me include:

Agatha Christie’s Poirot novels.

Dorothy Gilman’s Mrs. Pollifax series

Lillian Jackson Braun’s The Cat Who series.

Dorothy Cannell’s Ellie Haskell series.

Diane Mott Davidson’s Goldie Bear series.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

I’ve always found mysteries intriguing.  Some of my earliest literary influences were Hank the Cowdog and Encyclopedia Brown, and I never outgrew my enjoyment of that sense of adventure and puzzle solving.  I read a lot of cozies starting in my teens, and I’m also a fan of shows like Psych and Monk.  I devoured the BBC Agatha Raisin miniseries the minute I got my hands on the box set.

There are even some mystery-influenced elements to the plot of the Chocoverse books.

At the same time, I kind of fell into taking on the project: I do monthly presentations as the discussion leader for my writer’s group (the idea is to funnel people into taking my writing classes).  One of the presentation topics the group voted for was How to Write a Mystery Plot/Subplot.  So I did a bit of research, and found out there’s a standard for the emotional beats in a mystery.  And then a couple of months later, I had a coaching client who wanted help with the plot structure for his mystery.  Between the two projects, I got an itch to try my hand at a mystery myself, even though it was a departure from what I’ve written previously.

Mysteries are about justice and restoring order to the world.  In a way, they are the very essence of story.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

I write on my laptop, so my writing location is mobile.  Before COVID, I did a lot of writing in public spaces.  Sadly, at least one of the coffee shops I used to frequent has closed.

The writing group I lead, Saturday Night Write, used to meet for in-person write-ins at a local ramen and bubble tea place.  This year, we’ve been doing our write-ins over Zoom.  It’s good to at least see people’s faces.  And I invested in a home cappuccino machine, so I’m not missing out on my creativity fuel.  I am, however, missing the chicken karaage.  I could make it myself – but not and still get a writing session done.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

The basic idea for all my books come from something I’ve learned or observed, combined with a series of What If questions.

There’s a good deal in Grand Openings Can Be Murder dealing with social media.  I have a love/hate relationship with my own social media, and I wanted a context in which to think about it.  So then I started asking what if’s about it.

The idea behind Felicity herself was a bit more straightforward.  I’d written a science fiction trilogy relating to chocolate, and in the course of researching and publicizing those books, I’d met a lot of craft chocolate makers and seen the passion behind what they do.  (Trust me, nobody gets into the bean to bar chocolate business to make a quick buck.)  I was at an event where I had paired with a local chocolatier to talk about food writing at a local writer’s group festival.  I made the offhand comment that there were cozy mysteries with chocolatiers, and ones showing chocolate making as a magical process – but nobody had done an honest-to-goodness craft chocolate maker, the kind who would go to origin to work with specific farmers in order to create a superior product.

After I went home, I thought about my favorite Toni Morrison quote: “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”  Grand Openings Can Be Murder was the book I desperately wanted to read.  Therefore, I had to write it.

When I did the Chocoverse books, I borrowed one of my best friend’s last name for my character, Bo Benitez, and another of my friends decided the character Chestla encapsulated her.  But I have another close friend who is more about Burn Notice than Guardians of the Galaxy.  I asked her if I could borrow her last name for Felicity Koerber.  When she said she was delighted by the idea, I started thinking about writing the book my friend would want to read, too.  So while Felicity’s got this whole Cajun aspect to her (like me), she’s a huge Jane Austen fan, like my friend (who used to be a bookseller).

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

The hardest part for me is getting the story down to a reasonable wordcount.  My sci-fi novels come in at 130 -140 thousand words a pop – and I had to cut around 20K out of each one to get them there.  Grand Openings Can Be Murder is my first cozy mystery, and I went into it knowing the word count expectations for the genre – approximately half of one of my sci-fi novels.  Despite having an outline, I still had to cut several scenes in order to get it into the right range.

What do you think makes a good story?

A good story is driven by uncertainty.  If we believe we’ve figured out your plot ten pages in, we lose interest in reading – even if our guesses aren’t correct.  Which means that If you’re planning to fool us with a red herring or an obvious suspect, you still have to leave a level of doubt.  Without doubt, there’s no suspense.  There needs to be questions and little mysteries for us to figure out along with your characters in every chapter of the book – while never meandering away from your main conflict.  The minute you give us a stretch of manuscript without a conflict where the outcome is in question – well, that’s the kiss of death.

But in order for this uncertainty to matter to us, we have to be attached to your characters – and that doesn’t come automatically. The characters in a good story need to be fighting to achieve their goals.  Readers love an underdog, and we love people working hard to achieve great things despite improbable odds.  In a mystery, this means clues can’t just be handed to them.  They have to earn every bit of information, every big revelation, so that we can feel like we are earning the information as we read along with them.  This is one reason why I decided to write a cozy.  My amateur sleuth is a chocolate maker.  While she has a logical mind, she’s never solved a mystery before, and she doesn’t automatically know how to go about it.

Attachment also comes from the characters themselves being appealing – or at least sympathetic.  Because if bad things are happening to characters we don’t like, we probably won’t care enough to keep reading.

The last element you need for us to care about your story is for the events in it to be of a significant magnitude.  And we need a hint of that magnitude right away.  If the biggest thing at stake in the first two chapters of a book is whether or not the character gets the cheese sandwich she wants for lunch, we’re not likely to get to chapter three, even if there’s a murder in the sandwich shop.  The character also needs a reason to solve the particular murder at the heart of your story.  Maybe she cares about the person suspected, or is suspected herself, or somehow her reputation or her business is at stake.  In most cozies, the protagonist isn’t solving the mystery as part of her job.  So you need to manufacture a reason.  If the sleuth has nothing at risk, we won’t believe that she cares so much about solving a murder, when there are other people on hand with catching killers in their job descriptions.  I tried to tackle this head on by having the murder victim be one of Felicity’s employees, and having her suspected.

Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

I think all my characters have a little of me in them – even the bad guys.  Demographically, Felicity is most like me.  I gave her a Cajun side to her background, because I wanted to get to pepper the series with food references and flavors of my childhood.  Felicity has a good heart, and she genuinely feels bad when she makes mistakes while investigating.  And like me, she loves books and reading and a good cup of coffee.  But unlike me, she’s good at chemistry, and has a medical background, while I was too squeamish to even do my own experiments in high school biology.  Which makes her strong and cool in a crisis, whereas I tend to go into panic mode.

Psychologically, I’m more like Autumn Ellis, Felicity’s best friend.  Autumn is a former mystery writer, who wanted to be a poet since she was a little girl.  She and Felicity met in eighth grade, when they were both doing UIL Poetry competitions.  She’s more intuitive than logical.  She speaks her mind – sometimes without regard for the consequences.  And like me, she’s an extrovert who works from home, which means she needs routines for social interaction – and she gets terribly excited when she gets invited to a party.

What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

I have a chocolate maker who is concerned with working with farmers at origin for a protagonist – which allows for a wider scope of interests and secondary characters and a different feel than the other chocolate-themed culinary cozies I’ve read.  And rather than coming home broke and recently jobless as many recent cozy mystery heroines seem to do, Felicity is coming home to start a new venture by choice, because she’s passionate about it.  But more importantly than her occupation – Felicity is a widow.  A lot of recent cozies have been over-the-top with the humor.  Felicity is a somewhat more subdued character, because she is protagging from within her grief – and using the story to find a way forward.  There’s humor, but it’s a bit more subtle.  And a great deal of this story is about reinvention and self-discovery.

Felicity is also winding up connected to characters who come from a different world than she’s comfortable with.  Especially Logan, who used to be a bodyguard and has tragedy in his past.  He feels like he stepped in out of a different kind of story, and he’s going to bring in different type of conflicts as the series progresses and Felicity has to decide what she wants life to be.  There are hints of this already in the first book.

Whats next on the horizon for you?

I just finished the first draft of the second book in the Bean to Bar Mysteries, and I’ve already outlined several more.  So look forward to more adventures with Felicity, Logan, Arlo and the rest.

I’m also working on a manuscript involving time travel and Impressionist art.

 

More About Amber Royer

 

Amber Royer writes the CHOCOVERSE comic telenovela-style foodie-inspired space opera series, and the BEAN TO BAR MYSTERIES. She is also the author of STORY LIKE A JOURNALIST: A WORKBOOK FOR NOVELISTS, which boils down her writing knowledge into an actionable plan involving over 100 worksheets to build a comprehensive story plan for your novel. She blogs about creative writing techniques and all things chocolate at www.amberroyer.com. She also teaches creative writing for both UT Arlington Continuing Education and Writing Workshops Dallas. If you are very nice to her, she might make you cupcakes.

Author Links

Website   Instagram     Facebook     Youtube    Twitter      Amazon Author Page     Goodreads

About Grand Openings Can Be Murder 

Grand Openings Can Be Murder (Bean to Bar Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Golden Tip Press (February 2, 2021)
Paperback: 266 pages
ISBN-10: 1952854083
ISBN-13: 978-1952854088
Digital ASIN: B08JLFHD7N

Felicity Koerber has had a rough year. She’s moving back to Galveston Island and opening a bean to bar chocolate factory, fulfilling a dream she and her late husband, Kevin, had shared. Craft chocolate means a chance to travel the world, meeting with farmers and bringing back beans she can turn into little blocks of happiness, right close to home and family.

 

She thinks trouble has walked into her carefully re-built world when puddle-jump pilot Logan Hanlon shows up at her grand opening to order custom chocolates. Then one of her employees drops dead at the party, and Felicity’s one-who-got-away ex-boyfriend – who’s now a cop – thinks Felicity is a suspect. As the murder victim’s life becomes more and more of a mystery, Felicity realizes that if she’s going to clear her name in time to save her business, she might need Logan’s help. Though she’s not sure if she’s ready to let anyone into her life – even if it is to protect her from being the killer’s next victim. For Felicity, Galveston is all about history, and a love-hate relationship with the ocean, which keeps threatening to deliver another hurricane – right into the middle of her investigation. Can she figure it out before all the clues get washed away?

 

Purchase Links

Amazon –  Barnes and Noble –  Kobo – Apple Books – Indie Bookshop

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops.
January 20 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
January 20 – My Journey Back – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
January 21 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 21 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
January 22 – Brooke Blogs – RECIPE WITH SPOTLIGHT
January 22 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
January 23 – I Read What You Write – CHARACTER GUEST POST
January 23 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
January 24 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 25 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
January 26 – Celticlady’s Review – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
January 27 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST
January 27 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 28 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST
January 29 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 30 – Diane Reviews Books – GUEST POST
January 30 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
January 31 – Maureen’s Musings – RECIPE WITH SPOTLIGHT

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Posted in Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Interviews

Pursuit of the Truth (West Investigations) by K.D. Richards #AuthorInterview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @kiadwrites


Pursuit of the Truth (West Investigations)
by K.D. Richards


I am so happy K.D. took time out of her busy day to
answer my questions!


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born and raised just outside of Washington, D.C. Although I’ve always written and enjoyed writing, I took a different path career-wise right out of school and earned a law degree. A job opportunity for my husband gave us the opportunity to move to the Toronto area where he is from so after working as an attorney and legal instructor for fifteen years we made the move to Canada and now spend summers and school breaks in the U.S. Of course, not recently due to the pandemic but I’m looking forward to getting back to the DC area this year.

What are three things most people don’t know about you?

  1. I took up playing violin at age 38. I’m horrible but I do love it and recently my son said “I actually recognize that song” so I must be getting better!
  2. I met one of my best friends in kindergarten and nearly forty years later we still text or talk almost every day.
  3. I prefer sour foods over sweets.

What is the first book you remember reading?

Green Eggs and Ham. I LOVED that book as a child and still have it memorized.

What are you reading now?

I’m just getting started reading They Never Learn by Layne Fargo. I’m only 10% in but it’s really good.

What books have most inspired you?

I’ve always liked mysteries. My mother bought a bunch of those 5-minute mystery books and I always devoured them.  One of my absolute favorite books to this day is The Westing Game by Ellen Raskins. I think it’s the first book I read with a real twist that made me immediately go back and start reading again to catch all the things I’d missed the first time.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

I think it would be The Westing Game and possibly the movie Clue. I watched that movie dozens of times as a teen. I’m naturally curious, some might even go so far as to say nosy! I want to know why things happened and what motivates people. And being a lawyer I do like to see the bad guy be brought to justice.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

I do have an office but I’ve also learned to write wherever and whenever. Especially when I worked outside the home, I’d write on the train during my commute. Dictate scenes to Siri while waiting to pick up my sons. If I waited for the perfect time and place, I’d have never completed a manuscript.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

That is an awesome question and I wish I knew. For Pursuit of the Truth, I just knew I wanted to write a story about a woman that owned a hotel, had been through a series of recent hardships, and had a crush on the head of hotel security. I’m a plotter so for the rest of the story I sit down and simply daydream about what could happen until I find something I like.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Revisions and editing! I’m usually so excited about a story when I’m writing the first draft, that’s where everything is new to me. By the second and third time through I’m thinking “not this again”! Of course the revision and editing stages are where the story really is so I power through. It’s all worth it in the end.

What do you think makes a good story?

Of course interesting, complex, believable, characters and a good juicy plot are necessary. But I do think “good” is subjective. I know we’ve all read books that got amazing reviews but just we just don’t connect with them.

Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

Well, there are a lot of strong women in my family so I try to write strong women as well. Nadia Shelton, the heroine, in Pursuit of the Truth is a little like me in that as a child I did want to own a hotel and I lived in New York City years ago. But I think all of the ladies in the West Investigations series are great.

What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

Pursuit of the Truth is a romantic suspense so the story does focus mostly on the romance and mystery but it is also a story about a family. The theme of the entire series is actually family. The four West brothers have taken over the private investigations firm that their father started and that changes their relationship toward each other and creates tensions between them. Nadia is also dealing with family issues in Pursuit of the Truth. I think seeing the characters dealing with relationships other than the core romantic relationship in their lives adds depth and complexity.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

Books two and three in the West Investigations series! Look for them in Fall/Winter 2021.

K. D. Richards is the pseudonym for Kia Dennis. Kia was born and raised in the Maryland suburbs just outside of Washington, D.C. A writer since a young age, after college she earned a law degree and worked as an attorney and legal instructor for fifteen years but never stopped writing fiction. She currently lives in the Toronto area with her husband and two sons. Sign up for her newsletter at kdrichardsbooks.com and follow her on Twitter @kiadwrites

Author Links:   Website    Facebook   Instagram    Amazon   Goodreads:

About The Pursuit of the Truth


Pursuit of the Truth (West Investigations)
Romantic Suspense
1st in Series
Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue (January 26, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
ISBN-10: 1335401539
ISBN-13: 978-1335401533
Digital ASIN: B08CSRDVWK

His skills can keep her safe

 

Her secrets could get them killed…

 

Security expert Ryan West’s worst fears come to life when hotel CEO Nadia Shelton is pushed in front of a taxi and nearly killed. Someone will do whatever it takes to find the brother Nadia thought was dead, and the only way Ryan can protect her as they uncover the truth is to stay strictly professional. But the sparks igniting between them are nearly impossible to ignore.

 

From Harlequin Intrigue: Seek thrills. Solve crimes. Justice served.

Purchase Links:

AmazonKoboHarlequinB&N

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops.
January 25 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
January 26 – Bea’s Book Nook – REVIEW
January 27 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST
January 28 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
January 28 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 29 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 30 – The Book Diva’s Reads – GUEST POST
January 31 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 1 – I Read What You Write -GUEST POST
February 2 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 3 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – REVIEW
February 4 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
February 5 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW
February 6 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW
February 7 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Posted in Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Interviews

No Gravestone Unturned: A Cobble Cove Mystery by Debbie De Louise #Interview #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

No Gravestone Unturned: A Cobble Cove Mystery
by Debbie De Louise

About No Gravestone Unturned 


No Gravestone Unturned: A Cobble Cove Mystery
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Solstice Publishing
Paperback: 262 pages
ISBN-13: 979-8694361101
Digital ASIN: B08KS5BYHM

It’s October in Cobble Cove, and Alicia is busy preparing for the library’s Halloween party when she learns that John’s aunt from Florida has died and that John’s cousins and their spouses are coming to town to bury their mother. The day after the funeral, the caretaker’s son is found dead by John’s grandfather’s gravestone, from a blow on the head. The only witness seems to be Sneaky the library cat, who, having left the library, turned up at Alicia’s door with blood and dirt on him.

 

As Alicia, Gilly, and Sheriff Ramsay investigate, a generation of family secrets is uncovered. Are one of the guests staying at the inn a killer? Will the humans solve the crime, and can Sneaky, Kittykai, and Salem, the inn’s guest cat, team up to help?

Welcome, Debbie! 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a librarian at a public library on Long Island. I have a teenage daughter, husband, and 3 cats. I have published 8 novels including the five books of my Cobble Cove cozy mystery series. I’ve also published short stories of various genres. In addition, I write articles for pet magazines and am a reviewer for Booklist.

What is the first book you remember reading?

I’ve been a lifelong reader, but the first book that made an impression on me was The Winter People by Phyllis Whitney. I was around 12 or 13 when I received this book as a gift. It was my first introduction to gothic mysteries, and I read everything by this author afterward. I learned she was a local author and even wrote a letter to her expressing my interest in writing that I had even then. She replied but, unfortunately, the letter was lost after I got married and moved. I’m still hoping it will turn up one day. The author is now deceased, but she lived a long life and was writing into her 90’s.

What are you reading now?

I’m reviewing a cozy mystery for Booklist. It’s the debut book of a series called Meet Isabel Puddles by M.V. Byrne. I’m not given a choice of books to review, but I’m happy to learn of new authors. Occasionally, I am asked to review a book by an author with whom I’m familiar. For instance, I recently reviewed Joanne Fluke’s Christmas Cupcake Murder and that was an honor for me because she’s one of my favorite cozy authors.

What books have most inspired you?

As I said earlier, Phyllis Whitney’s romantic suspense novels inspired me as a teen, as did Victoria Holt’s writings. Later, I enjoyed cozy mysteries featuring cat characters that were written by Carole Nelson Douglas (Midnight Louise series); Shirley Murphy (Joe Grey series); Lillian Jackson Braun (The Cat Who series) and others. I also had the pleasure of meeting some of these authors when I attended the Cat Writers’ Association conference years ago. Today, I’m inspired by a variety of authors. I mostly enjoy reading mystery and suspense novels, but I also like books of other genres from historical fiction to science fiction/paranormal titles. Some of my favorite authors include Nora Roberts (and her futuristic mystery series written under J.D. Robb), Mary Higgins Clark, and Sandra Brown. My current new favorite authors are Fiona Davis, JoJo Moyes, Ruth Ware, Lucy Foley, and Kimberly McCreight.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

I’ve always enjoyed reading them. I like to create puzzles and figure out solutions to them. I sometimes surprise myself by the twists I feature in my books and the endings.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

Everywhere – other books, TV shows, my past life experiences, my dreams, current events, my imagination.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Finding the time to write and also promote my writing. I work full-time as a librarian and have a family, so I need to juggle and balance my responsibilities. It can be stressful, especially the promotional part which seems to take up more time the more books I publish. I enjoy writing but wish I could devote more time to it.

What do you think makes a good story?

Interesting characters and a plot that inspires you to keep reading. I like stories that feature twists or unexpected events, vivid descriptions of settings and places, and subplots that help illustrate the inner feelings and personalities of the characters involved.

Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

Alicia, the main character of my Cobble Cove cozy mystery series. She’s a librarian and also a mystery author. She’s also very cautious despite the fact she enjoys solving mysteries.

What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

I don’t believe many cozies feature married couples with children. I also include characters of various ages from kids to seniors and, in each book, new characters are introduced who may or may not remain in the series. The main characters develop and grow from book to book. I’ve also made a change in the cats. In the first four books, readers are not privy to Sneaky, the main character cat’s thoughts. But when I wrote the two short eBooks that followed, Sneaky’s Christmas Mystery (that won an award from the Cat Writers’ Association) and Sneaky’s Summer Mystery, I included Sneaky’s thoughts as well as those of Kittykai (the female cat that joined the series in Love on the Rocks).

What’s next on the horizon for you?

I’ll be publishing my first non-fiction book, Pet Posts: The Cat Chats. The idea came to me when I was home during the pandemic and cleaning out my files. I found a bunch of old cat articles “written” by two of my past cats. Since I already publish blog posts written in the points-of-view of my current cats, I decided to compile this into a book with photos. With the help of a fellow Cat Writers’ Association member who is an editor and publisher, the book should be released this fall. It’s possible it may even be out by the time this interview is printed.

As for my fiction, I like to alternate my cozy mystery series with my standalone mysteries, so I’m considering returning to a book that I started a while back and completing it. That book has a gothic mystery theme. I also want to write more Cobble Cove books. However, I’m also querying the first of a new cozy mystery to agents in the hope that I can publish with a large publisher one day, so my books can reach a bigger audience. For now, I’m happy that I have two wonderful Indie publishers, Solstice Publishing and Next Chapter Publishing.

More About Debbie De Louise

 

Debbie De Louise is an award-winning author and a reference librarian at a public library on Long Island. She is a member of Sisters-in-Crime, International Thriller Writers, the Long Island Authors Group, and the Cat Writers’ Association. She has a BA in English and an MLS in Library Science from Long Island University. Her novels include the four books of the Cobble Cove cozy mystery series: A Stone’s Throw, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Written in Stone, and Love on the Rocks. Debbie has also written a romantic comedy novella, When Jack Trumps Ace, a paranormal romance, Cloudy Rainbow, and the standalone mysteries Reason to Die and Sea Scope. Her latest book, Memory Makers, is a medical thriller. She lives on Long Island with her husband, Anthony; daughter, Holly; and three cats, Stripey, Harry, and Hermione.

Author Links

Facebook Twitter Goodreads Amazon Author Page All AuthorInstagram LinkedinBookbub PinterestDebbie’s Character’s Chat GroupWebsite/Blog/Newsletter Sign-UpSneaky the Library Cat’s blog

Purchase Link – Amazon – 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
October 28 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
October 28 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book -AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 29 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
October 30 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
October 31 – Christy’s Cozy Corners– REVIEW, GUEST POST
November 1 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST
November 2 –  Thoughts in Progress – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
November 3 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST
November 3 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
November 4 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
November 5 – This Is My Truth Now – REVIEW
November 6 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
November 7 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
November 8 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews– REVIEW

 

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Posted in Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Interviews

Kelegeen by Eileen O’Finlan – #AuthorInterview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Kelegeen
by Eileen O’Finlan

About Kelegeen


Kelegeen
Historical Fiction
Publisher: BWL Publishing Inc. (March 1, 2018)
Paperback: 433 pages
ISBN-10: 0228600294
ISBN-13: 978-0228600299
Kindle ASIN: B07B52K2TB

Ireland 1846

 

Meg O’Connor, daughter of poor Irish cottiers, eagerly anticipates her wedding to Rory Quinn.  Her dreams of marriage and family vanish along with Ireland’s potato crop when Kelegeen’s inhabitants awaken one morning to find their sole source of food destroyed by blight.

 

At first Meg and Rory are able to use their skills, hers of sewing and his of wood carving, to provide for themselves and their families.  But tragedy and a costly mistake end those means of survival forcing them into more dangerous ventures.

 

As An Gorta Mór, the Great Hunger, continues to churn through Ireland ravaging the country’s peasantry with no let up in sight, Meg is compelled to make the most difficult decision of her life.  What she chooses could be the salvation of the O’Connor and Quinn families or it could separate her forever from all she knows and loves.

 

I am thrilled to welcome Eileen O’Finlan to Escape With Dollycas today!


Hi Eileen!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a native New Englander, born and raised in Massachusetts, though my favorite state is Vermont. Both of my parents are from Vermont, most of my relatives live there, and my  best childhood memories are of times spent with family in Vermont. Someday I’d love to make it my home, not just my home-away-from-home.

I have a Bachelor’s degree in history and a Master’s degree in Catholic Pastoral Ministry. I work full-time for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester. I also facilitate online courses in Catholic studies for the University of Dayton, Ohio.

Writing is my greatest passion along with reading. I adore cats. Currently, an adorable calico Maine Coon named Autumn Amelia allows me to live with her. I also shared living quarters with a gorgeous Russian Blue named Smokey, but sadly she passed away at the beginning of May. She was nearly 20 years old and, though I miss her terribly, I am glad I was able to give her a happy life.

What are three things most people don’t know about you?

  1. I would love to learn to ride a horse.
  2. When I’m alone in the car, I crank the music up high and sing along while fantasizing about being a rock star (lead singer and/or lead guitarist – can’t sing worth nickle and don’t know how to play guitar, so I guess that won’t be happening any time soon!)
  3. I would love to try acting, but doubt I could remember my lines.

What is the first book you remember reading?

I don’t know which was the first book I ever read, but I do know that the first book to have a huge impact on me was Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.  I also spent a lot of childhood hours devouring the Nancy Drew Mystery series.

What are you reading now?

At the moment, I am reading Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (And Their Muses) by Terri-Lynne DeFino, and Never Done: A History of American Housework by Susan Strasser.

What books have most inspired you?

As mentioned above, Little Women was probably my biggest inspiration. I completely identified with Jo March. Another great favorite is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I have always loved 19th-century classics.

What made you decide you wanted to write historical stories?

I love history. My undergrad degree is in history. I come from a family of history lovers. My family discusses historical events like most people discuss current events. I’m especially interested in everyday life in other time periods as well as little known occurrences.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

The place doesn’t seem to matter. What matters is what’s going on around me. I find it very hard to focus if there is a TV or radio on nearby or if people are talking. I think it competes with the words in my head. Instrumental music, white noise, nature sounds – anything non-human vocal is fine.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

Lots of places. Often from reading non-fiction history books or from something I watched on PBS. Other times a picture will inspire a story. I can be flipping through a magazine, catalog,  newspaper, or pretty much anything that has photographs and a picture will catch my eye. I usually can’t explain what it is about it that draws me, but I know when it happens because I just can’t stop looking at it. Before I know it a story is forming in my mind. This happens most with pictures of people. It could be from paintings or drawings, too. I doesn’t have to be photographs.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Finding enough time to write is my biggest challenge. My goal is to reach the point where I can make a living writing so that I can do it full-time. Right now I have to work a full-time job as well as do some online teaching on the side. I love both of them, but they do take up a lot of time I’d rather spend writing.

What do you think makes a good story?

I think it’s a combination of things. Usually, I need to like the protagonist to enjoy the story. I love well crafted characters. I want to feel as though I know them. An interesting plot is also essential. There has to be something at stake.  I need a reason to root for a character. Plot is about what happens and I want to care about what happens to the characters. So, for me, I guess characters are most important, but what’s going on in the lives of the characters matters a great deal.

Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

That is a very hard question to answer. I don’t think any of my characters are much like me. On the other hand, there is probably a little bit of me in all of them. If I have to choose one, I’d say Kathleen O’Connor in Kelegeen is probably the most like me.

What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

So far, I only have one book out, my debut novel, Kelegeen, but I have plans for several more, enough that I think I can answer this question. As I mentioned earlier, I love the little known events in history. That’s what I want to write about. With Kelegeen, it was Ireland’s Great Hunger (aka the Irish Potato Famine). It seems most people have heard of it, but don’t really know much about it. It’s barely a footnote in history classes. So many people who’ve read Kelegeen have told me that they’d heard of it, but they had no idea how devastating it was, nor did they understand anything about the political motivations that prevented any real assistance from reaching Ireland for many years.

I love to set stories in the midst of little or unknown events or focus on little known aspects of great events. For example, I have a story in mind that will be set in Vermont in the 1830s with the New England Vampire Panic as the backdrop. Most people are pretty familiar with the Salem Witch Trials, but how many people have even heard of the New England Vampire Panic? That said, I also want to write a novel set during the Salem Witch Trials, but told from an unusual angle.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

Next up is Erin’s Children, the sequel to Kelegeen. I’ve greatly enjoyed writing it because I set it in the city where I work – Worcester, Massachusetts. It’s been fun researching the history of Worcester in the 1850s. I now look at the city in a whole new way. Erin’s Children is due to be released in early December of 2020.

After that, I plan to get to work on that New England Vampire Panic novel. As a point of clarification, there will be no vampires in it and it will not be a horror. Though necessarily a bit on the dark side, it will be pure historical fiction. If you’re intrigued, google New England Vampire Panic to find out what actually happened and how it got that name.

Thank you, Eileen, so much for visiting today. 

 

MoreAbout Eileen O’Finlan

Eileen O’Finlan calls her writing “history with a twist” because she is intrigued by the unusual and little known aspects of history – the stories on history’s margins, the things rarely taught in the classroom. For her, that’s where history really gets fun.

Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, her family moved to Worcester when she was two.  Four years later they moved to Holden where Eileen grew up and where she now resides with her 93 year old mother and two cats.

Eileen holds a Bachelor’s degree in history and a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Ministry.  She works full time for the Diocese of Worcester and teaches online courses in Catholic studies for the University of Dayton, Ohio.  She is proud to say that Pope Francis owns a copy of her debut novel, KelegeenErin’s Children, the sequel to Kelegeen, will be released by BWL Publishing, Inc. in December of 2020.

Author Links – Webpage – Facebook  – Goodreads  – Twitter   – YouTube  – BWL Publishing, Inc. Author Page

Purchase Links: Amazon: –  Barnesandnoble.com  –  Apple iTunes  –  Google Play  – Kobo – Smashwords

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Great Escapes Praise for Kelegeen
by Eileen O’Finlan

The level of writing in this book is exceptional. I thoroughly enjoyed every story and the emotions run the entire gamut of human feelings. The characters are three-dimensional and relatable.
~My Devotional Thoughts

I love the cover, the premise, and always a good historical novel . . . .For the sensitive, the conclusion is emotional, wringing out all the poignant issues of pushing off to the unknown . . .
~Rosepoint Publishing

Truly a masterpiece of historical representation! Prepare to love the characters and pray for the souls lost in this tragedy.
~C.E. Williams

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
May 21 – My Devotional Thoughts – REVIEW
May 22 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
May 23 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT
May 24 – Literary Gold – EXCERPT
May 25 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 26 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW
May 26 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST
May 27 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST
May 28 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – EXCERPT
May 29 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
May 29 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book– AUTHOR INTERVIEW
May 30 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
May 30 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

 

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Posted in Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Interviews

Hostage to Fortune: A Tea and Tarot Cozy Mystery by Kirsten Weiss #AuthorInterview – #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @KirstenWeiss

Hostage to Fortune: A Tea and Tarot Cozy Mystery
by Kirsten Weiss

About Hostage to Fortune


Hostage to Fortune: A Tea and Tarot Cozy Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Publisher: misterio press (May 21, 2020)
Number of Pages: 250
Digital ASIN:

Abigail and Hyperion uncork a murder… 

 

Tea and Tarot room owner Abigail Beanblossom is used to running interference for her socially-awkward former boss, tech billionaire Razzzor. So when he invites her on a stakeout to investigate the sale of counterfeit wine from his latest venture – an upscale winery – she barrels on in. But the two stumble across the corpse of a wine merchant, and new wine in old bottles is now the least of their problems.

 

Good thing amateur detectives Abigail and her partner, tarot reader Hyperion Night, have a nose for murder. Their investigation takes them from elegant wine cellars to chic tea parties on the California coast. But just as the investigation starts to get its legs, Abigail discovers there’s more than wine at the bottom of this crime…

 

Hostage to Fortune is book 2 in the Tea and Tarot cozy mystery series. Start reading this hilariously cozy caper today!

 

Tearoom recipes in the back of the book.

 

I am so excited for Kirsten Weiss to visit today!

Hi Kirsten

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up in California, worked in microcredit in Eastern Europe, South-East Asia, and Africa, and my dream was always to write mysteries. So when I moved back to the US, after foundering around a bit, I started writing!

What are three things most people don’t know about you?

Hm… I started a tai chi class about a year ago, when I moved to Colorado Springs. I spent two years working in Kyrgyzstan, and I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Estonia after the Soviet Union fell.

What is the first book you remember reading?

My favorite children’s book was Go-Dog-Go, though I’m not entirely certain if that’s the first one I read on my own.

What are you reading now?

I’m reading a book on magick. I also write two series of witch mysteries, and it’s always fun to keep up on the latest!

What books have most inspired you?

This may sound silly, but I have to go back to the Nancy Drew novels. They were my favorites when I was a kid, and they’re what set me on the path to becoming a mystery writer today.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

See above re: Nancy Drews! Seriously, when I first started reading them, I was so enchanted that I wanted to become a girl detective. It didn’t take long, however, for me to realize that wasn’t realistic, so I decided I wanted to become a mystery writer. And I won a little writing contest about that time in school, so it seemed like fate.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

Lately, I’ve been sitting at my dining room table, where I have a few of Pikes Peak and the deer that wander through my yard. There’s also lots of natural lighting here, which keeps me energized.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

So many places – newspaper stories, tales from family and friends… Someone once said that there are no new ideas. Creativity is about mixing ideas together, and that’s certainly the case with where my ideas come from. In the case of Hostage to Fortune, there have been real-life instances of very high value wine fraud. Mix that up with murder, and I think you’ve got something interesting.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

The beginning and the end of a project. If I can draft a good outline, the first draft comes fairly easily. But drafting a good outline can be a challenge. That’s where the real creativity comes in – when you’re dreaming up scenes and ideas for whodunnit and how. And then the next big challenge is the editing. Don’t get me wrong, I like editing. But sometimes I feel like I’m wrestling something much bigger than me during the edits. I’ll know that somethings not right, but I won’t immediately know what it is or how to fix it. But when I do fix it, it feels GREAT.

What do you think makes a good story?

Great characters are for me, number one. If readers like your characters, they’ll want to spend time with them no matter what. Next, good pacing. I like to start things off fairly quickly in my stories, and try to keep the readers hooked. And for mysteries, you need a good puzzle!

Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

I think the Riga Hayworth character is probably most like me, probably because it was my first published series, and as a newer writer, I was still in the “what would I do in this situation” mode, rather than, what would this character do. But most of my heroines are struggling with some sort of a transition – maybe they’re trying to start a business, or they’ve lost their job and are trying to find a new one, or they’ve lost a loved one. We all go through these transitions, and I certainly have, and I try to bring that emotional experience to those characters. So in a sense, there are bits and pieces of me all over the place.

What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

My heroines are dealing with real problems – aside from murder investigations. Their lives are complicated and messy, and they have to rise to the occasion. But they do rise. That said, these are not dark books by any means – especially the Tea and Tarot series, which I think are the funniest I’ve written. There are a lot of laughs in these books.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

I’ve just started working on the next book in the Tea and Tarot series (inspired by a story told to me by a relative). And I’m bringing back Archer, from Hostage to Fortune, because he’s too fun a character to ignore.

Thank you, Kirsten, so much for visiting today!! 

More About Kirsten Weiss

Kirsten Weiss has never met a dessert she didn’t like, and her guilty pleasures are watching Ghost Whisperer re-runs and drinking red wine. The latter gives her heartburn, but she drinks it anyway.

Now based in Colorado Springs, CO, she writes genre-blending cozy mystery, supernatural and steampunk suspense, mixing her experiences and imagination to create vivid worlds of fun and enchantment.

If you like funny cozy mysteries, check out her Pie Town, Tea and Tarot, Paranormal Museum and Wits’ End books. If you’re looking for some magic with your mystery, give the Witches of Doyle, Riga Hayworth and Rocky Bridges books a try. And if you like steampunk, the Sensibility Grey series might be for you.

Kirsten sends out original short stories of mystery and magic to her mailing list. If you’d like to get them delivered straight to your inbox, make sure to sign up for her newsletter at kirstenweiss.com

Feel free to follow her on Twitter @KirstenWeiss, on Tumblr at kweiss01, on Pinterest at KirstenWeiss, or on Bookbub, get in touch on Facebook, post a picture of this book to Instagram and tag her @kirstenweissauthor, or send her an email. She’ll answer you personally…which may be a good or a bad thing, depending on your perspective.

Book Series: Sensibility Grey Steampunk Suspense, Tea and Tarot cozy mysteries, the Pie Town cozy mysteries, the Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum cozy mysteries, the Doyle Witch and Doyle Cozy mystery novels, the Riga Hayworth paranormal mysteries.

Purchase Links – KindleB&NApple BooksKoboGoogle Play

Also by this Author


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Great Escapes Praise for Hostage to Fortune: A Tea and Tarot Cozy Mystery
by Kirsten Weiss

Motive, means and opportunity all play roles but nothing becomes clear until things turn dangerously deadly for our heroine and friends.
~Laura’s Interests

HOSTAGE TO FORTUNE incorporates wine, tea, Tarot, and fun in a delightful mystery.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

Hostage to Fortune by Kirsten Weiss is a magically written mystery with likable characters and wine.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

The investigating duo is a hoot and when you Add in a few more eclectic chats stars it just gets even better. Makes for a humorous good time as the clues play out leading one doozy of an ending.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
May 20 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
May 21 – I’m Into Books – CHARACTER GUEST POST
May 22 – Cozy Up WIth Kathy – REVIEW, GUEST POST
May 22 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
May 23 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
May 23 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
May 24 – Lisa Ks Book Review – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
May 25 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
May 25 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
May 26 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
May 26 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
May 27 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
May 28 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 28 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
May 29 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST
May 29 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
May 30 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
May 31 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW 
June 1 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
June 2 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Posted in Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Interviews

Fireworks, A Firecracker & Foul Play (Death by Cupcake) by D.E. Haggerty – Author Interview – Great Escapes Book Tour @dehaggerty

Fireworks, A Firecracker & Foul Play (Death by Cupcake)
by D.E. Haggerty

I am very excited to welcome Dena Haggerty to Escape With Dollycas today!

Hi Dena,

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Although I’ve always loved to write, it took me a while to settle down and take writing seriously. I started out in the U.S. Army as a military policewoman where I met my Dutch husband while seconded with NATO in Germany. I followed him to the Netherlands where I spent more than a decade working as a lawyer. I fled Holland when I couldn’t stand the idea of being a lawyer for one single second more. Turns out Bed & Breakfast owner in Germany wasn’t my thing either. When my husband got a job in Istanbul, I jumped ship and decided to give this whole writer thing a go. I’m now back in Holland, working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on the next book.

What are three things most people don’t know about you?

I speak four languages: 2 (English and Dutch) fluently, 1 (German) well enough to yell at the tax inspector, and 1 (French) well enough to order wine and flirt in a bar.

I’m addicted to coffee but allergic to caffeine.

I don’t care for reality television, but I’m obsessed with any show about house improvements or buying a house.

What is the first book you remember reading?


Green Eggs and Ham
by Dr. Seuss.

What are you reading now?


The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
by Arundhati Roy.

What books have most inspired you?

As far as writing inspiration is concerned, On Writing by Stephen King is on top of my list. Before I read it, I wasn’t sure if writing was a career I wanted to pursue.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

I’m obsessed with murder mysteries! I inhaled Nancy Drew as a child. As an adult, I became addicted to BBC mysteries (Detective Lewis, Midsomer Murders, etc.). Between this and my background in the military police, writing mysteries seemed like the most natural choice.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

I wouldn’t call it a special place. But I’ve converted a spare bedroom into an office.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

Anywhere and everywhere. I’m an avid reader (some would say I’m addicted) of anything I can get my hands on (books, newspapers, blogs, etc.) which always provides great fodders for stories. I’m also not above eavesdropping on people in bars.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

The saggy middle! The beginning and end of a story are usually fun to write, but the middle? It can be challenging.

What do you think makes a good story?

A good story is one that moves you, whether it be to tears to laughter or to heart-pounding fear.

Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

I’d have to say Anna (the protagonist in the first novel of the Death by Cupcake series). Like her, I’m a bit chubby and insecure. I also love trivia. I like to think I don’t sprout trivia at awkward times, but my friends will tell you I’m wrong.

What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

Although my cozy mysteries are series, each book in the series is told from a different character’s viewpoint. Each story has a different heroine, although the main characters don’t change. There’s also quite a bit of romance in each installment.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

I’m currently finishing up a romantic comedy. After that, I have two more stories in the Death by Cupcake series planned – a Halloween story and a Valentine’s Day story.

Thank you Dena for visiting today! 

About Fireworks, A Firecracker & Foul Play


Fireworks, A Firecracker & Foul Play
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Independently Published
Number of Pages: approximately 200 (including recipes)
Digital ASIN: B0862DF52C

How do you plan the perfect July 4th wedding with the groom in jail for murder?

 

Anna is not about to find out. And no way is she getting married in the jail house. Not happening. Instead, she’s off to uncover the actual murderer, because there’s no way her fiancé Logan would hurt anyone. Yeah, sure, he looks kind of intimidating, but he’s a cop. He fights crime. He doesn’t commit it!

 

Will the gals of Callie’s Cakes solve the mystery before Anna’s wedding is ruined?

 

Cupcakes not included, although recipes for all the delicious cupcakes Anna bakes are.

 
 

More About D.E. Haggerty

D.E. Haggerty is actually just plain old Dena, but she thinks using initials makes her sound sophisticated and maybe even grown-up. She was born and raised in the U.S. but considers herself a Dutchie and not only because it sounds way cooler. After a stint in the U.S. Army, she escaped the US to join her husband in Holland. She fled Holland over ten years ago when she couldn’t stand the idea of being a lawyer for one single second more. Turns out Bed & Breakfast owner in Germany didn’t do it for her either. When the hubby got a job in Istanbul, she jumped ship and decided to give this whole writer thing a go. She’s now back in Holland, which she considers home. Sorry, Mom.

Author links

Website  – Blog – Facebook – Twitter –  Instagram

Goodreads  – Amazon Author Page – Newsletter signup

Pinterest  – Bookbub Author Page – LinkedIn

Purchase Links

Amazon  
Coming August 22, 2020

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Great Escapes Praise for Fireworks, A Firecracker & Foul Play (Death by Cupcake)
by D.E. Haggerty

If you are looking for a mystery series that is a quick read (say over lunch) then check this series out. Not only is their a mystery to be solved, but the quick pace and humor will also keep you entertained. I know I was chuckling throughout the book.
~Storeybook Reviews

I love this series. I have had the chance to read each fun, funny, and yummy read. Each book is written as a stand-alone and each one gets better.
~My Reading Journeys

This book is just too cute!! . . . I totally loved it so I give it 5/5 stars.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

 

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
May 6 – My Journey- The Journey Back – CHARACTER GUEST POST  
May 7 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
May 7 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST
May 8 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST
May 9 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 10 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 10 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
May 11 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
May 12 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT
May 13 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
May 14 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
May 14 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
May 15 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
May 16 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
May 17 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Tour – AUTHOR INTERVIEW  
May 18 – Diane Reviews Books – GUEST POST
May 18 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 19 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

 

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent