May 202019
 

Better Than Nun
(A Giulia Driscoll Mystery)
by Alice Loweecey

Hi Alice, 

Welcome back to Escape With Dollycas. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

—I’m your typical Italian mom: I cook almost everything from scratch, feed my sons with their favorite goodies when they visit, and yes, I make sauce. I will share any recipe with anyone who asks. I don’t understand people who won’t share recipes. Good food is better when shared!

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

—I like dogs only when they belong to other people.

—I once gave 5 dozen slugs a happy death when I set out 3 pie plates of beer in my garden. They were drowned in beer the next morning. (I have a large veg garden. Slugs are the enemy.)

—I once crocheted amigurumi of the entire cast of Firefly as a wedding present for a friend.

What is the first book you remember reading?

Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag. I still love this book.

What are you reading now?

The Elder Sister-Like One vols. 1-3, by Pochi Iida. It’s one of the best mangas I’ve read in years by one of the few authors who took a god from Lovecraft’s pantheon and made it their own. So much fun.

What books have most inspired you?

The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet, by Eleanor Cameron

Patricia Wentworth’s Miss Silver series

Lord of the Rings

—“The Colour out of Space,” by HP Lovecraft

All for both the same reason and different reasons. The same: all the MCs moved me deeply and the plots made me reread the books more than once. The different: Mushroom Planet was written when male MCs had the exciting adventures in kids’ books, and I had to get my adventure where I could. LotR for much the same reason. “Colour” because it scared me in broad daylight and still gives me shivers when I reread it. Miss Silver: Wentworth writes light mysteries with a touch of romance. When I started to write mysteries, her style was my inspiration.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

Back when I was querying my first book (The Redeemers, published in 2015 under my pen name Kate Morgan with Dark Recesses Press), part of my query letter mentioned I used to be a nun. The agent rejected Redeemers but mentioned how he’d like to see a book with a crime-fighting ex-nun. I dismissed the idea because “I’m a horror writer.” But the idea kept nagging me, and within the year I’d written Force of Habit. I sent the first 3 chapters to that agent—and he rejected it. You have to laugh. I eventually found an agent who sold the book as a 3-book deal in 2010 to Midnight Ink.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

—Outside on our deck by our koi pond. The waterfall is soothing, the frogs and birds carry on conversations. It’s an escape. Of course, since I live in Buffalo, I have to grab every moment I can out there before the snow hits.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

—Everywhere. Everything is fodder for a story. The idea for the MacGuffin in Better than Nun came from a morning conversation at the Malice Domestic conference a few years ago. The ideas for others came from dreams (and nightmares). My brain is a strange place.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

—Carving out time. I work full-time and take care of my house. Sometimes it’s difficult to get creative after a long day. But deadlines aren’t forgiving, so I power through.

What do you think makes a good story?

—A compelling main character. I’ll read almost any genre if the writer makes me root for the MC. Worldbuilding, research, plot, secondary characters—they’re all important, but a main character who grabs me is essential.

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

—Ana, the narrator of a book I haven’t yet found a home for. She’s strong-willed, likes to knit, and is all about family. Naturally, I throw her into a sink-or-swim situation completely outside anything she’s experienced. Writers are evil.

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

—Perhaps it’s how Giulia handles sleuthing with ghosts. She’s always practical, so when she discovered ghosts were real, and they wanted her to help them solve their murders, she chose to create a new dimension to her detective agency. Kids need college funds. Giulia is all about justice—and paying the bills—so any ghost wanting her help has to have humans who can meet her fee schedule.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

—I’m writing the book I’ve been wanting to write for years. Now that I’ve had a dozen books published I figure I have the chops. It’s a retelling of the Oresteia set in a modern-day traveling carnival. Some people think ancient Greek drama is boring. Not on your life! This book has drugs, sex, murder, backstabbing business deals, and possibly the most dysfunctional family in the literary world. I’m having a ball writing it. I also get to go to carnivals again in the name of research. Whee!

Thank you, Alice, for visiting today!

Keep reading to learn about Alice’s new book!

Better Than Nun (A Giulia Driscoll Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Henery Press (May 21, 2019)
Hardcover: 284 pages
ISBN-10: 1635114829
ISBN-13: 978-1635114829
Paperback: 284 pages
ISBN-10: 1635114799
ISBN-13: 978-1635114799
Digital ASIN: B07P687GDG

Ghosts for Mardi Gras!

Giulia Driscoll used to say running a detective agency was the busiest job she’d ever had. Then the ghosts showed up, and she figured now she’s the busiest ever. This of course challenged the Universe to say, “Hold my beer.”

Today she’s running the agency, sleuthing on behalf of the ghosts, and being the mother of a two-month-old. At last she understands those 5-Hour Energy commercials.

The Universe then dropped two clients in her lap for Mardi Gras: a family greedy to find hidden money and the son of her least-favorite person, Ken Kanning of The Scoop. The positive: a date night! The not-so-positive: it’s a working date night. Driscoll Investigations is joining the big Mardi Gras costume charity gala to search for potential thieves. Kanning Junior will be at the party showing off his tame ghost.

The Scoop, a few hundred drunk revelers, a mercenary family, and a ghost who isn’t as tame as the kid thinks. What could possibly go wrong?

Did someone just hear the Universe say, “Hold my beer”?

More About the Author

Alice Loweecey is a baker of brownies and tormenter of characters, Alice Loweecey recently celebrated her thirtieth year outside the convent. She grew up watching Hammer horror films and Scooby-Doo mysteries, which explains a whole lot. When she’s not creating trouble for her sleuth Giulia Driscoll or inspiring nightmares as her alter-ego Kate Morgan, she can be found growing her own vegetables (in summer) and cooking with them (the rest of the year).

Website: aliceloweecey.net

Facebook: facebook.com/GiuliaDriscoll

Twitter: @AliceLoweecey

Goodreads: Alice Loweecey

Purchase Links

Amazon  B&N 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
May 20 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST
May 20 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
May 20 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
May 21 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
May 21 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
May 21 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW, GUEST POST
May 22 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
May 22 – Readeropolis – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
May 22 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
May 23 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 23 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
May 24 – Author Teresa Watson – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
May 24 – I’m All About Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Share
May 082019
 


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so happy to welcome Annette Dashofy to Escape With Dollycas today!

 


Hi Annette,

Tell us a little bit about yourself. I write the Zoe Chambers Mystery Series about a paramedic/deputy coroner in rural southwestern Pennsylvania, where I’ve lived all my life. Cry Wolf, the seventh in the series, is an Agatha Award nominee for Best Contemporary Novel of 2018 (my fourth nomination). My newest release is Fair Game, the eighth in the series.

What are three things most people don’t know about you? That’s a hard question. I’m largely an open book, which drives my husband crazy because he’s ultra-private. Does that count as one? Okay, two more. I once owned and operated a photo studio, Dashofy Photography, with my husband. And I once shook hands with our local SWAT team’s bomb robot. That’s three.

What is the first book you remember reading? Oh, my. Cat in the Hat, perhaps. Or Green Eggs and Ham. I started young!

What are you reading now? Hank Phillippi Ryan’s Trust Me.

What books have most inspired you? In addition to those by Mary Higgins Clark and Agatha Christie, which I mention below, I deeply admire those by Julia Spencer-Fleming (the Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne series) and Craig Johnson (the Walt Longmire series). I love their use of language and emotion.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries? As a kid, I was writing all genres until I read Where Are the Children by Mary Higgins Clark. From that point on, I was hooked on crime fiction. And I fell in love with Agatha Christie’s mysteries. After a failed attempt at writing romantic suspense, I discovered a passion for creating puzzles for my readers to solve.

Do you have a special place you like to write? I do the bulk of my writing in my home office on my desktop computer, surrounded by forensics books and sticky notes.

Where do the ideas for your books come from? Everywhere! News stories. Overheard conversations. Random thoughts that pop into my head. For instance, the first chapter of Fair Game grew out of a frustrating and sleepless night in a mystery conference hotel room. The walls were paper thin, and our next-door neighbors were having a party. I could quite literally hear every word they said, and some of it was stuff I didn’t think they’d want repeated! I wanted to yell through the wall, “I can hear you!” Instead, I started thinking, what if they were talking about murdering someone? (They weren’t, FYI.) And that’s what inspired the opening to this book!

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging? The beginning. And then the middle. And then the end. It’s all challenging, but that’s what makes it so much fun.

What do you think makes a good story? As a reader, I want interesting, complex characters. They should have flaws, but I want to like them enough to spend time with them. I also want a thought-provoking plot that raises questions and makes me want to turn the page to find the answers. As a writer, I try to create the same things I like as a reader.

Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you? Zoe, of course. She’s a paramedic. I used to be an EMT. She has a horse. I used to have horses. We’re both farmgirls. However, she’s had a much rougher life than I have. She comes from a troubled family, while my family is quite boring! Oddly enough, although Zoe may be most like me, Pete is the easier character to write.

What makes your books different from others out there in this genre? I believe it’s the paramedic aspect. I don’t know of any other paramedic mysteries out there. If there are, please tell me! I’d love to read them!

What’s next on the horizon for you? I’m finishing up writing the ninth Zoe Chambers Mystery, tentatively titled Under the Radar. It should come out early next year, but I don’t have a release date yet. And I’m noodling with murder possibilities for the tenth in the series.

Thank you, Annette, for taking the time to visit today!

Keep reading for my thoughts on Annette’s new book.

About the Book 


Fair Game (A Zoe Chambers Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
8th in Series
Henery Press (May 14, 2019)
Hardcover: 286 pages
ISBN-10: 1635115027
ISBN-13: 978-1635115024
Paperback: 286 pages
ISBN-10: 1635114993
ISBN-13: 978-1635114997
Digital ASIN: B07NSBHMRR

Paramedic Zoe Chambers hoped a week at the Monongahela County Fair, showing her horse and manning the ambulance, would provide a much-needed diversion from recent events that continue to haunt her.

An old friend, a bossy nemesis, and a teenage crush from her 4-H days fail to offer the distraction she had in mind. But ever the caregiver, she soon bonds with a troubled teen and a grieving father.

Back in Vance Township, a missing woman turns up dead, leading Police Chief Pete Adams into a journey through her mysterious final hours. With each new clue, the tragic circumstances of her death grow increasingly muddied.

A cryptic phone call leads Pete to join Zoe for an evening at the fairgrounds where the annual school bus demolition derby concludes with a gruesome discovery and a new case that may or may not be connected to the first.

Pete’s quest for the motive behind two homicides—and Zoe’s stubborn determination to reunite a family—thrust them both onto a collision course with a violent and desperate felon.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

County fairs are so much fun. Zoe Chambers is not only at the Monongahela County Fair as a paramedic, she is also there as a participant, showing her horse, Windstar. She is surprised that someone from her own 4H days is there in the capacity of judge. She also meets the son of another old 4H member. She learns his mother is not the best parent and she tries to take the young man under her wing. Meeting a grieving father also brings out her compassion.

While Zoe is at the fair Police Chief Pete Adams has a case that turns from a missing person to murder after her body is found. The investigation brings Pete to the fair. A fair where a second body is found right after the school bus demolition derby ends. Unsure if the deaths are connected to each other and to other events Zoe and Pete find themselves on a quest to find out and solve all the mysteries.

Annette Dashofy again takes us on a wild ride as she crams all 286 pages full of a mystery the latches on and won’t let go.

Paramedic/Deputy Coroner and Police Chief Pete Adams barely get a moment to breathe. Zoe has her fair activities, an autopsy to view along with all the followup, has been recruited to keep her eyes on a troubled teen, her cousin Patsy Greene, who is also showing her horse, is having man trouble, the farm she inherited still needs a lot of work, and an old crush makes her an offer she may not be able to refuse. Pete is working his case and then another when the second body is found. He is also getting pressure to take a step that could change his life and Zoe’s. He also tries to find time to spend with Zoe at the fair. Oh! and there is an election coming up that could change both their jobs.

Ms. Dashofy has written a complex mystery with many moving parts and many suspects. I always love following these characters on each and every journey. The excitement of the fair was a great setting. Getting to see Zoe in her horsey element was fun along with meeting the people from her past. The people are strong characters but very flawed and some are dealing with heavy issues that affect not only themselves but other people in their lives. While some heavy topics are addressed the author knows just when to add a little bit of necessary humor.

I also enjoyed learning about showing horses and learning about youngsters joining 4H today. I belonged many years ago, but I was a city kid so my fair entries were more of them craft variety instead of the animals. We have enjoyed many fairs with our family over the years. Mostly the music stars for the adults but we always take a trip through the animal barns with the kids and the food and rides are always a hit.

Well-written and well-plotted. The core characters continue to grow and star in this top-notch mystery. I can’t wait for the next book to be released.

These books are best read in order but the author provides enough background to start with any book in the series.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Annette Dashofy is the USA Today best-selling author of the Zoe Chambers mystery series about a paramedic and deputy coroner in rural Pennsylvania’s tight-knit Vance Township. CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE was a finalist for the Agatha Award for Best First Novel of 2014 and BRIDGES BURNED was nominated for the 2015 Agatha for Best Contemporary Novel.

Author Links

Website–    Blog–  Facebook–  Twitter–  

Purchase Links – AmazonAmazon Hardcover/PaperbackB&NKoboIndieBound

Praise for Fair Game
(A Zoe Chambers Mystery)
by Annette Dashofy

This is a wonderful series with great, realistic characters. I love Zoe and Pete. They are both intelligent, caring, loyal and somewhat emotional.
~Carla Loves To Read

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
May 6 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW
May 6 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
May 7 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
May 7 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
May 8 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
May 8 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
May 9 – I’m All About Books – CHARACTER GUEST POST
May 9 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
May 10 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
May 10 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT
May 11 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW
May 11 – The Power of Words – REVIEW
May 12 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
May 12 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 13 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – SPOTLIGHT
May 13 – Elizabeth McKenna Romance Author – SPOTLIGHT
May 14 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
May 14 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

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.”

Share
Apr 292019
 

Interviewing a group like this had to have its own post. 

I am so happy they could stop by for a visit! 

The short stories in Deadly Southern Charm were written by Sisters in Crime-Central Virginia members. All of the stories had to have a female sleuth and be set somewhere in the southern United States. You can read my review here.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

 

Frances Aylor, CFA combines her investing experience and love of travel in her financial thrillers. MONEY GRAB is the first in the series.  www.francesaylor.com

Mollie Cox Bryan is the author of cookbooks, articles, essays, poetry, and fiction.  An Agatha Award nominee, she lives in Central Virginia.  www.molliecoxbryan.com

Lynn Cahoon is the NYT and USA Today author of the best-selling Tourist Trap, Cat Latimer and Farm-to-Fork mystery series. www.lynncahoon.com

A. Chalkley is a native Virginian. She is a writer, retired public safety communications officer, and a member of Sisters in Crime.

 

Stacie Giles lived many places before settling in Virginia where she is returning to ancestral Southern roots, including a grandfather who was a Memphis policeman.

Barb Goffman has won the Agatha, Macavity, and Silver Falchion awards for her short stories, and is a two-time finalist for US crime-writing awards.www.Barbgoffman.com

Libby Hall is a communication analyst with a consulting firm in Richmond, Virginia.  She is also a blogger, freelance writer, wife, and mother of two.

Bradley Harper is a retired Army pathologist.  Library Journal named his debut novel, A KNIFE IN THE FOG, Debut of the Month for October 2018.  www.bharperauthor.com

Sherry Harris is the Agatha Award-nominated author of the Sarah Winston Garage Sale mystery series and is the president of Sisters in Crime.www.sherryharrisauthor.com

Maggie King penned the Hazel Rose Book Group mysteries. Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries and 50 Shades of Cabernet anthologies. www.maggieking.com

Kristin Kisska is a member of International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime, and programs chair of the Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia chapter. www.kristinkisska.com

Samantha McGraw has a love of mysteries and afternoon tea. She lives in Richmond with her husband and blogs at Tea Cottage Mysteries.www.samanthamcgraw.com

K.L. Murphy is a freelance writer and the author of the Detective Cancini Mysteries.  She lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband, four children, and two dogs.www.Kellielarsenmurphy.com

Genilee Swope Parente has written the romantic mystery The Fate Series with her mother F. Sharon Swope. The two also have several collections of short stories. www.swopeparente.com

Deb Rolfe primarily writes mystery novels. This is her first published short story. She and her husband enjoy life in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

 

Ronald Sterling is the author of six books and draws upon his colorful and varied life experience as a U.S. Airman, saloonkeeper, private detective, realtor, and New Jersey mayor.

S.A. Warwick, in the last century earned a bachelor’s degree in American Studies. Ever since, she has been trying to decipher the American enigma.

Heather Weidner is the author of the Delanie Fitzgerald Mysteries.  She has short stories in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 SHADES OF CABERNET and TO FETCH A THIEF.  She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and Jack Russell terriers.  www.heatherweidner.com

EDITORS

Mary Burton is a New York Times, USA Today and Kindle best-selling author.  She is currently working on her latest suspense. www.maryburton.com

Mary Miley is a historian and writer with 14 nonfiction books and 5 mystery novels to her credit. www.marymileytheobald.com

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS – FacebookTwitterWebsite:

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

Frances: I love to travel and have visited over 30 countries. I’ve climbed inside the Egyptian pyramids and paraglided in the Swiss Alps. I’m married to my high school sweetheart.

Heather: I am a cop’s kid. My dad, retired after 46 years on the force, is my best source for murder questions that I don’t want to Google. I love any kind of chocolate, and I share my office with two crazy Jack Russell Terriers.

Bradley: I was once arrested for goat-napping after a very long bachelor’s party. I was skinny-dipping beneath a waterfall in Scotland when a bus load of little old ladies suddenly appeared on the cliff above me. I broke my personal best swimming back to my clothes. I had twelve jumps as an airborne qualified Infantry officer. Jump twelve landed me in a tree. It was my last jump.

Genilee: I’m about to become an official Texan. Moving this spring to be close to family. I have been writing creatively since I was 12 and have many miscellaneous ways to make a living from the written word. I got married late in life and had my child at age 41.

Maggie: I wrote very bad poetry in high school as an outlet for my considerable adolescent angst.  I lived in Los Angeles for many, and what I miss the most is the Hollywood Bowl with its classical and jazz concerts.  I relocated from Los Angeles to Charlottesville, Virginia sight unseen! I lived there for six years before moving down the road to Richmond (which I did visit first).

Lynn: I competed in national and international soft tip dart tournaments.  I took second in doubles in Las Vegas. According to one woman whose husband I had just beat in singles – I’m pretty good for a girl.

Barb: I love the idea of sailing but would never get on any boat, including a cruise. I get terrible seasickness. I love the sound of wind chimes, and I love rainy summer nights. Hey, isn’t there a song about that?…

Kristin: In my twenties, I bought a one-way ticket to Prague and ended up living there for three years. For the past decade, I’ve tap danced as a *Rockette* for our local theater’s live-Christmas holiday spectacular every December. I love to travel, and at one point my passport was so full of stamps, I had to go to the U.S. Embassy to get pages added so I could keep using it.

J.A.: I’ve visited the Chichen Itza ruins in Mexico. In the mid 90’s I competed in an international martial arts tournament in Atlanta. I placed second in weapons with a nunchucks form. Bugs Bunny was, and still is, my hero.

Samantha: I used to be an event planner in the D.C. political world, planning events for some well-known politicians and influencers and working closely with the U.S. Secret Service. I once talked my way backstage at a Robert Plant concert with my husband and got to hang out with him for a bit. I’m a big tea drinker and drink several cups a day, but when I make hot chocolate it’s never from a mix – always a very indulgent chocolate custard type drink that takes some time to make, but so worth it!

Libby:  I married a Bermudian, lived there for 5 years and had our two girls there. I frequently mispronounce words because I read them phonetically and forget to edit them in my head before I say them.  I met Michael Stipe form the band REM at the MTV Awards and didn’t know who I’d been talking to until, immediately after our chat, he got up on stage and started singing.

Stacie: I was a graduate student in the Soviet Union when the only billboards in Moscow were big, red, Communist slogans.  I love to sing, play piano and conduct music and have performed frequently since I was 5 years old.  Although I can only claim to be fluent in one other foreign language, Russian, I can speak 4 others enough that I have used all of them professionally or in volunteer work: French, Spanish, Chinese and Kazakh.

What is the first book you remember reading?

Frances: Uncle Wiggily and His Friends by Howard R. Garis. I still have my childhood copy, which is now missing its spine and is a bit worse for wear but is a treasured favorite.

Heather: My earliest favorites were Green Eggs and Ham, The Monster at the End of the Book, and The Wind in the Willows.

Bradley: My uncle’s Batman comic books.

Genilee: Fun with Dick and Jan. I’m dating myself!

Maggie: That’s a tough one. Maybe something by Anne Emery, or maybe it was The Hidden Staircase, the start of my Nancy Drew craze.

Kristin: Magic Jim was my all-time favorite childhood book. It’s out of print now, but I still have my girlhood copy.

J.A.: I’m sure there were others before it, but the one that sticks with me is The Hobbit.

Samantha: Like Heather, I loved everything Dr. Seuss ever wrote, but one of my favorite childhood reads was Mandy by Julie Andrews (a.k.a. Mary Poppins).

Libby: The Little Golden Book I Am A Bunny

Stacie: The very first book I recall is Are You My Mother? about a poor lost bird who asks this question of the most incredible objects while searching for his mother.  The absurdity of it must have skewed my sense of humor for life.  But my parents kept a full bookshelf, and I freely pulled from it.  At a young age, I read Plato’s Apology, and that sparked my interest in the way humans make rules for themselves as a society.

What are you reading now?

Frances: A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny and The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths. I just finished Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben. I often read several books at the same time, keeping one book upstairs, one downstairs, and the third in my car.

Heather: A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny

Bradley: Island of the Mad, by Laurie R King.

Genilee: In Farleigh field, by Rhys Bowen.

Maggie: After Anna by Lisa Scottoline, for the All Henrico Reads program

Sherry: Darker Than Any Shadow by Tina Whittle

Lynn:  Wrinkle in Time by Madelein L’Engle

BarbElevation by Stephen King and Trust Me by Hank Phillippi Ryan.

J.A.: The Midnight Front by David Mack

Kristin: Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman

Samantha: Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Libby:  The Winter Sea by Susannaj Kearsley

Stacie: Rereading Patricia Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles; also Russo and Dezenhall’s Best of Enemies: The Last Great Spy Story of the Cold War.

What books have most inspired you?

Frances: Rebecca by Daphne duMaurier, which inspired me to become a writer. In the Woods by Tana French, a psychological thriller with beautiful and gripping prose.

Heather: I started reading the Nancy Drew mysteries in elementary school, and I was hooked on mysteries. I moved on to Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock stories. I like lots of different genres, but mysteries and thrillers are my favorite.

Bradley: The Sherlock Holmes canon, and the Lord of the Rings. I read a lot of Sci-Fi growing up as well but have drifted away.

Genilee: Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke because it made too much sense during a period of my life (college) when I was trying to figure out, “the meaning behind it all.” And maybe the Hunger Games series because I stumbled upon the author and was completely floored by how good the books were.

Maggie: If Morning Ever Comes, by Anne Tyler; Of Human Bondage, by W. Somerset Maugham; Gillian Roberts’s Amanda Pepper series; and Joan Smith’s Loretta Lawson series. And many more.

Lynn: Recently? American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I thought a lot about that book and the concepts long after I closed the book. When I was growing up? The Lord of the Rings held that spot for me. As a young, married mother – it was The Stand.

J.A.: Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None is the first mystery I remember reading, and it is my favorite of her work. I’ve always been a fan of mysteries, trying to unravel the puzzle. Mysteries, horror and sci-fi make up much of my personal library.

Kristin: The book that inspired me to start writing my first novel was Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol.  Having grown up in the Washington, D.C. area, I could envision most of the settings in his novel. Before I finished the book, I had developed a rough outline of my first (as yet, unpublished) novel.

Samantha: I’ve always been a mystery lover and, like many others, frequently read Nancy Drew, but books by Agatha Christie and Sue Grafton were the most inspirational in giving me a desire to write.

Libby:  The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley; any book by Charles DeLint

Stacie: ­Orwell’s 1984 revealed to me as a teenager the power of the word.  I love Agatha Christie.  I have been captivated by the calm, clever way that the heroine of Alexander McCall Smith’s series The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency solves both mysteries and thorny knots in peoples’ lives.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

Frances: As a child I loved reading mysteries. My favorites are fast-paced, action-packed thrillers, which I could never find enough of, so I decided to write my own.

Heather: I have loved mysteries since Scooby Doo and Nancy Drew. I always known that I wanted to write them. My first published mystery was in 2014, a short story in a Sisters in Crime anthology.

Bradley: I had a story stuck in my head involving Conan Doyle in the hunt for Jack the Ripper. It wouldn’t leave me alone, so I wrote it. I sorta backed into mysteries, however, as I’d like to write a pure thriller based upon my time with US Special Forces in Colombia. One day.

Genilee: I love being fooled by a good mystery writer (not many can succeed in doing it) and I love puzzles.

Maggie: Like many mystery writers, I have a strong need to see justice done and set the world right. Mysteries are the perfect vehicle for that. Mysteries are about relationships—relationships that have gone awry. I’m fascinated by family dynamics and how memories of my own family experiences have popped up throughout my life, sometimes in good ways and sometimes in disconcerting ways. Love and obsession intrigue me to no end, as does sin and how we’re impacted by it.

Sherry: I’ve always loved reading mysteries and thrillers. So when I started writing it was natural to write them.

Lynn:  When I went through breast cancer treatment, I had a lot of time to think. Reading cozy mysteries allowed me to travel, find community, and figure out a puzzle, even when I was tied to a chemo chair. They really helped me pass the time.

Kristin: I’ve always enjoyed solving mind puzzles, reading thrillers, and watching detective shows on T.V., so when it came to writing fiction, mystery was a natural fit.

J.A.: I’ve always enjoyed reading mysteries, so I thought it would be fun to write mysteries.

Samantha: I can’t remember a day when I didn’t love mysteries and I didn’t want to write. I love trying to figure out “who did it” and I’m hooked on any kind of mystery/detective T.V. Show.

Libby:  I love mysteries that take place in the South – there is just something murky and mysterious about the humidity and atmosphere.  I grew up in that humidity with a lot of strong, Southern women and quirky people.  Being able to write a Southern mystery and create my own quirky characters was so rewarding!

Stacie: I love mysteries because they are entertaining and engage my mind.  Even more, mystery fiction often shows keen insight into human character; describes places, lifestyles, and historical eras that I myself have never experienced; and often, thrills me with beautiful language.  I have loved mystery fiction for years, and now I want to see if I can contribute something worthwhile to the genre.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

Frances: I write on my laptop at the desk in my home office. When I get tired of sitting in my desk chair, I move my laptop to the living room sofa.

Heather: At home, I usually write in my office or on the back deck. But my ultimate favorite place to write is on the beach.

Bradley: My wife calls it the “Writer’s lair.” It is a den/study in our house, where I have my reference books, and I can play my music as loud as I want.

Genilee: My leather/wood recliner on a small lap top with a cat sitting next to me.

Maggie: If I’m in the throes of creativity, I’ll be in my recliner with pen and paper, a cat curled up in my lap. Otherwise, I’ll be working on my laptop, in my den.

Lynn:  I write best at my computer facing my 32-inch monitor. I can write on my laptop (Surface) but I love the desk.

J.A.: At home, I have a woman cave. It’s my hide away for writing.

Kristin: Yes.  99% of my writing happens in my writer’s cave at home.  I also have to have absolute quiet, so if my family is at home, I’m usually writing at 5am while they are all sleeping.

Samantha: Usually in my office or at the dining room table because both are near windows. If it’s a nice day, I’ll take my laptop out to the deck.

Libby:  I write in the car (putting ideas into y phone while being a passenger or dictating texts to myself), in the shower and as I’m waking up. Putting pen to paper usually happens at the kitchen table.

Stacie: In a very comfortable, overstuffed white swivel rocking chair that is just the right height from the ground for my short legs.  It’s surrounded by plants in a window alcove near my desk and is very cozy!

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

Frances: Money Grab, my first financial thriller, was loosely based on my experiences in the investment industry. I’m getting ideas for future books in the series from newspapers, magazines, and internet sites. Plus, I like to incorporate places I’ve traveled into my books.

Heather: The ideas come from all kinds of places. I keep a notebook with me. I am always jotting down names, snippets of conversation, and notes.

Bradley: History. Go to Wikipedia and type in a year and see what the major events of that year were. My idea for my fourth book involves the theft of the Irish crown jewels which I learned of in this fashion.

Genilee: A good question that many writers can’t answer. My ideas for the series I wrote started with my co-author, who is my mom. But ideas pop into my head all the time.

Maggie: Ideas come from everywhere: the headlines, eavesdropping, especially the headlines. I don’t even need to know the whole story—headlines by themselves are great writing prompts.

Social media is a gold mine of inspiration, a modern day gathering around the water cooler. It seems like everyone has something to say (some way too much). And, as I’m a fiction writer, I don’t have to worry about “fake news.”

Advice columns give me wonderful ideas. Consider the letter from the woman whose boyfriend was spying on her social media accounts; and the distraught man whose wife had an “emotional” affair with his best friend.

Lynn: I have come to realize that my story ideas come from settings. I knew as soon as I walked down Royal Street in New Orleans for the first time that I’d set a story there. The buildings, the sidewalks, the stores, they all scream for a story to be told.

J.A.: Everywhere. Places I’ve been or seen in media. History is a wonderful place to mind ideas. Music often inspires me.

Kristin: Like Lynn, most of my ideas are driven by unique settings. I’m also inspired by interesting news articles, snippets of conversation I overhear, and by pondering, “What if [insert weird situation] …?

Samantha: Ideas are everywhere if you look for them. I’ve picked up ideas from overheard conversations, news stories, T.V. shows, or by just watching people and trying to figure out what they’re talking about based on their body language.

Libby: My ideas come from all kinds of places – social media, the news, relatives, even conversations in the checkout line at Target.

Stacie: For me it all starts with character.  As I develop a story’s main and supportive characters, I begin to know them.  Then the setting helps flesh out aspects of the characters I hadn’t considered, and somehow actions appear!

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Frances: I write slowly and am envious of writers who can churn out two or more books a year. Even though I outline in advance and write up summaries of my characters, it still takes me longer than it should to finish a book. I’m trying to stick to a structured writing schedule to improve my productivity.

Heather: I love the plotting and writing parts. The editing and revising feel more like work to me, but they’re necessary if you want a quality product.

Bradley: Creating a character with a unique voice that stands out. If I do it well enough, I don’t have to give a tag as to who said the line. The reader knows.

Genilee: Finding time and not letting the rest of life, including my full-time job, get in the way.

Maggie: Keeping focused on my actual writing. Besides personal distractions, I’m challenged by the myriad of writing-related tasks facing writers these days (promotion, marketing, social media, to name a few).

Lynn:  Not comparing my process or career with someone else. It’s so easy to become discouraged when your book isn’t selling like XXXX’s is (add in the name of the top author in your genre.) But you don’t know what they went through to get there. We all have our own process. Writing in bits and pieces every day keeps me in the story. That might not work for other authors.

J.A.: Getting started. Once I’m in the chair, I enjoy writing, but sometimes it’s hard to make myself sit down and focus.

Kristin: I’ve been writing for eleven years, but I’m always worried I won’t be able to dream-up the next good story idea. Even after seven published short stories and three novels, the fear of writer’s block haunts me.  The struggle is real!

Samantha: Like Maggie, I sometimes find it hard to focus on the writing itself and not all the little details around it.

Libby: Finding time.  Working full-time as a marketing/communications person leaves little energy at the end of the day for creativity.

Stacie: I still find all aspects challenging – but my worst problem is becoming impatient.  Writing takes rewriting! Also checking and rechecking: of facts, of typos, of so many things!  It can be overwhelming.

What do you think makes a good story?

Frances: Believable characters with both good traits and flaws, a fast-paced plot, and a surprise ending.

Heather: I love stories with characters that I can relate to. I like the sleuth to have an interesting career or hobby that I can learn about. And I love a well written mystery with lots of twists and turns.

Bradley: A relatable character with a meaningful struggle for an important goal with an uncertain outcome.

Genilee: Believable characters that interact as part of an unusual event.

Maggie: You know a story is good when you want to race through it, but you never want it to end.

Lynn:  The story that you, the author, need to tell. I’m my first reader. I want to be excited by the story just as much as I want future readers to love it.

Barb:  A good story is one that captivates and entertains the reader.

J.A.: I like stories with characters who are faced with difficult choices and have to face the consequences of their choices and actions. I think setting is very important to a story, you don’t have to tell me every little detail in the scene but make me believe I’ve been there.

Kristin: Every story needs conflict. Without it, you don’t have much of a plot. As far as I’m concerned, the more tension, the better.  A little humor along the way helps too.

Samantha: I love interesting, sometimes eccentric, characters with a puzzle or secret to uncover. I enjoy a story that teases me with just enough information to make me curious about something but leaves it to my imagination to figure out the rest of the pieces.

Libby:  Characters that are likeable but flawed; strong voices; character-driven stories (the best Fantasy and Sci-Fi stories all have characters that you can identify with on some level, and that are flawed).  Good pacing.

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

Frances: Robbie Bradford, my female financial advisor, has an investment job similar to mine. We are both loyal to friends and family, hard-working and curious.

Heather: My private investigator, Delanie Fitzgerald, and I share some traits. We’re both redheads who love Mustangs. She just gets into way more trouble than I do.

Bradley: Hopefully, Professor Joseph Bell, the real-life inspiration for Sherlock Holmes. He was a kind man and had the ability to see beyond what was in front of him. Perhaps I am more like him on some days, than on others.

Genilee: Probably my most recent character, who is a small-town gal who is independent but loves people.

Maggie: Like me, Hazel Rose is a seeker of justice. We both lived on the west coast and worked in IT. We both moved from Los Angeles to Charlottesville, Virginia, with calico cats in tow. But she’s been to the altar four times to my one. And she’s much braver!

Lynn:  A lot of my main characters share one trait that I also have -trying new things. New hometowns. New careers. New lives. New restaurants. All of the main characters are in a place where they’re starting over from something. I’ve been known to get in my car and drive just to try to figure out what I’m going to do to solve a problem.

Barb: I had to give this some thought. To my surprise, I think it’s my character Bev from my story “The Case of the Missing Pot Roast,” which appeared in last year’s Bouchercon anthology, Florida Happens. Bev enjoys reading and playing cards and other games with friends. She’ll put herself on the line for those she loves, but she also will put up with things she probably shouldn’t if it makes life easier. And she’s funny.

Kristin: My character Lauryn from “A Colonial Grave” in the anthology, Virginia is For Mysteries: Volume II, is most like me. Though she’s a college student, her reactions to discovering the bones of a cold case murder were exactly as mine would’ve been, especially her wee bit o’ snark.

Samantha: My character Tess in my short story “Deadly Devonshire” is my favorite. I’m writing a series based on the characters in this story and she’s the one I love spending time with the most. Good thing since she’s my main character!

Libby:  My character Mags from my unpublished novel ‘Sanctuary.”  She struggles with finding her place when her world is turned upside down.

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

Frances: The goal of my financial thrillers is not only to entertain, but also to give some investment tips that readers can use when they manage their own money.

Heather: My sleuth tends to get herself in and out of trouble as she investigates crimes. She also has no fear, so she’s willing to try just about anything like larping and roller derby.

Bradley: Since I have to date only one book, I can only say that I took as much interest in the society of the time the Ripper killings took place, as the murders themselves. I wanted the time and place to be as much a character as any of the named ones.

Genilee: As far as the Fate Series mysteries, Detective Sam Osbourne, who has inherited money so that he takes only the cases he wants.

Maggie: My Hazel Rose Book Group series made the cozy category by a nose. It’s definitely edgy.

Sherry: Part of the action takes place on a military base because my protagonist, Sarah Winston, used to be married to a man in the Air Force. I love incorporating that part of my life into the books.

Lynn: I’ve been told it’s because they’re filled with amazing sounding food.  But I think it’s because they all have strong female protagonists who want to do the right thing.

Barb: I’m known for writing humor. Sure, some other people write funny stories too, but not everyone.

Kristin: Most of my stories stress the limits of some family dysfunction, which is a natural source of conflict most readers can empathize, whether we like it or not.  The more awkward, the better.

Libby:  My stories tend to be comedic, rather than intense.  The comic relief makes them easier to read and they can be more character-focused instead of just plot-focused.

Stacie: I’d like to think I have the cleverness and compassion of Vera.  But I suspect I’ve also got the worry and limited viewpoint of Burnell!

What’s next on the horizon for you?

Frances: The second book in my series has Robbie Bradford traveling to Switzerland to help a client deal with a family crisis. The third book may be set in Egypt, which I just visited. I also give talks on financial management to colleges and other groups.

Heather: I’m working on the third book in the Delanie Fitzgerald series. I’m also working on a cozy mystery set near Charlottesville, Virginia.

Bradley: I just turned in my second book, featuring my female protagonist from book one as the major character. That completes my two-book contract. I’ve submitted two more synopses for additional in the series. Fingers crossed.

Genilee: To date, most of my books have been co-authored by my now-91-year-old mom. I am now working on my first solo mystery based on some of the same characters as those that appear in my short story for the Sister in Crime anthology.

Maggie: I’m working on a short story that I plan to submit to a mystery magazine, and I’m starting edits/rewrites for Die Laughing, #3 in my Hazel Rose Book Group series.

Sherry: My next Sarah Winston Garage Sale mystery is Let’s Fake a Deal. It comes out in July.

Lynn: I’m writing the next two books in the Farm-to-Fork series and two more full length Tourist Traps this year. Along with a couple other projects that aren’t public knowledge yet. My fifth Cat Latimer book is releasing in June – SCONED TO DEATH.

Barb: I’m editing an anthology to be called Crime Travel. As you can probably guess, all the stories involving crime/mystery and time travel. The book is scheduled to be released by Wildside Press on December 8th, which is Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day. (It’s a real holiday!) The book will have fifteen stories, including one of mine called “Alex’s Choice.”

J.A.: I’m working on a short story for submission to a sci-fi magazine.

Kristin: In addition to “Unbridled”, I have another short story being released this spring, “Snowbirding” in Malice Domestic’s anthology, Mystery Most Edible. I’m currently writing my third novel.

Samantha: I’m working on the first book in the series with the characters from my short story.

Libby: I am finalizing two Southern fiction novels and looking for an agent and working to self-publish pieces from my Subourbonmom” blog.

Stacie: Right now, I’m working on a nonfiction academic project, but I have also begun working on a series of short stories following Vera’s life as an unofficial detective over the years.  Other ideas in the works are contemporary stories set in Los Angeles and Oahu (both places I’ve lived) and possibly a historical series set in Kazakhstan (which I’ve visited and studied).

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS – Facebook     Twitter     Website

 
Purchase Links – Amazon – Paperback – Kindle should be available soon, 

Wildside  Wildside eBook

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
April 21 – Books, Movies, Reviews. Oh my! – SPOTLIGHT
April 22 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, GUEST POST
April 23 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT
April 24 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 25 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW
April 26 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
April 27 – I’m All About Books – GUEST POST
April 28 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW, RECIPE   
April 29 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
April 30 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE
May 1 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
May 1 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
May 2 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
May 2 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
May 3 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE
May 4 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
May 5 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


 

Share
Apr 202019
 

I am so happy to have Barbara Barrett visit today!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Some might call me a snowbird; I prefer the term “seasonal.” My mom was the snowbird. I grew up, carried out my career and raised a family in Iowa. When I retired a while back, I became a Florida resident, although I return to Iowa for summers. I’m a wife, mother and grandmother. I trained to be an instructor in American History; both my undergrad and graduate degrees are in that discipline. When I was unable to find a full-time job in teaching, I took a position in human resources for Iowa State government. There, I learned how to develop and validate employment tests, classify jobs and determine appropriate pay grades. At the end of my career, I was the state’s program manager for workforce planning. For my romance novels, I considered the jobs of the hero and heroine almost secondary characters; I even named my website “Romance at Work” until I started writing cozy mysteries.

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

  1. I learned to play the violin when I was in fourth grade and continued until I graduated from high school. I was concertmistress of our high school orchestra my junior and senior years.
  2. I love Trivia games. Watching “Jeopardy” has become a nightly ritual with my husband and me. On one of my favorite TV programs, “Midsomer Murders,” they call it their “pop quiz.” For the longest time, I thought they were talking about some class in school.
  3. I’m a big fan of Oscar night. I’ve missed very few. Until my recent diet, it also used to be a fun pig-out night. My favorite treat, buttered popcorn with M&Ms or some kind of chocolate. Just a faint memory now.

What is the first book you remember reading?

Readers: can you remember the first book you read? I can’t, at least with certainty. I remember Golden Books like The Poky Little Puppy and The Little Engine that Could, but I think those were read to me by teachers. My first clear memory of a book I read was either Heidi or a Nancy Drew book. A few years later, when I was around thirteen, I read Exodus. It was one of the longest books I’ve ever read, and I took great pride in the fact that I finished it.

What are you reading now?

I just finished reading The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson for my book club. I loved the twists. My goal is to craft the same caliber of twists in my own stories. I will soon begin Becoming by Michelle Obama for book club. Looking forward to it. I am also reading other cozy mysteries, currently, To Bead or Not to Bead by Janice Peacock.

What made you decide you want to write?

I feel like I should be wearing my purple feather boa to answer this question because the inspiration came from a soap opera character, Felicia Gallant on “Another World,” who wrote romance novels and had these wonderful adventures along the way. And wore feather boas while she worked. When I was in my late thirties (please don’t ask me how long ago that was), I wanted more challenge in my life, as if raising two growing children, being a good wife and trying to be a competent cook, attempting without a lot of success to keep our three-story house clean and surviving work politics weren’t enough. Felicia seemed to be doing pretty well in her writing career, so I reasoned maybe I could be a successful author too. I was kidding myself, but by the time I realized my folly, my first book had been published.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

In my dreams, I’m typing away on my laptop in a cozy cabin in the woods or a beach bungalow. In real life, I added a few chapters to my new book while on a cruise through the Panama Canal a few months ago. But mostly, I prefer my offices in both homes. We’ve dedicated guest bedrooms for my writing both in Florida and Iowa. Both have a sofa for lounging (when I need to “brainstorm,” of course) and a television set because I can’t break the habit that’s been with me since high school of having it on while I’m working.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

These days, the ideas start with the game of Mah Jongg, since my four protagonists met playing this game and continue to play weekly, said game being featured at the beginning of the story and at the end. The titles incorporate Mah Jongg terms. Aside from that, since my protagonists live in a central Florida town and are retired, many of the activities I write about are those things I know about from my life in Florida like senior education classes, planning cruises, having coffee together and fundraisers like a follies.

What books have most inspired you?

Let’s start with the Holy Bible. It grounds me and provides the moral center of my life.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I discovered Agatha Christie at the library. I can’t recall which book I read first, but among the ones I devoured during that period were The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, The Mysterious Affair at Styles and The Murder at the Vicarage. Although I read the Hercule Poirot books, I liked Miss Marple better. This is where my love of the cozy mystery started. Years later, when I began writing, I started first with romance novels because the chances for publication seemed better. Only recently, after publishing eleven romance novels and two romance novellas, have I returned to the cozy.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Devising plausible suspects. It’s one thing for a person to dislike another, even hate them, but enough to murder them? A major leap. The real murderer’s motivation has to be credible. Of course, keeping the identity of the murderer in plain view and yet disguised enough so the reader doesn’t see it until near the end is also difficult.

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

My Mah Jongg Mystery stories feature four protagonists. The same one took the lead in the first two books, but now I’m alternating that role amongst all four with succeeding books. Each character is distinguished from the others with at least one different personal characteristic: leadership, analytical abilities, creativity, and planning. That characteristic is the overriding factor in how each new case is pursued.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

I want to do at least two more books in the Mah Jongg Mystery series, hopefully, more, but I’m also considering a new series. The rights to some of my romance novels should be reverting to me in the next year; when that happens, I plan to reedit, update and self-publish them. This year I’m attending two, possibly three mystery/crime conferences to expand my readership. There might even be a play or a screenplay in my future, because I love to write dialogue.

 

More About the Author

 

Barbara Barrett started reading mysteries when she was pregnant with her first child to keep her mind off things like her changing body and food cravings. When she’d devoured as many Agatha Christies as she could find, she branched out to English village cozies and Ellery Queen.

Later, to avoid a midlife crisis, she began writing fiction at night when she wasn’t at her day job as a human resources analyst for Iowa State Government. After releasing eleven full-length romance novels and one novella, she returned to the cozy mystery genre, using one of her retirement pastimes, the game of mah jongg, as her inspiration. Not only has it been a great social outlet, it has also helped keep her mind active when not writing.

Bamboozled, the second book in her “Mah Jongg Mystery” series, features four friends who play mah jongg together and share otherwise in each other’s lives. None of the four is based on an actual person. Each is an amalgamation of several mah jongg friends with a lot of Barbara’s imagination thrown in for good measure. The four will continue to appear in future books in the series.

Anticipating the day when she would write her first mystery, she has been a member of the Mystery/Romantic Suspense chapter of Romance Writers of America for over a decade. She credits them with helping her hone her craft.

Barbara is married to the man she met her senior year of college. They have two grown children and eight grandchildren.

Author Links

Website – Facebook – Twitter – Pinterest – GoodReads –  Subscribe Cozy Newsletter   

 

About the Book


Connect the Dots (Mah Jongg Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Bowker (February 2, 2019)
Paperback: 278 pages
ISBN-10: 194853214X
ISBN-13: 978-1948532143
Digital ASIN: B07NCB5199

How could a thirty-something man fall to his death from a fourth-floor balcony he knows is defective? That’s the question freelance writer Micki Demetrius is asked to answer by the man’s grieving mother, Clarissa White, who refuses to believe his death was an unfortunate accident. But when the authorities determine it was homicide, Micki is shut out of her investigative efforts.

Giving up is easier said than done for Micki. She can’t resist a mystery, and suspicious characters won’t leave Clarissa alone, from the woman claiming a stake in the victim’s life to a cagey character who wants his business. As the threat to Clarissa grows, Micki feels compelled to help her in spite of the danger.

Micki’s three mah jongg pals—Sydney Bonner, Marianne Putnam and Katrina, Kat, Faulkner—are drawn into the mystery, but the retirees have their own challenges. Syd and husband Trip do grandparent duty while their daughter deals with marital issues. Marianne “finds herself” by writing a one-act play. And Kat must decide how public to go with her growing friendship with the sheriff. Together, they must connect the dots in a nefarious web of greed, neglect, secrecy and murder.

Praise forConnect the Dots (Mah Jongg Mysteries)
by Barbara Barrett

This is another great book that showcases friendship possibly even more than murder!
~A Wytch’s Book Review Blog

Connect the Dots by Barbara Barrett is a five-star read that kept me entertained and wanting to know what happens next . . . Ms. Barrett’s mystery, characters, and the setting were fabulous.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

Purchase Links
Amazon   B&N 

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
April 16 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW
April 16 – Here’s How It Happened – GUEST POST
April 17 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
April 18 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 19 – Babs Book Bistro – GUEST POST
April 20 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
April 20 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 21 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW
April 21 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
April 22 – My Reading Journey – REVIEW
April 22 – I’m All About Books – GUEST POST
April 23 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
April 23 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
April 24 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
April 25 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

 

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Share
Mar 302019
 

Hi Danny,

Welcome to Escape With Dollycas.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am Danny Pelfrey. I am married to Wanda who is my co-author and partner in every aspect of life. We have two grown daughters and five grandchildren. I am a graduate of Point University and hold a Master of Ministry from Kentucky Christian University. I served as a pastor in several states over a period of more than forty years. Both Wanda and I started writing non-fiction early in our adult lives. We are now back home in Adairsville, Georgia living in our little Cape Cod cottage where I spend much of my time writing inspirational mysteries, set in our home town.

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

(1) I am a fan of old western movies. (2) I am a baseball fanatic (3) I was for a time pastor to a young Todd Beamer, 9-11 United Flight 93 hero.  Wow!! 

What is the first book you remember reading?

The first chapter book I remember reading, though I am sure there were others I do not remember, was THE BOBBSY TWINS IN THE COUNTRY. I must have been in the third grade at the time.

What are you reading now?

Presently, I am reading MOJAVE CROSSING by Louis L’Amour. Some time back, I purchased an entire shelf of L’Amour’s books. I find them extremely entertaining and pull one out from time to time, often devouring them.

What made you decide you want to write?

I have had a fascination with books for most of my life. I had no access to TV through much of my high school years. I used books to fill the entertainment void, and it was not unusual for me to read as many as three books a week before sports started occupying so much of my time. Wanda and I began dating in our senior year of high school and attended the same college. We were married after two years of college. From the time I first knew her, she wanted to be a writer.  That dream became a reality for her shortly after graduation when she started writing curriculum for various publishing houses and went on to books etc. It was her love of the craft that got my attention and drew me in.  First, it was articles for national publications, then a devotional type book, a newspaper column, A book of local history. Once I started writing mystery, I was hooked, and I don’t think there is any turning back.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

I am glad you asked that question because I love my “study” where I do almost all my writing. My computer sits on an antique library table along with my printer on one side and an Antique Underwood typewriter on the other. There are books everywhere you look, including two-hundred-year-old leather-bound volumes. There is a stained-glass window which came from a historical church that has been installed over the desk, and a one-hundred-year-old plus pulpit from the same church. On the wall in front of me when I sit down at the computer are framed images of books I have written, along with newspaper articles and other items having to do with my writing. Such an environment feeds my creativity.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

The Davis Morgan Mystery Stories, though fiction, are triggered by actual historical events from our little town. Someone once told me that fiction is the result of asking the question, “What if.” That is the question I have asked about those historical events that led to the stories. My youngest sister simply says I have a wild imagination.

What books have most inspired you?

There have been several non-fiction books that have greatly inspired me with the Bible, of course, taking first place, but for our purpose here, I’m going to stick with fiction. Two books that come to my mind that greatly inspired me have a simpler theme. They are Harper Lee’s TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD and John Grisham’s first book, A TIME TO KILL.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Being a non-fiction writer who has just in the last few years come to fiction, one of the challenges for me has been natural dialogue. I think I’ve finally gotten over the hump, but in the beginning, my dialogue which usually makes up more than fifty per cent of the book was often rather stilted. I am fortunate to have a co-author who is more knowledgeable about the English language than I am, who does a great job of polishing what I write.

 What do you think makes a good story?

A short answer is… interesting characters, fascinating setting (my wife is a perpetual reader of mysteries, and I have noticed setting is one of the most important considerations for her), movement, and enough twists and surprises to keep it interesting.

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

I have a lot in common with Davis Morgan, but he is more the person I would like to be than the person I am.

Why did you pick your particular genre?

Our genre is usually tagged as cozy inspirational mystery. We sometimes call it “mysteries with a message.” I picked it because as a retired pastor, I felt obligated, perhaps called, to have an inspirational edge to my writing. I know I must be careful to keep that aspect of the story subtle and never resort to an in your face approach. Mystery was chosen because I enjoy reading it. I never really considered anything else when I decided I wanted to write fiction.

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

I think the main thing that makes our books different than others in this genre is the setting. Using our home town as the setting adds landmark and history details not always found in cozy mysteries. One new fan told me, “Your books remind me of the Mitford books.” Then she paused and said, “No, I like them better than the Mitford books.” That, of course, made my day. She was telling me, “it’s the setting that sets your books apart from others.”

What’s next on the horizon for you?

We are busy at work on the first book in a new series that will also be set in Adairsville. The protagonists in this series will be a brother/sister team by the name of Kirby and Riley. Somewhere down the line I hope to write that serious piece of literature that has been on my mind for a while.

Danny, thank you so much for visiting today!     

 

 

About the Book


Like A Tree (A Davis Morgan Mystery)
Inspirational Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
CrossLink Publishing (March 26, 2019)
Paperback: 175 pages
ISBN-10: 1633571556
ISBN-13: 978-1633571556

The movie industry spreading across Georgia has finally made its way to the little foothill village of Adairsville. Bookseller and police chaplain, Davis Morgan along with a young female clerk discover the body of a member of the movie company on a historic site at the foot of a large oak tree. Davis, despite his promise to his wife, cannot resist investigating the mystery. He and his young pal, policeman Charley Nelson, quietly dig into the case even though it is officially under the jurisdiction of the county sheriff. There is no shortage of suspects: the mysterious red headed man, sister of the victim, the fiancée and others. During the investigation an already troubled Charley is framed for a drug crime, and Davis receives word that an old enemy is on his way to Georgia after escaping from prison to make good on a threat against him. Late one afternoon it all comes to an astonishing conclusion beneath the same sprawling oak where it started.

Praise forLike A Tree(A Davis Morgan Mystery)
by Danny Pelfrey & Wanda Pelfrey

I think what I appreciate most about this novel is that the co-authors don’t sugarcoat life. They acknowledge that bad situations and events do happen, and sometimes these happen to good people too.
~Mallory Heart’s Cozies

More About the Authors

Danny & Wanda Pelfrey are a husband/wife team who in the past wrote helpful non-fiction books and material. Recently they have turned to producing “mysteries with a message.” Their stories are usually set in a small southern town in Georgia called Adairsville. Danny grew up in a poverty situation where he was often without access to TV for entertainment so he found books. It was not unusual for him, in his high school years, to read three or four books a week. So his love affair with books developed early. Danny received a degree from Point University and a Master of Ministry from Kentucky Christian University. He spent many years serving pastorates with churches in several states. Danny is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Wanda started her writing career writing curriculum for various publishers. Among books she has authored is the popular, MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR CHILD’S TEACHABLE MOMENTS. She spent twenty-four years as a primary teacher in a Montessori school. She enjoys quilting and has never lost her love for reading. The Pelfreys have two daughters and five grandchildren. LIKE A TREE is the fourth Davis Morgan Mystery on which they have collaborated.

Author Links – Website  Facebook  Twitter – @dwpelfrey

Links for purchase: Amazon, CrossLink Publishing, Banes & Noble

www.pelfreybooks.com

Also by These Authors

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please Visit All Stops 🙂
March 26 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST
March 27 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
March 28 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT
March 28 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
March 29 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
March 30 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 31 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 1 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
April 2 – My Journey Back-The Journey Back – REVIEW
April 3 – Lori’s Reading Corner – SPOTLIGHT
April 4 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
April 5 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
April 5 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW
April 6 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
April 7 – I’m Into Books – GUEST POST
April 8 – Celticlady’s Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Share
Jan 302019
 


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am so happy to Welcome Sherry Harris to Escape With Dollycas today!

Hi Sherry,

Tell us a little bit about yourself. I write the Agatha Award nominated Sarah Winston Garage Sale mysteries and the upcoming Chloe Jackson Redneck Riviera mysteries set on the beautiful beaches of the panhandle of Florida. The sixth book in the series, The Gun Also Rises, that was released yesterday.

What are three things most people don’t know about you? I was on Romper Room when I was four – yep I’m that old. I’ve lived in ten different cities/towns. I was the editor in chief of my high school year book.

What is the first book you remember reading? Betsy Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace

What are you reading now? I just finished Dear Mrs. Bird by A. J. Pearce. A wonderful story that made me cry.

What made you decide you want to write? I’ve always loved reading and writing stories. One of my early influences were the books by Maud Hart Lovelace. Her protagonist Betsy wanted to be a writer. I wanted to be Betsy so I too wanted to write.

Do you have a special place you like to write? I usually write in my office on the second story of our house. One window looks out at my neighbor’s house and the other at a patch of woods.

Do you write at the same day every day? I usually write in the afternoon because I’m not a morning person. However, the closer I am to a deadline the more you’ll find me writing in the morning too.

Where do the ideas for your books come from? All different places. The plot for the second book, The Longest Yard Sale, is based on a crime that was committed when we were stationed at F.E.Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

What books have most inspired you? As I mentioned above the books by Maud Hart Lovelace, Jackdaws by Ken Follett, and anything by Julia Spencer Fleming.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging? Getting over the fear that someday I’m going to sit at my computer and no words will come out. It’s never happened, but the possibility makes me shudder.

What do you think makes a good story? It starts with the characters—writing interesting people who readers will want to root for and against. Then comes the plot and finding a fresh creative way to write a mystery.

Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you? It has to be my protagonist Sarah Winston. We both love garage sales and were both military spouses. Fortunately, unlike Sarah, I’ve never stumbled across a dead body.

Why did you pick your particular genre? Growing up my house was filled with mysteries, thrillers, and romantic suspense. Now that I think about it my house is still filled with all three!

What makes your books different from others out there in this genre? Sarah Winston has ties to the military base which is right next to the town of Ellington, Massachusetts. Part of the action of each book takes place on the military base. It’s a way to give a bit of insight on what it’s like to be a military spouse and also life on a base.

What’s next on the horizon for you? I’m currently writing the first book in a new series—the Chloe Jackson Redneck Riviera mysteries which are set on the beautiful, sandy beaches along the Gulf coast of Florida. Then it is back to writing the ninth book in the Sarah Winston series.

Thank you so much for visiting today, Sherry. I really appreciate it. I am looking forward to your new series and more Sarah! 

Keep reading for my thoughts on The Gun Also Rises.


The Gun Also Rises
(A Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery)
by Sherry Harris

 

About the Book

 

The Gun Also Rises (A Sarah W. Garage Sale Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Kensington (January 29, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1496716965
ISBN-13: 978-1496716965
Digital ASIN: B07CWF942Q

TO RECOVER A PRICELESS MANUSCRIPT . . .

A wealthy widow has asked Sarah Winston to sell her massive collection of mysteries through her garage sale business. While sorting through piles of books stashed in the woman’s attic, Sarah is amazed to discover a case of lost Hemingway stories, stolen from a train in Paris back in 1922. How did they end up in Belle Winthrop Granville’s attic in Ellington, Massachusetts, almost one hundred years later?

WILL SARAH HAVE TO PAY WITH HER LIFE?

Before Sarah can get any answers, Belle is assaulted, the case is stolen, a maid is killed, and Sarah herself is dodging bullets. And when rumors spread that Belle has a limited edition of The Sun Also Rises in her house, Sarah is soon mixed up with a mobster, the fanatical League of Literary Treasure Hunters, and a hard-to-read rare book dealer. With someone willing to kill for the Hemingway, Sarah has to race to catch the culprit—or the bell may toll for her . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

History and mystery collide as Sherry Harris gives her spin on the missing papers of Ernest Hemingway lost in 1922. Garage Sale pro Sarah Winston is hired to help get Belle Winthrop Granville book collection ready for sale. As she is cataloging the vast collection she makes a shocking discovery. A case filled with what appears to be Hemingway’s lost manuscripts. Before the papers can be verified they are stolen and Granville’s maid is killed and shots are fired at Sarah.

The events lead to rumors that a rare edition of The Sun Also Rises is also hidden on the premises bringing the League of Literary Treasure Hunters, a rare book dealer, and the press to Ellington, Massachusetts. Sarah is forced out of her home and knows the only way for things to get back to normal is to find the killer before more bodies fall including hers.

This has become one of my favorite cozy mystery series. I love spending time with Sarah as she chases all around town for her garage sales and murder investigations. Her life has been in flux with her divorce, moving off the base, getting her business off the ground and trying to start life over as a single woman. He ex has now left the state so her personal life can move forward with Seth and that made me very happy.

In addition to her huge project for Belle Winthrop Granville and finding a thief and a killer, Sarah is organizing a fundraiser to help a soldier bring a dog he adopted in Afghanistan to the states. He has been suffering PTSD since his last deployment and his friends and family feel bringing this dog home may make things easier. The connection of Sarah to the Air Force Base and the awareness the author brings to military life and strife is a treasured part of all the books in this series. As a military wife herself her depictions are believable.

The characters Ms. Harris brings to life leap off the pages. She gives us people to root for along with the questionable suspects. Sarah and her friends are all engaging and relatable. They have a camaraderie that is refreshing. They always have her back.

I loved the way the author brought Hemingway history into the story. The League of Literary Treasure Hunters were an interesting crew that didn’t give up. They truly took over the town and made Sarah’s life miserable. I really felt bad for her. I loved her unstoppable energy though in her quest to find the papers and the killer. Her perseverance had no bounds.

Sarah Winston is a fantastic protagonist. This story is a wonderful addition to the series. I can’t wait for the next installment. Let’s Fake A Deal will be released July 30.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About the Author

 

Agatha Award-nominated author, Sherry Harris, started bargain hunting in second grade at her best friend’s yard sale. She honed her bartering skills as she moved around the country while her husband served in the Air Force. Sherry uses her love of garage sales, her life as a military spouse, and her time living in Massachusetts as inspiration for the Sarah Winston Garage Sale series.

Author Links

Webpage – Facebook – Twitter – GoodReads  – Pinterest 

Purchase Links – Amazon    B&NKoboGoogle Play IndieBound


Praise for The Gun Also Rises
(A Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery)
by Sherry Harris

Buckle your seatbelt for a humorous and fast-paced romp with Sarah in The Gun Also Rises.
~The Avid Reader

The Gun Also Rises is a fantastic cozy mystery that is full of twists, turns, distractions, and red herrings. There are suspenseful, humorous, and heartbreaking moments that are sure to keep the reader engaged.
~Sapphyria’s Books

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please Visit All The Stops.
January 28 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
January 28 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT
January 28 – Sapphyria’s Books – REVIEW
January 29 – Babs Book Bistro – GUEST POST
January 29 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
January 30 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 30 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 30 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
January 31 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
January 31 – Celticlady’s Reviews  – SPOTLIGHT 
January 31 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 1 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST
February 1 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW
February 1 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
February 2 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 2 – Laura`s Interests – REVIEW
February 2 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
February 3 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW
February 3 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
February 3 – Readeropolis – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 3 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

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.”

Share
Dec 152018
 

Love on the Rocks (Cobble Cove Mystery)
by Debbie De Louise


Welcome, Debbie!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a librarian at a public library. I’m married with a teenage daughter and have three cats (two kittens were just added to our home) and a fish.

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

Before I became a librarian and author, I was a secretary. 2. I’ve lost 65 pounds on Jenny Craig and by exercising daily. 3. I own and manage a pet memorial Center in the virtual world of Second Life.

What is the first book you remember reading?

Although it wasn’t the first book I read, the first book that made a big impression on me was The Winter People by Phyllis Whitney. I was around 11 or 12, and it was a Christmas gift from my older brother. It started my love of gothic romances that lasted throughout my teens in which I devoured books my Phyllis Whitney, Victoria Holt, and Barbara Michaels.

What are you reading now?

I just finished Mitch Albom’s The Next Person you Meet in Heaven, and then I’m starting Christmas at the Cat Café by Melissa Daley for a little holiday reading.

What made you decide you want to write?

I’d always loved reading from a young age and also loved telling stories. My teachers and family encouraged me when I showed a talent for writing. In college, I wrote for the student newspaper and then I joined the Cat Writer’s Association to which I still belong and wrote articles for pet magazines. My first novel was published in 2008. I took a break from writing and then started again in 2015 and now have six published books, a novella, and a dozen or so short stories.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

I write at the computer in my living room, but some of the ideas for my writing come to me when I wake up in the morning or when I’m doing other things and are struck with inspiration. I have a notebook where I jot these ideas down to return to later.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

Pretty much everywhere – other books (not that I copy anything, but I read a variety of genres and learn a lot from other authors; TV shows and movies; everyday life; my past and present experiences; my imagination).

What books have most inspired you?

As I mentioned above, I was entranced by gothic romances as a teen. I also went through a period of reading cozy mystery series featuring cats by such authors at Carole Nelson Douglas (Midnight Louie); Rita Mae Brown (Sneaky Pie); Shirley Murphy (Joe Grey), etc. I also love to read time-travel tales. Some of my favorite books have included The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger; Time and Again by Jack Finney; and The Eight by Katherine Neville.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Finding the time to do it. The more I publish, the more I need to promote, and the less time I can devote to writing. It’s a big challenge, and one I know most authors who work full-time share.

What do you think makes a good story?

The plot, of course, but I feel the characters are the most important aspect of any story. Readers need to relate to, empathize, and identify with characters to enjoy a book. I also feel that a few subplots and twists enhance novels, especially if they’re mysteries.

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

Most of my main characters are like me, especially Alicia, the librarian and author in my Cobble Cove mystery series.

Why did you pick your particular genre?

I actually write several genres, but my favorite are my cozy mysteries and my general mysteries. I like them because they’re also the types of books I like to read most. I enjoy creating and solving puzzles and giving “birth” to characters and watching them grow from book to book or from the beginning of the story to the end. I also like staging murders and introducing clues that are not always obvious but can be explained at the end.

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

I feel my cozy mysteries aren’t traditional in the sense that they are more complex and multi-layered than your usual cozy. There are often serious themes, although they also feature some humor. The first book, A Stone’s Throw, is very much like a romantic suspense novel.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

I’m looking for an agent because I’d like to publish my books in a wider format than eBook and paperback and have them reviewed in popular journals that I, as a librarian, order from at work so that they reach a wider audience. I have two unpublished titles, the first of a new cozy series and a psychological thriller that I’m seeking representation for. I’m also hoping to finish a gothic-type novel that I’m halfway through. Of course, I want to continue my Cobble Cove mysteries with Solstice Publishing who are absolutely wonderful and have been so supportive of my work. My fourth title in that series, Love on the Rocks, was recently released, and some themes introduced in it open the door for future books.

Thank you, Debbie, for stopping by today. 

Keep reading to find out about Debbie’s new book, Love on the Rocks.

About the Book

Love on the Rocks (Cobble Cove Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Solstice Publishing (October 17, 2018)
Paperback: 241 pages
ISBN-10: 1625268505
ISBN-13: 978-1625268501
Digital ASIN: B07JHV9FJC

It’s February in the small town of Cobble Cove. Love is in the air . . . but so is murder!

When Alicia helps plan a Valentine’s Day Party at the Cobble Cove library that also includes a surprise for her newlywed friend, Gilly, things go wrong when a mysterious box of chocolates addressed to the director turns out laced with poison.

Clues Lead to A Dead Suspect

Although Alicia promised John she’ll no longer meddle in crime investigations, she and Gilly set out to find the person threatening Sheila who murdered the courier of the deadly candy. The three people they suspect include the professor from California who’s been romancing Sheila while she assists him with research for his book; the obnoxious patron Rhonda Kleisman who threw coffee at the director after refusing to pay for a damaged book; and a visiting widow staying at Gilly’s inn who’s unnaturally curious about Sheila and earns the nickname of Madame Defarge for her interest in knitting.

New Cat in Town

While Alicia and Gilly are trying to solve this new Cobble Cove mystery, Sneaky is introduced to Gilly’s new kitten, Kittykai, a calico she brought home from her honeymoon in Hawaii. It’s not like at first sight, but the two cats eventually become friends. They also both play a part in foiling the killer’s murder attempts, but will Alicia and Sheila survive unscathed?

About the Author

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, Long Island Authors Group, and the Cat Writer’s Association. She has a BA in English and an MLS in Library Science from Long Island University. Her novels include the three books of the Cobble Cove mystery series: A Stone’s ThrowBetween a Rock and a Hard Place, and Written in Stone. Debbie has also written a romantic comedy novella, When Jack Trumps Ace, a standalone mystery thriller, Reason to Die, and a paranormal romance, Cloudy Rainbow. She lives on Long Island with her husband, Anthony; daughter, Holly; and cat Stripey.

Author Links

Facebook    Twitter     Goodreads    Amazon Author Page    Website/Blog/Newsletter Sign-Up

Sneaky the Library Cat’s blog    Debbie’s Character’s Chat Facebook Group

Purchase Links: eBook & Kindle Unlimited: mybook.to/cc4
Paperback: mybook.to/cc4pap
___________________________________

Free Offer from Debbie DeLouise

The characters from Debbie De Louise’s Cobble Cove cozy mysteries gather in the Cobble Cove library to celebrate the holidays. Each character receives a gift from the author, and Alicia, the main character, reads some excerpts from the first book, A Stone’s Throw, and the new release, Between a Rock and a Hard Place.

It will be free from Thursday, December 13 to Monday, December 17!

________________________________

Purchase Links

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
December 10 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
December 10 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT
December 11 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 12 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST
December 13 – T’s Stuff – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 14 – My Reading Journeys – CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 15 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 15 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT
December 16 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
December 16 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 17 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
December 17 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 18 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 19 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

 

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Share
Dec 142018
 

Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case
by Rosalind Barden


Welcome, Rosalind! 

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m hopelessly creative, with a whimsical way of looking at the world, when I’m not looking at the world with a pair of satirical glasses, that is.

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

Yes, my hair is real; 2) I’m a decades-long vegetarian/mostly vegan; 3) No, I don’t understand why I’m not thin.

What is the first book you remember reading?

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” by Dr. Seuss, and “Put Me in the Zoo,” by Robert Lopshire. In a burst of de-cluttering awhile back, I gave away “Put Me in the Zoo,” and have regretted it ever since.

What are you reading now?

I typically read several books at the same time. The first book I’m reading is the short story collection “Arithmophobia” by Ruschelle Dillion. It’s published by Mystery and Horror LLC, which also published “Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case.” I’m enjoying the darkly humorous, well-constructed stories in “Arithmophobia” that weave around the theme of numbers. Intriguing stuff.

I’m also re-reading two books I picked up on a whim from the Homer Bookstore: “Tails of a Dogsitter” by Karen Roush, and “Invisible Ink,” an anthology of short stories by Homer authors edited by Joyce Baker Porte. I think these two books have possessed me. By the way, it’s worth going to Homer, Alaska for this bookstore, in my opinion. Homer is an interesting place.

I regularly re-read books that I’ve enjoyed in the past. That’s why I find it so hard to give them away even though I probably should be “de-cluttering” them. I like being surrounded by interesting books.

What made you decide you want to write?

I always assumed I’d be a writer. I liked telling stories and reading stories from as far back as I remember. My Mom was a big influence on me. She was a creative person who did some writing too. She always encouraged my creative pursuits and believed in me. I remember our frequent trips to the library where me and my siblings camped out in the children’s section, while she headed to the biographies, her favorite section. She’d buy us kids plenty of books too, even though we lived on a tight budget (“Put Me in the Zoo,” for example). I was raised with books. Not everyone is, so I’m really lucky to have had a Mom like that.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

I have my laptop on a table where it fits. I write where I can. I also write long-hand in paper notebooks if I’m out and about. Got tired of lugging my laptop around. Plus, I worry about someone snatching my laptop (and all my writing-in-progress!). There’s not a lot of resale value in used paper notebooks, so less snatching worries there. I do have a fantasy of a dedicated writing office with a sublime view, lots of shelf space for my books, and a couch where I can drowsily dream of new ideas.

Do you write at the same time every day?

No. For me, that’s not practical. I write when I can.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

Everywhere. The seed of an idea will come into my head, and then I let my mind wander from there. I usually don’t remember where the original little bit of an idea came from. There are exceptions. For “American Witch,” I vividly remember watering the backyard where I used to live, and it was like the character of George came right up beside me. So, of course, I had to write his story. I’ve never had another character come to me so strongly. “American Witch” probably is the best I’ve written, and I wish it’d gotten a wider readership. But that’s the challenge of self-publishing. It’s tough to promote, which is something I learned from that book. I’m making more of a promotion effort nowadays!

What books have most inspired you?

It’s challenging to narrow my list down, because I read so much and am inspired and impressed by so many books and writers. I may have a different answer tomorrow, but today, here goes: “King Rat” by James Clavell and “Catch-22” by Joseph Heller for their dark satire. Same for “Bonfire of the Vanities” by Tom Wolfe. Tom Wolfe’s writing style amazes me. His words bounce off the page with impertinent glee. I confess I have been known to “borrow” some of his favorite style bits. Douglas Adams and P.J. Wodehouse inspire me for their satire of the lighter variety. The first two “Harry Potter” books by J.K. Rowling are my favorites from the series. “Five Children and It” by Edith Nesbit because it’s slyly subversive. I enjoy older humorous books and short stories, like Robert Benchley’s essay collection, “My Ten Years in a Quandry,” Josephine Dodge Daskam’s short story “A Study in Piracy,” and cozy mystery “The Haunted Bookshop” by Christopher Morley. “Ghosts, A Treasury of Chilling Tales Old and New” selected by Marvin Kaye also comes to mind. Douglas Clegg’s books are dark and impossible to put down. Going back to my early reading years, “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak influenced me. I desperately wanted to take that boat to the island with the Wild Things. I did rig up a “boat” and hoped I’d have the same result as Max in the book, but no such luck. Maybe I’ll try again later.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Finding the time. That’s the toughest. Not many people understand that a writer needs a lot of time to sit down, create, revise, plus daydream about the concept in the first place. It’s hard to tell a friend I can’t do something over the weekend because that’s the only free weekend I’ve had in awhile and I desperately want to stay in to write. People tend to become upset.

And the promotion. In this day and age, writers also have to be marketers. It eats up precious writing time, and to me, it’s harder than doing the writing itself. The exception is meeting readers in person at book signings. That’s fun. But trying to puzzle out promotion dos and don’ts? Not so fun. Because I write in different genres, my “brand” is elusive, which is a big frowny-face in book marketing. I remain hopeful that readers with a sense of humor will discover my work and be patient that I don’t fit neatly within a brand.

What do you think makes a good story?

Wanting to turn the page and keep going. Also thinking about the book, the characters, the scenes long after I’ve finished reading. Deciding to give the book another read after a couple of years, or couple of months. Third read, then fourth read. I once told another writer that I’d read “Bonfire of the Vanities” twenty times. She didn’t believe me, but it’s true. Tom Wolfe is a word master and I love his sentences!

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

I’m in every story I write, sometimes more, sometimes less. For “Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case,” there’s a lot of Sparky in me. Sparky is resourceful, adventurous, but misunderstood, which I think describes me.

Why did you pick your particular genre?

I’ve been toying with mysteries for a long time. They’re challenging to write, because they have the puzzle solving element. But that’s what makes mystery writing interesting. “Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case” grew out of my short story “The Monkey’s Ghost,” which appears in the short mystery anthology, “History and Mystery, Oh My!” published by Mystery and Horror LLC in 2015. Some of the characters are the same, though I made Marigold older in “Sparky.” The main characters in “Sparky” are new, except silent screen vamp, Tootsie, who is pulled from another, unpublished short story of mine. That story explains Tootsie’s early, pre-stardom days that are only eluded to in “Sparky.”

Of course, I also write horror and sci-fi, because I enjoy reading them. My novel “American Witch” is dark satire because, again, I enjoy reading satire. I love picture books, which explains why I wrote and illustrated “TV Monster.” Picture books are an art form in their own right. I love to read many types of books, which leads me to write many types!

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

I don’t think there’s another humorous, noir, 1930s, Los Angeles, Young Adult mystery novel out there besides “Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case.”

What’s next on the horizon for you?

I’m currently writing book two in the “Sparky of Bunker Hill” series, tentatively titled, “Sparky of Bunker Hill and the No Nose Knucklehead.” After that, “Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Monkey Island Murder.” Sparky bumps into one challenge after another in both books.

In “No Nose Knucklehead,” life gets really real, really fast for Sparky. Bobby, the bum, is out of town with his cozy family so is no help whatsoever. She’s got to handle the mess (it’s a big mess) on her own. And find out who the real cannibal is.

In “Monkey Island Murder,” she goes back to school, which is tough for independent, smarty-pants Sparky. Will any of the other kids ever talk to Sparky? And what’s with the escaped gorilla?

Thank you, Rosalind, for visiting today. 

Keep reading to find out about Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Case Kid

 

About the Book


Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case
Young Adult Mystery
Mystery & Horror, LLC (October 9, 2018)
Paperback: 216 pages
ISBN-10: 1949281027
ISBN-13: 978-1949281026
Digital ASIN: B07H49P46T

Lots of characters have it bad, in my Bunker Hill neighborhood smack dab in the middle of Los Angeles, but I’ve had it rougher than most.
There may be something to this 13th business.

That’s my birthday, and I’m learning to dread seeing it roll around. My mother died on one birthday. The cousins dumped me on my last. This year, 1932, I found a dead kid on a park bench. It’s my eleventh birthday, and the day me, Sparky, ended up on the run, wanted for murder.

If the dead girl wasn’t enough, the dirty newspapers pinned every body in LA on me, and even blamed me for the Great War. I wasn’t even born then. The price on my head got bigger by the day.

It was up to me to find out who killed the girl and why I got framed, before I ended up dangling from the hangman’s rope.

Praise for Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case
by Rosalind Barden

What a fun, exciting adventure book! . . You just can’t help loving Sparky and her way of thinking and talking.
~Here’s How It Happened

About the Author

 

Over thirty of Rosalind Barden’s short stories have appeared in print anthologies and webzines, including the U.K.’s acclaimed Whispers of Wickedness. Mystery and Horror, LLC has included her stories in their anthologies History and Mystery, Oh My! (FAPA President’s Book Award Silver Medalist), Mardi Gras Murder, and four of the Strangely Funny series. Ellen Datlow selected her short story “Lion Friend” as a Best Horror of the Year Honorable Mention after it appeared in Cern Zoo, a British Fantasy Society nominee for best anthology, part of DF Lewis’ award-winning Nemonymous anthology series. TV Monster is her print children’s book that she wrote and illustrated. Her satirical literary novel American Witch is available as an e-book. In addition, her scripts, novel manuscripts, and short fiction have placed in numerous competitions, including the Writers’ Digest Screenplay Competition and the Shriekfast Film Festival. She lives in Los Angeles, California. Discover more at RosalindBarden.com

Author Links
Website Amazon Author Page 

Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
December 13 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW
December 13 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
December 14 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
December 14 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 15 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 15 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
December 16 – My Journey Back- The Journey Back  – REVIEW  
December 17 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST
December 18 – Ruff Drafts – INTERVIEW
December 19 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
December 19 – Varietats – GUEST POST

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Share
Dec 132018
 

A Timeless Celebration (Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries)
by Dianne Ascroft

Welcome, Dianne!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hello everyone. I’m Dianne Ascroft. I grew up in Toronto, Canada and moved to Britain more than a quarter of a century 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 pets. For many years, we had a pair of goats as companions until the last one died three years ago. Now our closest companions are a pair of cats. There’s not much difference really: the stubbornness and determination is just in a smaller package.

I wrote historical fiction, often with an Irish connection, for several years before veering off into cozy mysteries. A Timeless Celebration is my first cozy mystery novel and my first book set in my homeland. Writing a story set in Canada has been a nostalgic journey for me and I enjoyed 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’ve never dyed my hair.

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 The Moon Sister by Lucinda Riley. Every year I pre-order the next book in The Seven Sisters series and eagerly wait for it to be released.

What made you decide you want to write?

I’m an only child and my mother and grandfather were voracious readers so I learned to love reading early. I think it was a natural progression from reading to writing my own stories. I was also a prolific pen pal and, during my teen years, I regaled my penfriends with long accounts of my life in Toronto. The longest letter I ever penned was 64 pages long, written to a friend during the couple of days when I was recuperating after having my wisdom teeth removed.

In my early 30s I moved to Belfast and worked in the university bookshop for several years. Meeting local authors regularly, I began to wonder whether I could also write fiction. So when a short story I submitted to a writing contest on Belfast’s Downtown Radio was selected for broadcast, I was thrilled and this small success encouraged me to pursue my interest in writing. In hindsight, I know that the story needed polishing but it was my first ‘publication’ and I was delighted. Although I never let anyone listen to it, there is a cassette copy of the broadcast still buried somewhere in the bottom of a drawer at home. The story was about a piper experiencing stage fright. Since I wrote that first story I’ve always wanted to bring the pipe band world into my writing again. I did that in a small way in A Timeless Celebration as Lois, the main character, is a piper and is introduced to Fenwater’s pipe band.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

Where I write isn’t a place that would be my first choice – it’s just the place in our house where I can sit and work. I write at the dining room table, often with a cup of tea on the table beside me, and one of our cats 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).

Do you write at the same time every day?

I wish I could. I like to write early in the morning. I’m always the first one up each morning so the house is quiet and there’s no distractions, other than the cats clamoring for their breakfast. In this atmosphere it’s easy to gather my thoughts and put them on paper before my mind gets filled with the other tasks that I have to tackle that day. But it’s not always possible to put my fingers to the keyboard before my daily tasks overtake me so often I have to scribble away whenever I get a few minutes. I set word count to meet each day but I don’t manage to write at a set time.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

The ideas for my stories are sparked by incidents that happen to me, random thoughts that cross my mind and bits of trivia that catch my attention. I’ve found inspiration in many different places. My World War II historical fiction series was inspired by the area where I live in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. The county has a rich and varied wartime history and, after I moved to the area more than a decade ago and learned about this history, I became fascinated by it. I started rooting in books, original newspapers and personal accounts to learn about the era, and many of the ideas for my stories were sparked by snippets of information I stumbled across during my research.

But the seed that sowed my first cozy mystery was quite different – and took much less research. I don’t know where the idea came from, but one day I suddenly had a quirky idea for where a stolen watch could be hidden. Then I worked back from that idea to decide why the watch was important, where it was stolen from, and how and why my main character, Lois Stone, would search for it and get it back. That one random thought about where it might be possible to hide a stolen item got my imagination working and A Timeless Celebration was born.

What books have most inspired you?

There are loads of books that I could name, but an Irish author Jennifer Johnston’s Shadows On My Skin made a huge impact on me when it was first released in the late 1970s. The author’s ability to breathe life into characters and unveil a story in an understated way, as well as her skilful use of language, are wonderful skills that I aspire to emulate. I also admire Diana Gabaldon’s storytelling skill and her ability to interweave stories that unfold over several books. Both authors have taught me valuable lessons.

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?

I know that Lois Stone, the main character in A Timeless Celebration, is very like me in many ways. After years of doing detailed historical research for my previous books, I decided that my first cozy mystery wouldn’t involve a huge amount of research. So as I wrote Lois, I deliberately used some of my own likes and dislikes to make her real. 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.

Why did you pick your particular genre?

For the past few years I’ve written Second World War fiction, set in Northern Ireland. Then last summer, I decided to have a change of pace. I had an idea for a mystery series, Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries, 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 fictionalised the small town that I knew as Fenwater and my novel evolved from there. I wanted to create a place that beckons readers to step in and stay a while, and cozy mysteries allow me to explore the place as well as the mystery at the heart of the story.

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. I want 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 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. In A Timeless Celebration, it’s an artifact from the Titanic that is stolen. And in Out of Options, a novella that is almost ready to release, 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 in the town. The story in Book 2 of the Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries will feature a historic quilt as an important part of the plot.

Whats next on the horizon for you?

Since I’m convinced that the real town Fenwater is based on is the perfect place to set a cozy mystery, I want to write more stories set in my fictional version of it. So that’s my plan for the immediate future: to write the second book in the Century Cottage Mysteries series and the next one and the next one…Book 2 should be ready to release next summer or early autumn.

I’m also working on a prequel novella, set in 1983, in the last area of Toronto to still prohibit the sale of alcohol (continuing without a break from the days of Prohibition in the 1930s) to give readers a glimpse into Lois Stone’s life before she moved to Fenwater, and reveal what prompted her move to the small town. The novella, “Out of Options”, will be available this month. All of that will keep me busy for the foreseeable future.

Thank you, Dianne, for visiting today! 

Now let me tell you about Dianne’s A Timeless Celebration.

 

 

About the Book


A Timeless Celebration (Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Self Published (October 25, 2018)
Print Length: 245 pages
ASIN: B07HF847NN

A small town, a big party, a stolen gift. When an artefact from the Titanic is stolen before her town’s 150th anniversary celebration, it’s up to Lois Stone to catch the thief.

Middle-aged widow Lois has moved from bustling Toronto to tranquil Fenwater and is settling into her new life away from the dangers of the city. Then two events happen that shatter her serenity: her house is burgled and an antique watch belonging to a Titanic survivor is stolen from the local museum. Her best friend, Marge, was responsible for the watch’s safekeeping until its official presentation to the museum at the town’s 150th anniversary party, and its disappearance will jeopardise her job and the museum’s future. Lois won’t let her friend take the blame and the consequences for the theft. She’s determined to find the watch in time to save her best friend’s job, the museum’s future and the town’s 150th anniversary celebration.

And so begins a week of new friends, apple and cinnamon muffins, calico cats, midnight intruders, shadowy caprine companions and more than one person with a reason to steal the watch, set against the backdrop of century houses on leafy residential streets, the swirling melodies of bagpipes, a shimmering heat haze and the burble of cool water.

Praise for A Timeless Celebration (Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries)
by Dianne Ascroft

The first thing I observed about the book was the writing. It is poetic and charming. I loved Ascroft’s storytelling style – unique and precise.
~The Book Decoder

. . . it is a heartwarming delight with really well-developed characters and such a beautiful setting.
~Mallory Heart’s Cozies

 

About the Author

Dianne Ascroft is a Torontonian who has settled in rural Northern Ireland. She and her husband live on a small farm with an assortment of strong-willed animals.

A Timeless Celebration is the first novel in the Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries series.

Her previous fiction works include The Yankee Years series of novels and short reads, set in Northern Ireland during the Second World War; An Unbidden Visitor (a tale inspired by Fermanagh’s famous Coonian ghost); Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves: A Collection of Short Stories (contemporary tales), and an historical novel, Hitler and Mars Bars, which explores Operation Shamrock, a little known Irish Red Cross humanitarian endeavour.

Dianne writes both fiction and non-fiction. Her articles and short stories have been printed in Canadian and Irish magazines and newspapers. When she’s not writing, she enjoys walks in the countryside, evenings in front of her open fireplace and folk and traditional music.

 

  • Author Links 

Website:    Facebook page:

Twitter: @DianneAscroft    Goodreads:

Newsletter Sign up

  • Purchase Links:

Amazon ebook: US – UK

Amazon print: US – UK 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
December 7 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
December 7 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT  
December 8 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
December 9 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW
December 10 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
December 11 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
December 12 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 13 – Handcrafted Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
December 13 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 14 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 15 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
December 15 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST
December 16 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 17 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
December 18 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
December 18 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
December 19 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW, RECIPE
December 20 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?
Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Share
Dec 122018
 


Special Guests

 Teresa Inge, Heather Weidner, Jayne Ormerod, and Rosemary Shomaker
Authors of To Fetch A Thief

I am so happy to have these wonderful authors here today
as part of their Great Escapes Book Tour!

Welcome Ladies!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Heather: Over the years, I’ve been a technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, IT manager, and cop’s kid. I live in Central Virginia with my husband and a pair of crazy Jack Russell terriers. And I’ve been a mystery fan since Scooby Doo and Nancy Drew.

 

Jayne: We moved 19 times during his 30-year career, so it was impossible to put down roots. We’re now settled in a cottage by the Chesapeake Bay with our two rescue puppies, Tiller and Scout. I’m a real estate agent by day, and a cozy mystery writer by night.

 Rosemary: I’ve been a huge reader forever. Books really opened up the world to me. I read to my kids as my mother read to me. I even worked in a job where I wrote . . . analytically, that is. Now I write fiction on my own time.

Teresa: I love to write mysteries, go to car shows with my husband, and visit the Outerbanks to write and read good books.   

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

Heather: The first two albums (those things before MP3s, CDs, and cassette tapes) I bought with my own money were a 5th of Beethoven and Shaun Cassidy. I have seen the Monkees in concert three times. I have never seen Billy Idol in concert, and it’s still on my bucket list.

Jayne: I play the piano (mostly classical). I watch Little League World Series every August. I once slept on the street of Ventura Blvd in Los Angeles waiting to get into a taping of the Price is Right. It was a few weeks before Bob Barker retired. Sadly, neither my son nor I got called to “Come on down!”

Rosemary: Three things people don’t know about me are: my house got struck by lightning and burned to where we had one whole floor completely renovated; I’m fifty percent Lithuanian; and my first dog had the unfortunate name “Snoopy.”

Teresa: I come from a large family with many brothers and a sister. We were taught to work hard and make something of our lives.I’ve been an administrative professional since high school and have worked in a long and successful career. I’ve loved reading mysteries and watching mysteries on television since I was a kid.

What is the first book you remember reading?

Heather: Green Eggs and Ham and The Monster at the End of the Book

Jayne: Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Rosemary: I remember the book The Parent Trap based on the 1961 Haley Mills movie. Before that, I remember some early Dick and Jane readers.

Teresa: Are You My Mother. It’s a fascinating tale of a little bird who was hatched alone while his mother had gone to look for food. He sets out on a journey to find her. He asks a kitten, a hen, a dog, and cow if they are his mother.

What are you reading now?

Heather: John Grisham’s The Reckoning

Jayne:  The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

Rosemary: Now I’m reading some of Nevada Barr’s mysteries and some William Tapply mysteries.

Teresa: A wine mystery. Murder Most Fermented by Christine E. Blum.

What made you decide you want to write?

Heather: I have wanted to be a writer since I was in the seventh grade. I loved writing stories and poems. I’ve always loved mysteries, so it was a perfect fit.

Jayne: I read a few bad romances and said “I can write better than that.” Turns out it is MUCH harder than it looks. I soon gave up on the romance-writing career (I just couldn’t keep two desperately in love people apart for 300 pages!) and turned to writing cozy mysteries. It’s so much easier to ramp on the conflict by stumbling over a dead body!

Rosemary: My imagination made me want to write. My mom read to me and my sister, and my dad told great stories—I could so easily picture in my mind what they read and told. Written expression is easier for me than is oral expression, so writing became my medium.

Teresa: I wrote professional articles and loved reading mysteries. So, I combined my love of both and began writing mysteries.

 Do you have a special place you like to write?

Heather: I usually write in my upstairs office. My Jack Russell Terriers each have a bed on either side of my desk. They help me with plotting and dialogue when they’re not napping.

Jayne: I do have a writing room with a “virgin” computer (it doesn’t have a modem so has never connected to the Internet.) It keeps me from getting distracted by Facebook and email.

Rosemary: I like to write at an old desk in my daughter’s old room or outside. I write my raw material longhand.

Teresa: In my bedroom. I have a writing area with a beautiful country view.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

Heather: A lot of ideas come from true stories I’ve read in newspapers or magazines. Some come from people watching. I always keep a notebook with me. I jot down ideas when I see or hear them. You never know when they’ll appear in a book.

Jayne: I have always played “what’s the worst that can happen” in my mind as I walk or drive. So I can see a leaf fluttering to the ground and think “now what’s the worst that can happen with a leaf?” (Answer: I can be watching the leaf thinking big thoughts and trip on the sidewalk and fall into the neighbor’s prize rose garden and flatten some bushes just before Secret Garden Tour and my name becomes Mud around the neighborhood. Plus I get all scratched up and have to go to the ER! You can see how this could go on and on and on…) 

Rosemary: My ideas come from what I see on my everyday errands and what I read in the newspaper.

Teresa: Everywhere! Conversations, news, songs, and sometimes plots come to me while I am driving to and from work.

What books have most inspired you?

Heather: There are too many to list. I think I read Charlotte’s Web at least ten times in elementary school. I loved the Nancy Drew stories because she was a teen who had a cool car, great friends, and could solve mysteries before the adults did. My favorite book about writing is Stephen King’s On Writing.

 Jayne: I am not just blowing smoke when I say every book I have ever read has inspired me in some way. Some, because the eloquent turn of the phrase makes me want to make readers pause and take notice; others because the plot is so thin and the characters so flat I challenge myself to be better than that. The short list of authors who have had the biggest influences on my writing are books by Janet Evanovich, Mary Dahiem, and Lillian Jackson Braun.

 Rosemary: In the 1980’s I read Jean Auel’s Earth’s Children Series and Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon series, and I was enthralled. In the early 1990’s I read Frank Herbert’s Dune series. Those three series inspired me.

Teresa: Nancy Drew mysteries.

 Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Heather:  The writing is the easy part. The writing life also includes what feels like hundreds of rounds of editing and proofreading. Authors are also responsible for a lot of their marketing and book promotion. And you have to blog, maintain a website, and all your social media sites.

Jayne: It is much easier NOT to write than to sit down and write. Sometimes the biggest challenge is simply getting my rear end in the chair…and keeping it there.

Rosemary: The most challenging aspect of writing is pacing the story. Getting the pace right is hard, and I struggle to keep the story moving because at times my characters get too wordy and introspective.

Teresa: Editing.

What do you think makes a good story?

Heather: I like stories with lots of plot twists. I like clever dialogue and stories where I learn something (event with fiction.

Jayne: Plot twists. When the readers say to themselves, “Wow. I  didn’t see that coming!”

Rosemary: Hmm. I read more and more “how-to” guides and advice about this. I’m warming to the advice that the main character has to mature or evolve in some way, either by dealing with an issue, seeing a different point of view, becoming a better person, etc. In these cases, anyway, there is some problem that needs to be addressed, and the story is how the characters address the problem.

Personally, I’m drawn to the adventure story’s hero’s journey. You know, the journey that starts with the ordinary world, continues with the call to adventure, refusal of the call, meeting the mentor, crossing the threshold, test/allies/enemies, approach to the inmost cave, ordeal, reward, the road back, resurrection, and return to the ordinary world a changed person. The best stories fit this archetypal story pattern. I recognize phases of the hero’s journey in mystery stories, although the plotting is necessarily a bit different.

Teresa: Relatable characters, a good location, great plot, and wrapping up all loose ends.

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

Heather: My private investigator, Delanie Fitzgerald and I share a lot of things in common. We are both redheads who like Mustangs, 80s music, and live in Central Virginia. She’s a spunky PI who gets in way more trouble than I do. She’s more like my alter-ego.

Jayne: I will admit to putting a little bit of myself in every character, but the most of me has gone into Ellery Tinsdale in The Blond Leading the Blond and Blond Luck.

Rosemary: My character Olivia Morris in 50 Shades of Cabernet’s “Home Tour Havoc” is most like me. Adam Moreland in “This is Not a Dog Park” has some of my characteristics, too. Like Olivia, I’ve found a sort of peace and regret some decisions from my past. In real life I relish some of those past experiences, however, while Olivia is still hurting from them. Adam Moreland hides from conflict and tends to protect himself from further hurt by walling out people. Hey, I’m right there with Adam on that. Yes, I know that’s not healthy.

Teresa: Strong working women. I write strong female characters who own their own business.

 Why did you pick your particular genre?

Heather: I have loved mysteries since Scooby Doo and Nancy Drew. They were gateway mysteries that led to Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock. I’ve had a library card since I was four, so I’ve sampled quite a few mystery authors and subgenres. (Plus, I’m a cop’s kid. Many of our dinner conversations were crime-themed, so it was a natural fit.) I took a mystery and detection fiction class as an undergraduate, and it was the best class I took in college.

Jayne: I’ve always loved mysteries and adventures with female characters, ever since I read my first (of over 100) Nancy Drew stories as a child.

Rosemary: My short stories are different from other mystery stories because I introduce main characters who refuse the call to investigate and seem ill-equipped to investigate anyway—not in the bumbling way, but in the “I don’t want to get involved” way. Perky matrons with time on their hands and their thumbs on the pulse of the community are not my sleuths.

Teresa: Cozy mysteries are easy to read since they do not contain gore, blood, or violence.

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

Heather: I write where I know. My novels are set in Central Virginia, and all of my short stories are set in Virginia. It’s a great place to live and work, and I want to share it with my readers. I am also a huge fan of popular culture, so you’ll find lots of references in my works.

Jayne: My amateur sleuth is reluctant to solve the crime, and usually has a stronger person behind pushing (or pulling or dragging) her to find the killer.

Rosemary: My stories are mostly in anthologies, and those anthologies differ from other “books” in the mystery genre in that a reader gets to sample the styles and content of various authors in one book. Anthologies are a great way to find your next favorite author. To Fetch a Thief is the first collection of novellas in the Mutt Mysteries series. Readers get to sample the efforts of four mystery authors in this book. The rotating authors in the next several Mutt Mysteries compilations will allow readers access to the works of other mystery authors, so compilations and anthologies are a win-win for authors and readers.

Teresa: My characters and book titles. I love creating relatable characters and fun titles.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

Heather: I have a short story, “Art Attack” coming out in Deadly Southern Charms: A Lethal Ladies Mystery Anthology next year. I also have a non-fiction article coming out next year in PromoPhobia. I’m working on a cozy set in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the third Delanie Fitzgerald mystery will be out next year.

Jayne: I’m getting ready to release Goin’ Coastal, a collection of two novellas and two short stories that have two things in common, a coastal setting and a gruesome murder. After that is the much anticipated third Blonds at the Beach book, Blond Luck.

Rosemary: Writing “This is Not a Dog Park” was a challenge for this short story writer since the novella length is three times that of a typical short story. I have a better sense, and a greater respect, for what it takes to write a novel. I can make a better stab at a novel now, but I’ll keep my hand in writing short stories. In the spring see my “Heads or Tails” in the Wittier Than Thou anthology, benefiting the upkeep and operation of the Whittier Birthplace Museum in Massachusetts.

 Teresa: Book two in the Mutt Mysteries series.

Thank you, Heath, Jayne, Rosemary, and Teresa for visiting today.

Keep reading to find out more about To Fetch A Thief. . . 

 

About the Book


To Fetch A Thief
Cozy Mystery Anthology
Light, humorous, dog-themed mysteries.
Bay Breeze Publishing, LLC (November 8, 2018)
Paperback: 278 pages
ISBN-10: 1732790701
ISBN-13: 978-1732790704
Digital ASIN: B07K97ZYY6

To Fetch a Thief, the first Mutt Mysteries collection, features four novellas that have gone to the dogs. In this howlingly good read, canine companions help their owners solve crimes and right wrongs. These sleuths may be furry and low to the ground, but their keen senses are on high alert when it comes to sniffing out clues and digging up the truth. Make no bones about it, these pup heroes will steal your heart as they conquer ruff villains.

About the Authors

 

Teresa Inge grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries. Today, she doesn’t carry a rod like her idol, but she hotrods. She is president of Sister’s in Crime Mystery by the Sea Chapter and author of short mysteries in Virginia is for Mysteries and 50 Shades of Cabernet.

Website: www.teresainge.com
Connect with Teresa on Facebook, and Twitter

 

Heather Weidner, a member of SinC – Central Virginia and Guppies, is the author of the Delanie Fitzgerald Mysteries, Secret Lives and Private Eyes and The Tulip Shirt Murders. Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series and 50 Shades of Cabernet. Heather lives in Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers, Disney and Riley. She’s been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. Some of her life experience comes from being a technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, IT manager, and cop’s kid. She blogs at Pens, Paws, and Claws.

Website and Blog    Pens, Paws, and Claws Website and Blog      Twitter     Facebook     Instagram

 

Jayne Ormerod grew up in a small Ohio town then went on to a small-town Ohio college. Upon earning her degree in accountancy, she became a CIA (that’s not a sexy spy thing, but a Certified Internal Auditor.) She married a naval officer and off they sailed to see the world. After nineteen moves, they, along with their two rescue dogs Tiller and Scout, have settled into a cozy cottage by the sea. Jayne is the author of the Blonds at the Beach Mysteries, The Blond Leading the Blond, and Blond Luck. She has contributed seven short mysteries to various anthologies to include joining with the other To Fetch a Thief authors in Virginia is for Mysteries, Volumes I and II, and 50 Shades of Cabernet.

Website    Blog

 

Rosemary Shomaker writes about the unexpected in everyday life. She’s the woman you don’t notice in the grocery store or at church but whom you do notice at estate sales and wandering vacant lots. In all these places she’s collecting story ideas. Rosemary writes women’s fiction, paranormal, and mystery short stories, and she’s taking her first steps toward longer fiction, so stay tuned. She’s an urban planner by education, a government policy analyst by trade, and a fiction writer at heart. Rosemary credits Sisters in Crime with developing her craft and applauds the organization’s mission of promoting the ongoing advancement, recognition, and professional development of women crime writers.

GoodReads

Mutt Mysteries Links:

Website  Facebook Twitter

Purchase Links –

Amazon   Kobo   B&N

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
December 10 – Reading Is My SuperPower – GUEST POST
December 10 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 10 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 11 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 11 – Handcrafted Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 12 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
December 12 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 13 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW
December 13 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
December 14 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
December 15 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 15 – Varietats – REVIEW
December 16 – T’s Stuff – SPOTLIGHT
December 16 – Lori’s Reading Corner – GUEST POST
December 17 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW
December 17 – The Book’s the Thing – GUEST POST
December 18 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW
December 18 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 19 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
December 19 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
December 20 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE – DOG TREAT
December 20 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – GUEST POST
December 20 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW
December 20 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
December 21 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 21 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
December 21 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Share
Southern Sass and Killer Cravings (Marygene Brown Mysteries) by Kate Young Get Your Copy Today!
%d bloggers like this: