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The Evening’s Amethyst: A Nora Tierney English Mystery by M. K. Graff #AuthorInterview / #Spotlight – Great Escapes Book Tour @GraffMarni


The Evening’s Amethyst: A Nora Tierney English Mystery
by M. K. Graff

It is my pleasure to welcome Marni Graff to Escape With Dollycas today!

Hi Marni,

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was a nurse for 30 years who wrote on the side, and now have the luxury of writing full time. It has been something I’ve studied for and looked forward to and been the hardest and most satisfying thing I’ve ever done! I have three grown sons, seven Grands, and my husband and I live in rural eastern NC along a river that is part of the Intracoastal Waterway. We have two Aussie Doodles, Seamus and Fiona, who keep us company and are wonderful pets. I also review books and read about three crime novels a week. I taught creative writing too until a bout of breast cancer made me drop some things due to treatment and lack of stamina. I kept the writing and reading!

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

Let’s see: 1. I could read when I entered kindergarten. My mother read every afternoon to me from Childcraft books, the same nursery rhymes over and over, until the words became familiar and I could recognize them. It has been the greatest gift to me. I am still a voracious reader and it my love and my solace.

2. The girl I met the first day of kindergarten is still my best friend, Barbara Bohner. She also could read, and we gravitated toward each other and never looked back. We would get in trouble with our teacher for reading ahead of the group! She is a wonderful person, the sister of my heart. We have been friends for 51 years and as she lives in Maine, we don’t see each other enough. But I go there on book tours and she comes down here for visits and we talk every day on email. We are entwined in each other’s lives.

3. I love everything English, from books set there to Masterpiece Mysteries and other British shows. I travel there, Covid notwithstanding, every other year, sometimes alone and sometimes with my husband when we’ll extend our trip to other places. But I have friends in several areas we visit and we go ahead to settings for future Nora Tierney novels to soak up the sites and sounds of that place and take photos. I could easily picture myself living there, except that I would be hard-pressed to choose a favorite places! The first time I stepped off a plane in England I felt like I was coming home. I always put my Anglophilia down to reading so many Golden Age mysteries, but then I had my DNA done two years ago and found out contrary to my understanding of my background, I’m 56% British!

What is the first book you remember reading?

It would have to be one of the Childcraft books, one called Folk and Fairy Tales, followed by Life in Many Lands. These were building blocks on my way to my first Nancy Drew mysteries.

What are you reading now?

I’m just finishing Richard Osman’s The Man Who Died Twice, the second in his Thursday Murder Club series. It’s witty and full of heart, all wrapped up in a darn good twisted mystery. It shows you not to underestimate older folks, too! Next up after that will be Anthony Horowitz’s A Line to Kill, his third Hawthorne mystery featuring a writer named…Anthony Horowitz as a character. I’m really looking forward to it. Horowitz, who wrote all of Foyle’s War, and has done the wonderful Magpie Murders, is a real creative genius.

What books have most inspired you?

I’d have to say the Golden Agers, especially Agatha Christie, still outsold only by Shakespeare and the Bible. Loved her, Josephine Tey, Ngaio Marsh, and Dorothy Sayers, amongst others. PD James was a huge influence on me, and I was fortunate to consider her a mentor and friend for the last fifteen years of her life. A treasure. Daphne Du Maurier, certainly. Rebecca is one of my favorite novels.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

It was the genre I loved reading the most. I’d written and published poetry and essays, as well as writing feature articles for years for a nursing journal and later for Mystery Review. I’ve even written humorous screenplays. But mysteries just felt right when I decided to try my hand at a novel.

Do you have a special place where you like to write?

I can do research anywhere but I write at home, usually in the afternoons. My husband and I have a partners desk, so if he’s sitting behind his huge monitor doing his thing, I put on headphones to block the noise of whatever podcast he might be listening to. I usually have classical music on, as if I put on music with lyrics I tend to want to sing along to them! My dogs, Seamus and Fiona, will be lying nearby. If I go on too long, Seamus will come over to me and just stand there to remind me to get up and take them out for a walk, or feed them!

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

When I first designed the Nora Tierneys, I knew she would be an American writer who lives in England so I could use that setting, and that whole fish-out-of-water thing as she became used to living in a place close to her native land but yet different. So what would make an amateur get involved in a murder case? That becomes the crux of each novel before I start. What is a reasonable thing to happen that would see Nora stick her nose in? In the first book, The Blue Virgin, it was when her best friend, someone who’s supported her and showed her the ropes of living in England, becomes a murder suspect. In this new book, The Evening’s Amethyst, it is Nora’s stepsister, Claire Scott, a graduate student taking a Masters in Poetry at Oxford, who gets her involved when Claire’s friend dies and she begs Nora to help her prove it wasn’t suicide. So I’d say the plots grow out of the characters. This is the first book where I’ve added a cold case as a subplot that is woven throughout the book, on a very different scale, but that fits the theme of obsession.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

The openers. I almost never end up with the final book starting the way it does in my first draft. I’ve learned over seven novels now to just plunge in writing once I’ve figured out the ending, and work my way there. Then I go back and rewrite the opening to where it should start, and that often gets rewritten again as I revise and find the place to bring the reader into the story.

What do you think makes a good story?

Realistic characters the reader can identify with on some level; a setting that is well-described so the reader can picture it; and a plot that makes sense throughout and at the end. Most people read mysteries for the puzzle and the resolution in the end. There are so many variations on this it boggles the mind, just as there are so many different genres within crime. A fulfilling story will encapsulate those three things, no matter the genre.

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

I can identify with Trudy Genova, in my Manhattan series (Death Unscripted, Death at the Dakota), because she works at what was my favorite nursing job, as a medical consultant for a NY movie studio. Of course, I didn’t get involved with murders! But Nora Tierney, although younger and prettier, is a fairer version of myself: a writer started as a journalist who loves England, with a strong sense of fairness. I’m a Libra, so I made Nora one, too, and that sense of fairness and justice permeates us both. She makes lists, which she claims she got from her mother, but really, she got that from me! And she has a failed relationship in her past because she fell for someone based on chemistry first, but now she has a real relationship with DI Declan Barnes, who rubbed her the wrong way at first, but now they are deeply in love as it’s based on respect for his intelligence and his kindness.

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

The books are a mix of amateur sleuth and police procedural. Readers get the story from Nora, using her intuition and curiosity and smarts, as well as her journalistic ability to lie at the drop of a hat to insinuate into situations to glean information. Then they see Declan and his team going the police route, the thorough way real detecting is done, following leads, chasing up information, interviewing suspects and witnesses. While they may be classified as cozies in terms of lowered violence, there’s often less cozy business with things readers will be familiar with: obsession, lying, secrets, and often, real kindness.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

With two series in play now, I alternate writing them. It keeps me fresher as a writer, and when I’m bogged down in the production phase of one book, I’m doing the research and character design on the next. I’ve started the third Trudy Genova Manhattan Mystery, Death in the Orchard. Trudy has brought her NYPD detective boyfriend home to Schoharie, NY, to meet her family. But she’s also enlisted his help to figure out what really happened when he died twelve years ago. It was deemed an accident, but Trudy is convinced her father was murdered.

Thank you for hosting me, and for a chance to talk to readers!

Thank you Marni for stopping by for a visit!

About The Evening’s Amethyst


The Evening’s Amethyst: A Nora Tierney English Mystery
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Oxford, England
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Bridle Path Press (September 21, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 372 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0990828735
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0990828730
Digital Edition: 336 pages
ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09JB193D3

Who is Verity? That becomes a central question for American Nora Tierney, who has moved to her new Oxford home with her fiance, DI Declan Barnes, and her young son. Declan’s new case at Exeter College coincides with a frantic call from Nora’s stepsister, Claire Scott: a fellow graduate student has died in a fall, and Claire begs Nora to help her prove her friend didn’t commit suicide. The sisters conduct their own snooping, while Declan and his team juggle this death with a cold case that proves to be more surprising than Declan could ever imagine.

More About M. K. Graff

 

Marni Graff is the award-winning author of The Nora Tierney English Mysteries and The Trudy Genova Manhattan Mysteries. The Evening’s Amethyst is the fifth in the Nora Tierney series. Her short story “Quiche Alain” is in the Agatha-winning Malice Domestic Anthology, Murder Most Edible.

Author Links – Blog  Twitter     Facebook    Publisher

Purchase Links – Amazon 

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
December 1 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
December 2 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 2 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
December 3 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
December 3 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
December 4 – Nellie’s Book Nook – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 5 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 6 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
December 7 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
December 8 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST
December 9 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
December 9 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT  
December 10 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT 
December 10 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Interviews

Beauty and the Deceased (A Resale Boutique Mystery) by Debra Sennefelder #AuthorInterview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @lyricalpress


Beauty and the Deceased (A Resale Boutique Mystery)
by Debra Sennefelder

I am so happy to welcome Debra Sennefelder
to Escape With Dollycas today! 

Hi Debra,

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m the author of the Resale Boutique Mystery series and the Food Blogger Mystery series. I was born and raised in New York City and I now live and write in Connecticut with my BFF, Connie. She’s a two-year-old Shih Tzu. When I’m not writing, I love to bake and read.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

It depends on the book. For BEAUTY AND THE DECEASED, I didn’t have to do much research. For an upcoming project, I will be diving into a lot of how-to content so that I can learn a new skill.

Do you ever suffer from Writer’s Block?

No. Sure, there are times when I get stuck but they don’t last long and I’ve found that if I simply move onto to doing something else, like tackling admin work or maybe I’ll step away and exercise or read. Eventually whatever got me stuck usually works its way out and I’m back at my computer.

What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?

I would suggest keep writing, honing your craft, and read widely.

When you are not writing what do you like to do?

I love to spend time in the kitchen cooking and baking. I also enjoy reading and taking walks with Connie.

How has the COVID pandemic affected you and you’re writing.

No, it hasn’t. I’ve been contracted to produce books so I couldn’t allow for the pandemic to interfere with my writing schedule. Though, it was challenging having family in the house all day, every day for a year.

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?

I’d love to go back to Wyoming and Montana. And I’d love to go to Alaska. Wyoming and Montana are beautiful, breathtaking. And I imagine Alaska would be amazing. Plus, I’d love to see the bears fish for salmon.

What is next on the horizon for you?

I’ve sold a new series featuring a cookie artist (that new skill I have to learn) who takes over her aunt’s bakery. That book won’t be out until at least 2023. I’m currently writing the next Resale Boutique book.

Thank you Debra so much for dropping by today.

About Beauty and the Deceased 


Beauty and the Deceased (A Resale Boutique Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Lyrical Press (December 14, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 191 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1516111036
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1516111039
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B092LH3FBZ

Kelly Quinn’s Long Island consignment shop offers high style at secondhand prices—but when a body is found on the beach, she needs to start hunting for a wolf in sheep’s clothing . . .

Kelly is thrilled when she gets a visit from a cousin she hasn’t seen in years. Becky’s cosmetics company is taking off, and she just might have laid the foundation for a big-money buyout. It’s a time to celebrate—but Kelly is heartbroken when a killer puts an end to their happy reunion during a mysterious midnight meeting near the shore.

Despite multiple warnings to steer clear, Kelly starts shadowing a variety of suspects both inside and outside the beauty business—when she isn’t busy filling the racks of the Lucky Cove Resale Boutique with lots of new inventory from a local shopaholic. Gossip and accusations are flying, but there’s no glossing over this ugly crime, and she’s going to make sure the culprit faces justice…

More About Debra Sennefelder

Debra Sennefelder is an avid reader who reads across a range of genres, but mystery fiction is her obsession. Her interest in people and relationships is channeled into her novels against a backdrop of crime and mystery.

Her first novel, THE UNINVITED CORPSE (A Food Blogger mystery) was published in 2018. When she’s not reading, she enjoys cooking and baking and as a former food blogger, she is constantly taking photographs of her food. Yeah, she’s that person.

Born and raised in New York City, where she majored in her hobby of fashion buying, she now lives and writes in Connecticut with her family. She’s worked in retail and publishing before becoming a full-time author. Her writing companion is her adorable and slightly spoiled Shih Tzu, Connie.

Purchase Links –
AmazonB&NKensingtonKobo 


Also by Debra Sennefelder

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
December 1 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST
December 2 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
December 3 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 3 – Dear Reader – REVIEW
December 4 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
December 5 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW
December 6 – My Journey Back – GUEST POST
December 7 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 7 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
December 8 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
December 9 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST
December 9 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
December 10 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 11 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
December 12 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
December 13 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
December 13 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
December 14 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT
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Fleece, Navi, Dead: Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series by Joanna Campbell Slan #AuthorInterview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


Fleece, Navi, Dead: Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series
by Joanna Campbell Slan

I am so happy to welcome Joanna Campbell Slan
to Escape With Dollycas today! 

Hi Joanna,

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m going to be a grandmother next year! Yippee!!! I’m very excited. Other than that, I love to write and I love to craft.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I don’t wait to start a book just because I don’t have all of my research. What I’ve learned is that you can’t accurately predict what research you need until you’re knee-deep in the book. In a way, I do research all of the time. I’ll explore ideas that interest me, and I’ll read books on a wide variety of topics. Then as I write, I make notes of questions I need answered. That way I don’t slow down the process.

Do you ever suffer from Writer’s Block?

No. I can’t wait to start writing every day. I love what I do.

What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?

 Never give up. Ever. If one door closes, find another one. Realize that this is a totally subjective business, and opinions are like noses. Everybody has one. Don’t let one person’s opinion determine whether you give up or not.

When you are not writing what do you like to do?

 I love doing all sorts of crafts.

How has the COVID pandemic affected you and you’re writing?

My husband teases that COVID has been great for me because I’m a total introvert, and now I have the world’s best excuse for not spending time with people. This has been my most productive year yet.

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?

I haven’t been to Portugal, and I’d like to go there. I’d love to go back to Italy, as I very much enjoy the people, the food, and the sites. Also, I haven’t been to Greece or to Africa.

What is next on the horizon for you?

 Bilateral carpal tunnel surgery. Woohoo!!! Can’t wait! I’m tired of having achy hands from so much crafting and typing.

Thank you, Joanna, for visiting today.

Keep reading for information about Joanna’s new book!

 

About Fleece, Navi, Dead


Fleece, Navi, Dead: Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series
Cozy Mystery
16th in Series
Setting – Missouri
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Spot On Publishing (October 31, 2021)
Number of Pages: EST. 320
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09D9T6WLF

The BIGGEST Kiki book yet!
Introducing the Miss Fits, ordinary women who do extra-ordinary things!
Every holiday season, Kiki Lowenstein plans 12 days of classes, her Holiday Craft Extravaganza. And every year, it nearly kills her.

 

This year is no exception. As the holiday season approaches, Kiki over-schedules herself and winds up running herself ragged. To make life even more stressful, she must fend off a stalker, a man determined to possess the object of his affection. But that’s only one problem.

 

Kiki’s ace full-time employee, Clancy, has HUGE decisions to make. How do you put aside your hurt and disappointment when you’ve been betrayed? Why should you upend your whole life because of another person’s mistake? Is it selfish to think of yourself first? As Clancy ponders questions, Kiki stands on the sidelines, knowing this is not her choice to make. And yet…Kiki feels Clancy’s agony.

 

Meanwhile, both of Kiki’s older kids are having problems with teachers. Kiki wonders, “At what point does being an involved parent tip over into being a helicopter parent?” There’s also a staff shortage that leaves Kiki in the lurch, both at home and at the store. Kiki might have found an answer to that dilemma when a mysterious woman applies for a job. Her name is Nona, and she claims to be an old friend of an old friend. But is she?

 

Nona seems too good to be true. Sadly, that might be the least of Kiki’s problems with the woman. Because Nona isn’t what she seems to be. Nona is a Miss Fit.

 

More About Joanna Campbell Slan

 

Joanna Campbell Slan is an Award-Winning, National Bestselling, and USA Today Bestselling author. Her personal essays appear in five of the New York Times Bestselling Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and one was adapted as a television segment for the PAX TV network. Joanna has penned seven scrapbooking technique books, and she has written for Creating Keepsakes, Memory Makers, and PaperKuts magazines. Joanna has traveled around the world to teach scrapbook journaling.

Joanna has also written more than 30 works of fiction. RT Reviews has called her “one of mystery’s rising stars.” Her first mystery in the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series—Paper, Scissors, Death—was shortlisted for the Agatha Award. Joanna’s series featuring Charlotte Brontë’s classic heroine Jane Eyre began with Death of a Schoolgirl, which won the 2013 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence for historical romantic suspense. As the editor and publisher of the Happy Homicides anthologies, Joanna has been on Amazon’s list of Top 100 Mystery Authors.

Joanna’s college textbook—Using Stories and Humor—has been endorsed by Benjamin Netanyahu’s speechwriter as his favorite resource and has been endorsed by Toastmasters.

The Public Relations Society of America honored Joanna with a Silver Anvil (their highest award) for her work on the first FarmAid. Joanna has been accredited by PRSA as a professional public relations practitioner. She is a certified teacher of Zentangle® and certified in Personal Profiles. Slan founded the Best of British Scrapbooking and Cardmaking contest.

In her past life, Slan was a television talk show host, an adjunct professor of public relations at Illinois State University, a sought-after motivational speaker, and a corporate speechwriter. Sharing Ideas Magazine named Joanna “one of the top 25 motivational speakers in the world.” She has spoken in Australia, Canada, Mexico, Europe, and all over the United States, to audiences of all sizes.

Joanna is married to David Slan, CEO of Steinway Piano Gallery-DC and Steinway Piano Gallery-St. Louis, and a professional poker player.  The Slans have one son, Michael, and a daughter-in-law, Chelsea Edwards. They live with their Havanese puppy Jax on Jupiter Island, Florida.

Author Links 

Website — Facebook — Facebook Group — Twitter — Amazon Author PageInstagram — Goodreads — Bookbub — LinkedIn — Pinterest

Purchase Link – Amazon 

The Rest of the Series

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS
November 11 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
November 11 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
November 12 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST
November 12 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
November 13 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – GUEST POST
November 14 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
November 15 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
November 16 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW, GUEST POST
November 16 – Baroness’ Book Trove – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
November 17 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
November 18 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST
November 19 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
November 20 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
November 21 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
November 22 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT
November 23 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
November 24 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT  

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

Cozy Wednesday with Victoria Tait – Author of Wild Dog Revenge (A Kenya Kanga Mystery) #AuthorInterview / #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


Wild Dog Revenge (A Kenya Kanga Mystery)
by Victoria Tait

I am so happy to have Victoria Tait visit today!


Hi Victoria,

Hi Lori,

First, I’d like to thank you for all your hard work helping cozy mystery writers like myself.

Your help to organise book tours, especially for new authors, is invaluable, as visibility is becoming harder as more and more books are released.

Thank you so much!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I had no intention of becoming a writer, but in January 2019, I found myself sitting in a sparsely furnished house, during a UK winter, dreaming of the warmth and life in Kenya, which I had just left.

I started listening to author podcasts, which is when the idea of writing about the 8 years I’d spent in Kenya came to me.  It may have been, in part, because of a version of homesickness and, in part, wanting to convey the extraordinary life my family and I’d spent in such a fascinating country.

I began writing Fowl Murder in May 2019 and published it in July 2020, as the first book in my Kenya Kanga Mystery series.  Wild Dog Revenge completes a six-book series.

My husband is in the British Military, and his job takes him, and our family, around the UK, and the world.  We are currently based in Sarajevo, in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  It is another fascinating country, as is neighbouring Croatia and I’m sure I’ll use them as settings for a future book series.

On a personal note, I’ve not been able to do much in the pandemic except try to maintain my mental health and juggle various different tasks and calls upon my time and emotions.

I’ve started exercising again and I’m up to 25 minutes continuous running, longer with some walking, and I swim twice a week.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I spend about a week undertaking research, character development, and plot ideas.  As I’m still a relatively new writer, the process keeps changing.

Wild Dog Revenge needed less research as I was familiar with the main characters and the locations, and I know about horses and have an overview of polo, around which the book is set.

My new series has required a lot more research and development, particularly of the characters.  I had to return to the UK recently, as my youngest son was suspected of having Covid, so I used the opportunity to visit the area where my series is set, and I discovered villages I’d lived close to but never visited.

After a week, I usually begin a book, writing in the mornings, and undertaking any additional research in the afternoons.

Do you ever suffer from Writer’s Block?

I certainly look at the first blank page and think, “New book, where do I start?”  So, I look to my main character and ask what is her motive and journey in the story?  Or it may be that a particular theme comes to me which I want to develop further.  I follow the threads, and characters and plot ideas develop, although I always leave room for development as I write.

In the mornings, I write for one to two hours until I reach a point where the words are hard to find and my concentration lapses.  Then I take a break and do some exercise, housework or cooking.

If I continue to wonder what happens next in my story, I sleep on it and usually find a solution in the morning.  And if I’m really struggling, I put the story to one side and read, or listen to audio books, to re-fill the ‘creative well’.

What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?

I’ve learned so much on my writing journey.  I have so many tips and resources for those wanting to write and publish their first, and subsequent, books that I’ve started a blog on my website, www.ShoestringPublishing.com In particular, I’m focusing on budget and not spending the family savings, or the weekly grocery budget to publish a book.

A smaller and smaller percentage of writers, particularly aspiring ones, are given traditional publishing deals but it is still possible to publish a book via a small press, or as an independent author.  And the good news is that there is an ever-increasing number of resources to help self-published authors, as well as a very supportive author community.

When you are not writing what do you like to do?

It’s more of a case of what I have to do rather than what I want to do.  My husband and I both caught Covid in March, and he had complications, including pneumonia.  I felt drained for a time and now I’m trying to re-energise through exercise and healthy living.  But things keep knocking me sideways, and I’m struggling to find a rhythm. Fingers crossed the world will start to open up so I can explore more of Sarajevo, Bosnia and the Balkans.

How has the COVID pandemic affected you and you’re writing?

I finished editing my first book as the pandemic started and quickly wrote my second.  I managed to write, even with home schooling, by getting up each morning at 5.30 am and sitting at the computer for a couple of hours.

But what affected me most was packing up the house and moving to a new country, where we had to settle in without personal contact with anyone.  As my boys are at school in the UK, I’ve continued to travel, which has been extremely stressful.

As I don’t know what the publishing world was like pre-Covid it’s difficult for me to comment further.  What did affect me was not having my summer job in 2020, so I didn’t have the money I needed for publishing and marketing, and I found myself in debt.  I’m continuing to write but I’ve cut back my costs and found alternative ways to do things.

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?

At the moment, I’d love to return to Kenya to catch up with friends and visit the glorious white sandy beaches of Diani.

After that, I’d like to visit the countries close to Bosnia such as Romania, Hungary and my boys would love to visit Venice and Florence in Italy.  Fingers crossed we will have a chance next year.

What is next on the horizon for you?

I have started a new cozy mystery series set in the scenic Cotswolds of England, close to where I lived in 2019/2020.  I really enjoyed visiting and attending local auctions as I furnished our house, so the series begins at an auction house, with the strange and eccentric characters that are found in the antiques world.

I’m also developing my Shoestring Publishing brand with advice and resources for new writers and those who are published but can’t afford to keep going unless they find a method to publish on a budget.

I’ll continue marketing my Kenya Kanga Mystery series, targeting readers interested in Africa and wildlife.

What a wonderful interview! Thank you, Victoria for spending some time with us today! 


Keep reading for my thoughts about Wild Dog Revenge.

About Wild Dog Revenge 


Wild Dog Revenge: A Page-Turning Cozy Murder Mystery (A Kenya Kanga Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Kenya
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kanga Press (November 12, 2021)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 237 pages
ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09B66WXJ4

A high-stakes match. An inexplicable death. As the players take their positions, can an amateur sleuth solve the mystery before the final whistle blows?

Mama Rose just wants to enjoy a local polo tournament and care for any injured horses. But when a polo player is found dead in a stable, there’s all to play for if our silver-haired investigator is to discover the deadly truth.

Intrigued by tales from a late-night party, Rose unearths multiple suspects all with motives to harm the victim. But when her enquires lead to dead ends, she begins to doubt her intuition that there’s been foul play.

With the tournament drawing to a close, and the dead man’s influential father demanding answers, the police are on the losing side.

Can Rose unravel the clues before the umpire calls full time?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I couldn’t wait to get back to Kenya and Mama Rose. In this final book of this series, Mama Rose takes us to a local polo match where she will tend to any injured horses and find herself in the middle of another murder investigation. One of the prominent polo players is found dead in the stable. With all the people attending the matches there is a vast number of suspects. This is a tough case for Mama Rose and she even second-guesses herself but she doesn’t give up.


I have enjoyed this series so much. Ms. Tait has created such diverse characters. Mama Rose is a unique character. She is such a strong woman, very intuitive, will do anything to help an animal or person in need. She is also an awesome amateur sleuth. Her husband Craig was a great character too. Everyone that Rose meets is vividly described. The core characters we have met over the course of the series developed naturally and the characters introduced are given plenty of background. This book had a large cast with all the polo players and those attending the matches. Each was easy to keep straight and all had a purpose within the story.

I also enjoy the setting of the series. I will never travel to Kenya so these little virtual trips excite me. She describes each place so well, I picture everything so clearly. I feel like I am right there on the scene witnessing all the happenings.  I also learn about the animals of the region. Ms. Tait piques my interest and I always find myself doing just a little more research.

On top of the great characters and the amazing setting, she gives her readers a fantastic mystery to really escape into.  So many suspects and situations that tug on your heartstrings grab your attention and hold on tight.

Again, I am amazed how the author packs this all into less than 250 pages.

I am sad this series is ending because I have grown to be very interested in the lives of these characters. That being said I am thrilled Victoria Tait is working on a new series. Her travels must give her a font of ideas. I am looking forward to reading anything and everything she writes.

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More About Victoria Tait

Victoria Tait is the author of the enchanting Kenya Kanga Mystery series.  She’s drawn on 8 years’ experience of living in rural Kenya, with her family, to write vivid and evocative books.  Her readers feel the heat, taste the dryness and smell the dust of Africa.  Her silver-haired sleuth, “Mama Rose” Hardie, is Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple reincarnated and living in Kenya.

Like all good military wives, Victoria follows the beat of the drum and currently lives in Sarajevo, in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  She has two fast-growing teenage boys and enjoys horse riding and mountain biking.

You can find Victoria at VictoriaTait.com, on Bookbub and in her readers’ Facebook group, Victoria’s Voracious Readers (with her cat Izzy)

Author Links – Website  –  Facebook  – Blog/News  – GoodReads – Pinterest – BookBub – Twitter – 

Purchase Links:
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Interviews

Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers – A Jules Keene Glamping Mystery by Heather Weidner #AuthorInterview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @HeatherWeidner1


Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers A Jules Keene Glamping Mystery
by Heather Weidner

I am very disappointed that my reading calendar was full so I can’t review this book right now but am happy to have Heather Weidner return to Escape With Dollycas for another interview.


Hi Heather.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m Heather Weidner, and I write the Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries and the Delanie Fitzgerald Mysteries. By day, I’m an IT manager, and I live with my husband and a pair of crazy Jack Russell Terriers in Central Virginia.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Surprisingly, a lot of research goes into writing mysteries. I want to make sure that I get the details right. For this series, I did a lot of background research on vintage trailers and tiny houses. I am fascinated by both, and they give Jules an opportunity to show off her decorating skills as she themes each to add to her resort.

Do you ever suffer from Writer’s Block?

Sometimes, but I do a detailed outline for each book, and that helps me as I’m writing. I have an idea of what goes in each chapter. It also helps me not to get bogged down or stuck in the book’s saggy middle. (It also makes it easier when I write the book’s synopsis.)

What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?

Writing is a lot of work. If you want to be published, you need to be persistent. Make sure that you put the time in to learn your craft and genre, build your author platform (website, email list, social sites), and build relationships.

When you are not writing what do you like to do?

I love to read and kayak at the reservoir near my home. I also love to travel and see new sites. I live in Virginia, so there are so many daytrips to see the sights and taste some amazing food.

How has the COVID pandemic affected you and you’re writing?

It has been a crazy time, but it has also been productive for me. At the beginning when we switched to work-from-home, I committed my daily commute time and lunch to writing (about 2 to 2.5 hours a day). I finished 4 novels, 1 novella, and 2 short stories.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

I would love to go to Scotland and Ireland with a stop on the way back in Iceland. I’ve been working on my family’s genealogy over the years, and I would like to see where my ancestors came from. Hopefully, we’ll get to travel again soon.

What is next on the horizon for you?

I have finished the next two books in the Jules Keene Glamping series, Film Crews and Rendezvous (October 2022), and Christmas Lights and Cat Fights (October 2023). I’m working on a new series set in a beach community, and the fourth Delanie Fitzgerald mystery should be out next year.

Thank you Heather for visiting today! I hope to read Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers soon.

 

About Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers


Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers – A Jules Keene Glamping Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Level Best Books (October 19, 2021)
Digital – ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09GGBFWT5

There is nothing like finding a dead body, clad only in red satin thong, on your property to jolt you from a quiet routine. Jules Keene, owner of the posh Fern Valley Camping Resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is thrust into the world of the Dark Web when one of her guests, Ira Perkins, is found murdered in the woods near her vintage trailers. Jules quickly discovers that the man who claimed to be on a writing retreat was not what he seemed, and someone will go to any length to find what he left at her resort. Jules, along with her Jack Russell Terrier sidekick Bijou, has to put the rest of the missing pieces of a blackmailing scheme together before her business is ruined.

 

Jules’s resort, set in the heart of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains near Charlottesville in the quaint town of Fern Valley, offers guests a unique vacation in refurbished and upcycled vintage trailers. Hoping to expand her offerings, she partners with her maintenance/security guy to create a village of tiny houses, the latest home DIY craze, but a second murder of a reporter interrupts Jules’s expansion plans. Curiosity gets the best of her, and she steps up her sleuthing to find out what Ira Perkins was really doing and what he hid at her resort.

 

More About Heather Weidner

 

Through the years, Heather Weidner has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager. Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers is the first in her cozy mystery series, the Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries. She also writes the Delanie Fitzgerald mystery series set in Virginia (Secret Lives and Private Eyes, The Tulip Shirt Murders, and Glitter, Glam, and Contraband).

Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, Deadly Southern Charm, and Murder by the Glass, and her novellas appear in The Mutt Mysteries series.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Sisters in Crime – Chessie, Guppies, International Thriller Writers, and James River Writers.

Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.

Author Links

Website and Blog  Twitter    Facebook     Instagram  Goodreads   Amazon Authors   Pinterest   LinkedIn   BookBub   AllAuthor   YouTube

Purchase Link – Amazon – 

Also by Heather Weidner

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Stitch, Bake, Die! (An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery) by Lois Winston #AuthorInterview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tours


Stitch, Bake, Die! (An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery)
by Lois Winston

 

I am excited to welcome Lois Winston back to Escape with Dollycas today!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

After graduating art school, I worked as a layout artist for John Wanamaker, the first U.S. department store (sadly no longer in existence). After my first son was born, I began freelancing, designing for craft and needlework magazines, craft book publishers, and craft kit manufacturers. Eventually, the writing bug bit me. My first published novel, Talk Gertie to Me, debuted in 2006, followed by Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception.

One day my agent spoke with an editor who was looking for a crafting-themed cozy mystery series. Knowing my background, my agent decided I’d be the perfect person to write such a series. That was the beginning of the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries. The first book, Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun, came out in 2011. Stitch, Bake, Die!, is the tenth book in the series. There are also three companion novellas.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

This really depends on the theme of the book. Having worked in the consumer crafts industry for decades, I relied on many of my own experiences to creating Anastasia. As a women’s magazine crafts editor, she and I have had similar work experiences—minus the dead bodies, of course!

I also didn’t have to go far when creating Anastasia’s communist mother-in-law as I, too, had a communist mother-in-law. Her personality inspired Anastasia’s mother-in-law Lucille.

When my plots involve legal, medical, or law enforcement issues, I have a network of contacts I consult to make sure my ideas are feasible and my facts are correct. However, stories I heard growing up provide fodder for the Mafia characters in my books. My grandfather was captain of the largest county police force in New Jersey and responsible for putting away quite a few well-known gangsters back in his day. I also went to school with the sons and daughters of various “families.”

Beyond all that, I’m a news junkie and many real-life crimes have inspired quite a few plots and subplots in my books.

Do you ever suffer from Writer’s Block?

I have in the past, especially when life has hit me with a whammy. I’ve found that sometimes it’s okay to give yourself permission not to write. We all need a break at times. Forcing yourself to write at these times isn’t always the best approach, but every writer is different. You need to learn what works best for you in these situations.

What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?

Write! Too many people talk about “someday” writing a book, but “someday” always seems off in the future. I’ve also known writers who spent years polishing the first three chapters of a book to submit to agents and editors but either never finished the book or didn’t devote the same care to the remainder of the manuscript. If you really want to get published, you need to work toward that goal.

When you are not writing what do you like to do?

Up until a few months ago, when my husband and I relocated to Tennessee, I’d go to a Broadway show or NYC museum. The theater and museums were my happy places. But it’s a long commute from Nashville to Manhattan. Once this pandemic is finally gone from our lives, I’m going to have to find something to take their place.

How has the COVID pandemic affected you and you’re writing.

The pandemic has curtailed most of my activities. Although vaccinated, I’m still leery of being around large groups of people. We moved to Tennessee to be closer to family. I have grandchildren here who are too young to be vaccinated, and I don’t want to inadvertently expose them to the virus because I’ve somehow been infected and am asymptomatic. So I stay in my writing cave as much as possible.

One thing I’ve decided to do, though, is not address the pandemic in my books. People read cozies to escape the real world. I’ll leave pandemic fiction to the dystopian, thriller, suspense, and literary authors.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

At this point I’d just like to be able to travel safely anywhere. First up would be a trip to California to visit my older son and his family. We haven’t been out to see them in nearly three years.

What is next on the horizon for you?

I’m already percolating the next Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery. I’ve dropped a few breadcrumbs in Stitch, Bake, Die! Readers should look for the eleventh book in the series a year from now.

Thank you Lois for visiting today!

~*~

About Stitch, Bake, Die

Stitch, Bake, Die! (An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
10th in Series
Setting – New Jersey
Independently Published (October 4, 2021)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 218 pages
ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09D5VZFRX

With massive debt, a communist mother-in-law, a Shakespeare-quoting parrot, and a photojournalist boyfriend who may or may not be a spy, crafts editor Anastasia Pollack already juggles too much in her life. So she’s not thrilled when her magazine volunteers her to present workshops and judge a needlework contest at the inaugural conference of the NJ chapter of the Stitch and Bake Society, a national organization of retired professional women. At least her best friend and cooking editor Cloris McWerther has also been roped into similar duties for the culinary side of the 3-day event taking place on the grounds of the exclusive Beckwith Chateau Country Club.

 

Marlene Beckwith, wife of the multi-millionaire pharmaceutical magnate and country club owner, is both the chapter president and conference chairperson. The only thing greater than her ego is her sense of entitlement. She hates to lose at anything and fully expects to win both the needlework and baking competitions.

 

When Anastasia and Cloris arrive at the conference, they discover cash bribes in their registration packets. The Society members, few of whom are fans of Marlene, stick up for the accused and instead suggest that Marlene orchestrated the bribes to eliminate her stiffest competition.

 

The next morning when Marlene is found dead, Anastasia questions whether she really died peacefully in her sleep. After Marlene’s husband immediately has her cremated, Anastasia once again finds herself back in reluctant amateur sleuth mode.

 

With the help of Cloris, Marlene’s personal assistant Rhetta, and a laptop someone will stop at nothing to find, Anastasia soon unravels evidence of insurance scams, medical fraud, an opioid ring, long-buried family secrets, and too many possible suspects. And that’s before she not only stumbles over the body of yet another member of the Stitch and Bake Society but also finds Rhetta unconscious.

Can Anastasia piece together the various clues before she becomes the killer’s next target?

Crafting tips included.

More About Lois Winston

 

USA Today and Amazon bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is a former literary agent and an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry.

Author Links

Website    Newsletter sign-up     Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog       Pinterest    Twitter   Goodreads   Bookbub

Purchase Links 


Kindle – Nook – Kobo  – Apple Books 

Paperback – Amazon

 
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Posted in Great Escapes Book Tours Interviews

Swindler’s Revenge: A Karina Cardinal Mystery by Ellen Butler #AuthorInterview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


Swindler’s Revenge: A Karina Cardinal Mystery
by Ellen Butler

I am happy to welcome Ellen Butler to Escape With Dollycas today! 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I write in a couple of genres—Mystery, romance, and historical fiction. My first novel was published in 2014, and Swindler’s Revenge will be my 11th book. I’m a book junkie, probably like many of you, and have far too many in my TBR list. I was able to whittle that list a bit during COVID but replenished and am again overwhelmed by all the books on my Kindle and lying around my house.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

There is always a fair amount of research, because each of my novels tends to be inspired by something in real life. For instance, Isabella’s Painting was inspired by the 1990 art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Swindler’s Revenge was inspired by a case that an FBI agent told me about. At the end of all my Karina Cardinal novels, I tell the reader a little about the real-life inspiration in my Author’s Note. Probably the longest amount of time I spent researching for a book was for The Brass Compass, my WWII spy novel.

Do you ever suffer from Writer’s Block?

Yes. I have to step away from a project when that happens and eventually my subconscious figures it out.

What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?

Join a writer’s club! Here is why:

  • To meet like-minded people. Writing is a very solitary profession, meeting other writers is invaluable.
  • You will gain perspectives from other published writers and learn the pitfalls and advantages to different writing and publishing options.
  • You can find a mentor or critique group that will help you be the best writer you can be.

When you are not writing what do you like to do?

I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and traveling.

How has the COVID pandemic affected you and your writing?

Initially, when the world shut down, I was very stressed and dealing with the anxiety of uncertainty, and not thinking creatively. I was in edits for Pharaoh’s Forgery and had just finished a short story, which was for the best, because I wasn’t ready to begin a new book. The kids were home ALL THE TIME, and I simply couldn’t get my head into the game. It really took me awhile to get Swindler’s Revenge going.

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?

My husband and I had a 2-week anniversary trip planned to Ireland which we had to cancel due to COVID. I am ready to go, and I think I’d like to place a novel there.

What is next on the horizon for you?

I’m working on a sequel to my historical spy fiction, The Brass Compass. The first novel took place during WWII, and I’m placing the second one in the 50s during the Cold War.

Thank you Ellen for visiting today.

Keep reading to learn all about Ellen’s new book.

About Swindler’s Revenge

 

Swindler’s Revenge: A Karina Cardinal Mystery
Cozy Mystery/Women’s Adventure Fiction
5th in Series
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Power to the Pen (September 1, 2021)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 228 pages
ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0924YKM7H

There are no softball cases in the FBI…especially when an agent gets dirty.

 

Karina Cardinal’s Saturday starts out with a bang, and it’s not the home renovation marathon she’s watching on HGTV. It’s the FBI banging on her door, hunting for a fugitive. As if she could easily hide one in her modest condo. Especially one named Mike Finnegan.

 

The two of them called it splitsville a couple months ago, but Mike? Take a $1.2 million bribe? No and no and no. No matter how much damning evidence the feds claim to have. When a mysterious burner phone shows up in her pocket, Karina has no doubt who dropped it there. Mike is deep undercover and so far off-grid, he needs help to figure out who’s framing him—and why.

 

Classic Karina, she jumps in with both feet, ignoring the dangers. The trouble with leaping before you look? You can land in a world of dirt. And when an old enemy starts playing hardball, you can end up six feet under it.

—–
International bestselling and award-winning author Ellen Butler presents book five in the Karina Cardinal mystery series! Fans of Elizabeth Peters and Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum will adore this gripping mystery adventure.

About Ellen Butler 

Ellen Butler is the international bestselling author of the Karina Cardinal mystery series and award-winning historical suspense, The Brass Compass. Fans who enjoy the suspense of Melinda Leigh and the humor of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum will fall in love with Butler’s Karina Cardinal.  Her experiences working on Capitol Hill and at a medical association in Washington, D.C. inspired the mystery-action series. The Brass Compass has won multiple awards for historical fiction and is compared to such bestselling novels as Kristen Hannah’s The Nightingale. Ellen lives with her family in the suburbs of Washington, DC.

You can find Ellen at:

Website ~ www.EllenButler.net

Facebook ~ www.facebook.com/EllenButlerBooks

Twitter ~ @EButlerBooks

Instagram~@ebutlerbooks

Goodreads ~ www.goodreads.com/EllenButlerBooks

Purchase Links – Amazon     iBooks    Barnes & Noble      Kobo


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An Untidy Affair: A David Blaise Mystery by MB Dabney #AuthorInterview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @mbdabney27


An Untidy Affair: A David Blaise Mystery
by MB Dabney

I am so happy to welcome MB Dabney
to Escapes With Dollycas today!

Hi MB, 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a native Hoosier, born, raised and educated in Indiana, and a retired journalist. During a 20-year portion of my career, I worked in Philadelphia, where, among other things, I covered the 1985 police bombing of the MOVE compound in West Philly. Because of my background as a reporter, I’m most comfortable writing in third-person, although I have won professional awards for editorial writing, which are in first-person, plural.

I wrote the first draft of a Star Trek novel in the mid-80s – I really love Star Trek – and throughout the 90s and early 2000s dabbled with writing a thriller. But I didn’t really focus on writing fiction until about 15 years ago and it was because I wanted a new writing challenge. The first major challenge of An Untidy Affair is that it’s in first-person. That was considerably out of my comfort zone. The next major challenge I faced with Affair was that I completed the first draft in 18 days during National Novel Writing Month. So, as it turns out, my years of deadline writing for United Press International and later for the Associated Press, in addition to two daily newspapers, came in handy.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I tend to generally follow some advice I read by Stephen King, and that is in fiction, if you don’t know something, make it up. Research is very important but if you stay close to your main interests, there are fewer things you have to research. I read lots of murder and crime fiction and thrillers, so that’s mainly what I write. I also rarely write the major portion of a novel in a location I haven’t lived in or visited extensively.

Through attending conferences and networking, I know lots of people who, for example, specialize in areas I am unfamiliar with, such as poisons or strangulation. So, when needed, I can consult with them on those areas. And lastly, there is the Internet. With what you can learn from the Internet, you can write a credible novel set in contemporary Indianapolis, or in the Old West, or 1760s London, or on Mars.

For a variety of health reasons that caused me to delay research for the novel I intended to write, I didn’t decide to write Affair until a week before I started writing it. So, I didn’t have time for much research before I started. It’s why it’s set in Philadelphia in the mid-1980s and involved MOVE. I was there at the time and covered it. What little research I did do was during the writing to confirm things I wasn’t sure I remembered correctly.

 Do you ever suffer from Writer’s Block?

Sometimes, if I don’t know enough about the story before I start writing it, or don’t understand how to get to the end. But with a novel that’s only happened once. Generally, when I get to a stumbling block and struggle with it for a while, I realize I’m boring the reader – me. And if I’m boring me, I will bore other readers. So, I simplify whatever I’m writing to one or two sentences and move on.

But another handy trick I use is to stir things up. There was a point in one of my upcoming novels when I didn’t know what to do next with my protag. So, one night as he was about to enter this apartment, I had him attacked by someone who jumped out of the bushes, and was wearing a clown mask and carrying a knife. Scary, right? Being attacked by a clown. But it opened up lots of possibilities.

Or, when I feel a block coming on, I might write a scene in which someone walks into a room holding a loaded gun. Nothing shakes things up in fiction, or in real life, more than someone walking in with a gun. Whether the person is there with good intentions or not – and the people in the scene won’t exactly know that when the person walks in – the gun changes the dynamic.

If you suffer from a writer’s block, write something surprising and dramatic. It will help get you off your butt. And you can always delete it later.

What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?

Don’t give up once you start writing, continue to develop your craft and learn about the industry. Network with published writers and learn from them. Chatting with other authors over cocktails at a conference is a major source of knowledge and inspiration, as much so as merely attending the conference. Join a critique group and take the advice that is the most useful for you and disregard the rest. And never, ever give up hope.

When you are not writing what do you like to do?

I like to read. I enjoy walking and playing tennis, though I haven’t found much time for tennis lately. I still have – but don’t use, of course – the wooden racket I first learned tennis with nearly 60 years ago. I love watching Star Trek, and I love auto racing, especially Formula 1 and Indycar. I attend the Indianapolis 500 every year, and other races when possible. And lastly, I love to travel.

How has the COVID pandemic affected you and you’re writing?

The greatest impact is in not meeting with other writers in person. My critique group meets over Zoom but it’s not the same as in person. And just last week while I was on vacation, the organizer of a regional crime writers conference called me to say that the conference scheduled for October is postponed until April. And I hope I can still attend. (Read below.)

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?

I came up with an answer to this question but before I wrote it down I asked my wife what she thought.  She said Fiji, which, amazingly enough, was exactly what I was thinking. Years before we retired, we started socking away money in a travel account, so we have funds for traveling once the country and the world are more open to it. But due to the distance and the expense, I doubt we will ever visit Fiji, though I’d love to. The sandy beaches and clear blue water seem so attractive and beckoning.

We had a trip to China planned for October/November 2020 that was postponed and then planned to go to Rome in March 2021. I would have arrived in Rome on my 70th birthday. But that trip was postponed until next March/April. And I hope it doesn’t conflict with the conference I mentioned above.

What is next on the horizon for you?

I am working on a prequel to Affair and plan to deliver it to my editor by the end of the year. If I’ve made sufficient progress on the prequel by late-October, I will write a novel in November during National Novel Writing Month. And, most likely, it will be the racing story I intended to write just before I wrote Affair.

Thank you, MB for stopping by today. 

Please keep reading to learn about MB’s book.

About An Untidy Affair

An Untidy Affair: A David Blaise Mystery
Suspense/Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Per Bastet Publications LLC (June 25, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 280 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1942166761
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1942166764
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B097YPJYWN

Struggling Philadelphia private eye David Blaise gets two routine but unrelated cases on the same day in May 1985 – the day city police firebombed the MOVE house, which killed 11 people and destroyed an entire neighborhood. When Blaise starts following a cheating husband and searching for a missing person who may not actually be missing, he also discovers his cases may be related, and that he is being followed. When his tail is murdered, implicating the P-I, Blaise must find the true killer before he is literally buried alive.

About MB Dabney

MB Dabney is an award-winning journalist whose writing has appeared in numerous local and national publications, such as Indianapolis Monthly, NUVO, Ebony magazine, Black Enterprise.com, the Indianapolis Recorder, and the Indianapolis Business Journal. A native of Indianapolis, Michael spent decades as a reporter working at Business Week magazine, United Press International and the Associated Press, the Indianapolis Star, and The Philadelphia Tribune, the nation’s oldest continuously published Black newspaper, where he won awards for editorial writing. He has co-edited two anthologies — Decades of Dirt: Murder, Mystery and Mayhem from the Crossroads of Crime; and MURDER 20/20 — and has published numerous short mystery stories, including Miss Hattie Mae’s Secret (Decades of Dirt) , Callipygian (The Fine Art of Murder), and Killing Santa Claus (Homicide for the Holidays). An Untidy Affair is his first novel.·         The father of two adult daughters, Michael lives in Indianapolis with his wife, Angela.

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Great Escapes Praise for An Untidy Affair: A David Blaise Mystery
by MB Dabney

This is a new author for me but I must say his writing style is highly enjoyable . . . a great read as the clues keep you guessing at every turn while you are being immersed in a time that really comes to life on the page.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

Blaise is streetwise with an innate understanding of human nature yet he is socially awkward, single-minded to a fault, and beautifully damaged. The book is peopled with wonderfully vivid archetype characters that could, but definitely do not come across as cliche.
~I Read What You Write!

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The Spirit Woman of Locklear Mountain by Elaine Faber #AuthorInterview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


The Spirit Woman of Locklear Mountain
by Elaine Faber

It is my pleasure to have Elaine visit Escape With Dollycas today!

Welcome, Elaine.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a published author of nine books. The Spirit Woman of Lockleer Mountain is my latest. It is unlike my previous two series of cozy cat mysteries and humorous WWII historical fiction. The mysterious Spirit Woman character has added a paranormal element to this mystery/adventure.

What are you reading now?

I have enjoyed Elizabeth Peters historical fiction set in late 1800s, early 1900s Egypt. Im currently re-reading Crocodile on the Sandbar, the first in her Egypt series.  

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

I started to write a womens fiction with a divorced single mother, but when she arrived at a Lake resort, she met a cat that took over the story. It quickly became a cozy cat mystery with Black Cat narrating part of the story as he helps her solve a mystery. It became my first published novel, Black Cats Legacy.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

I have a vivid imagination and a love of humorous mystery. Once the characters are created, they lead me through the plot and take me in directions I had no intention of pursuing. Even I am surprised at some of their antics, comments, and behavior. It makes for an enjoyable adventure for me as a writer as well as for my potential readers.

What do you think makes a good story?

Characters the reader can identify with, humorous dialogue, a realistic plot, unlike some we see on television. A brisk beginning, mysteries and clues, and a satisfying end. And a story isnt a story if there isnt a cat in it! All my stories have cats to some extent.

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

I think I identify with my cat characters as they mimic human behavior and thoughts (with the limitation of being cats). I also think there is some Mrs. Odboddy in me; the elderly sleuth from my WWII series. (Her uninhibited mouth and adventurous spirit, for instance.) Lou and Nate from Spirit Woman novel are much younger than me. With the addition of the Spirit Woman, the story differs from my previous 8 novels. Of course, theres a cat. The mountain lion plays a major role in the plot. 

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

The characters are clearly real people with the exception of the Spirit Woman. There is a question as to her reality, or is she a figment of the communities imagination? The premise of the story is to answer that question. Real, or imaginary, what is she trying to tell the characters; even as helps the community deal with their problems? I believe the mystery of the Spirit Woman sets this story apart from other cozy mysteries.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

I have the fourth WWII historical fiction Mrs. Odboddy novel completed. The sequel to Spirit Woman is also completed. I expect this next year to be fine-tuning these two books for publication in late 2021-2022.

Thank you Elaine for stopping by.


Keep reading to get the details of Elaine’s new book.

 

About The Spirit Woman of Locklear Mountain


The Spirit Woman of Locklear Mountain
Paranormal Mystery
1st book in 2 book series
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Elk Grove Publications (December 27, 2020)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 252 pages
ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08RG27CNL

There are sightings of a woman and a mountain lion near Lockleer Mountain, seen at moments of crisis. Is she the legendary Native American’s Spirit Woman, sent to protect the community? Nate is convinced his sister, missing for three months, and surely suffering from amnesia, is the elusive woman. He fears she will not survive the coming winter months, living wild in the wood with a mountain lion.

 

While Deputy Nate Darling pursues a relationship with Lou Shoemaker, he and Sheriff Peabody pursue a drug dealer, selling to the youth at the Native American reservation. Things are even more complicated by civil unrest regarding the government’s secret plans to build a mysterious facility, a big box store, and a housing tract close to Lockleer Mountain, threatening the livelihood of the local merchants.

 

Is there any hope that the Spirit Woman, real or imaginary, can bring harmony to the troubled community? Will Nate be able to apprehend the drug dealer, locate his missing sister, maintain his budding romance, and guarantee the financial future of Lockleer Mountain?

 

More About Elaine Faber

 

Elaine Faber lives in Elk Grove with her husband and four feline companions. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Cat Writers Association, and Northern California Publishers and Authors. Her short stories have appeared in national magazines, have won multiple awards in various contests, and are in at least 16 anthologies. She leads a local writer’s critique group.

Elaine’s ‘Mrs. Odboddy’ mystery series has won annual awards with Northern California Publishers and Authors. Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary, and All Things Cat, an anthology of cat stories, won Cat Writers’ Association 2018 and 2019 Certificates of Excellence.

Elaine enjoys speaking at author venues sharing highlights of her novels and her writing experience. She is currently working on two fiction novels to be published in 2021 and 2022.

Website and Blog:   

Purchase Link – Amazon

Also by this Author

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Ghost Daughter (The Alice MacDonald Greer Mysteries) by Helen Currie Foster #Interview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


Ghost Daughter (The Alice MacDonald Greer Mysteries)
by Helen Currie Foster

I am so happy to welcome
Helen Currie Foster to Escape With Dollycas today!

Hi Helen,

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I love to read. Compulsively! I used to climb up the backyard elm tree and hide on a branch to read. Jobwise, I taught English, then practiced law for thirty years—litigation and regulatory (environmental) law. My family’s from Texas—lots of cousins, two brothers, one sister. My husband and I dragged our two kids from Michigan to Hawaii to Alabama and now back to Texas. I live and write north of Dripping Springs, Texas, in the Hill Country. I love family gatherings, grandkids, Hill Country plants and animals, Austin Shakespeare, hiking in Colorado, all sorts of music…

What are three things most people dont know about you?

I’ve got three burros. They show up about five p.m. hoping for carrots.

In college, I sang with an a cappella group.

I’m taking lessons in boogie-woogie piano from Austin genius Floyd Domino.

What is the first book you remember reading?

The Book of Knowledge.” I woke up early one morning—the house was quiet—and I held the book open, and suddenly the letters all fell into place. I ran to wake my mother: “I can read the book of “KNOW-ledge!”––pronouncing it to rhyme with “no…” I guess I’d never heard the word pronounced before.

What are you reading now?

Rereading Reginald Hill’s Arms and the Women. I love Reginald Hill’s Dalziel & Pascoe mystery series. In this one, Pascoe’s wife Ellie is front and center. Also Mom Genes by science writer Abigail Tucker; it’s full of potential plots. Thomas Cahill’s Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea. He’s so certain in his opinions! About to start Elisabeth McKetta’s She Never Told Me About the Ocean.

What books have most inspired you?

Dorothy Sayers, all the way! I reread some of her mysteries every year, inspired by her deft wit (about Bunter the valet: “and if he was somewhat lavish in the matter of butter…”). Other inspirations: Ngaio Marsh, Sara Paretzky, Reginald Hill (like Picasso, he never takes the same road twice). I admire Patrick O’Brian – the man can set a scene in one long vivid sentence. My kids have also read all the Sayers mysteries and all of Patrick O’Brian and quote their favorites with hilarity (“Jack! You have debauched my sloth!”).  I also admire Dorothy Dunnett’s historical novel series (The Niccolo books and the Lymond Chronicles). They’re beautifully written, complex and rich in historic detail, and, in my view, each series is actually one long mystery with the murderer revealed only in the last volume. Dunnett also wrote the clever “Dolly” mystery series.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

My dad, though a scholar, loved those lurid paperbacks of the fifties; his pockets frequently held an Erle Stanley Gardner or Ellery Queen, and I still have his original Dorothy Sayers paperbacks (oh those covers!). I devoured Nancy Drew and loved Sherlock Holmes. So I always believed that if I ever wrote a book, it would have to be a mystery.

Do you have a special place where you like to write?

Yes. On trains and buses! Something about jiggling along with a view out the window is conducive to writing, even if the letters get out of order. When no train or bus is available, I sigh and march off to the small desk in the corner of the living room.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

I wish I knew. Some swim up from dreams at night. Some come from legal issues, like the wind farm lease project in Ghost Cave. Sometimes a friend tells a tale that sparks a plot, like about a couple who decided to leave their estate to their grandchildren and discovered their kids were outraged. Exploring has led to several plots: visiting prehistoric rock art on the Devil’s River with an anthropologist friend (Ghost Cave), judging a chili cook-off (Ghost Next Door), watching cowboy action shooting matches west of Blanco (Ghost Cat). But some ideas? They just pop up!

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Making language both rich and readable. I always hope the dialogue rings true.

What do you think makes a good story?

A battle of wits! The protagonist must face a wily opponent determined to hide the truth.

And a battle of courage! Despite fear, despite tough odds, the protagonist musters the courage to confront danger. And despite the underlying crimes–some comedy, please, some irony!

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

Hmm. Alice’s thought process reminds me of mine. She’s also a bit of an introvert. And she deeply loves the Hill Country.

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

The courtroom and legal controversies add an extra dimension. So does the Hill Country setting, with its cliffs and springs and its salty, independent characters.

Whats next on the horizon for you?

Book 8 of the Alice MacDonald Greer Mystery series!

Thank you so much Helen for visiting today! 


Keep reading to learn about Helen’s latest mystery!

 

About Ghost Daughter


Ghost Daughter (The Alice MacDonald Greer Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Stuart’s Creek Press, LLC (June 15, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 342 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1732722919
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1732722910

Coffee Creek lawyer Alice MacDonald Greer knows a dangerous client secret when she hears one—especially when it disappoints impatient heirs.

 

Wealthy widow Ellie Windom asks Alice to help change her will, revealing she’s found her long-lost daughter, and hinting at valuable hidden art in Santa Fe. But there’s trouble with Ellie’s warring sons.

 

When Ellie is found dead at her ranch, her skull cracked—and a horse in the house—police can’t find a murder weapon and the obvious suspects all have alibis.

 

Determined to carry out Ellie’s final wishes, Alice races to find the hidden art, eluding intruders and carjackers. But who are the thieves trying to beat her to the hidden art? Is the art a treasure or a clever forgery? Is Ellie’s death connected to the murderous attacks on a lover from long ago?

 

The search sends Alice and her companions road-racing up Santa Fe mountains, fending off attackers in Austin, and escaping across the Texas Hill Country…rewarded occasionally with some delicious barbecue.

More About Helen Currie Foster

Helen Currie Foster lives and writes north of Dripping Springs, Texas, in Texas Hill Country, supervised by three burros. She’s deeply curious, more every day, about human history and prehistory and how, uninvited, the past keeps crashing the party. In each of her Ghost mystery novels, small town lawyer Alice Macdonald Greer must unravel a murder with its roots in the past…long ago.

[If more is needed] Foster earned her BA from Wellesley College, MA from the University of Texas, and JD from the University of Michigan where she grew fascinated with dirt and water law. After practicing environmental law and regulatory litigation for thirty years, she found the character Alice had suddenly appeared in her life. She’s active with Austin Shakespeare and Heart of Texas Sisters in Crime.

Author Links:
Website Facebook Amazon GoodReads Twitter 

Purchase Link – Amazon Paperback –  Kindle



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Great Escapes Praise for Ghost Daughter (The Alice MacDonald Greer Mysteries)
by Helen Currie Foster

Alice is a fantastic character that is super easy to relate to. Made for quite the fun read. I really liked it so I give it 4/5 stars.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

Ghost Daughter by Helen Currie Foster is a complex mystery with a layered plot and likable, proficient characters. The setting – from Texas to New Mexico – adds to the realistic feel of the story, and all of the well-placed red herrings and clever twists keep you guessing.
~Reading Is My SuperPower

This is an amazing, sometimes jaw-dropping, mystery-adventure in which the heroine, Texas lawyer Alice Greer, risks life and limb to fulfill the last wishes of her friend Ellie . . . I enjoyed Ghost Daughter so much, that I’m seriously considering buying the previous six “Ghost” books in the Alice MacDonald Greer series! FIVE STARS
~Here’s How It Happened

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