Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
Husband James E. Clapp and wife Ann I. Goldfarb make up the writing team of
J.C. Eaton and I am so happy to have them visit today as part of their Great Escapes Book Tour!
Tell us a little bit about yourselves.
We’re both from upstate New York in the Finger Lakes but now call the Valley of the Sun (Phoenix) our home. Ann is a retired teacher and school principal, Jim worked most of his life in construction before taking a position as tasting room manager for a major winery on Seneca Lake and enjoying it for over a decade before retiring.
Rescuing cats and dogs has been a passion for us and we happily admit we are foster failures. We now have five kitties and one very spoiled Chiweenie, who became the inspiration for Streetman in our Sophie Kimball Mysteries. As for the goat and the Plott Hound in the Wine Trail Mysteries, they were inspired by Ann’s brother’s pets!
What are three things most people don’t know about you?
We collect rocks and minerals and have them stashed everywhere. We make up silly songs and sing them to our dog. (Seriously!) We bought our first slow cooker this year and have had enough pot roast to last a century. Also, Jim has had Parkinson’s Disease for a number of years but it hasn’t slowed him down. He exercises all the time and has a terrific sense of humor. When he tried the Dragon Speak software for writing and it kept mixing up his words, he couldn’t stop laughing. Finally, he went back to legal pads and pencils!
What is the first book you remember reading?
Ann remembers the Bobbsy Twins and Nancy Drew. Jim remembers the Hardy Boys and Mark Twain stories.
What are you reading now?
Ann – Rosemary Simpson’s Gilded Age Mysteries – What the Dead Leave Behind, Jim – C. J. Box’s The Disappeared
What made you decide you want to write?
Ann cannot remember a time when she wasn’t writing and somehow, Jim caught that bug, too!
Do you have a special place you like to write?
Ann is very particular. It must be in our office/spare bedroom and must be absolutely quiet. Jim can write anywhere and does – the living room, the kitchen table, and anyplace he can find. He is oblivious to noise, too!
Where do the ideas for your books come from?
The Wine Trail Mysteries were easy. We lived in NY’s wine country most of our lives. When we moved to Arizona and settled in a senior community, we couldn’t resist poking fun at all the goings on. That started the Sophie Kimball Mysteries. Both of us have always wanted to spend time in Minnesota, but since we never did, we created a mystery series there. (Marcie Raynor Mysteries). Our ideas come from everyday life – news, chit-chats with friends, and our daily routines.
What books have most inspired you?
Ann – One Hundred Years of Solitude and anything by Charles Dickens. Jim is a Mark Twain aficionado and that’s where his inspiration came from.
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?
Yes – the constant grammatical changes from the Chicago Manual of Style. Just when we think we’ve gotten it right, we find out we didn’t!
What do you think makes a good story?
Believable characters, a solid plot, a setting that draws the reader in, and a flow that keeps things moving.
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?
There’s a little bit of Ann in Norrie Ellington, Sophie Kimball, and Marcie Raynor. As for Jim…guess, we’ll still have to keep writing.
Why did you pick your particular genre?
Life is tough enough and handling human angst is not something we wanted to tackle. We want to entertain. We want to put a smile on our readers’ faces and make them guess whodunit while we’re at it. Cozy mysteries offer all the suspense without the blood, guts, and gore.
What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?
We take full advantage of hyperbole and must infuse our mysteries with humor. We offer sleuths of all ages in our series – 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 70 plus if you consider the book club ladies in our Sophie Kimball Mysteries.
What’s next on the horizon for you?
We’ll continue juggling our series and hoping someone decides to put something on the big screen!
Ann and Jim, thank you so much for stopping by today! It is so much fun to learn about authors who write the books we love!
Now let me give you my thoughts on J.C. Eaton’s latest, Pinot Red or Dead?
There’s a lot of noir surrounding this rare pinot.
As the vineyards in Seneca Lake, New York, prepare for the seasonal “Deck the Halls Around the Lake” festivities, someone is determined to keep pinot noir off the wine list. Hijacked trucks and sabotaged ingredients have made it a hard-to-acquire vintage for the six local wineries—including Norrie Ellington’s Two Witches Winery.
The case of the stolen and spoiled wines gets stranger when Arnold Mowen, owner of the company distributing the wine, is found dead, the apparent victim of a hunting accident. As Norrie tries to find the connections between the pinot’s problems and Arnold’s death, she uncovers a conspiracy among many locals whose hatred for the wine distributor was bottled up for far too long . . .
We return to Two Witches Winery in Seneca Lake, New York, right before the big holiday event Deck the Halls Around the Lake. This time pinot noir is the featured wine and someone wants to be sure there is a shortage of this fine vintage. Sabotaged barrels and stolen bottles are making local vintners amp up security and press for answers. Then their wine distributor in murdered. His body is found between Norrie’s winery and Don and Theo’s winery by her dog. The police try to play it off as a weird hunting accident but Norrie knows that isn’t the case. She again teams up with Don and Theo to save their wine and catch the killer.
Book 3 has Norrie’s sister and brother-in-law still in Costa Rica hunting down the rare insect but she is in contact with the head of their program in New York much more this time as he can get her into the places she needs to investigate. You see Mr. Arnold Mowen seems to have promised a lot of people he would bequeath all his worldly possessions to them upon his death. It seems someone couldn’t wait for that event to happen naturally. Some of those people reside in a place that is having a pest control problem and have called in an expert, Norrie’s new friend. Now she needs to find the evidence to tie either these individuals or one of her other suspects to not only the murder but the tampering and stealing of the pricey rare pinot noir.
Norrie continues to impress me, especially when she, Theo and Don mix themselves up in a police investigation. They dig into everything, no matter how far-fetched. Norrie puts herself out there too, where she could get in a lot of trouble. It is so much fun following her around, sometimes in circles to get to the truth.
J. C. Eaton had offset our regular characters this time with some really quirky characters. Lavettia Lawrence, the deceased girlfriend seems to think she has become Norrie’s new best friend and Norrie handles it with grace and uses it to her advantage too. But Lavettia is just one in a rather long list of suspects. The mystery had many components and twists too. Arnold’s will was crazy, not the craziest I have ever heard of but it was out there. It all leads up to a great reveal.
I have enjoyed all three escapes to the Two Witches Winery. The characters are well rounded and engaging, the location is somewhere I would love to actually visit and as a wine novice, I love learning something in every story. Pinot Red or Dead? was a cleverly written mystery with the perfect amounts intrigue and humor. I loved it and am looking forward to more books in this series.
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
Read my review of A Riesling to Die – just click here.
Read my review of Chardonnayed to Rest – just click here.
About the Authors
Ann I. Goldfarb
New York native Ann I. Goldfarb spent most of her life in education, first as a classroom teacher and later as a middle school principal and professional staff developer. Writing as J. C. Eaton, along with her husband, James Clapp, she has authored the Sophie Kimball Mysteries (Kensington) set for release in June 2017. In addition, Ann has nine published YA time travel mysteries under her own name. Visit the websites at www.jceatonauthor.com and www.timetravelmysteries.com
James E. Clapp
When James E. Clapp retired as the tasting room manager for a large upstate New York winery, he never imagined he’d be co-authoring cozy mysteries with his wife, Ann I. Goldfarb. His first novel, Booked 4 Murder (Kensington) is set for release in June 2017. Non-fiction in the form of informational brochures and workshop materials treating the winery industry were his forte along with an extensive background and experience in construction that started with his service in the U.S. Navy and included vocational school classroom teaching.
Visit their website at www.jceatonauthor.com and Like and follow on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JCEatonauthor/
Also by J.C. Eaton
Coming August 27, 2019
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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.”