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Guest Post/ #Giveaway – Vamps, Villains and Vaudeville by Ellen Mansoor Collier – Great Escapes Book Tour

vamps large banner new640Vamps, Villains and Vaudeville
by Ellen Mansoor Collier

 

VAMPS VILLAINS
Vamps, Villains and Vaudeville
(Jazz Age Mystery Series)
(Volume 4)

Cozy Mystery
Publisher: DECODAME PRESS (August 5, 2015)
Paperback: 250 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0989417082
E-Book ASIN: B0111GYYYE
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Synopsis

In 1920s Galveston, society reporter Jazz Cross is in for a surprise when she attends a traveling vaudeville show with her beau, Prohibition Agent James Burton, and discovers that an old flame acts in the production. That night, they find a stabbing victim behind the Oasis — her half-brother Sammy’s speakeasy — who’s identified as an actor in the troupe. When the victim disappears and later turns up dead, Jazz must help prove that Sammy wasn’t the killer.

Meanwhile, a ring of jewel thieves is turning up all over town, robbing rich tourists of their precious gems. After a second vaudeville actor is found dead, Jazz discovers that the events behind the scenes are much more interesting than the outdated acts onstage.

To make matters worse, Sammy’s old nemesis demands that he settles a score and forces him into yet another illegal scheme. Can Jazz help solve the murders and prove her brother’s innocence—so he can escape the Downtown Gang for good?

A historical Jazz Age mystery inspired by real-life Galveston gangs and local landmarks.

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THE JAZZ AGE MYSTERY SERIES: ART DECO COVERS
By: Ellen Mansoor Collier

You can’t judge a book by its cover—or can you? I admit, I’ve picked up and bought books based on the cover artwork, and I suspect I’m not the only one who’s rejected books because I didn’t like certain covers. Of course, an attractive and eye-catching book cover depends on personal taste and interest.

Since my Jazz Age mysteries are set during Prohibition in 1920s Galveston, I prefer to use authentic Art Deco illustrations for my covers. All of the artwork in my series—except for Bathing Beauties, Booze and Bullets—are by famed French artist George Barbier. c. 1920s, who’s known for his whimsical and colorful Deco designs.

Then a year after my first novel, Flappers, Flasks, and Foul Play, came out, I was perusing Pinterest and I found this photo of a flapper in a fancy frock with fur cuffs and huge buttons sitting in front of a typewriter, holding a candlestick phone and I thought, “That’s Jazz!” Who else but a 1920s society reporter would dress that way to work? I imagined her rushing to her desk after an exciting social event and pounding out the story on her old “Noiseless” typewriter, perhaps calling a source for more information or a juicy quote.

Recently I updated and colorized the cover with a new background, a vintage postcard showing Murdoch’s Bathhouse and the Galveston Seawall. Though the original Murdoch’s was destroyed during the hurricanes, it’s still standing after all these years — a tribute to the tenacity of the Galveston locals.

Later, I came across a colorized photo of real-life bathing beauties in a variety of wacky outfits, and thought it was perfect for my sequel, Bathing Beauties, Booze, and Bullets. Bathing Beauties is based on the actual Miss Universe Pageant founded in Galveston in 1920 to compete with Atlantic City’s Miss America Contest — with a couple of twists. After that, I wanted to update all of my covers using vintage photographs so that readers who preferred “realism” could have a choice of illustrated or photographic sets.

Vamps_KindleFINALA marketer told me that certain age groups are attracted to different types of covers so I wanted to test that theory. During book-signings, I’ve noticed young girls like the illustrated covers (perhaps they remind them of cartoons?) while many people gravitate toward the covers with vintage photos.

VAMPS VILLAINSChanging covers also gave me a chance to revisit and revise the novels, updating the storyline a bit and even inspiring me to give VAMPS a fresh new ending. Since my novels aren’t gory or violent, they appeal to a wide variety of ages—though I do occasionally use mild profanity since I write about real-life Galveston gangsters—but my stories are PG at most.

I’m very visual and wanted to provide a matched set for customers who buy the complete series. I do tend to be a bit matchy-matchy . . . it’s a Southern thing.

I’d be interested to know what your readers think: Do you prefer photographic or illustrated covers? Please feel free to comment on this blog—thanks for your feedback!

~Ellen

EllenSanLuisout[1]About The Author

Ellen Mansoor Collier is a Houston-based freelance magazine writer and editor whose articles and essays have been published in a variety of national magazines. Several of her short stories have appeared in Woman’s World. During college summers, she worked as a reporter for a Houston community newspaper and as a cocktail waitress, both jobs providing background experience for her Jazz Age mysteries.

A flapper at heart, she’s worked as a magazine editor/writer, and in advertising and public relations (plus endured a hectic semester as a substitute teacher). She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Magazine Journalism and served on UTmost, the college magazine and as president of WICI (Women in Communications).

FLAPPERS, FLASKS AND FOUL PLAY is her first novel, published in 2012, followed by the sequel, BATHING BEAUTIES, BOOZE AND BULLETS, released in May 2013. She lives in Houston with her husband and Chow mutts, and visits Galveston whenever possible.

“When you grow up in Houston, Galveston becomes like a second home. I had no idea this sleepy beach town had such a wild and colorful past until I began doing research, and became fascinated by the legends and stories of the 1920s. Finally I had to stop researching and start writing, trying to imagine a flapper’s life in Galveston during Prohibition.”

Author Links:

Website – GoodReads – Pinterest
Purchase Links:

Amazon


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March 21 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW
March 21 – Writing Belle – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
March 22 – Mythical Books – EXCERPT
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March 23 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW
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March 25 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW, EXCERPT
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Spotlight/Giveaway – Gold Diggers, Gamblers and Guns by Ellen Mansoor Collier

I am thrilled to spotlight Gold Diggers, Gamblers and Guns
today at part of the Great Escapes Book Tour!

golddiggers gamblers and guns large banner640

Gold Diggers, Gamblers and Guns
by Ellen Mansoor Collier

Lots of drama, choosing sides, action, and romance as they try to figure out who is trying to kill Burton and frame him for murder.
~readalot

“Gold-Diggers, Gamblers and Guns” is, in itself, a wonderful romp through another time and another place that you can take right from the comfort of your own home.
~Back Porchervations

You will step back into the 20’s with this classy novel of suspense and mystery you will get hooked from the start and read till the very end!
~Shelley’s Book Case

I love this series so much fun going back to Prohibition era and seeing these crazy friends as they go off to solve another murder.
~Community Bookstop

22174442Gold-Diggers, Gamblers and Guns: A Jazz Age Mystery #3
Cozy Mystery
File Size: 790 KB
Print Length: 268 pages
Publisher: DecoDame Press; 1 edition (May 18, 2014)
ASIN: B00KF3TJCM

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Synopsis

During Prohibition, Galveston Island was called the “Free State of Galveston” due to its lax laws and laissez-faire attitude toward gambling, gals and bootlegging. Young society reporter Jasmine (Jazz) Cross longs to cover hard news, but she’s stuck between two clashing cultures: the world of gossip and glamour vs. gangsters and gamblers.

After Downtown Gang leader Johnny Jack Nounes is released from jail, all hell breaks loose: Prohibition Agent James Burton’s life is threatened and he must go into hiding for his own safety. But when he’s framed for murder, he and Jazz work together to prove his innocence. Johnny Jack blames her half-brother Sammy Cook, owner of the Oasis speakeasy, for his arrest and forces him to work overtime in a variety of dangerous mob jobs as punishment.

When a bookie is murdered, Jazz looks for clues linking the two murders and delves deeper into the underworld of gambling: poker games, slot machines and horse-racing. Meanwhile, Jazz tries to keep both Burton and her brother safe, and alive, while they face off against each other, as well as a common enemy. A soft-boiled mystery inspired by actual events.

Check out this special excerpt from Gamblers, Gold-Diggers and Guns:

At the Rusty Bucket, I followed close behind, pretending I was a real crime reporter, looking straight ahead so the police and newshounds wouldn’t try to shut me out.

Sure enough, a couple of cops tried to block my way but I simply replied, “I’m with the Gazette,” as if that explained everything. When we entered the bar, I noticed obvious signs of a struggle: tables and chairs knocked over, broken glasses, papers strewn about. Right by the front door, in all its gleaming glory, sat a brand-new nickel slot machine, a one-armed bandit displaying diamonds, spades, hearts, horseshoes and a cracked Liberty bell.

A huddle of newshawks stared at the floor and I could see the figure of a man, lying by the new machine, arms at odd angles, but I was too far away to determine his cause of death.

“Coming through,” Nathan said, forcing his way into the circle . Edging closer, I could barely make out the victim’s face—a plain man in his mid-forties, sandy hair, freckled skin.

As I changed positions, I saw a huge gaping hole in his skull, hair caked with blood and bone. My stomach lurched and I covered my mouth with both hands, trying not to upchuck.

By the man’s side lay a bloodied baseball bat—the weapon of choice for thugs and cowards and enforcers who liked to use threats and intimidation to make their point. Why would the killers leave the bloody baseball bat in plain sight, next to the victim?

Across the room, Mack stared at me, stone-faced, with an “I told you so” glare. Feeling dizzy, I made my way across the room and sat down at a small table by the piano. No one seemed to notice as I went behind the counter, searching the ice-box for water. I gulped it down, then pressed the frosty glass against my perspiring face, enjoying the cool sensation.

Still shaky, I sat down at the table, observing the crime scene from a safe distance: the reporters taking notes, badgering the sheriff for information, an M.E. squatting by the body, taking samples of hair and blood. That’s when I saw it, half-hidden under the player piano bench: An almost-new Stetson, slightly scuffed, with a clean bullet hole in the crown.

Was I hallucinating or was that Agent Burton’s Stetson under the player piano? And what in hell was it doing at this murder scene?

Ellen picture deco croppedAbout The Author

Ellen Mansoor Collier is a Houston-based freelance magazine writer and editor whose articles and essays have been published in a variety of national magazines. Several of her short stories have appeared in Woman’s World. During college summers, she worked as a reporter for a Houston community newspaper and as a cocktail waitress, both jobs providing background experience for her Jazz Age mysteries.

A flapper at heart, she’s worked as a magazine editor/writer, and in advertising and public relations (plus endured a hectic semester as a substitute teacher). She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Magazine Journalism and served on UTmost, the college magazine and as president of WICI (Women in Communications).

FLAPPERS, FLASKS AND FOUL PLAY is her first novel, published in 2012, followed by the sequel, BATHING BEAUTIES, BOOZE AND BULLETS, released in May 2013. She lives in Houston with her husband and Chow mutts, and visits Galveston whenever possible.

“When you grow up in Houston, Galveston becomes like a second home. I had no idea this sleepy beach town had such a wild and colorful past until I began doing research, and became fascinated by the legends and stories of the 1920s. Finally I had to stop researching and start writing, trying to imagine a flapper’s life in Galveston during Prohibition.”

Author Links:

Website: http://www.flapperfinds.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ellen.mansoorcollier?fref=ts

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Gold-Diggers-Gamblers-Guns-Jazz-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00KF3TJCM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1401823006&sr=1-1&keywords=ellen+mansoor+collier

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6452242.Ellen_Mansoor_Collier

Purchase Link:
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Click on the Book Covers to purchase the earlier book in this series.

Tour Participants

July 16 – Michele Lynn Seigfried, Author – Guest Post
July 17 – Chloe Gets A Clue – Interview
July 18 – Queen of All She Reads – Review, Guest Post
July 19 – readalot blog – Review
July 20 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Interview
July 21 – Back Porchervations – Review
July 22 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review
July 23 – Cicero’s Children – Interview
July 24 – Community Bookstop – Review
July 25 – Lori’s READING CORNER – Guest Post
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July 27 – Omnimystery News – Interview
July 28 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Spotlight
July 29 – Book-n-Kisses – Guest Post

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