DEATH IN PERSPECTIVE by Larissa Reinhart (and a giveaway!)

A relatively new favorite author, Larissa Reinhart may hold the record for visits to the blog and I am thrilled she is here again today. After teaching in the US and Japan, Larissa enjoys writing, particularly sassy female characters with a penchant for trouble. She lives near Atlanta with her family and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit. Visit her website or you can find her chatting on Facebook. Death in Perspective is the fourth book in the best selling Cherry Tucker Mystery series. The first, Portrait of a Dead Guy, is a Daphne du Maurier finalist, Emily finalist, and Dixie Kane Memorial winner. Larissa recently returned from a vacation in Japan. You know how some people absolutely hate hearing about peoples vacations? Well not me! I love it! So lets all vicariously visit Japan today. Be sure to leave a comment for Larissa, one of you will win an e-copy of any book from the series that you choose and if you go HERE you have a chance to win a Barnes & Noble gift card and some swag. Welcome,  Larissa.

Hey Kate! Thanks for having me on again and I’m so glad you didn’t get bored with my reports from Japan!

How long has it been since you visited Japan prior to this visit?

For my girls and I, it’s been three and a half years since we moved back. My husband (lucky guy) gets to travel there a lot on business. I think he was there six times last fall and winter!

What part(s) of the country did you visit?

We were mainly visiting friends on this trip, so we spent most of our time in Nagoya, which was the city we previously lived in. We took a side trip to Kyoto and Nara with the girls for three nights for some family time. My husband and I used to live near Kyoto (ages ago), so it’s always fun for us to revisit old haunts and see the changes. Japanese cities are constantly evolving, although Kyoto and Nara have preserved a lot of their own neighborhoods as well as the historic sites. They were two of the few cities not bombed during WWII, so it’s hard to find those medieval and pre-modern homes and shops in other parts of Japan.

Did you find a lot had changed and particularly, did you notice the effects of the world wide recession or are they over it?

Our neighborhood had changed a lot (to us). A spaghetti shop we used to visit was gone. It was pretty decrepit, but had really great spaghetti. And only spaghetti on the menu, all kinds. Not even a salad (if you ask for a salad, you’re offered vegetable juice). I digress… But all the new construction was a good sign for economic recovery. Japan was in an economic depression last time we lived there. And of course, the Tohoku earthquake hit the economy really hard. We moved just before that happened.

I have read about the Japan cultures love of ‘cuteness. Is it really as over the top as some press makes it seem or confined to small segments of society?

OH MY GOODNESS. Japan’s cuteness is so over the top adorable. The newest trend in cuteness is hamster butts. Yes, you read that right. If you look at a hamster butt, they are quite cute. We saw a whole section in a bookstore dedicated to books with photos of cute hamster butts. There’s always something trending and that trend is constantly changing. Krispy Kreme is also trending. I was happy to see that. They’re almost as popular as Starbucks. But not quite. Hello Kitty also still reigns supreme, which will make a lot of people happy. But there, she is Kitty-Chan.

Speaking of cute, did you bring back a bento box or kimono for your dog?

Haha! You saw my pictures! No, Biscuit would not appreciate a bento or a kimono. In fact, Biscuit got nothing. Poor dog. But he’s not much on treats and a kimono would really drive him insane. He was very happy to see us, though. Our return was his gift.

I am always interested in the book reading habits of other countries. The American style cozies are rare in Ireland for example but they were making a big splash in China (in English, mind you) for a while. The Swedish mysteries seem big in America at the moment. Did you visit any book stores on your trip? Do they read cozies? What does seem popular?

Bookstores are really popular in Japan. You find them all over the place. Japanese readers still prefer books to e-readers and they read a lot on trains and subways, so the books have always been paperback and kind of hand sized. And because of the writing, the books are very slim. Anyway, Japanese readers love mysteries and Agatha Christie is still a favorite. In fact, their public broadcasting channel, NHK, did an animated Agatha Christie series starring Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, and a girl named Mabel with a duck. Besides Mabel and the duck, the mysteries were pretty true to the original stories. You also see a lot of mysteries on TV, particularly detective stories. I think there is a love of crime drama because there’s not a lot of crime, so it’s very entertaining. That’s just a hypothesis though.

Can I just say, Mabel and the duck. Does it get any better?

Before you go, what can we expect next after Death in Perspective ?

I’m writing The Body in the Landscape now (#5), which will come out sometime next year. Cherry’s hired to do a “kill portrait” for a Hogzilla hunting contest at Big Rack Lodge and finds a body while painting a landscape in the first line (hence the title). I’m so thrilled for the chance to write about Hogzilla. They are something of a true legend around here. A 1,000+ pound feral hog was killed close to where I live a few years ago. And of course, there’s Cherry and the mystery. Seven bow hunters trapped in a bunkhouse in the middle of a hunting preserve during a November storm. Which one will die next and which one’s the killer? Fun, fun.

BLURB

A Cherry Tucker Mystery #4
Cozy Mystery
Paperback: 250 pages
Publisher: Henery Press; First edition (June 24, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-1940976181
E-book File Size: 594 KB
ASIN: B00L5Q7AYW

The curtain rises on Cherry Tucker’s debut as a high school set designer at the posh Peerless Day Academy. Cherry’s been hired for an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, but the drama director is hoping Cherry can also turn the spotlight on a malicious social media bully who’s sending poisonous texts to the faculty. The director’s got his own drama to hide, and the phantom texter seems eager to spill school secrets. When the principal’s secretary commits suicide, Cherry suspects foul play.

Deputy Luke Harper is ready to return as Cherry’s leading man. He’s eager to assist in finding the phantom culprit, but Cherry fears family secrets offstage may doom them to the role as star-crossed lovers. With the bully waiting for a murderous encore and her own family skeletons to hide, Cherry scrambles to find her brother and the mysterious texter before the phantom decides it’s curtains for Cherry and forces her to take a final bow.

MY REVIEW

Fun. Fun. Fun. Cherry is like Lucy and Ethel all rolled into one Southern package. Rather timely, this deals with bullying. I enjoyed the whole Tara storyline (Luke’s ex/stalker). Shawna is busy giving Cherry you know what on Facebook. Cherry is a bit down in this installment. Her love life with Luke is a continuing problem. As anyone who reads this blog knows, I haven’t liked Luke from the beginning. I see Cherry with Max. The whole Branson connection (and Cody) is heating up and should be interesting in upcoming books. Oh yeah, the mystery is top notch too but I just read this series for the characters LOL! If you haven’t started yet, go right now and get the first in the series and catch up with the rest of us! ♥♥♥♥♥

Author Links:

Website: http://larissareinhart.com/

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1qMwr29

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RisWrites

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/RisWrites

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5806614.Larissa_Reinhart

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/LarissaReinhart/

Purchase Links
Amazon B&N

Tour Participants

June 24 – Mommasez… – Review, Interview, Giveaway
June 25 – readalot blog – Review, Giveaway
June 26 – Chloe Gets A Clue – Interview
June 27 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review, Giveaway
June 28 – Carole’s Book Corner – Review
June 29 – off
June 30 – deal sharing aunt – Interview, Giveaway
July 1 – Traci Andrighetti’s blog – Review
July 2 – A Chick Who Reads – Review
July 3 – Michelle’s Romantic Tangle – Review, Interview
July 4 – off
July 5 – rantinravin’ and reading – Review, Interview, Giveaway
July 6 – Back Porchervations – Review
July 7 – Traveling With T – Review, Interview, Giveaway
July 8 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review, Giveaway
July 9 – Community Bookstop – Review

Spotlight on THREAD END by Amanda Lee and a giveaway!

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Amanda Lee, also writing as Gayle Trent, is a full-time writer living with her family in Southwest Virginia. She writes the embroidery mystery series as Amanda Lee and writes the cake decorating series and the Myrtle Crumb series as Gayle Trent. Today we are right smack in the middle of her tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. Leave a comment below for a chance to win a print copy of the book (US only) and you can ALSO go HERE for a chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card.

BLURB

Marcy can’t wait to see the new exhibit at the Tallulah Falls museum on antique tapestries and textiles, including beautiful kilim rugs. But her enthusiasm quickly turns to terror when, the day after the exhibition opens, she discovers a dead body behind her store, the Seven-Year Stitch, wrapped up in a most unusual fashion.

The victim appears to be a visiting art professor in town for the exhibit. Did someone decide to teach the professor a lesson, then attempt to sweep the evidence under the rug? Along with her boyfriend, Detective Ted Nash, Marcy must unravel an intricate tapestry of deception to find a desperate killer.

MY REVIEW

This is the seventh book in the Embroidery Mystery series featuring Marcy Singer, a protagonist who moved to the Oregon coast to open an embroidery specialty shop. Marcy  left her home in San Francisco to move to Tallulah Falls along with her faithful companion, an Irish wolfhound named Angus. I love Irish Wolfhounds so the series gets points right there with me. Marcy’s best friend Sadie MacKenzie and her husband Blake run the coffeehouse right down the street from Marcy’s shop, the Seven Year Stitch and Detective Ted Nash always has had her back right from the beginning and now Marcy is getting to meet his mother – following her undercover visit to the Seven Year Stitch. Fun twists and turns including a thief/victim who might have been more of a Robin Hood, characters you look forward to seeing again, a reliably enjoyable series, once again this one is a ♥♥♥♥♥

AUTHOR LINKS

PURCHASE LINKS

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

June 1 – Griperang’s Bookmarks – Review,
June 2 – Books-n-Kisses - Review, Interview, Giveaway
June 3 – fuonlyknew ~ Laura’s  ramblins and reviews – Review, Giveaway
June 4 – Queen of All She Reads – Review, Guest Post,
June 5 – Brooke Blogs – Review
June 6 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review, Interview,
June 7 – Michelle’s Romantic Tangle – Review, Guest Post
June 8 – rantinravin’ and reading – Review, Giveaway
June 9 – Back Porchervations – Review
June 10 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review, Guest Post,
June 11 – deal sharing aunt – Review, Interview, Giveaway
June 12 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – Guest Post, Giveaway
June 13 – Community Bookstop – Review
June 14 – Chloe Gets A Clue – Interview

 

 

 

A SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT by Anna Loan Wilsey, a new tour and a giveaway!

Anna Loan Wilsey lives in a Victorian farmhouse in the Iowa countryside with her husband, a four year old daughter and her old yellow dog.  She was born and raised in Syracuse, NY and has lived in Finland, Canada and Texas. Anna has a BA in Biology from Wells College in Aurora, NY and an MLIS from McGill University in Montreal.  She’s a biologist, librarian, information specialist and now with the Hattie Davish Mysteries Series, a novelist.  A Lack of Temperance, her first novel and first in the Hattie Davish Mysteries series, was the #1 bestselling historical mystery on Amazon.com. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. A Sense of Entitlement, the third in the series, is now out and Anna is here starting her tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. Be sure and leave a comment below for a chance to win a print copy of A SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT (US and Canada only) and for a chance to win a set of autographed copies of the entire series, go HERE. And now, welcome Anna.

You have had Hattie travel to the Ozarks, Illinois, and now Newport, RI. How do you research all these places? Travel to each location for research could get quite costly I would imagine.

Although there is cost involved, I feel it is vital to the book to visit each location.  Not only do I get a sense of the place: the sites, the smells, the distances from one landmark to the next, the climate, the flora, etc. but local libraries and universities have resources not available anywhere else.  I often spend more time in a basement archive scanning historical newspapers on microfilm as I do taking photographs of places I might want to reference in the book.  But as you say cost is a factor, as is time, so I often only visit once for a few days.  Luckily once I’m home, I can use Interlibrary Loan or the internet to access additional resources I need.

Do you have a connection to Newport?

No, I actually don’t.  I grew up in New York State and therefore always knew about the “cottages” but had never visited until quite recently.  For A SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT, I had planned to use a town that set Hattie among the richest Americans of her day.  I couldn’t find a better location than Newport.

Many cozy mysteries are set in fictional places. Setting yours the way you do adds a lot of work. Different yet real locations to get right each time plus the historical accuracy. Why do you think it is that important to the stories?

You’re right that it’s a lot of work!  But to me it is part of what makes writing the stories fun.  When I began the series, I decided not only to “write what I knew” but also to write what I love.  I love history.  I love research.  I love travel.  To set each book in a different yet real location allowed me to indulge in my own passions.  But as to why it is important, ultimately I think by taking many of my plotlines from true stories I uncover during my research of real towns the series stays fresh.  Readers enjoy being immersed in the history and the fun of discovering (or rediscovering) a new place and new characters with each book.    

A female private, and travelling, secretary in the 1890’s – would that have been common or rare? How did you come up with the idea?

Private secretaries in the 1890’s where common and some of them did have to travel occasionally to find work.  The vast majority of these were men. Women worked as secretaries in industry and businesses and not necessarily for individuals.  There were female private secretaries at the time, many of them working as social secretaries (as Hattie does in A Sense of Entitlement) and most had long term employment with one employer.  Hattie, as someone who has short-term assignments wherever she can find the work, would’ve been rare. When I was developing Hattie’s character, knowing she would be supporting herself, I considered which occupations were suitable and available to women in the late 19th century-teacher, nurse, librarian…  But I also wanted her to be able to travel to different places.  When I discovered that “lady typewriters” were becoming common during this time, I knew this was a job Hattie could do anywhere.

Where will Hattie be going in the next book and when can we expect to find it on the shelves?

In the next book Hattie will be going home to St. Joseph, Missouri, a once bustling western gateway city on the Missouri River, which was the birthplace of the Pony Express, site of Jesse James’ violent death and home to State Lunatic Asylum #2.   I have my first draft completed and hope to see on the bookshelves by next summer.

Now three things I ask everyone that have nothing to do with writing:

  • What is your favorite food?  I love tomatoes and anything made with them!
  • What is your favorite TV show? I couldn’t possibly name one because I love anything historical produced by the BBC.  
  • What is your favorite music? I love pop, jazz, classical and show tunes.  If I had to pick one song, it would be Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus.  If I could pick two, I’d add, I Will by Lennon and McCartney.

Please tell us about Hank, Billy, Bob and Jethro.  

Just thinking about them makes me laugh.  Hank, Billy, Bob and Jethro were Rhesus monkeys I had the pleasure to know and work with when I was a research technician in an animal behavior lab, my first job out of college.  They were playful, clever and mischievous. Every day the gang, especially Billy and Bob, would prove the adage, “monkey see, monkey do,” often to my chagrin!  Hank was my closest buddy but it was Jethro that would let me groom him.  

I’ve enjoyed having you here today, Anna. Before you go, is there anything else you would like to tell your readers?

Thank you so much for having me.  I would like to say thank you to your readers as well, for without them, I wouldn’t get to do what I love.  I’d also love to hear from them.  So if they have any comments, questions, suggestions for new towns for Hattie to visit, etc. to please let me know.  Connecting with all of you is another part of what makes writing cozy mysteries special.  Thanks again!

BLURB

Traveling secretary and dilettante detective Hattie Davish is bringing her talents to a small New England town whose wealthy residents have more secrets than they do money. . .

When Hattie Davish’s job takes her to Newport, Rhode Island, she welcomes the opportunity for a semi-vacation, and perhaps even a summer romance. But her hopes for relaxation are dashed when she learns that members of the local labor unions are at odds with Newport’s gentry. Amidst flaring tensions, an explosion rocks the wharf. In the ensuing turmoil, Mr. Harland Whitwell, one of Newport’s most eminent citizens, is found stabbed to death, his hands clutching a strike pamphlet. All signs point to a vengeful union member bent on taking down the aristocracy, but Hattie starts digging and finds a few skeletons in the closets of the impeccable Whitwell mansion. As she strikes down the whispers spilling out of Newport’s rumor mill, she’ll uncover a truth more scandalous than anyone imagined–and a killer with a rapacious sense of entitlement. . .

MY REVIEW

I found the book to be a bit slow, at first, for my taste but I did enjoy it despite that. I chose to read it because of the Newport setting (and I am living in RI, a short hop over the bridge from Newport) but other than a few names of Newport streets, it really could have been anywhere. The first quarter of the book has you (and Hattie) thinking one thing is possible (I don’t want to say too much) but then you are off into another direction and at that point it does pick up. I am interested enough to go back and read the first books in the series, I like the whole concept of a single woman finding this way to travel and have adventures back in the day. And I learned something – living here in RI and I did not even know Benedict Arnold (great-grandfather of the one you are thinking of) was the first governor of the colony of Rhode Island. For me, this one was a ♥♥♥½

AUTHOR LINKS

www.annaloanwilsey.com

www.facebook.com/pages/Anna-Loan-Wilsey-Author/226850674036259

www.goodreads.com/author/show/5810152.Anna_Loan_Wilsey

www.kensingtonbooks.com/author.aspx/26131

PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon             B&N

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

June 2 – rantinravin‘ and reading – Review, Interview, Giveaway

June 3 – Carstairs Considers – Review, Giveaway

June 4 – Queen of All She Reads – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway

June 5 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Spotlight, Giveaway

June 5 –  StoreyBook Reviews – Review, Giveaway

June 6 – Back Porchervations – Review

June 7 – Books-n-Kisses – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway

June 8 –  Cozy Up With Kathy – Interview

June 9 – Carole’s Book Corner – Review

June 10 – Celticlady’s Reviews – Review

June 11 – Mystery Playground – Interview, Giveaway

June 12 – A Chick Who Reads – Review

June 13 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review, Giveaway

June 14 – Deal Sharing Aunt – Guest Post, Giveaway

June 15 – The Reading Room – Review

 

FIFTY SHADES OF GREYHOUND by Sparkle Abby (and a giveaway!)

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UPFRONT ADDENDUM:  We were supposed to have an interview today. But as sometimes happens in publishing, there was a slight delay in getting the book out which resulted in the tour being cancelled. But then it was back on, sort of at the last minute. As a matter of fact, I was finishing reading the book at a doctor’s appointment yesterday. Somehow, in all of that, the interview was forgotten about. Apologies!!!! So let’s salvage this! Mary Lee and Anita are around – why don’t we ALL interview them. Ask them a question in the comments and you will be entered to win an ebook copy of FIFTY SHADES OF GREYHOUND. I’ll start us off with the obvious, why Sparkle Abbey – where did the name come from?

Sparkle Abbey is the pseudonym of mystery authors Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter. They write the popular pet mystery series which features whodunits set in the wacky world of pampered pets, precious pedigrees, and secrets. The first book in the series Desperate Housedogs, an Amazon mystery series bestseller and Barnes & Noble Nook #1 national bestseller, was followed by Get Fluffy, Kitty Kitty Bang Bang, and Yip/Tuck.  Fifty Shades of Greyhound is the latest installment. They are on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours and for a chance to win  a $50 Amazon gift card, go HERE

Fifty Shades of Greyhound by Sparkle Abbey
Cozy Mystery
205 Pages

SYNOPSIS 

It was a killer party.

Caro Lamont, Laguna Beach’s favorite pet therapist is thrilled to support the elite fundraising gala for Greys Matter, a SoCal greyhound rescue group. All the guests in the couture-attired crowd are clad in varying shades of grey, the champagne and donations are flowing, and there are fifty gorgeous greyhounds in attendance. But before the evening ends a stranger in their midst is dead.

Caro sets out to help the rescue group find out the identity of the mystery guest, but soon finds herself in the doghouse with homicide detective, Judd Malone. And federal agent, John Milner. When there’s a second death, Caro is convinced she’s on the track of someone who wants a secret to stay buried, but it’s a race to see whether Caro can uncover the truth before the killer decides she’s next up.

MY REVIEW

I would say they had me at the title, but the truth is, I fell in love with this series back with the first book. But even if it is new to you, don’t be afraid to jump in here as it works well as a standalone. The characters are well written and interesting – with a nice cross between the more serious ones and the quirky ones – like Betty. The story opens at a fundraiser for greyhounds (a personal favorite animal fundraiser of mine – and greyhounds make wonderful pets to adopt, to find out where you can do so in your area and lots of great info, check HERE) and Caro has the first victim falling literally at her feet. But not before he grabs onto her shoulder and manages to pull off a brooch that is the cause of an ongoing feud between Caro and her cousin Mel. The story moves along quickly and would be perfect reading for a day at the beach. ♥♥♥♥♥

AUTHOR LINKS

www.SparkleAbbey.com

http://www.sparkleabbey.com/category/blog/

www.facebook.com/sparkleabbey

https://twitter.com/sparkleabbey

https://www.goodreads.com/sparkleabbey

http://www.pinterest.com/sparkleabbey/

 PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon 

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

May 15 – Mystery Playground – Guest Post, Giveaway
May 16 – Kelly P’s Blog – Interview
May 17 – off
May 18 – off
May 19 – Thoughts in Progress – Review, Giveaway
May 20 – rantinravin’ and reading  – Review, Interview
May 21 – Michelle’s Romantic Tangle – Review
May 22 – Traci Andrighetti’s blog – Guest Post
May 23 – deal sharing aunt – Interview
May 24 – off
May 25 – off
May 26 – Community Bookstop – Review, Giveaway
May 27 – Books-n-Kisses – Review, Guest Post
May 28 – Brooke Blogs – Review, Guest Post 
May 29
May 30 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review, Guest Post
June 4 – Queen of All She Reads – Review, Guest Post

 

DEATH RUNS ADRIFT by Karen MacInerney (and a giveaway!)

Critically acclaimed author Karen MacInerney also teaches writers’ workshops and drives a mean carpool. Her book Murder on the Rocks was selected as an Agatha nominee for Best First Novel. When she’s not writing or chauffeuring children, she loves to read, drink coffee, attempt unusual recipes, and hit the local hike-and-bike trail. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and two children, and escapes to Maine as often as possible. Today, Karen, on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, is here discussing what she does when she has a writing drought. Be sure and leave a comment below to be eligible to win a print copy (US only) of DEATH RUNS ADRIFT.

CREATIVITY PRACTICE

By Karen MacInerney

I experienced a bit of a writing drought this past year – something I’ve been through many times before – and now that I’m back in the saddle again, so to speak, I’ve been thinking a lot about what might have caused it.  And how I got out of it.

I think that one of the biggest problems with being a writer, or an artist, or a musician, is the marriage of art and commerce.  When we are making things, be they clay pots, poems, stained glass, or novels, if things are going well, we fall into ‘flow’ mode.  I’m sure you’ve been there before; it’s that magical state when the world recedes around us and there’s nothing but us and our work, and it’s completely absorbing.  When we finally sit up and rejoin the rest of the world, we feel satisfied, at peace.

Some days, it’s harder to get to ‘flow’ than others, but it’s that magical state that makes the experience of making things so satisfying.  The problem is, when we start viewing our work as a commodity, a thing to be critiqued and judged, part of our mind is often disconnected.  It’s the part that tells us we need to work faster, or that what we’re doing isn’t going to sell, or that we were crazy to have tried a project like this because we don’t know what we’re doing and should just stick to what we know other people like.  Or give up on making art altogether, because the sale of a creative product is a risky enterprise.

I’ve heard all of those things inside my head before, particularly when I’ve taken on a particularly challenging project, or one that’s different from what I’m used to doing.  And do you know what usually happens when that voice really gets going?

I stop working.

And when I stop working, I stop getting into flow mode.  And when I stop getting into flow mode, I lose the habit of getting into flow mode, and start to doubt my work even more.  If it goes on long enough I start to think I should switch gears and learn to be a plumber, or refrigerator repair person, or just about anything other than a person who puts words on paper for a living.

Fortunately, so far, I’ve found the strength within myself – and from my community of writers – to pick myself up and get back to the daily practice of writing.  I sit down and I write a thousand words a day.  They don’t have to be good words.  I’m free to delete them the next day (although usually I don’t).  But they propel me forward, they let me enjoy that elusive “flow” state, and they make me feel like a writer.

The truth is, whatever my books do when they go out into the world, I’m happiest when I’m writing; I seem to have a supply of creative energy that needs to be expressed, or it turns in on itself (and me) in unpleasant ways.  When I make my peace with that, my best work seems free to come out. 

Recently, just to shake things up and keep my perspective fresh, I’ve also taken up watercolor.  It’s a more kinesthetic art form, and one which (for me, anyway) carries no expectation of financial remuneration.  It’s not my “job.”  And I’m learning to carry some of that over to my writing, pursuing what inspires me rather than what I “should” be doing.

I’ve ignored my inner voice and followed what I thought was the financially prudent path in my writing career more than once, and each time I have made myself unhappy.  It’s when I listen to the wisdom deep inside me and make my creativity a practice that I’m happiest.  And when I’m following that inner compass, I feel I tend to do better work.

What’s your creative calling? Have you established a creativity practice in your life? Is there something you’d like to try?

Death Runs Adrift (The Gray Whale Inn Mysteries)
Series: The Gray Whale Inn Mysteries (Book 6)
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: MIDNIGHT INK (May 8, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0738734608
ISBN-13: 978-0738734606
Synopsis:

With her own wedding fast approaching and her mother-in-law dating an unexpected beau, the last thing Natalie Barnes needs is to find a young man shot dead in a dinghy. A note she finds with the body suggests the dearly departed had a secret rendezvous planned with somebody on the island. But when suspicion is cast on a fisherman Natalie believes to be innocent, she begins to wonder if the murder was the result of a lover’s quarrel . . . or a lobsterman’s disagreement gone horribly wrong.

PURCHASE LINKS
AMAZON          B&N

AUTHOR LINKS
Website/Facebook/Goodreads

MY REVIEW

When I read a book for review, I have a notebook by my side. Sadly, the better the book, the fewer the notes – I’m just too into it. Total extent of the notes for this book:

  • a tiny island off the coast of Maine
  • close to the border of Canada
  • the sixth entry in the Gray Whale Inn series
  • did I read first one? – it’s on Kindle…  get rest of series
  • FUN FUN FUN
  • great recipes

From my lack of notes, you can assume this was a really, really good book. Natalie Barnes has her wedding plans in place so she has time for other things. Finding a body would not have been top of her list, but that’s what she got. So we have a modern day mystery but running parallel to that is a mystery from back in the twenties – won’t say anymore and spoil it but it is easy to find a bit on the subject here on this blog (hint hint LOL). This is a really great read and stands alone, but like me, you may find yourself wanting to go back and read it from the beginning. ♥♥♥♥♥┼

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

May 8 – Carstairs Considers – Review, Giveaway
May 9 – Books-n-Kisses – Review, Guest Post
May 10 – Kelly P’s Blog – Interview
May 11 –  off – Mother’s Day
May 12 – readalot blog – Review, Giveaway
May 13 – Back Porchervations – Review
May 14 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
May 15 –Mommasezblog – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
May 16 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review, Giveaway
May 18 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Interview
May 19 – rantinravin’ and reading – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
May 20 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – Guest Post, Giveaway
May 21 – Community Bookstop – Review
May 22 – Jane Reads – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
May 23 – Kaisy Daisy’s Corner – Review

 

MURDER IS ACADEMIC by Lesley A. Diehl (and a giveaway!)

lesleyLesley A. Diehl used to be a professor of psychology and university administrator, but when she retired, something more enticing called to her—murder. Raised on a farm in Illinois, Lesley now lives in a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in upstate New York and in the winter she migrates to rural Florida. While she spends a lot of her time writing, she is not always bent over her computer – she gardens, cooks and is renovating her 1874 cottage with the help of her husband, two cats and her resident ghost, Fred, who gives artistic direction to the work.  Lesley is the author of several short stories and a number of mystery series including the microbrewing series (A Deadly Draught; Poisoned Pairings), a rural Florida mystery series (Dumpster Dying; Grilled, Chilled and Killed),and  A Secondhand Murder, the first in The Eve Appel mystery series.  I am thrilled to have Lesley here today with a guest post and be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a Kindle copy of MURDER IS ACADEMIC. Welcome, Lesley.

Murder Is Academic: Yup, it’s based upon my career a college professor

Lesley A. Diehl

 Readers sometimes ask me where I get my ideas from.  For some of my books the ideas arise out of situations I encounter.  My microbrewing series came about when I toured a local microbrewery where our guide took us past a  room with an open fermenting tank and informed us we couldn’t go in there because the yeast gave off carbon dioxide.  My response to this information was to ask, “Could you kill someone in there?”  And then I went on to write a scene where one of the workers was locked in just such a room.  He survived, but I’d already killed someone else in the beginning of the book.  For my books set in rural Florida, alligators, cowboys, swamps and hurricanes define the area, so my protagonists must deal with all these, whether it’s doing a two-step with a handsome cowboy in a local bar or encountering an alligator on a picnic.

Murder Is Academic is based upon my career experiences (the first one, before I became a writer).  I was a professor of psychology for over twenty-five years and retired early to move with my husband to New Mexico.  I missed being with students.  I do believe they kept me young, and life surrounded by them is never dull.  The book features a protagonist, Dr. Laura Murphy, who is very like me back when I juggled classroom instruction with research.  She is dedicated to her teaching and to her research, which, like me, she accomplishes in collaboration with her students.  And then, of course, murder and a bit of passion enter the picture.  Laura falls for a road construction worker who rides a motorcycle.  What could be further from her experience? Far from her world, yes, but since my hubby also rides, I understand the lure of the road on a bike. Laura is not me, however.  She is younger, prettier, more adventuresome, nosier, more passionate about everything and filled with a know-it-all attitude that will be challenged as she tries to help her detective friend solve the murder of her college’s president.

Some readers may say I am too tough on college administrators (hey, I only killed one of them in my book!), but I have been one myself, so I know what the life of a dean or a vice president is like.  And, to be fair, I don’t only kill off the president in the book, I take out faculty too.  This is an equal opportunity murder mystery.

It would be unfair to say I dislike administrators in general.  I’ve met some quite competent ones, people I’d never think of killing in real life or in a book, people who are dedicated to their work and suffer with dignity the incompetence of their bosses.  Administrators have bosses.  Faculty have department chairs, who can be ignored most of the time and who, if they identify with administrators are seen as traitors and spies by the faculty, but if they identify with faculty are seen as incompetent and untrustworthy by administrators.  Not always is this true, but often enough that the chasm between the two reminds me of what’s happening in our congress.  If I seem conflicted on the issue of who’s the good or bad guy, the faulty or the administration, it’s because I can see both sides.  And I created Laura to see both sides also.  That’s often what gets her into hot water.  It’s within this political microcosm that murder is committed, not once but twice.  Laura is just the gal to find the killerat some danger to herself.

If it sounds like I’m happy to be out of academe, that’s only partially true also.  I still have dreams of being in the classroom, delivering a lecture on some topic in developmental psychology.  And the lecture is one of my best!  Of course, I also have dreams about my department chair castigating me for failing to show up for my class the entire semester.  That’s a stress dream if ever there was one, and something I never did.

I am happy to be writing about my former career in academe.  I think  it’s a particularly rich area and makes a fine setting for a murder especially if you have someone as nosy and savvy as Laura to track down the killer.

BLURB

Murder Is Academic
(Laura Murphy Mystery Series)

by Lesley A. Diehl

File Size: 1626 KB
Print Length: 223 pages
Publisher: Lesley A. Diehl (March 29, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
ASIN: B00JCV6XG8

Laura Murphy, psychology professor, thinks there’s nothing she likes better than coffee and donuts on a summer morning until she says yes to dinner with a Canadian biker and finds herself and her date suspects in the murder of her college’s president. Laura’s friend, the detective assigned the case, asks her to help him find out who on the small upstate New York college campus may be a killer.  The murder appears to be wrapped up in some unsavory happenings on the lake where Laura lives.  A fish kill and raw sewage seeping into the water along with the apparent drowning suicide of a faculty member complicate the hunt for the killer.  And then things become personal.  The killer makes a threatening phone call to Laura. With a tornado bearing down on the area and the killer intent upon silencing her, Laura’s sleuthing work may come too late to save her and her biker from a watery grave.

MY REVIEW 

I enjoyed the book. Quite a bit of academic politics as a disliked college president is murdered. I felt I could have known the main characters better. The book is a first in a series but it feels as if it was further on (which is a complement, actually) – I looked to see if there were any earlier I could read because I felt I was missing the usual ‘learning curve’, for lack of a better term, in getting to know the characters. Laura Murphy is a somewhat flawed protagonist for a cozy, she sleeps with a total stranger on the first date. And the detective friend is somewhat unusual in that he actually encourages Laura’s snooping – although he does seem to regret that later on. Well written, will keep you guessing, I will look forward to further installments in this series. And while it is not something I usually comment on – I really, really did not like the cover which would have been more suited to a much lighter, much more humorous type of cozy. ♥♥♥♥

BUY THE BOOK

AUTHOR’S WEBSITE/BLOG

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

May 15 – rantinravin’ and reading – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
May 16 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review,
May 17 – The Book Junkie – Review, Giveaway
May 19 – Bea’s Book Nook – Review,
May 20 – fuonlyknew ~ Laura’s ramblins and reviews – Review
May 21 – deal sharing aunt – Interview, Giveaway
May 22 – Victoria’s Pages of Romance – Guest Post
May 23 – Traci Andrighett’s blog – Review
May 26 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
May 27 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Interview
May 28 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – Review
May 29 – Back Porchervations – Review, Interview
May 30 – Community Bookstop – Review
May 31 – StoreyBook Reviews – Review

 

MURDER IN MERINO by Sally Goldenbaum (and a giveaway!)

Sally Goldenbaum is a sometime philosophy teacher, a knitter, and an editor, and the author of more than thirty novels. Sally became more serious about knitting with the birth of her first grandchild and the creation of the Seaside Knitters mystery series. Her fictional knitting friends are teaching her the intricacies of women’s friendship, the mysteries of small-town living, and the very best way to pick up dropped stitches on a lacy knit shawl. Sally is stopping here today with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours because she has a new book in The Seaside Knitters Mystery series, MURDER IN MERINO. She’s giving away a hardcover copy (US only) so be sure and leave a comment for her below. Welcome, Sally.

My Irish mother is, for whatever reason, into the old Nordic or Fair Isle type of knits. I am traditional Aran with my cables and bobbles, although with some rather modern designs. So what type of knitting do you like to do?

I would love to see samples of your knitting. I suspect it’s more sophisticated than my own. I like fairly simple knitting with soft, silky, lovely yarns. I don’t like to have to think a lot. I DO like cables, though I’m not very good at Fair Isle. I have trouble keeping the colored strands from looking messy.

Where do you get your plot ideas?

Sometimes I get ideas from walking she shores and small towns that dot Cape Ann, where the Seaside Knitters Mysteries are set. I listen to the people, ‘hanging out and keeping my eyes open.’ The area is populated by wonderful and interesting folks—fishermen, artists, shopkeepers and people who left the bustle of cities to enjoy the beauty of seaside living. They are all inspirations, along with the situations that make up their lives.

Things I see while spending time in the area are also fodder for plots. ANGORA ALIBI, for example, was inspired by a walk my husband, daughter, and I took along Niles beach where we spotted an abandoned infant car seat. It was there in the same spot for several days and made us all very curious—even slightly concerned because we never spotted a baby or a mother. Hmmm. Where were they….? And so the mystery in ANGORA ALIBI began.

I rarely if ever know the whole plot when I begin a book. I have a ‘seed’ of an idea (like the infant car seat in ANGORA ALIBI or the mysterious stranger in MURDER IN MERINO who never knew her past). I usually know who is going to be murdered before I get very far into the story. But most often I don’t know why or who did it. I depend on my characters to lead me along. Some days they are more cooperative than others, but they always come through in the end.

What is your daily writing routine?

I try to structure a normal workday for writing—9 to 5.  Usually I retreat to a library, a coffee shop, my back porch (in perfect weather) or a writing friend’s deck (when we are both on similar schedules). When deadlines loom, my days grow longer and weekend are no longer for leisure, but I suppose that is true of many professions.

How long does it take you to write a book?

It’s a little like a pregnancy. Appropriate, I think! Not every minute of the nine months is spent writing, though. I mull over ideas, brainstorm with a couple of friends who know the series well, research online, etc. Sometimes I write essays about new characters, trying to get to know them as I place them in situations and see how they work their way out of them. I talk to myself sometimes, too, (though not in the library; they frown on that!) I usually take breaks for long walks and hope no one sees the crazy lady talking to herself as she walks through the park.

Now three things I ask everyone:

  • What is your favorite food?  As you can probably tell from the seaside knitters mysteries, I love to cook AND to eat. (Nell’s kitchen is my dream kitchen.) And you can probably also tell that I love pasta, anything with lemon, seafood and fresh vegetables (especially grilled or roasted). I guess that’s more than one favorite, isn’t it? Oh dear….
  • What is your favorite TV show?   The Good Wife. SO good!
  • What is your favorite music?  My husband is a classical violinist and guitarist and because of that, I have been exposed to the Spanish compositions that Julian Bream and Segovia play. But I also love oldies—the Beatles, Paul Simon, etc. And I like Norah Jones, Adele, Sarah McLachlan. And depending on my mood (and what scene I am writing in a book) I often listen to Soundtracks from movies like As Good As It Gets, When Harry Met Sally, etc.  (And my granddaughter Ruby has introduced me to Frozen, insisting I download it onto my iPhone….)

It’s been great to have you here today. Is there anything else you would like to say to your readers before you go?

Kate, you are wonderful for inviting me to spend time here. Connecting with readers is one of the very best parts of writing. Readers’ support, helpful notes, and expressions of interest and caring make what is sometimes a lonely profession, a most satisfying one. I enjoy hearing readers’ thoughts after reading one of my mysteries. I will be most interested to hear you weigh in about Jules Ainsley, a woman who wanders into Sea Harbor in the newest mystery, MURDER IN MERINO. I didn’t like her at first.  But then…

Well, let me know what you think. And thank you for being here!

BLURB 

It’s autumn in Sea Harbor and as the tourists leave a mysterious guest arrives. When she’s implicated in a crime the Seaside Knitters must quickly table their knitting project and search out a motif for murder.

Fall is usually a relaxing time in Sea Harbor, but it’s turning out to be a busy season for Izzy Chambers Perry. Not only is she helping the Seaside Knitters make a magnificent throw to celebrate the fortieth wedding anniversary of her aunt and uncle, she and her husband are finally selling the cottage she lived in before they married and had a darling baby girl. To Izzy’s surprise, newcomer Julia Ainsley seems determined to buy the home—although she’s never set foot inside.

But on the day of the open house, things take a tragic turn. A body is uncovered in the cottage’s backyard. When the police find Julia’s name and phone number in the victim’s pocket, this slender thread of evidence makes her a person of interest. Soon the spotlight of suspicion widens to include old friends and town leaders, as a tragic happening, long buried in the sleepy seaside town, is slowly brought to the surface.

Before the Endicotts’ joyful anniversary celebration can be realized, the Seaside Knitters must work to unravel the real reason Julia Ainsley has come to their town and the tangled and tragic ties from the past that bind friends and townsfolk together.

AUTHOR LINKS

https://www.facebook.com/authorsallygoldenbaum?ref=hl

twitter.com/sallygoldenbaum

www.sallygoldenbaum.com

PURCHASE LINKS 

AMAZON        B&N 

MY REVIEW 

I read an earlier book in this series but somehow, never found the time for any others. After reading this latest installment, I will go back and read them all. There are wonderful characters and I want to see where they started and how they evolved to this point. These are people you would want to know. There is also a wonderful sense of place, wonderful description. This is a place you will want to visit. Enough talk of food and knitting to be interesting without being overbearing. I was at about page one fifty something when I was sure I knew the killer. Getting closer to the end, I was sure I had been right about who, just wrong about why. Turns out I was wrong on all counts! And that always makes a mystery more fun, when I’ve been fooled. There is a cast of characters in the front. Handy, I know so many readers like that. And in the back you will find a recipe and a pattern for the afghan talked about throughout the book. This one is ♥♥♥♥♥


TOUR PARTICIPANTS

May 6 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review, Giveaway

May 7 – Our Wolves Den – Review, Giveaway

May 8 – Books-n-Kisses – Review, Interview

May 9 – Griperang’s Bookmarks – Review

May 10 – rantinravin’ and reading – Review, Interview, Giveaway

May 12 – Books Are Life – Vita Libri – Review

May 13 – deal sharing aunt – Review, Giveaway

May 14 – Back Porchervations – Review

May 16 – Community Bookstop – Review

May 17 – Booklady’s Booknotes – Review, Interview, Giveaway

May 19 – Watching the Words – Review

May 20 – A Chick Who Reads – Review

May 21 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – Review

May 22 – Brooke Blogs – Review

 

 

 

 

 

THE CORPSE WITH THE EMERALD THUMB by Cathy Ace (and a giveaway!)

Cathy Ace has been here on the blog before, but she is on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the release of her latest in the Cait Morgan Mystery series, THE CORPSE WITH THE EMERALD THUMB, so I am very pleased to welcome here again. Born, raised, and educated in Wales, Cathy enjoyed a successful career in marketing and training across Europe, before immigrating to Vancouver, Canada, where she taught MBA and undergraduate marketing programs at various universities. Her eclectic tastes in art, music, food, and drink have been developed during her decades of extensive travel, which she continues whenever possible. Now a full-time author, Cathy’s short stories have appeared in multiple anthologies, as well as on BBC Radio 4. She and her husband are keen gardeners, who enjoy being helped out around their acreage by their green-pawed Labradors. I am very pleased to have Cathy here once again, as she makes the last stop on her tour. Do take the time to listen to Cathy reading an excerpt, enjoy her interview and be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a Kindle copy of The Corpse with the Emerald Thumb.

This presents a problem. We talked about writing before. And I know a fair bit about her from being Facebook friends and in some of the same groups. So… no choice but go tabloid and get personal here. Welcome Cathy and buckle up ;)

I was going to say that it’s great to be here again Kate . . . but now I’m beginning to worry about it! In any case, I have buckled up, and let’s hope it’s not a bumpy ride ;-)

You may not be a sleuth like Cait Morgan but you certainly are a bit of an adventurer. It takes a certain kind of person to leave country and family behind. I mean when your country isn’t being ravaged by tyranny, war or famine. And I want you to know I am insanely jealous because I tried for Canada but apparently I have no discernable skills. But why did you leave everything behind and what about you made you able to do such a scary, to most people, thing?

I left Wales after university, and I’d lived in London, in the UK, for the better part of two decades, but had traveled extensively for both business and pleasure during that time. By 1999 I had sold my business (Europe’s largest privately owned post-graduate marketing training college) and was considering spending more time in the south of France, where I usually spent a few months each year. The University of British Columbia “imported” me to teach marketing on their MBA course. I’d never worked in the academic world before, and I saw it as a way to give back. Maybe because I was such a frequent traveler (I was spending only a couple of months a year at my London home then) I didn’t see the move to Canada as scary at all. I sort of “commuted” between London and Vancouver for about a year, then decided to sell my home in London and was able to buy a place in Canada.

Tell us a little about the family you left behind. What was it like then and what is it like now, where are they, are there lots of new ones, and do you see them often?

My Mum and my sister still live in Wales. Luckily for me, my Dad was able to visit my new home in Canada a few times before he died. My Mum and sister still visit once a year, and I visit them a couple of times a year.

I have had people tell me that emigration is easier today with FaceTime and Skype and Facebook – not that they have experienced it, but they know. LOL I’m not sure I agree. I think my heart breaks a little every time I see what my friends and family are up to without me. How do you feel about it? Do you think the technology makes it easier or do you think it was easier in the old days when it was a clean break, just the odd letter now and then?

I can only really tell you how it is for me. I speak to my Mum and my sister every day, I email them every day, and my sister and I connect online. There are a few friends I keep in touch with in various parts of the world, but I never had huge groups of friends in any case, and I don’t feel we all “miss” each other—we keep in touch as we can, and see each other, somewhere in the world, as we can. I’m not one for regret. If I can be somewhere to share something, I will do it. If I can’t I send my love and hope everyone else has a blast ;-)

What is wonderful about Canada? What has it given you that you wouldn’t have found in Wales? Do you think you would have become a writer in Wales?

To me, Canada is about open space, fresh air, the silence you need to hear your own thoughts, and a home with a wonderful garden! I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have become a writer if I’d stayed in Wales. I left Wales to work, and through that work I became someone who wrote for a living, albeit I was writing for advertising and public relations campaigns. We never know how one decision affects our lives, or effects our lives. But we make decisions based on the knowledge we have at the time, and trying to weigh all the options. My parents, like most parents, wanted me to have a better life than they had. They taught me to give 200%, to always do my best. I try to live up to that. Who knows where that would have taken me in Wales, or London, or anywhere else? I am very happy with my life right now. I believe I am the most fortunate person in the world!

Tell us about your personal life (as if this wasn’t personal enough! LOL). I’ve seen pictures of your wedding – it was on a beach or something wasn’t it? Is your husband Canadian? Do you have children? Grandchildren?

You have eagle eyes! Yes, last year I posted our wedding photo on Facebook to mark our anniversary. We were married standing barefoot in a waterfall in Hawaii. Idyllic, and as beautiful as it sounds. It was just us two—with family scattered about all over the place, it would have been far too complicated for everyone to come together in one place, so we just went and did it. Not an elopement, just a quite ceremony. I married when I was 44, so have no children. But my husband, who is also Welsh, and who I met when I was 11 years old (yes, sweet!), has a wonderful son and daughter. I am lucky enough that I get to fill four grandchildren with sugar and hand them back to their loving parents!

It has been a pleasure having you here again, Cathy. You’re probably already worrying what I might ask when your next book but in the mean time, is there anything else you would like to tell your readers before you go?

This has been quite an experience! Thanks so much for having me along. I hope that readers enjoy traveling with Cait Morgan, and me. This time, in THE CORPSE WITH THE EMERALD THUMB, she’s in Mexico. In September 2014 she gets to visit Las Vegas, in THE CORPSE WITH THE PLATINUM HAIR. Maybe you’ll have me back again then—though I am already worried about what you might ask! Thanks for having me!

BLURB 

The Corpse with the Emerald Thumb
(A Cait Morgan Mystery)

3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Publisher: TouchWood Editions (April 15, 2014)
Paperback: 240 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1771510639 

Criminologist and foodie Cait Morgan was looking forward to her dream vacation in Mexico with her boyfriend Bud Anderson. She wasn’t anticipating a fresh corpse on the floor of a local florist’s shop, and she definitely wasn’t expecting Bud to become the prime suspect.

With Bud’s freedom, and maybe even his life, at stake, Cait has to fight the clock to work out which member of the small community living in the seemingly idyllic municipality of Punta de las Rocas might have killed the locally respected florist, and why. Needing to investigate under the watchful gaze of the local police, Cait has to keep her relationship with Bud a secret, and she soon discovers she’s not the only one with something to hide. Peeling back layers of deceit to reveal even more puzzles, Cait struggles with a creeping sense of unreality, desperate to save Bud . . . and, ultimately, herself.

In the third book in the beloved Cait Morgan Mysteries, The Corpse with the Emerald Thumb, travel to the idyllic Mexican countryside as Cait Morgan works against the clock to clear her wrongly accused partner of murder. 

MY REVIEW 

Do I even need to give a rating at this point? I expect a great read from Cathy Ace and once again she has delivered. In a strange country, Cait finds herself alone and over her head trying to save Bud who has been accused of murder – and who, she discovers, is not who she thought he was. We get a shock about half way through when Cait herself is arrested as an accomplice. How will she get both of them out of this? You will enjoy finding out. Once again this is ♥♥♥♥♥

AUTHOR LINKS 

Website = www.cathyace.com

Twitter  = @AceCathy

Facebook = https://www.facebook.com/cathy.ace.author?fref=ts

 

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

April 22 – dru’s book musing

April 23 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard – Review, Interview

April 24 –Chloe Gets A Clue – Guest Post

April 25 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review

April 26 – Kelly P’s Blog – Interview

April 27 – Little Whimsy Books – Review

April 28 – readalot blog – Review

April 29 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post

April 30 – Kaisy Daisy’s Corner – Review

May 1 – Books-n-Kisses – Review

May 2 – Back Porchervations – Interview

May 3 – Brooke Blogs – Review

May 4 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Guest Post

May 5 – Queen of All She Reads – Review, Guest Post

May 6 – rantinravin’ and reading – Review, Interview

 

 

THE CODE OF THE HIILS an ozarks mystery, by Nancy Allen (and a giveaway!)

on Tour April 14 – May 16, 2014

 

91bg7VDixqL._SL1500_Book Details:

Genre: Legal Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: April 15, 2014
Number of Pages: 400
ISBN: 9780062325945

Purchase Links:

Synopsis:

A powerful debut thriller set in the Ozark hills, about a young female prosecutor trying to do right by her vulnerable clients-but by breaking their silence, she herself may fall victim to THE CODE OF THE HILLS.

Elsie Arnold may not always have it all together, but a raucous night at the bar now and then is just how she blows off steam after a long week of hard-fought trials. When she is chosen to assist on a high-profile incest case, Elsie is excited to step up after four years of hard work as an attorney for the prosecutor’s office, and ready to realize her ambition of becoming the Ozarks’ avenging angel. There might even be media attention.

But as soon as Elsie she begins to sink her teeth into the State of Missouri vs. Kris Taney, things start to go wrong -which is when her boss dumps the entire case on her. The star witness and victim’s brother, who has accused Taney of sexually abusing his three daughters, has gone missing. The three girls, ages six, 12, and 15, may not be fit to testify, their mother won’t talk, and the evidence is spotty. To make matters worse, it seems that some people in town don’t want Elsie to lock Taney up – judging by the death threats and chicken parts left for her to find.

Elsie is determined to break the code of silence and find out what really happened, refusing to let a sex offender walk, but the odds – and maybe the community – are against her. Even as Elsie fights the good fight for her clients, she isn’t so different from them: her personal life is taking a one-two punch as her cop boyfriend becomes more and more controlling. And amidst all of the conflict, the safety of the three young Taney girls hangs in the balance.

My Review

I am sure this was a difficult book to write, it is to read. The writing is wonderful, it is the subject matter, incest. Elsie Arnold is an attorney in the Prosecutor’s Office. The book opens with her hungover after a bit too much celebrating over winning a felony assault trial. Elsie is a bit of a party girl, in a lousy relationship with a cop, has a boatload of self doubt, and her boss is a bitch and a political appointed prima dona. But Elsie is all three little girls have to protect them from their father. I think this was an excellent read. I have no idea if Elsie is planned to be a series character but if she is, I will be right there waiting as each new book comes out. I do question if readers will accept her. They have no problem with a male alcoholic as protagonist (i.e. Jesse Stone) but I wonder if they will be as accepting of a female. I do look forward to finding out however, and as far as I am concerned, this one is ♥♥♥♥♥

Read an excerpt:

Tiffany picked up the tiny pink plastic brush and ran it through the Barbie’s silky hair. Smoothing the blond hairdo with her hand, she turned the new doll around to closely inspect every detail of its face and figure. She’d never owned a new Barbie before, just had to make do with cast-off dolls her older sisters passed down: old Barbies with missing clothes and limbs and ragged hair.

This doll was a Christmas gift, but it had to be a secret, because Tiffany’s daddy wouldn’t like it. Daddy didn’t hold with Christmas; he said it was a waste of money. When it came to presents and such, they kept their mouths shut if they knew what was good for them.

But the PTA ladies from Tiffany’s school delivered a basket on Christmas Eve, when Daddy was out. Mom wouldn’t have been allowed to open the door to them if he was home, because Daddy and Uncle Al didn’t like people snooping around.

So when they spied the new Barbie in the box sitting on top of the canned goods, her mom told her to grab it and get it out of sight, because Daddy would take it back to the store and swap it for money if it was still in its plastic box.

Tiffany got it out in the nick of time, right before Tiffany’s daddy and Al came home with a bottle. The men sat on the front steps, drinking and laughing until the liquor ran out. Then the fighting started, and Daddy beat Al up pretty good. Storming from the house with his face dripping blood, Al yelled about getting even. Mom said the commotion was likely to bring the police down on them. Then Daddy said he’d teach her a lesson about back-sassing.

Tiffany ran upstairs so she wouldn’t have to watch it. She took the Barbie to bed with her and stuck it under her T-shirt for safekeeping.

The next afternoon, on Christmas Day, Tiffany hid with her new Barbie, whispering secrets into her plastic ear. Huddled against the tattered back of the couch, she heard heavy footsteps stride through the living room. Tiffany froze, hardly daring to breathe, as her dad stomped into the kitchen.

The feet returned to the living room. She could see his scuffed toes when she peeked under the couch.

“Where the hell is Charlene?” he demanded.

Tiffany’s mom called from the kitchen. “She’s out back. What do you want her for?”

“I want a rubdown.”

“She don’t like to,” her mom responded in a hoarse whisper, tiptoeing into the room. The silence that followed was terrible. Tiffany could imagine the expression on his face. When he said, “I ain’t gonna tell you again,” her mom went to the kitchen window and called for Charlene.

Charlene came inside. When he took her to the bedroom and shut the door, she didn’t put up a fight. It was just as well. Charlene would have to do it anyway, and she’d buy trouble if she made a fuss. Still, noises came from behind the door. Tiffany stuck her fingers in her ears and hid her face on her knees. She could stay right in that spot and no one would know she was there. She wouldn’t make a sound.

###

The ringing woke Elsie from a restless sleep. She rolled over on her side, registering a nagging headache, a terrible thirst, and a sense of chagrin. Dear God, she thought, I’ll never drink again.

Fumbling for the phone on her bedside table, she checked the caller ID: PRIVATE. “Forget it,” she said, and rolled back over.

She closed her eyes and tried to drift off again, but her thirst wouldn’t let her rest. Soda, she thought. It might jump-start her recovery.

Groaning, she tossed off her quilt and trudged into the kitchen. Opening the refrigerator door, she pushed aside a jar of Hellmann’s to reach for her medicine: the box containing shiny silver cans of Diet Coke.

With a sigh of relief, she pulled one from the box and popped the top. It slid down her throat tasting like the nectar of the gods, and she gulped gratefully.

Making her way to the living room, Elsie thought she’d check to see whether she’d made the morning news. Reporters from the local TV stations had been at the courthouse when the jury returned its guilty verdict in the felony assault trial she’d won the night before. She squinted at the digital clock on her cable box: 8:46 A.M. She’d missed it; the morning news ran at eight o’clock on Saturday.

Well, hell, she thought. Looking around, she surveyed the damage that a week of neglect had wreaked in her apartment. Though she couldn’t see clearly without her contact lenses, it was easy to make out the dirty coffee cups, the congealed pizza on the coffee table, and the stacks of files and wadded sheets of discarded arguments for the prosecution littering the floor. Maybe I’ll clean up today, she told herself, adding, later. She was too tired to contemplate labor. The hangover was an unwelcome reminder that thirty-one was not twenty-one. She felt as old as the hills.

Elsie headed to the bathroom in search of her glasses. Digging through a drawer of jumbled cosmetics, she was conscious of the bitter taste that the Diet Coke failed to wash away. The taste brought back memories of the prior night, and she grimaced at the thought. After the jury had returned its guilty verdict in her hard-fought trial, she had joined a group of cops at Baldknobbers bar. Flush with victory, she led the pack in rounds of beer, downing one Corona after another.

After that, her recall became fuzzy. She knew the party ended when she slipped on a slick spot on her way to the restroom and landed on her back on the dirty barroom floor. Her tumble earned her a hasty departure and a ride home from Ashlock.

Now, cringing at the recollection, she wished she hadn’t played the drunken fool with Bob Ashlock there.

Ashlock was an old-fashioned law-and-order pro, a straight arrow. He was powerfully built, like a boxer, and conveyed authority with his erect military posture, no-nonsense manner, and the jut of his square Irish jaw. Juries loved him, and she liked and respected him immensely. Not forty yet, he had already served as Chief of Detectives for the Barton P.D. for nearly eight years, following a stellar decade on patrol. In her four years in the Prosecutor’s Office, his careful investigative work and ease on the witness stand had turned the tide for her in many cases.

As she sat on her couch, wondering what she would say when she encountered Ashlock at the courthouse, and contemplating how long Noah would pout, her cell phone rang. “Leave me alone,” she muttered, even as she grabbed her purse and fumbled to answer.
“Hello,” she said without enthusiasm, wondering what inconsiderate oaf would call a working girl before nine o’clock on a Saturday morning.

“Elsie, it’s Madeleine. I’ve been trying to reach you.”

No, no, no, no. An early morning call from her boss, Madeleine Thompson, was not likely to be good news. She slumped down on the couch and squeezed her eyes shut. “Hey, Madeleine, what can I do for you?”

“Will you be coming into work today?”

Elsie was speechless for a moment. “Madeleine, it’s Saturday.”

“I know what day it is. Did you plan on coming in?”

“Well, no, I didn’t,” she said. She heard an apologetic note in her voice, and hated herself for it. “I just finished up the jury trial on that assault case last night. I’ve been burning the midnight oil all week. I thought I’d take it easy today.”

“Is that right? I’ve been over here at the courthouse since eight o’clock. I’m working on the Taney case. Do you know who Taney is?”

“Sure. He’s the guy who was messing with his daughters. The new incest case.”

“That’s the one.” Madeleine’s tone grew friendlier. “I need a second chair on this case, I think. I made a commitment to the voters in McCown County to aggressively pursue these abuse cases. Everyone says you have a real gift for handling young witnesses and developing rapport with children. Elsie, I want to bring you on board to assist me.”

“Great.” She sat up straight on the couch, feeling a twinge of excitement; she certainly believed in locking up sex offenders. It was the reason she’d decided on law school in the first place. And she wasn’t above appreciating that the Taney case had already sparked media attention. It would be high profile, and she was flattered to be chosen to assist. If her boss had expressed an interest in the outcome of the trial she won yesterday, she would be even more flattered.

“The preliminary hearing is next week,” Madeleine said, “but we have a witness interview scheduled at ten o’clock. Can you be here in thirty minutes?”

“Sure, thirty minutes is no problem,” Elsie replied, and then added, “I got a guilty verdict last night. The jury recommended twenty years.”

“Oh. Too bad you didn’t get more prison time. Well, see you in half an hour.


When the call was over, Elsie stared at the phone in her hand. “Bitch.” She shuffled to the bathroom and had picked up her toothbrush when she was struck by a recollection that nearly made her drop it. She didn’t have her car. It was in the parking lot of Baldknobbers bar.

Author Bio:

Nancy Allen is a member of the law faculty in the College of Business at Missouri State University. She practiced law for 15 years, serving as Assistant Missouri Attorney General and as Assistant Prosecutor in her native Ozarks. When Nancy began her term as prosecutor, she was only the second woman in Southwest Missouri to serve in that capacity. During her years in prosecution, she tried over 30 jury trials, including murder and sexual offenses, and she served on the Rape Crisis Board and the child protection team of the Child Advocacy Council. THE CODE OF THE HILLS is her first novel.

 

Catch Up With the Author:

Giveaway:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway for 10 individual promo codes for a free download of the book. Winner must have access to Bluefire Reader and have an Adobe account to receive free download. For a chance to win, go HERE.

Tour Participants:

4/14 Guest Post @ The Book Divas Reads
4/15 Review @ Melinas Book Blog
4/17 Showcase @ Bookalicious Traveladdict
4/21 Interview @ Words by Webb
4/22 Review & Giveaway @ Words by Webb
4/23 Showcase @ 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!
4/27 ~ Showcase @ The Opinionated Me
4/28 Guest Post & Excerpt @ Lauries Thoughts and Reviews
4/28 Guest Post @ Writers and Authors
4/29 Review & Giveaway @ rantin ravin and reading
5/01 Showcase @ Deal Sharing Aunt
5/03 ~ Guest Post @ Omnimystery News
5/10 ~ Showcase @ Hott Books
5/12 Guest Post, Review & Giveaway @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews

BURNOUT by Teresa Trent (and a giveaway!)

ttrentTeresa Trent writes her Pecan Bayou Mystery Series from Houston, Texas. With a father in the army, her family moved often finally settling in Colorado. Living in Texas for the last 18 years she loves the people and even the weather. Teresa includes Danny, a character with Down Syndrome in her Pecan Bayou family and in real life is the mother of an adult son with Down Syndrome/PDD. Creating the character of Danny and all of the other inhabitants of Pecan Bayou has been a joy for her. Even though she lives in the big city, her writing is influenced by all of the interesting people she finds in small towns and the sense of family that seems to be woven through them all. Teresa is touring with Great Escapes Virtual Books Tours for the release of her latest book in the Pecan Bayou series, BURNOUT. You will find my review below and there is a giveaway. Just leave a comment for Teresa and then go HERE. Today, Teresa is going to tell us about avoiding writer’s burnout. Welcome Teresa. 

Avoiding Writer’s Burnout

by Teresa Trent

When I announced to a member of my family the title of my fifth book would be BURNOUT, he quickly emailed me back and asked if this was how I was feeling about writing. Okay. He had me. The title of my fourth book was BUZZKILL and my fifth book was BURNOUT. It doesn’t sound very positive, but honestly the titles of the books do not at all reflect my feelings about writing. On the contrary, it seems like the more I write, the more I enjoy writing.

Like any other person on the planet, I am over scheduled. I am not a full-time writer. I split my time between writing, a couple of part-time jobs, and my family. The idea of burning out in the process of writing is pretty tough for me to do. When I do get time to write, I cherish it and wish that I was more productive than I am. As my writing time increases I find it easier to work through the many drafts I produce in writing one book. If I have to take long gaps in my writing, then my plotting suffers. This is my form of burnout. It doesn’t occur writing too much, but from writing too little.

When you are writing consistently you can remember things from day to day. If you write one day, then come back a week later chances are you will have a hard time remembering just what you were trying to do.

I also find myself wanting to quit while in the throes of revision. It is sometimes tedious, and often confusing for me as I go back through the story and realize that I have character movements, settings, plot twists or whatever that might not be working. Sometimes my frustration level at this point can lead to burnout. Here are some strategies that I use so that I can return to my manuscript within 24 hours. If I take any longer than that I risk losing my fluidity of thought.

*Make a note of what the problem is. This is where you have to create your own editor in your head. You’re a writer-it ought to be easy make one more character. Sometimes I will write myself notes like this: “Really? This is never going to work. Change this and then change that or think of something.” I really write it like that. So in this instance it’s okay to talk to yourself to define the problem and start brainstorming your way out of it.

*Go do something, but keep the problem simmering in the back of your mind. Sometimes I go garden and think about things as I’m digging in the dirt. Menial tasks work best. I‘m no longer staring at my computer screen and somehow that helps to pry loose answers to whatever plot problems I may be having. Taking a walk is good for this as well. Just don’t talk to yourself in front your neighbor’s house.

*Go back to your manuscript and try not to let more than 12 to 24 hours pass. Take too long and you will not only lose your train of thought, but you start to lose your excitement for the piece. In the early stages of writing a book you are the only cheerleader for that story that you are telling. If you aren’t excited for what you are trying to produce than nobody else will be either.

*Immediately write down the ideas that you came up within the time you spent away from your manuscript. Go through each idea and look back at your scene list to see how you can incorporate them into what you already have. If you now know you have to get rid of something, start finding the scenes that involve the character or idea that you need to eliminate. Never delete anything totally. Sometimes I take sections out that aren’t working and I put them in another file. Maybe I’ll use that section later and maybe I won’t, but there’s always a chance I have something in there that’s worth salvaging. Just because Stephen King threw his first novel Carrie in the trash, doesn’t mean you have to do the same thing.

*Start reworking your story.

The strategies above may help you avoid burnout. Just remember that when you are writing something as long as a novel, the chances of you making a mistake are pretty good. Be prepared for your mistakes and make a plan to fix it. Once you understand that few writers get it right the first time, the chance of writer’s burnout decreases.

I hope you pick up a copy of my cozy mystery BURNOUT! Betsy is famous for burning things in the kitchen, but this mystery has a fire she didn’t start Thanks for letting me come visit!

Author Links:

Webpage: www.teresatrent.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/teresatrentmysterywriter

GoodReadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5219581.Teresa_Trent

Twitter: @ttrent_cozymys

Purchase Links
AMAZON 

burnout coverBurnout (Pecan Bayou Series)
Cozy Mystery
E-Book File Size: 895 KB
Print Length: 202 pages
ASIN: B00ISDZK8S

Synopsis
It’s November in Pecan Bayou, Texas and while the town is getting ready for the Thanksgiving holiday a deadly fire breaks out at the newspaper office. When Rocky, the editor is nowhere to be found, Betsy refuses to believe he has perished in the fire. The entire town is coming down with the stomach flu and Betsy must deal with her husband’s new found celebrity as an on-air weatherman filling in for and under-the-weather Hurricane Hal . Leo loves all the attention he’s getting, especially from the sexy administrative assistant who works at the station. Is their new marriage in trouble already? Find out in the fifth book of the Pecan Bayou Mystery Series. All the characters you’ve come to know and love are back and you’ll find plenty of the Happy Hinter’s recipes and tips included at the end of the book.

MY REVIEW 

I have been enjoying this series and it has only gotten better with each installment, including this one. The story opens with the burning of the sixty-three year old Pecan Bayou Gazette building on Main Street. Is Rocky the body inside? I love the character of Betsy. She is so real. Leaves her son in a crisis to run and pee. Real life so rarely makes an appearance in fiction like that! She has problems with her son and is also jealous about her husband and a coworker, possibly she’s… oh wait, my guess, you read and find out. This one is ♥♥♥♥♥

EXCERPT 

An hour later, Tyler and I walked into the Harvest Dance with our arms full of every baked item we could get our hands on from the grocery store. The tables were already covered in sparkling autumn colored table cloths with tasteful pumpkin and scarecrow centerpieces. It was stunning, and I hated to plop a box of Tasteeo Cupcakes on top of it all.
Phyllis, dressed in a mustard turtleneck with a maroon silk scarf tied around her neck approached. “What is this?” Her face turned white, and then was replaced with a complimentary fall color of scarlet red.
“Uh…” I stammered. “I had a little difficulty with the pumpkin squares, but you know kids. They’ll eat anything sweet, right?”
I waited for her to reassure me, but she seemed to be at a loss for words.
“You want me to open up these boxes, Betsy?” Tyler asked.
“Yes, if you would. I’m sure Mrs. Hamlin has lovely plates for us to put these on.”
Phyllis gritted her teeth and turned toward Tyler. “There are some paper plates over there.”
She turned back to me and took hold of my arm squeezing tightly on my bicep with her tastefully manicured nails.
“I specifically told you to make the pumpkin squares. If I wanted a hodge podge of junk food I would have simply stopped down at the Circle K Convenience store.”
Another mother stepped by with her freshly groomed son in tow. “Lovely tables Phyllis,” she said with a little wave.
“Thank you Shelley. We work very hard to make it a wonderful experience for our children.” Somehow I knew she wasn’t including me in that statement.
“I tried to make the pumpkin squares, but we’ve had flu at our house, and I lost track of time, and they burnt.”
“Then why didn’t you just make another batch?”
“There’s not a can of pumpkin left in the entire town.”
“Yes, there is. I have four cans of pumpkin in my pantry. All you had to do was call me.”
The principal walked by. “Beautiful job, Mrs. Hamlin. Don’t know what we’d do without you.”

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Tour Participants

April 14 – Traci Andrighetti’s Blog – Review

April 15 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review

April 16 – Kelly P’s Blog – Interview

April 17 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – Guest Post

April 18 – Books Are Life – Vita Libri – Review

April 19 – Books-n-Kisses – Review, Guest Post

April 20 – EASTER

April 21 – Michele Lynn Seigfried’s Blog – Guest Post

April 22 – Community Bookstop – Review

April 23 – readalot blog – Review

April 24 – Back Porchervations – Interview – Review

April 25 – rantinravin‘ and reading – Review, Guest Post

April 26 –  off

April 27 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Guest Post

April 28 – My Recent Favorite Books – Review

April 29 – Deal Sharing Aunt – Interview

April 30 – A Chick Who Reads – Review

May 1 – Brooke Blogs – Guest Post

May 2 – Little Whimsy Books – Guest Post