FATAL BRUSHSTROKE by Sybil Johnson

Sybil Johnson’s love affair with reading began in kindergarten with “The Three Little Pigs.” Visits to the library introduced her to Encyclopedia Brown, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and a host of other characters. Fast forward to college where she continued reading while studying Computer Science. After a rewarding career in the computer industry, Sybil decided to try her hand at writing mysteries. Her short fiction has appeared in Mysterical-E and Spinetingler Magazine, among others. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in Southern California where she enjoys tole painting, studying ancient languages and spending time with friends and family. Sybil is here today on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours with her new book, FATAL BRUSHSTROKE.

My Writing Journey 

by Sybil Johnson 

I never expected to write mystery novels, let alone have one published. I’d been a fan of crime fiction ever since I discovered Encyclopedia Brown in grade school and Agatha Christie in junior high, but I’d always thought a mystery would be too difficult to write.

My experience in the fiction world was limited to a few stories I’d written in grade school and junior high. I’d never tackled anything as complicated as a novel. The only writing I’d done as an adult were technical papers and design documents in my life as a software developer/manager. Other than those and the required papers in college, that was pretty much it.

Then one day I woke up with an idea that just wouldn’t go away—a young woman finds the body of her tole painting teacher in her garden—and a mystery writer was born.

Not right away, of course. Off and on, over a period of many years, I wrote stories and studied the art and craft of fiction writing. I read every book on the subject I could get my hands on and took a couple online courses specifically geared toward writing mysteries. I studied plotting, characters, setting and description. I analyzed short stories and novels I enjoyed reading, trying to figure out what made them tick.

Over the years, I wrote a half-dozen short stories, using them to develop characters and improve my plotting skills. After submitting each of them to numerous print and online markets, I eventually found homes for them all in online magazines. The submission process often took one or two years per story, which was a little disheartening, but I persevered.

While I studied and wrote short stories, I continued writing the book that would eventually become my first published novel, Fatal Brushstroke. I finished draft after draft, figuring out what worked and what didn’t. I have no idea how many drafts I finished over the years. I just kept on plugging away.

During this period, I joined my local Sisters in Crime chapter, meeting many fellow writers and learning from them. I also served on the chapter’s board and co-chaired a writing conference, gaining knowledge about writing and the business of publishing in the process.

Finally, one day I finished the umpteenth draft of my novel and felt it was publishable. By this time, ten or fifteen years had elapsed. This coincided with my attendance at the California Crime Writers Conference where I met the managing editor of Henery Press. Nine months and a few drafts later, I had a publishing contract in hand. My dream of having a novel published has now come true, less than two years after I submitted the book to Henery.

My writing journey continues. I’ve learned a lot along the way. I’m still honing my writing skills, but I now believe I understand how a mystery novel basically works and how it differs from a short story. I have a writing process that works for me. I know a lot more about the publishing industry than I did when I started. And I have a lot of writer friends to talk with about writing, contracts, and marketing.

But, most important, I’ve learned that with persistence and a lot of elbow grease, you can make your dreams come true.

ABOUT THE BOOK

A dead body in her garden and a homicide detective on her doorstep…

Computer programmer and tole-painting enthusiast Aurora (Rory) Anderson doesn’t envision finding either when she steps outside to investigate the frenzied yipping coming from her own backyard. After all, she lives in Vista Beach, a quiet California beach community where violent crime is rare and murder even rarer.

Suspicion falls on Rory when the body buried in her flowerbed turns out to be someone she knows—her tole painting teacher, Hester Bouquet. Just two weekends before, Rory attended one of Hester’s weekend painting seminars, an unpleasant experience she vowed never to repeat. As evidence piles up against Rory, she embarks on a quest to identify the killer and clear her name. Can Rory unearth the truth before she encounters her own brush with death?

AUTHOR LINKS

Websitewww.authorsybiljohnson.com
Facebook Author pagewww.facebook.com/sybiljohnsonauthor
Twitterwww.twitter.com/sybiljohnson19
GoodReadswww.goodreads.com/SybilJohnson 

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

MY REVIEW 

In the short time they have been around, Henery Press has become one of the places you can go to for a cozy you know you will enjoy. And they have another winner with FATAL BRUSHSTROKE. Good characters you will want to get to know. Here and in future books. A good series setup with tole painting as a backdrop. ♥♥♥♥♥

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

November 19 – Michelle’s Romantic Tangle – Guest Post

November 19 – Community Bookstop – Review

November 20 – StoreyBook Reviews – Review

November 21 – Back Porchervations – Review, Interview

November 22 – Kelly P’s Blog – Guest Post

November 23 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – Guest Post

November 24 – Bea’s Book Nook – Review

November 25 – rantinravin’ and reading – Review, Guest Post

November 26 – Michele Lynn Seigfried’s Blog – Review, Guest Post

November 27 – Thanksgiving – U.S.

November 28 –deal sharing aunt – Interview

November 29 – A Chick Who Reads – Review

November 30 –Dalene’s Book Reviews – Review

December 1 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – Review

December 2 – Brooke Blogs – Review

December 2 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review, Interview

 

 

ONCE UPON A CRIME by Evelyn Cullet

A WORD FROM THIS AUTHOR

I’ve been an aspiring author since high school when I wrote short stories to amuse family members. I began my first novel while attending college later in life, and while working in the offices of a major soft drink company. Even though my job, my home, and my family always took precedence, I continued to attend writing classes and work on my novels. Now, after taking early retirement, I finally have the chance to do what I love best; write full-time. While I enjoy playing the piano, being an organic gardener, and an amateur Lapidary, writing has always been my passion. I was a former member of the Agatha Christie Society and am currently a member of Sisters in Crime. I write mysteries with light romance and a little humor. My husband and I live in a suburb of Chicago along with our Black Lab/Pit Bull, Bailey.

AUTHOR LINKS

Web: http://evelyncullet.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3425303.Evelyn_Cullet

SYNOPSIS

Once Upon a Crime
Romantic Suspense
Published by Wings ePress (September 1, 2014)
E-Book File Size: 509 KB
Print Length: 265 pages
ASIN: B00N8AIEWU
Love isn’t always a fairy taleand Charlotte Ross has kissed her share of frogs, but that’s all behind her. Fleeing her life for a short break, Charlotte, along with her best friend Jane Marshall, find themselves at her aunt’s home in the sleepy town of Raven’s Caw, Michigan. Charlotte hopes to recover from another breakup with her fiancé, and her friend Jane, a new mystery writer, is looking forward to somewhere relaxing. But life has different plans for the two friends and they find themselves swept up in a whirlwind of romance, mystery and murder.

Sparks fly between Jane and Charlotte’s attractive, Machiavellian cousin, Kenny. But is the attraction too good to be true or just a diversion from a mystery that has piqued her interest? Charlotte is pulled along on this roller-coaster of emotion when she meets up with her first love, as she and Jane discover links between a murder that happened twelve years earlier and a recent crime. Risking their lives and hearts, the friends race against the past in an effort to solve the crimes before one of them becomes the next victim.

PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon  B&N

MY REVIEW

I really enjoyed this book. Jane Marshall is a new mystery writer who made me think of a young Jessica Fletcher. She is taking some time off with friend Charlotte and decides to solve an old murder. Well you just know that leads to a new one. There is a bit of romance for both Jane and Charlotte and you will be  kept guessing throughout this very well written story, never sure who the “bad guys” are from one minute to the next. A solid ♥♥♥♥♥

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

November 3 – The Gal in the Blue Mask – ReviewInterview

November 4 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Interview

November 5 – Back Porchervations – Review

November 6 – Bea’s Book Nook – Review

November 7 – Lilac Reviews – Review, Interview

November 8 – Brooke Blogs – Review

November 9 – Michele Lynn Seigfried’s Blog  – Review

November 10 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – Review

November 11 – rantinravin’ and reading – Review

 

Release Day Spotlight: THE BULLET CATCH by John Gaspard

spotlights

GASPARD-pic-236x300John Gaspard was here a year ago (be sure and read the interview) for his first book, THE AMBITIOUS CARD, so I am thrilled to let you know his second book, THE BULLET CATCH, is out today.

In real life, John’s not a magician, but he has directed six low-budget features that cost very little and made even less – that’s no small trick. He’s also written multiple books on the subject of low-budget filmmaking. Ironically, they’ve made more than the films.

His blog, “Fast, Cheap Movie Thoughts” has been named “One of the 50 Best Blogs for Moviemakers” and “One of The 100 Best Blogs For Film and Theater Students.” He’s also written for TV and the stage.

John lives in Minnesota and shares his home with his lovely wife, several dogs, a few cats and a handful of pet allergies.

JOHN’S LINKS

WEBSITE

BLOG

TWITTER 

FACEBOOK

EMAIL

gaspard coverSYNOPSIS

Newly-single magician Eli Marks reluctantly attends his high school reunion against his better judgment, only to become entangled in two deadly encounters with his former classmates. The first is the fatal mugging of an old crush’s husband, followed by the suspicious deaths of the victim’s business associates.

At the same time, Eli also comes to the aid of a classmate-turned-movie-star who fears that attempting The Bullet Catch in an upcoming movie may be his last performance. As the bodies begin to pile up, Eli comes to the realization that juggling these murderous situations — while saving his own neck — may be the greatest trick he’s ever performed.

MY REVIEW

I loved the first book, THE AMBITIOUS CARD (which happen to be on sale for 99¢ right now! be sure and grab it to start you off), and this second book did not disappoint. I love mysteries that teach me something new and as I know nothing about magic tricks, these books are a delight. This book opens with first time therapy patient Eli at a session. He’s having “uncontrolled panic, an intense physical reaction, suicidal ideation, and a sense he is losing control and might harm himself if he can’t get away from a high location”. After hearing about recent events, book one in other words, the therapist decides he needs therapy two or three times a week, LOL. Of course, Eli has more important matters to take care of. Someone is trying to kill his friend, actor Jake North, either because he is making a movie about magician Terry Alexander who died trying to perform the magic trick known as The Bullet Catch, or because Jake used to be “The Cloaked Conjurer”, exposing how magic tricks are done. Jake is sure he will die in the last scene so Eli is along to see that he doesn’t. A book you will want to read and a series you will follow, this one is ♥♥♥♥♥

BUY THE BOOK

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Paperback

And for those of you who are curious, here is a magician doing the bullet catch. A female, mind you.

 

MURDER & MAYHEM IN GOOSE PIMPLE JUNCTION by Amy Metz (and a giveaway!)

Amy Metz is a former first grade teacher and the mother of two grown sons. When not actively engaged in writing, enjoying her family, or surfing Facebook or Pinterest, Amy can usually be found with a mixing spoon, camera, or book in one hand and a glass of sweet tea in the other. Amy lives in Louisville, Kentucky and she is currently on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours with MURDER & MAYHEM IN GOOSE PIMPLE JUNCTION. And Amy is giving an e-book copy to one reader of this blog. Just leave her a comment or ask a question about the book to be in with a chance to win.

SYNOPSIS

Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction
Paperback: 252 pages
Publisher: Blue Publications; 2 edition (September 7, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-0989714020
E-Book File Size: 563 KB
ASIN: B00NE1H8FW
When Tess Tremaine starts a new life in the colorful town of Goose Pimple Junction, curiosity leads her to look into a seventy-five-year-old murder. Suddenly she’s learning the foreign language of southern speak, resisting her attraction to local celebrity Jackson Wright, and dealing with more mayhem than she can handle.

A bank robbery, murder, and family tragedy from the 1930s are pieces of the mystery that Tess attempts to solve. As she gets close to the truth, she encounters danger, mystery, a lot of southern charm, and a new temptation for which she’s not sure she’s ready.

MY REVIEW

A bit heavy on the romance, which I usually don’t like. But I loved it! Flashbacks which I usually find drag a story, at least a cozy, down. But they worked! Which just goes to show you it is not the elements of the story that matter as much as the skill of the author. And Amy Metz has mad skills! (That means good, no great LOL) I hope Tess Tremaine has lots more mysteries to solve and Amy Metz keeps wanting to tell us about them because I want to keep reading this series for years! It is definitely ♥♥♥♥♥

AUTHOR LINKS

Website: http://amymetz.com
Blog: http://abluemillionbooks.blogspot.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorAmyMetz
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authoramymetz
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6436458.Amy_Metz
Book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vIbieSgVjk

PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon B&N

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

October 15 – MysteriesEtc – Review

October 16 – Tea and A Book – Review, Interview, Giveaway

October 17 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Interview

October 18 – off

October 19 – A Cup of Tea, A Friend, And A Book – Review

October 20 – Girl Lost In a Book – Review, Giveaway

October 21 – Turning the Pages – Review

October 22 – deal sharing aunt – Interview

October 23 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana. Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – Review, Giveaway

October 24 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Review, Interview, Giveaway

October 25 – readalot – Review

October 26 – off

October 27 – rantinravin’ and reading – Review, Giveaway

October 28 – Chloe Gets A Clue – Interview

October 29 – off

October 30 – Queen of All She Reads – Review, Giveaway

October 31 – Melina’s Book Blog – Interview, Giveaway

 

 

 

MURDER IN REAL TIME by Julie Anne Lindsey (and a giveaway!!!)

Julie Anne Lindsey is a multi-genre author who writes the stories that keep her up at night. She’s a self-proclaimed nerd with a penchant for words and proclivity for fun. Julie lives in rural Ohio with her husband and three small children. Today, she hopes to make someone smile. One day she plans to change the world. Until she gets around to changing the world she is on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for her newest book, MURDER IN REAL TIME and she is going to tell us a little bit about a possible alternative career *wink*. Be sure to take a minute to say hi to Julie in the comments below and if you want a chance to win e-copies of all three books in the Patience Price Mysteries, be sure and go HERE.

If Writing Falls Through, I’m Going to Open a T-Shirt Shop

I’m a collector of T-shirts. Not intentionally. In fact, I only just realized my collection was a collection when I cleaned my closet and found a few shirts with tags still attached and one shirt in multiple sizes (my weight fluctuates from tolerable to don’t-look-at-me, so the wardrobe accommodates). The deeper I dug through the recesses of old bridesmaid dresses and school sweatshirts, the more t-shirts I found. When my husband came home that night, I had the t-shirt pile centered on the kitchen table, and it nearly reached the light.

“What’s this?” he asked.

“They’re t-shirts form my closet,” I said. “Did you know I had this many goofy t-shirts?”

I should stop and point out my t-shirts aren’t nice, high-end, scoop-neck numbers in gorgeous hues with endless thread counts. No. Mine are the Hanes Her Way / Fruit of the Loom, novelty kind. They have rectangular boy shapes, come mostly in neutral colors and some kid in sunglasses probably pressed a decal onto them while hitting on a tourist over the counter. My shirts say things like, “I make stuff up.” It’s funny because I’m a writer. I really do that. Another long-time favorite is: “Plagiarism is faster.” I think I got that one in college. My professors loathed it. “Talk Nerdy to Me” was the shirt I had in multiple sizes. A silhouette of rectangular-framed glasses supported the big pink words. Cute, right? I’m old enough to embrace my inner nerd these days. Definitely adorable.

Anyway. That day with my husband and the pile on the table, he said, “Well, if writing falls through, you can always open a t-shirt shop.” Bless his heart. He meant to open a shop and sell all the shirts blocking his dinner. What I heard was, “Sweetie, you should open your own t-shirt shop! Think of how much fun that would be. You can create all the shirts you want. Choose the styles and designs, hire kids who won’t wear sunglasses indoors, and you can make up all the cutie sayings you want.” I was in love with that idea. He still wanted dinner.

Sadly, I don’t have time to open an actual-anything, so I made a virtual shop in my cozy series with Carina Press, The Patience Price Mysteries. Patience’s parents have an island t-shirt and holistic shop. Her dad sells all sorts of goofy shirts. Most are the do-it shirts. Do you know those?  For example: when the fall birders come to town, he makes shirts that say things like Birders do it in the forest. Patience’s best friend works at the local FBI, so her dad makes a little pink shirt, FBIs do it undercover, shirt and horrifies his daughter by presenting it to the friend – who loved it. His shirts are sometimes funnier because he’s so sincerely excited to make them. At Halloween, he has a line of ghost hunter shirts. Ghost hunters do it in the dark. I had an absolute blast making up t-shirt slogans for her dad, especially ones I knew would drive my heroine crazy. Her name’s Patience, but the poor thing wasn’t blessed with her namesake. Impossible, I love her more than the shirts.

If you’re in the mood for a fun new series with lovable characters, intrigue and silly shirts, I hope you’ll give Murder in Real Time a try. I did my best to make you smile.

Murder in Real Time

With the chaos of summer tourists and fall birders out of town, counselor Patience Price is looking forward to the quiet life she remembers. She longs for some peace. And an apple fritter. But the calm is cut short when a reality show sets up camp to film a special about ghosts on her little island. Now fans, reporters and crew have flocked to sleepy Chincoteague. Who knew ghost hunters had an entourage?

When two cast members are killed in a room at the local B&B—a room usually occupied by Patience’s FBI agent boyfriend, Sebastian—she finds herself on the case. Sebastian doesn’t want Patience ruffling any feathers but, as always, she can’t help herself.

Patience promises to let Sebastian handle the investigation—he is FBI, after all—but after a drive-by shooting, her wicked curiosity gets the best of her. And with the TV show forging ahead with filming, the list of suspects (and the line of food trucks) only grows. But has the shooter already flown the coop? And how do you find a killer when you don’t know who the target is?

MY REVIEW

This was a fun new mystery. I liked the characters and the location. While you can jump right in and start with this book and not be at all lost, it stands alone, I find I want to know more and will go back to read the first two in the series. Always the best recommendation I can give a book. ♥♥♥♥

LEARN ABOUT JULIE AT

Julieannelindsey.com

Find Me on Facebook!

Tweet Me!!

Read with me on Goodreads

Pin with me on Pinterest

Blogging at Musings from the Slush Pile

Capturing life on Instagram

BUY THE BOOK

Amazon       Barnes&Noble       Carina Press

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

October 14 – The Gal in the Blue Mask – Review, Interview

October 15 – Booklady’s Booknotes – Review, Guest Post

October 16 – A Blue Million Books – Guest Post

October 17 – deal sharing aunt – Interview

October 18 – Kelly P’s Blog – Guest Post

October 19 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Interview

October 20 – The Ninja Librarian – Review

October 21 – Carole’s Book Corner – Review

October 22 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – Guest Post

October 23 – rantinravin’ and reading – Review, Guest Post

October 24 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review, Guest Post

October 25 – Brooke Blogs – Review, Interview

October 26 – Dalene’s Book Reviews – Review

October 27 – Back Porchervations – Review

 

 

LOST UNDER A LADDER by Linda O. Johnston (and a giveaway!)

 Linda O. Johnston’s first published fiction appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and won the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award for Best First Mystery Short Story of the year.   Since then, Linda, a former lawyer who is now a full-time writer, has published more short stories, novellas, and 37 romance and mystery novels, including the Pet Rescue Mystery Series, a spinoff from her Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime, plus Harlequin Romantic Suspense as well as the Alpha Force paranormal romance miniseries for Harlequin Nocturne. Her latest cozy mystery series, the Superstition Mysteries from Midnight Ink, kicks off in October 2014 with LOST UNDER A LADDER.  Linda believes that reading the Superstition Mysteries will bring good luck! And we are lucky today because Linda is joining us for the final day of her tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. Enjoy her post, leave her a comment or ask her a question and for a chance to win a copy of LOST UNDER A LADDER, go HERE.

Creating A Town

Those of you who are familiar with my mysteries know that my two prior series, the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries, and its spinoff, the Pet Rescue Mysteries, are both set in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles.  That’s not too surprising, since it’s where I’ve lived for a long time.

But I’ve created a new town as the setting for my latest series, the Superstition Mysteries.  The stories are set in Destiny, California, a town that is all about–what else?–superstitions!  Superstitious beliefs are a way of life there.  The townsfolk all make their livings off superstitions, teaching the plentiful tourists about them and selling them related products.

The background for the series is that my protagonist Rory Chasen arrives in Destiny at the beginning of the first story, LOST UNDER A LADDER, seeking information and closure.  Do superstitions really come true?  Maybe so, or maybe it was a coincidence that her fiancé died soon after walking under a ladder.

With Rory is her black and white dog Pluckie.  As Rory takes her first walk in town, Pluckie pulls on her leash, insisting that Rory accompany her into the back room of the Lucky Dog Boutique.  That turns out to be a good idea since the store’s owner, Martha, is lying ill on the floor.  But Martha is conscious and says she knows she’ll be fine since seeing a black and white dog is lucky.  And Martha soon asks Rory to stay and manage her store at least for a while, which isn’t too far out of line since Rory is an assistant manager at a chain pet supply store back home in L.A.  Of course Rory agrees, especially after her arm is also twisted by the town’s police chief Justin Halbertson, who’s like a son to Martha.

Yes, there’s a murder.  It’s a cozy mystery, after all.  And since Martha’s the main suspect Rory has to help her.

Meanwhile, there are lots of tourists in Destiny who walk the downtown sidewalks avoiding the cracks in the pavement and picking up lucky heads-up pennies left there by the shopkeepers to encourage their customers.  The shops in town all have superstition themes, unsurprisingly–establishments like the Lucky Dog Boutique, of course, and also the Broken Mirror Bookstore next door owned by the man who wrote the premiere book on superstitions, The Destiny of Superstitions, and his partner.  Others include the Black Cat Inn, Beware-of-Bubbles Coffee Shop, Shamrock Steakhouse, Apple-A-Day Cafe,  Heads-Up Penny Gift Shop, and even the Break-A-Leg Theater.

I’d like to visit Destiny someday.  Hey, in fact, I’ve already visited it often–in my head!  It has been great fun creating the town, visualizing it, mapping it in my mind, even coming up with the story of why it was founded years ago by two Forty-Niners who panned for gold and actually found some at the end of a rainbow, leading them to believe in superstitions.

I hope you visit Destiny, too–in LOST UNDER A LADDER and its sequels.  And, hey, I believe it’ll be good luck to read the Superstition Mysteries!  At least I’m crossing my fingers that all my readers experience the best of luck.

Thanks to Rantin’ Ravin’ and Reading for hosting me here during my Great Escapes Blog Tour!

SYNOPSIS

Lost Under a Ladder
(A Superstition Mystery)

Brand New Series
Cozy Mystery
Publisher: MIDNIGHT INK (October 8, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-0738740775
Is it luck or is it . . . Destiny?

Are superstitions real? Rory Chasen doesn’t think so–until her beloved fiance walks under a ladder and is killed by a car five minutes later. Needing closure, Rory takes her dog Pluckie to a town called Destiny, where superstitions are a way of life.

Rory’s visit to Destiny takes an unexpected turn when Pluckie saves the life of Martha, the owner of the Lucky Dog Boutique. To show her gratitude, Martha offers Rory a job at the pet store. But when Martha becomes the prime suspect in the murder of the local bookshop owner, Rory refuses to believe that she would do it. Rory is convinced the real killer still roams Destiny’s streets, and she must uncover the truth before Martha is hauled off to jail.

MY REVIEW

I love starting a new series and this one looks like it will be a lot of fun. A little quirky, but fun. Are you superstitious? I always leave by the same door I entered and a lot of other foolish things so I suppose I am. But nothing like the people of Destiny! The police will come out to investigate over spilled milk and no one ever steps on a crack.  Rory doesn’t believe, or thinks she doesn’t, until her fiancé is killed. After walking under a ladder. So she goes to Destiny to learn about superstitions because everything from the business names, attire and walking down the street is all about superstition. Lots of great characters and wonderful writing means I will be on the lookout for the next in this series, it is ♥♥♥♥♥

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

September 29 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows - Review, Interview
September 30 – Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf - Guest Post
October 1 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard - Review
October 2 – Books-n-Kisses – Review
October 3 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – Guest Post
October 3 – readalot blog – Review
October 4 – StoreyBook Reviews – Review, Guest Post
October 5 – deal sharing aunt - Interview
October 6 – Shelley’s Book Case - Review
October 7 – Brooke Blogs – Guest Post
October 7 – Kaisy Daisy’s Corner - Review
October 8 – Back Porchervations – Review, Interview
October 9 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post
October 10 – Chloe Gets A Clue - Interview
October 11 – Community Bookstop – Review
October 12 – rantinravin’ and reading – Review, Guest Post

 

A CRAFTY CHRISTMAS by Mollie Cox Bryan (and a giveaway!)

Mollie Cox Bryan writes the Cumberland Creek Mysteries, published by Kensington. The first book, Scrapbook of Secrets, was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel of 2012; the next one Scrapped, was published in January 2013. Death of an Irish Diva was the third in the series. Plans for the series include two more novels and two novellas—the first one Scrappy Summer will be available in summer 2014. She writes, gardens, runs, and scrapbooks in Waynesboro, Va. with her husband and two daughters. Today is the third stop on Mollie’s tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for A CRAFTY CHRISTMAS. Read about it below and to enter to win a copy, just go HERE.

AUTHOR LINKS

SYNOPSIS

A Crafty Christmas
(Cumberland Creek)

Publisher: Kensington (October 7, 2014)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758293565

Christmas is just around the corner, and the ladies of the Cumberland Creek Scrapbook Crop are thrilled when Sheila wins the first place prize in a scrapbooking design contest: a ten-day scrapbook-themed cruise in the Caribbean. Vera and Paige decide to tag along, which should pose the perfect opportunity to learn some new techniques, mingle with fellow croppers, and get in some rest and relaxation before the chaos of Christmas. But when Sheila finds a famous crafter dead, and investigators determine she was poisoned, the luxury cruise veers toward disaster as Sheila becomes the number one suspect – or was she really the intended victim? Just as the croppers begin un-wrapping the truth, a storm strands them at sea, and they’ll find it’s harder than ever to survive the holidays with a killer on deck…

MY REVIEW

I really enjoyed this book. From its arrival – a book, not an ebook, and one with such a lovely cover, it got me right into the Christmas spirit! I did spend some time wondering who the protagonist was. It seemed to be Sheila but then when Annie was called to consult, I wondered could it be her and she just couldn’t make this cruise. Then I decided it didn’t matter. Perhaps the “protagonist” was actually an ensemble cast – all the members of the scrapping group. A clever idea. I also wondered a bit about background that was mentioned but I didn’t fully get, not having read the previous books. But it didn’t hurt the current story – just made me want to go back and read the earlier ones. At the back of the book is a very handy glossary of scrapbooking terms, tips on scrapbooking your holidays, scrapbooking essentials for the beginner and the first chapter of DEATH OF AN IRISH DIVA.  A CRAFTY CHRISTMAS is a great way to start getting into the holiday spirit and I think you should go right out get it and let the season begin! ♥♥♥♥♥

PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon B&N

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

October 7 – Brooke Blogs – Review, Guest Post

October 7 – Chloe Gets A Clue – Interview

October 8 – Booklady’s Booknotes – Review

October 9 – rantinravin’ and reading – Review

October10 – Griperang’s Bookmarks – Review

October 11 – A Chick Who Reads – Review

October 12 – Books Are Life – Vita Libri – Review

October 13 – Shelley’s Book Case - Review

October 14 – Thoughts in Progress – Review

October 14 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Interview

October 15 – fuonlyknew ~ Laura’s ramblins and reviews – Review

October 16 – Mystery Playground – Guest Post*

October 17 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – Review, Guest Post

October 18 – Cicero’s Children – Interview

October 19 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review

October 20 – Dalene’s Book Reviews – Review

CATWALK by Sheila Webster Boneham (and a giveaway)

SHEILA AND  DOGDrop Dead on Recall, the first in the series, won the Dog Writers Association of America Maxwell Award for Best Fiction Book. Sheila Webster Boneham is also the author of 17 nonfiction books, six of which have won major awards from the Dog Writers Association of America and the Cat Writers Association. For the past two decades Boneham has been showing her Australian Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers in various canine sports. She has also bred top-winning Aussies, and founded rescue groups for Aussies and Labs. Boneham holds a doctorate in folklore from Indiana University and resides in Wilmington, N.C. Today, Sheila is with us as she tours with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the third Animals in Focus Mystery, CATWALK. And now Sheila will compare tracking and writing for us. Be sure to leave her a comment or any questions and for a chance to win a copy of CATWALK, go HERE.

Tracking Down the Story

Tracking down a story can be challenging for a writer, just as tracking down quarry can be challenging for a dog. When I start my first mystery, Drop Dead on Recall, I had been writing nonfiction for decades and wasn’t sure I could write fiction. And although I can’t ask her to verify, I’m pretty sure that when my dog Lily started training for her tracking title, she wasn’t sure she could track a stranger, either, at least not in the precise fashion required by the rules. The analogy may seem a little far-fetched, but I hope you’ll bear with me. I often see parallels between writing and canine sports.

Catwalk, my latest Animals in Focus Mystery opens with Jay, the leading dog, searching a kidnapping victim with Janet MacPhail, the 50-something protagonist of my series. So the notion of writing as a kind of tracking makes sense to me.

Writers begin with some basic tools. We have fabulous words and we have grammar to help us arrange them into meaningful order. Above all, we have the universal human instinct to frame experience as “story.” We explain, excuse, argue, teach, and entertain through narratives that we structure with beginnings and endings, suspense and surprise. Beyond that, a story always finds an audience, because we human beings love to have plots and characters and wordplay presented to us. Whether we listen to them over coffee or read them in bed, we love stories.

 Even very young puppies can begin tracking training. I started training my Labrador Retriever, Lily, when she was seven weeks old. Here’s Lily tracking a strange person’s scent at twelve weeks of age.

Even very young puppies can begin tracking training. I started training my Labrador Retriever, Lily, when she was seven weeks old. Here’s Lily tracking a strange person’s scent at twelve weeks of age.

Dogs also begin with some basic tools. They have fabulous noses some 125 to perhaps 300 million scent receptors, depending on the breed (compared to our measly fifty million). Unlike a newborn puppy’s eyes and ears, which remain sealed for the first ten days to two weeks while they finish forming, the nose works delightfully well at birth. I used to breed Australian Shepherds, and I’ve seen puppies follow their twitchy little noses to the milk bar before they’re fully out of the birth canal. “Smells good, Mom. Yip!” Our puppies learned within the first few minutes to identify their mothers and their pack – including my husband and I – purely by scent, and a stranger’s scent, even within a few hours of birth, would elicit a startle response. In fact, a puppy’s olfactory abilities are way ahead of a child’s story-telling skills for a good few years!

Back to the original story…. when I decided I wanted to try writing fiction, and I wasn’t at all sure I could make up a story, especially a big enough story to make a novel. And then one day I was driving home from a canine obedience trial, and an opening line popped into my head. It was brilliant! And not only did I have a brilliant opening line, but I could see the whole brilliant book – not the cover or spine, but the guts! I had a story. All I had to do was write it….

Lily and Sheila tracking Jim Huang’s “missing” daughter Miranda at a meeting of the Speed City Sisters in Crime in 2009. Photo courtesy of Brenda Robertson Stewart.]

Lily and Sheila tracking Jim Huang’s “missing” daughter Miranda at a meeting of the Speed City Sisters in Crime in 2009. Photo courtesy of Brenda Robertson Stewart.]

Like most writers, I do a lot of other things besides write. I paint, I hike, and for many years I’ve trained and competed with my dogs. While I was working on my first novel (in between nonfiction books), I was also competing in obedience with my Aussie, Jay, and starting my Labrador puppy, Lily, in obedience and tracking. Lily took to tracking like, well, a Lab to water. But just as I had to learn new writing skills in order to craft a story that people might want to read, Lily had to learn to follow the scent trail that I wanted her to follow so that she could find something I wanted her to bring me. (And I had to learn to trust that we were both on the right tracks!)

Lily earned her American Kennel Club Tracking Dog (TD) title before she was two years old. I finished my first mystery when I waswell, never mind! That brilliant first line is long gone, but I’m now three books into the Animals in Focus series, with number four in the works. I’m pretty excited about that. Lily, now eight years young, still thinks lost gloves are more interesting the piles of paper, although she does nap beside me while I write.

AUTHOR LINKS

Website – www.sheilaboneham.com

Blogs – www.sheilaboneham.blogspot.com

www.animalsinfocus.blogspot.com

Catwalk_600SYNOPSIS
Agility can be murder for cats, dogs, and people!

Animal photographer Janet MacPhail is training for her cat Leo’s first feline agility trial when she gets a frantic call about a “kidnapping.” When Janet and her Australian Shepherd Jay set out to track down the missing party, they quickly find themselves drawn into the volatile politics of feral cat colonies and endangered wetlands.

Janet is crazy busy trying to keep up with her mom’s nursing-home romance, her own relationship with Tom, and upcoming agility trials with Jay and Leo. But the discovery of a body on the canine competition course stops the participants dead in their tracks—and sets Janet on the trail of a killer.

MY REVIEW

Yet another series you will want to follow. I noticed the series because I am a dog lover. I love the series because it is well written and the mystery is well thought out and plotted. The book works perfectly as a stand alone if this is your introduction, but I always add the caveat, start from the first and work your way through the series, it makes for a much richer experience. Once again, Sheila has brought us a winner with ♥♥♥♥♥

PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon B&N

 

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

October 1 – Back Porchervations – Review

October 2 – Booklady’s Booknotes – Review, Guest Post

October 3 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – Review

October 4 – Kelly P’s Blog – Guest Post

October 5 – Chloe Gets A Clue – Interview

October 6 – readalot blog – Review

October 7 – rantinravin’ and reading – Review, Guest Post

October 8 – A. Literary Mafia – Interview

October 9 – Kaisy Daisy’s Corner – Review

October 10 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review, Interview

October 11 – Brooke Blogs – Guest Post

October 12 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Interview

October 13 – Community Bookstop – Review

October 14 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review, Guest Post

 

Spotlight on FIT TO BE DEAD by Nancy G. West

spotlights

ABOUT THIS AUTHOR

I’ve been writing since age seven: poems back and forth with my mom. I had a real poem published in the Library Journal, Pegasus, at age fifteen. At eighteen, I wanted to study journalism and English literature, but friends who chose that college route were making minimum wage or selling lingerie. Being practical, I earned a business degree. After marriage and two children, I decided I HAD to study literature and write. I wrote non-fiction articles, a biography, and a suspense novel in 2004. That’s when whimsical Aggie Mundeen cut through the suspense, popped into my head and demanded her own series. The Aggie Mundeen mystery capers were born. Aggie must have been right:FIT TO BE DEAD is a LEFTY FINALIST 2013 for best humorous mystery, nominated by Left Coast Crime.

SYNOPSIS

Fit To Be Dead
(An Aggie Mundeen Mystery Book 1)

E-Book File Size: 477 KB
Publisher: Henery Press (July 24, 2014)
ASIN: B00M4KIX44
Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Henery Press(July 29, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-1940976372

Aggie Mundeen, single and pushing forty, fears nothing but middle age. When she moves from Chicago to San Antonio, she decides she better shape up before anybody discovers she writes the column, “Stay Young with Aggie.” She takes Aspects of Aging at University of the Holy Trinity and plunges into exercise at Fit and Firm.

Rusty at flirting and mechanically inept, she irritates a slew of male exercisers, then stumbles into murder. She’d like to impress the attractive detective with her sleuthing skills. But when the killer comes after her, the health club evacuates semi-clad patrons, and the detective has to stall his investigation to save Aggie’s derriere.

MY REVIEW

I already have number two in the series and it is next up on my TBR pile because this is a series you can really get into. Great characters – you will be wondering what will happen with Sam and Angie when/if her past and her part in his is revealed. And there are lots of tips on fitness from “Aunt Aggie” but they are fun – did you know that in the absence of disease, maximum life span is 120 years?  I learn so much reading cozies LOL This was an excellent first outing and I highly recommend it ♥♥♥♥

AUTHOR LINKS

Chat with Aggie and Nancy on their blog: www.stayyoungwithaggie@wordress.com.

Author’s Webpage: http://www.nancygwest.com/

Author Page at Henery Presshttp://henerypress.com/authors-humorous-mystery-series-authors/nancy-g-west/

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6442929.Nancy_G_West

Purchase Links

Amazon  

B&N Nook   |   Kobo   |   iTunes   |   Google Play

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

September 28 – The Gal in the Blue Mask – Review, Interview

September 29 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – Review

September 30 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review, Interview

October 1 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – Review

October 2 – rantinravin’ and reading – Review

October 3 – MysteriesEtc – Review

October 4 – My Recent Favorite Books – Review

October 5 – off 

October 6 – A Chick Who Reads – Review, Interview

October 7 – Back Porchervations – Review, Interview  

October 8 – Brooke Blogs – Review, Interview

October 9 – StoreyBook Reviews – Review

October 10 – Dalene’s Book Reviews – Review

October 11 – Christa Reads and Writes – Review

October 12 – deal sharing aunt – Interview

 

RELEASE DAY!!: GOING FOR KONA by Pamela Fagan Hutchins

spotlights

Pamela and friend (Pamela is the one with the hat)

Pamela and friend (Pamela is the one with the hat)

Pamela Fagan Hutchins writes award-winning and bestselling romantic mysteries and hilarious nonfiction, and moonlights as a workplace investigator and employment attorney. She is passionate about great writing, smart authorpreneurship, and her two household hunks, husband Eric and one-eyed Boston terrier Petey. She also leaps medium-tall buildings in a single bound, if she gets a good running start.

If you like Sandra Brown or Janet Evanovich for fiction or Erma Bombeck for nonfiction, you’re going to love Pamela.

2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist
2013 USA Best Books Business: Writing & Publishing Contest
2012 Houston Writers Guild Ghost Story Contest
2012 USA Best Books Parenting/Divorce
2011 Houston Writers Guild Novel Contest
2010 Writers League of Texas Romance Contest

Visit her website http://pamelahutchins.com , or follow her on Twitter (@PamelotH) or Facebook http://facebook.com/pamela.fagan.hutchins.author or buy the book here.

konaSYNOPSIS

When her husband is killed in a hit-and-run bicycling accident, it takes all of Michele Lopez Hanson’s strength not to burrow into their bed for the rest of her life. But their kids need her, and she promised herself she’d do the Kona Ironman Triathlon in Adrian’s honor, and someone seems to be stalking her family, so she slogs through the pain to keep herself on track. Her dangerously delirious training sessions become a link between her and Adrian, and she discovers that if she keeps moving fast enough to fly, she can hold onto her husband—even as she loses her grip on herself and faces her biggest danger yet.

MY REVIEW

I thought I was going to be reading another installment in the fantastic Annalise series so GOING FOR KONA was a surprise. A very pleasant surprise. Michele is not a funny character like Katie but she is one you will grow just as fond of. She is dealing with a lot. Her husband dies in a hit and run. Her step-daughter goes away to live with her grandparents. And her son is a suspect of the cops in the hit and run. She deals with this more like you or I than a mystery heroine. She buries herself in training for a triathalon. At the 48% point, even though her son is a suspect she doesn’t go looking for the real killer. She keeps on training. It wasn’t until the 60% point that Michele decides the cops aren’t cutting it so she calls a PI (Katie no less, making a cameo) to get advice about investigating herself. You are going to love this one, its ♥♥♥♥♥