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!
Lost Under a Ladder
(A Superstition Mystery)
Brand New Series
Publisher: MIDNIGHT INK (October 8, 2014)
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.
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 ♥♥♥♥♥
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 – rantin’ ravin’ and reading – Review, Guest Post