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AND ALL THAT MADNESS

KATE:  Joan Merrill is stopping by on her book tour today and I am thrilled to have her here. Hi Joan. You must LOVE producing Jazz shows. I used to work the Newport Jazz Festival every year so I have met a lot of the stars. So I know you have some great stories (I have great Buddy Rich ones – he was a PIA but I had a blast the year I was his ‘minder’). Tell us one of your favorite ‘star stories’.

Joan:  I’ve heard the Buddy Rich story about the jazz musician who never tired of calling Rich’s home to hear he had died.

My most memorable moments are the in person interviews I did for NPR’s Jazz Profiles with artists such as Rosemary Clooney and Anita O’Day.  I met Rosemary in her Beverly Hills home in her huge living room with photos all over every table surface. She wore a sweat suit , no makeup and was very down to earth.

I saw Anita in a sort of senior center in a totally impersonal space. She was very outspoken and funny, causing me to laugh several times during the interview, much to the chagrin of the editor who had to remove it from the final piece. Each of them thanked me enthusiastically for the interview, which mattered to me a great deal.

Kate:  Thanks for stopping by Joan, and all you readers might like to listen for a while to an excerpt from her book:

BLURB

Publisher:  CreateSpace (February 20 2013) Category: Mystery
ISBN: 13: 9781 489278981
Tour Dates: September, 2014
Available in: Print , Audio, and E-book, 227 Pages

AND ALL THAT MADNESS is a Casey McKie mystery. When the New York Jazz Society acquires a fifty-year old letter from Georgia Valentine, questions arise over the legendary vocalist’s death. Did she give herself a fatal dose of heroin, as the original investigators ruled, or did someone kill her? And if it was murder, what was the motive?

Casey moves her operation from San Francisco to New York to investigate the cold case, questioning Georgia’s musician friends, her widower, a drug dealer, a Broadway actress, a mafia boss and the authorities who declared the death a suicide. This quest takes Casey to New York’s most venerable jazz clubs, a Harlem nursing home, a mob-owned Italian restaurant, a lesbian bar and One Police Plaza, home of the NYPD.

She joins forces with an attractive detective from the Organized Crime unit, and, as the case progresses, so does their relationship. With no shortage of suspects, Casey ultimately uncovers evidence revealing a surprising killer.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Joan Merrill has written five Casey McKie mysteries, all taking place in the world of jazz: And All That Murder (2009), And All That Sea (2010), And All That Stalking (2011). And All That Madness (2012), And All That Motive (2014).

All books (except Motive, which will be published in early fall), are available at amazon.com and KindleAnd All That Madness is available as an audio book, narrated by long-time KCSM radio host, Alisa Clancy. To download, go to audible.com or iTunes.com or for the CD version, go tojoanmerrill.com. An audio book of And All That Stalking is under production.

Joan Merrill has worked in the jazz field for over twenty years, producing fourteen shows for NPR’s Jazz Profiles and four shows for the Smithsonian/PRI series Jazz Singers. She’s represented various jazz singers; produced the video documentary “Saying It with Jazz” featuring Carmen McRae and others; and produced three CDs under her own label. She also created and curates the website: carmenmcrae.com.

Merrill is currently producing a musical revue tribute to Doris Day, entitled “Que Sera! Celebrating Doris Day” with Kristi King. See QueSeraTheMusical.com Paperback versions of the Casey McKie mysteries may be purchased at reduced rates from the website: joanmerrill.com.

Joan on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoanMerrill20

BUY AND ALL THAT MADNESS:

Amazon
joanmerrill.com
Barnes and Noble
Book Depository

MY REVIEW

Really enjoyed this one. Casey spends her tie solving a 50 year old cold case while worrying about her biological clock. I learned a lot of jazz history but it was done in such a way as not to be distracting to the mystery. There was also some interesting information about the early days of drug prohibition, a topic I am very interested in. The solution to the mystery was a bit unusual but I deffinately will be reading more of Ms. Merrill’s books. ♥♥♥♥

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And All That Madness  Web Tour Schedule

So Many Precious Books Sept 2 Review & Giveaway

Reads and Writes Sept 3 Review

rantinravin’ and readin Sept. 4  Review & Guest Post

Sapphyria’s Book Reviews Sept 5 Giveaway & Excerpt

Elizabeth McKenna Romance Author Sept 8 Interview

Lady in Read Sept. 9 Review & Giveaway

Pinky’s Favorite Reads Sept. 10 Interview

Mary’s Cup of Tea Sept.12 Review & Giveaway

Deal Sharing Aunt Sept. 16 Review & Interview

Cassandra M’s Place Sept. 19 Review & Giveaway

Back Porchervations Sept 22 Review & Interview

What U Talking Bout Willis? Sept 23 Review, Giveaway, & Excerpt

Musings from Sri Lanka Sept 24 Review

JBronder Book Reviews            Sept. 26 Review

Amethyst Daydreams  Sept 29 Guest Post

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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

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

 

 

DANCING BACKWARD IN PARADISE day 2 and a giveaway

Joining me today is Vera Jane Cook. Be sure to check out yesterday’s post with my review of DANCING BACKWARD IN PARADISE. Leave a comment for a chance to win an ebook copy. Welcome Jane.

DANCING BACKWARD IN PARADISE has had quite a journey. You won awards for it back in 2007 so I assume that is when you originally published (on your own perhaps?). Then it seems it was put out by your current publisher in 2012 and here it is 2014 and you are touring with it. A large percentage of my readers are writers, so I am sure we would all find it interesting, could you tell us a bit about that journey?

dancing backward in paradise coverDancing Backward in Paradise was the first book of mine that was self published with iuniverse in 2006. It came out as a softcover book and it was published as well as an ebook but formatted so badly that I jumped at the chance to have it republished by Musa in 2012. I have six books published with Musa and trying to give them each attention takes a lot of time and money. I concentrate on one or two and then go back to the older ones. Hopefully I have enough books published now so that I can sell myself as an author instead of sell book by book.

I read somewhere that you are not from the South. Why Southern Fiction? Do you ever have concerns about authenticity?

Nope. My Mom was Southern and that whole side of the family is deep south so if nothing else, my writing is authentically southern.

You have had quite the career outside of writing. Acting, teaching in the arts, then corporate. What do/did you love and what did you hate and how have you managed to make time for your writing? And if it is funny and not too personal, what was the “bizarre mid-life crisis” that caused the shift from the arts to corporate?

The bizarre mid-life crisis was finding myself flat broke after being used to riches. I had to work for a living – what a shock. I don’t like working for people. I am very much a writer in that I love quiet and peace and aloneness.

What do you like to do to balance the demands having a job and writing places on you?

jaynecolor1 copyI love the Catskill mountains and go there often. Just being with friends and my spouse, our dogs, taking walks – going to fairs. That’s what I love. Reading is another way I relax. I’ve always loved to read.

What is the working title of the book you are currently working on, where did the idea come from and what can you tell us about it?

If you mean aside from Dancing Backward in Paradise, my next book is about a young girl who connects with an older woman (they both have a murder in common) but as it turns out, they have a great deal in common, so much so that it will change their lives.

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

  • What is your favorite food? Boiled lobster with cole slaw and sweet potatoe fries, a good white wine to sip, followed by a hot fudge sundae.
  • What is your favorite TV show? Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, Six Feet Under, Call the Midwife, Big Love, Breaking Bad, Paradise and Home Land.
  • What is your favorite music? Jazz vocals (Paula West, Diana Kroll, Ella – also love rock and roll and country. Love Chris Botti too and Kenny g.

Thank you so much for being here today, Jane, and continued good luck with the book. Before you go, is there anything else you would like to tell your readers or have them know about you?

Yes, if you like my book please let me know, would love to hear from you. I go to book clubs reading my book either in person or by Skype.

LINKS

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DANCING BACKWARD IN PARADISE day 1 and a giveaway

Join me today and tomorrow as we travel down South to Paradise. You will find my review of DANCING BACKWARD IN PARADISE below and tomorrow Vera Jane Cook will be here on the blog for an interview. And do be sure and check out the other stops on her tour.  Just leave a comment for a chance to win an ebook copy. Comment both days for two chances.

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Life for Grace Place is all about sucking on “meat jerkys” and Lenny Bean, her handsome lover. Grace’s mother has loftier plans for her daughter. She insists that Grace save her money and move to New York City so she can find fame and fortune as an actress.

Grace works as a cleaning lady for wealthy Betty Ann Houseman so she can pool her pennies for the trip north. Betty Ann has a passion for men more pronounced than her overbite, and it isn’t long before she’s parting the sheets for Lenny Bean. But just before Grace leaves Hixson for New York City, she uncovers an insidious plot: the Bean family is trying to steal Betty Ann’s estate.

Grace flees to New York, where she faces her darkest hours. In a world of surprises, Grace truly discovers paradise.

2007 Eric Hoffer Award

2007 Notable New Fiction Indie Excellence Award

MY REVIEW

I like Southern Literature. Not as a steady diet, but it makes a nice break. I used to live in the South. Things are different. It’s warmer. Things move slower. People talk slower. You can develop a complacency. But there is a dark side. It’s not all Tara and Mint Juleps. Paradise is a trailer park and even the rich widow of the story is pretty trashy. This is a coming of age novel. Grace Henrietta Place grows up in a trailer park. Sexually abused, starting with her grandfather. Raised on beans and grits and tales of New York City by her faded beauty, alcoholic mother, Madeline. Madeline imposes her dreams on Grace and Grace feels she must comply. You will follow Grace Place from the trailer park, Paradise, in the Chatanooga suburb of Hixson, all the way to New York City and back as she comes of age in the turbulent sixties. And you will see her grow and rise above what many wouldn’t have. Wait for a nice, hot, sunny day. Find a shade tree, bring some sweet tea, get comfortable and start DANCING BACKWARD IN PARADISE. ♥♥♥♥

jaynecolor1 copyABOUT THE AUTHOR

Vera Jane Cook, writer of Award Winning Women’s Fiction, is the author of Dancing Backward in Paradise, The Story of Sassy Sweetwater, Where the Wildflowers Grow and Lies a River Deep. In the paranormal genre, Vera Jane is the author of Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem.

Jane, as she is known to family and friends, was born in New York City and grew up amid the eccentricity of her southern and glamorous mother on the Upper West and Upper East Side of Manhattan. An only child, Jane turned to reading novels at an early age and was deeply influenced by an eclectic group of authors. Some of her favorite authors today are Nelson DeMille, Wally Lamb, Anne Rice, Sue Monk Kidd, Anita Shreve, Jodi Picoult, Alice Walker and Anne Rivers Siddons. Her favorite novels are too long to list but include The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, Cheri and The Last of Cheri, The Picture of Dorian Grey, A Thousand Splendid Suns, The Kite Runner, Dogs of Babel, The Bluest Eye, The Color Purple, Body Surfing, Lolita, The Brothers Karamazov, She’s Come Undone, Tale of Two Cities, etc., etc., etc.,

Jane worked in the professional theatre for over a decade, falling further in love with the plays of Tennessee Williams, Eugene O’Neil, Lillian Hellmann, and Sam Shepherd. She has appeared in television, regional theatre, film and off Broadway. Some of her credits have included both classic and original plays at Playwrights Horizons, WPA Theatre, Kennedy Center, Theatre for The New City, Bucks County Playhouse and many others.

After ten years in the theatre, Jane developed a passion for art history, film theory and philosophy. To nurture her many interests, she enrolled at Hunter College through the CUNY BA/BS program from the City University of New York.

Jane received her degree in Communications and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1982. She went on to earn a Masters in Educational Theatre from New York University and took an honorary withdrawal from Actors Equity, SAG and AFTRA. For the next decade, Jane became a teacher and seminar/workshop leader. At the New Lincoln School, she taught creative writing, drama and English to middle and high school students. She also taught the craft of acting to adult professionals at various colleges and adult centers.

A bizarre mid-life crisis forced Jane into corporate life at the age of forty-five. She worked as an education territory manager for The New York Times and presented many workshops on using the newspaper in education as a tool for teaching English as a Second Language. She has worked as a Project Manager for the Education department of the New York Daily News, as well as an Education Specialist for Oxford University Press (ESL division) and as an Education Consultant for Scholastic. Jane is presently an account manager at Triumph Learning in Manhattan and Westchester.

Jane has completed ten novels. Her next novel, Marybeth, Hollister and Jane, will be published by Musa in 2013. Dancing Backward In Paradise won an Eric Hoffer Award for publishing excellence and an Indie Excellence Award for notable new fiction, 2007. The Story of Sassy Sweetwater and Dancing Backward in Paradise received 5 Star ForeWord Clarion Reviews and The Story of Sassy Sweetwater has been named a finalist for the ForeWord Book of the Year Awards. Jane has published in ESL Magazine, Christopher Street Magazine and has written several newsletters and online blogs. Jane has also written early childhood curriculum. Her published curriculum has been for Weekly Reader and McGraw Hill.

The author is married and lives on the Upper West side of Manhattan with her spouse, her Basenji/Chihuahua mix, Roxie, her chihuahua puppy, Peanut, and her two pussy cats, Sassy and Sweetie Pie. Added to the mix is Carly, an adopted five year old chocolate brown Dachshund.

LINKS

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Dancing Backward in Paradise Web Tour Schedule

BIG MONEY by Jack Getze (and three giveaways!)

headshotTFAFormer Los Angeles Times reporter Jack Getze is Fiction Editor for Anthony nominated Spinetingler Magazine, one of the internet’s oldest websites for noir, crime, and horror short stories. Through the Los Angeles Times/Washington Post News Syndicate, his news and feature stories were published in over five-hundred newspapers and periodicals worldwide. His two “screwball mysteries”, BIG NUMBERS and BIG MONEY, are being reissued by DOWN & OUT BOOKS, with the new BIG MOJO to follow. His short stories have appeared in A Twist of Noir and Beat to a Pulp. Jack is an Active Member of Mystery Writers of America’s New York Chapter and in case you missed it, I reviewed BIG NUMBERS back in October. So I was very excited to have Jack back. Then I realized, I don’t know Jack (people say that to me all the time LOL) because it was Austin who was here last time. So everybody join me in welcoming Jack as he stops on his March Madness Tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours and be sure to comment for a chance to receive one of two ebooks Jack is giving away or go HERE for a chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card!!!!!!! Welcome, welcome, WELCOME Jack!

Are you as interesting as Austin?

Heavens no. I read and write all day long, then a TV show or two, go to sleep. Guys don’t get much more boring than me.

Why are you using that old picture again? I thought Austin and I had cleared that up!

THE REAL JACK

THE REAL JACK

It’s all I have, plus the marketing department (the wife) says I need to look younger. And you should never believe Austin. He’s a big liar.

I heard your granddaughter has a coloring book that has sold better than your books. Care to share a link?

No way. You think I’m going to help her sell more books than  me?

If the Playboy Channel (do they still have that?) were to pick this up as a TV series, who do you see playing Austin since George Clooney is too old?

Johnny Depp would do Austin Carr nicely, I think. He dresses up very well.

Is your wife a redhead?

Not this one. But my first love was, my high school sweetheart. I married her when I was twenty. We were just kids and really didn’t like each other much, so the marriage only lasted four years, but at least she was a redhead.

You know I am not the only guy who has a thing for redheads. It’s documented. Maybe it’s just because they stand out — they’re different. All I know for sure is that my interest goes back further than high school and my first wife — all the way to Lucille Ball. I LOVE LUCY was a popular TV show at our house, and she was not only gorgeous, but funny. I like funny. Silly is really good, too, and ridiculous well, ridiculous makes me hot.

I know you will be re-releasing BIG MOJO but what do you have in the works that is new and can you share a bit about it?

Actually BIG MOJO is new, never before published. I’m still in the process of final editing as I answer your questions. And there are many important changes coming to Austin’s world in this third episode. In #2 BIG MONEY I introduce a new character, Mr. Vic’s grandmother, Mama Bones, and in #3 BIG MOJO, she becomes a major player in Austin’s life and the series. She is a strong and interesting character. Writing #4 BIG SHOES, I’ve had trouble keeping Mama Bones under control. She wants my job. I’ve heard writers say, oh, yeah, it was thrilling that my character came alive and just took over the book. But that’s not for me. The story is mine, Mama Bones. You can’t have it.

We joke around but the fact is you have mad skills when it comes to writing. Seat of the pants with clean up in edit or careful plotting with editing as you go along with your writing?

Kind of you to say I have writing skills. I work hard to keep them hidden. As for my process, the first draft is exploratory. I don’t know exactly what my story is until the first draft is done, so I don’t spend much time rewriting while I’m getting that first pass on paper (computer). I let the manuscript sit a few weeks, then read it, decide what the story is REALLY about. Next is a crude outline — one line is one scene — then the second draft. This is the hardest part for me. Everything has to make sense this time. One chapter should follow the next without hitch. In other words, I really have to work on this draft. The third and final pass is pure fun — I play with words, usually cutting as many as I add. This is when I click on the thesaurus and find another way to say something I’ve said before, and paint things up a bit. One writing instructor called this part “adding sparkle chips.”

I know you are active n MWA. Any plans to teach a class with MWA University? There are lots of us who would sign right up!

You really are a peach, aren’t you Kate — thinking I should teach a class in writing. Nice idea, very flattering, but I don’t believe MWA would agree. My books are not eligible for their awards, nor I can sell them at MWA events. In some cases, I can’t even attend as an author. I’m not grousing — my publisher is new and MWA has rules — but I think MWA would like to limit my activities to attending events and paying dues. I really appreciate your saying that, however. Thank you.

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

  • What is your favorite food? Deep fried beef tacos. Anything Mexican is a close second.
  • What is your favorite TV show? Justified on FX. The producer Graham Yost has done just what he said he wanted to do — put Elmore Leonard stories on television.
  • What is your favorite music? I grew up listening and dancing to rockabilly, so give me three major chords and a dance beat, watch me go. Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Bowen, and Elvis shaped my life for years. Sun Records Rules!

Thank you so much for showing up yourself this time. Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers before you go?

I want to thank people for taking the time to read my work. For most writers this is all we really want — for readers to be entertained by our efforts — and so often we never find out if our plan worked. I spent so many years being rejected by agents and publishers, so many words written that have never been read, I find now myself overwhelmed with the number of reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. There are millions of books to read these days, but I can see people are in fact giving me a chance. It’s wonderful. And thank you.

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In this jaunty follow-up to Big Numbers, a scruffy stockbroker returns to tangle with mobsters, women and his own big mouth. The good news, as the story opens, is that the hero is in the company of a gorgeous naked lady. The bad news is that she’s pointing a shotgun at him. It’s a typical predicament for Austin Carr, a semi-shady New Jersey financial professional temporarily in charge of Shore SecuritiesHe’s being extorted into opening a money-laundering account for local crime boss Bluefish; an auditor who was investigating his company has turned up murdered; a fetching state police captain figures he’s the key to her organized-crime probe; and his boss’s mother has been picked up for fixing her church bingo game.

MY REVIEW

He does it again. What I hate. A prologue. Austin is looking down a pump action single barrel held by a female wearing nothing but white athletic socks. The barrel raises and… BAM! Chapter One starts. One month earlier. I hate prologues because so few writers do them well. They essentially open the book with a spoiler. Not Jack Getze. The man knows the right way to write a prologue. Besides learning how a prologue is done, you will learn the difference between ‘decimating’ and ‘destroying’. Very important. The man also knows when to use a comma and, more importantly, when not to. No small matter.

Writing style aside, Austin is in trouble. Again. No surprise there. Amongst other things, Austin is laundering money for the mob – Blue Chips for Bluefish. Plenty of page-turning action. Hilarity galore. If you haven’t read BIG NUMBERS (the book about which I said, “This book is so f*&%*&g funny, I read it right through in one sitting”), get that first to truly understand the essence of Austin. Once you have read that, I don’t have to even tell you to get BIG MONEY because you will be racing to get it because you know it is going to be another ♥♥♥♥♥

marchmadness

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

March 1 – Mystery Playground – Interview, Giveaway

March 2 – Thoughts in Progress – Interview

March 3 – Victoria’s Pages of Romance – Spotlight

March 4 – rantinravin‘ and reading – Review, Interview, Giveaway

March 5 – Back Porchervations – Review, Giveaway

March 6 – Beth’s Book Reviews – Guest Post, Giveaway

March 7 – Storeybook Reviews – Spotlight

March 8 – Kelly P’s Blog – Interview

March 9 – A Chick Who Reads – Review

March 10 – Christa Reads and Writes – Review

March 11 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Review

March 12 – fundinmental – Review – Giveaway

March 13 – readalot – Review

March 14 – Lori’s Reading Corner – Guest Post

March 15 – Books-n-Kisses – Review

March 16 –

March 17 – Omnimystery – Guest Post

March 18 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – Guest Post

March 19 – Deal Sharing Aunt – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway

March 20 – A Blue Million Books – Interview

March 21 – Teena in Toronto – Review

March 22 – Socrates’ Book Review Blog – Review

March 23 – Reviews By Molly – Review, Giveaway

March 24 – Jane Reads – Review, Giveaway

March 25 – Darla King Series – Interview

March 26 –

March 27 – Chloe Gets A Clue – Interview

March 28 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – Spotlight, Giveaway

March 29 –

March 30 – Brooke Blogs – Review, Giveaway

March 31 – Queen of All She Reads – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway

DESIGNING DEV by Steve Coronella

Steve Coronella MugBoston native Steve Coronella  has lived in Ireland since 1992. His new novel is “Designing Dev.” Deigning Dev was the last book I read in 2013 which means I ended the year with a very good laugh so I am thrilled that Steve is here today.

Steve arrived in Ireland in 92 and I left in 95, so we had an overlap. He has an experience I never had. I never knew a really prosperous Ireland in my lifetime. Did he like the Celtic Tiger Ireland? Or did people change to such a degree that his own desire for the old Ireland brought on this book? Well to help us understand the reasons behind his move to Ireland, Steve has consented to a handy Q & A session. Thank you so much for being here today, Steve.

Steve, what motivated you to chronicle your experiences as an ex-pat American in Ireland?

When I was in high school, I wrote a satirical column for the school paper. My favorite writers back then were syndicated columnists like Art Buchwald and Russell Baker and humorists such as S.J. Perelman and James Thurber. Like a lot of high school kids, I wasn’t really interested in the big name writers we were studying in English class.

So when I moved to Dublin many years later and it became apparent that the Ireland was going through a unique transformation, I thought: what better way to document the change than in a column in my hometown paper. Fortunately, the editor agreed, and the column ended up providing a lot of the material in my first book, This Thought’s On Me – A Boston Guy Reflects on Leaving the Hub, Becoming a Dub & Other Topics.

How would you describe your time in Ireland thus far?

I’m very happy over here – though the first few years were difficult. That would be the early 1990’s. It was hard to find a job when I first got here, and if I had been working from the start, I’m sure the transition would have been smoother. But this was pre-Celtic Tiger Ireland, when unemployment was at 17% and mortgage rates hit 14%.

I think writing about what I was seeing – in letters home (remember this was pre-email as well), newspaper articles and the comic novel that would become “Designing Dev” – definitely helped. Today things are grand – as my Cork-born grandmother used to say – though the country is to some extent broke and broken again.

Why did you make the move across the pond?

When my wife and I became engaged, it was kind of obvious which of us would be making the move. I’d been to Ireland many times over the previous decade, staying with my own relations in Cork when I wasn’t roaming around the country, and I thought I knew the place pretty well.

Also, my life at the time was much more mobile than my wife’s. She was nursing in Dublin and had just bought a house. I was managing a bookstore on Cape Cod and cutting grass part-time. I was also shuttling between cheap winter rentals and spare bedrooms offered by sympathetic friends. So it was kind of a no-brainer. I put my car, a few sticks of furniture and several boxes of books into a 20-foot freight container and headed over to Dublin.

What are some of the surprises you encountered in Ireland?

I suppose – and there’s an article about this in my first book – the Irish driving experience was the first thing to surprise me. Before our son arrived on the scene, my wife and I travelled regularly from Dublin to Cork to visit our respective families there. Back then, a journey of 200 miles could take seven to eight hours because you had to pass through every little town and village along the way. To make up time, I found that Irish drivers could become a bit, well, impatient with less experienced drivers like myself. Like so much else, though, the roads have improved, and I’m now well able to keep pace with the natives!

Generally speaking, what continues to surprise me is that so many Irish people take for granted the amazing changes – from the economy and infrastructure to attitudes toward the Catholic Church – that have occurred during my time here. It was like the country was on steroids but nobody bothered to notice.

Are you ever going to move back to Boston?

When I moved to Dublin, one of my aunts was convinced that I’d be back in Boston –still married, let me add – in two or three years’ time. That was almost 22 years ago. We’re all very happy here – my wife, my son and myself. In fact, my son has become an eager Irish-language speaker as well as an accomplished hurling and Gaelic football player for his local club. Also, I’d love to take a two-week train journey with him up and down the boot of Italy and across to Sicily – which is where my father’s parents came from. So, in a nutshell, I’d say we’re going to stay put in Dublin for a while yet.

What are your future plans?

Well, later this year I plan to publish another collection of my columns and essays, “More Thoughts On Me.” I also have several ideas to flesh out in the realm of fiction. So watch this space…

Now three things I ask everybody…

  • What is your favorite food? Anything that is prepared with patience and care.
  • What is your favorite TV show? At the moment, “Mad Men” – though for several years it was “The Sopranos,” owing in large part to the Mafia training ground that was my junior high school.
  • What is your favorite music? Again, a fluctuating category, but my early preferences have endured: Charlie Parker and Benny Goodman, the Allman Bros. and The Band, Planxty and Moving Hearts. 

Thank you for being here, Steve, it has been a pleasure. Since mysteries are our thing here on the blog, I think Mike should have a cozy series – what a laugh having Dev show up to solve crimes. LOL I’ve already told Steve that so let’s see what happens but in the mean time you will love this book, mystery or not.

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Carl Hiaasen meets “The Quiet Man” in “Designing Dev,” a madcap tale about love, politics, and cultural belonging.

The Celtic Tiger is roaring across Ireland and the country is going to hell in a hand basket. Office blocks and apartment buildings are springing up like weeds on every corner. Mercedes, Jaguars and Beemers crowd each new kilometer of EU-subsidized motorway. And bank executives and politicians are reveling in it all, indulging themselves like Saudi royalty. There’s only one solution: Bring back Eamon de Valera – the Abe Lincoln and George Washington of Irish historical lore – to restore the nation. So when an Irish-American look-alike by the name of Mike Doyle pops up in a Boston suburb, that’s precisely what ex-pat Brendan Quigney and his Friends For A Contented Eire set out to do, putting forward the reluctant Yank for president of Ireland.

Along the way, Mike and Friends attract the attention of the governing True Eire Party, whose officials decide that he’s one candidate too many and soon devise various plans to flatten his unorthodox campaign.

In the U.S., Mick and Josie Doyle are drawn into the fray when a TV tabloid show – “Truth Patrol” – runs a feature on their son’s political ambitions in Ireland. Though they met innocently enough – long-haul trucker Mick Doyle picked up a hitch-hiking Josie Giarrizzo while driving cross-country – they’re portrayed as “a couple of crazy throwbacks to the swinging Sixties, with their very own Love Shack on wheels!”

The Doyle story proves to be a mixed blessing for maverick editor and journalist Aengus White. His current affairs journal, Quintessence magazine, is suffering from poor circulation and needs a fresh injection of cash and controversy to quicken its pulse. White strikes a bargain with True Eire that he soon comes to regret. The Party will bail out his financially-troubled magazine, but in exchange White must publish any and all stories – including the fraudulent “Truth Patrol” revelations – that will lead to True Eire’s man Seanie Curtin getting elected.

When Mike and his campaign team get wind of these developments, the gloves come off. The climax comes at an open-air debate in the center of Dublin, which descends into comic chaos as Mike Doyle, Seanie Curtin, and Combined Forces of Good candidate Mary Ellen Corbett each state their case and face down respective charges of inexperience, incompetence, and previous nude modeling.

So strap yourself in and come along on a tour of Ireland that you won’t find in any travel brochure…

MY REVIEW

You don’t have to know Irish politics or the history of the presidency in Ireland to enjoy this book. But it makes it funnier if you do. Elections are elections everywhere and certain elements will be funny to you just because they bring to mind some tomfoolery in your local election. But a knowledge of the history of the Irish presidency does make the book that bit funnier. The position of President of Ireland is largely ceremonial. (Then again, looking at Washington today and how the two houses have blocked Obama, one has to think even the American president is merely ceremonial.) We’ve had nine presidents. Two of them women. In 1997 a beloved puppet, Dustin ran. (We also sent him to Euro-Vision in 2008.) Urban legend has it that he carried one area in Dublin. I voted for him. Sometimes the election is hotly contested and sometimes it is a walk in sort of as a reward for a beloved politician who has served long and well. Michael D. Higgins is the current president. That was a hotly contested election, won by a much loved politician who had served long and well.

Could a blow in from Massachusetts become President of Ireland? Yes indeed. You need not have been born there. Éamon de Valera (Dev) was born in NYC of an Irish mother and  Spanish father and he went on to become our first Taoiseach (well sort of, second President of the Executive Council and first Taoiseach)  as well as serving again from 51-54 and 57-59 and sixth president. And that is the whole premise of this book. Mike Doyle is the image of Dev so who better to bring Ireland back to the kinder,  gentler, pre Celtic Tiger Ireland? There are multiple groups of chancers either determined to get Mike to Áras an Uachtaráin or stop him in his tracks. And therein lies all the fun.

I won’t tell you how it works out (so that is a mystery), but you will have great fun reading this book and I am pleased to be able to give it ♥♥♥♥♥

AUTHOR’S LINKS

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Kobo (coming soon)

Bestsellers Cafe, Medford

 

Join me for PICKING LEMONS and a giveaway!

lemons authorToday, I am pleased to have J. T. Toman here while she makes a stop on her tour for PICKING LEMONS with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. J.T. lives in Boulder, Colorado. She received her Ph.D. in economics from Yale University and has taught econometrics at the University of Sydney and the University of Colorado at Boulder. She also has a degree in zookeeping from Pikes Peak Community College and has cared for everything from butterflies to elephants. She now teaches math at Front Range Community College, and truly believes fractions are useful in everyday life. In her spare time, J.T. Toman joins the rest of Colorado hiking, biking and skiing. However, much like her cats, she finds food more inspiring than scenery. J.T. particularly loves home- grown tomatoes, udon noodles and tall glasses of chocolate milk, but not at the same time. Picking Lemons is her first novel.  Leave a comment and your email for a chance to win an ebook copy. Welcome, J.T.

You and C.J. have a lot in common. You both go by initials, economics, academia… How much of C. J. is you and what are your biggest differences?

Yes C.J. and I do have a lot of the basic facts in common. She and I both have degrees in economics and we both use our initials. (No fancy girly names for us!) But, unfortunately for me, that is where the similarity ends.

I consider C.J. the person I wish I could be. She says out loud all the things I only vent to the bathroom mirror at night. She is smart, sexy and sassy and I adore her.  I would love to be mistaken for C.J., but that is unlikely to happen as I am very shy, terrified of large groups of students, and rarely say what I think for fear I offend.

Economics. Zookeeping. Math. None of these things scream cozy author. What brought you to write a novel and more particularly a cozy?

I have always been a writer. I wrote my first “book” when I was in elementary school titled “The very best book of bear poetry.” I even talked my mother into taking photos of my stuffed bears to illustrate it. And my first “paid” piece of writing was an essay for a competition in high school that won me two tickets to the opera.

I have experimented with many genres, and had a short piece of creative non-fiction published in Skirt! magazine in 2009 titled “Punishingly Younger.” My filing cabinet is filled with many UFO’s (unfinished opuses) in creative non-fiction and children’s fiction.

One day, struggling for enthusiasm for a writing project, I asked myself “What do you enjoy reading?” The answer was cozy murder mysteries.  It is, without doubt, my favorite genre. I love the intellectual challenge of figuring out who did it. And I enjoy the characters in the genre. They are often so unique and easy to identify with. Hence Picking Lemons was born.

Do you plot out your story or just fly by the seat of your pants?

I am very much a plot-before-I-write type of author. I will confess that I actually construct a giant excel spreadsheet of every character as a row and every hour as a column for the duration of the book, and put on it what everyone is doing when, to avoid any inconsistencies in the plot line. I can then see where everyone is, what they are doing, and how the murder occurred.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

It took about six months. I don’t write full time I squeeze in writing between my job and my family. I will typically spend an hour or two a day writing, but then lose a week here and there when life gets hectic.

Are you currently working on the next in the series and what can you tell us about it?

I am! C.J. and Eaton University will return, as will many of the faculty at Eaton, such as Walter, Peter, Betsy, Charles and Mary Beth. There will some new characters; James, the new Australian professor that has caught Mary Beth’s eye; Arthur, an older, somewhat curmudgeonly, professor;  and Lauren, a young female junior professor.

Sadly for Eaton, I suspect there will be another murder. I always loved the Murder She Wrote T.V. shows, but wondered why anyone would live in Crab Apple Cove as the murder rate there was so high. I am getting the feeling it will be the same at Eaton University!

What do you like to do to balance the demands writing places on you? (e.g., hobbies, interests, pursuits, outings)

I love to work out we joke that working out two hours a day is actually a requirement for living here in Boulder, Colorado! I hike, ski, go to the gym, run, swim the list goes on. I don’t know if it is actually a good balance for writing, as often I find myself thinking about my characters while running or swimming, and I have been known to put a pad a paper and a pen at the end of the pool to jot down ideas between laps, so as to not forget them. Which can be hard to explain, when what you write down is “strangle with academic hood!!!! Of course!”

Now three things that have nothing to do with writing:

  • What is your favorite food?  Chocolate milk and udon noodles (but not at the same time!) And my husband’s home-grown tomatoes.
  • What is your favorite TV show? I go on Netflix fads. Last year I couldn’t get enough of Miss Phryne Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. And then for a while it was documentaries. And now it is Hawaii Five-0 (the original, of course).
  • What is your favorite music? My absolute, hands-down favorite Pandora station is YMCA radio I will dance around the kitchen singing into the wooden-spoon microphone whenever that is playing!

Thank you so much for being here today, J. T. Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers  before you go?

Thank you so much for your interest in Picking Lemons. I hope you enjoy the book!

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Economic theories can predict many things – just not the death of a renowned Economics professor. When Professor Edmund DeBeyer is found dead in his office, strangled to death by his own Ph.D. hood, the police don’t have to look further than his colleagues in the Economics Department for suspects. After all, Edmund was the most despised member of the department. C.J. Whitmore, the department’s only tenured female, (who also has a penchant for wearing pink cowboy boots to class) resolves to get to the bottom of the mystery using economic principles. Comparing tracking down murder suspects to to selecting a used car, she attempts to discern the real deals from the “lemons.” That is, which suspects are really telling the truth and which are lying to protect their guilt. Will C.J. be able to pick the lemon before her clever adversary strikes again?

MY REVIEW

C. J. is a professor at rather a boring, reserved university. Which is why she waited until she had tenure before showing her true colors – which include wearing hot pink cowboy boots. A funny cozy, well written, and rather remarkable for a first novel. The author has a knack for well drawn characters and I will be looking for the next book in this series. ♥♥♥♥

LINKS

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

  • January 26 – Kelly P’s Blog – Interview
  • January 27 – Queen of All She Reads – Review
  • January 28 – Books-n-Kisses – Review
  • January 29 – readalot blog – Review
  • January 29 – StoreyBook Reviews – Review
  • January 30 – Book Club Librarian – Review
  • January 31 – Books Are Life – Vita Libri – Review
  • February 1 – rantinravin’ and reading – Review – Interview

Spend Christmas at the HEARTACHE MOTEL (and a giveaway)

You know one of the nicest things about ebooks? If you are a last minute Christmas shopper you can get an ebook at the last minute. Heck, you can sit in the car outside of Aunt Gert’s on Christmas day, order one on your phone and go to the door and wish Aunt Gert a Merry Christmas and tell her her present is sitting on her Kindle. And if Aunt Gert is a fan of cozy mysteries and Elvis (and who isn’t?) then Heartache Motel would be the best last minute gift for her! And here today, on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Toursare the lovely ladies who wrote it. (enter giveaway at the end) Welcome Terri Austin, Larissa Reinhart and LynDee Walker and Merry Christmas.

Terri: Thanks so much for having us! *waving madly* 

LynDee: It’s always fun to chat with you, Kate! Merry Christmas! 

Larissa: Hey Kate! And Aunt Gert! So glad to be here!

How did this collaboration come about? Had the three of you met somewhere and you came up with the idea yourselves or was it something your publisher came up with?

Terri: Larissa originally came up with the idea. She wondered what it would be like if our characters met around Christmastime. It sort of evolved from there. I can’t remember who had the Memphis idea. Was that you, LynDee?

LynDee: It was. My mom was a big Elvis fan, and I have great memories of going with her to Graceland. Since Memphis was kind of in the middle of where all our heroines are, and we could each find a way to get them there, it fell into place. I’m so glad. I love these stories!

Larissa: We’d like to claim a professional study that led us to believe readers would love a Christmas anthology set at a sketchy motel filled with Elvis and female impersonators. But we can’t. This book came from the three of us goofing around.

Who came up with the constants in the stories like Man-Margaret?

Terri: I think we all sort of came up with a few ideas and we threw them out to the group. I know the Suspicous Minds Bar was Larissa’s brainchild. Along with the Rock-a-hula cocktail—which I need to try. What’s in this concoction, Ris?

LynDee: I honestly can’t remember how the drag queens came about, but I love every one of them. I think it was Ris, because it just sounds like one of her brilliant ideas. And then we all swapped emails giving them names and outfits and such. I’m pretty sure Terri christened Man-Margret. Right?

Larissa: Rock-A-Hula cocktail. One part everything in your liquor cabinet, spin yourself around, and your hips will shake on their own accord. That’s the Rock-A-Hula baby! Which is why I stick with beer.

I have always been an Elvis fan but not a FAN so I never wanted to go to Graceland but I have to admit since reading your stories, I think I’m adding it to my bucket list. Have any of you actually been to Graceland?

LynDee: I have! It’s awesome, and I highly recommend that everyone go. It should be on the Great American list of things to see. My mom and I went for spring break my freshman year of college. I was eighteen, and just way too cool to go with my mom to Elvis’s house. Until we got inside. It was just super cool, being in the place where such talent had lived.

Larissa: Terri and I had to live vicariously through LynDee and Google for this one.

Terri, what can we expect to follow DINER IMPOSSIBLE and when?

I’ve been working on a romance trilogy. HIS EVERY NEED comes out next May, so that’s kept me pretty busy. While I don’t have a date yet, different storylines for Rose and the gang are tumbling around my brain.

Larissa, I’m starting to feel like I should be giving you co-billing on the blog. What’s next after HIJACK IN ABSTRACT?

LOL! Because I love being on this blog! You won’t see me again until Juneish, when Cherry’s number four, DEATH IN PERSPECTIVE, comes out. This time she’s on to a cyber bullying caper turned deadly at a posh, private school.

And last but not least, LynDee, after BURIED LEADS what can we expect from Nichelle?

I’m finishing up galley proofs of the third Headlines in High Heels novel now. It’s called SMALL TOWN SPIN, and it’ll be on sale in April (not too long, y’all!) Nichelle gets pulled into the death of a superstar athlete’s son in a teeny town out on the coast. The local sheriff is quick to write it off as a suicide, but the deeper Nichelle digs, the more she suspects there’s something to the story the police aren’t seeing.

Merry Christmas to all three of you and your families. Before you go, is there anything else you want to tell your readers?

LynDee: Y’all have made 2013 an amazing year for me, and I’m thankful this holiday for every one of you. I hope your season is filled with warmth and laughter.

Larissa: Merry Christmas to you and your readers! Hope none of you get any coal in your stocking. *wink*

BIOS 

terryTERRI L. AUSTIN

As a girl, Terri L. Austin thought she’d outgrow dreaming up stories and creating imaginary friends. Instead, she’s made a career of it. She met her own Prince Charming and together they live in Missouri. She loves to hear from readers!

WEB: www.terrilaustin.com

FOLLOW: www.twitter.com/terrilaustin

LIKEwww.facebook.com/terrilaustin

larrissaLARISSA REINHART

After seeing Paper Moon as a child, Larissa Reinhart fell in love with stories about confidence capers. QUICK SKETCH is the Cherry Tucker prequel to PORTRAIT in the mystery anthology THE HEARTACHE MOTEL. HIJACK IN ABSTRACT is the third in the Cherry Tucker Mystery Series from Henery Press, following STILL LIFE IN BRUNSWICK STEW (#2) and PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY (#1), a 2012 Daphne du Maurier finalist. She lives near Atlanta with her minions and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit.

WEB:  larissareinhart.com

Follow: twitter.com/RisWrites

Like: facebook.com/RisWrites

LynDee-headshotLYNDEE WALKER

LynDee Walker grew up in the land of stifling heat and amazing food most people call Texas, and wanted to be Lois Lane from the time she could say the words “press conference.” An award-winning journalist, she traded cops and deadlines for burp cloths and onesies when her oldest child was born. Writing the Headlines in Heels mysteries gives her the best of both worlds. LynDee adores her family, her readers, and enchiladas. She often works out tricky plot points while walking off the enchiladas. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she is working on her next novel.

WEB: www.lyndeewalker.com

FOLLOW: www.twitter.com/LynDeeWalker

LIKE: www.facebook.com/lyndeewalkerbooks

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Heartache Motel: Three Interconnected Mystery Novellas
Genre: Women Sleuths, Cozy Mystery, Humorous Mystery, Short Stories
Number of Pages: 225
Published by: Henery Press (December 10, 2013)
 

Elvis has left the building, but he’s forever memorialized at the Heartache Motel. Filled with drag queens, Rock-a-Hula cocktails, and a vibrating velveteen bed, these three novellas tell the tales of three amateur sleuths who spend their holidays at the King’s beloved home.

DINERS KEEPERS, LOSERS WEEPERS by Terri L. Austin
A Rose Strickland Mystery Novella (follows Diner Impossible)

When Rose and the gang head to Graceland right before Christmas, they get all shook up: the motel is a seedy dump and an Elvis impersonator turns up dead. Rose discovers missing jewels tie into the death and her suspicious mind flips into overdrive, questioning her fellow guests, the staff, and even a cute impersonator who keeps popping up. Will Rose be able to find the murderer and get home by Christmas day? It’s now or never.

QUICK SKETCH by Larissa Reinhart
A Cherry Tucker Mystery Novella (prequel to Portrait of a Dead Guy)

Sassy Southern artist Cherry Tucker and her poker-loving boyfriend, Todd, pop into Memphis to help Todd’s cousin who’s been hustled out of his savings, right before Christmas. Staying at the shady Heartache Motel, Cherry can’t tell a shill from a mark and fears everyone is playing them for chumps. Cherry and Todd quickly find themselves in a dangerous sting that could send them to the slammer or mark them as pigeons from cons looking for an even bigger score.

DATELINE MEMPHIS by LynDee Walker
A Headlines in Heels Mystery Novella (follows Buried Leads)

Crime reporter Nichelle Clarke thinks she’s going home for Christmas. But a quick stop at Graceland proves news breaks in the strangest places. When the King’s home gets locked down with Nichelle inside, she chases this headline into the national spotlight, and the thief’s crosshairs. Christmas dreams of blue suede Manolos fade, and all Nichelle wants from Santa is to land the story before the thief cuts off her news feed for good.

MY REVIEW

I’m not a big fan of short stories or novellas but this trio of stories was great fun. The stories all take place at the Heartache Motel – a dump would be an upgrade. But the regulars, who appear in all three stories are a lot of fun. Starting with the desk clerk Man-Margaret, a seven foot tall drag queen done up as Ann Margaret. Rose, Roxy and Ma take a break from the diner for Christmas and go to Graceland with Axton and his stoner roommate, Joe, tagging along. They meet Ron, an Elvis impersonator with some “special order” rhinestones on his cape. Then we get to meet Cherry and Todd on their way to what we know (this one is a prequel) will be their very eventful  Vegas visit and they get involved with what might generously be called a ‘charity’ poker game – or maybe a con. And finally we have Nichelle stopping at Graceland, while en route home to Texas, for a Christmas present for her mother. She is stuck there when Graceland is locked down because one of Elvis’s magnificent belts has gone missing. These were three very light, funny stories that will appeal to readers of any of the three series or will introduce you to a new series you should be reading. My only disappointment was I thought Rose, Cherry and Nichelle would bump into each other at some point. hmmmmm …. Perhaps next Christmas? ♥♥♥♥½

For the giveaway of several ebooks, a Barnes and Noble gift card and some other goodies, first leave a comment below then go HERE and scroll down the page to the Rafflecopter giveaway. Have a Happy Holiday everyone!

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Tour Participants

December 10 – A Chick Who Reads – Review
December 11 – Socrates’ Book Review Blog – Socrates’ Cozy Cafe – Review, Interview
December 12 – Christy’s Cozy Corners  – Review
December 13 – Musings and Ramblings – Review
December 14 – Books-n-Kisses – Review
December 15 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Interview
December 16 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review December 17 – fuonlyknew – Review
December 18 – 
StoreyBook Reviews – Review
December 19 – 
Mochas, Mysteries and More – Interview
December 20 – 
My Recent Favorite books – Review
December 21 – 
rantinravin’ and reading – Review, Interview
December 22 – 
Jane Reads – Review, Interview
December 23 – 
Chloe Gets A Clue – Interview
December 23 – 
Queen of All She Reads – Review