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.


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?

Facebook Author 




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. ♥♥♥♥♥


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



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.



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…


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! ♥♥♥♥♥

Amazon B&N


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

EMBELLISHED TO DEATH by Christina Freeburn  (and a giveaway!)

Joining us today is Christina Freeburn who is on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the release of her latest mystery, EMBELLISHED TO DEATH. Be sure to leave Christina a comment below then head over Rafflecopter Code: HERE for a chance to win a copy of the book.


By Christina Freeburn

The muse is a strange creature. Some days, it arrives so full ideas and raring to go that I have a hard time keeping up with the words flowing out of my brain. My wrists start aching, and I lose some sentences here and there as my words-per-minute typing speed isn’t as quick as my mind. These are beautiful days, and I cherish each and every one, trying to savor them as I know it won’t last forever.

Other days the creativity slugs along acting like it wants to be elsewhere, and after awhile I feel the same. Sitting at my desk is less appealing than gathering up dirty clothes for the washer or cleaning the oven. My writing day consists of completing a sentence then deleting it. Write another, then make that one disappear also. Instead of being a writer, I feel like I’m a magician. Sentence done. Abracadabra! Poof it’s gone!

When I first started writing, I was what is termed a pantsterI sit down and start writing with no real direction of where the plot is going and how my character will get there. I knew the setting, the main plot, just not all the details and whys and how that made up the book. In pantsing, I wrote in a linear fashion. Chapter One, word one. I didn’t move on to the next chapter or scene until that section was complete word by word. Of course, it was almost impossible to write any other way as I didn’t have a clue on what could possible come next. The story unfolded as I typed, and while a great idea for a later scene popped into my head on occasion, I wouldn’t skip ahead to write it down because I didn’t know where it would go.

My process now is a mix of outlining and pantsing, and my muse lately is forcing me to leave my well-loved writing box of beginning-to-end style. I like starting from the beginning and moving forward. It’s hard enough to figure my characters out when I’m going from the beginning of the chapter to the end, as they like stepping off the trail I created (my outline) and find a path they like better. Usually the path they prefer is dark, overgrown, filled with people I don’t know. I have no idea why that trail is in my story in the first place. Now, the muse wants me to create it from the end to the beginning. The last sentence of a chapter will come to me and then I build from the end to the beginning. I hear the sarcastic reply of my heroine, but have no idea why she said it. I see the heroine in a dire situation, but have no idea how she arrived in the predicament in the first place.

In a way, this new writing method mimics the mystery plot. A mystery is built on the premise of the sleuth knowing the outcome – murder – and spending the book figuring out who did it by uncovering the actions and motivation that lead up to the death of the victim. It’s hard fighting the muse, so I’ve been going with it. I begin the chapter knowing what happens at the very end, and write backwards to discover the reason the last sentence occurred. Writing in this method is a little out of my comfort zone, but since it’s working I’ve gone with the flow instead of fighting it.


The Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery series brings together Christina Freeburn’s love of mysteries, scrapbooking, and West Virginia. When not writing or reading, she can be found in her scrapbook room or at a crop. Alas, none of the real-life crops have had a sexy male prosecutor or a handsome police officer attending.

Christina served in the JAG Corps of the US Army and also worked as a paralegal, librarian, and church secretary. She lives in West Virginia with her husband, children, a dog, and a rarely seen cat except by those who are afraid or allergic to felines.


Embellished to Death
Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Henery Press (September 23, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-1940976273
When Faith Hunter agrees to help PI Bob Roget find an identity thief at a local scrapbook retreat, her friendly croppers’ weekend quickly morphs into a dangerous one. As croppers share their own memories, a killer collects them for her new identity, and doesn’t appreciate Faith in the picture. Faith struggles to balance her professional, detecting and personal lives as threats and secrets keep her off-balance. Things turn deadly when a woman is killed and Faith is blackmailed. Truth and lies collide when Faith discovers croppers aren’t the only ones embellishing, and the results might end her life.


I read the first two books in this wonderful series and it has almost gotten me to start scrapbooking, the only craft I don’t do! In this outing, Faith Hunter is after an identity thief, hiding a secret of her own, getting blackmailed, and so much more in this fast paced mystery. You will be breathless! This is another ♥♥♥♥♥







Purchase Link

Tour Participants

September 23 – Mommasez… – Review, Guest Post

September 24 – Books Are Life  – Vita Libri – Review

September 25 – Mystery Playground – Guest Post

September 26 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review

September 27 – Community Bookstop – Review

September 28 – StoreyBook Reviews – Review, Guest Post

September 29 – Brooke Blogs – Review

September 30 – rantinravin’ and reading – Review, Guest Post

October 1 – Back Porchervations – Review, Interview

October 2 – a chick who reads – Review

October 3 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review, Interview


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!


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.



AMAZON        B&N 


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 ♥♥♥♥♥


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






GILT TRIP IN THE BIG EASY (and a giveaway!)

laura-childsLaura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of three cozy series with a fourth in the works. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fund raising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs. Her three series are: The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. I reviewed POSTCARDS FROM THE DEAD back in January  and AGONY OF THE LEAVES from the tea  shop Mysteries back in February so I am thrilled that Laura is here today promoting her latest scrapbooking mystery GILT TRIP. Laura is giving away two autographed hardcover copies of GILT TRIP (US only) and you can enter to win by leaving a comment (with your email address) below and for more chances to win go HERE. Welcome, Laura.

My husband says he sleeps with one eye open given all my odd internet searches. Where did you come up with the idea of a trocar for a weapon? (I found a trocar under the category ‘home embalming’ on ebay which is a little worrisome.)

Believe it or not, I was a Mortuary Science student for a short time.  Then I came to my senses and transferred to the English Department.  But I did learn a few embalming tricks – like using a trocar.

You’re a prolific writer with multiple series. How long does it take you to write a first draft of a book like GILT TRIP and then with all that follows that, how long before the reader gets to see it?

I can usually write a book in 4 to 5 months.  I start with a timeline on a large sheet of paper, fill in key characters, plot points, and clues, then transfer the whole thing to my computer.  Then I write about an 80 page outline that will include a fairly tight first chapter and a sketchy final chapter.  Then I go back to chapter one and write the book straight through, punching it up and fixing it as I go along.  So no drafts, really, just writing the book in its entirety.  Once my book is finished – usually a year before it’s published – I hit the Send key on my computer and start working on my next book.

To do what you do, you must be an incredibly organized person. Would I be correct in assuming you must be a plotter not a pantster?

I definitely work out a fairly tight plot – you just have to know where you’re going.  The other thing is, in my previous life I was CEO of a marketing firm, so I was used to handling anywhere from 15 to 20 clients and their national campaigns at any one time.  So to balance 3 books is relatively easy.

How many books are you ahead and what is the next book we can expect to see from you?

Eggs in a Casket, my new Cackleberry Club Mystery, pubs in January 2014.  Steeped in Evil, my next Tea Shop Mystery, pubs in March of 2014.  I am just finishing up Scorched Eggs (Cackleberry Club) and Gossamer Ghost (Scrapbook).

Is any one of the series more fun to write than the others and do you have favorites amongst the characters? (Drayton in the Tea Shop mysteries is mine.)

Well, he’s mine, too.  But I’m pretty crazy about all my characters.  Some readers think Delaine in the Tea Shop Mysteries is too abrasive, but she makes a great foil.  And I love Ava in the Scrapbook Mysteries, she’s such a little tease.  The only characters that give me problems are my protagonist’s boyfriends.  I want my ladies to have a full life as they unravel mysteries, but I hate to have guys intrude too much!

What do you like to do to balance the demands writing places on you?

Balance?  Oh, I wish.  I write 5 days a week, do marketing/promotions 1 day a week and take 1 day off.  That’s the day I grocery shop, do laundry, etc.  And I’m thinking of writing a 4th series?  I must be crazy!

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

  • What is your favorite food? Sushi
  • What is your favorite TV show? Walking Dead and NFL Football
  • What is your favorite music? Rolling Stones, 70’s classic rock, opera, and classical music

Thank you so much for being here today Laura, and good luck with the tour and your new book. And readers, don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win this great book.

gilt tripBLURB

(A Scrapbooking Mystery #11)
Berkley (Prime Crime), October 2013
ISBN-10: 0425252922
ISBN-13: 9780425252925
320 pages Hardcover

Louisiana businessman Jerry Earl Leland served only a fraction of his five-year sentence for white-collar crime, thanks to some political connections and a few greased palms. But he won’t have long to enjoy his freedom…

After Jerry Earl’s early release, his wife, Margo—a much-married Garden District doyenne—throws an extravagant Get Out of Jail Free Party, complete with a Zydeco band, champagne ice luge, and waiters in ties and tails. The guest list includes many prominent New Orleans socialites, as well as scrapbook shop owner Carmela Bertrand and her best friend, Ava Gruiex. But sometime during the swirl of partying and drinking, Jerry Earl is brutally murdered—then stuffed inside a clothes dryer.

Carmela has earned a reputation around town for solving murders, and when the grieving widow turns to her for help, she can’t say no. But Jerry Earl took a lot of people to the cleaners with his underhanded business tactics, so Carmela’s going to be hard-pressed to identify which of his enemies was steamed enough to kill him. As she sorts through Jerry Earl’s dirty laundry, she needs to collar the killer before another victim is set to tumble dry…

Scrapbooking Tips and Recipes Included!

You can read a sneak peak of Chapter One HERE


I read so many books, most so called cozies. But some of them are written just for the humor and some are really more thrillers. It is so nice to sit down with a book that you know before you open it is going to be a traditional cozy with characters you already know. It was wonderful to be back in New Orleans with Carmela and Ava. The book starts with a party, complete with a champagne luge. The party ends with the guest of honor dead, banging around in a clothes dryer – found by Carmela of course. Jerry Earl Leland has no shortage of enemies. When his widow asks Carmela to find out who the murderer is she investigates in the French Quarter, The Garden District and all the way down Highway 23 to the End Of The World. Read it, you’ll find out! There are plenty of suspects, a few red herrings and a tightly written mystery that will have you guessing right until the end. Another winner in a series I never tire of reading. Oh, and there are scrapbooking tips and recipes at the end!  ♥♥♥♥♥


Connect with Laura on her website or her Amazon page and you can buy GILT TRIP here.

On tour with Christina Freeburn, author of Designed to Death, discussing her Surprise Writing Influence

Christina Bio002I would like to welcome Christina Freeburn who is on a blog tour with Great Escapes Virtual Tours for the release of her new book, DESIGNED TO DEATH, which is the second book in the Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery series. The Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery series brings together Christina Freeburn’s love of mysteries, scrapbooking, and West Virginia. When not writing or reading, she can be found in her scrapbook room or at a crop. Alas, none of the real-life crops have had a sexy male prosecutor or a handsome police officer attending.

Christina served in the JAG Corps of the US Army and also worked as a paralegal, librarian, and church secretary. She lives in West Virginia with her husband, children, a dog, and a rarely seen cat except by those who are afraid or allergic to felines.

Christina has kindly written a guest post for us today. Welcome, Christina.

One of the questions often asked of writers is what book or author has influenced their writing. I always found the question tough as I never thought I’d been influenced by one particular book or author. Even though most of my novels contain a crime, I’ve done police procedurals, edgy inspirational romantic suspense, humorous traditional detective novel (set in an untraditional setting) and now a cozy mystery series, none have the same tone or style. 

How could any one writer or book influence my writing when each series has their own voice and style? Sometimes the current book is a complete opposite of the last project I wrote. I figured I didn’t have an influence. Until I realized there was one element that ran through all my books—family. 

My favorite mystery series, overall my first “book love”, were the Hardy Boys. Frank. Joe. Fenton. Laura. Aunt Gertrude. Even now, I still sometimes pick up a Hardy Boy book and read it. There’s something about the stories that tug at my heart and are a comfort to me. I was drawn to the Hardy Boys because I yearned to be in their family. Reading those books allowed me to spend time with siblings who loved and cared about each other, where parents supported their children (though I’d never be that supportive if my teens wanted to hunt down criminals). The Hardy Boys filled a longing in me. The books brought joy to my life and allowed me to experience the type of family I dreamed about as a child. 

Without having known it, the Hardy Boys played a key role in the type of stories I wrote. Whether I write mysteries or romantic suspense, there is a strong family unit that is the backbone of the book. The family members don’t always get along in harmony. They have their moments of arguments and saying just that ‘perfect’ thing to irritate their sibling but in the end … they stand up and by each. When one is threatened, they close ranks as no issue between them is ever more important than each other’s well-being. Disagreements and personality clashes become non-existent. Family is first.

Thank you Christina, I think we all would have to agree with you about that.

Book Details
Genre: Cozy Mystery – 2nd in Series
Published by: Henery Press
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Number of Pages: 288


Faith Hunter planned the perfect event at her grandmother’s shop, Scrap This, featuring local scrapbooker and Life Artist Diva, Belinda Watson. But the extravaganza goes up in a cloud of glitter when Belinda and her cousin, Darlene, brawl over scraplifted designs. Faith attempts to break it up, but only makes things worse. Then when Belinda turns up dead behind the Scrap This store, Faith’s involvement goes viral.

As accusations against her turn vicious, Faith sets out to prove her nemesis, Darlene, committed the crime, only to realize they are both innocent. Now they must team up or the murderer’s plan will come together seamlessly with the frenemies sharing a jail cell—or worse, a funeral.

DESIGNED TO DEATH is the second book in the Faith Hunter Scrap This mystery series. Be sure to check out the first crafty mystery, CROPPED TO DEATH. Bonus: includes scrapbooking tips.



Silly me. I thought this was the first book in a new series by Christina Freeburn but quickly realized it wasn’t. So being me, and as I was enjoying it, I put it down and got the first one to read first. The series starts with CROPPED TO DEATH, then EMBELLISHED TO DEATH will follow in April 2014. DESIGNED TO DEATH opens with a signing and a class, at the Scrap This shop, by newly named Life Artist Diva Belinda Watson. A very clever device, actually, as you pretty much ‘meet’ all the characters right in the beginning. Belinda and her cousin Darlene get in a knock down call the police physical fight, and the class never takes place, because Belinda stole Darleen’s designs to win her title. When Belinda is found dead that night behind Scrap This, Darlene is the number one suspect. Not that there is any shortage of alternate suspects. From Faith herself when there are vicious allegations on a scrapping message board, to Belinda’s overprotective mother, to the magazine publisher embarrassed by the fraud… the list goes on. Faith joins up with Darlene to solve the murder even though they are far from friends. Faith is also trying to choose between Ted and Steve and when she finally chooses Steve has to deal with his sudden disinterest. This is a fun series with very likable characters you will want to visit with again and again with every new book. Even if you are not a fan of scrapping (and I’m not – it’s about the only craft I never got into) you will enjoy the series as it is not too heavy with information about the hobby – as some hobby series can be. And if you are into the hobby, there are hints at the back of the book.

Whether you are a scrapbooking fan or not, you will love The Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery Series and DESIGNED TO DEATH. I give it a solid ♥♥♥♥♥

Christina’s Links:



Tour Participants
September 10 – Chloe Gets A Clue Review, Interview & Giveaway
September 11 – A Blue Million Books Interview
September 12 – Mommasez… Review, Guest Post & Giveaway
September 13 – StoreyBook Reviews Review & Giveaway
September 15 – Cozy Up With Kathy Interview
September 16 – Mochas, Mysteries and More Guest Post
September 17 – Queen of All She Reads Review, Guest Post & Giveaway
September 18 – Books Are Life – Vita Libri Review & Giveaway
September 19 – Brooke Blogs Review & Guest Post
September 20 – rantinravin’ and reading Review & Guest Post




VOTE for a cause!

bra bra

Can you believe that fabulous bra is made of duct tape? It costs a  dollar to vote (or you could be even more generous) but it is all for a very good cause. You can vote online at Asheville Artful Bra Challenge or go to Kitsch Fabrics if you are in the Asheville, NC area. Go here to see all the bras and vote. Of course I would love you to scroll down to number 14 by Ingrid Hansen. Ingrid works for Mission Foundation and helps raise money  for Ladies Night Out which has one night a month for women to get free mammograms. The Artful Bra Challenge will be donating the proceeds to them so please be generous! As we always say in my family, VOTE EARLY AND VOTE OFTEN!

From The Mountain Express:

What: Asheville Artful Bra Challenge, to benefit Ladies Night Out breast cancer screenings for low-income women.

When: Votes for favorite bras will be accepted online through Tuesday, July 30. A fundraiser is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 7, from 6-9 p.m.

Where: Voting is available online at or at Kitsch Fabrics, 742 Haywood Road. Each vote costs $1. The fundraising event will be held at Altamont Brewing Company, 1042 Haywood Road, in August.

Why: There’s a new army in the war against cancer. Each soldier has two cups, two straps and everything from fringe to doll heads hanging from the bottom. These “artful bras” do more than just support: They also protect women from breast cancer.

Kitsch Fabrics and Sisters-in-Stitches will once again join forces to raise funds for Mission Hospital, Asheville Breast Center and Buncombe County Department of Health’s Ladies Night Out program. The agencies work together to provide free mammograms and cancer screenings to uninsured and underinsured women in Buncombe County. 

bra bra vote


knitNot that kind of crafty, knitting crafty. I’m not always reading mysteries or working on mine. I have to spend some time on my many crafts. I just read an advance reader’s copy of Knit Christmas Stockings, 2nd Edition: 19 Patterns for Stockings & Ornaments and I can’t wait to get out the needles. The presentation is attractive. There are some adorable stockings. And the directions are easy to understand. What more do you want out of a knitting book? There is one stocking with snowmen that I can’t wait to start on. I’m a very advanced knitter, I can do bobbles and cables in my sleep, but the patterns in this are ones any knitter can handle. I can’t share any pictures of the patterns because it is an ARC and changes may be made but you can go on over to Amazon and preorder the book now. Then you’ll get it in September and have time to have some great, unique stockings for the family in time to hang them on Christmas Eve. And I’ll be sure to post the stockings I have made.