Archives

A BLACK FRIDAY BLOCKBUSTER (and a giveaway!) Come with me to The Falls

Find contest below my review.

George jacksonlgI ‘met’ George Jackson in a Facebook group called Mystery Most Cozy. Always boosting other peoples’ posts, very encouraging and welcoming to new people. Almost never mentioned his own books. Which is rare. The world of publishing is changed and authors must be aggressive self promoters these days. So the less he promoted, the more curious I became. Finally I decided to read one of his books. Then I sent George a message that started: “So George, you are like the only person who hasn’t asked to have your book(s) reviewed. A clever ploy on your part? Get me thinking why is this person the only person on the planet not bugging me – seriously I get requests from people in countries I have never even heard of. So the ploy worked.” Well it wasn’t a ploy, George is just a very nice guy and as I am totally hooked on his books, I am very happy to have him here today. George Jackson (middle name William) was born November 25, 1947 in a small town (Fair Haven) in the Green Mountains of Vermont. He earned a Bachelor’s in Education and a Master’s in Leadership and Administration from Castleton State College. He spent 40 years in education as a teacher (11 years) and a principal (29 years) in both Vermont and New Mexico. He and his wife Carolyn, who taught for 30 years,  have five children, eight grandchildren and three great grandchildren in their combined family. He is also an artist in oils and loves reading, video games, fishing and the ocean. George and his wife now live in Tradition, Florida. Besides THE FALLS series he writes dragonrider fantasies and humorous short stories about kids and schools. He has even written a children’s book, The Twilight Tea Party, also at the Kindle store. Welcome, George.

You have put out a lot of books in The Falls series in a very short time. Have you been writing it for years and just finally decided to publish them or are you just a very prolific writer in your retirement?

First of all, it’s great to be here with you Kate. More importantly than this opportunity, I appreciate your friendship and your tips to help me get started in this wide new world of publishing that’s out there!  Now, to answer your question: I have been writing since the world was young. I made up stories in my head as a kid, and industriously penned numerous short stories when I was a teenager and in my twenties. Then I started a dragonrider fantasy series (now listed as The Dragon World Series at the Kindle Store on Amazon.com) when I was working as a principal. Perhaps that was a ‘get away from the stress’ issue as well as a ‘need to write’ issue! The Falls small town mystery series was started back in 2009 right after I retired. I had always wanted to write full time and I finally got my chance. I spent two and a half years aggressively trying to get an agent to sign me up. They always told me they liked my work, but that I didn’t fit the ‘mold’ they had to fill at that moment. Since 2009, I write two hours or so almost every day in the morning and edit two hours in the afternoon, usually working on two different books, or two different series (which is quite a mind twisting assignment at times!). Of course that doesn’t count time spent on FB or making covers. Belonging to several writers’ groups on Facebook has helped me, as a writer, feel less isolated. That’s important for any author.

Where did the name West Sugar Shack Falls come from? The sugar shacks in the maple industry, Sugar Shack Falls in Canada, or were you just a big fan of Jimmy Gilmer?

I’m a Vermont boy, Kate! Born and bred! Sugar shacks dotted the Vermont landscape back when I was a kid. My grandfather even had one at his farm. I was even principal at a school once that had one. The sight of a farmer and his son tromping along from maple tree to maple tree to empty tin sap pails, an old work horse pulling the sap collector along in the snow, was commonplace. Making maple syrup and maple candy is a time honored Vermont tradition. Besides, West Sugar Shack Falls just sounded homey. It’s a comfortable, caring little place where the values of truth, honesty, community spirit and kindness come first. My books, as you’ve stated,  are first and foremost about a town, the inhabitants and their ever growing relationships.

Clearly you put a lot of yourself and your experiences in the books. And readers are always trying to find what character in a book is really the author. But I can’t find any one character that is George. I suspect the protagonist, Cash, has many of your qualities. But William is a writer, Sean is a principal, there are several video gamers, and Drake has his ‘Dragon’ and seems to look like you. So where in the world is George?

I bow to your wisdom and accurate perceptions, Kate! I plead guilty to bits of me being in each of the characters you’ve mentioned. They each have parts of this humble Scotsman, or I would like to think so anyway. What better person than yourself to use as a model for your characters? It’s the person an author knows best and can dig deepest into. I’m impressed with your insightand just a tad embarrassed. Finding bits of me in so many characters makes me sound a bit conceited, which I hope I’m not.

The scene between Shep and Daniel was heart wrenching. And Beth’s funeral – that had to be something you experienced to get the Jewish, Christian mix just right. Was it real?

In my almost sixty-six years, I have unfortunately seen my share of funerals and tragedies. The feelings and emotions of each cross ethnicity and religious lines. I did a bit of research to keep it accurate, naturally. I have lost friends and relatives of every religious affiliation, and in every case, the essence of those last ceremonies is the same: paying tribute to and celebrating the life of the deceased and helping the families and friends to make their peace and move on afterwards. I hope that came across in those scenes.

I love how kids are so much a part of the series. They are just there, a part of things – like in real life. Most mysteries, unless they are young adult oriented, have children there like they were furniture or something. Was it a conscious decision on your part or did it just come naturally from so many years in education?

I never gave it a thought, it just came naturally. Children are necessary to me, especially in a series. Forty years in education, five children, eight grandchildren and now working on the greatgrand babies. So to me, you need children. You need to see them grow and blossom, and watch the roads they head down. It’s an essential part of the series to me. You notice that the series started out with Jeremy Burman as a middle schooler and now he’s in college, still a part of the whole. His character has helped to tie together a number of pieces and plots within The Falls. As you said so eloquently in your introduction, my stories are small town mysteries even before they are cozy.

You’ve just put out the twelfth book in The Falls series, THE FALLS: REVENGE. How long before the next one and any hints for us what it will be about?

As I write this, The Falls: Revenge should be out within a few days. (IT IS NOW OUT.) The Falls: Revenge deals with CR Shanks, the private eye who has recently become the long, lanky sweetheart of Dr. Meg Monroe. He is being targeted by someone who holds a secret grudge. Someone who will stop at nothing to get their revenge. There are, of course, some sidestories and the usual colorful characters. The book I’ve just started working on, The Falls: Thanksgiving, will be a work in progress for the next couple of months. I hope to have it out before Christmaswith Santa’s and Grandma Mina’s help! We’ll see!

I read a lot of books where the formatting is horrible. Not just self published authors, some indie or small presses and some of the big presses. Yours is perfect. There is the odd typo which you find in even the biggest publishing houses’ books these days but you have nailed the formatting. So for all the readers who are writers, how did you do it? Is there a particular book you can recommend or an easy set of online instructions that really showed you the way? (Because we are all searching for that particular holy grail!)

I plead immaculate ignorance, Kate! I write in WORD (the latest edition now that I’ve switched to an iMac from an HP touchscreen) and change it into HTML before heading over to KDP. Whatever their process does to a downloaded manuscript, it works well for me.  I use Courier New 12 point type. I use myecovermaker.com for covers with pictures from stockexchange and my own photographs at times. I draw much of the artwork for my dragonrider novels. Sorry I can’t be more help!

And the final question, that everyone gets asked, three things that have nothing to do with writing or your book:

  • What is your favorite food? Spaghetti and sausages, or steak and homefries, or High English Tea with scones and clotted cream! How’s that for a mix?
  • What is your favorite TV show? NCIS, Elementary, The Big Bang Theory, Covert Affairs, NCIS: Los Angeles and a host of others.
  • What is your favorite music? I love old time rock and roll, Scottish and Irish melodies, and bagpipes speak to my soul.

Thank you so much for being here today George, and good luck with your new book. And since you are from New England originally, I hope you will come up for a vacation that will include visiting New England Crime Bake in 2014. Before you go, is there anything else you would like to tell your readers or have them know about you?

Thank you for your kindness and thoughtfulness in having me with you today, Kate. I simply hope that people enjoy the books and find a laugh, a tear, and their hearts and souls warmed just a bit as they read them. For my readers, Thank you, for making my aspiration of being an author come true. By reading my books, you keep my dreams and imagination alive! Come visit The Falls!

MY REVIEW

Whole series review, not just one book. I will include the blurbs with links for all the books in the series below.

Be warned when you pick up book one (and do start at the beginning) THE FALLS: IN THE DEAD OF WINTER, these books are like crack. You will be addicted. When I started reading, it was curiosity, I did not expect a lot to come of it. But I was hooked. I don’t like to compare to another series but there is a resemblance to Murder She Wrote in the sense of the whole New England feel. Although Vermont in this case, not Maine. But it is so much more. In Murder She Wrote and in most cozy series, you have a protagonist and a very small cast of recurring characters. The protagonist has a new friend or acquaintance in every book to move the story along and have the needed crime. In The Falls you have an entire town. (It takes a village.) A far better comparison would be James Herriot’s  All Creatures Great and Small books which were on the surface stories about animals but in reality the overall theme of his stories was Yorkshire country life. So here while the stories may be mysteries, they are really the stories of a town full of people in the Green Mountains of Vermont. There will be new arrivals but for the most part, they are not just plot devices. They stay. They may be just a pleasant diversion in one book but may become a major player several books on. And while Sheriff Cash Greene might be considered the protagonist along with deputies Ericka Yamato and Horace Perkins, they are by no means the most important characters in the books. This is truly an ensemble cast – every citizen (2642 of them) is equally important. People go on with their lives around the mystery. Just like real life. The way scenes cut in and out is like a very well written soap opera. I guarantee, you are going to fall in love with THE FALLS. ♥♥♥♥♥ + + +

sgwarn

George is giving away a Kindle copy of THE FALLS: REVENGE. For a chance to win, just leave a comment below. For additional chances to win, click HERE.

AUTHOR LINKS

BLURBS

617OfWOTCXLTHE FALLS: IN THE DEAD OF WINTER  (1) West Sugar Shack Falls is a small town in Vermont. The sheriff, Cash Green and his deputies, Ericka Yamato and Horace Scofield pride themselves on watching over their colorful cast of community members. But one frosty, snowy night in January, murder comes to The Falls. As the snow falls over the next few days, the bodies mount up! Join in with the downhome humor, the lovable (and destestable!) characters you meet and try and figure out “who dunit“. The end is all action, involving a professional hitman, battling funeral directors, some nefarious community members and an exciting romp in the snow banks and freezing weather of New England. The story ranges from heartwarming to humorous to rugged action. This is the first of many Falls novels. Welcome to The Falls!

51kXqwGI1SLTHE FALLS: SUMMER NIGHTMARE  (2) Welcome back to The Falls! In this, the second volume of the series, there are several new characters introduced including the stunningly beautiful and elegant new psychiatrist and the witty, pretty, and caring new doctor for the hospital. Camp Moonrise, the children’s campsite on the west shore of Lake Pumpkinseed and the summer rental cabins on the east side of the lake provide several new storylines as well. But the main story has all the twists and turns of a nightmare rollercoaster! It’s summer in The Falls so bring a cool lemonade and some bug spray! Follow Cash Green, Doc Stone and the memorable citizens of The Falls as the summer and the murders heat up!

51ruI0eJ1jLTHE FALLS: FALL OF THE ROTTEN APPLES (3) Return to The Falls as the rich autumn foliage covers the surrounding Vermont countryside. Little Billy Barton and his sister Sam find a body in Goldstein’s Orchard. Follow Cash Green, Ericka Yamato and Horace Scofield as they search for answers and find out “who dunit“. Come back and visit all the colorful characters you have grown to know, chuckle with, and enjoy spending time around. There’s lots of action, humor and small town side stories, including the Dragon rider and the Halloween parade! Grab a mulled cider and feel the cool, crisp fall air! Welcome back to The Falls

51kAGtJElELTHE FALLS: MUD SEASON (4) It’s mud season in Vermont and a busload of school kids have found a dead body encased in it! Welcome back to The Falls! There are several new characters, and all the old familiar ones you’ve come to know and enjoy. Visit Dream Rides: Where the Adventure of a Lifetime Begins! Come and have tea with Ducks and Puddles, stop by the Whitfield Family Compound and buy a painting from charming Louisa May McFadden. Follow Sheriff Cash Green, Deputies Ericka Yamato and Horace Scofield, Doc Stone and Meg Monroe as they work together to find out “who dunit“. Revisit The Falls during the fifth season of the year, and try not to get stuck in the mud!

51WDFRQYu6LTHE FALLS: MAKING A LIST, CHECKING IT TWICE (5) It’s Christmas time in The Falls. The town is just getting ready to welcome in the joy, love and warmth of the season, when a local petty criminal is found shot to death in a stand of Christmas trees! Follow Sheriff Cash Green, Deputy Ericka Yamato, Doc Stone, and Dr. Meg Monroe as they set about to find out who is using a Naughty List to bring some vigilantee justice to The Falls! Join Sean Frasier, his brother William and Dr, Serafina as they help track down the guilty party. Lots of Christmas cheer, small town interactions and a puzzling “who dunit“. Welcome back to The Falls!

51mhAWvp2CLTHE FALLS: FOURTH OF JULY (6) It’s the Fourth of July and a body is discovered in a pasture while a flag football game is in progress. Return to The Falls for several twists and turns in the search for the murderer. Squashy makes a dramatic appearance in Lake Pumpkinseed and a scientific research team is dispatched to find out what really is at the bottom of the lake. As the Vermont summer sizzles, follow Sheriff Cash Green, Deputy Ericka Yamato, Doc Stone and Meg Monroe as they search for clues to find the killer! Grab a lemonade, pull up a beach chair and return to The Falls!

.

51NXDxzKWuLTHE FALLS: CUPID’S ARROW (7) It’s Valentine’s Day in The Falls. Someone is using a bow and arrow to settle their differences, and it isn’t Cupid. Watch the twists and turns in the plot as you follow Sheriff Cash Green, Deputy Ericka Yamato, Doc Stone and Meg Monroe as they search for the clues to find out “who dunit“. Lots of colorful characters, down home humor, and small town scenarios. Fast paced action blends with humor and relationships around the community. Grab a Valentine and a chocolate or two as you come back and visit The Falls!

.

613Nl8qvo-LTHE FALLS: MAY FLOWERS (8) Jeb and Zeke have built a world class fitness and wellness center to enhance the lifestyle of the town’s citizens! Everything is wonderful, but then, one morning, Horace Scofield’s wife, Millie, drags her kids into the exercise room to get in her workout before she sends them off to school. There, lying limp on an exercise bench is one of the new trainers, a three hundred pound barbell across his neck! Visit The Falls as Sheriff Cash Green and his deputies search for the killer. A crime syndicate from the Jersey Shore, a seacoast city in Africa, and the roving reporters from WCAX all play major roles in the plot! Come and visit The Falls as the flowers, shrubs and trees bloom and the citizens of The Falls carry on with their lives. Come re-visit The Falls as April showers bring May flowers!

51KeB8GORYLTHE FALLS: ELECTION (9) It’s Town Meeting in The Falls! With the retirement of two of the three members of the Board of Selectmen, this year’s election is about to provide a good deal more suspense, twists and turns than normal! Throw in the fiery disagreement over parking meters, and the death of the town meter maid and Town Meeting’s going to get a little hot! Return to The Falls with Sheriff Cash Green, Deputies Ericka Yamato and Horace Scofield, the Frasier brothers, Doc Stone and Meg Monroe! Set in Vermont, as the cold March winds start to blow and the Yankee politics heat up! Grab a cup of Earl Grey and settle down to return to The Falls!

51aWwi896TLTHE FALLS: THE TRIAL (10) Mona Castillo’s in danger of losing her home and her beautiful art gallery to an arrogant, aggressive southern belle! Not only that, but a gang of international thieves had become active in The Falls! Follow Sheriff Cash Green, Deputies Ericka Yamato and Horace Scofield as they, Doc Stone and Meg Monroe work to solve all the mysteries cropping up around town. Find out more about Yamato’s biological parents and grandparents and follow the charming, amusing and outlandish community members around town as the tenth book of The Falls small town mystery series comes to life. It’s June, and the Vermont summer is settling in, so grab a lemonade and return to The Falls!

51FHht3WRaLTHE FALLS: RETURN (11) Caleb LePaige is back! The brutal, calculating master criminal has escaped from the maximum security prison where he was placed after trying to kill Grandma Mina and has returned to The Falls.Chasing after him comes the prison’s arrogant warden, Malcolm Strasberg and his cold-blooded second in command, Hans Bergdorf. Hold your breath while Sheriff Cash Green confronts his number one nemesis while trying to deal with the egocentric, cruel warden. Yamato’s grandparents visit, Jeremy Burman prepares to leave for college and his cousin Parnell tries to land Jeremy’s old job in the library with Miss Eunice. Put on your flak jacket and return to The Falls for all the excitement! Come back to The Falls for the 11th book in The Falls small town mystery series!

71xnZxX7mWL._SL1066_THE FALLS: REVENGE (12)  The Falls: Revenge (the 12th volume of The Falls small town mystery series) is a story of payback. CR Shanks is a private eye and Meg Monroe’s sweetheart. Someone has a bone to pick with CR and they will stop at nothing until they get what they want! Several side stories, including Jeremy and Sylvia Jean’s first year away at college, and the usual colorful and outrageous characters are all packed into a few days in September in small town Vermont. Return to The Falls!

SPOTLIGHT: Strong Rain Falling: A Caitlin Strong Novel by Jon Land

AUTHOR BIO 

Jon-Land-5-180-204x300Jon Land is the bestselling author over 25 novels. He graduated from Brown University in 1979 Phi Beta Kappa and Magna cum Laude and continues his association with Brown as an alumni advisor.

Jon often bases his novels and scripts on extensive travel and research as well as a twenty-five year career in martial arts.  He is an associate member of the US Special Forces and frequently volunteers in schools to help young people learn to enjoy the process of writing.

Jon is the Vice-President of marketing of the International Thriller Writers (ITW) and is often asked to speak on topics regarding writing and research.

In addition to writing suspense/thrillers John is also a screenwriter with his first film credit coming in 2005.

Jon works with many industry professionals and has garnered the respect and friendship of many author-colleagues.  He loves storytelling in all its forms.

John currently lives in Providence, Rhode Island and loves hearing from his readers and aspiring writers.

BLURB

Jon Land’s bestselling series featuring Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong continues in Strong Rain Falling.StrongRainFalling_Cover3df215

Mexico, 1919:  The birth of the Mexican drug trade begins with opium being smuggled across the U.S. border, igniting an all-out battle with American law enforcement in general and the Texas Rangers in particular.

The Present:  Fifth Generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong and her lover Cort Wesley Masters both survive terrifying gun battles.  But this time, it turns out, the actual targets were not them, but Masters’ teenage sons.

That sets Caitlin and Cort Wesley off on a trail winding through the past and present with nothing less than the future of the United States hanging in the balance.  Along the way they will confront terrible truths dating all the way back to the Mexican Revolution and the dogged battle Caitlin’s own grandfather and great-grandfather fought against the first generation of Mexican drug dealers.

At the heart of the storm soon to sweep away America as we know it, lies a mastermind whose abundant power is equaled only by her thirst for vengeance.  Ana Callas Guajardo, the last surviving member of the family that founded the Mexican drug trade, has dedicated all of her vast resources to a plot aimed at the U.S.’s technological heart.

This time out, sabotage proves to be as deadly a weapon as bombs in a battle Caitlin must win in cyberspace as well.  Her only chance to prevail is to short-circuit a complex plan based as much on microchips as bullets.  Because there’s a strong rain coming and only Caitlin and Cort Wesley can stop the fall before it’s too late.

MY REVIEW 

As far as I am concerned, any book that’s first few chapters are at Brown University, Paragon on Thayer Street, and at WaterFire, is going to be a great book. Of course, the WaterFires I’ve attended have not been nearly so exciting. – well exciting, but not so much gunfire. But this book is exciting. Page turning excitement and action that just does not stop. I am embarrassed to admit that I have not read all of the Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong series. But Strong Rain Falling has convinced me I have to remedy that – no matter how high my TBR pile is. Ana Callas Guajardo wants to get revenge for something that happened in 1919 and she is crazy. Caitlin and Court must battle to save the United States, starting on the streets of Providence, RI and heading out in to cyberspace, back to 1919 and then to the present – or the future will be a very different place. If you are a fan of thrillers, this is a must read. ♥♥♥♥♥

AUTHOR LINKS

Twitter

Facebook

Buy the book

 

 

Bart J. Gilbertson visiting with Deathbed & Breakfast and a giveaway

I ‘met’ Bart in the  Mystery Most Cozy group on Facebook. First of all, guys are relatively rare in the cozy genre and quite a few of them are part of a husband and wife team. So when you have one show up in a group like that, you just sort of wait and see. Because many are the type of group joiners who are totally into self promotion – make a post about their book and leave. But Bart hung around and ‘chatted’. So that got him noticed. And his book title is a good one, DEATHBED AND BREAKFAST. Actually, I’m kind of amazed no one has come up with it before now, it’s so good.  Actually, I’m mad I didn’t think of it first because it would have gone so well with the play on words thing I’m doing with my titles. But then he holds a book signing at a Dairy Queen. Seriously. And he sold a lot of books! So I decided I had to have this guy on my blog. Bart is giving away a Kindle copy of his book so leave a comment – with your email – before midnight for a chance to win! So welcome Bart.

Pookotz. I want you to know this is my new word. I’m using it to replace stunad in my vocabulary. Where did you come up with it? And by the way, very effective – I google it to see if it is a real name and you filled the first 8 pages before I gave up looking.

And that is why I chose that particular name!  My sister and I were up late one night catching up on things and she was telling me about a cozy

Bart on the right with his sister and her family

Bart on the right with his sister and her family

she was reading at the time by Joanne Fluke.  Before long, we were coming up with our own ideas for a cozy mystery of our own, laughing and having a good time.  We didn’t know it then, but we were laying the foundation for what would become “Deathbed & Breakfast”, the first in a planned series of mysteries.  PookotzHahaI told my sister that if this was going to work we needed to accomplish two things right off the bat.  One, we would need a book title that hadn’t been used before.  I searched all the book websites I could think of and not ONE of them had a book called “Deathbed & Breakfast”.  Two, we would need to come up with a name that was quirky, yet endearing.  But most importantly, NOT used.  It was my sister who came up with Pookotz.  So once again, we Googled it and found nothing.  And so, the Pookotz Sisters, Edna and Mildred, were born.  And I LOVE that it is your new “word” by the wayhaha.

SignWhy did you decide to have a book signing in a Dairy Queen? Buy a Blizzard and a book? And 39 books! Are you just the most popular guy in town? Because I know big name, well established authors who are thrilled if they manage to sell 10 at one of these things.

 It just seemed to me like a great place to have a Book Release Party.  The local DQ here in O’Neill (Nebraska)

Bart with George Holm showing off the poster for the book signing

Bart with George Holm showing off the poster for the book signing

has an excellent reputation, largely due to the owner George Holm.  He is a real good guy, salt of the earth.  Everyone loves him and he is well respected in the community.  In fact, there was a real nice article for him on The Viewpoint website (I’ll enclose the link to it at the end of this for you).  So we put our heads together and made it work.  I had flyers up all over town, and a newspaper ad out.  We went down to KBRX and recorded a spontaneous radio ad for the event.  “Come down and meet local author Bart J. Gilbertson and get your signed copy of his light mystery.  And don’t forget to get a blizzard or smoothie while you’re there too!  Now there is more than one reason to come down to your favorite Dairy Queen!”  It was golden.  I took 40 books to the event and sold 39 of them.  I walked out with only 1 book left.  I feel that sometimes it is good to think outside of the box.  Take a little chance, and have fun with it!

Why a cozy? Have you been a cozy fan and if so, which one series first hooked you?

Actually, I grew up reading fantasy novels by authors like Lloyd Alexander, Terry Brooks and Piers Anthony.  I envisioned myself being the next big epic fantasy author.  However, I always had love for a good mystery.  I remember reading the Hardy Boys books as well in those days, and whenever an Agatha Christie movie adaptation came on, I was there watching it.  I was also a big fan of Murder, She Wrote.  I always knew that someday, I was going to write a mystery too.  Believe it or not, I really haven’t read too much in my chosen genre!  I have to credit my sister for getting me going with my own cozy.  Once I started writing it, I found I had a knack for it.  And I loved it.  I’m hooked!  I have since been reading cozies, starting with authors from the company I’m signed with, Cozy Cat Press.

How do you find time for writing? Is it grab time when you can or are you very disciplined and set aside a certain time you put butt to chair and write every single day?

I prefer to write in the evenings.  Most of “Deathbed & Breakfast” was actually written late at night by candlelight.  I sometimes will have something New Age playing softly in the background to help set the mood like Enya, Andreas Vollenweider or Loreena McKennitt.  I find that is when my creative juices are flowing the best.  I’m undisturbed and concentrated.  With the flame flickering off the walls around me, I am lost in my “other” world.  I wish I was as structured as some writers are.  But for me, it is a mood thing.  When I get started though, I will sometimes go for hours at a time and good luck trying to get my attention.  Haha!

If your book became a TV series – and I think it should, we have been too long without a Jessica Fletcher replacement – who would play your permanent characters like the sisters, the sheriff and doctor and Deputy Ross Moss? And does the deputy have a just touch of Barney Fife?

Great question!  I’ve always imagined that if the Pookotz Sisters should find their way to either the big or small screen that Maggie Smith would play the part of Edna Pookotz, Betty White the part of Mildred Pookotz and Tim Conway as Felix Stiffman, the cook.  Wow!  Just the thought of those three working together gives me shivers!  I hadn’t given much thought to who could play Sheriff Blackwood, Doc Meecham or Deputy Ross Moss, though I had to laugh when you mentioned Barney Fife.  I love Don Knotts, but whoever played his role would have to be taller.  Just get me Maggie, Betty and Tim and I’d be happy with whoever else was cast.

If you were stranded on an island and could have only three books you would be rereading for the rest of your life, what would those three books be?

In my case, it would have to be 5 books.  And those are the 5 books of the Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander.  It was that series of YA Fantasy books that really opened my eyes and heart to the world of books.  Never before had I ever been so enamored and never again since.  It is your classic good –vs- evil backdrop that revolves around the adventures of a young man called Taran and his friends.  But it was much more than that.  It was also the story of how a young boy became a man, how he learned the value of true friendship, honor and self worth.  I read them at least once a year.

Now three things that have nothing to do with writing:

  • What is your favorite food? Love anything oriental, stir fry, teriyakietc.
  • What is your favorite TV show? I don’t watch a lot of tv these days.  I gravitate more towards movies and books.  But when I was watching regularly, MacGyver was always my first choice with Murder, She Wrote a close second.
  • What is your favorite music? I’m an 80’s child through and through, so I always have something 80’s playing (usually), rock, metal, pop, new wave, synthwhatever.  If it’s 80’s, it’s me.

Thank you so much for being here today, Bart, and continued good luck with the book. I can’t wait for the next one.  Before you go, is there anything else you would like to tell your readers or have them know about you?

I just want to thank you Kate for this opportunity.  I also want to extend my thanks to everyone who has been supportive of me and my book.  Thank you to Patricia Rockwell, my publisher/editor for her help.  She is just excellent to work with.  But most especially to my sister for her invaluable contributions and motivation.  Authors truly are a special breed and I’m proud to call myself one.  I have some other ideas brewing for another possible cozy series, as well as short stories and stand alone novels.  So keep your eyes open!

Bart J. GilbertsonBIO

Bart J. Gilbertson is the author of the Pookotz Sisters Mystery Series. Although he was born in Wisconsin, he spent most of his youth and later years in the rocky mountain state of Idaho. He has been all over the northwest and it is his love for the lush green state of Oregon that inspired the setting for PleasantLake and its inhabitants.

He attended ITT Technical Institute in Boise, ID and received an Associate in Applied Science Degree for Computer Networking Systems and graduated with honors.

Bart has worn many hats over his lifetime career, but the one he is most proud of is that of being a writer.

He currently resides in O’Neill, NE. He has two children.

BLURB

Richard Forester, a retired CEO for a major software company, and his granddaughter Penny show up at the Pookotz Bed & Breakfast one pookotzevening and find themselves in some rather unpleasant company. All the guests somehow seem to be connected to Richard’s past and when he is found dead the next morning, everyone is suspect. However, there are a few wrinkles that the inn’s owners Edna and Mildred Pookotz need to iron out as the murder investigation unfolds. Not only was Richard deathly ill, but he was also accused of embezzling $750,000 which is still unaccounted for. The local Sheriff suspects that this victim’s death is not a natural one, so he–and the sisters–set forth to discover who the murderer is.

There are plenty of twists and turns in this first ‘whodunit’ of the Pookotz Sisters Bed & Breakfast Mystery series which introduces you to the quaint mountain Oregon town of Pleasant Lake and its inhabitants.

​Readers of the cozy mystery genre will fall in love with Edna and Mildred Pookotz, sisters and amateur senior sleuths, as they juggle the responsibilities of running a Bed & Breakfast and solving most bizarre mysteries!

MY REVIEW

I had just finished two very noir books and wanted to get back to my cozy comfort zone. As I was reading the first chapter of this book, I felt it was stilted, unnatural. But then I realized the people were just… Nice. Polite. Helpful. Am I that jaded that I just don’t like nice? Um. Yeah. But as I read, I realized it was just a very clever device used by the author at the beginning. We are supposed to be lulled into believing everything in Pleasant Lake is pleasant and nice. But in reality, nothing is as it seems. Which just shows you, people should never just read a couple of pages and toss a book aside. A grandfather is travelling with his granddaughter to see a specialist. He has cancer and is clearly near death’s door. On his first night at the Pookotz Bed and Breakfast, he dies. But it wasn’t the cancer. Turns out he was struck, injected and strangled. And he wasn’t the kindly grandfather he seemed – he was Richard Forester, a suspected but never proven embezzler.  And none of the guests at the B&B are what they seem. There are the newlyweds who have dollar signs rather than stars in their eyes. The insurance agent and photographer who are really federal agents. And the father and son who lost their wife and mother as a direct result of the embezzlement. And the help isn’t looking all that innocent either. Everybody is under house arrest while the sheriff gets to the bottom of things. But after the sheriff has his killer – his confessed killer, it is Edna and Mildred Pookotz who solve the mystery and get the real killer in a brilliant twist and bit of detective work. If you are a fan of Jessica Fletcher, you are going to love Edna and Mildred Pookotz. This is a really fun read – go get it now for your weekend read. ♥♥♥♥♥

BART’S LINKS

FRIDAY FINDS for August 16

friday findEvery week, MizB hosts FRIDAY FINDS on her blog, Should Be Reading. FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

I find more books than I can read. Whether I buy them or borrow them from the library or more often, these irish jewdays, they are sent to me by an author or publisher who wants a review. But I have a small list of must have books. Usually books that are out of print. I hunt for them online at Amazon, in dusty old used book stores, yard sales… Well I found one I have been searching for for ages: WHO EVER HEARD OF AN IRISH JEW? by David Marcus. There was a time I had dozens of copies. I used to give them to people with a narrow view of who the Irish are. But one day I gave away my very last copy without realizing it and by that time the book was out of print. And there as no Amazon. Since Amazon came along I have really narrowed down my list of must have but impossible to find books. But this is one of the books that eluded me. Oh there would be the odd copy on Amazon for $90, but come on, I’m not crazy – contrary to popular belief. It is only a 128 page paperback, not the freaking Book of Kells. But this week I got lucky. There were  loads of copies available for some reason. There were five ranging in price from $19.99 to $94.93 and there were five ranging in price from $0.01 to $2.00. Well you won’t find one for $0.01 now. And it is in perfect condition, just yellowed with age. So I am quite pleased with my find.

WHO EVER HEARD OF AN IRISH JEW? is a collection of short stories about being Irish and Jewish. Some of them are hysterical. The title story explores the nature of class and racial prejudice. They are eight wonderful short stories some of which originally appeared in the Irish Press.

David Marcus, not the president of PayPal and not the Israeli hero, was Irish and Jewish and he was the Literary Editor of the Irish Press (an Irish newspaper controlled by the De Vallera family and was in print from 1931 until 1995).

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi (May 25, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552136255
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552136259