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ONCE UPON A GRIND by Cleo Coyle (plus lots of giveaways and recipes and… well… just fun!)

A NOTE FROM CLEO

Thanks to Kate for hosting us today and happy holiday greetings to everyone! Once Upon a Grind is not only a murder mystery, it’s also a culinary mystery. Coffeehouse Manager Clare Cosi samples some fascinating New York foods as she tries to solve the crime against “Sleeping Beauty,” and she cooks up some tasty goodies, as well.

Marc and I enjoyed researching unique foods for our latest book, and we’ve included recipes for some of them in Once Upon a Grind. For a quick look at the recipe section, click here. The link opens a free PDF Recipe Guide that you can save, share, or print and tuck into your copy of Once Upon Grind.

Cookie Swap! Today we’re also sharing one of our favorite holiday cookie recipes: Gingerbread Snowballs. (Right now, it’s one of the most popular hits on our recipe blog.) To get the recipe, click here.

We hope you’ll join us for more stops on our Escape Blog Tour. We’ll give you more insights to reading Once Upon a Grind, and we’ll share a few more holiday goodies, too.

To read a special excerpt from ONCE UPON A GRIND, click here.

SECRET CODE: The 3rd of the 9 words in Cleo’s Secret Code Contest is DON’T (Learn how to enter Cleo’s Secret Code giveaway here.)

May your holidays be bright!

~ Alice and Marc (Cleo Coyle)

ABOUT THIS AUTHOR

CLEO COYLE is the pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini.  CLEO COYLE grew up in a small town near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After earning scholarships to study writing at Carnegie Mellon and American Universities, she began her career as a cub reporter for The New York Times. Now an author of popular fiction and New York Times bestselling media tie-in writer, Cleo lives and works in New York City, where she collaborates with her husband (also a bestselling author) to pen the Coffeehouse Mysteries for Penguin. Together Cleo and her husband also write the Haunted Bookshop Mysteries under the name Alice Kimberly. When not haunting coffeehouses, hunting ghosts, or rescuing stray cats, Cleo and Marc are bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for NBC, Lucasfilm, Disney, Fox, Imagine, and MGM. In their spare time they cook like crazy and drink a lot of java. You can learn more about Cleo, her husband, and the books they write by visiting www.CoffeehouseMystery.com.

ABOUT THIS BOOK

Fairy tale fever has descended on New York City. Broadway fans are flocking to Red Riding Hood: The Musical; museums are exhibiting art inspired by the Brothers Grimm; and Clare Cosi and her merry band of baristas give their coffee truck a “Jack and the Beanstalk” makeover for a Central Park festival. Clare’s coffee hunter ex-husband contributes a bag of African beans with alleged magical properties. His octogenarian mother entertains customers with readings of the grinds, but Clare remains skeptical–until she receives a vision that helps her find a young model’s body in the park’s woods.

The police dismiss “sleeping beauty” as the victim of a drug overdose. Then Clare uncovers evidence that points to a list of suspects–from a New York Giant to quite a few wicked witches–and a cold case murder that reaches back to the Cold War. Now Clare is really in the woods with a dangerous predator on her heels and an investigation that leads from a secret Prince Charming Club right back to her own NYPD detective boyfriend. If she doesn’t solve this mystery, those magic beans predict an unhappy ending.

MY REVIEW

Matt brings back “magic beans” from Ethiopia. Coffee beans with special properties. Properties that affect special people like Shamans. And Claire. Will her visions help solve the mystery? This is the kind of book you start in the evening and in the morning you’re found on the couch, snoring with book fallen to the floor.  I suspect Alice and Marc are incapable of writing anything less than a ♥♥♥♥♥ book. And I have read ALL their books (in other series as well). So now you know the book is good, let’s talk about the risks. This lifelong tea drinker now owns a French Press. And I am seriously addicted to Alice’s peanut butter cookies. But what the heck, live dangerously and read this series from book one if you haven’t, and if you are an addict like me, your fix is here!!!

Author Links

Visit Cleo online: www.coffeehousemystery.com

Friend Cleo on Facebook:www.Facebook.com/CleoCoyle

Follow Cleo on Twitterhttps://twitter.com/cleocoyle/

 

IN ADDITION TO THE SECRET CODE GIVEAWAY, YOU COULD WIN A COPY OF THE BOOK JUST BY LEAVING A COMMENT HERE. THEN IF YOU GO HERE, SCROLL DOWN TO THE RAFFLECOPTER, YOU COULD WIN THIS FANTASTIC PRIZE PACKAGE:

 

PRIZE DESCRIPTION:

Cleo Coyle’s Coffeehouse Escape Tour Giveaway – Prize Package Includes…

* An autographed copy of Cleo’s brand new book, ONCE UPON A GRIND, in its beautiful first-edition hardcover format

* A complete set of all 13 Coffeehouse Mysteries published to date, each one personally inscribed by Cleo to the winner

* A durable, custom-designed Coffeehouse Mystery Tote Bag

* A freshly-roasted package of Billionaire’s Blend, a hand-crafted coffee created by One Good Woman Fine Coffees and Teas as a tribute to Cleo’s recent bestseller BILLIONAIRE BLEND.

* A Coffeehouse Mystery cup, featuring a favorite saying of Madame’s, the octogenarian owner of The Village Blend: “Survive everything. And do it with style.”

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

December 3 – Griperang’s Bookmarks – Review with Guest Note & Giveaway

December 4 – Editing Pen (Latte’ Da!) – Review with Guest Note & Giveaway

December 5 – rantinravin’ and reading – Review with Guest Note & Giveaway

December 8 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Review with Guest Note & Giveaway

December 10 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review with Guest Note & Giveaway

December 12 – Books-n-Kisses – Review with Guest Note & Giveaway

December 15 – Musings and Ramblings – Review with Guest Note & Giveaway

December 16 – Community Bookstop – Review with Guest Note & Giveaway

December 18 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – Review with Guest Note & Giveaway

 

 

 

 

FATAL BRUSHSTROKE by Sybil Johnson

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

My Writing Journey 

by Sybil Johnson 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABOUT THE BOOK

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

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

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

AUTHOR LINKS

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

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

MY REVIEW 

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

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

November 19 – Michelle’s Romantic Tangle – Guest Post

November 19 – Community Bookstop – Review

November 20 – StoreyBook Reviews – Review

November 21 – Back Porchervations – Review, Interview

November 22 – Kelly P’s Blog – Guest Post

November 23 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – Guest Post

November 24 – Bea’s Book Nook – Review

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

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

November 27 – Thanksgiving – U.S.

November 28 –deal sharing aunt – Interview

November 29 – A Chick Who Reads – Review

November 30 –Dalene’s Book Reviews – Review

December 1 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – Review

December 2 – Brooke Blogs – Review

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

“What’s this?” he asked.

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

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

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

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

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

Murder in Real Time

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

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

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

MY REVIEW

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

LEARN ABOUT JULIE AT

Julieannelindsey.com

Find Me on Facebook!

Tweet Me!!

Read with me on Goodreads

Pin with me on Pinterest

Blogging at Musings from the Slush Pile

Capturing life on Instagram

BUY THE BOOK

Amazon       Barnes&Noble       Carina Press

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

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

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

October 16 – A Blue Million Books – Guest Post

October 17 – deal sharing aunt – Interview

October 18 – Kelly P’s Blog – Guest Post

October 19 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Interview

October 20 – The Ninja Librarian – Review

October 21 – Carole’s Book Corner – Review

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

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

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

October 25 – Brooke Blogs – Review, Interview

October 26 – Dalene’s Book Reviews – Review

October 27 – Back Porchervations – Review

 

 

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

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

Creating A Town

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SYNOPSIS

Lost Under a Ladder
(A Superstition Mystery)

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

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

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

MY REVIEW

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

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

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

 

CATWALK by Sheila Webster Boneham (and a giveaway)

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

Tracking Down the Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AUTHOR LINKS

Website – www.sheilaboneham.com

Blogs – www.sheilaboneham.blogspot.com

www.animalsinfocus.blogspot.com

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

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

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

MY REVIEW

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

PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon B&N

 

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

October 1 – Back Porchervations – Review

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

October 3 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – Review

October 4 – Kelly P’s Blog – Guest Post

October 5 – Chloe Gets A Clue – Interview

October 6 – readalot blog – Review

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

October 8 – A. Literary Mafia – Interview

October 9 – Kaisy Daisy’s Corner – Review

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

October 11 – Brooke Blogs – Guest Post

October 12 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Interview

October 13 – Community Bookstop – Review

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

 

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.

FROM END TO BEGINNING

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.

ABOUT THIS AUTHOR

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.

SYNOPSIS

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.

MY REVIEW

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 ♥♥♥♥♥

AUTHOR LINKS

Webpage: www.christinafreeburn.com

Blog: www.theselfrescueprincess.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Christina-Freeburn-Author/245592138834150

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChristinaFreeb1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/ChristinaFreeburn

Purchase Link
AMAZON

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

 

STIRRING THE PLOT by Daryl Wood Gerber (and recipes and giveaways!!!)

Daryl Wood Gerber is on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the release of number three in her Cookbook Nook Mystery Series, STIRRING THE PLOT. Leave a comment below for a chance to win 1 print copy of Winner’s Choice of Final Sentence, Inherit the Word, or Stirring the Plot. And for a chance at a really big prize (all three in this series plus five in The Cheese Shop Mysteries) go HERE.  And here is Daryl to give us one of her delicious recipes:

If you’ve read the Cookbook Nook or Cheese Shop mysteries, you know that they are culinary cozy mysteries, and they have recipes in them that I’ve created. I had no idea when I started writing mysteries that I’d have to cook. Luckily, I did.

In the Cookbook Nook mysteries, the protagonist Jenna isn’t a cookyet. She’s learning. But she adores food.  In the Cheese Shop mysteries, Charlotte is a good cook, and she makes a specialty quiche every day in The Cheese Shop.

This recipe, which is right out of DAYS OF WINE AND ROQUEFORT, the 5th in the Cheese Shop Mysteries, is a perfect fit for Jenna because it’s simple with only a few ingredients. It’s one of Charlotte’s favorite. Jenna, who is an avid reader, stocks culinary mysteries as well as cookbooks in the shop. She could actually find this recipe in her store. Are you seeing how my fictional worlds crisscross? J

Enjoy!

pear

Roquefort Bosc Pear Quiche

(Serves 6)

  • 1 pie shell (homemade or frozen)
  • 2-3 ounces (about 1/3 cup) Roquefort cheese (or good blue cheese)
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • Pinch: nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger
  • Pinch: salt and pepper
  • 1 Bosc pear, peeled, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Remove the Roquefort cheese from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature.

In 425 degree oven, bake the pie shell for 12-14 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from oven. Let cool.

Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl, mush the Roquefort cheese with 2 tablespoons of the whipping cream. Add the rest of the cream and beat for 1 minute.

Add the eggs and beat until the mixture is blended, but not whipped to a froth. Add the sour cream, milk, spices and mix until blended.

Peel, core, and slide the Bosc pear in 6-8 slices. Arrange the slices on the bottom of the baked pie shell. Drizzle with honey. Put the pan on a baking sheet. Stir the egg and cream mixture once, then pour the mixture on the pears. Carefully move the baking sheet to the oven.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until the quiche is puffy and lightly brown on top.

Remove from oven and cool slightly for about 10 minutes. Serve warm.

* * *

Below is a tidbit about STIRRING THE PLOT, the next in my Cookbook Nook mysteries. It comes out September 30!  FYI, though I write a series, each book is a stand-alone and can be read first, even if you haven’t read the others in the series.

SYNOPSIS:

Halloween in Crystal Cove, California, is a big deal, involving a spooky soiree where the Winsome Witches, a fund-raising group, gather to open up their purse strings and trade superstitions. But party magicians, fortune-tellers, and herbalists are only the beginning of this recipe for disaster…

Jenna Hart has packed The Cookbook Nook chock-full of everything from ghostly texts to witchy potions in anticipation of the annual fund-raiser luncheon. But there’s one unexpected addition to the menu: murder.

When the Head Priestess of the Winsome Witches is found dead under mysterious circumstances, there’s no logical answer and plenty of blame to go around. With her aunt, Vera, unable to call on her ability to foresee the future, Jenna will have to use more than just sleight of hand and a few magic tricks to conjure up the truth…

ABOUT THIS AUTHOR

DARYL WOOD GERBER writes the nationally bestselling Cookbook Nook Mystery series featuring a cookbook store owner who is an avid reader and admitted foodie, set on the coast of California.  As AVERY AAMES, she pens the Agatha Award-winning, nationally bestselling Cheese Shop Mystery series featuring a cheese shop owner amateur sleuth, set in the fictional town of Providence, Ohio. Daryl’s short stories have been nominated for the Agatha, Anthony, and other awards. Fun tidbit: as an actress, Daryl has appeared in “Murder, She Wrote” and more.

MY REVIEW

Yet another series I have to go back and start from the beginning. Not that this book does not stand alone, it does, but it was just so good I want to read the rest! Appealing characters. A well crafted mystery. Fun setting. Recipes in the back (need I say more?) Another classic cozy for you to add to your collection, this one is ♥♥♥♥♥

Author Links

Visit Daryl or Avery atwww.darylwoodgerber.com.

“They” blog on www.mysteryloverskitchen.com as well as www.killercharacters.com

http://www.darylwoodgerber.com

http://www.averyaames.com

http://www.mysteryloverskitchen.com

http://killercharacters.com

Facebook:

Daryl http://www.facebook.com/darylwoodgerber

Avery http://www.facebook.com/averyaames

Twitter: @AveryAames @DarylWoodGerber

Goodreads: 

Daryl Wood Gerber https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4750535.Daryl_Wood_Gerber

Avery Aames https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3153786.Avery_Aames

Purchase Links
Amazon B&N

Tour Participants

September 23 – Books-n-Kisses – Review, Recipe

September 24 –Brooke Blogs – Review, Recipe

September 25 – rantinravin’ and reading – Review, Recipe

September 26 – A Chick Who Reads – Review, Interview, Recipe

September 27 – StoreyBook Reviews – Review, Recipe

September 27 – Escape With Dollycas – Review

September 28 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Review, Interview, Recipe

September 29 – Back Porchervations – Review, Interview, Recipe

 

 

THE WEDDING SOUP MURDER by Rosie Genova (and a giveaway!)

I am thrilled to have Rosie Genova stop by today on her tour for her latest book, THE WEDDING SOUP MURDER. Rosie is here to tell us about the real Jersey Shore – you know, the one without Snookie. So I hope you enjoy it. And be sure to leave a comment for Rosie, maybe ask her a question about her Jersey, and then go HERE because she is giving away some really great prizes along with signed copies of the book. Take it away Rosie!

The real Jersey shore

It wasn’t that long ago that the words “Jersey shore” were not synonymous with over-tanning, hair gel, bad behavior, and even worse accents. Before the advent of a certain reality television show, the shore towns along the coast of my home state were associated with the natural beauty of sand dunes and sea grass and miles of boardwalk fun. That is the Jersey shore that I attempt to capture in my series, the Italian Kitchen Mysteries.

In fact, what is wonderful about the different shore communities is the wide variety of what they offer visitors—everything from history to architecture to beautiful beaches. Many of us who live here go “down the shore” every summer, either as day visitors or renters. In my series, the fictional setting of Oceanside Park is inspired by a number of those towns: Point Pleasant, Ocean City, and perhaps most of all, Asbury Park as it was in its heyday.

Long before a certain guy named Bruce made Asbury Park famous, the community had been a vacation destination since the 19th century. In my family, going to Asbury in the summer had been a tradition since World War II.

rosie insert

Photo credit: Robert L. Erath, courtesy Evelyn and Neil Erath

The photo here was taken with a Kodachrome camera in the summer of 1941. This is the Asbury Park of my mother and grandmother’s time. The old-time cars, the men in their summer whites, and the little girl in her cotton dress and hair bow, all evoke a time that is long gone. But the swan boat in the foreground remained in operation throughout my childhood, as did the Ferris wheel in the background, and in fact inspired the image on the cover of the first book in the series, Murder and Marinara. There’s a scene in the book in which my main character, Victoria Rienzi, takes a ride on that Ferris wheel with an attractive man who may or may not be a murderer, though she is more afraid of the ride than she is of the suspect!

In the real world, of course, things change, and the places we love are no longer as we remember. But they can be preserved in stories. So I hope you’ll take a trip with me to Oceanside Park, where you’ll experience the real Jersey shore—and perhaps solve a murder or two!

BLURB

The Wedding Soup Murder: An Italian Kitchen Mystery
Series: An Italian Kitchen Mystery (Book 2)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Signet (September 2, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0451415159
ISBN-13: 978-0451415158

Victoria Rienzi came home to the Jersey Shore to write a new book, learn the family restaurant business, and practice the fine art of Italian cooking. But when delicious dishes are paired with murder, Vic has a little too much on her plate…

When Vic asked her nonna for more responsibility in the kitchen, she didn’t mean making a thousand tiny meatballs by hand for the family’s famous wedding soup. The dish is to be served at the reception for a close family friend at the exclusive Belmont Country Club. And once there Vic has to deal with a demanding bridezilla and clashes in the kitchen—between the staff and servers, between two egocentric head chefs, and between the country club president andwelleveryone.

The wedding comes off without a hitch—until the body of the club’s president is found on the beach below a high seawall. Now Vic will need to use her noodle to find out who pushed whom too farbefore she’s the one who lands in the soup!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A Jersey girl born and bred, national bestselling author Rosie Genova left her heart at the shore, which serves as the setting for much of her work. Her new series, the Italian Kitchen Mysteries, is informed by her appreciation for good food, her pride in her heritage, and her love of classic mysteries from Nancy Drew to Miss Marple. Her debut novel, Murder and Marinara, was named a 2013 Best Cozy by Suspense Magazine and is a finalist for a 2014 Daphne Award.  An English teacher by day and novelist by night, Rosie also writes women’s fiction as Rosemary DiBattista. She still lives in her home state with her husband and the youngest of her three Jersey boys.

AUTHOR LINKS

Website: www.rosiegenova.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/RosieGenova

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6462450.Rosie_Genova

PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon   B&N

MY REVIEW

I missed out on the tour for the first book in this series but now I just have to go back and read it because THE WEDDING SOUP MURDER was just so much fun. And needless to say, I can’t wait for number three. The characters are a lot of fun, people you would enjoy having as friends. The backdrop of a family restaurant in New Jersey works really well. Food always makes a good mix with murder. Especially when there are recipes at the back! Vic should be the next protagonist that makes her way to your TBR pile. This one is ♥♥♥♥♥

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

September 2 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – Review

September 3 – Back Porchervations – Review, Interview

September 4 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book  – Spotlight

September 5 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Review, Guest Post

September 6 – Brooke Blogs – Review

September 7 – Chloe Gets A Clue – Interview

September 8 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review

September 9 – StoreyBook Reviews – Review, Guest Post

September 10 – rantinravin‘ and reading – Review, Guest Post

September 11 – deal sharing aunt – Review, Interview

 

CATHY ACE PRELEASE TOUR AND A GIVEAWAY!

Cathy Ace is doing a Prelease Tour of the latest in the Cait Morgan Series, THE CORPSE WITH THE PLATINUM HAIR, with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. I am very pleased she is kicking the tour off here, today, and has a guest post for us (be sure and check for the giveaway below)… Take it away Cathy.

It’s great to have the chance to visit again, but I’m very aware that, this time, I don’t have Kate “holding my hand”! That’s what being interviewed feels like, to me—the structure is set by the interviewer, so I am free to chat around a theme, so to speak. This time, it’s a “Guest Post” which, to this author, are two words that strike terror in my heart. You see, to be perfectly honest, I’m not convinced that either I or my life are terribly interesting, so coming up with a topic is always a challenge.

So I’ve picked a topic I’m familiar with, and which I hope will interest others: Vegas, baby, Vegas! Okay, it’s not a stretch—THE CORPSE WITH THE PLATINUM HAIR is the fourth Cait Morgan Mystery and it’s pre-ordering now (ready to hit your bookshelf in October) and, yes, it’s set in Vegas. Now, there are a lot of books set in Sin City—hardly surprising given its reputation for criminal activity (and a particularly popular CSI team!)—so I admit I was in two minds about walking along this well-trod path with Cait. But I admit I have a bit of a thing for Vegas, so I decided to risk it, but to try to “Do It My Way” (first of the obligatory Frank Sinatra references!). You know what I mean—like those houses they have in real-estate “shopping” shows where the innocent potential purchasers are told that by having to repaint the whole place and knock down a few walls they can “put their own stamp on it”? Yes, that’s what I mean.

So I’ll ‘fess-up: my husband and I visit Vegas about half a dozen times a year. Yes, I know it sounds like a lot, and it probably is, but we only go for weekends, and it’s just over a two-hour flight away from Vancouver, so it’s very d-able and, when I get there—nothing! I don’t have to think, or even function much. The shows are exceptional, and my OH and I are great fans of stand-up comedy, so we take the opportunity to see some of the best in the world, up-close and personal, on the wonderful, intimate, Vegas stages. But it’s the food that calls to us! Vegas used to be about the gambling, now it’s about the food. Many of the world’s top restaurants are on The Strip in Vegas. Many of the world’s top chefs work there, have restaurants there, and train tomorrow’s top chefs there too. Ingredients are flown in from around the world, and there seems to be NOTHING you cannot have, if your pockets are deep enough, and your desires wide enough. But we don’t live like that, and you don’t have to to enjoy the Vegas we enjoy. A lazy Saturday poolside, followed by a wash and brush up for pre-show drinks, then the mind boggling spectacle we’ve chosen, then, inevitably, a late dinner. Followed by a few more drinks, to allow dinner to be digested, of course. Yes, they turn into late nights, but that’s not the end of the world, because we can start the next day slowly, revitalize at the pool again, thenwell, okay, repeat, sans show.

Two days together of indulgence in the sun. Two days together lying at the pool hearing “music”, where every word is unintelligible, and which we know we’re at least three decades too old to attempt to “shake a leg” to. Two days of sipping a martini, or a glass of champagne (maybe both?) beneath the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, watching the fountains dance to the sound of Catherine Zeta Jones (another Swansea girl, like me) belting out “All That Jazz”, then savoring duck confit, skate wing, and white chocolate bread pudding. Two days of giggling at the mini-Elvis chatting up a girl in a “Hello Kitty” outfit, as Darth Vader wanders by, his giant helmet under his arm as he prepares to catch the bus back home after his on-Strip shift. Two days wondering if the young man with the drink shaped like an electric guitar (so big it requires a strap to attach it to its drinker) managed to make it back to his hotel at all, and puzzling over why the girls bother to wear heels so high they have to take then off and carry them after about ten minutes.

My favourite hobby in life is “Watching the world go by”. I promise you there is nowhere better to do this than in Vegas. And, oh my, what a world it is! Of course, if you want to find out what’s below that skin, if you want to understand what it’s like to live your life in a city that never, ever sleeps, then you might want to join Cait Morgan and Bud Anderson for Bud’s birthday celebrations in Vegas, when he gets to eat at an exclusive, private dining roomand when Cait gets to work out which person locked into that restaurant with her and Bud killed the casino owner. THE CORPSE WITH THE PLATINUM HAIR will peel back the rhinestone-encrusted velour, but it might reveal a different Vegas than the one you expect. It’s the Vegas I have spent ten years coming to know, a Vegas where people earn a living honestlybut then, well, it is a murder mystery, so I won’t say too much!

GIVEAWAY

Cathy is giving away two print copies of THE CORPSE WITH THE PLATINUM HAIR. For a chance to win, leave a comment for Cathy, below, then go HERE.

BLURB

“Look! Somebody’s skewered Miss Shirley to her seat with a silver saber.”

When Cait Morgan arrives in Las Vegas, her only plans are to celebrate a birthday with Bud, her significant other. But then Miss Shirley—a casino owner better known as the “Queen of the Vegas Strip”—is murdered during Bud’s birthday feast. A security lockdown seals Cait and Bud in a private dining room with a corpse, an unidentified murderer, and a group of nervous, potential victims.

As the bodies pile up and tensions mount, Cait’s list of suspects dwindles. Fearing for her life and for Bud’s, Cait knows she must
solve the mystery. But can she reveal the killer before she, too, is mercilessly murdered?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Originally from Wales, now-Canadian Cathy Ace writes the Cait Morgan Mysteries. In The Corpse with the Silver Tongue her foodie criminologist sleuthed in the south of France. The Corpse with the Golden Nose found Cait sniffing out a killer in BC’s vineyards. The Corpse with the Emerald Thumb met her when she was meddling in murders in Mexico. This time Cait is caught up in a true closed-room mystery in a classy casino restaurant in Las Vegas. When not helping Cait solve traditional, closed-circle mysteries, Cathy’s a keen gardener, ably assisted by her green-pawed chocolate Labradors.

Website:  www.cathyace.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cathy-Ace-Author/318388861616661

Twitter: @AceCathy

GoodReadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3913679.Cathy_Ace

Preorder the book:  Amazon B&N

MY REVIEW

What can I say? Ms. Ace clearly cannot write a bad book. I loved it. I enjoyed the deeper look at the “process” Cait uses with her eidetic memory – I LOL at the humming, especially in the toilet (for no particular reason, know no one who does that). And I just plain enjoy Cait – a woman of a certain age who likes good food, a cup of tea, a good drink, smoking, carries a few extra pounds (once again, no particular reason LOL). And in this visit with Cait we have a true locked room mystery. The victim, the murderer as well as all the suspects, are all locked in a room along with Cait and Bud – for quite a while. Go preorder this one because you are really going to love it too.  ♥♥♥♥♥

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

September 1 – rantinravin’ and reading – Review, Guest Post

September 2 – MysteriesEtc – Review

September 3 – Kelly P’s Blog – Interview

September 4 – Queen of All She Reads – Review

September 5 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review

September 6 – Community Bookstop – Review

September 7 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Interview

September 7 –  Brooke Blogs – Review

September 8 – Melina’s Book Blog – Guest Post

September 9 – Dalene’s Book Reviews – Review,

September 10 – dru’s book musing – Guest Post

 

 

DEATH RUNS ADRIFT by Karen MacInerney (and a giveaway!)

Critically acclaimed author Karen MacInerney also teaches writers’ workshops and drives a mean carpool. Her book Murder on the Rocks was selected as an Agatha nominee for Best First Novel. When she’s not writing or chauffeuring children, she loves to read, drink coffee, attempt unusual recipes, and hit the local hike-and-bike trail. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and two children, and escapes to Maine as often as possible. Today, Karen, on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, is here discussing what she does when she has a writing drought. Be sure and leave a comment below to be eligible to win a print copy (US only) of DEATH RUNS ADRIFT.

CREATIVITY PRACTICE

By Karen MacInerney

I experienced a bit of a writing drought this past year – something I’ve been through many times before – and now that I’m back in the saddle again, so to speak, I’ve been thinking a lot about what might have caused it.  And how I got out of it.

I think that one of the biggest problems with being a writer, or an artist, or a musician, is the marriage of art and commerce.  When we are making things, be they clay pots, poems, stained glass, or novels, if things are going well, we fall into ‘flow’ mode.  I’m sure you’ve been there before; it’s that magical state when the world recedes around us and there’s nothing but us and our work, and it’s completely absorbing.  When we finally sit up and rejoin the rest of the world, we feel satisfied, at peace.

Some days, it’s harder to get to ‘flow’ than others, but it’s that magical state that makes the experience of making things so satisfying.  The problem is, when we start viewing our work as a commodity, a thing to be critiqued and judged, part of our mind is often disconnected.  It’s the part that tells us we need to work faster, or that what we’re doing isn’t going to sell, or that we were crazy to have tried a project like this because we don’t know what we’re doing and should just stick to what we know other people like.  Or give up on making art altogether, because the sale of a creative product is a risky enterprise.

I’ve heard all of those things inside my head before, particularly when I’ve taken on a particularly challenging project, or one that’s different from what I’m used to doing.  And do you know what usually happens when that voice really gets going?

I stop working.

And when I stop working, I stop getting into flow mode.  And when I stop getting into flow mode, I lose the habit of getting into flow mode, and start to doubt my work even more.  If it goes on long enough I start to think I should switch gears and learn to be a plumber, or refrigerator repair person, or just about anything other than a person who puts words on paper for a living.

Fortunately, so far, I’ve found the strength within myself – and from my community of writers – to pick myself up and get back to the daily practice of writing.  I sit down and I write a thousand words a day.  They don’t have to be good words.  I’m free to delete them the next day (although usually I don’t).  But they propel me forward, they let me enjoy that elusive “flow” state, and they make me feel like a writer.

The truth is, whatever my books do when they go out into the world, I’m happiest when I’m writing; I seem to have a supply of creative energy that needs to be expressed, or it turns in on itself (and me) in unpleasant ways.  When I make my peace with that, my best work seems free to come out. 

Recently, just to shake things up and keep my perspective fresh, I’ve also taken up watercolor.  It’s a more kinesthetic art form, and one which (for me, anyway) carries no expectation of financial remuneration.  It’s not my “job.”  And I’m learning to carry some of that over to my writing, pursuing what inspires me rather than what I “should” be doing.

I’ve ignored my inner voice and followed what I thought was the financially prudent path in my writing career more than once, and each time I have made myself unhappy.  It’s when I listen to the wisdom deep inside me and make my creativity a practice that I’m happiest.  And when I’m following that inner compass, I feel I tend to do better work.

What’s your creative calling? Have you established a creativity practice in your life? Is there something you’d like to try?

Death Runs Adrift (The Gray Whale Inn Mysteries)
Series: The Gray Whale Inn Mysteries (Book 6)
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: MIDNIGHT INK (May 8, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0738734608
ISBN-13: 978-0738734606
Synopsis:

With her own wedding fast approaching and her mother-in-law dating an unexpected beau, the last thing Natalie Barnes needs is to find a young man shot dead in a dinghy. A note she finds with the body suggests the dearly departed had a secret rendezvous planned with somebody on the island. But when suspicion is cast on a fisherman Natalie believes to be innocent, she begins to wonder if the murder was the result of a lover’s quarrel . . . or a lobsterman’s disagreement gone horribly wrong.

PURCHASE LINKS
AMAZON          B&N

AUTHOR LINKS
Website/Facebook/Goodreads

MY REVIEW

When I read a book for review, I have a notebook by my side. Sadly, the better the book, the fewer the notes – I’m just too into it. Total extent of the notes for this book:

  • a tiny island off the coast of Maine
  • close to the border of Canada
  • the sixth entry in the Gray Whale Inn series
  • did I read first one? – it’s on Kindle…  get rest of series
  • FUN FUN FUN
  • great recipes

From my lack of notes, you can assume this was a really, really good book. Natalie Barnes has her wedding plans in place so she has time for other things. Finding a body would not have been top of her list, but that’s what she got. So we have a modern day mystery but running parallel to that is a mystery from back in the twenties – won’t say anymore and spoil it but it is easy to find a bit on the subject here on this blog (hint hint LOL). This is a really great read and stands alone, but like me, you may find yourself wanting to go back and read it from the beginning. ♥♥♥♥♥┼

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

May 8 – Carstairs Considers – Review, Giveaway
May 9 – Books-n-Kisses – Review, Guest Post
May 10 – Kelly P’s Blog – Interview
May 11 –  off – Mother’s Day
May 12 – readalot blog – Review, Giveaway
May 13 – Back Porchervations – Review
May 14 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
May 15 –Mommasezblog – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
May 16 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review, Giveaway
May 18 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Interview
May 19 – rantinravin’ and reading – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
May 20 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – Guest Post, Giveaway
May 21 – Community Bookstop – Review
May 22 – Jane Reads – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
May 23 – Kaisy Daisy’s Corner – Review