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DEATH OF A BEAUTY QUEEN by Barbara Jean Coast (and a giveaway!)

Death of a Beauty Queen: A Poppy Cove Mystery

(Poppy Cove Mystery Series Book 2)
Paperback: 220 pages
Publisher: Cozy Cat Press (May 9, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-1939816436
E-Book File Size: 353 KB
ASIN: B00LBDLZ8Q
SYNOPSIS

It’s the 1950’s in Santa Lucia, California, and the height of the social season. Time for the new Miss Santa Lucia, Nora Burbank, to display her loveliness at a high society fashion show produced by the city’s own fashionistas–Margot and Daphne, owners of Poppy Cove, the most elegant and “in” little dress shop in the county.

Nora steals the show in her designer gown and custom-made necklace created by local jeweler Isaac Mendelson, and used on the sly by his apprentice son-in-law, Efrem Goldberg. At the conclusion of the show, the young queen is allowed to keep her dress and a replica of the necklace for her own. But Monday morning, Efrem arrives in a panic at Poppy Cove to beg Margot and Daphne’s assistance in tracking down the real necklace, which he believes was inadvertently switched for the replica backstage. The girls get involved in Efrem’s dilemma and try to help him before Isaac’s any the wiser. But before that can happen, Miss Santa Lucia is found dead in her bed and the necklace is missing.

Who killed Nora Burbank? Is it someone jealous of her new royal position and all of its perks? Or did she just happen to be in the way when a thief attempted to steal her diamond-studded necklace? Did Nora have the real or the fake necklace, and how much did the thief and murderer know about it? But, of course, before the girls can find the killer, they’ll have to create several beautiful ensembles, calm numerous irate clients, and flirt with their ever-so-attentive boyfriends, before solving this mystery.

ABOUT THESE AUTHORS

Barbara Jean Coast is the pen name of authors Andrea Taylor and Heather Shkuratoff, both of whom reside in Kelowna, BC, Canada.  Barbara Jean, however, is a resident of Santa Lucia, California (eerily similar to Santa Barbara), where she enjoys long lunches, cocktail parties, fancy dinner dates with attractive and attentive gentlemen.  Her interests include Alfred Hitchcock movies, reading Carolyn Keene, music by popular musicians, such Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett, shopping for new dresses, attending society events and always looking fabulous in kitten heels.  DEATH OF A BEAUTY QUEEN is her second novel in the Poppy Cove Mystery Series.

Andrea Taylor

Andrea always imagined herself being a supersleuth girl detective and writing adventurous stories, full of mystery and intrigue since she was old enough to hold a pencil.  She resides in Kelowna, BC, Canada, where she writes under the pen name of Barbara Jean Coast with her co-author friend, Heather Shkuratoff, and travels often to California to further develop the stories and escapades of the Poppy Cove Mystery Series.  Andrea has also published freelance articles about fashion, current events, and childcare, and is currently blogging on WordPress about creativity and poetry, as well as researching for her own literary novels.

Heather Shkuratoff

As an avid mystery reader, Heather joined lifelong friend Andrea Taylor to create the Poppy Cove Mystery Series, written under the pen name of Barbara Jean Coast.  Growing up in a family of talented crafters and sewers, Heather developed her own skills to become a dressmaker and designer, which helps to give rich detail and character to their stories.  She lives in Kelowna, BC, Canada, but spends much time in California, researching for the novels and doing her best to live like Barbara Jean.

MY REVIEW

This is a fun new (2nd book) series. And if you are a fan and follow the authors online, it is even more fun. I can’t fathom working with another person to write, it must be so hard. But these two talented ladies not only write together, they manage to maintain a third person – Barbara Jean Coast. Barbara Jean stays in her proper but fun 1950’s persona at all times. She’s almost as fun as the books! And the books are fun. Lots of fifties fashion, lots of flirting, and most importantly of all, a very well crafted mystery at the heart of it all that will keep you guessing and reading until the end. Another ♥♥♥♥♥

Leave a comment for Heather or Andrea and a fifties related question, perhaps, for Barbara Jean herself for a chance to win an e-copy of DEATH OF A BEAUTY QUEEN.

AUTHOR LINKS

Webpage: http://barbarajeancoast.com/

Blog:  http://welcometopoppycove.wordpress.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/BarbaraJCoast

Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/bjcoast/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/barbarajean.coast &https://www.facebook.com/pages/Poppy-Cove-Mysteries/375180072578350

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/BJCoast

Amazon Kindle: Death of a Beauty Queen: A Poppy Cove Mystery (Poppy Cove Mystery Series Book 2) – Kindle edition by Barbara Jean Coast. Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

Smashwords: Smashwords – Death of a Beauty Queen – a book by Barbara Jean Coast

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/death-of-a-beauty-queen-1

B&N, Nook:   http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/death-of-a-beauty-queen-barbara-jean-coast/1120687392?ean=2940046386165

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

February 2 – Tea and A Book – Review, Giveaway

February 3 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – Review

February 4 – Back Porchervations – Review

February 5 – rantin’ ravin’ and reading – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway

February 6 – EditingPen/Latte’ Da – Interview, Giveaway

February 7 – Queen of All She Reads – Spotlight

February 8 – Christa Reads and Writes – Review

February 9 – Jane Reads – Review, Interview

February 10 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review

February 11 – A Blue Million Books – Interview, Giveaway

February 12 – readalot – Review

February 13 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review, Guest Post

February 14 – EditingPen – Review

February 15 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Guest Post

 

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 & MAYHEM IN GOOSE PIMPLE JUNCTION by Amy Metz (and a giveaway!)

Amy Metz is a former first grade teacher and the mother of two grown sons. When not actively engaged in writing, enjoying her family, or surfing Facebook or Pinterest, Amy can usually be found with a mixing spoon, camera, or book in one hand and a glass of sweet tea in the other. Amy lives in Louisville, Kentucky and she is currently on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours with MURDER & MAYHEM IN GOOSE PIMPLE JUNCTION. And Amy is giving an e-book copy to one reader of this blog. Just leave her a comment or ask a question about the book to be in with a chance to win.

SYNOPSIS

Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction
Paperback: 252 pages
Publisher: Blue Publications; 2 edition (September 7, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-0989714020
E-Book File Size: 563 KB
ASIN: B00NE1H8FW
When Tess Tremaine starts a new life in the colorful town of Goose Pimple Junction, curiosity leads her to look into a seventy-five-year-old murder. Suddenly she’s learning the foreign language of southern speak, resisting her attraction to local celebrity Jackson Wright, and dealing with more mayhem than she can handle.

A bank robbery, murder, and family tragedy from the 1930s are pieces of the mystery that Tess attempts to solve. As she gets close to the truth, she encounters danger, mystery, a lot of southern charm, and a new temptation for which she’s not sure she’s ready.

MY REVIEW

A bit heavy on the romance, which I usually don’t like. But I loved it! Flashbacks which I usually find drag a story, at least a cozy, down. But they worked! Which just goes to show you it is not the elements of the story that matter as much as the skill of the author. And Amy Metz has mad skills! (That means good, no great LOL) I hope Tess Tremaine has lots more mysteries to solve and Amy Metz keeps wanting to tell us about them because I want to keep reading this series for years! It is definitely ♥♥♥♥♥

AUTHOR LINKS

Website: http://amymetz.com
Blog: http://abluemillionbooks.blogspot.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorAmyMetz
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authoramymetz
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6436458.Amy_Metz
Book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vIbieSgVjk

PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon B&N

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

October 15 – MysteriesEtc – Review

October 16 – Tea and A Book – Review, Interview, Giveaway

October 17 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Interview

October 18 – off

October 19 – A Cup of Tea, A Friend, And A Book – Review

October 20 – Girl Lost In a Book – Review, Giveaway

October 21 – Turning the Pages – Review

October 22 – deal sharing aunt – Interview

October 23 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana. Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – Review, Giveaway

October 24 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Review, Interview, Giveaway

October 25 – readalot – Review

October 26 – off

October 27 – rantinravin’ and reading – Review, Giveaway

October 28 – Chloe Gets A Clue – Interview

October 29 – off

October 30 – Queen of All She Reads – Review, Giveaway

October 31 – Melina’s Book Blog – Interview, Giveaway

 

 

 

DEATH IN PERSPECTIVE by Larissa Reinhart (and a giveaway!)

A relatively new favorite author, Larissa Reinhart may hold the record for visits to the blog and I am thrilled she is here again today. After teaching in the US and Japan, Larissa enjoys writing, particularly sassy female characters with a penchant for trouble. She lives near Atlanta with her family and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit. Visit her website or you can find her chatting on Facebook. Death in Perspective is the fourth book in the best selling Cherry Tucker Mystery series. The first, Portrait of a Dead Guy, is a Daphne du Maurier finalist, Emily finalist, and Dixie Kane Memorial winner. Larissa recently returned from a vacation in Japan. You know how some people absolutely hate hearing about peoples vacations? Well not me! I love it! So lets all vicariously visit Japan today. Be sure to leave a comment for Larissa, one of you will win an e-copy of any book from the series that you choose and if you go HERE you have a chance to win a Barnes & Noble gift card and some swag. Welcome,  Larissa.

Hey Kate! Thanks for having me on again and I’m so glad you didn’t get bored with my reports from Japan!

How long has it been since you visited Japan prior to this visit?

For my girls and I, it’s been three and a half years since we moved back. My husband (lucky guy) gets to travel there a lot on business. I think he was there six times last fall and winter!

What part(s) of the country did you visit?

We were mainly visiting friends on this trip, so we spent most of our time in Nagoya, which was the city we previously lived in. We took a side trip to Kyoto and Nara with the girls for three nights for some family time. My husband and I used to live near Kyoto (ages ago), so it’s always fun for us to revisit old haunts and see the changes. Japanese cities are constantly evolving, although Kyoto and Nara have preserved a lot of their own neighborhoods as well as the historic sites. They were two of the few cities not bombed during WWII, so it’s hard to find those medieval and pre-modern homes and shops in other parts of Japan.

Did you find a lot had changed and particularly, did you notice the effects of the world wide recession or are they over it?

Our neighborhood had changed a lot (to us). A spaghetti shop we used to visit was gone. It was pretty decrepit, but had really great spaghetti. And only spaghetti on the menu, all kinds. Not even a salad (if you ask for a salad, you’re offered vegetable juice). I digress… But all the new construction was a good sign for economic recovery. Japan was in an economic depression last time we lived there. And of course, the Tohoku earthquake hit the economy really hard. We moved just before that happened.

I have read about the Japan cultures love of ‘cuteness. Is it really as over the top as some press makes it seem or confined to small segments of society?

OH MY GOODNESS. Japan’s cuteness is so over the top adorable. The newest trend in cuteness is hamster butts. Yes, you read that right. If you look at a hamster butt, they are quite cute. We saw a whole section in a bookstore dedicated to books with photos of cute hamster butts. There’s always something trending and that trend is constantly changing. Krispy Kreme is also trending. I was happy to see that. They’re almost as popular as Starbucks. But not quite. Hello Kitty also still reigns supreme, which will make a lot of people happy. But there, she is Kitty-Chan.

Speaking of cute, did you bring back a bento box or kimono for your dog?

Haha! You saw my pictures! No, Biscuit would not appreciate a bento or a kimono. In fact, Biscuit got nothing. Poor dog. But he’s not much on treats and a kimono would really drive him insane. He was very happy to see us, though. Our return was his gift.

I am always interested in the book reading habits of other countries. The American style cozies are rare in Ireland for example but they were making a big splash in China (in English, mind you) for a while. The Swedish mysteries seem big in America at the moment. Did you visit any book stores on your trip? Do they read cozies? What does seem popular?

Bookstores are really popular in Japan. You find them all over the place. Japanese readers still prefer books to e-readers and they read a lot on trains and subways, so the books have always been paperback and kind of hand sized. And because of the writing, the books are very slim. Anyway, Japanese readers love mysteries and Agatha Christie is still a favorite. In fact, their public broadcasting channel, NHK, did an animated Agatha Christie series starring Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, and a girl named Mabel with a duck. Besides Mabel and the duck, the mysteries were pretty true to the original stories. You also see a lot of mysteries on TV, particularly detective stories. I think there is a love of crime drama because there’s not a lot of crime, so it’s very entertaining. That’s just a hypothesis though.

Can I just say, Mabel and the duck. Does it get any better?

Before you go, what can we expect next after Death in Perspective ?

I’m writing The Body in the Landscape now (#5), which will come out sometime next year. Cherry’s hired to do a “kill portrait” for a Hogzilla hunting contest at Big Rack Lodge and finds a body while painting a landscape in the first line (hence the title). I’m so thrilled for the chance to write about Hogzilla. They are something of a true legend around here. A 1,000+ pound feral hog was killed close to where I live a few years ago. And of course, there’s Cherry and the mystery. Seven bow hunters trapped in a bunkhouse in the middle of a hunting preserve during a November storm. Which one will die next and which one’s the killer? Fun, fun.

BLURB

A Cherry Tucker Mystery #4
Cozy Mystery
Paperback: 250 pages
Publisher: Henery Press; First edition (June 24, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-1940976181
E-book File Size: 594 KB
ASIN: B00L5Q7AYW

The curtain rises on Cherry Tucker’s debut as a high school set designer at the posh Peerless Day Academy. Cherry’s been hired for an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, but the drama director is hoping Cherry can also turn the spotlight on a malicious social media bully who’s sending poisonous texts to the faculty. The director’s got his own drama to hide, and the phantom texter seems eager to spill school secrets. When the principal’s secretary commits suicide, Cherry suspects foul play.

Deputy Luke Harper is ready to return as Cherry’s leading man. He’s eager to assist in finding the phantom culprit, but Cherry fears family secrets offstage may doom them to the role as star-crossed lovers. With the bully waiting for a murderous encore and her own family skeletons to hide, Cherry scrambles to find her brother and the mysterious texter before the phantom decides it’s curtains for Cherry and forces her to take a final bow.

MY REVIEW

Fun. Fun. Fun. Cherry is like Lucy and Ethel all rolled into one Southern package. Rather timely, this deals with bullying. I enjoyed the whole Tara storyline (Luke’s ex/stalker). Shawna is busy giving Cherry you know what on Facebook. Cherry is a bit down in this installment. Her love life with Luke is a continuing problem. As anyone who reads this blog knows, I haven’t liked Luke from the beginning. I see Cherry with Max. The whole Branson connection (and Cody) is heating up and should be interesting in upcoming books. Oh yeah, the mystery is top notch too but I just read this series for the characters LOL! If you haven’t started yet, go right now and get the first in the series and catch up with the rest of us! ♥♥♥♥♥

Author Links:

Website: http://larissareinhart.com/

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1qMwr29

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RisWrites

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/RisWrites

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5806614.Larissa_Reinhart

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/LarissaReinhart/

Purchase Links
Amazon B&N

Tour Participants

June 24 – Mommasez… – Review, Interview, Giveaway
June 25 – readalot blog – Review, Giveaway
June 26 – Chloe Gets A Clue – Interview
June 27 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review, Giveaway
June 28 – Carole’s Book Corner – Review
June 29 – off
June 30 – deal sharing aunt – Interview, Giveaway
July 1 – Traci Andrighetti’s blog – Review
July 2 – A Chick Who Reads – Review
July 3 – Michelle’s Romantic Tangle – Review, Interview
July 4 – off
July 5 – rantinravin’ and reading – Review, Interview, Giveaway
July 6 – Back Porchervations – Review
July 7 – Traveling With T – Review, Interview, Giveaway
July 8 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review, Giveaway
July 9 – Community Bookstop – Review

THE CORPSE WITH THE EMERALD THUMB by Cathy Ace (and a giveaway!)

Cathy Ace has been here on the blog before, but she is on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the release of her latest in the Cait Morgan Mystery series, THE CORPSE WITH THE EMERALD THUMB, so I am very pleased to welcome here again. Born, raised, and educated in Wales, Cathy enjoyed a successful career in marketing and training across Europe, before immigrating to Vancouver, Canada, where she taught MBA and undergraduate marketing programs at various universities. Her eclectic tastes in art, music, food, and drink have been developed during her decades of extensive travel, which she continues whenever possible. Now a full-time author, Cathy’s short stories have appeared in multiple anthologies, as well as on BBC Radio 4. She and her husband are keen gardeners, who enjoy being helped out around their acreage by their green-pawed Labradors. I am very pleased to have Cathy here once again, as she makes the last stop on her tour. Do take the time to listen to Cathy reading an excerpt, enjoy her interview and be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a Kindle copy of The Corpse with the Emerald Thumb.

This presents a problem. We talked about writing before. And I know a fair bit about her from being Facebook friends and in some of the same groups. So… no choice but go tabloid and get personal here. Welcome Cathy and buckle up 😉

I was going to say that it’s great to be here again Kate . . . but now I’m beginning to worry about it! In any case, I have buckled up, and let’s hope it’s not a bumpy ride 😉

You may not be a sleuth like Cait Morgan but you certainly are a bit of an adventurer. It takes a certain kind of person to leave country and family behind. I mean when your country isn’t being ravaged by tyranny, war or famine. And I want you to know I am insanely jealous because I tried for Canada but apparently I have no discernable skills. But why did you leave everything behind and what about you made you able to do such a scary, to most people, thing?

I left Wales after university, and I’d lived in London, in the UK, for the better part of two decades, but had traveled extensively for both business and pleasure during that time. By 1999 I had sold my business (Europe’s largest privately owned post-graduate marketing training college) and was considering spending more time in the south of France, where I usually spent a few months each year. The University of British Columbia “imported” me to teach marketing on their MBA course. I’d never worked in the academic world before, and I saw it as a way to give back. Maybe because I was such a frequent traveler (I was spending only a couple of months a year at my London home then) I didn’t see the move to Canada as scary at all. I sort of “commuted” between London and Vancouver for about a year, then decided to sell my home in London and was able to buy a place in Canada.

Tell us a little about the family you left behind. What was it like then and what is it like now, where are they, are there lots of new ones, and do you see them often?

My Mum and my sister still live in Wales. Luckily for me, my Dad was able to visit my new home in Canada a few times before he died. My Mum and sister still visit once a year, and I visit them a couple of times a year.

I have had people tell me that emigration is easier today with FaceTime and Skype and Facebook – not that they have experienced it, but they know. LOL I’m not sure I agree. I think my heart breaks a little every time I see what my friends and family are up to without me. How do you feel about it? Do you think the technology makes it easier or do you think it was easier in the old days when it was a clean break, just the odd letter now and then?

I can only really tell you how it is for me. I speak to my Mum and my sister every day, I email them every day, and my sister and I connect online. There are a few friends I keep in touch with in various parts of the world, but I never had huge groups of friends in any case, and I don’t feel we all “miss” each other—we keep in touch as we can, and see each other, somewhere in the world, as we can. I’m not one for regret. If I can be somewhere to share something, I will do it. If I can’t I send my love and hope everyone else has a blast 😉

What is wonderful about Canada? What has it given you that you wouldn’t have found in Wales? Do you think you would have become a writer in Wales?

To me, Canada is about open space, fresh air, the silence you need to hear your own thoughts, and a home with a wonderful garden! I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have become a writer if I’d stayed in Wales. I left Wales to work, and through that work I became someone who wrote for a living, albeit I was writing for advertising and public relations campaigns. We never know how one decision affects our lives, or effects our lives. But we make decisions based on the knowledge we have at the time, and trying to weigh all the options. My parents, like most parents, wanted me to have a better life than they had. They taught me to give 200%, to always do my best. I try to live up to that. Who knows where that would have taken me in Wales, or London, or anywhere else? I am very happy with my life right now. I believe I am the most fortunate person in the world!

Tell us about your personal life (as if this wasn’t personal enough! LOL). I’ve seen pictures of your wedding – it was on a beach or something wasn’t it? Is your husband Canadian? Do you have children? Grandchildren?

You have eagle eyes! Yes, last year I posted our wedding photo on Facebook to mark our anniversary. We were married standing barefoot in a waterfall in Hawaii. Idyllic, and as beautiful as it sounds. It was just us two—with family scattered about all over the place, it would have been far too complicated for everyone to come together in one place, so we just went and did it. Not an elopement, just a quite ceremony. I married when I was 44, so have no children. But my husband, who is also Welsh, and who I met when I was 11 years old (yes, sweet!), has a wonderful son and daughter. I am lucky enough that I get to fill four grandchildren with sugar and hand them back to their loving parents!

It has been a pleasure having you here again, Cathy. You’re probably already worrying what I might ask when your next book but in the mean time, is there anything else you would like to tell your readers before you go?

This has been quite an experience! Thanks so much for having me along. I hope that readers enjoy traveling with Cait Morgan, and me. This time, in THE CORPSE WITH THE EMERALD THUMB, she’s in Mexico. In September 2014 she gets to visit Las Vegas, in THE CORPSE WITH THE PLATINUM HAIR. Maybe you’ll have me back again then—though I am already worried about what you might ask! Thanks for having me!

BLURB 

The Corpse with the Emerald Thumb
(A Cait Morgan Mystery)

3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Publisher: TouchWood Editions (April 15, 2014)
Paperback: 240 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1771510639 

Criminologist and foodie Cait Morgan was looking forward to her dream vacation in Mexico with her boyfriend Bud Anderson. She wasn’t anticipating a fresh corpse on the floor of a local florist’s shop, and she definitely wasn’t expecting Bud to become the prime suspect.

With Bud’s freedom, and maybe even his life, at stake, Cait has to fight the clock to work out which member of the small community living in the seemingly idyllic municipality of Punta de las Rocas might have killed the locally respected florist, and why. Needing to investigate under the watchful gaze of the local police, Cait has to keep her relationship with Bud a secret, and she soon discovers she’s not the only one with something to hide. Peeling back layers of deceit to reveal even more puzzles, Cait struggles with a creeping sense of unreality, desperate to save Bud . . . and, ultimately, herself.

In the third book in the beloved Cait Morgan Mysteries, The Corpse with the Emerald Thumb, travel to the idyllic Mexican countryside as Cait Morgan works against the clock to clear her wrongly accused partner of murder. 

MY REVIEW 

Do I even need to give a rating at this point? I expect a great read from Cathy Ace and once again she has delivered. In a strange country, Cait finds herself alone and over her head trying to save Bud who has been accused of murder – and who, she discovers, is not who she thought he was. We get a shock about half way through when Cait herself is arrested as an accomplice. How will she get both of them out of this? You will enjoy finding out. Once again this is ♥♥♥♥♥

AUTHOR LINKS 

Website = www.cathyace.com

Twitter  = @AceCathy

Facebook = https://www.facebook.com/cathy.ace.author?fref=ts

 

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

April 22 – dru’s book musing

April 23 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard – Review, Interview

April 24 –Chloe Gets A Clue – Guest Post

April 25 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review

April 26 – Kelly P’s Blog – Interview

April 27 – Little Whimsy Books – Review

April 28 – readalot blog – Review

April 29 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post

April 30 – Kaisy Daisy’s Corner – Review

May 1 – Books-n-Kisses – Review

May 2 – Back Porchervations – Interview

May 3 – Brooke Blogs – Review

May 4 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Guest Post

May 5 – Queen of All She Reads – Review, Guest Post

May 6 – rantinravin’ and reading – Review, Interview

 

 

SMALL TOWN SPIN :: review and a giveaway!

You can find the giveaway HERE.

Synopsis

When a superstar athlete’s son turns up dead in a tiny town on the Virginia coast, crime reporter Nichelle Clarke gets the inside scoop. But she quickly spies a gaping hole her inner Lois Lane cannot ignore.

Determined to unravel the mystery, Nichelle fights off paparazzi cameras and an unexpected rival. She uncovers an illegal moonshine operation, a string of copycat suicides, and a slew of closets stacked with more skeletons than slingbacks. Chasing a killer who’s a breath from getting away with murder, Nichelle realizes too late the culprit has her number—and it might be up.

About LynDee Walker

LynDee Walker’s award-winning journalistic work has appeared in newspapers and magazines across the nation. After nearly a decade covering crime, courts, and local politics, she left full-time reporting for motherhood with a side of freelancing and fiction writing. Small Town Spin is the third in her bestselling Headlines in High Heels Mystery series. The fourth arrives January 2015.

LynDee adores her family, her readers, and enchiladas. She often works out tricky plot points while walking off the enchiladas. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she is either playing with her children or working on her next novel (but probably not cleaning her house).

 Author Links

www.lyndeewalker.com

www.facebook.com/lyndeewalkerbooks

Twitter @LynDeeWalker

My Review

Nichelle and her Jimmy Choos are back!!!! This series just keeps getting better. Bootleg liquor was at the heart of this episode. No, not historical, now – I learned something new, it seems it is on the rise these days. When the son of a famous athlete dies, Nichelle is the only member of the media with access to the family. Was it suicide, accidental, murder? We know by now we can depend on Nichelle to get to the bottom of it. Some great characters in this one and of course… Joey. I said from the beginning, I’m team Joey! Another ♥♥♥♥♥

Tour Participants

April 8 – Mystery Playground – Interview

April 9 – readalot blog – Review

April 9 – Escape With Dollycas – Cozy Wednesday

April 10 – Kelly P’s Blog – Interview

April 12 – deal sharing aunt – Interview

April 14 – Community Bookstop – Review

April 15 – Beth’s Book Reviews – Guest Post

April 16 – rantinravin‘ and reading – Review

April 17 – Chloe Gets A Clue – Interview

April 18 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review

April 19 – Books-n-Kisses – Review

April 20 – Brooke Blogs – Interview

April 21 – Queen of All She Reads – Review – Guest Post

April 22 – A Chick Who Reads – Review

 

Death on Eat Street – a Biscuit Bowl Food Truck mystery (and a giveaway!)

J.J. Cook writes award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, Joyce and Jim Lavene, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family. And I am very pleased that Joyce is here today to tell us about the research they for the book. (Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of the book.) Welcome Joyce.

Doing research for the Biscuit Bowl Food Truck Mysteries was both delicious, and amazing. We spent time with several food truck owners, shadowing them through their days. It’s incredible what they can do in such small spaces.

Food truck drivers get up early for the best spots. Getting there first can mean the difference between a good sales day, and a day where you don’t break even. So most people get up at four or five a.m. They usually get some of the food ready in a stationary kitchen before they leave for the day, like Zoe bakes her biscuits before she leaves her diner.

Inside a food truck, everything is very compact. Owners have to know where each item is so they can find it quickly and easily. They know they can be checked at any time by health inspectors so they have to be very careful with their refrigerators and cooking utensils. Sometimes the space in a food truck is at a premium, especially when there is more than one person working in the kitchen.

Most food trucks pick specific menus for each day. They don’t have enough space to change the food they’re making. If the menu says chicken salad, that’s probably what you’re going to get. But because they are only making chicken salad – wow! It’s the best!

Zoe picks one or two types of savory fillings for her biscuit bowls each day, and one or two types of sweet fillings. She can’t make exceptions because that’s all she has with her. Her biscuits are deep-fried and kept warm, but only in small batches. They will go soft quickly. She usually only carries one type of drink.

We tried to pattern Zoe and her Biscuit Bowl food truck on real-life food truck owners. Of course, Zoe’s life is fiction, so sometimes that shows up. We didn’t meet any food truck drivers that had large cats like Crème Brulee with them when they went out – although we did meet a few foodies who brought dogs with them.

Zoe is a hard worker, as are the food truck operators we met. For many of them, they are hopeful that their food truck is a stepping-stone to a restaurant. Not all feel that way. Many are just happy following their dreams, working for themselves with their favorite food. 

Death on Eat Street (Biscuit Bowl Food Truck)
BRAND NEW SERIES
COZY MYSTERY
Series: Biscuit Bowl Food Truck (Book 1)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley (April 1, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-0425263457
E-Book ASIN: B00F9EZAUW

Synopsis
Zoe Chase always wanted to own her own restaurant—but first, she’ll have to serve up a heaping helping of meals on wheels, with a side of mystery. When she’s once again passed over for a promotion at work, Zoe decides to take the big leap and go for her dream. She quits, gives up her fancy digs, and buys a fixer-upper diner in a shady part of town. To keep above water during the renovation, she buys a used food truck to serve the downtown and waterfront of Mobile, Alabama. Zoe starts to dish out classic Southern food—but her specialty is her deep-fried biscuit bowls that blow traditional bread bowls away. After a promising start, things start to go downhill faster than a food truck without brakes. First, someone tries to rob the cash register. Next, Zoe is threatened by the owner of a competing food truck for taking their spot. And when the owner ends up dead inside Zoe’s rolling restaurant, Zoe and her sole employee, Ollie, find themselves hopping out of the frying pan into the fryer. They need to find the real killer, before both of them get burned.

My Review

I have only one complaint about this book. Well, two. It is going to cost me time and money. Time experimenting making biscuit bowls and money for the groceries. Oh yeah, there is a third thing. Listening to my husband complain about how good they are so please stop making them or he will have to spend half the day in the gym. In other words, I LOVED THIS BOOK!!! And my husband loves biscuit bowls. As a fan in real life of food trucks, I knew they would soon become part of a cozy series. And what a great start this food truck mystery is off to. Zoe is an appealing character. And all the secondary characters are interesting and you know you will want to see them all again. Most of all, it was a good mystery. I thought I had guessed the killer (and a pretty good twist if I do say so) but alas, or gladly, I was wrong. Bigger, better twist and better ending. From the wonderful cover to the recipe at the end, this is a solid ♥♥♥♥♥ and I can’t wait for the next in this new series.

 Author Links

www.tellingstoriesthrupictures.blogspot.com

www.jjcook.net

@authorjlavene

https://www.facebook.com/BiscuitBowlFoodTruckMysteries

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18492486-death-on-eat-street

Purchase Links
AMAZON       B&N      Book World

Tour Participants

March 31- Psychotic State Book Reviews – Review, Interview
April 1- fundinmental – Review
April 2- Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Review
April 3- Brooke Blogs – Review
April 4- Beth’s Book Reviews – Review
April 5- Books-n-Kisses – Review, Interview
April 6- Steph The Bookworm – Review
April 7- Deal Sharing Aunt – Review
April 8- Thoughts in Progress – Interview
April 9- Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – Review, Interview
April 10- Community Bookstop – Review
April 11- Queen of All She Reads – Review, Guest Post
April 13-Cozy Up With Kathy – Review, Interview
April 14 – rantinravin’ and reading – Review, Guest Post
April 15 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – Review

 A Book Excerpt

It hadn’t been more than thirty minutes or so since I’d climbed out of the food truck. How did Terry get there after me? And what was he doing here? Had he followed me back to give me more grief over parking in “his spot” on Dauphin Street?

“What’s up out here, young ’un?” Ollie came out of the diner, still holding the sword.

“I don’t know. This is Terry.”

He nodded. “From the infamous tacky taco truck?”

“Yes. I don’t know what he’s doing here. I think he may be drunk or something.”

Ollie bent down and put his hand on Terry’s neck. “I don’t know either, but he ain’t goin’ no place else.”

“What do you mean? I can call him a taxi or something.”

“No, Zoe. You don’t get it. The man’s dead. A taxi won’t do him any good now.”

Dead? That made even less sense to me. Maybe I was too tired to think straight.

Why was Terry—alive or dead—in my food truck?

“We gotta hide him somewhere.” Ollie glanced around. “We gotta get rid of him before someone sees him here.”

“We can’t do that. We should call the police. That’s what you do when you find a dead body.”

“Oh? ’Cause you’ve got so much experience finding dead people?” He chuckled. “You better believe me, Zoe. You think you got trouble now, tell the police there’s a dead man in your food truck. You’ll be in for a heap more trouble.”

I knew he was wrong. If something had happened to Terry, regardless of how he got into the Biscuit Bowl, the police needed to be informed. If there was one thing I knew besides cooking, it was the law.

My mother was one of the most prominent attorneys in Mobile. There was even some talk of her getting a judgeship. She’d fed me the law with my pureed carrots and pears when I was a baby. She’d hoped I was going to follow in her footsteps someday.

I was kind of a disappointment in that area.

I took out my cell phone. “I’m sorry, Ollie. I have to call. If you’re worried about being here, you should go to back to the shelter. I can handle this.”

“I ain’t worried about me, Zoe. It’s you I’m concerned for. What do you think the police will make of you having a dead man in your vehicle?”

I thought about it. “What can they make of it? I didn’t do anything. Someone must have put him here. Or he climbed in and died. I’ll be fine. Don’t worry.”

Famous last words.

 

TIP OF A BONE (and a giveaway!)

Christine Finlayson borrowed from her “past lives” as a waitress, barista, environmental educator, and water scientist when creating her debut mystery novel, Tip of a Bone—a tale that takes place on the stormy Oregon coast. In her spare time, Christine loves to run on forest trails, watch waves break, compete in triathlons, and photograph anything Northwest-weird or wild. She’s now working on her second book, a novel of suspense and she’s an active member of Sisters in Crime, Friends of Mystery, Oregon Writers Colony, and Willamette Writers. And today Christine is making a stop on her tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours to talk to us about writing what you know. Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of the book. Welcome Christine. 

Write What You Know?

In every writing class I’ve attended, some instructor will say, “Write what you know.”

It’s sage advice. Have you ever picked up a book set in your hometown, where it seems the author has never visited the place? As a parent, I’ve laughed over a novel where the main character’s kids miraculously went down for naps every time the mom needed to go out. If only!

So when I started writing my first mystery, Tip of a Bone, I intended to write what I knew. After all, I’d visited Newport, Oregon (the book’s coastal setting) many times. I’d made the main character, Maya Rivers, new to town so she didn’t need know everything. I could use my background in environmental science to craft the quirky eco-activist characters, and flash back to my early days waitressing for Maya’s scenes in the Clam Strip Café.

Write what you know. No problem.

But once the plot took shape, I started to panic. I’d created a taxidermist character, but knew nothing about taxidermy. My eco-activists needed to be authentic, but I’d never lived in a tree or blockaded streets with a protest. And I hadn’t worked in a seafood restaurant like the Clam Strip.

Somehow “write what you know” had become “don’t worry—you can always find out!” It was time for research.

Surprisingly, I discovered I loved the investigation and learning part of writing as much as the creative, fingers-to-keyboard, developing plot and characters part. It was great fun to interview people, tour new places, and research things online. Really, it was like going back to school—but this time, I could study whatever I wanted.

For Tip of a Bone, I watched YouTube videos to learn how to prepare deer and ducks for mounting (that pesky taxidermy character). I poked around a restaurant kitchen to develop Maya’s workplace and photographed Dungeness crabs at the fish market. And I visited Newport again and again, asking questions, documenting settings, and observing local events.

I learned that people love to talk about their jobs and hobbies. They, too, want me to “get it right.” So in addition to formal interviews, I’ve searched out writing partners who know interesting things. Among them, there’s a zookeeper, a perfume expert, an aficionado of Westerns, two world travelers, an organic gardener, two French speakers, a scuba diver, a sailor, and a former police officer. A world of knowledge to explore in future books!

Now that I’m writing my second novel, research is still playing a large role. I gave myself a challenge: a murder scene that requires a very specialized, technical investigation. So far, it’s led to a fascinating interview with three police officers, who helped me brainstorm ideas for solving this fictional crime.

My mind is already buzzing with new questions. But that’s okay. To me, doing the research is half the fun of writing a book.

BLURB

Buried bones, a missing eco-activist, and a deadly fire? It’s not what Maya Rivers bargained for when she moved to the coastal city of Newport, Oregon to reunite with her brother, Harley. Yet when Harley is accused of an unthinkable crime, Maya insists on adding “amateur sleuth” to her career options. It isn’t long before she discovers an eerie clue . . . but the closer she gets to the truth, the closer a murderer follows.

MY REVIEW 

Eco-terrorism or eco-activism? What was Harley’s connection to Sara? Who is watching Allison? Maya has only two weeks to prove Harley wasn’t an arsonist so maybe Allison will keep the bakery.  But she goes from trying to prove he wasn’t an arsonist to questioning – perhaps he was. This reads like a cozy but has a bit more edginess to it. This promises to be a very good series. ♥♥♥♥♥

AUTHOR LINKS

PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON      B&N      Book World

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

March 25 – fuonlyknew ~ Laura’s Ramblins and Reviews – Review, Giveaway
March 26 – readalot blog – Review
March 27 – Books-n-Kisses – Review
March 28 – StoreyBook Reviews – Review, Guest Post
March 29 – Deal Sharing Aunt – Review, Interview, Giveaway
March 31 – Reviews By Molly – Review, Giveaway
April 1 – Queen of All She Reads – Review, Guest Post
April 2 – Brooke Blogs – Review
April 3 – Kelly P’s Blog – Interview
April 4 – rantinravin’ and reading – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway

 

Join me and meet a storyteller

George jacksonI first reviewed THE FALLS back in November but George Jackson has come out with another installment, THE FALLS: Thanksgiving so I am very pleased to have him here with us again today. George 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. Today George is going to tell you about is life as a storyteller. Welcome, George.

I am a Storyteller…

First, I must say that it’s a real pleasure to be back here with Kate Eileen Shannon once again. I truly appreciate her never-ending expertise, wide ranging skills and friendship.  This Irish Colleen has pointed this old Scotsman in the right direction more times than I can count. My humble thanks, Kate, always.

I’ve been a storyteller ever since I was seven or eight. My head has always had so many thoughts, ideas and worlds and my imagination has always asked the age-old wonderings: What if Why not? and tried to fit them magnificently into so countless Once upon a times.

When I was a kid, hiding away upstairs in my room, I would draw courageous heroes and beautiful, brave heroines, powerful dragons and unspeakable monsters, and then create stories where they would fight great battles, solve unsolvable puzzles and then all live happily ever after. Well, perhaps not the monsters. But I hid my stories away, rather self-conscious and embarrassed to share them with my family or friends. Not because I would have been laughed at, but because I truly wasn’t ready to share them yet.

My father, bless him, made me a tree swing in our backyard. The rope went up so far into the tree that I swore at times it was like Jack’s magic beanstalk… you couldn’t see the top because of the clouds. Every day I would go out and swing as high as I could, glancing out eagerly (and with just a bit of tantalizing fright) over the top of our roof, feeling the warmth of the sun and the wind whistling around me and I would imagine soaring on dragon back out across the skies of some vast dessert.

At night, when I went outside and watched the lights from the fireflies rushing randomly to and fro in the velvet darkness, I would create tales of the dark that scared the living dickens right out of me. Their flashing lights would become the eyes of terrifying creatures and the darkness would become filled with the night sounds of rural Vermont. Owls hooted softly, dragonflies and insects buzzed, a dog barked a mile away and a lonely hungry howl would make me shiver. Then I would creep back toward the warm lights from our house and safely envision a realm of creatures of the night as I peered out wide-eyed into the gloom.

When I was a teenager, I began writing those stories down as short stories. I happened to be a quiet kid, so I still didn’t share them. Those stories were special to me. They were mine and I was very protective of them. I wrote and rewrote those stories on yellow pads in pencil so I could back and correct them. As I got older, I began to type them up on an old manual typewriter, frustrating myself over and over again, my fingers almost permanently stained from black typewriter ribbon and the delightful, and ill-advised erasing solutions of the day.

But I was still a storyteller, more than ever. The stories were now on paper as well as in my thoughts and mind, that’s all. So I typed and wrote and created worlds, fought titanic battles, soared on dragons and lived happily ever after. I would write hunched over by flashlight in my bed at night when my parents thought I was asleep. I would write when I was supposed to be doing homework. I would skip breakfast and write. At school, when Mr. McGinty’s English Literature class became particularly boring, I would secretly write stories in my notebook, at least until the other kids around me began wondering what I was doing and tried to catch a glimpse. Then I would hastily shut my notebook, zip it tight and sit listening to McGinty’s boring lecture, my face redder than a baby’s bare bottom after three hours on the beach in August.

As I moved on to the hallowed halls of university, I continued to write. By now I had boxes filled with stories that no one but I had ever seen or read. Most of my stories back then dabbled in horror, suspense and fantasy. I tentatively sent a few stories here and there out to publishers and magazines. At times I would receive a written note telling me that my stories were good, just needed more polish or that they just didn’t have a place for them at the moment. Some editors actually took the time to tell me what they liked and what I needed to improve upon. I treasured those letters. I would keep them and read them over and over again, taking every word to heart. And when I felt the lowest, convinced that my humble stories would never find the light of day, never have readers to enjoy them, I would take those letters out and reread them over once again.

Life happened.  Two marriages, five children, eight grandkids and three greatgrandkids magically appeared and blossomed. Forty years in education in Vermont and New Mexico went by, twenty-nine as a principal. My days were filled with solving problems, making my staff and the kids’ parents feel good about themselves and what they were doing with kids, cheering students on and being “Dad” to thousands of kids and adults. I worked twelve hours a day and spent as much time as possible after that with my family. Even then, I would write Dragonrider fantasy novels late at night. I was so tired that at times I would nod off sitting up typing into the computer. But I still wrote. I truly believe that the dragon rider fantasies allowed me to shuck off the cares and issues of each day at school and permitted my imagination to soar free and unfettered, once again on dragon back.

Now, I am retired. I write small town mysteries (The Falls small town mystery series) and Dragonrider fantasies (the Dragon World series). I have finally sent my stories out into the world, by self-publishing them through KDP on Amazon. I am delighted to finally be sharing those worlds, those dreams and visions with others. After publishing twenty-one of my books on Amazon in the past three years, however, I am still, at heart, a storyteller. I weave stories, pure and simple. I hope that you get a chance to read some them. It would make this old Scottish heart smile.

May the dragons watch over you all…

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(The 13th volume in The Falls small town mystery series) Thanksgiving is a time for sharing time, laughter and good cheer with family and friends. Especially in small towns. But this Thanksgiving, there are some special reasons for the community to give thanks. An early morning accident and a terrible hidden family secret weave a plot that has several intriguing twists and turns. All the while Jordan Smith Stone works on creating the ultimate Thanksgiving dinner and celebration! Join Sheriff Cash Green, Deputy Ericka Yamato, Deputy Horace Scofield along with Doc Stone and Dr. Meg Monroe as the colorful characters in The Falls once more weave their small town magic! Set in Vermont, it’s a very special Thanksgivingso return to The Falls!

MY REVIEW

Ah, lucky number thirteen. Yet another winner. Cash and Yamoto will have a busy time leading up to Thanksgiving. A car crash on a bad curve starts it all off. An Abused woman. A man with a past. There is plenty to keep the story moving along. But that is not all that makes this series so wonderful. George Jackson has a wonderful way with description. The way he describes a moment, a short glance and a wink between Jeremy and Yamoto is artful. But even better is having read the series from the beginning and knowing the full history behind that so masterfully described moment – it gives an added layer of depth. You must read this book but you should read my first review and then start with book one and work your way up to Thanksgiving which is once again ♥♥♥♥♥

AUTHOR LINKS