Thursday, March 23, 2017

FEATURED AUTHOR: JANICE PEACOCK


ABOUT THE BOOK

Jax O’Connell and her friend Tessa have no idea what challenges await them when they head to the small town of Carthage to take a glass blowing class with Marco De Luca, a famous Italian glass artist. While Jax loves melting glass to make beads, she discovers that standing in front of the glass furnace’s inferno frightens her.

After the first night of class, Tessa sees a dead body through the water-streaked window of the studio. The next morning there’s no sign of Marco—dead or alive—and one of the studio owners is also missing. The local sheriff doesn’t take the disappearance seriously, so Jax and Tessa take matters into their own hands.

Jax must face her fears to find the body, track down the clues, and uncover the killer—and do it all before another life is shattered.


Off the Beadin’ Path is the third book in the Glass Bead Mystery series.




INTERVIEW WITH JANICE PEACOCK


Janice, if you had to choose a cliché about life, what would it be?

Life is not a dress rehearsal. I love this expression, and I try to remember it when living my life. We get very few chances to do something again, so I try to make the most of the moment I’m in and not expect, or even desire, any re-dos.
What do you think is hardest aspect of writing a book?I think the hardest part is the final polishing of the manuscript. I become blind at some point to any typos and grammatical errors, since I’ve stared at the words on the pages for hundreds of hours. There comes a point where I’m just sick of the whole thing. My best remedy at that point is put the manuscript away for about two weeks. After that, I can come back to it with fresh eyes and renewed energy and get back to work. Of course, that’s hard to do when you’ve got a deadline. I usually end up squeaking in under the deadline, but my brinksmanship can get a little out of hand.

How often do you read?
I read nearly every day. When I’m actively writing, I tend to read non-fiction. I just finished listening to an audio book memoir by Trevor Noah called Stories from a South African Childhood. Speaking of audio books, I’ve also finished listening to my own audio book, High Strung. We’ve just finished production and it should be available at Audible, Amazon, and iTunes in a matter of days. I’m excited about this development because I know a lot of crafters who have been waiting for the audio book so they can work on their favorite hobby while listening to one of my books.

Also, having just finished Off the Beadin’ Path, in this gap before I start working on the fourth book in the Glass Bead Mystery Series, To Bead or Not to Bead, I’m diving back into my long list of to-be-read books, which are mostly mysteries.

What do you love about where you live?
I live east of San Francisco in a suburban/semi-rural area. My house is in a small valley on a long street that ends in a cul-de-sac. While we do have neighbors on both sides, our house is situated in a way that we don’t feel like we are jammed in close to anyone. Our property is big enough that we can have chickens, beehives, fruit trees, and a veggie garden. I have a glass bead making studio, as well. It is really quite wonderful. Our town of Lafayette has many walking trails and often my husband and I are out walking (aka “getting our 10,000 steps”) in the late afternoons, invariably running into friends and neighbors with whom we stop and chat, which means we often don’t log as many steps as we would like.

What choices in life would you like to have a redo on?
You know, this one is hard for me, I think because it is a relatively recent incident. My husband and I were recently planning a short-term move to Maui. Due to a job change for my husband, moving, even temporarily, would have been tricky. We decided to stay put. In retrospect, I think we should have probably gone anyway, but at that time, making the best choices we could with the information we had, it wasn’t the right thing to do. Fortunately, other than being a disappointment, it did not lead to any long-term or disastrous outcomes.

Do you have any hidden talents?
I don’t know if this is really hidden, but I am crafty! Other than making glass beads, I love to sew and have finished a couple of quilts. Most recently I’ve been working on a quilt made of a million thin strips of fabrics sewn into blocks which form diamond patterns. Inspired by a fellow glass beadmaker, I’ve started making clothing and recently finished a batik skirt and several pairs of flannel PJ bottoms which I’ve given to friends and family. I just bought patterns for some cute and comfy pants and a summer dress, and I’m excited to get started on those, once things calm down around here. Though, I’m not sure when that will be…

What’s your favorite Internet site?
Other than Facebook, I’d say my favorite site is eBay. I’m a collector of vintage glass fruit jewelry. I know this is a very unusual thing to collect, but I love these necklaces because they are made from the same Italian glass that I use to make beads. And, the vintage pieces are from Venice, one my favorite places in the world. The jewelry pieces were made in the 1930s and 1940s and they simply aren’t manufactured anymore. I have a Pinterest board of full of them at pinterest.com/janpeac.

What’s your favorite beverage?
That depends on the time of day. If it’s any time before noon then that’s a non-fat latte. I usually have one about ten o’clock every day. If I’m out and about it is pretty much a requirement for me to get one at our local Peet’s Coffee. I’m not much of a fan of Starbucks, but it will do in a pinch if I ask the barista to put an extra shot of espresso in the cup. Any time after noon—okay usually not until after four o’clock—I absolutely love a glass of red wine. We make our own wine, so we always have some on hand. In fact, we have a ridiculous number of bottles stored in our hall closet. We need a wine cellar, but I don’t think that will be happening any time soon. I especially love having a glass of wine on my back deck while my fire pit blazes and my friends and husband sit with me talking, laughing, and listening to music.

Do you procrastinate?
Let me get back to you on that. Just kidding…yes, I do procrastinate. I like to make elaborate to-do lists, adding even the simplest tasks—sometimes I even add tasks that I’ve almost completed so that I can cross them off my list. It feels good to cross easy things off the list. The most important tasks, which are often the most difficult, are left languishing on my list. I eventually buckle down and get my tasks done, but oftentimes I am sliding in at the eleventh hour.

What five things would you never want to live without?
I’ll avoid the obvious ones: laptop, car, chocolate, cell phone. Here goes: dental floss (I have high-maintenance teeth), fleece socks (I can’t sleep if my feet are cold), espresso machine (mine was broken for a period of time and those were dark days), prescription glasses (I refuse to go through life as Monet did–half-blind and painting blurry pictures), light bulbs (because lamps don’t work without them).

Do you have any marketing tips you could pass on to indie authors?
My best advice is to get a copy of Rachel Thompson’s book BadRedHead Media Book Marketing Challenge. (Not a paid endorsement!) This book really helped me up my game when it came to social media marketing. I highly recommend it.

What books do you currently have published?
I have three novels and one short story, all part of the Glass Bead Mystery Series. Here’s the order to read them in:
High Strung, Book One
A Bead in the Hand, Book Two
"Be Still My Beading Heart," A Glass Bead Mini-Mystery (free short story)
Off the Beadin’ Path, Book Three


What are you working on now?
Right now I’m getting ready for a bead and glass show in Las Vegas that’s happening at the end of the month. I’ve been making glass beads to sell, working on a lecture I’m giving about social media, and ordering books to take with me. I’ve got about a week left before I leave and am in an absolute frenzy.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Janice Peacock decided to write her first mystery novel after working in a glass studio full of colorful artists who didn’t always get along. They reminded her of the quirky and often humorous characters in the murder mystery books she loves to read. Inspired by that experience, she combined her two passions and wrote High Strung, the first book in the Glass Bead Mystery Series featuring glass beadmaker Jax O’Connell. Janice has continued the series with A Bead in the Hand, and "Be Still My Beading Heart," A Glass Bead Mini-Mystery.

When Janice isn’t writing about glass artists-turned-amateur-detectives, she creates glass beads using a torch, designs one-of-a-kind jewelry, and makes sculptures using hot glass. Her work has been exhibited internationally and is in the permanent collections of the Corning Museum of Glass, the Glass Museum of Tacoma, Washington, and in private collections worldwide.

Janice lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two cats, and an undisclosed number chickens. She has a studio full of beads . . . lots and lots of beads.

Connect with Janice:

Website  |  
Blog  |   
Facebook  |   
Twitter   |   
Goodreads 


Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  iTunes  |  Smashwords

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

FEATURED AUTHOR: JANET FINSILVER


ABOUT THE BOOK

When a local woman is desperate to find a couple she hasn’t seen since the 1960s, Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast manager, Kelly Jackson, and the crime-solving group of seniors, the Silver Sentinels, offer to help out. They realize there is more to the search than they were aware of after the woman is found dead beside the body of a Greek fortune teller and a fellow Sentinel gets attacked. As Kelly juggles work and her responsibilities at a food and wine festival in town, she and the Silver Sentinels must confront a killer obsessed with old secrets and solve a murder mystery more than fifty years in the making.



 



INTERVIEW WITH JANET FINSILVER


Janet, do you have a writing routine?

Yes. I like to get whatever business or chores I need to get accomplished out of the way in the morning. This helps clear my mind. However, a lot of thoughts come to me when I’m exercising or doing routine tasks. I make notes throughout the morning. I do a combination jog/walk a couple of times a week. I often come back with four or five pages dictated on my iPhone of ideas I want to put in the book or problems I’ve worked out. I begin writing early afternoon, sometimes before that if I have a deadline crunch. My days don’t always work out this way, but this is what I like for my writing routine.

What is your writing style?
I write what are called cozy mysteries. When I do presentations, I tell people I feel it’s something of an oxymoron. If someone asks me what I do for a living, it sounds funny to say I write a cozy murder series. Cozy and murder don’t seem to go together. I then say I write safe whodunits. By safe I mean there won’t be any graphic violence. I’ve been disappointed in some authors I’ve read who had a great plot going and then out of nowhere threw in a torture scene. That’s not what I want to read. With a cozy you also know the regular characters will be back. They might get a little bruised once in a while, but they will return. Other aspects of the cozy genre are no bad language and no explicit sex.

What books do you currently have published?
Murder at Redwood Cove
Murder at the Mansion
Murder at the Fortune Teller’s Table


Is writing your dream job?
Yes. I love entering the world of my series. It’s fun to create what happens and to describe the beautiful area of Mendocino, California, which Redwood Cove is based upon. I also get to visit the town for my research which I really enjoy.

How often do you tweet?
I try to tweet at least several times a week. Twitter was new to me until this past spring. I never thought I’d be doing a lot of tweeting. I love the pictures I’m seeing. I’m involved with a lot of animal groups because of the dogs I have in each book of my series. If I need something to smile about, all I have to do is go to my Twitter account. I also have a number of writers and writing groups I follow and who follow me.

How do you feel about Facebook?

I really like Facebook. Again, this was a big change for me. At one point a while back, one of the members of my writing group wouldn’t let me leave at the end of our meeting until I posted something because I’d never put anything on Facebook. I was nervous about putting something out there for the world to see. Now I try to post on a regular basis. I have some readers who always respond to me on my author page. It’s been fun to interact with them.

What’s your favorite beverage?
Okay. Here it is. A Starbuck’s coffee frappuccino with an extra shot of espresso. Hmmm…good! Whenever I drive to Mendocino, it’s my treat half way there. It’s about a three and a half hour drive. The first half is freeway, and the second half is a windy two lane road, so the coffee helps with that part of the drive.

Where is your favorite place to visit?

San Ignacio Lagoon in Mexico. This is one of the places where gray whales go to have their babies. I’ve touched young whales, and it was an absolutely amazing experience. I’ve been three times. Recently I attended the Mendocino Whale Festival and my husband put together a slideshow of photos from our trips. It was fun to see the photographs and bring the memories back.

Do you procrastinate?
Okay. Truth time. Yes, sometimes I procrastinate . . . but only for a while. I know I need to push the book forward. At some point I remind myself of that and get to work.

What’s one thing that drives you crazy?

How quickly paper piles up in my life. I have difficulty keeping up with the magazines, catalogs, newspapers, and various other pieces of mail.

What’s in your refrigerator right now?
Let’s see. Green beans for the dogs. They needed to loose a few pounds and a friend suggested the beans to fill them up when I reduced their amount of food. They LOVE them. They’ve lost the weight, but I don’t have the heart to stop giving them the green beans. Their names are Kylie (Rhodesian ridgeback) and Ellie (coonhound/boxer mix). There’s cheese for the dogs . . . and an occasional slice for me. I cut it up into small pieces for an over-the-top treat for them. My husband has his Unsweetened Original Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almond milk and there are lots of fresh vegetables and fruit.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
“To live happily is an inward power of the soul.” Marcus Aurelius

What are you working on now?
Currently I’m working on my fourth book tentatively titled Murder at the Mushroom Festival. There is a contest to see who can find the widest variety of mushrooms during a given period of time. There are two animals trained to find fungi that help the hunters—a dog named Max and a pig named Priscilla. When a person if found murdered, the type of hunt changes. Kelly Jackson and the crime-solving seniors, the Silver Sentinels, begin looking for the killer to help one of their friends who has become a suspect in the investigation.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Janet Finsilver is the USA TODAY best-selling author of the Kelly Jackson mystery series. She worked in education for many years as a teacher, a program administrator, and a workshop presenter. Janet majored in English and earned a Master’s Degree in Education. She loves animals and has two dogs—Kylie and Ellie. Janet has ridden western style since she was a child and was a member of the National Ski Patrol. One of the highlights of her life was touching whales in the San Ignacio Lagoon. Murder at Redwood Cove, her debut mystery, was released on October 13, 2015. Her second book, Murder at the Mansion, became available on June 7, 2016. The third book, Murder at the Fortune Teller’s Table, was released on March 14, 2017.

Janet Finsilver and her husband reside in the San Francisco Bay Area. She enjoys cooking, and a recent attempt to reduce the number of cookbooks in the cupboard wasn’t very successful. She’s an avid reader—of course!

Connect with Janet:
Website  |  
Blog Facebook  | 
 Twitter  |  Goodreads 

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble Apple  |  Google  |   Kobo 

Monday, March 20, 2017

FEATURED AUTHOR: LESLEY DIEHL


ABOUT THE BOOK

Just before Walter Egret is killed in a hit-and-run, he phoned his half-brother Sammy to report that he’d unearthed their missing father’s pocket watch, along with a pile of human bones. The project is put on hold until it can be determined if the site is an Indian burial ground. Then the bones disappear.

Now Sammy and his brother’s three orphaned children want Eve Appel to go pro, applying her innate snoopiness to the trade of private investigator.

Eve already has her hands full with her two consignment stores. What is she going to do? Sammy and Walter are Miccosukee Indians, and Walter was employed as a backhoe operator on a construction site for a sportsmen’s resort. Was Walter’s death murder or an accident? If the bones belong to Sammy’s father, how did they get there? Delving into these mysteries, Eve is aided by her usual crew of friends and family. This adventure will not only up the stakes for Eve as an investigator, but it will also open her eyes to life possibilities she never imagined.




Nappi Napolitani talks about his relationship with Eve Appel

By Lesley A. Diehl

Author of Old Bones Never Die


My Name is Nappi Napolitani, and I am a good friend of Eve Appel’s. I originally come from the Northeast, but have relocated most of my interests to Florida, the Palm Beach Coast area. Since I met Eve Apple and her grandmother—who I’d heard of when I was in Connecticut and she lived there too—I’ve spend more time in Sabal Bay. As much as Eve with her spiky blonde hair and fondness for stiletto heels stood out when she first moved to rural Florida, I may be even more noticeable. I’m not even certain I should be the character from the books talking to you because I’m not your typical pal or buddy. I’m a mob boss, and I dress like one even in Sabal bay: suede jacket, silk shirt and black mohair pants, tasseled loafers, no socks, and I like men’s designer fragrances and high priced haircuts. People notice me wherever I go even when I’m back in my element in a Northern urban area, and they recognize me for what I claim to be, a “Family” man. No one messes with me.

I know that sounds pretty tough, and I am someone who’s been around some nasty people, but I’m also a gentleman and to this, Grandy, Eve’s grandmother can attest. She likes me and trusts me. To earn the respect of Grandy means I’m an okay fellow despite my selection of profession. Grandfather Egret, Eve’s husband’s grandfather is a Miccosukee Indian who seems to be able to predict the future. He is someone everyone reveres as do I. He says I’m a good friend and seems to have no difficulty with my helping Eve bend some laws on occasion. So, you see, I come with great references. I hope you can overlook my profession and look inside the man to see me for the person I am: loving, kind and a real supporter of Eve Appel, her friend for life. I was upfront about my business, so Eve has never been in the dark about how I’m see by others. The only question is whether I am totally honest about my profession. Recently Eve raised an question about why I’ve never been arrested for mob activities. She asked me if I was really mob boss or whether I might be an undercover FBI agent. I asked her if she really wanted to know. Luckily something came up, so I didn’t have to answer that question. I think a little mystery about a man is interesting, don’t you?

Why do I love Eve so? She sees what’s inside others and never judges them by their appearance. I like that especially because I’m so often stereotyped, and it’s refreshing to have someone more interested in what I value, what I enjoy doing and the people I like hanging out with.  Eve and I share concern for the environment and out-of-control development especially here in rural Florida where human encroachment has done much to destroy the swamps. You may not think that’s a problem but swampland is where species breed, nest and hunt. If we lose it we see a reduction in birdlife, small mammals, deer and the Florida panther. And, of course, alligators, turtles and snake, perhaps not your favorite species or mine, but they are part of the ecosystem. Farming, ranching, sugar production, if not controlled, result in water pollution in Lake Okeechobee and resultant issues in estuaries on the east coast—witness the algae bloom in the Stuart area this past summer. The coastline looked like it was piled about four feet high in places with overcooked, stinking spinach. So mess with rural Florida and you won’t be enjoying those lovely sandy beaches.

I also like my women saucy or sassy, bold, opinionated, but compassionate and loyal to their friends. There is almost nothing Eve won’t do for her friends and family. When her best friend, Madeleine was kidnapped, Eve took on the Russian mob to get her back. Of course, I helped. (Note here from Eve: Nappi was a great help. He always is. He’s as loyal to his friends and family and “Family” as he says I am. We have a mutual admiration society.)

In Old Bones Never Die, Eve and I search out the background of a shady lawyer working for a development company. My past associations with “Family” in the Miami area afford us information about him that leads us to discover the link between bones buried for over three decades and the murder of the backhoe operator who dug up the bones. I know Grandy likes having me partner with Eve in her search for killers because Grandy sees me as Eve’s safety net and, if you know how impulsive Eve is, you know she can use someone who’s got her back.

Nice talking with you. Now I have an appointment with my tailor for a new suit, black, of course.



Prologue from Old Bones Never Die


The morning air was cold, but once the sun rose over the levee, its heat penetrated the construction site and brought with it the humidity of south central Florida. The backhoe operator paused to remove his sweatshirt and push his thick, black hair away from his face, then moved the levers of the machine forward so that the mouth of the bucket opened, showing its large metal teeth. Another move of the lever lowered the bucket. The teeth bit into the black dirt of the Big Lake basin.

The operator felt the assessing gaze of the foreman, who stood at the side of the pit, his hardhat pushed back on his forehead. New to the job, Walter Egret was skilled, but he knew he’d been hired by the company against the foreman’s wishes. As a Miccosukee, his work would be scrutinized more closely than that of others employed by Coastal Development Company and its construction arm, Gator Way. The foreman’s constant surveillance bothered him, but not as much as the feeling that someone else watched him from the cover of the sabal palms that stood at the edge of the property. He’d felt a shadowy presence there for several days. It was probably nothing, but today he would take a walk over to the trees during his lunch break.

This land now being readied for a sportsman’s retreat had once belonged to his people, but legal maneuvering by slick lawyers deeded it away from the tribe into the developers’ hands. Walter didn’t like to think about that too much. Being a backhoe operator was a job, a way for him to support his three boys. He dumped the bucket of dirt and maneuvered the machine back to bite the earth again. This time the bucket picked up debris lighter colored than the soil. Probably some buried tree limbs, he thought, halting the rise of the bucket. Huh. Looked like bones from some animal, maybe a cow. Lotta bones.

“Hey, dump that back in the hole. What the hell have we got?” shouted the foreman.

Walter did as he was told and deposited the bucket load back in the area he’d dug. He shut down the backhoe, and both he and the foreman jumped into the hole to take a closer look.

“Oh, damn,” said the foreman, “look at that.” He pointed at a round object, dull and gray, lying in the dirt. “I think we’ve got ourselves a burial ground. I gotta make a call.”

The foreman climbed out of the hole and walked away, his cell in his hand.

Walter continued to stare at the object. A skull. Those were human bones. Maybe the bones of one of his people. Bending over to get a closer look, he saw a metal object buried in the loose dirt. He pulled it out, brushing the soil off what turned out to be a heavy gold chain. At the end of the chain swung a pocket watch. It looked like one he dimly remembered seeing when he was a child.

“Get the hell out of there. Don’t move anything.” The foreman’s face was red and shiny with sweat, not from exertion but something else—fear, maybe? “You find something?”

Walter’s fist closed around the watch. “No. Just more bones.”

“Yeah. Well, we got to shut down and notify the authorities. That damn Indian grave stuff.”

“The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act,” Walter said.

The foreman shot him an angry look. “Real wiseass, aren’t you? Well, I don’t know when we can begin work again, so you’re out of a job for now.” His words seemed to suggest it was Walter’s fault the job had to be halted.

The foreman hesitated, then added, as if embarrassed by his earlier accusatory tone, “Well, you seem to know your way around machinery, so you’ll probably hear from us.” He grunted a goodbye and turned toward his pickup truck, which stood parked near the palm tree grove. “You go on, now. I’ll wait here for the authorities.” Walter watched him climb into his truck and start it up. He knew the foreman would sit there in air-conditioned luxury until someone showed up.

As he began his five mile walk home, Walter envied the man the cool air. His old Ford truck wouldn’t start this morning, so he’d had to walk to work, and he was spectacularly unsuccessful at thumbing a ride. No one wanted to pick up a Miccosukee in work clothes and beat-up work boots unless it was some other tribe member. The morning’s walk hadn’t been so bad because it was cool. Now the midday sun beat down on his head. He pulled a strip of leather from his pocket and tied his long hair back. Once well away from the construction site, he stopped and took the watch from his pocket. It was battered and scraped; a long gash on the back told him one of the bucket’s teeth had gouged it. He wiped away the dirt on his jeans to reveal a plumed wading bird etched on the cover face. He tried to pry open the case, but wasn’t successful. He knew that if he did, he’d find an inscription inside. He was certain this was the watch his mother had given his father as a birthday present.

Finally the mystery was solved. He’d found his father. After so much time. Grandfather was right. The swamp had returned him. He had to call Sammy. Sammy would want to know, and Sammy would know what to do.

He had no cellphone, but he couldn’t wait until he got home to call. He’d have to stop at the Dusty Boot, a biker’s bar up the road a mile, and use the phone there. He quickened his pace despite the heat. Once in the cool darkness of the bar, he grabbed a stool and asked for a coke. Remembering he’d left his lunch in the backhoe, he ordered a ham sandwich.

There was no payphone in the bar, so while he waited for his sandwich to arrive, he asked the bartender if he could borrow the house phone.

“It’s really important. A local call.”

The bartender, a woman with teased blonde hair, a spaghetti strap top, and two full sleeves of tattoos hesitated, but once she’d looked around the empty bar, she shoved the phone his way. “I ain’t supposed to let ya, so be quick and don’t tell no one.”

The call connected to Grandfather and Sammy’s answering machine.

“Sammy? I need to see you tonight. I found Father’s watch on a body we unearthed at the construction site today. I think the body is Father’s.”

The bartender brought Walter his sandwich, which he ate slowly, savoring every bite of the dry white bread and fatty ham concoction. Walter was happy. Now he knew what had happened to his father. Now he could bring Father home to rest.


The car hit Walter Egret a mile down the road from the Dusty Boot. Two men stepped out of the black SUV and approached the body.

“Do it,” the man in the suit said to the other.

The other man, short, ferret-faced, and dressed in jeans and a tee-shirt, searched the body. “Not much money, no cellphone, cheap wallet, and this.” He held up the pocket watch.

“Nothing we should worry about, I guess. Leave it all. We want this to look like an accident.”

The man in the suit got back into the car. He didn’t see the other man pocket the watch.

The driver spoke into his cell. “We cleaned everything up here. We’ll finish it later.”



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lesley retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in upstate New York.  In the winter she migrates to old Florida—cowboys, scrub palmetto, and open fields of grazing cattle, a place where spurs still jingle in the post office, and gators make golf a contact sport.  Back north, the shy ghost inhabiting the cottage serves as her literary muse.  When not writing, she gardens, cooks and renovates the 1874 cottage with the help of her husband, two cats and, of course, Fred the ghost, who gives artistic direction to their work.

She is the author of a number of mystery series (Microbrewing Series, Big Lake Mystery Series, Eve Appel Mystery Series, and the Laura Murphy Mysteries), a standalone mystery (Angel Sleuth) and numerous short stories.  

Connect with Lesley:
Website  |   Blog  |   Twitter   |  Facebook 

Buy the book:
Amazon


Thursday, March 16, 2017

GUEST POST BY SUSAN BOLES


ABOUT THE BOOK

Lily Gayle and the gang set out to find a killer after local baker Luxen Natolovich is found dead hours before the grand opening weekend at the new Bed and Breakfast in town, Midnight Dragonfly. As Lily Gayle deciphers the clues around Luxen’s death she uncovers a conspiracy of lies and half truths that could very well be tied to a refugee camp in Mississippi during World War II. The deeper Lily Gayle digs, the deeper the conspiracy runs, and the closer she comes to being the killer’s next victim.




GUEST POST BY SUSAN BOLES


Hi! I'm very excited to be here at A Blue Million Books today to talk about Cherry Cake and a Cadaver. It's the second book in the Lily Gayle Lambert Mystery series. I really love writing these books, and I hope everyone enjoys reading them. The cast of characters have already become a second family to me. Creating lives and backgrounds for Lily Gayle, Dixe, Miss Edna and Ben, along with the introduction of a new character, Harley Ann, has really kept the old brain cells turning to make them as intersting to you as they are to me. And my mama asked me if Miss Edna is based on her! I told her that is not the case, but I think she's secretly disappointed that she's not in the book.

This time around, Lily Gayle persuades her best friend, Dixie, to accompany her on a pre-opening night peeking-through-the-windows expedition to the Midnight Dragonfly Inn. It's in the former Mitchell Manor which became vacant after the Mitchell's went a little crazy in the first book in the series.  As they ooh and aah over the renovations they can see, they work their way around the house from window to window. At the back, they find the door ajar, a cherry cake on the kitchen counter, and feet clad in a pair of leather loafers protuding from behind the kitchen island. A sight definitely not on the 'must see' list.

Lily Gayle gets the bit between her teeth and sets off to find the killer. After all, she did a bang up job solving the wolf man murder, right? From beauty shop gossip to old newspapers, she on the trail of clues. The discovery of more than one buried secret and the disappearance of another local resident are a recipe that's sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats to the surprising end.

With many thanks,
Susan Boles


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Susan calls McNairy County, Tennessee her home ground even though she has moved away. It was here, at Bethel Springs Junior High School that she began her writing career with two friends. They formed their own little writers group that was so secret they were the only ones who knew it existed. She still has some of the stories they wrote carefully preserved in a loose leaf binder and tucked away for safety.

She has worked in retail management, briefly for the Census Bureau, and for many years in the investment/insurance industry in the regulatory compliance arena. All of which are left brain activities. So she exercises her right brain activity with reading and writing . . . just to keep both sides even.

Reading has been a passion since she was very young. As a toddler, her mother read to her from her ‘baby books,’ and her Mother tells a story about her holding one of them upside down and ‘reading’ by repeating the story verbatim from memory.

Death of a Wolfman
is the first in the Lily Gayle Lambert mystery series. Her previously published romantic suspense novel, Fated Love, is a contemporary paranormal romantic suspense (with a twist of paranormal) set in Memphis, Tennessee. Her first novel, Kate’s Pride, is a historical women’s fiction set in West Tennessee in the aftermath of the Civil War. The novel is loosely based on her own great grandmother and published under the pen name Renee Russell.

Life got in the way of writing for many years, but now she’s come back to her early love.

Connect with Susan:
Website   |  Blog  |   Facebook  |   Twitter  |   LinkedIn   |   Goodreads 

Buy the book:
Amazon
  

 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

CHARACTER INTERVIEW WITH CYNTHIA KUHN'S LILA MACLEAN





ABOUT THE BOOK 


When Professor Lila Maclean is sent to interview celebrated author and notorious cad Damon Von Tussel, he disappears before her very eyes. The English department is thrown into chaos by the news, as Damon is supposed to headline Stonedale University’s upcoming Arts Week.

The chancellor makes it clear that he expects Lila to locate the writer and set events back on track immediately. But someone appears to have a different plan: strange warnings are received, valuable items go missing, and a series of dangerous incidents threaten the lives of Stonedale’s guests. After her beloved mother, who happens to be Damon’s ex, rushes onto campus and into harm’s way, Lila has even more reason to bring the culprit to light before anything—or anyone—else vanishes.




WHO IS LILA MACLEAN
?

Lila Maclean is a new assistant professor of English (and sometimes amateur sleuth) at Stonedale University in Colorado.


INTERVIEW WITH LILA MACLEAN


Lila, w
hat impression do you make on people when they first meet you?
People seem to think that I’m a pushover.

How about after they've known you for a while?
Eventually, they realize that’s definitely not the case. 



Did you have a hard time convincing your author to write any particular scenes for you?

Yes, the one where I win the lottery and then spend a whole chapter trying to figure out how much money to give to everyone I love. (She wouldn’t write it.)

What do you like to do when you are not being actively read somewhere?
My schedule revolves around teaching—so I’m probably preparing for class, grading, or attending meetings. But if I had a day off, I might drive up and explore the Rocky Mountains. Haven’t had much of a chance to do that yet.

If you could rewrite anything in your book, what would it be?
All the places where I blurted something out that would have better been left unsaid. It keeps getting me into trouble!

Tell the truth. What do you think of your fellow characters?
They’re all interesting and mysterious in their own ways.
 

If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?
Sit on the porch with a new book and a cool drink.


What's the worst thing that's happened in your life?
My father left before I was born—don’t even know who he is. I’ve learned how to live without a father, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think about him. 



Tell us about your best friend.

My best friend is my cousin Calista. We grew up together. She’s sweet, honest, and quirky—and she writes amazing poetry. She’s also looking out for me here at Stonedale, and I’m lucky to have someone like her in my corner.

If your story were a movie, who would play you?

Maybe someone who is a cross between Sandra Bullock and Lizzy Caplan.

Will you encourage your author to write a sequel?
Yes. I’d love to know what happens next!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cynthia Kuhn writes the Lila Maclean academic mystery series. Her work has appeared in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Literary Mama, Copper Nickel, Prick of the Spindle, Mama PhD and other publications. She teaches English at Metropolitan State University of Denver and serves as president of Sisters in Crime-Colorado.

Connect with Cynthia:
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |   Goodreads

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble



Thursday, March 9, 2017

FEATURED AUTHOR: BETHANY BLAKE



ABOUT THE BOOK

Somebody killed arrogant dog trainer Steve Beamus at bucolic Winding Hill farm. And pet sitter Daphne Templeton's sister is the prime suspect. What can Daphne do but team up with a wise basset hound and an exuberant one-eared Chihuahua to clear her sister's name - before handsome, enigmatic Detective Jonathan Black sends Piper to jail?




INTERVIEW WITH BETHANY BLAKE


Bethany, what do you think is more important – characters or plot?

I think characters are more important than plot. I’ve read all of the Martha Grimes mysteries featuring Richard Jury and Melrose Plant, and I honestly couldn’t tell you any of the plots – although I enjoyed them at the time. But what really draws me to the books are the interactions between Jury, Plant, Vivian Rivington, and the rest of the recurring cast. The same is true for Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swensen mysteries and dozens of other series. Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t read an author who skimped on plot. But I have to pick character over plot.

Do you have any secret talents?
I am a great parallel parker. My driver’s ed teacher, Mr. Czap, taught me a “formula” that I’ve used for nearly forty years. If you need to park an SUV in a tight spot in Manhattan when traffic is crazy, call me!

What is the worst job you’ve ever had?

I was a pre-teen tax collector. Seriously. My mom was the elected tax collector in my hometown, and every summer she would recruit me to help alphabetize, collate, and mail the bills. It was a huge job, because nothing was computerized. Then, when people started paying, I would sit at a desk like a junior account and accept their checks, then diligently stamp and initial the receipts. If the day ended a penny off, that meant spending the evening combing through receipts to find the mistake. The job taught me to pay attention to detail. I also gained great respect for my mom. She didn’t want to do the job, either, but she had to help support our family.

What scares you the most?
Turbulence. I love to travel, but I have the worst luck with flights. Once, I was on this incredibly bumpy flight from Chicago to Philadelphia, and most of us were pretty scared. Then the captain abruptly announced, “Prepare for landing.” It seemed early to me – and apparently I wasn’t alone. A woman a few rows ahead of me shrieked, “It’s an hour early! We’re crashing!” Everyone freaked out – until this calm man asked, “Lady. Did you remember to change your watch to Eastern standard time?” Rather embarrassing for those of who were screaming.

What do you like to do when there’s nothing to do?

I daydream. It’s like a hobby for me. I tell my kids that I’m never bored. If I’m stuck waiting at, say, a doctor’s office, I’ll go into a world I’ve created – maybe Sylvan Creek, from the Lucky Paws books. Then I’ll start imagining a scene with Daphne and her handsome nemesis, Detective Jonathan Black, or her best friend, quirky Moxie Bloom. I guess I’m basically writing without paper.

What would you name your autobiography?
Are You SURE That Was Today? Because I’m always asking people that question. Although my New Year’s resolution was to log everything in my Google calendar, so I’m getting a little better.

Do you give your characters any of your bad traits?
Daphne is disorganized, just like me. She never remembers to put gas in her old VW, and the calendar that floats around her van is from five years ago. She also has trouble saying “no,” when it comes to taking in strays. 

What is the most daring thing you've done?
I traveled around India with no plan, relying largely on people I barely knew to take me places and put me up. I slept in a Red Cross shelter, an abandoned hospital filled with feral dogs, and this one place... I’m still not sure what it was. The bathroom consisted of a pipe sticking out of a wall, dripping onto a cement floor. My adventures overseas are echoed in my character, Daphne. She’s always hinting at things that went awry during her world travels.

What is your most embarrassing moment?

I used to produce a cable TV show for a state senator in Pennsylvania. One day, we were shooting footage along a stream, and I tripped and face-planted into about six inches of mud. I was covered, face to toes. It happened in front of the crew, the senator, and some dignitary who was leading our tour. I remember that my coat had cute corduroy cuffs, and one of my first thoughts was, “Well, the mud’s never coming out of THAT fabric!” The worst part: I couldn’t change until the day was over. I had to tour a mushroom farm with dried mud in my hair.

Sounds like a scene for a book! Where is your favorite library, and what do you love about it?
It’s in my hometown of Montoursville, Pennsylvania. It was one of the first places I was allowed to go alone, on my bike. I would ride there at least once a week in the summer. I remember when I graduated from the picture book room to the wire spinning rack that held paperbacks like The Red Pony. I can still smell the musty, sweet odor of the old books and even more ancient building.

What is the wallpaper on your computer’s desktop?
The first picture of my dog, Daisy, aka “Big Pup.” It was posted on a rescue site, and she’s looking so mournfully and hopefully into the camera that she stole my heart. My kids will jokingly complain that they never make the cut, on my desktop. But they can’t deny that Daisy is pretty adorable.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bethany Blake lives in a small, quaint town in Pennsylvania with her husband and three daughters. When she's not writing or riding horses, she's wrangling a menagerie of furry family members that includes a nervous pit bull, a fearsome feline, and a hermit crab named Shelldon P. Crabbington. Like Daphne Templeton, the heroine of her Lucky Paws Mysteries, Bethany holds a Ph.D. and operates a pet sitting business called Barkley’s Premium Pet Care.

Connect with Bethany:
Website  |  
 Blog  |   
Facebook  |  Twitter  |   
Goodreads

Buy the book:
Amazon
  |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo   |   Bookbub   |  IndieBound 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

GUEST POST BY LAURA CHILDS



ABOUT THE BOOK

In the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs, Theodosia Browning attends a “Rat Tea,” where the mice will play . . . at murder. When Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning is invited by Doreen Briggs, one of Charleston’s most prominent hostesses, to a “Rat Tea,” she is understandably intrigued. As servers dressed in rodent costumes and wearing white gloves offer elegant finger sandwiches and fine teas, Theo learns these parties date back to early twentieth-century Charleston, where the cream of society would sponsor so-called rat teas to promote city rodent control and better public health. But this party goes from odd to chaotic when a fire starts at one of the tables and Doreen’s entrepreneur husband suddenly goes into convulsions and drops dead. Has his favorite orange pekoe tea been poisoned? Theo smells a rat. The distraught Doreen soon engages Theo to pursue a discreet inquiry into who might have murdered her husband. As Theo and her tea sommelier review the guest list for suspects, they soon find themselves drawn into a dangerous game of cat and mouse . . . INCLUDES RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS.




GUEST POST BY LAURA CHILDS


Hi, it is wonderful to be here at A Blue Million Books today to talk about Pekoe Most Poison, the eighteenth book in the Tea Shop Mystery series. It is always great fun for me (and I hope for you) to visit the Indigo Tea Shop and see what’s going on in the lives of Theodosia, Drayton, Haley, their friends and, perhaps, some not so friendly folks.

On a gorgeous Charleston day, Theodosia and Drayton are invited to a social event billed as a “rat tea” a throwback to the days when society matrons held elaborate teas to heighten the awareness of the overwhelming need to read the city of pesky vermin. Still, Theodosia is more than a little startled when she and Drayton arrive at the home of socially prominent Doreen “Dolly” Briggs and the door is opened by someone dressed quite formally in blue velvet waistcoat and shiny black boots and wearing a white velvet rat head. It takes a moment or so to get used to the fact that all the servers are wearing rat heads above their fancy dress outfits.

Still the company is grand and the conversation flows merrily until Dolly’s husband, Beau, collapses to the floor and, after a bit of lurching and gulping, dies right before everyone’s eyes.

Theodosia has developed quite a reputation as an amateur sleuth and Drayton is more than Theodosia’s sommelier. They are close and true friends of long standing, so when Dolly Briggs wants Theodosia to investigate Beau’s murder, she knows just how to make that happen. Dolly offers a generous donation to Drayton’s beloved Heritage Society with the proviso that he coax Theodosia into trying to solve Beau’s murder.

Reluctantly, Theodosia agrees but no one is sure how the new detective on the case, Pete Riley, a handsome man with remarkable blue eyes, is going to react to Theodosia’s snooping.
I’m happy to say that the plot moves at a thriller pace making Pekoe Most Poison a suspenseful guilty pleasure.

Much love,
Laura Childs


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fund raising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:

The Tea Shop Mysteries
- set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries - set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

Connect with Laura:
Website  | Facebook