Featured
Posted in Anthology, Podcasts, Television Broadcast

The Red Penguin Collection – A Great Opportunity for Writers

Do you have unpublished stories hidden away in your files or on your PC? Poems, Essays, or other material? If so, you should check out the Red Penguin Collection, a series of anthologies with a variety of themes. Novice to advanced writers are invited to submit. The collection currently consists of 9 books including their new release, Stand Out, the Best of the Red Penguin Collection Vol. 1. On their website, there are also calls for 8 upcoming anthologies ranging from Feeding the Flock (a book of recipes); A Heart Full of Love (romance stories); The Florist on the Corner (nature-inspired poetry) and more. You can check the Red Penguin site for details and submission dates. I’ve been honored to have had my science fiction stories, “The Felindae Mission” included in both What Lies Beyond and the Stand Out anthologies. I’ve also had my poem, “Advent” included in the ‘Tis the Season anthology, and my essay, “Toasting 2021” included in We Made it!, their New Year’s anthology.

These anthologies are edited by J.K. Larkin, a Long Island based writer and recent graduate of Marymount Manhattan College. They are one of the many opportunities for authors that Red Penguin offers. Besides the anthologies, Red Penguin also publishes books using a traditional or hybrid model. Stephanie Larkin, the Founder of Red Penguin, has worked with many writers’ groups, including the New York Chapter of the National Writers Union, and The Long Island Authors Group, on book development and marketing. She’s taught in the Marketing Department at Nassau Community College for the past 10 years, where she enjoys working with future entrepreneurs and marketing professionals. She also works with several colleges in the business and entrepreneurial divisions, including the New York Institute of Technology and the Yale University National Student Leadership program.  Stephanie has been the moderator and host for dozens of author and writing events at libraries, schools and bookstores, as well as scores of online events. She hosts the Between the Covers TV show, The Once and Future Authors Podcast, and the Author Corner Cable TV show. I’ve been a guest on Between the Covers and The Once and Future Authors.

I’m thankful that I was included in the Red Penguin Collection and have appeared on their shows. I hope other authors will consider these opportunities and submit their work to Red Penguin.

Featured
Posted in holidays, New Year's

Welcoming 2021 with Hopes, Dreams, and Goals

This has been a tough year, and one that we were all glad to see end.

In my holiday blog post (https://wp.me/p6m4z7-2W6)  I spoke about some challenges and triumphs I’ve encountered this past year. For New Year’s, I’d like to share my goals for 2021 and would love to hear yours. Goals are hopes and dreams put into action and are more important than resolutions because they’re within our control. Here are my top 3:

Goal 1: Diet and Exercise:

I’ve been on the Jenny Craig diet for several years now and have been exercising daily with Leslie Sansone’s Walk-at-Home videos; and, although I’m over 70 pounds lower than when I started, I’d still like to lose at least 15 pounds more. The holidays are a tough time to diet, and I’m a big snacker. I enjoy sweets especially chocolates. While I don’t expect to lose much over the winter, I’ve signed up for a virtual fitness challenge from a company called Run the Edge. My challenge, Run the Year 2021, is a year-long exercise challenge beginning January 1st where participants can run, walk, or step their way to a goal they set from 1,000 to 2021 “miles.” In December I’d also participated in the Run from 2020–Zoom into 2021 Challenge to run/walk 100 miles until January 1st. I came in 4th place out of 156 virtual participants with 131.01 miles walked. It’s a great motivation to keep fit.

Goal 2: Writing Projects

I have a ton of writing projects in various stages of development. I’ve recently resurrected a time-travel novel that I would like to edit and publish. I’m also considering a sequel to Sea Scope which was so well received and won a silver medal from Reader’s Favorite and placed as a finalist in TopShelf Magazine’s 2020 Awards contest (the eBook is on sale for 99 cents until January 3). Of course, I have plans for a 6th Cobble Cove cozy mystery, although I may publish a spring Sneaky the Library Cat story first. I may also try my hand at another non-fiction book after Pet Posts: The Cat Chats. I have an idea for this but will keep it to myself for now, although I can say that it will involve cats.

Goal 3: Continuing Education

As a librarian and an author, I know the value of lifetime learning. I’m hoping to take more online writing courses and attend virtual and, if available, in-person conferences. In addition, I’ll be leading a Zoom writing group for my library called First Draft Writer’s Club that kicks off this January and a virtual book club called Fun with Fiction that will feature monthly reading themes. I plan to share information from those groups in upcoming posts. In February, Long Island University’s Alumni Association, has asked me to host a one-hour zoom writing workshop, From Blogs to Books: Publishing for Pleasure or Profit, where I’ll be discussing various types of writing and publishingThe writing group, book club, and workshop will be open to all but will require registration. I’ll post details about them in a future blog and share on my Facebook author page.

Thank you all for your support this year. I wish you a happy, safe, and healthy New Year, and best wishes for accomplishing all your goals for 2021.

Posted in Blog Tour, Interview

Interview of Dorothy St. James, Author of the Broken Spine, the first Beloved Bookroom Mystery

It’s my pleasure to welcome, author Dorothy St. James, a cozy mystery writer who also writes romantic fiction as Dorothy McFalls. Dorothy hails from Charleston South Carolina where she’s lived since she was six months old.

Hello, Dorothy. How long have you been published? What titles and/or series have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.

My first book, a Regency romance came out in 2005. My first cozy mystery was published in 2011.

Writing as Dorothy St. James

Birds in Paradise (An Aloha Pete Short Mystery), Barking Dog Press (Indie Published), February 2011

Flowerbed of State (White House Gardener Mysteries), Berkley Prime Crime, May 2011

The Scarlet Pepper (White House Gardener Mysteries) Berkley Prime Crime, April 2012

Oak and Dagger (White House Gardener Mysteries) Berkley Prime Crime, April 2013

Asking for Truffle (Southern Chocolate Shop Mysteries) Crooked Lane Books, September 2017

Playing with Bonbon Fire (Southern Chocolate Shop Mysteries) Crooked Lane Books, March 2018

In Cold Chocolate (Southern Chocolate Shop Mysteries) Crooked Lane Books, September 2018

Bonbon with the Wind (Southern Chocolate Shop Mysteries) Barking Dog Press (Indie Published), December 2019

Ms. Starr’s Most Inconvenient Change of Heart (A Raven’s Run Romantic Mystery) Barking Dog Press (Indie Published), March 2020

The Broken Spine (A Beloved Bookroom Mystery) Berkley Prime Crime, January 2021

Writing as Dorothy McFalls

Over 200,000 Books Sold Worldwide

Amazon Top 50 Bestseller List for Paid Kindle Books

Amazon #1 Regency Romance Author

Amazon Top 100 Romantic Suspense Author

Amazon Top 100 Paranormal Romance Author

Author of 15 Amazon Bestsellers

The Marriage List, Signet Regency, May 2005/Barking Dog Press (Indie Published), November 2009

Lady Sophie’s Midnight Seduction, Venus Press Short Erotic Regency, February 2006/Whispers Publishing, March 2007/Barking Dog Press (Indie Published), August 2010

Neptune’s Lair (The Protectors), Venus Press Paranormal Suspense, March 2006/Whispers Publishing, February 2008/Barking Dog Press (Indie Published), October 2010

The Huntress, Titan Press Romantic Adventure, May 2006/Barking Dog Press (Indie Published), October 2009

Mystical Seduction (The Protectors), Venus Press Paranormal Suspense, August 2006/Barking Dog Press (Indie Published), July 2012

Lady Iona’s Rebellion, Cerridwen Press Regency Romance, June 2007/Barking Dog Press (Indie Published), March 2010

The Nude, Five Star/Gale/Cengage Regency Romance, May 2009/Barking Dog Press (Indie Published), May 2009

Taken By Moonlight, Cobblestone Press Regency Paranormal Romance, October 2010/Barking Dog Press (Indie Published), October 2012

A Wizard for Christmas (The Protectors), Barking Dog Press (Indie Published) Paranormal Romance, December 2011

“Come the Water” in When You Pass Through Waters (Nicole Seitz, Editor), Water Books Short Adventure Story, November 2015

Wow! That’s quite a list. Tell us a little bit about your books — if you write a series, any upcoming releases or your current work-in-progress. If you have an upcoming release, please specify the release date.

In addition to my ongoing Southern Chocolate Shop mystery series, I’m launching a new series with Berkley Prime Crime that I’m super excited about. The first book in the Beloved Bookroom Mystery series, THE BROKEN SPINE, came out January 19, 2021.

I’ve always loved libraries, so setting a mystery series in a library was something I’d been wanting to do for a long, long time. Finally, the right story came along that I felt ready to right. In the Beloved Bookroom mystery series, the public library in the fictional small Southern town of Cypress is being modernized into a high-tech bookless library of the future. My mild-mannered assistant librarian, Trudell Becket, embarks on a secret mission to save her library. While Tru rescues the printed books slated for the landfill, the mastermind behind the library’s modernization is murdered in the library. Tru becomes the main suspect since she cannot tell the police what she was doing at the library without revealing to town officials that she’s opened a secret bookroom in the library’s basement. Determined to keep herself from being sent to jail for the murder, Tru and her friends set out to catch a killer on their own.

That sounds wonderful. As a librarian and author of a cozy mystery series, The Cobble Cove series, featuring Alicia the librarian, I can’t wait to read this and have it waiting for me on my Kindle now.

Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?

My goals have evolved over the years. Currently, my main goals as a writer are to (1) entertain readers/provide hope and (2) build readership.

I plan to continue to write and publish at least two cozy mysteries a year and continue to publish both with major publishers and my own indie-published books.

The pandemic has interfered with these plans. I’m currently homeschooling my daughter, which has taken away from my writing time. While I miss writing as much as I’m used to, I don’t regret the freedom to be able to teach my daughter on our own schedule. I believe in the long-run, we’ll look back as this time as something our family dearly needed.

Sometimes being flexible is the most important ingredient to happiness and fulfillment.

I’m sure other writers are in your shoes during the Pandemic, too, so your comments will be helpful to them. I find it interesting that you continue to Indie publish while you work with major publishers. I have two Indie Publishers who are wonderful. Solstice Publishing publishes my Cobble Cove series and has also published two of my romances, some short eBooks, and one standalone mystery, while Next Chapter has published two of my standalone mysteries. I’m also hoping to find an agent and publish with a major publisher one day.

What type of reader are you hoping to attract?  Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?

The characters in my books sometimes have more personal problems to overcome than what the average reader might encounter in other cozy mysteries. Let’s just be honest, my characters are often hot messes. Readers who enjoy watching personal growth over a series of books seem to enjoy my books. My characters aren’t perfect. They tend to make mistakes. But they always try to do what’s right and are honestly are interested in helping others and finding justice.

Sounds great. What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?

Keep writing. No matter how hard it seems, you can do this. Your stories are important to tell because they are your stories. No one has the same experiences as you.

At the same time as your furiously writing, also take time to read. Read. Read. Read. Libraries are your friends. Use them.

Learn what publishers are looking for and try to provide the editors with a manuscript that fits their guidelines. Publishing a book can feel impossible at times, but there are so many more opportunities available to writers today than ever before. Now is a great time to be writing.

I agree completely. I’ve always loved libraries and that’s why I work in one. I also believe there are many opportunities for authors today, although getting traditionally published with a large publisher is still difficult, but not impossible, to achieve.

What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?

Gracious me, I had to learn the craft of writing. I had all these story ideas in my head, but my writing was unrefined. (That’s a nice way of saying, what I was writing stunk worse than a skunk.) I hadn’t developed a writing voice. I started my writing journey at the bottom of a steep, steep mountain. But I didn’t give up. I took online classes. I studied the books I enjoyed reading. I crafted writing exercises for myself to help develop POV, endings, beginnings, and my voice. Slowly, I learned how to get those stories in my head down onto the page.

I’m still learning.

Writers always continue to learn. You’re a great example of the persistance and work required to publish worthwhile material.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I belong to Sisters in Crime and the Mystery Writers of America. I used to be involved in some local writing groups, but after my daughter was born, I didn’t have as much free time to attend the meetings and slowly drifted away from the groups. But the experience of being able to work and brainstorm with other writers was invaluable for me. I hope to get back to attending local writer group meetings in a couple of years.

I’m also a member of Sisters in Crime and several other writing associations. I’ll also be leading an online writer’s group at my library starting this Monday, January 25. There will be two separate sessions of the First Draft writer’s group that will meet via Zoom on Monday afternoons or Thursday nights and is open to everyone. I posted information and registration details previously on this blog: https://wp.me/p6m4z7-2YK

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I enjoy knitting and crocheting. I love to travel and discover new places. And while I’m not too keen on cooking or baking, I do enjoy eating.

I used to crochet, and my daughter has picked it up now, but I don’t have the time right now to relearn it. I also love to travel and hope to do so again when things are safe.

What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?

I’ve always let my editing demons get the better of me. I hate that about writing. I hate that writing sometimes makes me feel like I’m “less than” or “not good enough.” I know that’s rubbish, but part of the act of writing is exposing yourself, taking yourself to places where your soul is raw. And it can be painful. But at the same time, visiting those raw places can be beautiful. I’ve learned tons about myself and others around me through my writing. That’s one of the perks of writing—the journey of self-discovery.

I also enjoy that feeling of victory when a plot starts to come together. I often find that I’d been laying breadcrumbs throughout the story that have started to weave together. That’s magic!

I know exactly what you’re talking about. I think most writers are sensitive about their work but learn a lot about themselves through doing it. I know I do. I also love when everything comes together, and my characters lead me in a direction I don’t expect but works out in the end.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

Ever since I was a teen, I have loved reading cozy mysteries. Writing one only seemed natural. I enjoy setting up a puzzle to be solved and then trying to figure out ways to surprise the reader with different twists and turns. I also enjoy an ending where justice has been served and right wins over wrong. What a satisfying feeling.

Cozy mysteries are lighthearted. I can play with puns and funny events in the plot. You cannot imagine how much joy that brings me.

I’ve also enjoyed writing since I was very young. I like cozy mysteries because I enjoy developing characters who can be quirky and writing plots that don’t include a lot of violence or sex scenes (although there are murders and romance).

Can you share a short excerpt from your latest title or upcoming release?

No one in the moderately sized rural southern town of Cypress would ever suspect their stalwart assistant librarian of breaking into the library where she worked. Why would they? A bronze plaque hangs on my kitchen wall. It was personally presented to me by Mayor Goodvale. He declared me an asset to the town. I’d received the award because I always performed my job with the highest level of pride and professionalism. For the past thirteen years I put the town and library first, often to the detriment of my personal life.

An even bigger honor occurred a few years ago when Mrs. Lida Farnsworth, the town’s head librarian, whispered (she always whispered) while we busily returned books to their shelves: “Trudell Becket, I couldn’t be more pleased to be wrong about my first impression of you. I would have hired any other candidate for the position. But, alas, the only other person who’d applied was that drunkard Cooper Berry. I honestly didn’t think you had it in you, honey. But, bless your heart, you’ve become the model of a perfect librarian.”

And she was right. I was perfect. Until . . .

Well, let’s just say someone needed to do this.

As a general rule, librarians don’t speak in loud voices. Librarians don’t exceed the speed limit when driving to work. And librarians certainly don’t dress head-to-toe in black ninja-wear while attempting to pick the library’s backdoor lock.

Yet, librarians can always be counted on to get things done.

“Don’t look at me like that,” I muttered to a lanky brown cat with black tiger stripes. It had emerged from the darkened back alleyway to stand next to library’s cool pearly-pink granite wall and watch me. “Someone needs to protect those books before they all end up destroyed. They’re sending them to the landfill.” The small metal flashlight clenched between my teeth caused the words to come out garbled. Both of my hands were busy working the lock.

A textbook for locksmiths that I’d borrowed from the library’s reference section sat open to the page featuring a diagram of a lock. Since I didn’t own a lockpick kit—why would I?—I’d improvised with a few sturdy paperclips bent to resemble the tools depicted on the book’s previous page. Every little sound, every scrape and rumble in Cypress’s quaint downtown, boomed in my ears. I jumped at the soft cough of a car engine. And with that cat watching me, I felt an itchy need to scurry into the nearest mousehole to hide.

But I couldn’t run. I had to finish what I’d set my mind to finishing.

After what felt like a million thundering heartbeats while I fumbled with the paperclips, the lock clicked. The door opened. I rose on shaky legs, gathering up the reference book and the stack of flattened moving boxes I’d brought with me. My gaze darted to the darkest corners of the alleyway before I slipped inside.

Just as the door started to close, the cat that had been watching with such a judgmental glare shimmied between my legs and into the library before the heavy metal back door clanked closed.

“Hey!” I called in a harsh whisper because shouting in a library simply wasn’t done. Whispering seemed even more important in the middle of the night as I sneaked inside on my clandestine mission.

The brown cat ignored me. With a yeow loud enough to have me instinctively hissing, “Shhhh!” the little beast darted upstairs and disappeared into the shadows of the stacks.

“Tru, you’re in for it now,” I muttered before dropping the stack of boxes. I sprinted after that darn cat.

Mrs. Farnsworth would have a heart attack if she discovered a flea-bitten kitty wandering among her books in the morning. I needed to get him out. The head librarian was already on edge with having to deal with the changes coming to the library.

If I didn’t know the tough older woman better, I would have suspected she was busy plotting a murder. Every time she had to deal with the man behind the changes that were ripping apart both of our worlds, she’d grit her teeth and smile so tightly it looked as if her lips might crack open. But later, when she talked about him and his grand plan, her smile changed into something horrible that made ice tiptoe up my spine.

Love it and can’t wait to read it as soon as I get a chance.

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you or your books?

All the cool kids are reading my books. I think you should too!

I second that.

Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc. and include some book cover graphics and author photos if possible.

Follow Dorothy Online:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/dorothy.stjames

Twitter: www.twitter.com/dorothywrites

Instagram: www.instagram.com/dorothymcfalls

Website: www.dorothystjames.com

The Broken Spine Purchase Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B086SCQ639

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-broken-spine-dorothy-st-james/1136806393?ean=9780593098578

Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/books/the-broken-spine/9780593098578

Indie Bound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781087855806

Thanks so much for the interesting interview, Dorothy. I’m sharing your blog tour and giveaway below. Best wishes on this new series and your upcoming books.


The Broken Spine (A Beloved Bookroom Mystery)
by Dorothy St. James

About The Broken Spine


The Broken Spine (A Beloved Bookroom Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Berkley (January 19, 2021)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 0593098579
ISBN-13: 978-0593098578
Kindle ASIN: B086SCQ639

The first in an exciting new series featuring Trudell Becket, a spunky librarian who will stop at nothing to save her beloved books and catch a killer!

Trudell Becket, book-loving librarian, finds herself in a bind when the library where she works is turned into a state-of-the-art bookless library. In a rare move of rebellion, Trudell rescues hundreds of her library’s beloved books slated for the recycle center. She sets up a secret book room in the library’s basement and opens it to anyone who shares her love of the printed book.

When the town councilman, who was the vocal proponent of the library’s transformation into a “futuristic technological center,” is crushed under an overturned shelf of DVDs, Trudell becomes the police’s prime suspect for his murder. She was the only person in the library at the time of his death, or so the police believe. But that’s not true. For the past month, Trudell had been letting a few dozen residents into the building through the basement entrance so they could read and check out the printed books.

But if she tells the police about the backdoor patrons who were in the library at the time of the murder, she’d have to explain about the secret book room and risk losing the books. In order to protect herself from being arrested for a murder she didn’t commit, Trudell–with the help of a group of dedicated readers–decides to investigate. She quickly discovers you can’t always judge a book by its cover.

About Dorothy St. James

Mystery author Dorothy St. James was born in New York but raised in South Carolina. She makes her home on an artsy island community in South Carolina with her husband, a crazy dog, and fluffy cat. Though writing has always been a passion for her, she pursued an undergraduate degree in Wildlife Biology and a graduate degree in Public Administration and Urban Planning. She put her educational experience to use, having worked in all branches and all levels of government including local, regional, state, and federal. She even spent time during college working for a non-profit environmental watchdog organization.

Switching from government service and community planning to fiction writing wasn’t as big of a change as some might think. Her government work was all about the stories of the people and the places where they live. As an urban planner, Dorothy loved telling the stories of the people she met. And from that, her desire to tell the tales that were so alive in her heart grew until she could not ignore it any longer. In 2001, she took a leap of faith and pursued her dream of writing fiction full-time.

* Dorothy St. James is the alter-ego of award-winning multi-published author, Dorothy McFalls. She enjoys writing in several different genres. Her works have been nominated for many awards including: Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, Reviewers International Organization Award, National Reader’s Choice Award, CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Award, and The Romance Reviews Today Perfect 10! Award. Reviewers have called her work: “amazing”, “perfect”, “filled with emotion”, and “lined with danger.”

Author Links

Website: http://www.dorothystjames.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/dorothywrites

Facebook: www.facebook.com/dorothy.stjames

Bookbub: www.bookbub.com/profile/dorothy-st-james

Purchase Links – AmazonIndieBoundBookshopB&N

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

January 19 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

January 19 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

January 19 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 19 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

January 19 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

January 20 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 20 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

January 20 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, GUEST POST

January 20 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

January 20 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

January 21 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT

January 21 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 21 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

January 21 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

January 22 – Books to the Ceiling – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 22 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 22 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW, GUEST POST

January 22 – Cozy Up WIth Kathy – REVIEW

January 22 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

January 23 – Baroness’ Book Trove – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

January 23 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW

January 23 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

January 23 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

January 23 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 24 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – GUEST POST

January 24 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 24 – Brianne’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

January 24 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – SPOTLIGHT

January 24 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

January 25 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

January 25 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

January 25 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 25 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT

January 25 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

January 25 – Thoughts in Progress – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Blog Tour, Excerpts, Guest Post, Interview, Mysteries, New Releases, Spotlight

2020 Blog Tour Recaps for Pet Posts, No Gravestone Unturned, and Memory Makers

I published three books in 2020. They were all featured on blog tours, and two have already placed among the Top Ten Mystery Novels in a reader’s poll for 2020. For those of you who may have missed the tours or some of the stops, I’m posting a recap. Although the giveaways have ended, the spotlights, excerpts, interviews, and guest posts from these tours are still available for viewing.

The blog tour for my latest book, Pet Posts: the Cat Chats, was hosted by Silver Dagger Book Tours from December 13 to December 23. My first pet non-fiction book reads somewhat like fantasy fiction as it’s narrated by four of my cats. Like all my books, it’s free on Kindle Unlimited. You can view an excerpt, guest post, and the links to the tour’s stops from here: https://www.silverdaggertours.com/sdsxx-tours/pet-posts-the-cat-chats-book-tour-and-giveaway (if the links don’t take you directly to the posts, you can search each blog by the book’s title)

Purchase Link: mybook.to/PetPosts


The wonderful Lori Caswell from Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour hosted the tour for my 5th Cobble Cove cozy mystery, No Gravestone Unturned, from October 28 to November 8. This book came in 4th of the Best Mystery Novel of 2020 in a Reader’s poll. A spotlight, interview, and a recap for the tour stops can be viewed here: https://www.escapewithdollycas.com/2020/10/28/no-gravestone-unturned-a-cobble-cove-mystery-by-debbie-de-louise-interview-giveaway-great-escapes-book-tour/ (if the links don’t take you directly to the posts, you can search each blog for the book’s title).

Purchase Link: mybook.to/CobbleCove5

My blog tour for my mystery thriller, Memory Makers, ran from August 21 to September 21. This book ranked 7th in the Top Mystery of 2020’s reader’s poll and is available in hardcover, large print, audio, paperback and eBook. The blog tour is recapped here with an excerpt, guest post, and links to the tour stops: https://www.silverdaggertours.com/sdsxx-tours/memory-makers-book-tour-and-giveaway (if the links don’t take you directly to the posts, you can search each blog for the book’s title).

Purchase Link: mybook.to/memorymakers

You can learn more about my upcoming tours and new releases and be eligible for special giveaways by subscribing to my author newsletter through the pop-up form on this blog: https://debbiedelouise.com, or by commenting that you’d like me to subscribe you manually. Thanks so much for your support.

Posted in Blog Tour, Cozy Mystery

Spotlight, Blog Tour, and Giveaway for Murder Can Haunt Your Handiwork by Rose Pressey


Murder Can Haunt Your Handiwork (A Haunted Craft Fair Mystery)
by Rose Pressey

About Murder Can Haunt Your Handiwork


Murder Can Haunt Your Handiwork (A Haunted Craft Fair Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Publisher: Kensington (December 29, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
ISBN-10: 1496721659
ISBN-13: 978-1496721655
Digital ASIN: B086R8YGLD

A Gilded Age ghost helps psychic painter Celeste Cabot catch a killer . .

Rising up against the beautiful backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Biltmore Estate is a magnificent mansion in Asheville, North Carolina, built as a summer home for George Washington Vanderbilt II—yes, of those Vanderbilts—during the Gilded Age. Nowadays, it’s the site of an annual craft fair. Unfortunately, it’s also about to become a crime scene . . .

Celeste is hard to miss as she pulls up with her pink and white Shasta trailer and adorable Chihuahua, Van Gogh—Van for short. But before she can show off her artwork at the fair, a tour guide is found strangled by a velvet rope barrier and a valuable painting goes missing. With a rogues’ gallery of sketchy suspects, Celeste welcomes the help of a pair of handsome detectives—and a ghost with a special interest in the case . . .

Includes tips and recipes!

About Rose Pressey

Rose Pressey is the USA Today bestselling author of the Haunted Craft Fair Mysteries and the Haunted Vintage Mystery Series. She enjoys writing quirky and fun novels with a paranormal twist. The paranormal has always captured her interest. The thought of finding answers to the unexplained fascinates her.

When she’s not writing about werewolves, vampires, and every other supernatural creature, she loves eating cupcakes with sprinkles, reading, spending time with family, and listening to oldies from the fifties. Yeah, she loves Elvis. She can’t help myself.

Rose lives in the beautiful commonwealth of Kentucky with her husband, son, and three sassy Chihuahuas.

Author Links

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/authorrosepressey
Blog – itsvintageyall.blogspot.com
Website – http://rosepressey.com/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/rosepressey

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKoboGoogle PlayIndieBound

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

January 15 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

January 15 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

January 15 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

January 15 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

January 16 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 16 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW, EXCERPT

January 16 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

January 17 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 17 – Baroness’ Book Trove – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

January 17 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 18 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 18 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

January 18 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW

January 19 – Diane Reviews Books – GUEST POST

January 19 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 19 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

January 20 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

January 20 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

January 20 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

January 21 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST

January 21 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 21 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – SPOTLIGHT

January 22 – Eskimo Princess Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 22 – I Read What You Write – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

January 22 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

January 22 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Blog Tour, Cozy Mystery

Recipe and Spotlight for St. Vandal’s Day: A Death by Cupcake Mystery by D. E. Haggerty

I’ll be the first to admit peanut butter and jelly cupcakes don’t scream Valentine’s Day! But if you use strawberry or raspberry jam, you’ll find the red frosting gives them a nice Valentine’s Day feel. Do not under any circumstance use Dutch peanut butter. It’s not sweet or creamy enough. It will cause your batter to be almost impossible to mix and then you’ll find yourself sitting in front of the oven staring at the cupcakes hoping they’ll rise. I also recommend using a sweet jam. I used chunky cherry preserves but the tartness of the cherry overwhelmed the buttercream frosting. Trust me. Do as I say, not as I do.

If you love peanut butter, this is the recipe for you. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes

Ingredients

Cupcakes

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ cup (57 grams) butter
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (8 tablespoons) sweetened, creamy peanut butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons whole milk

Frosting

  • 1 ¾ cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup (57 grams) butter
  • 6 tablespoons strawberry, raspberry, or grape jam

Directions

Make the cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius) and line cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.
  3. In a large bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and granulated sugar for 3 minutes, or until fluffy. Beat in the peanut butter and vanilla. Add the egg and beat well. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  4. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups
  5. Bake the cupcakes for 20 – 25 minutes.
  6. Cool completely before frosting.

Prepare the frosting

  1. Beat the powdered sugar, butter, and jam in a large bowl, with a mixer on low speed, until blended. Then, increase the speed to high and beat until light and fluffy.
  2. Spread the frosting on the cooled cupcakes.
  3. Option: Top with a fresh strawberry.


Saint Vandal’s Day:
A Humorous Culinary Cozy Mystery Short Read
(Death by Cupcake)
by D.E. Haggerty

About Saint Vandal’s Day


Saint Vandal’s Day: A Humorous Culinary Cozy Mystery Short Read (Death by Cupcake)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Independently Published (January 1, 2021)
Print length: 104 pages
Digital ASIN: B08FX45TC7

St. Valentine’s Day is THE perfect day for a wedding. Unless a vandal is trying to ruin your life that is.

Callie is finally getting her dream wedding. On St. Valentine’s Day no less. Only a vandal is determined to destroy her bakery before the wedding can occur. Anna, self-proclaimed best cupcake baker this side of the Mississippi, is not letting anything happen to the cupcake bakery. No way. Barista extraordinaire Kristie jumps at the chance to help as well. Together the three women launch a mission to find the jerk who thinks it’s okay to attack the bakery.

Will the gals of Callie’s Cakes find the vandal and save the cupcake bakery before Callie’s dream wedding is ruined?

Cupcakes not included, although recipes for all the delicious cupcakes Anna bakes are.

About D.E. Haggerty

D.E. Haggerty is actually just plain old Dena, but she thinks using initials makes her sound sophisticated and maybe even grown up. She was born and raised in the U.S. but considers herself a Dutchie and not only because it sounds way cooler. After a stint in the U.S. Army, she escaped the US to join her husband in Holland. She fled Holland over ten years ago when she couldn’t stand the idea of being a lawyer for one single second more. Turns out Bed & Breakfast owner in Germany didn’t do it for her either. When the hubby got a job in Istanbul, she jumped ship and decided to give this whole writer thing a go. She’s now back in Holland, which she considers home. Sorry, Mom.

Author Links

Website: http://dehaggerty.wordpress.com

Blog: https://dehaggerty.wordpress.com/category/mymusings/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dehaggerty

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dehaggerty

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dehaggerty/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7210211.D_E_Haggerty

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/D.E.-Haggerty/e/B00ECQBURU/

Newsletter signup: https://mailchi.mp/027b2768aa1c/newsletter-sign-up-for-a-writers-life-by-de-haggerty

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/denahaggerty/

Bookbub author page: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/d-e-haggerty

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/d-e-haggerty-4b49a29/

Purchase Link – Amazon

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

January 4 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW

January 5 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

January 5 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT

January 6 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLGHT

January 7 – Mysteries with Character – REVIEW

January 7 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

January 8 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW

January 9 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

January 10 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

January 10 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 11 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

January 12 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT

January 12 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

January 13 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 14 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT WITH RECIPE

January 14 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 15 – Thoughts in Progress – SPOTLIGHT

January 16 – Ebook addicts – REVIEW

January 17 – Book Blog with Sylv.net – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in libraries

Free Online Library Writing and Reading Clubs

Libraries are more than just places to borrow books and other materials. They’re also places that foster education, socialization, and entertainment. While some libraries remain closed because of COVID or are on a strictly curbside pickup service, others, like mine, are open regular hours with a time limit for patrons to use the building. In our case, two hours. But while no in-person programs are being offered, we’ve scheduled a variety of online classes, workshops, and groups conducted through Zoom of Facebook Live presentations. Other libraries are doing this, too, so you can check your own public library’s offerings by visiting their websites. However, many libraries, like mine, are allowing non-residents to participate in their virtual programs.

Two new programs my library is offering that are open to all are the First Draft Writers’ Club and the Fun with Fiction book Club. I’ll be hosting both meetings on a monthly basis. The First Draft Writers Club will have day and evening sessions on the last Monday and Thursday of the month starting in January. Both sessions are identical. You need only attend one but are welcome to attend both if you wish. The first session in January will introduce members of the group, their publishing backgrounds, and writing goals for 2021. The following meetings, also conducted on Zoom, will feature member readings and critiques with a writing-related theme discussion. The meetings will run 90 minutes per session. If you’re interested, you need to register in advance. You can register for the afternoon session, Monday, January 25 at 2 pm EST, here and the afternoon session, Thursday, January 28, at 7 pm EST here.

 

The Fun with Fiction Book Club This will meet on the first Thursday night of the month and include a discussion of a particular book theme. The first session will introduce members of the group, their reading interests, and discuss the February theme of Romance and Relationship fiction. The meetings will run one hour per session. You can register for the February, 4, 7 pm EST meeting here.

Here’s a video promo I created for both groups.

Posted in Guest Post, Romantic Suspense

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Crime Scene Connection by Deena Alexander

Evolution of My Writing Process

By Deena Alexander

One of the first interview questions I ever answered as a writer was, “Are you a plotter or a panster?” To which I adamantly declared I was, and would always be, a panster. Well, like most things in life, you can never be too sure what’s going to change. My first novel came in at a whopping 100,000 words. When it was published, it had been ruthlessly—and sometimes tearfully—cut to 54,000.

When I first started writing, I would sit at my computer each night and write whatever came to mind. Usually, what came to mind led to a satisfying conclusion—often with only a few minor tweaks to the storyline. Then one day, I painted my hero into a corner I couldn’t find a way out of. I eventually did, but I was never quite satisfied with the outcome.

When I started my next book, I was careful to outline the progress of the story and the ending so I wouldn’t have the same problem. That worked out so well, I started plotting everything. I plotted the number of words in each chapter, whose head each scene would come from, how many words would be in each scene. I made sure each point-of-view character got an equal amount of time. Needless to say, too much of a good thing hindered the writing process, and I ended up with a major case of writer’s block.

Now I’ve found a nice balance between the two. I plot the major parts of the story. I don’t plot the ending. I never decide how a book is going to end or who the killer is until the entire story has been written and gone through several rounds of edits. Once the rest of the story is in good shape and ready to go out for submission, I write the ending. I love being surprised when I find out what happens.

Crime Scene Connection (Love Inspired Suspense)
by Deena Alexander

About Crime Scene Connection


Crime Scene Connection (Love Inspired Suspense)
Inspirational Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense (January 12, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
ISBN-10: 1335404996
ISBN-13: 978-1335404992
Digital Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense (January 1, 2021)
ASIN: B089RLTK6L

Her writing was fiction, until a killer made the danger very real…

A serial killer’s imitating crime scenes from Addison Keller’s bestselling novel, determined to make her the final victim. But with former police officer Jace Montana and his dog at her side, Addison might just be able to unmask the murderer. With time running out as the killer closes in, she must confront her past and unravel long-buried secrets…and hope they can all escape with their lives.

About Deena Alexander

Deena grew up in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island, where she met and married her high school sweetheart. She recently relocated to Florida with her husband, three kids, son-in-law, and four dogs. Now she enjoys long walks in nature all year long, despite the occasional alligator or snake she sometimes encounters. Deena’s love for writing developed when her youngest son was born and didn’t sleep through the night, and she now works full time as a writer and a freelance editor.

Author Links

Webpage: http://deenaalexander.com/index.html

Blog: http://deenaalexander.com/blog.html

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DeenaAlexanderAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DeenaAlexanderA

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20382104.Deena_Alexander

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/deena-alexander

Newsletter: https://gmail.us10.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=d7e6e9ecdc0888d7324788ffc&id=42d52965df

Purchase Links –

Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Kobo  – Harlequin  – Books-a-Million  – Target

Indiebound – Walmart  – Apple Books  – Google Play

a Raffle copter giveaway

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

January 4 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

January 4 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW

January 5 – Nadaness In Motion – REVIEW, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY

January 5 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST

January 6 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY

January 6 – Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting – REVIEW

January 7 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – REVIEW, GUEST POST

January 7 – Baroness’ Book Trove – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

January 8 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 8 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 9 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

January 10 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

January 11 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW

January 12 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 13 – Thoughts in Progress – SPOTLIGHT

January 13 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW

January 14 – I Read What You Write – SPOTLIGHT    

January 15 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 15 – Books to the Ceiling – REVIEW

January 16 – eBook Addicts – CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 17 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW

January 17 – I’m All About Books – REVIEW, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY

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Posted in Contest

2021 TCK Publishing Reader’s Choice Awards and Poetry Contests

Grand Prize Winner will receive a Kindle Fire HD 8 Tablet and a 1-Year Access Pass to Bestseller Ranking Pro

Readers Choice Awards Contest Grand Prize

16 Winners, one in each category, will receive special badges and promotion

TCK Publishing is recognizing indie, self-published, and traditionally published authors and we’re inviting all of you to join the 2021 Readers Choice Book Awards contest.

Get connected with your fans and ask them for their support by voting for you to boost your chances of winning!

We believe readers deserve to have a choice, and that’s why we’re proud to host the 2021 TCK Publishing Reader’s Choice Awards.

Readers Choice Award Categories

1. Advice
2. Business and Investing
3. Self-Help
4. Health
5. General Nonfiction
6. Memoir
7. Romance
8. Fantasy
9. Thriller
10. Mystery
11. Children’s Book
12. YA and Middle Grade
13. General Fiction
14. Historical Fiction
15. Science Fiction
16. Religion

How the Contest Works

  1. Any author (regardless of who your publisher is) may submit one (1) book in any of the given categories for FREE. Limit one free entry per author and per email address. Entries for additional books after your first entry may be purchased here.
  2. Entries are subject to evaluation and review by the TCK Publishing Readers Choice Awards committee (book submissions are not just automatically approved).
  3. The TCK Publishing Readers Choice Awards committee will review and determine the final book entries.
  4. Successful entries will be notified through a confirmation email from TCK Publishing.
  5. All approved submissions will be featured on the Readers Choice Voting Page.
  6. Casting of votes begins January 1, 2021.
  7. Casting of votes will be open until November 13, 2021
  8. The book entry with the highest votes at the end of the voting period will be declared the winner (authors and readers are allowed to vote once).
  9. Declaration of winner and awarding of prizes will be on November 30, 2021.
  10. The winner will be notified through an email from the TCK Publishing Readers Choice Awards committee.The TCK Publishing Poetry Awards Contest is an international poetry contest established in 2021. Each year’s prizewinner receives a $1,000 honorarium and publication of his or her poem on the TCK Publishing website.TCK Publishing is recognizing poetry writers from all countries, backgrounds, and levels of experience and we invite you to join the 2021 TCK Publishing Poetry Contest.

    How the Contest Works

    1. Any writer (regardless of who your publisher is or if your work has been previously published) may submit up to five poems totaling no more than 500 words for an entry fee of $5.
    2. You must purchase your entry here (you can purchase as many entries as you like if you choose to enter multiple submissions).
    3. After you purchase your entry, you will be asked to complete a short Google Form to complete your submission so you can submit your poem(s) on that page.
    4. All entrants will be notified through a confirmation email from TCK Publishing.
    5. Submissions will open on November 1, 2020.
    6. Submissions will close on March 31, 2021.
    7. Declaration of winner and awarding of prize will be on April 21, 2021.
    8. The winner will be notified through an email from the TCK Publishing Poetry Contest committee.
Posted in Freebies and Special Offers, Mysteries

Last Chance: 5 Books on Sale for 99 cents

The holiday sales for five of my books are ending soon. Each one is only 99 cents.

My standalone mystery, Memory Makers, about a woman volunteering for a clinical trial of a new memory drug hoping to recall the face of the “shadow man” who killed her sister is on sale through December 27.

The other 4 books are on sale through December 31st.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place (Cobble Cove #2)

Celebrating Christmas with my Characters (A Cobble Cove story)

Sneaky’s Christmas Mystery (winner of the Cat Writers’ Association 2020 Muse Medallion award)

The Missing Mistletoe (a paranormal holiday romance)

Two of my mysteries are in the running for a 2020 Reader’s Choice Award, No Gravestone Unturned (Cobble Cove #5) and Memory Makers. If you’ve enjoyed these books and/or would like to support me, please vote at the link below. After voting, you will need to confirm with an email verification for the votes to count. Thank you so much!