Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Mysteries

Author Spotlight of Meg Macy, Author of Bear Witness to Murder

I’m pleased to have author Meg Mims who wites as Meg Macy and is also half of the writing team of D.E. Ireland from Southeastern Michigan here to speak about her new cozy mystery, Bear Witness to Murder, that is currently on tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

Welcome, Meg. Please tell us how long you’ve been published and what titles and/or series you write.

I was first published in 2011 with Double Crossing, a western historical mystery, using Meg Mims. Double Crossing won a Spur Award from the Western Writers of America for Best First Book. That book and the sequel, Double or Nothing, are with Prairie Rose Publications. I wrote several holiday romance novellas and self-published them – Santa Paws, Santa Claws, Home for the Holidays (all with rescue dogs and cats); The Key to Love and The Key to Christmas (artist-themed), Winner Takes All and A Holiday Hoax (both western romance), plus several short stories. I co-write the Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins mysteries (Wouldn’t It Be Deadly, Move Your Blooming Corpse, Get Me to the Grave On Time, With A Little Bit of Blood) with my college friend Sharon Pisacreta under our D.E. Ireland pseudonym; two books were nominated for Agatha Awards, Best Historical. Right now, I’m writing the Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear cozy mysteries for Kensington Books. Bearly Departed debuted in 2017, and the next in that series, Bear Witness to Murder that came out May 29th, 2018.

You’re quite accomplished. Congratulations on the new book. The series sounds delightful. Tell us what you’re working on next.

I’m writing book 3 of my teddy bear mysteries, Have Yourself A Beary Little Murder, coming out late in 2019, as well as working on a new series.

Sounds great.

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?

I love writing cozy mysteries and my goal is to get two books published in a year or year and a half – I’m not a fast writer, so I’m trying to streamline the process and spend less time on social media. Not easy! I so enjoy sharing funny memes, jokes, and photos with friends every day. It’s like being in a close community, only spread out over the U.S. And writers are often introverts in our own world, so having that contact is important. But I do need to cut down on the time spent on Facebook!

I agree about social media taking up a lot of time. I’m trying to do the same myself to get more writing time; although, as you say, it’s important to stay connected with readers online.

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

Readers of cozy mysteries set in small towns with dogs, cats, and quaint shops. People who love and collect teddy bears, tea parties, art lovers, kid lovers – anyone who loves a good story, really.

Your books certainly have wide appeal.

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

Read, read, read, across genres – good, solid authors – and choose one to outline. The beginning, middle, end, plus the points in between. That will give any would-be writer the structure of a story, but so will Robert McKee’s Story. Know your characters – their flaws and strengths, backstories, etc. But finding your voice is key, and the only way to do that is to keep writing and never give up. Write every day. Discipline yourself to produce, learn how to self-edit and revise, learn to take criticism with grace.

Excellent advice.

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

Learning to infuse emotions into my characters was a challenge for me. I spent far more time on research, plot, and especially setting and other details. It takes a lot of rewriting to get everything in a good balance.

That’s a good point. Characters are crucial in most books and especially cozies.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

 I belong to Sisters In Crime (national and local), Novelists, Inc., and a Facebook group of historical authors called Sleuths in Time (my friend and I write as D.E. Ireland) – we share information about our books and research. I’m hoping to start a Facebook group for fans of cozy mysteries set in Michigan or the Great Lakes region, too.

Nice. I’m a Sisters in Crime member, too.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I’m an artist (watercolor, pen/ink, mixed media) although I haven’t had much time for it over the past five years. I love reading (every day), love visiting tea rooms with friends for lunch (at least once a month), and must exercise (to improve my health) by either walking at the mall or working out at Planet Fitness. I also love Pinterest, relaxing over photos of teacups, flowers, gardens, book nooks, etc. It’s marvelous. I enjoy watching classic movies with a big bowl of popcorn.

Very nice past times and relaxing, I’m sure.

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

I have lots of ideas, but getting a detailed outline is a challenge for me. Writing is so much easier when you prepare as much as possible ahead of time. I also think self-promotion is much tougher for authors now, although Kensington is really wonderful about helping spread the word about their cozy mysteries. Still, it seems a “social media” presence is necessary – and I prefer Facebook to Twitter. I share photos on Instagram but keep my author info to a minimum there.

I outline very little myself and I agree that can make things difficult, and I also find promotion challenging. I wish I had a larger publisher like Kensington behind me (still querying), but I know authors today need to promote themselves on social media as you say no matter who they publish with.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I was an early reader of Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, so the “twist” is important to me. I try hard to incorporate that in my work and hope to surprise readers. I also enjoy creating the quaint setting (and wish I lived in a small town), the “family and friends” community atmosphere, the lack of graphic blood/gore and profanity. I am not a fan of books that utilize all that for shock value, or show violence toward women and children. Just not my cup of tea.

That’s how I feel. I also like to add twists to my mysteries.

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

Of course, I’d love to! Here’s a bit from Chapter 1 of Bear Witness to Murder:

So much had changed in the short time since “Will’s Folly.” That’s what Silver Hollow residents now called the murder of the Silver Bear Shop & Factory’s sales rep, Will Taylor, before Labor Day. Few were sad; Will hadn’t been popular with our workers. Still, others had been affected in the aftermath. Murder was a nasty business. Sales at the shop boomed from all the publicity, good and bad, and visitors to the area tripled. But I wasn’t proud of nearly getting myself killed by sleuthing. I’d learned my lesson.

In record time, the Wentworths had hired a crew to clear out and clean the entire Queen Anne-style house from top to bottom. Then they brought in a massive black walnut sideboard for the front parlor, plus square tables and chintz-covered chairs in a pink, green, and gold rose pattern. They’d installed teacup chandeliers – four in each parlor and two in the library. Crisp linen cloths in pastel pink or green draped the tables with white lace overlays. Place settings in an eclectic array of teacups, saucers, plates, and flatware added to the charm. Gold-framed landscapes of the English countryside and castles hung on the walls.

I had to admit the tea room was an improvement over the dowdy bed-and-breakfast.

“Celia! Stop that,” Elle hissed to her younger daughter, who was dunking a shabby teddy bear’s nose into her full teacup.

“Mom, she spilled all over the tablecloth,” said her older daughter, Cara.

“I’ve got it.” I mopped the liquid with extra napkins. Both girls wore party dresses and hair ribbons, and I recognized Elle’s pale blue dress from a shopping trip we’d taken last spring. “Which of the sandwiches did you like best, girls?”

“The strawberry cream cheese,” Celia sang out.

“I like the peanut butter ones,” Cara said, “but they need more jelly.”

“Jam, not jelly. And no, teddies can’t eat or drink,” Elle said. The girls giggled at the wet smear on Celia’s bear. “Now behave, or we won’t be able to come next year.”

“I’d better get back to work. Of course I’ll bring more scones,” I said when the woman at the next table waved me over. “I hope you’re enjoying the tea party.”

“Yes, indeed. We’re planning on a visit to the new toy and bookstore, too.”

When she turned to speak to her friends, I noted Elle’s discomfort. We were all worried sick for her and my cousin Matt. Bad enough that people ordered books online instead of visiting small bookstores like The Cat’s Cradle. But the competition from Holly Parker’s new toy and bookshop, Through the Looking Glass, would draw customers away and cut into their profits. I knew full well that Matt and Elle were barely surviving.

I glanced at the large corner table where Holly Parker sat with a red-haired woman. Holly and I shared a bitter rivalry long ago in high school; she hadn’t changed her hairstyle, still wearing it straight and long, although her tortoise-shell glasses looked modern. I tried to keep an open mind about her return to Silver Hollow, although I had to wonder why she chose to open a shop two weeks ago in direct competition. That didn’t set well with me or my family.

Holly looked like an ingénue in a white dress with a row of sparkly rhinestones along the neckline. She’d always favored white, from what I recalled, which set off the natural olive hue of her complexion and tanned limbs. A pale pink jacket with silver bling spelling out think pink was draped behind her chair. That reminded me of her extensive collection of Pink Panther memorabilia. Or perhaps “obsession” was more apropos.

To each their own, I supposed.

I wasn’t pleased reading Dave Fox’s Silver Hollow Herald, which quoted Holly as saying “Our shop is already number one in sales here in Silver Hollow.” That seemed a stretch. Maddie had witnessed her double-parking in the middle of Theodore Lane and getting ticketed by the local police for it, over the weekend she’d moved into the former Holly Jolly Christmas shop. That reminded me. I needed to ask about some stray bears.

“Are you both enjoying the party?” I asked. Holly beamed at me.

“Oh, yes! I’m so glad we got tickets. It’s so sweet, seeing all the little kids with their teddy bears. I hope you don’t mind that I passed out a few flyers for my shop.”

Since she’d already done so, I figured it was useless to object. “Gina Lawson,” the red-haired woman said and gave me a firm handshake. “I’m Holly’s shop assistant, marketing guru, and publicity person.”

“Nice to meet you, Gina.” I eyed her short tomato-red pixie haircut, gelled up in a curved ridge, rocker-style, and heart-shaped face. “Sounds like you know your promo stuff. I’ve seen a lot of your social media lately. Tweets and Facebook posts about the new store.”

“Great.”

Gina smiled, a bit slyly I thought, so I addressed Holly. “I should have asked you long before now, but did you happen to come across any of our silver or white teddy bears? Among all the items left behind in the Holly Jolly, I mean.”

Holly looked sorrowful. “No. We tossed broken ornaments, scads of nonworking fairy lights, and empty boxes. It was such a mess cleaning up.”

… My sister Maddie met me at the kitchen doorway and pulled me out of sight beyond the swinging doors. She waved her cell phone in triumph.

“See that red-haired woman? She’s trouble. Mark my words.”

Great excerpt.

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

They can all be read out of order, but if you want to learn more about the characters’ growth over the series, start from the beginning. In my teddy bear series, I like to put kids in the books’ beginning, either in the shop or at an event, because teddy bears are important for children – for comfort, companionship, and lifelong friendship.

The books in my Cobble Cove series can also be read as standalones, but it is better if you start with the first one, A Stone’s Throw, because the main characters develop as minor ones are added or leave. I like the idea of the teddy bears in your books. For adults, they bring back special memories of childhood and create a charming theme to your stories.

Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc.

https://www.facebook.com/MegMacyAuthor/

https://www.facebook.com/DEIrelandAuthor/

https://www.facebook.com/SantaPawsMegMims/

https://twitter.com/megmims

https://twitter.com/DEIrelandAuthor

Thanks so much for the interview, Meg, and best wishes on the blog tour and your new cozy. I’m also including a link to your rafflecopter giveaway for those who wish to enter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/02887792721/?widget_template=56d5f80dbc544fb30fda66f0

 

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Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab by Columbkill Noonan

This post was contributed by author Columbkill Noonan. Her cozy mystery, Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab, is currently on tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

“Surprise!” says the Publisher. “We’ve got a launch date!”

“Ahhh!” says Barnabas, the earnest, responsible, and slightly high-strung detective from Victorian London. He turns a bit red in the cheeks, and shifts nervously from one foot to the other. “And when is this ‘launch date’, I wonder?”

“Why, it’s in September!” says the Publisher. “You’ll be coming out with your second book on the 4th. Isn’t that wonderful news?”

“Wonderful!” says Me, the Author. “Exciting!”

“Errr….” mumbles poor Barnabas. The red has now spread out from his cheeks to color his face entirely, giving him the complexion of a nearly-ripe tomato. It is a most alarming sight, really.

“Why, what’s the matter?” I say. “You look as though you’re having an apoplexy.”

“It’s just I’m not certain I’m quite ready,” says Barnabas. “I’m not even properly dressed.” He pats awkwardly at his billowing white robe. (Don’t ask why he’s wearing such a ridiculous thing, please; you’ll only upset him and besides, it will all become clear somewhere smack in the middle of “Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab”, the first book in the series. Poor Barnabas would never forgive me if I spoiled his story!) As for what he wears in the second book, the one that’s coming out in September, well, that’s another story entirely.

“Now Barnabas,” says Me. “We’ve talked about this. You’ll be fine. You’re completely ready.”

“I suppose,” says Barnabas. “It’s just such a…, well….”

“Yes?”I prompt.

“It’s just such a surprise!” he sighs.

And isn’t that the way of surprises? They can be good, or they can be bad, or they can seem good to one person and bad to another. It doesn’t really matter what the surprise is, it’s how you view it.

I personally love surprises. I think the most magical moments in life are unplanned, unforeseen, and therefore, unforgettable. There is beauty in chaos; a field of wildflowers growing every which where, or a rocky seashore with the waves fling themselves wildly upon the cliffs. And there is so much to be learned in the unexpected.

Once I was in Frankfurt, all by myself. I don’t speak German (excepting that I can sing all the words to 99 Luftballons, which is, of course, not very useful when one is trying to navigate around a foreign country by oneself. “Hast du etwas zeit fur mich?”is not something one says normally in the course of a day, is it?) Anyway, I decided on an impulse that I wanted to go to Heidelberg, so I walked to the Frankfurt train station (which is enormous) and somehow managed to buy the ticket (I knew the words for train, and which track, and so forth. Unfortunately, I didn’t really know numbers (which are incredibly important when one is looking for a particular train track and there are what seems to be half a billion different tracks), so when the ticket seller told me which track to go to, I was more than a little uncertain.

I ran around in circles for a bit, then found what I thought was the right track, that happened to have a train sitting on it pointing in what I thought was probably the right direction. So I got on the train, and sat there…and started to worry. What if it’s the wrong train? What if it doesn’t go to Heidelberg? But then it hit me: so what? I might not be going to Heidelberg, but I am going somewhere, and maybe I’ll like that place too. So I just sat there and happily waited to see where the train would take me.

Turns out I went to Heidelberg after all, and it was fabulous, and I loved it, and I kind of wish I lived there now.

Barnabas, of course, is a bit more British about things; he likes everything neat and orderly and predictable. He likes to know where he is, and where he is going. He would be most decidedly unhappy to be on a train with a destination unknown. He thinks roses are their most beautiful when they are trimmed and arranged just so, so that each one is in its proper place. He likes for people to behave the way they are supposed to (in a civilized sort of way, that is to say).

Of course, fiction doesn’t usually behave in an orderly, predictable sort of way, and “Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab” is no exception. Indeed, beginning almost straightaway, Barnabas (together with his loyal assistant Wilfred, who is just a tad more resilient about things) finds himself in the most unexpected and terribly surprising circumstance. To be stolen from a museum in the middle of London and thrust into the very strange (and rather frightening) Egyptian Afterlife is about as unexpected and surprising as it gets. But our Barnabas, distraught though he may be, has a job to do, and he knows that it isn’t terribly polite to let one’s feelings interfere with the discharge of one’s responsibilities.

But I’d better stop talking about that, before I give away too much. I don’t want to spoil all the exciting surprises that are in store for the readers!

So, back to the topic of surprises and chaos and order. Isn’t life (and fiction) just a wonderful mix of all of these? And, as the Fibonacci sequence shows, wildness and order are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Maybe Barnabas and I are not so different, after all. We are merely looking at the same thing from opposite sides, we are two sides of the same coin, the yin and the yang, yada yada yada. I am excited for the launch date, and can’t wait to see what will come from it, what people I’ll meet, which adventures I’ll have. But when I think about it, I am nervous (just like our dear, earnest Barnabas). People will read the book. I hope that they will like it, but of course not everyone will…nothing is universally liked by every single person on the planet.

So, whilst I tend to be a happy, excited sort of person (the kind who loves surprises!), Barnabas really is a reflection of my more anxious, worrisome side. Really, both sides are required for everything to stay in balance, and to work out the way they should. Sometimes one needs to plan, and sometimes one needs to just go with the flow.

So….Surprise! Chaos and order are both necessary, at the same time.

But, really, what does one wear to something like this? 😉

“Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab” is now available on Amazon! The sequel, “Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Nine Worlds”, is coming this very September!

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Barnabas-Tew-Case-Missing-Scarab-ebook/dp/B072JMJV1F/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1499437082&sr=8-1&keywords=barnabas+tew

US: https://www.amazon.com/Barnabas-Tew-Case-Missing-Scarab/dp/1546786074/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1499198796&sr=8-1&keywords=barnabas+tew

Enter the book tour’s rafflecopter here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/02887792719/?widget_template=56d5f80dbc544fb30fda66f0

Connect with Columbkill:

Blog: www.columbkill.weebly.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ColumbkillNoonan

Twitter: @ColumbkillNoon1

 

 

 

Posted in Bookblast, Cozy Mysteries, New Releases

BookBlast for Hightail it to Kinsey Falls by Gayle Leeson

Hightail It to Kinsey Falls (Kinsey Falls Series)
by Gayle Leeson

About the Book

Hightail It to Kinsey Falls (Kinsey Falls Series)
Women’s Fiction
1st in Series
Grace Abraham Publishing (May 22, 2018)
Print Length: 139 pages
Kindle ASIN: B07C46H3WH

All work and no play make Jade a dull girl.

Jade Burt can do without her grandmother’s meddling in her love life. But when Millie finds an abandoned baby possum, it leads her to Caleb Young. Caleb would be perfect for Jade! When Jade meets Caleb, it’s hard to argue with her grandmother’s choice. Still, Jade is determined to push Caleb away, but his friendship with Millie concerns her. What if he’s a slick con man trying to take advantage of a sweet old lady? Jade needs to figure Caleb out before he breaks her grandmother’s heart…and Jade’s too!

About the Author

 

 

Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. I also write as Amanda Lee. As Gayle Trent, I write the Daphne Martin Cake Mystery series and the Myrtle Crumb Mystery series. As Amanda Lee, I write the Embroidery Mystery series.

I live in Virginia with my family, which includes my own “Angus” who is not an Irish wolfhound but a Great Pyrenees who provides plenty of inspiration for the character of Mr. O’Ruff. I’m having a blast writing this new series! But, never fear, I’m also working on a new cozy mystery series as well.

Website: http://www.gayleleeson.com http://www.gayletrent.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GayleTrent

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/gayletrent/pins/

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

Purchase Links:

Amazon Kobo Apple

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Posted in Anthology, Mysteries, New Releases

Introducing Plots and Schemes, Vol. 2, a Mystery Anthology by Solstice Publishing

For me, time is the greatest mystery of all. The fact is that we’re dreaming all the time. That’s what really gets me. We have a fathomless lake of unconsciousness just beneath our skulls.

Anthony Hopkins

I’m proud to have two of my mysteries featured in this new mystery anthology by Solstice Publishing. Check out my cozy mystery story, “Murder at the Lavender Lake Library” and my thriller, “Bullet in the Back.” The other stories in this collection are just as intriguing.

A good mystery will keep the reader engaged in the story while they’re also trying to figure out who done it. Solstice Publishing brings you ten mysteries by nine talented authors that will have you panting for more. Enjoy these stories!

eBook: https://bookgoodies.com/a/B07CTTVDTN

Print book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1625267851/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1525388581&sr=1-1&keywords=plots+%26+Schemes+vol.+2

A hunter mistakes a woman for a wild turkey. A tragic accident… or murder?

Who killed library patron, Mr. Small?

Escaping violence doesn’t mean you won’t get away!

To the edge of Heaven and back!

With friends like these…

Two high school teachers become vigilantes.

Surprising mysteries lie behind Walt’s death.

Just another unusual day at Farstone Town.

Come on over to Tough Luck Lounge and relax in a Tiki Bar!

For nearly a hundred years, no one knew the truth.

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/eLDffF_0dJw

Ten tales by nine talented authors will take you through mysteries of all sorts. Join with Susan Lynn Solomon, Debbie De Louise, Johnny Gunn, Jeffery Martin Botzenhart, Jack Adler, E.B. Sullivan, Palvi Sharma, Lois Crockett, and K.C. Sprayberry for Plots & Schemes Vol 2.

Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Cozy Mystery

Author Spotlight of Erin Johnson, Author of Full Moons and Macaroons, from the Spells & Caramels cozy mystery series

I’m pleased to have author Erin Johnson from Tempe Arizona here to speak about her writing and new release, Full Moons and Macaroons that is on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

Welcome, Erin. Please tell us how long you’ve been published and what titles and/or series you write.

I’ve indie published the Spells & Caramels Series which has five books out. They are my first books and I launched the first one in October of last year(2017).

Five books in a year, very nice. Tell us a little bit about them.

Seashells, Spells & Caramels is a cozy witch mystery series filled with baking, magic and murder. There are magical kingdoms hidden within our own world, and Imogen discovers them when she enters an enchanted baking contest. The books follow Imogen and her ragtag group of friends who are quirky, funny and make me wish they were real so I could hang out with them. There’s always a mystery to solve and some big overarching storylines that carry throughout the books, including some fun romances. My next book, Airships, Crypts and Chocolate Chips will be out at the end of June (June 23rd tentatively).

A cozy series about witches, very interesting.

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?

I plan to keep writing, four books a year for now, though I may adjust that in the future. I hope to start a new cozy witch mystery series at the end of the year and to celebrate wrapping up Seashells, Spells & Caramels fairly soon. Though I may extend the series, I’m thinking the seventh book will be the last for now.

Nice.

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

I think anyone who enjoys fantasy will love these, but even those who aren’t big into magic can appreciate the murder mystery and adventure aspects, I think. If you enjoy fun, fast-paced reads, where you come to really care about the characters I think these are for you. Also, I think they’re pretty funny (I make myself laugh) so a sense of humor is good, too.

It sounds like your books have a wide audience.

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

Just get out there and start learning. Connect with other authors—Twitter has been a great place for me to do that, and I learned so much just even from observing what others were doing. I went the self-publishing route, so if you’re interested in that, I just do whatever Chris Fox says. Haha! But seriously, he’s the best, and I also learned so much from Joanna Penn, and especially love her Creative Penn podcast.

Yes. I don’t self publish, but I’ve heard of Joanna Penn — not Chris Fox. I’ll have to check him out.

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

Feeling lost and confused and intimidated by the whole process. It’s been my dream since I was little and I was pretty convinced I couldn’t do it, so that was depressing. That’s why I think connecting with others, and that can just mean learning from them, reading their books and blogs, was so helpful for me. It gave me a path and inspiration from people who were doing what I wanted to be doing.

That’s very true.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I’m not active in any currently, but that’s something I’d like to change.

I’m sure you’ll find the right group when you’re ready.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I love animals and have three dogs. I spend time with friends and family, and love B-movies. I teach and do Pilates. Lately I’ve been on a big Youtube kick. I enjoy going on there to learn random new things, from organizing a capsule wardrobe to using less plastic.

It’s amazing what can be found on Youtube, right? I also love animals, but I’m more a cat person.

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

I just love doing it and running my own business. I have a lot to learn but it’s fun to pour my energy into growing something I love doing. I think my biggest challenge right now is getting myself to spend more time on the business side of writing, in addition to the creative side.

I think that’s a challenge for most authors.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I love that they always turn out well in the end and that I get to write a fun ensemble of characters. I love the puzzle aspect of solving a cozy and mixing that with magic is just the ideal genre.

I agree. Fun and quirky characters are a big part of cozies.

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

This is from Book 5, Full Moons, Dunes & Macaroons:

After we met the other five Fire bakers, Wool gave us an orientation. Recessed shelves lined one entire white plaster wall. Wool gestured at various bottles, translating the labels for us.

“We’ll cast a translation spell, of course,” he assured Maple, and the little line between her brows relaxed.

She pressed a hand to her chest. “Thank goodness—I was feeling a bit worried I’d use long pepper.” She gestured at one glass jar. “When I meant to use regular black pepper.” She nodded at another.

Wool chuckled. “No worries, Maple.” He placed a hand on her shoulder and guided us on to the next wall. Beside me, Wiley sucked in a deep, loud breath through his nose and blew it out. Again, and again. I gave him a side-eye look.

“You okay there?”

He lifted a brow. “Hm? Oh, yeah.” He sniffed in again as we shuffled past one of the large tiled islands that occupied the center of the kitchen.

“Really? Because you seem like you’re about to hyperventilate and pass out.”

He shook his head and blew out a stream of air with an open mouth. “Nah. Just this breathing technique I’ve been reading about. It’s supposed to help with relaxation.”

“Well, you’re not doing it right, because it’s stressing me out.”

He rolled his eyes, but muttered, “Sorry. It’s just this guy—”

“Wool?”

“Yeah, whatever. It’s like he thinks he knows everything. I’ve been baking for plenty of years, buddy, thank you very much, am I right?”

I lifted a brow and blew my bangs out of my eyes. “I had no idea what any of those spices were.”

Wiley’s eyes fell to his shoes. “Yeah. Me neither.”

Wool pointed out the stove, where they kept the pans and baking sheets in the various black cupboards that matched the black-and-white-patterned floor tiles, and showed us to the recessed ovens that they’d cleared to make room for our flames. I spent a few minutes placing Iggy in one and getting him settled in with a supply of split logs. Wool and Maple moved to a corner to speak more.

Iggy looked past my shoulder toward him. “You think he liked my joke? He smiled and I think he chuckled a little.”

I stacked some logs to the side of the oven and lifted a brow. “Who?”

The little flame rolled his eyes. “Wool, of course. Who else?”

I tugged my lips to the side and tried to suppress my smile. “Well, of course, how silly of me. What joke again?”

Iggy grabbed a log and pulled it closer, absentmindedly munching on the end of it. A tendril of steam rose from the wood. “You know, just a minute ago. Someone mentioned the toasts from last night and I said, ‘I make toasts every morning—for the king’s breakfast. He likes his with butter and grape jelly.’ You didn’t hear?”

I chuckled. “Right, that joke. Hilarious.”

Iggy sniffed. “You’re just jealous that Wool likes me better.”

I opened my mouth in an exaggerated O. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say somebody had a crush.”

Iggy dropped the log and looked offended. “Oh, because I can’t just appreciate a suave and cultured man who appreciates me as a friend? Way to act real insecure Imogen, real insecure.”

I placed the last logs inside the oven and raised my palms. “My apologies. I’ll attempt to be less threatened.”

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

They’re quick and fun and I hope you give them a chance. Let me know what you think!

I hope you get lots of reader feedback.

Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc. so readers can connect with you.

Website: https://www.erinjohnsonwrites.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EJohnsonWrites

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Erin-Johnson/e/B0767YTMQB

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

Thanks so much for the interview, Erin, and best of luck with your books and blog tour.

Posted in Cozy Mysteries, New Releases

Spotlight on 39 Winks: A Maggie O’Malley Mystery by Kathleen Valenti

39 Winks (A Maggie O’Malley Mystery)
by Kathleen Valenti

About the Book

39 Winks (A Maggie O’Malley Mystery)

Medical Mystery/Thriller
2nd in Series
Henery Press (May 22, 2018)
Print Length 298 Pages
Digital ASIN: B07B9M3VZ7

Former pharmaceutical researcher Maggie O’Malley is losing sleep. Her boyfriend Constantine’s aunt is a multitasking sleepwalker who, in addition to wandering her stately home, prepares meals, folds laundry and, one winter night, stumbles across her husband with his throat slit.

It’s a rude and gruesome awakening that’s upsetting to Aunt Polly. And interesting to the police.

Maggie and Constantine work to uncover who killed the cosmetic surgery mogul and why. As they dig into the lives of those who knew him best, they discover that the truth is only skin deep and doctoring perception is a treatment with deadly side effects.

A gripping page-turner with more twists than a surgeon’s suture, 39 Winks is a tale of lies, betrayals and greed that will keep you up at night. And looking over your shoulder.

About the Author

When Kathleen Valenti isn’t writing page-turning mysteries that combine humor and suspense, she works as a nationally award-winning advertising copywriter. 39 Winks is the second of the Maggie O’Malley mystery series and follows her debut mystery, Protocol. Kathleen lives in Oregon with her family where she pretends to enjoy running.

Learn more at www.kathleenvalenti.com.

Author Links

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/kathleenvalentiauthor/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/KathyValenti1

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16773270.Kathleen_Valenti

Purchase Links

Amazon B&N Kobo BookBub

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

May 14 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

May 14 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

May 15 – The Editing Pen – CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 16 – The Montana Bookaholic – CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 17 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

May 17 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST

May 18 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

May 19 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

May 20 – Babs Book Bistro – GUEST POST

May 21 – Readeropolis – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

May 22 – T’s Stuff – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

May 23 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

May 24 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST

May 25 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

May 26 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

May 27 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Cozy Mystery

Author Spotlight of Charlie Donlea, Author of Don’t Believe It

I’m pleased to have authorCharlie Donlea here from Chicago, Illinois, to speak about his writing and new novel, Don’t Believe It, which is on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas Into a Good Book.

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.

I broke into publishing in 2016 with my first novel Summit Lake, and followed with The Girl Who Was Taken the next year. Both novels were international bestsellers. Don’t Believe It is my third novel

All of my books have been published by Kensington Publishing.

Prior to Summit Lake, I wrote three full-length manuscripts that were rejected by more than 100 agents and publishers.  

Impressive. You’re an example of the determination that all writers need to succeed.

Tell us a little bit about your books.

Don’t Believe It will be released late May 2018 and can be pre-ordered now. It follows a true crime documentary filmmaker who produces a hit television series that chronicles the details of a gruesome crime from ten years ago. What starts out as a careful retelling of a haunting story turns into a race for the truth, and some chilling discoveries along the way.

Sounds intriguing.

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?

I’ve been on a book-a-year pace for the past three years, with my fourth book due to be released in the summer of 2019. My goal is to keep churning out thrillers at the same pace. I plan to reach that goal by putting my butt in a chair, and my fingers on the keyboard in order to beat my deadlines.

Good plan.

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

Thriller and suspense readers. Readers who like to read fast-paced stories with great twists, and surprise endings.

Sounds like some of the readers I’d like to reach with my standalone mysteries that are not part of my cozy series.

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

Don’t listen to the naysayers. If you concentrate on how difficult it is to break in, you likely won’t. Pick out a few of your favorite (and successful) authors, and study their careers. Remember, before they had any success in publishing they were trying to break in just like you.

For me, that writer is John Grisham. He tells a story of going to a bookstore as an aspiring writer, looking at all the books on the shelves, and wondering what he’d need to do to stand out from all the other writers. I’d say he figured it out pretty well.

Excellent advice. As a librarian, I’m well aware of how long it took many well-known authors to become big names. Your example is inspiring.

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

Lots of rejection. I wrote three manuscripts that were rejected by more than 100 agents and editors before I broke in.

I’ve been querying two unpublished manuscripts right now and haven’t sent those many out yet but have had my share of rejections.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I belong to Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers.

But as far as writing groups, I’ve always been a solo writer. I have never been part of any critique groups.

I’m also a member of International Thriller Writers as well as Sisters-in-Crime. I’d love to join Mystery Writers of America but am not yet eligible. I agree with you that critique groups aren’t for everyone. Our library has a writer’s group, but it focuses on writing lessons rather than critiques.

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

First drafts are my greatest challenge. And I’m sure my writing deadlines are causing cardiovascular issues.

It’s important to pace yourself, although I know that’s hard to do. I work full-time, so I have to limit my writing time but still write every day.

Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc. so readers can connect with you.

https://www.facebook.com/charliedonlea/

https://twitter.com/CharlieDonlea

https://Charliedonlea.com

Thanks so much for the interview, Charlie, and best wishes on the blog tour and your new release.

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