Posted in Writing

A Writer Seeks New Year’s Advice

I hope you all had a nice holiday and are looking forward to the New Year. At this time of year, people reflect on the past year and make plans or resolutions about what they would like to change or start. For writers, this usually concerns their output. I know that many of you who read this blog are authors like I am and that most of you are also readers, if not of my books then of different ones.

As I reflected on my writing this past year and those of the years before, I decided to devote this New Year’s blog to issues that concern me and that I believe concern most authors and to ask for feedback from both writers and readers. I created a survey that I will be sending to the subscribers of my author’s newsletter. If you don’t subscribe and would like to take the survey, please fill out the pop-up form on this website or send me a note that you would like me to subscribe you manually. You can unsubscribe afterwards if you prefer.

The reason for the survey is that I’ve been struggling to balance writing with my marketing work. I’ve been writing a long time but have been publishing steadily since 2015. During those three years, I’ve published 6 books, a novella, and 11 short stories. I also have two completed manuscripts and a half-finished novel. As I publish each book, I find that it’s harder to find time to write another because of the time I need to devote to promoting each one. I known I’m not alone facing this quandary. I’ve interviewed other authors on this blog during their book tours and have found that most cite marketing and promotion as their most difficult and time-consuming tasks related to their writing. Even those who publish with a large publisher or who can afford publicists, still need to promote their work.

Today’s book market is flooded with books, but less people are reading. As a librarian, I know there are still avid readers and those who still enjoy print books, but overall, this seems to be changing in a fast-paced and multi-tasking world. How does an author build an audience and stand out from the crowd or even hope to make back part of the money they spend on promotion and their time writing?

I know there are no simple answers. I’ve been lucky to see my books in print and that I’ve received some nice reviews and comments about them. I appreciate all the help and advice from my publisher, Solstice Publishing, and even though I still hope to find an agent and publish with a larger publisher one day to reach a larger audience, I’m glad that I was the given the opportunity to work with such  professional people.

Despite the fact that the market is overflowing with books, it’s great that there are so many options to publish. I have friends who self publish and know authors who publish traditionally with large publishers. There are also writers like myself who publish with small, Independent online publishers.  These groups all face various challenges.

I use several methods to promote my books. In addition to this blog that also serves as my website, I have a character blog and Facebook character chat group. I’ve appeared on podcasts and guest posted and done interviews on other blogs and on a local TV show. I also have a monthly author newsletter and share my books and author news on Facebook and Twitter. I do all of this in addition to working a full-time job and raising my teenage daughter. How do I fit in writing? It hasn’t been easy, and it’s getting harder — thus the survey to see who I’m reaching and how. What can I cut back without losing my fans?

Like most writers, I don’t write for the money. It would be nice, but it isn’t the main reason. I love to write, but it’s difficult to reach all the people who would enjoy my books. I can’t afford an assistant or publicist. I create all my graphics and content myself and haven’t yet mastered automated tweeting or FB sharing. I don’t have time to be on the computer 24/7 and aren’t young enough to know all the techno tricks and shortcuts.

I haven’t received my December royalty statement yet, but, so far, I’ve made $101.07 in royalties for 2018. That includes my sales from ebooks and paperbacks. That’s only $100 for a year of work, while I’ve spent way more than that on writing association memberships, graphics, book trailers, copies of my own books to sell at author events, free books and Amazon gift cards for contests I’ve sponsored in my newsletter and in other author events, writing supplies, etc. I don’t know what other authors make. However, I’ve read articles that author royalties have declined.

I’d love feedback from other authors as well as readers with any suggestions on changes I can make in 2019 that might increase my readership and help me balance my writing/promoting time. Please also take the survey that will be emailed on January 2 to my newsletter subscribers. Thank you for your support and any advice you can give. It means a lot. Happy New Year!


Posted in New Releases

Spotlight for Blaze by KC Sprayberry

Blaze A Team Omega Thriller is an exciting psychological thriller from best-selling author, K.C. Sprayberry. This particular story has been in my to be completed files for sixteen years. The concept was always a group of Elementals, individuals capable of manipulating earth, wind, water, and air to control wildfires, working together and sometimes against each other. It wasn’t until I noticed a trend of brush fires in California, blazes that seemed almost unnatural, that I came up with the thrilling adventure this tale is now.

Fires ravage California for eight long years.

Into the fray of taming these beasts comes a group of people with the power to control the elements of fire, water, wind, and earth.

Their only duty is to subdue the flames ravaging the state, to assist firefighters, hot shots, and smoke jumpers dedicated to protecting the Golden State.

You can get this exciting book here:


Print Book:

One team stands out among the others, a group of four twenty-three year olds. They came into their abilities while these blazes were at their strongest. Dakota Henderson, Cary Toronto, Fante Cyndall, and Luisa Henderson appear to be ordinary people, doing normal jobs. Yet, when the call out comes, they dive into the belly of the beast to protect those threatened with the flames of destruction.

One of them receives the ability to lead all Elementals, the powers to battle against rogues from their organization. Can this individual put a stop to these wildfires and bring peace back to the embattled state?

About K.C. Sprayberry

Born and raised in Southern California, K.C. Sprayberry is living a dream she’s had since she first discovered the magic of books. She traveled the U.S. and Europe before finally settling in the mountains of Northwest Georgia. She’s been married to her soulmate for a quarter of a century and they enjoy spoiling their grandchildren along with many other activities.

A multi-genre author, K.C. Sprayberry is always on the hunt for new stories. Inspiration strikes at the weirdest times and drives her to grab notebook and pen to jot down her ideas. Those close to her swear nothing or no one is safe if she’s smiling gently in a corner and watching those in the same room interact. Her observations have often given her ideas for her next story, set not only in the South but wherever the characters demand they settle.







Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour

Author Spotlight of Rosalind Barden, author of Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case

I’m pleased to have author Rosalind Barden here from Los Angeles, California here to speak about her writing and new release, Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case that’s on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

Welcome, Rosalind. 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.

“TV Monster,” a children’s picture book I wrote and illustrated, is my first published work in 1988. My latest is “Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case,” 2018, Mystery and Horror LLC. The following is my complete list:

Picture Book:

  • TV MONSTER, Crown, 1988. I both wrote and illustrated this children’s picture book.


  • SPARKY OF BUNKER HILL AND THE COLD KID CASE, Mystery and Horror LLC, 2018. First novel in the SPARKY OF BUNKER HILL Young Adult mystery series
  • AMERICAN WITCH, self-published e-book through Amazon, 2012.

Print Short Story Anthologies:

  • STRANGELY FUNNY V, anthology with my short story, “CHILDREN OF THE DONUT,” Mystery and Horror LLC, 2018.
  • STRANGELY FUNNY III, anthology with my short story, WEREMAN OF A SOUTH PACIFIC ISLAND, Mystery and Horror LLC, 2016.
  • STRANGELY FUNNY 2 1/2, anthology with my short story, THE DEMON OF CITY HALL, Mystery and Horror LLC, 2015.
  • HISTORY AND MYSTERY, OH MY!, anthology with my short story, THE MONKEY’S GHOST, Mystery and Horror LLC, 2015. This anthology won the 2015 FAPA President’s Book Awards Silver Medalist for Short Fiction.
  • MARDI GRAS MURDER, anthology with my short story, INTERNATIONAL VOGUE AND THE PAJAMA FIASCO WEEKEND, Mystery and Horror LLC, 2014.
  • STRANGELY FUNNY, anthology with my short story, INDRICOTHERIUM, Mystery and Horror LLC, 2013.
  • CERN ZOO (Nemonymous 9), anthology with my short story,  LION FRIEND, Megazanthus Press, 2009. British Fantasy Society nominee for 2010 Best Anthology. Ellen Datlow selected LION FRIEND as a 2010 Best Horror of The Year Volume 2 Honorable Mention.
  • STRANGE STORIES OF SAND AND SEA, anthology with my short story, THE PROBLEM WITH WOMEN, Fine Tooth Press, 2007.
  • TWISTED CAT TALES , anthology with my short story, CAT DISCIPLINE, Coscom, 2006.

Webzine Short Stories:

  • RESCUED CHILD, The Dark Krypt, 2006.
  • THE FEMINIST ARGUMENT, Whispers of Wickedness, 2006.
  • PROPER WEAPONRY, Exquisite Death, 2005.
  • DRUMMER BOYS, The Dark Krypt, 2005.
  • FORTY YEARS OF TALKING, Whispers of Wickedness, 2005.
  • MISSY’S HOBBY, Issue # 16 Dark Fire Fiction, 2005.
  • SEA MONSTER, Gothic Revue, 2005.
  • THAT BOY, Gothic Revue, 2005.
  • THE ARRANGEMENT, Camp Horror, 2005.
  • THE GOOD FORTUNE OF BEAVERS, Gothic Revue, 2005.
  • A MOCKERY OF A DOG, Gothic Revue, 2005.
  • HELLO, PAT!, Whispers of Wickedness, 2005
  • SHOWER DEBACLE, Camp Horror, 2005.
  • DIETING DILEMMAS, Gothic Revue, 2004.
  • REGINALD, Volume V Bloodletters, 2004.
  • THE FLORIDA ROOM, Halloween Issue Camp Horror, 2004.
  • UNFASHIONABLE FLOWER, Gothic Revue, 2004.
  • DESICCATED MOUSE, Whispers of Wickedness, 2004.
  • DEVIL’S TAIL ROAD, Camp Horror, 2004.
  • PERFECT FLOORING, Gothic Revue, 2004.
  • REFRIGERATOR, Whispers of Wickedness, 2004.
  • TIGER BEATS COUGAR, Issue #10 Dark Fire Fiction, 2004.
  • A FAILURE Of SELF-HELP, Fools Motley, 2004.
  • DECORATING MOTIFS, Gothic Revue, 2004.
  • DEITY DIFFICULTIES, Issue #9 Dark Fire Fiction, 2004.
  • EXEMPTION, Gothic Revue, 2004.
  • JURY BOX , Gothic Revue, 2004.
  • FENG SHUI: POWER IN ACTION, Gothic Revue, 2004.

Wow! That’s quite impressive. 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.

“Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case,” was recently published by Mystery and Horror LLC. “Sparky” unfolds in downtown Los Angeles’ old Bunker Hill neighborhood in 1932. It takes a wacky look at the noir mystery genre. Though it’s a Young Adult mystery, and the main character, Sparky, is eleven, grownups will enjoy the book’s off-beat sense of fun too. Fingers crossed, “Sparky” will be the first in a series of Young Audit mystery novels. I’m currently writing book two in the “Sparky of Bunker Hill” series, tentatively titled, “Sparky of Bunker Hill and the No Nose Knucklehead.” After that, “Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Monkey Island Murder.”

Originally, I planned to keep Sparky frozen in time. She’d never leave the summer of 1932, but would continue to have adventures while solving mysteries. With prodding from the publisher, I changed this notion and realized it’ll be more interesting to have her grow up through the series. She’s a street kid, so has been out of school for awhile. Going back to school, which happens in “Monkey Island Murder,” will be a real challenge for independent, smart-mouthed Sparky.

Most of what I’ve written have been short stories published in print anthologies or webzines. I have stories in four of the six “Strangely Funny” print anthologies from Mystery and Horror LLC. I’m fortunate this publisher has taken a liking to my strange brand of humor. The most recent anthology, “Strangely Funny V,” came out this year with my short story, “Children of the Donut.” This story was inspired by a weight-loss challenge I participated in last year, and, of course, my mind created a strange, satirical twist on my real-life experience.

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?

In five years, I’d love to work full-time as a writer, instead of only in stolen moments. To have more books in the “Sparky” series published would be wonderful. I’d love to get back into picture books, plus finish all the projects that I don’t have time for now. Writing is a tough business, but my plan is to keep plugging away.

Those are good goals. I think all writers would love to work full-time if they can. It’s my dream retirement job, but it won’t be for quite a few years. In the meantime, like you, I’m plugging away with my Cobble Cove cozy mystery series and other books/stories.

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

Any reader with a sense of humor who is looking for something different will be interested in “Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case.” Readers who enjoy noir films and mysteries will get a kick out of it too. “Sparky” is a Young Adult mystery, but I didn’t write it with that specific market in mind. My humor tends to be on the subversive side, which the grownup readers will appreciate.

Can I make a plug for the return of short stories? In this day and age of no-time and zero attention spans, what is more perfect than short stories? Add some humor and weirdness, and the “Strangely Funny” anthology series is perfect.

I think that many readers are wary of short stories, because they think of the “serious, literary-approved” stories from school days. There’s certainly a readership for those kinds of stories. But the world’s a big place, full of lots of different readers. There’s plenty of room for wacky, strange stories too.

I think that the growth and innovation in the short story is happening now in the genres: horror, sci-fi, fantasy, mystery (and don’t get mad if I left a genre out). I hope readers take a look at the genre short stories and give them a try.

Excellent reply, and I’m glad you included information about short stories. I agree that there’s a lot of room for growth for genre short stories. I’m working on several right now and already have quite a few published in addition to my books.

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

Keep at it. If you feel that one project is stuck, try another one. You can always circle back to the first one. Don’t be afraid to try different types of writing. For example, if your screenplays aren’t getting anywhere, how about short stories? That’s what I did.

Also, just because one publisher rejects your work, that doesn’t mean another won’t think it’s great. Opinions about any creative projects, be they art or prose or music, are all subjective.

That brings me to another piece of advice: be careful about rules on how you’re “supposed” to write. What one person thinks is the only way, someone else feels the opposite. It’s all subjective. So why not follow your own style and write what you want? When you’re a new writer, it can be hard to tell the difference between good, solid feedback (“I couldn’t tell if the ghost or the rabbit caused the real estate crash”) or pompous put-downs (“Stories about ghosts and rabbits causing real estate crashes are not serious literature”).

Follow your gut. If you don’t really like writing a certain way, or in a certain genre, or what’s supposed to be “hot” or “correct,” don’t. You’ll do better if your heart is in it. If you’re given advice, what does your gut say? If you feel depressed and hopeless after, it’s probably a pompous put-down to be ignored. But if you feel that little light bulb in the back of your head saying, “Oh, yeah, maybe I didn’t make clear that the ghost and the rabbit are one in the same,” then it’s probably good feedback.

Your answers are great, Rosalind. I’m currently querying agents for some unpublished manuscripts, and I totally agree with your advice about following or ignoring feedback.

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

It’s tough to get your foot in the publishing door. For my first book, “TV Monster,” a 1988 picture book that I wrote and illustrated, I had no luck submitting to publishers through the mail. At that time, author/illustrators could still go to New York and make appointments to see editors in person. I did that, showed my work, and Crown Publishers was interested. I thought I was on my way, but then I found that getting a second picture book published was even harder than the first.

So, I tried my hand at screenwriting. Despite placing in several competitions and putting a huge amount of work into the screenwriting, I wasn’t able to crack that door open. Then I switched to short stories, which I found work really well for a writer like myself with limited time. And it’s a great way to put to paper all those ideas swimming around in my head, without the commitment of a full-length novel.

That said, in between these other writing adventures, I’m always working on one novel or another. Novels are a bear. Just the logistics of putting all those scenes together, making what’s happening on page one consistent with what’s happening on page 101, that’s tough. For “Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case,” I created a character list so I could keep straight who I named what. It was an invaluable help. After all the hard work is done, there’s nothing more satisfying than actually finishing a novel.

I’m fortunate that I am flexible as a writer, and can write in different formats and different genres. I know that not everyone can do that easily.

That’s true. I also enjoy writing in different formats and genres, although I do prefer my mysteries.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

Sisters in Crime, and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Nice to meet another fellow Sisters in Crime member.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

Writing takes up most of my free time, but when I can, I love to travel. Travel is a great way to jumpstart the mind. I find that ideas will come tumbling into my head during a trip. I think getting out of my usual environment, my usual set of worries and mundane to-dos, subconsciously gives me permission to let my mind wander down interesting paths.

I enjoy traveling, too, although I don’t get much of an opportunity to do so because I work full-time and have a daughter in school.

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

What I like most is the process of creating, when I get lost in a story and time flies by as I’m writing away, or daydreaming about plots and scenes. Toughest challenge is time. That’s the wall I’m always bumping up against. That and having a story rejected. The disappointment never gets better.

And promotion, that’s a huge challenge. I like to hole up and write things, but emerging from the hole to talk about what I write? It’s not easy for me to come up with the “elevator pitch” for my latest story, or explain where I get my ideas from (“I make stuff up,” doesn’t usually satisfy). Again, it eats up time, which I’m always running short on.

Those are very common challenges. Time, rejection, and promotion with time being the biggest for most writers.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

Cozy mysteries typically have more humor, which I like, both as a reader and a writer. I enjoy creating wacky characters and situations, which fit well in cozy mysteries. I think cozy mystery readers are open to more fun. I know I am! Also, I feel that cozy readers enjoy creativity and appreciate authors who take chances.

I agree and that’s why I enjoy writing my cozy mystery series.

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

It’s hard to pick one excerpt because I have so many favorite scenes in “Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case.” Here’s an except from the end of Chapter 10. It includes a short bit about the “bonkers lady.” This is her only appearance in the book, but her brief scene is one of my favorites because it’s strange, humorous, and sad all at the same time. This section also touches on the dynamic between Sparky and Bobby:

            Keeping low so Marigold’s mom wouldn’t see us over the fence line, we took off. We slipped behind another fence into a backyard that was always empty because the lady who lived in the house was bonkers and did nothing but talk to her bathroom mirror all day. We could hear her soft voice but couldn’t see her clearly through the white lace curtains that moved in and out her open bathroom window in the hot breeze: “Oh, yes, Charlie, I’d love to go there. You know how I enjoy dancing the cha-cha.”

            “Sparky, we need to go back to Creepy House,” he said in his low voice.

            “They’ll get mad at me for running around. The goblin told me to stay put.”

            “I know. But they’re really worried. Besides, we have to let them know what we found out. Maybe they’ll have some ideas.”

            “Yeah, maybe. You know, I think Onion Girl might be a girl gangster. I don’t know for sure. But, what else would she be?”

            “Holy Moly. We have to tell them that.”

            “But we can’t tell them everything. Tootsie doesn’t want goblin to know about the City Hall car because then he’d know that she beat up the bad man to find out.”

            Bobby tapped the bug jar on his chin, thinking. “Maybe we can say that bookie told you.”

            “Nah, better leave him out. Tootsie doesn’t like the sounds of him.”

            “No kidding.”

            “Hey, we’ll say we found out about the car at the rooming house or something.”

            Bobby shrugged. “Okay. We have to let Gilbert know somehow. We need his ideas and Tootsie’s.”

            I wasn’t sure if any ideas would come, but I did know I was starving. My stomach decided to growl, proving my point.

            We worked out another game plan. Bobby would walk the streets, bold as a brass button. If any cops stopped him, he still had the bug in the jar, plus the extra ammunition of his for-real library card. When he got close to Creepy House, he’d duck into a back yard a couple houses away and sneak over, being careful not to muss his clothes. “I have to keep my parents in the dark. That’s imperative.”

            Did I tell you Bobby liked to show off his big words?

            And me? More crawling and scrambling. My overalls were still wet from the rain barrel I had to hide in, and they stank so bad, any extra dirt wouldn’t make a difference.          

            Before we parted ways, Bobby leaned in close, like he was going to kiss me. I braced myself. But then he pulled back. “Sparky, you stink bad. Really bad.”

            Thank you, stinky slop-covered overalls.

            He was about to leave again, but then he stopped and said, “What is it with you and Marigold?”

            My heart turned to ice. Oh, no.

Great excerpt. Thank you.

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

“Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case,” grew out of my short story, “The Monkey’s Ghost,” which appears in the short mystery anthology, “History and Mystery, Oh My!,” published by Mystery and Horror LLC in 2015. Some of the characters are the same, though I made Marigold older in “Sparky.” The main characters in “Sparky” are new, except silent screen vamp, Tootsie, who is pulled from another, unpublished short story of mine. That story explains Tootsie’s early, pre-stardom days that are only eluded to in “Sparky.”

For “The Monkey’s Ghost,” I was influenced by a short story from 1902, “A Study in Piracy” by Josephine Dodge Daskam, which was republished by “Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine” in April 1999. I love this story about the wacky misadventures of a group of kids. In Chapter 12 of “Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case,” Sparky explores the cellar of Creepy House and finds, “. . . a brass ball that might be from an old horse harness.”  That’s a bit I boldly borrowed from Ms. Dodge Daskam’s story (hope she doesn’t mind).

Added to this influence, is the strange and sad history of Bunker Hill in downtown Los Angeles. Long before I knew its story, I was drawn to Bunker Hill and still am. Though I’ve lived most of my life in Los Angeles, I didn’t grow up here. I spent my elementary years in a place called Fairview Hill, that rises steeply up from downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Before Bunker Hill was razed and shortened in a burst of wild post-war redevelopment, I suspect it was a lot like my childhood home, Fairview Hill, which is populated with old houses and nooks and crannies fascinating to a kid. I took the feeling of running around Fairview Hill as a kid, and added it to both “The Monkey’s Ghost” and “Sparky.”

I’m sure readers will find that back information interesting.

Thank you so much for the wonderful interview, and best wishes on your new release. I’m sharing your blog tour and giveaway below.

Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case
by Rosalind Barden

About the Book

Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case
Young Adult Mystery
Mystery & Horror, LLC (October 9, 2018)
Paperback: 216 pages
ISBN-10: 1949281027
ISBN-13: 978-1949281026
Digital ASIN: B07H49P46T

Lots of characters have it bad, in my Bunker Hill neighborhood smack dab in the middle of Los Angeles, but I’ve had it rougher than most.
There may be something to this 13th business.

That’s my birthday, and I’m learning to dread seeing it roll around. My mother died on one birthday. The cousins dumped me on my last. This year, 1932, I found a dead kid on a park bench. It’s my eleventh birthday, and the day me, Sparky, ended up on the run, wanted for murder.

If the dead girl wasn’t enough, the dirty newspapers pinned every body in LA on me, and even blamed me for the Great War. I wasn’t even born then. The price on my head got bigger by the day.

It was up to me to find out who killed the girl and why I got framed, before I ended up dangling from the hangman’s rope.

About the Author

Over thirty of Rosalind Barden’s short stories have appeared in print anthologies and webzines, including the U.K.’s acclaimed Whispers of Wickedness. Mystery and Horror, LLC has included her stories in their anthologies History and Mystery, Oh My! (FAPA President’s Book Award Silver Medalist), Mardi Gras Murder, and four of the Strangely Funny series. Ellen Datlow selected her short story “Lion Friend” as a Best Horror of the Year Honorable Mention after it appeared in Cern Zoo, a British Fantasy Society nominee for best anthology, part of DF Lewis’ award-winning Nemonymous anthology series. TV Monster is her print children’s book that she wrote and illustrated. Her satirical literary novel American Witch is available as an e-book. In addition, her scripts, novel manuscripts, and short fiction have placed in numerous competitions, including the Writers’ Digest Screenplay Competition and the Shriekfast Film Festival. She lives in Los Angeles, California. Discover more at

Author Links
Website –
Amazon Author Page –

Purchase Links – AmazonB&N

a Rafflecopter giveaway


December 13 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW

December 13 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

December 14 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

December 14 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 15 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 15 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

December 16 – My Journey Back- The Journey Back – REVIEW

December 17 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST

December 18 – Ruff Drafts – INTERVIEW

December 19 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

December 19 – Varietats – GUEST POST

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Posted in Celebrating Christmas with my Characters, Freebies and Special Offers, holidays

Stuff Your Stockings with Free Mysteries, Romances, and Gift Cards with these Holiday Offers

I hope you’re all having a wonderful holiday season and would like to share some offers with you that I hope will make it a bit brighter.

My holiday story, Celebrating Christmas with my Characters, is free until Monday, December 17. Even if you haven’t read any of my Cobble Cove cozy mysteries, you will enjoy this story that introduces the characters of the first two books and the gifts they give me, their author, as they gather in the library along with Sneaky the Library Cat and Fido, the golden retriever.

My current Cobble Cove mystery, Love on the Rocks, is on blog tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours until Wednesday, December 19. This tour includes a giveaway of a free eBook and a $10 Amazon gift card.

Follow the tour and enter the giveaway here.

Last, but not least, I’m giving away 2 copies each of my paranormal romance, Cloudy Rainbow, and my romantic comedy novella, When Jack Trumps Ace, in Marie Lavender’s huge holiday romance giveaway on her I Love Romance blog.

Happy holidays!

Posted in Cozy Mysteries, New Releases

Spotlight for Eggs on Ice, a Cackleberry Club Mystery by Laura Childs

Eggs on Ice (A Cackleberry Club Mystery)
by Laura Childs

About the Book

Eggs on Ice (A Cackleberry Club Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
8th in Series
Berkley (December 4, 2018)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 0425281728
ISBN-13: 978-0425281727
Kindle ASIN: B07BD23MV9

Some say that casting crusty attorney Allen Sharpe as Scrooge in the Kindred Players production of “A Christmas Carol” is just playing to type. He’s not the most beloved man in town. In fact, you’d have a dickens of a time finding someone who liked him. Still it’s a shock when the Ghost of Christmas Past stabs him during the first rehearsal. Suzanne, co-owner of the Cackleberry Club café, Kindred’s favorite combination diner, craft store and bookshop, chases the murderer out of the building but loses him in the alley.

As the days pass the list of suspects grows longer. Is it the disgruntled partner? The former secretary whom Sharpe sexually harrassed? Or is it fellow owner of the Cackleberry Club, Toni’s almost ex-husband, Junior? The women of the Cackleberry Club are determined to find the killer before he can add another victim to his Christmas list.

About the Author

laura childs from facebook

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 fundraising 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.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Celebrating Christmas with my Characters, Freebies and Special Offers, holidays, Love on the Rocks, Written in Stone

FREE HOLIDAY STORY – December 13-17

I’m gifting my readers with a free holiday story featuring the Cobble Cove characters. You can also win an eBook and a $10 Amazon gift card by following my blog tour.Get your free story here:

The characters from Debbie De Louise’s Cobble Cove cozy mysteries gather in the Cobble Cove library to celebrate the holidays. Each character receives a gift from the author, and Alicia, the main character, reads some excerpts from the first and second books, A Stone’s Throw and Between a Rock and a Hard Place.

Check out the whole series and my other books and stories on my Amazon Author Page 

If you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, all my eBooks are free.

Win a Free eBook of my latest Cobble Cove mystery, Love on the Rocks, and a $10 Amazon gift card by entering the giveaway contest on my blog tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. Follow the tour here:

Posted in Bookblast, Cozy Mysteries

Book Blast: Darkest Before the Dawn, a Sgt. Windflower Mystery, by Mike Martin

Darkest Before the Dawn (Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series)
by Mike Martin

About the Book

Darkest Before the Dawn (Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series)
Supernatural Suspense Mystery
7th in Series
Ottawa Press and Publishing (September 27, 2018)
Paperback: 266 pages
ISBN-10: 198843713X
ISBN-13: 978-1988437132

Darkest Before The Dawn is the latest adventure in the Sgt. Winston Windflower mystery series, the popular Maritime tales about a Mountie who finds himself with a new family and a new life in tiny Grand Bank, Newfoundland. Ghosts, mysterious deaths, and a new, perplexing character confront Windflower, Tizzard and the other police officers in Grand Bank as they unearth secrets that have been lying hidden in the sleepy hamlet for decades. A fast-moving mystery, Darkest Before The Dawn is also a story of love, loss and learning how to grow old gracefully; a tale of family, community and looking after each other, of not giving up hope, just before the dawn.

About the Author

Mike Martin was born in Newfoundland on the East Coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a longtime freelance writer and his articles and essays have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online across Canada as well as in the United States and New Zealand. He is the author of Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People and has written a number of short stories that have published in various publications including Canadian Stories and Downhome magazine.

The Walker on the Cape was his first full fiction book and the premiere of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. Other books in the series include The Body on the T, Beneath the Surface, A Twist of Fortune and A Long Ways from Home.

A Long Ways from Home was shortlisted for the 2017 Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award as the best light mystery of the year. A Tangled Web is the newest book in the series.

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Posted in Cozy Mysteries, New Releases

Spotlight for NC-17: A Maizie Albright Star Detective Mystery, by Larissa Reinhart

NC-17 (Maizie Albright Star Detective)
by Larissa Reinhart

About the Book

NC-17 (Maizie Albright Star Detective)
Cozy Mystery/Women’s Detective Fiction
3rd in Series
Past Perfect Press (December 4, 2018)
Paperback, 370 pages
ISBN13 – 9781732351660
Digital ASIN: B07HFVV7V7


As an ex-star of a hit teen detective show, Maizie Albright gets the youth demographic. Or so she thought. Now that she’s adulting, today’s kids make Maizie feel out of date. At least the youth she meets while doing community service at Black Pine’s exclusive healing resort, the Wellspring Center. When these teens aren’t vlogging their attempts to track down Big Foot, they’re trying to prove the Center is up to no good. Starting with the disappearance and possible murder of their not-as-young commander. A murder the police find as likely as Big Foot.

Maizie has her own suspicions about the new celebrity retreat. Particularly when she learns her ex-fiancé has been hired to run the Center. Kind of an issue when she thought Oliver was in prison. Kind of an issue when Nash, the man of her dreams, is out of commission.

Wait, not man of her dreams.
Boss of her fantasies. Professionally speaking, of course.

While Maizie’s helping adolescent Youtubers detect a disappearance, she’s wrangling her mother’s wedding, assuaging an overzealous probation officer, and struggling to keep Nash Security Solutions solvent. Conspiracy theories collide with real-life catastrophes beginning with murder and possibly ending with Maizie’s life.

About the Author

Wall Street Journal bestselling and award-winning author, Larissa Reinhart writes humorous mysteries and romantic comedies including the critically acclaimed Maizie Albright Star Detective, Cherry Tucker Mystery, and Finley Goodhart Crime Caper series. Her works have been chosen as book club picks by Woman’s World Magazine and Hot Mystery Reviews.

Larissa’s family and dog, Biscuit, had been living in Japan, but once again call Georgia home. See them on HGTV’s House Hunters International “Living for the Weekend in Nagoya” episode. Visit her website,, and join her newsletter for a free short story.

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Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour

Author Spotlight of Jodi Rath, Author of Pineapple Upside Down Murder, a Cast Iron Skillet Mystery

I’m pleased to have author Jodi Rath from Ohio here to speak about her writing and new release, Pineapple Upside Down Murder that’s on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

Welcome, Jodi. 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.

This is my first fictional piece I’ve published. I self-published Pineapple Upside Down Murder through my company MYS ED llc. The series is The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series.

Congratulations. Tell us a little bit about the book and any upcoming releases or your current work-in-progress.

Pineapple Upside Down Murder book one in The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series was just released on 11/23/18.  Book two in the series, Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Murder, comes out 6/21/19. My grandma gave me her 70-year-old cast iron skillet for Christmas and that gave me the idea to write this series. She has only ever made pineapple upside down cake in this skillet, thus the title for book one.

Very interesting. Great idea.

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 series has fourteen books and I plan to write two to three books per year in the series as well as write some flash fiction, short stories, and 3-minute mysteries that tie into the series and give them away for free on my monthly newsletter.

That’s very ambitious. I wish you luck.

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

In advertising the book as a preorder, I’ve found that Canadians are the #1 group of people who have bought the book with Mexico and Spain coming in second and third then the U.S. then the U.K.  I’ve also found that many teens are interested in the book. The characters ages range from kids to 70-year old villagers so the age range is expansive.

You’ve certainly done your research. I’m sure it will be helpful in marketing your work.

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

Don’t give up! I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was five years old playing “magazine” with my dolls and stuffed animals. I’m 45 now, so it only took me 40 years of practice and patience to get here!

I have a similar story. It’s very important for writers to persevere.

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

I was in education for 20 years as a high school English teacher. I still work in higher education from home now working for local universities teaching online courses. My biggest struggle was loving teaching but having little time to write. I know everyone thinks teachers get so many days off, but my job was a big responsibility and I took it seriously! So, I was drained every weekend. During summer months, I had to do PD courses and I read many journals and books to help improve my lessons and teaching. That left little time to write.

Writing time is certainly a big challenge when you work full-time. As a librarian, I also find it difficult to spend as much time as I’d like on my writing.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I belong to MWA, SinC, Guppies, RWA, ALLI, IBPA, SCBWI, NCTE, and ASCD. The last two are educational affiliations that I write for. I write both fiction and nonfiction.

Great. As you know, I’m a fellow Sinc and Guppies member.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

Cats! My husband and I have eight cats that are our fur babies. We are the crazy cat people. I sketch using charcoal and paint using acrylics. I also do Ken-Po which is a combination of kickboxing and martial arts.

A fellow cat lover! You beat me by five cats, but I just added two kittens to my household (lost one furboy last year). Your painting and martial arts hobby are diversified interests.

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

I love brainstorming the characters and the setting. My series has a map of the fictional village, Leavensport, Ohio.  It was fun coming up with the names of places in the village and mapping out character traits. I also loved creating the theme for the entire fourteen books. Each book has its own plot but the fourteen books in the series has a few continuing working themes that will come to a resolution in the last book.

I love all parts of being an indie writer because it gives me control over what I’m doing. I’ve learned so much from drafting to revising to marketing to advertising campaigns to formatting to covers to the end product.

Formatting was the most difficult thing for me to learn. It’s wonderful to make the final product look professional but for some reason my brain struggled to comprehend how to do all the headings and add images and spacing for each file I had to create. I don’t think many readers think about the amount of work and time that go into just formatting so the book looks right on the devices the reader uses. I know I never gave it a thought.

Excellent. I also love coming up with the names for the places in my Cobble Cove cozy mystery series. If you notice, I also use “stones” and “rocks” in my titles like you use food, but there’s plenty of food in the Cobble Cove books, too. Since I publish with Solstice Publishing, I don’t do my own formatting, so I don’t have any experience with that, but I imagine it must take time to learn.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I love adding humor into my writing and I’ve always been a huge mystery fan. So, writing cozies is a natural fit for me because it allows me to do both.

Very true.

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

Click here for a peek at chapter one of Pineapple Upside Down Murder

Thanks for sharing that.

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

Every cover of my book will have a picture of one of my cats on it. Book one has D.J. Lynn Rath (yes they have middle names! LOL). She is our 19 year old kitty. Book two has Stewart Michael Rath ,our one-eyed kitty. Book three will have Bobbi Jo Rath our bobtail kitty.

Awww. I would love to have my cats on my covers. As of now, I’ve featured two cats on my books, but they were images of the characters included.

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

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Thanks for the interview, Jodi, and best wishes on your book and upcoming ones in your series. I’m also sharing some info about your blog tour.

Pineapple Upside Down Murder (The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series)
by Jodi Rath

About the Book

Pineapple Upside Down Murder (The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
MYS ED llc (November 23, 2018)
Print Length: 130 pages

Introducing Jolie Tucker, an introverted yet passionate restaurant co-owner of Cast Iron Creations, who, at her best friend Ava’s request, steps out of her comfort zone which leads her into the shade of a killer in the small, cozy village of Leavensport, Ohio. The victim is the villages beloved Ellie Siler who runs the village sweet spot, Chocolate Capers. Jolie finds her grandma Opal is a prime suspect and goes on a search for answers only to find out that her families secret recipes may not belong to the Tucker family at all. Jolie’s job, family, and livelihood are all on the line. The answers are assuredly lethal.

About the Author

Moving into her second decade working in education, Jodi Rath has decided to begin a life of crime in her The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series. Her passion for both mysteries and education led her to combine the two to create her business MYS ED, where she splits her time between working as an adjunct for Ohio teachers and creating mischief in her fictional writing. She currently resides in a small, cozy village in Ohio with her husband and her seven cats.

Author Links: Webpage: FB: FB Author Page: Author Jodi Rath Twitter @jodirath

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Posted in Bookblast, Cozy Mysteries

Book Blast: Tandem Demise, A Cycle Path Mystery by Duffy Brown

Tandem Demise: A Cycle Path Mystery
by Duffy Brown

About the Book

Tandem Demise: A Cycle Path Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Independently Published (October 28, 2018)
Paperback: 298 pages
ISBN-10: 1729374786
ISBN-13: 978-1729374788
Kindle ASIN: B07JRB373X

Smugglers on the hunt, a police chief on the run, lost loot and a dead wedding planner have the Mackinac Island regulars riding in circles

After solving two murders, bike shop owner Evie Bloomfield thought life on Mackinac Island would settle into boredom until she finds out Nate Sutter, island police chief and once-upon-a-time under cover cop is on the run. Some badass guys from Nate’s Detroit days think he stole money from them in a champagne smuggling operation and now they’re headed to the island to get their loot. Evie is determined to help Nate because he’s a good cop, Nate is determined to keep interfering Evie and island locals out of harms way, and the crooks are determined to get their money.

To add to the island’s problems there’s a dead guy on the dock and the new wedding planner is more interested in playing bedroom bingo than ordering bridal bouquets.
With the help of Fiona, Evie’s BFF and local newspaper editor, Evie is determined to prove Nate innocent, figure out how champagne smuggling, bodies on the dock and a bad wedding planner are tied together and not wind up taking a long walk off a short pier herself.

About the Author

Duffy Brown loves anything with a mystery. While others girls dreamed of dating Brad Pitt, Duffy longed to take Sherlock Holmes to the prom. She is a National Bestselling author and now conjures up who-done-it stories of her very own. She has two series the Consignment Shop Mysteries set in Savannah along with rescue pup Bruce Willis and the Cycle Path Mysteries set on Mackinac Island with judgmental cats Cleveland and Bambino.

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