Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for the Cha-Cha Babes of Pelican Way by Frances Metzman


IS THERE LITTLE COMMUNICATION IN YOUR ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP? by Frances Metzman

Does your partner listen attentively to what you say? Does he/she remember important issues you discussed the day after? Do they ask pertinent questions about your issues? Do they ask how they can be of help or if they should keep a distance? If you say you want input, do you get it or a shrug and waning attention. It’s important to watch and see if your partner tends to say no to every request you make without seeming to mull it over or ask more questions about it.

How about this important issue — does he/she do their domestic tasks without nagging to get them done? If you don’t live together and you make dinner does your romantic interest help with cleanup? Is that person watching sports or favorite TV programs more than talking to you? If more time is spent with buddies or girlfriends as a regular habit rather than with you, you might want to deal with that. If you complain do you get called a nag or too controlling and seething anger?

It’s important to introduce your partner, after a reasonable amount of time, to your family. Are they reluctant or do it grudgingly? If family is important to you it’s possibly a deep conflicting situation. When you are out with your lover’s friends and it’s all comfortable that’s fine, but if out with your friends and tensions rise, then ask why. If your answer is there’s no common ground or some other issue and no compromise in sight, look very carefully at these red flags. Does your partner demand that you fit into a traditional gender role without any leeway for an equal exchange and it disturbs you? Time to question the relationship.

A good way to avoid a lot of misconceptions is that once you feel committed to a person try to set up, verbally or written, with both parties, what likes and dislikes you both have. If that person is unwilling to make any compromises and it’s important to you, it might spell trouble ahead. It’s very important to know upfront how each of you functions, feels, thinks and behaves. Know what you can negotiate and what you can’t. Listen carefully to your partner and expect the same.

And if you decide to keep all problems under wraps until you get married, thinking you can make changes then? Think again. Good chance you will not change that person and it is unfair to spring it on them after signing that certificate when you have tolerated annoying habits during the courtship. Use your brain as well as your heart to clear a path to a great relationship.

Check out the author’s blog tour and rafflecopter giveaway.

The Cha-Cha Babes of Pelican Way
by Frances Metzman

About the Book

The Cha-Cha Babes of Pelican Way
Cozy Mystery
Wild River Consulting & Publishing, LLC (June 21, 2018)
Paperback: 506 pages
ISBN-10: 9781941948064
ISBN-13: 978-1941948064
Digital ASIN: B07CV2GP9Z

Would you move a dead body for the sake of your best friend? Ask cha-cha babe Celia Ewing, a sixty-five-year-old widow who has just settled into Boca Pelicano Palms, the Florida retirement community of her dreams. When Celia’s best friend Marcy calls her and their friend Deb for help in the middle of the night, they find a naked Marcy trapped under the body of her beau, the community’s board president, Melvin. And he’s dead. The three friends secretly move Melvin back to his apartment setting off a chain of events that will threaten to tear their community apart and send them to jail. Melvin is one of a number of residents who are dying under suspicious circumstances; and soon Celia becomes an amateur sleuth in an attempt to identify what she suspects is a serial murderer.

Filled with humorous, witty observations about retirement communities, the realities of getting older, and the promise of new love, the Cha-Cha Babes of Pelican Way celebrates the deep bonds of female friendships, the desire for companionship at any age, and shows us that it’s never too late to learn how to cha-cha through life.

About the Author

Frances Metzman, a graduate of Moore College of Art and a Masters degree from the University of Pennsylvania, co-authored a novel, Ugly Cookies, by Pella Press. Her short story collection, The Hungry Heart: Stories, was published by Wilderness House Press, February 1, 2012. In 2009 she won a nomination for a Dzanc Books award, “Best of the Web.” In addition to publishing numerous (25) short stories in various literary journals, she has a novel published by Wild River Books, 2018, The Cha-Cha Babes of Pelican Way. Her teaching credits include Adjunct professor at Rosemont College to graduate school, Temple University at OLLI (creative writing and memoir). Other writing workshops, memoir/creative writing, have been given at universities and colleges such as Bryn Mawr, Penn State, Delaware, University of Pennsylvania, Widener, etc. As fiction editor for a literary journal, Schuylkill Valley Journal, she selects and edits the submissions. Many articles, essays, and stories she writes deal with aspects of society that influences relationships for all ages, including the mature set (sometimes tongue in cheek). Many articles are dedicated to improving attitudes toward the mature folks and address myths about “age appropriate” thinking.

Author Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/FranWrites

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/FranMetzmanWrittenWork/

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5871334.Frances_Metzman

FrancesMetzman.com

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKobo

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

January 7 – Books, Dreams, Life – SPOTLIGHT

January 7 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 8 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 8 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

January 9 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

January 9 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

January 10 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

January 11 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

January 12 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 13 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

January 13 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 14 – Handcrafted Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 15 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

January 16 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST

January 17 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 18 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 19 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW

January 20 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER GUEST POST

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Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour

Author Spotlight of James J. Cudney, Author of Academic Curveball, a Braxton Campus Mystery

I’m pleased to have author James J. Cudney from New York City here to speak about his writing and new release, Academic Curevall that’s on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book. He’s asked me to call him Jay because he’s actually the fourth in a direct line with his name.

Nice to meet you, Jay. I’m a Long Islander, so we don’t live too far from one another. 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 debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, a contemporary family drama about a woman who loses her husband in a car accident and learns a huge secret about one of their 5 adult sons, was published on October 8th, 2017. Over the last 15 months, I’ve published another 3 books all with Creativia Publishing. My second book, Father Figure, is also a contemporary drama and was published in April 2018. It alternates perspectives and stories between two college-aged girls who struggle through life over two different decades. Readers have to figure out what their connection is, but more importantly, which of them will survive in the face of major trauma. My third and fourth books are the Braxton Campus cozy mystery series: Academic Curveball (1) and Broken Heart Attack (2) both published in the fall of 2018.

I haven’t self-published anything and am happy with Creativia. We shall see what the future holds for us!

Sounds great. I’ve never heard of Creativia before. I publish with Solstice Publishing and have been happy with them, but I’m always interested in hearing about authors’ experience with other publishers.

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.

Stand-Alone Books

Watching Glass Shatter (October 2017)

Father Figure (April 2018)

 Braxton Campus Mysteries

Academic Curveball – #1 (October 2018)

Broken Heart Attack – #2 (November 2018)

Flower Power Trip – #3 (Early 2019)

Flower Power Trip, the third in the series, picks up from the cliffhanger dropped at the end of the second book, with Ursula and the secret she shares with Kellan. How will he help his new boss while hoping he doesn’t cause problems with his other boss, Myriam, who just so happens to be Ursula’s wife! Not only that… Kellan’s brother, Gabriel, has been found and has a secret of his own that only Kellan knows. Will he keep it or share the truth with the rest of their family? And let’s not forget about what Kellan’s former mother-in-law called to tell him at the very end of Broken Heart Attack. If you thought the cliffhanger in book 1 was a doozy, just wait until you see what happens next.

These sound 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 want to write everything forever. Is that achievable? No, unfortunately, so I have to figure out the best order. My 2019 goal is to write 2 more books in the Braxton Mysteries and 1 or 2 other stand-alone novels… well sort of… I am planning a sequel to my debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, where the Glass family hopes they can recover from the fallout in the first book. But they won’t. What happens in book two will be far worse. I do like to torture my characters, don’t I? The 4th book is a collection of related stories written in a unique format and with a varied approach on genres.

My hope is to continue this pattern for a few years… a few cozies each year and a stand-alone family drama. I have 4 book plots fully fleshed with outlines, but I never know which one will be the most attractive to begin writing at the time. As a writer, my goals are fairly simple – to create characters and plots people connect with and want to share with others. I tend to prefer book series because I can invest in settings and characters, but it also helps build a larger readership. To achieve these goals, besides writing, I’m also an avid reader. I tend to read 3 books per week: usually 1 cozy, 1 contemporary drama, and 1 other. The other ranges from science-fiction to YA and everything in between, so I can stay current on trends but also connected to newer readers.

I, too, like to vary my writing and reading. In addition to my Cobble Cove mystery series, I write standalone mysteries and hope to start another new series soon.

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

I’m most definitely a plot writer. Readers who enjoy my books need to thirst for clever plots, cliffhangers, surprise twists, and long-term relationships / secrets. From there, it’s about creating characters who feel thoroughly real. I want it to seem as though (s)he is sitting next to you telling you the story. I’m also a relatable writer. What I mean by that is I tell stories and focus on situations that we’ve either experienced or can understand. To me, my book is a conversation with the reader. I picture myself reading it aloud while the reader sees and hears it happening between us in the room. Sometimes I go overboard with descriptions. Sometimes I get a little formal in dialog. But this is who I am as a person in reality, so it is how I write, too. There is always depth, rarely fluff. I like fluff, but I’m not good at writing it. I like multi-dimensional, complex characters.

Sounds like you offer a reader quite an immersive experience.

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

Authors have to make decisions. Do they want money and fame, or do they want to tell stories to make people feel various emotions? You can do both, but it’s not easy to achieve. If you set your mind only to achieve both, you will struggle and have a difficult life. If you can accept it, then go for it. If you cannot, then find a compromise in the beginning. Is writing your only source of income, or do you have your bills and expenses covered in other ways (partner, spouse, family, etc.)? Once you know these parameters, then decide how much you want to market and advertise for yourself. You can choose to self-publish or find a smaller press without an agent. You can wait for the big break and focus only on finding the agent. There are dozens of ways to make it happen, but you need to understand the impact and responsibilities associated with each one. You need to know what kind of a person you are and what your strengths are before you choose a specific path to get there.

Good advice.

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

I knew I wanted to publish a few books but that I had no contacts in the industry. While I was writing, I began blogging. I posted reviews of every book I read in the last ten years that I could remember. I built up a readership (a few hundred people at first) just so I could test the waters. I connected with some of them more than others and felt comfortable sharing bits and pieces of my story. After 6 months, I suddenly had a thousand followers. One thing that is critical for bloggers or writers to understand – you can’t just put content out there and expect people to follow. It’s not like that saying, “Build it, and (s)he will come.” You need to interact with others. LIKE their content. Comment on their content. Share their content. Chat with them as you would with someone you met in a bar, coffee shop, club, work, or park. Build your connections, develop relationships. Then, when you have a book to publish, you might have a few people who like your style and are willing to help promote for you.

It’s rare success happens quickly for new writers. It takes years in most cases depending on your definition of success. I’d love to be on all the TV shows, best seller lists, and top viral or digital sites, but I’m not there – YET! In the meantime, I’m thrilled with all the connections (close to 7k at this point) I’ve made and new authors and readers I get to know. It took me a while to figure out the balance of writing, editing, marketing, reading, and networking. And it isn’t always the same split, but at least I now understand how it works and can adjust my scheduled when needed. That’s critical for new authors looking to make some sort of splash or find some sort of break.

I agree that balancing all the parts of writing, publishing, and promoting is a challenge for authors.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I do not. I had to decide what I had time for and didn’t have time for. There are only so many hours in the day. I have a group of wonderful beta readers who help me with my books, and I beta read for a few folks I’ve come to know through their blogs. It provides me the same sort of experience as a writing group without a formal date, time, and place to meet.

Writing groups aren’t for everyone, and beta readers are very helpful.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

Genealogy! I love to find new ancestors. I’ve got ~3k at this point and traced most of my roots back to Germany, England, Scotland and Ireland. I love to cook. I have a young shiba inu dog, Baxter, who takes up a lot of my time. And I like to travel and read a lot.

Nice hobbies. I can see how Genealogy would be an interest with so many generations of James Cudney’s.

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

I don’t like the sales stuff. Even in business, I’ve never been the kind of guy to push a product or company. I prefer to lay out the pros and cons, then let the true owner or decision-maker decide. As an author, that doesn’t work. I can’t send a list of books to readers saying what’s good and bad about mine and others… so I post about my book, share when it’s free or discounted, put a call out for beta or ARC readers, etc. I try not to email directly to ask someone to read it. My toughest challenge is the in-person stuff. I’m fantastic at finding new avenues through social media or digital technology. But I can’t figure out the best way to get set up with book signings, store connections, or awards and magazines. I probably need help in that realm when I’m ready to spend more marketing dollars on that area of focus.

Many authors find different areas of marketing challenging.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

The readers are an amazing group of people. There are so many styles and themes, it’s a prolific place to be. I love writing about a consistent group of characters but revealing new details about the same setting or supporting cast – evolving with each successive book. The mystery aspect is also such a fun adventure. I can create bad characters and punish them for things they’ve done without actually doing anything more than writing a cruel death scene. (Think of all those people who bug us, and we wish we could give them a taste of their own medicine!). Coming up with clever murder plots or weapons, building fake alibis, finding a balance between witty and serious… it’s all a writer’s dream.

Writing cozies is definitely as fun as reading them.

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

I’m beyond grateful for your help and support. It’s a long and difficult process for writers to become successful within a market already flooded by talented authors. When readers take personal time to share their experiences through reviews, blog posts, marketing, and social media, it truly makes a difference. I do this for writers myself, so I understand what it takes. I read and review 3 books each week and try to promote them as much as I can so I can help their sales and careers. Thank you for all you do to help us in return.

It’s always great to meet a fellow author who promotes other authors. Thanks so much for the interview, Jay, and I’m sharing the info on your blog tour and rafflecopter below. Good luck with your series and future books.

Academic Curveball (Braxton Campus Mysteries)
by James J. Cudney

About the Book


Academic Curveball (Braxton Campus Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Independently Published (October 14, 2018)
Paperback: 281 pages
ISBN-10: 172877876X
ISBN-13: 978-1728778761
Digital ASIN: B07HMYSQFH

When Kellan Ayrwick returns home for his father’s retirement, he finds a dead body in Diamond Hall’s stairwell.

Unfortunately, Kellan has a connection to the victim, and so do several members of his family. Soon after, the college’s athletic program receives mysterious donations, a nasty blog denounces his father and someone attempts to change students’ grades.

Someone is playing games on campus, but none of the facts add up.

With the help of his eccentric and trouble-making nana, Kellan tries to stay out of the sheriff’s way. But who is behind the murder?

About the Author

James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College with a degree in English literature. I spent fifteen years building a technology career in the retail, sports, media, and entertainment industries. I enjoyed my job, but a passion for books and stories had been missing for far too long. I’m a voracious reader in my favorite genres (thriller, suspense, contemporary, mystery, and historical fiction), as books transport me to a different world where I can immerse myself in so many fantastic cultures and places. I’m an avid genealogist who hopes to visit all the German, Scottish, Irish, and British villages my ancestors emigrated from in the 18th and 19th centuries. I frequently blog and publish book reviews on everything I read at ThisIsMyTruthNow via WordPress.

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind, and my body. I decided to pursue my passion by dusting off the creativity inside my head and drafting outlines for several novels. I quickly realized I was back in my element growing happier and more excited with life each day. My goal in writing is to connect with readers who want to be part of great stories and who enjoy interacting with authors. To get a strong picture of who I am, check out my author website or my blog. It’s full of humor and eccentricity, sharing connections with everyone I follow—all in the hope of building a network of friends across the world.

When I completed the first book, Watching Glass Shatter, I knew I’d stumbled upon my passion again, suddenly dreaming up characters, plots, and settings all day long. I chose my second novel, Father Figure, through a poll on my blog where I let everyone vote for their favorite plot and character summaries. It is with my third book, Academic Curveball,, the first in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, where I immersed myself in a college campus full of so much activity, I could hardly stop thinking about new murder scenes or character relationships to finish writing the current story. Come join in the fun!

List of Books & Blog

Watching Glass Shatter (October 2017)

Father Figure (April 2018)

Braxton Campus Mysteries

Academic Curveball – #1 (October 2018)

Broken Heart Attack – #2 (November 2018)

Flower Power Trip – #3 (Early 2019)

Websites & Blog

Website: https://jamesjcudney.com

Blog: https://thisismytruthnow.com

Social Media Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/James-J.-Cudney/e/B076B6PB3M/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamescudney4

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

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

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/james-j-cudney

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamescudney4

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jamescudney4

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamescudney4

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jamescudney4

Purchase Links

Amazon

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ACADEMIC CURVEBALL TOUR PARTICIPANTS

January 7 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST

January 7 – Mythical Books – REVIEW

January 7 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT

January 8 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

January 8 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

January 9 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

January 9 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 9 – Bobo’s Book Bank – SPOTLIGHT

January 10 – Jane Reads – REVIEW

January 10 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

January 11 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 12 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW

January 12 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

January 13 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

January 14 – Carla Loves To Read – CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 14 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

January 15 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT

January 15 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 15 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 16 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

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Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Interview, Mysteries

Author Spotlight of Cathy Ace

I’m pleased to have author Cathy Ace here from just outside Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Cathy was born and raised in Swansea, South Wales and migrated to Canada from the UK when she was 40. She’shere to speak about her writing and new release, The Wrong Boy that’s on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

Hi, Debbie. Thanks for having me along today!

My pleasure, Cathy. 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 novel was published in 2012. THE CORPSE WITH THE SILVER TONGUE was the first in the Cait Morgan Mysteries – there are now eight books in that series (TouchWood Editons). They feature a Welsh Canadian professor of criminal psychology who travels the world solving “closed circle” mysteries (contemporary, but very much like Agatha Christie, in that they are true “traditional” mysteries). I also write the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries (Severn House Publishing), which feature four female professional PIs who run their business out of a Welsh stately home. They’re cozier than the Cait Morgan Mysteries. I have two collections which are self-published (Four Tails Publishing) – one is a collection of short stories, the other a collection of novellas. These two volumes contain the earliest tales about both Cait Morgan and the WISE women, and also about DI Evan Glover…who appears in my forthcoming novel THE WRONG BOY, which was published on January 9th 2019.

Congratulations! That’s quite a nice publishing record. Your mysteries sound 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 hope to keep writing the two series across which I have already 12 books published, but also want to be able to work on standalones, which will be darker – though not gritty. In other words, I intend to keep my head down, and work hard!

Good luck with those goals. I also hope to start a new cozy series and keep writing standalones. I’d also like to publish some short story collections.

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

My Cait Morgan Mysteries attract readers who enjoy a true traditional novel, whilst the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries attract those who enjoy tea and cakes, a bit of gossip and real British mysteries. THE WRONG BOY will appeal to those who enjoy a thrilling tale of suspense with layers of deceit and old lies being ripped away…the effects of which impact a small community in Wales, and one family of three women in particular.

A widespread audience.

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

Read! Not books about how to write, or about how to get published, but award-winning books in the genre and sub-genre that appeal to you. You need to know what’s good (and bad) out there to learn from the best and avoid the worst.

Excellent advice. As a librarian, I have access to a large number of books and try to read as much as time permits.

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

I was very fortunate – after a career of writing professionally (in advertising and public relations) I self-published two collections of stories mailed them to a publisher, who asked me to submit a manuscript for one of the characters – and that was published. Right background, right place, right proposition, right time!

It all lined up for you. What a great story, excuse the pun.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

No, writing is – for me – a solitary undertaking.

I can understand that. Some writers find groups helpful. Others, like you, prefer to go it alone.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I’m an avid gardener. Lucky enough to live on five acres, my husband and I actively garden about three of those acres. I love it!

Nice. A good way of getting healthy exercise and fresh air away from the computer.

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

Easy….I love writing a first draft, and I hate editing!

Editing is a challenge, but I find promotion an even bigger one. First drafts are fun and a great way to flex the creative muscles.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I have to admit that whilst my WISE series is cozy, my Cait Morgan and DI Glover series are not and, for me, I enjoy writing in a mix of styles.

I feel the same way. I’ve written other genres but prefer mysteries of different types.

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

These are the opening two pages of THE WRONG BOY.

John Watkins hooked open the bedroom curtains and wiped the frost-feathered window with his pajama sleeve. ‘I thought that’s what I could see. Somebody’s lit a fire on the hill above the village.’

His wife tutted her annoyance at him letting in the cold. ‘All the way up there? No.’

‘Yes. Come and take a look.’ Brass rings clattered as he pulled at the worn brocade. He breathed hard on a couple of panes to clear them.

Dilys gripped her steaming mug of tea with both hands as she shuffled across the room. The moon hung in the coal black sky, and glistened on the coal black sea. Her eyes shifted from the sparkling surf to the inky hillside above. ‘That’s up by the old RAF listening station, by the looks of it.’

‘Guy Fawkes Night. Probably some kids,’ mused John, rubbing his arthritic thumb. ‘They had that do at the pub in Rhosddraig tonight, didn’t they? Sparklers and hot dogs. Maybe someone had one too many and thought it would be a good idea to start their own bonfire up there.’

‘That’s dangerous, lighting fires all over the place.’ Dilys shook her head with resignation as she turned toward the bed, eyeing its welcoming mounds with delight. Even her bones felt tired. ‘It’s nearly midnight. Who’d be out there in this temperature, doing that?’

Her husband’s face creased into a smile. ‘It’s only one fire, not loads of them, Dilys. And I can think of a woman who – when she was a girl – would have been up for a bit of mischief like that.’ He winked and smiled. ‘Remember her?’

Dilys rolled her eyes. ‘Even sixty-odd years ago I wouldn’t have wanted to be out in this cold, not with you or anyone else, John Watkins.’ She sat on the edge of the bed, placed her mug beside the alarm clock, and pushed off her slippers with her toes. ‘Come on, let’s get back in here to warm ourselves, and get some sleep. We’re up early in the morning with a long day ahead of us. A diamond wedding anniversary, with a blessing in the church and a party afterwards, only happens once. You never know, there might be a surprise for you at the breakfast table.’ She patted her husband’s pillow.

‘Who’s that, now then?’ said John, ignoring his wife’s invitation. He was still at the window, bobbing his head to avoid the reflection of the bedside lamp. ‘Well, well, I don’t know how that family’s got enough to pay out for the sort of get-ups they wear these days. That coat alone must have set them back a bit. And look at that – riding a bicycle on the footpath. I’ll have a word with them about that, I will. And the fire, too.’

‘John, come on, it’s late, love.’

John clambered into bed, and kissed his wife’s cheek. ‘What were you doing sixty years ago tonight, I wonder?’

Dilys gave her husband a gentle shove. ‘Crying myself to sleep because I was terrified about my wedding night, that’s what. My mother – God rest her soul – had tried to tell me what to expect of being with a man for the first time; she didn’t do a very good job of it. I had a bad stomach that night too. Butterflies they were back then, not this blinking wind I’ve got griping me now; I can’t seem to shift it.’

John snuggled under the duvet. ‘You were such a sweet girl. Carried away with you, I was. And I love you even more now. You know that, don’t you?’

Dilys nodded and grunted.

John didn’t like to see his wife in pain. He thought she looked more than usually peaky. ‘Why don’t you sit up for a bit; rub your tummy. Maybe that tea will shift it. You took some of your medicine, didn’t you?’

‘Yes, I did. Don’t worry, love, it’ll pass. It always does – one way or another.’ Dilys chuckled. ‘Now, come on, night, night. It’ll be time to get up before you know it.’

‘True enough.’

John turned off the lamp.

It was gone four in the morning when John rang for the ambulance. For once in his life he cursed the fact that the farm – high on the coastal moor between the villages of Rhosddraig and Lower Middleford – was so remote.

Very nice. Great descriptions.

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

Knowing that THE WRONG BOY moves in darker territory than my two other series, I have written it bearing in mind the fact that I don’t want to shock or offend my existing readers, and hoping they’ll take a chance to journey down a Welsh country lane with me, to find out what really goes on behind all those twitching net curtains!

I think your readers may welcome a change of pace.

Well, it was great having you here, Cathy, and I’m sharing info about your blog tour and giveaway below.

I appreciate that, Debbie, and enjoyed the interview.

The Wrong Boy
by Cathy Ace

About the Book

The Wrong Boy
Suspense/Thriller
Four Tails Publishing Ltd. (January 9, 2019)
Print Length: 307 pages
ASIN: B07KRNGV3R

Perched on a Welsh clifftop, the ancient, picturesque hamlet of Rhosddraig has its peaceful façade ripped apart when human remains are discovered under a pile of stones. The village pub, The Dragon’s Head, run by three generations of women, becomes the focal point for those interested in the grisly find, and it’s where layers of deceit are peeled away to expose old secrets, and deep wounds. The police need to establish who died, how, and why, but DI Evan Glover knows he can’t be involved in the investigation, because he’s just two days away from retirement. However, as the case develops in unexpected ways, it becomes irrevocably woven into his life, and the lives of local families, leading to disturbing revelations – and deadly consequences . . .

Author Links: Website Facebook Twitter: @AceCathy GoodReads

Purchase Links – AmazonKobo

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

January 8 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

January 8 – Reading Authors – SPOTLIGHT

January 9 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

January 9 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 10 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 10 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

January 11 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 11 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW

January 12 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 13 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

January 13 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

January 14 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

January 14 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 15 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW

January 15 – Cozy Up With Kathy – SPOTLIGHT

January 16 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

January 17 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 17 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour Gown with the Wind by Stephanie Blackmoore

“Why Weddings?”by Stephanie Blackmoore

I’m often asked why I picked wedding planning as the theme for my cozy series. Some readers assume I was or currently am employed as a wedding planner. However, I was an attorney and a law librarian before I began writing mysteries. The only wedding I’ve ever planned was my own. Yet it was a happy choice to create a character who began her career as an attorney and segued into wedding planning and owning a bed and breakfast when serendipity struck and she inherited a crumbling mansion.

Weddings are such emotional affairs! Even the most smoothly planned wedding has a few hiccups, moments of stress, conflict, and heightened anticipation. Tensions can run high when two people decide to formally join their families and incorporate different traditions and choices for their big day. Weddings are usually family affairs, and a chance for couples and family members to reflect on their dearest-held wishes, hopes, and dreams. The nexus of strong emotions, the conflicts involved in making decisions about a wedding, and reflection upon family traditions seemed like a theme that would provide ample fodder for a cozy mystery series.

A surprising revelation that often strikes my main character, Mallory Shepard, is the strong overlap in the skills she used from her days as an attorney with those she employs in her current profession as a wedding planner. Mallory has to persuade bridezillas and momzillas to compromise, mediate between clashing family members’ disparate wishes, and negotiate the best contracts for her business. And to top it all off, Mallory often gets to use the research skills she honed as an attorney to guide her in her unofficial role as amateur sleuth.

I also love exploring family expectations, conflicts, and secrets in my cozy mystery series. The backdrop of a wedding helps me weave these considerations into a tapestry of tension, character growth, and surprises. I also love to plan parties from the safe confines of my desk! I am a bit of an introvert in real life, but through my series, I get to dream up elaborate weddings and parties down to the last detail. I enjoy cooking, and focusing on weddings as my theme allows me to craft fun themed menus and confections. I’ve put my protagonist through her paces more than once by having her create new wedding plans overnight. I think that’s in part because the details are so fun to plan!

Gown with the Wind (A Wedding Planner Mystery)
by Stephanie Blackmoore\

About the Book


Gown with the Wind (A Wedding Planner Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Kensington (December 18, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1496717511
ISBN-13: 978-1496717511
Digital ASIN: B07BV3K4N8

Professional wedding planner Mallory Shepard knows her job is challenging under any circumstances. But when the groom is your ex and someone invites murder, there may never be another tomorrow . . .

Mallory’s fine—really—handling the wedding arrangements for her ex, Keith. But his fiancée, Becca, has at the last minute decided to switch from a Japanese-cherry-blossom theme to a Gone with the Wind theme. She wants to honor her ailing grandmother, who owns an impressive collection of GWTW memorabilia—and who is fiercely at odds with the groom’s mother over the nuptial plans.

But among other complications, Becca gets into a fight with an old childhood rival over a replica Scarlett O’Hara wedding gown. She wins the dress—but soon becomes a murder suspect when the other woman is found dead in Becca’s swimming pool. And it’s up to Mallory to solve the mystery behind this unhappy occasion, before a different kind of civil war breaks out . . .

About the Author

A native Pittsburgher, Stephanie Blackmoore now lives in Missouri, with her husband, son and two-spirited cats. She was an attorney in Pittsburgh and a librarian in Florida before becoming a writer. Stephanie is a fan of everything black-and-yellow. She is hard at work on her next Wedding Planner mystery. Connect with Stephanie at the links below.

Social Media Links: Website Facebook Twitter

Purchase Links – Amazon B&N Kobo Google Play

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Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

Recipe Post and Spotlight for Steamed Open: A Maine Clambake Mystery by Barbara Ross

Steamed Open (A Maine Clambake Mystery)
by Barbara Ross

About the Book


Steamed Open (A Maine Clambake Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Kensington (December 18, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1496717945
ISBN-13: 978-1496717948
Digital ASIN: B07BV3RCDG

It’s summertime in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, and the clamming is easy—or it was until a mysterious new neighbor blocks access to the beach, cutting off the Snowden Family Clambake’s supply. Julia Snowden is just one of many townspeople angered by Bartholomew Frick’s decision. But which one of them was angry enough to kill?

Beachcombers, lighthouse buffs, and clammers are outraged after Frick puts up a gate in front of his newly inherited mansion. When Julia urges him to reconsider, she’s the last to see him alive—except the person who stabs him in the neck with a clam rake. As she pores through a long list of suspects, Julia meets disgruntled employees, rival heirs, and a pair of tourists determined to visit every lighthouse in America. They all have secrets, and Julia will have to work fast to expose the guilty party—or see this season’s clam harvest dry up for good.

About the Author


Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries. The first book in the series, Clammed Up was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel, the RT Book Reviews, Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Amateur Sleuth and was a finalist for the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. She is co-editor/co-publisher of Level Best Books, which produces anthologies of crime stories by New England authors. She writes at her home overlooking the harbor in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. Barbara blogs with the Wicked Cozy Authors and Maine Crime Writers. Readers can visit her website at MaineClambakeMysteries.com.

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKobo

Ma’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake Recipe

 Ingredients

 For the cake

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 stick of butter, softened (1 quarter pound)

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 pint sour cream

For the “topping”

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Using a mixer, mix the ingredients for the cake until smooth and integrated.

Using your fingers, mix the “topping” ingredients.

Pour one half of the cake mixture into a greased tube pan. Sprinkle one half of the “topping” over it. Pour in the rest of the cake mixture. Sprinkle the rest of the “topping” over the top.

Bake for 35 minutes.

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January 13 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

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Posted in New Year's

My 2019 Bucket List

Wishing all my readers and friends a Happy New Year. For 2019, instead of resolutions, I decided to make a bucket list of 19 items and am featuring them in this post. Feel free to share any of your own 2019 bucket-list items in the comments.

These items are not in priority order because they are all of equal importance to me.

My 2019 Bucket List

  • Make new friends. I’ve been blessed with many new friendships over the past years from people I’ve met at my new church to fellow writers I’ve made the acquaintance of online and at local events, as well as patrons at my library. Friendships are vital in today’s world, and you’re never too old to make new friends.
  •  Maintain healthy habits. I’m thankful that I was able to lose over 30 pounds this year (making my total 70 pounds since I’ve been on the Jenny Craig program). I hope to maintain that loss and maybe lose a few more pounds. In addition, I’m striving to keep up my 30-minute daily exercise routine.
  • Work Smarter, not Harder. I’ve been having some difficulty balancing my writing and book promotion time. I hope to make some changes in 2019 to fit both in without sacrificing my free time.
  • Focus on What’s Important. Along with balancing my writing and promoting time, I’d like to focus on certain priority areas in my life — my family, friends, and pets.
  • Pinpoint Bad Habits and Eliminate or Curb Them. I don’t smoke or drink; but, like everyone, I have some habits that  stand in the way of my personal growth.
  • Read new authors, start a new series, and explore other genres. One of my perks as a librarian  is having access to a wide range of books.  Although my time is limited, I will try to allot reading time and diversify my selections.
  •  Expand my Horizons with educational and informative classes, webinars, and workshops. I’ve already taken many of the free, online course offerings available through my library’s  Gale Courses database, but there are many other opportunities for learning through a variety of sources online and in schools.
  • Attend writer’s conferences. Most writer’s groups hold annual conferences. Although cost is a factor when traveling to some of these, the experience and networking opportunities often outweigh the expense. I’d like to attend at least one a year. This year I’m hoping to go to St. Louis in May to speak on a panel at the Cat Writer’s Association. I’d also like one day to attend Malice Domestic, a cozy mystery convention that many fellow members of Sisters-in-Crime and their guppies group attend annually.
  • Volunteer and seek out ways to help others. I will try to make time to volunteer whether it’s through my church, a pet shelter, a senior center, or other organization that serves those in need. I’ll also look for opportunities to lend a hand. For instance, I can help an old person cross the street, carry grocery bags for a pregnant neighbor, offer to babysit for a couple on their anniversary.
  • Organize my Home, Work, and Life. It’s not easy maintaining a home when you work full-time and also write. However, having things in place helps make this easier.
  • Unclutter. There are many items that accumulate that my family no longer uses. I plan to give away those that others might find useful through donations to charity groups that collect them such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, United War Veterans, etc.
  • Have More Fun and Live Life Fully. You only live once, and we all should enjoy our short time in this world by doing the things we like and being with the people we love.
  • Smile and Laugh More. People who can see the lighter side of things enjoy better health and luck and share that gift with others.
  • Be Optimistic. I’m guilty of viewing the glass half empty. I need to see that I’m lucky to have a good life and that my glass is almost always half full.
  • Give Compliments. Everyone likes to be acknowledged. Finding nice things to say about someone can brighten their day.
  • Have More Patience. In this fast-paced, multi-tasking world, it’s not easy to slow down and wait, but rushing only causes frustration and doesn’t make time or people move any faster.
  • Gift my friends and family with my time. There’s nothing more valuable than spending time with a loved one. I  lost my mother this year and a special cat. While  I have wonderful memories of them, I wish I’d had more quality time to spend with both of them.
  • Plan for the Future. Although it’s good to live in the moment, time passes quickly. We all need to keep our goals in sight whether they are financial, career-related, or personal.
  • Be Kind Always. Even when I’m mad at someone or am involved in an argument, I need to respect their views by treating them with common courtesy while stating my own feelings and views without animosity.

What are your bucket list items for this year? Do you share any of mine? Whether or not you follow your New Year’s resolutions or accomplish all of your 2019 bucket list items, I hope you have 365 happy and healthy days ahead.