Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour

Author Spotlight of D. E. Haggerty, author of Picture Perfect, a Not So Reluctant Detective Mystery

I’m pleased to have author Dena Haggerty, writing as D.E. Haggerty,  from Hague in the Netherlands, here to speak about her writing and new release, Picture Not Perfect, that’s on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

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

I self-published my first book in 2013. I’ve published thirteen books since then. Here they all are:

Buried Appearances / Begraven in het Verleden

Life Discarded

Murder, Mystery & Dating Mayhem (Book 1 of the Gray-Haired Knitting Detectives Series)

Jack Gets His Man (Book 2 of the Gray-Haired Knitting Detectives Series)

Love in the Time of Murder (Book 3 of the Gray-Haired Knitting Detectives Series)

Molly’s Misadventures

Never Trust a Skinny Cupcake Baker (Book 1 of the Death by Cupcake Series)

Bring Your Own Baker (Book 2 of the Death by Cupcake Series)

Self-Serve Murder (Book 3 of the Death by Cupcake Series)

Fat Girl Begone!

Searching for Gertrude

Finders, Not Keepers (Book 1 of the Not So Reluctant Detective Series)

Picture Not Perfect (Book 2 of the Not So Reluctant Detective Series)

That’s quite a bibliography.

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.

I write cozy mysteries, historical fiction, and romantic comedies. I’m currently working on the cozy mystery series: The Not So Reluctant Detective Series. The second novel in the series, Picture Not Perfect, released January 21st. The series will consist of three books, and I’m already busy working on the third book.

I also write a cozy mystery series and also a romantic comedy novella, so we have a few things in common

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 goal as a writer is to consistently publish three books a year. After I finish the Not So Reluctant Detective series, I’ve got another series I want to get started. This series will not be cozy. I can’t wait! I’m also working on a memoir and another historical fiction novel.

Lofty goals, but it sounds like you’re determined to accomplish them.

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

As I write in a variety of genres, it’s sometimes difficult to pin down who exactly my ideal reader is. My books do, however, appeal to women in general – especially the romantic comedies. I also like to feature heroines who are a bit older – between mid-thirties and mid-forties. As a reader, I feel like there aren’t enough heroines in that age group. I guess that means my ideal reader is a middle-aged woman.

A good group to target.

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

I’m self-published, so I can’t advise anyone on how to get an agent or any of that. I would advise potential authors to take a good hard look at what they want to achieve with their writing before deciding to go the traditional route or self-publish. Both sides have their good and bad.

That’s a very good piece of advice. I’m in the middle of the road right now publishing with an online publisher, but I still hope to publish traditionally one day.

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

My struggle wasn’t about getting published as I went the self-published route. My struggle was more about making the leap of faith to become a published writer. I still struggle with calling myself a writer and that’s after publishing thirteen books!

I hear that from other authors, so it’s not an uncommon concern.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I don’t currently. I think writing groups are great and I’ve belonged to a few in the past. I’d love to join another group but haven’t found an English-language group in my town yet.

I’m sure there are online groups you could look into.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I’m a huge reader – of course! I also play tennis, love to visit museums, and enjoy movies. And I’m not averse to drinking a few adult beverages with friends.

Nice.

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

I like being creative: whether it’s figuring out what my crazy characters will do next or trying to come up with a good marketing strategy. The toughest challenge is the market. There are thousands of eBooks published A DAY. Yes, every single day. Trying to find out ways to stick out above the crowd is a challenge.

That’s the truth. Marketing is not most writer’s cup of tea.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

Mysteries are fun to write. Trying to throw readers off track while giving little clues here and there as to identity of the true killer is great fun. Cozy mysteries are especially fun as the ‘detective’ is an amateur and there’s therefore no need to stick to the rules and procedures of the police. I’m not much of a rule follower.

Good point, and I feel that way, too.

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

“Ms. Hanson, please have a seat.” Detective Meyer motioned to a chair before setting a bottle of water on the table in front of him. Then, he sat down and placed a file on the table. His partner remained standing in the corner of the room near the door. Mel started to stomp her way to the chair before remembering someone was probably watching and recording whatever she did and said in the room. She firmed her jaw before slowly walking to the chair and sitting down.

Melanie opened the bottle of water took a few gulps before asking, “Is this where you finally tell me what’s going on?”

Instead of answering her question, the detective pulled a picture out of the file and put it on the table in front of her. “Do you know this man?”

Mel picked up the picture. “Sure. It’s Alfred Schultz. He’s a social sciences teacher at the high school where I’m a guidance counselor.” She handed the picture back to the detective. “Why?”

Again, he ignored her. He pulled out a series of pictures and laid them on the table in front of her. Mel looked down and gasped at what she saw. Every single picture was of her. “What in the world are you doing with these? What is going on?”

“These are pictures we found in Mr. Schultz’s apartment.”

“What?” Why would Alfred have pictures of her in his apartment? They weren’t friends. Was he following her? She shivered. The man’s creepiness level just skyrocketed. “What’s going on?”

“That’s what we’d like to know,” Detective Davis replied from her position leaning against the wall.

Mel’s hands shook as she gathered the pictures together and handed them back to the detective. She needed to calm down. Freaking out wouldn’t get her any answers. She forced herself to remember her yoga training. Calming breaths. She could do this. Deep breath in through the nose. Exhale through the mouth. Again. Breathe in. Breathe out.

“What was your relationship with Mr. Schultz?”

“We don’t really have a relationship. We’re colleagues. He’d like more, but …” she trailed off. Wait a second! Her mind rewound on his words. “Was? Did you say was?” She gulped. “What happened?”

“Mr. Schultz was found dead in his home yes—” His words were cut off by Detective Davis clearing her throat.

Mel gasped. “Found dead? Is that cop-speak for murdered?” At the detective’s nod, her mouth dropped open. “How? Why? Who?”

“We were hoping you could answer those questions for us,” Detective Davis answered. She was no longer casually leaning against the wall but now stood with her arms crossed over her chest staring down at Melanie.

“Me? Why would I be able to answer those questions for you?” In response, Davis merely tilted her head towards the pictures.

The pieces of the puzzle clicked together, and she finally realized what was going on. She jumped from her chair. “Holy moly! You think I had something to do with his death!”

That was excellent. Thanks so much for chatting today, Dena. I’m including information for your blog tour and rafflecopter giveaway below:

Picture Not Perfect (The Not So Reluctant Detectives)
by D.E. Haggerty

About the Book

Picture Not Perfect (The Not So Reluctant Detectives)
Cozy Mystery/Romance/Humor
2nd in Series
Self Published (January 21, 2019)
Print Length: 230 pages
ASIN: B07KG6ZH33

A picture tells a story. But is it the truth?

When the police find pictures of Melanie hanging up at her murdered colleague’s house, they’re convinced he was stalking her. Maybe she even killed him. Melanie was not being stalked! And she certainly didn’t kill her supposed stalker – as if. But Mel – always up for a bit of drama – jumps at the chance to go search for the real killer. When Mel’s ex-boyfriend, Owen, discovers her plans, he pulls out all the stops to ensure she’s safe and to win her back. No matter what happens with the murder investigation, he’s not letting her go. With the police setting their sights on Mel, he may need to jeopardize his own career on the police force to protect her.

Will Mel find the real killer before the detectives arrest her for murder?

About the Author

I grew up reading everything I could get my grubby hands on, from my mom’s Harlequin romances to Nancy Drew, to Little Women. When I wasn’t flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although on the odd occasion I did manage to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic before returning to the law. But practicing law really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out running a B&B wasn’t my thing either. I polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic before following the husband to Istanbul where I decided to give the whole writer-thing a go. But ten years was too many to stay away from my adopted home. I packed up again and moved to The Hague where, in between tennis matches and failing to save the world, I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book.

Picture Not Perfect is my fourteenth novel.

Author Links

Website: http://dehaggerty.wordpress.com

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

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dehaggerty

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

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

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

Newsletter signup: http://eepurl.com/bbmdj9

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+DEHaggerty/posts

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

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

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

Purchase Links

Amazon

Smashwords

Kobo

Barnes and Noble

Goodreads

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

January 21 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

January 22 – Mythical Books – GUEST POST

January 23 – Babs Book Bistro – CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 24 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 25 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

January 26 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

January 27 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

January 28 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 29 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 29 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

January 30 – Books Direct – REVIEW, GUEST POST

January 31 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 1 –Christa Reads and Writes – GUEST POST

February 2 – Readeropolis – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

February 3 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

February 3 – Laura`s Interests – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Cozy Mysteries, New Releases

Spotlight for A Murderous Marriage, a Lady and Lady’s Maid Mystery by Alyssa Maxwell


A Murderous Marriage (A Lady and Lady’s Maid Mystery)
by Alyssa Maxwell

About the Book


A Murderous Marriage (A Lady and Lady’s Maid Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Kensington (January 29, 2019)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496717392
ISBN-13: 978-1496717399
Kindle ASIN: B07CWDMR33

Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady’s maid, Eva Huntford, are preparing for a wedding, but it may not be the happy occasion everyone hopes for . . .

Since the Great War, some family fortunes have suffered, including those of the Renshaws. Despite being the granddaughter of an earl, Julia Renshaw is under pressure to marry for money—and has settled for Gilbert Townsend, a viscount and a wealthy industrialist. He is decades older than Julia, and it’s clear to her sister Phoebe—and to Eva, who has been like a surrogate mother to the girls—that this is not a love match. Nevertheless, the wedding takes place—and in a hurry.

At the reception aboard the groom’s yacht, there appears to be tension between Gil and several guests: his best man, a fellow veteran of the Boer War; his grouchy spinster sister; and his current heir, a nervous young cousin named Ernest. The bride is also less than pleased when she discovers that her honeymoon will be more crowded than expected—with Gil’s pretty secretary, among others, coming along.

That very night, Julia pounds on her sister’s door, brandishing a bandaged hand and reporting a hot-tempered outburst on her new husband’s part. Julia is feeling doubt and regret about her hasty decision, but returns to the boat. Then the next morning, before the yacht can depart the harbor, Gil’s body is found in the water below—and Phoebe and Eva must discover who pushed him over . . . before the Renshaws’ social standing is irreparably stained by Julia’s arrest for his murder . . .

About the Author

Alyssa Maxwell knew from an early age that she wanted to be a novelist. Growing up in New England and traveling to Great Britain fueled a passion for history, while a love of puzzles of all kinds drew her to the mystery genre. She and her husband reside in Florida, where she loves to watch BBC productions, sip tea in the afternoons, and delve into the past. You can learn more about Alyssa and her books at www.alyssamaxwell.com.

Author Links

Twitter Facebook Webpage GoodReadsMailing List

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKoboGooglePlay

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

January 28 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

January 28 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

January 28 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

January 29 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

January 29 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – GUEST POST

January 29 – Laura`s Interests – SPOTLIGHT

January 30 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

January 30 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

January 31 – Jody’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 31 – Mysteries with Character – REVIEW

February 1 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

February 1 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST

February 2 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 2 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 3 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 3 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER GUEST POST

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Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour

Author Spotlight of Debra Sennefelder, Author of Murder Wears a Little Black Dress, A Resale Boutique Mystery

I’m pleased to have author Debra Sennefelder from Southwestern Connecticut here to speak about her writing and new release, Death Wears a Little Black Dress that’s on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

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

I’ve been published since April of 2018 when my debut novel, THE UNINVITED CORPSE, book 1 in the Food Blogger mystery series was published. MURDER WEARS A LITTLE BLACK DRESS is my second novel to be published.

Congratulations! Tell us a little bit about your books.

MURDER WEARS A LITTLE BLACK DRESS is the first book in the Resale Boutique mystery series featuring Kelly Quinn, an out-of-work fashionista who inherits a tired, old consignment shop from her grandmother. Kelly discovers that there is a little black dress in inventory that could hold the key to a murder. My other series, the Food Blogger mystery series features former magazine editor turned food blogger, Hope Early as she settles back into her hometown after a failed attempt to win a reality baking competition show and a messy divorce. The second book in that series, THE HIDDEN CORPSE, will be released on March 26th and book three, THREE WIDOWS AND A CORPSE will be released sometime in November.

Excellent. They both sound like interesting books with great concepts.

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

My goals are to continue writing books in both series for the foreseeable future. I’ll continue to do what I’m doing now, showing up daily at my computer to write.

Nice goals. Good luck.

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

I think my books will attract readers who want to settle in for a fun time with a friends. I know I do when I pick up a cozy mystery. I enjoy visiting the cast of characters in cozy mysteries, it’s like visiting old friends and catching up on what’s going on in their lives.

I feel the same way. The folks in Cobble Cove in my mystery series are friendly, quirky, and people you’d love to chat with over tea except for the killers, of course – lol.

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

I would advise them to continue improving their skills and not to give up. There’s so much rejection in this career that it can become overwhelming and sometimes it feels like you take a step forward and before you know it, you’re knocked back two steps. The frustration is real. I would encourage others to not give up.

That’s important advice. You’re right about the rejection in this field. It can be overwhelming, so persistence is the name of the game.

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

There were rejections and the doubts that coincided with those rejections. It’s so easy to focus on the negative. One thing that was a constant struggle was the negative self-talk. I had to realize I’d never say those things to my critique partner or any of my writer friends, so why was it okay to say it to myself? Limiting that type of behavior, it’s very hard to completely banish, I believe is a necessary step to becoming a better writer because I was able to focus on my strengths.

A very insightful comment.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I belong to Sisters in Crime and the International Thriller Writers Associations.

I’m members of both those groups, too.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I enjoy cooking and I love to bake. I have two Shih-Tzus so I enjoy long walks with them. I love to exercise, yes, really. It’s a great way for me to clear my head. And of course, I love to read.

I used to bake but don’t have the time right now. I have dogs instead of cats, but I exercise daily. I agree it helps to clear your mind and relax.

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

The best thing about being an author is that I get to tell stories. It’s really the coolest part of the job. I love brainstorming ideas and putting the plot together like a jigsaw puzzle. The thing I like least about being a writer is balancing all of the responsibilities that come along with writing. It’s a challenge to juggle the numerous tasks that involve managing a small business, which writing is. Writing the next book is the most important thing I do as a writer, but all the other work needs to get done. I’m always striving to improve my time management skills.

I agree. Time management is so essential to writers especially those who work full-time and have a family.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I love the small-town charm of cozy mysteries and the intrigue of small-town life. The secrets that are kept from neighbors, the indiscretions not talked about and the fact that most everyone knows everyone else. I love writing a strong protagonist who is determined to see that justice is served regardless of what she has to go up against. She’s an ordinary person thrown into an extraordinary situation and usually faces direct threats on her life.

You’ve put my feelings about cozies into words.

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

Yes, here’s an excerpt from the beginning of MURDER WEARS A LITTLE BLACK DRESS. It’s day one of a three-day sale to liquidate merchandise in order to revamp the shop into a more trendy consignment shop Kelly had recently inherited.

#

“How do you explain this? The tag says my dress has been marked down by seventy-five percent. There appears to be a mistake.”

Kelly Quinn turned her head to the raised voice of the woman standing at the sales counter. She held a midi-length floral dress with cap sleeves in one hand while her other was propped on her hip.

“Irene, you know the store’s policy on markdowns,” Pepper Donovan answered with a smile. She always had a smile, except for when Kelly announced she was making changes to the consignment shop.

“How on earth am I supposed to earn any money? Martha never put merchandise on sale,” Floral Dress Lady countered.

As Kelly made her way across the shop, she was well aware her grandmother didn’t do a lot of things, and that was why, in the past few years, the shop’s earnings had steadily declined.

“Good morning. I’m Kelly Quinn.” She extended her hand, but it was received with an intense glare. She pulled her hand back and braced herself for an unpleasant conversation. “What seems to be the problem?”

“Seems? Dear child, there doesn’t seem to be a problem. There is a problem. My dress has been marked down to an unreasonable amount of money. Please explain to me the reason for your decision.”

Kelly bristled at being called a child. She’d just celebrated her twenty-sixth birthday three months ago and, up until forty-five days ago, she had a full-time job with a well-laid-out career path and her own apartment, albeit it tiny, in the West Village of New York City. How many children could say that?

“I was just reminding Irene of the store’s pricing policy.” No doubt Pepper was trying to remind her new boss about the agreement every consignee signed. She was younger than Kelly’s late granny but still old enough to feel she should be in charge.

Kelly didn’t need to be reminded. She was familiar with the document, as well as many other documents pertaining to the shop. The past few weeks had been filled with reviewing papers, meeting with lawyers, and sleepless nights because of her new acquisition.

“When you consigned your clothing, you signed an agreement, which stated how merchandise is priced. After seven weeks, merchandise is marked down by seventy-five percent,” Kelly said.

“I see.” Floral Dress Lady stretched out her arm, and the dress dangled from its hanger while she admired it. “So, this lovely dress that cost me way more than the original consigned price is now a mere ten dollars?” Her brows arched, and her glare intensified.

This isn’t good.

“It’s important to keep turning over merchandise. Especially out-of-season clothing.” When Kelly had gone painstakingly through every item in inventory, she found a bunch of spring/summer clothing that should have been cleared out months ago. “When customers see new stuff, they tend to buy more. This translates into money for our consignees.” Kelly hoped the explanation would appease the woman.

“Except for this consignee. Why don’t you do a better job of selling your merchandise so it doesn’t become old?”

No appeasement there.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name.”

“Kelly, this is Irene Singer.” Pepper jumped back into the conversation. “She’s been consigning with us for a while.”

Irene Singer gave Kelly a stern nod as if her name should have meant something. It didn’t.

The bell over the front door chimed, prompting Kelly to glance over her shoulder. More shoppers. She needed to wrap up this dispute over the pricing.

“Ms. Singer, unfortunately I can’t change the price on the dress as per our policy to mark down accordingly based on length of time in inventory, but I’m going to give the dress back to you.” Phew. She managed to say all that in one breath, and it actually sounded like she knew what she was saying. “Let me just snip off the price tag.”

Irene Singer’s eyes widened. “I don’t have a use for this dress, which is why I consigned it.”

There wasn’t going to be any appeasement with the woman whatsoever. Frustration bubbled in Kelly. She hadn’t worked a sales floor since fashion school, and after graduating, she didn’t think she’d ever be back to arranging displays, restocking inventory, or handling cranky customers. Yet, there she was. The new owner of the Lucky Cove Consignment Shop soon to be renamed Curated by Kelly Resale Boutique. The name change reflected Kelly’s vision for a trendy consignment shop for locals and tourists.

Thank you. I enjoyed that.

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

The cat on the cover of the book is based on the cat we had for fourteen years. His name was Howard, and that’s the cat’s name in the book. Like Kelly, in MURDER WEARS A LITTLE BLACK DRESS, I went to fashion school and studied Fashion Buying and Merchandising. I also had a food blog before shifting my focus to pursuing publication.

Awww. As a cat lover who’s featured my cats in my books, I can relate. It seems you also have a good background for the topics you write about.

Thanks for chatting today, Debra, and I’m sharing the info of your blog tour below. Best wishes on your new release and future publications.

Murder Wears a Little Black Dress (A Resale Boutique Mystery)
by Debra Sennefelder

About the Book

Murder Wears a Little Black Dress (A Resale Boutique Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Lyrical Underground (January 22, 2019)
Paperback: 200 pages
ISBN-10: 1516108965
ISBN-13: 978-1516108961
Digital ASIN: B07CR2CG63

Manhattan fashionista Kelly Quinn thought she’d left her upstate New York town far behind . . . until the Seventh Avenue expat returns home to revamp her grandmother’s consignment shop into an upscale boutique—and unwittingly sets a trend for murder . . .

After her rising career as a Manhattan buyer is derailed, Kelly has mixed feelings about relocating back to Lucky Cove, in spite of her big plans for the soon-to-be-renamed Curated by Kelly Resale Boutique. What’s left of her luck starts running out when a customer puts on a black lace dress that triggers visions of someone being murdered. As if the haunted “Murder Dress” isn’t enough to kill business, the psychic’s doppelganger cousin has just been found bludgeoned to death.

Was Maxine LeMoyne the real target or was it a case of mistaken murder? With some creepy pre-Halloween bargain hunters walking the night and Kelly suddenly a person of interest, a second murder rocks the close-knit town. Now Kelly could be the one who ends up talking to dead people when she’s stalked by a killer determined to take her out in high style . . .

About the Author

Debra Sennefelder, the author of the Food Blogger Mystery series and the Resale Boutique Mystery series, is an avid reader who reads across a range of genres, but mystery fiction is her obsession. Her interest in people and relationships is channeled into her novels against a backdrop of crime and mystery. When she’s not reading, she enjoys cooking and baking and as a former food blogger, she is constantly taking photographs of her food. Yeah, she’s that person.

Born and raised in New York City, she now lives and writes in Connecticut with her family. She’s worked in pre-hospital care, retail and publishing. Her writing companions are her adorable and slightly spoiled Shih-Tzus, Susie and Billy.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, Women’s Fiction Writers Association and Romance Writers of America.

Author Links:

WebsiteFacebookGoodreads

Purchase Links

Amazon B&N Kobo Google Play

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

January 21 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

January 21 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

January 22 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 22 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW

January 23 – My Reading Journey – REVIEW

January 23 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 24 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW

January 24 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 25 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

January 25 – Readeropolis – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

January 26 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

January 26 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW

January 27 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 27 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW

January 28 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

January 28 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

January 29 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

January 29 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

January 30 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

January 31 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 31 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

February 1 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

February 1 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 2 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW

February 3 – Laura`s Interests – REVIEW

February 3 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Posted in Cozy Mysteries, New Releases

Spotlight for Not a Creature Was Stirring by Christina Freeburn

Not a Creature Was Stirring
(Merry & Bright Handcrafted Mystery)
by Christina Freeburn

About the Book

Not a Creature Was Stirring (Merry & Bright Handcrafted Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Henery Press (January 22, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1635114373
ISBN-13: 978-1635114379
Digital ASIN: B07K1MFQ7T

Empty nester Merry Winters loves three things: Christmas, crafting and her family. To regain purpose and joy, Merry hits the road to a Christmas vendor event with her furry sidekick Ebenezer in her new mobile crafting sleigh, aka an RV.

But it soon turns into the nightmare before Christmas when Merry unwraps her Scrooge of an ex-husband’s body in one of the RV’s compartments. Add to that his missing winning lottery ticket believed to be stashed somewhere in the RV, leading the homicide detective and Merry’s stepdaughter to believe Merry is the one whodunit.

With visions of prison dancing in her head, will Merry be able to solve this Christmas calamity before she’s locked away?

About the Author

Christina Freeburn has always loved books. There was nothing better than picking up a story and being transported to another place. The love of reading evolved into the love of writing and she’s been writing since her teenage years. Her first novel was a 2003 Library of Virginia Literary Award nominee. Her mysteries series, Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery and Merry & Bright Handcrafted Mysteries, are a mix of crafty and crime and feature heroines whose crafting time is interrupted by crime solving.

Christina served in the US Army and has also worked as a paralegal, librarian, church secretary, and golf shop pro. She lives in West Virginia with her husband, dog, and a rarely seen cat except by those who are afraid and allergic to felines.

Author Links

Webpage: www.christinafreeburn.com

Blog: www.theselfrescueprincess.wordpress.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChristinaFreeb1

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

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKobo

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

January 21 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW

January 22 – Carstairs Considers – REVIEW

January 22 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

January 23 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

January 23 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 24 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW

January 24 – Readeropolis – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 25 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY

January 25 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

January 26 – Laura`s Interests – REVIEW

January 27 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 28 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW

January 28 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

January 29 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY

January 29 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT

January 30 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW

January 30 – Reading Is My SuperPower – GUEST POST, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY

January 31 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

January 31 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 1 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

February 1 – MJB Reviews – REVIEW

February 2 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

February 3 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

February 3 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST

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Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Botched 4 Murder, a Sophie Kimball Mystery, by J. C. Eaton

Writing From Our Dreams Won’t Work

By Ann I. Goldfarb and James E. Clapp, writing as J. C. Eaton

It sounded so easy when author Stephanie Meyer of TWILIGHT fame said she got the vampire love affair idea from one of her dreams. Oh…if only it were that easy. Maybe her dreams are orderly and sequential. Maybe her characters are well developed and believable, even if they drift by in a Nano-second of sleep. But we can’t rely on REM sleep to provide us with any of the fodder needed to craft a novel.

It’s not that we don’t dream. We dream all right, but it’s a hodgepodge of weird images, unrelenting obstacles, endless frustration, and the occasional disgustingly gross vision that inevitably wakes one of us up in a cold sweat.

Jim’s dreams usually involve being chased by bears, tigers, or as of late, javelina. Packs of flesh-eating javelina. Maybe it’s because we now live in Arizona and not upstate New York. This would work wonders if we wrote horror novels, but we’re cozy mystery authors and somehow, the thought of one of our characters in a fight-or-flight situation just doesn’t do it.

Occasionally Jim has dreams of being pursued by a hive of bees or wasps. Only these killer insects are the size of mice and have teeth. Again, nothing usable as far as our novels are concerned.

Ann’s dreams are no help either. Last night she dreamt she was getting her hair done, but when she leaned back into the sink at the salon, the hairdresser yelled, “Wait a minute! There’s a cockroach in there!” She woke up shaking her head. Then she turned on the light by her night table and shook the pillow just to be safe.

“It’s the cats’ fault,” Jim said as Ann searched the bed looking for any signs of insects.  “You let them sleep in the bed with us. They walk across our heads at all hours of the night. No wonder you thought bugs were crawling around.”

Then, Ann’s parking lot dream. (This is actually a variation of the same dream she’s had for years. The one where you reach a goal, only to have someone or something take it away or prevent you from getting there. We think there’s a psychological term for this type of dream but we’ll be darned if we know what it is). Anyway, the parking lot dream is absolutely no help as far as plot and characters are concerned for one of our novels.

In Ann’s version, she tries to park her car but every time she gets into a parking space, a man in a long black trench coat stops her and tells her she can’t park there. We think this is a result of living in Arizona, as well. Most of the parking spaces are marked “Golf cart only,” “Take-out food only,” or “Expectant mothers only.” Nope, nope, and definitely, nope.

Maybe our dreams lack the fortitude of Stephanie Meyer’s dreams because we have too many unfinished things “hanging over our heads.” Like our taxes. And now, with the new tax plan, it’s even more of a conundrum.  Needless to say, we had to face the grim reality – we’ve got to write our novels the same way we always do – by the seat of our pants with the occasional outlines, plot revisions, and character development. Unless of course, we decide to switch genres. Then, those pesky javelina and parking lot men in trench coats might just appear.

NOTE: Our posts tend to be tongue-and-cheek, so don’t take us too seriously.

Here’s the info on the authors’ blog tour and rafflecopter giveaway:

Botched 4 Murder (Sophie Kimball Mystery)
by J.C. Eaton

About the Book


Botched 4 Murder (Sophie Kimball Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Kensington (December 18, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1496719883
ISBN-13: 978-1496719881
Digital ASIN: B07C9WK1J8

Bowled over . . .

Sophie “Phee” Kimball is getting dragged into the drama again at her mom’s Arizona retirement community. A new board member wants to get rid of two golf courses and replace them with eco-friendly parks, and some of the residents are pretty teed off about it. On top of that, her mother’s book club friend Myrna is being pushed out of the bocce league. These seniors are serious about winning, and Myrna’s dragging them down. She’s so bad at bocce, in fact, that when a community mem.ber’s dead body is discovered while Myrna’s practicing for a tournament, she assumes it was one of her own errant balls that killed the woman.

But before Myrna can be tossed off the bocce court and into criminal court, the police find an arrow in the victim’s neck. It looks like this was no accident—and Phee and her investigator boyfriend Marshall will have to team up to bounce a killer into the slammer . . .

About the Authors

Ann I. Goldfarb

New York native Ann I. Goldfarb spent most of her life in education, first as a classroom teacher and later as a middle school principal and professional staff developer. Writing as J. C. Eaton, along with her husband, James Clapp, she has authored the Sophie Kimball Mysteries (Kensington) set for release in June 2017. In addition, Ann has nine published YA time travel mysteries under her own name. Visit the websites at www.jceatonauthor.com and www.timetravelmysteries.com

James E. Clapp

When James E. Clapp retired as the tasting room manager for a large upstate New York winery, he never imagined he’d be co-authoring cozy mysteries with his wife, Ann I. Goldfarb. His first novel, Booked 4 Murder (Kensington) is set for release in June 2017. Non-fiction in the form of informational brochures and workshop materials treating the winery industry were his forte along with an extensive background and experience in construction that started with his service in the U.S. Navy and included vocational school classroom teaching.

Visit their website at www.jceatonauthor.com and Like and Follow on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JCEatonauthor/

Purchase Links

Amazon B&N Kobo GooglePlay IndieBound

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

January 16 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 16 – Laura`s Interests – SPOTLIGHT

January 16 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

January 17 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

January 17 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

January 18 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

January 18 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

January 18 – MJBReviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 19 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 19 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST

January 19 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

January 20 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

January 20 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT –

January 20 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 21 – Here’s How It Happened – CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 21 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 21 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 22 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

January 22 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

January 22 – Reading Is My SuperPower – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

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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

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