Posted in Cozy Mysteries, New Releases

Spotlight for One Feta in the Grave, A Kebab Kitchen Mystery by Tina Kashian

One Feta in the Grave
(A Kebab Kitchen Mystery)
by Tina Kashian

About the Book


One Feta in the Grave (A Kebab Kitchen Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Kensington (February 26, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 1496713516
ISBN-13: 978-1496713513
Digital ASIN: B07DBPQQFJ

As summer comes to an end in her Jersey Shore town, Lucy Berberian continues to manage her family’s Mediterranean restaurant. The Kebab Kitchen also has a food tent at this year’s beach festival. But now a local businessman is under the boardwalk—dead by the sea …

With a sand castle contest and live music, Ocean Crest bids a bittersweet farewell to tourist season. Summer will return next year … but Archie Kincaid won’t. The full-of-himself store owner has been fatally shot, soon after a screaming match with Lucy’s best friend. Katie’s far from the only suspect, though, since Archie had some bitter rivals—as well as some relationships no one knew about. It’s up to Lucy to look into some seedy characters and solve the case before the wrong person gets skewered …

Recipes included!

About the Author

Tina Kashian spent her childhood summers at the New Jersey shore, building sand castles, boogie boarding, and riding the boardwalk Ferris wheel. She also grew up in the restaurant business where her Armenian parents owned a restaurant for thirty years. She worked almost every job—rolling silverware and wiping down tables as a tween, to hosting and waitressing as a teenager.

After college, Tina worked as a NJ Deputy Attorney General, a patent attorney, and a mechanical engineer. Her law cases inspired an inquiring mind of crime, and since then, Tina has been hooked on mysteries. The Kebab Kitchen Cozy Mystery series launches with Hummus and Homicide, followed by Stabbed in the Baklava and One Feta in the Grave by Kensington Books. Tina still lives in New Jersey with her supportive husband and two young daughters. Please visit www.tinakashian.com and join her Newsletter to enter free contests to win books, get delicious recipes, and to learn when her books will be released.

Author Links

Purchase Links

AmazoniBooksBarnes & NobleKoboGoogle Books

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Posted in Cozy Mysteries, New Releases

Spotlight for Eclairs, Scares & Haunted Home Repairs, A Spells & Caramels Mystery by Erin Johnson

Eclairs, Scares & Haunted Home Repairs
by Erin Johnson

About the Book

Eclairs, Scares & Haunted Home Repairs (Spells & Caramels)
Cozy Mystery
9th in Series
Self Published (February 15, 2019)
Print Length: 298 pages
ASIN: B07NLJS93J

A bakehouse in the making. A dangerous ghost in the tower. Will their welcome to the neighborhood be short-lived?

Imogen wants nothing more than to complete her sweet dream. With her adoring fiancé Hank at her side, the witch and her friends dive into renovations for their new home and soon-to-be bakery. But all their efforts seem futile when they wake to find the house eerily ripped apart all over again…

As Imogen examines her humble abode’s shady history, she discovers evidence for a malevolent spirit living inside. But with less-than-welcoming neighbors keeping a close, suspicious watch, she wonders if it’s not the dead but the living who pose the biggest threat…

Will Imogen root out the culprit, or will her culinary future collapse under the weight of an unsolved murder?

Eclairs, Scares & Haunted Home Repairs is the ninth book in the charming Spells & Caramels paranormal cozy mystery series. If you like lovable characters, chilling twists, and enchanting adventures, then you’ll love Erin Johnson’s marvelous tale.

Buy Eclairs, Scares & Haunted Home Repairs to solve a magical whodunit today!

About the Author

Erin Johnson is a native of Tempe, Arizona, Erin spends her time crafting mysterious, magical, romance-filled stories that’ll hopefully make you laugh. In between, she’s traveling, napping with her dogs, eating with her friends and family, and teaching Pilates (to allow her to eat more).

Website: www.erinjohnsonwrites.com. Facebook: www.facebook.com/EJohnsonWrites. Twitter:@EJohnsonWrites

Purchase Link – Amazon

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

February 18 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

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February 21 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW

February 22 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

February 22 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

February 23 – CelticLady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 23 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

February 24 – Cozy Up With Kathy – SPOTLIGHT

February 24 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

February 25 – I’m Into Books – SPOTLIGHT

February 25 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT

February 26 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – SPOTLIGHT

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February 28 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

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Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Herbs and Homicide, An Faierie Apothecary Cozy Mystery by Astoria Wright


Pantser, Plotter, Story Spotter

One of the first questions people think of when asking writers about their process is whether the author is a pantser or a plotter. In other words, do you write by the seat of your pants (a pantser) or follow outlines to plot out your novel (plotter)? This question was the first one I asked myself when I thought about seriously making writing a career.

When I started writing stories for fun in third grade, I was a pantser because, well, I don’t know any third-graders who are plotters. My pantser days lasted right up until after college when I would just write short stories, poems, and little scenes that would come into my mind. Nothing was planned and certainly not outlined. When I finally did start writing longer novels in my free time as an adult, I was definitely still a pantser, even though I’d never heard of the term.

I got to about page 30 on seven books, (five science fiction, one fantasy, and one children’s book), but it was more like 40 pages if you counted out of context excerpts of scenes I had yet to weave into the stories. I’m glad I did that. I wrote when I felt a powerful urge to question “what if” or when I let my imagination run wild and realized there’s a story there.

I still keep a journal by my bedside, purely for writing whatever my mind thinks up. I think being a panster is, for me, the purest form of writing because it takes the reigns off the imagination and lets it run free to chase stories and roll around in poetry. That freedom allows me to see stories everywhere in daily life. One case in point is how I began writing The Faerie Apothecary Mysteries.

The series started one rainy day when I was out shopping. As soon as the rain died down, I hurried to my car only to stop at a curious sight sitting by my car tire. There, amidst the pavement of the parking lot was a part of a branch, presumably from a tree that had been injured by the windy circumstances.

Typically, I, like every other person I know, would not have thought twice about a twig, except that this one was eerily reminiscent of a person. In reality, the warped wood was just a branched twig or might have even been two of them bundled together to trick the eye. I wouldn’t know, I didn’t actually pick it up.

To a writer always in search of a story, though, it was the universe using a stick to point me in the direction of a story. The sign couldn’t have been clearer if a raven perched itself on my windshield to harass me with a recitation of “nevermores.”

There was a story in this broken branch, and it was one about faeries. What other diminutive, yet humanlike creature could suddenly become a wooden figure? And what if the rainy weather hadn’t been a storm at all, but a faerie fight between pixies?

I had been on a cozy mystery kick for a while, enjoying the genre as a reader and wanting to write such a mystery since almost the very first cozy I’d read.  I didn’t know at the time how this would fit into a cozy mystery, but I wrote the tree-branch inspired scene before any other book details emerged. Over the next few weeks, probably a month overall, my mystery-fueled mind mixed together a cozy series combining the fae and murder mysteries.

The pixie fight eventually became a scene in Chaos in the Countryside. While I did create an outline for both Chaos in the Countryside and Herbs and Homicide, I do allow myself to veer off of the outline if my imagination is leading me down a different path. This happens almost every time, and I hear similar things from other writers.

That’s probably why authors have identified a third kind writer: Plotsers. Plotsers do both, writing by the seat of their pants and planning at the same time. It’s my theory that all writers are plotsers, it’s just a matter of to what degree they plot or not.

Pantser, plotter, or plotser, I think the number one thing to be is a story-spotter. Stories are happening everywhere and everywhen. It’s up to the storytellers to find them.

Herbs and Homicide (The Faerie Apothecary Cozy Mystery)
by Astoria Wright

About the Book

Herbs and Homicide (The Faerie Apothecary Cozy Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Novelwright Mysteries (September 27, 2018)
Paperback: 217 pages
ISBN-10: 1949453030
ISBN-13: 978-1949453034
ASIN: B07HR4D74K

Looking for a unique paranormal cozy mystery series that’s lighthearted and fun?

Settle into the cozy countryside of Moss Hill, where house-elves rent rooms, sprites live in gardens, a leprechaun is the best tailor in town, and a half-elf/half human named Carissa Shea owns a pharmacy known as The Seelie Tree Apothecary shop. Life couldn’t be more idyllic for Cari, but healing humans and fae folk proves challenging at times, especially when secrets unfold in The Faerie Apothecary Mysteries.

About Book 1: Herbs and Homicide
In the small town of Moss Hill, customers of all kinds visit Carissa Shea’s Seelie Tree Apothecary Shop. That includes tall and short, young and old, human and faerie. Being half-elf/half-human herself, Carissa personally knows and cares for them all. So, when a grumpy brownie, a type of house faerie, named Miss Morgan dies in her shop, Carissa is devastated. As she learns more about her customer’s death, she realizes Miss Morgan might have been the only thing standing between the Seelie, faeries of light and goodness, and the Unseelie, faeries of darkness and evil. On top of it all, the Sidhe guard, protector of all fae residents, rule it a murder and name Carissa as a suspect! Now she must prove her innocence and find the real culprit before it’s too late – not just for her but for all of Moss Hill.

About the Author

Astoria Wright is the author of The Faerie Apothecary Mysteries, including the bestselling prequel novella Chaos in the Countryside. Intrigued by myths and inspired by cozy mystery writers before her, Astoria tries to combine two worlds with human and faerie neighbors trying to solve puzzling crimes on the fictional island of Moss Hill. She’s also a poet, which shows in the Moss Hill poetry anthology “written” by the characters in the series. Her goal is to bring Moss Hill to life in her stories, because who doesn’t wish we lived in a town with magical faeries as neighbors?

  • Author Links

Website: www.astoriawright.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Astoria-Wright-2119028461648435/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AstoriaWright

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18477858.Astoria_Wright

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February 14 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW*

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February 23 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

February 24 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

February 25 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST

February 26 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Guest Post, Solstice Publishing

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Missing Stitches by Nicole Luttrell

Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/Missing-Stitches-Woven-Book-3-ebook/dp/B07N6FZ71M/

From now until Tuseday, February 26th, you can download Missing Stitches for free! 

You know when you have this one thing that consumes your life for several years? Yeah, that’s where I am right now.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Nicole. And for the last five years, I’ve been working on an epic Fantasy series called Woven.

And now, the final installment is done. Missing Stitches, book three of Woven, is now available.

Magic, dragons and two countries battling for dominance. And that’s just the start. Devon, Sultiana, Victor and Lenore live in a world where magic is as common as turning a pot or knitting a shawl. Men’s magic comes from metal, women from thread.

Devon and Lenore are Mestonies, the ruling family of Septa. The family rose to power generations ago by defeating a dark church that had enslaved the people. King Octavian the first believed that the Monks of the Silent Path were defeated.

He was wrong.

This enemy has returned, to destroy the Mestonie family and take control of Septa back. And they’ve begun by kidnapping Lenore’s daughters.

Devon must find the girls with their father, Victor, while Lenore and Devon’s wife, Sultiana, lead their armies in a war on the very boardwalks of Septa. But can Lenore fight for her city without losing her unborn son? Can Devon save the princesses from the Monks? Or will the city finally fall in the conclusion of Woven?

I can’t believe the story is finally coming to a close. It’s honestly surreal.

Saturday, February 23, is the Facebook launch party. It’s from 6:00 to 9:00. And we’ve got some great authors participating in the takeovers. Here’s our schedule:

6:00- Me
6:30- Connie Cockrell
7:00- Mark McQuillen
7:30- John West
8:00- Ron Steiner
8:30- K. Matt

These are some great authors, don’t miss the event.

On Sunday, February 24, I’ll be posting a free short story, Stella’s Vision.

Thank you all for reading this today, and if you want to check out the Woven series from start to finish, here are the links and some teasers for Missing Stitches.

Broken Patterns

Starting Chains

Missing Stitches

Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for The Puppy Who Knew Too Much, a Dog Club Mystery by V.M. Burns


The Smelly Truth About Red Herrings

Before I started reading mysteries, I thought a herring was just a fish. Which of course, it is, but mysteries, especially cozy mysteries have a lot of herrings, in particular, red herrings. I’ve read a lot of mysteries over the years, but I have yet to read a mystery involving fish, especially herrings. I had to wonder, what’s the connection between herrings and mysteries? And, why are they called red herrings?

I’m not a fish lover, so I turned to Google for answers. I learned a lot about herring, too much. Don’t panic, I won’t burden you with the details. In fact, I will scale things back to prevent herring overload, by pointing out two facts. First, herring have a very strong scent (not a selling feature in my book, but to each his own). Second, herring are in the same family as Sardines (which might relate back to the first point now that I think about it). That’s pretty much all we need to know at this point. Although, I still had one other question. While, I saw a lot of pictures of herring (Atlantic herring, Pacific herring, Araucanian herring, etc), none of these were red. So, why do we call them “red herring?” Further digging provided that answer. When the herring are smoked and salted, they turn a brownish red color (who knew).

Now, let’s recap what we know. Herring is a fish which has a strong scent and turns a reddish color when smoked and salted. Yet, I still need to understand why these fish became associated with mysteries. Herring, specifically the red ones, are a big deal to the mystery enthusiasts. To the cozy mystery lover, a red herring means a lot more than a smoked fish. In mysteries, red herrings are false clues intended to challenge the reader and to divert them away from the real clues. So, why are these false clues called red herrings?

According to Wikipedia, the idiom “red herring” originated from an English journalist, William Cobbett, in 1807. As the story goes, a young Cobbett claimed to have used red herrings to train hounds to track. Apparently, he used the strong scented fish to lay a false trail for the hounds. Mystery solved. A couple hundred years later, mystery authors are still using red herrings to lay false trails and throw readers off the scent.

The Puppy Who Knew Too Much
(A Dog Club Mystery)
by V.M. Burns

About the Book


The Puppy Who Knew Too Much (A Dog Club Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Lyrical Underground (February 12, 2019)
Paperback: 190 pages
ISBN-10: 1516107918
ISBN-13: 978-1516107919
Digital ASIN: B07D233MVK

Lilly Echosby and her toy poodle Aggie find a fresh start in Chattanooga, Tennessee, spoiled by the scent of murder . . .

Having solved the shooting death of her cheating husband, Lilly’s left behind the drama of Lighthouse Dunes, Indiana, to start over in the hometown of her best friend, Scarlett “Dixie” Jefferson. As she gets settled in her new rented house, Lilly gives Aggie, short for Agatha Christie, her own fresh start by enrolling her in the Eastern Tennessee Dog Club, where Dixie is a trainer.

But drama seems to hound Lilly like a persistent stray. Her cranky new neighbor appears unfamiliar with Southern hospitality and complains that Aggie barks too much and digs up his prized tulips. But what the poodle actually unearths is the buried body of a mysterious man who claimed ownership of the lost golden retriever Lilly recently rescued. Now it’s up to Lilly and Dixie to try to muzzle another murderer . . .

About the Author

V.M. Burns was born in Northwestern Indiana and spent many years in Southwestern Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. She is a lover of dogs, British historic cozies, and scones with clotted cream. After many years in the Midwest, she went in search of milder winters and currently lives in Eastern Tennessee with her poodles. Her debut novel, The Plot is Murder was nominated for a 2017 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime. Readers can learn more by visiting her website at vmburns.com

Author Links:

Website: http://www.vmburns.com/

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

Twitter: @vmburns

Purchase Links – AmazonBarnes & NobleIndieBound: – Books-A-MillionKobo

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February 14 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW

February 15 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

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February 16 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

February 17 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 18 – Carla Loves to Read – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 19 – FUONLYKNEW – REVIEW

February 19 – Reading Is My SuperPower – GUEST POST

February 20 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST

February 20 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

February 21 – RUFF DRAFTS – GUEST POST

February 21 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

February 22 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Cozy Mysteries, New Releases

Spotlight for Running from Arrows, A Running Store Mystery, by T. C. Wescott


Running from Arrows
(A Running Store Mystery)
by T.C. Wescott

About the Book


Running from Arrows (A Running Store Mystery)
Cozy Mystery/Romance/Humor
2nd in Series
Better Mousetrap Books (January 7, 2019)
Print Length: 192 pages
Digital ASIN: B07KDYFYKB

One of Lacy’s beaus has a bow. Unlike Cupid, his arrows kill. There’s more than romance in the air this Valentine’s Day!

Running from Arrows is the fun, twist-filled, romantic cozy mystery romp you’ve been waiting for!

Valentine’s Day is coming up and Lacy is single. If that’s not bad enough, she has a secret admirer. Is it the compassionate, haunted detective, the ruggedly handsome businessman, the suave maître de, the guy in her running group who likes to stare, or maybe someone who’s not on her radar? She’ll find out soon enough because he’s invited her to dinner. Now the question isn’t how long Lacy will remain single but how long she’ll remain alive.

During the Sweetheart Run through the town of Cedar Mill a fellow runner is murdered and a notorious burglar called the Black Cat is found dead with an arrow sticking out of him. Somehow these strange murders are connected to the ladies of Run For It – Lacy the divorcee, Stax the quirky bookseller, and Ruby the old-time mystery novelist. They’re back in a race against time to catch an invisible killer and exonerate an innocent man!

If you love a delicious mystery dripping with romance, humor, and chills – and a Valentine’s Day dinner no reader will ever forget – then buy Running from Arrows now and run it right to the top of your TBR pile!

You’ll want to tell all your friends about Running from Arrows, but whatever you do, DON’T TELL THE SECRET OF THE SECRET ADMIRER.

Running from Arrows is part two in a series but can be read as a stand-alone.

About the Author

T.C. Wescott was born in Missouri but has lived in Oklahoma most of his life. Like pretty much every author who has ever breathed, he is an avid reader. His favorites are classic mysteries from the Golden Age, as well as just before or just after that period (which is widely considered the period between the two World Wars). His first mystery novel, Running from Scissors, was published in July 2018 and will be the first of at least three books in the Running Store Mystery series.

The Christmas Village Mystery series was launched in November with the debut title Slay Bells. The formula for his books is simple – mixing the classic, traditional detective fiction standards with all the trappings of the modern cozy mystery.

Wescott is also (under another name) the author of two award-winning non-fiction books as well as a slew of essays and articles.

Purchase Link – Amazon

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February 6 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW

February 6 – Mythical Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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February 9 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

February 9 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

February 10 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

February 11 – Laura`s Interests – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

February 12 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – GUEST POST

February 13 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

February 13 – The Book Decoder – SPOTLIGHT

February 14 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST

February 14 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

February 15 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW

February 15 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

February 16 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 17 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST

February 18 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW

February 19 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour

Author Spotlight of V. M. Burns, author of The Novel Art f Murder, a Mystery Bookshop Mystery

I’m pleased to have author Valerie Burns writing as V.M. Burns from Chatanooga, TN here to speak about her writing and new release, The Novel Art of Murder that’s on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

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

My first book, THE PLOT IS MURDER, was published by Kensington Books in November 2017. That was the first book in my Mystery Bookshop Mystery Series. I have three mystery series:

Mystery Bookshop Mystery Series (Kensington)

The Plot is Murder (1) – November 2017

Read Herring Hunt (2) – April 2018

The Novel Art of Murder (3) — November 2018

Dog Club Mystery Series (Lyrical Underground)

In the Dog House (1) — August 2018

The Puppy Who Knew Too Much — February 2019

RJ Franklin Mystery Series (Camel Press)

Travellin’ Shoes (1) — July 2018

Sometimes I Fell Like a Motherless Child (2) —July 2019

Excellent! They all sound great! ell us a little bit about them.

The Mystery Bookshop Mystery Series is set on the shores of Lake Michigan. When Samantha Washington’s husband dies, she quits her job as a high school English teacher to follow their shared dream of opening a mystery bookshop. However, opening a mystery bookshop isn’t her only dream. She also dreamed of writing British historic cozy mysteries. Each book in this series contains the contemporary mystery that Samantha is living and the British historic mystery she is writing. The fourth book in the series, WED, READ & DEAD is scheduled to release on April 30, 2019.

The Dog Club Mystery Series starts in Indiana. When Lilly Echosby’s husband, Albert sells cars. When he wants to trade Lilly in for a younger model, she is furious. When Albert is murdered, the police arrest Lilly. Lilly and dog enthusiast and best friend, Dixie Jefferson, have to prove her innocence by finding the murderer. The second book in this series, THE PUPPY WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, releases on February 12, 2019.

The RJ Franklin Mystery Series is set in Northwestern Indiana. This series features a policeman and his godmother, Mama B as the sleuths. It is a multicultural mystery which includes a glimpse into the life of the African American community. All of the titles in this series are taken from Negro Spirituals and the books include soul food recipes. The second book in this series, SOMETIMES I FEEL LIKE A MOTHERLESS CHILD, will release in July 2019.

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

I love writing so my goal is to continue writing cozy mysteries for as long as possible. I want to improve as a writer and storyteller. Improving has been a continual process which started with going back to school to get my Master of Fine Arts degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. It was a great decision that helped get my writing career started. Now, I continue to learn by reading and attending conferences. In 2018 I attended two writing workshops/conferences. In 2019 I plan to double that number. I learn a great deal by attending workshops, networking with other writers, and trying new techniques.

A great plan. I’m sure it will helpful to your goal. What type of reader are you hoping to attract?  Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?

I hope to attract readers who are looking for an entertaining story. My books are not world changing epics, however I hope they will amuse and entertain. Critics of genre fiction often call it “escapist.” Honestly, I’m okay with that label. Sometimes, people need to escape reality and spend time in a place that feels comfortable with people you enjoy spending time with. I strive to create that place and those people in each of my books. Each time a reader picks up one of my books, I hope they feel like they are reconnecting with old friends. So, those are the people that I think will be interested in reading my books.

Characters are very important in cozies. I’d also like to think of the Cobble Cove folks as friends to my readers except for the killers, of course – lol!

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

It’s not easy to get a book traditionally published. Most authors (myself included) received a lot of rejections before their first book was published. However, the key is to keep writing. Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, James Patterson, Agatha Christie and F. Scott Fitzgerald were all rejected. However, books are subjective and just because one agent, editor or critic doesn’t like it, doesn’t mean the book shouldn’t be published. A rejection means that book wasn’t for that person at that point in time. I’m sure every publisher who rejected J.K. Rowling would love an opportunity for a second chance. If having a book published is your dream, don’t give up and NEVER stop writing.

Excellent advice. I’m still trying to find an agent and become traditionally published, but I’m thankful for the books and series I have out through Solstice, my small, online publisher.

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

Getting published isn’t easy. One of the challenges is getting your foot in the door and finding someone to read your manuscript. Most publishers don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts from un-agented writers. Agents receive tons of queries from writers looking for representation and can afford to be selective. As a writer, we send out queries and don’t hear anything back for weeks, sometimes months, if at all (I once received a rejection for a manuscript over a year after the query was sent). Writing is very solidary and it’s easy to take rejection or silence as a judgment of your writing skill. One thing that helped me was connecting with the writing community. Mystery Writers of America (MWA) and Sisters in Crime (Sinc) are great organizations. Both will allow unpublished authors to join (male and female, don’t let the Sinc name fool you). Sisters in Crime even has a “Guppies” group which is a great place to make connections, get feedback and ask questions. It’s a great way to maintain perspective.

I’m a member of SINC Guppies and, even though I’m published, I learn a lot from them.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I’m a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Color and Thriller Writers of America

Great groups. I’m a fellow member of Sisters in Crime and Thriller Writers of America. I also belong to a local group and the Cat Writer’s Association.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I enjoy baking, but am starting to enjoy cooking. I read and for many years, I competed in performance events (agility and obedience) with my poodles. I also used to do pet assisted therapy.

Sounds like you’re a fellow pet lover.

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

I love writing. I have a lot of ideas and getting them out of my head and onto the page is a fantastic thrill. I love seeing how the stories and characters develop. My least favorite part about being an author is editing. Authors edit a manuscript multiple times before it ever gets printed, which means reading, reading, and re-reading the same story over and over and over. My toughest challenge is making time for edits. I’d much rather write.

Editing can be even more time-consuming than writing, but authors including myself find promoting an even bigger challenge.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I love writing cozy mysteries. I love creating characters and watching them evolve. I’m not a plotter. I prefer to get a basic idea for a story and then start writing and see where the characters and the story take me. Sometimes, I write myself into a corner, but generally the characters will show me the way out. Cozies are, in my opinion, driven by the characters.

I agree with that completely, and I’m also a pantster. I take very few notes and don’t really outline. Sometimes the outcomes even surprise me, but the characters, as you said, do take control.

Can you share a short excerpt from your latest release?

“If you don’t get your fanny out of that dressing room in the next thirty seconds, I’ll come in and drag you out.”

I recognized the tone in my grandmother’s voice well enough to realize she meant business. Three hours of trying on every bubble-gum-pink bridesmaid dress in South Harbor’s one and only wedding shop had left all of us in a foul mood. I took one last look at my reflection in the mirror and resigned myself to my fate. The hoopskirt under my ballroom gown was so large I had to turn sideways and wiggle to get through the dressing room door, but given this was the seventh or eighth dress I’d tried on, I had mastered the technique fairly well.

In the main viewing area at the back of the large store, I walked up the two stairs and stood atop the platform designed to look like a wedding cake to showcase the dresses to loved ones. I stood atop the platform of shame and waited for the laughter I knew was inevitable.

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

All of my books are available as ebooks. The Mystery Bookshop Mystery Series is available in bookstores and in large print. The Plot is Murder and the Dog Club Mystery Series is also available in audiobook. The RJ Franklin Mystery Series can be ordered as Trade Paperback or ebook format.

That’s great, Valerie. It was so nice speaking with you today. I’m sharing your blog tour below. Best wishes on it and your new release.

The Novel Art of Murder
(Mystery Bookshop)
by V.M. Burns

About the Book


The Novel Art of Murder (Mystery Bookshop)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Kensington (November 27, 2018)
Paperback: 256 pages
ISBN-10: 1496711858
ISBN-13: 978-1496711854
Digital ASIN: B07B7B4C8Q

Mystery bookstore owner Samantha Washington is trying to keep her grandmother from spending her golden years in an orange jumpsuit . . .

The small town of North Harbor, Michigan, is just not big enough for the two of them: flamboyant phony Maria Romanov and feisty Nana Jo. The insufferable Maria claims she’s descended from Russian royalty and even had a fling with King Edward VIII back in the day. She’s not just a lousy liar, she’s a bad actress, so when she nabs the lead in the Shady Acres Senior Follies—a part Nana Jo plays every year in their retirement village production—Nana Jo blows a gasket and reads her the riot act in front of everyone.

Of course, when Maria is silenced with a bullet to the head, Nana Jo lands the leading role on the suspects list. Sam’s been writing her newest mystery, set in England between the wars, with her intrepid heroine Lady Daphne drawn into murder and scandal in the household of Winston Churchill. But now she has to prove that Nana Jo’s been framed. With help from her grandmother’s posse of rambunctious retirees, Sam shines a spotlight on Maria’s secrets, hoping to draw the real killer out of the shadow

About the Author

V.M. Burns was born in Northwestern Indiana and spent many years in Southwestern Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. She is a lover of dogs, British historic cozies, and scones with clotted cream. After many years in the Midwest, she went in search of milder winters and currently lives in Eastern Tennessee with her poodles. Her debut novel, The Plot is Murder was nominated for a 2017 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime. Readers can learn more by visiting her website at vmburns.com

Author Links:

Website: http://www.vmburns.com/

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

Twitter: @vmburns

Purchase Links – AmazonBarnes & NobleIndieBound: – Books-A-MillionHudson Booksellers

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

January 30 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

January 30 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

January 31 – Laura`s Interests – REVIEW, GUEST POST

January 31 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 1 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

February 1 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

February 1 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – REVIEW

February 2 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

February 2 – Mythical Books – SPOTLIGHT

February 2 – The Editing Pen – GUEST POST

February 3 – Babs Book Bistro – GUEST POST

February 4 – The Layaway Dragon – REVIEW

February 4 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

February 5 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW

February 5 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

February 5 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 6 – Rae’s Books and Recipes – SPOTLIGHT

February 6 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST

February 6 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 7 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

February 7 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST

February 7 – Jody’s Book Reviews, Book Tours & Giveaways – SPOTLIGHT

February 8 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

February 8 – Readeropolis – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 8 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW

February 9 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

February 9 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

February 10 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 10 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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