Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Mysteries

Author Spotlight of Kathleen Valenti, author of As Directed, A Maggie O’Malley Mystery by Kathleen Valenti

I’m pleased to have author Kathleen Valenti from Bend, Oregon (a.k.a. paradise) to chat about her writing and new release, As Directed, that’s on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

Great to have you here, Kathleen. 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.

The Maggie O’Malley Mystery Series, published by Henery Press, has been out for about a year and a half. My first book, PROTOCOL, debuted in September of 2017. It was followed by 39 WINKS in May of 2018. I’m excited for the launch of the series’ third book, AS DIRECTED, which releases this month.

Nice. I featured a spotlight on 39 Winks and am happy to feature your new title.

Can you please tell us a little bit about your books?

In the Maggie O’Malley Mystery series, sometime pharmaceutical researcher Maggie O’Malley cures mysteries with wit, the scientific method, and her wise-cracking best friend, Constantine. The first book in the series, PROTOCOL, was nominated for the prestigious Agatha and Lefty awards and was followed by fan favorite, 39 WINKS. AS DIRECTED, released on March 12, 2019.

Congratulations for publishing the latest of what sounds like a wonderful series. Alicia’s friend Gilly in my Cobble Cove mystery series might be a lot like Maggie’s friend Constantine.

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

 I hope to introduce more readers to Maggie by reaching out to them through outlets like this (thank you for hosting me!) and via my social media channels. Please come say hello on my Facebook page:

I already “like” your page and hope that readers of this blog will do so, too.

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

I’m looking for readers who love books with suspense, twisty plots, and witty dialogue.

A good target group.

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

Keep at it! It’s a tough business to break into, but don’t lose hope. If you continue to hone your craft and write the best book you can, you’ll find people who believe in it as much as you do.

Wise advice.

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

There are so many great avenues for getting a book out into the world these days, but I decided I wanted to go the traditional route. More than ever, that means securing an agent. For me, that was by far the most difficult and daunting part of the process. The rejection rate of agents responding to queries is 99%. 99%!! That’s where the perseverance I mentioned above comes in. While searching for the right agent, I made sure I had the right book. It took an enormous amount of time, energy and effort, but it was absolutely worth it.

I’m still trying to find an agent, but I’m happy that I’ve been published with several publishers, although I hope to publish with a large one eventually.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I belong to Sisters in Crime, a fantastic organization that supports sisters (and misters!) who write crime fiction, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers. I’m also a blogger on two multi-author blogs: Chicks on the Case and Mysteristas.

I agree Sisters in Crime is a wonderful group. I belong to them, too, as well as International Thriller Writers. I must check out the blogs you mentioned, and I hope my readers will, too. They sound great. I also blog on a multi-author, blog, Pens, Paws, and Claws and my character cat, Sneaky the Library Cat, has his own blog.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

Of course reading is near the top of the list. I also love to snowmobile, camp, hike, run and Jazzercise.

It’s good you stay active when you’re an author and have to spend a lot of time at the computer writing. As a librarian, I love to read, too, but I make it a point to exercise daily. I enjoy the Leslie Sansone walking videos. I imagine Jazzercise must be fun.

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

I love the puzzle of writing a mystery. The toughest challenge is marketing. There are so many wonderful books out there that it can be difficult to be seen and heard in the marketplace.

I know exactly what you mean.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

My books actually aren’t cozies. They’re traditional mysteries with a medical angle. I love the traditional mystery genre for its ability to create interest and intrigue while engaging the reader.

While I have a cozy series, I have written a traditional mystery, Reason to Die, and have just signed with another publisher for my psychological thriller, Sea Scope.

Can you share a short excerpt from your latest title o?

Here’s an excerpt from AS DIRECTED:

Claudia Warren took too long to die.

She should have been dead when her lungs stopped inflating, when her brain stopped communicating with the rest of her body. But her heart kept beating, even as her cells began to necrotize and the blood pooled in her muscles.

Claudia couldn’t even die right.

Then again, she’d never been murdered before, so maybe that was to be expected.

Claudia died alone, as she did most things. She came home from the grocery store, carefully inserted her key into the deadbolt, jiggling it up and down to engage the tumblers, then tossed her purse on the counter next to yesterday’s mail. She deposited white plastic grocery bags on the counter—she couldn’t be bothered with toting around cloth ones—and began to unpack the fruits of her Pick-N-Save foraging.

A pack of single-serving puddings.

A box of single-serving juices.

An array of Lean Cuisine entrées, the accent capping the “e” an attempt to catapult the food from TV dinner to culinary experience.

Single serving food for her table-for-one life.

Not that she minded living alone. She relished it. She had her rescue cat, Todd, a fat tabby who bumped her chin with his head when she bent to fill his dish, and her work as an advertising account exec, which followed her home every night like a stalker.

Human beings? She found them overrated. They were too critical of her missteps. Too overbearing in their suggestions. Too there.

And yet the moment she knew something was wrong, very wrong, she had a sudden and intense urging for that thereness.

Her cheating ex-husband. Her meddling mother. The woman next door who pilfered coupons from her mailbox. It didn’t matter. She would’ve taken any of them. She needed help. She needed someone there. She needed someone to stop her heart from stopping.

Exciting excerpt. Thank you for sharing. I’ve added you to my TBR author list.

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

When I’m not writing mysteries, I work as an advertising copywriter, writing ads for everything from banks and healthcare to athletic apparel and transmissions. Really!

Interesting. You certainly are a wordsmith, Kathleen.

Thanks so much for a great interview. I’m sharing the information about your blog tour below. Best wishes on your new release and future mysteries.

Thank you again for having me!

As Directed
(A Maggie O’Malley Mystery)
by Kathleen Valenti

About the Book

As Directed (A Maggie O’Malley Mystery)
3rd in Series
Henery Press (March 12, 2019)
Hardcover: 286 pages
ISBN-10: 1635114705
ISBN-13: 978-1635114706
Digital ASIN: B07LB6N22B

In the shadow of a past fraught with danger and tainted by loss, former pharmaceutical researcher Maggie O’Malley is rebuilding her life, trading test tubes for pill bottles as she embarks on a new career at the corner drugstore.

But as she spreads her wings, things begin to go terribly wrong. A customer falls ill in the store. Followed by another. And then more.

The specter of poisoning arises, conjuring old grudges, past sins, buried secrets and new suspicions from which no one is immune.

As Maggie and her best friend Constantine begin to investigate, they discover that some of the deadliest doses come from the most unexpected places.

About the Author

Kathleen Valenti is the author of the Maggie O’Malley Mystery Series, which includes her Agatha- and Lefty-nominated debut novel, Protocol. When Kathleen isn’t writing page-turning mysteries that combine humor and suspense, she works as a nationally award-winning advertising copywriter. She lives in Oregon with her family where she pretends to enjoy running. Learn more at

Author Links

Purchase Links

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Posted in Cozy Mysteries, New Releases

Spotlight for Broken Bone China, a Tea Shop Mystery, by Laura Childs


Broken Bone China
(A Tea Shop Mystery) by Laura Childs

About the Book

Broken Bone China (A Tea Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
20th in Series
Berkley (March 5, 2019)
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 0451489632
ISBN-13: 978-0451489630

Theodosia Browning serves tea and solves crimes in Charleston, a city steeped in tradition and treachery in the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.

It is Sunday afternoon, and Theodosia and Drayton are catering a formal tea at a hot-air balloon rally. The view aloft is not only stunning, they are also surrounded by a dozen other colorful hot-air balloons. But as the sky turns gray and the clouds start to boil up, a strange object zooms out of nowhere. It is a drone, and it appears to be buzzing around the balloons, checking them out.

As Theodosia and Drayton watch, the drone, hovering like some angry, mechanized insect, deliberately crashes into the balloon next to them. An enormous, fiery explosion erupts, and everyone watches in horror as the balloon plummets to the earth, killing all three of its passengers.

Sirens scream, first responders arrive, and Theodosia is interviewed by the police. During the interview she learns that one of the downed occupants was Don Kingsley, the CEO of a local software company, SyncSoft. Not only do the police suspect Kingsley as the primary target, they learn that he possessed a rare Revolutionary War Union Jack flag that several people were rabidly bidding on.

Intrigued, Theodosia begins her own investigation. Was it the CEO’s soon-to-be ex-wife, who is restoring an enormous mansion at no expense? The CEO’s personal assistant, who also functioned as curator of his prized collection of Americana? Two rival antiques’ dealers known for dirty dealing? Or was the killer the fiancée of one of Theodosia’s dear friends, who turns out to be an employee—and whistle-blower—at SyncSoft?


About the Author

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fundraising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:

The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

Laura’s Links:

Website –

Facebook –

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Posted in local author event

Don’t Miss Long Island’s Local Author Fair on April 6

Long Island’s Local Author Fair, the first event of this kind on Long Island, will take place on April 6, 2019 from 3 to 8 pm at the Tilles Center on the LIU/C.W. Post campus. This event will feature over fifty authors from various writing groups on the Island including the Long Island Authors Group, of which I’m a member. Other groups include Long Island Romance Writers, Long Island Children’s Writers and Illustrators, and the Global Institute. There will be author talks, panels, and book signings. The keynote speaker is author, Representative, Steve Israel.

If you live in the NY/Long Island area, this is a not-to-be-missed event. Come out and meet your local authors. I’ll be there with my Cobble Cove mystery series, my paranormal romance, and my standalone thriller.

Posted in Cozy Mysteries, New Releases

Spotlight for Restaurant Weeks Are Murder, A Poppy McAllister Mystery by Libby Klein

Restaurant Weeks Are Murder
(A Poppy McAllister Mystery)
by Libby Klein

About the Book

Restaurant Weeks Are Murder (A Poppy McAllister Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Kensington (February 26, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496713079
ISBN-13: 978-1496713070

Cape May, New Jersey, is the site of a big culinary competition—and the knives are out . . .

Poppy McAllister is happy about opening a Jersey Shore B&B—but working in a professional kitchen has always been her real dream. Now it’s coming true, at least briefly, as she teams up with her former fiancée, Tim—and his condescending partner, Gigi—during the high-profile Restaurant Week challenge. Poppy’s specialty is pastries, despite her devotion to a Paleo diet. But if anyone can make glorious gluten-free goodies, it’s Poppy.

Things get heated quickly—especially when some ingredients get switched and Tim’s accused of sabotage. Relatively harmless pranks soon escalate into real hazards, including an exploding deep fryer. And now one of the judges has died after taking a bite of Poppy’s cannoli—making her the chef suspect . . .

Includes Seven Recipes from Poppy’s Kitchen!

About the Author

Libby Klein dabbles in the position of Vice President of a technology company which mostly involves bossing other people around, making spreadsheets, and taking out the trash. She writes culinary cozy mysteries from her Northern Virginia office while trying to keep her cat Figaro off her keyboard.
Author Links

Purchase Links – Amazon Barnes & Noble Hudson Booksellers Target Books A Million IndieBound Walmart

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February 25 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

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Posted in Books, New Releases

Marching into Spring with a New Book Contract

I’m proud to announce that I’ve signed a contract with Creativia Publishing for my psychological thriller, Sea Scope.

When infertility threatens her marriage and her husband refuses to seek medical help, children’s book illustrator Sarah needs an escape. Sea Scope, the family-owned inn in South Carolina where she spent her childhood, seems just the place. It’s been twenty years since she’s set foot there, twenty years since she and her brother Glen discovered the body of a guest. Although ruled a suicide, Sarah always had her suspicions. Now she faces long-buried memories and ominous text messages from someone claiming to be her dead brother.

A devout skeptic and seeker of facts, Sarah hunts the prankster, uncovering inconvenient truths and family secrets along the way, until that long ago “suicide” looks more like murder. And if Sarah keeps digging, the next body found by the lighthouse may just be her own.

What’s unique about this book are the true facts about lighthouses and lighthouse keeping that are scattered throughout. Of course, what will come as no surprise to readers of my other books, this one also features a cat.

Keep your eyes on this blog and subscribe to my newsletter for further details about this book and the release date.