Posted in Blog Tour, Cozy Mysteries, Guest Post

Guest Post Recipe and Blog Tour for Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread Murder, A Cast Iron Skillet Mystery, by Jodi Rath

Recipe for Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread

Ingredients

  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeds* removed and diced
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup fine cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt (1 tsp. if using fine salt)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup cooked corn kernels plus enough cream, milk, or buttermilk** to equal 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese*** plus bit more for top before baking
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar

*see Notes

Instructions

  1. Place diced jalapeños in skillet, then place in a 10-inch top diameter cast iron skillet in cold oven on middle rack. Preheat oven to 400°F and leave skillet with jalapeños in oven as it preheats. Check periodically to make sure they aren’t burning and to give them a quick stir. Remove when they are lightly browned and allow to cool. Return skillet immediately to oven.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs. Whisk in corn/cream mixture and cheddar cheese. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, mix butter and sugar with a wooden spoon,**** just until butter absorbs the sugar. Add the egg mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in the cooled jalapeños. Mix in the dry ingredients just until barely incorporated.
  5. Remove skillet from oven and lightly coat with nonstick spray. Spoon batter into hot pan and quickly top with a bit more grated cheddar cheese. Bake cornbread until top is golden brown and springs back when gently pressed, 25-28 minutes when baked in a 10-inch skillet (may be longer if your skillet is smaller). Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

*If you like your food extra spicy, then leave the seeds in the jalapeños.

**This means you add the corn kernels to a measuring cup first, then pour in the milk until the milk rises to the 1 1/2 cup level. (I was not able to find buttermilk at my local store. If you have the same problem, then you can add one tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar for every one cup of milk.)

***I’m a cheese lover—I added an extra half cup of cheese!

****I tried the recipe mixing with a wooden spoon and again using my Kitchenette mixer. Call me crazy, but I truly believe it tasted better when using the wooden spoon to stir ingredients.

This recipe was adapted from seasonsandsuppas.ca and foodiecrush.com.

Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Murder
(The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series)
by Jodi Rath

About the Book


Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Murder (The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in the Series
MYS ED LLC (June 21, 2019)
Digital ASIN: B07Q1K4DN3

Financial fraud of elderly villagers in Leavensport, an urban sprawl threat to the community, disastrous dates, cross-sell marketing gone wrong, and another murder? Jolie Tucker is ready to try dating again. Well, she has no choice—since her family auctioned her off to the highest bidder. Her best friend, Ava, has agreed to a double date, but both friends find out hidden secrets about their partners as well as deception by one of the village’s own, who will soon be found dead. This plot is sure to be spicy!

About the Author

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

Author Links: Webpage: https://www.jodirath.com/ FB: https://www.facebook.com/jodirath FB Author Page: Author Jodi Rath Twitter @jodirath

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jodi-rath

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

  • Monthly Newsletter Link: http://eepurl.com/dIfXdbGet Short Story “Sweet Retreat” for free by subscribing to my monthly newsletter. Subscribe to my newsletter to receive free flash fiction, A Mystery a Month, serial scenes from series, and deleted scenes).

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Posted in Contest

Win a Free Copy of my Horror Short Story, Haunted Honeymoon

From June 22 to June 28, you can win my horror story eBook, Haunted Honeymoon, by sharing where you went on your honeymoon or a place you think is perfect for a honeymoon. I will choose a winner randomly from all answers on Saturday, June 29. Please comment with your replies on this blog. 

mybook.to/hhoneymoon

Ghost Cat. Don’t honeymoon without one.

Francesco and Gina are not your typical engaged couple. They met in a cemetery and spent their dates watching horror movies. But when Francesco suggests they honeymoon in a haunted house in Venice, Gina is shocked when she learns the place may actually be Francesco’s childhood home where his parents were murdered.

This giveaway isn’t affiliated with WordPress, Facebook, or Twitter. Good luck!

Posted in Blog Tour, Cozy Mysteries, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Deco Dames, Demon Rum, and Death, A Jazz Age Mystery by Ellen Mansoor Collier

TOOT YOUR HORN:   CREATIVE MARKETING For INDIES

                     By:  Ellen Mansoor Collier, Author of the Jazz Age mystery series

As an independent author, I admit, my dream was to see my books for sale on shelves in upscale stores, bookshops and retail outlets—not just online. So I tried “creative” ways of marketing, and looked for specialty gift shops and regional stores that also sold books.

I found out the hard way that traditional bookstores or shops are NOT interested in self-published books, unless you’re already rich and famous. Hard to compete with thousands of books anyway, especially if you’re an unknown.  I’ve had bookshop managers compliment my books while shoving me out the door, figuratively speaking. Small book stores tend to feel that Amazon is driving them out of business, and the larger chains think indies are trying to sneak in the back way, without being “vetted.”

The fact that I’ve made my living as a professional journalist doesn’t matter to them. Sadly, they assume independent books mean low-quality or inferior writing and cover design. I’ve worked in publishing almost all my life—besides, my brother is an artist, and I have several editor friends who were willing to review my novels.  In addition, my mother was a writer and excellent editor, as well as a former World History teacher. So I thought, why not publish my books the way I want and retain creative control, plus all my rights?

Since my novels are about 1920s Galveston, I naturally approached shops and hotels in the area and either called or left a copy of FLAPPERS, the first novel in my series. First I started with small, independent business who were happy to accept my books on consignment.  Sadly, the trouble with mom-and-pop stores is they often don’t have the budget or space to keep your books in stock and on display.  (Getting paid can be a tug-of- war, so now I usually require payment upfront.)

Luckily  bookstores often advertise regional books and sponsor book-signings for local authors. I’ve even done book signings at “Roaring Twenties”-themed fundraisers and art gallery parties just by asking—and donated part of my proceeds (usually 20-25).  I also sold my books at an area casino hotel/gift shop just by dropping off FLAPPERS with the staff. During a follow up call, I suggested to the manager that she give my books a try with a small order—which she did!

At first, a major mystery bookstore seemed reluctant to give my books a try, but by the time I’d written a couple of new titles, the tides had turned and suddenly indies were more “socially acceptable,”  if not hot. Still some of the staff remained wary, so it was gratifying when their first order of 25 books sold out in three weeks. Note: Many shops will wait until all books have sold before they reorder, so be prepared for a long wait. I’d suggest a small order at first, especially if the books are on consignment.

In Galveston, I noticed the luxury hotels on the Seawall sold lots of beachy items, but they didn’t have any novels for sale. The retail manage told me to contact the corporate office, which I did a YEAR later. Long story short, I was too chicken to contact them immediately but followed up after my fourth book—and got a call from the regional merchandising manager (sadly he soon left the company). Turns out the retail manager enjoyed FLAPPERS and wanted to start selling it in their hotel gift shops. The regional manager became interested later when he found out I had a series available and ordered 24 copies of each book (96)!  Timing is everything in this business!

Last year, a friend suggested I try a well-known restaurant with a new attached gift shop—that I didn’t know existed. The manager ordered 40 copies of my books—and placed a second order six weeks later. Naturally summer is my best season and sales during the fall and winter often lag.

My advice for indies, young or old, is to identify the factors that make your books unique: is it the setting, the theme, the characters, the storyline? Then contact the stores that fit into those categories. Most cozy mysteries seem to center around a hobby or activity—if your novels are about animals or food or fashion or sports or antiques, try pet shops, bakeries, restaurants, unique clothing boutiques, sports shops or antique malls—even quilt or knitting shops—that cater to the clientele you’d like to reach. Is your book about a certain collectible or is it historical?  Perhaps a specialty gift shop, museum or tea room, even a B&B or boutique hotel or spa may want to offer your books.  Corporate chains and hotels are difficult retail nuts to crack, so I suggest approaching independent businesses at first.

As an indie, I tend to stay away from author events since they can cost a pretty penny and are filled with other hopeful writers who are in the same situation. If I do attend, I’ll go as a reader but then end up buying half the books for sale since I sympathize!  Still it’s fun to network and make local contacts with your peers and potential readers.

To summarize:  Find your niche and then broaden your scope. Once you get your foot in the door and word gets out, you can add bigger markets to your list. Better yet, try chains that reach a regional or national market.  Though I’m not shy, I’ll admit, it’s difficult to peddle your own books—I get more rejections than OKs—but if people express interest, don’t be afraid to follow up with a phone call or repeat visit.  Naturally you don’t want to come across as a pushy car salesperson, but you can check in periodically, especially if you have a new book out.

Sadly, as an indie, you’ll often get the cold shoulder from old-school stores (don’t get me started on my local Barnes & Noble), but if you present quality books and find the right niche, then you, too, can see your beloved books in stores and unique retail outlets.  Good luck!

Deco Dames, Demon Rum and Death
(Jazz Age Mystery Series)
by Ellen Mansoor Collier

About the Book


Deco Dames, Demon Rum and Death (Jazz Age Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Decodame Press (December 28, 2018)
Paperback: 249 pages
ISBN-10: 0989417042
ISBN-13: 978-0989417044
Digital ASIN: B07LGGKPKZ

When young Galveston Gazette society reporter Jazz Cross hears rumors of grave robbers at the Broadway Cemetery, she and photographer Nathan Blaine investigate, hoping to land a scoop. The newshawks witness meetings held by clandestine gangs and enlist the help of her beau, Prohibition Agent James Burton, who attempts to catch the elusive culprits red-handed.

Meanwhile, the supernatural craze takes Galveston by storm, and Jazz is assigned to profile the society set’s favorite fortune teller, Madame Farushka. Sightings of a ghost bride haunting the Hotel Galvez intrigue Jazz, who sets up a Ouija board reading and séance with the spiritualist. Did the bride-to-be drown herself—or was she murdered?

Luckily, Sammy Cook, her black-sheep half-brother, has escaped the Downtown Gang and now acts as the maître d’ for the Hollywood Dinner Club, owned by rival Beach Gang leaders. During a booze bust, the Downtown Gang’s mob boss, Johnny Jack Nounes, is caught and Jazz worries: will Sammy be forced to testify against his former boss? Worse, when a mystery man turns up dead, Sammy is framed for murder and Jazz must solve both murders and help clear Sammy’s name.

As the turf war between rival gangs rages on, Jazz relies on her wits and moxie to rescue her brother and her friends before the Downtown Gang exacts its revenge.

About the Author

Ellen Mansoor Collier is a Houston-based freelance magazine writer and editor whose articles and essays have been published in a variety of national magazines. Several of her short stories have appeared in Woman’s World. During college summers, she worked as a reporter for a Houston community newspaper and as a cocktail waitress, both jobs providing background experience for her Jazz Age mysteries.

A flapper at heart, she’s worked as a magazine editor/writer, and in advertising and public relations (plus endured a hectic semester as a substitute teacher). She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Magazine Journalism and served on UTmost, the college magazine and as president of WICI (Women in Communications).

She lives in Houston with her husband and Chow mutts and visits Galveston whenever possible.

“When you grow up in Houston, Galveston becomes like a second home. I had no idea this sleepy beach town had such a wild and colorful past until I began doing research, and became fascinated by the legends and stories of the 1920s. Finally, I had to stop researching and start writing, trying to imagine a flapper’s life in Galveston during Prohibition.”

Author Links:

Website: http://www.flapperfinds.com/
GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45174861-deco-dames-demon-rum-and-death
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/artdecodame/flappers/

Purchase Link: Amazon

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June 20 – Ascroft eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 21 – Ruff Drafts GUEST POST

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June 23 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 23 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW by Guest Reviewer

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Posted in Blog Tour, mystery, New Releases, Romantic Suspense

Spotlight For A Crafter Hooks a Killer, A Handcrafted Mystery, by Holly Quinn

A Crafter Hooks a Killer:
A Handcrafted Mystery
by Holly Quinn

About the Book


A Crafter Hooks a Killer: A Handcrafted Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (June 11, 2019)
Hardcover 274 Pages
ISBN-10: 1643850121
ISBN-13: 978-1643850122
Digital ASIN: B07MGS1XDW

Community Craft proprietor Sammy Kane suspects that a tantalizing thread links the deaths of her best friend and a bestselling author. But can she weave together the clues?

Samantha “Sammy” Kane is settling into her new life in idyllic Heartsford, Wisconsin, running her late friend Kate Allen’s craft shop, Community Craft when one early June day, bestselling crochet author Jane Johnson visits Heartsford. Captivated by Community Craft, Jane devotes a chapter in her new book, Behind the Seams, to the store. Sammy is honored, though satisfaction quickly turns to shock when she finds Jane strangled to death—her cold hands clutching a copy of her most recently published book, with the words “THE END” raggedly scratched into the cover.

Heavens to Etsy! Not only must Sammy contend with the author’s inauspicious demise, she has to untie some knotty details from her own past. It turns out Kate’s death was not what it seemed, and instead somehow hooked to Jane Johnson’s demise. Handsome Detective Liam Nash is on the “skein”, more than happy to see the shop owner again, if less than enamored by her sleuthing interventions. But this was Sammy’s best friend—she has to know.

Fortunately, Sammy has a “lace” in the hole. As a child, she formed the S.H.E. detective team with her cousin, Heidi, and her sister, Ellie. Having already reconstituted their partnership, the S.H.E. team searches for a pattern behind the latest death. As the case starts to unravel, will Sammy and team be able to sidestep Liam quick enough to stitch together the clues?

About the Author

Holly Quinn has published two stand-alone fiction novels in another persona. She graduated from Carroll University in Wisconsin with a Bachelor of Science in business and a minor in marketing. This is her second Handcrafted mystery. Visit her @ www.authorhollyquinn.com

Author Links –

Website – www.authorhollyquinn.com

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

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7940795.Holly_Quinn

Purchase Links – AmazonB&N BAMIndieBoundPowell’s BooksWalmart

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Posted in Blog Tour, mystery, New Releases, Romantic Suspense

Spotlight For Love, Lies, and Azure Eyes by Janis Thornton

Love, Lies, and Azure Eyes
by Janis Thornton

About the Book


Love, Lies, and Azure Eyes
Paranormal Romantic Suspense
Soul Mate Publishing, LLC (June 12, 2019)
Print Length: 267 pages
ASIN: B07PRV6VZC

Elated by Annie’s response, Johnny caved to his impulse and pressed his mouth to her sweet lips, sparking a surge of electricity that ricocheted through his entire body, and for one glorious moment swept him up in a wave of emotion that meteorically whisked him to the edge of the universe, past swirling spirals of brightly burning stars — white dwarfs, red giants, entire galaxies. Caught in the rapture, he shed his cocoon of darkness and experienced the light — the wonderful, warm, life-affirming light. He reveled in it, felt alive. He almost believed he was. Almost.

* * *

West Coast journalist Annie Sinclair’s career, not to mention her love life, has been on the skids far too long, when she returns to Logan Point, her small, Indiana hometown. She’s back to make amends with her elderly father, and to delve into the 25-year-old, unsolved murder of her high school classmate for a writing gig with a national tabloid.

Annie’s plans soon go awry, and her mettle is tested — first when her father warns her against digging into the past; and again, when she meets the Logan Point Ledger’s handsome, but exasperating, new editor; and again still, when she reconnects with her first love, who clearly wants to rekindle what once was.

But Annie’s most arduous test appears in the form of the earthbound spirit of a boy she once knew — the boy with the azure eyes accused of the murder she is looking into. He needs her to prove his innocence, so he can break the ties that bind him to the darkness. In exchange, he will set Annie free to realize that the love she yearns for is just within her reach … if only she will open her heart.

About the Author

Janis Thornton is the author of a true crime/oral history/memoir, Too Good a Girl, as well as two cozy mysteries, Dust Bunnies & Dead Bodies and Dead Air & Double Dares. She also is the author of two local history books and contributor to Undeniably Indiana. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, the Authors Guild, and the Indianapolis Writers Center. She lives in her Indiana hometown in the same house where she grew up.

Author Links

Website: www.janis-thornton.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janisthorntonauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JanisThornton
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6482161.Janis_Thornton

Purchase Link
Amazon

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Posted in Blog Tour, mystery, New Releases

Spotlight For Death by Dissertation, A Cassandra Sato Mystery, by Kelly Brakenhoff

Death by Dissertation
(Cassandra Sato)
by Kelly Brakenhoff

About the Book


Death by Dissertation (Cassandra Sato)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Nebraska
Emerald Prairie Press (April 17, 2019)
Paperback: 355 pages
ISBN-10: 1733742409
ISBN-13: 978-1733742405
Digital ASIN: B07PKRD658

Ambitious Cassandra Sato traded her life in Hawai’i for a dream position as Student Affairs VP at Morton College in tiny Carson, Nebraska. She expected the Midwestern church casseroles, land-locked cornfields, and face-freezing winters would be her biggest challenges, but it’s her job that’s rapidly becoming a nightmare.

A deaf student is dead and the investigation reveals a complicated trail of connections between campus food service, a local farmer’s beef, and the science lab’s cancer research. Together with her few allies, Cassandra must protect the students caught up in the entanglement.

Dealing with homesickness, vandalism, and a stalker, Cassandra is trapped in a public relations disaster that could cost her job, or more. No one said college was easy.

About the Author

Kelly Brakenhoff is an American Sign Language Interpreter whose motivation for learning ASL began in high school when she wanted to converse with her deaf friends. As an American Sign Language Interpreter with more than twenty years of experience, Kelly’s worked in college classrooms for fifteen different majors. From traipsing across muddy farm fields to stomach-churning medical procedures, and stage interpreting for famous figures, Kelly’s community interpreting interactions number in the thousands. Unfortunately, once she’s stepped away from the job, she usually forgets 90% of what happened. Which helps her keep confidential information safe, but also makes it really hard to grocery shop for more than 5 items without a written list.

Kelly wants to live in a world filled with peace, love, and joy, where people who can hear learn enough sign language to include deaf people in everyday conversations and work. Where every deaf child has early access to language and books with characters like them, and dark chocolate is cheap and plentiful.

When she’s not interpreting or writing, you can find Kelly cheering for her favorite Husker teams or training for half-marathons because she really likes dessert.

Her first mystery, Death by Dissertation, released April 22, 2019.

Author Links

Website – http://kellybrakenhoff.com/

Amazon – Https://amazon.com/author/kellybrakenhoff

Twitter- https://twitter.com/inBrakenVille
Instagram – @kellybrak

Purchase Link – Amazon

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Posted in New Releases

New Release: Write it Right: Tips for Authors by Mary Deal

Write It Right – Tips for Authors

http://mybook.to/writeitright

Learn how to polish your writing with a collection of extraordinary tips and numerous examples for making your prose leap off the page. Articles include information from preparing to write, the myriad details of how to write, edit and polish, all the way through to publishing and managing promotion and personal brand before and after the book is published. It’s incredible help for writers of both fiction and nonfiction.

While writing, you may have encountered myriad questions about imperfect areas that you stumble across in your composition. The thoroughly explained tips offered in Write it Right – Tips for Authors clarifies those worrisome issues instead of simply taking a chance they’ll be acceptable. This is a volume of writing aid that you will refer back to time and again.

Mary Deal, a native of Walnut Grove in California’s Sacramento River Delta, now resides in Scottsdale, Arizona. She was Founder and past President of Kauai Writer’s Roundtable. She is an Amazon best-selling and multi-award-winning author and Pushcart Prize nominee. She is also an artist, photographer, and former editor of a print magazine and newspaper columnist. She is currently writing the third story in her Sara Mason Mystery series.

Her Books: She is the author of “Legacy of the Tropics,” an adventure trilogy taking place in both the Caribbean and Hawaii, “The Ka,” a paranormal Egyptian suspense, “River Bones – Sara Mason Mysteries Book One,” a thriller that takes place in her childhood hometown area, “Down to the Needle,” a thriller, taking place along the West coast,  and “The Howling Cliffs, Sara Mason Mysteries Book Two.” She has also published “Off Center in the Attic,” a collection of over-the-top short stories and flash fiction pieces. “Write It Right – Tips for Authors – The Big Book” is a mega-volume of writing instruction. “Hypno-Scripts – Life Changing Techniques Using Self-Hypnosis and Meditation” is another self-help nonfiction. Her latest novel is “Sea Cliff – A Love Story” and is her first foray in the romance genre.

Her Awards: River Bones was a winner in the Eric Hoffer Book Awards competition and a Finalist in the National Indie Excellence Books Awards (NIEA). The Howling Cliffs won a Bronze in the Global eBook awards. Write It Right-Tips for Authors was a Finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards (NIEA). Hypno-Scripts was a Finalist in both the International Book Awards and the National Indie Excellence Book Awards (NIEA), as well as winning Silver in the Global eBook Awards. Down to the Needle won a Bronze in the Global eBook Awards. Her flash fiction short story, “The Last This I Do” was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her first feature screenplay, Sea Storm, and short story, Chin Face, were a Finalists in a Moondance International Film Festival.

Find Her Online

Her Web site:  http://www.marydeal.com

Linked In:  http://www.linkedin.com/in/marydeal

FaceBook:  http://www.facebook.com/mdeal

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/Mary_Deal

Goodreads:  https://tinyurl.com/hvvomeo

Bookbub: Mary Deal, Author – BookBub

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/mary.l.deal

Cold Coffee Press: http://www.coldcoffeepress.com/mary-deal

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/1deal/