Posted in Authors, Cozy Mystery

Author Spotlight Interview of Maria DiRico, Author of Here Comes the Body: A Catering Hall Mystery

It’s great to have author Maria DiRico (Ellen Byron) here today from Los Angeles, California, to talk about herself and her new release, Here Comes the Body: A Catering Hall Mystery.

How long have you been published, Maria?

My first mystery came out in 2015. Before that I was a playwright and television writer for series like WINGS and JUST SHOOT ME.

Interesting.

What titles and/or series have you published and with which publisher?

The Cajun Country Mystery series: Plantation Shudders, Body on the Bayou, A Cajun Christmas Killing, Mardi Gras Murder, and Fatal Cajun Festival. All as Ellen Byron for Crooked Lane Books

The Catering Hall Mystery series: Here Comes the Body, as Maria DiRico, for Kensington.

Great. 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.

Here Comes the Body, the first book in my Catering Hall Mystery series, launched February 25th. Here’s a little bit about the series: After being cleared as a person of interest in her husband’s presumed death, Mia Carina moves back home to Queens, where her father Ravello, a capo with the Boldoni crime family, has been tasked with running a rundown banquet hall that was surrendered to him by a broke gambler. Mia has always wanted her father to go straight and she’s determined to help him run the place, with its view of Flushing Bay and the LaGuardia Airport runway, as a legitimate business. Who knew working for a catering hall could be as dangerous as working for the Mob? The Catering Hall Mysteries offers up a mystery series you can’t refuse.

Sounds wonderful.

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 continue both series and then launch two more that I’m excited about. I’d also like to get a draft of a stand-alone mystery I wrote in great shape, and then send it out in the world for publication, I hope, I hope. How do I plan on reaching these goals? Work, work, work!

As a fellow author, I know how much work it takes to meet those goals. Good luck!

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

Honestly, I’m happy to attract anyone who enjoys diving into a cozy mystery where anything ugly happens off the page and justice always prevails.

I’m sure that covers a wide range of readers.

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

Learn how to listen to and distill feedback. Notes and critique are invaluable when they’re good. Keep working on becoming the best writer you can be and keep plugging away at finding an agent and a publisher. Don’t jump into self-publishing too fast. Doing it really well is much, much harder than it looks.

I can relate to that, as I’m still looking for an agent and a larger publisher.

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

Even having won a William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic grant, and with my many TV and playwriting credits, it took me nine months to find a literary agent and then my first book never sold. That was a rough year-plus. Not giving up was a struggle. I’d been a professional writer for years and it felt like I was starting from scratch. Luckily, while the first book was out on submission, I wrote a second mystery, Plantation Shudders, and that sold.

You’re an example of how persistance pays off for authors.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

Not a critique group. I’m a member of the WGA West (Writers Guild of America); TAG (The Animation Guild); MWA (Mystery Writers of America), and Sisters in Crime.

We are fellow Sisters in Crime members.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

Reading, of course! I also adore needlepoint. It’s my go-to hobby. I do a couple of other crafts, like decoupage and jewelry making, but those are more sporadic. And I live for our little doggy, a chihuahua mix who’s the light of my life.

Awww. I’m a fellow animal lover. My three cats are my babies, although I also have a teenage daughter.

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

I love writing. I can’t not write. I heard an author once say she’d retired. I can’t see me ever doing that. I’m always writing, if not on paper than in my head. The toughest challenge is staying focused when I’m powering through a draft. I set a word count for the week that I force myself to meet. But the internet is dangerous siren, always sending a come-hither wave from my computer. Very distracting!

I can relate to that, too. It’s very hard to find the time to deal with social media, promotion, and writing.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries? I can’t write a sex scene to save my life. And when I’m writing cozies, I don’t have to!

Lol. I’m with you. I feel very uncomfortable writing those type of scenes.

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

I adore writing them. I hope you adore reading them! And do sign up for my newsletter at ellenbyron.com. I send it out monthly, and it always includes some fun stuff and a recipe. I also do contests a few times a year.

I’m sure my readers will consider that, as will I.

Thanks so much for the interview. I’m sharing your blog tour and giveaway for Here Comes the Body below:

Here Comes the Body (A Catering Hall Mystery)
by Maria DiRico

About Here Comes the Body


Here Comes the Body (A Catering Hall Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Kensington (February 25, 2020)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 page
ISBN-10: 1496725344
ISBN-13: 978-1496725349
Digital ASIN: B07R8WYLSC

After her philandering husband’s boat went down, newly single Mia Carina went back to Astoria, the bustling Queens neighborhood of her youth. Living with her Nonna and her oversized cat, Doorstop, she’s got a whole new life—including some amateur sleuthing . . .

Mia is starting work at Belle View, her father’s catering hall, a popular spot for weddings, office parties, and more—despite the planes that occasionally roar overhead on their way to LaGuardia and rattle the crystal chandelier. Soon she’s planning a bachelor party for a less-than-gentlemanly groom. But it goes awry when the gigantic cake is wheeled in and a deadly surprise is revealed . . .

Since some of her family’s associates are on the shady side, the NYPD wastes no time in casting suspicion on Mia’s father. Now, Mia’s going to have to use all her street smarts to keep him out of Rikers Island . . .

Italian recipes included!

About Maria DiRico

Maria DiRico was born in Queens, New York, and raised in Queens and Westchester County. She is a first-generation Italian-American on her mother’s side. On her father’s side, her grandfather was a low-level Jewish mobster who disappeared in 1933 under mysterious circumstances. She also writes the award-winning, bestselling Cajun Country Mystery series under the name Ellen Byron.

Website – https://www.ellenbyron.com/catering-hall-mysteries

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ellenbyronla

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/ellen-byron

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/maria-dirico

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKoboGoogle PlayIndieBound

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

February 24 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW, EXCERPT

February 24 – This Is My Truth Now – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 24 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

February 25 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW

February 25 – Ascroft, eh? – GUEST POST

February 25 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – REVIEW

February 26 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

February 26 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

February 26 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

February 27 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

February 27 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 27 – Jane Reads– GUEST POST

February 28 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 28 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW, RECIPE

February 29 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

February 29 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW

March 1 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

March 1 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

March 2 – That’s What She’s Reading – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

March 2 – TBR Book Blog – REVIEW, EXCERPT

March 3 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, RECIPE

March 3 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

March 4 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

March 4 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

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Posted in Cozy Mystery, Spotlight

Spotlight and Blog Tour for Bonbon Voyage: An Adventures of Gladys Mystery by Katherine H. Brown

Bonbon Voyage (Adventures of Gladys)
by Katherine H. Brown

About Bonbon Voyage


Bonbon Voyage (Adventures of Gladys)
Cozy Mystery Novella
1st in Series
Independently published (December 31, 2019)
Paperback: 213 pages
ISBN-10: 1653633166
ISBN-13: 978-1653633166
Digital Print Length: 129 pages
ASIN: B083BZLF22

Gladys gets more than she bargains for when she climbs aboard her first cruise and witnesses a murder. Armed with wigs and wits alone, she determines to get to the bottom of things.
This cozy mystery is a spinoff from the Ooey Gooey Bakery Mystery series.

About Katherine H. Brown

Katherine H. Brown is from the tiny community of New York, Texas. Booklover (some might say book addict) and weaver of words, Katherine desired to be a writer from childhood, embarked on her first publishing adventure in 2017, and in 2019 said audios to her cozy office job to leap into a career as an author full-time.

When not found between the pages of a book or tapping keys on her laptop, Katherine loves to watch baking shows with her stepdaughter or cuddle up with her husband Patrick. Katherine and family prepare to welcome a new baby girl into the family in March 2020.

Author Links

Facebook Author Page

Website

Instagram

Goodreads

BookBub

Amazon Author Page

Purchase Link: Amazon

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

February 21 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY

February 21 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW

February 22 – This Is My Truth Now – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 22 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST

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

February 24 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 24 – T’s Stuff – SPOTLIGHT

February 25 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

February 25 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

February 26 – Ascroft, eh? – GUEST POST

February 26 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 27 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

February 27 – Christa Reads and Writes – SPOTLIGHT

February 28 – eBook Addicts – REVIEW

February 28 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW

February 29 – Laura`s Interests – REVIEW

February 29 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

March 1 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

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Posted in Freebies and Special Offers, Love on the Rocks

Valentine Special for Love on the Rocks February 13 to February 17

My cozy mystery, Love on the Rocks, will be on sale from February 13 to February 17.

It’s February in the small town of Cobble Cove. Love is in the air . . . but so is murder!

When Alicia helps plan a Valentine’s Day Party at the Cobble Cove library that also includes a surprise for her newlywed friend, Gilly, things go wrong when a mysterious box of chocolates addressed to the director turns out laced with poison.

Clues Lead to A Dead Suspect

Although Alicia promised John she’ll no longer meddle in crime investigations, she and Gilly set out to find the person threatening Sheila who murdered the courier of the deadly candy. The three people they suspect include the professor from California who’s been romancing Sheila while she assists him with research for his book; the obnoxious patron Rhonda Kleisman who threw coffee at the director after refusing to pay for a damaged book; and a visiting widow staying at Gilly’s inn who’s unnaturally curious about Sheila and earns the nickname of Madame Defarge for her interest in knitting.

New Cat in Town

While Alicia and Gilly are trying to solve this new Cobble Cove mystery, Sneaky is introduced to Gilly’s new kitten, Kittykai, a calico she brought home from her honeymoon in Hawaii. It’s not like at first sight, but the two cats eventually become friends. They also both play a part in foiling the killer’s murder attempts, but will Alicia and Sheila survive unscathed?

Get your discounted copy here.

Posted in Blog Tour

Spotlight and Blog Tour for Don’t Look Down, A Shadows of New York Book, by Hilary Davidson

Don’t Look Down (Shadows of New York)
by Hilary Davidson

About Don’t Look Down

davidson
Don’t Look Down (Shadows of New York)
Psychological Thriller
2nd in Series
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (February 11, 2020)
Hardcover: 368 pages
ISBN-10: 1542092035
ISBN-13: 978-1542092036
Paperback: 367 pages
ISBN-10: 1542092019
ISBN-13: 978-1542092012
Digital ASIN: B07QBPS9QB

From the Amazon Charts bestselling author of One Small Sacrifice, a gripping mystery about a sinister murder that everyone wants to stay buried—except one dogged NYPD detective.

Jo Greaver is a model of success. Young and ambitious, she’s built a thriving beauty business from nothing. But she has secrets she’ll do anything to keep buried. When her blackmailer offers to meet, Jo expects to pay him off—but gets a bullet instead. Bleeding and in shock, Jo flees with no one to turn to.

When NYPD detective Sheryn Sterling and her partner, Rafael Mendoza, find Andray Baxter murdered in his own home—shot through the heart—everything points to Jo as the killer. Her blood is at the scene, and so are disturbing photos of her taken as a young teen. But Sheryn has doubts. Was the kindhearted Andray really a criminal? Why did he repeatedly report finding spyware in his apartment? Was there something shady about Jo’s sister dying a year earlier?

Something’s not right, and it’s up to Sheryn to piece together the sinister puzzle, no matter the cost.

About Hilary Davidson

davidson

Hilary Davidson is the bestselling author of One Small Sacrifice and the winner of two Anthony Awards. Her novels include the Lily Moore series—The Damage Done, The Next One to Fall, and Evil in All Its Disguises—and the standalone thriller Blood Always Tells. Her widely acclaimed short stories have won numerous awards and have been featured everywhere from Ellery Queen to Thuglit, as well as in her collection The Black Widow Club. A Toronto-born travel journalist who’s lived in New York City since October 2001, Davidson is also the author of eighteen nonfiction books. Visit her online at hilarydavidson.com.

Website. hilarydavidson.com. Follow on Twitter Like on Facebook.

Follow on Instagram Find on GoodReads Follow on Pinterest

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NIndieBound

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

February 4 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

February 5 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW

February 6 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW

February 7 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 8 – Diary of a Book Fiend – REVIEW

February 9 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

February 10 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

February 11 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 12 – Diane Reviews Books – SPOTLIGHT

February 12 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

February 13 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

February 14 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW

February 15 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 16 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT

February 17 – Celticlady’s Reviews – REVIEW

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

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Posted in Cozy Mystery

Review for The Book of Candlelight, A Secret, Book, and Scone Society Novel by Ellery Adams

*****5-star Review

THE BOOK OF CANDLELIGHT

Author: Ellery Adams

Genre: Cozy Mystery

This review was first published in Booklistonline.com on 1/24/20: (https://www.booklistonline.com/The-Book-of-Candlelight/pid=9729902)

The third book in the Secret, Book, and Scone Society series serves up an appetizing dish for mystery lovers who enjoy books about bookstores, small towns, and female friends. The unrelenting spring rain in Miracle Springs, a small town in North Carolina, has brought increased business to Nora Pennington’s bookstore. To replenish her stock of shelf enhancers, Nora visits a local flea market, where she purchases a pottery piece created by a man known as Cherokee Danny. The next day, Nora discovers Danny’s body in the churning waters of the Miracle River near a rock painted with a symbol of a red cardinal. Nora enlists the help of three women who are fellow members of the Secret, Book, and Scone Society to help her catch Danny’s killer. When another body is found near the river and an old diary casts suspicion on the new owners of the town’s inn, Nora works with the sheriff to trap the killer into confessing. The ending ties up several subplots.

Posted in Reviews

Review and Blog Tour for Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary by Elaine Faber.

REVIEW

*** 5 stars

As a cat lover and also an author who writes mysteries featuring cats, I truly enjoyed this book. Even though it was the first one of this series that I’ve read, I had no trouble keeping up with the storyline because of the way the backstory was smoothly introduced. I loved the descriptions of Germany and Austria and the historical tidbits about World War II (this author also writes a World War II cozy series). The story was a fun puzzle and even contained a treasure hunt. The interplay between the two cats, Black Cat and Angel, was cute.There were moments of sadness when Angel got hurt, and Kimberlee was questioned by the police as a suspect in Mrs. Herman’s murder.  I would recommend this book and hope to read more of this series and other books by Elaine Faber. Check out the blog tour and giveaway below.

Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary:
A Tale of History, Mystery, Riddles, and Gold.
by Elaine Faber

About Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary

Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary:
A Tale of History, Mystery, Riddles and Gold.

Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Publisher: Elk Grove Publications (September 6, 2019)
Paperback: 264 pages
ISBN-10: 1940781256
ISBN-13: 978-1940781259
Digital ASIN: B07XSJQ5HF

In this dual tale of mystery, lost treasure, and riddles, while Black Cat narrates the exciting events in Fern Lake, Kimberlee discovers a cryptic clue in a diary about a hidden treasure, and heads to Austria to solve the puzzle.

When Kimberlee and Dorian arrive in Austria, they attract the attention of a stalker determined to steal the diary in hopes the clues will lead him to the treasure first. On a collision course, it is inevitable that Kimberlee and the stalker meet in Hopfgarten.

Black Cat and Angel’s lives are endangered with the arrival of Kimberlee’s grandmother in Fern Lake, and the return of a man presumed dead for twenty-five years. With both arrivals, emotional and financial difficulties loom for Kimberlee’s family. Since their return to Fern Lake, Angel seems reluctant or unable to adjust to her new home. Does she regret leaving Texas and Grandmother? And, when the opportunity arises, will she decide to leave Black Cat and Fern Lake?

About Elaine Faber

Elaine Faber lives in Northern California with her husband and feline companions. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, California Cat Writers, and Northern California Publishers and Artists. She volunteers with the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop. She enjoys speaking at public venues, sharing highlights of her novels. Her short stories have appeared in national magazines and multiple anthologies.

Black Cat’s Legacy, With the aid of his ancestors’ memories, Thumper helps pursue a cold case murder.

Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer, Thumper accompanies his family to a Texas horse ranch where they confront wild horses, embezzling, false identities and attempted murder.

Black Cat and the Accidental Angel, Black Cat and his companion are left behind following an MVA. Taken in by a family facing personal and financial disaster, Black Cat and Angel encounter danger and a spiritual encounter.

Mrs. Odboddy-Hometown Patriot, Eccentric Mrs. Odboddy believes Nazi spies and conspiracies run amuck through her town.

Mrs. Odboddy-Undercover Courier, Mr. O carries a package by train to President Roosevelt that she presumes are secret war documents. She is equally sure Nazi spies are after her package and will to anything to deliver the package to the president.

Mrs. Odboddy-And Then There was a Tiger, Falsely accused of various crimes, Agnes sets about to restore her reputation and missing war bond money.

Website – http://www.mindcandymysteries.com Facebook – http://tinyurl.com/zm2j4n5 Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7800759.Elaine_Fabera Rafflecopter giveaway
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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

February 10 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, GUEST POST

February 10 – TBR Book Blog – SPOTLIGHT

February 11 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 11 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – REVIEW

February 12 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

February 12 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW

February 13 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 13 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST

February 14 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

February 15 – Laura`s Interests – REVIEW

February 15 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – CHARACTER GUEST POST

February 16 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT

February 17 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW

February 17 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

February 18 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

February 19 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

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Posted in Cozy Mysteries, Spotlight

Author Spotlight of Caroline Fardig, Author of Southern Double Cross

 

Caroline Fardig

I’m pleased to interview author Carolyn Fardig from Indiana about her new release, Southern Double Cross that is currently on blog tour.

Hi, Carolyn. Please tell us how long you’ve been published and 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 2015.  Random House Alibi published my Java Jive series and my Southern B&B series.  I have two series that are self-published, the Lizzie Hart Mysteries and the Ellie Matthews Novels.

Nice. I’ve also been published since 2015, although my first book was self-published earlier.

Tell us a little bit about your books.

I write mysteries, some cozy; some not-so-cozy.  Southern Double Cross from the Southern B&B series will be available February 11th.  Dead Sprint from the Ellie Matthews series will be available later this spring.

Congratulations on your upcoming releases. I, too, write cozies as well as other types 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?

This past summer I became a partner in a local coffeehouse, and since then we’ve opened a second location.  I’m super busy at the moment doing all things coffee and baking, kind of like Juliet Langley from Java Jive—only I for sure don’t have time to chase murder suspects around town!  So, I’ve had to put my writing on the back burner for a while.  However, once the new location is up and running smoothly, I’m planning to get back to writing, but part-time.  I hope to have the time and energy to create a new series later in the year!

Good luck with that.

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

I think my cozies and not-so-cozy-cozies would appeal more to a female audience, just because of the romance aspect and the first-person female point of view.  However, my Ellie Matthews novels are much darker and heavy on forensics and investigation, which I think would appeal to anyone who likes mysteries.

As a librarian, I know that there is a large audience for mysteries.

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

Keep writing and keep reading.  Stay knowledgeable about how your genre is changing and evolving.  Graciously accept and use criticism—both constructive and derogatory.  Get a solid team of proofreaders, beta readers, editors, cover artists, and marketers behind you, and don’t be afraid to spend a little money to get the help you need to turn out the best finished product you possibly can.

Good advice.

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

I simply didn’t know the ins and outs of the industry.  Connecting to other authors in Facebook was a huge help to me to learn what I needed to know and to meet people who could help me along the way.  You can’t—and shouldn’t—try to go it alone as a new author.  It takes a village!

I agree completely. I’ve found the same thing to be true.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

Yes, I’m a member of Midwest Writers Guild, and I also belong to several Facebook groups like Sleuthing Women and Chick Lit Goddesses.

I’m sure you find those helpful.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

Coffee, of course!  I also enjoy travelling with my family, cooking and baking, running 5ks with my friends, volunteer work, weight training, biking, hiking, and pickleball.

Interesting hobbies, but I’ve never heard of pickleball.

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

What I like most is creating characters and letting them interact in my mind.  I love it when I have an idea and my characters seem to take over and turn it to a new direction.  What I like least is writing synopses and book jacket blurbs.  It’s so hard to take 300 pages and condense them into 3 paragraphs!  The toughest challenge for me at the moment is finding the time (and the peace and quiet) to write.

I feel the same way about creating characters who take over the story and also have

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I like that the characters are real people like me thrust into extraordinary situations.  If something like that happened to me in real life, I think I’d be running for the hills rather than diving into danger!

Good point.

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

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

“Would you mind terribly to take this bouquet of flowers and set it on the registration table?” I asked one of the waitstaff, who was walking that way. I had a million little things to do and not enough time to do them.

The man stopped and stared at me for a moment. “That is not my job. And I don’t know you.”

I gave him a pleasant smile. “My name is Quinn Bellandini, and I’m a member of the committee in charge of this event. Would you mind helping me out? I’d very much appreciate your help with the flowers, and you seem to be headed in that direction anyway.”

His face twisted into a scowl. “You’re not my boss.”

Keeping my smile in place, I said, “I’ve got the checkbook to pay your boss.”

He rolled his eyes and grabbed the flowers out of my hands. “Fine. Whatever.” He stalked over to the registration table and slammed the bouquet of flowers down onto it.

I winced. The unpleasant exchange I’d had with the waiter had wasted the time I saved by not walking over there myself. Why couldn’t people just be nice and help one another out? Wasn’t that what a fundraiser was all about? So far, this guy had been the only person here who hadn’t been more than happy to pitch in to put today’s fundraiser for the Chatham Crescent Women and Children’s Shelter together.

My best helper had been my boyfriend, Tucker Heyward. He’d been my rock, doing anything and everything I needed to make sure this event ran smoothly. Since it was my job to fill the fundraising group’s Instagram page with shots of the afternoon, one of the many tasks I had him on was photo duty. He was a much better photographer than I was, anyway. He’d run off to capture some shots of the old plantation we were using as the venue for today.

The antebellum plantation mansion was massive, having two wings connected by a cavernous foyer with a sweeping staircase. My committee was under strict instructions from the owners, Duke and Magnolia Stiles, not to let anyone, especially “the help,” wander around their home. The catering staff was allowed to use the kitchen, but other than that, no one was permitted inside.

Our lovely city of Savannah was temperate and perfect in April, in my opinion the ideal time for an outdoor party. Warm enough to wear a pretty spring dress without a sweater, no pesky bugs to worry about just yet, and not so hot and humid that the food would melt or spoil.

My attention was drawn to two ladies facing off against each other on the mansion’s terrace, arguing and gesturing with their hands. I rolled my eyes and chuckled to myself. Magnolia Stiles and Lucille Davis were at it again. They were both on the fundraising event committee with me, which had made the planning of today’s event difficult from the start. They’d butted heads over everything from the food to the venue and even to the color of the napkins. These Southern belles had known each other for fifty years and knew exactly what buttons to push to get each other’s noses out of joint. Wondering if they were arguing over an actual problem that needed fixing before the guests arrived, I wandered closer so I could hear their heated conversation.

Lucille’s voice dripped with disdain as she gestured toward the pool house. It was a wonder she could even lift her hand with as many carats of diamonds as she was wearing. “Really, Mags, you couldn’t have had the pool house repainted before the event? The last coat you had put on there is starting to chip away. I can see the hideous shade of green from years ago peeking out. Not a good look.”

From where I was standing, which was closer to the pool house than they were, I couldn’t see any peeling paint. Granted, the place wasn’t sparkling with a brand-spanking-new coat of paint, but it was far from an eyesore.

Magnolia’s cheeks blazed red. “You try keeping this monstrous money pit maintained. I’ve been wanting to sell for ages, but Duke won’t hear of it. He was born here, and he’ll die here.” With a sneer, she added, “At least my home is large enough to provide a venue for an event of this size.”

That comment was hardly fair. Lucille lived in an absolutely gorgeous home in Savannah’s historic district, and it was good-sized for a house in town. Its square footage and lot size could never compete with that of a sprawling old tobacco plantation. It was like comparing apples to oranges.

Eavesdropping on their catfight wasn’t worth my time, so I started walking and made a sweep of the grounds. The caterers had the food well under control, and the smells from the kitchen had my mouth watering. The bartender had several drink stations set up and ready with plenty of ice and luscious-looking cocktails. The florist had finished her job and was pulling her van out of the driveway, having festooned the place within an inch of its life, including the pool, which had a dozen huge flower arrangements floating on its still surface. It was quite the floral wonderland around here. The band had completed a sound check and was warming up. Everything was in its place. That was, except Tucker’s tie.

I approached him to straighten it, but when I got within arm’s reach, he surprised me by grabbing me and planting a kiss on my lips.

“What was that for?” I asked, smiling up at him.

He smiled back at me. His smile always warmed me to my core. “To take your mind off stressing over this party for two seconds.”

“I’m not stressing,” I said, trying to convince myself as much as him.

He gave me a pointed look.

“Okay, so maybe I’m stressing a little,” I admitted.

His face fell into a mock frown.

“Okay, fine. I could stand to simmer down a little.”

“A lot. You could stand to simmer down a lot, Quinn.”

I sighed. “Point noted.”

He dropped his arms from around my waist. “Tell me what I can do to help.”

“Would you mind running around to the front of the house to make sure the valet stand is fully staffed and ready for the influx of guests?”

“I’d be happy to. While I’m gone, you take a break. You’ve got a long evening ahead of you.” He gave me a pat on the back and trotted off.

I wanted nothing more than to take a break, but there was no time for that. The moment Tucker’s calming presence was gone, I slipped back into stress mode. I flitted around all over the party setup, double and triple (or maybe more—I’d lost count) checking everything one last time. As the first of the guests started arriving, I handed out donation envelopes and brochures detailing how the money we raised would benefit Chatham Crescent Women and Children’s Shelter, while Magnolia and Lucille welcomed everyone. The two ladies’ demeanors had turned on a dime since I’d last seen them. They were nothing but graciousness and good cheer.

Once the guests had all arrived, I took yet another walk around the grounds. As I was fussing over a bouquet of flowers on the donation table, Clara McLeod, another of my fellow committee members, came over to speak to me.

Clara took my hands in hers. “Everything is absolutely perfect, dear. Don’t you worry your pretty little head about anything else. Relax and enjoy yourself. You’ve earned it.”

I squeezed her hands. “Thank you, Clara. I just want everything to go off without a hitch.”

Giving me a knowing smile, she said, “I’ve put together enough of these parties to know that we’ve got all our ducks in a row for today. Nothing will go wrong. Mark my words.” She waved over a waiter with a tray of champagne flutes and took two of them. She handed one to me and clinked her glass against mine. “To a spectacular party.”

“Hear, hear,” I replied, taking a sip with her. The champagne was phenomenal, but I needed to keep my head, so one sip was enough for a lightweight like me.

Tucker appeared next to us. “Toasting your success already?”

Clara tittered out a laugh. “Yes, Tucker. We’ve already deemed the party a winner.”

He beamed at me. “I couldn’t agree more.”

My phone rang in my pocket. I’d managed to find a lovely dress with a hidden pocket in the skirt, perfect for stashing my phone. I had a feeling I was going to need it today. “One sec,” I said to Tucker, as I stopped to answer the call. It was from my friend Pepper Fox, who was part of the catering staff. “Hi, Pepper. Everything going well with the food?”

“The food? It’s fine.” Her voice sounded strained. Laid-back Pepper’s voice never sounded strained. My body tensed.

Intriguing. Thanks for sharing the excerpt.

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

My family and I spend time each summer in Savannah, the setting for my Southern B&B series, during our annual trip to Hilton Head.  I fell in love with the city and have spent countless hours scouting out amazing and gorgeous real-life locations for these stories.

Sounds great. Thanks for being with us, and it’s my pleasure to share your blog tour and giveaway with my readers.

Southern Double Cross: A Southern B&B Mystery
by Caroline Fardig

About Southern Double Cross

Southern Double Cross: A Southern B&B Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Publisher: Alibi (February 11, 2020)
Print Length: ~260 pages
Digital ASIN: B07W3J7QFC

The USA Today bestselling author of Southern Discomfort and Southern Harm returns to the delightful B&B in Savannah, Georgia, where trouble always seems to be checking in.
LONGER SYNOPSIS COMING SOON

CAROLINE FARDIG is the USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR of the Java Jive Mysteries series and the Lizzie Hart Mysteries series. Fardig’s BAD MEDICINE was named one of the “Best Books of 2015” by Suspense Magazine. She worked as a schoolteacher, church organist, insurance agent, funeral parlor associate, and stay-at-home mom before she realized that she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Born and raised in a small town in Indiana, Fardig still lives in that same town with an understanding husband, two sweet kids, two energetic dogs, and one malevolent cat.

Social Media

Website: www.carolinefardig.com

Blog: http://www.carolinefardig.com/blog/

Twitter: @carolinefardig

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/carolinefardigbooks

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Don’t miss Caroline Fardig’s thrilling Java Jive mysteries, which can be read together or separately:
DEATH BEFORE DECAF | MUG SHOT | A WHOLE LATTE MURDER | BREW OR DIE | MURDER OVER MOCHAS

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