Posted in Blog Tour, Cozy Mystery, Interview, New Releases

Guest Post, Blog Tour, and Giveaway for Grounds for Murder, A Coffee Lover’s Mystery by Tara Lush

As a real-life journalist in Florida, I’ve written about the shady side of my sunny state for years.

Political corruption, terrible crime, shenanigans at tiki bars, alligators, naked guys with machetes, cockroaches in unmentionable places…nothing shocks me. The cliché of ‘Florida Man’ is a reality here, one that I’ve written too many times to count.

I’ve considered writing crime fiction for years, and entertained the thought of doing true crime. But that seemed a little too close to my day job and I wanted to drift away from the darkness of hard news. My first forays into fiction were contemporary romances, and almost all were set in Florida. But crime lurked in my mind, and in 2019, I sat down and finally plotted a murder mystery.

As I scribbled my first cozy, I imagined a slightly less-dysfunctional tropical paradise than the real thing, one that was loosely based on the events I’ve covered in my twenty-plus years as a reporter in Florida. Of course, it had to have the hallmarks of a cozy — no gore, no swearing, no sex — which was a bit of a change from my romances. But I had a blast plotting the book, and discovered that cozies are really my jam, writing-wise.

I created a fictional island in the Gulf of Mexico, chock full of eccentric characters. Devil’s Beach is where gossipy old hippies mingle with reformed mafiosos. Where the local newspaper writes stories about chicken nuggets shaped like manatees. Where a handsome Instagram-famous barista is found dead and no one bats an eye when a laid off journalist tries to figure out how the barista spent his final hours.

I also wanted a gentle anchor to the book, and that’s why I set the story in the coffee shop of my dreams. It’s called Perkatory, a place decorated in weathered wood and sky-blue accents, with the best coffee in Florida. I imagined readers cracking open a book at a café a block from the beach while on vacation, and kept that image in my mind as I wrote.

Drawing inspiration from decades of covering crime, I plotted my murder. Interestingly, the victim in Grounds for Murder is similar to — but also the opposite of — the hero I wrote in my first romance novel. Both are Italian, handsome and playboys. The difference is, one ended up dead, while the romance hero fell in love. Fiction works in strange ways, doesn’t it?

It wasn’t the only reference to my past.

From the stilted language of cop-speak to wrangling over deadlines with editors, I used details from newspaper stories to seed clues into my fictional story. And the suspects, those were easy — they are all based on people I’ve covered in the past, folks who stood out as true characters.

I believe that for my Florida peeps, they’ll recognize many of the places, stories and details in the book. And for you non-Florida folks, I’m hopeful you’ll read my book and feel like you’re on a beach vacation.

ABOUT GROUNDS FOR MURDER: Barista Lana Lewis’s sleuthing may land her in a latte trouble as Tara Lush launches her new Coffee Shop mysteries.

When Lana Lewis’ best — and most difficult — employee abruptly quits and goes to work for the competition just days before the Sunshine State Barista Championship, her café’s chances of winning the contest are creamed. In front of a gossipy crowd in the small Florida town of Devil’s Beach, Lana’s normally calm demeanor heats to a boil when she runs into the arrogant java slinger. Of course, Fabrizio “Fab” Bellucci has a slick explanation for jumping ship. But when he’s found dead the next morning under a palm tree in the alley behind Lana’s café, she becomes the prime suspect.

Even the island’s handsome police chief isn’t quite certain of her innocence. But Lana isn’t the only one in town who was angry with Fabrizio. Jilted lovers, a shrimp boat captain, and a surfer with ties to the mob are all suspects as trouble brews on the beach.

With her stoned, hippie dad, a Shih Tzu named Stanley, and a new, curious barista sporting a punk rock aesthetic at her side, Lana’s prepared to turn up the heat to catch the real killer. After all, she is a former award-winning reporter. As scandal hangs over her beachside café, can Lana clear her name and win the championship — or will she come to a bitter end?

LINK: books2read.com/u/4A7KLA

SOCIAL:

Website: www.taralush.com

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

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

BIO: Tara Lush is a Rita Award finalist, an Amtrak writing fellow, and a George C. Polk Award winning journalist. For the past decade, she’s been a reporter with the Associated Press, covering crime, alligators, natural disasters, and politics.

She also writes contemporary romance set in tropical locations under her real name, Tamara Lush. A fan of vintage pulp-fiction book covers, Sinatra-era jazz, and 1980s fashion, she lives with her husband and two dogs on the Gulf coast.


Grounds for Murder (A Coffee Lover’s Mystery)
by Tara Lush

About Grounds for Murder

Grounds for Murder (A Coffee Lover’s Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (December 8, 2020)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1643856189
ISBN-13: 978-1643856186
Digital ASIN: B0871KTTMC

When Lana Lewis’ best — and most difficult — employee abruptly quits and goes to work for the competition just days before the Sunshine State Barista Championship, her café’s chances of winning the contest are creamed. In front of a gossipy crowd in the small Florida town of Devil’s Beach, Lana’s normally calm demeanor heats to a boil when she runs into the arrogant java slinger. Of course, Fabrizio “Fab” Bellucci has a slick explanation for jumping ship. But when he’s found dead the next morning under a palm tree in the alley behind Lana’s café, she becomes the prime suspect.

Even the island’s handsome police chief isn’t quite certain of her innocence. But Lana isn’t the only one in town who was angry with Fabrizio. Jilted lovers, a shrimp boat captain, and a surfer with ties to the mob are all suspects as trouble brews on the beach.

With her stoned, hippie dad, a Shih Tzu named Stanley, and a new, curious barista sporting a punk rock aesthetic at her side, Lana’s prepared to turn up the heat to catch the real killer.

After all, she is a former award-winning reporter. As scandal hangs over her beachside café, can Lana clear her name and win the championship — or will she come to a bitter end?

About Tara Lush

Tara Lush is a Rita Award finalist, an Amtrak writing fellow, and a George C. Polk Award-winning journalist. For the past decade, she’s been a reporter with the Associated Press, covering crime, alligators, natural disasters, and politics. She also writes contemporary romance set in tropical locations. A fan of vintage pulp-fiction book covers, Sinatra-era jazz, and 1980s fashion, she lives with her husband and two dogs on the Gulf coast.

Author Links

WEB: www.taralush.com

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/LushBooks

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20274256.Tara_Lush

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/lush_books/

Purchase Links

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

December 8 – I’m Into Books – SPOTLIGHT

December 8 – Maureen’s Musings – RECIPE POST

December 9 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

December 9 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

December 10 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST

December 10 – Mysteries with Character – REVIEW

December 10 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 11 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

December 11 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

December 12 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW

December 12 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

December 12 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

December 13 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 13 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST

December 14 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 14 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

December 14 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 15 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW, RECIPE POST

December 15 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

December 16 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT

December 16 – eBook Addicts – RECIPE POST

December 16 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

December 17 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

December 17 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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Author:

I'm a librarian at a public library and author of the Cobble Cove cozy mystery series and other novels, short stories, articles, and a novella. My books include CLOUDY RAINBOW, REASON TO DIE, and the 5 books of my Cobble Cove cozy mystery series: A STONE'S THROW, BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE, WRITTEN IN STONE, LOVE ON THE ROCKS, and NO GRAVESTONE UNTURNED. I've also written a romantic comedy novella, WHEN JACK TRUMPS ACE, and short stories of various genres published as eBooks by Solstice Publishing and in anthologies published by the Red Penguin Collection. My standalone psychological thriller, SEA SCOPE, and my medical mystery, MEMORY MAKERS, are published by NEXT CHAPTER PUBLISHING who has also published my latest book, the time-travel thriller, TIMES RELATIVE. My non-fiction cat book, PET POSTS: THE CAT CHATS, features blog posts and articles "written" by 2 of my current cats and 2 previous ones about feline health and behavior issues told from a cats' point of view. I have also completed the first book of a new cozy series, THE CASE OF THE CAT CRAZY LADY, Buttercup Bend Mystery #1, for which I am currently seeking representation. I am a member of Sisters-in-Crime, Long Island Authors Group, International Thriller Writers, and the Cat Writers' Association. I live on Long Island with my husband, daughter, and 3 cats.

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