Posted in Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight of Sharon C. Williams, Children’s and Multi-Genre Author

I’m pleased to have author Sharon C. Williams from Cumberland County, North Carolina here to chat about herself and her writing.

Nice to have you here, Sharon. 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.

I was first published in Spring 2013 so I just celebrated my sixth year as a published author.

My books:

a- “Jasper, Amazon Parrot: A Rainforest Adventure” was published in 2013 by Fountain Blue Publishing. It is being re-released by Creativia Publishing under the title of “A Rainforest Adventure (Jasper – Amazon Parrot Book 1)” The paperback is out as of June  23, 2019 and the ebook will be released July 9th , 2019

b- “Jasper, Amazon Parrot: Rainforest  Friends and Family” was released in 2015 by Fountain Blue Publishing. It is being re-released by Creativia Publishing under the title of “Rainforest Friends And Family (Jasper – Amazon Parrot Book 2)” the paperback released June 25, 2019 while the ebook will be released on July 23, 2019

c- “Squirrel Mafia: Black & White Edition volume 1” by Sharon C. Williams  was released on March 2015 by Peaceful Musings Publishing

d- “Everyday Musings: Anthology”– This was released on September 30, 2016 by Lysestrah Press; 1rst edition

e- “The Wedding Bouquet”- an ebook short story that was self published on May 2015

f- “Root Canal”- an ebook short story that was self  published and released on May 2013

g-I also have 6 short stories in three anthologies

Wow! You certainly are prolific.

Tell us a little bit about your books — what genre you write, 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.

1-“A Rainforest Adventure (Jasper – Amazon Parrot Book 1)” is a children’s book and is a series. The 2nd edition of this book was released on June 23, 2019 and the ebook will be released on  July 9, 2019.

Synopsis :

Jasper, the Amazon parrot, is no ordinary bird. He lives in the rainforest, which secrets he’s eager to explore. He loves his life, his home, and his family – grateful for the blessings he’s discovered.  He’s also in charge of his younger brother Willie, a responsibility Jasper takes very seriously.

Learning how to fly, he learns to appreciate the world around him. When he meets a spider monkey with a penchant for food and a laid back attitude named Charlie, he realizes he’s in for an adventure he never thought possible.  Even if this means getting into danger and worrying his mother to no end, Jasper is happen to have made a friend in his home.

Exploring the boundaries of the forest, Jasper soon understands that there is more to the world around – especially the strange new creatures that have come to live there. Are they safe? The young parrot doesn’t know. But with Willie and Charlie by his side, he will soon find out.

2- “Rainforest Friends And Family (Jasper – Amazon Parrot Book 2)” is volume two of my Jasper, Amazon parrot series.  It is a children’s book and the paperback was released June 25, 2019 while the ebook will be released on July 23, 2019

Synopsis

Jasper, Amazon Parrot: Life in the jungle is never boring.

From the moment he was born, Jasper’s curiosity has consumed him. With his brother Willie, they’ve made new friends and learned more about the jungle. In their eyes, the Amazon is everything they could have imagined and more.

The youngsters have grown close through the course of their short lives, intent on making the most of any situation they find themselves in. Jasper’s main job, however, is to make sure his brother comes to no harm. But that’s easier said than done: the jungle is full of many obstacles, and if they’re not careful, things will quickly get out of hand.

New dangers are always around the corner, a fact they learn through the course of their travels. Determined to make his mother proud, Jasper vows to protect himself and his friends. If they’re to make it home in one piece, they’ll need to trust in one another, as well as those they come across. It never hurts to give someone a helping hand, either.

The Amazon is vast, piquing their interest every step of the way. Its secrets must be discovered, and each new experience opens their minds to new possibilities. New friends also make their unexpected trips worthwhile. Though trouble tends to follow them, Jasper and his friends do their best to overcome the adversities coming their way.

3- “Squirrel Mafia” is a humorous and adult novel.  It was released on March 2015. It is as of now part of a series. Volume two is being revised with plans for a third volume

Genre: Adult, Humor

We tend to think of squirrels as cute furry creatures that scamper around playing while looking for nuts. Yet I’ve a different outlook on these rodents from Hades.

As an animal lover, one who’s owned by eight birds, I’ve had the opportunity to observe a group of squirrels around my home here in the suburbs for the past year. The experience I’ve gained gives a whole new meaning to the words ‘little darlings’.

I offer you a unique perspective of the furry friends entangled within our everyday lives. Their antics and shenanigans have earned them the name, the Squirrel Mafia. This book chronicles my ongoing battle with these pesky little critters.

4- “Everyday Musings” was released in September of 2016. It is anthology of short stories and poetry. The genre is anthology and short stories.

Synopsis

The little things in life are worth remembering.

There are moments in life that stir the senses. Moments of joy, moments of surprise, and moments that can cause great fear. Moments that cause us to reflect on the experiences we’ve encountered.

Dive into various worlds of the author’s own making. Everyday Musings is full of tales of the unexpected, heart-warming stories, and bittersweet poetry. Come in and turn the page. Discover the little things that make everyday worthwhile.

5- At the moment I have a few WIPs.

– “Lost Faith” is base in the future where religion is not allowed. Our main character is 16 and determined to fight  back.

– “Woman of Color” is based on a true story in the 1980’s of racism at a college campus.

– “Distorted Reality” is about Molly, a woman who has just woken up from a coma, to find out someone has attempted to kill her.

– “Squirrel Mafia 2”  is the working title to the follow up book to volume one. It is a continuation of my war with the squirrels in my back yard.

– “Jasper, Amazon Parrot book 4” is the working title to the continuation of Jasper, his friends an their adventure in the rainforest.

Those all sound excellent. I’m sure children will love them.

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?

My goals is to expand on my genre writing. At the moment I am known as a children’s writer even though I write in more than one genre. I have a book that genre one could call comic relief while another is an anthology that has a range of topics and themes. I have at the moment three  WIPs that need my attention on them so they can be completed. This is my fault since I told people about the substance of them and now I am being asked repeatedly when the books will be finished. The subject matter on them are a true story on racial tension, mystery and the last one being drama.

What do I hope to achieve?  I hope to have a stronger and larger fan base. I would love to be able to have my books in a book store. This is a hard feat.

How do I plan on doing so? I do have a variety of WIPs, that I mentioned above, and I am hoping to finish these projects and give them the same around of light and promotion that I have done for my children’s series.

I understand your dilemma about choosing a genre. I prefer mystery, but I have written a paranormal romance. I seem to be known for my cozy series, although I have two mystery thrillers. I also understand your desire to enlarge your fan base and get your books in bookstores. These are also two of my goals.

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

My children’s series are chapter reader books. It is based on my rescued parrot, Jasper, whose heritage is from the rainforest. I am hoping to attract kids who are learning to read at this level. Also, children who are interested in nature, animals, learning about the rainforest and the problems they face. My comic relief book, Squirrel Mafia which is for adults, is well to make one laugh at something that we see everyday. It is more making fun of myself when it comes to the squirrels in my backyard and their way of frustrating me. Those who have read it have enjoyed the humor and it has given them a time to just laugh. So, anyone who wants to take time from stress and just laugh at the mundane and every day life of the squirrels and myself. As for my anthology it is a mixture of genres. I am hoping it will appeal to a wide audience who might like poetry, fantasy and all in between.

Sounds great.

What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published? I would say to get your manuscript in the best shape possible. That includes having beta readers and a critique group that can go over your work. Publishers get so many submissions. They just need one small thing to toss your work into the trash can. Try to make sure they pause as they read your manuscript instead of an easy no. Be persistent. I know an author who stopped querying after a handful of rejections. You will get rejected. Period. But you have to keep at it. And lastly, if you don’t love your manuscript deeply why would you expect others to?

I agree. Great advice.

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

One of my first challenges was having people read my WIP and critiquing it. As we all know our manuscripts can end being our children and to let someone see it and tear it apart is not easy. But it is necessary. Another struggle was submitting to publishers for the first time. I had filled out the online submission form and all I had to do was hit submit. I must have walked around my office at least a dozen times and I tried to convince myself to hit submit. I would sit back down in my chair and soon after be back up pacing. It took me easily 30 minutes to hit send. But once that first one was done the rest was much easier. Another struggle was convincing myself that yes I was an author.

Those challenges sound very familiar.

Have you taken any writing or publishing classes? If so, please provide information about them and if you feel they helped you further your professional skills.

I have taken a character developmental class at a local community college as well as a creative writing class. Once I was done the character developmental class I went home and all the projects  I had at the time I redid. I learned so much and I knew I had to put the time in to revise if I wanted them to be successful. It showed me different ways to make my characters more complete instead of just a outer shell and just a bit of the inner shell.

The creative class was really fun. It showed me how to write outside of my genre, how to think outside the box, and how to be more confident of myself as a writer.

Sounds like you found it helpful.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I’ve been an avid reader from an early age. I also love to sketch, take photographs, walk, exercise and go to the movies. I also love music,  sing and dancing even if I am lousy at the last two. I knit and do calligraphy. I’m a huge sports fan of basketball, hockey, football,  baseball and now rugby.

My gosh, it’s amazing how you can fit in writing, too.

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

I  love to write. I love how the stories in my head make me literally force me to write.   I tend to write longhand. For me the creative juices work better than by  typing. Having the story line unfold and seeing other avenues gives me a buzz. There is such a great feeling as your manuscript unravels. I also love to mingle with other authors. Writing is such a solitary profession so when I am able to hang out with writers and talk about writing that is another buzz for me.

Anyone that knows me will know the least thing I like about being an author is editing. It is tedious, boring, unless of course a new idea creeps up and I get more words down on the paper, and I rather just write.

My toughest challenge is marketing. But it is a necessary evil. I promote myself and other writers as much as I  can. It is not always fun to do. Also, I am a strong belief that writers need to help other writers. After all we didn’t do it alone. If you think that you did you are seriously mistaken or you feel your book is 100 % golden after the first draft. To add to that is when writers want you to help them but they don’t want to return the favor. It’s frustrating to say the least but I continue to do it. Plus, speaking out in public is tough. I have been given really nice compliments after I have done a talk but still the butterflies never go away for me.

I feel the same way about meeting other authors both online and in person. It’s a great way to network, and authors are such friendly people. I also love the creativity of writing, but I’ve trained myself to compose as I type. I’m a fast typist, so that wasn’t too difficult to do. I don’t mind editing, although I’m with you about marketing. It takes so much time away from writing but is necessary to sell books.

Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc.

 Amazon author page and where to purchase:
http://tinyurl.com/pulyvg2

 Book review website:

http://www.mainemuse.wordpress.com

 FB:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Sharon-C-Williams/195232693863109

Twitter
https://twitter.com/NewEngland_Muse

 Pinterest:

https://www.pinterest.com/newenglandmuse/

 Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7078132.Sharon_C_Williams

 LinkedIn:

http://tinyurl.com/j39swwc

 iTunes

http://tinyurl.com/o7jpqj6

 Newsletter Subscription:
http://mad.ly/signups/98152/join

 Youtube Channel:

https://www.youtube.com/user/NewEnglandMuse/videos

You are quite well connected. I wish you the best of luck with your books. Thanks so much for the great interview.

 

 

Pictures of covers of my book can be found here:

 

https://www.amazon.com/Sharon-C-Williams/e/B00CSAFL8Q?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1561576742&sr=8-1

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Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Mysteries

Author Spotlight of Maddie Day, Author of Strangled Eggs and Ham, A Country Store Mystery

I’m pleased to have author Maddie Day from Amesbury, Massachusetts here to chat about her writing and her cozy mystery, Strangled Eggs and Ham, A Country Store Mystery, that’s on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

Nice to have you here, Maddie. 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.

Speaking of Murder, my first mystery (written as Tace Baker), came out in the fall of 2012. It and its sequel were published by Barking Rain Press. I had a few short stories published before that (as Edith Maxwell). As Maddie Day, Strangled Eggs and Ham is the sixth Country Store Mystery from Kensington Publishing, and there will be at least three more plus a novella. Maddie also writes the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries, with Murder on Cape Cod as the first.

I have five Local Foods Mysteries, also from Kensington, out as Edith Maxwell, and Edith writes the Quaker Midwife Mysteries, which were from Midnight Ink through Charity’s Burden, book four, and are continuing with Beyond the Page Publishing with Judge Thee Not and at least two after that. I have self-published the rerelease of a number of my short stories, which originally appeared in juried anthologies, as short ebooks.

Excellent. You are quite prolific.

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.

My Country Store novella “Christmas Cocoa and a Corpse” will be out in September in Christmas Cocoa Murder. After that will be Nacho Average Murder next summer and I just finished writing book eight (title TBD). Murder on Cape Cod rereleases on all platforms in January, and Murder at the Taffy Shop will be out in a Barnes & Noble exclusive in April.

Those sound great. I love the title of the Christmas one.

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 aim to meet my contractual deadlines for three-plus books a year in three series. My writing is my full time job and I treat it as such. I also like to stretch myself by writing short stories that are a little darker or which feature the villain as narrator, and I’m playing around with ideas for a new historical series. Stay tuned!

That’s quite a schedule, so it’s good that you can devote all your time to it. I also like to write short stories in addition to my books, but I work full-time, so it takes a bit longer for me to write.

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 a compelling, well-told story in which characters have strong bonds, the protagonist is a smart strong woman, and things get put right by the end. My readers won’t see violence on the page, read obscenities, or see romance get too hot (lovers close the bedroom door just in time).

A great “recipe” for cozy mysteries.

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

Plant your butt in the chair and your fingers on the keyboard to write the best book you can. You can’t fix what you haven’t written. Find your tribe of writers, such as Sisters in Crime, and learn from them. Revise and polish and hone your book, then get someone with a critical eye to do the same. Persist! Early on I told myself, “Somebody is going to get published, and it might as well be me.”

Very motivating. I’m also a member of Sisters in Crime and find them very helpful. I’ve published 7 novels (4 are part of my Cobble Cove cozy mystery series), but I’m still seeking an agent and to publish with a large publisher like Kensington.

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

I gave up on finding an agent after more than fifty rejections, but then an agent came to the New England chapter of Sisters in Crime looking for authors, and we worked out a deal. I was also writing around the edges of a full-time job, which isn’t easy.

That’s my issue. Glad it worked out for you.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

Sisters in Crime, including the New England chapter and the Guppies, and Mystery Writers of America. I also belong to a local cross-genre group, the Newburyport Writers.

As I said, I’m also a member of Sisters in Crime and also Guppies, but there’s not a chapter near me, so I connect with them mostly online.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I like to garden, cook, do crossword puzzles – and read, of course.

A nice variety of hobbies.

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

I love when I hear from readers that my book got them through a tough time, whether sitting with an ill relative or their own hospital stay. I also delight in the times when I feel like I’m channeling the story, when my characters surprise me and I have to keep typing to find out what happens next!

The middle of the book is a challenge for me every time, but now that I’m writing novel #22, I know I will get through it if I persist. Promotion is also a challenge – figuring out how much and what kind is enough and effective, and how much puts readers off.

Although I’ve had some wonderful comments about my books, I haven’t yet been told it’s helped anyone through a hard time. I would love that. As far as my characters surprising me, they do it all the time. Regarding promotion, I think most authors struggle with that whether you self publish, have a small publisher, or a large one.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I love that I can set up a community of returning characters and, after some mayhem, restore justice to the community in the end.

Yes, that’s a lot of fun but also a challenge.

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

Here’s a tidbit from Strangled Eggs and Ham:

Adele faced me, fists on her waist. “So you’re not going to help me? A little old lady who’s done so much for you?” Her tone was plaintive, but a smile played at the edges of her mouth.

“Hey, Jordans don’t guilt trip, right?” I lowered my head and gave her the look my mom used to give me. “And you’re hardly a helpless old lady.” On the contrary, my aunt was one of the most competent women I knew.

She chortled. “I’m pulling your leg, sugar. That said, I mean to stop this Fiona if it’s the last thing I do.”

I shivered. If this conflict led to another murder, it had better not be Adele’s. “Promise me you’ll be careful?”

“Girl Scout’s honor.” She held up three fingers.

Except her other hand was behind her back, and I was willing to bet my month’s profit she was crossing her fingers back there.

Well written.

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

Please find me! I love to hear from readers. You can sign up for my author newsletter on the home page of my web site, edithmaxwell.com. And, as always, a short positive review on Goodreads, Bookbub, and Amazon goes a long way toward helping the author. Also, come visit the Wicked Authors blog and join our Facebook group. We are six New England authors who have built a community of readers. We host giveaways, a book club, guests, and so much more.

Wonderful. Thanks so much for the interview, Maddy, and best wishes on your new release. I’m sharing your blog tour and giveaway below.

Strangled Eggs and Ham
(A Country Store Mystery)
by Maddie Day

About the Book


Strangled Eggs and Ham (A Country Store Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Kensington (June 25, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496711254
ISBN-13: 978-1496711250
Digital ASIN: B07HW1D15K

Robbie Jordan’s rustic country store is growing in popularity. But when a dead body appears, it turns out that Robbie’s home-style cooking attracts hungry customers—and murder!

While Robbie scrambles through breakfast orders for her expanding clientele at Pans ‘N Pancakes, tempers run as high as the sticky August heat in South Lick, Indiana. Real-estate developer Fiona Closs plans to build a towering luxury resort at one of the most scenic hilltops in Brown County, and not everyone can see the sunny side of the imposing proposition—including Robbie’s furious Aunt Adele, who doesn’t waste a minute concocting protests and road blockades. When tensions boil over and a vocal protester is silenced forever at the resort site, Robbie ditches the griddle to catch the killer. But if slashed tires are any indication, she’ll need to crack this case before her own aunt gets served something deadly next . . .

Includes Recipes for You to Try!

About the Author

Maddie Day is a talented amateur chef and holds a Ph.D. in linguistics from Indiana University. An Agatha Award-nominated author, she is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America and also writes award-winning short crime fiction. She lives with her beau and three cats in Massachusetts.

As Edith Maxwell, she writes the Local Foods Mysteries (Kensington Publishing) and the Quaker Midwife Mysteries (Midnight Ink).

You can find all Maddie’s/Edith’s identities at http://www.edithmaxwell.com. She blogs every weekday with the other Wicked Cozy Authors at wickedcozyauthors.com. Look for her as Edith M. Maxwell and Maddie Day on Facebook and @edithmaxwell and @maddiedayauthor on Twitter.

Purchase Links

Amazon B&N Kobo Google Play IndieBound

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

June 24 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, EXCERPT

June 24 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

June 24 – ⒾⓃⓉⓇⓄⓈⓅⒺⒸⓉⒾⓋⒺ ⓅⓇⒺⓈⓈ – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

June 25 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

June 25 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 25 – ❧Defining Ways❧ – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

June 26 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 26 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

June 26 – Author Teresa Watson – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 27 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW, EXCERPT

June 27 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

June 27 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW

June 28 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

June 28 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER GUEST POST

June 28 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

June 29 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

June 29 – 4covert2overt ☼ A Place In The Spotlight ☼ – GUEST POST

June 30 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW

June 30 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

July 1 – Sapphyria’s Books – REVIEW

July 1 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW

July 1 – I’m All About Books – GUEST POST

July 2 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 2 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

July 3 – Curling up by the Fire – REVIEW

July 3 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 3 – The Cozy Pages – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

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Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Mysteries

Author Spotlight of Julie Seedorf, author of Granny Bricks A Bandit, A Fuchsia Minnesota Mystery

I’m pleased to have author Julie Seedorf from Minnesota here to chat about her writing and her cozy mystery, Granny Bricks A Bandit, a Fuchsia Minnesota Mystery, that’s on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

Nice to have you here, Julie 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.

I was published in July of 2013.

The Fuchsia, MN Series –Cozy Cat Press

Granny Hooks A Crook

Granny Skewers A Scoundrel

Granny Snows A Sneak

Granny Forks A Fugitive

Granny Pins A Pilferer

Granny Bricks A Bandit

The Brilliant, MN Series-self published by Hermiony Vidalia Books

The Penderghast Puzzle Protectors

The Discombobulated Decipherers

The Granny Is In Trouble Series- Children’s books-self published by Hermiony Vidalia Books

Whatachamacallit? Thingamajig?

Snicklefritz

That’s quite a list of books. Please tell us a little bit about them– 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.

Granny Bricks A Bandit from the Fuchsia, MN Series was just released in March. Granny is an over-the-top Senior Citizen that defies what we all believe older people are. She has a menagerie of animals, suitors and a group of friends that help her get in trouble and solve crimes. The community of Fuchsia is a satire on all the rules and regulations we live by in real life. It is an over-the-top community too. The goal is to make people laugh and take them away from the real work for a brief respite.

Sounds great.

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?

My goal as a writer is to make people lives better. I want to give them the gift of laughter and also reach their heart so they know life is worth living. I want to be an encourager.

 That’s so nice.

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

I believe most of my audience might be women and older children. Although I think men might like my books if they like to laugh and want a break from serious subjects.

They say laughter is the best medicine, and your books sound like they would certainly raise people’s spirits.

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

Be true to yourself. Follow your instincts when it comes to writing. Don’t try to be like another author. Having said that, be able to take constructive criticism about your writing. It will only make you better. Decide what is of value and what will feed you. And find a good editor. That has been the weakness in some of my books. I have an excellent one that I use for my self-published books. But if you are with a publishing company make sure they have one too. Check all of the manuscript.

Good advice.

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

I have to say, I had an easy road. I had no challenges and that is why I call it a nudge from God.

Good for you.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I don’t. Not because they aren’t valuable but I live in a rural area and groups that fit my writing are hours away. If you have a group that is critical of your genre it will not help you.

Good points.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

Watercolor painting, reading, crafts of any kind, movies and the list can go on. There is always something new.

It’s good for authors to find activities, especially other creative ones, as a break from writing.

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

I love the readers I meet and my world has opened up with author friends from all over the world, some being the same people I have read for years. An expanded world teaches on so much about every facet of life and people. My toughest challenge is editing and taking the time to write each day.

I also believe meeting fellow authors whether online or in person is a great way to enrich your life with friendships and networking opportunities. Finding time to write every day certainly is a challenge especially when you work full-time, but it can be done even if only a few minutes a day.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I can let my imagination soar. Also I like the fact my grandchildren could pick up a book and there would be nothing in that book that I wouldn’t want them to see. Also cozy readers are awesome people.

I agree.

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

I came to my computer repair career late in life and also my career as an author. You are never too old to keep learning. If you think you can do it, you will. If you think you can’t, you won’t.

One of the great things about writing is people can do it any age.

It was a pleasure chatting with you, Julie. Best wishes on your new release. I’m sharing the blog tour below.

Granny Bricks A Bandit
(Fuchsia, Minnesota Series)
by Julie Seedorf

About the Book


Granny Bricks A Bandit (Fuchsia, Minnesota Series)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Cozy Cat Press (February 18, 2019)
Paperback: 239 pages
ISBN-10: 194606372X
ISBN-13: 978-1946063724
Digital ASIN: B07P1J663L

Granny and her cohorts are at it again! When Granny and her neighbor Mavis, go water-skiing and discover a dead body, Granny’s sleuthing instincts take over! She is determined to identify the corpse and find the killer. But wait! No sooner are Granny and her cohorts on the murderer’s trail, then Mavis’ husband George suddenly disappears! Could he be the killer’s next victim? Or could he be the killer? When the gals take a side trip to the Mall of America, they find a man fell to his death on a climbing wall––and Mavis is certain she spots George nearby! What does it all mean? Will Granny get to the bottom of it, with the help of her entourage of buddies and pets?

About the Author

A Bit About Me As An Impassioned Writer

As human beings, we are always a work in progress. From birth to death we live, hurt, laugh, cry, feel, and with all of those emotions we grow as people, as family members, and as friends. I am a dreamer and feel blessed to have the opportunity in my writing to pass those dreams on to others. I believe you are never too old to dream and to turn those dreams into a creative endeavor. I live in rural Minnesota and I am a wife, mother, and grandmother.

I have worn many hats throughout my life such as working as a waitress, nursing home activities person, office manager and finally a computer repair person eventually owning my own computer sales and repair business. I never forgot my love of writing and quit my computer business in 2012 after signing a contract with Cozy Cat Press for Granny Hooks A Crook, the first book in my Fuchsia, Minnesota Series.

Adding four more books to the Fuchsia Series, adding a new Brilliant, Minnesota Series and writing a column for local newspapers feeds my writing creativity.

I also dabble a bit in watercolor painting and hope to eventually add pictures to my children’s book series, Granny’s In Trouble.

Oh, and did I tell you I like to be a little bit silly.

Author Links

Website: http://julieseedorf.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/julie.seedorf.author

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/julieseedorf

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/julie_seedorf

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/julieseedorf

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Julie-Seedorf/e/B009WAAANQ

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/c/JulieSeedorf

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/JulieSeedorf

Purchase Links

AmazonKobo

Other Formats – Nook, BarnesandNoble.com, Ibooks, Overdrive

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

June 12 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY

June 13 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 13 – Brianne’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

June 14 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

June 14 – Teresa Watson’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 15 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 16 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

June 17 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

June 17 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTEVIEW

June 18 – The Cozy Pages – CHARACTER GUEST POST

June 19 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY

June 19 – I’m All About Books – GUEST POST

June 20 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW

June 21 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW

June 22 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 22 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

June 23 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – GUEST POST

June 24 – Readeropolis – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 25 – Eskimo Princess Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

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Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Mysteries

Author Spotlight of Mary Lawrence, author of the Alchemist of Lost Souls, a Bianca Goddard Mystery

I’m pleased to have author Mary Lawrence from Limington, Maine here to chat about her writing and her cozy mystery, The Alchemist of Lost Souls, a Bianca Goddard Mystery, that’s on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

Nice to have you here, Mary 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 Alchemist’s Daughter came out in 2015.  Kensington publishes the Bianca Goddard Mysteries. There are 4 books in the series with a 5th to come in 2020. Death of an Alchemist (2016), Death at St.Vedast (2017), The Alchemist of Lost Souls (2019).

Some interesting titles. Tell us a 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.

The Bianca Goddard Mysteries are set during the final years of King Henry VIII’s reign. Bianca is the daughter of an infamous alchemist and a neighborhood white witch who combines her knowledge of plants and rudimentary chemistry to make medicines and also to solve murders. Instead of a historical series set in the Tudor court, I concentrate on the stories and struggles of commoners. My forthcoming book, The Alchemist of Lost Souls released on April 30. I’m currently finishing work on the fifth and final book in the series, The Lost Boys of London.

Sounds like you are quite productive. 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 have a few ideas for new books, but haven’t decided which to do first. Probably, I will concentrate on writing a standalone novel set in Tudor London, since I’ve created a niche for myself and people familiar with my writing are expecting more Tudor stories. Basically, I will just sit down and keep writing.

That’s a great plan. What type of reader are you hoping to attract?  Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?

Readers who like my series have an interest in historical fiction and are open to me mixing in a little superstition and creepiness. My work is often described as ‘atmospheric’ and that folks feel immersed in the time, like they have been dumped on the streets right alongside Bianca. I hope to stretch people’s imagination and entertain at the same time.

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

Learn to deal with rejection. Enter contests and learn to sift through critiques to figure out what is helpful, then ignore the rest. Never think you are a special flower.

I’m sure that’s good advice. What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?

I wrote for over 25 years before I got picked up by a traditional publisher. I was rejected by 86 literary agents before I found one who believed in me. He sold the book to the second publisher who saw it. I thought after all this time and struggle, finally I had arrived. You know what? A writer never arrives. A writer must always try to improve.

Wow! That sure is inspiring especially to writers like me who are still trying to find an agent and large publisher, and I agree that writers must always strive to improve the quality of their books.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I don’t belong to any writing circles, but I do belong to several organizations that have been great resources for me. Namely, the Historical Novel Society, The Author’s Guild, Mystery Writers of America, and the International Association of Thriller Writers. I would also give a shout out to the Romance Writers of America. They have wonderful chapters throughout the US and sponsor contests and workshops.

Those are great groups. I’m a member of International Thriller Writers and a few other groups including Sisters-in-Crime which you didn’t mention but is also a terrific group for female mystery authors.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I run a berry farm with my husband and we make specialty jams from our own fruit. It’s a business, but I love being outside and taking care of my ‘children’—180 blueberry bushes, raspberries, plums, etc. I also took up piano a few years ago, and I listen to political podcasts.

The berry farm sounds delightful. I love berries and just attended a strawberry festival. I’ve also played some piano but sadly haven’t done so for many years.

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

What I like most, is that rare moment when I feel really happy with what I’ve written. When I’m finished with a manuscript and can say, ‘Yup, that’s pretty damn good.’ I’m very critical of my writing so, like I said, it’s pretty special when I feel that.

What I hate the most is writing under a deadline. I put a lot of pressure on myself anyway, so a deadline feels like I’m sitting in a pressure box trying to be creative. I’m not a fast writer.

I think the toughest challenge is reminding myself that I can do this. Everyday I have to give myself a pep talk.

I also get a rush when I finish a book I’m particularly happy with such as my latest release, Sea Scope, which really came together very well in my opinion.  I can understand why you hate deadlines and have to give yourself a pep talk. I think most authors feel that way.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I don’t think of my series as a cozy series per se. There are cozy elements to it, like having an amateur sleuth and a returning cast of characters. I do enjoy working out the cast of characters and involving them in the unfolding plot.

I feel that way about my books. I didn’t feel the first one in my series was a cozy. I thought of it more like romantic suspense but, as I continued the series, it’s become cozier. I consider Sea Scope a psychological mystery. It definitely isn’t a cozy because of the themes it contains, but it has a few cozy elements.

Can you share a short excerpt from your latest title?

Meddybemps tried cajoling her out of silence. “What are you making?” the girl had a generous helping of black bile coursing through her veins at any given time, and the best way to squelch its influence was to get her to talk about her latest experiment.

“This isn’t for market. It is for me.”

“You? I daresay you rarely need your remedies.”

“I do now.”

Meddybemps tipped his head. “What secret do you keep? Prithee, what ails?”

With the blade of her knife, Bianca swept the herbs into a pan. “It is no illness, but a condition. One that shall pass in time.”

Her hint fed his curiosity and the iris of his errant eye appeared to skip. Taking a moment to study her, he asked, “Are you with child?”

Bianca checked the firebox of her stove and craped out the ashes.

“Go to!” said Meddybemps. He danced a little jig, his bony elbows and knees jutting all akimbo like a skeleton. He took hold of Bianca’s hands and danced her around the room, twirling her once and making her smile. He looked so foolish, how could she not?

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

I think if folks are open to a fast, fun, read with a bit of history and creep thrown in, then they will enjoy the series. I touch a few nerves with these stories and reactions run the gamut. There is some mild explicit language and a little bit of squish.

Thanks, Mary. That concludes our interview, and I’ve enjoyed chatting with you. I’m including more information about your blog tour below. Best wishes on your new release.

The Alchemist of Lost Souls
(A Bianca Goddard Mystery)
by Mary Lawrence

About the Book


The Alchemist of Lost Souls (A Bianca Goddard Mystery)
Historical Mystery
4th in Series
Kensington (April 30, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1496715314
ISBN-13: 978-1496715319
Digital ASIN: B07G6R99SR

A dangerous element discovered by Bianca Goddard’s father falls into the wrong hands . . . leading to a chain of multiple murders.

Spring 1544: Now that she is with child, Bianca is more determined than ever to distance herself from her unstable father. Desperate to win back the favor of King Henry VIII, disgraced alchemist Albern Goddard plans to reveal a powerful new element he’s discovered–one with deadly potential. But when the substance is stolen, he is panicked and expects his daughter to help.

Soon after, a woman’s body is found behind the Dim Dragon Inn, an eerie green vapor rising from her breathless mouth. To her grave concern, Bianca has reason to suspect her own mother may be involved in the theft and the murder. As her husband John is conscripted into King Henry’s army to subdue Scottish resistance, Bianca must navigate a twisted and treacherous path among alchemists, apothecaries, chandlers, and scoundrels–to find out who among them is willing to kill to possess the element known as lapis mortem, the stone of death . . .

About the Author

Mary Lawrence lives and farms in Maine and worked in the medical field for over twenty-five years before publishing her debut mystery, The Alchemist’s Daughter (Kensington, 2015). The book was named by Suspense Magazine as a “Best Book of 2015” in the historical mystery category. Her articles have appeared in several publications most notably the national news blog, The Daily Beast. The Bianca Goddard Mystery series also includes Death of an Alchemist, Death at St. Vedast, The Alchemist of Lost Souls, and the fifth title for 2020.

Website: www.marylawrencebooks.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marylawrence.author/

Twitter: @mel59lawrence

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/84420.Mary_Lawrence

Purchase links: Amazon Barnes & Noble

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

June 3 – I’m All About Books – GUEST POST

June 3 – Reading Reality – REVIEW

June 4 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 4 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT with EXCERPT

June 5 – The Editing Pen – REVIEW

June 5 – The Book’s the Thing– SPOTLIGHT with EXCERPT

June 6 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

June 6 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT with EXCERPT

June 7 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 7 – Kelly P’s Blog – SPOTLIGHT

June 8 – Readeropolis – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 9 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 9 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

June 10 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW

June 11 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

June 11 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT

June 12 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

June 12 – Ebook Addicts – REVIEW

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Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Mysteries

Author Spotlight of Kate Young, Author of Southern Sass and Killer Cravings, A Marygene Brown Mystery

I’m pleased to have author Kate Young from Cartersville, Georgia here to chat about her writing and her cozy mystery, Southern Sass and Killer Cravings that’s on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

Nice to have you here, Grace. 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.

This will be my first traditionally published series. Southern Sass and Killer Cravings the first in the Marygene Brown Mystery series is published by Kensington Publishing Corp. and is releasing May 28, 2019.

Congratulations! Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.

I’ve self-published 16 fantasy/romance novels. The commonality in all my work including Southern Sass and Killer Cravings is that I write novels with strong female leads with a dash of humor.

Sounds great. Tell us a little bit about your books.

I write the Marygene Brown Mystery Series about a Southern belle foodie, Marygene Brown, who is haunted by her mother’s spirit, making her a magnet for murder and mayhem. Marygene discovers that her sleuthing grit is her saving grace. Southern Sass and Killer Cravings is releasing on May 28, 2019. Book 2 Southern Sass and A Crispy Corpse is with my editor and my current WIP is book 3, Southern Sass and A Battered Bride.

Very nice. They sound wonderful. Please describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years?

My goal as a writer is to give readers a chance to escape, relax, and be entertained with a good chuckle or two. I also hope to continue the Marygene Brown Series. I love Marygene and the Peach Cove gang! Along with Southern Sass, I’m always working on other proposals for more stories that I hope will see the light of day.

Peach Cove sounds like the southern version of my upstate New York Cobble Cove where my series takes place.

What are you planning to do to reach these goals?

Just keep writing.

A perfect goal.

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

Anyone who enjoys Southern culinary mysteries with a twist of supernatural will enjoy my cozy series. Anyone who enjoys a good whodunnit will enjoy Marygene’s escapades.

I’m sure you will attract a large group of readers.

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

Never stop writing and never give up.

That says it all. I’m still working towards being traditionally published.

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

I suppose the transition from being an indie author to a traditionally published author. That meant I needed an agent. Securing the right one proved to be daunting process, but so worth the effort. I had to learn to become comfortable with rejection (not an easy task) until I finally signed with the right fit.

I can certainly identify with that, as I’m sure many readers of this blog will.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I belong to Sisters in Crime and the Guppy Chapter. I’ve learned so much from this wonderful organization and highly recommend joining to any mystery author.

I second that, as I’m also a member of this same great group.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I love to cook, read, and travel.

Great pasttimes for an author.

What do you like most and least about being an author?

I love the writing. The toughest challenge by far is marketing. Finding the correct advertisement channels can be a challenge with so many amazing titles on the market.

Those feelings are shared by many authors including myself.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I love the charming settings, the wonderous islands, the picturesque towns with hosts of shops and diners you wish you could visit. The warm characters that by the end of the story they feel like our closest friends, or we wish they could be. And then there’s the mystery, the gripping mystery that keeps us guessing write up till the very end. There’s something satisfying about solving a crime along with your favorite amateur sleuth. And it thrills me to be able to write and join the delightful genre with the Marygene Brown Mystery Series.

I agree completely. Cozy mysteries are a delightful genre to write and also read.

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

“Wake up!” Mama shouted at my ear.

“I’m tired,” I groaned, rolled over, and pulled the blankets over my head.

“Marygene Francis Brown, I’m not telling you again,” Mama said.

I jolted upright, suddenly aware my mama meant business. Wait a minute, Mama was dead. I rubbed my face with my hand, feeling the grittiness of dried mascara. “Lord help me, what a nightmare.” Mama was about to bless me out for something or another. In her mind, I had always been guilty of something.

“This isn’t a dream child,” Mama flipped on the lamp next to her. She was sitting in the beige Queen Anne chair across the room, wearing her yellow dress with white daisies and matching yellow belt. Her brown hair was curled and styled closed to her head like she always wore it.

 “I see I have your attention.”

I didn’t speak, completely amazed with how vivid this dream was.

“I don’t have much time, so I’ll be brief.” That was Mama all right. She was efficient. “There’s going to be a murder at the diner tomorrow.” She leaned forward. “Close for the day.”

“What? Close the diner?” I covered a yawn with my hand. Am I really seeing this?

“Listen to me, young lady! Neither you nor your sister needs to go to work tomorrow.” She faded away.

I hard blinked and stared at the empty chair.

Excellent. Thank you for sharing that intriguing excerpt.

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

Hmm, well an interesting tidbit that Marygene Brown and I have in common is that we both bake when we’re stressed.

It’s always fun to share something in common with your protagonist. I know I share a few habits with Alicia, who is a librarian like me.

Thanks so much for the interview, Kate, and I’m sharing your blog tour below. Best wishes on your new release and series.

Southern Sass and Killer Cravings
(Marygene Brown Mysteries)
by Kate Young

About the Book

Southern Sass and Killer Cravings (Marygene Brown Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Kensington (May 28, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
ISBN-10: 1496721454
ISBN-13: 978-1496721457
Digital ASIN: B07H1VWGBS

Life has always been sweet on Georgia’s Peach Cove Island, but a case of murder has Marygene Brown down in the pits . . .

For generations, the women of the Brown family on Peach Cove Island have been known for their Southern sass and sweet homemade desserts at their beloved Peach Diner. Since their mother’s passing two years ago, Marygene has been stuck in Atlanta while her sister Jena Lynn has been running the family business. Now Marygene has left her husband and returned to her hometown, where she can almost feel Mama’s presence.

But all is not peachy back home. Marygene has barely tied on an apron when a diner regular drops dead at the counter. When it turns out the old man’s been poisoned, Jena Lynn is led away in handcuffs and the family eatery is closed. Now, to save her sister and the diner, Marygene must find the real killer. With some startling assistance from her Mama’s spirit, Marygene will be serving up a special order of just desserts . . .

Includes Seven Recipes from Marygene’s Kitchen!

The author is hosting a pre-order giveaway!
CHECK IT OUT HERE!

About the Author

Kate Young writes humorous southern mystery novels. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Guppy Chapter. Kate lives in a small town in Georgia with her husband, three kids, and Shih Tzu. When she is not writing her own books, she’s reading or cooking.

Author Links

Website – https://www.kateyoungbooks.com

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/KAYoungBooks

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6527572.Kate_Young

BookBub – https://www.bookbub.com/profile/kate-young-b3339e9c-d2e4-482d-a637-5afd7b064d73

Purchase Links Amazon B&N Kobo Indie Bound ibooks BAM
TOUR PARTICIPANTS

May 18 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

May 18 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW

May 18 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

May 18 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

May 18 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

May 19 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW

May 19 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

May 19 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW, RECIPE POST WITH PICTURES

May 19 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW

May 20 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

May 20 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

May 20 – ⒾⓃⓉⓇⓄⓈⓅⒺⒸⓉⒾⓋⒺ ⓅⓇⒺⓈⓈ – SPOTLIGHT

May 20 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT

May 21 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

May 21 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

May 21 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

May 21 – Books Direct – SPOTLIGHT

May 22 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

May 22 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW

May 22 – 4covert2overt ☼ A Place In The Spotlight ☼ – SPOTLIGHT

May 22 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – RECIPE POST WITH PICTURES

May 23 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW

May 23 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW

May 23 – ❧Defining Ways❧ – RECIPE POST WITH PICTURES

May 23 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

May 24 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

May 24 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

May 24 – Brooke Blogs – RECIPE POST WITH PICTURES

May 24 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW

May 24 – Elizabeth McKenna Romance Author – SPOTLIGHT

May 25 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – REVIEW

May 25 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW

May 25 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT

May 25 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 26 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

May 26 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW

May 26 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

May 26 – That’s What She’s Reading – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Mysteries

Author Spotlight of Grace Topping, Author of Staging is Murder, a Laura Bishop Mystery

I’m pleased to have author Grace Topping from Northern Virginia to chat about her writing and her cozy mystery, Staging is Murder, that’s on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

Nice to have you here, Grace. 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.

STAGING IS MURDER is my first book, which is being released on April 30 by Henery Press. It is the first in the Laura Bishop Mystery Series. I don’t have any self-published books.

Congratulations on your debut book.

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.

The Laura Bishop Mystery Series is about a woman who decides midlife to change careers and become a professional home stager. She realizes that the work could be murder, but she never expected it to include a body. When a body falls from a laundry chute and lands at her feet, flowered wallpaper becomes the least of her home staging duties. The first in the series, STAGING IS MURDER, is being released April 30. I am in the middle of writing the next book in the series, which will be coming out next year about the same time.

Sounds interesting and a unique occupation for your sleuth.

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?

It took me ten years from the time I started working on STAGING IS MURDER to the time it is being published. My goal was to learn how to write a mystery, improve my writing, find an agent and a publisher, and successfully promote my book. Now that I’ve achieved that, my goal is to complete the other two books in my contract. To reach these goals, I plan to stay connected to the writing community through writing organizations such as Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. Also I plan to take additional courses to improve my writing and plotting skills. I also hope to learn from reviews of STAGING IS MURDER what worked and what didn’t for readers.

Nice goals. It sounds like you’re determined to meet them, so I’m sure you will. I’m also a member of Sisters-in-Crime by the way.

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

My book is a cozy mystery. I wrote a cozy because cozies don’t include violence, sex, or bad language. So I hope to attract readers who are looking to be entertained, not horrified. I hope to attract readers who like the concept of home staging and hope to learn something about it through my books, and to make readers laugh occasionally. At least I hope they will.

I enjoy writing cozies for that same reason, although my latest book, Sea Scope, is a psychological mystery. I still don’t include a lot of violence, sex, or bad language because I feel that they detract from a good plot.

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

The most important thing is to learn the craft of writing. If you don’t have good grammar skills, get books on grammar. Agents and publishers expect books submitted to them to be well edited. They will not take a book and make it better. If you don’t know how to write dialogue, take online classes. If you need to strengthen your plotting skills, study books on plotting. Libraries have lots of books on writing fiction. When I decided to write a mystery, I took an online course through my community college on how to write a mystery. Best thing I ever did. I came out of it with the complete outline for my book. Then apply all the things you learn to your manuscript. During my ten years of working toward publication, every time I learned something new, I applied it to my manuscript, creating a new version. By the time I had a publishing contract, I had written 38 versions of my book. I was too stubborn to give up. Be willing to learn as you go, and don’t give up.

What a great story. All the authors I speak with agree that being stubborn is an important quality for an author to possess. Thanks also for recommending library books. I’m a librarian as well as an author, so I know that there’s a wealth of information for those seeking publication in the writing books in a library’s collection.

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

As I mentioned above, I had to learn about writing fiction and improve my drafts with each new thing I learned. But the biggest lesson I had to learn was that having no agent is better than having an agent who isn’t working for you. I wasted five years with an agent who kept me dangling. I was afraid to leave her and have no agent. Worse thing I could have done. Once I developed enough courage to nicely sever my contract with her, I found another agent who was able to sell my book in two months.

That’s a good point. I’m still looking for the right agent myself, although I haven’t signed with any yet.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I belong to the National Sisters in Crime (SINC), the Chesapeake Chapter of SINC, and to the online chapter of SINC, the Guppies (short for the great unpublished). I don’t think I would be published today without the help and support of the Guppies. I am also a member of Mystery Writers of America.

I’m also a member of Sisters-in-Crime and the Guppies chapter, and I agree that they are a wonderful and very supportive group for women who write mysteries.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

My favorite activity is reading, and I belong to two book clubs. When I’m not involved with reading, writing, or promoting my book, I volunteer with my church.

Reading is important for authors. I wish I had more time to do it because I have so many books in my to-be-read pile. As far as your church volunteer work, I’m also very involved in my church.

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

One of the things that I like most is being a member of the mystery writing community. Writers are very supportive, and I’ve made hundred of friends through writers’ groups and attending writing conferences. I particularly enjoy helping to promote other authors. I conduct interviews with mystery writers about twice a month for the Writers Who Kill group blog (www.writerswhokill.blogspot.com). The interviews give the authors an opportunity to talk about their books and for readers to discover them.

The thing I like least is sitting in a chair for long periods of time. It isn’t the best activity for staying fit, and I find that I sit a lot trying to meet deadlines.

My toughest challenge is juggling the activities required to promote STAGING IS MURDER with finding the time to write the second book in the series. And it truly is a juggling act.

I feel the same way about the things you mentioned. I’ve also made a lot of author friends both online and through local events. Sitting for long periods isn’t good, so I try to get up and walk around and stretch every 15 minutes or so. My Apple watch helps with that. It tells me when to stand for 5 minutes. As for juggling activities of promoting my books while trying to write more, you’re so right it’s a tough juggling act. I have 7 now, so you’ll see it gets harder having to write, promote, etc. the more books you publish.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I like telling a story that will hopefully entertain readers and not horrify them—stories lacking in violence, sex, and bad language. I would be uncomfortable including violent scenes, and I would be embarrassed writing about sex. And since I don’t use bad language in my everyday life, I won’t put it in my characters’ mouths. I love that cozy mysteries focus on solving the puzzle of the mystery, the characters, and the main character’s business or interest (the hook) of the story.

We certainly have a lot in common, Grace. I love creating characters and books with twists and also don’t feel comfortable writing ones that are too explicit.

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

From STAGING IS MURDER

There, behind the desk and holding the purple-covered Louiston High School yearbook in his hands, stood Warren Hendricks.

“Warren,” I gasped. “What are you doing here?”

“Stay right where you are, young man,” Mrs. Webster said sternly. “Laura here knows karate, and she’s not afraid to use it.”

I sighed and positioned myself in what I assumed might be a karate stance.

“Please, Laura, I’m sorry. I don’t intend to harm anyone. Let me explain,” Warren pleaded.

“Sit down.” Mrs. Webster pointed to a brown leather sofa. “Laura, get one of those fireplace instruments over there.” She turned to Warren. “If you move, Laura will bop you a good one.”

Warren, all six feet of him, plopped onto the sofa, with tiny Mrs. Webster looming over him. His Adam’s apple bobbed and he kept clearing his throat.

“Okay, now fess up,” Mrs. Webster demanded.

“How did you get in?” I’d carefully locked up when I left the house earlier.

“I climbed in through a small window in the pantry. The window’s ancient and wasn’t hard to wiggle open. Though, getting through it was a bit hard.” Warren picked at a small tear on his jacket sleeve and grimaced. “I may have ruined my jacket.” A smart dresser, he probably regretted that more than being caught red-handed going through the Denton library.

“What were you searching for?” Mrs. Webster voice was steely cold. She wasn’t feeling any sympathy for him or his jacket.

Very nice. Thanks for sharing that.

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

Laura Bishop isn’t only an amateur sleuth—she’s a reluctant sleuth, which I think is a bit more realistic that a main character who jumps into a case with both feet, anxious to get working. She knows her skill set, and finding a murderer isn’t among them. But she gives into the plea by elderly Mrs. Webster to help clear her grandson, who is accused of murder. As reluctant as she is to get involved, Laura rises to the occasion.

She sounds quite realistic and someone readers would identify with.

Thanks so much for the interview, Grace, and best wishes on your series and future books. I’m sharing your blog tour below.

Staging is Murder
(A Laura Bishop Mystery)
by Grace Topping

About the Book


Staging is Murder (A Laura Bishop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Henery Press (April 30, 2019)
Hardcover: 268 pages
ISBN-10: 163511490X
ISBN-13: 978-1635114904
Paperback: 268 pages
ISBN-10: 163511487X
ISBN-13: 978-1635114874
Digital ASIN: B07N96J65X

Laura Bishop just nabbed her first decorating commission—staging for sale a 19th-century mansion that hasn’t been updated for decades. But when a body falls from a laundry chute and lands at Laura’s feet, replacing flowered wallpaper becomes the least of her duties.

To clear her young assistant of the murder and save her fledgling business, Laura’s determined to find the killer. Turns out it’s not as easy as renovating a manor home, especially with two handsome men complicating her mission: the police detective assigned to the case and the real estate agent trying to save the manse from foreclosure.

Worse still, the meddling of a horoscope-guided friend, a determined grandmother, and the local funeral director could get them all killed before Laura props the first pillow.

About the Author

Grace Topping is a recovering technical writer and IT project manager, accustomed to writing lean, boring documents. Let loose to write fiction, she is now creating murder mysteries and killing off characters who remind her of some of the people she dealt with during her career. Fictional revenge is sweet. She’s using her experience helping friends stage their homes as inspiration for her Laura Bishop mystery series. The first book in the series, Staging is Murder, is about a woman starting a new career midlife as a home stager. Grace is the current vice president of the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime, and a member of the SINC Guppies and Mystery Writers of America. She lives with her husband in Northern Virginia.

Author Links

Website – https://www.gracetopping.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/gtoppingauthor

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

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomgracetopping

Purchase Links – Amazon B&N Kobo

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

Part One

April 25 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

April 25 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

April 26 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW

April 26 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

April 27 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

April 28 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 28 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

April 29 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

Part Two

May 6 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

May 6 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT

May 7 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

May 8 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

May 8 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 9 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

May 9 – Carole’s Book Corner – SPOTLIGHT

May 10 – Teresa Trent Author Site – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

May 11 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW

May 11 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 12 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST

May 13 – That’s What She’s Reading – CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 14 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

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Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Mysteries

Author Spotlight of Connie Berry, author of A Dream of Death, A Kate Hamilton Mystery

I’m pleased to have author Connie Berry from Delaware, Ohio to chat about her writing and her cozy mystery, A Dream of Death, that’s on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

Nice to have you here, Connie. 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 debut mystery, A Dream of Death, was published this month by Crooked Lane Books. Wait, wait—did I just say that? I don’t think I’ll believe it until I actually see my book on a library shelf or in a bookstore somewhere. Although I know plenty of wonderful and successful self-published authors, my goal was always to be traditionally published.

Congratulations, Connie. Tell us a little bit about your book.

A Dream of Death is the first in the Kate Hamilton Mystery series. Autumn has come and gone on the Scottish Isle of Glenroth, and the locals gather for the Tartan Ball, the annual end-of-leaf-season gala. Spirits are high. A recently published novel about island history has attracted hordes of tourists to the small Hebridean resort community. On the guest list is American antiques dealer Kate Hamilton. Kate returns reluctantly to the island where her husband died, determined to repair her relationship with his sister, proprietor of the island’s luxe country house hotel. Kate has hardly unpacked when a body turns up, murdered in a way eerily reminiscent of an infamous murder described in the book. The Scottish police discount the historical connection, but when her husband’s best childhood friend is arrested, Kate teams up with a vacationing detective inspector from Suffolk, England, to unmask a killer determined to rewrite island history—and Kate’s future.

The second in the series, A Legacy of Murder, will be published in October of 2019. Currently I’m working on the third in the series, The Chinese Vases (working title).

They sound 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?

On a practical level, I hope to continue writing the Kate Hamilton Mystery series. With the third book underway, two more are rough outlined and another two are roaming around in the back of my brain. On an aspirational level, my goal is to continue growing as a writer—honing my skills, adding depth and complexity to my characters and plot, writing beautiful prose. I would love to have my books described as literary mysteries. For the future, I’ve been thinking about a second series set in the UK, maybe an historical.

Terrific goals. Good luck with them.

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

I imagine my readers will be a lot like me—those who enjoy a good mystery and love to be surprised at the end. I hope to attract readers who like vivid characters with gifts and flaws, regrets and dreams. My readers will include fellow Anglophiles and those who like stories set in another country or culture. They will love history and reading about how the present is shaped by the past. I hope they will enjoy learning a bit about the world of fine art and antiques.

That’s great. Sounds like you have a an interesting target audience.

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

My best advice is to read, read, read. Notice how writers use language, setting, dialogue, and characterization. Pay attention to story structure. Take time to learn craft. Attend as many writers’ conferences and workshops as you can afford. Join groups like Sisters in Crime or Romance Writers of America. Connect with other writers. Swap manuscripts. Help others succeed.

That’s very good advice.

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

I didn’t know what I didn’t know. With a master’s degree in English literature and having read hundreds of mysteries, I thought, “How hard could it be?” As it turned out, pretty hard. I struggled with impatience, an unwillingness to stop writing and start learning. It took me years to produce a manuscript I felt confident putting out there. Finally, once I’d done everything I knew how to do, I was fortunate enough to meet my wonderful editor, Faith Black Ross from Crooked Lane Books, and my agent, Paula Munier of Talcott Notch Literary.

It’s so true that there’s a lot more to writing than what people imagine before they publish.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

Yes. I belong to Sisters in Crime, national, as well as my local chapter, Buckeye Crime Writers. I also belong to the Midwest chapter of  Mystery Writers of America. Some years ago I attended a writers’ workshop called Seascape, hosted by Roberta Isleib, Hallie Ephron, and Hank Phillippi Ryan. Afterwards, a fellow attendee asked me to join a critique group. We’re scattered all over the country—California, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Maine. Three of the four are now published with the fourth not far behind. We exchange manuscripts online and try to meet yearly at the Crime Bake conference near Boston.

I also belong to Sisters in Crime. It’s a great group.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

Great question! Life is more than writing. My interests include reading (of course), knitting, my family, our sweet dog, Millie, spending time at our lake cottage in northern Wisconsin, foreign travel with a hint of adventure, and hiking. I attend BSF, International—the class I taught for over twenty-five years. I belong to a book club. And I’m on the board of two organizations—Buckeye Crime Writers and the Great Lakes Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church.

You certainly are busy.

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

What I like most about writing is re-writing—revising and polishing a manuscript. Once I have words on a page, I relax and begin to enjoy life. What I like least is putting words on a blank page. Because they’re never good. As Ernest Hemingway famously said (quoted in a posthumous article published by Arnold Samuelson), “The first draft of anything is [rubbish].” With that said, one of my toughest practical challenges as a writer is getting enough exercise. This past year—getting my first novel launched and finishing the second—has been brutal on my body. One of my goals going forward is adding regular exercise to my daily routine.

I make it a point to exercise a half hour a day and take breaks between computer time.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I call my books traditional mysteries with cozy characteristics. There are plenty of non-cozy crime novels out there, and I read them—Ann Cleeves, Tana French, Val McDermid, Elizabeth George. But years ago my thesis advisor recommended picking a topic I loved enough to spend many months with. That applies to writing. Reading a crime novel takes days. Writing one takes months if not years. I choose not to describe violence in graphic detail. I have no wish to venture into other peoples’ bedrooms. I love children and pets too much to describe their harm. And while I admire crime novels based in large cities (especially if the city is London), I’m more interested in the complex dynamics of a village. Perhaps it’s my early exposure to Agatha Christie, but I like nothing better than writing about a small community with plenty of interconnections and conflicts to create havoc—and murder. Writing a mystery with cozy characteristics isn’t a matter of what I do and don’t approve. Wasn’t it Miss Marple who said, “I don’t approve of murder.”

I feel the same about my books. Even when I write my standalones, apart from my Cobble Cove mystery series, I tend to inject cozy elements.

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

The setting is the Tartan Ball. Kate’s self-centered sister-in-law, Elenor, has just announced her engagement to Dr. Hugh Guthrie, a bachelor who cares for his disabled mother, Margaret—the closest thing the Isle of Glenroth has to nobility:

Elenor held up both hands. “Before we celebrate, there’s someone Hugh and I wish to acknowledge.” She turned toward the head table. “Margaret, may I call you Mother now?”

 Every head in the room swiveled toward Margaret Guthrie, sitting like a ramrod in her wheelchair. She looked as if she’d just taken a swig of sour milk. “Even though Hugh and I will no longer be living on Glenroth,” Elenor said, her eyes glittering, “we will always have your welfare uppermost in our minds. Wherever you choose to live—now that Hugh will no longer be able to care for you himself—please remember that we will do everything in our power to make the days you have left happy ones.” I heard a few audible gasps. Guthrie pulled a handkerchief from his inside pocket and mopped his face.

Margaret Guthrie reared up like a cobra in her wheelchair. “You are too hasty, my dear. I am certain my son has agreed to no such plans.” She turned to Hugh. “Take me home now. I’m tired.” The audience held its collective breath. Hugh Guthrie stood motionless, a pile of metal shavings between two powerful magnets. He looked at Elenor, then at his mother, and seemed to quail. Releasing himself from Elenor’s grip, he stepped from the platform and hurried to Margaret’s side. The wheelchair squeaked through the stone archways toward the exit. Moments  later we heard the thud of the heavy front door closing, followed shortly by the roar of an engine and the crunch of tires on gravel. Elenor still held the microphone, her face frozen in a smile. The band began to play “Some Enchanted Evening.” Clearly one of the musicians had a wicked sense of humor.

Excellent excerpt. Thanks for sharing.

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

A Dream of Death involves a contemporary murder and a historical murder from 1810. The two stories are interwoven through the use of excerpts from a novel written in the form of a diary. A list of book club questions will appear shortly on my website (see below). I’d love to meet readers! If you live in central Ohio, check out my scheduled appearances; and if you’re planning to attend Malice Domestic in May, please say hello!

If you’d like to know more about my writing and upcoming events, you can find me at www.connieberry.com. Sign up for my newsletter. Watch for my bi-monthly blog. Follow me on social media:

Facebook and Instagram: Connie Berry, Author

Twitter: @conniecberry

Pinterest: Connie Campbell Berry

Thanks so much, Connie, and best wishes on your release and upcoming books in the series. I’m sharing your blog tour below.

A Dream of Death
(A Kate Hamilton Mystery)
by Connie Berry

About the Book


A Dream of Death (A Kate Hamilton Mystery)
Traditional Mystery
1st in Series
Crooked Lane Books (April 9, 2019)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1683319877
ISBN-13: 978-1683319870
Digital ASIN: B07H7P2KTS

On a remote Scottish island, American antiques dealer Kate Hamilton wrestles with her own past while sleuthing a brutal killing, staged to recreate a two-hundred-year-old unsolved murder.

Autumn has come and gone on Scotland’s Isle of Glenroth, and the islanders gather for the Tartan Ball, the annual end-of-tourist-season gala. Spirits are high. A recently published novel about island history has brought hordes of tourists to the small Hebridean resort community. On the guest list is American antiques dealer Kate Hamilton. Kate returns reluctantly to the island where her husband died, determined to repair her relationship with his sister, proprietor of the island’s luxe country house hotel, famous for its connection with Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Kate has hardly unpacked when the next morning a body is found, murdered in a reenactment of an infamous unsolved murder described in the novel—and the only clue to the killer’s identity lies in a curiously embellished antique casket. The Scottish police discount the historical connection, but when a much-loved local handyman is arrested, Kate teams up with a vacationing detective inspector from Suffolk, England, to unmask a killer determined to rewrite island history—and Kate’s future.

About the Author

Like her main character, Connie Berry was raised by charmingly eccentric antique collectors who opened a shop, not because they wanted to sell antiques but because they needed a plausible excuse to keep buying them. Connie adores history, off-season foreign travel, cute animals, and all things British. She lives in Ohio with her husband and adorable Shih Tzu, Millie.

Author Links: Website –www.connieberry.com

Facebook Author@Facebook.com

Twitter @conniecberry

Goodreads –https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18733373.Connie_Berry

Purchase: Amazon Barnes & Noble Indiebound

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

April 15 – The Editing Pen – GUEST POST

April 15 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

April 16 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 16 – I’m All About Books – GUEST POST

April 17 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT*

April 17 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

April 18 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

April 18 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 19 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

April 19 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW

April 20 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 20 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

April 21 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 22 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

April 22 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

April 23 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

April 23 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 24 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 24 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

April 25 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 26 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

April 26 – My Devotional Thoughts – SPOTLIGHT

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