Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Mysteries

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

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

Great to have you here, Kathleen. How long have you been published? What titles and/or series have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A good target group.

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

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

Wise advice.

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

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

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

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

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

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

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

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

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

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

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

I know exactly what you mean.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

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

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

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

Here’s an excerpt from AS DIRECTED:

Claudia Warren took too long to die.

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

Claudia couldn’t even die right.

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

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

A pack of single-serving puddings.

A box of single-serving juices.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interesting. You certainly are a wordsmith, Kathleen.

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

Thank you again for having me!

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

About the Book


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

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

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

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

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

About the Author

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

Author Links

https://www.kathleenvalenti.com/

https://www.facebook.com/kathleenvalentiauthor/

https://twitter.com/KathyValenti1

https://www.instagram.com/kathleen_valenti/

https://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomkathleenvalenti

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/kathleen-valenti

Purchase Links

Amazon Barnes & Noble iTunes Kobo

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

March 1 – Babs Book Bistro – GUEST POST

March 1 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

March 2 – Mythical Books – SPOTLIGHT

March 3 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 4 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

March 5 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST

March 6 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – GUEST POST

March 7 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 7 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

March 8 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

March 9 – T’s Stuff – SPOTLIGHT

March 10 – The Book Diva’s Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST

March 10 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW

March 11 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

March 11 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 12 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – REVIEW

March 12 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

March 12 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 13 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 14 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW

March 15 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 15 – The Montana Bookaholic – SPOTLIGHT

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour

Author Spotlight of V. M. Burns, author of The Novel Art f Murder, a Mystery Bookshop Mystery

I’m pleased to have author Valerie Burns writing as V.M. Burns from Chatanooga, TN here to speak about her writing and new release, The Novel Art of Murder that’s on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

Great to have you here, Valerie. 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 first book, THE PLOT IS MURDER, was published by Kensington Books in November 2017. That was the first book in my Mystery Bookshop Mystery Series. I have three mystery series:

Mystery Bookshop Mystery Series (Kensington)

The Plot is Murder (1) – November 2017

Read Herring Hunt (2) – April 2018

The Novel Art of Murder (3) — November 2018

Dog Club Mystery Series (Lyrical Underground)

In the Dog House (1) — August 2018

The Puppy Who Knew Too Much — February 2019

RJ Franklin Mystery Series (Camel Press)

Travellin’ Shoes (1) — July 2018

Sometimes I Fell Like a Motherless Child (2) —July 2019

Excellent! They all sound great! ell us a little bit about them.

The Mystery Bookshop Mystery Series is set on the shores of Lake Michigan. When Samantha Washington’s husband dies, she quits her job as a high school English teacher to follow their shared dream of opening a mystery bookshop. However, opening a mystery bookshop isn’t her only dream. She also dreamed of writing British historic cozy mysteries. Each book in this series contains the contemporary mystery that Samantha is living and the British historic mystery she is writing. The fourth book in the series, WED, READ & DEAD is scheduled to release on April 30, 2019.

The Dog Club Mystery Series starts in Indiana. When Lilly Echosby’s husband, Albert sells cars. When he wants to trade Lilly in for a younger model, she is furious. When Albert is murdered, the police arrest Lilly. Lilly and dog enthusiast and best friend, Dixie Jefferson, have to prove her innocence by finding the murderer. The second book in this series, THE PUPPY WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, releases on February 12, 2019.

The RJ Franklin Mystery Series is set in Northwestern Indiana. This series features a policeman and his godmother, Mama B as the sleuths. It is a multicultural mystery which includes a glimpse into the life of the African American community. All of the titles in this series are taken from Negro Spirituals and the books include soul food recipes. The second book in this series, SOMETIMES I FEEL LIKE A MOTHERLESS CHILD, will release in July 2019.

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

I love writing so my goal is to continue writing cozy mysteries for as long as possible. I want to improve as a writer and storyteller. Improving has been a continual process which started with going back to school to get my Master of Fine Arts degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. It was a great decision that helped get my writing career started. Now, I continue to learn by reading and attending conferences. In 2018 I attended two writing workshops/conferences. In 2019 I plan to double that number. I learn a great deal by attending workshops, networking with other writers, and trying new techniques.

A great plan. I’m sure it will helpful to your goal. What type of reader are you hoping to attract?  Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?

I hope to attract readers who are looking for an entertaining story. My books are not world changing epics, however I hope they will amuse and entertain. Critics of genre fiction often call it “escapist.” Honestly, I’m okay with that label. Sometimes, people need to escape reality and spend time in a place that feels comfortable with people you enjoy spending time with. I strive to create that place and those people in each of my books. Each time a reader picks up one of my books, I hope they feel like they are reconnecting with old friends. So, those are the people that I think will be interested in reading my books.

Characters are very important in cozies. I’d also like to think of the Cobble Cove folks as friends to my readers except for the killers, of course – lol!

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

It’s not easy to get a book traditionally published. Most authors (myself included) received a lot of rejections before their first book was published. However, the key is to keep writing. Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, James Patterson, Agatha Christie and F. Scott Fitzgerald were all rejected. However, books are subjective and just because one agent, editor or critic doesn’t like it, doesn’t mean the book shouldn’t be published. A rejection means that book wasn’t for that person at that point in time. I’m sure every publisher who rejected J.K. Rowling would love an opportunity for a second chance. If having a book published is your dream, don’t give up and NEVER stop writing.

Excellent advice. I’m still trying to find an agent and become traditionally published, but I’m thankful for the books and series I have out through Solstice, my small, online publisher.

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

Getting published isn’t easy. One of the challenges is getting your foot in the door and finding someone to read your manuscript. Most publishers don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts from un-agented writers. Agents receive tons of queries from writers looking for representation and can afford to be selective. As a writer, we send out queries and don’t hear anything back for weeks, sometimes months, if at all (I once received a rejection for a manuscript over a year after the query was sent). Writing is very solidary and it’s easy to take rejection or silence as a judgment of your writing skill. One thing that helped me was connecting with the writing community. Mystery Writers of America (MWA) and Sisters in Crime (Sinc) are great organizations. Both will allow unpublished authors to join (male and female, don’t let the Sinc name fool you). Sisters in Crime even has a “Guppies” group which is a great place to make connections, get feedback and ask questions. It’s a great way to maintain perspective.

I’m a member of SINC Guppies and, even though I’m published, I learn a lot from them.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I’m a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Color and Thriller Writers of America

Great groups. I’m a fellow member of Sisters in Crime and Thriller Writers of America. I also belong to a local group and the Cat Writer’s Association.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I enjoy baking, but am starting to enjoy cooking. I read and for many years, I competed in performance events (agility and obedience) with my poodles. I also used to do pet assisted therapy.

Sounds like you’re a fellow pet lover.

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

I love writing. I have a lot of ideas and getting them out of my head and onto the page is a fantastic thrill. I love seeing how the stories and characters develop. My least favorite part about being an author is editing. Authors edit a manuscript multiple times before it ever gets printed, which means reading, reading, and re-reading the same story over and over and over. My toughest challenge is making time for edits. I’d much rather write.

Editing can be even more time-consuming than writing, but authors including myself find promoting an even bigger challenge.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I love writing cozy mysteries. I love creating characters and watching them evolve. I’m not a plotter. I prefer to get a basic idea for a story and then start writing and see where the characters and the story take me. Sometimes, I write myself into a corner, but generally the characters will show me the way out. Cozies are, in my opinion, driven by the characters.

I agree with that completely, and I’m also a pantster. I take very few notes and don’t really outline. Sometimes the outcomes even surprise me, but the characters, as you said, do take control.

Can you share a short excerpt from your latest release?

“If you don’t get your fanny out of that dressing room in the next thirty seconds, I’ll come in and drag you out.”

I recognized the tone in my grandmother’s voice well enough to realize she meant business. Three hours of trying on every bubble-gum-pink bridesmaid dress in South Harbor’s one and only wedding shop had left all of us in a foul mood. I took one last look at my reflection in the mirror and resigned myself to my fate. The hoopskirt under my ballroom gown was so large I had to turn sideways and wiggle to get through the dressing room door, but given this was the seventh or eighth dress I’d tried on, I had mastered the technique fairly well.

In the main viewing area at the back of the large store, I walked up the two stairs and stood atop the platform designed to look like a wedding cake to showcase the dresses to loved ones. I stood atop the platform of shame and waited for the laughter I knew was inevitable.

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

All of my books are available as ebooks. The Mystery Bookshop Mystery Series is available in bookstores and in large print. The Plot is Murder and the Dog Club Mystery Series is also available in audiobook. The RJ Franklin Mystery Series can be ordered as Trade Paperback or ebook format.

That’s great, Valerie. It was so nice speaking with you today. I’m sharing your blog tour below. Best wishes on it and your new release.

The Novel Art of Murder
(Mystery Bookshop)
by V.M. Burns

About the Book


The Novel Art of Murder (Mystery Bookshop)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Kensington (November 27, 2018)
Paperback: 256 pages
ISBN-10: 1496711858
ISBN-13: 978-1496711854
Digital ASIN: B07B7B4C8Q

Mystery bookstore owner Samantha Washington is trying to keep her grandmother from spending her golden years in an orange jumpsuit . . .

The small town of North Harbor, Michigan, is just not big enough for the two of them: flamboyant phony Maria Romanov and feisty Nana Jo. The insufferable Maria claims she’s descended from Russian royalty and even had a fling with King Edward VIII back in the day. She’s not just a lousy liar, she’s a bad actress, so when she nabs the lead in the Shady Acres Senior Follies—a part Nana Jo plays every year in their retirement village production—Nana Jo blows a gasket and reads her the riot act in front of everyone.

Of course, when Maria is silenced with a bullet to the head, Nana Jo lands the leading role on the suspects list. Sam’s been writing her newest mystery, set in England between the wars, with her intrepid heroine Lady Daphne drawn into murder and scandal in the household of Winston Churchill. But now she has to prove that Nana Jo’s been framed. With help from her grandmother’s posse of rambunctious retirees, Sam shines a spotlight on Maria’s secrets, hoping to draw the real killer out of the shadow

About the Author

V.M. Burns was born in Northwestern Indiana and spent many years in Southwestern Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. She is a lover of dogs, British historic cozies, and scones with clotted cream. After many years in the Midwest, she went in search of milder winters and currently lives in Eastern Tennessee with her poodles. Her debut novel, The Plot is Murder was nominated for a 2017 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime. Readers can learn more by visiting her website at vmburns.com

Author Links:

Website: http://www.vmburns.com/

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

Twitter: @vmburns

Purchase Links – AmazonBarnes & NobleIndieBound: – Books-A-MillionHudson Booksellers

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

January 30 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

January 30 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

January 31 – Laura`s Interests – REVIEW, GUEST POST

January 31 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 1 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

February 1 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

February 1 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – REVIEW

February 2 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

February 2 – Mythical Books – SPOTLIGHT

February 2 – The Editing Pen – GUEST POST

February 3 – Babs Book Bistro – GUEST POST

February 4 – The Layaway Dragon – REVIEW

February 4 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

February 5 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW

February 5 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

February 5 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 6 – Rae’s Books and Recipes – SPOTLIGHT

February 6 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST

February 6 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 7 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

February 7 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST

February 7 – Jody’s Book Reviews, Book Tours & Giveaways – SPOTLIGHT

February 8 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

February 8 – Readeropolis – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 8 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW

February 9 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

February 9 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

February 10 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 10 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour

Author Spotlight of D. E. Haggerty, author of Picture Perfect, a Not So Reluctant Detective Mystery

I’m pleased to have author Dena Haggerty, writing as D.E. Haggerty,  from Hague in the Netherlands, here to speak about her writing and new release, Picture Not Perfect, that’s on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

Welcome, Dena. 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 self-published my first book in 2013. I’ve published thirteen books since then. Here they all are:

Buried Appearances / Begraven in het Verleden

Life Discarded

Murder, Mystery & Dating Mayhem (Book 1 of the Gray-Haired Knitting Detectives Series)

Jack Gets His Man (Book 2 of the Gray-Haired Knitting Detectives Series)

Love in the Time of Murder (Book 3 of the Gray-Haired Knitting Detectives Series)

Molly’s Misadventures

Never Trust a Skinny Cupcake Baker (Book 1 of the Death by Cupcake Series)

Bring Your Own Baker (Book 2 of the Death by Cupcake Series)

Self-Serve Murder (Book 3 of the Death by Cupcake Series)

Fat Girl Begone!

Searching for Gertrude

Finders, Not Keepers (Book 1 of the Not So Reluctant Detective Series)

Picture Not Perfect (Book 2 of the Not So Reluctant Detective Series)

That’s quite a bibliography.

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.

I write cozy mysteries, historical fiction, and romantic comedies. I’m currently working on the cozy mystery series: The Not So Reluctant Detective Series. The second novel in the series, Picture Not Perfect, released January 21st. The series will consist of three books, and I’m already busy working on the third book.

I also write a cozy mystery series and also a romantic comedy novella, so we have a few things in common

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 consistently publish three books a year. After I finish the Not So Reluctant Detective series, I’ve got another series I want to get started. This series will not be cozy. I can’t wait! I’m also working on a memoir and another historical fiction novel.

Lofty goals, but it sounds like you’re determined to accomplish them.

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

As I write in a variety of genres, it’s sometimes difficult to pin down who exactly my ideal reader is. My books do, however, appeal to women in general – especially the romantic comedies. I also like to feature heroines who are a bit older – between mid-thirties and mid-forties. As a reader, I feel like there aren’t enough heroines in that age group. I guess that means my ideal reader is a middle-aged woman.

A good group to target.

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

I’m self-published, so I can’t advise anyone on how to get an agent or any of that. I would advise potential authors to take a good hard look at what they want to achieve with their writing before deciding to go the traditional route or self-publish. Both sides have their good and bad.

That’s a very good piece of advice. I’m in the middle of the road right now publishing with an online publisher, but I still hope to publish traditionally one day.

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

My struggle wasn’t about getting published as I went the self-published route. My struggle was more about making the leap of faith to become a published writer. I still struggle with calling myself a writer and that’s after publishing thirteen books!

I hear that from other authors, so it’s not an uncommon concern.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I don’t currently. I think writing groups are great and I’ve belonged to a few in the past. I’d love to join another group but haven’t found an English-language group in my town yet.

I’m sure there are online groups you could look into.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I’m a huge reader – of course! I also play tennis, love to visit museums, and enjoy movies. And I’m not averse to drinking a few adult beverages with friends.

Nice.

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

I like being creative: whether it’s figuring out what my crazy characters will do next or trying to come up with a good marketing strategy. The toughest challenge is the market. There are thousands of eBooks published A DAY. Yes, every single day. Trying to find out ways to stick out above the crowd is a challenge.

That’s the truth. Marketing is not most writer’s cup of tea.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

Mysteries are fun to write. Trying to throw readers off track while giving little clues here and there as to identity of the true killer is great fun. Cozy mysteries are especially fun as the ‘detective’ is an amateur and there’s therefore no need to stick to the rules and procedures of the police. I’m not much of a rule follower.

Good point, and I feel that way, too.

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

“Ms. Hanson, please have a seat.” Detective Meyer motioned to a chair before setting a bottle of water on the table in front of him. Then, he sat down and placed a file on the table. His partner remained standing in the corner of the room near the door. Mel started to stomp her way to the chair before remembering someone was probably watching and recording whatever she did and said in the room. She firmed her jaw before slowly walking to the chair and sitting down.

Melanie opened the bottle of water took a few gulps before asking, “Is this where you finally tell me what’s going on?”

Instead of answering her question, the detective pulled a picture out of the file and put it on the table in front of her. “Do you know this man?”

Mel picked up the picture. “Sure. It’s Alfred Schultz. He’s a social sciences teacher at the high school where I’m a guidance counselor.” She handed the picture back to the detective. “Why?”

Again, he ignored her. He pulled out a series of pictures and laid them on the table in front of her. Mel looked down and gasped at what she saw. Every single picture was of her. “What in the world are you doing with these? What is going on?”

“These are pictures we found in Mr. Schultz’s apartment.”

“What?” Why would Alfred have pictures of her in his apartment? They weren’t friends. Was he following her? She shivered. The man’s creepiness level just skyrocketed. “What’s going on?”

“That’s what we’d like to know,” Detective Davis replied from her position leaning against the wall.

Mel’s hands shook as she gathered the pictures together and handed them back to the detective. She needed to calm down. Freaking out wouldn’t get her any answers. She forced herself to remember her yoga training. Calming breaths. She could do this. Deep breath in through the nose. Exhale through the mouth. Again. Breathe in. Breathe out.

“What was your relationship with Mr. Schultz?”

“We don’t really have a relationship. We’re colleagues. He’d like more, but …” she trailed off. Wait a second! Her mind rewound on his words. “Was? Did you say was?” She gulped. “What happened?”

“Mr. Schultz was found dead in his home yes—” His words were cut off by Detective Davis clearing her throat.

Mel gasped. “Found dead? Is that cop-speak for murdered?” At the detective’s nod, her mouth dropped open. “How? Why? Who?”

“We were hoping you could answer those questions for us,” Detective Davis answered. She was no longer casually leaning against the wall but now stood with her arms crossed over her chest staring down at Melanie.

“Me? Why would I be able to answer those questions for you?” In response, Davis merely tilted her head towards the pictures.

The pieces of the puzzle clicked together, and she finally realized what was going on. She jumped from her chair. “Holy moly! You think I had something to do with his death!”

That was excellent. Thanks so much for chatting today, Dena. I’m including information for your blog tour and rafflecopter giveaway below:

Picture Not Perfect (The Not So Reluctant Detectives)
by D.E. Haggerty

About the Book

Picture Not Perfect (The Not So Reluctant Detectives)
Cozy Mystery/Romance/Humor
2nd in Series
Self Published (January 21, 2019)
Print Length: 230 pages
ASIN: B07KG6ZH33

A picture tells a story. But is it the truth?

When the police find pictures of Melanie hanging up at her murdered colleague’s house, they’re convinced he was stalking her. Maybe she even killed him. Melanie was not being stalked! And she certainly didn’t kill her supposed stalker – as if. But Mel – always up for a bit of drama – jumps at the chance to go search for the real killer. When Mel’s ex-boyfriend, Owen, discovers her plans, he pulls out all the stops to ensure she’s safe and to win her back. No matter what happens with the murder investigation, he’s not letting her go. With the police setting their sights on Mel, he may need to jeopardize his own career on the police force to protect her.

Will Mel find the real killer before the detectives arrest her for murder?

About the Author

I grew up reading everything I could get my grubby hands on, from my mom’s Harlequin romances to Nancy Drew, to Little Women. When I wasn’t flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although on the odd occasion I did manage to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic before returning to the law. But practicing law really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out running a B&B wasn’t my thing either. I polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic before following the husband to Istanbul where I decided to give the whole writer-thing a go. But ten years was too many to stay away from my adopted home. I packed up again and moved to The Hague where, in between tennis matches and failing to save the world, I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book.

Picture Not Perfect is my fourteenth novel.

Author Links

Website: http://dehaggerty.wordpress.com

Blog: https://dehaggerty.wordpress.com/category/mymusings/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dehaggerty

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7210211.D_E_Haggerty

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/D.E.-Haggerty/e/B00ECQBURU/

Newsletter signup: http://eepurl.com/bbmdj9

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+DEHaggerty/posts

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/denahaggerty/

Bookbub author page: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/d-e-haggerty

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/d-e-haggerty-4b49a29/

Purchase Links

Amazon

Smashwords

Kobo

Barnes and Noble

Goodreads

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

January 21 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

January 22 – Mythical Books – GUEST POST

January 23 – Babs Book Bistro – CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 24 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 25 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

January 26 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

January 27 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

January 28 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 29 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 29 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

January 30 – Books Direct – REVIEW, GUEST POST

January 31 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 1 –Christa Reads and Writes – GUEST POST

February 2 – Readeropolis – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

February 3 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

February 3 – Laura`s Interests – SPOTLIGHT

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

 

Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour

Author Spotlight of Debra Sennefelder, Author of Murder Wears a Little Black Dress, A Resale Boutique Mystery

I’m pleased to have author Debra Sennefelder from Southwestern Connecticut here to speak about her writing and new release, Death Wears a Little Black Dress that’s on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

Welcome, Debra. 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’ve been published since April of 2018 when my debut novel, THE UNINVITED CORPSE, book 1 in the Food Blogger mystery series was published. MURDER WEARS A LITTLE BLACK DRESS is my second novel to be published.

Congratulations! Tell us a little bit about your books.

MURDER WEARS A LITTLE BLACK DRESS is the first book in the Resale Boutique mystery series featuring Kelly Quinn, an out-of-work fashionista who inherits a tired, old consignment shop from her grandmother. Kelly discovers that there is a little black dress in inventory that could hold the key to a murder. My other series, the Food Blogger mystery series features former magazine editor turned food blogger, Hope Early as she settles back into her hometown after a failed attempt to win a reality baking competition show and a messy divorce. The second book in that series, THE HIDDEN CORPSE, will be released on March 26th and book three, THREE WIDOWS AND A CORPSE will be released sometime in November.

Excellent. They both sound like interesting books with great concepts.

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 are to continue writing books in both series for the foreseeable future. I’ll continue to do what I’m doing now, showing up daily at my computer to write.

Nice goals. Good luck.

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

I think my books will attract readers who want to settle in for a fun time with a friends. I know I do when I pick up a cozy mystery. I enjoy visiting the cast of characters in cozy mysteries, it’s like visiting old friends and catching up on what’s going on in their lives.

I feel the same way. The folks in Cobble Cove in my mystery series are friendly, quirky, and people you’d love to chat with over tea except for the killers, of course – lol.

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

I would advise them to continue improving their skills and not to give up. There’s so much rejection in this career that it can become overwhelming and sometimes it feels like you take a step forward and before you know it, you’re knocked back two steps. The frustration is real. I would encourage others to not give up.

That’s important advice. You’re right about the rejection in this field. It can be overwhelming, so persistence is the name of the game.

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

There were rejections and the doubts that coincided with those rejections. It’s so easy to focus on the negative. One thing that was a constant struggle was the negative self-talk. I had to realize I’d never say those things to my critique partner or any of my writer friends, so why was it okay to say it to myself? Limiting that type of behavior, it’s very hard to completely banish, I believe is a necessary step to becoming a better writer because I was able to focus on my strengths.

A very insightful comment.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I belong to Sisters in Crime and the International Thriller Writers Associations.

I’m members of both those groups, too.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I enjoy cooking and I love to bake. I have two Shih-Tzus so I enjoy long walks with them. I love to exercise, yes, really. It’s a great way for me to clear my head. And of course, I love to read.

I used to bake but don’t have the time right now. I have dogs instead of cats, but I exercise daily. I agree it helps to clear your mind and relax.

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

The best thing about being an author is that I get to tell stories. It’s really the coolest part of the job. I love brainstorming ideas and putting the plot together like a jigsaw puzzle. The thing I like least about being a writer is balancing all of the responsibilities that come along with writing. It’s a challenge to juggle the numerous tasks that involve managing a small business, which writing is. Writing the next book is the most important thing I do as a writer, but all the other work needs to get done. I’m always striving to improve my time management skills.

I agree. Time management is so essential to writers especially those who work full-time and have a family.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I love the small-town charm of cozy mysteries and the intrigue of small-town life. The secrets that are kept from neighbors, the indiscretions not talked about and the fact that most everyone knows everyone else. I love writing a strong protagonist who is determined to see that justice is served regardless of what she has to go up against. She’s an ordinary person thrown into an extraordinary situation and usually faces direct threats on her life.

You’ve put my feelings about cozies into words.

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

Yes, here’s an excerpt from the beginning of MURDER WEARS A LITTLE BLACK DRESS. It’s day one of a three-day sale to liquidate merchandise in order to revamp the shop into a more trendy consignment shop Kelly had recently inherited.

#

“How do you explain this? The tag says my dress has been marked down by seventy-five percent. There appears to be a mistake.”

Kelly Quinn turned her head to the raised voice of the woman standing at the sales counter. She held a midi-length floral dress with cap sleeves in one hand while her other was propped on her hip.

“Irene, you know the store’s policy on markdowns,” Pepper Donovan answered with a smile. She always had a smile, except for when Kelly announced she was making changes to the consignment shop.

“How on earth am I supposed to earn any money? Martha never put merchandise on sale,” Floral Dress Lady countered.

As Kelly made her way across the shop, she was well aware her grandmother didn’t do a lot of things, and that was why, in the past few years, the shop’s earnings had steadily declined.

“Good morning. I’m Kelly Quinn.” She extended her hand, but it was received with an intense glare. She pulled her hand back and braced herself for an unpleasant conversation. “What seems to be the problem?”

“Seems? Dear child, there doesn’t seem to be a problem. There is a problem. My dress has been marked down to an unreasonable amount of money. Please explain to me the reason for your decision.”

Kelly bristled at being called a child. She’d just celebrated her twenty-sixth birthday three months ago and, up until forty-five days ago, she had a full-time job with a well-laid-out career path and her own apartment, albeit it tiny, in the West Village of New York City. How many children could say that?

“I was just reminding Irene of the store’s pricing policy.” No doubt Pepper was trying to remind her new boss about the agreement every consignee signed. She was younger than Kelly’s late granny but still old enough to feel she should be in charge.

Kelly didn’t need to be reminded. She was familiar with the document, as well as many other documents pertaining to the shop. The past few weeks had been filled with reviewing papers, meeting with lawyers, and sleepless nights because of her new acquisition.

“When you consigned your clothing, you signed an agreement, which stated how merchandise is priced. After seven weeks, merchandise is marked down by seventy-five percent,” Kelly said.

“I see.” Floral Dress Lady stretched out her arm, and the dress dangled from its hanger while she admired it. “So, this lovely dress that cost me way more than the original consigned price is now a mere ten dollars?” Her brows arched, and her glare intensified.

This isn’t good.

“It’s important to keep turning over merchandise. Especially out-of-season clothing.” When Kelly had gone painstakingly through every item in inventory, she found a bunch of spring/summer clothing that should have been cleared out months ago. “When customers see new stuff, they tend to buy more. This translates into money for our consignees.” Kelly hoped the explanation would appease the woman.

“Except for this consignee. Why don’t you do a better job of selling your merchandise so it doesn’t become old?”

No appeasement there.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name.”

“Kelly, this is Irene Singer.” Pepper jumped back into the conversation. “She’s been consigning with us for a while.”

Irene Singer gave Kelly a stern nod as if her name should have meant something. It didn’t.

The bell over the front door chimed, prompting Kelly to glance over her shoulder. More shoppers. She needed to wrap up this dispute over the pricing.

“Ms. Singer, unfortunately I can’t change the price on the dress as per our policy to mark down accordingly based on length of time in inventory, but I’m going to give the dress back to you.” Phew. She managed to say all that in one breath, and it actually sounded like she knew what she was saying. “Let me just snip off the price tag.”

Irene Singer’s eyes widened. “I don’t have a use for this dress, which is why I consigned it.”

There wasn’t going to be any appeasement with the woman whatsoever. Frustration bubbled in Kelly. She hadn’t worked a sales floor since fashion school, and after graduating, she didn’t think she’d ever be back to arranging displays, restocking inventory, or handling cranky customers. Yet, there she was. The new owner of the Lucky Cove Consignment Shop soon to be renamed Curated by Kelly Resale Boutique. The name change reflected Kelly’s vision for a trendy consignment shop for locals and tourists.

Thank you. I enjoyed that.

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

The cat on the cover of the book is based on the cat we had for fourteen years. His name was Howard, and that’s the cat’s name in the book. Like Kelly, in MURDER WEARS A LITTLE BLACK DRESS, I went to fashion school and studied Fashion Buying and Merchandising. I also had a food blog before shifting my focus to pursuing publication.

Awww. As a cat lover who’s featured my cats in my books, I can relate. It seems you also have a good background for the topics you write about.

Thanks for chatting today, Debra, and I’m sharing the info of your blog tour below. Best wishes on your new release and future publications.

Murder Wears a Little Black Dress (A Resale Boutique Mystery)
by Debra Sennefelder

About the Book

Murder Wears a Little Black Dress (A Resale Boutique Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Lyrical Underground (January 22, 2019)
Paperback: 200 pages
ISBN-10: 1516108965
ISBN-13: 978-1516108961
Digital ASIN: B07CR2CG63

Manhattan fashionista Kelly Quinn thought she’d left her upstate New York town far behind . . . until the Seventh Avenue expat returns home to revamp her grandmother’s consignment shop into an upscale boutique—and unwittingly sets a trend for murder . . .

After her rising career as a Manhattan buyer is derailed, Kelly has mixed feelings about relocating back to Lucky Cove, in spite of her big plans for the soon-to-be-renamed Curated by Kelly Resale Boutique. What’s left of her luck starts running out when a customer puts on a black lace dress that triggers visions of someone being murdered. As if the haunted “Murder Dress” isn’t enough to kill business, the psychic’s doppelganger cousin has just been found bludgeoned to death.

Was Maxine LeMoyne the real target or was it a case of mistaken murder? With some creepy pre-Halloween bargain hunters walking the night and Kelly suddenly a person of interest, a second murder rocks the close-knit town. Now Kelly could be the one who ends up talking to dead people when she’s stalked by a killer determined to take her out in high style . . .

About the Author

Debra Sennefelder, the author of the Food Blogger Mystery series and the Resale Boutique Mystery series, is an avid reader who reads across a range of genres, but mystery fiction is her obsession. Her interest in people and relationships is channeled into her novels against a backdrop of crime and mystery. When she’s not reading, she enjoys cooking and baking and as a former food blogger, she is constantly taking photographs of her food. Yeah, she’s that person.

Born and raised in New York City, she now lives and writes in Connecticut with her family. She’s worked in pre-hospital care, retail and publishing. Her writing companions are her adorable and slightly spoiled Shih-Tzus, Susie and Billy.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, Women’s Fiction Writers Association and Romance Writers of America.

Author Links:

WebsiteFacebookGoodreads

Purchase Links

Amazon B&N Kobo Google Play

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

January 21 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

January 21 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

January 22 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 22 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW

January 23 – My Reading Journey – REVIEW

January 23 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 24 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW

January 24 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 25 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

January 25 – Readeropolis – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

January 26 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

January 26 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW

January 27 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 27 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW

January 28 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

January 28 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

January 29 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

January 29 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

January 30 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

January 31 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 31 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

February 1 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

February 1 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 2 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW

February 3 – Laura`s Interests – REVIEW

February 3 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour

Author Spotlight of James J. Cudney, Author of Academic Curveball, a Braxton Campus Mystery

I’m pleased to have author James J. Cudney from New York City here to speak about his writing and new release, Academic Curevall that’s on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book. He’s asked me to call him Jay because he’s actually the fourth in a direct line with his name.

Nice to meet you, Jay. I’m a Long Islander, so we don’t live too far from one another. 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 novel, Watching Glass Shatter, a contemporary family drama about a woman who loses her husband in a car accident and learns a huge secret about one of their 5 adult sons, was published on October 8th, 2017. Over the last 15 months, I’ve published another 3 books all with Creativia Publishing. My second book, Father Figure, is also a contemporary drama and was published in April 2018. It alternates perspectives and stories between two college-aged girls who struggle through life over two different decades. Readers have to figure out what their connection is, but more importantly, which of them will survive in the face of major trauma. My third and fourth books are the Braxton Campus cozy mystery series: Academic Curveball (1) and Broken Heart Attack (2) both published in the fall of 2018.

I haven’t self-published anything and am happy with Creativia. We shall see what the future holds for us!

Sounds great. I’ve never heard of Creativia before. I publish with Solstice Publishing and have been happy with them, but I’m always interested in hearing about authors’ experience with other publishers.

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.

Stand-Alone Books

Watching Glass Shatter (October 2017)

Father Figure (April 2018)

 Braxton Campus Mysteries

Academic Curveball – #1 (October 2018)

Broken Heart Attack – #2 (November 2018)

Flower Power Trip – #3 (Early 2019)

Flower Power Trip, the third in the series, picks up from the cliffhanger dropped at the end of the second book, with Ursula and the secret she shares with Kellan. How will he help his new boss while hoping he doesn’t cause problems with his other boss, Myriam, who just so happens to be Ursula’s wife! Not only that… Kellan’s brother, Gabriel, has been found and has a secret of his own that only Kellan knows. Will he keep it or share the truth with the rest of their family? And let’s not forget about what Kellan’s former mother-in-law called to tell him at the very end of Broken Heart Attack. If you thought the cliffhanger in book 1 was a doozy, just wait until you see what happens next.

These sound 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?

I want to write everything forever. Is that achievable? No, unfortunately, so I have to figure out the best order. My 2019 goal is to write 2 more books in the Braxton Mysteries and 1 or 2 other stand-alone novels… well sort of… I am planning a sequel to my debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, where the Glass family hopes they can recover from the fallout in the first book. But they won’t. What happens in book two will be far worse. I do like to torture my characters, don’t I? The 4th book is a collection of related stories written in a unique format and with a varied approach on genres.

My hope is to continue this pattern for a few years… a few cozies each year and a stand-alone family drama. I have 4 book plots fully fleshed with outlines, but I never know which one will be the most attractive to begin writing at the time. As a writer, my goals are fairly simple – to create characters and plots people connect with and want to share with others. I tend to prefer book series because I can invest in settings and characters, but it also helps build a larger readership. To achieve these goals, besides writing, I’m also an avid reader. I tend to read 3 books per week: usually 1 cozy, 1 contemporary drama, and 1 other. The other ranges from science-fiction to YA and everything in between, so I can stay current on trends but also connected to newer readers.

I, too, like to vary my writing and reading. In addition to my Cobble Cove mystery series, I write standalone mysteries and hope to start another new series soon.

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

I’m most definitely a plot writer. Readers who enjoy my books need to thirst for clever plots, cliffhangers, surprise twists, and long-term relationships / secrets. From there, it’s about creating characters who feel thoroughly real. I want it to seem as though (s)he is sitting next to you telling you the story. I’m also a relatable writer. What I mean by that is I tell stories and focus on situations that we’ve either experienced or can understand. To me, my book is a conversation with the reader. I picture myself reading it aloud while the reader sees and hears it happening between us in the room. Sometimes I go overboard with descriptions. Sometimes I get a little formal in dialog. But this is who I am as a person in reality, so it is how I write, too. There is always depth, rarely fluff. I like fluff, but I’m not good at writing it. I like multi-dimensional, complex characters.

Sounds like you offer a reader quite an immersive experience.

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

Authors have to make decisions. Do they want money and fame, or do they want to tell stories to make people feel various emotions? You can do both, but it’s not easy to achieve. If you set your mind only to achieve both, you will struggle and have a difficult life. If you can accept it, then go for it. If you cannot, then find a compromise in the beginning. Is writing your only source of income, or do you have your bills and expenses covered in other ways (partner, spouse, family, etc.)? Once you know these parameters, then decide how much you want to market and advertise for yourself. You can choose to self-publish or find a smaller press without an agent. You can wait for the big break and focus only on finding the agent. There are dozens of ways to make it happen, but you need to understand the impact and responsibilities associated with each one. You need to know what kind of a person you are and what your strengths are before you choose a specific path to get there.

Good advice.

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

I knew I wanted to publish a few books but that I had no contacts in the industry. While I was writing, I began blogging. I posted reviews of every book I read in the last ten years that I could remember. I built up a readership (a few hundred people at first) just so I could test the waters. I connected with some of them more than others and felt comfortable sharing bits and pieces of my story. After 6 months, I suddenly had a thousand followers. One thing that is critical for bloggers or writers to understand – you can’t just put content out there and expect people to follow. It’s not like that saying, “Build it, and (s)he will come.” You need to interact with others. LIKE their content. Comment on their content. Share their content. Chat with them as you would with someone you met in a bar, coffee shop, club, work, or park. Build your connections, develop relationships. Then, when you have a book to publish, you might have a few people who like your style and are willing to help promote for you.

It’s rare success happens quickly for new writers. It takes years in most cases depending on your definition of success. I’d love to be on all the TV shows, best seller lists, and top viral or digital sites, but I’m not there – YET! In the meantime, I’m thrilled with all the connections (close to 7k at this point) I’ve made and new authors and readers I get to know. It took me a while to figure out the balance of writing, editing, marketing, reading, and networking. And it isn’t always the same split, but at least I now understand how it works and can adjust my scheduled when needed. That’s critical for new authors looking to make some sort of splash or find some sort of break.

I agree that balancing all the parts of writing, publishing, and promoting is a challenge for authors.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I do not. I had to decide what I had time for and didn’t have time for. There are only so many hours in the day. I have a group of wonderful beta readers who help me with my books, and I beta read for a few folks I’ve come to know through their blogs. It provides me the same sort of experience as a writing group without a formal date, time, and place to meet.

Writing groups aren’t for everyone, and beta readers are very helpful.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

Genealogy! I love to find new ancestors. I’ve got ~3k at this point and traced most of my roots back to Germany, England, Scotland and Ireland. I love to cook. I have a young shiba inu dog, Baxter, who takes up a lot of my time. And I like to travel and read a lot.

Nice hobbies. I can see how Genealogy would be an interest with so many generations of James Cudney’s.

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

I don’t like the sales stuff. Even in business, I’ve never been the kind of guy to push a product or company. I prefer to lay out the pros and cons, then let the true owner or decision-maker decide. As an author, that doesn’t work. I can’t send a list of books to readers saying what’s good and bad about mine and others… so I post about my book, share when it’s free or discounted, put a call out for beta or ARC readers, etc. I try not to email directly to ask someone to read it. My toughest challenge is the in-person stuff. I’m fantastic at finding new avenues through social media or digital technology. But I can’t figure out the best way to get set up with book signings, store connections, or awards and magazines. I probably need help in that realm when I’m ready to spend more marketing dollars on that area of focus.

Many authors find different areas of marketing challenging.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

The readers are an amazing group of people. There are so many styles and themes, it’s a prolific place to be. I love writing about a consistent group of characters but revealing new details about the same setting or supporting cast – evolving with each successive book. The mystery aspect is also such a fun adventure. I can create bad characters and punish them for things they’ve done without actually doing anything more than writing a cruel death scene. (Think of all those people who bug us, and we wish we could give them a taste of their own medicine!). Coming up with clever murder plots or weapons, building fake alibis, finding a balance between witty and serious… it’s all a writer’s dream.

Writing cozies is definitely as fun as reading them.

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

I’m beyond grateful for your help and support. It’s a long and difficult process for writers to become successful within a market already flooded by talented authors. When readers take personal time to share their experiences through reviews, blog posts, marketing, and social media, it truly makes a difference. I do this for writers myself, so I understand what it takes. I read and review 3 books each week and try to promote them as much as I can so I can help their sales and careers. Thank you for all you do to help us in return.

It’s always great to meet a fellow author who promotes other authors. Thanks so much for the interview, Jay, and I’m sharing the info on your blog tour and rafflecopter below. Good luck with your series and future books.

Academic Curveball (Braxton Campus Mysteries)
by James J. Cudney

About the Book


Academic Curveball (Braxton Campus Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Independently Published (October 14, 2018)
Paperback: 281 pages
ISBN-10: 172877876X
ISBN-13: 978-1728778761
Digital ASIN: B07HMYSQFH

When Kellan Ayrwick returns home for his father’s retirement, he finds a dead body in Diamond Hall’s stairwell.

Unfortunately, Kellan has a connection to the victim, and so do several members of his family. Soon after, the college’s athletic program receives mysterious donations, a nasty blog denounces his father and someone attempts to change students’ grades.

Someone is playing games on campus, but none of the facts add up.

With the help of his eccentric and trouble-making nana, Kellan tries to stay out of the sheriff’s way. But who is behind the murder?

About the Author

James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College with a degree in English literature. I spent fifteen years building a technology career in the retail, sports, media, and entertainment industries. I enjoyed my job, but a passion for books and stories had been missing for far too long. I’m a voracious reader in my favorite genres (thriller, suspense, contemporary, mystery, and historical fiction), as books transport me to a different world where I can immerse myself in so many fantastic cultures and places. I’m an avid genealogist who hopes to visit all the German, Scottish, Irish, and British villages my ancestors emigrated from in the 18th and 19th centuries. I frequently blog and publish book reviews on everything I read at ThisIsMyTruthNow via WordPress.

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind, and my body. I decided to pursue my passion by dusting off the creativity inside my head and drafting outlines for several novels. I quickly realized I was back in my element growing happier and more excited with life each day. My goal in writing is to connect with readers who want to be part of great stories and who enjoy interacting with authors. To get a strong picture of who I am, check out my author website or my blog. It’s full of humor and eccentricity, sharing connections with everyone I follow—all in the hope of building a network of friends across the world.

When I completed the first book, Watching Glass Shatter, I knew I’d stumbled upon my passion again, suddenly dreaming up characters, plots, and settings all day long. I chose my second novel, Father Figure, through a poll on my blog where I let everyone vote for their favorite plot and character summaries. It is with my third book, Academic Curveball,, the first in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, where I immersed myself in a college campus full of so much activity, I could hardly stop thinking about new murder scenes or character relationships to finish writing the current story. Come join in the fun!

List of Books & Blog

Watching Glass Shatter (October 2017)

Father Figure (April 2018)

Braxton Campus Mysteries

Academic Curveball – #1 (October 2018)

Broken Heart Attack – #2 (November 2018)

Flower Power Trip – #3 (Early 2019)

Websites & Blog

Website: https://jamesjcudney.com

Blog: https://thisismytruthnow.com

Social Media Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/James-J.-Cudney/e/B076B6PB3M/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamescudney4

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

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

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/james-j-cudney

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamescudney4

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jamescudney4

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamescudney4

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jamescudney4

Purchase Links

Amazon

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

ACADEMIC CURVEBALL TOUR PARTICIPANTS

January 7 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST

January 7 – Mythical Books – REVIEW

January 7 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT

January 8 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

January 8 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

January 9 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

January 9 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 9 – Bobo’s Book Bank – SPOTLIGHT

January 10 – Jane Reads – REVIEW

January 10 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

January 11 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 12 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW

January 12 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

January 13 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

January 14 – Carla Loves To Read – CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 14 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

January 15 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT

January 15 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 15 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 16 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Interview, Mysteries

Author Spotlight of Cathy Ace

I’m pleased to have author Cathy Ace here from just outside Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Cathy was born and raised in Swansea, South Wales and migrated to Canada from the UK when she was 40. She’shere to speak about her writing and new release, The Wrong Boy that’s on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

Hi, Debbie. Thanks for having me along today!

My pleasure, Cathy. 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 first novel was published in 2012. THE CORPSE WITH THE SILVER TONGUE was the first in the Cait Morgan Mysteries – there are now eight books in that series (TouchWood Editons). They feature a Welsh Canadian professor of criminal psychology who travels the world solving “closed circle” mysteries (contemporary, but very much like Agatha Christie, in that they are true “traditional” mysteries). I also write the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries (Severn House Publishing), which feature four female professional PIs who run their business out of a Welsh stately home. They’re cozier than the Cait Morgan Mysteries. I have two collections which are self-published (Four Tails Publishing) – one is a collection of short stories, the other a collection of novellas. These two volumes contain the earliest tales about both Cait Morgan and the WISE women, and also about DI Evan Glover…who appears in my forthcoming novel THE WRONG BOY, which was published on January 9th 2019.

Congratulations! That’s quite a nice publishing record. Your mysteries sound very interesting.

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

I hope to keep writing the two series across which I have already 12 books published, but also want to be able to work on standalones, which will be darker – though not gritty. In other words, I intend to keep my head down, and work hard!

Good luck with those goals. I also hope to start a new cozy series and keep writing standalones. I’d also like to publish some short story collections.

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

My Cait Morgan Mysteries attract readers who enjoy a true traditional novel, whilst the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries attract those who enjoy tea and cakes, a bit of gossip and real British mysteries. THE WRONG BOY will appeal to those who enjoy a thrilling tale of suspense with layers of deceit and old lies being ripped away…the effects of which impact a small community in Wales, and one family of three women in particular.

A widespread audience.

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

Read! Not books about how to write, or about how to get published, but award-winning books in the genre and sub-genre that appeal to you. You need to know what’s good (and bad) out there to learn from the best and avoid the worst.

Excellent advice. As a librarian, I have access to a large number of books and try to read as much as time permits.

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

I was very fortunate – after a career of writing professionally (in advertising and public relations) I self-published two collections of stories mailed them to a publisher, who asked me to submit a manuscript for one of the characters – and that was published. Right background, right place, right proposition, right time!

It all lined up for you. What a great story, excuse the pun.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

No, writing is – for me – a solitary undertaking.

I can understand that. Some writers find groups helpful. Others, like you, prefer to go it alone.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I’m an avid gardener. Lucky enough to live on five acres, my husband and I actively garden about three of those acres. I love it!

Nice. A good way of getting healthy exercise and fresh air away from the computer.

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

Easy….I love writing a first draft, and I hate editing!

Editing is a challenge, but I find promotion an even bigger one. First drafts are fun and a great way to flex the creative muscles.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I have to admit that whilst my WISE series is cozy, my Cait Morgan and DI Glover series are not and, for me, I enjoy writing in a mix of styles.

I feel the same way. I’ve written other genres but prefer mysteries of different types.

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

These are the opening two pages of THE WRONG BOY.

John Watkins hooked open the bedroom curtains and wiped the frost-feathered window with his pajama sleeve. ‘I thought that’s what I could see. Somebody’s lit a fire on the hill above the village.’

His wife tutted her annoyance at him letting in the cold. ‘All the way up there? No.’

‘Yes. Come and take a look.’ Brass rings clattered as he pulled at the worn brocade. He breathed hard on a couple of panes to clear them.

Dilys gripped her steaming mug of tea with both hands as she shuffled across the room. The moon hung in the coal black sky, and glistened on the coal black sea. Her eyes shifted from the sparkling surf to the inky hillside above. ‘That’s up by the old RAF listening station, by the looks of it.’

‘Guy Fawkes Night. Probably some kids,’ mused John, rubbing his arthritic thumb. ‘They had that do at the pub in Rhosddraig tonight, didn’t they? Sparklers and hot dogs. Maybe someone had one too many and thought it would be a good idea to start their own bonfire up there.’

‘That’s dangerous, lighting fires all over the place.’ Dilys shook her head with resignation as she turned toward the bed, eyeing its welcoming mounds with delight. Even her bones felt tired. ‘It’s nearly midnight. Who’d be out there in this temperature, doing that?’

Her husband’s face creased into a smile. ‘It’s only one fire, not loads of them, Dilys. And I can think of a woman who – when she was a girl – would have been up for a bit of mischief like that.’ He winked and smiled. ‘Remember her?’

Dilys rolled her eyes. ‘Even sixty-odd years ago I wouldn’t have wanted to be out in this cold, not with you or anyone else, John Watkins.’ She sat on the edge of the bed, placed her mug beside the alarm clock, and pushed off her slippers with her toes. ‘Come on, let’s get back in here to warm ourselves, and get some sleep. We’re up early in the morning with a long day ahead of us. A diamond wedding anniversary, with a blessing in the church and a party afterwards, only happens once. You never know, there might be a surprise for you at the breakfast table.’ She patted her husband’s pillow.

‘Who’s that, now then?’ said John, ignoring his wife’s invitation. He was still at the window, bobbing his head to avoid the reflection of the bedside lamp. ‘Well, well, I don’t know how that family’s got enough to pay out for the sort of get-ups they wear these days. That coat alone must have set them back a bit. And look at that – riding a bicycle on the footpath. I’ll have a word with them about that, I will. And the fire, too.’

‘John, come on, it’s late, love.’

John clambered into bed, and kissed his wife’s cheek. ‘What were you doing sixty years ago tonight, I wonder?’

Dilys gave her husband a gentle shove. ‘Crying myself to sleep because I was terrified about my wedding night, that’s what. My mother – God rest her soul – had tried to tell me what to expect of being with a man for the first time; she didn’t do a very good job of it. I had a bad stomach that night too. Butterflies they were back then, not this blinking wind I’ve got griping me now; I can’t seem to shift it.’

John snuggled under the duvet. ‘You were such a sweet girl. Carried away with you, I was. And I love you even more now. You know that, don’t you?’

Dilys nodded and grunted.

John didn’t like to see his wife in pain. He thought she looked more than usually peaky. ‘Why don’t you sit up for a bit; rub your tummy. Maybe that tea will shift it. You took some of your medicine, didn’t you?’

‘Yes, I did. Don’t worry, love, it’ll pass. It always does – one way or another.’ Dilys chuckled. ‘Now, come on, night, night. It’ll be time to get up before you know it.’

‘True enough.’

John turned off the lamp.

It was gone four in the morning when John rang for the ambulance. For once in his life he cursed the fact that the farm – high on the coastal moor between the villages of Rhosddraig and Lower Middleford – was so remote.

Very nice. Great descriptions.

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

Knowing that THE WRONG BOY moves in darker territory than my two other series, I have written it bearing in mind the fact that I don’t want to shock or offend my existing readers, and hoping they’ll take a chance to journey down a Welsh country lane with me, to find out what really goes on behind all those twitching net curtains!

I think your readers may welcome a change of pace.

Well, it was great having you here, Cathy, and I’m sharing info about your blog tour and giveaway below.

I appreciate that, Debbie, and enjoyed the interview.

The Wrong Boy
by Cathy Ace

About the Book

The Wrong Boy
Suspense/Thriller
Four Tails Publishing Ltd. (January 9, 2019)
Print Length: 307 pages
ASIN: B07KRNGV3R

Perched on a Welsh clifftop, the ancient, picturesque hamlet of Rhosddraig has its peaceful façade ripped apart when human remains are discovered under a pile of stones. The village pub, The Dragon’s Head, run by three generations of women, becomes the focal point for those interested in the grisly find, and it’s where layers of deceit are peeled away to expose old secrets, and deep wounds. The police need to establish who died, how, and why, but DI Evan Glover knows he can’t be involved in the investigation, because he’s just two days away from retirement. However, as the case develops in unexpected ways, it becomes irrevocably woven into his life, and the lives of local families, leading to disturbing revelations – and deadly consequences . . .

Author Links: Website Facebook Twitter: @AceCathy GoodReads

Purchase Links – AmazonKobo

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

January 8 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

January 8 – Reading Authors – SPOTLIGHT

January 9 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

January 9 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 10 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 10 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

January 11 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 11 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW

January 12 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 13 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

January 13 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

January 14 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

January 14 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 15 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW

January 15 – Cozy Up With Kathy – SPOTLIGHT

January 16 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

January 17 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 17 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour

Author Spotlight of Rosalind Barden, author of Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case

I’m pleased to have author Rosalind Barden here from Los Angeles, California here to speak about her writing and new release, Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case that’s on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

Welcome, Rosalind. 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.

“TV Monster,” a children’s picture book I wrote and illustrated, is my first published work in 1988. My latest is “Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case,” 2018, Mystery and Horror LLC. The following is my complete list:

Picture Book:

  • TV MONSTER, Crown, 1988. I both wrote and illustrated this children’s picture book.

Novels:

  • SPARKY OF BUNKER HILL AND THE COLD KID CASE, Mystery and Horror LLC, 2018. First novel in the SPARKY OF BUNKER HILL Young Adult mystery series
  • AMERICAN WITCH, self-published e-book through Amazon, 2012.

Print Short Story Anthologies:

  • STRANGELY FUNNY V, anthology with my short story, “CHILDREN OF THE DONUT,” Mystery and Horror LLC, 2018.
  • STRANGELY FUNNY III, anthology with my short story, WEREMAN OF A SOUTH PACIFIC ISLAND, Mystery and Horror LLC, 2016.
  • STRANGELY FUNNY 2 1/2, anthology with my short story, THE DEMON OF CITY HALL, Mystery and Horror LLC, 2015.
  • HISTORY AND MYSTERY, OH MY!, anthology with my short story, THE MONKEY’S GHOST, Mystery and Horror LLC, 2015. This anthology won the 2015 FAPA President’s Book Awards Silver Medalist for Short Fiction.
  • MARDI GRAS MURDER, anthology with my short story, INTERNATIONAL VOGUE AND THE PAJAMA FIASCO WEEKEND, Mystery and Horror LLC, 2014.
  • STRANGELY FUNNY, anthology with my short story, INDRICOTHERIUM, Mystery and Horror LLC, 2013.
  • CERN ZOO (Nemonymous 9), anthology with my short story,  LION FRIEND, Megazanthus Press, 2009. British Fantasy Society nominee for 2010 Best Anthology. Ellen Datlow selected LION FRIEND as a 2010 Best Horror of The Year Volume 2 Honorable Mention.
  • STRANGE STORIES OF SAND AND SEA, anthology with my short story, THE PROBLEM WITH WOMEN, Fine Tooth Press, 2007.
  • TWISTED CAT TALES , anthology with my short story, CAT DISCIPLINE, Coscom, 2006.

Webzine Short Stories:

  • THE FLIGHT OF THE GUINEA PIG, SpeckLit.com, 2015.
  • THE HUMAN DYNAMO THEORY, SpeckLit.com, 2015.
  • RESCUED CHILD, The Dark Krypt, 2006.
  • THE FEMINIST ARGUMENT, Whispers of Wickedness, 2006.
  • PROPER WEAPONRY, Exquisite Death, 2005.
  • DRUMMER BOYS, The Dark Krypt, 2005.
  • FORTY YEARS OF TALKING, Whispers of Wickedness, 2005.
  • MISSY’S HOBBY, Issue # 16 Dark Fire Fiction, 2005.
  • SEA MONSTER, Gothic Revue, 2005.
  • THAT BOY, Gothic Revue, 2005.
  • THE ARRANGEMENT, Camp Horror, 2005.
  • THE GOOD FORTUNE OF BEAVERS, Gothic Revue, 2005.
  • A MOCKERY OF A DOG, Gothic Revue, 2005.
  • HELLO, PAT!, Whispers of Wickedness, 2005
  • SHOWER DEBACLE, Camp Horror, 2005.
  • DIETING DILEMMAS, Gothic Revue, 2004.
  • REGINALD, Volume V Bloodletters, 2004.
  • THE FLORIDA ROOM, Halloween Issue Camp Horror, 2004.
  • UNFASHIONABLE FLOWER, Gothic Revue, 2004.
  • DESICCATED MOUSE, Whispers of Wickedness, 2004.
  • DEVIL’S TAIL ROAD, Camp Horror, 2004.
  • PERFECT FLOORING, Gothic Revue, 2004.
  • REFRIGERATOR, Whispers of Wickedness, 2004.
  • TIGER BEATS COUGAR, Issue #10 Dark Fire Fiction, 2004.
  • A FAILURE Of SELF-HELP, Fools Motley, 2004.
  • DECORATING MOTIFS, Gothic Revue, 2004.
  • DEITY DIFFICULTIES, Issue #9 Dark Fire Fiction, 2004.
  • EXEMPTION, Gothic Revue, 2004.
  • JURY BOX , Gothic Revue, 2004.
  • FENG SHUI: POWER IN ACTION, Gothic Revue, 2004.

Wow! That’s quite impressive. 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.

“Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case,” was recently published by Mystery and Horror LLC. “Sparky” unfolds in downtown Los Angeles’ old Bunker Hill neighborhood in 1932. It takes a wacky look at the noir mystery genre. Though it’s a Young Adult mystery, and the main character, Sparky, is eleven, grownups will enjoy the book’s off-beat sense of fun too. Fingers crossed, “Sparky” will be the first in a series of Young Audit mystery novels. I’m currently writing book two in the “Sparky of Bunker Hill” series, tentatively titled, “Sparky of Bunker Hill and the No Nose Knucklehead.” After that, “Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Monkey Island Murder.”

Originally, I planned to keep Sparky frozen in time. She’d never leave the summer of 1932, but would continue to have adventures while solving mysteries. With prodding from the publisher, I changed this notion and realized it’ll be more interesting to have her grow up through the series. She’s a street kid, so has been out of school for awhile. Going back to school, which happens in “Monkey Island Murder,” will be a real challenge for independent, smart-mouthed Sparky.

Most of what I’ve written have been short stories published in print anthologies or webzines. I have stories in four of the six “Strangely Funny” print anthologies from Mystery and Horror LLC. I’m fortunate this publisher has taken a liking to my strange brand of humor. The most recent anthology, “Strangely Funny V,” came out this year with my short story, “Children of the Donut.” This story was inspired by a weight-loss challenge I participated in last year, and, of course, my mind created a strange, satirical twist on my real-life experience.

Very interesting. 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?

In five years, I’d love to work full-time as a writer, instead of only in stolen moments. To have more books in the “Sparky” series published would be wonderful. I’d love to get back into picture books, plus finish all the projects that I don’t have time for now. Writing is a tough business, but my plan is to keep plugging away.

Those are good goals. I think all writers would love to work full-time if they can. It’s my dream retirement job, but it won’t be for quite a few years. In the meantime, like you, I’m plugging away with my Cobble Cove cozy mystery series and other books/stories.

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

Any reader with a sense of humor who is looking for something different will be interested in “Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case.” Readers who enjoy noir films and mysteries will get a kick out of it too. “Sparky” is a Young Adult mystery, but I didn’t write it with that specific market in mind. My humor tends to be on the subversive side, which the grownup readers will appreciate.

Can I make a plug for the return of short stories? In this day and age of no-time and zero attention spans, what is more perfect than short stories? Add some humor and weirdness, and the “Strangely Funny” anthology series is perfect.

I think that many readers are wary of short stories, because they think of the “serious, literary-approved” stories from school days. There’s certainly a readership for those kinds of stories. But the world’s a big place, full of lots of different readers. There’s plenty of room for wacky, strange stories too.

I think that the growth and innovation in the short story is happening now in the genres: horror, sci-fi, fantasy, mystery (and don’t get mad if I left a genre out). I hope readers take a look at the genre short stories and give them a try.

Excellent reply, and I’m glad you included information about short stories. I agree that there’s a lot of room for growth for genre short stories. I’m working on several right now and already have quite a few published in addition to my books.

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

Keep at it. If you feel that one project is stuck, try another one. You can always circle back to the first one. Don’t be afraid to try different types of writing. For example, if your screenplays aren’t getting anywhere, how about short stories? That’s what I did.

Also, just because one publisher rejects your work, that doesn’t mean another won’t think it’s great. Opinions about any creative projects, be they art or prose or music, are all subjective.

That brings me to another piece of advice: be careful about rules on how you’re “supposed” to write. What one person thinks is the only way, someone else feels the opposite. It’s all subjective. So why not follow your own style and write what you want? When you’re a new writer, it can be hard to tell the difference between good, solid feedback (“I couldn’t tell if the ghost or the rabbit caused the real estate crash”) or pompous put-downs (“Stories about ghosts and rabbits causing real estate crashes are not serious literature”).

Follow your gut. If you don’t really like writing a certain way, or in a certain genre, or what’s supposed to be “hot” or “correct,” don’t. You’ll do better if your heart is in it. If you’re given advice, what does your gut say? If you feel depressed and hopeless after, it’s probably a pompous put-down to be ignored. But if you feel that little light bulb in the back of your head saying, “Oh, yeah, maybe I didn’t make clear that the ghost and the rabbit are one in the same,” then it’s probably good feedback.

Your answers are great, Rosalind. I’m currently querying agents for some unpublished manuscripts, and I totally agree with your advice about following or ignoring feedback.

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

It’s tough to get your foot in the publishing door. For my first book, “TV Monster,” a 1988 picture book that I wrote and illustrated, I had no luck submitting to publishers through the mail. At that time, author/illustrators could still go to New York and make appointments to see editors in person. I did that, showed my work, and Crown Publishers was interested. I thought I was on my way, but then I found that getting a second picture book published was even harder than the first.

So, I tried my hand at screenwriting. Despite placing in several competitions and putting a huge amount of work into the screenwriting, I wasn’t able to crack that door open. Then I switched to short stories, which I found work really well for a writer like myself with limited time. And it’s a great way to put to paper all those ideas swimming around in my head, without the commitment of a full-length novel.

That said, in between these other writing adventures, I’m always working on one novel or another. Novels are a bear. Just the logistics of putting all those scenes together, making what’s happening on page one consistent with what’s happening on page 101, that’s tough. For “Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case,” I created a character list so I could keep straight who I named what. It was an invaluable help. After all the hard work is done, there’s nothing more satisfying than actually finishing a novel.

I’m fortunate that I am flexible as a writer, and can write in different formats and different genres. I know that not everyone can do that easily.

That’s true. I also enjoy writing in different formats and genres, although I do prefer my mysteries.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

Sisters in Crime, and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Nice to meet another fellow Sisters in Crime member.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

Writing takes up most of my free time, but when I can, I love to travel. Travel is a great way to jumpstart the mind. I find that ideas will come tumbling into my head during a trip. I think getting out of my usual environment, my usual set of worries and mundane to-dos, subconsciously gives me permission to let my mind wander down interesting paths.

I enjoy traveling, too, although I don’t get much of an opportunity to do so because I work full-time and have a daughter in school.

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

What I like most is the process of creating, when I get lost in a story and time flies by as I’m writing away, or daydreaming about plots and scenes. Toughest challenge is time. That’s the wall I’m always bumping up against. That and having a story rejected. The disappointment never gets better.

And promotion, that’s a huge challenge. I like to hole up and write things, but emerging from the hole to talk about what I write? It’s not easy for me to come up with the “elevator pitch” for my latest story, or explain where I get my ideas from (“I make stuff up,” doesn’t usually satisfy). Again, it eats up time, which I’m always running short on.

Those are very common challenges. Time, rejection, and promotion with time being the biggest for most writers.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

Cozy mysteries typically have more humor, which I like, both as a reader and a writer. I enjoy creating wacky characters and situations, which fit well in cozy mysteries. I think cozy mystery readers are open to more fun. I know I am! Also, I feel that cozy readers enjoy creativity and appreciate authors who take chances.

I agree and that’s why I enjoy writing my cozy mystery series.

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

It’s hard to pick one excerpt because I have so many favorite scenes in “Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case.” Here’s an except from the end of Chapter 10. It includes a short bit about the “bonkers lady.” This is her only appearance in the book, but her brief scene is one of my favorites because it’s strange, humorous, and sad all at the same time. This section also touches on the dynamic between Sparky and Bobby:

            Keeping low so Marigold’s mom wouldn’t see us over the fence line, we took off. We slipped behind another fence into a backyard that was always empty because the lady who lived in the house was bonkers and did nothing but talk to her bathroom mirror all day. We could hear her soft voice but couldn’t see her clearly through the white lace curtains that moved in and out her open bathroom window in the hot breeze: “Oh, yes, Charlie, I’d love to go there. You know how I enjoy dancing the cha-cha.”

            “Sparky, we need to go back to Creepy House,” he said in his low voice.

            “They’ll get mad at me for running around. The goblin told me to stay put.”

            “I know. But they’re really worried. Besides, we have to let them know what we found out. Maybe they’ll have some ideas.”

            “Yeah, maybe. You know, I think Onion Girl might be a girl gangster. I don’t know for sure. But, what else would she be?”

            “Holy Moly. We have to tell them that.”

            “But we can’t tell them everything. Tootsie doesn’t want goblin to know about the City Hall car because then he’d know that she beat up the bad man to find out.”

            Bobby tapped the bug jar on his chin, thinking. “Maybe we can say that bookie told you.”

            “Nah, better leave him out. Tootsie doesn’t like the sounds of him.”

            “No kidding.”

            “Hey, we’ll say we found out about the car at the rooming house or something.”

            Bobby shrugged. “Okay. We have to let Gilbert know somehow. We need his ideas and Tootsie’s.”

            I wasn’t sure if any ideas would come, but I did know I was starving. My stomach decided to growl, proving my point.

            We worked out another game plan. Bobby would walk the streets, bold as a brass button. If any cops stopped him, he still had the bug in the jar, plus the extra ammunition of his for-real library card. When he got close to Creepy House, he’d duck into a back yard a couple houses away and sneak over, being careful not to muss his clothes. “I have to keep my parents in the dark. That’s imperative.”

            Did I tell you Bobby liked to show off his big words?

            And me? More crawling and scrambling. My overalls were still wet from the rain barrel I had to hide in, and they stank so bad, any extra dirt wouldn’t make a difference.          

            Before we parted ways, Bobby leaned in close, like he was going to kiss me. I braced myself. But then he pulled back. “Sparky, you stink bad. Really bad.”

            Thank you, stinky slop-covered overalls.

            He was about to leave again, but then he stopped and said, “What is it with you and Marigold?”

            My heart turned to ice. Oh, no.

Great excerpt. Thank you.

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

“Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case,” grew out of my short story, “The Monkey’s Ghost,” which appears in the short mystery anthology, “History and Mystery, Oh My!,” published by Mystery and Horror LLC in 2015. Some of the characters are the same, though I made Marigold older in “Sparky.” The main characters in “Sparky” are new, except silent screen vamp, Tootsie, who is pulled from another, unpublished short story of mine. That story explains Tootsie’s early, pre-stardom days that are only eluded to in “Sparky.”

For “The Monkey’s Ghost,” I was influenced by a short story from 1902, “A Study in Piracy” by Josephine Dodge Daskam, which was republished by “Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine” in April 1999. I love this story about the wacky misadventures of a group of kids. In Chapter 12 of “Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case,” Sparky explores the cellar of Creepy House and finds, “. . . a brass ball that might be from an old horse harness.”  That’s a bit I boldly borrowed from Ms. Dodge Daskam’s story (hope she doesn’t mind).

Added to this influence, is the strange and sad history of Bunker Hill in downtown Los Angeles. Long before I knew its story, I was drawn to Bunker Hill and still am. Though I’ve lived most of my life in Los Angeles, I didn’t grow up here. I spent my elementary years in a place called Fairview Hill, that rises steeply up from downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Before Bunker Hill was razed and shortened in a burst of wild post-war redevelopment, I suspect it was a lot like my childhood home, Fairview Hill, which is populated with old houses and nooks and crannies fascinating to a kid. I took the feeling of running around Fairview Hill as a kid, and added it to both “The Monkey’s Ghost” and “Sparky.”

I’m sure readers will find that back information interesting.

Thank you so much for the wonderful interview, and best wishes on your new release. I’m sharing your blog tour and giveaway below.

Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case
by Rosalind Barden

About the Book


Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case
Young Adult Mystery
Mystery & Horror, LLC (October 9, 2018)
Paperback: 216 pages
ISBN-10: 1949281027
ISBN-13: 978-1949281026
Digital ASIN: B07H49P46T

Lots of characters have it bad, in my Bunker Hill neighborhood smack dab in the middle of Los Angeles, but I’ve had it rougher than most.
There may be something to this 13th business.

That’s my birthday, and I’m learning to dread seeing it roll around. My mother died on one birthday. The cousins dumped me on my last. This year, 1932, I found a dead kid on a park bench. It’s my eleventh birthday, and the day me, Sparky, ended up on the run, wanted for murder.

If the dead girl wasn’t enough, the dirty newspapers pinned every body in LA on me, and even blamed me for the Great War. I wasn’t even born then. The price on my head got bigger by the day.

It was up to me to find out who killed the girl and why I got framed, before I ended up dangling from the hangman’s rope.

About the Author

Over thirty of Rosalind Barden’s short stories have appeared in print anthologies and webzines, including the U.K.’s acclaimed Whispers of Wickedness. Mystery and Horror, LLC has included her stories in their anthologies History and Mystery, Oh My! (FAPA President’s Book Award Silver Medalist), Mardi Gras Murder, and four of the Strangely Funny series. Ellen Datlow selected her short story “Lion Friend” as a Best Horror of the Year Honorable Mention after it appeared in Cern Zoo, a British Fantasy Society nominee for best anthology, part of DF Lewis’ award-winning Nemonymous anthology series. TV Monster is her print children’s book that she wrote and illustrated. Her satirical literary novel American Witch is available as an e-book. In addition, her scripts, novel manuscripts, and short fiction have placed in numerous competitions, including the Writers’ Digest Screenplay Competition and the Shriekfast Film Festival. She lives in Los Angeles, California. Discover more at RosalindBarden.com

Author Links
Website – http://rosalindbarden.com/
Amazon Author Page – https://www.amazon.com/Rosalind-Barden/e/B001KDZ344/

Purchase Links – AmazonB&N

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

December 13 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW

December 13 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

December 14 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

December 14 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 15 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 15 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

December 16 – My Journey Back- The Journey Back – REVIEW

December 17 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST

December 18 – Ruff Drafts – INTERVIEW

December 19 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

December 19 – Varietats – GUEST POST

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour

Author Spotlight of Jodi Rath, Author of Pineapple Upside Down Murder, a Cast Iron Skillet Mystery

I’m pleased to have author Jodi Rath from Ohio here to speak about her writing and new release, Pineapple Upside Down Murder that’s on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

Welcome, Jodi. 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 is my first fictional piece I’ve published. I self-published Pineapple Upside Down Murder through my company MYS ED llc. The series is The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series.

Congratulations. Tell us a little bit about the book and any upcoming releases or your current work-in-progress.

Pineapple Upside Down Murder book one in The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series was just released on 11/23/18.  Book two in the series, Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Murder, comes out 6/21/19. My grandma gave me her 70-year-old cast iron skillet for Christmas and that gave me the idea to write this series. She has only ever made pineapple upside down cake in this skillet, thus the title for book one.

Very interesting. Great idea.

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 series has fourteen books and I plan to write two to three books per year in the series as well as write some flash fiction, short stories, and 3-minute mysteries that tie into the series and give them away for free on my monthly newsletter.

That’s very ambitious. I wish you luck.

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

In advertising the book as a preorder, I’ve found that Canadians are the #1 group of people who have bought the book with Mexico and Spain coming in second and third then the U.S. then the U.K.  I’ve also found that many teens are interested in the book. The characters ages range from kids to 70-year old villagers so the age range is expansive.

You’ve certainly done your research. I’m sure it will be helpful in marketing your work.

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

Don’t give up! I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was five years old playing “magazine” with my dolls and stuffed animals. I’m 45 now, so it only took me 40 years of practice and patience to get here!

I have a similar story. It’s very important for writers to persevere.

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

I was in education for 20 years as a high school English teacher. I still work in higher education from home now working for local universities teaching online courses. My biggest struggle was loving teaching but having little time to write. I know everyone thinks teachers get so many days off, but my job was a big responsibility and I took it seriously! So, I was drained every weekend. During summer months, I had to do PD courses and I read many journals and books to help improve my lessons and teaching. That left little time to write.

Writing time is certainly a big challenge when you work full-time. As a librarian, I also find it difficult to spend as much time as I’d like on my writing.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I belong to MWA, SinC, Guppies, RWA, ALLI, IBPA, SCBWI, NCTE, and ASCD. The last two are educational affiliations that I write for. I write both fiction and nonfiction.

Great. As you know, I’m a fellow Sinc and Guppies member.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

Cats! My husband and I have eight cats that are our fur babies. We are the crazy cat people. I sketch using charcoal and paint using acrylics. I also do Ken-Po which is a combination of kickboxing and martial arts.

A fellow cat lover! You beat me by five cats, but I just added two kittens to my household (lost one furboy last year). Your painting and martial arts hobby are diversified interests.

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

I love brainstorming the characters and the setting. My series has a map of the fictional village, Leavensport, Ohio.  It was fun coming up with the names of places in the village and mapping out character traits. I also loved creating the theme for the entire fourteen books. Each book has its own plot but the fourteen books in the series has a few continuing working themes that will come to a resolution in the last book.

I love all parts of being an indie writer because it gives me control over what I’m doing. I’ve learned so much from drafting to revising to marketing to advertising campaigns to formatting to covers to the end product.

Formatting was the most difficult thing for me to learn. It’s wonderful to make the final product look professional but for some reason my brain struggled to comprehend how to do all the headings and add images and spacing for each file I had to create. I don’t think many readers think about the amount of work and time that go into just formatting so the book looks right on the devices the reader uses. I know I never gave it a thought.

Excellent. I also love coming up with the names for the places in my Cobble Cove cozy mystery series. If you notice, I also use “stones” and “rocks” in my titles like you use food, but there’s plenty of food in the Cobble Cove books, too. Since I publish with Solstice Publishing, I don’t do my own formatting, so I don’t have any experience with that, but I imagine it must take time to learn.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I love adding humor into my writing and I’ve always been a huge mystery fan. So, writing cozies is a natural fit for me because it allows me to do both.

Very true.

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

Click here for a peek at chapter one of Pineapple Upside Down Murder

Thanks for sharing that.

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

Every cover of my book will have a picture of one of my cats on it. Book one has D.J. Lynn Rath (yes they have middle names! LOL). She is our 19 year old kitty. Book two has Stewart Michael Rath ,our one-eyed kitty. Book three will have Bobbi Jo Rath our bobtail kitty.

Awww. I would love to have my cats on my covers. As of now, I’ve featured two cats on my books, but they were images of the characters included.

Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc. and include some book cover graphics and author photos if possible.

Newsletter Sign Up http://eepurl.com/dIfXdb

Website:  https://www.jodirath.com/

Blog: https://www.jodirath.com/blog

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

 Twitter:   https://twitter.com/jodirath   @jodirath

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

 Amazon Author Page: https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/profile

 Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18363719.Jodi_Rath

 FB Author Page https://www.facebook.com/jodirathmysed/

Newsletter sign up link: http://eepurl.com/dIfXdb

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jodi-rath

Purchase Links: Draft2Digital https://www.books2read.com/u/md0XMl

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Pineapple-Upside-Murder-Skillet-Mystery-ebook/dp/B07GXDPPSP/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1542310454&sr=8-1&keywords=pineapple+upside+down+murder

Thanks for the interview, Jodi, and best wishes on your book and upcoming ones in your series. I’m also sharing some info about your blog tour.

Pineapple Upside Down Murder (The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series)
by Jodi Rath

About the Book

Pineapple Upside Down Murder (The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
MYS ED llc (November 23, 2018)
Print Length: 130 pages
Digital ASIN: B07GXDPPSP

Introducing Jolie Tucker, an introverted yet passionate restaurant co-owner of Cast Iron Creations, who, at her best friend Ava’s request, steps out of her comfort zone which leads her into the shade of a killer in the small, cozy village of Leavensport, Ohio. The victim is the villages beloved Ellie Siler who runs the village sweet spot, Chocolate Capers. Jolie finds her grandma Opal is a prime suspect and goes on a search for answers only to find out that her families secret recipes may not belong to the Tucker family at all. Jolie’s job, family, and livelihood are all on the line. The answers are assuredly lethal.

About the Author

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

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

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

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

Purchase Links: Amazon: http://authl.it/B07GXDPPSP All other e-platforms: https://www.books2read.com/u/md0XMl

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

December 6 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 6 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

December 7 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 7 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

December 8 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 8 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY

December 9 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, RECIPE

December 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 11 –Valerie’s Musings – GUEST POST

December 12 – Handcrafted Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

December 13 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST

December 14 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY

December 14 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW

December 15 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT

December 16 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 16 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW, GUEST POST

December 17 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW

December 18 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 18 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

December 19 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Posted in Author Spotlight, Cozy Mysteries, Mysteries

Author Spotlight of Matt Ferraz, author of Sherlock Holmes and the Glad Game

I’m pleased to have author Matt Ferraz from Contagem in Southeastern Brazil here to speak about his writing and new release, Sherlock Holmes and the Glad Game.

Welcome, Matt. Please tell us how long you’ve been published and what titles and/or series you write.

I self published my first book, Teorema de Mabel (Mabel’s Theorem) in 2013. It’s my only literary book written in my mother language, Portuguese. Since then, most of my works have been in English, and a few in Italian. My second novel was Killing Dr. Watson, a murder mystery which was released in the UK by MX Publishing. Then, I started my series Grandma Bertha Solving Murders, with the first volume, The Convenient Cadaver, being self published in 2015. It’s a cozy mystery series with a character I did inspired by my own grandmother. The second book in that series is coming out in early 2018.

My new book is called Sherlock Holmes and the Glad Game, and it’s a crossover between the world’s greatest detective and Pollyanna Whittier, from the Glad Game books written by Eleanor H. Porter. The synopsis is as follows:

British sleuth Sherlock Holmes can solve any mystery from a small clue. American traveler Pollyanna Whittier can only see the good side of every situation. The only thing they have in common is their friendship with Dr. John Watson. When Pollyanna shows up in London with a mystery for Holmes to solve, she decides to teach the detective the Glad Game: a way of remaining optimistic no matter what. A dangerous – and hilarious – clash of minds, where these two characters of classic literature need to learn how to work together in order to catch a dangerous criminal.

Sounds like you’ve written some nice mysteries.

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

My dream, which I share with most writers, is to make a full living out of my books. It’s not easy, and takes a lot of hard work, but I’m determined to pursue it. My country is going through an economic crisis right now, so I have just as many chances of making money with my books as I would with a regular job.

Sorry about your country’s economic situation, but best of luck with your book selling.

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

With Sherlock Holmes and the Glad Game I intend to reach sherlockians, who love everything related to the character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; cozy readers, who love a clean mystery read; and also people who like classic literature and want to see how characters as different as Holmes and Pollyanna will interact.

A nice audience.

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

Learn everything you can about the publishing market. It’s not enough just being a good storyteller and putting the business work in the hands of an agent or publisher. You need to know the ground you’re stepping in.

I agree completely.

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

I had problems with word count, and everything I wrote was far too short to be released by a regular publisher. It took some time to fix that.

I think most publishers are now accepting shorter-length books.

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 attended to a wonderful workshop with Joanna Penn and Orna Ross in London, which taught me lots about how to make a living out of books. Besides that, I took some courses about publishing, but never about the writing itself. I agree with Stephen King, who says that writing can be learned but not taught.

Interesting idea.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I’m a trained barista, and can make some pretty tasty coffee drinks. I also love cinema, and go the movies as often as I can.

Nice.

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

Being a writer makes me feel like I can be in the same club where many people I look up to are. The worst part is that people don’t see it as a career, only as a hobby, and I have a tough time convincing them that this is what I want to do for a living.

I understand that issue.

Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc. and include some book cover graphics and author photos if possible.
Great! Thanks for chatting with me today, Matt, and best wishes on your new release and upcoming mysteries.
Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Cozy Mystery

Author Spotlight of Leigh Perry, Author of The Skeleton Makes a Friend, a Family Skeleton Mystery

I’m pleased to have author Leigh Perrry who also writes as Toni L.P. Kelner from Malden, Massachusettes here to speak about her writing and new release, The Skeleton Makes a Friend that’s on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

Welcome, Leigh.

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.

Are you trying to make me feel old? My first book came out just over 25 years ago! I had eight books of the Laura Fleming series with Kensington. (Though two were under the Zebra imprint.) The three books of the “Where are they now?” series came out from Berkley Prime Crime. The anthologies I co-edited with Charlaine Harris came out from Ace. (Though one came out from Audible first.) The first three books of the Family Skeleton series were published by Berkley Prime Crime, and the most recent two are coming from Diversion. And I published one collection of the Laura Fleming series under the auspices of JABberwocky, my literary agency. That’s not counting short stories—if we throw those into the mix, it’ll be far too confusing.

Wow! that’s quite a publishing history. I’m impressed.  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.

These days I’m writing the Family Skeleton mysteries for Diversion Books, and the fifth—The Skeleton Makes a Friend—came out November 6. The elevator pitch for the series is this: Adjunct English professor Georgia Thackery moves her teenaged daughter back to her family’s home, and has to confront the family skeleton. Which is a skeleton. Named Sid. He walks, he talks, he makes bad bone jokes. Together, he and Georgia solve crimes!

That 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?

That’s the big question, isn’t it? I’d like to hit the New York Times Best Seller List (extended list would be fine), get a movie or TV show option, and receive an Edgar nomination. And all I can do for all three is to write the best books and stories I can.

Well, good luck with those excellent goals. I hope you achieve them.

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

Generally, I think I appeal to the cozy reader. But these books also appeal to a handful of young people who are usually science fiction and fantasy readers.

That’s a good mix for a readership.

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

Don’t give up, and don’t be afraid to try new things. I started out trying to write science fiction, and honestly wasn’t very good at it. When I switched to mystery, I did much better, but it still took a lot of query letters, rewriting, and more query letters before I got a contract.

It’s even harder in today’s publishing world. I’m trying to find an agent myself, although I’ve been publishing my series with a a very good online publisher.

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

I don’t know that I had it any harder than anybody else. It might have been a little more difficult getting interest in a Southern series back then, but Margaret Maron, Carolyn G. Hart, Sharyn McCrumb, and Joan Hess were doing just fine. In some ways it’s harder now because there are fewer big traditional publishers.

Very true. As a librarian, I recognize those authors and have enjoyed their books.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I’m in some writer’s organizations (Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, American Crime Writers League, Shore Mystery Fiction Society), but no writing workshop kinds of groups.

Those are good organizations. I belong to Sisters in Crime and also their guppies group.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

Reading and playing on the computer.

Those are my hobbies, too, although I also like to exercise to video DVD’s to get away from the computer and play with my cat and new kittens.

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

I hate the waiting. Waiting for a contract, waiting for an edit, waiting for reviews, waiting for sales figures. It’s a powerless feeling, and I despise it. My personal challenge is belief in myself, even after all these books.

I think those challenges are pretty common for most authors.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I don’t think I set out to write cozies—I just set out to write the world I know, and my world is pretty cozy. That being said, there’s still plenty of meanness, anger, fear, vengeance, and of course murder to keep my mysteries moving.

I relate to that because I didn’t set out to write my cozy series either. I thought the first book was a romantic suspense standalone novel, but readers thought differently, and so the Cobble Cove cozy mystery series was born.

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

Sid unzipped the rest of the way, pulled himself out of the suitcase and back together, and tried to turn the knob. “It’s locked.”

“Can you open it?”

“Easy peasy,” he said, pulling a set of lock picks from inside the suitcase. My locksmith sister Deborah probably hadn’t realized that teaching my daughter Madison how to pick locks was tantamount to teaching Sid. Madison had shared everything she’d learned with him, and he’d promptly ordered his own picks online. “You really should learn to do this, Georgia. It’s not that hard.”

Despite his assurance, it seemed to take an awful long time to get the door open. Or maybe it just seemed like a long time because I kept looking down the stairs, worried that somebody would hear us and come to see what was going on.

Finally there was a loud click, and Sid said, “Nailed it!” He opened the door, and cold air streamed out.

“Brr!” I said. “Wouldn’t you know that a department with everybody on vacation would be the one with overachieving air conditioners?” The window unit in my classroom had gone out twice. “Not to mention the waste of electricity.”

“You can complain about it later,” Sid said. “Come on.”

I followed him into the human resources department, pulling the empty suitcase along.

There were four more closed doors: three offices labeled with names and one marked File Room.

“Here we go,” Sid said, using his picks on one of the office doors.

This lock was easier to deal with, which was a relief, but unfortunately, the smell seemed to be coming from that office. “I’m going in.”

“Remember what I said. Get in, look around fast, get out.”

“Got it.” He stepped inside.

Between the cold, the horrid stink, and the fear of being caught, I was hoping that Sid would be swift, but I was surprised when he came out in under two minutes. “That was fast. Did you find something?”

“Don’t go in there.”

“I wasn’t going to—”

Then I looked at him.

He shouldn’t have been able to look like anything but bone-colored, but somehow he seemed paler than usual, and his bones were so loose he was nearly falling apart. “What’s wrong?”

“He’s in there. At least I think it’s him.”

“Did he see you?” I said stupidly.

He slowly shook his skull, and only then did I realize what it was we’d been smelling.

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

Just that the Family Skeleton is not a metaphorical skeleton. Sid is a real live… Okay, not live, but a real living skeleton. So many mysteries use skeletons and skulls on their covers, and I don’t want anybody getting upset when Sid shows up on the page.

Thanks for clearing that up for those who may have misunderstood.

Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc. and include some book cover graphics and author photos if possible.

Website: http://leighperryauthor.com/

Sid’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/Family_Skeleton

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/LeighPerryAuthor

My Alter Ego

Toni L.P. Kelner: www.tonilpkelner.com

The Skeleton Makes a Friend (A Family Skeleton Mystery)
by Leigh Perry

About the Book


The Skeleton Makes a Friend (A Family Skeleton Mystery)
Diversion Books (November 6, 2018)
Paperback: 280 pages
ISBN-10: 1635764440
ISBN-13: 978-1635764444
Digital ASIN: B07GT39K2X

Georgia Thackery is feeling pretty good about her summer job teaching at prestigious Overfeld College, and she’s renting a rustic cabin right by a lake for herself, her daughter, Madison, and her best friend, Sid the Skeleton. Together again, the trio are enjoying the quiet when a teenager named Jen shows up looking for her friend. Georgia doesn’t recognize the name, but she learns that the person Jen was looking for is actually Sid.

Sid reveals that he and Jen are part of a regular online gaming group that formed locally, and one of their members has gone missing. Sid admits that he might have bragged about his investigative prowess, enough so that Jen wants him to find their missing player. Given that Sid doesn’t have many friends offline—none, really, unless you count the Thackery family—Georgia agrees to help him search. They manage to discreetly enlist Jen, who lives in town, and follow the clues to… a dead buddy.

Now they’ve got a killer on their hands. Probing the life of Sid’s friend, they realize a lot is wrong both on campus and in the seemingly quaint town, and someone doesn’t want them looking deeper.

Purchase Links:

Amazon B&N Kobo

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

November 5 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

November 5 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

November 6 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

November 6 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 7 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

November 8 – Carstairs Considers – REVIEW

November 8 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

November 9 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

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

November 10 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

November 11 – This Is My Truth Now – REVIEW

November 12 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW

November 12 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW

November 13 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

November 14 – Varietats – REVIEW

November 14 –My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

November 15 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 15 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW

November 16 – The Layaway Dragon – REVIEW

November 17 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 17 – Mysteries with Character – SPOTLIGHT

November 18 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 18 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!