Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Mysteries

Author Spotlight of Stephen Kaminski, Author of An Au Pair To Remember, A Male Housekeeper Mystery

I’m pleased to have author Stephen Kaminiski from Arlington, Virginia here to chat about his writing and his cozy mystery, An Au Pair to Remember, that’s on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

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 2012.

 It Takes Two to Strangle, A Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective Mystery (Cozy Cat Press, 2012)

 Don’t Cry Over Killed Milk, A Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective Mystery (Cozy Cat Press, 2013)

 Murder, She Floats, A Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective Mystery (Cozy Cat Press, 2014)

 An Au Pair to Remember, A Male Housekeeper Mystery (Cozy Cat Press, 2019)

Nice. 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.

Between 2012-2014, three books in Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective series were published.  In January 2019, I just launched a new series—the Male Housekeeper Mysteries, focusing on charming characters, snappy dialogue, eclectic murders, and cunning confidence schemes.  Here’s a brief overview of the series backdrop and of the first book—An Au Pair to Remember.

To his mind, Cam Reddick has failed—as a husband, as a father, and as a professional. After recognizing that his vanilla credentials didn’t stack up in a big city brimming with overachievers and toiling in drudgery for half of a decade, an emotionally raw Cam returns to his childhood hometown—the quaint and quirky village of Rusted Bonnet, Michigan. He’s determined to resuscitate relationships marred by youthful immaturity, most importantly those with his ex-wife Kacey Gingerfield (who doubles as the village’s Deputy Chief of Police) and their first grader, Emma. Armed with striking looks and an endearing proclivity for mixing metaphors, but saddled by “momma’s boy” tendencies, Cam takes the helm of his mother’s housekeeping business—Peachy Kleen. Access to homes across the village facilitates Cam’s penchant for amateur sleuthing as Kacey’s aide-de-camp. Surrounded by Kacey, his sophisticated mother Darby, garrulous senior housekeeper Samantha, and recuse fish cum confidant Bait, Cam’s circuitous journeys to solving murders and unravelling complex cons hasten his struggle down the path of self-healing to self-respect. And there’s hope that—just maybe—he can rekindle the romance he once had with Kacey.

In An Au Pair to Remember, Cam’s plan for a quiet return to Rusted Bonnet is dashed when a beautiful German au pair, Greta Astor, is found dead in Dutch McRae’s foyer with all signs pointing to a hastily disassembled trip wire at the top of the stairs. When Kacey learns that Cam was cleaning the McRae home the previous afternoon, she confides to him that Chief Bernie Leftwich is set on arresting Dutch for the murder—either alone or in tandem with Greta’s bartender boyfriend. But she worries that Bernie’s been duped. And later, when his mother Darby becomes a suspect, Cam inserts himself into the investigation and stumbles through a series of ostensible incongruities—a thief swallowing a cache of stolen diamonds, a snack food distributor laundering money, and a Cash-for-Gold scam. Meanwhile, Peachy Kleen’s young African housekeeper has disappeared with one of the company vans. All the while, Cam finds himself flirting with his new neighbor and struggling with his complicated feelings for Kacey.

Your new series sounds like it’s off to a great start.

 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 excite and entertain.  My writing is light and I simply want readers to enjoy themselves.  In the next twelve months I’d like to finish the next book in my Male Housekeeper Mystery series.

Excellent!

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

Anyone who enjoys quick-witted dialogue and a lighthearted approach to murder will enjoy my books—basically the antithesis of hardboiled crime.

There’s certainly an audience for that among cozy readers.

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

Write and submit, write and submit, write and submit.  Then take constructive criticism to heart and follow advice that publishers offer.

Good advice.

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

I think the biggest challenge was figuring out my style.  My first manuscript for It Takes Two to Strangle (in 2012) was about 30,000 words longer than what eventually was accepted for publication.  I was trying to mold my writing into what I saw most often on library and bookstore shelves without realizing that a shorter and snappier version of my writing style was perfect for the cozy genre.  Thankfully, Cozy Cat Press saw my potential and took the time to and work with me.

It takes time for authors to develop their special style of writing. I’m sure it was helpful to work with your publisher to develop it.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

Unfortunately, not—between a demanding full time job, child care responsibilities, and writing, I haven’t been able to participate in any groups.

I can understand that.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

When I’m not writing, I’m typically reading, cooking (but not baking!), exercising, and playing the vital roles of chauffer and wallet-on-legs for my teen-aged daughter.

Lol. I know what you mean about wallet-on-legs for teenagers. I have a 14-year old daughter.

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

What I like most is the sense of calm it brings me.  My favorite time to write is very early in the morning with a cup of black coffee in hand and a blanket on my lap.  Quiet evenings with a candle or two and a glass of red wine or three are almost as rewarding.  I also enjoy writing things that I think will make readers laugh or bring them a sense of joyful bewilderment as they twist and turn through the plot.

I can relate. I get a lot of enjoyment from my writing, and I also like to write early in the morning before work.

 The toughest challenge is getting stuck.  All writers get stuck at times and it’s very challenging to work through.  For me, it often happens when I need to get “from A to B,” but I can’t figure out a way to do it in a way that’s engaging to the reader.

I find that often happens midway in a book, but then if you take a break and go back, something fresh usually pops up to add to the story.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I can be corny and cheeky, which fits my personality well.  I can spin the plot lines in a manner that’s sends a reader every which way, but then all comes together at the end.  I can create some characters who are clever and others who have their heads-in-the-clouds.  And in all of my books, in addition to the murder, I embed a number of clever cons for the reader to sink her or his teeth into.

Sounds interesting.

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

Leaving Samantha with her suppositions at the Laundromat, Cam took a detour past Becka Blom’s living quarters—the basement apartment of a historic Victorian. The red-, green-, and white-colored home featured a striking array of dormers, gables, and turrets. Cam stepped onto the portico and rang the bell.

A gray-haired man sporting an Einstein-inspired mustache and a knit sweater fraying at the cuffs opened the door.

“Good evening, sir,” Cam said. “Is Ms. Blom home?”

“I wouldn’t know for certain,” the man said convivially. “She has a separate entrance around the back. But I haven’t seen her car all day.”

“It’s at my office.” Cam explained that Becka worked for his cleaning company and hadn’t been seen since early in the morning.

“That doesn’t sound like Becka. Come on inside. Let me get my wife and see if she’s spoken with her.”

Cam followed him into a formal living room decorated in a French provincial style. While the man went off to find his wife, Cam looked down at his sweatshirt and jeans, feeling out of place.

“Please sit down,” a woman’s voice commanded with the authority of a general.

The mustachioed man immediately sat on a sofa.

“I wasn’t talking to you, Reg,” she said sternly and extended her hand toward a high-backed chair. Cam sat as directed.

She introduced herself as Diane Archambault. Pronounced Dee-Ahn, she was as put together as her husband was disheveled. “Reg tells me that Ms. Blom works for you. Is that correct?”

Cam nodded. The mistress of the house stood over him, her sapphire blue eyes piercing his.

“I heard her car back out of the drive at seven thirty this morning,” Diane said crisply. “I assumed she was going to work. Did she arrive?”

Cam told her she had, then ran off in one of his cleaning vans and hadn’t returned any of his messages.

“That certainly is worrisome.” Diane took a step back. “The girl came to the United States four years ago,” she offered. “Just she and her father. He was a shipbuilder from South Africa.”

“Why did they move to Rusted Bonnet?” Cam asked.

“I don’t know,” Diane said. “Ms. Blom’s father passed away two years ago. That’s when she moved in here.” She paused, then added, “I thought she worked for a woman.”

“That was my mother,” Cam explained. “I took over when she retired.”

Diane folded her hands and sat on the edge of the sofa next to her husband. Her fingernails were flawlessly manicured.

Suddenly a clank came from directly below the living room floor. Cam’s eyes shot open wide and he jumped to his feet.

“Sit back down,” Diane ordered sharply. “I don’t have her locked up in the basement. The girl has a cat, always knocking about down there.”

A disturbing thought flashed into Cam’s head. Becka was twenty-four, almost the same age as Greta. Was this mismatched couple sitting in front of him murdering young women in the village?

But Reg Archambault mitigated his fears by asking, “Should we call the police?”

“My ex-wife is the deputy chief here in Rusted Bonnet,” Cam said. “I spoke with her earlier this evening. She told me that the police don’t spend time looking for adults who leave under their own power.”

“Too bad,” Reg said. “Why don’t you try that friend of hers?”

“Missy?” Cam asked. “I’ve tried.”

 Reg stifled a sneeze. “Sorry, darn moustache hair is always getting up in there.”

Diane shook her head with apparent disgust. “That’s the only one who comes around now and again.” She stood and motioned for Cam to rise and take his leave. At the door, Diane added, “I won’t say that Ms. Blom is like a daughter to me, because we don’t have that kind of relationship. But I certainly hope she hasn’t run off. She’s a good tenant and a proper young lady.”

Cam returned home, then laid awake all night, envisioning Becka Blom tied to a chair in the Archambaults’ basement.

Great excerpt.

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

I think your mystery-loving readers might be interested to know that in my professional life I handle all things poison!  I’m the chief executive of the association that represents the country’s poison control system—55 centers made up of medical professionals who answer about 3 million calls to poison control every year.  While our centers regularly handle opioids abuse and accidental ingestions of household products, if there’s ever a place to expertly advise on hemlock, strychnine, or belladonna exposures, it’s our centers and their toxicologists.

Very interesting. I’m sure that helps you planning some of your murder mysteries.

Thanks for chatting today, Stephen, and best wishes with your new release and series. I’m sharing your blog tour below.

An Au Pair to Remember:
A Male Housekeeper Mystery
by Stephen Kaminski

About the Book


An Au Pair to Remember: A Male Housekeeper Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Cozy Cat Press (January 27, 2019)
Paperback: 260 pages
ISBN-10: 1946063703
ISBN-13: 978-1946063700
Digital ASIN: B07NCBZ23L

From the author of the award-winning Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective series comes the Male Housekeeper Mysteries, focusing on charming characters, snappy dialogue, eclectic murders, and cunning confidence schemes. To his mind, Cam Reddick has failed—as a husband, as a father, and as a professional. After recognizing that his vanilla credentials didn’t stack up in a big city brimming with overachievers and toiling in drudgery for half of a decade, an emotionally raw Cam returns to his childhood hometown—the quaint and quirky village of Rusted Bonnet, Michigan. He’s determined to resuscitate relationships marred by youthful immaturity, most importantly those with his ex-wife Kacey Gingerfield (who doubles as the village’s Deputy Chief of Police) and their first grader, Emma. Armed with striking looks and an endearing proclivity for mixing metaphors, but saddled by “momma’s boy” tendencies, Cam takes the helm of his mother’s housekeeping business—Peachy Kleen. Access to homes across the village facilitates Cam’s penchant for amateur sleuthing as Kacey’s aide-de-camp. Surrounded by Kacey, his sophisticated mother Darby, garrulous senior housekeeper Samantha, and recuse fish cum confidant Bait, Cam’s circuitous journeys to solving murders and unravelling complex cons hasten his struggle down the path of self-healing to self-respect. And there’s hope that—just maybe—he can rekindle the romance he once had with Kacey.

In An Au Pair to Remember, Cam’s plan for a quiet return to Rusted Bonnet is dashed when a beautiful German au pair, Greta Astor, is found dead in Dutch McRae’s foyer with all signs pointing to a hastily disassembled trip wire at the top of the stairs. When Kacey learns that Cam was cleaning the McRae home the previous afternoon, she confides to him that Chief Bernie Leftwich is set on arresting Dutch for the murder—either alone or in tandem with Greta’s bartender boyfriend. But she worries that Bernie’s been duped. And later, when his mother Darby becomes a suspect, Cam inserts himself into the investigation and stumbles through a series of ostensible incongruities—a thief swallowing a cache of stolen diamonds, a snack food distributor laundering money, and a Cash-for-Gold scam. Meanwhile, Peachy Kleen’s young African housekeeper has disappeared with one of the company vans. All the while, Cam finds himself flirting with his new neighbor and struggling with his complicated feelings for Kacey.

About the Author

Stephen Kaminski is the author of An Au Pair to Remember, the first installment of the Male Housekeeper Mystery series. He also writes the award-winning Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective books. Stephen is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Law School and serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the trade association representing the United States’ poison control system and its fifty-five centers. He lives with his daughter and rescue kitty in the Washington, DC area.

Author Links

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43834065-an-au-pair-to-remember

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

Purchase Links – Amazon KindleAmazon Paperback

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

March 18 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

March 18 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

March 19 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

March 19 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

March 20 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 20 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

March 21 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

March 21 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

March 22 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 23 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

March 23 – The Broke Book Bank – REVIEW

March 24 – My Journey Back – REVIEW

March 25 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 26 – Books Direct – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

March 27 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 28 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW

March 28 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Mysteries

Author Spotlight of Linda Hope Lee, Author of Murder Between the Pages, a Nina Foster Mystery

I’m pleased to have author Linda Hope Lee from Edmonds, Washington to chat about her writing and her cozy mystery, Murder Between the Pages, that’s on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

Nice to have you here, Nina 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 published 28 books of contemporary, romantic suspense, and mystery. One is these, Treasures of the Heart, is self-published. Murder Between the Pages is my first cozy mystery.

Wow! That’s quite a writing career.

Tell us a little bit about your books.

Early books were written as Hope Goodwin. Now I’m using my legal name, Linda Hope Lee. Murder Between the Pages, the Nina Foster Mystery Series, Book 1, was released in Dec. 2018. Book 2, Secrets to Die For is in production but no pub date yet.

Something to look forward to.

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 more books in the Nina Foster series. I am currently working on Book 3.

Sounds great.

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

Readers who like cozy mysteries.

Those are very popular today.

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

Not original advice but I can think of nothing better than to keep writing and sending out your work.

That can’t be emphasized enough.

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

Juggling a full-time job with writing.

I think most writers struggle with that. I know I do.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I belong to RWA, Greater Seattle, Evergreen, and Faith, Hope and Love Chapters; Sisters in Crime.

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

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

Watercolor painting and photography.

Other creative pursuits.

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

Like the most: making up stories. Like the least: Marketing. What is your toughest challenge? Marketing

Most authors dislike marketing. It’s one of my least favorite parts of publishing, too.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

Working along with the amateur sleuth while she puts together the puzzle pieces and solves the crime.

That certainly is fun.

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

From Murder Between the Pages, P. 116.  Nina visits the murder victim’s bookstore, Bergman Books:

Next to the reading area, a wrought iron spiral staircase led to the second level, where…a domed skylight allowed light to beam on the lower level…. The skylight was the main reason Wildeen chose this building for her bookstore. She wanted customers to sit and enjoy the books under the dome’s natural light.

     “Aren’t you afraid people will only read and not buy?” Nina had asked.

     “Not at all,” Wildeen replied. “Books are like clothes. You have to try them on to see if they fit.”

Very nice excerpt. Thanks for sharing it.

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

I love writing stories and feel so lucky and privileged to have had my books published.

I feel the same. It was a pleasure to have you here on Ruff Drafts, and I wish you success with your new cozy mystery series. I’m sharing your blog tour below.

Murder Between the Pages
(The Nina Foster Mystery Series)
by Linda Hope Lee

About the Book

Murder Between the Pages (The Nina Foster Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
The Wild Rose Press, Inc. (Crimson Rose) (December 19, 2018)
Paperback: 264 pages
ISBN-10: 1509223673
ISBN-13: 978-1509223671
Digital Print Length: 190 pages
ASIN: B07JKZT5TM

It’s a sad day for librarian Nina Foster when she discovers her good friend, bookstore owner Wildeen Bergman, dead on her office floor. Worse yet, another friend, romance writer Zelma Duke, becomes the police’s prime suspect. Nina knows Wildeen had something on Zelma. Was it enough to warrant murder? Handsome Stephen Kraslow, owner of the local newspaper, joins forces with Nina to find out the truth. The quest takes them on a dangerous journey of twists and turns before they reach the final outcome.

About the Author

Linda Hope Lee had written contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and mysteries. Other pursuits include watercolor painting, photography, collecting children’s books and anything to do with wire-haired fox terriers. She makes her home in the Pacific Northwest.

Author Links

Website http://www.lindahopelee.com

Twitter: @lindahopelee

Facebook: facebook.com/lindahopelee

Goodreads: goodreads.com/lindahopelee

Purchase Links

Amazon B&N

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March 11 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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March 12 – FUONLYKNEW – REVIEW

March 13 – The Ninja Librarian – REVIEW

March 14 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

March 14 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

March 15 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW

March 15 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 16 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW

March 17 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

March 17 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

March 18 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW

March 18 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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