Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Mysteries

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

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

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

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

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

Excellent. You are quite prolific.

Tell us a little bit about your books — if you write a series, any upcoming releases or your current work-in-progress. If you have an upcoming release, please specify the release date.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A great “recipe” for cozy mysteries.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

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

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

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

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

A nice variety of hobbies.

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

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

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

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

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

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

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

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

Here’s a tidbit from Strangled Eggs and Ham:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well written.

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

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

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

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

About the Book


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

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

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

Includes Recipes for You to Try!

About the Author

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

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

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

Purchase Links

Amazon B&N Kobo Google Play IndieBound

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

June 24 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, EXCERPT

June 24 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

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

June 25 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

June 25 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 25 – ❧Defining Ways❧ – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

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

June 26 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

June 26 – Author Teresa Watson – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 27 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW, EXCERPT

June 27 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

June 27 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW

June 28 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

June 28 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER GUEST POST

June 28 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

June 29 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

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

June 30 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW

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

July 1 – Sapphyria’s Books – REVIEW

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

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

July 2 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 2 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

July 3 – Curling up by the Fire – REVIEW

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

July 3 – The Cozy Pages – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

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Posted in Blog Tour, mystery, New Releases, Romantic Suspense

Spotlight For Mistaken Identity Crisis, A Braxton Campus Mystery, by James J. Cudney

 

Mistaken Identity Crisis
(Braxton Campus Mysteries)
by James J. Cudney

About the Book


Mistaken Identity Crisis (Braxton Campus Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Creativia (June 30, 2019)
Digital Edition, 260 pages
ASIN: B07Q6YSTPN

A clever thief with a sinister calling card has invaded Braxton campus. A string of jewelry thefts continues to puzzle the sheriff, given they’re remarkably similar to an unsolved eight-year-old case, back when Gabriel vanished one stormy night.

When a missing ruby, and a body, are discovered at the campus, Kellan must investigate the killer’s motive to protect his brother. As if the latest murder isn’t enough to keep him busy, Kellan partners with April to end the Castigliano and Vargas crime family feud. What really happened to Francesca while all those postcards showed up in Braxton?

The mafia world is more calculating than Kellan realized. If he wants to move forward, he’ll have to make a few ruthless sacrifices. And as the summer heat begins to settle in Wharton County, a couple more surprises are also in store.

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. 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.

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
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 (March 2019)
MistakenIdentity Crisis – #4 (June 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/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jamescudney4/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamescudney4/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jamescudney4
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamescudney4

Purchase Links – Amazon

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

June 21 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

June 22 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

June 22 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW

June 23 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 24 – Books Direct – MAP & CHARACTER LIST POST

June 25 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

June 25 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT

June 26 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 27 – Jane Reads – REVIEW

June 28 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

June 29 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

June 30 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 1 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW

July 2 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

July 2 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

July 3 – Island Confidential – GUEST POST

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Posted in Blog Tour, Cozy Mysteries, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Died in the Wool, A Whiskey Business Mystery, by Melinda Mullet

Melinda Mullet – Died in the Wool Blog Tour

Alright, I’ll admit it — I have a borderline obsession with sheep.

I adore them. They are essentially overgrown dogs with the sweetest ruminative faces and tails that can wag when they are pleased to see you. In all honesty, I’ve tried to convince my husband that raising sheep in rural New Zealand is a viable retirement plan for the two of us. I mean you have to love a country where sheep outnumber humans by 7 to 1. But, so far he isn’t going for it.

Sheep are amazing animals. Consider the following fun facts offered up by Dave Thomas, retired head of sheep studies at the University of Wisconsin. (Yes, that is a legitimate occupation and perhaps my next career move if this writing thing doesn’t pan out.) Dave tells us that:

  • Sheep have very good memories. They can remember at least 50 individual sheep and humans for years. (Better than most humans I know.)
  • Sheep have rectangular pupils that give them amazing peripheral vision that helps to keep them safe from predators. The field of vision is somewhere between 270 and 320 degrees. (Humans average a mere 155 degrees.)
  • Some sheep are gay. (No, really.) While there are instances of homosexuality in almost all animal species, sheep are the only animals besides humans that show a same-sex preference for life. In any flock up to 8% of males prefer other males.
  • Woodrow Wilson kept a flock of sheep on the White House lawn during World War I to keep the grass trimmed as a cost-cutting measure and to show support for the war effort.
  • Sheep can display emotions usually reflected in the position of their ears. They can feel stress and isolation and will show signs of depression similar to humans.
  • Contrary to popular belief, sheep are extremely intelligent animals capable of problem solving. They can differentiate facial expressions and prefer smiles to frowns.

Naturally, these intelligent creatures figure prominently in my stories.  Died in the Wool, the fourth book in the Whisky Business Mystery Series, finds whisky distiller Abi Logan continuing to act as foster parent to a growing flock of sheep saved from being turned into c-h-o-p-s. All named for authors, Agatha (Christie) and Oscar (Wilde) have become deeply attached to their foster mother and live adjacent to the house.

Agatha and Oscar are protective, and like all sheep know their names and will respond when called. Aside from being guard sheep when necessary the flock is producing their share of wool. (A single sheep can produce up to thirty pounds of wool a year. Once pound of wool can make ten miles of yarn.) As if Abi didn’t get tangled up enough in the mysteries she solves, her flock is churning out more than 3,000 miles of wool a year.  Something has to give.

Abi is forced to find an outlet for the wool and becomes involved with a charity for women who are victims of domestic abuse that is funded by the proceeds of an artisan knitting cooperative. Abi donates her wool and her energies to the shelter known as the Shepherd’s Rest, but soon finds herself knee deep in a mystery.  As she tries to unravel a murder and a kidnapping at the shelter it becomes clear that at least on of the shelter’s benefactors is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Watch as Abi and her wooly wordsmiths solve the case before things go from baaad to worse!

Died in the Wool:
A Whisky Business Mystery
by Melinda Mullet

About the Book


Died in the Wool: A Whisky Business Mystery
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Alibi (June 18, 2019)
Print Length ~300 pages
Digital ASIN: B07GN17SQJ

No good deed goes unpunished in the Whisky Business cozy mystery series as distillery owner Abigail Logan uncovers dark secrets—and murder—at a local charity.

Photojournalist Abi Logan is finally ready to put her hectic career on hold and set down roots in the heart of the Scottish countryside. Studying the business and art of distilling whisky at Abbey Glen and volunteering at the Shepherd’s Rest women’s shelter in her spare time seem a surefire way to find the peace and stability she craves. It’s also the logical way to take her mind off her personal life. Abi’s business partner, Grant MacEwan, is facing a career-threatening disability, and as much as Abi longs to be there for him, he seems to prefer the company of a rival.

But as Abi becomes more involved with Shepherd’s Rest, she discovers that their refuge is elusive. When the shelter is rocked by a murder/suicide, Abi is outraged by the police’s lack of attention to these already marginalized women. Increasingly confident in her own skills as an investigator, Abi steps in to find out what the police will not: who left one young woman dead and another missing. But when more deadly deeds come to light, Abi must race to unravel the connections between the shelter’s benefactors and the women they have pledged to protect—and expose the killer before he strikes again.

Melinda Mullet’s delightful Whisky Business mysteries can be read together or separately. Enjoy responsibly:
SINGLE MALT MURDER | DEATH DISTILLED | DEADLY DRAM | DIED IN THE WOOL

About the Author

Melinda Mullet was born in Dallas and attended school in Texas, Washington D.C., England, and Austria. She spent many years as a practicing attorney before pursuing a career as a writer. Author of the Whisky Business Mystery series, Mullet is a passionate supporter of childhood literacy. She works with numerous domestic and international charities striving to promote functional literacy for all children. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her family.

Author Links

Website – http://melindamullet.com/

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/mulletmysteries

Purchase Links

Amazon B&N Kobo Google Play

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

June 17 – ThisIsMyTruthNow – REVIEW

June 17 – Babs Book Bistro – GUEST POST

June 18 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

June 18 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT

June 19 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT

June 19 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 20 – The Cozy Pages – GUEST POST

June 20 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 21 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

June 22 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 23 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

June 23 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW

June 24 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW

June 24 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT

June 25 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

June 25 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 26 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT

June 26 – Readeropolis – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 27 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST

June 27 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

June 28 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 29 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT

June 30 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Blog Tour, Cozy Mysteries, Guest Post

Guest Post Recipe and Blog Tour for Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread Murder, A Cast Iron Skillet Mystery, by Jodi Rath

Recipe for Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread

Ingredients

  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeds* removed and diced
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup fine cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt (1 tsp. if using fine salt)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup cooked corn kernels plus enough cream, milk, or buttermilk** to equal 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese*** plus bit more for top before baking
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar

*see Notes

Instructions

  1. Place diced jalapeños in skillet, then place in a 10-inch top diameter cast iron skillet in cold oven on middle rack. Preheat oven to 400°F and leave skillet with jalapeños in oven as it preheats. Check periodically to make sure they aren’t burning and to give them a quick stir. Remove when they are lightly browned and allow to cool. Return skillet immediately to oven.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs. Whisk in corn/cream mixture and cheddar cheese. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, mix butter and sugar with a wooden spoon,**** just until butter absorbs the sugar. Add the egg mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in the cooled jalapeños. Mix in the dry ingredients just until barely incorporated.
  5. Remove skillet from oven and lightly coat with nonstick spray. Spoon batter into hot pan and quickly top with a bit more grated cheddar cheese. Bake cornbread until top is golden brown and springs back when gently pressed, 25-28 minutes when baked in a 10-inch skillet (may be longer if your skillet is smaller). Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

*If you like your food extra spicy, then leave the seeds in the jalapeños.

**This means you add the corn kernels to a measuring cup first, then pour in the milk until the milk rises to the 1 1/2 cup level. (I was not able to find buttermilk at my local store. If you have the same problem, then you can add one tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar for every one cup of milk.)

***I’m a cheese lover—I added an extra half cup of cheese!

****I tried the recipe mixing with a wooden spoon and again using my Kitchenette mixer. Call me crazy, but I truly believe it tasted better when using the wooden spoon to stir ingredients.

This recipe was adapted from seasonsandsuppas.ca and foodiecrush.com.

Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Murder
(The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series)
by Jodi Rath

About the Book


Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Murder (The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in the Series
MYS ED LLC (June 21, 2019)
Digital ASIN: B07Q1K4DN3

Financial fraud of elderly villagers in Leavensport, an urban sprawl threat to the community, disastrous dates, cross-sell marketing gone wrong, and another murder? Jolie Tucker is ready to try dating again. Well, she has no choice—since her family auctioned her off to the highest bidder. Her best friend, Ava, has agreed to a double date, but both friends find out hidden secrets about their partners as well as deception by one of the village’s own, who will soon be found dead. This plot is sure to be spicy!

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/

  • Monthly Newsletter Link: http://eepurl.com/dIfXdbGet Short Story “Sweet Retreat” for free by subscribing to my monthly newsletter. Subscribe to my newsletter to receive free flash fiction, A Mystery a Month, serial scenes from series, and deleted scenes).

Purchase Links – Amazon

All other e-platforms: https://books2read.com/u/bOAYyK

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

June 21 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 21 – ❧Defining Ways❧ – CHARACTER GUEST POST

June 22 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

June 22 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

June 23 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 23 – Eskimo Princess Book Review

June 24 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 24 – The Self-Rescue Princess – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 25 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT WITH RECIPE

June 25 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

June 26 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 26 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – GUEST POST

June 27 – eBook Addicts – REVIEW

June 27 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST

June 28 – I’m All About Books – GUEST POST

June 28 – Author Teresa Watson – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 29 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 29 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 30 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

July 1 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

July 1 – 4covert2overt ☼ A Place In The Spotlight ☼ – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 2 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

July 2 – Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting – REVIEW

July 3 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Blog Tour, Cozy Mysteries, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Deco Dames, Demon Rum, and Death, A Jazz Age Mystery by Ellen Mansoor Collier

TOOT YOUR HORN:   CREATIVE MARKETING For INDIES

                     By:  Ellen Mansoor Collier, Author of the Jazz Age mystery series

As an independent author, I admit, my dream was to see my books for sale on shelves in upscale stores, bookshops and retail outlets—not just online. So I tried “creative” ways of marketing, and looked for specialty gift shops and regional stores that also sold books.

I found out the hard way that traditional bookstores or shops are NOT interested in self-published books, unless you’re already rich and famous. Hard to compete with thousands of books anyway, especially if you’re an unknown.  I’ve had bookshop managers compliment my books while shoving me out the door, figuratively speaking. Small book stores tend to feel that Amazon is driving them out of business, and the larger chains think indies are trying to sneak in the back way, without being “vetted.”

The fact that I’ve made my living as a professional journalist doesn’t matter to them. Sadly, they assume independent books mean low-quality or inferior writing and cover design. I’ve worked in publishing almost all my life—besides, my brother is an artist, and I have several editor friends who were willing to review my novels.  In addition, my mother was a writer and excellent editor, as well as a former World History teacher. So I thought, why not publish my books the way I want and retain creative control, plus all my rights?

Since my novels are about 1920s Galveston, I naturally approached shops and hotels in the area and either called or left a copy of FLAPPERS, the first novel in my series. First I started with small, independent business who were happy to accept my books on consignment.  Sadly, the trouble with mom-and-pop stores is they often don’t have the budget or space to keep your books in stock and on display.  (Getting paid can be a tug-of- war, so now I usually require payment upfront.)

Luckily  bookstores often advertise regional books and sponsor book-signings for local authors. I’ve even done book signings at “Roaring Twenties”-themed fundraisers and art gallery parties just by asking—and donated part of my proceeds (usually 20-25).  I also sold my books at an area casino hotel/gift shop just by dropping off FLAPPERS with the staff. During a follow up call, I suggested to the manager that she give my books a try with a small order—which she did!

At first, a major mystery bookstore seemed reluctant to give my books a try, but by the time I’d written a couple of new titles, the tides had turned and suddenly indies were more “socially acceptable,”  if not hot. Still some of the staff remained wary, so it was gratifying when their first order of 25 books sold out in three weeks. Note: Many shops will wait until all books have sold before they reorder, so be prepared for a long wait. I’d suggest a small order at first, especially if the books are on consignment.

In Galveston, I noticed the luxury hotels on the Seawall sold lots of beachy items, but they didn’t have any novels for sale. The retail manage told me to contact the corporate office, which I did a YEAR later. Long story short, I was too chicken to contact them immediately but followed up after my fourth book—and got a call from the regional merchandising manager (sadly he soon left the company). Turns out the retail manager enjoyed FLAPPERS and wanted to start selling it in their hotel gift shops. The regional manager became interested later when he found out I had a series available and ordered 24 copies of each book (96)!  Timing is everything in this business!

Last year, a friend suggested I try a well-known restaurant with a new attached gift shop—that I didn’t know existed. The manager ordered 40 copies of my books—and placed a second order six weeks later. Naturally summer is my best season and sales during the fall and winter often lag.

My advice for indies, young or old, is to identify the factors that make your books unique: is it the setting, the theme, the characters, the storyline? Then contact the stores that fit into those categories. Most cozy mysteries seem to center around a hobby or activity—if your novels are about animals or food or fashion or sports or antiques, try pet shops, bakeries, restaurants, unique clothing boutiques, sports shops or antique malls—even quilt or knitting shops—that cater to the clientele you’d like to reach. Is your book about a certain collectible or is it historical?  Perhaps a specialty gift shop, museum or tea room, even a B&B or boutique hotel or spa may want to offer your books.  Corporate chains and hotels are difficult retail nuts to crack, so I suggest approaching independent businesses at first.

As an indie, I tend to stay away from author events since they can cost a pretty penny and are filled with other hopeful writers who are in the same situation. If I do attend, I’ll go as a reader but then end up buying half the books for sale since I sympathize!  Still it’s fun to network and make local contacts with your peers and potential readers.

To summarize:  Find your niche and then broaden your scope. Once you get your foot in the door and word gets out, you can add bigger markets to your list. Better yet, try chains that reach a regional or national market.  Though I’m not shy, I’ll admit, it’s difficult to peddle your own books—I get more rejections than OKs—but if people express interest, don’t be afraid to follow up with a phone call or repeat visit.  Naturally you don’t want to come across as a pushy car salesperson, but you can check in periodically, especially if you have a new book out.

Sadly, as an indie, you’ll often get the cold shoulder from old-school stores (don’t get me started on my local Barnes & Noble), but if you present quality books and find the right niche, then you, too, can see your beloved books in stores and unique retail outlets.  Good luck!

Deco Dames, Demon Rum and Death
(Jazz Age Mystery Series)
by Ellen Mansoor Collier

About the Book


Deco Dames, Demon Rum and Death (Jazz Age Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Decodame Press (December 28, 2018)
Paperback: 249 pages
ISBN-10: 0989417042
ISBN-13: 978-0989417044
Digital ASIN: B07LGGKPKZ

When young Galveston Gazette society reporter Jazz Cross hears rumors of grave robbers at the Broadway Cemetery, she and photographer Nathan Blaine investigate, hoping to land a scoop. The newshawks witness meetings held by clandestine gangs and enlist the help of her beau, Prohibition Agent James Burton, who attempts to catch the elusive culprits red-handed.

Meanwhile, the supernatural craze takes Galveston by storm, and Jazz is assigned to profile the society set’s favorite fortune teller, Madame Farushka. Sightings of a ghost bride haunting the Hotel Galvez intrigue Jazz, who sets up a Ouija board reading and séance with the spiritualist. Did the bride-to-be drown herself—or was she murdered?

Luckily, Sammy Cook, her black-sheep half-brother, has escaped the Downtown Gang and now acts as the maître d’ for the Hollywood Dinner Club, owned by rival Beach Gang leaders. During a booze bust, the Downtown Gang’s mob boss, Johnny Jack Nounes, is caught and Jazz worries: will Sammy be forced to testify against his former boss? Worse, when a mystery man turns up dead, Sammy is framed for murder and Jazz must solve both murders and help clear Sammy’s name.

As the turf war between rival gangs rages on, Jazz relies on her wits and moxie to rescue her brother and her friends before the Downtown Gang exacts its revenge.

About the Author

Ellen Mansoor Collier is a Houston-based freelance magazine writer and editor whose articles and essays have been published in a variety of national magazines. Several of her short stories have appeared in Woman’s World. During college summers, she worked as a reporter for a Houston community newspaper and as a cocktail waitress, both jobs providing background experience for her Jazz Age mysteries.

A flapper at heart, she’s worked as a magazine editor/writer, and in advertising and public relations (plus endured a hectic semester as a substitute teacher). She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Magazine Journalism and served on UTmost, the college magazine and as president of WICI (Women in Communications).

She lives in Houston with her husband and Chow mutts and visits Galveston whenever possible.

“When you grow up in Houston, Galveston becomes like a second home. I had no idea this sleepy beach town had such a wild and colorful past until I began doing research, and became fascinated by the legends and stories of the 1920s. Finally, I had to stop researching and start writing, trying to imagine a flapper’s life in Galveston during Prohibition.”

Author Links:

Website: http://www.flapperfinds.com/
GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45174861-deco-dames-demon-rum-and-death
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/artdecodame/flappers/

Purchase Link: Amazon

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Spotlight For A Crafter Hooks a Killer, A Handcrafted Mystery, by Holly Quinn

A Crafter Hooks a Killer:
A Handcrafted Mystery
by Holly Quinn

About the Book


A Crafter Hooks a Killer: A Handcrafted Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (June 11, 2019)
Hardcover 274 Pages
ISBN-10: 1643850121
ISBN-13: 978-1643850122
Digital ASIN: B07MGS1XDW

Community Craft proprietor Sammy Kane suspects that a tantalizing thread links the deaths of her best friend and a bestselling author. But can she weave together the clues?

Samantha “Sammy” Kane is settling into her new life in idyllic Heartsford, Wisconsin, running her late friend Kate Allen’s craft shop, Community Craft when one early June day, bestselling crochet author Jane Johnson visits Heartsford. Captivated by Community Craft, Jane devotes a chapter in her new book, Behind the Seams, to the store. Sammy is honored, though satisfaction quickly turns to shock when she finds Jane strangled to death—her cold hands clutching a copy of her most recently published book, with the words “THE END” raggedly scratched into the cover.

Heavens to Etsy! Not only must Sammy contend with the author’s inauspicious demise, she has to untie some knotty details from her own past. It turns out Kate’s death was not what it seemed, and instead somehow hooked to Jane Johnson’s demise. Handsome Detective Liam Nash is on the “skein”, more than happy to see the shop owner again, if less than enamored by her sleuthing interventions. But this was Sammy’s best friend—she has to know.

Fortunately, Sammy has a “lace” in the hole. As a child, she formed the S.H.E. detective team with her cousin, Heidi, and her sister, Ellie. Having already reconstituted their partnership, the S.H.E. team searches for a pattern behind the latest death. As the case starts to unravel, will Sammy and team be able to sidestep Liam quick enough to stitch together the clues?

About the Author

Holly Quinn has published two stand-alone fiction novels in another persona. She graduated from Carroll University in Wisconsin with a Bachelor of Science in business and a minor in marketing. This is her second Handcrafted mystery. Visit her @ www.authorhollyquinn.com

Author Links –

Website – www.authorhollyquinn.com

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

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7940795.Holly_Quinn

Purchase Links – AmazonB&N BAMIndieBoundPowell’s BooksWalmart

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Spotlight For Love, Lies, and Azure Eyes by Janis Thornton

Love, Lies, and Azure Eyes
by Janis Thornton

About the Book


Love, Lies, and Azure Eyes
Paranormal Romantic Suspense
Soul Mate Publishing, LLC (June 12, 2019)
Print Length: 267 pages
ASIN: B07PRV6VZC

Elated by Annie’s response, Johnny caved to his impulse and pressed his mouth to her sweet lips, sparking a surge of electricity that ricocheted through his entire body, and for one glorious moment swept him up in a wave of emotion that meteorically whisked him to the edge of the universe, past swirling spirals of brightly burning stars — white dwarfs, red giants, entire galaxies. Caught in the rapture, he shed his cocoon of darkness and experienced the light — the wonderful, warm, life-affirming light. He reveled in it, felt alive. He almost believed he was. Almost.

* * *

West Coast journalist Annie Sinclair’s career, not to mention her love life, has been on the skids far too long, when she returns to Logan Point, her small, Indiana hometown. She’s back to make amends with her elderly father, and to delve into the 25-year-old, unsolved murder of her high school classmate for a writing gig with a national tabloid.

Annie’s plans soon go awry, and her mettle is tested — first when her father warns her against digging into the past; and again, when she meets the Logan Point Ledger’s handsome, but exasperating, new editor; and again still, when she reconnects with her first love, who clearly wants to rekindle what once was.

But Annie’s most arduous test appears in the form of the earthbound spirit of a boy she once knew — the boy with the azure eyes accused of the murder she is looking into. He needs her to prove his innocence, so he can break the ties that bind him to the darkness. In exchange, he will set Annie free to realize that the love she yearns for is just within her reach … if only she will open her heart.

About the Author

Janis Thornton is the author of a true crime/oral history/memoir, Too Good a Girl, as well as two cozy mysteries, Dust Bunnies & Dead Bodies and Dead Air & Double Dares. She also is the author of two local history books and contributor to Undeniably Indiana. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, the Authors Guild, and the Indianapolis Writers Center. She lives in her Indiana hometown in the same house where she grew up.

Author Links

Website: www.janis-thornton.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janisthorntonauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JanisThornton
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6482161.Janis_Thornton

Purchase Link
Amazon

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