Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for the Cha-Cha Babes of Pelican Way by Frances Metzman


IS THERE LITTLE COMMUNICATION IN YOUR ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP? by Frances Metzman

Does your partner listen attentively to what you say? Does he/she remember important issues you discussed the day after? Do they ask pertinent questions about your issues? Do they ask how they can be of help or if they should keep a distance? If you say you want input, do you get it or a shrug and waning attention. It’s important to watch and see if your partner tends to say no to every request you make without seeming to mull it over or ask more questions about it.

How about this important issue — does he/she do their domestic tasks without nagging to get them done? If you don’t live together and you make dinner does your romantic interest help with cleanup? Is that person watching sports or favorite TV programs more than talking to you? If more time is spent with buddies or girlfriends as a regular habit rather than with you, you might want to deal with that. If you complain do you get called a nag or too controlling and seething anger?

It’s important to introduce your partner, after a reasonable amount of time, to your family. Are they reluctant or do it grudgingly? If family is important to you it’s possibly a deep conflicting situation. When you are out with your lover’s friends and it’s all comfortable that’s fine, but if out with your friends and tensions rise, then ask why. If your answer is there’s no common ground or some other issue and no compromise in sight, look very carefully at these red flags. Does your partner demand that you fit into a traditional gender role without any leeway for an equal exchange and it disturbs you? Time to question the relationship.

A good way to avoid a lot of misconceptions is that once you feel committed to a person try to set up, verbally or written, with both parties, what likes and dislikes you both have. If that person is unwilling to make any compromises and it’s important to you, it might spell trouble ahead. It’s very important to know upfront how each of you functions, feels, thinks and behaves. Know what you can negotiate and what you can’t. Listen carefully to your partner and expect the same.

And if you decide to keep all problems under wraps until you get married, thinking you can make changes then? Think again. Good chance you will not change that person and it is unfair to spring it on them after signing that certificate when you have tolerated annoying habits during the courtship. Use your brain as well as your heart to clear a path to a great relationship.

Check out the author’s blog tour and rafflecopter giveaway.

The Cha-Cha Babes of Pelican Way
by Frances Metzman

About the Book

The Cha-Cha Babes of Pelican Way
Cozy Mystery
Wild River Consulting & Publishing, LLC (June 21, 2018)
Paperback: 506 pages
ISBN-10: 9781941948064
ISBN-13: 978-1941948064
Digital ASIN: B07CV2GP9Z

Would you move a dead body for the sake of your best friend? Ask cha-cha babe Celia Ewing, a sixty-five-year-old widow who has just settled into Boca Pelicano Palms, the Florida retirement community of her dreams. When Celia’s best friend Marcy calls her and their friend Deb for help in the middle of the night, they find a naked Marcy trapped under the body of her beau, the community’s board president, Melvin. And he’s dead. The three friends secretly move Melvin back to his apartment setting off a chain of events that will threaten to tear their community apart and send them to jail. Melvin is one of a number of residents who are dying under suspicious circumstances; and soon Celia becomes an amateur sleuth in an attempt to identify what she suspects is a serial murderer.

Filled with humorous, witty observations about retirement communities, the realities of getting older, and the promise of new love, the Cha-Cha Babes of Pelican Way celebrates the deep bonds of female friendships, the desire for companionship at any age, and shows us that it’s never too late to learn how to cha-cha through life.

About the Author

Frances Metzman, a graduate of Moore College of Art and a Masters degree from the University of Pennsylvania, co-authored a novel, Ugly Cookies, by Pella Press. Her short story collection, The Hungry Heart: Stories, was published by Wilderness House Press, February 1, 2012. In 2009 she won a nomination for a Dzanc Books award, “Best of the Web.” In addition to publishing numerous (25) short stories in various literary journals, she has a novel published by Wild River Books, 2018, The Cha-Cha Babes of Pelican Way. Her teaching credits include Adjunct professor at Rosemont College to graduate school, Temple University at OLLI (creative writing and memoir). Other writing workshops, memoir/creative writing, have been given at universities and colleges such as Bryn Mawr, Penn State, Delaware, University of Pennsylvania, Widener, etc. As fiction editor for a literary journal, Schuylkill Valley Journal, she selects and edits the submissions. Many articles, essays, and stories she writes deal with aspects of society that influences relationships for all ages, including the mature set (sometimes tongue in cheek). Many articles are dedicated to improving attitudes toward the mature folks and address myths about “age appropriate” thinking.

Author Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/FranWrites

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

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5871334.Frances_Metzman

FrancesMetzman.com

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKobo

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Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour Gown with the Wind by Stephanie Blackmoore

“Why Weddings?”by Stephanie Blackmoore

I’m often asked why I picked wedding planning as the theme for my cozy series. Some readers assume I was or currently am employed as a wedding planner. However, I was an attorney and a law librarian before I began writing mysteries. The only wedding I’ve ever planned was my own. Yet it was a happy choice to create a character who began her career as an attorney and segued into wedding planning and owning a bed and breakfast when serendipity struck and she inherited a crumbling mansion.

Weddings are such emotional affairs! Even the most smoothly planned wedding has a few hiccups, moments of stress, conflict, and heightened anticipation. Tensions can run high when two people decide to formally join their families and incorporate different traditions and choices for their big day. Weddings are usually family affairs, and a chance for couples and family members to reflect on their dearest-held wishes, hopes, and dreams. The nexus of strong emotions, the conflicts involved in making decisions about a wedding, and reflection upon family traditions seemed like a theme that would provide ample fodder for a cozy mystery series.

A surprising revelation that often strikes my main character, Mallory Shepard, is the strong overlap in the skills she used from her days as an attorney with those she employs in her current profession as a wedding planner. Mallory has to persuade bridezillas and momzillas to compromise, mediate between clashing family members’ disparate wishes, and negotiate the best contracts for her business. And to top it all off, Mallory often gets to use the research skills she honed as an attorney to guide her in her unofficial role as amateur sleuth.

I also love exploring family expectations, conflicts, and secrets in my cozy mystery series. The backdrop of a wedding helps me weave these considerations into a tapestry of tension, character growth, and surprises. I also love to plan parties from the safe confines of my desk! I am a bit of an introvert in real life, but through my series, I get to dream up elaborate weddings and parties down to the last detail. I enjoy cooking, and focusing on weddings as my theme allows me to craft fun themed menus and confections. I’ve put my protagonist through her paces more than once by having her create new wedding plans overnight. I think that’s in part because the details are so fun to plan!

Gown with the Wind (A Wedding Planner Mystery)
by Stephanie Blackmoore\

About the Book


Gown with the Wind (A Wedding Planner Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Kensington (December 18, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1496717511
ISBN-13: 978-1496717511
Digital ASIN: B07BV3K4N8

Professional wedding planner Mallory Shepard knows her job is challenging under any circumstances. But when the groom is your ex and someone invites murder, there may never be another tomorrow . . .

Mallory’s fine—really—handling the wedding arrangements for her ex, Keith. But his fiancée, Becca, has at the last minute decided to switch from a Japanese-cherry-blossom theme to a Gone with the Wind theme. She wants to honor her ailing grandmother, who owns an impressive collection of GWTW memorabilia—and who is fiercely at odds with the groom’s mother over the nuptial plans.

But among other complications, Becca gets into a fight with an old childhood rival over a replica Scarlett O’Hara wedding gown. She wins the dress—but soon becomes a murder suspect when the other woman is found dead in Becca’s swimming pool. And it’s up to Mallory to solve the mystery behind this unhappy occasion, before a different kind of civil war breaks out . . .

About the Author

A native Pittsburgher, Stephanie Blackmoore now lives in Missouri, with her husband, son and two-spirited cats. She was an attorney in Pittsburgh and a librarian in Florida before becoming a writer. Stephanie is a fan of everything black-and-yellow. She is hard at work on her next Wedding Planner mystery. Connect with Stephanie at the links below.

Social Media Links: Website Facebook Twitter

Purchase Links – Amazon B&N Kobo Google Play

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Recipe Post and Spotlight for Steamed Open: A Maine Clambake Mystery by Barbara Ross

Steamed Open (A Maine Clambake Mystery)
by Barbara Ross

About the Book


Steamed Open (A Maine Clambake Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Kensington (December 18, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1496717945
ISBN-13: 978-1496717948
Digital ASIN: B07BV3RCDG

It’s summertime in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, and the clamming is easy—or it was until a mysterious new neighbor blocks access to the beach, cutting off the Snowden Family Clambake’s supply. Julia Snowden is just one of many townspeople angered by Bartholomew Frick’s decision. But which one of them was angry enough to kill?

Beachcombers, lighthouse buffs, and clammers are outraged after Frick puts up a gate in front of his newly inherited mansion. When Julia urges him to reconsider, she’s the last to see him alive—except the person who stabs him in the neck with a clam rake. As she pores through a long list of suspects, Julia meets disgruntled employees, rival heirs, and a pair of tourists determined to visit every lighthouse in America. They all have secrets, and Julia will have to work fast to expose the guilty party—or see this season’s clam harvest dry up for good.

About the Author


Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries. The first book in the series, Clammed Up was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel, the RT Book Reviews, Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Amateur Sleuth and was a finalist for the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. She is co-editor/co-publisher of Level Best Books, which produces anthologies of crime stories by New England authors. She writes at her home overlooking the harbor in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. Barbara blogs with the Wicked Cozy Authors and Maine Crime Writers. Readers can visit her website at MaineClambakeMysteries.com.

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKobo

Ma’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake Recipe

 Ingredients

 For the cake

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 stick of butter, softened (1 quarter pound)

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 pint sour cream

For the “topping”

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Using a mixer, mix the ingredients for the cake until smooth and integrated.

Using your fingers, mix the “topping” ingredients.

Pour one half of the cake mixture into a greased tube pan. Sprinkle one half of the “topping” over it. Pour in the rest of the cake mixture. Sprinkle the rest of the “topping” over the top.

Bake for 35 minutes.

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Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Mrs. Odboddy And Then There Was a Tiger by Elaine Faber

The Formulaic Cozy Mystery Template

Whether Thriller or Cozy, avid mystery readers consume thousands of books each year. They acquire their reading material from the library, through book sales, garage sales, borrow from a friend and sometimes, actually purchase from the author!

Let’s pretend for a minute, we’re an author desirous of writing and publishing a new cozy mystery series. How is it done? What shall we write about? What is the secret of success? After careful analysis of numerous successful cozy mystery series,’ we begin to notice a certain template to the storyline of each novel.

If we follow this template, our story should begin with a beautiful, blonde female sleuth, recently divorced. She has a dog to capture the hearts of animal lovers. The dog doesn’t have to solve crimes, but it helps. Her sweetheart, (who likely resists a committed relationship) is connected to an inept police department, allowing her access to official information and documents generally withheld from the public. She also needs an unusual profession.

The best jobs or hobbies have already been snagged by other popular mystery series’. These include book store owners, catering services, dog groomers, travel agents, writers, pet sitters, private detectives, cruise ship directors, college professors, librarians, etc.

For any hope of a successful series, she’ll need a career that hasn’t been done to death, but one that gives her access to plenty of potential murder victims. It is a series, remember?

Here’s a thought. Our sleuth will own her own septic tank truck giving her access to plenty of back yards where she spots nefarious ‘going’s-on’, or how about the door-to door Avon lady selling wrinkle cream? Plenty of opportunities to look beyond the screen door and see someone bound and gagged…Maybe not.

Let’s stick with the septic tank pumper-outer lady concept.

We must follow the cozy mystery template. The lady plumber and her quirky sidekick (did I forget to mention the quirky sidekick?) find a body in the pump house. Proceed to red herrings, unrequited love, and suspicious characters, sadly, all have alibis. Toss in some plumbing trivia, stopped up toilets, overflowing bathtubs, (a humorous scene or two), and move right on to the climax where our heroine agrees to meet the  Home Depot plumbing salesman in the plumbing warehouse, but doesn’t tell anyone where she’s going. The killer-plumber strings her up to the rafters, because he’s been ‘flushed out.’ Her death is imminent. However, her dog, tracking her scent, led her detective boyfriend to the warehouse. He arrives in the nick of time. The killer is apprehended, every toilet is unstopped, and the heroine rides off into the sunset in her sewer truck.

To be fair, there are many ways writers change up the various topics; hobbies, quirky friend, red herrings, suspects, mysterious packages, murder, theft, kidnapping, contraband, , secret message, villains (always the most unexpected cast member), etc.

This is the formulaic template, with assorted variations, that most cozy mysteries follow.

Mrs. Odboddy – And Then There was a Tiger is a mystery/adventure that diverges from the monotonous, formulaic cozy mystery. Framed for burglary, and accused of passing counterfeit bills, elderly, eccentric Agnes Odboddy is determined to clear her tarnished reputation, locate and return the war bond money she misplaced, and seek justice for the local county fair’s carnival tiger, whose reputation is almost as besmirched as her own. Not a whisker of a formulaic template here, except that, of course, everything works out in the end.

Available at Amazon in print and e-book.

Read more about my mysteries at www.mindcandymysteries.com

Mrs. Odboddy: And Then There Was a Tiger: (Mrs. Odboddy Mysteries)
by Elaine Faber

A WWII tale of conflict and carnivals, turmoil and tigers.

About the Book


Mrs. Odboddy: And Then There Was a Tiger (Mrs. Odboddy Mysteries)
WWII tale of conflict and carnivals, turmoil and tigers.
Cozy Mystery/Humorous/Historical
3rd in Series
Elk Grove Publications (July 25, 2018)
Print Length: 349 pages
Digital ASIN: B07FXDV1C6

While the ‘tiger of war’ rages across the Pacific during WWII, eccentric, elderly Agnes Odboddy, ‘fights the war from the home front’. Her patriotic duties are interrupted when she is accused of the Wilkey’s Market burglary.

A traveling carnival with a live tiger joins the parishioner’s harvest fair at The First Church of the Evening Star and Everlasting Light. Accused again when counterfeit bills are discovered at the carnival, and when the war bond money goes missing, Agnes sets out to restore her reputation and locate the money. Her attempts lead her into harm’s way when she discovers a friend’s betrayal and even more about carnival life than she bargained for.

Granddaughter Katherine’s turbulent love triangle with a doctor and an FBI agent rivals Agnes’s own on-again, off-again relationship with Godfrey.

In Faber’s latest novel, your favorite quirky character, Mrs. Odboddy, prevails against injustice and faces unexpected challenges . . . and then There Was a Tiger!

About the Author
elaine-4.-touchup

Elaine Faber lives in Northern California with her husband and two feline companions. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, California Cat Writers, and Northern California Publishers and Authors. She volunteers with the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop. She enjoys speaking on author panels, sharing highlights of her novels. Her short stories have appeared in national magazines and multiple anthologies. She has published seven books. In addition to the Mrs. Odboddy Mysteries Elaine writes the Black Cat Mysteries.

Purchase Link – Amazon

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Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Let Her Go, a Lillian Dove Mystery, by D.J. Adamson

AN IDEA AT ITS ORIGIN.

When a teenager, at the end of an evening, maybe after a movie, several of us would go to the T&R, a large truck stop which also served as one of the many restaurants in our city providing an exquisite dining experience. Actually, you didn’t see many older patrons unless they were doing their own non-culinary business. It was mostly teenagers and young adults several deep in the booths on the restaurant side because they had no legal tender to get into the cocktail lounge.

This was, however, a great incubator to escalate my storytelling.  I had always been a storyteller. Show and Tell was a stage for my realistic imaginings. In the second grade, I told a whooper about how a television crew was coming to our house to film my family, and Mrs. Whitaker decided to make it a “Class trip.”  She asked every day for over a month when the filming was going to take place. This gave me the ability to add chapters to a story once started. When she found out the truth, she said I was a good enough liar to become a writer. Thus…here I am.

There is, after all, a little bit of truth in every story.

While I learned chapter and plot sequences in Show and Tell, I developed strong characters at the T & R. For each person I picked out, I made up a story of why they had come to the restaurant. My friends then began to ask for the back stories of these characters, and I found I enjoyed making up the back story of why they were at the T & R almost more than the invariable reason they were sitting in the booth and what might happen to them.

Lillian Dove in the Lillian Dove mystery series is a little truth in fiction, as well. I never met my Aunt Lillian, my father’s sister. She was estranged from our family due to her over-enjoyment of alcohol. Back in the 1940’s, alcoholism was just becoming understood as something more than just a bad habit. Today, we can actually see generational alcoholic behaviors. Learning that Mormons believe a soul can be saved after they have passed, I decided, to give my Aunt Lillian recovery. Only, there are a great many alcoholic detectives out there in fiction-land, and I wanted to research and advise my readers on other aspects of life besides crime-doesn’t pay.  So, while Lillian IS five years in recovery, her individual journey in the series is to learn how to take on life with all its challenges.

(From Let Her Go.)

If only I could go back and do life differently.

Isn’t that what people say? 

Life would be so much better.

Would it?

            If only was the mantra I’d repeated most of my life. If only I never took that first drink from my father’s bottle of Absolut, wondering at the age of twelve, what he found so exhilarating.

            Why did he like it more than us?

            Would I have always taken that throatful no matter the day or time, the year, or moment? No matter if my father drank himself dead every night? No matter if my mother killed him every day?

            Was it my destiny?

Dahlia, my mother.  Did she want to go back? Do it differently?  She always seemed so sure of herself. Right vs. wrong. White over black. Many people think she is hard to manage. Abusive. But she lived the same life I did.

Might she be unsure? Reactive? Defensive?

Are we so different?

My name is Lillian Dove. I am five years sober.

This rebirth I’ve taken has given me more questions than answers.

I have admitted my life was and is full of mayhem, but I have also admitted I have choices. I have come to suppose there is more for me if I want to take steps to create it.  I choose to believe in the Lillian buried deep inside fighting to come out.

Life shouldn’t be this hard.

Right?

LET HER GO: Lillian Dove Mystery
by D. J. Adamson

About the Book


LET HER GO: Lillian Dove Mystery
Suspense Mystery
3rd in Series
Horatio Press (November 6, 2018)
Paperback: 448 pages
ISBN-10: 1732672210
ISBN-13: 978-1732672215
Digital ASIN: B07G9TTMZ5

Murder. Betrayal. Love Gone Wrong

With her ability to present clues without giving away the endings and offering surprising twists encouraging the reader to the next page, D. J. Adamson delves into a family tragedy ending up in murder and a teenage daughter missing. When Lillian Dove finds herself involved in the police investigation, she realizes the daughter holds the key to unravel who killed her mother.

It is three days before Christmas when Lillian Dove comes across Dr. Conrad standing out in front of his house, covered in blood. When going inside the house to help other members of his family, she finds his wife killed, his son seriously injured, and his teenage daughter, Peyton Clayton, missing. Even more shocking, the police suspect Dr. Conrad. Understanding how emotional dilemmas have strained the family emboldens Lillian to help Detective Jacque Leveque, Major Crimes Detective for the Frytown Police Department, find the prime witness to the Conrad truths.

Let Her Go is a nerve-wracking exploration into a family lost, and the extent love elicits both the good and the bad. In this Third Step in Personal Recovery Lillian works to find Peyton Clayton, while battling the worse arctic freeze in Frytown’s history, untangling human frailties, and confronting the ghosts of Christmas.

About the Author

D. J. Adamson is an award-winning author for both her mystery novels and her science fiction novel. She is the editor of Le Coeur de l’Artiste, a newsletter which reviews books, and a blog, L’Artiste with offers authors the venue to write on craft, marketing, and the creative mind. D.J. teaches writing and literature, and to keep busy when she is not writing or teaching, she has been a board member of Sisters in Crime Los Angeles and Sisters in Crime Central Coast, a member of the Southern California Mystery Writers Organization, California Writers Club and Greater Los Angeles Writer’s Society. Her books can be found and purchased in bookstores and on Amazon. To find her, her blog L’Artiste, or newsletter go to http://www.djadamson.com.

Author Links

Website: http://djadamson.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/adamson_dj

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8511075.D_J_Adamson

Purchase Link

Amazon

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

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

Welcome, Leigh.

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

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

Wow! that’s quite a publishing history. I’m impressed.  Tell us a little bit about your books — if you write a series, any upcoming releases or your current work-in-progress. If you have an upcoming release, please specify the release date.

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

That sounds great.

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

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

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

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

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

That’s a good mix for a readership.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

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

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

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

Reading and playing on the computer.

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

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

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

I think those challenges are pretty common for most authors.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

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

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

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

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

“Can you open it?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Got it.” He stepped inside.

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

“Don’t go in there.”

“I wasn’t going to—”

Then I looked at him.

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

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

“Did he see you?” I said stupidly.

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

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

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

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

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

Website: http://leighperryauthor.com/

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

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

My Alter Ego

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

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

About the Book


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

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

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

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

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Guest Post and Blog Tour for Killalot, an Ivy Meadows Mystery, by Cindy Brown


When Your Subplot Just Isn’t Working…

As you can tell by the titles (Macdeath, The Sound of Murder, Oliver Twisted, Ivy Get Your Gun, The Phantom of Oz, and now Killalot) all of the Ivy Meadows mysteries are set during plays. Writing those theatrical subplots is lots of fun (they are very silly) and really tough (you try to mash The Sound of Music with Cabaret). This time around I wanted to set my mystery at a Renaissance Faire. The obvious theatre connection (and the only one, really) was Camelot. I decided to parody the show by setting it during the Kennedy era, since that time is often referred to as America’s Camelot. But try as I might, I could not make the idea work. I didn’t want to give up the Ren faire plot. What could I do?

I made the parody not work. Read on, and you’ll see what I mean:

“So I’d like to welcome you to the first rehearsal for our new musical…” John Robert spread his arms wide to the sky. “Kennelot!” Silence. He dropped his arms. “Kennelot! Get it?”

“Um,” I said, “Doesn’t that sound a little like kennel? As in dog kennel?”

“No, no, no. Don’t you see? It’s a combination of Kennedy and Camelot.”
I was pretty sure we all got it. “Now let’s talk about your characters. Of course, I want you all to research Jackie, JFK, and Marilyn respectively. Let’s talk about them as they relate to Camelot. We’ll get back to the songs tomorrow. The only ones I really have worked out so far are “Kennelot” and “I Love You, the Hell with Silence.”

“That’s a reworking of ‘I Loved You Once in Silence’? The song Guinevere sings to Lancelot?” Hayden asked.

“Exactly. But now you’re going to sing it to Marilyn.”

“But did he really love Marilyn? I mean, me?” I really hoped John Robert was serious about feedback, because I couldn’t seem to keep my mouth shut. “Wasn’t it more about sex?”

“Honey, how old are you? Do you really not know that men confuse sex with love?”

“If you’re talking to Marilyn, no, I don’t think I ever did figure it out. If you’re talking to Iv—”

“No, no, no. Stay Marilyn.”

“It does seem rather a generalization,” said Jackie. “And it’s not just men who confuse the two. Though I do think women are more likely to confuse love and romance.”

“Which brings us right back to Camelot,” John Robert said. “Since that’s precisely what Guinevere does.”

“So I’m Guinevere?” I asked. “And JFK is Lancelot?”

“Exactly,” said John Robert. “Now…”

“Wait, I thought I was Arthur,” said JFK. “Wouldn’t that make Jackie Arthur?”

“Well…oh.” John Robert’s face fell. “That’s a problem. Yes.” His tongue played with his front teeth while he was thinking. “So…Marilyn, you’re the one who destroys Camelot.”

“I’m pretty sure it was Lee Harvey Oswald.”

“In the play, you’re the one who destroys Camelot. So you’re Lancelot.”

“And I’m Guinevere?” said JFK. “I really need to be a man.”

“You are a man, darling,” said Jackie. “That’s why you’re president.”

“Okay, maybe I need to rethink that song. I’ve also been wondering about the round table…Who do you think should be invited to the table?”

“The Cabinet?” said Hayden.

“Too boring.” John Robert shook his head. “Maybe it’s full of JFK’s women?”

“Mistresses aren’t very knight-like,” I said.

“Maybe it’s the Kennedy women,” said Jackie. “You know: me, Ethel, and Joan?”

“Ooh, we could do ‘The First Ladies Who Lunch,’” John Robert said. “Maybe even use the tune from the song in Company. Do you think Sondheim would approve?”

I doubted it.

See? I think it works. What do you think?

Killalot (An Ivy Meadows Mystery)
by Cindy Brown

About the Book

Killalot (An Ivy Meadows Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Henery Press (November 15, 2018)
Hardcover: 282 pages
ISBN-10: 1635114330
ISBN-13: 978-1635114331
Paperback: 282 pages
ISBN-10: 1635114306
ISBN-13: 978-1635114300
Digital ASIN: B07H3CH4RH

A jouster, a playwright, and a detective walk into a faire…but it’s no joke when one ends up dead.

Actress and part-time PI Ivy Meadows is thrilled when she learns that the famous playwright behind Hello Dolly Madison is in Arizona. Not so much when she realizes he’s a suspect in the murder of a Renaissance faire jouster.

As is her friend Riley. And about a thousand other people, all disguised in Renaissance costume during the fatal jousting match.

When Ivy is hired to investigate the killing, she goes undercover as a Cockney belly dancer at the faire and finagles her way into the playwright’s Kennedy-inspired version of Camelot—as Marilyn Monroe, no less.

Then, in the midst of her toughest case ever, Ivy has to solve another dilemma: Will she follow her lifelong dream of being an actor or settle down with the love of her life?

The murder investigation, the play, and real life come together in a twist that begs the question: Is there a happily-ever-after for anyone?

Books in the Ivy Meadows Humorous Mystery Series:

MACDEATH (#1)
THE SOUND OF MURDER (#2)
OLIVER TWISTED (#3)
IVY GET YOUR GUN (#4)
The Phantom of Oz (#5)
KILLALOT (#6)

About the Author

Cindy Brown has been a theater geek (musician, actor, director, producer, and playwright) since her first professional gig at age 14. Now a full-time writer, she’s lucky enough to have garnered several awards (including 3rd place in the 2013 international Words With Jam First Page Competition, judged by Sue Grafton!) and is an alumnus of the Squaw Valley Writers Workshop. Though Cindy and her husband now live in Portland, Oregon, she made her home in Phoenix, Arizona, for more than 25 years and knows all the good places to hide dead bodies in both cities.

Author Links

Website & Blog: www.cindybrownwriter.com

Twitter handle: @friendlybrown

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cindy-Brown-author/288210721356802?ref=hl

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