Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Cozy Mystery

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

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

Welcome, Leigh.

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

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

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

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

That sounds great.

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

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

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

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

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

That’s a good mix for a readership.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

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

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

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

Reading and playing on the computer.

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

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

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

I think those challenges are pretty common for most authors.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

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

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

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

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

“Can you open it?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Got it.” He stepped inside.

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

“Don’t go in there.”

“I wasn’t going to—”

Then I looked at him.

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

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

“Did he see you?” I said stupidly.

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

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

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

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

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

Website: http://leighperryauthor.com/

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

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

My Alter Ego

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

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

About the Book


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

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

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

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

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November 5 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

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November 7 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

November 8 – Carstairs Considers – REVIEW

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November 9 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

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

November 10 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

November 11 – This Is My Truth Now – REVIEW

November 12 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW

November 12 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW

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November 14 –My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

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Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

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

Purchase Links

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November 14 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

November 14 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 15 – Carstairs Considers – REVIEW

November 15 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST

November 16 – The Editing Pen – REVIEW

November 16 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 17 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

November 17 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

November 18 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

November 19 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, Renaissance Recipe

November 20 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 20 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf– SPOTLIGHT

November 21 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW

November 21 – The Ninja Librarian – REVIEW

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Posted in Blog Tour, Cozy Mystery, Spotlight

Spotlight of A Cold Brew Killling, an All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery, by Lena Gregory

A Cold Brew Killing (All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery)
by Lena Gregory

About the Book


A Cold Brew Killing (All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Lyrical Underground (November 6, 2018)
Print Length Approximately 250 Pages
Digital ASIN: B079R5Y14L

When an ice cream vendor discovers a frozen stiff, Florida diner owner Gia Morelli has to serve up some just desserts . . .

Gia has become good friends with Trevor, a fun, flirtatious bachelor who owns the ice cream parlor down the street from her popular All-Day Breakfast Café. Trevor has the scoop on all sorts of local attractions and activities. But when he bursts into her diner, trembling and paler than a pint of French Vanilla, she can tell something’s very wrong. Trevor points her toward his shop then passes out cold. When Gia runs down to his shop, she discovers a chilling sight—a dead body in the open freezer. But the ice cream man’s troubles are just beginning. The police suspect him of this murder a la mode, especially when details of his questionable past surface. Gia believes in her friend and is determined to clear his name and find the real cold-blooded killer before someone else gets put on ice . . .

Lena Gregory lives in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island with her husband and three children.

When she was growing up, she spent many lazy afternoons on the beach, in the yard, anywhere she could find to curl up with a good book. She loves reading as much now as she did then, but she now enjoys the added pleasure of creating her own stories.

Author Links:

Website: http://www.lenagregory.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lena.gregory.986

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Lena.Gregory.Author/?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LenaGregory03

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14956514.Lena_Gregory?from_search=true

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

Purchase Links

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November 6 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

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November 8 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW

November 8 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

November 9 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

November 9 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT

November 10 – Jane Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 11 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

November 11 – cherylbbookblog – SPOTLIGHT

November 12 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

November 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

November 13 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW

November 13 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

November 14 – Sapphyria’s Books – REVIEW

November 14 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 15 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

November 16 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

November 16 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

November 17 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 17 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 18 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 19 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

November 19 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – GUEST POST

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Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

Character Guest Post and Blog Tour for Purls and Poison, a Black Sheep and Company Book 2 by Anne Canadeo

This post was contributed by Anne Canadeo. Her cozy mystery, Purls and Poison, is currently on tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

PURLS & POISON VIRTUAL TOUR

Character POV – Suzanne Cavannaugh

Anne Canadeo

 Three Things I Learned from Being A Prime Suspect

Here’s some advice I hope you never have to use. But, as dear Grandma Rosa used to say, “Suzanne, you never know what’s going to happen when you wake up in the morning. For better or worse.”  Being named the prime suspect in a murder investigation definitely falls into the latter category and I am, right now, at the top of the list of some very shady characters who may have killed  my co-worker, Liza Devereaux.

How did I win this dubious honor?  Let’s just say everyone has a Liza in the office; that annoying someone who always has to one up you, poaches your clients and steals the big deals out from under your nose. All of my co-workers – the whole town, practically — knows the nasty truth about our relationship, and someone did a bang up job framing me. It’s a living nightmare and a learning experience, I have to say. Here are a few tips that might help you navigate these choppy waters—and keep you from falling overboard.

# 1) Don’t trust the police to figure it out. And keep your big mouth shut: I guess that’s two tips,  but they are connected.

I hate to talk down the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to protect us every day. Most of the time, they do flush out the guilty party. But if I leave it to them to track down the real culprit of this crime, I’ll be trading my designer wardrobe for an orange jumpsuit in no time.

Each question the detectives pose pushes me closer to an official murder charge.  Partly my fault, since I can’t always control what pops out of my mouth. I know that women especially want to be helpful. But take it from me, the less said the better when you’re stranded in an interview room. Which brings me to my next point…

#2) Support, support, support: Find a smart lawyer. You’ve read it in books and seen it in the movies. The advice is so obvious, why even say it. Hey, it’s a cliché for a reason. Because it’s true! I struggled like a moth caught in a web until super-sharp, no nonsense attorney Helen Forbes flew to my rescue. Then I pressed a hand over my mouth while she did the talking.   (See point # 1 again.) I just hope we can hold out until the truth is discovered.

I also have the greatest family, which goes without saying. And the most amazing group of loyal and true friends, who not only love me unconditionally (while the rest of the town treats me like a soon-to-be jailbird)  but have been putting their very clever heads together 24/7 to find out who really killed Liza.  Let’s hope they can untangle this mess before my time runs out. In the meantime, I cannot neglect self-care, right? Which brings up point number three…

#3) Pamper yourself! Yes, it sounds crazy, but I am so not kidding. Don’t let all the rumors and accusations get into your DNA. You are totally innocent and you know it, even if no one else in the office, or all of Plum Harbor – except for your nearest and dearest – believe you.

Don’t hide in your house, binge on cup cakes and pizza, or dress like a bag lady. Get your hair done, have a massage and a facial or eyebrow threading while you’re at it. The best revenge is looking good, my lovelies. You have nothing to hide. Let the world know it.

The bonus to this strategy? You can and will pick up some very juicy gossip at the salon. What better place to get the low down on the desperate characters who might be involved in this dirty business.

Those are my pearls of wisdom – no pun intended. I will let you know if I wiggle out of this mess. Right now, it’s got a tighter hold on me than a pair of Spanx three sizes too small.

Wish me luck !

Purls and Poison (A Black Sheep & Co. Mystery)
by Anne Canadeo

About the Book


Purls and Poison (A Black Sheep & Co. Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Kensington (October 30, 2018)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1496708636
ISBN-13: 978-1496708632
Digital ASIN: B079KT54BW

When a fellow Black Sheep Knitter is suspected of poisoning her coworker, the group puts down their needles and takes up their friend’s defense . . .

Suzanne Cavanaugh has just about had it with her office rival at Prestige Properties. It’s bad enough that Liza Devereaux is constantly needling her at work, but when she shows up at one of Suzanne’s open houses to poach potential buyers, it’s the last straw. No one in the office fails to hear the two snarling at each other.

When Liza is later found dead in her office cubicle—poisoned by a diet shake—Suzanne becomes the prime suspect. It’s soon discovered, though, that Liza had double-crossed so many around town and stashed their dark secrets in her designer handbags that anyone could be the culprit.

The Black Sheep Knitters have no doubt their friend has been framed—but they need to prove it. Stirred to action, they get together to catch a sneaky killer who’s trying to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes . . .

About The Author

Anne Canadeo is the best-selling author of more than 30 books, including the Black Sheep & Company Mysteries, and as Katherine Spencer, the Cape Light and Angel Island series. She somehow manages to write a lot, despite many and much loved distractions — such as digging up the garden, hanging out with her dog, trying new recipes, drinking copious amounts of mint tea, eating chocolate and volunteer work in the community. She lives in Northport, NY, a village on the Long Island Sound very much like the settings of her stories. Anne loves to hear from readers. Answering their messages is definitely another favorite distraction in her day.

Author Links

Website: annecanadeo.com
Facebooks: www.facebook.com/AnneCanadeoAuthor
Instagram: www.instagram.com/annecanadeo

Purchase Links:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Powell Books

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November 8 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

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November 10 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

November 11 – Handcrafted Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 12 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 12 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

November 13 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 13 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

November 14 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

November 15 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 16 – The Montana Bookaholic – SPOTLIGHT

November 17 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

November 18 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW, GUEST POST

November 19 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 20 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

November 20 – Reading Is My SuperPower – GUEST POST

November 21 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Mardi Gras Murder, a Cajun Country Mystery by Ellen Byron

A GUEST POST WITH TUG CROZAT

Hi there, y’all, I’m Tug Crozat. You’re probably more familiar with my daughter, Maggie, but I thought I’d drop by and fill you in on what all’s going on these days at Crozat Plantation B&B.

Mardi Gras is a huge deal in Louisiana. Maggie once bought me a joke Christmas sweatshirt that said, “Happy Almost Mardi Gras.” Yup, that’s kind of how we think of it around here. The part of the year that isn’t Carnival Season basically serves as a lead-up to Carnival Season.

The literal translation of “Mardi Gras” is “Fat Tuesday.” It’s the last day you really get let loose before Lent starts. Let me tell you a little about how we celebrate here in our little village of Pelican, Louisiana. (Town motto: “Yes, We Peli-CAN!”) Yes, we have a parade with floats and throws like beads and doubloons. We also have several Courir de Mardi Gras. That means “Mardi Gras Run.” Folks dress up in these colorful costumes and wear handmade masks. Each courir has a capitaine, who keeps the group in line as much as possible as they go from house to house to cajole ingredients for a communal gumbo out of agreeable residents. The Mardi Gras – yup, here it’s a proper noun as well as a holiday name – sing, dance, and beg to get those ingredients. Then everyone comes together at one location where the communal gumbo is made and served. (Nowadays, a lot of the ingredient-gathering is purely ceremonial because the gumbo’s pre-made by local cooks to save time.)

In Pelican, we have a big Mardi Gras party once the Courirs show up with their ingredients. There’s a pageant queen, dancing, and my favorite part of the whole deal – the Gumbo Cookoff. Yup, in addition to the communal gumbo, there’s a whole contest for making it. A lot of men in our village love to cook, and the only thing we like cooking better than jambalaya is gumbo. I always make mine a big old cast iron pot that’s so important to me I store it in our family safe between competitions. It’s been handed down to Crozat men from one generation to another. Nobody knows how old it is, but boy, do I love that baby. Maggie, who’s an only child, jokes that while some of her friends had to compete with a sibling for attention, she had to compete with a black pot. (That’s what we call them – black pots.)

I always spend the week before Mardi Gras fixing up batches of my gumbo, making sure I have the right ingredients handy, doing a little fine tuning of the recipe, which I also keep in the safe. Like the black pot, that recipe’s been handed down through the family for generations, and Crozat men have won the Pelican Mardi Gras gumbo contest more times than I can count. I got my eye on the prize again for this year.

I can’t imagine anything going wrong. Can you?

Mardi Gras Murder: A Cajun Country Mystery
by Ellen Byron

About the Book


Mardi Gras Murder: A Cajun Country Mystery
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Crooked Lane Books (October 9, 2018)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 168331705X
ISBN-13: 978-1683317050
Digital ASIN: B078LZ5W3H

Southern charm meets the dark mystery of the bayou as a hundred-year flood, a malicious murder, and a most unusual Mardi Gras converge at the Crozat Plantation B&B.

It’s Mardi Gras season on the bayou, which means parades, pageantry, and gumbo galore. But when a flood upends life in the tiny town of Pelican, Louisiana—and deposits a body of a stranger behind the Crozat Plantation B&B—the celebration takes a decidedly dark turn. The citizens of Pelican are ready to Laissez les bon temps rouler—but there’s beaucoup bad blood on hand this Mardi Gras.

Maggie Crozat is determined to give the stranger a name and find out why he was murdered. The post-flood recovery has delayed the opening of a controversial exhibit about the little-known Louisiana Orphan Train. And when a judge for the Miss Pelican Mardi Gras Gumbo Queen pageant is shot, Maggie’s convinced the murder is connected to the body on the bayou. Does someone covet the pageant queen crown enough to kill for it? Could the deaths be related to the Orphan Train, which delivered its last charges to Louisiana in 1929? The leads are thin on this Fat Tuesday—and until the killer is unmasked, no one in Pelican is safe.

A simmering gumbo of a humorous whodunit, Mardi Gras Murder is the fourth piquant installment in USA Today bestselling author Ellen Byron’s award-winning Cajun Country mysteries.

About the Author

Ellen Byron authors the Cajun Country Mystery series. A Cajun Christmas Killing and Body on the Bayou both won the Lefty Award for Best Humorous Mystery and were nominated for Agatha awards in the category of Best Contemporary Novel. Plantation Shudders was nominated for Agatha, Lefty, and Daphne awards. Mardi Gras Murder launches October 9th. Ellen’s TV credits include Wings, Just Shoot Me, and Fairly OddParents. She’s written over 200 national magazine articles, and her published plays include the award-winning Graceland. She also worked as a cater-waiter for the legendary Martha Stewart, a credit she never tires of sharing.

Author Links:

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NCrooked LaneBookBubKobo

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Celebrate The Release of my 4th Cobble Cove Mystery with a Free e-copy of the 2nd

 

The second book of my Cobble Cove cozy mystery series is free on Thursday, October 25 and Friday, October 26. You can get it here on those days: mybook.to/CobbleCove2

Librarian Alicia McKinney has put the past behind her…

Two years ago, Alicia discovered both a terrible truth and lasting love with John McKinney in the small town of Cobble Cove, New York. Now a busy mother of twin babies and co-author of a mystery series, Alicia couldn’t be happier.

Alicia’s contentment and safety are challenged…

Walking home alone from the library, Alicia senses someone following her, and on more than one occasion, she believes she is being watched. Does she have a stalker? When the local gift shop is burglarized, the troubling event causes unrest among Alicia and the residents of the quiet town.

John and Alicia receive an offer they can’t refuse…

When John’s sister offers to babysit while she and John take a much-needed vacation in New York City, Alicia is reluctant to leave her children because of the disturbances in Cobble Cove. John assures her the town is safe in the hands of Sheriff-elect Ramsay. Although Alicia’s experience with and dislike of the former Long Island detective don’t alleviate her concern, she and John take their trip.

Alicia faces her worst nightmare…

The McKinneys’ vacation is cut short when they learn their babies have been kidnapped and John’s sister shot. Alicia and John’s situation puts them between a rock and a hard place when the main suspect is found dead before the ransom is paid. In order to save their children, the McKinneys race against the clock to solve a mystery more puzzling than those found in their own books. Can they do it before time runs out?

Check out the whole series and my other books and stories on my Amazon Author Page 

If you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, all my eBooks are free.

Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Murder in the Museum, an Edmund Decleryk Mystery by Karen Shughart

Blog by Karen Shughart, Author, Murder in the Museum: An Edmund DeCleryk Mystery

What is it About Cozies?

Merriam Webster’s definition of the word “cozy”:

Enjoying or affording warmth and ease; marked by or providing contentment or comfort; marked by the intimacy of the family or a close group. 

When I decided to write my first mystery, Murder in the Museum: An Edmund DeCleryk Mystery, there was no question that it would be a Cozy. I had no idea what the market was for this type of book even though my own reading preferences lean heavily to the genre, and then I learned how large the market is. There are bloggers, private and public Facebook groups, book groups that support Cozy authors and books, and of course thousands and thousands of readers.

So, what is it about Cozies that people like? I can’t speak for everyone, but here’s my observation: Many of us like Cozies because they transport us to a gentler and more peaceful world where the characters are polite, courtesy and civility reign, there are no explicit adult scenes, violence or gratuitous language, and the sleuth always solves the crime. And there’s typically a diverse and close-knit community of quirky and interesting characters who get together for meals, and for family and community gatherings.

Many of us Cozy fans either grew up when life was a bit more orderly or, if we didn’t, we long for a time that is. We are overwhelmed by the constant stream of news about a violent and unstable world where something disastrous occurs every day. Cozies help us escape from the realities of the world and transport us to a time and place where certainly there’s good and evil, but good always prevails.

I’ve heard that Cozies are a women’s genre, that many men aren’t interested in them because they don’t feature macho sleuths who frequently sacrifice personal relationships to get the job done. In contrast, comfortable, companionable relationships abound in Cozies. What I’ve learned is that many men do like Cozies, once they are introduced to the genre.  My husband, brothers, male relatives and even friends who work in the field of criminal justice as sheriffs, commanders, and deputies read Cozies, but what they expect is a plot that makes sense, well-developed characters, and a somewhat realistic investigation. Don’t we all?

I’ve been struck by something else. Since writing the novel I’ve met many avid Cozy readers in person and online. Despite the size of this group, it’s a close-knit community of unfailing kind women and men who not only enjoy reading the genre but seem to live their own lives treating others as they would like to be treated.

A new online friend, a Cozy lover and blogger, recently was the victim of an astonishingly cruel incident of unprovoked verbal abuse at a local shopping center. This lovely and beautiful woman posted about her experience to her community of Cozy readers and within seconds received messages of support, encouragement and love that continued for several days. While haunted and sickened by what my friend had been subjected to, I was incredibly grateful for the kind messages she received from the Cozy community, which hopefully helped her recover from the disturbing and hateful attack. I’m getting the picture that Cozy readers are cozy people, by and large.

So, what is it about Cozies that draw me and so many others to the genre? Just about everything- good writing, intriguing plot, great characters, for sure- but also because Cozies expose us to a world that many of us prefer and appreciate, a world where people are kind, good prevails, and we’re not constantly assaulted with one disaster after another. Escapism? Maybe. But what’s so bad about that?

Murder in the Museum: An Edmund DeCleryk Mystery
by Karen Shughart

About the Book


Murder in the Museum: An Edmund DeCleryk Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Cozy Cat Press (February 13, 2018)
Paperback: 266 pages
ISBN-10: 1946063509
ISBN-13: 978-1946063502
Digital ASIN: B07CF74JHQ

Early one gray November morning, retired Lighthouse Cove, NY police chief, Edmund DeCleryk, finds Emily Bradford’s body on the beach at the base of the bluff where the local museum and historical society stands. At the same time, a break-in has been reported at the museum, and Emily’s coat and purse are found hanging on a peg in the museum’s gift shop where she worked. Was her death the result of a burglary gone bad or something more sinister?

When the police chief is called out of town for a family emergency, he hires Ed, now working as a criminal consultant, to assist deputy police chief, Carrie Ramos, with the murder investigation. After several leads don’t pan out, the chief, now back in Lighthouse Cove, decides to close the case. Confident that with more time the murder can be solved, Ed is determined to continue investigating on his own, with encouragement from his wife, Annie the museum’s executive director.

One morning while in the basement of the museum, the couple discovers a copy of a map dated 1785, and Ed’s instincts tell him it may be connected to Emily’s death. On a hunch, he and Annie travel to Toronto, Canada, where he learns of the original map and a manuscript written in 1847 that were unearthed during an archaeological dig. The manuscript contains information about a ship that capsized during a fierce storm on Lake Ontario — in 1785. Now Ed has clues as to why the murder occurred, but he still doesn’t know who committed the crime. Or does he?

About the Author

Karen Shughart received a B.A. in Comprehensive Literature from the University of Pittsburgh and completed graduate courses in English at Shippensburg University.

She is the author of two non-fiction books and has worked as an editor, publicist, photographer, journalist, teacher and non-profit executive. A Murder in the Museum: An Edmund DeCleryk Mystery is her first work of fiction.

Before moving to a small village on the shores of Lake Ontario in upstate New York, she and her husband resided in south central Pennsylvania, near Harrisburg, PA. For more information, visit her website: www.karenshughart.com.

Author Links:

Website: https://www.karenshughart.com

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

Blog: https://ladiesofmystery.com/karenshughart

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2094018.Karen_Shughart

Hometown Reads/Rochester Reads: https://hometownreads.com/books/murder-in-the-museum

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karen-shughart-738970161/

Purchase Link – Amazon

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