Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Bamboozled by Barbara Barrett

This post was contributed by author Barbara Barrett. Her cozy mystery, Bamboozled, is currently on tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

Mah Jongg Etiquette

The Mah Jongg Mystery series features four friends who play the game weekly and somehow wind up investigating murders that involve their friends, usually fellow mah jongg players. Part of each story includes actual game play to lend credibility. (They say write what you know, so as an avid addict of the game, that’s what I did. I have played the game for over nine years.)

Over time, one develops a set of expectations about the game in addition to the actual rules. Ways of playing that respect other players and tend to reduce misunderstandings. For this article, I am referring to these as mah jongg etiquette, but keep in mind, these are my thoughts only. The mah jongg-set scenes in this series employ this philosophy, either as the norm, or in some cases, to demonstrate abnormal situations.

First, there is a certain rhythm of play. Players tend to take the same amount of time setting up their tiles, selecting new tiles, exchanging tiles with other players and determining a hand. Players who finish faster than others either attend to their own business or help other members set up. Players who take too much time setting up may sometimes irritate the rest of the table, if they are consistently slow. Sometimes this happens with new players; more experienced players will tolerate this type of slow play better than that of other experienced players, who just tend to be slow. (Especially if those more experienced slower players are enjoying a winning day.)

Interrupted play is another area which can frustrate players. Occasionally, a player must excuse herself to attend to her personal needs in the middle of a game. Those situations can be overlooked; when it happens frequently, it becomes an irritant. The same applies to telephone calls. Some groups ask their players to silence their phones, but when they don’t, it is expected that calls will be handled expeditiously. Players who receive calls on a regular basis frustrate other players. Players who make calls on a regular basis are testing others’ patience.

I am not a fan of table talk. Talking during play, fine, as long as it doesn’t disturb play. But talking about play during play to me is a no-no. For instance, there are so many of each type of tile, like four Two Bams. It’s important to remember how many have been played for a player to know if she can make her hand. That’s part of the strategy. So when another player announces that three Two Bams have already been played, the player who still needs two Two Bams receives information she may not have known otherwise and may help her win.

Another kind of table talk occurs when one player indicates she knows what hand another is playing, which tips off the rest of the players. (I’m guilty of this on occasion.) Part of a good defense is to be aware which tiles the other players need and avoid playing them.

In this game, there are eight Jokers, which serve as wild cards. When a player uses one in a threesome (pung), foursome (kong) or quintet and another player has or draws the tile that was substituted by that joker, they may exchange their tile for the joker and use it for their own purposes. Some suggest it is good etiquette to hand the tile to the player with the joker and let them hand back the joker rather than simply exchanging it oneself.

Before play starts, players exchange three tiles at a time to the right, then across and then to the left. Typically, when four players play, this exchange continues in reverse order, to the left, across and finally back to the right. One player can stop the exchange after the first time to the left. This tends to irritate other players, because it limits the number of new tiles they can collect, but it’s a great defensive play for that reason. The good etiquette part is how the group determines this can happen; one way is to agree that play will continue unless the person wanting to stop it speaks up immediately after the first play to the left.

Speaking of passing, here’s another instance of faster versus slower players. In the exchange of tiles described above (called The Charleston), faster players can sometimes get ahead of slower players. This can become problematic when plays get out of order. Some feel good etiquette is to decide before the game starts that no one passes until everyone is ready. Not one of my favorite options, because I’m one of the faster players, but I understand why it might be necessary.

This is probably more than you ever wanted to know about Mah Jongg etiquette, but I thought it would help my readers understand the setting of this series as it concerns my four protagonists’ dealings with other players. Though it may seem like overkill at times, etiquette provides a framework of civility in the game. I see it as partly responsible for the depth of friendship that would prompt my quartet to move outside their everyday existence to investigate murders involving their mah jongg friends.

Author Links

Website – http://www.barbarabarrettbooks.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Barbara-Barrett-Author-1678443865812386/

Twitter – www.twitter.com/bbarrettbooks

Pinterest – pinterest.com/barbarabarrett7

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8181756.Barbara_Barrett

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Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Murder Made to Order: an All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery by Lena Gregory

This tasty post was contributed by author Lena Gregory. Her cozy mystery, Murder Made to Order, is currently on tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

Breakfast Ideas

By Lena Gregory

When I was younger, I worked the breakfast shift at my grandfather’s deli. I loved everything about it, but I especially remember enjoying the aromas; coffee brewing, bacon, freshly baked Kaiser rolls…To this day, the smell of breakfast cooking reminds me of my childhood.

When I decided to write a cooking cozy, it seemed natural to base it around breakfast, but I started wondering if there would be enough items to fill the menu. So I sat down and thought about everything you could make for breakfast, and to my surprise, the list just kept getting longer and longer. Of course, you can always go with the traditional bacon, eggs, home fries, and toast, but here are a few more suggestions from the All-Day Breakfast Café menu you may enjoy.

Omelets: Omelets can be a quick easy breakfast, especially if you prepare ahead of time like Gia does. Once or twice a week you can spend a few minutes dicing your vegetables, or frying and cutting your meat, then keep it in a covered container in the refrigerator. When it’s time to make breakfast, you just throw in whatever you want, and you have a nice, hot meal in no time at all.

There are two ways to make omelets. You can cook the eggs first, then fill the omelet and fold it over, or you can scramble the omelet ingredients into the eggs, then cook them together. Personally, I prefer everything cooked together.

And what can you put in your omelet? Pretty much anything you’d like! Some of the omelets on Gia’s menu include:

Meat Lovers – a blend of bacon, ham, and sausage, topped with American or cheddar cheese.

Veggie Lovers – any kind of vegetables you like. Some of my favorites are spinach, tomatoes, squash, and zucchini.

Western – diced ham, green peppers, and onions topped with American cheese. Western omelets are also amazing on a Kaiser roll with salt and pepper.

Breakfast Pies: Breakfast pies take time to make, but they can be prepared ahead of time and kept in the fridge, then you can simply take a slice and heat it up any time you’re ready. When Gia makes breakfast pies, she lines the pie tins with home fries or shredded potatoes, then she scrambles eggs with whatever ingredients she want to use. (Mostly the same ingredients she uses in omelets.) Once cooked, she adds them to the pie tins, then sprinkles shredded cheddar cheese over the top and puts it in the oven until the cheese melts.

Sandwiches and Wraps: You can never go wrong with a nice bacon, egg, and cheese on a roll. Not only can you make it quickly, you can take it with you and eat it on the run.

Those are just a few breakfast ideas, but you could also do pancakes and waffles, (with or without toppings) burritos, quesadillas, even a breakfast pizza. So next time you aren’t sure what you feel like having for breakfast, just give something off Gia’s menu a try.

Check out Lena’s social media links and try your luck at her rafflecopter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/02887792735/?widget_template=56d5f80dbc544fb30fda66f0

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/

 

Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Poison by Punctuation by Kelley Kaye

This post was contributed by author Kelley Kaye. Her cozy mystery, Poison by Punctuation is currently on tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

https://www.aspeninstitute.org/magazine/can-literature-save-us-need-saving/

I’ve always felt that books can save lives. Whatever it is that’s going on in your life, there’s a book for it, something out there that will teach you, heal you, inspire you or shelter you.

For me, the shelter aspect was key. The young version of Kelley was a total nerd, forty years before nerds became cool. I hated sports, sucked at foursquare, and did really well in school, thought knowing how to spell was the awesomest. Translation: big ol’ geek. The playground was not a respite for me; rather a black hole. I only wanted to escape back into the classroom, where I felt much more surefooted, or, escape into a book, where I felt…indomitable. Into a world I controlled by a turn of the page, or not. I can still picture myself, propped on the playground curb, one skinny leg stretched out to one side, with the book splayed open on the concrete. Catty little girls or thoughtless little boys took a back seat in this world, where space travel is as easy as a Sunday drive, telepathy is real, and if you want it, the good guy always wins. It saved my life.

As a teacher, my motto was “If you don’t like to read, you just haven’t found the right book yet.” I still believe it, even though I’ve been trying for over fifteen years now to find the right one for my husband. I’ll keep trying.

But for a lot of my past students the old adage rings true: take Elijah, who as a freshman hadn’t read a book since fifth grade, hated the idea of books, but after experiencing the motto–and the persuasivenessAKAbossiness–of teacher Kelley, he found his groove in a Dean Koontz book, and by the end of his senior year had finished 30 of them. Same thing happened with Brian, though for him his groove was Harlan Coben.

Now I don’t know if these two examples would be dead if they’d never found a love for reading, but I know I would be. The article I posted at the beginning of my guest post talks about literature as a lifesaver more in terms of big world issues being better understood, disseminated and dealt with through books, which is maybe a more literal way it saves lives.

But no matter how you look at it, for a lot of us, books are akin to breathing.

A lifesaver. How about for you?

Here’s a book trailer for Poison by Punctuation: Poison by Puncutation Trailer

Poison by Punctuation (Chalkboard Outlines)
by Kelley Kaye

About the Book


Poison by Punctuation (Chalkboard Outlines)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Red Adept Publishing, LLC (April 24, 2018)
Print Length: 243 pages
Digital ASIN: B07BTYJXCG

High school teacher Emma Lovett is finally recovering from her first year of teaching when she discovers another dead body. As if that wasn’t bad enough, this time, someone has killed a student, Kisten Hollis.

Emma and her best friend, Leslie, are desperate to solve this murder. But suspects abound. The perpetrator could be a teacher, an administrator, a member of Kisten’s zealous church community, or even another student.

Emma must juggle her teaching responsibilities, her new romance with handsome Hunter Wells, and interest from a hunky second suitor, all while searching for evidence to bring a killer to justice before someone else dies.

About the Author

“Kelley Kaye” taught High School English and Drama since 1992 in California, then Colorado and now Cali again, but her love for storytelling dates back to creating captions in her high school yearbook. Maybe back to the tales she created for her Barbie and Ken—whatever the case, the love’s been around a long time. She’s married to an amazing man who cooks for her, and they have two funny and wonderful sons.

Website – http://www.kelleykaybowles.com/

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

Blog – http://www.kelleykaybowles.com/kelley-s-blog2.html

Twitter – https://twitter.com/kelkay1202

BookBub – https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kelley-kaye

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Kelley-Kay-Bowles/e/B00JJ9T7AC

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1380492.Kelley_Kay_Bowles

Purchase Links

Amazon B&N Kobo Google Play BookBub

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

June 13 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 13 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

June 14 – Babs Book Bistro – GUEST POST

June 15 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST

June 15 – Jane Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST

June 16 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT

June 17 – Varietats – GUEST POST

June 18 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 19 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 20 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

June 20 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT

June 21 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

June 22 – Readeropolis – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 23 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

June 23 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

June 24 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 25 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

June 26 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Authors, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Murder Gone Missing by Lida Sideris

This post was contributed by author Lida Sideris. Her cozy mystery, Murder Gone Missing, is currently on tour with Escape with Dollycas Escape into a Good Book. 

Rustling Up Characters

I’m often asked where I find my characters. Are they based on people I know? Nope. But they are based on people I don’t know. For instance, in a subplot in my first book, heroine Corrie Locke is hired by basketball superstar, Ty Calvin, to find his missing lucky charm. I’ve never known any professional sports stars. But I did have a brush with one. It was enough for me to want to base a character on him.

A few years ago, I waited on the first tee of a local golf course with my junior golfer son. Basketball superstar Alonzo Mourning approached us from behind and asked if he could play through. In golf speak, that’s, “Mind if I go first? I’m in a little bit of a rush.” He asked so politely, so kindly, that he left me with a lasting impression. Of someone who treated others well, of an animal lover, a gentle role model, one who was bent on doing the right thing. I have no idea what Mr. Mourning is really like. But I had a strong notion of what my basketball player creation would be like. Kind, thoughtful, generous, and yes, an animal lover who would go to great lengths for his animal and human friends. Would I have created the character without that brief encounter? Probably not.

Sometimes, a character idea will arise from viewing a photograph or a movie. For instance, I was watching a 1947 Bogart film, Dead Reckoning that co-starred an actress I wasn’t familiar with: Lizabeth Scott. I’d never seen or heard of her, but her mannerisms were enough to inspire me to create a lanky murder suspect, patterned after her character in the movie. I used her in Book Two. Ms. Scott’s expressions, the way she spoke and walked, her hair and her clothes in that particular film, helped me to get a sense of the character I was seeking to create. Ms. Scott has a very unique voice and every time, my character, Alyce Scerbo, opened her mouth, I thought of Ms. Scott.

Basing characters on my impressions allows my imagination to run around and figure things out. It helps me to hear them speak and move…and eventually breathe between the pages.

Murder Gone Missing: A Southern California Mystery
by Lida Sideris

About the Book


Murder Gone Missing: A Southern California Mystery
Cozy Mystery/Soft Boiled Mystery
2nd in Series
Level Best Books (April 10, 2018)
Paperback: 262 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1947915046
Digital ASIN: B07BHCBX51

Newly minted lawyer Corrie Locke has taken a vow of abstinence. From PI work, that is. Until her best friend Michael finds his bully of a boss stabbed in the back after confronting him earlier that day. Michael panics, accidentally tampering with the crime scene…which could lead the cops to Michael instead of the real culprit. He turns to Corrie to track down the killer. She doesn’t need much coaxing. Her late great PI dad taught her the ropes…and left her his cache of illegal weaponry.

They return to the scene of the crime, but the body’s missing. Racing against time, Corrie dredges a prestigious Los Angeles college in pursuit of clues. All she finds are false leads. Armed with attitude and romantic feelings toward Michael, Corrie dives into a school of suspects to find the slippery fugitive. Will she clear Michael’s name before he’s arrested for murder?

About the Author

Lida Sideris is an author, lawyer and all around book enthusiast. She was one of two national recipients of the Helen McCloy Mystery Writers of America scholarship for her first novel, MURDER AND OTHER UNNATURAL DISASTERS. MURDER GONE MISSING is the second book in the Corrie Locke series. Like her heroine, Lida worked as an entertainment attorney in a movie studio. Unlike her heroine, she keeps her distance from homicides. To learn more about Lida, please visit her website: www.LidaSideris.com

Author Links

WEBSITE: http://www.lidasideris.com/

BLOG: http://www.lidasideris.com/blog/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/lidasideris

TWITTER: @lidasideris

GoodReads:http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26139837-murder-and-other-unnatural-disasters?from_search=true&search_version=service

Purchase Links

AMAZON B&N

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

June 11 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

June 11 – Island Confidential – GUEST POST

June 12 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 12 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY

June 12 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 13 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

June 13 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

June 13 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

June 14 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST

June 14 – T’s Stuff – SPOTLIGHT

June 14 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW

June 15 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY

June 15 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

June 16 – My Fiction Obsession – SPOTLIGHT

June 16 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

June 17 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

June 18 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 18 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST

June 18 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

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Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for A Deadly Eclair (the 1st. French Bistro Mystery) by Daryl Gerber

This post was contributed by author Daryl Gerber. Her cozy mystery, A Deadly Eclair, is currently on tour with Escape with Dollycas Escape into a Good Book

Giveaway below!  Don’t miss out.

Hi, all! I’m so happy to be on the Great Escapes Tour. I’d like to share some of my favorite recipes from A Deadly Éclair, the 1st French Bistro Mystery. It came out in  hardcover in November, but I’m excited to say it’s out in trade paperback as of June 12. And the second in the series, A Soufflé of Suspicion, comes out July 10!

One of my all-time favorite desserts is crème brûlée. I often order it at a restaurant, just to compare. For this luscious dessert, use the best vanilla beans available. If you’re planning this recipe for a party, remember to remove them from the refrigerator a few hours ahead so they can warm to room temperature before applying the vanilla sugar and heat to the top.

I like a utility blowtorch from a hardware store, but you can always spring for the big bucks and get a pretty one from a kitchen store, at double the cost.

Tip:  Vanilla sugar can be costly, but it’s worth it. However, you can prepare it at home by combining approximately 2 cups of white sugar with the scraped seeds of one vanilla bean. Put it in an airtight jar. Let the mixture age for about 2 weeks, and then use 2 tablespoons in place of one packet of vanilla sugar. Make sense?  Each time, replace the sugar that is used, and the vanilla beans will last indefinitely. Cool, right?

Enjoy the recipe, and please tell a friend about A Deadly Éclair and the giveaway for this tour!

Crème Brûlée

1 quart heavy cream

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

1 cup vanilla sugar, divided (*you may use regular sugar)

6 large egg yolks

2 quarts hot water 

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the cream, vanilla bean and its pulp into a medium saucepan, which has been set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and set aside for future use.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup vanilla sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and it just starts to lighten in color.

Add the cream, a little bit at a time. Stir continually.

Pour the liquid into six (7 to 8-ounce) ramekins. Place the ramekins into roasting pan or a 13 x 9 cake pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake the ramekins until the crème brûlée is set, but still able to shake a little in the center, approximately 40 to 45 minutes.

Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

Remove the crème brûlée from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to finishing the top.

Divide the remaining 1/2 cup vanilla sugar equally among the 6 dishes and spread evenly on top. Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top. Allow the crème brûlée to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Below is the link to the tour’s rafflecopter and Dayl Gerber’s social media links:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/02887792726/?widget_template=56d5f80dbc544fb30fda66f0

Visit Daryl or Avery at www.darylwoodgerber.com.

Daryl’s Blog – Avery’s Blog – Mystery Lover’s Kitchen – Killer Characters –

Facebook:   Daryl      Avery 

Twitter: @AveryAames @DarylWoodGerber

Goodreads:    Daryl Wood Gerber     Avery Aames

Purchase Links

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Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab by Columbkill Noonan

This post was contributed by author Columbkill Noonan. Her cozy mystery, Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab, is currently on tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

“Surprise!” says the Publisher. “We’ve got a launch date!”

“Ahhh!” says Barnabas, the earnest, responsible, and slightly high-strung detective from Victorian London. He turns a bit red in the cheeks, and shifts nervously from one foot to the other. “And when is this ‘launch date’, I wonder?”

“Why, it’s in September!” says the Publisher. “You’ll be coming out with your second book on the 4th. Isn’t that wonderful news?”

“Wonderful!” says Me, the Author. “Exciting!”

“Errr….” mumbles poor Barnabas. The red has now spread out from his cheeks to color his face entirely, giving him the complexion of a nearly-ripe tomato. It is a most alarming sight, really.

“Why, what’s the matter?” I say. “You look as though you’re having an apoplexy.”

“It’s just I’m not certain I’m quite ready,” says Barnabas. “I’m not even properly dressed.” He pats awkwardly at his billowing white robe. (Don’t ask why he’s wearing such a ridiculous thing, please; you’ll only upset him and besides, it will all become clear somewhere smack in the middle of “Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab”, the first book in the series. Poor Barnabas would never forgive me if I spoiled his story!) As for what he wears in the second book, the one that’s coming out in September, well, that’s another story entirely.

“Now Barnabas,” says Me. “We’ve talked about this. You’ll be fine. You’re completely ready.”

“I suppose,” says Barnabas. “It’s just such a…, well….”

“Yes?”I prompt.

“It’s just such a surprise!” he sighs.

And isn’t that the way of surprises? They can be good, or they can be bad, or they can seem good to one person and bad to another. It doesn’t really matter what the surprise is, it’s how you view it.

I personally love surprises. I think the most magical moments in life are unplanned, unforeseen, and therefore, unforgettable. There is beauty in chaos; a field of wildflowers growing every which where, or a rocky seashore with the waves fling themselves wildly upon the cliffs. And there is so much to be learned in the unexpected.

Once I was in Frankfurt, all by myself. I don’t speak German (excepting that I can sing all the words to 99 Luftballons, which is, of course, not very useful when one is trying to navigate around a foreign country by oneself. “Hast du etwas zeit fur mich?”is not something one says normally in the course of a day, is it?) Anyway, I decided on an impulse that I wanted to go to Heidelberg, so I walked to the Frankfurt train station (which is enormous) and somehow managed to buy the ticket (I knew the words for train, and which track, and so forth. Unfortunately, I didn’t really know numbers (which are incredibly important when one is looking for a particular train track and there are what seems to be half a billion different tracks), so when the ticket seller told me which track to go to, I was more than a little uncertain.

I ran around in circles for a bit, then found what I thought was the right track, that happened to have a train sitting on it pointing in what I thought was probably the right direction. So I got on the train, and sat there…and started to worry. What if it’s the wrong train? What if it doesn’t go to Heidelberg? But then it hit me: so what? I might not be going to Heidelberg, but I am going somewhere, and maybe I’ll like that place too. So I just sat there and happily waited to see where the train would take me.

Turns out I went to Heidelberg after all, and it was fabulous, and I loved it, and I kind of wish I lived there now.

Barnabas, of course, is a bit more British about things; he likes everything neat and orderly and predictable. He likes to know where he is, and where he is going. He would be most decidedly unhappy to be on a train with a destination unknown. He thinks roses are their most beautiful when they are trimmed and arranged just so, so that each one is in its proper place. He likes for people to behave the way they are supposed to (in a civilized sort of way, that is to say).

Of course, fiction doesn’t usually behave in an orderly, predictable sort of way, and “Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab” is no exception. Indeed, beginning almost straightaway, Barnabas (together with his loyal assistant Wilfred, who is just a tad more resilient about things) finds himself in the most unexpected and terribly surprising circumstance. To be stolen from a museum in the middle of London and thrust into the very strange (and rather frightening) Egyptian Afterlife is about as unexpected and surprising as it gets. But our Barnabas, distraught though he may be, has a job to do, and he knows that it isn’t terribly polite to let one’s feelings interfere with the discharge of one’s responsibilities.

But I’d better stop talking about that, before I give away too much. I don’t want to spoil all the exciting surprises that are in store for the readers!

So, back to the topic of surprises and chaos and order. Isn’t life (and fiction) just a wonderful mix of all of these? And, as the Fibonacci sequence shows, wildness and order are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Maybe Barnabas and I are not so different, after all. We are merely looking at the same thing from opposite sides, we are two sides of the same coin, the yin and the yang, yada yada yada. I am excited for the launch date, and can’t wait to see what will come from it, what people I’ll meet, which adventures I’ll have. But when I think about it, I am nervous (just like our dear, earnest Barnabas). People will read the book. I hope that they will like it, but of course not everyone will…nothing is universally liked by every single person on the planet.

So, whilst I tend to be a happy, excited sort of person (the kind who loves surprises!), Barnabas really is a reflection of my more anxious, worrisome side. Really, both sides are required for everything to stay in balance, and to work out the way they should. Sometimes one needs to plan, and sometimes one needs to just go with the flow.

So….Surprise! Chaos and order are both necessary, at the same time.

But, really, what does one wear to something like this? 😉

“Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab” is now available on Amazon! The sequel, “Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Nine Worlds”, is coming this very September!

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Barnabas-Tew-Case-Missing-Scarab-ebook/dp/B072JMJV1F/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1499437082&sr=8-1&keywords=barnabas+tew

US: https://www.amazon.com/Barnabas-Tew-Case-Missing-Scarab/dp/1546786074/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1499198796&sr=8-1&keywords=barnabas+tew

Enter the book tour’s rafflecopter here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/02887792719/?widget_template=56d5f80dbc544fb30fda66f0

Connect with Columbkill:

Blog: www.columbkill.weebly.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ColumbkillNoonan

Twitter: @ColumbkillNoon1

 

 

 

Posted in Cozy Mysteries, Guest Post, New Releases

Guest Post by Maymee Bell, Author of Cake and Punishment

It’s my pleasure to feature a guest post by authorMaymee Bell whose new release, Cake and Punishment, is currently on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

From ideas to the page. . . 

I write by the seat of my pants. Not literally, but really—I don’t plot before I sit down, but I do think a lot.

Writing is definitely a job that is solitary. It’s just me and my made up world all day long. And just like in a regular job, whether it be a desk job, teacher, or stay at home mom, I have to make the commitment every single day to show up at my job—bring my fictitious world out of my head and on the page.

Since I write murder, it’s a little different than a novel in a different genre. I have to know the ending and the whodunit and the why before I even type a word on the page. This is when I scour crime scene interviews, reasons people are murdered, motives, news stories and zany ways to kill people.

Checkered Crime is the first novel in my latest mystery series, A Laurel London Mystery, and I knew there had to be a hook besides a mob guy kills because things didn’t go his way. So the “what-if” game starts.

I tape a big sheet of white paper on the wall in my office and I make bullet points of the what if’s with the answers. I’m leaving the answers out here because I don’t want to give away any of the fun details of the novel. You are going to have to buy and read the book for all the fun!

*What if the mob guy was missing a finger? Why is he missing a finger? How can I use that in the murder or the crime?
*What is unique about my heroine? What is her quirk? What if she lost her job and needed an old beater car? What if the car is yellow? What if the mob guy thought it was a taxi? What if he hired her to be his driver? OMG! What if the FBI is watching him? The FBI guy jumps in her car and forces her to work for the FBI…then she’d be working for both sides?
*What is in it for the heroine? 
*What is the crime? Why is the crime so important that it needs to be solved? 

This game goes on and on. I talk to myself and put the quirkiest answers next to the question. It may or may not make it into the book, but my ideas start to flow and the plot begins to take place.

This is when I sit down and begin to write the first draft or the “bones” of the novel. It takes me about one month, sitting butt in chair, and eight hour days to get it finished. After this draft is complete, I go back through the draft and add in all the little quirky or funny parts since I inject humor into the story. This is how I put the “meat on the bones.” The story deepens. My characters deepen and come to life. The dialogue tags take shape and the story begins to form into a solid novel.

This process takes me two – three weeks. After that, I will print out the novel and read it out loud, taking me another week. Here I begin to change around scenes or add more storyline or details.

This is the last before I send it off to my editor for the first round of edits. This is a back and forth process until it’s ready for my beta readers. With the feedback, I complete the novel for one last round of edits before it’s sent out into the world for readers.

I’m giving away ONE prize across all the blogs for a Kindle. Here is the link to the rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway