Posted in Blog Tour, Characters, Interview

Character Interview of Sneaky the Library Cat from No Gravestone Unturned

Check out this great interview of my cat character, Sneaky, who talks about my Cobble Cove books and my new release, No Gravestone Unturned.

Today Sneaky the Library Cat is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about No Gravestone Unturned, the latest novel in the Cobble Cove cozy mystery series.

Welcome, Sneaky. Let’s get started, shall we?

Tell us about the novel that you live inside. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.

Hello. I’m Sneaky the Library Cat, and I’m the cat main character in the Cobble Cove cozy mystery series that also features my human, Alicia, the librarian. The series currently consists of five books including my new one along with three short eBooks. Each story is a new mystery that takes place in the small town of Cobble Cove, a fictional location in upstate New York. After the first four books in the series, my author Debbie decided to give me a larger role by making my thoughts visible to the reader. This…

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Posted in Blog Tour, Cozy Mystery, Interview

Interview of Jen Collins Moore, Author of Murder in the Piazza, the first Maggie White Cozy Mystery

Today, I have author Jen Collins Moore from Chicago here to talk about herself and her new release, Murder in the Piazza, the first Maggie White cozy mystery.

Hi, Jenn. Please tell us how long you’ve been published? What titles and/or series have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.

Murder in the Piazza (9/2020) from Level Best Books is my first publication. I have not self-published any titles.

Congratulations! Please 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.

Murder in the Piazza is the first Maggie White Mystery. I’m hard at work on the second title in the series, Murder in Trastevere, which is also set in Rome. It is scheduled for launch September 2021.

Nice. Good luck with that.

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

My goal is to entertain readers. Like most writers, I love to read, and I’m writing the types of books I like to read myself: smart and funny with relatable characters. I love armchair travel and so have set the books against the backdrop of Rome, and I’m keeping the tone light and entertaining, so it’s a great read after a long day at work.

Great goals. I also enjoy writing books that I like to read. I’m a fan of all types of mysteries, although I do read (and write) other genres.

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

I’ve been delighted to find that my book appeals to traditional mystery readers and general fiction readers alike. People interested in the art, food and culture of Italy will particularly love this series.

That sounds like a wide audience.

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

Keep working! Seriously. If your first draft isn’t working, revise and keep going. If you send out a query letter and you get a rejection, send out three more. And if there’s a trend in the rejections, take another look at your manuscript to see if the agents might be seeing something in your work that you might want to address.

The first version of my book was set in the 1980s. I thought it was a fun time period and fit my character’s emotional journey, but I got consistent feedback from agents that the time period would be a problem when selling the book to publishers. I took the note and revised the manuscript. I was amazed at how easy it was to make the changes and how much better it made the story bringing it to present day! That doesn’t mean you should change your vision to match someone else’s, but when you hear the same thing over and over again, it’s worth asking yourself if it’s something you should consider.

Good advice. I’m still querying agents for a for the first book of a new cozy series.

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

I think the hardest thing for me was learning the craft. I love to read and always received high marks for my writing in school and in business. Then I wrote the opening to my book and submitted it to my local Mystery Writers of America chapter critique program.

I honestly thought I’d be told it was amazing, brilliant, all that stuff. But the author who read my early draft gently and kindly told me all the things that weren’t working. I had no idea how bad it was until she told me!

But she also said enough good things that I made me want to double down and keep going. So I signed up for a year-long writing class focused on novel writing, and then its year-long follow-on class on revising, and with those two years and many, many, many rewrites, I got better.

I had no idea how hard writing would be when I started out. And that’s probably a good thing, because no sane person would choose to do this with their time if they knew up front how long the road would be!

LOL. I totally agree with you. Writing books is far from easy. I belong to Sisters-in-Crime, but they don’t currently have a local chapter. I’ve thought about joining Mystery Writers of America, but my publishers aren’t on their list. One of my publishers is on the list for International Thriller Writers to which I also belong.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I have a wonderful writing group. Six of us were members of a year-long novel writing class, and when that class ended we continued meeting monthly to critique and cheerlead. Providing feedback on other people’s work has enabled me to see my own writing in a fresh light. Participating in critique is invaluable, and I recommend every writer beginning his or her journey find opportunities for it.

I’ve taken a few writing classes through Sisters-in-Crime and found them helpful, although the members didn’t form any groups afterwards. Great idea, though, and I’m sure helpful.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I’m not sure if a family counts as a hobby or not, but I love spending time with my husband and two young boys, playing with our dog, running, reading, cooking, and knitting.

It’s important that you can make time for your family. My daughter is a teenager, so I treasure spending time with her and our 3 cats who we both adore.

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

A successful author told me once “It’s all hard,” and she was right. But it’s also all fun. What better problem is there than to face than to go to your imagination and figure out a story? The thing I like most is hearing from readers they love my stories, that I entertained them and brought pleasure into their day. The toughest challenge is when I sit down to write and the words don’t come easily or don’t sound right. But I tell myself revision is a wonderful thing and move on.

That’s so true. I don’t have that problem with writing, although I don’t edit myself until I’m done with the first draft. My problem with writing is finding the time.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

The readers! Cozy mystery readers have high standards when it comes to an entertaining plot, clever puzzle and quirky characters, and I love getting to interact with them.

Yes, cozy readers are great. I’ve met many at Facebook parties and in groups. The Cozy Mystery Village Facebook group is wonderful, and I just had my own Halloween party that was hosted by, Sneaky, the character cat in my Cobble Cove mysteries.

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

Absolutely. I’ve pasted 500 words below.

Thanks for sharing.

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

Now, more than ever, we all need a some feel-good escapism. Since I can’t be in Italy in person right now, sitting at my desk, imagining my characters walking the cobbled streets, eating warm pastries and enjoying a glass of wine at a café is bringing me more joy than I expected. I hope reading the book gives readers the same experience.

You’re absolutely right. We had planned a trip to Italy but haven’t yet gone. The last trip I took before the pandemic was to California. It was great, but I miss traveling. Virtual traveling isn’t the same, but it certainly helps and is less expensive, plus you don’t suffer jet lag – lol!

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

https://www.jennifercollinsmoore.com/

https://www.instagram.com/jennifercollinsmoore/

https://www.facebook.com/jencollinsmoore

Murder in the Piazza Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

The city of Rome celebrates its defeat of the barbarians in 753 B.C. with reenactments of battle scenes and an impressive fireworks display. Guests of Masterpiece Tours will enjoy the view from Lord Philip’s private terrace, staying, quite literally, above the chaos and crowds that spoil so many Roman holidays.

—Masterpiece Tours “Welcome to Rome” pamphlet

Maggie White started fantasizing about Lord Philip’s death on her third day. Just a painless, but fatal, heart attack that would strike her boss down in the middle of the night. When that failed to materialize, she imagined him taking a wrong step in front of a speeding bus. Today she moved on to poison.

Maggie was the “new girl” at Masterpiece Tours, which offered exclusive painting holidays to well-heeled Americans. She was seated on the rooftop terrace of a minor 17th-century palace on the Piazza Navona with guests on the current tour. It was a lovely April evening, her chair was comfortable, and she was pleasantly full. But Maggie had had as much of Lord Philip Walpole as she could take.

Could she sneak arsenic into Lord Philip’s whiskey? Maggie considered this as the tourists around her oohed over a particularly brilliant firework bursting over the Colosseum in honor of Rome’s birthday celebration. Would he notice the taste? How much would it take?

Getting the deadly liquid would be a problem. She seemed to remember arsenic came from juniper berries, but perhaps that was cyanide. She took a sip of her drink. Espresso, smooth and strong. Maybe slipping the poison into Lord Philip’s morning coffee would be safer.

It was only her sixth day on the job—four days with the tour group and two before the guests arrived—and the man had reduced her to tears five times. And Maggie wasn’t a woman who cried easily. She’d been in Italy for five months, spent three of them trying to fit in as a woman of leisure, then two fruitlessly looking for a job, and it wasn’t until she met Lord Philip that she’d lost control.

Maggie breathed in the scent of the flowers in the giant pots around Lord Philip’s rooftop terrace and sighed. She wouldn’t kill her employer, pleasant as it was to imagine. She’d managed to survive fifty-five years without killing anyone—including that awful Lana Harrison, who thought she knew more about managing an advertising campaign than Maggie—and she would survive without killing Lord Philip, too.

She could quit, just as her husband, Burt, said she should. But Maggie wasn’t a quitter. Hadn’t she been the youngest woman ever promoted to vice president at Bells & Wallace? Hadn’t she single-handedly saved the PTA bake sale when 450 cupcakes, cookies, and Rice Krispies treats were savaged by Mrs. Simpson’s basset hound, Napoleon? And hadn’t she sent two high-spirited children off to excellent liberal arts colleges?

Quitting now would prove her husband was right about this job being a mistake, and Maggie wasn’t about to admit that.

Excellent excerpt. Thanks for the interview, and I’ve shared your blog tour and giveaway below. Best of luck with the series and your forthcoming books.


Murder in the Piazza: A Maggie White Mystery
by Jen Collins Moore

About Murder in the Piazza

Murder in the Piazza: A Maggie White Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Level Best Books (September 22, 2020)
Paperback: 278 pages
ISBN-10: 1947915533
ISBN-13: 978-1947915534
Digital ASIN: B08FBL9GV8

Maggie White, a downsized American executive stuck in Rome on her husband’s expat assignment, is finding the dolce vita isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. She’s taken a job offering painting instruction to well-heeled travelers and her boss-a rather unpleasant English lord-has turned up dead in his penthouse. Maggie’s left with a palazzo full of suspicious guests, a valuable painting her boss might have stolen, and a policeman who’s decided she’s the prime suspect. Now Maggie must keep the tour up and running while she tracks the killer and works to clear her name.

About Jen Collins Moore

Jen Collins Moore is the author of the Maggie White Mysteries. Her short fiction has appeared in Mystery Weekly, and she is the editor of the Mystery Writers of America Midwest newsletter. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America, as well an established marketer and entrepreneur. A transplanted New Englander, she lives in Chicago with her husband and two boys.

Author Link:

https://www.jennifercollinsmoore.com/

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKobo

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

November 2 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

November 2 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – SPOTLIGHT

November 3 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 3 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

November 4 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

November 4 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

November 5 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 5 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 6 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT

November 7 – Reading Is My SuperPower – GUEST POST

November 7 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

November 8 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT

November 8 – Diane Reviews Books – SPOTLIGHT

November 9 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

November 9 – T’s Stuff – SPOTLIGHT

November 10 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT

November 11 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – GUEST POST

November 12 – Mysteries with Character – REVIEW

November 12 – My Journey Back – CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 13 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 13 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

November 14 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – REVIEW

November 14 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 15 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST

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Posted in Cozy Mystery, Interview, New Releases

Interview of Sarah E. Burr, Author of #Trending Topic: Murder, A Trending Topic Mystery

Welcome to Ruff Drafts, Sarah. I see you’re from New York City which is not far from my home on Long Island.

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.

In 2017, I began my writing journey with self-publishing. My first title was a novella called The Ducal Detective. Taking place in the fictional Realm of Virtues, my little novella about a Duchess solving the murder of her parents has since turned into an eleven-book saga that continues to grow. My latest self-published novel is Harrowed Heir, with a new Court of Mystery novel arriving this winter.

Trending Topic #Murder is my first traditionally published novel, which arrived on the scene September of 2020. It is first in the Trending Topic Mysteries, published by Camel Press.

Congratulations! We have a lot in common besides being New Yorkers, as I also write mysteries. I just published the fifth book, No Gravestone Unturned, in my Cobble Cove series.

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.

Trending Topic #Murder, first in the Trending Topic Mysteries, shines the spotlight on celebrity blogger and social media consultant Coco Cline after she discovers a dead body in her clients’ store. With her rep on the line, Coco is forced to untangle a web of deadly secrets in her small, beachside town.

Coco’s story takes into account how ingrained social media has become in our everyday lives and showcase really just how much information is out there at our fingertips. It goes to prove that anyone can be a couch detective if they put their mind to it!

Trending Topic #Murder made its debut September 8, 2020, and I am currently working on Book 2 in the series.

I will also be releasing the next Court of Mystery novel this winter.

Interesting choice of occupation for the character of your new novel.

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

My main writing goal has always been to capture all the stories whirling around in my head and wrangle them into a manuscript. There are so many unfinished tales that have been marinating in my mind for years…my goal is to write as many of them down as I can. I also want to explore more genres outside of mystery/cozy mystery. My first major writing project that I ever completed was a fantasy series for young adults. I wrote most of it while in college, so it definitely needs some polishing, as I’ve learned so much about writing and communicating my thoughts since graduating. I would love to return to that series someday, clean it up, and publish it. I also have a few psychological thrillers in mind.

Achieving these goals is all about time management. I already write two series, so for any projects that pop up outside of those, I need to be mindful of time and my publication commitments. They come first. But where I’m blessed to be able to write full-time, I have the ability to carve out “project time” during my workday to pursue these other writing interests.

Sounds like we have the same goals. I like to explore other genres, as well, and have written short eBooks and stories in them, as well as non-fiction articles and will be publishing a non-fiction cat book soon. I’m also hoping to add a second cozy series. I agree time management is essential. It’s very important for me to organize my writing and promoting time because I also work full-time as a librarian.

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

I would love to bring more young women and men my age to the cozy mystery genre. Sometimes, I think cozies get overlooked by twenty and thirty-year olds, which is funny because most cozies feature a young heroine. By creating a more contemporary and modern main character in Coco Cline—someone who is attached to her phone and knows the power of social media and the web—I hope I have created a character that younger generations can identify with. I’ve loved cozies all my life, so I’m a little bias about how awesome the genre is, but I think a lot of people could benefit from reading about an everyday heroine who takes justice into her own hands. I think if we were all more like the heroines in our cozy mystery novels, the world would be a fairer, more just place.

That’s very true. While my main character is in her forties, I try to feature characters of various ages including teens, children, and seniors in different books of the series. The main character of my new cozy that I’ve been querying to agents is a young woman in her twenties.

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

Believe in your work. You know its value, so don’t give up because a few people thought differently. Querying can be one of the most demoralizing experiences in the world. You’ve put your heart and soul into your submission, only to have it rejected over and over again. I kept a spreadsheet of every rejection I received during this whole process. I pull it up every so often to remind myself that it only takes one person, one publisher to believe in your work as much as you do.

On a more practical note, proofread your submissions multiple times and even have a friends or family member proofread for you. A polished piece does wonders for the person on the other end of the line experiencing your work for the first time. And a catchy tagline for your book or series is always a winner!

Excellent advice. I think authors can identify with that.

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

I really struggled convincing the literary world that the cozy mystery genre was ready for a social media-savvy main character. I got a lot of rejections saying readers wouldn’t be able to understand or identify with Coco using her phone and computer to investigate her victim and suspects. I found this odd, considering my 83-year-old grandmother has a Bitmoji character. It felt like some publishers didn’t quite understand that the world had gone viral. Luckily, I found a publisher that believed in this book and believed that audiences would fall in love with Coco Cline and her squad.

Even before I started querying, I struggled with being ready, or believing my manuscript was done. Of course, it was far from done, but I eventually realized I had gone as far as I could go without help. Help from an agent, help from an editor. That was when I knew it was time to query. I needed someone else to help me take this book to the next level.

Thanks for sharing.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

As of right now, I am not involved with any writing groups. I am about as introverted as can be. A bit ironic, since I write about a main character who loves the spotlight. I tend to bounce my ideas off my beta readers.

You’re not alone in that. Many authors do the same.

 What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

Every writer is a reader, first and foremost. I love sitting out on my porch with a good book. I am also an avid video gamer, lover of Broadway musicals, and swimming. I am a big movie and TV buff, as well.

Nice variety of interests.

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

What I like most about being an author is connecting with readers. I absolutely love knowing my books connect with people and bring them joy. Hearing from readers how much they enjoyed one of my books has got to be one of the best feelings in the world.

What I like least about being an author and my toughest challenge are linked together. I’m really kinda awful with my newsletter. I try to write a newsletter quarterly, but I find it really tricky to share new details. I use social media so much to connect with readers and let them know the big news, that my newsletters always felt like a regurgitation of information. To overcome this hurdle, I’ve started using my newsletter to share exclusive content regarding my books, like short stories or character profiles. Since it is a more creative outlet, I find writing those types of newsletters more enjoyable than just listing my accomplishments or upcoming release information.

I have a similar issue with my newsletters, and I really like your idea for creating interest.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I love picturing myself as my heroine. It gives me the chance to live another life and have adventures I’ve not experienced. I love the warm, welcoming feeling of a cozy mystery setting. I moved around a few times growing up, so I never really had those deep bonds that cozy MC’s have with their hometowns or the places they live. I also love the idea of solving a mystery. For the longest time, I wanted to be a detective (my idol still is and will forever be Nancy Drew) so writing mysteries has become as good as solving mysteries to me.

I know the feeling. I also enjoy the writing process and becoming absorbed in my own story.

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

From Trending Topic #Murder:

I nodded, heading toward the front door, surprised by the lump forming in my throat. Not one to normally show an abundance of fragile emotion, I took a deep breath, trying to calm my nerves. As much as I wanted the horrible image of Stacy out of my head, pushing her away felt disrespectful. Adding to the fact I hardly knew her, even though I saw her every day for nearly a month, I was racked with guilt over the whole thing. If I hadn’t waited around before letting myself in, perhaps I would have thwarted her attacker, or at least taken him by surprise. Why was she alone at the store? Olivia and Peter were always there to supervise her work. How did the culprit get in and out of the store if all the doors were locked? As I slid into the driver’s seat, I realized I hadn’t yet asked myself the biggest question of them all. Who could possibly have killed her?

Great excerpt. Thank you.

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

I’m an open book! I love connecting with readers, so please feel free to reach out to me through whatever channel you enjoy best. I love posting content about my books, but also about my new dog, Eevee. She’s my first furbaby as an adult, so she is getting a lot of screen time!

Thanks so much for the interview, Sarah. I’ve shared your blog tour below. Best wishes on your new release and your forthcoming books.


Trending Topic #Murder (Trending Topic Mystery Series)
by Sarah E. Burr

About Trending Topic #Murder


Trending Topic #Murder (Trending Topic Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Camel Press (September 8, 2020)
Paperback: 218 pages
ISBN-10: 1603816305
ISBN-13: 978-1603816304
Digital ASIN: B08DH78VXM

Meet 28-year-old celebrity blogger Coco Cline, who has started her own social media consulting company in her hometown of Central Shores, Delaware. Her new clients, Peter and Olivia Chen, are ten days away from the grand opening of their specialty consignment shop when Coco finds their store clerk Stacy dead behind the register.

Worried that a cloud of suspicion will ruin their chances of a successful business launch, the Chens ask Coco to work alongside the inexperienced, small-town police force to speed up the investigation. Using her celebrity status and social media savviness, Coco realizes Stacy’s seemingly ordinary life was all an act. Following a trail of cryptic online posts and muddied gossip, Coco and her friends discover Stacy’s questionable relationships just might be the reason for her untimely demise.

About Sarah E. Burr

Sarah E. Burr grew up in the small town of Appleton, Maine and now lives outside New York City. Since she was seven, Sarah has wanted to be Nancy Drew, but she wasn’t stumbling across any mysteries in corporate America. Deciding it was time to follow her dreams, Sarah left her career in healthcare information technology three years ago and started writing mysteries of her own. The Trending Topic Mysteries is her first traditionally published series. Sarah also writes the Court of Mystery series.

Sarah attended Elmira College and graduated with degrees in Political Science and Philosophy & Religious Studies. She loves to weave these themes into her writing. When she’s not spinning up new stories, Ms. Burr is off seeing Broadway musicals, reading up a storm, video gaming, and enjoying walks around the city.

Author Links

Webpage: https://www.saraheburr.com

Blog: https://www.saraheburr.com/blog

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorsaraheburr/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SarahEBurr

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54713602-trending-topic-murder

Purchase Links

AmazonBarnes & NobleTarget

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

October 7 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST

October 7 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

October 8 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

October 8 – Thoughts in Progress – SPOTLIGHT

October 9 – Nadaness In Motion – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW, (SPOTLIGHT)

October 10 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

October 10 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW

October 11 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 12 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 13 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

October 13 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 14 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

October 14 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews– REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

October 15 – I Read What You Write – CHARACTER GUEST POST

October 16 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

October 16 – Celticlady’s Review – SPOTLIGHT

October 16 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

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Posted in Authors, Interview, Reviews

Interview of Sandra’s Book Club: Readers Get Free Books, Authors Get Reviews, Free options Available.

Q: First, tell us how you came to be a published author and how you came up with the idea to provide services to authors.

A: I wrote my first novel, Esperanza: A Latina Story, WHILE I was still in college. The book follows the story of a 14-year old Mexican-American girl trying to get out of the barrio and make something of her life. Full of humor and refreshing dialogue, this book was voted as an inspirational favorite by teen readers. Shortly after that, I wrote the sequel entitled Beyond the Gardens, published in October 2009.
In the second book, the lead heroine gains new confidence and strength as she learns the hard way that “you can take the girl out of the barrio, but you can’t take the barrio out of the girl.”
I write stories with strong and independent female characters that I, myself, would like to read about.
When I’m not writing, I get my fill on reading for the enjoyment as well as to improve my craft.
Like every published author, I was emailing book bloggers, asking them to please review my book. But, like querying to a publisher, most of them were unresponsive and some weren’t interested. And, of course, I used paid services that would list my book in their newsletters, reaching potential readers that may or may not review my book. That worked out okay. But let’s face it: getting reviews is tough. It’s hard when your book isn’t well publicized and no one is willing to give it chance. That’s what started my book blog. Initially, it started as just a blog for my own personal reviews on books that I read. At that point, I started taking requests from authors and publishers. My own personal review would be free, but, of course, like every other blogger, I only chose the ones that I wanted and rejected those that I didn’t. Yes, my readings tastes are pretty open in a wide variety of genres, but there are some that just don’t really interest me (i.e. westerns, politics sports, etc.) So how do I help those rejected authors get reviews? After all, I couldn’t possibly review them all. That’s when I came up with the idea of starting a book club of readers and a review program to supply authors with more reviews besides the one that I give them. Readers can sign up to get free books from authors, and authors can get reviews for their books. It’s a simple, easy, and convenient program. And it’s working!


Q: How can this review program benefit writers?

A: The review program allows authors to list their books and reach a wide range of readers. It’s been a hit so far! About 85% of participating authors get at least 1 – 2 reviews on Amazon, and we receive over 75 reviews a month from readers. And the best part about it is that we offer free ways for authors to list their book in our program. As an author, I totally understand that budgets can be tight, which makes it harder (maybe even impossible) to promote your books. Most authors shy away to any promo service when there’s a price. What better price is there than FREE?

Q: What do you think is the most important aspect of a book to make it sell?

A: The story itself along with a fabulous cover is definitely important. But probably the most important would have to be reviews. Let’s face it: reviews are the life blood of any book. More reviews equal a greater online exposure and a higher sales ranking, which, could result in sales. My book, Single Chicas, has over 70 reviews, and that has given me more royalties on Kindle sales. The reviews made
the difference because before I got no royalties, and now I’m surprised to actually see one come through knowing that I didn’t do any promotion. Book reviews are definitely the key thing here.


Q: How is your author review program unique?

A: My review program is unique because I offer a free option for authors, and I do that because I want authors of all kinds to get a fair chance at getting reviews for their books. Every book deserves a review. These are HONEST and LEGIT reviews. There is no buying reviews here. Readers are free to choose any book and reserve the right in whether or not a review gets posted. It’s all strictly voluntary
and 100% honest.


Q: I see on your website that you also do graphics. Would you mind telling us a little more about that end of your service?


A: As a graphic designer, I help authors with book covers, bookmarks, flyers, social media graphics, headers, and so on. I often try to offer clients bundle packages that include graphic design, book promotion, AND an opportunity to get listed in my review program to reach potential reviewers daily. I definitely know what authors want and I try to give that to them in a bulk deal.

Q: How can authors and readers sign up?


A: For authors interested in submitting their book to get reviews, please go to:
https://sandrasbookclub.blogspot.com/2020/08/submit-your-book.html
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Posted in Authors, Interview, New Releases

Interview of Claire Fullerton, Author of Southern Fiction Novel, Little Tea

It’s a pleasure to have author Claire Fullerton from Malibu, California, here to talk about her new release, Little Tea.

How long have you been published, Claire?

Since the year 2013

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

I am traditionally published and have four novels and one novella out in the world. A Portal in Time was published by Vinspire Publishing in 2013; Dancing to an Irish Reel was published by Vinspire Publishing in 2015; Mourning Dove was published in 2018, by Firefly Southern Fiction, who also published my novella, Through an Autumn Window in the anthology, A Southern Season, the same year. Little Tea was released on May 1, 2020 by Firefly Southern Fiction.

Those sound like interesting books. Tell us a bit about them.

I write stand alone books best categorized as Upmarket Fiction, in that they bridge the gap between commercial and literary fiction. I pay attention to character and language, and love to write stories about the human predicament, which is best played out through relationships. My last two novels (Mourning Dove, and Little Tea) have the subject of family dynamic at the heart. I love to write about that which goes into impacting character.

Characters are important in all books, and it’s true that featuring them in context with their families, as you do, is a great way to develop them.

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

I plan to write as best as I can, as long as I can. My aim is always work with a compatible publisher for the genre in which I write, which is, in some way, open-ended.

Great plan. I also like to write different genres, but mostly mystery subgenres.

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

I love all readers. Seriously, I do. I think readers are intelligent creatures, and those who read tend to do it as a way of life. I am a storyteller who basically depicts what goes on in this business of life. I assume everyone relates to the vagaries of life and chance and cause and effect. Those that like reading stories with a strong sense of place and a lens on character are those I’d love to read my books.

As a librarian, author, and also a reader, I also appreciate people who read and those who write, as well. I’ve learned many things from other authors and found inspiration through their books.

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

I love this question because it is so important that authors compare notes. It’s most important to understand that you already are a writer! The aim is to see your work out in the world and in this day and age there are many options. I see the publishing business as two-fold. There is art for art’s sake, and then the business of publishing. Ask those you know who have books out in the world why they chose to go the route they did. Consider all options and decide how much time and work you’re willing to put into it. I am traditionally published because the thought of self-publishing is daunting, but I know many self-published authors who are enjoying wonderful careers.

That’s a great answer, Claire. It’s important for authors to find their own paths, and although there are so many choices to doing that today, that makes the decision a bit tougher. That’s why it’s so important to network with other authors and learn about the business side of publishing.

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

When I shopped my first novel, I didn’t have a body of work behind me that was very impressive, and so I had a lot of agent rejections. Luck and timing gave me the opportunity to write a weekly column for The Malibu Surfside News, in which I basically told first person stories! It helped me as a writer and gave me a good credential. All the while, I wrote essays and submitted them to magazines. By the time A Portal in Time was signed, I had a body of work behind me. The first shift in my career happened then.

It’s good to have publishing credits, even if they aren’t from novels. I started with articles and then had a short story published in an anthology. I’m still querying to agents, but I have two very good Indie publishers, have published 8 books, and am continuing to write articles, short stories, books, and blog posts.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I do not belong to a writing group. My joke is I’m a lone wolf in the wilds of California. I believe writing critiques are subjective, anyway. I think finding one’s voice and growing comfortable with it is key.

I don’t blame you about that. Some writers find them helpful. I’ve never belonged to a critique group myself, although I participate in a writing workshop at my library. If you don’t use a critique group, it can be useful to have beta readers.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I’m the proud dog-mother of 3 German shepherds and one expressive black cat. I love their personalities, and we have a great rapport. I am also a teacher of ballet barre and Pilates mat. And one of my main loves is music, as I was a radio DJ for nine years and grew up in the musical haven of Memphis.

How interesting about your music and ballet background. I also have a black cat and two others. I had a German shepherd when I lived at home with my parents and also poodles.

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

I won’t say I don’t like it, but promoting a book once it’s out in the world is a full-time job! I’ve learned a lot through the years, and always encourage new authors to gain an understanding of the promotional sphere before they have a book out. What I like is helping authors.

I might give you a call – lol. Actually, I find promoting the toughest part of being an author because of the amount of time it takes away from writing which is even more difficult for those, like me, who have full-time jobs.
Can you share a short excerpt from your latest title or upcoming release?

From Little Tea:

The light was always dim in the entrance hall, irrespective of the time of day. The carved crown molding on its high ceiling matched the dark walnut wood of the floor and door casings, which glowed in polished rosettes above the opening to the formal dining room on the right and the ample living room on the left, with the green-tiled solarium behind it. The entrance hall had a central catacomb feel and was always the coolest area of the house. In its cavernous elegance, footsteps were amplified on the maple floors during the months of June through September, then fell to a muted padding when Mom had Thelonious haul the crimson-and-navy runner from the attic and place it beneath the foyer’s round, centered table. At the end of the hall, behind the stairs, was my father’s den and attendant screened porch, but rarely did I visit the interior. My father was a private man, reclusive and solitary by nature, and whether he was in the library or not, the door was always shut. I had to skirt the gladiola arrangement on the entrance hall table. The floral design reached wide with flourishing arms toward the French credenzas against both sides of the walls. My reflection flashed in the ormolu mirror as I ran toward the stairs to find my mother. My hair crowned me with the color of night’s crescendo, dashing so dark it almost looked purple. I am 100 percent Wakefield in all that distinguishes the lineage, from the dark eyes and hair to the contrasting fair skin. There has never been a Wakefield to escape the familial nose; it is severe in impression, unambiguous in projection, straight as a line, and slightly flared. John and I are mirror images of each other, the yin and yang of the Wakefield, English bloodline. But Hayward was born golden, just like our mother, who comes from the Scottish Montgomerys, whose birthplace is Ayrshire. John and I possess an unfortunate atavistic Wakefield trait, though on me the black shadow is a ready silence, but on him it plays out as something sinister. John and I are individual variations of our father’s dark countenance, which is to say in our own way we are loners. People slightly removed. But Hayward got lucky, in possessing our mother’s shining essence. I could always see an internal light in their green eyes that set off their amber-colored hair.

I put my hand on the thick banister and climbed the stairs to the first landing, where my parents’ bedroom and living quarters unfurled like wings. The bay window overlooking the garden had its draperies drawn against the searing, silver sun. Walking into the sitting room at the right, I called for my mother, thinking she may be in the adjoining master bedroom. “I’m upstairs,” her voice descended. “Celia, come up. I want to see you.”

I mounted the stairs to the third-floor landing and found my mother perched lightly on the sofa in the alcove that served as a central area for the other four bedrooms. Behind her, sunlight filtered through the organza window treatments, highlighting the red in her hair. Her slender hands held a three-ringed binder of fabric swatches, the swatch on top a cool, blue toile. She patted the seat beside her and I settled softly. My mother was cultivated, circumspect, and radiated a porcelain femininity. Always, in my mother’s presence, I gentled myself to her calm self-possession. In my heart of hearts, it was my hope that the apple didn’t fall far from the proverbial tree.

“Tell me,” she said, “what do you think of this fabric for your draperies? We could paint the walls a light robin’s egg and put white on the molding. I think it’d be divine.” She looked around the room as if seeing it for the first time. “It’s time we got rid of the wallpaper in there. You’re growing up.” She laid her ivory hand on my cheek. “You’ll want this eventually. I think now’s a good time.”

I knew enough of my mother’s ways to know she was engaged in preamble. She was practiced at the art of delivery by discreet maneuver, and I suspected her impulse to transform my room had hidden meaning. “Why is now a good time?”

My mother looked in my eyes and spoke softly. “Celia, I’m telling you before I tell Hayward because I don’t want this to come from him. Your father’s going to be taking a job in Memphis, so we’ll be moving.”

“We’re moving to Memphis?” I gasped.

Yes, honey. You’ll be starting school at Immaculate Conception in September,” she answered. “You know the school; its attendant to the big cathedral on Central Avenue.”

“But that’s a Catholic school, Mom. I thought we were Episcopalian.”

“We are, honey, but it’s highly rated academically. Your father and I think being exposed to a different religion will broaden your mind and give you beautiful advantages. We can come back here any weekend we want, and you’ll have a brand-new room when we do. You’ll have the best of both worlds, you’ll see. You’ll make new friends in Memphis, and Little Tea will still be here. It won’t be a drastic change at all. Try to think of it as an addition. There now, sweetie, don’t make that face. It isn’t the end of the world.”

But it was for me; Memphis intimidated me. Memphis was the big city compared to Como, and I found it cacophonous and unpredictable in its patchwork design. There was a disjointed, disharmonious feel to the city, what with its delineated racial relations. Parts of town were autocratic in their mainstay of Caucasian imperiousness and there were dilapidated, unlucky parts of town considered dangerous, which a white person never chanced. This much I’d learned on my visits to my grandparents’ house near the lake in Central Gardens. Blacks and whites never comingled in Memphis, even though they did coexist. But there was an impenetrable wall that separated the races, and I’d been raised in a footloose environment where it didn’t matter so much.

I took my teary eyes and sinking stomach to my bedroom so my mother wouldn’t see me cry. Through the window over the driveway, I watched as Hayward and Little Tea threw a stick for Rufus. I hadn’t the heart to run tell them our lives were about to end.

That was excellent. Best wishes with your new release. I’m sharing your blog tour and giveaway. Thanks for joining us on Ruff Drafts.

Little Tea
by Claire Fullerton

About Little Tea


Little Tea
Southern Fiction
Publisher: Firefly Southern Fiction (April 28, 2020)
Paperback: 252 pages
ISBN-10: 1645262596
ISBN-13: 978-1645262596
Digital ASIN: B0817J667Y

Southern Culture … Old Friendships … Family Tragedy

One phone call from Renny to come home and “see about” the capricious Ava and Celia Wakefield decides to overlook her distressful past in the name of friendship.

For three reflective days at Renny’s lake house in Heber Springs, Arkansas, the three childhood friends reunite and examine life, love, marriage, and the ties that bind, even though Celia’s personal story has yet to be healed. When the past arrives at the lake house door in the form of her old boyfriend, Celia must revisit the life she’d tried to outrun.

As her idyllic coming of age alongside her best friend, Little Tea, on her family’s ancestral grounds in bucolic Como, Mississippi unfolds, Celia realizes there is no better place to accept her own story than in this circle of friends who have remained beside her throughout the years. Theirs is a friendship that can talk any life sorrow into a comic tragedy, and now that the racial divide in the Deep South has evolved, Celia wonders if friendship can triumph over history.

About Claire Fullerton

Claire Fullerton hails from Memphis, TN. and now lives in Malibu, CA. with her husband and 3 German shepherds. She is the author of Mourning Dove, a coming of age, Southern family saga set in 1970’s Memphis. Mourning Dove is a five-time award winner, including the Literary Classics Words on Wings for Book of the Year, and the Ippy Award silver medal in regional fiction ( Southeast.) Claire is also the author of Dancing to an Irish Reel, a Kindle Book Review and Readers’ Favorite award winner that is set on the west coast of Ireland, where she once lived. Claire’s first novel is a paranormal mystery set in two time periods titled, A Portal in Time, set in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. She is a contributor to the book, A Southern Season with her novella, Through an Autumn Window, set at a Memphis funeral ( because something always goes wrong at a Southern funeral.) Little Tea is Claire’s 4th novel and is set in the Deep South. It is the story of the bonds of female friendship, healing the past, and outdated racial relations. Little Tea is the August selection of the Pulpwood Queens, a Faulkner Society finalist in the William Wisdom international competition, and on the short list of the Chanticleer Review’s Somerset award. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Literary.

Author Links

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

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/cfullerton3

Website – https//www.clairefullerton.com

Instagram – http://www.instagram.com/cffullerton

Purchase Link – Amazon

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Posted in Blog Tour, Interview, Paranormal

Author Interview of Clarissa Kae, Author of Once and Future Wife

Welcome to Ruff Drafts, Clarissa. How long have you been published? What titles have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.

Once And Future Wife is my debut novel (after working as an editor for roughly a decade). In full disclose, I am on the board for Carpe Vitam Press but am in talks with another publisher for a three book deal.

That sounds exciting. Best of luck with that.

Tell us a little bit about your books — what genre you write, 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. 

Once And Future Wife is a time slip novel, not necessarily time travel as one character is immortal and the other is reincarnated. There’s dual timelines which was such a blast to write! I have an upcoming release for Pieces To Mend, a contemporary paranormal romance (again, dual timelines of past and present). It’ll be out for the world to see in October.

What interesting concepts. Even though I mostly write mysteries and a cozy mystery series, I have written a paranormal romance, Cloudy Rainbow, also my very first book. I also enjoy writing dual timelines when they work in a novel such as they did in Sea Scope and also Cloudy Rainbow.

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?

While working as an editor, I’d never fully given up writing. Because of that, I have quite a few books in the pipeline and hope to get those polished and ready to roll. I am a big believer that authors are/should be agents for change. Every story has potential to give a slightly different perspective, creating space for empathy. Every character in every story is a bit different just as every person we meet in life. My goal—more than anything—would be to help those around us to be a little kinder to our neighbors and shed a softer light on mental illness, racial inequality…whatever that particular character is helping us with.

I really like that attitude, Clarissa. I also have a large stockpile of writing and hope to publish all of it one day. I also want my books and characters to touch my readers.

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

Fans of Susanna Kearsley and Amy Harmon (those are the authors I’ve been compared to) would enjoy my stories. A whisper of paranormal with historical or meatier topics.

Nice. You should attract a good audience with those themes.

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

Do not compare your journey to anyone else. And be flexible. This industry changes on a dime, so learn to dance.

I agree. You have to be happy with what you write in order to sell it and not be influenced too much by current trends.

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

For me, knowing if my writing was polished enough. I worked as an editor and held myself to a higher standard (and would become super frustrated when the idea in my head wasn’t matching the words on paper).

I can understand that.

Can you please list a brief excerpt from your book?

As a kid, Mom had taken me to several daytime practices of local plays. One by one the orchestra would tune each instrument. The cacophony was as soothing then as it was now. An image pulled at my heart. Mom was running her hands along the tops of the seats. Even with Garuda’s help, she wouldn’t be entering a theatre anytime soon. Until Stephen had accused her of coercing critics, I’d thought Mom secretly resented me for killing her career. But the nurse painted a different story. Right here, alone with my thoughts, there was a bit of relief and I wasn’t sure why.

The lights dimmed, and I shrugged out of my coat. Before I could save the seat next to me a couple took the last of the empty chairs. Earlier, Ty had come up with a plan. Whoever saw Denton first was to monopolize his time until the other could join. Between the two of us, we would find Denton and ask about my mother. My stomach twisted, no longer sure if we should be convincing Denton. I couldn’t admit it to Ty yet. He hadn’t seen my mother. To be fair, I didn’t fully understand what I was feeling or what had transpired at the hospital. The only thing I knew for certain was my mother was dying.

Without a master of ceremonies, the curtain rose, revealing two empty seats on the stage. A raven-haired man in jeans walked in, holding a small banjo, immediately followed by a blonde man in a tuxedo carrying a violin. The banjo player plucked a few notes and walked toward his seat. Just as he was about to sit, the violinist ran the bow across his instrument and mimicked the same notes. The banjo player nearly missed his seat, much to the delight of the audience. Like a soothing breeze, joy caressed each audience member, gaining strength row by row.

The banjo player began again, this time with a longer rendition.

With a toss of his hair, the violinist smiled. My heart leapt.

“Rhys,” I whispered. A spark lit inside me. Leaning in, I felt the fire spread.

Rhys matched the banjo player note for note. Four more times, they bantered back and forth. Rhys deftly stroked the violin into the cheerful fiddle song of cowboys. The banjo joined in mid-measure, and the audience clapped along. Faster and faster they dueled, each man furiously and happily dancing along with his instrument until they collapsed simultaneously with dramatic flair into their respective chairs to grateful applause.

While the men retreated to the shadows, a young girl in a white satin dress waltzed and spun to a silent dance in the center of the stage. With the help of a hidden orchestra, she sang O Holy Night in a polished, unexpectedly mature voice. She was followed by a blind woman, her cane thin and covered in twinkling crystals. She played a piano medley of David Lanz, Bach, and George Winston. The confidence she carried, the accuracy of her fingers. The audience—including me, watched in wonder.

Rhys entered the stage once more. He had visited me in my dreams, this fair boy named Rhys. The thought of his soft, golden hair and sky-blue eyes warmed my cheeks. Soft hair? I’d never touched it, but I knew it was smooth, fine. His laugh was airy and easily provoked—I had never heard him laugh. Nor had I ever touched him.

A small orchestra composed of several elementary-aged children appeared behind Rhys. With respectful silence, he began to play Partita for Violin Solo No. 2 in the appropriate D Minor.

My hands wrestled in my lap, tangling the silky folds of my dress. I had loved this song when my mother played it. She’d close her eyes and sway with the music. Even as a child, the emotions and the story resonated with me. It was a four-part tribute to Johann S. Bach’s first wife and her death. Rhys played the low hum to the youngsters’ accompaniment.

The loss of Bach’s wife was tangible, held in every note, the pain etched in Rhys’ face. I felt the unbreakable pull, the moth to the light, the lion to its prey, as I watched.

The mood of the music seemed to flow through his body, consuming him. Genuine.

I glanced around. Every man and woman sat frozen. They appeared engrossed in their own painful memory of loss.

I rose from my seat and kept to the shadows, inching along the balcony, closer to the side for the stage below. No one should feel this strongly about a stranger—at least no sane person. Unable to maintain my composure, I wrapped my arms around my waist and fled the auditorium.

With a hand on the rail, I ran down the stairs gripping the skirt of my dress. Someone called my name. Refusing to answer, I turned to another round of stairs, hoping it led to a back entrance. The light dimmed as I descended into the belly of the theatre. There was a feeling of comfort in the stairwell, urging me to keep going. My phone vibrated, pulling me back to my senses. With the back of my hand, I wiped my wet cheek. Only an idiot would cry like this.

That pulls you right in. Thanks for sharing.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

Love this question! I love to ride horses (we own four) and I love to run. I competed as an equestrian in college and have never stopped loving horses.

My daughter went through a horse riding phase, but I’ve never tried it. I have started some jogging, but I need to watch my knees. It’s great that you have your own horses.

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

Honestly, balancing life is the biggest challenged. I love to give 110% in all that I do and that’s just not feasible. I have three kids and my husband has a very demanding job (he’s on call 24/7) in the medical community. What I love most is creating life and characters. Nothing is greater than breathing life into something—a home, a garden or a book.

I feel the same way. So much to write, so little time.

Thank you so much. I’m sharing your blog tour and giveaway below. Best wishes on your new release. It sounds great.

Immortal men like Rhys Glyndwr belong to forgotten fables—along with his reincarnating wife—but instead, they haunt the mind of a modern scientist, Isla Belle Thorne. Like an old blanket, visions of the healer servant and his wife, the daughter of a duke, have comforted Isla Belle, the only constant in her unstable childhood.
When her mother is hospitalized for a mental breakdown, Isla Belle fears for her own health and keeps the visions a secret. As Isla Belle starts her new job at a renowned medical organization, she comes face to face with Rhys—the same man from her visions.
She’s told an impossible tale of a love that death cannot kill. Surrounded by science but faced with an implausible legend, Isla Belle must decide what to believe and what to leave behind.

 

 

Clarissa Kae is a preeminent voice whose professional career began as a freelance editor in 2007. She’s the former president of her local California Writers Club after spending several years as the Critique Director.
Since her first novel, she’s explored different writing genres and created a loyal group of fans who eagerly await her upcoming release. With numerous awards to her name, Clarissa continues to honor the role of storyteller.
Aside from the writing community, she and her daughters founded Kind Girls Make Strong Women to help undervalued nonprofit organizations—from reuniting children with families to giving Junior Olympic athletes their shot at success.
She lives in the agricultural belly of California with her family and farm of horses, chickens, dogs and kittens aplenty.

 

 

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Posted in Author Spotlight, Interview

Interview with T.R. Ragan, author of Don’t Make A Sound, A Sawyer Brooks Thriller, by T.R. Ragan

I’m honored to interview Theresa Ragan/TR Ragan, author of Don’t Make a Sound, for my blog today. Theresa is from Sacramento, California.

Thanks for joining me today, Theresa.

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.

In 2011, after writing for 20 years and struggling to get published, I self-published two time travel romance novels—Return of the Rose and A Knight in Central Park, four contemporary romance novels, and a romantic suspense novel under the name Theresa Ragan. Soon after, I self-published one thriller titled Abducted by TR Ragan, which shot up to the top of the Amazon store. Months later I was approached by publishers. By that time I had sold more than 350,000 books. In March 2012, I sold Abducted and two more books in the Lizzy Gardner series to Amazon’s Thomas & Mercer thriller imprint. I have been with T&M ever since!

Self-published: Return of the Rose, A Knight in Central Park, Having My Baby, An Offer He Can’t Refuse, Taming Mad Max, Here Comes the Bride, Finding Kate Huntley, Dead Man Running, I Will Wait for You: a novella

Published with Thomas & Mercer: Lizzy Gardner series: Abducted, Dead Weight, A Dark Mind, Obsessed, Almost Dead, and Evil Never Dies; Faith McMann Trilogy: Furious, Outrage, and Wrath; Jessie Cole series: Her Last Day, Deadly Recall, Deranged, and Buried Deep; Sawyer Brooks series: Don’t Make a Sound, Out of Her Mind, and Untitled Book #3.

What a great story. My first book, Cloudy Rainbow, a paranormal romance, was also self-published but I used a publishing company to do it. That book has since been reprinted with the publisher of my Cobble Cove cozy mystery series. I also write traditional mysteries and short stories of various genres. My latest book, Sea Scope, is a psychological mystery, and I just submitted a medical mystery to one of my publishers. I’ve also always enjoyed time travel and Twilight-Zone type tales and have a manuscript for one I hope to get back to soon.

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

My newest series is about three sisters who all grew up within a dysfunctional family in a small town with lots of secrets. I have four sisters of my own, and we all remember things from our childhood a little differently. Same goes for Sawyer Brooks and her two sisters. They all handle the lingering horrors of their childhood a little bit differently. Sawyer Brooks, the youngest of the three, is the main character weaved through the three-book series. She struggles to overcome her feelings of being abandoned by her older sisters. It isn’t until she returns to her hometown that she learns that not everything is what it seemed. DON’T MAKE A SOUND by TR RAGAN was released on June 1, 2020.

Congratulations on your new release and interesting comment about how people remember things differently. I just submitted a manuscript that deals with repressed memories of a trauma that the main character is seeking to recall to solve a murder.

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

My goals as a writer is to always improve, always push myself to do better. After I turn in the third Sawyer Brooks novel next month, I will be writing my first standalone. I’m excited!

That’s great. I enjoy writing both standalones and series books.

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

When I write, I usually have readers like myself in mind. People who know the difference between right and wrong. People who want justice for all. My thrillers are about everyday people overcoming tremendous obstacles and finding ways to not only move on in life, but thrive. My heroines are not victims. They are survivors.

Excellent!

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

Read and write. If you have to give up TV to write for an hour after coming home from a full-time job, then do it! If you’re at home raising kids, write while they’re asleep or at school or while you’re waiting in the pick-up line to bring them home. I started writing when I was pregnant with my fourth child. My first book took me five years to write. I call it my Writing 101 Class. I thought about quitting a few times, but I didn’t. I wrote every day. I was determined and I persevered. When the rejection letters came in the mail, I cried for five minutes and then kept on writing. I have sold over three million books and I hope to sell three million more. It’s not easy. If it were, everyone would be writing a book. But if I can make it happen, so can you.

Three million books! That’s amazing. You’re an inspiration for many would-be and less successful authors including me.

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

Finding time was the most difficult part. I worked full-time while raising four kids. When daycare costs became more than my paycheck, it made sense for me to stay home while my husband worked to keep a roof over our head and food on the table. I wrote late at night and early in the morning. There were six of us in a small house, so I set up a table in my bedroom and that’s where I wrote for the first fifteen years. I also wrote in bed and at the dining room table and in the car. When I signed with my first agent, I thought I had made it! I was so excited. I made all the revisions that editors asked of me, but to no avail. After writing for more than fifteen years, I grew frustrated and I started writing my first thriller, ABDUCTED. I got out my frustrations with the publishing world by killing off characters. If a character didn’t spit out great dialogue—off with their head. I’m kidding. Sort of. The point is, I found a new genre and I found my voice. Everything changed after that.

Such an incredible story. While I also work full-time and have difficulty finding the time to fit in writing, I can’t imagine what you went through with four kids while I only have one daughter, now a teenager, and 3 cats. I’m still trying to find an agent and a large publisher, but I’m not waiting for that to happen.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I belong to ThrillerFest, RWA, and the Sacramento Chapter of RWA.

I haven’t heard of ThrillerFest, but I belong to International Thriller Writers as well as Sisters-in-Crime and a few other groups.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I love hanging out with my husband and all four of my grown children. I play the piano, self-taught since the age of fourteen. I love hiking with my sisters, too.

Nice. I tried to teach myself piano, but I haven’t played in years. I enjoy walking and a little running that’s not too hard on my knees, but I haven’t tried hiking.

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

The most challenging part for me is writing the first 100 pages of every single book. It doesn’t matter if it’s the second book in a series or the sixth. Those first 100 pages can cause me to lose sleep. I’m also not a big fan of deadlines. But that’s part of the deal! The very best part is writing THE END and realizing I did it again! Of course, I still have to revise, revise, revise, but that first draft is the tough part.

The best part for me is taking an everyday person/character and putting them in harrowing situations to see how they’ll deal with finding a way out of this often deadly and dangerous predicament. In my Faith McMann trilogy (Furious, Outrage, and Wrath) a wife, mother, and teacher is left for dead. Her husband has been killed and her two children have been kidnapped. Once Faith McMann begins to recuperate, she realizes she might be her children’s only hope. Faith becomes stronger, physically and mentally, and there is nothing that will stop her from finding her kids.

Good answers. I get stuck in the middle, but then I find that it gets going again if I don’t give up. The hardest part for me is promoting and marketing my books because I’d rather be writing which is my favorite part of the process because I enjoy creating characters and seeing where they lead me.

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

Of all those tragic memories, the night her sisters left was the most troubling, often as eerily vague as it was disturbingly real. Sawyer had been wearing her favorite nightgown, a light-pink cotton shift with a torn hem that fell below her knees. Out of breath and freezing cold, her heart hammering against her chest, she’d stood on the front porch of their old house in River Rock, staring into the night, praying it was all a bad dream and her sisters would return. That’s when a weighty hand had clamped down around her shoulder.

Oooh, exciting!

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

I would like anyone who reads one of my books to know that my sole purpose is to entertain. I would love for readers to finish a book of mine and truly feel empowered—to know there is absolutely no obstacle they can’t conquer.

Readers interested in signing up for a monthly newsletter or getting their name in a TR RAGAN book should check out my website at http://www.trragan.com

Very nice. Thanks for the great interview, and I will also share your current blog tour and giveaway. Best wishes on your new release.

Don’t Make a Sound (Sawyer Brooks)
by T.R. Ragan

About Don’t Make A Sound


Don’t Make a Sound (Sawyer Brooks)
Psychological Thriller
1st in Series
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (June 1, 2020)
Paperback: 287 pages
ISBN-10: 1542093872
ISBN-13: 978-1542093873
Digital ASIN: B07S4MFSFG

Her own past could be a reporter’s biggest story in this twisting thriller about murder and family secrets by the New York Times bestselling author T.R. Ragan.

Plagued by traumatic childhood memories, crime reporter Sawyer Brooks still struggles to gain control of her rage, her paranoia, and her life. Now, after finally getting promoted at work, she is forced to return home and face her past.

River Rock is where she’d been abandoned by her two older sisters to suffer alone, and in silence, the unspeakable abuses of her family. It’s also where Sawyer’s best friend disappeared and two teenage girls were murdered. Three cold cases dead and buried with the rest of the town’s secrets.

When another girl is slain in a familiar grisly fashion, Sawyer is determined to put an end to the crimes. Pulled back into the horrors of her family history, Sawyer must reconcile with her estranged sisters, who both have shattering memories of their own. As Sawyer’s investigation leads to River Rock’s darkest corners, what will prove more dangerous—what she knows of the past or what she has yet to discover?

About T.R. Ragan

New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA TODAY bestselling author T.R. Ragan has sold more than three million books since her debut novel appeared in 2011. She is the author of the Faith McMann trilogy (Furious, Outrage, and Wrath); the Lizzy Gardner series (Abducted, Dead Weight, A Dark Mind, Obsessed, Almost Dead, and Evil Never Dies) ; and the Jessie Cole novels (Her Last Day, Deadly Recall, Deranged, and Buried Deep). In addition to thrillers, she writes medieval time-travel tales, contemporary romance, and romantic suspense as Theresa Ragan. An avid traveler, her wanderings have led her to China, Thailand, and Nepal. Theresa and her husband, Joe, have four children and live in Sacramento, California. To learn more, visit her website at theresaragan.com.

Author Links

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/TRRaganAuthor/ Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/trraganauthor/ Twitter – https://twitter.com/TRRaganAuthor

Purchase Links – Amazon B&N

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Posted in Authors, Cozy Mysteries, Interview

Interview of Maggie Toussaint, author of Seas the Day, A Seafood Caper Mystery

I’m pleased to speak with author Maggie Toussaint from Tolomato Island near Georgia, Darien, about herself and her new release, Seas the Day.

Welcome Maggie. Nice to have you with us.

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.

Hi, Debbie. I’m a hybrid published author by choice and necessity. My first book came out in 2006, so I’ve been at this for a while now. I’ve published over twenty books in romantic suspense, mystery, and science fiction. A listing follows:

Romantic Suspense

House of Lies, The Wild Rose Press and now Muddle House Publishing (MHP)

No Second Chance, The Wild Rose Press and now MHP

Muddy Water, The Wild Rose Press and now MHP

Hot Water, The Wild Rose Press and now MHP

Rough Waters, The Wild Rose Press and now MHP

Seeing Red, Freya’s Bower and now MHP

Cozy Mystery

In For a Penny, Five Star and now MHP

On the Nickel, Five Star and now MHP

Dime If I Know, Five Star and now MHP

Murder in the Buff, Muse It Up Publishing and now MHP

Death, Island Style, Five Star and now MHP

Gone and Done It, Five Star and now MHP

Bubba Done It, Five Star and now MHP

Doggone It, Five Star and now MHP

Dadgummit, Camel Press

Confound It, Camel Press

Dreamed It, Camel Press

All Done with It, Camel Press (coming Aug 2020)

The Lyndsey & Ike Novella Mystery Series, MHP

Seas the Day, Henery Press

Science Fiction, writing as Rigel Carson

G-1, Kindle Scout winner (Kindle Press) and now MHP

G-2, MHP

G-3, MHP

NonFiction, writing as Margaret Toussaint

Remembering, MHP

The Descendants of Ann Margaret Atwood, MHP

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

I have written series in multiple genres. Seas the Day is my first book in my brand new Seafood Caper Mystery Series, featuring amateur sleuth and caterer, River Holloway. This is my first culinary cozy, and I’m so pleased with how it came out. In addition, I have another current series, the Dreamwalker Mysteries, and the last book in that series, All Done With It, will release August 11, 2020.

That’s great. Congratulations!

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

I hope to keep writing and publishing books, but in these perilous times, it’s hard to be sure of anything. There are two more books written in the Seafood Caper Mysteries, and I will be bringing them out myself since my publisher, Henery Press, will only be publishing book one.

Good luck to you with that. I know these are tough times for everyone.

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

I love readers who appreciate an ensemble cast of small town characters, who love Southern settings, and who appreciate pets, smart women, cooking, and recipes.

Sounds like you have a wide audience.

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

The only thing you can control is the quality of book you produce. Keep writing your best stuff and good things will happen.

I agree with that. I’m currently polishing my eighth novel and am taking my time with it because I want it to be up to par with my other titles.

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

The hardest challenge was to keep believing in myself as the submission process went on for years.

Yes, that is very difficult. Authors sometime give up because they are tired of waiting for an acceptance and aren’t interested in self publishing.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I am currently a past chapter president of Mystery Writers of America, Southeast Chapter, and a founding member of LowCountry Sisters in Crime.

Nice. I belong to Sisters-in-Crime, the online guppies chapter because my area doesn’t have a local chapter. I’m currently taking a plotting class offered through them which I’m finding very helpful.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I teach yoga, take photographs of nature, sing in a choir, and play guitar. I’m fond of puzzles of all kinds, and I enjoy sewing. I’ve always loved going to the beach because it’s the right blend of activity and peacefulness.

You have a nice variety of hobbies.

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

I love to sit at the computer each day and distill lines from the story ether onto the computer screen. I dislike busy weeks when I have to scramble to meet my writing goals at non-optimum times for writing. My toughest challenge is realizing that the market acts like a living being, most of the times like a cat.

As a cat lover, I find that a very interesting observation. I agree that the market can be very fickle.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I enjoy having an amateur sleuth who has insider knowledge delve into homicides and manage to figure out who the killer is before the cops zero in on the right suspect. I’ve always rooted for the underdog to win and this is another aspect of that philosophy.

I enjoy that aspect of cozies, too.

Can you share a short excerpt from your latest title?

Here’s a snip from Seas the Day:

“My Chili’s gone,” Estelle Bolz sobbed in my ear. “You gotta help me, River. You can find anything. Please, please find my son.”

Gone?” Oh, no. I needed his fresh fish for tonight’s Holloway Catering client. Still holding the phone, I stepped away from the pie crust bowl, moved to the kitchen window, half-expecting to see Chili sauntering across my lawn. “I don’t understand. He left town?”

“You tell me. His keys are on the hutch. His truck was parked at the house until the cops took it. His boat’s in the slip. He hasn’t called me since Tuesday morning. I can’t lose another son.”

My heart went out to this woman who’d been through so much. Her youngest son perished at sea last year. Having another missing son was my late mother’s bridge partner’s worst nightmare.

I switched the phone to speaker and reached for pen and paper. “When did you last see him?”

“Monday. Around dinnertime.”

“Did you notify the cops?”

“I did. A deputy is looking for Chili, but he’s made no progress all week. I rode over to the Law Enforcement Center for three days in a row. They say there’s no sign of foul play and he’s an adult. Meanwhile, Chili hasn’t called in three nights. This is not right.”

Today was Friday. “I ordered sea bass from Chili on Tuesday morning, right after I booked a catering job. Nobody’s heard from him since Tuesday?”

“Nope. He wouldn’t take off like this and leave me to worry about where he is. That’s why he calls every night. I’m tied up in knots.” She sniffed loudly into the phone. “You’ve always been like a daughter to me, and I know this is a lot to ask. Please help me find Chili.”

I felt uneasy being asked to find a missing person. That was much different from finding misplaced keys or a lost dog, but Chili was my friend. He must be in trouble if he wasn’t calling his mom. Estelle’s rapid breaths filled my ear like a huffing freight train. “I’ll help you. First, sit down and breathe deeply. We’ll sort this out together.”

“Thank you,” Estelle said. “I just didn’t know where else to turn.”

“That’s it. Deep full breaths. In and out.” My breathing calmed too. I started with the easy questions: “Have you tried his friends? Did he find a new girlfriend after he and Trina broke up?”

“After his brother died at sea, Chili kept to himself. That no-account Trina lasted six minutes past Kale’s funeral. Chili’s all I got left in the world. When I consider possibilities of why he’s missing, my gut aches so bad I can’t stand up straight. Something’s horribly wrong. I’m terrified he’s hurt or worse, and I need to do something. We need to do something.”

I felt for her, I truly did. Mr. Bolz died of a heart attack long before the family moved here. Estelle supported her family with a dry cleaning business, with only her sons and friends for companionship. My mother died last year, a few months after Kale was lost at sea. It was hard enough to lose one relative, but to lose two so close together would be devastating.

Estelle needed an advocate. Without her boys, she was all alone. Mom’s friend needed an insider who knew her son. However, there must be a reason the cops weren’t getting anywhere.

“Chili needs your help,” Estelle continued while I mulled things over. “I’m begging you. Find my son.”

I stated the obvious. “If he left Shell Island, I don’t have the resources to find him. The cops do. Convince them to expand their search. I’ll go with you to the station if you like.”

“Don’t get me started on the po-lice. The sheriff has his eye on reelection and that new deputy thinks I’m an alarmist. It’s so frustrating.”

Estelle paused for so long I thought she must be crying, then she began again. “Your mother, bless her heart, used to brag on you all the time, especially how good you were at solving puzzles. I trust you, River, not the people who hand out speeding tickets. Those outsiders don’t know my family. They don’t understand why Chili wouldn’t leave. Not on purpose. We rely on each other. I-I-I can’t make it without him. Please, River.”

I’d known the Bolz family most of my life. Chili was two school grades ahead of me, Kale a school grade behind. Like my family, they worked several jobs to make ends meet because money was scarce here.

“I’m flattered by your faith in me, but I’m not a detective. I don’t have a network of professional investigators like the sheriff does. If I ask around, will you keep the pressure on the cops? They can put out a notice that he’s missing and it will go all over the state. Did you think about going to the newspaper, radio, or TV with your story?”

“Heavens, no,” Estelle shrilled. “Chili doesn’t want everybody and his brother spying on him. He’s a private person. First, I thought he must’ve fallen off the wagon and gotten tangled up with Mr. Jim Beam again.” She sighed. “I looked, and there’s not a drop of booze in his place or in his trash. He isn’t on a bender. I want somebody I trust on the case. I’ll pay you too.”

“I won’t take your money. I’m hesitating because if he’s in dire straits, you need more than me helping you.”

“Tell you what, I’ll keep the pressure on Sheriff Vargas, if you’ll question the younger crowd,” Estelle countered. “They’re more likely to talk to you than a stranger anyway.”

I was relieved she sounded calmer. “I am very concerned about Chili and wish I could drop everything and start searching right now. But my livelihood depends on successful catering events. Tonight I’m booked for the Robertson’s anniversary dinner. I’ll be busy all afternoon prepping the meal. They eat at seven and it will be after nine before I get home.”

“Do what you have to do and ask everyone about Chili. We have to find him.”

“I’ll do my best. If I learn anything, I’ll call you. When you spoke to him on Tuesday, what did he say?”

“He cancelled on our regular lunch at the Sunset Buffet. It’s unlike him to miss the meatloaf special. That boy loves his meatloaf. If I’d’a known that when I had him, I’d’ve named him Meatloaf.”

“Did he say why he cancelled?”

“Nope. Said something came up. I didn’t actually speak to him. He left me a message.”

“Did you play it for the cops?”

“Deputy Hamlyn said it wasn’t helpful. I’m out of my mind worrying about Chili. You’ll find him, won’t ya?”

“I hope so.”

Great excerpt. Thanks for sharing.

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you or your books? I love to hear from readers.

Sign up for my newsletter on my website if you’d love to hear from me: https://maggietoussaint.com

I hope my readers will do that. I’m also sharing your blog tour and giveaway. Thanks again for the great interview, and best wishes on your new release.

Seas the Day (A Seafood Capers Mystery)
by Maggie Toussaint

About Seas the Day


Seas the Day (A Seafood Capers Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Henery Press (April 21, 2020)
Hardcover: 282 pages
ISBN-10: 1635115868
ISBN-13: 978-1635115864
Paperback: 282 pages
ISBN-10: 1635115833
ISBN-13: 978-1635115833
Digital ASIN: B0844K2Q4D

Caterer River Holloway cooks like a dream and is known on Shell Island as a “finder” of things. Which is why a desperate mother begs River to track down her grown son, Chili Bolz, who’s vanished.

Deputy Lance Hamlyn can’t find the missing man, so he teams up with River. The missing person case boils over into something frightening when Chili’s mother falls victim to a brutal assault. Worse, her dying words incriminate River’s friends in both kidnapping and, now, murder. River soon finds herself caught in an unsavory recipe for disaster.

Despite catering events and the return of her absentee boyfriend, River finds the number of suspects growing longer than her food shopping list. Along the way she befriends a black cat who becomes her crime-solving partner. River must locate Chili and discover who killed his mother before her own goose is quite literally cooked.

Maggie Toussaint serves up a fun and captivating read in Seas the Day, the first in her Seafood Capers series.

About the Author

Southern author Maggie Toussaint writes cozy and paranormal mysteries, romantic suspense, and dystopian fiction, with twenty fiction novels published. A three-time finalist for Georgia Author of the Year, she’s won three Silver Falchions, the Readers’ Choice, and the EPIC Awards. She’s past president of Mystery Writers of America-Southeast chapter and an officer of LowCountry Sisters In Crime. She lives in coastal Georgia, where secrets, heritage, and ancient oaks cast long shadows. Visit her at https://maggietoussaint.com/

Author Links

Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Goodreads | LinkedIn | Pinterest | Booklover’s Bench | Amazon Author Central | Website | Bookbub

Purchase LinksAmazon

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April 22 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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April 23 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

April 23 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 24 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST

April 24 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW

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April 25 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

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April 26 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 27 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW, GUEST POST

April 27 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

April 28 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

April 28 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

April 29 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT

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May 1 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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Posted in Cozy Mystery, Interview

Spotlight of A.R. Kennedy, Author of Sleuth on Safari, A Traveler Cozy Mystery

It’s my pleasure to chat with a fellow Long Island writer, author A R Kennedy from Long Beach, NY, about herself and her new release, Sleuth on Safari. 

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

I began self-publishing in 2013, with the first in The Nathan Miccoli Mystery Series. The series ended last year, at eight books.

I have a standalone novel, Saving Ferris. It is a legal thriller that makes us consider what, exactly, pets mean to us.

Sleuth on Safari, the first in The Traveler Cozy Mystery Series, release date is March 24, 2020. It is available for pre-order now.

The second in the series, R.I.P. in Reykjavik, is also available for pre-order now.

I’m currently working on the third in the series. Naomi travels to Australia!

Excellent. Those sound like interesting books.

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

My initial goal, when I published Gone But Not Missed, was to sell 100 books. Well, I’ve exceeded that!

My goal now is to write full-time. I hope to achieve this in the next 5 years.

Very nice. I would also like to write full-time once I retire from my work at the library.

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

I hope to attract a reader that’s looking for adventure!

I’m sure most readers look for that in their reading.

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

Perseverance is key. You’re going to get rejections. You’re going to get bad reviews. Sometimes you have to just write for yourself.

Good advice.

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

For each of my novels (the first book in my first series—Gone But Not Missed, my standalone legal thriller—Saving Ferris, and the first book in my new series—Sleuth on Safari), I received lots of rejections. (I have the list and could give the exact number of rejections. But I’d rather not. 🙂

I felt I had run out of traditional publishing options, so I chose self-publishing. I’ve been lucky to find an excellent editor, formatter and cover artist to produce a quality novels that I’m proud of.

I’m glad it worked out for you.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

Sisters in Crimes, including the Guppy Chapter

I am also a member of both.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I’m a huge baseball fan!

And I love dogs. You can see lots of cute pictures of my pup, River, on my Instagram account.

I’m sure he’s adorable. I’m a cat lover, and I also post plenty of photos of my three cats on Instagram and Facebook.

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

I love the writing, the research, and the brainstorming.

The marketing takes me away from the stuff I love plus it forces me to interact with people I don’t know, which is always a challenge.

I feel the same way, and I think many authors do also.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

The Nathan Miccoli Mystery series follows NYPD detective, Nathan Miccoli. I spent a lot of time researching police procedure. I strived to get the details right. Writing a cozy series, I don’t have to get bogged down with procedure—with DNA results, toxicology results, autopsies— because Naomi doesn’t have access to that.

That’s a good point. With cozies, amateur sleuths do the investigating.

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

The Flights

For fifteen minutes, we stood at the conveyor belt, waiting for my luggage to arrive. The constant trail of luggage became a trickle and I began to worry. I had a vision that my vacation slideshow would be me in my Supernatural TV series T-shirt and jeans, with a soundtrack of my sister’s voice saying, “I told you so.”

I glanced at Charlotte. After a fifteen-hour flight, Charlotte had emerged refreshed. I was a little worse for wear. She gave me a dismissive look and I wiped a few crumbs from breakfast off my jeans.

She smiled briefly and the other expression returned.

“You know you look like Mom when you’re annoyed,” I told her.

She glared at me and whipped around. She and her bright pink luggage stormed off. Her pink flowy top wafted over leggings with a black-and-pink chevron pattern. I had to admit, she did look nice. And did not look like she had spent almost a day traveling. I looked down at myself. The same could not be said. My wrinkled black T-shirt and torn jeans, paired with Converse sneakers with tips that used to be white, made me cringe. Nothing about me said glamour.

I didn’t worry about being left in a foreign country by myself. I could find her a mile away with that highlighter pink gear.

I said a quick prayer before turning back to the luggage belt. I exhaled and smiled. She didn’t see the last bag to drop onto the conveyor. My worn tan duffle bag.

Fifteen minutes, and two wrong turns later, I arrived at the domestic airlines check-in line.

“Naomi! Over here.” Charlotte waved her fingers at me and I waved back, from the end of the line. “Come up here!” I was fine having fifteen people between us but she was not. “Could you let my sister through, please?” She plastered on her best smile and they conceded. The travelers cleared a path and I slithered through with a feeble smile. “Her luggage was delayed. Thank goodness she got it!” She grabbed me when I was within reaching distance and pointed at my T-shirt. “Can you imagine having to wear that for your whole vacation!”

No one hid their smiles and a twentysomething man, who had helped her with her luggage earlier, openly laughed.

The next agent became available and we handed her our passports. Charlotte looked at my bag as I placed it on the stand to be checked.

“What is that?” she asked, pointing to the shiny gray strip along the side of my bag.

“Duct tape. The tool of champions.”

She shook her head. “No wonder Dad got you in the divorce.”

Boarding passes in hand, we cleared security and headed to the gate. The short flight would be departing soon and then our vacation, a safari, would officially begin.

I handed her my backpack and made for the bathroom.

“Really? You’re not going to change?” Despite being three years younger, she always ordered me around. Or at least tried to.

“Into what?” I asked. My luggage, like hers, was headed to our next flight. I said a silent prayer as I gave it to the airline’s check-in agent that I would see it at the next airport. Charlotte was right. I did not want to spend the entire trip in jeans and a T-shirt. Even a T-shirt with cute guys on it.

She opened her carry-on. I peered in. She had more clothes in there. I didn’t know how she could fill so much, neatly, into that small space. “Let me give you something.”

“Why? Once we get there, we’re going to bed.”

“No, we’re having dinner around the fire when we arrive.” She pulled out the travel agent’s itinerary from a front compartment. Mine was somewhere crumpled at the bottom of my backpack. She pointed to the line, “Welcome Dinner.”

I didn’t want dinner. I wanted sleep.

“Plus,” she leaned in and whispered, “the people on the tour with us have to be on this flight.”

I looked around the small gate area and had to agree. To appease her, I grabbed my cosmetics case out of my backpack. It was better than putting on that frilly yellow top she was holding out for me.

Charlotte was pleased, especially when she saw it was the one she had given me for Christmas and that it was in good condition. I had never used it.

In the bathroom, I brushed my teeth and splashed water on my face. I ran my fingers through my hair. I looked at my makeup case, hoping it had dry shampoo in it, but knowing it didn’t. My sister’s case would. My pride wouldn’t allow me to ask her for it. However, my pride did not keep me from returning to my sister in faded, ripped jeans, a wrinkled sci-fi themed T-shirt, and sneakers.

Even though she no longer was carrying her hot pink luggage, she was still easy to locate. Her “Meet People” voice, the one she had learned from our mother, could be heard twenty feet away. I hid several rows away, in view of the boarding gate, until our flight was called.

“It took you all that time and you look like that?” she asked. “You’re going to feel silly at dinner looking like that.”

I rolled my eyes.

In the same tone I had used earlier, she added, “You look like our mother when you do that.”

Great excerpt. Thanks for sharing.

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

I hope Sleuth on Safari inspires readers to travel!

I’m sure it will even if it’s armchair traveling.

Thanks for the interview. I’m sharing your blog tour and giveaway below. Best wishes with your new series.

Sleuth on Safari: A Traveler Cozy Mystery
by A R Kennedy

About Sleuth on Safari


Sleuth on Safari: A Traveler Cozy Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Independently Published (March 24, 2020)
Print Length 267 Pages
Digital ASIN: B082XKK3TD

A bargain deal on a safari + one dead body = An adventure no one could plan for.

Naomi and her estranged sister are off on a trip of a lifetime—an African safari, a bucket list trip for Naomi on which she got a last-minute deal. Naomi thinks traveling with her sister will be the worst part of her African safari until she finds one of their fellow travelers, the unlikable Dr. Higgins, dead. She gets more adventure than she bargained for when she starts investigating what she thinks is murder but the luxury lodge says was a tragic accident. She only has a few vacation days, and a few game drives, to find the killer.

About A. R. Kennedy

A. R. Kennedy lives in Long Beach, New York, with her two pups. She works hard to put food on the floor for them. As her favorite T-shirt says, ‘I work so my dog can have a better life’. She’s an avid traveler. But don’t worry. While she’s away, her parents dote on their grand-puppies even more than she does. Her writing is a combination of her love of travel, animals, and the journey we all take to find ourselves.

Author Links

Website – http://arkennedyauthor.com

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/A-R-Kennedy/e/B00GOKCWHE

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ark_author

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7382548.A_R_Kennedy

Bookbub – https://www.bookbub.com/authors/a-r-kennedy

Purchase Link – Amazon

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

March 5 – I Read What You Write – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

March 5 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

March 6 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST

March 6 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

March 7 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

March 8 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

March 9 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 10 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

March 10 – My Journey Back-The-Journey Back – CHARACTER GUEST POST

March 11 – That’s What She’s Reading – GUEST POST

March 11 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

March 12 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

March 12 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST

March 13 – TBR Book Blog – REVIEW

March 13 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

March 14 – This Is My Truth Now – REVIEW

March 15 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW

March 16 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 17 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

March 17 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

March 18 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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Posted in Cat Writers' Association, Interview, Mysteries, Next Chapter, Solstice Publishing

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