Posted in Blog Tour, Interview

Interview of Heather Weidner, author of Film Crews and Rendezvous, A Jules Keene Glamping Mystery

Today, I’m welcoming Heather Weidner from Midlothian, Virginia to Ruff Drafts.

Hi, Heather. 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 have been published since 2013. I write the Delanie Fitzgerald Mysteries, the Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries, and the Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mysteries.

The Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries The Delanie Fitzgerald Mysteries
Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers (Oct. 2021) Secret Lives and Private Eyes (2016, 2021)
Film Crews and Rendezvous (Oct. 2022) The Tulip Shirt Murders (2017)
Christmas Lights and Cat Fights (Oct. 2023) Glitter, Glam, and Contraband (2020)

Male Revues and Subterfuge (2022)

 

The Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mysteries

Sticks and Stones and a Bag of Bones

Twinkle, Twinkle Au Revoir

A Tisket A Tasket, Not Another Casket

 

Short Stories

Virginia is for Mysteries (2014)

Virginia is for Mysteries II (2016)

50 Shades of Cabernet (2017)

Deadly Southern Charm (2019)

Murder by the Glass (July 2021)

Virginia is for Mysteries III (Jan. 2022)

 

Novellas
To Fetch a Thief (2019)  
To Fetch a Scoundrel (2020)  
To Fetch a Villain (2020)  
To Fetch a Killer (2021)

My publishers include Level Best Books, Untreed Reads, Wildside Press, Bay Breeze Publishing, Sandpiper Productions, and Koehler Books.

That’s quite a list of publishers and books.

Tell us a little bit about them — any upcoming releases or your current work-in-progress.

FILM CREWS AND RENDEZVOUS is the second book in the Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries. The next in the series are CHRISTMAS LIGHTS AND CAT FIGHTS, DEADLINES AND VALENTINES, TEDDY BEARS AND GHOSTLY LAIRS, and FRUITY DRINKS AND HIJINKS.

STICKS AND STONES AND A BAG OF BONES is the first in the Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mysteries, and it launches in January 2023. The other books in this series are TWINKLE TWINKLE AUVREVOIR and A TISKET A TASKET, NOT ANOTHER CASKET.

The fourth book in the Delanie Fitzgerald Mysteries launched in August. It’s called MALE REVUES AND SUBTERFUGE

Wow! You are certainly busy. I love the title of the next book in your Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries: Christmas Lights and Cat Fights. As an author who includes cats in most of my books and has two of her own, that title speaks to me 🙂

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 am so excited to have three series, and I’m working on a fourth right now. It’s also set in Virginia. The last few years have been very busy with lots of projects. I plan to work on the new series and final revisions on the other.

Great goals. I just started my second cozy mystery series, the Buttercup Bend Mysteries. I can’t imagine how you handle four.

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

My readers like fun, entertaining mysteries. Most are cozy mysteries with not a lot of graphic scenes.

We have similar readers.

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

Be persistent. It takes a lot of work (and waiting) to get your book published. Keep writing and revising.Writing is a business, and you have to think about it that way. Publishers and agents are looking for projects that don’t need a lot of rewrites and can be sold. You often only get one chance when you query, so make sure your manuscript is the best it can be.

Excellent advice and very true.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I do, and I think finding your writing crew is important for support, networking, and ideas. I’m a member of Sisters in Crime National and the Guppy, Central Virginia, and Chessie chapters, James River Writers, and International Thriller Writers.

I agree. I also belong to Sisters in Crime National and the Guppy group, as well as International Thriller Writers.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

We live near the reservoir, so I love to take the kayaks out for a paddle. I also have two crazy Jack Russells who like to go for walks, hikes, and car rides.

Very nice.

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

I love writing and researching. Editing and revising are my least favorite tasks, but they are probably the most important ones. When it’s time to sit down and revise, I have to stay focused.

I feel the same.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I have loved mysteries since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. I love the small, quaint communities and the quirky characters. I also love that they are amateur sleuths who solve crimes and puzzles and fight for justice.

I also love the crime and puzzle elements of cozy mysteries and the quirky characters in the small towns such as Alicia the librarian from Cobble Cove and Cathy from Buttercup Bend.

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

This is a bit from Film Crews and Rendezvous.

Jules Keene’s phone buzzed as she clipped the leash on Bijou, her Jack Russell Terrier. Another text from someone in town who just had to be an extra for the filming at her resort. Ignoring the latest request, she headed across the grassy area to the office.

Hollywood had arrived in Fern Valley, and Jules wasn’t sure the one-stoplight town would be the same. She had had to keep all the location scouting a secret, and that was difficult with the town’s active gossip grapevine. Now, everyone seemed to be plotting ways to get close to the action.

Great excerpt. Thanks for sharing it.

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

I’m a C. K. (cop’s kid), and I thought everyone talked about murder and mayhem at the dinner table. It wasn’t until I was college age that I learned that most folks didn’t. My dad is retired now after 46 years on the force, but he’s still my best resource, and he answers a lot of questions that I don’t want to Google.

Interesting. That must’ve been a great help to your writing.

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

Links

Website and Blog: http://www.heatherweidner.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeatherWeidner1

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

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8121854.Heather_Weidner

Amazon Authors: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HOYR0MQ

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

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/heather-weidner-0064b233?trk=hp-identity-name

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/heather-weidner-d6430278-c5c9-4b10-b911-340828fc7003

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@heather_weidner_author

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyBjyB0zz-M1DaM-rU1bXGA?view_as=subscriber

Biography

Through the years, Heather Weidner has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager. She writes the Delanie Fitzgerald Mysteries, The Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries, and The Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mysteries.

Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, Deadly Southern Charm, and Murder by the Glass.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Sisters in Crime – Chessie, Guppies, International Thriller Writers, and James River Writers.

Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.

Thanks so much for the wonderful interview, Heather. I’m sharing your blog tour and giveaway below. Best of wishes on your new release.


Film Crews and Rendezvous: A Jules Keene Glamping Mystery
by Heather Weidner

About Film Crews and Rendezvous


Film Crews and Rendezvous: A Jules Keene Glamping Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Virginia
Level Best Books (October 25, 2022)
Number of Pages 240
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0BHLSYBZ9

Hollywood has come to Fern Valley, and the one stoplight town may never be the same. Everyone wants to get in on the act.

The crew from the wildly popular, fan favorite, Fatal Impressions, takes over Jules Keene’s glamping resort, and they bring a lot of offscreen drama and baggage that doesn’t include the scads of costumes, props, and crowds that descend on the bucolic resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Added security, hundreds of calls from hopeful extras, and some demanding divas keep Jules’s team hopping.

When the show’s prickly head writer ends up dead under the L. Frank Baum tiny house in what looks like a staged murder scene with a kitschy homage to the Wizard of Oz, Jules has to figure out who would want the writer dead. Then while they are still reeling from the first murder, the popular publicist gets lost after a long night at the local honky-tonk and winds up strangled. Jules needs to solve both crimes before filming is canceled, and her business is ruined.

About Heather Weidner

Through the years, Heather Weidner has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager. Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers is the first in her cozy mystery series, the Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries. She also writes the Delanie Fitzgerald mystery series set in Virginia. Her Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mysteries debut in 2023.

Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, Deadly Southern Charm, and Murder by the Glass, and her novellas appear in The Mutt Mysteries series.

Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.

Author Links

Purchase Link – Amazon

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

November 16 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

November 17 – Lady Hawkeye – CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 17 – I’m Into Books – SPOTLIGHT

November 18 – Mythical Books – AUTHOR GUEST POST

November 18 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT

November 19 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 19 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

November 20 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT

November 20 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews– SPOTLIGHT

November 21 – Guatemala Paula Loves to Read – SPOTLIGHT

November 22 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW, RECIPE

November 22 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 23 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW, AUTHOR GUEST POST

November 23 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

November 24 – THANKSGIVING

November 25 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

November 26 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW

November 26 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

November 27 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, AUTHOR GUEST POST

November 28 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

November 29 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 30 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Blog Tour, Cozy Mystery, Interview

Interview with Dorothy St. James, Author of A Book Club to Die For, A Beloved Bookroom Cozy Mystery

It’s my pleasure to feature an interview with Dorothy St. James who also writes romances under her real name, Dorothy McFalls. Dorothy is the author of A Book Club to Die For that is currently on blog tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book tours. She hails from Charleston, South Carolina.

Hi, Dorothy. Welcome to Ruff Drafts. 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.

My first book, THE MARRIAGE LIST, was published in 2005 by Signet books as Dorothy McFalls. I have since self-published this book, and it’s become one of my top sellers.

My career as cozy mystery Dorothy St. James author began in 2011 with the White House Gardener Mystery series, published by my dream publisher Berkley Prime Crime. These books follow the adventures of a Charleston gardener who takes a job working as an assistant gardener at the White House. She digs up all sorts of crime there!

My next series, the Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery series, was published by Crooked Lane Books. This series is set on the fictional beach community of Camilla Beach. It’s based on the artsy town of Folly Beach in where I lived for twenty years. It has quirky southern characters, delicious chocolate recipes, and murder in a vacation setting. What more could you ask for?

And now I’m writing the Beloved Bookroom Mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime. I’m back with my dream publisher! This series follows the adventures of an assistant librarian in a small town as she stands up to government officials in her quest to protect her library’s books. It’s been a fun series since it combines my love of books with my past career with working for small southern governments.

I’ve written a few books that have been self-published and hope to do more in the future. In fact, I’ve continued the cancelled Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery series by publishing the fourth book (and hopefully more to come) by myself. Self-publishing has been quite successful for me. I enjoy being able to take a book directly to the reader.

Wow! You’re quite an established author, and I find it interesting that you’ve found success both through a large publisher and through self publishing. My cozy mysteries and other books are currently being published by small, Indie publishers, but I’ve been trying to find an agent, so I can get them published by a larger publisher. My only experience with self publishing was for my first novel, a paranormal romance that I published through a self-publishing company. I since sold it to one of my publishers. That was years ago before authors began to self publish on their own. I’m still not sure it would be for me, but I’ll be having more time in the future to consider my writing path, as I’m retiring shortly.

Please tell us a bit more about your books.

My latest release, A BOOK CLUB TO DIE FOR (November 1, 2022) is the third book in the Beloved Bookroom Mystery series. Trudell Becket, assistant librarian at the Town of Cypress Public Library, is facing what might prove to be her biggest challenge yet. The Cypress Arete Society is one of the town’s oldest and most exclusive clubs. When Tru is invited to speak to the group about the library, its modernization, and her efforts to bring printed books to the reading public, her friend Flossie invites herself along. Flossie has been on the book club’s waiting list for five years, and she’s determined to find out why she’s never received an invitation to join.

But not long after Tru and Flossie arrive for the meeting, they’re shocked to find the club’s president, Rebecca White, dead in the kitchen. Rebecca was a former TV actress and local celebrity, but was not known for being patient or pleasant. She’d been particularly unkind to the book club’s host for the evening, who also happens to be the mother of Detective Jace Bailey, Tru’s boyfriend. And Rebecca had made it clear that she didn’t think Flossie was book club material.

With her boyfriend and one of her best friends wrapped up in a murder, Tru has to work fast to figure out who cut Rebecca’s story short before the killer takes another victim out of circulation….

Love that premise and that your book is about a librarian. I currently work at a public library and feature a librarian in my Cobble Cove cozy mystery series. There’s also a librarian playing a minor role so far in my new Buttercup Bend mysteries.

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 write stories that make the reader feel hope while also providing entertainment. The world can be a difficult place. For me, books have often served as a refuge in turbulent times. My fondest wish is to provide that safe harbor for others out there.

I hope to branch out into new genres in the coming years and to stretch myself as an author. I have been writing new stories and developing new ideas that take me outside my comfort zone and challenge me to ask some bigger questions and delve deeper into why my characters make the decisions they make. While I aim to bring to the table richer tales, I will always strive to keep the stories fast-paced, entertaining, and with endings filled with hope.

You have nice goals. Best of luck with them.

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

I would like to appeal to a broad range of readers. Most of my readers are women. And being a woman myself, I’m okay with that. Readers who enjoy solving puzzles and who are looking for a lighter read will enjoy my books.

That’s not to say my books are shallow. Comedies can be sneaky teachers. There’s no reason why comedic prose cannot tackle the same difficult questions that more “serious” books take on. And many comedic books do! How the author tackles the issue is what changes. I hope readers will walk away from my books feeling as if they have learned something valuable either about themselves or about the world.

I agree that most women enjoy cozies, although there are men who find them interesting.. I also like to add a bit of humor to my mysteries, along with more serious topics.

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

I have been writing seriously since 2001. And I’ve been hearing all this time that it’s becoming harder and harder to get published. The story never changes. So, if you are told this, don’t lose hope. I started out needing to learn many lessons about the craft of writing and the business of publication. As I honed my skills, it became easier and easier to find publishers and readers. That’s not to say it’s always easy. It’s not. But you can learn the market. You can learn to write the books the market wants. And if those aren’t the books you want to write, you can find readers by self-publishing your books and selling directly to your market.

And one more thing. I firmly believe that every person has an important story that they can tell. All it takes is the will and the time to learn the best way to tell it.

I totally agree with you. I published my first book in 2008 and have been publishing regularly since 2015. I currently have 14 books published by two publishers and have done that working full-time. I feel that I’ve improved with each book and am close to achieving wider recognition in the publishing industry.

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

Oh, I had so many challenges! I came from a government job writing regulations and grants, both of which I excelled at. I didn’t know how to write compelling prose. I didn’t know how to find my voice. But luckily, both of these things are skills that can be learned. I took online courses. I went to workshops offered by local writing groups. I took notes from the novels I read and enjoyed. And I read many how-to books. Eventually, gradually, I improved.

If I can do it, anyone can.

Thanks for sharing that. It’s an inspiring story.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I belong to Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers groups. I’ve been members of other groups along the way, including Novelist Inc. and Romance Writers of America. It’s important to find groups that fit where you are in your career and have programs that will help you grow and a place to network to find a support network of writers who are at the same level in their career as you.

I agree. I also belong to Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers, as well as a few other groups including the Cat Writers’ Association of which I’ve been a member of for many years and have received awards and opportunities.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I love to read. And naps. Naps play a big role in my life. I also enjoy traveling, hiking, getting out into nature, and fiber arts (knitting, crocheting, macramé.)

Lol. Naps are good. They’re healthy for you. Traveling can give writers more ideas from which to draw. I also love the outdoors and enjoy visiting gardens, parks, etc. My daughter is into knitting and crocheting, like you. She’s self taught and enjoys that hobby immensely.

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

I love it when a story comes together. My heart starts pounding and my fingers move faster over the keyboard the moment when the plot and the subplots all make sense to me. I feel so accomplished.

I dislike the daily grind of coming to the page and fighting a plot that doesn’t feel like it’s working. Sometimes that means there is something wrong with the plot. Sometimes it means I’m tired. And sometimes it means I have to work through the rough bits to find the good bits. It can be a challenge figuring out where I am in the process and how to make my story move forward and to get better.

My biggest challenge is fighting my self-doubt. I suspect I’m—like many authors out there—my biggest obstacle. Self-doubt can be difficult to overcome. But if you have a story singing in your heart, it’s important to push through and get that story out on the page, even if you’re doing it only for yourself…especially if you’re doing it only for yourself.

You’ve made some very important points that other writers will identify with. I certainly do.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I love both the puzzles of the cozy mysteries and the rich variety of characters. I think as a reader I come for mystery and come back to a series for the characters. Over time, the characters in a series can become as dear to me as an old friend.

That is exactly how I feel about writing my cozies.

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

Sure! I’d love to.

A loud crash from the kitchen made us both jump.

As we moved toward the swinging door to investigate, the front doorbell rang.

“What should we do?” I asked as I automatically moved toward the front door. “Answer the door or offer our help in the kitchen?

“Kitchen,” Flossie announced as she rolled her wheelchair in that direction. “As hostess, Hazel should be the one to greet her guests. She wouldn’t thank us for doing that for her.” The kitchen door swung back and forth in Flossie’s wake.

I hesitated.

The head librarian, Mrs. Farnsworth might be on the other side of the front door, ringing the bell. She wouldn’t appreciate being made to wait outside.

But then there was a second crash in the kitchen.

“Flossie? Is everything alright in there?” I abandoned my quest to open the front door and jogged to the kitchen to find Flossie sitting in her wheelchair next to an enormous kitchen counter that was lined with sumptuous dishes.

“Hazel did this all by herself?” I wondered aloud, barely able to restrain myself from taking a nibble out of one of the rainbow-colored mini hamburgers topped with feta cheese. My empty stomach rumbled.

Strangely, Flossie wasn’t looking at the food, but was busy slipping something into her bag.

“What were those crashes?” I asked her.

“Hazel must have dropped her pasta casserole onto the floor. It’s everywhere,” Flossie said. Her wheelchair made a squishy sound as she rolled through elbow pasta floating in an eggy mayonnaise sauce strewn with cucumbers, pink seared tuna, and chives. “You’d better get a mop.”

“We’re going to need more than a mop,” I said as I stepped further into the kitchen.

I pointed to the hardwood floor near the kitchen counter where a pair of legs were sticking out from behind the kitchen counter.

“Is it—?” Flossie asked.

I peered around the counter and followed the legs up to the rest of the woman. Rebecca White was lying flat on back. Her unmoving eyes seemed to be staring judgmentally at a tiny cobweb hanging from the ceiling.

Flossie looked at the shattered casserole dish lying in pieces next to Rebecca’s body. “Tell me she isn’t dead.”

“Can’t do that.” I sighed.

Flossie breathed out a long, loud breath. “It looks like there will be an opening for a new member in the society after all.”

“An opening? What do you mean an opening?” Hazel demanded. “Did Rebecca say something about my membership?” Our hostess came into the kitchen through the back door. She was carrying an empty garbage can while wearing bright yellow dish gloves. I was embarrassed that she’d heard Flossie’s uncharitable remark about a dead woman. “What’s going on in here?” Her voice was filled with suspicion as soon as she noticed the awful mess.

“What did you do to Rebecca?” Flossie demanded right back at our hostess.

Hazel looked at the pasta salad splattered all over the floor first and then at Rebecca who was lying in the middle of the mess. “Good gracious, Mary, and Joseph. She’s dead, isn’t she?”

The front doorbell rang for a second time.

“And the rest of the ladies are here. Of course, they are,” Hazel said before bursting out in a loud peel of laughter. The poor woman laughed so hard she had to bend over and grab hold of her knees to keep from falling over. And she kept laughing.

I called the police while Hazel continued to laugh so hard tears poured down her face. It took Flossie threatening to slap her silly before the poor woman managed to get control of herself.

“Sorry, sorry, I’ve had to put up with this sharp-tongued woman all week. She kept telling me that tonight was going to be a disaster…and then the dessert burned…and I had to take it out to the garbage…and…now…this,” Hazel explained between gasping breaths. “She was right, wasn’t she? Tonight is a disaster. I bet she died just to make sure she would be right. She would always go to any length to ensure her rightness. I can’t tell you how much I hated that.”

The doorbell rang again. Hazel glanced over at where Rebecca was still on the floor dead. The soles of the former actress’s high heels were really the only thing visible from where the three of us were. A short laugh seemed to explode out Hazel’s mouth. “Sorry. I can’t seem to help myself. Seeing her there reminds me of the Wicked Witch of the East at the beginning of the Wizard of Oz movie. Smashed by a house. Ding-dong.” She fought back more giggles and more tears. “Gracious, it isn’t funny. I know it isn’t. It’s just that I worked myself half to death this past week trying to make Rebecca happy and then, the moment before the guests arrive and before Rebecca’s friend from that television show comes to set up, that terrible woman drops dead. And my casserole dish is smashed too. It was a wedding gift from my sister.”

“You didn’t do this?” Flossie asked, pointing to the shattered remains of what I supposed to be the murder weapon.

“What? Buy that dish?” Hazel shook her head. “No. I just told you it had been a wedding gift from my sister. I’ve had it forever. It’s hard to find quality ones that are that large enough nowadays. I don’t know how I’ll replace it.

Love it! Thanks for sharing.

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

I live in the Lowcountry of South Carolina with my family and neurotic pets. I often can be found at the local library, searching for my next favorite read. I hope you’ll give one of my books a chance.

I certainly hope my readers will, and I plan to do so, too. Thanks so much for the wonderful interview. I’m sharing the blog tour for you new release below. Best wishes.

 


A Book Club to Die For (A Beloved Bookroom)
by Dorothy St. James

About A Book Club to Die For


A Book Club to Die For (A Beloved Bookroom)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Cypress, South Carolina
‎Berkley (November 1, 2022)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593098633
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593098639
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09PZSBCVW

When a member of an exclusive book club is checked out, spunky librarian Trudell Becket must sort fact from fiction to solve the murder.

The Cypress Arete Society is one of the town’s oldest and most exclusive clubs. When assistant librarian Trudell Becket is invited to speak to the group about the library, its modernization, and her efforts to bring printed books to the reading public, her friend Flossie invites herself along. Flossie has been on the book club’s waiting list for five years, and she’s determined to find out why she’s never received an invitation to join.

But not long after Tru and Flossie arrive for the meeting, they’re shocked to find the club’s president, Rebecca White, dead in the kitchen. Rebecca was a former TV actress and local celebrity, but was not known for being patient or pleasant. She’d been particularly unkind to the book club’s host for the evening, who also happens to be the mother of Detective Jace Bailey, Tru’s boyfriend. And Rebecca had made it clear that she didn’t think Flossie was book club material.

With her boyfriend and one of her best friends wrapped up in a murder, Tru has to work fast to figure out who cut Rebecca’s story short before the killer takes another victim out of circulation….

About Dorothy St. James

Dorothy St. James is a former Folly Beach beach bum. She now lives in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, with her family, slightly (OK, terribly) needy dogs, and the friendliest cat you’ll ever meet. Author of a dozen novels, Dorothy enjoys writing both cozy mysteries and romance.

Follow Dorothy Online:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/dorothy.stjames

Twitter: www.twitter.com/dorothywrites

Instagram: www.instagram.com/dorothymcfalls

Website: www.dorothystjames.com

Purchase Links – AmazonPenguin Random HouseB&NKoboIndieBound

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

November 1 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 1 – I’m Into Books – SPOTLIGHT

November 1 – The Mystery Section – SPOTLIGHT

November 2 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

November 2 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 2 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

November 3 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

November 3 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

November 3 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 4 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 4 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

November 4 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

November 5 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 5 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

November 5 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 6 – The Book Diva’s Reads – AUTHOR GUEST POST

November 6 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

November 7 – Angel’s Guilty Pleasures – CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 7 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

November 8 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT

November 8 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW

November 9 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

November 9 – Nadaness In Motion – SPOTLIGHT

November 10 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 10 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

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Click Here to Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Posted in Cozy Mystery, Interview, New Releases

Interview with Sarah E. Burr, author of Too Much to Candle, a Glenmyre Whim Cozy Mystery

It’s my pleasure to welcome Sarah E. Burr to Ruff Drafts. Sarah is an author who lives in New York.

Hi, Sarah. 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’ve been publishing for a little over five years now. I’ve independently published the Glenmyre Whim Mysteries and the Court of Mystery series. Level Best Books publishes my Trending Topic Mysteries (#FollowMe for Murder), and TouchPoint Press will release the Book Blogger Mystery series next year (Over My Dead Blog). What can I say? I love a good mystery!

Nice. 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’m celebrating the release of Book Two in the Glenmyre Whim Mysteries, Too Much to Candle, which came out on October 13th, 2022. Readers meet candlemaker Hazel Wickbury, who has a shocking secret. She can see when someone is going to die. This power, known as a “whim,” thrusts Hazel into the center of a missing person investigation when her candle shop assistant becomes the prime suspect. Add buried treasure and family secrets to the mix, and Hazel just might have too much on her plate to “candle.”

That sounds very interesting. 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?

The ultimate goal of my writing is to entertain. To bring happiness and joy through a medium that I love. A more personal goal is to capture as many of the stories spinning around my head as possible.

I aim to finish my Court of Mystery series with ten books (I’m writing Book Nine as we speak) and then launch a spin-off series featuring fan-favorite characters Captain George Solomon and Countess Serafina Braeknoch. I’ve been working on a detailed plan to expand the Realm of Virtues (the world where the series is set) for some time now, so I’m feeling very confident about its future.

I also hope to solidify one more cozy mystery series with a publisher; that process involves queries and proposals and lots of waiting.

I set word count and project goals to help myself stay on track. I put together a roadmap each month of what I need to accomplish, and that’s my to-do list for the next four weeks. I also do daily/weekly goal check-ins to ensure I’m moving in the right direction.

I know all about stories spinning in one’s head. I have an ongoing list of books to write and just have to find the time. I admire your goal-setting technique.

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

I love to entertain my readers. I want to create a happy escape for them where good always triumphs over evil. If a reader is looking for something dark and gritty, my books probably won’t deliver on that front. While I may write about murder, I focus more on close-knit friends banding together to do whatever it takes to bring down the bad guy. I make jokes, use silly puns, and my characters are quick with sarcastic quips. Readers who enjoy lighthearted mysteries with a paranormal twist can always read the Glenmyre Whim Mysteries for free on Kindle Unlimited.

 It sounds like you have a good awareness of your audience.

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

Get involved in the writing community. Whether online through social media or a local writing group, building a network and community of writers is vital in this industry. The support you both give and receive will be invaluable.

Great advice. I completely agree.

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

Five years ago, as a millennial trying to break into the cozy mystery space, I had to overcome a lot of naysayers who told me social media was “just a fad” and that my tech-savvy heroines wouldn’t be relevant in a few years. Thankfully, I found an agent and, subsequently, a publisher who believed I was on the right track with Coco Cline and her story in #FollowMe for Murder.

You showed them.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

 I am a member of Sisters in Crime and am on the board of my local New York chapter.

I am also a member of that group and also the New York chapter, although I live on Long Island.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

 I love to read, but that might be a given. I’m also a big Broadway buff and am an avid video gamer. I also love board games and card games.

Those sound like fun hobbies.

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

I love many things about being an author, but the best is hearing from readers. It really, really makes my day when someone reaches out to let me know how funny they think social media influencer Coco Cline and her friends are or how candlemaker Hazel and her Aunt Poppy make such a fantastic team. I love discovering that I’ve brought joy to someone’s life; that’s why I create these lighthearted, fun stories, after all.

As for my challenges and what I like least, I’d have to say grammar and proofreading! I’m terrible with spelling and catching mistakes. I will spend an hour determining whether I’ve structured one sentence correctly. Sometimes, I spell something so horribly wrong that spellcheck says, “You’re on your own.”

I do a lot of reading out loud to help catch my mistakes; it’s incredible how hearing something rather than reading it can shine a light on typos and misused words.

It’s so true that reading your work aloud helps you spot errors. I do that, too.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

Writing cozy mysteries is how I vicariously live out my childhood fantasies of being Nancy Drew. I love the idea of a civilian willing to put everything on the line to see justice done. Cozy mystery main characters are kind of like superheroes in that way. I also enjoy making warm, welcoming towns where I’d want to live. Every town I’ve created, I would live in, hands down.

Yes, that’s the fun part of cozies and, of course, the quirky characters who become like friends as you follow them from book to book in a series.

Can you share a short excerpt from your latest release?

 Too Much to Candle:

Curses. I seethed inwardly as I gnawed on my lower lip to conceal my physical and mental anguish. I despised my ability in moments like this. I didn’t want to know when one of my closest friends was going to die. Iggy, thank goodness, had more than seventy years on his lifeclock, meaning he would live a long, full life, well into his late nineties, but still…knowing when someone was fated to die was an incredible burden.

I took a deep breath, keenly aware that Poppy’s eyes were locked on my hunched form. No doubt, my bestie knew what had happened. I was sure she’d go into super-protective aunt mode the moment we were alone. But for now, I had to keep it together, to pretend that I didn’t know when the two men before me were destined to meet their end.

Inhaling another cleansing breath, I straightened my shoulders and turned to Mayhan. I couldn’t help but feel somewhat relieved that we wouldn’t have this unpleasant fellow in our lives for much longer. Because, while Iggy’s lifeclock had shown decades, Mayhan Montgomery had only twenty-two days left to live.

Good excerpt. Thanks for sharing it.

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

I’m very active on social media and love hearing from readers, so please feel free to reach out through your favorite online platform. I also host a live-stream YouTube series with fellow cozy mystery author J.C. Kenney. Our show is called The Bookish Hour, and we interview authors across all genres about their books, characters, and writing. Our second season kicks off on October 13th with a special release celebration for Too Much to Candle.

That sounds great. I know J.C. I appeared on a panel with him once. I should check out your YouTube series. Maybe you can interview me next time.

 Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc.

Website: http://www.saraheburr.com

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/saraheburrsignup

Socials: https://bit.ly/sarahsocialmediahub

Too Much to Candle: https://amzn.to/3NlJkyU

Glenmyre Whim Mystery series: https://bit.ly/glenmyrewhimmysteries

Thank you for the great interview, and best wishes on your new release. I’m sharing your blog tour and giveaway below.


Too Much to Candle (Glenmyre Whim Mysteries)
by Sarah E. Burr

About Too Much to Candle


Too Much to Candle (Glenmyre Whim Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery/Paranormal
2nd in Series
Setting: A fictional town in upstate New York called Crucible
Independently Published (October 13, 2022)
Number of Pages: 249
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0B1QT8XL8

Candlemaker Hazel Wick bury sets out again to bring the truth to light.

Iggy Alewell, Hazel Wickbury’s friend and candle shop assistant, is eager to purchase his own home with the advance from his first big book deal. Iggy is on the hunt for something with character, so what could be better than the old Cragmire house that’s rumored to have buried treasure somewhere on its property? Hazel is thrilled her friend has found success, but things in Crucible take a nasty turn when another potential buyer for the Cragmire house goes missing. He was last seen taking a boat out on Lake Glenmyre, and when the rental is found empty, it’s clear to police that foul play is involved.

What’s worse is that Iggy becomes the prime suspect in the man’s disappearance, and Detective Holden Whitfield’s thorny, new partner is certain Iggy is guilty. To clear Iggy from suspicion and dispel the darkness penetrating their beloved town, Hazel and her Aunt Poppy team up again to find a killer before their friend gets burned.

Return to Crucible in Too Much to Candle, Book Two in the award-winning Glenmyre Whim Mysteries.

About Sarah E. Burr

Sarah E. Burr lives near New York City. Hailing from the small town of Appleton, Maine, she has been dreaming of being Nancy Drew since she was a little girl. After not finding any mysteries in corporate America, Sarah began writing some of her own. She is the author of the Trending Topic Mysteries and the Court of Mystery series. Sarah is also the author of the award-winning Glenmyre Whim Mysteries. You Can’t Candle the Truth was a 2022 NGIBA Best Mystery Finalist and a 2022 Silver Falchion Best Supernatural Mystery Finalist.

Sarah is a member of Sisters in Crime, currently serving as the social media guru for the NY-TriState Chapter. She is also the creative mind behind BookstaBundles, a content creation service for authors. Sarah is the co-host of The Bookish Hour, a livestreamed YouTube series featuring author interviews and book discussions. She writes as a member of the Writers Who Kill blogging team. When she’s not spinning up stories, Sarah is singing Broadway show tunes, video gaming, and enjoying walks with her dog, Eevee.

Author Links

Website: www.saraheburr.com

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/saraheburrsignup

Socials: https://bit.ly/sarahsocialmediahub

Sarah’s Blog: https://bit.ly/noteworthyauthorblog

The Glenmyre Whim Mysteries: https://bit.ly/glenmyrewhimmysteries

Amazon Author Page: https://bit.ly/authorsaraheburr

Facebook Instagram Twitter Goodreads BookBub Pinterest YouTube LinkedIn

Purchase Link – Amazon

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

October 14 – The Plain-Spoken Pen – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

October 14 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT

October 15 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 15 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

October 15 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 16 – The Mystery Section – SPOTLIGHT

October 16 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

October 17 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

October 17 – Guatemala Paula Loves to Read – REVIEW

October 18 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

October 18 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

October 19 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

October 19 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

October 20 – Elza Reads – REVIEW, AUTHOR GUEST POST

October 20 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

October 21 – Lady Hawkeye – CHARACTER GUEST POST

October 21 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

October 22 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

October 22 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

October 23 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT

October 23 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Blog Tour, Cozy Mystery, Interview, Reviews

Interview, Blog Tour, and Review for A Dark and Stormy Tea by Laura Childs

It’s a pleasure to have Laura Childs, New York Times Bestselling Author of A Dark and Stormy Tea, here on Ruff Drafts,

Welcome, Laura. How long have you been published? What titles and/or series have you published and with which publisher?

For the last 21 years I’ve been writing 4 different series that are all published by Berkley Prime Crime, a division of Penguin Random House. These include the Tea Shop Mysteries, New Orleans Scrapbooking Mysteries, Cackleberry Club Mysteries, and the Afton Tangler Thriller series. All together it comes to a total of 52 books with 3 more written and waiting to be published.

That’s amazing. Congratulations on such a prolific career.

Tell us a little about your four different series.

My most popular series is the Tea Shop Mysteries. These books all feature tea maven Theodosia Browning who runs the Indigo Tea Shop in Charleston, SC and has a tea shop dog named Earl Grey. My Scrapbook Mysteries are a little edgier because they’re set in New Orleans. They feature Carmela Bertrand, an artsy scrapbook shop owner, along with her voodoo shop-owning BFA Ava. The Cackleberry Club Mysteries are set in a cute little Midwestern café and feature three women who’ve all lost their husbands – one through death, one through Alzheimer’s, and one whose husband ran off with the floozy waitress at the VFW with the hot pink extensions in her hair. My fourth series is the Afton Tangler Thrillers. Afton is a crime victim’s advocate who’s also a detective wanna-be and manages to insert herself in high profile cases.

They all sound wonderful. I’m sorry to admit that the only book I’ve read of yours so far is your latest Tea Shop mystery, A Dark and Stormy Tea, that I’ve reviewed below. I absolutely loved it.

What’s the date of your upcoming release and what’s your current work-in-progress?

My new release is A DARK AND STORMY TEA that was released on August 9th. I also have LEMON CURD KILLER and HONEY DROP DEAD coming out next year. Works in progress include MURDER IN THE TEA LEAVES and CADMIUM RED DEAD.

After reading A Dark and Stormy Tea, I hope to read another in that series and also try out your other series.

Describe your goals as a writer.

My goal is to always (always!) entertain my readers. That’s why I jumpstart every book – boom! – with a huge murder right there in the first chapter. Then I drop my main character smack dab in the middle of the chaos and give them a life and death reason to get involved and help track down the killer.

Sounds like a great way to get readers hooked.

What type of readers do you attract? Who’s most interested in reading your books?

My three cozy series certainly appeal to a cozy reader, but I’ve had readers who claimed to be strict thriller fans or true crime fans, comment that they actually enjoyed my books. You see? I pulled them over from the dark side!

Lol. After reading your latest book, I can see why.

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

Three things. Read as much as you can in your genre because you’ll start to pick up all sorts of little tricks and tactics from other authors. Second, be sure you know the difference between a story idea and an actual plot (outlining will help you figure this out). And, finally, please don’t start your book with all sorts of back story. Drop your reader right into the action, then fill in the facts and figures later.

Excellent advice.

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

Actually, I was very lucky. Early on, a friend introduced me to the great Mary Higgins Clark and she (God bless her) helped me get started. She even gave me her agent!

Wow! I wish I could get that lucky – lol. But although that was a lucky way to get started, I’m sure your talent took it from there.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I serve on the boards of a couple of non-profit organizations and enjoy travel, art, and investing.

Very nice.

What do you like most – and least – about being an author?

My favorite thing is getting out and meeting my readers. A few weeks ago I did a talk for a book club of 300 – what fun! My least favorite thing is working alone – when I was CEO of my marketing firm I loved the collaborative creative process. So I really do miss that aspect.

I think most writers enjoy interacting with readers and also don’t always enjoy the solitary aspect of writing.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

The best thing is – there are no rules! Sure, cozies are supposed to be a kinder, gentler type of mystery, but that doesn’t mean you can’t push the envelope and make your mystery as exciting as possible. I’ve kicked off my books with kidnappings, exploding floats, hangings, art thefts, yacht races, jewelry heists, poisonings, and a strangling in a creepy cemetery – and ended them with killer drones, food truck chases, alligators, hidden tunnels, ghosts and lots more. You just need to flip the script a bit.

I agree that writing cozies can be fun if you make it that way. Finishing the second book of my new Buttercup Bend series, I included a seventies costume dance party, a club of parrot lovers, and mysterious notes containing Shakespeare quotes.

Can you share a short synopsis of your new release, A DARK AND STORMY TEA?

Love to. Here it is:

Tea shop entrepreneur Theodosia Browning dashes down Charleston’s famed Gateway Walk as she attempts to outrun an oncoming storm. But lighting, thunder, and pelting rain soon overtake her, and the normally picturesque ramble of hedges, statuary, and flowers becomes a twisted labyrinth of fog and driving rain. As Theodosia approaches St. Philips Cemetery, she sees two figures locked in a strange embrace. Wiping rain from her eyes, Theodosia realizes she’s just witnessed a brutal murder and sees a dark hooded figure slip away into the fog.

In the throes of alerting police, Theodosia recognizes the victim – it’s the daughter of her friend, Lois, who owns the Antiquarian Bookshop next door to her own Indigo Tea Shop. Even though this appears to be the work of a serial killer that’s been stalking the back alleys of Charleston, Lois begs Theodosia for help. Against the advice of her boyfriend, Detective Pete Riley, and the sage words of Drayton, her tea sommelier, amateur sleuth Theodosia launches her own shadow investigation. And quickly discovers that suspects abound with the dead girl’s boyfriend, nefarious real estate developer, private security man, bumbling reporter, and her own neighbor who’s writing a true crime book and searching for a big ending. Between a raging storm, real-life murder investigation, and staging her Murder Mystery Tea at Chillingham Manor, Theodosia suddenly worries that she might be the next victim!

Wonderful! I truly enjoyed reading it.

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

Yup. These aren’t your typical cozies. In fact, I coined the term thrillzies to describe them – because they’re a hybrid cozy that moves at the pace of a thriller. Oh, and when I mention a wonderful scone or tea sandwich in my books, I always include the recipe.

Interesting, and your recipes certainly sound delicious.

Thank you so much for the interview, Laura. I’ve included your bio below along with your blog tour and my 5-star review of your book.

Laura Childs Bio:

Laura Childs is the author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. All have been on the New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly bestseller lists. Recently, Book Riot named her mysteries to their list of “25 of the All Time Best Cozy Mystery Series.” In her previous life Laura was CEO of her own marketing firm, authored several screenplays, and produced a reality TV show. She is married to Dr. Bob, a professor of Chinese art history, and has a Chinese Shar-Pei named Lotus.

Find out more at laurachilds.com or become a Friend on Facebook at Laura Childs Author

A Dark and Stormy Tea (A Tea Shop Mystery)
by Laura Childs

About A Dark and Stormy Tea


A Dark and Stormy Tea (A Tea Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
24th in Series
Berkley (August 9, 2022)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593200896
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593200896
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09LH6VG4P

A possible serial killer on the loose sends tea maven Theodosia Browning into a whirlwind of investigation in this latest installment of the New York Times bestselling series.

It was a dark and stormy night, but that was the least of Theodosia Browning’s troubles. As she approaches St. Philips Graveyard, Theodosia sees two figures locked in a strange embrace. Wiping rain from her eyes, Theodosia realizes she has just witnessed a brutal murder and sees a dark-hooded figure slip away into the fog.

In the throes of alerting police, Theodosia recognizes the victim—it is the daughter of her friend, Lois, who owns the Antiquarian Bookshop next door to her own Indigo Tea Shop.

Even though this appears to be the work of a serial killer who is stalking the back alleys of Charleston, Lois begs Theodosia for help. Against the advice of her boyfriend, Detective Pete Riley, and the sage words of Drayton, her tea sommelier, amateur-sleuth Theodosia launches her own shadow investigation. And quickly discovers that suspects abound with the dead girl’s boyfriend, nefarious real estate developer, private-security man, bumbling reporter, and her own neighbor who is writing a true-crime book and searching for a big ending.

INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS!

My Review of A Dark and Stormy Tea

*****5-stars

This is the first mystery I’ve read by Laura Childs, and I can’t believe what I’ve missed. She has several series. This one, the Tea Shop Mysteries, takes place in Charleston, South Carolina and features Theodosia Browning who owns the Indigo Tea Shop and has a knack for solving crimes as well as brewing tea.

In A Dark and Stormy Tea, the 24th Tea Shop Mystery, Theodosia witnesses the murder of a bookstore owner’s daughter in a cemetery but, because of the rain, she was unable to see the face of the killer. Could he be Fogheel Jack, the name given to a murderer who has strangled women in the past in foggy weather?

The victim’s mother, a friend of Theodosia, asks for her help catching the killer. Against her Detective boyfriend’s wishes and despite her tea sommelier, Drayton’s discouragement, Theo pursues her own investigation and is nearly killed after a successful mystery tea at her shop.

I found this a charming cozy. The characters and atmosphere were great, and there was an interesting twist. A big plus are the recipes at the end of the book for tea and other yummy goodies. You will devour this story. Highly recommended.

About Laura Childs

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fundraising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:

The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

Laura’s Links: WebsiteFacebook

Purchase Links
AmazonB&NKoboIndieBound

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

August 8 – Angel’s Guilty Pleasures – SPOTLIGHT

August 8 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

August 9 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

August 9 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW

August 9 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

August 10 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT

August 10 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT

August 11 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

August 11 – The Book’s the Thing – SPOTLIGHT

August 12 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT

August 12 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

August 13 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

August 13 – Baroness Book Trove – REVIEW

August 14 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

August 14 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 15 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

August 15 – Diane Reviews Books – GUEST POST

August 16 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 16 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

August 17 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 17 – I Read What You Write – SPOTLIGHT

August 18 – Reading Is My SuperPower – GUEST POST

August 18 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

August 19 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 20 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 20 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

August 21 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 21 – Girl with Pen – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Blog Tour, Interview

Interview with Author Mary Keliikoa and Blog Tour for Deceived, her new Kelly Pruett Mystery

It’s my pleasure to welcome Mary Keliikoa to Ruff Drafts. Mary is the author of Deceived, the third Kelly Pruett Mystery. She hails from Ridgefield, Washington.

Hi, Mary. How long have you been published? What titles and/or series have you published and with which publisher? Please give details.

My first publication was in 1996 with a short mystery that appeared in Woman’s World. In 2021, Untreed Reads published my short story as part of an anthology Peace, Love, Crime: Crime Fiction Inspired by Songs of the Sixties.

As far as novel length, I debuted in 2020 at Camel Press with DERAILED, the first book in the Kelly Pruett mystery series. I followed up with DENIED in 2021 and DECEIVED came out on May 10, 2022.

Great! Please tell us a little bit about your books.

My current series features a PI who is a single mom to a deaf daughter, and who has inherited her father’s detective agency. She also lives next door to her ex-mother-in-law and is co-parenting with her ex-husband. So you can imagine there’s all kinds of conflict that can arise from that! The series starts with her first case shortly after her dad’s death and as she goes through a stiff learning curve, she improves as an investigator and a mom throughout the books.

I also have a new series beginning October 25, 2022, with Level Best Books that I’m quite excited about! HIDDEN PIECES is set at the Oregon coast and straddles psychological suspense and mystery. It features a former Portland homicide detective turned small town sheriff. Jax Turner has been struggling to function after the death of his daughter from cancer and his marriage, but the case of a missing teenage girl brings him back to life. And when he finds ties to a 25-year-old cold case, he seeks redemption vowing to get it right this time. 

Good news. I just started a new series myself. I’ve heard nice things about Level Best Books. One day, I may consider querying them. Both of my series are with Indie publishers. I assume Level Best Books is traditional publisher and require an agent. I’m still looking for one.

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

Continuing to write of course is priority one! My agent has a stand-alone domestic suspense that she’s pitching, and I’m busy working on edits for Jax Turner’s Book 2 (Deadly Tides) and a new stand-alone domestic suspense! My goal long term is really to just continue to write and to publish. And hope to continuously grow my audience as I do that.

But I also want to continue to improve my craft. I regularly attend conference workshops, read books, and attend classes. I also seek out experienced writers who edit my work. It’s fun to learn in the classroom, but nothing beats getting words on the page and having them critiqued to know if it’s sinking in.

Excellent goals. I have similar ones. I also enjoy alternating my cozy mysteries with standalone psychological mysteries. I like writing and reading both of those types of books.

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

Mystery and suspense lovers, of course! But also people who gravitate to character driven novels versus plot only. I believe my novels in general have broad appeal. They aren’t too graphic, and I really work to create worlds where people are relatable, and justice is served in the end.

You should have a nice-sized audience. I also feel that characters are as important as plots in books.

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

Find your tribe and continue to improve on your craft. Both are so important during the process. There are days when the story doesn’t flow, or the plot isn’t working, and it’s wonderful to have writing friends to reach out to. They get you on a level that no one else can. Of course, always improving as a writer is key, but don’t let the amount of classes and books distract you from doing the actual writing. And whatever you do, don’t give up! It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Every day you dedicate to your passion, is a day well spent.

That sounds like great advice.

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

Just that overwhelming feeling that it was never going to be good enough. I had over 100 rejections on my first Kelly Pruett novel, DERAILED, before I got an agent. And then a year after that to get the book deal. But then it went on to receive 4 nominations for best debut.

You really have to shut down the naysayers and keep writing—keep editing—keep believing. I won’t say it was easy. I had dark days, but I also tried to put it into perspective. I have a very full productive life with a wonderful husband and family, and so I focused on the one thing I could control in the process—writing.

It’s true that persistence pays off. I know there’s at least one of my books that I should’ve queried further to agents because I don’t think I sent out even a quarter as many as you did before you landed one, but I’m glad that I can keep writing and publishing.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I do—I think community is so important and you definitely find that in writing groups. I’m the VP of my local Sisters in Crime chapter. I’m also an active member of Mystery Writers of America, Private Eye Writers of America, and Willamette Writers.

I’m also a Sisters-in-Crime member. Although I don’t have a local chapter, I belong to others that I can attend virtually. I’m considering joining Mystery Writers of America. Even though my publishers aren’t recognized by them, I could probably join as an Associate Member because I’m also a librarian. I’ve never heard of Private Eye Writers of America but will check them out.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

Of course, I’m an avid reader. Mystery and suspense are my main genres, but I also enjoy some Women’s Fiction, and an occasional fantasy or Sci-fi as well. In addition, I love to travel. I recently purchased a map of the world so I could keep track of all the places I’ve been, and where I want to go. And the list is long! I also love to golf, take cooking and baking classes, and spend time with my family. With 10 grandchildren, there’s never a dull moment.

Ten grandchildren, wow! The only grandkids I have are my two grandcats who belong to my seventeen-year-old daughter. We have similar reading interests. I like to try different authors, both well-known and lesser known. I also like to travel, but I’m still working full-time and worry about finding someone to catsit my cats if I go away with my husband and daughter.

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

I love connecting with readers and talking story in general. That is my favorite part hands down. The toughest challenge for me is marketing my work. I’m not alone in this, I know. Us introverts and authors are happiest behind the keyboard, creating in our own little worlds. But sometimes we have to come out and say – hey – maybe check out my book? And that’s just not a natural thing for me.

I agree completely about the challenge of marketing and promoting. I also love connecting with readers. It’s always a thrill to hear from people all over the country through email or Facebook who are reading my books.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I love the community, the family feeling, and the lack of violence on the page. I think you can tune into the nightly news for that, and I like to write stories that focus in on solving of the crime, and the relationships, versus the graphic imagery of a crime.

I agree completely. I also like writing cozies because, as the series continues, the characters develop and almost become like friends, whether you’re reading or writing about them.

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

You can actually go to my website here and read the first chapter of DECEIVED!

https://marykeliikoa.com/pi-kelly-pruett/deceived

 Thanks. I’ll check it out, and I hope my readers will, too.

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

Only that I think they’re a fun read. I really work to marry plot with character and create characters that are both relatable and those to be rooted for. I also like to say I make sure justice is served in the end, and I think readers can trust that will always be the case.

Nice. Thank you so much for the interview. Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc. I’ll also be sharing your blog tour for Deceived. I wish you the best on your new release and upcoming books.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Mary.Keliikoa.Author

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/mary_keliikoa

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/mary.keliikoa.author/

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/mary-keliikoa

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20038534.Mary_Keliikoa


Deceived (A Kelly Pruett Mystery)
by Mary Keliikoa

About Deceived

Deceived (A Kelly Pruett Mystery)
Cozy Mystery – Woman Sleuths
3rd in Series
Setting – Oregon
Camel Press (May 10, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 218 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1603818650
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1603818650
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09Q7SG18K

In the third thrilling book in the Kelly Pruett mystery series–Her world was falling into place. Then women started dropping off the map.

PI Kelly Pruett finally feels like she’s coming into her own. With her personal life well on track, a gig uncovering what drove a client’s granddaughter underground could be good for business. But after her undercover operation at the homeless shelter reveals rampant drug dealing, she’s suddenly kicked off the case… just as another girl goes missing.

Vowing to expose the truth even if it means pro-bono work, Kelly is taken aback when her half-sister helps her hunt down answers in a tent city brimming with distrust. When her investigation doesn’t move quickly enough to save a second woman from a vicious murder, Kelly doubles her efforts unwilling to accept defeat.

About Mary Keliikoa

Mary Keliikoa is the Shamus finalist and Lefty, Agatha and Anthony nominated author of the PI Kelly Pruett mystery series, and the Misty Pines mystery series featuring former Portland homicide detective turned small-town sheriff. Her short stories have appeared in Woman’s World and in the anthology Peace, Love and Crime.

A Pacific NW native, she spent years working around lawyers and admits to being that person who gets excited when called for jury duty. When not in Washington, you can find Mary on the beach in Hawaii. But even under the palm trees and blazing sun, she’s plotting her next murder—novel that is.

Author Links

Website: https://marykeliikoa.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Mary.Keliikoa.Author

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mary_keliikoa

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mary.keliikoa.author/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/mary-keliikoa

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20038534.Mary_Keliikoa

Purchase Links

SIGNED COPIES ARE AVAILABLE THRU VINTAGE BOOKS

AmazonB&NBookshop.orgAppleKobo

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

July 20 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

July 20 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

July 21 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

July 21 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW

July 22 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

July 22 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

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

July 23 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

July 24 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

July 25 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 25 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

July 26 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

July 27 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

July 27 – I Read What You Write – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 28 – Mysteries with Character – REVIEW

July 29 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 29 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

July 30 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 30 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 31 – ebook addicts – REVIEW

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Posted in Blog Tour, Interview

A Conversation with Author Debbie De Louise

Check out my author interview on I Read What You Write. It’s part of the blog tour for my new cozy mystery, Sneaky’s Supernatural Mystery and Other Cobble Cove Stories.

 

 

I Read What You Write!

Giveaway Ends 7/25

What does it mean to you to be called an author?

It’s a title I’ve wanted all my life. As a child, I admired authors. I wanted to be one. It was a dream of mine that came true.

Can you tell us a bit about the story and its main characters?

This is a collection of five short stories featuring the characters from the Cobble Cove cozy mystery series. Four of the stories were previously published as eBooks only. The title story is a new story. Each story features a note about it. One of the stories, “Sneaky’s Christmas Mystery” won the highest award from the Cat Writers’ Association.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in writing this book?

Although it helped to have read the five Cobble Cove books, it isn’t necessary to understand the five stories in the collection. Most of them…

View original post 1,832 more words

Posted in Blog Tour, Interview

Author Interview and Blog Tour for With A Spirit of Vengeance, A Bay Island Psychic Mystery by Lena Gregory


WITH A SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE (A Bay Island Psychic Mystery)
By Lena Gregory

About With A Spirit of Vengeance


With A Spirit of Vengeance (A Bay Island Psychic Mystery)
Paranormal Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – Bay Island (Just off Long Island, New York)
Beyond the Page Publishing (June 28, 2022)
Paperback Print Length ‏ : ‎ 249 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1958384046
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1958384046
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0B3GG5P68

Psychic Cass Donovan must uncover the truth about long-buried secrets and recent murders to bring peace to a troubled spirit and bring justice to a flesh-and-blood killer . . .

When the spirit of Ophelia Wilson turned to clairvoyant Cass Donovan for help, Cass was able to prove Ophelia’s innocence in the century-old murders of her family members—and solve a contemporary murder in the process. But Ophelia’s spirit has returned, this time angrily demanding that Cass expose the identity of whoever did kill her family. And then eerily, two descendants from the Wilson family tree are murdered, suggesting that Ophelia has the power to meddle in modern-day events to satisfy her rage.

As Cass struggles to solve the two recent murders and unravel the sparse clues about murders from a hundred years ago, she and those around her begin to suffer Ophelia’s wrath—including an attempt on the life of one of Cass’s closest friends. Relying on all of her own psychic powers, Cass has to confront the spirit’s hunger for vengeance and track down a merciless killer before she becomes the next victim of both . . .

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

It’s a pleasure to have Lena Gregory here from Clermont, Florida.

Welcome, Lena. 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 have been published for about eleven years. My Bay Island Psychic Mysteries, which are published with Berkely and Beyond the Page Publishing, include Death at First Sight, Occult and Battery, Clairvoyant and Present Danger, Spirited Away, Grave Consequences, A Spirit Seeks Asylum, and With a Spirit of Vengeance. My All-Day Breakfast Café Mysteries, published with Lyrical Press, include Scone Cold Killer, Murder Made to Order, Cold Brew Killing, Whole Latte Murder, A Waffle Lot of Murder, and Mistletoe Cake Murder.

I am also writing two new series. No Small Murder, Mini-Meadows Mystery #1 is due to release in August, and my Coffee and Cream Café series is due out next year. I did give self-publishing a try, a short story called Ghost, which is still available, but I’m not sure I’d do so again. I’m pretty technologically challenged, and self-publishing is a bit out of my comfort zone, but I may give it another try when I have time to learn more about it.

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

My first series, Bay Island Psychic Mysteries, is about Cass Donovan, a former psychiatrist who returns to her hometown to open a psychic shop on the Boardwalk. The newest Bay Island Psychic Mystery, With a Spirit of Vengeance, is due to release on June 27, 2022.

In my second series, All-Day Breakfast Café Mysteries, Gia Morelli leaves New York City, where she was born and raised, to open a small café on the outskirts of the Ocala National Forest in rural Florida. Books 7-9 have been contracted, with book 7 due to release in the fall.

My Mini-Meadows Mystery series, the first of which, No Small Murder, is due to release on August 22, 2022, takes place in a community of tiny homes in Florida and is about Emma Wells, a downsize specialist who leaves behind her Daddy’s mansion for life in a tiny home made from two shipping containers. My Coffee and Cream Café Mystery series takes place on Eastern Long Island in a small town amid the famed Hamptons. The first book, Murder A La Mode, is due to release next year.

You are certainly busy. Congratulations on your new and upcoming releases.

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 current goal is to somehow get through writing the thirteen or so books I have contracted over the next two years. I enjoy writing cozies, and I’m hoping to continue with all four of my current series’ as well as adding one more which I’ve begun plotting. I also write an inspirational romantic suspense series under a pen name, which I’d like to continue. In addition to that, in another pen name, I have a YA fantasy trilogy reprint due to release next year and a MG fantasy due to release in July of 2023 and a picture book as well. So, all of my writing is pretty much planned out through 2024, and then I’ll have to reassess and decide what to do next.

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

I think people who enjoy fun cozies set in small towns with an emphasis on the importance of friendships and a hint of romance will enjoy my books most.

I think you have the same readers as I do, although it seems I have more pets in my cozies. Cats, in particular.

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

“Never give up!” It’s definitely not an easy road, and there is plenty of rejection along the way, but achieving your dream is so worth it.

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

The biggest challenge I faced when I began writing was the technology. I am completely technologically challenged. I wrote half of my first book, a 90,000 word fantasy, in a looseleaf notebook before my husband bought me a computer with Microsoft Word, which my best friend taught me how to use. I had no idea how to use email, Word, track changes. I didn’t have any clue how to find a publisher, didn’t even know I needed an agent. But I was determined, and little by little, I figured it all out.

You should give yourself a lot of credit for that. I still have manuscripts written in notebooks, but they were done before computers.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I am a member of Sisters in Crime and Faith, Hope & Love Christian Writers.

I’m also a Sisters-in-Crime member, but I haven’t heard of your other group. I guess it’s a good one for those who write Christian fiction.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I love walking, especially with my kids. Since moving to Florida, we’ve hiked all kinds of trails and I’ve enjoyed taking hundreds of pictures of scenery and wildlife.

Sounds lovely. I also enjoy walking. I’ve cut back a little due to my knee issues, but now that I’m feeling a little better, I hope to get back to it.

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

I enjoy everything about being an author. I think the thing I enjoy most, though, is celebrating my releases with facebook parties. I love getting to know my readers and other authors and have made some great friends that way. My least favorite part is writing the first rough draft. I definitely struggle with that. My toughest challenge is finding the discipline to sit down and write every day, especially since I began homeschooling my son.

I love Facebook parties, too. I meet so many readers that way. Unfortunately, I can’t attend or host too many. I have one coming up on July 22 for the Cozy Mystery Party Group. I’m looking forward to that.

I don’t have too much trouble with the first draft. It’s the editing and revising that I find challenging. Finding the time to write is also tough, as I work full-time as a librarian.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I really enjoy the recurring characters. Each time I sit down to write, it’s like visiting with old friends. It’s also one of the things I enjoy most about reading cozies.

I agree. The characters certainly become like friends to you and, hopefully, to the readers, as well.

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

With the vision still burned into her memory, a blast of frigid air rushed through her, and she shivered as she let Bee pull her to her feet. “I’m sorry, Bee.”

“It’s fine, Cass. I’m not hurt. But are you all right? What happened?”

Since she wasn’t sure of the answer, she ignored the question and turned to Thea instead.

The young girl simply stared at her through wisps of brown hair that hung limp over her weary brown eyes. “Is something wrong?”

“I don’t know.” Cass smoothed her long T-shirt over her leggings, then took a deep shaky breath and looked Thea straight in the eye. She had to know if the girl was lying. It was imperative she determine the truth, right here and now. “You’re not planning to commit multiple homicides, are you?”

Thea simply lifted a brow and studied her. “It’s not currently on my to-do list. Why?”

Cass shook her head. She needed a moment to think, to clear the vision from her mind, to focus on something else. Anything else. “Okay.”

“Okay?” Bee tilted his head, looked into her eyes, searching for something. “That’s it?”

“What do you want me to say?” She regretted snapping at him even as the words left her mouth, but how could she tell them, tell Thea, what she’d just seen?

“Seriously, Cass?” He propped his hands on his hips. “You walked into your shop, gasped for air and basically plowed me over trying to flee, then asked your only employee, a skinny little slip of a thing who’s yet to see her twenty-fifth birthday, if she’s planning a mass murder, and all you can say is ‘okay’?”

“I don’t know what you want from me.” Though she was pretty sure an explanation topped the list—an explanation she wasn’t quite ready to give, maybe one she didn’t even want to contemplate herself.

“Oh, I don’t know, maybe a little less Debbie Downer and a little more ‘yippee-kai-ay I didn’t hire a killer’ for starters.”

“Yeah, well, you’re not going to be doing the happy dance either.”

“Oh?” He leaned against the wall, folded his arms across his chest. “And why’s that?”

“Because, despite everything we just discussed on our way here, it looks like we’re going to have to solve the mystery of who killed Ophelia Wilson’s brother and parents after all.

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

I enjoy getting to know my readers and can often be found on facebook if you’d like to say hello 😊

Great! Thanks for the interview, and best wishes on your new release and blog tour. I’m including your social media links and blog tour info along with your giveaway below.

About Lena Gregory

Lena grew up in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island, but she recently traded in cold, damp, gray winters for the warmth and sunshine of central Florida, where she now lives with her husband, three kids, son-in-law, and four dogs. Her hobbies include spending time with family, reading, and walking. Her love for writing developed when her youngest son was born and didn’t sleep through the night. She works full-time as a writer and a freelance editor and is a member of Sisters in Crime.

Author Links

Newsletter: http://lenagregory.us12.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=9765d0711ed4fab4fa31b16ac&id=49d42335d1.

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

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

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LenaGregory03

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

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

Purchase Links – Amazon Barnes and Noble Kobo

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

June 27 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

June 28 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

June 29 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST

June 30 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 30 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER GUEST POST

July 1 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 2 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

July 3 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

July 4 – OFF

July 5 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST

July 5 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 6 – Angel’s Guilty Pleasures – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 7 – I Read What You Write – CHARACTER GUEST POST

July 7 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

July 8 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

July 8 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

July 9 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

July 9 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

July 10 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

July 11 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

July 11 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Cozy Mystery, Interview

Interview of Nellie H. Steele, author of Ghosts, Lore & a House by the Shore

Today, it’s my pleasure to interview Nellie H. Steele, author of Ghosts, Lore & a House by the Shore. Nellie is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Hi, Nellie. Can you 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.

I published my first book in late 2019 as in Indie with my own publishing label, A Novel Idea Publishing (which I co-own with my mom!).  I currently have six series on the market.

Lily & Cassie by the Sea is a cozy mystery series following mother/daughter duo, Lily and Cassie, as they move into the most talked about house in Hideaway Bay, Whispering Manor.  The debut novel in the series, Ghosts, Lore & a House by the Shore explores the legends of Whispering Manor.  More Lily & Cassie stories are coming soon!

Clif & Ri on the Sea is a high seas pirate adventure series and a spin off of the Lily & Cassie by the Sea series.  The characters Clif and Ri first appear in Ghosts, Lore & a House by the Shore. You can learn more about them in their own series, starting with Book 1, Rise of a Pirate.

The Cate Kensie Mysteries series is a cozy mystery series following Lady Catherine Kensie as she journeys to Scotland to take up residence in a mysterious castle.  Cate’s series currently has four books out with more on the way!

Shadow Slayers Stories is a magical realism/supernatural suspense series.  Follow the Shadow Slayers as they battle the darkness that threatens to take over the world.  This series currently has four books out with more on the way, too!

Maggie Edwards Adventures is an Indiana Jones-style adventure series set in the modern-day and following spunky heroine, Maggie Edwards, as she trots across the globe discovering ancient secrets.

The Duchess of Blackmoore Mysteries series is a historical mystery series with a supernatural twist.  Orphan-turned-duchess Lenora Fletcher can communicate with the dead.  Her unique ability often puts her at the heart of several mysteries.

My gosh! You’re very prolific. I can’t imagine being able to keep up with all those series. I’m starting a second cozy series and am hoping I can manage it.

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

I’ve got lots of things in the works!  The spinoff series to Ghosts, Lore & a House by the Shore is coming May 10, 2022.  You can follow the adventures of Clif & Ri (two minor characters in the Lily & Cassie series) in their first book, Rise of a Pirate.

The second Duchess of Blackmoore book is completed and due out July 19, 2022.  Letter to a Duchess is available now to preorder.

The third book in the Maggie Edwards adventure series is complete and going through the editing cycle.  It’ll make its debut later this year with a to-be-determined date.

And I’m currently writing Book 5 in the Cate Kensie Mystery series along with a few other top secret projects!

Wow! You’re very busy. I’m glad you had time for this interview.

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 expand my catalog by adding a few new series and continuing to write in my current series.  I’d really love to continue bringing characters to life that readers already enjoy and new ones they’ve yet to meet.  I keep to a rigorous writing schedule to achieve this and I plan to continue taking course to learn best practices for my craft along with methods to connect with more readers!

That’s a great goal. I hope I can continue both my Cobble Cove series and my new one.

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

Anyone who loves a good story with a great character.  I try to take a lot of time to build my characters (warts and all!) into people readers will enjoy following through their journey.  Most of my writing centers around the mystery genre, but I try to give unique stories throughout all my series.  Any mystery reader who loves a different take on the traditional genre will enjoy my catalog!

Sounds very interesting. I must look into them. As a librarian and an author, I love discovering new writers.

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

Keep writing!  And write what you’re passionate about!  It can be extremely easy to give up, but each time you sit down at your computer, typewriter or journal, you’re practicing your craft.  And with practice comes enhanced skills.

Nice advice.

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

When I started writing (and even now!), I was balancing a full-time job on top of the writing.  It can make it very challenging to find the time to write, edit and do all the things required to be a published author.  Though I wouldn’t change anything!

Working full-time, I can relate to that, as I’m sure many others can, as well.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I belong to lots of author groups that discuss a variety of topics ranging from writing to publishing to marketing.  I also have my own group pertaining to cozy mysteries called The Cozy Collaborative.  It is a Facebook group designed to help Cozy Mystery Authors at all stages of their career connect and share best practices.  (Of course, we’re open to any writers).

Oh, I must join.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I have an animal rescue.  I love helping pets in need.  Currently, I have 14 pets in my rescue home (they are all mine, they won’t be adopted out).  We work to rehab them from challenging or abusive situations into a normal home life where they can enjoy their lives pain-free and in a stress-free environment.

Wonderful! I’m a big animal lover myself. I’ve had cats all my life and included them in most of my books and stories. One of my recent rescues, my three-year-old calico, Hermione, is currently running in America’s Favorite Pet Contest. She made it to the finals after several tough rounds thanks to votes by Facebook users who have supported her by daily votes and PAWS votes that go toward raising funds for the PAWS Foundation to help pets. We’re hoping she wins Thursday night when the contest ends at 9 pm EDT. If you or any of my blog readers would be kind enough to vote for her, we need all the votes and shares we can get. Here is her voting page: https://americasfavpet.com/2022/hermione-cf74

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

I love creating worlds and characters.  It’s really a fun thing to immerse yourself into a world of your own creation and tell a story.  My least favorite thing is marketing.  It can be so hard to “sell” your self and your work to others!

Toughest challenge is definitely getting bad reviews.  It can really be crushing when someone dislikes your work (and then expounds on how thoroughly they dislike it in a scathing review).

I definitely agree about the challenges of marketing and disappointing reviews. As a librarian, I read a lot of reviews, and I’ve noticed that even bestsellers get some bad ones. Everyone has their own taste, and not everyone will like every book, but it’s hard not to take it personally.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I love the warm, cozy feel of cozy mysteries.  I love the happy endings and the general sense of “safety” they convey as you read or write them.  They’re really pleasant, easy stories to get into!

I think most cozy mystery readers feel that way. I like the fact that my characters become fictional friends as people discover their quirks through my books and stories about them.

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

“There’s no need to explain at all. We understand.” She took a sip of her tea as awkward silence fell over the room. “Speaking of signs, I noticed your Whispering Manor sign dangling sideways from the lamppost sideways. I’m not sure if you saw it.”

“Yes,” Lily answered. “We hung it just before lunch and the chain snapped. We’ll need to fix it later. I insisted we have some lunch before Cassie climbed that ladder again.”

“Ah, yes. A faulty chain.” Tinsley offered a knowing glance. “I’m glad to see you are both so level-headed and didn’t give in to the lore.”

“Lore?” Cassie inquired.

“Oh, yes,” Tinsley said with a slow nod of her head. “I’m surprised Lucy didn’t tell you. Though, then again, she wanted to make the deal, no doubt. And I suppose she’s not really required to disclose it. It IS only a rumor. And technically the death wasn’t IN the house.”

“Death? Disclose what?” Cassie asked.

“Oh,” Tinsley said flicking her hand at Cassie and shaking her head. She puckered her lips and narrowed her eyes. “Nothing, nothing. Just…” She paused and added a dramatic shrug. “Some people would have read the snapping sign as a harbinger of bad things to come because…”

Cassie raised her eyebrows and cocked her head.

Tinsley glanced side-to-side before leaning forward and pressing her hand to the side of her mouth. “The house is haunted,” she whispered.

Very nice. Thanks for sharing.

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

I’ve got a lovely “try me” boxset available.  The boxset contains the first-in-series for my first four published series (Cate Kensie Mysteries, Shadow Slayers Stories, Maggie Edwards Adventures and Duchess of Blackmoore Mysteries).  For $9.99, it’s a great introduction to the series for readers!

That sounds great. I’m going to look into that myself. In the meantime, I’m sharing your blog tour and giveaway. Thank you for the interview, and best wishes on the first book in your Lily & Cassie By the Sea cozy mysteries.


Ghosts, Lore & a House by the Shore: A Mother/Daughter Cozy Mystery
(Lily & Cassie By the Sea Mysteries)
by Nellie H. Steele

About Ghosts, Lore & a House by the Shore

Ghosts, Lore & a House by the Shore: A Mother/Daughter Cozy Mystery
(Lily & Cassie By the Sea Mysteries)

Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Number of Pages: 306 pages
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09PMDT2TL

A new town.
A haunting legend.
New beginnings or the beginning of the end?

After Cassie MacGuire’s husband dies in a plane crash along with her father, both her and her mother, Lily Bennett, are left as widows. Looking to make a new start, they move together to the quiet seaside town of Hideaway Bay. But their new home, Whispering Manor, has a reputation stretching back centuries. Legends of ghosts, paranormal disturbances and pirate treasure are all associated with the former sea captain’s mansion, starting with the death of its first mistress, Henrietta Blanchard.

When Cassie stumbles upon Henrietta’s journal and Lily uncovers a more recent tragedy in the home, they begin to wonder if the stories may be fact instead of fiction. When the strange occurrences turn dangerous, Lily and Cassie will have to investigate to save their home and possibly even their very lives!

Ghosts, Lore & a House by the Shore is the charming first installment in this small, seaside town mother-daughter cozy mystery series by Nellie H. Steele.

About Nellie H. Steele

An Indies Today finalist for Best Book of the Year 2020 with Cleopatra’s Tomb, Nellie H. Steele made the leap from science to art with her first book, The Secret of Dunhaven Castle.

An animal enthusiast, Nellie often features a version of one of her fourteen rescue animals in her stories, though the fictional pets are usually better behaved than her own fur-babies! A literary split personality, Nellie’s work ranges from cozy mystery to supernatural suspense to riveting adventure.

She lives in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. When she isn’t writing or engaging in animal care, she enjoys teaching Statistics and Data Science at a local university.

Check out all Nellie offers at www.anovelideapublishing.com/novels or at her blog, Nellie’s Book Nook, available at www.nelliesbooknook.com!

Author Links

Publisher Website: anovelideapublishing.com

Blog: www.nelliesbooknook.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/nelliehsteele

Instagram: www.instagram.com/nelliehsteele

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nelliehsteele1

Tiktok: https://www.tiktok.com/@nelliehsteeleauthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19769743.Nellie_H_Steele

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/nellie-h-steele

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Nellie-H.-Steele/e/B07Z9PD3YN

Purchase Link: Amazon: (eBook preorder is currently live. Book will be offered in eBook, paperback, hardcover, and audio).

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

April 5 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

April 5 – Books Blog – SPOTLIGHT

April 5 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 6 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 6 – Drink Coffee and Read Books – REVIEW

April 7 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

April 7 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

April 8 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

April 8 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

April 8 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 9 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT

April 9 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

April 10 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

April 10 – Eskimo Princess Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 11 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW

April 11 – Nadaness In Motion – REVIEW

April 11 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

April 12 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST

April 12 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

April 13 – Angel’s Guilty Pleasures – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 13 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

April 14 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT

April 14 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
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Posted in Blog Tour, Interview

Interview of Trish Esden, Author of The Art of the Decoy: A Scandal Mountain Antiques Mystery

I’m happy to have Trish Esden from northwestern Vermont here to speak about her writing and her lastest mystery, The Art of Decoy. Trish also writes contemporary fantasy that is a touch dark and a bit sexy under the name Pat Esden.

Hi, Trish. 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.

THE ART OF THE DECOY, a Scandal Mountain Antiques Mystery, is my debut mystery. It will be released on April 5th of this year by Crooked Lane Books. A second book in the series will be published in spring 2023.

My first contemporary fantasy series, Dark Heart, was published by Kensington Books starting in 2016. In 2018 my second fantasy series, The Northern Circle Coven, was released by Kensington.

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?

My goal is to continue to write and promote the Scandal Mountain Antiques Mystery series. The first two novels are under contract with Crooked Lane Books. I’m currently writing a third book which isn’t under contract yet. I’m also working on a short mystery story that isn’t related to the series. My hope is that publishing short fiction will fill in the gap between novel releases. I’m also taking a marketing class with Laurie Cooper of Ask Pub Craft, so I can keep up to date in that area.

Nice. I also write Cobble Cove mystery stories in between the series books.

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

I think my novels would be perfect for readers who enjoy mysteries by authors such as of Jane K. Cleland and Connie Berry. They’d also be great for mystery book clubs since they feature a large cast of characters and bring up a variety potential discussion topics related to the antique and art world.

Sounds interesting.

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

Hang in there and strive to give your story all the time and work it needs before attempting to get it published.

Great advice.

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

I have always enjoyed writing, but it wasn’t until I was in my late forties that I began writing with the goal of being published. My main challenge was to raise my writing skills up to a professional level. I did this by taking a ton of writing classes online and by joining professional organizations such as Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

I’m also a member of Sisters in Crime. It’s a great group. I started publishing late, too, but I’ve also been writing all my life.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I don’t belong to any formal in person writing groups. However, I do go on writing retreats with author friends. Plus, I belong to writing groups attached to the organizations I mentioned previously—MWA and SINC. I also attend writing meeting sponsored by the League of Vermont Writers.

I’m sure your participation in those is helpful.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

In real life, I’m an antique dealer which keeps me busy. I love going to museums, flea markets, and yard sales. I also enjoy traveling whenever the chance comes along. I birdwatch, garden and create painted folk art furniture. I also spend as much quality time as possible with my husband and Haley, our Golden retriever.

Nice hobbies, and your antique experience supports your writing. I have cats, but there’s a golden retriever in my Cobble Cove series. I think they’re beautiful dogs.

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

The toughest challenge and least enjoyable part of being an author is the waiting and not knowing when or if writing related things are going to happen. This occurs at all stages of being an author and throughout the career. First you wait to hear back from critique partners, then you wait for responses from agents…Even after the novel goes on submission and is bought by a publisher, the schedule when things happen is most often up in the air. This is somewhat more control able if you self-publish, but even thing there are long wait times.

What I like most is when I get a review where the reader enjoyed the novel, and really got the heart of what I intended.

The waiting is tough, but good reviews do make it worthwhile.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I love dreaming up characters and mystery plots, and then finding the perfect way to twist the story so it surprises the reader and yet feels inevitable.

Yes. That can be a challenge, but I enjoy it, too.

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

I love to have aspiring authors as well as readers follow me on social media. Be sure to also signup for my newsletter on my website. You’ll find a contact email there. Feel free to use it if you have any questions about writing or my series. I enjoy staying in touch and answering questions.

That’s so nice. Thanks for the interview, Trish. I’m also sharing the blog tour and giveaway for your new release.

The Art of the Decoy (A Scandal Mountain Antiques Mystery)
by Trish Esden

About The Art of the Decoy

The Art of the Decoy (A Scandal Mountain Antiques Mystery)
Traditional Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Vermont
Crooked Lane Books (April 5, 2022)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 336 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1643859641
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1643859644
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B098PXZNDF

Perfect for fans of Jane K. Cleland and Connie Berry, Tricia Esden’s series debut is sure to please.

After her mother is sent to prison for art forgery, Edie Brown returns to Northern Vermont to rebuild her family’s fine art and antiques business. She’s certain she can do it now that her mother is gone. After all, butting heads with her mom over bad business practices was what drove Edie away three years ago, including a screwup that landed Edie on probation for selling stolen property.

When Edie scores a job appraising a waterfowl decoy collection at a hoarder’s farmhouse, she’s determined to take advantage of the situation to rebuild the business’s tarnished reputation and dwindling coffers. In lieu of payment, Edie intends to cherry-pick an exceptional decoy carved by the client’s renowned Quebecoise folk artist ancestors. Only the tables turn when the collection vanishes.

Accused of the theft, Edie’s terrified that the fallout will destroy the business and land her in prison next to her mom. Desperate, she digs into the underbelly of the local antiques and art world. When Edie uncovers a possible link between the decoy theft and a deadly robbery at a Quebec museum, she longs to ask her ex-probation officer, and ex-lover, for help. But she suspects his recent interest in rekindling their romance may hide a darker motive.

With the help of her eccentric uncle Tuck and Kala, their enigmatic new employee, Edie must risk all she holds dear to expose the thieves and recover the decoys before the FBI’s Art Crime Team or the ruthless thieves themselves catch up with her.

About Trish Esden

Trish Esden loves museums, gardens, wilderness, dogs, and birds, in various orders depending on the day. She lives in northern Vermont where she deals antiques with her husband, a profession she’s been involved with since her teens. Don’t ask what her favorite type of antique is. She loves hunting down old bottles and rusty barn junk as much as she enjoys fine art and furnishings.

Author Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Trish-Esden-author-108247488016132

Twitter: https://twitter.com/patesden

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

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/patesden/_created/

Website: https://trishesden.com

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/trish-esden

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21662893.Trish_Esden

Purchase LinksAmazonIndieBoundBarnes & NobleBooks-a-MillionKobo

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

March 29 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST

March 29 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 30 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW, RECIPE

March 30 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 31 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT

March 31 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST

April 1 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 1 – Christa Reads and Writes – SPOTLIGHT

April 2 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

April 2 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

April 3 – Nellie’s Book Nook – REVIEW

April 3 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

April 4 – Novels Alive – REVIEW

April 4 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

April 5 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST

April 5 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

April 6 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

April 6 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 7 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST

April 7 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT

April 8 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 9 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

April 10 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

April 10 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

April 11 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

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Posted in Blog Tour, Cozy Mystery, Interview

Interview with Debra H. Goldstein, Author of Four Cuts Too Many, A Sarah Blair Cozy Mystery.

I’m honored to have author Debra H. Goldstein from Birmingham, Alabama as a guest on Ruff Drafts for her blog tour with her new Sarah Blair release, Four Cuts Too Many.

Hi, Debra. 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.:Drafts.

Although I had legal articles published during my legal career, I didn’t begin writing fiction until a conference competition in 2010. During the past eleven years, I have written six published novels, one that will come out in 2022, and more than forty short stories. My works have been recognized with an IPPY award, as well as being named Agatha, Anthony, Derringer and Silver Falchion finalists.

Maze in Blue – a mystery set on the University of Michigan’s campus in the 1970’s – was published by Chalet, LLC (2011). When they went out of business in 2012, they gave me all files, including the artwork, so I could put it up on CreateSpace and fulfill my speaking obligations. Harlequin Worldwide Mystery bought its mass market rights, but I retain and still have it available in trade paperback and e-book.

Should Have Played Poker: a Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg Players Mystery – published in 2016 by Five Star. Mass Market rights were later sold to Harlequin Worldwide Mystery. Five Star is no longer publishing mysteries.

One Taste Too Many – Kensington’s Sarah Blair cozy mystery series – January 2019-available in mass market, e-book, large print, and audio book.

Two Bites Too Many – Kensington’s Sarah Blair cozy mystery series – October 2019 – available in mass market, e-book, large print, and audio book.

Three Treats Too Many – Kensington’s Sarah Blair cozy mystery series – August 2020 – available in mass market, e-book, large print, and audio book.

Four Cuts Too Many – Kensington’s Sarah Blair cozy mystery series – May 2021 – available in mass market and e-book.

Five Belles Too Many – Kensington’s Sarah Blair cozy mystery series – (2022)

That’s quite 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.

Four Cuts Too Many, the fourth book in Kensington’s Sarah Blair mystery series, releases on May 25, 2021. Set in a small Southern town, Sarah, who finds kitchens more frightening than murder, gets an education in slicing and dicing when someone in the culinary school where her friend teaches serves up a main corpse. Sarah soon finds that there’s no time to mince words when it comes to finding the real killer.

Sounds interesting, and I love the cover.

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 write because it is a passion. Just before my second book was released, I walked away from my lifetime judicial appointment to write. My goals as a writer are simple: enjoy what I’m doing (I’m in my second childhood) and give readers an entertaining experience the fun of which allows them to escape the real world.  

Those are great goals and a win win for you and your readers.

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

The Sarah Blair books appeal to cozy readers ages twenty to infinity. They are fast fun reads, but with a slight edge grounded in real life.

I’m sure they attract a wide audience.

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

Follow your dream. I wish I had done it sooner. Remember to read other people’s works, take classes, read how-to-books, network, and most of all – write. Publication doesn’t necessarily happen overnight, but improvement in your skills can happen daily.

As an author still hoping to find an agent, I appreciate that advice. I’m aware it can take time, and I’m thankful to my two Indie publishers who publish both my cozy series and my standalone mysteries.

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

My biggest challenge was believing I could write and making the time to write. I was a master talking about how I wanted to write, but also in finding ways to avoid it.

I can relate to that. After self publishing my first book that didn’t sell well because I had no experience with marketing and promotion,, I stopped writing for some time until a patron at the library where I work who’d read my book told me that I shouldn’t give up my dream and that if I really wanted to write, I would find the time. Even though I still find marketing and promotion challenging, I now have 11 published books and, despite my full-time job, am still writing.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I belong to several chapters of Sisters in Crime and previously served as the president of its largest chapter, the Guppies, as well as being on the national board for five years. Presently, I am president of the Southeast region of Mystery Writers of America and sit on their national board. I also am a member of the Atlanta Writers Group.

Sisters in Crime and their Guppies group are wonderful associations for mystery authors. I’m also a member of both groups as well as International Thriller Writers and the Cat Writers’ Association. I’m hoping to join Mystery Writers of America soon.

  1. What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

Reading, Broadway shows, family & friends.

Nice. Hopefully Broadway shows will resume soon.

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

I love interacting with people and getting in the zone where words flow into stories and novels. My toughest challenge is balancing life, writing, and promotion – and sometimes coming up with a good idea.

I have trouble balancing writing time with my other obligations, too. I have lots of ideas but not the time to implement them all, so I have to pick and choose.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

Writing cozy mysteries are a challenge to create a solid whodunit that readers enjoy and can potentially figure out without giving the ending away. It’s like creating a puzzle or a maze for people to walk through, with fair clues. If the writing works, I provide a reader with moments of escape and fun, while challenging myself to make each book or story better than the last one.

Yes, it’s important that readers are given clues but ones that don’t make the mystery too easy to solve. That’s another balancing act for cozy as well as other mystery writers.

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

Four Cuts Too Many Excerpt:

“There’s something obviously still bothering you. You’ve laid out lots of theories, but you don’t sound convinced about any of them. From what you’ve said, besides Grace, you’ve got lots of possible suspects for Harlan and Chief Gerard to look at. Right?”

“In a sense.” Sarah held up her fingers as she ticked them off. “They should consider anyone who was on the floor when Grace and I got there. That would be Wanda, Franklin, Chef Bernardi, Fern, Nancy, Dr. Williams, and the people who waited to be interviewed in their offices who I don’t even know. The same holds true on the tenure issue, because most of the faculty is working its way toward tenure.”

Sarah put her hands back on the table. “I don’t think I have enough fingers to count everyone. When I add in family, there’s Wanda, but also Wanda’s biological mom, Dr. Martin’s new wife, Lynn, and Kait. There might also be someone at the retirement home who has a connection to Dr. Martin that I haven’t discovered yet. Someone mentioned that because of Kait, they considered Dr. Martin to be part of the Sunshine Retirement Home family.”

“That a long list of potential suspects. Surely Harlan can find enough motivation for most of them to raise doubt if Grace is arrested or tried. What’s really bothering you? What’s going on in your head?”

“I have to admit that if I were Chief Gerard and I was committed to following the money and the blood, Grace would be my primary suspect too . . .”

What a tantalizing excerpt. Thanks for sharing.

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

I’d like your readers to know how appreciative I am for them. Without them, Sarah couldn’t exist nor could I be having the time of my life. Thank you for having me today and to your readers for supporting my dream.

My pleasure. Readers are the best.

Thanks so much for chatting with me today. I’m sharing your blog tour and giveaway. Best wishes on the tour and your new release.


Four Cuts Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery)
by Debra H. Goldstein

About Four Cuts Too Many

Four Cuts Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Publisher: Kensington (May 25, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496732219
ISBN-13: 978-1496732217
Digital ASIN: B08GY52GS6

Sarah Blair gets an education in slicing and dicing when someone in culinary school serves up a main corpse in Wheaton, Alabama . . .

Between working as a law firm receptionist, reluctantly pitching in as co-owner of her twin sister’s restaurant, and caretaking for her regal Siamese RahRah and rescue dog Fluffy, Sarah has no time to enjoy life’s finer things. Divorced and sort-of dating, she’s considering going back to school. But as a somewhat competent sleuth, Sarah’s more suited for criminal justice than learning how many ways she can burn a meal.

Although she wouldn’t mind learning some knife skills from her sous chef, Grace Winston. An adjunct instructor who teaches cutlery expertise in cooking college, Grace is considering accepting an executive chef’s position offered by Jane Clark, Sarah’s business rival—and her late ex-husband’s lover. But Grace’s future lands in hot water when the school’s director is found dead with one of her knives in his back. To clear her friend’s name, Sarah must sharpen her own skills at uncovering an elusive killer . . .

Includes quick and easy recipes!

About Debra H. Goldstein

Judge Debra H. Goldstein writes Kensington’s Sarah Blair mystery series (Three Treats Too Many, Two Bites Too Many, One Taste Too Many). She also authored Should Have Played Poker and IPPY Award-winning Maze in Blue. Her short stories have been named Agatha, Anthony, Derringer finalists. Debra serves on the national boards of Mystery Writers of America and is president of SEMWA. She previously was on Sisters in Crime’s national board and president of SinC’s Guppy Chapter.

Find out more about Debra and sign up for her newsletter at https://www.DebraHGoldstein.com. Follow her on Twitter (@DebraHGoldstein), Bookbub (https://www.bookbub.com/profile/debra-h-goldstein), and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/DebraHGoldsteinAuthor/).

Purchase Links: AmazonB&NKoboGoogle PlayIndieBound

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

May 23 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

May 23 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 24 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

May 24 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 25 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST

May 25 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

May 26 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

May 26 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 27 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

May 27 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST

May 28 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, RECIPE

May 28 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

May 28 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

May 29 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 29 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

May 30 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

June 1 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

June 1 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW, GUEST POST

June 2 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

June 2 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

June 3 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT

June 3 – Mysteries with Character – REVIEW

June 4 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 4 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

June 5 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

June 5 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 6 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT

June 6 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

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