Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Interview, Mysteries

Author Spotlight of Cathy Ace

I’m pleased to have author Cathy Ace here from just outside Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Cathy was born and raised in Swansea, South Wales and migrated to Canada from the UK when she was 40. She’shere to speak about her writing and new release, The Wrong Boy that’s on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

Hi, Debbie. Thanks for having me along today!

My pleasure, Cathy. 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 novel was published in 2012. THE CORPSE WITH THE SILVER TONGUE was the first in the Cait Morgan Mysteries – there are now eight books in that series (TouchWood Editons). They feature a Welsh Canadian professor of criminal psychology who travels the world solving “closed circle” mysteries (contemporary, but very much like Agatha Christie, in that they are true “traditional” mysteries). I also write the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries (Severn House Publishing), which feature four female professional PIs who run their business out of a Welsh stately home. They’re cozier than the Cait Morgan Mysteries. I have two collections which are self-published (Four Tails Publishing) – one is a collection of short stories, the other a collection of novellas. These two volumes contain the earliest tales about both Cait Morgan and the WISE women, and also about DI Evan Glover…who appears in my forthcoming novel THE WRONG BOY, which was published on January 9th 2019.

Congratulations! That’s quite a nice publishing record. Your mysteries sound 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?

I hope to keep writing the two series across which I have already 12 books published, but also want to be able to work on standalones, which will be darker – though not gritty. In other words, I intend to keep my head down, and work hard!

Good luck with those goals. I also hope to start a new cozy series and keep writing standalones. I’d also like to publish some short story collections.

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

My Cait Morgan Mysteries attract readers who enjoy a true traditional novel, whilst the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries attract those who enjoy tea and cakes, a bit of gossip and real British mysteries. THE WRONG BOY will appeal to those who enjoy a thrilling tale of suspense with layers of deceit and old lies being ripped away…the effects of which impact a small community in Wales, and one family of three women in particular.

A widespread audience.

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

Read! Not books about how to write, or about how to get published, but award-winning books in the genre and sub-genre that appeal to you. You need to know what’s good (and bad) out there to learn from the best and avoid the worst.

Excellent advice. As a librarian, I have access to a large number of books and try to read as much as time permits.

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

I was very fortunate – after a career of writing professionally (in advertising and public relations) I self-published two collections of stories mailed them to a publisher, who asked me to submit a manuscript for one of the characters – and that was published. Right background, right place, right proposition, right time!

It all lined up for you. What a great story, excuse the pun.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

No, writing is – for me – a solitary undertaking.

I can understand that. Some writers find groups helpful. Others, like you, prefer to go it alone.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I’m an avid gardener. Lucky enough to live on five acres, my husband and I actively garden about three of those acres. I love it!

Nice. A good way of getting healthy exercise and fresh air away from the computer.

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

Easy….I love writing a first draft, and I hate editing!

Editing is a challenge, but I find promotion an even bigger one. First drafts are fun and a great way to flex the creative muscles.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I have to admit that whilst my WISE series is cozy, my Cait Morgan and DI Glover series are not and, for me, I enjoy writing in a mix of styles.

I feel the same way. I’ve written other genres but prefer mysteries of different types.

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

These are the opening two pages of THE WRONG BOY.

John Watkins hooked open the bedroom curtains and wiped the frost-feathered window with his pajama sleeve. ‘I thought that’s what I could see. Somebody’s lit a fire on the hill above the village.’

His wife tutted her annoyance at him letting in the cold. ‘All the way up there? No.’

‘Yes. Come and take a look.’ Brass rings clattered as he pulled at the worn brocade. He breathed hard on a couple of panes to clear them.

Dilys gripped her steaming mug of tea with both hands as she shuffled across the room. The moon hung in the coal black sky, and glistened on the coal black sea. Her eyes shifted from the sparkling surf to the inky hillside above. ‘That’s up by the old RAF listening station, by the looks of it.’

‘Guy Fawkes Night. Probably some kids,’ mused John, rubbing his arthritic thumb. ‘They had that do at the pub in Rhosddraig tonight, didn’t they? Sparklers and hot dogs. Maybe someone had one too many and thought it would be a good idea to start their own bonfire up there.’

‘That’s dangerous, lighting fires all over the place.’ Dilys shook her head with resignation as she turned toward the bed, eyeing its welcoming mounds with delight. Even her bones felt tired. ‘It’s nearly midnight. Who’d be out there in this temperature, doing that?’

Her husband’s face creased into a smile. ‘It’s only one fire, not loads of them, Dilys. And I can think of a woman who – when she was a girl – would have been up for a bit of mischief like that.’ He winked and smiled. ‘Remember her?’

Dilys rolled her eyes. ‘Even sixty-odd years ago I wouldn’t have wanted to be out in this cold, not with you or anyone else, John Watkins.’ She sat on the edge of the bed, placed her mug beside the alarm clock, and pushed off her slippers with her toes. ‘Come on, let’s get back in here to warm ourselves, and get some sleep. We’re up early in the morning with a long day ahead of us. A diamond wedding anniversary, with a blessing in the church and a party afterwards, only happens once. You never know, there might be a surprise for you at the breakfast table.’ She patted her husband’s pillow.

‘Who’s that, now then?’ said John, ignoring his wife’s invitation. He was still at the window, bobbing his head to avoid the reflection of the bedside lamp. ‘Well, well, I don’t know how that family’s got enough to pay out for the sort of get-ups they wear these days. That coat alone must have set them back a bit. And look at that – riding a bicycle on the footpath. I’ll have a word with them about that, I will. And the fire, too.’

‘John, come on, it’s late, love.’

John clambered into bed, and kissed his wife’s cheek. ‘What were you doing sixty years ago tonight, I wonder?’

Dilys gave her husband a gentle shove. ‘Crying myself to sleep because I was terrified about my wedding night, that’s what. My mother – God rest her soul – had tried to tell me what to expect of being with a man for the first time; she didn’t do a very good job of it. I had a bad stomach that night too. Butterflies they were back then, not this blinking wind I’ve got griping me now; I can’t seem to shift it.’

John snuggled under the duvet. ‘You were such a sweet girl. Carried away with you, I was. And I love you even more now. You know that, don’t you?’

Dilys nodded and grunted.

John didn’t like to see his wife in pain. He thought she looked more than usually peaky. ‘Why don’t you sit up for a bit; rub your tummy. Maybe that tea will shift it. You took some of your medicine, didn’t you?’

‘Yes, I did. Don’t worry, love, it’ll pass. It always does – one way or another.’ Dilys chuckled. ‘Now, come on, night, night. It’ll be time to get up before you know it.’

‘True enough.’

John turned off the lamp.

It was gone four in the morning when John rang for the ambulance. For once in his life he cursed the fact that the farm – high on the coastal moor between the villages of Rhosddraig and Lower Middleford – was so remote.

Very nice. Great descriptions.

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

Knowing that THE WRONG BOY moves in darker territory than my two other series, I have written it bearing in mind the fact that I don’t want to shock or offend my existing readers, and hoping they’ll take a chance to journey down a Welsh country lane with me, to find out what really goes on behind all those twitching net curtains!

I think your readers may welcome a change of pace.

Well, it was great having you here, Cathy, and I’m sharing info about your blog tour and giveaway below.

I appreciate that, Debbie, and enjoyed the interview.

The Wrong Boy
by Cathy Ace

About the Book

The Wrong Boy
Suspense/Thriller
Four Tails Publishing Ltd. (January 9, 2019)
Print Length: 307 pages
ASIN: B07KRNGV3R

Perched on a Welsh clifftop, the ancient, picturesque hamlet of Rhosddraig has its peaceful façade ripped apart when human remains are discovered under a pile of stones. The village pub, The Dragon’s Head, run by three generations of women, becomes the focal point for those interested in the grisly find, and it’s where layers of deceit are peeled away to expose old secrets, and deep wounds. The police need to establish who died, how, and why, but DI Evan Glover knows he can’t be involved in the investigation, because he’s just two days away from retirement. However, as the case develops in unexpected ways, it becomes irrevocably woven into his life, and the lives of local families, leading to disturbing revelations – and deadly consequences . . .

Author Links: Website Facebook Twitter: @AceCathy GoodReads

Purchase Links – AmazonKobo

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

January 8 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

January 8 – Reading Authors – SPOTLIGHT

January 9 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

January 9 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 10 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 10 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

January 11 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 11 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW

January 12 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 13 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

January 13 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

January 14 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

January 14 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 15 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW

January 15 – Cozy Up With Kathy – SPOTLIGHT

January 16 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

January 17 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 17 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Author Spotlight, Cozy Mysteries, Mysteries

Author Spotlight of Matt Ferraz, author of Sherlock Holmes and the Glad Game

I’m pleased to have author Matt Ferraz from Contagem in Southeastern Brazil here to speak about his writing and new release, Sherlock Holmes and the Glad Game.

Welcome, Matt. Please tell us how long you’ve been published and what titles and/or series you write.

I self published my first book, Teorema de Mabel (Mabel’s Theorem) in 2013. It’s my only literary book written in my mother language, Portuguese. Since then, most of my works have been in English, and a few in Italian. My second novel was Killing Dr. Watson, a murder mystery which was released in the UK by MX Publishing. Then, I started my series Grandma Bertha Solving Murders, with the first volume, The Convenient Cadaver, being self published in 2015. It’s a cozy mystery series with a character I did inspired by my own grandmother. The second book in that series is coming out in early 2018.

My new book is called Sherlock Holmes and the Glad Game, and it’s a crossover between the world’s greatest detective and Pollyanna Whittier, from the Glad Game books written by Eleanor H. Porter. The synopsis is as follows:

British sleuth Sherlock Holmes can solve any mystery from a small clue. American traveler Pollyanna Whittier can only see the good side of every situation. The only thing they have in common is their friendship with Dr. John Watson. When Pollyanna shows up in London with a mystery for Holmes to solve, she decides to teach the detective the Glad Game: a way of remaining optimistic no matter what. A dangerous – and hilarious – clash of minds, where these two characters of classic literature need to learn how to work together in order to catch a dangerous criminal.

Sounds like you’ve written some nice 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?

My dream, which I share with most writers, is to make a full living out of my books. It’s not easy, and takes a lot of hard work, but I’m determined to pursue it. My country is going through an economic crisis right now, so I have just as many chances of making money with my books as I would with a regular job.

Sorry about your country’s economic situation, but best of luck with your book selling.

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

With Sherlock Holmes and the Glad Game I intend to reach sherlockians, who love everything related to the character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; cozy readers, who love a clean mystery read; and also people who like classic literature and want to see how characters as different as Holmes and Pollyanna will interact.

A nice audience.

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

Learn everything you can about the publishing market. It’s not enough just being a good storyteller and putting the business work in the hands of an agent or publisher. You need to know the ground you’re stepping in.

I agree completely.

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

I had problems with word count, and everything I wrote was far too short to be released by a regular publisher. It took some time to fix that.

I think most publishers are now accepting shorter-length books.

Have you taken any writing or publishing classes? If so, please provide information about them and if you feel they helped you further your professional skills.

I attended to a wonderful workshop with Joanna Penn and Orna Ross in London, which taught me lots about how to make a living out of books. Besides that, I took some courses about publishing, but never about the writing itself. I agree with Stephen King, who says that writing can be learned but not taught.

Interesting idea.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I’m a trained barista, and can make some pretty tasty coffee drinks. I also love cinema, and go the movies as often as I can.

Nice.

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

Being a writer makes me feel like I can be in the same club where many people I look up to are. The worst part is that people don’t see it as a career, only as a hobby, and I have a tough time convincing them that this is what I want to do for a living.

I understand that issue.

Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc. and include some book cover graphics and author photos if possible.
Great! Thanks for chatting with me today, Matt, and best wishes on your new release and upcoming mysteries.
Posted in Cozy Mystery, Mysteries, New Releases, Thriller

Two New Mysteries at Surprising Prices

If you like cozies:

mybook.to/LLLibrary 

Who killed library patron, Mr. Small?

When librarian Eugenia Pratt finds the body of a patron in the archives, she employs the help of Agatha, the library’s cat, to ferret out a clue to who-dun-it.

If you like thrilers:mybook.to/BulletBack 

With Friends Like These…

When Susan Drummond accompanies her husband, Ray, to his cabin where he goes to get away from it all and write, her friends and father become concerned that she isn’t answering her cell phone. They all decide to check in on her and find no trace of her or Ray except a newly dug grave.

Maybe you like both? They’re free on KindleUnlimited or only 99 cents each on Amazon. 

Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Mysteries

Author Spotlight of Meg Macy, Author of Bear Witness to Murder

I’m pleased to have author Meg Mims who wites as Meg Macy and is also half of the writing team of D.E. Ireland from Southeastern Michigan here to speak about her new cozy mystery, Bear Witness to Murder, that is currently on tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

Welcome, Meg. Please tell us how long you’ve been published and what titles and/or series you write.

I was first published in 2011 with Double Crossing, a western historical mystery, using Meg Mims. Double Crossing won a Spur Award from the Western Writers of America for Best First Book. That book and the sequel, Double or Nothing, are with Prairie Rose Publications. I wrote several holiday romance novellas and self-published them – Santa Paws, Santa Claws, Home for the Holidays (all with rescue dogs and cats); The Key to Love and The Key to Christmas (artist-themed), Winner Takes All and A Holiday Hoax (both western romance), plus several short stories. I co-write the Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins mysteries (Wouldn’t It Be Deadly, Move Your Blooming Corpse, Get Me to the Grave On Time, With A Little Bit of Blood) with my college friend Sharon Pisacreta under our D.E. Ireland pseudonym; two books were nominated for Agatha Awards, Best Historical. Right now, I’m writing the Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear cozy mysteries for Kensington Books. Bearly Departed debuted in 2017, and the next in that series, Bear Witness to Murder that came out May 29th, 2018.

You’re quite accomplished. Congratulations on the new book. The series sounds delightful. Tell us what you’re working on next.

I’m writing book 3 of my teddy bear mysteries, Have Yourself A Beary Little Murder, coming out late in 2019, as well as working on a new series.

Sounds great.

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

I love writing cozy mysteries and my goal is to get two books published in a year or year and a half – I’m not a fast writer, so I’m trying to streamline the process and spend less time on social media. Not easy! I so enjoy sharing funny memes, jokes, and photos with friends every day. It’s like being in a close community, only spread out over the U.S. And writers are often introverts in our own world, so having that contact is important. But I do need to cut down on the time spent on Facebook!

I agree about social media taking up a lot of time. I’m trying to do the same myself to get more writing time; although, as you say, it’s important to stay connected with readers online.

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

Readers of cozy mysteries set in small towns with dogs, cats, and quaint shops. People who love and collect teddy bears, tea parties, art lovers, kid lovers – anyone who loves a good story, really.

Your books certainly have wide appeal.

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

Read, read, read, across genres – good, solid authors – and choose one to outline. The beginning, middle, end, plus the points in between. That will give any would-be writer the structure of a story, but so will Robert McKee’s Story. Know your characters – their flaws and strengths, backstories, etc. But finding your voice is key, and the only way to do that is to keep writing and never give up. Write every day. Discipline yourself to produce, learn how to self-edit and revise, learn to take criticism with grace.

Excellent advice.

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

Learning to infuse emotions into my characters was a challenge for me. I spent far more time on research, plot, and especially setting and other details. It takes a lot of rewriting to get everything in a good balance.

That’s a good point. Characters are crucial in most books and especially cozies.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

 I belong to Sisters In Crime (national and local), Novelists, Inc., and a Facebook group of historical authors called Sleuths in Time (my friend and I write as D.E. Ireland) – we share information about our books and research. I’m hoping to start a Facebook group for fans of cozy mysteries set in Michigan or the Great Lakes region, too.

Nice. I’m a Sisters in Crime member, too.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I’m an artist (watercolor, pen/ink, mixed media) although I haven’t had much time for it over the past five years. I love reading (every day), love visiting tea rooms with friends for lunch (at least once a month), and must exercise (to improve my health) by either walking at the mall or working out at Planet Fitness. I also love Pinterest, relaxing over photos of teacups, flowers, gardens, book nooks, etc. It’s marvelous. I enjoy watching classic movies with a big bowl of popcorn.

Very nice past times and relaxing, I’m sure.

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

I have lots of ideas, but getting a detailed outline is a challenge for me. Writing is so much easier when you prepare as much as possible ahead of time. I also think self-promotion is much tougher for authors now, although Kensington is really wonderful about helping spread the word about their cozy mysteries. Still, it seems a “social media” presence is necessary – and I prefer Facebook to Twitter. I share photos on Instagram but keep my author info to a minimum there.

I outline very little myself and I agree that can make things difficult, and I also find promotion challenging. I wish I had a larger publisher like Kensington behind me (still querying), but I know authors today need to promote themselves on social media as you say no matter who they publish with.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I was an early reader of Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, so the “twist” is important to me. I try hard to incorporate that in my work and hope to surprise readers. I also enjoy creating the quaint setting (and wish I lived in a small town), the “family and friends” community atmosphere, the lack of graphic blood/gore and profanity. I am not a fan of books that utilize all that for shock value, or show violence toward women and children. Just not my cup of tea.

That’s how I feel. I also like to add twists to my mysteries.

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

Of course, I’d love to! Here’s a bit from Chapter 1 of Bear Witness to Murder:

So much had changed in the short time since “Will’s Folly.” That’s what Silver Hollow residents now called the murder of the Silver Bear Shop & Factory’s sales rep, Will Taylor, before Labor Day. Few were sad; Will hadn’t been popular with our workers. Still, others had been affected in the aftermath. Murder was a nasty business. Sales at the shop boomed from all the publicity, good and bad, and visitors to the area tripled. But I wasn’t proud of nearly getting myself killed by sleuthing. I’d learned my lesson.

In record time, the Wentworths had hired a crew to clear out and clean the entire Queen Anne-style house from top to bottom. Then they brought in a massive black walnut sideboard for the front parlor, plus square tables and chintz-covered chairs in a pink, green, and gold rose pattern. They’d installed teacup chandeliers – four in each parlor and two in the library. Crisp linen cloths in pastel pink or green draped the tables with white lace overlays. Place settings in an eclectic array of teacups, saucers, plates, and flatware added to the charm. Gold-framed landscapes of the English countryside and castles hung on the walls.

I had to admit the tea room was an improvement over the dowdy bed-and-breakfast.

“Celia! Stop that,” Elle hissed to her younger daughter, who was dunking a shabby teddy bear’s nose into her full teacup.

“Mom, she spilled all over the tablecloth,” said her older daughter, Cara.

“I’ve got it.” I mopped the liquid with extra napkins. Both girls wore party dresses and hair ribbons, and I recognized Elle’s pale blue dress from a shopping trip we’d taken last spring. “Which of the sandwiches did you like best, girls?”

“The strawberry cream cheese,” Celia sang out.

“I like the peanut butter ones,” Cara said, “but they need more jelly.”

“Jam, not jelly. And no, teddies can’t eat or drink,” Elle said. The girls giggled at the wet smear on Celia’s bear. “Now behave, or we won’t be able to come next year.”

“I’d better get back to work. Of course I’ll bring more scones,” I said when the woman at the next table waved me over. “I hope you’re enjoying the tea party.”

“Yes, indeed. We’re planning on a visit to the new toy and bookstore, too.”

When she turned to speak to her friends, I noted Elle’s discomfort. We were all worried sick for her and my cousin Matt. Bad enough that people ordered books online instead of visiting small bookstores like The Cat’s Cradle. But the competition from Holly Parker’s new toy and bookshop, Through the Looking Glass, would draw customers away and cut into their profits. I knew full well that Matt and Elle were barely surviving.

I glanced at the large corner table where Holly Parker sat with a red-haired woman. Holly and I shared a bitter rivalry long ago in high school; she hadn’t changed her hairstyle, still wearing it straight and long, although her tortoise-shell glasses looked modern. I tried to keep an open mind about her return to Silver Hollow, although I had to wonder why she chose to open a shop two weeks ago in direct competition. That didn’t set well with me or my family.

Holly looked like an ingénue in a white dress with a row of sparkly rhinestones along the neckline. She’d always favored white, from what I recalled, which set off the natural olive hue of her complexion and tanned limbs. A pale pink jacket with silver bling spelling out think pink was draped behind her chair. That reminded me of her extensive collection of Pink Panther memorabilia. Or perhaps “obsession” was more apropos.

To each their own, I supposed.

I wasn’t pleased reading Dave Fox’s Silver Hollow Herald, which quoted Holly as saying “Our shop is already number one in sales here in Silver Hollow.” That seemed a stretch. Maddie had witnessed her double-parking in the middle of Theodore Lane and getting ticketed by the local police for it, over the weekend she’d moved into the former Holly Jolly Christmas shop. That reminded me. I needed to ask about some stray bears.

“Are you both enjoying the party?” I asked. Holly beamed at me.

“Oh, yes! I’m so glad we got tickets. It’s so sweet, seeing all the little kids with their teddy bears. I hope you don’t mind that I passed out a few flyers for my shop.”

Since she’d already done so, I figured it was useless to object. “Gina Lawson,” the red-haired woman said and gave me a firm handshake. “I’m Holly’s shop assistant, marketing guru, and publicity person.”

“Nice to meet you, Gina.” I eyed her short tomato-red pixie haircut, gelled up in a curved ridge, rocker-style, and heart-shaped face. “Sounds like you know your promo stuff. I’ve seen a lot of your social media lately. Tweets and Facebook posts about the new store.”

“Great.”

Gina smiled, a bit slyly I thought, so I addressed Holly. “I should have asked you long before now, but did you happen to come across any of our silver or white teddy bears? Among all the items left behind in the Holly Jolly, I mean.”

Holly looked sorrowful. “No. We tossed broken ornaments, scads of nonworking fairy lights, and empty boxes. It was such a mess cleaning up.”

… My sister Maddie met me at the kitchen doorway and pulled me out of sight beyond the swinging doors. She waved her cell phone in triumph.

“See that red-haired woman? She’s trouble. Mark my words.”

Great excerpt.

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

They can all be read out of order, but if you want to learn more about the characters’ growth over the series, start from the beginning. In my teddy bear series, I like to put kids in the books’ beginning, either in the shop or at an event, because teddy bears are important for children – for comfort, companionship, and lifelong friendship.

The books in my Cobble Cove series can also be read as standalones, but it is better if you start with the first one, A Stone’s Throw, because the main characters develop as minor ones are added or leave. I like the idea of the teddy bears in your books. For adults, they bring back special memories of childhood and create a charming theme to your stories.

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

https://www.facebook.com/MegMacyAuthor/

https://www.facebook.com/DEIrelandAuthor/

https://www.facebook.com/SantaPawsMegMims/

https://twitter.com/megmims

https://twitter.com/DEIrelandAuthor

Thanks so much for the interview, Meg, and best wishes on the blog tour and your new cozy. I’m also including a link to your rafflecopter giveaway for those who wish to enter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/02887792721/?widget_template=56d5f80dbc544fb30fda66f0

 

Posted in Anthology, Mysteries, New Releases

Introducing Plots and Schemes, Vol. 2, a Mystery Anthology by Solstice Publishing

For me, time is the greatest mystery of all. The fact is that we’re dreaming all the time. That’s what really gets me. We have a fathomless lake of unconsciousness just beneath our skulls.

Anthony Hopkins

I’m proud to have two of my mysteries featured in this new mystery anthology by Solstice Publishing. Check out my cozy mystery story, “Murder at the Lavender Lake Library” and my thriller, “Bullet in the Back.” The other stories in this collection are just as intriguing.

A good mystery will keep the reader engaged in the story while they’re also trying to figure out who done it. Solstice Publishing brings you ten mysteries by nine talented authors that will have you panting for more. Enjoy these stories!

eBook: https://bookgoodies.com/a/B07CTTVDTN

Print book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1625267851/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1525388581&sr=1-1&keywords=plots+%26+Schemes+vol.+2

A hunter mistakes a woman for a wild turkey. A tragic accident… or murder?

Who killed library patron, Mr. Small?

Escaping violence doesn’t mean you won’t get away!

To the edge of Heaven and back!

With friends like these…

Two high school teachers become vigilantes.

Surprising mysteries lie behind Walt’s death.

Just another unusual day at Farstone Town.

Come on over to Tough Luck Lounge and relax in a Tiki Bar!

For nearly a hundred years, no one knew the truth.

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/eLDffF_0dJw

Ten tales by nine talented authors will take you through mysteries of all sorts. Join with Susan Lynn Solomon, Debbie De Louise, Johnny Gunn, Jeffery Martin Botzenhart, Jack Adler, E.B. Sullivan, Palvi Sharma, Lois Crockett, and K.C. Sprayberry for Plots & Schemes Vol 2.

Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Mysteries

Author Spotlight of L. A. Chandlar, Author of Silver Gun, First in the Art Deco mystery series

I’m pleased to have author L. A. (Laurie) Chandlar  from New York here to speak about her writing and first traditional release, the first of her Art Deco mystery series, The Silver Gun, which is on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas Into a Good Book.

Welcome, Laurie. Please tell us how long you’ve been published and what titles and/or series you write.

The Silver Gun is my first traditionally published novel that debuted August 29th, 2017. This is the first in the Art Deco Mystery Series by Kensington Publishing, Corporation.  I also published my own two books for different talks that I perform. One is short stories in the midst of a novel, about the backstories of the people behind beloved holiday traditions, called The Christmas Journalist. Think Mitch Albom meets Sophie Kinsella. I wrote it as a leaving piece for one of my all-time favorite talks on this topic for a group of women at the United Nations. It’s so much fun. The other is Brass in my Fight to Keep Creativity Alive series for workshops and life-coaching sessions that I do for companies and individuals who want to get a better grasp on creativity and the psychology of creativity both personally and in the workplace.

Congratulations on your first traditionally-published book. I’m currently querying agents for a new cozy mystery series and hope to be traditionally published one day myself. I also have cozies, a new mystery, and short stories published by Solstice Publishing. Your self-published non-fiction sounds very interesting as well.

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.

The Art Deco Mystery Series is set in the late 1930s in New York City and features the firecracker mayor, Fiorello LaGuardia and his aide and protagonist of the series, Lane Sanders. It’s a fresh take on the innovation, humor, and gumption of the Thirties in spite of the Depression. The second in the series, The Gold Pawn, releases September 25th.

Wonderful! As a New Yorker myself (Long Island), I think that setting and time period make for an interesting series.

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 an avid learner and I love to experience new things. So my goals as a writer, are to keep growing and writing, and to get to several conferences where I can learn and meet readers and other writers. I have a contract for three books in the Art Deco Series, and it is my goal to lengthen that to at least five books. I am also shopping The Christmas Journalist to major publishers and I am writing a YA novel that picks up with a young woman who is introduced at the end of The Silver Gun. It would be a lot of fun to intermingle two genres where the two series weave in and out of each other.

What great ideas. I wish you luck with all of that.

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

I think readers who are compelled by adventure, humor, and who enjoy different levels where they discover new things. What I mean is, I feature a different piece of art in each novel of The Art Deco Series. The piece of art comes alongside a character and helps them navigate the mystery. I think art does that in real life, and I love the levels that it offers the reader. In the first book a now-famous artist who was not famous then, is featured in a journal that Lane finds. In the second book, both Lane AND a villain come across a chilling classic novel that everyone knows but no one has read. And in the third –this is so cool—Orson Welles put together the first all-black theater cast and performed MacBeth – set in Haiti instead of Scotland and featured a haunting jungle landcape. This was Voodoo MacBeth and was wildly popular, touring the country, this mirrors another character’s journey and helps uncover the ultimate enemy in the story. I also love to show inspiring and new parts of history that aren’t told in the history books. Mayor LaGuardia was hilarious, and I have a lot of real history in my books. It’s so refreshing to see the human and very funny aspects of history. In fact, the more sensational a chapter seems in my books, it’s most likely it was actual reality. My author notes are a lot of fun to read.

I’m sure they are. I think your series will appeal to a wide range of mystery readers especially art enthusiasts and New Yorkers.

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

Keep going! It’s a tough road and boy, do we all have to deal with rejection and the awful nature of comparing ourselves to others. My advice is to remember the heart of what you do. No one else can tell your story. Self-awareness will help you grow and learn, but never confuse that with self-doubt. Self-doubt always, always tears down. Dismiss it right away and just keep going. Remember your heart and your joy of why you do what you do.

I can totally relate to that. I’ve had my share of rejections. It’s not easy to keep up the momentum and fall victim to the self doubt you mention, but when readers praise you in reviews or in person, it’s a great feeling. And, like you say, the writing comes from the heart.

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

There were a lot. The biggest was just finding the time and energy to write when I was having trouble just surviving. I got the idea to write a novel right when I moved to New York City. I had a new job, a new city, no friends or support, and then we decided to start a family. So sure. Why not write a novel, too? I found it impossible for a long time. But I started with getting a babysitter for just two hours a week. I’d sit my butt down in the closest Starbucks and just write. It started from there and I had so much fun! My work compounded and starting small, but consistently, grew my appetite for more. I also had hard time comparing how other mystery writers begin with an outline. Apparently, I’m horrible at that. So I just started writing scenes and that got me off the ground.

Finding time to write is an issue for most authors who usually also work full-time and have families. I fit mine in very early in the morning. I also create a bare minimum of an outline. I prefer to write as a I go scene by scene.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I’m part of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.

I’m also a Sisters in Crime member and belong to a few other groups including International Thriller Writers, Long Island Authors Group, and the Cat Writers Association.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I love watching Food Network and The Great British Bake Off, cooking, drinking wine, and going to museums and parks in New York City.

Nice interests. I love the City museums but don’t get the opportunity to visit them as often as I’d like.

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

What I love the most, is creating stories that help people see something in a new light, and perhaps help them enjoy life themselves just a little bit more. I love characters who enjoy the magic of their everyday life. I also adore meeting and encouraging people, so I try to go to several conferences a year.

What I love the least is that I still find that comparing can be really hard. I can get daunted by what other authors are doing or their successes. I usually have to give myself the same pep-talk I gave above. Like every day. There will always be people who are younger, faster, more successful… but that doesn’t make one iota of difference in that only you can tell your story. When I remember that, it always makes things easier and I enjoy it all even more.

Those are good points for all authors to keep in mind.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

Cozies allow for the reader to settle into a book. I love, love, love characters whom you come to know and enjoy as “friends.” And Thrillers tend to be more about the plot, where I love a good plot with good pacing, but I adore good characters. Cozies let us really sit in that pocket.

That’s so true. Characters are the main draws for cozies. I’ve even created a character Facebook group for my Cobble Cove mystery characters where each character hosts the group on a monthly basis to share excerpts from their scenes and to interact with group members in discussions.

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

Sure! This is a favorite scene that I often read when I’m at a signing. The Thirties were so much more alive than I ever learned in History class. There was so much going on with women rising to prominent positions in the work force, great humor, innovation, amazing art, and cocktails to boot. My protagonist demonstrates that spirit. She’s artful, intelligent, and funny. And she’s always got an idea to get her and her sleuthing partner, Roarke –an investigative reporter—out of a pickle. In this scene, they have gotten a lead that they hope will reveal another piece to the puzzle of the threat against the mayor and the city.

EXCERPT

 “Roarke, I think we rushed in without thinking this through,” I said in a whisper as we drew near the slimy building in the Meatpacking District, which, by the way, carried all the odors, images, and carnage that the name implied. I’d never been over here before, and I slipped my hand into Roarke’s as we slunk down a close alley toward our meeting place he’d set in advance with his informant.

The window that we had come close to was high, but Roarke would just about be able to see in if he stood on tiptoe. It was open; maybe the informant had cracked it so we could overhear what was going on inside. All I could hear at first were muffled voices. Then Roarke’s hand tightened on mine as we heard the determined, clipped steps of someone’s shoes making their way across a tile floor, closer and closer to the window we were directly under.

Roarke whispered closely, “My informant figures we’ll be quite safe, since who would bother to look out the window?”

Suddenly, we heard something shift above us. Someone was bothering. Right this second. We ducked down in the narrow alley. I huddled up to the brick wall, willing myself to be invisible like you do in a bad dream. I held my breath as someone wrenched the window further open. Then came the reassuring sound of someone’s steps walking away.

We both slowly looked up. Low voices drifted out. I could only make out every third or fourth word. Then the voices raised, and so did the hairs on my neck as I heard my name.

“What do you mean Lane knows? Knows what?” said a very angry, high-pitched male voice that I knew in an instant was Danny’s. The guy who tried to kill me.

“Well, I’m not sure, I’m just the messenger. I’m just giving you the note. Sh—” said a nasally, fearful voice that must have been the informant’s. But something or someone had cut off what he was going to say next. Was he about to say she or someone’s name that began with S-H?

Then a couple of steps sounded, and a third voice addressed Danny in a low murmur. Just then, Roarke spied something in the window, a small piece of white paper. He slowly raised his hand and took down the paper, using careful, delicate movements. He brought it down as the voice was still murmuring. He opened the paper so both of us could read it. Written on it in sloppy writing was one word: RUN.

Roarke and I locked eyes at the same moment we heard loud footsteps decidedly coming toward our window. In one fluid movement, I turned around and we ran down the alley toward the light. Puddles splashed, things skittered in front of me. I ran like hell. Before we reached the end of the alley, a gun fired.

We were rocked in our shoes for one horrifying second. We realized it came from inside the room and we weren’t hit; we kept running. We swerved around the corner to the right. There were workers all over the place, but we stood out like an ink stain on a white shirt. With me in my bright yellow dress and Roarke in his navy pinstriped suit with white shoes, neither of us was exactly blending in.

We bounded up the street, trying to stay close to other buildings. Just as we thought we might be clear, we saw them: two guys who had gangster written all over them. One was Danny. As I turned my head to look back at him, I saw him smile that awful smirk, and the sun shone off the deep shine of his black, slicked-back hair. They started chasing after us.

“Roarke, run!” I yelled.

I had an idea. I ran ahead and took a left going north toward the docks on the west side, Roarke running right after me. I never ran so fast in my life. My sides hurt, my legs burned. But when you’re literally running for your life, those are very minor inconveniences.

I heard the clack of our pursuers’ shoes on the pavement, urging me to keep going. Neither of them yelled; they just ran relentlessly on after us. Come on, come on, where are you? Ah, there! When I saw my target, I got a final burst of speed. I heard a funny grunt of a laugh as Roarke figured out my plan.

Just ahead was a bevy of at least twenty navy sailors making their way off their ship in port, heading out for some fun for the evening. I ran right toward the biggest guy, waved enthusiastically, and launched myself right into his surprised but receptive arms. I looked back at my shocked pursuers, turned to the stunned sailor, and planted a gigantic kiss right on his lips. He responded with vigor, and it had the reaction from his mates that I’d hoped: They all cheered. I could hear Roarke laughing behind me.

The sailor let me go and set me down carefully. I brushed my hair back, and I said as loudly as I could, “Ah, well. Welcome to New York!” They all cheered again, and we all walked happily toward Broadway. Roarke and I were careful to stay in the middle of the group of laughing, shoving, playful sailors.

About twenty feet away, I spotted Danny and his partner. They had steered clear of the sailors. He was not smiling now. Danny touched his hat in a sort of salute to my efforts, but then slowly raised his hand in a small gesture of a gun, shooting at me. He softly blew the imaginary smoke off his fingers; an unimaginative gesture, but frightening nonetheless. Then he readjusted his hat, did an about-face, and walked away.

Excellent excerpt.

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

Definitely take a quick moment to read the Author Notes and the Group Discussion Questions. I reveal what is real history and what is fiction, and then in the Questions I usually have other tidbits about the story and interesting things I’ve used or pulled into the story. In other words, they aren’t typical discussion questions. Also, I have made a few YouTube walking tours that are Behind the Scenes quickie tours of The Silver Gun. They show you things like Lane’s neighborhood, Central Park then and now, and even Blackwell’s Island (now Roosevelt Island).

I’ll definitely look for those when I read the book. I’m a librarian as well as an author and order the mystery and fiction books for my library. Although a few in our system have your book, ours doesn’t, so I plan to put an order in for it. I’m sure it will appeal to our patrons.

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

For behind the scenes virtual tours of The Silver Gun: 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOc8aw0RmT-MTKuCGKJ7dOw/videos

Here is a quick link to all my social media:  http://www.lachandlar.com/social

Blog:  http://www.lachandlar.com/blog/

Thank you so much, Laurie. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you, and best wishes with your blog tour, series, and other projects you’re planning for the future.

For those following Laurie’s blog tour, you can enter her rafflecopter for a prize here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/02887792696/?widget_template=56d5f80dbc544fb30fda66f0

Posted in Books, Mysteries, New Releases, Short Story, Solstice Publishing

Update on My Mysteries

Since I have lots of news for my readers, I thought I’d share my updates on this blog. Most of you may have seen my announcement about the recent release of my standalone mystery thriller, Reason to Diebut you may not yet have viewed the book trailer.

I also have author appearances scheduled in April and May. I’ll be at the Port Washington Public Library’s Local Author Fair on Sunday, April 29, where I’ll be selling autographed copies of Reason to Die as well as all three books of my Cobble Cove cozy mystery series. On Saturday, May 12, I’ll be at the St. Stephens Church Local Author Fair in Hicksville, NY, where I’ll be speaking about my books and also autographing copies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On May 4, two of my mystery short stories will be featured in Solstice Publishing’s Plots and Schemes, Vol. 2 anthology. “Murder at Lavender Lake Library” is a cozy mystery, and “Bullet in the Back,” a mystery thriller. I’ll let you all know when it’s officially released. I hope to see some of you at my upcoming appearances.

Reason to Die is also on a blog tour with a $15 Amazon gift card giveaway. Follow the tour at http://www.silverdaggertours.com/sdsxx-tours/reason-to-die-book-tour-and-giveaway

Al