Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Mysteries

Author Spotlight of Connie Berry, author of A Dream of Death, A Kate Hamilton Mystery

I’m pleased to have author Connie Berry from Delaware, Ohio to chat about her writing and her cozy mystery, A Dream of Death, that’s on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

Nice to have you here, Connie. 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 debut mystery, A Dream of Death, was published this month by Crooked Lane Books. Wait, wait—did I just say that? I don’t think I’ll believe it until I actually see my book on a library shelf or in a bookstore somewhere. Although I know plenty of wonderful and successful self-published authors, my goal was always to be traditionally published.

Congratulations, Connie. Tell us a little bit about your book.

A Dream of Death is the first in the Kate Hamilton Mystery series. Autumn has come and gone on the Scottish Isle of Glenroth, and the locals gather for the Tartan Ball, the annual end-of-leaf-season gala. Spirits are high. A recently published novel about island history has attracted hordes of tourists to the small Hebridean resort community. On the guest list is American antiques dealer Kate Hamilton. Kate returns reluctantly to the island where her husband died, determined to repair her relationship with his sister, proprietor of the island’s luxe country house hotel. Kate has hardly unpacked when a body turns up, murdered in a way eerily reminiscent of an infamous murder described in the book. The Scottish police discount the historical connection, but when her husband’s best childhood friend is arrested, Kate teams up with a vacationing detective inspector from Suffolk, England, to unmask a killer determined to rewrite island history—and Kate’s future.

The second in the series, A Legacy of Murder, will be published in October of 2019. Currently I’m working on the third in the series, The Chinese Vases (working title).

They sound wonderful.

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?

On a practical level, I hope to continue writing the Kate Hamilton Mystery series. With the third book underway, two more are rough outlined and another two are roaming around in the back of my brain. On an aspirational level, my goal is to continue growing as a writer—honing my skills, adding depth and complexity to my characters and plot, writing beautiful prose. I would love to have my books described as literary mysteries. For the future, I’ve been thinking about a second series set in the UK, maybe an historical.

Terrific goals. Good 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 imagine my readers will be a lot like me—those who enjoy a good mystery and love to be surprised at the end. I hope to attract readers who like vivid characters with gifts and flaws, regrets and dreams. My readers will include fellow Anglophiles and those who like stories set in another country or culture. They will love history and reading about how the present is shaped by the past. I hope they will enjoy learning a bit about the world of fine art and antiques.

That’s great. Sounds like you have a an interesting target audience.

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

My best advice is to read, read, read. Notice how writers use language, setting, dialogue, and characterization. Pay attention to story structure. Take time to learn craft. Attend as many writers’ conferences and workshops as you can afford. Join groups like Sisters in Crime or Romance Writers of America. Connect with other writers. Swap manuscripts. Help others succeed.

That’s very good advice.

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

I didn’t know what I didn’t know. With a master’s degree in English literature and having read hundreds of mysteries, I thought, “How hard could it be?” As it turned out, pretty hard. I struggled with impatience, an unwillingness to stop writing and start learning. It took me years to produce a manuscript I felt confident putting out there. Finally, once I’d done everything I knew how to do, I was fortunate enough to meet my wonderful editor, Faith Black Ross from Crooked Lane Books, and my agent, Paula Munier of Talcott Notch Literary.

It’s so true that there’s a lot more to writing than what people imagine before they publish.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

Yes. I belong to Sisters in Crime, national, as well as my local chapter, Buckeye Crime Writers. I also belong to the Midwest chapter of  Mystery Writers of America. Some years ago I attended a writers’ workshop called Seascape, hosted by Roberta Isleib, Hallie Ephron, and Hank Phillippi Ryan. Afterwards, a fellow attendee asked me to join a critique group. We’re scattered all over the country—California, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Maine. Three of the four are now published with the fourth not far behind. We exchange manuscripts online and try to meet yearly at the Crime Bake conference near Boston.

I also belong to Sisters in Crime. It’s a great group.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

Great question! Life is more than writing. My interests include reading (of course), knitting, my family, our sweet dog, Millie, spending time at our lake cottage in northern Wisconsin, foreign travel with a hint of adventure, and hiking. I attend BSF, International—the class I taught for over twenty-five years. I belong to a book club. And I’m on the board of two organizations—Buckeye Crime Writers and the Great Lakes Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church.

You certainly are busy.

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

What I like most about writing is re-writing—revising and polishing a manuscript. Once I have words on a page, I relax and begin to enjoy life. What I like least is putting words on a blank page. Because they’re never good. As Ernest Hemingway famously said (quoted in a posthumous article published by Arnold Samuelson), “The first draft of anything is [rubbish].” With that said, one of my toughest practical challenges as a writer is getting enough exercise. This past year—getting my first novel launched and finishing the second—has been brutal on my body. One of my goals going forward is adding regular exercise to my daily routine.

I make it a point to exercise a half hour a day and take breaks between computer time.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I call my books traditional mysteries with cozy characteristics. There are plenty of non-cozy crime novels out there, and I read them—Ann Cleeves, Tana French, Val McDermid, Elizabeth George. But years ago my thesis advisor recommended picking a topic I loved enough to spend many months with. That applies to writing. Reading a crime novel takes days. Writing one takes months if not years. I choose not to describe violence in graphic detail. I have no wish to venture into other peoples’ bedrooms. I love children and pets too much to describe their harm. And while I admire crime novels based in large cities (especially if the city is London), I’m more interested in the complex dynamics of a village. Perhaps it’s my early exposure to Agatha Christie, but I like nothing better than writing about a small community with plenty of interconnections and conflicts to create havoc—and murder. Writing a mystery with cozy characteristics isn’t a matter of what I do and don’t approve. Wasn’t it Miss Marple who said, “I don’t approve of murder.”

I feel the same about my books. Even when I write my standalones, apart from my Cobble Cove mystery series, I tend to inject cozy elements.

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

The setting is the Tartan Ball. Kate’s self-centered sister-in-law, Elenor, has just announced her engagement to Dr. Hugh Guthrie, a bachelor who cares for his disabled mother, Margaret—the closest thing the Isle of Glenroth has to nobility:

Elenor held up both hands. “Before we celebrate, there’s someone Hugh and I wish to acknowledge.” She turned toward the head table. “Margaret, may I call you Mother now?”

 Every head in the room swiveled toward Margaret Guthrie, sitting like a ramrod in her wheelchair. She looked as if she’d just taken a swig of sour milk. “Even though Hugh and I will no longer be living on Glenroth,” Elenor said, her eyes glittering, “we will always have your welfare uppermost in our minds. Wherever you choose to live—now that Hugh will no longer be able to care for you himself—please remember that we will do everything in our power to make the days you have left happy ones.” I heard a few audible gasps. Guthrie pulled a handkerchief from his inside pocket and mopped his face.

Margaret Guthrie reared up like a cobra in her wheelchair. “You are too hasty, my dear. I am certain my son has agreed to no such plans.” She turned to Hugh. “Take me home now. I’m tired.” The audience held its collective breath. Hugh Guthrie stood motionless, a pile of metal shavings between two powerful magnets. He looked at Elenor, then at his mother, and seemed to quail. Releasing himself from Elenor’s grip, he stepped from the platform and hurried to Margaret’s side. The wheelchair squeaked through the stone archways toward the exit. Moments  later we heard the thud of the heavy front door closing, followed shortly by the roar of an engine and the crunch of tires on gravel. Elenor still held the microphone, her face frozen in a smile. The band began to play “Some Enchanted Evening.” Clearly one of the musicians had a wicked sense of humor.

Excellent excerpt. Thanks for sharing.

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

A Dream of Death involves a contemporary murder and a historical murder from 1810. The two stories are interwoven through the use of excerpts from a novel written in the form of a diary. A list of book club questions will appear shortly on my website (see below). I’d love to meet readers! If you live in central Ohio, check out my scheduled appearances; and if you’re planning to attend Malice Domestic in May, please say hello!

If you’d like to know more about my writing and upcoming events, you can find me at www.connieberry.com. Sign up for my newsletter. Watch for my bi-monthly blog. Follow me on social media:

Facebook and Instagram: Connie Berry, Author

Twitter: @conniecberry

Pinterest: Connie Campbell Berry

Thanks so much, Connie, and best wishes on your release and upcoming books in the series. I’m sharing your blog tour below.

A Dream of Death
(A Kate Hamilton Mystery)
by Connie Berry

About the Book


A Dream of Death (A Kate Hamilton Mystery)
Traditional Mystery
1st in Series
Crooked Lane Books (April 9, 2019)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1683319877
ISBN-13: 978-1683319870
Digital ASIN: B07H7P2KTS

On a remote Scottish island, American antiques dealer Kate Hamilton wrestles with her own past while sleuthing a brutal killing, staged to recreate a two-hundred-year-old unsolved murder.

Autumn has come and gone on Scotland’s Isle of Glenroth, and the islanders gather for the Tartan Ball, the annual end-of-tourist-season gala. Spirits are high. A recently published novel about island history has brought hordes of tourists to the small Hebridean resort community. On the guest list is American antiques dealer Kate Hamilton. Kate returns reluctantly to the island where her husband died, determined to repair her relationship with his sister, proprietor of the island’s luxe country house hotel, famous for its connection with Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Kate has hardly unpacked when the next morning a body is found, murdered in a reenactment of an infamous unsolved murder described in the novel—and the only clue to the killer’s identity lies in a curiously embellished antique casket. The Scottish police discount the historical connection, but when a much-loved local handyman is arrested, Kate teams up with a vacationing detective inspector from Suffolk, England, to unmask a killer determined to rewrite island history—and Kate’s future.

About the Author

Like her main character, Connie Berry was raised by charmingly eccentric antique collectors who opened a shop, not because they wanted to sell antiques but because they needed a plausible excuse to keep buying them. Connie adores history, off-season foreign travel, cute animals, and all things British. She lives in Ohio with her husband and adorable Shih Tzu, Millie.

Author Links: Website –www.connieberry.com

Facebook Author@Facebook.com

Twitter @conniecberry

Goodreads –https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18733373.Connie_Berry

Purchase: Amazon Barnes & Noble Indiebound

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April 16 – I’m All About Books – GUEST POST

April 17 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT*

April 17 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

April 18 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

April 18 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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April 19 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW

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April 20 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

April 21 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 22 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

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April 23 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

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April 24 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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Posted in Cozy Mysteries, New Releases

Spotlight for Murder at the Marina, A Kelly Jackson Mystery, by Janet Finsilver

Murder at the Marina
(A Kelly Jackson Mystery)
by Janet Finsilver

About the Book


Murder at the Marina (A Kelly Jackson Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Lyrical Underground (April 2, 2019)
Print Length: ~200 Pages
ASIN: B07FC2C3BH

She’s got to solve this—or her friends are sunk . . .

Kelly Jackson, manager of the Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast, is fond of the Doblinsky brothers, Ivan and Rudy, members of the Silver Sentinels, a crew of crime-solving senior citizens in their Northern California seaside hamlet. After she discovers a jewel-encrusted dagger—with what appears to be dried blood on the blade—on their fishing boat, they share their family history with Kelly, and she learns that the knife may be part of a set from their long-ago childhood in Russia. Its sudden reappearance is eerie, but the mystery grows much more serious when a body is found on the boat. The victim was staying at Kelly’s inn, in town for a Russian Heritage Festival, and some of the organizers were clearly harboring some bitterness. But the story behind this murder seems as layered as a nesting doll—and Kelly’s feeling completely at sea . . .

About the Author

Janet Finsilver is the USA TODAY bestselling author of the Kelly Jackson mystery series. She worked in education for many years as a teacher, a program administrator, and a workshop presenter. Janet majored in English and earned a Master’s Degree in Education. She loves animals and has two dogs–Kylie and Ellie. Janet has ridden western style since she was a child and was a member of the National Ski Patrol. One of the highlights of her life was touching whales in the San Ignacio Lagoon. MURDER AT REDWOOD COVE, her debut mystery, was released on October 13, 2015. Her second book, MURDER AT THE MANSION, was released on June 7, 2016. Book 3, MURDER AT THE FORTUNE TELLER’S TABLE was released on March 14, 2017.

Author Links

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/janetfinsilverauthor/?fref=ts

Twitter – https://twitter.com/JanetFinsilver

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/janetfinsilver/

Web – http://janetfinsilver.com/

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKoboGoogle Play

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

April 9 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW

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April 9 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

April 10 – I’m All About Books – GUEST POST

April 10 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

April 10 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

April 11 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

April 11 – Reading Is My SuperPower – CHARACTER GUEST POST

April 11 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

April 12 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

April 12 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

April 12 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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April 13 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 13 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

April 14 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST

April 14 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

April 15 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

April 15 – Books Direct – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

April 16 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

April 16 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

April 16 – ❧Defining Ways❧ – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 17 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

April 17 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW, EXCERPT

April 18 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 18 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, GUEST POST

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Posted in Cozy Mysteries, New Releases

Spotlight for Flower Power Trip, A Braxton Campus Mystery, by James J. Cudney

Flower Power Trip
(Braxton Campus Mysteries)
by James J. Cudney

About the Book


Flower Power Trip (Braxton Campus Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Creativia (March 30, 2019)
Print Length: 270 pages
Digital ASIN: B07NDK76WF

At a masquerade ball to raise money for renovations to Memorial Library, Kellan finds a dead body dressed in a Dr. Evil costume.

Did one of Maggie’s sisters kill the annoying guest who’d been staying at the Roarke and Daughters Inn, or does the victim have a closer connection to someone else at Braxton College?

As Kellan helps school president Ursula bury a secret from her past and discover the identity of her stalker, he unexpectedly encounters a missing member of his family. Everything seems to trace back to the Stoddards: a new family who recently moved in.

Between the murder, a special flower exhibit and strange postcards arriving each week, Kellan can’t decide which mystery in his life should take priority. But unfortunately, the biggest one of all has yet to be exposed – and when it is, Kellan won’t know what hit him.

About the Author

James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College with a degree in English literature. I spent fifteen years building a technology career in the retail, sports, media, and entertainment industries. I enjoyed my job, but a passion for books and stories had been missing for far too long. I’m a voracious reader in my favorite genres (thriller, suspense, contemporary, mystery, and historical fiction), as books transport me to a different world where I can immerse myself in so many fantastic cultures and places. I’m an avid genealogist who hopes to visit all the German, Scottish, Irish, and British villages my ancestors emigrated from in the 18th and 19th centuries. I frequently blog and publish book reviews on everything I read at ThisIsMyTruthNow via WordPress.

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind, and my body. I decided to pursue my passion by dusting off the creativity inside my head and drafting outlines for several novels. I quickly realized I was back in my element growing happier and more excited with life each day. My goal in writing is to connect with readers who want to be part of great stories and who enjoy interacting with authors. To get a strong picture of who I am, check out my author website or my blog. It’s full of humor and eccentricity, sharing connections with everyone I follow—all in the hope of building a network of friends across the world.

When I completed the first book, Watching Glass Shatter, I knew I’d stumbled upon my passion again, suddenly dreaming up characters, plots, and settings all day long. I chose my second novel, Father Figure, through a poll on my blog where I let everyone vote for their favorite plot and character summaries. It is with my third book, Academic Curveball,, the first in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, where I immersed myself in a college campus full of so much activity, I could hardly stop thinking about new murder scenes or character relationships to finish writing the current story. Come join in the fun!

List of Books & Blog

Watching Glass Shatter (October 2017)

Father Figure (April 2018)

Braxton Campus Mysteries

Academic Curveball – #1 (October 2018)

Broken Heart Attack – #2 (November 2018)

Flower Power Trip – #3 (Early 2019)

Websites & Blog

Website: https://jamesjcudney.com

Blog: https://thisismytruthnow.com

Social Media Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/James-J.-Cudney/e/B076B6PB3M/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamescudney4

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

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

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/james-j-cudney

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamescudney4

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jamescudney4

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamescudney4

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jamescudney4

Purchase Link – Amazon

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April 12 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 13 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Cozy Mysteries, New Releases

Spotlight for the Hidden Corpse, A Food Blogger Mystery, by Debra Sennefelder

The Hidden Corpse
(A Food Blogger Mystery)
by Debra Sennefelder

About the Book


The Hidden Corpse (A Food Blogger Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Kensington (March 26, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496715934
ISBN-13: 978-1496715937
Digital ASIN: B07F5YS5XR

Former reality TV baking show contestant and recent divorcée Hope Early is trying to find her recipe for success as a food blogger—but murder keeps getting in the mix . . .

When Hope’s elderly neighbor perishes in a home fire, she can’t help but feel somewhat responsible. Only the day before, Peggy Olson had called her over, having burned a pot on the stove while she was sleeping and filling the house with smoke. In fact, she couldn’t even remember cooking. Clearly, it was dangerous for the woman to live alone.

But it turns out she wasn’t alone. When a second body is discovered in the basement of the burned house, suddenly what appeared to be a tragic accident is beginning to look like premeditated murder. As rumors spread like wildfire, Hope is determined to sort out the facts and smoke out a killer, but she might be jumping from the frying pan straight into the fire . . .

Includes Recipes from Hope’s Kitchen!

About the Author

Debra Sennefelder, the author of the Food Blogger Mystery series and the Resale Boutique Mystery series, is an avid reader who reads across a range of genres, but mystery fiction is her obsession. Her interest in people and relationships is channeled into her novels against a backdrop of crime and mystery. When she’s not reading, she enjoys cooking and baking and as a former food blogger, she is constantly taking photographs of her food. Yeah, she’s that person.

Born and raised in New York City, she now lives and writes in Connecticut with her family. She’s worked in pre-hospital care, retail and publishing. Her writing companions are her adorable and slightly spoiled Shih-Tzus, Susie and Billy.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, Women’s Fiction Writers Association and Romance Writers of America.

Author Links:

WebsiteFacebookGoodreads

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKoboGoogle PlayIndieBound

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March 26 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW*

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March 27 – Off

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March 29 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW*

March 30 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

March 31 – Community Books – REVIEW*

March 31 – Lisa Ks Book Review – REVIEW

April 1 – Literary Gold – REVIEW

April 2 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW

April 2 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT

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

April 4 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

April 5 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW*

April 6 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW

April 6 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW*

April 7 – Elle G. Reads – REVIEW*

April 7 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW

April 8 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

April 8 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

April 9 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW*

April 9 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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Spotlight for Like a Tree, a Davis Morgan Mystery, by Danny and Wanda Pelfrey

Like A Tree
(A Davis Morgan Mystery)
by Danny Pelfrey & Wanda Pelfrey

About the Book


Like A Tree (A Davis Morgan Mystery)
Inspirational Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
CrossLink Publishing (March 26, 2019)
Paperback: 175 pages
ISBN-10: 1633571556
ISBN-13: 978-1633571556

The movie industry spreading across Georgia has finally made its way to the little foothill village of Adairsville. Bookseller and police chaplain, Davis Morgan along with a young female clerk discover the body of a member of the movie company on a historic site at the foot of a large oak tree. Davis, despite his promise to his wife, cannot resist investigating the mystery. He and his young pal, policeman Charley Nelson, quietly dig into the case even though it is officially under the jurisdiction of the county sheriff. There is no shortage of suspects: the mysterious red headed man, sister of the victim, the fiancée and others. During the investigation an already troubled Charley is framed for a drug crime, and Davis receives word that an old enemy is on his way to Georgia after escaping from prison to make good on a threat against him. Late one afternoon it all comes to an astonishing conclusion beneath the same sprawling oak where it started.

About the Authors

Danny & Wanda Pelfrey are a husband/wife team who in the past wrote helpful non-fiction books and material. Recently they have turned to producing “mysteries with a message.” Their stories are usually set in a small southern town in Georgia called Adairsville. Danny grew up in a poverty situation where he was often without access to TV for entertainment so he found books. It was not unusual for him, in his high school years, to read three or four books a week. So his love affair with books developed early. Danny received a degree from Point University and a Master of Ministry from Kentucky Christian University. He spent many years serving pastorates with churches in several states. Danny is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Wanda started her writing career writing curriculum for various publishers. Among books she has authored is the popular, MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR CHILD’S TEACHABLE MOMENTS. She spent twenty-four years as a primary teacher in a Montessori school. She enjoys quilting and has never lost her love for reading. The Pelfreys have two daughters and five grandchildren. LIKE A TREE is the fourth Davis Morgan Mystery on which they have collaborated.

Links for purchase: Amazon author page www.amazon.com/Danny/e/B001KMIKHM, CrossLink Publishing, Banes & Noble etc, www.pelfreybooks.com

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March 26 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST

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March 29 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

March 30 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 31 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 1 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

April 2 – My Journey Back-The Journey Back – REVIEW

April 3 – Lori’s Reading Corner – SPOTLIGHT

April 4 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

April 5 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

April 5 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW

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Posted in Cozy Mysteries, New Releases

Spotlight for Deadly Deception, The Deadly Series, by Kate Parker

Deadly Deception
(The Deadly Series)
by Kate Parker

About the Book


Deadly Deception (The Deadly Series)
Historical Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
JDP Press (March 22, 2019)
Paperback: 316 pages
ISBN-10: 0997663758
ISBN-13: 978-0997663754
Digital ASIN: B07NPCJYPX

Everyone hides secrets. Some provoke murder.

Olivia Denis discovers her father kneeling over the body of a man…a man who supposedly drowned in the Channel years before. Olivia wants to ring for help, her father wants to hide the body, but a mysterious phone call brings Scotland Yard to the murder scene.
Olivia can’t stand by and let her maddening, disapproving father hang. To prove his innocence – and learn his secrets – she must work with a master spy. The search for clues takes Olivia to the continent and the Kent countryside, Hastings and London, pushing her deeper into the world of danger and deception.

As war between Germany and Britain stalks closer, the hunt for a Nazi collaborator intensifies. With a mounting death toll, Olivia knows she must unmask the killer or be the next to die.

About the Author

Kate Parker grew up in Washington, D C, spent several years along the Carolina coast, and now finds herself in the Colorado front range. All the time, she has been busy plotting to spend more time in her favorite city, London, where her books are set. So far, she hasn’t been able to build a time machine, so she has to visit historical sites and books to immerse herself in the details of life in bygone days.

2019 will see the publication of her fourth Deadly Series book, Deadly Deception, as well as a novella, The Mystery at Chadwick House. Chadwick House will both be for sale at the usual retailers plus given away to the readers of her newsletter. It is her first contemporary mystery. Later in the year, Kate plans on publishing the second Milliner Mystery. Her daughter has informed her this year she will also become the servant of a large, exuberant dog.

Author Links:

Website: www.KateParkerbooks.com

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/Author.Kate.Parker/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/KateParkerbooks

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7123001.Kate_Parker

Purchase Links – AmazonB&N

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April 3 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 4 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

April 4 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

April 5 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW

April 6 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

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April 7 – Elle G. Reads – REVIEW

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Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Mysteries

Author Spotlight of Stephen Kaminski, Author of An Au Pair To Remember, A Male Housekeeper Mystery

I’m pleased to have author Stephen Kaminiski from Arlington, Virginia here to chat about his writing and his cozy mystery, An Au Pair to Remember, that’s on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

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 published since 2012.

 It Takes Two to Strangle, A Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective Mystery (Cozy Cat Press, 2012)

 Don’t Cry Over Killed Milk, A Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective Mystery (Cozy Cat Press, 2013)

 Murder, She Floats, A Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective Mystery (Cozy Cat Press, 2014)

 An Au Pair to Remember, A Male Housekeeper Mystery (Cozy Cat Press, 2019)

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.

Between 2012-2014, three books in Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective series were published.  In January 2019, I just launched a new series—the Male Housekeeper Mysteries, focusing on charming characters, snappy dialogue, eclectic murders, and cunning confidence schemes.  Here’s a brief overview of the series backdrop and of the first book—An Au Pair to Remember.

To his mind, Cam Reddick has failed—as a husband, as a father, and as a professional. After recognizing that his vanilla credentials didn’t stack up in a big city brimming with overachievers and toiling in drudgery for half of a decade, an emotionally raw Cam returns to his childhood hometown—the quaint and quirky village of Rusted Bonnet, Michigan. He’s determined to resuscitate relationships marred by youthful immaturity, most importantly those with his ex-wife Kacey Gingerfield (who doubles as the village’s Deputy Chief of Police) and their first grader, Emma. Armed with striking looks and an endearing proclivity for mixing metaphors, but saddled by “momma’s boy” tendencies, Cam takes the helm of his mother’s housekeeping business—Peachy Kleen. Access to homes across the village facilitates Cam’s penchant for amateur sleuthing as Kacey’s aide-de-camp. Surrounded by Kacey, his sophisticated mother Darby, garrulous senior housekeeper Samantha, and recuse fish cum confidant Bait, Cam’s circuitous journeys to solving murders and unravelling complex cons hasten his struggle down the path of self-healing to self-respect. And there’s hope that—just maybe—he can rekindle the romance he once had with Kacey.

In An Au Pair to Remember, Cam’s plan for a quiet return to Rusted Bonnet is dashed when a beautiful German au pair, Greta Astor, is found dead in Dutch McRae’s foyer with all signs pointing to a hastily disassembled trip wire at the top of the stairs. When Kacey learns that Cam was cleaning the McRae home the previous afternoon, she confides to him that Chief Bernie Leftwich is set on arresting Dutch for the murder—either alone or in tandem with Greta’s bartender boyfriend. But she worries that Bernie’s been duped. And later, when his mother Darby becomes a suspect, Cam inserts himself into the investigation and stumbles through a series of ostensible incongruities—a thief swallowing a cache of stolen diamonds, a snack food distributor laundering money, and a Cash-for-Gold scam. Meanwhile, Peachy Kleen’s young African housekeeper has disappeared with one of the company vans. All the while, Cam finds himself flirting with his new neighbor and struggling with his complicated feelings for Kacey.

Your new series sounds like it’s off to a great start.

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

My goals are to excite and entertain.  My writing is light and I simply want readers to enjoy themselves.  In the next twelve months I’d like to finish the next book in my Male Housekeeper Mystery series.

Excellent!

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

Anyone who enjoys quick-witted dialogue and a lighthearted approach to murder will enjoy my books—basically the antithesis of hardboiled crime.

There’s certainly an audience for that among cozy readers.

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

Write and submit, write and submit, write and submit.  Then take constructive criticism to heart and follow advice that publishers offer.

Good advice.

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

I think the biggest challenge was figuring out my style.  My first manuscript for It Takes Two to Strangle (in 2012) was about 30,000 words longer than what eventually was accepted for publication.  I was trying to mold my writing into what I saw most often on library and bookstore shelves without realizing that a shorter and snappier version of my writing style was perfect for the cozy genre.  Thankfully, Cozy Cat Press saw my potential and took the time to and work with me.

It takes time for authors to develop their special style of writing. I’m sure it was helpful to work with your publisher to develop it.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

Unfortunately, not—between a demanding full time job, child care responsibilities, and writing, I haven’t been able to participate in any groups.

I can understand that.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

When I’m not writing, I’m typically reading, cooking (but not baking!), exercising, and playing the vital roles of chauffer and wallet-on-legs for my teen-aged daughter.

Lol. I know what you mean about wallet-on-legs for teenagers. I have a 14-year old daughter.

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

What I like most is the sense of calm it brings me.  My favorite time to write is very early in the morning with a cup of black coffee in hand and a blanket on my lap.  Quiet evenings with a candle or two and a glass of red wine or three are almost as rewarding.  I also enjoy writing things that I think will make readers laugh or bring them a sense of joyful bewilderment as they twist and turn through the plot.

I can relate. I get a lot of enjoyment from my writing, and I also like to write early in the morning before work.

 The toughest challenge is getting stuck.  All writers get stuck at times and it’s very challenging to work through.  For me, it often happens when I need to get “from A to B,” but I can’t figure out a way to do it in a way that’s engaging to the reader.

I find that often happens midway in a book, but then if you take a break and go back, something fresh usually pops up to add to the story.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I can be corny and cheeky, which fits my personality well.  I can spin the plot lines in a manner that’s sends a reader every which way, but then all comes together at the end.  I can create some characters who are clever and others who have their heads-in-the-clouds.  And in all of my books, in addition to the murder, I embed a number of clever cons for the reader to sink her or his teeth into.

Sounds interesting.

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

Leaving Samantha with her suppositions at the Laundromat, Cam took a detour past Becka Blom’s living quarters—the basement apartment of a historic Victorian. The red-, green-, and white-colored home featured a striking array of dormers, gables, and turrets. Cam stepped onto the portico and rang the bell.

A gray-haired man sporting an Einstein-inspired mustache and a knit sweater fraying at the cuffs opened the door.

“Good evening, sir,” Cam said. “Is Ms. Blom home?”

“I wouldn’t know for certain,” the man said convivially. “She has a separate entrance around the back. But I haven’t seen her car all day.”

“It’s at my office.” Cam explained that Becka worked for his cleaning company and hadn’t been seen since early in the morning.

“That doesn’t sound like Becka. Come on inside. Let me get my wife and see if she’s spoken with her.”

Cam followed him into a formal living room decorated in a French provincial style. While the man went off to find his wife, Cam looked down at his sweatshirt and jeans, feeling out of place.

“Please sit down,” a woman’s voice commanded with the authority of a general.

The mustachioed man immediately sat on a sofa.

“I wasn’t talking to you, Reg,” she said sternly and extended her hand toward a high-backed chair. Cam sat as directed.

She introduced herself as Diane Archambault. Pronounced Dee-Ahn, she was as put together as her husband was disheveled. “Reg tells me that Ms. Blom works for you. Is that correct?”

Cam nodded. The mistress of the house stood over him, her sapphire blue eyes piercing his.

“I heard her car back out of the drive at seven thirty this morning,” Diane said crisply. “I assumed she was going to work. Did she arrive?”

Cam told her she had, then ran off in one of his cleaning vans and hadn’t returned any of his messages.

“That certainly is worrisome.” Diane took a step back. “The girl came to the United States four years ago,” she offered. “Just she and her father. He was a shipbuilder from South Africa.”

“Why did they move to Rusted Bonnet?” Cam asked.

“I don’t know,” Diane said. “Ms. Blom’s father passed away two years ago. That’s when she moved in here.” She paused, then added, “I thought she worked for a woman.”

“That was my mother,” Cam explained. “I took over when she retired.”

Diane folded her hands and sat on the edge of the sofa next to her husband. Her fingernails were flawlessly manicured.

Suddenly a clank came from directly below the living room floor. Cam’s eyes shot open wide and he jumped to his feet.

“Sit back down,” Diane ordered sharply. “I don’t have her locked up in the basement. The girl has a cat, always knocking about down there.”

A disturbing thought flashed into Cam’s head. Becka was twenty-four, almost the same age as Greta. Was this mismatched couple sitting in front of him murdering young women in the village?

But Reg Archambault mitigated his fears by asking, “Should we call the police?”

“My ex-wife is the deputy chief here in Rusted Bonnet,” Cam said. “I spoke with her earlier this evening. She told me that the police don’t spend time looking for adults who leave under their own power.”

“Too bad,” Reg said. “Why don’t you try that friend of hers?”

“Missy?” Cam asked. “I’ve tried.”

 Reg stifled a sneeze. “Sorry, darn moustache hair is always getting up in there.”

Diane shook her head with apparent disgust. “That’s the only one who comes around now and again.” She stood and motioned for Cam to rise and take his leave. At the door, Diane added, “I won’t say that Ms. Blom is like a daughter to me, because we don’t have that kind of relationship. But I certainly hope she hasn’t run off. She’s a good tenant and a proper young lady.”

Cam returned home, then laid awake all night, envisioning Becka Blom tied to a chair in the Archambaults’ basement.

Great excerpt.

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

I think your mystery-loving readers might be interested to know that in my professional life I handle all things poison!  I’m the chief executive of the association that represents the country’s poison control system—55 centers made up of medical professionals who answer about 3 million calls to poison control every year.  While our centers regularly handle opioids abuse and accidental ingestions of household products, if there’s ever a place to expertly advise on hemlock, strychnine, or belladonna exposures, it’s our centers and their toxicologists.

Very interesting. I’m sure that helps you planning some of your murder mysteries.

Thanks for chatting today, Stephen, and best wishes with your new release and series. I’m sharing your blog tour below.

An Au Pair to Remember:
A Male Housekeeper Mystery
by Stephen Kaminski

About the Book


An Au Pair to Remember: A Male Housekeeper Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Cozy Cat Press (January 27, 2019)
Paperback: 260 pages
ISBN-10: 1946063703
ISBN-13: 978-1946063700
Digital ASIN: B07NCBZ23L

From the author of the award-winning Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective series comes the Male Housekeeper Mysteries, focusing on charming characters, snappy dialogue, eclectic murders, and cunning confidence schemes. To his mind, Cam Reddick has failed—as a husband, as a father, and as a professional. After recognizing that his vanilla credentials didn’t stack up in a big city brimming with overachievers and toiling in drudgery for half of a decade, an emotionally raw Cam returns to his childhood hometown—the quaint and quirky village of Rusted Bonnet, Michigan. He’s determined to resuscitate relationships marred by youthful immaturity, most importantly those with his ex-wife Kacey Gingerfield (who doubles as the village’s Deputy Chief of Police) and their first grader, Emma. Armed with striking looks and an endearing proclivity for mixing metaphors, but saddled by “momma’s boy” tendencies, Cam takes the helm of his mother’s housekeeping business—Peachy Kleen. Access to homes across the village facilitates Cam’s penchant for amateur sleuthing as Kacey’s aide-de-camp. Surrounded by Kacey, his sophisticated mother Darby, garrulous senior housekeeper Samantha, and recuse fish cum confidant Bait, Cam’s circuitous journeys to solving murders and unravelling complex cons hasten his struggle down the path of self-healing to self-respect. And there’s hope that—just maybe—he can rekindle the romance he once had with Kacey.

In An Au Pair to Remember, Cam’s plan for a quiet return to Rusted Bonnet is dashed when a beautiful German au pair, Greta Astor, is found dead in Dutch McRae’s foyer with all signs pointing to a hastily disassembled trip wire at the top of the stairs. When Kacey learns that Cam was cleaning the McRae home the previous afternoon, she confides to him that Chief Bernie Leftwich is set on arresting Dutch for the murder—either alone or in tandem with Greta’s bartender boyfriend. But she worries that Bernie’s been duped. And later, when his mother Darby becomes a suspect, Cam inserts himself into the investigation and stumbles through a series of ostensible incongruities—a thief swallowing a cache of stolen diamonds, a snack food distributor laundering money, and a Cash-for-Gold scam. Meanwhile, Peachy Kleen’s young African housekeeper has disappeared with one of the company vans. All the while, Cam finds himself flirting with his new neighbor and struggling with his complicated feelings for Kacey.

About the Author

Stephen Kaminski is the author of An Au Pair to Remember, the first installment of the Male Housekeeper Mystery series. He also writes the award-winning Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective books. Stephen is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Law School and serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the trade association representing the United States’ poison control system and its fifty-five centers. He lives with his daughter and rescue kitty in the Washington, DC area.

Author Links

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43834065-an-au-pair-to-remember

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

Purchase Links – Amazon KindleAmazon Paperback

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

March 18 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

March 18 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

March 19 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

March 19 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

March 20 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 20 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

March 21 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

March 21 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

March 22 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 23 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

March 23 – The Broke Book Bank – REVIEW

March 24 – My Journey Back – REVIEW

March 25 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 26 – Books Direct – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

March 27 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 28 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW

March 28 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

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