New library mystery and character interview: Spook in the Stacks by Eva Gates

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Enter to win a print copy


Halloween in North Carolina’s Outer Banks becomes seriously tricky when librarian Lucy Richardson stumbles across something extra unusual in the rare books section: a dead body.

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Guest Post and Giveaway: Connie di Marco, author of Tail of the Dragon, a Zodiac Mystery

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San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti never thought murder would be part of her practice, but when her former boss and current client asks for help she agrees to go undercover at his law firm.
Three people have received death threats and the only common denominator between them is a case long settled–the infamous Bank of San Francisco fire. Julia’s astrological expertise provides clues but no one wants to listen. Before she can solve the mystery, two people are dead and her own life is in danger. Julia must unmask the killer before he, or she, takes another life.


Guest Post by Connie di Marco

The real Mystic Eye

If you’re a fan of the Zodiac Mysteries, then you’ve definitely visited the Mystic Eye. You know a lot about it and have met many of the eccentric characters who hang out there. The occult shop is owned by my protagonist, Julia Bonatti’s, good friend Gale. And even though I didn’t plan to set so many scenes there when the series began, it just sort of happened. It was a great place for the characters to come together, especially at the psychic fairs.

There’s Nikolai, the Russian past life regression hypnotist, a larger than life man with a mysterious background. There’s Zora, the medium and psychic who scares Julia half to death sometimes, lots of other psychics, Wiccans, Tarot readers and all sorts of characters.

So where did my Mystic Eye come from? A long time ago, there was a real Mystic Eye, also on Broadway in San Francisco, but a little farther east, past the strip clubs and bars and comedy clubs of North Beach.

I remember it well. It was a strange, dark little place, draped in black hangings. It sold books and ointments and image candles for candle burning rituals, books on cultural and religious practices, some of it rather dark.

Not particularly my cup of tea, but I was curious since there was no shop like it in the city at the time. It’s long gone now, so I felt safe using that name for the Zodiac Mysteries.


Julia’s Mystic Eye of the Zodiac books also has an exotic and mysterious atmosphere – plaster gargoyles, Tarot cards, crystals, books on psychic power and healing and religions of all sorts, candle burning supplies, dreamcatchers, magical herbs and ointments, greeting cards and lots of things that make great gifts. Here are some photos that in spired me when I was writing the Zodiac Mysteries. See whether these photos look like your mental image of the Eye. I’d love to hear your thoughts!


Is there anything happening at The Mystic Eye that you’d like to know more about? Is there any field of study in the occult world that I haven’t touched upon? Pyschometry? Remote viewing? Candle burning? How about crime or murder? Leave a comment and let me know.
I hope you’ll stop in at the Eye soon and read about Julia’s adventures in the third book in the Zodiac Mysteries — Tail of the Dragon. See you at the Eye!


About The Author

Connie di Marco is the author of the Zodiac Mysteries from Midnight Ink, featuring San Francisco astrologer, Julia Bonatti.  The first in the series, The Madness of Mercury, was released in June 2016 and the second, All Signs Point to Murder was released on August 8, 2017. Tail of the Dragon is the latest in the series.

Writing as Connie Archer, she is also the national bestselling author of the Soup Lover’s Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime.  Some of her favorite recipes can be found in The Cozy Cookbook  and The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook.  Connie is a member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

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New French Bistro Mystery: A Deadly Eclair by Daryl Wood Gerber

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It’s always been Mimi Rousseau’s dream to open her own bistro, but it seems beyond her grasp since she’s been chased back home to Nouvelle Vie in Napa Valley by her late husband’s tremendous debt.

Until her best friend Jorianne James introduces her to entrepreneur Bryan Baker who invests in promising prospects. Now, working the bistro and inn until she’s able to pay it off and call it her own, Mimi is throwing the inn’s first wedding ever.The wedding will be the talk of the town, as famous talk show host Angelica Edmonton, daughter of Bryan’s half-brother, Edison, has chosen the inn as her perfect venue. Anxious, Mimi is sure things are going to turn south, especially when Edison gets drunk and rowdy at the out-of-towners’ dinner, but by the evening, things begin to look up again. That is until six AM rolls around, and Bryan is found dead at the bistro with an éclair stuffed in his mouth. And the fingers point at Mimi, whose entire loan is forgiven in Bryan’s will.Now it’s up to Mimi to clear her name and get to the bottom of things before the killer turns up the heat again in A Deadly Éclair, the scrumptious series debut by Agatha Award-winning author Daryl Wood Gerber.


About the Author

Agatha Award-winning Daryl Wood Gerber writes the brand new French Bistro Mysteries as well as the nationally bestselling Cookbook Nook Mysteries.  As Avery Aames, she pens the popular Cheese Shop Mysteries. A DEADLY ÊCLAIR, the first French Bistro Mystery, comes out November 2017. Daryl also writes stand-alone suspense: DAY OF SECRETS and GIRL ON THE RUN. Fun tidbit: as an actress, Daryl appeared in “Murder, She Wrote.” She loves to cook, and she has a frisky Goldendoodle named Sparky who keeps her in line

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As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles (A Food Lovers’ Village Mystery): Interview with Author Leslie Budewitz

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Erin is one smart cookie, but can she keep the holiday spirit—and herself—alive till Christmas?

In Jewel Bay, all is merry and bright. At Murphy’s Mercantile, AKA the Merc, manager Erin Murphy is ringing in the holiday season with food, drink, and a new friend: Merrily Thornton. A local girl gone wrong, Merrily has turned her life around. But her parents have publicly shunned her, and they nurse a bitterness that chills Erin.

When Merrily goes missing and her boss discovers he’s been robbed, fingers point to Merrily—until she’s found dead, a string of lights around her neck. The clues and danger snowball from there. Can Erin nab the killer—and keep herself in one piece—in time for a special Christmas Eve?

Includes delicious recipes!


Leslie, thanks for stopping by Island Confidential! Can you tell us about your protagonist, Erin?

Erin Murphy runs the Merc, a local foods shop in her family’s hundred-year-old grocery in the heart of the village of Jewel Bay, Montana. She’s half Italian, as you can tell by her name, and deeply committed to the village, local business, her friends and family, and justice. Like a lot of Montana kids, she left the state for a few years, then returned. It still surprises her to realize that while she was gone, her hometown changed. But then, so did she.

In AS THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE CRUMBLES, Erin meets another woman returning to her hometown after years away and feels an instant connection. She’s determined to forge a friendship, despite what some locals, and the woman’s own parents, say about her. She’s busy at the Merc, village headquarters for holiday food and gifts. And she’s getting married on Christmas Eve.

What could go wrong?

How much alike are you and Erin?

Like Erin, I grew up in Montana, left, and returned. I’m enjoying exploring that theme, a common one, through the experiences of a younger woman. Like her, I’m obsessed with food and enjoy cooking and entertaining. Erin shares my habit of spouting odd lines of poetry or from a play, my love of cats and cookies, and my commitment to my community. Although her mother Fresca and I aren’t much alike, I suspect that if I met Erin, she would feel like a daughter to me.

Do your characters change and evolve throughout consecutive books in the series?

Oh, definitely! That’s part of their appeal to me as a writer, and I hope, part of their appeal to the reader.

Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life–on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean?

I’ve thought of it, but never done it because if I disliked someone that much, I wouldn’t want to spend six months and 300 pages with them!

How realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?

The village of Jewel Bay, Montana is closely based on the town where I live, though I’ve changed the street names and most of the businesses. A few are simply too cozy, too iconic, to mess with, so I’ve kept them alive, with the owners’ permission—Red’s Bar, the Playhouse, and the Jewel Inn would all be easy to identify if you strolled the streets with me. There’s a touch of wish fulfillment in my fictional town—a lovely green belt we lack around the bay, which we do have, a library and community center we hope to get soon, and a bakery I’m glad doesn’t exist because I would drop in far too often!

When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?

Honestly, I don’t know! I don’t use actors as models for my story people, and couldn’t begin to cast the finished project! Occasionally, I picture someone I know when I start creating a character, but they evolve so much as the story unfolds that no one would ever recognize them on the page.

What’s the worst and best advice you’ve heard or received as an author?

It’s actually the same piece of advice: Do whatever works. It’s the best because it gives a writer permission to find her own way, and the worst because it can give her an excuse to stay stuck in a rut. Writers are often told they must write every day. When I started, I was practicing law full-time, sometimes more. I just didn’t have the brain power to write every day, so I wrote on Fridays and Saturday mornings—and finished three manuscripts that way. But when my work schedule changed, I chose to develop new writing habits and now I do write nearly every day. I’ve always been a planner, but when I couldn’t see the middle of a book in advance, despite knowing the ending, I let myself start anyway, trusting that I would discover what happened in those chapters along the way. Following a radically different process was terrifying, but for that book, it worked. And now, because I’ve been willing to explore other processes, other options, I’ve got more writerly tools in my box.

Thank you for letting me introduce myself to your readers. It is such a gift to be trusted with someone’s most valuable assets: their time and attention. I am grateful to be able to explore the world through storytelling—and it’s the readers who make that possible.


About The Author  

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. She lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician, and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model, and avid bird-watcher.

Connect with her on her website, http://www.LeslieBudewitz.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

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Character interview and giveaway: Pick and Chews: A Barkery and Biscuits Mystery by Linda O. Johnston

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Carrie Kennersly tries to help her veterinarian boyfriend when he’s under suspicion of murder…Is he a keeper, or should she let him go off-leash for good?
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“Clearing out the Clutter”: Guest Post by Lida Sideris, Author of Murder Gone Missing

Newly minted lawyer Corrie Locke has taken a vow of abstinence. From PI work, that is. Until her best friend Michael finds his bully of a boss stabbed in the back after confronting him earlier that day. Michael panics, accidentally tampering with the crime scene…which could lead the cops to Michael instead of the real culprit. He turns to Corrie to track down the killer. She doesn’t need much coaxing. Her late great PI dad taught her the ropes…and left her his cache of illegal weaponry.They return to the scene of the crime, but the body’s missing. Racing against time, Corrie dredges a prestigious Los Angeles college in pursuit of clues. All she finds are false leads. Armed with attitude and romantic feelings toward Michael, Corrie dives into a school of suspects to find the slippery fugitive. Will she clear Michael’s name before he’s arrested for murder?


Clearing Out the Clutter by Lida Sideris

Most writers are goal setters. We have to be to reach “The End”. One vital goal should be added to every list: Clear away the clutter. I don’t mean the type of clutter sitting haphazardly in the top of your closet where you toss sweaters, T-shirts, and random pieces of clothing. Or the books, paperwork, and notes that pile up under your bed…oops, that’s me I’m talking about. The clutter I’m referring to is housed in the same small space for all of us: the six or so incredible inches between our ears.

When our garbage cans are full, we empty them. When our puppies need to learn proper manners, we train them. So why not do the same with our minds? It’s a bit more difficult because we can’t physically view the content of our minds as we can with overflowing rubbish and doggy poop deposited beneath the kitchen table.

When I pay attention to my thoughts, I’m sometimes appalled by the trivial content. Why did I spend so much time on today’s Twitter news? Really? Or why did I feel impatient with the bagger at my neighborhood grocery store who placed the potato chips at the bottom of my bag followed by the milk? Such negative thinking wastes valuable time. I should have focused on how grateful I am to have such a valuable little market close to my home and patiently assisted the bagger which would have made me forget any minor irritation.

Excess clutter leaves little space for the “how wonderfuls!” to exist. When trivial thoughts clutter the mind, it’s important to take note and switch gears to replace mind-clutter with thoughts that bring contentment. I replace those cluttering thoughts with thoughts of my loved ones, my home, my wonderful human and animal friends, my garden and so on, sketching in the little details and providing plenty of adjectives.

Clutter prevents progress. Imagine trying to walk across a room stacked with piles of chairs, cardboard boxes, and spare tires. You’ll be in a sweat and sporting a few bruises before you make it through. So it is with the messy mind. But it doesn’t have to be. We can take control.
We can’t keep two opposing thoughts in the mind at once. One set drives the other out. For instance, if your mind is completely occupied with an unselfish desire to help another, you can’t harbor worry at the same time. It takes a bit of practice to unclutter the mind, but think of all the space you’ll have to arrange and fill with excellent thoughts.


 About The Author 

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

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The Cupid Caper (A Finley Goodhart Crime Caper) by Larissa Reinhart. Character interview!

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He wants her back. In the grift. And in his life. Can Finley Goodhart convince Lex that doing good is the greatest hustle of all?

Ex-grifter Finley Goodhart may try to stay on the straight and narrow, but walking that thin line becomes wobbly when she believes her friend Penny was murdered. The last thing she wants is to work with her ex-partner (and ex-boyfriend), the brilliant (brilliantly frustrating) British con artist, Lex Leopold. However, when it appears Penny’s demise might be related to an exclusive matchmaking service for millionaires, Fin needs Lex’s help to pull a long con to get the goods on Penny.

Romance is in the air for hustlers, gangsters, and their marks. Unfortunately for Fin and Lex, infiltrating the racket doesn’t make for a match made in heaven. This Valentine swindle could stop their hearts for good.


Character Interview

Finley, welcome to Island Confidential! Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
Generally, I don’t let anyone know anything about me. I’m a high school dropout turned pool hall hustler turned con artist. And I’m only twenty-seven. I thank my crooked cop dad for my introduction to criminal life. But recently, I’m on the square—I’ve left that life behind. Or at least I’m trying to leave it behind.
It’s hard when my ex-boyfriend and ex-partner wants me back in the grift and in my life. Lex’s brilliant, charming, and loves nothing better than a challenge. Meaning he’ll try to con his way back into my heart. I miss him, but I won’t admit it. I loved conning greedy skinflints, but it’s wrong and I can’t do it anymore.
However, I’ve just learned my best friend, Penny, is dead. She was my only friend on the streets before I met Lex. I may have to use my criminal skills to find out what happened to Penny and deliver my own brand of justice.

Anyone in The Cupid Caper you’re particularly sweet on ? 
Lex Leopold, my old partner, knows me best. Even more than Penny did. He turned me out, taught me the art of the long con. Unfortunately, Lex loves the art of the big bamboozle. Maybe more than me. I left him before I could find out.

Is there anyone you don’t get along with so well? 
Definitely Dot the Jamaican. She and her zoo of poisonous creatures, not to mention her hulking minions, give me the creeps. She’s a handler — she sets up jobs. Criminal jobs. More Fagin than Corleone, though. I’ve talked Lex out of working for her on several occasions, so now Dot has it in for me. I hope to never work for her again.

Just between you and me: What do you really think of your author?
Writing mystery novels has created a naturally suspicious nature in Larissa, so I don’t think I’d have an easy time conning her in a pigeon drop or a similar con. But she’d probably fall for a fake charity. She gives money away to strangers and doesn’t even check to see if they’re really hard up.

What’s next for you?
Using con artist tricks to catch crooks really appeals to me. But the criminal under-ground is a dangerous place to live and I only skim the surface. I have to watch my back, knowing that several mobsters could be gunning for me now that I’m working against them. You’ll have to find out which in my next book!


About The Author 

Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Larissa Reinhart writes humorous mysteries and romantic comedies including the critically acclaimed Maizie Albright Star Detective, Finley Goodhart Crime Capers, and Cherry Tucker Mystery series. Larissa’s a contributor to the 2017 Silver Falchion Reader’s Choice winner, was the 2015 Georgia Author of the Year finalist, 2012 Daphne du Maurier finalist, 2012 The Emily finalist, and 2011 Dixie Kane Memorial winner. Larissa’s family and dog, Biscuit, had been living in Japan, but once again call Georgia home. See them on HGTV’s House Hunters International“Living for the Weekend in Nagoya” episode. Visit her website, LarissaReinhart.com, and join her newsletter for a free short story.

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Confound It: A New Dreamwalker Mystery from Maggie Toussaint

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While hosting out-of-town guests at her Georgia home, Dreamwalker Baxley Powell is called upon to help investigate a suspicious fire.

One of her guests, close friend and fellow dreamwalker Deputy Sam Mayes, accompanies her to the scene.

A meth cook is dead, and when Baxley visits her beyond the Veil of Life, she determines that the woman was murdered. Baxley pities Mandy Patterson, a single mother with aspirations for her teenage son Doodle. Unconcerned about the death of a criminal, the authorities pursue the drug-supply chain angle. Baxley worries about Doodle and vows to find out who killed his mother.

As the case grows more baffling, Baxley struggles against her attraction to Sam. Although her husband is missing and declared dead, she does not feel free to love again until she is sure of his fate.

Two suspects have the strongest motive, but Baxley has reason to believe they are pawns in a deeper game. And unless she can stop them, the world will never be the same.


About The Author  

Southern author Maggie Toussaint writes mystery, suspense, and dystopian fiction. Her work won the Silver Falchion Award for best mystery, the Readers’ Choice Award, and the EPIC Award. She’s published seventeen novels as well as several short stories and novellas. The next book in her paranormal mystery series, Dadgummit, releases August 2017. Maggie serves on the national board for Mystery Writers of America, is President of Southeast Mystery Writers of America, and is Co-VP of Low Country Sisters In Crime. Visit her at www.maggietoussaint.com.

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New First-in-Series: Confessions of a Red Herring by Dana Dratch

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As a reporter, she’s used to covering the news.
Now she’s the headline.

Alex Vlodnachek has been a reporter for 12 years, a P.R. rep for three months, and a murder suspect for all of 24 hours. When her agency’s double-dealing CEO is stabbed, scheming co-workers cast the new redhead as a compelling red herring. The story is media catnip—especially her salacious nickname: Vlod the Impaler.

Even Alex has to admit she looks guilty.

Out of a job and under suspicion, Alex is running low on cash, when she’s visited by a second disaster: her family. Soon her tiny bungalow is bursting with her nearest and not-so-dearest. To keep herself out of jail—and save what’s left of her sanity—Alex returns to her reporting roots. She goes undercover to reclaim her life, break the story, and unmask a murderer. Pretty much in that order.

What she doesn’t know: The killer also has a to-do list.
And Alex is on it.


About The Author 

Dana Dratch is a former newspaper reporter and current personal finance writer. When she’s not finishing Seeing Red—the next Alex Vlodnachek mystery—you’ll spot her byline on a host of top news sites. You can learn more about her mysteries at ConfessionsofaRedHerring.com.

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New Teddy Bear Shop Mystery (with giveaway): Bear Witness to Murder by Meg Macy

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As autumn air settles into the quaint small town of Silver Hollow, there’s nothing more popular than Sasha’s teddy bears—and murder in cold blood . . .

Silver Bear Shop and Factory manager Sasha Silverman is cozying up to the fall season by hosting Silver Hollow’s Cranbeary Tea Party, the opening event of the village’s Oktobear Fest—a too-cute celebration themed around teddy bears. She barely has a moment to agonize over the return of her former high school rival, Holly Parker, whose new toy and bookstore in town could spell big trouble for the Silver Bear Shop and her cousin’s small bookstore . . .

But when Sasha discovers Holly’s shop assistant dead with a knife plunged in her body, the unpleasant woman suddenly looks like a real backstabber. So does Sasha’s ex-husband, rumored to have rekindled the fiery extramarital affair he once had with the victim. Now, before a gruesome homicide case takes the fun out of both the Fest and her personal life, Sasha must identify the true culprit from a daunting suspect list—or risk becoming as lifeless as one of her stuffed bears . . .


About The Author  

Award-winning mystery author Meg Macy lives in Southeast Michigan, close to Ann Arbor, Chelsea, and Dexter — the area she chose for the setting of her new “Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear” cozy mystery series for Kensington. She is also one-half of the writing team of D.E. Ireland for the Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins Mystery series; two books have been named Agatha Award finalists. Meg’s first published book, Double Crossing, won the 2012 Best First Novel Spur Award from Western Writers of America. She’s a graduate of Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction program. Meg loves reading mysteries, historicals, and other genre fiction, and also enjoys gardening, crafts, and watercolor painting.

 

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