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New Kitty Couture Mystery and Interview: Cat Got Your Secrets by Julie Chase

>>> Enter to win paperbacks 1 and 2 and a themed wallet with Mardi Gras beads! <<<

Lacy Marie Crocker has settled into a comfortable groove back home in New Orleans, and with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, she’s busier than ever running a thriving pet boutique, helping her mother organize the upcoming National Pet Pageant, and untangling her complicated love life. But when delivering a king-sized order of dreidel-shaped doggy biscuits for a Saint Berdoodle’s bark-mitzvah, Lacy stumbles into yet another murder scene—and the last person to see the victim alive was her own father.

It’s up to Lacy to clear her dad’s name from the suspect list before Detective Jack Oliver has to cage him for good. But just when she starts pawing at the truth, she receives a threatening letter from a mysterious blackmailer bent on silencing her with her own secrets. And Lacy’s not the only one with bones in her closet.


Author Interview with Julie Chase

Julie, welcome to Island Confidential! Can you tell us about your protagonist, Lacy?

Lacy Marie Crocker owns Furry Godmother, a pet boutique on Magazine Street in the famed New Orleans Garden District, where she uses her fashion degree to make custom couture clothing and costumes for pets, as well as fresh baked organic treats for local furbabies. She is smart and kind, loving and curious. Her big heart and keen eye for details often get her into trouble when she really just wants to help.

Are you and Lacy alike? 

Lacy is a lot like me, except rich, confident and brave. LOL! I live vicariously through her adventures. She thinks what I think, then does the things I’d never be able to do from my cowering position behind her. If I met Lacy in real life, we would be great friends. I’d want to know all about her crazy adventures.

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

Absolutely, and not just the hero and heroine. Like flesh and bone people, my characters are each on a journey through their life. They grow and change as a result of the experiences and encounters they have. Often, they change each other.

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

No. I’m fortunate, I guess, because there’s no one I’d like to see meet an untimely death.

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

Lacy’s world is a mix of real and fantasy. New Orleans is a very special place to me. I visit as often as I can to get the big details right. But, Lacy is fictional. Her family, friends and past are too, so I create and events shops as needed or fabricate street names. It’s something I put a lot of thought into, keeping New Orleans authentic while making Lacy’s adventures unique.

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

Ha! I’d be thrilled just to get the opportunity to write book four in this series! But in the interest of fun, I have written a post on this topic before. You can find it here with photos, but the bottom line is:

Ashley Benson as Lacy Marie Crocker

Ian Somerholder as Detective Jack Oliver

Jensen Asckles as Chase Hawthorne (Lacy’s love interest / friend)

Emma Stone as Scarlet Hawthorne (Lacy’s BFF)

Susana Thompson as Violet Conti-Crocker (Lacy’s mom)

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

The worst advice I’ve ever been given as an author is to only write in one genre. For a long while at the beginning of my quest for publication, it was a popular thing to read on blogs and social media. Folks would say, “Don’t genre jump. It makes you look amateur.” Well, that’s hooey. If you’re a writer, then you should be writing the stories of your heart. All of them, and that doesn’t make you a novice. It makes you real.

The best advice I’ve been given as an author is to keep writing. If your manuscript isn’t selling, then write another and put that first one behind you. You can always come back to it, but obsessing over getting THAT one sold will stagnate you. We have to keep working, learning, improving. You don’t have to delete the work you can’t sell, but don’t get so hung up on selling that one piece that you stop writing. Keep. Writing.

 


About The Author

Julie Chase is a mystery-loving pet enthusiast who hopes to make readers smile. She lives in rural Ohio with her husband and three spunky children. Julie is a member of the International Thriller Writers (ITW) and Sisters in Crime (SinC). She is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyons Literary Agency.

Julie also writes as Julie Anne Lindsey. Learn more about Julie at her website.

 

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New College Town Cozy Series: Gone with the Wings, a Meera Patel Mystery

>>> Enter to win an e-copy of Gone with the Wings <<<

Author Leena Clover announces a brand new cozy mystery series set in a small Oklahoma college town. Mystery readers will enjoy this culinary cozy murder mystery featuring plenty of yummy recipes like Masala Fried Chicken and Shish Kabob Blue Plate Special.
Meera Patel is back home with the family after she dropped out of graduate school. Now she shelves books for a living and rustles up fusion recipes at Sylvie’s Cafe & Diner. Everything is fine until her old nemesis Prudence Walker floats up in the local pond. Meera is accused of murder! Well, she did publicly declare Prudence would drop dead.Meera cries foul and screams police harassment. But she has no defense when she is accused of a second crime. Flanked by pals Tony and Becky, Meera puts in the leg work, trying to solve clues and discard red herrings.Fall in Oklahoma has never been more exciting.Cozy mystery fans will love this new mystery series featuring an Asian American amateur sleuth. There is a full cast of characters with a professor father, young sibling, old grandparents, loyal friends and a candid glimpse into South Asian culture.


Character Interview: Meera Patel

Meera, welcome to Island Confidential. Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

I’m Meera Patel, a 20 something girl from Swan Creek, Oklahoma. My father loves to think I’m some kind of prodigy. I think he expects me to be one. But I love cooking more than hacking computer networks which I’m good at. Really good at. No one really knows why I dropped out of graduate school just a few credits shy of getting my degree. I packed my bags one fine day, bid California goodbye and came back home to Swan Creek. A certain blue eyed guy might have something to do with it. But no one’s guessed it yet. So let’s keep it between us for now.

Who’s the Gone With the Wings character you get along with the best?

That’s a toss-up between Tony and Becky. We’ve been together since first grade. But there’s some things I talk to Becky about that I can’t share with Tony. He’s a guy, after all.

Is there anyone you don’t get along with so well? 

Pappa, my grandpa, is always on my case, I don’t know why. He refers to me as ‘that girl’ all the time, never calls me sweetie or baby like my Motee Ba. He’s just a cranky old man, I guess. Or he just likes ordering everyone around. Colonial hangover!

Just between you and me: What do you really think of Leena, your author?

I think she’s done a fair job so far. She’s kept my secrets. She lets something slip once in a while, but thankfully, it’s been vague enough that most people haven’t caught on. She keeps wanting to talk about my mother though. And my future. What’s the rush, I don’t get it. I’m happy frying chicken at Sylvie’s, for now. Maybe I won’t be doing it two years later. But I’m in no hurry to get there.

What’s next for you?

Have you joined forces with my Dad? That’s all he asks me every few days. He wants me to get on with my life, do something spectacular. But what? Isn’t that the million dollar question?

I’m having a good time back here in Swan Creek. Rustling up new recipes for Sylvie’s Café is rewarding. And then I spend all my free time with my pals. I think I might have to go back to school soon. Maybe even teach a few classes. Or I might become a full fledged PI. Yeah, that’ll be the day. Meera Patel, Private Investigator instead of Dr. Meera Patel, Professor.

Que Sera Sera, right? What do you think is in store for me?


About the Author

Leena Clover is the author of the brand new Meera Patel Cozy Mystery Series, starring a 20 something Desi girl as the protagonist. The series is set in a small Oklahoma college town Meera calls home.

Leena Clover offers plenty of clues for her readers so that they can solve the mystery as they read along. Readers can expect a unique look into Indian/ South Asian culture and plenty of yummy recipes.Author Links

Twitter – http://twitter.com/leenaclover

Facebook – http://facebook.com/meerapatelcozymystery

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16918791.Leena_Clover


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A new traditional mystery from R. Franklin James: The Bell Tolls

Hollis Morgan has survived imprisonment, received a pardon and persevered to finally become a probate attorney. Tough as she is, her newest case will further test her mettle. She discovers her client, Matthias Bell, is a deceased blackmailer whose last wish was to return the damaging documents letting his victims off the hook. It falls to Hollis to give them the good news. But it becomes apparent that Bell was murdered, and the victims of “Bell’s tolls” are now suspects.

Hollis’ white-collar criminal past has left her with keen survival instincts. A gifted liar, she knows a liar when she sees one. A lot of people in this case are lying and one is a killer.

On top of that, she’s also representing a dying stripper, a wealthy widow whose estranged daughter spurns her attempts at reconciliation, but whose husband sees the potential inheritance as mending all wounds.

Clients aside, Hollis is defensive and wary. Her mother, who hasn’t spoken to her for years, needs a kidney, and Hollis is a match, but neither are ready to put away the past. With Hollis’ fiancé and emotional support off on an undercover mission for Homeland Security, she must count on her own survival instincts. She is swept along on an emotional roller coaster as her absent love and her family’s coldness take their own toll.

Work is her salvation. The specter of a killer keeps her focused. Hollis has always had to rely on her wits, but now she finds that others who don’t have her well-being in mind are relying on them as well.


Interview with protagonist Hollis Morgan and Author R. Franklin James

Island Confidential Interview

Ms. Morgan and Ms. James, thank you both for stopping by Island Confidential. Ms. Morgan, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, so our readers can get to know the protagonist a little better?

I’m called Hollis Morgan, I used the word “called” because due to life circumstances I ditched my first name, moved my middle name up front, and retook my maiden name after dropping my married one. I am not your usual protagonist. I was born and raised in California (that’s not the unusual part). Like many families mine is more dysfunctional than most. I’ve been told I’m an attractive woman with thick auburn hair and brown eyes, although at five foot three, I refuse to wear stilettos to compensate. When you catch up to my story I’m just finishing my fifth year off of parole (now, that’s the unusual part).

Yep, I’m an ex-con. I spent 18 months of a three year sentence in a California prison for insurance fraud. I was studying in law school when my then husband set me up to take the fall for his criminal activities. His logic was that as a first time offender, I would never do time—tell it to the judge that sentenced me.

From the frying pan, into the fire is how I would describe my marriage. I married my college sweetheart. The first year of our marriage was heaven, the second year was like purgatory and the third year was hell.  I divorced him from prison and I swore to myself that when I got out I would get my life back. And I stuck to my word, once on parole, I buried my trust muscles deep in my heart and set out to get a judicial pardon, finish law school, take the bar and get my life back on track. I found work as a paralegal, which at that time, was as close to the law as I could get.

I was doubly dumped when my family, a conservative self-conscious bunch, literally turned their backs on me when I left the courtroom to start my sentence. That wasn’t a real surprise, I knew they would never forgive me for embarrassing them, My family resembled strangers who were stuck on the same piece of real estate. We never went on vacations because that would require a certain amount of closeness we didn’t have. Emotions were frowned upon and conversation discouraged.

In the meantime my parole officer, Jeffrey Wallace, introduced me to the Fallen Angels Book Club. The Fallen Angels were former white-collar crime parolees of Jeffrey’s who were trying to re-integrate themselves back into society.  Most had changed their names, all had maintained the paranoia and lack of trust that comes from having your life turned upside down, and all of us loved books.

I admit I’m more paranoid than the others. I have a special talent, I can spot a liar within seconds and as a result I’m an excellent prevaricator. I enjoy the book club because I can be myself and talk about my favorite pastime, reading a good book. But my resolve was broken when one of the Club members was murdered like an antagonist in one of our monthly selections. It doesn’t take the police long to identify our Club as their viable pool of ex-con suspects. The police are even more convinced when a second member is murdered, similar to another book club selection. Why would a member do such a stupid, obvious crime?

I feel as if I’m in the early stages of drowning. In addition to being a murder suspect and losing my freedom–again, it appears my eagerness to solve the killings may have put me in line as the next murder victim.

Ms. James, you’ve brought Hollis Morgan to life–how much do you have in common with her? 

I’m not as courageous or self-composed as Hollis. But I do connect with her sense of fairness and being able to read people fairly quickly. And of course I love books. If I met her in real life – I would want to be her friend.

Do your characters change and evolve?

Yes. It’s taken Hollis years and several relationships (not all romantic) to trust again and to forgive again—starting with herself.

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

I haven’t thought of killing a real person, but I have thought of killing a person “type”.  Cruel and ignorant people are at the top of my “Do Away With” list.

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

My series takes place in northern California, but in a made-up city. It allows me to sprinkle in real places, personalities and events, without having to be out of date with new developments and locale changes.

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

Natalie Portman is Hollis, James Marsden as John Faber (boyfriend), Emily Blunt as Stephanie Ross (girlfriend), Sydney Park as Rena Gabriel (girlfriend)  and Jessica Lange as Hollis’ mother, Ava Morgan.

 

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

The best advice I ever received as an author, was to read my manuscript out loud before I delivered it to my publisher.

The worst advice I ever received was from a couple of beta readers who suggested to cut a character because he was a distraction. I resisted because his voice was in my head. That character became the most beloved and lasted throughout the series.

 


About the Author

R. Franklin James grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. From there she cultivated a different type of writing—legislation and public policy. After serving as Deputy Mayor for the City of Los Angeles, under millionaire Richard Riordan, she went back to her first love—writing, and in 2013 her debut novel, THE FALLEN ANGELS BOOK CLUB was published by Camel Press. Her second book in The Hollis Morgan Mystery Series, STICKS & STONES, was followed by THE RETURN OF THE FALLEN ANGELS BOOK CLUB, and THE TRADE LISTTHE BELL TOLLS, book five was released in June 2017.

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New Bird Lover’s Mystery and #Giveaway: Chickadee Chickadee Bang Bang by J.R. Ripley

>>>Enter to win an e-copy<<<

Ruby Lake, North Carolina, might be the perfect place to go birdwatching during autumn, but it’s also a habitat for murder . . .

As Birds & Bees owner Amy Simms guides a halfhearted birding group around Ruby Lake, rumors soon start flying about the annual Fall Festival’s classic car and tractor show. Local eccentric Chick Sherman—boasting the hottest ride in town—has ruffled feathers by mysteriously entering the contest, and curious Amy hatches a plan to sneak a glimpse at the phantom automobile before the big event kicks off . . .

But competition turns deadly when Amy finally spots the sleek ’56 El Morocco—and it’s on top of Chick’s very dead body. With her neighbor and business partner framed as the murderer and priceless Audubon prints suddenly missing from Chick’s home, only Amy can identify the telltale markings of a killer before another hapless victim is plucked from the flock . . .


About The Author  

J.R. Ripley is the pen name of Glenn Meganck, the critically acclaimed author of the Tony Kozol mystery series. As a member of the Mystery Writers of America, he has chaired the Edgar committee for Best Original Paperback novel and served on the Best Short Story Committee. As a member of the International Association of Crime Writers, he has served on the Hammett Award committee for Best Novel. When not writing books, Glenn is writing songs, often singing them to the consternation of his audience and neighbors, or involved in one of his many passions, none of which have involved any of the dead bodies that seem to keep cropping up in his mysteries. For more information about him, visit JrRipley.net

Author Links


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New from Ellen Byron: A Cajun Christmas Killing

>>>Enter to Win a hardcover copy of A Cajun Christmas Killing (plus swag)<<<

Maggie Crozat is back home in bayou country during the most magical time of the year. In Pelican, Louisiana, Christmastime is a season of giant bonfires on the levee, zydeco carols, and pots of gumbo. Except, this year, the Grinch has come to stay at the family-run Crozat Plantation B&B. When he floods travel websites with vicious reviews, Maggie thinks she’s identified him as rival businessman Donald Baxter. That is, until he’s found stabbed to death at Maggie’s workplace. And Maggie and her loved ones become top suspects.

The Crozats quickly establish alibis, but Maggie’s boyfriend, Detective Bo Durand, remains under suspicion. With Bo sidelined during the investigation, Maggie finds herself forced to work with an unlikely ally: longtime family enemy Rufus Durand. Her sleuthing uncovers more suspects than drummers drumming, and lands her in the crosshairs of the murderer.

The sleigh bells are jingling, and the clock is ticking for Maggie and Rufus, who must catch the killer or it will be the opposite of a Joyeux Noël in A Cajun Christmas Killing, the recipe-stuffed third installment of USA Today bestselling author Ellen Byron’s Cajun Country mysteries.

 


Interview with Innkeeper and amateur sleuth Maggie Crozat

Maggie, welcome to Island Confidential! Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

Maggie Crozat: I’m an artist, but I help out at my family’s Louisiana plantation-turned-B&B. I also have a part-time job working at another plantation, one my mother’s family owned but donated to the state. I have to – I mean, get to – wear one of those fake antebellum ball gowns. Honestly? Not my style. I’m a jeans and t-shirt kinda gal.

I’m 5’4” and have hazel eyes, but I’ve always wanted to be 5’7” and have one blue and one green eye. I’m an artist and I have a fantasy of seeing the world blue through the blue eye and green through the green eye. Does that sound crazy? Yeah, it sounds crazy. But I don’t care, it’s true!

Who’s the character you get along with the best?

I’m very close to my parents and have fantastic friends, but I’d have to say I get along best with my grand-mere. She’s smart and has a great sense of humor, and only plays the Southern grand dame card when she has to. But when she plays it, Katie, bar the door. That’s something she would say. I also have an extremely hot boyfriend. Like, “what’s he doing with me and not a super model?” hot. Just thought I’d mention that.

Which character do you have a conflict with?

Oh, that’s easy. Rufus Durand. His family’s hated mine for 150 years, ever since my great-great-great-grandmother dumped his great-great-great-grandfather for cheating on her during their engagement. But there’s been a thaw in our relationship. Stay tuned! (Translation: read book three, A CAJUN CHRISTMAS KILLING.)

Just between you and me: What do you really think of your author, Ellen Byron?

She’s very bossy – always telling me what to do. And I think she’s mean for not making me 5’7” and not giving me one green and one blue eye. And for stuffing me into those wretched antebellum ball gowns. Do you know what it’s like suffering through Louisiana’s legendary humidity wearing twenty yards of polyester? Hashtag brutal!

What’s next for you?

I love Christmas in Cajun Country. They build these giant bonfires all along the levees near my hometown of Pelican, Louisiana, and light them on Christmas Eve to guide Papa Noel to the houses of Cajun children. But those bonfires can be dangereux, especially if a murderer is on the loose. You can read about how one of those psychopaths almost got me in the previously mentioned  A Cajun Christmas Killing. After putting me through that, my author better get me something nice for Christmas. Like one blue and one green eye.


About The Author  

Body on the Bayou, the second in Ellen’s Cajun Country Mystery series, won the Left Coast Crime Lefty Award for Best Humorous Mystery, and was nominated for a Best Contemporary Novel Agatha Award. Her debut book in the series, Plantation Shuddersmade the USA Today Bestsellers list, and was nominated for Agatha, Lefty, and Daphne awards. Ellen is also a recipient of a William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grant from the Malice Domestic Convention. Her TV credits include Wings, Still Standing, and Just Shoot Me, as well as network and cable pilots. As a journalist, she’s written over 200 magazine articles for national publications. Her plays, published by Dramatists Play Service, include the popular Graceland and Asleep on the Wind. A native New Yorker and graduate of Tulane University, Ellen lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband, daughter, and the family’s spoiled rescue dogs.

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New First in Series: A Christmas Peril (A Theater Cop Mystery)

>>> Enter to win a print copy (U.S. only) <<<When Edwina “Sully” Sullivan’s life imploded, she left behind her job on the police force and her unfaithful husband to start a new life as the general manager of her hometown theater, the Cliffside Theater Company. For five years, she focused on budgets instead of crimes and kept the Cliffside running alongside its mercurial artistic director.
But when her best friend is arrested for killing his father, the rich and powerful Peter Whitehall, no one is looking for another suspect. So, in between keeping A Christmas Carol on budget and Scrooge sober, Sully dusts off her investigative skills to find a killer. Her two lives collide when her ex-husband gets on the suspect list and she’s forced to confront her past in order to save her present.


About the Author

J. A. Hennrikus is the author of the Theater Cop Mystery series. As Julianne Holmes, she writes the Agatha-nominated Clock Shop Mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime. Hennrikus blogs with the Wicked Cozy Authors, is on the board of Sisters in Crime, and is a member of Mystery Writers of America. She is also an arts administrator who lives in Massachusetts. Visit her online at www.JHAuthors.com.

Webpage – https://jahennrikus.com/

Wicked Cozy Authors Blog – https://wickedcozyauthors.com/ 

She tweets under @JulieHennrikus, and am on Pinterest and Instagram, and has a page on Facebook. She also blogs on Live to Write/Write to Live, and  Killer Characters.


 

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New mystery in Mary Angela’s campus cozy series: Passport to Murder

Announcing book #2 in Mary Angela’s campus cozy series!

Start with an unlucky number. Throw in a romantic location. Include a dashing Frenchman and an uncompromising professor. And you have all the ingredients for a passport to murder.

This semester, it seems that Professor Prather’s dreams are about to come true. Ever since she was a young girl, she’s imagined going to France, and her French colleague, André Duman, has finally made that trip possible. Over spring break, she and André are to lead a group of students and faculty to Paris to explore the City of Light. But before she can utter her first bonjour, a professor dies, and they are stuck in Minneapolis. She returns to Copper Bluff with an unstamped passport and a mystery to solve.

When André becomes the prime suspect, Emmeline puts her research skills to good use, determined to find out who really killed the professor and spoiled their spring break plans. With thirteen travelers assembled, the possibilities are varied and villainous. Luckily, her dear friend and sidekick, Lenny Jenkins, is close by. Together, they will sort through the conflicting clues even if it costs them time, trouble, or tenure…


 

About The Author

Like her protagonist in the Professor Prather mystery series, Mary Angela lives on the Great Plains and teaches college writing and literature. When she’s not grading papers (when is she not grading papers?), she enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. She and her husband have two amazing daughters, one adorable dog, and a cat who would rather not be limited by an adjective. For more information, go to www.maryangelabooks.com.

 

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A New Miss Fortune Mystery Novella: The Pajama Murder

Deputy Sheriff Carter LeBlanc was a fine young man, Mary-Alice thought, although a bit lacking in imagination. He seemed to believe civilians had nothing of value to contribute to murder investigations—that their place was to answer questions and otherwise stay out of things. In Mary-Alice’s opinion, he was quite mistaken.

Local businessman Buford Fontleroy Deale III is found shot dead in front of Harriet’s Books in downtown Sinful. A blood-soaked pajama top is tied around his chest. And he’s wearing only one shoe. The sheriff wants to talk to Harriet. Sinful’s beloved bookseller was one of the last people to see Deale alive. Fortune, Ida Belle, Gertie, and Mary-Alice need to get to Harriet before the sheriff does. They want to clear Harriet’s name, and stop whoever was behind the bizarre murder.
Except no one can find Harriet…

The Miss Fortune series has been described as Miss Congeniality meets Golden Girls, a lighthearted fish out of water adventure with a dash of romance in Louisiana bayou country.

1.99 on Kindle


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Character Interview and Giveaway: Hair Brained by Nancy J. Cohen

>>> Enter to Win a tea lover’s basket and  a signed copy of Facials can be Fatal <<<

Was the car crash an accident or a deliberate attempt to run Marla’s friends off the road?

When hairstylist Marla Vail’s best friend is hurt in a car crash, Marla takes over as her baby’s guardian. No sooner does Marla say, “Baby want a bottle?” than she’s embroiled in another murder investigation. Her husband, Detective Dalton Vail, determines the crash may not have been an accident after all. But then, who would want Tally—or Ken in the car with her—out of the way?

Ken’s insurance agency was involved in a fraud investigation. Did someone mean to silence him? Or could something in Tally’s life have put her in jeopardy? She’d recently joined a tea ladies circle. Had she discovered secrets among the women that almost got her killed? Or could she be the target of a disgruntled employee from her dress shop? As Marla delves further into her friends’ backgrounds, she realizes she didn’t know them as well as she’d thought. Even so, Tally and Ken have trusted her with their child’s care. Can she protect the baby and find the culprit before someone else becomes roadkill?


Character Interview with Marla Vail

Marla, welcome to Island Confidential. Can you tell our readers a little about yourself?

I’m Marla Vail, a hairstylist and salon owner. Even though I’ve expanded my business to include a day spa, I still like working behind the chair. I also like solving crimes alongside my detective husband, Dalton. My biggest problem is that I have a hard time saying no when friends make requests of me. I’d never really thought I would have to play guardian to my best friend Tally’s son, even though I agreed to be listed for this role in her estate documents. Then came the horrible car crash. With Tally incapacitated, I had to take her son Luke home to care for him. He’s made a big difference in our household. Dalton’s daughter will soon go off to college, leaving us as empty nesters. Or maybe that’s not in the cards just yet. Taking care of Luke has taught me that I can juggle work and child care. Maybe I can finally put aside the tragedy in my past and move forward with my own family.  

 Who’s the Hair Brained character you get along with the best?

I’d have to say my husband, Detective Dalton Vail. He respects my abilities and seeks my input in his cases. It wasn’t always that way. He used to warn me off until he realized I would persist on my own. I wouldn’t give up, especially if the case involved me or people I cared about. This latest example affects us both. It’s our friends Tally and Ken who were hurt, and we mean to get to the bottom of what caused their car accident. Dalton and I complement each other in our style of interviewing suspects. He comes straight-on, while my conversational skills take a more subtle approach.

Is there any character you have a conflict with?

I wish my mother would stop nagging me to give her grandchildren. The pressure doesn’t help. I can barely cope with things now as it is, at least until Tally is back to normal. And then, my best friend and I have some talking to do. Tally hasn’t been forthcoming lately about the things going on in her life. I’m not sure where we stand in our relationship. It’s going to be a painful discussion.

Just between you and me: What do you really think of Nancy, your author? 

I have a lot more stories to tell, and she gets diverted too easily. She works hard but spends too much time publicizing her books when she could be relating my adventures. However, I’ll be the first to admit that I wouldn’t be where I am today without her. And likewise—have you seen her hair when I don’t do it?

What’s coming next for you? 

After this latest challenge, I hope to relax a bit and focus on my own family. Change is coming, but I’m excited about it. Life is full of new adventures. I have in mind to compete in a bake-off contest, too. That would be fun and something I haven’t done before, as long as trouble stays away. But when do you know that to happen around me?


About The Author  

Nancy J. Cohen writes the humorous Bad Hair Day Mysteries featuring hairdresser Marla Vail, who solves crimes with wit and style under the sultry Florida sun. Several titles in this series have made the IMBA bestseller list. Nancy is also the author of Writing the Cozy Mystery, a valuable instructional guide on how to write a winning whodunit. Her imaginative romances, including the Drift Lords series, have proven popular with fans as well. A featured speaker at libraries, conferences, and community events, Nancy is listed in Contemporary Authors, Poets & Writers, and Who’s Who in U.S. Writers, Editors, & Poets. When not busy writing, she enjoys fine dining, theme parks, cruising, and outlet shopping.

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New Malice Mystery: Highland Peril by Amy M. Reade

>> Enter to win an electronic copy of Highland Peril <<<

 

Trading the urban pace of Edinburgh for a tiny village overlooking a breathtaking blue loch was a great move for budding photographer Sylvie Carmichael and her artist husband, Seamus—until a dangerous crime obscures the view . . . 

Sylvie’s bucolic life along the heather-covered moors of the Highlands is a world away from the hectic energy of the city. But then a London buyer is killed after purchasing a long-lost Scottish masterpiece from Seamus’s gallery—and the painting vanishes. As suspicion clouds their new life, and their relationship, Sylvie’s search for answers plunges her into an unsolved mystery dating back to Cromwellian Scotland through World War I and beyond. And as she moves closer to the truth, Sylvie is targeted by a murderer who’s after a treasure within a treasure that could rewrite history . . . and her own future.


Amy, thanks for stopping by Island Confidential! Can you tell our readers about Sylvie? 

The protagonist in Highland Peril is Sylvie Carmichael, an Edinburgh transplant to the Scottish Highlands. She moved there with her husband Seamus and they both have a deep love for their adopted home.

Sylvie discovered a love of photography a few years ago and has made a career out of that passion. Since Seamus is a painter, their lives revolve around art. Together they own a shop in the Highlands that sells antique artwork and they also have a gallery where they sell both Sylvie’s photographs and Seamus’s paintings.

Sylvie is a fierce defender of her husband, though that doesn’t mean they always get along, and it doesn’t prevent her from becoming suspicious of him when his actions and his words don’t add up. She’s a loyal friend and a loving sister and proves herself to be one tough customer when it comes to getting to the bottom of the mysteries that plague her and Seamus.

How much do you and Sylvie have in common?

That’s a question that I’ve had to think about for a while. Sylvie tends to be pretty even-keeled, though she’s been known to fly off the handle once in a while. And as much as I wish I never flew off the handle, I’m afraid there’s a bit of me in that description. I also love the outdoors and I am a loyal devotee of the Scottish Highlands. I suppose we’re alike in those ways. But we’re different in some ways, too—Sylvie is the person I would want to be when danger strikes.

What if you met her in real life? 

How would I feel if I met Sylvie? I think we would get along very well.

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

The short answer is “yes.” The longer answer is this: Sylvie and Seamus were not the main characters in the first book in my Malice series—Sylvie’s sister, Greer, was the main character. Anyone who knows Sylvie from the first book will notice that marriage and a career and a home in a ruggedly independent region of Scotland has matured Sylvie. She’s not as selfish as she used to be and she’s more appreciative of the people around her.

Sylvie and Seamus learn some important lessons in Highland Peril about trust. It costs them heartache and time, but they’re wiser for it in the end.

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

You bet. Say, for example, someone made me cry in Belfast because he was the meanest man I’ve ever met. I might love to make him a villain/kill him off in a future book. This is just a hypothetical, you understand. I’m not bitter or anything.

Great hypothetical and totally made-up example! Speaking of making things up, how realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?

I tried to make my setting as realistic as possible, while taking liberties with certain things like village names. My goal is not to write a perfect representation of everything in the Scottish Highlands, but to give a perfectly accurate account of what it feels like to be there. Readers of my previous books have said they feel like they’re in the setting right along with the characters, and that’s how I want to portray the Highlands, too.

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

Rose Leslie would play the role of Sylvie

and Brian Dykstra would be Seamus.

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

The best advice I’ve ever received was to start marketing early—as in, the day I decide to write a book, not the day I finish it. And the worst? It’s from anyone who suggests I write the book in their head.

 


About the Author

Amy M. Reade is a cook, chauffeur, household CEO, doctor, laundress, maid, psychiatrist, warden, seer, teacher, and pet whisperer. In other words, a wife, mother, and recovering attorney. But she also writes (how could she not write with that last name?) and is the author of The Malice Series (The House on Candlewick Lane, Highland Peril, and Murder in Thistlecross) and three standalone books, Secrets of Hallstead House, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, and House of the Hanging Jade. She lives in southern New Jersey, but loves to travel. Her favorite places to visit are Scotland and Hawaii and when she can’t travel she loves to read books set in far-flung locations.

 

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