New #Cozy with Character Interview and #Giveaway: Chicken Culprit by Vikki Walton

Win the book, a $25 gift card, and the chance to name a character!

Win the book, a $25 gift card, and the chance to name a character!


Finally healing after her heart-breaking divorce, Anne Freemont is ready to put the painful past behind her.Discovering an old Victorian for sale in the small mountain town of Carolan Springs may be just what she needs. The beauty of Colorado beckons, so Anne heads west to start her new life.

Yet, before Anne’s completely settled in, her neighbor is found dead in his compost pile. What’s worse is that Anne’s quirky young neighbor, Kandi Jenkins, could be the killer. When Kandi begs for her help, Anne feels she has no choice but to help the young woman.

However, she finds herself quickly at odds with the local sheriff. And while she uncovers more of the community’s secrets, she’s also exploring her awakening feelings for Sam Powers, the town’s deputy coroner.

Once Anne starts looking at who could be the real killer, the suspect list keeps getting longer and longer. It seems that Carolan Springs is a place of many secrets. But who would want to murder Ralph and who’s willing to kill again to keep their secret?


Interview with Anne’s next-door neighbor, Kandi

Kandi, can you share with our readers a bit about yourself?

Sure! Let’s see, I’ve lived in Carolan Springs pretty much all my life. I’m the oldest of all us kids. So, there’s me and then my twin younger brothers. They’re off backpacking the globe right now. After my dad passed, my mom moved us here to live with my grandpa. We called him Pops. Sadly, he died, like, a few years ago after falling off a ladder. I really miss him. I’m married to Jeff. Umm, no other family. My mom died from cancer. She left me and my brothers a bit of money, but, I don’t really want to talk about her or that part of my life, if it’s okay with you. What else? Oh, I have a new neighbor!

What do you think of your new neighbor, Anne Fremont?

She’s, like, really funny. Opps. She doesn’t like me saying like all the time. But I can’t, like, help it! But I’m getting better. She acts all tough sometimes but I think she’s really not like that at all. Sometimes I think she’s really sad about something. And she can get moody. Oh man, like, really moody. Faith says some of it is due to being a woman and getting older. Not sure I’m looking forward to that. But oh well, whatcha’ gonna do? Right? I do know that Anne has told me that I’m sweet, and smart and a good cook. I don’t think anyone has been as nice to me as Anne has. Even though she’s like, old enough to be my mom, I really like her.

You’re suspected of killing your neighbor, Ralph Rogers. What do you say to those accusations?

Well, it’s the silliest thing ever. I’d never do anything to Mr. Rogers or anyone else. It’s just silly. But I didn’t want him hurting Rusty.

Rusty?

Yes, that’s my Rhode Island Red. She’s the sweetest hen and is a great egg layer. They’re great chickens and I love, like, all my girls. I will stop anyone from hurting them.  Anyway, look at me. Do I look like a killer? On the other hand, they always say it’s, like, who you least expect. (giggle). So maybe I am.

Tell us a bit about where you live.

I live in the most beautiful town (Carolan Springs) in the most beautiful state (Colorado). Winter is so pretty with all the big fat snowflakes. There’s nothing better than, like, grabbing a hot cup of tea and sitting in front of the fire. I have a window right by a nice comfy chair and I love hanging out there. Spring is so nice because the days are warming up and you can go hiking and see all the pretty wildflowers. Summer we have a homesteading fair and it brings in tourists which is nice for our little town. We’ve a town of old-timers with big old houses and lots of entrepreneurs who work online so it helps the town’s economy. Faith–she’s the local herbalist—and I are thinking of making Ralph’s place into a bed and breakfast and teaching classes. So, stay tuned on that. Finally, fall is so nice with the dancing aspens and the colors changing. Crisp mornings are so nice for hikes. Fall is often filled with warm sunny days and cooler evenings so it’s a wonderful time of year. That’s Vikki’s, you know, the author’s favorite time of year. But don’t say I told ya.

You mentioned the author, what can you tell us about her?

Well, she lived a long time in Texas—around the San Antonio area. But just like me, she loves Colorado’s mountains. She also enjoys traveling so I wouldn’t be, like, surprised if she didn’t write something at some point about her travels to England, Europe or Mexico. She’s a house and pet sitter, so who knows, maybe it will be a mystery series around that. She’s also written some nonfiction books. One’s called Work Quilting and it’s a vocational guidance and lifestyle book. The other one is about women’s travel. Of course, she loves everything about being a suburban homesteader or what some call backyard farming. She’s a certified permaculture designer, has chickens and beehives and gardens.

Kandi, can you tell us what’s next for the series?

Well, in Chicken Culprit, it’s about chickens. The next book in the series is about tinctures and herbs. It also has the killer using a particular way to kill someone that I don’t know has been used before in a mystery. If all goes well, the author expects the next book to come out in the fall so get on her mailing list, so you can be the first to learn the title, get a sample chapter and see the cover reveal!


About The Author

Vikki Walton is a suburban homesteader aka the Havensteader. She has chickens, gardens, and bees and is a certified permaculture designer. She’s also the author of nonfiction books. She loves to travel, is a global house and pet sitter and when not out in the garden or hiking in beautiful Colorado, is plotting her next mystery.

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The Silver Gun (An Art Deco Mystery) by L.A. Chandlar

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Win a Gift Box with Signed Books, Beaded Purse, and More!


New York City, 1936. In the midst of the Great Depression, the Big Apple is defiantly striving toward an era infused with art, architecture, and economic progress under the dynamic Mayor La Guardia. But those in City Hall know that tumultuous times can inspire both optimism and deadly danger . . .

It’s been six months since Lane Sanders was appointed Mayor Fiorello “Fio” La Guardia’s new personal aide, and the twenty-three-year-old is sprinting in her Mary Janes to match her boss’s pace. Despite dealing with vitriol from the Tammany Hall political machine and managing endless revitalization efforts, Fio hasn’t slowed down a bit during his years in office. And luckily for Lane, his unpredictable antics are a welcome distraction from the childhood memories that haunt her dreams—and the silver gun she’ll never forget.

When Lane gets attacked and threatened by an assailant tied to one of most notorious gangsters in the city, even the mayor can’t promise her safety. The corrupt city officials seem to be using Lane as a pawn against Fio for disgracing their party in the prior election. But why was the assailant wielding the exact same gun from her nightmares?

Balancing a clandestine love affair and a mounting list of suspects, Lane must figure out how the secrets of her past are connected to the city’s underground crime network—before someone pulls the trigger on the most explosive revenge plot in New York history . . .


Character Interview

Evelyn Thorne, welcome to Island Confidential. Aside from the fact that you’re Lane Sanders’ aunt, what else should our readers know about you? 

I am an artist at heart, and at a later age than I thought, I acquired a daughter in Lane when her parents were suddenly killed. I was a suffragist and I have friends all over the place. Readers should definitely keep a keen eye on my friends, they might have a pleasant surprise coming at some of my more colorful acquaintances. Something that no one knows, not even Lane nor any readers yet, is that I was married once. I think the dear author will bring that up at some point. She should – it’s an excellent story and accounts for my eccentric personality.

Which character in The Silver Gun do you get along with the best?

My closest friend is Mr. Kirkland. We’ve had a colorful past and he knows me best. I can’t help admire that he came in and adopted Lane just as much as I did. He’s gruff, but his heart is gold. And he bakes a mean scone. I am utterly useless at cooking.

Is there anyone of whom you’re not quite so fond?

I always have concerns where Lane’s friends –and enemies—are concerned. I have my eye on Uncle Louie, the most notorious gang boss in New York City, who has a curious penchant for actually helping Lane. But I also have concerns with Roxy and Lizzie, not to mention Lane’s boyfriends. I want to like Finn, but I’m not sure, he seems to have a lot behind those delightful eyes of his. And then Tucker… I just don’t know.

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

I like her, especially for giving me the scene where Lane and I paint to music. It was quite enjoyable. My favorite thing about Laurie is that she snuck in little features about myself and a “good friend” that is really Amelia Peabody from Elizabeth Peters. I’m obviously more bohemian than dear Amelia, but we are very dear friends. I also like that Laurie has promised not to kill off any of us main characters. Or the dog. At least not for quite a long while. I worry about that sometimes, of course.

What’s next for you?

Well, in book two, The Gold Pawn (release date September 25th), we have quite an exciting journey back to Michigan where Lane has to face the ghosts of her past in the hopes that she’ll discover some clues about her mysterious parents and perhaps shed some light on a new mystery here in New York. Thanksgiving is coming up and oh I have some lovely friends coming over. You might recognize some of them! I am very worried, though, because Lane is really struggling and she isn’t letting me in as much as I’d like. But I know her. She will overcome and be better for it.


About The Author

 

L.A. Chandlar is the author of the Art Deco Mystery Series with Kensington Publishing featuring Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and a fresh take on the innovation and liveliness of 1930s New York City. Her debut novel, The Silver Gun released August 29, 2017, and the sequel, The Gold Pawn, will release September 25th, 2018. Laurie has been living and writing in New York City for 16 years and has been speaking for a wide variety of audiences for over 20 years including a women’s group with the United Nations. Her talks range from NYC history, the psychology of creativity, and the history of holiday traditions. Laurie has also worked in PR for General Motors, writes and fund-raises for a global nonprofit is the mother of two boys, and has toured the nation managing a rock band.

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Three Strikes, You’re Dead: A new Eddie Shoes Mystery (with character interview!)

Private investigator Eddie Shoes heads to a resort outside Leavenworth, Washington, for a mother-daughter getaway weekend. Eddie’s mother Chava wants to celebrate her new job at a casino by footing the bill for the two of them, and who is Eddie to say no?

On the first morning, Eddie goes on an easy solo hike, and a few hours later, stumbles upon a makeshift campsite and a gravely injured man. A forest fire breaks out and she struggles to save him before the flames overcome them both. Before succumbing to his injuries, the man hands her a valuable rosary. He tells her his daughter is missing and begs for her help. Is Eddie now working for a dead man?

Barely escaping the fire, Eddie wakes in the hospital to find both her parents have arrived on the scene. Will Eddie’s card-counting mother and mob-connected father help or hinder the investigation? The police search in vain for a body. How will Eddie find the missing girl with only Eddie’s memory of the man’s face and a photo of his daughter to go on?


Eddie, welcome back to Island Confidential! Last time we talked, you had a brand-new roommate–your mom. How’s that working out?

Well … here’s something I don’t usually admit to people, but since it’s just the two of us … My mother, Chava, is a big fan of American Idol and The Voice. I would never admit this to her, but I love watching them too. I let her think I only watch them to keep her company. But I love them. I love the challenges and hearing the contestants sing outside their comfort zones. I love the duets and the costumes and the judges’ comments.

Do you think you’ll ever be a contestant?

If I could choose one talent, one gift I wish I had, it would be to sing. I can’t carry the tune to Happy Birthday, so I have to live vicariously through the contestants on those shows. I like to pretend that’s me up there getting one of the judges to turn around.

So no problem, then, living with your mom? 

My mother and I have struggled for years, not that we didn’t love each other, but because we often rubbed each other the wrong way. But now that I’m an adult, she’s only sixteen years older than me, and she’s living with me, we’re doing a whole lot better.

Can you update us on your friend Iz? Last time we spoke, she was working in the Bellingham Police Department with your ex. How’s that working out?

Izabelle is an amazingly patient person. She puts up with my foibles. (Chava has been encouraging me to expand my vocabulary). She understands I’m not always good at talking about my feelings or letting people see me vulnerable. But she’s always there when I need to talk or just hang out. She’s been so good about listening to me complain about Chance. I’m so confused about our relationship, or if we even have a relationship, and she’s wonderful about letting me talk about it without trying to tell me what to do.

Where would you like things to go with you and Chance?

I want to be in a romantic relationship with him.

Fair enough. How does he feel about it?

He’s conflicted! Hopefully that will change soon … for the better.

How are you and your author, Elena, getting along these days?

She’s a bit of a worrier. You should see all the rewriting she does. Rewrite after rewrite after rewrite. It gets a little tedious to have to go through the same scene over and over and over again. And she’s never quite sure what she’s doing at the beginning of a new book, so I might get to the end and find out, we have to do the whole thing over again because she got something really important wrong … like who committed the murder! But I will say, I like her sense of humor a lot. And I know she loves me. So that’s a pretty great combination.

What’s next for you? 

I am currently involved in a brand new homicide investigation. I have no idea how it’s going to come out, that writer of mine is just winging it right now. I’ll let you know as soon as I can!


CREDIT MARK PERLSTEIN

About The Author

After twenty years in the theater, Elena Hartwell turned her dramatic skills to fiction. Her first novel, One Dead, Two to Go introduces Eddie Shoes, private eye. Called “the most fun detective since Richard Castle stumbled into the 12th precinct,” by author Peter Clines, I’DTale Magazine stated, “this quirky combination of a mother-daughter reunion turned crime-fighting duo will captivate readers.”

In addition to her work as a novelist, Elena teaches playwriting at Bellevue College and tours the country to lead writing workshops.

When she’s not writing or teaching, her favorite place to be is at the farm with her horses, Jasper and Radar, or at her home, on the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River in North Bend, Washington, with her husband, their dog, Polar, and their trio of cats, Jackson, Coal Train, and Luna, aka, “the other cat upstairs.” Elena holds a B.A. from the University of San Diego, a M.Ed. from the University of Washington, Tacoma, and a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia.

Keep up with Elena

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Vangie Vale and the Strangled Strudel (The Matchbaker Mysteries) by NYT Bestseller R.L. Syme

One autographed book set


You could call it the straw that broke the camel’s back but it was more like a Montana forest timber. Just when Vangie Vale’s life was getting back to normal after a murder that rocked her little Rocky Mountain tourist town, she found herself in the middle of another murder… as the chief suspect.

Vangie stood shocked on the side of the curb as the sheriff stretched yellow crime scene tape around the front of her new bakery. Wouldn’t this make a lovely headline in next week’s paper: Local Baker Kills Parishioner With Pudding. Vangie’s road back to good graces as a part-time pastor was bumpy enough already. This would be a roadblock. Can’t have that.

Book Three in a cozy culinary mystery series from USA Today Bestselling Author, R.L. Syme.


Character Interview with Sheriff Malcom Dean

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

I’m the Sheriff in Twin Valley County, Montana, and I have a son named Chandler. I don’t live with Chandler’s mother anymore. We’ve been divorced for awhile, and it was…a trial. Something readers might not guess about me: I’m not a sports fan. I’ll watch hockey if I have to. But I’m not much for sports.

Who is your favorite character in Strangled Strudel?

Can I say “myself”? Because that’s probably the most accurate. Everyone annoys me on some level. If people would follow the rules and do what they’re supposed to do, we’d get along better. I don’t like rule-breakers.

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

It would be too easy to say “Vangie”, because I think that’s what this question is insinuating. That somehow, Vangie and I are destined for conflict. Who knows. Maybe you’re right. But I would actually say “Derek”. I don’t like that guy. He’s a rule-breaker. Always looking for a way to get around the law.

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

Becca? I think she’s nosy. And she creates a lot of trouble. And talk about rule-breakers. In fact, can I change my answer to the last question? The author is a character in the world, too. I might have to pick her. She’s the source of all these troubles in my town.

Sheriff, what’s next for you?

Hopefully, no more murders. Let’s count on that.


About The Author

Rebecca Syme writes small town romance as Becca Boyd and cozy mystery as R.L. Syme. She is a long-time foodie and loves fancy cheese. Becca calls the mountains of Montana her home and draws inspiration from the beautiful vistas and heartwarming people. She is the USA Today bestselling author of the Line of Fire series of sweet romances and part of the Chick Tales series set in Somewhere, TX. You can find her on Twitter talking #fancycheese or #Chopped, and on Facebook with her fans in Becca Nation.


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First in a new cozy series: Murder of a Good Man by Teresa Trent

Win a copy PLUS a $20 Amazon gift card!

When Nora Alexander drives into Piney Woods, Texas, to fulfill her dying mother’s last wish, she has no idea what awaits her. First she is run off the road, then the sealed letter she delivers turns out to be a scathing rebuke to the town’s most beloved citizen and favored candidate for Piney Woods Pioneer: Adam Brockwell. Next thing you know, Adam has been murdered in a nasty knife attack.

Suspicion instantly falls on Nora, one of the last people to see him alive. After all, everyone in Piney Woods loved him. Or did they? Nora learns that her mother had a complicated past she never shared with her daughter. Told not to leave town by Tuck the flirty sheriff, Nora finds a job with Tuck’s Aunt Marty trying to get the rundown Tunie Hotel back in the black. The old hotel was Piney Woods’ heart and soul in its heyday as an oil boomtown. Now the secrets it harbors may be the key to getting Nora off the hook. She’s going to need to solve the mystery quickly to avoid arrest, or worse: becoming the killer’s next victim.


Character Interview: Nora Alexander

Nora, welcome to Island Confidential. Can you introduce yourself to our readers?  

My name is Nora Alexander and I have recently lost my mother. Upon her death I found a letter she had written to a man in Piney Woods, Texas. Texas? Really? Anyway, I took off for a state I had never been to and tracked this man down. From what I could figure, it must have been a love letter, because why else would it concern my mother in her final days?

Who’s your favorite character in Murder of a Good Man?

Luckily, when I hit town, I found a room at the Piney Woods Bed and Breakfast and met Tatty and Ed Tovar. They are the owners of the B&B and Tatty has a wonderful gift of smoothing things over.  Having Tatty and her husband Ed around has provided a home away from home for me.

Anyone you’re not so fond of?

 Tuck Watson is the law around this town and he is determined to arrest me. For what, I can’t tell you right now, but the man is infuriating, and handsome, but infuriating!

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

So, she writes my scenes and then rewrites them and then rewrites them again. Some days I feel like I’m on a loop that can’t stop repeating. I guess I like the scene better when she’s finished, but gee whiz, some days I want her to just give it a rest!

What’s next for you? 

Well, I have some big changes in this book,  and I can’t tell you too much without giving it away…but…it has a lot to do with cats.

 


Teresa Trent lives in Houston, Texas and is an award-winning mystery writer.  She writes the Pecan Bayou Mystery Series, is a regular contributor to the Happy Homicides Anthologies. Teresa is happy to add her Henry Park Mystery Series to her publishing credits with Color Me Dead, the first book in the series. Teresa has also won awards for her work in short stories where she loves to dabble in tales that are closer to the Twilight Zone than small town cozies. When Teresa isn’t writing, she is a full-time caregiver for her son and teaches preschoolers music part-time. Her favorite things include spending time with family and friends, waiting for brownies to come out of the oven, and of course, a good mystery.

Author Links

FACEBOOK:   https://www.facebook.com/teresatrentmysterywriter

TWITTER:   https://twitter.com/ttrent_cozymys

BLOG:   https://teresatrent.wordpress.com/

WEBSITE:   http://teresatrent.com

 


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Unbridled Murder (A Carson Stables Mystery) by Leigh Hearon

Win a print copyAfter horse trainer and rancher Annie Carson visits a feedlot in eastern Washington, she is determined to save as many horses from slaughter as possible before hightailing it back home—until she discovers the sleazy owner seemingly trampled in his corral. With the fate of the feedlot herd in her hands, Annie must navigate unfamiliar territory while trying to track down a killer and solve an increasingly tangled mystery. But unfortunately for Annie, returning to the Olympic Peninsula alive will be trickier than she ever imagined.


Interview with author Leigh Hearon

Leigh, thanks for stopping by Island Confidential! Can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist?

Annie Carson is a 40-something Western horse trainer and sheep rancher, born and raised in a rural part of the Olympic Peninsula.  She’s good friends with the local Sheriff and several deputies through their shared work in animal rescue missions.  Annie’s a loner, mostly by necessity—taking care of her flock and horse herd consume most of her time.  She sets a high bar for human conduct, and doesn’t tolerate perceived slackers, known liars, or people who cheat.  Her mouth is one of her most dangerous weapons, although she does tote a .30-.30 Winchester with her on occasion.  Annie lives alone, and except for one half-sister who was briefly dumped on her doorstep, she has no other family or truly close friends.  When we meet her, Annie has no love interest.  That aspect of her life soon changes.

Are you and Annie anything alike? 

My husband is convinced I’m the spitting image of Annie.  He’s the first to read what comes off the printer, and when I bring in a sheaf of new chapters and ask him where I left off, his invariable response is, “You were just about to….” Friends say they hear me talking when they read Annie’s dialogue.

For the record, I am not Annie.  For one, she is a far better horsewoman than I am.  Annie also likes single malt, and the stuff just gives me a headache.  However, we probably do share some inherent traits, and I like Annie very much.  If we were to meet, I’d probably be a bit intimidated.  She’s accomplished so much by herself, and has solved more murders in a single year than I’ve cracked in my 25 years as a private investigator.

Do your characters change and evolve as the series progresses?

Absolutely, starting with Annie.  At the start of book 1, Annie would much rather hang out with her horses than almost any other human, and isn’t shy about saying so.  When Marcus Colbert, the prime suspect in the murder of his wife, appears on the scene, she is instantly smitten—and convinced of his innocence, of course.  In this and the next two books, Annie frequently agonizes about the chances of the relationship’s success, given their disparate backgrounds.  The decision to let Marcus into her life forces Annie to fully trust another human being, something she hasn’t done in a very long time.  So far, everything seems to be working.  In fact, in book 4 (out in July 2018), Annie and Marcus have their first fight, a true sign that the relationship is beginning to take root!

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

This is rhetorical, right?  All of my characters are blends of people I’ve met and known over the years, so it’s impossible for me to fictionally slay a specific human being I’ve known in real life.  That being said, there are times when the ability to kill someone off or subject to adverse circumstances on the written page is just too tantalizing to resist.  No honest writer will disagree with that.  In fact, I think having this literary outlet is quite healthy.  Now, when someone really ticks me off, I don’t get mad.  I just make a mental note to include them in my next novel, where I can deal with his or her behavior using my own dangerous weapon—my words.

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

Suwana County is a fairly transparent double for Jefferson County in Washington State, where I live.  A few of my friends think I should have skipped the overlay and just made it true to life.  I have refrained from doing this simply because I need the ability to transform the landscape to suit my literary needs.  My latest book, Unbridled Murder, takes place in Eastern Washington, which I’ve visited and traveled through many times. The environment is the same, but the towns don’t exist, nor the people in them.

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

Sandra Bullock, Kyra Sedgwick, or Julia Roberts for Annie.  They’re all a few years older than she is, but then, so am I, and I can’t think of three smarter, sassier women to portray Annie Carson than the women I’ve seen so often on the silver screen (or HDTV).

Kyra Sedgwick. Photo credit: Angela George

As far as Marcus, I’m on the proverbial fence.  He’s always been a bit amorphous to me when I picture him in my mind’s eye.  Kind of a Cary Grant humor and good looks, but since Cary is no longer with us, I don’t have another actor in mind.  But I’ll happily accept suggestions!

How about George Clooney? Photo: Public Domain

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

Best advice has been to write what you know and love, without worrying about what the reading public might want, but also to be extremely proactive in promoting your book.  Worst advice?  To think about tabling the writing if you’re not going to be a famous, rich, best-selling author.  That’s not the reason I write.  Although a girl can dream, can’t she?


About The Author  

Leigh Hearon began her own P.I. agency, Leigh Hearon Investigative Services, in 1992. Her cases have appeared on In the Dead of Night, Forensic Files, 48 Hours, Court TV, City Confidential, Unsolved MysteriesAmerica’s Most Wanted, and CBS Evening News with Connie Chung. Hearon was an avid rider of horses throughout her childhood. She currently has a Saddlebred mare, Jolie Jeune Femme, and enjoys watching Jolie and two rescue mares cavort on a fifty-five-acre farm she shares with her husband. Visit her on the Web at leighhearon.com, on Facebook and Twitter.

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A New Pancake House Mystery: Of Spice and Men by Sarah Fox

A Digital Copy of Of Spice and Men: A Pancake House Mystery by Sarah Fox

Lights. Camera. Murder? Wildwood Cove’s star turn is soured by a sneaky killer in this delicious cozy mystery from the USA Today bestselling author of The Crêpes of Wrath.

Bonus content: includes original recipes inspired by the Flip Side Pancake House menu!

With a Hollywood film crew in town to shoot a remake of the horror classic The Perishing, the residents of Wildwood Cove are all abuzz. Even Marley McKinney, owner of The Flip Side Pancake House, can overlook the fact that the lead actress, Alyssa Jayde, happens to be an old flame of her boyfriend. After all, the crew loves Marley’s crêpes—so much so that Christine, the head makeup artist, invites her onset for a behind-the-scenes tour. But when Marley arrives, the special-effects trailer is on fire . . . with Christine inside.

The cops quickly rule Christine’s death a murder, and Alyssa a suspect. Marley’s boyfriend insists that the actress is innocent, but when Marley sticks her nose into the complicated lives of The Perishing’s cast and crew, she discovers more questions than answers. It seems that everyone has a hidden agenda—and a plausible motive. And as the horror spills over from the silver screen, Marley gets a funny feeling that she may be the killer’s next victim.

Sarah Fox’s addictive Pancake House Mysteries can be enjoyed together or à la carte:
THE CRÊPES OF WRATH | FOR WHOM THE BREAD ROLLS | OF SPICE AND MEN


About The Author  

Sarah Fox was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she developed a love for mysteries at a young age. When not writing novels or working as a legal writer, she is often reading her way through a stack of books or spending time outdoors with her English Springer Spaniel.

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A New Keepsake Cove mystery and Author Interview: A Fatal Collection by Mary Ellen Hughes

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Callie Reed makes a long overdue visit to her aunt Melodie, who lives in a fairy-tale cottage in quaint Keepsake Cove, home to a bevy of unique collectible shops on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Just as they’re beginning to reconnect, Callie discovers her aunt’s body on the floor of her music box shop. Grief-stricken, Callie finds she can’t accept Melodie’s death being called accidental. How could her strong and healthy aunt take such a fatal fall? And why was she there in the middle of the night?

As Callie searches for the truth, signs seem to come from her late aunt through a favorite music box, urging Callie on. Or are they warnings? If Callie isn’t careful, she could meet a similar deadly fate amid Melodie’s collection.


Mary Ellen, welcome to Island Confidential! Can you tell us about your protagonist, Callie? 

Callie Reed is a young woman in the process of making big changes in her life. She was on the verge of leaving a downward-spiraling relationship and got the push she needed when her aunt died and left her a music box shop and the charming little cottage behind it on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. She’s struggling, though, with the official “accident” ruling on her aunt’s death and starts to search for what really happened.

How alike are you and Callie?  

Though I tried my best to create someone totally new, I suspect some of me crept into Callie. Or maybe some of the wishful me. I don’t think I’d be as brave in certain situations as she is. But it’s fun to write and watch the situations from afar.

How would you feel about Callie if you met her in real life?

I think I’d like Callie if I met her. She’s smart, despite the wrong life choices she made when she was younger, and she has a pretty good heart.

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

A Fatal Collection is the first book in the Keepsake Cove series, but I intend to have the characters grow. In my previous series (Pickled and Preserved mysteries and Craft Corner mysteries) the characters’ relationships progressed in a pretty natural way, I’d say.

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 have never done it. I don’t put entire, real people into my books. I’ll mix and match various attributes to create someone new who will do what I want them to do.

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

I’ve created a fictional town. Keepsake Cove is a section of Mapleton filled with shops that each carry particular collectible items. Callie’s has collectible music boxes. Then there’s collectible cooking items, vintage toys, jewelry, etc. But the town is on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, a real area that I describe accurately as the characters move about.

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

From your lips to God’s ears! Hmm. If I had total control (in my dreams!) I’d like Emma Watson for Callie, partly because she seems to have grown up pretty well from her Harry Potter role as Hermione.

Emma Watson

George Clooney, unfortunately is a little too old to play Callie’s potential love interest, Brian, who runs the Keepsake Café across the street from her shop. But, hey, who wouldn’t want George on the set? We could darken his hair a little, right?

Young George Clooney

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

One piece of advice that might be both the worst and the best is “write what you know.” A beginning writer might take that as sticking to what they already know and writing only about things they’ve experienced. That, of course, could be severely limiting and possibly quite boring.

What it really means is to know what you write. In other words, do your research, learn about your subject if you don’t already know about it, or learn a lot more about it if you do so that you can write accurately as well as drop in the little tidbits that flesh out a scene or a character so nicely for the reader.


About the Author

Mary Ellen Hughes is the bestselling author of the Pickled and Preserved Mysteries (Penguin), the Craft Corner Mysteries, and the Maggie Olenski Mysteries, along with several short stories. A Fatal Collection is her debut with Midnight Ink. A Wisconsin native, she has lived most of her adult life in Maryland, where she’s set many of her stories. Visit her at www.MaryEllenHughes.com.

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Author Links

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

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/mehughes13/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/mehughesauthor


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A new crafting mystery and author interview: Scrapbook of Murder by Lois Winston

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Crafts and murder don’t normally go hand-in-hand, but “normal” deserted craft editor Anastasia Pollack’s world nearly a year ago. Now, tripping over dead bodies seems to be the “new normal” for this reluctant amateur sleuth.

When the daughter of a murdered neighbor asks Anastasia to create a family scrapbook from old photographs and memorabilia discovered in a battered suitcase, she agrees—not only out of friendship but also from a sense of guilt over the older woman’s death. However, as Anastasia begins sorting through the contents of the suitcase, she discovers a letter revealing a fifty-year-old secret, one that unearths a long-buried scandal and unleashes a killer. Suddenly Anastasia is back in sleuthing mode as she races to prevent a suitcase full of trouble from leading to more deaths.


Interview with Lois Winston

Lois, welcome back to Island Confidential! Can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist, Anastasia?

Anastasia Pollack, a widowed suburban mom with two teenage sons, is the crafts editor of a woman’s magazine. She lived a blissfully normal life until the day her husband dropped dead at a roulette table in Las Vegas. That’s when she learned the truth about her husband, forever now referred to as Dead Louse of a Spouse. Not only has his secret gambling addiction resulted in Anastasia coping with massive debt, she’s also permanently stuck with her semi-invalid communist mother-in-law. As Anastasia struggles to keep from drowning in bills, she also has to referee the daily battles between her mother-in-law and her mother, a woman who claims to descend from Russian nobility. Then there’s her mother-in-law’s dog, her mother’s cat, and a Shakespeare-quoting parrot. You’d think that would be enough stress for any woman, but then the dead bodies start piling up.

How would you feel about Anastasia if you met her in real life? Do you think you have much in common with her?

If I were to meet Anastasia in real life, I think we’d become very good friends. We both have art backgrounds. I’ve worked for years as a crafts designer and editor for manufacturers, publishers, and magazines. We also both have two sons, although mine are well passed their teen years at this point. We’re both Jersey girls with the same sense of humor that comes from being a Jersey girl. And I did have a communist mother-in-law who was the model for Anastasia’s mother-in-law. That’s where the similarities end. My husband, thankfully, is still very much alive, and his gambling is limited to buying an occasional lottery ticket when the jackpot reaches astronomical heights. Unfortunately, so far we haven’t won more than $2.00.

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

When Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in the series, opens, Anastasia has just buried her husband. As a way to save money, she’s decided to rent out the apartment over her garage that she’d used as her studio. Zack Barnes, her new tenant, is a photojournalist looking for a quiet place to live and work. As the series progresses, so does their relationship, moving well beyond landlord and tenant.

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

Not only have I thought of it, I’ve done it. More often, though, I make these people the villains in my stories rather than the victims. It’s far more satisfying. However, I never use their real names, and I make enough changes to the character that no one but me would be able to figure out whom they represent. As long as I know, that’s all that matters. Getting even with bullies in print is quite satisfying, and I don’t have to worry about getting caught and winding up in prison.

I like your style! So how realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?

I base The Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries in an actual New Jersey town, and all scenes in my books take place in real places in New Jersey and New York City.

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

Tina Fey would be perfect for Anastasia. Publishers Weekly even compared Anastasia quite favorably to Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon character from 30 Rock in their starred review of the first book in the series. I’d want either Hugh Jackman or Patrick Dempsey to play Zack.

Patrick Dempsey, Tina Fey, Hugh Jackman

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

The best advice I ever heard is that every scene and all dialogue need to do one of two things—either advance the story or tell the reader something she needs to know at that moment about the character. If the scene or dialogue do neither, they’re filler and don’t belong in the book.

The worst advice I ever heard was that all five senses have to be included in every scene. That’s ridiculous. You should only include in any scene what’s important to the scene. Padding scenes kills pacing.


lois-winston-med-res-file

About The Author 

USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry. Visit Lois/Emma at www.loiswinston.com

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Interview with Lady Frances Ffolkes and new Edwardian mystery: Death at the Emerald by R.J. Koreto

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One-named actress Helen mysteriously vanished 30 years ago. An elderly family friend is unable to bear not knowing any longer and commissions Lady Frances Ffolkes to track her down.

Taking on the role of Lady Sherlock, with her loyal maid Mallow drafted as her Watson, Frances finds herself immersed in the glamorous world of Edwardian theater and London’s latest craze—motion pictures.

As Frances and Mallow make their way through the theaters, they meet colorful figures such as George Bernard Shaw and King Edward II. Tracking the theaters seems like a dead end. That is until one of Helen’s old suitors is suddenly murdered. With the stakes raised, Frances and Mallow work quickly to uncover a box of subtle clues to Helen’s whereabouts. But someone unexpected wants that box just as badly and is willing to kill to keep it shut.

The stage is set for murder and Frances and Mallow are determined to unravel the decades-old conspiracy in Death at the Emerald, R. J. Koreto’s third installment in the captivating Lady Frances Ffolkes mysteries.


Lady Frances, welcome to Island Confidential! Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
I, Lady Frances Ffolkes, am the daughter of a marquess, in an aristocratic family that’s been influential for centuries. I am the first woman in my family to receive a university education, which I got at Vassar College, in America. I am fortunate in having enough money so I don’t have to work, or marry for anything but love, so I can devote myself to making the world a better place, including getting the vote for women.
Readers may not know that while at university, I’d join like-minded friends on train trips to New York City for art exhibitions and poetry readings that my father would’ve called “appalling, disgusting, and barbaric.”

Which character in Death at the Emerald do you find you get along with the best?

My maid June Mallow and I are simpatico. We always seem to know what the other is thinking, and that’s a wonderful basis for a relationship. Which doesn’t mean we always agree, of course. Every night I know she’s itching to give my hair a good brushing and she knows that I don’t want to do it. But I don’t want to live my life without her at my side.

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

I love my brother, and I know he loves me, but Charles and I see the world differently. He’s more like our father. He grudgingly supports me but would rather I married a peer of the realm and devoted my life to ladies’ luncheons. He would also rather I stopped visiting Scotland Yard, and don’t even get him started on women’s suffrage. But there are glimmers of hope—he likes my suitor Hal, even though Hal is not of the aristocracy. Our mother used to say I’d so embarrassed myself with my behavior I’d be lucky to land a 50-year-old widower with six children.

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

For a man, he’s surprisingly sensitive to social nuance and I must admit he does an excellent job in his insights into women and their emotions. However, Mallow finds his habit of wearing nothing but faded jeans and “amusing” tee-shirts rather…disappointing, and gets most upset when he fails to properly trim his beard. We both hope he makes enough money from his books to engage a valet.

What’s next for you?

I’m considering returning to America, to visit with American suffragists, old friends, and my professors at Vassar. I do love New York! Mallow is under the impression there’s a wolf or bear behind every tree, but I will emphasize we’re staying in the East, not the Dakotas. And if I just happen to come across a murder, I look forward to making the acquaintance of New York’s police officers.


About The Author  

R.J. Koreto is the author of the Lady Frances Ffolkes mystery series, set in Edwardian England, and the Alice Roosevelt mystery series, set in turn-of-the-century New York. His short stories have been published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine.

In his day job, he works as a business and financial journalist. Over the years, he’s been a magazine writer and editor, website manager, PR consultant, book author, and seaman in the U.S. Merchant Marine. Like his heroine, Lady Frances Ffolkes, he’s a graduate of Vassar College.

With his wife and daughters, he divides his time between Rockland County, N.Y., and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

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