A new Vintage Toyshop Mystery from Crooked Lane: Murder on the Toy Town Express

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Liz McCall has come to love running her father’s vintage toyshop back home in East Aurora, NY, so when the Train and Toy Show comes to town, she’s all aboard for a fun toy-filled weekend. The only hitch is that her childhood bully Craig McFadden, now local business rival, has set up a booth next to hers. But the fun and games are over when Craig falls from the ceiling in a publicity stunt gone wrong.

What was initially thought to be a fatal accident proves much more sinister. Pulled into the case by her feelings for both Ken, the police chief, and Jack, her high school sweetheart whose brother is one the prime suspects, Liz dives headfirst into the investigation. But as she digs deeper, she’s shocked to learn her father may have been the intended target.
The trouble train is barreling down and Liz may have just bought herself a first class ticket in Murder on the Toy Town Express, Barbara Early’s delightful second installment in her Vintage Toyshop mysteries.


Character Interview: Liz McCall

Liz, welcome to Island Confidential. Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
Well, my name is Elizabeth McCall. Dad thought it funny to name me after the old Betsy McCall paper dolls, but I prefer to go by Liz. Two reasons for that, really. First, I hate to be called Betsy, and second, I’m not that fond of dolls, either. Paper dolls aren’t too bad, but anything with eyes and that looks like it might come to life in the middle of the night and murder you in your sleep? Yeah, not fond of those. I guess the technical term for the fear of dolls is pediophobia, but it’s definitely a drawback when you manage a vintage toyshop.

Who’s the character in the book you get along with the best?
Oh, that’s easy. My dad. That wasn’t always the case. When I was growing up, he worked long hours (he used to be the chief of police). But after Mom passed, and later, when he was injured in the line of duty and forced to retire, we connected stronger than ever before. He’s my rock, really. I don’t know what I’d do without him and that quirky sense of humor…and those truly dreadful puns of his.

Anyone you have a conflict with?
Funny you should ask that. You never forget your childhood bullies, and mine just moved back to town and opened a comic book shop just down the street. It’s not that he competes with us—except both of us sell action figures, but it rankles me that such an odious man would have a higher rating on Yelp than we do!

Just between you and me: What do you really think of your author?
She’s okay. She does have an annoying tendency to showcase my most embarrassing life moments, when I would rather sweep them under the rug. But much better than if my sister-in-law Cathy had published her version of the story. She had me dancing around the toyshop in a sheer harem costume before stumbling over a dead body.

What’s next for you?
Well, not to give too much away, but a little zinger came my way and there’s a surprise at the end of Murder on the Toy Town Express. I know that Barbara Early has plans on dealing with that for another book that comes out October, 2018.


About The Author  

 

Barbara Early earned an engineering degree, but after four years of doing nothing but math, developed a sudden allergy to the subject and decided to choose another occupation. Before she settled on murdering fictional people, she was a secretary, a school teacher, a pastor’s wife, and an amateur puppeteer. After several years living elsewhere, she and her husband moved back to her native Western New York State, where she enjoys cooking, crafts, classic movies and campy seventies television, board games, and posting pictures of her four cats on Facebook. She writes the Vintage Toyshop series and the Bridal Bouquet Shop Mysteries (as Beverly Allen).

Author Links

http://www.barbaraearly.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBarbaraEarly/

https://twitter.com/BarbEarly

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1671291.Barbara_Early

Author Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/cUh3Wn

Cozy Café: https://www.facebook.com/CozyCafeMysteries/

Killer Characters: http://www.killercharacters.com/search/label/Barbara%20Early

Purchase Links

Amazon     B&N   BAM    INDIEBOUND    Book Depository


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Ava Mallory’s free and 99 cent cozy extravaganza ends tomorrow

>>> Sixty hand-picked cozy mysteries, free or 99 cents <<<

Download great October reads from Ava Mallory, Julie Mulhern, Shéa MacLeod, Maggie West, Carolyn Dean, Amy Metz, Alannah Rogers, Larissa Reinhart, and more. And it’s not too early to grab The 12 Slays of Christmas, a 12-book Christmas box set for 99 cents!

Graphics from freepik.com

Hurry–this promo ends October 8, and many books will be going back to their regular price.

See all the books here


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A New Halloween Cozy and chance to win: Halloween is Murder by Carolyn Arnold

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Beware of all that goes bump in the night…
Sean and Sara McKinley are excited about the haunted house they’ve set up as a Halloween charity fund-raiser, but things take a ghoulish turn when the reporter covering their story is found dead. With the media keeping mum about how she died, Sara’s curiosity is piqued, and she convinces Sean to take on the investigation through their PI firm.


But this case is not without its challenges. The police are actively investigating it, as well, and it’s not even clear that the woman was murdered. It will take a little cloak-and-dagger, dress-up, and finesse for the McKinleys to get to the bottom of it, but they aren’t the kind to give up.
As they troll for leads and work through the skeletons in the reporter’s closet, they unearth a few suspects, but they’ll need to carve out the whole truth if they’re going to find her killer. If they do so fast enough, there might even be time for a little trick-or-treating.


About The Author  

CAROLYN ARNOLD is the international bestselling and award-winning author of the Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher, and McKinley Mystery series. She is the only author with POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town, but that never kept her from dreaming big. On par with her large dreams is her overactive imagination that conjures up killers and cases to solve. She currently lives outside Toronto with her husband and two beagles, Max and Chelsea. She is also a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

For more information and a FREE book offer, visit her website:
http://www.carolynarnold.net

Links


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A Celestial Romantic Comedy: Divinely Yours by bestselling novelist Karin Gillespie

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Skye Sebring is a hospitality greeter inside the pearly gates of an unorthodox Heaven, where carefree and lusty angels get tipsy in the Live A Little Lounge, practice cloud art, and are guided by a brassy female deity who sounds and looks like Bette Midler.

During the course of her duties, Skye meets lawyer Ryan Blaine, who has a brush with death due to a motorcycle accident.

It’s not Ryan’s time to die yet, so he returns back to Earth, but Skye can’t get him out of her mind. Why does Ryan seem so familiar to her and why does she feel an unexplainable attraction to him? She begins spying on Ryan’s life from her perch in heaven and even manages to follow him down to Earth. There she finds a world very different than Heaven, where drinking too much champagne results in hangovers, roses can prick fingers, and hearts are capable of being broken. All seems lost until she remembers that most of life’s lessons can be learned from the lyrics of five Beatles songs and one of the Fab Four’s songs might actually help win her the love of a lifetime.

Divinely Yours is a celestial romantic comedy about a love that crosses all dimensions.


Guest Post: My True Hollywood Story

All my life I’ve had stars in my eyes. When I was nine, after a successful turn as the lead in a local theater production of Alice in Wonderland , I told my mother she needed to take me to California immediately where I could fulfill my destiny as an actress. She refused (there was a little matter of leaving my father and two brothers behind). Thus, for years, my only connection with the limelight was my weekly purchase of People magazine.

One day, however, I was thrust out of my humble, ordinary existence. One afternoon, out of the blue, I had a close encounter with one of the beautiful people.

It was a typical workday for me: Stare blankly at the computer monitor. Type a couple of words. Check e-mails. Eat chocolate. Repeat.

The phone rang. Generally I screen my calls so as to not distract myself from my daydreams and chocolate consumption, but for this afternoon I answered on the second ring.

“Hello! This is James Woods,” said the voice on the other end of the phone. “The movie actor. Do you know who I am?”

I was momentarily befuddled. First of all, I have to admit that movie stars don’t call me every day. In fact, this was my very first call from a movie star. Secondly, I couldn’t figure out why he was calling me. Was he trying to sell me something? Was James Woods the actor now James Woods the telemarketer? Had I missed news of his downfall?

“My mother was reading the large-print edition of your book Bet Your Bottom Dollar,” he continued, “and she was laughing so much that I asked her if I could read it, too. After I finished, I thought it would make a great movie. Have you ever thought about who would play some of the characters in your book?”

Finally. My chance to be in the spotlight.

“Mr. Woods. It just so happens that when I was eight, I starred in Alice in Wonderland …”

“Actually, I was thinking Meryl might be ideal for one of the parts,” he interrupted. “We’re friends from way back; I’ll call her.

“Meryl? As in Meryl Streep? Well, yes, I suppose she is probably a little more experienced.”

Long story short, James Woods’ people got in touch with my agent and the papers were drawn up for the movie option. After it happened, friends kept asking me when I was buying a Greek island. Truthfully the money would only purchase a few Greek salads, but I had big dreams. How much was Crete going for, I wondered.

After the papers were inked, James Wood called me on the phone and we had a long talk about his vision for the film. He also sent me a dozen red American Beauty roses; the card read, “Can’t wait to make a film with you, Best wishes, Jimmy.”

That was it. I never heard from him again. My Hollywood hopes dashed like a dinghy on the merciless rocks of a craggy shore.

Not really.

I’m a practical sort and had always seen as the film option as a fun story more than an actual reality. Since then Hollywood has sniffed around my door several times. I had a flurry of interest in Divinely Yours,  the story of a greeter in Heaven who falls in love with a mortal, but nothing came out of it…

Buy Divinely Yours on Amazon or B&N


About The Author  

Karin Gillespie is the national-bestselling novelist and has also written for the New York TimesWashington Post and Writer Magazine. She has an MFA from Converse College and lives in Augusta, Georgia and is a recipient of a Georgia Author of the Year award.

Visit her on her web site, her FB page or on Twitter. She is also on Good Reads.


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New Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery: The Ninja’s Illusion by Gigi Pandian

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A fabled illusion performed by a stage magician who claims to possess real supernatural powers. A treasure from the colonial era in India when international supremacies vied for power. A phantom trading ship lost over 200 years ago. And a ninja whose murderous intentions in present-day Japan connect the deeds of a long-dead trader who was much more than he seemed…

A lost work of art linking India to the Italian Renaissance. A killer hiding behind a centuries-old ghost story.When Jaya travels from San Francisco to Japan with her stage magician best friend Sanjay—a.k.a. The Hindi Houdini—for his Japanese debut, she jumps at the chance to pursue her own research that could solve a tantalizing centuries-old mystery.With the colorful autumn leaves of historic Kyoto falling around her, Jaya soon loses sight of what’s real and what’s a deception. A mysterious ninja attempts sabotage on Sanjay’s trick, along with Japan’s most controversial magician, Akira. Ancient folklore blurs the lines between illusion and reality when a magician’s assistant appears to be a kitsune, a mythical fox spirit. As tricks escalate to murder, Jaya and her friends must unravel secrets hidden in the ancient capital of Japan, before one of their own becomes the next victim.The Ninja’s Illusion is #5 in the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Series. Available at Amazon  | B&N | kobo

Other books in the series:
•FOOL’S GOLD (prequel novella in OTHER PEOPLE’S BAGGAGE)
ARTIFACT (#1)
PIRATE VISHNU (#2)
QUICKSAND (#3)
MICHELANGELO’S GHOST (#4)


About The Author

USA Today bestselling author Gigi Pandian spent her childhood being dragged around the world by her cultural anthropologist parents, and now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s the author of the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt mystery series (Artifact, Pirate Vishnu, and Quicksand) and the Accidental Alchemist mysteries (The Accidental Alchemist and The Masquerading Magician).

Gigi’s debut mystery was awarded a Malice Domestic Grant, the follow-up won the Left Coast Crime Rose Award, and her short fiction has been short-listed for Agatha and Macavity awards. A breast cancer diagnosis in her thirties taught her two important life lessons: healing foods can taste amazing, and life’s too short to waste a single moment.

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New scrapbooking mystery: Crepe Factor by Laura Childs with Terrie Farley Moran

>>>Enter to win a print copy of Crepe Factor (U.S. only) <<<

Author Laura Childs is a superb writer and is now joined in writing this series with another of my favorite authors, Terrie Farley Moran! They make a perfect fit for sure. Reading the books, you’d never know two writers were contributing. The quality storytelling in CREPE FACTOR is of a standard that many authors can only hope to achieve.
~Lisa Ks Book Reviews
CREPE FACTOR is not only a fun, madcap romp through New Orleans and the bayou with memorable characters, the book provides inspiration and tips for scrapbooking along with several delicious recipes.
~Cinnamon, Sugar and a Little Bit of MurderThis is a lively read. Carmela and Ava are fun characters, and I loved their scenes together. The dialogue is sharp and quick, and really moves the story along.
~View from the BirdhouseLaura was my first cozy mystery author I read and it was this series I started with. She is who got me hooked on cozy mysteries and why I keep coming back to them.
~A. Holland ReadsCrepe Factor is quirky, fun, and entertaining. It is well written by seasoned authors, and their dual contribution flows seamlessly.
~The Power of WordsThe descriptions of this New Orleans community makes the reader feel like they are right there…I did enjoy the book, well written with a touch of humor.
~CelticLady ReviewsI found this book a delight!…The mystery was lots of fun.
~I Wish I Lived In a Library

I have followed this series from the start and when you put both of these authors together , their writing styles go so well together that you get an outstanding read.
~Shelley’s Book Case

This book really pulled you in wanting you to figure out who killed him and why. I loved going on the adventure with them.
~Community Bookstop

This was an entertaining and fun read. It had the right amount of humor in it that made me chuckle at times.
~Melina’s Book Blog

I love the setting of New Orleans. One of America’s most fascinating places. I love the friendship between Ava and Carmela. And I love the scrapbooking store setting.
~MysteriesEtc

I enjoyed main characters, Carmella and Ava. They were fun, quirky, and full of adventure. I appreciated that I could come into book fourteen as a new reader and not feel left behind in the series.
~Grace, Gratitude, Life

The Winter Market in the French Quarter is in full swing, but murder isn’t taking a holiday in the latest from the New York Times bestselling author of Parchment and Old Lace…
 
The holidays are a busy time for scrapbook shop owner Carmela Bertrand—but not so hectic that she doesn’t have time to enjoy browsing the booths at the Winter Market with her best friend Ava. The last thing the ladies expect to see is a lurching man stabbed by a serving fork, dying in front of them.

The victim is loathed restaurant critic Martin Lash, who posted his scathing reviews on the Glutton for Punishment website. And the prime suspect is New Orleans restauranteur Quigg Brevard—who was seen giving the critic a tongue-lashing minutes before someone stuck a fork in him. An old flame of Carmela, Quigg asks for her help, which does not please her current beau, Detective Edgar Babcock, to say the least.

Before her relationship is the next victim, Carmela needs to find a murderer who had no reservations about punishing the culinary curmudgeon…

Scrapbooking tips and recipes included! 


Character interview

Meet Carmela Bertrand, scrapbook guru, New Orleans habitué,
and main character in Crepe Factor by Laura Childs.

Carmela, welcome to Island Confidential. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a New Orleans girl through and through. A few years ago I opened a little scrapbook shop called Memory Mine in the French Quarter and it took off like a bottle rocket. Now we’ve evolved into creating invitations, memory boxes, rubber stamping, Paperclay earrings, handmade books, altered teacups, and all sorts of fab crafts. What you might not guess is that I was once married to a rich playboy from a fine old New Orleans banking family – the operative word being was. One day, Shamus (my ex) slipped into his boogie shoes and left me flat. It’s a good thing I’m resourceful and not afraid of hard work!

Who’s the character in Crepe Factor that you get along with the best, would you say?

That would be my BFF Ava Gruiex. Ava’s a self-proclaimed hottie-patottie who wears leather pants, a push-up bra, and owns Juju Voodoo in the French Quarter. Mostly she sells love charms made from herbs and plays my partner in crime when I try to solve a murder mystery. Which, for some reason, happens a lot in New Orleans. Hey, what can I say? We’re the Big Easy, home of Mardi Gras, crazy above ground cemeteries, haunted bayous, Cajun spiced food, great architecture, and bad behavior.

Anyone you don’t get along with so well?

I hate to admit this, but my soon-to- be fiancé Detective Edgar Babcock goes bonkers when I get involved in police business. For example, at the Winter Market, the food critic Martin Lash was murdered – skewered with a serving fork. And just because Lash had a fiery argument with my old boyfriend Quigg Brevard, Babcock rushed in and grilled poor Quigg like a pig on a spit. Then, when I decided to get involved (I call it a shadow investigation) to help Quigg, it evolved into a second murder and a wild and wooly romp where Ava and I gobbled fine foods, flaunted fashion, and ran for our lives through the bayou! Fun, huh?

Just between you and me, what do you really think of your author, Laura Childs?

Well, she’s pretty hard working for one thing. I mean, she’s banged out over 40 mysteries in the last fifteen years and most of them hit the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists. So I guess that’s something.

What’s next for you?

Mardi Gras is coming up and that means another raucous adventure where a Mardi Gras float explodes and a fat cat finance guy who’s riding on the float is killed. When my ex-husband Shamus (aka the rat) is accused of murder, he begs me to help him. Needless to say, this evolves into my snooping at parties, in Mardi Gras float dens, and old French Quarter mansions. You can read all about it in Glitter Bomb when it comes out next year.


Gerry Schmitt, who writes under the pen name Laura Childs is now adding two more series that are harder-edged Wednesday February 26, 2014 in Plymouth. (Pioneer Press: Jean Pieri)

 

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fund raising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:

The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

Laura’s Links:

Webpage – http://www.laurachilds.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/laura.childs.31


terrie-farley-moran

Short-listed twice for The Best American Mystery Stories, Terrie Farley Moran is delighted to introduce mystery fans to the Read ’Em and Eat café and bookstore, which debuted with Well Read, Then Dead. followed by Caught Read-Handed and Read to Death released in July of this year.  The only thing Terrie enjoys more than wrangling mystery plots into submission is playing games and reading stories with any or all of her grandchildren.

Terrie’s Links:

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/terrie.moran.9

Blog:www.womenofmystery.net

Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/23186092-terrie-moran

Purchase Links:

      Amazon    B&N    Goggle Books    IndieBound


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New Zodiac Mystery: All Signs Point to Murder by Connie di Marco

The stars predict a wedding-day disaster, but San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti never expected murder

Julia Bonatti is alarmed by the astrological signs looming over Geneva Leary’s wedding day, but nobody asked Julia’s opinion and being a bridesmaid means supporting the bride no matter what. Even with the foreboding Moon-Mars-Pluto lineup in the heavens, no one’s prepared for the catastrophes that strike: a no-show sister, a passed-out wedding planner, and a lethal shooting in the dead of night.

With anger and grief threatening to tear the Leary family part, Julia is determined to understand how such a terrible tragedy could occur. As she digs deeper into the family’s secrets, her astrological insights will lead her to the truth about a criminal enterprise that stretches far beyond the California coast.


Island Confidential: Connie, thank you for stopping by! Can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist?

Connie di Marco: Julia Bonatti is a San Francisco astrologer who never thought murder would be part of her practice. In fact, she never in a million years would have predicted she’d be a practicing astrologer. Her life took an abrupt turn when her fiancé was killed in a hit and run accident, and she was no longer able to continue with her life plans. Astrology offered a sense of solace and comfort, a pathway to understand the cruel blow that she had been dealt. She discovered she was fascinated by the arcane symbols and their meanings and eventually realized she was quite good at the art of synthesis and helping her clients through difficult times.

How much of you is in Julia?  

CdM: It’s probably not possible to create any character that isn’t some aspect of oneself. Julia’s outlook on life, her values and sensibilities are probably mine, but she is a much freer and more daring agent. She’s a woman alone, although she has close family and friend connections that support her. But in a real sense, she’s a lone wolf, free to wander the city at any time, day or night, and open to far more adventure than I would be. She’s much more physically daring than I, not afraid to investigate, to confront suspects or to do whatever she feels necessary to solve the crime in spite of the danger this could represent. If I met her in real life, I’d probably admire her and wish I could be more like her. Perhaps every protagonist is an idealized version of each writer’s psyche.

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

CdM: Yes, they do. There is a chronology to the characters’ lives and as the series continues, I do want everyone to grow and evolve. But it’s also important for each book to be read as a stand alone. I’ve found authors I’ve loved by picking up their fifth or maybe tenth book in a series, and enjoying it so much, I’ve gone back to the beginning and read each one from the start. It can be a tricky task to give readers enough backstory to understand what forces shaped a character, but not describe so much that it bogs the story down or bores a reader who is familiar with the series.

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

CdM: Hmmm. Should I admit to this? Well, I’ll say this, one or two of my victims are modeled on people I’ve known and really disliked, although the names have been changed to prevent any lawsuits! And I know I’ve modeled villains on real life people too. That’s even more fun. I like to invent murderers who could be someone we know, someone who lives next door, an everyday person, someone for whom there’s a logic to their crime. They may not by nature be all bad or evil, but just people who commit crimes out of passion or impulse. Or because they believe they must commit that terrible act in order to protect themselves and survive. Delving into that gray area makes those characters far more interesting I think.

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

A: The Zodiac Mysteries are set in San Francisco, a real city with real streets and real buildings. So I try to be completely accurate when I describe a location like the downtown courthouse, or the kinds of restaurants in North Beach for example, although I do take liberties. It’s impossible not to. In All Signs Point to Murder, Julia meets a man who can give her information she needs at a place called Wong’s, an all night diner in Chinatown. Is there a real Wong’s? I doubt it, but there are plenty of small eateries like that in that area, so the location seems true to the city and the story. Sometimes, Julia will go to a place that really does exist. For example, she has a lunch at the Garden Court restaurant inside the Palace Hotel. A beautifully restored historic location with potted palms and glass ceilings and plus, it was a chance to incorporate a little history about its builder from 1873.

My earlier series, the Soup Lover’s Mysteries, written as Connie Archer, required a different approach. Snowflake, Vermont is an imaginary village but it offers the same things that any small town in Vermont would have – a Village Green, a white-steepled church, a soup restaurant and so on. But in those books, I wanted to cultivate that imaginary sense of place. I studied a list of Vermont cities and towns before coming up with names that don’t really exist in Vermont. The jail is in Bournmouth and the hospital’s in Lincoln Falls. I wanted to make sure that any town I mentioned did not have a counterpart in real life. I wanted the village to exist in an unreal place, like Brigadoon in the musical, a mysterious village that only appears for one day every hundred years.

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

CdM: I don’t really ever think about that. For one thing, no writer ever has any control over scripts or casting. I think every reader forms a picture in his or her head about a character, how they walk, what they look like, how they sound, and often the casting of actors doesn’t work very well. When Katherine Heigl was cast as Stephanie Plum, I was taken aback. Nothing against the actress, but in no way did she seem like my vision of Stephanie Plum. In the best of all possible worlds, a writer would have some control over those decisions, but that rarely if ever happens.

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

CdM: Probably the worst advice writers receive is to write what they know. I think that’s a very limiting concept that puts braces on our imaginations. Where would all the historical novels come from? How would authors be able to inhabit another century and recreate what was and wasn’t there for a modern reader?

It’s fine to write about worlds one is familiar with, but a writer also needs to constantly stretch and investigate worlds they know nothing about. Do I know anything about the discovery of a dead body? First hand? I don’t, but research will give me the answers I need. Do I know anything about human trafficking or smuggling or child abduction? Fortunately not, but these are all subjects that crime writers deal with. On the other hand, we all experience the same griefs, regrets, loves and sadness, all sorts of emotional states, no matter who we are and the exploration of those feelings is what makes a book memorable.

The best advice I’ve ever heard, and I knew it before I heard or read of it, is to get out of your own way. In other words, just let things flow. A writer friend, Dennis Palumbo, has written a book called Writing from the Inside Out. It’s a really wonderful and compassionate book. In it, he quotes Pablo Casals who said, “Learn the notes, then forget about ‘em.” Really great advice! You can spend your whole life nitpicking and worrying and editing and never get anything finished. Just get out of your own way, turn off the editor in your brain and keep your fingers moving over the keyboard.


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, available for pre-order now, will be released on August 8, 2017.

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 Southern Paranormal Cozy from Tonya Kappes: Ax to Grind

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Southerners keep their secrets swept under the rug, but what happens when that rug goes up for sale?

Bestselling author Berlye Stone, the most famous citizen to ever come out of Cottonwood, Kentucky, has died and put all her worldly possessions up for auction, but not without leaving one more manuscript behind. A hidden tell-all about Cottonwood that’s got more gossip than a ladies’ luncheon.

When Beryle’s assistant turns up with an ax in her back and the only witness is in a coma, Sheriff Kenni Lowry reckons someone in town will do anything to keep the manuscript from seeing the light of day. Her poppa’s ghost returns to help piece together the life of the Beryle he once knew, but his memory’s a little foggy, and any misstep could cause them a world of trouble. With the help of Deputy Finn Vincent, can Kenni sort through the secrets buried in Beryle’s books, or will this be her final chapter?


Character Inerview

Name: Kenni Lowry
Job: Sheriff of Cottonwood, Kentucky
Gender: Female Age: 28
Residence: Cottonwood, Kentucky

Officer Lowry, welcome to Island Confidential! Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself? Maybe something people might not already know?

I’m the first woman sheriff in our small town of Cottonwood, Ky. And…I know people don’t know that I have a third deputy. The ghost of my grandfather, former Sheriff Elmer Sims.

Which character in Ax to Grind do you get along with the best?

Definitely  Finn Vincent, my deputy and real boyfriend. I can rely on him to always be there for me professionally and personally.

Anyone you have a conflict with?

Lordy beeeee…that’s be my own mama, Vivian Lowry. She still can’t wrap her head around me being the sheriff. She’d love to see me be a debutant, a wife and homemaker. She wears me out.

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

She’s crazy! You won’t tell her I said that, will you? But seriously. She puts me in these crazy situations and I tell her all the time, granted it’s probably at 3 a.m., but I tell her that I don’t want to do that. Then she makes me.

What’s next for you?

Even though the author is a bit nuts…she’s kept me alive and well with readers. Ax To Grind is the third book published about my life, but I’m currently telling her my story in the sixth book and we have at least four more to go!


About the Author

For years, USA Today bestselling author Tonya Kappes has been self-publishing her numerous mystery and romance titles with unprecedented success. She is famous not only for her hilarious plotlines and quirky characters, but her tremendous marketing efforts that have earned her thousands of followers and a devoted street team of fans. Be sure to check out Tonya’s website for upcoming events and news and to sign up for her newsletter! Tonyakappes.com

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

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

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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