It’s This Amiga’s Party, Gonna Fall If I Want To!

sheryl

Nothing says “It’s Fall Folks” like group retreats, cooler weather and a good gathering around a fire pit.   Okay, well, if you are reading Vicki Fee, it might be a bunch of naked witches dancing around a fire pit, but who’s keeping up, right? It’s FALL guys and dolls!It's Your Party Cover

The best part of fall is the beginning of ghost hunting season. Yes, there is a season. Have you tried to book a tour at Waverly Hills lately? Good luck on that. If you don’t go out looking for the spirits of the dead, you should know that fall is when people usually think about it. There are so many places to go here in the Southern United States; abandoned buildings, old sanatoriums, historical buildings and don’t get me started on the amazing cemeteries. No need to wait for Halloween. Let fall begin! It’s Your Party, Die If You Want To encompasses all things Fall in my book (wasn’t that ingenious?), throws it into a nice mystery and achieves it so well for this southern gal.

Clue2Liv and Di live in the heart of Dixie and are getting ready for an amazing time together. From the first visit to a haunted cemetery to the ending with an interesting Clue game that ends with hunting down the murderer, Vicki keeps the reader engaged with well-rounded characters throughout the book. I couldn’t keep up with who was truly crazy and who was just acting the part.

Three is my favorite number so it’s no wonder that Vickie’s book ended up as my third pick for fall. Book your ghost hunt, murder mystery luncheon and take this book with you. Liv and Di will be like having your close friends traveling with you. Don’t do fall without them.  Click HERE to buy your own copy!

 

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What did the other AMIGOS pick?  Find out now!

karens

The Karens

lisa

Lisa

mary

Mary

 

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Sleuthclubbing with Kathi and Cait! Week 2; Five Amigos Fall-O-Ween Fun.

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Don’t you hate it when your guest speaker ends up dead after an event YOU hosted? I mean, Amanda Lowman was just at The Mystery Lovers Book Club talking about her most recent book and the interesting case that inspired her upcoming book and then boom, dead. Poor Cait.

Count Catula is not shy about getting the reader straight into a murder in only one chapter. I was hooked from the very beginning. Who wouldn’t love being able to chat with a famous author and hear about her research on real crimes and chat that she feels inspired to write about? The mysterious and sometimes spooky Pelican Bay is the perfect setting for such a murder.

Caitlin Hart runs Coffee Cats Bookstore and also seems to run a small sleuth club (as I would call it), helped along with some cats who know a lot about things cats shouldn’t know about. Would I call them magic? I don’t know, but they sure are something. As with the prior books, a cat approaches Cait and works in the background to help solve the murder. Tansy, the local “witch” seems to always have some sluthtastic cat around that makes it’s way into Cait’s Kathi Daley Count Catulahouse. Where can I get a cat like that Kathi? Can I put in a request?

I love this group that Cait hangs out with, some shop owners, friends and even a man of the law. It seems like an unlikely group to be honest, but Kathi writes these characters to be so interesting, that it just works. You know how opposites attract? That’s this group okay! They are sleuthclubbing.

Between the murder storyline, the way she throws the reader in different directions and a bit of parakitty, as I like to call it, this might be my favorite of the Whales and Tails Mystery series. It could be that I just love Amanda’s way of doing book research, but this story of all the ones I have read just hooked me in a big way. I think I would have liked to know more about Amanda. She sounds like a cool writer.

I am so happy with this fall read. I hope you will be too. What am I saying…of course you will be.

 

Here is your BTB DALEY word list to remember how awesome this book is:

Parakitty-magical cat that is able to somehow talk with Cait through an unknown means.

Sluthtastic– word to describe a person or animal that is amazing at solving cases.

Sleuthclubbing-group of friends gathering together to solve yet ANOTHER crime in their town. #deadpeoplekeepshowingup

 

Are there any other words you would add to the list to describe this book? Comment below and let me know! What? You haven’t read it? Well, click here to get you a copy!

 

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And don’t forget to visit the other

AMIGOS

for their picks!

The Karens

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Lisa

lisa

Mary

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Labor Day Cozy Reading Picks

Observed on the first Monday in September, Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894. Labor Day also symbolizes the end of summer for many Americans, and is celebrated with parties, parades and athletic events.

I am celebrating Labor Day by reading and hanging out with my family who is off from work. My husband works all the time and it’s nice to be able to chill out with him when then chance is given. Today will be spent by the pool, playing with kids, reading and enjoying being around each other on this restful day. Won’t you join me and celebrate with books about those who Labor by buying from an author who labors?

Teddy Bear Factory

Bearly Departed-Meg Macy

As manager of the family teddy bear shop and factory, Bearly Departed Coverthirty-one-year-old Sasha Silverman leads a charmed life. Well, except for the part about being a single divorcée with a ticking biological clock in small-town Silver Hollow. And that’s just kid’s stuff compared to Will Taylor, the sales rep who’s set on making drastic changes to the business her parents built from scratch—with or without Sasha’s approval.

Small Town Dime Shop

Little Shop of HomicideLittle Shop of Homicide-Denise Swanson  Devereaux Sinclair is the happy new owner of the adorable old-fashioned shop in her small Missouri town. But when a revenge-crazed cop accuses Dev of murdering her ex’s fiancée — and the murder weapon is found with her fingerprints all over it — Dev’s store, and her life, quickly turn from charmed to troubled. If she doesn’t find the real killer soon, this five-and-dime owner will be serving twenty-five to life…

 

Beauty Salon

Permed To Death-Nancy J. Cohen   Permed to Death2

Marla was already having a bad day, but when one of her clients dies while getting a perm in her salon, her day just can’t get any worse…until the smugly competent Detective Vail accuses her of poisoning the wealthy widow’s coffee creamer!

Firemen

That Old Flame of Mine-J.J. Cook   That Old Flame of Mine

After knocking the lights out of her boyfriend when she catches him cheating on her, Chicago fire fighter Stella Griffin hops on her Harley and heads for Sweet Pepper, Tennessee, where she ends up becoming the small town’s fire chief. When her dear friend Tory Lambert dies after her gingerbread-style house is set ablaze, Stella suspects arson and foul play.

 

Plumber

Sink Trap-Christy Evans

Former corporate drone Georgiana Neverall loves her new occupation as a plumber’s sink_trapapprentice, but is a bit surprised when she finds the favorite brooch of Martha Tepper, the town’s former librarian, clogging a sink. Georgiana has a sinking feeling that Martha may have been retired permanently-and suddenly it’s up to a plumber’s apprentice to flush out a killer.

I hope you take the time to honor the hard working men and women in the town around you. I also hope that those who are working hard don’t get into as much trouble as the ones in these books! Happy Labor Day and thanks to all those who work to keep this beautiful nation going strong. And yes, that especially includes you authors.

Click HERE to read more about the history of Labor Day.

 

 

 

 

The Apple Doesn’t FALL Far From the Tree When It Comes To MURDER

Fall Murder Picks

Fall-O-Ween at Booth Talks Books

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The weather has begun to cool and the orchards have started their advertisements for harvest festivals. Bring it! Ever since I was little, the true transition into Fall for me was marked by going to Jackson’s Orchard and picking up fresh apples, cider, apple pies and hanging out while undertaking the activities at “Apple Fest.” It’s still a tradition I continue with my kids now.

When thinking of a book to talk about for fall, I could think of none better than one that talks about a murder over this very thing, apples. And it’s not just any apples; it’s apples from two feuding family farms with well-kept secrets. Nothing is sweeter or crisper than a good family grudge. Mmm-mm!

Have you seen all the apple varieties? Have you wondered how they get their 11252172_1120358234645172_1654460238490337730_n-e1439486291883names? One author explores this and it isn’t pretty. Bun for Your Life by Karoline Barrett is a “who dun it” set in a bakery in a small town much like my local orchard is.

Molly Tyler and Olivia Williams, the proprietors of Bread and Batter Bakery in Destiny, New York are preparing for Destiny’s annual Apple Harvest Fair. The bakery has a booth where they’ll sell not only cupcakes and cider doughnuts but also logo t-shirts.

Molly and Olivia find themselves at the center of a murder investigation when a local apple farm heiress is found murdered with one of their bakery’s t-shirts is used as the murder weapon.

Happy fall and don’t forget to take this one on your next visit to the local orchard festival. You just never know what kind of trouble might be growing around you.

karens

Go visit Karen and Karen’s Page

lisa

Go visit Lisa’s Page

mary

Go visit Mary’s Page

If you don’t want to end up like Calista, you’ll stick to baking instead of snooping. ~Bun for Your Life

 

Spotlight- The Quiche And The Dead

This yummy book just landed in my post from Kirsten Weiss, Author!  It comes out in October…on Halloween. 

 I’m super excited to have not only won this book but be able to read it before it comes out to thw public.


Is Val’s breakfast pie the quiche of death?
 Owning her own business seemed like pie in the sky to Valentine Harris when she moved to the coastal California town of San Nicholas, expecting to start a new life with her fiancé. Five months—and a broken engagement—later, at least her dream of opening a pie shop has become a reality. But when one of her regulars keels over at the counter while eating a quiche, Val feels like she’s living a nightmare.

 After the police determine the customer was poisoned, business at Pie Town drops faster than a fallen crust. Convinced they’re both suspects, Val’s flaky, seventy-something pie crust maker Charlene drags her boss into some amateur sleuthing. 

At first Val dismisses Charlene’s half-baked hypotheses, but before long the ladies uncover some shady dealings hidden in fog-bound San Nicholas. Now Val must expose the truth—before a crummy killer tries to shut her pie hole.

Ready to PreOrder? http://amzn.to/2it6fyR

Crafting Between The Pages; Key to a Crafty Killer

BTB Crafting is Key header

I love a good mystery of course and mystery parties just seem like the next step. My daughter’s upcoming birthday inspired my craft for this week as well as my good author friend, Vicki Vass and her amazingly titled book, “Key To A Murder.”

So, today you’ll need key charms that you can get at any hobby or craft store. Do make sure to see if they have a coupon….that’s the KEY to a good bargain. I got mine for 40% off. You’ll also need a good craft glue, paint brush and enough toothpicks for whatever you plan to stick these in.

Supplies:

Tiny Key Charms

Toothpicks

Craft Glue

Paint Brush

Good Music (might I suggest Pearl Jam?)

You can use these as cupcake picks,  picks for a cheese and fruit trays at your book club gatherings and whatever else you can think of to stick these in; as the possibilities are endless. The KEY is to have fun!

I hope you enjoy the video, try this craft, check out Vicki’s book and enter my contest. I’m giving away a set of my keys I used and Vicki is throwing in her book “Key To A Murder.” WOW!

Click here for the Key to A Crafty Murder GIVEAWAY!

 

Order “Key to a Murder” here!

Key to a Murder Cover Vicki Vass

***Comment of my YouTube video and you’ll get an extra entry!***

DEADLY BINDINGS: Kales and Barratt

DEADLY BINDINGS

The Art Of The Mystery Cover

Book covers are something that, in my opinion, taken for granted and really used and abused. Why on earth would I say such a thing? Don’t we love our covers? We as readers rely heavily on them, yes. Browsing shelves full of books can be overwhelming when looking for the next great thing to read. If the book’s cover isn’t great I don’t even give the book a second glance unless I know that the author if really good. Then what? We read the book and the cover isn’t given a second thought.

Do you ever look inside the cover to see who designed it? You my fine feathered friend are going to learn about these unsung and in your face but often not spoken of heroes of the book world; the cover artists.

In my new series, Deadly Bindings, I will be introducing you to these amazing artists and gabbing with the authors you know and love about working with the individuals who put a face to their books.

Jenny Kales-Author-A Callie’s Kitchen MysterySecrets & Pies-Web

Booth Talks Books: How was Renee hired to be your cover artist?

Jenny Kales: I did a lot of research.  As an indie author, I had control over who my artist would be, but I also had to make sure the person was a great fit. Renee was without a doubt the most responsive and professional. I felt that her covers were varied and beautiful and would fit my book series really well.

BTB: Do you have a favorite cover produced by her?

JK: I can’t choose — I love all the covers that she created for me — the latest one is stunning. I love the house and the pies (especially the dripping pie).

BTB: From the author’s point of view, tell me the process of getting a cover made.

JK:I provide a detailed synopsis of my book. I also am asked to provide themes, setting, time of year, anything that will make an impact on the cover. For each book, I fill out a very detailed questionnaire and I think that really helps both of us know what the cover should look like. For example, I want my covers to convey “cozy mystery” but I also want them to be beautiful and inviting. I feel like Renee really achieves that. Initially I was asked if the book was part of a series, and as you can see, Renee created that wonderful blue and white awning to represent Callie’s Kitchen.

Vintage silverware

BTB: Do the covers ever influence the writing or vice versa?

JK: Once I have a title I start thinking about the cover. The book comes first and then the cover. That said, I think that each cover in my series tells a “story” of its own and that is really exciting to see.

BTB: How important do you think a cover is to a reader to is browsing books but may not know your work?  Talk to that a bit.

JK: It’s extremely important. Readers get a first impression of a book when they see a cover. I feel my specific voice is definitely conveyed by these covers. I’ve heard from readers several times that my cover was what initially attracted them to the books, which is a great compliment to Renee. Covers are a part of the whole package. A professional-looking and engaging cover gives readers a good feeling about your book and makes them more likely to take a chance on it. With a mystery, I want the cover to give readers an idea of the story without giving everything away. I think Renee has been excellent at creating that!

Renee Barratt-Artist-The Cover Counts

BTB: How long have you been producing covers for books?

RB: I’ve been a professional graphic designer for a couple of decades (shhhhhh… don’t tell my kids. They still think I’m in my 20s!)  But I started doing book covers almost exclusively in 2010. I still do other things like graphics, brochures, marketing tools, pretty regularly, but the majority is book covers. I love it that way. Book covers are so much fun.

BTB: How long does it take to put a cover together.

RB: That really depends on the book! Some of them are a few hours. Others take days.

I’ve done some covers that have dozens of images worked in together and take multiple dozens of hours.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00073]

Once I’ve sent the initial design to the author there is sometimes a brainstorm period where we work together to figure out if there are changes they want to make and whether those will actually make it better. there is a lot of give and take in that stage of the process.

BTB: Can you describe the process of putting a cover together from the author or company getting in touch with you to the finished product?

RB: Once someone contacts me to create a book cover for them, I send them a detailed questionnaire that I’ve developed over the years that gives me a really good feel for the story line, the symbolism and the characters. I can generally work directly with that information, but occasionally I’ll want some additional clarification from the author on a few things. Then I set off on a journey through the internet, researching their genre, investigating the current best sellers, making sure I’m aware of what is selling the best, and just generally looking for inspiration related to the themes in the story. Getting to a final product generally takes a week or two from the time I begin the creative process on my end. The faster the author and I can respond to emails to each other, the faster things generally get done. 🙂

BTB: Talk about your working relationship with Jenny Kales and how you began producing covers for her.

RB: Jenny has been a gem to work with. She is always up beat and easy going, and takes a lot of well-deserved pride in her work. She has a clear idea of the visual symbolism for her stories and communicates it so fluently that the designs just seem to flow so easily. We have fun conversations, and she’s got great ideas. She contacted me when she was ready to publish her first book, and it’s been a great experience working with her as she completed each new installment in her series. I love the concepts she’s developed throughout the series, and I think the designs show that!

 

BTB: Do you get to read the story before you make a cover?  How does this influence the final product?

RB:In a perfect world, I would read every single one before I start designing. But there is only one of me and no matter how many books I read that are set in magical worlds, I haven’t figure out how to make an hour last any longer. 😉 The questionnaire I’ve developed is pretty detailed and usually gives me plenty of information about the story to create a great design. It’s important to me to have all of that in written form. The written questionnaire, the emails back and forth everything I can get from them in writing, all give me a feel for the author’s aesthetic. The way they use the written word to describe their stories is actually a great tool. I will sometimes be asked, or ask to read a chapter, or a scene that the author feels should be an anchor for the design and I’m happy to do so.

BTB: What is your favorite part of cover design?

RB: I love playing with images and type. A well-crafted title design is often what truly sets a design apart. And typography is one of the hardest things to master. Books and I have had a love affair since before I could walk. I love to read. I love working with authors. And I love that I get to spend my days melding two of my biggest passions together, art and books.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00074]

BTB: Do you have other artistic outlets?  Do you do art for other products or on other mediums?

RB: Performance art is my other thing. I have a degree in theatre and love to sing. I haven’t done anything “organized” with that for a long time, but I used to own a local community theatre company with some very talented, very good friends.

BTB: What do you think is the most important piece of advice for authors when they’re planning for their next book cover?
RB:Plan ahead. Start looking for your designer right now… before you’re even anywhere near being done. Find the artist, or artists whose art you are drawn to, and who you think would do the best job creating a kick-ass cover for your book. Contact them. Find out what their lead-time generally is and how much they charge. Start planning to fit that in your timetable and your budget. Most really good designers are booked out months in advance. If you wait for the last minute, you’re going to end up with the artist who is available, rather than the one who is best for your book. If you start now, you’ll know when you’ll need to get on their schedule, and if necessary. You’ll have more time to save up for the artist you really want. It kills me to have to say no to an author, because they thought they were going to publish in 2 weeks, but my next opening is in 4 months.

Thanks to Jenny Kales and Renee Barratt for their amazing information and insight. Please feel free to leave a question or a message for either or both of these creative women.