“I couldn’t be happier with this series and how much fun I’m having writing it.” -Tonya Kappes
It’s launch day and party time! Betting Off Dead is amazing and I know you are going to have a magical journey in Louisville Kentucky. So, jump on over to the party and join in on the fun with Tonya and the gang!
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Before leaving however, you should also check out my reviews of both
Wedding planner Kelsey McKenna is just a few hours away from wrapping up her latest job: a destination wedding in the charming, colonial Mexican town of San Miguel de Allende. The reception is all set up, the tequila donkey is waiting outside, and the bride and groom are standing on the altar, pledging their eternal love. But just as the priest is about to pronounce them husband and wife, one of the bridesmaids upstages the couple by collapsing into a floral arrangement, a definite wedding “don’t.” Kelsey soon discovers that the girl hasn’t just fainted–she’s dead.
Losing a bridesmaid is bad enough, but when the bride’s sister is arrested for murder, the demanding mother of the bride insists that Kelsey fix the matter at once. And although Kelsey is pretty sure investigating a murder isn’t in her contract, crossing the well-connected Mrs. Abernathy could be a career-killer. Before she can leave Mexico and get back to planning weddings, Kelsey must deal with stubborn detectives, a rekindled romance, and late-night death threats in this smart, funny cozy mystery debut.
As a freelance writer, MARLA COOPER has written all sorts of things, from advertising copy to travel guidebooks to the occasional haiku. But it was while ghostwriting a nonfiction guide to destination weddings that she found inspiration for her current series starring destination wedding planner Kelsey McKenna. Originally hailing from Texas, Marla lives in Oakland, California, with her husband and her polydactyl tuxedo cat.
In a spicy cozy mystery filled with herbal remedies readers will love, a sustainable winery becomes the backdrop for murder! Fortunately, solving crimes comes naturally to charmingly unconventional homeopath and amateur sleuth Willow McQuade, as she looks for clues that will reveal a killer’s true essence.
Business is blooming at Nature’s Way Market & Café, and shop owner, holistic doctor, and amateur sleuth, Willow McQuade has never been happier. Her new medicinal herb garden is a hit, so is her new book, she’s in love with ex-cop and animal rescuer Jackson Spade, and enjoying teaching seminars about edible plants and natural remedies.
But everything changes when Willow’s old boyfriend and TV producer, Simon Lewis, winemaker David Farmer, and his wife Ivy, ask her to cater a party at Pure, their new organic vineyard, to kick off North Fork’s Uncorked! week and the competition for Wine Lovers magazine’s $200,000 prize. Pure’s entry, Falling Leaves, is the favorite to win, and the wine flows freely until after Simon’s toast when smiles give way to looks of horror. Ivy’s twin sister, Amy has been murdered! Turns out, the poison that killed her was actually meant for David. But who wants him dead? A rival vintner? Or someone closer to home? This time the truth may be a bitter vintage to swallow.
I can’t imagine that keeping one’s identity, as a witch in a southern town in Kentucky can be very easy. Southern ladies love to gossip you know. I know. I have lived in Kentucky most all of my life. That’s why I am pretty impressed with how clever Maggie Parks and her family have been, hiding out in Belgravia Court in Louisville all these years. Perfect setting to become a spy, right? Let’s just pile more secrets on. Anyway, if it weren’t for that flying owl, Miss Kitty, and a few other things, maybe Mrs. Hubbard would lay off them. Okay, may not.
Betting off Dead is the second in the Spies and Spells series from the Kentucky native, Tonya Kappes. She captures southern culture to a tee. Between the close knit family to the nosy neighbor, she has this witch family sitting pretty in one of the pretties cities in the state.
In this second installment, we join Maggie after she has found out what her life calling is suppose to be and just like all southern moms, mama isn’t having it. Mom Parks is going to do everything she can to protect her daughter from danger and that handsome, shall I say smoking hot guy, that keeps popping up that everyone in the family says is going to cause her nothing but trouble. What’s a daughter to do? After all, Mick Jasper is her co-worker and partner. Well, get dressed and go get into danger with the guy of course! It’s horse city and there is something fishing going on down at the Derby. With her familiar, a 1965 AC Cobra named Vinnie, and some witchy know-how, Maggie tries to help the horses of the Blue Grass state.
Not all goes smoothly of course. In the process, she loses a dear friend, faces a death she doesn’t realize would hit her so hard and starts to own who she really is. Maggie comes into herself in this second book. Tonya helps us journey with not only Maggie, but Aunt Mimi, Ms. Parks, Lilith and Abram. It’s a tough transition to watch, but well worth it once everything is revealed in the end.
Betting off Dead was an amazing book, so I can’t imagine how book three will be. Maggie is now aware of who she is and I am hoping fully accepted by her family. This is for a sure a coming of age story that so many people can relate to. Maggie is the one who is different from the rest of her family and they have to learn to accept her differences and I think they do. I hope they do. Beautiful book Tonya. The action and adventure in the book are fantastic, but the take away for me was the acceptance Maggie finds.
About the Author:
For years, USA Today bestselling author Tonya Kappes has been publishing numerous mystery and romance titles with unprecedented success. She is famous not only for her hilarious plot lines and quirky characters, but her tremendous marketing efforts that have earned her thousands of followers and a devoted street team of fans.
Tonya lives in Kentucky with husband, four grown sons and two schnauzers.
So excited to be here today. So what shall we discuss? Books, crafts, photography? I love talking with creative people, no matter their medium.
In most of my books, I talk a lot about food. So it was no surprise when I wrote A Story to Kill, I have an amateur chef serving as Cat’s best friend and partner in the writer’s retreat business. Shauna has a bit of the Irish in her so she makes a mean Shepard’s pie. I went to my first Irish pub on last year’s trip to the Big Apple, and we hit two that trip. Loved the food, except for smooshed peas. I’m going to have to add that experience to a book, because that stuff is awful. Maybe Shauna loves the stuff? It’s little facts that bring the characters to life for me. And things I love to play with.
Food is my comfort. I learned that from my mother. She didn’t have a lot of money, but she always made dinner a meal. Especially on Sunday’s. We typically had chicken fried in lard in the iron skillet. She had to make it in batches since the pan wasn’t big enough to feed all of us. And she fried everything, including the gizzards and heart. I never understood why she loved those. Mashed potatoes, milk gravy, and corn we’d cut off the cob and frozen the summer before.
And she always had dessert. A cake, cookies, or homemade ice cream. Yum.
So I always add meals into my stories. Mostly because I believe people need to share the food experience. And it’s always the best place to catch up on the gossip of the day.
In A Story to Kill, the writer’s retreat serves breakfast to the participants, but Shauna’s always setting out cookies or treats in the dining room. Running sugar highs is one way to assure a high word count. At least in my opinion.
I’m also a big Top Chef fan. Well, that and the other chef competitions. I can watch those shows over and over, always learning something new I can use in my own kitchen. Unfortunately, my husband is less than adventuresome in his meal choices. I have to ease new food into the rotation. And the guy loves packaged foods. Like Kraft Shells and Cheese. It’s plastic food, but he loves it. Which is another characterization I may have to add to one of my future characters. Or maybe Seth has grown fond of the stuff since he’s been single for a while?
This is why I love writing. It’s an adventure.
So what is your favorite dinner? Homemade or pre-packaged?
Thanks for stopping by Lynn! I personally love food of all kinds, both homemade and pre-packaged depending on what I have going on that evening. With kids, you do what you can when you can. If I have a choice though, though, I love homemade better than anything. I grew up eating good homemade food from just about every culture I can think of. From southern food to food from the far east, I have a taste for it all. Can I borrow Shauna by the way?
Review of A Story To Kill :
Author, Cat Latimer, wants to open up a monthly writer’s retreat where writers of all walks of life and styles can get away for a week and focus on their writing. After acquiring back her beautiful home in Colorado in the will of her ex-husband, she turns the home into just that. But, not everything is going according to plan as one of the authors die during the retreat and secrets from the past start to come out of the woodwork itself. Between rekindling an old romance and discovering secrets the home holds, Cat is finding it hard to concentrate on making the retreat the relaxing refuge it was meant to be.
I never knew it took so much quiet to be a writer. I could feel Cat struggling with all the chaos around her. I am not sure if all writers are introverts, but Cat feels like one to me. Maybe she was not always though. I am still left with so many unanswered questions. I am intrigued by the personalities that Lynn throws together at this retreat for Cat and her best friend and co-owner, Shauna, to deal with. What a great team they make.
The book was interlaced with suspense, humor and inside information about being a writer that the reader will be able to chew on. I believe Lynn was trying to give us a sneak peak at her and other writer’s lives and what they go through, minus the dead body of course. I loved how one of the characters, even though in peril, uses the opportunity to research for her next book while being locked away in jail. How cheeky this character is. She might have been my favorite because when she first comes onto the scene at the first of the book, I did indeed blush a bit and might have lost my coffee. Oh Lynn!
I don’t see how anyone could not enjoy this journey with these writers, professors and the mystery they are all involved in together. And, this book is just the beginning as we are left with unanswered questions at the end. Come now book two. Out with you!
“To the Warm Springs Writers Retreat. May it survive, thrive and prosper.”
Lynn Cahoon is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Tourist Trap mystery series, including Guidebook to Murder, Mission to Murder, A Shoe to Kill, Dressed to Kill, Killer Run, Murder on Wheels, and Tea Cups and Carnage (releasing June 2016) She’s also the author of the Cat Latimer mystery series with the first book, A Story to Kill releasing August 2016. Guidebook to Murder won the 2015 Reader’s Crown for Mystery Fiction.
She’s an active member of MORWA (local RWA chapter), MWA, and International Thriller Writers.
Lynn’s contemporary romance series, The Bull Rider Series, includes The Bull Rider’s Brother, The Bull Rider’s Manager, and The Bull Rider’s Keeper (a 2015 RONE finalist.) She is also the author of The Council Series — A Member of the Council, Return of the Fae (a 2014 RONE finalist), and The Salem Gathering. The Castle View series, includes Wild Hearts and Roadside Attraction. The third book in the series, Project Detour, will be released Summer 2016.
Kelsey McKenna is a wedding coordinator by most standards. She schedules the church or beach for the big day, destination of the couple’s dreams, helps with the dresses and even deters some of the drama every wedding party is bound to have. It’s a piece of wedding cake, as she has seen and done and seen it all. Not so fast there. At her most recent ceremony held in the beautiful San Miguel de Allende, Kelsey never imagined she would be responsible for handling the mystery of a death, make that two. The worst part? The mother of the bride is the one holding her to it. That’s what she’s paid for, right?
Terror in Taffeta is just that, one terror and problem after another and poor Kelsey is the one who is having to do all the foot work with absolutely no thanks from the horrid mother of the bride. I loved hating the character of Mrs. Abernathy. She was haughty, cold, filthy rich and the perfect mother-zilla in this story. Kelsey and Mrs. Abernathy butt heads the entire book. It’s gets pretty ridiculous. I kept waiting for Kelsey to take her out. I found myself saying this aloud while reading. (My husband just looked at me strangely and let me be.) Thank goodness for Kelsey’s best friend and photographer, Brody. This dynamic duo work their magic to not only get into more trouble but to eventually solve a very complex mystery. And, Kelsey might have a love interest along the way, maybe. That’s up in the air several times. I’m not sure what to make of him honestly. You’ll see what I mean.
I am not a big fan of weddings or wedding stories. There I said it. I worked as a wedding photographer for many years after college. I know how crazy they can be and so when I first saw this was about weddings, I was cautious. Well, I am so glad I read this because Marla’s writing style and voice made me laugh, cover my mouth with shock and scratch my head many times. The sarcasm and humor in this is amazing. I love it. There was never a moment where I was bored or wishing I was reading something else. I could relate to the crazy family members brought up in this. Oh, Mrs. Abernathy…..Bless her heart.
Marla did a great job making me look another direction while she was hiding the real murderer in another location. The plot twists were fantastic and kept me guessing. Honestly, it would be hard for another wedding coordinator book to top this. Kelsey is amazing and I just might want to hang out with her and snap a few shots with Brody. Now where is my SLR?
MARLA COOPER was astonished when, at the age of 18, she realized people could actually get paid to write things. So she switched her major from business to advertising—much to the relief of her accounting professor—and began her career as an advertising copywriter. She later became a freelancer so she could take advantage of perks like working in her pajamas, and now she writes a little bit of everything. It was while she was ghostwriting a book on destination weddings that she found inspiration for her first novel, Terror in Taffeta. Originally hailing from Texas, Marla lives in Oakland, California, with her husband and her polydactyl tuxedo cat.
So, you know I love dogs and really animals of all kinds. I have had it placed upon my heart to do a raffle to benefit a Collie dog rescue in my hometown of Bowling Green Kentucky, but I need help from all of my author friends for this one.
If you write about animals or have an animal in your book, on your cover, in you home, would you consider donating a book to this raffle? I want to do this in October so the rescue can have some money come winter time. Winter is the hardest time for animal rescues. It gets cold, they need extra food, more blankets, beds and sadly there are a lot of animals that just get dropped off because people don’t want the responsibility. I won’t even get into how that makes me feel…
So, if you are an author or know an author who would like to donate, just contact me here or on Facebook. Here is the link to the rescue all the money would go to.