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Talking a little Homicide with Lynn Cahoon

I don’t know about anyone else out there in blog-land, but I love visiting South Cove. It reminds me of a combination of two small towns in Kentucky that I love to visit, Smith’s Grove and Glendale.  There is every kind of small business you can think of and that small town feel in both.  Today, we get to talk to Lynn Cahoon on her virtual tour about South Cove, the characters she writes and about herself and her writing the books. 

BTB: Welcome back to Booth Talks Books Lynn! It was so great to see you again in LynnBowling Green for the Southern Kentucky Book Fest.  Me and my daughter loved chatting you up.  Let’s do some more yapping as they say here in the south.  So, are you loving this virtual tour your on across all the book blogs?

LC: Thanks Sheryl! It’s great having a virtual tour for this book release because I can be everywhere across the country with no travel time.

BTB: First things, first.  How did you get started writing?

LC: I always wanted to be a writer, but I’m a black and white girl. So there was NO clear career path to be an author. I could go to college to be a journalist, but, I knew that would mean I’d need to talk to people. I really didn’t want to do that. So I got a political science/public administration degree and went to work for the state. I stayed there for 20 years, then decided I wanted to try something else. It was also the same time when my son went away to college and I got a divorce. Why not quit my job too? I started taking classes in the MFA of Creative Writing program.

Then I started dating my husband.  Darts takes a lot of time. We played league two or three nights a week, tournaments on weekends, and then at least once a month, we traveled for tournaments. No time for classes or writing.

Fast forward to 2007. We’d moved from Idaho to Illinois. I got a job with corporate America. And got my mammogram as soon as my insurance became effective. That decision changed my life. And probably saved my life. 2007 was the year of breast cancer. When you’re going through treatment, you realize what’s really important. And what you want your life to mean.

I wanted to be a writer. So I wrote. I submitted. And finally sold in 2012.

BTB: Hospitality and Homicide is the 8th book in the South Cove series and yet you keep introducing us to new places in the town. This time, we get to head to the local bed and breakfast. Why a bed and breakfast this time around? What is it about a murder and a bed and breakfast that is so unsettling?

LC: Actually Bill and Mary’s South Cove B&B have been there all along, but we’ve never stepped inside. I like visiting new businesses and focusing on different characters with each book. Of course, Jill, Greg, and Aunt Jackie will be major in all of the books, but I can feel when we haven’t brought a secondary character around much. So Esmeralda has a big role in H/H.

BTB: What do you think the fascination is with readers and the novice sleuth like Jill? She just seems to be in the worst places at the worst times. Why do you think us readers like her so much? Why do you like her so much?

LC: I like her because she mostly says what she’s thinking and does what she wants. I think sometimes women are so focused on what other people need from them, they forget about taking care of themselves. Jill may focus on food and running, but she makes sure she has Jill time. I think readers like the novice sleuth because they can imagine doing the same things, but safely in their arm chair.

BTB: Most of the time, the main character solves the crime. Do you think it’s important in an ongoing series that the mystery be solved each and every time? What do you think about an ongoing mystery through a series?

LC: You need a mystery solved in every book. But I believe you can have an ongoing mystery that continues in several books. Like my Cat Latimer series. Cat has an overarching mystery with who killed her ex-husband, but each book focuses on one current murder. Castle did this with who killed Beckett’s mother.

BTB: Why is Jill still running Coffee, Books and More? With all the adventures of crime solving, has she given serious thought to changing careers?

LC: Running the coffee shop is her life. I don’t see her giving it up anytime soon. She’s had the corporate lawyer gig, and she likes being a small business owner. Besides the shifts she schedules herself for give her a lot of time for her favorite pastime, reading.

BTB: I understanding needing some reading time and time to one’s self.  Speaking of one’s self let’s put you in Jill’s shoes.  Okay, you are in the same situation as Jill, would react any differently than her?

LC: Jill’s stronger than I am. She’s takes big risks (leaving her job and opening a coffee shop).

BTB:  What have you learned from Jill and her risk taking and adventures in South Cove that has stuck with you the most?

LC: She takes care of herself better. I am learning those skills as I go through life.

BTB: In Hospitality and Homicide, we have an author whose crime in their book comes true in real life in South Cove. First of all, that must be freaking for Nathan Pike, the author. Has this ever happened to you or someone you know?

LC: Actually, I’ve never heard of that happening to anyone. Sometimes, fiction can be stranger than truth.

BTB: So why do you choose a specific place to set your world?


LC: Mostly the place calls to me.

BTB:  Call you?  Really? That’s interesting.

LC: Seriously.

Guidebook to Murder started because I was vacationing in central California visiting my sister. I stopped by a small tourist town and found a house that was up for sale. The house was run down, the yard more like a

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pasture, and I wanted that house more than anything. Of course, I was going through a divorce and had a kid ready to go to college. Not a time to uproot my life and move to a coastal community. But I took a picture of the house and kept that picture on my computer for a long time.

Finally, the story came to me and the Tourist Trap series was born.

BTB: How do you choose between using a real town and a fictional town like South Cove?

LC: I’ve only used a real town when I wrote a short romantic novella (Playing Doctor.) It’s set in St. Louis, but mostly in the hospital.

Fictional towns are so much easier to work with. You have to know the area you’re using for the book but you can make the town look anyway you’d like. Until you’re several books into the series that is.

For my Farm to Fork Mystery series (releasing 2018), I’m turning my old home town into River Vista, Idaho. That way I can make it look anyway I want and still keep the feel of small town Idaho.

BTB: Do you run any book clubs or meetings for your fan following?  I would love to be apart of one as I am sure many of your readers would be.

LC: Hmmm, good question. I don’t. I know several authors do and have built a strong following talking about books, their own, and comparable. Currently I have a day job as well as the writer gig. This might be something I could start up when I only write.

I’m an officer in my work Toastmaster club and run meetings there. But I don’t think that’s what you want to know about.

Lynn Panel

Southern Kentucky Book Fest author panel 2017

BTB: I guess you could start a book-club at the Toastmaster’s club.  No, but seriously, you should start one.  Readers seem to really latch on to your characters and I’m sure getting to discuss them with you would really be amazing.  I know I would love it.  So, how do you develop these three dimensional  characters?

LC: Some people do character interviews, but I kind of know who I’m working with and, like any good relationship, you learn more by spending time with your imaginary friends. The good news is your editor can rein you in when you go off script. That’s also the bad news in case they don’t see it. I’ve really enjoyed doing character blog posts and interviews for the different bloggers. Sometimes my characters surprise me.

Esmeralda, the fortune teller/police dispatcher in the Tourist Trap series has a little vignette I wrote for a release bonus. I so enjoyed taking a peek into her world.

BTB: Esmeralda is such a great and original character.  Do you ever gather and plot with other friends or authors and just talk about murder and mystery to inspire the your books?

LC: Laura Bradford and I talk a lot both in person and on line. Every time I’m with her, I get a new bright and shiny (idea.) I’ve only ever plotted out one book with her, and it was Cat’s young adult novel that I am so going to write one of these days. What I’ll do with it, I don’t know, but it’s getting written.

BTB: I had wondered if we’d ever get to dive into Cat’s book!  That is something I would for sure read since I get snippets of it in the Cat Latimer series.  As a reader, I get to escape with a well-written book. What do you as the author get from writing?

LC: I do write for the money. If you went to a job and didn’t get paid, it would be called volunteering, not a career. Writing is a career for me. I get annoyed with people who say they write for the love of writing. It’s a job. It’s a great job, but you have to treat it like a job or it can overwhelm you. I love getting the bright and shiny new idea and seeing it develop into a real story. I’ve always told myself stories. Now I get to tell my stories to others and get paid. It’s a win-win.

Thanks a ton Lynn for hanging out here at the Booth Talks Books blog and answering all these questions. 

Hey readers, if you have questions, please leave them in the comments below for Lynn.  Also, feel free to just say hi or how you liked the interview.  You know I like to chat you all up.

Buy Hospitality and Homicide

Death in Advertising; Review

Death in Advertising by Laura Bradford

Death In Advertising CoverStarting a business is a difficult venture. It takes time, money, devotion, money, clients, more money and an extremely good support system. Tobi Tobias knows all about this as head of Tobias Ad Agency and part time employee at a local pet shop. Her luck seems to take a turn when the owners of Zander Closet Company end up in her conference room wanting to hire her for their new campaign.

The desperation that Tobi has to make her business survive after having a bad experience working with the last company she was with is palatable. Laura writes this character with feeling to where you are anxious right along with her from the beginning. When you meet the Zander brothers, Andrew and Gary, you’re not quite sure what to think of them. Tobi takes the job and work begins on their new ad campaign to make Zander’s closets a household name.

At the photo-shoot in the custom-Zander built closet of the wealthy Mr. Hohlbrooks,Skeleton.in.closet tragedy strikes and a dead body is discovered tucked away like an organized pair of shoes or dress slacks. This does not bode well with the new slogan, “When we’re done, even your skeletons will have a place.” Talk about killing sales…

Tobi is a woman trying to keep herself together when things are at their worst. She relies heavily on her friends and family to help emotionally and without this support system, I can’t fathom how she would be able to end up as strong as she does at the end of the book. With each break in the case, each friend or family member lends themselves to something she lacks. Carter, for instance, has a bit of flair and outgoingness that she lacks. Without him in her life, I think some of the evidence that she comes upon would go unnoticed. The bird, Rudder, is even a helpful “friend” that is critical to her figuring out the murder.

Laura brings together several fundamental human elements in this cozy mystery. They help one to realize just how the people around us assist to make us stronger. Tobi not only faces the murder that has happened, but learns to overcome bullies from the past by helping others through their struggles and moving past her own. Death in Advertising had depth and is highly entertaining to read. I hope there is a follow up to this book.

About Laura:

As a child, Laura Bradford fell in love with writing over a stack of blank paper, a box of crayons, and a freshly sharpened number two pencil. From that moment forward, she never wanted laura1 to do or be anything else. Today, Laura is the national bestselling author of several mystery series, including the Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries, the Amish Mysteries, the Jenkins & Burns Mysteries, and the upcoming Tobi Tobias Mystery Series. She is a former Agatha Award nominee, and the recipient of an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award in romance. A graduate of Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, Laura enjoys making memories with her family, baking, and being an advocate for those living with Multiple Sclerosis.

Buy Death In Advertising

Death In Advertising BlurbAuthor Links:

VALENTINES DAY SCAVENGER HUNT

Karen and Norm danced the Jive and neither are the killer.

CLUE #4

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You have your clue from me, now where and when can you find other clues? Here are the blogs and the days they will post clues. I hope you are a good sleuth…

9-Book Babble – https://www.facebook.com/teresasbookbabble/?

9-Booth Talks Books – https://www.facebook.com/BoothTalksBooks/?

10-Chatting About Cozies – https://www.facebook.com/chatcozy/?

10-Christy’s Cozy Corners – https://www.facebook.com/ChristysCozyCorners/?

11-Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – https://www.facebook.com/Cinnamon-Sugar-and-a-Little-Bit-of-Murder-187400864778608/?

11-Bibliophile Reviews – https://www.facebook.com/BibliophileReviews/?

12-MJB Reviewers – https://www.facebook.com/MJB-Reviewers-674225486045646/?

12-Lisa Ks Book Reviews – https://www.facebook.com/lisaksbookreview/?

13-Girl With Book Lungs – https://www.facebook.com/girlwithbooklungs/?

13-A Cup Of Tea and a Cozy Mystery – https://www.facebook.com/acupofteaandacozymystery/?

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Valentine’s Day Scavenger Hunt

If you read this blog, then you love mysteries and solving them along with the various characters that are so brilliantly woven throughout the many books that I blog about.  Kathi Daley is hosting a Valentine’s Day Scavenger Hunt and someone has been murdered!  It is up to you, the readers, to solve the mystery this time.  And, the prizes are fantastic. 

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Find all the clues which will be listed on the Facebook pages listed above and figure out who the killer is, who the victim is, and which type of dance they were participating in when the murder occurred.

How does one survive this?  Well, Kathi has written a handy guide right here.  Make sure to read and study it before the dance.  It might be the only thing that keeps you alive…

One grand prize winner will receive a $50 Amazon gift card and 5 second place winners will receive their choice of Kathi Daley ebook.

The clues will be provided February 8 – 13 and the winner will be announced on February 14. The rules and links to the clues will be posted on my main author page on February 7 at https://www.facebook.com/kathidaleybooks/ 

BTB Review of The Passed Prop by Anne Hagan

The Passed Prop

by Anne Hagan

Review

passed-propI might just live in this small town that Anne has written about. Morelville, Ohio is a small farming community with people who know all the people’s private business and a downtown that needs reviving. Everyone went to school together, have worked together and have been annoyed at people together. Throw in a dead body found in the haunted house during a fund raiser and we have some great gossip and a list of suspects for this little town.

After the body of a trouble-making townsman is found in a haunted house, replacing the original manikin body prop, the town starts to question their safely. Enter Faye Crane who had been seen and heard arguing with the now dead man the night before. After her daughter, Sheriff Melissa Crane, has her mother questioned by the detective, Faye is sent on a personal mission to clear her name. After all, who could go about instigating such a gruesome death? Come to find out, a lot of people. Oh how I love small towns and their drama.

Town’s people seem to start dropping like flies and Faye asks her best friend to help her figure out who is staking the victims to death. The big surprise is where the murderer/s get the wood from and where they find the manikin prop the first time. Chloe Rossi and Faye Crane start asking questions around town, realizing not many people liked the people who are being murdered off. All of the gossip and evidence seem to be leading to the same conclusion and the connection is horrifying. I would not want to cause any problems in Morelville, let’s just say that.

Being the good sleuths they are, in true Lucy and Ethel style, they form a plan and execute it. The spy scenes are truly hilarious. Just wait until you read them. Faye and Chloe are comical. The ending is striking. It’s not a big surprise as to who did it as we have been along for the ride with these two ladies, but the take-down is cleaver. I want to high-five these ladies.

If you like snickering, being in suspense and just need an amusing book to read, this is it. I look forward to future outings with these two ladies and I hope for my sake and yours that they get into more trouble.

About The Author

anne-aAnne Hagan is an East Central Ohio based government employee by day and author by night. She and her wife live in a tiny town that’s even smaller than the Morelville of her first fiction series and they wouldn’t have it any other way. Anne’s wife grew up there and has always considered it home. Though it’s an ultra-conservative rural community, they’re surrounded there by family, longtime friends and many other wonderful people with open hearts and minds.

Anne and her wife enjoy spending time with Anne’s son and his wife, with their nieces and nephews (and their great-nephews that they’re really still too young to have but, it is what it is) and doing many of the things you’ve read about in her bestselling books or that will be ‘fictitiously’ incorporated into future Morelville Mysteries and Morelville Cozies series books. If you’ve read about a hobby or a sport in one of her books, they probably enjoy doing it themselves or someone very close to them does.

Anne is a member of the Golden Crown Literary Society (under her legal name) and the Lesbian Author’s Guild.

The ladies together are the co-owners of a commercial haunted house, Hagan’s House of Horrors. Much as her dream has always been to write fiction, her spouse’s dream has been to create it through the medium of horror.

Author Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAnneHagan

Website: https://annehaganauthor.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/Anne_Hagan

 Buy “The Passed Prop”

BTB Review of Michelangelo’s Ghost by GiGi Pandian

Michelangelo’s Ghost by GiGi Pandian

Review:

michelangelos-ghost

I have not had the pleasure of reading any of GiGi Pandian’s works before so I went into this read completely blind. The cover is what captivated me and from there I went to the description. That’s when I knew I wanted to read it. Being a fan of mystery and exploration, a character such as Jaya Jones was going to help me escape on a much-needed vacation and explore my need for an exotic location. I grew up watching Indian Jones and always thought the females in his movies seemed pretty week. The thought of a female exporter fascinated me. I only hoped Jaya lived up to my expectations.

We have two females who are the main characters and focus of this story. Yes, there is a brother, his girlfriend and Jaya’s two love interests that form an uncomfortable love triangle, but I’m not sure those are the focus really.  So, I am focusing on the two main ladies.  One ends up dying, people thinking her a fool and dreamer while one goes on to explore this dreamer’s theories. There are lots of plots and twists in the book, but these two ladies and how their relationship is with each other is the thing I would like to focus on.

Lilith Vine was once an impressive professor of Jaya’s, but she and others left professor Vine behind in fear of having the stigma of “crazy dreamer” put upon themselves. After all, a real researcher can’t have that shameful of a person them around. Her fifteen minutes of famed discovery was over and she was a has-been, right? Yet, when professor Vine calls up Jaya and tells her about a connection between a world-famous artist and a set of carved statues in Italy, she can’t seem to pull herself away. Even after leaving her behind, Jaya knows deep in her heart that she looks up to Lilith Vine and that the quirkiness of her ideas makes her adventurous heart skip a beat with anticipation of the unknown.

Unfortunately, a prominent death occurs that puts a damper on the research but this drives Jaya even harder to find out if there is truly a historical connection. She is led to Italy to talk to the distant family of the artist in question and finds out of the shame associated with him, the scandal of his work and just how far people will go to manipulate others to get what they want.

I loved the adventure, the characters, the scene setting and development that goes on in Michelangelo’s Ghost. Jaya goes from a researcher who is not sure of herself to one who gains a full head of steam toward her better self. The character of Jaya did not disappoint.

Anyone who likes adventures and strong female characters will fully envelope this book. I was constantly “watching my back”, trying to figure out who was after who and if people where truly who they said they were. There is no sense of security for Jaya in this book and it’s an spree to the very end. I can’t wait until the next installment. I’m now a huge Jaya fan and plan to read the prior ones now.

About the Author:

gigi-pandian-bw-headshot-14-webres-rgb-7x8SA Today bestselling author Gigi Pandian is the child of cultural anthropologists from New Mexico and the the southern tip of India.

She graduated with honors from Pitzer College, studied abroad at the University of Edinburgh, and went on to graduate school at the University of Washington in Seattle and the University of Bath in England. Before completing her PhD, she realized she was much better suited to writing about the fictional adventures of academics than being one herself. She left academia for art school, and began writing the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Series.

Artifact, the first book in the series, was awarded the William F. Deeck Malice Domestic Grant, hit the USA Today bestseller list, and was named a “Best of 2012” Debut Mystery by Suspense Magazine.

The Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mysteries continued with Pirate Vishnu (awarded the Left Coast Crime Rose Award), Quicksand, and Michelangelo’s Ghost. 

Gigi also writes the Accidental Alchemist Mystery Series. The first book in the new series, The Accidental Alchemist, won a Lefty Award. The Masquerading Magician was released in 2016, and The Elusive Elixir will be published in January 2017.

In addition to novels, Gigi loves writing locked-room mystery short stories. Her story “The Hindi Houdini” was shortlisted for Agatha and Macavity awards.

Gigi’s publishing journey was kicked into high gear by a cancer diagnosis. A month after her 36th birthday, Gigi was diagnosed with breast cancer. To get through her treatments, she decided to throw herself into her mystery writing. She’s doing well, but life is still uncertain, so she plans to have a lot of fun in life as she travels the world with her husband, camera, and notebook for writing mysteries.

Gigi sits on the board of Sisters in Crime, is a member of Mystery Writers of America, and is an avid participant in National Novel Writing Month

Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GigiPandian/

Twitter @GigiPandian

Email: gigi@gigipandian.com

Website: http://www.gigipandian.com/

 

Buy “Michelangelo’s Ghost”

Get Witch Or Die Trying Review

Get Witch Or Die Trying
Spies and Spells Series Book 3
Written by Tonya Kappes

Review by BTB:

get-witch-or-die-trying-new-ebookFinding one’s calling in life is difficult. As a normal, non-magical person, I am still trying to find mine and I am almost 40! I can’t imagine having my life’s journey laid out for me in my 20’s. I also can’t imagine being a witch living in Louisville either, so…ya. Maggie Parks has the coolest life so I guess I will just live vicariously through her as I have during the prior two books. Thank goodness this third book came out. I was getting bored folding laundry. Broom at the ready!

So, Maggie has her life’s journey now and is working for SKUL. If you don’t know what that is, read the book. She’s a necromancer James Bond with a super cool vintage talking car. I know! Her family is comparable to other families only magical of course and she works with the super swoon-worthy Mick Jasper who has seemingly gotten himself into some trouble and is at the center of a murder investigation of an ex-girlfriend, girl who is a friend? It really depends on whom you ask as to what his relationship was to her. Either way, Maggie wants to clear him and Vinnie, her car, doesn’t trust him.

Where the past books focused on Maggie trying to find herself and her life’s journey, it seems like this book focuses on Maggie’s mom, Aunt Meme and Mick finding themselves. It was quite a twist. These three characters have always been presented as so put together and sure of themselves. In book three, they seem to fall apart in different ways, losing their way and needing help from others to see who they really are again. They are crippled by their own personalities in a way and their past ways of living catches up with them. They then have to rely on family and friends to lift them up and to help them piece themselves back together again. Some rediscover themselves and others find sides of themselves they never knew existed.

This made the characters relatable to me as a reader as I too am going through a rediscovery phase in my life. Every stage of life is a new discovery and that is what this book and all of the Spies and Spells books are about now that I am looking at them as a whole. As a child, you want to know what you’ll be when you “grow up.” Maggie and her sister, Lilith represents this.

When we find our supposed life work, we then go into thinking about family, possible kids and this is represented by Mrs. Parks. She goes through protecting and raising her kids as they grow up. She is sure of herself and then at a certain age when they know who they are becoming, she begins to wonder who she is again. She begins to question who she wants to be. She begins to rethink and tries to work out the bugs in her life’s journey as she sees things seemly falling apart as her family goes in different directions.

Aunt Meme, the older woman of the house, has been through the prior two stages and is now running a thriving business and happy, or so she thinks. Her thoughts go to a possible relationship after many years of being alone. She worries about her age and if this is even proper only to realize she is letting it slip away when challenged by her nemesis, Ms. Hubbard. I have seen this with my Granny too. It was always so funny to watch her flirt with that old man, God rest their souls. Older ladies can be stubborn, but then realize that time is of the essence.

Then we have Mick, a secretive, headstrong guy who has had many unfruitful relationships and has now met a gal with as many secrets as he. As they say, “it takes one to know one.” Your soul mate is someone who you can be completely open with no matter how deep or dark your secrets. They don’t judge, they just go along for the ride. But, do Mick and Maggie find this in each other? I’m not telling you, but I can say that it’s another journey discovery just like the rest.

We are taken through each of their journeys and of their rediscoveries. This book is about so much more than magic, cars and a charming guy being investigated for murder. It’s about having a breakthrough. I expected an amusing book from Ms. Kappes, but was taken into a deeply psychological manuscript. Sure, you can stay on the top level of fun, but I dare you to look into it deeper. Believe me, it will be much more meaningful. Thanks Tonya for an amazing piece of work.

Buy:

About the Author:Tonya Kappes Pic

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.

Giveaway:

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This giveaway is not sponsored nor endorsed by Facebook or its affiliates. Ya, they don’t care a bit, but we do. Lucky you!  CLICK HERE TO ENTER GIVEAWAY

 

Author Links:
Website: http://www.tonyakappes.com/
Blog: http://tonyakappes.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authortonyakappes/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tonyakappes11

Make sure to leave a comment below and let me know what you think. I love hearing from other readers and authors.

Have a fantastic day and happy reading!

~Sheryl Booth