Tag Archive | cozy

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

Click To Buy

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

Fatality By Firelight; Review

Fatality By Firelight by Lynn Cahoon

fatality-by-firelight-lynn-cahoonWhen I think of a retreat, I think of relaxation, good food and learning about whatever it is I have gone there to learn. Dealing with a murder investigation is not something that is usually on the agenda. For Cat Latimer, it’s becoming a normal thing on the agenda at her Warm Springs Writing retreat.

While trying to solve the mystery of her ex husband’s death, starting a new relationship with her high school sweetheart and trying to keep herself sane, Cat finds out that the town she lives in isn’t quite what she thought it was. With a missing signed Hemingway book, someone stalking one of her guests and a dead local man connected to one of her guests, writing retreat number two is going the wrong direction fast.

I feel for Cat. All she wanted to do was set up this amazing retreat for writers like herself in a beautiful historical house in this amazing small town. Much like people, the town shows it’s dark side. I kept screaming a the book to give her a break. I mean, she lost her husband in a divorce when she thought he didn’t care for her and now that may not be the case? For someone to grow up around a town that had a dark a side as Warm Springs and not know, they would have to for sure be naïve. Cat is finally waking up in Fatality By Firelight and seeing the people and town for what it is. And no, I don’t believe she will be getting a break anytime soon. That is bad for her, but so good for the series. She really needs to secure her home better though. I don’t know how she sleeps.

Lynn doesn’t keep us in one place for very long in this book. She has us bouncing from scene to scene which, for me, is a good thing. I don’t like to stay in one place for too long. I want to get up and “look around” if you know what I mean. Lynn does this for the reader. We’re going around the house, into the town, the bar, library and other places. I never get bored reading with the change of scenes.

Some questions I had in book one were answered in this one, but I still have more.   Not only does the book have a mystery, there is an ongoing mystery throughout this series, which keeps me reading the series. This makes me as a reader need to read the next book to know what is going on and figure out what happened to Michael. I won’t say if that is answered in this book, but I will say that I need to read the next one and soon. A mystery is afoot and I need more coffee and that third book. Cat Latimer has become one of my favorite characters. Now, if she can only get some time to write and stop having people die around her…..

About Lynn:

CahoonLynn Cahoon is the author of the NYT and USA Today bestselling Tourist Trap cozy mystery series. GUIDEBOOK TO MURDER, book 1 of the series won the Reader’s Crown for Mystery Fiction in 2015. She’s also the author of the Cat Latimer series, with the first book, A STORY TO KILL, out in mass market paperback now. Two more Cat Latimer books will be released in 2017. Lynn started her career writing sweet contemporary romances with heroes ranging from cowboys to warlocks. She lives in a small town like the ones she loves to write about with her husband and two fur babies. 

Buy Fatality By Firelight

Other Cozy Mysteries by Lynn:

tea cups and carnage-The Tourist Trap Mystery Series-

Guidebook to Murder

Mission to Murder

If the Shoe Kills

Dressed to Kill

Killer Run

Murder on Wheels

Tea Cups and Carnage 

Hospitality and Homicide (May 2017)

Killer Party (July 2017)

 

-The Cat Latimer Mystery Sera_story_to_kill_book_final_compies-

A Story to Kill 

Fatality by Firelight

Of Murder and Men (December 2017)

Author Links:

btb-seperation-bar

What do you think?  Do you enjoy Lynn Cahoon’s books?  Which series have you enjoyed the most?  If you’ve met Cat, what do you think of her?  If you have questions for Lynn, leave a message and she’ll stop by and answer them. 

I know I have enjoyed getting to know her over the past year as well as her fantastic menagerie of characters. 

Spotlight on LEA WAIT

Tightening The Threads

Maru with Tightening the Thread by Lea Wait

 

In the coastal town of Haven Harbor, blood runs thicker than water-and just as freely . . .

Antique dealer Sarah Byrne has never unspooled the truth about her past to anyone—not even friend and fellow Mainely Needlepointer Angie Curtis. But the Tightening The Thread Lea Waitenigmatic Aussie finally has the one thing she’s searched for all her life—family. And now she and long-lost half-brother, Ted Lawrence, a wealthy old artist and gallery owner in town, are ready to reveal their secret connection . . .

Ted’s adult children are suspicious of their newfound aunt Sarah—especially after Ted, in declining health, announces plans to leave her his museum-worthy heirloom paintings. So when Ted is poisoned to death during a lobster bake, everyone assumes she’s guilty. If Sarah and Angie can’t track down the real murderer in time, Sarah’s bound to learn how delicate—and deadly—family dynamics can truly be…

Buy “Tightening The Threads

Coming October 31, 2017

Christmas in Haven Harbor, Maine, means family, trouble, and murder . . .

Thread The Halls

Enter a caption

This Yuletide season, there’s no time for Angie Curtis and Patrick West to linger under the mistletoe. Patrick’s being needled by his mother—movie star Skye West—to set the stage for a perfect white Christmas as she brings her costar, screenwriters, and director home for the holidays. With his mother’s long list of wishes, Patrick’s becoming unraveled. To help, the Mainely Needlepointers offer to decorate Skye’s Victorian mansion and create needlepoint pillows as gifts for the guests.
 
But not long after the celebrity celebrants invade Haven Harbor, an unscripted tragedy occurs. Then some questionable Christmas cookies make Patrick sick. Before Santa arrives at the town pier on a lobster boat, Angie and the Needlepointers need to trim down the naughty list, catch a cold-hearted killer, and wrap up the case . . .

PreOrder “Thread The Halls

Lea Wait PortraitAbout Lea: Maine author Lea Wait writes two mystery series: the USA Today best-selling Mainely Needlepoint series, the most recent of which is Dangling By a Thread, and the Agatha-finalist Shadows Antique Print series, the most recent of which is Shadows on a Morning in Maine. Wait also writes historical novels set in nineteenth century Maine for readers eight and up. She invites readers to friend her on Facebook and Goodreads, to visit her website, www.leawait.com, and to read the blog she writes with other Maine mystery writers, www.mainecrimewriters.com.
Lea Wait grew up in Maine and New Jersey, majored in drama and English at Chatham College (now University) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and earned her MA and DWD in American Civilization at New York University. While raising the four daughters she adopted as a single parent Wait worked in public relations and strategic planning for AT&T. She now writes full-time and often speaks at schools, libraries and conferences. She is married to artist Bob Thomas, and has written about their life together in her Living and Writing on the Coast of Maine.

*Please leave a comment below and let us know which of Lea’s books YOU love the most.  If you haven’t read any yet, that’s okay!  Do you knit?  What’s your hobby?  Drop us a message and say hello to me and especially to Lea. *

 

BTB Spotlight ON: Dandelion Dead

 

Dandelion Dead
Chrystle Fiedler

Excerpt:

dandelion-deadChapter OneI absolutely love edible plants, many of which are also my favorite natural remedies. But I don’t mean fruits and vegetables. I mean weeds that are usually perceived as a nuisance and something to be “rid of,” but are, in fact, packed with nutrients and have amazing healing powers. Take the much-maligned dandelion, for example. Believe it or not, it’s actually chock-full of good-for-you vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, vitamins C and E, iron, potassium, and calcium, and can be used to make everything from smoothies to salads. I’d been fascinated by edible plants ever since my late aunt Claire Hagen handed me her dog-eared copy of naturalist Euell Gibbons’s book Stalking the Wild Asparagus when I was fifteen years old. An instant hit when it was first published in 1962, it provided a blueprint that anyone could follow to find, gather, and prepare wild foods.

After giving me the book, Claire encouraged me to go along with her as she foraged for wild edibles in the fields and woods of the North Fork, on the East End of Long Island, New York. I was born out here, in Greenport, and Claire moved here after living in London for many years, where she worked as an editor for British Vogue. My passion for edible plants and natural remedies came from her, and twelve years later, I was just as fascinated.

For this reason I was out in the fields teaching a class in edible plants early Sunday morning in October, a week before Halloween. Fall was one of my favorite seasons and a prime time to be out in nature, identifying and foraging to my heart’s content. Fall was also the North Fork’s best-kept secret. Not only were the summer tourists gone, and the beaches and the woods empty, the weather was cool, with just a little nip of cold, signaling that winter was on its way, but not here just yet.

My latest project, a medicinal herb garden dedicated to Claire, opened last year and had turned out to be a smashing success. This despite my finding a dead body near the digitalis plants, on the opening day of the annual Maritime Festival. Fortunately, with the help of my boyfriend and ex-cop, Jackson Spade, and my ex-boyfriend, television writer-producer Simon Lewis, we brought the killer to justice. The garden became a popular place to visit, and I kept busy leading tours several times a day along with running the health food store I’d inherited from Claire, Nature’s Way Market & Café on Front Street.

Now, with the cooler weather, the garden had turned dormant, rejuvenating and regenerating itself for spring. So, in the off-season, I’d turned my attention to my workshops in Nature’s Way on how to benefit from edible plants, and other natural remedies, for health and wellness.

This morning we were foraging in the fields behind Jackson’s house and animal sanctuary, far from the road, and away from exhaust fumes and nasty chemicals that could contaminate any plants we picked. Each class participant had a copy of one of Claire’s most popular books, the Edible Planet, which featured twenty-five commonly used plants complete with color photographs.

The first rule of foraging was to be absolutely certain in plant identification, and the photos helped ensure this. While most plants were safe and helpful, poisonous plants also exist, and we wanted to avoid these. I led the group, which was made up of ten women of various ages, some local, some from New York, and few from a day trip from Connecticut across the Sound. Lily Bryan[SHB1] , twenty-five, my new assistant at Nature’s Way, was also here.
Lily had graduated from the New York Culinary Institute in June and hoped to open her own restaurant on the East End one day. Lily was intelligent, motivated, and a hard worker—much like her uncle, Wallace Bryan[SHB2] , my manager—and an enthusiastic student. I was glad to have her along today.

We continued to head East across the fields as the early-morning sunshine slanted through the trees at the north edge of Jackson’s property, and birds wheeled and chattered overhead. A few feet later, I spotted a cluster of yarrow, a plant with firm, compact lacy white flower clusters on top of long, elegant green leafy stems.

“This is good start,” I said as I got on my knees and examined it, and the group gathered around me.

“Yarrow is one of my favorite herbs, especially in the fall. You can make a lovely cup of tea with its leaves if you have a cold, and it’s also relaxing and a mild pain reliever. This was also one of my aunt’s favorite edibles, and there’s a section on it in the back of your book that will tell you more about it.” I paused as everyone found the section.

“There’s plenty of it here, but we never take more than we need,” I said. “But since we’ll be using the leaves, flowers, and stem, I’ll take this plant whole.” I used my spade to gently dig it up and handed it to Lily, who put it in the big blue bucket that she always carried when foraging.

“Now, at our next class, on Monday morning, I’ll show you how to use these to make tea and a yarrow, calendula, and oatmeal facial. So, we need to find calendula next. Let’s turn to that page in your book and start looking for it.”

The group eagerly began to search for calendula plants, which sported bright yellow and orange flowers. “Some people say that calendula glows like the sun,” I continued. “It’s a member of the daisy family, also known as English marigold. It’s one of my favorite edibles. We can use it in the facial, but it also adds taste and color to salads and other dishes.”

As we continued to head in an easterly direction, we moved beyond Jackson’s property to the parcel next door, and the Pure vineyard. I had permission to forage here as well, since the property belonged to Simon. Simon had purchased the winery a year ago, as an investment, with David Farmer, a talented winemaker who came from one of the first families of winemaking on the East End. Together they had turned the vineyard into an organic, sustainable winery using biodynamic methods and native yeast, powered only by wind and sun.

Today was important for Pure and all the vineyards on the East End—the first day of North Fork UnCorked!—a weeklong affair that featured wine tours, tastings, and events from Riverhead to Orient, sponsored by the Long Island Wine Council and Farm to Table magazine. Pure and other wineries were competing for the title of best North Fork vintage, and a cash prize of $200,000. The judging of individual wines produced by the vineyards would take place throughout the week, and the winner would be announced a week from today, at a gala ball at historic Southwold Hall.

Simon’s winery was the clear front-runner in the competition. Not only was his vineyard the first on the East End to grow and make organic wine, but his vineyard had already nabbed several top awards this year and had received a ton of positive press. Of course, the rival vineyards were jealous. But facts are facts, and David Farmer was now widely regarded as one of the up-and-coming winemakers out here and in the United States.

This afternoon, Simon was hosting a cocktail party and tasting for the editor of Farm to Table magazine at Pure and had asked Nature’s Way to cater it for him. So, along with teaching my class this morning, both Lily and I were on the lookout for tasty edible plants to add to the menu.

An hour later we’d discovered not only calendula, but chamomile and mint, and Lily had added few handfuls of dandelion greens for garnish. While she led the class back to Greenport and Nature’s Way, I headed over to see Simon in his office at Pure to discuss last-minute preparations for party.

 

Synopsis:

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, and so is her new book, she’s in love with ex-cop and animal sanctuary founder 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.

About the Author:
CHRYSTLE FIEDLER is a freelance journalist specializing in natural remedies, alternative chrystlemedicine and holistic health and healing, and is the author of the Natural Remedies Mysteries series. Her many consumer magazine articles have appeared in USA Today’s Green Living, Natural Health, Remedy, Mother Earth Living, Spirituality & Health, and Prevention. She is also the author/co-author of seven non-fiction health titles including the Country Almanac of Home Remedies with herbalist Brigitte Mars, and The Compassionate Chick’s Guide to DIY Beauty with Vegan Beauty Review founder, Sunny Subramanian. Chrystle lives on the East End of Long Island, NY in a cozy cottage by the sea. Visit http://www.chrystlefiedlerwrites.com.

great-escape-button-tour-host-button

Visit Chrystle:
Website link: www.chrystlefiedlerwrites.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dandeliondeadbook/?fref=ts
Twitter: @ChrystleFiedler
GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3360187.Chrystle_Fiedler
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/chrystle123/dandelion-dead-a-natural-remedies-mystery/

Dandelion Dead Giveaway

Click To Buy on Amazon

 

It’s Your Party, Die If You Want To by Vickie Fee

Review:
Nothing says woman’s business retreat like a ghost hunt, pagans dancing naked around its-your-partythe fire and the dead body of a community member whose had an affair with just about every man in town. Dang Vickie! What was in your tea when you were writing this? It’s Your Party, Die If You Want To is a non-stop trip of having your mouth hanging open and I loved it!

Small towns are amazing because there is always something going on and everyone knows about it. Dixie Tennessee is just like any other small southern town except a lot more scandalous. Liv McKay, a party planner and her friend, Di Souther, the local mail carrier are in the perfect professions to know everyone’s business in a more intimate way. And can I just say the names, Liv and Di for murder mystery characters are brilliant! I love that to the moon and back.

During the Professional Women’s Alliance of Dixie retreat (PWAD), one of their members who “gets around town”, if you catch my drift, ends up dead with a look on her face that would turn ones blood cold. All this happens during a ghost hunt and the homecoming of Dixie’s very own celebrity ghost hunter, Lucinda Grable. With this twist in the retreat, no one is allowed to leave and everyone starts pointing fingers at each other. Between Liv and Di, they come up with a plan to ensnare the killer at the Halloween fundraiser during a stage performance of “Clue” after Di notes several clues of her own along the way.

These characters were sassy and not afraid to show their crazy at all. When that happens, the reader can’t tell who is naturally crazy and who is mentally crazy and needs to be put in a mental ward. Between the bickering, joking, unusual alliances and backstabbing, I just couldn’t keep up. Have I met these people before? Nah…..okay, maybe.

The ending was just as climatic as my first Clue game. My mouth was hanging open; I was fidgeting and really nervous as the plot was revealed. It was exciting, the dialogue that occurred between them all as the guilty parties were outed.

The details that Vickie uses throughout the book to describe the scenes are what make the book really come to life. I felt like I was at the parties. I could envision everything around me, smell the food and felt like I was right in with Liv and Holly doing the decorating and mingling. I was anxious with them as they were preparing each location for the big night. I learned about a new poison I had never heard about and that fascinated me. How Agatha Christie is that? She didn’t just tell a story that was entertaining, she kept me informed, involved me as a reader and even educated me.

its-your-party2This story went above and beyond just a story. Yes, it was a cozy mystery, but it has so many layers. It was like watching a movie in my head more so than some of the books I read. I love detail and love it when writers use it to help me along. I am not in their head when they are writing so it helps me understand their vision. So, if you don’t like a lot of description and detail, this wouldn’t be the book for you. But if you do, Vickie Fee is your author. It’s Your Party, Die If You Want To needs to be on your bookshelf.

About Vickie Fee:
Vickie Fee grew up on a steady diet of Nancy Drew, daydreams and sweet iced tea. Like vickiefeemost people born and raised in Memphis, she didn’t tour Graceland until she was in her 30s – and then only as a host to out-of-town guests. She now lives in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with her husband, John. If she cranes her neck slightly, she can see Lake Superior from her office/guestroom window.

After earning a journalism degree from the University of Memphis, she spent many years as a reporter covering small Southern towns populated with colorful characters, much like those in her books’ fictional town of Dixie, Tennessee. She’s a past president of the Malice in Memphis chapter of Sisters in Crime and current member of the Wisconsin Sisters in Crime and the Guppies chapter. When not writing, Vickie enjoys reading mysteries and watching B movies from the 1930s and ‘40s.

She’s currently working on the next book in the Liv and Di in Dixie mystery series, published by Kensington.

Buy On Amazon:

BTB Spotlight and Giveaway “The Hammett Hex” by Victoria Abbott

“The Hammett Hex” by Victoria Abbott

 

Excerpt:

 Squished into a cable car, hurtling down a steep hill, hammetthex-hi-resclinging to a rail with the wind rushing in your ears amid the clang and clatter of metal and the shrieks of fellow passengers might not be everybody’s idea of a romantic moment, but, strangely, it was working for me. Sure, my knuckles were white, but I was happy because I was wedged up against Tyler “Smiley” Dekker, the occasional man of my dreams. Plus the cable car we were riding gave us a view of San Francisco Bay. The half dozen-squealing school girls—black asymmetrical haircuts with the weird colored tips, the shredded jeans and the selfie sticks— couldn’t diminish the experience.

After all, you’re only young and pink-tipped once. One of them rolled her eyes at me.

I had also managed to tune out the puffy, bickering couple next to us. Who knew that you could sustain a twenty-minute dispute about the flavor of gelato? Chocolate hazelnut or nocciola? Obviously these two would never run out of things to fight about, and yet, they’d miraculously agreed to the same 49ers T-shirt.

We’d bumped into them before on the tourist walks in the area near Union Station. They always had plenty to argue with each other about.

The hulking guy right behind me was a bit harder to ignore. His large, pink, moon face was damp with sweat and his short-sleeved, blue-checked shirt strained at the buttons. He had clearly forgotten his deodorant this morning. Worse, he didn’t appear to comprehend the idea of personal space.

Smiley turned and flashed his grin. I loved that little gap between his front teeth and the way his blond hair blew in the wind. I loved that we were here in this romantic city. I loved that I could still make him blush.

Two silver-haired ladies wearing Birkenstock sandals and Tilley hats nudged each other and smiled at us in approval. I recognized them from our hotel. I’d noticed their bright toe nail polish in the line-up at the restaurant in the morning. Even though I was a bit jealous that they’d found seats on the cable car, I smiled back at them.

They each gave us a little wave they eased their way to the exit behind me.

All the world loves a lover, as they say. Loves a lover! Imagine that. Smiley and I had taken a few sharp detours in our relationship. It was still hard to believe that we were on a getaway alone without hot and cold running relatives and the persistent, gravelly voice of my employer, Vera Van Alst. Could a cop with ambitions to be a detective and a girl who was the first person in her family to go legit have a chance at happiness?

So far, it was looking good.

“Powell Street,” he mouthed. Smiley had a thing for Dashiell Hammett and Powell Street was important to him too. He mentioned the name every few minutes. He had also mentioned something to do with Sam Spade every few minutes on our cable car ride. As far as I could see, he’d watched The Maltese Falcon once too often as a child. It seemed that his grandfather was to blame. I knew all about fascinations with fictional characters and settings. So I got that. But I had just discovered this classic noir detective and I was reserving judgment about Hammett and his gang.

Today, Smiley was also busy taking pictures. I was equally busy hanging on to my gray fedora because of the bouncy ride and the stiff breeze. That fedora had been the perfect vintage find and just right for San Francisco. It was sort of inspired by Sam Spade, (see reserving judgement, above) but mainly I wore it because the foggy damp air turned my mid-length, dark hair into wild frizz. It was either the fedora or a brown paper bag.

It was our third trip on this particular line. We had three-day visitor passports and Smiley wanted us to get our twenty-bucks worth on every form of transportation.

Much of it had to doing with getting to know the city of Sam Spade. Smiley had a strong desire to visit Burrett Alley, off Stockton, where there was supposed to be a sign commemorating the shooting of Miles Archer in The Maltese Falcon. Pulp and Noir were not my thing and, to tell the truth, I’d been a bit surprised that Smiley was such an aficionado. I preferred the gentlemen of the Golden Age of Detection and of course, anything with Archie Goodwin in it. But if he wanted to see that memorial to a fictional murder, I was fine with it as long as I could keep my hat on.

Smiley had managed to turn full circle as we proceeded down the next block. There couldn’t be a building he hadn’t captured for posterity. There were plenty of shots of me too. That was fine as my hair was covered and I had lots to smile about.

“Seafood tonight?” he shouted, suddenly serious.

Well, how about that? I had something else to smile about. “We’re in the right city for it.”

My response was lost in the racket.

We shuddered to a stop again and people pushed onto the cable car. I tried not to get separated from Smiley as people squeezed their way into the car and a short, bullet-shaped man with crisply-gelled black hair attempted to shoulder his way between us. The cable car lurched forward. I steadied myself by grabbing Smiley’s belt with one hand. I held on to my hat with the other. “Sorry,” I said to the bullet-shaped man who seemed determined to take up more space.

I guess I’d been in the friendly, civil society of Harrison Falls, in upstate New York, for a bit too long. I wasn’t used to jockeying for position in confined spaces.

Bullet-man flashed me a bleak look and eased behind me. Good. Let him experience the big stinky guy first hand.

Smiley was pointing now, his enthusiastic words carried away on the wind. No question about it. He was adorable. And he wasn’t the first person to develop a fascination with Sam Spade or the Continental Op. I’d get my turn too. I couldn’t wait to get to Haight-Ashbury Street and its vintage stores.

As I reached for the airborne fedora, I felt something slam hard into my back, knocking the breath out of me. I lost hold of Smiley as I tumbled forward. When I managed to steady myself, a second sharp slam accelerated my fall. Panicked, I tried to grab at nearby passengers, but too little too late. With a roar of shouting voices behind me, I plunged, screaming wordlessly, from the lumbering cable car toward the pavement, my head set to meet Powell Street the hard way.

But I’m getting ahead of my story.

Let me start at the beginning.

btb-seperation-bar

Giveaway:

Enter to win ANY paperback book in the “Book Collector Mystery” Series by Victoria Abbott. This contest is available worldwide! You can enter every day until the 26th!

the-christie-curse  Victoria Abbott Book Giveaway  the-wolfe-widow

*Facebook is not affiliated nor cares anything about this giveaway. So…ya.*

About the Author:

mj-and-vic-fedoraThat shadowy figure known as Victoria Abbott is a happy collaboration between the artist, photographer and short story author, Victoria Maffini, and her mother, Mary Jane Maffini, lapsed librarian and award-winning author of three mystery series and two dozen short stories.

Their contemporary and humorous book collector mysteries draw from the beloved authors of the golden age of detection. There is no extra charge for the crooked Irish uncles or the pug. The good news is that while they’ve written five books together, they haven’t killed each other. Yet.

In other good news, their fourth book collector mystery, The Marsh Madness, won the 2016 Bony Blithe award for ‘mysteries that make us smile’. They’re smiling because their fifth book collector mystery will be released on October 4th.

You can find more at: www.victoria-abbott.com   or www.maryjanemaffini.com

You can sign up for their e-newsletter (contests, book news, dog fashions, nonsense and recipes) through either website.

 

Other Fun Link Victoria Suggests

Buy On Amazon:

http://amzn.to/2cJpPSj

Websites:

www.victoria-abbott.com
www.maryjanemaffini.com

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/BookCollectorMysteries

https://www.facebook.com/maryjane.maffini

https://www.facebook.com/BookCollectorMysteries

The Hammett Hex Trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hg8lreWUOo4&feature=youtu.be

 

btb-hammett-hex

 Cover art by Tony Mauro. 

The Book Collector Mystery Series is published by Berkley Prime Crime

 

 

Murder at Morningside by Sandra Bretting Spotlight and Book Giveaway

Murder at Morningside

Excerpt:

Time rewound with each footfall as I began to climb the grand outer staircase at Morningside Plantation. The limestone steps, burdened with the history of five generations, heaved their way toward heaven.

At the top lay a wide-plank verandah supported by columns painted pure white, like the clouds. By the time I took a third step, the digital camera in my right hand began to dissolve into the sterling silver handle of a ladies parasol. The visitors’ guide in my left hand magically transformed into a ballroom dance card bound by a satin cord.

Another step and the Mississippi River came into view as it flowed to the Gulf, languid as a waltz and the color of sweet tea. Could that be a whistle from a steamboat ferrying passengers past the plantation? If so, a turn and a wave wouldn’t be out of the question once I reached the top of the stairs, and good manners would dictate it.

I was about to do that when I realized the whistle was only my friend’s cell and not a Mississippi riverboat. “Ambrose! Turn that thing off. Honestly.”

“Sorry.” He shrugged. “I always forget you were Scarlett O’Hara in a past life.”

The mood was broken, though, and the sterling silver in my hand returned to plastic while the linen dance card hardened to a glossy brochure.

 

Buy “Murder at Morningside

original-cover-art

Published by Kensington Publishing Corp./Lyrical Underground

 

Giveaway

Would you like a chance to win “Murder At Morningside?” Then click below to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a copy and visit Missy.  She needs some btb-givaway-badgeideas for new hats and you need entries to win this book!

(Physical book for those who are in the US, ebook for those outside of the US) Facebook does not sponsor nor endorse this giveaway folks!

 

Win by helping Missy DuBois

 

About The Author

pixelstudioproductions-com-2Sandra Bretting writes the Missy DuBois Mystery series for Kensington/Lyrical Underground. A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, she’s written for the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle, among others.

The Missy DuBois Mystery series follows milliner and bona fide Southern belle Missy DuBois, who becomes entangled in several unfashionable murders on the Great River Road in Louisiana. The first book, Murder at Morningside, debuted in May 2016. The second installment, Something Foul at Sweetwater, will be available December 2016. Readers can connect with her at www.sandrabretting.com.


Visit Sandra!

Website: www.sandrabretting.com

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

Visit Lyrical Press : http://www.lyricalpress.com/