Tag Archive | guest post

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/ 

Lynn Cahoon Guest Post & Peek At Fatality By Firelight

Booth Talks Books would like to welcome Lynn Cahoon as she talks about her life as an author on the road and give us a sneak peek at her upcoming book, “Fatality by Firelight.”

Today was about building relationships and having experiences. Writers needed both.

Cat Latimer opens her next writers retreat with that statement and a trip to the Little Ski Hill that’s just outside of town.

13077010_272183106447485_7170828096244345958_nI totally agree with that statement. We do need both relationships with people who are not fictional (sorry Cat) and experiences that occur outside our writing office. So when Sheryl invited me to break bread with her and her daughter last April, I accepted, even though I knew I’d be worn out from a day of smoozing with readers at the Southern Kentucky Book Fest. I probably wasn’t the best company, but the food energized me for the drive home. And I loved learning more about Kentucky and Sheryl.

And that’s how relationships are built. One interaction at a time.

13051783_272182996447496_5836921062911643962_nIt’s the same with experiences. I never skied downhill. But after my divorce, I took up cross country skiing at Bogus Basin, Idaho’s version on the Little Ski Hill I invented for Aspen Hills and Cat. I loved the quiet that came over me both during the thirty minute drive to the ski hill and then once I’d rented my skis and got my day pass, on the trail. I could hear my breath as I worked my way up the hills and felt the fear of falling as I skied down the trail. I felt alive. A feeling I hadn’t felt for a long time.

My husband downhilled (yes, it’s a verb) as a teenager. He loved the daredevil experience of flying down the mountain with no inhibitions. I’m not sure I’d be able to make it farther than just off the ski lift and would have to be rescued by one of the ski patrol. Which might not be a bad scenario for one of Cat’s guests one of these days, especially if the rescuer was female and the writer rescued was a strong, scared man. I love getting my characters in trouble and seeing how they get themselves out of the situation.

So you know how Fatality by Firelight starts now. A trip to Little Ski Hill for the new group of writers attending Cat and Shauna’s writing retreat.   And a budding romance that shouldn’t be happening. Add in a dark-clad stranger who seems to know Cat already, and you have all the factors for a great mystery. Oh, and a dead body.

How it ends? Well, you’ll just have to read the book to find that out.

A girl can’t give away all her secrets.

Lynn

 

About “Fatality By Firelight”:
Cat Latimer’s Colorado bed-and-breakfast plays host to writers from all over. But murder14732356_362223670776761_6951742995138964623_n is distinctly unwelcome . . .

To kick off a winter writing retreat, Cat and her handyman boyfriend, Seth, escort the aspiring authors to a nearby ski resort, hoping some fresh cold air will wake up their creative muses. But instead of hitting the slopes, they hit the bar—and before long, a tipsy romance novelist named Christina is keeping herself warm with a local ski bum who might have neglected to tell her about his upcoming wedding.

Next thing Cat knows, her uncle, the town sheriff, informs her that the young man’s been found dead in a hot tub—and Christina shows up crying and covered in blood. Now, between a murder mystery, the theft of a rare Hemingway edition, and the arrival of a black-clad stranger in snowy Aspen Hills, Cat’s afraid everything’s going downhill . . .

 

Excerpt:
The world outside still clung to the previous night, the shadows not quite releasing their hold to the breaking light over the mountain ridge outside Aspen Hills, Colorado. With the first rays of morning, the fresh snow glistened and covered the lawn all around 700 Warm Springs.

Cat Latimer, owner of the Warm Springs Writer’s Retreat, housed in the old Victorian, sat at the kitchen table drinking a mix of hot chocolate and coffee. With a dab of freshly whipped cream, Cat thought Shauna’s winter concoction was just about the most perfect drink ever invented. Her friend, Shauna Mary Clodah, had taken over the role of cook, planner, and manager for the writing retreats. Shauna was a petite, pretty, Irish redhead that cooked like an angel. The small group sitting around the table was drinking the “virgin” version of her mixture. Later, the retreat guests would have the option of adding a shot of Bailey’s Irish Cream or Kahlúa to their cups, an invitation to the muse.fatality-by-firelight-lynn-cahoon

Right now, her guests were tucked in their beds, sleeping. Which was where she wanted to be instead of sitting here in the kitchen. But then she took in the smell of coffee and chocolate mixed together and she sighed in delight.

“I can’t believe you’re taking the group up the mountain. I thought this was supposed to be about writing. They aren’t going to get many words written by spending the day skiing.” Uncle Pete had become a regular at the breakfast table, both when the retreat was in session and when it was just Cat and Shauna milling around the empty house. Her uncle was Aspen Hills’ police chief and Cat’s closest relative.

“It’s part of the Colorado experience.” Cat explained, thinking about her own manuscript sitting on her computer waiting for her to make time to write. The phrase making time to write was a joke. She either wrote or didn’t, and today her word-count chart would show a big fat zero, unless she had the mental energy when they returned from skiing. During the first retreat, she’d managed to get a few pages written—before one of her guests wound up dead in his room. This retreat she’d promised herself that she’d focus on her own work, even when they had guests. Shauna was in charge of the day-to-day activities when the retreat was in session. Cat’s job was to be the resident writer and set a good example as a professional writer. A job that sometimes was harder than other days, especially if she got drawn into a Facebook rotating loop of cute kittens or the occasional photos of hot guys—or worse, one simple question that grew into a research project on the entire history of the Salem Witch trials.

Today was about building relationships and having experiences. Writers needed both.

 

About Lynn:
Cahoon

Lynn Cahoon is the author of the NYT and USA Today best-selling 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 pens the recently released, Cat Latimer series. A STORY TO KILL, book 1, came out in mass market paperback September 2016.She lives in a small town like the ones she loves to write about with her husband and two fur babies. Sign up for her newsletter at www.lynncahoon.com

 

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“Death of a Toy Soldier” Review, Interview and Giveaway!

Death of a Toy Soldier by Barbara Early

Review:
death4Excuse me while I run around like a kid in a toyshop writing this review for “Death of a Toy Soldier”. Oh wait; it takes place in an actual toyshop. Goodie, goodie for me. Finally, someone writes a book that I can relate to when it comes to my obsession with old toys, seeking them out and buying them. In this case, Liz McCall and her dad, Hank sell the toys at their amazing New York shop, Well Played. Fabulous name Barbara, fabulous!

Hank McCall is a retired police chief who has taken his hobby to the next level and opened a vintage toy shop and runs it with the help of his daughter Liz. All is well and good until a man who had visited the shop previously to check on the price of some super rare tin toys turns up dead in a pool of blood amongst the playful relics on the toy shop floor.

Hank is suffering amnesia from the night of the incident for an unknown reason and the McCalls are forced to try and put the pieces together to a puzzle that just gets weirder and weirder.   Hoping to get her father off the hook and back into the store he has put his heart and soul in to, Liz turns to friends and family in order to try and figure out who the mystery man was who ended up dead in their store. 

As if a game of Clue is in play, another man ends up dead who might be associated with the dead mystery man. The more they investigate, the more secrets are revealed about neighbors, friends and people they thought they knew. So, who did kill the man in the toy store with the dart. Yes, for sure a game of Clue is afoot.

The story did not stop the entire time. I was expecting a lull where I would lose interest and then have to force myself back into it because honestly, kids interrupt me while I am reading.   There was never a problem picking up where I left off because the characters weren’t flat. I felt like I knew Liz, Hank, Cathy, Jack, Peggy and those adorable sisters, Irene and Lenora.

I was able to jump right back in and the story just kept developing in new dimensions. Right when I thought I was going one way, Barbara took me somewhere else. I loved it! The killer threw me for a loop however. I had two people that I just knew did it. I kept thinking, “Oh Barbara, you made this too easy. You tried to throw me off, but I caught you.” Nope, I was so wrong. I didn’t see that one coming at all.

If there was one complaint I had, it was that I didn’t get to see inside the doll room. She kept describing Cathy, the other worker, peaking out and such but the reader doesn’t get to go in. Do you know what that does to a doll person Barbara? I wanna go in!

This series is exciting for me and I hope the second book comes out quickly after the release of this one. What a great set of characters, setting and descriptive writing. I was hooked. If you love toys, collecting old vintage memorabilia and love a good mystery go ahead and order this book. You need it in your life like I need another doll. And I DO need another doll by the way….

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Interview:

BTB-Do you or have you ever collected vintage toys?

BE-At one time, I had quite a collection: a huge assortment of Fisher Price with all the original wooden Little People, an early Mr. Potato Head, a virtual fortune in real wood Lincoln Logs, and a pretty good selection of Pez dispensers. Colorforms. Slinkies. View Master with a bunch of disks. You may have already figured out where I’m going with this. This was forty some years ago. Most of them were passed down to younger cousins or siblings or sold by my mother at garage sales.

But no, I wasn’t a collector before I started writing the series. And except for a few fun pieces and some small things I’m using to decorate my Christmas tree, I’m trying to keep my collection on Pinterest. But, like Liz McCall, I am an avid board gamer, and I do own some vintage board games. Some I’ve bought used and others I’ve just had for long enough that they’re actually worth something–which is kind of sad, because it makes me hesitant to play them. And that’s their value for me.

trainBut the fun part of the series is that you don’t have to be a collector or even an enthusiast to enjoy reading about the toys. They spark a lot of nostalgia. When we see pictures of, say, a Mrs. Beasley doll on Facebook, or a vintage Scooby Doo lunchbox we may have taken to school, those images inspire all kinds of feelings and memories. We all relate to toys. They were part of our childhood and are key parts of our formative memories.

BTB-How did you do research for “Death of a Toy Soldier”

BE-The idea for the series came from the town first. I’ve visited East Aurora (Yes, it’s a real place!) any number of times–it’s only a little over half an hour from my house. It’s such a quaint town, the kind you read about in cozy mysteries. It has brick-paved Main Street with every kind of store you might imagine in a cozy mystery: a quirky five-and-dime, a cupcake shop, a yarn shop, a vintage theater selling gourmet popcorn, a chocolate shop, and a variety of eateries, many with tables spilling out onto the sidewalk. There’s even an Amish furniture store. And yes, a toyshop. It carries a lot of classic toys, but it’s not a vintage toyshop.

But the whole town is truly darling. I supposed the normal reaction is to want to shop and sightsee. My first reaction was, what a great place for a murder!

So I really wanted to set a mystery there. When I searched the town’s history, I learned death5-copythat it has long been called Toy Town, because of the manufacture of toys in the area. Fisher Price (now part of Mattel) still remains, but there were once a number of different toy manufacturers clustered around the town. Sad are the things I just missed: there used to be a toy parade and a toy museum. Neither of those exist any longer. But since I write fiction, I reserve the right to resurrect them.

When I started digging around a little more, I discovered that, while vintage toyshops are a little rare, dealers and collectors do a bit of trade at vintage toy shows, and I found a few in my area. They’re starting to recognize me, even though I do more talking and picture taking (with their permission) than actual buying. But going to the shows always feels more like play than research.

BTB-What inspired the name of the book?

BE-I never get to keep my titles. I thought I was going to be able to this time. The working title was MURDER WELL PLAYED. In my mind, it was perfect. Vintage toys. Well Played. And every title could have “play” in it, in some form. And that’s the title it was subbed as. But the publisher who bought it wanted to change it. They wanted something more visual–which I understood, at least as soon as I got over my initial disappointment. It was my agent who actually came up with the title, which resonated with the publisher right away–and led to some changes in the story to accommodate it. I wasn’t initially sold–but I’ve learned to trust the instincts of those with experience in the industry. They were so right! And then they came up with that cover, which is absolutely fantastic. I love those eyes! So each book will likely feature an iconic type of toy.

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BTB-In the book, there is a lot about vintage games as they gather for a regular vintage game night in the toyshop.  What is your favorite board game?  Do you have a favorite piece you play, color, etc.?

BE-I have a lot of favorite board games, depending on my mood. Right now it’s a strategy game called Power Grid. I’m also fond of Pandemic, Ticket to Ride, and Settlers of Catan. Those three have apps that allow me to play against the computer, which is nice because I like to play far more often than I can find people to play with. I also picked up another fun one called Liebrary, where you’re given the title and brief synopsis of a real book, and then all the players have to come up with a first line. Those lines get shuffled together with the real first line, and then everybody has to guess which one is genuine. As a writer, it can be a lot of fun. Sometimes, though, it starts feeling like work.

As far as playing pieces, I tend to pick green, for some reason. And in Monopoly, yeah, I like the racecar. Boring, I know.

BTB- There is a lot about family and trust in this book.  Can you speak as to why this was such a heavy theme?  It’s unusual to have a father and daughter sleuth team.

BE-When we start thinking about the toys of our childhood, we tend to think of the circumstances of our childhood. And I wanted Liz’s childhood to be interesting. (The opposite is boring, and nobody wants that.) Giving her an alcoholic parent was an easy choice for me. I can write that with authenticity, sadly. The strong bond between Liz and her father was born from this shared adversity. Their relationship wasn’t perfect, but they’re very much there for each other now. They have each other’s backs and are more alike than either would probably care to admit.

Perhaps it’s because I never had a close relationship to a father, I tend to explore this idea in fiction. The close relationship between Hank and Liz is more similar to the one my husband and our daughter share. It’s very sweet and fun to watch.

BTB-I have to ask about the monkey in the book because every time I read about it, it vintage-monkeyseemed to represent something inside of Liz that she was dealing with psychologically.  Was the monkey used as a metaphor or am I over analyzing?  Was the monkey just a monkey?

BE-Sometime a monkey is just a monkey. I’ve always found them a little freaky. But like Liz, sometimes I can get a little nervous around toys with eyes. It comes from that one Twilight episode with a talking doll, and then a made-for-TV horror movie about a killer doll–that I was too young to watch at the time. I still have a low tolerance for horror, unless it’s something campy, like Sharknado.

But those early experiences gave me a bit of a doll phobia myself–nothing too severe–which I’ve given to Liz, because it’s a fun problem to have if you work with them every day.

BTB-So, I know we are just now getting a taste for this book, but anything you want to reveal about the next one?  Can we expect to go into the doll room….yes?  no?  Hahaha! I really wanna go in.

BE-Crooked Lane contracted three books, so I’m writing the second one now, which takes place at a model train and toy show. And model trains are such iconic toys. (Although there’s a lot of adults who would cringe at me calling them toys.) The working title which, given my track record (pun unintended) will probably change, is Strangers on a Toy Train. We’ll see. I’m thinking dolls for book three, although they’ve always been in the series. It’s not blatantly obvious, at risk of being too cutesy, but Liz McCall shares the same full name as an iconic paper doll, Betsy McCall. Her sister-in-law, Cathy, can be a bit chatty. There’s a potential love interest named Ken. And the author–just don’t call me Barbie. I HATE being called Barbie.

BTB- Thanks Barb for stopping by, chatting and letting us into your brain. You are quite fascinating and so is this little toyshop of yours.

About The Author:
barbara-early

Barbara Early authored the Bridal Bouquet Shop Mysteries (as Beverly Allen) and now writes the Vintage Toyshop Mysteries. She lives in Western New York.

Facebook Author Page : https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBarbaraEarly/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/BarbEarly
Alter Ego Beverly Allen:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBeverlyAllen
Blog:  http://www.inkwellinspirations.com/

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Giveaway:

We didn’t get a chance to go into the doll room, but you have a chance to win somethingwaldapubdom from the doll room. May I introduce, Jillian! She is what us doll collectors call a Walda doll. She was sold back in the 70s and 80s as an antiqued (not antique) doll to look like the older porcelain dolls of yesteryear. They have glued on wig caps, painted facial features of rosebud lips and different colored eyes, painted black boots and usually come dressed in a prairie looking dresses with a hat and bloomers.

Her head, arms and legs are made of porcelain and her body is stuffed with cotton rags. No Walda looks like another so collectors look for these for their distinct personalities. We have one (of course) in our collection. She was given the name Courtney and she joined our family in the early spring while my daughter and I were out antiquing. My daughter fell in love with her so we brought her home immediately, no questions asked. For information on Walda dolls, click HERE.

I was so excited when Barbara sent a photo to me of her find. I then flooded her with my doll knowledge. Lucky you! Just click below to be entered to win you very own “Walda” doll named by Barbara. Jillian is excited to come live with you.  She is complete and in collector condition which is hard to find.  Most are missing their hats.  Good luck!

Win “Jillian” The Vintage Walda Doll!

(named after the assistant museum curator, Jillian Hatley, in “Death of a Toy Soldier”)

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Buy “Death Of A Toy Soldier”

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Guest Post by Julie Mulhern

Julie Mulhern.photo credit Larry LevensonIn June, 2015, I went to Dallas. My publisher brought together some of its authors and we went to book clubs and a luncheon and a signing. The Deep End had been out four months and I was as green as new author can be—that is to say somewhere between chartreuse and apple.

Without exception, the authors I met were lovely people and spending time with the editorial staff from Henery Press was a delight.

On Friday evening, Gretchen Archer won a bottle of Kinky Liqueur. The contents were the color of strawberry sherbet. We went back to the hotel and drank wine. The bottle of blood orange infused vodka watched us.

Clouds coverSaturday was a full day. So full that it seemed only natural to unwind that evening with more wine. Someone picked up the bottle of Kinky. We passed it around. We speculated on what it might taste like. We did not open it. Someone—Phoebe Fox? me?—suggested we all put a character named Kinky Liqueur in our next books.

This suggestion was met with Kendall Jackson-fueled enthusiasm.

But a problem was quickly identified. My series was set in the 1970s, the others are contemporary. This road bump was swept aside. We’d all create our own Kinkys.

Which is how, Kenneth Keye LeCoeur, a character in Clouds came to be.

Cassie LeCoeur waved at me from across the lobby. Sometimes that happens. You don’t see someone for weeks on end and then you run into them in the oddest places. Poor Cassie. Being married to a man named Kinky LeCoeur must be a heavy cross to bear. Not that her husband’s real name is Kinky. He introduces himself as Kenneth. Probably when they met in college he introduced himself as Ken. But to those of us who have known him his whole life, he’ll always be Kinky. Mother says when one’s last name sounds as if it might belong to a professional dancer, one must be extra careful when selecting first names. The LeCoeurs obviously never heard her wax lyrical on this point…or maybe she waxes because of what Bob and Mary LeCoeur named their children—Kenneth Keye (show me a bunch of high school boys who won’t shorten that to Kinky) and his sister Candace, called Candy.

If you’d like to go searching for the other Kinkys, pick up Lowcountry Book Club by Susan Boyer or Heart Conditions by Phoebe Fox. And keep your eye out for a Kinky in Gretchen Archer’s sixth book (she makes no promises).

 

Happy hunting!

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Julie Mulhern’s Links

Webpage – www.juliemulhern.com

FB – https://www.facebook.com/juliekmulhern/?ref=hl

Twitter – https://twitter.com/JulieKMulhern

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8573907.Julie_Mulhern

Purchase on Amazon-Clouds In My Coffee

 

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Don’t miss Julie’s upcoming tour locations!

May 11 – A Chick Who Reads

May 12 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book

May 13 – Community Bookstop

May 14 – Brooke Blogs

May 14 – Shelley’s Book Case

May 15 – deal sharing aunt

May 16 – Back Porchervations

May 17 – Musings and Ramblings

May 18 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too!

May 19 – The Girl with Book Lungs

May 20 – A Blue Million Books

May 21 – Queen of All She Reads

May 22- I Read What You Write

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