Tag Archive | Kensington

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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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.

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Shards of Murder by Cheryl Hollon (Review)

 

12705216_238955896436873_7007483064192358888_nSavannah Webb has just inherited Webb’s Glass Shop after the death of her father, the pioneer and founder. This unfortunate twist of his death, assisting to solve his murder and new role as a shop owner takes her away from the dream of becoming a care-free glass artist and holds her down to the small town she has always known. Not exactly the way she had seen her life heading. As her former teacher, Keith Irvin states, “The transition from student to master requires tremendous personal growth.” Savannah does so much of that and more in “Shards of Murder.”

We encounter Savannah as she is coping with her recent loss and beginning to get the shop settled. To aid her, she hires several high-spirited workers to make the transition easier; Amanda Blake and her father’s former apprentice, Jacob Underwood. She starts to understand how tough it is to manage a studio business. In addition, she finds out more about her father’s life in the community when she is requested as the new glass judge at the Spinnaker Art Festival, taking her father’s place.

Savannah’s days leading up to the festival are busy with situating the schedules and agenda for glass making classes and meeting the new students. On the day of the festival, she explores exhibits, ready to score the pieces, but is floored by one particular piece, a ruby red glass dress by glass artist Megan Loyola. Upon meeting Megan, she is spoken to hostilely and is told that she is driven by unbridled passion to make her pieces. She then abruptly storms off, leaving Savannah actually wanting to know more about Megan and fascinated.

I love the descriptions given about the glass piece of Megan’s. Noting being a glass artist or a person who is around many pieces of glass art, I could truly understand the intensity in the piece. I love the way Cheryl gives life to the art though her choice of words in this section.

We get to meet others in Savannah’s life; most important I believe is Rooney, who had been her father’s dog. We get to spend time with Savannah and Rooney in agility practice and on walks, getting to see a side of the character we could only see with this hyper pet. I enjoyed these sections she spends with the Rooney as through his training and learning discipline, she is learning to work though and understand her own feeling pertaining to her dad’s death; a disciplining of her emotions and learning to heal.

Savannah chooses the winner of the glass competition, Megan, but she is nowhere to be found. Megan’s entire exhibition at the art show has been packed up. After the presentations, Savannah starts probing around the show and then calling but Megan is not to be found.

It’s not until the next day that we begin to understand why Megan did not claim her prize at the art show. On Savannah and Rooney’s morning walk, they find her body floating in the river. Savannah calls the police as she holds on to the bobbing corpse of the girl. When they arrive, and unfortunate turn of events sends the body back into the water where it is lost until authorities find it later that day. Savannah is put at the top of the murder suspect list and a story of twisted intent, scorned love and jealousy start from there. But, even with classes, an upcoming dog show and being the number one suspect, Savannah, along with her employees are on the track of this ruthless killer to clear her name and keep Webb’s Glass’ reputation streak free.

This book was full of beautiful descriptions. During the classroom scenes, I felt like I was actually learning along with the students to the point of where I now want to find a fused glass studio and give it a go myself.

Cheryl not only made me feel like part of the crime-solving posse, but also introduced me

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to two thinks I have never been a part of before. Those being, glass art and dog agility training. Anyone can write about a dead body, but it takes a special gift of writing to be able to get a reader to actually want to participate in something in the real world outside of the book. Kudos!

Shards of Murder” is a fun cozy, mystery that the reader will enjoy for not only the murder but for the characters, the family feel of non-relation family and how well the whole piece works together to become one fantastic book. If only all friends were like “The Posse.”

 

Order, “Shards Of Murder” on Amazon!

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 I was sent this book in exchange for a fair review