Tag Archive | writing

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

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:

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. 

scavenger-hunt1

 

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/ 

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:

amazon-5

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

Spotlight On Death of a Wolfman by Susan Boles

Happy ALMOST Halloween?  Who’s excited and who needs something to read?  You do?  Well, are you ready for an amazing Halloween themed book just in time for the holiday? Susan Boles is here to answer your scary wishes. Nothing is scarier than a werewolf, one of the original Halloween scary creatures. Am I right?  I am so excited to have her spotlighted all weekend on BTB as well as have an amazing giveaway that is truly deadly.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00020]About “Death of A Wolfman”

Death of a Wolfman and is a Halloween book set in the fictional town of Mercy, Mississippi. Lily Gayle Lambert and the County Sheriff (who is also her cousin) find a dead wolfman in the woods on Halloween night after an anonymous 911 call. Lily Gayle can’t help sticking her nose in the investigation with the help of her lifelong best friend Dixie and town busybody Miss. Edna.

About the Author:

susan-best-head-shot

 

A graduate of McNairy Central High School in Selmer, TN and Lambuth University in Jackson, TN, Susan is now a resident of Olive Branch, MS. A lifelong love of Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie drew her to writing cozy mysteries. She’s the author of the Lily Gayle Lambert Mysteries set in the fictitious town of Mercy, Mississippi.

 

About the Artwork and Publisher:logo

The cover art is by LLPix Design and “Death of a Wolfman” is published at Argent Ocean Publishing, a boutique agency.

 

What’s next for Susan:

Christmas is DEADLY in Mercy, Mississippi….

Susan will be releasing a short eBook  Christmas mystery in the Lily Gayle Lambert Mystery series December 15th, 2016, “Death By Christmas Punch.”

 

Visit Susan on the Web:

Website www.susanbolesauthor.com

Twitter: @SusanBAuthor

WordPress: https://susanbolesauthor.wordpress.com

Facebooks: https://www.facebook.com/people/Susan-Boles-Author/100010974857065

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/susan-boles-author-a4075484

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14866595.Susan_Boles

 

Buy Susan’s Other Books; Fated Love:

Amazon

B&N

Kobo

BAM!

Smashwords

 

Susan is running a giveaway over at her facebook page for this amazing glass. It runs from October 28 thru October 30. US only.

CLICK–> https://www.facebook.com/people/Susan-Boles-Author/100010974857065

halloween-sugar-skull-wine-glass

Spotlight of We Wish You A Murderous Christmas by Vicki Delany

BTB Spotlight
We Wish You A Murderous Christmas
Vicki Delany

What a treat we have right before Halloween from Vicki Delany!  She has given a sneak peek of the first chapter of her November release of We Wish You A Murderous Christmas. Happy Holidays!

wewishyou_coverSpecial BTB Sneak Peak:
Chapter 1
Decisions decisions.
Did I want hearty traditional winter fare or something to remind me of summers at the lake?
Prime rib with roasted vegetables, or grilled salmon with rice pilaf?
“You have to make up your mind sometime, Merry.” Vicky handed the waitress her menu. “I’ll have the lamb shanks, please.”
“That sounds good,” I said. “Me too.”
“You always have what I have,” Vicky said.
“That’s because I can’t decide for myself.”
The waitress returned with a bottle of nice red wine and went through the ritual of opening and tasting. We were savoring the first sips when she came back, bearing an overflowing platter, and placed it on the table. Cartoucherie: a selection of cheeses and paper-thin slices of cured meats with an assortment of pickles and nuts served with hunks of freshly baked baguette.
“That looks delicious,” Vicky said, “but you have the wrong table. We didn’t order it.”
“Complements of the chef,” the waitress said with a grin.
“Nice.” I picked a tiny knife off the tray and sliced myself a sliver of creamy blue-veined cheese. “I heard they hired a new chef. My mom says the food’s improved dramatically. Is that why you wanted to try it? Wow, this is marvelous.” I let the deep sharp flavor linger in my mouth. My taste buds did a happy dance. Then I noticed the slight flush on my best friend’s face. “Oh,” I said. “I get it.”
Vicky Casey and I were at the Yuletide Inn for a special treat of a fancy dinner. It was a Tuesday night in mid-December, and both of us were rushed off our feet at work, but Vicky had convinced me (without much difficulty, I will confess) that we needed a break in the midst of the madness of the Christmas rush. I own a shop, Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, in Rudolph, New York, which we call America’s Christmas Town. Vicky’s the owner and chief baker of Victoria’s Bake Shoppe. It was her idea to have a special girls’ night out, to relieve some of the stress of the season. Judging by the high color of her cheeks, clashing dreadfully with the lock of purple hair falling across her forehead, Vicky had an ulterior motive.
“Evening ladies,” said the deep voice of the ulterior motive.
A man stood beside our table, dressed in a chef’s uniform of white jacket and gray striped pants. The logo of the Yuletide Inn was embroidered onto the jacket, with his name written in script beneath. Mark Grosse, Executive Chef.
Every woman in town was gossiping about this man. For once the gossip was understated. He was tall and lean, with dark hair cut short, enormous brown eyes specked with flakes of green, high cheekbones, and blindingly white teeth.
“Hi,” Vicky squeaked. “Thanks for this.”
“I hope you enjoy it.” He smiled at her.
“Very nice of you,” I said. I might as well not have bothered. Neither of them were paying the slightest bit of attention to me. Chef Mark was grinning at Vicky and she was grinning back.
“Oh, uh,” Vicky said, remembering her manners at last. “Mark, this is my friend Merry Wilkinson.”
He turned to me. His smile was dazzling. “So pleased to meet you, Merry. Are you a cook also?”
“I boil a mean pot of water,” I said.
“I’ve got to get back to the kitchen,” Mark said. “Nice meeting you, Merry. I hope you recognize the baguette, Vicky.”
“Sure do,” she said.
“Have a nice meal,” he said. “Don’t forget to save room for dessert. The gingerbread cake is fabulous.” He hurried away, back to the mysterious depths of a top-ranked restaurant kitchen.
I broke off a hunk of baguette and popped it into my mouth. Crunchy on the outside, soft and dense within. Delicious. “Yours?”
“Yup. As is the gingerbread cake.”
“Does he get all his desserts from you?”
“Just the bread mostly. As my gingerbread cake is a Rudolph specialty, he buys that from me too.”
I took a sip of wine. “Nice looking guy.”
“Is he?” she said, gulping down half a glass of her own. “I hadn’t noticed.”
I glanced around the dining room. It was full, and I knew Vicky only got a reservation because they had a cancellation for a table for two. Logs burned in the large open fireplace against one wall. Next to it a tall, fat, real Douglas fir was weighted down with decorations and trimmed with delicate white lights. The tables were covered in starched white linen tablecloths, and crystal and silver glimmered in the gentle light cast by a single votive candle. The glass candleholders were trimmed with a piece of freshly-cut holly. The room was full of light and laughter, warmth and wonderful scents, and that special something which was part of the season: Christmas magic. I settled back with a contented sigh.
“How’s business?” Vicky asked.
“Mad. Absolutely mad. As they say in show business, any publicity is good publicity. All the attention the town received when that journalist was killed has helped draw in the crowds. Once they found the killer and Rudolph’s reputation was cleared, anyway. I’m worried about running out of some of my stock before Christmas.”
“That’s a good worry,” Vicky said. “Better than being stuck with stuff you can’t move.”
We wiped the cartoucherie plate clean. When the waitress took away the empty platter she asked if we wanted another bottle. Vicky and I exchanged a question before saying, “Sure!” at the same time. The lamb shanks arrived and they were delicious, served with delicate potatoes, and grilled vegetables. We lingered over our meal for a long time, simply enjoying each other’s company and the welcome chance to relax.
I’ve had more of Vicky’s gingerbread cake than I can possibly remember, but I never get enough of it. I ordered that for dessert, and Vicky had the candy cane cheesecake. The gingerbread was served under a mountain of freshly whipped cream, and the cheesecake dotted with bits of crushed candy.
“My complements to the chef,” Vicky said as we rummaged for our credit cards.
The waitress was about fifty years old, but she giggled and blushed like a teenager talking about the captain of the football team. “Isn’t he wonderful? We’re so lucky to have him.”
Vicky pulled out her phone and called for a cab. Neither of us were in any state to drive.
Then, stuffed to the gills, more than a bit tipsy, my best friend and I staggered out the restaurant door into the hotel lobby.
The lobby of the Yuletide Inn was also beautifully decorated for the season. The huge tree was hung with an array of antique (or antique-looking) ornaments; wooden soldiers stood to attention in the deep stone windowsills; red stockings hung over the fireplace; terracotta pots overflowed with pink-flowered Christmas cactus and red and white poinsettia. Glass bowls of various sizes full of silver and gold balls sat on the large round table dominating the center of the room. A charming Christmas village, complete with snow on the roofs and lighted windows in the shops and houses, was arranged on a side table.
“Hey, look who’s here,” a baritone boomed.
“Hi Dad. Mom.” Even though I’d only seen them yesterday, we exchanged enthusiastic hugs and kisses. My parents greeted Vicky the same way, and we shook hands with the couple with my parents. Jack and Grace Olsen, owners of the Yuletide Inn.
“Are you going through for dinner?” I asked. “It’s late for you, isn’t it, Dad?”
“We’ve just finished,” he said, rubbing his round belly with a satisfied smile.
“I didn’t see you in the dining room.”
“We had a private room,” Mom said. “It pays to know the boss.” The two couples were close friends.
“Dinner was exceptional,” Vicky said, patting her own firm, flat stomach. “The new chef is simply fabulous.”
Grace and Jack beamed. “We’re hearing nothing but good reports,” Jack said. “And let me tell you that’s a relief, after the last guy.” The side of one lip twisted up in disapproval. Jack was, for his age, a good looking man with a strong square jaw and dancing blue eyes.
“We’re booked solid until New Year’s Day,” Grace added. “Some people have made next year’s reservations already.”
“Glad to hear it,” Dad said. “What’s good for the Yuletide is…”
“Good for Rudolph,” we chorused.
Dad said, “Ho, ho ho.” My dad was born on December 25th and named Noel. He has plump red cheeks, a round stomach, a long white beard, a mass of curly white hair, and bushy white eyebrows. Even when he’s not wearing the costume of red suit, black belt and boots, and pom-pom tipped hat Noel Wilkinson looks exactly like a storybook Santa Claus. And Santa he is, in our town at least. Tonight he was dressed in brown corduroy slacks (circa 1980) and a red sweater sporting a design of a reindeer with springs of holly entwined in his antlers and a big red woolen pom-pom for his nose. I noticed people walking through the lobby giving him sideways glances and their faces lighting up in smiles. It was late for small children to be around, but if they were Dad would always give them a wink and a hearty, “Ho, ho, ho.”
Vicky and I laughed and leaned against each other.
Always the more serious of the pair, my mother gave me a stern look. “You are not driving, I hope.”
“We’ve called a cab, Aline,” Vicky said.
“We can give you a lift,” Dad said. “We’re leaving now.”
“Thanks, Dad, but the cab’ll be here in a minute,” I said. “We’ll wait outside. Good night.”
We headed for the front doors as Jack Olsen said, “Did I ever tell you about the time I was in the navy, and Santa Claus visited the ship. We were in the Philippines, and he was the sorriest excuse…”
He broke off with a strangled cry. I heard a loud thump followed by a resounding crash. Grace screamed, my mom gasped, and Dad yelled, “Jack!

Berkley Prime Crime/Penguin Random House
Release date: November 1, 2016

About The Author:
Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers. She is the author of twenty-three published crime novels, including standalone Gothic thrillers, the Constable Molly Smith series, and the Year Round Christmas Mysteries. Under the pen name of Eva Gates she is the national bestselling author of the Lighthouse Library cozy series.
Vicki lives and writes in Prince Edward County, Ontario. She is the past president of the Crime Writers of Canada.

Vicki’s Links:
Website: www.vickidelany.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vicki.delany.1 and https://www.facebook.com/evagatesauthor/
Twitter: @vickidelany and @evagatesauthor

What’s next for Vicki:
elementary-she-read

 

Look for Elementary, She Read, the first in Vicki’s new Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series, coming March 14 from Crooked Lane.

Giveaway:
A copy of We Wish You A Murderous Christmas, US only.
Click To Enter Giveaway

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Putting On The Witch by Joyce and Jim Lavene

Putting On The Witch by Joyce and Jim Lavene

A Personal Note:

This particular tour is bittersweet. Is that term overused? Maybe. Defined, it means “producing or expressing a mixture of pleasure and pain.” I was so excited to be able to read this amazing book and review it but I knew I would not be able to rattle on about it to either author for they had both passed on. And there we have that bitter and painful part.

When I first got into reading cozies, Joyce was the third author I came in contact with thanks again to my Canadian sister-friend, Karen. I got onto the Joyce and Jim page and quickly started conversing with Joyce on a daily basis. I honestly didn’t know a person could have so much passion for purple!  Her morning greetings were warm and welcoming, nothing like I was seeing on the rest of the Internet. What a breathe of fresh air. Then, I got to slowing know of her husband as well. They were both so unlike others I was used to chatting with.

The news of their separate passings-on was devastating, but I am just glad to have gotten the pleasure and privilege of knowing them; even if it was only virtually. What a legacy they leave behind not only in their writings, but also in their beautiful personalities. I will never forget them.

jo-potw3Review:

So, you’re a witch who’s been hidden in the mortal world who recently found out you were a witch and your dad was one of the most powerful and dark witches ever. He’s now standing in front of you and your mom, who happens to now be a ghost, is not happy. What an opening! Putting On The Witch grabbed me from the beginning with some crazy stuff thrown right in my face and I loved it.

Having read some of the other books of Joyce and Jim’s I was going out of my mind with the “easter eggs” they kept throwing in throughout the book. If you are a reader of theirs, it’s a fun little gift. I know I was all giddy when things were mentioned and certain people showed up from other books of theirs. I won’t ruin it though.

My thought about witches is that they can’t be killed like mortals, but apparently if the right person gets ahold of them, they can. All of this and more takes place when Molly, Elsie, Dorothy and a few surprise guests attend their newest coven member, Brian’s’ birthday bash at the Witches Ball.

The party is elaborate, the preparation is elaborate and the location is unsearchable. Someone had to work pretty hard to get into this party in order to take out one of the powerful members of the Grand Council of Witches.

I love the contrast in the rich and powerful witches and what I call the “normal” witches, or those who are making an honest living just like the non-magical people. You can see the power struggles amongst these two groups which have been going on for ages.

Brian is the center of the party since it is his birthday. Although he was raised wealthy, he doesn’t have the same need to please, have money or be noticed like his grandfather. He is drawn to Dorothy who never new about her magic until recently. They both have a lot in common and I think that is why they are drawn together. In a way, they are both just starting.

Many things were denied to Brian because it wasn’t “proper” and Dorothy had nothing since she was raised without magic due to being hidden from her father. I enjoy the interaction between these two and how although they came from two complete upbringings, they are so much alike and therefore help each other out.

The friendship between Molly, Elsie and Olivia is heartwarming. These “retired witches” as they had hoped to be are only becoming stronger. Their friendship and encouragement of each others differences are what keeps their friendships so amazing. Molly is embracing her true heritage, Elsie is becoming appreciative that it’s okay to love no matter what society says and Olivia is learning to work with what life has dealt her…death. Through the changes in life and death, these friends and life-long coven members are growing themselves into better witches every day.

Putting On The Witch is about acceptance, breaking down the barriers of stereotypes and learning to accept yourself for who you are and just going with it. How in the world can a fiction book do that? I find that the Lavenes always have a message hidden in their books and this one is no exception. We all go through life, unsure of what the future holds. Some of us are unsure of our past and most of us are unsure of our future. One thing is for sure though. If we can find a small group of faithful friends who help to encourage our best selves, we are unstoppable.

 About The Authors:

joyce-and-jimJoyce and Jim Lavene wrote award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They had written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. Joyce passed away October 20, 2015 and Jim passed on May 5, 2016. They are missed by family, friends and their many fans.

Giveaway:

 Putting On The Witch Great Escapes Tour Giveaway

 

Author Links:

 www.joyceandjimlavene.com

www.facebook.com/joyceandjimlavene

Please join these other bloggers as they celebrate Joyce and Jim the rest of October!

October 13 – Booth Talks Books

October 13 – The Cozy Mystery Journal

October 14 – Brooke Blogs

October 15 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews

October 16 – Bibliophile Reviews 

October 16 – Island Confidential

October 17 – LibriAmoriMiei

October 17 – MysteriesEtc

October 18 – Kathy Loves 2 Read

October 19 – ChristyMystery

October 20 – My Interdimensional Chaos

October 21 – Murder, Mystery & More…

October 22 – centraleast2

October 23 – Lori’s Reading Corner

October 24 – The Girl with Book Lungs

October 24 – Polished Nails and Puppy Dog Tales

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