Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Interview and Giveaway with Maggie King

I am delighted to have Maggie King with us today. She is the author of Murder at the Book Group. I was able to interview Maggie and here is how it went. Maggie is giving a copy of her book away to one lucky reader. Leave a comment for a chance to win.

S.G. Tell us about Murder at the Book Group? How it came about?
M.K. I started with an idea for writing a mystery about a book group. I love book groups and have been in many—they have a special dynamic and the members can be fascinating to observe. I’ve known people outside of a book group who have shown very different aspects of themselves when talking about books—sometimes the aspects are good and sometimes they’re a bit, well … unsettling. These qualities of such groups provide the makings of a good mystery.

The Murder on Tour group in Murder at the Book Group is modeled after one I attended in Santa Clarita, California. This group picked books based on theme rather than specific titles; when we met each member discussed her selection—no spoilers allowed! The first year we read by setting location, the second year by the sleuth’s profession; one year we even read according to the first letter of the author’s last name.

In addition, I’m intrigued by choices and consequences and how so many of us don’t consider the full range of consequences of our decisions and actions. Sometimes the consequences create havoc in our lives and impact the lives of others as well.

Murder at the Book Group has an interesting history. It started out as Death in River City (River City is a moniker for Richmond, Virginia, referring to the James River). The original site of the murder was a book festival held at a hotel in downtown Richmond. Carlene (then named Deanna) was to be strangled in her hotel room.  But an interview with a hotel manager convinced me that the hotel setting would be too complicated and this was, after all, my first mystery. So I simplified and changed the setting to Carlene’s home and renamed her Sharon. In the second version the murder takes place the morning after the book group meets. Hazel goes to Carlene’s home and finds her dead in her bathroom from cyanide-laced contact lens solution. The final version is the one you can read today. My agent picked the name Murder at the Book Group.
S.G. Hazel Rose is such a great character. How did she come to life?
M.K. I like to write and read about people who stand at a crossroads in their lives and must pick a path.  In Murder at the Book Group Hazel is at loose ends, stuck in a rut.  She isn’t unhappy but she isn’t fulfilled either. After four failed marriages, she’s reluctant to commit to her on-again, off-again lover. She’s making half-hearted attempts to write a romance, which is ridiculous because she has no romance in her life to draw on. She volunteers for non-profits but that’s ho-hum as well.
Hazel’s safe but unsatisfactory world is shaken when Carlene Arness dies after sipping poisoned tea at a meeting of the book group that she and Hazel founded. That galvanizes Hazel to investigate. She isn’t convinced that Carlene committed suicide despite the note found near her body. Hazel’s strong sense of justice won’t let her leave the matter alone until she runs Carlene’s killer to earth.
This is how Hazel gets out of her rut and moves forward with her life.

I love Hazel because she is caring and loves to help people, even if she doesn’t show her feelings in an effusive way. Her low key, non-threatening approach works to her advantage when she starts questioning the other members of the book group.
S.G. Can you give us a sneak peek into what is next for this series?
M.K. Hazel is asked to find out who killed a middle-aged drunken woman in the parking lot of a redneck bar.
S.G. Do you have plans for any other books besides this one? (other series)
M.K. If I write another series it will be a darker and edgier one, perhaps a hard-boiled detective series. I’m fond of that sub-genre as well.
I have a short story, “A Not So Genteel Murder,” published in the Virginia is for Mysteries anthology (Koehler Books, 2014). I just submitted a story to Virginia is for Mysteries II.

S.G. What book are you reading now?
M.K. The Blond Leading the Blond by Jayne Ormerod. Jayne is one of the authors featured in the Virginia is for Mysteries anthology.

S.G. What is your favorite thing about being an author?
M.K. Talking about books and writing with other authors and readers; learning how to grow as a writer.
S.G. What three things do you want your readers to know?
M.K. I wrote very bad poetry in high school as an outlet for my considerable adolescent angst;
My husband and I love to travel, especially by ship. Hazel Rose and the book group will take a cruise and, naturally, they will solve an onboard murder;
I collect Roseville pottery and Fostoria glassware
S.G. Do you have any hobbies when you are not writing?
M.K. Not hobbies per se, but lots of interests: walking, movies, cats, traveling, theatre, museums.
S.G. Who is your favorite author and why?
M.K. It’s tough to pick just one—but, if I must, I’d say John Steinbeck. His works are timeless and compelling, the original page turners. Read East of Eden and Grapes of Wrath and you’ll see why I selected this author who every writer should study.
S.G. If you could throw a dinner party and invite five authors, living or dead, who would you invite and what would be on the menu?
M.K. Fascinating question. The aforementioned John Steinbeck, of course; Joan Smith; Willa Cather; Robert Crais; Gillian Roberts.  I could go on. And on.
I’d go all out with an authentic Cajun buffet: crawfish, fried catfish, jambalaya, gumbo, etouffee, potatoes, and corn. For drinks, I’d offer southern favorites like hurricanes, bloody marys, and mint juleps, along with plenty of cold beer, sweet tea and lemonade. Bananas Foster and a decadent chocolate cake would add a great finish to the feast.  
Thank you for coming to visit my blog and answering these questions.
Shelley, it’s been a pleasure.

Maggie King is the author of Murder at the Book Group, published in 2014 by Simon and Schuster. She contributed the short story, “A Not So Genteel Murder,” to the Virginia is for Mysteries anthology. Maggie is a member of Sisters in Crime and the American Association of University Women. She has worked as a software developer, retail sales manager, and customer service supervisor.
Maggie graduated from Elizabeth Seton College and earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology. She has called New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California home. These days she lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, Glen, and cats, Morris and Olive.

You can also get her book here on Amazon

Monday, January 26, 2015

Blog Tour- The Cunning Cruise Ship Caper by Sally Carpenter

It's a great day when book tours are here and today we have Sally Carpenters and her new book The Cunning Cruise Ship Caper. I'm delighted to be part of this.
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The Cunning Cruise Ship Caper
by Sally Carpenter

Fun cozy murder mystery set on the high seas! What else can you ask for!
I really liked the Sandy Fairfax/Ernest Farmington character. He was very flawed, sometimes obnoxious but also genuinely nice.
~I Wish I Lived In A Library
Cunning_Cruise_ebookThe Cunning Cruise Ship Caper
(Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol mysteries Book 3)

Cozy Mystery
Paperback: 226 pages
Publisher: Cozy Cat Press (September 28, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-1939816528
E- book File Size: 890 KB
It’s been years since Sandy Fairfax was a teen idol and starred in his hit ‘70s television series Buddy Brave, Boy Sleuth, but he still has his fans. Now it’s 1993 and many of his grown-up fans see a leisurely cruise as the ideal vacation. So, when Sandy’s agent finds him a pleasant gig aboard the SS Zodiac, he jumps at the chance. And, when the offer includes a spot for his musician sister, Celeste, who is blind, Sandy sees an opportunity to re-engage with his estranged sibling. However, the brother-sister duo are barely aboard the ship, when Sandy finds a singer from another shipboard show murdered in his dressing room. When the ship’s security officer does little to investigate, Sandy feels obligated to jump in, even though he isn’t a detective––he just used to play one on TV. Soon he’s grilling potential suspects, including a burnt-out piano bar player, a Southern-fried magician, a blackmail victim, a ventriloquist with a sassy dummy and even a former flame. Will Sandy unmask the killer before the cruise ends? Will he connect with the girl of his dreams? Will he have time to enjoy the sights of Nassau? Or will he end up sleeping with the fishes in the Atlantic Ocean, another victim in this killer’s CUNNING CRUISE SHIP CAPER?
My review:
Sally Carpenter's newest installment in this series is a sure hit. This fun whodunit will win you over from the start. Sandy and his sister Celeste are going on a cruise to perform. What they didn't sign up for was a murder and when that takes place Sandy gets on the case to try and find out who would kill a singer that was on board.  You will be on the edge of your seat eagerly waiting to find out what will happen. Don't miss a minute of this great book.
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About This Author
Sally Carpenter is native Hoosier now living in Moorpark, California.
She has a master’s degree in theater from Indiana State University. While in school her plays “Star Collector” and “Common Ground” were finalists in the American College Theater Festival One-Act Playwrighting Competition. “Common Ground” also earned a college creative writing award and “Star Collector” was produced in New York City.
Carpenter also has a master’s degree in theology and a black belt in tae kwon do.
She’s worked as an actress, freelance writer, college writing instructor, theater critic, jail chaplain, and tour guide/page for a major movie studio. She’s now employed at a community newspaper.
Her initial book in the Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol series, “The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper,” was a 2012 Eureka! Award finalist for best first mystery novel.
Her short story, “Dark Nights at the Deluxe Drive-in,” appears in the anthology “Last Exit to Murder.”
“Faster Than a Speeding Bullet” was published in the “Plan B: Vol. 2” e-book anthology.
Her short story “The Pie-eyed Spy” appeared in the Nov. 23, 2013, issue of Kings River Life ezine.
Author Links
She’s a member of Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles chapter. Contact her at Facebook orscwriter@earthlink.net.
Purchase Links
Amazon B&N

Book Tour - Devil in the Deadline by Lyndee Walker

I am so thrilled to be part of this book tour. Lyndee Walker is a wonderful author and her book are incredible. Once you start reading you won't want to stop. Welcome Lyndee!
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Devil in the Deadline
by LynDee Walker

The Nichelle Clark books just keep getting better and better….
~Musings and Ramblings
Lots of twists and turns in Devil in the Deadline. A good cozy mystery! Author Walker has a good writing style so the book flows.
~Mysteries Etc.
There is a lot of ground to cover in Devil in the Deadline, and Ms. Walker does a wonderful job of pacing the action, and I think our emotional reactions to characters and situations is just what she imagined it would be during the writing of this book.
~Back Porchervations
This entire series is absolutely awesome. Each story is just full of action, thrills, romance and humor too! LynDee Walker just keeps topping herself!
~Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book
The mystery is well developed and takes several interesting twists and turns…
~Queen of All She Reads
Author LynDee Walker has outdone herself with this fourth entry in her Headlines in High Heels Mystery series. I highly recommend the fantastic Devil in the Deadline…
~Jane Reads
23269349Devil in the Deadline
(A Nichelle Clarke Headlines in Heels Mystery #4)
Paperback: 268 pages
Publisher: Henery Press (January 6, 2015)
ISBN-13: 978-1940976617

When the Richmond police offer an exclusive in exchange for help with a case, nothing—not even a costume party—stops crime reporter Nichelle Clarke from making Manolo tracks to the crime scene. The hunt leads her to a televangelist’s compound in the Virginia countryside where the Reverend may be more interested in fat stacks of cash than he is saving wayward souls.
With two sexy guys tangled up in Nichelle’s story—and in her heart—work and love are on a crash course for disaster. Pressure pours in from every corner, including a faceless new competitor that means the deadline is always five minutes ago. As secrets threaten and the truth becomes her lifeline, Nichelle must unmask the killer and nail down the story before she’s snared in the carefully-constructed web.
My review:
Crime reporter Nichelle Clark is back in the next High Heels mystery series. Eager and determined to solve the murder she is ready to go high heels and all. This fun-filled fast -paced whodunit will have you on the run trying to solve the case with Nichelle.  I loved this book and think it is one of the best ever. Looking forward to what will be next for Nichelle and the gang. 
LynDee headshot
About This Author
LynDee Walker’s award-winning journalistic work has appeared in newspapers and magazines across the nation.
Her debut novel, FRONT PAGE FATALITY, is an amazon and Barnes & Noble #1 bestseller, and was nominated for the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. DEVIL IN THE DEADLINE is the fourth in LynDee’s Headlines in High Heels mystery series. The fifth arrives October 2015.
LynDee adores her family, her readers, and enchiladas. She often works out tricky plot points while walking off the enchiladas. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she is either playing with her children, working on her next novel, or admiring beautiful shoes she can’t wear.

Author Links
Purchase Links

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Weekly Wrap Up #55

What a great week! Did you all have fun? Here is what happened this week:

Book's I've read: 

Murder at the Mystery Suite by Ellery Adams
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Winners this week were:
Angie Young
Betty Woodrum
Raquel Muniz

Coming this week:

Jan.26th - Blog Tour- Devil in the Deadline by Lyndee Walker
Jan. 27th- Author Interview and giveaway with Maggie King
Jan.28th- Author Spotlight-  Elizabeth Lee
Jan. 29th- First in a Cozy Series- Murder She Barked by Krista Davis
Jan. 30th- Blog Tour and Giveaway- Murder, Mayhem and Bliss by Loulou Harrington
Jan.31st- Book Trivia hosted by Jenn McKinlay

Hope to see you here.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Book Trivia hosted by Denise Swanson

Happy Saturday! It's time for trivia and today's lovely host is Denise Swanson. leave your answers in the comments here, as well as your email for a chance to win a signed copy of one of her books.

Here we go. Good Luck! 

1. What is Skye's favorite soda?

2. In addition to running her Dime Store, what is Devereaux's side business?

3. Name one of the three reason's Skye's mother, May doesn't want her to marry Wally?

4. When Noah and Devereaux dated in high school, why did he break up with her?

5.Two of the Scumble River books are set during weddings. Name one.

6. Name both of Devereaux's best friends.

7. Skye's best friend Trixie Frayne is a school librarian, but what does she hope to become?

8. In Dead Between the Lines, Devereaux was hosting a book club in her dime store. What is the club's name?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Book Tour and Giveaway - MacDeath by Cindy Brown

I'm thrilled to be part of this blog tour. Cindy Browns new book MACDEATH is out! Leave a comment and email for a chance to win a copy. You will be hooked from the start.
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by Cindy Brown

MACDEATH frontMacdeath
Cozy Mystery
Paperback: 275 pages
Publisher: Henery Press (January 20, 2015)
ISBN-13: 978-1940976693

Like every actor, Ivy Meadows knows that Macbeth is cursed. But she’s finally scored her big break, cast as an acrobatic witch in a circus-themed production of Macbeth in Phoenix, Arizona. And though it may not be Broadway, nothing can dampen her enthusiasm—not her flying caldron, too-tight leotard, or carrot-wielding dictator of a director.
But when one of the cast dies on opening night, Ivy is sure the seeming accident is “murder most foul” and that she’s the perfect person to solve the crime (after all, she does work part-time in her uncle’s detective agency). Undeterred by a poisoned Big Gulp, the threat of being blackballed, and the suddenly too-real curse, Ivy pursues the truth at the risk of her hard-won career—and her life.

my review:
At the opening of this book you will meet Ivy Meadows. Ivy is the star of the show Macbeth and more than excited that she got the part.On the night  of the performance on of the cast members is killed and Ivy is on the case to find out who the killer is and bring them down. With a cast of characters that will steal the show this whodunit will keep you reading until the final curtain call. Cindy Brown is the author of this fantastic read. Get this book today and enjoy hours of great reading. 
Guest Post:
Anatomy of a First Mystery Novel

Step one: Wake up with a great character in your head. Decide to write a novel. After all you’ve written over a dozen plays and screenplays. Writing a book can’t be that different, right?

Step two: Take first draft of the beginning of Macdeath to your writers group. They ask why it’s all dialogue and no setting or character descriptions. Realize that writing a book is different than writing a play.

Step three: Rewrite beginning of book and take it back to writing group. This time they say, “This is a murder mystery right? Shouldn’t there be a body by now?”  Decide it’s okay to have the death happen later.

Step four: Go to a workshop where you hear that it’s a bad idea to use shifting first-person point of views (POVs) like you do in Macdeath. Maybe. But you like shifting first person POVs.

Step five: After much revision, you begin submitting your manuscript to agents.  Some emails fall into the black hole of submission-land, some receive form rejections, but a few garner responses from agents who give you encouraging feedback and suggestions for revision. Like not having shifting first person POVs.  Hmm.

Step six: While submitting Macdeath, you also start writing the second book in the series. You win kudos for this book, The Sound of Murder and wonder if you should give up on the first book.

Step seven: You decide you really like Macdeath and spend a year re-writing so that it’s in just one point of view. You begin sending it out.

Step nine:  You hear Kendel Lynn of Henery Press speak at the Left Coast Crime conference. She’s funny and nice, and their books look great. You think she might “get” your book, so you submit Macdeath.

Step 10: Kendel e-mails you!  She loves Macdeath but thinks it needs a major overhaul. You talk on the phone, and she asks if you can move the murder closer to the beginning of the book. Of course you can!  And after resolving to listen more closely to your writing friends, you sit down and get to work.
BROWN-picAbout This Author
Cindy Brown has been a theater geek (musician, actor, director, producer, and playwright) since her first professional gig at age 14. Now a full-time writer, she’s lucky enough to have garnered several awards (including 3rd place in the 2013 international Words With Jam First Page Competition, judged by Sue Grafton!) and is an alumnus of the Squaw Valley Writers Workshop. Though Cindy and her husband now live in Portland, Oregon, she made her home in Phoenix, Arizona, for more than 25 years and knows all the good places to hide dead bodies in both cities.
Author Links
Website & Blog: www.cindybrownwriter.com
Twitter handle: @friendlybrown

Purchase Link 
Amazon B&N and Book Depository Coming Soon!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

First in a Cozy Series- Snow Way Out by Christine Husom

 Happy Thursday! Can you believe there is only one more week till this month is over. Today's First in a Cozy Series is Snow Way Out by Christine Husom. After reading this I now want to take a Snow Globe making class.

Book Description

 January 6, 2015

Curio shop manager Camryn Brooks thought she’d seen every kind of snow globe—until she saw one depicting a crime scene…

Ever since she was a child, Cami has loved the sparkling beauty of snow globes, and now, she sells them. In fact, they’re so popular, Cami and her friend—coffee shop owner Alice “Pinky” Nelson—are hosting a snow globe making class.

After the flurry of activity has ended and everyone has gone off with their own handmade snow globes, Cami spots a new globe left behind on a shelf, featuring an odd tableau—a man sleeping on a park bench.

On her way home, she drifts through the town park and is shaken to come upon the scene from the globe—a man sitting on a bench. But he isn’t sleeping—he has a knife in his back. When the police arrive, it’s clear they consider Cami a little flaky and possibly a suspect. After her friends also come under suspicion, Cami starts plowing through clues to find the cold-blooded backstabber—before someone else gets iced…

Snow globe making projects and tips included! 

You can get it here if you haven't already: