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Posts from the ‘Guest Authors’ Category

Meet Granny Bertha from The Solving the Mystery Series by Matt Ferazz

I am happy to welcome Granny Bertha to my blog today. Granny was introduced to me by Author Matt Ferazz. Let’s meet Granny and see what she has to say.

What was the first investigation you ever did? What was the last? Do you expect to do more investigations in the future?

Oh, Granny, my first investigation was such a long time ago! I was still a young woman, pregnant with my son, when I read in the papers about a man who was found dead in my town. I decided to investigate it by myself, and found out who did it, but was afraid to show my conclusions to the police. Unfortunately, the killer committed another crime after that. I felt so guilty that I promised I was never going to let my fear get in the way of justice again. 

Decades after that, when I was already a grandma, a dead girl appeared near my house, and I promised I was going to get the killer. And I did.

My last case involved a rich girl who freaked out when she saw a painting being unveiled. Nobody knew what that meant, but my sixth sense told me there was something odd about that girl. My investigation proved me right. There was a murder hidden in that story.

It’s my plan to continue my investigations as long as there are murders to be solved. I want to help people, most of all. If I can do that, I’ll be a happy woman.

What do you know about the psychology of a criminal?

Everything I know about the criminal mind – or the human mind, for that matter – comes from my life experience. I like to think I can differentiate a person who would commit a murder from a person who wouldn’t. Unfortunately, I believe that most people can kill if they have the motif and the chance. That’s the tough part of the job.

How would you describe your investigation style?

Each case is different, and I use different methods for each one. I try to listen to everybody, to let them tell their version of the story. It’s so rare to find someone who listens nowadays! People open up like a book when they realize you are hearing what they have to say.

Can you describe a time when your work as a detective was criticized?

Yes: everytime I’m around my daughter-in-law, Lydia. She’s not a bad person, but she hates having a detective in the family. She was a pain in the neck during most of the Convenient Cadaver case, and even afterwards, when I was traveling, she kept telling me I should mind my own business and let the police handle the cases. 

How do you handle investigating when people don’t believe in you?

Let me put it this way: if I only acted when people support me, I wouldn’t do anything in my life! After all, Granny, we are old ladies facing dangerous criminals. People will always say that we’re crazy, and that we should limit ourselves to knitting and taking pills. I love knitting, but I always love catching criminals and I’m good at that. So that’s what I’ll continue to do as long as I can stand on my feet!

Bio: Author of all trades, Matt Ferraz has written thrillers, sci-fi, cozy mysteries and a lot of witty e-mails that sadly can’t be published. With a degree in journalism and a masters in biography, Matt has works published in English, Italian and Portuguese, and loves trying new genres.

Thank you Granny for being here today. You can find out more about Granny Bertha and Matt at the following links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Matt-Ferraz/e/B01G2I8FFU/
Blog: https://grandmaberthainterviews.blogspot.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14405163.Matt_Ferraz
Twitter: @Matt_Ferraz
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MattFerrazAuthor/

Best Staged Plans by Claire Cook

It is no secret Author Claire Cook is one of my favorites, so I was over the moon when I won her book "Best Staged Plans." It was autographed too. Can you feel my excitement?

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Meet Cozy Mystery Author Susan Boles

I am excited to have 91WqGLYNLsL._US230_Author Susan Boles as my guest today. Susan is the author of the award-winning Lily Gayle Lambert Mystery Series. And out soon, her book, Death On The Beach is part of a part of the boxed set, Summer Snoops and Cozy Crimes, 12 Mysteries of the Dog Days of Summer. All proceeds from this boxed set will go to support to Non-Kill Animal Shelters.unnamed.png

 

Let’s meet Susan.

Who is Susan Boles?

I love writing books! Which is a given under the circumstances! I love reading all genres and also poetry. So, even though I write cozy mysteries, and some romantic suspense, I really enjoy reading a lot of other things too. My day job is in the investment and insurance industry and I monitor regulatory changes at the state and federal level. Pretty dry and boring. But it’s always changing so there’s job security in that! LOL. Until I moved to Mississippi six years ago, I was a seventh generation Tennessean. I love genealogy and have worked on my own family history for over twenty years. I love animals and have a rescue mini-dachshund named Lucy and a rescue cat named Zimba.

What was the first thing you ever wrote that made you think perhaps you would like to be a writer?

When I was in junior high school I began writing poetry and short stories. I was crazy about horses and wanted one of my own and all of my short stories were centered around a teenage girl and her adventures while out riding her horse in the country. I knew all the way back then that I wanted to be an author, but it took a very long time before I wrote my first book and even more time before it got published.

What tweaks your creativity?

That’s an interesting question because it’s a lot of things rather than one thing in particular. I might see something on TV that makes me go Hmm. That would make a great story! Or hear a song and have the same reaction. Or a friend may say something that gets my imagination saying What if?

Tell us about your latest book.

I’m currently working on a novella for a box set of cozy mysteries that will be released in late July. My novella is part of my Lily Gayle Lambert series D1nCADq78JS._SL250_FMpng_and takes place at the beach. One of my favorite places!! Even on vacation Lily Gayle and Dixie stumble onto a murder victim. I’m also currently at work on a romantic suspense novella for the Brotherhood Protectors Kindle World. It will be a crossover from the Lily Gayle Lambert series with some of those characters appearing in the romantic suspense. That one will be released on June 26th! My plate is pretty full right now.

 

What is the favorite thing about your main character?

Her insatiable curiosity. I’m a big believer that being curious and learning all throughout life are positive things.

What are your characters most serious flaws?

Her inability to control that endearing curiosity. But if she could, there would be no books, right?

How many series do you have out and how do they differ from one another?

Right now, the Lily Gayle Lambert books are the only series I have out. I am going to be publishing regularly in the Brotherhood Protectors Kindle World, this year so I think that may fall into the category of a series. Or maybe not. But the Brotherhood books are romantic suspense instead of cozy mystery like the Lily Gayle books. I also have ideas for a couple more cozy mystery series that I’d like to work on later this year. So, hopefully, there will be a new series out in 2019.

You are a champion of animal rescue. Can you tell us about the boxed set of books that will be available soon and where the proceeds go and why you chose this particular platform?

I am so honored to have been asked to be a part of this box set. I am a huge advocate of animal rescue. There are so many animals out there that need loving homes. I am active with a local rescue group in Memphis, TN and see how very hard the members of the group work to take care of these animals and to make sure that go to loving homes. This box set, Summer Snoops and Cozy Crimes,  includes twelve authors of cozy mystery. Some of the books, like mine, are part of an existing series and some are something new the authors wanted to try out in the set. Revenue will go to two no-kill shelters we chose. AniCira is one. It’s a group in Virginia. www.anicira.com The other is Jefferson SPCA. Which is in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. http://www.jeffersonspca.org Both of these groups are very committed to finding forever homes for lost and/or abandoned animals. It’s available for pre-order already on all the big e-book retailer sites.

What makes you smile?

Lucy and Zimba. Sunshine on water. Flowers growing in my garden. The smell of the earth after a heavy rain. A cup of hot tea and a good book on a rainy afternoon. A rocking chair or swing on a big front porch.

What makes you mad/sad?

Seeing an animal or a child being mistreated. Those really get me.

Writers get discouraged at times. Have you ever been discouraged and what do you do about it?

Oh my, yes! I am my own worst critic and I sometimes think every word I’ve written is crap. And I have to restrain myself from just deleting everything. My friends are the best. When I get discouraged they talk me off the ledge. I walk away and come back with a calmer frame of mind and take a hard look. Sometimes big sections do need to be deleted. But never all of it.

What advice would you give to new authors or those dreaming of becoming an author?

Write. Write. Write. Often. Every day if you can. And Read. Read. Read. You need to read really good books and really bad books to see how they are put together and what works and what doesn’t.

What are you working on now? My novella for the cozy mystery box set. It’s titled Death on the Beach. My novella for the Brotherhood Protectors Kindle World. It’s titled Persuading Piper. And Book 4 in the Lily Gayle Lambert series. It’s titled Death said the Gypsy Queen and, hopefully, will be out in late August or early September. Then there

I like to end my interviews with an author’s favorite quote. What is yours?

Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get. ~ Forest Gump

My Review of  Susan’s book Death at the Midnight Dragonfly:

This is the first I have read of Susan Boles LIly Gayle Lambert series but it won’t be my last. A sleepy Mississippi town, quirky characters, a dead on the doorstep body, two best friends sleuthing where they shouldn’t be and an old possible heartthrob coming back to town have the mysteries details leading the reader down an intriguing road. And it all happens during the Christmas season.   What could be better than a holly jolly redly deadly Christmas? Lily Gayle, the main character, wasn’t in the Christmas mood anyway so a few threats on her and her best friend Dixie’s life just might perk up her mood.

This was a well-written, enjoyable book that kept me reading and kept me interested from beginning to end.

More about Susan:

Susan is the award-winning author of the Lily Gayle Lambert Mystery Series and a contributing author to the Brotherhood Protectors Kindleworld.

A lifelong long love of all things mysterious led Susan to write cozy mysteries. Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden were the first to show her that girls can be crime solvers. Agatha Christie showed her that even small towns have big secrets. And Phryne Fisher showed her lady detectives can be outrageously individual. She lives in Mississippi with her rescue mini dachshund, Lucy, and her rescue cat of no particular breed, Zimba.

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Lucy (9) adopted when she was six.

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Zimba (4) – adopted as a kitten

She currently writes the Lily Gayle Lambert mystery series set in the fictional town of Mercy, Mississippi featuring a multi-generational cast of female sleuths and romantic suspense in the Brotherhood Protectors Kindle World.

 

Stay in touch for upcoming releases!

Susan writes mysteries and set in the big city of Memphis, TN and the fictional small town of Mercy, Mississippi.

CONTACT SUSAN;
Susan loves to hear from readers and book lovers! Visit her website at www.susanbolesauthor.com Or drop her a line at Susan at susanbolesauthor.com

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Anicira

Jefferson spca

Amazon: http://bit.ly/SummerSnoopsAmazon
Apple: http://bit.ly/SummerSnoopsonApple
Nook: http://bit.ly/SummerSnoopsNook
Kobo: http://bit.ly/SummerSnoopsonKobo

 

Fatal Flip by M.E. Bakos

619dW7BCKsL._UX250_M. E. Bakos is a new author and Fatal Flip is her first book in the Home Renovator Mystery Series.

How many of us find ourselves in the midst of a life change? How many of us have the courage to follow our bliss?  Katelyn has lost her job and she is in the midst of a career change. Of course, changes do not always run smooth. Becoming a Rehab Specialist in Minnesota she runs into a snag when she finds a dead body in the middle of her first project. Let the hijinks begin.

I like stories about rehabbing houses. I always, being a mystery writer too, imagine what the homes could say if they could talk. M.E. Bakos does a very good job of weaving a tale of mystery and leading us through the clues and mystery surrounding the residents of Crocus Heights, Minnesota. Her characters and pets throw an interesting mix into the story.  I look forward to her next book.

51cg4SIQ+KLFatal Flip

Flipping houses can be fatal! When Katelyn finds a dead body in her first home renovation project, she seriously doubts her decision to “follow her bliss.” After getting fired from her steady job, her plan to flip houses takes a hit when she becomes a suspect. After all, possession is nine points of the law, isn’t it? Especially, when it’s a dead body.
To keep herself in pizza, peanut butter, good coffee, and her stray cat, Boots, in kitty chow she takes survival jobs as a wine sample hostess and market researcher. Meanwhile, Sheriff Don is kind of hunky, and her ex-husband, Eddy (it’s complicated) is back in her life sleeping on her sofa. How’s a girl supposed to solve dead body mysteries, make a living, and find love?

M. E. Bakos

M.E. Bakos has published several short stories in national women’s magazines. Her love of mysteries has led to writing cozies. Her first mystery short story, “Carpe Diem or Murder at the Carp Fest” appeared in the Festival of Crime, a SINC Anthology. Her second, “Perfect Storm . . . Perfect Murder” will be in Dark Side of the Loon, May, 2018 also a SINC Anthology.
Her first cozy, FATAL FLIP, A Home Renovator Mystery has several home improvement tips for the reader.
Mary is a member of Twin Cities Sisters in Crime, the SINC Guppies Group, and an alumna of the University of Minnesota. She is a lifelong resident of Minnesota and resides in Minneapolis with her husband, Joe Sebesta, and their spoiled Morkie.

Links to M. E. Bakos:

Amazon

Meet Author Carol Ann Kauffman

Today I welcome Carol Ann Kaufman to my blog. I asked her for an interview over a month ago and she got back to me right away but as you might have noticed life got in my way the past few weeks and I have not been too active on here. I hope to change that and what better way to get back into the swing of things than an inspirational author such as Carol Ann. She is the author of the Time After Time series, which follows a pair of lovers through their many lifetimes together, and the Cat Collier Mysteries, as well as holiday short stories with Books To Go Now Publishers. Enjoy getting to know Carol as I did. I have to add I see she is a member of the Red Cross. Please read my other blog Sprinkled Notes to see how the Red Cross just helped out in my community.

61zKe7KimhL._UX250_Carol Ann Kauffman

Please share a little insight as to who Carol is?

This is from my Amazon Author Page:

Carol Ann Kauffman is the author of twenty books to date, from short stories to full-length novels. Her novels, classified as romantic action adventures with a sci-fi/ fantasy twist, and mysteries. They’re about life, love, loss, and lunacy. She is a retired teacher from a local school district in Ohio, where she taught for thirty-five years. She has worked as a printer, managed a department store office, worked as an insurance agent, and worked in the hardware and automotive departments of a large store. She was a Red Cross volunteer. Carol loves to travel; her favorite places being Italy and Aruba, which show up in her novels quite a bit. She loves to play Bridge and to garden. She grows African violets and orchids. Carol loves dachshunds and trains. She is the author of the Time After Time series, which follows a pair of lovers through their many lifetimes together, and the Cat Collier Mysteries, as well as holiday short stories with Books To Go Now Publishers. Connect with Carol on Twitter at @Cay47. Visit her website at carolannkauffman.weebly.com or visit her blog, Vision and Verse at visionandverse.blogspot.com.

What was the first thing you ever wrote that made you think perhaps you would like to be a writer?

I won an essay contest in seventh grade. I was shocked!  They had a dinner for us and gave me a trophy. I was so surprised someone else liked my writing and thought maybe this might be a good thing to do for a living.

What tweaks your creativity?

Everyday life. Listening to other people’s life stories. Events in my own life.

Tell us about your latest book.

It’s called The Captain and the Ambassador.  512gMW8zoELIt’s a sci-fi romantic adventure. Ambassador Tull Redmond is looking for a quick ride back home to Earth after ending her twenty-year mission as a peace negotiator. All she wants is peace, quiet, and to be left alone. She boards the Earth Starship Giuseppe Verdi with its questionable leader, Captain Ben Jacobs anyway. It’s the fastest way home. Her quarters has a full bath, a space view window, and a large, real bed! How bad could this rule-breaking, authority-defying Captain Casanova be? High Council hates him, true, but his crew loves him. Surely, she’s too old and tired to be drawn into this bad boy of the quadrant’s personal circus.
Will Ambassador Redmond get the quiet, uneventful ride home she craves?

Is it part of a series?

As of right now, no. But, if it is well received, there’s a possibility it could be the first in a series of three. I have a few ideas for the further adventures of Ambassador Redmond and friends.

What is the favorite thing about your main character?

In this last book, Ambassador Redmond is an average woman and mother, who faces many of the same problems we all face. She is smart and resourceful. She loves intensely. In  general, my main character is usually a  tough, kick-ass woman.

What are your characters most serious flaw?

My main character’s main flaw is she never wants to give up. And in real life, sometimes you need to throw in the towel and walk away, for your own sanity.

What makes you smile?

I am a naturally smiley person. I love nature and animals, entertaining moments. I laugh at slapstick comedy moments. Kids are naturally funny. My dog, a 17 ½-year-old dachshund, is hysterical. My husband makes me laugh. He sees the humor in almost every situation.

What makes you mad/sad?

I dislike high drama, conflict-causing people. That makes me want to run.

Writers get discouraged at times. Have you ever been discouraged and what do you do about it?

Yes, I’ve been discouraged enough to want to quit. And if you can, I encourage you to leave this crazy business and do something else. The problem is I just can’t quit. I usually have three or four stories going on in my head at a time. I MAY quit publishing my work, but I won’t quit writing.

What advice would you give to new authors or those dreaming of becoming an author?

Write. Write every day. The only way you get better is to keep writing.  You can write one truly awful book but if you write twenty, you have to show some improvement. Also, read. You need to read what’s out there. Read all genres that hold your interest. And then read something really different. Read traditional and indies.  Don’t let anybody discourage you.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on the sequel to my bestselling sci-fi novel BELTERRA, called DARK RETURN, where the indigenous bat-like species comes out of the ocean and wants their planet back.  And Neeka is still patching up soldiers and sending them back into battle, and Braedon is still trying to single-handedly save the world.

I’m also working on the next Cat Collier Mystery, The Lavender Mists of May. It’s a series of short story adventures of a small town Ohio detective named Mary Catherine, or Cat, Collier.  January through April are out and doing well.

WAIT FOR ME, a Time After Time novel, is on my editor’s desk now. The Time After Time series follows a pair of quintessential lovers through their many lifetimes together. In this one, Richard travels from London on a hunch to find Nicole, but she is married to some oaf.   There is seven Time After Time stories in the series already published. Some are full-length novels. Some are novellas.

Did I forget to ask anything you would like us to know?

Yes. Food.  I like radishes, the little green leaves in the center of a stalk of celery, and red wine. (Not together.) And anything Italian.

I like to end my interviews with an author’s favorite quote. What is yours?

“Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” –Winston Churchill

Find Carol Ann at the links above in the article. Thank you Carol and I wish all the readers a fun day. Feel free to comment if you like. Comments are screened so it might take a short time for them to show up.

 

 

Another Granny? Author Matt Ferraz

I am excited to have Author Matt Ferraz1535502_859713800773510_2150689483235988986_n-1 on my blog today. He is the author of The Convenient Cadaver. I love the name of the cozy mystery. Let’s get to know Matt and his characters a little better.

Please share a little insight as to who Matt Ferraz is?

Most of the time I’m a reader, a watcher, a listener and an observer. By doing a lot of this, I’ve become a writer. I’ve tried to write in most genres, but there was always that voice in my head telling me I was put on this Earth to write about locked room murders, eccentric detectives and unsolvable mysteries being solved.

What was the first thing you ever wrote that made you think perhaps you would like to be a writer?

When I was five years old, my mother was helping my brother with his homework, and I was disturbing them to get attention. Mum gave me a sheet of paper and a pencil and told me to do some drawings. I then wrote a story about a wizard named Merlin – because I thought every wizard was named Merlin – who wants to find a magic crown that will give him unlimited power. That was my first story, and I haven’t stopped ever since.

What tweaks your creativity?

Little things. Every time I’m in a strange situation or a place I wasn’t supposed to be, I decided to look around and take some idea out of it. For example, every day I take a bus that goes on the same road. I’ve been on that road hundreds of times, but once the bus had to stop in an unusual place, and looking out of the window, I realized there were imprints of a dog’s paw on the road pavement. At some point, while the asphalt was fresh, a dog walked over it and left those marks. I passed by it all the time, but only then I noticed those imprints. I love that kind of thing.

Tell us about your latest book.

The Convenient Cadaver is the first volume of Grandma Bertha Solving Murders, a cozy mystery series. It tells the story of an old lady – Grandma Bertha – living in a remodeled garden shed in the backyard of her son Todd. Like most old people, Grandma Bertha isn’t happy to be dismissed like she has nothing to offer. There’s just so much she still wants to do in this life! And she has the chance to prove her worth when a mysterious murder happens near the family house. Grandma Bertha decides to become a detective and solve that mystery before everyone else.

What is the favorite thing about your main character?

She’s just so easy to write! Grandma Bertha is positive, upbeat, joyful and colorful, and never stops until she sees justice done. It’s good for the soul to write about someone like that.

What are your characters most serious flaw?

Sometimes Grandma Bertha is so obsessed by her investigation she doesn’t see it’s harming the people she loves the most. And even when she sees it, she doesn’t stop. That can be hard on her family, especially her daughter-in-law. Many of my readers hate Lydia for not coping with Grandma Bertha, but she’s just trying to do what’s best for her husband and son, and if we were in her place, we might do the same.

What makes you smile?

Nice stuff happening to nice people. Playing with my dog and my kittens. Tasting something I’ve just cooked or baked and realizing it tastes good. Spending the afternoon with my grandmothers.

What makes you mad/sad?

People doing something they know it’s wrong, and preparing the apologies they know they’ll have to ask later.

Writers get discouraged at times. Have you ever been discouraged and what do you do about it?

Oh, yeah! I’m Brazilian, so I spent a lot of time writing in Portuguese. Unfortunately, even though we have a rich and wonderful literature, and millions of wonderful readers, the Brazilian publishing market is awful to new writers. The best response I’ve ever had was from a publisher who took two years to read my manuscript, and wanted fourteen-thousand reais (more than three thousand dollars) out of my pocket to publish it! By that time I was already writing in English, with much better results.

What advice would you give to new authors or those dreaming of becoming an author?

Know the business. I cannot stress this enough. Know how publishing works. Know how literary agencies work. Learn about self-publishing and traditional publishing. Spend money on books and courses about these subjects. You’re gonna thank me later.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on the second Grandma Bertha book, which will be a collection of short stories. It’s been great to revisit this character. I’m also working on two other projects. One is a sci-fi book I’m co-writing with another author, and the other is a book about cinema which will be written in Portuguese. In other words, I’m pretty busy!

I like to end my interviews with an author’s favorite quote. What is yours?

There’s an interview with my favorite film director, Pier Paolo Pasolini, where they ask him how he likes to be called professionally. Pasolini responds, in French, “Dans le passport, je écrit simplement l’écrivain.” In English: “In my passport, it just says writer”!

 

51NRXZ0az9L._SY346_The Convenient Cadaver

by Matt Ferraz

When Grandma Bertha moved to her son’s place, she brought along three dogs, several cases of beer and many, many horror film DVDs. While her daughter-in-law insists on the idea of sending Grandma Bertha to a retirement home, a dead girl appears near the house, shot three times in the back. Many years ago, Grandma Bertha let a murderer escape for not trusting in her own detective abilities. Now, armed with her wit and wisdom, she decides to solve that crime before the police. Could this crazy dog lady be a threat to a cold-blooded killer? And for how long can the family stand that situation?

About the author

Author of all trades, Matt Ferraz has written thrillers, sci-fi, cozy mysteries and a lot of witty e-mails that sadly can’t be published. With a degree in journalism and a masters in biography, Matt has works published in English, Italian and Portuguese, and loves trying out new genres.

‘Killing Dr. Watson’ was released in March 2016 by MX Publishing. The book deals with TV series fandom, and follows the misadventures of a TV geek with no social life and a Sherlock Holmes actor past his prime who team up and become the most unusual detectives in the business.

With ‘The Convenient Cadaver’, Matt is starting the ‘Grandma Bertha Solving Murders’ series, starring an old lady who loves beer, dogs, horror movies and a good murder to solve. Grandma Bertha was based on Matt’s own grandmothers and on an elderly friend, all of whom loved to be turned into a literary character.

Matt won’t stop writing, and right now he’s working on the next installment of ‘Grandma Bertha’ and on a LitRPG book, which will be out next October.

My Review

I always love a Granny and Granny Bertha is not a disappointment. She is cunning and wily and keeps her family on her toes. The cast of characters is quirky and fun and the mystery will keep you guessing. If you like to laugh and love a good mystery and of course a Granny who gets into trouble you will love this mystery.

Contact Matt at:

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads

 

 

The Deadly Art of Love & Murder

Today I welcome a guest post by Author Linda Crowder. She gives us a sneak peak at her new book coming out this summer. I can hardly wait as I loved her first book in this series, The Deadly Art of Deception. Welcome, Linda.

Guest Post by Linda Crowder61ZvkdfHghL._UY200_

“If I’d known I was going to find a dead body, I would have stayed in bed.”

That’s how art gallery owner, Caribou King, starts off her second adventure, The Deadly Art of Love & Murder. Cara is mid-twenties and more comfortable in business than social situations. She leads with her heart even when it gets her into serious trouble. In the second Deadly Art novel, she’s trying to solve the maybe-murder, maybe-suicide of a kindly older woman while juggling the romantic advances of not just one, but two of Coho Bay’s eligible men. With the solution buried deeper than Alaskan permafrost, and somebody willing to kill to keep it hidden, winter isn’t the only thing that’s closing in on Cara.

Love and Murder will hit the bookstores this summer, but for now, here’s a snippet…

Arriving at the house feeling a bit like an icicle, I closed the door against the wind and stomped my feet in the entry, hoping to pound feeling back into them. It wasn’t much warmer inside and I grimaced to think how cold it must be under the house. I left my coat on and walked into the kitchen, expecting to find the keys on the counter and a note from Mrs. Nash. What I didn’t expect to find was Mrs. Nash herself, but there she was, in the living room, slumped sideways on the couch, half covered in snow. My mouth had already opened to say hello when my brain realized what I was seeing. Her skin was as white as the snow and her face was… missing. The window beside her was broken, effectively turning the room into a deep freeze.

I am not normally a screamer, but when the impact of what I was seeing hit me, I screamed. It was no damsel in distress little scream, either. Rooted to that floor in horror, I made a sound I didn’t know could come from a human being. My mother would have called it sound that would wake the dead, but it didn’t have any effect on Mrs. Nash, which was probably a blessing because I really did not need this to be the start of the zombie apocalypse. After my fit of primal screaming, I did what any self-respecting modern woman of the world would do. I got the heck out of there.

What happened next is blurry, but I might have screamed all the way from the Tilamu house to City Hall. I’m not sure but I do know I was screaming when I got there. When I burst through the door, Coho Bay’s part-time receptionist and full-time matchmaker, Tammy Atumwa, threw the stack of papers she’d been holding into the air and started howling along with me. It didn’t seem to matter that she had no idea why I was screaming. She’d never been one to let a technicality stop her. Dan running from his office, gun drawn, ready to handle whatever bomb was exploding in his lobby.

About the Author

Linda Crowder is best known for her Jake and Emma Mystery series available through 307 Publishing. Set in her adopted hometown of Casper, Wyoming, the series features a pair of accidental detectives who join forces with the local police to track down killers. Her books are a delightful blend of mystery, relationships, humor, and tears. Linda fell in love with Alaska on her first trip north in 2014. Her love of the Inside  Passage led her to place her Caribou King Mystery series, available through Cozy Cat Press, in the mythical cruise ship town of Coho Bay.

Follow Linda at www.lindajcrowder.com

Guest Spot with Author Gilian Baker

I am happy to have Author Gilian Baker sharing a guest post on my Mysterious Musings Blog today. Welcome, Gillian.

 

Researching Murder is a Killer

 I can dream up all types of interesting ways to kill off a character. The tricky part is to ensure the murder method is believable. That’s when careful research comes in. But researching murder can be a killer!

While writing the debut book in the Jade Blackwell cozy mystery series, I decided early on that I wanted to spice things up by including juxtaposition between the theme and the murder method. The world in which Jade lives and works is a modern one. She’s a blogger, and the book centers on the theme of cyber-crime. So, I thought it would be fun to offset the modernity by killing off the victim with an old-fashioned, natural poison.

Deciding on the murder method is fun and fairly easy. But the question becomes whether or not the method you’ve dreamed up will meet all the criteria you’ll need for your plot to function correctly.

For example, with poison as the murder method, you need to know things like:

  • How long does it take the poison to act?
  • What symptoms does it cause?
  • How much of it is needed to kill a person?
  • Does it have a taste or smell that will make the victim suspicious?
  • How easy is it to get? Where can you get it?

With hemlock, my chosen poison for the victim in Blogging is Murder, I had to research:

  • Does it grow wild in Wyoming? (The setting of the series)
  • Where does it grow wild? How widely available it is?
  • Which parts of the plant are poisonous?
  • Do homeopathic herbalists still use it to treat illnesses? Which ones?
  • What symptoms does it present?
  • Is it still poisonous when dried?
  • What time of the year does it grow in Wyoming?
  • Is it frost-hardy?

Before I started writing the story, I researched some of the questions above. I needed to know right away if hemlock even grew in Wyoming. It didn’t matter what kind it was—there are lots of different varieties of the plant. I just needed it to be readily available in South-Eastern Wyoming.

As I got further into writing the book though, I came up with other ideas for the plot that were dependent on aspects of the poison. Back I went to research the plant further. Some of my ideas I got to keep. Others, sadly, I had to delete. If I wanted to keep hemlock as the murder method, I had to make its properties plausible in the story.

One of my ideas for the final chapters was to add in a freak snowstorm to build tension. I’d already started typing the scene when it dawned on me—I didn’t know how frost-hardy hemlock was. Even though I knew that Wyoming often gets snow during the spring, would all the wild hemlock be killed in such a storm? Could the killer use dried hemlock instead? And where in the heck would they get such a thing?

These questions led me to another realization. I’d written a couple of chapters that included light frosts overnight. Jade’s spring bulbs had already come up so she’d been diligently checking them to make sure they’d survived. But wait! If hemlock isn’t frost-hardy, it wouldn’t even survive the light freeze I’d already written into the story.

See how researching murder can be a killer? Sometimes it takes an author back to the drawing board. The research process never really ends. In this case, I had to go back and change the entire setting to a later time in spring to avoid overnight frosts. That meant rewriting those scenes where Jade worries about her spring bulbs.

Even though researching murder can be frustrating and can kill off great ideas, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Cozy mysteries are all about giving the reader a puzzle to figure out. Murder methods give cozy mystery writers puzzles too.

 

 

Gilian Baker is a former English professor who’s gone on to forge a life outside of academia by adding blogger, ghostwriter and author to her C.V. She currently uses her geeky superpowers only for good to entertain murder mystery readers the world over. When she’s not plotting murder for her Jade Blackwell cozy mystery series, you can find her puttering in her vegetable garden, knitting in front of the fire, snuggling with her husband watching British TV or discussing literary theory with her daughter.

Gilian lives in Columbus, Ohio with her family and their three pampered felines. In her next life, she fervently hopes to come back as a cat, though she understands that would be going down the karmic ladder.

Get the first chapter of Blogging is Murder for free! http://gilianbaker.com/blogging-murder-first-chapter/

 

You can find Gillian at:

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Thank you for joining us Gilian. Please visit her other media sites and learn more about this author.

Meet Author Mary Koppel

I would like to welcome Author Mary Koppel to my Mysterious Musings Blog. Mary is new with Cozy Cat Press with her new book Volunteer To Die. Let’s welcome Mary and find out some interesting facts about her. Welcome, Mary.

Please share a little insight as to who Mary Koppel is?

Mary E. Koppel is an Episcopal priest, mommy, and a lover of travel, reading, and adventure. I really enjoy meeting people and listening to their stories. I also love to make people laugh because I love laughing.

What was the first thing you ever wrote that made you think perhaps you would like to be a writer?

When I was in high school, in my senior year, I wrote an essay for a poetry project in Dr. Hood’s English class. I had worked really hard on the project, but I felt pretty good about what I had written. Dr. Hood actually read it to the class. I think that was the turning point for me. I realized that if I put the effort in, I could write. It would take a few more years for me to put into practice what I learned and start writing regularly and then put myself out there.

What tweaks your creativity?

My creativity is tweaked by sunny days and flowers. When I read a really good book or watch a great movie, I am inspired to create.

Tell us about your latest book.

In my latest mystery, Denise Reed is an unemployed youth minister with too much time on her hands and driving her mother crazy in New Orleans. Her confidence is shot and she needs a push to get out of this unemployment funk. Through a chance encounter at Riverview, a luxury retirement home, she stumbles across the mysterious death of an aide at Riverview and a rash of small thefts there.

With a little help from a new friend, she takes a job at Riverview, embarks on her investigation and slowly regains her confidence.

What is the favorite thing about your main character?

I love Denise. My favorite thing about her is that sees so much humor around her. She is smart and kind. She wishes she was a Victoria Secret model, but who wants to eat that much celery?

What is your characters most serious flaw?

Denise doubts her skills, and yet she has so much to offer. I foresee her building up her confidence as the series continues.

What makes you smile?

My daughter makes me smile. She is at a glorious age, filled with really cute observations and cuddles.

What makes you mad/sad?

I feel mad/sad when I witness people being mistreated. I wonder why it is difficult for humans to be decent with each other.

Writers get discouraged at times. Have you ever been discouraged and what do you do about it?

I have been discouraged about my writing. In fact, for many years I was discouraged and did not write much more than in my journal. I learned the best thing one can do to work through discouragement with writing is to continue writing. Not every bit of writing is good, but writing builds upon writing.

What advice would you give to new authors or those dreaming of becoming an author?

I think that those dreaming of becoming an author and new authors should read, read, read and write, write, write. I wrote regularly in my journal. I also wrote for about 4 years on a blog with a friend before I had the confidence to write a book.

What are you working on now?

I have just started the second Denise Reed Mystery and I am also writing a novel of romantic suspense. This summer should be a lot of fun.

Did I forget to ask anything you would like us to know?

Gosh, I feel like you have asked me such wonderful questions. Thank you!

I like to end my interviews with an author’s favorite quote. What is yours?

My favorite author’s quotation is from Maya Angelou’s “Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now.” The quotation is: “Living well is an art that can be developed: a love of life and ability to take great pleasure from small offerings and assurance that the world owes you nothing and that every gift is exactly that, a gift.”

Volunteer to Die: A Denise Reed Mystery

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Denise Reed is over-educated, unemployed, and about to drive her mother crazy. Denise (and her daughter Emily) has been hiding out at her mother’s home in New Orleans, pretending to job hunt while feeling sorry for herself. One Tuesday she volunteers with her mother at the exclusive independent living facility, Riverview. At Riverview, Denise meets Louise Butler and learns about the mysterious death of an aide, Tina Moore and a rash of small thefts.

Only a few weeks before, the young aide reported a theft at Riverview and within 24 hours she was dead. Was it an accident? Or something more? Is someone really stealing at Riverview? With encouragement from Louise, Denise takes a job at Riverview and begins to investigate the thefts and Tina’s accident. Before she knows it, Denise is Tai Chi-ing her way out of her unemployment funk, crushing on a Jason Statham look-alike named Jason, and avoiding a pimple-faced thug. Will she be able to sort out who she can trust? Or will she end up like Tina Moore?

My Review

This is a great start for a new author. What better place to find mystery than in a nursing home? The main character is likable and believable. Didn’t we all drive our mother’s crazy at one time or another? When Denise teams up with one of the residents to solve the crime, look for anything to happen. I look forward to his author’s next book.

You can find Mary at:

Her blog

Twitter

Make sure you take the time to comment and I will give away an e-copy of her book later this week.

Thank you Mary for visiting us.

 

Meet Author Al Boyer

I am very happy to have Author, Al Boyer on my blog today. His new series came out this year with his first book Death at the Presidents Church. Let's get acquainted with Al Boyer.

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