Posted in Book Reviews, Reading and Reviewing

The Tainted Course by Diane Weiner

Author Diane Weiner’s new release The Tainted Course is a winner in my book. The Tainted Course is the fourth in her Sugarbury Falls Series. I thank Diane for guesting on my blog with a post on the ins and outs of writing another book in an already popular series. Welcome, Diane.

From Diane

From devouring soap operas with my grandmother to reading Nancy Drew mysteries, I’ve always loved a good series. The characters and settings become old friends and unlike in a standalone or a movie, the characters have time to grow and change over a period of time while we become more and more attached to them. A series is attractive because we are in it for the long haul.

In my ten-book Susan Wiles Schoolhouse Mysteries series, retired teacher Susan Wiles solves murders which occur in and around school settings. Just how many mysteries can Susan solve without the books getting boring? What about Emily and Henry Fox in my Sugarbury Falls series? Semi-retired and living in a small town in Vermont, they’ve already seen a lot of action. How does an author keep a series fresh, both for herself as a writer, and for her readers?

            We learn by exposure to different people, ideas, and locals. So do my main characters. What happens when you think your newly found half-brother is a killer, or you’re stuck with your recently discovered mother on house arrest in your home? How do you react when you’ve lived a peaceful life for half a century and suddenly must deal with a moody, eye-rolling teenager? What if your child is in danger? Do you remain meek and quiet if that’s been your way, of does the situation bring out a wild cougar you never knew existed?

In Murder is Medical, the latest in the Schoolhouse Mysteries, Susan teams up with a new friend. We hadn’t seen her working with someone her own age with the same intelligence, curiosity, and gumption as she has. How does she adapt and what does she learn from the experience? By observing the actions and quirks of her new friend, what does she realize about herself?

            Changing locales is another way to keep a series fresh. In Murder is Private, Susan and her daughter travel to Florida and help solve a murder while visiting newly discovered family members. Susan and Mike travel to Atlanta to solve a crime linked to a mysterious letter they receive in Murder is Legal, and to St. Louis in Murder is Medical. New places bring new people and situations into the mix. I’m planning on writing about a destination wedding in an upcoming book.

            Health problems can also keep a series fresh. What does Susan do when Mike has a heart attack and she fears losing him? What about keeping her own diabetes in check? She struggles with weight all through the series, having, like most of us, her ups and downs with it. Emily faces a possible cancer diagnosis. How does she react, especially now that she has a child and that child has already lost a mother recently?

Characters, like all of use, have personal demons, doubts, shortcoming, and self-inflicted obstacles. Over the course of a series, we can empathize with a character facing many of the challenges that we do. Our interactions with others, new experiences, and the challenge of overcoming vulnerabilities is a catalyst for growth both for the reader and the for the protagonist.

My Review:

Emily and Henry are back and there is a new resident in Sugarbury Falls. She brings with her an entire set of problems that disrupt the lives of the community. It is no secret that this series is my favorite series of Diane’s. My previous reviews have stated that.

This is a cozy series but this book touches on a few serious subjects that are prevalent in our society today. I give kudos to bringing this up in her cozy mystery and Sugarbury Falls. As much as we want our books to take us away from the world and give us that cozy feel, adding a little of the real world is not necessarily a bad thing because small communities are not immune to the world’s problems and the way small towns come together in times of crisis is refreshing. I give this book five stars.

The Tainted Course

In a town known for covered bridges, craft fairs, and a cat cafe, murder just doesn’t fit. When newcomer Faith Maguire is murdered, sleuthing couple Henry and Emily Fox are compelled to find the killer and restore equilibrium to their beloved hometown. After all, their daughter is friends with the victim’s daughter, and the body was discovered after a dinner at their good friend Coralee’s inn. Is the owner of the new bed and breakfast in town responsible? Emily uncovers disturbing evidence that shows she’s capable of such a deed. Meanwhile, an elusive motorcyclist throws warning messages through the Fox’s cabin, the handyman from the inn makes secret treks after dinner, and Faith’s ex-husband, denied custody of his girls’ thanks to his wife’s accusations, has been less than truthful since coming to town. Will teamwork bring the killer to justice before it’s too late?

About Diane:

Diane Weiner is a veteran public school teacher and mother of four children. She has enjoyed reading for as long as she can remember. She has fond memories of reading Nancy Drew and Mary Higgins Clark on snowy weekend afternoons in upstate New York and yearned to write books that would bring that kind of enjoyment to her readers. Being an animal lover, she is a vegetarian and shares her home with two adorable cats. In her free time, she enjoys running, attending community theater productions, and spending time with her family (especially going to the mall with her daughter and getting Dairy Queen afterward). Murder is Medical is the latest (book 10) in the Susan Wiles School House Mystery series. Clearing the Course (book 3) is the latest in her Sugarbury Falls series. A Deadly Course won an Eric Hoffer finalist award. Murder is Collegiate made the shortlist for the Chanticleer Murder and Mayhem Mystery Award. Follow her at dianeweinerauthor.com or visit her Facebook page at dianeweinerauthor.

Thank you for being here Diane. I hope you visit her links and enthrall yourself with her mysteries.

Posted in Audiobook, Reading and Reviewing

It’s Been Awhile

I have been remiss on faithfully blogging here at my Mysterious Musings Blog. My last post was about my wonderful narrator, Darla MIddlebrook and my new audiobook that is out for The Discombobulated Decipherers.

I have no excuses except one for my laziness and that is laziness. I was tired and I needed to take some time to rest. We all need that.

If you haven’t commented on my previous post and my interview with Darla make sure you do so as I haven’t given away the audiobooks yet or you can comment here.

Today I am going to give you a little snippet of the book. I’ll be back with more another day but enjoy and if you like it make sure you listen to the other audiobooks I have out. They are a hoot. Until we meet again. Wasn’t that a Roy Rogers song?

If you are interested here are the links for the book.

Posted in Book Reviews, Reading and Reviewing

Straight River by Chris Norbury

It was a treat to read Chris Norbury’s novel Straight River. It is a mystery that holds your attention as the plot unfolds throughout the book.

Matt Lanier comes home after his father is found dead in a farming accident. Things hadn’t been good with their relationship and Matt feels guilt that perhaps his father’s death could have prevented had he listened to the message from his father and returned his call.

It is easy as a reader to identify with Matt as he ponders the fate of his father and sorts out his feelings about being back home and getting reacquainted with old friends. Many of us find ourselves in the same situation. Mr. Norbury’s interpretation of his character put us into Matt’s head and lets us feel his emotions. Does his past interfere with the conspiracy theory he thinks surrounds his father’s death?

I can’t wait to read his next novel in the series titled Castle Danger. Straight River is well written and an exciting read. Chris Norbury is up there with the best of the best with his writing. He deserves accolades and recognition for his skillful plot twists. This is definitely five stars in my mind.

STRAIGHT RIVER

After his estranged father dies in a farming accident, professional musician Matt Lanier returns to his hometown of Straight River, Minnesota. While he’s settling the estate, an old friend and neighbor asks him for help. Her husband’s recent death was ruled a suicide. She insists it was not. Ownership of her farm hangs in the balance.

The local police are uncooperative, so Matt turns to his ex-wife and a young computer prodigy for assistance. As new information surfaces, Matt suspects the two deaths are connected to a violent conspiracy with national implications. His dilemma: Should he risk his life to protect his friend and hundreds of other farmers from ruin?

A1T-pMjGytL._US230_About the Author

Chris Norbury is the award-winning author of the suspense-thriller Castle Danger. His new novel, Straight River, is the prequel to Castle Danger and the first book of a planned trilogy. The stories feature Matt Lanier, a southern Minnesota farm-kid-turned-professional-musician whose middle-class world is turned upside down by a conspiracy of powerful, ambitious, violent men.

Chris grew up in the Twin Cities and earned a B.S. in Music Education at the University of Minnesota. His essays on wilderness canoeing have been published in the Boundary Waters Journal. A volunteer Big Brother since 2000, Chris donates a portion of all book sales to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Minnesota. During the golf season in Minnesota, he works on perfecting his golf game. It’s an impossible dream but also a good excuse to get out of the office. He lives in Owatonna, MN with his wife and golf clubs.

Chris is a member of both the Twin Cities and national chapters of Sisters in Crime. He also belongs to the Alliance of Independent Authors(ALLi), and Support for Indie Authors (SIA). Chris is an advocate of independent bookstores and actively promotes the websiteindiebound.org

Thank you Chris for letting me use the biography from your website and good luck on your future endeavors. you can find Chris at his at:

website Christ Norbury

Posted in Reading and Reviewing

Mabel, Murder & Muffins by Sharon Mierke

Mabel and Flori are not strangers to me. I became their fans when I read the previous books in the Mabel Wickles Cozy Mystery Series. Mabel is the main character in these series, an older woman, an amateur sleuth and a very interesting character. Flori, is her friend and gets dragged into Mabel’s sleuthing adventures.

This time they take themselves out of their comfort zone which is their little community of Parson’s Cove. They take a chance and travel to Yellow Rose, Texas. and an adventure where not only do they try to to track down a murderer, but meet new friends with cultural differences they are not used to. It makes for an interesting read and an even more interesting mystery.

The writing is superb in that it has more twists and turns and clever plots to keep a reader on their toes. I would definitely give this five stars. You won’t be disappointed. I can’t wait until the next book in this series.

Mabel, Murder & Muffins

In Mabel, Murder, & Muffins, Mabel and four other contestants win a trip to Las Vegas. When one of them, Grace Hobbs, is found murdered and left in the woods in Mabel’s hometown of Parson’s Cove, Mabel’s sleuthing instincts heat up. Along with her friend, Flori Flanders, and retired sheriff, Reg Snee, Mabel goes on a hunt for the killer. A search that will take her all the way to Yellow Rose, Texas. It’s then she realizes how complicated the mystery is when no one appears to be who they say they are. As Mabel says, ‘it’s like a story our of Alice in Wonderland.’

About the Author

“I’m not sure when someone decides to become a writer. I was once asked why I started and I said, ‘I got tired of reading so decided to start writing!’ Some dream about it but never do it and others are foolish enough to try. I have always loved Daphne DuMaurier’s quote: ‘Writers should be read and not seen or heard.’ I loved the thought of writing but having anonymity at the same time. I doubt that can be achieved in today’s world. I write to be true to myself. I share it because I hope others will find joy in reading it.”

As most writers, Sharon started writing short stories. After having several published and finding it hard to squeeze a story into only a few hundred words, she decided to follow her dream and write novels. 

Her book, VIRTUAL ENEMIES, is a mystery and introduces readers to Beryl Swallows, a retired police officer and now a private investigator. In this story, she is hired to solve a murder – by the victim herself. A mystery within a mystery. This is the first in the Beryl Swallows Mysteries. In the second, CASE CLOSED.not, Beryl finds one of her mother’s old diaries and it takes her back into a past she never knew existed. Was her own mother a murderer? 

Sharon has four current books in the Mabel Wickles mystery series: DECEPTION BY DESIGN, CALAMITY BY THE CAR WASH, COLD CASE CONUNDRUM, and FROZEN IDENTITY. Mabel is good at finding trouble; however, along with her friend, Flori, and other Parson’s Cove citizens, she always seems to find the way out. And find the guilty party!
Besides writing mysteries, Sharon writes historical fiction. Her first historical fiction, SARAH’S VALLEY, carries us on a journey from the east coast of the United States, through the Midwest, and up into Canada. The sequel, RETURN TO SARAH’S VALLEY, continues the story. Now it is Patrick’s turn to tell his life story to one of Winnipesaukee’s descendants. 
Her second historical fiction, THE WIDOW’S WALK, centers around life in the early 1800s on the Texas Panhandle and down to the island of Galveston. 
A poem written by the author’s mother, Ellen Bunse, in 1929, was the inspiration for Sharon’s latest book, OLD HOUSE. The house was built in the 1860s and through the next hundred years, you will read of all the people who found shelter within its walls, from a Texas cowboy with a bounty on his head, an old prospector, and a woman seeking refuge.  

Sharon’s books contain no graphic violence, sexual content, or coarse language.

Sharon Mierke and her husband live in Manitoba, Canada, where the summers are hot and the winters, cold. Their second home is Galveston, Texas, where they have established many friendships over the past twenty-some years. They have four grown children and four grandchildren. Sharon’s hobbies include reading, scrapbooking, and photography.

Join Sharon on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin.
www.sharonrosemierke.weebly

Posted in Guest Authors, Reading and Reviewing

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

Posted in Reading and Reviewing

A Book Review or A Personal Taste

Untitled DesignBook reviews are a complexity when trying to decipher if one wants to believe the reviews in researching whether to buy a book.

Recently I received a one-star review on one of my books that usually gets a four or five-star review on Amazon and Goodreads and Barnes and Noble. I read the choice review: This book must be written for 8-year-olds. They would likely get exhausted reading the same sentences over and over again. No real character development at all and Granny is boring.

I don’t have a hard time with a low star review if I feel a reviewer is fair.  I decided this review probably was fair because I chose to go further and research the person that left this little tidbit. The other books they reviewed were nothing like my cozy mystery. Most were a matter-of-fact or serious crime and mystery books. It was obvious to me that my writing style and choice of the genre were not something this reader would like. They titled the review “Don’t know why I finished this.” Frankly, I didn’t know why they did neither.

It differed from a recent five-star review: Granny is a senior citizen who still has a lot of life left in her, and she works undercover for the police, thwarting thieves. She’s a pure dee mess! How anyone could not like this book is beyond me, I’ve bought the series. I really like Granny!

If you look back through this reviewers books you will see that she enjoys the genre of cozy mysteries. So it would make sense she would like Granny.

If you are a reader or a consumer that reads the reviews so you can make a choice about a purchase then I would ask you to dig a little further. We as mystery writers are always looking for clues and you can join us in that pursuit when you read reviews.

Read more than one review and then check into the history of the reviewer. Are they leaving a review because the subject matter is just not their cup of tea and that is a reason they did or didn’t like it? Or are they leaving a review because they are fairly judging a product on its content and design or workability and not personal prejudice because of their taste?

I am not a sports fan. I would not be a good person to leave a review for a sports book no matter how well written. If I were leaving a fair review I would have to state that I am not interested in the subject and that my view was skewered by that fact.  If I felt it was poorly written but a good subject I would state that but I would also have to ask myself when I am leaving that review if I was being fair. Perhaps I wasn’t understanding the genre or the language of sports. The kind thing for me to do would be to leave no review at all because I probably could not view it with an unbiased eye.

As authors reviews can make or break us. We know we can’t always receive brilliant reviews but we ask our readers to be fair and kind. Authors have feelings too and we do follow our reviews and take into consideration constructive criticism to make our writing better for our readers. We love our readers.

I will say this about both my series of books, the Fuchsia Series and The Brilliant Series. The review in the second paragraph states there any character development in the book Because I write with the series in mind my characters develop over the series of books.

If you are patient while visiting Fuchsia you will find why Granny is the cantankerous person she is. What happened in her life and what personal hurtful experiences shaped how she acts. You will meet her family and the things that were kept hidden.

The same with Jezabelle and the characters from Brilliant Minnesota. What happened in Jezabelle’s youth that she didn’t marry the love of her life? Why is Phoebe rich and ditzy. What about her past is she hiding? Or Mr. Warbler and his secret that no one knows. All this is revealed over the series.

They are both filled with humor when addressing those subjects because in life if we don’t laugh during some of our sorrow it would take us under. My characters use humor to traverse life and the mysteries of their communities.

__________________________________________________________________

When we talk about reviews, what we are really talking about is just a market report – it’s like reading about the new Lexus. You have to know what the guy writing the review cares about to understand his take. Does he like sports cars, or does he like Bentleys?

Mike Nichols
Read more quotes at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/mikenichol615423.html

 

Posted in Guest Authors, Reading and Reviewing

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.

 

Posted in Guest Authors

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.

Author Interview Allen Boyer

Please share a little insight as to who Allen Boyer is?

I’m a father of three children, which makes it a bit of a challenge to find time to write.  However, I am blessed to work with two different publishers as a writer, so I’ve been very fortunate with my books.  My current publisher is Cozy Cat Press.

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

In college, I had a short story published in a national magazine.  I was the only student in our English Department to get published at that level.  I think that’s when I realized I was pretty good at writing.

What tweaks your creativity?

Instrumental music helps with the writing process.  I can listen to the same piece for days if it helps me write some pages.  Also, people watching helps me to formulate some ideas for characters when I’m working on a book.

Tell us about your latest book.

Death at the Presidents Church just came out earlier this year.  I wanted to start a new mystery series since I’ve been working on another cozy mystery series for the last few years.  This book follows two sisters in Washington D.C.  They are long time socialites who have lived in the city for more than seventy years.  They are well connected and have met congressmen, senators and even presidents over the years.  So I thought it would be interesting to take these two ladies and give them a reason to get caught up in the death of a homeless person near their church.  It is through their social connections that their investigation leads them to some surprising discoveries about the victim and his connection to one of Washington’s most influential families.

What is the favorite thing about your main character?

What I like about Charlotte Dupree is that she is based on a good friend of mine who passed away many years ago.  She was also named Charlotte and even though she looked like a sweet grandmother, she had worked in the House of Representatives.  She was tough as nails and wouldn’t mince words on her political views.  I thought it was an interesting combination of looking grandmotherly but being tenacious and being a Washington insider.  The Dupree sisters would be the first to say they aren’t the smartest, but they know how to find information and they never give up when they want to find the truth.

What is your characters most serious flaw?

Charlotte and Ruth have a soft spot in their hearts for Mezzo, a cat that they’ve spoiled rotten.  I’m afraid they would let that cat do almost anything.

Is this a series and if you have another series how is this one different?

This is the first book in the Dupree Sisters Mystery Series.  I’m writing the second book at the moment and I’m afraid to say that poor Mezzo will get some competition from another cat that the sisters will take in.

While this series takes place in the nation’s capital, my other series I’ve been working on takes place at a retirement home in rural Pennsylvania.  The series is called the Bess Bullock Retirement Home Series and it has sold very well.  There are five books in the series.  I would best describe Bess Bullock as a sweeter version of Miss Marple in how they both use their powers of observation on the people around them.

What makes you smile?

My youngest son has some interesting thoughts that make me smile.  He’s in third grade so he has an interesting way of looking at life…that sometimes makes me laugh.  If you’ve ever hung around nine-year-olds, you know how they are.

What makes you mad/sad?

Losing my mom a couple years ago was probably the hardest thing.  She was a painter, so I credit her for my “creativity” genes.

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

I’ve been lucky to never have writer’s block.  I really subscribe to the idea of writing down the bones of the story.  That first drafts won’t be perfect.  Just get it down, warts and all.  I know some writers want everything to be perfect the first time they write a story, but perfection can lead to writer’s block, in my opinion.

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

Writing is subjective.  What will work for you might not work for someone else.  For example, some writers like to outline every detail of a story and stick to it.  Other writers will let the story take on a life of its own and lead them to an ending they didn’t plan.  Everyone is different as a writer, so just use an approach that works for you.

What are you working on now?

Book 2 in the Dupree Sisters, which I’m hoping will be done late this year.  Also, outlining another Bess Bullock story.

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

I was reading a review about one of my Bess Bullock novels.  One reviewer was looking for more humor in this particular book and then went on to cite your Fuchsia Minnesota Mystery Series as a better choice.  That made me laugh.  Small world.

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

James Joyce is my favorite writer.  The way he uses language inspires me.  A quote he gave that I think is a good road map for developing characters is:  “Mistakes are the portal of discovery.” That really is true for my fictional characters.

More about Al

Death at the Presidents Church

They have met many presidents. They are politically well connected. They were born and raised in the social circles of Washington D.C. So why have Charlotte and Ruth Dupree taken such an interest in the death of a homeless man? Drawing from their experiences with former presidents, along with their usual charm, the Dupree Sisters find themselves navigating through a labyrinth of Washington luncheons, social events, and gossip to uncover the facts behind a death that most people would overlook. Join the Dupree Sisters as they use their persistence and good manners to learn the truth behind The Death at Presidents Church.

 

 

 

You can find Al at Alan Boyer, An Author’s Blog

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