Posted in Releases

An Interview with Author Allen Boyer

DSCF4006I welcome my friend and  Author Allen Boyer to my blog. His latest book The Blair House Cat Mystery was recently released by Cozy Cat Press. It is the second in the Dupree Sisters Series. C1cfWNtDtrS._SL250_FMpng_

I am always intrigued by the quirky behavior of cats. So when the Dupree Sisters find a cat on their doorstep and it has a spot of blood on it, one wonders what the cat has been into. We soon realize this stray cat knows more than it’s meowing indicates and the Dupree Sisters are kept busy unraveling a mystery surrounding our nation’s capital.  What secrets are the Washington elite keeping? I am not quite finished with the book as I just got it but I am enjoying it immensely.  I hope to finish it later today.  I haven’t guessed whodunnit yet and probably won’t because this book is skillfully written. So far I give it five stars. Now, remember if I can’t give a five or four star review on this blog I don’t post it.

Let’s meet Author Allen Boyer. 

Tell us a little bit about your life? 

It’s a balancing act as a writer and a father of three children.  Daily commitments take priority over writing time, which is okay.  In an odd way, they actually complement each other.  When I work on a book, sometimes I need a break and throwing a baseball or playing ping pong with my kids is a good way to let my mind fire on some creative ideas.  Getting time away from the laptop also helps to maximize my writing time.  When I sit down to write I know exactly what I’m going to do.

You have two series out the Bess Bullock Series and the Dupree Sisters series. The longer a series goes on, is it more difficult to write the next book because you might worry about readers not liking it as well as the others?

Yes, I thought about that.  Another concern for me was how some book series lead to the eventual killing off of regular characters.  I didn’t want to go down that road, which is why it’s taken such a long time to get another Bess Bullock story ramped up.  The next book, Discreet in the Heat, will be out later this year.  The theme of the book will be about the concept of “home” and how each person defines home in a different way.  Also, part of the storyline will involve a new life being brought into Bess’s world and the ripples it creates.

What was your inspiration for the Dupree sisters? ]

I had a friend name Charlotte Bouton, who has since passed away.  She was in her eighties when I knew her.  She had worked in the House of Representatives for many years.  Worked with historical figures like John Kennedy and Al Gore Sr.  When I knew her she was always perfectly dressed and sweet to talk to, but when the topic of politics came up she would be tough as nails on politicians and candidates she considered “lightweights.”  I liked that contrast of having this person with a grandmotherly appearance but, under the surface, having these great political experiences and this tough mindset about how Washington D.C. worked.

Tell us about your latest book, Blair House, Cat Mystery. 

It begins with a stray cat that keeps following the sisters home from church.  Of course, they begin to feed the cat, leading to it coming around more often.  One day, when the cat arrives with some blood on it, that’s when the story takes them to a dead body and love letters from an unknown author.  So the Dupree sisters have to connect the clues to learn the truth about what happened.

What is the most quirky character trait of the DuPree Sisters? 

Ruth Dupree, the younger of the two sisters, has presidential quotes that she likes to pull out for a variety of occasions.  I think she does it to impress other people, but it drives her sister, Charlotte crazy.  I think Charlotte has probably heard the same quotes too many times.

What are your characters most serious flaws? 

They don’t have a thick skin all the time.  Things happen that get them upset, or angry and sometimes their emotions can cloud their judgment.  There are many fictional characters who are emotionally distant and nothing ever bothers them.  We’re all people and we all have to deal with our emotions.  Ruth and Charlotte are no different.

Why Washington DC as the setting for mysteries?

Part of it goes back to the fact that my friend Charlotte Bouton worked there.  Another reason is that I live a few hours from D.C. and my wife and I like to take our children there during the summer for day trips.  It is a beautiful city with many layers to explore.  Checking out all the museums, buildings, monuments, and restaurants make for interesting trips.

What makes you smile? 

  My kids.

What makes you mad/sad?

Kids again, but fortunately there are many more smiles in the day.

Are you a full-time writer? If not what is your career and how does it lend it to your mysteries? 

I’m a technology teacher at an elementary school.  I have a good eye for observing people and I think that benefits me as a teacher and a writer.

Tell us about your Bess Bullock Series and how it differs from the Dupree Sisters. And do you have any other books out? 

Bess Bullock is Sherlock Holmes in a retirement home.  She notices the little details.  She has a good eye for people and will spot curious behaviors to investigate.  So in a typical Bess Bullock book, she’ll find a number of little mysteries to investigate and resolve.  The reading is light and the stories focus on human nature.  Charlotte and Ruth Dupree aren’t that observant.  They are longtime socialites so they have a lot of social connections to reference whenever they get stuck in an investigation.  The Dupree Sisters Series takes more of a traditional approach of having one death to investigate.

What is next for Allan Boyer? 

I have a goal of finishing the next Bess Bullock book, Discreet in the Heat, by June.  So I’m pressed for time to finish it, but I’m more than halfway there.  I’ve never released two books in the same year so that’s a new goal to meet.  After that, I’ll be going up to Canada for a week with the family to get away.  I’ll be putting away the laptop and grabbing lots of notebooks to fill while I sit by a lake in the middle of nowhere.

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

Just that I find it very satisfying to create a story that gives people an escape from their job, or worries, or routine of the day.  It really is a privilege to do that.

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

“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.”  Mathew 6:34

61nal+JmmEL._AC_US218_Blair House Cat Mystery

There are three things distracting Ruth and Charlotte Dupree from enjoying the usual pleasures of Washington D.C. social circles. A stray cat with a spot of blood on its fur. A set of love letters from an unknown author. A dead body. Join the Dupree Sisters as they employ their usual charm and good manners to uncover the truth behind The Blair House Cat Murder, the second installment in the Dupree Sisters Mystery Series.

More About Allen Boyer

Allen B. Boyer lives near Hershey, Pa with his wife and three children. He also lives near a retirement home that he visits with his children and his dog, Buster. If you enjoyed Gumshoe Granny Investigates, please check out Bess in her second book, Clues Over Croissants, as well as Married To Mysteries, Whispers In Winter and Suspicions at Sunset.

A second mystery series was begun with Death at The Presidents Church, the first installment that features two elderly sisters who use their social connections in Washington D.C. to solve mysteries. The first book dealt with the death of a homeless man. The second book in the series, The Blair House Cat Mystery, is just released.

You can find Allen at these links:

Amazon

Allen’s Blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to meet Allen. Happy Reading.

Posted in Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Virtual Enemies by Sharon Mierke

It is no secret I am a fan of Sharon Mierke and her writing. I read Virtual Enemies a couple of years ago and I decided to read it again. Beryl Swallows goes back home to attend the funeral of a classmate who committed suicide. She hadn’t seen her classmate or her friends in years. It seemed everyone had a secret and that included her dead classmate Mary Lou.

I find Sharon Mierke books comfortable reads. By that I mean they take you along with characters as if you fit into their lives and are standing right there observing everything. Not only did this mystery remind me we occasionally find the people who used to be important in our early years may change so you can’t really go back home. The book moves along easily but at no point could I guess whodunnit and believe me as a mystery writer I like to figure it out early in the book.

I am moving on again to her other books, the ones I have read and the ones I haven’t put on my kindle yet. Take the time and see what Author Sharon Mierke has to offer. You won’t be disappointed if you like Cozy Mysteries.

51lYcrtg2fL._AC_US218_Virtual Enemies

When Beryl Swallows attended the funeral of a former schoolmate, Mary Lou Sanders, she had no idea that instead of renewing old friendships, she would be making new enemies. She also did not know that she would find herself immersed in a murder investigation – hired for big bucks by Mary Lou herself. The question was: Was Mary Lou murdered or did she really commit suicide as her note indicated? After not seeing her former friends, Lydia, Julia and Esther, for almost thirty years, they were virtually strangers or as she was to find out, virtual enemies.

B1pPGxbFAAS._UX250_Sharon Mierke

Sharon Rose now writing as Sharon Mierke!

Sharon Mierke’s mother was a writer and her father, a photographer, so it seemed natural to drift into the writing field and also keep her love for photography. She began writing many years ago but it wasn’t until her four children had left home that she began to do some serious writing. While taking a three-year writing course, she had several short stories published and two novels: Who Needs Enemies? and Missed by a Hair (both now out of print). Sharon enjoys writing mysteries and historical fiction.

Her book, Virtual Enemies, is a mystery and introduces readers to Beryl Swallows, a retired police officer and now private investigator. In Virtual Enemies 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. 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. The sequel to Sarah’s Valley, Return to Sarah’s Valley, is now available on Amazon. Now it is Patrick’s turn to tell his life story to one of Winnipesaukee’s descendants.

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

Sharon Rose Mierke and her husband live in Manitoba, Canada, where the summers are hot and the winters, cold. They have four grown children and four grandchildren. Sharon’s hobbies include reading, scrapbooking, and photography.

Visit Sharon At:
Posted in Book Reviews

Mistletoe Murder by Karen MacInerney

71FRLNGMNHL._UX250_Karen MacInerney is fast becoming one of my favorite authors with her Dewberry Farm Mysteries. I haven’t read them in order but it hasn’t made a difference to my enjoyment. I want to live at Dewberry Farm and grow vegetables, make soap and live in Buttercup. Her characters make me care about them. Her mysteries leave me wanting more. This mystery takes place at Christmas time. We all know things are not always as they seem at this time of year and Lucy Resnick, newcomer to Buttercup always seems to have the misfortune of falling right into the middle of the conundrum of circumstances. Add a little romance and suspense to the Christmas holiday and settle in for the festivities. I give this book five stars.

61d4doeB1DLMistletoe Murder ( A Dewberry Farm Mystery)

It’s beginning to look a lot like… Murder. It’s Christmastime, and farmer Lucy Resnick is living the life she’s always dreamed of. When she’s not selling her jams, soaps, and mistletoe bundles at the Buttercup Christmas Market, she’s enjoying cozy evenings by the fire with her knitting group–or her handsome veterinarian boyfriend Tobias Brandt. But less than a week before Christmas, a pall falls over the festive atmosphere when local man Randy Stone turns up with a knife in his back… and a sprig of mistletoe in his hair. Local sheriff Rooster Kocurek, never the brightest bulb on the string, is convinced it’s an open-and-shut case–murder by jealous wife–but Lucy suspects otherwise. She soon discovers that Randy’s life was more tangled than last year’s Christmas lights… and that unless she wraps up the case fast, there might be more than one funeral this holiday season.

Karen MacInerney

Karen is the housework-impaired author of multiple mystery series, and her victims number well into the double digits. She lives in Austin, Texas with two sassy children, her husband, and a menagerie of animals, including twenty-three fish, two rabbits, and a rescue dog named Little Bit. When she’s not chauffeuring children or coming up with creative ways to kill people, you can usually find Karen hiding away with a book, dodging laundry, playing in the kitchen, or attending martial arts classes. She also teaches writing classes.

To join Karen’s Readers’ Circle and download a free book, please visit her at www.karenmacinerney.com. Not only will you be first to hear about new releases, but you’ll receive behind-the-scenes tidbits, deleted scenes, recipes, and even short stories! You can also find Karen on Twitter at @karenmacinerney and Facebook at www.facebook.com/AuthorKarenMacInerney or www.facebook.com/karenmacinerney (where she spends an inordinate amount of time). You are more than welcome to friend her there — and remind her to get back to work on the next book!

Posted in Reading and Reviewing, Releases

Jezabelle is on a Blog Tour

My blog tour started on December 7. I am touring with Lori Caswell and Dollycas Tours.  I hope you will join me and Jezabelle Jingle from the Brilliant, Minnesota Cozy Mystery Series. You might learn more about Jezabelle as she blogs about her life in Brilliant or when she shares some of the recipes from her book. I might put my two cents worth in for a time or two. And then there are the reviews. I quake and shake when I know they are critiquing my work. Here is the schedule. Bookmark it and follow along. Be sure to share with your friends when you visit these sites as there are drawings. And for this month all my Kindle books are available for $.99. The set makes a great gift. But don’t forget they are all available in paperback too to buy for those you love at Christmas time. If you want a signed copy please email me and I will mail it to you direct and work out payment details. Smile, laugh and relax with a good book.

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

December 7 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE – E-Book Giveaway 

December 8 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

December 9 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

December 10 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 11 – T’s Stuff – INTERVIEW – E-Book Giveaway 

December 12 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 13 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST – Print Book Giveaway 

December 14 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

December 15 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW, GUEST POST

December 16 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT – E-Book Giveaway

December 17 – The Self-Rescue Princess – REVIEW

December 18 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 19 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

December 20 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

 

Posted in Book Reviews

The Frosty Taste of Scandal by CeeCee James

The Frosty Taste of Scandal
The Frosty Taste of Scandal

The beautiful cover of The Frosty Taste of Scandal drew me to buy and open the book. The first chapter pulled me in instantly and I didn’t look back.

This book has it all, a good mystery, likable characters, a little romance, food, and friendship. One of the highlights for me was the addition of Lucy, a teenager who is going through a rough spot and taken in by our main character, Elise. It reminded me the difference a mentor can make to a young person. I give this book five stars.

About the author:

CeeCee James is a wife, mom of four kids and pet mom to two mini-dachshunds. She’s always loved to read and always had her nose in a book– getting her into trouble at school when she’d sneak it in her textbooks.

Writing has been a lifelong passion. Her first works were published in middle school in a local newspaper, and she won several short story and poetry competitions throughout her life. Her published works include the Angel Lake Cozy Mystery series, nonfiction Ghost No More, and Wrecked and Yours, a sweet romance series.She loves writing about love, humanity’s struggles and the celebration of life. Sometimes there is beauty even in the chaos of a messy moment. For her, writing is about

The Frosty Taste of Scandal

Elise Pepper has had her share of bad dates, but she’s never had a dead body crash one before. Mr. Hamilton, the renowned Ice-man, purveyor of shady mortgages does just that when Elise finds him dead at the ice-rink. The scene of the crime is no coincidence, either. The Ice-man meets an icy end. And a freak power outage is only impeding the police.

When Elise’s coworker, Sue, begs for help, Elise is surprised to discover Sue was related to the man. And her family is fighting over his will and the appearance of an illegitimate son. It doesn’t take long to discover everyone in town had reason to benefit from the banker’s death.

When even the king and queen of the local high school’s Winter Ball come under suspicion, Elise wonders if they’ll ever find out who did it.

This may be the first case where the killer walks away.

You can find out more about CeeCee and her books on her Amazon page.

 

Posted in Reading and Reviewing, Releases

New Release! The Discombobulated Decipherers – November 21

It’s finally here. My new book, book two in the Brilliant, Minnesota Series, will be released on November 21 and is available for in print on Amazon and soon at BarnesandNoble.com, and for pre-order on Kindle, Kobo, Nook and other venues.

The Discombobulated Decipherers

It’s Christmas in Brilliant, Minnesota, and Brilliant is known for its glitzy Christmas traditions. A world-renowned Christmas pageant, the town square decked out with Santa’s Village and a live nativity scene bring visitors to Brilliant each year. Just as the tourists arrive, Jezabelle Jingle and her mystery writer friend, Miranda, find the body of Ernest the elf dead and wrapped in a bundle of Christmas lights in the town square. Is Ernest part of a new holiday puzzle the Discombobulated Decipherers need to solve? Or is dead Ernest part of a bigger plot? Will Jezabelle decipher the clues so Brilliant can celebrate Christmas in peace? Or will Jezabelle be the next gift-wrapped box under the village tree?

This is what one reader who got a sneak peek at the book had to say about it:

‘(I received an advanced copy from the author. I am voluntarily reviewing it) “Well…where’s your ho, ho,ho now? How can we have a Merry Christmas after all this?” Jezabelle Jingle and her crew of Pendergast Puzzlers are at it again. This time, they stumble upon a live Christmas scene and a dead elf. Whether or not the police have ordered the group to not get in any way involved, they not so quietly (at times) try to fit the pieces of Elfy’s death in place, and it might take more than brains to find out just what happened before Christmas! Jezabelle has bought the Brilliant Bistro and she and best friend Lizzie are making a go of it, especially now that it’s the Holidays. The uniqueness of the design of Brilliant MN has opened up all sorts of possibilities, and a few questions as seemingly unrelated situations come together in a hodgepodge of fragments that make no ordinary sense until the Decipherers figure it out in a lively and fast-paced read that will keep you guessing to the end. Recommended holiday fun! 4 stars” Andrea Stoeckel

Here is a little about me in case you haven’t investigated my website.

As human beings, we are always a work in progress. From birth to death we live, hurt, laugh, cry, feel, and with all of those emotions we grow as people, as family members, and as friends. I am a dreamer and feel blessed to have the opportunity in my writing to pass those dreams on to others. I believe you are never too old to dream and to turn those dreams into a creative endeavor. I live in rural Minnesota and I am a wife, mother, and grandmother.

I have worn many hats throughout my life such as working as a waitress, nursing home activities, office manager and finally computer repair person eventually owning my own computer repair business. I never forgot my love of writing and quit my computer business in 2012 after signing a contract with Cozy Cat Press for Granny Hooks A Crook, the first book in my Fuchsia, Minnesota Series.

Adding four more books to the Fuchsia Series, adding a new Brilliant, Minnesota Series and writing a column for local newspapers feeds my writing creativity.

I also dabble a bit in watercolor painting and hope to eventually add pictures to my children’s book series, Granny’s In Trouble.

Oh, and did I tell you I like to be a little bit silly.

Now if you haven’t read the first book in the series The Penderghast Puzzle Protectors, I would recommend you buy it now so you can get the history of Brilliant and the ever-changing Penderghast Puzzle Protectors who turn into the Discombobulated Decipherers in the second book. It’s only .99 on Kindle, a free read on Kindle Select, or if you prefer the print version it is also available on Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com,  It is also available in Audiobook.

Thank you for your patience and happy reading. Make sure you comment as I will give away a Kindle copy of The Penderghast Puzzle Protectors to prepare you for the Discombobulated Decipherers. And make sure you tell your friends.

Posted in Reading and Reviewing, Releases

Who Is Jezabelle Jingle?

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Jezabelle Jingle

It’s official! The Penderghast Puzzle Protectors has a new cover, a new publisher, and a new printing company. One might ask why I decided to make some changes with the first book in the Brilliant, Minnesota, Cozy Mystery Series. And if you weren’t  asking,  I will tell you anyway.

I feel The Penderghast Puzzle Protectors is perhaps the best book I have written so far. My readers keep asking for more Granny (Hermiony Vidalia Criony Fiddlestadt)

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Hermiony Vidalia Criony Fiddlestadt

and there will be more, but I felt the fictional communities of Minnesota needed another series and so the Brilliant Series was born, but it hasn’t taken off as well as I would like, thus the new cover and a new release.

First a little bit about the new cover. In searching for the perfect Victorian House for my main character Jezabelle Jingle, I came across a picture my friend and Author Sherri Hansen posted of her Victorian Bed and Breakfast and Teahouse, The Blue Belle Inn and knew it was perfect for Jezabelle. Sherri generously gave me permission to use the picture and I feel a connection to it.

Jezabelle Jingle is not quite as silly as her name portrays although she has her quirks and doesn’t suffer fools lightly. She grew up in Brilliant, left for a few years and came back to some of her old friends, Police Chief Hank Hardy and Lizzy Langer. Moving into the Penderghast neighborhood of Victorian Houses she loved her retired life, making her famous cheesecakes and keeping an eye on her interesting but quirky neighbors. But fate thrust her into the history and secrecy the Brilliant Brothers built into the town.

Of course, there has to be a connection to Fuchsia, Minnesota, and Granny, from the Fuchsia Series, and it comes in the form of Granny’s friend, Delight Delure, who is Jezabelle’s niece.

Jezabelle is not a sleuth like Granny but when her neighbor’s lives are threatened by unique goings on and deaths, Jezabelle, along with her neighbors, are forced to investigate and they form the Penderghast Puzzle Protectors. Can her neighbors be trusted?

Jezabelle is not above flirting with her cute garbage collector, Hick Rafferty. She is not too old to have a secret admirer or to keep the Police Department on their toes. Her heart has been broken a few times by secrets in her past and…by losing pets, but new pets seem to find her whether she wants them or not.

As the series progresses you will find a community riddled in mystery with actual puzzles needing to be solved, funny situations and a town that looks out for their own despite their differences.

Jezabelle is a conglomeration of fun, silliness with drops of sense and sensibility, all wrapped up in cheesecakes, cupcakes, and intrigue.

The second book in the Brilliant Series is coming soon. It should be out in October. The title is The Discombobulated Decipherers. Not only is there a dead elf wrapped in Christmas lights, but a Christmas puzzle to solve along with more insight into the quirky lives of the Brilliant residents.

Penderghast_Puzzle_Protectors_jpgHere is a little excerpt from The Penderghast Puzzle Protectors.

“What are you doing here, HH?” Jezabelle used her nickname
for the Police Chief. “Didn’t know you covered floor failures
too. I kept telling Warbler he needed to lose some weight—
too many of those banana splits from the Creamy Cow, but he
didn’t listen. I warned him these old houses have weak floors
in places.”
Hank Hardy and Red Hannahan shared a concerned look
between them before Hank answered Jezabelle. “It was no accident, Jezzy. It looks like someone cut a large square out of
the floor. The strange thing was that they must have known
how the house was built.”
“That’s impossible,” replied Jezabelle. “That house, like mine
and all the others on the street, are over one hundred years old.
And they’ve always been in good shape. The owners have kept
them up. Are you telling me we have a one-hundred-year-old
cutting up floors?”
“Here’s the thing.” Red Hannahan interrupted. “That exact
square of floor was framed in a square, not like the normal
joists in a house. That frame was made for exactly that piece
of floor.”
Hardy nodded his head in agreement. “The perpetrator
pulled up that particular floor board without disturbing the
ceiling below. That’s why Warbler didn’t notice it from the
living room underneath the bedroom.”
“And when they did, they pulled the area rug over to hide the
hole. Mr. Warbler stepped on the rug and went right through
the floor. The square was just big enough for part of his rotund
body to go through, but the solid framing of the floor and his
stomach wouldn’t give way for the rest.” Red Hannahan smiled,
remembering the picture of Mr. Warbler hanging through the
ceiling.
Jezabelle wrinkled her nose, puzzled by the events of the
day. “Do you suppose the entire floor is framed like that? And
why would someone want a piece of Mr. Warbler’s floor?”
Hank Hardy ignored the question and answered with one of
his own. “Did you see anything suspicious or anyone you didn’t
recognize around Mr. Warbler’s house today?”
“Other than Miranda Covington actually putting her
garbage out at the correct time so she didn’t have to run down
the street after the garbage truck in her high heels and scanty
nighties? Nope, can’t say I did.” Jezabelle smiled sweetly at the men, remembering that Mr. Warbler was the only one she saw
doing something suspicious the day before. Jezabelle decided
to keep that little bit of news to herself so she could investigate
before she told the police. After all, she didn’t want to put Mr.
Warbler in a bad light, them being neighbors and all. “Nope,
nothing.”

The Blurb:

The Brilliant Brothers founded Brilliant Minnesota, and then they disappeared. The residents of Brilliant didn’t know the brothers left a puzzle needing to be solved. A chain of unexpected present-day events shakes up the Penderghast neighborhood of Brilliant: Mr. Warbler hanging between floors after stepping through a hole cut in his floor by a floornapper, then a dead body in Annabelle Avery’s empty house. To the dismay of Police Chief Hank Hardy, Jezabelle Jingle and her quirky neighbors form their own sleuth group under the guise of the Penderghast Puzzle Protectors to solve the puzzle before any of them end up in pieces or—worse yet—dead. Will they be able to figure out if the same person who is causing the mysterious happenings is also Jezabelle’s secret admirer, or is another mystery unfolding to complicate their investigation? Is the entire town in danger of a pernicious puzzle waiting to be solved?

This is what one reader had to say about the Penderghast Puzzle Protectors: The Penderghast Puzzle Protectors is the first in the new Brilliant Minnesota Mysteries by Julie Seedorf. This new series is just as funny as The Fuchsia Minnesota Series! Julie’s stories are so imaginative and creative. The characters are so much fun! I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and look forward to the next one.

If you want to find out more or if you want to check out the reviews it is available in paperback on Amazon or BarnesandNoble.com

As a Kindle Read or Audiobook

 

 

Posted in Guest Authors, Reading and Reviewing

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:

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

Meet Author Abby Vandiver

 

I am excited to spotlight Author Abby Vandiver on my new blog today. I am in the midst of reading Bed and Breakfast Bedlam, book one in the Logan Dickerson mysteries, and I am loving it. I will be purchasing the rest. I love funny, quirky characters and Abby’s characters remind me of Granny and Jezabelle in my series of books. Abby is a cozy writer and I would highly recommend her books. What makes her visit exciting is that she is introducing her sixth installment of this series, South Seas Shenanigans. I have to read fast to catch up. Welcome, Abby.

 

Author Abby Vandiver

 

It’s the sixth installment of an Amazon #1 Best Selling cozy mystery series by Author Abby Vandiver! South Seas Shenanigans continues the adventures of amateur sleuths, Logan Dickerson, archaeologist, and Vivienne Pennywell, aka, Miss Vivee – a five-foot-nothing, ninety-something Voodoo herbalist. 

Fans of this series have enjoyed the unusual, rarely heard causes of death that only Miss Vivee and her new husband can recognize, and this one doesn’t disappoint! Sail away on a Fijian paradise vacation with Logan, Miss Vivee and Mac as they suffer the shenanigans of a prankster, dance the Meke, and solve an untimely death. Oh, wait! Did I say “a” death? Make that two! Can you guess whodunit?

Additionally, Abby is offering a boxed set of the first three books in the series. Both South Seas Shenanigans and the Logan Dickerson Cozy Mystery Boxed Set are set to be released March 29, 2017. Meanwhile, Abby had only planned to write one more book in the series, but in listening to her fans, she has decided to continue writing the series a little longer. Check out her website for more information.

Cozy Mystery Boxed Set

 

 A little more about the Author:

Through her various occupations, Abby discovered her love of writing. She’d always been told she had a gift for telling stories, combining the two, she became an author.

Her debut novel, the mystery/sci-fi, In the Beginning, Book I in the Mars Origin “I” Series was an Amazon #1 bestseller. It was written on a whim, packed away, and rediscovered some twelve years later. After publishing it in 2013, Abby decided to make writing a full-time endeavor. She’s penned a slew of novels since then and has even more in her head. Although she writes mostly mystery, she’s written a historical/women’s fiction novel. It was co-written with author and friend, Kathryn Dionne under the pen name Kathryn Longino. Currently, she is working on her first cozy mystery series. There will be at least five in the series, three, Bed & Breakfast Bedlam, Coastal Cottage Calamity, and Maya Mound Mayhem have already been published and are Amazon international bestsellers.

Abby, a former lawyer, and college professor, has a bachelor’s degree in Economics, a master’s in Public Administration, and a Juris Doctor. A lifetime resident of Cleveland, Ohio, Abby spends all of her time writing and enjoying her wonderful grandchildren.

 

Posted in Guest Authors

Meet Anne Hillstrom, Star of Antique Hunter Mystery Series

91O3Yzdpo9L._UX250_I am very excited to have the star extraordinaire of the Antique Hunter Mystery Series with me today. She is going to tell us a little about her finds and what kind of mischief she is up to.  Welcome Anne
Travel, shopping and more
Happy shopping, everyone! This is Anne Hillstrom, antique enthusiast, and star of the Antique Hunter Mystery Series. I haven’t been on social media recently because I’ve been busy hitting several local resale stores, estate sales and flea markets. Of course, I’ve been mainly looking for items to resell in our antique store, Great Aunt Sybil’s Attic, but would I be remiss in adding a couple pieces to my own collection?
To prevent my friend, CC, from lecturing me, I’ve kept my purchases to small items such as this lovely pair of gold earrings handmade set with reclaimed IMG_0006 (1)sapphires
as well as this gold and pink sapphire Victorian necklace. There’s always room for jewelry even in my small apartment above the antique store. I had to purchase a small jewelry cabinet to hold some of my recent finds.
While I’ve been busy finding “finds” for our store, CC has been equally busy, planting her spring garden, learning about herbs and their medicinal uses. We took a trip to Asheville, North Carolina, where she was fascinated by Appalachian herbal remedies and now she has become quite the expert. I personally am not a fan of the nettle leaf tea or some of her other concoctions but I’ve learned it’s best to humor her. She is willing to share many of the tips she is learning so I’m sure you will learn more.
While we were in Asheville, we spent a day at the marvelous Biltmore Estate. Not only is the estate fabulous but they had a display of costumes from Jane Austen movies. The detail on many of the dresses is simply stunning, and the backdrop of this Gilded Age mansion made it a spectacular exhibit. I could simply live on the back porch of the estate with its view of the inside of the house. I pictured myself touring the house with my washed apple green silk gown swirling around my ankles, enjoying high tea in the morning room or a five-course dinner in the grand dining room.
After our stop at the Biltmore, we visited several area antique stores including our favorite, the Tobacco Barn, a mega warehouse with stained glass galore, reclaimed wood and furniture. I did not buy anything this trip but plan to return when I renew construction on my house. We also stopped at many of the local breweries. Asheville is known as microbrewery capital of the United States. I strolled the downtown art galleries while CC spent an afternoon with a brewmaster, and now she has set up a brewery at the farm where we have our restaurant.
Of course, what would a Spoon Sisters road trip be without a little adventure? I don’t want to share all the details here but you can find out more about our Asheville trip in Murder for Sale, due out by late summer. In the meantime, you can spend some time with CC and myself by reading the first four books in the Antique Hunters Mystery Series.
Thank you to Julie for letting me put a guest appearance on her blog today! I have to run, shopping awaits.
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