Tag Archives: cozy mystery

Author Interview with Ana Diamond & New Release ~ Body Conscious #WRPbk #AHAgrp #Blog

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Ana Diamond….

Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets? I grew up in the suburbs of New York just outside of New York City. I also lived in New York City for 15 years. Now I’m back in the suburbs rasing two kids. I have 2 rescue cats who are also sisters.

Why did you choose this genre? I’ve always been drawn to mystery. I like intrigue and romance always keeps me reading.

Do you have another occupation, other than writer? If so, what is it and do you like it? I work in the medical field in a large hospital in NYC. It is the complete opposite of  writing and creating but I find that it keeps me grounded and pays the bills. 

Do you collect anything? I collect candles, dolls, Disney animated production cells and makeup.

What was your first job? Medical Assistant. 

Have you written any other books that are not published? Yes, many. I have dabbled in different genres to figure out where I might fit in the best. 

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination? Entirely from my imagination. 

How did you come up with the title?

It’s a play on words. It has a much more literal meaning since the story is set in a funeral home where there are lots of bodies and the story centers around a body that is found but doesn’t belong.

What’s the main thing that you could get rid of in your life that would give you more writing time?  My day job.

Your favorite…

Place you’ve visited:  Bora Bora

Place you’d like to visit  Egypt

TV show from childhood Sesame Street

Food  A fresh salad 

 

In a small town, gossip can get you killed

Blurb:

Mortician, Lily Reynolds is used to seeing bodies, but not the type murdered in her own funeral home. As Detective James Rivers zeroes in on her as the town’s number one suspect she must rise above the accusations and rumors to solve the case herself while keeping her attraction to the troubled detective at bay.

James has a past. The last time he let someone into his life she wound up dead. Vowing never to let that happen again he has sworn off dating for good. Until he meets Lily. In his gut he knows she’s not the murderer but pressure to solve the case puts him on the wrong trail while he struggles to keep Lily off the case.

Can she solve the case on her own or will their scandalous romance get in the way of proving her innocence?

Excerpt:

“That’s Detective James Rivers,” Abrams said. “He came all the way up from New York City to our little town in the scenic Hudson Valley. He’ll be the lead investigator on this case since I know you ladies will be frequent callers.”

“Let’s be clear, I’ve never called you,” Lily said. “It’s always been Shanna.”

Abrams gave her a coy smile. He seemed flattered by the idea.

“Nice to meet you, Detective Rivers,” Lily said, finally turning toward the man who approached them.

Her breath caught in her throat. She didn’t know what she had been expecting, but not this—the angelic face with large sky-blue eyes, pronounced cheekbones and silken black hair. The only part of him that matched her ideas of what detectives looked like were his tattooed arms. She should know; her dad had been a cop.

May he rest in peace.

But James’s tattoos weren’t subtle. Snakes slid up his arms, past his rolled-up shirtsleeves, coiling around his thick forearms and biceps. One corner of his mouth lifted as he caught her staring.

Buy Here:  https://books2read.com/anadiamondauthor

Bio:

When Ana Diamond isn’t writing about tough gals finding love in unexpected places, she’s at work by day in the medical field. She writes romantic cozy mystery novels with feisty strong women and alluring men who can’t resist them. Her books are fast paced, entertaining and heartfelt all at once.

Ana is a 2020 Tara Contest Finalist for Body Conscious and 2015 Melody of Love contest finalist. She lives in New York with her husband, two children and two needy but wildly entertaining kitty cats.

https://twitter.com/AuthorDiamond

https://www.facebook.com/anadiamondauthor/

https://www.instagram.com/anadiamondauthor/

https://www.tiktok.com/@anadiamondauthor?

Email: Ana@anadiamondauthor.com

 

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Mrs. Spinney’s Secret by M. S. Spencer

Please help me welcome today’s guest, author M. S. Spencer….

Thirty years ago my family drove up for the first time to a small village in Maine for a week’s vacation. Thirty years later, we own a house in that village, and consider it home. That first year, however, was unique. We were met by the rental agent, who apologized for the chaos—Mel Gibson was making a movie in the village. We thought (and said), “Cool!” Turned out the apology was indeed in order. All activity had to stop while the cameras filmed, and parts of the tiny hamlet were off-limits to the lay folks. To this day my kids will stop a conversation by saying, “Cut!”

The movie, The Man Without a Face, premiered in 1993.

My second novel set in the village of Amity Landing takes its inspiration from that event.

Lights! Camera! Action! Hollywood comes to Amity Landing, trailing corpses

Blurb

What do you do when Hollywood takes over your tiny Maine village to make a movie?

Cassidy Beauvoir, chair of the board of overseers of Amity Landing, is ready to throw the bums out; that is, until she meets Jasper MacEwan, the director of American Waterloo: the Rout of the Penobscot Expedition. It’s instant attraction until a series of deadly incidents threatens their budding romance. Are the attacks directed at the movie crew or the townspeople?

As the two search for answers, the trail leads them to long-held secrets of the worst naval defeat of the American Revolution—including betrayal, murder, and a lost hoard of English gold.

Excerpt: Cassidy Meets the Toff

Cassidy decided she could safely ignore the sarcasm. “I think I just encountered the Toff.”

“You think? The man gives ‘demigod’ a whole new definition.”

“Okay. Greek hero with Samson’s locks and Julius Caesar’s nose?”

“That’s the chap. I’ve been ordered to introduce him to the Spinney house. Want to come along?”

She checked her watch. She didn’t have to open up the store for another couple of hours. “Sure.”

“Hop in.” They proceeded at a more sober pace past the row of tiny houses perched on the cliff above the bay and pulled in next to the green-shuttered Spinney house behind the McLaren. They walked down the steps and entered the kitchen. It looked the same as when Cassidy showed it to Sally, but the rest of the house had been transformed into Prospero’s cave. Black curtains covered all the windows—even the great bay ones looking out to sea. Equipment and captain’s chairs were strewn about, the original furniture pushed against the walls. Cassidy sucked in a breath. “Why did you need a real house if you were going to turn it into a studio?”

“Oh, we’ll move stuff around as needed. There’s Digby.” He led her over to the current heartthrob of dozens of middle-aged women. The actor was standing in the middle of the room, eyes shut, with a hand over his heart.

“Digby?”

He started. “Who disturbs me in my cogitation?” His round BBC tones resonated in the room. He opened his eyes. “Oh, it’s you, MacEwan. What do you want?”

“I would like you to meet Miss Cassidy Beauvoir.” He made it sound as if he were doing Toff-Smythe a favor of the highest order. “Cassidy? This is Digby Toff-Smythe, star of our little project.”

“Little? My dear boy, this will be the toast of Sundance, of Cannes, of Venice. It has all the makings of my best effort yet.” He smiled graciously at Cassidy. “Are you with the crew, Miss Beauvoir?”

Jasper jumped in. “No, she’s the president—”

“Chairman.”

“Chairman of the board of overseers of this town.”

“I see.” He shook her hand. “It’s always gratifying to connect with the local establishment. Are you here to present me with the keys to your municipality?”

This question met with astonished silence. Finally, Jasper—his voice rather desperate—added, “And she owns Mindful Books. It’s a bookstore in Penhallow. I am pumping her for recommendations for nearby watering holes. I know you prefer to avoid the canteen—all those fawning stagehands.”

Buy Links:

Books2Read

Amazon  ITunes   Barnes&Noble   Walmart  

KOBO   Google Play   Thalia  

Goodreads   BookBub

It will also be available on Overdrive, Indigo, and other online stores.

About the Author

Librarian, anthropologist, research assistant, Congressional aide, speechwriter, nonprofit director—M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled in five of the seven continents. She holds a BA from Vassar College, a diploma in Arabic Studies from the American University in Cairo, and Masters in Anthropology and in Library Science from the University of Chicago. All of this tends to insinuate itself into her works.

Ms. Spencer has published fourteen romantic suspense and mystery novels. She has two fabulous grown children and an exuberant granddaughter and currently divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.

Social Media Links

Blog  Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  Pinterest 

Linked In GoodReads  Bookbub

 

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#HobbyCareerPassion: “A Passion for Purses” ~ Author Wendy Kendall ~ #WRPbks #AHAgrp

Welcome to my weekly feature where authors share about the hobbies, careers, or passions of their characters.

I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, Wendy Kendall…

(I’m proud to say that I was Wendy’s editor for Kat out of the Bag – and I love her book!)

A Passion For Purses

by Wendy Kendall

I have reveled in a passion for purses many years. I enjoy all kinds. You name it and I’ll claim it. My curiosity and wildly growing peronal collection led me to investigate the world of purses. That resulted in my new mystery novel Kat Out of the Bag, introducing Katherine Watson celebrated international purse designer and amateur sleuth.

Why do women love purses? I had my suspicions, of course. I followed many clues. I devoured everything there was to read about designers. I researched art appreciation. But it was when I interviewed every day women about their favorite purse, and learned about their incredible lives and families that I knew I was hot on the trail to uncovering the mystery of a passion for purses.

I met with a variety of women who enjoyed purses. Their favorite purse, the one they told me all about,  was often a special gift, maybe a family member, loved one, friend, or mentor. Sometimes their purse was a style similar to another woman’s who they’d known. Often it evoked a cherished memory, like an aunt who had a purse pocket with surprise candy treats for kids. There was a sisterhood here.

For some women their favorie purse represented a cause that they supported wholeheartedly. They were wearing their heart on their arm, or sometimes crossbody.

No matter how contemporary, these stories had roots in history. Yes, a woman’s purse tells a story, that’s unique and at the same time shared. The final piece of the puzzle fell into place. I traveled from Seattle, Washington to Little Rock, Arkansas to visit one of only three purse museums in the world – Esse. The ESSE Purse Museum does not simply showcase accessories. It makes HERstory tangible and familiar. ESSE is focused on honoring women, artisans and the stories that make us unique and connected.

Mystery solved! And my novel underway, about Katherine Watson the purse designer. She creates purses because it was a passion that her great grandmother had shared with her when she was a young child. It was then she learned  inside every purse there’s a treasured story of the woman who carried it, and those stories are important. When Katherine ends up temporarily back in her hometown of Bayside, she decides to create a purse museum in honor of her great grandmother, and all the women who’s stories would be told in the exhibits. Never did she imagine that the mayor would be murdered at the Gala Opening.

My character Moonjava is a fan of the hippies of the 1960’s. She’s also the museum historian. She loves the idea of showcasing history in creative exhibits. She shares a daily meditation with anyone who will listen, often with interesting repercussions.

Amber is the college student who manages the museum gift shop. She’s a wristlet gal. She stumbles on her own cold case mystery when she and her boyfriend Michael find a note in a donated vintage purse.

While Michael and Amber partner on their cold case, Katherine finds herself investigating the murder with, and sometimes at odds with local cop Jason Holmes and his K-9 partner Hobbs. Jason ends up learning some things about purses as the mystery deepens.

I wrote Kat Out of the Bag for the fun of mysteries, for the fun of creating the characters, for the women who are making history right now, and to honor memories of the women who have gone before.

Kat Out of the Bag is available on Amazon

Book Blurb –

When celebrated international purse designer Katherine Watson hosts a gala for her Purse-onality Museum, she never expected the next day’s headline to read: ‘Murder at the Gala Prmiere.’ But after a dead body is found during the event, that’s exactly what happened.

Working to solve the murder, Katherine matches wits with local cop Jason Holmes and his K-9 partner Hobbs. Although Holmes and Watson disagree often, they discover an undeniable attraction building between them. But they’ll have to put their feelings on hold and focus on solving the murder, before Katherine becomes the killer’s next knock off.

Excerpt –

“There’s an officer nearby. We’ll alert him. Hold the line.”

Katherine was worried by the operator’s monotone. Did she understand the urgency? Katherine watched in disbelief as the shadow figure moved toward the shed attached to the waterwheel. Too late, she thought to get a picture after the person disappeared inside the shed.

“Oh no,” Katherine muttered. She spoke into the phone, “Hurry, I think it’s the killer, maybe looking for something left behind? Hello?” Had the operator hung up?

“Yes, the officer is on the way. Please stay on the line.” The operator’s voice now sounded bored.

A sharp ray of light from inside the shed cut through the darkness. The light jumped around. Sweat collected on Katherine’s upper lip as she imagined the killer looking through her things for something, maybe critical evidence. Fear gave way to irritation at the invasion. Irritation gave way to anger. Someone had to stop that killer from removing whatever incriminating thing was so critical it had driven a return to the scene of the crime. Katherine wanted to scream. Where were the police? Maybe MJ was right about them. She pressed against the french doors. The light in the shed went out. Her breath caught in her throat. The silhouette walked out of the shed toward the alley leading to the maze that burrowed throughout Bayside and beyond.

Katherine spoke gruffly and fast, “Hello. Where’s your officer? The suspect is getting away.”

“Ma’am, please stay calm and hang on the line. They’re on the way.”

Katherine unlocked the door to the yard and whispered to the 911 operator, “I’m in pursuit.”

 

Author Bio –

Wendy Kendall has a passion for purses and stories of the women through history who carried them. Her cozy mystery Kat Out of the Bag is the first book of the In Purse-Suit Mystery series.

Wendy is a blogger, editor, speaker, project manager, and syndicated columnist. Catch exciting author interviews on her podcasts. She loves her two sons, Alex and Brad and lives near Seattle.

Website – Wendywrites.org

Blog – ApassionForPurses.blogspot

Facebook– Wendy Kendall, Mystery Author

Twitter – wendywrites1

Podcasts – Kendall & Cooper Talk Mysteries . . . A Novel Talk . . . The Cozy Mystery Quartet

Columns – Recommended Reads and Kids Are Bookin’ It

Esse Purse Museum

 

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Filed under Author Blog Post, Hobbies...Careers...Passions

Author Interview with ML Erdahl ~ New Release: Winter Takes All

I am very pleased to host today’s guest. I had the pleasure of editing this fabulous book, and of meeting the author face to face at a conference in Seattle. He’s funny and personable and very talented. Please help me welcome ML Erdahl.

 

Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets?

My family were early homesteaders of Gig Harbor, WA.  They witnessed the city go from dirt roads and pristine forests, to the medium sized city that it is today.  I grew up there and attended college at the University of Washington in Seattle. Today, I live in Renton with my wife and a houseful of neurotic rescue pets.

Where did you get the idea for Winter Takes All?

 My writing story for Winter Takes All began with a genre swap suggested by my wife. Her favorite fiction genres are Mysteries and Thrillers, while mine is Fantasy.  She gave me Nevada Barr, Janet Evanovich, and Mary Daheim novels to read, and I gave her Robert Jordan. I loved the stories I was given, which were so different from the long epic adventures I was used to. I enjoyed the wit of the genre, as well as the concept of a ordinary person being forced out of their comfort zone to the point where they find themselves investigating a crime.

During the long bus rides to-and-fro work, I must have been inspired, because an idea for a cozy mystery percolated in my head. I began writing it down over the next year. After I’d finished my book, I read it back.  I’m not going to lie, it was pretty mediocre, but I could see the elements of a great story.  I began to study how to write fiction, and applying what I’d learned, re-wrote the entire book to its present incarnation.

The moral of this particular story for aspiring writers is to learn how to write, and then begin writing. I still believe that the best learning tool is to practice, but having an idea where you’re going will help you get there faster. Trust me on this.

Do you have another occupation, other than writer? If so, what is it and do you like it?

By day, I’m an environmental chemist. My company specializes in analyzing fuel spills. We’ve received samples from the Exxon Valdez to the Deepwater Horizon gulf spill. It’s a satisfying job in that I know I leave the world a cleaner place with my work.

What do you dislike that most people wouldn’t understand?

Being from the Pacific Northwest and of Norwegian descent, you’d think I’d like seafood, but I can’t stand the stuff.  Whenever I eat it, my wife accuses me of “making the face.”

What was your first job?

Mowing lawns.  I still like yard work, but I remember one old lady’s yard I mowed had so very many snakes. Harmless garter snakes, but they still gave me the heebie-jeebies.

What’s your favorite book of all time and why? What’s your favorite childhood book?

A favorite book is a tough one since I love two genres, cozy mystery and fantasy. Therefore I’m going to cheat and pick two, Janet Evanovich’s “One for the Money”, and Brandon Sanderson’s “Mistborn”. Both of those authors know how to write the most memorable characters.  My favorite childhood book was Shel Silverstein’s delightful poetry in “Where the Sidewalk Ends”.

What do you want readers to come away with after they read Winter Takes All?

I want people to read my novel and feel like they escaped on a wild ride. I want a reader to turn the last page and immediately download my next book to continue the adventure.

What genre have you never written that you’d like to write?

Someday I’d like to take a crack at my other favorite genre, Fantasy. All of the advice to authors is to stay in your lane and not switch genres, because you’ll lose your audience. However, I don’t think I want to let life pass me by without taking a shot at it.

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

For the most part, they are made up, but after I was done writing, I discovered my brain had also frankensteined bits and pieces of various people in my life. I recognized different attributes of friends and family in my characters.

What do your friends and family think of your writing?

They are my biggest cheerleaders.  My wife spends hours every day either helping me directly or doing more around the house to give me more time to write.  Furthermore, many of my family and friends were my beta-readers, who took time to not only read the earlier drafts, but give me valuable feedback. I couldn’t ask for a better support system.

How did your interest in writing originate?

In middle school, our English teacher had us free write for an hour once a week and I was hooked. After moving on from that grade, I continued writing short stories to amuse myself and my friends. However, it wasn’t until the last few years that I began to take writing seriously.  Reading books on writing from KM Weiland, Jane Friedman, and Stephen King has shown me how much effort needs to go into each and every sentence to make a compelling story. Instead of being intimidating, it has inspired me.

Your favorite…

Movie Shawshank Redemption

Music Eclectic

Place you’ve visited Venice

Place you’d like to visit Greece

TV show from childhood Night Court

TV show from adulthood Game of Thrones

Food Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

Sports team Seahawks

Which do you prefer: Board games/card games or television? Board Games/Card games

Great interview, it was fun getting to know more about you, ML. Now, please tell us about your book…

 

Blurb:

Crystal Rainey is aghast when she realizes her new year’s resolutions haven’t changed one whit from the previous year. Wanting to escape a future as dreary as a Pacific Northwest winter, she walks out on her dead-end office job, despite her tenuous savings account.

Stumbling across a job opening posted by a wilderness guide outfit, an intrigued Crystal bluffs her way into the position. With handsome fellow guide, the stalwart Conner Oakes, she leads a corporate retreat on a snowshoe hike to a majestic alpine chalet.

But when the company’s detestable owner turns up dead in the snow, she fears her new life and budding romance slipping away. She finally has something worth fighting for and is determined to solve the murder and grab her chance at happiness before it’s too late.

Excerpt:

Not the most auspicious start to my guiding career, Crystal admitted to herself.

Conner sat back down, took a grateful swig of the coffee and sighed. “This could have gone better,” he said stating the obvious.

“What happens next?” Crystal asked.

“We wait until dawn, see if he turns up, and escort everyone out of here. Hopefully, Philip is waiting for us at the lodge, and we can drive this whole miserable lot back to the city a day early. In the meantime, I suggest we follow everyone’s lead and try to get a little shuteye.”

Conner’s radio crackled with Sam’s voice, “We’ve found the missing man from your group, Conner. He’s at the bottom of a cliff. I’m sorry to say this search and rescue operation has become a search and recover.”

Conner paled at the news.

“What does ‘search and recover’ mean?” Crystal asked.

“It means he’s dead.”

*************************

Buy Links:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Apple Books

Biography:

ML Erdahl lives amidst the trees of the Pacific Northwest, where he pens humorous cozy mystery novels set in the wilderness he has spent his lifetime exploring. The only thing slowing him down is when his adorable rescue dogs, Skip and Daisy, demand to be petted and cuddled on his lap while he types. When he’s not wandering the mountains, you can find him gardening, reading, or searching for the best coffee in Seattle with his wife, Emily.

Social Media Links:

Website

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Goodreads

Bookbub

Pinterest

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Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release

M. S. Spencer is in the Spotlight with Orion’s Foot: Myth, Mystery, and Romance in the Amazon

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Wild Rose Press Author, M. S. Spencer….

 

A monster, a murderer, and a mystery lurk deep in the Amazon.

Thank you for having me today, Alicia! I’d like to tell your readers something of the inspiration for my new mystery romance Orion’s Foot.

My son had gone to Peru during his junior year in college, and I was lamenting the fact that I didn’t get to travel much anymore when a friend remarked, “Well, why don’t you go visit him?” Aha. I said. I shall set forth. So I hopped a plane and eleven hours later he met me at the Lima airport. Just like Petra Steele, my heroine in Orion’s Foot, we had a whirlwind tour of Lima, the capital city, a flight to Iquitos, a city set in the midst of winding waterways and dense jungle, and a boat ride deeper into that jungle.

Like Petra, I was greeted by a menagerie of exotic creatures, including capybaras, tapirs, pink dolphins, and monkeys—hundreds of monkeys! It was a great adventure. A lot of it is described in Orion’s Foot.

 

Blurb:

Petra Steele is wallowing in self-pity after being dumped at the altar, when her brother Nick invites her to come to the Peruvian Amazon. Before she even sets her suitcase down, she’s confronted with a murder victim. In a research station peopled with a quirky assortment of scientists, she is drawn to Emory Andrews, a gruff, big man with a secret past. That is, until his beautiful ex-wife shows up. More murders, more secrets, more mysteries ensue, all in the deeply romantic, sizzling jungle.

Excerpt: The Police Are Coming

“The police!” John glowered at Hector. “Did you call them?”

“No! You said not to. I don’t know what they’re doing here.”

“How close are they?”

“Still half an hour away. My cousin Luis told me they’re coming from the police substation in Nauta.” He faltered. “I…uh…I did send for Don César.”

“Don César?” Aguirre seemed confused. “Who’s he?”

“He’s the local shaman.”

“What!”

“What do we need him for?”

No one seemed happy at this news except Petra, who felt her interest piqued. A shaman! A real native witch doctor…Will he be naked? Or wear a necklace of shrunken heads? Visions of scalp locks and tattoos swirling in her head, she barely heard Nick.

“Perhaps he’ll be able to tell us what caused Lewis’s death.”

Aguirre laughed unpleasantly. “Great, he can chant and burn smelly plants. Maybe dance around the corpse jiggling shrunken heads on a stick.”

Aha, see? It’s not just me. She regarded Aguirre with approval.

Hector coughed. “Our shamans train in the arts of healing for many years. They know the flora and fauna of the rainforest better than anyone alive. Don César is a banco ayahuasquero—a master shaman. He is very skilled.” His mouth set in a prim line. “We here in Peru do not shrink heads. At least, not anymore.”

Ulp.

Aguirre said something under his breath.

Alex piped up. “What about the body? Should we leave it on the bed? Hide it from the police?” He looked toward John.

Emory wrinkled his nose. “He’s already been exposed to the air far too long.” He glanced at Petra. “The police will only have to follow the aroma to discover him.”

John jumped up. “It doesn’t matter. Let’s hide it, at least until we hear what they want.”

Nick ventured, “We could put him in the lab refrigerator.”

Emory nodded, but the others chorused a loud “No!”

Aguirre whined, “I have specimens in there. There’s one flower I think may be a new variety of bromeliad.”

Alex added anxiously, “And I have two caiman eggs cooling. They were almost ready to hatch. I want to see if lowering the temperature at this juncture in the incubation period will have an effect on the sex.”

“And what about my bottle of Stolichnaya?” This last question probably did not have the effect John anticipated. “What? I was going to share it during the celebration.”

Petra surprised everyone by asking, “Celebration? What celebration?”

Aguirre glared at Nick. “I can’t believe you brought her here.”

“I told you—”

Hector interrupted. “Excuse me, but what shall we do about the police? The shaman cannot come until tomorrow.”

Emory rapped the table. “Here’s a crazy idea. We tell them the truth.”

The sound of a motorboat pulling into the pier brought them to their feet.

 

 Orion’s Foot: Myth, Mystery, and Romance in the Amazon

M. S. Spencer

Wild Rose Press, October 30, 2019

First Crimson Rose Edition, 2019

442 pp; 101,601 words

Rating: Spicy (PG13)

Buy Links:

Wild Rose Press

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

ITunes

KOBO

Google Play

Indigo

Indie-bound

About the Author:

Although M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled in five of the seven continents, the last thirty years were spent mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, speechwriter, literary editor, professional staff at a U. S. Senate committee and at the Dept. of the Interior, non-profit director, and parent. She holds a BA from Vassar College, a diploma in Arabic Studies from the American University in Cairo, and Masters in Anthropology and in Library Science from the University of Chicago.  All of this tends to insinuate itself into her works.

Ms. Spencer has published thirteen romantic suspense or murder mystery novels, with two more on the way. She has two fabulous grown children and an incredible granddaughter. She divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.

Social Media Links:

Blog: https://msspencertalespinner.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/msspencerromance

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/msspencerauthor

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/msspencer
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/msspencerauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/msspencerauthor/

Linked in: www.linkedin.com/in/msspencerauthor

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/m-s-spencer

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Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release

An Author Interview with Karen Chino ~ New Release: New Beginnings

Please help me welcome Karen Chino who is sharing about herself and her fun new book!

 

Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets?

I’m from Staten Island, New York and am presently living on the Jersey Shore in Barnegat.

 

Where did you get the idea for New Beginnings?

I came up with the idea when I move into a 55 and over community.

 

Why did you choose this genre (is it something you’ve written in before)?

I’ve never written a cozy mystery before. But there was something about this genre that I knew I could incorporate in my new living conditions.

 

Was there anything unusual, any anecdote about this book, the characters, title, process, etc, you’d like to share?  

When I realized that the drama in a 55 and over community could be compared to high school, I knew I found a new genre to tell my story.

 

What is the most difficult thing about writing a book?

Finding the time and being able to get into the zone is the most difficult part of writing any book. I find writing the outline to be difficult too. With an outline, I can keep the flow going.

 

What was the most difficult thing about this one in particular?

Since the book takes place in the community I live in, I had to make sure that the scenery and props were all in sync. When the color of the lobby changed, I had to rewrite my descriptions.

 

Do you collect anything?

Yes! Books, of course.

 

What’s your favorite book of all time and why? What’s your favorite childhood book? Lovers and Gamblers by Jackie Collins. After reading it, I knew my genre was going to be Women’s Fiction. As a kid, I read Nancy Drew Mysteries.

 

What do you want readers to come away with after they read New Beginnings?

I want the reader to know that no matter what the situation is, there is always a way to get out of it or deal with it in a positive manner.

 

What genre have you never written that you’d like to write?

Time Travel

 

Have you written any other books that are not published?

Yes. I have four books.

 

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

 

My characters are based on acquaintances but take on a life of their own.

What do your friends and family think of your writing?

My family has given me 100% support. Of course my family loves my books, but it’s the support that they give me that is priceless.

 

How much of the book is realistic? 

I write about realistic situations that women deal with everyday. In my cozy mysteries, I have more room to use my imagination.

 

How did your interest in writing originate? 

I started writing poems and short stories when I was fourteen. By junior year of high school I knew it was time to write longer pieces. (I still have all the notebooks with the story I had written.)

 

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work? 

Janet Evanovich. Her books are quick reads, laugh out loud with quirky characters. I love the mystery along with the relationship Stephanie Plum is having with two gorgeous men.
Your favorite…

Movie:  Saturday Night Fever

Music: Classic Disco, The Beatles, Paul McCarntey

Place you’ve visited: Sicily

Place you’d like to visit: Hawaii

TV show from childhood: American Bandstand

TV show from adulthood: This is Us

Food: Pizza and Chicken

Sports team: New York Mets

Which do you prefer: Board games/card games or television? Television

 

Question for readers:

I’m always open for new ideas. Is there anything out there that you would like to read about that has yet to make the bookshelves?

 

BIO

Karen Cino has been writing since she was fourteen years old. She started her career by writing poetry, short stories and writing articles for her high school newspaper. Her daily walks down at the boardwalk are what gets her muse going. It clears her mind and helps her find realistic plot ideas and the characters boosting up her muse. Karen loves writing about local places that people can relate to.

Karen loves the summer, loves the beach. Her previous books were written and take place in various places across Staten Island. Karen relocated to Barnegat, New Jersey in 2015. She traded in the Staten Island Boardwalk for the shoreline in Long Beach Island. Her Camp Mirage Series takes place in Barnegat, NJ.

Karen is a member of Romance Writers of America, Women’s Fiction Writing Association and Liberty States Fiction Writers. She is also busy writing newsletters and newspaper articles for the 55 and over community she resides at.

Karen has two adult children, Michael Giordano who’s a singer, songwriter and producer and Nicole Giordano who works in Retail Management and is also a photographer. In 2014 Karen married John Gatti. Her husband is an actor, teacher and attorney.

BLURB

After a traumatic event in her life, Connie Acosta heads down to the Jersey Shore to stay with her friend, Sara Mazza, who lives in a fifty-five and over community. For Connie, this is a temporary stop until she figures out what she wants to do.
Connie and Sara have a brief discussion and decide to start the baking business they had spoken about decades before. But things take a dramatic turn when Sara gets Connie involved in a mysterious adventure at the clubhouse.

BUY LINK

EXCERPT

“Hey, what happened to your cell phone?” Sara asked.

“I left it in the car and I’m too lazy to walk out to get it,” she said, sitting down at the kitchen table with a mug of coffee in her hand.

“What’s going on up there?

“You can’t even imagine. I’ve been shunned by my friends. Teddy made a mess of things. He turned our lives upside down.” Connie lifted the mug to her lips taking a sip. “I can’t even go into Starbucks without people staring at me.”

“Screw everyone. Pack your suitcase and come stay with me for a couple of weeks while you figure out what you want to do.”

“That sounds great. But I don’t want people to think I’m running away.”

“You aren’t running away from anything. You did nothing. Teddy’s the one that caused this backlash, leaving you to pick up the pieces.”

“I agree.”

“Come on down. I promise you if you stay here long enough you’ll be looking to stay. Whenever you come here, you’re only here for a couple of days and we’re usually out gallivanting, not giving you enough time to see what’s down here.”

“It’s an adult community. I guess it’s safe to say we’re not going to get ourselves into trouble.”

“You’ll be surprised.” Sara giggled. “I’m going to run food shopping to pick up a few things. Do you still eat that hummus crap?”

“Of course I do. But don’t go crazy. When I get there, we’ll go stock up.”

“Should I expect to see you in a couple of hours?” Sara excitedly asked.

“Let me pack a couple of things. I plan on going shopping in the boutiques in Long Beach Island.”

“Be careful.”

“I always am.”

 

CONTACT LINKS

Karencino.com

karencino@aol.com

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Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release

A Fun Mystery by M.S. Spencer ~ The Pit and the Passion: Murder at the Ghost Hotel

Please help me welcome today’s guest, M.S. Spencer, with her new release…

Thanks so much, Alicia, for letting me talk to your readers about my new mystery romance The Pit and the Passion: Murder at the Ghost Hotel. Set on Longboat Key, Florida, it features an unexpected skeleton, a quirky romance between an arrogant though talented writer and a beautiful reporter, and a complicated set of clues that lead to a deadly secret long hidden by the most famous circus family in the world.

Blurb:

At midnight, in the darkness of a deserted hotel, comes a scream and a splash. Eighty-five years later, workmen uncover a skeleton in an old elevator shaft. Who is it, and how did it get there? To find out, Charity Snow, ace reporter for the Longboat Key Planet, teams up with Rancor Bass, best-selling author. A college ring they find at the dig site may prove to be their best clue.

Although his arrogance nearly exceeds his talent, Charity soon discovers a warm heart beating under Rancor’s handsome exterior. While dealing with a drop-dead gorgeous editor who may or may not be a villain, a publisher with a dark secret, and an irascible forensic specialist, Charity and Rancor unearth an unexpected link to the most famous circus family in the world.

The Pit and the Passion: Murder at the Ghost Hotel

The Wild Rose Press, January 22, 2018 (Crimson Rose)

Mystery, Humorous/Romantic Comedy

Rating: PG13

418 p.; 97370 words

Rancor has many hidden talents, as Charity discovers in this excerpt.

Excerpt (G): The Frog Prince

As she trudged up the stairs, rain began to fall, sparking a chorus of cheeps from the tiny native treefrogs. It seemed to grow louder and louder. When she reached her door, she found out why. A huge green bullfrog sat in a small wooden cage on the mat. A tag attached to it said, “Kiss Me.” When she picked up the cage, a guttural voice croaked, “If you don’t kiss me, you won’t get your present.” She looked around but couldn’t see anyone. The voice came again. “Down here.”

The frog regarded her solemnly, its large eyes unblinking. She spoke to the air. “I am not going to kiss a frog.”

“Ah, but I’m a special frog. A prince of a frog. Kiss me.”

She had to admit she was tempted. “If I let you out, you’ll hop away.” Why the hell am I talking to an amphibian?

“Then you’d better kiss me quick.”

She shrugged. The rain turned into a downpour, and she moved under the shelter of the overhang. With hesitant fingers, she opened the little door. The frog hopped out. Quick as a flash, she bent down and touched her lips to its back. Surprisingly, it was neither slimy nor wet. She resisted the urge to wipe her mouth. The frog croaked once but remained crouched on its haunches, gazing at her. She shook her head. “No sense in asking. I’m only doing it once.”

“Wait.”

“Wait for what?”

“Wait for it…” There was a flash of purple smoke. When it cleared, the frog was gone, and Rancor sat on the step. “Your prince. As ordered.”

“How did you do that?”

“A magician never divulges his secrets.” He opened his palms to reveal a bouquet of gardenias. “For you. Will you be my valentine?”

She held the flowers and inhaled deeply. “They’re my favorite—how did you know?”

“I made inquiries. Jane is delightful by the way. Didn’t care much for Darryl.”

“Find out why he only sees her once a month, and she’ll be your slave for life.”

“That would make a refreshing change.”

“More than you deserve. Coming in?”

“Yes. I have to watch you change into something more suitable for Michael’s on East.”

“Rancor! I can’t afford that.”

“You don’t have to—I have secured a source of funding.”

“I don’t want to know.”

“No. You don’t.” He closed the door behind him. “Now, you haven’t answered my question.”

Busy with the flowers, Charity didn’t reply. He took the vase from her and set it down. Then he took her in his arms. “Will you be my valentine?”

At that, something broke inside her, and the tears flowed.

He dried them. “Should I take that as a ‘yes,’ or a ‘get out of my sight, you ogre’?” She kissed him, unable to talk. “Go then. Put on that pearly white dress you wore in Paris. And leave your hair down this once.”

She obeyed, savoring the prospect of a Valentine’s Day that just might turn out to be the best ever.

Buy Links:

Wild Rose Press: https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/5533-the-pit-and-the-passion-murder-at-the-ghost-hotel.html

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Pit-Passion-Murder-Ghost-Hotel-ebook/dp/B078JY8RLY

ITunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-pit-and-the-passion-murder-at-the-ghost-hotel/id1332026896?mt=11

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-pit-and-the-passion-m-s-spencer/1127750685?ean=2940158925351

KOBO: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-pit-and-the-passion-murder-at-the-ghost-hotel

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/M_S_Spencer_The_Pit_and_the_Passion_Murder_at_the?id=F-tGDwAAQBAJ

 

About the Author:

Although M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled in five of the seven continents, the last thirty years were spent mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, policy wonk, non-profit director, and parent. After many years in academia, she worked for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Department of the Interior, in several library systems, both public and academic, and at the Torpedo Factory Art Center.

Ms. Spencer has published eleven romantic suspense novels, and has two more in utero. She has two fabulous grown children and an incredible granddaughter. She divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.

Contacts:

Blog: http://msspencertalespinner.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/msspencerromance

Twitter: www.twitter.com/msspencerauthor

Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MSSpencerauthor

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/msspencer
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/msspencerauthor/

Linked in: www.linkedin.com/in/msspencerauthor

 

 

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Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release

A Look Inside Private Eyes by Diane Burton ~ New Release: The Case of the Meddling Mama

Happy World Book Day!! What a perfect day to host my friend and fellow author Diane Burton. Diane is sharing an article about Private Eyes AND her fabulous new release!

 

Private Eyes

When I started writing the Alex O’Hara mystery series, I pictured my heroine as a grownup Nancy Drew. Alex (short for Alexandra) got into the investigation business through her father. He and his business partner started an investigation agency back in the 1960s. Alex went to work for them in high school, doing menial chores first then rising to junior detective and finally promoted to detective. Along the way, she graduated from college with a degree in criminal justice. When her father and his partner decided to retire, they sold the business to her.

Private Eyes appear to have a glamorous profession, at least in movies and on TV. Remember Rockford? In real life, a detective spends most of his/her time on the internet not in the field. That wasn’t the way it was when Allan Pinkerton started up the first detective agency in America.

Allan Pinkerton Photo credit: Library of Congress

Pinkerton got into the detecting business by accident. He’d opened a barrel-making business in 1842. One day while he was scrounging for lumber, he came across a band of counterfeiters. After he set up a surveillance, he helped the police arrest the band. Pretty soon, people were asking him to help the police find and arrest other criminals.

Alex O’Hara is a licensed private investigator. She helped the police arrest an international assassin, a Black Widower gang, and a major drug dealer—all by accident. The assassin underestimated Alex. The Black Widower, who preyed on older women, married them then killed them for their money, didn’t expect his prey to hire Alex to check him out. Alex didn’t set out to find these dastardly villains. She came upon them by accident.

Possibly Kate Warne (holding pole) stands in front of Pinkerton Photo credit: PI Mall

When Allan Pinkerton hired Kate Warne in 1856, she became America’s first female detective. She was able to ferret out secrets that men couldn’t—for example, she became friends of a villain’s wife thereby learning the location of the stolen loot. She even pretended to be a fortune teller and got the criminal to confirm his guilt. Allan Pinkerton claimed Kate was one of his best investigators and had her buried in his family plot.

Even though women have been detectives for over 160 years, the investigation business is still an “old boys club.” Consequently, Alex O’Hara deliberately chose a masculine nickname so as not to be prejudged.

I found several similarities between Allan Pinkerton and Alex O’Hara, after the fact. I didn’t intend for fictional Alex to be like the famous detective. Pinkerton’s agency still does some detecting, though they mostly leave that to the police and the FBI. Today, the agency does risk management assessment along with private security and guard service. Alex hasn’t guarded anyone. Yet.

Interestingly, both the Pinkertons and Alex do employment screening, what Alex calls her bread-and-butter cases. Lately, she’s taking her agency in a new direction—checking out potential mates found on the internet.

Private investigation hasn’t gone too far from its roots, over 160 years ago. Like the Pinkerton Agency, Alex has to be flexible, to see opportunities, like online dating, and move with the times.

In the third book in the Alex O’Hara Novels, Alex is up to her ears in mysteries. After surviving an attempted murder, all she wants is R&R time with Nick Palzetti. But his mother leaving his father (“that horse’s patoot”) and moving in with Alex put a crimp in their plans. Then Nick leaves on assignment and the teen she rescued from an abusive father believes his buddy is doing drugs. Meanwhile, Alex has two easy cases to take her mind off her shaky relationship with Nick—a philandering husband and a background check on a client’s boyfriend. Piece of cake.

Here’s an excerpt:

When two women entered the exclusive dress shop, Ellie left to greet them while her assistant chivvied me to put on the shoes. White socks, black strappy heels, and the gorgeous emerald green bridesmaid dress—I made such a fashion statement as I stood on the platform. Call Vogue.

I so didn’t want to be there, especially when I recognized one of the women. I’d been the bearer of bad news to Nora Finley last week—her Mr. Perfect turned out to be a Black Widower. He and his cohorts had the perfect plan, a plan I thwarted just in time.

“Oh, you’re here,” Nora cried out when she spotted me and tugged on her companion’s wrist, practically dragging her over. “Ginnie, this is the PI that saved my life, Alex O’Hara!”

I cringed while heat bloomed in my cheeks.

Nora looked up at me. “I’ve been telling Ginnie here that she absolutely must hire you to check out her boyfriend—she met him on one of those online dating sites.”

Ginnie winced, like she wanted the floor to open up and swallow her. I knew the feeling.

Amazon US ~ Amazon UK ~ Kobo ~ Barnes & Noble ~ iTunes ~ Smashwords

About the Author:

Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and the Alex O’Hara PI mystery series. She is also a contributor to two anthologies: Portals, Volume 2 and How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in West Michigan. They have two children and three grandchildren.

For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com

Connect with Diane Burton online

Blog:  http://dianeburton.blogspot.com/

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/dmburton72

Facebook:  http://facebook.com/dianeburtonauthor

Goodreads: Diane Burton Author

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/dmburton72/

Sign up for Diane’s new release alert: http://eepurl.com/bdHtYf

 

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Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release

Author Interview with Maggie West and New Release: Picked to Death

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Maggie West…

Good morning, Maggie. Thank you for joining me today. Please tell us a little about yourself.

I’m originally from the Midwest but now live in the Southwest in a small mountain town. My cat and I live in a tiny house surrounded by tall pines. He likes to watch the squirrel or bird channels but also loves the rare chipmunk shows as well.

Where did you get the idea for Picked to Death? 

I decided to write the Antique Pickers in Paradise Cozy Mystery series because I’m lover of vintage and antique things as well as mysteries! I sell some vintage things to local shops and online, so it’s been fun creating these characters, who seem to always come across a dead body in their hunt for treasures.

What book have you read that you wish you had written?

I adore John Irving’s writing and would love to write something even half as good as The Cider House Rules. It’s my favorite book and I’ve read it at least three times. In fact, I’m about due to enjoy it again soon!

Do you have another occupation, other than writer?

I’m also a copyeditor and have worked fixing other writers’ grammar and spelling and such for most of my adult life. I prefer writing though!

What do you dislike that most people wouldn’t understand?

I have a totally irrational fear of lizards.

Do you collect anything?

The better question might be, do you not collect anything? No, seriously, I don’t collect everything but I do collect a lot of stuff. I’ve had collections of pigs; vintage kitchen utensils like aluminum measuring cups and spoons, funnels, cookie cutters; old advertising yardsticks and wooden rulers. I could go on and on.

What’s your favorite book of all time and why? What’s your favorite childhood book?

As I mentioned in the first question, my favorite book of all time is The Cider House Rules by John Irving. It is a great story, is well written, and cracks me up and makes me cry. It has everything! My favorite childhood book? Let’s see. I loved Charlie the Tramp by Russell and Lillian Hoban. Charlie is a beaver who runs away from home, every child’s dream. Right!?

What is your favorite quote?

May your troubles be less and your blessings be more and nothing but happiness come through your door. It’s an Irish blessing or quote that my mom wrote on a scrap of paper and sent to me years ago. I have it taped to my computer monitor still.

Have you written any other books that are not published?

Of course! I’ve written several novels that I tried to get published via traditional publishers. I had a little interest but nothing came of it. I might dust them off one of these days and publish them myself.

Your favorite…

Movie:  Love Actually

Music:  Leonard Cohen

Food:  Yes! I love to eat and would say my favorite meal is anything spicy and delicious (Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese, Italian, and on and on) and for dessert is my homemade carrot cake.

Sports team: none, seriously, no thank you

Which do you prefer: Board games/card games or television? I love them all at different times. I love a good game of Scrabble or Wits and Wagers or Blokus. I love to play poker but still need the rules and rank explained to me nearly every hand. And I watch way too much TV! A couple of my favorite shows are The Americans and Detectorists.

Thank you, Maggie…what fun getting to know you! Now, please tell us about your book…

pickedtodeathcover

Blurb: Antique pickers Sherri Green and her bff, lovable town gossip Carol O’Brien, search for treasure amid the trash in their small midwestern town of Paradise.

What they find is more than they bargained for.

When they score a box of antique vases at a local auction in nearby Round Bottom, it sets off a chain of events that makes a competing picker see red. But that’s not the worst of it. Someone in the tight-knit picking community ends up dead.

Can Sherri and Carol discover the murderer from a treasure trove of suspects before the crime gets buried along with the the town’s most hated victim?

Picked to Death is a clean, short read. It’s perfect for lovers of cozy mysteries that feature an amateur sleuth.

Be sure to check out book 2, Cotton Picking Murder, and book 3, Picked On, in the Antique Pickers in Paradise cozy mystery series for more small town fun and crime solving in the close-knit community of Paradise.

Excerpt: From the corner of her eye, Sherri watched Kathy Vaughn talking to Al Blandon, both fellow pickers. The sixty-something year old woman was gesturing in their direction, maybe even at the box Carol was rummaging through. Then Kathy began inching forward till her face was inches from Al’s. Sherri shivered at the exchange, glad Al was the one on the receiving end of Kathy’s scheme this time.

Sherri nudged Carol. “Look. I wonder what Crabby Kathy’s up to.”

Kathy Vaughn was a fellow picker, a member of the Pope County Pickers Club, and a pain in the rear end. She was rude, greedy, and most of all unethical. Once at a flea market where the pickers from the club had rented a large space to try to unload some rejects, Crabby Kathy had shown up early. She backed her car in at an angle taking up the entire space behind the booth. Normally three cars or a couple of trucks could have squeezed in to make unloading their wares easier. And since no one ever carpooled with Kathy, seeing that she was downright horrible, she had done as she pleased. As usual. When the other two truckloads of pickers had arrived, they had to park in the lot a good quarter mile away and haul their stuff to the space on foot. All because Crabby Kathy had refused to move her car.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01KQZ330C?tag=books2read02-20

iBooks/iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1163571015

Nook:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/picked-to-death-maggie-west/1124804926;jsessionid=716146DBE917FB9F7044AE1085EE426B.prodny_store02-atgap04?ean=2940153527673

Kobo:    https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/picked-to-death

 img_4277

Bio: Maggie West is the author of the Antique Pickers in Paradise cozy mystery series and the Lily Thistle cozy mystery series, the Doorways to the Past time travel series, and several romance books. When she’s not reading or writing, she loves to craft and sew, keep her kitten out of trouble (oh boy, good luck with that!), and take walks where she dreams up new stories.

Check out the cozy bundle 25 Mysteries to Die For available now. Hook, Line and Stinker is available in this box set along with 24 more great full-length cozies. More murder than you can shake a stick at!

Contact links:

FB author page:  https://www.facebook.com/MaggieWestAuthor/

Website:  http://maggiewestbooks.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/MaggieWestBooks

 

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Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release, Uncategorized

Nobody Knows – New Southern Gothic Mystery by Susan Coryell

Please help me welcome an author friend, Susan Coryell, with her latest release from The Wild Rose Press. I had the pleasure of being her editor for the entire Overhome Trilogy, and enjoyed each novel immensely. What better time of year for a spooky, Southern Gothic Mystery? 

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOU: I am a retired career English teacher now living at Smith Mt. Lake in Southern Virginia. My writer’s loft overlooks a pristine cove surrounded by hills and foliage. I have three grown children and seven grand-kids—no pets as my hubs and I often travel.

For my new release, the title, Nobody Knows, derives from an old Negro spiritual by that name. The hymn springs up in connection with some Civil War ghosts in an historic cottage on the property of Overhome Estate, the setting for the novel.

Nobody Knows is a cozy mystery/Southern Gothic, the third novel in the Overhome Trilogy. A Red, Red Rose is the first in the series and Beneath the Stones is second. In book one, the protagonist, Ashby Overton is twenty. In book two she is twenty-five and in book three she is thirty, but each novel may also be read as a stand-alone. The books are set at Moore Mt. Lake, a fictionalization of my current home.

With an historic estate as the setting, each novel carries a history-based theme involving Southern Virginia and the Civil War involvement there. Nobody Knows deals with the post-war neo-slavery imposed on slaves freed by Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, inspired by a documentary I viewed at a local museum.

The most difficult thing about writing this series was knowing when to stop with the extensive research required to authenticate the background. I have been fascinated by what I have learned!

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB? It’s a bit surprising, even to me, that at the age of nine, once a month during the summer, I would ride into work with my father, who owned his own business, and using the adding machine, I would make up bills for his credit card customers. Work-life began early in those days!

WHAT DO YOU WANT READERS TO COME AWAY WITH AFTER THEY READ NOBODY KNOWS? I feel theme is an important element for my fiction. My novels are all multi-themed; some of the strongest underlying ideas include the value of family; the role of history in our present and future lives; finding self; and the awareness that the South still deals with long-held, deeply-felt beliefs that battle with modernity—our ghosts of the past. If my readers can identify with any or all of these themes I am a happy writer!

WHAT ACTORS WOULD YOU LIKE IN THE MAIN ROLES IF YOUR BOOK WERE MADE INTO A MOVIE? Love this question! A reader recently said, “You know, your mystery-Gothics would make a wonderful movie.” While I am gratified to hear that, I think a television mini-series would work best with my growing, evolving and dynamic characters. Emma Stone would make a wonderful Ashby Overton—just the right combination of “gee-whiz” and no-nonsense.

WHAT CELEBRITY WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO BE STANDED ON AN ISLAND WITH? This one’s easy. William Shakespeare, for sure. While waving a palm-frond fan over him, I’d drill him endlessly about Hamlet’s affair with Ophelia, Romeo’s relationship with Mercutio and whether Lady MacBeth was based on a real person. Who was the person, really, that he adored so much in his sonnets?  Then, I’d grill him for writing tips!

HAVE YOU WRITTEN ANY OTHER BOOKS THAT ARE NOT PUBLISHED? Sure. Hasn’t every published writer? Doubleheader, my first effort was probably not fit for publication, but it taught me that I could write a whole novel-length story with a beginning, middle and end. Also, a later “true” story about a sniper snagged a NY publisher but I had to renege when I discovered the subject of the book had lied about some of the “facts.” When the sniper dies, I intend to revisit the manuscript and re-tell it as “based on a true story” and try again to publish it. I have to wait for his demise because he’s a crack shot and he might come after me with an assault rifle.

WHAT IS THE TOUGHEST CRITICISM GIVEN TO YOU AS AN AUTHOR? WHAT HAS BEEN THE BEST COMPLIMENT? Compliment first: My sister read my anti-bully YA novel EAGLEBAIT and informed me, “I was so immersed in the story, I completely forgot it was my sister who wrote the book.”  Toughest criticism came from a national review medium that considered that same book beneath them in every way. I think they disliked books for and about troubled teenagers. Interestingly, EAGLEBAIT won several awards, including the International Reading Association’s “Young Adult Choice,” and the NY Public Library’s “Books for the Teenage.”

HOW MUCH OF NOBODY KNOWS IS REALISTIC? All of the history in the Overhome Trilogy is real. I also searched until I found an old plantation that survived the filling of the lake as a prototype for Overhome Estate. Horse farm life depicted is realistic, as is the daily life of a contemporary rural upper-income family. I based Luke’s large animal veterinary practice on books and interviews about the topic. Whether or not a reader believes in the reality of an invisible spirit world is, of course, subjective. At the very least, I hope for suspended disbelief while readers turn the pages of my books.

HOW DID YOUR INTEREST IN WRITING ORIGINATE? My standard answer: Writers know who we are; writers have to write. Quick example: When I was in third grade, I wrote letters and, with Mom’s help, addressed and sent them to my friends and classmates. Each recipient would call and thank me for her letter. I turned to my mother with, “What is the matter with these people? I wrote them a letter. They are supposed to write back to me. NOT call me.” Mom laughed. “Susan, not everyone is a writer like you.”

A FAVORITE PLACE I VISIT: Has to be Hawaii. Our youngest son and his family live there and we visit every winter. Smart boy to marry a Hawaiian, eh? We’ve explored every island in the chain except Lanai and each is magical in its own unique way. The Hawaiian folks are warm, hospitable and generous; we’ve made many friends there and our Hawaiian extended family is delightfully thoughtful and loving.

Thank you, Susan! I enjoyed getting to know you better. I could definitely see Emma Stone as Ashby.

nobodyknows_w10763_750

BLURB:

Why do ancient spirits hover at the crossroads between two worlds: the living and the dead? 

With a successful writing career and blissful marriage, Ashby Overton is fulfilled and content at historic Overhome Estate in Southern Virginia’until a stranger walks into her life. The arrival of Professor Ellis O. Grady coincides with a violent and bizarre turbulence emanating from the dark world of Overhome’s ancient spirits.

As paranormal events build into chaos, Ashby must use her sixth sense to sort out the real from the imagined in both the visible and the invisible worlds as, stirred into fury, the souls of Civil War slaves engage in a dangerous battle destined to reveal long-held secrets of the past.

What is the connection between the enigmatic professor, a slave-built chapel and a restored overseer’s cottage on Overhome Estate? Ashby struggles to find the answers before the spirits destroy her family’s heritage, and the lives of those she loves.

EXCERPT

     Walking over the weedy ground, I felt the desolate abandonment of those long-dead. A few tilting gravestones, so blurred with time that their epitaphs were illegible, listed toward the ground as if sheltering from a punishing wind. Scattered among the patchwork grasses were small, thin stone markers set in the dirt, little more than raw rocks, though several bore the faint outline of initials which had been chiseled into them so long ago. Ellis and I surveyed the bleak cemetery, each harboring our own thoughts.  I don’t know how long we stood there breathing in the silence. Then, I heard the voice.—so clear, so distinct, that I startled and almost fell back. Did my companion hear it, too? I darted a look at him. He stood with eyes closed, evidently completely lost in his own reverie. I held my breath and listened with all my senses on alert. The voice wavered this time, as though trailing away, but its repeated message was identical to the one I had first heard at the Overseer’s Cottage when the candlestick went missing. I had thought, then, that I heard “red apple,” which made no sense. Now I understood. “Jared Chapel,” the voice warned. Yes, its tone was severe. Demanding. “Jared Chapel.”

     I touched Ellis’s arm. “It’s here, Ellis. I know it is.” And when he blinked uncomprehendingly, I added, “You wondered if Jared Chapel offers anything in your search for your ancestry. It’s here—there’s something here. I feel it and I…I know it.”

     He blinked several times, a serious expression on his face. “You know because…”

     “Sometimes the past speaks to me. I can’t explain it, but I have to trust the voice that tells me things.”

     He rubbed his chin. “You know…this is odd. Really odd.”

     I raised my eyebrows in a silent question and he continued. “Because I thought I heard something. I definitely felt…a presence I can’t explain. Someone trying to get my attention. Someone very, very seriously trying to make me understand.” He shook his head. “Understand what? I confess, I’m baffled.”

     “It’s a sign,” I said. “Something I’ve learned over my years at Overhome. We ignore the signs at our own peril.”

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Bio: A career educator, Susan has taught students from 7th grade through college-level. She earned a BA degree in English from Carson-Newman College and a Masters from George Mason University. She is listed in several different volumes of Who’s Who in Education and Who’s Who in Teaching.  Susan belongs to Author’s Guild, Virginia Writers, and Lake Writers. She loves to talk with budding writers at schools, writers’ conferences and workshops. Her young adult anti-bully novel EAGLEBAIT is in its third edition for print and e-book, updated with cyber-bullying. EAGLEBAIT won the NY Public Library’s “Books for the Teen Age,” and the International Reading Association’s “Young Adult Choice.”

A RED, RED ROSE, first in a cozy mystery/Southern Gothic series, was nominated for a literary award with the Library of Virginia. BENEATH THE STONES, the sequel, was released in April of 2015; it also was nominated for a literary award by the Library of Virginia. NOBODY KNOWS, third novel in the Overhome Trilogy, released October, 2016. All three novels were published by The Wild Rose Press in NY.

When not writing, Susan enjoys boating, kayaking, golf and yoga. She and her husband, Ned, love to travel, especially when any of their seven grandchildren are involved.

Please visit Susan Coryell’s website: www.susancoryellauthor.com and her blog: www.susancoryellauthor.blogspot.com or contact her on Facebook and Twitter.

A final word: Don’t forget that Halloween is upon us. What better way to celebrate than with a great series of ghost stories in the Overhome Trilogy!

(For a limited time, Amazon Prime members can get A Red, Red Rose for free!!)

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A Red, Red Rose Buy Link

Beneath the Stones Buy Link

Thanks to Alicia for hosting me on her wonderful blog!

My pleasure, Susan…thank you for sharing your fabulous stories and a great interview with us today. Susan would love visitors and comments, but she might not answer right away as she’s out for the day. She’ll check in as soon as she can, though!

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