Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Kale to the Queen by Nell Hampton. This book is the first in the Kensington Palace Chef Mystery series and will be released April 11.

Chef Carrie Ann Cole has the opportunity of a lifetime when she accepts the position of family chef for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Leaving her rising start chef boyfriend back in Chicago, Carrie Ann is certain they can make a long distance relationship work for the year she's abroad. Now she needs to concentrate on the intricacies of life in the palace while providing healthy food for the duchess and her family. Adjusting to jet lag, Chef Cole is in her kitchen planning the meals for the week ahead when she goes into the attached greenhouse. In addition to the fresh greens she's collected she also finds the body of one of her assistants-murdered! With such tight palace security, how is it possible? When her second assistant is accused of the crime, Carrie Ann vows to prove his innocence and have him work alongside her once again.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

By Familiar Means - Spotlight

Today I'd like to shine a spotlight on a book in my TBR pile. BY FAMILIAR MEANS is the second book in the Witch's Cat Mystery series by Delia James. It was released in September 2016.

From the back cover:

Magic, Meows...and Murder.

After discovering her mystical heritage-and being adopted by furry feline familiar Alistair-artist Annabelle Britton has decided to make picturesque Portsmouth, New Hampshire, her new home. Now, she can take the time to figure out her new abilities and welcome her grandmother, who is visiting Portsmouth and her old coven for the first time in decades.

But being a witch doesn't magically put money in the bank. When she's hired to paint the murals for a new coffee shop, it seems like a wish come true. But then a series of spooky sounds and strange happenings convince th eowners that their new shop is haunted. They want Annabelle and her coven to evict the restless spirits before the grand opening.

Annabelle is certain the haunted happenings at the shop are just hocus-pocus. When her search reveals hidden smugglers' tunnels beneath the shop-and a dead body-Annabelle, Alistair, and the coven suddenly find themselves in a cat and mouse game with a killer...

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Single Malt Murder - Review & Giveaway


SINGLE MALT MURDER by Melinda Mullet
The First Whisky Business Mystery

Raised by her Uncle Ben after her parents died in a tragic accident, Abigail Logan is a world-renowned photojournalist. After getting word that her uncle has taken a turn for the worse, Abi leaves her assignment in Sierra Leone, but returns home too late. Her uncle has died of cancer. Along with her best friend, Patrick, Abi heads to Scotland for the funeral and to see Abbey Glen, the distillery she's inherited. But before she can even cross the border, she begins to receive threatening misogynistic messages. Someone does not want a woman running a distillery. Upon her arrival at the well respected Scottish boutique distillery Abi is met with ill concealed disdain. The threatening messages continue and Abi also learns that Abbey Glen has been dealing with sabotage. The night after Ben's funeral Abi and Patrick discover the body of a young employee. Was he the victim of sabotage, or was it murder?

SINGLE MALT MURDER is a traditional mystery with more adult themes and a darker ambiance. It's a novel about trust. Are the employees of Abbey Glen faithful to the distillery, or are they working against Abi? Could a potential buyer be behind the sabotage and threats? What about the villagers? Can Abi trust herself? Compelling, complex characters inhabit this world throwing suspicion in all directions.

Melinda Mullet chose a unique and fascinating setting and topic for her mystery series. While I'm not a fan of Scotch, I do like whisky and enjoyed learning more about distilleries, their history, and the hobby of collecting the spirit. This first Whisky Business mystery is an absorbing read that gives a satisfying conclusion yet leaves plenty of avenues to explore in future Whisky Business books.

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Friday, March 24, 2017

An Elementary Interview, Review, & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Vicki Delaney to the blog today. Vicki pens the new Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery series. ELEMENTARY, SHE READ, the first in the series was released March 14th.

Kathy: In ELEMENTARY, SHE READ Gemma Doyle, comes to Cape Cod to manage her Great Uncle Arthur’s Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium. Are you a fan of Sherlock Holmes?

VD: Absolutely. I won’t say I’m a devoted fan, and I’m no fanatic, but I have read all the original books. I love the Jeremy Brett Series and the new BBC Sherlock. I also enjoy many of the modern pastiche novels and the numerous short story collections featuring the Great Detective himself or some new incarnation of his skills.

Kathy:Throughout the years there have been many references and adaptations of Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle's detective in movies, television, and books. Do you have a favorite? (While I wouldn't consider his the best portrayal, I am partial to Data's Sherlock and the incarnation of Moriarty in a few episodes of Star Trek the Next Generation.)

VD: My favorite Sherlock is Jeremy Brett and I love Benedict Cumberbatch’s character. Data was defiantly a good one.

Kathy:Do you collect any Sherlock Holmes memorabilia?

VD: Nope.

Kathy:What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

VD: I love the real-life aspect of cozies. The small town, the close community, the good friends. The food! There’s an optimism to cozies that is a welcome relief from so much of popular culture (and reality) today. The crime will be solved, the guilty brought to justice, friends will be loyal, and true romance might be right around the horizon.

Kathy:Do you write in any other genres?

VD: I’ve written in many different sub-genres. Everything from psychological suspense to modern Gothic thrillers, a police procedural series, historical fiction, and now cozies. I also write novellas for adult literacy.

Kathy:Tell us about your series.

VD: The Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series is the newest. The highly perceptive Gemma Doyle owns the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium on Cape Cod, and her ever-confused friend Jayne Wilson runs Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room.

I also write the Year Round Christmas cozy series from Penguin (WE WISH YOU A MURDEROUS CHRISTMAS), the Lighthouse Library series (under the pen name of Eva Gates) also cozy and also from Penguin (READING UP A STORM). The Constable Molly Smith series from Poisoned Pen Press are a bit on the darker, edgier side (UNREASONABLE DOUBT). In April my third novella featuring Sgt Ray Robertson, an RCMP officer working for the UN, will be out. It’s titled BLOOD AND BELONGING.

Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?

VD: I’ve really enjoyed writing Gemma Doyle, the protagonist in the Sherlock Holmes bookshop series. Gemma is somewhat Sherlockian, reimagined as a modern young woman.

Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?

VD: Sherlock Holmes! And all the books, movies, and TV shows about him.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

VD: ELEMENTARY, SHE READ will be my 24th book. As soon as I had the idea, I knew it would find an audience.

Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?

VD: As it happens, I just did that this weekend! Some of my writer friends were travelling to the Ontario Library Association conference in Toronto, and my place is about half way for them. So they stopped by for dinner and to spend the night. Mary Jane Maffini (AKA Victoria Abbott) Linda Wiken (AKA Ericka Case) and Barbara Fradkin. Another writer who lives nearby popped over for dinner. That was Janet Kellough. We had a great time!

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

VD: I am almost finished JUST ONE DAMNED THING AFTER ANOTHER by Jodi Taylor. Not a crime novel, but an absolute blast about time travel. Clever and witty and a lot of fun.

Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?

VD: I read a lot and I do jig-saw puzzles, particularly in the winter. In the summer I work in the garden. I don’t have a TV, but I like to watch a bit of Netflix most evenings after dinner. I am quite a good cook, if I do say so myself. I love to bake, but don’t get much of a chance.

Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.

VD: Milk for coffee. Coffee. Ketchup. Eggs.

Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?

VD: The second Sherlock Holmes book is already in production and will be out in September. It’s called BODY ON BAKER STREET. I’m almost finished the third. Here’s hoping there will be many more.

Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?

VD: The people I have met and the friends I have made. By far my favorite thing. I’ve been lucky enough to travel regularly to conference and meet readers and I’ve made many good friends. See above dinner party.



The First Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery

Gemma Doyle manages the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium for her great Uncle Arthur and is part owner of the adjoining Mrs. Hudson's Tea Room, run by her friend Jayne. After a bus tour leaves the shop Gemma discovers a magazine among the disarray the crowd left. The magazine is not part of her stock however, and it looks to be an exceedingly rare edition possibly worth a fortune! Gemma uses her keen perception and deductive reasoning to find the woman who left the magazine. With Jayne along, Gemma does find the woman-murdered in a hotel room. Finding herself a prime suspect, Gemma looks to solve the mystery herself, but will her inquiries solve the murder or make her another victim?

Vicki Delaney took a calculated risk with Gemma Doyle. In cozies the protagonist is generally someone readers can relate to, someone we like, someone with whom we'd want to be friends. Yet in Gemma, Delaney created a character quite similar to Sherlock Holmes himself. Someone so observant, so honest, and above most social niceties as to be distant, aloof, and not very likable. While these qualities make for a great detective they don't exactly promote friendship. If readers don't care for the protagonist, will they not care what happens to her? Is there no vested interest? I believe the author's risk paid off, however. While I may not care for Gemma my analytical mind became engrossed in the mystery and the methods Gemma employed to solve it. As the story progressed I also found myself warming up to her a bit and by the end I did care what happened to her.

ELEMENTARY, SHE READ is a finely crafted mystery imbued with the spirit of Sherlock Holmes. You don't have to be a Sherlock fan to enjoy this series, but if you are you'll appreciate it even more!

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Single Malt Murder by Melinda Mullet. This book is the first in the Whisky Business Mystery series and was released yesterday!

Raised by her uncle Ben after her parents died in a tragic accident, Abigail Logan is a world-renowned photojournalist. After getting word that her uncle has taken a turn for the worse, Abi leaves her assignment in Sierra Leone, but returns home too late. Her uncle has died of cancer. Along with her best friend, Patrick, Abi heads to Scotland for the funeral and to see Abbey Glen, the distillery she's inherited. But before she can even cross the border, she begins to receive threatening misogynistic messages. Someone does not want a woman running a distillery. Upon her arrival at the well respected Scottish boutique distillery Abi is met with ill concealed disdain. The threatening messages continue and Abi also learns that Abbey Glen has been dealing with sabotage. The night after Ben's funeral Abi and Patrick discover the body of a young employee. Was he the victim or sabotage, or was it murder?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Journey of Discovery - A Guest Post & Giveaway

Journey of Discovery 
By Susan Boles

Writing novels is a unique and personal experience to each author. I've discussed process with many authors and most seem to have their own system worked out. My very first novel was an historical women's fiction called Kate's Pride. It's out of print now, but it was based very loosely on one of my own great great grandmothers. It was a good book and one I'm proud of. Maybe I'll republish it someday.

When I wrote that book, I was a total pantser. I didn't plot out the book at all. I let it flow as I wrote and that worked out just fine for that type of book. For me. I do know authors who write historical fiction novels similar to it and plot out everything.

But this post is about my own journey of discovery. When I decided that I wanted to write the Lily Gayle Lambery Mystery series, I began that same way I'd done with the historical. Writing as I went, having a really good time. But, once I got that first draft finished and went back to do a read through, I realized I'd left out a lot of clues and important information, And I didn't want readers to get to the end of the book and be upset because they clues they would have needed to solve the crime just weren't to be found scattered throughout the story.

And so began a learning experience for me. I went back through Death of a Wolfman half a dozen times to piece in the clues and plot point needed for the conclusion to make sense. As I began writing Book 2, Cherry Cake and a Cadaver, I determined I was not going to make that mistake again.

So, I went to Hobby Lobby and purchased a tri-fold foam core board and marked it off into chapters. Then, I purchased multiple colors of post-it notes and assigned each major character a color. Clues were hot pink – because it seemed like the right color for them. I fiddled around with the post-it notes creating the story line and putting clues in place, but it was a little too bare. Next I purchased multiple colors of index cards which I proceeded to fill out with short scene descriptions that I assigned by number to various chapters so that I would have a clearer picture of everything I wanted to make sure got included in each chapter.

The experience of writing each of these mysteries was totally different. And I think I may have gone just a tad bit overboard with the plot mechanisms for Cherry Cake and a Cadaver. Maybe on the next one I'll come up with a happy medium!.


Cherry Cake and a Cadaver by Susan Boles 



Lily Gayle and the gang set out to find a killer after local baker Luxen Natolovich is found dead hours before the grand opening weekend at the new Bed and Breakfast in town, Midnight Dragonfly. As Lily Gayle deciphers the clues around Luxen's death she uncovers a conspiracy of lies and half truths that could very well be tied to a refugee camp in Mississippi during World War II. The deeper Lily Gayle digs, the deeper the conspiracy runs, and the closer she comes to being the killer's next victim.




About the Author

Susan calls McNairy County, TN her home ground even though she has moved away. It was here, at Bethel Springs Junior High School that she began her writing career with two friends. They formed their own little writers group that was so secret they were the only ones who knew it existed. She still has some of the stories they wrote carefully preserved in a loose leaf binder and tucked away for safety.
She has worked in retail management, briefly for the Census Bureau and for many years in the investment/insurance industry in the regulatory compliance arena. All of which are left brain activities. So she exercises her right brain activity with reading and writing…just to keep both sides even.
Reading has been a passion since she was very young. As a toddler, her mother read to her from her 'baby books' and her Mother tells a story about her holding one of them upside down and 'reading' by repeating the story verbatim from memory.
Death of a Wolfman is the first in the Lily Gayle Lambert mystery series. Her previously published romantic suspense novel, Fated Love, is a contemporary paranormal romantic suspense (with a twist of paranormal) set in Memphis, TN. Her first novel, Kate's Pride, is a historical women's fiction set in West Tennessee in the aftermath of the Civil War. The novel is loosely based on her own Great Grandmother and published under the pen name Renee Russell.
Life got in the way of writing for many years but now she's come back to her early love.

Author Links: Webpage - Twitter - @SusanBAuthor Blog - Facebook - Linked In - GoodReads -  

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Silence of the Flans - Spotlight

I'd like to shine a spotlight on a book on my TBR pile. It just arrived today from Amazon, but I won't have time to read it for a bit, even though I really want to read it now! Released earlier this month SILENCE OF THE FLANS by Laura Bradford is the second Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery.

From the back cover:

Baker Winnie Johnson does her best work when the heat is on. As owner of the Emergency Dessert Squad, she has a deft touch in the kitchen and a soft spot for lost causes. So when her business professor beau, Jay Morgan, expresses misgivings over having to fail one of his fourth year students, Winnie cooks up a sweet solution.

She'll offer an extra credit opportunity in exchange for a little help with her growing business. But when her protege's first dessert delivery poisons a student journalist, the publicity threatens to burn Winnie's business to a crisp. Now the entrepreneur-turned-detective must uncover the ingredients behind a recipe for murder before she crumbles under pressure...

Recipes Included.