Monday, September 30, 2019

The Glass House - An Interview and Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Nancy Lynn Jarvis to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Nancy writes the PIP Inc.Mystery series. The Glass House is the first book in the series.

Kathy: In The Glass House Pat Pirard loses her job and needs to reinvent herself. Have you ever been forced to make a career switch?

NLJ: Twice, but not directly. The first time I did a career switch was on an icy morning in January. I worked for The San Jose Mercury News and had to drive a treacherous stretch of road up and over a mountain from Santa Cruz, where I had just moved, to San Jose. I hit a patch of black ice and did a three-sixty on the road. Fortunately, I didn’t hit anything, but I turned in my resignation as soon as I got to work. The second time was when I was a Realtor. I had a good career going and switched to a different company. I didn’t close one escrow for a whole year. The broker “suggested” I might want to work elsewhere. I left and closed a record number of escrows the next year.

Kathy: Pat goes to a glass forming class for her 35th birthday in the first PIP Inc. Mystery. For my 40th birthday I went to the Corning Museum of glass where I made a glass flower. Have you ever  been to a glassmaking class?

NLJ: I never have. I leave that to Airbnb guests, several of whom have stayed with me when they attend classes. I did dabble in stained glass many years ago. Does that count?

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

NLJ: I grew up reading my grandmother’s Miss Marple mysteries. My love of them stuck.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

NLJ: I did write a one-off comedy-of-sorts, “Mags and the AARP Gang” about a group of octogenarians who live in a mobile home park that’s about to be foreclosed. They plan to rob the bank that holds the mortgage to pay it off, but things go wrong. I’ve also edited two books, “Cozy Food: 128 Cozy Mystery Writers Share Their Favorite Recipes” and a short story anthology called “Santa Cruz Weird.”

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

NLJ: I have seven books in the Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries series. Regan is a Realtor whose, friends, clients, and associates wind up as victims of or accused of murder and have
just started the first of a planned series of PIP Inc. Mysteries with “The Glass House.” PIP stands for Private Investigator Pat. My protagonist was happily living her life as the Santa Cruz County Law Librarian until she got downsized and reinvented herself as an unlicensed PI.

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

NLJ: From my books or in general? From my books I love Mags and Melvin from “Mags and the AARP Gang”. I also like Mrs. Rosemont from “The Death Contingency” and Dave, the one eyed police Officer from the Regan McHenry Real Estates mysteries series because Regan makes him crazy and he responds with “Daveisms” filled with mixed metaphors and malapropisms. My favorites from other writers are Miss Marple, Lord Peter Wimsey, and Amy Tan’s protagonists.

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

NLJ: I do. I have a real PI Pat who is a friend. I stole her identity and background for the series. She’s going to collaborate with me about how she solves cases and some story lines.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

NLJ: I started writing as a game because I was bored. A friend who always wanted to be a writer and worked at it every day caught me and got upset. “You need to have a mentor, belong to a critique circle, take classes, and suffer for your art,” she said. I finished my first book to show her
that I didn’t. She never finished anything she started because her mentor, critic circle, and others
always distracted her. She was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and said her one regret in life was that she had never finished anything and seen her name in print. I put together a little publishing company and dedicated the book I had written as a game to her. It came out three weeks before she died so she got to see her name in print.

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

NLJ: Obviously Agatha Christie, Stephen King, Amy Tan, and possibly Katherine Parr, Henry the Eighth’s sixth wife, the first woman to publish in English under her own name.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

NLJ: I just finished “The Thin Edge” by Peggy Townsend, a fellow Santa Cruz Woman of Mystery and Sister in Crime.

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

NLJ: I do Airbnb in my spare time and love it. I even did a little book called “The Truth About Hosting Airbnb” using notes I kept from my first year.

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

NLJ: Almond milk, eggs, a variety of hot sauces and Thai and Chinese ingredients like fish sauce and Hoisin sauce, and mustard.

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

NLJ: Many plans. Book two in the PIP series tentatively called Two Funerals for the Price of One is in the outlining stage. I’d also love to do a series about two retired handymen called Geezers With Tools and something historical about Harvey Girls.

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

NLJ: My favorite thing about being an author is all the wonderful people you meet. Other authors are so generous and fans are amazing. I hope to do writer retreats at my house for between one and five writers all plotting and murdering. Doesn’t that sound like fun?


The Glass House: A PIP Inc. Mystery by Nancy Lynn Jarvis

About The Glass House

Cozy Mystery 1st in Series  
Good Read Mysteries (July 23, 2019)  
Paperback: 271 pages 
Law Librarian Pat Pirard got an unexpected thirty-fifth birthday present: a pink slip. Now she has nine weeks to reinvent herself before she runs out of money. Her best friend Syda gives her a glass forming class as a birthday present and distraction where Pat again gets a surprise: a murder.

About Nancy Lynn Jarvis

Nancy Lynn Jarvis was a Santa Cruz, California, Realtor® for more than twenty years before she fell in love with writing and let her license lapse. After earning a BA in behavioral science from San Jose State University, she worked in the advertising department of the San Jose Mercury News. A move to Santa Cruz meant a new job as a librarian and later a stint as the business manager for Shakespeare/Santa Cruz at UCSC. Nancy’s work history reflects her philosophy: people should try something radically different every few years, a philosophy she applies to her writing, as well. She has written seven Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries; a stand-alone novel “Mags and the AARP Gang” about a group of octogenarian bank robbers; edited “Cozy Food: 128 Cozy Mystery Writers Share Their Favorite Recipes” and a short story anthology, “Santa Cruz Weird;” and even done a little insider’s book, “The Truth About Hosting Airbnb” about her first year as a host. “The Glass House” is the first book in a planned series of PIP Inc. Mysteries. Now she’s trying to figure out when to work on another series she’d love to do called “Geezers with Tools” about two older handymen who will solve mysteries in the course of doing their work, and setting up writer retreats at her house.  

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Nancy Lynn Jarvis has graciously offered one digital copy of The Glass House to a lucky reader. Simply leave a comment on this blog post telling us if you've ever been forced to make a career switch or what most interests you about this book. Leave your comment no later than 11:59 pm on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 in order to qualify. Make sure you leave an e-mail address so that I can contact you should your comment be chosen. Good luck.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Judge Thee Not - A Spotlight

Today I'd like to shine a spotlight on a book I'm looking forward to reading. JUDGE THEE NOT by Edith Maxwell is the fifth book in the Quaker Midwife Mystery series and was released earlier this month.

Jacket Copy:

Quaker midwife Rose Carroll must fight bias and blind assumptions to clear the name of a friend when a murderer strikes in nineteenth-century Massachusetts . . .

No stranger to judgmental attitudes in her small town of Amesbury, Quaker midwife Rose Carroll is nonetheless stunned when society matron Mayme Settle publicly snubs her good friend Bertie for her nontraditional lifestyle. When Mrs. Settle is later found murdered—and a supposed witness insists Bertie was spotted near the scene of the crime—the police have no choice but to set their sights on the slighted woman as their main suspect.

Rose is certain her friend is innocent of the heinous deed, and when Rose isn’t busy tending to her duties as midwife, she enlists the help of a blind pregnant client—who’s endured her own share of prejudice—to help her sift through the clues. As the two uncover a slew of suspects tied to financial intrigues, illicit love, and an age-old grudge over perceived wrongs, Rose knows she’ll have to bring all her formidable intelligence to bear on solving the crime. Because circumstantial evidence can loom large in small minds, and she fears her friend will soon become the victim of a grave injustice . . .

Friday, September 27, 2019

Doorway To Murder - A Review


DOORWAY TO MURDER by Carol Pouliot
The First Blackwell & Watson Mystery

In 1934 in a small town in Central New York Detective Sergeant Steven Blackwell is called in when the Vice-President of the First National Bank and Trust Company is found murdered in his vault. What could Leo Castleman have been doing there, especially with a blizzard raging outside? As Blackwell begins to work the case he notices something strange in his house-the figure of a woman. Thinking he must be working too hard he shrugs it off. But every night he sees her. Then one night, she speaks. 

The "she" who Steven has been seeing and who finally speaks is Olivia Watson, a researcher who happens to live in Steven's 2014. The two subscribe to Einstein's theory that time can fold over. By day Steven investigates the murder in 1934, but in the evening he goes home and visits with Olivia.

DOORWAY TO MURDER has two distinct parts, only one of which is a clear cut mystery. Steven Blackwell's section in 1934 is the most captivating of the two. In fact, the book would have been just as good without Olivia and the time-travel concept. While I was originally thrilled with the idea of 2014 overlapping 1934 and people from each time period reacting to the other, the reality of it didn't match my expectations. Olivia's story, while interesting, didn't bring a lot to the table. While she didn't play much of a part in the mystery itself, Olivia did wind up making a huge difference, and may have changed history by one small act.

I really enjoyed the mystery of the murder of the branch manager and the methods the police department of the time used to investigate it. I found the characters in the first Blackwell and Watson Mystery to be engaging and the widow was especially intriguing.

With a captivating time-travel hook DOORWAY TO MURDER is a promising start to a brand new series.


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Thursday, September 26, 2019

The Garden Club Murder - An Interview & Giveaway

I'm happy to welcome Amy Patricia Meade to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Amy writes the Tish Tarragon Mystery series. The Garden Club Murder is the second book in the series.

Kathy: Letitia Tarragon is a literary caterer, creating food with a fictional bent. Do you like to cook. Do you ever create themed dishes?

APM: I love to cook! Aside from writing (and my husband of course!), it’s my greatest passion. I have a massive collection of recipes and I’ve been known to read cookbooks as other people read novels. The only themed dishes I’ve ever created in my own kitchen are the ones mentioned in my Tish Tarragon mysteries, because I felt that to write about them I should know how to prepare them. Every now and then I’ll share a recipe for one of them on social media. The third Tish Tarragon mystery, which I’m currently writing, will include a couple of recipes.

Kathy: In The Garden Club Murder Tish gets involved with a garden club. When I lived in Texas I was part of an Herbal Gardening Club. Have you ever been part of a garden club?

APM: No, I’ve never been a member of a garden club, however when my husband and I lived in Williamsburg, Virginia, garden clubs abounded. It was what inspired the setting of The Garden Club Murder.

Kathy: I love all sorts of gardens, but do truly love the "English garden". What is your favorite type of garden?

APM: As I currently live in England, I would have to agree with you. Agatha Christie’s Greenway— her holiday home in south Devon— has one of the most stunning camellia gardens I’ve ever seen and it’s at its peak in February. As a cook, I also love a well-tended vegetable garden. The town I live in has a huge allotment garden, where apartment dwellers and people with limited yard space lease a plot of land for gardening. It may sound strange but I enjoy wandering through and watching the progress of their runner beans and cabbages.

Kathy: Do you enjoy gardening, or just enjoying the efforts of other people's gardens?

APM: I do enjoy gardening, but I don’t have a chance to do much of it these days. My husband is a musician and summertime is festival time, so I typically travel with him for the months of June and July. My “garden” this year consists of some very happy ivy geranium plants by my front door and a couple rows of dahlias in the backyard.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

APM: I’m not sure there’s any single thing that attracts me to them. I just know that they’ve been my preferred genre since childhood. I started out with Encyclopedia Brown and Nancy Drew and then moved on to Agatha Christie as an adolescent. Like any other cozy lover, I enjoy the puzzle-solving element of the mystery but I think there’s also a sense of comfort that one gains while reading them. The characters in a cozy often recur through the series, making them feel like friends and family. There’s also the fact that cozies — unlike the real world— lack any graphic violence. One can be horrified that a murder victim is shot or poisoned or stabbed, but you’re not inundated with detail and, again, unlike the real world, you also can be quite certain that by the end of the book the killer will be brought to justice and order restored.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

APM: No, all my books have been mysteries.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

APM: My current series, the Tish Tarragon mysteries, follow the exploits of a literary caterer who has recently moved to the small town of Hobson Glen, Virginia to open a cafe, Cookin’ the Books, that serves book-themed dishes. While building her business, Tish also discovers that she has a nose for solving crimes, so she joins forces with the local sheriff.

The very first series I ever wrote was the Marjorie McClelland mystery series. Marjorie McClelland is a mystery writer who lives in a small town in 1935 Connecticut. When British millionaire, Creighton Ashcroft purchases an estate on the outskirts of town, he becomes smitten with Marjorie, and in order to win her heart begins accompanying her on her sleuthing adventures. It’s very ’Nick and Nora Charles!'

The Vermont series sees Stella and Nick Buckley move from their home in New York City to an old farmhouse in rural Vermont only to discover the body of a local contractor in their well, which starts their amateur sleuthing career.

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

APM: It has to be the character of Julian Jefferson Davis from my Tish Tarragon mysteries. Julian is a local weatherman whose claim to fame is having been swept up by a snowplow on live television. He’s so much fun to write because, with a back story like is, absolutely nothing is off limits for him, but he’s also an incredibly loyal friend to Tish, so he’s also full of heart.

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

APM: Tish Tarragon actually started as answer to a call from my agent. A publisher was looking for a cozy veterinary mystery, so I accepted the challenged and submitted a synopsis and first fifty pages. The publisher rejected my pages, but my agent and I loved the characters so much, that I reworked them to reflect my own passion for cooking.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

APM: I’m not sure it was so much a decision as a dream. I wrote my first manuscript as many writers do, and shopped it to agents, and then my agent, in turn, shopped it to publishers. I’ve been quite fortunate to have found a home for all my work. My agent, Jessica Faust at BookEnds, is the best cheerleader and agent a writer can have. And Severn House Books, my most recent publisher, has been a complete dream to work with.

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

APM: Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Stephen King, F Scott Fitzgerald

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

APM: Nothing at the moment. I’m on deadline for October 15th and too busy writing!

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

APM: Cooking, as stated above, classic films, caring for my two 15 year old cats who have traveled everywhere with me, and exploring our new home.

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

APM: Eggs— I’ll eat them any way you fix them!— dried beans, tinned tomatoes, and cheese (multiple varieties)

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

APM: The October 15th deadline, above, is for Tish Tarragon Book three which is set at Christmas

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

APM: Plotting a new book and hearing from readers who love my stories.


The Garden Club Murder (A Tish Tarragon Mystery) by Amy Patricia Meade

About The Garden Club Murder

Cozy Mystery 2nd in Series  
Severn House Publishers (September 1, 2019)  
Hardcover: 208 pages 
Literary caterer Letitia ‘Tish’ Tarragon is preparing her English Secret Garden-themed luncheon for Coleton Creek’s annual garden club awards, but when she is taken on a tour of some of the top contenders with the garden club’s president, Jim Ainsley, Tish is surprised at how seriously the residents take the awards – and how desperate they are to win.
Wealthy, retired businessman Sloane Shackleford has won the coveted best garden category five years in a row, but he and his Bichon Frise, Biscuit, are universally despised. When Sloane’s bludgeoned body is discovered in his pristine garden, Tish soon learns that he was disliked for reasons that go beyond his green fingers. Have the hotly contested awards brought out a competitive and murderous streak in one of the residents?

About Amy Patricia Meade

Author of the critically acclaimed Marjorie McClelland Mysteries, Amy Patricia Meade is a native of Long Island, NY where she cut her teeth on classic films and books featuring Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown.
After stints as an Operations Manager for a document imaging company and a freelance technical writer, Amy left the bright lights of New York City and headed north to pursue her creative writing career amidst the idyllic beauty of Vermont’s Green Mountains.
Now residing in Bristol, England, Amy spends her time writing mysteries with a humorous or historical bent. When not writing, Amy enjoys traveling, testing out new recipes, classic films, and exploring her new home.

Author Links:  

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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Doorway to Murder by Carol Pouliot. This book is the first in the Blackwell and Watson Time-Travel Mystery series.

Detective Sergeant Steven Blackwell is called in when the Vice-President of the First National Bank and Trust Company is found murdered in his vault. What could Leo Castleman have been doing there, especially with a blizzard raging outside? As Blackwell begins to work the case he notices something strange in his house-the figure of a woman. Thinking he must be working too hard he shrugs it off. But every night he sees her. Then one night, she speaks.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

A Golden Grave - A Review


 A GOLDEN GRAVE by Erin Lindsey
The Second Rose Gallagher Mystery

Rose Gallagher is quickly learning that life as a newly recruited Pinkerton agent isn't all it's cracked up to be. She's having difficulty with some of the lessons, the other recruits look down on her, and even her friends seem to think she's changed. Meanwhile, every night it seems all she is doing is trying to catch shades. But when six Republican delegates drop dead at a convention, Sergeant Chapman believes something supernatural must be at work and comes to Rose and her dashing partner, Thomas Wiltshire, for help. Could it be the work of a shade? Or is it something more sinister? Thomas and Rose must gather their allies to prevent the assassination of mayoral candidate Theodore Roosevelt.

There is so much to love about A GOLDEN GRAVE. The historical detail provides a rich backdrop and including famous luminaries of the day, from Nikola Tesla to Samuel Clemens to Theodore Roosevelt himself is icing on the cake! The paranormal aspect is captivating and the things they encounter and methods they employ are mesmerizing. There's pulse pounding adventure, riveting drama, and a well plotted mystery.

This second Rose Gallagher Mystery spotlights the differences of the classes. The working class, people such as Clara, the denizens of Five Point, the upper class, like Jonathan Burrows, and even the various political groups from Tammany Hall to Republicans, Democrats, the Labor party, even socialists and anarchists all strive to keep their identity while they look down upon others, yet Rose is now forced to straddle two, an Irish maid who now consorts with the rich as her new job forces her to blend in. Meanwhile the sexual tension between Rose and Thomas is electrifying. A star crossed love to be certain, yet with so much against them, and so much at risk, will they follow their hearts?

A GOLDEN GRAVE is a gripping historical mystery filled with political intrigue, paranormal adventures, and a simmering love story that is close to boiling. I love everything about it and can't wait to be transported back in time for their next adventure.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

The House on Hallowed Ground - A Review & Giveaway


The First Misty Dawn Mystery

Misty Dawn was a well known psychic to the stars seen on talk shows and known for helping the FBI. Times change, however, and she's been living out of her van, having given most of the money she earned away. Misty has just moved into the home of her client's recently deceased brother, Wilson, after receiving an offer she can't refuse. The California cottage is filled with pieces the set designer collected over the years, as well as his spirit. When a young starlet from a famous Hollywood family shows up asking for Misty's help, stating that her house is haunted Wilson becomes Misty's reluctant spirit guide. Trouble is compounded for Zoey when her best friend is found dead in her pool. Surely it was an accident, wasn't it?

I thoroughly enjoyed THE HOUSE ON HALLOWED GROUND. Psychic Mediums, ghosts, and murder in the Hollywood Hills make a perfect combination! I really like Misty. I appreciate the fact that she's a woman of mature years and has the calm self assuredness that comes from being top in her field. Watching Wilson develop is pretty wonderful and though I want what's best for him, I hope he'll stick around a good long while. I hope we get to see more of Bossypants as the series continues.

The writing is sharp and the details of psychics and mediumship is realistic and fairly authentic in this first Misty Dawn Mystery. Plenty of humor, the whole Hugh Jackman thread is a hoot, combines with a well plotted intelligent mystery to make you want to keep reading.

THE HOUSE ON HOLLOWED GROUND is a fantastic start to a new series that hooked me from the start.

The House on Hallowed Ground (A Misty Dawn Mystery) by Nancy Cole Silverman

About the Book

Paranormal Cozy Mystery 1st in Series 
Henery Press (September 10, 2019)  
Hardcover: 260 pages 
When Misty Dawn, a former Hollywood Psychic to the Stars, moves into an old craftsman house, she encounters the former owner, the recently deceased Hollywood set designer, Wilson Thorne.
Wilson is unaware of his circumstances, and when Misty explains the particulars of his limbo state, and how he might help himself if he helps her, he’s not at all happy. That is until young actress Zoey Chamberlain comes to Misty’s door for help.
Zoey has recently purchased The Pink Mansion, a historic Hollywood Hills home, and believes it’s haunted. But when Misty arrives to search the house, it’s not a ghost she finds, but a dead body.
The police are quick to suspect Zoey of murdering her best friend. Zoey maintains her innocence and fears her friend’s death may have been a result of the ghost...and a long-time family curse.
Together Misty and Wilson must untangle the secrets of The Pink Mansion or submit to the powers of the family curse.

About Nancy Cole Silverman

Nancy Cole Silverman’s realization that she and Edgar Allen Poe shared the same birthday sparked her lifelong interest in mystery fiction. After a very successful career in the radio industry she turned to writing, and her crime-focused novels and short stories have attracted readers throughout America. Her Carol Childs Mysteries series (Henery Press) features a single-mom whose “day job” as a reporter at a busy Los Angeles radio station often leads to long nights as a crime-solver. Silverman lives in Los Angeles with her husband and a thoroughly pampered standard poodle.

Author LinksFacebookGoodReads Twitter: @NancyColeSilve1  

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Friday, September 20, 2019

Silent Meridian - A Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway


SILENT MERIDIAN by Elizabeth Crowens
The Time Travel Professor Book 1

John Patrick Scott is studying to be a musician in Victorian Scotland, but music is just one part of his life. John has invented a time machine in which he travels back to an unremembered childhood and into the future where he sees himself as a young woman enrolled in a mystical school. In addition to his time travel experiments he has developed a friendship with noted Spiritualist and Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The two devotees of psychic phenomena practice telepathy and perform other psychic experiments, but does Doyle have a less friendly agenda? With an impish spirit guide and some ne’er do well friends John meets noted luminaries of the time including J. M. Barrie, H. G. Wells, and George Bernard Shaw. He even runs into a young Houdini in his travels. Will his experiments lead him to find the connection between his past, present, future and a mysterious red book?

SILENT MERIDIAN is the story of John Patrick Scott. Kind of. It's also a story about arcane knowledge and the ramifications for those that study esoteric mystical things. It's a story of time travel, astral projection, past lives, Spiritualism, and more. It's a story about a mysterious red book. A variety of famous people make appearances, some brief, some an intrinsic part of the story. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is a good friend and psychical partner to our main character and a major player in his own right. There are so many famous people thrown in, it's almost a who's who of every literary notable who was alive at the time. While I know that many of them were acquainted with each other and belonged to the same societies, there were so many found in this book that it seemed the author was merely name dropping! Some seemed to have a greater purpose and I thought would play a vital part of the storyline (Erik Weisz and Aleister Crowley), but their importance was never fully actualized.

The first Time Travel Professor book is extraordinarily well researched and I did enjoy reading about the famous Victorians mentioned. As John traveled in time we read very interesting stories about his younger self in the magical school, the adventures of the woman whose eyes he saw things through in the future, and and intriguing Japanese storyline.  However, there is such a hodge podge of subplots I continually wondered what was the actual point of the book. Yet, there a mystical theme that ties things together.

Ultimately, SILENT MERIDIAN is a look at self discovery, the importance of life lessons, and what one must give up in order to pursue one's dreams. It looks at morality, appearances, and the risks inherent in pursuing a metaphysical life.


The Time Traveler Professor, Book One:

Silent Meridian

by Elizabeth Crowens

on Tour August 18 - September 21, 2019


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is obsessed with a legendary red book. Its peculiar stories have come to life, and rumors claim that it has rewritten its own endings. Convinced that possessing this book will help him write his ever-popular Sherlock Holmes stories, he takes on an unlikely partner, John Patrick Scott, known to most as a concert pianist, but a paranormal investigator and a time traveler professor to a select few.

Like Holmes and Watson trying to solve a mystery, together they explore lost worlds and their friendship is tested to the limits when they go back in time to find it. Both discover that karmic ties and unconscionable crimes have followed them like ghosts from the past, wreaking havoc on the present and possibly the future.

The Time Traveler Professor, Book One: SILENT MERIDIAN reveals the alternate histories of Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, Houdini, Jung and other luminaries in the secret diaries of John Patrick Scott, in an X Files for the 19th century. First Prize winner of Chanticleer Review's Goethe Award for Turn-of-the-Century Historical Fiction and First Prize for Steampunk in the Independent Press Awards. Stay tuned for A POCKETFUL OF LODESTONES; Book Two in the Time Traveler Professor series by Elizabeth Crowens.

Book Details:

Genre: Alternate History, Mystery, Fantasy Noir
Published by: Atomic Alchemist Productions LLC
Publication Date: June 12th 2019
Number of Pages: 384
ISBN: 9781950384 (ISBN13: 9781950384044)
Series: The Time Traveler Professor #1
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Edinburgh, 1898

Scotland was just barely crawling its way out of the nineteenth century. I was a naïve, but ambitious student studying music at the University of Edinburgh hurrying over to meet Arthur Conan Doyle, the man who would change my life forever.
“John Patrick Scott, sir,” I said and approached Mr. Doyle, who was already seated at a back corner table of the Deacon Brodie, the pub that inspired the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
I extended my hand to greet him and removed my rain-soaked hat, while my overcoat slipped out of my hands and fell on the floor by accident. It was still hard to believe that good fortune finally brought us together, but we were both nervous. “Mr. Conan Doyle, or should I call you Doctor Doyle?” I was unsure how to address him.
Doyle scrutinized me from top to bottom as he signaled the waiter. “John, call me Arthur.”
“Sir, I’m so honored that you agreed to discuss this matter. Perhaps you can enlighten me in a way that I’ve failed to comprehend.”
I wanted to ask him about my unusual turn of events straight away but he caught me off guard and was dead set on pulling me into the swift current of an unexpected conversation.
“Can I assume you believe in the transmigration of souls?” he asked.
“Until now, I haven’t given it a lot of thought,” I said, unsure as to which direction he was leading.
“Did you ever read those books about that Swiss doctor who felt his body and soul had been taken over by a Benedictine monk? That presented a curious case. He claims that he was approached by the spirit of an elderly monk before he died, and that the monk needed to rent his body to continue his spiritual mission.”
“Rent?” I choked in disbelief.
“We truly don’t take anything with us when we pass on, do we? This monk knew he was dying and therefore needed to replace his physical body with something more youthful and vital.”
“That’s incredible. It debunks the theory that you need to die and be reborn as an infant to carry on your spirit.”
Mr. Doyle had the tinge of excitement in his voice.
“John, here’s another instance. I’ve had my suspicions about a famous musician who had an obsession about a notorious and controversial mystic. You’d surmise by his overwhelming attraction to that person he might’ve been him in a previous lifetime, but facts were clear he was born three years before the mystic died. My understanding is the mystic was aware he didn’t have long in his present incarnation. Therefore he made plans for some sort of partial soul transference while he was still alive to imprint his essence upon the child. That would’ve allowed him to carry on and accomplish unfinished business, which couldn’t have been executed otherwise. Essentially he had the ability of being two places at once.”
“Sounds more like Spiritualism,” I replied.
“Honestly, John, I don’t think there are any steadfast rules when it comes to this matter. That’s what makes it so intriguing.”
I sensed he had a secret agenda.
Doyle reloaded his churchwarden pipe with fresh tobacco and continued, “This is not at all like anything you’ve ever read from H.G. Wells or Jules Verne. We’re poking holes in every treatise written on the subject — the idea of being able to reincarnate a part of yourself while you are still alive into another soul.”
Our conversation was quickly becoming like a speeding train ready to jump the tracks. Realizing this, Doyle slowed down the pace and took a deep breath. He carefully composed his next statement.
“Fiction it may seem to be but it’s not hocus pocus. Don’t you also find it strange that you somehow found yourself initiated into a mystical order on a commuter train bound from London to Edinburgh when the instigators kept on mistaking you for me? There are no accidents.”
I became silent for a moment, stalling for time as I slowly raised my glass of ale to my lips. As soon as I fished a small red book out of my coat pocket and placed it on the table in front of us Arthur eyed it intently. It had been the source of intrigue, which led me to Doyle in the first place and piqued his curiosity as much as it did mine.
“Could I have done something terrible in my youth that caused this to happen?”
“You have no recollections, John?”
“I remember so little of my childhood. I wish I could.”
“You’re a smart young man. I’m sure you’ll come up with a clever deduction.”
Mr. Doyle paused to relight his pipe. He had an unnerving look in his eye, which I vainly tried to read into, but he took me for a spin when he brought up the next topic.
“On another note, John, have you ever considered that people are capable of communicating without speech, and I’m not talking about writing letters?”
“Pardon me?”
“Imagine communicating by mere thoughts. I’ve always wanted to experiment with someone open to these concepts. God knows — my brothers at the Society for Psychical Research certainly talk enough about it. My wife, Touie, has been an unwilling subject and is not the most objective choice.”
I looked at him, somewhat perplexed. “Are you asking me to accurately guess what you’re thinking?”
“Come now. We’ll play a game. I’ll form an image in my mind, and for the next minute I will try to project it into yours. Clear your thoughts of any distractions and be as receptive as possible,” he explained.
As much as I tried, I couldn’t have been more preoccupied. Images of that fateful event flashed through my brain. My recollections revealed my rain-soaked train ticket. I kept arguing with the steward about putting me in the wrong cabin. An erroneous judgment had been made when three strangers insisted I was Arthur. We were so different in physical appearance. He was a large, athletic man with a distinguished moustache. On the other hand, I had baby smooth skin and couldn’t grow facial hair to save my life. I was nearly twenty years younger and much shorter with wild auburn hair that resembled Maestro Beethoven’s with the exception of premature strands of gray.
So why was I singled out? Was there laudanum in my brandy? Details spun like a whirlwind. I must’ve been in a drug-induced stupor but I was initiated into some secret Masonic-like society, and when it was all over those mysterious men were gone. What remained were an engraved silver ring on my finger and an ominous red book on the seat beside me.
“Looks like you’ve seen a ghost.” Arthur broke my trance and realized my thoughts had been elsewhere.
“I felt like I had.” Barely able to articulate, I tried to tame my wild mane in place. Visions faded in and out. Timelines jumped. So I gulped down another swig of ale to focus on the present.
Arthur leaned in closer. “I can see you’re still worried about that event on the train. Those men have been after me for some time. Why? It’s hard to fathom. I’ll dilly dally with notions here and there about Sherlock Holmes and his partner, Watson, who fancy themselves as detectives. Me? I’m just a simple doctor and writer with interests in Spiritualism trying to find scientific explanations for the unknown.”
“Arthur, what would anyone want with an unassuming music student like me?”
“Personally, I don’t think this was A Case of Identity,” Arthur replied with a smile.
Obviously he meant to say my dilemma was not a case of mistaken identity, not the name of one of his famous Sherlock stories. He was pleased I caught the humor of his play on words.
“Perhaps it has something to do with that book,” he said pointing to the one I brought.
“I’m concerned it’s dangerous, that it’s a curse. I wish I had never found it.” I shoved it back into my pocket and drained my glass.
* * *
One week later as I was returning home from school, my landlady, Lydia Campbell, yelled from the kitchen as I trudged my muddied shoes through the front door of her boarding house. “John, a letter from Undershaw arrived for you today! I wonder whom it could be from? You don’t know anyone from Undershaw, do you?”
Oh, yes I did. I grabbed the letter and ran upstairs so fast I nearly tripped on my muffler and fell on my face. I poured myself a glass of port to calm my nerves, doffed my wet garments and sank into my most comfortable brass-studded leather chair I affectionately named my thinking chair, where I created many a melody in my head, could think deep thoughts, and drift off to dreamland.
* * *
Dear John,
I wholeheartedly enjoyed our conversation at the Deacon Brodie and kept my promise of a prompt reply. By now, you are well aware of my passion to explore the realms of Spiritualism and related paranormal phenomena far surpasses any personal interests involved with Sherlock Holmes. Public demand for my writing, however, exerts a strain on how much I can overtly reveal to even my most trusted colleagues. Whenever I indulge in any activity, be it a simple séance, investigating a revered medium or attending a meeting of the British Society for Psychical Research, it never fails to raise the eyebrows of my wary publishers and critics. It’s God’s honest truth that I believe in many of these inexplicable accounts. Even my father painted beautiful renditions of fairies, which I trust he witnessed with his own eyes. The betterment of mankind rests on embracing such theories once they are proven to exist by the scientific community. Thus, I’ll have to continue more controversial and debatable endeavors in utmost secrecy, or at least for the time being until more evidence can be brought to light.
Since you seem to be an open-minded young man who has already experienced some effects of the preternatural, this is my proposal: At midnight every night, we should conduct a variety of remote operations with the primary purpose of communicating through means of telepathy. Since I have a tendency to travel, we’ll have to make some sort of adjustment to take into account the different time zones. Of course, you must share this secret with nobody. Besides us, only my wife will know, although she will not participate.
When you shared the account of the strange commuter train incident that was enough to convince me that you would be the perfect partner for this private undertaking. Most assuredly, there was something you did in the past in the realm of the arcane to warrant such a chain of events. That was not mere happenstance, and now since you possess that enigmatic red book, I’m sure it will affect your life in ways you’ve never imagined.
My intentions have been to perform similar trial and error enterprises with Harry Houdini, a rising star whose stage performances have been astounding audiences, but his busy schedule has made it nearly impossible to coordinate such engagements with any sort of regularity. One of these days we’ll catch up. Meanwhile, I collect whatever news comes from across the herring-pond. At one point, he and I will develop a special relationship based on mutual interests.
Regarding the two of us, however, we’ll back up our observations with letters or telegrams as often as possible as proof of results, but those must be destroyed as soon as they are read. Once again, I cannot over emphasize the importance of confidentiality. Regardless, we must keep a faithful agreement, as skill will come with practice.
If you are willing to put aside any apprehensions regarding trains, I’ll pay for you to travel down to Undershaw and visit me on weekends whenever possible. My driver can meet you in London at a pre-arranged time. You’ll stay in one of our guest bedrooms, and as long as you don’t mind the children and can tolerate what our kitchen staff provides, you’ll be well taken care of. That’ll give us the opportunity to expand our repertoire and commence further psychical experimentation with ectoplasm, spirit photography and astral projection. And bring the red book. I’d like a chance to look at it.
I’ve also desired a partner to accompany me for ghost sightings and occult investigations. For all we know with the knowledge gained, we might even break through the barriers of time. That would certainly give Bertie (H.G. Wells) a shock to the senses, proving his imagination does not merely dwell in the realm of fiction. We’ve been at odds on this topic for years.
Regarding telepathic technique, I can only suggest you conduct yourself in a way as you see fit. Personally, I don’t give credence to things like magical amulets, but if it helps to have an etheric link, use this letter you hold in your hand, as it contains my heart, soul and signature with a drop of blood, which I added to the ink. You might wish to reciprocate.
Let’s raise our glasses to honor the quest of conquering the unknown.
Arthur Conan Doyle
* * *
So, Arthur was serious when he first brought up the subject. When he and I left the pub, I really didn’t know what to think. After all, he was a famous author, and I was merely a student. What possessed him to choose me for such an engagement?
I shuffled through my schoolwork to find my pen and ink and a fresh sheet of paper. Blood, I needed blood. Ah, my razor! That would work. I fetched my shaving kit and winced as I drew a few drops. I scribbled a swift, affirmative reply with the blood-tainted ink, mailed the letter the following day and looked forward to our first otherworldly encounter.
Excerpt from The Time Traveler Professor, Book One: Silent Meridian by Elizabeth Crowens. Copyright © 2019 by Elizabeth Crowens. Reproduced with permission from Elizabeth Crowens. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Crowens has worked in the film and television for over twenty years and as a journalist and a photographer. She’s a regular contributor of author interviews to an award-winning online speculative fiction magazine, Black Gate. Short stories of hers have been published in the Bram Stoker Awards nominated anthology, A New York State of Fright and Hell’s Heart. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America, The Horror Writers Association, the Authors Guild, Broad Universe, Sisters in Crime and a member of several Sherlockian societies. She is also writing a Hollywood suspense series.

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