Thursday, October 20, 2016


On October 14 Karen Commins, the audiobook narrator of Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction (as well as many other books) gave us a chance to get to know Karen the person. As promised, Karen is back today for Part 2, where she talks about the audiobook production process. But first, before the interview, give this a listen:


Karen, can you tell us about the process of producing an audiobook?

Audiobook production is such a detailed, technical, and time-consuming process that I’m probably going to write an article to describe it all!
Authors can choose from an increasing number of ways to produce audiobooks of their titles. I’ll use the model in this interview since I’m most familiar with it.

A general industry rule of thumb is that about 6 hours are needed to produce 1 finished hour of an audiobook. This time doesn’t include the narrator’s preparation before recording.

Basically, the steps are:
1) I pre-read and prepare the book ahead of recording it.
  •  I create a notebook in Evernote to keep all of my notes for the audiobook. I take copious notes about each character so that I can make believable acting choices when recording. Every time the author offers any sort of description about the character, I copy that info to a note for the character. I end with a complete profile for each character, like this page for your character Tess Tremaine
  •  I also look up pronunciations of words I don’t know.
2) I record the book in multiple sessions. I stop recording for many reasons: I stumble over a word or said the wrong word, I used wrong inflection or character voice, my stomach is growling, I want to try a different acting choice, etc. It takes 1.5 to 2 hours to record 1 finished hour of audio. Depending on the length of the book, I might need 1-2 weeks to finish recording.

3) Once I’ve recorded the entire book, I send all of my audio files to my editor. He listens to every second, removes mouth noises like clicks and gaspy breaths, and adjusts the pacing where needed. He also proof listens and notifies me of any mistakes that I need to re-record.

4) I re-record the corrections identified by my editor. You and your readers might be interested to see this 2:25 video  I created to show how my editor communicates the corrections to me and my recording of them:

5) The editor seamlessly inserts my corrections into the original audio files.

6) He masters the files so they all sound pleasing and have consistent volume.

7) The editor sends the final audio files back to me. I upload them to ACX so the author can review the entire audiobook.

8) Occasionally, the author will request a small change or find we missed something. She will send me the list of her corrections, and we repeat steps 5-7.

9) Once the author approves the audiobook, ACX runs it through a QC process.

10) When the audiobook passes QC, ACX distributes it to Amazon, Audible, and iTunes for retail sale.

From an author posting an audition script to the book becoming available for sale, what’s the time frame?
The timeframe can vary widely, depending on:
  • The author’s speed in choosing a narrator 
  • The narrator’s availability to start and record the project 
  • The editor’s availability to edit and master the audio 
  • The ACX team’s schedule for QC and retail release.
Once the narrator begins production, the audiobook could be for sale about 2 months later.

What  interested you in reading Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction?
I particularly look for cozy mysteries and sweet romances, stories set in the South and/or with Southern characters, and humor. I actually bought your book in December 2014 and had thought about approaching you about narrating it because it included everything on my wish list! Obviously, our wonderful partnership was meant to be!

Wow! That’s amazing. Thank you! Who was your favorite character to "be" in Murder & Mayhem?

She’s good people. Did you have a favorite scene to read?
Let me say first that I LOVED the chapter titles! Usually, I only get to say “chapter number.” I had to laugh at some of your lines! I can’t pick a single scene. I had the most fun in the booth any time I got to give voice to Lou, Earl, or Clive!                                                                                                     

Your Earl and Clive make me laugh out loud. How did you get started producing audiobooks?
Becoming an audiobook narrator has been an evolutionary process and is a dream come true! When I was in 5th grade, I decided to do voiceover work, and in 1996, I knew I wanted to specialize in audiobooks.

While working full-time in information technology positions, I volunteered for 5 years as a reader at the Georgia Radio Reading Service. I then took a voiceover workshop, produced a demo, and started marketing myself as a voice talent in 1999.

Even though I had a home studio in early 2001, the audiobook publishers were unwilling to trust producers at home. With the advent of in 2011 and the proliferation of devices that can play audiobooks, the demand for audiobooks has risen dramatically. The playing field has changed. Now, a home studio is a necessity!

I continued working in my demanding day job until the end of 2011. I’ve been immersed in audiobooks since 2012 and could not be happier!

What's your favorite thing about the process?
I am joyful and grateful to live my dream life of narrating wonderful stories! In addition, I am thrilled and blessed that Drew, the hero of my life story, directs me on every book! 

We record audiobooks together 3-4 days a week in our stunning soundproof studio. I’m in the studio almost every day and am still giddy to spend my days absorbed in books in my Parisian-themed room.

Okay, let’s talk money. One of the things that kept me from doing an audiobook before now was fear of the cost. Can you talk a little about payment options open to authors?

On ACX, you have 2 main ways of paying for the production: Pay now, or pay later.

In the Pay Now plan, you're paying Per Finished Hour (PFH). For example, a 10-hour audiobook (that required 60 or more hours in real time to produce) would cost some hourly rate you specify times 10. 

On the Per Finished Hour option, you'll see several ranges of payments: $0-50, $50-100, $100-200, $200-400, and $400 and above. Again, these costs are not for the whole project but per finished hour.

Narrators with some experience will charge at least $100 PFH, and more experienced narrators are generally in the $200-400 PFH range. The union minimum is $225 per finished hour, just to give you a comparison.

If you decide to pay $200 PFH for that 10-hour audiobook, your total cost would be $2000 up-front before the audiobook can be made available for sale.

If you choose Exclusive Distribution, ACX offers an option to Pay Later with a Royalty Share (RS) contract. This option allows the author and narrator to split the 40% in royalties that are paid by Audible, with each receiving 20% for the contract term. The narrator recoups her fee and production costs over time through the royalties.

Because of the tremendous risk that the audiobook will not sell enough copies over time to pay the costs of production, a lot of narrators do not want to do a royalty share book. We've invested our time and energy that could have been used on projects that paid up-front, and we often have paid editors and proofers up-front. With no guarantee of reimbursement, it's truly a gamble for a narrator to undertake a royalty share project

Two common approaches to payment options help to mitigate that risk.

On some RS books of their choosing, ACX offers a $100 PFH stipend. Nobody knows the exact algorithm for determining the stipend availability, but all books posted are reviewed for inclusion in the program.

If ACX doesn't add the coveted stipend to your title, you can always add a stipend yourself! You might offer a PFH amount that you will pay up-front and then split the royalties with the narrator to help make up their fee. This option is known in narrator circles as a Hybrid Deal and helps you afford a more experienced narrator and helps the narrator pay her team.

If you choose to offer a hybrid deal, you need to know that ACX doesn't have that option on their site. You would need to work out the deal and the payment logistics with the narrator to pay the up-front fee and click the ACX option for a royalty share contract.

Do you have any tips for authors for their audition script? Is there anything that attracts your attention?
Some authors upload the whole book as the audition text. Narrators don't have time to read your whole book. We don't know what's important from that book.

I suggest that authors pick out about 2 to 4 pages, or about 750 words, which will equate to around 5 minutes of audio. In those few pages, include 1 part of narrative and 1 part of dialogue between 2 to 3 of the main characters. It's helpful if you can give character descriptions because that will put us in the right playing field of realizing your vision for the book.

Every narrator would agree with this next suggestion -- totally eliminate the words “grasped”, “clasped”, and “gasped” from your book! They're just hard words to say, and invariably, whatever follows them, makes them even harder to say! These 3 words always seem to trip us up.

Oops! I counted "gasped" five times and "clasped" three times in Murder & Mayhem. I'm sorry! Thank you so much, Karen. I think this is a lot of great information for both authors and readers.


Karen Commins is a professional audiobook narrator who has given voice to over 50 audiobooks. She is an Audible Approved Producer who specializes in performing cozy mysteries and sweet romances. She especially shines in books containing humor and/or Southern voices. Karen also has excelled in narrating biography, history, self-development, and other non-fiction titles. In addition to earning a BA in broadcast journalism, Karen has completed extensive specialized training in voiceover and audiobook narration technique, as well as digital audio production. Visit her web site to hear demos, see a list of her titles, and watch a video demonstration of her stunning soundproof studio. She writes articles about audiobooks for  and curates and maintains information for authors seeking to create audiobooks at this link.

Connect with Karen:
Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Pinterest  |  LinkedIn  |  YouTube  |  Audible  |  Soundcloud

Tuesday, October 18, 2016



Irene Seligman loves the warmth and beauty of her Southwest hometown, but only one thing could make her quit her prestigious job as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan to return there: the guilt applied by her demanding mother, Adelle. After Adelle’s most recent husband dies, leaving her with nothing, Irene decides to take a break from prosecuting criminals to move back to Santa Fe and open an upscale consignment store. With Irene’s determination and her mother’s eye for haute couture, they’re sure to make a killing.
But on the day of the grand opening, Irene discovers the body of one of Adelle’s friends in her storeroom. And although the intrigue causes business to boom, when someone else from Adelle’s social circle is murdered, Irene begins to suspect her mother might be in danger too. Ever the protective daughter, Irene investigates her mother’s friends, suspicious that they’re hiding more than designer clothes in their closets. But as she gets closer to uncovering some real skeletons, Irene might not live to regret coming home again.


Paula, how did you get started writing?
I loved writing stories as a child, but I began my professional career as a journalist, working for newspapers in Texas and New Mexico. I had my first book published while I was on hiatus as a journalist to raise my children. I continued to write novels after I returned to the newsroom and have continued ever since. I no longer work as a journalist and spend all of my writing time on my novels.
What's your favorite thing about the writing process?
I love the research, and I love developing characters.

Do you have a writing routine?
I try to write every day Monday through Friday. My goal each week is to write 6000 words or approximately 20 pages. I write as long as it takes to do that—usually three to four hours a day. If I don’t make my quota, I write on weekends.

What do you think is hardest aspect of writing a book?
The discipline to write even when it doesn’t come easy. From a technical perspective, plotting is the most difficult for me.

What’s more important–characters or plot?
Character is the most important part of any book, in my opinion. It is the character’s motivation and personality that drive the plot.

How often do you read?
I read every day, and I always have a book going. Sometimes it’s fiction and sometimes non-fiction.

What is your writing style?
Writing style is hard to define or describe, especially for oneself. I believe my style is simple and straight-forward with a lyrical twist. The straight-forward aspect is the influence of my career as a journalist while the lyrical influence comes from my reading.

What do you think makes a good story?

A good story is one that interests the reader. For my own personal taste, I want it to be character-driven and lyrically written.

What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
Sometimes I say that I wish I’d known how hard it is to keep writing after so many rejections. However, I don’t think it would have changed anything even if I had known that when I first started. I wanted to be a published writer so badly that even knowing that wouldn’t have made me stop.

Do you have any secret talents?

I am a water deviner, or water witch as it is known in Texas. I can use a forked stick or wand made of wood to find underground water by walking along a field until the straight end of the wand points downward.

Is writing your dream job?
Writing novels is my dream job. I have a love/hate relationship with this career.

Do you have any marketing tips you could pass on to indie authors?

The best marketing tip I can offer is to read bestselling novels in the genre in which you wish to publish then try to make your work measure up to them.

If you could only watch one television station for a year, what would it be?

How often do you tweet?
Rarely. I just can’t get the hang of it.

How do you feel about Facebook?

Facebook is a wonderful marketing tool. Posting about my works in progress, pub dates, when my books go on sale, when I win an award or get a good review has helped my sales. I like using Facebook to keep up with family and friends as well.

For what would you like to be remembered
I’d like to be remembered first for being a good mother and second for writing meaningful novels that are a pleasure to read.

What scares you the most?

Not publishing again.

What five things would you never want to live without? 

Books, the Internet, and a computer for writing.

What do you love about where you live?

First, I love that my family lives here and second, I love the climate and beautiful scenery of New Mexico.

What’s your favorite thing to do on date night?
I love the symphony and dinner afterward in a good restaurant.

What’s your favorite fast food?

What’s your favorite beverage?

What drives you crazy?
People who don’t seem to be able to think before they speak.

What is your superpower?

What do you wish you could do?
Write a Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel.

What is one of your happiest moments?

The births of my two children.

What do you like to do when there’s nothing to do?


Where is your favorite place to visit?
Someplace I’ve never been.

What’s your least favorite chore?
Cleaning house, especially drawers and closets. Why? It takes time away from reading or writing.

Do you give your characters any of your bad traits?

All the time (impatience, absent mindedness, temper).

Do you procrastinate?
Unfortunately, yes.

What’s in your refrigerator right now?
Besides milk and eggs, there is wine, cheese, stuffed grape leaves, blackeyed peas.

What is the most daring thing you've done?
Flew an airplane.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
“What would you do if you knew you could not fail?”

What would your main character say about you?

“Why can’t you remember what I did in the last chapter?”

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to write?

My novel called Crazy Quilt because it was a fictional account of the after-effects of my bout with breast cancer.

How do you like your pizza?
With sausage, cheese, and green chili.

What is the wallpaper on your computer’s desktop?
Northern lights.

Describe yourself in 5 words.
Passionate, impatient, stubborn, curious, short.

What’s your favorite song?

“El Paso.”

What is your favorite movie?
Dead Poets Society.

Do you have a favorite book?
Shogun because of the way the character development was handled.

If you had to choose a cliché about life, what would it be?
Life is interesting.

What are you working on now?

The second book in the Irene’s Closet series. I’m almost finished with the first draft, and it still doesn’t have a title, but it has to do with stolen Native American artifacts.


Paula Paul is the author of more than 30 novels including mysteries, historical novels, and literary novels. She is the winner of several national awards and has been an Amazon bestseller. Among her most popular novels are those in the Alexandra Gladstone mystery series. A Killer Closet introduces a new series. A native of Texas, Ms. Paul now lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Connect with Paula:
Website  |  
Facebook  |  
Twitter  |  Goodreads  

Sunday, October 16, 2016



Life in the suburbs ain’t easy. Squeezing into those tiny chairs on the back-to-school night. Finding the beloved pet fish floating at the top of his bowl. Planning a romantic evening–only to fall asleep on the couch with your honey.

Lucky for us, we’ve got Brandi Haas to make us laugh. As the author of the popular blog Tales from Suburbia, Brandi tackles the big issues of our day—like whether to pay six bucks to valet park or search for a spot and walk ten blocks to the restaurant. Her stories about the daily absurdities of life will make you laugh out loud.

Heartfelt and seriously funny, More Tales from Suburbia: Yes, It Gets Even Crazier is like sharing a bottle of wine and conversation with your best girlfriend.


Fresh Mountain Air . . . and Bears

“Enjoy your hike!” the ski lift operator said cheerfully.

“We will!” I yelled back.

I put one arm around my husband and the other around my daughter and said, “What could be better than a little hike through the mountains of Big Sky, Montana? It’s a gorgeous day in June! The sun is shining and the evergreens are bright and lush and swaying in the breeze. Look at us! We took a quick jaunt up the mountain on the ski lift and are now treated to a view of the tree-covered mountain and that green valley below. My lungs feel renewed just breathing in this fresh mountain air! Can’t you just feel the peace and tranquility up here?”

“And be careful to avoid the bears!” the ski lift operator shouted at us.

My transcendental moment came to a screeching halt.

“Did he just say bears?” I looked at my husband for confirmation.

“Yeah, but it’s just a precaution,” he said like he was reading from the brochure he picked up at the front desk of our hotel. “Bears don’t want to be anywhere near people,”

“You’re telling me you forced me and our infant daughter to ride that damn Stairway to Heaven ski lift up this godforsaken mountain so we could spend the day getting covered in pine sap and dodging ravenous, bloodthirsty bears?” I demonstrated my fury by pacing back and forth while madly waving my arms. 

“Forced you? Wait, what happened to a quick jaunt, fresh air, green valleys? And our daughter hasn’t been an infant for over seven years,” my husband said.

“Don’t bother quoting me—the addition of bears changes everything.” I flung my hand in the air for emphasis and planted the other hand on my hip.

“Look, we’re up here, it’s beautiful, and the map says it’s an easy, thirty-minute hike back down. No bears are going to bother us. We just stick to the trail and make lots of noise so we don’t startle them.” My husband sounded like an overly peppy counselor from Camp Woodchuck.

“I’m in!” our daughter screamed excitedly. “I like bears!”

“You do know that we’re not talking about a bear wearing an ill-fitting red shirt with his paw stuck in a pot of honey, right?” I asked—more to my husband than to my daughter.

They started down the trail, then turned and looked back at me.

“Okay, I’m in,” I said, slowly walking toward them. “What should we do to make noise? Maybe I could sing.”

My husband shook his head. “We want to startle the bears, not terrify them. Your normal volume and usual hand gestures should do the trick.”

As it turned out, the hike was a lot of fun and we didn’t encounter any bears—with or without honey pots.


Brandi Hass is a former high school English teacher. Born and raised in California, she now lives in Missouri with her husband, daughter and their dog. She is consistently inconsistent about her weight and age because, really, it’s no one’s business anyway. She sees humor in everything and began writing stories about her life as a way to share her insanity with the world. You can read Brandi’s Blog or follow Tales From Suburbia on Facebook.

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Friday, October 14, 2016


Have you heard that Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction is now available in audiobook? Well it is, and today I want you to meet the narrator, Karen Commins. Karen is a professional narrator with over fifty audiobooks to her resume. We had such a long talk, I'm breaking up her interview into two parts. Today, I want you to get to know Karen the person. On October 20, Karen will be back with Part 2 where she talks more about the audiobook process. She has a lot of great information, so please stop back. Scroll to the end of this post to hear a sample of Karen reading Murder & Mayhem. And now . . . here's Karen . . .


Karen, tell us a little about you.
I have been blessed to be married to Drew, fellow Atlanta native and the love of my life, for over 30 years! We love to travel; most recently, we took our 13th cruise, this time to Canada and New England from New York. My favorite city is Paris, and my favorite thing is the Eiffel Tower. We are proudly childfree by choice, and we have an adorable miniature schnauzer named Yogi. I worked for the US government for over thirty years, mostly in information technology positions, and am thrilled to finally be a full-time audiobook narrator!

Where are your people from?
Daddy was born in a small town in south/central Texas, and Mother came from a small town in NW Georgia. They met and married in Atlanta.

As you said, you’re happily married, but do you ever fall in fictional love with a character?
I don’t fall in love with a character as much as I can love the way an author describes that character. I always hope to fall in love with an author’s facility with the language throughout the story.

What’s the first thing you would order at Slick & Junebug’s Diner?
I’ve heard that Slick makes the best cheeseburger you’ll ever put in your mouth, so I’d get one medium-well but without the garden (lettuce and tomato) or a rose (a sweet Vidalia onion) with fries and a Coke. I’d want one of those hand-dipped milkshakes in the silver cup that you can only get at a great diner, but I think I’d have to pass on it so I could have a slice of chocolate cake with that oh-so-yummy inch-thick icing or lemon meringue pie.

Oh yeah, those are excellent choices, and Slick could totally hook you up! What’s one thing that drives you crazy?
Weedeaters! I can’t stand the sound they make. Fortunately, I don’t hear them when I’m in my soundproof studio!

What’s your favorite/most visited Internet site?
It’s a 3-way tie among ACX, Amazon, and eBay.

What’s in your refrigerator right now?
Drew and I eat out most of the time, so the refrigerator contains several take-home boxes, along with bread and cheese for sandwiches, hamburger buns, and condiments. As Atlanta natives, we have the requisite cases of Coke and Diet Coke, and we have a pitcher of sweet tea that is getting dangerously low and needs a refill!

A woman after my own heart. What is the most daring thing you've done?
I bought a scooter, and Drew taught me how to ride it. However, I’m not really an outdoorsy girl and would much rather ride in the air-conditioned comfort of a car. We sold the scooter a year later.

That is daring! What is the stupidest thing you've ever done?
When I was a teenager, I let a boy I liked convince me to put some dish detergent in an amusement park waterfall. Since I was a “goody two shoes,” maybe he thought my punishment wouldn’t be too severe if I was caught, or more likely, he didn’t care. The waterfall made an incredible amount of suds that were probably difficult and time-consuming to clean. I hereby apologize to the park employees that I was ever part of such a stupid prank!

Ah, the things we’ll do for a boy. What choices in life would you like to have a redo on?
Every moment has meaning, so I try to live with no regrets. However, if I had a time machine and could go back to Munich, Germany on 5 March 1994, I would ask the person who was working in the record store to sell or give me the poster that was hanging in their window promoting the supposedly upcoming Barry Manilow Munich concert!

I already knew from his fan club that his European tour was cancelled, so that Munich concert wasn’t going to happen. I decided that night I should have asked for the poster. We went back the next day, but we couldn’t find the store again in the maze of unfamiliar streets. I’ve started looking on eBay for that poster. I saw the one from the cancelled Frankfurt date, so I know that Munich poster has got to be out there somewhere!

What do you like to do when you're not reading or narrating?
Words are my life! If I’m not recording a book, I might be writing an article to help authors or narrators in recording books. I write in my journal, am learning calligraphy, and play Words With Friends relentlessly! I also spend time playing with and walking Yogi, who is the executive producer of all of my audiobooks. I search eBay for antique Eiffel Tower inkwells and other collectibles that catch my eye. I like to swim and am sad to see pool season coming to an end. Of course, the best part of any day is the time I spend with Drew!


Karen Commins is a professional audiobook narrator who has given voice to over 50 audiobooks. She is an Audible Approved Producer who specializes in performing cozy mysteries and sweet romances. She especially shines in books containing humor and/or Southern voices. Karen also has excelled in narrating biography, history, self-development, and other non-fiction titles. In addition to earning a BA in broadcast journalism, Karen has completed extensive specialized training in voiceover and audiobook narration technique, as well as digital audio production. Visit her web site to hear demos, see a list of her titles, and watch a video demonstration of her stunning soundproof studio. She writes articles about audiobooks for and curates and maintains information for authors seeking to create audiobooks at this link.

Connect with Karen:
Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Pinterest  |  LinkedIn  |  YouTube  |  Audible  |  Soundcloud 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

putting on the witch extra large banner


With their coven’s spell book still missing, Molly and Elsie—along with their ghostly friend Olivia, her daughter Dorothy, and her boyfriend Brian—are all on edge, especially now that Dorothy’s infamously wicked father is back in the picture. So when they receive an invitation to an exclusive Witches Ball, the ladies jump at the chance to dress up and have some fun.

The castle locale is spectacular and the party is hopping, but the festivities come to a swift end when a member of the Grand Council of Witches is murdered. With the whole place on lock down, the coven is determined to find the cunning killer, even with an angry council and a real Spanish Inquisitor breathing down their necks . . .


About The Authors

Joyce and Jim Lavene wrote award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They had written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. Joyce passed away October 20, 2015 and Jim passed on May 5, 2016. They are missed by family, friends and their many fans.

I just love this picture of Joyce and Jim

Find more about Jim and Joyce:
Website   |  Facebook  |  Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  

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Monday, October 10, 2016



Rory Chasen, manager of the Lucky Dog Boutique in Destiny, California, hopes her new line of good-luck doggy toys will be a hit, especially the stuffed rabbits with extra-large feet. The timing of the line’s debut proves ill-fated, though, as several local shops―including Rory’s―are ransacked and vandalized with spilled salt and other unlucky charms. The most likely culprit is disgruntled real estate agent Flora Curtival, whose issues with the town give her a motive. But after Flora is murdered and one of Rory’s toy rabbits is found with the body, Rory needs all the luck she can get while trying to determine just who killed the superstitious vandal.


Linda, do you have a writing routine?

Yes, of sorts. I find myself getting other stuff out of the way first in the morning, like responding to interview questions. And then, usually in the afternoon, I face the computer and get to work, knowing I've accomplished everything else I have to that day.

Do you write every day?
Yes, unless I'm traveling or at a writing event. I've done that for years!

What’s one thing you never leave the house without?
My purse, of course, and its important contents, most especially all the bookmarks I carry for my most recent releases, to leave in bookstores, or introduce myself to new people when appropriate, or just look at now and then for fun!

Do you have any secret talents?
Of course, but if I told you what they were they wouldn't be secret anymore. But I can tell you that I think I attract dogs. Or at least I hope I do. Dogs are my friends, my loves, my writing themes . . . but that's no secret to anyone who reads my stuff.

What’s your favorite beverage? 
Flavored coffee, like hazelnut, not sweetened or drowned with any other flavor. Yes, I'm an addict. Caffeine and I are good friends.

What drives you crazy?
That's a literal question for me. Traffic literally drives me crazy, and it's gotten so much worse since I moved to L.A. a long time ago.

What is your superpower?
What—only one? Let's see . . . I can fly. I can read other people's minds. I can send zingers or otherwise punish people who harm dogs. I can fight off anyone without lifting a finger. I can see through walls and hear whispers and catch scents as well as any dog. I can turn into a shapeshifter. I can... well, heck, I can do anything, at least on the computer. That's part of the power of writing.

What is one of your happiest moments?
When I can share hugs with the right people: family, including grandkids and dogs, especially my Cavaliers.

What do you like to do when there’s nothing to do?
Do you mean there actually is a time when there's nothing to do? My mind doesn't think so. If I'm not actively working or moving, I'm always plotting.

Do you procrastinate?
Let me think about that for a while . . . Oh, yes. Do I procrastinate? I'm still pondering . . . Well,  yes, I suppose I do procrastinate sometimes—but never when one of my dogs gives me a command.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
"Reality is only for those who lack imagination."

What would you do for a Klondike bar?
Go visit Isaly's in Pittsburgh. That's where they started, and I loved them there as a kid. I don't think many Isaly restaurants exist anymore although some of their products are still sold in other stores—including Klondike bars!


Linda O. Johnston, a former lawyer who is now a full-time writer, currently writes two mystery series for Midnight Ink involving dogs: the Superstition Mysteries, where her protagonist runs a pet boutique, and the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries where the protagonist, a veterinary technician, also owns a barkery and a bakery. She has also written the Pet Rescue Mystery Series, a spinoff from her Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime and also currently writes for Harlequin Romantic Suspense as well as the Alpha Force paranormal romance miniseries about shapeshifters for Harlequin Nocturne. Her latest releases, Covert Attraction, a Harlequin Romantic Suspense novel, and Unlucky Charms, the third Superstition Mystery, are her forty-third and forty-fourth published novels.

Connect with Linda:   
Website  |  Blog  | Facebook 

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Midnight Ink Books  |  Barnes & Noble 

Sunday, October 9, 2016



The Winter Market in the French Quarter is in full swing, but murder isn’t taking a holiday in the latest from the New York Times bestselling author of Parchment and Old Lace . . .

The holidays are a busy time for scrapbook shop owner Carmela Bertrand—but not so hectic that she doesn’t have time to enjoy browsing the booths at the Winter Market with her best friend Ava. The last thing the ladies expect to see is a lurching man stabbed by a serving fork, dying in front of them.

The victim is loathed restaurant critic Martin Lash, who posted his scathing reviews on the Glutton for Punishment website. And the prime suspect is New Orleans restauranteur Quigg Brevard—who was seen giving the critic a tongue-lashing minutes before someone stuck a fork in him. An old flame of Carmela, Quigg asks for her help, which does not please her current beau, Detective Edgar Babcock, to say the least.

Before her relationship is the next victim, Carmela needs to find a murderer who had no reservations about punishing the culinary curmudgeon . . .

 “It’s not October without a new spectacular Scrapbooking Mystery from Laura Childs.”
     Romantic Times Book Reviews

“Thrills and chills.”
     St. Paul Pioneer Press

“Local color is Childs’ strong suit, and on this romp with Carmela, the details of the Big Easy, from absinthe to etouffee, do not disappoint.”
     Publisher’s Weekly


Carmela Bertrand is the proprietor of Memory Mine Scrapbooking Shop in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Divorced from her rat-fink husband, Shamus, Carmela has struck gold with her little shop and delights in hosting classes on scrapbooking, papercraft, and rubber stamping. Although Detective Edgar Babcock is eager to put a ring on Carmela’s finger (and hopefully retire her from amateur sleuthing!) our dear Carmela’s been dragging her feet. After all, she’s happy living in her charming garden apartment with her two dogs, Boo and Poobah. And the nightlife with her best friend, Ava, isn’t bad either. But what really keeps things popping for Carmela is the city of New Orleans itself. After all, this is a city that has elevated Mardi Gras to a national holiday, is spooky, charming, mythic, and – oh yes, let’s not forget those crazy above ground cemeteries! What’s not to love?


Carmela, how did you first meet Laura?
I popped into my writer’s head one day as she was wandering through a scrapbook shop. She was looking at all the cool albums and scrapbook papers and saw how much fun all the ladies were having—you know, sitting at a big craft table in back, laughing together and working on scrapbook pages. When I felt my author’s brain begin to whirl, I just gave her a subtle whisper and said, “Wouldn’t it be fun if you wrote a Scrapbooking Mystery?”

Tell us about your favorite scene in Crepe Factor.
In the very first chapter, Ava and I are strolling the Winter Market in the French Quarter. We’re minding our business, looking at jewelry, nibbling food, and drinking wine (well, lots of wine), when suddenly, out of nowhere, we hear this horrible moaning and gurgling going on. Imagine our surprise when a man staggers out from behind one of the tents with an enormous kitchen fork stuck in his throat! I mean, this guy looked like some kind of zombie. He clomped right up to us with this dead-eyed look, and all Ava could do was let loose a blood curdling scream. What did I do? Um, well I did wonder who could have done this—and if the guilty party might be standing around watching the fun? I guess you could call me a wanna-be detective.

What do you like to do when you are not being actively read somewhere?
I create paper theatres, do stamping on velvet pillows, and generally hone my crafting skills. I also volunteer with the Children’s Art Association and occasionally help build Mardi Gras floats with my good friend Jekyl Hardy.

Tell the truth. What do you think of your fellow characters?
Well, everybody in New Orleans is a little bit crazy. But I do love my fellow characters a whole lot. I mean, Ava is the best friend (and devious accomplice) that a girl could ever want. And Baby and Tandy are great friends, too. As for my ex-husband, Shamus? Meh. Maybe he should take a hike and not be in these books anymore.

Do you have any secret aspirations that your author doesn’t know about?
In one of the upcoming books Ava and I do a little modeling for The Latest Wrinkle, this great resale shop over on Magazine Street. So . . . I sure wouldn’t mind strutting the catwalk again sometime soon.

If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?
I’d wander the antique shops in the French Quarter, stop by Café du Monde for chicory coffee and a beignet, hit the Old French Market for quirky shopping, then have lunch at The Court of Two Sisters. I’d probably head down to Magazine Street then for some more shopping. Around dinner time I’d call Ava and we’d pop into Commander’s Palace. Did I mention that food is a huge part of life in New Orleans?

Sure sounds like it! What’s the worst thing that happened in your life?
Getting divorced from Shamus Mechum was no piece of cake. For one thing, he hails from the banking Meechums, so getting any sort of settlement was horrible. It took me years and then I still had to deal with his parsimonious big sister Glory, who Ave and I like to call the Great Stone Face.

Tell us about your best friend.
OMG, where do I start? Ava Grieux is my BFF, and she runs Juju Voodoo, a little voodoo shop in the French Quarter. Maybe as a result of this slightly off-kilter enterprise, she’s a little more daring than I am. For example, Ava wears tight leopard tops, leather pants, and sky-high stilettos. And she does Botox big time. The other thing is, we are always getting in trouble together. We don’t look for it, but we’re forever being chased through a New Orleans cemetery or a bayou or rushing out of some fancy Garden District party. Yeah, it’s funny how trouble just seems to follow us around.

Describe the town where you live.
I’m the luckiest girl in the word because I was born and bred in New Orleans. You see, this is a city that should come with a warning label. This city is historic, charming and highly seductive. It’s filled with charming old homes and antique buildings decorated with lacy ironwork. Music is everywhere—blues, jazz, Cajun, whatever you want. And the food is to die for. We’re talking beignets, muffalettas, shrimp gumbo, fried catfish, turtle soup, red beans and rice, po-boys, eggs Sardou, jambalaya, alligator sausage, etouffee, pecan pie, bread pudding, and bananas Foster. And then, of course, we have Mardi Gras. With enormous floats, marchers, strings of beads, bands, exotic costumes, and all-night revelry, it’s the biggest, baddest party you’ve ever seen!


Laura Childs is the USA Today and New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbooking Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO of her own marketing firm, authored several screenplays, and produced a reality TV show. She is married to Dr. Bob, a professor of Chinese art history, enjoys travel, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Connect with Laura:
Webpage  |  Facebook  

Short-listed twice for The Best American Mystery Stories, Terrie Farley Moran is delighted to introduce mystery fans to the Read ’Em and Eat café and bookstore, which debuted with Well Read, Then Dead. followed by Caught Read-Handed and Read to Death released in July of this year. The only thing Terrie enjoys more than wrangling mystery plots into submission is playing games and reading stories with any or all of her grandchildren.
Connect with Terrie:
Facebook  |  Blog  |  Goodreads  

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  B&N  | Goggle Books | IndieBound