Friday, July 1, 2016

FEATURED AUTHOR: TIFFANY MCDANIEL




ABOUT THE BOOK

Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil.

Sal seems to appear out of nowhere - a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he's welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he's a runaway from a nearby farm town.

When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel. Murmurs follow him and tensions rise, along with the temperature as an unbearable heat wave rolls into town right along with him. As strange accidents start to occur, riled by the feverish heat, some in the town start to believe that Sal is exactly who he claims to be. While the Bliss family wrestle with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater forever.


INTERVIEW WITH TIFFANY MCDANIEL


Tiffany, how did you get started writing? 

Writing is what I’ve always wanted to do. It’s the first thing I remember doing as a child outside of any external influence or someone telling me to write something. I was instantly drawn to story. Reading it and creating it. Back in cavemen day I would have been the one scribbling all over the cave walls. 

What do you wish you’d done differently when you first started the publishing process? 

I wish I wouldn’t have been so hopeful. I wrote my first novel when I was eighteen and didn’t get a publishing contract until I was twenty-nine. Starting out as a young author trying to get published at eighteen, I was so ignorant of the journey to publication that I thought my entire future would be decided in a week. That’s the time standard of youth. I was so very optimistic and hopeful, I wish I would have been a little more realistic about how hard it truly is to get published. But even though you prepare yourself for rejection, it always hurts.   

What do you think is hardest aspect of writing a book? 

Getting it published. 

What books do you currently have published? 
The Summer that Melted Everything is my first published novel. It wasn’t the first novel I wrote, but more like my fifth or sixth novel. I have nine novels to date. Just waiting for publishing to catch up to me.   

What’s the oldest thing you own and still use? 
My imagination. It feels older than myself. Like maybe its childhood had with the dinosaurs and now in its old age it’s a million years old. 

Do you have any secret talents? 

I so wish I could say I know how to get a good boil going in a cauldron. I still want to be a witch, Hocus Pocus style. That’s not weird. Right?

Hmmm . . . I'll get back to you on that. If you could only watch one television station for a year, what would it be? 
PBS. When I was a kid my dad always watched PBS, and I thought it was full of boring shows. But then when I actually watched it I saw how amazing it was. NOVA science documentaries, NATURE documentaries, Masterpiece Classic. What more could you want? We never grew up on cable. I actually just recently even got cable, but I still return to PBS because you get entertainment and education. So this was a completely boring answer, huh?  

Not at all. How often do you tweet?
 
I don’t tweet or Facebook. Shocker—I have no social media. My only online presence being my website www.tiffanymcdaniel.com. 

What scares you the most? 
My biggest fear is starting to write a novel and dying before getting to finish it. I get the feeling an asteroid is just going to barrel down on top of me before I get that last sentence down. Unfinished work is a very scary thing.   

What’s your favorite beverage? 
Milkshake. Easy on the milk. Heavy on the ice cream.

Have you had a Chick-fil-A peach milkshake? Oh. My. Gosh. 
What do you wish you could do? 
Actually visit the Witches’ Supermarket from Susan Meddaugh’s book, The Witches’ Supermarket

Where is your favorite place to visit?
 
When I dream I have recurring places I try to dream myself back to. They’re hard to explain while awake, but I never want to leave them when I’m there in sleep. 

What’s in your refrigerator right now? 
I don’t know what’s in the fridge, but I will say what’s in my freezer is frozen blueberries raised in my own garden. I love to just eat them straight out of the bag. Nothing beats a frozen blueberry. Except for maybe blueberry muffins and blueberry pie . . .

And peach milkshakes. Who is your favorite fictional character?

I’d love to hang out with Willy Wonka. But also solve a murder mystery with Hercule Poirot. 

If you had a talk show who would your dream guest be?
Beetlejuice. We can eat ZagNuts together. All you Beetlejuice fans know what I’m talking about.  


What is the wallpaper on your computer’s desktop? 

Currently it’s a desert scene. For some reason I’ve always wanted to live out in the middle of a desert with plenty of cactuses. I blame the house full of cactuses in the Gene Tierney movie, Leave her to Heaven.

What’s your favorite smell? 
The smell of chocolate cooking. But I also love Shalimar. And the smell of an approaching thunder storm. And the crushed smell of autumn leaves. My nose can’t decide.
    

And peach milkshakes. Oh. Sorry. What’s your favorite color? 
It’s a toss up between the gray color of storm clouds, chocolate brown, that orange of Halloween pumpkins, and the dark purple of eggplant. You’ll notice I have trouble naming my absolute favorite of something.  



What is your favorite movie? 
There are so many. I love Beetlejuice and Little Shop of Horrors, Misery, and Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Don’t ask me to choose between them. We’ll be here for eternity.

Understandable. I'm afraid to ask this one, but I will . . . do you have a favorite book? 

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. I want to be buried with it.



What are you working on now? 
I hope to follow The Summer that Melted Everything up with my newest novel, When Lions Stood as Men. It’s a unique story of a Jewish brother and sister who struggle so much with their guilt over surviving the Holocaust that they create their own camp of judgment in which their souls are tested and where they try to understand how they exist in relation to one another. It is a story about love above all else, and the oftentimes undeniable torment of that very emotion. Lions have stood before, the novel tells us, are we brave enough to stand with them?  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

An Ohio native, Tiffany McDaniel's writing is inspired by the rolling hills and buckeye woods of the land she knows. She is also a poet, playwright, screenwriter, and artist. The Summer that Melted Everything is her debut novel.


Giveaway!
Tiffany is holding a pre-order contest. Readers have a chance to win the audio book, free books, or original prints of her painting. For details, go here.



Buy the book:
Website   | Goodreads  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Powell's  |  IndieBound 


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Help Wanted!


I don't understand it, I can't explain it. The first book in the Goose Pimple Junction mystery series, Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction currently has 574 reviews on Amazon.com. Great, right? Yes! Thank you and hallelujah! I am so grateful for that response. What am I whining about, right? Well, the problem is: reviews for the other three books have been slow to come in. The second and third books currently each have a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars, and the fourth book has a 4.9 rating. Meaning, for the most part, reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. But the number of reviews is . . . well, kind of sad:
Heroes & Hooligans in Goose Pimple Junction: 203 reviews. Not bad, but more are needed!

Short & Tall Tales in Goose Pimple Junction: 23 reviews. Considering the book has been out for nine months, that number seriously needs improvement.

Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction: 16 reviews. Sixteen reviews in six weeks—yikes! That number makes me want to take up scorpion petting.

Please, Please, Please

So this is my unabashed plea for more reviews. 

What's that you say? You don't know how to write a review? Pshaw! What did you like or dislike about the book? Write it down. Write it like you are telling a friend about it. Reviews don't have to be long; in fact shorter reviews are usually preferable because longer ones tend to give away plot lines or attempt to be a synopsis of the book. Once you've read the review detailing the book, you pretty much don't need to read the book! 

You want to remain anonymous? Perfectly fine! Just register for an Amazon account under the name of your choice.

 

Here are some examples of perfectly good (and short) reviews for the three books desperately in need of reviews:


Book 2: Heroes & Hooligans in Goose Pimple Junction
"To say I enjoyed Ms. Metz work would be an understatement, I relished it, adored it, want to marry it. "
". . . be careful drinking while you read. You could be snorting soda out your nose."
" . . . a side-splitting, pee-in-your-knickers hilariously funny cozy mystery, thanks to its cast of colorful characters.

Book 3: Short & Tall Tales in Goose Pimple Junction
"Reading these short tales was like hanging out with friends."
"She still writes each character in a realistic, distinctive, and three-dimensional manner . . . "
"I can truthfully say this book was laugh-out-loud funny and impossible to put down."

Book 4: Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction
". . . full of oddball eccentric characters that you just have to love."
"Southern charm meets murder."
"This was such a fun read I really hated for it to end and just FYI it has one heck of an ending."
"Absolutely love this series!"

These reviews are short and sweet yet convey the feelings of the readers/reviewers. Yes, I shortened them, because really, any of these would be fine reviews by themselves. Of course, reviews are really just a person's opinion, and you can be the juiciest, ripest peach in the world, but there will still be people who don't like peaches. But bad reviews are welcome too. They tend to get people talking about the book, or even better, curious about it. And curiosity leads to book sales. 


Stars matter

I would ask one favor: if you loved the book, give it five stars. It doesn't mean it's your most favorite book of all time. It just means that you loved the book. If you liked the book, give it at least a four-star rating. Because ratings contribute to ranking, and reaching the top 100 best seller list in a particular genre gives more exposure to the book, which means . . . MORE SALES! Plus, there are some sites that won't promote a book if its rating is below 4.0. So the difference between the number of stars you give a book really does matter.




What's the point?

My point is . . . you don't have to love the book to leave a review. The thing is, Amazon.com pays attention to the number of reviews. After you reach a certain number, they start promoting your book for you. And the more reviews a book gets, the more promo time it's going to get, which translates to what? Yes! Sales! And critical reviews are sometimes very helpful feedback that help an author make necessary changes in future books.


So . . . if you've read any of the four books in the Goose Pimple Junction series but haven't written a review and posted it on Amazon.com, I need your help. I would so appreciate it if you could take just five minutes to leave a short review and rate the book(s) from 1-5 stars. If you haven't read the book(s), why not? They are each currently priced at just 99 cents for a Kindle copy. If that is still too much for your budget, leave a comment, and you may just win a copy.

Go On, Get Goose Pimples!

One more thing: word of mouth really is the best promotion for a book. So if you like a book, tell your friends. Post it on Facebook, Tweet about it on Twitter, Pin it on Pinterest, Google+ it on Google+, add it to a shelf on Goodreads, ask your local library to order it, like and follow the author on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, Amazon, etc. Show an author some love and spread the word! We will be eternally grateful.






ABOUT THE BOOKS

In case you're not familiar with the Goose Pimple Junction series, here are the book blurbs for each book:

#1 Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction


When Tess Tremaine starts a new life in the colorful town of Goose Pimple Junction, curiosity leads her to look into a seventy-five-year-old murder. Suddenly she’s learning the foreign language of southern speak, resisting her attraction to local celebrity Jackson Wright, and dealing with more mayhem than she can handle.

A bank robbery, murder, and family tragedy from the 1930s are pieces of the mystery that Tess attempts to solve. As she gets close to the truth, she encounters danger, mystery, a lot of southern charm, and a new temptation for which she’s not sure she’s ready.



#2 Heroes & Hooligans in Goose Pimple Junction

Goose Pimple Junction is just recovering from a kidnapping and a murder, its first major crimes in years, when trouble begins anew. Life is turned upside down in the quirky little Southern town with the arrival of several shifty hooligans: A philandering husband intent on getting his wife back, another murderer loose in town, a stalker intent on frightening Martha Maye, and a thief who’s stealing the town blind of their pumpkins, pies, and peace. Together, they’re scaring the living daylights out of the residents and keeping the new police chief busier than a set of jumper cables at a redneck picnic. Suddenly, he has his hands full trying to apprehend a killer, stop a stalker, and fight his feelings for the damsel in distress.





#3 Short & Tall Tales in Goose Pimple Junction

This is not your average Southern town. With a hint of mystery, a lot of laughs, and its unique charm, you'll catch a glimpse of everyday life in Goose Pimple Junction in this short story compilation. Short & Tall Tales occurs chronologically between Murder & Mayhem, book 1, and Heroes & Hooligans, book 2, in the Goose Pimple Junction mystery series. Book 1.5 is a fun escape that will answer questions readers may have about the residents of this quirky small town.

How did Johnny Butterfield become police chief?
How did Tess and Jack get engaged?
How did Ima Jean come to live with Louetta?
How do you celebrate an Apple Day?

These questions and more are answered in Short & Tall Tales in Goose Pimple Junction. Five short stories, one novella, and three recipes will give you more of life in Goose Pimple Junction, make you laugh, and have your mouth watering. If you want a feel-good read, you've come to the right place. Grab some sweet tea and escape to Goose Pimple Junction.




#4 Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction

Like any good Southern belle, Caledonia Culpepper was raised by her mama to be gracious, charming, witty, and above all, a devoted mother and loving wife, so she's baffled when her marriage falls apart.

Wynona Baxter is a master of disguise but is often a ditzy airhead. A hit woman wannabe, when she's hired for her first job in Goose Pimple Junction and things don't go as planned, she's forced to resort to Plan B. She'll also need Plan C and D.

Crooked lawyers, restless husbands, a teenaged hoodlum – it seems there are rogues and rascals everywhere you look in Goose Pimple Junction.

When Caledonia and Wynona's paths cross, they prove there isn't a rogue or a rascal who can keep a good woman down. Mama always said there would be days like this . . .




Saturday, June 25, 2016

GUEST POST WITH LISA THOMAS



ABOUT THE BOOK

Burned-out high school teacher Deena Sharpe is ready for a change. She has no idea a fifty-year-old murder case is about to turn her life upside down.

The Perry County Sheriff’s office has found a skeleton in the closet . . . literally. When they identify the man’s body fifty years after his disappearance, his family turns to Deena to uncover the truth about his murder. The clock begins ticking when she discovers a mysterious writer is about to implicate the victim in his latest conspiracy theory book. She must channel her inner super-sleuth to solve the puzzle and protect her family name. With the help of her off-beat brother and others from the cozy town of Maycroft, Texas, Deena takes on a quest that leads to more questions than answers.

Sharpe Shooter is the first book in the Cozy Suburbs Mystery Series. With antique shopping, car chases, and ghosts in the night, the story will keep you guessing as you follow Deena on her quest for the truth.





GUEST POST BY LISA THOMAS


My first novel, Sharpe Shooter, is based on a real-life drama from my own life. When I wrote it, I never imagined I would turn it into a cozy mystery series. At the time, it was more of a catharsis—something I had to do to get peace of mind about a family tragedy.

Consequently, the main character, Deena Sharpe, is loosely based on me. In the story, Deena sets out to uncover the mystery behind her great uncle’s death. He had gone missing fifty years earlier. Then, his body was discovered in an old police department evidence room. It had been there the whole time. He had been murdered.

That’s actually what happened to my mother’s cousin. But instead of searching for answers to his murder in real life like Deena, I did it through my imagination. I wanted to bring closure to the mysterious death so I would no longer feel the need to obsess over it. That’s how I came to write Sharpe Shooter.

Like many first-time authors, I never dreamed the book would be published, much less be the start of a series. If I had, I might have made Deena less like me. Instead, we are similar in a number of ways (gray roots and all)! My friends and family see the connections. I thought it would be fun to show some of the similarities and differences between Deena and me. Here are a few:

Same: Both burned-out former journalism teachers.
Different: I taught English the last 12 years of my career.

Same: Both have supportive, caring husbands.
Different: I have two children; Deena is childless.

Same: Both live in Texas suburbs.
Different: I live in a larger, more urban area than Deena.

Same: Both love Mexican food and margaritas.
Different: Deena drinks wine; I can’t stand it.

Same: Both too insecure to become professional journalists.
Different: Deena gives it a shot after retirement; I write mysteries.

Same: Both obsessed with the Kennedys and the JFK assassination.
Different: I didn’t visit Dealey Plaza until I was in my fifties; Deena first went there as a child.

Same: Both have older brothers.
Different: I also have a sister. Some people ask if the character of Russell is based on a real person. The answer is no. But if I were casting the book as a movie, I’d cast Michael Keaton as Russell.

Same: Both have small black dogs.
Different: Mine is a female peekapoo; Deena’s is a male terrier mix.

Same: Both have antique booths and love collecting pottery.
Different: I also collect figural creamers, salt & pepper shakers, pie birds, and teapots.

Same: Both intensely curious people.
Different: Deena is brave and thinks of herself as a ninja; I’m a big chicken.

Same: Both have a sarcastic sense of humor.
Different: Deena holds her tongue better than I do.

I am sure there are more similarities, but I’ve got to keep some things secret!

To learn more about Deena Sharpe (and me), you can get Sharpe Shooter from Amazon in paperback and ebook. To read the true account of the mystery, you can sign up for my newsletter at www.lisabthomas.com and receive a free copy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Born and raised in Texas, Lisa always knew she wanted to be a writer. Finally, after thirty-three years as a high school Journalism and English teacher, she dusted off the laptop and released her first novel. Having grown up reading Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, and Agatha Christie, she was drawn to the mystery genre.

With two grown children out of the nest, Lisa lives a quiet life with her husband and Peekapoo puppy. Besides writing, she enjoys her grandchildren, photography, traveling, and antiquing (aka. buying and selling used junk). Like her main character, Deena, she has an antique booth and enjoys treasure hunting and reselling vintage finds.


Connect with Lisa:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter   |  GoodReads 

Buy the book:
Amazon 



Thursday, June 23, 2016

FEATURED AUTHOR: SUSAN BREEN




ABOUT THE BOOK

When Sunday School teacher Maggie Dove finds her hateful next-door neighbor Marcus Bender lying dead under her beloved oak tree—the one he demanded she cut down—she figures the man dropped dead of a mean heart. But Marcus was murdered, and the prime suspect is a young man Maggie loves like a son. Peter Nelson was the worst of Maggie’s Sunday School students; he was also her late daughter’s fiancé, and he’s been a devoted friend to Maggie in the years since her daughter’s death.

Maggie can’t lose Peter, too. So she sets out to find the real murderer. To do that, she must move past the grief that has immobilized her all these years. She must probe the hidden corners of her little village on the Hudson River. And, when another death strikes even closer to home, Maggie must find the courage to defend the people and the town she loves—even if it kills her.




INTERVIEW WITH SUSAN BREEN


Susan, how did you get started writing?

I’ve always loved to read. Most of my memories of childhood involve me and a book. Or a dictionary. I used to lug one around with me wherever I went, which must have looked silly because I was a very skinny little kid. I always assumed I would do something with words when I grew up, and after college, I became a reporter for Fortune Magazine. I loved my job, but dreamed of writing fiction. Yet I revered writers so much that I worried I wouldn’t measure up. Finally, when I was about 35, and my children were all napping, I had an epiphany. I thought, if you are going to write fiction, you better start now. So I got a pad of paper, wrote a story, sent it out that afternoon to Redbook, and it was rejected. But once I got taste for it, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.
   
What's your favorite thing about the writing process?

I love writing dialogue. I love it when I close my eyes and I can hear my characters talking. Sometimes they surprise me. Sometimes they appall me. But mainly I find them interesting.

Do you write every day?
Yes, I write every day. On some level, I think I’m superstitious and I worry that if I stop, it will never come back. But mainly I feel like there’s this stream of words and ideas and I want to jump into it every day. If a day goes by and I don’t write, I get very irritable.

What’s more important – characters or plot?

I always start with character. Who is this person and what does she want and why? I’m especially intrigued by the moral decisions characters make. If she finds a wallet in the street, will she return it? Keep the money? (In the case of Maggie Dove, she would return it. But not all my characters have been so virtuous.)

How often do you read?
I read all the time, often 6 or 7 books at a time. I like to read biographies because it teaches me a lot about character. Right now I’m reading something about the Romanovs. Of course I’m always reading a mystery. Right now I’m reading Christine Trent’s book about a Victorian undertaker. Then there just so many good books!

Do you have any secret talents?
In the second book of the series, Maggie Dove opens a detective agency. I know nothing about being a detective, and so I’ve been working to get my detective’s license and to that end, I’ve learned how to follow people. So my secret talent is that I’m good at surveillance.

Is writing your dream job?
Absolutely. I still can’t believe that this is my job. I love to go to the Penguin Random House site and scroll down the list of authors and see my name. 


What is the worst job you’ve ever had? What did it teach you?
When I was 16, I worked—for one night—at a donut store. My job was to flip the donuts out of the boiling oil. With my finger. (I suspect this violated all sorts of laws, even then, but I was too young to know better.) Every job I’ve held since then has been much better.

If you could only watch one television station for a year, what would it be?
I love HGTV. I’m addicted to Flip or Flop and Fixer Upper. I love my husband and we’ve been married for 32 years, but if I had to choose a temporary replacement, I would pick Chip Gaines. I also love International House Hunters and Love It Or List It.

How often do you tweet?
I tweet a lot. Probably 12 times a day. I like tweeting about writing topics, but I also like chat-tweeting: that my lilacs are in bloom or crazy things I overhear in NYC. I teach at Gotham Writers, which is on 8th Avenue, right near the Port Authority, and I could probably spend my life tweeting about things I overhear there.

Would you make a good character in a book?

I hope so! I think I’m funny, so I’d always have something to say. I might be boring though because I don’t get into a lot of trouble. I tend to sit at a desk a lot and write.

What do you love about where you live?
I live in a small village on the Hudson River. There are only about 6,000 people in it, and so when I go down to Main Street, I almost always see someone I know. I drew on my feelings about my home town in writing Maggie Dove. A bit part of the stress for Maggie is realizing that if someone in her village commit a murder, it means that someone she loves is a murderer. 


What’s your favorite fast food?
I love Big Macs, especially when they’re hot. 


What is your superpower?
I can go a very long time without sleep.


What do you wish you could do?
I wish I could sing. I so admire people who can carry a tune. But I can’t. I can’t even hum.

What is one of your happiest moments?
Two years ago I went to the Redwood forest with my family. We were walking among the trees and I thought, this is as good as it gets. Being with my family in this beautiful location.

Where is your favorite place to visit?
Last year my husband and I went to Hever Castle in England, which is where Anne Boleyn grew up. I’m working on a book about Anne Boleyn (who is as different from Maggie Dove as it is possible to be). So I’m intrigued to go anywhere where she lived.

What’s your least favorite chore?
I hate loading the dishwasher. I feel like I do it ten times a day, and then you run the dishwasher and it’s done and you have to do it all over again. I prefer chores that give you a sense of completion. 


Do you procrastinate?
No. I’m too anxious to procrastinate. If I start putting things off, then I begin worrying that I won’t get it done, and then I can’t think of anything else.

What is the most daring thing you've done?

Riding on a zip line in Costa Rica. I went there on a trip with my daughter, who is fearless (and fabulous). Not until I was in the harness and about to leap, did I realize I had a phobia about dangling over a bottomless canyon. When I reached the absolute center of the line, and was so far away that I couldn’t even see the end, I stopped. The zip line wouldn’t move. The guide kept shouting at me to relax. Nothing was less likely. My poor daughter kept shouting, “Come on, Mom. You can do it!” Eventually the guide came out and rescued me.

What is the stupidest thing you've ever done?
The zip line in Costa Rica.

Those two questions are usually linked! What is your most embarrassing moment?
I once set off a fire alarm during the middle of church. I was teaching my Sunday School class how to make pretzels and something went wrong. The minister had been in the middle of a sermon. The whole church had to file out while the fire department came. I used that scene in Maggie Dove.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
Just about anything by Anne Lamott. One that I like is: “Your problem is how you are going to spend this one and precious life you have been issued. Whether you're going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.” 


Who is your favorite fictional character?
I do love Jane Eyre, and the older I get, the more I like her. She’s so impassioned. She’s never ironic. She wants to do the right thing. Of course, I like Mr. Rochester too.

Do you have a favorite book?
That’s like asking me if I have a favorite child. I love Jane Eyre, of course. The Brothers Karamazov and anything by Agatha Christie. There are actually very few books that I hate. Usually I find something to like about anything I read.

What are you working on now?
I just finished up a sequel to Maggie Dove, titled Maggie Dove’s Detective Agency. I’m also working on a mystery about Anne Boleyn.



Connect with the author:

Website  | Blog  |  
Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  

Buy the book:
Penguin Random House 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

FEATURED AUTHOR: JANET FINSILVER




ABOUT THE BOOK

Kelly Jackson returns to California to manage Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast.
While the inn is being renovated, she is assigned the task of inventorying a historic
collection of objects from the 1800s housed at nearby Redwood Heights and to assist at
the mansion during the Whale Frolic Festival. She’s also asked to learn what she can about the disappearance of some jewelry from visitors’ rooms.

Shortly after she arrives, Kelly finds a guest stabbed in one of the rooms, the door
and windows locked from the inside. Then Gertrude “Gertie” Plumber, a member of the
Silver Sentinels, a crime-solving group of senior citizens, is attacked. The police question Gertie’s son, Stevie, who is working at the mansion with his bed-bug and termite-sniffing team of beagles, Jack and Jill, about the jewelry thefts as well as the murder. Kelly and the Silver Sentinels must work together to solve the crimes before another life is lost and Stevie is put in prison.






INTERVIEW WITH JANET FINSILVER


Janet, how did you get started writing?

I’ve loved to read my whole life. I spent summers with my grandparents who had an entire collection of Zane Grey’s books. I read them all. I don’t know if it’s a claim to fame or not, but in high school I read all of the mysteries, dog books, and westerns in the South San Francisco library. Please don’t ask about my social life at the time. I decided to see what I could create, and the Kelly Jackson mystery series was born.

What's your favorite thing about the writing process?

Bringing the characters to life. They become friends, and it’s fun to “visit” them as I write.

What books do you currently have published?
Murder at Redwood Cove came out October 13, 2015. Murder at the Mansion released on June 7, 2016.

What do you love about where you live?
I live in a rural setting a short distance from a thriving city. It’s the best of both worlds. I look out my window and see a small valley of trees. I can get in the car and be at an Apple store and getting help in fifteen minutes. This is great for those days when something goes wrong!

What is one of your happiest moments?
When my husband, E.J., asked me to marry him. I was sitting on the couch, he went down on one knee, and popped the question.

What do you like to do when there’s nothing to do?
Nothing to do? I’ve never had that experience. It would be fun to find out what that’s like.

Have you ever killed off a character fictionally, as revenge for something someone did in real life?
No, but I’m considering doing it in the next book. I recently had a travel agent who made a mess of the ticketing for a trip. It was highly questionable several times whether or not my bags and I would be able to remain together. It definitely added stress to the journey. I relieved some of it by thinking about possibly having her be my next victim.

What is the most daring thing you've done?
Touching whales in the San Ignacio Lagoon. There’s a tour group I go with that has camping privileges right next to the water. The whale activity never stops. You see their backs as they glide through the water. Spy-hops and majestic breaches add to the show. You go out on small boats called “pangas” twice a day.


Who is your favorite fictional character?
A favorite is hard to pick. Hercule Poirot would be one of the names at the top of my list. I love his attention to detail and how he thinks things through. I can hear David Suchet’s voice talking about “the little grey cells.”

What’s one thing that very few people know about you?
I have a black belt in Tae Kwan Do.


You have a personal chef for the night. What would you ask him to prepare?

Sautéed scallops. I have trouble getting them to brown, and I’d like to learn how. I know you need to have them as dry as possible, but I’m still not as successful as I would like to be.


How do you like your pizza?
Lots of stuff on it, especially cheese.


What’s your favorite song?
Again, a favorite is a hard choice. I think it depends on my mood and what I’m doing. Right now it’s morning and “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” from Oklahoma comes to mind.


What’s your favorite smell?

Honeysuckle.

What’s your favorite color?
Blue. All shades of blue. I have to be careful to not have all my characters wearing it.


What are your favorite foods?
Milk chocolate. Peanut butter cups with dark chocolate. Candy made with chocolate, caramel, and sea salt. Hmm . . . there seems to be a theme here.


What are you working on now?

The third book in the series is tentatively titled Murder at the Fortune Teller’s Table. Despina Manyotis, better known as “Auntie,” predicts the future by reading patterns in Turkish coffee grounds. Murder occurs and one of the members of my crime-solving group of senior citizens, the Silver Sentinels, is attacked. My protagonist works with them to solve the crimes.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Janet Finsilver is the USA TODAY best-selling author of the Kelly Jackson mystery series. She worked in education for many years as a teacher, a program administrator, and a workshop presenter. Janet majored in English and earned a Master’s Degree in Education. She loves animals and has two dogs—Kylie and Ellie. Janet has ridden western style since she was a child and was a member of the National Ski Patrol. One of the highlights of her life was touching whales in the San Ignacio Lagoon. Murder at Redwood Cove, her debut mystery, was released on October 13, 2015. Her second book, Murder at the Mansion, was published June 7, 2016.



Connect with Janet:

Website  | 
 Blog  | 
 Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Buy the book: 
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  | 



Monday, June 20, 2016

FEATURED AUTHOR: LAUREN CARR




ABOUT THE BOOK

It’s election time in Spencer, Maryland, and the race for mayor is not a pretty one. In recent years, the small resort town has become divided between the local year-round residents who have enjoyed their rural way of life and the city dwellers moving into their mansions, taking over the town council, and proceeding to turn Deep Creek Lake into a closed gate community—complete with a host of regulations for everything from speed limits to clothes lines.

When the political parties force-feed two unsavory mayoral nominees on the town residents, Police Chief David O’Callaghan decides to make a statement—by nominating Gnarly, Mac Faraday’s German shepherd, to run as mayor of Spencer!



What starts out as a joke turns into a disaster when overnight Gnarly becomes the front runner—at which point his political enemies take a page straight out of Politics 101. What do you do when you’re behind in a race? Dig up dirt on the front runner, of course.



Seemingly, someone is not content to rest with simply embarrassing the front runner by publicizing his dishonorable discharge from the United States Army, but to throw in a murder for good measure. With murder on the ballot, Mac Faraday and the gang—including old friends from past cases—dive in to clear Gnarly’s name, catch a killer, and save Spencer!


INTERVIEW WITH LAUREN CARR


Who are you? That sounds a bit gruff. Let me rephrase it. Who in the world are you, honey? 

I am the best-selling author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. Candidate for Murder is the twelfth installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series.

In addition to my series set on Deep Creek Lake, I also write the Lovers in Crime Mysteries, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates, who were introduced in Shades of Murder, the third book in the Mac Faraday Mysteries. They also make an appearance in The Lady Who Cried Murder. Look for the third installment in that mystery series, Killer in the Band, later on this year.

Three Days to Forever introduced my latest series detectives, Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday in the Thorny Rose Mysteries. Look for the second installment in this series, A Fine Year for Murder, in Winter 2016.

On the personal side, I live with my husband, son, and four dogs, including the real Gnarly, on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

How long have you been writing?
My mother said I was always making up stories. When I learned how to read, I was rewriting the Bobbsey Twins to turn the mystery of the missing sea shell into a kidnapping story.

What's your favorite thing about writing?

Leaving my world to join my characters in our imaginary world.


What do you find is the most challenging thing about writing?

As an author, I consider myself an artist. So, with every book, I try to raise the bar by trying something different. For example, in Candidate for Murder, I kicked it up a notch by writing what has to be my most intricate mystery. One mystery and suspect leads to another mystery which takes another character in yet another direction—but, as always, in the end, everything ties together.

Luckily, most of my readers love that I’m always trying new things with every books, and I enjoy the challenge of writing them.

What is your writing style? Are you an outliner or a pantser?
I’m a plantser. That is a combination of the two. I will think about a plotline for weeks or months—usually while I am writing another book. Sometimes, I will write out an outline, but not necessarily refer to it. Writing it down only makes the twists and turns in my plots clear in my head. Then, once I have everything down, I will sit down to begin writing it.

Funny thing is, one hundred percent of the time, my characters will take me in different directions between the beginning and the end of the book. But that’s okay.

Where do you get your ideas?
Anything. People—even complete strangers. Circumstances. News headlines. Real murder cases. Anything, anywhere, anyone, anytime can inspire me.

How many books have you written?
Candidate for Murder is my seventeenth book. It is my twelfth Mac Faraday Mystery and also lbrings in my detectives from The Thorny Rose Mysteries.

Do you have a favorite?

Well, my books are like my children. I don’t have a favorite, but I do love some differently for different reasons. I really am proud of how Candidate for Murder came together. That will be my “favorite” until I finish writing Killer in the Band, my next Lovers in Crime Mystery, which will then be my new favorite.

What are you reading these days?

I like Tess Gerritsen right now. She knows how to keep me on the edge of my seat.

Are any of your characters like you?
Archie Monday. She’s me. Only my hair is longer. She goes barefoot, except when she has to put shoes on. She’s a gourmet cook. Me, too. She loves the finer things in life and knows how to enjoy them without guilt. Plus, she is truly spunky—and looks good while doing it. (I wish!)

If you were deserted on an island, which author would you want to be stranded with?
Mark Twain. I loved the way his mind worked in his books, plus he has a good sense of humor. I would want to laugh if I was on a desert island. Being a down-home country girl myself, I would like to think he would understand me and I wouldn’t get on his nerves too badly.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries. The twelfth installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series, Candidate for Murder will be released June 2016.



Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs (including the real Gnarly) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.



Connect with Lauren:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Buy the book
:
Amazon

Friday, June 17, 2016

FEATURED AUTHOR: PHYLLIS EDGERLY RING






ABOUT THE BOOK

Anna Dahlberg grew up eating dinner under her father’s war-trophy portrait of Eva Braun. Fifty years after the war, she discovers what he never did—that her mother and Hitler’s mistress were friends. Plunged into the world of the “ordinary” Munich girl who was her mother’s confidante—and a tyrant’s lover—Anna 
uncovers long-buried secrets, and unknown reaches of her heart, to reveal the enduring power of love in the legacies that always outlast war.



INTERVIEW WITH PHYLLIS EDGERLY RING


Phyllis, how did you get started writing?
I seem to have a contrary history (and personality, no doubt) as a writer. At first, I avoided it, because every member of my family was a writer or storyteller. Once I figured out that writing was an inevitable aspect of my own life, I did the writing others wanted done, working for magazines and other publications. Writing books requires a lot of resources, inner and outer, so I waited until later in life for that, once our kids were grown. My nonfiction books explore how to create balance between the spiritual and material requirements of our life. I write fiction because, like so much of art, it can help us discover just what shape this balance is taking within our own lives, and where that is leading our heart.

What books do you currently have published?

The latest is The Munich Girl, a story I honestly never expected to write, in which Hitler’s mistress, later wife, features as a character.


What's your favorite thing about the writing process?
While the generative, drafting part of writing is a joy because of the discovery it brings, revision, for me, is like the exquisite dessert worth waiting for. You can’t reach it without completing that first part, of course – by giving yourself clay to work with, so to speak. But the process of revision is where the real magic appears. So often during revising The Munich Girl I would suddenly see how things fit together, including things I’d written at separate stages, years apart, that I’d believed had no relation to each other. Revision revealed what something had been pointing to all along. One occurrence of this that still astonishes me is that in the final stages of revision, it became unmistakably clear how much Eva Braun’s house was an integral part of the story. Within days (even hours) of my book’s publication last November, that house was torn down. There is still an echo of metaphorical resonance reverberating for me in this. I felt an irresistible intuitive pull toward “spending” so much time there, in the writing, and especially the revising process. It almost feels as though something was calling for it to be set down in the indelible form of fiction because its physical permanence was so temporal.

What do you think is hardest aspect of writing a book?
For me, it is patience and faith, allowing each of these to sustain me the distance of the work. I certainly have the strong will to go that distance, but so often the process is calling for something much more like yielding and surrender.

What’s more important – characters or plot?
Characters lead, for me. Plot unfolds and unwinds, in my experience, from what would unfold naturally, and inevitably, on the path of their life.

What do you know now that you wish you knew then? That I can trust the process, if I’m willing to surrender to it.

What’s the oldest thing you own and still use?
A tiny porcelain creamer that came from my mother’s family home in England, likely more than a hundred years old now.


What is the worst job you’ve ever had? What did it teach you?

Being a server in a restaurant. It taught me that I don’t possess the skill set required to do this and spurred deep admiration for those who do. It seems like a sort of gracefulness of both inner and outer abilities. I gauge my comfort with others by how they relate to servers. There are people I can’t eat with because of their seeming inability to either treat a server respectfully or empathize, even slightly, with their circumstances. I see this as a kind of immaturity that’s very disappointing.

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

Oh, lord — I think you have to really believe in your work, in the way a parent believes in a child because she knows his or her innermost strengths, even when others can’t see them. In promoting my books, I strive for a balance between the innovative and creative and the nonintrusive — finding creative ways to make a book discoverable without alienating or annoying anyone. After being published by trade publishers, then going it alone, I’ve learned that it is appreciative readers, more than any other factor, that can best help potential readers find a book, and understand why they’d want to read it. So an important focus is how to reach and build connection with those readers who will connect with your work.

If you could only watch one television station for a year, what would it be?
Public television. I’m pretty much already at that point.

I hear you! How often do you tweet? 
Daily, usually about two or three times.

How do you feel about Facebook?
I appreciate the sense of accessible connection it provides with such a wide range of people.

What five things would you never want to live without?
Coffee, writing hours, reading, time in nature, edifying conversation.

What do you love about where you live?
The seasons and the fact that both the natural world and more rural living are all around, yet the stimulating experience of city life isn’t far away.

Where is your favorite place to visit?
Wertheim, Germany — most of Germany and much of Europe, too, but little Wertheim on the Main River, where I lived as a child for a time, feels the most like home. It has a romantic, fairy-tale appearance, and a welcoming attitude toward those who visit, no matter where in the world they come from. The world citizen in me just loves that.

Have you ever killed off a character fictionally, as revenge for something someone did in real life?
Oh, my, did I ever. One of the most fun experiences I have with my newest book is when friends call up to tell me how satisfied THEY felt when they got to that part.

What would your main character say about you?

“Ease up. Be gentle, and grateful. Don’t miss the good stuff.”

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to write? 
The memorial for a 90-year-old artist friend who’d had a remarkable life. He was one of my earliest mentors. It was hard because I also had to read it at the funeral and knew I wasn’t likely to make it through. It helped me give myself permission to cry in public, when that’s what my heart needs to do.


What is your favorite movie?
I suppose having watched Dr. Zhivago as many times as I have, it’s my desert-island choice.


What are you working on now?

A book about the book. It can sound so cliché, but my latest novel was a writing path like no other – events and synchronicities I likely won’t ever be able to explain. But I would like to chronicle them, memoir-style. Spiritual memoir, I guess you might say.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Phyllis Edgerly Ring’s latest, The Munich Girl: A Novel of the Legacies That Outlast War, explores the effects of a woman’s secret friendship with Hitler’s mistress, Eva Braun. The author’s first novel, Snow Fence Road, was published in 2013. She is also the author of the nonfiction works, Life at First Sight: Finding the Divine in the Details and With Thine Own Eyes: Why Imitate the Past When We Can Investigate Reality?, co-authored with Ron Tomanio and Diane Iverson. Phyllis studied plant sciences and ecology, worked as a nurse, taught English to kindergartners in China, and returns as often as she can to her childhood home of Germany. Her articles and essays have appeared in such publications as Christian Science Monitor, Writer’s Digest, and Yankee magazines.

Connect with Phyllis:


Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  

Buy the book:
Amazon