Tuesday, January 30, 2018

INTERVIEW WITH R.L. SYME'S DEREK HOBSON




ABOUT THE BOOK


You could call it the straw that broke the camel’s back but it was more like a Montana forest timber.

Just when Vangie Vale’s life was getting back to normal after a murder that rocked her little Rocky Mountain tourist town, she found herself in the middle of another murder... as the chief suspect.

Vangie stood shocked on the side of the curb as the sheriff stretched yellow crime scene tape around the front of her new bakery. Wouldn’t this make a lovely headline in next week’s paper: Local Baker Kills Parishioner With Pudding. Vangie’s road back to good graces as a part-time pastor was bumpy enough already. This would be a road block. Can't have that.


Book Details:

Title: Vangie Vale & the Strangled Strudel (The Matchbaker Mysteries)


Author: R.L. Syme


Genre: Cozy Mystery, 3rd in Series


Setting – Montana


Publisher: Hummingbird Books (January 4, 2018)


Paperback: 330 pages

Touring with: Great Escapes Book Tours








INTERVIEW WITH R.L. SYME'S DEREK HOBSON


ABOUT THE CHARACTER:

Derek Hobson is the biker boyfriend of the main character, Vangie Vale.


Derek, how did you first meet Becca?

I was in the very first book, The Murdered Macaron, where Vangie solved a murder with me.

Why do you think that your life has ended up being in a book?
Probably because my estranged wife was killed. Murder tends to play well in fiction.

Did you have a hard time convincing Becca to write any particular scenes for you?
Because she used to be a romance writer—or maybe still writes romance, I never really know—so she wants to write the kissy scenes. I keep trying to get her to cut those. I’d rather if those were for me and Vangie only. But . . . it’s her book.

True. What do you like to do when you are not being actively read somewhere?

I like to work on cars. Bikes. Anything with an engine, really. And I like to be with Vangie, and she likes to watch Criminal Minds and stuff like that, which I’m learning not to hate.

Tell the truth. What do you think of your fellow characters?
Most of them are all right. Emma is probably the one I’m the closest to, besides Vangie. She’s Vangie’s best friend and works in the shop next door, so I see her the most. But all my guy friends from the mechanic’s shop don’t really make the page much.

That's a shame. Do have any secret aspirations that your author doesn’t know about?
Probably that I want to be a dad. Someday. I don’t talk with Vangie about that. Yet.

If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?
Work on my bike. Work around the house. Or maybe take a nice long ride somewhere. The mountains around here are beautiful. Obviously, I’d rather take Vangie with me.



What impression do you make on people when they first meet you? 
Probably, they think I’m some kind of big jerk biker, but I kinda don’t care. The people I care about know who I am.



Tell us about your best friend. My best friend used to be my wife. Now, it’s probably Vangie. Kevin, from the shop is maybe a close second. But I’ve always been a guy with only a few friends. I like it that way.



What are you most afraid of?
Losing Vangie.



How do you feel about your life right now?
I feel good about my life. I bought a house in Saint Agnes. I feel like Vangie and I are doing well. I like my job. I’d rather work at Kevin’s shop more, but Vangie really isn’t ready to have me not be at the bakery most days. As soon as she can afford to hire more help, though, I’d like to be at the mechanic’s more.

If your story were a movie, who would play you?
Well, Becca thinks I look like Brock O’Hurn. I have no idea.

Will you encourage your author to write a sequel?
Oh yes. I assume we’ll be doing something in North Carolina, now, after Vangie finally told me about the business in Raleigh/Durham. I predict you’ll see me in many more Vangie Vale books in the future. Hopefully . . . all of them.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


R.L. Syme is a USA Today best-selling author of small-town romance and cozy mystery. She writes small-town romance as Becca Boyd and cozy culinary mysteries as R.L. Syme. 

She is a writer of heroes and sleuths worth loving and villains worth hating. Lover of fancy cheese, binge-watching, strawberries, and hope. A foodie and baker of yummy delights, Becca grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries passed on by her grandmother. A Tweeter and Pinner of things. She loves to connect with readers via social media.

Connect with Becca:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Pinterest  |  Goodreads 

Buy the book:
Amazon 





Sunday, January 28, 2018

FEATURED AUTHOR: GINGER BOLTON



ABOUT THE BOOK


Emily Westhill runs the best donut shop in Fallingbrook, Wisconsin, alongside her retired police chief father-in-law and her tabby Deputy Donut. But after murder claims a favorite customer, Emily can’t rely on a sidekick to solve the crime—or stay alive.

If Emily has learned anything from her past as a 911 operator, it’s to stay calm during stressful situations. But that’s a tall order when one of her regulars, Georgia Treetor, goes missing. Georgia never skips morning cappuccinos with her knitting circle. Her pals fear the worst—especially Lois, a close friend who recently moved to town. As evening creeps in, Emily and the ladies search for Georgia at home. And they find her—murdered among a scattering of stale donuts . . .
Disturbingly, Georgia’s demise coincides with the five-year anniversary of her son’s murder, a case Emily’s late detective husband failed to solve before his own sudden death. With Lois hiding secrets and an innocent man’s life at stake, Emily’s forced to revisit painful memories on her quest for answers. Though someone’s alibi is full of holes, only a sprinkling of clues have been left behind. And if Emily can’t trace them back to a killer in time, her donut shop will end up permanently closed for business . . .

Book Details:

Title:  Survival of the Fritters (A Deputy Donut Mystery)
Author’s name: Ginger Bolton

Genre: cozy mystery, 1st in series

Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corp. (January 30, 2018)

Paperback: 256 pages

Touring with: Great Escapes Book Tours









INTERVIEW WITH GINGER BOLTON


Ginger, how did you get started writing?

I wrote a poem, "My Cat," in second grade and proudly showed it off at a gathering of aunts. They laughed. I thought they were laughing because I’d written the contraction “he’ll” and the word looked too embarrassingly like “Hell.” Years later, I re-read the poem. It included this line: “Then he’ll have kittens.”

What's your favorite thing about the writing process?
I feel exultant when I finish a first draft, and that’s partly because I love tweaking every sentence and word after that. It’s hard to let it go and say that it’s done.

I totally concur! What’s more important – characters or plot?

Characters, both as a writer and a reader. As a writer, my characters help with the plot, because they insist on deciding how they’ll behave. As a reader, I enjoy books most in which the characters seem real. And I’m more likely to stick with the story if I like at least the main character.

What books do you currently have published?
Survival of the Fritters is my first Deputy Donut book, but two more are in the works. Goodbye Cruller world comes out in September 2019. I have five books published in the Threadville Mystery Series, written as Janet Bolin. They are: Dire Threads, Threaded for Trouble, Thread and Buried, Night of the Living Thread, and Seven Threadly Sins.

Is writing your dream job?
It’s what I always wanted to do, and I love it.

What’s your favorite thing to do on date night?
Eat at a restaurant that serves delicious food. I’m especially fond of things I wouldn’t be likely to make at home, like Indian or Thai dishes.

What's your favorite treat for movie night?
Popcorn.

If you haven't already tried it, I highly recommend Indiana Popcorn's Black & White popcorn! What’s your favorite fast food?
Donuts.


Girl, you and I could get along. What’s your favorite beverage?
Coffee.

What do you wish you could do?
I wish I could play the piano. I try, but . . .

Would you rather be a movie star, sports star, or rock star?

A movie star. I did some acting in community theater, and it was a hoot. Acting is a lot like writing—you’re developing characters and entering a new world. And maybe you’re making people laugh.

Do you give your characters any of your bad traits?
They probably develop them all by themselves, just like I do . . .

Do you procrastinate?
Yes, but when I’m playing Free Cell with my morning coffee, I’m actually thinking about the writing I’m going to do that day. Really! Yes, that’s what I’m doing…

What would your main character say about you?
“Why does she stay at home writing when she could be running around helping us at Deputy Donut?”

How do you like your pizza?
Double cheese, mushrooms, green peppers, hot peppers, black olives, and onions. The best pizza I ever ate was at San Remo, a restaurant in Vichy, France. I liked their pizza so much that I transported the restaurant to Fallingbrook, and now my characters get to eat San Remo pizza.


Do you have any hidden talents?
I hope so. And I also hope to find them someday…


Do you have a favorite book?
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I read it for the first time when I was fourteen, and return to it about every ten years. I become completely immersed in the atmosphere.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ginger Bolton writes the Deputy Donut mystery series--cops, crime, coffee, donuts and one curious cat. When Ginger isn't writing or reading, she's crocheting, knitting, sewing, walking her two rescue dogs, and generally causing trouble. She’s also fond of donuts, coffee, and cafes where folks gather to enjoy those tasty treats and one another’s company.

Connect with Ginger:

Website  |   Blog  | 
Facebook  |  Twitter  |  
Goodreads

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & NobleBook Depository 




Friday, January 26, 2018

AMY METZ: SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION





The Goose Pimple Junction mystery series is on tour with Silver Dagger Book Tours from January 18 through February 18. A Blue Million Books had some open space, and so here we are. Find out about all four books in the series, read an interview with Dan O'Brien, and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway. And for heaven's sake . . . get goose pimples!


ABOUT THE BOOKS

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.


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.

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.


This is not your average Southern town. With a hint of mystery and a lot of laughs, you'll catch a glimpse of everyday life in Goose Pimple Junction in this short story compilation. Five short stories, one novella, and three recipes will give you more of the unique charm of 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.





Wynona Baxter is a master of disguise and 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. Caledonia Culpepper is the quintessential Southern belle. Who would want her dead? 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 . . .








Book Trailer

 




A MOMENT WITH AMY METZ, by DAN O'BRIEN


Tell us about your most recent release.
Murder & Mayhem In Goose Pimple Junction was inspired by events in my family’s history. I remember hearing accounts when I was a little girl of the murders and thinking they were heartbreaking and intriguing. One of the murders is unsolved to this day, except for in my novel, where main character Tess Tremaine comes up against the killer’s relative who is intent on keeping the murder a cold case. But Tess is a little too stubborn to let a little mayhem get in the way of her solving the mystery and bringing a murderer to justice. 

What’s the most blatant lie you’ve ever told?
Four years ago I had to tell my mother that she was going to an assisted living facility for just a few weeks for rehab, when in fact her dementia had earned her a one-way ticket.

What is the most demeaning thing said about you as a writer?
Someone said my book was offensive and sadly idiotic. But I have a lot of 5 and 4-star reviews that counteract that comment.

How do you react to a bad review of one of your books?
I try to keep it in perspective, remembering that everyone is entitled to a different opinion. What really bothers me are the people who don’t say anything. When someone tells me they can’t wait to read my book but they never comment on it. Or they say, “I read your book,” followed by silence. I can deal with constructive criticism — I may not agree with it, but at least I know what they didn’t like — it’s silence that I find hard to deal with. It’s difficult, because we’re talking about people I know, and I thought they’d be more supportive, but also their silence doesn’t help me become a better writer or write a better book.

When are you going to write your autobiography?
Actually, I’ve already written it. It’s not an actual autobiography, because I wouldn’t make anyone read that drivel, but it’s a memoir about my mother, her dementia, and our contentious relationship. I’m currently collecting rejection letters from agents and publishers for it. If you know an agent or publisher, tell them about it — it’s fabulous!

Are the names of the characters in your novels important?
Yes, names are important. My book is set in the South, where oftentimes names are varied, interesting, and weird. I’m particularly fond of nicknames, like Pickle and Butterbean, and double names, like Henry Clay and Martha Maye.

What about the titles of your novels?
What about them? Oh, are they important? Well, yes. Many times a title can make or break a reader’s decision to buy the book. I named my town Goose Pimple Junction and put it in the title because, to me, the name reflects the quirkiness of the town and the book. It’s a fun town, and I hope the title reflects that. But I think people either love the title or hate it. 

Are there any occupational hazards to being a novelist?

Besides being a little mentally unbalanced? Yes, I’ve found extra poundage to be an occupational hazard. Sitting all day at a computer doesn’t burn many calories, and weight gain is inevitable. I’m trying to be more disciplined and get my big behind up for exercise periodically each day, but sometimes it’s hard to stop when I’m on a writing roll. 

What’s your favorite fruit?
Lemons. Does that count? A runner up would be peaches. Although it really depends on the season. In the summertime I love strawberries, honeydew, and peaches, in the fall I love crisp apples, early winter is those little Clementine oranges. And then there are pineapple and bananas, which are both good pretty much year-round. And lemons. I love lemon anything. Is that TMI?

How many people have you done away with over the course of your career?
Well let’s see … I think the total is only five. Maybe I should bump that up a bit for GPJ2 and 3.

Ever dispatched someone and then regretted it?
Yes. I can’t say who, because I don’t want to ruin it for someone who may not have read the book yet, but there’s one character in Murder & Mayhem who is maybe my all time favorite. It killed me to kill him off (sorry, that was lame — but true). I’m still in mourning. Maybe I can make him have an evil twin.

Have you ever been in trouble with the police?
Hahahahahahahaha. That’s funny. At least, people who know me will get a kick out of it. I did have to go to the county jail four years ago, but that was to deliver some evidence. That’s a whole nother story. The answer to your question is a big no.

So when were you last involved in a real-life punch-up?
Way back when I was a little girl, fighting with my sister. That’s as bad ass as I get.

If you were going to commit the perfect murder, how would you go about it?
I think it would involve poison. And that’s all I’m saying on that one.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Betty White.

What is your favorite bedtime drink?

Sweet tea or juice.

Do you ever wish that you had an entirely uncreative job, like data entry or working in a factory?
Absolutely not. Are you nuts?

Do you believe in a deity?
Yes. I am a Christian, and I believe in God.

Who would play you in a film of your life?
Maybe Oprah. Yes, I know I’m Caucasian, but who wouldn’t want Oprah to play them? Or if I'm going to dream big, how about Meryl Streep?

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?
I think a sane writer is an oxymoron.

Have you ever read or seen yourself as a character in a book or a movie?

Maybe Eeyore. Or the Catwoman, played by Halle Berry. Oh wait, that was in my dreams. 

What is the single most powerful challenge when it comes to writing a novel?
For me, it’s coming up with a good plot. It seems like all the good ones have already been taken. I had a plot all planned out for GPJ3, and I hadn’t told a soul about it. One day, my son started telling me about a book he read — and it was my plot! Or mine was theirs. I swear I’d never heard of it. I changed my plotline pdq.

What do you consider your biggest failure?

Dropping out of college my sophomore year. I transferred to another college the following fall, but leaving school remains a big part of my checkered past.

Do you research your novels?
I researched the real murders that were the impetus for the plot in Murder & Mayhem. I read everything I could find so that I could get the facts right for that portion of the book. 

How much impact does your childhood have on your writing?

Well, considering I wouldn’t be who I am if I hadn’t had a childhood, I’d say a lot. Is that too cheeky?

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?

When God sends us on hard paths, He provides strong shoes. That, and you should dress for every occasion. There’s no sense in looking like a wash-woman.

Do you laugh at your own jokes?
Sure, somebody has to. (LOL.)

Do you admire your own work?
Yes and no. I love the characters and the town I created, but I have a hard time reading the book. It’s kind of like actors who say they can’t watch themselves on screen. I find myself wanting to rewrite or edit it every time I pick the book up.

What are books for?
Different things for different people. For me, they’re for escape. Pure pleasure.

Are you fun to go on vacation with?
That would be a better question for my family. I think that my youngest son would say I spend too much time behind my camera. 

How do you feel about being interviewed?
It’s somewhere in between getting a root canal and a day at the beach.

What’s the loveliest thing you have ever seen? 
A full moon reflecting on the ocean.


Dan O'Brien, is the editor of Empirical and author of The End of the World Playlist, Bitten, Cerulean Dreams, and The Journey. His interview originally appeared in 2012 on his website, The Dan O'Brien Project, and he kindly agreed to let me repost it here.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR




Amy Metz is the author of Goose Pimple Junction mystery series. She is a former first grade teacher and the mother of two grown sons. When not actively engaged in writing, enjoying her family, or surfing Facebook or Pinterest, Amy can usually be found with a mixing spoon, camera, or book in one hand and a glass of sweet tea in the other. Amy lives in Louisville, Kentucky and would love to hear from you.

Connect with Amy:
Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads 

Buy the book:
Amazon
  |  Audible















Wednesday, January 24, 2018

INTERVIEW WITH GILIAN BAKER'S JADE BLACKWELL



ABOUT THE BOOK

Former English professor turned blogger, Jade Blackwell, is enjoying her predictable routine when trouble comes knocking in the form of an old friend and colleague. Unbeknownst to Jade, Gwendolyn Hexby is no longer the successful academic she once knew and trusted—she is now following a new calling as a psychic medium, a contentious career that flies in the face of the logic and deductive reasoning Jade values.

At first, Jade welcomes the visit, but things soon turn bizarre as Gwendolyn brings only disorder, danger, and disruption. When a murder is prophesied, and a beloved pillar of the Aspen Falls’ community winds up dead, Gwendolyn becomes Sheriff Ross Lawson’s prime suspect.

To get Gwendolyn out of hot water, and more importantly, out of her house, Jade attempts to prove her friend’s innocence. Jade believes she’s finally discovered the truth, but is soon brought back to reality when she learns all is not as it seems in the realm of the metaphysical. Not even murder.
Return to the Jade Blackwell Cozy Mystery Series in Murder Over Medium, as Jade jumps into the fray of a territory not governed by logic or reason—in either this world or the next.


Book Details

Author: Gilian Baker

Title: Murder Over Medium

Genre: Cozy mystery, Jade Blackwell series, 3rd in series

Publisher: Misterio Press (December 31, 2017)

Paperback: 216 pages

On tour with Great Escape Book Tours







ABOUT THE CHARACTER

Jade Blackwell, the protagonist of the series, left the world of academia to pursue the life of an entrepreneur. Now she teaches writing informally on her successful blog and is CEO of a ghostwriting service. That is, when she’s not busy solving murders.

She’s happily married to her high school sweetheart, Christian, and they have a daughter, Penelope, who is away at college. She describes herself as a much younger and better-looking Miss Marple. She loves her auburn bob, though the color is now manufactured by Darlene at the Hair Hut. She hates her newly-required bifocals. She’s a smart, sassy homebody who lives in her head.


INTERVIEW WITH GILIAN BAKER'S JADE BLACKWELL


Jade, how did you first meet Gilian?
I knocked around in Gilian’s head, trying to get her attention for years. She always told me she was too busy to come out and play. But I kept after her. She finally gave in when she took her daughter’s advice to join NaNoWriMo in 2015. I’d like to think I saved her. Well, at least her sanity. She was a struggling blogger who spent way too much time working. I gave her a way to enjoy life while still producing something worthwhile. She gave up on blogging and now spends much more time with me.

Why do you think that your life has ended up being in a book?
Besides my charming personality and wit, I’d say because there aren’t many, if any, other professional bloggers who are also amateur sleuths. The work-at-home way of life has exploded over the last few years, and I believe people are fascinated by what an online entrepreneur does all day. Plus, Gilian and I like to think we provide a fun distraction from the endless to-do lists we all live by in our modern world.

Did you have a hard time convincing Gilian to write any particular scenes for you?
Well, just one. I took exception with the ending. I wanted to save myself this time, but Gilian didn’t write it that way. Actually, she didn’t even pay attention to my wish until after her editor had it in her hands. I couldn’t convince her to make the change, but we found a compromise. She wrote an alternate ending that she’s giving away to readers, so I guess that’s better than nothing. I’d love to be proven right—that my idea was better. So, it would be awesome if anyone reading this would finish the Murder Over Medium and then get the free download of my preferred ending. Then, email Gilian and let her know which you like better. The link is in the back of the book. Thanks, folks!

If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?
I’d sleep in for starters, because my husband Christian and I usually get up early. I’d luxuriate in the jacuzzi bath we have in our bathroom and then I’d meet up with my friends Gabby, Crystal, and Phyllis for lunch at Tea & Sympathy. Before we left, I’d buy one of Millie’s famous chocolate fudge nut cakes to enjoy for dessert after supper.

I’d go home and curl up on the couch with a good mystery, my cats, Tommy and Tuppence keeping me company. Since I hate to cook, I’d text Christian and have him bring home a pizza from the Pie Hole on his way home. In the evening, we’d enjoy our pizza and chocolate cake while we watched a rerun of Midsomer Murder, one of our favorite British mysteries. We’d have an early night, and I’ll leave the rest to your readers’ imaginations.



What’s the best trait Gilian has given you?
Besides my natural inquisitiveness, which all good sleuths need, I’d say my best trait is my strong B.S. meter. I became a good judge of character teaching college students for years.

What’s the worst?
Hmm. That’s a tough one. I’d have to go with that double-edged sword, my curiosity. I personally don’t mind it too much, but it has been known to get me into perilous situations from time to time. And it drives my husband crazy. 


What’s Gilian’s worst habit?
Doubting herself, and me, for that matter. She needs to just listen to me and her instincts more during that challenging first draft. She worries too much. But as I tell her, it always comes together in the end. 



How do you feel about your life right now? What, if anything, would you like to change?
I’m bored with my work and am currently trying to find just the right new challenge for my online business structure. There’s a lot of things I could do, but none I’ve found so far curl my toes. When I was an English professor, there was always something new to research. Always a new semester with different students to engage. But after four years of entrepreneurship, I find myself in need of tackling something new. Gilian and I are working on a solution, and readers will be able to see what we come up with in the next book.

If your story were a movie, who would play you?
You know, I get asked this a lot. It’s a difficult one to answer, but I recently decided on an older Honeysuckle Weeks. She’d need to perfect an American accent, but I trust she could do that. She’s a talented actress who could get across my smart, saucy, yet loveable, personality.

Describe the town where you live.
Oh, Aspen Falls, Wyoming is a gorgeous place. It’s in the southeastern part of the state, about an hour from Laramie, where the University of Wyoming is. Aspen Falls is a small village filled mostly with people who, like me, were born and raised there. We get some tourists coming through on their way to other places, but mostly we are ranchers. We have a small market, a pizza place, a nicer Italian restaurant on the edge of town, and, of course, my favorite little tea shop, Tea & Sympathy.

We are home to the county sheriff’s station where my friend Ross Lawson is sheriff. There’s also a non-denomination church, as well as the Gee and Tee bar. Aspen Falls is in the foothills of the Bow Medicine Mountains and is a magical place to live or visit.

What makes you stand out from any other characters in the cozy msytery genre?
I already mentioned my occupation is unique to the genre. Besides that, I’m happily married and have a daughter. Most cozy protagonists have a tangled, messy love life they are trying to figure out. With me, readers get a chance of pace—they see a woman in a stable relationship and all the ups and downs that entails. And, well, motherhood brings its own complications into the stories.

If you could be “adopted” by another writer, who would you choose?

The biggest honor I can image is to be adopted by Sue Grafton. It was such a loss for the world when she passed. She’s been my favorite authors for 30 years. Although her books aren’t firmly in the cozy mystery genre, I know she’d do a dazzling job of bringing my adventures to life.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gilian Baker is a former English professor who has gone on to forge a life outside of academia by adding blogger, ghostwriter and cozy mystery author to her C.V. She currently uses her geeky superpowers only for good to entertain murder mystery readers the world over. When she’s not plotting murder for her Jade Blackwell cozy mystery series, you can find her puttering in her vegetable garden, knitting in front of the fire, snuggling with her husband watching British TV or discussing literary theory with her daughter.

Gilian lives in Flagstaff, Arizona with her family and their three pampered felines. In her next life, she fervently hopes to come back as a cat, though she understands that would be going down the karmic ladder.

Connect with Gilian:
Website  |   Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |   Goodreads
Buy the book:
Amazon 

Monday, January 22, 2018

FEATURED AUTHOR: RIANA EVERLY




ABOUT THE BOOK

A tale of love, manners, and the quest for perfect vowels.



From a new voice in historical romance comes this sparkling Regency tale, wherein the elegance of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and the wit of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion collide. The results are clever, funny, and often quite unexpected . . .

Professor Fitzwilliam Darcy, expert in phonetics and linguistics, wishes for nothing more than to spend some time in peace at his friend’s country estate, far from the parade of young ladies wishing for his hand, and further still from his aunt’s schemes to have him marry his cousin. How annoying it is when a young lady from the neighbourhood, with her atrocious Hertfordshire accent and country manners, comes seeking his help to learn how to behave and speak as do the finest ladies of high society.



Elizabeth Bennet has disliked the professor since overhearing his flippant comments about her provincial accent, but recognizes in him her one opportunity to survive a prospective season in London. Despite her ill feelings for the man, she asks him to take her on as a student, but is unprepared for the price he demands in exchange. 



“With her clever mash-up of two classics, Riana Everly has fashioned a fresh, creative storyline with an inventive take on our favorite characters, delightful dialogue and laugh out loud humor. Teaching Eliza is certain to become a reader favorite. It’s a must read!” – Sophia Meredith (author of the acclaimed On Oakham Mount and Miss Darcy’s Companion)



Teaching Eliza
is a full-length JAFF novel of about 110 000 words. 


Book Details:

Title: Teaching Eliza

Author’s name: Riana Everly   

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency) / Jane Austen Fan Fiction

Paperback: 352 pages







INTERVIEW WITH RIANA EVERLY



Riana, what’s the story behind the title of your book?
Until about three weeks before publication, I had a different title for my novel. When the idea for combining Pride and Prejudice and Pygmalion first came to me, the title My Fair Lizzy popped into my head, and it seemed perfect! I had all the promo stuff ready, my cover art ready, a blog tour set up...

And then I discovered that another author, Barbara Silkstone, had the same idea, and the same title, and her publication date was before mine! I contacted her in a panic, and after an initial moment of “uh oh!” we started talking about what we should do.

The first thing I learned was that Barbara is a truly wonderful person. She had all sorts of ideas of how to deal with similar premises behind two books coming out so close together, and we did a little bit of joint publicity. While she never asked me to change my title, I decided that for both of us, it would be better to have different titles. Her novel was coming out in a few days and I still had three weeks, so I started scrambling.

The second thing I learned is that nothing is final until it's final. Mae, my cover artist, whipped together a new cover with the new title in record time. A quick email to the lovely people hosting my blog tour explained the situation, and since it was before publication, changing the information on my ISBNs was a simple matter. What at first seemed like a looming disaster turned out to be much ado about nothing, and I feel a bit like a winner in this because I got to know some terrific people in the process.



As for the new title itself, I played with a few ideas, but then I came upon an exchange in the text of Shaw's Pygmalion:

MRS. HIGGINS: You certainly are a pretty pair of babies, playing with your live doll.
HIGGINS: Playing! The hardest job I ever tackled: make no mistake about that, mother. But you have no idea how frightfully interesting it is to take a human being and change her into a quite different human being by creating a new speech for her. It's filling up the deepest gulf that separates class from class and soul from soul.
PICKERING: [drawing his chair closer to Mrs. Higgins and bending over to her eagerly] Yes: it's enormously interesting. I assure you, Mrs. Higgins, we take Eliza very seriously. Every week—every day almost—there is some new change. [Closer again] We keep records of every stage—dozens of gramophone disks and photographs—
HIGGINS: [assailing her at the other ear] Yes, by George: it's the most absorbing experiment I ever tackled. She regularly fills our lives up; doesn't she, Pick?
PICKERING: We're always talking Eliza.
HIGGINS: Teaching Eliza.
PICKERING: Dressing Eliza.
MRS. HIGGINS: What!
HIGGINS: Inventing new Elizas.

Teaching Eliza seemed perfect! This is the essence of the play and the novel – but what my Professor Darcy does not quite realize with his Eliza is that while he is shaping her speech and manners to become those of a lady in high society, she is having her own influence upon him. Unlike the Greek myth, Darcy doesn't fall in love with his own creation, but rather he falls in love with what was already there, now that his eyes have been opened enough to see what was always in front of him.

Where’s home for you?
Home has been a lot of places. I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, but we left when I was a child, and I lived in the Middle East for a few months before coming to Canada. I grew up in the prairies, then lived in Montreal for a while, and finally settled in Toronto. It has taken a long time for Toronto to feel like home, but now – despite the weather and the awful traffic – I can't imagine living anywhere else.

What do you love about Toronto?

The thing I love most is how multicultural it is and how (for the most part) everyone gets along. There are parts of the city that are Chinese or Indian or Greek or Italian, and every community has its restaurants and shops, and everyone is welcome. When my sister-in-law married an Indian man, we all went down to Little India to buy clothing for the wedding. When we feel like vegan Chinese food, we have so many restaurants to choose from. I do much of my grocery shopping at a little Italian supermarket, where a lot of the products are European and where the old ladies talk to the kids putting out the produce in Italian, and where there is an entire aisle dedicated to olive oil.



Part of multicultural is CULTURE, and that's also something I love about this place. We have a terrific symphony, opera company and ballet, and we are home to, or within a short drive, of some of the best theatre in the world. From mega-musicals like Phantom of the Opera to tiny productions in basements under corner stores, this city is a dream for theatre-lovers, and in the summer we can often be found taking in three or four plays over a weekend at the Stratford Festival or the Shaw Festival, just a couple of hours out of town. This is something we've taken more and more advantage of over the last few years, and it's really wonderful.


What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned?
Be confident. Don't listen to that little voice inside that says you can't. It's wrong. You can.

What makes you bored?

People telling me what I already know . . . and what they know I already know!


What makes you nervous?
Putting myself out there in the world. I'm a musician, so I'm comfortable on stage, but I have the music to hide behind. When it's just me, with nothing between me and the world . . . that makes me nervous!


What makes you happy?
Watching my kids grow up and seeing the amazing people they're becoming.

What makes you scared?
Heights! I am terrified of heights.

What makes you excited?
Planning new adventures, whether they are physical (such as trips to new places) or more internal (such as plotting out a new story).

Who are you?
This is a hard question. I am a lot of different things, or have been over my life. To my kids, I'm Mom, the person who feeds them and commiserates over problems and gets angry when no one cleans up the mess in the kitchen. To some people I'm the chef, who is always coming up with something new and hopefully edible in the kitchen, or the artsy one who gets everyone involved in a sewing project or who crochets little creatures to give to friends. My different hats include academic, musician, writer, researcher, taxi-driver for my family . . . the list goes on.



What I really am, at heart, is someone who is happiest creating things, whether from sound or food or words. And if some of what I create makes other people smile, then I'm all the happier for it.

How did you meet your spouse? Was it love at first sight?

I joke that we met after a concert where I was in the backup band. I was studying music in Montreal and a friend was giving her graduation recital. For one of the pieces on the program, she had chosen a Mozart horn quintet and asked me to join the quartet of strings, which I was delighted to do. At the party after the recital, she introduced me to another friend of hers, who had come to Montreal for the recital. We started talking and kept talking. He walked me home – an insane distance across town – and asked me out on a date the next night. We talked all through the night again, and when he finally headed off to catch his train back to Toronto, he sent me roses from the train station. We were engaged six weeks later and married less than a year after that. So yes, I guess that counts as love at first sight!

Wow! That's incredible! How did you create the plot for this book?
A couple of years ago we went to see a performance of Pygmalion at the Shaw Festival. I've seen a few productions of this play over the years, but this one was fascinating because it was set in the present. Henry Higgins took his notes on an iPad, and Eliza Doolittle's speech exercises were read into a computer, which displayed the audio waveforms and spectrograms of her voice. It worked. It worked brilliantly, and it got me thinking about how art can transcend its original context. In other words, a good story can work in different settings. Well, this is a key part of Pride and Prejudice variations, and I began to wonder how these two classic tales would mesh. 

As it turned out, they meshed beautifully. The characters mapped one onto the other so nicely, with only slight tweaks here and there to get them to suit the combined story. The two tales also allowed me to rethink old favourite characters and introduce new ones, and the story really wrote itself.

One of your characters has just found out you’re about to kill him off. He/she decides to beat you to the punch. How would he kill you?
Ask me this when I've got my mystery closer to publication! In Teaching Eliza, I suspect I'd do in nasty Mr. Wickham (even though he is so much fun to write about). He thrives on gossip and would surely hear the news of how I've maligned his character. He would lure me into some hidden part of Hyde Park with the incitement of some amazing plot twist and would have me pecked to death by wild pigeons.

Yikes! With what five real people would you most like to be stuck in a bookstore?
A.S. Byatt, Mary Wollstonecraft, Ludwig van Beethoven, Eleanor of Aquitaine (Eleanor’s court at Poitiers largely focused on courtly love and symbolic ritual and was reported to have attracted artists and poets, and to have contributed to a flowering of culture and the arts), and King David.



I would NOT want to be stuck anywhere with Agatha Christie because someone would not make it out alive!

What book are you currently reading and in what format?
I hope that by the time this is posted, I'll be reading Most Anything You Please by Trudy Morgan-Cole. She is a Newfoundland-based author and a friend, and I've ordered her latest paperback and hope to have it in my hands within a few days!

Where is your favorite library, and what do you love about it?
It's hard to choose a favourite, because so many places have their own unique charms. But there is a library in Toronto that specializes in children's books. The library itself is lovely, with open spaces and natural light, but what makes this building special is the entrance. The double doors are set into a deep arch, and are guarded by mythical creatures and woodland animals. One one side of the doorway is a griffin, and on the other is a winged lion, and smaller animals are tucked around each sculpture. It's just a lovely an whimsical entrance to the space, and it creates an aura of magic and wonder that kids should associate with books and reading.  

You can be any fictional character for one day. Who would you be?
Hermione Granger. I'd love to be able to do magic and do it well!

Why did you decide to self-publish? 
I decided to self-publish because of the greater control I have over my work and my schedule. It involves more work at my end, such as finding my own editors and cover artist, and learning the technical ins and outs of formatting material for electronic and print publication, but there is a satisfaction in that as well, and I can do it my own way.



Are you happy with your decision to self-publish?
I am happy with my decision. I have been writing for a while, but until Teaching Eliza, had not published anything.  One of my author friends has been encouraging me for a while to publish, and when I showed her the manuscript, she almost shouted at me to pick a date and just do it. I had a similar response from another author whose work I respect a great deal, and so I did it. I chose a date, took a deep breath, and plunged in. Being in complete control of the novel and all the details around publishing allowed me to do this: to set a goal some two months down the road, to organize the publicity I needed, and to see it through to completion. Even the change in title, which I mentioned above, was easy to manage because everything was under my control.

What steps to publication did you personally do, and what did you hire someone to do? Is there anyone you’d recommend for a particular service?
I did a lot of the work for Teaching Eliza myself, but I know my limits! I did not hire an editor, but I enlisted a small army of ridiculously intelligent and over-educated friends and other authors to offer feedback and proofread through various incarnations of the manuscript. I'm lucky to have some amazing authors as my friends, whose grammar and whose opinions I trust, and we trade off proofreading for each other. 

Where I did go to a professional was for my cover art. I can find my way around a graphic design program and can produce something that's nice, but I wanted more than nice. At the recommendation of an author friend, I found Mae Phillips at Coverfresh Designs, and she came up with the cover for Teaching Eliza, as well as for my upcoming novel. Her work is lovely and she was able to take my general ramblings (“something like this, but different”) and give them shape. I have every intention on going back to her for all future covers.

What are you working on now?
I am polishing another Austen-inspired novel for publication within the next few months, titled The Assistant. This one is a prequel to Pride and Prejudice, and tells the story of Elizabeth's favourite aunt and uncle, the Gardiners. For such a sensible and established couple, their courtship involved all sorts of adventures, from hidden identities and scheming relatives to adventure across the ocean! I have also completed the first draft of a murder mystery set in Austen's fictional town of Meryton that was a ton of fun to write. It will be the first of a series of six mysteries with the same two sleuths: Mary Bennet and a professional investigator from London.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Riana Everly was born in South Africa, but has called Canada home since she was eight years old. She has a Master’s degree in Medieval Studies and is trained as a classical musician, specialising in Baroque and early Classical music. She first encountered Jane Austen when her father handed her a copy of Emma at age 11, and has never looked back. 

Riana now lives in Toronto with her family. When she is not writing, she can often be found playing string quartets with friends, biking around the beautiful province of Ontario with her husband, trying to improve her photography, thinking about what to make for dinner, and, of course, reading!

Riana's debut novel, Teaching Eliza, was recently listed on a list of 2017 Favourite Books on the blog Savvy Verse & Wit, for which she is honoured and delighted and very proud!

Connect with Riana:
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook 
Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Universal Book Link 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

FEATURED AUTHOR: ALEX GRAY




ABOUT THE BOOK

Another gripping Lorimer novel from Alex Gray, evoking Glasgow like no other writer can
When Kirsty Wilson lands a room in a luxury Glasgow flat owned by Swedish fellow student Eva Magnusson she can’t believe her luck. But Kirsty’s delight turns to terror when she finds the beautiful Swedish girl lying dead in their home and their male flatmate accused of her murder. Kirsty refuses to accept that he is guilty and, inspired by family friend Detective Superintendent Lorimer, sets out to clear his name.

Meanwhile, Lorimer calls on trusted psychologist Solly Brightman to help unravel the truth behind the enigmatic Eva’s life and death. But it is not long until another woman, bearing a marked resemblance to Eva, is brutally murdered. Horrified, Lorimer realises that Kirsty could be right. Is it possible that Glasgow’s finest detective has put the wrong man behind bars? And is there a cold-blooded killer out there orchestrating the death of the next innocent victim?


Book Details:
Title: The Swedish Girl
Author: Alex Gray
Genre: Mystery

Series: A DCI Lorimer Novel, #10 (stand alone)

Published by: Witness Impulse (January 9, 2018)

Paperback: 368 pages

Touring with: Partners in Crime






GUEST POST BY ALEX GRAY


If I could go back to my younger self I would say, ‘Don’t worry about gazing at clouds!’

When I was little my teachers at school often had to bring me back from day dreaming, gazing out of the window. So many times I would be told that I had ‘ an overactive imagination’ as though that were somehow a fault that had to be corrected or a thing my elders wished I would grow out of. Now I would tell my younger self not to be fazed by such comments and to nurture that imagination as a gift from God.

The subject that caused me most heartache was arithmetic; all my family members seemed to find these arithmetical problems simple whereas they drive me to tears of frustration! I would tell my younger self not to worry as devices would be invented in time that would help me solve arithmetic puzzles!

The school I attended was fiercely competitive and my own lack of gaining subject prizes gave me a sense of repeated failure. It was only when I was at university and passing first in classes that I had any real sense of my own intelligence. I would go back to my younger self and tell me that achieving highest marks was less important than being kind and showing friendship to other children, something that tended to come naturally to a sensitive wee girl like me.

Being a writer was always part if who I was; one teacher at school recognised that when, aged eight, she told my parents that I would grow up to be an author. Many years later I was awarded a very special award by my old school for particular achievement in public life. I took that opportunity to tell the pupils not to worry about being first in class but to do their best, cultivate their individual talents and to cherish friendships. And, if they were so inclined, to gaze at clouds and try to see beyond them to a world where their imagination might grow into something real and special.


Read an excerpt:

From Chapter 9
December
Kirsty turned the key in the door and closed it behind her with a sigh. The hall was in darkness and there was no sound coming from the living room. Her shoulders moved up and down in a shrug of resignation; she was alone in the flat again. Then she remembered. Wasn’t there some party that Eva had mentioned? They’d all be there, wouldn’t they? Pulling off her thin raincoat and hanging it on the old-fashioned wooden coat stand, Kirsty sauntered into the bedroom next to the front door, unbuttoning her jacket. It was fair handy having this big room to herself, especially when she was working late shift at the hotel. Nobody would be disturbed by her comings and goings. She took off her shoes and tossed her jacket, bag and mobile phone onto the bed. Oh, it was good to be home. A wee cup of hot chocolate and some of her own gingerbread would go down well, she thought, already imagining her teeth sinking into a thick slab of treacly cake.
She stopped for a moment, listening. There was a swish then a click as the front door opened and closed again. Then, nothing.
‘Colin? Is that you back already?’ Kirsty wandered out into the hall, her bare feet sinking into the pile of the hall carpet, still thick and soft despite all their winter boots tramping back and forth. Eva’s father had spared no expense in doing up this flat for his daughter and Kirsty Wilson was grateful for those small luxuries that were absent from most of her friends’ student flats.
Frowning slightly, Kirsty padded down the unlit corridor, one hand out ready to flick on the light switch as she reached the kitchen. But something made her turn left into the living room instead, just to see if anyone was at home after all.
At first she imagined the girl had fallen asleep, sprawled out in front of the television.
‘Eva?’
Kirsty moved forward and bent down, expecting the girl to sit up and yawn. One hand reached out to touch the back of her head but then she drew back as though guided by some inner instinct.
She stood up again and stepped around the recumbent figure, unaware that she was holding her breath.
Then, as Kirsty saw the expression in the dead girl’s eyes, the thin wail escaping from her open mouth turned into a scream of terror.
* * *
Detective Superintendent Lorimer crouched over the body, aware of the sounds of voices coming from the hall. The dead girl was lying on her back, one arm flung out, the fist curled tightly in the moment of death. Her head was bent to one side, blond hair partly obscuring her features, but Lorimer could see enough to make him wonder about the cause of death.
‘Manual strangulation?’ he asked, glancing up at the consultant pathologist who was kneeling on the other side of the girl’s body. The on-duty pathologist tonight was his friend, Dr Rosie Fergusson. He glanced at her with his usual admiration for her calm efficiency, knowing how different she could be at home as a doting mother and as the wife of Professor Brightman, an eminent psychologist and sometime criminal profiler who had worked with Lorimer in the past.
‘Looks like it,’ Rosie murmured, her gloved hands smoothing the hair from the victim’s face, letting Lorimer see for the first time what Kirsty Wilson had found earlier that night.
Eva Magnusson still had that ethereal quality in death that had captivated those who had gazed upon her: Lorimer saw the perfect oval face with flawless skin and bow-shaped lips that were slightly parted as though she had been taken by surprise. He watched as Rosie reached out to close the dead girl’s eyelids, seeing for the final time those pale blue Scandinavian eyes staring out at a world that had proved less than kind.
***
Excerpt from Swedish Girl by Alex Gray. Copyright © 2018 by Alex Gray. Reprinted by permission of Witness Impulse, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alex Gray was born and educated in Glasgow. After studying English and Philosophy at the University of Strathclyde, she worked as a visiting officer for the Department of Health, a time she looks upon as postgraduate education since it proved a rich source of character studies. She then trained as a secondary school teacher of English. Alex began writing professionally in 1993 and had immediate success with short stories, articles, and commissions for BBC radio programs. She has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers' Constable and Pitlochry trophies for her crime writing. A regular on the Scottish bestseller lists, she is the author of thirteen DCI Lorimer novels. She is the co-founder of the international Scottish crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland, which had its inaugural year in 2012.


Connect with Alex:
Website  |  Goodreads  |  Twitter

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Harper Collins 




Thursday, January 18, 2018

FEATURED AUTHOR: KHALED TALIB




ABOUT THE BOOK

When the Deringer pistol that shot Abraham Lincoln is stolen and ends up in the hands of a Russian military general, covert agent Blake Deco is tasked by the FBI to head to the Balkans to recover the historical weapon. Meanwhile, the United States media is abuzz with news of the mysterious disappearance of Hollywood movie star, Goldie St. Helen.

After Blake’s return from overseas, he receives a tip from a Mexican friend that a drug lord, obsessed with the beautiful actress, is holding her captive in Tijuana. With the help of a reluctant army friend, Blake mounts a daring rescue. What he doesn’t expect is to have feelings for Goldie—or that a killer is hunting them.


Book Details

Title: Gun Kiss

Author: Khaled Talib

Genre: Thriller 

Publisher: Imajin Books (December 1, 2017)

Paperback: 221 pages







INTERVIEW WITH KHALED TALIB


Khaled, what’s the story behind the title of your book?
Gun Kiss is a metaphor for finding love during trouble times. It’s a story about a man who rescues a movie star from a drug lord, but as they fall in love with each other, their happiness is interrupted havoc. 

Where’s home for you?
I live in Singapore. I spent some years working in the Middle East, and I travel a lot. So, I’d like to describe myself as an international citizen, especially since I enjoy other people’s culture and food.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Singapore. I was born here. However, I feel like a foreigner nowadays. Things have changed. I don’t fit in. Then again, I never did because I’m a minority. Singapore’s culture and values may not necessarily be mine.

What’s your favorite memory?
The amusement park, and having cotton candy.  Magical place.

If you had an extra $100 a week to spend on yourself, what would you buy?
A couple of kindle books. Then I’ll save the rest and buy a nice pair of shoes at the end of the month. I like shoes.


What’s the dumbest purchase you’ve ever made?
An old, red Miata that was a guzzler.


What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned?
Never stand at the edge; someone might push you. It happened to me once when I was standing at the edge of a pier. Lesson learned.

What is the most daring thing you've done?
I rescued a stranger from drowning. It happened in Malaysia. I gave him my life jacket. I didn’t realize how strong the current was until I had removed the life jacket. It took all my strength to swim back to the boat.

What is the stupidest thing you've ever done?
I answered a call and forgot I was frying some fries. The flame almost hit the ceiling, but thank God it got put out on time. 

What’s one thing that you wish you knew as a teenager that you know now?
How fast time flies.


What makes you bored?
People who talk about stocks and finance, business and computers.  People with no sense of humor.  


What is your most embarrassing moment?
A woman in a car at the gas station laughed at me as I stood outside searching my pockets for my cash card. I was so preoccupied in finding it that I forgot it was in my mouth. 


What makes you nervous?
Deadlines . . . I hate deadlines. I hate to rush. I’ve seen how rushing causes injury to people. People loose control when they are forced to rush. Total chaos. I hate it. 


What makes you happy?

Chocolates, a good movie, and traveling. The idea of going on a train journey always sounds nice.

Who are you?
An observer.

What brings you sheer delight?
Buying a perfectly-sized pants at the mall without having to adjust it.

Would you rather be a lonely genius, or a sociable idiot?
A lonely genius. Best to be heard of than laughed at.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
"Writers have dual citizenship. They live in the seen and unseen world." It’s taken from The Little Book of Muses, a collection of inspirational sayings for writers. I wrote the book.

What’s your favorite line from a book?
"Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing." Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.

What would your main character say about you?
Here’s a guy who knows how to dress up his characters.

How did you create the plot for this book?
I don’t pre-plan a story. I might have a character in mind, and as I go along, I’ll develop the plot. Sometimes, I’d make mistake and rewrite the plot. Sometimes it’s easier, sometimes it’s not. 

Is your book based on real events?
Yes, they are, although it’s heavily dipped in a jar of fiction. I collect stories from here and there, then make up my own. I try to imagine the situation, how it would have been and draw my own conclusions.

Are you like any of your characters?
My sense of humor. In Gun Kiss, you’ll notice that in the protagonist.

One of your characters has just found out you’re about to kill him off. He/she decides to beat you to the punch. How would he kill you?
He’ll probably toss me out of the window or poison the box of chocolate.

Who are your favorite authors?
Too many to list down! 


What’s one pet peeve you have when you read?
When my Kindle battery dies.


Do you have a routine for writing?
I write whenever I feel like it. It can be anytime of the day. But at times, I’ll need chocolate to boost my energy, in addition to a hot cup of coffee . . . with sugar.

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
At home, in my bedroom. I’m not one of those people who can concentrate at a cafĂ© with a laptop. Knowing me, I’ll people watch instead of looking at the screen. 

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received about your writing?
People repeatedly tell me that my writing feels like a movie. 

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to write?
In Gun Kiss, I wrote a military battle scene. It was tough because I had to coordinate everything from various angles while managing characters and dialogue while everything was ricocheting and blowing around them. 

What’s the worst thing someone has said about your writing? How did you deal with it?
Someone left a comment on Goodreads and described my novel, Smokescreen, a “B-league thriller.” Then again, there are so many trolls out there. Well, I complained to Goodreads, of course, but at the same time I don’t really care. You find criticisms and trolls everywhere. Other writers get it too. Have faith in your readers. People can see what’s true and what’s not.  

What would your dream office look like?
Victorian. Like Sherlock Holmes’s.

What are you working on now?
I’m writing a murder mystery set at a winery in South Australia. I used to handle the public relations account of the South Australian tourism office, so I’m familiar with the State.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Khaled Talib is the author of Smokescreen, Incognito, and Gun Kiss. Born and raised in Singapore, Khaled is a former journalist with local and international exposure. His articles have been published and syndicated to newspapers worldwide, and his short stories have appeared in literary journals and magazines. The author is a member of the Crime Writers Association and the International Thriller Writers. Khaled's novel Incognito won the Silver award for the AuthorsDB Book Cover Contest 2017.

Connect with Khaled:
Website  |   Blog  |  Facebook Twitter  |  Goodreads  |

Buy the book:

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

FEATURED AUTHOR: JOHN GASPARD



ABOUT THE BOOK

Eli's trip to London with his Uncle Harry quickly turns homicidal when the older magician finds himself accused of murder. A second slaying does little to take the spotlight off Harry, instead making it clear that someone is knocking off Harry's elderly peers in bizarrely effective ways. But who? The tale takes an odd twist when the prime suspect appears to be a bitter performer with a grudge . . . who committed suicide over thirty years before.

While Eli struggles to prove his uncle's innocence--and keep them both alive--he finds himself embroiled in a battle of his own: A favorite magic routine of his has been ripped off by another, hugely-popular magician.

What began as a whirlwind vacation to London with girlfriend Megan turns into a fatal and larcenous trip into the dark heart of magic within the city's oldest magic society, The Magic Circle.


Book Details:

Title: The Linking Rings

Series: Eli Marks, 4th in series

Author: John Gaspard

Genre: Mystery, amateur sleuth

Publisher: Henery Press (January 16, 2018)

Paperback: 252 pages








LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT INTERVIEW WITH JOHN GASPARD


Easiest thing about being a writer: Saying you're a writer.

Hardest thing about being a writer: Actually writing.


Things you need in order to write: An outline.
Things that hamper your writing: Writing the outline.

Things you always put in your books:
I like the word "snick," describing the sound of a door lock as it closes. Recently I've also tried to add in "Harry pocketed it" to each book, to trip up my audiobook narrator. (Apparently, Stephen Fry had a lot of trouble with that phrase. J.K. Rowling made a point of putting it in every one of the Harry Potter books after Fry was a bit rude to her).

Things you never put in your books: People keep begging me to not kill off Uncle Harry, so that's one thing that will never be in an Eli Marks book.

Things you love about writing: Just like filmmaking, editing is the best part of the process–once all the pieces are in place, the process of putting them together and refining them makes the arduous task of actually doing the initial writing almost bearable.
Things you hate about writing: The writing part. The coming up with ideas part is fun and–see above–the editing and shaping part is fun. But just like shooting a movie, actually writing the first draft can be a real slog. (Note: I'm writing these answers while in the midst of writing a first draft.)

Favorite books: I'm a big fan of audiobooks of all genres. Eddie Izzard's reading of his book, Believe Me, is a phenomenal listen and highly recommended.

Books you would ban: Ban is a strong word. Let's say avoid. The books I would avoid are (some, not all) audiobooks which are read by their authors. Many authors should really think twice before doing that. I know I did and have never regretted that decision--my narrator (Jim Cunningham) is fantastic!

Things you love about where you live: Spring, Summer, Fall.
Things that make you want to move: Winter.

People you consider as heroes:
People who adopt dogs (and, to a lesser degree, cats.) (That is, people who adopt cats. Not cats who adopt dogs.)

People with a big L on their foreheads: People who are mean to dogs (and, okay, to cats as well).


Things you never want to run out of: Chocolate chip cookies.
Things you wish you’d never bought: Chocolate chip cookies.


Favorite music:
I never get tired of the theme from Casino Royale. How can you not love that? I think I'd like it played at my funeral.
Music that make your ears bleed:  Jo Stafford's version of "Carioca." (To be honest, I really sort of like it. I'd also like that at my funeral.)

Favorite smell: Chocolate chip cookies
.
Something that makes you hold your nose: Tomato juice–I have no understanding why that is.

Biggest lie you’ve ever told: I never lie.

A lie you wish you’d told: Just did it.



The Eli Marks mystery series:




ABOUT THE AUTHOR


John is author of the Eli Marks mystery series from Henery Press.

In real life, John’s not a magician, but he has directed six low-budget features that cost very little and made even less – that’s no small trick. He’s also written multiple books on the subject of low-budget filmmaking. Ironically, they’ve made more than the films.

John lives in Minnesota and shares his home with his lovely wife, several dogs, a few cats and a handful of pet allergies.

Connect with John:
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Buy the book:
Amazon




Listen to the first chapter of The Linking Rings