Sunday, October 30, 2016



Maggie Crozat agrees to be frenemy Vanessa Fleer’s Maid of Honor.  When it looks like the investigation is zeroing in on Vanessa as the prime suspect, Maggie reluctantly adds keeping the bride-to-be out of jail to her list of Maid of Honor responsibilities in Body on the Bayou, Ellen Byron's funny and engaging follow up to her critically acclaimed novel Plantation Shudders.


Ellen, how did you get started writing?

I got a degree in theater from Tulane University and was determined to be an actress . . . or so I thought. I joined Actors Equity and suddenly stopped getting work because my competition for roles was actresses like Holly Hunter. With time on my hands, I decided to write a play. In doing so, I found my true calling , and I’ve been writing ever since.

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

Well, right now I’m struggling with the outline for my fourth book–I’m actually procrastinating by answering these questions! – and so I’d say creating a layered, engaging plot.

What’s more important–characters or plot?
Characters, because they can inspire plot. But it’s harder for plot to inspire characters.

How often do you read?
Every. Single. Night. At least when it comes to books. But I’m always reading on the internet. I barely watch TV anymore.

What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
When to keep my mouth shut.

Is writing your dream job?

What is the worst job you’ve ever had?
I’m embarrassed to admit this, but when I was a struggling actress in my twenties, I got a gig where I was paid to wear a Styrofoam straw hat and hand out cigarette samples. It taught me to give up smoking AND being a struggling actress!

Do you have any marketing tips you could pass on to indie authors?
Don’t spread yourself too thin on social media. Choose one or two platforms you’re comfortable with and focus on those. And find creative ways to keep your work in the public eye. I just did a giveaway on Facebook where the main prize wasn’t even my book. It was a grocery bag with my book logo, plus a bunch of swag. I shared it on a couple of cozy groups and had over a hundred people enter the contest.

How often do you tweet?
I force myself to tweet at least once or twice a day. It hasn’t been my favorite platform (see above!), but I just learned how to break who I follow into lists and that has been a game changer for me. I’m much more apt to tweet and retweet now.

How do you feel about Facebook?
I LOVE it. I’ve been on FB since 2008, years before I became a published author. I’ve found old college roommates, friends from other countries I’d lost touch with, friends from elementary school. For me, it’s always been a truly social tool, but now I combine that with my business of being an author. It’s tricky because sometimes my friends get buried in reader and author posts. So again, I have to separate people into lists.

For what would you like to be remembered?
Being generous, kind, honorable . . . and funny!

What scares you the most?

Would you make a good character in a book?

I already have, LOL! Kidding. Maggie Crozat is like me, but I’m less vulnerable. At least now I am. I was a lot more like her when I was actually her age.

What five things would you never want to live without?

Wine, chocolate, pizza, theater, and all forms of reading material.

What’s one thing you never leave the house without?
Lip balm.

What’s your favorite fast food?

What’s your favorite beverage?
Jasmine green tea.

What drives you crazy?
Ridesharing with motorcylists on the freeway. It’s so dangerous!

Name one thing you’re really good at and one thing you’re really bad at.

I’m really good at reading people. I’m terrible at drawing. No artistic talent whatsoever, although I am very craftsy.

What do you wish you could do?
I will always regret not sticking with ballet long enough to go en pointe.

What is one of your happiest moments?
When my husband, daughter, and dogs are all lazing on the bed with me. It rarely happens these days, I’m afraid. She’s a teen and has a very busy life. As do all of us, actually.

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

I’m a wife, a mother, a pet mother, I have a full-time job as a television writer, and I write a mystery series. There’s never nothing to do!

Where is your favorite place to visit?
New Orleans and Cajun Country.

What would you name your autobiography?
Never Slam the Door of a Jaguar. That’s what a guy once said to me after I exited his car on our first and last date.

Sounds like an idea for a character! Do you procrastinate?
I am right now!

What’s your favorite Internet site?

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
“It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.” -Indiana Jones

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

Homemade pasta and gravy like my Nonna and Zia used to make.

How do you like your pizza?
I am so rigid about my pizza. I like the thin-style straight-up regular pizza I grew up with in New York. (We always called it a “a slice of regular.” Never “a slice of cheese pizza.”)

What is the wallpaper on your computer’s desktop?

It’s a wonderful photo of Bayou Teche behind St. Martinville, Louisiana. I took it when we visited the area over the holidays last year.

What’s your favorite song?

“Get Down Tonight,” by KC and the Sunshine Band.

What is your favorite movie?
Fellini’s Amarcord,  and Robert Wise’s The Haunting.

Do you have a favorite book?
Wuthering Heights.

If you had to choose a cliché about life, what would it be?
“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”

What are you working on now?
Books three and four in my Cajun Country Mystery series, A Cajun Christmas Killing and Mardi Gras Murder.


Ellen's debut novel, Plantation Shudders, made the USA Today Bestsellers list, and was nominated for Agatha, Lefty, and Daphne awards. The second book in her Cajun Country Mystery Series, Body on the Bayou, offers “everything a cozy reader could want,” according to Publishers Weekly, while the Library Journal says, “Diane Mott Davidson and Lou Jane Temple fans will line up for this series.” A TV veteran, Ellen has written for many hit sitcoms, including Wings and Just Shoot Me.

Connect with Ellen:
  |   Facebook  |   Twitter   |   Goodreads    

Buy the book:
Crooked Lane Books

Friday, October 28, 2016



Tex-Mex waitress and part-time reporter Josie Callahan is about to serve up some Lone Star justice in this spicy Taste of Texas Mystery from the author of Here Today, Gone Tamale.

Tourists are pouring into the town of Broken Boot for the annual Homestead Days Music Festival. Opening the celebration at Two Boots dance hall is smooth-talking country singer Jeff Clark, the ex-boyfriend of Josie’s best friend, Patti Perez. When the charming Clark woos Patti onstage in an attempt to rekindle some sparks with his old flame, Josie fears her friend will end up as just one more notch on the singer’s guitar strap.

To impress her editor at the Broken Boot Bugle, Josie and her Chihuahua, Lenny, pursue the singer to Patti’s house, hoping for an interview. Instead, they discover Clark facedown in a bowl of guacamole with a bloodied guitar at his side. With Patti suddenly a murder suspect, Josie must use her reporter skills to find out who had a chip on their shoulder—before the killer double dips . . .



Josie Callahan was living the dream, engaged to a musician while building a career she loved at the Austin Gazette. Then her pitch perfect life hit a sour note. Forced to move home after losing her job and her fiance in one fell swoop, she's living above  Milagro, her family's Tex Mex restaurant, and trying to find a new path while delivering plates of delicious Tex Mex to quirky tourists and locals alike.


Josie, how did you first meet Rebecca?

She answered an ad in the Broken Boot Bugle. I wanted someone with skills and a sense of humor to tell my story.

Want to dish about her?
All I can say about my author is that woman works harder than any one I've met. How she teaches middle school, directs plays and musicals, and write my books, beats the heck out of me.

Why do you think that your life has ended up being in a book?
That's easy. First, my fiance deserts me at the altar and then the Austin Gazette lays me off. Sounds like a soap opera. But dwelling on the negative is just not not me, I've got more grit than that. I moved home determined to lay low, lick my wounds, and find my happy place again.

Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.
If I do say so myself, the best part of this book is when I solve the crime with the help of my trusty colleague, Lenny—who's also my pet long-haired chihuahua. I can't reveal any secrets, but I can say there's football, Tex Mex, and country music involved.

Did you have a hard time convincing Rebecca to write any particular scenes for you?
Funny. I tried really hard to convince her to write me a love scene, but she's convinced I'm not ready. Something to do with me being left at the altar and needing to heal.

Tell the truth. What do you think of your fellow characters?
I think the guys in this book are hot. She may not have allowed me to have a full-on romance yet with Coach Ryan or Detective Lightfoot, but at least she made them easy on the eyes and full of heart.

Tell us about your best friend.
Patti Perez is my great friend. We've known each other since my parents died and I came to live in Broken Boot with my Uncle Eddie and Aunt Linda Martinez. She may have bottle-black hair and a few tattoos and piercings, but she's a marshmallow underneath. Why else would she run her parents Feed & Supply store?

Beats me. What are you most afraid of?
I'm always looking out for Lenny, my tough as nails chihuahua. He's a brave little tyke, but he's an easy target for folks looking to stir up trouble.

What’s the best trait Rebecca has given you? What about the worst?
I've been told I'm generous and kindhearted and that I look on the bright side. That trait, uh, kind of leads to my worst quality—I can be a bit of a ditz.

What do you like best about Senora Mari?
On good days Senora Mari lets me call her abuela, but she's actually my aunt's mother-in-law.

What's her least attractive quality?

She's prickly as a cactus—or at least she wants me to think so. She runs the kitchen at Milagro with a strict hand; but she secretly loves me and Lenny, which is why we could both stand to lose a few pounds.

What aspect of Rebecca’s writing style do you like best?

She's got a sense of humor--I'll give her that. Plus, she gives me challenging mysteries to solve.

If your story were a movie, who would play you?
Easy one. America Ferrera, Sandra Bullock, or Mila Kunis are all pretty, intelligent, and funny brunettes. Any of the three would do an excellent job.

Describe the town where you live.
I live in the high desert town of Broken Boot, Texas. It's a quaint place of only 3000 or so, nestled close to the mountains and deserts of Big Bend Country in far West Texas. We have antique stores, novelty shops, art galleries, not to mention the restaurants and Two Boots Dance Hall.

Tell us about an average day in your life.
I wake up and walk Lenny, eat some yogurt, work on a story for the Broken Boot Bugle, walk Lenny, and work the lunch shift at Milagro--my family's Tex Mex restaurant. After a delicious taco salad, I work on Lenny's blog—a killer blog followed by at least three hundred citizens of Broken Boot. Then I walk Lenny, work the dinner shift, and then collapse . . . after taking Lenny on one final walk. It might sound dull, but the town council is always coming up with a bigger and better event, like The Homestead Days Festival, in an attempt to draw more tourists.

What makes you stand out from any other characters in your genre?
I stand out because I'm down on my luck, but I'm plucky. Not like Supergirl, more like Lois Lane. And even though I've been unlucky in love, I'm not rushing into another relationship on the rebound.

Will you encourage Rebecca to write a sequel?
I didn't have to twist her arm too hard. On my better days, she's my best friend. (But don't tell her I said so.)


Rebecca Adler grew up on the sugar beaches of the Florida Gulf Coast. Drawn to the Big Apple by the sweet smell of wishful thinking, she studied acting on Broadway until a dark-eyed cowboy flung her over his saddle and hightailed it to the Southwest.

Prior to writing women's fiction, Gina always found a way to add a touch of the dramatic to her life: dinner theatre in Mississippi, can-can club in Florida, and playing a giant Furskin in the New York Toy Fair, plus the occasional play and musical.

She's currently content to pour her melodramatic tendencies into writing her Taste of Texas culinary mystery series. Set in far West Texas, her humorous stories are filled with delicious suspense and scrumptious Tex-Mex recipes. Her alter ego, Gina Lee Nelson, writes sweet contemporary romances with a sweet, Southern-fried flavor.

Connect with Rebecca:
Website   |   Facebook   |   Twitter  |  Goodreads
Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Wednesday, October 26, 2016



In the sleepy college town of Copper Bluff, South Dakota, English professor Emmeline Prather is enjoying the start of a new semester. But when one of her students dies working on the fall musical, it disrupts life on the small, quiet campus. Although the police rule the death accidental, Prof. Prather has good reason to suspect foul play.

Unmasking the murderer proves much more challenging than finding dangling participles, so Em recruits fellow English professor Lenny Jenkins for assistance. Together, they comb the campus and vicinity for clues, risking their reputations and possibly their jobs. After an intruder breaks into Em’s house, Lenny advises caution—and perhaps a change of address. Em, on the other hand, is all the more determined to forge ahead, convinced they’re on the brink of an important breakthrough.

Book 1 in a new cozy mystery series featuring amateur sleuth Professor Prather.


Mary, what's your favorite thing about the writing process?
My favorite thing about the writing process is that you get to create your own world and then jump in it. Most days I feel like I’m walking around with a wonderful secret. I know what these characters are doing or planning, and sometimes it’s a fantastic retreat—or distraction—from the real world. 

Do you have a writing routine?
Since I’m a teacher, my routine depends on the time of the year, but I always write early in the morning. In the summer, I set my alarm for six o’clock so that I can write before my kids get up. During the school year, I write on my days off campus after dropping off the kids at school. I write for about four or five hours (when I’m not dealing with an unexpected crisis, which unfortunately, happens more often than you’d think). In the afternoons, I edit or work on other writing, like my blog.

How often do you read?
I read every day for work and every night for fun. I look forward to climbing into bed with a book; it’s one of the best parts of my day. I’m prone to terrific tangents where I read certain writers or genres. For two years, I read everything I could find on Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald. My latest tangent included the Elena Ferrante novels—a month of pure bliss!

What do you think makes a good story?

I love stories that immerse me in their settings. I love the thrill of escaping into a world that is new and foreign. When I shut off the light and forget what time it is or what’s for hot lunch tomorrow, I know it’s a good book. I also love mysteries with clever plots. I don’t mind when the author tricks me!

What do you love about where you live?
I love the wide open spaces of the Great Plains. Although I live in a city of about 165,000, I can get in my car and within ten minutes be surrounded by farmland. My family and I went to southern California last summer, and I was agog at the traffic between LA and San Diego. I’ve never been in a car so long without moving. 

What is one of your happiest moments?
Hands down, the day after my daughter Maisie was born. I remember sitting in the hospital eating apple pie with my husband and our other daughter, Madeline. At that moment, I felt completely happy. 

What’s your least favorite chore?

Laundry. My daughters are eight and ten, which means they pretty much wear the same size undies, socks, and other tiny things I don’t like to fold. Still, I have to sort them so that someone doesn’t accuse someone else of wearing her underwear at seven o’clock and cause a before-school meltdown.  

What is your most embarrassing moment?

After I had my first daughter, Madeline, I went back to teaching full time. But being a first-time mom, I constantly had Maddie on my mind. One day, I was teaching a literature class and discussing Edgar Allan Poe. In the course of the conversation I said, “Edgar Allan Pooh.” I kept talking for a moment because nobody said anything. Then I stopped and asked, “Did I just say Pooh?” The entire front row, the ones actually listening to the lecture, nodded their heads! 

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
“What your heart thinks is great, is great. The soul’s emphasis is always right.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson. I love this quote and wish I had followed the advice sooner. The idea for the Professor Prather Mysteries came to me years ago, but instead of following what I thought was great, I followed what others thought was great. Although this is a much better time in my life for the series, I still wonder what life might have been like if I had written the novel sooner. 

Who is your favorite fictional character?
I adore Ariadne Oliver, the mystery writer who shows up in Agatha Christie’s Poirot novels. She is the opposite of the great detective; she makes up things as she goes. Yet she’s bright and curious and a fun amateur sleuth when she gets involved in Poirot’s cases. 

What are you working on now?
I am working on the second novel in the Professor Prather series, Passport to Murder. It takes place during spring break when 13 unlucky passengers book their flight out of Copper Bluff—and into murder and mayhem!


Like her protagonist in the Professor Prather mystery series, Mary Angela lives on the Great Plains and teaches college writing and literature. When she’s not grading papers (when is she not grading papers?), she enjoys reading, travelling, and spending time with her family. She and her husband have two amazing daughters, one adorable dog, and a cat who would rather not be limited by an adjective. For more information, go to

Connect with Mary:
Website   |    Blog   |   Facebook  |   Goodreads   
Buy the book:


Monday, October 24, 2016


Samantha by Andrea Kane Tour Banner


 by Andrea Kane 
on Tour October 2016


Samantha by Andrea Kane
Book Details
Genre: Historical Romance

Published by: Bonnie Meadow Publishing LLC

Publication Date: October 18, 2016

Number of Pages: 418
Series: Book 2 in "Barrett Family Series" (You won't want to miss Book 1, My Heart’s Desire, either!)

Don't Miss Your Chance to Read Samantha! You can purchase your own copy at Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, AND add it to your reading list on Goodreads!


Lady Samantha Barrett wondered if her imaginary hero would ever become real. Of course, he must be devastatingly handsome and just a bit dangerous. Now, her coach is filled with a collection of Gothic novels and her head with romantic notions as she eagerly leaves her brother’s country estate for her first London season. Still unsophisticated and too innocent by far, Samantha is ill-prepared for the hypocrisy of the ton or for the formidable stranger who crosses her path—a stranger she is sure must be the man of her dreams…

Remington Worth, the Earl of Gresham, is reputed to be anything but a hero. He is, however, intrigued by the fresh, young Lady Samantha. At sea, Remington had been a brilliant captain. To help save his country, he has accepted the Crown’s commission to become the most deadly and loyal covert agent, posing as a notorious womanizer and blackmailer. His latest mission is to investigate the mysterious disappearances of England’s prized merchant vessels. With an iron will, he will allow no one to get in his way or touch his heart—until Samantha.


Andrea, what's your favorite thing about the writing process?

When the story comes together like a seamless tapestry rather than a choppy patchwork quilt, and I know in my gut that it’s just right. That, and hearing back from my readers and knowing they share my excitement and enthusiasm.

What’s the oldest thing you own and still use?
A comfy robe that I’ve had forever. It’s worn down, but it’s still my go-to robe for cozy times and to wear when I’m editing my books.

If you could only watch one television station for a year, what would it be?
During baseball season that would be the YES network, since I’m a diehard NY Yankees fan. Otherwise, I’d have to go for Netflix, since I’m watching all seven seasons of Burn Notice right now and I’m hooked!

What five things would you never want to live without?
My cell phone, my laptop, my iPad, DirecTV, and my Fitbit.

What’s your favorite fast food?
Pizza. Also any form of ice cream—sundae, shake, banana split, etc.

Where is your favorite place to visit?
Unfortunately, the refrigerator.

Love that answer! What’s your favorite/most visited Internet site?

Amazon, the various departments of the FBI, and my social media sites so I can communicate with my readers.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I’m great at word games and crossword puzzles. I’ve been known to finish the Sunday New York Times crossword—but only on occasion.

What is your favorite movie?
This is a super tough one. If I have to narrow it down to one, I’d have to say The Princess Bride.

It's one of mine too! If you had to choose a cliché about life, what would it be?
The world is round.

Read an excerpt:

In walked the man of her dreams.

Samantha stared, transfixed, as the vision stepped directly from the pages of her latest gothic romance into the noisy, smoke-filled tavern.

He had arrived... her long-awaited hero.

It mattered not that he was a total stranger to her... nor that he patronized so seedy an establishment as this... nor that he pointedly displayed an ominous-looking knife handle from the top of one muddied Hessian boot. All that mattered was his towering height, his thick black hair, his uncompromising jaw, his piercing gray eyes. And that dimple... it was just where she'd always known it would be; in his left cheek. It flashed briefly as he nodded a greeting to someone, then vanished into the taut lines of his face.

Yes, it was irrefutably he... the hero of all her fantasies.

Breathless and eager, Samantha watched as he carelessly swung off his great coat, shaking rivulets of rain from it with swift, purposeful strokes. Simultaneously, he surveyed the room, his cool gaze taking in the shoddy furnishings and seedy occupants in one enveloping glance.

He moved forward, commanding and sure, coming closer to where Sammy sat... close enough so she could see the drops of water glistening in his raven-black hair, causing the ends to curl a bit at the nape. He seemed to be looking for someone.

Instead, he found her.

Dark brows raised, not with instantaneous, adoring surrender, but with decided, disapproving surprise.

Without hesitating, Sammy flashed him a smile, drinking in his splendid, chiseled features and exciting, leashed power. He was just as she had imagined him... no, better.

Her heart tightened in her chest as he approached her.

"What despicable cad deserted you here, little one?"

"Pardon me?" Sammy blinked in confusion.

With apparent disgust, her hero scanned the room. "You needn't feel ashamed. Just tell me what unscrupulous blackguard accompanied you to such a place, then abandoned you."

"Oh, nothing like that, sir." Sammy assured him brightly. "Actually, it was I who spotted this establishment from my carriage window and chose to stop here. Given the circumstances, it seemed the best place..."

"The best place... to what?" He looked censuring now, his gray eyes chilling, stormier than the skies that heralded tonight's downpour. "Is this your idea of an evening adventure? If so, you've either lost your way or your mind! Tell me, have you looked about you? I seriously doubt that you have, else you would have bolted. And, thankfully, it seems that these low-lifes have yet to spot you as prey. Had they done so, I assure you that your elegant gown would have long since been tossed up over your foolish, beautiful head!"

Sammy sucked in her breath. This wasn't at all the way she'd envisioned their first meeting.
Following her hero's icy, pointed gaze, she surveyed the dimly lit tavern, trying to see what was upsetting him so. True, the tables were a bit shabby, even broken in spots, and the pungent smell of gin... mixed with some other, unrecognizable foul odor... permeated the room. And, she had to admit, the occupants of the tavern did need to shave... as well as to bathe. Still, they'd shown no signs of harming or even approaching her; so why was her hero hinting at violence?

"I don't know what you mean, sir," she confessed, bewildered. "Despite their rather coarse attire and unpolished manners, the gentlemen here have made no improper advances toward me. They are merely enjoying their spirits and each other's company."

The stranger gaped in utter disbelief.

"Gentlemen?" he managed. Leaning forward, he lowered his voice to a muffled hiss. "Sheltered innocent, what you see are pickpockets, highwaymen and drunks... and an occasional murderer or two." He straightened, emphatic and fierce. "This is Boydry's... as unsavory a pub as they come... not the bloody Clarendon Hotel!"

"Really?" Samantha was finding it very difficult to share the intensity of his tirade. She was too busy drowning in the hypnotic spell of his towering presence. And, after all, he was only trying to protect her... the foremost duty of a true hero.

"If such is the case, then why are you here?" she asked, half-tempted to stroke the hard, uncompromising line of his jaw. "You don't appear unsavory to me."

His dimple flickered in response. "Don't I? That is only because you don't know me."

"No... but I'd like to."

He blinked. "You'd like to..."

"Oh yes. Don't you see?" Sammy leaned forward, making an animated sweep with her hands. "It's as if Mrs. Radcliffe had penned it; a young woman alone... darkness... danger." A pause. "Of course I would have preferred a castle turret to a tavern..." she gave a philosophical shrug, "... nevertheless, you've arrived... and you're exactly as I pictured you."

"You have lost your mind," he muttered.


Andrea KaneAndrea Kane is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty-seven novels, including thirteen psychological thrillers and fourteen historical romantic suspense titles.

With her signature style, Kane creates unforgettable characters and confronts them with life-threatening danger. As a master of suspense, she weaves them into exciting, carefully-researched stories, pushing them to the edge—and keeping her readers up all night.

Kane’s beloved historical romantic suspense novels include My Heart’s Desire, Samantha, The Last Duke, and Wishes in the Wind.

With a worldwide following of passionate readers, her books have been published in more than twenty languages.

Kane lives in New Jersey with her husband and family. She’s an avid crossword puzzle solver and a diehard Yankees fan. Otherwise, she’s either writing or playing with her Pomeranian, Mischief, who does his best to keep her from writing.

Connect With Ms. Kane on Facebook, Twitter, and her website.

Visit Providence Book Promotions to find more great reads!

Saturday, October 22, 2016



The drama program has never been so dramatic.

It’d be the season to be jolly if only someone hadn’t set the stage for murder. When a student is arrested for the crime, Professor Sheridan Hendley is cast in the role of amateur sleuth. Tensions run high, friendships are strained, and the college administration is beginning to panic. As the plot thickens Sheridan is yet again drawn deeper into danger. Will she find the truth before the final curtain call?


Cold Creek and Other Small Towns

The major characters in Murder in the Theater, like the other books in this series, live in the fictitious small town of Cold Creek, Virginia. This isn’t surprising or notable – most cozy mysteries are set in small towns from the more famous Cabot Cove or River Heights to Scumble River, Cedar Bay, Corsario Cove, Cape Bay, and so on. What’s the draw of the small town?

Most small towns have their own personality, shaped by the people who live there as much as by where the small town is located and what it’s known for. As a writer, the small town setting lends itself to a series. The same characters return and relationships can be dynamic and change over the course of the series. 

Another thing about small towns is the local café, bar, or restaurant. In Cold Creek, that’s the Grill. There are always conflicts and secrets to be discovered. A stranger stands out as much as the quirky characters and can threaten the status quo. And then there’s the gossip.

The biggest complaint about small towns is that everyone knows everyone’s business. At the same time, there’s a fierce loyalty to small towns - if something bad happens to you, you might just find yourself with more casseroles than you could ever consume or store in your freezer. Sound familiar?

For murder mysteries, the down side to a small town setting is the inevitable issue of how many dead bodies or murderers can be in the same small town?  The cozy mysteries that take to the road or cruise get past this even when the main characters live in a small town as their home base. In the fourth in this series, the murder occurs in another small town, but is still closely connected to Cold Creek College, as a way to bypass that pesky problem.

Beyond the small town setting, with Murder in the Theater the relationship between the protagonist, Sheridan, and the state detective, Brett has developed nicely. At the same time, the addition of the actors and actresses of the community theater and Fine Arts department add some variety. As you get to know the people who live in the pages of Cold Creek, hopefully you’ll feel at home.


Christa Nardi is and always has been an avid reader. Her favorite authors have shifted from Carolyn Keene and Earl Stanley Gardner to more contemporary mystery/crime authors over time, but mystery/crime along with romance and scifi/fantasy are her preferred choices for leisure reading. Christa also has been a long time writer from poetry and short stories to the Cold Creek series, Christa has joined many other reader/writers in writing one genre she enjoys reading – the cozy mystery. The series started with  Murder at Cold Creek College; Murder in the Arboretum is the second in the series.  Murder at the Grill is the third. Christa Nardi is a pen name for a real life professor/psychologist from the Northeast who is well published in nonfiction and technical venues.

Connect with Christa:
Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Buy the book:

Thursday, October 20, 2016


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Tuesday, October 18, 2016



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you think makes a good story?

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

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

Do you have any secret talents?

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do you feel about Facebook?

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

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

What scares you the most?

Not publishing again.

What five things would you never want to live without? 

Books, the Internet, and a computer for writing.

What do you love about where you live?

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

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

What’s your favorite fast food?

What’s your favorite beverage?

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

What is your superpower?

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

What is one of your happiest moments?

The births of my two children.

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


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

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

Do you give your characters any of your bad traits?

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

Do you procrastinate?
Unfortunately, yes.

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

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

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

What would your main character say about you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s your favorite song?

“El Paso.”

What is your favorite movie?
Dead Poets Society.

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

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

What are you working on now?

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


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

Connect with Paula:
Website  |  
Facebook  |  
Twitter  |  Goodreads  

Sunday, October 16, 2016



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

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

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


Fresh Mountain Air . . . and Bears

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

“We will!” I yelled back.

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

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

My transcendental moment came to a screeching halt.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Friday, October 14, 2016


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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