Sunday, December 30, 2018



When young Galveston Gazette society reporter Jazz Cross hears rumors of grave robbers at the Broadway Cemetery, she and photographer Nathan Blaine investigate, hoping to land a scoop. The newshawks witness meetings held by clandestine gangs, and enlist her beau, Prohibition Agent James Burton, to help capture the elusive gangsters red-handed.

Meanwhile, the supernatural craze takes Galveston by storm, and Jazz is assigned to profile the society set’s favorite fortune teller, Madame Farushka. Sightings of a ghost bride haunting the Hotel Galvez intrigue Jazz, who sets up a Ouija board reading and séance with the spiritualist. Did the bride-to-be drown herself—or was she murdered?

Luckily, Sammy Cook, her black-sheep half-brother, has escaped the Downtown Gang and now works at the Hollywood Dinner Club, a swanky nightclub owned by rival Beach Gang leaders. During a booze bust, Downtown Gang leader Johnny Jack Nounes is caught and Jazz  worries: will Sammy be forced to testify against his former boss? 

Worse, when a mystery man turns up dead, Sammy is framed for murder and Jazz must find the real killer and clear Sammy’s name. As turf wars rage on, Jazz relies on her wits and moxie to solve both murders before the Downtown Gang exacts its revenge. 

Book Details:

Title: Deco Dames, Demon Rum And Death

Author: Ellen Mansoor Collier

Genre: Historical cozy mystery

Series: A Jazz Age Mystery, book #5

Publisher: Deco Dame Press (12/18/2018)

Print length: 290 pages


A few of your favorite things: Books, antique markets (I collect Deco flapper accessories), museums, traveling, my dogs, good coffee and peach iced tea.
Things you need to throw out: Old clothes and magazines (I’m a former magazine journalist and feel guilty if I don’t read all the articles, but I try to recycle).

Things you need in order to write: Comfortable chair/peace & quiet or mild background noise—depends on my mood . . . if I need stimulation, I’ll take my laptop and sit outside at a café or patio.
Things that hamper your writing: Loud noises/voices, writer’s block (when I’m stuck on a scene), trolls, phone calls/marketers. I live in a big city, and it’s often hard to find blocks of time without being interrupted constantly.

Things you love about writing: Those “Eureka!” moments when you finally work out a problem scene or resolution or tie together plot twists; being able to work around the clock when inspiration hits, often in my PJs; great reviews and compliments! 
Things you hate about writing: Trolls—the fact that anyone can rate your work when it’s clear they haven’t even read your book(s); editing; writer’s block; interruptions.

Easiest thing about being a writer: Dress code (or lack thereof).

Hardest thing about being a writer: I’m outgoing, and it’s hard to isolate yourself and focus at times; marketing, coming up with fresh ideas and plot twists in a series; working with artists who don’t understand your vision; being attacked in print by trolls .

Favorite foods: German chocolate cake, stuffed grape leaves with meat, salmon, juicy medium rare steak.
Things that make you want to throw up: Hot peppers; super spicy foods.

Favorite music or song: Instrumental jazz.
Music that make your ears bleed: Techno.

Favorite beverage: Arnold Palmer, peach tea, mango margaritas (can I pick more than one?)
Something that gives you a pickle face: Pickles, beets, horseradish.

Favorite smell:  Cinnamon.

Something that makes you hold your nose: The usual.

Something you’re really good at: Procrastinating.

Something you’re really bad at: Anything mechanical or technical.

Something you like to do: Visit art museums; go to plays; movies; concerts; dance; swim. 

Something you wish you’d never done: If I told you, I’d have to kill you off in my novels, LOL.

Things you always put in your books: Animals, humor.

Things you never put in your books: Sex scenes (I always worried what my mother would think).

Things to say to an author: “I love your books! How do you do it? I couldn’t put it down! I want to buy a dozen books and give them to my friends! Can I have your autograph?” (Just kidding).
Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: I didn’t finish; I lost interest; the ending was predictable; I thought it was boring (thankfully no one has told me that).

Favorite places you’ve been: Paris, London, Rome, Siracusa, Sicily, Venice, New Orleans, Galveston (of course).

Places you never want to go to again: Jasper, Texas.

Favorite genre: Historical mysteries.

Books you would ban: Explicit erotica.

Favorite things to do: I love outdoor antique markets, the thrill of the hunt—takes my mind off everything, especially writing (but it’s also great for people-watching!); Taking walks (nature trails); drinking tea or coffee at sidewalk cafés; listening to great music; a good meal with good friends.

Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: Going to the dentist.

Things that make you happy: Good books; traveling abroad; getting great reviews; a beautiful view; my dogs; listening to good music; especially jazz; weekend getaways.
Things that drive you crazy:
Loud noises; traffic jams; people talking and/or eating at plays and movies; rude waiters/clerks/people.

Proudest moments: Seeing my novels on display at hotels, gift shops and bookstores.
Most embarrassing moment:
Book signings where hardly anyone shows up.

Most daring thing you’ve ever done: I went skiing at Snowmass, near Aspen, and realized I was seriously afraid of heights when I was in the ski lift–too late! Enjoyed the overall experience in retrospect, not the cold . . .

Something you chickened out from doing:
Bungee jumping.

The last thing you did for the first time: Skiing at Snowmass.

Something you’ll never do again: Go on a sleigh ride at Snowmass (too cold!).



The plump gypsy woman caressed my hand, studying my palm as if it held the map to Lafitte’s pirate treasure, rumored to be lost in Galveston Bay. Madame Farushka certainly looked the part in her colorful scarf, flowing hair, a fringed shawl wrapped over her peasant blouse and skirt. Was she an actress or a clairvoyant or a fake?

Flickering candles dotted the dimly-lit room, strands of sparkling beads and crystals criss-crossed the windows, the scent of sandalwood floated from an Egyptian bronze incense burner. A crystal ball gleamed in the center of the table, beckoning like a jewel from King Tut’s tomb.

The fortune-teller cleared her throat. “You face a lot of struggles as a working woman, with many challenges ahead.”

I bit my tongue to keep from blurting out: So what else is new? Every dame I knew had problems.

“I see a lot of changes in your life,” the seer chanted, gazing into the crystal ball. “Upheaval, uprooting.” She closed her eyes, swaying from side to side. Suddenly her dark eyes flew open and she looked up in alarm. “Someone close to you is in danger. Are you married?” Her kohl-rimmed gaze bore into my skull, as if reading my mind, daring me to reveal my secrets. Wouldn’t she already know them if she truly was clairvoyant?

I shifted in her silk slipper chair, tapping my fingers. “No, why?”

“A loved one then, perhaps a sweetheart or a family member. A young man. He’s in grave danger.” Madame Farushka gripped my hand, her voice a hoarse gasp. I tried not to be fazed by her theatrics, but I admit I was worried.

“What kind of danger?”

She peered into the crystal ball. “Terrible danger. Life or death.”

“Can you be more specific?”

“I’m sorry, but that’s all I foresee.”

OK, so now I was curious. “What does the man look like?”

She stroked her temples, rings of gold bracelets jingling on her arms. “He’s tall, handsome, young...with a dangerous occupation.”

That described my two favorite fellas: my fair-haired Prohibition agent beau, James Burton and Sammy Cook, my black-sheep half-brother. Sammy served as maître d’ of the Hollywood Dinner Club, the swankiest spot on the Gulf Coast.

“Is he blond or dark?”

The seer shook her head. “I’m sorry. I lost the vision.”

In other words, my dollar was all used up.

What a load of hogwash. Sadly their risky jobs always put Sammy and James in danger. This phony-baloney hadn’t told me anything new.

“Is that all?” I stood up, annoyed that I’d wasted a whole dollar on ten minutes of trivia.

“You’ll have to come back for a second reading.” She held out her palm, fishing for a tip. When I gave her a nickel, she scowled, as disappointed as I was. Now I wondered: Was she a fortune-teller or a fortune-hunter?

Excerpt from Deco Dames, Demon Rum And Death, by Ellen Mansoor Collier. Copyright © 2018 by Ellen Mansoor Collier. Reprinted with permission from Ellen Mansoor Collier. All rights reserved.


Ellen Mansoor Collier is a Houston-based freelance writer and editor whose articles and essays have been published in several national magazines. She's interviewed Suze Orman, Nancy Brinker, and many unsung heroines and heroes for various publications including: Family Circle, Biography, Modern Bride, First, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Country Accents, Nation's Business, Playgirl, etc. Several of her short stories, both mystery and romance, have appeared in Woman's World. Set during Prohibition in 1920s Galveston, her Jazz Age mystery series was inspired by real-life gangs and historic events, but the plot and details were changed to protect the guilty—as well as the author.

Formerly, Collier has worked as a magazine editor, a substitute teacher, a community newspaper reporter, and in advertising/marketing as well as public relations. During college, she once worked as the world's worst cocktail waitress, against her mother's wishes. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Magazine Journalism, and served as president of WICI (Women in Communications, Inc.) and as an editor on UTmost, the UT Magazine, her senior year. Flappers, Flasks And Foul Play is the first novel in her Jazz Age Mystery Series, followed by Bathing Beauties, Booze And Bullets, Gold Diggers, Gamblers And Guns, Vamps, Villains And Vaudeville, and Deco Dames, Demon Rum And Death. 

Ellen says, "After a 'gangster tour' in Chicago where we visited Al Capone’s old stomping grounds, I found out Galveston had its own share of turf wars between rival gangs and bootleggers. I had no idea this sleepy beach town had such a wild and colorful past, and became fascinated by the legends and stories of the 1920s."

Connect with Ellen:

Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  
Etsy shop: MODERNEMILLIE  |  Pinterest

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Friday, December 28, 2018



The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder is a collection of poems that explores a tumultuous year of love, heartbreak, and all kinds of unimaginable loss. Emmanuella's debut poetry book documents the birth and death of a relationship, and the death of her sister. Each poem is an emotional time-stamp that plunges the reader into the depths of the author’s feelings as they burgeon and wane. The book reads like a diary and chronicles the boundaries of the things that we all feel: passion, heartache, and pain that gives way to hope.

Book Details:

Title: The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder    

Author’s name: Emmanuella Hristova

Genre: Poetry 

Publisher: Self-published through Lulu (April, 2018)

Print length: 50 pages


Q: Emmanuella, how long have you been writing, and how did you start?
A: I started writing when I was young, but I didn’t know it. When I traveled with my mom, I took copious amounts of descriptive notes about each trip we would take. Then, as a teenager I wrote short emo love quotes for my Xanga page (which I later deleted, much to my regret). But as for poetry, I didn’t start writing what I would now categorize as poetry until I was in graduate school, three years ago.

Q: What inspired you to write this book?
A: When I graduated with my bachelor’s degree, a young woman I used to mentor gave me a green Moleskin notebook. She told me to document all of my adventures. My undergraduate graduation characterized many changes in my life, and at the time I was working out my own definition of feminism. But what began as short musings about sexism jotted down on the BART train, eventually became woeful poems about oppression, harassment, and assault.
And then, two months later, I fell in love for the first time. I never decided to write my poetry collection; it came out of me, rather. I documented the relationship from beginning to end, birth to death. I wrote to express my feelings and sentiments. It wasn’t intentional. Pent-up emotions swelled up inside of me, and they didn’t have any place to spill other than onto blank pages. Eventually, that green Moleskin became a chronological account of one of the darkest periods of my life.

Q: How long did it take you to write this book?
A: I wrote all the poems in The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder over a period of one year, from June 2015 – June 2016. Then I let the completed word document sit in my computer for about two years, because I wasn’t ready to face it. And, I was still in love with my ex-boyfriend for quite some time after we split. So, I couldn’t face what I had written about him and what I had written about my sister’s passing. It wasn’t until two years after my sister passed away that I opened up the document again and read some poems to a friend. She told me to publish. I worked with a dear coworker of mine, Maria Ciccone, who helped me edit the content and order of the poems. That took about two months because we both did it while we were teaching full time. The editing and putting myself out there were the hardest parts, even harder than writing the collection.

Q: What do you hope readers will get from this book?
A: When I first began this book, it was my diary. It helped me heal through the most difficult part of my life. I took the time and effort to craft and edit what I had written during that time period, in order to give it to others so they too can heal. I published the most intimate parts of myself in order to help others going through a heartbreak or losing someone to cancer. I especially wrote it for women, as a lot of the poetry is written through a lamenting, feminist lens. As one reviewer put it, I am “simply a woman in a man’s world, and this period in [my] life has acted as a catalyst for [my] revolution”. The final chapter is dedicated to grieving and healing women:
The aftermath.

For crying girls everywhere, 

hiding in the bathroom stall.

May you find your healing.

Q: How did you come up with the title of your book?
A: The title of my book came from a poem in the collection called “October 7th.” The line is:
The inexpression of my

internal sexuality 

spilled out to my lips and 

my kisses tasted like disorder.

It’s about wanting to proceed in a relationship, but being unable to due to lack of trust. It’s about wanting, but not acting, and your world coming undone as a result. The title The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder refers to the fact that most poems are named after the day they were written; it reads like a diary because it was my diary. The title is different and unique, and I love it for that.

Q: Do you have a day job?

I was a high school ESL teacher for two years, but I’ve taken a break from full-time work to finish writing my first novel. I moved to Vietnam, so I could live off of my savings and write for enjoyment.

Q: How would you describe your book in a tweet?
A: Reads like a diary and chronicles the boundaries of the things that we all feel: love, heartache, and pain that gives way to hope.

Q: How did you come up with your cover art?
A: The cover art is very special to me. It began as a painting that I completed while I was writing my book, when I was depressed over a spurned lover. It perfectly characterized the raw emotions I felt at the time through a bleak, black background and dark red paint splatters. When it came time to self-publish my book, I designed everything myself using Photoshop. My painting became the background, then I overlayed simple text on top that that included the title, my name, and a short description. I wanted something minimalistic, that could look good while small for the eBook market, and something that represented me and the themes of the book. 

Q: Tell us about your favorite chapter in the book.
A: Even though it’s really hard to pick a favorite, I love the fourth chapter called “The end.”
The end.
I cannot stop writing 

about you without

seeing the end of everything.

It’s up to debate, but the fourth chapter is arguably the darkest chapter of the whole book, since it deals with my breakup and finding out that my sister was dying. I love this chapter because it holds some of my favorite poems. When I was at my lowest point, my poetry got the most raw and angry. There’s something about embracing anger and scorn that evokes the most powerful and real emotion.

Q: Who are your favorite authors?
A: My biggest influence would be Georgi Gospodinov--his novel The Physics of Sorrow in particular. He's a contemporary Bulgarian author, and the novel is about a sense of apathy and identity-finding following the communist fall in Bulgaria. It also dabbles slightly in magical realism, which is surprising to see outside of Latin American literature, but it's fantastic.
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is also another novel that has kept inspiring me long after I finished it.
Sylvia Plath is one of my favorite poets; her boldness in exploring her own darkness encourages me to explore mine.
Similarly, the musical artist BANKS and her album Goddess is the soundtrack to which I wrote The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder.
rupi kaur inspired me to self-publish and promote myself on Instagram! And, I also think we have similar writing styles and themes.
I also really enjoy supporting female authors. Yaa Gyasi wrote one of my favorite books that I read in 2018: Homegoing.
And then lastly, George Orwell and Charles Dickens stand as two of my favorite classic authors; their novels 1984 and Tale of Two Cities still resonate with me to this day.

Q: What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?
A: Currently, I’m reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children on my Kindle. It’s such a breathtaking and imaginative story! I also love how the author writes, it’s both figurative and curt at times.

Q: Where do you prefer to do your writing?
A: Back at home in the Bay Area, I frequent the same writing cafés: Caffè Strada in Berkeley, Farley's in Oakland, Barrelista in Martinez, Coffee Shop in Walnut Creek. The ambiance needs to be peaceful and romantic; twinkling lights, kitschy furniture, and a patio are preferable. I like to write with a delicious latte in hand and a luxurious string of words on my mind. Now that I’m in Vietnam, I still go to cafés but I drink a Vietnamese iced coffee instead—they’re equally delicious. 

Q: Where do you call home? 

Home is the San Francisco Bay Area in California. The west coast is the best coast!

Q: Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

I’m a very social introvert, but an introvert nonetheless. That’s why I write, to express the feelings I struggle to say out loud. 

Q: What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to write?
The hardest thing I ever had to write was one of the final chapters in the novel I’m currently working on. One of the closing scenes is a literal description of my sister passing away in front of me. There’s also another incredible aspect about that scene that happened that I can’t share, lest I give away the end of the book. In order to write the chapter, I had to listen to a sound recording of the day she passed away. I’ve had that sound recording in my computer for almost three years, but haven’t touched it. And I put off writing that chapter for a long time. I’m actually still working on it; it’s holding up the completion of my novel.

Q: What are you working on now?
A: Currently, I'm writing my first novel. It's about my life, but it's written in novel form. It tells the story of a young Emmy, a gifted daughter born to Bulgarian immigrants in the United States. Upon moving, they never imagined that they’d lose everything. And not even Emmy’s gift of prophesy and her religious faith could have prevented the deaths of most of her family members. Meanwhile in another realm, a golden statue of a young girl wakes up. Once Zoe realizes who she is and why she's there, she embarks on the perilous mission to get Emmy out of the labyrinth-like castle. Meanwhile, Emmy's left to deal with the psychological trauma of losing loved ones too soon, and with her inability to make the American Dream materialize. She turns inward--to the fantastical world she's built for herself to hide from her grief. However, this home she's created is holding her captive, and she can't seem to get out of her own mind. Guided by some fantastical sidekicks, she loses herself inside the dream-world that she hasn't shared with anyone. The world in her dreams, and in between dreams, and she doesn’t know if she’ll make it out alive.


Emmanuella Hristova was born in Oakland, California and grew up in the Bay Area. She is the third daughter to Bulgarian parents who immigrated to California shortly before she was born. She began drawing at the ripe age of four, and studied the fine arts for five years in high school. There, she received many art accolades including a Congressional award for her piece "Boy in Red" in 2009. In 2015, she received her Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley. She began writing poetry at age twenty-four when she was in graduate school. She earned her Master's in Education from the same alma mater in 2017. Emmanuella spent two years as an English teacher in Richmond, California. During that time, she self-published her first poetry collection: The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder. Currently, she is writing her first novel. She speaks English, Bulgarian, Spanish and is now learning French.

Connect with Emmanuella:

Website  |  Goodreads  |  Instagram

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  iBooks  |  Kobo  |  Lulu  |  Bookshout

Tuesday, December 25, 2018


I wish all of you a very merry Christmas and hope your holidays are filled with family, friends, and lots of books–and much free time to read them!

Saturday, December 22, 2018



Author Kaya Quinsey returns with her trademark blend of romance and adventure, in this page turning story about a love to remember and a Christmas never to forget.

Successful broadcaster Jessica Beaton has it all: the perfect New York City apartment, high-flying career, and handsome boyfriend. And with Christmas around the corner, she has her sights set on one thing. A ring. 

But Jessica is humiliated when her co-host and boyfriend, Brett Fanshaw, almost proposes to her on-air before backing out, leaving her dumped and embarrassed on national television. In the midst of her heartbreak, Jessica leaves to go home to Pebble Shores for the holidays for the first time in years. 

While retreating at her family's seaside cottage to evaluate her life, Jessica finds herself butting heads with Dean Adams, the mayor of Pebble Shores, who isn't thrilled to have the media spotlight shed on their small town. Jessica couldn't imagine anyone being more of a Grinch.

Over the Christmas season, Jessica finds herself more enamored with life in Pebble Shores, the community spirit, and to her own surprise, Dean Adams. Can a small-town mayor and big-city broadcaster have the romance that Jessica always dreamed of?

Book Details:

Title: A Coastal Christmas

Author: Kaya Quinsey

Genre: Christmas Romance

Publisher and publish date: Books To Go Now (October 2018)

Print length: 100 pages (paperback edition)


Q: What’s the story behind the title of your book?

I chose the title A Coastal Christmas for two reasons. First, it pays homage to the primary setting, which is the idyllic fictional community of Pebble Shores. Pebble Shores is located right on the Atlantic coast. As the hometown of the main character, Jessica Beaton, Pebble Shores is full of quirky and compassionate residents, holiday-themed celebrations, and is the polar opposite setting from Jessica’s busy life as a broadcaster in Manhattan. Second, when you hear ‘A Coastal Christmas’, you know that it is, without a doubt, a holiday-themed book. And with Christmas around the corner, Jessica has her sights set on one thing. A ring.

Q: What’s your favorite memory?

I feel like every time I travel, I come away with a new favorite memory. But without a doubt, my most romantic and favorite memory is when my (now) fiancé proposed at sunset in San Sebastian, Spain.

Q: What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned?

Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.

Q: I like that! If you could only save one thing from your house, what would it be?

As long as I knew that my family, including my cat, was safe, I would have to say my photo albums. I have quite a few, I’ll admit, so I know it’s not just one thing, but I would do my very best to save them all. It is such a different experience looking through a photo album rather than going through the pictures on a computer. When it’s right in front of you on paper, it becomes that much easier to feel transported back to the moment when that picture was taken.

Q: What brings you delight?

Writing, being by the water, exploring new places, visiting art galleries, eating fantastic food, and the single most significant one– ample time with my friends and family.

Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where in the world would it be?

Perhaps the Mediterranean Coast, with my family and friends living just down the street. The miles of sandy seashore, the food, and the climate – it’s hard to beat.

Q: What’s your favorite line from a book? 

“Life offers you a thousand chances . . . all you have to do is take one.” 
― Frances Mayes from Under the Tuscan Sun

Q: Who are your favorite authors?

Peter Mayle, Frances Mayes, Sophie Kinsella, and Mary Kay Andrew.

Q: What book are you currently reading and in what format? 

I am currently reading Mr. Gandy’s Grand Tour by Alan Titchmarsh in hardcover. It is excellent!

Q: Where is your favorite bookstore, and what do you love about it?

Libreria Acqua Alta in Venice, Italy. It is this small little bookstore that opens onto a canal. From the floor to the ceiling, it is absolutely packed with books. There is even a gondola inside filled with books. When you’re there, it feels magical. I have never been anywhere else like it.

Q: What are you working on now?
A romantic novella set in one of my favorite cities – Venice. Keep an eye out for Valentine in Venice!


Kaya Quinsey holds her undergraduate and master’s degree in psychology. Her first novel, Paris Mends Broken Hearts, was released in April 2018. Her second book, A Coastal Christmas, was released in October 2018. Her books have sold in seven countries. Kaya’s passion for culture, travel, and psychology blend for a reading style that is fun, full of surprises, and easy to read. A romantic at heart, Kaya’s writing offers a contemporary twist to traditional love stories. She hopes to inspire women through her stories to fiercely chase their dreams.

Connect with Kaya:
  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Google+

Buy the book:
Amazon  |   Barnes & Noble Kobo  |  Chapters/Indigo

Thursday, December 20, 2018



A small town, a big party, a stolen gift. When an artefact from the Titanic is stolen before her town's 150th anniversary celebration, it's up to Lois Stone to catch the thief.

Middle-aged widow Lois has moved from bustling Toronto to tranquil Fenwater and is settling into her new life away from the dangers of the city. Then two events happen that shatter her serenity: her house is burgled and an antique watch belonging to a Titanic survivor is stolen from the local museum. Her best friend, Marge, was responsible for the watch's safekeeping until its official presentation to the museum at the town's 150th anniversary party, and its disappearance will jeopardise her job and the museum's future. Lois won't let her friend take the blame and the consequences for the theft. She's determined to find the watch in time to save her best friend's job, the museum's future and the town's 150th anniversary celebration.

And so begins a week of new friends, apple and cinnamon muffins, calico cats, midnight intruders, shadowy caprine companions and more than one person with a reason to steal the watch, set against the backdrop of century houses on leafy residential streets, the swirling melodies of bagpipes, a shimmering heat haze and the burble of cool water.

Book Details:

Title: A Timeless Celebration

Author: Dianne Ascroft

Genre: cozy mystery

Series: Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries, book 1

Publisher: Indie (October 25, 2018)

Print length: 245 pages

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours


A few of your favorite things: Tortoiseshell cats, miniature goats, my Kindle, rocking chairs, wooden floors.
Things you need to throw out: Clothes that I’ve had for more than two decades, old magazines that I’ve already read (or sometimes haven’t read), Christmas cards I received last year.

Things you need in order to write: Laptop, copy of the story’s plot outline.
Things that hamper your writing: My cats begging for attention, loud conversations nearby.

Things you love about writing: Creating and developing stories and characters that eventually become what you imagined they would be.
Things you hate about writing: The writing and revising needed to get the story and characters to the point where they are as real to readers as they are in my head.

Things you love about where you live: The tranquil rolling hills, wild deer that loiter near the house, hares that hop along the lane past the front door, silence.
Things that make you want to move: Cold rain and high winds that batter our house in winter, the distance I must travel to attend a concert or see a film.

Words that describe you: Quiet, creative, quirky.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: Impatient, forthright.

Favorite foods: Moussaka, treacle bread, anything with cinnamon or maple syrup on or in it.
Things that make you want to throw up: Anchovies on pizza, cooked liver.

Favorite music or song: Irish and Scottish folk music, songs by Bruce Springsteen, Rod Stewart and Eva Cassidy.
Music that make your ears bleed: Trance and techno.

Favorite beverage: Hot apple cider, caramel latte, tea
Something that gives you a pickle face: Ouzo.

Favorite smell: Lilac bushes
Something that makes you hold your nose: Liver cooking.

Something you’re really good at: Crosswords, quilting
Something you’re really bad at: Riding a bicycle, crocheting

Things you’d walk a mile for: Chocolates, mocha ice cream.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: Wasps.

Things to say to an author: I can’t wait to read your next novel, I’d like to see that character in your next book
Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: Why did it take you so long to write that book? You must be making a fortune from your writing.

Favorite places you’ve been: Port Stewart, Northern Ireland; Otter Lake, Ontario, Canada; Grindelwald, Switzerland; St Gilgen, Austria.
Places you never want to go to again: Algonquin Park, Canada during blackfly season, the top of Croagh Patrick, Ireland on a foggy day, Lake District, England on a wet, windy day.

Favorite genre: Historical fiction, cozy mystery, women’s contemporary fiction
Books you would ban: Novels that contain extremely graphic violence.

Favorite things to do: Hiking, swimming, reading in front of the fire, cuddling my cats.

Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: Housework, public speaking.

Things that make you happy: Spending time with my pets, reading after all the chores are done, walking in the countryside
Things that drive you crazy: Grocery shopping, sitting in traffic jams, cleaning the bathroom.

Most daring thing you’ve ever done: Moved to Northern Ireland with little money and no job, walking along a cliffside path, riding a horse
Something you chickened out from doing: Crossing Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge in Northern Ireland.

The last thing you did for the first time:
Recorded a videoclip
Something you’ll never do again: kiss the Blarney Stone, try to walk or drive through a snow drift.


Dianne Ascroft is a Canadian who has settled in rural Northern Ireland. She and her husband live on a small farm with an assortment of strong willed animals. In her spare time she enjoys sitting in front of a roaring fire, wandering the countryside and listening to Scottish and Irish traditional music.

A Timeless Celebration is the first novel in the Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries series. Her previous fiction works include The Yankee Years series of novels and short reads, set in Northern Ireland during the Second World War; An Unbidden Visitor (a tale inspired by County Fermanagh’s famous Coonian ghost); Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves: A Collection of Short Stories (contemporary tales), and an historical novel, Hitler and Mars Bars, which explores Operation Shamrock, a little known Irish Red Cross humanitarian endeavour.

Connect with Dianne:

Website Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Buy the book:


Tuesday, December 18, 2018



Bob Fiske — the 74-year-old dinosaur who’s taught Honors English and coached varsity football for five decades — is missing.

To his Winners, class favorites Fiske designated over the years for their potential to “Live Big,” it’s heartbreaking. Fiske did more than inspire with soaring oratory; he supported their ambitions into adulthood. Four of his brightest former stars reunite to find him, putting high-octane careers on hold, slipping police barricades, racing into the wilds of Northern Michigan for clues about the fate of their legendary mentor.

Others don’t see a legend. They see an elitist whose time has passed.

When a current student — female — disappears just hours into the Winners’ search amid rumors of inappropriate meetings, the Great Man’s reputation is a shambles.

Feints, betrayal, explosive secrets from their own pasts: as facts emerge, each Winner must decide how far they’ll go for Fiske. Can the truth redeem him? Or has this cult of hyper-achievement spawned a thing so vile none of their lives will survive intact?

"An exhilarating and emotionally astute mystery." ~ Kirkus

Book Details:

Title: The Winner Maker

Author: Jeff Bond

Genre: Upmarket mystery, thriller

Publisher: Indie (December 1st 2018)

Print length: 332 pages

On tour with: Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours


Q: Jeff, where’s home for you?
I live in Midland, Michigan, a couple hours north of Detroit and the University of Michigan.

Q: Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Overland Park, a southern suburb of Kansas City.

 Having lived in larger cities most of my life – Kansas City, Washington, DC, San Francisco, Chicago – I had a few concerns when my wife told me she was considering a job in the middle of Michigan. Midland has been great, though. Driving ten minutes to a minor league ballgame, fantastic public arts and gardens, plenty of activities for our elementary-age daughters. I love visiting the big cities, but I think raising kids in those environments would be a lot tougher sled than here.

Q:What’s one thing you wish your younger writer self knew?
That you need people reading your work. I spent many years as the proverbial lone wolf, writing on the side, not exposing my fiction beyond friends and family. That period did end up being worthwhile, but to really bring your stories to the highest level, you need to get the opinion of other serious writers – and better yet, professional editors.

Q: What is your most embarrassing moment?
Standing in front of hundreds of people at a Dock Dogs competition, trying to coax my lazy 125-pound Newfoundland to jump into a pool after a squeak toy. She never did. My kids made me do it.

Q: Public humiliation. That's the worst. If you could only save one thing from your house, what would it be?
After the people and pets, of course, I’d say my laptop. Even though my manuscripts are all backed up to the cloud by several different companies (Google, Amazon, Microsoft, others I don’t know about?), I never quite trust it.

Q: What brings you sheer delight?
Seeing my kids laugh. Writing, at least a few times every day.

Q: Are any of your characters inspired by real people?
While I certainly steal certain traits or mannerisms, I don’t have any characters – at least in The Winner Maker – that’re very close to real people. It can be tempting to do with minor characters. For example, if you want to quickly characterize a setting and know a person who typifies that place, you feel like just rolling them out with a different name. I try not to.
With major characters, in my experience, it can’t really work. You’re always going to something different to support your plot or maximize conflict – even if it’s just a hobby or expertise.

Q: Are you like any of your characters?
Yes. The Winner Maker centers around four high-achievers and the teacher who encouraged them. I went to Yale for undergraduate, so I know that milieu – ambition and its associated personal cost – very well.

Q: Who are your favorite authors?

Gillian Flynn, Tana French, Jonathan Franzen, Nick Hornby, Harlan Coben.

Q: What book are you currently reading and in what format?
A: Beartown by Fredrik Backman (audiobook). And to my kids, Ramona the Brave by Beverly Cleary (paperback).

Q: What’s one pet peeve you have when you read?
Too many characters. I feel like a lot of stories would be stronger if they collapsed some secondary characters.

Q: Do you have a routine for writing?
I keep it pretty simple. Coffee and laptop. A café, library, or botanical gardens in good weather. I used to write in the early morning hours before going to a regular nine-to-five job, which conditioned me to write anywhere and make use of small windows of time.

Q: What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received about your writing?
Kirkus Review had a lot of praise for The Winner Maker, which I appreciated: “An exhilarating and emotionally astute mystery … Bond collapses two distinct literary genres into one seamless novelistic whole: a mystery and an emotional drama ... Fiske is deliciously enigmatic ... Bond is so ingeniously inventive--he consistently moves the story in wholly unpredictable directions ... The novel's central mystery is thrilling, but the true spine of the tale is the fragile connections between the past Winners, who must not only investigate Fiske's disappearance, but also the authenticity of their lives and friendships.”

Q: What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to write?
There’s a pretty gross scene late in The Winner Maker, which I have readers ask me about sometime. I won’t spoil it, other than to say all five senses are heartily invoked.

Q: Where is your favorite library, and what do you love about it?
I write a lot at the Grace A. Dow Library, here in Midland. Like most libraries, it’s full of displays and staff selections that let you know you’re in a place where people are passionate about books and storytelling. They also have great quiet, picturesque spaces to sit. Occasionally I’ll look out over my laptop and see wild turkeys.

Q: What would your dream office look like?
They actually just built it here in Midland: it’s a series of elevated walkways through a public forest. They call it a “canopy walk.” You can literally sit among the trees and write—and they’ve even got a nice café to go with it.
Now if I can just find some gloves thin enough to type with during the winter…

Q: What are you working on now?
My follow-up is called Blackquest 40. It’s more of a go-go thriller than Winner, a fresh take on the Die Hard formula about San Francisco tech workers whose office is locked down for a forty-hour corporate training exercise—or so they’re told as the story begins. I’m just finishing final edits and plan a mid-May release.


Bob Fiske stalked out onto a glass-bottomed observation box of the Sears Tower, appearing to join the sky. His hair, wild and white, whorled with the passing clouds. His strides were at once rickety—owing to seventy-four-year-old joints—and resolute, each footfall seeming to make gravity, to seize its own plane of air.
He planted the portable lectern before his students with a leathered fist. “Poetry is the evidence of life. If your life is burning brightly, poetry is just the ash.”
The entire honors English class, and more than one passing tourist, considered this in reverential silence. The students’ faces glowed with a mishmash of excitements. They were out of school on a field trip! They had to recite a poem by heart; would they remember?
Being here with Fiske—Coach Fiske, Fiske the Great, Fiske the Feared—made them feel the way all high-school seniors should at least once during this final, never-to-be-forgotten year: special. Sure that every important thing in life was happening right here, right now, to them uniquely.
Marna Jacobs (left side, midway back) felt all this too, but more pressing was the weight of dual backpacks on her shoulders. What had Jesse put in this thing, lead? She shifted to resettle the load more comfortably over her five-one frame.
A voice behind her said, “Ooh, Marna, carrying your boyfriend’s bag for him? How old-fashioned. Part of the new vintage motif?”
It was Caitlyn of the perfect cheekbones and 4.5 GPA, a surefire Winner when Fiske’s list came out.
“Jesse’s not my boyfriend.” Marna crossed her ankles, suddenly less psyched about her thrift-store oxfords.
“Didn’t you two go to homecoming together?”
“We, um, broke up.”
“And you’ve accepted the demotion to pack mule?” Caitlyn said with a grin of ice.
Marna and Jesse were outsiders here, AP English being their only honors class. While the others elbowed for brownie points, Marna tried to fly under the radar—a strategy that had worked until last month when Mr. Fiske had praised her Brave New World essay as “refreshing, primitively honest.” Now Caitlyn ridiculed her at every turn.
Still, the question was legit. Marna had been standing around waiting to board one of the tower’s shockingly fast elevators when Jesse nudged her, asking if she’d leave his backpack on the glass bottom for him. Without waiting for an answer, he’d heaved the pack onto her shoulder. When she’d complained it was heavy, he had said all she had to do was leave it on the glass—then he slipped away as every ligament in Marna’s neck and upper back croaked under the burden.
“We’re friends,” Marna said now. “Friends do each other favors.”
Caitlyn sneered around the observation deck. The first student was approaching the podium, stealing a last peek at her crinkled notes. “What’s inside, a bomb? You two always were quiet. Maybe too quiet.”
Marna squirmed underneath the pack. It couldn’t be a bomb. Right? Everyone had gone through security. Jesse’s pack had been X-rayed.
She thought. Was pretty sure.
“Marna brought a bomb?” Todd Bruckmueller said, overhearing.
Caitlyn opened her shoulders to a larger audience. “Maybe.”
“This is really mean, you guys, I—”
“Let’s see!”
Todd, right tackle for the football team, reached for the pack. Marna hunched like a threatened armadillo but couldn’t keep Todd from dislodging one arm. They struggled. Marna dug an elbow into the oaf’s ribs. He lost his grip, and the pack crashed to the glass floor.
Driven less by loyalty to Jesse than rage, Marna grabbed one strap. Todd grabbed the other. Security personnel moved dimly in the periphery.
The word boomed forth, sucking all air from the fight. Marna first thought Todd had said it—so loud, his meat-pie face right here—before spotting the pair of Illinois State 6A Championship rings against his neck. The rings belonged to Fiske. The septuagenarian had his 230-pound lineman in a half nelson.
“Poor form, Mr. Bruckmueller.” Fiske unhanded Todd, then turned to Marna with a wink. “I cordially invite you to Wildkit Stadium this afternoon, four o’clock sharp, to witness your tormentor ascending and descending the east stairs in rapid succession. Two hundred flights or heatstroke, whichever comes first.”
Before Marna could respond—was she supposed to respond? could Fiske get busted for laying hands on a student like that?—a metallic clunk sounded nearby. Jesse’s pack began sliding in the direction of the noise.
“Hey, what—what’s happening?” Todd said, scurrying back.
Marna instinctively raised her hands. Three guards were beelining her way, fingers pressed to earpieces. Students and tourists alike scattered. The backpack moved seven inches across the glass floor before locking into place with a small, intense shimmy.
Directly below, on the underside of the glass and suspended 103 stories above Wacker Drive, a hook protruded from a squat black cylinder.
A magnet.
That’s why the backpack was so heavy. There’s a gigantic magnet inside.
The hook was closed, and now a hand—a hand?—emerged from the void to clip what looked like a fat red ribbon onto it. The backpack’s fabric strained about the glass in a circle, the magnet inside perfectly mirroring the magnet below.
Marna squinted to make sure this wasn’t allergies messing with her eyes. Also, the day was overcast; up here, they were literally in the clouds.
“Oh. My. God.”
Suspended upside down, staring at her with that wobbly grin. The diamond-check soles of his shoes visible through the glass, he held on by a short length of the ribbon—which Marna saw was a bungee cord. The rest of the cord dangled far below, lilting now back against the skyscraper, now out over the Chicago River, twisting and kinking, rippling, the greatest part shrouded in fog.
Marna staggered into a row with the security guards. How did he get up there? Are those magnets seriously gonna hold? Will the guards shoot him, or Tase him? Can you Tase through glass?
The guards barked into walkie-talkies. When one stepped toward the pack, Jesse felt for something behind his waist and gave the bungee two sharp tugs.
“No!” Marna screamed. “You stupid jerk, no! Whatever you’re thinking!”
But she recognized the sequence he was rushing through: the harness buckling, the strap cinching, his rawboned fingers jittery but unhesitating. Technical rock climbing was Jesse’s thing—he actually taught yuppies at a downtown bouldering gym. He could do it in his sleep.
Marna flattened her whole body to the glass floor, fingers splayed, nose squished. “Why? What is the point, J? Stop!”
Into the misty chasm, her words were weak and scrabbling and basically nothing.
Jesse glanced past her. As his wild pupils settled on Fiske, his face took on a dreamy, near-euphoric blush.
The venerable teacher stood with arms folded. Impassive. Like Marna, Jesse had been encouraged by Fiske—had won kudos for his “exuberant prose style,” even been assigned an extracurricular joint project with one of Fiske’s pet students. In recent weeks, Jesse had even talked about making Winner.
“Respect your life!” Fiske called down. “Cherish it. Be the keeper of its sanctity.”
He knelt beside Marna and, placing both hands on the glass, glared down. She had a fleeting notion that the Great Man could grab Jesse, that those gnarled fingers were capable of parting glass—or transmuting through, or willing matter around, something—and rescuing him.
The blush heightened in Jesse’s face. His eyes pulsed. The sinews of his neck became taut and grotesque.
He plunged. Leading with his forehead, Adam’s apple slicing the clouds. He was a falling, twisting, shrinking blur.
Smaller, smaller…very small.
Marna had almost lost the dot when an enormous white tarp exploded upward through the fog. A block-print message snapped into view across its expanse:

Excerpt from The Winner Maker by Jeff Bond.  Copyright © 2018 by Jeff Bond. Reproduced with permission from Jeff Bond. All rights reserved.


Jeff Bond is a Kansas native and graduate of Yale University. He lives in Michigan with his wife and two daughters, and belongs to the International Thriller Writers association.

Connect with Jeff:
Website  |   Facebook  |  Twitter Goodreads

Buy the book:

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  

Sunday, December 16, 2018



Introducing Jolie Tucker, an introverted yet passionate restaurant co-owner of Cast Iron Creations, who, at her best friend Ava’s request, steps out of her comfort zone which leads her into the shade of a killer in the small, cozy village of Leavensport, Ohio. The victim is the villages beloved Ellie Siler who runs the village sweet spot, Chocolate Capers. Jolie finds her grandma Opal is a prime suspect and goes on a search for answers only to find out that her families secret recipes may not belong to the Tucker family at all. Jolie’s job, family, and livelihood are all on the line. The answers are assuredly lethal.

Book Details:

Title: Pineapple Upside Down MurderAuthor: Jodi Rath

Genre: Culinary Cozy 

Series: The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series, book 1

Published: November 23, 2018


Welcome to Leavensport, Ohio where Death takes a Delicious turn!

I always say, “How is it my family can so easily push my buttons? Oh, yeah, it’s because they installed them!” Even though my family and my best friend, Ava, can drive me a bit batty at times, I love them dearly. I may be able to criticize them from time to time, but if anyone else dares to say the slightest negative thing . . . WATCH OUT! I’m Jolie Tucker, and take a look below at exactly what I’m talking about:

One year into co-owning my dream restaurant, Cast Iron Creations, with my best friend Ava, finds me smack in the face of a murder investigation. Trust me; the last thing I want to do is be investigating. I’m shy and introverted and feel most comfortable in the kitchen in the back of our eatery. Ava, on the other hand, is bold in appearance and personality and runs the front of the shop. When we find Leavensport’s beloved Ellie Siler, who is also my grandma’s best friend, dead in the alley in the back of our eatery we have no choice to be involved. Then, my grandma becomes a prime suspect as the police think she killed Ellie because our family’s secret recipes were never ours to begin with. My family, reputation, and business are all at stake.


Moving into her second decade working in education, Jodi Rath has decided to begin a life of crime in her The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series. Her passion for both mysteries and education led her to combine the two to create her business MYS ED, where she splits her time between working as an adjunct for Ohio teachers and creating mischief in her fictional writing. She currently resides in a small, cozy village in Ohio with her husband and her eight cats. Sign up for the newsletter.

Connect with Jodi:
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter Goodreads  |  Pinterest

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Bookbub  |  Draft2Digital 

Friday, December 14, 2018



After years of suffering under the communist regime in Cold War Hungary, Eszter Turján—fanatical underground journalist—would sacrifice anything, and anyone, to see the government fall. When she manipulates news broadcasts on Radio Free Europe, she ignites a vicious revolution, commits a calamitous murder, and is dragged away screaming to a secret underground prison.

Her daughter Dora, then a teenager, cowers in her bedroom as the secret police arrest her mother. Haunted and hurt, Dora vows to work against everything Eszter believes in. But, it’s not that simple.

After nine years, Dora meets a strapping young fan of Radio Free Europe and is unwittingly drawn back into Eszter’s circle. She finds her mother, driven mad by years of torture, is headed for death.

On the brink of losing Eszter again, Dora must decide if she should risk her life to save the mother who discarded her—or leave it to fate.

Book Details:

Title: Radio Underground

Author: Alison Littman

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: Last Syllable Books (November 28, 2018)

Print length: 354 pages

On tour with: Pump Up Your Book


Alison, what’s the story behind the title of your book?
The title refers to the underground radio network that persisted in Cold War Hungary and throughout Eastern Europe until the fall of the Iron Curtain. One radio station in particular – Radio Free Europe – was created by the U.S. to enact psychological warfare on communist nations. It is this radio station in particular that is the catalyst for the novel’s drama.

Where’s home for you?
San Francisco.

Where did you grow up?
San Diego.

What’s your favorite memory?
Probably a cool, coastal-mountain summer afternoon at the camp I went to growing up . . . lounging on the wooden picnic tables with my cabin mates who, to this day, are still my best friends.

If you had an extra $100 a week to spend on yourself, what would you buy?
Glasses. I have nine pairs as it is—they’re like my shoes!

What’s the dumbest purchase you’ve ever made?
A membership to a gym. I’ve never been able to work out indoors, and it took me 100,000 phone calls to cancel the thing.

Who would you pick to write your biography?
David Sedaris.

What do you love about where you live?
Nature! On any given day, I can bike up the cliffs overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge or run through the redwood forests just up the street from me.

Have you been in any natural disasters?
Yes. The Northridge Earthquake in the ‘90s. We lived about 20 miles from the epicenter.

What is the most daring thing you've done?
Once I snuck backstage when the RENT cast was rehearsing in the Nearlander Theater on Broadway. I walked into the theater and just on back there. I ended up meeting the actor playing Mark, and when we saw the show later that night, he invited us back again to meet the rest of the cast.

Gutsy! What makes you bored?
Online dating.

What is your most embarrassing moment?
I’ll never forget once I pantsed myself in front of my basketball team and coaches when I was trying to take off my sweatpants.

Ouch. If you could live anywhere in the world, where in the world would it be?
Right here in San Francisco.

What’s your favorite line from a book?
“So she had to satisfy herself with the idea of love–loving the loving of things whose existence she didn't care at all about. Love itself became the object of her love. She loved herself in love, she loved loving love, as love loves loving, and was able, in that way, to reconcile herself with a world that fell so short of what she would have hoped for. It was not the world that was the great and saving lie, but her willingness to make it beautiful and fair, to live a once-removed life, in a world once-removed from the one in which everyone else seemed to exist.” – Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated

How did you create the plot for Radio Underground?
I found these letters these Hungarian teenagers wrote to a rock ‘n’ roll DJ in the ‘60s. I sat down at my computer one day and started writing as if I were them—talking about listening to the music in secret (rock ‘n’ roll was banned in Hungary), about what career I would pursue if I could do anything and the person I was in love with—and from there, Radio Underground was born.

Are you like any of your characters?
I think aspects of me are in a lot of the characters. Like Eszter, I am passionate to the point of delusion at times. Similar to Dora, I like structure and find comfort in stability. And like Mike, I can be silly.

Who are your favorite authors?
Jonathan Safran Foer, Michael Chabon, Julie Orringer, Kristin Hannah, Anthony Doerr, Isabel Allende, Eimer McBride, J.K. Rowling

What book are you currently reading and in what format?
A Tale for the Time Being – and I’m listening to it!

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to write?
Once I had to write a pamphlet about the pipes being used to tunnel water from the Hetch Hetchy to San Francisco. It required me to understand a ton of engineering terms and technical jargon that I never heard of in my life – I would have rather written Crime and Punishment than that brochure.

You can be any fictional character for one day. Who would you be?
Harry Potter.

What would your dream office look like?
Once I went into a professor’s office and he had books lining his walls. I looked around and said, “I want this one day.” He responded, “Be careful what you wish for.” I’m still waiting for the day when I can have a room of my own to line with books. I’d color coordinate them on the shelves and try to put autumn tones and accents throughout.


Alison Littman lives in San Francisco where she is a writer by day and stand up comedian by night. A former journalist in New Mexico, she covered politics and education while also contributing articles on John F. Kennedy and The Beatles to various specialty magazines. Her feature stories focus on listening to rock 'n' roll behind the Iron Curtain and Cold War politics. Radio Underground is her first novel.

Connect with Alison:

  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Buy the book:

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

Wednesday, December 12, 2018




This time she nosedives into a mud puddle at a Seminole War battle reenactment and finds she’s sharing the muck with a dead body. As usual the hunky detective she loves to aggravate, Stanton Lewis, cautions her against getting involved in the case, and as usual she ignores him. Emily’s sleuthing pays off, revealing disturbing information about the victim’s past. Is it the reason behind his murder? With the help of her family and friends, Emily sets out to uncover secrets kept too long and puts herself and the people she loves in the killer’s path. Too late she realizes Detective Lewis was right. Her snoopiness proves to be a deadly idea.

Bonus feature inside: Emily’s neighbor shares her recipes. Make them for your favorite sleuth!

Book Details:

Title: Scream Muddy Murder

Author: Lesley A. Diehl

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Publisher: Creekside Publishing

Print length: 352 pages


A few of your favorite things: Chocolate, wine (preferably white), my cottage on a trout stream, my husband, warm weather, writing, my cats, and having afternoon tea with my neighbors.
Things you need to throw out: Many of my clothes, most of my shoes, “stuff” in the house

Things you need in order to write: Organized closets, a sense of humor.
Things that hamper your writing: Too much noise, my cat hogging the keyboard

Things you love about writing: When the plot comes together, writing funny scenes, writing short stories, using my relatives as characters in my work.
Things you hate about writing: Lying awake at night and realizing I have a huge plot issue which needs to be resolved. The worry keeps me awake for hours while I ruminate about how it can be fixed. You’d think I’d get up and work on it, but, no, I just lie there and worry. The fact that I am the world’s worst typist and must redo everything—why did I never take that typing class in high school?

Easiest thing about being a writer: The ideas seem to be never ending. I should have begun doing this much earlier in my life!

Hardest thing about being a writer: Spending so much time inside when I’d prefer to be out by the stream or walking in the woods.

Things you love about where you live: I divide my time between Upstate New York and rural Florida. I love the peacefulness of both places because there is so little traffic. New York is beautiful in the summer and early fall, but brutal in the winter. Florida is warm.
Things that make you want to move: In New York we must navigate a huge hill to get out of our village to restaurants and to shopping, but it’s only a real problem in bad weather. In Florida, we are isolated from restaurants, shopping and entertainment. We love the coast but must travel 40 miles to get there. However, we never get flooded where we live in Florida, but we have had floods of our creek in New York.

Things you never want to run out of: Chocolate, wine, PBS, and Netflix.
Things you wish you’d never bought: Most of my shoes and most of my clothes. I don’t need all this stuff!

Words that describe you: Dedicated to my writing, love my husband and my cats, not too dumb, funny.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: Impatient, controlling.

Favorite foods: Lobster, cod, mahi mahi, potatoes, anything chocolate, raspberries, peaches, crusty bread, chicken piccata, a good Italian dressing.
Things that make you want to throw up: Egg yolks, when somebody else has thrown up, Karo syrup, liver. 

Favorite music: Anything by the Eagles.
Music that make your ears bleed: Some opera. 

Favorite beverage: Wine or tea.
Something that gives you a pickle face: Liver.

Favorite smell: Lilacs or lily of the valley.
Something that makes you hold your nose: Burning rubber.

Something you’re really good at: Writing humor (I hope).
Something you’re really bad at: Writing romantic scenes.

Something you wish you could do: Write romantic scenes.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: Crochet—a waste of time, and I’m bad at it.

Something you like to do: Crosswords.

Something you wish you’d never done: Worked with some of the idiots I worked with.

People you consider as heroes:
People who rescue children and animals.

People with a big L on their foreheads: People who are full of themselves, self-centered, and can only talk about how great they are or how much money they have.

Last best thing you ate: Chicken piccata last night.

Last thing you regret eating: I can’t think of anything in the recent past. I only eat what I love!

Things you’d walk a mile for: My husband, my cats, a really good donut.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: Most of the programs on TV.

Things you always put in your books: Humorous dialogue and funny scenes.

Things you never put in your books: Sex.

Things to say to an author: I love your books; can I buy 100 copies of each of them to gift to my friends and family?
Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: That must be a vanity publisher because I’ve never heard of them.

Favorite places you’ve been: Africa, Tuscany, Disney (please don’t tell anyone), train across Canada.
Places you never want to go to again: High priced, but over-rated restaurants with lousy food and poor service; most large cities.

Favorite books: Mysteries of any kind.

Books you would ban: I don’t believe in banning books. If you don’t like them, don’t buy them or read them.

People you’d like to invite to dinner: Any of the courageous young women athletes on the Olympic gymnastics team who spoke up and took that horrible doctor down. They are role models for young women, and I’d like to tell them that.

People you’d cancel dinner on: That horrible doctor and everyone who protected him.

Favorite things to do: Cooking, writing, gardening, hiking, watching Sunday night PBS.

Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: Watching most contemporary sitcoms.

Things that make you happy: Watching pet videos on Facebook.

Things that drive you crazy: Watching television programs about people deciding which 1.2-million-dollar house to buy. Why do I tune in to that stuff?

Proudest moment: When I got my first book published.

Most embarrassing moment:
When my music teacher in junior high told me not to sing, but to “just mouth the words.” She almost cured me of ever wanting to sing again. I was mortified because she said it in front of the entire class.

Biggest lie you’ve ever told: Said in an English accent, at a disco way back when, “I’m from Great Britain.” The guy was so impressed, but my accent slipped as the night wore on.

A lie you wish you’d told: “I weigh 120 pounds.”

Best thing you’ve ever done: Retired early to follow my partner to New Mexico. It turned out well, however. We later married, and he’s been the biggest supporter of my writing.

Biggest mistake: Not taking that vacation to Greece.

Most daring thing you’ve ever done: Went on a wildlife management safari to Kenya.
Something you chickened out from doing:
I discontinued my riding lessons after the horse threw me.

The last thing you did for the first time: Tried to watch a superheroes movie. I guess I’m not a superheroes fan.

Something you’ll never do again: Although we love our cottage on the trout stream, I now know better than to buy a house located on the outside of a bend in the river. The water eats at your property and you end up with many feet less of lawn.


Lesley retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in Upstate New York.  In the winter she migrates to old Florida—cowboys, scrub palmetto, and open fields of grazing cattle, a place where spurs still jingle in the post office, and gators make golf a contact sport.  Back north, the shy ghost inhabiting the cottage serves as her literary muse.  When not writing, she gardens, cooks and renovates the 1874 cottage with the help of her husband, two cats and, of course, Fred the ghost, who gives artistic direction to their work. She’s presently interviewing for a coyote to serve as her muse for her books and stories set in rural Florida.
She is the author of several mystery series and mysteries as well as short stories, most featuring her quirky sense of humor and a few characters drawn from her peculiar family.

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