Sunday, June 30, 2019



A clever thief with a sinister calling card has invaded Braxton campus. A string of jewelry thefts continues to puzzle the sheriff, given they’re remarkably similar to an unsolved eight-year-old case, back when Gabriel vanished one stormy night.

When a missing ruby, and a body, are discovered at the campus, Kellan must investigate the killer's motive to protect his brother. As if the latest murder isn’t enough to keep him busy, Kellan partners with April to end the Castigliano and Vargas crime family feud. What really happened to Francesca while all those postcards showed up in Braxton?

The mafia world is more calculating than Kellan realized. If he wants to move forward, he’ll have to make a few ruthless sacrifices.  And as the summer heat begins to settle in Wharton County, a couple more surprises are also in store.

Book Details

Title: Mistaken Identity Crisis

Author: James J. Cudney

Genre: Cozy Mystery / Light Mystery Investigation

Series: Braxton Campus Mysteries, book 4

Publisher: Creativia who is transitioning to Next Chapter (June 30, 2019)

Print length: 260 pages

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours



If you could talk to someone (living), who would it be and what would you ask them?
A: My first choice would be Queen Elizabeth II, but then I realized she wouldn’t actually tell me everything I’d want to know. She’s a very private person and reticent to discuss the past, so I’d probably not learn all about life in the early 20th century from someone who’d traveled all over the world. I’d love to know everything about the history of her family, including any of the royal members who were King or Queen and had impacts on the modern-day society. So… I’d probably go with Oprah to find out what she can do to fix the world if we gave her more power.

Q: If you could talk to someone (dead), who would it be and what would you ask them?
A: I could spend hours trying to decide who to pick, so instead I’ll be more general. I’d pick any one of my relatives that I’m struggling to find information on that would help identify missing parts of my family tree. I’d get a chronicle of their life and everything they knew about their ancestors so I could make a giant leap forward in my research. Either that or someone like George Washington to understand what he thinks of how the people of my country have turned out nearly 250 years after its creation.

Q: If you could live in any time period which would it be?
A: Can I pick two? Sure. I’m torn and often indecisive with this type of question. I wish I could’ve grown up in the 70s when disco ruled the country. I love to dance, and the clothing was fantastic, but I was born as it came to an end. My other favorite would be the late 19th century before the Industrial Revolution was in full swing. Sometimes the advent of all the technology and machines we’ve embraced can be overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, I love the momentum it’s brought us, but I often wonder what it would’ve been like to focus on work and family without the Internet, television, phones, and automation making everything a constant speed race! I’m just as guilty as everyone else with my super-multi-tasking energy, but imagine if we didn’t have that stuff?

Q: If you could be anything besides a writer, what would it be?
A: Genealogist and historian. I live in the past. I constantly research my family ancestry and what life was like during each generation’s successive births. I love knowing what people must have been thinking about or worrying over when their children were born in prior periods. If I could research family history for others—and get paid for it—I’d be in my own private heaven.

Q: If you could choose a fictional town to live in what would it be and from what book?
A: Without a doubt, I’d live with Miss Marple in Sr. Mary Mead. Agatha Christie created the perfect town for me. I would help Miss Marple solve crimes, grow a garden all day long, and gossip about my neighbors!

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

A: I loved San Francisco, and I often think I belong in Canada. I’m also a fan of London and anywhere it’s cold, so I would move to a lot of places. New York City is amazing, but I’ve lived in the city or its suburbs for most of my life, so I would love something different for a change.


5 things you need in order to write:

    •    computer
    •    silence
    •    my bible of characters
    •    internet
    •    light

5 things you love about where you live:
    •    multi-cultural
    •    food
    •    museums
    •    theater
    •    freedom

5 things about you or 5 words to describe you:
    •    organized
    •    prolific
    •    quiet
    •    introspective
    •    sensitive

5 favorite foods:
    •    sushi
    •    tartare
    •    Beef Wellington
    •     almonds
    •    desserts

5 things you always put in your books:
    •    names of past relatives
    •    colleges
    •    a gay character
    •    strong women
    •    secrets

5 favorite places you’ve been:
    •    Cambodia
    •    Singapore
    •    Thailand
    •    Argentina
    •    China


Q: What’s your all-time favorite place?
A: Cotswolds in England.

Q: What’s your all-time favorite movie?
A: Defending Your Life.

Q: What’s your all-time favorite author?
A: Agatha Christie.

Q: What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Q: What’s your favorite/most visited Internet site?

Q: What’s your favorite time of day?
A: Early morning before no one else is awake.

Q: What’s your favorite meal?
A: Steak tartare, champagne, cheese, chocolate mousse.

Q: What’s your favorite song?
Callum Scott’s version of “Dancing On My Own.”

Q: What’s your favorite vacation spot?

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do?
A: Read.

Q:  What’s your favorite dessert?
A: Anything with chocolate.

Q: What’s your favorite beverage?
A: Coffee or Champagne.

Q: What’s your favorite color?
A: Black.

Q: What’s one thing you never leave the house without?
A: Cell Phone.

Q: What is the wallpaper on your computer’s desktop?
A: My dog.

Q: What would you rather watch: MSNBC, CNN, or Fox?
NONE, I hate the news with a passion.

Q: What is a pet peeve?
A: People who hurt other people.

Q: What are your idiosyncrasies?
A: I am incredibly shy, yet with a few drinks, I tend to have a much different (fun) personality
I always see both sides of things, and as a result, I am never truly satisfied because I go from wanting to live in the suburbs to the city, writing to working, being social to hibernating.

Q: What’s your latest recommendation for:
A: Food: Bread Pudding.
Music: Kill me now, I actually am starting to like Taylor Swift (and I’ve always disliked her)
Movie: Murder on the Orient Express.
Book: Moloka’i.
Audiobook: Never listened to one!
TV: At Home With Amy Sedaris.
Netflix/Amazon Prime: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
Miscellaneous: Walking in the rain.


Watching Glass Shatter (October 2017)
Father Figure (April 2018)

Braxton Campus Mysteries
Academic Curveball - #1 (October 2018)
Broken Heart Attack - #2 (November 2018)
Flower Power Trip - #3 (March 2019)
Mistaken Identity Crisis - #4 (June 2019)


James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College. I spent fifteen years building a technology career in the retail, sports, media, and entertainment industries. I enjoyed my job, but a passion for books and stories had been missing for far too long. I’m a voracious reader in my favorite genres (thriller, suspense, contemporary, mystery, and historical fiction), as books transport me to a different world where I can immerse myself in so many fantastic cultures and places. I’m an avid genealogist who hopes to visit all the German, Scottish, Irish, and British villages my ancestors emigrated from in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind, and my body. I decided to pursue my passion by dusting off the creativity inside my head and drafting outlines for several novels. I quickly realized I was back in my element growing happier and more excited with life each day. My goal in writing is to connect with readers who want to be part of great stories and who enjoy interacting with authors. To get a strong picture of who I am, check out my author website or my blog. It’s full of humor and eccentricity, sharing connections with everyone I follow—all in the hope of building a network of friends across the world.

When I completed the first book, Watching Glass Shatter, I knew I’d stumbled upon my passion again, suddenly dreaming up characters, plots, and settings all day long. I chose my second novel, Father Figure, through a poll on my blog where I let everyone vote for their favorite plot and character summaries. It is with my third book, Academic Curveball, the first in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, where I immersed myself in a college campus full of so much activity, I could hardly stop thinking about new murder scenes or character relationships to finish writing the current story. Come join in the fun!

Connect with Jay:
Website Blog  |  Facebook (Author)  |  Facebook (Braxton Campus Mysteries)  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Pinterest Instagram  |  LinkedIn Amazon

Buy the book:

Friday, June 28, 2019



Robbie Jordan’s rustic country store is growing in popularity. But when a dead body appears, it turns out that Robbie’s home-style cooking attracts hungry customers—and murder!

While Robbie scrambles through breakfast orders for her expanding clientele at Pans ‘N Pancakes, tempers run as high as the sticky August heat in South Lick, Indiana. Real-estate developer Fiona Closs plans to build a towering luxury resort at one of the most scenic hilltops in Brown County, and not everyone can see the sunny side of the imposing proposition—including Robbie’s furious Aunt Adele, who doesn’t waste a minute concocting protests and road blockades. When tensions boil over and a vocal protester is silenced forever at the resort site, Robbie ditches the griddle to catch the killer. But if slashed tires are any indication, she’ll need to crack this case before her own aunt gets served something deadly next . . .

Includes Recipes for you to try!

Book Details:

Title: Strangled Eggs and Ham

Author: Maddie Day

Genre: cozy mystery

Series: A Country Store Mystery, book 6

Publisher: Kensington (June 25, 2019)

Print length: 304 pages

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours


Hey, there. This is Robbie Jordan, and I thought I’d tell you a little about myself.

People always ask why in heck I moved from Santa Barbara – the American Riviera, according to the Chamber of Commerce – to southern Indiana. Well, I had a pretty rotten ex-husband whom I married right out of college. I really needed a change of scenery after the divorce, and when my mom suggested I go visit Aunt Adele and see if I could find a job cooking, I jumped all over it. Sure I miss the Pacific, but Brown County is a sweet spot to live in. And it's not like the ocean went anywhere. I can always go back for a swim and lungfuls of salt air.

After my mom died (sniff) and I inherited some money, I was able to buy a country store full of antique cookware, which I now sell. I fixed up the place, doing the work myself, into a breakfast and lunch restaurant and named it Pans ‘N Pancakes. Corny, I know, but it’s become the community watering hole and I couldn’t be happier. I also created a few B&B rooms upstairs.

What do I do to relax? I've been doing puzzles since before I can remember. Words, their meanings, their shapes, it's always seemed like magic to me. I was a really early reader, and I've never seen a crossword grid I didn't want to solve. I’m also a cycling enthusiast. In Santa Barbara, it’s biking weather all year round, and even in the hottest days of summer and early fall you get a sea breeze. Everybody rides their bikes. Plus, environmentally it's a no-brainer  – you save the atmosphere and get your exercise at the same time.

We’re have a super hot August this year, and tempers are kind of steamy, too. Sadly, one of my B&B guests didn’t make it out alive. Adele seems to have gotten herself into a mess with protesting this new development going up. It’s already a dangerous mess, and I’m worried about her.

Gotta run – it’s time to flip some pancakes. Hope you stop by the store sometime. Be sure to say hi when you do!


Maddie Day writes the Country Store Mysteries and the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries. As Edith Maxwell, she writes the Quaker Midwife Mysteries, the Local Foods Mysteries, and award-winning short crime fiction. With eighteen novels in print and five more in production, Maxwell has been nominated for an Agatha Award six times. She lives north of Boston with her beau and two elderly cats, and gardens and cooks when she isn’t killing people on the page or wasting time on Facebook.

Connect with Maddie:
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook ( Edith Maxwell)  |  Facebook (Maddie Day)  |  Twitter ( Edith) Twitter (Maddie)  |  Goodreads Instagram 

Buy the book:
Amazon   |  Barnes & Noble

Wednesday, June 26, 2019



Secrets long buried surround the murder of teenage Melanie Tippitt. The daughter of a wealthy family in a small town, her lifeless body was found floating in Tippitt Pond in the summer of 1971. Six people were there that day, and one was convicted of her murder. Case closed.
Now, forty-five years later, Beth Russell, a freelance researcher and genealogist, is brought to the town by a lawyer who believes Russell is the daughter of Melanie Tippitt and long-lost heir to the Tippitt fortune. Soon Beth finds herself surrounded by people who want her gone as soon as possible, people with a great deal to lose. The more they push, the more determined Beth is to discover the truth. With the help of a handsome detective, Beth vows to uncover what happened that day at Tippitt Pond.

The ghostly presence of Melanie Tippitt, a stranger watching from the woods, and the discovery of secrets in Tippitt House make for a suspense-filled investigation where Beth discovers . . . a death at Tippit Pond changed everything.

Book Details:

Title: A Death at Tippitt Pond

Author: Susan Van Kirk

Genre: cozy mystery, amateur sleuth

Series: Sweet Iron Mysteries, book 1

Publisher: Encircle Publications
 (June 15, 2019)

Page count: 234 pages


A few of your favorite things: my children, my grandchildren, libraries, my small town, my friends, my editor.
Things you need to throw out: most of the contents of my closets, financial/legal papers from decades ago, unrecognizable cords from 1990s technology.

Things you need in order to write: quiet, my laptop, liquid, a good idea,
Things that hamper your writing: forgetting to turn off my phone, the doorbell, a sudden memory of something I forgot to do yesterday, playing bridge.

Things you love about writing: editing (former English teacher not much reformed), having written, solving plot problems, talking with people about books.
Things you hate about writing: promotion, promotion, promotion.

Easiest thing about being a writer: research—I love to learn new things.

Hardest thing about being a writer: patience with publishers and agents.

Things you love about where you live (the Midwest): the seasons, the people in my small town, the memories, the humorous material for books.
Things that make you want to move: the winters.

Words that describe you: reflective, disciplined, a detail person, loyal friend, helpful (early Girl Scout).
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: allergic to dogs.

Favorite music: Classic 60s and 70s rock.
Music that make your ears bleed: country, especially twangy.

Something you’re really good at: teaching.

Something you’re really bad at: anything that requires coordination; that would include all sports.

Things you always put in your books: a word or phrase from one of my children or grandchildren. They try to stump me.
Things you never put in your books: graphic violence or sex.

Things to say to an author: I stayed up until 2 a.m. reading your book. Couldn’t put it down.

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: 
I found a mistake on page 256 in the fourth line of your book. Seriously? No one caught it?

Best thing you’ve ever done: become a mother.

Biggest mistake: spending time on regrets.


Three May Keep a Secret

Marry in Haste

Death Takes No Bribes

The Locket: From the Casebook of TJ Sweeney


Susan Van Kirk lives at the center of the universe—the Midwest—and writes during the ridiculously cold, snowy, icy winters. Why leave the house and break something? Her Endurance mysteries are humorous cozies about a retired schoolteacher in the small town of Endurance who finds herself in the middle of murders. Her new Sweet Iron series about Beth Russell combines history and mystery in her debut, A Death at Tippitt Pond. Van Kirk taught for 44 years in high school and college, raised three children, has low blood pressure (a miracle after all that), and is blissfully retired.

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

Buy the book:
AmazonBarnes & Noble

Tuesday, June 25, 2019



No good deed goes unpunished in the Whisky Business cozy mystery series as distillery owner Abigail Logan uncovers dark secrets—and murder—at a local charity.

Photojournalist Abi Logan is finally ready to put her hectic career on hold and set down roots in the heart of the Scottish countryside. Studying the business and art of distilling whisky at Abbey Glen and volunteering at the Shepherd’s Rest women’s shelter in her spare time seem a surefire way to find the peace and stability she craves. It’s also the logical way to take her mind off her personal life. Abi’s business partner, Grant MacEwan, is facing a career-threatening disability, and as much as Abi longs to be there for him, he seems to prefer the company of a rival.

But as Abi becomes more involved with Shepherd’s Rest, she discovers that their refuge is elusive. When the shelter is rocked by a murder/suicide, Abi is outraged by the police’s lack of attention to these already marginalized women. Increasingly confident in her own skills as an investigator, Abi steps in to find out what the police will not: who left one young woman dead and another missing. But when more deadly deeds come to light, Abi must race to unravel the connections between the shelter’s benefactors and the women they have pledged to protect—and expose the killer before he strikes again.

Melinda Mullet’s delightful Whisky Business mysteries can be read together or separately.
Enjoy responsibly:

Single Malt Murder | Death Distilled | Deadly Dram | Died In The Wool

Book Details:

Title: Died in the Wool

Author: Melinda Mullet

Genre: Cozy/traditional mystery

Series: Whisky Business Mysteries, book 4

Publisher: Alibi

Published: (June 18, 2019

Print length: 278 pages

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours



Q: If you could talk to someone (dead), who would it be and what would you ask them?
A: Agatha Christie and I’d ask her everything I could think of about her writing and her life.

Q: If you could step back into a moment or day in time, where would you go?
A: The last full day I spent with my father. Specifically, Disney World 1973.

Q: If you had to do community service (or already do volunteer work), what would you choose? 
I have worked with a group called Room to Read for many years now.  They are a wonderful organization headquartered in San Francisco that supports literacy for children in developing countries. I give 5% of my annual earnings to support their indigenous literature programs. They publish children’s books and early readers in dozens of languages traditional publishers wouldn’t consider. They don’t just reprint Dr. Seuss, they cultivate local authors and illustrators to provide culturally relevant and meaningful language texts for young people. I love their moto "World Peace through Educated Children."

Q: If you could meet any author for coffee, who would you like to meet and what would you talk about?
A: JK Rowling and I would love to talk to her about the way she changed the pacing of novels not just for young people, but for everyone. She has made most children’s fiction of the past fifty years seem dull and pedantic.

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

A: I saw a quote once in a biography that described a gentleman from the 1800s as having retired to London “independent of financial considerations.” I thought that was such a wonderful turn of phrase. It has been my aspiration for years now. To live in the greatest city in the world without a thought about the cost.


5 things you need in order to write:
    •    tea
    •    flair pens in as many colors as possible
    •    my lap top
    •    the index cards where I keep my scene notes
    •    a good dog

5 things about you or 5 words to describe you:
My protagonist Abi Logan distills the essence of her suspects down to a three word snap shot. I’ll gladly take the benefit of two additional words.
    •    enthusiastic
    •    observant
    •    creative
    •    overbooked
    •    sometime anxious

5 favorite foods:
    •    peanuts
    •    cheese
    •    avocado,
    •    fish
    •    chips (fries or crisps)

5 things you always put in your books: 
    •    strong women
    •    good food
    •    travel
    •     coffee
    •    well crafted spirits

5 favorite places you’ve been: 
    •    London
    •    Paris
    •    Singapore
    •    Scotland/Ireland
    •    Venice

5 favorite books:

    •    Lord of the Rings
    •    Harry Potter
    •    Animal Farm

    •    Anything by Dame Agatha
    •    Heart of Darkness

5 living people you’d like to invite to dinner:

    •    JK Rowling, because she has changed the way people read
    •    Nick Mason because I love rock and roll and Pink Floyd still sounds great
    •    Lin Manuel Miranda because I’m a theatre buff and he’s brilliant
    •    Lin’s wife Vanessa Nadal, because she’s a scientist, a lawyer, and an all around fabulous
    •    Tom Hiddleston – just because I could.


Q: What’s your all-time favorite library?
A: Trinity College in Dublin. It takes your breath away. Bookshelves that extend up into the vaulted ceilings, burnished wood everywhere and those lovely rolling ladders for reaching hidden treasures. All that and the divine smell of wood soap dust and vanilla that permeates every good book horde.

Q: What’s one thing that very few people know about you?
A: I’m a Con woman! Not the Ocean’s 8 variety, but the kind I never knew existed until my teenage daughters began attending a variety of fan conventions up and down the Eastern seaboard. You meet fascinating people. It provides me with endless fodder for character sketches and it’s fun to step outside yourself for a day or two and run around in wild costumes. 

Q: What’s your favorite time of day?
A: Sunset on the beach -- toes in the sand, glass of wine in hand.

Q: What’s your favorite vacation spot?
A: Depends on my state of mind. London or the Caribbean.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Peanuts. Lightly salted.

Q: What’s your favorite beverage?
A: Whisky! What else? But I also like wine, and I drink a lot of tea!

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do when there’s nothing to do?
A: Read, of course!

Q: What’s your favorite candy bar?
A: Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut.

Q: What’s your favorite social media site? Would you rather tweet or post on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest . . .?
A: I like to tweet and post on Instagram. I’m a big believer in the adage that every picture tells a story. Watch for me @mulletmysteries and at #awriterseye.

Q: What’s your favorite color?
A: Shades of green – anything from turquoise to moss. 

Q: What’s one thing you never leave the house without?
A: Keys and lip gloss

Q: What is the wallpaper on your computer’s desktop?
A photograph I took on the beach in Hawaii at sunset.

Q: What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
How little what bothered me then, matters now.

Q: What movie genre do you prefer: drama, comedy, action, adventure, thriller, or horror? A: Comedy/Action. Avengers!

What is a pet peeve?
A: Apathetic people. I meet so many people, especially around Washington, who try to appear more sophisticated by being jaded. Nothing impresses them. But life is full of wonderful, amazing things. I’m unashamedly enthusiastic about the world. There’s just so much to see and enjoy.

Q: What do you collect?
A: First editions of classic mysteries. Signed if possible, but can’t always afford those!

Q: What book are you currently working on?

A: I am continuing to write books in the Whisky Business series as well as a separate project that is set in England in the 1930s. A mystery based loosely on my grandmother’s family. My gran was born in London in the late 1800’s. She was the daughter of a lamplighter who spent his evenings lighting the gas lamps of London and then had time to kill until he had to go back out at dawn to extinguish them all. He chose to fill that gap in time honored tradition and he and his wife ended up having 18 children who came of age in the war years and between. The family has some fascinating stories from my great uncles that died building the Burma road, to those that helped plan the evacuation of Dunkirk. There were journalists, artists, lawyers, secretaries and laborers, but I was most intrigued by the siblings we knew very little about. It gave me the idea for a mystery about a woman trying to discover why one set of twins out of a family of 18 went missing and are never spoken of. Almost as if the never existed and yet they clearly did. It’s a more historical mystery but the roots are very intimate and personal.

Q: What’s your latest recommendation for:
A: Food: Riced veggies. Such a time saver. I don’t eat meat so it’s very helpful to have a super quick way to knock out a ton of healthy vegetables.  Throw them in with canned tomatoes for a pasta sauce or make them into a chili.
Music: Loving Hozier’s new album and looking forward to Bruce Springsteen’s new effort.
Movie: Avengers Endgame.
Book: The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey.
Audiobook: Died in the Wool!
TV: Death in Paradise, anything on PBS mystery.
Netflix/Amazon Prime: Vera, Umbrella Academy, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Spies of Warsaw
Miscellaneous: Knitting! My daughter has hooked me. A great stress relieving exercise.


Melinda Mullet was born in Dallas and attended school in Texas, Washington D.C., England, and Austria. She spent many years as a practicing attorney before pursuing a career as a writer. Author of the Whisky Business Mystery series, Mullet is a passionate supporter of childhood literacy. She works with numerous domestic and international charities striving to promote functional literacy for all children. 

Melinda lives just outside of Washington, DC with her whisky-collecting husband, two extraordinary young women she is proud to call her daughters, and an obedience school drop out named Macallen.

Connect with Melinda:
Website Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram

Buy the book:

Sunday, June 23, 2019



Welcome to Leavensport, Ohio where DEATH takes a delicious turn!

Financial fraud of elderly villagers in Leavensport, an urban sprawl threat to the community, disastrous dates, cross-sell marketing gone wrong, and another murder? Jolie Tucker is ready to try dating again. Well, she has no choice—since her family auctioned her off to the highest bidder. Her best friend, Ava, has agreed to a double date, but both friends find out hidden secrets about their partners as well as deception by one of the village’s own, who will soon be found dead. This plot is sure to be spicy!

Book Details:

Title: Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Murder

Author: Jodi Rath

Genre: Culinary cozy mystery

Series: The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series, book 2

Publisher: MYS ED LLC (June 21, 2019)

Print length: 185 pages

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours



If you could be anything besides a writer, what would it be?
Teacher, own a purse boutique, own a bohemian jewelry boutique, own a cast iron skillet restaurant.

If you had to do community service (or already do volunteer work), what would you choose? Special Olympics—which I’ve done for many years! LOVE it!

If you could meet any author for coffee, who would you like to meet and what would you talk about?
Sara Paretsky, and I’d just sit and let her tell me EVERYTHING about her life. She does the most in depth research for her books, and I’m completely obsessed with her V.I. Warshawski novels!

If you could choose a fictional town to live in what would it be and from what book? Leavensport, Ohio—from my series—The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series.

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

Florence, Italy



5 favorite possessions: 
    •    books
    •    phone for music and e-books 
    •    kickboxing bag 
    •    purses
    •    beaded jewelry

5 things you need in order to write:
    •    cats 
    •    background noise like TV or music  
    •    staring at my woods out my window when deep in thought  
    •    books surrounding me
    •    iced tea or hot tea  

5 things you love about writing:
    •    cats
    •    cast iron skillet recipes  
    •    love 
    •    tolerance
    •    a fun mystery to solve

5 things you never want to run out of
    •    chocolate
    •    tea
    •    pizza
    •    books
    •    great TV shows and movies to watch—not necessarily in that order! 

5 things about you or 5 words to describe you: 
    •    fierce
    •    moxy 
    •    risk-taker 
    •    lover of life  
    •     bad ass  


What’s your all-time favorite place?
Home—wherever my husband and cats are.

What’s your all-time favorite memory?
Meeting my husband for the first time.

What’s your all-time favorite movie?

Pretty Woman.

What’s your all-time favorite author?
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Agatha Christie, Sara Paretsky, Emily Dickinson, Arthur Golden, Elaine Viets, Janet Evanovich, Donna Leon, Sue Grafton, I really like myself as an author too!

What’s one thing that very few people know about you?
I’m a kickboxer. I worked up to a brown belt (one lower than the black belt) but tore a ligament in both ankles sparring and now do it at home in my basement regularly.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Lack of open-mindedness and lack of tolerance in some people.

What’s the loveliest sight you’ve ever seen?
Looking out at my woods sitting on my deck or in my office.

What’s the most beautiful sound you’ve heard?

 My cats meowing or my husband’s voice. I also love to hear wind blowing and the sound of a bright rainbow.

What’s your favorite meal?
Fried hash browns made in a cast iron skillet with a little bit of onion and garlic in them.

What’s your favorite song?
Anything Tom Waits, Sia, or Aurora.

What’s your favorite thing to do?
Read, write, research, draw, acrylic/oil painting, kickboxing, hanging with my hubby and cats, watching TV or movies, listening to music.

What’s your favorite snack?
Queso, chocolate, chips.

What’s your favorite dessert?
Pineapple Upside-Down cake made in cast iron skillet.

What’s your favorite beverage?
Coke, Pepsi, hot or cold tea.

What’s your favorite ice cream?
Cherry cordial.

What’s your favorite thing to do when there’s nothing to do? 
Hang out with my hubby and cats.

What’s your favorite quote?
 “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

What’s your favorite candy bar?
Milky Way.

What’s your favorite movie snack?

Popcorn and Sour Patch Kids.

What’s your favorite social media site? Would you rather tweet or post on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest?
 I like them all, but I use FB more than anything.

What’s your favorite color?
 Grass green and chocolate brown.

What’s one thing you never leave the house without?
HUGE purse with all my stuff!

What drives you crazy?
Lack of tolerance.

What is the wallpaper on your computer’s desktop?

The woods outside my home on my phone, and on my laptop a collage of all my cats, me, and my hubby.

What do you know now that you wish you knew then?

 Life’s a journey, not a race to be won.

What movie genre do you prefer: drama, comedy, action, adventure, thriller, or horror? 

What is your obsession?
Hubby, cats, writing, reading, art, music, good TV and movies, kickboxing


What is a pet peeve?
Nails on a chalkboard---OOOOHHHH OR when people move my things around—everything has a place for me.

What are your idiosyncrasies?
See above. LOL

What book are you currently working on?
 Thanksgiving holiday book coming out 11/18/19 called Turkey Basted to Death.

What’s your all-time favorite picture of yourself?
This picture of me in my new tee that my hubby got me for my 46th birthday on 5/25/19—we just got three new five week old kittens making it a total of nine in our home now and the tee reads “I was normal three cats ago” with the three little faces—all of our girls are black cats! LOL

What do you collect?
Purses, beaded, funky jewelry—nine cats—is that a collection?

What smells remind you of your childhood?
Homemade noodles


What author would you most like to review one of your books?
 Leslie Budewitz


What’s your all-time favorite place you’ve visited?

What’s your latest recommendation for:
Food: cast iron jalapeño cheddar cornbread—Hey, there’s a delicious, spicy recipe in the back of the book Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Murder—she says tongue in cheek!
Music: Aurora—anything Aurora—or anything Sia—or anything Tom Waits.
Movie: Good Will Hunting.
Book: Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden—the imagery in the book is out of this world!
Audiobook: I don’t listen to them. On another note though—for music—don’t just listen to Tom Waits—you HAVE to see him perform in person!
TV: Big Little Lies, True Detective, Homeland, Bachelor—the entire franchise, So You Think You Can Dance, World of Dance.
Netflix/Amazon Prime: Happy Valley, Sherlock, Absentia.
Miscellaneous: Huge purses—large totes to carry books, tablets, phones, make-up, highlighters, note cards, Dollar Tree squeezes for when I’m thinking, small leather journals to jot down notes anywhere, pens, phone, wireless headset for listening to tunes, big leather wallet filled with crumpled up receipts and papers with thoughts written on them and coupons that expired three years ago.

What books do you currently have published?
Pineapple Upside Down Murder
Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Murder 


 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 nine cats.

Connect with Jodi:

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Bookbub  |  Newsletter

Buy the book: 


Friday, June 21, 2019



Sure to delight fans of Betty Hechtman and Maggie Sefton, A Crafter Hooks a Killer is the second installment in Holly Quinn’s Handcrafted mysteries.

Community Craft proprietor Sammy Kane suspects that a tantalizing thread links the deaths of her best friend and a bestselling author. But can she weave together the clues?

Samantha “Sammy” Kane is settling into her new life in idyllic Heartsford, Wisconsin, running her late friend Kate Allen’s craft shop, Community Craft when one early June day, bestselling crochet author Jane Johnson visits Heartsford. Captivated by Community Craft, Jane devotes a chapter in her new book, Behind the Seams, to the store. Sammy is honored, though satisfaction quickly turns to shock when she finds Jane strangled to death―her cold hands clutching a copy of her most recently published book, with the words “THE END” raggedly scratched into the cover.

Heavens to Etsy! Not only must Sammy contend with the author’s inauspicious demise, she has to untie some knotty details from her own past. It turns out Kate’s death was not what it seemed, and instead somehow hooked to Jane Johnson’s demise. Handsome Detective Liam Nash is on the “skein,” more than happy to see the shop owner again, if less than enamored by her sleuthing interventions. But this was Sammy’s best friend―she has to know.

Fortunately, Sammy has a “lace” in the hole. As a child, she formed the S.H.E. detective team with her cousin, Heidi, and her sister, Ellie. Having already reconstituted their partnership, the S.H.E. team searches for a pattern behind the latest death. As the case starts to unravel, will Sammy and team be able to sidestep Liam quick enough to stitch together the clues?

Book Details:

Title: A Crafter Hooks a Killer 

Author: Holly Quinn

Genre: Cozy mystery

Series: Handcrafted Mystery series, book 2

Publisher: Crooked Lane (June 11, 2019)

Print length: 274 pages

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours



Things you need in order to write: quiet, solitary space.
Things that hamper your writing: life, or interruptions in my writing schedule

Things you love about writing: creative outlet, surprises that show up in the text.
Things you hate about writing: working on multiple books at one time during series work.

Things you love about where you live: I live in a log cabin . . . it’s a dream.
Things that make you want to move: I’d love to be closer to the sea.

Things you never want to run out of: toilet paper.
Things you wish you’d never bought: clothes online that don’t fit and are a pain to return

Favorite foods: things I miss…REAL bread. I have celiac so I miss the old days when I could eat anything I wanted.
Things that make you want to throw up: Jell-O, or anything that moves funny in my mouth.

Favorite music: Pink. She is transparent and gets me on the treadmill.
Music that make your ears bleed: thrash music (is that a thing?).

Favorite smell: my husband wearing cologne.
Something that makes you hold your nose: vomit.

Something you’re really good at: I’m a jack of trades, master of none
Something you’re really bad at: mechanical issues

Something you wish you could do: travel more.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: clean toilets haha!

Things you’d walk a mile for: my husband or my children.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: politics or people arguing.

Things you always put in your books: flowers and nature
Things you never put in your books: atheists.

Things to say to an author: I loved your book.

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: I think I can write a book, but I don’t need to edit it. I’m that good. (someone actually said this to me!!) #clueless

Favorite books: mystery or intrigue
Books you would ban: graphic novels for kids.

Things that make you happy: writing, reading, gardening, painting, anything creative . . . 

Things that drive you crazy: people that aren’t honest.

Best thing you’ve ever done: publishing
Biggest mistake: going to school for something other than writing.

Most daring thing you’ve ever done: publishing and speaking in public. Putting yourself out in the world for people to judge, critique, and harshly review can be daunting!

Something you chickened out from doing: speaking in public or singing in public



Holly Quinn has published two stand-alone fiction novels in another persona. She graduated from Carroll University in Wisconsin with a Bachelor of Science in business and a minor in marketing. This is her second Handcrafted mystery.

Connect with Holly:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads 

Buy the book:

Amazon  |  Barnes & NobleHolly Quinn

Wednesday, June 19, 2019



The Savior and the Singing Machine is the hilarious new novel by Jeremy Leven, known for his screenplays and/or directing such films as The Notebook (Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling), Don Juan DeMarco (Marlon Brando, Johnny Depp, Faye Dunaway), and The Legend of Bagger Vance (Will Smith, Matt Damon, Robert Redford, director).

It’s the tale of a man who abandons all to search for Perfect Love.  The book follows Dr. Max Pincus across New England as he seeks a beautiful young woman, rumored to be the new Messiah – and, therefore, about as perfect as Perfect Love can get. 

Along the way, Pincus attracts a ragtag group of self-proclaimed apostles, among them Rosalie, who describes herself as “a” though not “the” Virgin Mother; Theo Wainwright, a demented antiques dealer seeking justification for his wife’s death; and Florence, the proprietor of an unpretentious Bed and Breakfast who yearns for absolutely anything else. There’s also Florence’s rather clueless husband, Sparky, and his literate brother, Elliott, the inventors of the gigantic and lethal Singing Machine, a device with a will of its own and a continually morphing and haunting song for which all of the above seek the true meaning.

Add to this mix Sister Gloria Gloria, a nun who keeps the group on a devout, if fiercely subjective, spiritual path, as well as several other irrepressible characters who have set sail for answers to the unanswerable, and you have the makings of a provocative tale – one that challenges many long-held beliefs about faith, religion, and the Scriptures. 

Book Details:

Title: The Savior and the Singing Machine

Author: Jeremy Leven

Genre: Comedy, Fiction

Publisher: iCreator Press (December 2018)

Print length: 448 pages


Jeremy, what inspired you to write?
I set out many years ago to write three novels, each of which, while not related by story, were essentially about God, Satan and the Messiah. I pretty much knew the stories to begin with, and to some extent the characters, but, as one writes, the characters take on a life of themselves. Essentially, they take over and write the story.

The Savior is about a man in search of perfect love. In his pursuit, he leaves it all behind–including his wife and grown children. When he hears that the Messiah may have returned for the Second Coming, and that she is a beautiful young woman, he decides that this is about as perfect as you can get for love. Along the way, he encounters a number of people, each of whom has his or her own agenda for meeting this “Savior,” and soon he finds himself with what might be called “apostles.”  Each of them is not only seeking to be saved, but also to determine if this woman is, in fact, the Messiah. The complication on their journey is a very large, strange machine that sings its own haunting song every night. This song brings death to any who enter the machine while it sings. The group ultimately hopes to learn the meaning of this song, and of the Singing Machine, from the Savior.

Are any of the characters based on real people? 
I’ve made my living in film by inventing rich and engaging characters. The same is true for The Savior–I made up all the characters from whole cloth. I’ve never met anyone like Sparky, and definitely never met anyone like Sister Gloria Gloria. I get a great deal of pleasure from inventing individuals to people my stories. When I’m writing, I feel that I’m only a conduit. Ideas, characters, stories come somehow from up above, course through my fingers, and end up on the page. I have no idea how this happens. As proof, I often find myself laughing my head off when something funny comes, or have tears streaming down my cheeks when it’s moving, because it’s all new to me.

Which of your books are currently in print?
My first novel, Creator, was published in 1980 and released as a film of the same title in 1985. My second novel, Satan, His Psychotherapy and Cure by the Unfortunate Dr. Kassler, J.S.P.S., was published in 1982 and filmed as Crazy as Hell in 2002. And The Savior and the Singing Machine was just released in 2018.

Will The Savior also be made into a movie?
Yes, I expect to start working on the screenplay early next year, and it will be a “major motion picture.”  At least, that’s the intention.

What do you think is the most difficult aspect of writing a novel?

I think anyone can write a novel. But I don’t think anyone can come up with a great story and rich and engaging characters. Unfortunately, this takes a gift, and that comes from above. Some are luckier than others. But, if you think you might have the gift, then you should listen to others who have experience at this –editors, other novelists, readers. Then go back at it. It requires great persistence and can’t be pushed. Each day, every writer faces the greatest horror he or she can face – the blank page.

Do you have a writing routine?
My routine really does vary.  I wrote Satan in one three-month non-stop sitting (in pencil and on yellow legal pads). It took over thirty years to write The Savior and The Singing Machine, largely because I was busy doing films, but then spent two years working four to eight hours a day finishing the novel. Having five children growing up and a wife working full-time also has a way of curtailing writing time. However, there are times when I will get a thought, or listen to a piece of music, or read something, and I find myself inspired and go immediately to the computer and start writing, not infrequently long into the night and early morning.

Do you write every day?
I try to write every day, but rarely do so. I write in bursts.

What’s more important — characters or plot? 
Plot comes from character. It’s an iron-clad rule in both film and fiction. Unless one is writing a comic book or effects film, or a non-fiction book, it’s all about people – rich, interesting, conflicted, identifiable people, people who you want to know and stay with. Plots come out of who they are and how they interact.

What’s your biggest pet peeve about writing?
Facing the blank page. It never ceases to be terrifying.

Do you have a favorite quote?
“Throughout all of history and the arts, nothing great has been accomplished without passion.”
– Hegel.

What are you working on now?
My wife died a year ago from pancreatic cancer. For three years, I did absolutely nothing but care for her in every way imaginable. I am writing now about what a caretaker for a person with terminal cancer goes through. Strangely, there are many books about caretaking for a dementia or Alzheimer’s spouse or parent, and many books written by patients fighting to stay alive, but not a single book about what a caretaker goes through. I am also writing a play about Francis I of France during the Renaissance for a theater in Paris. And, finally, I’m writing a screenplay for Tom Hanks about a well-off middle-class family in 2009 in New York city who find themselves homeless and get into -- and never out of -- the welfare system, of which the film is an indictment.


Jeremy Leven, author of The Savior and the Singing Machine, is a highly-acclaimed screenwriter, novelist, and movie director. His novels, published in 17 languages, include Creator and Satan: His Psychotherapy and Cure by the Unfortunate Dr. Kassler, J.S.P.S. He has written the screenplays for The Notebook, Creator, The Legend of Bagger Vance, My Sister's Keeper, and Real Steel, among others. In addition, he wrote and directed Don Juan DeMarco and Girl on a Bicycle. Leven was educated at St. John's College, Harvard University, University of Connecticut, and Yale Medical School where he was a fellow in the Department of Psychiatry's Child Study Center. He has also been a Harvard faculty member, a Professor of Psychopharmacology, Director of a Mental Health Center, and Director of Drug Treatment and Methadone Programs for Western Massachusetts. Leven divides his time between homes in Connecticut and Manhattan. He is currently working on a non-fiction book as well as a screenplay for Tom Hanks.

Connect with Jeremy:

Facebook  |  Goodreads

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Monday, June 17, 2019



Cole Haufner has no equal as a professional MMA fighter. At the peak of his success, Cole suffers a horrible personal tragedy. His grief deepens when his brother, Butch, a Delta Force operator, goes missing. Desperate to find Butch, Cole travels back to his childhood home in southeastern China and the Shaolin Temple where he was raised. 

When Cole meets his brother's Delta teammate, code name Hammer, his fame and personal agenda collide with the Delta unit's mission to recover an invention that could transform the human race. It could also see its downfall, if the pursuing North Korean agents find it first. 

Cole's spiral downward approaches madness as a family secret is revealed, one that could force him to choose between his brother and one of the most important, and potentially deadliest, discoveries in modern human history.

Book Details:

Title: Dark Spiral Down

Author’s name:  Michael Houtz

Genre:  Thriller

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press (May 8, 2019)

Print length: 376 pages

On tour with: Pump Up Your Book


A few of your favorite things: puppies, children’s laughter, good friends.
Things you need to throw out: nearly my entire wardrobe, Internet troll responses

Things you need in order to write: Google, the book’s movie in my head, full stomach.
Things that hamper your writing: social media pings, my dog’s leash, doorbells

Things you love about writing: creativity, reader reactions, zero commute.
Things you hate about writing: editing while I write, computers freezing/lost files, the actual earnings per hour spent creating.

Easiest thing about being a writer: working whenever inspiration strikes
Hardest thing about being a writer: malicious criticism

Things you love about where you live: the great outdoors, the people, the sunshine.
Things that make you want to move: people migrating here from certain parts of the country who bring their poor choices with them; reduction in personal freedoms.

Things you never want to run out of: ideas, family time, Hot Tamale candy.
Things you wish you’d never bought: those damned golf clubs. The jeep I barely took offroad

Favorite foods: Crawfish ettoufe, crab legs, anything cow.
Things that make you want to throw up: coconut, green beans, gas station sushi.

Favorite beverage: DR Pepper
Something that gives you a pickle face: that Green juice my wife makes.

Favorite smell: home-baked bread.

Something that makes you hold your nose: changing a diaper pail.

Something you’re really good at: assessing a situation
Something you’re really bad at: ignoring bad behavior

Something you wish you could do: draw.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: bite my fingernails.

Something you like to do: fishing
Something you wish you’d never done: flaming shots of Jaegger.

People you consider as heroes: our women and men in uniform
People with a big L on their foreheads: hypocrits, bullies.

Last best thing you ate: Pop-Tarts.
Last thing you regret eating: Pop-Tarts.

Things you’d walk a mile for: good book, a kiss from my wife, a friend in need.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: politics, my dog’s GI disturbances.

Things you always put in your books: detailed fight scenes, good triumphing.

Things you never put in your books: cats.

Things to say to an author: I’m a huge fan.

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: Did they publish your rough draft?

Favorite places you’ve been: Vienna, London, Budapest.

Places you never want to go to again: Paris, Jamaica.

Favorite things to do: traveling, shooting, camping
Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: the dentist, PTA meetings.

Things that make you happy: on-time flights, tacos, good customer service
Things that drive you crazy: being late, open-mouth chewers.

Most embarrassing moment: falling off stage in front of 25,000 people
Proudest moment: watching my 3-year-old son escort a crying toddler from entrapment on a McDonald’s playground.

Biggest lie you’ve ever told: “I’ll never become an author.”

A lie you wish you’d told: “Those pants totally fit.”

Best thing you’ve ever done: marry the girl of my dreams.

Biggest mistake: waiting 30 years to pursue writing full-time.

The last thing you did for the first time: publish a novel.

Something you’ll never do again: wait on a dream.



Anger born of helplessness rose in his chest. In contrast to Master Li’s placating tone, Cole straightened to his full height and stared into the man’s face. “Let me guess, more 14K cowards?”

Another man stepped forward and cocked his pistol’s hammer. “I show you coward.”

As at the Crowne Plaza earlier, Cole refused to back off, even in the face of impending conflict. “The coward is the man who needs a gun.”

The other with the shotgun pointing at Cole’s chest stood only some seven or eight feet away. “You will come with us now!”

“Please. Violence is forbidden here,” Master Li spoke again. “The Temple is sacred. We cannot have this type of behavior.”

“Maybe you don’t hear so good,” the leader sneered. “He comes with us whether you approve or not.”

“He is a famous American! If you take him, the government will arrest anyone involved. They will have no choice but to hold immediate trials and executions.” Master Li cupped his hands together and held them against his chest.

“Famous American,” the man chuckled. “If you are so famous, what are you doing here then, huh?”

Cole stared straight into the man’s eyes. He took several steps toward the shotgun-wielding thug. “How about I show you?”

Excerpt from Dark Spiral Down. Copyright © 2019 by Michael Houtz. Reproduced with permission from Michael Houtz. All rights reserved.


After a career in medicine, Mike succumbed to the call to hang up his stethoscope and pursue his other passion as a writer of fast-paced thrillers. A rabid fan of authors such as Clancy, Mark Greaney, Vince Flynn, and Brad Thor, Mike loves series writing with strong characters, fast pacing and international locations, all of which explode into action in his debut novel, a 2017 Zebulon Award winner. When not at the keyboard, he can be found on the firing range, traveling for research across the globe, or trying out the latest dry-fly pattern on a Gold Medal trout stream. He lives at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.

Connect with Mike:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Buy the book: