Monday, July 29, 2019



When I first met Susie, she appeared to be a normal, happily-married woman dealing with tragedy.

Then, I uncovered her secrets.

While I could understand everything that she’d done, I could never approve.

But, knowing what she was capable of, it became clear that if I was going to survive her, I had to play by her rules.

And, the first and most important rule is… leave no singing bones.

Book Details:

Title: Eye for Eye

Author’s name: JK Franko

Genre: Crime, suspense

Series: Talion Series

Publisher: Talion Publishing (June 22, 2019)

Print length: 434 pages


Easiest thing about being a writer: storytelling.
Hardest thing about being a writer: marketing.

Things you never want to run out of: toilet paper.
Things you wish you’d never bought: Diaper Genie.

Things you love about writing: google: “JK Franko Chapter 19”
Things you hate about writing: characters with minds of their own

Words that describe you: complex.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: aloof.

Something you wish you could do: stop the voices.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: turn a blind eye.

Things you’d walk a mile for: one of her kisses.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: a narcissist.



When I try to piece together how this whole mess began, a part of me thinks it may have started over thirty years ago. At least the seeds were planted that far back, in the early 1980s. What happened then, at that summer camp in Texas, set the stage for everything that was to come.
Odd, how something so remote in time and geography continues to impact me here, today.
Sometimes I try to imagine her, how she felt—that eleven year-old girl—as she ran, stumbling and tripping through the woods that night. I try to put myself in her shoes. When I do, I wonder if she was frightened.
Did she understand the consequences of what she’d gotten herself into? I imagine it felt otherworldly to her, like a dream. But not a good dream. No, one of the bad ones—the ones that make your heart machine-gun as you try to outrun some dark thing that’s chasing you. But the faster you try to run, the slower you go, your legs feeling leaden, clumsy, useless.
Panic sets in. Tears of frustration form. Fear takes hold and won’t let go. You open your mouth to scream but realize, to your horror, that you’re paralyzed. It’s not that you can’t scream; you can’t even breathe. Not a dream—a nightmare.
Then again, all that may simply be my imagination. It could just be me projecting what I might have felt onto Joan. Maybe she wasn’t scared at all.
True, it was dark out. The night smelled of rain, but there was no lightning, only the far-off rumble of thunder hinting at a distant storm. There were no trail lights, no visibility but for the moon peeking out intermittently from behind a patchwork of clouds. But, Joan had been down this trail before. She was running toward the main cabin.
She had been at Camp Willow for almost two full weeks. She had been up and down that trail at least ten times a day, every day. Of course, that was during the day, and always with her buddy, or a camp counselor (the children called them troop leaders). Joan had never been on the trail at night. And never alone.
Maybe I imagine Joan was scared because, as an adult, I believe that she should have been. I would have been terrified.
Excerpt from Eye For Eye by JK Franko.  Copyright © 2019 by JK Franko. Reproduced with permission from JK Franko. All rights reserved.


J.K. Franko was born and raised in Texas at a time when what he really wanted to do in life—writing and film—were not considered legitimate jobs. His Cuban-American parents believed there were only three acceptable career paths for a male child: doctor, lawyer, and architect.

After a disastrous first year of college pre-Med, he ended up getting a BA in philosophy (not acceptable), then he went to law school (salvaging the family name).

Franko was on law journal. His work was cited by courts, and he was recognized on the National Law Journal’s “Worth Reading” list—which for law is the equivalent to a top review in the New York Times.

While moving up the big law firm ladder, Franko also published a non-fiction book and a number of articles.

It was his wife who pushed him to write novels. And, after thousands of hours writing, and seven or eight literary miscarriages over the course of eighteen years, he completed his first book, finally launching his career as a writer of fiction.

Ironically, although he started writing fiction before any of his three children were born, they were all old enough to see and remember their father’s first book launch.

J.K. Franko now lives with his wife and children in South Florida with their six dogs and one cat.

Connect with the author:
  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Buy the book:

Saturday, July 27, 2019



Jules—former beatnik, hippie, experimental therapist, and now editor—is having one hell of a year. First, an old friend dies. Then his wife announces her retirement (and without her income, they’ll have to leave New York). Finally, Ralston—lifelong friend and devil’s advocate—shows up at their door in the midst of his own existential crisis . . . and apparently considering suicide.

Jules has no idea how to deal, so the two men set off on a road trip—to find a new home for Jules and Ritz, and possibly Rals.

Monkey Temple is a coming-of-old-age adventure about two best friends and rivals making one last attempt to rectify past failures and give meaning to their futures before it’s too late.

Book Details:

Title: Monkey Temple

Author: Peter Gelfan

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Publisher: Adelaide Books (February 2019)

Print length: 325 pages


A Day in the Life

When I was asked to write about a typical day in my life, my first thought was that it would make for awfully boring reading. Get up, breakfast, sit down in front of my computer and write or edit. Read a bit. Answer emails, talk to a friend or two. Ho-hum. My publicist calls about my appearance on the Tonight Show? When pigs fly over the moon. Clearly that sort of blog wasn’t what I was being asked for.

Which brings us to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. You probably read about it in your high school physics text (or were supposed to), but W.B. Yeats explains it much closer to home and heart:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre  
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world . . .

As we grow up and then older, entropy’s relentless pecking takes on very personal meaning, especially when the things falling apart begin to include ourselves. There’s no escaping the process, but you can counteract it by putting things together. So I try, in every one of my boringly typical days:
•    To learn something new about writing. This often comes from tackling a problem that I or an editing client is having with a sentence, paragraph, character, or story. It’s rarely an isolated case, and usually there’s a general principle at work.
•    To learn something new about another topic I’m interested in. For me, this often entails reading scientific research or philosophical insight into the workings of human cognition—which of course ends up relating to writing.
•    To strengthen my bond with my wife, Rita. Pleasurable routines are part of it, but we also try to discover new things about each other, not so much by talking about ourselves as by discussing something different we did, saw, heard about, read about, remembered, or thought that day.
•    To contact, often though email, far-flung friends.
•    To go somewhere new in or around the city or meet someone new (tough to do every day).

Sure, there’s also travel and vacations, but building new order against the encroaching chaos hits me as something I need to work on every day.

Yeats’s falcon is long flown. But injecting atypicality into a typical day is one way to fledge some new ones.


Peter Gelfan was born in New York City, grew up in New Haven and the New York City suburbs, and attended Haverford College until he turned on, tuned in, and dropped out. He has traveled widely and lived in Spain, England, Florida, and Vermont. Found Objects, his debut novel, was published in 2013. He co-wrote the screenplay for Cargo, les Hommes Perdus, which was produced and released in France in 2010. He lives with his wife, Rita McMahon, in New York City, where he continues to write, work as a freelance book editor, and tutor writing in a public high school as part of PEN’s Writers in the Schools program.

Connect with the author:

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads 

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  

Thursday, July 25, 2019



Mystery with a splash of romance . . .

Chicago Tribune reporters Emma and Grace have been best friends since college despite coming from different worlds. When Grace is assigned to cover an annual charity ball and auction being held at a lakeside mansion and her boyfriend bails on her, she brings Emma as her plus one. The night is going smoothly until Emma finds the host’s brother unconscious in the study. Though at first it is thought he was tipsy and stumbled, it soon becomes clear more is afoot, as the wall safe is empty and a three-million-dollar diamond necklace is missing. With visions of becoming ace investigative journalists, Emma and Grace set out to solve the mystery, much to the chagrin of the handsome local detective.

Book Details:

Title: The Great Jewel Robbery

Author: Elizabeth McKenna   

Genre: Cozy mystery

Series: A Front Page Mystery, book 1

Publisher: Elizabeth McKenna (May 28, 2019)

Print length: 204 pages

On tour with: Pump Up Your Book


Things you love about writing: getting lost in a different world.
Things you hate about writing: feeling like I’m not good enough.

Easiest thing about being a writer: writing dialog.

Hardest thing about being a writer: getting readers to notice your book.

Things you love about where you live: it is quiet, safe, and near a beautiful lake.

Things that make you want to move: there are no consistently good restaurants and no decent clothing shops.

Things you never want to run out of: coffee, chocolate, toilet paper.

Things you wish you’d never bought: every bottle and jar of useless wrinkle cream in my bathroom drawer (also every useless bottle of foundation).

Words that describe you: introvert, honest, sensitive.

Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: introvert, sensitive, moody.

Favorite foods: chocolate chip cookies, french fries, cheese, bacon.

Things that make you want to throw up: pickles, mustard, mushrooms, oysters, liverwurst.

Favorite music: anything from the 1980s.
Music that make your ears bleed: certain heavy metal/rap/hip-hop.

Favorite beverage: red wine.

Something that gives you a pickle face: whiskey.

Favorite smell: lilac.

Something that makes you hold your nose: poop.

Something you’re really good at: being a mother.

Something you’re really bad at: sports.

Last best thing you ate: gluten-free chocolate chip cookies made with very expensive GF flour.
Last thing you regret eating: a box of Milk Duds in less than ten minutes.

Things you’d walk a mile for: My family and friends.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: politics.

Things you always put in your books: moonlight.

Things you never put in your books: lengthy descriptions.

Things to say to an author: I’ll buy your book.

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: I’d buy your book, but I don’t like to read.

Favorite places you’ve been: Italy.

Places you never want to go to again: Orlando, Florida.

Favorite books: in no particular order: YA, mystery, romance, fantasy.

Books you would ban: none of them.

Favorite things to do: reading, writing, hiking, watching movies.

Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: speaking in front of a large audience.

Things that make you happy: my family, nature, meditation, sleeping.

Things that drive you crazy: liars, mean people, politics, my dog.

Best thing you’ve ever done: had children.

Biggest mistake: marrying my first husband.


Elizabeth McKenna’s love of books reaches back to her childhood, where her tastes ranged from Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys to Stephen King’s horror stories. She had never read a romance novel until one Christmas when her sister gave her the latest bestseller by Nora Roberts. She was hooked from page one (actually, she admits it was the first love scene). She combined her love of history, romance, and a happy ending to write Cera’s Place and Venice in the Moonlight. Her contemporary romance novel, First Crush Last Love, is loosely based on her life during her teens and twenties. The Great Jewel Robbery is her debut cozy mystery, and she hopes readers will like it as much as they have enjoyed her romances.

Elizabeth lives in Wisconsin with her understanding husband, two beautiful daughters, and a sassy Labrador. When she isn’t writing, working, or being a mom, she’s sleeping.


Connect with Elizabeth:

Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, July 23, 2019



In a small town like Oakwood, Ohio, everyone knows everyone else’s business—except for Charley Carpenter’s standoffish new neighbors, who tend to keep to themselves. But behind closed doors, Paxton Sharpe’s habit of screaming bloody murder at all hours of the day keeps Charley awake all night. Coupled with the stress of the increasingly delayed expansion of her shop, Old Hat Vintage Fashions, the insomnia is driving Charley crazy. Her only distraction? The local paper’s irreverent new advice column, “Ask Jackie.”

Jackie’s biting commentary usually leaves Charley and her employees rolling on the floor, but her latest column is no laughing matter. An oddly phrased query hinting at a child in peril immediately puts Charley on high alert. After arriving home to a bloodcurdling scream next door, she follows the noise into the basement and makes a grisly discovery: the body of Judith Sharpe’s adult daughter.

With Detective Marcus Trenault off in Chicago, Charley decides to take matters into her own hands. Convinced that the murder is connected to the desperate plea for help in “Ask Jackie,” she embarks on a twisted investigation that has her keeping up with the Sharpes—before a killer strikes again.

Book Details:

Title: The Codebook Murders

Author: Leslie Nagel

Genre: Cozy mystery

Series: The Oakwood Book Club Mysteries, book 4

Publisher: Random House Alibi (May 21st, 2019)

Print length: E book and audio formats only, 245 pages


A Day in the Life of Amateur Sleuth Charley Carpenter

Suburbia is murder, my friends.

I know this, and in the most intimate and shocking way possible. And yet, I simply cannot leave well enough alone. Or maybe it’s the murders that won’t leave me alone. I’m just a shopkeeper, for pity’s sake. Maybe it’s the red hair . . .

My name is Charlotte Carpenter, aka Charley. I am the humble owner of Old Hat Vintage Fashions, the trendiest boutique in my hometown of Oakwood, a wealthy, insular suburb of Dayton, Ohio. Not exactly your first pick as a likely locale for a series of gruesome murders, you say?

You’d be dead wrong.

A few months ago, I helped the police solve a baffling case involving the exclusive Agathas Book Club, of which I used to be a member—before most of the membership was knocked off, with crime scenes arranged to copy books from our murder mystery reading list. Specifically, I found myself working intimately with smoking hot Detective Marcus Trenault.

Ever since that first investigation, I’ve encountered more dead bodies than any amateur sleuth has a right to expect. I love it. And I’m good at it, too—solving puzzles, tracking down information, going where the police cannot. My secret? I listen. And I remember what I’ve heard, making connections that help me to discover the truth.

Before you ask, the fact that I’ve had a major thing for Marc since we were in high school had no influence whatsoever on my affinity for all things murder. None at all. Of course, now that we’re in a committed relationship, I’ve taken advantage of his expertise and professional contacts to solve more than one mystery.

Marc bought the house next door and is busy renovating it for us to live in—together! He is the sweetest man. He didn’t want me to have to choose between him and my father Bobby, who is confined to a wheelchair. Although our amazing live-in caregiver Lawrence loves Bobby and treats him so well, I felt guilty about leaving. In the end, my father was the one who convinced me to get out there and live my life. After all, I turn twenty-nine next week. And since I will literally be right next door, our little family circle stays intact. Morning coffee on the back deck with all three of my favorite guys—life just keeps getting better and better.

In addition to running my shop, preparing to move in with my boyfriend, and solving the occasional crime, I’ve got a new pastime: The Oakwood Mystery Book Club. Frankie Bright—we’ve been BFF’s since junior high and partners on more capers than I care to think about! Anyway, this new book club was her idea. She was in the Agathas with me when all that craziness went down last year. If it hadn’t been for her help, I might not have wriggled out of that situation in one piece.

Our new club will still focus on reading mysteries; female authors only, of course. But in addition, I somehow found myself agreeing to let the entire membership help me with my investigations. What was I thinking? As it turns out, the six of us each brings something unique to the table. And we’ve found that drawing inspiration from the books we’re reading helps us to crack cases. For example, Death on the Nile by Dame Agatha Christie centers on a deadly love triangle—but it’s not the triangle you think it is. That startling plot twist has got me wondering; could it be the key to a forty year old cold case?

Which brings me to the latest puzzle to land on my doorstep. Last week a tornado passed right over Oakwood! Everyone’s okay, but I was forced to take shelter in a creepy, dank access tunnel that runs from the stadium to the high school furnace room. While I was down there, I found a moldering backpack with a journal written entire in some sort of code. My father says it might belong to a girl named Regan. She was murdered forty years ago, and her boyfriend Carter went to prison for the crime. When another convict confessed, Carter was released. But when the convict recanted, a new pall of suspicion fell over Carter. He’s been living like a hermit in the old family house in West Oakwood ever since.

You might think that’s the end of it, but once again, you’d be dead wrong. First of all, a reporter named Berkeley’s been nosing around. He’s the one who unearthed that convict twenty years ago. He’s also been researching Regan’s murder for years, planning to write a true crime best seller. He actually swiped the journal right out of Old Hat’s back room! I’d asked a teenage pal to try to decode it; he and Marc helped me trap Berkeley and get the journal back. That reporter is a slippery one. He got me to agree to work with him on solving Regan’s case.

Here’s the thing: None of us believe Carter was guilty. And that convict? His story had more holes than Swiss cheese. So if neither one of them murdered Regan, who did? Is her killer still out there, walking the streets of Oakwood? Whatever happened to the fabulous sapphire necklace Regan stole right before she was killed? And now Berkeley’s disappeared, and someone’s been following my teenage code expert. It has to be connected, I’m certain of it.

Maybe this cold case isn’t so cold after all.


Leslie Nagel is the author of the USA Today and Amazon bestselling Oakwood Mystery Series. She lives in the all too real city of Oakwood, Ohio, where murders are rare but great stories lie thick on the ground. In addition to writing about murder, she also teaches writing at a local community college. After the written word, Leslie's passions include her husband, her son and daughter, hiking, tennis and strong black coffee, not necessarily in that order.

Connect with Leslie:

Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Instagram

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

Sunday, July 21, 2019



After her boss narrowly escaped political defeat, Kit Marshall is settling into life as a busy congressional staffer. While attending an evening reception at the United States Botanic Garden, Kit’s best friend stumbles upon the body of a high-ranking government official. The chairwoman of a congressional committee asks Kit to investigate, and she finds herself once again in the thick of a murder investigation. The complications keep coming with the unexpected arrival of Kit’s younger brother Sebastian, a hippie protestor who seems more concerned about corporate greed than the professional problems he causes for his sister. To make matters even worse, the romantic lives of Kit’s closest friends are driving her crazy, diverting her attention from the mystery she’s been tasked to solve. The search for the killer requires her to tussle with an investigative journalist right out of a noir novel, a congresswoman fixated on getting a statue of James Madison installed on the Capitol grounds and a bossy botanist who would do anything to protect the plants he loves. When the murderer sends a threatening message to Kit via a highly unusual delivery mechanism, Kit knows she must find the killer or risk the lives of her friends and loved ones.

Book Details:

Title: Gore in the Garden

Author: Colleen J. Shogan   

Genre: Cozy mystery

Series: Washington Whodunit, book 5

Publisher: Camel Press
 (July 16, 2019

Print length: 224 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: I’d love to ask Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, and Michelle Obama about serving as First Lady and their time living in the White House. They’re three remarkable women whose personal strength can inspire the nation at this time in our history.

Q: If you could talk to someone (dead), who would it be and what would you ask them?
A: I’d ask George Washington how he persevered during the darkest hours of the Revolutionary War. Without him, it’s hard to imagine the United States existing today.

Q: If you could live in any time period which would it be?
A: A hundred years in the future! I hope robots are doing housework by then.

Q: If you could be anything besides a writer, what would it be?
A: I write, but I also work full-time at the Library of Congress. It’s a fantastic place.

Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where in the world would it be?
A: I love the beach, so probably the Outer Banks. It’s a dream of mine to live within walking distance to the ocean.


5 favorite possessions:
    •    my Kindle
    •    my iPad
    •    my signed Brett Michaels (from Poison) t-shirt
    •    our backyard in-ground pool
    •    my photos on iCloud

5 things you never want to run out of:    •    coffee
    •    pizza
    •    wifi
    •    free space on my Kindle
    •    Chardonnay

5 things about you or 5 words to describe you:
    •    curious
    •    analytical
    •    enthusiastic
    •    sensible
    •    hardworking

5 favorite foods:
    •    pizza
    •    pasta
    •    fajitas
    •    Indian
    •    hummus

5 things you always put in your books:
    •    dogs
    •    good D.C. restaurants and bars
    •    light romance
    •    insider tips
    •    female members of Congress

5 favorite places you’ve been:

    •    Prague
    •    Bruges
    •    Maui
    •    Sonoma
    •    Harry Potter studios in London

5 favorite books:

    •    Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
    •    Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
    •    A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
    •    On Writing by Stephen King
    •    Grant by Ron Chernow


Q: What’s your all-time favorite place?

A: Any beach in the summertime.

Q: What’s your all-time favorite city?
A: Difficult choice, but probably London.

Q: What’s your all-time favorite library?
A: The Library of Congress, of course!

Q: What’s one thing that very few people know about you?
A: Most people think I’m an extrovert, but I love spending time by myself.

Q: What’s your most visited Internet site?
A: The Washington Post. I’m on it several times a day.

Q: What’s your favorite time of day?

A: I watch television for one hour a day in the evening before bed, and I really enjoy it. 

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do?
A: Reading a good novel by the pool.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Hummus and pitas.

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

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

Q: What is the wallpaper on your computer’s desktop?
A: A picture of my beagle mutt, Conan.

Q: What do you collect?
A: Shot glasses from around the world.

What author would you most like to review one of your books?
A: Linda Fairstein, since she uses setting so effectively in her books.

Q: What book are you currently working on?
A: The sixth in my series, tentatively titled Larceny at the Library.

Q: What’s your latest recommendation for:
I love the Impossible Burger. I think meat substitutes are really going to come into their own in the next five years.
Music: I want to see KISS one last time before they call it quits.
Movie: I’m waiting for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. I will be there on opening night.
Book: Educated by Tara Westover. I interviewed her last year at the National Book Festival. I was so enamored with her story, I read the book twice.
TV:  I love Madame Secretary. I never miss an episode.
Netflix/Amazon Prime: When I want to relax, I watch Death in Paradise, the BBC murder mystery show. They have some really clever plotlines.


Colleen J. Shogan has been reading mysteries since the age of six. She conceived of the plot of her first mystery, Stabbing in the Senate, one morning while taking a walk in her suburban Washington, D.C. neighborhood. A political scientist by training, Colleen has taught American politics at Yale, George Mason University, Georgetown, and Penn. She previously worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative staffer in the United States Senate and as the Deputy Director of the Congressional Research Service. She is currently a senior executive at the Library of Congress who works on great initiatives such as the National Book Festival. Colleen lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Rob and their beagle mutt Conan. Colleen’s first book won the Next Generation Indie Prize for Best Mystery. Her books have been RONE and Killer Nashville finalists in the mystery category.

Connect with Colleen:

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Buy the book:

   |  Barnes & Noble 

Friday, July 19, 2019



When a hang-gliding stranger is found fatally injured in the cliffs above Monterey Bay, the investigation into his death becomes a cluttered mess. Professional organizer Maggie McDonald must sort the clues to catch a coastal killer before her family becomes a target . . .

Maggie has her work cut out for her helping Renée Alvarez organize her property management office. Though the condominium complex boasts a prime location on the shores of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, aging buildings and the high-maintenance tenants have Renée run ragged. But Maggie’s efforts are complicated when her sons attempt to rescue a badly injured man who crashed his ultra-light on the coastal cliffs.

Despite their efforts to save him, the man dies. Maggie's family members become the prime suspects in a murder investigation and the target of a lawsuit. Her instincts say something’s out of place, but solving a murder won’t be easy. Maggie still needs to manage her business, the pushy press, and unwanted interest from criminal elements. Controlling chaos is her specialty, but with this killer’s crime wave, Maggie may be left hanging . . .

Book Details:

Title: Cliff Hanger

Author: Mary Feliz

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Series: Maggie McDonald Mysteries, book 5

Publisher: Kensington Lyrical Underground (July 16, 2019)

Print length: 205

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours



Q: If you had to do community service (or already do volunteer work), what would you choose?
Working in a nature preserve such as my local Elkhorn Slough.

Q: If you were on the Amazon bestseller list, who would you choose to be one before and one below you?
Louise Penny.

Q: If you could meet any author for coffee, who would you like to meet and what would you talk about?
Louise Penny. I could talk to her about anything. She’s so funny and kind. We’d do more laughing than talking.

Q: If you could choose a fictional town to live in what would it be?
Three Pines.

Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where in the world would it be?
I’m so lucky—right where I’m living right now. But I’d also be able to “apparate” (a Harry Potter skill that is like transporting on Star Trek, but without a transporter) to my children’s homes and my mom’s house if I were needed.  


5 things you need in order to write:
    •    coffee
    •    silence
    •    love
    •    something little to snack on (My favorites are dry Cheerios or blueberries.)
    •    a pad of paper next to my computer to write down things I need to do that aren’t related to what I’m working on. These distractions always pop up, and they’re often important enough that I don’t want to forget them, but not important enough to interrupt my writing. If I jot them down, the interruption is minimal.

5 things you love about where you live: 
    •    Blue Heron
    •    King Fishers
    •    Red-legged Stilts
    •    sea otters
    •    the ocean

5 things you never want to run out of: 
    •    love
    •    coffee
    •    fresh, clean ocean air
    •    imagination
    •   health

5 favorite foods:  
    •    raspberries
    •    strawberries
    •    fresh corn on the cob
    •    salmon
    •    chocolate

5 favorite books:
    •    any book by Louise Penny
    •    The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
    •    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling
    •    Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne
    •    A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
5 favorite authors:  
    •    Madeleine L’Engle, whose books reveal more every time I read them
    •    Connie Willis
    •    Harlan Coben
    •    Josephine Tey
    •    PD James
(and all the other writers I’ve mentioned in answering other questions.)


What’s your all-time favorite place?

 I’m lucky enough to live in my favorite place—within view of the beach at the apex of Monterey Bay. The temperature here can be chilly year-round, which I love. We’re famous for our June Gloom – a month of overcast days in which we see the sun briefly in the afternoon, if at all. I love it. We have more typical sunny beach weather later in the summer. It’s busy with families during the warm months, but in the offseason we have the place (mostly) to ourselves. I love the beach and the sea mammals and am rapidly becoming a bird geek – we have hundreds of species of migrating and resident birds.

What’s your all-time favorite place in your town?
The Monterey Bay shoreline.

What’s your all-time favorite movie?
The Princess Bride. It’s so perfectly structured and a great story. The more I learn about writing structure, the funnier it becomes. For example, just at the point of the movie where you’d expect to place what’s known as a “storming the castle” scene, Miracle Max sends the boys off saying “Have fun storming the castle.”

What’s your all-time favorite author?
Louise Penny. I miss her characters between books! I hope that my characters are at least half as vibrant as hers!

What’s one thing that very few people know about you?
I’m a certified California Naturalist.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Politicians flouting the rules of logic.

What’s your favorite meal?
Breakfast for dinner.

What’s your favorite song?
"Lean on Me."

What author would you most like to review one of your books?
Louise Penny.

What’s your latest recommendation for:
Food: Fresh produce from my home town! Strawberries grow at our doorstep.
Music: Classical, but also Leonard Cohen
Movie: Old: The Princess Bride New: On the Basis of Sex
Book: Still Life (the first in the series by Louise Penny)
Audiobook: Black Out by Connie Willis
TV: The Heart Guy
Netflix/Amazon Prime: Line of Duty

What books do you currently have published?

Address to Die For
Scheduled to Death
Dead Storage
Disorderly Conduct
Cliff Hanger


Mary Feliz writes the Maggie McDonald Mystery series featuring a California professional organizer and her sidekick golden retriever. Address to Die For, the first book in the series, was named a Best Book of 2017 by Kirkus Reviews. All of her books have spent time on the Amazon best seller list. Cliff Hanger, the fifth book in the series, released July 16, 2019. Mary shares her writing time with the distractions of living on the shores of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. She is a certified California Naturalist.

Connect with Mary:
Website  |   Twitter Instagram  |  Bookbub 

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019



Restaurant manager Dodie O’Dell has found her niche in the cozy New Jersey town of Etonville, creating menus that make a delicious double-act with the community theater’s productions. Now she’s ready for a vacation at the Jersey Shore town she called home before a hurricane hit. Sun, salty air, and seagulls make for a nostalgic escape from regular life—until a contingent from Etonville arrives to compete in a Jersey Shore theater festival.

Roped into helping her former boss cater the event, Dodie also gets a visit from her old flame, Jackson, who’s hoping to revive his charter boat business and is looking for a place to crash. Before Dodie can tell him that ship has sailed, Jackson’s partner is found murdered on his boat. Dodie knows her ex is a mooch, but she’s sure he’s no killer. But as she follows a trail of evidence that leads into her own past, Dodie stumbles on a dangerous conspiracy theory that could bring the festival to a shocking finale…

Book Details:

Title: No More Time

Author: Suzanne Trauth

Genre: cozy mystery

Series: Dodie O’Dell Mystery Series

Published: Kensington Publishing (July 23, 2019)

Print length: 213 pages

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours


A few of your favorite things: comfortable clothes, Sketcher shoes, chewy brownies, walking in the park.
Things you need to throw out: old clothes, old birthday cards, drafts of already published books.

Things you need in order to write: a mug of tea, a clear mind, completed email, my favorite pen.
Things that hamper your writing: email, the Internet, my to do list.

Things you love about writing: self-expression, comic characters that make me laugh, completing a draft, proofing the galleys.
Things you hate about writing: starting, facing a blank page, getting stuck in the plot.

Easiest thing about being a writer: the second, third, and fourth hours writing; my characters.
Hardest thing about being a writer: discipline, clearing my mind, solving plot problems.

Things you love about where you live: close to NYC, close to the Jersey Shore, the cultural life—theatre, music, museums.
Things that make you want to move: traffic, construction, the tunnels into New York.

Things you never want to run out of: tea bags, bananas, my Pilot pens, energy.
Things you wish you’d never bought: shoes that are too small, leather pants.

Words that describe you: driven, sensitive, committed, good sense of humor.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: anxious, worrier, pleaser.

Favorite foods: brownies, fried halibut, Caesar salads, sweet potatoes.
Things that make you want to throw up: eggplant, liver.

Favorite music or song: 60s/70s music, Mamas and Papas.
Music that make your ears bleed: heavy metal.

Favorite beverage: tea.

Something that gives you a pickle face: beet juice.

Favorite smell: new mown grass.

Something that makes you hold your nose: garbage.

Something you’re really good at: juggling deadlines.

Something you’re really bad at: running.

Something you wish you could do: tennis.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: take on responsibility.

People you consider as heroes: my mother, Barack Obama, my sister.
People with a big L on their: people who are selfish and inconsiderate, narcissists.

Last best thing you ate: halibut sandwich.
Last thing you regret eating: corn.

Things you always put in your books: poker, theatre, food, comedy.

Things you never put in your books: overt violence, heavy swearing.

Things to say to an author: loved the book! Made me laugh (or cry).

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: made me yawn. It was too long.

Favorite places you’ve been: Barcelona, Paris, South of France, Tuscany, New Orleans.

Places you never want to go to again: Russia.

Favorite books:
mysteries, thrillers, Louise Penny novels.

Books you would ban: classics with no dialogue.

People you’d like to invite to dinner:
Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep, Judy Dench, Louise Penny
People you’d cancel dinner on: certain work colleagues.

Favorite things to do: read, watch movies or favorite TV series, yoga.
Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: vacuuming and dusting.

Things that make you happy: sunny days, the ocean, reading favorite authors, family.

Things that drive you crazy: sitting in traffic, waiting in lines.

Best thing you’ve ever done: got married, walking 60 miles for charity.

Biggest mistake: offering to read a friend’s manuscript.


Just in Time

Running Out of Time

Time Out

Show Time


Suzanne Trauth’s novels include Show Time, Time Out, Running Out of Time, Just in Time, and No More Time. Her plays include La Fonda, Françoise, Midwives, Rehearsing Desire, iDream, Katrina: the K Word, and Three Sisters Under the Hood. Her screenplays Solitaire and Boomer Broads have won awards at the Austin Film Festival, among other contests, and she wrote and directed the short film Jigsaw. She is currently a member of Writers Theatre of New Jersey Emerging Women Playwrights program. Ms. Trauth has co-authored Sonia Moore and American Acting Training and co-edited Katrina on Stage: Five Plays. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, League of Professional Theatre Women, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime.

Connect with Suzanne:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |   Goodreads  

Buy the book:

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Monday, July 15, 2019



Out of Options is a prequel novella to the Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries series, and introduces Lois Stone and her companions, Raggs and Ribbons, a pair of perceptive calico cats.

A dry district, a shocking secret, a missing person. When Lois Stone’s friend, Beth Darrow, arranges to meet her to reveal an astonishing discovery, Lois’s curiosity is piqued. Then Beth doesn’t keep their lunch date and Lois becomes worried. What has happened to her friend?

Middle-aged widow Lois is settling into life on her own in her neighbourhood and in the library where she works, and she is just about coping with her fear of strangers after her husband was mugged and died in the park at the end of their street. But her quiet existence is rocked when her friend and fellow local historical society researcher, Beth, arranges to meet her to reveal an exciting and shocking discovery she has made about the history of prohibition in West Toronto Junction, the last dry area in Toronto, and then goes missing before she can share her secret with Lois. There isn’t any proof that Beth is missing so the police won’t actively search for her. Only Lois and Beth’s niece Amy are convinced that Beth’s disappearance is very out of character, and they are worried about her. Where has Beth gone? Is she in danger? And, if she is, who might want to harm her and why? Lois knows she must find the answers to these questions fast if she wants to help and protect her friend.

And so begins a weekend of skulking in the park, apple and cinnamon pancakes, familiar faces staring out of old newspapers, calico cats, shadows on the windowpane, and more than one person who might want Beth to disappear from the quiet, leafy streets of the historic and staunchly dry West Toronto Junction neighbourhood.

Book Details:

Title: Out of Options 

Author: Dianne Ascroft

Genre: cozy mystery

Series: A Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries, prequel novella

Published: Independently Published (April 28, 2019)

Print length: 126 pages

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours


What’s Prohibition Got To Do With Lois Stone?

Middle-aged librarian Lois Stone works in a library in the last ‘dry’ area in Toronto. For a neighbourhood in a large city, West Toronto Junction is an unusual place: restaurants don’t sell wine or beer with meals, you won’t find a single bar on any street and you won’t find a store that sells beer, wine or stronger spirits. The 1920s were the prohibition era in North America but in 1983 in West Toronto Junction, a municipality in the west end of Toronto, prohibition is still in full swing.

When you hear ‘Prohibition’ what do you think of? Maybe flappers wearing straight cut, shingled gowns and feathers in their hair, dancing and partying until the early hours of the morning? Or speakeasies – illegal bars hidden in cellars or behind well barricaded doors - where merrymakers carouse and the liquor flows? Or rum runners smuggling alcohol illegally across the border from Canada to the United States in the false bottom of a car trunk or ferrying it across one of the Great Lakes in a small boat or hauling it across a frozen lake on a sled?

These were all scenes from the Roaring Twenties, the Prohibition era in the United States. From 1920 to 1933 the nation prohibited the production, importation, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages. Campaigners who fought to ban the sale of alcohol were trying to combat evils in society, particularly poverty and violence fuelled by alcohol.

But imposing prohibition spawned a huge industry that produced illegal alcohol and also smuggled alcohol into the country. It also enabled criminal gangs, who quickly gained control of the illegal alcohol industry, to flourish. The government’s efforts to curb the problems associated with alcohol had created more problems.

Around the time when the United States enacted its prohibition legislation, its northern neighbour, Canada, did the same. In 1918 the Canadian federal government passed a national ban on the production, importation and transport between provinces of alcohol. This ban was short lived. Within less than two years the federal law was scrapped. But this didn’t mean the end of prohibition throughout the country. Although the federal government had repealed the national law, most provinces still upheld their own prohibition legislation.

Out of Options is set in Ontario, a province that repealed prohibition in 1927. So why is West Toronto Junction still dry in 1983? That’s because Canadian law allows each municipality in the country the right to ban the sale of alcohol if the majority of the residents of the area vote to do so. West Toronto Junction voted to go dry in 1904. And in 1983 when Lois Stone, the main character in the novella is working there, the area is still dry.

Let’s imagine what life is like in a dry area near the end of the twentieth century. West Toronto Junction never had the swinging underground nightlife that characterised the Roaring Twenties in the United States and certainly doesn’t in 1983. So there is no gazing into your loved one’s eyes over the rim of a glass of wine during an intimate restaurant dinner, men aren’t standing in front of the television screen in their neighbourhood bar cheering on the Toronto Maple Leafs or the Toronto Blue Jays or the Toronto Argonauts, and you don’t stop at the shop on your way home from work to pick up a few beers for your backyard barbecue. Meanwhile a few bus or subway stops away from this neighbourhood licenced restaurants and bars are an accepted part of community life and there are easily accessible stores where you can buy alcohol. West Toronto Junction is a tiny time warp in the midst of a modern metropolis.

The ban on the sale of alcohol doesn’t really concern Lois Stone though. She’s busy at her job in the local library each day and goes home each night to her bungalow and her two calico cats in a municipality that isn’t dry. But there’s lots of other people in the neighbourhood where she works who have very strong views on the subject. Restaurant owners want to be able to sell alcohol on their premises to increase business. And other business owners believe that trade will improve for everyone if the ban is lifted. They are sure that customers will also visit local shops and cinemas when they come to the local restaurants and bars. On the opposing side, the temperance movement, which continually fights to uphold the ban, fears that without prohibition the community might sink back into the type of society that existed before the ban on alcohol was enacted in 1904: streets rife with violent crime, poverty, domestic abuse, general drunkenness and disorder.

While Lois is aware of the struggle between the two opposing camps in the area and their fierce antagonism toward each other, the issue doesn’t really impact on her until one weekend everything changes. The issue becomes a matter of life and death, and Lois fears she might never get home to her calico cats again.


Dianne Ascroft is a Torontonian who has settled in rural Northern Ireland. She and her husband live on a small farm with an assortment of strong-willed animals.

She is currently writing the Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries series. Out of Options is a prequel to the 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 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.

Dianne writes both fiction and non-fiction. Her articles and short stories have been printed in Canadian and Irish magazines and newspapers. When she’s not writing, she enjoys walks in the countryside, evenings in front of her open fireplace and folk and traditional music.

Connect with Dianne:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Newsletter Sign up 

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |   Kobo

Sunday, July 14, 2019




Book 5 in the Goose Pimple Junction mystery series


It’s election season, and newcomer Virgil Pepper is a charming and charismatic candidate, but also someone who will say anything (and mean none of it) to get what he wants. Three things top his list: to become mayor, to acquire Jackson Wright’s land, and to make Caledonia Culpepper one of his many conquests.

Wynona Baxter is back, and she’s a new woman. Now as Daisy, she has a new identity, new life, and new business–ironically named Killer Cupcakes. But the town soon finds out that isn’t the only kind of killer in town.

Book five of the Goose Pimple Junction mystery series combines political hijinks, delicious cupcakes, Goose Juice moonshine, the ups and downs of finding true love, and, of course, murder.
It is said that “It’s a basic truth of the human condition that everybody lies. The only variable is about what.” Lying in politics, lying for personal and professional gain, lying about an identity . . . What are the folks of Goose Pimple Junction willing to lie for . . . and what are they willing to die for?


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

Watch for news:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  

Check out the series:
Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junciton

Heroes & Hooligans in Goose Pimple Junction

Short & Tall Tales in Goose Pimple Junction

Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction

Saturday, July 13, 2019



Special Memory is a playful, feel good story that suggests using positive memories to help in times of stress and difficulties. Positive memories can then provide strength and remind us “good” times will happen again.

Fiery five-year-old Emily is semi-cooperative when her mother announces the idea of making a Special Memory one summer morning. She doesn’t want to get used to getting up early for kindergarten. Despite herself, Emily finds dancing in the warm rain with her older sister and mother while wearing pajamas fun until the storm changes. Emily’s mother then pulls her daughters indoors and teaches them how special memories make a difference in our lives. Emily doesn’t think a Special Memory will help in kindergarten until her first day when she remembers sticky wet pajamas and hair, along with warm mud squishing between her toes.

Praise for Special Memory:

- “Young readers learn two lessons in this charming story (Special Memory). One,
  special memories can be deliberately created; and two, memories are great tools for
  offsetting fears and anxieties. And as a bonus, there is an activity guide at the back
  of the book that explores the themes therein, and, since the particular memory in the
  story is weather related, it also includes a great introduction to some climate
  essentials.” —Joan Schweighardt, No Time for Zebras, and several novels.

- “Readers will find “this tender story confidently illustrates the notion in a way that will
  be heartening to both child and adult. Parents will thank Christina Francine for her
  accessible gift of wisdom, which hides a transformative life skill in its gentle pages.”
  Create a special memory to help balance the fear. Special Memory is a modest story
  about helping an apprehensive child overcome her worry. It sounds easy enough.”                                    
                  ---Nina Fosati, Literary author and editor

Book Details:

Title: Special Memory

Author: Christina Francine

Genre: Children, picture book

Publisher: Waldorf Publishing (September 15, 2019)

Print length: 32 pages


A few of your favorite things: coffee, herbal tea, nature.
Things you need to throw out: old to-do lists.

Things you need in order to write: coffee, quiet time alone or at a coffee shop, and longer periods of time without pressure of the to-do list.
Things that hamper your writing: day job, too much noise, and too much on my to-do list.

Things you love about writing:
I’ve always had a great imagination, and it’s fun to create. Learning that others were entertained and had fun reading my stories.
Things you hate about writing: the time it takes to do a good job without interference.

Easiest thing about being a writer: the creating has always been the easiest and most fun. 

Hardest thing about being a writer: finding the long periods of time to create and then polishing the finished product. It is difficult to finally set a work down and say it’s ready to send out for publication. I think I’m my worst critic.

Things you love about where you live:
in the spring and summer everything is so green, emerald really.
Things that make you want to move: although the Great Lakes have so many pluses, they are snow-making machines. Too much snow in the winter and too much humidity in the summer.
Taxes in New York State are terribly high.

Things you never want to run out of
: nature, coffee, herbal tea, pens, pencils, paper, family & friends.
Things you wish you’d never bought: this is difficult because I usually plan out purchases.

Words that describe you: deep thinker, studious, light-hearted and serious at the same time, determined. My daughters say I’m kind and their opinion is very important to me.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: too serious sometimes. I try to think about what my action and others have and make the best decision based on those. My aim is to be prepared and to do and give the best that I can.

Favorite foods: coffee, herbal tea, a wide variety of nuts and seeds, vegetables (love salads), most fruits, Kefer (high potency yogurt), chocolate.
Things that make you want to throw up: I’ve never liked asparagus or okra. This second is like eating snot. Who can check out the flavor when the consistency is slimy?

Something you’re really good at: teaching college/academic writing, riding horses, and being versatile. 

Something you’re really bad at: letting people fall. I’m a helper.

Things that make you happy: spending time with my family and friends, digging in flower, herbal, and vegetable gardens.

Things that drive you crazy: other drivers on the interstate who take chances and decide to put my life in danger  because they think they’re Nash car drivers or in a video game where “do-overs” are freely available.


Christina Francine is an enthusiastic author for all ages. Her picture book, Special Memory debuts September 15, 2019, her level #3 Reader Mr. Inker Finds a Home early 2020, and Journal of Literary Innovation published her analysis on students’ writing across the nation in Spring 2016. She believes individual learning style may solve world problems. She teaches writing at University of Buffalo and at Buffalo State. Christina is a member of Hamburg Writer’s Group and of Buffalo-Niagara Children’s Writers & Illustrators (BNCWI).

Connect with Christina:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  LinkedIn  |  Bookbub  |  Amazon

Buy the book:

Amazon  |  Waldorf Publishing