Tuesday, January 28, 2020



A provocative, globe-trotting, time-shifting novel about the seductions of—and resistance to—toxic masculinity.

"Frank knew as well as anyone how stories start and how they end. This fiery mess, or something like it, was bound to happen. He had been expecting it for years."

Frank Baltimore is a bit of a loser, struggling by as a carpenter and handyman in rural New England when he gets his big break, building a mansion in the executive suburbs of Hartford. One of his workers is a charismatic eighteen-year-old kid from Liverpool, Dmitry, in the US in the summer before university. Dmitry is a charming sociopath, who develops a fascination with his autodidactic philosopher boss, perhaps thinking that, if he could figure out what made Frank tick, he could be less of a pig. Dmitry heads to Asia and makes a neo-imperialist fortune, with a trail of corpses in his wake. When Dmitry's office building in Taipei explodes in an enormous fireball, Frank heads to Asia, falls in love with Dmitry's wife, and things go from bad to worse.

Combining the best elements of literary thriller, noir and political satire, Born Slippy is a darkly comic and honest meditation on modern life under global capitalism.

Book Details:

Title: Born Slippy: A Novel

Author: Tom Lutz

Genre: noir, thriller

Publisher: Repeater/Penguin Random House (January 14, 2020)

Print length: 296 pages


A few of your favorite things: my thousands of books.
Things you need to throw out: hundreds of books.

Things you need in order to write: my laptop.
Things that hamper your writing: my job (teaching at the University of California, Riverside), my avocation (running Los Angeles Review of Books, and my bad habits (binge-watching global TV on Netflix).

Things you love about writing: doing it, being in the flow.
Things you hate about writing: not much, really.

Easiest thing about being a writer: doing it.

Hardest thing about being a writer: doing it.

Things you love about where you live: my neighborhood in Los Angeles has the upside of urban life combined with the best of suburban life.
Things that make you want to move: I don’t want to move, I just want to travel.

Things you never want to run out of: time, money, and love.
Things you wish you’d never bought: a video camera.

Favorite foods: paella, duck, porcetta, handmade pasta.
Things that make you want to throw up:  ketchup on eggs; chicken feet; Southern Comfort (had a run-in with it as a teen . . . )

Favorite music or song: funk.
Music that make your ears bleed: noise metal.

Something you’re really good at: diving in.

Something you’re really bad at: patience.

Something you wish you could do: play the saxophone.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: feel resentment.

People you consider as heroes: empaths.

People with a big L on their foreheads: narcissists.

Things you’d walk a mile for: my children.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: people talking about their children.

Things to say to an author: “I love your books!”
Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: “I didn’t care for this new one . . .”

Favorite places you’ve been: all but a handful of the 140 countries I’ve visited.

Places you never want to go to again: Djibouti, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Moldova.

People you’d like to invite to dinner: the Obamas.

People you’d cancel dinner on: the Trumps (just kidding, I couldn’t pass up that opportunity).

Favorite things to do: travel, work, love.

Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: clothes shopping.

Things that make you happy: intimacy, gastronomy, art.

Things that drive you crazy: self-promotion.

Most embarrassing moment: there are way too many to choose from.

Proudest moment: seeing my children happily in love.

Best thing you’ve ever done: getting married.

Biggest mistake: getting married (the other time).

The last thing you did for the first time: skydiving.

Something you’ll never do again: skydiving.


Tom Lutz is an award-winning author of books, articles, reviews, screenplays, and radio programs. After a decade as a musician, cook, and carpenter, he started going to school and never left. After a PhD at Stanford University, he taught at University of Iowa, University of Copenhagen, and CalArts before joining the faculty at UC Riverside in 2006, where he is Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing.

Lutz is the author of Doing Nothing: A History of Loafers, Loungers, Slackers and Bums (Farrar Strauss Giroux; American Book Award, NY Times and LA Times Bestseller), Cosmopolitan Vistas (Cornell University Press; Choice Outstanding Academic Book), Crying: The Natural and Cultural History of Tears  (Norton; NY Times Bestseller and NY Times Notable Book), American Nervousness, 1903: An Anecdotal History (Cornell University Press; NY Times Notable Book), two books of travel narrative:  And the Monkey Learned Nothing: Dispatches from a Life in Transit (Iowa University Press) and Drinking Mare’s Milk on the Roof of the World: Wandering the Globe from Azerbaijan to Zanzibar (OR Books), and a novel, Born Slippy (Repeater/Penguin Random House). These books have been translated into 12 languages and published in dozens of countries. He has published in scores newspapers, magazines, literary and academic journals, and in many edited collections.

He also works as a screenwriter for film and television, and is the founding Editor in Chief and Publisher of The Los Angeles Review of Books (including The LARB Radio Hour, the LARB Quarterly Journal, LARB Books, and the LARB Publishing Workshop). He lives in Los Angeles.

Connect with Tom:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Buy the book:

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Friday, January 24, 2020



Aon, a solid core planet made from the priceless and most dense element in the galaxy (caladium) is under silent attack. Plans are made by off-worlders to dissolve the unbreakable core using crude oil obtained from 19th century earth. Once the oil is refined the byproduct, gasoline will soften the caladium, allowing it to be collected. It is soon discovered the core is made from living beings created from caladium itself. The off-worlders employ a band of corrupt inhabitant’s to carry on this work. They find themselves in a constant struggle with a small coalition of Aonians bent on saving their home world. Both factions clash with the indestructible core creatures. With horrendous beast’s one step behind and deadly pitfalls ahead, the coalition struggle to finish their journey insuring their races survival.      

Book Details:

Title: Terminal Core

Author’s name: Lynn Steigleder

Genre: science fiction, action-adventure

Publisher: Soul Fire Press, an imprint of Christopher Matthews, (April 18, 2016)

Print length: 347 pages


A few of your favorite things: family, friends, writing, and most importantly God.
Things you need to throw out: being as I’m bit of a pack rat, they’re too numerous to name.

Things you love about writing: creating new worlds, new creatures, and never before seen circumstances.
Things you hate about writing: grammar.

Easiest thing about being a writer: reaching a stride as your story flows with ease through your manuscript. 

Hardest thing about being a writer: marketing the book after all is said and done.

Things you love about where you live: a nice quiet rural area.
Things that make you want to move: none so far.

Words that describe you: outgoing, honest, trustworthy.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: a procrastinator that likes to be in control.

Favorite foods: seafood and beef.
Things that make you want to throw up: banner sausage in a can.

Favorite song: Rush’s “Red Barchetta.”
Music that makes your ears bleed: opera.

Favorite beverage: root beer.

Something that gives you a pickle face: pure cranberry juice.

Things you always put in your books: twists, turns, action, and unique creatures.

Things you never put in your books: offensive language and sexual situations.

Favorite places you’ve been: surf fishing in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

Places you never want to go to again: Las Vegas.

Favorite things to do: write and spend time with my wife.

Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: going to Walmart.

Things that make you happy: gathering together with friends and family.

Things that drive you crazy: man’s inhumanity to man.

Proudest moment: watching my son grow into a man.

Most embarrassing moment: standing on a platform with cameramen, lighting technicians, various other people and my interviewer promoting my first book, when my pants hit the floor.

Best thing you’ve ever done: accept Jesus as my Savior.

Biggest mistake: taking too long to do it.

The last thing you did for the first time: ate lobster Tomalley (liver).

Something you’ll never do again: eat lobster Tomalley.


The Rising Tide Series:

Rising Tide

Eden’s Wake

Deadly Reign


Lynn Steigleder was born in Richmond, Virginia. He spent most of his adult life as a supervisor in the field of construction and fabrication. In 2006, Lynn received a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Lynn realized the need to transition into a new career path due to his energy and mobility challenges.

His son suggested he consider writing as a career; having enjoyed his father’s short stories. Lynn agreed to the challenge and his first novel, Rising Tide, in the series of the same name was released for publication in 2009. The second, Eden’s Wake, and the third, Deadly Reign soon followed. Terminal Core, a standalone was released  in 2016. Dalon Con (The Essence of Time) is in the editing process, and a fourth book for the Rising Tide series is nearing completion.

Lynn writes science fiction, fantasy, and action adventure.

Lynn’s ideas are often driven by daily events, things he sees in nature or any path his imagination decides to lead him down. He loves to write and enjoys the challenges of bringing a novel from conception, working with his publisher through the editing process, rewrites, and reading the book many times before it goes to print.

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

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Wednesday, January 22, 2020



Will Dead Week kill Cassandra's career?

VP of Student Affairs Cassandra Sato has a desk full of problems and it's not even Thanksgiving break.

Cassandra's new boss talks to her dead husband. Cassandra's mentor thinks he's a superhero in a senior citizen's body. And Cassandra, recently moved from Hawai'i, can't crack the code of what to wear during November in Nebraska.

Cassandra faces end of semester pranks, stray dogs, winter storms, and viral news stories in her fight for justice for a group of student activists. But that's nothing compared to the wrath of a Helicopter Mom!

If you like academic cozy mysteries with funny BFFs, hilarious student shenanigans, and small town drama, you'll like this series.

Book Details:

Title: Dead Week   

Author: Kelly Brakenhoff

Genre: cozy mystery

Series: Cassandra Sato Mystery Series, book 2

Publisher: Emerald Prairie Press (December 11, 2019)

Print length: 322 pages

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours



If you could be anything besides a writer, what would it be?
I’ve waited my whole life to become an author and finally did it last year when I published three books I’d worked on forever. I still work at my day job as an American Sign Language Interpreter. I love working with deaf and hard of hearing people and helping people understand each other. If I were to quit my day job someday, I’d start a tour company because it would give me an excuse to travel with people and see more of the world.

If you were on the Amazon bestseller list, who would you choose to be one before and one below you?
Janet Evanovich and Michael Connelly.

If you could meet any author for coffee, who would you like to meet and what would you talk about?
Frankie Bow. My favorite series of hers is the Professor Molly Mysteries. She can make everyday scenes like arriving at work funny, so our lunch would be full of laughter. And of course, we’d have to eat lunch in Hawai’i. I’d order a yummy kalua pork plate lunch. Plus, she’s kind of secretive about her real name and her day job at a college in Hawai’i. I’m super curious how she juggles writing and being a real-life professor.

If you could choose a fictional town to live in what would it be and from what book?
Hogwarts. But I doubt they’d give me a job there since I’m a Muggle. So maybe Hogsmeade? I’d own a bar, drink lots of Butterbeer, and hang out with all the smart wizards who stopped by. 

If you could live anywhere in the world, where in the world would it be?
Hawai’i. When my husband and I were first married, we lived on Oahu for five years, and two of our children were born there. Although it’s been great having our extended family near us while the kids all grew up, I miss sunshine. And the beach, and Portugese malasadas, and our friends, and the music, and—oh no! Can you tell winter is settling in here in Nebraska? It’s going to be a long few months!


5 things you love about where you live: 
    •    Husker football
    •    the sunsets 
    •    friendly people
    •    local craft beer
    •    Runza sandwiches and Frings!

5 favorite places you’ve been:  
    •    Kauai 
    •    Vatican City 
    •    Florence, Italy
    •    Oxford, England
    •    Ireland

5 favorite authors:  
    •    Janet Evanovich
    •    John Grisham
    •    David Baldacci
    •    JRR Tolkien
    •    CS Lewis
(That’s too hard. I have too many to choose from!)

5 living people you’d like to invite to dinner:  
    •    Pope Francis
    •    Prince William and Kate
    •    Emma Watson
    •    Ron Howard
    •    Fr. Mike Schmitz
I’d serve steak and we would have a very lively discussion.

5 favorite things to do:  
    •    hiking
    •    camping
    •    traveling
    •    reading
    •    cooking


What’s your all-time favorite library? 

Bodleian Library in Oxford, England.

What’s your favorite dessert?

Chocolate Mousse.

What’s your favorite beverage? 

Red wine (with my chocolate mousse).

What’s one of your favorite quotes?

Every year I choose at least one guiding quote that I post in a prominent place and think about. This year it’s: "Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”  —Mother Teresa

What’s your all-time favorite quote?
My all-time favorite quote is this: “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me'.” —Erma Bombeck

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

Hank Phillippi Ryan.

What books are you currently working on?
Dead of Winter Break, next in the Cassandra Sato series, and Farts Make Noise, next in the Duke the Deaf Dog Series.

What’s your all-time favorite author?  

JRR Tolkien.

What’s your latest recommendation for:
Food: I’m on a New Year’s diet so pretty much anything with sugar or refined carbs sounds delicious. If I were to splurge, it would be on a big, sloppy Reuben Sandwich.
Music: "This is Me" by Keala Settle from The Greatest Showman. I actually made a Spotify playlist while I was writing Dead Week.
Movie: Knives Out.
Book: Twisted Twenty-Six by Janet Evanovich.
Audiobook:Anna Castle’s Moriarty Meets His Match series. The narrator is awesome!!
TV: The Blacklist.
Amazon Prime: I’m switching between Mrs. Maisel and Jack Ryan.
Miscellaneous: My word of the year for 2020 is Build.


Death by Dissertation

Dead Week

Never Mind


Kelly Brakenhoff is an American Sign Language Interpreter whose motivation for learning ASL began in high school when she wanted to converse with her deaf friends. Her first novel, Death by Dissertation, kicked off the Cassandra Sato Mystery Series, followed by Dead Week. She also wrote Never Mind, first in a children’s picture book series featuring Duke the Deaf Dog. She serves on the Board of Editors for the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf publication, VIEWs. The mother of four young adults and two dogs, Kelly and her husband call Nebraska home.

Connect with Kelly:
Website  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Instagram  |  Amazon  |  Bookbub

Buy the book:

Friday, January 17, 2020



When single mom and recent widow Cameron Chandler takes a much-needed job at Penny-wise Investigations, a detective agency conveniently located in a suburban shopping mall, she grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Her first case is to locate a runaway girl, something her predecessor had been pursuing before he disappeared. Following in his footsteps, the trail leads to a survivalist camp on a remote island in northern Puget Sound. Armed with only a Swiss Army Knife and her quirky on-the-job training as a suburban sleuth, Cameron uncovers more than she bargained for. She soon finds herself in a fight for her own survival in this lighthearted mystery set in Seattle and the San Juan Islands to the north.

Book Details:

Title: Survival Can Be Deadly

Author: Charlotte Stuart

Genre: amateur sleuth

Series: Discount Detective Mysteries, book 1
Publisher: Walrus Publishing, an imprint of Amphorae Publishing Group, 9/10/19

Print length: 308 pages

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours



If you could live in any time period which would it be?
It would all depend on my circumstances. I wouldn’t want to be a servant in Downton Abby for example. In fact, looking back, I can think of too many drawbacks for each era. So, I choose 50 years in the future with a secure income and a home on a lovely lake. And, did I mention that the neighbors are part of a community of mystery writers? Except for one neighbor who raises fresh fruits and vegetables for the rest of us. Oh, and the air is fresh and clean, the water pure, and the deer only eat grass and leave our vegetables alone.

If you could be anything besides a writer, what would it be?
My fantasy is to be a research scientist with a specialty in allergies. I, of course, would discover cures and eliminate allergy symptoms. No more runny noses and itchy eyes. No more foods you have to avoid, pets you can’t tolerate, or plants that make you sneeze and wheeze. I suppose I could have aimed higher on the disease food chain, but you have to start somewhere.

If you had to do community service, what would you choose?
I love the pro bono work I do with strategic planning for boards of small nonprofits. It’s inspirational to engage with people dedicated to solving problems on a local level, everything from environmental issues to helping immigrants to providing quality cellos to talented musicians. Nonprofit employees do so much good for low pay and long hours. Kudos to them.

If you were on the Amazon bestseller list, who would you choose to be one before and one below you?
Look out, Tana French, you were just surpassed! Okay, Michael Connolly, you can outsell me.

If you could choose a fictional town to live in what would it be and from what book?
Instead of a town, I choose a fictional utopian country created by Austin Tappan Wright in his book Islandia. There are days when escaping from technology and sailing on quiet waters is very appealing. That’s what I remember best from Islandia, the feeling of being one with nature in a place and time that encouraged reflection. Although some of the political and cultural themes in the book aren’t necessarily appealing…but in my town in Wright’s country, things are run my way . . .


5 things you love about where you live:
There are so many things about the island that I love. My top five include:
•    my view of the water from my office. I enjoy the sunsets, birds and seals in particular. But seeing kayakers and boats pass by is also fun.
•    I’m grateful for all of the hiking trails and beach walks within minutes of my home.
•    For the most part, the vehicle traffic is light to non-existent. Moving here from the chaos that is Seattle traffic was both a relief and a joy.
•    Great neighbors who enjoy the island for the same reasons I do.
•    So many trees . . . lovely, tall, abundant.

5 things you never want to run out of:
    •    popcorn
    •    toilet paper
    •    time
    •    love of life
    •    laughter

5 favorite foods:  
    •    wild blackberry pie
    •    prawns
    •    homemade bread
    •    tomatoes
    •    cucumbers

5 favorite books:
    •    A Gentleman from Moscow by Amor Towles
    •    The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
    •    The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead
    •    The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz
    •    The Water Will Come by Jeff Goodell

5 things that drive you crazy: 
    •    going to the movies and ending up seated behind a tall person with broad shoulders and big hair
    •    trying to drive through downtown Seattle
    •    unfounded conspiracy theories
    •    deer eating my roses
    •    too many dreary gray days in a row


What’s your all-time favorite picture of yourself?
It’s 2010, and I’m in the cockpit of a hydroplane with Wil Muncey sitting on the side deck. I felt so cool!

What is the wallpaper on your computer’s desktop?
It’s a view of our dock at our lake cabin, surrounded by trees and wetland reeds. Just a few steps to a refreshing swim in a lovely lake.

What smells remind you of your childhood?
Polish sausage straight from the smokehouse, pine needles in the woods on a warm day, and fresh sheets dried outside in the sun.

What’s your all-time favorite place you’ve visited?
The Corycian Cave in central Greece, a place of worship for Pan. It doesn’t look like much in this picture, but the entire day was an adventure. The cave wasn’t on any of the maps we had, but we knew where it should be given the history of the area. The occasional signs were in Greek and the handful of people we met along the way didn’t speak English. When we came to a dirt road that seemed like a possibility, it became so narrow that we were forced to get out and walk. The good news - we made it!

What’s your all-time favorite place in your town?

I like all of the many trails in the woods. This is a path on one of my favorite walks just minutes from where I live.

What book are you currently working on?
I’m working on the third in my discount detective series because I came up with what I think is a gripping opening scene. Hopefully the rest of the story will flow from there.

What’s your latest recommendation for:
Food: no-knead whole wheat bread – I can almost smell it baking.
Music: Paul Simon – like him, I’m still crazy after all these years.
Movie: Backstabbing for Beginners with Ben Kingsley and two documentaries: The Biggest Little Farm and Finding Home in Boomtown.
Book: The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish; The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson.
TV: Madame Secretary (almost too real); All Rise (great characters).
Netflix: The Detectorists on Netflix.
Miscellaneous: Do one thing for yourself each day, even if it’s only taking time to read while having a cuppa.


Survival Can Be Deadly
Disastrous Interviews: the Comic, Tragic and Just Plain Ugly 


 In a world filled with uncertainty and too little chocolate, Charlotte Stuart, PhD, has taught college courses in communication, gone commercial fishing in Alaska, and survived being the VP of HR and Training for a large credit union. Her current passion is for writing lighthearted mysteries with a pinch of adventure and a dollop of humor. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys watching herons, eagles, seals and other sea life from her Vashon Island home office.

Connect with Charlotte:Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter Instagram

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  IndieBound  |  Kobo

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Wednesday, January 15, 2020



New release — Book 5 — Cold Cream Murders series.

Someone dear to Olive is found dead—toes up and barefooted—in Digby’s Bees lavender field. Olive and Lizzy team up with WonderDog to find the killer. Digby’s hives are home to the wondrous Soprano bees. The little buzzers are the source of the secret ingredient that powers their Nonna’s Cold Cream—a fountain of youth in a jar.

Finding the killer turns out to be more of a challenge as the gals protect Digby’s bees from a determined land developer who wants the beekeeper’s farm. The clock ticks as saving the honeybees becomes every bit as important as finding the murderer.

While Olive and Lizzy buzz about, Grams, nonagenarian ace reporter for the Silverfish Gazette, takes on the story of a diamond heist in nearby Sarasota. Can the gals protect Grams from another near catastrophe or can the feisty lady handle it alone? 

Help the Cold Cream gals solve the mystery of the Lavender Toes while once again bailing Grams out of trouble. And what about those bees?

Every book comes with a recipe for a homemade beauty product.

Book Details:

Title: Lavender Toes   

Author: Barbara Silkstone

Genre: cozy

Series: Cold Cream Murders, book 5

Published: December 1, 2019

Print length: 174 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?
John Cleese. I would ask him to talk to me in his lovely British accent for as long as he wants. Being extremely funny would be a plus.

If you could talk to someone (dead), who would it be and what would you ask them?
Oscar Wilde. He would probably chat away without being asked. I believe he did more with fewer words than anyone in the history of the English language. I might ask him what he thinks of the internet, Twitter, Facebook, contemporary fiction, and movies. Oops . . . also I’d ask if I could record him as no one would believe I’d actually chatted with him.

If you could live in any time period which would it be?
The Roaring Twenties! I would have a wardrobe like Miss Fisher’s—especially the hats. Oh, and her figure and athletic prowess. I can’t walk and chew gum without stumbling.

If you could step back into a moment or day in time, where would you go?
There is a cottage in Upper Slaughter (Cotswolds) that has an eerie effect on me. I have visited it many times over the years but can’t walk in front of it—my body freezes. I CAN walk behind it through an old churchyard. (Cue the music from Twilight Zone.) I would like to go back in time to understand the how or why of my feelings. I think I’d want to watch it from a distance, just in case.

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


5 things you need in order to write:  
    •    total quiet
    •    no interruptions
    •    identifying with the protagonist
    •    my screwball sense of humor
    •    my computer (my handwriting has become illegible).

5 things you love about writing:
    •    I am able to revisit funny incidents in my past
    •    I love the many thankful messages I receive from readers who have been lifted up and lightened from my writings
    •    I love doing the research required to set my protagonists in a pickle and see them get out
    •    I enjoy getting up early every morning and surprising myself with ideas that weren’t there the night before
    •    I love the sense of giving birth to each new book. I’ve done it over forty times and each time is like the first time.

5 words to describe you:
    •    always smiling
    •    sometimes caring too much
    •    the queen of leaping before looking
    •    dental floss addict
    •    cat lover.

5 things you always put in your books:
    •    humor
    •    feel-goods
    •    optimism
    •    double entendres
    •    hidden references that make readers think twice.

5 favorite books:
    •    Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    •    Illusions by Richard Bach
    •    H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald
    •    Ghosts by Marsha Parker
    •    The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.

5 living people you’d like to invite to dinner:
    •    John Cleese
    •    Walton Goggins
    •    Andrew Scott
    •    Ryan Gosling
    •    Jude Law.


What’s your all-time favorite place?
Upper Slaughter in the Cotswolds.

What’s your all-time favorite memory?
Being the new kid in a Catholic school. I was forced to stand in front of the class while the 5th grade nun introduced me. Every student was dressed in navy blue uniforms with black and white saddle shoes. We were poor and my mother dressed me in a second-hand light green, organdy dress and scuffed red oxford shoes. I wanted to disappear through the floor. After class Pat came up to me and said, “I’d like to be your friend.” That was eons ago and we remain lifetime best friends.
Pat: “When I saw you standing in front of the class I knew I had to be your friend.”

What’s your all-time favorite movie? 
Rob Roy with Liam Neeson.

What’s your all-time favorite city?

What’s one thing that very few people know about you?
I can’t bear holes in fabric. I’m really phobic about it.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?
People who have lost their compassion. It’s more than a peeve with me.

What’s the loveliest sight you’ve ever seen?
The Scottish Highlands.

What’s your favorite time of day? 
Early morning when the world is still.

What’s your favorite song?
“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang “ and  “A Sleepin’ Bee.”

What’s your favorite ice cream? 
Butter Pecan.

What’s your favorite quote?
Sometimes the journey you set out on is not the one you return from.
The quote is from my book Wendy and the Lost Boys – Book 1 in my Wendy Darlin series.

What’s your favorite color?

What’s one thing you never leave the house without?
Cell phone and my shoes. I think I have a shoe-thing going on. References to shoes show up in most of my novels. Maybe it has to do with those ugly red oxford shoes in 5th grade?

What drives you crazy? 
People who hurt other people. There is never a reason to be cruel or unkind.

What is the wallpaper on your computer’s desktop?
Sky and clouds.

What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
I wish I knew that not every wrong decision can be corrected and that there is no do-over button in life. I was naïve about many of the choices I made.

What movie genre do you prefer?
Cozy and Victorian mysteries.

What is your obsession?
French Market Coffee with chicory, and dental floss.

What are your idiosyncrasies?
I can’t stand getting my face wet, and I am horrified by holes in fabric.

What author would you most like to review one of your books?
Neil Gaiman.

What book are you currently working on? 
Book 6 in my Cold Cream Murders series.

What’s your latest recommendation for:
Food: it used to be Colonel Sanders Kentucky Fried Chicken but I ate it too often. Now I’m not allowed.
Music: anything by Queen – it’s timeless.
Movie: Rob Roy with Liam Neeson. It’s old but it’s still a favorite flick for my kitty and me.
Book: The Invention of Wings.
Audiobook: Where the Crawdads Sing.
Amazon Prime: Spirited (love this show).


Barbara Silkstone is the author of the Cold Cream Murders cozies, also the Florence Nightingale Comedy Mystery Series, light-hearted Victorian capers.

Silkstone is also the author of the best selling Mister Darcy series of comedic mysteries ~ 9 books~ plus an additional 10 Regency novels and novellas, all with a light, humorous touch.

Please check out her Wendy Darlin Comedy Mysteries – 5 Cozy Capers.

Connect with Barbara:
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Monday, January 13, 2020



Welcome to the first in the Apron Shop mystery series by Elizabeth Penney, set in the quaint village of Blueberry Cove, Maine where an expert seamstress turned amateur sleuth is getting measured for murder . . .

Iris Buckley is sew ready for a change. After the death of her beloved grandfather, Iris decides to stay in her Maine hometown to help out her widowed grandmother, Anne—and bring her online hand-made apron designs to real-time retail life. Her and Anne’s shop, Ruffles & Bows, is set to include all the latest and vintage linen fashions, a studio for sewing groups and classes, and a friendly orange cat. The only thing that they were not planning to have on the property? A skeleton in the basement

Anne recognizes the remains of an old friend, and when a second body shows up in the apron shop—this time their corrupt landlord, whom Anne had been feuding with for decades—she becomes a prime suspect. Now, it’s up to Iris to help clear her name. Enlisting the help of her old high-school crush Ian Stewart who, like certain fabrics, has only gotten better-looking with age and her plucky BFF Madison Morris, Iris must piece together an investigation to find out who the real killer is. . .and find a way to keep her brand-new business from being scrapped in the process.

Book Details:

Title: Hems And Homicide

Author’s name: Elizabeth Penney

Genre: cozy mystery; amateur sleuth, traditional mystery

Series: The Apron Shop Series, book 1

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, December 31, 2019

Page count: 288

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours


A few of your favorite things: my favorite things include my library of books, most of which are research volumes I use while writing. I also collect old children’s books I love, and vintage New Hampshire memorabilia, including publications. Then there’s the kitchen, where I have the old KitchenAid mixer my mother gave me. It still works and I use it to bake bread.  But what would I grab in case of fire? The Mother’s Day artwork my daughters made, residing in a glass cabinet along with more “valuable” items, and paintings by my late father.
Things you need to throw out: my list is very short, since we basically purged during our move back home to New Hampshire. I do have a crate full of printed pages from drafts. It’s threatening to take over the office so I’d better empty it soon.

Things you love about writing: I’m in creative heaven while noodling new plot ideas and also while drafting a book. I love being immersed in my story-world when everything flows.
Things you hate about writing: it’s the left-brain activities I chafe at doing. Outlining, incredibly useful when writing a mystery, is very painful for me. Editing, too, I regard as a chore. That’s why I strive to write pretty clean first drafts.

Things you love about where you live: we’re back in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, which is remote, rural and gorgeous. I love that we have family here, that we live in a small town where help is only a phone call away.
Things that make you want to move: the same things that led me to move to Georgia in 2008 (we returned in 2016): bad winter weather and icy roads, the lack of music venues, restaurant variety, and bookstores.

Favorite music: as in my reading, I’m pretty eclectic in my tastes. I like classical, baroque, swing, jazz, blues, rock and roll, and some country.
Music that make your ears bleed: heavy metal rock is more of an assault than music, in my opinion.

Favorite beverage: coffee, especially the brand we brew, special ordered (yes we’re picky) from Louisiana. Rich, dark, and smooth. I think I’ll go make another pot, using the commercial Bunn coffeemaker we found second-hand. It makes the best coffee.
Something that gives you a pickle face: any herb tea that tastes like sticks brewed in tepid hot water. 

Things you always put in your books: my passions include history, especially domestic history, art, antiques, architecture, gardening, and literature, and often these elements appear in my books. For example, the Apron Shop Series is the perfect showcase for domestic history related to vintage aprons. Maine has a lot of beautiful old homes, and I like to include those too. 

Things you never put in your books: violence against children or animals or kidnapped girls who are abused. I don’t read about those things and I won’t write about them.

Favorite places you’ve been: besides Maine, which is where I grew up and a setting I love writing about, I would say Barga, Italy, in Tuscany. My artisan great-grandfather emigrated from there in the late 1800s, and once I saw how picturesque it is, I wanted to visit. Barga is a medieval village perched on top of a mountain, with narrow cobblestone streets and red-tiled rooftops. I’d love to go back sometime. 

Places you never want to go to again: I’m not a fan of gritty urban areas. I need green space and fresh air and room to move.


Elizabeth Penney is an author, entrepreneur, and local food advocate living in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. In addition to writing full-time, she operates a small farm. Elements that often appear in her novels include vintage summer cottages, past/present mysteries, and the arts. She is represented by the fabulous Elizabeth Bewley at Sterling Lord Literistic.

Elizabeth's writing credits include over twenty mysteries, short stories, and hundreds of business articles. A former consultant and nonprofit executive, she holds a BS and an MBA. She's also written screenplays with her musician husband.

She loves walking in the woods, kayaking on quiet ponds, trying new recipes, and feeding family and friends.

Connect with Elizabeth:
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Buy the book:

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Sunday, January 12, 2020



Private investigator, Delanie Fitzgerald, and her computer hacker partner, Duncan Reynolds, are back for more sleuthing in Glitter, Glam and Contraband. In this fast-paced mystery, the Falcon Investigations team is hired to find out who is stealing from the talent at a local drag show. Delanie gets more than she bargains for and a few makeup tips in the process. Meanwhile, a mysterious sound in the ceiling of her office vexes Delanie. She uses her sleuthing skills to track down the source and uncover a creepy contraband operation.

Glitter, Glam, and Contraband features a strong female sleuth with a knack for getting herself in and out of humorous situations like helping sleezy strip club owner, Chaz Smith on his quest to become Richmond’s next mayor, tracking down missing reptiles, and uncovering hidden valuables from a 100-year-old crime with a Poe connection.


Title: Glitter, Glam, and Contraband

Author: Heather Weidner

Genre: cozy mystery

Series: Delanie Fitzgerald Mystery, book 3

Publisher: Sandpiper Productions (November 19, 2019)

Print length: 240 pages

 On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours



If you could meet any author for coffee, who would you like to meet and what would you talk about?
I would love to have coffee with Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Mildred A. Wirt (one of the ghostwriters for the Nancy Drew mysteries). I would love to talk mysteries with them. I’d also want to know where they got their inspirations.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where in the world would it be?
I’ve always lived in Virginia. I think I would like to live and write on a beach. I love to visit tropical islands, but I would want to live on a beach in the continental US. 


5 things you need in order to write:
    •    my computer
    •    playlists
    •    chocolate
    •    caffeine
    •    the internet (I do a lot of research, and I get distracted with dog and cat videos.)

5 things you love about writing:
    •    the creativity
    •    plotting
    •    researching
    •    interacting with readers at events and social media
    •    all the opportunities that I’ve had because I’m a writer.

5 things you love about where you live (Richmond, Virginia):
    •    the history
    •    beaches
    •    mountains
    •    culture
    •    the southern hospitality.

5 things you never want to run out of:
    •    Coca Cola
    •    chocolate
    •    popcorn
    •    WiFi
    •    dog treats (My two Jack Russells are my writing partners, and they live for dog treats.)

5 favorite foods:  
    •    chocolate
    •    pizza
    •    popcorn
    •    shrimp
    •    French fries.

5 things you always put in your books:
    •    dogs
    •    mysteries
    •    strong female sleuth
    •    places in Virginia
    •    quirky characters.

5 favorite authors:
It’s hard to limit the list to five:
    •    Lee Child
    •    John Grisham
    •    David Baldacci
    •    Lisa Scottoline
    •     Janet Evanovich.

5 things that drive you crazy:

    •    people who take the last of something and don’t replace it
    •    people who leave grocery carts in parking spaces
    •    bad drivers
    •    rude people
    •     telemarketers.

5 people you consider as heroes:
    •    first responders (police, fire, EMTs, dispatchers)
    •    nurses
    •    teachers
    •    military personnel
    •    emergency room staff.


What’s your all-time favorite place?

What’s your all-time favorite movie? 

The Wizard of Oz.

What’s your all-time favorite library? 

The Library of Virginia in Richmond.

What’s your favorite/most visited Internet site?

Google – It’s great for research.

What’s your favorite time of day?

Early morning.

What’s your all-time favorite picture of yourself?
My three writer friends (Fiona Quinn, Tina Glasneck, and Rosemary Shomaker) went with me to Godfrey’s in Richmond for their Sunday brunch and drag show for research for this book. This is one of my favorite author adventure photos.

What’s your favorite meal?


What’s your favorite dessert? 

Anything chocolate.

What’s your favorite beverage? 

Coca Cola or Dr Pepper.

What’s your favorite thing to do when there’s nothing to do?

I always like to read.

What’s your favorite movie snack? 


What’s your favorite color?


What is the wallpaper on your computer’s desktop? 

A picture of my two Jack Russell Terriers.

What do you collect?
Books, Wizard of Oz items, postcards. I also have shelves of things people have given me since I’ve been a writer. It’s quite a collection of pens, pins, patches, stickers, glasses, mugs, and cards.

What book are you currently working on?

I am working on a new cozy series set in Charlottesville, Virginia. I also write novellas for the Mutt Mysteries (dog-themed mysteries). My story, “The Fast and the Furious” will be out in March.

What’s your latest recommendation for:
Food: White Chocolate Dipped Oreos (These are my favorite during the holidays.)
Music: Hootie and the Blowfish just came out with a new album. I can’t wait to listen to it. I love all kinds of music, and it’s always on when I’m writing or editing.
Movie: I love 80s classics. Everyone should see The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller.
Book: There are so many. I’ve enjoyed mysteries and thrillers by Amy Reade, K. L. Murphy, Sherry Harris, Maya Corrigan, and Louise Penny lately.
TV:  I don’t watch that much TV any more, but I love Stumptown.
Netflix/Amazon Prime: I love Stranger Things, Longmire, The Five, and Father Brown.
Miscellaneous: I have a pair of Jacks who share my office and help with the writing. The brother (Riley) and sister (Disney) are Jack Russell Terriers who live for treats and chasing squirrels.


Glitter, Glam, and Contraband is Heather Weidner’s third novel in the Delanie Fitzgerald series. Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, and Deadly Southern Charm. Her novellas appear in The Mutt Mysteries series. She is a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Guppies, International Thriller Writers, and James River Writers.

Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.

Heather earned her BA in English from Virginia Wesleyan University and her MA in American literature from the University of Richmond. Through the years, she has been a technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager.

Connect with Heather:
Website  |   Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon 

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Apple Books   |   Barnes and Noble   |   BookBub   |   Kobo   |   Scribd 

Friday, January 10, 2020



Murder hits the stacks when literary agent Allie Cobb investigates a fatality in the local library . . .  

Allie Cobb returns home from a book conference armed with hugs for her cat and her boyfriend, and dreams of a long, hot bath. She’s also getting ready to take the plunge by hiring an intern for her expanding literary agency. But it’s one for the books when Allie finds the town’s librarian—and her longtime role model—seconds away from death on the library floor.

Who would want to poison Vicky Napier—one of Rushing Creek’s most beloved citizens—on the eve of her retirement? But it seems there were toxic people in her life, like the handyman with an obsessive crush, and a wood carver with a hair-trigger temper. The list of suspects includes Allie’s boyfriend, Brent, who’s in the running to take over as town librarian. Avenging her friend’s murder could be a trap as she goes up against a killer determined to write Allie’s epitaph . . .

Book Details:

Title: A Mysterious Mix Up

Author: J.C. Kenney

Genre: cozy mystery

Series: The Allie Cobb Mysteries, book 3

Publisher: Lyrical Press (January 7, 2020)

Print length: 189 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?

Oh man, there are so many people I’d love to visit. I think it would be really cool to talk to Elon Musk. Between SpaceX, Tesla, and his other ventures, it would be fascinating to spend time with someone who not only dreams big but puts those dreams into action.

If you could talk to someone (dead), who would it be and what would you ask them?
My dad died when I was 16. As the youngest of eight kids, I never got to know him. Nor did he get to know me, I think. He was only 57 when he died, yet he fought in the Pacific in World War II, went to college, raised a family, witness a man walk on the moon, and so much more. It would be nice to just hang out and have a drink with him.

If you could live in any time period which would it be?
I wouldn’t mind checking out life a hundred years from now. I like to think it would pretty amazing technologically.

If you could time travel for an infinite period of time, where would you go?
I’d tour the Caribbean. I’d start at Bermuda and work my way south through the Virgin Islands and all points in between to Trinidad and Tobago. From there, I’d go west through Aruba and Jamaica to the Cayman Islands. After a stop in Havana, I’d wind up the tour in The Bahamas, before returning to the States via the Florida Keys.

If you could be anything besides a writer, what would it be?
I’d love to be a songwriter. I think is it an incredible gift to be able to tell a story or something similar than bring about an emotional response in three minutes. Either that or a musician. When I was in high school, I was a virtuoso at air guitar, but that’s the limit of my talents. My younger son is a trombone player studying music education. His musical ability astounds me.

If you had to do community service, what would you choose?
I’m a regular platelet donor, so I’m happy to be able to help folks who need platelets for surgery. Over the years, I’ve donated almost reached 20-gallon donor status.

If you could meet any author for coffee, who would you like to meet and what would you talk about?
I’d love to meet Agatha Christie, so I could ask her about the craft of writing whodunnits. She will always be the Queen of Mystery and to have a chance to spend time with her and soak in her brilliance would be incredible.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where in the world would it be?
Australia be cool. The thought of exploring an entire continent is really exciting. Plus, I’m a big fan of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, so it would be so much fun to visit the home of the series. 


5 favorite possessions:

    •    my laptop
    •    my Kindle Paperwhite
    •    my collector’s edition of the Lord of the Rings
    •    my music collection
    •    a striped quilt my sister made for me.

5 things you love about writing:
    •    meeting other authors
    •    being able to make stuff up
    •    having my characters surprise me
    •    hearing from readers that they’ve enjoyed my stories
    •    learning so many interesting things through my writing research.

5 things you love about where you live:
    •    the colorful leaves of autumn
    •    I’m only fifteen minutes from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
    •    the vibrant cultural districts of Broad Ripple Mass Ave.
    •    Fountain Square—my family is nearby and it’s the home of Kurt Vonnegut.

5 things you never want to run out of:   
    •    caffeine
    •    popcorn
    •    chocolate
    •    story ideas
    •    more caffeine.

5 favorite foods:
    •    Arroz con Pollo
    •    pizza
    •    chili
    •    a juicy cheeseburger
    •    oatmeal.

5 favorite places you’ve been:
    •    New York City
    •    Yellowstone National Park
    •    The Bob Marley Birthplace in Jamaica
    •    Wrigley Field
    •    EPCOT at Disney World.

5 living people you’d like to invite to dinner:  
    •    Barack Obama
    •    Jimmy Buffett
    •    Malala Yousafzai
    •    Anson Mount
    •    Grace Potter.

5 favorite things to do:  
    •    reading
    •    attending concerts
    •    going to musicals and stage plays
    •    snuggling with my kitty, Maria
    •    watching Murdoch Mysteries.


What’s your all-time favorite memory?
The day I got married to my lovely wife Nancy. We had such a great time that day. The day before had been hot, humid and stress filled. On our wedding day, the weather was perfect, the ceremony went off without a hitch, and the reception was a blast. The best day ever!

What’s your all-time favorite movie?
Field of Dreams. I can almost quote it line by line. The soliloquy delivered by James Earl Jones’ character Terrence Mann about baseball and its importance throughout American history gets me every time.

What’s your all-time favorite author?
There are so many amazing authors I’ve had the pleasure of reading. If I had to pick one, it would be Terry Pratchett. I’ve read every one of his Discworld books, over forty, and loved them all! As a mystery writer, I also adore Agatha Christie, the Grand Dame of the genre.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?
People who talk in movie theaters. Please, folks, be considerate of others.

What’s the loveliest sight you’ve ever seen?
The Grand Canyon was a breathtaking sight to behold. She sheer size of it, along with the almost infinite variety of colors make describing it sufficiently impossible.

What’s your favorite time of day?
I really like bedtime. Work is over, the day is done, and it’s time to unwind with a book. I read every night before turning off the light. All too often, I end up staying up way too late because I’m so engrossed in the story. LOL

What’s your favorite song?
It’s hard for me to so with a single song because there are so many amazing tunes of almost infinite variety. A few of my all-time include:
“One” by U2. I love the song’s message of unity and love for one another despite our differences. After 9/11, the depth of the lyrics took on a whole new message.
“He Went to Paris” by Jimmy Buffett. The ability to tell the story of a lifetime with such nuance and beauty, all in the span of three minutes, is staggering. I’m awestruck every time I listen to it.
“Maybe” by Ingrid Michaelson. When I was writing my first novel, I couldn’t figure out how I wanted to end it. Then one day, I was listening to this song, and the perfect ending came to me. I will forever be in Ingrid’s debt for that inspiration.
Last, but not least, “Our House” by Madness. The sheer joy of this song makes me smile every time. It’s so much fun and, as the youngest of eight, reminds me of life growing up in a busy household.

What’s your favorite vacation spot?
The gulf coast of Florida. I love the soft, sandy beaches, the blue skies, and the warm temps.

What’s your favorite beverage?
Lady Grey tea. It tastes wonderful, with a hint of citrus, and it wakes me up in the morning.

What’s your favorite ice cream?
I’m a vanilla guy. I love it by itself, and you can add so many fun things to it!

What’s your favorite thing to do when there’s nothing to do?
I really enjoy watching mysteries on Acorn TV. It’s so much fun watching shows from all around the world. Thanks to Acorn, I’ve seen shows from Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.

What’s your favorite quote?
“If you have the power of wonderment, you are forever young.” It’s a quote from naturalist and author Sigurd Olsen. It reminds me the world’s an amazing place and to take time to bask in it.

What’s your favorite candy bar?
Baby Ruth. OMG, between the chocolate and the peanuts, it is so good!

What’s your favorite movie snack?
Popcorn. It’s not a complete movie experience without a box of popcorn.

What’s your favorite social media site?
I’m a Twitter person. It has its faults, but overall, I like that I can get my news, follow my favorite people, and enjoy cat memes.

What’s your favorite color?
I love green, especially the darker shades, like Kelly and Forest. To me, it’s such a calming color.

What movie genre do you prefer?
My favorite is sci-fi. I’m a Star Trek fan. You can’t go wrong with a good thriller, though.

What book are you currently working on?
I’m writing the first draft of book 4 in The Allie Cobb Mysteries. It’s tentatively called A Frightful Find. If things go as planned, it will arrive early next year!

What’s your latest recommendation for:
Due to a wheat allergy, I have to be on a gluten-free diet. Recently, I’ve become a fan of cauliflower crusts for pizza. They’re light, taste good, and I can tell myself I’m getting another veggie in my diet! Lol

Grace Potter’s latest album, Daylight, is fabulous. It’s stripped down to the essentials without an overproduced track to be found. Grace’s songwriting and powerhouse vocals are on fire. It’s great to have the first new music from her in four years!

Knives Out. This film is so much fun! As a mystery writer, I adore the way it salutes traditional mysteries while telling a contemporary story. And it’s so funny. This is a can’t miss in my book.

I’m currently reading Lori Rader-Day’s The Lucky One. It’s a fabulous mystery with incredibly believable characters. Lori is an absolute master of storytelling.

I don’t listen to audiobooks often, but I adored As You Wish. It’s a memoir by Cary Elwes recounting his time making The Princess Bride. He narrates the book, which made me laugh, cry, and feel everything in between. It’s a book that leaves you feeling good.

I think Jordan Peele’s adaptation of The Twilight Zone is fantastic. It captures the sense of wonder of the original while standing on its own two contemporary legs.


A Literal Mess, Allie Cobb Mysteries book 1
A Genuine Fix, Allie Cobb Mysteries book 2


  J.C. Kenney grew up in a household filled with books by legends Agatha Christie and Lilian Jackson Braun, among many others, so it was no surprise when he found himself writing mystery stories. When he's not writing, you can find him following IndyCar racing or listening to music. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife, two kiddos, and a cat who is the inspiration for Ursula in the Allie Cobb Mysteries.

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

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Apple  |  Google