Killer Cocktail

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Today, I feature author Tracy Kiely and her newest release, Killer Cocktail.
Tracy Kiely is a self-proclaimed Anglophile (a fact which distresses certain members of her Irish Catholic family). She grew up reading Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, and watching Hitchcock movies. She fell in love with Austen’s wit, Christie’s clever plots, and Hitchcock’s recurrent theme of “the average man caught in extraordinary circumstances.”
After spending years of trying to find a proper job that would enable her to use her skills garnered as an English major, she decided to write a book. It would, of course, have to be a mystery; it would have to be funny; and it would have to feature an average person caught up in extraordinary circumstances. She began to wonder how the characters in Pride and Prejudice might fit into a mystery. What, if after years of living with unbearably rude and condescending behavior, old Mrs. Jenkins up and strangled Lady Catherine? What if Charlotte snapped one day and poisoned Mr. Collins’ toast and jam? Skip ahead several years, and several different plot ideas, and you have her first mystery Murder at Longbourn.
While she does not claim to be Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, or Hitchcock (one big reason being that they’re all dead), she has tried to combine the elements of all three in her books.
More about Killer Cocktail:
Walking the red carpet at the Academy Awards with a bow-tied Bullmastiff draws Nic and Nigel Martini plenty of attention from the press. But that’s nothing compared to the attention they receive at the A-list after party, when Hollywood royalty learn that Nic and Nigel have discovered behind-the-scenes footage from A Winter’s Night, an acclaimed film known for backstage love triangles and the tragic death of its original star, Melanie Summers.
KILLER COCKTAILReturning home after the party, Nic and Nigel find their house in shambles and their employee DeDee Evans beaten within an inch of her life. And when the weapon used to pummel DeDee implicates beloved actress Christina Franklin, Nic and Nigel drink and banter their way into a modern-day version of a golden-era crime caper.

How to connect with Tracy:
Webpage: http://www.tracykielymysteries.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tracykielymysteries
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Tracy_Kiely
Blog: http://www.tracykielymysteries.com/?p=blog

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Failure is Fatal

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Lesley A. Diehl visits my blog to talk about her newest release, Failure is Fatal. Welcome, Lesley. I’m so delighted to host you today.author photo

Why do you write cozy mysteries?
I have lived in small towns for most of my life, so the setting of a cozy mystery is familiar to me. I can’t imagine trying to write something set in an urban area. While I like to construct complicated plots, I like mysteries where the characters can be explored in some depth, and I prefer to have a cast of characters that I can introduce to the reader. The interplay among them is important to making the story compelling and encouraging the reader to solve the puzzle of the crime. The reader should have a sense that the people inhabiting the book are reachable.
The aspect of a cozy that is most important to me is the implied contract that is developed between the writer and the reader, the contract that says this book will not disappoint. I will solve this crime and set the village right again, perhaps not the same as before, but the bad guy or gal will be brought to some kind of justice. There is an inherent optimism in a cozy mystery: this crime can be solved and justice will prevail.

Please tell us about your book. What ideas or images inspired this novel?
Failure Is Fatal is the second book in the Laura Murphy mysteries and, as with the first one, Murder Is Academic, we have snoopy Dr. Laura Murphy, a member of the psychology department at a small public university in Upstate New York, investigating murder, this time of a coed. She’s encouraged to help ferret out clues by a detective and her good friend in the local police department. Her obsession with finding the killer puts her relationship with Guy LaFrance on the back burner, making the future of their love affair problematic. But Laura perseveres despite Guy’s reservations. Fueled with chocolate and her nosy nature, Laura’s quest brings her into conflict with a local fraternity and forces her to look closely into her own past for clues in this murder.
The idea for the book came out of a study on sexual harassment undertaken by my undergraduate research assistants and me the year before I retired. The project, hitting close to home for some faculty on campus, stirred up controversy. I simply took that controversy and blew it up into a murder.

Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
The typical reader for my work is a woman over the age of forty, and knowing this about my readers, I write to this description, not only because it appeals to this group, but also because cozy mysteries always find this age and gender group as their reading audience. Mysteries set in a small town where the characters know one another, where motives for murder abound and are intimate, and where the protagonist is fond of and part of village life is my ideal reader’s cup of tea, although cozies can feature jazzier settings and quite sassy protagonists. I think Laura Murphy is that kind of protagonist. If my readers don’t want to be like her because she’s too outgoing and in-your-face, they secretly like her style and might want her as the friend who says what they might not. I write the protagonists I like, but I’m pretty certain I’m creating a story the reader will find compelling because I include humor as well as serious themes, and the bad guy always gets it in the end.

Please describe your writing routine.
I do most of my writing in the morning and afternoon. With my morning coffee, I check my emails and attend to the business of writing and promotion. I’ll then work on my manuscript, taking a break for lunch and returning to work in the afternoon. I try to take computer breaks every hour, engaging in more active tasks such as walking to get the mail, doing a load of laundry, hanging out clothes, gardening, prepping for dinner or cleaning a closet. There’s something about cleaning a closet or organizing my desk or a bureau of clothing that allows me to let my thoughts free and sometimes I get writing ideas from accomplishing these menial tasks. I never write after dinner or before I go to bed. I’ve found that I can’t sleep if I do.
As for the writing itself, sometimes I have a plot outline which I check from time to time. Other times, I’m just winging it. I do go back and reread what I’ve written the day before so that I can pick up the thread of where I’m headed and to give my writing flow.

What advice do you give new writers just starting out?
Learn your craft by reading about it, taking classes offered by the Guppies, the unpublished arm of Sisters In Crime, joining professional writing organizations such as Mystery Writers of America or Sisters in Crime, attending conferences, finding a critique partner, or joining a critique group online or in your area. Read books in your genre, lots of them. Read outside your genre. Talk with other authors, but don’t use them as the final word on what you write or how you write it. Your aunt wants the best for you, but she’s probably not the best judge of your work, so don’t think friends and relatives will function well as sounding boards. You need feedback, so get it from professional sources by swapping manuscripts or partial manuscripts through the Guppies Group as suggested above. If you are going to go the traditional route in publishing by finding an agent, learn how to do this. Learn how to write a synopsis and a query letter.
Most importantly, find your own voice, the one you’re comfortable with, and then write, write, write!

More About Failure is Fatal:
Someone at Professor Laura Murphy’s college appears to be playing a joke on her by planting sexually explicit stories in her research results, but the joke turns deadly when one story details the recent stabbing murder of a coed.
coverLaura’s close friend, Detective Derrick Pasquis from the local police, asks for her help in interviewing the prickly suspects who resist intervention from outside the campus community. Eager to search out clues, Laura ignores warning signs that playing amateur sleuth may jeopardize her newly developing romance with Guy. And of course her usual intrusive manner puts her at odds with everyone on campus — colleagues, the college administration, the head of campus security and fraternity members. Is there no one Laura can’t offend in her eagerness to find the truth? The closer she gets to solving the crime, the more it appears that the past — the coed’s, that of a prominent faculty member and Laura’s own — is the key to the murder. Caught in an early winter blizzard, Laura must choose between wandering the mountains and freezing to death or taking her chances with a killer clever enough to make murder look like the work of an innocent student.

Grab your copy here: Amazon

How to connect with Lesley:
Website: www.lesleyadiehl.com
Blog: www.lesleyadiehl.com/blog
Twitter: @lesleydiehl
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lesley-A-Diehl-522270901254754/timeline

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To Catch A Treat

bannerAuthor Linda O. Johnston visits my pages today to talk about her newest release, To Catch A Treat. Welcome, Linda.author photo
Hi. I’m delighted to be here as part of my Great Escapes Book Tour.  I’d like to tell you about me and my writing and my latest work.
First: me.  My name is Linda O. Johnston, and I’m here to let people know about my latest release: To Catch A Treat. It’s the second book in my Barkery & Biscuits Mystery Series. The first book was Bite The Biscuit, which was released a year ago. It was a finalist in the fiction category of the Dog Writers Association of America’s Maxwell Awards.
In addition to the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries, I also write the Superstition Mysteries for the same publisher, Midnight Ink. The second Superstition Mystery, Knock On Wood, was released last October, and the third, Unlucky Charms, will be out in October of this year.
If you haven’t guessed,  I write a lot. To Catch A Treat is my 42nd published novel. In addition to my mysteries, I write for two Harlequin series. My Harlequin Romantic Suspense novel Clandestine Attraction will be published this August. I also write the Alpha Force miniseries about a covert military unit of shapeshifters for Harlequin’s paranormal romance Nocturne line.
So why do I write?  It’s who I am, what I do.  Why do I write cozy mysteries?  Because I love them. And I love dogs. All of my mysteries feature dogs. I additionally enjoy writing romances, and there are also canines in my Alpha Force miniseries — werewolves! Also, the shifters have cover dogs in case they’re seen in shifted form.
For many years, I was an attorney specializing in real estate law. That was fun while it lasted, but I started getting my fiction published while I practiced law. Eventually, I became the full-time writer that I am today.
In addition to writing novels, I enjoy blogging and letting people know about my published work and just getting out there and meeting readers and other writers in person… and virtually!

More about To Catch A Treat:
Carrie Kennersly, veterinary technician and owner of the Barkery and Biscuits bake shop, agrees to a day of hiking with her brother Neal mostly because she wants to meet — and critique — his latest romantic interest, Janelle Blaystone. But instead of judgment, Carrie has only sympathy for Janelle, whose beloved black Labrador, Go, was recently dognapped along with many other purebred pets.
cover artJanelle thinks the culprit is Ada Arnist, a wealthy homeowner spotted at the dog parks where Go and the others were stolen. Soon after Janelle confronts her, though, Ada is found dead. With Janelle and Neal on the suspect list, Carrie must solve the mystery before the police bark up the wrong tree.

Grab your copy here: Amazon

How to connect with Linda:
Webpage: www.LindaOJohnston.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LindaOJohnston

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Without A Doubt

WITHOUT A DOUBT large banner 640Nancy Cole Silverman talks today about her newest release, Without A Doubt. This is the third book in the series and draws upon Nancy’s 25-year career in radio journalism. Welcome, Nancy.Author photo

Why do you write cozy mysteries?
When I first started writing, I hadn’t heard the term. I just knew that I like to write with a sense of suspense and humor. In fact, I couldn’t do one without the other. I think that makes for a more interesting and refreshing story arch. It was publisher who identified my genre as cozy, but I like to think of it as cozy with a bite.

Please tell us about your book. What ideas or images inspired this novel?
I worked in news and talk radio for twenty five years and when I retired I was intrigued with the idea about writing a mystery series about what I experienced firsthand. Listeners think they know that bodiless voice and often would call in after a show to talk; they would reveal so much more than they might in person or to law enforcement.

Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
Cozy readers are mostly women 45+, but I like to think both men and woman 35+ would find The Carol Childs Mysteries of interest. Particularly those searching for a complex mystery with several subplots dealing both with the crime and interpersonal relationships.

Please describe your writing routine.
I write everyday, all day. I take numerous breaks. I never try to push myself for several solid hours at one sitting. Rather I schedule lunch and breaks throughout the day, but I’m always in the office by 7:45 a.m. and I never leave before 4 p.m. On average, I write about 3 to 4 hours a day.

What advice do you give new writers just starting out?
Read. Write, and rewrite. Writing is in the rewriting. Never sit down to write to a word count. Rather, write a scene and when that scene done, write another. Most importantly, when you’re finished, put it aside for awhile, then review it with fresh eyes, maybe a month later.

More about Without A Doubt:
As radio reporter Carol Childs investigates a series of Beverly Hills jewelry heists, she realizes her FBI boyfriend, Eric, is working the same case. Even worse, she may have inadvertently helped the suspect escape. The situation intensifies when the suspect calls the radio station during a live broadcast, baiting Carol deeper into the investigation.
Cover artIn order for her to uncover the truth, Carol must choose between her job and her personal relationships. What started out as coincidence between Carol and Eric becomes a race for the facts — pitting them against one another — before the thieves can pull off a daring escape, leaving a trail of dead bodies behind, and taking the jewels with them.

Grab your copy here: Amazon

How to connect with Nancy:
Website: www.nancycolesilverman.com
Email address: nancy@nancycolesilverman.com
Facebook: /www.facebook.com/Nancy-Cole-Silverman-314202208737024/
Twitter: @nancycolesilver

Nancy is giving away three autographed copies of the book. Enter here to win.
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Do Over! Revisiting The Wedding Day

Remember when you were a kid, playing a game at school, and there was some kind of mistake or interruption, so somebody yelled “Do over?” Well, that’s what happened with me and my post about The Wedding Day by Sharon Kleve. Due to a miscommunication, I didn’t post the interview with Sharon yesterday as I planned. So, do over! Welcome back, Sharon.Kleve photo

Why do you write romance?
It makes me feel good. I have a technical day job and writing romance balances out my brain.

Please tell us about your book. What ideas or images inspired this novel?
When I heard about Kindle Worlds, I thought I’d give writing fan fiction a try. Fan fiction is a great way for readers to discover authors who are also fans of their favorite books. I love best-selling author Lucy Kevin’s writing so I chose to write a fan fiction book around Four Weddings and a Fiasco. The Wedding Switch was so much fun, I wrote another one called, The Wedding Day, which was released yesterday.

Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
Someone who likes sweet, light-hearted romance with animals and food in them. I include some sort of pet and recipes in all of my books.

Please describe your writing routine.
I write every evening after dinner and on the weekends. It takes up most of my free time, but I’m lucky to have an understanding husband. He takes care of our cat and some of our household duties when I have a deadline.

What advice do you give new writers just starting out?
There’s a lot of talk about self-publishing and how great it is. How you can have more control of your finished work. My advice is to find a trusted eBook publisher and stick with them. I’ve been with Books To Go Now http://bookstogonow.com/ from the beginning. Except for my two Kindle Worlds books. I feel fortunate to have found them early in my career.

More about The Wedding Day:
Cora Henley doesn’t believe in love at first sight. In her personal experience love never lasts. Her parents’ nasty divorce and her ex-boyfriend’s betrayal have her convinced long-term relationships don’t work.
The  Wedding Day coverKane Price is finally ready to settle down, get married and have a family. When he falls head-over-heels for Cora, she makes it clear she’s not interested in a serious relationship. He’s come up against difficult obstacles before and never gives up until he gets what he wants. And he wants Cora.
If Cora can just trust her heart to Kane they both might find their happily-ever-after.

Grab your copy here: Amazon

How to connect with Sharon:

Website: http://authorsharonkleve.blogspot.com/
Email address: sharon.kleve@gmail.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sharonrkleve
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SharonKleve

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The Wedding Day

Sharon Kleve’s contemporary romance, The Wedding Day, premiers today. Congratulations, Sharon! Happy Publication Day.Kleve photo

More about The Wedding Day:
Cora Henley doesn’t believe in love at first sight. In her personal experience love never lasts. Her parents’ nasty divorce and her ex-boyfriend’s betrayal have her convinced long-term relationships don’t work.
The Wedding Day coverKane Price is finally ready to settle down, get married and have a family. When he falls head-over-heels for Cora, she makes it clear she’s not interested in a serious relationship. He’s come up against difficult obstacles before and never gives up until he gets what he wants. And he wants Cora.
If Cora can just trust her heart to Kane they both might find their happily-ever-after.

Grab your copy here: Amazon

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House of the Hanging Jade

bannerrAmy M. Reade visits my pages today to talk about her new release, House of the Hanging Jade. She shares her top 10 things most folks don’t know about Hawaii. Welcome, Amy.Author photo

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Hawaii…
which may or may not be from personal experience
1. There are no billboards.
2. The state bird, which is actually a goose called the nene (pronounced nay-nay), is a highly threatened species that looks remarkably like a miniature Canada Goose.
3. Big Island: If your children are fighting in the car to the point where you wish you could be strapped to the front grate for the rest of the trip around the island, do yourself a favor and use Saddle Road, which can potentially cut several hours off your “fun family drive.”
4. Big Island: The southernmost winery in the United States is Volcano Winery, located in Volcano, Hawaii. This is actually a village on the slopes of Kilauea, a volcano that has been erupting since 1983. The winery has great wines (especially their Symphony Mele- pronounced “may-lay”) and can be a useful stop if … see #3 above.
5. Hawaii has no rabies. I learned that the hard way, thanks to a cat I mistakenly thought was adorable.
6. Winter is the best time to go to Hawaii if you want to see humpback whales frolicking in the Pacific Ocean. The males put on quite a show if they are courting a female. Once the females calve they, too, put on a great show. When calves are learning to jump, they’re often referred to as “flying pickles” because they can’t quite get their tails out of the water and they do, in fact, look like giant flying pickles.
7. When swimming in the ocean, be aware that it gets deep very quickly and the waves can be gigantic. If you happen to be out too far with your daughter and have to be rescued by a stranger when a wave tries to kill you, just remember to be gracious and apologetic when that stranger tells you not to be so stupid.
8. Oahu: You may decide to climb Diamond Head on your last day in Hawaii. I encourage that because it’s a great experience. But please, take extra water. Otherwise, you too might have an inexplicable seizure on the airplane home. And if the doctor behind you gets testy when you, in a frenzy of flight officials trying to decide if the airplane should be turned around to get you to a hospital, suggest it might have been the water in the restroom at Diamond Head, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
P.S.: My kids actually enjoyed that flight because they got to sit in the back of the plane and eat ice cream while I was stretched out across three seats up front on my deathbed. They do love their ice cream.
9. Big Island: And speaking of ice cream, be sure to stop at Tropical Dreams, a little ice cream and coffee shop in Hawii jam packed with fun souvenir finds and the best ice cream on the island. It’s where I first saw Dragonfruit Sorbet (it’s actually the only place I’ve ever seen it).
10. You will never want to leave.

More about House of the Hanging Jade:
A dark presence invades the Jorgensens’ house. On a spectacular bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, something evil is watching and waiting . . .
cover artTired of the cold winters in Washington, D.C. and disturbed by her increasingly obsessive boyfriend, Kailani Kanaka savors her move back to her native Big Island of Hawaii. She also finds a new job as personal chef for the Jorgensen family. The gentle caress of the Hawaiian trade winds, the soft sigh of the swaying palm trees, and the stunning blue waters of the Pacific lull her into a sense of calm at the House of Hanging Jade–an idyll that quickly fades as it becomes apparent that dark secrets lurk within her new home. Furtive whispers in the night, a terrifying shark attack, and the discovery of a dead body leave Kailani shaken and afraid. But it’s the unexpected appearance of her ex-boyfriend, tracking her every move and demanding she return to him, that has her fearing for her life…

Grab your copy here: Amazon

Want to win a free ebook of House of the Hanging Jade? Please leave a comment, and one contributor will receive a copy. Thanks!

How to connect with Amy:

Website: www.amymreade.com
Blog: www.amreade.wordpress.com
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/8189243.Amy_M_Reade
Amazon: www.amazon.com/Amy-M.-Reade/e/B00LX6ASF2/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
Facebook: www.facebook.com/amreadeauthor
Twitter: www.twitter.com/readeandwrite
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/amreade
Tumblr: www.amymreade.tumblr.com

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With A Vengeance

bannerToday, I welcome Annette Dashofy to share her latest release, With A Vengeance. Welcome, Annette.Author profile

Why do you write cozy mysteries?
I’ve always loved reading mysteries and solving the puzzles. I didn’t set out to write cozies, and mine are actually considered gritty cozies, or as Hank Phillippi Ryan dubbed them, Not Quite Cozy. There’s quite a bit of humor in them, which I think sways them back under the cozy umbrella.

Please tell us about your book. What ideas or images inspired this novel?
With A Vengeance is the fourth book in the series and deals with someone opening fire on first responders as they arrive at emergency calls. The inspiration came from a news article that I vaguely remember reading, although I can’t recall the details. But that’s fine since I made up my own! Having been an EMT and having walked sometimes blindly into situations to rescue people, the thought of someone shooting at me in those circumstances was terrifying.

Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
I’ve tried to picture my “ideal reader” and can’t quite do it. I write the kind of stories I like to read. I’ve come to realize I have a great many readers who are school teachers, so if there’s a group I keep in mind as I write, it would be them. I guess in a way I’m still penning essays for my high school English class!

Please describe your writing routine.
As a rule, I get up early (5AM), get my husband off to work, grab some coffee and some breakfast—I check emails and Facebook while I’m eating—and then sit down to write around 7. I work until 9 or 9:30. The rest of my day varies quite a bit. But those morning hours of writing stay pretty consistent.

What advice do you give new writers just starting out?
I get asked this a lot. My advice is to join a good writing group (I belong to Pennwriters and Sisters in Crime among others, and would never have gotten published without them), learn your craft, write and rewrite until you have the best story you possibly can, and never, ever give up.

More about With A Vengeance:
Paramedic Zoe Chambers and the rest of rural Monongahela County’s EMS and fire personnel are used to wading into the middle of trouble to rescue the sick and the injured.
cover artBut when someone with an ax to grind seeks retribution by staging accident scenes and gunning down the first responders, Zoe finds herself forced to not only treat her own brethren of the front lines, but also, in her role as deputy coroner, seek out whoever is killing her friends.
At the same time, Vance Township Police Chief Pete Adams races to track down a gun, a mysterious all-terrain vehicle, and the sniper before Zoe goes back on duty, placing herself — and Pete — firmly in the gunman’s crosshairs.

Grab your copy here: Amazon

How to connect with Annette:
Website: www.annettedashofy.com
Email: annette@annettedashofy.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annette.dashofy/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Annette_Dashofy

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Meddling with Murder

bannerToday I welcome the sister writing team of Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell. They write contemporary women’s fiction laced with humor, romance, and mystery. Welcome!Author photo

Why do you write cozy mysteries?
We love stories with twists and turns that keep the reader guessing.
And we especially love humor. Most of all, cozy mysteries are usually character-driven and having entertaining, idiosyncratic characters in fiction is always a big plus! Lorraine, even more than Pam, is a big coward, the sort that puts her sweater over her head when something too scary or hard-core comes on screen. Of course cozy mysteries usually revolve around a murder but without the graphic elements that provoke nightmares and make you triple-check your doors and windows are locked. We want excitement, drama and suspense, yes. But most of all we want fun. We’re not brave enough to write anything that will have us shivering in our bed at night.

Please tell us about Meddling with Murder. What ideas or images inspired this novel?
It’s a funny mystery about a harassed housewife and mother who gets up to all kinds of crazy antics as she becomes a wanna-be sleuth operating her own North London agency. There are a lot of elements to the story but since Pam is always jaunting off on charity bike rides to Europe, it’s probably natural that bicycles feature largely in this one – stolen bikes, vandalism to Cathy’s girlfriends’ new bike shop. Then there’s the tougher side of being a teenager today, with gangs, drugs and the communication gap between parents and kids. We had this image of an alarmed mother anxious to find out why her teenage son is hiding a gun but terrified he’ll run away or choose to live with his divorced father if she probes. And since we wanted to add some complications to Cathy’s far too happy marriage, and we’d been talking about the Norfolk countryside (where both of us have had several holidays) we made husband Declan intent on moving the family away from the crime-ridden city and Cathy desperate to stay in Crouch End, running her business and close to her best friends. As in all our novels, the female friendship aspect is huge and Cathy faces some difficult choices about whether it’s more supportive to hide things from them or keep hurtful information secret to spare them heartbreak.

Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
I’m not sure that we have an ideal reader exactly but if we did, they’d be very much like our friends. Probably over thirty, married or in a relationship, possibly with children (Pam has them, Lorraine doesn’t) so they can identify with the parenthood struggles. I think they would be gossipy, intelligent, concerned, tolerant, not too naïve about the world … who knows – maybe fans of Friends or Desperate Housewives? But whatever their age or social status, the biggest thing is that they like to laugh, they love hanging out with their girlfriends and they’re not afraid to have a good time.

Please describe your writing routine.
Ours is slightly different from most writers in that our working days involve a seven hour time difference – Lorraine starting just as Pam is almost ready to wrap up for the day. Having said that both of us work strange hours sometimes. Lorraine often rises at four a.m., works a few hours, takes a break to do horse stuff, then writes again in the afternoon. Pam works part-time at a local college, so on those days, she usually rushes to her computer as soon as she gets home, takes time off to cook and eat dinner and gets back to work again. (Otherwise she works a full day.) We usually rush to check emails first thing to see what the other has sent and that sets our priority. It might be a new version of the manuscript we’re working on, a blog post to write or questions that need to be answered. We often phone each other and get into hour-long discussions about plot problems, decisions to be made or promotional plans, calls which can be very creative, essential or total time-killers. And then we knuckle down and get to work, emailing each other a barrage of questions about anything that arises. At the end of the day we send off whatever we produce and a few hours later, our writing partner wakes up and carries on the good work.

What advice do you give new writers just starting out?
Be fearless. (I know that sounds contradictory given that we’ve admitted to being cowards but that’s why we write as a team.) It takes courage to start a book and stamina to finish. It takes courage to show it to people. It takes courage to face rejection and bad reviews.
However today’s novelists are extremely fortunate in that we don’t have to depend on traditional publishers to find readers. So, having said that, the best thing is to write about what interests you, what will make you excited to get to the computer, and accept that for most of us fiction is less about making money and more a creative need and labor of love.

More about Meddling with Murder:
Crouch End Confidential, the agency started by housewife and mother, Cathy O’Farrell, with ex-cleaner, Pimple, is failing badly. Hardly surprising when Cathy’s too soft-hearted to charge their only clients – little old ladies seeking lost pets and a school kid searching for his stolen bike.
cover artA new case involving a teenager in possession of an unexplained Glock pistol promises to change all that. Quickly Cathy’s deep in waters over her head, forced with hilarious results to pose as a mathematics tutor, a subject of which she’s truly clueless. There’s also the tricky situation of best friend and new mother Rosa hiring her to investigate her fiancé, Alec, plus the mysterious sabotage of Cathy’s friends’ cycle shop and a gang of yobbos dealing drugs at her children’s primary school.
Worst of all, an ill-fated trip to rural Norfolk has Cathy’s husband, Declan, intent on buying a post office and transplanting the family to safer climes, threatening to tear Cathy permanently from her beloved North London home.
Pretty soon Cathy’s risking her friendships, her marriage and even her life untangling all these messes. But that’s what you get for meddling in murder.

Grab your copy here: Amazon

How to connect with Ellie Campbell:
Website: http://chicklitsisters.com
Email address: chicklitsisters@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EllieCampbellbooks:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ecampbellbooks

About the author:
Ellie Campbell is a pseudonym for sister writing team, Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell. Running wild as tomboys in Scotland, playing imagination games, they couldn’t dream that one day they’d co-author novels despite an ocean between them. From boring clerical jobs in London to a varied life of backpacking and adventure travel, both started almost accidentally as short story writers, Lorraine when working in publishing, Pam as a fun hobby while an at-home mother of three.
By the time each had 70 short stories published internationally, Pam was settled in Surrey, England, and Lorraine had finally taken root in Boulder, Colorado. Long telephone chats about life and fiction led to their current collaboration. They have produced five acclaimed novels – How To Survive Your Sisters, When Good Friends Go Bad, Looking For La La, To Catch A Creeper and Million Dollar Question. They write contemporary women’s fiction laced with humor, romance, and mystery.
When not hunched over computers, Lorraine, a certified ROTH ‘horse whisperer’, can usually be found messing about with her four rescue horses. Pam spends her time on a fund-raising bike ride, madly cycling over mountains to Paris, Barcelona or Gibraltar on the back of her husband’s bone-shaking tandem.

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For Dead Men Only

bannerAuthor Paula Paul stops by today to talk about her new cozy mystery, For Dead Men Only. Welcome, Paula.Author photo

Why do you write cozy mysteries?
I like writing cozy mysteries because of the challenge. The plot must be more intricately woven than a thriller or even a police procedural novel. A cozy mystery presents a puzzle that the reader becomes involved in solving. I once read that cozy mysteries are the “beach reads for intellectuals.”

Please tell us about your book. What ideas or images inspired this novel?

For Dead Men Only involves the secrets and ancient history of the Knights Templars and the Freemasons. I find those secret societies intriguing, and they lend themselves quite well to mysteries. I am so familiar with the fictitious village of Newton-Upon-Sea where the Gladstone series is set, and I’ve gotten to know the citizens of the village as I’ve written the books. I started wondering how they would think and feel about a Freemason’s lodge in the village and about the stories of the Templars who would have most certainly been a part of local legend. Once I started researching the organizations and how they evolved in Essex, where Newton is located, a plot just seemed to form itself, and I became eager to write the story.

Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
I try to write for as broad a spectrum of the population as possible. I am aware that women buy more books than men, but I don’t want my books to be addressed only to women. I always assume that I am writing for a smart reader who won’t let me get away with writing down to them. I always think of my reader as a highly intelligent person who challenges me, and who won’t let me get by with sloppy plotting or facile solutions to the mystery.

Describe your writing routine.
I usually start writing in the afternoon and often write until dinner. After I’ve had dinner, I come back to my office and write more. That’s easier to do now that my children are grown and my husband is no longer living. When I had a houseful at home, I just snatched an hour here and there when I could. Now, I live with my two five-pound maltese-and-poodle-cross dogs who sleep in my lap while I write.

What advice do you give new writers just starting out?
Write a lot and read a lot. If you really want to be a writer, you either have to be writing or reading or thinking about writing. When you read a book in the genre or type in which you want to publish, you must not read strictly for pleasure. You need study the technique as you read and apply what you learn to your writing. Most of all, don’t give up. If a person really wants to be a writer, they don’t need that last bit of advice. A real writer will never give up.

More about For Dead Men Only:

The Temple of the Ninth Daughter sits on a hill at the edge of Newton-upon-Sea, an aura of mystery lingering over its tall, gray silhouette. Villagers whisper about the treasure housed inside, protected by local Freemasons who are bound by clandestine oaths.
Cover artDr. Alexandra Gladstone has no time for such nonsense. Between the patients in her surgery and the rounds she makes with her faithful dog, Zack, her days are busy enough. But Alexandra has no logical explanation when the Freemasons start dying, one by one, with no sign of foul play other than smears of blood on their Masonic aprons. And what to make of reports that a Knight Templar rides through the village before each passing?
After the constable disappears in the midst of the crisis, Alexandra reaches out to her dashing, diligent friend, Nicholas Forsythe, Lord Dunsford, for assistance. Is someone after the treasure, or might a more sinister game be afoot? In order to solve this puzzle, Alexandra must somehow catch a killer who shows no remorse — and leaves no witnesses.

Grab your copy here: Amazon

How to connect with Paula:
Website: paulapaul.net
Facebook: facebook.com/paula.paul.545
(the Gladstone series has a Facebook page:
Facebook.com/pages/Alexandra-Gladstone-Mysteries/279336318782364
Twitter: PaulaPaul4

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