Die, Die Birdie

die dir birdie large banner640J.R. Ripley visits my page today to share news of his newest release: Die, Die Birdie. J.R. Ripley is the pen name of Glenn Meganck, the critically acclaimed author of the Tony Kozol mystery series. As a member of the Mystery Writers of America, he has chaired the Edgar committee for Best Original Paperback gmeganckauthorphoto (1)novel and served on the Best Short Story Committee. As a member of the International Association of Crime Writers, he has served on the Hammett Award committee for Best Novel. When not writing books, Glenn is writing songs, often singing them to the consternation of his audience and neighbors, or involved in one of his many passions, none of which have involved any of the dead bodies that seem to keep cropping up in his mysteries. For more information about him, visit glennmeganck.com.

More about Die, Die Birdie:
DIE DIE BIRDIE For Amy Simms, hatching a birding shop in her hometown of Ruby Lake, North Carolina, hasn’t exactly been a breeze. But could a deadly discovery clip her wings for good?
It’s just days before Amy plans to open Birds & Bees on the first floor of her creaky Victorian house, but delayed seed shipments have prevented the fledgling owner from stocking her shelves. And it doesn’t help that Amy’s best friend and business partner is out of town indefinitely. With locals skeptical about the niche shop taking flight, the last thing Amy needs now is a dead man in her storeroom-or for a crotchety tenant to catch her holding a bloody bird feeder hook over his body…
Pigeonholed as a leading murder suspect by police and lacking a solid alibi, Amy’s delving into the victim’s ugly past and buzzing around Ruby Lake for clues on his killer…before she ends up like so many of her beloved feathery friends – trapped behind bars!
Grab your copy here: Amazon
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The Bluebonnet Betrayal

bluebonnet betrayal large banner640
Author Marty Wingate visits my pages today to talk about her new cozy mystery, The Bluebonnet Betrayal. Welcome, Marty.MARTY

Why do you write cozy mysteries?
Someone has said that authors write what they want to read, and for the most part that’s true for me. I love the traditional and cozy mysteries because they are always so much more than a puzzle to solve. There’s the setting, which is important to me (and so I’ve made it important in my books) and the characters’ stories. I have been known to begin reading a series, like it, and then pick up subsequent books and scan them, looking for mention of my favorite character from the previous book! I like the overall series arc the main character has (or should have).

Please tell us about your book. What ideas or images inspired this novel?
The Bluebonnet Betrayal takes place at one of my favorite yearly events, the Chelsea Flower Show in London. This is the fifth book in the Potting Shed series and Pru Parke (American gardener who has moved to England) gets an out-of-the-blue email from a long-ago co-worker at the Dallas Arboretum asking Pru if she would help the Austin Rock Garden Society build a display at Chelsea. How can she say no? Once committed, however, she discovers back-biting, resentments, and jealousies among the contractor, designer, and the Austin women who show up to work. The murder is particularly difficult for Pru and so it’s a sort of campaign for her to help solve it.

Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
My reader is someone who likes to travel – I think that’s part of the allure of a series set abroad) and enjoys the outdoors. It isn’t necessary to be a fantastic gardener, but gardens do figure prominently. So does food – Pru loves a good meal, but she is not a cook. Also, my reader likes a mystery, but doesn’t necessarily need a detailed description of someone’s brains being blown to bits. Know what I mean?

Please describe your writing routine.
I write new material mostly in the morning, and I rewrite and edit some in the afternoons. I write or attend to the story in some way every day. It becomes a part of me, so that I am never at a loss for something to do while waiting in a line or sitting on a bus or train. I have a story in my head, and I’m my own entertainment.

What advice do you give new writers just starting out?
Write. Don’t know where to begin? Don’t think of it as a beginning – the first words you put down could end up in chapter three. Read. Read books that you enjoy (I steer clear of books I’m “supposed” to read). Absorb all those wonderful words. Talk about writing. Talk about story arcs and character development. Do this with friends, or at writing workshops. Join a writing group or just go out regularly for coffee with one writing friend.

More about The Bluebonnet Betrayal:
BLUEBONNET BETRAYALPru’s life in England is coming full circle. A Texas transplant, she’s married to the love of her life, thriving in the plum gardening position she shares with her long-lost brother, and prepping a Chelsea Flower Show exhibit featuring the beloved bluebonnets of the Texas hill country. Technically, Twyla Woodford, the president of a gardening club in the Lone Star State, is in charge of the London event, but Pru seems to be the one getting her hands dirty. When they finally do meet, Pru senses a kindred spirit—until Twyla turns up dead.
Although Twyla’s body was half buried under a wall in their display, Pru remains determined to mount a spectacular show. Twyla would have insisted. So Pru recruits her husband, former Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Pearse, to go undercover and do a bit of unofficial digging into Twyla’s final hours. If Pru has anything to say about it, this killer is going to learn the hard way not to mess with Texas.

Grab your copy here: Amazon

How to connect with Marty:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/martywingateauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/martywingate
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/453259.Marty_Wingate
Website: www.martywingate.com
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/marthawingate/

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Marty-Wingate/e/B001JS1AIS

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Homicide in the House

homicide in the house    large banner640Author Colleen J. Shogan stops by to talk about her cozy mystery, Homicide in the House. Welcome, Colleen.homicide in the house author

Why do you write cozy mysteries?
I started reading cozy mysteries when I was in graduate school. They provided a nice respite from my dissertation research. When I decided to write a novel, I’d read enough in the genre to know the basic elements. I made sure to incorporate those into my storyline and characters when I wrote my first book, Stabbing in the Senate.

Please tell us about your book. What ideas or images inspired this novel?
Homicide in the House is the second installment of the Washington Whodunit series. In this book, my main character, Kit Marshall, has a new job in the House of Representatives. The story begins as the federal government shutters due to a political crisis. Unfortunately, not everyone will survive the shutdown, and Kit will be tasked once again to uncover the murderer who is loose on Capitol Hill.

Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
I don’t really have an ideal reader. I know that a lot of people who work in Washington, D.C. will read the book. However, I love readers of the series who have never lived in our nation’s capital. Reading my novels is a fun way to experience something new. When readers tell me they enjoy the series because now they know what it’s like to be a Washingtonian, then I’m quite pleased.

Please describe your writing routine.
My full-time job is at the Library of Congress. I have limited time to write in the evenings, typically after work. I try to squeeze in an hour on most weekdays, and several hours on the weekends. In the summer months, I love sitting outside on my backyard deck when I write. Conan, our dog, usually joins me after I give him a treat!

What advice do you give new writers just starting out?
It’s really important to know about what agents and publishers are looking for in your genre. After the writing is complete, the challenge becomes getting the book into print. Understanding how that process works is no small task. Don’t get discouraged if success isn’t immediate. Likewise, it’s imperative to take criticism seriously. If one agent or editor notices a problem, chances are that other professionals will recognize it, too.

More about Homicide in the House:
homicide in the house cover artKit Marshall has bounced back from her first brush with the law, when she was suspected of murdering her senator boss. Now she is working for a freshman congresswoman, Maeve Dixon, a young Gulf War veteran representing North Carolina. It’s February, and Kit is feeling out of sorts. A government shutdown has just been announced, wreaking havoc on the Hill, and Dan, Dixon’s chief of staff and Kit’s supervisor, is an inexperienced lightweight flying blind. Then there’s Kit’s distracted live-in boyfriend, Doug, who doesn’t seem any closer to popping the question. Kit’s best friend Meg is up to her eyeballs with her new beau and oversight committee job, and Clarence the beagle mix will certainly not win Capitol Canine if Meg has to campaign for him all by herself. Bad as things are now, they are about to get much worse.
Early one morning Representative Dixon is caught standing over the corpse of Jack Drysdale, the Speaker of the House’s top staffer, a man she argued with in front of the press the day before. The murder weapon was the Speaker’s gavel. This item was entrusted to Dixon at the time, leading the police to believe they’ve found their killer. To save her job, Kit must clear her boss’s name, and quickly. Dixon’s career may be over if the police declare her a suspect or an anonymous blogger known as Hill Rat breaks the story. Solving this murder will test Kit’s courage and all her fledgling powers of deduction as she roams a spooky, sparsely populated Capitol Hill looking for clues and sounding out suspects.

Grab your copy here: Amazon

How to connect with Colleen:
Website: www.colleenshogan.com
Email address: washingtonwhodunit@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/washingtonwhodunit/
Twitter: @cshogan276

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PLANTED book blast large banner 640
C.T. Collier recently released Planted, book one in her new mystery series, The Penningtons Investigate. C. T. grew up in Seneca Falls, NY, left the area for college and jobs, and always wanted to return to the Finger Lakes. Today she lives in a beautiful small city on one of the prettiest of the Finger Lakes, not unlike fictional Tompkins Falls on lovely Chestnut Lake. Most days you’ll find her writing in her tiny office, looking out on a woods populated with fox, deer, wild turkeys, and songbirds. In her career as a tech-savvy college professor she has been endlessly fascinated with campus intrigue. Entirely fictional, Tompkins College is no college and every college.

More about Planted:
The Penningtons, Lyssa and Kyle, are both PhD’s, and when their clever minds start asking questions, clever killers can’t hide.
It’s Monday of spring break when Professor Lyssa Pennington’s backyard garden project unearths a loaded revolver. With no record of violence at their address and no related cold case, the Tompkins Falls police have no interest. But the Penningtons and a friend with the State Police believe there a body somewhere. Whose? Where? And who pulled the trigger?
The Penningtons’ canvass of their quiet neighborhood turns up disturbing secrets about the family who lived in their house for decades and another ill-fated family a few doors away. No one seems to know how to contact the only sons of either family. The few facts they have about them don’t add up and, since the gun was buried about the time both young men disappeared from Tompkins Falls, the Penningtons feel compelled to find them and make sure all is well.
Lyssa follows the money story and finds twenty million dollars, a neighbor who’s not what he seems, and a long-buried rivalry. Kyle goes after homicide data in six states and finds a body. Their next surprise is a murderer who will go to any length to conceal the crime.

Grab your copy here: Amazon

How to connect with C.T.:
Website: https://drkatecollier.wordpress.com
Facebook: kate.collier.315
Twitter: @TompkinsFalls

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Yes! That “a-ha” moment arrives

This past February, I wrote a blog post about romance novels and questioned whether the books I write really are romances.
Because for a book to be a romance novel, “…the core story is the developing relationship between a man and a woman. The other events in the story line, though important, are secondary to that relationship…”*
I think my books, A Year with Geno and A Beautiful Day in Alaska do meet that requirement: the romance between the two characters is the focus of the story, though both of my heroines have other priorities.
But what about my debut novel: Celebration House? The main character has much greater priorities than falling in love. There are things she’s dying to get done…
If you glanced at the Goodreads page for Celebration House, you would see reviewers agree: “There is a nice romance element in the book,” and “It mostly concerns the renovation of a house, with a hint of romance.”
And then, it happened. Yesterday, the Romance Writers of America announced a new category of books (that’s me doing a drum roll): “Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance.” That’s it! That’s me! More importantly, that’s all three books in my Celebration House Trilogy. No, my female protagonists are not solely focused on finding and maintaining romance. They have other things to do. But, yes, the men who find a place in their lives are important. They are essential to the story.
I’ve thought up an analogy: The romance in my books is like the mashed potatoes, green beans with bacon and onion, and peach cobbler that are served alongside the roasted chicken. No. It’s not the entree, but damn, who wants to eat roasted chicken without those side dishes? Not me!
And maybe I’m still on a sugar high from all the birthday cheesecake I ate yesterday – thank you for the many birthday wishes, by the way – but I am so excited about this. Truly! This news has lit a fire under my fanny to buckle down and finish the first drafts of my Celebration House Trilogy. I’m not yet ready to announce publication dates for the three books, but I’m feeling like 2016 will be an amazing year.
Let’s get ’em done! Because now, I have a place I belong. I have a strike zone to aim for. I have “a category.”
Hands and arms inside the cart: Re-releasing Bone Trombone Girl.

*Quote from Leigh Michael’s book, On Writing Romance

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Nun But The Brave

nun-but-the-brave-large-banner640Alice Loweecey’s cozy mystery, Nun But The Brave, is the third in the Giulia Driscoll mystery series. The book premiers on July 12th.

Baker of brownies and tormentor of characters, Alice Loweecey recently celebrated her thirtieth year outside the convent. She grew up watching Hammer Horror and Scooby-Doo Mysteries, which might explain a whole lot. When she’s not creating trouble for Giulia Falcone-Driscoll, she can be found growing her own vegetables (in summer) and cooking with them (the rest of the year).

More about Nun But The Brave:
NUN-BUT-THE-BRAVE-cover artGiulia Driscoll’s sister-in-law barges into Driscoll Investigations and promptly passes out from OD’ing on an unknown drug. Two OD’d teenagers are found dead in the park and behind a convenience store. DI’s new client insists her missing twin sister is not dead and enlists Giulia as the “Missing Person Whisperer.” Hooray for steady work?
The missing sister’s trail leads to married, pregnant, ex-nun Giulia’s first experience with online dating sites, to the delight of her husband and employees. Those dates lead her to local Doomsday Preppers. They grow their own everything, and that everything may be connected to the drugs, her sister-in-law, and the missing twin. These Preppers are about to learn the true meaning of doom.

Grab your copy here: Amazon

How to connect with Alice:
Website: www.aliceloweecey.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alice.loweecey
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AliceLoweecey
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4166880.Alice_Loweecey

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Come, Bitter Poison

come bitter poison  large banner640Author Monica Knightley shares news of her latest release, Come, Bitter Poison. The cozy mystery is the second book in the Stratford Upon Avondale Mystery series. Welcome, Monica.monica

Monica began creating compelling characters and stories at the age of three, when she had a plethora of imaginary friends, all with complete backstories. Today any characters that come knocking on the door of her imagination find themselves in one of her mysteries, young adult novels, or paranormal romances.

When not fueling her reading addiction or writing her next book, Monica loves to travel with her husband—especially to England. A bit of England seems to make its way into most of her books. Must haves include a perfectly steeped cup of tea, and a good, bold red wine. She lives in Portland, Oregon where the frequent rainy weather is perfect for curling up with a good book and a cup of tea.

More about Come, Bitter Poison:

COME BITTER POISONSexy film star. Long-held secrets. Murder by poison.

When international stage and film star Miles Elliot comes to Stratford Upon Avondale to play Macbeth, Maggie O’Flynn is thrilled. He’s been her actor crush for years. But when Miles ends up at the center of a murder investigation Maggie finds herself slipping back into the role of amateur sleuth. Before long many of her friends become suspects in not just one murder, but two. Maggie must discover who’s poisoning people associated with the Shakespeare Festival before one of her friends gets slapped with a murder charge. And she must do so while dodging paparazzi that are stalking her due to a supposed love affair she’s having with Miles Elliot.

With a bit of Shakespeare, copious amounts of tea, and a faux-English setting to rival anything the real England has to offer, COME, BITTER POISON is the second book in THE STRATFORD UPON AVONDALE mystery series. Though part of a series, COME, BITTER POISON can be read and enjoyed as a standalone. Lovers of cozy mysteries will find a cozy home in Stratford Upon Avondale.

Grab your copy here: Amazon

Website: http://www.monicaknightley.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/monicaknightleyauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/monicaknightley

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Secret Lives and Private Eyes

secret lives large banner640Author Heather Weidner shares news of her debut novel, SecSecret Lives author photoret Lives and Private Eyes.

Heather’s short stories appear in Virginia is for Mysteries and Virginia is for Mysteries Volume II. Her debut novel, Secret Lives and Private Eyes,  premiered on June 20.

Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby Doo and Nancy Drew. She currently lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers. She is a member of Sisters in Crime International, Guppies, and Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia. She is currently President of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia.

More about Secret Lives and Private Eyes:

Secret Lives coverBusiness has been slow for Private Investigator Delanie Fitzgerald, but her luck seems to change when a tell-all author hires her to find rock star Johnny Velvet. Could the singer—whose career purportedly ended in a fiery crash almost thirty years ago—still be alive?

As if sifting through dead ends in a cold case isn’t bad enough, Delanie is hired by loud-mouth strip club owner Chaz Wellington Smith, III, to uncover information about the mayor’s secret life. When the mayor is murdered, Chaz becomes the key suspect, and Delanie must clear his name. She also has to figure out why a landscaper keeps popping up in her other investigation. Can the private investigator find the connection between the two cases before another murder—possibly her own—takes place?

Secret Lives and Private Eyes is a fast-paced mystery that will appeal to readers who like a strong, female sleuth with a knack for getting herself in and out of difficult, and sometimes humorous, situations.

Grab your copy here: Amazon

How to connect with Heather:

Website & Blog: http://www.heatherweidner.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeatherWeidner1

FB: https://www.facebook.com/HeatherWeidnerAuthor?ref=hl

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/crazyforwords13/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heather_mystery_writer/

Google+ : https://plus.google.com/+HeatherWeidner

The author is giving away 10 print copies.

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Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction

bannerToday, with pure delight, I welcome author Amy Metz to my website. Amy and I connected in January when she hosted me on her website to promote my first mystery. Today, she shares the fourth book in her cozy mystery series, Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction. Welcome, Amy!Amy Metz

Why do you write cozy mysteries?
I love mysteries, but I don’t like gory, scary ones. I also love to laugh, so humor is important in my books. Cozy mysteries don’t have sex, violence, or bad language, but that doesn’t have to mean boring. I write cozy mysteries because that’s my style. I didn’t realize I’d written one until I sent my first book to a publisher who told me it was a cozy mystery.

Please tell us about your book. What ideas or images inspired this novel?
Caledonia goes through a divorce in Rogues & Rascals — something I recently went through. My ex-husband’s attorney inspired a lot of this book. Some people may think the attorney in the book is a caricature. Sadly, she is not.

Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
I write what my characters tell me to write. I don’t really have a specific reader in mind. I just want to tell a fun story with a little mystery and intrigue.

Please describe your writing routine.
I don’t have one. I write when my characters are speaking to me. When they’re not, I edit, rewrite, or work on marketing the series. It’s not a very disciplined approach, but it’s the one that works for me.

What advice do you give new writers just starting out?
Get beta readers — preferably not family members — and listen to their feedback. Find readers who will be brutally honest like reviewers will be after the book is published. Writers become too close to their work and can’t be objective about it. Beta readers can help you work out the kinks and make your book better.

More about Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction:
Like any good Southern belle, Caledonia Culpepper was raised by her mama to be gracious, charming, witty, and above all, a devoted mother and loving wife, so she’s baffled when her marriage falls apart.
Wynona Baxter is a master of disguise but is often a ditzy airhead. A hit woman wannabe, when she’s hired for her first job in Goose Pimple Junction and things don’t go as planned, she’s forced to resort to Plan B. She’ll also need Plan C and D.
Crooked lawyers, restless husbands, a teenaged hoodlum – it seems there are rogues and rascals everywhere you look in Goose Pimple Junction.
When Caledonia and Wynona’s paths cross, they prove there isn’t a rogue or a rascal who can keep a good woman down. Mama always said there would be days like this…

Grab your copy here: Amazon

How to connect with Amy:
Website: authoramymetz.com
Email address: authoramymetz@yahoo.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorAmyMetz
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authoramymetz
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/AmyMetz

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Disposable or indispensable?

Recent headlines in The Seattle Times illuminate the importance of the American worker:

  • Microsoft shuts down last major piece of Nokia purchase, cuts 1,850 jobs (May 25, 2016)
  • Boeing plans hundreds of layoffs in local IT unit (May 25, 2016)
  • A few weeks ago, my employer reminded me of my importance. I received a text message that told me because I had not completed an annual competency, which I last completed in August of 2015, I was taken off the schedule and not allowed to work. I thought, this must be a mistake. My cellphone chirps every day with my supervisor asking me to come in on my day off to cover a co-worker’s shift who called out sick. Again. Or there’s a hole in the schedule: did I mind working extra? Now, with no warning, I’m told I can’t work. Hmm. I later found out I was one of 18 employees in my department who was made to clock out, finish the competency, and then clock back in.

    But this actually proved to be a blessing in disguise. Because this sudden “You’re off the schedule; we have no need of you,” spurred me to think about my future. How secure is my job? I wonder if employees at Boeing or Microsoft asked themselves the same question on May 24th.

    When I told my supervisor that her text made me feel disposable, she was quite surprised. But I recognize this as the harsh truth it is: for all the extra shifts I work and all the times I cover for co-workers, I am disposable.

    But I don’t want to be disposable. I want to be indispensable. Where can I be indispensable?

    Well, I think I’m pretty important to my husband and our little boy. And there’s one other place where I cannot be replaced: as the CEO of Baskethound Books, the small press I started in 2013. No one else can give life to the characters who inhabit my mind. No one else listens to their stories, cries with them and laughs with them. Just me. In my little office with Dean Martin crooning and my basset hound snoring, I do what no one else can do: I write my books.

    This got me to thinking: what are the obstacles to moving forward with Baskethound Books? Well, frankly, money. So, feeling bolder than I should, I took out a small loan and bought back the rights to my debut novel, Celebration House. I’ve wanted my rights back for a long, long time. Probably since I received my first three-month royalty payment of $31. Yep. That’s three months of royalties. And it was the biggest payment I received. So, last week, I did it. I made payment to Tirgearr Publishing and my rights are just that: mine.

    I also contracted with Melinda Wade, a professional actress, to narrate A Beautiful Day in Alaska. It’s really empowering to hear a professional storyteller tell you how much she loves your writing. I heartily recommend it to my fellow authors.

    I approved the sale of my third audiobook, Death Goes to the County Fair, and got busy fine-tuning the print version. It’s available now. The narrator, Daniel F. Purcell, and I delight in updating one another with sales figures.

    I’ve also decided to rename my novel, Bone Girl. For too long, I ignored all of the folks who told me the title dissuaded them from buying the book. Some would-be readers thought Bone Girl was a horror story; one reader suggested it was an erotic version of Gone Girl. Nope. Neither. So, working with the audiobook narrator, Darryl Hughes Kurylo, I retitled the book Trombone Girl, The Josey Miller Story. The new title and cover art will premier on July 1st. (Here’s a sneak peek at the cover. Beautiful, huh?).

    Cover by Elizabeth Mackey

    Cover by Elizabeth Mackey

    Can you hear the excitement I feel? Trust me: I never feel this excited when I trudge off to my day job. Maybe that’s the difference between disposable and indispensable.

    Hands and arms inside the cart: Next, defining the “romance” novel for myself.

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