Mrs. Odboddy: Undercover Courier

Elaine Faber visits my website today to talk about her newest release, Mrs. Odboddy: Undercover Courier. Welcome, Elaine!

Why do you write cozy mysteries?
None of us can honestly say we do not have issues in our lives that cause us worry and stress, whether it is personal, financial or involves someone we love. When a reader picks up my books, I want to transport them to a place where they can laugh, experience a completely different life than their own, and accompany my protagonist on a journey. Perhaps they will forget their troubles, if only for a little while. Though reading any genre of book can help distract readers from their worries, I feel that cozy mysteries, without extreme violence, explicit sex or profanity are best suited to this goal. Traveling with Mrs. Odboddy on her cross-country train journey will certainly do the trick.

Please tell us about your book. What ideas or images inspired this novel?
I started by writing a short story about an elderly, eccentric, outspoken woman fighting the war from the home front during WWII. As the story begins, funny Mrs. Odboddy is determined to bring Nazi spies and miscreants to justice. While researching WWII incidents, I discovered several little known events that were generally kept top secret from the public. It became imperative that Mrs. Odboddy should disclose and become involved in these wartime events.
In the second Mrs. O novel, Agnes carries a package to President Roosevelt. She is sure it contains secret war documents and equally sure that Nazi agents will attempt to steal her package while traveling from California to Washington by train. Whenever Mrs. Odboddy is concerned, miscalculations and hysteria will follow as she witnesses the suspected spy ‘commit murder’ and is just as sure that her own life is now in danger. Add a couple of Tuskegee airmen, an inadequate caregiver to a precious child, and a shell-shocked veteran who renders unexpected assistance and you have the framework of Mrs. Odboddy’s cross country journey by train.

Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
I believe that everyone from teens to the elderly would enjoy this book. Teens because they will learn how folks lived during WWII and understand some of the deprivations they endured, some of the outdated social injustice and disturbing political issues, e.g. Jim Crow laws, or how FBI leader, J. Edgar Hoover, suspected and harassed Mrs. Roosevelt. Elderly folks will enjoy reading and remembering experiencing these events in their younger years. In the first Mrs. Odboddy Hometown Patriot, much of the home life during WWII is described as experienced by Agnes.

Please describe your writing routine.
I’m at my computer every day, whether answering emails, arranging for blog interviews or book reviews, writing guest posts or copy for my own blog, editing or writing WIP. I’m currently working on another cozy cat mystery. I often contribute short stories to anthologies. As an editor on an annual anthology for Inspire Christian Writers, some days I’m editing other writer’s manuscripts. It’s all part of growing, helping others and promoting my own books.

What advice do you give new writers just starting out?
Take time to learn. Attend critique groups, share your work with others, and seek advice from more experienced writers. Enter contests, submit to anthologies. Don’t be in a hurry to publish your first book. It hurts your chance of eventual success if you put out work before you’ve honed your craft to the best it can be. This comes with practice.

More about Mrs. Odboddy: Undercover Courier:
Asked to accompany Mrs. Roosevelt on her Pacific Island tour, Agnes and Katherine travel by train to Washington, D.C. Agnes carries a package for Colonel Farthingworth to President Roosevelt.
Convinced the package contains secret war documents, Agnes expects Nazi spies to try and derail her mission.
She meets Irving, whose wife mysteriously disappears from the train; Nanny, the unfeeling caregiver to little Madeline; two soldiers bound for training as Tuskegee airmen; and Charles, the shell-shocked veteran, who lends an unexpected helping hand. Who will Agnes trust? Who is the Nazi spy?
When enemy forces make a final attempt to steal the package in Washington, D.C., Agnes must accept her own vulnerability as a warrior on the home front.
Can Agnes overcome multiple obstacles, deliver the package to the President, and still meet Mrs. Roosevelt’s plane before she leaves for the Pacific Islands?

Grab your copy here!

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How to connect with Elaine:
Website: www.mindcandymysteries.com
Email address: Elaine.Faber@mindcandymysteries.com
Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/zm2j4n5

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Bloodline: A Witch Cat Mystery

Today I welcome author Vicki Vass to talk about the inspiration behind her new cozy mystery, Bloodline: A Witch Cat Mystery. Welcome, Vicki!

Why do you write cozy mysteries?
I’ve enjoyed the genre since I started reading Nancy Drew back in first grade. I wrote my first short cozy in second grade called the The Secret of the Topaz only to be disappointed to learn that topazes are actually yellow. It took me almost thirty years to write another cozy mystery. That one became the antique hunters, chronicling the adventures of my two best friends, Anne and CC.

Please tell us about your book. What ideas or images inspired this novel?
I have been fascinated by witches since I watched Bewitched growing up. I find the Salem Witch Trials fascinating and have always wanted to include them in the story. However, I did not want to set my story in Salem. My husband and I traveled to Asheville, North Carolina, last summer. The atmosphere of the location stayed with me, and I wanted to share that in this story.

Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
I don’t have an ideal reader. I write what I like to read; my stories tend to be fast-paced and dialogue heavy.

Please describe your writing routine.
I don’t write outlines for my stories. I start with an idea and then develop it as I go along, often changing scenes or moving plot points around until I get to a good first draft. Then the real work begins. I spend time adding details, then editing, then reading and rereading to make sure it all works.

What advice do you give new writers just starting out?
The best advice I would say is just write. Put the pen to paper and write your story. Finish the first draft and then go back and fix it. The best advice I received as a journalist was to dump everything into the first draft and than go back and cut it in half.

More about Bloodline:
Fleeing the witch trials in Salem, Terra Rowan finds herself in modern day Asheville, North Carolina. A dark spirit from the past hunts this last witch of Salem. With the help of the ladies of the Biltmore Society, Terra must discover the secret within the forest to preserve the bloodline.

Grab your copy here!

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How to connect with Vicki:
Website: http://www.vickivass.com/
Blog: https://vickivass.wordpress.com/2015/07/04/heading-home/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vickivassauthor

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Bad to the Bone

Linda Johnston visits my website today to share news of her recent release, Bad to the Bone. Welcome, Linda.

Here’s more about Bad to the Bone:
Veterinary technician Carrie Kennersly, owner of the Barkery & Biscuits bakery for dogs, is reluctant to sell her recipes to pet food manufacturer VimPets. Jack Loroco, a VimPets representative, assures Carrie that it would be a great opportunity to grow her business. His promising new relationship with Carrie’s friend, Billi Matlock, doesn’t hurt his cause. But the budding romance takes a bad turn when Wanda Addler, another VimPets employee, sets her sights on Jack.
After threatening to ruin Jack’s career if he doesn’t give her what she wants, Wanda is found dead. Jack and Billi are put at the top of the suspect list, and Carrie is doggone determined to rescue them from a life behind bars.

Grab your copy here:

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About the Author:
Linda O. Johnston’s first published fiction appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and won the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award for Best First Mystery Short Story of the year. Since then, Linda, a former lawyer who is now a full-time writer, has published more short stories, novellas, and 38 romance and mystery novels, including the Pet Rescue Mystery Series, a spinoff from her Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime, and Harlequin Romantic Suspense as well as the Alpha Force paranormal romance miniseries for Harlequin Nocturne. She additionally writes the Superstition Mysteries for Midnight Ink. Her latest cozy mystery series, the Barkery and Biscuits Mysteries are also from Midnight Ink.

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

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Thank you!

Hey, guys.
I just wanted to say a sincere thank you to the many readers who have emailed me or posted a comment on my blog. I so appreciate your passion for the characters of Celebration House! I’m glad you enjoy the books and amazed at how fast you read them. Seriously. You all read fast!
Return to Celebration House was originally scheduled to publish on May 1st. But Melanie and I had some challenges. Let’s be honest: she’s not the easiest person to get along with. (I’m just kidding).
We’re making great progress now, and my plan is to publish the book at the end of May. And yes, Nook and iBook readers, it will be available on your devices. (I learned that the hard way!)
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you, and again, thank you so much for your praise and enthusiasm.
Annette

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A Perfect Manhattan Murder

Author Tracy Kiely shares news of her recent release, A Perfect Manhattan Murder. This is the third installment in her Nic and Nigel Mystery series. Welcome, Tracy.

More about A Perfect Manhattan Murder:
Thrilled that their playwright friend’s Broadway debut was a rousing success, Nic and Nigel are trying to enjoy the A-list after-party with their pal Harper. Unfortunately, all the champagne and repartee in the world aren’t enough to overlook the churlish behavior of Harper’s theater-critic husband, Dan. Nic is shocked the next morning when she learns that Dan’s been murdered. Nigel thinks the world may be a better place without him.
Still, Harper is their friend and they’re intent on helping her any way they can. Invigorated by the thrill of the hunt and fortified by a flood of cocktails, catching the killer becomes the Martinis’ top priority…with their behemoth Bullmastiff Skippy along for the ride.
Includes cocktail recipes.
Grab your copy here!

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More about Tracy:
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 Price 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.

How to connect:
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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And the results are in…

Hey, guys.
I’ve been crowing and crowing about the BookBub promotion that ran yesterday, so I thought perhaps I should share some results. About 23,000 readers grabbed a copy of Celebration House!
I’ve already heard from a few readers: where’s the third book? So, here I am, at 5:15 a.m., working on Return to Celebration House.
To be honest, it’s hard to get excited about writing a third book when no one reads the first two! Much easier when you have two emails first thing in the morning with the question: where’s the third book?
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Grateful: party of one.

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BookBub promotion starts tomorrow!

Hey, guys.
I just wanted to send a quick reminder that Building Celebration House will be featured tomorrow in a BookBub promotion. It’s currently priced at FREE!
Free is good, right?
So far, more than 900 readers have downloaded it. Reviews have begun to trickle in, including a five-star left yesterday. Thank you.
All of which makes me say: YIPPEE!

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A Good Day to Buy


Today I welcome author Sherry Harris to talk about her new release, A Good Day to Buy. Welcome, Sherry!

Why do you write cozy mysteries?
This is such a great question and really made me think about the why. I love the challenge of writing a good mystery with an amateur sleuth, interesting characters and settings, and trying to keep the reader guessing until the mystery is solved by the sleuth. I love reading all kinds of crime fiction, but cozies present a unique opportunity to have someone without a special background or skill solve a puzzle aka the crime.

Please tell us about your book. What ideas or images inspired this novel?
Sarah Winston’s estranged brother shows up at her door the same day a beloved Vietnam vet is murder while she is running a garage sale for him. Her brother begs her not to tell anyone he’s in town, especially not to tell her ex-husband, the chief of police of Ellington, Massachusetts. When Sarah’s brother disappears she realizes that to find her brother, she’ll have to figure out who killed the Vietnam vet.
I’d been thinking a lot about heroes before I started writing this book. Who is a hero? What makes a hero? People in Sarah’s town called her a hero after an incident earlier in the year, but she certainly doesn’t feel like one. At about the same time I read an article about a man who tracked down people who defrauded the government by pretending to be military veterans. Both of those things became an integral part of A Good Day To Buy.

Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
A smart reader of any age who likes complex, twisty tales, some light humor and who just wants to escape their own world for a while.

Please describe your writing routine.
I’m lucky enough to have a home office. My desk came from a thrift store and my bookcase from a resale store. I have some favorite pieces of art – a painting with the saying “follow your dreams” from a craft show, a painting my daughter painted in fifth grade, among other things. That doesn’t exactly sound like part of my writing routine, but it does inspire me. I usually write in the afternoons because I’m not a morning person. Although, as a deadline nears, I write anytime of the day.

What advice do you give new writers just starting out?
Two things! 1. Study the craft of writing. I’ve taken college classes, attended writing conferences and fan conferences to hear authors speak, and read numerous books about writing. 2. Get out there and network. Meet other authors. A turning point in my career was connecting with someone at a banquet who told me to join Sisters in Crime and eventually that led to my contract with Kensington. It’s a long and winding trail from banquet to publication, but I still wonder if I would have been published without that happening.

More about A Good Day to Buy:
HER BROTHER IS NO BARGAIN
When Sarah Winston’s estranged brother Luke shows up on her doorstep, asking her not to tell anyone he’s in town — especially her ex, the chief of police — the timing is strange, to say the least. Hours earlier, Sarah’s latest garage sale was taped off as a crime scene following the discovery of a murdered Vietnam vet and his gravely injured wife—her clients, the Spencers.
BUT IS HE A KILLER?
All Luke will tell Sarah is that he’s undercover, investigating a story. Before she can learn more, he vanishes as suddenly as he appeared. Rummaging through his things for a clue to his whereabouts, Sarah comes upon a list of veterans and realizes that to find her brother, she’ll have to figure out who killed Mr. Spencer. And all without telling her ex . . .

Grab your copy here!

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How to connect with Sherry:
Website: https://sherryharrisauthor.com
Email address: sherryharrisauthor@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SherryHarrisauthor/
Twitter: @SHarrisAuthor

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Bed and Breakfast and Murder

Today I welcome prolific author Patti Larsen to talk about her newest series, Bed and Breakfast and Murder. Welcome, Patti!

Why do you write cozy mysteries?
I’ve fallen in love with murder. Most of my other works are YA paranormal, with some kind of witchy or magical or supernatural bent to them. I’ve dabbled in science fiction, post apocalyptic, even horror. But there’s a special kind of awesome in creating crime that gives me a thrill.
Everything about cozies appeals, from the amateur sleuth to the investigative ingenuity to the bloodless crimes. My voice tends toward the snarky sarcastic and humorous internal dialogue that seems to fit the genre really well.

Please tell us about your book. What ideas or images inspired this novel?
Bed and Breakfast and Murder introduces Fiona Fleming, daughter of an ex-county sheriff and a school principal, who spent ten years running away from her old life in the small town of Reading, Vermont. When she realizes her boyfriend has been cheating on her and that her existence in the big city isn’t giving her the kind of fulfillment she’s looking for, she accepts the inheritance of her recently deceased grandmother’s bed and breakfast, Petunia’s. Saddled with a flatulent pug of the same name, two elderly staff members who wish she stayed in New York and a rapidly fading fantasy that owning a B&B could possibly be glamorous and romantic, Fee finds herself in the midst of a murder investigation when a body appears in her garden’s koi pond.
I love the small town feeling of this series. I grew up in such a place, where everyone knows everyone and your business is not your own. The vivid beauty of the mountains, a picturesque town nestled in the valley below, a colonial three story with a lovely carriage house and English country garden in the back all called to me as the perfect setting for Fee’s adventures.
And, as the owner of two adorable pug babies, the addition of Petunia as Fee’s sidekick was a natural choice.

Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
I’m in my mid-forties, but I feel like I’m still twenty most of the time. So, for the cozy series I tend to write to women around my age, aiming for anyone with a wicked sense of humor who love to push boundaries and try new things, to become as fully absorbed in what they are reading as their own lives. Readers who love animals and adventure and the kind of sweet romance and bloodless murder that makes writing cozies so much fun. And readers who like to talk about what they read, who interact and communicate with me and others.
But, you know what? My ideal is the person who gives my work a chance, regardless of the outcome. That’s my kind of reader.

Please describe your writing routine.
I’m fairly prolific and tend to write and publish at least one book a month, sometimes two, though depending on life demands I’ve been known to take time off here and there for other projects outside my literary life.
If I’m working on a new book or series, I tend to spend all day at it. For the Fiona Fleming series, for example, I sat down and outlined the entire run—from murderers to victims to suspects to murder weapons—over the course of a few days. I like to see the entire project from start to finish before I write book one so I don’t drop threads or get lost. That’s how I discovered the original twelve books were actually thirteen.
When I’m writing, I tend to tackle large chunks at a time. So, between 6-15k per day (anywhere from four to ten chapters). I don’t like to be distracted and tend to finish a book before moving on to the next one. So, when the first draft is complete, I take two days to edit then send it off to beta readers to make sure I hit the mark or my editor before starting the next book.
Rinse. Repeat.

What advice do you give new writers just starting out?
I love this question and struggle with it, too. There’s so much advice and yet, my journey is my journey and it’s impossible for you to replicate what I’ve done. Nor should you! So, here’s what I typically say when I’m asked:
– Be professional. Always, in all forums, at all times. Yes, we have bad days, we have frustrations and times when it seems like nothing is going right, that reviewers are being cruel or someone on social media is saying things that hurt or feel like bullying. I get it, I really get it. But the face you put out to the public, to your readers, is the persona their going to attach to. Their lives are tough, too. They deserve the best from you. So find a place to privately vent the things you need to vent and keep your public sphere professional.
– Be your own boss. Whether you take the traditional publishing route, go all indie or somewhere in between, always take responsibility for your career. You choose where you go from here, what books you write, how you brand yourself and what deals you accept. No one else can do that for you.
– Have fun! Why else are we doing this? If it’s not fun anymore, there’s a reason for it. Find that reason, wipe it clean, and find the joy again. Because you might as well be in a cubicle working 9-5 if you’re not in love with what you’re doing.

More about Bed and Breakfast and Murder:
Fiona Fleming hasn’t lived in Reading, Vermont in over a decade, her escape from small-town living leading her to New York City and a life of adventure. An adventure that has left her with no career, an ex who cheated on her and zero plans for the future. And then, in the shocker of a lifetime, Fee’s grandmother wills her a bed and breakfast. Awesome! It’s the fresh start she’s been dying for. Or is it?
Petunia’s might seem like a refuge from her cheating ex and so-called life in the big city, but being accused of murder within two weeks of arriving back in her hometown? That’s anything but charming. Can she uncover the truth before the handsome new sheriff puts her behind bars instead of asking her to dinner?

Grab your copy here!

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How to connect with Patti:
Website: http://pattilarsen.com
Email address: patti@pattilarsen.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/pattilarsenauthor
Twitter: http://twitter.com/PattiLarsen @PattiLarsen

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Dial P for Poison

Zara Keane stops by to share news of her recent release, Dial P for Poison. Welcome, Zara.

Why do you write cozy mysteries?
Cozies are my favorite crime fiction subgenre. I’d wanted to write a cozy for several years before I started work on the Movie Club Mysteries, but it was hard to fit in another genre on top of my romance writing schedule. Now that my youngest child is in pre-school, I have four kid-free mornings a week, and I decided it was the perfect moment to dig out my mystery notes and flesh them out into a viable series concept. And so the Movie Club Mysteries came into being.

Please tell us about your book. What ideas or images inspired this novel?
Dial P For Poison is the first book in the Movie Club Mysteries. It introduces us to Maggie Doyle, a former San Francisco cop, who moves to Ireland after her marriage falls apart. When the most hated woman on Whisper Island is poisoned at her aunt’s Movie Theater Café, Maggie and her rock-hard muffins are hurled into the investigation.
I had a blast writing this book. I’m Irish, so the setting details came easily to me. Whisper Island is loosely based on the Aran Islands, an area I’ve visited many times. My mom was born and grew up in San Francisco and moved to Ireland when she was nineteen. With Maggie, I was able to play with the culture shock/fish out of water element that my mother experienced.
Like Maggie, I’m a huge fan of old movies, and I loved the idea of incorporating that interest into the story. The book’s name comes from the Hitchcock movie, Dial M For Murder. In Dial P For Poison, the murder occurs while the movie club members are watching Dial M For Murder. I’m also a cocktail fan and I was able to get that into the book in the form of the murder weapon. Be sure to check out the back of the book for a recipe of the fatal cocktail—minus its deadly ingredient!

Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
Honestly? My ideal reader is me, at least at the writing stage. I strive to write the sort of books I want to read: heavy on humor, rich on setting details, and filled with characters I’d like to hang out with in real life. I’ve tried to write to market, but unless the idea genuinely fires me up with enthusiasm, it’s a recipe for misery. All that said, I am aware of the market and of what’s currently selling well in the cozy mystery genre. As a business person, it’s smart to keep an eye on trends and figure out how to best place your books so that readers looking for the sort of stories you write can easily find them.

Please describe your writing routine.
I work somewhere between part-time and full-time hours, depending on the week. My morning routine is very predictable, but afternoons vary. Once I’ve packed the kids off to school and kindergarten, I sit down at my computer and get to work. I write from 8:00 to 10:00 and then take a break. Three days a week, I use this break to go jogging. I’m usually back at my computer by 11:00 and I work for another hour before the kids come home for lunch. We live in Switzerland—school kids come home every day for a ninety-minute lunch break. There’s a reason I work from home! When the kids go back to school, I get about two hours of writing time between 13:00 to 17:00, depending on what after school activities and appointments we have. Unless I have a pressing deadline, I use the time between 18:00 and 20:00 to take care of admin, marketing, and other tasks. I try not to work on weekends, but I sometimes use the time to work on book covers or teasers if those need to be taken care of.

What advice do you give new writers just starting out?
Write the story that excites you and FINISH IT! Twenty-five perfectly polished first chapters will teach you far less about storytelling and creating compelling characters than one hot mess of a finished first draft. If the idea of finishing an 80,000-word book seems daunting, try writing a novella. Focusing on just one plot thread is easier than juggling a main plot and a few subplots and it’ll teach you to keep your writing tight. This is a valuable skill for when you tackle a longer more complex story. Good luck!

More about Dial P for Poison:
Movies. Muffins. Murder.
Maggie Doyle moved to Ireland to escape her cheating ex and crumbling career in the San Francisco PD. When the most hated woman on Whisper Island is poisoned at her aunt’s Movie Theater Café, Maggie and her rock-hard muffins are hurled into the investigation.
With the help of her UFO-enthusiast friend, a nun, and a feral puppy, Maggie is determined to clear her aunt’s name. Can she catch the murderer before they strike again? Or will her terrible baking skills burn down the café first?
Cozy, quirky, and fun, this tongue-in-cheek mystery is a delicious introduction to the Movie Club Mysteries Series. Grab a cocktail and join Maggie as she takes her detective skills across the pond in Dial P For Poison.

Grab your copy here!

Zara Keane’s Movie Club Mysteries Launch Giveaway

How to connect with Zara:
Website: https://zarakeane.com
Email address: zara@zarakeane.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zarakeaneauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/zara_keane

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