New Release Mondays: Plaid and Plagiarism by Molly McRae

plaid-and-plagiarism-finalAuthor Name: Molly MacRae

Book Title: Plaid and Plagiarism

Book Genre: Cozy / traditional mystery

Release Date: December 6, 2016

Synopsis: Plaid and Plagiarism introduces four women (three Americans and a Scot who lived in the U.S. for several decades) who come up with a retirement plan/career change. They pool their money and buy a bookshop in a thriving tourist town on the west coast of Scotland. What could go wrong with a great idea like that? It’s a book about learning to recognize one’s strengths and avoiding sheep and high places. And, of course, murder.

Excerpt: “And there’s no need to cluck your tongue at my back, either,” Christine said, not waiting for Janet to catch up. “You know well enough it’s time we went to see the house for ourselves and find out what the delay is.”

It should have been the best kind of morning the Highlands had to offer, and Janet Marsh was irritated that it wasn’t turning out that way. Proof of the day’s bright possibilities met her as she followed Christine Robertson out the door and down the steps of Yon Bonnie Books—their bookshop. Traffic along the High Street promised eager tourists. The breeze from the harbor carried the tang of salt and only a hint of fish. Water lapping the sand below the seawall matched the clear May sky with no threat of rain. A swath of bluebells disappeared into the oaks fringing the banks of the River Sgail, and the river, not much more than a wide stream, splashed under the arched stone bridge she and Christine crossed. The hills rising behind the shops and houses and wrapping around the farthest ends of Inversgail appeared to embrace the village this morning, looking benevolent rather than brooding.

Janet wondered briefly about joining the bluebells and disappearing into the trees instead of following Christine down the street. “I don’t want to intrude—”

“We won’t intrude,” Christine said. The soft burr of her accent took on a sterner tone. “We will simply walk past the house. We might go so far as to knock on the door.”

“No knocking,” Janet said. Her Illinois twang had the advantage of sounding firm and final. “I agreed to give the renters another few days.”

Christine pulled up short. “Again? When did you agree to that? It’s the first I’ve heard of it.”

Rather than look Christine in the eye, Janet admired the red tiled roof of Paudel’s Newsagent, Post Office, Convenience and pretended her short gray hair needed better arranging behind her ears.

“You’ve gone soft since leaving the States,” Christine said.

molly-and-catAbout the author: The Boston Globe says Molly MacRae writes “murder with a dose of drollery.” In addition to writing the Highland Bookshop Mysteries, Molly is the author of the award-winning Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries from NAL/Penguin and the stand-alone mystery novels Lawn Order and Wilder Rumors. Molly’s short stories have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine since 1990 and she’s a winner of the Sherwood Anderson Award for Short Fiction. Molly and her family live in Champaign, Illinois, where she connects children and books at the public library. Find out more about Molly on her website.

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Book Sale! Skeletons in the Attic

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If you’ve been wanting to download Skeletons in the Attic, there’s no time like the present. My publisher, Imajin Books, has the Kindle version on sale for .99US from December 1 to December 15. The regular price is $4.99US.

Just click on the book cover to be directed  to the Amazon page for your country.

If you’ve already read Skeletons in the Attic, there are plenty of great titles at Imajin Books on sale from $ .99 to $1.99.

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New Release Mondays: Marry in Haste by Susan Van Kirk

marryinhastefrontAuthor Name: Susan Van Kirk

Book Title: Marry in Haste: An Endurance Mystery

Book Genre: Mystery/Amateur Sleuth

Release Date: November 16, 2016

Synopsis: In 2012, wealthy Endurance banker, Conrad Folger, is murdered and his wife arrested. Grace Kimball, retired teacher, joins Detective TJ Sweeney to investigate the murder and uncovers a dark secret.

In 1893, Olivia Havelock, age seventeen, moves to Endurance to seek a husband. She finds one in Charles Lockwood, powerful and wealthy judge, but her diary reveals a terrifying story.

Two wives—two murders a century apart—and a shocking secret connects them.

Excerpt: Detective Jake Williams looked at his notebook and shuffled back a few pages. “The housekeeper, Ms. Simmons, worked here last night helping get food ready with a caterer, and then she left. The Folgers had dinner guests and, afterwards, a poker game. Anyway, the housekeeper left and came back to clean up this morning. Came in the kitchen door. It was locked, by the way, and the alarm was on.” He glanced up at TJ Sweeney, proffering a significant look. “So she shut off the alarm, unlocked the door, came in, and started some coffee for Emily and Conrad. Just as she began picking up dirty dishes, she heard screams from upstairs. She rushed up the back stairs, saw the blood on the carpet, and followed it into Emily’s room, thinking she was there. But she wasn’t. The housekeeper then saw blood on the floor of Emily’s room and on the bed.

“So Ms. Simmons—that’s her name—followed the blood to Conrad’s room, and saw Emily, in full hysteria, rocking back and forth on the floor behind the bed. She rushed in and grabbed Emily by the shoulders and hugged her, lifting her up off the floor. When she saw what was left of Conrad, she was shocked, but had the fortitude to hang on to Emily, keep their backs to Conrad, and grab the bedside phone to call 9-1-1. Amazing woman. She heard sirens very quickly.

“By the way, Emily is not even close to coherent. Officer Collier was the first one in. He moved the two of them out of the murder room and over to Emily’s bedroom. Made the necessary calls. I was on my way in to work, so I just turned around.”

“Who’s with Emily now? We’ll need to get a warrant for her clothes.”

“I sent Collier with her, and a policewoman, Eileen Randall, is meeting them at the ER. Ms. Folger’s in really bad shape. Shock. I couldn’t get much coherent out of her except for one thing.”

“What was that?”

“She repeated over and over, ‘I killed him.’ ”

img_0032About the Author: Susan Van Kirk grew up in Galesburg, Illinois, and received degrees from Knox College and the University of Illinois. She taught high school English for thirty-four years, with an additional ten years at Monmouth College. Her short story, “War and Remembrance” (Teacher Magazine), became one of the chapters in her creative nonfiction memoir, The Education of a Teacher (Including Dirty Books and Pointed Looks).

Susan’s first Endurance mystery novel, Three May Keep a Secret, was published in 2014 by Five Star Publishing/Cengage. In April, 2016, she published an Endurance e-book novella titled The Locket: From the Casebook of TJ Sweeney.

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Interview with an Author: Rita Lee Chapman

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Rita Lee Chapman in Egypt

As someone who has “visit Australia and New Zealand” on her bucket list, I’m beyond thrilled to introduce Australian author Rita Lee Chapman. Okay, Rita was born in London, England, but she did move to Australia in her early twenties. Like many before her, it was only when she retired that she wrote her first novel, Missing in Egypt, a romantic travel mystery. Winston – A Horse’s Tale followed, and was written for horse lovers like herself.  As Chapman is quick to point out, “It was the book I had to write.” Rita’s latest book, Dangerous Associations, is her first foray into crime mystery. When she’s not writing or reading, Rita enjoys playing tennis, swimming and taking walks along the local beaches, lakes and river. And that’s in Australia…in case you missed it the first time around!

Judy: Tell us a bit about Dangerous Associations

Rita: Dangerous Associations was my first foray into crime and I must say I enjoyed it immensely! It was fun to do an accent for Geoffrey and I enjoyed the power of being able to choose to kill off a character!

Judy: What’s the best writing advice you have ever read or been given?

 Rita: Edit, edit, edit!

Judy: What advice and/or resources would you recommend for aspiring writers?

Rita: Now that Amazon has made self-publishing of e-books a viable option I would advise any aspiring write to just do it! Sit down and write that novel that is going around in your head. Amazon’s CreateSpace enables you to produce a print copy to hold in your hands and they only print on demand so there is no outlay. Just don’t forget to Edit! Edit! Edit!

 Judy: Can you recommend a lesser-known author well worth reading?

Rita: Oh, there are so many, but I would certainly recommend Rebecca Bryn and Sarah Stuart, who set up Worldwide Authors, to enable us to reach across the world. You can find information on these two authors and their books on my website.

Judy: Do you read your genre when writing? If so, why? If not, why not?

Rita: If you mean, do I read a crime book when I’m writing a crime mystery, then the answer is no. I read across quite a wide range of genres and I just choose something that appeals to me at the time. I think trying to study someone else’s style or story would only be confusing, but of course everything you read is stored somewhere deep in the recesses of your mind.

Judy: What’s next for Rita Lee Chapman? 

Rita: A holiday! My husband and I will shortly be going back to San Francisco, then driving through Yellowstone National Park (keeping an eye out for Yogi) then on to Jasper, Banff and Lake Louise before heading over the Rockies to Vancouver. I also hope to release Missing at Sea, the follow-on from Missing in Egypt, early next year.

Heres’s a bit about Rita’s books! 

Dangerous_Associatio_Cover sml_Dangerous Associations: An ex-husband, a new love, a stalker. Cathy Thompson’s link to her ex-husband fills her life with threats and intimidation. She must either trap her stalker or find Geoffrey to put an end to her life of fear.

Missing_in_Egypt_CoverMissing in Egypt: Twists and turns, romance and adventure as well as its insights into Australian and Egyptian cultures. Australian Anna Davies travels to Egypt with her lover to help him search for his brother, who disappeared whilst on holiday. The Valley of the Kings, Abu Simbel and the Temple of Karnak are amongst the settings for their search. Will they be able to track him down and find him alive – or is Ramy already dead? What tragedies await Anna and Kareem as they come closer to retracing his footsteps? This fast-paced action plot will keep you guessing until the end.

Winston_-_A_Horse's__CoverWinston – A Horse’s Tale: One for horse lovers! Winston is a good-looking palomino horse whose life involves several different owners and many adventures. As you read his story, told by Winston himself, you will appreciate horse ownership from the horse’s point of view. Born on a country property in Australia, Winston tells of his breaking-in and education and the different people he encounters – good, bad and ignorant. As well as his own story, Winston includes the experiences of other horses he meets along life’s way.

 Whether it’s jumping, eventing, hunting or just hacking, Winston tries hard to please his rider. Follow his successes and his failures from his breaking-in to his show jumping win. It is an eventful life – the story of one Australian horse out of thousands, but one that you will remember.

Find Rita:

Website/Blog

Amazon

Goodreads

Facebook

Pinterest

 

New Release Mondays: The Whole She-Bang 3

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I am very proud to have 2 stories included in this collection: Saturday with Bronwyn and Goulaigans. All submissions were blind-judged, making inclusion all the more special.

Author Names: Edited by Janet Costello Cathy Ace
Jayne Barnard
Anne Barton
Miriam Clavir
Susan Daly
Lisa de Nikolits
Alice Fitzpatrick
Valerie Hauch
Elizabeth Hosang
Heather MacDonald-Archer
J. A. Menzies
Lynne Murphy
Helen Nelson
Ed Piwowarczyk
Andre Ramshaw
Darlene Ryan
Judy Penz Sheluk
Coleen Steele

Book Title: The Whole She-Bang 3

Book Genre: Crime Fiction Anthology

Release Date: November 17, 2016

Synopsis: This is the third installment in the Toronto Sisters in Crime Whole She-Bang crime short story anthologies. We include 22 stories by 18 members of Sisters in Crime in Canada.  The authors include frequent She-Bang Contributors, previously published authors, and a few who are being published here for the first time. Stories include a wide range of sub-genres — from light to dark.

Excerpt: Since there are 22 stories, I’m sharing one-liners, one from each story, to whet your appetite!

“Zoom in on Rod’s hands and see if you can catch him with his fingers crossed.”

Annie’s ears picked up the ugly words and she strained to hear more.

Bronwyn had a motto, “Never tell a lie when a half-truth will do.”

Fluellen felt the silence build like prison walls.

No one wanted to talk about my mother’s disappearance.

“Well, Mother. I hope you’re enjoying Hell,” Maureen said at last.

“My girls will be haunted by … the dubious distinction of being labelled the daughters of a murderess.”

Steve found the kind words and sympathetic glances bestowed upon him while he sat shiva for his father a lot tougher to stomach than bashing in the old man’s skull with a crowbar.

Then all was darkness.

Too late for any blossoms. Maybe ragged remnants.

She allowed herself the luxury of indulging in her favourite fantasy…how she could rid herself of Leo.

Change the way women who report abuse are treated.

Chuckling out loud he noticed the lady across the aisle giving him a look that could curdle milk.

Perchkin returned the gesture with a smile as thin as the Mona Lisa on downers.

So, what, you left your bullwhip at home?

Remembering Bud’s performances with me, I figured that I had about three minutes to get out of the house.

The Empress and The Dork together at 9 a.m. in a back hallway would be only hearsay, not evidence

Without really thinking about it, he flexed and clenched his left hand

It would have been so easy to fall forward against the handle and push the knife into his soft stomach.

And Toronto, I figured, was close enough to New York.

And then I spotted the canoe.

“Do you think a publisher will take it if you leave the readers up in the air like that?”

If you’re in the Toronto area:

Sunday, November 27th: Starting at 2:00PM, the Sleuth of Baker Street will be hosting the second launch for The Whole She-Bang 3! Wine, nibblies, and readings by the story authors will be on hand.

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My Publishing Journey: 10 Tips for a Successful Friends & Family Book Launch

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00072]On Saturday, October 29th, my friend, Carolyn, was kind enough to host a Friends & Family Book Launch for Skeletons in the Attic. This was my second time organizing a book launch (the first one, for The Hanged Man’s Noose, was hosted by my friend, Sharon, in September 2015). Both events were well attended and really successful, although I learned a lot from the first event, and incorporated those lessons into the second launch. I thought I’d share 1o tips here:

Pick your location: If you’ve got a huge number of friends and family, you might consider renting a place, but unless your publisher is contributing to your expenses (neither one of my small press publishers have a budget for that), it’s best to minimize your expenses. Having it in your own home seems a bit desperate. The solution: ask a good friend with a house in a central location to host it for you. I was very fortunate to have two friends offer. NOTE: Hosting simply means providing their home as the venue. As the author, it is your responsibility to provide everything else: the food, drinks, napkins, plastic glasses, paper plates etc., as well as doing the set up and clean up.

Judy, Donna, Nina, Carolyn

Judy, Donna, Nina, Carolyn

Ask two friends to help: Ask a friend to be “bookseller” for you, and another to be “bartender.” For both my events, my friend, Donna, acted as bookseller, but I priced the books, had lots of change for her, and made up a paper that allowed her to simply tick off a column every time she sold a copy of Skeletons or Noose, thereby keeping inventory at the same time. Donna used to be a librarian, so she’s a natural as a bookseller. Nina was my bartender both times, which involved pouring wine or water. Keep your drinks simple. I had a box of red and a box of white, and bottled water. Nina has a very outgoing, sparkly, personality, making her the perfect bartender!

edac7290fc51f192443677b24a724e24Pick your date and time: Select a date at least a month out to give you time to sort through the details and invite people. My first launch was 2-4 p.m. on a Saturday. The second launch was 1-3 p.m. on a Saturday. I think 1-3 is a better time slot. This way, if people do linger, you’re not getting close to dinner time. Be sure to let your guests know that this is like an open house; guests can come at any time and stay for as little or as long as they’d like.

Select your guests: Both my hosts were comfortable with about 3o guests. I invited 40 to each event, knowing that 8-10 people would likely have other plans. This turned out to be the case.

Send your invitations: I used E-vite, which lets you manage the invitation. People can RSVP and message you. E-vite also sends a reminder a couple of days in advance. E-vite has several free template options which are easy to work with and personalize.

jam-paper-grad-party-supply-assortment-pack-plates-napkins-cups-tablecloth-orange-and-brownBuy your supplies: Start this early to take advantage of sales. The dollar store is the cheapest place to buy napkins, paper plates, and plastic glasses/cups. In addition to the wine and water, I also had cheese and crackers, a fruit tray and a veggie tray. For dessert, I bought a large box of chocolates, which I split up and put on small paper plates here and there. You want everything to be finger-foody, and you also want to keep your costs down.

Selling books: Not everyone will buy a book (some may already have bought your book on Kindle, for example). Others might buy two! Have bookmarks as free takeaways (I recommend GotPrint.com). I personally sold about 30 books at each launch. I also gave a free signed copy of my book to Donna, Nina and Carolyn as a thank you for helping me. Bring more books with you than you hope to sell. You can always take them home with you! If you’re lucky, you’ll break even on the day, but remember, this is about celebrating your success, not making money.

img_5885Be prepared to do a reading: I didn’t read at my first launch, but I’ve gotten more comfortable with this now. I prepared a three-minute reading for Skeletons, and it was well received. Be sure to thank everyone for coming and especially your host and helpers.

Be prepared to mix and mingle: Mingling can be difficult if you’re signing books, but be sure to take time to talk to everyone who took the time to come. It can be a bit overwhelming. Donna was quite good at keeping me on track.

Have fun: This is your day. Savour every moment and count your blessings that you have friends and family who will support you on your journey. It doesn’t get better than that.

Hi-res NewFIND THE HANGED MAN’S NOOSE

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New Release Mondays: Saying Goodbye: The Christmas Gift by Linda L. Barton

new-ebook-coverAuthor Name: Linda L Barton

Book Title: Saying Goodbye: The Christmas Gift

Book Genre: Women Fiction, Sub-Genres: Romance and Inspirational

Release Date: December 1, 2016 (Available for Pre-Orders now)

Synopsis: Sometimes life doesn’t go in the direction we’ve planned for ourselves. We believe we have everything all figured out then something happens to flip our world upside down. Molly had always believed her life was on track. She figured she would graduate from Medical School and then go on to have a fulfilling career. However, life sometimes has other plans for us. Saying Goodbye takes you on a journey of discovery as Molly learns a powerful lesson we all try to avoid. As Molly comes to terms with her painful past, she finds joy by finally learning how to say goodbye.

Excerpt: Have you ever had someone come into your life and instantly you knew everything you’ve ever believed about yourself and your life was going to change forever? Well, that happened to me. When I thought, I had my life all figured out, the unexpected happened and changed the course of my life forever.

Hello, my name is Molly. I’m going to share with you the story of my favorite Christmas when I was 23-years-old and in my third year of Med School. Now, before you wonder how that’s possible, let me clarify a few things. I was raised to believe you should push yourself and not settle for anything less than your best. So, because of that, I graduated from High School at the age of seventeen; mid-term of my senior year, and it only took me three and a half years to get my bachelor’s degree before being accepted into Med School.

Regardless of the pressure put on me to succeed, I guess you can say I’m a bit spoiled and stuck in my ways; however, growing up with the parents I had it’s no surprise. I’m an only child. I was the pride and joy of my father and the young lady in training for my overly strict and domineering mother.

Yeah, I know there are several stories out there about children growing up in homes with parents like that, but I’m not here to whine about how it screwed up my life. You see, this is a different story. This is how I learned a lesson my parents or teachers had never taught me. This is the story of how I finally learned how to say goodbye and from someone you’d least expect.

linda-l-bartonAbout the author: Linda L Barton is a Multi-Genre Author, Founder of Deadly Reads, and the Host of Deadly Reads Radio. She is happily married to her best friend and writing muse, a proud mother, and even prouder grandmother. Linda lives in Southeast Texas and looks forward to each day with a love of life along with its many exciting gifts. Find out more about Linda at DeadlyReads.com

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Interview with an Author: Wendy Tyson

bitterharvest-frontWendy Tyson is an author, lawyer, and former therapist whose background inspires her mysteries and thrillers. Wendy writes two series, the Allison Campbell Mystery Series and the Greenhouse Mystery Series. The first book in the Campbell Series, Killer Image, was named a 2014 best mystery for book clubs by Examiner.com. A Muddied Murder (March 2016, Henery Press), the first book in the Greenhouse Mystery Series, was called a “Charming and entertaining cozy series debut” by Library Journal. The second Greenhouse mystery, Bitter Harvest, comes out on March 7, 2017. Wendy is a member of Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers, and she is a contributing editor forThe Big Thrill and The Thrill Begins, International Thriller Writers’ online magazines. Wendy and her husband are avid organic gardeners and live on a micro-farm outside of Philadelphia.

Judy: Tell me a bit about your first book in the Greenhouse Mystery Series.

a-muddied-murder-front-cover-tysonWendy: Hi, Judy. Thank you for having me on your blog today. A Muddied Murder is the first book in the Greenhouse Mystery Series. The book introduces Megan Sawyer, an environmental attorney who leaves her Chicago law firm to return to her roots in the fictional small town of Winsome, Pennsylvania. Megan, with the help of her grandmother, is determined to turn her family’s failing farm and storefront into a thriving organic farm and cafe. But obstacles abound—and most of them come from the town’s overzealous zoning commissioner. When the zoning commissioner is found bludgeoned to death in Megan’s barn, Megan must dig through small-town secrets and local politics to clear her name and find a killer.

Judy: It sounds great, Wendy. I love small-town secrets! Can you share your writing process and/or a typical day in your life?

Wendy: I split my time between Pennsylvania and Vermont. In Pennsylvania, I usually write on a laptop at my kitchen island. I don’t like silence when I write, so the kitchen/family room is perfect. It’s a hub of activity. My three boys are usually darting in and out, my three dogs lounge near my feet or on the nearby couch. If my family’s chatter is too much, I wear headphones and listen to music. When I’m in Vermont, I also write at the kitchen table, but there I have a wonderful view of the woods and mountains beyond.

In terms of time, I generally write early in the morning. I work full-time, so I need to be flexible with my writing schedule. I’ve learned to write anywhere and at any time. During my lunch hour, between lacrosse games, in the car…I write whenever I have the chance.

Judy: I envy that. I can’t seem tor write “wherever,” but I do need to learn that skill! What advice and/or resources would you recommend for aspiring writers?

dying-brandWendy: Read, especially novels by authors you admire. Read like a writer—not simply for entertainment. Take notes. Pay attention to what works and what doesn’t work—and consider why. And write every single day. No excuses. In terms of resources, I love Natalie Goldberg’s books, especially Writing Down the Bones.

Judy: I agree that reading is the best teacher. How many books, on average, do you read in a month, and do you read your genre when writing?

Wendy: I read about four to six books a month. I always intend to read more, but there is just not enough time. I read mostly at night, in bed, before going to sleep. I wear a headlamp (my husband doesn’t share my passion for late-night reading), and I prefer paperbacks to e-books. Inevitably I fall asleep a few chapters in. And yes, I read books in my genre. They are my “comfort food.”

Judy: What’s next for Wendy?

Wendy: Next year will be a busy one. I have three novels coming out in 2017: Bitter Harvest (Greenhouse Mystery no. 2—March 7), Fatal Façade (Allison Campbell Mystery no. 4—June 13), and Seeds of Revenge (Greenhouse Mystery no. 3—November).

Judy: Wow…and I thought my schedule was crazy. Good luck to you, Wendy, and thanks for sharing your stories on my blog.

 

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Find Wendy on her website, on Amazon and on Twitter.