Just a quick note to wish you all the best during these unsettling times. No matter where you live, your life has probably been affected by the raging pandemic in some way. I’m not sure how others are coping, but I will confess to escaping into books. Lots of books. I don’t think I have ever read as much as I have these past few weeks. Anyway, I decided now would be a good time to host a rafflecopter giveaway. As the prize, I’ll be sending one lucky winner a $10 Amazon Gift Card. Enter for your chance to win (now through May 10th.)
With the Coronavirus news prompting me or and more to escape into reading, I am devouring books. At record speed. Today’s post features one of the books I recently read. All Washed Up is the third book in the Cara Mia Delgatto Mystery Series by Joanna Campbell Slan.
About the Book*
Cara Mia thought she found a sculpture of a mermaid in the sand…and then it moved! Rescuing a half-drown immigrant was not what she wanted on her morning walk.
Stuart, Florida. Was it the right thing to do? Will the woman survive? And if she does, will she be okay? Or was she better off dead? And where are all the other immigrants who made the perilous ocean voyage with her?
Someone is behind all these beached landings of immigrants. Cara might have uncovered a human trafficking scheme. To trace these soggy deaths back to the source will take every bit of Cara’s courage, plus a lot of help from her cranky grandfather. And then her son gets involved.
Suddenly it’s Cara’s family that’s at risk as a run-in with deadly coyotes threatens to destroy everything and everyone Cara loves. How could one good deed go so badly wrong?
*from Amazon webpage
Cara has this bad habit of finding dead bodies. It’s not her fault. It just happens and it draws her into the role of amateur sleuth as a result. Young and making it on her own in her new home on an island in the Florida keys, she is aided in her detecting efforts by good friends and her grandfather, Poppy. Poppy is a quirky character – and a good guy with a secret past that becomes apparent as the story unfolds. The plot is an interesting one that touches on tough social issues while remaining a “cozy” read. All in all, an enjoyable, fast-paced read.
As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book tours, I am pleased to have Julie Seedorf as my guest today as she celebrates the recent release of A Small Town Can be #Murder. Julie’s post shares insights into the motivations that shaped her writing over the years.
Thoughts on Writing, Julie Seedorf
I am not an award-winning writer. I don’t know if I could be an award-winning writer. The fact is, I have never applied for any awards and my publishing companies are small publishers that do not have the bank accounts that big publishers have to pay for entry fees. To be honest, neither do I.
But also to be honest, awards are not the reason I write. I write for a variety of reasons. It started with a diary when I was young. I recorded all my hopes, my dreams and my crushes and my first kiss. I was lucky enough that creative writing was part of the curriculum my junior year in high school. Thank you Jim Colletti. It was a class where I got my first A+ and I loved it. I might mention I wasn’t a straight-A student unless I liked a subject. Don’t tell my grandkids.
As I entered my young adult years, I turned to poetry and recorded my feelings that way. Here is an example.
A massive blur of jumbled thoughts
All swirling around in the tiny area of my brain
Until I think I can stand it no more.
Surely I will burst with such confusion.
Round and round and round
Thoughts that don’t make sense.
Words and more words
Twisted and jumbled until the truth is lost.
Was the truth there in the first place?
Questions without answers.
Memories and emotions drowning all reason.
Logic and common sense – unbelievable.
You don’t want to believe them.
Faith and trust lost?
How? Why? Because?
Swirling, turning thoughts
Until finally there is no way to turn.
No one to go to.
But still love,
Love ruling the mass of confusion
Until the hurt grows
And the tears fall
© Julie Seedorf 2020
I left it as is from my notebook written fifty years ago by me, a young woman churning out her feelings at the time.
I can say I dreamed of being an author because my love of books started when I was young thanks to my mother. She loved books too although she was so busy taking care of me, my dad, her mother, plus her brothers and two households. My mother also worked in their shoe store taking care of the bools and the ordering and because of her schedule I never saw her reading anything except the paper, but she always made sure I had books. There were only school libraries in my youth so any books were ones that were purchased for me from the drugstore which carried books.
Again, to be honest I never considered a career in writing seriously because of fear that I wasn’t good enough, and it was very hard to get a publishing company to accept your work.
Fast forward to my almost senior citizen years. It was possible to self publish with Amazon. It was possible to find small publishing companies that would offer you a contract if they liked your work. On a wing and a prayer I sent my manuscript in and my new career in writing began. I might mention that by that time I had been a newspaper columnist for years because I found I have an opinion and occasionally people wanted to hear it.
I also must admit there are times I am envious of seeing those awards when others post, such as a New York Times best-selling author. I absolutely don’t know how to achieve that and that takes me back to my opening paragraph. I don’t write for awards. I write to make people laugh and take them away from the world. I write because I have wacky ideas and wacky mysteries in my head and they fuel my creativity that helps me get out a depression or sad times. I write because I am passionate about something and I want to touch other people’s lives and make them feel better. I write because I have to still the constant whirling of words in my brain.
Along the way I read and discover award-winning authors that have no awards posted on their books, but they should. It is a sea of books out there and to be found is like looking for a certain grain of sand on the beach with the author hoping when the waves clear the sand, their special grain will sparkle and be noticed.
Don’t feel bad for me. I am where the grace of God has placed me and if I touch one heart or make one person feel better for a short time than that is my award and reward.
About A Small Town Can Be #Murder
You have all heard the story: big-city girl moves to small town and lives happily ever after. That’s not the forever-after Angel Delaight found when she moved to Whistle Stop, Minnesota. First her realtor is found dead in her new house, which is also rumored to be haunted. Then homeless animals began showing up at her door, along with a bevy of townspeople who seem to know what she is doing at all times. Not to mention a secret journal turning up during renovation, revealing more secrets hidden in this small community.
Will those secrets from the past put Angel’s life and those of her friends and family in danger? When the big-city girl meets a small town, it can be murder.
Enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a print copy of A Small Town Can Be #Murder.
About the Author
A Bit About Me As An Impassioned Writer
As human beings, we are always a work in progress. From birth to death we live, hurt, laugh, cry, feel, and with all of those emotions we grow as people, as family members, and as friends. I am a dreamer and feel blessed to have the opportunity in my writing to pass those dreams on to others. I believe you are never too old to dream and to turn those dreams into a creative endeavor. I live in rural Minnesota and I am a wife, mother, and grandmother.
I have worn many hats throughout my life such as working as a waitress, nursing home activities person, office manager and finally a computer repair person eventually owning my own computer sales and repair business. I never forgot my love of writing and quit my computer business in 2012 after signing a contract with Cozy Cat Press for Granny Hooks A Crook, the first book in my Fuchsia, Minnesota Series.
Adding five more books to the Fuchsia Series, adding a Brilliant, Minnesota Series and writing a column for local newspapers feeds my writing creativity. This year the Whistle Stop series was born. Small towns have my heart and I hoped to convey that in my new series.
I also dabble a bit in watercolor painting and hope to eventually add pictures to my children’s book series, Granny’s In Trouble.
Oh, and did I tell you I like to be a little bit silly.
- Website: http://julieseedorf.com
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/julie.seedorf.author
- Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/julieseedorf
- Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/julie_seedorf
- Pinterest.com: http://pinterest.com/julieseedorf
- Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Julie-Seedorf/e/B009WAAANQ
- YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/c/JulieSeedorf
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/JulieSeedorf
Click here to follow the tour for reviews, guest posts and more.
Is the news getting you down? Are you staying away from people to try to stay healthy? Are you looking for things to help you beat cabin fever? I don’t know about you but I have been devouring books – my idea of a perfect escape during these stressful times.
If you are at all like me, you’ll want to stock up on books to weather the storms ahead. So here’s a great way to fill up your eReader and save money, too!
Visit http://www.goddessfish.com/promo/feed-your-reader-bargain-books/ to discover a wide range of books in your favorite genres that are currently only $0.99 or maybe even FREE. Check them out to see if you find something that tickles your fancy!
There’s also a chance for you to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC – check out the Rafflecopter at the end of the post.
I confess. I am a long time fan of Kathy Reichs’s writing and the Temperance Brennan series. I haven’t read all the books in the series but I have read a fair number of them, so I couldn’t resist the opportunity to read an ARC of A Conspiracy of Bones when it became available on Net Galley. I wasn’t disappointed.
About the Book*
It’s sweltering in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Temperance Brennan, still recovering from neurosurgery following an aneurysm, is battling nightmares, migraines, and what she thinks might be hallucinations when she receives a series of mysterious text messages, each containing a new picture of a corpse that is missing its face and hands. Immediately, she’s anxious to know who the dead man is, and why the images were sent to her.
An identified corpse soon turns up, only partly answering her questions.
To win answers to the others, including the man’s identity, she must go rogue, working mostly outside the system. That’s because Tempe’s new boss holds a fierce grudge against her and is determined to keep her out of the case. Tempe bulls forward anyway, even as she begins questioning her instincts. But the clues she discovers are disturbing and confusing. Was the faceless man a spy? A trafficker? A target for assassination by the government? And why was he carrying the name of a child missing for almost a decade?
With help from a number of law enforcement associates including her Montreal beau Andrew Ryan and the always-ready-with-a-smart-quip, ex-homicide investigator Skinny Slidell, and utilizing new cutting-edge forensic methods, Tempe draws closer to the astonishing truth.
But the more she uncovers, the darker and more twisted the picture becomes…
*from Amazon webpage
This well written thriller features Dr. Temperance Brennan, a forensic anthropologist, who is drawn into a puzzling case by external forces, despite being effectively shut out by the woman in charge of the Charlotte ME’s office. Although coping with some major health issues, her sense of determination remains strong and she works the case on the sly, with help from her friends. The fast-paced plot is complex and integrated a fair number of twists and surprises before the mystery is resolved.
In this book, the author shows us a more vulnerable side of Temperance, while highlighting just enough of her past experiences to help us understand how her character was shaped. I think it’s amazing how Reichs has managed to create a character that continues to develop and evolve, even 19 books into the series. Kudos to an exceptional author.
FTC disclosure: I received an advanced review copy of this book prior to its publication. This has not affected the content of my review.
As part of a book tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I am pleased to shine the spotlight on a new release from Judi Rath – Blueberry Cobbler Blackmail (A Cast Iron Skillet Mystery).
About the Book
Welcome to Leaven—oh wait—Santo Domingo, where DEATH takes a DELICIOUS turn!
Family bombshells, sibling rivalries, blackmail, and a trip that could be deadly…and the new year has only just begun! After a disastrous Thanksgiving, Jolie Tucker is beside herself and feeling the walls closing in around her. She feels like she needs to escape Leavensport before she loses her mind. She unexpectedly gets her wish when her best friend and co-owner of Cast Iron Creations, Ava Martinez, gets a terrifying email revealing that her papa, Thiago, is in danger in Santo Domingo. The girls are off on a dangerous adventure in new territory. Will they be able to save the day before danger finds them?
About the Author
Moving into her second decade working in education, Jodi Rath has decided to begin a life of crime in her The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series. Her passion for both mysteries and education led her to combine the two to create her business MYS ED, where she splits her time between working as an adjunct for Ohio teachers and creating mischief in her fictional writing. She currently resides in a small, cozy village in Ohio with her husband and her seven cats.
- Webpage: https://www.jodirath.com/
- FB: https://www.facebook.com/jodirath
- FB Author Page: Author Jodi Rath
- Twitter: @jodirath
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard
- Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jodi-rath
- Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jodirath/
- Monthly Newsletter Link: http://eepurl.com/dIfXdb Get Short Story “Sweet Retreat” for free by subscribing to my monthly newsletter. Subscribe to my newsletter to receive free flash fiction, A Mystery a Month, serial scenes from series, and deleted scenes).
Click here to check out additional posts on the tour for reviews, guest posts, and more.
As part of a book tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I recently had the pleasure of reading Paws for Murder, the first book in the new Barking Mad cozy mystery series by Scarlett English.
About the Book
Welcome to Adlebury where village life can be downright deadly.
Veterinarian Petronella Knight seems to have it all. A job she loves, good friends, and patients who adore her. But when she gets into an argument with dog breeder Gladys Harrington, and she finds the woman dead, she also finds herself accused of murder.
Ella will need all her friends, including the new and very handsome American policeman, and all her sharpest sleuthing skills to figure out who murdered the dog breeder before another dead body pops up.
Paws for Murder contains one enthusiastic amateur detective with a penchant for rescuing animals, a guard duck called George, a large amount of homemade gooseberry wine, and a very confused American who has never met an English village quite like this one.
You’d be Barking Mad to pass this one by.
Set in a quaint English village, this mystery has all of the elements of the typical cozy mystery – including a likable amateur sleuth, a charming detective, and a victim that is hard not to dislike. And animals. Lots of animals. Petronella is a vet and we are treated to a glimpse into all that goes with that job alongside her efforts to prove her innocence and identify the killer. The main characters are well developed and the plot moved along at a nice pace, with interesting developments as the story unfolded. With a sprinkling of humor and a healthy dose of romantic suspense, Paws for Murder makes a delightful start to a new cozy mystery series.
FTC disclosure: I received an advance review copy of this book from the publisher. This has not affected the content of my review.
Enter the rafflecopter for your chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card.
About the Author
Scarlett English is a crazy cat lady who likes solving mysteries. Or actually, make that a dog lady. Much to her chagrin, the police have never sought to consult her, which is why there seems to be so much unsolved crime. Especially—surprisingly enough—in the small English village where she lives. So, armed with curiosity, a penchant for taking in strays, a love of homemade wine and a good gossip, she puts her detecting talents to good use murdering her imaginary friends and neighbors and solving the cases one story at a time.
Purchase Link – Amazon
Visit the tour page for additional reviews, guest posts, and more.
As part of a book tour organized by Partners in Crime, I recently had the pleasure of reading Dangerous Ground by Susan Hunter, the sixth book in this talented author’s Leah Nash Mystery series.
About the Book
A Murder Among Friends …
Everyone is anxious to connect with actor Ryan Malloy when he returns to town for his 15-year high school reunion. Everyone except crime writer Leah Nash. She doesn’t have many fond memories of Himmel High’s golden boy. But it turns out she’s not the only one who isn’t a fan. Before the weekend is over, Ryan Malloy is murdered.
The hard-headed but soft-hearted Leah is unwillingly drawn into investigating his death by the pleading of Ryan’s terminally ill mother. She soon discovers that Ryan’s self-absorbed journey through life trampled on the dreams of a number of people. His old girlfriend, his best friend, his own brother, a local businessman—there’s no shortage of suspects—or secrets. But the solution eludes Leah, until the past and the present collide in a dangerous confrontation that threatens one life and ends another.
Scroll down to the bottom of this post to read an excerpt from Dangerous Grounds.
Leah Nash is a no-nonsense woman with a strong drive to make sure the actual culprit is charged with murder instead of the most obvious fall guy. Her background in journalism makes her a skilled investigator and she’s not shy about asking questions. As she learns more about Ryan, a surprisingly wide range of persons with a motive for murder emerge.
Leah’s personality shines through in this first-person narrative – including her doubts about herself. The plot twists kept me wondering, and the final resolution was pretty much a surprised. A well-written, fast-paced, and enjoyable read.
FTC Disclosure: I received an advance reader copy of this book as part of this blog tour. This has not affected the content of my review.
About the Author
Susan Hunter is a charter member of Introverts International (which meets the 12th of Never at an undisclosed location). She has worked as a reporter and managing editor, during which time she received a first place UPI award for investigative reporting and a Michigan Press Association first place award for enterprise/feature reporting.
Susan has also taught composition at the college level, written advertising copy, newsletters, press releases, speeches, web copy, academic papers, and memos. Lots and lots of memos. She lives in rural Michigan with her husband Gary, who is a man of action, not words.
During certain times of the day, she can be found wandering the mean streets of small-town Himmel, Wisconsin, looking for clues, stopping for a meal at the Elite Cafe, dropping off a story lead at the Himmel Times Weekly, or meeting friends for a drink at McClain’s Bar and Grill.
Catch Up With Susan Hunter On:
Read an excerpt:
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As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours to mark the release of Southern Double Cross (A Southern B&B Mystery), I am pleased to have Caroline Fardig as my guest today to share her thoughts on how her writing environment affects her writing.
The Writing Environment and Its Effect on Writing – by Caroline Fardig
The more I write, the more I realize that my writing environment can directly influence my writing style, tone, and even the direction my story takes. If I’m looking for inspiration or simply a change-up from the norm, I try changing my view to change my point-of-view.
My home office is my main writing environment. I just redecorated, and before it was a fairly drab space with not a lot going on in the way of girly bling. I think I’ve remedied that now, so it’s a lot cheerier for me, and I think my writing has benefitted from that. I think of the tone of most of my writing as “fun,” so a splashy office space is a must. I have Rodney White’s “Nothing to Dream” on the wall (reminding me to keep dreaming big), and other inspirational art I’ve picked up along the way. My favorite piece, though, is the full-length version of the cover art for Mug Shot by the amazingly talented Niloufer Wadia.
My second favorite place to write is outside, preferably on my front porch. My home is secluded by trees, and it’s extremely quiet, so if I need calm and serenity for a certain scene I’m writing, this is the place. If I’m writing a scene that takes place outside, it’s helpful as well, because I can better express how the wind or sun feels or what noises are present if I’m actually there. I feel that experiencing my environment as I’m writing about it adds depth and truth to my fictional worlds.
My local coffeehouse (And when I say “my,” I mean the two that I own!)
My dream for a long time has been to own my own coffeehouse, and this year I was lucky enough to make it a reality. I have some great partners, and I’ve learned so much in the last six months I think my head might explode! I have always loved to write in coffeehouses, and now I love to sit down and write in mine…as long as the place doesn’t get so busy I have to abandon my writing and roll up my sleeves and help! Anyway, back to the point—I love to write in the midst of a crowd, sometimes. If the place gets too packed and loud, it’s not always easy to concentrate. But there’s something about peoplewatching that helps me to better describe characters and their quirks. There’s something inherently “writer-y” about squatting at a coffeehouse for hours, sipping your latte in that pseudo-bohemian environment. At least for me, it makes me slightly introspective, which is something that is needed for writing a serious scene.
My family has gone to the beach every year for the past decade, and each time I come home with new story plans. There’s something about hours of doing nothing but staring out across the beautiful, rhythmic ocean that inspires the romantic in me. The funny part is that I’ve only set one scene at a beach, but it was inspiring just the same. I definitely don’t take my laptop, because actually writing something down would seem like way too much work on vacation, but I can formulate an entire plot in my head over the course of the week.
Let’s be clear. I’m not actually writing in my car. That would be a big no-no. However, when I have a novel in the beginning stages (plot formulation, outline, first draft), I find that cranking up the tunes and letting my mind wander while I drive is the perfect way to get into the feel of the plot and also to come up with my characters’ personalities. Basically, while driving—besides paying attention to the road of course—there’s not a whole lot to do, unless you’re in heavy traffic. I live in a rural area, so driving isn’t too worrisome for me, and because of that, I’m able to let my thoughts run free and allow the story to play itself out.
And now, I must get back to writing! Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog today!
About Southern Double Cross
A fundraising party goes south in a delightful cozy mystery from the USA Today bestselling author of Southern Discomfort and the Java Jive novels
Quinn Bellandini is ready to get back to running her grandfather’s B&B in Savannah, Georgia, with her sister, Delilah—but first, she has to coordinate a fundraising event at the house of local philanthropists, with the help of her boyfriend, Tucker Heyward. Everything is running smoothly until Quinn’s friend, Pepper Fox, frantically calls her with the horrifying news that the lady of the house was found dead. Pepper’s brother, who was working as a caterer, is soon charged with her murder.
Pepper knows her brother didn’t commit the crime and asks Quinn, now a veteran detective with two solved murders under her belt, to prove his innocence. Quinn can’t bear to see her friend upset and enlists Delilah and Tucker to help investigate.
The invite list quickly turns into the suspect list as tensions mount and old feuds are brought to light. Could Quinn have hired the only catering company in Georgia that throws in a murder on the side?
Enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a digital copy of Southern Double Cross from the author.
About the Author
CAROLINE FARDIG is the USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR of the Java Jive Mysteries series and the Lizzie Hart Mysteries series. Fardig’s BAD MEDICINE was named one of the “Best Books of 2015” by Suspense Magazine. She worked as a schoolteacher, church organist, insurance agent, funeral parlor associate, and stay-at-home mom before she realized that she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Born and raised in a small town in Indiana, Fardig still lives in that same town with an understanding husband, two sweet kids, two energetic dogs, and one malevolent cat.
Connect with Caroline:
- Website: www.carolinefardig.com
- Blog: http://www.carolinefardig.com/blog/
- Twitter: @carolinefardig
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/carolinefardigbooks
Click here to check out additional stops on the tour for reviews, guest posts, and more.
As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I recently read Bitter Alpine, a new release by Mary Daheim.
About the Book
New year, new murder . . . Emma Lord is on the case when death finds its way back to the wintry mountain town of Alpine.
After a relatively calm and cozy holiday season, neither Emma Lord, editor and publisher of The Alpine Advocate, nor her husband, Sheriff Milo Dodge, are surprised when their new year gets off to a rocky start. A woman’s body has been found in a squalid motel. Her driver’s license shows that Dawn Purvis was in her late thirties and lived in Weaverville, California—and the only connection between that town and Alpine is their gold-mining and logging origins. When they discover that Dawn’s room reservation was open-ended, Emma, Milo, and the ever-inquisitive Advocate receptionist, Alison Lindahl, are more than mildly curious. And never mind that the youthful Alison is a bit distracted by the new county extension agent’s virile good looks. She can still sleuth while she stalks her newest crush.
But that’s not all the news that’s unfit to print. There’s something strange about the older couple who have moved into the cabin down the road that was once owned by a murder victim. The elderly wife seems anti-social. There’s got to be a reason, which Emma, Milo, and Alison intend to find out—even if it puts them in deadly danger.’
Emma Lord runs the local newspaper in a quaint resort town in Washington state, giving her a natural instinct for tracking down a story and rooting out the truth about the identity of the deceased and the reasons that led to her demise. Emma is married to the Sheriff, who sometimes shares info and sometimes doesn’t. This was the first time I read anything by this author, and perhaps I would have appreciated the characters more if I had read earlier books and they had been “old friends” of mine – despite the sprinkling of references to previous murders/cases in Emma’s past. Although the pace of the narrative was steady, I’d have liked to see more tension/action. This is a read mostly likely to be enjoyed by fans of the Emma Lord mysteries who will enjoy the trip down memory lane.
FTC Disclosure: I received an advance review copy of this book. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.
Click to enter a rafflecopter giveaway for chance to win a digital copy of Bitter Alpine.
About the Author
Mary Daheim is the author of the Alpine mystery series. A Seattle native with a degree in communication from the University of Washington, she realized at an early age that getting a book published might elude her for years, so she began her writing career working on daily newspapers. The mother of three daughters, she lives in a century-old house in her hometown.
Click here to check out additional stops on the tour for reviews, guest posts, and more.