Guest Post: GRANNY BRICKS A BANDIT by Julie Seedorf

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Today, as part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I am happy to host Julie Seedorf as she celebrates the recent release of  Granny Bricks a Bandit and share her thoughts on the power of words.


Words are Powerful by Julie Seedorf

I am happy to be a guest on this blog. Thank you for having me.

Words are powerful. How we use them is powerful. We also need to be mindful that what we write might influence another’s life whether it be on a blog or in a book.

Do you remember the hurtful things said to you in your life? Or do you remember the positive affirmations more?

IMG_1793.JPGWould you read a book dedicated to making a reader feel worse about themselves, or would you read a book that makes you feel better about yourself?

I would guess you remember the hurtful things more than the positive. I would guess you read a book that makes you feel better not worse. Those are a little at the opposite ends of reason. We read books that make us feel good but we read over in our mind the words from others which make us feel bad.

As a writer, I have to gauge what I want my readers to take away from what I write. Do I want them to walk away feeling as if they have escaped reality for a short time, or do I want to bring them deep into reality?

I choose silliness, making people laugh and writing about fictional communities and characters that are so far off our radar, we can’t imagine we could ever live in the community or be that character. Yet, there are some of my characters I would love to step inside of their bodies and be them for a day, a week or forever.

When my Fuchsia Series first started my readers saw a forgetful, over-the-top Granny whose friends were off-the-wall. That was what I wanted to portray so over the series I could add characteristics we could all identify with. What made Granny the way she is? What makes her hurt? What make her mad? What and who shaped her life?

There is a theme besides the mystery and the silliness I want my readers to get, and that is the theme of friendship. No matter what, no matter why someone acts out, Granny’s group of friends is there for each other. They might not always understand each other or why they do what they do, but their friendship lasts through the trials. It is a given in these books that the trials might be wacky, but there is fun in friendship unconditionally.

If you choose to read this series or my Brilliant, MN Series, take time to find the underlying tone. It is there. I may choose to make light of memory loss but it is out of experience with people in my family that have had Alzheimer’s, and humor was the only way to cope.  I address that in Granny Pins A Pilferer. In Granny Bricks A Bandit, there is a bond of family and friendship.

Words matter and my characters words and banter may not always seem kind, but there is a love speak we don’t always understand. I used to know a couple who were in their 70s and they were constantly harping at one another, but I loved to visit them because you could see the love in those exchanges. To an outsider they might have seemed rough, but the words were never hurtful and that is the way Silas and Granny are. Old woman and old man to them are not derogatory but words of love.

Words matter and beneath the words are emotion which might not match the words. Look for it and it might change your perspective when you interact with another person. Things might not always be fine when you ask. Look underneath the words to find the true emotion and it might change your life.

GrannyforkindleAbout the Book

Granny and her cohorts are at it again! When Granny and her neighbor Mavis, go water-skiing and discover a dead body, Granny’s sleuthing instincts take over! She is determined to identify the corpse and find the killer. But wait! No sooner are Granny and her cohorts on the murderer’s trail, then Mavis’ husband George suddenly disappears! Could he be the killer’s next victim? Or could he be the killer? When the gals take a side trip to the Mall of America, they find a man fell to his death on a climbing wall––and Mavis is certain she spots George nearby! What does it all mean? Will Granny get to the bottom of it, with the help of her entourage of buddies and pets?

About the Author

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 four more books to the Fuchsia Series, adding a new Brilliant, Minnesota Series and writing a column for local newspapers feeds my writing creativity.

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.

Author Links

Purchase Links

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Review: SOUTHERN SASS AND KILLER CRAVINGS by Kate Young

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As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I recently read Southern Sass and Killer Cravings, a new paranormal cozy mystery by Kate Young.

Description

Life has always been sweet on Georgia’s Peach Cove Island, but a case of murder has Marygene Brown down in the pits . . .

Southern-Sass-and-Killer-CravingsFor generations, the women of the Brown family on Peach Cove Island have been known for their Southern sass and sweet homemade desserts at their beloved Peach Diner. Since their mother’s passing two years ago, Marygene has been stuck in Atlanta while her sister Jena Lynn has been running the family business. Now Marygene has left her husband and returned to her hometown, where she can almost feel Mama’s presence.

But all is not peachy back home. Marygene has barely tied on an apron when a diner regular drops dead at the counter. When it turns out the old man’s been poisoned, Jena Lynn is led away in handcuffs and the family eatery is closed. Now, to save her sister and the diner, Marygene must find the real killer. With some startling assistance from her Mama’s spirit, Marygene will be serving up a special order of just desserts . . .

Includes seven recipes from Marygene’s Kitchen!

My Review

In this first is a series set in small town Georgia, Marygene has returned to  Peach Cove to run the diner with her sister.  When Jena Lynn becomes the prime suspect in a murder case, Marygene can’t sit idly by.  Her attempts to investigate provide insights into complex family relationships, a painful past, and a hint at better days to come.  The whodunnit side of the plot had a fair share of twists, with her mother’s ghost making an appearance at both convenient and inconvenient times.  The paranormal aspect of the story was for the most part nicely done, however I would have preferred if the resolution of the story had been more down to earth, more realistic.  That said, it was a pleasant read overall.

FTC Disclosure:  I received an advance review copy of this book as part of  this blog tour. This has not affected the content of my review.

About the Author

Sassauthorpic2018Kate Young writes humorous southern mystery novels. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Guppy Chapter. Kate lives in a small town in Georgia with her husband, three kids, and a Shih Tzu. When she is not writing her own books, she’s reading or cooking.

Author Links

Purchase Links — Amazon  B&N  Kobo  Indie Bound   ibooks    BAM

Giveaway

Kate young is hosting A PRE-ORDER CONTEST with fabulous prizes! A Coach Bag with matching wristlet and $120 in gift cards plus autographed copies of the book!  Go to  https://www.kateyoungbooks.com/pre-order-contest.html to enter.

For a full list of stops on this tour, click here.

Release Spotlight & Giveaway: FAIR GAME by Annette Dashofy

FAIR-GAME-BANNER-184As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, today’s post shines the spotlight on a the latest Zoe Chambers Mystery from Annette Dashof  – Fair Game.

About the Book

FAIR-GAMEParamedic Zoe Chambers hoped a week at the Monongahela County Fair, showing her horse and manning the ambulance, would provide a much-needed diversion from recent events that continue to haunt her.

An old friend, a bossy nemesis, and a teenage crush from her 4-H days fail to offer the distraction she had in mind. But ever the caregiver, she soon bonds with a troubled teen and a grieving father.

Back in Vance Township, a missing woman turns up dead, leading Police Chief Pete Adams into a journey through her mysterious final hours. With each new clue, the tragic circumstances of her death grow increasingly muddied.

A cryptic phone call leads Pete to join Zoe for an evening at the fairgrounds where the annual school bus demolition derby concludes with a gruesome discovery and a new case that may or may not be connected to the first.

Pete’s quest for the motive behind two homicides—and Zoe’s stubborn determination to reunite a family—thrust them both onto a collision course with a violent and desperate felon.

About the Author

Dashofy-1559-534x800Annette Dashofy is the USA Today best-selling author of the Zoe Chambers mystery series about a paramedic and deputy coroner in rural Pennsylvania’s tight-knit Vance Township. CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE was a finalist for the Agatha Award for Best First Novel of 2014 and BRIDGES BURNED was nominated for the 2015 Agatha for Best Contemporary Novel.

Author Links:

Purchase Links:   AmazonAmazon Hardcover/PaperbackB&NKoboIndieBound

Giveaway

Click to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway  for a chance to win one of five print copies of Fair Game (U.S only).

For a full list of stops on this tour, click here.

Release Spotlight: THE BODY IN THE WETLANDS by Judi Lynn

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As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, today’s post shines the spotlight on a new release from Judi Lynn – The Body in the Wetlands (A Jazzi Zanders Mystery).

About the Book

THE-BODY-IN-THE-WETLANDSHigh summer in River Bluffs, Indiana, is always sweltering and sweet. But the heat is really on when a decidedly dead body turns up in the neighborhood.

When established house flippers Jazzi Zanders and her cousin Jerod donate a week’s worth of remodeling work to Jazzi’s sister Olivia, they’re expecting nothing more than back-breaking roofing work and cold beers at the end of each long, hot day. With Jazzi’s live-in boyfriend and partner Ansel on the team, it promises to be a quick break before starting their next big project—until Leo, an elderly neighbor of Olivia’s, unexpectedly goes missing . . .

When the friendly senior’s dog tugs Jazzi and the guys toward the wetlands beyond Olivia’s neighborhood, they stumble across a decomposing corpse—and a lot of questions. With Jazzi’s pal Detective Gaff along to investigate, Jazzi finds her hands full of a whole new mystery instead of the usual hammer and nails. And this time it will take some sophisticated sleuthing to track down the culprit of the deadly crime—before the killer turns on her next . . .

About the Author

JUDI-LYNNJudi Lynn received a Master’s Degree from Indiana University as an elementary school teacher after attending the IPFW campus. She taught 1st, 2nd, and 4th grades for six years before having her two daughters.  She loves gardening, cooking and trying new recipes.

Readers can visit her website at www.judithpostswritingmusings.com and her blog writingmusings.com.

Purchase Links

Amazon   B&N   Kobo   Google Play

Review: AS DIRECTED by Kathleen Valenti

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As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I recently had the pleasure of reading As Directed, the third book in the Maggie O’Malley Mystery series by Kathleen Valenti. 

About the Book

AsDirected-cover-front-REV-663x1024In the shadow of a past fraught with danger and tainted by loss, former pharmaceutical researcher Maggie O’Malley is rebuilding her life, trading test tubes for pill bottles as she embarks on a new career at the corner drugstore.

But as she spreads her wings, things begin to go terribly wrong. A customer falls ill in the store. Followed by another. And then more.

The specter of poisoning arises, conjuring old grudges, past sins, buried secrets and new suspicions from which no one is immune.

As Maggie and her best friend Constantine begin to investigate, they discover that some of the deadliest doses come from the most unexpected places.

My Review

From the first page, suspense is in the air. Even before you meet Maggie and the main characters, the prologue has you hooked and you want know what is happening and why.  Then, when customers at the pharmacy start to drop, you share in Maggie’s angst as she tries to identify the source of the poisoning.  Her charming would-be bridegroom, Constantine, is at her side – helping her investigate, while they both fend off family demands to set a date and plan a fancy wedding.  After all,  how can she can think about weddings when people are dropping all around her.  As Maggie’s investigation progresses, the story takes unexpected directions along the way to a satisfying resolution. An enjoyable and well-paced read with an intricate plot.

This was my first time reading anything by this author. Although part of a series, this book can definitely be read as a standalone.

FTC Disclosure:  I received an advance review copy from the publisher.  This has not affected the content of this review. 

About the Author

kvpromoshot-300x300Kathleen Valenti is the author of the Maggie O’Malley Mystery Series, which includes her Agatha- and Lefty-nominated debut novel, Protocol. When Kathleen isn’t writing page-turning mysteries that combine humor and suspense, she works as a nationally award-winning advertising copywriter. She lives in Oregon with her family where she pretends to enjoy running. Learn more at www.kathleenvalenti.com.

Author Links

Purchase Links:  Amazon Barnes & Noble  iTunes  Kobo

For additional stops on this tour, click here.

Review & Giveaway: DEATH BY COMMITTEE by Alexis Morgan

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Description

DeathbyCommitteeWhen Abby McCree suddenly inherits her favorite relative’s property in small town Snowberry Creek, Washington, she soon realizes that the ramshackle home comes with strings attached—one of which is tied to a dead body!

After a rough divorce, Abby McCree only wants to stitch up her life and move on. But other loose ends appear after her elderly Aunt Sybil passes away, leaving Abby to tend to a rundown estate, complete with a slobbery Mastiff of questionable pedigree and a sexy tenant who growls more than the dog. As Abby gets drawn into a tight-knit quilting guild, she makes a twisted discovery—Aunt Sybil’s only known rival is buried in her backyard!

Despite what local detectives say, Abby refuses to accept that her beloved aunt had anything to do with the murder. While navigating a busy social calendar and rediscovering the art of quilting, she launches an investigation of her own to clear Aunt Sybil’s name and catch the true culprit. The incriminating clues roll in, yet Abby can’t help but wonder—can she survive her new responsibilities in Snowberry Creek and still manage to patch together a killer’s deadly pattern without becoming the next victim?

Giveaway

Click here to enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win one of three copies of Death by Committee.

My Review

Recently divorced, Abby  is starting over in a new place. Before she has finished setting into the house she inherited from her aunt, a body is found on the property.   She has also inherited a large, loveable, and fiercely  protective dog – Zeke – and a fine looking tenant, Tripp.  So fine that the elderly ladies of the quilting guild practically drool when committee meetings are held at the house. But Abby’s not looking for romance – she’s busy serving on committees,  hunting down missing quilts, and attempting to find a murderer.  The plot itself was interesting, with a few twists along the way.  An enjoyable read with a well developed plot, this is a nice start to a cute new cozy series. I look forward to reading more about Abby and Tripp in the future.   Although the quilting guild plays a key role in the story, this non-quilter was glad to see that the author didn’t go into unnecessary detail about the craft itself – meaning this light cozy can be enjoyed by non-quilters and quilters alike.  

FTC Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book. This has not affected my review in any way.

About the Author

ALEXIS-MORGANUSA Today Best-selling author Alexis Morgan has always loved reading and now spends her days imagining worlds filled with strong alpha heroes and gutsy heroines. She is the author of over forty-five novels, novellas, and short stories that span a variety of genres: American West historicals (as Pat Pritchard); paranormal and fantasy romances; and contemporary romances. She is excited to say that next year will also see the release of her first cozy mystery series. Alexis has been nominated for several industry awards, including the RITA, the top award in the romance genre.

Author Links:

Purchase Links – AmazonB&N –  KoboGooglePlay  –  IndieBound 

Click here to view the full list of stops on this tour.

Guest Post & Giveaway: A MURDEROUS MARRIAGE and Royal Weddings by Alyssa Maxwell

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Today, as part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I am to host Alyssa Maxwell as she celebrates the recent release of  A Murderous Marriage (A Lady and Lady’s Maid Mystery).  In today’s post she talks about her love for royal weddings.


Royal Weddings by Alyssa Maxwell

Who doesn’t love a Royal Wedding? My guess is, if you’re reading this post, you have an affinity for all things British, and royal weddings are high on your list. I’ve been an avid royal watcher since Princess Diana hit the world stage nearly forty years ago. You see, she and I were married in the same year, in the same month, a mere ten days apart. Mine was first, but I’m pretty sure she didn’t tune in to watch my hubby and I say our I dos. But I most definitely watched hers.

I tuned in again a few years later for Andrew and Fergie’ wedding. And then Edward and Sophie’s, and so on and so on, right up to last year when I sat glued to the TV for Harry and Meghan’s fairytale nuptials at Windsor Castle, one of the most beautiful setting’s imaginable. If you’re like me, you wish you could have overheard whatever Meghan and her mother said to each other as the car turned up the main drive and the castle came into view. I imagine there were loud gasps of disbelief. Surely they both believed they were dreaming.

And shouldn’t a wedding be just like a dream? I think so, and while mine wasn’t royal, it certainly was dreamy, held at an elegant French restaurant in a mansion built by J.P. Morgan in the 1920s in South Salem, NY. The ceremony took place in a stone courtyard above a flower-strewn meadow with a pond, where deer often grazed. It was a beautiful afternoon framed by the misty blue foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Our day was as close to perfect as can be.

Actually, I’m not just a fan of the royals or royal weddings. I love weddings in general, especially the gowns, and can happily scroll through picture after picture of beautiful wedding gowns, both vintage and modern, on Pinterest. Or binge watch Say Yes to the Dress. Returning, for the moment, to the royal weddings, I’ll admit liked Sarah Ferguson’s dress better than Diana’s, which I thought was overdone and altogether too fussy. More like something a doll would wear. Sarah’s gown, on the other hand, spoke of the sophistication of an independent, modern woman. I found the dress worn by Sophie, w2 Countess of Wessex, a tad ordinary, but all in all appropriate for a “smaller” wedding, which it was in comparison to the former two. Kate’s gown is my favorite, being tasteful, flattering, perfectly suited to her figure and her public persona. Meghan’s, while lovely in its simplicity, could have been better tailored to show off her figure (I know I’m far from alone in that opinion). Princess Eugenie’s seemed a bit stiff to me, maybe a little too structured, but her decision to wear a plunging back that showed the surgery scar from her scoliosis was a brave choice. Do you have a favorite among the royal wedding dresses?

So, royal watcher and wedding fan that I am, is it any wonder that I’d get around to writing a wedding story? But here’s the thing: A MURDEROUS MARRIAGE is no fairytale—far from it. I chose a beautiful setting – West Cowes on the Isle of Wight, in full view of the Solent waterway. Unfortunately, it’s a blustery, drizzly, bleak April day, the sort of day when the sun doesn’t dare show its face. The bride, of course, is beautiful. Lady Julia is reputed to be the most beautiful of the Renshaw sisters, and she’s wearing her great grandmother’s veil, made of Honiton lace designed by William Dyce, who also designed the lace for Queen Victoria’s wedding gown. Julia’s dress, however, is completely modern, the height of fashion in 1920—a sleek garment of ivory satin with an overlay of beaded lace, a drop waist, and whisper-sheer sleeves. Julia’s sisters, Phoebe and Amelia, who will serve as her attendants, are dressed in matching silk organza frocks. The wedding feast has been catered on the mainland, at the Royal Yacht Squadron, and ferried out to the groom’s yacht waiting on the Solent. In the morning, the happy couple will set sail on their honeymoon. The weather aside, everything is perfect …

w3Actually, it isn’t—it really isn’t—as the title of the book implies. But then again, despite the pomp and ceremony, the horse-drawn carriages, the magnificent gowns, and the miles and miles of cheering spectators, Diana’s and Fergie’s weddings were no fairy stories either, were they? Who could have guessed how spectacularly both of those marriages would implode? And how can Julia, or any of her family, guess what the next hours will bring?

So, on that ominous note, you are cordially invited to join friends and family in celebrating the marriage of Lady Julia Renshaw to Gilbert Townsend, Viscount Annondale. Can we count on your being there?


About A Murderous Marriage

Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady’s maid, Eva Huntford, are preparing for a wedding, but it may not be the happy occasion everyone hopes for . . .
 
MurderousMrrgSince the Great War, some family fortunes have suffered, including those of the Renshaws. Despite being the granddaughter of an earl, Julia Renshaw is under pressure to marry for money—and has settled for Gilbert Townsend, a viscount and a wealthy industrialist. He is decades older than Julia, and it’s clear to her sister Phoebe—and to Eva, who has been like a surrogate mother to the girls—that this is not a love match. Nevertheless, the wedding takes place—and in a hurry.

At the reception aboard the groom’s yacht, there appears to be tension between Gil and several guests: his best man, a fellow veteran of the Boer War; his grouchy spinster sister; and his current heir, a nervous young cousin named Ernest. The bride is also less than pleased when she discovers that her honeymoon will be more crowded than expected—with Gil’s pretty secretary, among others, coming along.

That very night, Julia pounds on her sister’s door, brandishing a bandaged hand and reporting a hot-tempered outburst on her new husband’s part. Julia is feeling doubt and regret about her hasty decision, but returns to the boat. Then the next morning, before the yacht can depart the harbor, Gil’s body is found in the water below—and Phoebe and Eva must discover who pushed him over . . . before the Renshaws’ social standing is irreparably stained by Julia’s arrest for his murder . . .

Giveaway

Click here to enter a rafflecopter for a chance to win one of three print copies of A Murderous Marriage.

About the Author

Alyssa-outside-2Alyssa Maxwell knew from an early age that she wanted to be a novelist. Growing up in New England and traveling to Great Britain fueled a passion for history, while a love of puzzles of all kinds drew her to the mystery genre. She and her husband reside in Florida, where she loves to watch BBC productions, sip tea in the afternoons, and delve into the past. You can learn more about Alyssa and her books at www.alyssamaxwell.com.

Author Links

Twitter  Facebook – Webpage – GoodReads – Mailing List

Purchase Links – AmazonB&N  – KoboGooglePlay 

Spotlight & Giveaway: BROKEN HEART ATTACK by James J. Cudney

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As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I am pleased to shine the spotlight on a new Braxton Campus Mystery from James J. Cudney Broken Heart Attack.  Sounds like a good one. Check it out!

Description

HeartattackWhen an extra ticket becomes available to see the dress rehearsal of King Lear, Kellan tags along with Nana D and her buddies.

When one of them dies of an apparent heart attack in the middle of second act, Nana D raises her suspicions and asks Kellan to investigate the death. With family members suddenly in debt and a secret rendezvous between an unlikely pair, Kellan learns that the Paddingtons might not be as clean-cut as everyone thinks.

But can Kellan find the killer, or will he get caught up his own stage fright?

You can get the book on Amazon.

Giveaway

Click here to enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a print copy of Broken Heart Attack.

About the Author

Cudnety200x300James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College with a degree in English literature. I spent fifteen years building a technology career in the retail, sports, media, and entertainment industries. I enjoyed my job, but a passion for books and stories had been missing for far too long. I’m a voracious reader in my favorite genres (thriller, suspense, contemporary, mystery, and historical fiction), as books transport me to a different world where I can immerse myself in so many fantastic cultures and places. I’m an avid genealogist who hopes to visit all the German, Scottish, Irish, and British villages my ancestors emigrated from in the 18th and 19th centuries. I frequently blog and publish book reviews on everything I read at ThisIsMyTruthNow via WordPress.

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind, and my body. I decided to pursue my passion by dusting off the creativity inside my head and drafting outlines for several novels. I quickly realized I was back in my element growing happier and more excited with life each day. My goal in writing is to connect with readers who want to be part of great stories and who enjoy interacting with authors. To get a strong picture of who I am, check out my author website or my blog. It’s full of humor and eccentricity, sharing connections with everyone I follow—all in the hope of building a network of friends across the world.

When I completed the first book, Watching Glass Shatter, I knew I’d stumbled upon my passion again, suddenly dreaming up characters, plots, and settings all day long. I chose my second novel, Father Figure, through a poll on my blog where I let everyone vote for their favorite plot and character summaries. It is with my third book, Academic Curveball,, the first in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, where I immersed myself in a college campus full of so much activity, I could hardly stop thinking about new murder scenes or character relationships to finish writing the current story. Come join in the fun!

List of Books & Blog

Braxton Campus Mysteries

Follow James on:

Click here to view a full list of the stops on this tour.

Review & Giveaway: THE PLUNGE by Nancy G. West

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As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, today’s post introduces the new newest release from Nancy G. West  – The Plunge (An Addie Mundeen Lake Mystery).

Description

perf6.000x9.000.inddWhen Aggie Mundeen accompanies San Antonio Detective Sam Vanderhoven on a weekend getaway to Lake Placid, she thinks it’s going to be fun in the sun. What could be better than caretaking a friend’s cottage on the Guadalupe River in Central Texas? Never mind that Sam intends to discretely investigate the theft of that friend’s boat…

Unfortunately, the weather has plans of its own. Buckets of rain and gusting winds roil the lake, turning the peaceful Guadalupe into an angry, raging river. As darkness descends, lightning reveals two people arguing on a dock across the river. When lightning flashes again, they are gone. Did Aggie and Sam witness an accident? A drowning? A murder?

The Plunge sweeps readers along with the threat of looming disaster, helpless before an untamable force, where sleuthing takes a back seat to survival…

My Review

Torrential rains, flooding, and life or death situations are the central themes in this mystery, which offers a moving  tribute to the emergency personnel charged with assisting the public in time of natural disaster.  Aggie and Sam must focus on making it through the storm before they can attempt to figure out what happened that night, and who stole Sam’s friend’s boat. The last line of the description sums it up – sleuthing definitely took a back seat to survival in this book.  As a result, the mystery was not as well developed as in earlier Aggie Mundeen mysteries, and the resolution felt a bit rushed. Nonetheless, it was an interesting read, and I look forward to reading more about Aggie’s adventures.

FTC Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book. This has not affected my review in any way.

Giveaway

Click here to enter for a chance to win a digital copy of The Plunge.

PlungeNancy_2015About the Author

Nancy G. West is the author of award-winning suspense and the Aggie Mundeen Mystery Series. Each book in the series has either won or been nominated for an award. The Plunge, Lake Mystery #1, takes Aggie in a new direction.

Purchase LinkAmazon

Guest Post & Spotlight: TO FETCH A THIEF

TO-FETCH-A-THIEF-BANNER-184As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I am pleased to have as my guest today the authors in To Fetch a Thief – an anthology of light dog-themed cozy mysteries.  They’re a great bunch, and they are doing such a fine job of squishing together on my virtual sofa to share the spotlight.


Thoughts about Writing from the TO FETCH A THIEF Authors 

Teresa Inge, Header Weidner, Jayne Ormerod and Rosemary Shomaker

What is the one thing about the writing life that you didn’t know until you were published?

Jayne: How difficult the marketing phase of things would be. I guess I thought these books would just sell themselves!

Heather: I didn’t realize how much marketing went into the book business. It takes a great deal of time to promote your work. You need to balance the writing/editing time with your promotions.

Rosemary: Until I was published, I didn’t understand the role of an editor and that the role may be different from story to story or book to book. Some editors require you accept their suggestions and changes unless you have some compelling reason to not accept them. Luckily, my first editor was a mentor and taught me what was expected and how much to discuss or argue or disagree with an editor. Other editors were unclear on the editing process logistics—the how to indicate changes or indicate non-acceptance of editing. I’ve had some snafus where edits, both mine and the editor’s, were not properly reflected in a story, and that’s frustrating.

Teresa: That I have to market, promote, and sell my books. I’ve learned a lot about promotion and scheduling book signings.

How long did it take you to get your first work published (from creation to actual book)? What was your first published work?

Jayne: I wear the “100-rejection” badge of honor. It took me almost six years to get The Blond Leading the Blond published by Avalon Books. I finally got noticed because my first chapter was a finalist in a mystery writing contest in which the final judge was the publisher.

Heather: My first mystery to be published was a short story, “Washed up” in Virginia is for Mysteries, a Sisters in Crime anthology. It took about six months to write and polish. Then the book editing/proofreading/formatting process took probably another eight months or so. My first mystery novel, Secret Lives and Private Eyes took me about five years to write and rewrite and rewrite. When it was finally accepted for publication, it took another seven months to become a book.

Rosemary: The first item I had published for pay was a short story I’d written during a long weekend. Once I submitted the story, the gentle editing needed from my end took only an afternoon. “A Fish By Any Other Name” was included in A Shaker of Margaritas: Hot Flash Mommas, the first of the Shaker of Margaritas series, in 2010.

Teresa: I was part of a creative writing group at a community college and my first story was published in a book with that group. It was around six months after my story was accepted.

Plotter (one who plans or plots out every detail of her writing) or Pantser (one who writes by the seat of her pants)?

Jayne: Plotter. You should see my story board!

Heather: I’m a hybrid. I start out as a detailed plotter, and then I write. The story and the characters always go where they want to go.

Rosemary: I’m a pantser—autocorrect keeps changing this to “panther,” and that’s funny to me because if I were an animal, I most certainly would not be a panther. I’d be a duck or some other bird, I think. But I digress. So, I am a seat-of-the-pants writer with plotter tendencies. Being a pantser is much more fun, if you ask me. Early on I thought I was a plotter because I’m very analytical. I was highly organized for the first part of my life. When I became a parent, all that flew out the window. The first story I consciously totally plotted revealed I was a pantser. By the time I finished plotting that story to the nth degree, I was so sick of the story that I didn’t want to write it. The beauty of a pantser is the creative flow. The raw material for the story emerges organically—“pantsing”—and the rewrite and editing phases allow me to be as analytical as I want to be on a project. That’s a good mix for me.

Teresa: Both. I like to plot and be creative, so I can follow where the character takes me.

What advice would you have for a new writer?

Jayne: Don’t ever, ever give up. It’s a long, long road to publication, but it’s worth it!

Heather: Be persistent. If you want to be published, keep at it. Keep writing. Keep learning, and don’t give up.

Rosemary: My advice to a new writer is two-fold. First, pick a genre. Second, join a writing group dedicated to that genre. Many new writers I meet dabble in several genres, and this wastes a lot of time, in my opinion. Much learning about professional fiction writing is transferable among genres, but one must commit to only one in order to show his or her serious intent and gain the trust of that selected genre’s writing community. For me, meeting mystery writers and hearing their explanations of “this is how mystery writers do it” was the beginning of fruitful learning.

This advice has been rejected by a few new writers who don’t see why they have to limit themselves. I’m not talking about limits. I’m suggesting concentration. I advise new writers to immerse themselves in maybe one or two genres at a time, if they really won’t choose one only. I also suggest that they not share about their dual commitments in either writing community and just focus on whatever genre project or group they attend or work with, independent of the other group. In my mind, a new writer (with a day job) could immerse himself or herself in one genre and one genre community for two years and learn enough to know if it’s his or her writing “home” for the foreseeable future.

Teresa: Go to conferences and workshops. And write. These will help develop your craft.

To Fetch a Thief is the first in the Mutt Mysteries collection. Tell us about your real dogs and what they do while you write.

Jayne: We have two rescues, Tiller and Scout. They are still puppies. I can only write while they are napping. The little one likes to curl up next to me on the sofa and rest his head on my keyboard. That is a challenge! And a distraction! But giving me lots of fodder for future cozies featuring dogs! Already working on my second Mutt Mystery.

Heather: My two Jack Russell Terriers (Disney and Riley) have beds in my office on either side of my desk. Sometimes, they help me plot or listen as I talk through dialogue. Most of the time, they snooze.

Rosemary: My dog is my comfort animal. As I raised my children, our first family dog, Mabel, and our second family dog, Current, were the loving beings in my home with the least needs. And bless their hearts, after home, house, and family needs were met, these dogs were there to provide me with easy, nonjudgmental companionship. I am not a nurturer, so family nurturing took a lot out of me. When I was exhausted and crabby, my dogs nurtured me. Now my kids are grown and my current pooch, our second family dog, “Current,” has a new role. He tears me away from my obsessing about writing and other projects and reminds me to go outside for a walk or to work in the yard with him for company. He seems to know when I really need a break. He reminds me to give him food and water, and thusly to meet my human needs to eat and drink and to step away from too much concentration and relax. He’s usually in the dog bed in my son’s old room while I write in another room nearby. He’ll walk in and interrupt me when it’s time he and I do something else.

Teresa: My dogs are Luke and Lena, both shepherd mixed. They are named after my husband’s grandparents and love to sit by me when I write.


Fetch-cover-for-ebookAbout To Fetch a Thief

To Fetch a Thief, the first Mutt Mysteries collection, features four novellas that have gone to the dogs. In this howlingly good read, canine companions help their owners solve crimes and right wrongs. These sleuths may be furry and low to the ground, but their keen senses are on high alert when it comes to sniffing out clues and digging up the truth.

Make no bones about it, these pup heroes will steal your heart as they conquer ruff villains.

The Stories

“Hounding the Pavement” by Teresa Inge
Catt Ramsey has three things on her mind: grow her dog walking service in Virginia Beach, solve the theft of a client’s vintage necklace, and hire her sister Emma as a dog walker.  But when Catt finds her model client dead after walking her precious dogs Bella and Beau, she and her own dogs Cagney and Lacey are hot on the trail to clear her name after being accused of murder.

“Diggin’ up Dirt” by Heather Weidner
Amy Reynolds and her Jack Russell Terrier Darby find some strange things in her new house. Normally, she would have trashed the forgotten junk, but Amy’s imagination kicks into high gear when her nosy neighbors dish the dirt about the previous owners who disappeared, letting the house fall into foreclosure. Convinced that something nefarious happened, Amy and her canine sidekick uncover more abandoned clues in their search for the previous owners.

“Dog Gone it All”  by Jayne Ormerod
Meg Gordon and her tawny terrier Cannoli are hot on the trail of a thief, a heartless one who steals rocks commemorating neighborhood dogs who have crossed the Rainbow Bridge. But sniffing out clues leads them to something even more merciless…a dead body! There’s danger afoot as the two become entangled in the criminality infesting their small bayside community. And, dog gone it all, Meg is determined to get to the bottom of things.

“This is Not a Dog Park” by Rosemary Shomaker
“Coyotes and burglaries? That’s an odd pairing of troubles.” Such are Adam Moreland’s reactions to a subdivision’s meeting announcement. He has no idea. Trouble comes his way in spades, featuring a coyote . . . burglaries . . . and a dead body! A dog, death investigation, and new female acquaintance kick start Adam’s listless life frozen by a failed relationship, an unfulfilling job, and a judgmental mother. Events shift Adam’s perspective and push him to act.

Links to the Book:

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About the Authors

Teresa-and-dogs-croppedTeresa Inge grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries. Today, she doesn’t carry a rod like her idol, but she hotrods. She is president of Sister’s in Crime Mystery by the Sea Chapter and author of short mysteries in Virginia is for Mysteries and 50 Shades of Cabernet.

Heather Weidner, a member of SinC – Central Virginia and Guppies, is the author of the Heather-and-Disney-SizedDelanie Fitzgerald Mysteries, Secret Lives and Private Eyes and The Tulip Shirt Murders. Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series and 50 Shades of Cabernet. Heather lives in Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers, Disney and Riley. She’s been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. Some of her life experience comes from being a technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, IT manager, and cop’s kid. She blogs at Pens, Paws, and Claws.

S-Parrott-9Jayne Ormerod grew up in a small Ohio town then went on to a small-town Ohio college. Upon earning her degree in accountancy, she became a CIA (that’s not a sexy spy thing, but a Certified Internal Auditor.) She married a naval officer and off they sailed to see the world. After nineteen moves, they, along with their two rescue dogs Tiller and Scout, have settled into a cozy cottage by the sea. Jayne is the author of the Blonds at the Beach Mysteries, The Blond Leading the Blond, and Blond Luck. She has contributed seven short mysteries to various anthologies to include joining with the other To Fetch a Thief authors in Virginia is for Mysteries, Volumes I and II, and 50 Shades of Cabernet.

Rosemary Shomaker writes about the unexpected in everyday life. She’s the woman Rosie-and-Dogyou don’t notice in the grocery store or at church but whom you do notice at estate sales and wandering vacant lots. In all these places she’s collecting story ideas. Rosemary writes women’s fiction, paranormal, and mystery short stories, and she’s taking her first steps toward longer fiction, so stay tuned. She’s an urban planner by education, a government policy analyst by trade, and a fiction writer at heart. Rosemary credits Sisters in Crime with developing her craft and applauds the organization’s mission of promoting the ongoing advancement, recognition, and professional development of women crime writers.