Cozy Happenings — April 2018

This month’s “Cozy Happenings” post highlights some of the new releases, giveaways and bargains from my author friends. Hope it helps you find something great to read this month.

Recent and Upcoming Releases – Check’em Out!

First of all, I’d be remiss if I didn’t announce the upcoming release of Malicious Mischief, a new Hannah and Tamar YA cozy mystery by Christa Nardi and yours truly. Pre-order your copy today at a special introductory price.

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New-secretdiefor   new-homecoming
new-megamill.png   nEW_sIXTRICKs

Free or Discounted Books
Remember: Always check prices to make sure the offer is still valid.

Sale_spiesspells  Sale_CUpcakes_Casualties
Sale-MCCCapril  Free-Doves

BTW, I may add to this list over the course of the month as I hear of new sales (and others end), so feel free to stop by and take another look. 

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Spotlight & Excerpt: PRESTIGE, PRIVILEGE & MURDER by Christa Nardi

Have you heard the news? Christa Nardi has launched a new cozy mystery series.  The first book, Prestige, Privilege & Murder (A Stacie Maroni Mystery) is already out.  Definitely worth checking out.

Description

Prestige-Privilege-MurderMoney isn’t worth killing for, or is it?

When her estranged husband is murdered, Stacie Maroni Noth is quickly identified as the main suspect. With divorce papers not yet signed, she may get a substantial inheritance – a clear motive in the eyes of both Noth’s family and the police. His family and law firm strive to keep up the pretense that all is above reproach and idyllic. In her quest to prove her innocence, however, Stacie discovers she’s not the only one with a motive for murder. Could it be a colleague at the prestigious law firm where he worked? Or is it tied to the victim’s stance on domestic violence? Or maybe even his threats to reveal family secrets? Whatever the true motive may be, it soon becomes clear that Stacie might be the next victim.

Read an excerpt:

It had been a while since I’d gone to a bar by myself and I was nervous. It was a Friday night and the DJ joked about song titles and singles. Not too crowded, a few couples danced to the tune he played. Other couples and groups sat in booths or tables. The bar was long and I’d grabbed the last seat at the bar, a great vantage point for checking out the crowd.

Perched on a stool by the bar, I was on my second glass of wine when I spotted him. A dark-haired Adonis in snug jeans and a tapered polo shirt, he scanned the room. The wine did its job and I felt good. I caught his eye. My soon-to-be ex wasn’t the only one who could fool around. I winked and he smiled – his smile about knocked me over. My heart raced as he sauntered in my direction.

“Hi. Care to dance?” He extended his hand and I nodded. The DJ played a slow song and he was a strong lead. I couldn’t help but notice the woodsy scent of his aftershave as he held me in his arms and we danced. When the song was over, he walked me back to my spot at the bar.

“Can I buy you a drink?”

“Uh, sure. Viognier, please.”

I almost admitted that two was my limit but decided I could sip this one. Viognier isn’t the most popular of wines. That he didn’t question my choice surprised me. Ted certainly did. Often.

He signaled the bartender and ordered the wine along with a scotch and water for himself. “I’m Rick. Rick Murdock.”

I hesitated and answered with a smile, “You can call me Barbie.” If this was my once in my lifetime one-night-stand, I didn’t want to use my real name.

His eyes narrowed for a split-second before he nodded. The bartender delivered our drinks and distracted him from the name issue.

“Thanks!” I lifted my glass and he tapped it with his.

“Cheers! So, Barbie… what do you think of the music the DJ is serving us?”

I had to give him credit. It was better than the “Come here often?” I expected. Then again, Creekview Lounge catered to a different crowd than Rockies. We exchanged opinions on music and danced to a few more songs.

Along the way, I finished the third glass of wine, gained a better appreciation of the muscles in his shoulders and noticed his hazel eyes. As I tried not to stumble, he caught me.

“You all right?”

I licked my lip, flicked my hair over my shoulder, and tried for a flirty look. “I think some fresh air would help.”

His multi-watt smile came back at me and we walked outside. In the parking lot, we commented on how good the crisp cool air felt. He leaned toward me and I toward him. The wine had diminished my inhibitions and I responded when he kissed me. Then his hand was on my back and I burst into tears.

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I just… I can’t do this. I’m not as slimy as Ted. I’m so sorry.”

He dropped his hands and put them up in front of his body as he stepped back. The smile was long gone. “No problem. No problem.”

I turned and ran to my car, still crying. After a few minutes and a little calmer, I drove to my empty townhouse. Thankfully, I didn’t get stopped by a police car or have an accident. It wasn’t that late – a little after midnight. That’s what I told myself as I called my best friend Jillian. I didn’t get any farther than “I hope it’s not too late” and I burst into tears.

“Stacie, what’s wrong?”

I was crying too hard to talk. I squeaked out, “I went to the Creekview Lounge. I thought I could be like Ted. That’s not me. I tried and I can’t do this this dating thing again.”

“Stacie, you are only 34 years old. You have a great job at Foster’s Insurance Group. You’re educated and smart. Maybe you could go back to school and get that graduate degree in counseling you wanted before Ted.”

“I don’t know about graduate school. What about all the weight I’ve gained? I’m not a size 6 anymore. Each day I find another gray hair. The thoughts of going out and trying to meet somebody is scary and tonight proved it.”

“You have beautiful dark brown hair and blue eyes, and so what if you’re a size 10 now. There’s a man out there – a better man than Ted. Did you see any prospects at Creekview?”

“Yeah, there was one guy. His name was Rick. He was a great dancer and when he smiled – wow!”

“So what happened?”

“Well, I said I needed a breath of air and then he kissed me. I just lost it. I mean I’m not even divorced yet. I burst into tears and sat in my car until I could drive. Then I came home and called you because you’re my friend.” I burst into tears again.

“Stacie, you know if this guy was even halfway good-looking and interested, there’s hope. Was he attractive?”

“Oh, he was easy on the eyes for sure. Tall, dark, and handsome. Muscular. And that’s not the alcohol talking. I only had a couple glasses of wine.”

“Was he drunk?”

“No, he didn’t seem drunk at all. He seemed like a nice guy and a good dancer. He wasn’t pushy at all and didn’t get mad when I freaked. Maybe because I met Ted there … that was 12 years ago. We were supposed to have a happily ever after.”

“Listen, Ted’s scum. You have a lot of years left for happiness. Look at me. I didn’t meet Wade until I was 30. My thirtieth birthday bash with you and Trina. Remember what fun we had that night?”

We talked more about the fun times. Jillian and I shared some laughs and by the time I hung up I felt much better. I surveyed my townhouse. It had been six months since I bought it and moved in, but it didn’t quite feel like home. The only pictures were of my parents and brother, and then a couple of friends. Ted insisted on keeping our dog, Jasper, and I missed him. Maybe I’d get a dog or a cat to keep me company.

The next week, my breakfast on the table, the doorbell rang. When I opened the door, the sight confused me.

“Ma’am. Mrs. Noth?”

“How did you find me?” I asked Rick Murdock as he stood on my front step. Even two weeks later, I hadn’t forgotten how good he looked or how humiliated I felt about that night.

“Ma’am. Your address was on the divorce papers. Can we come in please?”

My brain kicked in and I realized Rick wasn’t talking – it was the other man on the step. The balding stocky one in uniform with a scowl on his face, a smoker from the odor wafting off of him. And then I realized Rick was in uniform, too. He still looked good and gave off the woodsy scent.

“What’s going on?” My gaze went from one man to the other.

“Mrs. Noth, if you don’t want us to come in, we can go down to the station. We have some questions we need to ask you.”

I stepped aside so they could come inside. “I don’t understand. What kind of questions?”

My thoughts were running in circles. Could I have broken a law at the Creekview Lounge that night and not have remembered? Did Rick think I was soliciting? Did they catch me on camera drinking and driving?

“May we sit down? I’m Officer Flatt and this is Officer Murdock.”

“Sure… What’s going on?”

“Mrs. Noth when was the last time you talked to or saw your husband?”

“As I’m sure he told you, it was yesterday at a meeting with our lawyers. Is he still complaining I refused the ‘irreconcilable differences’ lies?” My anger at Ted surfaced once again.

“What time was that ma’am?”

“The meeting was at 3:30. I had to leave work early to make it there on time. He finally grabbed the papers and left, must have been after 4. I was home before the 5 o’clock news. I don’t understand. Is he accusing me of something? Are you here to serve me a gag order?” I huffed, my anger rising.

I glanced from one officer to the other. Rick avoided my gaze and shuffled his feet.

“No ma’am. Mr. Noth isn’t accusing you of anything. He’s dead and…”

I didn’t hear the rest of his sentence. “What? No!”
And then I passed out. I groaned and opened my eyes. Rick stood there with a glass of water. “Here, drink this.”

I sat up and looked to Officer Flatt. “I’m sorry. I don’t usually faint. Did you say Ted was dead? That can’t be. I just talked to him yesterday.”

“That is what I said. He was murdered sometime last night.”

“Murdered?”

“Ma’am. After you left your husband yesterday, what did you do?”

“I came home.”

“Can anyone vouch for that? Anyone here with you?”

“Huh? What? No one was here with me. It was just me and a half gallon of Rocky Road ice cream.” Then it dawned on me. This man suspected I’d killed Ted!
“Oh, my gosh. You think I killed him? I can’t even kill spiders.”

Officer Flatt shook his head a bit before he answered. “Calm down. We have to ask these questions.”

“I’ll get you more water.” Rick picked up my glass and disappeared into my kitchen. He came back with the water and nodded to Officer Flatt. “One empty Rocky Road carton in the trash.”

I glared at him. How dare he check my trash? “Just so you know, I didn’t eat it all at once.”

His mouth twitched, but he didn’t say a word.

“Just a few more questions. About your divorce…”

“Excuse me, but do I need to call my lawyer? I don’t think I should talk to you until I call my lawyer. Of course, he’s a divorce attorney, but he must know something about other kinds of law, right?”

Rick was back to staring at the ceiling and Officer Flatt studied the floor. Standing up, Officer Flatt put his little book and pen in his pocket. “We’ll be in touch or Detective O’Hare will be if there are any other questions. Here’s my card.”
He started to leave, Rick following his lead.

“Wait. Has anyone else been notified? Do I need to call his family? What should I tell them? Where is he? Who will take care of the funeral?”

Officer Flatt blinked before he answered. “You’ll have to talk with Detective O’Hare at the Beckman Springs Police Department.” He shook his head as he turned and left. Rick hesitated and then was gone.

My eggs were cold, but it didn’t matter. I’d lost my appetite.

I sat on the sofa, my head in my hands for I don’t know how long. I still held the business card and reached for the phone. Time to call this Detective O’Hare and then Jillian. A whole list of people to call came to mind.

“Beckman Springs Police Department, is this an emergency?”

“No, ma’am. Can I speak with Detective O’Hare, please? Officer Flatt told me to call him.”

“May I ask who’s calling?”

“Stacie Noth.”

“Hold on while I transfer your call.”

There was silence as I waited. No elevator or perky music when you’re on hold for the police department.

“Hello, Mrs. Noth? This is Detective O’Hare.”

“Hello. My husband… two officers came by. They said he was dead. Murdered. They said … No, Officer Flatt told me to call you. I’ve been sitting here trying to understand. Are you sure it’s Ted? There must be some mistake.”

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Noth. There’s no mistake.”

I gasped and choked back a sob. “What do I do next? About notifying his parents and family? The funeral?”

“Mrs. Noth, I don’t have answers to those questions. As next of kin, you’re the only one we’ve notified officially. I do need to meet with you and get some additional information. Can you come into the station today, say around 11 o’clock?”

“I… I guess. I don’t understand what happened, Detective. The officers – they didn’t tell me very much.”

“We can discuss that when you come in, Mrs. Noth. I’ll have more information by then. Shall I send Officer Flatt back to get you or can you get here on your own?”

“Yes, I can do that.”

The call disconnected. That’s about how I felt. Disconnected. I called Jillian, but the call went straight to voicemail. I left a message that I needed to talk to her immediately and asked her to call no matter what time.
Then I called Nathaniel Heinemann, my divorce attorney. Again, straight to voice mail. This time I left a more pointed message. “Ted’s dead. Do you know any criminal lawyers? Call me.”

What I really wanted to do was climb back into bed and hide under the covers. My stomach growled and my head hurt. Rocky Road is not the best choice for dinner. I tossed the eggs and ate some cereal but didn’t taste a thing. Who identified Ted’s body? Who killed him? Why? Other than me, who had a motive?

I was dressed for work, but no longer planned on going there. I called and told Rosie, the receptionist, that I had a family emergency and wouldn’t be in. With another two hours before I’d need to leave for the police station, I started to make lists. Sooner or later someone – probably me – was going to have to call Ted’s family. Hopefully, they would take charge of the funeral and burial. Maybe they had a plot for him at the family gravesite. In ten years of marriage, somehow those topics had never come up.

 

Excerpt from Prestige, Privilege and Murder (A Stacie Maroni Mystery). Copyright © 2018 Christa Nardi. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Christa Nardi is an accomplished author of cozy mysteries.

Christa’s background is in higher education and psychology, much as her protagonist, Sheridan Hendley in the Cold Creek mystery series. Murder at Cold Creek College is the first in this series set in a small, fictitious town in Virginia and Sheridan is an accidental sleuth called on to assist the detective in charge of a colleague’s murder. The fifth and last in the series, Murder and a Wedding, was released on August 10, 2017. Sheridan may be moving, but she still gets involved in mysteries. Look for the first in the Sheridan Hendley series in 2018.

Connect with Christa:

Purchase Link: Amazon

Review: KILLER TIED by Lesley A. Diehl

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As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours,  I recently had the pleasure of reading Killer Tied by Lesley A. Diehl.

Description

Eve Appel Egret is adjusting to married life with Sammy and their three adopted sons in Sabal Bay, Florida. While still running her consignment stores, she is going pro with her sleuthing by becoming an apprentice to a private detective.

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Until her marriage, Eve’s only “family” was her grandmother Grandy, who raised her after her parents died in a boating accident. Now, in addition to her husband and sons, she has a father-in-law who clearly dislikes her. Sammy’s father, a full-blooded Miccosukee Indian long presumed dead, has emerged from the swamps where he’s been living like a hermit, and he isn’t happy about Eve’s marriage to his half-Miccosukee, half-white son.

As for Eve’s family, are her parents really dead? A woman named Eleanor claims to be Eve’s half-sister, born after her mother faked a boating accident to escape her abusive husband, Eve’s father. Then Eleanor’s father turns up dead in the swamps, stabbed by a Bowie knife belonging to Sammy’s father, Lionel. Strange as Lionel Egret is, Eve knows he had no motive to kill this stranger. In order to clear him, Eve must investigate Eleanor’s claims, and she might not like what digging around in her family’s past uncovers.

My Review

I really liked this book. Eve was true to form likable, spunky and determined. Even more so when her PI apprenticeship forces her to root out the secrets of her own family’s past. Could she be related to a murderer?  In her pursuit of the truth she is helped by a familiar cast of family and friends, including a loving grandmother and an amazingly likeable Mafia mob boss.  Family was very much at the center of this book – from the murder investigation, with suspects on both Sammy and Eve’s family trees, through to loving glimpses into the newlyweds’ experiences in juggling the parenting of three young boys.  Diverse characters and interesting twists made this a very enjoyable read.

Note: Although this book is part of a series, it can definitely be enjoyed as a standalone.

FTC Disclosure:   I received a complimentary copy of this book as part of this blog tour.  This has not affected the content of my review in any way. 

About the Author

LES-DIEHLLesley is a country gal through and through, from her childhood on a dairy farm in Illinois to college in a cornfield in Iowa, Lesley creates sassy, snoopy protagonists who embrace chasing killers in country settings. Lesley writes several series: the Big Lake Murder mysteries and the Eve Appel mysteries both set in rural Florida; the Laura Murphy mysteries located on a lake in upstate New York; and short stories, some featuring a few of Lesley’s unique relatives from back on the farm (Aunt Nozzie and the Grandmothers). She is inspired by an odd set of literary muses: a ghost named Fred and a coyote as yet unnamed. Killer Tied is the sixth mystery in the Eve Appel Mysteries. To read more about Lesley’s unusual and humorous cozy mysteries, go to www.lesleyadiehl.com.

Author Links

Purchase Link: Amazon

Spotlight & Giveaway: PLUM TEA CRAZY by Laura Childs

PLUM-TEA-CRAZY-BANNER-640As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours,  today’s post introduces  Plum Tea Crazy, A Tea Shop Mystery by Laura Childs.

Description

plum-tea-crazyTheodosia Browning investigates a Charleston steeped in tradition and treachery in the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.

While viewing the harbor’s Gaslights and Galleons Parade from the widow’s walk of Timothy Neville’s Charleston mansion, local banker Carson Lanier seemingly tumbles over a narrow railing, then plunges three stories to his death. But a tragic accident becomes something much more sinister when it’s discovered that the victim was first shot with a bolt from a crossbow.

At the request of the mansion owner, Theodosia investigates the tragedy and is soon neck deep in suspects. An almost ex-wife, a coworker, a real estate partner–all had motives for killing the luckless banker, but one resorted to murder to settle accounts.

INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS

Giveaway

Click here to enter a Rafflecopter for a chance to win a print copy of Plum Tea Crazy.

About the Author

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and The Cackkleberry Club Mysteries. . In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fundraising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

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Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:

The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

Laura’s links:

Guest Post, Spotlight & Giveaway: THE CLOCK FLOWER by Barbara Casey

iRead Website new logoToday, as part of a tour organized by iRead Book Tours, I am happy have Barbara Casely as my guest as she celebrates the release of  The Clock Flower, the third book in the FIG Mystery Series.  I haven’t read The Clock Flower yet, but I definitely enjoyed the first book in the FIG series – The Cadence of Gypsies.  (You can find my review here.)


It’s a “Just Because”  Guest Post by Barbara Casey

All of my life I have been fascinated by those things for which there is no explanation. As a young child, I was full of questions which my grandmother was more than willing to at least try to answer. Failing that, it was just one of those “just because.” As a writer, that same fascination continues, and I often include things that have no reasonable explanation into my stories. The FIG Mystery Series is a good example.

barbara-casey_1In Book 1, The Cadence of Gypsies, I introduce the Voynich Manuscript, considered to be the most mysterious document in the world. Along with that, I add the mysterious gypsy culture that includes potions and spells that I have researched.

In The Wish Rider, Book 2 in the FIG Mystery Series, I explore the little-known area deep underground of Grand Central Terminal in New York City, a secret society that actually exists there, and the obscure language of hoboglyphs.

My latest book in this series, The Clock Flower, takes my readers to a small province in China where the research into mortality involves the simple dandelion flower, and an ancient archeological dig site reveals some of the same hoboglyph markings that were found in Grand Central Terminal’s secret underground.

Of course, my main characters—Dara, Mackenzie, and Jennifer—defy explanation given the fact that each FIG has an IQ in the genius range, and all three have developed a unique skill that enhances their coping abilities in a world where they are so different.

I truly love the FIGs and their devoted mentor, Carolina. In each book I have tried to tell their unique story and give an explanation of something that really can’t be explained. I will write one more book about them. It will be the most dramatic story of them all, and it will complete the series—just because.


About The Clock Flower

the-clock-flower-front-cover_origDara Roux, abandoned when she was seven years old by her mother. Exceptionally gifted in foreign languages. Orphan. Accepted to Yale University.

Mackenzie Yarborough, no record of her parents or where she was born. Exceptionally gifted in math and problem-solving. Orphan. Accepted to MIT.

Jennifer Torres, both parents killed in an automobile accident when she was sixteen. Exceptionally gifted in music and art. Orphan. Accepted to Juilliard.

The three FIGs—Females of Intellectual Genius—as they are called, have graduated from Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women after returning from New York City where Dara learned why her mother abandoned her all those years ago, and they are now attending universities where they can further their special talents. This means they will be separated from each other and from Carolina, their much-loved mentor and teacher who is “one of them,” for the first time in their young lives. They vow to try living apart for one semester, in the so-called real world that doesn’t include the orphanage; but if things don’t work out, they will come up with another plan—a plan where they can be together once again.

​Dara is invited through Yale University to take part in an exciting archeological project in China. Jennifer, once again visualizing black and white images and the unusual sounds of another cadence that seem to be connected to Mackenzie, is engrossed in creating her next symphony at Juilliard. Mackenzie, because of her genius at problem-solving, is personally chosen by a US Senator to get involved in a mysterious, secret research project involving immortality that is being conducted in a small village in China—not too far from where Dara is involved with the archeological site. Once there, however, she finds herself facing a terrifying death from the blood-dripping teeth of an ancient evil dragon. Her best friends, the FIGs and Carolina, rely on their own unique genius and special talents to save her as she discovers the truth of her birth parents.

You can buy The Clock Flower at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Add to Goodreads

Giveaway

Click here to enter a rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a copy of The Clock Flower and a $10 Amazon giftcard from the publisher.

About the Author

Barbara Casey is the author of several award-winning novels for both adults and young adults, as well as book-length works of nonfiction true crime and numerous articles, poems, and short stories. Her nonfiction true crime book, Kathryn Kelly: The Moll Behind Machine Gun Kelly, has been optioned for a major film and television series. In addition to her own writing, she is an editorial consultant and president of the Barbara Casey Agency. Established in 1995, she represents authors throughout the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. Barbara is also a partner in Strategic Media Books Publishing, an independent publishing house that specializes in cutting-edge adult nonfiction. Barbara lives on a mountain in Georgia with her husband, and three dogs who adopted her: Benton, a hound-mix; Fitz, a miniature dachshund; and Gert, a Jack Russel terrier of sorts.

Connect with the author: Website

Spotlight,Guest Post & Giveaway: WALK WITH ME by Debra Schoenberger

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As part of a blog  tour organized by iRead Book Tours, it’s my pleasure to tell you about  Walk with Me by Debra Schoenberger.  It looks like a really cool collection of street photography. Check it out. But first Debra is here to tell us about her trip to Iceland.


ICELAND ​ by Debra Schoenberger​
DebSchoOne of the destinations on my bucket list was to travel to and document Iceland.  After a fair amount of research and saving I decided to go in September 2017.  I decided to go with National Geographic Journeys and tour the southern part of the island.  If you haven’t travelled with them before, I highly recommend their tours.  Other tour companies such as Intrepid Travel are also excellent but a lot less expensive.
Iceland is very unique in that instead of walking on soft ground, the island is made up of black, rough volcanic rock.  Instead of grass, the volcanic rock is covered with lichen and moss of varying shades of green.
Iceland doesn’t have a large population, around 330,000, so you can enjoy wide open spaces and sweeping views of the glaciers and ocean.  We travelled extensively around the southern coastline and I was mesmerized by the sharp, cliff-like islands jutting up out of the ocean.
Iceland doesn’t have a lot of really interesting places to visit compared to other countries.  The few really beautiful waterfalls were packed with tourists.  I don’t think the department of tourism could foresee the high volume of tourists that would visit the country and I found this to be a bit of a put-off while I was there.  Photographing some of its beautiful places was a challenge and downright impossible in some areas.  I would definitely return but maybe in a couple of years when tourism has slowed down a bit.  If you have time and money, a longer visit be better to capture the the unique beauty of Iceland.
Photography in Iceland proved to be a bit of a challenge.  Although we were fortunate to have quite a few warm, sunny days – my images were turning out very dark.  I did some research and noticed that photographers were experiencing the same issue.  Iceland’s latitude was such that the sunlight is very weak and I had to slightly adjust my exposure while I was there to compensate for this.
It is also a very expensive country to visit.  A bowl of soup cost $28.00, a hamburger $35.00 and a nice meal (not the most expensive) was about $70.00 (which included a glass of wine).  Don’t expect to receive a bill at the end of the meal though.  Restaurants work on the honour system, so when you are ready to go, just go up to the cash and tell them what you had to eat and drink.

Overall, would I recommend travelling to Iceland?  Definitely.  Maybe wait a bit until the mad tourist rush slows down a bit.  The country’s unique beauty and relaxing spas will definitely be the highlight of your trip.


About Walk with Me

Whenever I’m asked “which is the best camera?” I pretty much respond: “the one you have on you.” In fact, most of the images in this book were taken with my cell phone simply because I always have it with me.

walkwithmeThis is not only a book about street photography but a visual diary, or collection of quirky, unusual and sometimes just plain weird photos I’ve taken over the course of the last decade. ​

As a street photographer, I need to be an assiduous walker. My sneakers often take me to little known, hidden corners, seaweed strewn (and sometimes stinky) beaches and really cool back alleys of my rather small island city of Victoria, BC.​
I’ve also included images of curiosities I’ve seen throughout my travels.
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Everyone sees the world differently and this is my collection of the quirkyness that I call life.

Buy the book:  AmazoniTunes  /  Blurb
Add to Goodreads

Giveaway

Click here to enter a Rafflecopter for a chance to win one a $15 Amazon giftcard or one of five e-copies of Walk with Me. 

Meet the Author/Photographer

​Debra Schoenberger aka #girlwithcamera

“My dad always carried a camera under the seat of his car and was constantly taking pictures. I think that his example, together with pouring over National Geographic magazines as a child fuelled my curiosity for the world around me.

I am a documentary photographer and street photography is my passion. Some of my images have been chosen by National Geographic as editor’s favourites and are on display in the National Geographic museum in Washington, DC.  I also have an off-kilter sense of humour so I’m always looking for the unusual.

Connect with the author:    Website ~  Facebook ​~ Instagram ~  Pinterest

 

Spotlight & Giveaway: COOKIE DOUGH, SNOW & WANDS AGLOW by Erin Johnson

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As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours,  today’s spotlight shines on Cookie Dough, Snow & Wands Aglow: A Cozy Witch Mystery (Spells & Caramels) by Erin Johnson.  Sounds like a good choice for readers who like a bit of magic with their mystery.

Description

CookieDoughMurder in a magical, merry town just brimming with secrets.

On the snowy road to the Earth Kingdom for the holidays, Imogen and the bakers are ambushed by Horace, villainous leader of the Badlands Army. They’re forced to detour to an idyllic, rural village, bedecked in lights, garlands and winter cheer…all a little too perfect to believe. At least that’s so for Imogen, who’s seeing burned out buildings and mysterious memorials that no one else seems to notice.

Hank’s royal presence gets them invited to the big bash at the governor’s mansion. The night is filled with dancing, stolen kisses under the mistletoe and fun, until a guest is found dead in the cauldron of punch.

As bodies and mysteries pile up, all the evidence points to the vampire Francis as the culprit. The gang must come together to clear their friend’s name and save themselves from the angry villagers. Even worse, Imogen struggles with having to keep her relationship with Hank hidden, while working with him to find the real killer.

As Imogen unearths more than a few town secrets, she finally solves the riddles of her past and discovers the truth of Horace’s pursuit of her. But will all the secrets be unraveled in time to stop the killer, or will Imogen and her friends suffer a monstrous fate?

Giveaway

Click here to enter a Rafflecopter for a chance to win one a print set of all 4 Books in the Cozy Witch Mystery Series!

ErinJohnsonAbout the Author

Erin Johnson is a native of Tempe, Arizona, Erin spends her time crafting mysterious, magical, romance-filled stories that’ll hopefully make you laugh. In between, she’s traveling, napping with her dogs, eating with her friends and family, and teaching Pilates (to allow her to eat more).

Purchase Link – Amazon Kindle  Amazon Paperback

Guest Post, Spotlight & Giveaway: DEATH BY A WHISKER by T.C. LoTempio

Whisker

As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours to celebrate the release of Death by a Whisker: A Cat Rescue Mystery,  T. C. LoTempio  stopped by to share her thoughts on writing murder mysteries.  Enjoy. 


Channeling Your Inner Jess Fletcher  by  T. C. Lotempio

If you’re a fan of mystery series, and MURDER SHE WROTE in particular, you might have heard of something called “Cabot Cove Syndrome”.  Which is a term for a locale or a person whom death and mystery seems to stalk – ad nauseum!

Toni-LoTempio-Credit-to-Clifton-Animal-ShelterNot a funny thing when you’re a writer of said mysteries! Plotting a mystery, particularly a murder mystery,  is hard enough work!  How many bodies can one stumble on before you get a “body magnet” label attached to you, as Nora Charles in my Nick and Nora series has!  (although sometimes it’s hard to tell whether she or her cat, Nick, is the body magnet). Syd McCall in my Cat Rescue series is also well on her way to getting the same distinction!

Becoming a BM could be construed as a problem when writing a cozy series.  How does one avoid boring the reader?  Well, one way is to alternate the murder weapon – this time, a gun; next time, a knife, the time after that, poison—and so on. Alternate the mode of discovery as well.  And even though the Nick and Nora series always starts out with a murder in its prolog, sometimes it’s good to wait a bit to have a murder occur in the body of the story until readers become invested in your characters!  If they build up a rapport with your sleuth, they might be a tad more forgiving as to why so many folks come up dead in his/her balliwick!

Expand your character’s horizons, if at all possible.  If you can send your sleuth on a trip to stumble across dead bodies, all the better!  To quote Wikipedia:

From a statistical perspective, coincidences are inevitable and often less remarkable than they may appear intuitively

In short, where murders occur – and why – are just one of those things you can’t explain, one of life’s little mysteries.  Which is my response when cynical readers remark on Nora’s penchant for coming across a dead body – or two, or three.

Sit back and enjoy the ride, and if you have to, channel your inner Jessica.  You might end up solving the crime right along with our sleuth.


About Death by a Whisker

DEATH-BY-A-WHISKERGetting used to life back home in Deer Park, North Carolina, Sydney McCall and her right-hand tabby, Toby, are helping her sister Kat run the local animal shelter. Syd and Kat are all excited about the prospect of the shelter’s newest fundraiser: shopping channel queen Ulla Townsend. Shelter admin Maggie Shayne vehemently refuses to have anything to do with the woman, but the fundraiser ensues as planned. That is, until Ulla turns up dead in the middle of the event.

The cause of death is determined to be an allergic reaction, but Syd and Toby are sniffing out something fishy. When Syd met Ulla, it was clear she was distasteful and rude. And right before the event, Syd spotted some behind-the-scenes drama between Ulla and her manager. As they begin to investigate, they realize there is no shortage of suspects, and Maggie is at the top of the list.

Now Syd and Toby must claw their way to the truth before everything goes paws up at their animal shelter in Death by a Whisker by national bestselling author T. C. LoTempio.

Giveaway

Click here to enter a Rafflecopter for a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

About the Author

While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic.  She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – the first volume, MEOW IF ITS MURDER, debuted Dec. 2, 2014. Followed by #2, CLAWS FOR ALARM.   #3, CRIME AND CATNIP, was released in December. She, Rocco and Maxx make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at www.tclotempio.net and www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com.

Where to find them:

Purchase Links:  Amazon    B&N    Google Play

Spotlight: DIAMOND GIRL by Julie Mulhern

Have you heard the news? A new addition to Julie Mulhern’s successful Country Club Murder series is already available for pre-order.  A short read, Diamond Girl will be released on Feb. 13th.

DiamondGirl cover frontDescription

From USA Today bestselling author, Julie Mulhern, comes a short worthy of the Country Club Murders name.

For Aggie DeLucci, former assistant private investigator and current housekeeper extraordinaire, 1975 is turning out to be a banner year. There’s a new man her life, Mac. He makes her laugh, takes her dancing, and makes a helluva salami sandwich.

When Mac is accused of theft, it’s up to Aggie to clear his name. She’ll have to polish her slightly tarnished investigative kills and tame her fears (and her hair) to catch the real thief.

If this is your first trip to 70s Kansas City, the entire series awaits you. Get ready to dive into THE DEEP END!

You can order your copy from Amazon.

About the Author

Julie Mulhern is the USA Today bestselling author of The Country Club Murders. She is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean–and she’s got an active imagination. Truth is–she’s an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions.

Sign up for Julie’s newsletter at juliemulhernauthor.com.

About the Country Club Murders:

This humorous cozy mystery series includes these books:

Review & Giveaway: TWOFER MURDER by Lauren Carr

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As part of a Blog Tour organized by iRead Book Tours, today’s post features the latest release by  Lauren Carr – Twofer Murder.

Description

twofer-murder_3Twofer murder? What’s a twofer murder?

Twofer Murder is a treat for fans of best-selling author Lauren Carr’s fast-paced mysteries! Lauren’s latest novel contains the main characters from her three successful series: Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose mysteries. The guys go away for a fishing weekend only to get caught up in the murder of a journalist investigating fraud at a timber company. Meanwhile, the ladies are spending the weekend in the presidential suite at a posh resort where Jessica Faraday is to accept a lifetime achievement award for her late grandmother at a murder mystery writers conference. But before they have time to get their facials, they get wrapped up in their own real mystery when an up and coming author ends up dead! 

Watch the trailer:
Buy the Book:  Amazon,  Add to Goodreads

My Review

As its title implies, Twofer Murder is a double-feature – two distinct mysteries within the same novel.  Both have complex and interesting plots with plenty of twists and turns.  I loved the scenes with the animals, especially Gnarly, and his antics on the guys’ fishing trip.  Lots of good two-legged characters, too.  Perhaps a few too many for readers (like me) who have not read all of her previous series. I also think it would have been less confusing if the two stories had been told in separate books.  Although I expected to be more drawn to the ladies’ mystery,  I found the guys’ mystery more realistic and engaging. Overall, an enjoyable read for cozy mystery lovers and fans of Lauren Carr.

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

About the Author

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Instagram

Giveaway

Enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card (open internationally where Amazon.com delivers gift cards) (ends Jan 27).