Book Recommendation: A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate

I picked up A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate at the library–on a whim, which is how I pick out a lot of my library books. And I wasn’t disappointed. Susanna Calkins’ debut mystery had me guessing right up to the big reveal at the end. I had picked practically every character in the book as a suspect before the end, and I was still surprised to learn who the killer was. This is a book I highly recommend for anyone who loves a good mystery, Restoration England, and above-stairs/below-stairs intrigue.

A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate is the story of Lucy Campion, a chambermaid in the London home of Magistrate Hargrave. The tale is set in the seventeenth century and the amount of research that went into the book is astounding. The author’s vast knowledge of this time period  (she has a doctorate in British history) is obvious and imbues the text with a richness that would be hard to fake.

Lucy’s life is nothing but an endless cycle of drudgery until a series of murders catches the attention of London and another servant in the Hargrave household becomes a victim. Lucy takes it upon herself to find out all she can about the victim (whom Lucy thought she knew very well…but she may not have known the victim as well as she thought) and before long she finds herself in some shady places where no self-respecting young girl would have ventured alone in the seventeenth century. As she gets closer and closer to learning the truth about the murder, Lucy becomes embroiled in a life-threatening confrontation and has to fight harder than she ever dreamed if she wants to emerge from the ordeal alive.

There’s a little bit of romance in the book, too–just enough to give it that extra spark.

Did I mention that all this takes place against the backdrop of the deadly London Plague? The plague killed 90,000 Londoners before its ravages came to an end. Add to that the horrors of the Great Fire of London, and you’ve got yourself a pretty fantastic story.

Until next week,

Amy

 

Author Spotlight: Iris Chacon

Good Tuesday morning! Today on Reade and Write I welcome Iris Chacon, another member of Mystery Authors International. You may remember recently I featured another MAI author, Nicole Fitton (you can read that post here). Iris is here to talk about her book Duby’s Doctor.

Take it away, Iris!

When he can steal time away from his undercover assignment (as an arms dealer’s bodyguard), Agent Yves Dubreau jogs with all the other muscular Coconut Grove athletes. He enjoys the morning tai chi group in Peacock Park, and he quietly remains on the fringes of the Grove’s art scene — until he blows his cover and gets himself murdered. When resuscitated, he is a scarred, nameless giant with no memories, no language, and only his drawings with which to communicate. Of course, he still has the same deadly enemies he had in his former life; he just doesn’t know it. Neither does naive, lady surgeon, Dr. Mitchell Oberon. Soon, Duby’s unscrupulous supervisor forces the unsuspecting Mitchell to shelter this recovering “John Doe” in her home and begin teaching him how to live again. Both Duby and Dr. Oberon will learn a lot about living— they just may not be living long. A murderous arms dealer will soon be stalking them.

Tell us about the inspiration for the book.

Duby’s story was inspired by the landscapes, art culture, elaborate mansions, and live-aboard sailboats of Coconut Grove. For years I passed through the magical Grove community on my way to work in the high-rise offices of Miami. The unique aura and ambiance of the Grove always launched my imagination into a happy stratosphere of quirky characters and exotic locations. Sometimes the girls in my carpool would simply stop in the Grove and watch the panoply of beautiful people (mostly male) passing by. Thus, a secret agent, who lived on a boat and worked undercover in an arms dealer’s mansion, was born. And if he lived in Coconut Grove, he had to be an artsy type, so Agent Yves Dubreau, a/k/a Duby, became a talented sketcher and painter.

Got an excerpt you can share with us?

Sure. Here’s the context: Mitchell picks up John/Jean from his maintenance job at St. Luke’s Daycare.

“He’ll be right out,” the nun said. “He’s all right. We were just cleaning him up. It looked worse than it is. The bleeding seems to have stopped—”

“Bleeding?”

“—and the paramedics said—”

“Paramedics?”

“—they don’t think Mister Kavanaugh’s ribs are broken, just bruised—”

“Who?”

“—and the police said, since nobody seems to want to press charges, — ”

“Police?”

“—that we can just forget about it. Of course, Jean had to be punished for hitting—”

“Hitting?”

“—so he had to run laps. And that started the nosebleed again. But everything’s all right now. Here he is.”

Jean limped out of the back room, holding a bloodied washcloth against his nose.

Sister Elizabeth sighed. “It’s been an exciting day.”

Mitchell studied Jean from head to toe, incredulous. She pointed at his swollen left knee. “You ran on concrete? And hitting? You were hitting! The children?”

“Oh, dear, no!” said Sister Elizabeth. “He was hitting Mister Kavanaugh.”

Mitchell stared at Sister Elizabeth and back at Jean. “You ran on concrete and you hit Mister Kavanaugh? Who is Mister Kavanaugh?”

“Debbie’s father,” answered Sister Elizabeth.

Mitchell was looking at Jean. “Excuse me, Sister, but unless Kavanaugh cut his tongue out, I’d like to hear Johnny answer something. John, why did you hit Debbie’s father?”

Jean pulled the washcloth away from his face to say, “He hits Debbie.”

After a pause, Mitchell muttered, “I told you never to run on the concrete.”

Ooh, sounds good. Thanks for visiting today, Iris, and best wishes with Duby’s Doctor!

Iris’ bio:

Iris Chacon has written for radio, television, motion pictures, and magazines for more than 30 years. She has taught writing-related courses at Christian schools from grade 5 through college, and she has worked as a musician. Duby’s Doctor is her fifth novel, and it carries on the Chacon tradition of good, clean fun, mystery, humor, romance, and a “sunshine state of mind.” Iris hails from the Sunshine State, Florida, where her ancestors have lived since Florida was a Spanish colony, before the United States existed. She is working on her next novel, which incorporates many of the adventures she has enjoyed in the American Southwest.

And here’s where you can find Iris online:

Website: https://www.authoririschacon.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authoririschacon

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/IrisChacon1371

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2kmLxAq

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8551298.Iris_Chacon

Smashwords Author Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/guatemom578

Thanks for visiting Reade and Write, Iris!

Until next time,

Amy

Spam folders – A love/hate relationship

Now this is some funny stuff. Have you looked in your spam folder recently?

Myths of the Mirror

compliments of pixabay

I just learned that SPAM (the kind in a can) turned 80 yesterday. In honor of Spam, here’s a little spam.

I make lots of comments on blogs, and WordPress decides on occasion that I’m a spammer. They shovel me into spam folders where I’m eventually discovered by my blogger friends, sometimes weeks later. I don’t take getting spammed personally; it’s just part of life on WP, and it’s not like the sky is going to fall if my comments slip into the deep, dark void of the blogosphere.

I’m not great about checking my WP spam folder regularly, but I do check it. And thank goodness it’s there! I would NOT want all this craziness showing up on my blog. Aside from the usual lists of links, there are the nonsensical sentences, the political rants, the porn invites, and the insinuations that my blog requires some assistance.

Just for…

View original post 282 more words

Author Spotlight: Ritter Ames

Today on Reade and Write I welcome Ritter Ames for our special Fourth of July edition of the Author Spotlight. Ritter is the author of two mystery series: The Bodies of Art Mysteries and the Organized Mysteries (I need to run, not walk, to get this series. Organization is often a mystery to me). She’s here today to discuss her most recent release, Fatal Forgeries. Glad to have you here, Ritter!

Tell me about your new book.

My June 2017 release is Fatal Forgeries, the fourth book in the Bodies of Art Mysteries. It begins with my main character, Laurel Beacham, in the process of rescuing a stolen masterpiece—then everything goes sideways and she scrambles to find a way to get things back on-track.

Who is the audience for the book?

Anyone who likes to read fast paced books with smart characters, quick dialogue, art crime, and amazing settings.

Speaking of amazing settings, tell me about the setting of your book—how did you choose it, what kind of research did you have to do, why did you choose it?

London acts as kind of the hub for this series of novels. In each title, however, the crimes take my characters to different European locations as Laurel and her crew track the masterpieces and the master criminals. For Fatal Forgeries, the action runs from London to Barcelona and back.

What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

Figuring out the title each time, and deciding how Laurel is going to lose her luggage.

If your book were made into a movie, who would you like to see playing the main characters?

In a perfect world, I’d love Grace Kelly to play Laurel and Cary Grant to play Jack. I have an idea for contemporary actors for both, but I think I’ll just leave it at that.

Tell us about your other books. 

There are three more books in the Bodies of Art Mystery series, and two books published in the Organized Mysteries, with another to be released soon. I also have another Organized Mystery I’ll be releasing in the coming months, and the first in a new cozy series will be out by the end of the year.

Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?

Not anymore. I’ve been in three different groups through the years, but between beta readers, my editors, and just really kind of being a veteran of these series by now, I’m out of the group mindset.

Do you write every day?

Yes. A minimum of 1000 words, no matter how hard it is to get them written in a chaotic day. Usually I average about 5000 words a day.

What authors do you like best? What genres do you like best?

I’m a very eclectic reader, but mysteries are my overall go-to. This summer I’m rereading the Jackson Brodie series by Kate Atkinson, but since the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter just passed I’m really tempted to reread that series, too. One author I now have to read as soon as possible is Christopher Fowler, but there are truly too many to name. I dearly love reading series fiction—whatever the genre. When I get invested in characters I want to always know what happens to them next.

Where would you like to go more than anywhere else on earth?

Switzerland. I’ve never made it there for some reason, but I’ve dreamed about going to that country since the fourth grade.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Just write. There will always be someone or something that will try to say you can’t do it. Don’t listen. Anything can be improved with revision, but you must get it written first.

What is your favorite movie and why?

Oh, that’s tough. There are three movies I can think of that I ALWAYS sit down and view again when they come on the schedule—no matter how many times I’ve already watched them: His Girl Friday with Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, Ocean’s Eleven with Clooney & company, and Casino Royale with Daniel Craig. They’re all so different, but they each have the kinds of things I love in characters and a story—the characters are smart & brave & operate with their own personal integrity, the dialogue is fast & witty, and the stories all revolve around a stellar crime.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Start writing sooner. And take marketing courses in college!

Describe yourself in three words.

Curious, capable, constant. And no, I didn’t mean to start each word with the same letter, they just came out that way.

Is there anything I haven’t asked that you wanted me to?

Nothing I can think of.

Where can readers connect with you?

I’m everywhere online—

My Facebook page:   https://www.facebook.com/RitterAmesBooks/

My Twitter page:      https://twitter.com/RitterAmes

My website:                http://www.ritterames.com

Where can readers find your books?

My Amazon page:         https://www.amazon.com/Ritter-Ames/e/B00I78AQEW/

Or for all booksellers:    https://ritterames.com/heres-where-to-buy-my-books/

Ritter, thank you for being my guest today. 

Amy, thanks so much for inviting me to your blog. This has been fun!

I wish everyone in the United States a happy, safe Fourth of July!

Until next time,

Amy

 

Author Spotlight: Judith Lucci, Part Deux

 

Today I welcome Judith Lucci back to Reade and Write. You may remember reading about her on this blog last December when she was promoting The Case of the Dead Dowager (you can read the interview here if you’d like).  Judith is back today to promote the release of The Crescent City Chronicles, her boxed set of three Alexandra Destephano medical thrillers.

And there’s great news…wait for it…the boxed set is only 99¢!

This is not a drill, folks.

99¢ for three fast-paced thrillers set in the Big Easy. I bought mine before I wrote this post and I can’t wait to dig into them.

Here’s a letter that Judith asked me to post for today’s blog:

Hi Everyone, I’m Judith Lucci and I write medical thrillers and crime. I’m a nurse with a doctoral degree and I have seen hundreds of patients, saved lots of lives, taught thousands of nurses and written and researched a bunch of stuff. I live in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. I love my family, painting, writing and all things DOG. I have five of them and they run my life and my home. I think my greatest strength as an author is using my medical knowledge to create unique ways to develop plots and kill people. Anyway, I’m here today, as Amy knows, because I need to sell 6,000 books to make the USA Today Best Sellers List.

I have created a boxed set of my first three medical thrillers, Crescent City Chronicles, Alexandra Destephano Novels Books 1-3 and it’s currently available right now for .99. It’s available EVERYWHERE at http://bit.ly/CCCPreRelease.

Here’s the blurb:  Exciting, dramatic hospital stories set in the Big Easy featuring Virginia -born nurse-attorney Alexandra Destephano, a New Orleans Police Commander and Alex’s former husband, a famous surgeon and a world-renown psychiatrist.  Books feature romantic suspense, malpractice, elements of the supernatural, political intrigue and the work of a grisly serial killer.  Anyway, once again here’s the link: http://bit.ly/CCCPreRelease.

Take care and have a fun, safe summer.

Judith

So let’s help Judith make that bestsellers list, shall we? Good luck, Judith!

Until next week,

Amy

 

 

 

 

My First Short Story

Photo courtesy of estableman, pixabay

Maybe you remember a while back when I said I wanted to learn to write short stories. I announced back then that my goal was to write a short story by July 1, 2017.

Well, I’ve written one and I’m sharing it with you today because I’d like to know what you think. Honest opinions, okay? If you don’t like it, tell me why. If you do, tell me why. If you want to send me a private message on Facebook to share your opinion rather than put it in the comments, I welcome that.

Here goes.

Twist of Fate

            As far as Lorna was concerned, the blame for this whole situation could be laid squarely at Jack’s feet.

Hadn’t she given him the best years of her life? Hadn’t she stretched dollars and food while he was in school? Hadn’t she deprived herself of new clothes, new shoes, and even decent haircuts so he could follow his dream of becoming a doctor? Hadn’t she put up with his miserable mother for three decades?

Hadn’t she raised their two kids to be successful and independent? Wasn’t their home, now that Jack was a prosperous and well-known plastic surgeon, the envy of all the neighbors? It was all her.

And how did he thank her for all those thankless years? With divorce papers. With the stinging words “irreconcilable differences.” Was he kidding?

Of course he was. There were no irreconcilable differences. How could they have differences when they barely spoke anymore? Jack, never home, always “working” or so he said, Lorna always lunching with one or another of the moms from the gym, every night at some community or social club meeting.

The kids knew before Lorna did. Why did he have to tell them first? When she called Lily to declare her disbelief, her shock, Lily had merely said that she had seen this coming for years. Sure, she felt bad, but it was her opinion that Lorna should pick herself up, move forward, and never look back.

And Brian said basically the same thing. “Mom, I would think you’d be glad. Now you can have your own life.”

“But I have my own life!” she had wailed. “And I like it just the way it is!”

“You like not talking to Dad?” Brian asked. “You like living with someone who’s no more than an absent roommate?”

“Yes,” Lorna insisted. “This lifestyle suits me. Now I’m going to have to get a job. What can I do? I can’t do anything.”

“You’re a good cook,” Lily had said. “Open your own catering business.”

“Great idea. Who’s going to give me the money to start it up?” Lorna asked.

She could practically see her daughter shrugging through the phone. She may have raised those kids to be successful, but they were sorely lacking in empathy, Lorna thought.

“You can do lots of things,” Brian had said. “Open your own decorating business.”

“And how am I going to find money to rent a space and fill it with products for people to buy?” Lorna asked.

“I don’t know. It was just a thought.”

Lorna called up Sheri, one of her friends from the gym. “What am I going to do?”

“I had a friend once who got divorced and she put herself through college after that and now she owns a software company,” Sheri said.

“Is that supposed to make me feel better?” Lorna asked.

“I was just trying to say that things may look bad now, but it’ll all work out for the best. You’ll see.”

Lorna had not received the proper amount of sympathy from either of her kids or Sheri. She poured herself a drink and waited for Jack to come home. They needed to talk.

She waited. She poured another drink. Still Jack didn’t come home.

Lily called as Lorna was pouring her third drink. “Mom, you’re drunk.”

“I am not.” Lorna was slurring her words.

“Mom, you’re going to be embarrassed when Dad comes home.”

“Why did you call?” Lorna asked coldly.

“To tell you that I can’t come up this weekend. I have to work.” Yes, indeed, they were successful kids.

“That’s okay. I might not be here,” Lorna replied.

“Where are you going?”

“I don’t know yet. Maybe I’ll come to see you.”

“That would be fine. Just don’t expect me to be home very much.”

Lorna had just been teasing, sort of. She knew Lily didn’t want her there, and she frankly didn’t want to visit Lily. Or Brian. Brian’s kids were miserable.

Jack finally got home around eleven. Lorna stumbled to the front door, greeting him with a scornful, slurred “Whereveyabin?”

Jack fixed her with a look of disgust. “Out. You’re drunk.”

“’syourfault.”

“No it’s not. It’s no one’s fault. I’ll be in the guest room.”

Lorna reached out and tried to grab his arm, but ended up spinning around dizzily and landing on her knees in front of him. He reached for her arm and hoisted her to her feet. “Lorna, go to bed. You’re going to hurt yourself.”

She sneered at him. “No I’m not. Don’t touch me.”

He dropped her arm like a live grenade and stalked toward the first-floor guest room. Lorna could hear him lock the door from the inside.

There had to be someone else—she just knew it. Probably one of the pert young nurses who worked with Jack. Or one of the divorced recipients of a new set of boobs or a new nose. Or a waitress from one of the places he went for lunch. The more Lorna thought about it, the more her insides churned with rage, humiliation, and the fear of being alone.

Jack moved out the following week. “For the time being,” he told Lorna, “you’ll have access to the checking account, but only for household expenses. I’ll be keeping an eye on it,” he warned. Lorna fumed. You good-for-nothing jackass.

She called Sheri again. “I’m sorry, Lorn, I can’t talk right now. I’m getting ready to go out. Can we get together for coffee in a couple days?”

Lorna hung up after telling Sheri she thought she had plans. She barked a harsh laugh. What plans could I possibly have? Then she thought of something to do.

She was going to follow Jack and find out who this other woman was.

Jack had given her his new address in case she needed to find him, but he had asked her not to use it otherwise. Who cares? she thought. She drove to the address and found a swanky high-rise. She parked just down the leafy street where she could see anyone who pulled out of the parking garage. Just perfect for the divorced doctor who has everything, she sneered to herself. It probably has a pool where he can ogle his new flame’s surgically enhanced body while everyone else stares, mouths agape.

Knowing his work schedule so well, she wasn’t surprised when he pulled out of the garage in his shiny BMW and turned in the direction of the hospital. She followed him at a discreet distance and waited while he ran into his favorite coffee shop for his morning libation. He didn’t take the direct route to work, but instead made his way to an old neighborhood made of old money. The houses were close together but surrounded by wrought-iron gates over which riotous flowering shrubs tumbled. The houses were all three stories or more, just like the brownstones in New York City or in London’s Chelsea neighborhood.

Jack pulled into a narrow alley behind one block of houses and Lorna had no choice but to park on the street near the end of the alley. She didn’t know if he would turn left or right, so she waited quite a distance from the alley. It wasn’t long before the BMW turned right out of the alley and Lorna sped up to see better. Sure enough, there were two people in the car now.

When Jack got to the hospital, he pulled into the lot across the street, the one specially reserved for doctors, and got out. His companion got out and Lorna gasped. She felt like she had been punched in the gut. She knew the other person—it was Doctor Moss, a cardiologist. She watched in dismay as Jack kissed Doctor Moss and they entered the hospital through separate doors.

She took the long way home. Everything had changed. She hadn’t expected another doctor.

Especially not Eric Moss.

photo courtesy of WerbeFabrik, pixabay

Thanks for reading.

Until next time,

Amy

And Now for Some BSP: Blatant Self-Promotion

My latest release, The House on Candlewick Lane, is on sale for 99¢ and I’m trying to spread the word far and wide. If you’ve read the book, thank you very much. If you’ve read the book and left a review, you are awesome.

And if you haven’t read the book, this is your chance!!

Here’s a quick summary of the novel:

It is every parent’s worst nightmare. Greer Dobbins’ daughter has been kidnapped—and spirited across the Atlantic to a hiding place in Scotland. Greer will do anything to find her, but the streets of Edinburgh hide a thousand secrets—including some she’d rather not face.

Art historian Dr. Greer Dobbins thought her ex-husband, Neill, had his gambling addiction under control. But in fact he was spiraling deeper and deeper into debt. When a group of shady lenders threatens to harm the divorced couple’s five-year-old daughter if he doesn’t pay up, a desperate Neill abducts the girl and flees to his native Scotland. Though the trail seems cold, Greer refuses to give up and embarks on a frantic search through the medieval alleys of Edinburgh—a city as beguiling as it is dangerous. But as the nightmare thickens with cryptic messages and a mysterious attack, Greer herself will become a target, along with everyone she holds dear.

Doesn’t that sound like something you want to read TODAY?!

Here’s the Amazon link if you’re interested: http://amzn.to/2ruijTR

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2kJMNLO

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2s3VUKO

Google: http://bit.ly/2kV6JNQ

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2rkeD7M

Thank you! If you’re inclined to share this post, I would be most grateful!

Until next week,

Amy