A Halloween Treat: Jenny Kales Returns!

Happy Halloween! My guest today is Jenny Kales, who writes the Callie’s Kitchen cozy mystery series. She visited Reade and Write once before, when her debut novel, On the Chopping Block, was released (if you’d like to read that post, you can find it here).

Jenny’s back today to talk about her newest release, Book Three in the series, Secrets and Pies. Welcome, Jenny, and congratulations on the new release!

Tell us about your new book.

My new book, SECRETS AND PIES, is the third book in The Callie’s Kitchen Mysteries, my culinary cozy mystery series. It takes place in fictional Crystal Bay, Wisconsin, a picturesque waterfront community that many readers say is a character unto itself. This time around, Callie Costas, my Greek-American food business owner and amateur sleuth, is faced with a murder that hits really close to home. A Murder Mystery Night at a spooky old house, a motley crew of suspects, personnel issues and a busy summer tourist season add to the intrigue. Along the way, secrets pertaining to Crystal Bay’s colorful past may provide clues! As always, my book contains mouth-watering recipes, both Greek and Midwestern favorites.

How long did it take you to write the new book?

About 6 months, with a few months of post-production, including editing, beta readers and book design and layout. So altogether, 9 months or so.

Do you write linearly, or do you write each scene separately and then piece them together like a puzzle? Or is there some other path you take to writing a novel?

I create a pretty detailed outline and write linearly. Things do change as I go along, but I start with whodunit and construct the novel around that.

Tell us a secret about one of your characters- something that’s not in the book.

Max used to have a crush on Callie.

Do you have any writing rituals?

If I’m working on something that needs a lot of concentration, I go the Quiet Room of my local library. It’s a beautiful space with a fireplace. I also like to be surrounded by books when I write – it’s inspirational. Something about that room tells my brain to get to business!

What time of day do you do your best writing?

Probably the morning, but I also write in the early afternoon before the kids get home from school.

Have you ever been on a writing retreat? And if so, where did you go?

Yes, I went to a summer writer’s retreat hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, my alma mater. However, I have not been on a writing retreat in a very long time and I would love to do that in the near future.

Can you tell us what you’re working on now?

I’m planning to work on a new series idea for NaNoWriMo. I’m about five chapters into a new book and I love it. It’s a traditional mystery with cozy elements and the protagonist is a hoot! I’m also developing an idea for a Callie’s Kitchen short story and the next full-length novel in the series.

Tell us about the dedication in your new book, if you wish.

This one didn’t have a dedication, but it did have two epigrams. One is from Homer and one is from F. Scott Fitzgerald and they both tie into the novel. That’s all I can say!

Do you prefer to read a physical book (with paper pages that really turn), or do you prefer an ereader, or perhaps audio books?

I used to prefer print books and I still really like them, but I tend to go for my tablet with the Kindle app. I can adjust the type to be larger or smaller and it gives off some light, which is great because I read a lot at night and I don’t want to keep my husband awake.

If you had an unlimited budget, is there something special you would do for your readers?

I would love to go across country for a book tour where I served Callie’s Kitchen specialties and met my readers. A lot of what I do is online, which is a great way to connect, but I would love to host in-person book parties with my readers. Hopefully, someday!

Remind us where we can connect with you.

You can find me on Facebook, my website, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads. You can also follow me on my Amazon author page. And be sure to follow me on Bookbub, too!

Where is the new book available?

SECRETS AND PIES is available on Amazon in paperback and e-book, as well as Kindle Unlimited: The paperback version looks beautiful! I have a really wonderful cover designer.

I also want to add that I have a Christmas cozy mystery, which is the second book in my Callie’s Kitchen Mystery Series, SPICED AND ICED (you can find it here). So if any of you are in the Christmas spirit a little bit early, check out this cozy mystery with festive holiday recipes included. I’m also happy to be a part of the Christmas-themed cozy mystery event with you, Amy! My day is December 2 and I am looking forward to some cozy holiday fun.

  

Thanks again, Amy, for hosting me on your wonderful blog!

Thanks, Jenny. As always, it’s been a pleasure having you here. 

For those of you who may not be aware of the Christmas-themed cozy event Jenny mentioned, she’s talking about The 12 Slays of Christmas Release Week Extravaganza, which takes place from November 28 until December 5. If you haven’t seen my posts about the set before, it’s a set of twelve cozy mysteries by twelve authors. You can find the website here and the Facebook event here.

One more thing….

There’s one more boxed set I want to tell you about. It’s called Christmas Babies on Main Street and it’s a collection of stories of Christmas, love, and babies from around the world. It’s only 99¢ and you can find it on Amazon.

 

We Are the World Blogfest #WATWB

It’s the last Friday of the month–time again for some good news to take you into November with a smile.

The story I chose for this month is one I hope we’ll see repeated often in the years to come. It involves an ingenious solution to the problem of plastics in the world’s oceans. Take a minute to read it–I think you’ll find it fascinating.

Click here to read the story.

Here’s how #WATWB works: On the last Friday of each month a number of bloggers participate in a blog hop in which each blogger highlights a story that spreads good news, happiness, and hope.

These are the cohosts for this month: Shilpa Garg, Sylvia McGrath, Mary GieseBelinda Witzenhausen, and Guilie CastilloClick on the name of the cohost (if in bold) to visit his or her blog.

Want to join? Click this link to sign up and help spread some happiness!

Bouchercon 2017: It’s In the Books (so to speak)

Bouchercon 2017

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Bouchercon, here’s a quick primer: it’s the annual convention for mystery and thriller readers and writers from all over the world. Named in honor of Anthony Boucher, an acclaimed mystery critic, editor, and author, it bills itself as the “World Mystery Convention” and it attracts over a thousand attendees each year. This year, in fact, I heard the number was close to seventeen hundred.

Bouchercon 2017 was held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is just a memory at this point, but a good one and I would like to share some takeaways I gleaned while I was there.

  1. I do not work hard enough.
  2. I do not read enough.
  3. Another standalone novel might be in my near future (or as near as possible in the writing world) (and, yes, I have an idea for a story).
  4. There are way too many great authors out there whose books I haven’t read yet (more on that below).
  5. Bouchercon seems geared more toward thrillers than the types of mysteries I write, but I still learned a lot and I hope to apply that knowledge in my work.
  6. Bouchercon is a great place to catch up with old friends and make new ones.
  7. When my son uses all our cellular data for the month it is impossible to send photos to my email from my phone, hence the absence of photos in this post.
  8. My husband is awesome (this is not news to me, but I was reminded of it). He made reservations at the restaurant at the top of the CN Tower and took me there for a surprise dinner.

I always come away from conventions with a curious mix of feelings: inadequacy and inspiration. I spend my days meeting authors who are far more prolific than I, but I go home with an urgency to get to work with new ideas and renewed energy. All in all, it’s a good feeling.

Here are some authors whose books I have resolved to read asap: Ruth Ware, Linda Landrigan, Ragnar Johasson, and Kelly Armstrong.

And here are some titles I’ve added to my TBR:

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith (no, I haven’t read that before {hangs head in shame})

I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

Green for Danger by Christiana Brand

The Last Child by John Hart

Have you read any of these books or authors?

Until next time,

Amy

Now available – The book that started it all is now an audio book.

Congratulations to Don Massenzio! He’s a great supporter of authors and readers…and now you can listen to the audiobook of his first Frank Rozzani novel!

Author Don Massenzio

Frankly Speaking - CoverI’m excited to announce that my first book, Frankly Speaking, is now available as an audio book. You can find it on Amazon, Audible and Apple Books.

A Bit About the Book

A 16 year old girl has disappeared. The police believe she is a runaway. Her parents believe she has been taken and is being held against her will. When the parents enlist the services of Frank Rozzani, a former police officer turned private detective, a series of events begins to unfold that implicates a popular local pastor and the religious stronghold of the ultra-conservative community.

Frank Rozzani, a transplant to Jacksonville, Florida from Syracuse, New York, must find the young girl despite the obstacles launched at him from the local police and others whose interests may be compromised by his investigation. Frank enlists the help of his associate Clifford “Jonesy” Jones to find the girl, uncover the…

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Author Spotlight: John Howell

Today on Reade and Write I welcome John W. Howell, author of the newly-released novel Circumstances of Childhood. John is a well-regarded author with several novels under his belt, and it is an honor and a pleasure to have him here today.

Click for Amazon Kindle

Shipping on October 1st. Priced at $0.99 for the introduction.

This is a different story for John. It is in the Family Life genre and tells the story of brotherly love, riches to rags, redemption and a little paranormal thrown in. Normally John writes thrillers but this time he has stepped into a different place. This book was written with love for the story and the hope it will be an enjoyable read.

Here is the blurb:

When a former pro football star and broadcaster, now a Wall Street maven is accused of insider trading, will he be able to prove his innocence and expose those who are guilty?

Greg and his boyhood pal dreamed of big success in professional football and then later in business. Greg was the only one to live the dream. Now the founder of an investment fund Greg is faced with a routine audit finding by the SEC. The audit points to irregularities and all the tracks lead to Greg. The justice department hits him with an indictment of 23 counts of fraud, money laundering, and insider trading. His firm goes bust, and Greg is on his own.

His best friend knows he is innocent but has been ordered under penalty of eternal damnation not to help.

If you enjoy stories of inspiration, riches to rags, redemption, brotherly love, and a little of the paranormal, Circumstances of Childhood will keep you riveted.

Here is an excerpt.

I look down at my drink and wonder what will happen tomorrow. My daughter Constance wants to come and visit. She lives in New York, and before all hell broke loose, we didn’t see each other often. I missed her so much, and it seemed as if I had to beg her even to talk on the phone. Now, it’s like she wants to be here every weekend. It’s only an hour’s flight by the shuttle or three by train, so she can come when she wants. I just can’t figure out why she got so clingy. I have my troubles, but it doesn’t have anything to do with her. No use in asking her husband either. Though a nice enough guy, I always wonder if he has someplace important to go when I visit. He never sits still and stays busy on the phone or at the computer. He makes a good living, but it seems a person could take an hour to sit and talk. I’d looked forward to some kind of relationship when he and Constance got married. It’ll never happen with him.

When I take another pull at my drink, I notice the burn feels less. It happens every time. First sip initiation, I call it. It’s like the first puff of a cigarette, hits hard then, after, nothing. I decide to let Constance pretty much have the agenda tomorrow. She and I have not had a chance to talk about anything deep for a while. It could just be that she blames me for her mother running off with that guy with the house on the Hudson. He has a title, and the old gal couldn’t resist, but I think the daughter always felt I should have done something. Her mother’s sleeping with another guy and what the hell can I do about that?

I’ll just go with the flow. If she wants to go out, we will. If she wants to stay in, we can do that too. I better think about getting some food in the house. Of course, we can always order take out. I need to move on to my drink and let this go. Tomorrow will be what it is. I remember the day she was born. I looked down at her in my arms and promised I would do anything for her. I love her more than life itself, and I hope we can somehow get to the root of whatever’s wrong. She sounded strange on the phone this morning, and I feel helpless to do anything about it. I hope she opens up when she gets here.

For some reason, I feel tired. Perhaps I’ll go ahead and finish my drink. Maybe I’ll just go home and forget the burger. First, though, I’ll just shut my eyes for a minute. My hands feel good when I put my head down.

“Hey, Greg,” Jerry says. I barely hear him. “What’s the matter? You taking a nap? Greg?” I can feel him shake me, but I have no interest in waking up. His voice gets further away, and I think he says, “Oh, my God, Sophie, call 911, quick.” Now the room goes silent.

Author Bio:

John's Bio

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016. The latest Circumstances of Childhood a family life story is available as of October 1st, 2017. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

John’s other books.

My Girl front His Revenge Our Justice

Available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

Congratulations, John, and best wishes for much success with your new Circumstances of Childhood.

Until next time,

Amy