Author Spotlight: Rebecca Phillips Dahlke

I just came back from the Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival in Suffolk, Virginia, and it was wonderful, as always. I’ll tell you all about it next Tuesday.

But today I welcome author Rebecca Phillips Dahlke to the blog to discuss her newest book, A Dead Red Gamble, the latest in her Dead Red Series. Welcome, Rebecca!

I’m eager to know more about your books.

You know how they say to write what you know? Well, I ran my dad’s crop-dusting business for two years and thought readers might find this an interesting job for a woman sleuth.

The first three books in the Dead Red Mystery series are set in the central valley of California where Lalla Bains comes home to help her dad as he recovers from a heart attack.

In Book #1 her vintage red Cadillac, a trophy from a recent divorce, is found tail-fins up in a local lake with an elderly widow strapped in the driver’s seat, leaving Lalla dangling on the hook as suspect number one and her father in the cross-hairs of a killer.

Murder solved, romance blooming, Lalla promises to stay out of trouble, but much to her father’s dismay, Lalla Bains will continue to get more involved with murder and crime in Books 2 and 3.

In Books 4, 5 and 6, the entire family decamps from California to Arizona where, as it happens, I now live and write. For those who are familiar with Bisbee, Arizona, it’s a charming little town set on a hillside, and it’s also the county seat for Cochise County.  I changed the name to Wishbone as I didn’t fancy the idea of getting tarred and feathered whenever I killed off another city official in my books.

In my latest novel, A Dead Red Gamble, Lalla Bains and cousin Pearlie are struggling to gain a foothold as licensed private investigators. I started with an interesting, and I hope original, premise when a friend who was municipal county judge at the time, ruled that city residents could not keep chickens.

So how on earth would this become a mystery you ask?  It becomes a mystery when protestors gather outside the courthouse, someone pays two local kids to release a cage full of chickens into the courthouse lobby, and a killer uses the diversion to murder the judge. The why is what makes for a good mystery.  I enjoyed writing this book and I’m happy to say my readers seem to agree.

Courthouse interior

Lalla and cousin Pearlie aren’t the jaded, world-weary gum-shoe types of Dashiell Hammett fame. Don’t get me wrong, I loved his books, but my protagonists aren’t loners, they have family they love and trust and they hold onto hope for the best in people—even when those people try to kill them.

All of my books are available on Amazon Kindle and I have a monthly newsletter with deals and steals on books by authors I love to read, as well as raffles for goodies. I even give my readers a chance to be a character in my next book with a raffle. A fun way to be a bad guy/gal in fiction!

Here’re my links:

Website: http://rpdahlke.com

Contact me: rp@rpdahlke.com

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/RP-Dahlke/e/B004S2NJFO/

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4714290.R_P_Dahlke

Faceboook: https://Facebook.com/rpdahlke

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/r-p-dahlke

Thanks for visiting, Rebecca! Best wishes on your new book!

Until next time,

Amy

Author Spotlight: Colleen Mooney AND Anna Celeste Burke

If you’ve been reading my posts for the last couple months, you’ll probably remember hearing about a new boxed set of mysteries that comes out today. It’s called Summer Snoops Unleashed and it’s a collection of mysteries from 14 bestselling mystery authors. Proceeds from the sale of the set go to animal rescue charities, so it’s for a good cause. I’ve pre-ordered mine, and as I write this I am eagerly awaiting its arrival on my ereader.

Today I have TWO authors from the set, Colleen Mooney and Anna Celeste Burke. Welcome, ladies!

Please tell us about the story you’ve contributed to the Summer Snoops collection.

Colleen: The title I’ve submitted for this set is Fireworks, Forensics & Felonies. It’s set in New Orleans, my home, over the Fourth of July weekend. Our amateur sleuth and her boyfriend are on his sailboat on Lake Pontchartrain to watch the fireworks display when they witness a house fire on shore, followed by an explosion on the fireworks barge. Both the house and fireworks barge are owned by a couple who are friends with the main characters.

AnnaRadical Regatta! (Corsario Cove Cozy Mystery #4) features Kim Reed and Brien Williams, two characters that first appear in the Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mystery series. They got hooked on figuring out whodunit while they were in the California desert near Palm Springs as members of the “Cat Pack.” The stories are told from Kim’s point of view.

Brien is a surfer dude with a passion for his new wife, food, surfing, and solving mysteries. He’s been hired as a security guard at the Sanctuary Resort & Spa. Kim was Jessica Huntington’s legal assistant and acquired skills doing background checks and digging into clients and suspects’ pasts. Before she turned her life around, she worked for a psycho Hollywood music producer where she became adept at recognizing dirty tricks and nasty secrets. She maintains guest records at the resort.

When they first visited Corsario Cove, it was their honeymoon destination. A dead Santa throws a hitch into their plans, they end up on the suspect list, and decide to find Santa’s killer. In Cowabunga Christmas! Kim and Brien also meet the local detective—Bernie Mitchum. As you can imagine, he’s thrilled to have Gidget and Moondoggie snooping into Santa’s murder.

In Radical Regatta!, rescuing a dog that’s swimming for its life beyond the cove draws Kim and Brien into troubled waters. As a crime wave hits Corsario Cove, they hope they can find out what’s going on before a Fourth of July Regatta turns deadly. When an infamous international thief turns up dead, it won’t be smooth sailing for anyone until these twenty-something sleuths solve the mystery behind the murder and mayhem.

Kim and Brien are the youngest, wackiest, and most impulsive of the sleuths in the five series I write. To be honest, they’re something of a tribute to my husband and me in our younger days. He wasn’t a surfer, but a rock musician. I grew up at the beach and loved the old Beach Blanket Bingo movies. I was underaged, and the police picked me up as a runaway after we eloped to Tijuana and got married. Young, wacky, impulsive, I’ll admit it now that we’ve been married almost 49 years.

Are there any specific things that tie the stories in the collection together? For example, are they all about dogs? Do the animals help solve the mysteries?

Colleen: My stories all have schnauzers in them. The main character is an avid rescuer of the breed.

Anna: All fourteen stories include a pet—mostly cats and dogs. My book has a dog plus another interesting animal character that I’ll keep secret for now. The pets play minor to major roles in solving the mysteries in each book. I hope you find all stories fun, funny, and fast perfect summer reads!

Is your story part of a series that you have released, or does it stand alone?

Colleen: This is book 7 in my series, The New Orleans Go Cup Chronicles.

Anna: Radical Regatta! can be read as standalone, but there are three books already published in the series: Cowabunga Christmas!, Gnarly New Year!, and Heinous Habits! I hope readers will check out the previous books in the series if they enjoy Radical Regatta!

I’ve put book one—Cowabunga Christmas! on sale all month as a Christmas in July 99c special. Readers who subscribe to my website  https://www.desertcitiesmystery.com can read book 2 in the series, Gnarly New Year! FREE.

Are the stories short stories, novellas, or full-length novels?

Both: The set includes a mix of novellas and novel-length cozy mysteries.

Do you have any pets at home?

Colleen: OMG yes, all the time. In addition to my schnauzers I may have one or two rescues I foster who are waiting to get adopted. I am a breed rescuer for Schnauzers! (You write what you know, right?) Anyway, about 17 years ago I found myself up to four schnauzers and realized I couldn’t adopt them all so I found a rescue group and volunteers for them. After some time, the founder had a family and I took over the group. Right now I’m up to 4 Schnauzers again!

Anna: Right now, I have one loud-mouthed, sweet and sassy, Siamese cat.

If so, what kind(s) of pets do you have and what are their names?

Clleen: Four Schnauzers. Their names are Maus – because he is small and about 6 years old; MoonPie Mooney-about 12/13 years old; Tweezer-about 6 years old; and Murphy Mooney- 14/15 years old. Tweezer and Murphy were rescues adopted by a wonderful lady who died unexpectedly, and I took them back. Tweezer is a special needs rescue in that she came to us blind, under a year old. Someone just left her out on the street to fend for herself. My rescue had a fund raiser and we replaced one eye with a lens so she had sight. Murphy is older and the lady had him several years before Tweezer. I don’t want to separate them because Tweezer keeps Murphy young! Her personality and playfulness really blossomed after she could see. They both have been an amazing addition to our family.

Anna: Coco is a Seal point Siamese with a light-colored coat and dark, chocolate brown points. He’s a very affectionate cat and loves to cuddle, but he has one of the loudest mouths I have ever heard. He’s the model for Miles, one of Georgie Shaw’s Siamese kitties in the Georgie Shaw Cozy Mystery series. Like Miles, named for Miles Davis, Coco’s voice carries like a trumpet blast.

Did you have pets growing up?

Colleen: My dad loved dogs and he would tell my mother he “found” one and bring it home. My earliest memory is of a big Chow his sister gave us because she couldn’t take care of it any longer. I was maybe two years old and remember him. We had Beagles, Dobermans, German Shepherds, Chihuahuas (my mother’s choice) and a couple of mutts. My first dog as an adult was a Schnauzer mix named Cricket Ann. She had the attitude of a Schnauzer and I fell in love with it.

Anna: Oh, yes! Cats, dogs, mice, tadpoles raised until they became frogs, and a rabbit named Debbie that would beg at the refrigerator. Since I’ve been married, my husband and I have owned lots of cats—sometimes 4 at a time! We also owned a Chow dog for years and an iguana. The iguana got away when two cats let him out while we were at work. When I opened the door, the iguana ran for it into the orange grove nearby.

Tell us how the authors settled on the charities that will receive the proceeds from the set.

Colleen: As a group we submitted names of rescues and shelters and voted on them. Those of us who submitted a shelter wrote up something we knew about them to share with the others.

Anna: There are three no-kill shelters that we hope to help with the money we raise from presales of Summer Snoops Unleashed. Each of these shelters also has a special interest in finding homes for senior pets and/or pets with special needs.

The box set is only 99¢, which we hope is affordable to cozy mystery readers, but we only get 35¢ in royalties. We must sell lots and lots of books to help the wonderful people who work so hard to rescue pets and take care of them until they find fur-ever homes.

The 13 other Summer Snoops Unleashed authors and I are working with three wonderful shelters this year. The Streetdog Foundation in Memphis, The Northshore Humane Society located north of New Orleans, and Home ‘Fur’ Good near Phoenix, Arizona.

Do you ever volunteer at a local animal shelter?

Colleen: I was on the Board of Directors for the Northshore Humane Society years ago when I lived on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain. I have since moved back to the New Orleans side of the lake.  I did fund raising for the shelter at that time when I was a lot younger.  Now, I pull schnauzers from the local shelters when they call me to take into rescue and find a suitable, fur-ever home for.  It’s hard to go to the shelter and only take one dog.

Anna: No, but most of the cats I’ve owned over the year have been “rescues.” My husband and I have taken them in to keep them from going to shelters. Sometimes these sweeties had a problem or two, but they all turned out to be wonderful cats.

If any readers are interested in donating to their local animal shelter, what items do you suggest, or is a monetary donation a better choice?

Colleen: If you are close to a shelter, they can always use newspapers and blankets. A monetary donation is what is most needed. Northshore Humane Society is a very old shelter and they are in the process of trying to build a newer, more modern facility where they can provide more veterinary services. They are a shelter that constantly improves what they can do for animals.

Anna: Shelters are always desperate for money, but they can also use volunteers and foster families to give pets a break from shelter life or take in pets when the shelter runs out of room. Links to each of the shelters we chose can be found on our website if anyone wants to know more about them: https://www.summersnoops.com.

If there’s anything else you’d like to add, please feel free!

Colleen: If you’d like to see or follow Schnauzer Rescue here we are: website: https://www.nolaschnauzer.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/NOLASchnauzerRescue/ or www.colleenmooney.com for my website and books or https://www.facebook.com/colleen.mooney.716 on Facebook! THANK YOU!

Anna: Thank you so much for letting us share the news about our Summer Snoops Unleashed box set. We hope visitors to your site will buy a copy for themselves and gift one or two to a friend or family member. At 99¢ this is a great deal for a wonderful cause and are purr-fect summer reads for cozy mystery fans. And, of course, your readers are invited to visit my website, noted above.

Readers, there’s a special pet cookbook available for FREE download as part of the Summer Snoops Unleashed collection! Just click this link to check it out!

Until next time,

Amy

Author Spotlight: Nancy Lynn Jarvis

Today I welcome author Nancy Lynn Jarvis to Reade and Write. Nancy doesn’t even know this, but I have a special fondness for her books because two of them were given to me as gifts by someone many of you will remember from this blog–Sharon Aguanno. Sharon loved Nancy’s books and I credit her with introducing me to Nancy’s work.

Nancy is here to talk about her new release, The Glass House. I’m looking forward to reading this one–I wish Sharon was here to enjoy it, too.

Tell me about The Glass House.

Santa Cruz County Law Librarian Pat Pirard is living a perfect life as the book begins, but she’s unexpectedly downsized on her thirty-fifth birthday and needs to reinvent herself before her severance package runs out and she and her Dalmatian, Dot, and ginger cat, Lord Peter Wimsey, face life on a friend’s couch.

When the instructor of a glass art class Pat received as a gift is murdered and the studio’s owner is charged with killing him, researcher Pat is hired by the suspect’s defense attorney to find others in the class who may have a motive for murder. The first thing she does is order business cards proclaiming herself CEO of PIP Inc., not necessarily the first thing most underemployed amateur detectives would do, but then, most people aren’t like Private Investigator Pat.

Who is the audience for the book?

Me. Well, me at all phases of my life. I like mysteries ―the more complicated the better―don’t like to read violence and cruelty, especially as it’s happening, although I love CSI and discovering how the killing happened from a safe distance, so that’s how I write.

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?

Like most of the books I’ve written, The Glass House is set in Santa Cruz. I’m a visual writer who needs to see my setting to get the details right. I know nothing about being a private investigator, but I have a friend who does. She’s my resource, and it’s great fun to collaborate with her.

What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

Deciding it was time. Once I got past that hurdle, it was fun. I hadn’t written a mystery in almost a year because of other projects, and realized as I wrote, that I love writing in the cozy mystery genre.

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

Let me ask the real Private Investigator Pat and get back to you on that.

Tell me about your other books.

I’ve done seven books in the Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries series; Mags and the AARP Gang, a coming of age comedy about a group of octogenarians who decide to rob the bank holding the mortgage on their mobile home park to pay off the loan and stave off foreclosure; and a little book called The Truth About Hosting Airbnb, something I do when I’m not writing. I’ve edited Cozy Food: 128 Cozy Mystery Writers Share Their Favorite Recipes and Santa Cruz Weird, a short story anthology with contributions from seventeen Santa Cruz authors.

Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?

I’m not sure if I’d call my group a partnership, but ten local mystery writers call ourselves The Santa Cruz Women of Mystery. We just did our first Noir at the Bar, which was great fun. I’m also a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.

Do you write every day?

No. I’m very lazy. I only write when the mood hits.

Who are your favorite authors? Favorite genres?

I like all genres except dystopic…wait, I love Margaret Atwood and she does those; and fantasy…wait, except for JK Rowling and too many authors to list; John McPhee; Amy Tan; anything historical and most non-fiction. Oh, and of course, Agatha Christie and Tony Hillerman and any mystery I can get my hands on. Unfortunately, I can usually figure out who did it by page eighty-six which is, I think, an occupational hazard of writing mysteries.

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

I have never been to Ireland, and according to Ancestry, that’s where most of my ancestors came from. It’s also definitely where my protagonist Regan McHenry traces her ancestry, so it would be fun to see.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t make excuses and don’t expect to write a perfect book. It gets easier as you practice and your writing will improve. I look back on The Death Contingency, the first book I wrote, and can see me learning as the book progresses. The Glass House is polished from page one, so I’m getting better as a writer. The most important reason to write, though, is it’s just so much fun.

What is your favorite movie and why?

I would have to say either Raiders of the Lost Ark or Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I know, I know, I have the taste of a seven-year-old boy. The Usual Suspects is my favorite grown-up movie because it’s complicated.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Do everything you can right now because you’ll be old sooner than you think.

Describe yourself in three words.

Tall, intelligent, introvert.

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

How long will you keep writing? Until it’s not fun any longer or my mind turns to mush, whichever comes first.

Where can readers connect with you?

You can click here for my website. All the books are there and most first chapters are up for you to read.

Where can readers find your books?

You can find my Amazon author page by clicking here.

The ebook version of The Glass House will go live on July 25, 2019, to be followed by a print version soon after that. Pre-order and save a couple of bucks because the price will go up after release. If you review the book and send me your email address, I’ll gift you a free copy of any other of my books that you chose.

Readers, if you want to order your copy of The Glass House, it’s only $2.99 until July 26, then the price goes up. If you pre-order the book by the 25th and email Nancy with proof of purchase and the email address of a friend, Nancy will send that friend a free copy. 

Until next time,

Amy

 

 

Author Spotlight: Julie Moffett

Today on Reade and Write I’m excited to welcome Julie Moffett, whom I had the pleasure of meeting in person last summer at the Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival. I ran into her again at the Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Weekend in April of this year, and I’ll see her again soon in Suffolk! She’s a dynamo, as I’m sure you’ll agree, and a thoroughly wonderful person. She’s here today to talk about her newest release, No Stone Unturned. After the interview, keep reading for a special contest from Julie!

Tell me about your new book.

My newest book is called No Stone Unturned and it’s Book #11 in my geeky Lexi Carmichael Mystery Series. The book released last January. Here is the short blurb for the book:

Getting engaged is supposed to be a fun, exciting time in a girl’s life. But things are never that easy for Slash and me. Instead, someone is threatening to expose Slash’s past–a past so secret, even I know very little about it.

Before I can get used the weight of Nonna’s antique ring on my finger, he’s on his way to Rome…and we’re farther apart than we’ve ever been. Still, I have no intention of sitting at home and letting him take on the Vatican by himself.

With a little expert-level hacking, I learn Slash is keeping secrets from me. Big ones. Dangerous ones. In fact, the more I dig into Slash’s past, the more I discover things about him I never knew — things that eventually pit us against each other.

From Rome to the Amalfi coast to the highest levels of the Vatican, we both race to discover the truth. No matter what I find, we’re officially a team now, so I won’t let him face this alone. Even if I don’t know if our relationship can survive it.

Ooh. Sounds great. Who is the audience for the book?

Anyone who likes mysteries, especially those set in Italy since No Stone Unturned is set there. I love to feature locations from around the globe in every book.

Tell me about the setting in Italy—how did you choose it, what kind of research did you have to do, why did you choose it?

The setting was determined long ago as part of the story arc, and it takes mostly in Italy, and at the Vatican, especially.

What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

Since a lot of the book takes place at the Vatican, I read a LOT about how the church works, Catholic history and Vatican intrigue. It was fascinating!

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

Gah! I have no idea. I like to ask my readers and see who they come up with!

You’ve obviously written other books. 

Yes! I published my first book in 1993, so I’ve been around a loooong time. I’ve published over 21 books and written a lot more of which are hidden in the proverbial “drawer.”

Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?

My family, my brother, sister, mother, niece and father are my critique group and they are really the only ones I let read in draft other than my editor. They do a great job!

Do you write every day?

It depends. I have a full-time job and I’m a single mom, so writing time sometimes get tight. But I try to write every day.

Who are your favorite authors? Favorite genres?

I have so many favorite authors it is hard to choose just a few! I am a voracious reader across almost every genre, so a good book—no matter the author—will make me happy!

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

Egypt and the pyramids! It’s next up on my bucket list!

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t give up. If writing is your dream, stick with it. It’s easy to quit, and hard to persevere, but it’s worth it!

What is your favorite movie and why?

“Star Wars, A New Hope.” Because I was transfixed by the story and completely electrified by Princess Leia. She was so strong, take-charge and cool, that I absolutely loved it!

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Take a leap of faith in yourself.

Describe yourself in three words.

Optimistic, kind, creative.

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

Nope.

Where can readers connect with you?

We have a ton of fun in my Facebook readers group here. I do a lot of giveaways, we love to talk books, movies and mysteries, and we are really supportive of each other. Come join us!

You can also find me on other social media platforms:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/julie_moffett/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JMoffettAuthor

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/julie-moffett

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Julie-Moffett/e/B001HMQMHU/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/190485.Julie_Moffett

Where can readers find your books?

My books are sold on just about every online platform, but you can find all the links on my website: https://www.juliemoffett.com/

Julie, thank you so much for visiting Reade and Write today!

Readers, Julie has a special treat for you. She’s giving away two ecopies of Book 2.5 in her Lexi Carmichael series, No Money Down. All you have to do to be entered is leave a comment below. Good luck! I’ll randomly choose a winner Wednesday morning at 8:00 Eastern.   

Thank you so much, Amy!! ox

Until next time, 

Amy

Author Spotlight: Maria Grazia Swan

Today I welcome Maria Grazia Swan to Reade and Write. Maria is a mystery author with a novella in the soon-to-be-released collection Summer Snoops Unleashed. I’ve helped the authors of the collection promote it, and there’s one more post featuring two or three other authors coming soon.

Ready to learn more about Maria?

Tell me about your new novella.

Pies, Lies and a Last Goodbye could be seen as a short book or a long novella. It’s about 24,000 words and will be released on July 23 as part of the boxed set Summer Snoops Unleashed, as you mentioned. The link to purchase the collection is https://books2read.com/SummerSnoopsUnleashed, and as you can see, for 99¢ readers will have plenty of stories to read. I’m honored to be in the company of such great authors.

Pies, Lies and a Last Goodbye is part of my Baker Girls cozy mystery series. As you read this, books 1 and 2 of the series are available only on Amazon, but very soon (in about 10 days) all the books in the series will be available at all major online retailers.

Click this link to find Book 1, Cooks, Crooks and a Corpse, on Amazon.

Click this link to find Book 2, Foods, Fools, and a Dead Psychic, on Amazon.

Here are the covers of the books currently on Amazon:

I’m really excited to be able to share my new covers with you here! Drum roll, please…

Congratulations, Maria! I love the new covers!

Book 3 in the Baker Girls series, Wine, Dine, and Christmas Crimes, is available for pre-order now. Here’s a look at the cover and link to pre-order the book.

https://books2read.com/u/mY1NZV

Back to Pies, Lies and a Last Goodbye. I wanted to write a short book for readers not familiar with the Baker Girls series. In this novella I introduce the main characters and the feelings driving their actions. I hope new readers will like the concept and read the rest of the series.

Readers, Maria is giving away two Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) of Pies, Lies and a Last Goodbye today! All you have to do to be entered to win is comment on this post. I’ll choose the winners tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. EST.

Maria, tell us about your other books. 

Baker Girls is my 3rd series and the first one with a Phoenix/Arizona locale/settings.

My first series is the Mina Calvi Adventure mysteries. Anyone familiar with my books knows I only write about places where I have lived or at least visited personally. The Mina Calvi series has Orange County, California, as background because I lived there while writing most of the books…

…Except for book 3, Italian Summer. I wrote that back home in Italy and it’s 60% autobiographical as it pertains to settings, feelings, and habits. OK, I’m stopping here. You’ll have to read the book to fill the blanks…

My second series is the Lella York suspense series, and those books each have a different setting. Book 1, Gemini Moon: Murder Under the Italian Moon, was based on a real deadly event. A friend of mine was shot by the spouse and her blood spattered on one of my books she had on her desk at the time. It was returned to me years later and I just had to write about the shooting.

Describe yourself in three words

Loyal, passionate, truthful.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write from the heart: readers can tell. And keep in mind no one was born a writer. While some excel at it, it’s a craft. Practice makes perfect. Never give up.

Where can readers find you?

Email: mgsweb1@gmail.com

Website

Twitter

Amazon Author page

BookBub 

Subscribe to my newsletter

And where can readers find your books, besides the links you’ve already provided?

I’ve written short stories and non-fiction in addition to my mysteries. Check out my website for more information on my books.

Maria has graciously provided a recipe from one of her main characters, Monica, a cook who tends to take shortcuts. There are two versions of Pasta Primavera: the regular version and Monica’s shortcut version.

Monica’s Pasta Primavera

(This version works for vegetarians. If you are following a gluten-free diet, substitute gluten-free pasta for regular pasta. You can use your favorite brand. My choice is Barilla. ~Monica)

12 ounces of pasta (I use Barilla thin spaghetti)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Salt and pepper to taste

½ pound broccoli, trim thick stems

½ pound cauliflower

2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup heavy cream

***

Cook pasta according to directions.

While waiting for water to boil chop broccoli and cauliflower into bite size pieces.

Once the pasta is in the pot, melt butter in large skillet over low heat, but don’t let it brown. Set aside.

Two minutes before removing the pasta from the boiling pot add the chopped broccoli and cauliflower to the boiling water/pasta.

Drain well pasta and veggies, transfer to the skillet with melted butter, toss well. Add heavy cream and cheese, toss some more and serve.  (4 servings)

Buon appetito!

 

Monica’s One-Pot 15-Minute version…if you dare…serves 2

8 ounces pasta (half a package) (Barilla thin spaghetti cooks in 5-6 minutes al dente)

Salt and pepper as needed

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoon olive oil

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1-10 ounces package frozen vegetables (I like the Oriental Stir-fry plain, but any frozen vegetables would do)

***

Cook pasta according to directions.

While pasta is cooking, open frozen vegetables, discard wrapping and put vegetables in colander. Let hot water from kitchen faucet run over frozen vegetables. That way they will thaw but remain crisp.

When pasta is done, turn off faucet and pour pasta over vegetables in colander. Drain well.

Quickly return the pot in which the pasta was cooked to the same burner, add butter. Allow it to melt over a low burner but do not allow it to brown.

Pour pasta and vegetables on top of melted butter, add olive oil and toss well.

Serve with grated cheese to taste. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Sounds delicious! Thanks for visiting, Maria!

Until next time,

Amy

 

 

 

 

 

Author Spotlight: CeeCee James

Today I welcome CeeCee James, USA Today bestselling author of several mystery series. She’s here today to talk about her Flamingo Realty Mysteries and, in particular, Duplex Double Trouble. Glad you’re here, CeeCee!

Tell me about your new book.

This whole series has been incredible to write. It’s called The Flamingo Realty Mysteries, and the running story is about Stella O’Neil, who returns to her home state to try and reunite her family of stubborn men. She never expected the personal growth she would go through herself. Each story builds on the next, woven in super fun murder mysteries that she always seems caught in. The newest is called Duplex Double Trouble and I honestly love it. Stella is my hero!

Who is the audience for the book?

Anyone who loves a good clean mystery with some humor, crazy clues, and a dead guy!

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?

I chose Pennsylvania because one of the characters is in another series, The Baker Street cozy mysteries. That’s Stella’s home town that she returns to!

Interesting! I saw the covers and I assumed Florida. But Pennsylvania is near me, so that’s cool!

What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

The hardest thing is to make sure there are enough clues without giving too much away. ❤

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

If it were made into a movie I’d freak out so much I probably wouldn’t care!

Have you written any other books?

Yes! This is number 25!

Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?

I have a few critique partners I really adore. They help me keep the story in line.

Do you write every day?

Yes!

Who are your favorite authors? Favorite genres?

I have so many favorite authors! Terry Pratchett, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lucy Maud Montgomery, C.S. Lewis, Daphne du Maurier, Stephen King, James Herriot and Neil Gaiman just to name a few. I read all sorts of genres.

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

Right now, Hawaii!

I’m with you there.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Do it for yourself. Get that first draft done and save the editing for the second time through. Advice is good, but trust your own gut as well.

What is your favorite movie and why?

My favorite movie is the Lord of the Rings series. Why? Because Tolkien is one of my favorite authors and I love the series. But the books weren’t something my husband could get into. So when the movies came out, we could finally discuss it. Loved that!

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Ohhh such a good question. I’d tell myself that you’re going to be okay. Keep looking up.

Describe yourself in three words.

Loyal, Hobbity (in the ‘I really really like my home’ way, not the ‘hairy feet’ way), and Creative

Where can readers connect with you?

Find me on Facebook! Or my Amazon Author page!

Where can readers find your books?

https://www.amazon.com/CeeCee-James/e/B00IJNN6LA

Thank you so much! This was so fun!!

Thanks for visiting, CeeCee! I enjoyed having you here.

Until next time,

Amy

Author Spotlight: Carolyn Ridder Aspenson

Today on Reade and Write I welcome Carolyn Ridder Aspenson to the hot seat. She’s here to talk about her newest release, Get Up and Ghost. Welcome, Carolyn!

Tell me about your new book.

I just published the first book in a new paranormal cozy mystery series. Get Up and Ghost is a psychic medium mystery about a woman who works for the historical society in a small North Georgia town called Castleberry. She falls down the last part of the stairs at work, bumps her head and suddenly starts seeing ghosts. She doesn’t realize it at first, but it becomes fairly obvious quickly. When a local resident is murdered, and she’s the last one to see him alive, she’s determined to prove her innocence, with the help of a long-dead woman from the town, who’s also in need of her help.

 

Who is the audience for the book?

This is a cozy, so it’s clean — no sex, no swearing, no death on the page. The main character is a mother in her mid-forties and recently divorced, with two senior aged friends and a younger coworker, so I feel like I’ve hit a lot of the variants for different types of women.

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?

I live in the southern part of North Georgia, and I know this area well. The town is fictional, but I modeled it after a few local towns nearby to give it a traditional small town, North Georgia appeal. Since I’ve lived here for 23 years, I have a fairly decent handle on the area, and have incorporated some of the local flare and stories into this first book, and the second one I’m working on for the series. Each of the ‘haunting’ type stories (the ghosts of time past) will have a bit of truth to them for the area. Well, truth in the sense that it’s a story from here, though I’m not sure the ghosts are actually real. I’ve yet to see any, though I’ve certainly looked!

What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

Two things tie as the hardest part. First and foremost, I have another mystery series (it’s NOT a cozy by definition at all) with a psychic medium. I needed to make the character unique, and the storyline different. That character does make an appearance though, because she’s from an area close by. I also have another cozy series in a similar area, so I had to keep them different also. They are similar in some ways because there are two older women characters, but they are different types of older characters, and the main character is different. I’m hoping they will all be unique in their own ways.

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

Oh gosh. That’s a tough one. I’m still getting to know them all. I do feel like one of the older women is a bit similar to Betty White’s character on “Golden Girls,” but I think Betty’s retired by now! I’d definitely go with a Hallmark actress, because this series has that appeal, other than the paranormal element. I could see Erin Krakow as the lead. I think the two older women would be well played by someone like Sissy Spacek. Wouldn’t that be great to have someone of that caliber in a movie about my book? Gosh, I’d be so excited!

Have you written any other books?

I have, I think, 21 books out now. Some are novellas, but I’ve got about that many published. I’ve got my Angela Panther Mystery series, which is not the cozy mysteries, and then the Lily Sprayberry Realtor Cozy series. I also have a few romances, but those weren’t my thing. I guess I’m not very romantic! I’ve also done a great deal of ghost writing, but those books are all business and nonfiction.

Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?

I have a partner that I swap books with and we help each other, but other than that, no. I’ve found everyone has their own unique writing style, and I don’t like to infringe on that.

Do you write every day?

Since I’m now completely self-published (I was traditional for a while, but no longer) I consider this a business and treat it as such. I write for about 5 hours a day at this point and handle other business related things for an hour or so also.

Who are your favorite authors? Favorite genres?

I’m such a book snob! It’s a horrible thing. I grew up reading mysteries from Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys to more intense thrillers by Jonathan Kellerman and the like. Hands down, my favorite writer is Robert B. Parker. The Spenser series is my favorite series. When Mr. Parker died, I cried. I am also a big fan of Robert Crais, and I love the Elvis Cole books so much.

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

Back in time. I’d like to go back fifteen years to when my parents were both here and healthy and spend more time with them.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

I think the same thing most people would. Write every single day. Learn the craft and do what you can to improve. Hire an editor. Writing a novel isn’t easy and there is a lot to learn to make it something others want to read. Learn that ever-changing element.

What is your favorite movie and why?

I have two. I love “Shawshank Redemption” because the friendship theme is astounding. I recently found out that Mr. King wrote that, (Yes, I live under a rock) and I was shocked! It’s not his typical book at all, but it was so good.

My second favorite is “When Harry Met Sally.” I just loved the concept of that and Billy Crystal? He was the perfect pick for that lead. I loved that story.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Care less about what other people think sooner.

Describe yourself in three words.

Wife. Mother. Friend.

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

Nope!

Where can readers connect with you?

I’m on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolynridderaspensonauthor

My website is carolynridderaspenson.com where you can access my newsletter. I send it out once a week.

And I am also on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/carolynridderaspenson/.

I’m not a Twitter gal. I’m Italian. I need more than a few characters to say my thoughts.

Where can readers find your books?

Right now I’m primarily on Amazon, but Get Up and Ghost is on Kobo, iTunes and Barnes & Noble for a limited time. It just released there today!

The Lily Sprayberry Cozy Mystery Boxed Set (books 1-3) are at books2read.com/u/49oGEX.

Congratulations on your new release! Thanks for visiting. 

Until next time,

Amy

 

Author Interview: Cindy Davis

Today I welcome author Cindy Davis to Reade and Write. I met Cindy on Twitter and was drawn first to the descriptions of her mysteries. As I learned more about her, I found that she also writes non-fiction books on topics ranging from self-editing to online dating to small dog breeding and more. She is originally from New Hampshire, but now enjoys living in Florida. So let’s get started.

Tell me about your mystery books.

A Little Murder is the first of my 6-book series set at Lake Winnipesaukee, NH. Angie Deacon is a high-maintenance ER nurse who buys a day of fishing for her husband’s birthday. A murder on the boat causes her to learn things about herself that were probably better off not brought out in the open.

Who is the audience for the series?

I write very complex plots with lots of twists and turns, so people who enjoy that sort of thing like my stories. I’ve never had anyone say they knew whodunit. Well, except that one person who said they knew on the first page, which was impossible because the murderer didn’t show up that early.

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?

I lived in New Hampshire at the time. I loved the Lakes Region with its beautiful scenery and small town charm. The setting provided many unique places to set murders. When I say that in mixed company (authors and regular people) I get a mixture of reactions. I was on the craft fair circuit and spent a lot of time there.

What was the hardest thing about writing the A Little Murder?

Deciding to add a police detective. When I set up the series, I determined it would be different from mysteries you buy at the bookstores—the books where you can tell the killer by page 5. I didn’t want police or a detective because they appear in all the stories. But by the time the murder happened in A Little Murder, I’d realized I needed someone to play off Angie—someone who could provide her with legitimate information by which to solve crimes. Detective Colby Jarvis was born. He’s a bit overweight and balding, a widower who works to keep from having to think about his life.

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

I can’t really answer this because I don’t watch television and I see very few movies. Although I always envisioned Cameron Diaz as Angie. FYI, the series is currently with a scriptwriter for submission to TV.

Have you written any other books?

I have a three-book cozy mystery series which features two thoroughly opposite women Phoebe (don’t call me that unless you have a death wish) Smith & (ex-Susie Homemaker) Westen Hughes. They are high-end insurance investigators. I developed this series to get away from murder mysteries and have some fun. I also have two stand-alone mysteries and two women’s fiction. See links below.

Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?

I belonged to a writers group for more than ten years. It was the best thing I ever did for my writing development. We ended up being good friends. The group only disbanded because three of us moved away. The right group can provide mentoring, education, and lifelong friendships.

Do you write every day?

Pretty much. I’m also an editor and sometimes my day job gets in the way. I’m currently working in a whole new genre—New Age. The first book is co-authored with my husband and is with our agent now.

Who are your favorite authors? Favorite genres?

I don’t really have a favorite genre. I enjoy any book that’s well written. Consequently, I have a number of favorite authors. A British author from the 70s, Ruth Rendell does amazing development. Ken Follett and James Michener feature amazing plots. Sandra Brown’s mysteries and Melinda Leigh’s emotion. I especially enjoyed Gone with the Wind because it incorporated adventure, history, romance, and even humor.

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

Rick and I have a ginormous bucket list. We’re going to Macchu Picchu, Peru, in December. Book three in the New Age trilogy will be set there, so it’s as much research as fun. We’re checking prices to Italy right now. Since I’ve already been there, I think my biggest bucket list item is to ride the Orient Express.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Two things. Never think you’re done learning. Keep striving to improve your writing skills. And second, get your book edited. Not by an English teacher. I know I’ll take some flack for this and I agree that teachers are awesome for punctuation and grammar, but they aren’t trained in story development or the fine-tuning it takes to bring your story to the next level—things like filter words, head hopping, and show don’t tell.

What is your favorite movie and why?

I stopped watching television and movies many years ago but I guess I’d say Romancing the Stone with Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas. I liked the quirky humor and adventurous, unique plot.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Gosh, so many things. I guess I’ll stick with the topic of writing and say I wish I’d started honing my craft earlier in my life.

Describe yourself in three words.

Youthful, curious, sarcastic.

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

Where I met my husband: Match.com. LOL. Just kidding, but I always like to talk about that. But no, your questions really made me think.

Where can readers connect with you?

I hang out on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Bookbub.

Where can readers find your books?

My books are on Amazon and my website.

Thanks so much for having me here. It was great fun.

And thank you, Cindy. It was lovely having you here. 

Until next time,

Amy

A Quadruple Treat!

Today I’m thrilled to welcome four authors to Reade and Write! One of them, Heather Weidner, you may recognize from earlier visits to the blog. The others are Teresa Inge, Jayne Ormerod, and Rosemary Shomaker. They’re here to discuss their new compilation of stories, To Fetch a Thief.

Here’s the blurb from 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.

Welcome, ladies! First of all, you should know that To Catch a Thief is one of my favorite movies of all time, so you had me at the title. Tell us about your book.

All four of the stories in To Fetch a Thief are cozy, dog-themed mysteries. We all have dogs, and it seemed like a good fit for the four of us.

* * *

“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 which had been frozen by a failed relationship, an unfulfilling job, and a judgmental mother. Events shift Adam’s perspective and push him to act.

Since the compilation is being released so close to Christmas, is there a holiday theme in addition to animals? Is there a classic movie theme, perhaps?

This is the first in the Mutt Mysteries series, and we were talking last weekend at a book festival about using a holiday theme for a future installment. All of the stories in this one have some kind of theft involved.

How long did it take you to write the book?

The four of us met about a year ago at the Williamsburg Winery. (Williamsburg, Virginia is about the midpoint between Richmond and Tidewater for the four of us. We decided to work on this cozy compilation, so the stories started to take shape last year. We kicked into high gear this summer with peer and formal edits (and all the tasks that go into getting a manuscript ready for publication).

Are these full-length novels, novellas, or short stories?

The four are novellas.

What types of books do you love to read?

Heather: I love all kinds of mysteries, thrillers, history, and biography.

Teresa: Cozy mysteries. I read them to help develop my craft and see what the latest trends are with mysteries. Although I do not follow trends I still like to know what readers like.

Jayne: I love to read light books, be they mystery or light-hearted woman’s fiction. I will do an occasional historical novel. And once a year (usually January) I push myself to read one challenging book (some sort of classic or literary fiction book). Last year I got through The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins.

Rosie: I devour mysteries, adventure stories, and stories of the classic “hero’s journey.” I find that a tale of a hero on an adventure who is challenged and fails—but then is victorious—is a rich story arc applicable to many genres. That the hero comes home changed or transformed is the outcome, and I like to see main characters mature. I studied English in college and was captivated by beautiful and/or beautifully crafted language, but now I cannot read books that “meander.” I like a book with a destination. Mysteries are great for that.

What is your favorite movie, classic or otherwise?

Heather: I love the classic film noirs like The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, and The Postman Always Rings Twice. I also love action movies with characters like Jack Reacher and Jason Bourne. And being an 80s Girl, the classics like St. Elmo’s Fire, Sixteen Candles, Footloose, and The Breakfast Club will always be favorites.

Teresa: Bringing up Baby. It’s a classic screwball comedy with Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. The film features a series of misadventures and chaos to find a missing dinosaur bone and pet leopard. It captures the audience’s attention to love both characters.

Jayne: Classic. Hands down. Thanks to Amazon Prime we have plenty to choose from on Sunday night!

Rosie: I can still remember when I first saw Raiders of the Lost Ark. Talk about an adventure! That had it all for me—travel, intellect, history, villains, surprises, suspense, and a fast pace. I was a very impressionable young person when the movie came out, and I will always like that film.

What is the hardest thing about writing, in your opinion?

Heather: It’s often difficult to stay focused with all the distractions and life events. Writing is often the easy part. The rounds and rounds of editing, critique group reviews, and editorial reviews are where the work really starts.

Teresa: Writing is a solitary form, but the editing process is the most challenging. I want my stories to draw reader’s attention with the opening paragraph, but sometimes it’s hard to find the right words. That’s where multiple edits come into play.

Jayne: Editing.  I don’t like to reread things. So rereading it a dozen times is painful, albeit necessary.

Rosie: I’m such an editor, that the hardest part of writing for me is to stop editing as I write. I have to cast my grammar and usage inhibitions to the wind and just get on with writing and access the creative flow. I find that hard and can only get to that point by forgiving myself for errors and allowing the non-judgmental creative process. I find that I benefit from writing longhand when channeling the gift. The editing begins with transcribing the longhand.

Heather, you’ve been a guest on Reade and Write in the past, when you visited to talk about your debut novel, Secret Lives and Private Eyes. Can you tell us a little bit about your second novel, The Tulip Shirt Murders?

Heather: The Tulip Shirt Murders is the second in my Delanie Fitzgerald series. She is a sassy Private Investigator in Central Virginia who gets herself in and out of humorous situations like larping (live-action role playing) and trading elbow jabs with roller derby queens. When a music producer hires Delanie and her computer hacker partner, Duncan Reynolds, to find out who is bootlegging his artists’ CDs, Delanie uncovers more than just copyright thieves. And if chasing bootleggers isn’t bad enough, local strip club owner and resident sleaze, Chaz Smith, pops back into Delanie’s life with more requests. The police have their man in a gruesome murder, but the loud-mouthed strip club owner thinks there is more to the open and shut case. Delanie and Duncan link a series of killings with no common threads. And they must put the rest of the missing pieces together before someone else is murdered.

All of you are also accomplished short story writers, with stories in several anthologies, including Virginia is for Mysteries, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, and 50 Shades of Cabernet, which I loved (I haven’t read the others yet). Do you prefer writing short stories or novels, or is that like comparing apples to oranges?

Heather: Thanks, so much!

I like writing both novels and short stories. The novels give me a chance to explore longer story lines with more characters. The short stories challenge me to tell a mystery in a shorter timespan and space. In the short story, every word counts. I think it’s harder to write short stories, but they give me the opportunity to try new techniques that I often don’t get when writing a novel.

What’s next for all of you?

Heather: I am working on the third novel in the Delanie Fitzgerald series. It’s called Glitter, Glam, and Contraband. I am also working on a new cozy mystery set in Charlottesville, Virginia. I had a non-fiction piece accepted in the Sisters in Crime book marketing anthology, Promophobia, and that will be out next year, along with a short story, “Art Attack” in the Deadly Southern Charm: A Lethal Ladies Mystery Anthology.

Teresa: Book two of the Mutt Mysteries series, and I am writing a wine mystery located in the Outer Banks.

Jayne: Goin’ Coastal, a compilation of short and novella-lengthy cozy mysteries set along the shore. Should be out before the New Year.

Rosie: I’ve mainly written short stories. Writing a novella was a huge step for me—and a hard step for me. I’m mustering my courage to attack the next big challenge—the novel. Stay tuned! Thank you for supporting authors and promoting mysteries.

So, where can we find To Fetch a Thief?

Amazon 

Nook

Kobo

Apple

24 Symbols

And where can we learn more about To Fetch a Thief?

Website

Facebook

Twitter

 

Thank you all so much for visiting us today. I hope all of you will come back to talk about your new endeavors!

Keep reading, readers, because there’s a special recipe at the bottom…

About the Authors

Teresa Inge

Teresa 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.

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

 

Heather Weidner

Heather Weidner, a member of SinC – Central Virginia and Guppies, is the author of the Delanie 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.

Website and Blog

Pens, Paws and Claws Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Goodreads

Pinterest

LinkedIn

BookBub

AllAuthor

YouTube

Jayne Omerod

Jayne 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.

Website

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

Amazon Author

Rosemary Shomaker

Rosemary Shomaker writes about the unexpected in everyday life. She’s the woman you 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.

Instagram

Twitter

I promised you a special recipe!

 

Jocelyn’s Peanut Butter Dog Treats

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup of peanut butter (smooth)
  • 2/3 cup of pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups of flour

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350o
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Beat the pumpkin puree, peanut butter, and eggs on medium to medium-high. Make sure everything is mixed well.
  4. Add flower and mix.
  5. Flour a surface and knead your dough. Roll out your dough to about a ½ or ¼ inch thickness. Choose fun cookie cutter shapes and cut out your cookies.
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes (until brown).

Enjoy!

Until next time,

Amy

 

Author Interview: Jane Kelly

Today I welcome Jane Kelly, author of several books set in and around Philadelphia, PA, and south Jersey. She’s also very active in Mystery Writers of America. I first heard Jane speak on a panel at Malice Domestic, an annual conference for readers and writers of mysteries. She and I have kept in touch since then, and I’m honored that she’s here for an interview today.

Let’s start by talking about your new book. What’s the title and what’s it all about?

My amateur sleuth, Meg Daniels, visits another shore town in Greetings from Ventnor City.  After her successful mission in Missing You in Atlantic City, she finds herself viewed as somewhat of a missing persons specialist—as well as an expert in the 1960s. Reluctantly, she reaches back to 1968, a very different 1960s from the 1964 of the Atlantic City book, to locate a Ventnor college student who has not been seen since a day of protests at the Miss America pageant. She takes along a new, temporary, investigating partner, a rock star who aspires to see how the other 99% lives.

Tell us a little about your other books.

Killing Time in Ocean City, Cape Mayhem and Wrong Beach Island are light mysteries. I always call them polite and warn people, if they like blood and guts, my books are not for them. My amateur sleuth solves crimes in New Jersey beach towns where visitors do not expect trouble. Missing You in Atlantic City is the first book that adds a historical element when Meg takes on a cold case.

(Click on the covers below to be redirected to Amazon if you want to learn more…Amy)

  

 

   

I also have written books featuring different sleuths set in Philadelphia that I published as e-books for Kindle only. The Writing in Time series deals with cold cases set against the backdrop of significant moments in Philadelphia social history e.g. the September Swoon of the 1964 Phillies. I have only written the first of the Widow Lady series that starts out in 1960 in a neighborhood much like the one where I grew up.

Tell me about your inspiration for Meg Daniels, the main character in your New Jersey beach towns series.

I started reading female sleuths in the 1980s: Sue Grafton, Sara Paretsky, Marcia Muller. I especially loved Carole Berry’s books. Her amateur detective was an office temp, whose lack of investigative credentials made me wonder if I could overcome my own lack of technical knowledge and create an amateur detective.

Do you spend time at the Jersey shore? What are some of your favorite places to visit?

When I was a baby, my family always spent the summer in Wildwood Crest, but my mother protested that everyone else got a vacation and she just moved her job. So after the age of three, I never again spent the entire summer at the shore. For several years, my parents would take me to a very elegant guest house in Ventnor where my mother could relax. In the winter, my father, a fair-skinned redhead, would take us to Atlantic City for winter weekends.

As I got older, my Philadelphia classmates often got to bring ‘a friend’ with them on vacation. So I became a ‘friend’ and spent time in many different locales: Ocean City, Cape May, Long Beach Island, Stone Harbor, Strathmere, Sea Isle City. Even different areas within each locale. So, I love revisiting all these locales—at any time of year.

My favorite spot? I love the Oyster Creek Inn in Leed’s Point. No matter how often we go, my friends and I always take pictures. We age, but the scenery stays gorgeous.

What does a typical work day look like for you?

I wish I had a typical day. I once set up a daily regimen that started with a brisk walk. On the first day, I took the walk, came home and slept for three hours. I abandoned that routine, but no matter what I have to do on any day, I make sure I write first.

Can you tell us something about Meg Daniels that the rest of the world doesn’t know?

She shares everything with her readers. They have full access to her internal dialog, but there may be some aspects of her past that she hasn’t revealed yet. Not even to me.

What is the hardest thing about writing, in your opinion?

I love writing. I adore editing. But putting the story together in a clear and well-paced order is the  most challenging aspect for me.

Who are your favorite authors to read?

I read a lot of non-fiction, mostly Cold War history and memoir.  Right now I have two fiction projects: 1) to reread classic mysteries, and 2) to read the books of the writers I meet. I am horribly behind on both.

What is your favorite movie and why?

The summer Jurassic Park opened I didn’t see it for weeks because Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing was playing in the same theater and I would walk up to the box office and say “One for Jur . . . Much Ado About Nothing.”

I also love older romantic comedies from the era when I was the same age as the characters. I would love to hang out with the crowd in Notting Hill.

What advice would you give your twenty-year-old self?

“When you are forty, you are going to discover that you like writing novels. You might want to get started now.”

Describe yourself in three words.

I can only say what I aspire to be. Open-minded. Humorous. Kind.

Are you in a writing group or a critique group?

No. I am afraid of them. Always have been. I think I would be too easily discouraged. On the flip side, I don’t feel qualified to give advice. I know what I like but I don’t believe that makes it right.

Is there anything I didn’t ask that you wanted me to?

Want to meet for lunch sometime?

Definitely! You name the time and place. Thanks so much for being here today, Jane.

Until next time,

Amy