50 Shades of Cabernet

It is my great pleasure to have THREE authors here today–Maggie King, Kristin Kisska, and Heather Weidner. They’re here to discuss their stories in the newly-released anthology 50 Shades of Cabernet. This book, perhaps more than any other I’ve discussed on my blog, fits in perfectly with the theme of my blog which, besides reading and writing, is wine!

I should apologize in advance that some of the links below have to be copied and pasted into another browser for them to work. I tried two dozen times to get the links to work for this post, and unfortunately not all of them do.

  

Let’s get started. Here’s how it’s going to work: the authors, arranged alphabetically, will each provide an answer to my questions.

How does an author get invited to participate in an anthology?

Maggie: I have stories in the Virginia is for Mysteries and Virginia is for Mysteries Vol. II anthologies. They were collaborations with two Sisters in Crime chapters: Central Virginia and Mystery by the Sea (Virginia Beach). Participation was open to all chapter members.

Teresa Inge and Jayne Ormerod, editors for 50 Shades of Cabernet, honored me with an invitation to submit a story. I had worked with Teresa and Jayne on the Virginia is for Mysteries projects.

Kristin: Authors can contribute to anthologies in many different ways.  Some are contests which have calls for open submission, while others are through writing groups (Sisters in Crime has many local chapters which publish mystery anthologies).  In the case of 50 Shades of Cabernet, I was personally invited to contribute by the organizers of the anthology.

Heather: Each anthology has its own criteria for submitting stories. For 50 Shades of Cabernet, the organizers, Teresa Inge and Jayne Ormerod, invited short story authors to participate.

Tell us about some of the other short stories you’ve written.

Maggie:

“A Not So Genteel Murder”, Virginia is for Mysteries:

A birthday party at Richmond’s historic Kent-Valentine House sets the scene for this tale of betrayal, loss, and the power of family ties.

After two years, Sharon Taylor is still reeling from the deaths of her husband and daughter, but she drags herself to her friend’s party. Divorcee Olivia Thompson has her eye on Sherwood Aimsley as her new husband and is devastated when he shows up at the party with a statuesque beauty on his arm.

Sharon and Olivia keep each other company while their happier friends whoop it up and spread cheer. Until truth and illusion collide … and the evening ends in tragedy.

“Reunion in Shockoe Slip”, Virginia is for Mysteries II:

One day bestselling author Nancy McGregor and Internet security expert Roger Rucker meet by chance in Richmond, Virginia’s historic Shockoe Slip. Thirty years before they were lovers in sunny Southern California. Their reunion sets off a series of memories and events that change their lives forever.

Kristin: All of my short stories have been loosely connected to the mystery genre.

“The Sevens” was a fictional origin tale of a very real secret society at the University of Virginia and included a murder.

“A Colonial Grave” is a contemporary mystery in which a William and Mary architecture student stumbles on the bones of a cold case murder at a dig in Colonial Williamsburg.

“Wine and Prejudice” is a flirty little bling-heist set in the Historic District of Savannah.

Finally, “To the Moon and Back” is a dark psychological suspense story in which a mother goes to extreme lengths to save her daughter.

Heather: 

In “Washed up” in Virginia is for Mysteries, a suitcase with a rusty gun and shriveled hand appears on the beach outside of a struggling bar near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel in Virginia Beach. A friend of the bar’s owner seems to know where it came from, and he gains instant celebrity with his story about a paranormal experience. The attention does wonders for the bar’s profits until something ordinary provides the missing piece of the puzzle.

In “Spring Cleaning” in Virginia is for Mysteries II, medical records manager Douglas Weimer gets more than he bargained for when he’s moved onto a new team and receives a project with a drop-dead delivery date. His assignment in Roanoke, Virginia, gives new meaning to work deadlines.

Where can we find your other short stories?

Maggie: Wherever fine books are sold: in brick-and-mortar stores or on Amazon (print and e-book):

Virginia is for Mysteries: http://amzn.to/2oNlcdQ

Virginia is for Mysteries II: http://amzn.to/2qfTXsT

Kristin: The anthologies are available in ebook (Kindle & Nook) and paperback versions via Barnes & Noble and Amazon.  Below are links:

“The Sevens” in Murder Under The Oaks

A Colonial Grave” Virginia is for Mysteries: Volume II

“Wine and Prejudice” 50 Shades of Cabernet

“To the Moon and Back” Day of the Dark (available July 2017)

Heather: I’ve written short stories for Virginia is for Mysteries and Virginia is for Mysteries Volume II.

Do you also submit stories to magazines and literary journals?

Maggie: So far, no. That’s part of my long range plan.

Kristin: No, I haven’t. Yet.

Heather: No. I haven’t submitted stories to magazines and journals yet. I’m working on two different mystery novels at the moment.

If you also write novels, do you write short stories in the same genre as your novels or do you prefer to branch out?

Maggie: I do write novels and they’re very different from my short stories. My novels are traditional mysteries with a crime and an investigation; the killer, or killers, are nabbed in the end and justice is served.

My short stories are morally ambiguous. Justice is served, kind of, but not in the conventional way. I can’t say more—you must read them!

Kristin: Yes.  Both my novels, neither of which are currently published, are contemporary suspense, a subgenre of mystery.

Heather: Yes, all my short stories and novels are mysteries. They tend to be traditional mysteries. My Delanie Fitzgerald mysteries have a female private investigator, and I’m working on a cozy series set near Charlottesville, Virginia.

How long have you been writing short stories?

Maggie: Since 2012.

Kristin: I started writing short stories in 2015 after I’d penned my first novel.  My local chapter of Sisters in Crime was gearing up to publish a sequel anthology to their first successful one, Virginia is for Mysteries.  I wrote two stories, but the chapter had such a large response, they could only accept one story from each author.  I submitted my second story to Bouchercon’s Murder Under the Oaks anthology contest, and I won.

Heather: I’ve been writing short stories since the early 1980s (7th grade). I wrote and illustrated a mystery about a dog who was a detective.

How did the theme for 50 Shades of Cabernet come about?

Maggie: Teresa Inge and Jayne Ormerod were relaxing at their favorite wine bar, contemplating their next anthology project. As they sipped their Cabernet, they looked at each other and exclaimed in unison, “Cabernet! Wine-themed mysteries!”

They never would say how the 50 Shades came into play. Maybe they didn’t want to admit to reading the steamy bestseller, 50 Shades of Grey? Or did they decide that a send-up of a popular title that is now part of the lexicon was a smart marketing ploy? Whatever their thought process, I think it was inspired.

Kristin: I was never told how our organizers for the anthology were inspired, but I assume there was a lot of wine involved.

That said, my short story, “Wine and Prejudice” was inspired by a recent trip to Savannah.  The fountain, the ancient oak trees dripping with Spanish moss, the park squares, and even the old cotton warehouses along the river all created an enchanting setting for a short story.

My story is: When a bride-to-be’s diamond bracelet goes missing, only wine and time and reveal the true thief.

Heather: Mysteries pair well with a variety of wines. It’s a fun theme. And we held several of our anthology planning meetings at local wineries.

What do you think is harder—writing short stories or writing novels? Which do you prefer?

Maggie: I love writing both, but writing novels is harder. Aside from the length, novelists are expected to conform to exacting standards for plot, characterization, and writing style. With short fiction, an author is freer to experiment. An agent is not required. Still, the writing must be concise and  top notch. If I had to choose (thankfully, I don’t) I’d devote my writing to short stories.

Kristin: In general, I prefer writing novels because I have more pages and time to develop characters.  However, with short stories, I’ve been able to experiment with structure and storytelling techniques.  It’s also lovely to go from story idea to seeing my work in print in less than a year, which is an extremely short timeline in the publishing world.

Heather: I like writing both. I get to experiment more with themes, plot lines, and characterization in short stories. But I think short stories are harder to write because they are more compact, and every word counts. Many journals and anthologies have word limits, and you have to be able to have all of the elements of a mystery in just a few pages.

Tell us about yourselves personally. Where are you from, what jobs have you held in the past, and what do you love most about writing?

Maggie: I’m from New Jersey and have lived in Massachusetts and California. These days I call Richmond, Virginia home.

I started my career as a retail sales manager and customer service supervisor before taking on my longest stint as a software developer. In 1999 I took a break from IT. I’m still on that break! For a time I had a computer training business, did web design, worked and volunteered for non-profits.

What I love most about writing is creating great, but ordinary characters and putting them in extraordinary situations to test their mettle. I get much satisfaction from seeing justice served in an unjust world—even if it’s just make-believe. I also love mining my past experiences and people I’ve known for story ideas. I don’t expect the well to dry up anytime soon.

Kristin: I live in Richmond, Virginia with my husband and three children. I own a marketing company and write whenever I can carve out a spare half hour.  That’s a tall order, some days!  I like to call myself an MBA-turned-fictionista because my first love was working on Wall Street as a financial analyst and a corporate banker.

I didn’t aspire to write anything more than a Facebook post or corporate memo, but one day I was inspired by an idea for a novel that I just couldn’t shake.  A week later, I had a detailed eight-page outline of the plot and started writing.  That was nine years ago, and I’ve been writing fiction ever since.

I love that my writing is about being a conduit for transcribing the creative ideas that ignite in my brain.  Nothing makes me happier than when my characters take over and write the story themselves. I’m only along for the ride (and the typing).

Heather: I am a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Guppies, Lethal Ladies Write, and James River Writers. Secret Lives and Private Eyes is my debut novel.

Originally from Virginia Beach, I have been a mystery fan since Scooby Doo and Nancy Drew. I live in Central Virginia with my husband and a pair of crazy Jack Russell terriers.

I earned my BA in English from Virginia Wesleyan College and my MA in American literature from the University of Richmond. Through the years, I have been a technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager.

The thing that I love most about writing is the whole process. I love to research, plot stories, write, and revise. It’s a chance to create another world and a variety of people/characters.

Do you find it easier to promote an anthology rather than a novel? Why?

Maggie: In some ways, yes. Anthologies generate exposure for the participating authors.   Coordinating promotion efforts among the contributing authors can amplify the effects, making it an effective strategy.

However, while anthologies have gained in prestige in recent years, they still take a back seat to novels.

Kristin: Neither of my novels is published yet, so I don’t have much to compare from personal experience.  Logically though, I believe that sharing the energy, fan bases, and resources of nineteen authors to promote an anthology would be more effective than a single author promoting a novel.

Heather: The work is the same, but I think it’s easier to promote an anthology because there are multiple authors. Everyone has different skills and talents, and it’s nice to be able to divide up the work. Plus, there is power in numbers on social media. I am on the planning team for this anthology, and we worked with the authors to share the tasks. I chair the social media group, and we’re responsible for the website, Facebook, and Twitter pages. We’ve hosted online events and coordinated a blog tour.

Are you a wine drinker? If so, do you like cabernet?

Maggie: I am not a wine drinker. I do drink grape juice and eat grapes so I’m not too far off course ;-). I attend an annual winetasting fundraiser in Richmond (much like the one in “Wine, Women, and Wrong,” sans stabbing), so I get to observe the goings on and make up stories.

Kristin: I love wine and try to go to the Virginia Wine Trail vineyards every year!  My book club jokes that we’re technically a *wine club with a book problem*.  My favorite go-to wine is Italian pinot grigio, but I definitely reach for a good cabernet sauvignon on occasion.

Heather: I am a wine novice, so I’m doing my 2017 wine tour on my blog as we promote the book at wineries, wine shops, and vineyards. I’m posting what I learn and stories of our adventures. (I’m allergic to sulfites, so I stick mostly with iced tea.)

Tell us where we can find 50 Shades of Cabernet.

For the answer to this question, I’m taking the liberty of combining the responses of my three guests.

You can find 50 Shades of Cabernet at your favorite bookstore or online. The link to the book on Barnes & Noble is http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/50-shades-of-cabernet-various-authors/1125894631?ean=9781633933576. The link to the book on Amazon is https://www.amazon.com/50-Shades-Cabernet-Mysterious-Anthology-ebook/dp/B06XH65CP7/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1493665772&sr=8-1&keywords=50+shades+of+cabernet

50 Shades of Cabernet also has its own website, Twitter page, and Facebook page! You can find the website at https://www.50shadesofcabernet.com/, the Twitter page at https://twitter.com/50ShdsCabernet, and the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/50ShadesofCabernet/.

And last but not least, the anthology authors are appearing at a variety of locations and events. This is the link to their events calendar. Stop by and see them. https://www.50shadesofcabernet.com/events/

Please share your social media links with us.

Maggie:

Website: http://www.maggieking.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MaggieKingAuthr

Instagram: maggie8208

Kristin:

Website – www.KristinKisska.com

Twitter- https://twitter.com/KKMHOO

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/KristinKisskaAuthor

Heather:

Website and Blog: http://www.heatherweidner.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeatherWeidner1

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

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8121854.Heather_Weidner

Amazon Authors: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HOYR0MQ

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/HeatherBWeidner/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/heather-weidner-0064b233?trk=hp-identity-name

Anything you wish I’d asked? Anything else you’d like to say?

Maggie: Amy, your questions are great and we appreciate the chance to promote 50 Shades of Cabernet.

Kristin: Aside from buying their book(s), how can a reader support a starting-out author? All the following suggestions are completely free:

  • Request their local library stock the author’s book(s).
  • Follow the author on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/Goodreads, etc.
  • Tweet or post pictures of the author’s book *in the wild* (either on a trip you take or if you see it in a local bookstore). Be sure to tag the author and the location.
  • Encourage your book club to read it. Many authors will Skype/Facetime with the club to answer questions and comments!
  • Sign up for the author’s newsletter/blog (usually via their website).
  • Attend one of the author’s book events (in person or online).
  • Participate in giveaway contests the author hosts. Encourage your reader friends, too!
  • Connect with an author. Leave comments on their blog. Ask questions.  We’re people, too!
  • And probably the single most important, leave reviews! Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, or anywhere.

Heather: I am honored to be a part of this anthology with so many talented and creative writers. I love anthologies because you can read one or two stories in a sitting, and you get to sample a lot of different literary styles.

Ladies, what a treat it’s been having all of you here today. I wish you continued success with 50 Shades of Cabernet and I hope that you’ll each come back to Reade and Write when you have other projects coming out!

Until next time,

Amy

P.S. Heather’s debut novel, Secret Lives and Private Eyes, can be found at https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Lives-Private-Eyes-Fitzgerald-ebook/dp/B01FGRFI1C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1493664322&sr=8-1&keywords=secret+lives+and+private+eyes. You’ll have to copy and paste the link into your browser like some of the others above.

Author Spotlight: Maggie King, Part II

Maggie King Author Photo 72

Today I welcome Maggie King back to Reade and Write. You may remember she was here back in June talking about her book Murder at the Book Group (you can read that interview here). She’s here again to talk about her new book, Murder at the Moonshine Inn. I was lucky enough to read an advance copy of the book, and I can highly recommend it! Maggie has a gift for being able to direct a reader’s attention everywhere but the real culprit, and I thoroughly enjoyed the read.

Welcome back, Maggie!

Tell us about your new book.

murder-at-the-moonshine-inn-cover-low

Hazel Rose is back, giving an Oscar-worthy performance when she goes undercover at a redneck bar.

When high-powered executive Roxanne Howard dies in a pool of blood outside the Moonshine Inn, Richmond, Virginia’s premiere redneck bar, the victim’s sister enlists Hazel Rose to ferret out the killer. At first Hazel balks—she’s a romance writer, not a detective. But Brad Jones, Rox’s husband, is the prime suspect. He’s also Hazel’s cousin, and Hazel believes in doing anything to help family. Never mind that Brad won’t give her the time of day—he’s still family.

Hazel recruits her book group members to help with the investigation. It’s not long before they discover any number of people who feel that a world without Rox Howard is just fine with them: Brad’s son believes that Rox and Brad were behind his mother’s death; Rox’s former young lover holds Rox responsible for a tragedy in his family; and one of Rox’s employees filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against her. The killer could be an angry regular from the Moonshine Inn—or just about anyone who ever crossed paths with the willful and manipulative Rox.

When a second murder ups the ante, Hazel must find out who is behind the killings. And fast. Or she may be victim #3.

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

Two years, approximately.

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 linear outline, but I write the scenes separately and not always in order—much the way scenes are filmed in movies and TV. I may have a great idea for a scene and want to get it down while I have the inspiration.

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

Back in her hippie days, book group member Sarah Rubottom had a fling with a hot rock star!

Do you have any writing rituals?

My daily walks let me charge up my creativity and allow for a free flowing of ideas.

What time of day do you do your best writing?

Afternoon. While most people of any profession say they’re morning or night people, I’ve always been at my most productive and creative in the afternoon.

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

I haven’t to date, but I’d love to attend one. I have friends who return again and again to The Porches and Nimrod Hall, both right here in Virginia.

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

I’m working on #3 in the Hazel Rose Book Group series, as yet untitled (I typically come up with a title after I type THE END). The book group goes on hiatus to take a mystery writing class, taught by bestselling author Annabel Mitchell. Readers of Murder at the Book Group, #1 in the series, will remember Annabel.

When a very obnoxious student is murdered, there are no dearth of suspects, including the writing class members and their teacher.

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

I’ve dedicated it to my husband, Glen King, for his love, support, and undying faith in me.

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 read both ebooks and print, audio only occasionally. I prefer an e-reader, because it’s easier on my eyes and I can read for longer periods of time. And I’m an environmentalist, so that aspect of e-readers appeals to me. If I’m reading a lengthy book, it’s easier to tote the ereader around. But I don’t want print books to become extinct and I do like the feel of the paper. So I read both.

As for audiobooks, I only read them occasionally. I lived in Los Angeles at the time of the 1994 Northridge quake. The infamous LA traffic became much worse as the city worked to repair damaged freeways. That’s when I (and many others) indulged in audio.

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

Take a group on a worldwide cruise devoted to mystery writers and readers.

Remind us where we can connect with you.

Website: http://www.maggieking.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MaggieKingAuthr

Where is the new book available?

At your favorite online or brick-and-mortar store or at Amazon: http://amzn.to/2dtozWa

Maggie King is the author of the Hazel Rose Book Group mysteries, including the recently-released Murder at the Moonshine Inn. She contributed the stories “A Not So Genteel Murder” and “Reunion at Shockoe Slip” to the Virginia is for Mysteries anthologies.

Maggie is a member of Sisters in Crime, James River Writers, and the American Association of University Women. She has worked as a software developer, retail sales manager, and customer service supervisor. Maggie graduated from Elizabeth Seton College and earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology. She has called New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California home. These days she lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, Glen, and cats, Morris and Olive. She enjoys reading, walking, movies, traveling, theatre, and museums.

Thanks for stopping by Reade and Write, Maggie, and good luck with your new book!

Until next time,

Amy

 

Meet a Reader: Sharon Aguanno

  • Sharon Aguanno Reader interview
  • Here on Reade and Write I’m trying out a new idea- I’ve had such a great response from my interviews of authors that I thought it would be fun to interview readers, too! My first reader interviewee is Sharon Aguanno, a woman I met just after my first book, Secrets of Hallstead House, came out. She sent me a message on Facebook asking a question about the book and we’ve been in online contact almost every day since then. If you read the comments after each post here on my blog, you’ll notice that Sharon has been a faithful commenter every week. I’m so grateful for her friendship. Welcome, Sharon!
  • How often do you read?
    I try to read daily. If I am not reading a book, I am reading blogs, which I love!
    What is the name of the last book you finished?
    If audio counts, I just finished listening to Murder and Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction, by Amy Metz. Although I had previously read it, I wanted to hear the southern speak. And I just finished Maggie King’s Murder At The Book Group.
    Audio books definitely count! What are you reading now?
    I just downloaded Memory of Light, by Mollie Cox Bryan (This is outside of my genre, but I love Mollie’s writing style, so I am going to read it.)\
    I’m also looking forward to reading Memory of Light. What is your preferred genre?
    Mysteries, Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction, Crime, Detective stories and Law and Order.
    How often do you venture outside your preferred genre?
    That’s a good question. A year ago I would have said never. However, last year I read 75 books- 40 new (to me) authors and many genres. The only genre I will stay completely away from is horror. I am a big
    scaredy-cat.
    What was the last book you read outside your preferred genre?
    The Retreat, by Chariss K. Walker.
    Are you in a book club?
    No, I don’t have the patience to read a book at a slow pace. However, I do like when an author adds discussion questions at the end of the book.
    Where do you obtain most of the books you read- from a bookstore, online, the library, borrowed from a friend, etc.?
    Online, and occasionally someone will send me a book via mail.
    How do you decide which books to read?
    I follow lots of author and Facebook pages. When I need a book, I go out to the blogs and pick one.
    What is in your To-Be-Read pile?
    I was upset in January and I discarded my TBR. I figured I would never get to them. Now it’s July and I realize I should have kept it… LOL. There are a handful of books that I downloaded when they were free. Mostly cozies! Kathi Daley, Mollie Cox Bryan, Sarah Hobart, just to name a few. Also, my TBR usually contains authors and books. I see an author on a blog or Facebook page and I go out to Amazon and check them out. For example, if it’s a series, I like to start with the first book rather than their Work-in-Progress.
    Do you pay attention to especially bad reviews of books when deciding whether to buy or read them?
    Absolutely NOT. I have found that bad reviews usually come from people who haven’t even finished the book. A little criticism or suggestion of what a reader would like to see is one thing, but rudeness in a review is unacceptable!
    Amen to that! Lots of people don’t have a favorite book for a variety of reasons. Do you have a favorite? What is it?
    Reading is my passion; I don’t have a favorite book, but lots of favorite authors. When I find somebody I like, I will read everything they write!
    Where is your favorite reading spot? 
    My bedroom. I have a cozy chair and I face a big window looking out onto the street. Since I am on the second floor, I look at roof tops and trees, and I love the sunrise as it comes over the homes in the morning.
  • Anything else you want me to know?
    Yes; since reading is my all time favorite thing to do, I follow many authors and blogs. Occasionally I will come across one that I disagree with and I don’t have a problem stating that. Having said that, I want you and all authors to know that I have the utmost respect for your profession. Being able to create characters, dream up a plot and tie it all together is a talent that the avid reader, like me, only dreams about!
    Thank you! That’s such a nice way to end the interview. I loved having you on Reade and Write! Sharon didn’t mention it, but she has her own blog where she talks about all things books. You can check it out by clicking the following link: https://newyorkarmymom.wordpress.com/.
  • I’m looking for more readers who would like to share their love of reading! If you’re interested in being interviewed, let me know in the comments below and I’ll be in touch. Authors, you’re welcome to put on your reader hats and join in!
  • Until next week,
  • Amy
  • P.S. You may have noticed these bullet points throughout my last several posts. I can’t, for the life of me, figure out how to get rid of them. I’ve tried everything.

 

Meet Maggie King

Maggie King Author Photo 72

Today on Reade and Write I welcome Maggie King, author of Murder at the Book Group. I’m thrilled to have her here to discuss her book!

Tell me about Murder at the Book Group.

Murder at the Book Group, set in Richmond, Virginia, is the story of two women. Carlene Arness is a mystery writer who dies after drinking cyanide-laced tea at a meeting of her book group. Hazel Rose is an aspiring romance writer who decides to find out who killed Carlene. In the process she uncovers many scandals and secrets about Carlene. She also finds out a lot about her fellow book group members that amazes her.
Hazel is a reluctant investigator. She isn’t brave and she didn’t especially like Carlene. But Hazel has a strong sense of justice. And she was once married to Carlene’s husband and he has a special place in her heart.

Hazel’s also in a rut. She’s in an on-again, off-again relationship and as the story opens it’s clearly off again as her sometimes lover has been seen in the company of a fiery redhead named Molly. Hazel’s trying to write a romance but finds it hard to be inspired when her own love life is non-existent.

It’s unfortunate that it takes murder to get Hazel’s life back on track. Which just goes to prove that old adage: every cloud has a silver lining.

Murder at the Book Group Front Cover

Who is the audience for the book?

Anyone who enjoys traditional mysteries that focus on relationships gone awry; anyone who loves learning about new authors; anyone in a book group.

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 Richmond, Virginia, because I live here. I didn’t have to do much research beyond verifying distances and temperatures. As the story was published in 2014 but set in 2005, I needed to be sure that any references were not post-2005.

What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

Finding the time amid juggling responsibilities. Also, I had to make writing a priority—ironically, it took giving up my two book groups to finish Murder at the Book Group!

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

Hazel Rose: Melina Kanakaredes or Andie McDowell.

Vince Castelli: Joe Mantegna (with white hair and blue eyes), George Clooney, Jonathan Goldsmith, or David Strathrain. My true preference is a younger, and living, George Kennedy.

Lucy Hooper: Madolyn Smith, Jaclyn Smith, or Rachel Ward (but I really picture the late novelist and actress Jackie Collins for my Lucy character).

Kat Berenger: Jean Kasem.

Have you written any other books?

Murder at the Moonshine Inn, #2 in the Hazel Rose Book Group series, comes out in November, 2016.

I’ve contributed stories to two anthologies: “A Not So Genteel Murder” is featured in Virginia is for Mysteries (2014) and “Reunion in Shockoe Slip” in Virginia is for Mysteries Volume II (2016).

VIFM Front Cover        VIFM II front cover

Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?

I have a group of readers, but no formal group. I’d like to find a small group of 3-4 writers who understand the mystery genre.

Do you write every day?

Generally, I write five days a week. But I think about writing 24/7.

When you read a book, what authors do you like best? What genres do you like best?

My list of favorite authors is a long one and include Sue Grafton, Marcia Muller, Susan Wittig Albert, Robert Crais, Rochelle Krich, Jane Austen, and Barbara Pym. I mostly read mysteries (cozies, police procedurals, and PI sub-genres), but also enjoy contemporary fiction, classics, and biographies.

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

It’s hard to pick one place. I want to visit Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, South America, Italy, and Antarctica (Antarctica would be the ultimate adventure)

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write every day even if it’s just for fifteen minutes—that’s how you maintain momentum; walk daily to clear your head and encourage inspiration; take classes; never let anyone discourage you from writing, no matter how wise you consider them to be; write short stories—that’s how many authors, myself included, first get published.

Consider reading and writing poetry to make your fiction come alive. Acclaimed mystery writer Walter Moseley considers poetry to be the basis of all writing and suggests that reading, writing, and studying poetry gives fiction writers a deeper appreciation of the nuances of language (a poetry class is on my to-do list).

What is your favorite movie and why?

Double Indemnity. It’s the ultimate film noir—dark, steamy, loaded with atmosphere and sizzling dialog, with characters sleazy as all get out.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Listen to my heart and follow my dreams. Stand tall and be confident.

Describe yourself in three words.

Caring, conscientious, courageous; how’s that for alliteration?

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

Why did I write Murder at the Book Group? I like to write and read about people at a crossroads in their lives. In Murder at the Book Group both the sleuth and the victim are standing at a crossroads—Hazel Rose is at loose ends in her life, stuck in a rut. She isn’t unhappy but she isn’t fulfilled either. As for Carlene Arness, the victim, she’s recently published her first mystery but her marriage to Hazel’s first husband is falling apart. Carlene wasn’t cut out for monogamy and her eye has started to wander.

Unfortunately, Carlene doesn’t get to cross the road—but solving her murder gives Hazel the opportunity to grow and get out of her rut.

Where can readers connect with you?

Website: http://www.maggieking.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MaggieKingAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MaggieKingAuthr
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/maggie8881
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/maggie8208/?hl=en

Where can readers find your books?

On Amazon or wherever books are sold.

Murder at the Book Group: http://www.amazon.com/Murder-Book-Group-Mysteries/dp/1476762465/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1465242896&sr=8-1&keywords=murder+at+the+book+group

Virginia is for Mysteries: http://www.amazon.com/Virginia-Mysteries-Sisters-Crime/dp/1938467647/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1465242988&sr=8-1&keywords=virginia+is+for+mysteries

Virginia is for Mysteries Volume II: https://www.amazon.com/Virginia-Mysteries-II-Sisters-Crime-ebook/dp/B01AKWNHRK?ie=UTF8&keywords=virginia%20is%20for%20mysteries&qid=1465242988&ref_=sr_1_2&sr=8-2

Author Biography:

Maggie is a member of Sisters in Crime and the American Association of University Women. She has worked as a software developer, retail sales manager, and customer service supervisor. Maggie graduated from Elizabeth Seton College and earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology. She has called New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California home. These days she lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, Glen, and cats, Morris and Olive.

Thank you, Maggie, for visiting Reade and Write today!

Until next week,

Amy