Book Review Thursday: Macdeath by Cindy Brown

This is my first review of 2015! How many books have you read so far already this year? If you need another, I highly recommend you pick up Macdeath on Amazon today!

MACDEATH front under 2mbIvy Meadows is an aspiring actress in Phoenix, although at the moment, she’s trying to keep from completely falling apart (thanks to the heat, a broken car air conditioner, a broken shoe heel, which forces her to wear a leopard spotted leotard) before her audition for Macbeth. She stumbles and tumbles her way through the audition, and wins a coveted spot in the production.

However, the director’s vision of the play and what the Bard intended are two different things. And while the play resembles a circus on the stage, the real show is behind the scenes. Many of the cast and crew have worked together before, and not all the memories are fond ones. One of the actors, Simon Black, asks Ivy help him stay sober during their time together. She doesn’t believe she’s the right one for the job, but agrees to help him.

Everything goes well during the three weeks of rehearsals, but on opening night, someone says “Macbeth” backstage before the show. Everyone knows you don’t say that name because of the curse. But everything goes well, and Ivy even gets a heart-stopping, room-spinning kiss from Jason, the lead actor playing the King. When she goes to see Simon before leaving for the night, she finds him dead in his dressing room. It appears that poor Simon fell off the wagon and drank himself to death. The curse lives!

With the help of Uncle Bob, a private investigator, and Detective Pinkstaff, Ivy has to figure out the complicated relationships between Simon, the cast and crew to find a murderer. But can she do it without falling victim to the Macbeth curse?

As a theater lover (and former actress, gofer, assistant director and director), I fell in love with this book right away. I love Ivy; she’s a klutzy gal after my own heart. The story is well-written, the descriptions are so detailed that I swear at times I could smell the greasepaint, and Ms. Brown kept me guessing until the very end. For those readers that are unfamiliar with what goes on backstage at a show, this will them an unobstructed view of how hard everyone works to make it a success. I had a love/hate relationship with several characters, and I was rooting for one particular character to hook up with Ivy (I’m still hoping!). There wasn’t anything about this book that I didn’t like (I loved it all!), and I am waiting with baited breath for The Sound of Murder, coming out this fall. I would definitely recommend this wonderful book to anyone who has ever spent time in theater or drama classes. This is one book I will be re-reading in the near future!

 

3 Comments

Filed under Review Thursday

Promote an Author Tuesday: Cindy Brown

Happy 2015 everyone! Today, I’d like to introduce you to Cindy Brown! Head back on Thursday to read my review of MacDeath. Also, I want to hear what you think of the Promote an Author Tuesday posts! Do you want to see more of them? Do you want to see something else? Tweet me @authorteresaw, head over to my author page on Facebook, or leave a note in the comments section. Your feedback is important to me!

MacDeath

MACDEATH front under 2mbLike every actor, Ivy Meadows knows that Macbeth is cursed. But she’s finally scored her big break, cast as an acrobatic witch in a circus-themed production of Macbeth in Phoenix, Arizona. And though it may not be Broadway, nothing can dampen her enthusiasm—not her flying caldron, too-tight leotard, or carrot-wielding dictator of a director.

But when one of the cast dies on opening night, Ivy is sure the seeming accident is “murder most foul” and that she’s the perfect person to solve the crime (after all, she does work part-time in her uncle’s detective agency). Undeterred by a poisoned Big Gulp, the threat of being blackballed, and the suddenly too-real curse, Ivy pursues the truth at the risk of her hard-won career—and her life.

Questions with the Author

Is there a book you wish you had written? (Someone used “Harry Potter” as an example)

Charlotte’s Web – such humanity, humor, and heart in a seemingly simple story about friendship. “Some Pig,” indeed.

What is your favorite story about your childhood that the family tells over and over?

I was fascinated by stories of people surviving in the wild (and by Euell Gibbons, eating his way through a pine tree) and so was always building shelters, eating plants like horsetails, and making pots out of the clay I found on the creek bank. I even “ran away” once, not because I was upset, but because I’d read a story about a boy who lived in a hollow tree and I wanted to try it. I came home as soon as it got dark.

What’s on your bucket list?

I’d like to go to Cornwall, where my husband and I would visit Port Isaac, the village where they film Doc Martin (we are big geeky fans), explore the very cool and mysterious Lost Gardens of Heligan, and take in a show at the Minack Theatre, a beautiful open-air theatre that overlooks the sea. Barring that, I’d like to ride on a one-horse open sleigh (really).

Where would your main character go on vacation?

New York City, of course! Ivy would go to as many shows as she could afford, wait by stage doors for autographs, and time her trip so she could see free Shakespeare in Central Park.

What is the one thing you can’t live without? That one must have item?

Cheese. I love cheese (and maybe if I say this people will bring cheese to my book signings!). And on a more writerly note, I am the world’s worst typist so I am very fond of my dictation software.

About Cindy Brown

Cindy Brown has been a theater geek (musician, actor, director, producer, and playwright) since her first professional gig at age 14. Now a full-time writer, she’s lucky enough to have garnered several awards (including 3rd place in the 2013 international Words With Jam First Page Competition, judged by Sue Grafton!) and is an alumnus of the Squaw Valley Writers Workshop. Though Cindy and her husband now live in Portland, Oregon, she made her home in Phoenix, Arizona, for more than 25 years and knows all the good places to hide dead bodies in both cities.

Connect with Cindy Brown

CindyBrown-005-2_rt_smallwebWebsite: http://www.cindybrownwriter.com

Twitter: @friendlybrown

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cindy-Brown-author/ 288210721356802

1 Comment

Filed under Promote an Author

Promote an Author Tuesday: Molly MacRae

It’s our last Promote an Author Tuesday of 2014! Thanks to all of you for stopping by to meet new authors. This week, meet Molly MacRae, author of the Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries.

Plagued by Quilt

Plagued_by_quilt2.inddYarn shop owner Kath Rutledge is at a historic farm in Blue Plum, Tennessee, volunteering for the high school program Hands on History. But when a long-buried murder is uncovered on the property, Kath needs help from Geneva the ghost to solve a crime that time forgot . . .

Kath and her needlework group TGIF (Thank Goodness It’s Fiber) are preparing to teach a workshop at the Holston Homeplace Living History Farm, but their lesson in crazy quilts is no match for the crazy antics of the assistant director, Phillip Bell. Hamming it up with equal parts history and histrionics, Phillip leads an archaeological dig of the farm’s original dump site—until one student stops the show by uncovering some human bones.

When a full skeleton is later excavated, Kath can’t help but wonder if it’s somehow connected to Geneva, the ghost who haunts her shop, and whom she met at this very site. After Phillip is found dead, it’s up to Kath to thread the clues together before someone else becomes history.

About Molly MacRae

The Boston Globe says Molly MacRae writes “murder with a dose of drollery.” She’s the author of the award-winning Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries, published by Penguin/NAL. Molly’s short stories have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine since 1990. After twenty years in northeast Tennessee, Molly lives with her family in Champaign, Illinois.

Questions with the Author

Is there a book you wish you had written? (Someone used “Harry Potter” as an example)

Any book by P.G. Wodehouse. He was a comic genius whose writing has given joy to readers for more than a hundred years. His stuff appears to be fluff and flippant on the surface, but he had a keen eye for the human condition and wrote with great heart.

What is your favorite story about your childhood that the family tells over and over?

My sister likes to tell about the time when I was four or five and she came home from college for the holidays. She got in after I was already in bed and asleep, but I woke up when she slipped into the trundle in my room. “Oh,” I said when I saw her, “I thought you were a wolf.” And then I fell back asleep. (It’s true, too. I did think she was a wolf, and although I wasn’t worried by that idea, I was happy to have her home again.)

What’s on your bucket list?

To see flowing lava, go to Shanghai to see where my father lived and my grandmother is buried, learn Tigrinya, visit a Lego factory and see the design process first hand.

Where would your main character go on vacation?

Kath, who’s into textiles and fibers, would like to go to Scotland for a couple of weeks and time the trip so she can go to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival – a celebration of all things woolly and related to yarn, knitting, crochet, spinning, weaving and felting, with tons of vendors and workshops. Doesn’t that sound fantastic? Plus, it’s Scotland!

What is the one thing you can’t live without? That one must have item?

Sorry, there isn’t any one thing I can’t live without. There are plenty of things I’d miss terribly if I didn’t have them – chocolate, for instance (Or my sanity; is that a thing?) Otherwise, I don’t seem to form that kind of attachment. Things come, things go.

Connect with Molly MacRae

Molly_Wilder Rumors Author PhotoYou can find out more about Molly at www.mollymacrae.com. You can find her blogging on the first Monday of each month at www.amyalessio.com and on the 23rd of each month at www.killercharacters.com. You can also find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/molly.macrae.9 and Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/MollyMacRae/

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Promote an Author

Cover Reveal: Death Vetoes the Chairman

As my holiday gift to my readers, today I am revealing the cover of the newest Lizzie book, set to be released late next month! Happy Holidays!

DeathVetoChairman3a

An evening at a fundraiser with Jake Mathias turns into an emotional disaster when she is assaulted by Ethan Winthrop, an old high school friend of Jake’s. After a second run in a week later, Lizzie is shaken and afraid. It seems this isn’t the first time that Ethan has assaulted a woman; in fact, he has a long history of this type of behavior. And when Ethan’s body is found on Jake’s front porch, the prime suspects are Jake and Lizzie.

To clear their names, they must investigate the past, which means going back to Jake’s hometown in Virginia. One of the people they talk to ends up dead, and Lizzie and Jake find themselves in a fight for their lives in the cold Virginia mountains. Surviving is half the battle; they have to find out who wants them dead to keep them from finding out the truth.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Releases

Promote an Author Tuesday: Deborah Garner

Happy Promote an Author Tuesday! Today, I’d like to introduce you to Deborah Garner.

Cranberry Bluff

CBCover3Molly Elliott’s quiet life in Tallahassee, Florida, is disrupted when routine errands land her in the wrong place at the wrong time: the middle of a bank robbery. Accused and cleared of the crime, she flees both media attention and mysterious, threatening notes, to move across the country to Cranberry Cove, where she has inherited her Aunt Maggie’s bed and breakfast on the Northern California coast. Her new beginning is peaceful – that is, until five guests show up at the inn for a weekend, each with a hidden agenda.

Mix together one blushing honeymoon couple, one flamboyant boutique owner, a deadpan traveling salesman, and a charmingly handsome novelist, and there’s more than scones cooking at Cranberry Cottage Bed and Breakfast. As true motives become apparent, will Molly’s past come back to haunt her or will she finally be able to leave it behind?

About Deborah Garner

Deborah Garner is an accomplished travel writer with a passion for back roads and secret hideaways. Born and raised in California, she studied in France before returning to the U.S. to attend UCLA. After stints in graduate school and teaching, she attempted to clone herself for decades by founding and running a dance and performing arts center, designing and manufacturing clothing and accessories, and tackling both spreadsheets and display racks for corporate retail management. Her passions include photography, hiking and animal rescue. She speaks five languages, some substantially better than others. She now divides her time between California and Wyoming, dragging one human and two canines along whenever possible.

Questions with the Author

Is there a book you wish you had written? (Someone used “Harry Potter” as an example)
I would love to have written Chocolat, by Joanne Harris, or any of her other books. She creates such unique settings and rich characters.

What is your favorite story about your childhood that the family tells over and over?
When I was in preschool we had a raspberry bush in the backyard of our house. My father loved the berries, but I always managed to pick the bush clean before he was able to get any. To this day, we buy raspberries and joke that no one else will get a chance to have any. And often they don’t.

What’s on your bucket list?
I don’t really have a bucket list. For the most part, I live day to day. But I would like to take another cross-country road trip. And I have many more stories to tell.

Where would your main character go on vacation?
Molly Elliott, the protagonist in Cranberry Bluff, would probably not go on vacation, since she’s just moved 3,000 miles to start a new life. Then again, she just might have to take a trip with a certain guest who stays at her bed and breakfast… I’d say maybe to Paris or Tuscany.

What is the one thing you can’t live without? That one must have item?
Peace and quiet. Too much chaos and sensory overload turn me into a crazy person. I need a certain amount of seclusion and silence to stay sane.

Connect with Deborah Garner

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/deborahgarnerauthor

Twitter

https://www.twitter.com/paigeandjake

Website

http://www.deborahgarner.com

Amazon

http://amzn.to/1i2c6hE

Goodreads

http://bit.ly/1migsJQ

Leave a comment

Filed under Promote an Author

Just some miscellaneous things…

Well, we’re getting close to the end of the year, and I thought I would let you all know what I’m up to.

I’m up to absolutely nothing.

Okay, good night, New York!

Okay, okay, so I might have one or two things going on. I’m working on the next Lizzie story, Death Vetoes the Chairman. We will be doing a cover reveal on December 24th, so keep your eyes out for that. After I finish this story, then I will get back to work on the next Cam Shaw story, Who Killed the Ghost Writer?. I am getting plenty of questions about Grandma Alma and Walt; people want to know what happened to them. Well, I already know, mainly because I already wrote that chapter as soon as I finished writing Who Killed the Ghost in the Library?. No, I’m not telling you, and no, I can’t be bribed (not even with M&Ms!). There are a couple of people that know, but they aren’t telling, either (mainly because I have them tied up and gagged somewhere so they can’t tell anyone).

I’m also toying with an idea for a new series, one that will be TOTALLY different from Cam and Lizzie. It’s still in the planning stages, so there aren’t a lot of details I can tell you. As soon as I have something more definitive, I will tell you, I promise.

I’ve been doing Promote an Author Tuesdays and Book Review Thursdays for a couple of months now. Do you like these new features? Is there something you wish I was doing that I’m not doing? Are there things you want me to ask our featured authors? Feedback would be greatly appreciated, so let me know! I’m doing these for you, so it’s important to me that I make sure I’m giving you what you want. :)

It’s almost Christmas, and I hope that you all have a Merry Christmas! I’ll be going to Missouri to spend time with my parents and my son. We always go to Christmas Eve service, and sometimes we drive around and look at all the Christmas lights afterwards. Mostly, we just spend a lot of time together, since I don’t get up there that often. Christmas morning, either James or I will play Santa, and pass out the gifts. I believe it’s my turn this year. After lunch, we drive out to the Manor to see my grandmother. It’s a quiet day filled with plenty of laughter and love. I hope that your day is just as special with your family.

I want to take a moment and thank a few people who have been very supportive this year. Kristi, you’ve been with me from the beginning. The editing notes you send me always crack me up. Thank you so much for your friendship and the laughs. Jamie, you’ve been there from the start as well. Thank you so much for the creative cover art, the formatting and uploading that you do for me. Let’s face it, if it weren’t for you, my books would never see the light of day! My parents, who have stood behind me and delivered a few swift kicks to the behind when I’ve need them (which is almost a daily thing). The words of wisdom, the encouragement, and the love mean more to me than anything else in the world. Love you both very much! James, my head assistant: thank you for listening to all my goofy, crazy story ideas, and throwing in a few suggestions of  your own. All the explosions, car wrecks, vehicles through a house are because of him. Never give up on your dreams, my son, no matter how old you get. I’m proof of that. Love you to the moon and back, to infinity and beyond, forever and ever. My husband, who has had to listen to a lot of my goofy story ideas now that James has moved out. You may not always hear what I say, but your support and your love is unwavering, and for this, I am truly grateful. Happy 12th anniversary, sweetie! And last, but by no means least, Stacy, my right hand lady, without whom nothing on my blog would be posted (because I totally screw up every link and picture I try to post). Thank you so much for putting up with my grouchiness, my mood swings, my totally insane story ideas, and for being a great friend. I wouldn’t have accomplished as much as I have the last few months if it weren’t for you. You are AWESOME, and I am so grateful to have you in my life.

Okay, that’s it. Well, I could go on…I could grouse about the fact that my husband’s Cowboys might make the playoffs, while my Redskins are totally dysfunctional. Okay, I should really stop now, because this is headed for dangerous territory here.

Thank you all so much for all the love you have shown for Lizzie and Cam this year! You guys ROCK!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Book Review Thursday: A Nip of Murder by Carol Miller

It’s Book Review Thursday. Come back each week to get a peek inside what authors I love and what storylines inspire me. 

nip of murderA group of geocachers is keeping things hopping at Sweetie Pies Bakery, and Daisy is thrilled with all the business. But everything comes to a screeching halt when she finds her friend Brenda standing in the kitchen, holding a knife…and a dead body at her feet. It seems the dead man is one of three men who broke through the back door of the bakery, and stole ninety pounds of cream cheese. Who steals ninety pounds of cream cheese? Maybe someone who is trying to set a world record for the biggest cheesecake in the Virginia mountains. But the thieves left behind a clue: a red poker chip with the initials TS on the chip.

Much to Daisy’s chagrin, Rick Balsam takes an interest in the problem at the bakery. He’s a royal pain in the behind, but even she will admit that he is one fine looking man. A few days later, Daisy and Brenda find a rather large looking man standing outside the bakery, sent there to protect them by Rick, who also gives Daisy a gun hidden in a brown paper bag. She promptly shoves it under the counter and forgets about it.

Rick’s younger brother, Bobby, has other things on his mind. He’s getting married in a week to one of the geocacher organizers, Laurel. And Daisy finds herself interested in Laurel’s brother, Chris, which irritates Rick. Unfortunately, their geocache event has been canceled because of a potential deadly disease to the bats in the area of the event. During an afternoon outing with Chris, Daisy decides to follow a lead, and finds herself at a nip joint that happens to belong to Rick. Even more upsetting is learning that Chris and his friends had been thrown out of the joint over the weekend for cheating at cards. But it’s what she finds outside of the nip joint that is the most disturbing: the crates that had held the stolen cream cheese. Did Rick have something to do with the robbery?

Another break in occurs, this time at the historical society, where some old maps from the nineteenth century are stolen. Everyone is puzzled about why someone would steal some worthless old maps. But according to Henry Brent, the man who donated the maps, they aren’t worthless. They show the area as it looked shortly after the Civil War, he says. The rumors have been around for years that there is a hidden cache of silver and gold in the mountains that were hidden there during the war. But Henry says that the silver isn’t there, but in another city. Daisy has no idea what the maps have to do with the robbery at her bakery.

Brenda frantically calls Daisy a couple of days later. She’s at the bakery by herself, and someone is trying to break in. There is the sound of breaking glass before the call is disconnected. When Daisy arrives, she finds Brenda in the alley in the back, bent over their bodyguard’s body. Even more disturbing, the gun that Rick had given her is also missing.

Slowly, Daisy starts to put the pieces together. A frantic call from Bobby takes her out to the cabins near the lake, where she finds an injured Rick unconscious in Chris’ cabin. Believing that someone has kidnapped Laurel and Chris, Bobby and a reluctant Daisy trek off into the woods to look for them. But will they find what they are looking for, or will they meet an unfortunate end when they learn the truth?

This is the second book in this series by Carol Miller (Murder and Moonshine is the first), and I thoroughly enjoyed this delightful book. Ms. Miller does an excellent job of building the suspense, especially during Bobby and Daisy’s journey through the woods. The characters are well-written, and I found myself in a love/hate relationship with Rick Balsam myself (I alternated between wanting to punch his lights out, and feeling sorry for him after he gets hurt). I love how Daisy takes care of herself and her friends, yet accepts help when it is offered to her, even if it is from one of her hated enemies. This is definitely a series that I will be following closely, and I look forward to the next book in the series. Well done indeed, Ms. Miller! Bravo!

Nip of Murder is available for purchase on Amazon.

Leave a comment

Filed under Review Thursday