Monthly Archives: December 2014

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/

 

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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.

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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

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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!

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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.

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Promote an Author Tuesday: Carol Miller

Happy Promote an Author Tuesday! Meet Carol Miller! She’s releasing the second Moonshine Mystery, A Nip of Murder, today! Come back on Thursday to read my full review.

A Nip of Murder

nip of murderAs Daisy McGovern knows all too well, it isn’t easy being a young, small-town waitress at a local diner in Virginia. It becomes even harder as she’s trying to stitch her life back together and salvage her job by converting the diner into a bakery. She’s preoccupied with snickerdoodles and cinnamon buns, trying to feed a group of geocachers in town, when a mysterious robbery occurs in the back room and one of the thieves ends up dead with a chef’s knife in his chest. With the sheriff out of town, Daisy, distrustful of the cop left in charge, takes it upon herself to follow up on clues and find out who the robber was and why he was there. While she’s investigating, she meets a handsome geocacher and is commissioned to bake a cake for the unlikely wedding of one of the Balsam boys, at the same time trying to avoid the charms of his moonshine-brewing brother.

When a second murder occurs, Daisy finds herself in a twisted game of cat and mouse that takes her from secretive nip joints overflowing with moonshine to weathered Appalachian mountaintops overflowing with history and guns. She must figure out who is the murderer and how her bakery is involved before she becomes the next victim.

About the Author

Miller, Carol_NO CREDITCarol Miller is the author of the Moonshine Mystery Series – MURDER AND MOONSHINE, which was named an Amazon Best Book of the Month and a Library Journal Starred Debut of the Month, and the forthcoming A NIP OF MURDER (December 2014).

Born in Germany and raised in Chicago, Carol holds a B.A. from Northwestern University and a J.D. from Tulane University. She lives in Roanoke, Virginia.

Connect Carol Miller

Website: http://carolmillerauthor.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CMillerMystery

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Book Review Thursday: The Red Queen’s Run by Bourne Morris

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

Red Queen's Run coverFaculty meetings can be contentious at times, but associate dean Meredith “Red” Solaris has noticed that their meetings lately have been downright hostile. She’s afraid that one day there will be bloodshed, and she has no idea how her friend, Henry Brooks, dean of the journalism school, handles it all without going crazy.

Unfortunately, she’s about to find out, because three days after their last meeting, Henry is found dead on the stairwell at the school. Red believes the murderer is one of three people: Simon, who used to be the dean, but now, he is a bitter man who is fighting the changes that are happening to the curriculum and to his beloved school; George, a pompous egotistical bully who wants to deny the tenure of an associate professor, and also supports Simon’s views on the changes; and Edwin, the third senior member (along with Simon and George) who is aggressively fighting with Henry about anything and everything.

Red is named interim dean, much to the chagrin of the three men. After Detective Joe Morgan tells her Henry didn’t die of natural causes, Red starts to take a closer look at all of her co-workers. She learns that Henry wasn’t as quiet and shy as she thought, either: it seems he was having an affair with a faculty member’s wife. Did the affair get him killed?

In between dealing with the everyday pressures at work, Red and Joe start dating, and they share any information they learn along the way. But everyone Red suspects seem to have an alibi. As she digs through Henry’s files about the other professors, she discovers one of the faculty has been accused of plagiarism, but she cannot find the name of the person in Henry’s notes. Was there a confrontation that turned fatal?

Red starts to receive threatening notes, telling her to quit her job or suffer the consequences. And the deeper the investigation goes, the more dangerous it gets for Red. With the killer closing in, will she be able to figure out the truth before it’s too late?

This is an excellent book by Ms. Morris. As a former teacher, I could relate to the contentious meetings and backstabbing that was going on behind closed doors at the university. She gives the reader an exciting mix of intrigue, mystery and romance for a man-wary Red, and conveys her conflicted feelings about suspecting someone Red knows as being a possible murderer with the right mix of anger and sadness. I did figure out who did it, but the downward spiral she sends the characters through is just heart stopping and gut wrenching. I thoroughly enjoyed The Red Queen’s Run, and I am eagerly looking forward to the next book in this series!

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