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Monday, November 16, 2020

New Covers and Writing New Book

Just to let you know what I have been doing.  I am redoing all of my existing cozy mystery book covers.  I have two covers completed from the illustrator and one in process.  Of course getting them switched out on all the various outlets is quite the chore, so if your online book selling outlet doesn't reflect the new covers, it will happen soon.  You get to see them here first.

Below are book 1 and 2 of the Resort to Murder Mystery series.  Book 3 cover is in the works.  I am loving these new covers.  What do you think?

A celebrity pastor is murdered and Julienne is the prime suspect.

     Julienne has her ideal job as an event planner at a prestigious resort. During a luncheon event she coordinated, a renowned celebrity pastor is killed next to the buffet. All eyes turn to her as the suspect. If she wants to stay out of jail or even keep her job, Julienne needs all the help she can get to solve the crime.       She has her work cut out for her with a vengeful high school rival now reporter, the public demanding she be fired, plus family who knows what's best for her, and a boyfriend who doesn't understand her. She turns to friends and a new ally to uncover who wanted to put the pastor on ice.  
     Julienne goes undercover and investigates a local swingers group as she follows the trail of clues before they go cold. Can she gather enough suspects and motives to convince the police to widen their investigation? Can she do it before the killer sets his murderous sights on her? Will her personal life ever be as simple as unveiling a murderer?
 Amazon || B&N || Kobo || Apple || IndieBound


Julienne is snow bound in the middle of the Rocky Mountains with a killer striking at will.

     Julienne LaMere gets to attend a Resort Management conference at a prestigious ski resort in the Colorado Mountains. What should be an enjoyable getaway attending workshops by day and shopping and enjoying the resort by night comes to a screeching halt when a loud-mouthed guest is murdered plus the roads and town shut down for an epic blizzard.
     In addition to attending the conference, dodging a smitten teen boy, and seeking clues among the gossiping - and increasingly tense - guests, her best friend’s heart has warmed to an unlikely man and may get broken. As if her mind isn’t already fully occupied, Julienne and her new boyfriend Mason are skiing down troubled slopes in their relationship. Will Julienne put the scant clues together and unveil the culprit before a murderer gets away?


I will post the new cover for Spiked as soon as it is finalized as well.  



I am finally writing the 4th in the Resort to Murder mystery series, ARROWED.  It takes place at a health and wellness resort just outside Santa Fe.  I'm loving the southwest environment for this story.  

I hope to have it completed and through edits and beta readers to be published in the Jan or Feb of 2021.  Be looking for that cover reveal in about a month, when I will set it up for pre-orders.  

It feels so good to get back into writing again, and with Covid I've finally focused on getting it written.  It gives me a great escape writing it, and I hope you will have a fun escape reading it.





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Friday, November 6, 2020

Review - Murder at the Opera

I have been following the historical mystery series since its debut.  Here are my previous reviews:
#1 Murder in Mayfair (click here)
#2 Murder in Bloomsbury (click here)
Today I am reviewing the newest in the series.  Let's see if it stays as good as the previous books.

Author: D.M. Quincy

Copyright: December 2019 (Crooked Lane Books) 336 pgs

Series: 3rd in  Atlas Catesby Mysteries

Sensuality:  mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Historical Amateur Sleuth

Main Characters:  Atlas Catesby, youngest son of a Baron

Setting: 1815 (Regency Era), London, England

Obtained Through: Library

Book Blurb:  "When a nobleman's mistress is gunned down on the steps of the Covent Garden opera house, brilliant adventurer Atlas Catesby discovers a sinister family connection that compels him to investigate.

London, 1815. Amateur sleuth Atlas Catesby is about to discover the dark side of the bright lights. His long-awaited night at the opera with Lady Lilliana ends abruptly when a notorious courtesan is shot to death in Covent Garden.

The infamous victim was the mistress of the powerful Marquess of Vessey. Atlas believes that the marquess--his former brother in law--is responsible for the long-ago death of Atlas's sister, Phoebe. Atlas seizes the opportunity to potentially avenge his sister's death. But his inquiry is complicated when Phoebe's grown son implores Atlas to help prove Vessey's innocence.

Plunging into the cutthroat backstage life of the theatre community, the adventurer and the noblewoman soon discover that ruthless professional rivalries can escalate into violence, setting the stage for death in Murder at the Opera, D. M. Quincy's third riveting Atlas Catesby mystery set in Regency England."

Atlas Catesby finally gets past the belief that society's rules make it impossible for he and Lilliana to ever be more than good friends, and proposes. He doesn't have time to enjoy because he is plunged into investigating the innocence of the man that he knows killed his sister years ago.   

Lilliana's character is a favorite of mine and I wish to see more of her in the investigations, even is she is the sister of a Duke. She is good for Atlas and smart.  Gabriel Young, the Earl of Charlton, is Atlas' good friend and quite smitten with Atlas's married sister has a small role in this but is always a delight.  Thea Palmer is Atlas' sister and an avid mathematician who lives in town while her husband does the lordly farmer life.  The Bow Street Runner, Endicott, is a becoming a regular and adds to the story.  Juliet Jennings is an old flame of Atlas' who is also an opera singer who knew the murder victim.  This adds a twist as Atlas has just become engaged.

London's theater district and the homes of nobility are the primary settings.  The hypocritical treatment of mistresses is on display without being vulgar.  The plot seems simple but there are several twists along the path to a resolution. I found this a page turner and devoured it.

This killer reveal is sedate but still satisfying and shows Atlas making a very powerful enemy.  Which is saying a lot since I love harrowing climatic reveals.  Very well done.  A future book will likely continue the plot of the enemy's revenge later.  The wrap-up is charming and a positive note.  I long for the next book already.

This story was loosely inspired by the real murder of Martha Ray in 1779 who was the long time mistress of the fourth Earl of Sandwich.  I enjoy everything about this series and each book is a well constructed joy to read.  If you enjoy historical mysteries, this is a series not to be missed.

Rating:  Near Perfect - Buy two copies: one for you and one for a friend. 




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Monday, November 2, 2020

Revolutionary Online Indie Bookshop



Earlier this year a new idea whose time had come quietly established.  An online bookstore like no other.  It is called Bookshop.org and it can save the Indie Bookstores around the country.  It is more than a coalition.  It is billed as a "socially conscious alternative to Amazon" that allows readers to purchase books online while still supporting your local bookstore!  And it set up and went live just before COVID 19 hit and made millions within a few weeks. 

Here is how it works, local bookstores sign up to be part of this.  When you buy a book, you select which local store in the system you want your purchases to credit.  If the book is listed with Ingram, then it is in their system, it is that simple.  

This can save all our wonderful indie bookstores across the nation.  Andy Hunter, the co-founder of Literary Hub, is the mind behind the idea.  And I must say it is brilliant!  Now you may be able to order from your local bookstore and have it shipped, which is the best case.  But if your local independent bookstore doesn't have that capability, this is the next best thing.  Or, if your little bookstore doesn't have the particular book on the shelves and you can't wait for that special order, you can credit the store and get it through Bookshop.org and they will still get some money for your purchase.

JUST in time for the holidays.  If you give books for presents (oh, I so hope you do!) then this combines the convenience and safety of purchasing online and having everything shipped to your doorstep while still supporting your favorite local independently run bookstore.  Even if there is another shut down because of Covid, your store can make money.  

It made such a big hit in such a short time, they are opening up one for the United Kingdom shortly too. 

I love this idea and can't shout it from the rooftops enough.  Had you already heard about this and I am late to the party? 

Please check them out at Bookshop.org, bookmark them, use them for the greater good!  

In the news:


Here is a Youtube video review of Bookshop.org
https://youtu.be/Kpb7WLGo_CA




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Thursday, October 29, 2020

Review - A Death in Chelsea

This is a new historical mystery series.  I reviewed the first in the series, Murder in Belgravia (click here) a few months ago and now I am sharing my thoughts on the second novel in the series.

Author: Lynn Brittney

Copyright: March 2020 (Crooked Lane Books) 336 pgs

Series: 2nd in Mayfair 100 Mysteries

Sensuality: Mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Historical Mystery, Historical Police Procedural

Main Character: Chief Inspector Beech, head of a special task force

Setting: 1915, London

Obtained Through: Library

Cover blurb:  "In the dark days of World War I, an aristocrat's suspicious suicide propels a one-of-a-kind crime-fighting team into a sordid world of blackmail, betrayal, and tragic secrets.

When the phone rings at the Mayfair 100 exchange, the news is rarely good, and this time is no exception. The Duchess of Penhere's daughter, notorious society gossip queen Lady Adeline Treborne, has been found dead in her room in what appears to be a suicide--but her family suspects foul play.

The secret Mayfair team of amateur female detectives has been restlessly awaiting their next case, and this will prove one of their thorniest. When Dr. Caroline Allardyce performs an autopsy, she is able to conclusively prove that the woman was murdered. Lady Treborne had made many enemies through her vicious gossip column, so there's no shortage of suspects.

Supported by a cadre of professional police officers, the Mayfair women launch their investigation, but there's much more to this case than meets the eye. As they venture into a world that lays bare London high life at its lowest, the team soon begins to comprehend the danger at hand--and how this tangled web of treachery could ensnare anyone who gets too close."

Chief Inspector Peter Beech is an openminded police detective who has the vision of women aiding the police and heads up the unique team.  Victoria is a female lawyer who at one point had been "dating" Beech, but that ended and now they attempt working together.  Caroline is the female doctor on the team.  She is waiting for Beech to see her as more than a friend, but just may be ready to move on.  

Rigsby is the younger male of the team and the handsome one that women seem to flutter eyelashes at despite a scar from the war.  Tollman is an older and grizzled policeman that knows more about the goings on in London and who to talk to than most anybody else alive.  Tollman takes Rigsby under his wing and begins mentoring him.  Lady Maud is Victoria's mother and provides a large house as the team's headquarters.  Billy's mom, Elsie, and his Aunt Sissy provide some comic relief and are gems in the story.  We have the addition of Mabel Summersby, a pharmacist who works with Caroline and gets into the forensic side of the investigation.  

This proved a complicated and twisting investigation that kept my attention glued to the pages.  The ensemble cast each working the investigation from different angles made the pacing a steady driving force.  The climax is tense with a standoff and quite realistic.  The wrap-up shows the team bonding and ties up all the threads wonderfully.  

I have to say that Ms. Brittney is setting a high bar in this series.  The books are rich in period detail, the characters are all layered and engaging, the plots are just intricate enough without losing the reader, and the writing weaves it all effortlessly together for an engaging and memorable book.  If you enjoy historical mysteries, then this series is a must read.

Rating: Near Perfect - A must read , buy two copies: one for you and one for a friend. 



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Monday, October 26, 2020

Review - Vampire Knitting Club

 I came across this unique book concept and thought this would be good for Halloween coming up.  This is a completely new to me author and series.  Nancy Warren has 70+ books to her credit and started with Harlequin way back in the day.  So read on to find out more about this new series featuring vampires who knit like fiends.


Author: Nancy Warren

Copyright: October 2008 (Ambleside Publishing) 258 pgs

Series: 1st in Vampire Knitting Club Cozy Paranormal Mysteries

Sensuality: mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy Paranormal Mystery

Main Characters: Lucy Swift, just inherited a knit shop in Oxford

Setting: Modern day, Oxford England

Obtained Through: Purchase

Book Blurb: "At a crossroads between a cringe-worthy past (Todd the Toad) and an uncertain future (she's not exactly homeless, but it's close), Lucy Swift travels to Oxford to visit her grandmother. With Gran's undying love to count on and Cardinal Woolsey's, Gran's knitting shop, to keep her busy, Lucy can catch her breath and figure out what she's going to do.

Except it turns out that Gran is the undying. Or at least, the undead. But there's a death certificate. And a will, leaving the knitting shop to Lucy. And a lot of people going in and out who never use the door—including Gran, who is just as loving as ever, and prone to knitting sweaters at warp speed, late at night. What exactly is going on?

When Lucy discovers that Gran did not die peacefully in her sleep, but was murdered, she has to bring the killer to justice without tipping off the law that there's no body in the grave. Between a hot 600-year-old vampire and a dishy detective inspector, both of whom always seem to be there for her, Lucy finds her life getting more complicated than a triple cable cardigan.

The only one who seems to know what's going on is her cat ... or is it ... her familiar?"

Lucy Swift is an average character with a lot of potential to be more memorable.  Her grandmother, Agnes Bartlett, who is now a vampire, is fantastic as a dear older lady who is adjusting to now being a vampire. Her character was much more vibrant and spunky.  Sylvia is the vampire best friend of Agnes and they make a fun pair.  

Rafe Crosyer, vampire and leader of the local fanged residents is only described as "seriously hot".  He is known in the mortal world as an expert in book restoration and a dealer in rare books and manuscripts.  But for the book, he is a close friend to Agnes and seems to like Lucy more than a little.  Detective Inspector Ian Chisholm is the second potential romantic interest and was interesting enough for the limited time on page he received.  Nyx the kitten, her newfound familiar, is one determined cat with some abilities of her own and a fighter.  Nyx is the star of the book in my opinion.

Oxford England is presented as a quaint college town with danger lurking.  I'll be honest, it could have been anywhere in the world with a smattering of older buildings.  The specific setting wasn't utilized but it did provide an old world backdrop.

With this being the first book, time is spent setting up the premise that Agnes was killed in her shop and to save her she was turned by her best friend.  The pacing picks up once Lucy accepts this information, and she switches from mild grief to sleuth almost immediately.  

The killer reveal turns into an opportunity for Lucy to exercise her new-found witchy gifts in self-defense.  This provides a combination of danger and humor.  The wrap up ensures the continuation of Lucy's story as a knit shop owner in Oxford.

If you are looking for a mild paranormal mystery story for a little Halloween fun, this is a good bet.  The idea of knitting vampires is fun and is set up with many of the standard cozy mystery tropes to satisfy most.  This is a fun outing to while away a few hours for a little fun.

Rating:  Well Done - A fun, quick, and easy read I enjoyed.  

Here is an interview with the author writing the series.

https://youtu.be/fITDwCGf9oo?t=394




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