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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Review - The Hanover Square Affair

I found a new historical Amateur Sleuth series set in Regency era.  This is my first novel from award-winning author Ashley Gardner also writes as New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Ashley and national bestselling author, Allyson James. She has written more than fifty novels and novellas in mystery, romance, historical fiction, and urban fantasy.  Here is my review of the first book in the series that consists of twelve novels so far, with a thirteenth slated for 2018 release.

Author: Ashley Gardner

Copyright: June 2017 (Create Space) 272 pgs

Series: 1st in Captain Gabriel Lacey Regency Mystery series

Sensuality: Medium

Mystery Sub-genre: Historical Amateur Sleuth

Main Characters: Cavalry Captain Gabriel Lacey, recently returned from Napoleonic wars injured and fighting depression and PTSD

Setting: Regency London

Obtained Through: Personal Purchase

From the cover: "Cavalry captain Gabriel Lacey returns to Regency London from the Napoleonic wars, burned out, fighting melancholia, his career ended. His interest is piqued when he learns of a missing girl, possibly kidnapped by a prominent member of Parliament. Lacey's search for the girl leads to the discovery of murder, corruption, and dealings with a leader of the underworld. Lacey faces his own disorientation upon transitioning from a soldier's life to the civilian world, redefining his role with his former commanding officer, and making new friends--from the top of society to the street girls of Covent Garden."

Captain Lacey is your anti-hero who needs a cause to fight for as much as the missing girls need somebody to be on the case to find them.  Gabriel Lacey is dark with his inner demons to fight, but he is also a good man who is struggling.  He is no saint, but tries to live honorably.  He is somewhat a Don Quixote type which will make for a good series.  The primary other significant character is Lucius Grenville who is in the upper crust of society and has befriended Captain Lacey. A shady character that will likely be in subsequent novels of the series is James Denis, smuggler, influential, and cut-throat.  Louisa Brandon, the wife of his former best friend, is his un-requited love and the person who can soften his rough edges.

Regency era England with its splendor and squalor, gentility and gutter-rats, populate the story in a cohesive panarama.  The plot is dark and perilous witout turning detailed on the horrific.  Just enough to understand the peril at stake.  There are times that the pacing slows where we learn more about Captain Lacey's past, but they are well worth the time.  

In this debut novel of the series, there is no tense confrontation with the killer.  The culprit is confronted and answers provided, but it isn't a daring scene with peril.  Although I love the really tense and suspenseful killer reveals, the way this was handled added a level of seriousness to the ending.  There are other moments in the story that provide good excitement though.

I like Captain Lacey and his character has potential and the writer's style is easy to follow.  I wasn't enamored with the book, but not turned off by it either.  I would like a bit more description for mood and setting, a few moments of joy for Captain Lacey so it doesn't feel so heavy.  And of course, I love a harrowing killer confrontation.  That said, there aren't as many Regency mysteries and I will probably read the next in the series.

Rating: Good - A solid read with minor flaws, good but not stellar. Maybe read an excerpt before buying. 

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Monday, August 28, 2017

Guest Author Post - Betty Hechtman

Ms. Betty Hechtman, author of the national best selling Crochet Mystery series and the Yarn Retreat Mystery series, is joining us today.  I reviewed her new release, A Tangled Yarn (click here.)  Please welcome Ms. Hechtman to our blog.

The Real Identity

Are any of my characters based on real people? Nope, they are all completely fictitious, but the animals are all real. I thought it was time to reveal one of their real identities.

When I was thinking of a animal companion for Casey Feldstein in the Yarn Retreat Series, I immediately thought of a cat that lived down the street. He might have lived there, but he spent a lot of time in our yard and on our front porch and he even walked inside once when the door was open. His name was Julius and he shared his household with a corgi. His owner, a not so friendly guy, would walk the lumbering short legged corgi, and Julius would tag along on his own.

He had slightly long black fur and an attitude. I know what you’re saying - all cats have attitude.  Julius had even more. It was the way he made eye contact while holding his ground. He never walked fast, but sauntered as if he owned the world. I talk about him in the past tense because Julius and his family moved away a number of years ago. Now we just have Fake Julius. He or she, I’m not sure, though I’m betting on a he, lives nearby and considers our yard part of his domain. He has the same longish black fur and arresting yellow eyes. I would say that Julius just moved in with someone else when his family left, but I saw both black cat in our yard at once.  And Julius wore a name tag, Fake Julius wears none.

The Julius in my book is a little different. He has the same attitude, but he starts out as a stray.  Although I don’t go into it in the book, I think of him having been abandoned and living off the snacks he’s being fed by the kitchen help at the hotel and conference center that hosts the yarn retreats Casey puts on. It’s called Vista Del Mar and is on the edge of the Monterey Peninsula.  The grounds are filled with Monterey Pines and Monterey Cypress and ground cover that grows on its own. In other words, it is kind of wild and untamed. The buildings are dark and moody and there is lots of fog.

The manager of Vista Del Mar is not happy with Julius’s presence on the grounds and uses his golf cart to try to chase him away. The fictitious Julius acts very much like the real cat. He gets out of the way of golf cart, but then stands his ground and stares at the manager with his arresting yellow eyes.

Casey has never had a pet and has no idea how it works with cats. She doesn’t know you don’t pick them, they pick you. However, she finds out when Julius decides she’s the human for him and follows her home.

A TANGLED YARN, is the fifth book in the series and by now Julius has done a good job of training Casey on how to be his human. He has her stocking his favorite food, she calls stink fish for the obvious reason, and has her feeding him it on his command. Much as she’d like to keep him safe as an indoor cat, he has to have his freedom. However, when he gets accused of making a mess of her retreaters’ yarn, he gets put under house arrest. Poor Julius doesn’t even get his day in court.

Though she started out uncertain about their parnteship, Julius has etched a space in Casey’s heart and she knows that whatever happens and wherever she goes, Julius will be coming along. 

Whenever I see Fake Julius, I wonder if he has any idea of the job he’s inherited as my inspiration and the adventures I’ve made up for him.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Betty Hechtman grew up in Chicago and has a degree in Fine Arts. She has been into mystery and  handicrafts since she was a kid. Being able to mix her two loves in the national best selling Crochet Mystery series and the Yarn Retreat Mystery series is like a dream come true. She has many eclectic interests and has taken classes in everything from improv comedy to magic.

She has written newspaper and magazine pieces, short stories and screenplays, along with a children’s mystery, STOLEN TREASURE which also includes the 13 year-old- babysitters favorite recipes.

The current release in the Yarn Retreat series is A TANGLED YARN and HOOKING FOR TROUBLE is the latest in the Crochet series.  She lives in Southern California with her family and a lot of yarn. Over the years she has had thirteen animal companions, a number of whom have shown up at her front door, but is now down to one very affectionate cat. The welcome mat is always out for any abandoned pets looking for a home.

For more information 
Facebook: Betty Hechtman author 
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THANK You Ms. Hechtman for your visit.  I have two brother black cats now that I rescued from a shelter/rescue.  I love Julius in the book and this was fun to learn more about how his character was inspired.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Speaking of cats...
Purchase some wine here and a portion goes to the cat
rescue I support - win-win!
We have several to choose from: 
Cabernet Sauvignon  
Carmenere and  
Sauvignon Blanc  

  Each bottle features one of our sweet furry angels on the label.  This is a great gift idea for family, friends and co-workers! All of the wines are made with certified organic grapes and are vegan friendly.  They are nice Chilean wines, I have tasted most of them!  The shelter gets a good percentage of each bottle sold, so buy a bottle now.

Click here to buy

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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Review - A Tangled Yarn

Let's take a little trip to California's Monterey Peninsula for this next mystery review.  On her website, Ms. Hechtman reveals that Asilomar is the inspiration for the setting.  This is my first book in the Yarn Retreat mysteries and I was able jump in just fine without reading the prior four in the series.  

Author: Betty Hechtman

Copyright: August 2017 (Berkley) 300 pgs

Series: 5th in Yarn Retreat Mystery series

Sensuality: Mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy

Main Characters: Casey Feldstein, dessert chef and new owner of Yarn2Go, a yarn retreat business

Setting: Modern day, Cadbury - Monterey Peninsula California

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

From the cover: "Casey Feldstein has her hands full with preparations at the Vista Del Mar hotel on the scenic Monterey Peninsula as another yarn retreat begins. The retreaters will be thrown for a loop this time, learning the trendy art of arm knitting and finger crocheting.

But not everyone is enthusiastic about trying something new, and Casey is forced to come up with an alternative craft for her less adventurous pupils. Things go from worst to worsted when a travel writer from a neighboring retreat group is found dead in his room among a sea of feathers. When one of the owners of Vista Del Mar pleads for help, Casey gets hooked into the case and must unravel a delicate skein of secrets to catch a killer."

Casey Feldstein has her hands full between Kevin St. John being difficult about the yarn retreat's future at Vista Del Mar, her ex-husband, a few particularly fault-finding retreat attendees, and the murder of the travel writer who was presenting at the writer's retreat occurring concurrently.  Dane is the junior police officer romantic interest.  Sammy is her ex-husband who  likes to say how Casey is "the only one who gets him."  He even asks Casey or a big favor, which was rather interesting.  Wanda and Crystal are the yarn workshop leads who have very different ideas about teaching yarn crafts.  Madeleine is the owner of Vista Del Mar hotel and a friend of Casey's - but she seems to have something to hide.  Kevin St. John is the hotel manager and doesn't like Casey or yarn in general, thus he booked the writer's retreat the same weekend.    Julius the black cat is just one cool cat.

Cadbury, especially the lighthouse, and Vista Del Mar are great settings for the murder.  Who killed the rough travel writer who managed to make even retreat attendees mad?  Seems he had other facets to his life that may catch up to him too.  The killer reveal was good and a surprise.  

I liked Casey and Julius right away.  I enjoyed Madeleine's new found zest for life, that was a great touch.  The yarn retreat is an interesting theme that allows for a new cast along with recurring characters.

Rating:  Good - A fun and enjoyable light read, put this author on your watch list.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
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Kerrianne (Goodreads) 5 star
"Great and compact intro into the world of wine. Can't wait to tour some local wineries with my new found knowledge. So happy I was able to win this through a Goodreads Giveaway!"

Cynthia Calongne- 5 star
"What a great book - fun content, well-organized and easy to read and digest!" 

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Multi-Author Event

My newly edited book is part of a multi-author promotion and giveaway.  

Win up to 26+ Women Sleuths eBooks!

(2) Grand Prize "Gift Baskets" of ALL eBooks!

(26+) Winners of Individual eBooks (randomly selected titles)

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Monday, August 21, 2017

Author Guest Post - Laurie Cass

Please welcome Laurie Cass, author of the hit Bookmobile Cat Mysteries series to the blog today. I love the cat theme!

How People I Know Get Into My Books

The short answer? They don’t. 

The longer answer? They don’t. Well, not really. 

The complete answer is a bit complicated, but here goes. Back in the day, lo these many years ago, before I was published, before I’d submitted a single query letter to an agent, before I’d started writing any book at all, I realized that I had no clue how to write.

I desperately wanted to be a writer, and made a solemn vow to become a published author, but I had absolutely no idea how to, you know, actually do it.

So I did what a lot of people do:  I started reading. Not the mystery that I longed to write—though I did that, too—but books about writing. Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, Robert Ray’s The Weekend Novelist, Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, and numerous others that I could name if I got out of this comfortable chair and walked all the way over to the bookcase. I read all that advice—inhaled it—and when I sat down to put pencil to paper, I still had no clue what I was doing.

Thus started my pre-published era of writing. This was when I wrote the 6.3 books that are now languishing in the deep dark corners of my computer. This was when I joined the Guppies, an online chapter of Sisters in Crime. This was when I joined a local writers group. This was when I started hearing people say things like, “That guy who fired me, yeah, I put him in my first book as the murder victim. It was cathartic,” and “In one of my books I made the mean girl in high school into a waitress in a run-down diner. It felt great.”

I thought about all that, but when I finally got brave enough to start writing my own stuff, I never got around to thinking about inserting people I know into my books. My characters tend to develop first as a skeletal role—best friend, neighbor, aunt, coworker, whatever—and then I figure out what personality would best fit the story. Shoving someone I know into one of those roles isn’t likely to fit. If I dropped a friend into a book, she would walk and talk like my friend, and that could drive the entire thing in a direction I didn’t intend.

That said, there have been times when I’ve used bits of people, but not so much personalities as physical attributes. It works like this. I’ll be writing a scene and a new characters walks in. “Huh,” I’ll think, pausing in my typing and staring off into space. “What does he look like? Hmm…” (I need to have some idea, even if it doesn’t get on the page.) “Let’s see…how about that summer intern I worked with 15 years ago? Don’t remember his name, but I remember what he looked like. Sort of. That’ll work.” And I’m on my way.

So that teeshirt you might have seen; “Be nice to me or I’ll put you in my novel”? With me, you don’t have to worry about that happening. 

Not really, anyway.

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Except for a year in Connecticut, Ms. Cass has always lived in Michigan. Thanks to her maternal grandparents,she and her husband, Eddie, and Sinii, their six-pound killer cat, live on a lake in northern lower Michigan. They spend summers entertaining weekend guests and winters guessing which day the lake is going to freeze over.

When she isn't writing, she is working at her day job, reading, yanking weeds out of the garden, or doing some variety of skiing. She also plays the piano and violin and dabbles in photography, but most of the time, almost all of the time, what she really wants to do is write.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

THANK You Ms. Cass for that insight into your characters. 

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Monday, August 14, 2017

Author Guest Post - Julianne Holmes

Please welcome to M&MM the author of the Clock Shop Mysteries, Julianne Holmes.  She will have a new series, Theater Cop, start the end of this year.  I reviewed her most recent book, Chime and Punishment (click here.)  


Whenever I explain the premise of my clock shop series—that Ruth Clagan is part of a clock making family who owns a shop in the Berkshires—most people smile, and then they tell me about a clock in their family. Everyone has a clock in their family, I’ve discovered.

For me, it is a mantle clock. I inherited it from my grandmother—a Telechron electric clock that looks a bit like a Seth Thomas. It likely dates from the 50’s, isn’t worth a fortune, but means the world to me. Of course, given the work I’ve done on these books, I am looking for a traditional clock that I must wind.

For some people, longcase clocks are passed down from generation to generation. Keeping them running can be a challenge, especially if they haven’t been moved carefully or maintained over time.  Clockmakers will come in and do a house call to determine what the best course of treatment is for the clock. Now, folks trusted in the craft are few, and I’ve heard stories of people inviting clockmakers to travel or traveling to them for a consult.

Over the course of writing these books, I have fallen a bit in love with Banjo clocks (click here). Simon Willard invented these here in Massachusetts, and patented them in 1802. They continue to be made today. The clock is shaped like a banjo, with a square case on the bottom that can be clear, or can be painted decoratively.

Then there are the Seth Thomas miniatures (click here). I spent a day in the American Clock and Watch museum (click here), and these beauties stopped me in my tracks. Made of different types of wood, different shapes. I can easily see becoming obsessed with them.

I’m sure that there are family banjo clocks, or mantel clocks, or miniatures, or carriage clocks, or others that have been passed on from generation to generation. Do they still work? Hopefully yes, though many could use a good cleaning. While doing my research, and talking to Dave Roberts of the Clockfolk of New England (click here), I’ve come to realize a few things about clock repair. First, that it is a craft that takes years to learn. Second, repair means different things to different people. For some folks, to hold value, that means painstaking authentic repair. For others, it means doing what it takes to get the clock working. The repair may cost more than the value of the clock, but that’s the third thing I’ve learned. Clocks own a place in people’s hearts, and that is priceless.

Do you have a family clock that has been passed down? Does a clock have a place in your memories? 

Julianne Holmes writes the Clock Shop Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime. As J.A. Hennrikus, her Theater Cop series will debut in the fall of 2017 with A Christmas Peril. She has short stories in three Level Best anthologies, Thin Ice, Dead Calm and Blood Moon. She is on the board of Sisters in Crime, and is a member of MWA and Sisters in Crime New England. She blogs with the Wicked Cozy Authors and Killer Characters. | Twitter: @JHAuthors | Instagram: @jahenn

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Thank you Ms. Holmes.  I love the ornate craftsmanship of some french clocks, but sadly I don't have a clock that was handed down.  At one point growing up, we had a grandfather clock with the weights that actually worked and winding it.  It had beautiful chimes.  

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Saturday, August 12, 2017


I am doing a giveaway of the newest in the Royal Spyness
Mystery series, "On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service".

Giveaway entry lasts until Friday August 18 6:00 p.m. (MST).  U.S. entries only please.

I will be shipping the book to the winner.

How to enter:

*** First, you must be a member (follower) of this blog.***

All entries are to be in the comments for this post.

I shall notify each winner via the email address you provide to get your mailing address and have the prize sent directly to you.  If I don't hear from you in 3 days, I will select another winner and notify them.

** IF you are a member (or email subscriber) of this blog, you only need to leave a comment with your correct email.

BECOME a member (or email subscriber) of this blog if you aren't already and enjoy the celebration of all things mystery and suspense.

Good Luck!

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Review - Chime and Punishment

I reviewed the debut novel in this new series, Just Killing Time (click here), 2nd book Clock and Dagger (click here) and had a guest post from the author (click here).  It has the running theme of a clock shop and all things fine clocks.  Check out this addition to the series.

Author: Julianne Holmes

Copyright: August 2017 (Berkley) 304 pgs

Series: 3rd in Clock Shop Mystery series

Sensuality: Mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy

Main Characters: Ruth Clagan, expert clock maker and owner of Cog & Sprocket

Setting: Modern day, Orchard Massachusetts (Berkshires)

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

From the book cover: "Years ago, the serenity of picturesque Orchard, Massachusetts, was shattered by a fire that destroyed the town's beloved clock tower. Ruth inherited the dream of repairing it from her late grandfather. Now that she’s returned home to run his clock shop, the Cog & Sprocket, she’s determined to make it happen, despite wrenches that are being thrown into the works by her least favorite person, town manager Kim Gray.

A crowd of residents and visitors are excited to see the progress of the tower at a fund-raiser for the campaign, until Kim is found crushed under the tower’s bell, putting an end to all the fun. The list of suspects is so long it could be read around the clock, and it includes some of Ruth’s nearest and dearest.

Time's a-wastin’ as Ruth tries to solve another murder in her beloved Orchard while keeping the gears clicking on her dream project."

Ruth is back and gearing up for the clock tower to finish restorations and have a celebration opening.  She is an every-woman who notices details and connects dots.  
Ben Clover, the romantic interest, is distracted by his ex-wife's manipulations.  Jeff Paisley, the by-the-book Chief of Police is put in the difficult position of having to officially question his Nancy (his girlfriend's mother).  This is probably my favorite cop portrayal in any of the cozy's I have read. 
Becket, who has been a thorn in Ruth's back side since book one has a few surprises.  Caroline, the step-grandmother is present but not much page time.  Of course, Bezel, the shop cat deserves a mention since he gets a spotlight in the story.  

The setting is a standard small town with the standard enclave of shops but you get more of the history of the City Hall which added to the overall feel of the town.  Pacing keeps steady with the sub plots of dealing with ex-partners for both Ben and Ruth.  

The plot is solid cozy mystery with several suspects, all of whom you don't want to be the killer.  The killer reveal was tame, but works since all the suspects were "nice" people.

I enjoyed my return to Orchard.  It feels like visiting good friends and the story is entertaining.  Win-win.

Rating:  Excellent - Loved it, it had a good grip on me! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

In case you missed it, Random House bought Penguin (who publishes a whole lot of cozy mysteries) and has decided they will stop publishing a significant number of the series in their lineup.  

Not only is this short-sighted, those authors can become independently published authors and take their readership with them!  But it is bad news for fans.  

Here is a list I understand is verified of what series are on the chopping block at this point:

Penguin Random House
Avery Aames - Cheese Shop mysteries

Ellery Adams - Book Retreat and Charmed Pie Shoppe.  May be moving to new publisher for Book Retreat.

Beverly Allen - Bridal Bouquet Shop Mysteries (not renewed) Now writing Vintage Toyshop Mysteries for Crooked Lane as Barbara Early.

Janet Bolin - Threadville Mysteries

Melissa Bourbon -Magical Dressmaking.  Is thinking of self publishing but not anytime soon.  Source: Author's FB page.

Jacklyn Brady - Piece of Cake mysteries

Lucy Burdette - Key West Food Critic series

Amanda Carmack - Kate Haywood Elizabethan mysteries

Maia Chance - Fairy Tale Fatal

Erika Chase - Ashton Corners 

Peg Cochran - Gourmet DeLite

Laura DiSilverio - Mall Cop

Monica Ferris - Betsy Devonshire Needlework series.  Is shopping for new publisher and has plans for future books.

Christy Fifield - Haunted Souvenir.    Owns rights, plans to self-publish. 

Shelley Freydont - Celebration Bay

Eva Gates - Lighthouse Library  (not renewed, possibly still hope). Is writing the Sherlock Holmes Bookstore and Emporium series for Crooked Lane under the name Vicki Delany. The year-Round-Christmas series by Vicki Delany is still continuing with Berkley. 

Kaye George/Janet Cantrell - Fat Cat mysteries (work for hire, cannot be continued by the author.)

Rosie Genova - Italian Kitchen mysteries

Victoria Hamilton - Vintage Kitchen mysteries (she is continuing the series with another publisher, ebook only.)

Mary Ellen Hughes - Pickled and Preserved mysteries. (She is starting a new series, the Keepsake and Collectibles mysteries, with Midnight Ink.)

Sue Ann Jaffarian - Ghost of Granny Apples. (plans to write more and self pub.)

Annie Knox -  Pet Boutique

Elizabeth Lee (Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli) Nut Shop Series

Meg London - Sweet Nothings Lingerie

Molly MacRae -- Haunted Yarn Shop  (plans to continue the series)

Leigh Perry - Family Skeleton.  Shopping for a new publisher. UPDATE - Sid Lives!!   Leigh has found a new publisher for the Family Skeleton series! 9/14/16

Cate Price - Deadly Notions

Paige Shelton -  Farmer's Market and Country Cooking School

Christine Wenger - Comfort Foods Mysteries (NAL, which was merged into Berkley); is considering self-publishing.

FIVE STAR (Gale Cengage)
Five Star has dropped their entire mystery lineup. 
Nancy Cohen - Bad Hair Day
Maggie Toussaint - Dreamwalker Mysteries 
Susan Van Kirk- Endurance Mysteries

Limitless Publishing
A E H Veenman -  Marjorie Gardens Mysteries (Limitless Publishing)
Anna Loan-Wilsey - Hattie Davish

Macmillan / St. Martin's Press 

D.E. Ireland - Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins  (switching publishers)

If you would like to keep informed with news of this development, join the Facebook group "Save Our Cozies" (click here).  This group was formed to centralize efforts to persuade Penguin Random House to reconsider their decision to cull their cozy mystery offerings. It also offers a place for authors to update their fans on future plans.

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Monday, August 7, 2017

Author Guest Post - Rhys Bowen

I am excited and happy that Rhys Bowen is joining us today  She writes two mystery series that are each wonderful.  She writes the Molly Murphy and the Royal Spyness mysteries.  

 A little background about Ms. Bowen.  Rhys was born in Bath, England, of a Welsh/English family, and educated at London University. She worked for the BBC in London, as an announcer then drama studio manager. She sang in folk clubs and also started writing her own radio and TV plays.  She married and settled in the San Francisco area, where she has lived ever since, raising four children. (Although she now spends her winters in her condo in Arizona.)

She gave us an interview in 2010 (click here.)

How my own experiences shape my characters.

One of the good things about being a writer is that I can take episodes from my own life and foist them upon my characters. This works especially well for embarrassing events. Events that were mortifying to me: now I can laugh at them as I make poor Lady Georgie suffer with them.

In my teens and twenties I had a checkered career. I studied at a drama school. I worked in BBC drama (an amazing experience working with top actors of the day. How many twenty-two year olds get to tell Sir John Gilguid where he is supposed to stand on the set?) I also sang in folk clubs. This was the Sixties, the age of folk music. I was friends with Al Stewart (of Year of the Cat fame) and through him I became a regular at a couple of folk clubs in London. And through him I met Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. They were also just starting out in their careers and sang at the same clubs, and also stayed at the same house in London, inhabited by a motley crew of young creative types. I was actually sitting with Al in a cafĂ© late one night when Paul and Artie came to say goodbye. “We have to go back to America,” they said. “Our manager says our song Sounds of Silence is doing quite well.” A moment in history.

Of course I can’t use the Sixties for Lady Georgie, but I did use another of my brief and not too successful careers. Modeling. I thought if I became a model it would give me time to write. I  enrolled at a modeling school and then their, 
agency sent me out on a job. Modeling for a fashion house for their spring collection. I had to put on clothes quickly, come out and walk up and down. This went fine until I was given a strange garment. The skirt was long and very tight. I could hardly get it over my hips (and I was super skinny). It buttoned behind the neck. I started to walk out, taking tiny steps. That’s when I noticed something flapping beside me and realized it was culottes and I was in half of them! I wanted the floor to open up and swallow me but I had to walk all the way back again. 

So I made Lady Georgie suffer that same embarrassment, only she is modeling in front of Mrs. Simpson! How mortifying. Poor Georgie.

In subsequent books I have inflicted more embarrassing moments upon her. However I have never found myself in such a pickle as happens to her in On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service, when she is trapped in a room with… Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out more. Enjoy


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THANK You Ms. Bowen.  Oh my gosh, Al Stewart and Simon and Garfunkel.  Very cool.  I remember Georgie's failed modeling attempt.  That was great to get a different insight into what Georgie suffers!

Here is a video of an interview last year.

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Friday, August 4, 2017

Review - Veiled Menace

I reviewed the first in this series, Veiled Magic (click here), and was fortunate to have the author visits for an interview (click here).  Today I am reviewing her newest in the series, Veiled Menace, featuring a witch police officer. 

Author: Deborah Blake

Copyright: April 2017 (Intermix/Penguin) 285 pgs

Series: 2nd in Veiled Magic series

Sensuality: Mild/sprinkled cursing

Mystery Sub-genre: Paranormal Police Procedural

Main Character: Policewoman Donata Santori is a witch who talks to the dead.

Setting: modern day, large seaside city (never named)

Obtained Through:  Personal Purchase

From the book cover:  "Witch and police officer Donata Santori is no stranger to magical mayhem, but lately her life has been unexpectedly charmed. Her job as a Ghost Yanker now includes the occasional paranormal investigation, and she’s advancing her magical abilities with the help of an ancestor’s treasured spell book. And while both of her former love interests—reclusive half-Dragon art forger Peter Casaventi and disgraced Shapechanger Magnus Torvald—are nowhere to be found, she’s not averse to being wined and dined by wealthy businessman Anton Eastman.

But Eastman isn’t what he seems, and what he wants from Donata is far more than she’s willing to give. When a mysterious relic, the Pentacle Pentimento, resurfaces, along with Peter’s Dragon father and a shocking Santori family secret, Donata must fight to save herself, her friends, and just maybe the fate of the world from a magic as old as it is dangerous…"

Donata, the black sheep of her powerful witch family because of her profession just may get some respect as she is on the forefront of whatever is coming.  Peter Casaventi, the half-dragon art forger, displays his less attractive dragon pride and ego in this book.  Peter's father, a dragon, wants Peter with a nice dragon girl - not a witch. That's not what gets him murdered though.  Anton Eastman, who is dating Donata acts superior and self-centered, but he has worse qualities that come to light.  We get to see more of the police chief and the Medical Examiner in this outing, which I enjoyed.  Donata's mother and two sisters are elitist and judgmental, which I keep wondering when Donata-the-cop will have enough of their treatment.  Ricky, the Kobold Earth Spirit with a temper is her loyal friend and a star in his own right.

I still don't know what city this takes place in, but it is seaside as the mansion Peter's father owns overlooks the beach and ocean.  That was used particularly well with weather patterns taking drastic changes. 

Ms. Blake keeps the pacing just right and the reader engaged, the plot in parts seems easy but then a little twist comes along putting everything in a new light.  Donata's face off with the villain is deliciously suspenseful and the last paragraph leaves you anxious for the next book.  

I like where Ms. Blake is going with this series, playing a longer game around a situation.  That said, each can be read independently so far.  I can easily see team Peter and team Magnus forming to cheer for the favorite guy to win Donata's heart.  I must say that it isn't the typical love triangle, rather the guys come in and out of her life and each has his issues and baggage.  

Rating:  Excellent - Loved it, it had a good grip on me! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list

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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

ICED Book Blog Tour

I am trying out conducting a virtual blog tour through Great Escapes for my book ICED. Here is the itinerary in case you are interested in checking it out:


August 2 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

August 3 – Readsalot – SPOTLIGHT

August 3 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

August 4 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

August 5 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW

August 6 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST

August 7 – Bea’s Book Nook – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

August 7 – Sleuth Cafe – GUEST POST

August 8 – Varietats – REVIEW

August 9 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST

August 9 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

August 10 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW

August 10 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 11 – A Holland Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST

August 12 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST

August 13 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW

August 14 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST

August 14 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – REVIEW

August 15 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

There is a giveaway associated with this tour as well, so check that out!

This is my first book blog tour and I would love some feedback if you follow them or have participated in one before. Do you like virtual book tours?

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Barnes and Noble

IndieBound print

Audio book is due shortly.

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