Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Currently Reading...

I just started reading Knock on Wood by Linda O. Johnston. This book is the second in her Superstition Mystery series and will be released next week! When I say I just started reading this book, I really meant just started. I haven't even finished chapter one! But here's what's going on so far: Rory is settling in to the town of Destiny, managing the Lucky Dog Boutique and even contemplating moving out of the Rainbow B&B to rent an apartment, or even buy a house.She's also excited that her best friend Gemma is coming down for a visit. However, a troubled Gemma arrives a day early. Something is wrong...and while Rory will give her space for a moment, she'll soon find out the problem and look for a solution.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Review - Wouldn't it be Deadly

Review

Wouldn't it be Deadly by D.E. Ireland
The First Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins Mystery

This book is the first in the Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins Mystery series and was published last year. D.E. Ireland takes the wonderful characters created by George Bernard Shaw and expounds on their lives after the Embassy Ball in 1913. Higgins and Colonel Pickering have gone on two month tour of Spain, studying dialects. Upon their return to London Higgins discovers that Eliza has become the assistant of Maestro Nepommuck, giving diction lessons herself. Not only that, Nepommuck has been advertising is was he who transformed this Cockney flower girl into a lady. Seeking to give the blighter his comeuppance, Higgins delves into the Hungarian's shady past-and gives the information to the papers. What Higgins didn't expect was for someone to then murder the Maestro and for Eliza to find the body! Now Higgins is the number one suspect and Eliza is out to clear his name. 

It takes courage and a bit of nerve to take well known and well loved characters and give them new life. Things could go horribly wrong. However, in Wouldn't it be Deadly things go wonderfully right. D.E. Ireland has taken George Bernard Shaw's wonderful characters and brought them to the world of the cozy mystery.

Having played the character of Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion I feel quite an affinity toward her. Reading this book is like reading my story and I was not disappointed. Eliza remains the smart independent woman she's always been. What's also fascinating is watching her relationship with Professor Higgins. Although some critics of the original claim that there is no romance between them, it's hard to deny that there is something there. One can't say what exactly that something is, but there is something; a complicated relationship to be sure.

In Wouldn't it be Deadly we get the familiar characters we know and love thrust into new circumstances with a fine mystery to solve. As for the mystery itself-a victim with a scandalous past providing multiple people with plenty of motive. D.E. Ireland combines familiar characters with historical accuracy and cozy mystery fun in this delightful book.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Saving my Writing Bacon - Guest Post & Giveaway



Saving my Writing Bacon
By Alice Loweecey

I’m a writer. I create. My readers want more mysteries from me, so I brew some Seattle’s Best No. 5 and grab my laptop. Allons-y!

That is, until I’m staring at that blank white Word doc and nothing’s coming.

A creature called “Deadline” likes to appear on my desk right about then. It usually looks like the outcome of several illegal horror movie experiments mixed with wolf spider DNA. Google “wolf spider” if you don’t need to sleep tonight – I’m not going to insert a picture here. (You’re welcome.)

When I’m being menaced by that creature and my creative mojo is binge-watching Firefly on Netflix instead of, you know, creating, I reach for my “Save My Writing Bacon” list.

 (source 20th century fox television)


1. Set a goal with a reward. For example, when I reach 500 words, I will then allow myself to watch one episode of Firefly. The words don’t have to be creative, but they do need to be productive. Which ties into bacon-saver number two:

2. Research. I love research and can get lost in it for hours. I like to front-load my research so all of it is at my fingertips as I'm writing. I’m a visual writer, so I screencap maps, house floor plans, real estate listings, poisonous plants, anything that I’ll need for when I’m deep in the murderer’s head. 

(source:learntarot.com)
 

3. Turn your usual process upside down.  Write a 2-page synopsis if that's something you usually do after the first draft is complete. Outline if you’re a pantser. Front-load the research if you usually research on the fly. Sometimes turning things back-to-front gives my brain the kick in the butt it needs. 

(source: The New York Post)

4. Rethink the inciting incident. If you discover you’ve started the book with the wrong inciting incident—this happened to me—I trolled news stories past and present. After a few hours I ended up using the news like a buffet: One element from here, part of a subplot from there, a quirky character from a third article. I now have a file of articles labeled Plot Bunnies.

5. This final bacon-saver is a version of reversing the process. Write in longhand if you usually write on the laptop, or write on the the laptop if you prefer longhand This  works for any draft I’m in, regardless of deadline. Because if the words aren’t flowing onto. keyboard, it doesn’t matter if I write faster on my laptop. I need to write, period. Sometimes my brain needs the visuals of lots of ink on paper. 

There. 500 words. Firefly, here I come!


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Friday, September 25, 2015

Interview in the Palm with Review

I'm pleased to welcome Kari Lee Townsend to the blog today. Kari writes the Sunny Meadows Mystery series, also known as the Fortune Teller Mystery series. Perish in the Palm, the fourth book in the series, was released in July.


Kathy: Sunny Meadows is a clairvoyant who helps people, including the police, in Divinity, NY. Have you ever met anyone who was clairvoyant?

KLT: My first experience with a fortune teller was years ago before I got married. I went to a tea leaf reader, and it was uncanny how accurate her reading was. Then I went to a psychic fair and several workshops at conferences with my best friend/critique partner/fellow author Barbara Witek. It’s safe to say we’re hooked!


Kathy: There are many forms of divination including tarot cards, tea leaves, and crystal balls. Have you ever used any of these tools, or had them used to see into your future?

KLT: I had my tea leaves read as I mentioned above. As far as using the tools myself, I compiled my research and came up with the method my character would use. Then I demonstrated readings for tea leaves, crystal balls, and tarot cards on my CP Barbara Witek (poor woman has been through so much over the last 20 years being my friend, haha, yet she’s always game for anything). Next up palm reading ;)


Kathy: I can just picture Sunny's Victorian home in Divinity. Is it, as well as the town, based on real places, or are both purely fictional?

KLT: I live in central New York and grew up in upstate so I based the town on things I liked from a few different towns. As far as the dĂ©cor of Sunny’s house as well as the local businesses, that was all research. I thought an old-fashioned town with different themes for the businesses would be unique and fun. Mostly I wanted Divinity to be memorable.


Kathy: I love Morty! Is he based on a real cat?

KLT: No. In fact I don’t have any pets, just 4 wild children J But I do love animals and thought if I did have a cat, he would be full of character. People always ask me what exactly is he, and the funny thing is, I don’t even know for sure. I am figuring him out as I go along and that’s half the fun.


Kathy: Perish in the Palm is the fourth book in the Sunny Meadows Mystery series, although the first three books in the series are referred to as the Fortune Telling Mystery series. Was the change in name due to the change in publisher?

KLT: Yes. Due to contract negotiations falling through, I decided parting ways with the original publisher was my only option. But I love the new packaging and the stories are still just as fun.


Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

KLT: I started out writing romance and had no idea what cozy mysteries were. When someone pointed out that cozy mysteries were set in a small town with fun characters and could have romance, I realized they were very much like my romantic comedies with a mystery thrown in. After I started reading them, I was hooked.


Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

KLT: I write mysteries and teen superheroes under Kari Lee Townsend, and I write romance and women’s fiction under Kari Lee Harmon. But no matter what I write, you will always find fun characters and humor and usually something mysterious to figure out.


Kathy: Tell us about your series.

KLT: It’s about a psychic fortune teller from the big city who starts over in a small town, befriends an immortal cat, and assists the local police department with their investigations as a consultant, much to the dismay of the cynical non-believing detective who later becomes her fiancĂ©.


Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?

KLT: Granny Gert because she was created after my Grandmother Gertrude with her snow white hair, snappy brown eyes, and pumpkin cookie jar with the foil covered plate for a lid. I grew up eating the best cookies from that jar, and just like Granny Gert, my grandmother his money around the house and wore her apron and plastic rain cap everywhere. It took my real grandmother 5 tries to pass her road test as well. The only thing that’s more like my mother are the crazy fads Granny follows. Half the things that happened in the book my mother has tried ;)


Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?

KLT: When I first decided to do some research on what cozy mystery themes had been done, I didn’t find anything on fortune telling. I saw some with psychics in general but nothing like what I had in mind. And to make it even more unique, I decided to have each book revolve around a different fortune-telling tool to keep my readers interested and learn something new along the way.


Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

KLT: Becoming published has always been a dream of mine. It took 16 years (4 with my agent) until she landed me a 3-book deal off a partial and then 6 months later another 3-book deal off just a synopsis. I’ve seen my books in the bookstore, and now with the digital age booming and technology changing rapidly, I’ve seen my books as ebooks. I think it’s important to keep up with the times and be open to change and be willing to try new things. You never know what you might like or be good at unless you put yourself out there.


Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?

KLT: Nora Roberts and Janet Evanovich to ask them what their secret is. Stephen King because he’s just so fascinating. And Barbara Witek because we do everything together anyway and the party wouldn’t be half as fun without her.


Kathy: What are you currently reading?

KLT: Jo Jo Moyes One Plus One


Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?

KLT: Photography. You won’t see me at any conference or convention without my camera. Just ask my poor friends and fellow authors. It’s the same with family functions and my children’s sporting events. Life goes by so darn fast, I can’t help wanting to capture every moment. One day they will all thank me. In the meantime, watch out. You just might be on my version of candid camera.


Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.

KLT: Coffee, wine, Greek yogurt, Nutella


Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?

KLT: Next up for Sunny Meadows is Hazard in the Horoscope (book 5), Chaos and Cold Feet (novella 5a), Murder in the Meditations (book 6).

I possibly might write more of my Mind Reader Mystery series or another in the Sister Mary Sleuth series. There’s only 1 book in each of those now.

And I will definitely be writing more women’s fiction. I just finished a historical women’s fiction that my agent is currently shopping so cross your fingers.


Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?

KLT: Finishing a book fills me with such excitement and pride. Getting to share that with other people feels amazing. And the satisfaction of getting paid to do something I love is priceless. Setting my own schedule and writing in my PJ’s doesn’t hurt either J


Kathy: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions.

KLT: Thank you so much for having me. It’s been a blast. To find out more about me and all of my books check out my website at karileetownsend.com

*******************************************************************************

Review
  
Perish in the Palm by Kari Lee Townsend
The Fourth Sunny Meadows Mystery

Sunny Meadows is back! Sunny is a fortune teller in Divinity, New York. She lives in an old Victorian with Morty (a more than mysterious cat), her Grandma Gert, and now her boyfriend Mitch (who still sometimes morphs into Detective Grumpy Pants). Sunny is pleased to be maid of honor at her friend Jo's wedding, even though her mother is horning in. When her mom takes one to many verbal jousts at the owner of the reception site, Sunny steps in with some entertainment in order to distract everyone. She reads Peirce's palm, but sees some disconcerting images...and treasure. When a storm hits and the lights go out, everyone is shocked-especially when Sunny's mom is found standing over the dead body of Peirce, knife in hand. Was it Peirce's financial activities that caused his death, or was someone just out to ruin a wedding? Whatever the case, Sunny is determined to prove her mother innocent!

Sunny and her mother have a difficult relationship, neither truly understanding the other.  We see that while her mom can relate to her friends, to Sunny's eyes even being more of a mom to them, their own relationship is fraught with tension. But your mom's your mom so when Vivian becomes prime suspect in a murder investigation, Sunny will do everything she can to prove her innocence, whether the assistance is wanted or not. In Perish in the Palm Kari Lee Townsend explores more of this mother/daughter relationship and we see the growth and bond of these two characters deepen.

I was happy to hear that Sunny was back in Divinity with a new mystery. Living in Western New York I can easily picture this Central New York town and feel quite at home, especially in Sunny's Victorian. I'm thrilled to read more about Morty and love getting his take on the situation and the clues he tried to provide Sunny. I appreciate how Kari Lee Townsend is exploring different forms of divination-palm reading in this book as well as how Mitch is coming to appreciate her paranormal abilities. While Sunny still shows her immaturity at times, both she and Mitch are growing as characters as well as growing as a couple. Perish in the Palm is also a good mystery with numerous plausible suspects as well as a secondary mystery-a hunt for treasure!

Recipes are included.






Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Currently Reading...

I just started reading Chef Maurice and the Bunny-Boiler Bake Off by J.A. Lang. This book is the third in the Chef Maurice Mystery series and will be released October 12th.

It's time for the Beakley Spring Fayre and, much to Chef Maurice's dismay, a celebrity chef has not only been invited, but as taken his place on the judging panel of the Bake Off! As Chef Bonvivant and Chef Maurice join together in their condemnation of Miranda Mathews, celebrity chef, PC Lucy has to deal with meeting Patrick's mother...and entering one of her not quite edible cakes in the competition.

I'm thrilled to see Chef Maurice, Hamilton, and the rest of the gang back in action and can't wait to find out what happens next!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Little Cozy Help! Guest Post & Giveaway


A Little Cozy Help!
By Tonya Kappes

I have to admit that this is my favorite time of the year! I live in Kentucky where we have all the seasonal changes. There is nothing like the chill of a crisp night coming off a spectacular sunny day when fall rolls around my old Kentucky home.

The smell of chili cooking all day in the crock-pot while I’m in my happy place creating the fictional worlds I write about is and will always be one of my fondest writing memories.

I’m a true southern. I decorate my house with the seasons, but fall and Halloween happen to be my favorite. And it’s come at a perfect time!

I’m settling in to write book five and book six of the GHOSTLY SOUTHERN MYSTERY SERIES and I’m going to need your help! Even though the series is based around a ghost haunting, Emma Lee Raines, the undertaker of Eternal Slumber and this time of year gives me great inspiration to write all things mystery. . .I’m going to need your help!

But here is where I need y’all. I’m currently working on the next two books. Of course there is a lot of southern charm, quirky characters and humor you find in a Kappes novel, but there is also murders! All I want to know is what was ONE thing someone else had in high school that you wanted?

If I pick your answer, I’ll put your name in the acknowledgements of the novel!

You can leave your answer here in the comment section or email me your answer to tonyak11.tk@gmail.com.

********************************************************************************


A GHOSTLY DEMISE
By Tonya Kappes

On Sale August 25, 2015
From former self-published superstar and USA Today bestseller Tonya Kappes comes the third hilarious Ghostly Southern Mystery novel featuring Emma Lee Raines, a funeral home director who can suddenly see dead people.


The prodigal father returns-but this ghost is no holy spirit.

When she runs into her friend’s deadbeat dad at the local deli, undertaker Emma Lee Raines can’t wait to tell Mary Anna Hardy that he’s back in Sleepy Hollow, Kentucky, after five long years. Cephus Hardy may have been the town drunk, but he didn’t disappear on an epic bender like everyone thought: He was murdered. And he’s heard that Emma Lee’s been helping lost souls move on to that great big party in the sky.
Why do ghosts always bother Emma Lee at the worst times? Her granny’s mayoral campaign is in high gear, a carnival is taking over the Town Square, and her hunky boyfriend, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, is stuck wrestling runaway goats. Besides, Cephus has no clue whodunit… unless it was one of Mrs. Hardy’s not-so-secret admirers. All roads lead Emma Lee to that carnival-and a killer who isn’t clowning around.
 




A GHOSTLY MURDER
By Tonya Kappes

On Sale September 29, 2015
From former self-published superstar and USA Today bestseller Tonya Kappes comes the fourth hilarious Ghostly Southern Mystery novel featuring Emma Lee Raines, a funeral home director who can suddenly see dead people.


Emma Lee Raines knows there’s only one cure for a bad case of murder.

I told you I was sick, reads the headstone above Mamie Sue Preston’s grave. She was the richest woman in Sleepy Hollow, Kentucky, and also the biggest hypochondriac. Ironic, considering someone killed her-and covered it up perfectly. And how does Emma Lee Raines, proprietor of the Eternal Slumber Funeral Home, know all this? Because Mamie Sue’s ghost told her, that’s how. And she’s offering big bucks to find the perp.

The catch is, Mamie Sue was buried by the Raines family’s archrival, Burns Funeral Home. Would the Burnses stoop to framing Emma Lee’s granny? With an enterprising maid, a penny-pinching pastor, and a slimy Lexington lawyer all making a killing off Mamie Sue’s estate, Emma Lee needs a teammate-like her dreamboat boyfriend, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross. Because with millions at stake, snooping around is definitely bad for Emma Lee’s health.

  *******************************************************************************

Leave a comment on this blog post for a chance to win an e-copy of either A Ghostly Demise or A Ghostly Murder, winners choice. Answer Tonya's question, "what was ONE thing someone else had in high school that you wanted?" along with your choice of book and your e-mail address no later than 11:59pm Wednesday, September 23, 2015.