Sunday, September 24, 2017

Inside the Actor's Studio questions PLUS a #BookGiveaway

Character:      Jacob Underwood
Series:           Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries
Author:          Cheryl Hollon

My name is Jacob Underwood. I apprentice at Webb's Glass Shop. Miss Savannah Webb, who is the boss, asked me to answer these questions. They are famous questions. They appear at the end of THE ACTOR'S STUDIO TV program. Writing answers like this is difficult for me because I have autism. My condition used to be called Asperger's Syndrome. I prefer that name.


1. What is your favorite word? Yes

2. What is your least favorite word? No

3. What turns you on? Repairing  stained glass windows. The tricky part is replacing vintage glass fragments with modern glass. Matching the colors is the most difficult part. I enjoy painting on the new glass so that no one can tell it was replaced.

4. What turns you off? When people speak to me like a small child.

5. What sound or noise do you love? Birdsong in the early morning.

6. What sound or noise do you hate? Breaking glass at the shop -- always bad.

7. What is your favorite curse word? I do not curse. If I get anxious, I could have a panic attack. Then I might have an Asthma attack. Then I would need my inhaler. 

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?  Train service animals.

9. What profession would you not like to do? Telemarketing.

10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? Hello, Jacob! Thank you for bringing Suzy.



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Etched in Tears releases on November 28, 2017 and is available for pre-order on Amazon, Nook, Kobo, and all your favorite bookstores. It is published by Kensington Books who is sponsoring a promotion for Cozy Mysteries with a buy 3 get one free offer at your local Barnes & Noble 


About Etched in Tears


When a famous glass artist is murdered at his own exhibit, deadly secrets are put on display, and it's up to glass shop owner Savannah Webb to see through a killer's cover.

Celebrated glass artist Dennis Lansing is returning to St. Petersburg, Florida, for an exhibit at the world-renowned Salvador Dali Museum. His unique style of embedding document images in his art is at the vanguard of contemporary glasswork. But as Savannah's first boyfriend and a former apprentice to her father, Dennis's return home has her reflecting on the past--a trip down memory lane that takes a dark turn when Dennis is found murdered at the museum with an old reference letter from her father in his pocket. A search through her father's records sheds new light on Dennis's history, but it seems his present life wasn't so transparent either. Now, with a gallery of suspects to consider, it's up to Savannah to figure out who fits the mold of a murderer.



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There's a #BOOKGIVEAWAY! Leave a comment and your email address in the form of name(AT)server(DOT)com to avoid the SPAM bots. Do this by midnight on September 25 for the chance to win a signed copy of your choice of Cracked to Death. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes.



Meet the author:

Cheryl Hollon writes full time after she left an engineering career designing and building military flight simulators in amazing countries such as England, Wales, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan and India. Fulfilling the dream of a lifetime, she combines her love of writing with a passion for creating glass art. In the small glass studio behind the house, Cheryl and her husband George design, create, and produce fused glass, stained glass and painted glass artworks.



Visit Cheryl and her books at her WebsiteFacebook or Twitter


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Peculiar with a Capital P

from Janet Marsh of the Highland Bookshop Mysteries by Molly MacRae

Last month, I told you about running into Daphne Wood, the author who’s come to Inversgail for an author-in-residence program – not literally running into her, thank goodness, because she had a sword. In fact, though, Christine, Maida and I had met Daphne the night before—we were making sure everything was ready for her in the house she’d be staying in, when she surprised us by arriving two days early.

“Janet,” Maida said when we were in the kitchen, “that’s a peculiar person out there. Are you sure it’s Daphne Wood? Maybe we should ask for identification.”

“I think peculiarity is her identification, but, yes, I’m sure that’s Daphne. She looks just like the picture on her books. Besides, she has a maple leaf shoulder patch on her jacket.”

“I didn’t notice,” Maida said.

“You were probably looking at the dog,” said Christine. “You were probably wondering what a back-to-nature, living-in-the-wilds woman who wears buffalo plaid is doing with a Pekingese.”

Rachel Carson
“The dog looks as though it should appear at that poncy show in Birmingham,” Maida said, as she looked for the teabags. “Crufts, isn’t that what the show’s called? What do you think the dog is called?”

“Rachel Carson,” a voice said behind us.

Maida, Christine, and I all flinched then turned to find Daphne Wood standing in the door. Rachel Carson stood beside her. Maida smiled and held up the box of tea she’d finally found. I flinched again. We hadn’t warned Maida about Earl Grey.

Daphne held her phone up. “Low bat. I need to make a call.”

Her shortage of verbiage proved contagious. “Use mine.” I pulled my phone from a pocket and handed it Daphne.

Daphne consulted a number written on the palm of her hand and keyed it in. While she waited for an answer, she and Rachel Carson stared at the wall. I realized that Maida, Christine, and I were staring at Daphne and Rachel Carson. I pulled Maida and Christine out of the room, but no farther than just around the corner.

“Peculiar with a capital P,” Maida whispered.

“Shh.” I put a finger to my lips. “I want to hear what she says.”

Maida gave me a scandalized look.

“Janet’s right, Maida,” Christine whispered. “This is a peculiar person come to stay in your house. Hearing what she has to say might give you peace of mind.”

There now. I think we're in for interesting times while Daphne's in Inversgail, don’t you? 

Coming in January 2018, Scones and Scoundrels, the new mystery in the Highland Bookshop series, bringing together a body outside  a pub, a visiting author determined to find the killer, and a murderously good batch of scones . . .

Molly MacRae is the author of the award-winning, national bestselling Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries and the Highland Bookshop Mysteries. Visit Molly on Facebook and Pinterest, connect with her on Twitter @mysteryMacRae, or find her the first Monday of each month at Amy Alessio’s Vintage Cookbooks and Crafts.


Friday, September 22, 2017

WISE ENQUIRIES AGENCY BOOK GIVEAWAY by Cathy Ace



SPECIAL, PRE-PUBLICATION BOOK GIVEAWAY!

On 29th September 2017 the fourth book in the WISE Enquiries Agency Mystery series – THE CASE OF THE UNSUITABLE SUITOR – will be published in hardcover in the UK. It won’t be published in the USA and Canada until January 2018. Today you can WIN an early copy of the book.

A short excerpt follows (from chapter two) and I hope you enjoy it. (NOTE: The answer to my question below is in the excerpt!)

Leave a comment below telling me the name of the person you suspect is the "UNSUITABLE SUITOR" in the title of the book to stand a chance of having your name plucked from the metaphorical hat to win a signed copy of the book – just as soon as I have one to sign! Comments to be left by midnight Eastern on Saturday 23rd September. Open to all - wherever in the world you live :-)

Cathy Ace 

Carol had just finished in the bathroom when her phone rang in her dressing-gown pocket. With her wriggling infant son Albert clamped to her side with one arm, she answered without checking the caller’s number and was surprised to hear the voice of Tudor Evans, landlord of the Lamb and Flag pub, hissing at her.
‘Is that you, Carol?’
‘Yes, it is. Are you alright, Tudor?’
‘No, I’m not. It’s an emergency.’ The man sounded rattled. ‘Can you come over to see me? Right now?’
‘It’s before eight on a Saturday morning, Tudor. What’s the matter?’
‘Annie’s involved. It’s urgent.’
Carol’s tummy flipped. ‘Is she alright? Are you alright? Have you phoned – what, an ambulance?’ As she spoke, Carol’s mind raced through a list of potentially catastrophic events involving Annie; it seemed endless.
‘It’s not that sort of emergency. But I really need to talk to you. Now.’
Carol looked into Albert’s cornflower eyes and replied, ‘Just let me get dressed and make sure David’s awake enough to cope with Albert, and I’ll come over to the pub in fifteen minutes. Alright?’
Tudor sounded panicked as he responded, ‘OK. But if you can get here faster, don’t hang about, just come. The side door is open.’ Then he was gone.
Carol woke her husband and placed Albert on the bed so he could be cuddled and protected. He immediately poked his tiny fingers up David’s nose, which Carol noticed was helping her poor spouse come-to rather more quickly that he’d have liked. As she pulled on one of her trusty full-length, jersey-cotton dresses, she explained that she had to rush out unexpectedly. David was too befuddled to argue, or to even seek more detailed information.
The grassy heart of bucolic Anwen-by-Wye should have been green, but a fortnight of surprisingly dry and sunny weather had bleached it to the color of straw. As she rushed across the cement-like turf, Carol tried to stop herself imagining horrific scenarios involving her long-time friend and now colleague, Annie Parker, but couldn’t.
When she walked into the deserted pub Tudor was hovering beside the bar. He beamed with relief as he welcomed her. ‘Good of you to come, Carol. Will you take coffee here at the bar with me?’
Carol couldn’t for the life of her work out what was going on, everything looked quite normal, except Tudor, who seemed to be vibrating. Annie was nowhere to be seen. ‘Where is she? What’s the matter?’ she asked, almost afraid to hear the answer.
‘She’s not here, not right now. But like I said, it’s about Annie.’ Tudor handed her a coffee.
Carol wriggled onto a barstool and took the steaming mug. She allowed herself to relax just a little, but couldn’t help feeling a bit cross with Tudor.
‘You know she’s been seeing this bloke, Huw Hughes?’ the landlord began. Carol shook her head, shocked; she had no inkling of any such thing. ‘Well she has been, for about a month, I reckon – all on the QT, because they don’t want any gossip in the village, I expect. I wouldn’t usually say anything – she’s a grown up after all, and more than entitled to spend time with whomever she pleases. But I had a bit of a shock last night. I had a conversation with Huw here at the pub and . . . well, it’s given me cause for concern. I think Huw is plotting to kill Annie.’
‘You think what? Annie’s life is in danger?’
‘I do. I think it’s just a matter of time. He’s got it in for her, he has.’ Tudor’s expression was grim.
Carol slurped her coffee as though her life depended upon it; she certainly suspected her sanity might. She put down the mug before she replied, ‘Let me get this straight – you’re telling me that Annie Parker – my Annie Parker – is secretly carrying on with some bloke who I’ve never so much as heard of, and has been doing so for some time?’ Tudor nodded. ‘So – if she’s seeing this chap, why do you think he wants to kill her? Sorry, Tudor, you’ve lost me. Can you explain more clearly?’
‘Right, give me a minute, let me get it straight. I had it all worked out – what I’d say to you – and now it’s gone.’
As Tudor finished his coffee, and poured himself another, Carol silently acknowledged to herself that she and Annie had spent hardly any time together since Albert’s arrival more than four months earlier, so she had to contemplate the idea that the woman she had thought of as her best friend for more than a decade and a half was no longer an open book to her. Not so very long ago Carol would have been the first to know about a momentous development like a new man in the life of her ultra-single friend. But now? Maybe they’d drifted apart more than just a little. At that realization, Carol felt something akin to a tiny bereavement. It wasn’t pleasant. When Tudor cleared his throat in a somewhat formal manner, she realized she had to maintain her focus.
‘Huw Hughes has been coming into the pub, off and on, for a couple of months. He’s originally from here – Anwen-by-Wye itself, not just the general area – and he went away to work and so forth. He’s come back to “semi-retire”. Bought himself one of those big houses out on the executive estate, he has.’ Tudor rolled his eyes. ‘Horrible place that – it’s a blight on the landscape and the community; something should be done to prevent any more farmers from selling off land to allow for “much needed housing” in the area. “Much needed housing” my eye! Only millionaires can afford those brick-built monstrosities. Spoiling a perfectly lovely hillside, they are.’
Carol slurped patiently, hoping Tudor would get to the point soon. ‘And?’ she prompted.
‘Right. Yes. Last night. He was in, as usual. I think he’d just dropped Annie off at her cottage with his car and he came in for a pint. Stood right where you are now and as good as told me he’s about to ask her to marry him, then asked what did I think.’
Carol was amazed. ‘You’re kidding?’
‘I am not. Serious as the plague, I am. So I say it all sounds a bit quick to me – which I think it is – and he says the best way to pluck ’em, is when they’re in the first flush of love. “Pluck ’em”! Just like that he said it. Highly inappropriate I call that.’
Carol could guess Tudor’s internally edited response to such a comment would have been much stronger; pretty much everyone in the village knew he’d been sweet on Annie since her arrival – everyone except Annie, of course
‘Who exactly is this bloke?’
Tudor sagged. ‘Huw? I thought he’d be an asset to the Anwen Allcomers croquet team, so I asked him to join. I didn’t spot that he was so smarmy until we started our meetings. Never crossed my mind he’d end up pursuing Annie. And that’s the other thing he told me last night that’s got me really worried; three wives he’s had. Three. And every one of them dead. I didn’t like the way he said it.’
Carol restricted herself to a quiet, ‘Uh-huh,’ realizing Tudor hadn’t finished.
‘There’s something “off” about him, Carol. I know he gets my goat with all his boasting about how he’s done this and that, here, there and everywhere. Been all over the world he has, if you believe half of what he says. I’m trying to not let that color my opinion of him. But, I mean, three dead wives? There’s got to be something wrong with that, hasn’t there? And now he’s got his sights set on Annie. She’s in danger, I tell you.’
Carol shrugged as nonchalantly as she could.
Tudor pressed on. ‘I think he’s one of those blokes who goes around marrying women for their money, then bumping them off. And I don’t want that happening to Annie. You’ve got to help.’
Carol decided it was time to try to rein-in Tudor. ‘How, exactly?’
‘See, what I was hoping was that you could find out a bit more about him. He’s got a website for his business, that much I know, but nobody puts anything bad about themselves on their own website, do they? Can you help? Please? We’ve got to save Annie, from herself and from Huw Hughes.’

Cathy Ace is the Bony Blithe Award-winning author of The Cait Morgan Mysteries and The WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries (#4, The Case of the Unsuitable Suitor will be released in hardcover in the UK in September 2017 and in the USA & Canada on January 1st 2018).  You can find out more about Cathy, her work and her characters at her website, where you can also sign up for her newsletter with news, updates and special offers: http://cathyace.com/

 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Fall in Autumn Vale

By: Merry Wynter
From: Muffin to Fear
Series: Merry Muffin Mysteries
Released: July 25th, 2017
Berkley Prime Crime
Website: Victoria Hamilton Mysteries

Like every small town, there are seasonal traditions in Autumn Vale, but some of them are a little odd, if you don't know the background. There's Apple Share day, when locals block off the street and orchard owners come to town with their excess apple harvest to share. That goes back to the Great Depression when local farmers shared with townees any bounty they had. It's a wonderful example of Autumn Vale spirit.

But a much more recent one is that on the first day of fall you will see the town workers putting up Christmas decorations; Christmas decorations in September? Well, it's all because of the October Surprise of 2006, otherwise known as the year with no Christmas decorations in Autumn Vale.


I'm just relating what Gogi told me. She says that the town workers always put up the town wide Christmas decorations mid-October, since there are often snow events in November. But then... a mean weather system that would result in Lake Storm Aphid, as the weather bureau named it, closed in on Western New York. Nearby Batavia got 10 inches, which doesn't sound like a lot, but the way Autumn Vale is situated, in a valley between two crests, 10 inches of snow can drift in and create havoc. So on October 12 and 13th the village was shut down; electric lines were down, trees, and so on.

It took days to get the streets cleared and everything back up and running, and weeks to clear the fallen trees. As a result both the town budget and everyone's patience was depleted, and in a record setting vote they all just decided to do without the Christmas decorations that year. Most depressing Christmas ever, Gogi tells me. She was, at the time, still in the throes of her breast cancer battle and it was a low point.

So the year after, 2007, they made a point of putting up the town Christmas decorations on the first day of fall and not later. And now it's a tradition.

So... are there any fall traditions where you live?

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Hello all... I'd be interested to hear from you. Would you like to see the Merry Muffin Mysteries continue on? If so, why?



Drop me a line in the comments!! And thank you all for your support; it means so much.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Meet Sully Sullivan! (Plus a Giveaway!)

By Sully Sullivan from the Theater Cop Mysteries by J.A. Hennrikus

My name is Sully Sullivan. I live in Trevorton, MA, a small town on the North Shore of Massachusetts. I used to be a cop, but I was forced to retire a few years back (a story for another time) so I moved home, and took over as the general manager of the Cliffside Theater Company. That's right. I run a theater company now.
You know, when I took the job I didn't think I had many transferable skills. I was wrong. In my old job, I dealt with belligerent drunks. In this new job, right now? We're doing A Christmas Carol, and our Scrooge is a drunk. Sadly, my office doesn't have a jail, but I'm thinking about asking the props department help me out.
What other skills transfer? Negotiation classes are useful during production meetings when costumes and lights both need more money. Paperwork is paperwork, and there's plenty of it in this new job. And of course, there's the ability to tell if someone is lying. That's come in pretty handy.
The big surprise of the job? I love it. I thought this would be the "I need to do something while I figure my life out" job, but it's ended up being a new career. Sure, some days are easier than others, but the good far outweigh the bad.
Until this show, that is. This show the bad days are outnumbering the good. Scrooge isn't the only problem. Far from it. But to top off the production worries? My friend Eric's father was killed last week. They think Eric did it. I don't believe that, not for a minute. But I have no idea who could have. How could I? I'm not a cop anymore.
But maybe it's time to polish off some of my investigative skills, and help Eric.
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A Christmas Peril was published in earlier this month, and is the debut of the Theater Cop Mystery series. I will choose one commenter on September 23 to win a copy of the novel!
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J.A. Hennrikus also writes the Clock Shop Mystery series as Julianne Holmes. She tweets as @JHAuthors, is on Facebook and on Instagram as @JAHenn.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Irma! Irma! Go Away! (plus a Giveaway!)

By Sassy Cabot from the Read ’Em and Eat Mysteries by TerrieFarley Moran


   
Okay so before Bridgy and I made our big move to Florida, everyone said, “but what about the hurricanes?” And we said, “how bad can they possibly be?”

We certainly learned that lesson—hurricanes can be deadly and the aftermath goes on and on. On orders from the Governor, we evacuated from Fort Myers Beach, and joined our author in her daughter’s house in Cape Coral, just outside the evacuation zone. 

After the storm, we waited on pins and needles to get back to Fort Myers Beach. When Fort Myers Emergency Services finally opened the bridge, we joined the long line of neighbors whose cars snaked across the bridge, every occupant anxious about what they would find. 

Our beloved Read ’Em and Eat CafĂ© and Bookstore suffered minor outside damage. A few pieces of fascia board hung from the roof and the leaders and gutters were long gone. Three palm trees in the parking lot were twisted to the ground, unlikely to ever stand again. When Bridgy unlocked the door, we were happy to see the interior was dry as a bone but, of course, the power was still down. And without air conditioning the indoor temperature was ten or fifteen degrees higher than the 93 degrees reported as the day’s outdoor temperature. We were grateful that Miguel made us empty the refrigerators and the big freezer. Imagine the smell if we hadn't. As it is, if we don’t get power back soon, we’ll have to hire someone to do extensive mold mitigation.

Then we headed for the Turret, our beloved apartment.This debris disposal chart was stuck in our door frame. We hoped it wasn't an omen.



 Of course the patio screens were a total loss and the railings bent inward, one actually detached from the building, but everything else was untouched. We gave sighs of relief. We still had a home and a business. So many folks had fared way worse. 

Bridgy got busy on the phone and found that Miguel and Cynthia Mays, our local veterinarian, were distributing pet food and water in the parking lot of Cynthia’s office, which had, unfortunately, lost its roof. So we are going to run over and give them a hand, but before we leave, let me ask you, what is the one thing everyone must have when they evacuate? That’s right, a bag. So in the hopes that you will never need it for evacuation purposes, our author is giving away this sturdy tote named for our latest adventure, Read to Death.  




To enter for a chance to win please comment below and tell us any of the wonderful things you use totes for—we sincerely hope that hurricane evacuation will never be one of them—but we want to know. Please include your email in this format: yourname (at) your server(dot) com—so the spambots can’t pick it up.

Comments close at midnight on Thursday, September 21st.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Biscuit Wants a Bite



by Biscuit, Carrie Kennersly's dog in the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries by Linda O. Johnston

Hello.  My name is Biscuit.  Last time I was here at Killer Characters was only a few months ago, around when BAD TO THE BONE was published, in May of this year.  Or that's what my wonderful human Carrie Kennersly says.  Not that I understand all of it, but she tells me that she's the human whose stories are being told in the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries.  

And now she's telling me that maybe there's going to be another person killed in our town of Knobcone Heights, and that story's going to be told next year in a book to be called PICK AND CHEWS.

So what do I have to do with that?  Well, I'm always there for Carrie.  And she's always there for me.  I hang out a lot in Barkery and Biscuits, a really great shop where the treats being sold are baked mostly from recipes that Carrie invented in her other job, where she's a veterinary technician.  That means she helps other dogs and pets like me get well and stay well, so her treats aren't only just really, really tasty, but they're good for us.  Or so she says, and since I love to scarf them up I can believe it.

Her closest friend these days seems to be Dr. Reed Storme, a veterinarian at the vet clinic where Carrie works part time as a vet tech.  I like him, and I even like his dog Hugo, who's bigger than me.  Reed sometimes tells Carrie to stop investigating those people murders.  I agree.  It can be dangerous--and it also takes time Carrie could be baking more treats for me.

But back to those mysteries.  You can read the first three already, if you'd like.  I star in all of them.  They're BITE THE BISCUIT, TO CATCH A TREAT, and BAD TO THE BONE.  Carrie's in them, too, and so are lots of other dogs besides me, plus some of Carrie's friends.  They're all tasty--well, enjoyable to read, or so Carrie says.

And me?  Well, just bring on more dog treats and I'll continue to be happy with all this excitement around me.



BAD TO THE BONE, the third Barkery & Biscuits Mystery by Linda O. Johnston, was a May 2017 release from Midnight Ink, and PICKS AND CHEWS will be a May 2018 release.