Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Catching up! and Looking back!

Whew!  Sorry to have been absent for most of the last few weeks but with the holidays, what can I say other than Buon Natale! and Buon Anno!  As I look back over the past year, I am pretty amazed (and, yes, proud) that I was able to get the editing, beta reviews, and release done for Murder at Cold Creek College. Sales are fairly steady and I'm pleased with the responses and reviews after only 2 months.  I have to admit I really enjoyed creating Sheridan, Kim, Brett and all, though as the story unfolded, they seemed to take over.  My sense is that the same will happen with Murder at Cold Creek Arboretum.  With the first few chapters and about 25,000 words, drafted, Sheridan continues as the reluctant sleuth.  Now that Kim isn't a suspect, she is a more than willing 'side kick', still full of energy.  

On the reading side, I am still very much enjoying my kindle and reading a range of cozy mystery and romance.  It has been fun to interact, at least 'virtually' with other writers and readers.  I have to admit I am not quite sure what "New Age" or "Contemporary Romance" actually are, but maybe I will figure out as I read some of them.  My "to be read" list is pretty steep on the kindle and I have a stack of the "real" books besides.  Unfortunately, I also have a number of them yet to write reviews on. 

So other than the usual eat better, exercise more, and lose weight, what are my New Year's resolutions or goals?

  • Increase marketing for Murder at Cold Creek College
  • Finish Murder at Cold Creek Arboretum so it can be released in 2014
  • Make a dent in the "to be read" pile and the "to be reviewed" pile
  • Continue to participate in blog tours, maybe even schedule one
Speaking of Blog Tours, be sure to stop by for these already scheduled stops:
  • 1/12/14        Playing with Fire by J.J. Cook
  • 1/14/14        Passage of Crime (The Ernie Bisquets Mystery Series) including Guest Post by R. Michael Phillips
  • 2/6/14          Spider Catchers by Marilynn Larew
And do have a happy and healthy New Year 2014!!!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Book Review: Louisiana Longshot : A Miss Fortune Mystery (#1) by Jana DeLeon

Synopsis: It was a hell of a longshot... CIA Assassin Fortune Redding is about to undertake her most difficult mission ever--in Sinful, Louisiana.  With a leak at the CIA and a price on her head by one of the world's largest arms dealers, Fortune has to go off grid, but she never expected to be this far out of her element. Posing as a former beauty queen turned librarian in a small, bayou town seems worse than death to Fortune, but she's determined to fly below the radar until her boss finds the leak and puts the arms dealer out of play.

Unfortunately, she hasn't even unpacked a suitcase before her newly-inherited dog digs up a human bone in her backyard. Thrust into the middle of a bayou murder mystery, Fortune teams up with a couple of seemingly-sweet old ladies whose looks completely belie their hold on the little town. To top things off, the handsome local deputy is asking her too many questions. If she's not careful, this investigation may blow her cover and get her killed.

Armed with her considerable skills and a group of old ladies referred to by locals as The Geritol Mafia, Fortune has no choice but to solve the murder before it's too late.

Review:  Although it is hard to imagine Fortune as a CIA assassin, it is obvious that she doesn't quite fit in the Louisiana Bayou when she goes after what she thinks is a frog, but is really an alligator.  She definitely doesn't fit the image of Sandy Sue, beauty queen librarian.  Even the innocent looking, hard as nails, old ladies, Gerta and Ida Belle can figure that out.  More importantly, Fortune can't just wait for Deputy LeBlanc to solve who the bone belongs to and who did the murder.  Of course, only just arrived in Sinful, she doesn't know anyone or the history, including Sandy Sue's aunt whose house she is supposed to be packing up. This is a fun read with some twists  that leave you guessing.  I'm looking forward to Lethal Bayou Beauty and Swamp Sniper.

Purchase at Amazon

Product Details
File Size: 2784 KB
Print Length: 250 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 147813223X
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Jana DeLeon (December 17, 2013)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English

Book Review: Claus of Death: A Myrtle Crumb Mystery by Gayle Trent

Synopsis: Myrtle Crumb, the sassy, sixty-something sleuth from BETWEEN A CLUTCH AND A HARD PLACE and WHEN GOOD BRAS GO BAD, is suspicious when the mall Santa is found dead "on the throne"--the Santa Land throne, that is. The police are saying it was suicide, but Myrtle knows no self-respecting Santa Claus would let himself die in front of the children! She goes undercover to investigate the suicide and uncovers more than she bargained for! 

Review:  At times it is hard to remember that Myrtle is sixty-something, and it is no wonder that her daughter is worried when she gets a job as Mrs. Claus to the new Santa.  Her excuse is to support her granddaughter whose gotten a job wrapping presents.  But Myrtle starts to ask questions and plays her part well. This is a fun, fast paced novella. Myrtle is likable, caring, and includes not only a touch of the holiday season, but portrays older adults as multi-dimensional, even with a bit of romance.   I have the other two on my kindle and now know what to read when I want something on the shorter side.

To purchase from Amazon  

Of note, Gayle Trent is also the author of the Daphne Martin Cake Mysteries - I may have to check them out!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Blog Tour: Sketcher in the Rye - Sharon Pape


In her new job as a private eye, former police sketch artist Rory McCain has a spirited partner: Old West marshal Zeke Drummond. He may be a ghost, but when these two combine their skills, they reap justice…

Trouble has sprouted at Harper Farms. Top secret info has been leaked to the competition, and now there’s serious sabotage cropping up. So the farm’s beleaguered owner, Gil Harper, has called on Rory to dig up some dirt. But what Rory discovers raises a new field of questions…

Someone shucked Harper’s accountant and left his body in the farm’s corn maze. While Gil is quick to hire Rory to solve now not one but two crimes, the sketching sleuth isn’t so sure why the farmer wants her to focus her attention on his own family.

Regardless, Rory and Zeke will need to put their hands to the plow and solve this case before someone else is planted six feet under…

Not quite so simple as solving a murder, but also how the murder relates to, if it does, with the sabotage of the company.  Did Matthew get too close to identifying the person trying to break Gil's business? Which of his children resented Matthew and their father enough?  And then there's the whole issue of Zeke not particularly thrilled with pediatrician Aaron romancing Rory... and Eloise's visions, family history, and let's not forget Hobo's infatuation with a pig!  Rory's previous skills as a sketch artist come in to play as well.  There are multiple twists and turns, likeable and unique characters, and Pape keeps you guessing until the end on all counts - murder, sabotage, and what's really bugging Zeke.  This is the fourth in the Portrait of Crime Series and will be released December 17th!!!  There's no need to read the prior three - it can stand alone - but you might want to start with the first one in the series, Sketch me if You Can!

From Sharon’s Webpage:
I started writing stories as soon as I learned how to put letters together to form words. From that day forward, writing has been a part of my life whether it was my first attempt at a novel in seventh grade or the little plays I wrote for my friends to perform for neighbors and family. After college, when I was busy teaching French and Spanish to high school students, I was also writing poetry — some of it in French.

After several years, I left teaching to be a full time mom, and when my two children started school, I went back to writing. To my delight I found that the muse was still there, still waiting patiently for me to come around. My first novel, Ghostfire, was published at that time. It went on to be condensed in Redbook magazine (the first paperback original the magazine had ever condensed.) Then came The God Children and The Portal. Redbook also published my first short story, which was subsequently sold to several foreign magazines. With two great kids, a golden retriever and a loving, supportive husband (whom I’d met at the beach when I was fourteen — but that’s a story for another day), I felt like I was exactly where I was meant to be in my life. But fate had another plan for me, and it went by the name of “breast cancer.”

Looking back, I realize how fortunate I was that the cancer was discovered at such an early stage, but at the time it was all very overwhelming. Once I was back on my feet, I wanted to help other women who were newly diagnosed, worried and afraid. I became a Reach to Recovery volunteer for the American Cancer Society and went on to run the program for Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island. A number of years later, with the help of my surgical oncologist and two other volunteers, I started Lean On Me, a nonprofit organization that provides peer support and information to breast cancer patients. When Lean On Me celebrated its tenth anniversary it no longer required as much of my time, and I once again found myself free to pursue my first love — writing.

Find out more about Sharon and her books here: http://www.sharonpape.com/index.html

Purchase Link at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sketcher-Rye-InterMix-Portrait-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00AVA4NH0/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384291943&sr=1-1&keywords=sketcher+in+the+rye

Puchase Link B&N: http://www.amazon.com/Sketcher-Rye-InterMix-Portrait-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00AVA4NH0/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384291943&sr=1-1&keywords=sketcher+in+the+rye

Monday, December 9, 2013

Busy, Busy, Busy...

As you can likely relate, with Thanksgiving coming so late, it seems like the holidays are coming a break neck speed.  For those academics like Sheriden and her friends at Cold Creek College, this is also the crunch time for exams and papers, and holiday parties galore.  It gets to be hard to find time to read or write...  

At least one reviewer asked about a sequel... and yes, there will be a sequel - Murder at Cold Creek Arboretum.  Although I haven't had a lot of time to write in the past week or so, the first three chapters are drafted.  Here is an excerpt from Chapter 2:

“I sure did.  I have no clue why he didn’t just say it was murder to begin with.  Justin Blake was shot in the head, up close and personal.  When I let him know that I was a bit perturbed, he tried to explain it by saying that Justin had also been beat up, so it wasn’t really clear if he died from the beating or the bullet wound.”  Brett sighed again and shook his head.

I waited a few minutes, but my curiosity got the better of me, and I asked, “Has he made an arrest yet, then?”

Brett stood up and made faces like he was ready to explode.  His response dripped with sarcasm as he stated, “Well, you know, it usually is the person who finds the body, you know…”

I jumped up and yelled, “What?”

Brett snickered and said, “Yup, Officer Matthews couldn’t get Johnson to say much when he drove him to his car yesterday, but noticed Johnson seemed a bit tense and kept looking at him ‘sideways’.  The Chief was waiting on some information on Johnson before arresting him.  It seems that Clive Johnson was arrested for assault about 10 years go.  Somehow he got off with probation.  The Chief is trying to get more information.”

“But that’s ridiculous.  Just because he happened to find the body?  What about Nick?  Is he an accomplice then?” I shouted.

Brett just sighed, shook his head, and finished his beer.  “How about we eat whatever you brought home and then I’ll tell you about the rest of my day?”

Hopefully that peaked your interest a least a little...  In the meantime, the review schedule for the next couple of weeks includes:
 Sketcher in the Rye (A Portrait in Crime Series) by Sharon Pape (blog tour on 12/15/13)
 Claus of Death: A Myrtle Crumb Mystery by Gayle Trent 
 Neighbors and More: High rise Series by Mona Risk

In the meantime, if you are looking for holiday themed stories, check out Janet Rudolph's blog:
http://mysteryreadersinc.blogspot.com/2013/12/christmas-crime-fiction-d.html  -- it is pretty impressive list even with just authors A-D!