Wednesday, February 25, 2015


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flamenco flanMurder is nothing to tap at. . . The high-kicking Happy Hoofers--Tina, Janice, Pat, Mary Louise, and Gini--have been booked to flaunt their fabulous flamenco footwork on a luxury train ride through northern Spain. But when a blowhard talk show host is found deader than four-day-old flan--with Gini as suspect numero uno--the feisty friends waste no time stepping into their sleuthing shoes to protect one of their own. The dynamite dancers will have to step up their game before a clever killer brings the curtain down on one of them . . . for good! Includes Photo Tips And Tasty Recipes

A train ride through southern Spain has more excitement than planned for Gini and the Happy Hoofers when the mouthy, obnoxious, ultra right-wing talk show host is poisoned. Like any "closed room" mystery, everyone on board is considered a suspect.  The train is stopped and the inspector, Javier, interviews everyone. The big problem?  The talk show host has only one fan on the train and several were heard to mutter or yell, "I'll kill him!" including Gini. 

Gini talks to the various people on board, including the mother with her son in a wheel chair, the mother whose son suffers from depression, and the two gay men who own a restaurant, the bartender, the blonde bimbo who was traveling with the talk show host, and of course, the only one fan, Dorah. Then there's a second murder. 

The main plot is well-developed with Gini's sleuthing placing her predictably at risk, but almost necessary as Javier is smitten with Janice. He breaks many rules including taking some of the Happy Hoofers off the train to see the sights. Each of the Hoofers has their own subplot or story, each unique. The characters have depth with unique characteristics and conflicts. The sub themes related to attitudes toward gay marriage, individuals with physical and sensory disabilities, and those who suffer from depression or other mental illness are timely. Descriptions of parts of Spain, the various dances (including to New York, New York), recipes and photo tips are interspersed as well.

This is the second book in the Happy Hoofers Mystery series, but it can be read alone. CHORUS LINES, CAVIAR, AND CORPSES (Happy Hoofers Mystery Book 1) is now on my TBR pile. I hope to get to it before the next one (available for pre-order) - CANCAN, CROISSANTS, AND CASKETS (Happy Hoofers Mystery Book 3) comes out in August 2015. 
About This Author
bookstorephotoMary McHugh graduated from Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, with a B.A. in English Literature and studied at the Sorbonne in Paris. She is the author of nineteen nonfiction books and two novels. She was a contributing editor for Cosmopolitan, an articles editor at Woman’s World, Travel Holiday, and Bridal Guide, and has written articles for The New York Times, Good Housekeeping and Family Circle.
She loves to tap dance and to travel -two passions that inspired her to write the Happy Hoofers series.
She lives in the New York area.   

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Sunday, February 22, 2015


I'm pleased to welcome Maggie King as my guest today. She is sharing information about the book group as well as her debut mystery MURDER AT THE BOOK GROUP.  Thank you Maggie for joining us.

Murder on Tour

Murder on Tour is the name of the book group at the center of my debut mystery, Murder at the Book Group. As reading and traveling are my two favorite activities, it’s no surprise that my fictitious characters share my passion. For me, half the pleasure of traveling is reading crime stories set in my destination spot.

Before visiting Ireland I read several titles by the late Bartholomew Gill whose police procedural series, set in Dublin, features quirky characters and plots. I was taken aback on finding that Mr. Gill (pseudonym for Mark C. McGarrity) was an American of Irish descent who lived in New Jersey! He did, however, earn his masters’s degree from Trinity College in Dublin.

Siren of the Waters by Michael Genelin did not prepare me for Bratislava. The author made Slovakia’s capital dark and shadowy, with danger lurking around every corner. But I got off the tour bus and saw a bright and charming city on the banks of the Danube River. Granted I was just there for two hours … did Bratislava don an appealing façade for my visit?

Finding mysteries while traveling is always a treat. At the Alexandra Book Store in Budapest I asked for a mystery by a Hungarian author. Translated, naturally (otherwise I’d be in the market for a really good dictionary!). The helpful staff directed me to a section devoted to Hungarian-translated-into-English titles. I selected Quarantine in the Grand Hotel by JenŐ RejtŐ (authentic Hungarian letter “o”), a hilarious whodunit penned in 1939. It’s a traditional English country house mystery, Hungarian style.

The Alexandra Book Store is celebrated for its magnificent ballroom turned café. I could have spent hours in this Renaissance style space, gazing at the fresco ceiling, gilded molding, and exquisite chandeliers. I enjoyed a tasty lunch that was quite reasonably priced. View this video of the café.

Juneau, Alaska boasts three independent bookstores where I could have spent days. I made it to two of them—the call of the ship, you know—Hearthside Books and Rainy Retreat Books. The friendly proprietors recommended works by Alaskan authors Sue Henry and John Straley.

Back to the Murder on Tour group: in chapter one the group gathers to “travel” the state of Florida. Soon-to-be victim Carlene Arness is pitching a fit about the poor writing that pervades Murder in the Keys by an Annette with a last name containing a string of consonants. Out of respect for my fellow authors, I made up this title and kept the author name vague. I hope and pray that an Annette with a consonant-laden last name doesn’t up and publish such a title.

The other selections are shared without drama or author maligning. Among them are The Paperboy by Pete Dexter, the dark story of a Florida newspaper family during the late sixties; Raymond Chandler’s classic Key Largo; and A Deep Blue Good-By, the first in John MacDonald’s color-coded series. Due to my runaway word count, works by Carl Hiaasen, Nancy J. Cohen, Elaine Viets, and Edna Buchanan ended up on the cutting room floor, to borrow film parlance.

Bon voyage and happy reading!


My favorite resource for travel reading ideas is the Stop You’re Killing Me! Location index. SYKM is a mega database that lets you hunt down mystery authors by location, anywhere in the world.


Maggie King is the author of Murder at the Book Group, published in 2014 by Simon and Schuster. She contributed the short story, “A Not So Genteel Murder,” in the Virginia is for Mysteries anthology. Maggie is a member of Sisters in Crime and the American Association of University Women. She has worked as a software developer, retail sales manager, and customer service supervisor.

Maggie graduated from Elizabeth Seton College and earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology. She has called New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California home. These days she lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, Glen, and cats, Morris and Olive.

Visit Maggie’s web site at www.maggie.king.


Nothing can kill a good book group discussion like cold-blooded murder. Especially when the victim is one of the group’s own. Cyanide is the topic du jour for the mystery fanatics of Murder on Tour, but for their poor hostess, Carlene Arness—who just published her own whodunit—it makes for a surprise ending. One minute, Carlene is speaking animatedly about featuring the poison in her new book. The next, she’s slumped over in a chair, dead from a sip of tea. Did the writer take her research too far? Or did one of the group’s members take a love of true crime to the extreme?

Founding member Hazel Rose is rounding up suspects. Any of her fellow bibliophiles could be the killer. And she soon discovers that almost all of them had a motive. Even Hazel herself, whose ex-husband married Carlene, could be accused of harboring jealousy. The truth is, Carlene wasn’t just hard to read, she was also hard to like—and the scandalous secrets Hazel unearths would make Carlene’s idol, Agatha Christie, turn over in her grave.

Purchase Link  AMAZON

Sounds interesting!  Again, Maggie, thank you for sharing with us today!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Blog Tour: DANG NEAR DEAD (An Aggie Mundeen Humorous Mystery Series) by Nancy G. West


Aggie vacations with Sam and Meredith at a Texas Hill Country dude ranch with plans to advise her column readers how to stay young and fresh in summer. Except for wranglers, dudes, heat, snakes and poison ivy, what could go wrong?

When an expert rider is thrown from a horse and lies in a coma, Aggie is convinced somebody caused the fall. Despite Sam’s warnings, Aggie is determined to expose the assailant. She concocts ingenious sleuthing methods that strain their dicey relationship as she probes secrets of the ranch and its inhabitants. After she scatters a hornet’s nest of cowboys, she discovers more than one hombre in the bunch would like to slit her throat.


In this second of the Aggie Mundeen series, Aggie, her friend Meredith, and police detective, friend and hopefully more, Sam, go to a dude ranch in the hill country for some fresh air and relaxation. Aggie hopes that the time away from the job will help Sam relax and perhaps forgive her for what he perceives her meddling in police business, or at least get over his irritation with her. Bertha has been trying to make go of the dude ranch since she inherited it, but the going is hard, and some of the happenings amongst the wranglers, the River Rat, and the clown aren't helping. It seems more than one person may not want Bertha to succeed including her cousin. The various guests, poison ivy, frozen snakes, and bobcats add to the tale. 

The characters are well-developed and unique, as is the context and plot line. West combines humor and mystery to create an entertaining story. Having read FIT TO BE DEAD, I enjoyed reading more of Aggie and her attempts to show Sam that she can help him with her sleuthing. At the same time, DANG NEAR DEAD can easily be read as a stand-alone. I'm looking forward to SMART, BUT DEAD.

About the Author
I have been writing since age seven: poems back and forth with my mom. I had a real poem published in the Library Journal, Pegasus, at age fifteen. At eighteen, I wanted to study journalism and English literature, but friends who chose that college route were making minimum wage or selling lingerie. Being practical, I earned a business degree. After marriage and two children, I decided I HAD to study literature and write. I wrote non-fiction articles, a biography, and a suspense novel in 2004. That’s when whimsical Aggie Mundeen cut through the suspense, popped into my head and demanded her own series. The Aggie Mundeen mystery capers were born. Aggie must have been right: FIT TO BE DEAD is a LEFTY FINALIST 2013 for best humorous mystery, nominated by Left Coast Crime.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Book Review: LOVE AND LIBATIONS by Patricia D. Eddy


Garrett James was discharged from the army with a prosthetic leg and a Purple Heart. He found a new purpose behind the bar and has big dreams that involve his own restaurant and someone to share it with. Too bad most of the women he dates either balk at the idea of dating an amputee or can't stand the fact that he works every night.

Lilah McKinney doesn't have dreams. Her abusive boyfriend has systematically destroyed them, even though he's never laid a hand on her in anger. A chance meeting with Garrett reminds her what it felt like to want something for herself. When her boyfriend snaps and nearly kills her, Garrett steps in, but he can't stay. Lilah needs to reclaim her dreams on her own.

Fate brings them back together almost a year later, a few weeks before Valentine's Day. Will Lilah share her dreams with Garrett? Or will her past come between them once again?

WARNING: Love and Libations contains scenes of domestic violence and abuse that may be disturbing to sensitive readers.


Valentine's Day takes on new meaning in this drama/romance. LOVE AND LIBATIONS is the story of two individuals dealing with and coping with injuries - physical and psychological. Eddy does a commendable job of building her characters, their flashbacks and nightmares, and their day to day insecurities. This is a compelling read. I finished it in one sitting with a box of tissues near by. Not for the faint of heart, the synopsis provides the warning of domestic violence and abuse. Although fitting to the story and not excessive, some may find the sexual content offensive. Lilah's mantra - from Garrett - that dreams don't die is carried to the end of the story.

LOVE AND LIBATIONS is due for release today, February 12.  AMAZON

Monday, February 9, 2015



Series description: Born in the worst suburb in Pittsburgh, Elaine Brogan is bright, beautiful and bold. When her father is falsely arrested for passing counterfeit $100 bills, Elaine vows to become a Secret Service agent and track down the man responsible. After barely surviving the arduous Secret Service Training Academy in Laurel, Maryland, she is transferred to bleak and blustery Great Falls, Montana. But things do not go as planned, and Elaine soon finds herself betrayed and thrown into an adventure that takes her halfway around the world, from dark and mysterious Sofia, Bulgaria, to Moscow Russia, and finally, to Milan, Italy. In the end, will Elaine find the love and happiness she truly seeks…or will she turn to a life of obscene wealth, power and corruption?

Book 1 tells the story of Elaine's life from her childhood to the Secret Service.  When the man responsible for her father's arrest dies, she no longer is on a vigilante mission, but still wants to continue on the path to protect others.  Her friends from the graphic design institute don't really understand but they support her.  Elaine is a strong female character, exceptional in her ability to identify counterfeit bills, yet she is also vulnerable.  She's never really had a romantic relationship and when the opportunity presents itself with Nick she experiences first love. But can she trust him?

This first part to a five part series is short (107 pages according to Amazon), fast paced, suspenseful, and moves right along, but reader beware:  it is only the first part and continues in Book 2, and assumedly through Book 5. These are not "read alones" but a series in the true sense of the word.  Each book is more a prelude the to next installment that moves the story forward. The cliff-hanger non-ending at the end of Chapter 18 will either make you mad or prompt you to buy the next installment! If the rest of the "episodes" are as good as the first, then it might be a good idea to buy the bundle (1-5) rather than each one separately and you can read it as one would typically read a novel - all at once! 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

BLOG TOUR: DEATH OF A BEAUTY QUEEN (Poppy Cove Mystery) by Barbara Jean Coast


It’s the 1950’s in Santa Lucia, California, and the height of the social season. Time for the new Miss Santa Lucia, Nora Burbank, to display her loveliness at a high society fashion show produced by the city’s own fashionistas–Margot and Daphne, owners of Poppy Cove, the most elegant and “in” little dress shop in the county.

Nora steals the show in her designer gown and custom-made necklace created by local jeweler Isaac Mendelson, and used on the sly by his apprentice son-in-law, Efrem Goldberg. At the conclusion of the show, the young queen is allowed to keep her dress and a replica of the necklace for her own. But Monday morning, Efrem arrives in a panic at Poppy Cove to beg Margot and Daphne’s assistance in tracking down the real necklace, which he believes was inadvertently switched for the replica backstage. The girls get involved in Efrem’s dilemma and try to help him before Isaac’s any the wiser. But before that can happen, Miss Santa Lucia is found dead in her bed and the necklace is missing.

Who killed Nora Burbank? Is it someone jealous of her new royal position and all of its perks? Or did she just happen to be in the way when a thief attempted to steal her diamond-studded necklace? Did Nora have the real or the fake necklace, and how much did the thief and murderer know about it? But, of course, before the girls can find the killer, they’ll have to create several beautiful ensembles, calm numerous irate clients, and flirt with their ever-so-attentive boyfriends, before solving this mystery.

Margot and Daphne work together at Poppy Cove to custom design and accessorize high society, and Miss Santa Lucia and princesses. Other than a tiff between Nora, the reigning Miss Santa Lucia, and Mary Ann, one of the princesses, the event goes well and everyone is impressed with the Poppy Cove creations. In an effort to build up the jewelry business, Efrem loaned a very pricey diamond necklace to go with the custom designed gown that stirs up some interest by many in attendance. After the formalities, he trades Nora the real one for a paste one. Only somehow he ends up with the paste one and Nora ends up dead. 

There are numerous possible suspects that Margot and Daphne consider, despite Margot's beau, Tom, the police detective, admonishing them to stay out of it. The friendships, the work relationships, and the romancing add to the story and pull the reader in. From the crinolines to the reference to Tabu as the perfume to encourage moving things forward for Daphne and Dan, the references to the fifties set the stage for the events that occur. The story is well written and entertaining; it was easy to be drawn in. Those interested in fifties fashion and design will love the descriptions of the dresses and ensembles. This is the second in the series, but can be read as a stand alone. The few references to a previous murder have me curious though, so I will be adding STRANGLED IN SILK to my TBR list.

About the Author(s)

Barbara Jean Coast is the pen name of authors Andrea Taylor and Heather Shkuratoff, both of whom reside in Kelowna, BC, Canada. Barbara Jean, however, is a resident of Santa Lucia, California (eerily similar to Santa Barbara), where she enjoys long lunches, cocktail parties, fancy dinner dates with attractive and attentive gentlemen. Her interests include Alfred Hitchcock movies, reading Carolyn Keene, music by popular musicians, such Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett, shopping for new dresses, attending society events and always looking fabulous in kitten heels. DEATH OF A BEAUTY QUEEN is her second novel in the Poppy Cove Mystery Series.

Andrea Taylor

Andrea always imagined herself being a supersleuth girl detective and writing adventurous stories, full of mystery and intrigue since she was old enough to hold a pencil. She resides in Kelowna, BC, Canada, where she writes under the pen name of Barbara Jean Coast with her co-author friend, Heather Shkuratoff, and travels often to California to further develop the stories and escapades of the Poppy Cove Mystery Series. Andrea has also published freelance articles about fashion, current events, and childcare, and is currently blogging on WordPress about creativity and poetry, as well as researching for her own literary novels.

Heather Shkuratoff

As an avid mystery reader, Heather joined lifelong friend Andrea Taylor to create the Poppy Cove Mystery Series, written under the pen name of Barbara Jean Coast. Growing up in a family of talented crafters and sewers, Heather developed her own skills to become a dressmaker and designer, which helps to give rich detail and character to their stories. She lives in Kelowna, BC, Canada, but spends much time in California, researching for the novels and doing her best to live like Barbara Jean.

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Saturday, February 7, 2015



The national bestselling author of The Wedding Soup Murder returns to the Jersey Shore where a killer is stirring up trouble during a hurricane…

At the Casa Lido, the end of summer means a party, and hit whodunit writer Victoria “Vic” Rienzi and her family are cooking like crazy for the restaurant’s seventieth anniversary celebration. As they chop onions and garlic, old family friend Pete Petrocelli stops by, saying he knows something that would make for a good mystery novel. Curious, Vic asks Nonna to elaborate on Pete’s claim and learns of a relative who mysteriously disappeared back in Italy…

The night of the party brings a crowd—and a full throttle hurricane. When the storm finally passes, everyone thinks they’re in the clear—until the first casualty is found, and it’s Pete. Remembering his visit, Vic isn’t certain Pete’s death was an accident and decides to dig deeper into his story. What she finds is meatier than Nonna’s sauce…


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Blog Tour: COMMUNITY AFFAIRS (Jersey Shores Mystery #3) by Michele Lynn Seigfried


A tale of kidnapping, murder, and neighbors you’d like to kidnap and murder…

Bonnie Fattori is a sexy, sassy, Italian Princess living in New Jersey. She’s loving life with a rich husband, beachfront living, and a promotion at work—until a new neighbor, Lyla Spratt, is determined to destroy her happiness.

After several run-ins with the unstable woman next door, Bonnie starts to suspect a connection between her new neighbor and the untimely death of a local resident, Polly Pitcher. She recruits her good friend Chelsey to help figure out if her suspicions are correct.

As the neighbors go head-to-head in a hilarious battle, Lyla is pushed to the brink of insanity. The more unhinged Lyla becomes, the more Bonnie’s life and the safety of her family are at risk. Can Bonnie find out what really happened to Polly Pitcher before it’s too late? A perfect read for those who like laugh-out-loud humor in their mysteries!


In COMMUNITY AFFAIRS, city clerk Bonnie and her neurologist husband Jayce have new neighbors - Cason, the senator has a roving eye and Lyla is a bit vindictive if she suspects he's interested. Bonnie's self-control isn't very good and just to get Lyla riled, she flirts with him. Not a good idea.  

Bonnie jumps to the conclusion that Lyla is behind the pranks and threats targetting her. Is Lyla also behind the disappearance of Polly Pitcher? Her friend Chelsey and her husband try to convince Bonnie that she is mistaken, but is she? Who kidnapped her and what do they have planned?  

As with the first two in this series, Seigfried artfully combined humor and mystery. Although part of a series, this can be read as a stand-alone. 

About the Author - Michele Lynn Seigfried:

Michele Lynn Seigfried is an award-winning novelist, children’s book author/illustrator and public speaker who was born and raised in New Jersey. In her mystery novels, she draws from her personal expertise in the area of municipal government, in which she has served for over 16 years in two different municipalities. She holds a B.A. in communication from the College of New Jersey with a minor in art. She obtained the Master Municipal Clerk certification from the International Institute of Municipal Clerks in 2010. She also holds the Registered Municipal Clerk certification and Certified Municipal Registrar Certifications from the State of New Jersey. In combining her love of writing with art, Michele began writing and illustrating children’s picture books in 2013.

Michele is a member of Sisters in Crime, Sisters in Crime – Central Jersey, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, New Jersey Author’s Network, International Institute of Municipal Clerks, Central Jersey Registrar’s Association, Municipal Clerk’s Association of New Jersey, and the Municipal Clerk’s Association of Mercer County, where she is currently President. She also serves on the New Jersey League of Municipalities’ Legislative Committee.

Michele is available for public speaking engagements such as book talks, seminars, readings, panel discussions, and other author events. Contact her for more information.

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