Monday, August 31, 2020

Blog Tour and Guest Post: CASTING CALL FOR A CORPSE The Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries by Heather Haven

It's my pleasure to have Heather Haven as my guest today. She shares her writing adventure for this latest in the Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries. Welcome, Heather Haven.

When I began writing Casting Call for a Corpse, my latest mystery revolving around the Alvarez Family, I wanted to combine the ongoing characters from the series with a few characters from a play I penned some time ago. I also wanted to add a Scottish character in honor of my heart sister, who was adopted at birth and recently found her Scottish birth family. An homage, doncha know.

Frankly, I wasn't sure I could make it work. Some nights I lost sleep over whether or not I could pull this into anything readable. However, I really loved the characters from the play, in particular the internationally acclaimed actress, her loyal assistant, the Hispanic housekeeper, and a has-been writer who burned bright in his youth but had done little since. Putting Lee Alvarez, the protagonist of the Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries, and the actress together was easy. Close in age, I found making them friends from way-back-when in New York City added reality and depth to my tale. Also lots of humor! The other characters were a little tougher to place but ultimately, I managed to do it.

As for the storyline, itself, that was different. I was never too sure if 'this' was too much or 'that' was enough. So I took the throw-all-the-spaghetti-on-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks approach. Not quite my style. I usually know the first chapter, where I want to go, and how I want the story to end. This time I had no idea of any of it. I was a panster to the nth degree.

Surprisingly, while writing the novel this method was freeing. If I had a thought, it was in. I'd deal with the validity of it later. I wound up with some not-so-nice Russian businessmen, a trendy restaurant, threatening letters, jewel thieves, secret tunnels, and even a Christmas tree farm. I mean, why not? Then I added an inside take on life backstage in the theater, which was a large part of my existence in my salad days. I still had sleepless nights, but at least I had written pages to show for them.

Months later, when I finished the final draft, I went back in and took out extraneous plots, substories, and innuendos that didn't work or were confusing. By that time, I actually had a story with a beginning, middle, and end. Hallelujah!

When I start a new novel it's almost like writing my first one. So far I've written thirteen novels, numerous novellas, and dozens of short stories. Not one of them has been easy or formulaic. True, I've developed a few tricks along the way. I believe I know what doesn't work. But what definitively works? You got me. But that never stops me from pressing on!



Super sleuth, Lee Alvarez, finds a dead man wearing a tuxedo in a friend’s bathtub during a soiree for San Francisco’s VIPs. And not just any friend, but an internationally acclaimed actress who recently came to live in San Francisco. And not just any bathtub, but a bathtub residing inside one of Alamo Square’s famed Painted Ladies, recently bought by said actress.

The police believe it’s the actress friend who done the man in. After all, it’s her house and her tub. And another man died under suspicious circumstances around her recently. Both romantic encounters, doncha know. The actress must be guilty.

Or is she?

For ace detective Lee Alvarez, the timing couldn’t be worse. She is supposed to go off in celebration of her 6-month wedding anniversary with her hunky hubby. Paris is calling!

Or is it?

Her long-time friend, plus her mother – She Who Must Be Obeyed – thinks she should stick around and find out who the real killer is. So Lee, family, handsome hubby, and Tugger, the cat, are on the job. But Lee’s nose is itching. Which means not one of the suspects is telling the truth.

Or not all of it. Lee soon uncovers threatening letters, sullen playwrights, dead bodies, and a criminal web of jewel thieves, all treading the boards of her friend’s latest musical. This is showbiz?

Author Haven pulls out all the stops in a cozy fan’s delight about a charming, and unconventional Palo Alto detective family who get their man or woman, as the case may be. Book Seven follows its tradition of the Bay Area’s favorite PI, who rolls over with all four paw in the air when it comes to her darn near perfect mother. But with the help of her computer geek brother and handsome hubby, Lee works to solve the case in time to celebrate her own 6-month wedding anniversary.

About Heather Haven 

Heather moved to the Bay Area and studied creative writing at Stanford University. Previously, several of her comedy acts and plays were performed in NYC. Her novels include the humorous Silicon Valley-based Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries, Manhattan-based Persephone Cole Vintage Mysteries, Love Can Be Murder Novellas, Snow Lake Romantic Suspense Series and standalone mystery noir, Murder under the Big Top, based upon her mother’s stint as a performer with Ringling Brothers’ Circus. There is also her anthology, Corliss and Other Award-Winning Stories. Her favorite protagonist is in Corliss, one of the featured short stories, but don’t tell anyone!

Author Links

Website -


a Rafflecopter giveaway


August 24 – I'm All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
August 24 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
August 25 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT
August 26 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
August 26 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
August 27 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
August 27 – ebook addicts – SPOTLIGHT
August 28 – Christy's Cozy Corners – GUEST POST
August 29 – My Journey Back – CHARACTER GUEST POST
August 30 – Cassidy's Bookshelves – REVIEW
August 31 – Christa Reads and Writes – GUEST POST
August 31 – Baroness' Book Trove – REVIEW
August 31 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 1 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 1 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST
September 2 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 2 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
September 3 – CelticLady 's Reviews - SPOTLIGHT
September 3 – Elizabeth McKenna - Author – SPOTLIGHT
September 4 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
September 5 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST
September 5 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT
September 6 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT


  1. Christa, thank you so much for hosting me. It is so appreciated. And you have a very fun blog site. I try to visit it often.

  2. Sounds like a great read. Would love to read and review print format of book.