#BookTour “A Trifling Murder (Cookies & Kilts Mysteries)” by Jo A. Hiestand

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Cookies & Kilts Mysteries

 

Cozy Crime Mystery

Date Published: 01-24-2022

 

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The annual Robert Burns Birthday Dinner celebration is underway in the small Missouri town of Beaudin Trace. Guests gather to honor Scotland’s national poet with bagpipes and haggis and a trifle for dessert. But everything isn’t as smooth as Scotch whisky. The Society’s president and vice-president have a very public haggle over the haggis. And less than an hour later, one of them is found dead.

And found by Kate Dunbar, owner of The Cookie Cutter Bakery. It wouldn’t be too bad except the victim was murdered with her knife.

Gossip hints she is the killer. The majority of her customers must agree, for her bakery sales fall drastically. If she is to keep the business from crumbling, she needs to investigate.

But sleuthing is harder and more dangerous to Kate and those around her than she thought. Luckily, she gets help from the town’s zany songwriter and his Scottie dog. Murder is no trifling matter.

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EXCERPT

Kate found mystery author Beryl Muggle at her home, an old barn that had been converted a decade ago into cozy living quarters. The exterior had been given a coat of gray paint—“to give it that sinister look”—and the interior had been sectioned into rooms and filled with thrift store furniture and family pieces. The former loft retained its unwalled expanse and functioned as Beryl’s writing and storage area. All in all, Kate thought, sitting in the huge living room, a clever upscaling of an empty building.

Beryl Muggle, a sixty-year-old woman with dyed bright red hair and eyeglasses that seemed to perpetually perch atop her head, stirred her cup of tea and looked at Kate. The room was quiet but for the faint clicking of the gas logs blazing in the fireplace.

“I hope I’m not keeping you from your writing.” Kate took a sip of tea, second-guessing her decision to drive out to the residence. It sat five miles north of town in a deserted pastureland fringed with trees to the west. A small shed that appeared to be standing by luck alone leaned against a massive oak several dozen yards away. Kate angled her head out of the sunlight filtering through the window and gazed at Beryl. The woman looked as though she hadn’t a thing to do but sip tea and chat. Kate continued. “It’s so mysterious, the empty shop burglary, and yet nothing was taken. If you add Ron Picard’s break-in, well, that just adds to the puzzle.” At least, I think so, she added mutely. Disregarding Josh’s opinion… “I can’t think of anyone else so adept at thinking up mysteries and solving them, so I thought you could figure this one out in a snap.” Kate set her empty cup on the coffee table. “How many books do you have out now?”

“An even two dozen. The latest one comes out next month. Mayhem Among the Mangoes. It’s in my Cozy Veggie series.”

“Oh.” Kate chewed on her bottom lip, trying to think of a comment. “It sounds…so…thrilling.”

“Thank you. I write all of these under my pen name, of course, though I am considering using another name for a new series I’m bashing about.”

“If you don’t mind my asking, how did you decide on your current pseudonym?  S.O. Teric is so…unique.”

Beryl beamed, settling back in her chair. “Isn’t it? I was inspired. That’s the only word that describes my flash of genius. The full name is Sadie Odilia Teric, but I can’t use that on the cover, so I opted for the shortened version with initials and of course use my full pen name on the author bio inside the book. Sadie was my great grandma’s name, and I chose Odilia because she’s the patroness of the blind.”

“Well,” Kate blinked, drawing in a breath. “It’s certainly…memorable.”

“Thank you. I don’t know if I enjoy writing those cozy veggie books or the musical instruments series the most. But I don’t have to have a favorite. I just write as the muse hits me.”

Kate nodded, not certain how to reply.

“Now, then. I hate to rush you, but I do have to get back to the one I’m writing now. I’m calling it A Muddle of Puddles. It’s in my cozy weather series. I’m in the part of the story where Juanita Fozzard—she’s my protagonist—is trapped inside an old mine and it’s been raining like cats and dogs for days. So naturally the water in the river is rising and is about to flood the mine. It’s thrilling!” Beryl’s eyebrows rose as she looked at Kate.

“Sounds like it. Well, I’ll make this brief. As I said, I’d like your opinion about the burglaries, if you can figure out what’s going on.”

“You know, the same thing happened to Honey French, my heroine, in Aggression Amid the Okra.  Or did it happen to Tiffany Dollenberg in The Glockenspiel Deal? Gee, now that I think of it, I realize both books dealt with a burglary. Oh, and I used a similar break-in scene in Harmonicas At Midnight.” She shook her head, frowning. “No, I don’t think that’s correct. The part I’m thinking of was in Aggression Amid the Okra. Yes, definitely Okra. I have a tendency to confuse my books sometimes. It’s perfectly understandable.”

“I’d think writing two dozen books would make it difficult to keep plots straight.”

Beryl blinked, shifting her attention from somewhere on the ceiling to Kate. In turning her head, the sunlight glanced off her glasses and looked like a mental spark. “Pardon? Oh, the plots. Well, I write sort of freely. I think that influences my muddle.”

“Freely?”

“Yes. I once did an interview for a magazine—they wanted to know about my writing style and a typical day. You know the sort of thing. Author insights so readers can cozy up to you. Anyway, I confessed I move about from book to book, as the spirit urges. I might write a few chapters on Aggression Amid the Okra and then write a half dozen pages for Harmonicas At Midnight—striking while the thought is there—and then turn to A Muddle of Puddles while that scene idea is red hot.” She sighed heavily, smiling. “You can’t take notes for that sort of thing. No. You must get it down while it’s bubbling inside you before it evaporates and is gone.” She finished the last of her tea and set her cup beside Kate’s.

“But even if you can’t recall a specific book, you’ve written the burglary scene quite often. Is there any general truth you’ve discovered from your research? You’re so good at deciphering puzzles like this. I thought you’d have a suggestion since you deal in mystery plots every day.”

Beryl frowned and pursed her lips, as if thinking deeply. “The motives were different in all these instances.  Or did I have the bad guy looking for something in Tine and Tine Again? That one’s very popular. It’s in my Cluttered Kitchen Series.  I think. Or maybe it’s with the veggies.”

~~~

About the Author

Jo A. Hiestand grew up on regular doses of music, books, and Girl Scout camping. She gravitated toward writing in her post-high school years and finally did something sensible about it, graduating from Webster University with a BA degree in English and departmental honors. She writes a British mystery series (the McLaren Mysteries)—of which three books have
garnered the prestigious N.N. Light’s Book Heaven ‘Best Mystery Novel’ three years straight. She also writes a Missouri-based cozy mystery series (The Cookies & Kilts Mysteries, of which “A Trifling Murder” is the second book) that is grounded in places associated with her camping haunts. The camping is a thing of the past, for the most part, but the music stayed with her in the form of playing guitar and harpsichord,
and singing in a folk group. Jo carves jack o’ lanterns badly and sings loudly. She loves barbecue sauce and ice cream (separately, not together), kilts (especially if men wear them), clouds and stormy skies, and the music of G.F. Handel. You can usually find her pulling mystery plots out of scenery—whether from photographs or the real thing.

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#CoverReveal “Asbury High and the Captivating Cruise (Asbury High Series, Book 6)” by Kelly Brady Channick

Asbury High Series, book 6

 

YA Cozy Mystery

Date Published: 05/29/2022

Publisher: Purple Milk Publishing

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Carly, Maddie, Pilot and Cornelious have been waiting forever for their Seniors Only Cruise. After three years of solving crime in their small town, this trip is the relaxing break from Asbury they need. Dreaming of all the fun and drama-free adventures in store for them, the gang settles in for a calm summer cruise.

Soon after departing, things don’t go quite as planned. With strange, new additions to their itinerary, Asbury’s favorite sleuths detect something is amiss. When violence breaks out, Cornelious turns to the captain who quickly reassures everyone aboard. After all, what reason would the crew have to mess with a group of teenagers? Adding to their troubles is Cornelious’ cousin Dane, whose feelings for Maddie have only grown stronger.

Excited to be away from his father and finally dating Maddie, Cornelious tries to ignore his cousin as his insecurities fester. After a stirring revelation from Dane, Cornelious retreats from his friends and finds solace in the ship’s jolly Captain Dex. At the same time, Carly, Maddie and Pilot begin to suspect the crew, believing there’s more than meets the eye with this cruise. Frustrated by Cornelious’ withdrawal, the gang doubles down on their efforts to discover the crew’s motives. Pulled into a dangerous game of who to trust, the gang is determined to find the truth—and mend their friendship.

With relationships called into question and stunning secrets exposed, the gang faces their biggest obstacle yet—trust. Can Cornelious trust the captain more than his friends? With their peers placing blind trust in the crew, can the gang convince them otherwise, before it’s too late? Or are Pilot, Carly and Maddie just overreacting? With constantly changing itineraries, a scheming crew lurking behind every door, a happy-go-lucky captain refusing to dig deeper, and lifelong relationships put to the test, can the gang rekindle their relationship with each other and figure out what’s really going on?

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About the Author

Growing up just over the bridge from Ocean City, NJ in Upper Township meant discovering plenty of fun places to both read, write, and run around outside like a maniac. For as long as she could remember, Kelly loved making up stories, and leaving her listeners/readers on the edge of their seats.

After graduating from Ocean City High School, Kelly accepted a basketball scholarship to Holy Family University, in Philadelphia. Upon graduating college, Kelly continued to live in Philly, teaching for four years, and meeting the love of her life during a snowstorm. In fact, it was her awesome husband who encouraged her to pursue her writing–Yay, Ryan!

Before writing page-turners however, she taught first, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grade — like a dessert menu, she simply had to test them all out. But her favorite job is the one she’s now doing full time: writing.

As her first published work, the Asbury High series has been brewing since she was 18, and has something for every type of reader–go ahead take look for yourself! If you love mysteries, you’ve found your new favorite author. Kelly loves to craft whodunit mysteries, leading readers through various twists and turns filled with red-herrings, hidden clues, and more peculiar characters than a reality show. As an athlete, she hopes that the importance of teamwork and overcoming adversity, is also quite clear in her writing

Kelly lives in South Jersey with her handsome husband, energetic baby boys, two cookie-stealing dogs, and an awfully smart cat. If you want to know when Kelly’s next book will come out, please visit her website at http://www.kbchannick.com, where you can sign up to receive emails providing updates for new releases, or contact her directly, as well as win fun giveaways, and receive up to date news.

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#BookTour “One Will Too Many” by PJ Peterson

One Will Too Many by PJ Peterson Banner

March 1-31, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

One Will Too Many by PJ Peterson

A wealthy banker with a long list of secrets dies.

The bizarre crime scene stumps the local police…

… but a young doctor could be the key to solving the case.

Internist Julia Fairchild encounters banker Jay moments too late – the poor man is near death in his own dining room. At first no one can figure out what killed him, but the coroner soon confirms that it was homicide: Jay died of methanol poisoning, and now a murderer is on the loose. Julia knows how to catch a killer and she can cut through the noise like a scalpel through skin. She agrees to help the understaffed police force solve the case, but each clue only complicates her investigation further.

Can Julia dissect the deadly riddle and nail the perp, or will this be the first time a monster succeeds in giving her the slip?

If you love Louise Penny, Kelly Oliver, and PC James, you need this medical mystery! Find out why fans say, “I love the character Julia Fairchild!”

Don’t wait – Click the BUY button now!

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Published by: Finngirl, LLC
Publication Date: December 2021
Number of Pages: 206
ISBN: 978-1-7335675-7-2
Series: A Julia Fairchild Mystery, #4 || Each is a stand Alone Novel
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Julia arrived at the Hotel Montpelier just as Drake drove up. She took advantage of his simultaneous presence to make a proper entrance to the celebration in the Hotel’s Grand Ballroom. It had recently been refurbished to its original grandeur from the early 1920’s. She admired the beauty of the ceilings with their Art Deco design, recently uncovered by the removal of a false ceiling from a previous “upgrade.” The beautiful wood floor with exquisite inlaid mosaics shone from a recent floor polishing. The cherry and mahogany woodwork glistened in the light from the elegant crystal chandeliers which had also been hidden until now.

Julia and Drake were greeted by some of the other members of the restoration committee. Drake was the designated master of ceremonies while Julia’s primary duty was to personally welcome as many of the potential donors as possible and say a few words in support of the project. He certainly looked the part tonight in a well-cut black velvet tuxedo. His dark hair was touched with silver—just enough to give him a classy look. He stood tall and proud as he walked through the crowd, nodding to some and saying a word or two to other attendees.

Julia searched the assembled festival attendees for familiar faces as Drake gently guided her to an older man and woman. He placed his hand at the small of her back as he addressed the wealthy couple. “Julia, I’d like to introduce Mr. And Mrs. George Oglethorpe. They have been long-time supporters of the theatre.”

Julia stepped forward a half-step and extended her hand. “I’m Julia Fairchild. I’m honored to meet you. I love our theatre, too.”

The woman’s face brightened as she recognized the name. “Of course! Dr. Fairchild. Call me Anna. I’ve heard a lot of good things about you.” She took Julia’s hand in both of hers. “You’re so young and pretty for a doctor.”

Julia reddened. She actually felt a little mousey most days, but conceded to herself that she did ‘clean up’ nicely for such events. “Thank you. I was blessed with good genes. How long have you and your husband lived in Parkview?”

“My goodness. Forever. Right out of college anyway. George heard about the paper mill here looking for mechanical engineers and applied right away.” She smiled proudly at him. “We love the town and were never inclined to leave once we settled in. Isn’t that right, dear?” Her husband nodded between sips of his drink. “Are you from here?”

“Not from Parkview. I grew up down the highway on a small farm. My grandma persuaded me to come home and here I am.” Julia felt her eyes well up as she recalled warm memories of time spent with her grandparents. “Thank you for your support of our lovely theatre. The restoration committee will be sharing the plans for the renovation during the program.”

Julia felt Drake’s arm around her waist as he interceded. “Thank you for coming this evening. Please excuse us. I see someone who is clamoring to talk with Dr. Fairchild before the dinner starts.”

Drake took Julia’s arm and as they turned around, they found Gregory Lantz and his wife Sandy who had been standing right behind them. “Greg! So good to see you here tonight. Thanks for coming.” They exchanged nods and handshakes. “Julia is standing in for Karen tonight. She’s also supporting the project.” Julia smiled and nodded. Aside from the perfunctory smiles, Julia sensed a tension between the men, and she moved a step away from Drake to better observe them both.

Greg stirred his gin and tonic vigorously. “I’ve talked with some of the members of the board at the bank, but I don’t have a definite commitment yet for a donation. I think we can come through for $50,000. But nothing close to the million dollars that everyone seems to think the bank can donate.”

“Greg, any amount would be great. I understand it’s been a little tough with the new bank still getting started.” Drake Ashford was the president of the older, long-established Parkview National Bank. He was aware that despite heavy advertising and promotions, the new River City Community Bank was not yet meeting expectations. He was also acutely sensitive to the loss of some of his own banking clients to the new bank, where Greg was Vice President.

Greg bristled. “Actually, we’re meeting our numbers and seeing new business every day. I would think you would have noticed already.” He smirked.

“We’ve noticed a little change, but we’re prepared to handle it.” Drake took a large swallow of his scotch. “Please excuse us. I have some other people to greet. Talk to you later, Greg.” Drake and Julia moved away.

“That man really annoys me,” Drake said under his breath. “He’s so naive. He doesn’t see how Jay is using him. He’s just a ‘yes’ man. But I guess it makes him feel important.”

“What do you mean?” Julia asked, nodding and smiling at some of the faces she recognized. She knew he referred to Jay Morrison, recently divorced and head of the new bank. She felt Drake’s hand shaking as he maneuvered her through the crowd.

“I’ll tell you later. Too many ears here.” He surveyed the guests nearby. “Let’s see…there’s Warren Pontell and his lovely wife Sarah. He’s talked about making a major contribution. His wife was a theatre actress in her younger days. And they have money to burn.” He turned to Julia and wiggled his eyebrows, à la Groucho Marx.

Drake and Julia chatted with the Pontells for a few minutes, using the time to emphasize the benefits of the smaller venue of the “little theatre.” It was designed to be an intimate stage setting with seating for about one hundred fifty people. Until recently, the area had been used for storage and was marginally functional for stage events in its current state.

Julia had found herself daydreaming but tuned back in when she heard Mr. Pontell say, “We’d like to donate $50,000 for the little theatre. Perhaps you can find a way to let us have something to say about naming it.” He grinned broadly as his wife beamed.

“Warren, that’s wonderful!” said Drake. “I’ll talk with the board of directors about naming opportunities. Let me get back to you on details for your donation. Thank you.”

Now grinning, Drake gently guided Julia toward Adam Johns, an influential man in the local union hierarchy, and his wife. He had started working at ESCO Paper Company right out of high school and had worked his way up from the labor pool to an electrician apprenticeship and then to a journeyman electrician. His constituents considered him to be fair and honest. He had an unofficial status in the union as a leader, although he didn’t have an elected or paid position as such.

Adam tugged at the neck of his dress shirt and pulled at the bottom of his dark blue waistcoat. The jacket gaped over his generous girth. He looked uncomfortable in his tuxedo. Julia was sure her mother would have said something like “putting perfume on a goat,” but most likely his wife had insisted he dress up for this occasion. He certainly looked impressive at his height of six foot three inches.

“Mr. and Mrs. Johns, good evening,” said Drake as he offered his hand. “Do you know Dr. Julia Fairchild? She’s helping to support the Theatre Restoration project as we all are.”

“We sure do,” said Adam, returning the handshake. “Dr. Fairchild, you took care of my mom several years back. She was real sick but you got her well and she’s fine now. Thanks to you. In fact, she’s going on a cruise through the Panama Canal with her church group this coming week. She’s always wanted to go on that trip.”

“You’re welcome, Mr. Johns. I do remember your mom—Violette, I believe? She’s a lovely lady with a lot of spunk.” Julia shook his hand before turning to his wife. “Pleased to meet you, Mrs. Johns.”

Mr. Johns turned back to Drake. “Mr. Ashford, some of the guys at the mill want to know if you had talked with our union officials yet about the stock trading going on with our pension funds. And if you know anything, they hope you can tell them. And call me Adam. My wife is Linda.”

“Yes, Adam. I talked with a Scott Sowders in Portland. He’s looking into whether those trading fees can be traced back to any individuals. May I call you when I know something more?”

“Sure. You can call me at ESCO. The operator knows how to reach me. Thanks a lot, Mr. Ashford.”

“You can call me Drake, please. I’ll call you soon and we’ll go from there. Thanks again for being here tonight.”

“Hey. It’s an alright party. My wife is always trying to get me to gussy up. It’s more fun than I thought it would be.” He grinned and saluted with his cocktail.

Julia saw the auctioneer heading their way and alerted Drake. “I’ll check my lipstick while you talk with him. Where are we sitting?”

“Main table,” he said, pointing to the center of the long side of the room. He scowled. “Unfortunately, it appears we’re seated next to Jay Morrison, of all people.”

***

Excerpt from One Will Too Many by PJ Peterson. Copyright 2022 by PJ Peterson. Reproduced with permission from PJ Peterson. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

PJ Peterson

PJ is a retired internist who enjoyed the diagnostic part of practicing medicine as well as creating long-lasting relationships with her patients. As a child she wanted to be a doctor so she could “help people.” She now volunteers at the local Free Medical Clinic to satisfy that need to help. She loved to read from a young age and read all the Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew books she could find. It wasn’t until she was an adult that she wrote anything longer than short stories for English classes and term papers in others. Writing mysteries only makes sense given her early exposure to that genre. Sprinkling in a little medical mystique makes it all the more fun.

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#BookTour “Playing Possum” by Lois Schmitt

February 1-28, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

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~ Guest Post ~

SETTINGS

IS IT ONLY LOCATION?

by Lois Schmitt

Do you like cozies set in small English villages? Maybe you prefer mysteries set in big cities or exotic locales. Or perhaps you want to read about murder and mayhem that occurs by the beach or in the countryside.

Setting is not only the part of the world where the story is set—it is also each specific place where scenes occur, such as a bookstore, restaurant, newspaper office, or a zoo. Most books have several settings.

Getting the setting right can be tricky. Stories consist of action, dialogue, and description. These three must be mixed to keep the pace going. Since setting is primarily description, too much detail can slow down the story. But since the setting determines the background, you need to get it out there early. That means packing as much punch as possible in one or two sentences.

My mysteries take place on Long Island with the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Great South Bay to the south, the Long Island Sound to the north, and New York City to the west. Each of my books, however, is set at a different “fictional” location within Long Island. Monkey Business is set at a zoo, Something Fishy is in an aquarium, and Playing Possum takes place at a wildlife refuge—all different sub-settings.

With each book, my amateur sleuth’s investigation may take her to other settings too, such as a suspect’s beach house, a pet store, or a local pub, as well as her home and office. When you visit someone’s home or office in real life, it provides details into that person’s personal life, and it should do the same when you read about it. Is the person neat? Does he like to cook? Does she have lots of books? Are there pets?

One of the best ways to create memorable settings is through sense impressions. In my new mystery, Playing Possum, I combine two sense reactions in the following sentence:

“I inhaled the scent of pine amid the morning’s cool spring breeze.”

Using both smell and touch (feeling the breeze) enhances the image of walking through the woods.

Think of the following descriptions:

The odor of dead fish made her gag.The aroma of bacon frying and freshly brewed coffee wafted through the air. The smell of urine permeated the pet store.

Each of the above sentences helps you envision the setting where they occur. Smell is one of our most powerful senses.

Taste, sound, and touch are also powerful. When using the sense of sight, one of the quickest ways to get a point across is through the use of color, such as “the inky black swamp water.”

Unfortunately, the sense of sight is frequently overused. If a writer relies primarily on the sense of sight, the description often can be boring. It also usually involves lots of detail which can make the narrative unnecessarily long and slow down the story’s pace. Combining more than one sense can provide a more vivid picture of the setting than just using one sense.

The following is a description from Playing Possum that involves sight, sound, and smell.

 

“The forest is different at night, full of shadows and mystery, with tall pines appearing like dark arrows aimed at the sky. The odor of rich earth and skunk weed seemed stronger now than during the day. Crickets chirped and I heard the flutter of wings and the rustling of small creatures scurrying nearby.”

In only three sentences the reader is provided with a vivid image of the forest at night.

As a story continued, details involving the setting can be provided a little bit at a time. These details now can be incorporated in dialogue and action to keep the story flowing. Example: She waved her hand to shoo the mosquitoes away from her face.

Setting is more than location. It involves time, tone, and atmosphere. The reader should be able to become absorbed in the setting and feel what the characters are experiencing.

~~~

Synopsis:

Murder, Mayhem, and Missing Animals.

When animals mysteriously disappear from the Pendwell Wildlife Refuge, former English teacher turned magazine reporter Kristy Farrell is on the case. Days later, the body of the refuge’s director is found in a grassy clearing.

Kristy, assisted by her veterinarian daughter, investigates and discovers strong motives among the suspects, including greed, infidelity, betrayal, and blackmail.

As Kristy delves further, she finds herself up against the powerful Pendwell family, especially matriarch Victoria Buckley Pendwell, chair of the refuge board of trustees, and Victoria’s son, Austin Pendwell, who is slated to run for the state senate.

But ferreting out the murderer and finding the missing animals aren’t Kristy only challenges. While researching a story on puppy mills, she uncovers criminal activity that reaches far beyond the neighborhood pet store.

Meanwhile, strange things are happening back at the refuge, and soon a second murder occurs. Kristy is thwarted in her attempts to discover the murderer by her old nemesis, the blustery Detective Wolfe.

Kristy perseveres and as she unearths shady deals and dark secrets, Kristy slowly draws the killer out of the shadows.

Praise for Playing Possum:

Lois Schmitt’s Playing Possum does cozies proud. Fresh and traditional all at once.” -Reed Farrel Coleman, New York Times bestselling author of Sleepless City

“In her third book of the series, writer Lois Schmitt has crafted an intricately-plotted mystery full of twists and humor, with a cast of colorful characters, set in a wildlife refuge rehab center. Cozy fans, and especially followers of Schmitt’s animal lovers’ mysteries, will find great entertainment in Playing Possum.” -Phyllis Gobbell, award-winning author of the Jordan Mayfair Mysteries

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Published by: Encircle Publications

Publication Date: December 8, 2021

Number of Pages: 296

ISBN: 1645993051 (ISBN13‎ 978-1645993056)

Series:A Kristy Farrell Animal Lovers Mystery, #3

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

~~~

Read an excerpt:

I waited until a man and a woman emerged from the county medical examiner’s van. I followed them into the wildlife preserve, maintaining a discreet distance while wondering what happened. Did a jogger succumb to a heart attack? Did a child fall into a pond and drown? I inhaled deeply, hoping to steady my nerves.

I passed the clearing on the right where the administration building was located. I continued trailing the two members of the medical examiner’s staff until another clearing came into view—this one bordered by yellow crime scene tape.

I gasped.

Not far from where I stood, spread out in full view was a female body with blood covering much of the head. The body was face down, but I recognized the small build, sandy colored hair, and jade green shirt.

I tasted bile. I wanted to scream, but I slapped my hand in front of my mouth.

After regaining my composure, I surveyed my surroundings. Three people wearing jackets emblazoned in the back with the words Crime Scene Investigator were near the front of the clearing. One was bent over the body and the other two appeared to be examining the nearby ground. When the medical examiner’s team approached, the investigator next to the body rose up and started talking. I couldn’t make it all out, but I did hear him say “Blow to the head.”

“Oh, no,” I mumbled when I spied two homicide detectives I knew.

Detective Adrian Fox, a thirty something African American, stood on the side of the clearing, near a small pond. He was talking to a woman who yesterday had been arguing with the preserve’s director.

The director had called this woman Elena, so I assumed this was Elena Salazar, the education coordinator. I couldn’t hear what she was saying to the detective, but she was gesturing wildly with her arms.

The other detective, Steve Wolfe, had marched over to the body and was now barking orders to the medical examiner’s staff, who didn’t seem pleased. As Wolfe turned around, the woman in the medical examiner’s jacket shook her head.

I sighed. Wolfe and I had a history. He was a bully who had gone to school with my younger brother Tim, constantly picking on him. Granted Tim was the classic nerd who might as well have worn the sign “Kick Me” on his back. I had recently solved two of Wolfe’s murder cases, which only irritated him more.

Wolfe spied me and headed in my direction, his face turning the color of a beet. His gray pants hung below his pot belly, his glacier blue eyes as cold as ever, and he wore the same annoying grin as when he was a kid that made me want to slap his face.

“What happened?” I asked.

“I’m here about a dead squirrel,” he said. “I’m a homicide detective. What do you think happened?”

“I know the victim,” I said.

He narrowed his eyes. “How do you know her?”

“I’m doing a story on the wildlife refuge and—”

“How come whenever you do a story people die?”

Not really a nice way to put it.

“Who found the body?” I asked.

“Three hikers.”

“What caused—”

“This is none of your business. This is a crime scene.” He pointed a fat finger at me. “You need to leave.”

“I’m behind the yellow tape,” I argued.

I didn’t think his face could get any redder, but it did. “Stay out of my way.” He spun around and stomped off toward the side where Detective Fox appeared to be jotting something in a notepad. Elena Salazar was no longer there. I had no idea where she went.

I had lots of questions, but I wasn’t getting answers from Wolfe. The crime scene investigators were packing up. Maybe I’d have better luck with them.

“When was she killed” I asked the one investigator, who looked young enough to appear on an acne remedy commercial.

“We need to wait for the autopsy.”

“Do you have an approximate time of death?”

“Sorry. We can’t talk to the public.”

I sighed. I’d have to get the answers somewhere else.

I wondered why the victim had been at the clearing. I glanced at the pond, guessing this was where the rehabilitated turtle would be released. Did she come here early to check things out before the release? But what would she be checking?

My thoughts were interrupted as the medical examiner’s team passed by me carrying a stretcher with the covered body. I figured I might learn something if I listened to their conversation. Eavesdropping was one of my talents.

I scratched my theory about arriving early to check on conditions for the turtle release when one of the attendants said, “I can’t imagine why anyone would be in these woods at midnight.”

***

Excerpt from Playing Possum by Lois Schmitt. Copyright 2021 by Lois Schmitt. Reproduced with permission from Lois Schmitt. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

Lois Schmitt

A mystery fan since she read her first Nancy Drew, Lois Schmitt combined a love of mysteries with a love of animals in her series featuring animal magazine reporter Kristy Farrell. Lois is member of several wildlife conservation and humane organizations, as well as Mystery Writers of America. She received 2nd runner-up for the Killer Nashville Claymore award for her second book in the series entitled Something Fishy, She previously served as media spokesperson for a local consumer affairs agency and currently teaches at a community college. Lois lives in Massapequa, Long Island with her family, which includes a 120 pound Bernese Mountain dog. This dog bears a striking resemblance to Archie, a dog of many breeds featured in her Kristy Farrell Mystery Series.

Catch Up With Lois Schmitt:

LoisSchmitt.com

Goodreads Instagram: @loisschmittmysteries

Twitter: @schmittmystery

Facebook: @LoisSchmittAuthor

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Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

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This is a giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Lois Schmitt. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.

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#FREE “Happy Birthday Murder (A Reporter Roland Bean Cozy Mystery)” by Rachel Woods

book cover

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Make a wish for … murder?

When reporter Roland Bean turns the big three-oh, his wife throws him, and his fraternal twin sister Robyn, a huge birthday bash.

The festive occasion is lively and fun until a fight between his sister and her boyfriend ends the night on a sour note. Beanie decides to console Robyn but almost hits a man staggering in the road as he drives to her townhouse.

A man who turns out to be Robyn’s boyfriend and what’s worse, he’s been shot.

The boyfriend’s dying words shake Beanie to his core: Robyn … shot … me.

Refusing to believe his twin sister killed a man, Beanie vows to use his investigative skills to prove her innocence.

He discovers plenty of suspects as he delves into the doctor’s dirty dealings, but can he solve the case before the killer makes him the next victim?

Happy Birthday Murder is a cozy murder mystery novel. With lots of clues and red herrings, it features plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing until the end! Get your copy today!

FREE for a limited time!

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#NewRelease “Gobble Gobble Murder (A Reporter Roland Bean Cozy Mystery)” by Rachel Woods

Gobble book cover

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Why did the host of a Thanksgiving party suddenly drop dead?

At a Thanksgiving party, investigative reporter Roland “Beanie” Bean is shocked when the host drops dead. It looks like an allergic reaction, but Beanie is suspicious, especially since he’d overheard the host’s wife and her secret lover plotting the man’s demise.

When the host’s death is determined to be cold-blooded murder, Beanie covers the story and discovers a slew of suspects: The cheating wife. The bitter ex-wife. The vengeful rival. And a mysterious stranger who’d sent the dead man bizarre threats.

As Beanie continues to investigate, he uncovers sordid secrets and devious motives among those who were closest to the victim. Racing to discover the killer, he ends up the target of a sadistic murderer who won’t hesitate to kill again.

Gobble, Gobble Murder is a holiday cozy murder mystery novel. With lots of clues and red herrings, it features plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing until the end!

Kindle Unlimited

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#AudioTour “Donn’s Legacy (The Soul Searchers Mysteries, Book 3)” by Caryn Larrinaga

Author: Caryn Larrinaga

Narrator: Jessica McEvoy

Length: 9 hours 58 minutes

Series: The Soul Searchers Mysteries, Book 3

Released: Sep. 27, 2021

Publisher: Twisted Tree Press

Genre: Supernatural Cozy Mystery


How do you catch a killer who moves like a ghost?

Mackenzie Clair is sure she’ll find answers in New Mexico. The mysteries around her mother’s past have haunted her for 20 years, and every sign points toward the truth lurking in her childhood home. But the Donn’s Hill Body Magnet should have known better than to expect a quiet trip. Everywhere Mac goes, ghosts follow.

All her life, Mac thought her mother’s death was just a tragic accident. But when a tourist dies under suspiciously similar circumstances, connections between Evelyn Clair and more recent victims start stacking up. There’s a serial killer on the prowl, and they’ve set their sights on Donn’s Hill.

Hard as she tries, Mac can’t convince the police the deaths are related. The murderer is like a ghost, moving through the living world in ways only a psychic can follow. It’s up to Mac to solve the case, but if she can’t sift through the clues from her past, she won’t live to see her future.

Buy on Audible

Caryn Larrinaga is a Basque-American mystery and horror writer. She has been a Dragon Award finalist and won multiple awards for her work, including the League of Utah Writers Silver Quill (Donn’s Hill, 2017) and the Cat Writers Association Certificate of Excellence (Donn’s Legacy, 2020). In 2021, she was named Writer of the Year by the League of Utah Writers.

Watching scary movies through split fingers terrified Caryn as a child, and those nightmares inspire her to write now. Her 90-year-old house has a colorful history, and the creaking walls and narrow hallways send her running (never walking) up the stairs. Exploring her fears through writing makes Caryn feel a little less foolish for wanting a buddy to accompany her into the tool shed.

Caryn lives near Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and their clowder of cats.

Caryn is an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the Cat Writers Association, the League of Utah Writers, and the Utah Chapter of the Horror Writers Association.

WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagramGoodreads

Narrator Bio

Between peddling video games and teaching yoga in her home state of Arizona, Jessica McEvoy attempts to conduct a career as a professional voice actress. This, however, is moderately undermined by the fact that she records in a dimly lit closet with her microphone balanced on a stack of old board games (Junior Scrabble and Powerpuff Girls Monopoly form a strong foundation), but she hopes that no one holds that against her.

Though her main work consists of narrating audiobooks, her first dive into the voice world was through the NoSleep podcast after answering a post from the LibriVox forums. Having been raised on horror movies and scary stories, she was beyond excited to be able to work on the show. Many stories, tortured screams, deranged villains, and creepy little girl giggles later, Jessica hopes to work on the podcast for seasons and seasons to come.

Twitter

Q&A with Narrator Jessica McEvoy
  • How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
    • I saw an ad for ACX (the audiobook creation exchange) and it piqued my curiosity. I thought, “I can do that? By myself? Right now?” and then bought a microphone soon after. I’d never imagined I’d find a job where I could read books and be paid for it.
  • A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
    • As much as I’d like to think my role as the Cat in the Hat in Suessical the Musical in middle school was a breakout performance, I don’t think a theatre background is entirely necessary for a career in voice acting.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
    • I keep a supply of emergency chocolate on my desk for when my reserves start to run dry. I try to keep my office a happy place, with an essential oil diffuser throwing out some good smells and a few comfy blankets to wrap myself in when I’m trudging through editing the audio. I take breaks when I start to feel like I’m hitting a wall.
  • What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator?
    • After narrating the adventures of Mac and her friends in the two previous novels, Donn’s Hill and Donn’s Shadow, I knew I had to follow through with them to the end.
  • How closely do you prefer to work with authors?
    • I love feedback from authors! It’s reassuring to know when I’m getting something right and when something needs to be adjusted, otherwise I’m a nervous mess and assume I’ve ruined the whole thing.
  • How did you decide how each character should sound in this title?
    • Sometimes the characters’ voices are explicitly described in the text and so I do my best to match that. If they’re not, I’ll try to do a voice that I feel best reflects their personality or style of speaking.
  • What types of things are harmful to your voice?
    • Screaming. My main gig is voice acting for The NoSleep Podcast, a horror anthology show, so this comes up somewhat frequently. When I know I’ve got to full on death shriek in a story, I’ll save that for after everything else has been recorded to avoid rasping through the narration. Then I consume copious amounts of tea.
  • What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
    • I’d say that’s really unfair. I’ve spoken with blind or visually impaired listeners who are so happy to be able to enjoy stories otherwise unavailable to them. Many folks listen at work or while taking care of other tasks and wouldn’t otherwise have the time to sit down and read. Listening to an audiobook still requires reading comprehension and interpretation; it’s just a different way of doing it.
  • What bits of advice would you give to aspiring audiobook narrators?
    • Start small. Don’t jump into a contract for a multiple book series or an epic saga right away. Make sure you know what you’re doing first and take time to experiment. It’s also not a bad idea to use a pseudonym for your first few novels. You’ll inevitably get better with practice and may regret attaching your professional name to projects that don’t match that quality.
  • Bonus question: Any funny anecdotes from inside the recording studio?
    • One of the characters in The Soul Searchers series is a cat, who occasionally has a few bits of meowing or trilling dialogue. Narrating a cat is fun but watching my dogs’ reactions to hearing the result is even better. They’d hear it even when I had headphones on and then walk around the house terribly confused, trying to find this phantom cat.

View the full tour schedule here!

Plugging you into the audio community since 2016.

Sign up as a tour host here.

#AudioTour “Donn’s Shadow (The Soul Searchers Mysteries, Book 2)” by Caryn Larrinaga

Author: Caryn Larrinaga

Narrator: Jessica McEvoy

Length: 9 hours 53 minutes

Series: The Soul Searchers Mysteries, Book 2

Released: May 14, 2020

Publisher: Twisted Tree Press

Genre: Supernatural Cozy Mystery


Mackenzie Clair finally has this whole ghost-hunting psychic thing figured out. The Soul Searchers are a hit, she’s got pet-parenting down, and she even has a plan to banish the poltergeist running amok at a lakeside cabin. Best of all, Donn’s Hill feels like home. But not everyone loves the town as much as Mac.

A world-famous paranormal debunker thinks the psychics in Donn’s Hill are lying about their abilities. His determination to destroy the Soul Searchers threatens Mac’s livelihood, and when a killer strikes, the sheriff’s suspicions threaten her freedom.

Mac needs all the help she can get to find the real murderer and clear her name… even if that help comes from beyond the grave.

Buy on Audible

Caryn Larrinaga is a Basque-American mystery and horror writer. She has been a Dragon Award finalist and won multiple awards for her work, including the League of Utah Writers Silver Quill (Donn’s Hill, 2017) and the Cat Writers Association Certificate of Excellence (Donn’s Legacy, 2020). In 2021, she was named Writer of the Year by the League of Utah Writers.

Watching scary movies through split fingers terrified Caryn as a child, and those nightmares inspire her to write now. Her 90-year-old house has a colorful history, and the creaking walls and narrow hallways send her running (never walking) up the stairs. Exploring her fears through writing makes Caryn feel a little less foolish for wanting a buddy to accompany her into the tool shed.

Caryn lives near Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and their clowder of cats.

Caryn is an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the Cat Writers Association, the League of Utah Writers, and the Utah Chapter of the Horror Writers Association.

WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagramGoodreads

Narrator Bio

Between peddling video games and teaching yoga in her home state of Arizona, Jessica McEvoy attempts to conduct a career as a professional voice actress. This, however, is moderately undermined by the fact that she records in a dimly lit closet with her microphone balanced on a stack of old board games (Junior Scrabble and Powerpuff Girls Monopoly form a strong foundation), but she hopes that no one holds that against her.

Though her main work consists of narrating audiobooks, her first dive into the voice world was through the NoSleep podcast after answering a post from the LibriVox forums. Having been raised on horror movies and scary stories, she was beyond excited to be able to work on the show. Many stories, tortured screams, deranged villains, and creepy little girl giggles later, Jessica hopes to work on the podcast for seasons and seasons to come.

Twitter

Narrator Interview banner

 

Q&A with Narrator Jessica McEvoy
  1. How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?

 I saw an ad for ACX (the audiobook creation exchange) and it piqued my curiosity. I thought, “I can do that? By myself? Right now?” and then bought a microphone soon after. I’d never imagined I’d find a job where I could read books and be paid for it.

  1. A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?

 As much as I’d like to think my role as the Cat in the Hat in Suessical the Musical in middle school was a breakout performance, I don’t think a theatre background is entirely necessary for a career in voice acting.

  1. How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?

I keep a supply of emergency chocolate on my desk for when my reserves start to run dry. I try to keep my office a happy place, with an essential oil diffuser throwing out some good smells and a few comfy blankets to wrap myself in when I’m trudging through editing the audio. I take breaks when I start to feel like I’m hitting a wall.

  1. What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator?

After narrating the adventures of Mac and her friends in the two previous novels, Donn’s Hill and Donn’s Shadow, I knew I had to follow through with them to the end. 

  1. How closely do you prefer to work with authors?

 I love feedback from authors! It’s reassuring to know when I’m getting something right and when something needs to be adjusted, otherwise I’m a nervous mess and assume I’ve ruined the whole thing.

  1. How did you decide how each character should sound in this title? 

 Sometimes the characters’ voices are explicitly described in the text and so I do my best to match that. If they’re not, I’ll try to do a voice that I feel best reflects their personality or style of speaking. 

  1. What types of things are harmful to your voice?

Screaming. My main gig is voice acting for The NoSleep Podcast, a horror anthology show, so this comes up somewhat frequently. When I know I’ve got to full on death shriek in a story, I’ll save that for after everything else has been recorded to avoid rasping through the narration. Then I consume copious amounts of tea.

8.What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?

 I’d say that’s really unfair. I’ve spoken with blind or visually impaired listeners who are so happy to be able to enjoy stories otherwise unavailable to them. Many folks listen at work or while taking care of other tasks and wouldn’t otherwise have the time to sit down and read. Listening to an audiobook still requires reading comprehension and interpretation; it’s just a different way of doing it.

  1. What bits of advice would you give to aspiring audiobook narrators?

 Start small. Don’t jump into a contract for a multiple book series or an epic saga right away. Make sure you know what you’re doing first and take time to experiment. It’s also not a bad idea to use a pseudonym for your first few novels. You’ll inevitably get better with practice and may regret attaching your professional name to projects that don’t match that quality.

  1. Bonus question: Any funny anecdotes from inside the recording studio?

 One of the characters in The Soul Searchers series is a cat, who occasionally has a few bits of meowing or trilling dialogue. Narrating a cat is fun but watching my dogs’ reactions to hearing the result is even better. They’d hear it even when I had headphones on and then walk around the house terribly confused, trying to find this phantom cat.

 

 

View the full tour schedule here!

Plugging you into the audio community since 2016.

Sign up as a tour host here.

#AudioTour “Donn’s Hill (The Soul Searchers Mysteries, Book 1)” by Caryn Larrinaga

Author: Caryn Larrinaga

Narrator: Jessica McEvoy

Length: 9 hours 54 minutes

Series: The Soul Searchers Mysteries, Book 1

Released: Aug. 1, 2017

Publisher: Twisted Tree Press

Genre: Supernatural Cozy Mystery


“Grief can change us… rewire our brains and shift the way we look at the world…”

After returning home from her father’s funeral to find her boyfriend in bed with another woman, Mackenzie Clair is looking for a fresh start. She thinks she’ll find it in her favorite childhood vacation spot, but returning to Donn’s Hill awakens more than nostalgia. Mac regains a lost psychic ability to talk to the dead, and the poltergeist haunting her apartment is desperate to make her use that gift to find his killer.

Aided by her new roommate – a spirited Tortoiseshell cat named Striker, and the ghost-hunting crew of the nationally televised show Soul Searchers, Mac struggles to learn how to use her powers. But she’d better get a handle on them fast, because someone in town is hiding a deadly secret. If Mac can’t somehow divine the truth, Donn’s Hill will never be the same.

Buy on Audible

Caryn Larrinaga is a Basque-American mystery and horror writer. She has been a Dragon Award finalist and won multiple awards for her work, including the League of Utah Writers Silver Quill (Donn’s Hill, 2017) and the Cat Writers Association Certificate of Excellence (Donn’s Legacy, 2020). In 2021, she was named Writer of the Year by the League of Utah Writers.

Watching scary movies through split fingers terrified Caryn as a child, and those nightmares inspire her to write now. Her 90-year-old house has a colorful history, and the creaking walls and narrow hallways send her running (never walking) up the stairs. Exploring her fears through writing makes Caryn feel a little less foolish for wanting a buddy to accompany her into the tool shed.

Caryn lives near Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and their clowder of cats.

Caryn is an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the Cat Writers Association, the League of Utah Writers, and the Utah Chapter of the Horror Writers Association.

WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagramGoodreads

Narrator Bio

Between peddling video games and teaching yoga in her home state of Arizona, Jessica McEvoy attempts to conduct a career as a professional voice actress. This, however, is moderately undermined by the fact that she records in a dimly lit closet with her microphone balanced on a stack of old board games (Junior Scrabble and Powerpuff Girls Monopoly form a strong foundation), but she hopes that no one holds that against her.

Though her main work consists of narrating audiobooks, her first dive into the voice world was through the NoSleep podcast after answering a post from the LibriVox forums. Having been raised on horror movies and scary stories, she was beyond excited to be able to work on the show. Many stories, tortured screams, deranged villains, and creepy little girl giggles later, Jessica hopes to work on the podcast for seasons and seasons to come.

Twitter

Q&A with Author Caryn Larrinaga
  • How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
    • The first thing everyone has to learn how to pronounce is usually my name (it’s “Kuh-rin” but most people try to say it like “Karen”). 🙂
    • Jessica is amazing, so it was super easy to work with her on all three of these books. We talked about how certain words should be pronounced, especially the names of Elder Futhark and Ogham runes in Donn’s Legacy. For the main characters, we talked a little bit about their personalities and how they should sound, but overall I left it up to Jessica to decide how she wanted to bring each character to life. It was the right call – she’s a genius at packing a character’s spirit into their voices.
  • Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
    • Spookily, yes! A lot of the ghosts Mac encounters are inspired by the actual experiences of friends and family (like the poltergeist my mom encountered). And Striker the cat is pulled straight from real life – she’s the immortalization of my sweet tortie cat who was feisty and playful until she passed away at 20.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
    • There’s one piece of advice I’ve heard again and again but still always need to hear: celebrate everything. Every milestone of the writing process, every email from a reader who loved a story, every opportunity to connect with other writers and new readers. They’re all worth marking and savoring. It’s a habit I fall out of sometimes, but it seems like right when I need it most, there’s a writing conference or a speaker’s bureau night with someone like Tim Waggoner where I’m reminded about it.
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    • Definitely! My favorite thing about it is that my husband and I can experience the book together. We love listening while we’re in the car or to wind down at night. I’ve gotten him into supernatural romance and
  • Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
  • If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
    • Oh man, I would want to do so much! I’m assuming I wouldn’t be allowed to change anything (I don’t want to Homer Simpson myself into a world where it rains donuts… or do I?). So if all I could do was be a spectator at some event, I’d go back and sit in on one of the seances Houdini’s wife held after he died because I bet they were deliciously spooky.
  • How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
    • The last couple of weeks of writing a novel are a massive sprint for me. The words come more easily but they also sort of come all at once, and my brain needs a break after. So I like to take a week off from writing, play way too much Civilization 5 while eating chocolate covered orange sticks and pickle flavored Lays, then come back with a fresh mind for editing.
  • What gets you out of a writing slump? What about a reading slump?
    • When I’m feeling stuck on my longer projects, I like to switch to writing short stories and get that sweet sweet dopamine hit from finishing something. Try it! It also helps me to finish a big chore I’ve been putting off, like reorganizing the Closet of Mysteries in my den while I listen to some synthwave. Using my hands and letting my brain roam free can sometimes unlock whatever barrier has me slumping.
    • I definitely get into reading slumps too. Genre hopping helps me with that. Last spring I got super into reading romances and tore through all the Bridgerton books before switching back to paranormal horror and cozy mysteries, haha.
  • What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
    • I’d say to start by focusing on building a good writing habit. Pick an attainable word count (for example, 500 words per day) and work toward hitting that. Then work on hitting it every day for a month. That’s been the most important thing for me, and that daily habit is how I get things done.
  • Do you have any tips for authors going through the process of turning their books into audiobooks?
    • Don’t rush the process of finding the right narrator. Take your time and keep looking for the right fit. That’s how you end up getting to work with someone as phenomenal as Jessica.
  • What’s next for you?
    • My collection of short horror stories, Dread Softly, just released last month. One of those stories (“The Bump”) will be coming out in audio as part of the Untold Tales Podcast, and later as an animated special from TKMV Studio. I love this story and the children’s voices in it are soooooo creepy. I hope folks will check it out!

View the full tour schedule here!

Plugging you into the audio community since 2016.

Sign up as a tour host here.

#FREE “The Florida Panhandle Mystery Series” by Michaela Thompson

Panhandle cover

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WHAT HAPPENS IN FLORIDA…

…could only happen in Florida. St. Elmo, specifically. Just like in the 50s, it’s still the kind of place where a date might be a picnic of tuna sandwiches, and the sheriff the son of an old friend. In the hands of mystery author Michaela Thompson, St. Elmo comes alive with a smattering of “only in Florida” puzzlers: a bootleg war in a hurricane, sunken treasure by a trailer park, a handful of illicit love affairs fraught with seaside small town gossip. As vibrant as their Florida Panhandle backdrop, this series is made up of traditional mysteries notable for the kind of delicately-crafted writing that’ll remind you of Golden Age British yarns, now bundled in a single box set.

HURRICANE SEASON
The 1950s fairly leap off the page in this classic cozy mystery set in northern Florida in the Eisenhower era, complete with Johnny Ray on the jukebox and a Womanless Wedding—this one interrupted by an explosion at a moonshine still. Lily Trulock, owner of Trulock’s Grocery & Marine Supply, leads a pretty quiet life until a stranger comes to town. The new guy’s not what he appears, but then, some of St. Elmo’s residents aren’t either.

RIPTIDE
As intricate as a fisherman’s net, Riptide fairly writhes with sinister delights—family secrets, family feuds, lost family fortunes, betrayals, puzzles, sunken treasure… and murder, of course. With a bit of illicit romance and treachery thrown in for seasoning. This rife atmosphere swirls around New york artist Isabel Anders, who’s summoned home to tiny St. Elmo, Florida to deal with an emergency: the aunt who raised her has been brutally—and mysteriously—injured.

HEAT LIGHTNING
In all the years of their marriage, Clara Trent’s husband failed to mention his involvement in a murder—and now he’s not only dead himself, but accused of committing it. When St. Elmo sheriff’s investigator Aaron Malone re-opens the 40-year-old cold case, Ronan Trent’s named—posthumously—as the killer of his previous lover, a vivacious blonde with a jealous husband. Clara’s discovery of sensuous drawings of the woman, unlike any of her husband’s other work, reveals a carefully concealed obsession.

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