Saturday, March 9, 2019


If it's March, it must be time for my cozy reviews, MEOW!

A Tea Shop Mystery
Laura Childs
March 5, 2012
Five Paws

Laura Childs delivers in the twentieth instalment of her popular tea shop mystery series.  Theodosia and Drayton are catering at a hot air balloon rally when a drone invades the festivities.  It causes a balloon to fall, killing the three passengers.  When Theodosia learns one of the passengers was a CEO of a local software company, she suspects foul play.  The list of suspects seems endless, including the fiancee of one of Theo's best friends.

the charm of this series is following Theodosia investigate with the help of her faithful sidekicks, Drayton and Haley.  Theo always manages to get herself in danger (and destroy an outfit) but gets out in the nick of time.  A true "thrillzie" series that never seems to run out of steam. Five Paws!

A Victorian Mystery
Emily Brightwell
March 12, 2019
Four Paws

the 37th instalment in this popular series finds a member of Inspector Witherspoon's staff attending a ball when tragedy hits the dance floor.  Stephen Bremmer goes into spasms, and it doesn't take long before everyone realizes the man's been poisoned.  the victim was an arrogant member of hte upper class with few friends and a boatload of enemies.  Witherspoon and his household are tasked with fiding the killer, no easy feat.  an enjoyable read.  Four Paws!

Paperback edition
Laura Childs
February 26, 2019
Five Paws

Theodosia witnesses a local banker fall to his death, then discovers the man was shot with a bolt from a crossbow.  At the request of the mansion owner, Theo investigates and is soon up to her neck in suspects, all of which had motives to off the banker.  Five Paws.

Something Read, Something Dead
Lighthouse LIbrary Mystery
Eva Gates
Crooked Lane Books
March 13, 2019
Four Paws

Winter falls on North Carolina’s Outer Banks as Lucy Richardson and her friends joyfully help her favorite cousin, Josie O'Malley, plan her wedding. The owner and head baker of Josie's Cozy Bakery and her fiancé, chef Jake Greenblatt, want a small, simple wedding.

But to their horror, Josie's imperious grandmother, Gloria, descends with the “Louisiana Mafia”: a gaggle of aunts and cousins who intend to take control of the wedding plans. Gloria doesn't do small and simple, and cousin Mirabelle has her own ideas for Josie's wedding, something grand and lavish—and paid for by Josie's parents, of course—that will kickstart her fledgling event planning business and get her work shown on the covers of wedding magazines. To make matters worse, Mirabelle focuses her full Southern charm on the prospective groom…and Jake doesn't seem entirely adverse to her attentions.

To smooth the waters, Lucy hosts a bridal shower at the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library. But it turns deadly when Mirabelle collapses—soon after eating the gluten-free treats Josie prepared specifically for her. Now, to save her favorite cousin from prison, Lucy will have to bring a crook to book in this fifth festive Lighthouse Library mystery from national bestselling author Eva Gates.  Excellent entry in this popular series. Four paws.

Julie Chase
Crooked Lane Books
March 13, 2019
Four Paws

Lacy Marie Crocker can hardly believe it’s been a year since her return home to New Orleans. There hasn’t been a dull moment since opening her pet boutique last summer, and thanks to the popularity of Lacy’s organic pet treats, and the arrival of the National Pet Pageant, Lacy desperately needs some help before she is overrun by the demand for pupcakes and crinolines.

The entire Garden District seems to be counting the minutes until opening night of the pet pageant and everything is going spectacularly until Viktor Petrov, the pageant emcee takes a spill from the balcony during dress rehearsal. All signs points to murder and homicide detective Jack Oliver sets his eyes on Eva Little, one of Lacy’s committee sisters and the only other person on the balcony at the time of the fall, as the killer. But when it comes out that Viktor was notoriously rude, the doors blow wide open with potential suspects who could’ve wanted him dead.

an entertaining read. Four paws.

Laura Childs has offered to give a copy of BROKEN BONE CHINA to one lucky commenter!
To enter, leave your name and email address in our comments section. winner will be chosen at random by  US entries only please! Contest end  March 17, midnight.

Saturday, March 2, 2019



TODAY my guest is author Alexis Morgan!

USA Today Best-selling author Alexis Morgan graduated from the University of Missouri—St. Louis, with a B.A. in English. She is the author of over forty novels, novellas, and short stories that span a variety of genres. Death by Committee is her first cozy mystery.

  1. Tell us a little about your background
I grew up near St. Louis, Missouri, and attended the University of Missouri—St. Louis. My husband and I decided we wanted to live near mountains and moved to the Seattle area. We’ve lived there ever since. I’ve worked in a variety of jobs over the years, but I’ve been a fulltime writer for more than a decade now. My writing partner is a blue and white parakeet named Nimbus, who luckily shares my tasted in music. I also have two grand-bulldogs. They are very proud of the fact that they served as the inspiration for Zeke, the mastiff-mix in my first cozy mystery.
  1. Tell us a bit about your latest book
After a rough divorce, Abby McCree only wants a little time to tie up a few loose ends and then move on. But other problems appear after her elderly Aunt Sybil passes away, leaving Abby to tend to a rundown estate complete with a slobbery dog of questionable pedigree, a sexy tenant who growls more than the dog does, and one dead body buried in the backyard.
  1. How do you “get to know” your characters before and while you’re writing the books?
The first step is having my character try on a few different names until I find one that fits the image of him/her that I have in my mind. Once that is settled, I work on the routine things—age, hair color, hair style, height, and favorite kind of clothing. For the major characters, I also look for a picture I can use for inspiration. After that, all of those details go into a spreadsheet I create for each book and/or series. With the basics in place, I go on to figure out the character’s family history, job, and how they came to be where they are when the story begins. That’s always a moment when the main character’s life is about to change in a significant and powerful way. For example, Abby McCree has gone through a divorce and then recently moved to a new town to live in the house she inherited from her late aunt. As powerful as those two events are, finding a dead body in the backyard is really what alters her life’s trajectory forever. As the character struggles to deal with the situation, I let him or her tell me what helps them cope. In Abby McCree’s case, she heads to the kitchen to bake goodies for her dog, her tenant, and her friends.
  1. How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?
I would have to say I’m closer to the “seat of your pants” end of the spectrum because I don’t do a lot of detailed plotting in advance. I usually start off with a very bare bones idea, often a single scene, and a vague idea of where the story will begin and end. Then I meet up with romance writer Janice Kay Johnson, my brainstorming partner, to bounce ideas back and forth until I have filled in some of the details. The two of us have been working together like this for longer than either of us care to admit, and we each bring different strengths to the process. While I’m pretty good at coming up with reasons why a character will act in a certain way, she’s the one who helps me delve beneath the surface to identify the underlying emotions that really drive the story. For sure, we’ve created a lot of plots over burgers and fries at our favorite restaurant. After that, I write an eight to twelve page synopsis that hits the highlights of the plot. When I have that done, I try out different opening paragraphs for the story using paper and my favorite pen (an EnerGel pen with violet ink.) It’s only after I’ve got that nailed down that I sit at the computer and start typing.

5. Do you have an “How I got my agent” story you want to share?
I was at a major writers’ conference and really bummed when my books didn’t arrive for the big book signing. In an effort to cheer me up, a friend invited me to dinner. On the way out of the ballroom, we happened to run into her agent, Michelle Grajkowski of the 3 Seas Literary Agency, who decided to join us. I wasn’t actively looking for an agent at that point, which made it easy to relax and get to know Michelle. After that chance meeting, she and I ran into each other constantly at the conference. We even joked about who was stalking whom. A few months later, I was still writing American West historical romances, but I was hoping to transition to writing paranormals. I thought an agent would be able to help with that process, so I decided to query Michelle. We had a long talk on the phone about my future plans. That was more than fifteen years ago, and we’re still working together. She’s been there for me every step of the way, cheering me on and helping me achieve my dreams.  

6. What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?
      I’ve been working on the third book in the Abby McCree Mystery series, which will be out next year. The second book, Death by Jack-o’-Lantern is already in production and will be released early this fall. Meanwhile, Abby keeps whispering other story ideas in my ear, and I’m taking notes like crazy.
7. If you could take only three books with you for a year-long writing retreat in a gorgeous setting with no library, which three would you take?
      1. Written in Red by Anne Bishop. It’s the first book in her series about the Others, and I love the amazing world she’s created.
      2. Caressed by Ice by Nalini Singh. I love all of her Psy-Changeling books, but this one is my favorite.
      3. The Last Victim by Karen Robards. It’s a great mystery about a psychiatrist who studies serial killers. She learns more than she ever expects to from an unexpected source—the ghost of one of her former subjects.
8. What advice do you have to offer to an aspiring author?
Read, read, read! Both in the genre you intend to write, but also in other genres. It’s well worth the time to analyze what it is that really draws you as a reader into a particular story and keeps you riveted right up to “The End.” Also, it’s really important to surround yourself with a group of friends who will genuinely celebrate your victories and support you when things don’t go well.   
9. Where can we learn more about you and your books?
Twitter: @Alexis_Morgan

Just for Fun:
Night or Day?  Day
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully) Dogs, because I have two granddogs who wouldn’t forgive me if I didn’t pick them. They are both bulldogs. 
Beach or Pool?  Beach
Steak or salad?  Steak
Favorite Drink?  Mocha Frappuccino
Favorite Book? Written in Red by Anne Bishop
Favorite TV Series?  I recently discovered The Dr. Blake Mysteries and have watched several seasons of episodes. It’s a murder mystery series set in Australia several years after World War II.
Favorite Movie?  My go-to movie when I need to laugh and relax is The Penguins of Madagascar.
Favorite Actor: Jeremy Renner
Favorite Actress:  Scarlett Johansson
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? Pina Colada
Hawaii or Alaska? Alaska
Finish this sentence:  If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be J. R. R. Tolkien. His Lord of the Rings trilogy has influenced so many other writers, myself included. I would love to talk to him about how he built that amazing world.
If I had just one wish, it would be to see one of my books made into a movie.
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be a talk show host because they get to meet so many interesting people from different walks of life.

Thanks for a great interview, Alexis!

When Abby McCree suddenly inherits her favorite relative’s property in small town Snowberry Creek, Washington, she soon realizes that the ramshackle home comes with strings attached—one of which is tied to a dead body!

After a rough divorce, Abby McCree only wants to stitch up her life and move on. But other loose ends appear after her elderly Aunt Sybil passes away, leaving Abby to tend to a rundown estate, complete with a slobbery Mastiff of questionable pedigree and a sexy tenant who growls more than the dog. As Abby gets drawn into a tight-knit quilting guild, she makes a twisted discovery—Aunt Sybil’s only known rival is buried in her backyard!

Despite what local detectives say, Abby refuses to accept that her beloved aunt had anything to do with the murder. While navigating a busy social calendar and rediscovering the art of quilting, she launches an investigation of her own to clear Aunt Sybil’s name and catch the true culprit. The incriminating clues roll in, yet Abby can’t help but wonder—can she survive her new responsibilities in Snowberry Creek and still manage to patch together a killer’s deadly pattern without becoming the next victim?

Alexis  will give away an autographed copy of Death by Committee to one lucky commenter!
To enter, leave a comment with your e-mail address in our comments section.  Winner will be selected by  US entries only please. Contest ends  midnight, March 9.