Thursday, November 15, 2018

8 Days of Thanksgiving Giveaway

While MapYourMystery is on a cruise, readers will have a chance to win one of eight different books. Each day a different book will be posted on the MapYourMystery blog and on the MapYourMystery Facebook page from November 19-November 30.

Comment on either or both and have a chance to win. Readers will be chosen randomly after December 1. U.S. and Canada only.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Interview with Amanda Flower

What is the title of your newest book? How many books have you published?
My newest title that will release the first week of November is Death and Daisies, this is the second
novel in the Magic Garden Mystery Series set in Scotland. In October, my third Amish Candy Shop Mystery came out called Premeditated Peppermint. With the release of Death and Daisies, I will have twenty-five published novels.

For a review of Premeditated Peppermint, click here.

How did you develop your character and choose your location?
I usually have the location before I have the character. For me setting is sort of like a character in and of itself since they are so important to my stories. When I know where the story will be, the protagonist usually falls into place for me.

What is a day in the life of an author like? Do you write a certain number of words, do you write in the morning or evening? 
I currently work as a full time writer and a full time librarian. On the days that I’m at the library, I try to write two thousand words, and on the days I’m not at the library, I try to write five thousand or more.

Do you belong to a writers group or are you in touch with other writers? How does that help your writing?
I’m a member of Sisters in Crime. Through the organization and through my local chapter, I’ve made many friends and contacts. I would not have been published without the group.

Do you model your character after yourself or any one you know?
All of my characters are from my imagination, but I may get characteristics from real people. However, none of my characters are like any living person.

If your books were made into a movie, who would you want to play the lead character?
I would love for Reese Witherspoon to play any one of my protagonists. My characters tend to be on the quirky side, and I think she would do a good job capturing that.

Who is your favorite author?
I love Heather Blake and Kylie Logan’s books. Both are great mystery authors.

How do you keep track of character details from book to book so they are consistent?
I usually keep a notebook for each series.

If you could not be an author, what would like to do as a career?
I would definitely be a librarian, which I am. I love helping people find the information that they need!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Darling Dahlias and the Poinsettia Puzzle

The Darling Dahlias have been among my favorites and this current book keeps them at the top of my list. In The Darling Dahlias and the Poinsettia Puzzle by Susan Wittig Albert, the residents of Darling, Alabama, are competing in a Christmas jigsaw puzzle contest.

As usual there is much going on: Earlynne Biddle and Mildred Kilgore are planning to open a bakery. The only problem is neither of them knows how to bake bread. They can bake all sorts of pastries and sweets, but not bread. They both discover their inability to bake two days before the bakery is set to open.
Now the residents of Darling can buy Wonder Bread, but it's days old and even though it comes in evenly sliced loafs, fresh bread is still better. Earlynne and Mildred are surprised by the generosity of their neighbors.

Liz Lacy is still working part-time for attorney Benton Moseley
when she receives a strange phone call. Someone is trying to find a little girl about three years old who disappeared at birth. The caller threatens legal action if the little girl is not surrendered. Liz thinks this little girl sounds like Cupcake, daughter of Violet Sims and Myra May Mosswell, but she wants to wait until she talks to Mr. Moseley before she does anything.

There are other surprises for the residents of Darling as they prepare for the Puzzle Challenge and Liz gets the biggest surprise of all.

Another delightful treat about the people of Darling showing how they manage their lives in a positive manner despite the ups and downs of life in the 1930s.

Purchase link

Monday, November 12, 2018

Fiction Can be Murder

There's nothing more frightening to a mystery writer than having a crime committed in the exact way it does in the manuscript of your latest book. Worse yet, the victim is your agent. In Fiction Can Be Murder by Becky Clark. that's what happens to Charlemagne (Chalee) Russo.

So far the only people who have read the book are the dead agent, Charlee's critique group and her boyfriend. Who among them would kill the super aggressive agent Melinda Walker? The police think it is Charlee - she knows it's not.

Everyone knows Charlee has been having royalty issues and her late agent had been dragging her feet about checking with the publisher. Once the police learn this, they are convinced this was Charlee's motive for murdering Melinda.

Feeling guilty, Charlee takes it upon herself to quiz the various
members of her writers group to learn who could have had a motive to kill Melinda. She tries to get inside information from her brother who is a copy, but a whisper campaign against him is causing people to think he is a dirty cop. This makes him unable to glean any information about the case so she is pretty much on her own.

Charlee has a vivid imagination as many mystery writer do, but sometimes that imagination bumps up against reality and causes problems for her.

Nothing like a Mystery Writer's Mystery to make you laugh out loud. Looking forward to book #2.

Purchase link 

Friday, November 9, 2018

Murder in her Stocking

If you have read the Savannah Reid books and always loved Granny Stella Reid, here's your chance to learn how the Reid gang came to live with Grandma.  Murder in her Stocking by G.A. McKevett begins in present day as Granny Reid meets her newest great-grandchild, then takes us back to the early days of the Reid family's life.

The Reid children live with their party-girl mother while their father is a long distance truck driver who rarely comes home. The oldest child Savannah cares for the children as best she can but the times are hard and money is short. Granny Reid does the best she can, but knows her daughter-in-law Shirley just drinks away the money she receives from her husband.

It's close to Christmas and Stella has knitted hats, gloves and scarves for the children so they will at least have something for Christmas. As the family walks through town heading for the Nativity at the local church, there's a buzz of activity. It's seems someone with a wicked sense of humor and a little art ability has painted handlebar mustaches on all the characters including the Baby Jesus.

Stella has seen this handiwork before and herds the family back home to discuss how to handle the
mess. She rounds up the culprit, nine-year-old Waycross and Savannah and they creep out in the dark of night to rectify the mustache issue, While they are outdoor, they hear a car heading past them and see the Principal Neville's car driving through town. Suddenly they hear a cry of pain, Stella rushes down the street and finds the crumpled, badly injured body of Prissy Carr, the town's fallen woman.

Prissy is not the only victim in the book. Stella's next door neighbor Florence Bagley has been abused by her husband for many years, but refuses to admit it. As Stella tries to unravel the mysterious death of Prissy and help Florence, Savannah shows some early investigative talent and discovers who killed Prissy.

So much early heartache for the Reid children, but all them turned out so well, thanks largely to their grandmother. I look forward to the next book in the Granny Reid series

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Murder at the Mill

Artist Iris Grey needs some time away from her failing marriage and a chance to get her painting mindset back in place. In Murder at the Mill by M.B. Shaw, Iris rents Mill Cottage on the Hampshire property of well-known crime author Dominic Wetherby. (Murder at the Mill will be released on December 4 by Minotaur Books.) 

The cottage, although on the property, is slightly isolated and Iris finds that perfect for her painting and thinking process. Unfortunately the larger than life Wetherby family has other ideas and she finds herself enmeshed in the intrigue surrounding Dom's family. Araidne is the saintly, perfect mother, ever tranquil and calm no matter what the circumstances. Marcus, the eldest, is tightly connected to his mother even though he has a wife and family. Billy, the middle son, has anger issues and recently was released for jail. Lorcan, the youngest, is a teen, but his Down's Syndrome keeps him childlike.

Despite her better judgment, she attends a holiday party on Christmas Eve at the house. The media has dubbed it "The Party of the Year" and have come out in full force to see who was invited and who was not. Saying she will only stay for a brief while. Iris meets the charming old friend of the family - Graham Feeney.

On Christmas Day the youngest child, Lorcan, finds a body in the pond. Was it an accident, a suicide or murder? Iris is drawn into the case and tries to unravel the complicated life of the Wetherby family.

When her estranged husband is accused of the murder, Iris knows Ian is not a killer and although they have their differences, she works to free him.

An excellent, suspenseful mystery.

Preorder purchase link

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Interview with Carlene O'Connor

What is the title of your newest book? How many books have you published?
My fourth in The Irish Village mystery series, Murder in an Irish Pub, will come out February 26,
2019. In April 2019 Murder in Galway will be released and for the first year is exclusive with Barnes and Noble. Then in September 2019 the anthology A Christmas Cocoa Murder will be released. So 2019 is a banner year!

How did you develop your character and choose your location?
The location is based on a walled town in Ireland I fell in love with-- Kilmallock, County Limerick. Siobhan O'Sullivan, my main character, is a mix of people I know, people I've met, parts of me, and then as usual somewhere in the process becomes her own and starts telling me who she is.

What is a day in the life of an author like? Do you write a certain number of words, do you write in the morning or evening?  
For me it has varied during my twelve years of writing. I've never had a certain time of day because I've always worked other jobs. I used to be a sign language interpreter and I worked freelance so I would write in-between work assignments. I used to love writing in coffee shops. Now I teach writing in the evenings from my live/work loft so I write from home during the day, but my hours still vary depending on whether it's a first draft, rewriting, or final edits.

Do you belong to a writers group or are you in touch with other writers? How does that help your writing?
I've always had a fantasy of belonging to a great writers group as my sister once did, but that never came to fruition. Now I do have author friends but we are not in any official group. I am surrounded often by aspiring writers due to teaching which I love.

Do you model your character after yourself or any one you know?
As an acting teacher once told me, you are part of every character you play. So that's always a given. And often bits and pieces from people I know. But as you write the character then takes all of that in and becomes his/her own person. It's magical!

If your books were made into a movie, who would you want to play the lead character?
Saoirse Ronan from Brooklyn would be fabulous as Siobhan O'Sullivan.

Who is your favorite author?
I've always rebelled against picking just one. Impossible! From literary to classic to mysteries...Margaret Atwood, Amy Tan, Alex Marwood, John Irving, Stephen King, Herman Hesse, Agatha Christie, Michael Chabon, Dan Chaon, F. Scott Fitzgerald, all the way to Mary Higgins Clark, who can beat Where are the Children? to John Grisham and Sandra Brown to Colum McCann, and Paul Murray and Sohpie Kinsella, Donna Tartt, I'm a multi-genre reader -- Lois Duncan and Suzanne Collins for YA plus many more-- and I'm always trying new authors. I can't do it. I can't pick one. Thank goodness I don't have to.

How do you keep track of character details from book to book so they are consistent?
I keep notes and look back to the most recent book which looked back to the most recent book, to make sure I'm tracking. It's a challenge.

If you could not be an author, what would like to do as a career?
Wildlife photographer.

For a review of Murder in an Irish Churchyard, click here

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Naughty On Ice

The Discreet Retrieval Agency is doing a brisk business at Christmas, but society matron and owner of the Agency Lola Woodby and her stalwart Swedish cook, Berta find themselves at loose ends. In Naughty on Ice by Maia Chance, Lola receives an anonymous Christmas card inviting them to Maple Hill, Vermont to retrieve a missing antique ring. (Naughty on Ice will be released on November 13 by Minotaur Books.)

Lola and Berta jump at the chance to go to Vermont and are soon on the case. Several of the estranged Goodard family are assembled in the home and it is not a pleasant experience.

The card says they will find the ring on the "thieving" finger of Aunt Daphne. Once they remove it from Aunt Daphne, they are to leave the ring in the breadbox and expect a check in the mail.

But things go horribly wrong. Fifteen minutes after their arrival, Judith Goddard keels over after drinking a poisoned Negroni. Then Lola and Berta are caught in the act of removing the ring from the very drunk Aunt Daphne's hand.  They finally have to explain to the police about the anonymous Christmas card they received and their Agency business.  Of course they do not have the card with them, so the police are skeptical of their story.

Before they can go to the police with the dossier Berta compiled on the case, it goes missing as well. This doesn't sit well with the police and they decide to keep Lola and Berta close at hand.

As Lola and Berta investigate the family, they discover the family is not a happy group. The more they dig, the more mysteries they find including the legend of a hairy beast roaming the area.

Another fun Prohibition-era mystery involving lots of illegal booze and many strange and wonderful characters.

Pre-order purchase link

Monday, November 5, 2018

Thread Herrings

Who knew purchasing a threadbare needlepoint sampler at an auction could be so troublesome. In Thread Herrings by Lea Wait, Angie Clark joins her antiques dealer friend Sarah Byrne at an auction in Augusta. With no experience at auctions, Angie is cautious about how to proceed. She doesn't want to inadvertently raise her hand and buy something she didn't intend to.

 As she is looking around at the various lots, she discovers a sampler with a coat of arms on it - unusual because coats of arms usually were found in England, not in the United States. On a whim, she bids on it and wins the auction.

Once she has the opportunity to investigate it further back at home, Angie discovers a document dated from the 1750s behind the framed needlepoint work. It was a claim check for a child who had been left at a foundling home in England.

Her news reporter friend Clem talks Angie into going on TV to talk about the sampler. Next day, someone is dead. Then Angie starts to receive threatening emails telling her to mind her own business. When the post mistress tells Angie a stranger has been looking for, Angie begins to worry.

When fireworks are used to blow up her car, Angie knows she needs to stay hidden while she researches the Maine families involved. Someone is trying to hide a secret, but Angie reveals the secret thread by thread. An intriguing mystery with family pride at the center.

Purchase link

Purchase link 

Friday, November 2, 2018

She Was the Quiet One

When their mother dies suddenly, twins Bel and Rose Enright are shipped back east to their grandmother. She promptly enrolls in them in Odell Academy, a prestigious prep school, previously attended by their deceased father. In She Was the Quiet One by Michele Campbell problems arise almost immediately when the sisters arrive at the school.

Rose, the studious one, seems to be enjoying her classes though she struggles a bit to make friends. Bel loves to take risks and she falls in with the senior bad girls. Bel's new friends are the epitome of "mean girls" and they push her into embarrassing Rose and her roommate. In the age of social media, the embarrassing photos spread far and wide. 

But the fallout irrevocably separates the sisters and leads to the expulsion of some of the
 "mean girls." Rose's roommate is forced to leave the campus because of the slipper event and Rose is now treated as if she is invisible by the rest of the student body. Bel isn't as greatly impacted and she refuses to apologize to her sister. 

Both girls confide in their dorm parents - Rose to Mrs. Donovan and Bel to Mr. Donovan, that's where the problems begin.

An intricately spun yarn filled with dark secrets and unbridled ambition.

Purchase link