Author interview with @authoramymetz, author of Rogues & Rascals #cozymystery #giveaway

Today I’m welcoming Amy Metz, author of Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction, to the Readsalot Blog. She graciously agreed to answer a bunch of quenstions.

 Goose Pimple Junction. Now there’s any interesting name. Is this a real place?

Yes and no! There is a real Goose Pimple Junction, Virginia, which is where the name comes from, but my books are set in Tennessee.

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Caledonia Culpepper and Wynona Baxter aren’t the most ‘normal’ of names. How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?

I think names are extremely important. A lot of times a name will just pop in my head when a character shows up. I have no choice—that’s what it will be. Every so often, I have to really think about a name. Which is why I keep a list of names I like. I had a real problem with a new character who’s introduced at the end of Rogues & Rascals. I don’t know why, but his last name had to be Pepper. It just did. I didn’t really like that, because Pickle’s family name is “Culpepper,” and this new character will interact with Caledonia Culpepper, but his last name had to be Pepper. I did have trouble with his first name though. Nothing sounded right. I tried Frank and Henry and a whole slew of others. I even had typed Frank into the manuscript. Then one night, I was riding down the road with a friend and I just kept calling out names. Billy Pepper. Tom Pepper. Beau Pepper. When I said Virgil Pepper (I have no idea where it came from) we both said, “That’s it!” So I guess the answer to your question is I choose names that go with the character.

Describe Caledonia Culpepper in 1 word.

Oh man! Caledonia is way too complex for just one word! Since you insist, I’m going to have to cheat slightly and say Southern belle.

Describe Wynona Baxter in 1 word.

Now that’s even harder! I’m going to go with unpredicatable.

Describe Rogues & Rascals in 140 characters (also known as a tweet).

You’ll be grinning like a possum eating a sweet tater when u #read Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction: goose pimples with a giggle.

What’s the most amusing thing that happened to you while writing Rogues & Rascals?

Oh, gosh. I had a ton of unamusing things happen, but amusing? Hmmm . . . I guess it goes back to your first question. Last year, my oldest son and I were on our way home from visiting my youngest son at a music festival, and we took a different route home than the we took going down there. I started seeing signs that Abingdon, Virginia was coming up. Whoa! I looked at my son and said, “Do you realize how close we are to Goose Pimple Junction, Virginia?” He said, “We have to go.” So we took about an hour detour and went to Goose Pimple Junction. It was great.

What inspired you to write cozy mysteries?

I actually set out to write a mystery and didn’t realize I’d written a cozy mystery until I submitted it to a publisher and got a letter back telling me so. When I started writing Murder & Mayhem, I wanted to write a humorous mystery, and I wanted to keep it clean so my sons and my dad could read the book. I’m not a fan of blood and gore, violence, or a ton of swearing, so writing a cozy mystery was the result. Maybe it was fate?

What’s your favorite part about the writing process?

I love the second stage—the one right after the rough draft is finished. I love going back and adding layers, making the characters come alive, adding details, and really living in the story.

Rogues & Rascals is the fourth book in the Goose Pimple Junction series. Is this the last of the series? If so, what’s next?

Heavens no! As long as I have readers who buy the books and people who message me asking when the next book will be out, I’ll keep writing.

Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog!

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Title: Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction

Author: Amy Metz

Published: May 15, 2016

Publisher: Souther Ink Press, A Division of Blue Productions

Genre: Cozy Mystery

~ Synopsis ~

Like any good Southern belle, Caledonia Culpepper was raised by her mama to be gracious, charming, witty, and above all, a devoted mother and loving wife, so she’s baffled when her marriage falls apart.

Wynona Baxter is a master of disguise but is often a ditzy airhead. A hit woman wannabe, when she’s hired for her first job in Goose Pimple Junction and things don’t go as planned, she’s forced to resort to Plan B. She’ll also need Plan C and D.

Crooked lawyers, restless husbands, a teenaged hoodlum – it seems there are rogues and rascals everywhere you look in Goose Pimple Junction.

When Caledonia and Wynona’s paths cross, they prove there isn’t a rogue or a rascal who can keep a good woman down. Mama always said there would be days like this . . .

Goodreads ~ Amazon

~ About the Author ~

Amy Metz

Amy Metz is the author of the Goose Pimple Junction mystery series. She is a former first grade teacher and the mother of two sons. When not actively engaged in writing, enjoying her family, or surfing Facebook or Pinterest, Amy can usually be found with a mixing spoon, camera, or book in one hand and a glass of sweet tea in the other. Amy lives in Louisville, Kentucky.

Author Links

Website ~ Blog ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon Author page

~ Giveaway ~

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Murder at Morningside by Sandra Bretting #cozymystery

Inside the Book:

Title: Murder at Morningside
Author: Sandra Bretting
Publisher: Lyrical Underground
Genre: Mystery
Format: Ecopy

Hat designer Missy DuBois opened her shop, Crowning Glory, along Louisiana’s Great River Road to cater to the sophisticated Southern bride. But bless her heart, who knew creating stylish wedding veils would lead to murder?

Hired to craft a veil for a socialite getting married at Morningside Plantation means Missy can bask in the height of antebellum atmosphere. But when the bride is found dead in a women’s bathroom, Missy the milliner finds herself entangled in one unfashionable murder.

With the list of suspects thicker than the sweltering Louisiana heat, including a gaggle of bridesmaids shedding nary a tear and a family with no shortage of enemies, it seems anyone at the mansion may have done away with the bride-to-be. While Missy has Southern charm to spare, she’s going to need more than manners and a manicure to put a hat pin on this murderous affair . . .

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Meet the Author

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Sandra Bretting has served as a freelance feature writer for the Houston Chronicle since moving to Texas in 1996. She received a journalism degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, and spent her early career in healthcare public relations at medical centers throughout Southern California. Other publications for which she’s written include the Los Angeles Times and Woman’s Day. Readers can visit her website at SandraBretting.com.

 

Tour Schedule

Tuesday, May 24 – Book featured at E-Romance News
Book featured at The Bookworm Lodge
Book featured at 3 Partners in Shopping
Wednesday, May 25 – Guest blogging at Books for Books
Book featured at Lisa’s Louisiana Home
Thursday, May 26 – Book featured at Readsalot
Book featured at Fiction Zeal
Friday, May 27 – Book featured at Born to Read Books
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Monday, May 30 – Book featured at CBY Book Club
Tuesday, May 31 – Guest blogging at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Wednesday, June 1 – Guest blogging at TNBTA: Independence Through Performance
Thursday, June 2 – Book featured at Around the World in Books
Friday, June 3 – Book featured at Voodoo Princess
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Monday, June 6 – Book featured at I’m Shelf-ish
Tuesday, June 7 – Book featured at A Title Wave
Wednesday, June 8 – Book featured at Harmonious Publicity
Thursday, June 9 – Book featured at Authors and Readers Book Corner
Friday, June 10 – Interviewed at Deal Sharing Aunt
Book reviewed at Laura’s Interests
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Monday, June 13 – Book reviewed at Live Love Books
Tuesday, June 14 – Guest blogging at Don’t Judge, Read
Wednesday, June 15 – Book reviewed at Book Babble
Thursday, June 16 – Book reviewed at DJ’s Book Corner
Book featured at Celticlady’s Reviews
Friday, June 17 – Book reviewed at Books are Love
Book reviewed at Storeybook Reviews
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No Substitute for Motives by @CarolynJRose #cozymystery #giveaway

No Substitute for Motives by Carolyn J. Rose is now out and available for sale! This is the 6th book in the Subbing isn’t for Sissies series. This is a cozy mystery series and the first three books are only .99 cents! 

About the Book:

While Barbara Reed’s drug-cop boyfriend is away, her life spins out of control. Dave’s daughter shifts to drama-queen overdrive, Cheese Puff hits new levels of canine entitlement, and Barb’s overbearing sister demands help with a mid-life makeover. To complicate matters, things go missing from the high school, and a plot surfaces to close the city pool.

Then things get worse—Barb’s neighbor is accused of killing a retired mobster known as Big Shiny. When she was Las Vegas showgirl royalty, Muriel Ballantine steered clear of the vicious thug. She insists she didn’t recognize him when she rented the stage at a remote inn to practice her dance routine for a reality show.

Barb is certain someone framed Mrs. B—perhaps Glorree Morning, a high-kicking competitor from back in the day. When the investigation stalls and Mrs. B is placed on house arrest, Barb decides it’s time to color outside the legal lines.

 

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Don’t miss the first book, No Substitute for Murder, only .99 cents!

 

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About the Author:

Carolyn J. Rose grew up in New York’s Catskill Mountains, graduated from the University of Arizona, logged two years in Arkansas with Volunteers in Service to America, and spent 25 years as a television news researcher, writer, producer, and assignment editor in Arkansas, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington. She lives in Vancouver, Washington, and her interests are reading, gardening, swimming, and NOT cooking. Find out more about her and her books at http://www.deadlyduomysteries.com

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GIVEAWAY:

$50 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
Ends June 15th
Prizing is provided by the author, hosts are not responsible. Must be 13 or older to enter and have parental permission if under 17. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary to win.

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This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

Interview with @LesleyDiehl author of Failure is Fatal #cozymystery #authorinterview

Today I’m welcoming Lesley A. Diehl, author of Failure is Fatal, to the Readsalot Blog. She has graciously agreed to answer a whole bunch of questions for me and my readers.

You went from professor of psychology to author of mysteries. A reader can be forgiven for expecting you to write psychological thrillers. Why cozy mysteries?

I began my love of reading mysteries with Nancy Drew and the Dana sisters when I was a kid and soon graduated to Agatha Christie, so I guess cozy mysteries are in my blood. With my background in psychology, I also love writing them because they are so character focused, and creating interesting, somewhat unique characters allows me go use what I know about how people tick. That, paired with my background growing up on a farm, gives me license to develop my characters in a small town setting, the perfect backdrop for an intricately drawn set of motives for killing. I also like that I can insert serious themes into my work, especially issues surrounding family and the environment.

How does your background in psychology influence your writing?

I began writing mysteries when I retired from academe where my writing life was made up of scientific papers that demanded precision and logic in their execution. While that style of writing does not make a very good mystery novel, it does help in plotting a mystery. I like to plot, and I like the logical tightness demanded to make the twists and turns work in solving the crime. My early work shows this passion most clearly, but Failure Is Fatal reflects not only this adherence to tight plot lines, but also my desire to give the reader characters they can relate to, enjoy and like. I want readers to try to solve the crime along with the protagonist because they like her and find the puzzle of who did it compelling. My background in developmental psychology and my own aging made me want to create a mature protagonist, but one who is fully engaged in an adventurous life.

Describe Failure is Fatal in 140 characters (also known as a tweet).

The murder of a campus co-ed leads Professor Laura Murphy to investigate a fraternity’s not-so-innocent shenanigans which point directly to the killer.

Who would you pick to play the characters of Professor Laura Murphy and Detective Derrick Pasquis in a Hollywood adaptation of Failure is Fatal?

That’s so difficult because I can think of young actresses and older ones, but none in the right age range. I need a plump Angelina Jolie, perhaps Jennifer Anniston? Melissa McCarthy certainly could deliver the lines well, particularly the humor, but she’s a little too plump. As for the detective, how Denzel Washington, if he can manage a Caribbean accent.

What’s the most amusing thing that happened to you while writing Failure is Fatal?

The research referred to in the book was actually a project students and I did collaboratively the year before I retired, and it was the best work of my career, but I left academe before I could publish it—a bittersweet, but kind of funny time for me because I had no idea then that it would find its way into a murder mystery.

Laura Murphy is a common enough name but Pasquis is somewhat unusual. How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?

Pasquis was the last name of a very good friend of mine and my husband’s. he was from Haiti, so he had that soft accent. He and his wife who was Cuban could dance up a storm. He was a lovely man, and I think it’s fitting that I used his name for my kind, bright and sexy detective.

How do I pick names? I pick them out of thin air, sometimes based upon a name popping into my head. In other cases, I simply like the name or the sound of it. Choosing the name of someone I knew for the detective as unusual for me.

What’s your favorite part about the writing process?

I love creating complicated plots and lots of plot twists. That was what first drew me to writing mysteries. In the last year, I’ve become more focused on my characters, making them more complete, by giving them greater depth of emotion and complex backgrounds. I like exploring a character’s past history and bringing it into the present. In Failure Is Fatal, a seemingly unrelated event from Laura’s past leads her to the killer.

Tell us about your next release. And when can we expect it?

In September, Camel Press will release the fourth book in the Eve Appel mysteries, Mud Bog Murder. The protagonist of this series is a woman who runs a high end consignment shop in rural Florida. She is one snoopy gal (she and Laura Murphy would race to see which of them got involved in solving a murder first; maybe they would make a good sleuthing pair).

When Jenny McLeay leases her property to be ravaged by the annual mud bog races, the small rural town of Sabal Bay, Florida, is divided into warring camps: environmental activists versus monster truck fans. Jenny, who frequents the consignment store owned by Eve Appel and her friend Madeleine, doesn’t seem to mind when Eve and Madeleine join the protesters the day of the races.

During the race, Eve catches Jenny’s airborne head after it is tossed into the air by the wheels of a truck. Even without the disembodied head, Eve has her hands full. The town resents her role in the protests and is boycotting the consignment shop on wheels. She is torn between two men—GQ-handsome, devoted PI Alex and tall, dark, and exotic Sammy. Will Eve and Madeleine ever be able to move into their new digs? Not unless the town forgives them. And not if whoever decapitated Jenny gets to Eve before she and her sleuthing buddies solve the mystery.

~ About the book ~

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Title: Failure is Fatal (Laura Murphy Mysteries)

Author: Lesley A. Diehl

Published: January 21, 2016

Publisher: Creekside Publishing

Genre: Cozy Mystery

~ Synopsis ~

Someone at Professor Laura Murphy’s college appears to be playing a joke on her by planting sexually explicit stories in her research results, but the joke turns deadly when one story details the recent stabbing murder of a coed. Laura’s close friend, Detective Derrick Pasquis from the local police, asks for her help in interviewing the prickly suspects who resist intervention from outside the campus community. Eager to search out clues, Laura ignores warning signs that playing amateur sleuth may jeopardize her newly developing romance with Guy. And of course her usual intrusive manner puts her at odds with everyone on campus—colleagues, the college administration, the head of campus security and fraternity members. Is there no one Laura can’t offend in her eagerness to find the truth? The closer she gets to solving the crime, the more it appears that the past—the coed’s, that of a prominent faculty member and Laura’s own—is the key to the murder. Caught in an early winter blizzard, Laura must choose between wandering the mountains and freezing to death or taking her chances with a killer clever enough to make murder look like the work of an innocent student.

Amazon

~ About the Author ~

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Lesley retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in upstate New York.  In the winter she migrates to old Florida—cowboys, scrub palmetto, and open fields of grazing cattle, a place where spurs still jingle in the post office, and gators make golf a contact sport.  Back north, the shy ghost inhabiting the cottage serves as her literary muse.  When not writing, she gardens, cooks and renovates the 1874 cottage with the help of her husband, two cats and, of course, Fred the ghost, who gives artistic direction to their work.

She is the author of a number of mystery series (Microbrewing Series, Big Lake Mystery Series, Eve Appel Mystery Series and the Laura Murphy Mysteries), a standalone mystery (Angel Sleuth) and numerous short stories.

Website ~ Blog ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

~ Giveaway ~

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Release Blitz ~ Alas, She Drowned by @monicaknightley #giveaway

 

Cozy Mystery
Date Published: April 12, 2016
Murder. Betrayal. Duplicity.
When ex-novice nun, turned steamy romance writer, Maggie O’Flynn moves to the charming village of Stratford Upon Avondale to open a tea room she expects plenty of murder, betrayal, and duplicity. On the stages of the town’s renowned Shakespeare Festival. But when a theater critic is found murdered on the town’s riverbank and the prime suspect turns out to be the sexy bookshop owner Maggie has had her eye on, she takes matters into her own hands. Will she be able to dig through the layers of betrayal and duplicity to find the true murderer before that handsome bookseller, Nate Larimer, finds himself behind bars? With the help of her loud, brash, spitfire of a friend, Gina Mattucci, Maggie plans to do just that.
With a bit of Shakespeare, copious amounts of tea, and a faux-English setting to rival anything the real England has to offer, ALAS, SHE DROWNED is the first book in THE STRATFORD UPON AVONDALE mystery series. Lovers of cozy mysteries will find a cozy home in Stratford Upon Avondale.
EXCERPT
As I placed the sandwich board advertising, “Authentic English Cream Teas, $7.99”, outside my twee tea room I came to a realization. In the past two weeks alone, I’d had all the murder, mayhem, scandal, and treachery I could handle.
When I’d moved from my home in Philadelphia to this small town four months earlier I had no idea it was such a hotbed of scandal. Murders were commonplace; duplicity abounded; treachery was to be expected.
And yet the place is bucolic beyond words. Nestled in a rural corner of a western state, it is surrounded by orchards and vineyards. But much of its claim to fame is the center of town which resembles a quaint English village, with every building seeming to have been lifted from Tudor or Victorian England. Mullioned windows, exposed timbers, bay windows, gables, and jettied top floors appear to be building code requirements.
But still, all that murder and duplicity.
Murder and duplicity that could be found on Stratford Upon Avondale’s two renowned stages. The five-month long Shakespeare festival is the town’s raison d’être. 
In my short time in the village I had already attended three plays—two Shakespeare and one production of Arsenic and Old Lace.
Yes, that was indeed plenty of murder and scandal, and the festival had just begun.
“Morning, Maggie,” called out Mrs. Vachon from the souvenir shop three doors down the street, where she was meticulously sweeping the sidewalk. After a few days of clouds and rain, the morning sun felt warm and welcome, and I noticed Mrs. Vachon wasn’t the only merchant outside tidying up.
“Good morning.” I waved at the energetic, gray-haired woman who’d been running her shop for over forty years.
 Maggie O’Flynn—I was the newbie in town. Most of the business owners in the town dedicated to all things Shakespeare and England,— despite being five thousand miles from English soil—had been here for years. Yet they all welcomed me with open arms when I purchased the Merry Wives Tea Room and settled into their town. 
About the Author

Monica Knightley began creating compelling characters and stories at the age of three, when she had a plethora of imaginary friends, all with complete backstories. Today any characters that come knocking on the door of her imagination find themselves in one of her mysteries, young adult novels, or paranormal romances.
When not fueling her reading addiction or writing her next book, Monica loves to travel with her husband, with England being her favorite frequently visited destination, and perhaps France coming in a close second. She can’t live without perfectly steeped tea, a good bold red wine, and dark chocolate. Monica loves her time with family and friends and can never get enough of either.
Monica lives in Portland, Oregon where the frequent rainy weather is perfect for curling up with a good book and a cup of tea.
Contact Links
Purchase Links
Giveaway
$10 Amazon Gift Card
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Guest Post by @katedyerseeley ~ Author of Silenced in the Surf #cozymystery

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Welcome to my tour stop for Silenced in the Surf by Kate Dyer-Seeley! This is book three in the Pacific Northwest Mystery series and released March 29th, 2016.

The tour runs April 4-15 with reviews, interviews, guest posts and excerpts. Check out the tour page for the full schedule.

~ Guest Post ~ 

Meet Meg Reed. Meg is a reporter for Northwest Extreme magazine, one of the biggest adventure publications in the world. She’s spunky and willing to do just about anything for her job, however she’s a bit of a klutz, terrified of heights, and not exactly the most athletic reporter on the team. She prefers all things pink, vintage fashion, and delectable artisan coffee and microbrew to outdoor pursuits.

After two assignments that sent her out into the rugged Oregon forest and the high alpine slopes of Mt. Hood Meg is ready for something new. When she learns that King of the Hook, an international windsurfing competition, is taking place in nearby Hood River, Oregon she jumps at the chance to head out to the charming and windy city.

Her plan is simple. She packs a retro Grace Kelly inspired swimsuit, cute pink rashguards and her pencil and notepad. She thinks that she’ll find a shady spot on the sandy shores of the Columbia River and watch all the action with an iced double mocha.

At first things go according to plan. Meg dons a floppy sun hat and clicks photos of windsurfers and kite boarders catching big air. Their bright colored sails dot the water as they perform killer stunts. Meg can’t believe that she has a front row seat to their high-flying tricks.

Then things take a turn for the worse. Meg has to get on a windsurfing board. Sure, swimming might be her sport, but lifting the heavy mast proves more challenging than Meg could imagine. As does trying to balance on the choppy water. Hood River is notorious for its high winds and deadly surf. In fact it’s known as one of the windiest places on the planet with huge winds that funnel down the Columbia River Gorge.

Just as Meg finally raises the mast and takes a minute to celebrate her success the wind kicks up and carries her into the middle of the river where the current is strong and the waves are unrelenting. She’s going to have to find her way back to shore and stay out of the way of the body that’s bobbing nearby.

Thanks so much for having me on the blog today. I hope readers have fun on the high surf with Meg and don’t get blown away.

Happy reading!

SILENCED cover~ About the Book ~

Covering a windsurfing competition should have been a breeze for reporter Meg Reed, but with a killer in the curl, she’s headed for rough waters…

Hood River in the Columbia River Gorge is the windsurfing capital of the world, and Meg is stoked to cover the King of the Hook event for Portland’s Northwest Extreme magazine. Before the competition gets under way, Meg has a chance to try some windsurfing on her own. But when the current sweeps her downriver, she spots a body snagged on the rocks. The dead man is Justin Cruise, aka Cruise Control, a celebrity windsurfer and not exactly a nice guy. It’s soon clear his death was no accident, and Cruise had no shortage of enemies. As Meg dives right in to discover who wiped out the windsurfer, she’ll need to keep her balance–or she too may get blown away.

Praise For Scene Of The Climb“A splendid overview of the greater Portland and Columbia River Gorge region, perfect for travel buffs. Her protagonist shows promise with her determined attitude and moxie.” –Library Journal

“A fun, terrific adventure.” —Suspense Magazine

Includes Adventure Guides!

 

Don’t miss out on the first two books, Scene of the Climb and Slayed on the Slopes!

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About the Author ~

Kate Dyer-Seeley writes the Pacific Northwest Mystery Series for Kensington Publishing. The first book in the series, Scene of the Climb, features the rugged landscapes of the Columbia River Gorge and a young journalist who bills herself as an intrepid adventurer in order to land a gig writing for Northwest Extreme.

Her work has appeared in a variety of regional and international publications including: The Columbian, The Vancouver Voice, Seattle Backpacker, Portland Family Magazine, and Climbing Magazine.

Kate lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and son, where you can find her hitting the trail, at an artisan coffee shop, or at her favorite pub. Better yet—at all three.

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~ GIVEAWAY ~

Signed copies of Scene of the Climb, Slayed on the Slopes and Silenced in the Surf, pink water bottle, Organic Clif bars, Sunscreen, Chapstick, Pink sunglasses & Gourmet lemonade.
Open to US addresses only.
Ends April 20, 2016

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This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

Interview with Ellen Mansoor Collier, author of Vamps, Villians & Vaudeville

I’m excited to welcome Ellen Mansoor Collier, author of Vamps, Villians & Vaudeville, to the Readsalot blog today. She’s talking about her latest novel as well as her fascination with the Jazz Age.

 Have you always been interested in the Jazz Age? What is it about the Jazz Age that attracts you?

I first became fascinated when I saw the original Great Gatsby movie with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow—the Deco designs, the fashions, the lifestyle, the dances, the slang, the jazz! To me, that era represents the first time women became liberated and were finally free of their corsets and Victorian constraints. The new version with Leo was also incredible—such a sad story, yet what a great setting!

Sure, in reality Prohibition was a dangerous and decadent time, but so glamorous in retrospect.

Who would you pick to play the characters of Jazz, James, and Sammy in a Hollywood adaptation of Vamps, Villains & Vaudeville?

What a fun question! For Jazz, perhaps a Terri Hatcher (Lois Lane)-Myrna Loy type? The photo on my FLAPPERS cover looks exactly like Jazz in my mind—the pale eyes and skin, the dark wavy hair.

To me, a younger Jon Hamm makes a perfect Sammy (plus I’d love to meet him!)—that world-weary bad boy he played in Mad Men. Matt Bomer would be a great Derek, her ex-beau, who acts in the troupe. James can be a Ryan Gosling/Ryan Reynolds combo—tall, blond, cocky and handsome.

Describe Vamps, Villains & Vaudeville in 140 characters (also known as a tweet).

Sassy society reporter Jazz Cross faces gangsters, jewel thieves and an ex-beau in 1920s Galveston.

Is that too long? Nope – you even have characters left over 🙂

Would your characters in Vamps, Villains & Vaudeville want to hang with you?

Sure, we’d have a lot of fun listening to jazz and dancing the Charleston and foxtrot, not that I know how, but I’d try my best. I love to dance, though I’m not a big drinker. I’m a lightweight—I limit my drinks to a margarita or two a month, or more if they’re flavored. None of that bathtub gin or hooch for me—too risky!

Jazz is a fairly unusual girl’s name whereas Sammy and James are a bit ordinary. How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?

I love the name Jasmine since it sounds rather exotic and also universal. Her nickname Jazz for short is perfect for the era. Sammy and James just came to naturally, though I may have picked a different name since I write a lot about real-life gangsters Sam and Rose Maceo.

Yes, I like a combination of both—the names have to roll off the tongue and also fit the character. I picked Amanda for her best friend/roommate since it conjures up images of a blonde beauty—and later I met a pretty woman and writer named Amanda who fit that profile exactly!

What’s the most amusing thing that happened to you while writing or researching Vamps, Villains & Vaudeville

Amusing? I wish! I did enjoy watching movies and shows about the vaudeville stage, especially the recent Houdini show on TV. VAMPS was a bit challenging because I wanted to introduce her ex-boyfriend and have some closure, but I didn’t want it to sound too much like a love triangle in a romance novel. Some of my readers only want a hint of romance, while others don’t think I include enough. I have readers of all ages—from young girls to seniors—so I want to keep my novels tame.

I’d call them PG at most. Personally, I prefer the soft-boiled puzzle mysteries that are light on romance so I write my novels that way. My mysteries tend to be more cozy than hard-boiled though I do write about real-life gangsters in Prohibition-era Galveston—so I call them soft-boiled since they’re in between the two genres.

What’s your favorite part about the writing process?

I enjoy putting the pieces of the puzzle together and am so glad when I finally have a breakthrough or an “Aha!” moment. Very rewarding to be writing away and suddenly all these loose ends and plot twists start to make sense and get tied up in a nice, not-so-neat bow. (I’m a pantser, not a plotter though I work with a general outline, mostly in my head) Often the whole process takes months of work to reach that point! (FLAPPERS took years of work and I still want to revise it! I worked as a magazine editor for years and it’s often hard to let go of a manuscript.)

Tell us about your next release. And when can we expect it?

Galveston is known for its imposing graveyards and haunted hotels so I’ve started a fifth novel with that supernatural, ghostly theme. Still working on the actual title and plot. Hope to release it later this year, perhaps by late Summer—wish me luck!

 VAMPS VILLAINS

Title: Vamps, Villains and Vaudeville

Author: Ellen Mansoor Collier

Published: August 5, 2015

Publisher: Decodame Press

Genre: Cozy Mystery

~ Synopsis ~

In 1920s Galveston, society reporter Jazz Cross is in for a surprise when she attends a traveling vaudeville show with her beau, Prohibition Agent James Burton, and discovers that an old flame acts in the production. That night, they find a stabbing victim behind the Oasis — her half-brother Sammy’s speakeasy — who’s identified as an actor in the troupe. When the victim disappears and later turns up dead, Jazz must help prove that Sammy wasn’t the killer.

Meanwhile, a ring of jewel thieves is turning up all over town, robbing rich tourists of their precious gems. After a second vaudeville actor is found dead, Jazz discovers that the events behind the scenes are much more interesting than the outdated acts onstage.

To make matters worse, Sammy’s old nemesis demands that he settles a score and forces him into yet another illegal scheme. Can Jazz help solve the murders and prove her brother’s innocence—so he can escape the Downtown Gang for good?

A historical Jazz Age mystery inspired by real-life Galveston gangs and local landmarks.

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~ About the Author ~

EllenSanLuisout[1]

Ellen Mansoor Collier is a Houston-based freelance magazine writer and editor whose articles and essays have been published in a variety of national magazines. Several of her short stories have appeared in Woman’s World. During college summers, she worked as a reporter for a Houston community newspaper and as a cocktail waitress, both jobs providing background experience for her Jazz Age mysteries.

A flapper at heart, she’s worked as a magazine editor/writer, and in advertising and public relations (plus endured a hectic semester as a substitute teacher). She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Magazine Journalism and served on UTmost, the college magazine and as president of WICI (Women in Communications).

FLAPPERS, FLASKS AND FOUL PLAY is her first novel, published in 2012, followed by the sequel, BATHING BEAUTIES, BOOZE AND BULLETS, released in May 2013. She lives in Houston with her husband and Chow mutts, and visits Galveston whenever possible.

“When you grow up in Houston, Galveston becomes like a second home. I had no idea this sleepy beach town had such a wild and colorful past until I began doing research, and became fascinated by the legends and stories of the 1920s. Finally I had to stop researching and start writing, trying to imagine a flapper’s life in Galveston during Prohibition.”

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