New Title: A Crime of Poison

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A Crime of Poison

Dec 05, 2017 | 304 Pages

ABOUT A CRIME OF POISON

The Silver Six are known for their arts and crafts—but they’re about to be tested in the art of catching a crafty killer.

It’s early October, time for the Fall Folk Art Festival and Bake Sale in Lilyvale, Arkansas. Every business along the town square will benefit from the event, including the craft store run by Leslee Stanton Nix—aka Nixy—and the Silver Six, a group of retirees. In charge of making the festival go smoothly, Nixy is confident that it will be a success.

But things become knotty when local troublemaker Cornell Lewis is found dead with a plate of Snickerdoodles from the bake sale. Two members of the Silver Six are accused of cooking up a murder plot, but Nixy knows that the cookies weren’t literally to die for. With time running out, Nixy and company must catch the actual killer…before the Silver Six find their number permanently reduced to four.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nancy Haddock is the national bestselling author of La Vida VampireLast Vampire Standing, and Always the Vampire. A native Oklahoman and longtime resident of Texas with family roots in Arkansas, she now makes her home in the fascinating city of St. Augustine, Florida. A former speech pathologist and high school teacher, Nancy lives with her husband and a rescue dog named Baron in a little pink house on the beach with a fake flamingo in her front yard.

The other books in the series:

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Book Review – Muffin to Fear by Victoria Hamilton

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Muffin to Fear

By Victoria Hamilton

A Merry Muffin Mystery

Berkley Prime Crime

Paperback, 295 pages

July 25, 2017

In Victoria Hamilton’s “Muffin to Fear,” you know the honeymoon is over when you return home to chaos.

That’s what newlyweds Virgil and Merry experience the moment they drive up to Wynter Castle. Apparently, Merry’s friend gave permission for the “Haunt Hunt” TV show crew to film at the family home. Along with this uniquely unplanned honor comes the incredible inconvenience the crew has caused when they take over the place. They are terribly demanding with their endless need to be fed and have their electric cords everywhere.

During the routine bickering and hectic rush to prepare the setting, psychics Millicent and Janice state that they witnessed ghosts in military garb near the dining room and out on the lawn. There seems to be a lot more going on with people sneaking around and jealous of each other’s time and talent. So, it’s not a total shocker when two of them stage a prank, involve a third Haunt Hunt crew member, and bam someone’s dead. The rigged prank had turned deadly. While the authorities begin their investigation, Merry begins her own. The crew and their executive director, Todd, are forced to stay for the time being. With the help of a librarian, a student photographer and other close friends, Merry might just figure out who the guilty party is.

Loved the behind-the-scenes sneaking around, what it must be like to film a TV show and the expectation of seeing spirits. Liked trying to figure out who was an actor and who was actually a genuine psychic. Would have liked to have seen or sensed more than what was offered paranormally during the storyline. Having a spirit assisting in the case, following people around or moving things would have been cool. Loved the characters and eager to read more of Hamilton’s books.

Four out of five TV cameras

gottawritenetwork.wordpress.com

December 10, 2017

Denise Fleischer

Book Review – A Panicked Premonition

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9780451473905

A Panicked Premonition

A Psychic Eye Mystery

By Victoria Laurie

A Berkley Prime Crime Book

Hardcover, 353 pages

July 4, 2017

In Victoria Laurie’s latest “A Psychic Eye Mystery,” Psychic and FBI consultant Abby Cooper’s husband’s security and panic room business is booming. The partners and their wives are exhausted trying to keep up with business. This is until Dutch, one of the partners doesn’t come home one night. If they thought dealing with ultra-rich Murielle was difficult, trying to locate Dave McKenzie and stumbling onto a murder scene beats her behavior by a mile.

A bloody handprint at the Roswell home leads forensics to believe that Dave, the contactor, was responsible for the couple’s death and that of their gardener and maid. The Roswells were gunned down in their home. Abby, and her best friend/former business partner, Candice, are the first to arrive. The negative energy is difficult for Abby to handle. They had hoped to question the Roswells about Dave’s disappearance, but fate dealt them another hand and they arrive after the multiple murders. After notifying the police, providing their statements, Dutch and his other business partner, Brice, come to the Roswell home. To make things even more complicated, Dave’s wife appears to have been kidnapped and now they have a handful of trouble. The murdered couple were clients of Dutch and his partners.

Not only is their business caught in the crossfire, but so is the safety of their other clients who have panic rooms. Rather than leave it up to the local authorities to solve, Abby and Candice put on their investigating hats and get right down to the business of trying to figure out what happened to Dave and who is responsible for the deaths of the Roswells, the gardener and the maid.

Could it be Mrs. Roswell’s sister who is eager to inherit the house before the estate is even settled? Perhaps it’s Mr. Roswell’s business partner who has plans of his own when it comes to the direction the company will take. Or was it a former lover?

My opinion–If there’s a psychic movie or book, you’ve got my attention. I was eager to be introduced, even late in the series, to Abby and her mysterious gift. I’ve always felt drawn to psychic experiences, especially psychics that assist law enforcement in their investigations. Victoria is actually a professional psychic, so when you follow Abby and Candice in the Roswell’s home you know reality is mixed in with fiction — the overwhelming strength of the negative energy is real. I hope that she delves deeper into her intuitiveness, sharing what she sees and feels in future books in the series.

The plot kept me interested, but I felt it needed to have a little more action. I found the characters interesting and genuine. They knew the danger involved and they didn’t back down. They looked out for each other.

Four panic rooms out of five

Denise Fleischer

gottawritenetwork.wordpress.com

Dec. 9, 2017

Coming February 2018 – The French Girl by Lexie Elliott

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The French GirlTHE FRENCH GIRL

By Lexie Elliott

***
“A gripping mystery that delves into the past and the darker side of friendships…The French Girl is a fantastic debut about tangled relationships, shifting perceptions, and the memories– and people–that haunt us. I was completely captivated from beginning to end.” –Megan Miranda, New York Times bestselling author of All the Missing Girls

***

How well do you know your closest friends? Do you trust them completely? And are you 100% certain none of your friends is capable of murder? These questions loom in Lexie Elliott’s debut novel THE FRENCH GIRL (Berkley Hardcover; February 20, 2018), a propulsive psychological suspense novel about a close-knit group of friends, an ill-fated vacation, and the shocking act of violence that haunts them years later. Think Big Little Lies meets I Know What You Did Last Summer.

Already generating buzz in the Penguin Random House offices and throughout the bookselling community, THE FRENCH GIRL is one of the most hotly anticipated novels in 2018! Perfect for fans of Ruth Ware’s The Lying Game and Tana French’s The Secret Place, THE FRENCH GIRL highlights the shifting dynamics and alliances within a group of friends over time, exploring how complicated and sinister these relationships become in the wake of a mysterious crime.

Six university students from Oxford: Kate Channing, her boyfriend Seb, and their four friends. They left London to spend a carefree week together at an idyllic French farmhouse – the perfect summer escape. But when Severine –the mysterious, strikingly beautiful French girl who lived next door — appeared, she exposed underlying tensions within the group. And then she disappeared.

Almost a decade later, Severine’s body is found in a well behind the farmhouse—and Kate and her friends are the primary suspects. Shifting alliances and unforeseen complications emerge as every member of this group—each hiding their own secrets—starts pointing fingers at one another and distancing themselves from the crime.

Lexie Elliott, an Oxford graduate herself with a doctorate in theoretical physics, drew on her experiences there as well as her memories of a post-university trip to a French farmhouse in her twenties to build the heavily atmospheric setting for this haunting novel. This unforgettable story has garnered international attention as film rights to THE FRENCH GIRL have already been secured by Character Seven, the company behind The Night Manager miniseries.

From the very first page, you will be mesmerized and haunted by Severine as Kate is in this one-sit read – and you’ll never look at your friends the same way again.

 

*****
New Reviews soon to be posted.
I’ve recently read the following books so expect reviews to follow shortly.
Denise Fleischer–Gotta Write Blogger
9780451473905
9780425282595  9780425281611   51yezZ6480L

 

Currently Reading:

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Vicki Delany’s Mother’s Stained Glass Cookies

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Perfect for Christmas!  These cookies are so quick and easy and are always a huge hit in my family.  Be sure and prepare the dough a day ahead of baking.

Ingredients:

1 cup soft butter

2/3 cup brown sugar

½ tsp. vanilla

1/8 tsp. salt

2 cups flour

1 cup slivered almonds

½ cup red glace cherries – chopped

½ cup green glace cherries – chopped

Directions:

Mix butter and brown sugar. Add vanilla, salt and mix until combined.  Add flour.

Stir in almonds and cherries.

Roll dough into logs, wrap in wax paper and refrigerate overnight.

Unroll logs and slice into ¼ inch thick rounds.  Place rounds on baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

 

You might find Vicky Casey baking these cookies at Victoria’s Bake Shoppe in Vicki Delany’s Year Round Christmas Series from Berkley.  Perfect for those who like a little murder and mayhem in their holiday festivities. And don’t we all, on occasion?

In Rudolph, New York, it’s Christmastime all year long. But this year Santa’s summer vacation plans turn deadly in, the third in the series.

Drifting, Falling – Diary of a Call Girl Suicide, Indie novel from A. J. Ullman.

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aj bookveryfinal copyThe book is told as a diary, in part, and third-party narration in part. We learn that Ripley was an ordinary, pretty and smart, girl, until her life drastically changed as an eleven year-old, when the first of several traumas, which she likens to having an atom bomb dropped on her head, occurred. In response to that last trauma, she committed a crime which landed her in juvenile detention until she became an adult. She earned a GED while locked up, and attended mandatory psychiatric counselling, along with mandated pharmacotherapy. At the climactic scene of the novel, Ripley will be a mere twenty-two years of age.

I  believe in fiction there should be a character arc, meaning something happens to a character during the story that changes who they are at the beginning to who they become at the end. With Ripley, in this book, we see the most change, where she goes from being nearly un-apologetic for how she lives her life and deceives her doctors to facing her history, her actions based on that history, and carrying out exactly what she feels she can do to compensate for the pain she caused, even though she never gets closure herself.

More about the book

Drifting, Falling — Diary of a Call Girl Suicide, chronicles the story of Ripley Luna, a smart, beautiful young woman who suffered multiple childhood traumas that set her on a collision course with her fate to kill herself.  Ripley, whose name is an homage to the protagonist of the Alien movies, dreamed as a child of becoming an astronaut.  Her dream derailed by the jetsam of her traumas, she earns a living in the only way she knows how — as a courtesan for a stable of rich clients.  During the day, she attends college to broaden her horizons while at night, she sails the bed sheets, not the stars as she had dreamed. Her natural inquisitiveness and intelligence prod her to better herself.

Ripley peels back the layers of her life with humor and sarcasm.  With the help of her psychiatrist, Dan Truscott, a man deep in his own moral quagmire, and Mort, her best friend, she tries to navigate her way off the Earth into space. Ripley, ever fond of astronaut lore and with a predilection for Greek mythology, will keep you guessing whether the Lost Moon slogan of Apollo 13 “Failure is not an option” — will come to pass.

About the author

A.J. Ullman is a writer, nurse practitioner and lawyer. For information about A. J.’s writing, email info@ajullman.com or visit the website, https://www.ajullman.com

 

 

Victoria Thompson Introduces Us To Her New Counterfeit Lady Series

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Our guest today is Victoria Thompson, author of the bestselling Gaslight Mystery Series.  Her new book, City of Lies, is the first in her new Counterfeit Lady Series, which releases on November 7.  She’s thrilled to have this opportunity to tell you all about the new series.

Have you ever hidden your real self in order to get along or get ahead?  What if your life depended on it?

My heroine, Elizabeth Miles, has made her living pretending to be someone else.  As a con artist, she cheats wealthy but greedy men, but this time she got caught, and Oscar Thornton is determined to get his revenge.

This was the original premise of City of Lies, but I needed more.  I needed an interesting way for Elizabeth to escape Thornton when she runs out of a hotel and down a city street. Where could she go and who would protect her?

Because writers do a lot of research for their books, they often learn things they can’t use in a particular book, so they store it away for possible use later.  I’d read a lot about the early 20th Century, and I knew that in 1917, women had demonstrated outside the White House every day (every day!) for Women’s Suffrage.  By November, President Wilson was pretty annoyed. He started having them arrested in an effort to scare them off, but it wasn’t working. He just made them mad, so more women than ever were demonstrating.

What if Elizabeth joined a group of women demonstrating for Women’s Suffrage to escape Thornton, but she chose the wrong day to do it?  Instead of sending them to jail overnight this time, the judge sentences them to three months in a workhouse.  Elizabeth must continue to be a counterfeit lady, enduring abuse and a hunger strike while pretending to believe in their cause.

Then a funny thing happens.  She begins to like and respect the other women, and they begin to like and respect her, too. She can imagine a new kind of life, except that Oscar Thornton still wants to kill her and he knows exactly where she is.  How can she save herself without revealing her true identity to her new friends and losing everything she has gained?  Even worse, how can she trick her new, very honest friends into helping her run a con on Thornton that will finally save her life?

Like women of every age, Elizabeth wears a mask to help her safely navigate her world.  Every woman understands the need to pretend in order to get by and get ahead.  When this story takes place, society was changing and women were fighting to be taken seriously, to be valued, and to have a seat at the table. A hundred years later, women are still fighting for the very same things.  Elizabeth lived in exciting times, and so do we.  I’m looking forward to exploring her adventures in a time that eerily mirrors our own.

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          ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Victoria Thompson photoEdgar  and Agatha Nominated author Victoria Thompson writes the Gaslight Mystery Series, set in turn-of-the-century New York City and featuring midwife Sarah Brandt. Her latest, Murder in the Bowery, was a May 2017 release.  City of Lies is the first book in her new Counterfeit Lady series, a November 2017 release from Berkley.  She also contributed to the award winning writing textbook Many Genres/One Craft. Victoria teaches in the Seton Hill University master’s program in writing popular fiction. She lives in Illinois with her husband and a very spoiled little dog.

ABOUT CITY OF LIES

An exciting new series featuring woman-on-the-run Elizabeth Miles—from the beloved national bestselling author of the Gaslight Mysteries.

Every woman plays a part—but some are more dangerous than others…

 Like most women, Elizabeth Miles assumes many roles; unlike most, hers have made her a woman on the run. Living on the edge of society, Elizabeth uses her guile to relieve so-called respectable men of their ill-gotten gains. But brutal and greedy entrepreneur Oscar Thornton is out for blood. He’s lost a great deal of money and is not going to forgive a woman for outwitting him. With his thugs hot on her trail, Elizabeth seizes the moment to blend in with a group of women who have an agenda of their own. 

 She never expects to like or understand these privileged women, but she soon comes to respect their intentions, forming an unlikely bond with the wealthy matriarch of the group whose son, Gideon, is the rarest of species—an honest man in a dishonest world. Elizabeth knows she’s playing a risky game, and her deception could be revealed at any moment, possibly even by sharp-eyed Gideon. Nor has she been forgotten by Thornton, who’s biding his time, waiting to strike. Elizabeth must draw on her wits and every last ounce of courage she possesses to keep her new life from being cut short by this vicious shadow from her past.

 

 

Guest Blog Post – The Perks to Writing Multiple Series by Jenn McKinlay

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DEATH IN THE STACKS by Jenn McKinlay, a Berkley hardcover, Nov. 14, 2017, 294 pages.

What are the perks to writing multiple series? Oh, there are so many. Over the past eight years, I have written five different mystery series. Two under the pseudonyms Lucy Lawrence and Josie Belle and three under the name Jenn McKinlay. The three under my name have nothing in common. Nothing. Except somewhere along the line I started putting in crossover mentions or Easter eggs, as they’re called in the trade, for readers to find like an inside secret for those that have read more than one of my series.

How did it start? I’m not really sure. One day, I decided to have Scarlett Parker’s parents from the London Hat Shop mysteries buy a house in Briar Creek, the setting for the Library Lover’s mysteries. And in the Cupcake Bakery series, I have them looking at Vegas showgirl hats designed by a London milliner, which of course is Viv, the proprietor of Mim’s Whims, from the Hat Shop mysteries. Theses random mentions were a hoot to write and I got a lot of positive feedback from the readers who’d read all three series.

And now you’re wondering what does this have to do with Death in the Stacks? Well, because my hat shop series ended, I thought it would be hilarious to have the London characters visit the library and its community as a last glimpse at them before they departed for good…maybe. Of course, once I jumped on that train then I had to have the cupcake characters do a walk on as well. It was crazy trying to give all of these characters equal airtime. And in fact, I couldn’t. But they are all there and they are all on the scene for the murder which I had the best time writing. It felt exactly like introducing your best friends and having them all hit it off, you know, over the discovery of a dead body.

And here’s a sneak peek at the action just so you can see how it comes together:

Lindsey Norris and her staff are gearing up for the Briar Creek Library’s annual Dinner in the Stacks fund-raiser. The night of dinner and dancing is not only a booklover’s dream—it’s the library’s biggest moneymaker of the year. But instead of raising funds, the new library board president is busy raising a stink and making the staff miserable.

Although Olive Boyle acts like a storybook villain, Lindsey is determined to work with her and make the event a success. But when Olive publicly threatens the library’s newest hire, Paula, Lindsey cracks like an old book spine and throws Olive out of the library.

The night of the fund-raiser, Lindsey dreads another altercation with Olive—but instead finds Paula crouched over Olive’s dead body. Paula may have secrets, but Lindsey and the rest of the crafternooners know she’s not the one who took Olive out of circulation. As the plot thickens, Lindsey must catch the real killer before the book closes on Paula’s future . . .

Thanks for letting me visit today.

Happy Reading!

Jenn

Guest Blog Post – Did I mention that I teach creative writing?

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By KRISTI ABBOTT

If you talk to me for more than ten minutes, I’ll probably end up mentioning that I teach creative writing. I’m trying to tone it down, but it’s hard. It’s a relatively new thing for me so I’m still learning and it’s on my mind a lot. I’m always thinking about new ways to explain concepts or feedback I could give my students.

It’s also on my mind a lot because I really want to be a person who walks the walk. I want to be able to tell my students to do as I do as well as to do what I say. I want to live up to the standards I’m setting for them. I find myself reviewing whatever I’m working on with an eye toward whatever my class is discussing that week. If I’m telling my students to try to include as many senses as they can in their descriptions I have to ask if I’m doing that, too. Have I made sure that my protagonist — a chef who would be highly sensitive to smell — is aware of scents and aromas? If I’m trying to get the students to really put the reader in a scene, I have to see if I’m showing the right amount. Am I balancing scene and summary well?

Then there are the questions. While quite a few of them tend to be about when something is due, a lot of them center around further explaining concepts or helping them understand feedback from me or from their workshops. It makes me dig a little deeper. Again, I turn back to my own work to see if I can dig a bit deeper there, too. Can I reach down inside myself and make those concepts the foundation of my writing?

I went back to school to get my MFA in part because I wanted to teach at the college level. I was thrilled when it actually worked out for me. As Hannibal Smith would say, I love it when a plan comes together. This was a long game and it took a lot of time and effort to make it work, which just made the payoff that much sweeter.

Even though I was there in part to get the letters off my name that would give me the credentials I needed, I took the program seriously. I wanted to milk the opportunity for every drop I could get so I worked hard on my papers and the stories I wrote during those two years. After I finished my MFA, a lot of people asked me if it had changed the way I wrote, if I felt my craft had improved. It did, but teaching has changed it even more.

 

 

Guest Blog Post – Are You A Santa Paws?

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9781101988589By Krista Davis

NOT A CREATURE blog 2_photo2Wagtail, Virginia is all about dogs, cats, and the people who love them. Our furry friends are welcome in the restaurants and lodging, and local stores and services cater to them. It’s also the place to shop for cats and dogs.

This year, there’s a German style Christmas market on the green. People can browse for ornaments that resemble their dogs and cats, as well as clothes, toys, and Christmas cookies just for them. The Sugar Maple Inn has a booth, but Holly Miller gets a little bit worried when a customer tells her that Thackleberry brand animal outfits are making dogs and cats itch and lose their fur. Her Jack Russell Terrier isn’t showing any signs of discomfort even though she’s been wearing an elf outfit every night.  But when the President of the company is murdered, Holly has to wonder whether the killer is an angry customer or a member of his curious family.

Speaking of shopping, I am a self-confessed Santa Paws. Are you? Answer these true and false questions to find out.

  1. Your cat or dog isn’t interested in toys but you buy new ones every holiday anyway.
  2. Your cat or dog has his own Christmas stocking.
  3. You just have to buy cat and dog treats when they’re in cute holiday packaging.
  4. Your cat or dog always gets a special holiday present, like a new bed or collar.
  5. Your cats and dogs wear special holiday collars.
  6. Your cat or dog has Christmas-themed clothes.
  7. You bake Christmas cookies that are for your dog or cat.
  8. Your dog or cat has an ornament that looks like him or has his name on it.

If you answered true to four or more of the questions, you are a certifiable Santa Paws!

If you answered true to one, two, or three of the questions you are well on your way to being a Santa Paws.

If you answered false to all eight questions—do you have a dog or a cat?

NOT A CREATURE blog2_Sunny in Christmas tree 5