BLOG TOUR – Murder is a Dirty Business – GUEST POST

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Welcome! Today I’m featuring a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Murder is a Dirty Business, the first in the new A Grime Pays series by Tricia L. Sanders.  Ms. Sanders has graciously provided a guest post for today. Information about the book, including purchase links and a Rafflecopter Giveaway are below the guest post!  Enjoy!

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Guest Post from Tricia L. Sanders

Hi and thanks for having me. I’m kicking off 2018 with a recommitment to my passions. I’m identifying my goals and finding ways to make them happen.

My evenings have always been about the R’s: relaxing, rejuvenating, and re-grouping. Basically, sitting around the house and getting some much-needed rest. After the hustle-bustle of the day, I deserved it. On most evenings you could find me curled up with a book on the craft of writing or the latest list of upcoming conferences and a steaming cup of Earl Grey. Each new year my resolution was the same, write my novel. My goal was to get those pesky characters out of my head and onto a page. However, I wasn’t working toward my goal.

One good writing book would give way to another and another and another. Rationalizing the need to study up on dialogue, I’d rush out and find a book on creating engaging dialogue. When I turned to the last page, I’d be giddy with excitement. Now I knew how my characters should converse. But what if my plot stalled, or my protagonist was weak, or my pacing was off? Get the drift. My shelves overflowed with writing books, but not one novel in my bookcase with my name on it.

Then one November, I accepted a challenge along with a few members of my critique group—write 50,000 words in a month. I knew 50,000 words did not a novel make, but it was a darn good start. On the surface it sounded easy—simply write a little over 1600 words per day for thirty days. I could whip out a 2000-word essay in no time flat, so that should be easy. Right?

Oh, boy! Talk about the need for willpower.

Before I began, I made a schedule of writing times, keeping in mind the Thanksgiving holiday. I taped a huge sign over my computer that said, “NOVEL OR BUST.” I told everyone I knew about my mission—nothing like adding a little peer pressure. Every night after supper, I eyed my comfortable chair and the writing book du jour, but instead raced up the stairs to work on my novel. And you know what?  I did it. On the last day of November at 6:01 p.m., I reached my goal. My novel consisted of 50,003 words.

Was it complete? No, but it had a beginning, a middle and an end. Had I given up my “R” evenings? No, I still had work to do, but instead of relaxing, I revised. Instead of rejuvenating, I re-wrote. And in the end, re-grouping gave way to rejoicing! My dream of publication came true in November of 2017. I haven’t stopped reading my books on the craft of writing or attending workshops and conferences, but I put my passion first.

A wise friend once asked me, “If it doesn’t pertain to your passion, why are you doing it?” I ask myself that all the time and it has become my mantra. The best way to keep my passion in mind, is to display it prominently in my office, on the screen saver of my laptop, phone, and tablet, and with a sticky note on my mirror and on the fridge. When I find myself procrastinating, I only need look at my passion to get me back on track. I challenge each of you to work toward your passion this year, whether it’s writing, painting, organizing your life, or traveling. Is this the year your dream comes true?

My 2018 goals are to continue marketing my 2017 novel, publish my second novel, travel, and attend my first RWA conference. When I find myself cleaning out a closet, or lollygagging on the sofa, I ask myself if this is helping me achieve my goal.

Define it and live it.

I hope 2018 brings great rewards for you.

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Murder is a Dirty Business
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Soul Mate Publishing, LLC (November 15, 2017)
Print Length: 254 pages
ASIN: B076KVQ4WR

Purchase Links: Amazon

Rafflecopter Giveaway

When Cece Cavanaugh’s husband empties their joint bank account, steals her designer luggage, and runs off with a younger woman, Cece must decide whether to ask her manipulative mother-in-law for a handout or get a job. Choosing the easier path, Cece lands a job cleaning a crime scene where a high school coach was murdered. When his wife is implicated—a young woman Cece practically raised—Cece finds herself mopping floors, balancing an empty checkbook, and ferreting out a killer.

Amid all this messy business, Cece bumps heads with a handsome detective. She tries to ignore her growing attraction to the detective, but he gives new meaning to the term “hot flash.”

After she stumbles onto a clue that could vindicate her friend, her elation turns to panic when she haphazardly confronts the killer. Through the danger and romance, Cece discovers self-reliance and inner strength.

And that crime—at least, someone else’s—does pay the bills.

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Tricia L. Sanders writes about women with class, sass, and a touch of kickass. A former instructional designer and corporate trainer, she traded in curriculum writing for novel writing, because she hates bullet points and loves to make stuff up. And fiction is more fun than training guides and lesson plans.

When she isn’t writing, Tricia is busy crossing dreams off her bucket list. With all 50 states checked, she’s concentrating on foreign interests. She’s an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan, so don’t get between her and the television when a game is on. Currently, she is working on a mystery series set in the fictional town of Wickford, Missouri. Another project in the works is a women’s fiction road trip adventure.

Her essays have appeared in Sasee, ByLine, The Cuivre River Anthology and Great American Outhouse Stories; The Whole Truth and Nothing Butt. She is a proud member of The Lit Ladies, six women writing their truths into fiction.

Author Links

Website: http://www.triciasanders.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authortricialsanders/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36458199-murder-is-a-dirty-business

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXRJSRSmTjg

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BLOG TOUR – Clairvoyant & Present Danger – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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Welcome! Today’s blog post is part of the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Clairvoyant and Present Danger, a Bay Island Psychic Mystery by Lena Gregory. I’m featuring an interview with the author. Information about the book, purchase links, and a rafflecopter giveaway will be down underneath the interview!

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Author Interview

First, let me say a big “thank you” to Ms. Gregory for being willing to answer my questions!

Q1: Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do during the day?  Do you enjoy your day job?  

Ms. Gregory’s Answer: When my middle son was diagnosed with autism and needed speech, occupational and physical therapy five days a week, I started cleaning houses to allow me the flexibility I needed to work around his schedule. As he got older, I continued to clean, and I do enjoy it. I’ve had most of my customers for more than ten years, so I could follow the routine of cleaning their houses in my sleep. It gives me time to let my mind wander and come up with new story ideas. More than one person has been killed off while I was working! Plus, it’s great exercise. I’d go crazy if I had to sit still all day.


Q2: Do you set aside time to write every day or do you write more sporadically? When you write, do you aim to complete a set # of pages or words? How does music/other noise affect your concentration when you’re writing?

Ms. Gregory’s Answer: I really need quiet to write, which is rare in my house. I like to write early in the morning, before everyone else gets up, or very late at night. I aim for a thousand words a day, but often don’t meet that goal when other stuff is going on.


Q3: When you’re writing, do your characters seem to “hijack” the story or do you feel like you have the “reins” of the story? Similarly, do you outline your book first or just sit down and write, seeing where it takes you?

Ms. Gregory’s Answer: I used to just sit down and write, which I enjoyed. Then, when I started contracting more books, I had to provide outlines ahead of time. So, now, my characters do still hijack the story, but I do a rough outline of the story before I start writing. Though I don’t decide who the killer is until after everything else but the last two chapters are written, and it’s still a toss-up whether or not the story will actually follow the outline.

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Q4: How did you break into the publishing world? How many rejections did you go through before finding a publisher? Did you ever think about quitting? If so, what did you do to keep yourself hopeful?

Ms. Gregory’s Answer: I originally wrote romance and young adult fantasy, and while I did manage to contract everything I wrote, I could probably wallpaper my office with rejections. I never did think about quitting, though. I simply took each thing that came, the good and the bad, as a learning experience. I was fortunate to have worked with some wonderful editors who really taught me a lot. When my agent suggested I try writing cozies, I figured why not, and I found my niche.


Q5: In general, how many revisions do you go through before a book is published? Do you have beta readers or is it just your editing team and their suggestions? Do you set your books aside for a period of time and then pick them up and edit them?

Ms. Gregory’s Answer: For the past few years, most of my books have been contracted before they were written and had a deadline, so I don’t usually have time to set them aside. When time allows, I do use a beta reader, then my agent will sometimes read, then my editor, a copy editor, and a proofreader.


Q6: A good villain is hard to write. How did you get in touch with your inner villain(s) to write this book. Was there a real-life inspiration for him/her/it?

Ms. Gregory’s Answer: There was no real-life inspiration for the villain in Clairvoyant and Present Danger, though I do tend to give my villains qualities I don’t like in people. I have to admit, though, I do enjoy writing the villains, giving them both good and bad qualities, so it’s not always immediately obvious who’s the bad guy.

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Q7: Do any family members, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, etc. end up showing up in your work or are your characters all truly fictional? 

Ms. Gregory’s Answer: Most of my characters are purely fictional, but the heroine in my young adult fantasy series is largely based on my daughter who was in her early twenties when I wrote it. Their personalities are very similar.


Q8: If you could write about anyone fiction/nonfiction, contemporary/historical who would you write about? Why?

Ms. Gregory’s Answer: Scarlett O’Hara! Gone With the Wind has been one of my favorite books since I was a kid, and I’d love to write a continuation of her story. She gripped me so much that I’d love to see where she ended up.


Q9: What are some great books you’ve read recently?

Ms. Gregory’s Answer: I haven’t had a lot of time to read lately, but some of my favorite books, that I fall back on when time is limited, include Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter books.

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Q10: What books have influenced your life the most?

Ms. Gregory’s Answer: Cozy mysteries in general have had the most influence, ever since I was a child and ran to find a comfy spot to read each time the newest Nancy Drew book came in the mail.


Q11: If you could spend one day with a character from your book who would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Ms. Gregory’s Answer: I’d have to choose Bee Maxwell from the Bay Island Psychic Mysteries series. I’d love to just hang out with him, make the rounds to catch up on good gossip, try on some of the gowns he’s designed, and definitely go for coffee and donuts.


Q12: Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Have you ever learned anything from a bad review and incorporated it into your future work?

Ms. Gregory’s Answer: If my book is on tour, I always read my reviews. Good or bad, I always respond with a thank you, because I appreciate the time and effort someone put into reading and reviewing my books. Other than that, I read them if someone tags me on social media or if I come across one somewhere, but they don’t usually influence what I write.

Thank you again to Ms. Gregory for being willing to answer my questions!!

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Clairvoyant and Present Danger (A Bay Island Psychic Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Berkley (February 6, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425282779
E-Book ASIN: B071L5C99M

Purchase Links: AmazonB&NKobo

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Whoever said that dead men tell no tales has never met Cass Donnovan…

Cass has always relied on her abilities to guide her, but after communications with a ghost land her in the middle of a murder investigation, she has to wonder if her gifts are really more a curse.

Cass knows she is meant to help track down the killer–much to the chagrin of local law enforcement–when the apparition leads her to a dead body on the beach near her psychic shop, Mystical Musings. But the police are not the only ones who wish Cass would stick to reading palms. Someone is trying to scare her off, and it will take all her powers of premonition to catch the killer before Cass herself becomes the next victim…


Lena Gregory lives in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island with her husband and three children.

When she was growing up, she spent many lazy afternoons on the beach, in the yard, anywhere she could find to curl up with a good book. She loves reading as much now as she did then, but she now enjoys the added pleasure of creating her own stories.

Author Links:

Website: http://www.lenagregory.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lena.gregory.986

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Lena.Gregory.Author/?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LenaGregory03

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14956514.Lena_Gregory?from_search=true

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lenagregoryauth/

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BLOG TOUR – A Well-Timed Murder – GUEST POST

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Greetings! Today’s Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour is for A Well-Timed Murder by Tracee de Hahn.  Ms. de Hahn has provided a guest post for today’s post. Purchase links and a synopsis of the book will be below the guest post.

Tracee de Hahn’s Guest Post

Would you kill for a watch? That’s what was on my mind when I began research for the next Agnes Lüthi mystery, A Well-Timed Murder. To immerse myself in the world of watches I decided to visit Baselworld, the world’s premier watch, jewelry and gemstone show. An annual occurrence in Basel, Switzerland it is the perfect setting to test the lure of luxury timepieces.

What I discovered, is that you don’t have to collect jewelry or watches to enjoy Baselworld. What’s the scientific basis for this statement? I took a friend along on my research trip, a friend, who we will call JSP, who is a definite foil to my attraction to all things glittery. An architect, JSP embraced the journey as an excuse to visit the buildings designed by the famous Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron. This was perfect. I wanted to note the impact the show had on a visitor with no interest in the merchandise.

The day started off perfectly. The spring weather was clear, the crowd gathering under the expansive canopy at Baselworld was restrained but excited. For JSP, the main expo building lived up to its reputation. The exterior walls are textured aluminum, creating the impression of a woven façade. The entrance canopy reaches across the street, sheltering a restaurant, flower stall and other activities. Happy people were heading to the expo doors with money to burn. JSP entered the exhibition with a smile on her face.

I thought her initial attitude would buy me a few hours of interest on her part. Five minutes later I knew that I’d made a mistake. She might not want to leave. It is impossible to ignore the effort that goes into making Baselworld an incredible experience. The ‘pavilions’ (showrooms) would be at home on any high fashion street in the world. However, it is the product that steals the show.

Name a dream design and it is there. Precious gems, high performance mechanisms, antiques. I should note that there are five exhibition halls and, as a foil to the luxury, in the corner of one it is possible to find simple watch cases and inexpensive timepieces appropriate for any shopping mall. Personally, I wanted to spend more time in the section where loose gems are sold. Running your fingers through a box of rubies is an experience that doesn’t come around every day! (Trust me, security is tight! That pigeon’s egg sized ruby didn’t make its way into my pocket.)

JSP kept me focused on my research. We studied overhead walkways, examined isolated bathrooms, and spent enough time in back corridors to likely warrant extra scrutiny on security cameras. This is the fun part of research – imagining what could happen. Luxury automobiles lined up between two halls: Inspiration!

At the end of the day, JSP and I left without purchasing any watches or gemstones. But we did have a greater appreciation for the entire industry. To the casual observer, watches are objects of beauty. However, behind that beauty is science and technology. Which metal to use? How to form it, make it stronger, more pliable, more rigid? Watchmakers are constantly pushing the envelope: lightweight, shock resistant, accurate. And, of course, there is beauty. I spent a long time hovering over the work space of a master engraver at Blancpain, watching him etch the back of a watch with a tiny, highly detailed, animal scene. Pure artistry.

In the book, Agnes shares my experience and more. She also sees the behind-the-scenes competitiveness of the industry. How much is at stake and how much people are willing to sacrifice to stay on top. Murder comes to mind.

(Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)

A Well-Timed Murder (Agnes Luthi Mysteries)
International Mystery
2nd in Series
Minotaur Books (February 6, 2018)
Hardcover: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1250110015
E-Book ASIN: B073TSWJMJ
Rafflecopter giveaway

Swiss-American police officer Agnes Lüthi is on leave in Lausanne, Switzerland, recovering from injuries she sustained in her last case, when an old colleague invites her to the world’s premier watch and jewelry trade show at the grand Messe Basel Exhibition Hall. Little does Agnes know, another friend of hers, Julien Vallotton, is at the same trade show—and he’s looking for Agnes. Julien Vallotton was friends with Guy Chavanon, a master of one of Switzerland’s oldest arts: watchmaking. Chavanon died a week ago, and his daughter doesn’t believe his death was accidental. Shortly before he died, Chavanon boasted that he’d discovered a new technique that would revolutionize the watchmaking industry, and she believes he may have been killed for it. Reluctantly, Agnes agrees to investigate his death. But the world of Swiss watchmaking is guarded and secretive, and before she realizes it, Agnes may be walking straight into the path of a killer.

Tracee de Hahn’s next mystery, A Well-Timed Murder, is another magnetic mystery that will engross readers from the opening page to the stunning conclusion.

Social media

Website https://traceedehahn.com/

Twitter @LuthiMysteries

Facebook TraceedeHahnWriter

Pinterest The Agnes Lüthi Mysteries

Instagram TraceedeHahn

Goodreads

Purchase links

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

IndieBound

Books-a-Million

Apple

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BLOG TOUR – Vangie Vale & the Strangled Strudel – REVIEW, GUEST POST

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Welcome to another day and another tour! I love doing these Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours! They expose me to great authors and new series. Today’s tour is for Vangie Vale and the Strangled Strudel, the third book in the The Matchbaker Mysteries by R.L. Syme. I had mixed feelings about this book, which I’ll share below the guest post that R. L. Syme generously provided me! Enjoy!

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R.L. Syme’s Guest Post

On Facebook, I have a wonderful group of Vangie’s friends who all congregate with me to talk about the books and our lives. We occasionally talk about Vangie, and as I was preparing for this book tour, I asked them if they had any topics for me to talk about in my guest posts. I borrowed some of their questions to write about. Here are some of the ones they posted.

* Why can’t Vangie and the sheriff get along…?

I wondered if this would be a popular question, among the fans of the books. Vangie and Malcolm have sort of a love/hate relationship in the first three books, but there are definitely a swath of fans who are rooting for them to get past their differences and start a romantic relationship.

And I don’t blame them one bit. Malcolm is a hottie.

But of course, so is Derek. Her current boyfriend.

But let me take a serious stab at answering this question. I want to be honest in that Malcolm’s issues are just as much at play here as Vangie’s. In fact, maybe even more so. I think Vangie is curious about her neighbor, the Sheriff, and she finds him interesting. She finally feels like they are friends. But Malcolm is not a church guy, and he specifically has issues with pastors. You’ll find out more about those issues later. For Vangie’s part, though, she’s dating Derek.

* Where did she get her quirky charm?

That is a great question. I feel like it’s a combination of using sarcasm to deal with the difficult things in her life, and her personality making her different. She has a quick mind, too, so she does find herself speaking quickly, because she’s thinking quickly. That’s probably what I would attribute it to.

* What was her relationship with her mother like?

This is a great question. She lost her mother when she was a teenager, so she did have several years with her. But she had a solid relationship with her mom. She and Priscilla were both close with their mother, and it was part of what made the girls so close as they got older. She’s not very close with Laura—the woman her father married a few years after her mother died—and she doesn’t consider Laura to really be her stepmother, since Laura didn’t really raise her. But she’s glad her dad is happy.

These were great questions. It was a lot of fun seeing what Vangie’s fans wanted to know about her.

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Thank you to R.L. Syme for providing me with the guest post for today! Here’s information about the book followed by my review!


Vangie Vale & the Strangled Strudel (The Matchbaker Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Montana
Hummingbird Books (January 4, 2018)
Print Length: 330 pages
E-Book ASIN: B077GK124B

Purchase Links: AmazonB&NKobo

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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You could call it the straw that broke the camel’s back but it was more like a Montana forest timber.

Just when Vangie Vale’s life was getting back to normal after a murder that rocked her little Rocky Mountain tourist town, she found herself in the middle of another murder… as the chief suspect.

Vangie stood shocked on the side of the curb as the sheriff stretched yellow crime scene tape around the front of her new bakery. Wouldn’t this make a lovely headline in next week’s paper: Local Baker Kills Parishioner With Pudding. Vangie’s road back to good graces as a part-time pastor was bumpy enough already. This would be a roadblock. Can’t have that.

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Review

4.0 out of 5 stars.

As I said above, I had mixed feelings about this book. I like Vangie as a character. I like Derek and I really love Malcolm. But Vangie’s tendency to be impulsive and not THINK when she goes to investigate drives me batty. I’ve read through all three books in this series hoping that over time she’d learn to at least stop to THINK before she rushes headfirst into danger, but so far she hasn’t.

The book is well-written and the plot line was great. I had no real ideas about who had done the crime until it was revealed at the end. Ms. Syme did a really great job with the villain. I don’t want to give anything away, but it’s not easy to write the type of villain that she had in this story and Ms. Syme did a fantastic job with it.

I haven’t decided if I’m going to continue with the series at this point. But I don’t want to dissuade my readers from it because it IS well-written and the characters are great. I just hate heroines who don’t think before rushing into danger. That’s my personal preference and has no bearing on my rating of the writing. If that type of heroine doesn’t bother you, then I recommend this series highly!

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BLOG TOUR – The Phantom of Oz – INTERVIEW

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Welcome! Today’s Great Escapes Virtual Book Touris for The Phantom of Oz by Cindy Brown. I’m bringing you a spotlight on the book and an interview with the author! I’ll be posting the interview first with the spotlight on the book underneath the interview! Enjoy!

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Interview with Cindy Brown

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Q1) Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do during the day?  Do you enjoy your day job?

Ms. Brown’s Answer:  I do have a day job—as a writer. I’m a ghostwriter (nonfiction only), and a content and copywriter.  I love my job.  I work with really great people, and I get to learn things and play with words. It can be difficult, though, to sit at a screen all day (especially because I’m an extrovert), and to give my brain enough space for my fiction writing.


Q2) Do you set aside time to write every day or do you write more sporadically? When you write, do you aim to complete a set # of pages or words? How does music/other noise affect your concentration when you’re writing?

Ms. Brown’s Answer:  I write every day, though life does interrupt sometimes. I do set deadlines for myself, but have to be a little bit flexible with them so I don’t get obsessed.  I sometimes like to listen to Baroque music when I write, and there’s a great app called Coffeetivity which sounds like the murmur of a coffee shop.  It’s supposed to aid creativity, and I like the energy it brings to the room.


Q3) When you’re writing, do your characters seem to “hijack” the story or do you feel like you have the “reins” of the story? Similarly, do you outline your book first or just sit down and write, seeing where it takes you?

Ms. Brown’s Answer: I wouldn’t say the characters hijack the story, but sometimes they surprise me. Sometimes a new character will pop into the story, too, one that I didn’t see coming. Before starting the book, I do a lot of character analysis, and I make sure I know the major points of the story.  I’m a former playwright, so I use a three-act dramatic structure to create an outline. But, things always change as I write—sometimes in a big way.

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Q4) How did you break into the publishing world? How many rejections did you go through before finding a publisher? Did you ever think about quitting? If so, what did you do to keep yourself hopeful?

Ms. Brown’s Answer:  It took a couple of years and two major rewrites before I sold Macdeath to Henery Press. I think a couple of things raised me out of the slush pile and kept me going:

  • First of all, those rewrites: When agents told me why the book wasn’t marketable, I listened, and I changed the book drastically.
  • When I found out that Sue Grafton was judging the Words with Jam First Page contest, I entered, using the first page from The Sound of Murder. I won third place, and was so excited I woke up my husband with my yelling. That award looked good in my query letter.
  • I kept learning. I read, and went to workshops and conferences. At one of those workshops, Rhys Bowen offered to blurb my book—that also looked great in my query letter.  At another, I heard Kendel Lynn of Henery Press speak. I really liked her energy and Henery’s books, so I pitched to her once I got home.

Q5) In general, how many revisions do you go through before a book is published? Do you have beta readers or is it just your editing team and their suggestions? Do you set your books aside for a period of time and then pick them up and edit them?

Ms. Brown’s Answer: I usually do three revisions before sending it to my editor, then there are two more after that. I rely heavily on readers—they see things I can’t.  I belong to a writing critique group,  and I also use beta readers for each book.  I would love to set my books aside for awhile during the process, but my deadlines are pretty tight


Q6) A good villain is hard to write. How did you get in touch with your inner villain(s) to write this book. Was there a real-life inspiration for him/her/it?

Ms. Brown’s Answer: Usually my villains are mash-ups of people who piss me off (scammers, narcissists, greed-heads—you get the idea), but the one of the villains in The Phantom of Oz is based on a reality TV star I read about in a gossip magazine. I don’t want to say who—that seems a little mean.

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Q7) Do any family members, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, etc. end up showing up in your work or are your characters all truly fictional?

Ms. Brown’s Answer: The characters are truly fictional.  They sometimes have mannerisms or attributes of real people, but I find it distracting to base a character on someone I know. I can’t even name major characters after people I know well, though sometimes I do my friends’ names in cameo appearances.


Q8) If you could write about anyone fiction/nonfiction, contemporary/historical who would you write about? Why?

Ms. Brown’s Answer: I did get to write about one of my heroes! Even though she’s dead, Annie Oakley plays a major role in Ivy Get Your Gun.  Annie was an amazing woman who raised her family out of poverty single-handedly when she was just a teenager, went on to be the most famous woman in the world,  and never lost her modesty,  kindness, and sense of fairness.


Q9) What are some great books you’ve read recently?

Ms. Brown’s Answer: I loved Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty—great characters, a gripping plot, and full of humor and heart. I’m also a big fan of anything by Louise Penny, Tana French, and Elizabeth George.

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Q10) What books have influenced your life the most?

Ms. Brown’s Answer: That’s a tough one. I’m a fast reader, and I always have a book going, so I’ve read thousands of books. Shakespeare has been a major influence—not just with my writing, but with life—I really appreciate his insights into humanity.


Q11) If you could spend one day with a character from your book who would it be? And what would you do during that day? 

Ms. Brown’s Answer: I’d hang out with Ivy. We’d meet up for lunch (we’re both late sleepers), grab good cheap Mexican food at Filiberto’s drive-through, pick up her brother Cody, and take the food to Encanto Park, where we’d picnic. We’d laze around and feed the ducks, then drop Cody off at his group home, check out one of the funky art galleries in downtown Phoenix before eating dinner and seeing a show. After the show, we’d go out with the cast for drinks (Ivy would know someone in the play—the theatre community is small).


Q12) Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Have you ever learned anything from a bad review and incorporated it into your future work?

Ms. Brown’s Answer: Someone once told me that humans tend to remember the negative, not the positive.  It’s certainly true with me. I was successful as an actor, with a lot of good reviews, but of course, the one that sticks in my head is the worst one.  So now as a writer, I have my husband read my reviews. If they’re good, he’ll let me know and I’ll read them.  If they’re bad, I’ll ask him to let me know about any constructive criticism. I’m sure I’ve incorporated some of that feedback into my writing, but I can’t say what. Everything gets put in that into that giant melting pot that’s my subconscious mind.

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About the Book

The Phantom of Oz (An Ivy Meadows Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Henery Press (January 30, 2018)
Paperback: 268 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1635112924
E-Book ASIN: B0772Z1CSP

Purchase Links: AmazonB&NKobo

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Creepy munchkins. A mysterious phantom. And a real Wicked Witch. Are you ready for it?

Actress and part-time PI Ivy Meadows has been hired to uncover the cause of the creepy accidents that plague the roadshow The Wizard: A Space OZpera and find out who dropped a chandelier on the Wicked Witch of the East.

Was it the ghost who haunts the Grand Phoenician Theatre? A “wicked witch” in the cast? Or is it someone—or something—more sinister?

It’s Ivy’s most personal case so far.

Her best friend Candy, who’s touring with the show, is caught in a downward spiral of self-destruction, and is in more danger than she knows.

To save her friend and the show, Ivy must answer even tougher questions: Do spirits really exist? What is real beauty? What does friendship mean?

Ivy needs to learn the answers, and fast—before Candy reaches the point of no return.

Books in the Ivy Meadows Humorous Mystery Series:

MACDEATH (#1)
THE SOUND OF MURDER (#2)
OLIVER TWISTED (#3)
IVY GET YOUR GUN (#4)
The Phantom of Oz (#5)

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About the Author

Cindy Brown has been a theater geek (musician, actor, director, producer, and playwright) since her first professional gig at age 14. Now a full-time writer, she’s lucky enough to have garnered several awards (including 3rd place in the 2013 international Words With Jam First Page Competition, judged by Sue Grafton!) and is an alumnus of the Squaw Valley Writers Workshop. Though Cindy and her husband now live in Portland, Oregon, she made her home in Phoenix, Arizona, for more than 25 years and knows all the good places to hide dead bodies in both cities.

Author Links

Website & Blog: www.cindybrownwriter.com

Twitter handle: @friendlybrown

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cindy-Brown-author/288210721356802?ref=hl

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Thanks for joining me today for the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for The Phantom of Oz. If you wish to visit other sites along the tour, please click on the banner below to be transported to the main tour page.

PHANTOM OF OZ BANNER 184

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