Welcome! I swear, I seem to go in spurts where I get posts up on time and then I always have one that I forget. Today was that post. Anyway, today I’m hosting a stop for the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Witch Way to Mintwood by Addison Creek. One of Ms. Creek’s characters has stopped by today to visit with us!
More information about the book and the author will be beneath the character’s guest post!
Hello! I’m Lemmi, or Lemonia if you’re my least favorite aunt. I’m the Witch of Mintwood, Maine, and I’m here to tell you what that’s like. Maine is a big state with only a few people in it. Mintwood has four thousand of them, and I live on an old farm with plenty of space. The only trouble is that townsfolk before me somehow managed to build the farm on a graveyard. I probably wouldn’t even know this, except that as a witch I can see and speak with ghosts. My farmhouse is occupied by the tea lady ghosts, the former mayor ghost, and a ghost named Mr. Bone, but that’s to ignore the most important ghost, the cat Paws.
We all get along just fine as long as everyone does what Paws wants at all times.
Most of my job as the Witch of Mintwood involves investigating murders, helped by my ability to see and talk to the ghosts of the victims. My two friends Greer and Charlie, who are also my roommates, help me out.
Somehow there’s always a ghost around of someone who’s been murdered, but tensions in Mintwood don’t just come from ghostly sources. There’s also Jasper Wolf of the Wolf Corporation to consider. He’s a dreamboat in a corporate greed sort of way. I’ve loved him since high school. Unfortunately, now that I’m the Witch of Mintwood, my life doesn’t exactly scream cool and fast track. It’s more like the falling down porch, mouthy ghost cat, outspoken friends, and ratty hair track. Come join the fun! If you need me I’ll be investigating a murder or refereeing a fight between loved ones. Just a normal day in a witchy small town!
House falling down? Check. Pet sitting job with annoying clients? Check. Ability to speak to ghosts, which has the unfortunate side effect of having to listen to what they say back? Double check! Hot high school crush still in town being all successful and stuff while you protest his building projects? All kinds of checks! Did anyone say Witch of Mintwood? Yup! Just add murder and this will be a week to remember!
About the Author
Reading, writing, dark chocolate, and cheese.
Hello! I’m the author of the Witch Way to Mintwood series and the Spooky Business series! I live in New England and love it. I survive the winter by layering, good-natured complaining, and more layering. In case you were wondering. Hearing from readers is always lovely, so come visit me here me on my blog or Facebook.
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Welcome! Today I’m hosting a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Plum Tea Crazy, a Tea Shop Mystery by Laura Childs. I love this series so I was excited to be able to read and review this newest installment.
Before we get to my review, I’m happy to say that we have a guest post from Laura Childs herself to enjoy! Thank you to Ms. Childs for being willing to write a guest post for my blog!
Guest Post from Laura Childs
A Q&A with Laura Childs, New York Times Bestselling Author of Plum Tea Crazy.
When you write, Laura, do you normally have an idea several months ahead of time or do stories just come to you as you’re writing?
The answer to both those questions is yes. I usually have three or four plot ideas pin-balling around in my head, so I start to work them up and then pick the one I like best. The other ideas are always kept in reserve so I can circle back to them at a later date and flesh them out for the next few books. Since I spent 20 years heading my own advertising agency, I’m lucky that I developed a knack for being “creative on demand,” with ideas coming fairly easy to me.
As you decide on characters, is there something that calls out to you?
Characters in my mysteries are either protagonists or antagonists. That is, they are either the hero or a suspected villain. That means my stories need to include a roster of suspicious characters that keep my readers guessing and turning the pages fairly quickly. I also strive to create suspects that are flamboyant and fairly dysfunctional. In Plum Tea Crazy, for example, I’ve got a snarky banker, goofball handyman, shopaholic ex-wife, and a slicko stalker attorney. There are a few other crazies tossed in for good measure, too.
Are your mysteries based on real life surroundings?
Since the Tea Shop Mysteries all take place in Charleston, SC, I try to create a very careful sense of place right down to the last cobblestone. Do you feel that damp fog as it rolls in off the Atlantic? Can you hear the mournful toot from the lighthouse over on Patriot’s Point? Is someone sneaking up behind you in Dueler’s Alley? Charleston is one of those cities that is eccentric and highly atmospheric – old mansions, live oaks dripping with Spanish moss, fog-shrouded bayous. Those are all very real elements and I try my best to sprinkle them throughout my mysteries.
For Plum Tea Crazy was there something you really wanted readers to come away with . . . as in a different outlook on life?
I always try to make the point that my main character, Theodosia, is extremely independent and entrepreneurial. When I was in marketing, I ran into dozens of women who longed for more focus and control in their work lives. These were smart women – ad managers, product managers, administrators, etc. – who wanted to flee corporate life to open a tea shop, needle craft store, or antique shop. I think most women are natural born entrepreneurs. They don’t always want to build a Fortune 500 company but they do want an environment that is nourishing and rewarding.
Tell us a little bit about Plum Tea Crazy.
As tea shop owner Theodosia views Charleston Harbor’s Gaslights and Galleons Parade from the widow’s walk of a nearby mansion, a local banker tumbles over the narrow railing and plunges to his death. But when Theodosia discovers that the victim was actually shot with a crossbow, this tragic accident turns sinister. With pacing that moves like a thriller, and any number of quirky suspects, it’s one of the reasons Book Riot named my Tea Shop Mysteries to their list of “25 of the All Time Best Cozy Mystery Series.”
Thanks for spending time with us.
Thank you and hugs to everyone!
Thank you again to Ms. Childs for writing a guest post for today!
While viewing the harbor’s Gaslights and Galleons Parade from the widow’s walk of Timothy Neville’s Charleston mansion, local banker Carson Lanier seemingly tumbles over a narrow railing, then plunges three stories to his death. But a tragic accident becomes something much more sinister when it’s discovered that the victim was first shot with a bolt from a crossbow.
At the request of the mansion owner, Theodosia investigates the tragedy and is soon neck deep in suspects. An almost ex-wife, a coworker, a real estate partner–all had motives for killing the luckless banker, but one resorted to murder to settle accounts.
INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS!
Review – 4 out of 5 stars
This newest installment in the Tea Shop Mystery series from Laura Childs is just as wonderful as the others have been!
I love the cast of characters in this series. Honestly, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t still be reading the series. Characters are far more important to me than the plot line. I can put up with pretty abysmal plot lines (which this is NOT one of those books – this plot line was excellent) if the characters are awesome. I’ve always enjoyed Theodosia, Drayton, Haley, Detective Tidwell and the rest. It’s fun to come back each spring to another visit into their world! These are well-rounded, complex, developed characters and they’re delightful.
The plot line in this one was excellent. There were enough suspects that it was hard to know who was the true villain. I did guess correctly, but it would have been very easy for me to be side-tracked by one of the other options. There was just something about the villain character that seemed “off” about them. That’s all I’m going to say so I don’t give anything away though!
If you haven’t read the series before, you could certainly start with this one as each mystery is its own story, but I would recommend starting at the beginning of the series with Death by Darjeeling. There are backstory things that will make more sense if you start the series at the beginning.
Either way, pick up Plum Tea Crazy and enjoy the newest installment in this great series!
Thank you for joining me today! If you wish to visit other sites on the tour, please click on the banner below. It will take you to the main tour page where there is a list of tour participants.
Greetings! Welcome to another Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Today I’m thrilled to be hosting a stop for Cookie Dough, Snow, and Wands Aglow, the fourth book in the Spells & Caramels series by Erin Johnson! This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series and as my quote on the banner says, I’m absolutely enamored with this series!
Murder in a magical, merry town just brimming with secrets.
On the snowy road to the Earth Kingdom for the holidays, Imogen and the bakers are ambushed by Horace, villainous leader of the Badlands Army. They’re forced to detour to an idyllic, rural village, bedecked in lights, garlands and winter cheer…all a little too perfect to believe. At least that’s so for Imogen, who’s seeing burned out buildings and mysterious memorials that no one else seems to notice.
Hank’s royal presence gets them invited to the big bash at the governor’s mansion. The night is filled with dancing, stolen kisses under the mistletoe and fun, until a guest is found dead in the cauldron of punch.
As bodies and mysteries pile up, all the evidence points to the vampire Francis as the culprit. The gang must come together to clear their friend’s name and save themselves from the angry villagers. Even worse, Imogen struggles with having to keep her relationship with Hank hidden, while working with him to find the real killer.
As Imogen unearths more than a few town secrets, she finally solves the riddles of her past and discovers the truth of Horace’s pursuit of her. But will all the secrets be unraveled in time to stop the killer, or will Imogen and her friends suffer a monstrous fate?
Review – 4.5 out of 5 stars
I love this series so much! This latest installment in the series does not disappoint at all.
We find our characters on a special trip for Bruma, a holiday to celebrate the Winter Solstice. They get detoured to this little town and as usual, a murder occurs and the investigative spirits of the team are needed to help solve the mystery!
These characters are very well-rounded and complex. They’re realistic (aside from the magic part 😉 ), wonderful, and just a joy to read. I enjoy learning more and more about them as we get further into the series. The characters just draw you in and make you believe that you’re friends with them all. And let me tell you, I don’t normally do vampires, but I love Francis, so that’s really saying something!
This particular book found us learning something important truths. I did NOT see the plot twist coming at all. It makes things make a lot of sense, but I still wasn’t expecting it. The way that we find these things out is perfect.
I did figure out the villain before the reveal, though I hadn’t figured out how she had done it exactly, so that part was still a surprise when it was revealed.
All in all this is an excellent 4th installment in the series and I’m looking forward to the 5th book! If you wish to read the series, I highly, HIGHLY recommend you start at the beginning with Seashells, Spells, & Caramels. While each mystery in the series is it’s own separate story, you need the backstory on the personal relationships and other things that are happening throughout the whole series in order to understand why the plot twist was so astounding.
About the Author
Erin Johnson is a native of Tempe, Arizona, Erin spends her time crafting mysterious, magical, romance-filled stories that’ll hopefully make you laugh. In between, she’s traveling, napping with her dogs, eating with her friends and family, and teaching Pilates (to allow her to eat more).
Welcome! Today, I’m hosting a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Pawprints and Predicaments, the third in the Lucky Paws Petsitting mystery series by Bethany Blake! I really enjoyed this book, just as I have the two previous books in the series. Underneath the review is an interview with the author, Bethany Blake.
The Tail Waggin’ Winterfest is the highlight of the season in the famously pet-friendly Pocono Mountains town of Sylvan Creek. But despite attractions like an ice sculpture display, a dogsled race, and gourmet hot chocolate, Daphne Templeton finds herself annoyed by TV producer Lauren Savidge, who’s filming the festivities. She’s critical, controlling, and as chilly as the January air. Daphne would like to tell her to go jump in a lake—and as a matter of fact, that’s exactly what they’re both going to do . . .
It’s the first-ever polar bear plunge in Lake Wallapawakee, and Daphne and Lauren are among the eighty or so people who charge into the frigid water to raise funds for animals in need. Daphne makes it back to shore—with the help of a mysterious St. Bernard—but Lauren is dragged out stone cold dead. Now, with her trusty basset hound Socrates at her side, Daphne intends to assist Detective Jonathan Black in his investigation—whether he wants her to or not . . .
Includes recipes for homemade pet treats!
Review – 4 out of 5 stars
I’ve really enjoyed all three books in this series!
Daphne is a wonderful, quirky character who has a fairly decent head on her shoulders. Sometimes she runs a little too impulsive for me, but most of the time she at least thinks about the danger before doing something. I also really love Jonathan Black as a character. We get to learn a little more about him in each book and I love that! It’s exactly how a series should be in my mind.
The plot this time around was very intriguing to me. I really had no idea who the villain was before it was revealed. The subplots were all great as well. The story was very well-written and I highly recommend it!
Author Interview with Bethany Blake
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. Blake’s Answer: I do have a second job being… a writer! I work for Bucknell University, a small liberal arts college, in the Division of Communications. It’s pretty fun. I write stories and get a lot of free food.
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. Blake’s Answer: I try to write every day, and I set page or chapter goals. I like to have music in the background. My Spotify playlist is huge and varied.
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. Blake’s Answer: Oh, my characters always hijack my stories! I don’t outline. I feel as if things always come up that lead me in new directions.
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. Blake’s Answer: I was fortunate to have a mentor who suggested that I join Romance Writers of America, and I found my agent there. I wrote a few manuscripts that I submitted to various places on my own, and those were rejected. Once I had an agent, I sold my first book pretty quickly. But, like every author, I have endured a lot of rejections since then. When I get a rejection, I give myself 24 hours to sulk and consider quitting. Then I pick myself back up and move forward.
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. Blake’s Answer: I usually have two or three revisions. I don’t have beta readers. Just my editors. And there’s always a period between the time I submit to my editor and the time I get revisions that I just set the manuscript aside. It’s good to take a break and see things with fresh eyes later.
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. Blake’s Answer: In my first book, Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, the villain—a vampire prince—was also the hero. I tend to view characters as complex and nuanced, so it’s not hard for me channel the darker aspects of my personality. And there’s no real inspiration for the villain in my upcoming book, Pawprints & Predicaments. But I can’t say more for fear of giving something away!
Q7: Do any family members, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, etc. end up showing up in your work or are your characters all truly fictional?
Ms. Blake’s Answer: There are aspects of me and my sister in the characters of Daphne and Piper Templeton. Like pet sitter Daphne, I’m an animal-loving, world-traveling, poor-at-bookkeeping bumbler, while, like veterinarian Piper, my sister is rational, organized and a medical professional.
Q8: If you could write about anyone fiction/nonfiction, contemporary/historical who would you write about? Why?
Ms. Blake’s Answer: I would write about my father, Donald Fantaskey. He was one of life’s great unsung heroes. Whether quietly fighting racism in the 1970s, leading by example, or making everyone around him laugh, he always made the world a better place.
Q9: What are some great books you’ve read recently?
Ms. Blake’s Answer: I have been revisiting some classic cozies by Martha Grimes. Whenever I need inspiration, I turn back to her books.
Q10: What books have influenced your life the most?
Ms. Blake’s Answer: Everything by Dickens, Austen and Dumas. I was an English major, way back when, and those books paved the way for my future writing career.
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. Blake’s Answer: I would hang out with my amateur sleuth, Daphne. We’d start off with a big breakfast at the Silver Moon diner, then pick up her best friend, Moxie Bloom, and go shopping for vintage clothes. Next, we’d eat lunch at Casita Burrito and walk Daphne’s various fosters and clients. We’d round out the day with dinner at Franco’s, where only Moxie would admit to having a huge crush on Detective Jonathan Black.
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. Blake’s Answer: I don’t read reviews anymore unless my editor shares them with me. And I never respond. I don’t change my work to reflect reviews, either. There’s no way you’ll ever please everyone. I will say that the negative reviews I’ve received—and everyone gets some—have made me a more compassionate person. When I dislike a book or movie, I’m keenly aware that someone poured their heart into the project. I would never trash something that another person created. We should all be here to lift one another up!
Thank you to Ms. Blake for being willing to answer my questions!
Thank you for joining me today! If you wish to visit more stops on the tour, please click on the banner below which will take you to the main tour page!
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!
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.
Murder is a Dirty Business Cozy Mystery 1st in Series Soul Mate Publishing, LLC (November 15, 2017) Print Length: 254 pages ASIN: B076KVQ4WR
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.
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.
Thanks for joining me on this Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour! If you wish to visit other sites on the tour, please click on the banner below which will take you to the main tour page which has a list of participants!