Cameron Cripps-Hayman is taken aback when she stumbles upon another murdered neighbor, this time behind her sister’s shop, Dog Diggity. The timing couldn’t be worse, as there’s only a week left before the store’s grand opening during Canal Days, the biggest festival of the year.
When the police arrest her handyman, Cameron knows they’ve got the wrong suspect, so the Metamora Action Agency sets their sights on cracking the case. With one solved murder under their belts, how hard could a second be?
With a flood warning and a murderer on the loose threatening the start of Canal Days, can Cameron and her crew save the town’s annual dog and pony show from being canceled?
Welcome! Today I’m featuring a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Murder by the Barrel by Leslie Cookman. Since this book is the 18th in a series and I’ve never read any of them, I chose to do a spotlight rather than a review!
Murder by the Barrel (A Libby Sarjeant Murder Mystery Series) by Lesley Cookman
A new title in the popular cosy crime series by bestselling author Lesley Cookman
When the sleepy village of Steeple Martin announces its first beer festival, the locals are excited. Beer, sun and music, what could possibly go wrong?
But when an unexpected death shakes the village, it’s up to Libby Sarjeant to solve the puzzle.
Was it just another rock star death or is there something more sinister afoot?
About the Author
Lesley started writing almost as soon as she could read, and filled many exercise books with pony stories until she was old enough to go out with boys. Since she’s been grown up, following a varied career as a model, air stewardess and disc jockey, she’s written short fiction and features for a variety of magazines, achieved an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Wales, taught writing for both Kent Adult Education and the WEA and edited the first Sexy Shorts collection of short stories from Accent Press in aid of the Breast Cancer Campaign. The Libby Sarjeant series is published by Accent Press, who also publish her book, How to Write a Pantomime, with a foreword by Roy Hudd. Lesley is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Society of Authors and the Crime Writers’ Association.
Thanks for joining me today for a spotlight on the newest book by Lesley Cookman! If you wish to visit more tour participants, please click on the banner below which will take you to the main tour site.
Welcome! Today, I’m beyond excited to be featuring a stop on the blog tour for my friend, Jay’s, new book, Watching Glass Shatter. This book is phenomenal! I don’t say that lightly. Yes, Jay is my friend, but the writing totally lives up to the hype and is well-deserving of a 5-star rating!
*** Also, this weekend, November 10 – November 14, the eBook version of Watching Glass Shatter is free on Amazon! You can check out this phenomenal book for FREE! ***
The wealthy Glass family lost its patriarch, Benjamin Glass, sooner than expected. Benjamin’s widow, Olivia, and her 5 sons each react to his death in their own way while preparing for the reading of his will. Olivia receives a very unexpected confession from her late husband about one of their sons that could shatter the whole family.
Prior to revealing the secret to her children, Olivia must figure out which boy Ben refers to in the confession he left her in his will. While the family attorney searches for the mysterious Rowena Hector whom Ben says holds the answers, Olivia asks her sons to each spend a week with her as she isn’t ready to let go of the past. When Olivia visits her sons, she quickly learns that each one has been keeping his own secret from her. Olivia never expected her remaining years would be so complex and life-altering, but she will not rest until her family is reunited after Ben’s untimely death.
We all need family. We all want to fit in. We’re all a mix of quirky personalities. Will Olivia be able to fix them or will the whole family implode? What will she do when she discovers the son behind Ben’s secret? Check out this ensemble cast where each family member’s perspective is center stage, discovering along the way who might feel the biggest impact from all the secrets. Welcome to being an honorary member of the Glass family.
Olivia and her sons and the rest of the characters are well-rounded, developed, complex characters. There were points where I wanted to “Gibbs’ slap” each of them in turn, but they’re all terrific characters. I can also identify with each of them in turn as they deal with the various pressures and secrets in their lives. Zach and Caleb are my favorites. They seem to have a hidden depth to them and I want to get to know them even more than we do in this book.
The character development in this novel is wonderful. We watch several characters go from being obsessed with their own lives and their own feelings, to the exclusion of others, to reaching out and enjoying the fact that they have a family to rely on. Everyone grows to some degree, some more than others, but everyone grows and changes a little in this book and it’s fabulous to watch.
The setting descriptions were slightly wordier than I tend to like, but they worked in this book. I didn’t feel as though they pulled me out of the story as setting descriptions sometimes do. I tend to prefer more basic descriptions, but the wordiness worked in this novel and it didn’t detract from anything at all.
The plot line is incredibly dramatic and amazing. How Ben’s secret affected Olivia, how the secrets of the boys affected their relationships in the family, everything was excellent. There was just the right amount of suspense for a dramatic novel without there being too much suspense.
All in all, I’m totally in love with this book and it’s definitely in my top 5 books of 2017. It’s phenomenal, amazing, and you really need to read it! I’m also very excited to hear that Jay’s planning on writing a sequel!
About the Author
Jay wears many hats and has had a variety of experiences in life, all of which he combines into his writing. He grew up on Long Island, went to college in Pennsylvania, has lived various places and now lives in New York City. He spent about 15 years working in technology in the retail, sports, media, and entertainment industries, but writing has been apart of his life since he was a child.
In 2016, he left his work in the technology industry and started re-focusing on reading and writing which are his true passion. He’s written over 500 book reviews on Goodreads and he has a blog called This Is My Truth Now with over 3000 followers.
Outside of reading and writing, Jay’s interest include genealogy, cooking, and his 10-year-old Shiba Inu, Ryder. Ryder even has his own segment each week on Jay’s blog called “Ryder’s Rants” where he complains about Jay.
Watching Glass Shatter is Jay’s debut novel. His second novel, Father Figure, will be published in early 2018.
Thanks for joining me today! I’m so excited about this book! I hope you hop over to Amazon, pick up a copy and enjoy it! Thank you, Jay, for letting me be a part of your blog tour. It’s an amazing book!
Welcome! Today I’m featuring an interview with author Vicki Vass as part of the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Dressed to Kill. Dressed to Kill is the 5th book in the Antique Hunters Mystery series. A synopsis, purchase links, and Rafflecopter giveaway links will be below the interview!
Thank you to Ms. Vass for being willing to answer my questions and complete the interview!
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. Vass’s Answer: Yes, I have a day job. I am the managing editor of a peer-reviewed medical journal. I actually hate my job currently and am actively seeking a new one.
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. Vass’s Answer: Yes, I set the evening aside during the week. I strive to write 2 pages every weekday and 10 pages each weekend day. I love to write when listening to music or other things. I am watching the Cubs right now as I type.
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. Vass’s Answer: I do not outline. I rather write and try to figure things out as it goes. Sometimes the characters have their own ideas of what should happen. My books combine history and fiction so it can be challenging keeping it real.
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. Vass’s Answer: I’ve been in the publishing field for a long time writing nonfiction for a variety of publications. I was very lucky when I submitted my first cozy that I did not have any rejections. It was accepted by the first publisher I submitted to. I’ve never thought of quitting as rejection is very common in my field. I’ve received so many rejections for nonfiction that I once thought about papering my wall with them.
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. Vass’s Answer: I generally write three to four drafts. The first version tends to be more of an outline and then I flesh it out. I have a few beta readers and also an editor who I rely on to read and check for plot and characterization. I do not set the books aside for a time other than when my beta readers are reading and I’m waiting for their feedback.
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. Vass’s Answer: Writing evil can sometimes be so much more fun than writing good. It allows me to get rid of my own inner demons. I work with some pretty demanding people and often picture them when I am crafting my villains.
Q7: Do any family members, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, etc. end up showing up in your work or are your characters all truly fictional?
Ms. Vass’s Answer: My antique hunter series is based on my two real-life best friends. They’ve evolved since the first book so it is not quite based so much on reality but I still stay true to their personalities though greatly exaggerated.
Q8: If you could write about anyone fiction/nonfiction, contemporary/historical who would you write about? Why?
Ms. Vass’s Answer: This is a very difficult question. I have a deep love for history. I would probably choose Anastasia Romanov. I find the whole period of history and the loss of the Romanov dynasty intriguing. I also love looking at the crown jewels.
Q9: What are some great books you’ve read recently?
I recently finished Radium Girls, a book about the women who worked in the radium factories back in the 1930s, and their fight for justice. I could not put the book down. I found it so horrifying, fascinating and heartbreaking. I also recently finished Fortune’s Children, the fall of the House of Vanderbilt. The book details the lavish spending by the heirs of the Vanderbilt fortune. It is amazing the extremes that individuals spent and I found the story fascinating.
Q10: What books have influenced your life the most?
Ms. Vass’s Answer: This is also a hard question. I have always been a reader. I was influenced very early on by the Nancy Drew series and the complete Wizard of Oz collection. These works made me realize early on that I wanted to write, and I’ve always wanted to write mysteries.
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. Vass’s Answer: I would love to and have spent the day shopping with Anne, the heroine in the Antique Hunters Mysteries. We both share similar tastes for fine things particularly antique jewelry, and it would be a fun relaxing way to spend the day.
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. Vass’s Answer: When I first started, I read every review on Amazon and often thought of responding. I haven’t responded to them and won’t. I did have a reviewer on Amazon comment on editing on one of the books so since then I have hired an editor.
Thank you again to Ms. Vass for being willing to answer my questions! It’s always a pleasure to read the author’s answers! Below you will find a synopsis of the book, purchase links, Rafflecopter giveaway link, and the author’s bio. If you wish to visit other stops on the tour, please click on the banner at the bottom and visit the main tour page. You’ll find a list of tour participants there. Thanks for joining me today!
In 1865, Elizabeth Keckley, Mary Todd Lincoln’s dressmaker, conspired to change the course of the Civil War. Crossing lines between North and South, the band of conspirators wove a plan that remained undiscovered for more than 150 years until Antique Hunter Anne Hillstrom finds one of Keckley’s gowns. She and fellow Antique Hunter CC Muller unravel the mystery that has left a trail of dead bodies, leading to the doorstep of their antique store, Great-Aunt Sybil’s Attic.
Dressed to Kill is the fifth book in the Antique Hunters Mystery Series. Rooted in history, the series reimagines real-life events blurring the line between fact and fiction.
About the Author
With a passion for shopping and antiques, Vicki Vass turned in her reporter’s notebook to chronicle the adventures of Anne and CC, two antique hunters who use their skills to solve a murder case.
Vicki has written more than 1,400 stories for the Chicago Tribune as well as other commercial publications including Home & Away, the Lutheran and Woman’s World. Her science fiction novel, The Lexicon, draws on her experience in Sudan while writing about the ongoing civil war for World Relief.
She lives in the Chicago area with her husband, writer and musician Brian Tedeschi, son Tony, Australian shepherd Bandit, kittens Terra and Pixel, seven koi and Gary the turtle.
Imogen’s spent her twenties in Seattle, saving every penny and missing every party, to follow her dream of opening her own bakery.
When that dream goes up in flames, she accepts a spot in a mysterious baking contest—one she doesn’t remember entering. She travels to a bustling, medieval village off the coast of France and discovers an enchanting world of magic and mystery, and learns that she, too, possesses powers.
Unable to so much as cast a spell, Imogen struggles to keep up with the other witches and wizards who have come from all over the magical world to the Water Kingdom’s big competition. She juggles relationships with a sweet new friend, a snarky baking fire, and a brooding, handsome baker. As Imogen falls for this bewitching world, she fears she won’t master her magic in time to win the job of Royal Head Baker, and will be forced to return to the shambles of her non magical life.
It only gets worse, when a competitor drops dead in the middle of the big white baking tent, and Imogen’s the prime suspect. Now, she’ll not only have to survive the vampire and psychic judges, but also clear her name by finding the real murderer, before they strike again.
With a killer on the loose, a missing prince, and the Summer Solstice Festival fast approaching, Imogen will have to bake like her life depends on it- because it just might.
About the Author
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).