Sunday, 29 November 2015

Author Spotlight and Book Giveaway with Edith Maxwell







I recently met up with author Edith Maxwell in Pittsfield, MA.  We had breakfast at a busy little breakfast and deli, Otto's, and chatted.
Edith is the author of 4 cozy mystery series:
Local Foods Mysteries which has 4 books in the series so far with the latest Farmed and Dangerous on the shelves.
The Quaker Midwife Mysteries series, her historical series, will debut in 2016 with the first book, Delivering the Truth.
The Lauren Rousseau Mysteries series, written under her pen name Tace Baker, has 2 books in the series.
And finally written under another pen name, Maddie Day, is her Country Store Mysteries.
Although she is busy writing and a member of certain groups such as Sisters in Crime which is what brought her to Pittsfield, she made time to sit down and answers some questions. I had my own questions I wanted answered but I started with some questions from her devoted fans.

Marilyn Watson asked "In the layout of the book, do you always try to have a character that is unlikeable as well as ones to like ?"
Edith's respond  "I set up a few suspects so that there is always someone to dislike."

Rosemary Pfeiffer asked "If you weren't a writer, what would you be ?"
Edith  "I had several careers before this one. I wrote software manuals, taught childbirth classes, and did farming, so I might be doing any one of those still."

Rosemary also asked "What is your favorite book that you wrote and why ?"
Edith  "Well, that's like asking who is your favorite child. That said, I'm really excited about Delivering the Truth, the first Quaker Midwife Mystery coming out in April."

Abby Fabian asked "When did you know that you wanted to be a writer ?"
Edith  "I wrote fiction as a child. I wrote a short story for the newspaper and won the contest and received a prize at age 11.  Then I wrote academically and as a free-lance journalist.  I have always read cozy mysteries so it just seemed natural to write them, which I started in 1994."

And she also asked "Are you one of those people that come up with the character and guide them, or do they just come into being in your head and guide you ?"
Edith  "I let them guide me and sometimes they even surprise me."

Jen Scott asked "Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book ?"
Edith  "That would be Flipped for Murder and Robbie Jordan is the main character, but I don't know who should play her. I'll let the readers help: Can you find me an actress with brown eyes in her twenties? Someone who isn't too slim, who might have long dark curly hair? Thanks!

Jen also asked  "What advice would you give to your younger self ?"
Edith  "I would tell myself to keep writing fiction, don't take a 30 year break."

Pearl R. Meaker wants to know "Are you an intuitive plotter or an outlining planner ?"
Edith  "I prefer to write into the headlights.  However, I have to write a synopsis for me editor, so I do, but that can change. I am kind of a hybrid author now."

Sue Farrell wanted to know "Will there be any new Lauren Rousseau mysteries any time soon ?"
Edith  "Lauren is taking a break.  We may or may not see her again, its in the air at this time."

And lastly Angela Chestnut asked " Why do you write mysteries ?"
Edith  "It is what I like to read, and  I like creating a puzzle and putting it together, making it all work."


                                              


And to get to know Edith Maxwell a little more I asked her some of my own questions.

How long does it take to write a book ?
Writing is my full-time job now. I'm not retired but I travel a lot. A first draft can take me about 2 months to write, and then I devote another month or to for revision and polishing

Why do you write under 3 different names ?  How to do you balance them ?

The publisher requires the pen names. But I link the names and books when I'm promoting and on my website. I focus on one series book at a time.

Do you have a writing schedule ?
As stated earlier, writing is my full time job.  I am up and writing by 7:00 am, write until 11:00 or so then I go for a "plotting walk".  Afternoons I do business work, computer work, promotional work.  Evenings and Sunday are off times.

What do you like to do when not writing ?
I like to cook, garden, do crosswords, watch movies and read.

Do you read ?  If so, what kinds or books do you read ? Favorite author ?
Yes, I like to read cozies.
There are so many great New England crime writers. Lucy Burdette, Kate Flora, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Hallie Ephron, and Julia Spencer-Fleming, as well as all the Wicked Cozy Authors (wickedcozyauthors.com), with whom I blog every weekday.  "If I could write like Julia, I'd die happy."

What book are you reading now ?
I just finished Sheila Connolly's "A Gala Event" and am in the middle of Lori Rader-Day's "Little Pretty Things."  Sadie Hartwell's "Yarned and Dangerous" is next.

What "technology" do you use for writing ?
I use Scrivener, its a writing tool for writers and its fabulous.

What inspires you ?
Everything inspires me, my imagination, stories I read or hear. I'm also so inspired by readers who tell me they love my books. It makes me want to write more!

Does your family read your books ?
Both of my sons read my books, and my sisters do, too

When and why did you begin writing ?
My now-ex-husband suggested it when my younger son went to kindergarten and I had my mornings free. I started writing what ended up as "A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die" (Local Foods Mystery #1) at that time

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider your mentor ?
Hallie Ephron. She's always been generous with advice and help.

Out of the three author names you write under do you have a favorite ?  If so, why ?
Edith Maxwell.  It's my actual name and the others are pseudonyms.

What question do you wish someone would ask you about your books that nobody has ?
Nobody ever asks how I get writing through the middle of a book.  Sometimes it is hard to get my arms around it. I have to put the beginning and the ending together and be fair to the reader.



                                             


 I was very excited to sit down with Edith especially after having read Flipped For Murder.  If you are anything like me, which if you are following this Blog, you probably are, you truly get into the book.  As you read the book, you feel like you are a part of the town, you can see everything, hear everything and even smell what the author is writing.  And when you finish the book and put it on the shelf or in a box, the story and the people stay with you for a while, like you don't want to leave the town or forget it all.

I highly recommend reading any of Edith Maxwell's book.  She has an amazing talent, is a super awesome person, and she made my first official interview go so smoothly.  This is not to say that I wasn't nervous waiting for her at the restaurant.  To me authors are MY celebrities....to read a book and then to be able to talk to the person who wrote it is an awesome feeling.

This was just the beginning for me and for you as well...... I am working on my next interview, Author Spotlight and Giveaway..... Susannah Hardy !!  And I even have the autographed book, Olive and Let Die, A Greek To Me Mystery, for the giveaway.  To be eligible to WIN the book, you have to submit a question that you would like me to ask Susannah when we chat.  Ask a question and your name goes into the drawing......it's that easy !!!!

Speaking of drawings, contests, autographed books anfd winning......
The winner of Flipped for Murder by Maddie Day (a.k.a. Edith Maxwell) is ABBY FABIAN !!!  Congrats Abby !!!!

I hope you enjoyed this interview as much as I did !

























Monday, 23 November 2015

Olive and Let Die (A Greek to Me Mystery Book 2) by Susannah Hardy



The second Greek to Me Mystery from the author of Feta Attraction

As manager of the Bonaparte House, a historic landmark and Greek restaurant in upstate New York, Georgie Nikolopatos knows her local legends—and her traditional Greek recipes are to die for.

Between her soon-to-be ex-husband Spiro coming out of the closet and her budding romance with Captain Jack Conway, Georgie’s life is beginning to feel like a soap opera.  And that’s before a surprise visit from her estranged mother Shirley, better known as soap star Melanie Ashley. But the dramatic family reunion takes a chilling turn when another long-lost relative turns up dead.

Just outside Spiro’s new restaurant, Georgie and Melanie find the body of Doreen Webber—a cousin Georgie never knew she had. With Spiro’s partner Inky on the list of suspects, Georgie begins to wonder what else her mother may be hiding. Is the dead-broke diva capable of murder?  She’d better find out before someone adds a new twist to the family plot.

Includes delicious Greek recipes! (summary via Amazon)


Susannah Hardy is the Debbie MacComber of cozy mysteries but also with a murder or two.  Hardy writes about a small, close knit tourist town with lovable characters, restaurants you want to dine in, shops to shop in and a Spa on an island in a castle.  Susannah Hardy had me with Feta Attraction, the first book in her Greek To Me Mystery series but Olive And Let Die blew me away ! ! !  Hardy has such a talent in her writing that you are swept into the book from page one.

In Olive and Let Die you get to know Georgie and her "family" better, some of which she didn't even know existed and one that has always been there right under her nose.  When her soap opera star mother returns to town after a very lenghty absence, the town turns into a real life soap opera.  As Georgia tries to find out the reason for her mothers sudden, secretive return, they stumble across a dead body.  As she tries to balance her restaurant responsibilites, spend time getting to know her new beau, Mr. Hottie Captain Jack Conway, help her soon to be gay ex-husband and his partner find a cook for the restaurant they are opening up, and try to uncover the truth behind her mothers visit, she tries to figure out the murder of her distant cousin, Doreen.

Georgie didn't even know long time resident of Bonaparte Bay Doreen Webber was a relative until after discovering her body with the mother who abandoned her many, many years ago.  Why is her famous mother in town ?  And why can't she get her mother or her annoying assistant, Caitlyn to talk about it.  Georgie knows there is something going on, especially when a friend warns her to be careful but then ends up dead before they can explain.  Is Georgie a target ?  Is her mother in danger ?  As she gets closer to finding out the truth, she unravels some long ago hidden secrets concerning a family she didn't know anything about.....her family.

If you enjoy a book that keeps you entertained throughout the entire story, a book with plenty of surprises, some twists, and a shocking ending that almost guarantees there is more to come in other book, then you need to read this book.  You will be a fan for life !!!

Review by Missi S.


Tuesday, 17 November 2015

A Dickens of a Murder (Canterville Book Shop Mystery 1) by Joyce & Jim Lavene, Jeni Chappelle


A Dickens of a Murder (Canterville Book Shop Mystery 1)

Christmas at Canterville! 
Lisa Wellman and Simon Canterville are surprised to find a dead man on their roof in the midst of rushing to open the Canterville Book Shop in time for the holidays. And not just any dead man – Ebenezer Hart – the man who opposed the book shop opening in Olde Town, Portsmouth, Virginia. 
What might be more surprising is when Daniel Fairhaven – Lisa’s ex – turns up at the door of the three-story Victorian house to head the police investigation. She hasn’t seen him in years but the sparks start to fly as soon as they are in the same room together. 
Simon and Lisa are obviously the best suspects for the murder. Each of them had something to gain by Hart’s death. Then an attempt on Simon’s life throws that theory into a tailspin. 
But the biggest surprise yet comes when the ghost of Charles Dickens turns up to help Lisa with the murder investigation – and writing the mystery novel she has been working on for years. 
Without a doubt, Daniel and Dickens in Lisa’s life means trouble. And there’s still the matter of trying to get the book shop open with a killer on their heels.  (summary via Goodreads)



This is the first in a new series,The Canterville Book Shop Series by Joyce and Jim Lavene. This is a wonderful start to a new series that I know will be extraordinary. I couldn't put it down once I started reading. This book is magical in every way. Not only do you have a murder mystery to solve but you have ghosts, adventure, and a little romance all rolled into one great read.
This book takes place in Olde Town, Portsmouth, Virginia where business partners Simon Canterville and Lisa Wellman are trying to get their book shop opened before Thanksgiving. With all of the rush to get everything organized they don't realize a dead body in on the roof of the three story Victorian home they are converting to their dream business. Of course the man on their roof is none other than Ebenezer Hart, the very man that Simon has been fighting in court to get zoning for their book shop. This puts a major kink in the plans to open since Simon is taken to the police station as the prime suspect. It just so happens that the Sheriff in charge is Deputy Chief Daniel Fairhaven, Lisa's ex-husband that she hasn't seen for twelve years. WOW!!! Now, Miss Wellman not only has to get Simon out of police custody, get the shop ready for a maybe opening, and solve a murder but now she has her ex to deal with. What is Lisa to do? She is a Librarian that has always loved books. She is also starting her dream of writing and had done a lot of research on everything from poisons to weapons. Will this be enough to help Simon? Will it be enough to prevent something else bad from happening to The Canterville Book Shop? Oh and btw did I mention the house is haunted by the greatest writer of our time, Charles Dickens. He is here for Lisa's help. He wants her to help him finish his last work that he couldn't do in life because of a stroke. Gee whiz right? What else will Lisa have on her plate? And will she be able to help everyone or will she be the next victim?
I loved all the characters in this new series. Especially Puck, Maggie May, Truffles, and Wordsworth. I look forward too many more adventures with Simon and Lisa at The Canterville Book Shop. This book meant a lot to me knowing that it was dedicated to Joyce. Everyone in the Cozy book world has suffered a great loss. She was an amazing writer and made everyone she touched either in person or Facebook feel like they were her best friend. I am glad to have known her through Facebook and I am glad that her words will never die. They will be read by thousands now and in the future. God Bless.

Review by Penny M.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Chance to WIN an autographed book by author EDITH MAXWELL

Sunday November 22nd.... I will be traveling to Pittsfield MA to have lunch with Edith M. Maxwell and possibly another Cozy Mystery Author. I will be interviewing her / them over lunch.

I'm thinking next Monday there will be a book giveaway, autographed book at that ! ! ! 
I think this is going to be a fun and interesting lunch seeing as I will be talking to Edith as well as channeling Trace Baker & Maddie Day. ( If you're a fan of Edith's you know what Im talking about )  If you don't already know.  She writes under 3 different names..... Besides Edith Maxwell books, there are Tace Baker and her latest Maddie Day.  

I know some questions I want to ask her..... Do you have a question you would like me to ask her ? Let me know, comment on this post or email me your question and I will include it in the interview. ( You will even get credit for the question when I write up the interview )
You never know maybe your question will be so unique that it could win you a FREE book !  

To learn more about Edith and her books, check out her page : 
http://edithmaxwell.com

And send me a question to ask Edith for a chance to WIN an autographed book ! ! !







Friday, 13 November 2015

Margaritas, Marzipan, and Murder (A Cape Bay Cafe Mystery Book 3) by Harper Lin



Summer tourist season is winding down, but the Cape Bay police find a dead body in the alley beside Mary Ellen’s Souvenirs and Gifts. Police rule it a suicide, but Francesca Amaro knows it’s murder. Who would buy a bag of souvenirs, including a box of delicious marzipan, only to commit suicide moments later? 
Even though the police tell her to stay out of the case, Fran is too curious not to investigate, even though she’s running a busy and popular cafĂ©. 
Includes special marzipan and margarita recipes! This is Book 3 in The Cape Bay Cafe Mysteries. The books don’t have to be read in order.  (summary via Amazon)


I love this series. It just keeps getting better and better. You won't be able to put it down. The sleepy little town of Cape Bay grows on you from the first chapter. The characters make you feel like they could be your neighbors.
Dawn and Fran take Sammy out for a girls night to help her get over her break up with long time boyfriend, Jared. Little did they know they would end the night looking at a dead body in an alley next to Mary Ellen's shop down the boardwalk. The best way I can describe Fran is a new age Nancy Drew. She finds a clue and runs with it much to the dismay of detective Mike Stanton. She begins to investigate because she has a feeling that it may not be as easy as just a suicide. With the help of her boyfriend Matt they find out the name of the person in the alley. What would a seemingly innocent family man/Pharmacist be doing in Cape Bay without his family? Who would want to kill him and why? This latest adventure finds that not everything is as it seems in Cape Bay and you should be afraid of the shadows. This is a must read clean mystery that will have you wondering and shocked at the end.
 

Review by Penny M.






The Folly Under the Lake by Salema Nazzal



Set in the early 1930s at a country house in Surrey. Witton Park is owned by crooked, multi-millionaire, oil speculator Walter Sinnet and he lives there with his wife Blanche and their two adult children Harry and Rose.
Harry is a good-natured bookworm who spends most of his time in the library, and has nothing in common with his father who wants him to work in the family company. His sister Rose, fun but feisty, wants some excitement in her life.
Walter has become a multi-millionaire by swindling the investors in his company and has a vast lake and underwater folly engineered and put onto his property. People can sit in the folly and look through the windows into the lake and watch the fish swim past.
The Sinnet family have a weekend house party and amongst them are Joseph Brewer and his wife Florence who are a couple in need of money who are desperate to invest in Walter’s business.
Another guest is Hattie Abberton, who has been invited by Blanche and has a big secret to hide.
Other guests include grieving widow Cordelia Brown, who is Blanche Sinnet’s niece, jewellery expert George Brown and Blanche’s childhood friend Aubrey Sapping, who is in love with her.
That night a storm happens that is so severe that a large tree falls down over the entrance gates making it impossible for anyone to leave the estate.
The next morning Florence Brewer’s jewellery has disappeared and a dead body is found floating in the lake facing down through the folly’s glass roof.
Inspector Marcus Thomas and his son James, who has a day off school because of the storm, soon arrive at the property. Along with bumbling sidekick Constable Turner, the three set out to solve the mystery.  (summary via Goodreads)


I loved this book! Think Agatha Christie meets Sherlock Holmes and you're got it. Loved the Olde English charm from the setting of the book to the characters. The author grabs you from the first page.
The author takes you to a country home in Surrey, where Witton Park is located. It is a elegant home owned by Walter Sinnet, a not so nice man who has made his fortune by conning everyone around him. He has built this estate to be extremely lavish with man made lakes and an underwater folly smoking room. The Sinnet's are having a party with some interesting guests, one of which will be his demise. Everyone is a suspect when Walter is found floating above his own folly dead. Who would want him dead? The better question should be who wouldn't want him dead. All the guests have a reason to want him dead, even his wife. Yikes! In comes Inspector Marcus Thomas and the bumbling Constable Turner. They are there to try and figure out what is going on at the estate. Inspector Thomas's son James even tries to get in on the action since he is off school. Will they be able to flush out the killer before he or she leaves Witton Park scott free??? 
This book gives you a great mystery and who dunit as well as a fun adventure full of twists and turns. I didn't know who the killer was till the very end! I was shocked. This is a must read.

Review by Penny M.





Monday, 2 November 2015

The Bali Mystery (Amelia Moore Detective Series Book 1) by Linda Weaver Clarke



Amelia Moore, the founder of the Moore Detective Agency, specializes in missing persons. Her cases have taken her to some very interesting places and put her in some dangerous situations, but she always solves the case. With the help of Rick Bonito, her sometime partner, her business is flourishing. 

When Mrs. Brody hires Amelia and Rick to find her missing brother, they find themselves in Bali, Indonesia. They are mystified why her brother quit his job, put his home up for sale, and ran off to this mysterious and exotic island without telling a soul. (summary via Amazon)


What a treat it was reading The Bali Mystery.  Amelia's Detective Agency is hired to look for a lost brother.  Mrs. Brody's brother up and quit his job and left by cab in the middle of the night.  Now two months later he has not returned and she is worried.  Amelia and her handsome and sexy partner, Rick, find out William may have gone to Bali so that is where they head to.  

With the help of William's journal and a brochure in the journal they go around beautiful and exotic Indonesia searching for William.  As they search for William and get closer to finding him, they have to stay one step in front of the "Men in Black" that are tailing them.  Can they get to William and his big secret before the bad guys? And will Amelia cross the line from professional relationship to personal relationship with Rick ?

Linda Weaver Clarke takes you to this exotic place with her writing.  She writes with such detail you will think you are there.  Like I said....it was a treat reading this book and I cant wait to see where the next book takes me.

Review by Missi S.