Tag Archive | Mystery

Lost Legacy Author Annette Dashofy Interview, Review and Giveaway!

Annete Dashofy is visiting today  to talk about her new book Lost Legacy.  She was kind enough to answer some questions about her writing process and her book!  Don’t forget to find my prize guy for her Raffle Copter Giveaway!

Tell us a little about yourself.  

Annette Dashofy-small file

Thanks so much for having me here today, Teresa. I’ve been writing since I was a kid, but became serious about being published about ten years ago. My first publication credits were in nonfiction, writing for magazines, especially Pennsylvania Magazine. I also wrote a number of short stories along with my long fiction. While I have a few novel-length manuscripts hidden in my closet that should never see the light of day again, my first novel to be published was CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE (Henery Press, March 2014), featuring paramedic/deputy coroner Zoe Chambers. LOST LEGACY is the second in that series. As for other jobs, I’ve had quite a few, including a stint as an EMT on our local ambulance service, which serves as fodder for the stories. Right now though, besides writing, my only other real job is teaching yoga privately. I have two students (no, I’m not seeking new students) who have been with me for probably 15 years. And I take care of my 94-year-old mom, although thankfully, she’s in terrific shape.

What inspired the idea behind your book?

When I was a kid, my mom told a story about her two uncles who died under mysterious circumstances at nearly the same time in their barn. As she told it, foul play was definitely involved. (Cue the spooky music.) A few years back, I decided to do some investigating with thoughts of writing about it. What I discovered was there was NOTHING suspicious about the deaths. In fact, the brothers died 10 years apart. I was so disappointed. My one good bit of family folklore never really happened! However, being a mystery writer, I decided to take my mom’s completely fictional story and flesh it out. Hence, in LOST LEGACY, a modern day suicide (or is it?) has ties to a series of mysterious deaths tracing back over several decades, including the murder/suicide of a pair of brothers—Zoe’s great-uncles.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination? When you were working as an EMT, did you start to see potential plotlines for your writing?

A little of both. Besides that story of my great-uncles, LOST LEGACY also tells the story of Pete Adams’ dad who comes to visit for a while. Harry Adams suffers from Alzheimer’s, as did my father. While I stress that Harry is NOT my dad, I did borrow a lot of Dad’s idiosyncrasies for the character. Back when I was working as an EMT, I honestly wasn’t thinking about someday writing about it. If I had, I’d have taken better notes!

Who is your favorite character to create scenes for in the book?

Harry Adams was absolutely my favorite character to write in LOST LEGACY. I was concerned about making him “real.” Alzheimer’s is a horrible, horrible disease and there isn’t anything entertaining about it. I didn’t want Harry to be depressing, even though so much about his illness is. However, he took over the page and stole every scene he was in.

Tell us about your short stories and where we can find them.

My short mysteries have been published in Spinetingler Magazine, Mysterical-e Magazine, Fish Tales: The Guppy Anthology, and Lucky Charms: 12 Crime Tales (an anthology put together by my Pittsburgh Chapter of Sisters in Crime). The two anthologies are available in print and e-book formats through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The others can probably still be found in the archives of Spinetingler and Mysterical-e. One of those short stories, “A Signature in Blood,” actually introduces the characters of Pete and Zoe and was nominated in 2007 for a Derringer Award. I’m noodling with the idea of re-releasing it in e-book format as a “gift” for my Pete and Zoe fans. Stay tuned. And my story “Sweet Deadly Lies” in Lucky Charms focuses on Detective Wayne Baronick from the Zoe Chambers books.

How can readers find your books and are there more coming in this series?

Both books are available at bookstores everywhere. If your bookstore doesn’t stock them, they should be able to order them. They’re also available in all e-book formats. You can order and request a signed copy through Mystery Lovers Bookshop (www.mysterylovers.com). Yes, there are more Zoe Chambers mysteries coming. The third in the series, BRIDGES BURNED, is scheduled to be released in April 2015.

Click on me to enter to win a signed copy of Lost Legacy!

Click on me to enter to win a signed copy of Lost Legacy!

LOST LEGACY front sm fileLOST LEGACY SYNOPSIS

On a sultry summer afternoon, Paramedic Zoe Chambers responds to a call and finds a farmer’s body hanging from the rafters of his hay barn. What first appears to be a suicide quickly becomes something sinister when Zoe links the victim to a pair of deaths forty-five years earlier. Her attempts to wheedle information from her mother and stepfather hit a brick wall of deception, one that brings into question everything Zoe knows about her late father, who died in a car crash when she was eight. Or did he?

Police Chief Pete Adams fears Zoe’s inquiries are setting her up for deeper heartbreak and putting her in danger. As Zoe and Pete inch closer to the truth, they discover that a missing gun links the crimes which span more than four decades. But the killer isn’t done. Two more Vance Township residents fall victim to the same gun, and when tragedy strikes too close to home, Zoe realizes her family is in the crosshairs.

MY REVIEW

Zoe Chambers is an EMT in a small town in Pennsylvania. In the very first scene Dashofy gets your attention with a suicide by hanging, and then just keeps the story rolling with strong characters and excellent plot complete with some beautifully written wrong paths for the reader to stumble down. I loved Zoe and Pete’s relationship, but I also loved the sheer selfishness of Zoe’s mother and the stubbornness of the local farmers. Murder? Who cares? We have hay to bring in from the fields! As the story unfolds, the reader finds this isn’t the first hanging in this barn in Vance Township, and Zoe just happens to be connected to it. Great storytelling! Now I have to go back and read the first book in the series.  5 STARS

New Review of Buzzkill from Brooke Blogs

I’m over at Brooke Blogs today with an excerpt of Buzzkill and a review from Brooke.  Here is a part of her review.

Though Buzz Kill is the fourth in the Pecan Bayou series, I found I was definitely able to read it as a stand-alone. I felt like I had a good grasp of the characters. Buzz Kill is a perfect cozy mystery: it has romance and a touch of humor. I love that in a cozy!

Go to Brooke Blogs to read the rest of the review.

Thank you Brooke!

Readers are also leaving some great helpful hints that Betsy would love to use in her column.

Be sure to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a jar of Texas honey and a $10 Amazon gift card.

Buzzkill Featured at Kaisy Daisy’s Corner Today

KaisyDaisy

I’m hopping over to Kaisy Daisy’s Corner today on my Great Escapes Book Tour for Buzzkill.  Come visit me there for an excerpt from Buzzkill and Kaisy Daisy’s wonderful review!  Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for an Amazon gift card and a good ol’ jar of Texas honey!

Five Secrets of Self Publishing-Guest Post by Jennifer Oko

I am so excited to have Jennifer Oko doing a guest blog for me today!  She has just come out with her new humorous mystery Head Case  (my favorite kind of mystery!) so be sure to check out more about her book at the bottom of the blog post.   Oh, and don’t forget to look for a GIVEAWAY link 😉

Jennifer Oko Author of Head Case

Jennifer Oko
Author of Head Case

Five Secrets of Self Publishing

A few months ago I published my third book, a humorous mystery novel called HEAD CASE. My first two books entered the world in the traditional way, landing first on bookstore shelves before making their way into people’s hands. As we all now know, the world of eBook publishing has changed all of that, and I decided to take the publication of my latest novel into my own hands.

HEAD CASE is about a young woman named Olivia Zack—a neuroscientist, pharmaceutical consultant…and murder victim—who embarks on a postmortem quest involving ethically challenged executives, spotlight-hungry celebrities, third-rate mobsters, and drug-dealing babushkas as she attempts to deconstruct the events that led up to her mind-altering death.

After reading story after story about once conventionally published authors having lots of fun (and occasionally great success) in the brave new world of digital self-publishing, I realized that an eBook would be the perfect publishing platform for this somewhat unconventional book.

It turns out, however, that to do it right, it’s not as simple as just clicking “upload” and kicking back to watch the book start to sell.

Here are a few things I have learned so far:

1. It’s important to dress the part. If you want your book to hold its own next to books with huge publishing houses behind them, your book has to look good. Really good. Inside and out. And that costs money. I did a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for things like the cover art, proofreading, formatting, and promotional and marketing support. It was also a great way to make me accountable to my “investors” and give me the kick in the pants to finally put the book out there.

 

2. It helps to know who your friends are. Create a team to help share your tweets and posts. It’s an awkward thing to directly ask people to do, but unless you have a following like Lady Gaga’s (in which case, you probably don’t need to read this), chances are you alone can’t get the social media outreach you will need to let the world know that your book even exists.

Please be my friend at facebook.com/jenniferokoauthor and follow me on Twitter at @jennifer_oko. 😉

3. You need to fill up the empty seats. Nobody goes into a new restaurant if the tables are empty. Same with books. It’s critical to get at least a few reviews and ratings up from the start (see friends, above). So, I will confess that a few of the early posts on the Amazon page are from people I know. The wonderful thing is that now, the vast majority of reviews, more than two dozen and counting, are from people I’ve never met in my life. It’s an amazing thing to read a positive review from a complete stranger, no strings attached.

4. Be patient, because time can be on your side. I laugh at this one, because I can’t take my own advice, but I know I could use it. When I published my first two books, I was told there was a three week window for reviews, and if your book didn’t hit then, forget it. With self-published eBooks, the window is much bigger. Overnight sensations are rare. Many of the new self-publishing superstars talk about how things started slow, but over a few months time, books started to move.

5. Be realistic. For every self-publishing superstar, there are hundreds of thousands of other authors who are lucky to turn a profit at all. But just remember that even if the book doesn’t become a bestseller, it has more readers than it would have had if it just sat on your harddrive year after year.

YOU FOUND THE GIVEAWAY!  Click Here to Go to Jennifer’s Rafflecopter Giveaway for a signed copy of her book GLOSS.

Here is Jennifer’s new book Head Case.  Check it out!  HEAD-CASE-COVER-new dimensions (1) (1)

Book Description:

As one reviewer states: “HEAD CASE is an enjoyable gem of a mystery, and more…There are drug-dealing grannies, pill-popping celebrities, Russian mob bosses, eccentric ex-Soviet chemists, feuding roommates, faltering friendships, bad bosses and a rat named Raskolnikov – so how can you not have fun?

HEAD CASE is a new, exciting and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny mystery from an author whose work has been called “SIMPLY RIVETING” by The New York Times and “SHARP AND FAST-PACED” by Publisher’s Weekly. It’s like Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones meets Carl Hiaasen’s Nature Girl (with a dash of Janet Evanovich’s One for the Money) as Olivia embarks on a postmortem quest to deconstruct the remarkable events that lead up to her mind-altering death.

A comic satire of the influence of the psychopharmaceutical industry on American life, HEAD CASE takes Olivia and her estranged friend and roommate Polly Warner on a collision course involving ethically challenged executives, spotlight-hungry celebrities, third-rate mobsters and drug-dealing babushkas. A smart and savvy page-turner, HEAD CASE explores the meaning of personal relationships, emotional intelligence, and mental health while taking the reader on a synapse-stirring, neurotransmitting rollicking ride.

Praise for Head Case

“Head Case is an enjoyable gem!” ~Dan McGirt, Amazon Reviewer

“Oko’s writing is as addictive as the pills she pokes fun at!” ~ElevenelevenAM, Amazon Reviewer

“All I can say is that if you don’t put ALL YOUR OTHER BOOKS AWAY and read just the FIRST chapter you are NUTS; you will find yourself going and going and I will just say it now –your welcome!” ~Jennifer Elizabeth Hyndman, Amazon Reviewer

Excerpt from HEAD CASE

It’s all very dramatic. Although I suppose on some level, in the end, that is what Polly wanted. I mean, she didn’t want anyone dead, certainly not anyone she knew. The opposite really. She once told me she just wanted it all to be very alive. Life. Which is drama, right?

I think she was probably right, that to some degree that’s what we all want. Or wanted. If we were going to be satisfied just living our lives with the dull drudgery of the everyday, then why would we spend so much time fantasizing about what’s next, what’s in, what’s hot? If dull drudgery made us fly, Polly wouldn’t even have the silly career she has. Celebrity publicists wouldn’t exist. No one would aspire to anything. And without aspirational living, who would care about celebrities, luxury goods, or, hear me out now, the pursuit of happiness. Right? So maybe there’s a very direct link between our celebrity culture and our societal eagerness to pop a pill.

I know it might sound like a stretch that there could be a connection between designer psychopharmaceuticals and, say, designer fashions, but if you stop to consider that, with the exception of certain celebrity Scientologists, just about everyone who is anyone in the world of the aspirational has certainly popped a few in their time, it makes sense. We live by these assumptions that overnight success is possible, that shiny happy people are models to uphold, that tomorrow any of us could be the next A-lister, the next gazillionaire. Couldn’t there be a connection here? If there is a pill for every little micro-problem in our brains, why not believe that there’s a quick fix for everything else too? I’m sure Polly used to believe that. I know she did.

This is what’s so nice about being dead.

I get to play the role of wise sage, and with an amazing perspective. Because when you die, not only can you flit around the present, you also get to watch stuff in rewind. You get to go inside peoples’ heads in the past tense and follow the firings of their synapses, medicated or not, as they spit them toward the present. Yes, Cher, it turns out that you can turn back time. But the catch is-drum roll please-you can’t be alive to do it. And so, proverbial remote in hand, I’m now able to backtrack; I can take a look and try to figure out how this all happened to my best friend. And by extension, of course, how this happened to me. How, at the ripe age of twenty-eight, with a future as bright as whatever cliché the tabloids will soon be gushing, my body-the body of Olivia Zack-is lying down there in the back of a black Lexus SUV (license plate NYX1KZ, in the event anyone can do anything with this information) while I’m up here, floating around bodiless in the ether, shape-shifting, wall-transgressing, house-haunting, and whatever else it might be that you imagine we ghosts can do. I’m trying to figure that out as well. After all, this is fairly new for me, too. I’ve only been like this for a few minutes, just long enough to zip up to Polly’s apartment and witness her flailing about, waiting for me to come and comfort her once again.

Anyway, in order to figure this out, it seems logical that before I can fully focus on my ending, I need to go back to the source of the whole mess. Because it’s very clear, especially considering the other blood that was spilled near my remains, that I seem to have gotten caught up in a drug war. And I’m not talking crack cocaine. I’m talking Prozac. I’m talking Ritalin. I’m talking Adderall, Lexapro, Zyprexa, Klonopin and what have you. The good stuff. The blockbusters. The billion-dollar babies.

Go get some popcorn. The show’s about to begin.

Click Here to Go to Jennifer’s Rafflecopter Giveaway for a signed copy of her book GLOSS.

It’s About Doggone Time! My New Book Is Out On Kindle!

So, there I was working away on the final edit of my third book in the Pecan Bayou Series.  I was within a few hours of finishing and…BAM.  I fell and broke my wrist.  It took me several days to be able to move my thumb again but here it is!Doggone.Dead.Cover

Description:

Give me land lots of land….and a puppy on the loose. When Betsy Livingston’s puppy runs away, she has no idea it will lead her to a murder on a movie cowboy star’s estate. Not only has there been a murder, but the town reports sightings of the dead cowboy himself. He’s out to seek revenge on all who wronged his daughter who became the victim of her own money-loving butler. Enjoy a little time on the Fourth of July in the tiny town of Pecan Bayou, Texas where old cowboys never die...

You can pick up a copy here.

It will be out in paperback form by next week.

I have to admit after my dear dog Hank died last year, I found myself watching Marley and Me over and over again.  The puppy in the book has all the great qualities Hank had except he never chewed the arm off of a leather couch.  (Black duct tape works well for repairs.  Betsy would be so proud of my helpful hint!)

The Hot Mess-Read Gayle Carline’s Latest Mystery

It’s a double-post Saturday!  Gayle Carline, author of the Peri Minneopa mystery series, has a brand new book out, and of course Gayle knows all about solving crime with a great deal of fun involved! I am so excited to be a part of her book launch.  If you haven’t read any of her other books think cleaning lady turned private investigator. You know that could be the definition of every mother of a teenager?   I am in the middle of reading the third book in the series, Freezer Burn, and love it that my favorite character, Benny is back singin’ Dino.

Gayle is guest posting today to tell you all about her latest book THE HOT MESS and you might want to take notes–there will be a test later.

Gayle:

Teresa is a brand new friend of mine, having discovered her on Goodreads. I’ve read both of her books and I’m looking forward to the next one. So I first have to thank her for giving me a little space on her blog to run a contest for my new book, THE HOT MESS. If you’ve been following the other blogs in the contest, you’ve come to the right place.

It’s the third book in my Peri Minneopa Mystery series. Peri is a housecleaner-turned-detective, who traded in her dustmop for a PI license. Surveillance and background checks are easy money, unless you’re getting chased, beaten, or shot—which happens to her from time to time.

In THE HOT MESS, Peri is asked to investigate a case of arson and murder. It’s not exactly on her menu of services, but she agrees to help her friend. What she uncovers are family secrets… and danger.

Here are the rules: There are excerpts from the book on this and four other blogs (see below). Visit my blog on Monday, November 26th, and I’ll ask five questions, the answers to which can be found in these five excerpts. The first person who answers all five correctly gets a free copy of THE HOT MESS, either e-book or paperback. I’m feeling so good about everything right now, I might even give out more free copies.

 

EXCERPT:

Their conversation wandered to the happier subjects of the beloved orange cat, and the trio’s trip to Steubenville for Dean Martin’s birthday. Benny couldn’t get the words out fast enough to tell Peri about the tributes and the tours and the souvenirs.

“I brought you a souvenir, too, Miss Peri,” he said. “It’s in the car.” He raced ahead to Phil’s old Mercedes sedan and opened the back door.

“How was it traveling with him?” Peri asked.

Nancy smiled. “Oh, it was fun. He reminds me so much of our grandson. He lives in Boston, so we don’t see him very often, but he’s an Aspie, just like Benny.”

“Aspie?”

“Asperger’s Syndrome. It’s on the spectrum of autism. They can have repetitive patterns, obsessive interests, and usually have a hard time with social skills.”

“I didn’t realize,” Skip said. “I just thought he was Benny.”

Phil laughed. “Well I’m sure they didn’t have a name for it when he was younger. I think if you’re not diagnosed as a child, then as an adult, people just think you’re weird. They don’t try to pin the diagnosis on you anymore.”

Benny scampered up to Peri, a wrinkled brown bag in his hand. He held it out to her, looked at it, and took it back. He spent several seconds smoothing the wrinkles as best he could, then handed it to her at last.

“Thank you,” Peri told him, and reached inside. It was a Dean Martin bobblehead doll, his body bouncing as she held onto his oversized head.

“Do you like it? I figure you can put it on your dashboard. Or maybe on that shelf where the blue moose was.”

The blue ceramic moose had been knocked from her curio shelf by Matt Helm while she was providing a foster home for him. Benny had been caring for the cat, and suggested several times that she needed more Dino stuff in her house. She guessed her gift was his attempt at starting the trend.

“Sounds like a perfect spot,” Skip said.

Benny didn’t seem to hear him. He was examining his ashtray again, fingering all the grooves and tracing the curves. He popped from his reverie to face her.

“Miss Peri, I want to hire you.”

“To do what?”

He rolled his eyes. “To find out what happened to my house. Somebody must’ve killed that guy and tried to burn my house down to hide the body.”

She looked up at Skip, who kissed the top of her head. “I got what I needed. You’re on your own.”

“Oh, I don’t know,” she said, watching the detective walk to his car and thinking, coward. “The fire chief says—”

“The fire chief is wrong.” He cut her off. “I never bought a can of paint in my life, and I never put anything next to wires or outlets or the stove or matches or, or, or anything hot. My mom taught me better. I may have a lot of stuff in my house, but I know the rules. Somebody set the fire. And you can find out who.”

“Oh, I don’t know.” Peri repeated herself, in an attempt to consider what he was saying. “I’m not a fire investigator.”

“But you will talk to the investigator, just like you talk to the police officers and figure things out. I can help you, too, like I did before.”

“You’re finished with your community service hours, and I can’t afford to hire you.”

“Why not? In jail, we found out minimum wage is eight dollars an hour. Charge me eight dollars more than your regular fee, then when I pay you, you pay me my eight dollars.”

“While mathematically correct, it sounds a little crazy,” Peri said.

Phil agreed. “Sounds like you’re paying to work for her.”

“But I have plenty of money,” Benny told them. “And when the insurance pays me, I’ll have even more money.”

Peri saw his hands massaging the ashtray. They worked together, kneading his stress into the glass. Here was a guy who could make it through life as long as there weren’t any problems, but problems wouldn’t leave him alone. She felt her heart soften. “Okay, Ben, I’ll at least look into everything. But you don’t have to help me.”

 

* * *

 

The other blog sites are:

 

The adorable Andrew Kaufman, http://www.andrewekaufman.blogspot.com/

 

The lovely and talented Jenny Hilborne, http://jfhilborne.wordpress.com/

 

The fierce but friendly Michele Scott, http://adventuresnwriting.blogspot.com/

 

Mr. All-Things-Dean-Martin, http://ilovedinomartin.blogspot.com/

 

 

When you’ve visited them, come on over on Monday and see me at http://gaylecarline.blogspot.com/

Book Review-Family Fallacies by Kassandra Lamb

Ever wonder about the world of psychologists?  I love that line from Steel Magnolias where Truvy asks M’Lynn to tell her about her clientele stating there are “some pretty sick tickets” in this town.  In Family Fallacies Kate Huntington, who is picking up her life after the death of her husband finds herself in the middle of some pretty fascinating characters.

Here is my review from Goodreads.

Family Fallacies (A Kate Huntington Mystery, #3)Family Fallacies by Kassandra Lamb

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mystery and romance–two of my favorites. Kassandra Lamb’s protagonist, Kate, is a psychologist treating a patient who could be recalling memories of childhood abuse. This is a fascinating topic to write about and the story’s pace and characters were wonderful. Great twist at the end.

Hoppin’ With the Bunnies Today

I’m over at Bunnie’s Review today promoting my Halloween book A Dash of Murder.  Bunny hopped in and left me a wonderful review!

I love reading a good mystery and this one did not let me down. The author will take readers on a trail with ghost, murder and a little romance. This book is a short fast read. Yet, the author created a book that will keep readers interested until the end. I did not figure out the villain until it was revealed in the book. Okay no more about that I do not want to write any spoilers.

Betsy is another female that has been let down by a male. She is not the average female. She actually makes a name for herself as ‘The Happy Hinter’. Betsy was hassled into going with her aunt on a ghost hunting expedition. Betsy feels like she should do whatever her aunt ask her.

If you are looking for a book that will take you to a small town with a little romance, lots of mystery and ghost hunting then look no further. This is the book for you. This is a book for almost anyone. The romance is keep at a minimum with the mystery high. This is a page turner that will keep you wondering “Who Did It?”.

I understand this is a series. However I have not read any other books yet this was a great standalone read. I will look for other books by this author. It is a great read.

Thanks for a great read Teresa.

And the bunny’s rating—4 Carrots!

I feel so healthy.   Thank you!

Bunny is giving away a free ebook edition of A Dash of Murder.  To enter leave a comment below the article with a question for me.