What a year! A new president, childhood idols dying, and it seems like every month brought something no one expected. I wish each and every one of you all of the best for 2017, and I’m looking forward to it! By the way, my latest book, Trouble at the Animal Shelter, should be out within the week! I’ll let you know as soon as it’s available.
To celebrate the New Year, I’ve joined with some authors for a year end cozy mystery freebie and 99 cent special promotion. Murder at the Clinic, getBook.at/Clinic, is only 99 cents from now through January 2nd.
Here’s the information about the promotion:
So many people have contacted me regarding the leading characters in my cozy mysteries to tell me how much they enjoy reading about people in midlife. I ‘vethought about it a lot and for many years I’ve felt that there’s a big void of books for baby boomers and women who experience midlife changes, like the death of a spouse, divorce, infidelity, aging parents, children leaving home, career changes, etc.
My new Midlife Journey Series will deal with all of those issues and the first book in it, ALEXIS, was just published. Here’s the link: getBook.at/ALE While it doesn’t have a murder mystery in it, it certainly has elements of a cozy mystery plus a healthy dose of dogs and romance! I hope you enjoy the read as much as I enjoyed the write.
Here’s a little bit about it.
“Look at this way, you’re going to be an entirely new person.”
“I didn’t know there was anything wrong with the person I am right now,” Alexis said coldly. And so, at age fifty-two her midlife journey begins.
When her boss and his wife give Alexis weight loss surgery as an early Christmas bonus, it sets in motion a string of events no one could have foreseen. With the surgery comes the realization that anything is possible from losing weight, working out, a complete makeover, a new wardrobe, to men in her life for the first time. Each step is terrifying as time after time she’s forced to get out of her comfort zone because of all of the changes taking place.
When the Alexis package becomes more appealing it brings with it an exotic sports car, a glamorous face and body, and a chance at love. But when the ex-wife of the man she falls in love with wants to reconcile with him, Alexis’ hard-fought midlife victory becomes a nightmare, and she resorts to returning to what used to work when she didn’t want to deal with her feelings – food. Is she doomed to live a life of unhappiness or is there a happy ever after for her?
You can’t read about Alexis’ trials and tribulations without rooting for her every step of the way. Although her midlife journey forces her to come to terms with a lifetime of being overweight, her struggles dealing with changes in midlife is one every woman will face in one form or another. This is Alexis’ midlife journey.
I think I express the sentiment of everyone when I say how glad I am the elections have ended. Personally, I think it’s time to curl up with a good book or two or even more!
One of my favorite authors is B.R. Snow. I think I’ve read everything he’s written and I’ve been lucky enough to be a beta reader for a number of his books. I don’t think there’s a better author out there today. He recently has a new venture – a cozy mystery series. I asked him to stop by and talk about it. Believe me, these are books you don’t want to miss, particularly if you’re like me and love dogs and food! Enjoy!
DH – Today’s blog is with B.R. Snow, author of the popular Damaged Posse series as well as two standalone books; Divorce Hotel and Either Ore. His latest is the first book in his new cozy mystery series, and I have a feeling you’re all going to really enjoy it. Welcome, and congratulations on the new one. I really enjoyed it!
BR – Thanks, Dianne. I really appreciate being here and congratulations on all your success. As you know, I always look forward to the arrival of a new book from you. Your Cozy Bay series is one of my favorites.
DH – The Thousand Islands Doggy Inn series is completely different from your other books. Why did you decide to start writing a cozy mystery series?
BR – Yes, it is different, and I have to say that I am really enjoying writing the new series. But I hope I don’t confuse too many of my current readers in the process. (LOL) My other books are probably best described as adult crime thrillers and deal with a lot of themes that lend themselves to more of a global setting. And after seven books, I decided I wanted to take a bit of a break from that genre and do a wholesome series with a small town setting focusing on the characteristics and values of the people who enjoy living in a close-knit community.
As you know, I spend a lot of time on my characters and use a lot of comedy in my books. I thought my idea for the Thousand Islands Doggy Inn series would enable me to maintain my writing style while expanding into the cozy genre. Also, I’ve wanted to pay tribute to the Thousand Islands, the area where I grew up, for quite a while now. And I’m doing my best to highlight aspects of what it’s like to live there in a way so that the area almost becomes another character in the series.
And I found the prospect of writing a cozy series interesting, but very challenging. As you know, they are tricky books to write well, and I wanted to give the genre a shot for my own development as a writer. And I’m so glad I did. As I mentioned earlier, I’m really enjoying writing this series.
DH – Why don’t you tell us a bit about the Doggy Inn series?
BR – I’d love to. After I had decided to do a cozy series that would pay tribute to the Thousand Islands, I wanted to include two other things I love; dogs and good food. And soon the idea of having two female main characters with a love for the same three things was born. In short, Suzy Chandler, along with her best friend and business partner, Josie, own and operate the Thousand Islands Doggy Inn, a place they created to provide dogs with the things they deserve; which is the best of everything. As best friends, they share a lot of common interests, constantly bounce ideas off each other, and sometimes gets cranky with each other and bicker. I love writing Suzy and Josie’s characters and I think their relationship and reactions to the things that unfold around them is what makes the series so special.
The Doggy Inn is a combination full-service veterinary operation, boarding service, and a large dog rescue program. Since Suzy and Josie have a strict No Kill policy, the Doggy Inn is usually overflowing with rescue dogs, along with boarders and other dogs they consider part of their family.
The Thousand Islands Doggy Inn mysteries is an alphabet series, and one specific breed is featured in each book. The first book launches on Friday, November 11, and is titled The Case of the Abandoned Aussie. The story unfolds one morning when, while fishing, Suzie and Josie hook a really big one; the dead body of a rich candy magnate who owns an island in the area. They also find Chloe, an Australian Shepherd puppy, swimming nearby and frantically trying to survive the trauma of being thrown overboard in the middle of the night. As amateur sleuths who just can’t help snooping, Suzy and Josie embark on a mission to protect Chloe as well as identify the murderer. As the list of suspects grows, and the victims pile up, they find themselves trying to deal with a bizarre cast of characters and wondering if they just might be the next target.
The second book is called The Case of the Brokenhearted Bulldog and will launch at the end of November, and I’ve just finished the third installment, The Case of the Caged Cockers, a book that focuses on the despicable practice of and people who run illegal puppy mills. It has a Christmas theme and will launch around the Holidays.
Overall, it’s a very traditional cozy series, and I think it’s a great read for anyone who enjoys a good mystery.
DH – Since food is featured in the series, can readers expect to find recipes in each book?
BR – Actually, I’m thinking about doing a Thousand Islands Doggy Inn cookbook at some point featuring recipes of dishes that have been featured in the different books. I’ve just started playing around with the concept, but I’m toying with the idea of asking readers to vote on the recipes they’d like to see included in a cookbook. Perhaps around book ten in the series would be the best place to put it together since they’ll be quite an inventory of recipes to choose from by that point.
DH – Thanks again for giving me a sneak peek at The Case of the Adorable Aussie. I really enjoyed it and the overall series sounds like it has enormous appeal and I’m sure you’ll find a lot of success with it.
BR – Thanks for letting me stop by, Dianne. I truly appreciate your guidance and support. And congratulations on all your well-deserved success.
DH – Thanks, and to all my readers, I really appreciate you buying and borrowing Murder at the Polo Club. Not only has it been a Hot New Release on a number of Amazon lists, it’s also been the best selling dog, antiques and collectibles, and cozy mystery craft and hobby book. In case you missed it, here’s the link: getBook.at/Polo
I’m offering it at the intro price of $.99 for a few more days. Enjoy and have a wonderful week!
Christoph Fischer is one of my favorite contemporary authors. I’ve read every book he’s written and each is simply superb. His genres are eclectic. To name a few: literary, historical, thriller, and family life. He tackles a new genre for him with his latest book. When I found out he’d written a cozy mystery, I asked him if he’d tell my readers about it, and so he did.
My feeling is, if a book is written by Christoph Fischer, it’s worth the read. This one is no different. Believe me, you’re in for a treat from a brilliant novelist. Enjoy!
The book is available for pre-order on Amazon via these links. Release date is September 24th, but the paperback is already available:
THE BODY IN THE SNOW – A BEBE BOLLINGER MURDER MYSTERY:
Fading celebrity Bebe Bollinger is on the wrong side of fifty and dreaming of a return to the limelight. When a TV show offers the chance of a comeback, Bebe grabs it with both hands – not even a lazy agent, her embarrassing daughter, irritating neighbours or a catastrophic snowfall will derail her moment of glory. But when a body is found in her sleepy Welsh hamlet, scandal threatens.
Detective Sergeant Beth Cooper has a string of unsolved cases to her name. Her girlfriend left her and she’s a fish out of water in rural West Wales. Things couldn’t get much worse – until the case of the Body in The Snow lands in her lap.
Can Beth solve the case and save her career and can Bebe make her comeback? All will be revealed in this light-hearted, cosy murder mystery by best-selling and award winning historical and crime fiction novelist Christoph Fischer.
I recently read Anna Celeste Burke’s newest book, Love Notes in the Key of Sea, and thought once again, she’s written another fabulous book. I’ve read everything she’s written and she’s definitely one of my favorite authors. If you’ve not read her books, you’re in for a treat!
I’ve noticed that music tends to be a recurring theme and I asked her if she’d write a guest post regarding it and her books. Here it is and enjoy!
Thanks, Dianne, for another chance to visit your wonderful blog! It’s great to be able to talk about another of my favorite topics: music!
I hear a waltz…
I’ve written about the role that setting, characters, and food play in the three cozy mystery series I write. I didn’t realize until recently, though, how important music is as well. I was doing a blog talk radio spot when the host, Karen Vaughan, asked if I have a particular theme song for my character, Jessica Huntington. That’s when it dawned on me that I have soundtracks in my head for each series.
For Jessica Huntington, spoiled rich girl done wrong by her man, it’s the blues. At first, it’s the down and out, dirty-shame kind of blues that have her on an extended pity-party binge abusing her black AMEX card. It doesn’t take her long though to switch it up to rhythm and blues, ready to kick a hole in the clouds that hover above her. Can you say R-E-S-P-E-C-T? In adversity, this pampered diva discovers she’s made of tougher stuff—a bit of soul and a whole lot of sass.
Cue the surf music for newlyweds, Kim and Brien, in my Corsario Cove Cozy Mystery Series. Not a cloud in the sky for these two lovebirds, even when a guy falls into the swanky hotel pool from six floors above them. Nothing can stop “good, good, good vibrations” from inspiring these two as they set off together on a series of “most excellent adventures.” Surf’s up—always—as they take the plunge into the murky waters of murder and mayhem. Their fearlessness and impulsiveness give the local homicide detective the jitters. I imagine Detective Mitchum twitching like Inspector Clouseau’s boss in the Pink Panther movies. Kim and Brien aren’t to blame for “Twitchin’ Mitchum’s” antsy ways, but they don’t help.
What I discovered as I answered questions on that radio show was that there’s more than one soundtrack running in my head for the Georgie Shaw Cozy Mystery series. One of the first things we learn about Georgie in Murder at Catmmando Mountain is how much she loves Jazz. Her Siamese cat yowls with a booming voice and she gives him the name Miles—as in Miles Davis—one of the coolest cats in jazz circles, for sure. Georgie and the handsome detective, Jack Wheeler, listen to other jazz greats like John Coltrane and Thelonius Monk as they get to know each other and explore their relationship.
The title of Love Notes in the Key of Sea, Georgie Shaw’s second mystery, takes its name from a song. Not a jazz tune, but a song written for her by a lost love. The melody in my head is reminiscent of the theme from an old 1944 detective movie, Laura, where the cop falls for a murder victim after seeing her photo. Here’s the link to the theme song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-QtnIaG0xE just in case you’ve never heard it. The movie’s great, too, with some surprising twists.
The song I hear in my head isn’t quite so dramatic. It’s a sweet, wistful song written with more innocence by a young man in love. Love Notes in the Key of Sea is a haunting tune, literally and figuratively. It becomes more than an old memory when Georgie revisits the place where she lost him under mysterious circumstances. Someone is playing that song Danny Farrell wrote for her. Who? Why?
There’s still more music in this series. Georgie has also spent nearly three decades working for the cat at the Cat Factory. She’s Director of the Food and Beverage Division at Marvelous Marley World Enterprises, an entertainment conglomerate built on the success of Catmmando Tom, a cartoon cat. Marvelous Marley World has a soundtrack all its own. Just like Disney, an empire named for its founder and creator of a little animated mouse he called Mickey. From the very beginning music mattered—Steamboat Willie, Mickey’s debut, featured the first fully synchronized sound cartoon.
Almost as soon as I began writing the first book in the Georgie Shaw Cozy Mystery series, a tune popped into my head. Like a jingle. One you might hear on radio or TV encouraging you visit and believe the magic.
“It’s a marvelous world. A Marvelous Marley World!”
That was only the beginning. A rush of Marley World inspired tunes engulfs me now when I work on that series. In this excerpt from Georgie’s 3rd mystery, All Hallows’ Eve Heist, she’s carried away for a moment by Catmmando Tom’s Anthem.
“I didn’t have to hear much of it for the rhythm and the rhyme to latch onto my brain.
You’re out tonight to have some fun, be on your guard to harm no one.
Catmmando Tom depends on you, to fight for good and all things true.
Defenders of the peace. Protectors of the weak.
A force unleashed to right the wrong. We raise our voices loud and strong.
Fighters against crime. We strike in the nick of time.
It continued in my head even though the strains of that song passed us by as we drove on. Before I knew it, I was thumping my knee in time with the familiar beat—ta-da-ta-da, ta-da-ta-da. It reminded me a lot of a childhood favorite—Teddy Bears’ Picnic—but more strident as sung by Catmmando Tom to rally his troops. A Wagnerian take on a kid’s tune.”
I find it a bit odd that I hear music when I write stories. It makes sense to me, too, though, especially for the Georgie Shaw series. Disney tunes played a big part as the soundtrack to my childhood. At eighteen, I went to work for Disney and those tunes were back in my life on a daily basis.
Musicals were still in vogue then, too. The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, and Mary Poppins. Stories told against a backdrop of music. I sang in a choir and a small ensemble. My music director suggested I pursue a career in musical theater or opera.
Not too long after the Beatles turned up on Ed Sullivan, the soundtrack for my romantic life took a turn. At 15 I met a rock and roll guitar player in San Diego. At 17, I married him in Tijuana—not that police considered our wedding legit. It took me a couple of months to get out of the mess I was in after getting picked up as a runaway, but the music has never stopped. I still get serenaded, at times, when my husband picks up the guitar again. My favorite? His renditions of blues like Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, or Joe Bonamassa, and fusion like John McLaughlin.
I suppose it’s not that odd, is it, that all those different musical influences find their way into my stories? They do pop up at unexpected moments. Oh, wait! I hear a waltz, don’t you? Max Marley has decided to make a live action movie version featuring one of Marvelous Marley World’s beloved characters, the Lonely Swan Prince. The Prince has taken on the identity of a commoner. Dejected and alone, he’s befriended by a lovely shop girl who puts him to work in her father’s toy shop. Before you know it, she’s besotted by the sad, sweet man! Of course, at that point, she bursts into song. What self-respecting lead in a Disneyesque feature film wouldn’t?
“I hear a waltz…don’t you?” Kristina sings out. Our prince-in-disguise, not quite so sure, says nothing. Kristina swings into motion as she picks up her song, swirling about the room that’s suddenly transformed into a dance floor.
“I hear a waltz. I do.”
“A waltz that is meant for two.”
“A tune so enchanting it sets your heart dancing,
and your feet follow too.”
“I hear a waltz, don’t you?” The fascinated young man watching her suddenly smiles and replies.
“I do.” He sweeps her up in his arms and joins her in song and dance. And so it goes until the director of the film hollers, “Cut!”
Christmas carols and wedding bells also ring out in Georgie Shaw’s next mystery. With Detective Jack Wheeler at her side, Georgie soon becomes embroiled in a new round of intrigue. Let the three-ring-circus begin as trouble erupts on the movie set, Georgie’s boss “Mad Max” Marley breaks ground on New Arcadia, and insists on giving the bride away—his way! It’s going to be A Merry, Marvelous Marley World Wedding, coming soon!
Thanks again, Dianne, for the invitation! And thanks to all of you who dropped by to read my guest post. I hope you’ll stay in touch!
Join me at http://www.desertcitiesmystery.com and you can read the first book in any of the three series I write for free.
Follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annacelesteburke/
Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/aburke59?lang=en
Books in the Georgie Shaw Series:
Murder at Catmmando Mountain, Georgie Shaw Cozy Mystery #1 http://smarturl.it/georgie1
Love Notes in the Key of Sea, Georgie Shaw Cozy Mystery #2 http://mybook.to/lovenotes
All Hallows’ Eve Heist, Georgie Shaw Cozy Mystery #3 is included in the Happy Homicides 4: Fall into Crime Collection https://www.amazon.com/Happy-Homicides-Crime-Summertime-Crimes-ebook/dp/B01KYVMJIU
Books in the Corsario Cove Series:
Cowabunga Christmas, Corsario Cove Cozy Mystery #1 http://smarturl.it/cove1
Gnarly New Year, Corsario Cove Cozy Mystery #2 http://smarturl.it/cove2
Books in the Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mystery Series:
A Dead Husband http://smarturl.it/deadhus
A Dead Sister http://smarturl.it/deadsis
A Dead Daughter http://smarturl.it/deaddau
Love a Foot Above the Ground http://smarturl.it/loveabove
My latest cozy mystery, Murder on the East Coast, will be published short. Just wanted to share the cover and a little bit about it. As soon as it’s available, I’ll let you know!
Kelly, the owner of Kelly’s Koffee Shop, and her husband, Sheriff Mike, fly to Virginia to see a friend, Stephanie, graduate and receive her doctorate degree. What Kelly didn’t plan on was becoming involved in trying to solve the murder of Stephanie’s friend, Julie. The mystery of who murdered Julie leads Kelly to Boston, Massachusetts, York, Maine, and Portland, Oregon, as she tries to track down and identify the killer.
Was the ten million dollars Julie’s mother gave her as a graduation present the reason she was murdered? And just who would profit from her murder? The quirky cast of suspects includes Julie’s soon-to-be ex-husband, her worthless brother, a jealous co-worker, and the daughter she’d given up for adoption just after she graduated from high school, but with whom she’d recently been reunited.
Julie’s mother is the multimillionaire owner of a huge insurance company and convinces Kelly to try and help find her daughter’s killer. She has stage four pancreatic cancer, and the doctors don’t give her much time to live. Can Kelly find the killer before Julie’s mother loses her battle with cancer, or for that matter, before Kelly herself becomes the killer’s next victim?
As always, this page-turner has plenty of food, dogs, and recipes. Enjoy!
I was thrilled when Kindle contacted me and asked if they could promote my book, Murder and Brandy Boy, today as a Kindle Deal of the Month. Of course!!! It’s reduced to $.99 for today. Here’s the link: getBook.at/BrandyBoy
I‘ve teamed up with three other cozy mystery authors to do a Giveaway. We’re all giving away three autographed books, so you definitely want to get in on this! You’ll also get some free e-books just by signing up.
The weekend is almost here, and you can start it off by getting book #1 in the High Desert Cozy Mystery Series for FREE! That’s right. Today through Monday, August 1st, Murder & The Monkey Band, can be downloaded for free. Here’s the link: getBook.at/MonkeyBand Enjoy!
I’m taking part in a giveaway that I don’t want you to miss. Here’s the information. It ends soon so click on it to be entered. Good luck!
Thanks to all of you who have purchased or borrowed my newest book, Murdered in Argentina. It’s still available for $.99 for a few more days, and then it will go up to $2.99. I’m all for saving money and I’m sure you are too!
Have a wonderful weekend!