Showing posts with label cozy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cozy. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

"Magick Run Amok" by Sharon Pape

Magick Run Amok
(An Abracadabra Mystery Book 3)
by Sharon Pape

Magick Run Amok (An Abracadabra Mystery Book 3) by Sharon Pape

Magick Run Amok is the third book in the Abracadabra Mystery series by Sharon Pape. Also available: Magick and Mayhem (read my blog post) and That Olde White Magick.

That Olde White Magick by Sharon Pape

Magick Run Amok is currently on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

The answer to whodunit may lie beyond the veil …
November in upstate New York can be chilly, but Kailyn Wilde’s shop, Abracadabra, is a cozy respite where you can find lotions, potions, and plenty of warm, feline company. But what customers don’t know is that the proprietor has some unusual powers—and unusual friends, including the renowned magician Merlin, who’s been transported into the modern world. All of which comes in handy when there’s a murder to be solved …
Investigative journalist Ryan Cutler has perished in a car accident in New Camel, and his friend, Travis, suspects foul play - especially when the reporter’s notes reveal a mysterious list of dead men’s names. Kailyn wants to help, but she’s also got her hands full with the curmudgeonly Merlin, who’s not exactly maintaining a low profile. Between keeping the wizard under wraps and mixing up cold remedies that work like magic, she’ll have to tap into her many talents to figure out a killer’s fatal formula ...

In the hours that remained, only one more person came in. He was big and broad shouldered, wearing a battered leather jacket open over a tee shirt with a skull motif. Tattoos peeked out of both sleeves of his jacket and from the neck of his tee. He was wearing jeans and combat boots and carrying a biker’s helmet under his left arm. His hair was spiked and the stubble on his cheeks had the look of a permanent two day growth. Tilly referred to men like him as biker dudes.
“How you doin’?” he asked before I could greet him.
“I’m well, thanks. How are you?”
“Good, good,” he said nodding like a bobble-head doll as he gave the shop the once over. He turned back to me. “I was just passing through, you know? And the name of your shop hooked me in.”
“Are you interested in magick?” I asked him.
“If you’re talkin’ magic like in magic shows, nah, except for when I was kid. Now if there was such a thing as real magick, sure - I’d be all over it, who wouldn’t be?”
I laughed. “True enough.”
“So what is it you have goin’ on here exactly?” he asked as he started browsing down the first aisle.
I raised my voice so he could hear me. “Natural products for what ails you, beauty aids for the skin and hair, candles for aroma therapy....”
He exited the aisle at the other end and instead of going down the next one, he headed back to me, clearly not interested enough to finish his self-tour. “It’s quirky, cute” he said, words that sounded odd coming from a biker dude’s mouth.
He shifted the helmet from his left arm to his right like he was settling in for a while. “New Camel’s definitely small-town America. I’ll bet you know every soul and every rumor makin’ the rounds.” 
If I’d been a dog, my ears would have pricked. For someone just passing through, someone who’d walked into my shop on a whim, why was he so interested in my acquaintances?” It might be idle conversation, but I was investigating a potential string of murders and I couldn’t afford to dismiss any offhand remark by a stranger. “You’d be surprised,” I said, morphing out of casual shopkeeper mode and into wary investigator in a split second. “My shop and this whole town are geared to the tourist trade. I do know many of the locals, but certainly not all of them. And if you’re talking about Watkins Glen, I probably know less than thirty percent of the residents there. Are you from a big city like New York?” Two can play the question game.
“I travel a lot,” he said, his eyes flitting around me for someplace to land other than my face. He spotted Sashkatu on the window ledge and grinned, showing off perfect white teeth. A man of the highways and byways who flossed and brushed regularly. “Cool detail - the cat,” he said. “What do they call the cats that help witches?”
“I think you mean ‘familiars.’”
“Yeah, that’s it.” He picked up a candle from one of the little display tables near the counter, turned it over, sniffed it and put it back down. “I stopped in Watkin’s Glen to grab a burger for lunch. Everyone was talkin’ about the guy who was found dead in his mobile home. I heard some folks say he deserved whatever he got. Guess he wasn’t liked much.”
I shrugged. “I wouldn’t know.”
“You don’t expect to hear stuff like that up here. In a city, yeah, but here in quiet-ville?”
“There are bad people everywhere. For all we know, the killer was just some guy passing through,” I said pointedly. He looked me squarely in the eye, and I had a smile all ready for him.
“A waitress was makin’ a wager with the guy at the next table,” he continued after a moment. “She bet the “Wilde girl” in New Camel would catch the killer before the cops again. You know who that is?”
“I’m Kailyn Wilde,” I said, pretty sure he already knew that, since he was standing in my shop.
“So – you really that good at findin’ criminal types?”
I shrugged. “People like to exaggerate.  I’ve probably just been lucky. Right time, right place - you know.” If he was involved in crime, murder specifically, there was no sense in giving him reason to eliminate me first.
“Nah, I’m mostly in the wrong place at the worst time,” he said chuckling at his own wit. He glanced at his watch. “I gotta hit the road. Good talkin’ to you, Miss Wilde. You stay safe.”
“I intend to,” I said. Over the years, my family and I had dealt with every sort of person, but not one of them had left me feeling as unsettled as this guy. I breathed a whole lot easier after he walked out and I heard the rumble of his motorcycle fade into the distance.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“We get to follow Kailyn, her aunt, Merlin, and the cats on yet another murder investigation that will have you laughing and gasping along the way.” ~ Books a Plenty Book Reviews
“I felt this read was full of lighthearted fun with plenty of twists and turns to draw me into the mystery. I like the cross-genre that mixes the mystery with paranormal fun!” ~ Ms.Cat’s Honest World
“With humor and investigative daring, along with some other worldly intervention, this adventure is a welcome addition to a delightful series. You can never predict what will happen next or who will save the day!” ~ Laura’s Interests
“This story not only turns about the mystery but the curious family of Kailyn, with her ghost mother lecturing her when she is not acting correctly, her ‘mysterious’ friend Merlin, that could be coming from the past … or of course the cats she has in her life …! But let me say that it makes the story funny and interesting, of course.” ~ Varietats

Guest Post by the Author
Will the Real Killer Please stand Up
I generally don’t start writing a book, until I’ve decided on the victim, the killer and the motive. Until recently, I’d only changed the killer once. It was late in the story, which makes any major change difficult to pull off and still make the book’s deadline. When the character who wanted to become the killer first popped into my head, I brushed them off. But they kept popping up, refusing to be ignored. “It makes more sense if I’m the killer,” they insisted. “Think about it and you’ll see that I’m right.”
That character was right. I thought about how hard it would be to make the change. As it turned out, it wasn’t that difficult, probably because the original killer and the new killer were related. I did have to add a few paragraphs and pages here and there to support the change, and I had to go through the manuscript carefully to remove anything that wouldn’t jibe with the new killer. If my character hadn’t been relentless, the book would not have been as good or as surprising as it turned out.
Five years later, when another character stopped in to have a similar chat, I was much more open to the prospect of change. This time it was a different one of my suspects who was campaigning to become the killer. They pointed out that I’d provided them with a better motive than the original killer as well as a reasonable opportunity to commit the murder. Why hadn’t I realized it myself? The manuscript would require some adjustments, but nothing all that difficult. As a writer, it can definitely be worthwhile to listen to those voices in your head.

About the Author
Sharon Pape
Sharon Pape describes her writing career as having two stages. Back in the dark ages, before computers were in every household, she had three paranormal books published. The first one was condensed by Redbook Magazine, the first paperback original they ever condensed. Then life brought her an unexpected challenge, by the name of breast cancer. After treatment, she and her oncologist started a not-for-profit to provide information and peer support to breast cancer patients. With the organization up and running, she returned to her first love – writing. This time around she’s been writing cozy mysteries with a paranormal twist.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of five ebook copies of Magick Run Amok by Sharon Pape.


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

"A Hole in One" by Judy Penz Sheluk

A Hole in One
(A Glass Dolphin Mystery Book 2)
by Judy Penz Sheluk

A Hole in One (A Glass Dolphin Mystery Book 2) by Judy Penz Sheluk

A Hole in One is the second book in the Glass Dolphin Mystery series by Judy Penz Sheluk. Also available: The Hanged Man’s Noose.

A Hole in One is currently on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an interview with the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

For another book by this author, please check out my blog post on Skeletons in the Attic.

Hoping to promote the Glass Dolphin antiques shop, co-owners Arabella Carpenter and Emily Garland agree to sponsor a hole in one contest at a charity golf tournament. The publicity turns out to be anything but positive, however, when Arabella’s errant tee shot lands in the woods next to a corpse.
They soon learn that the victim is closely related to Arabella’s ex-husband, who had been acting as the Course Marshal. With means, opportunity, and more than enough motive, he soon becomes the police department’s prime suspect, leaving Arabella and Emily determined to clear his name - even if they’re not entirely convinced of his innocence.
Dogged by incriminating online posts from an anonymous blogger, they track down leads from Emily’s ex-fiancé (and the woman he left Emily for), an Elvis impersonator, and a retired antiques mall vendor with a secret of her own.
All trails lead to a mysterious cult that may have something to do with the murder. Can Arabella and Emily identify the killer before the murderer comes after them?

Arabella Carpenter ran her hands over the smooth surface of the shiny new jet ski. It was the hole in one prize at the Second Annual Kids Come First Golf Tournament. The tournament—a charitable initiative supporting program for at-risk youth in the tri-community area of Lount’s Landing, Miakoda Falls, and Lakeside—was being held at the Miakoda Falls Golf and Country Club.
Somehow, Gillian “Gilly” Germaine, the tournament organizer, had convinced her that sponsoring the contest would be good advertising for Arabella’s Glass Dolphin antiques shop. Well, “convinced” wasn’t entirely accurate. It was her new business partner, Emily Garland, who’d talked her into it, though what jet skis and golf had to do with antiques was beyond Arabella. Nevertheless, their deal was that Emily would be in charge of advertising and promotion, leaving Arabella to concentrate on purchasing and sales. Nixing Emily’s first real A&P idea would have been bad form.
Arabella didn’t have much choice in the matter. Emily had been adamant. A jet ski, she had explained, would be the kind of prize the well-heeled folks in Lakeside would gravitate toward. The Glass Dolphin sponsoring such a prize would give it the sort of chichi street cred that would make them want to visit the shop. Once they made the twenty-five-minute trek to Lount’s Landing, they were bound to buy something. Especially once they saw the quality of the Glass Dolphin’s merchandise.
“What if someone actually hit a hole in one and they had to give away the jet ski?” Arabella had asked. Emily had a ready answer. The odds were astronomical. The third hole, a nasty par three, was one hundred and forty yards to carry over a pond, another twenty-five yards to the pin, with a thicket of trees on both sides, and a sand trap that beckoned from behind. Downright nasty it was.
Having played the course on a couple of occasions, Arabella had conceded that number three was challenging. But that didn’t make it impossible. Not by a long shot—pun fully intended.
Even better, Emily had countered. “If no one won the jet ski, it would be that day’s news, quickly forgotten. But if someone won, imagine the headlines. For sure it would make the local press, but they might even get some coverage in the Toronto papers, not to mention the rampant word-of-mouth machine that ran in the tri-communities.”
The sound of a golf cart heading in her direction stopped Arabella’s thoughts midstream. She glanced over the green and watched as Emily wound her way along the paved path, a cardboard sign propped up in the basket at the back of the cart. She parked the cart a few feet from where Arabella was standing, hopped off, smoothed out her black golf skort, and positively sprinted over to the jet ski.
As always, Arabella felt a touch of envy at Emily’s glossy, dark hair, now neatly tied into a ponytail, her bangs held gently in place by a black and gold Miakoda Falls Golf and Country Club visor. Arabella’s own hair was a mass of auburn curls that behaved well enough on a cool, dry, winter’s day, but got wilder and woolier as summer’s heat and humidity ratcheted up. On a hot, muggy day like today, it was virtually unmanageable. Stick a cap on top of it and she resembled Bozo the clown. Not exactly the look an almost forty-year-old woman was after, but there wasn’t much she could do about it. Even if she took the time to flat iron it straight, it would last all of an hour in this heat.
“Gorgeous,” Emily was saying, her fingers caressing the jet ski. “Too bad we’re ineligible to win. You know, on the off-chance one of us gets a hole in one.”
“I think the odds of that happening are pretty slim.” And slim just left town.
“Yeah, you’re probably right. Wait ’til you see what I’ve got.” Emily ran back to the golf cart, pulled a gold-lettered placard out of the basket, and inserted it into the rectangular tee sign currently advertising the club’s twilight rates, fussing and fidgeting until she got it positioned just right.
“Print It! did a great job, don’t you think? Gave us a good deal, too. I think Harvey felt sorry for me, and to be honest, I did milk getting fired from Inside the Landing to broker a deal. Plus I let him put his Print It! business logo on the bottom.” Emily grinned. “I think that was rather a stroke of genius.”
A good cost-saving idea, sure. A stroke of genius? That might be taking things a bit far. “They look great. The sign, the jet ski. Except I’m the one doing the books, and believe me when I tell you, and not for the first time, that the Glass Dolphin is barely breaking even. I’m just not sure we can afford it.”
Emily sighed. “First off, it’s a bit too late to renege now, the night before the tournament, don’t you think? What would that do to our reputation? Second, I’ve already explained how little money this will actually cost the shop. One good sale should easily cover it. If it makes you feel any better, I’ll go over the numbers one last time.”
“Humor me.”
“Fine. The jet ski is being supplied by Luke’s Lakeside Marina. Luke transported it from the marina, at no cost to us, and he’ll either take it back to the marina after the tournament, or arrange delivery to the winner, should there be one. He’s also springing for half the insurance and fifty percent of the sign, which, as I already told you, is costing us next to nothing. Essentially, we’re co-sponsoring the hole with him.”
Arabella suspected Emily’s relationship with Luke Surmanski ran a lot deeper than co-sponsoring a hole in one contest at a golf tournament, but she let it go. Emily would confide in her when she was ready.
“Explain the insurance again.”
This netted another sigh, along with an exaggerated eye roll. “I gave you the policy to read over two weeks ago. Didn’t you do that?”
Arabella had meant to, but she’d been busy. Then there’d been that two-day multi-estate auction in Pottageville. She’d won more box lots than expected, and had been sorting through them ever since. It wasn’t easy to decide what items to keep for sale in the shop, which to reserve for sale online, and what should be donated to the local ReStore. Before she knew it, the day of the tournament had arrived. She shook her head and did her best to look sufficiently contrite.
The look must have worked, because the exasperation on Emily’s face softened ever so slightly. “I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest version. I went to Stanford McLelland Insurance Brokerage, and you’ll be happy to know that I dealt directly with Stanford.”
That, at least, made Arabella feel better. Before opening the Glass Dolphin, she’d worked for Stanford doing a variety of claims-related tasks, especially those involving antiques and collectibles. When it came to the insurance business, there wasn’t much the man didn’t know.
“Stanford found a company that specializes in hole in one insurance. That’s all they do, actually.”
Incredible. Here they were, trying to diversify to boost sales, and there was a company that did nothing but sell hole in one insurance.
“How does it work?”
“They calculate the number of golfers participating in the tournament, which in this case is nine holes with four golfers per hole for a grand total of thirty-six, minus our foursome, which leaves thirty-two possible winners. Then they calculate the degree of difficulty for the hole along with the value of the prize. The cost for the Glass Dolphin, all in, is two hundred dollars, which we’ll split down the middle with Luke’s Lakeside Marina.”
“It does sound like you have every angle covered.”
“That’s the spirit. Trust me, nothing will go wrong.”
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“The reader is taken on a journey to find the answers, the truth and to clear Arabella’s ex’s name.” ~ My Reading Journeys
“What fun! A twisty tale chock full of clues and red herrings, antiques and secrets, and relationships that aren’t what they seem. And who doesn’t love an Elvis impersonator?” ~ Jane K. Cleland, award-winning author, Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries and Mastering Plot Twists
“A bang-up mystery! Two friends, two murders, secret pasts, and a touch of romance. Who could ask for more?” ~ Lea Wait, USA Today bestselling author, Shadows Antique Print and Mainely Needlepoint mysteries
“With its sharp, smart writing, and engrossing plot, Judy Penz Sheluk’s latest addition to her terrific Glass Dolphin Mystery series is a hole in one.” ~ Ellen Byron, award winning and USA Today bestselling author, Cajun County Mysteries
“A captivating page-turner set in the world of antiques dealing where dangerous secrets simmer until they lead to murder. Sheluk is an expert at writing intriguing characters, delivering a fast-paced story with twists that keep you guessing until the very end. You don’t have to be a love golf to love A Hole In One.” ~ Kristina Stanley, bestselling author, Stone Mountain Mysteries

Interview with the Author
Judy Penz Sheluk joins me today to discuss her new book, A Hole in One.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
There is no overt sex, bad language, or violence (the murder takes place off screen), so 16 to 116.
What sparked the idea for this book?
I’ve been golfing for 15 or 20 years, and during that time I’ve played in my fair share of charity golf tournaments. There’s always a sponsored par 3 with a prize like a car or a boat, and it’s typically set up on the most challenging par 3 on the course. But it was actually one day, when golfing in a Ladies League at Silver Lakes Golf & Country Club in Holland Landing, Ontario, that the idea came to me. I was at the third hole and, in trying to hit over the pond, my ball ended up beyond the green and into a heavily treed area. As I was hunting for my ball, I thought, “What if there was a dead body in here?” And then I thought, “That’s the premise for my next book.” It took the sting out of landing in the woods.
Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
I always start with a basic premise. For example, in The Hanged Man’s Noose, the first book in the series, I thought, “What if a greedy big city developer came to a small town with plans to build a mega-box store, thereby threatening the livelihood of all the local, independent businesses.” And then I thought, “What if someone was willing to kill to stop it?”
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
I’m always worried about getting the facts correct. I took a lot of time researching antique guns. I’m not a gun person and online research only took me so far. Fortunately, I found an expert in the field, Sean McGuire, who was willing to walk me through it.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
This isn’t Shakespeare! I want people to enjoy the book for what it is: a cozy mystery with a happy ending.
How long did it take you to write this book?
About a year, including revisions.
What is your writing routine?
It varies, but when I’m working on a book, I aim for a chapter a day, five days a week. But those can be any five days, not just Monday to Friday. If I can write seven days a week, I’ll do that, too. It really depends on what else is going on in my life. One thing that doesn’t change is that I write listening to talk-radio. I even listen to those infomercial kind of programs on weekends. I can’t write to music - maybe it goes back to my years of working in a noisy office.
How did you get your book published?
With my first book, The Hanged Man’s Noose, I faced plenty of rejection but I refused to give up. It took me about 8 months to land a publisher (Barking Rain Press). They are small, but MWA-approved and great to work with. When A Hole in One was ready, they took it on right away. They’ve also published Skeletons in the Attic, book 1 in my Marketville Mystery series.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
I always quote Agatha Christie when I’m asked this question: “There was a moment when I changed from an amateur to a professional. I assumed the burden of a profession, which is to write even when you don’t want to, don’t much like what you’re writing, and aren’t writing particularly well.”
Great quote! What do you like to do when you're not writing?
In summer, golf or hang out by the lake at our cottage (camp) on Lake Superior. I love walking my 2½ year old Golden Retriever, Gibbs (named after Mark Harmon’s character on NCIS), and I run 3-5km three times a week. I’m also an avid reader, mostly crime fiction, but I do read other things as well.
What does your family think of your writing?
My husband, Mike, is hugely supportive – in fact, he paid for my first Creative Writing course as a birthday gift back in 2000. He’s also my first beta reader, and trust me, he finds the niggliest things. My mom was so proud of me, but she passed away in September 2016. She was actually handing out my bookmarks to the doctors and nurses in the hospital. I like to think she’s handing them out in heaven, now. I really miss her.
She sounds great. Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I’m the only child of very strict immigrant parents, no sleepovers in our household. I spent a lot of time in my room, reading and making up stories in my head.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
Yes. I read every Nancy Drew book, Hardy Boys, Trixie Belden, etc. Emily Climbs by L. M. Montgomery, the story of Emily Starr wanting to grow up to be a writer, really inspired me (so much so that I named a character Emily in my first book). When I was twelve, I read In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, and that really opened my eyes to the power of words.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I think I was born a writer, it just took me a few decades to start writing my stories down.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
I think all of our experiences form an author’s writing. But one of the strongest examples of how my childhood influenced me can be found in Unhappy Endings, a collection of three flash fiction stories (Kindle only). The story, “Cleopatra Slippers”, is based on something that happened to me as a 14-year-old girl.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
John Sandford; he’s the master of pacing. Sue Grafton; I’m going to miss her. AgathaChristie, the queen of mystery.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I don’t, actually, but I’d be happy to hear from them. There’s a contact form on my website if they’d like to drop me a line.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I’m hoping to have the sequel to Skeletons in the Attic out this Fall.
Sounds good. Thank you for taking the time to stop by today, Judy. Best of luck with your future projects.
Thank you for hosting me.

About the Author
Judy Penz Sheluk
Judy Penz Sheluk is the author of two mystery series: the Glass Dolphin Mystery series (The Hanged Man’s Noose and A Hole in One) and the Marketville Mystery series (Skeletons in the Attic). Judy’s short crime fiction appears in World Enough and Crime, The Whole She-Bang 2, The Whole She-Bang 3, Flash and Bang, and Live Free or Tri.
Judy is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she currently serves on the Board of Directors as the Regional Representative for Toronto/Southern Ontario.
Find Judy on her website/blog, where she interviews other authors and blogs about the writing life.

Enter the blast-wide giveaway for a chance to win an ebook copy of A Hole in One by Judy Penz Sheluk (US only).