Meet Marty Golden

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Today Marty Golden is visiting Ascroft, eh? from Hit and Mist, to tell us about this latest novel in the Silicon Valley mystery series.

Welcome, Marty. Let’s get started, shall we?

Tell us about the novel that you live inside and the series.

I’m Marty Golden, the hero of HIT AND MIST, the fourth book in the Silicon Valley Mystery series. How cool is that to have four books written about your own life? I don’t own a bakeshop, bookstore, or bed & breakfast place although I do eat, read, and sleep a lot. My friend, Marc Jedel, takes my notes and writes down the parts of my life that turn into murder mysteries. I hate that phrase. It makes me sound like I’m going around killing people, but I don’t hurt anyone. I’m a nice guy with a good sense of humor and an active inner voice that sometimes convinces me to jump in to solve a problem even if I don’t yet have a plan.

Although all these other people keep getting killed or know someone who dies, I’m too busy to get involved. But my parents stressed good etiquette when I was growing up so sometimes I have to help out. After all, it’s poor manners to let your friend’s death go unsolved. Or in the case of HIT AND MIST, I couldn’t let my friend go to a prison for a murder I was sure he didn’t commit.

Does the writer control what happens in the story or do you get a say too?

HIT AND MIST COVERIt’s a little philosophical to ask someone whether they control their own destiny, isn’t it? All I know is when something bad happens around me or I’m in the middle of trouble and struggling to find an escape, I don’t see Marc Jedel, the writer, there helping me out. He tends to sit at his computer typing all day. Although I’ve seen his office and he now has a sit-stand desk so perhaps that midnight requisition that unfolds in HIT AND MIST was based on reality? For the most part, Marc takes my notes and turns what happened to me into a more polished story. Well, actually his copy editor does all the important polishing so I’m not really sure what Marc’s role is.

How did you evolve as the main character?

The story is told in first person so I kind of had to be the main character. Since I’m the guy who seems to encounter these dead bodies and run into these unusual circumstances, it only makes sense for the story to be about me. I mean, you could write a story about my friend Raj because he’s smarter and helps me when he’s not busy at work, but he’s not as funny and doesn’t seem to get into trouble as often. Also, I’m the one with the secret code name alert in the San Jose police department’s computer system. Just don’t ask me what it is.

I once read a summary that the author wrote about me. Marc said, “Marty isn’t exactly hero material. He has a wonderful combination of wit, irreverent humor and sarcasm mixed in with nerdy insecurities, absent-mindedness, and fumbling but effective amateur sleuthing skills. Sometimes, he even succeeds.” I thought that was rude and didn’t talk to him for a while, even though he was probably accurate.

Do you have any other characters you like sharing the story with? If so, why are you partial to them?

I really enjoy sharing the story with my girlfriend, because, well, she’s my girlfriend. She always has clever ideas when I’m stuck and I’m constantly discovering unusual, new skills of hers.

In addition, I like spending time with my nieces. When my own kids were younger, I worked too much and wasn’t the most involved father. So I’m trying to spend more time with my nieces. Besides, they’re young enough that they still enjoy my dad jokes, or at least I still tell them my favorite ones. The best part of being an uncle is that I can have fun with my nieces and then say goodbye when I’m tired, or they’re cranky, or when Skye becomes a teenager.

What’s the place like where you find yourself in this story?

HIT AND MIST, like all the novels so far in the Silicon Valley Mystery series, takes place in Silicon Valley, centered around San Jose, California. This area was once known as the Valley of Heart’s Delight for its scenic beauty, mild climate, and thousands of acres of blooming fruit trees. Today’s traffic and difficult, overcrowded living conditions for so many people now make this a less than ideal place to live. But the weather is still awesome! Silicon Valley often gets portrayed as some weird, geeky place full of startup billionaires in movies. And while all that is true, the movies miss the wonderful mix of people from different backgrounds, most fairly new to the area, the energy, and the scenery where you can go skiing, hiking amongst redwoods, or surfing all within a few hour drive. And, did I mention the weather?

Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about you and the book?

Well, I think HIT AND MIST is awesome. I mean it’s all about me, my nieces, sister, girlfriend, and friends so why wouldn’t I think it was the best story ever? My friend, Marc Jedel, thinks my adventures will interest readers because it’s rare to find a cozy mystery with a male sleuth who doesn’t have a conventional cozy mystery job, nor live in a typical cozy mystery locale in a small town by the water. Marc once described me as “Monk meets Inspector Gadget meets Pink Panther.” I’m not so sure about all that but I do think he forgot to include “meets James Bond” in that description.

Thanks for answering my questions, Marty, and good luck to you and your author, Marc Jedel with Hit and Mist, the latest book in the Silicon Valley Mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Marc Jedel and his writing by visiting his website and his Facebook, Goodreads, BookBub and LinkedIn pages.

The novel is available at the following online retailers:

 Amazon – http://getbook.at/HitMist 

marc-jedel-200x300 (1)About Marc Jedel: For most of his life, he’s been inventing stories. His writing skills were honed in years of marketing leadership positions in Silicon Valley. While his high tech marketing roles involved crafting plenty of fiction, he called these marketing collateral, emails and ads.

The publication of his first novel, Uncle and Ants, gave him permission to claim “author” as his job. And achieving Amazon Best Seller status gave him even better adjectives to use in front of “author.” Like Marty, he lives in Silicon Valley and can’t believe that otherwise normal people would willingly jump out of an airplane and call it fun. Unlike Marty, he has a wonderful wife and a neurotic but sweet, small dog, who is often the first to weigh in on the humor in his writing.

Posted in Archives, June 2020, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stop by the Barks & Beans Cafe

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Today Heather Day Gilbert is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about No Filter, her first novel in the Barks & Beans Cafe mystery series.

Welcome, Heather. Let’s get started, shall we?

Tell us about your novel. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.

Yes, No Filter is the first book in the Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series, which is set in my neck of the woods in Lewisburg, West Virginia. It features sibling sleuths Macy and Bo Hatfield.

Where did the idea for the mystery that is central to the story come from?

Honestly, I don’t know! I came up with a mysterious locale for the murder (a spiritual healing center called Ivy Hill), and the crimes sort of fleshed themselves out from there. I also knew there would be a dognapping in this particular book that involved Macy’s adopted shelter dog, a Great Dane named Coal.

Is there a theme or subject that underlies the story? If so, what prompted you to write about it?

no filter fb sizeThere wasn’t a really strong lesson to the book as it’s simply a clean, twisty mystery, but I do want to portray a really strong sibling bond through this series, as well as the importance of giving shelter dogs a chance.

How do you create your characters? Do you have favourite ones? If so, why are you partial to them?

In this series, I just love the amateur sleuth, Macy, and her protective big brother, Bo. They will get into all kinds of dangerous situations where they’ll have to work together to survive. The side characters are also fun to write, and of course you’ll see several of the people in No Filter reappearing throughout the series.

How do you bring to life the place you are writing about?

I’ve visited the town of Lewisburg many times with my husband, since it’s not far from me. The Greenbrier Resort (also near there) will also play a large role throughout this series, and we were able to stay overnight there for our twentieth anniversary. Lewisburg is a quaint small town with many interesting locales where I can set mysteries…for instance, the WV state fairgrounds is there, so Book 3 (Fair Trade) will have a fairground theme.

What research do you do to provide background information to help you write the novel?

As mentioned, I’ve visited the town and taken numerous photos of the houses and shops there, so it’s an easy reference as I describe places. I made sure the cover artist included the Appalachian mountains in the background of each cover, because it’s important to me to represent West Virginia well (it’s my home state). Also, I’ve talked with Great Dane owners and researched Danes, as well as dog and cat cafes such as Barks & Beans. For this book, I researched the drumming and other classes offered at the spiritual center. And I researched quite a few other things I can’t tell you about or I’ll be giving spoilers. 😉

Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about the book?

Just that I hope they’re able to check out this new series that combines some of my favorite things—dogs, coffee, family, and a mystery that’s tricky to figure out! 🙂

Thanks for answering my questions, Heather, and good luck with No Filter, the first book in the Barks & Beans Cafe Mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Heather and her writing by visiting her website and her Facebook, Goodreads, BookBub, and Instagram pages. You can also follow her on Twitter (@heatherdgilbert).

The novel is available online at  Amazon 

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About Heather Day Gilbert: Heather is an ECPA Christy award finalist and Grace award winner, enjoys writing contemporary mysteries set in her home state of West Virginia. Her novels feature small towns, family relationships, and women who aren’t afraid to protect what they love.

Posted in June 2020, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Meet Kelly Jackson

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Today Kelly Jackson from the Kelly Jackson Mystery series is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Murder in the Wine Country, the latest novel in the series.

Welcome, Kelly. Let’s get started, shall we?

Tell us about the novel that you live inside. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.

MURDER IN THE WINE COUNTRYThe most recent book I live in is Murder in the Wine Country, and it’s the sixth book in the Kelly Jackson mystery series. I’m Kelly, an executive administrator with Resorts International. I originally came to the small town of Redwood Cove, located on the coast of northern California, on what was to be a temporary assignment. I took over the Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast after the manager had what appeared to be an accidental fatal fall from a seaside cliff. It was a straightforward assignment until a crime-solving group of senior citizens, the Silver Sentinels, cried murder. Thus began my adventures in the first book, Murder at Redwood Cove. The type of mysteries I am involved in are often referred to as cozies. My author, Janet Finsilver, prefers to call them safe whodunits. What she means by that is there is no graphic violence and the main characters won’t die. They will always return.

Does the writer control what happens in the story or do you get a say too?

I get a say as well. I especially like to talk about the books late at night. That’s when I get a lot of my ideas. I’ll often wake Janet up in the early morning hours to share my thoughts with her. She keeps a pen that lights up and a notepad next to the bed. She’s really good about taking down what I dictate to her even though she’s not completely awake.

How did you evolve as the main character?

I had the attributes Janet wanted in her main character. I’m honest, loyal to my friends, and love animals. I’m always willing to help when there’s someone in need.

Do you have any other characters you like sharing the story with? If so, why are you partial to them?

I like sharing the stories with all the regular characters in the series. They’re all good people. The employees who work for the company are a pleasure to be around.  I meet regularly with the Silver Sentinels who care about their community and each other. As an added bonus, I have ten-year-old Tommy and his Bassett Hound, Fred, living on the property. They always bring a smile to my face.

What’s the place like where you find yourself in this story?

I live in Redwood Cove, a quaint town on cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It’s a very different setting from the horse and cattle ranch I grew up on in Wyoming. I never tire of watching the sea with its constant movement and crashing waves.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about you and the book?

Janet decided she’d put dogs with special training into each of the books. The Basset Hound I mentioned earlier, Fred, debuts in the first book, and appears throughout the series. He was trained to detect cancer but failed his test and was given to ten-year-old Tommy as a pet. In addition to Fred, a different dog is featured in each of the other books as well. In Murder in the Wine Country, for instance, Rex, a cattle dog, is a seizure alert dog. Other types of dogs in the series include two trained in hearing assistance and a diabetic alert dog. First and foremost, the books are mysteries. However, it’s been fun for me to interact with dogs, and they have helped me on a number of occasions as I have worked on solving the crimes that appear in each book.

I hope you’ll come join me in Redwood Cove!

Thanks for answering my questions, Kelly, and good luck with Murder in the Wine Country, the latest book in the Kelly Jackson Mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Kelly and her author, Janet Finsilver, by visiting the author’s website and her Facebook and Pinterest pages. You can also follow her on Twitter.

The novel is available at the following online retailers:

Amazon  – B&N

Janet-Finsilver-290x300 (1)About Janet Finsilver: Janet is the USA TODAY best-selling author of the Kelly Jackson mystery series. She worked in education for many years as a teacher, a program administrator, and a workshop presenter. Janet majored in English and earned a Master’s Degree in Education. She loves animals and has two dogs—Kylie and Ellie. Janet has ridden western style since she was a child and was a member of the National Ski Patrol. One of the highlights of her life was touching whales in the San Ignacio Lagoon. MURDER AT REDWOOD COVE, her debut mystery, was released on October 13, 2015. Five books followed with her most recent release on April 28, 2020, of book six,  MURDER IN THE WINE COUNTRY. Janet Finsilver and her husband reside in the San Francisco Bay Area. She enjoys cooking, and a recent attempt to reduce the number of cookbooks in the cupboard wasn’t very successful. She’s an avid reader—of course!

Posted in Archives, May 2020, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

The Study of Secrets

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Today Cynthia Kuhn is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about The Study of Secrets, her latest novel in the Lila Maclean Academic mystery series.

Welcome, Cynthia. Let’s get started, shall we?

Tell us about your novel. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.

The Study of Secrets is the fifth book in the Lila Maclean Academic Mystery series, all of which are focused on an English professor who teaches and solves mysteries. In the latest, Lila goes on sabbatical at the whimsical Callahan House, a proper Victorian mansion…which turns out to have a body in the study.

Where did the idea for the mystery that is central to the story come from?

THE STUDY OF SECRETSA mystery author has invited Lila to stay in her guest house while doing research, and the idea came about when I was thinking about this author’s backstory, especially as it relates to the mansion where they spend the semester. I imagined what her life had been like when she was younger, who had been a part of it, and how her writing back then could be related to the current situation.

Is there a theme or subject that underlies the story? If so, what prompted you to write about it?

The series as a whole explores issues relating to storytelling (mysteries and otherwise) as well as relationships of various kinds, particularly the type you might find in academia. This book continues that trend.

How do you create your characters? Do you have favourite ones? If so, why are you partial to them?

It’s a process; the recurring characters have developed over the series, but there are always new ones that I learn about through the writing. It’s especially fun to write the more dramatic or quirky characters, like Lila’s mother Violet O, a famous artist. They have such a strong energy!

How do you bring to life the place you are writing about?

I try to provide details that offer a strong sense of place. Description is something I tend to go back and layer in carefully as part of my revision process. The first time through, I’m typically more focused on the action and dialogue.

What research do you do to provide background information to help you write the novel?

It’s different for every book, depending what the plot requires. Only a small portion of the overall research may end up in any given book, but it’s important to do the work. Sometimes I’ll go down rabbit holes trying to get a detail just right! For this book, I spent quite a lot of time looking at Victorian architecture.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about the book?

Just that I hope they enjoy the reading if they give it a try! Thank you very much for hosting me today.

My pleasure, Cynthia. Thanks for answering my questions and good luck with The Study of Secrets, the latest book in Lila Maclean Academic mysteries series.

Readers can learn more about Cynthia and her writing by visiting her website and her Facebook, Goodreads and BookBub pages. You can also follow her on Twitter.

The novel is available at the following online retailers:

 Amazon – Nook – B&N Paperback 

CYNTHIA KUHN (1)About Cynthia Kuhn: Cynthia writes the Lila Maclean Academic Mysteries: The Semester of Our Discontent, The Art of VanishingThe Spirit in Question, The Subject of Malice, and The Study of Secrets. Honors for the series include an Agatha Award for best first novel and Lefty Award nominations for best humorous mystery.

Posted in Archives, May 2020, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Suzanne Trauth’s Writing Life

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Today Suzanne Trauth, author of Killing Time, a Dodie O’Dell mystery is joining us at Ascroft, eh? to tell us a little about her writing process.

Welcome Suzanne. I’m looking forward to hearing about how you write so I’ll turn the floor over to you:

It’s been a challenging spring for all of us. Writing and reading for me have been both productive and distracting, in a good way. Folks often ask what my writing routine is like. How do I organize my writing time? What keeps me focused on the project at hand? First of all, nothing keeps a writer focused, myself included, like a deadline. So all of those dates when manuscripts, copy-edits, and page proofs are due to the publisher really help to keep me on track.

I also find that it’s difficult for me to let go and be creative if I have a to-do list hanging over my head. Now, I have to confess that I am not a morning person…I envy fellow writers who can arise at 5 a.m., drink coffee, walk the dog, even scan the news and be ready to sit at their desk by 6 a.m.! How do they do it? I spent so many years of my career doing theatre, staying up late for rehearsals and performances, that midnight or after was my usual bedtime. No 5 a.m. wake-up call for me!

Killing Time (1)My writing hours are in the afternoon, after running errands, answering emails, and peeking at social media. Only once my mind is a relatively clean slate can I drill down into the Dodie O’Dell mystery series and play with the characters of Etonville, New Jersey. Especially Dodie O’Dell, my protagonist sleuth, who always has her hands full solving a mystery, managing the Windjammer restaurant, and supporting her friends at the Etonville Little Theatre.

For example, in my latest mystery, Killing Time, Dodie is not only concocting theme food for the theatre production of Dracula, opening on Halloween, assisting with the town costume party in the church basement, supporting her BFF Lola during the ELT dress rehearsals, and, when a body shows up in the cemetery, wading into the murder investigation. Oh yes…she’s also supposed to be planning a wedding to her police chief fiancé. See what I mean?

After a few hours of keeping up with Dodie and friends’ antics, I’m ready for a nap! And also hopefully I’ve gotten 1,500 to 2,000 words down on the page…

While I’m drafting my murder mystery, I often like to read books that are totally unrelated to the crime fiction world. Memoir and biography are good companions. However, before I settle into the writing of a new project, I love to take a deep dive into some of my favorite mystery writers. Recently, I buried my reading self into some outstanding authors: Megan Abbott’s Give Me Your Hand, a psychological thriller that kept me guessing til the last page; Sunburn by Laura Lippman, a master of suspense who creates unforgettable characters; Lori Rader-Day’s Under a Dark Sky that had enough twists to keep me up late; and Vivian Barz’s Forgotten Bones that scared the dickens out of me from time to time. My go-to mystery series for the last couple of years is Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels. I am working my way through the series, savoring life in Three Pines, Quebec. Reading these writers inspires me to up my game in plotting, character development, and scene setting. Reading them is a master class in writing.

So…I hope you have a safe spring, and I wish you good health and plenty of good mystery reading with your favorite sleuths, hopefully including Dodie O’Dell who’s not just Killing Time!

Thanks for introducing yourself and the series to us, Suzanne. Readers can learn more about Suzanne and the Dodie O’Dell mystery series by visiting the author’s website and her Facebook and Goodreads pages. You can also follow her on Twitter.

The novel is available online at Amazon.

Amazon – B&N – Kobo

TRAUTH20140627About Suzanne Trauth: She is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and a former theatre professor at a university. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, the Dramatists Guild, and League of Professional Theatre Women. When she is not writing, Suzanne coaches actors and serves as a celebrant performing wedding ceremonies. She lives in Woodland Park, New Jersey.

Posted in Archives, May 2020, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Southern Sass and a Crispy Corpse

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Today Kate Young is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Southern Sass and a Crispy Corpse, her latest novel in the Marygene Brown mystery series.

Welcome, Kate. Let’s get started, shall we?

Tell us about your novel.

On Georgia’s picturesque Peach Cove Island, a killer is serving up a two-for-one special . . .
Southern Sass and a Crispy Corpse After their mama’s passing, Marygene Brown returned to Peach Cove Island to help her sister Jena Lynn run the family diner, renowned for its homemade peach desserts. But Mama is never too far away—her sassy spirit haunts the island, and more specifically Marygene. Lately Mama has been warning her that the dead will seek her out to solve their murders, an idea Marygene is far from peachy keen on.
But that prophecy appears to be coming true when she goes skinny-dipping off the island and swims right into a woman’s charred corpse floating in the waves. And when Marygene and her brother Sam come upon a second burned body in a wine cellar at an event they’re catering, it appears they have a double homicide on their hands. It soon turns out the victims have more in common than their charred remains, and Marygene will need to double down to find a killer who has no aversion to playing with fire. Good thing Mama has her back . . .

Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.

Southern Sass and a Crispy Corpse is the second book in the Marygene Brown Mysteries. The series can be summed up in two sentences. Southern belle foodie, Marygene Brown, is haunted by her mother’s spirit, making her a magnet for murder. Marygene discovers that her sleuthing grit is her saving grace.

Where did the idea for the mystery that is central to the story come from?

I’m honestly not sure. It just sort of came to me while I was storyboarding.

How do you create your characters?

I think about fun quirky people I’ve known or come up with ideas of people that if they were real, would be fun to meet.

Do you have favourite ones? If so, why are you partial to them?

In the Marygene Brown Series, I love Betsy and her Aunt Vi. They’re loyal, flamboyant women who would do anything for their friends and family. Plus, they’d be a hoot to hang out with.

How do you bring to life the place you are writing about?

I imagine what I would enjoy if I were visiting an island. Then I start thinking about what it would sound like, feel like, and smell like. I go from there.

What research do you do to provide background information to help you write the novel?

I research police procedures, rural and city precincts. I study city planning in small towns and the politics involved. Luckily, I write southern style mysteries and being southern born and bred, I’m quite familiar with the areas I portray.

Thanks for answering my questions, Kate, and good luck with Southern Sass and a Crispy Corpse, the latest book in the Marygene Brown Mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Kate and her writing by visiting her website and her Facebook, BookBuband Goodreads pages. You can also follow her on Twitter.

The novel is available at the following online retailers:

 Amazon – B&N – kobo – IndieBound

Authorpic_2019About Kate Young: Kate writes Southern mystery novels. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Guppy Chapter. Kate lives in a small town in Georgia with her husband, three kids, and Shih Tzu. When she is not writing her own books, she’s reading or cooking.

Posted in Archives, May 2020, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Uncover the Secrets of the Treasure King

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Today Terry Ambrose is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Secrets of the Treasure King, his latest novel in the Seaside Cove Bed and Breakfast mystery series.

Welcome, Terry. Let’s get started, shall we?

Tell us about your novel. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.

Secrets of the Treasure King is the fourth Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mystery. Like many cozy mysteries, the book is set in a small town with plenty of murders. In this case, the arrival of an arrogant sea captain and his band of treasure hunters sets everyone on edge. Part of the problem is that the captain claims to have a map to the San Mañuel, a 400-year-old sunken Spanish galleon.

The ten-word or less description for the book is “secrets can be a deadly affair.” In fact, there are plenty of secrets revealed in this book. The question my amateur sleuths must answer is, did the map the captain claims to have result in his murder? Or was the motive something else altogether?

The overarching theme in the Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mystery series is the hunt for the San Mañuel. Treasure hunting is a cutthroat business—that hasn’t changed much through the ages thanks to good old-fashioned greed. All I can say is, God bless greed. It makes great material for a mystery!

Where did the idea for the mystery that is central to the story come from?

SECRETS OF THE TREASURE KINGIn one sense, Secrets of the Treasure King is a continuation of the hunt for the San Mañuel. When I was first working out the concept for this series, I was having a problem finding a really good hook, something that could be carried over from book to book, develop over time, and feel new for each installment. My wife made a comment while I was struggling with this idea. She said, “Everybody loves a good treasure hunt.” My reaction was immediate—a treasure hunt was exactly what I had been searching for. In each book, the hunt for the San Mañuel and its millions of dollars of bounty intensifies and I get to explore a different aspect of the dirty business of treasure hunting.

Is there a theme or subject that underlies the story? If so, what prompted you to write about it?

Believe in yourself. It’s such a simple concept, yet so many people are plagued by self-doubts, especially those growing up. The main characters in this series are Rick Atwood and his eleven-year-old daughter. They make the perfect team to deal with this issue and to show that not only are kids affected by self-doubts, but so are adults.

How do you create your characters? Do you have favourite ones? If so, why are you partial to them?

I’ve come up with a rather convoluted process to create characters. Step 1: Select an approximate age and gender for the character. That’s where my subjective input ends. Step 2: use a random date generator to pick a day of the year. Step 3) Find the astrological sign for the character and go to a website that describes the characteristics of each sign. Step 4) Close my eyes and highlight some text. Those characteristics form the underlying traits of the character. The thing I like most about this process, is it means I’m meeting new people all the time!

I do the same thing with the occupations for characters. I have a list with something like 1500 job titles and, using a random number generator, select the line and occupation for a character. It’s how I wound up with a narrow weaver in Secrets of the Treasure King. Prior to writing this book, I’d never even heard of a narrow weaver.

As for a favorite character, it’s usually the one I’m writing at the time. Each one offers something different. For instance, Rick cares deeply about his daughter and, like many parents, will do anything to protect her. Alex is daring, precocious, and impetuous. The other main character in this series is Marquetta, who is the B&B’s cook and Rick’s love interest. Marquetta is the yin to Rick’s yang.

How do you bring to life the place you are writing about?

I’m always attempting to find new ways to describe a setting. I’m also a photographer, and I believe that just as photographers frame a photo, the writer must frame their setting. The nice thing about writing is it allows me to bring in all five senses, everything from the pinks and grays of a beautiful sunset to the soft caress of an ocean breeze on your cheek to the smell of salt in the air.

What research do you do to provide background information to help you write the novel?

For the Seaside Cove series, I was fortunate to connect with a man who had studied the Manila galleons (of which the San Mañuel) is one). The joke many writers like to tell is that because of their research, they’re worried the FBI might show up at their door. My research is less about explosives and ways to kill people than it is about history and how we got here. In Seaside Cove, the history of 16th century Spanish trade is brought to life by the characters looking for those riches today. In my McKenna Trouble in Paradise series, I try to bring aspects of island history and how that affects people today. With that said, none of my research is there to provide a history lesson, it’s there to provide context and flavor the story.

Is there anything else youd like to tell readers about the book?

Secrets of the Treasure King is more than just a cozy mystery about finding sunken treasure. It’s about secrets, lies, finding love, fulfilling your dreams, and believing in yourself.

Thanks for answering my questions, Terry, and good luck with Secrets of the Treasure King, the latest book in the Seaside Cove Bed and Breakfast mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Terry and his writing by visiting his website and his Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram and LinkedIn pages. You can also follow him on Twitter.

The novel is available online at  Amazon 

Terry-Ambrose-400x560 (1)About Terry Ambrose: Terry has written and published fourteen mysteries. His Seaside Cove Mystery series new releases have risen to the Amazon genre Top 100. In 2014, Con Game, Terry’s second thriller in the License to Lie series received the San Diego Book Awards Best Mystery/Thriller award. Terry also writes the McKenna Trouble in Paradise mysteries and organized an anthology written by bestselling mystery writers to benefit a literacy nonprofit in Hawaii.

Posted in Archives, May 2020, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Meet Eve Appel

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Today Lesley A. Diehl is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Nearly Departed, the latest novel in the Eve Appel mystery series.

Welcome Lesley. Let’s get started, shall we?

Tell us about your novel. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.

dearly-departed-4.inddTired of sitting surveillance on insurance fraud, apprentice PI Eve Apple Egret gets her first big case, one where the outcome is important and personal. Eve’s best friend Madeleine has few relatives, so her Uncle Shamus is special, but someone is determined to kill him and has tried several times. Eve is certain she can identify who is after him, but this time she may have taken on more than even our self-confident Eve can handle. Coping with a growing toddler and a teenager, devoting time to the consignment shop and finding someone who can go undercover in a sexual harassment case all vie for Eve’s attention. Eve knows she cannot fail Madeleine. This is more than her favorite uncle’s life. His death would mean devastating loss for Madeleine and call into question Eve’s commitment as a friend and her ability as a PI.

This is book 7 of the Eve Appel mysteries. The series began with Eve and her best friend Madeleine opening a consignment shop in rural Florida, bringing high end used merchandise to Central Florida. Unfortunately, on opening day, Eve finds one of their customers stabbed to death in a changing room. Eve, being the sassy, snoopy gal she is, decides to find out who is responsible and ends up getting herself into situations that threaten her own life and that of her friends. Throughout the series, Eve’ simply cannot help meddling in murder cases until, supported by family and friends, she decides to divide her life into consignment shop owner and private detective, but what she thought she was capable of accomplishing is further complicated by a growing family. She finds herself pulled in many directions which only add to the complexity of her life and the adventures she and her cadre of supporters fall into.

Where did the idea for the mystery that is central to the story come from?

Eve’s last name is the same as my material grandmother’s which I chose because of Eve’s passion for second-hand items, the same passion my grandmother had and one I have inherited. I love to go to yard sales and explore thrift shops and second-hand stores, so it only seemed logical that my protagonist should enjoy the same pastimes and make them into a career in rural Florida. There is a heavy thread of family secrets that runs through all the books in this series as Eve runs down killers and works to establish her own family.

Is there a theme or subject that underlies the story? If so, what prompted you to write about it?

Families all have secrets, but some are more deadly than others when, after years of being hidden, they are discovered and force family members to revaluate what they always thought to be true.

How do you create your characters? Do you have favourite ones? If so, why are you partial to them?

My characters are ninety percent imagination. In the case of Eve and her best friend, they each have qualities the other does not. Eve is impatient, bold, tall, thin and speaks before she thinks. Madeleine is petite, a true southern lady, polite, cute and physically clumsy. I did this opposites pairing intentionally so that they could provide balance for each other and learn from each other. Eve draws Madeleine into Eve’s impulsive detecting schemes while Madeleine smooths the way for Eve in many delicate social situations.

How do you bring to life the place you are writing about?

Rural Florida is a place few people are familiar with. Even native Floridians know little about the interior of their own state. South central Florida looks like Texas with palm trees. There are herds of cattle with cowboys on horses riding herd on them. And there are lots of alligators. It’s not difficult to bring life to this place using the unfamiliar and often threatening physical setting as part of what Eve must understand to track down killers. Eve, as a transplanted Yankee, comes to love the raw beauty of this land and makes it her adopted home. That development from fear of the unknown in Florida’s swamps to respect for its wildlife and beauty is a significant part of Eve’s journey throughout the series.

What research do you do to provide background information to help you write the novel?

Because Eve marries a member of the Miccosukee tribe, I have spent time researching the history of the Seminole and Miccosukee Indians in Florida as well as their current lives. There is much more to native Americans here than casinos. They have a rich history of ranching and farming. Driving rural Florida and talking to people who live here also inform the events and individuals in the books. I have spent the past twenty years as a snowbird in Florida and I’ve made Eve one also. She and I do not pretend to be native Floridians but rather I use the perspective of a writer and protagonist who are outsiders, but learners about the diversity of Florida with respect to her people and her environment.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about the book?

In Nearly Departed, the stakes for finding who is trying to kill Madeleine’s uncle are high. Madeleine loves her uncle, the only relative still living in her family. Having lost her parents when she was young, Eve understands how much Madeleine’s uncle means to her. This is one case Eve cannot afford to fail at.

Thanks for answering my questions, Lesley, and good luck with Nearly Departed, the latest book in the Eve Appel Mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Lesley and her writing by visiting her website and her Facebook and Goodreads pages.

The novel is available at the following online retailers:

Amazon – B&N – INDIEBOUND

DSC_3566About Lesley A. Diehl: Cows, Lesley learned as a child growing up on a farm, have a twisted sense of humor. They chased her when she went to the field to herd them in for milking, and one ate the lovely red mitten her grandmother knitted for her. Determining that agriculture wasn’t her career path, she took a job as a stripper, book cover stripper for a publishing company, that is. Now after many years as a college professor and university administrator, she has returned to the world of books and uses her country roots and her training to concoct stories designed to make people laugh in the face of murder. “A good chuckle,” says Lesley,” keeps us emotionally well-oiled long into our old age.”

Posted in Archives, May 2020, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Did you know that mystery can be a blast?

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Today D.E. Haggerty is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Fireworks, a Firecracker and Foul Play, the latest novel in the Death By Cupcake mystery series.

Welcome, Dena. Let’s get started, shall we?

Tell us about your novel. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.

FFF_v.1Fireworks, A Firecracker & Foul Play is a cozy mystery that starts off with a bang. Anna’s fiancé gets arrested for murder just two weeks before their wedding. No way is Anna letting a false accusation ruin her July 4th wedding. Instead, she’s off to uncover the actual murderer.

Fireworks, A Firecracker & Foul Play is the fifth book in the Death by Cupcake series. The cozy mystery series revolves around the women of Callie’s Cakes, a cupcake bakery. The bakers should probably keep their noses out of murder investigations, but nothing can stop the ladies of Callie’s Cakes. They’re having too much fun!

Where did the idea for the mystery that is central to the story come from?

A long time ago (in a previous life) I was a military police investigator. To my shock, I was accused of mishandling a suspect. When I was thinking about this novel and how to get it started, I remembered the incident and off I went.

Is there a theme or subject that underlies the story? If so, what prompted you to write about it?

I often find a theme emerges after I’ve finished a novel without any effort on my part. In this story, not judging a person by their appearance is an essential element. I think we can all use a reminder now and again to dig deeper than appearances.

How do you create your characters? Do you have favourite ones? If so, why are you partial to them?

Characters are an amalgamation of people I know or read about. I’d be lying if I said I don’t have favorites. Of course, I do! One of my all-time favorites is actually Anna, the protagonist in Fireworks, A Firecracker & Foul Play. I love how Anna says exactly what she’s thinking. She is who she is and doesn’t kowtow to societal norms. I’m a bit jealous of her actually.

How do you bring to life the place you are writing about?

I always set my stories in places I know well. Luckily, I’ve lived in four different countries and have travelled extensively!

What research do you do to provide background information to help you write the novel?

Research is essential for any writer, but especially for mystery writers. I’m always searching different ways for someone to die that may not be the most obvious.

Thanks for answering my questions Dena and good luck with Fireworks, A Firecracker and Foul Play, the latest book in the Death By Cupcake Mystery series.

Readers can learn more about D.E. Haggerty and her writing by visiting her website and her Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, BookBub and Pinterestpages. You can also follow her on Twitter.

The novel is available online at Amazon

_MG_0371_2 (1)About D.E. Haggerty: She is actually just plain old Dena, but she thinks using initials makes her sound sophisticated and maybe even grown up. She was born and raised in the U.S. but considers herself a Dutchie and not only because it sounds way cooler. After a stint in the U.S. Army, she escaped the US to join her husband in Holland. She fled Holland over ten years ago when she couldn’t stand the idea of being a lawyer for one single second more. Turns out Bed & Breakfast owner in Germany didn’t do it for her either. When the hubby got a job in Istanbul, she jumped ship and decided to give this whole writer thing a go. She’s now back in Holland, which she considers home.

Posted in Archives, May 2020, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Get the Inside Scoop Here

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Today Win is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about A Deadly Inside Scoop, the latest novel in the Ice Cream Parlor mystery series by Abby Collette.

Welcome, Win. Let’s get started, shall we?

Tell us about the novel that you live inside. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.

Hi! My name is Bronwyn Crewse, but family and friends call me Win. I may live inside of a novel but my story takes place in a real place! Chagrin Falls, Ohio. And there is a real waterfall there, too, and it’s where I find a body. That happens in A Deadly Inside Scoop, the first in my new cozy mystery series, A Ice Cream Parlor Mystery.

My family owns an ice cream shop. Started by my grandparents in 1965, I recently took over management. Still my family makes frequent visits, even got my mom helping me dip up scoops and making ice cream sundaes. My grandfather, PopPop, is in everyday, but mostly he sits in one of the booths and plays backgammon. There’s also something good going on there, and we’re hoping you’ll stop by for a visit, too.

Does the writer control what happens in the story or do you get a say too?

A DEADLY INSIDE SCOOPWe inside the story try to let Abby dictate what’s going on, but **whispering, cupped hand up to mouth** she doesn’t always get it right. At those times we have to give her a hand. Like she tried to put me in a romantic relationship with another character, but I’ve got too much work to do to get my shop up and running for that. She does help to keep Maisie and Riya (last names Solomon and Amacarelli, respectively, my best friends) calm.

How did you evolve as the main character?

I’m usually work driven. Making our family’s business a success is how I spend all my time and it occupies every space of my brain. But, with all the murders going on in our small village and me having to jump in to solve them, I’m beginning to find out there’s more to life!

Do you have any other characters you like sharing the story with? If so, why are you partial to them?

I love all the characters in the book (and I bet you will too)! Being able to be around family and friends that I’ve had nearly my entire life is a rewarding way to spend a few hours with readers.

What’s the place like where you find yourself in this story?

Our ice cream parlor, Crewse Creamery, is beautiful. 1950s motif, we even had a soda fountain and a shiny, red jukebox! But what makes it super special is that the store is built right on top of a waterfall. I added a full glass wall in the back and seats so people can enjoy ice cream and the beautiful outside at the same time.

We make all our artisanal ice cream in-house with fresh products, mostly from nearby farms. Maisie even grows some of our products in her community garden. And because of it, we always issue a warning: The warm cozy smell of vanilla, sweet aromas of plump berries and citrus, and the rich velvety waft of chocolate will reach out to you through the pages of our story and make you long for spoons full of the delicious, delectable frozen treats we serve. So have some handy!

Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about you and the book?

If you love a good cozy mystery, you don’t want to miss a visit to Crewse Creamery!

Thanks for answering my questions, Win, and good luck to you and your author with A Deadly Inside Scoop, the latest book in the Ice Cream Parlor Mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Abby Collette and her writing by visiting her website and her Facebook and Instagram pages. You can also follow her on Twitter.

The novel is available at the following online retailers:

Amazon – B&N –  Google – IndieBound

ABBY VANDIVERAbout Abby Collette: Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author Abby Collette loves a good mystery. Born and raised in Cleveland, it’s even a mystery to her why she has yet to move to a warmer place. Author of the two Southern cozy mystery series Logan Dickerson Mysteries featuring a second-generation archaeologist and a nonagenarian who is always digging up trouble, and the Romaine Wilder Mysteries, set in East Texas, it pairs a medical examiner and her feisty auntie who owns a funeral home and is always ready to solve a whodunnit. Abby spends her time writing, facilitating writing workshops at local libraries and spending time with her grandchildren, each of which are her favorite.

Posted in Archives, May 2020, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment