French Ghost

Today Corinne LaBalme is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about French Ghost, her first novel in Paris Ghost Writer Mystery series.

Welcome, Corinne. 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.

French Ghost is the first book in a trilogy. With a contract to pen a reputation-restoring memoir for a nasty French movie star, American Melody Layne relocates to Paris. Before the interviews begins, the star drowns (accidentally or not?) and things only get weirder when the actor’s estranged son, Carlos Ortega, asks Melody to write a feel-good bio about  the father he clearly despised.  In French Toast (first draft completed), Melody works on a cookbook-memoir for a celebrity chef whose restaurant gets sabotaged; Book 3, French Poster Girl brings Melody into the dark digital world of high-end influencers.  

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

The first author I ever met was Harriet S. Adams (pen name Carolyn Keene), the grandmother of my best high-school friend.  I eventually got a degree in French literature but Proust and Flaubert have had less influence on my writing than the Nancy Drew books. I don’t think I’m capable of writing a book (or a laundry list) without a mystery theme.  

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

“Lies and the liars who tell them” is the major theme. The book’s moody and mysterious Spanish lust interest, Carlos Ortega, has a tortured relationship with the truth despite his noble intentions. Straight-shooter Melody has little patience for alternative facts. How will that work out?

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

Melody and her BFF, food-blogger Jenna Bardet, are both offshoots of my Paris journalism career. However, I am awfully partial to Charlene Trent, the booze-challenged, silicon-enhanced starlet who Melody meets at the Cannes Film Festival. Charlene’s a mash-up of all the dissipated Z-list actresses that one reads about in celeb mags at the hair salon. Charlene’s a perfectionist: she practices her wardrobe malfunctions.   

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

Paris is where I live but during lockdown, I used this book to ‘virtually’ revisit so many French towns that I’ve written about for magazines: Bordeaux, Vichy, Rouen, Dijon… I missed them!

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

I love research, but books 1 and 2 of this trilogy treat facets of French life – food, fashion, cinema — that I know quite well. However, for Book 3, I am definitely all over the internet  map trying to figure out what makes an influencer hot. 

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

French Ghost is all about having a laugh and a little escape. It’s no more serious than a glass of chilled Chablis in a Paris bistro or a cup of tea by the fireside

PS: I love your site and just subscribed!  

Thanks Corinne, and thanks for answering my questions. Good luck with French Ghost, the first book in Paris Ghost Writer series.

Readers can learn more about Corinne and her writing by visiting her website and her Instagram page. You can also find her on Twitter.

The novel is available online at Amazon.

About Corinne LaBalme: My first jobs after college (incredibly useful art history degree) were in the New York fashion industry (modeling, working for designers). When I gave up on my Greenwich Village walk-up (after realizing that I couldn’t bear to smoosh the cockroaches in my shower because they were a ‘family’), I cut out to Paris where I became Fashion Editor for the English language magazine PASSION.

I subsequently wrote and edited the gourmet destination guide LA BELLE FRANCE for fifteen years while freelancing for the NEW YORK TIMES Travel section, various in-flight magazines, and guide books (GAULT MILLAU, VIRGIN, ZAGAT). From 2011 – 2012, I wrote screenplays for the PBS travel series CUISINE CULTURE.

The cinema figures in FRENCH GHOST are loosely based on stars I’ve interviewed (and been groped by); the restaurateurs in Book 2 (FRENCH TOAST) are drawn from the lovely, often impractical, chefs I met through LA BELLE FRANCE.

I suspect that Book 3 will toss Melody Layne into the cut-throat Paris fashion scene. May the Gods of Ghosting have mercy on her soul…

Posted in Archives, January 2022 | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Daunting Darkness & Freaky Familiars

Today Lily Luchesi, author of Daunting Darkness & Freaky Familiars, is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about how she created her Paige Papillon mystery series.

Welcome, Lily. I’ll turn the floor over to you –     

In this day and age of self-publishing and small press, more and more books than ever are being released to the public. It’s a wondrous time for writers and bibliophiles alike. Unfortunately for writers, it brings about an unprecedented issue: what are we going to write about that hasn’t been done a million times before?

This was something I pondered when starting the Paige Papillon Paranormal Mysteries. Cozies MUST have a specific formula in order to work: quirky main character, likable best friend, a unique congregating area, no on-screen death, usually a handsome guy shows up somewhere, and law enforcement who doesn’t like the MC. An animal companion helps, too.

Well, plots are always reused. That’s a given. But no one, and I mean no one, wants to read or write about the same characters doing the same things, just with different names or appearances.

Recently, I was reading a book (names will not be named) where the main character was ripped right from a very popular movie franchise. Except for some physical factors, it’s a character I have seen at least a dozen times with a different face in both literature and film. I mention film because so many books become movies these days, it just seems right to include them.

Let me start on my other books, where I had the opportunity to really overdo character tropes. My book series, The Paranormal Detectives, could have truly been a cliche. Mortal cop, female vampire who can kick ass, love story background. It sounds awful when put that way, doesn’t it? I know it brings a sour taste to my mouth.

Just like writing that formula I mentioned above for Paige bothered the heck out of me.

More than a writer, I’m a reader. So when I wrote my first series, I sat down during my second draft of book one and removed every single common trope there was. Do you know what I found? I made a flat as heck book. I realized that sometimes character tropes aren’t just tropes. Sometimes, they’re a necessary plot device. So I went back and took my female lead, Angelica Cross, and took a good look at her. She’s exactly what I wanted her to be: a tough Goth girl who loves black lipstick and equally black leather. She can wield a sword against the best swordsmen of history, outshoot any sniper, and best Jet Li in combat (I am not bragging, and you’ll see why in the next few sentences). She differs from a typical character in a vampire novel because of one reason: she can be bested. She can be beaten and would have been many times in the stories I already published had she not done two things: worked hard to make herself stronger and had backup.

We’ve all seen the kick butt vampire chick who is invincible, and I bet you’re as sick of them as I am. Angelica isn’t one of them. And she is precisely what I talk about when I say some tropes are necessary, but they are malleable. Every good story uses a common character trope (Prince Charming, the kind old person, damsel in distress, the genius, the misunderstood villain, et cetera). Yes, all of them. But the best of the best also change those characters; they bend, twist, and deface a trope until it is nearly unrecognizable.

Because who doesn’t love a dashing leading man? Or a good villain with a tragic backstory? Or even a leather-clad vampire assassin? Or in Paige’s case, a cute little amateur detective. Every author worth their salt can take a trope and make it their own.

Some tropes should be avoided at all costs, such as damsels in distress. I like to think that most readers are sick of the women needing to be rescued. I know I am. So should the extremely archaic idea of a POC as a bad guy or just a sidekick. Certain tropes have to go, and they have to go for a great reason: we have evolved beyond them.

We will never evolve beyond a Lord Voldemort, a Count Dracula, a Prince Charming, or a Katniss Everdeen. Those are the types of characters we’ve grown up with, the kind we love or love to hate. They make a new story feel as warm and comfortable for our brain as a hot cup of tea and blanket does for the body on a winter night. Good versus evil, love and hate, darkness and light. Just as those plot basics are essential for most stories, so are the characters that go along with them.

So crafting Paige’s story, I realized I needed those tropes. I needed the formula, but who said I couldn’t be like a mad scientist and mix that formula with some cyanide?

Paige is a POC autistic Goth girl who uses her disability to help solve crimes. Her BFF is a POC lesbian who may or may not be inhuman. She has mentors who remind me of Gomez and Morticia, rather than the kindly older woman who gives cookies and advice.

The gathering place is a metaphysical new age shop called The Enchanted Elder.

And the handsome guy? Paige is asexual. So the relationship will develop slowly over the 5 planned books in the series.

Readers who read genre fiction love what they love. God knows I do. And I want to give it to them. I want them to feel like they have a warm blanket and have just arrived home when they crack open Daunting Darkness.

But I want the kids like me, the Goths, the outcasts, the LGBT+, the neurodiverse, to also find something they love in a genre that has excluded them for over a century. Books are amazing. Paige is amazing (yeah, I’m bragging here). I wanted her to be more than the typical cozy detective, and yet I wanted her to be able to easily sit at a table with Miss Marple, Jessica Fletcher, and all those classic greats we’ve come to know and love.

I hope I succeeded.

Thank you for sharing this with us, Lily, and good luck with Daunting Darkness & Freaky Familiars, the latest books in the Paige Papillon mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Lily Luchesi by visiting the author’s website and her Facebook, Instagram, and Bookbub pages. You can also follow her on her newsletter and Twitter.

The books are available at the following online retailers:

Daunting Darkness – Amazon Freaky Familiars –  https://amzn.to/3JLnZy6

About Lily Luchesi: Lily is the author of the bestselling and award-winning Paranormal Detectives Series. She grew up in Chicago and now resides in Los Angeles, where she writes horror and erotica stories in between going to concerts and comic book signings. She loves vampires, classic horror, metal and rock music, anime, Supernatural, and the color black.

She has also written short stories in the anthologies Naughty Bedtime Stories: In Three Words, Death Love Lust, and Lurking In The Shadows.

Posted in Archives, January 2022 | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Cold Brew Corpse

Today Lana Lewis is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Cold Brew Corpse, the latest novel in the Coffee Lover’s mystery series.

Welcome, Lana. 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.

My name is Lana Lewis, and I live inside the Coffee Lover’s Mystery series. This particular installment is called Cold Brew Corpse, and it’s the second book in the series. I’m the star of both books, and as far as I can tell, the writer is chronicling my journey from being a reporter in Miami to a barista on a small Florida island. That doesn’t sound too interesting to me, but I guess all the murders are fascinating. Well, and the fact that I keep solving murders while making the best coffee in Florida.

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

Ugh, the writer is such a…writer. She controls all of the words. As a former journalist, this is incredibly frustrating. I try to tell her what to write and sometimes she ignores me. Can you believe that? The nerve of some writers. Sheesh.

How did you evolve as the main character?

The writer was actually a journalist in Florida as well, and she likes to say that my story is her love song to journalism. She wanted to write a character based on all of the reporters she’d met in Florida, and then I was laid off. Which is a pretty common occurrence these days, so she wrote about what happened after my dismissal from the Miami paper.

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

I love to share! Especially with Stanley, my Shih Tzu, Erica, an amazing barista and my BFF, and of course, Police Chief Noah Garcia. I have complicated feelings for Noah because of my divorce, but I never mind sharing anything with Noah.

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

I live on Devil’s Beach, Florida, an island in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s the most beautiful place in the Sunshine State, in my opinion. There are gorgeous sugar sand beaches, a cute downtown with shops, and lots of quirky characters. If you read COLD BREW CORPSE, I’ll introduce you to all of the eccentric Devil’s Beach residents. Including my dad, who is probably the biggest gossip (and most eccentric of all).

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

I hope everyone reads it because this particular crime is interesting. A really gorgeous yoga teacher goes missing, and I decide to sleuth for an article. I end up in a few sticky situations, including men’s candlelight nude yoga. It was awkward and weird, and well, you just have to read it.

Thank you for answering my questions, Lana, and good luck to you and your author, Tara Lush, with Cold Brew Corpse, the latest book in the Coffee Lover’s mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Lana and her author, Tara Lush. by visiting the author’s website and her Facebook, Goodreads, and Instagram pages. You can also follow her on Twitter.

The novel is available at the following online retailers:

Amazon  Apple     Barnes&Noble      Kobo     Penguin Random House

About Tara Lush: Tara Lush is a Florida-based author and journalist. She’s an RWA Rita finalist, an Amtrak writing fellow, and the winner of the George C. Polk award for environmental journalism.

She was a reporter with The Associated Press in Florida, covering crime, alligators, natural disasters, and politics. She also writes contemporary romance set in tropical locations under the name Tamara Lush.

Tara is a fan of vintage pulp fiction book covers, Sinatra-era jazz, 1980s fashion, tropical chill, kombucha, gin, tonic, seashells, iPhones, Art Deco, telenovelas, street art, coconut anything, strong coffee, and newspapers. She lives on the Gulf Coast with her husband and two dogs.

Posted in January 2022 | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Absent from our hearths but not our hearts

It’s two days until Christmas so it’s time for my annual Christmas blog post. The theme for this post changes each year but the topic of memories is often part of it. I’ve written previously about how warm and happy memories of holidays past can lift your spirits. Memories also bring friends and loved ones who aren’t with us this year close to us for a moment. These folk may be absent due to the restrictions the pandemic has imposed on gatherings, or they may be gone in a more permanent way. Either way, we miss them.

This year has been a somewhat sobering one for me as four of my friends died before their time during 2021. Two were people who became good friends since I came to Northern Ireland, another had been a friend since high school, and the fourth was Debbie, the Australian woman who was my first penpal. We started writing to each other when we were eleven years old and spent a summer together in Australia after I finished high school. We also spent time together when she and her husband lived in England for a couple of years. Although we lived across the globe from each other, in many ways we grew up together, and, after fifty years of friendship, her early death to cancer left a hole in my life.

Sorrow and sadness are not part of our concept of the Christmas season. Grief and heartbreak are incompatible with the jollity expected of us throughout December. But we can’t ignore the pain of loss, nor do we want to forget those who are gone.

In Northern Ireland where I live, many people visit loved ones’ graves to tidy the plot and place wreaths on them during the Christmas season. When I first arrived here, I found this a depressing tradition amidst the boisterous parties and frantic shopping that is typical of the season. But I’ve since realised that it’s comforting to take time out to remember those who are gone. The peace of the graveyard affords time and space to savour cherished memories.

As Christmas rolls around each year, we can’t help recalling holidays past, can we? Every year I think back to Christmas when I was growing up in my family home. In our small house we had a pair of wreaths, with electric candles set in them, hanging in our front windows; their flames glowed red and welcoming as I returned home each evening. A pint-sized tree stood on a table in the corner of the living room and tiny, knitted striped stockings hung on the rocking chair beside the tree. The room was decked with holly and tinsel. Of course, I remember the people who were there too: my mother and my grandparents, and aunts and uncles who visited. All of those people are gone now but they still live in my memories.  

In my house in Northern Ireland, my love of Christmas is evident. The living room is festooned with decorations, including some I brought with me from my family home in Toronto. These cherished items from my past include a set of brass bells on a bright green braided rope that a Dutch aunt brought with her when she emigrated to Canada after the Second World War, colourful and fragile tree baubles that belonged to my mother, and even the rocking chair and miniature stockings that sat in our Toronto living room; the rocking chair was crafted at my grandfather’s farm in Western Canada long before I was born.

Each of these items evokes the person who made it or gave it to me. When I look at them, they bring back happy memories that warm and comfort me. And by weaving the items into my present day celebration, they become part of it, linking past and present and keeping alive in my heart those who are not with us now.

I hope you also have fond memories of your Christmases past with friends and loved ones to cherish, and I wish you new, wonderful memories with friends and family this holiday season.

Posted in Archives, December 2021 | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Have you ever wanted to see the place where a story is set?

I like to imagine the places where books I read are set, and the same goes for the books I write. I have vivid images in my mind of the historic stone cottage where Lois Stone lives in the Century Cottage Cozy Mystery series.

Last summer I started doodling with a room designer app and created an illustration of Lois’s living room to share with readers. From there, I created a 3D plan of her whole house. Using ‘photos’ from this virtual house, I’ve created an illustrated hardcover edition of A Timeless Celebration.

Readers will be able to peek into most of the rooms in Lois’s house and drop into the Honey Pot diner. Get a glimpse of a typical afternoon in Lois’s living room and another look at it when friends drop by later in the day to visit. Stand in the doorway of her dining room just after an intruder has made his escape out the back door. Sit with Lois and visitors at her kitchen table and on the back porch. Take a look at Lois’s personal items in each room to give yourself an intimate insight into her life.

The illustrated edition of A Timeless Celebration contains twelve illustrations. Two show the house and lawn in daytime and after dark. One takes you inside the Honey Pot diner and the other nine are a tour of some of the rooms in Lois’s house.

You can find the book here: https://books2read.com/u/m2YPvk

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How to Book a Murder

Today Emma Starrs is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about How to Book a Murder, the first novel in the Starlit Bookshop mystery series.

Welcome, Emma. 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.

It’s nice to meet you. My name is Emma Starrs, from How to Book a Murder, the first book in the Starlit Bookshop Mystery series. The novel is about what happens when I try to help save the family bookstore and end up taking on the role of amateur sleuth. The series is set in a quirky and charming bookstore in the quirky and charming town of Silvercrest, Colorado.

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

She’s the one who gets things moving, but I’ve surprised her during the writing by going in directions she didn’t expect!

How did you evolve as the main character?

As the first book developed, so too did the complexity of my situation: I love my work as bookseller for which I agreed to plan literary events, but I am also writing a mystery and hoping to teach classes at the local college one day like my aunt does. Coming home has brought up numerous issues from the past. Suffice it to say that I’m juggling a lot, on multiple levels, and changing as a result.

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

My sister Lucy and my aunt Nora are my nearest and dearest—we have a lot of fun together and are super close. And everyone in Silvercrest is lovely. For the most part. Except for the insufferable Tabitha Louise Saxton Lyme Harmon Gladstone Baxter and her clique.

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

The story opens in a store full of wonderful books, which is dotted with inviting reading chairs and watched over by a cat named Anne Shirley.

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

We hope you’ll consider visiting Starlit Bookshop soon!

Thank you for answering my questions, Emma, and good luck to you and your author, Cynthia Kuhn, with How to Book a Murder, the latest book in the Starlit Bookshop mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Emma and her author, Cynthia Kuhn by visiting the author’s website and her Facebook, Goodreads, and Bookbub pages. You can also follow her on Twitter and sign up for her newsletter.

The novel is available at the following online retailers:

Amazon – B&N – Kobo – Google Play – IndieBound – Bookshop 

About Cynthia Kuhn: Cynthia Kuhn is an English professor and author of the Starlit Bookshop Mysteries and the Lila Maclean Academic Mysteries. Her work has also appeared in Mystery Most Edible, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Copper Nickel, Prick of the Spindle, Mama PhD, and other publications. Honors include an Agatha Award, a William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grant, and Lefty Award nominations. Originally from upstate New York, she lives in Colorado with her family.

Posted in Archives, December 2021 | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Murder in the Badlands

My scheduled guest today, Rita Moreau, is unable to join me due to a family bereavement, but I’d like to take a few minutes to tell you a bit about her most recent book, Murder in the Badlands.

The novel is Rita’s 3rd book in this hilarious series…

Everything about Mabel’s golden years has been a surprise. The divorce, Irma the ghost haunting her vintage camper, dead guys whose murders Mabel must help Irma solve every stop of the way.

Mabel and her ghostly roommate Irma, along with friend Lili and her retired homicide detective husband Bob, have made it to the Badlands. From the get-go, they were smack dab in the middle of another murder.

Ralph, an old Marine buddy asks Bob, to investigate the death of his son Danny. His death has been ruled an accident. Ralph didn’t agree. He’s sure his son was pushed off top of Mount Rushmore. Right near the Hall of Records, or as it’s called in the movies and YouTube, the Secret Chamber. But why?

Did Danny, a skilled rock climber and much sought-after guide, find long-lost gold?

Were Danny’s last words–those of Crazy Horse–Hokahey–it’s a good day to die–leave a clue as to his demise?

Will Irma run out of costumes from her ghostly cyberspace closet before they solve the murder?

Will Irma’s new friend Poker Alice–the wild west’s famous gambler and brothel owner help Mabel and Irma figure out what happened to Danny?

And what about Cindy Lou and her side-kick Top Gun Colonel Clark–did they have a secret that Danny uncovered that fatal night outside the Secret Chamber?

Can Mabel and Irma catch the killer before Mabel joins Irma crashing through the Pearly Gates?

Murder in the Badlands is the high spirited third book in the hilarious Ghost & the Camper Kooky Mystery series. If you like golden girl sleuths, zany characters, and sardonic humor, then you’ll love this kooky mystery. Hoping you like camping!

The book is available online at  Amazon

About Rita Moreau: Rita is the author of the Mary Catherine Mahoney Mystery series and the Ghost & Camper Kooky Mystery series.

A workaholic by nature, upon retirement, Rita Moreau began work on her bucket list, writing a book. Traveling the national parks with her husband George in a vintage Bluebird motor home, (on George’s list), Rita completed her first novel Bribing Saint Anthony. Back home she completed Nuns! Psychics! & Gypsies! OH! NO, Feisty Nuns and The Russian & Aunt Sophia and The House on Xenia. Last year when we entered the Twilight Zone Rita wrote the first two new novels in the Ghost & the Camper series. Rita and her husband live in a postcard called Florida where he has fun telling everyone he is the author’s husband. When not writing she joins PatZi Gil on the Joy on Paper radio program with Book Buzz Mysteries, or you can find her teaching SilverSneakers fitness classes and doing her best to keep busy. She loves connecting with readers. 

You can learn more about Rita by visiting her author website and her Facebook, Instagram, Goodreads and Radio show pages. You can also follow her on Twitter.

Posted in Archives, December 2021 | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Beauty and the Deceased

Today Debra Sennefelder is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Beauty and the Deceased, her latest novel in Resale Boutique Mystery series.

Welcome, Debra. 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.

BEAUTY AND THE DECEASED is the fourth full-length novel in the Resale Boutique series. The series features an out-of-work fashionista who inherited her granny’s old consignment shop in the hometown where she never thought she’d live again. Kelly Quinn has made the consignment her own and along the way, she has reconnected with friends and family. She’s also discovered she has a knack for amateur sleuthing as she’s found herself involved in one too many murder investigations.

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

For BEAUTY AND THE DECEASED I wanted to explore the tragedy of the loss of a family member. I wanted to put Kelly into that situation and see how she handled it and how it changed her. As I’m writing the next book in the series, I’m seeing the fallout of the event in Kelly’s character.

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

In addition to wanting to write a story about the tragic murder of a relative of Kelly’s, I wanted to explore the “someday” attitude that is all too common. Someday we’ll get together, someday I’ll take that trip, someday we have to meet for coffee, etc. That’s how Kelly’s relationship with her cousin, Becky Quinn, has been for the past few years. Their busy lives kept them from being closer. And then Becky is murdered.

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

Characters come to me in different ways. Sometimes there’s a slot I need to fill – pesky neighbors, by-the-book cop, etc. Other times they come to me as I’m fleshing out a plot and they appear. I don’t have favorite characters. Though, the main characters of my two series are very special to me since I write about them the most.

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

I rely on my memory of places I’ve been that are like the locations I write about in my book. I try to dig down and find the feelings that I experienced while at those places. And I’ll search the internet for photographs to get some inspiration. The other thing I do that I feel helps brings the locations I write about to life is to fill the town with characters that draw readers in and that gives the reader a connection to the location.

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

Other than some research on police procedures, I didn’t have to do much research for the novel.

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

I’d like for readers to know that while the subject is heavy, Kelly’s cousin is murdered, there is hope and lightness sprinkled throughout. And that even though the cover screams “beach read”, it’s the perfect cold, wintry day read because there’s hope for warmer, sunnier days.

Thanks for answering my questions, Debra, and good luck with Beauty and the Deceased, the latest book in Resale Boutique series.

Readers can learn more about Debra and her writing by visiting her website and her Facebook and Instagram pages. You can also sign up for her newsletter.

The novel is available at the following online retailers:

Amazon – B&N – Kensington – Kobo

About Debra Sennefelder: Debra is an avid reader who reads across a range of genres, but mystery fiction is her obsession. Her interest in people and relationships is channeled into her novels against a backdrop of crime and mystery.

Her first novel, THE UNINVITED CORPSE (A Food Blogger mystery) was published in 2018. When she’s not reading, she enjoys cooking and baking and as a former food blogger, she is constantly taking photographs of her food. Yeah, she’s that person.

Born and raised in New York City, where she majored in her hobby of fashion buying, she now lives and writes in Connecticut with her family. She’s worked in retail and publishing before becoming a full-time author. Her writing companion is her adorable and slightly spoiled Shih Tzu, Connie.

Posted in Archives, December 2021 | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

A Murder Yule Regret

Today Ivy Culpepper is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about A Murder Yule Regret, the latest novel in the Bread Shop mystery series.

Welcome, Ivy. 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.

Do you like bread? I do, which makes the Bread Shop Mystery series the absolute BEST series in which to live. Bread, every day. I mean, what could be better!

I met the lovely Olaya Solis, proprietor of Yeast of Eden, Santa Sofia’s artisan bread shop. She had a bread making class going on and somehow she knew I was going to be part of it before I even did. She’s magical like that.


And then there’s Penelope Branford. She’s my across the street octogenarian neighbor. She’s a retired English teacher from Santa Sofia High School and she’s one wise woman. I’d say she’s my sidekick, and I love her.

Miguel Baptista is my fiancé. He started as my high school boyfriend. We separated for a lot of years, and now I couldn’t be happier to be reunited with him.

And finally, there’s sweet Agatha, my fawn pug. She’s named after Agatha Christie. She’s my other sidekick 🙂

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

A little bit of both. My writer knows the basics of the story, but I get to lead the charge. She’s like the producer, but I’m the director. Often, she doesn’t know what’s going to happen, or where a twist in the story will go. Only I do, and I get to surprise her!

How did you evolve as the main character?

I came back to Santa Sofia after my mother unexpectedly died. Being back home after so many years in Austin, Texas, and after an unfortunate marriage and divorce, felt like being wrapped up in warm blanket.

It felt right.

Sometimes you have to go away to realize what you really want.

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

All the people I mentioned above are essential to my life. My brother, Billy, my dad, Owen, and my best friend (and sister-in-law and the sheriff), Emmaline Davis, are the other essential people in my life. I wouldn’t want to exist in a world without them.

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

In A Murder Yule Regret, it’s Christmas time and there is a Hollywood starlet who’s bought a house here. Her name is Eliza Fox. She has Yeast of Eden cater her Dickens-themed holiday party. But, as you’d expect in a Bread Shop Mystery, murder happens. I came to really like Eliza and wanted so much to help her get through this horrible event.

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

Get yourself in the holiday spirit by reading A Murder Yule Regret. You won’t regret it!

Thank you for answering my questions, Ivy, and good luck to you and your author, Winnie Archer, with A Murder Yule Regret, the latest book in the Bread Shop mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Ivy and her author, Winnie Archer by visiting the author’s website and her Facebook and publisher’s pages.

The novel is available at the following online retailers:

 Amazon  – B&N – Kobo – IndieBound

About Winnie Archer: Winnie Archer is the nationally bestselling author of the Bread Shop Mystery series, and the Magical Dressmaking Mystery series written as Melissa Bourbon. A former middle school English teacher, lives in North Carolina with her educator husband, Carlos, and the youngest of their five children.

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Perils in Yorkshire

Today Deidre Barclay is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Perils in Yorkshire, the latest novel in the British Book Tour mystery series.

Welcome, Deirdre. 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.

My name is Deidre Barclay. I’m the sister of Clare Barkley who owns and operates The British Mystery Book Tours. Claire get tangled in murder investigations. She shouldn’t do that. That’s my job as a barrister. Claire hasn’t the background or the training for investigations. I don’t know whether she just stumbles on them, is rabidly curious about what happens around her, or her significant other, Detective Inspector Mark Evans, nudges her towards them.

I was quite involved with the first murder when Clare moved to Hampshire. The second one occurred in Hampshire as well, but we solved it in Cornwell where my daughter Kayla and I had joined Claire’s tour. Claire is my older sister. She left home when I was about nine years old but we kept in touch and now that she’s back in England, we see each other often.

This time, Claire was in Yorkshire where someone died right at her feet. I wasn’t with her. I had to work, but I was having so much trouble with Kayla that I sent her to York to be with Claire. Claire promised me she was leaving York to go to the  Dale’s and the Moors, so I thought  Kala would be safe with her.

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

Emma, the writer, thinks she knows what’s going to happen as she writes the story, but I have a flamboyant personality and I tend to lob what my son Josh calls spin balls into Claire’s life. I wouldn’t want Emma to get too comfortable.

How did you evolve as the main character?

I’m not the main character; my sister Claire is. Unfair really, as I have an interesting life and deal with murders as well. I think Claire got to be the main character because Emma-the-author wanted to travel to the places that Claire goes. Who wouldn’t want to spend some time in Hampshire, the glory that is Cornwall and the historic town of York? Once she had Claire running a tour business, she could take her anywhere in Britain. So that means Emma ate in the restaurants that Claire eats in, saw the scenes Claire sees and sometimes even met the characters that appear in the book.

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

I share my life with my husband Michael who is also a barrister, my son Josh, a teen, my daughter Kala a preteen, as well as two Labradors. I sometimes look after Claire’s dog Gulliver who is quite a character in himself. Claire has other characters she interacts with. The most important is her love, Mark Evans. I wish she would make a commitment to him—he’s a lovely bloke—but she doesn’t seem ready. Then there are all those proprietors and managers of guest hotels who become her friends. She does get some crazy characters who sign up for her tours, mostly from America. She enjoys them, most of them.

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

I stay most of the time in Guildford which is close to London as that’s where my family and my work is. But Claire, lucky Claire, gets to travel all over Britain. She has a house in Hampshire in a village called Ashton-on-Tinch but travels with her tours around Britain, even to Scotland. I try to join the tours when I can, but I don’t have Claire’s drive for new places, new people and new experiences. She usually takes her tours into the countryside as most people want to see country Britain where they can interact with the local people and sample the pub food. It seems an ideal way to understand new country, if only Claire could stop stumbling over bodies.

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

You’ll like Claire when you meet her in the books. In Perils in Yorkshire, she deals with complex personalities from America and from Britain and she also deals with my troubled child Kayla. Claire is remarkably practical, analytical and more emotional than she knows. She does the responsible thing almost always and asks for help and advice when she needs it, so you’d think she’d stay out of trouble and never be confronted with anything dramatic or difficult. Not true. She makes mistakes. She gets into trouble. If I didn’t love her so much, she’d drive me crazy.

Thank you for answering my questions, Deirdre, and good luck to you and your author, Emma Dakin, with Perils in Yorkshire, the latest book in the British Book Tour mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Deirdre and her author, Emma Dakin by visiting the author’s website and her Facebook and Goodreads pages.

The novel is available at the following online retailers:

Amazon  – B&N  – IndieBound – Kobo – Google Play 

About Emma Dakin: Emma lives in Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. She has over thirty trade-published books of mystery and adventure for teens and middle-grade children and non-fiction for teens and adults. Her memoir Always Pack a Candle: A Nurse in the Cariboo-Chilcotin has received wide recognition. But she keeps returning to her favorite genre, cozy mysteries. Her love of the British countryside and villages and her addiction to reading cozy mysteries keep her writing about characters who live and work in those villages. She enjoys those characters and trusts you will as well.

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