Treasure Most Deadly

Today Richard Atwood is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Treasure Most Deadly, the latest novel in the Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast mystery series.

Welcome, Richard. 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 Richard Atwood and I’m the owner of the Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast. Treasure Most Deadly is the fifth Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mystery. Once again, my eleven-year-old daughter and I are dragged into the middle of a murder that rocks our little town. This time, the victim is a known treasure thief who my daughter and one of our guests caught stealing artifacts from an archaeological site.

What’s odd isn’t the murder itself, but all the other things going on in town. Someone sent a tip to the press that the archaeologist in charge of the excavation is corrupt. Our little town is teeming with reporters chasing that story. There’s also been an attempt to sabotage the vessel being used by the archaeologist in charge. As a former reporter who covered the crime beat, I can tell you this whole mess has well-organized stamped all over it.

The thing that annoys me most about this series is that I’m always in a race against my daughter to solve the crime. No matter how many times I ground her, she never stops sticking her nose in a police investigation, someplace where it definitely doesn’t belong.

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

I have a lot of empathy for our writer. He’s got all these characters with their conflicting demands, and it’s his job to keep it all moving in one direction. I can remember those days and nights in New York when I had to make sense of what was happening on the crime beat. But he chose the job, so he just has to suck it up and get it done. He does a lot of planning to make sure things don’t slow down and that the murder gets solved, so unless he really messes up, I let him do his thing.

How did you evolve as the main character?

Well, I suppose that’s because I’m the dad. I’m the guy with the news-writing background. Of course, if you ask my daughter Alex, she’ll tell you she’s the main character. It’s another one of those parent-child differences of opinion.

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

I do like sharing the story with Alex. She has a very different perspective, and sometimes all those wild theories of hers actually turn out to be something. And let’s face it, I’m partial to her because she’s my daughter.

Whats the place like where you find yourself in this story?

My writer likes to call Seaside Cove ‘the little town where murder meets the sea.’ I prefer to think of it as a good place to raise Alex, run my business, and deepen the relationship with the love of my life. After all, who wants a lot of drama in a small town on the California coast? We have a couple of excellent restaurants, friendly people, and moderate weather. We get a lot of fog in the spring, something I didn’t realize when we moved here. And we do seem to have had an inordinate number of murders. You know what? Maybe my writer’s got the description correct. Just don’t tell him I said that or he’ll get a swelled head.

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

I’ve found a place where I want to settle down for the long run and enjoy life. That would be a lot easier to accomplish if it wasn’t for all these murders. I mentioned the love of my life. Her name is Marquetta Weiss, and she’s our cook here at the B&B. I fell head-over-heels in love with her the first time we met, but it took almost a year before we had our first kiss. This is another case of a parent-child difference of opinion because if you ask Alex, she’ll say she’s the one who brought us together. You know what? Maybe I’ll let Alex take the credit for that one. After all, she did a lot to help me avoid getting snared in the town’s marriage competition. That, however, is another story.

Thank you for answering my questions, Richard, and good luck to you and your author, Terry Ambrose, with Treasure Most Deadly, the latest book in the Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Richard and his author, Terry Ambrose by visiting the author’s website and his Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram and LinkedIn pages. You can also follow him on Twitter.

The novel is available online at  Amazon 

About Terry Ambrose: Once upon a time, in a life he’d rather forget, Terry Ambrose, tracked down deadbeats for a living. He also hired big guys with tow trucks to steal cars-but only when negotiations failed. Those years of chasing deadbeats taught him many valuable life lessons such as-always keep your car in the garage. Today, Terry likes fast, funny mysteries and cool photography. He writes the Trouble in Paradise McKenna Mysteries and organized an anthology to benefit Read Aloud America. He fondly likens his efforts to those of a blind man herding cats.

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

Peaches and Schemes

Today Anna Gerard is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Peaches and Schemes, the latest novel in the Georgia B&B mystery series.

Welcome, Anna. 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. PEACHES AND SCHEMES is book 3 in the Georgia B&B Mystery series featuring innkeeper/amateur sleuth Nina Fleet. The story takes place in the fictional tourist town of Cymbeline, Georgia. Recently divorced after 20 years of marriage, Nina has spent a good chunk of her divorce settlement on the Queen Anne home she impulsively bought there and turned into a B&B.

Where did the idea for the mystery that is central to the story come from? I’ve taken part in numerous expos over the years, sometimes as a vendor and sometimes as an attendee. Such a setting with its crowds and high energy is always ripe for disaster…including murder! And when it comes to murder, a public event allows for all manner of potential victims and possible suspects, making the job of my amateur sleuth much harder.

Is there a theme or subject that underlies the story? If so, what prompted you to write about it? I tend not to recognize my theme until I reach the end of my book, at which time I look back and finally see it. PEACHES AND SCHEMES is all about marriage and the fact that no one except the partners involved ever knows the truth about their relationship. It also emphasizes the fact that broken relationships sometimes can be healed if both parties care enough to make that happen.

How do you create your characters? Do you have favourite ones? If so, why are you partial to them? Characters tend to fill a story need, but sometimes the story bends to fit the characters. I really enjoy my protagonist, Nina, but I get a true kick out of her best frenemy, the out-of-work actor Harry Westcott. Harry is more complicated than Nina and is one of those characters you love to hate.

How do you bring to life the place you are writing about? I employ the writer’s toolbox of using all the senses while harking back to actual sites I’ve known or visited in real life.

What research do you do to provide background information to help you write the novel? In addition to the usual online and book research, I must give a hat tip to my friend and fellow author, Maggie Toussaint. A Georgia native, she wrote me a fabulous list of “small town Georgia stuff”…details specific to life in that part of the world that I have incorporated into the series to add verisimilitude.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about the book? If you like character-driven cozy mysteries with just enough quirkiness to make you smile, you will love PEACHES AND SCHEMES.   

Thanks for answering my questions, Anna, and good luck with Peaches and Schemes, the latest book in the Georgia B&B mysteries.

Readers can learn more about Anna Gerard by visiting her author website, and her Facebook and Booklover’s Bench pages.

The novel is available at the following online retailers:

Amazon – B&N

About Anna Gerard: DIANE A.S. STUCKART began her writing career in the 1990s as the critically acclaimed author of historical romance under the names Alexa Smart and Anna Gerard. She later switched to the mystery genre and is the NYT bestselling author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mysteries (written as Ali Brandon) and the award-winning Leonardo da Vinci historical mysteries. Her Tarot Cats Mystery series launched in 2018 with FOOL’S MOON. Her Georgia B&B Mystery series (also written as Anna Gerard) debuted in 2019 with PEACH CLOBBERED. Kirkus Reviews describes that book as “Filled with Southern charm and enough ditzy characters to keep readers guessing and laughing.” 

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

Death Gone A-Rye

Today Ivy Culpepper is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Death Gone A-Rye, 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.

Of course! My name is Ivy Culpepper and I live in Santa Sofia, inside the Bread Shop mysteries written by Winnie Archer. She moonlights as Melissa Bourbon and also writes Pippin Lane Hawthorne’s world. She’s busy!

My latest adventure is chronicled in Death Gone a-Rye. It’s my 6th mystery adventure. I’m getting pretty good at solving crimes!

In a nutshell, my series revolves around Yeast of Eden, the artisan bread shop in town. I work there part-time. I’m also a photographer, so I do a lot of freelance work, building my business. Miguel Baptista is my high school boyfriend and we’ve reunited. He’s a pretty special man.

Penelope Branford is my neighbor across the street. She’s my 80-something sidekick. Sometimes I’m scrambling to keep up with her! Then there’s Olaya Solis, who owns Yeast of Eden. These two women are a big part of my foundation. My brother, my father, and my best friend, Emmaline, who is also the sheriff, make up the rest of it.

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

That’s a funny question! I think the honest answer is we both do. Winnie has a pretty good idea of where the story starts and where it ends. Sometimes the fine details are loose, and that’s when I get to dig in and take the lead.

How did you evolve as the main character?

I grew up in Santa Sofia, but Miguel and I broke up and I moved to Austin, Texas for college. I stayed there and married Luke Holden. Till I divorced him. I didn’t return to California, though, until my mother passed away. Once I got back there, I never wanted to leave again.

Then I met Olaya and Mrs. Branford (I just can’t call her Penelope or Penny like she wants me to) walked into my life—or, I guess, I walked into theirs—and I felt settled again for the first time in a long time.

As my relationships in Santa Sophia grow and my freelancing takes off, I am discovering more about who I am. I’m 36 and still learning, and I’m pretty happy about that.

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

Like I mentioned, Miguel Baptista is back in my life. He’s become very important to me. Actually, he never stopped being important, we just both got a little sidetracked.

I’m always meeting new people—Like Candace Coffey, for example, in Death Gone a-Rye. We were friends in high school and I’ve run into her again. I love sharing my stories with whoever is in my writer’s head.

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

Santa Sofia is a dream town. It’s on the Central California coast. Think Santa Barbara mixed with Santa Cruz, but the size of, say, Capitola. It’s quaint and is a little bit of a hidden secret, though the secret is getting out. People come from far and wide to get a taste of Olaya’s bread. She’s got a touch of magic in her and her bread reflects that.

Santa Sofia is a great place to live! Minus the murders, of course.

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

If you love bread—and honestly, who doesn’t?—you need to give this series and this book a try! Start with Kneaded to Death and work your way through. Books 7 and 8 are coming at the end of this year and the middle of next year! Happy Reading!

Thank you for answering my questions, Ivy, and good luck to you and your author, Winnie Archer, with Death Gone A-Rye, 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 Kensington Books pages.

The novel is available at the following online retailers:

Amazon – B&N – Kobo 

About Winnie Archer: The indefatigable Winnie Archer is a middle school teacher by day and a writer by night. Born in a beach town in California, she now lives in Colorado. She fantasizes about spending summers writing in quaint, cozy locales, has a love/hate relationship with both yoga and chocolate, adores pumpkin spice lattes, is devoted to her five kids and husband, and can’t believe she’s lucky enough to be living the life of her dreams. 

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

A Ghost and his Gold

Today Roberta Eaton Cheadle is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about her latest novel, A Ghost and his Gold.

Welcome, Roberta. 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.

My novel, A Ghost and His Gold, is not part of a series. It is a stand-alone paranormal historical novel which is partly set in South Africa during the Second Anglo Boer War and partly set in modern South Africa.

One early reviewer said: “A Ghost and His Gold is a tale of love and hatred, the impact of the past on the present, greed and decency, war and peace, and sinning and redemption.” I was delighted by this brilliant description which really sums up the themes in this book.

There is no doubt that our history impacts heavily on our present and this is the idea I wove into this novel, albeit in a more tangible manner, through the haunting of Tom and Michelle by three ghosts: Pieter, a Boer who has to flee his farm when the British army marches on Pretoria in 1900; Robert, a young British soldier stationed in Mafeking during the siege of that town; and Estelle, Pieter’s daughter, who is despised by her conservative and jealous mother.

All the phantoms have tragic pasts and experience lingering bitterness due to their untimely deaths. Their grudges and anger spill over into the present and disrupt Tom and Michelle’s previously peaceful life.

Michelle must unravel the events of their entwined pasts and understand the circumstances leading up to their untimely deaths in order to help them achieve redemption.

Her investigation gradually reveals why she and Tom are the focus of Estelle’s revenge and exposes a deeply buried secret which could destroy their marriage and even result in their deaths.   

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

This book is based on a short paragraph I read in a book about the history of General Jan Smuts, prime minister of the Union of South Africa from 1919 to 1924 and 1939 to 1948, and his wife, known affectionately as Ouma [Grandmother] Smuts.

The Smuts’ lived in an old farmhouse in Irene which is believed to be haunted by the ghost of a farmer who fled the property when the British army marched on Pretoria in June 1900.

The farmer is said to have buried a fortune in gold coins somewhere on the property although the treasure has never been found. He never returned from the war to retrieve his gold.

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

My main intention with this book was to describe the events and circumstances of the Second Anglo Boer War which resulted in the anger and resentment that remained among the different cultures and populations after the war and set the stage for the future of South Africa.

Gold, and people’s desire for wealth, is a repeated theme of this book and is included in the title, together with ghost as this book is historical but has a strong supernatural thread.

I had the general themes for A Ghost and His Gold in place prior to starting the writing of this book and I expanded them as it progressed. The main themes are as follows:

  • The impact of greed and corruption on countries and people;
  • Bad decision making and their effect on soldiers and civilians;
  • Evil perpetuating the development of hatred and evil;
  • The effect of war on the political and social development of a country;
  • The individual mindset versus the group mentality including pro-war propaganda;
  • Death; and
  • The reality of war.

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

I create an outline for each character before I start writing. I describe their physical attributes and their general natures. I always have the ending of the book in my mind before I start writing, it is the goal I work towards, and I know how each character is going to develop. I then write up their characters based on this understanding.

An example of this is Pieter, the Boer. He is not typical of his fellow countrymen as his grandmother was an English woman. His grandmother played a bit role in his life and he was greatly influenced by her love of literature. He has inherited her few books and treasures them. Pieter is unusually intelligent and a deep thinker. He is kind to his workers, and they hold him in very high regard. Pieter’s one blind spot is his relationship with his wife, Marta, a narrow minded and jealous woman. He does not see her for who she really is and overlooks her poor treatment of Estelle.

Pieter is the person who questions the decisions of the Boer generals and the potential outcome of the war. He is contrasted by his brother, Willem, whose attitude was typical of the Boers at that time. He followed blindly and thought the war would be over in three months with success for the Boer Republics.

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

I live in Johannesburg and have visited all the places that feature in this book, so it wasn’t difficult to describe the countryside and places. I realise that most people do not know much about South Africa and I tried to provide insight through observations by the characters and some descriptive writing.

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

I do a lot of research before and during the writing of my historical books. I used 22 sources of information for this novel ranging from personal diaries, to a thesis on the experiences of native Africans in the concentration camps. I also read some fictional books written during the period to help me understand the attitudes and emotions of the time.

There are three different perspectives on this war, the Boers, the British, and the native African, and all of them are quite different. It was for this reason I decided to introduce the ghost of Robert, the British soldier. I wanted to include both the British and the Boer perspectives through the eyes of the characters.

The native African perspective was the most difficult to research as there is little recorded history from their perspective. For this reason, I told this side of the story through the eyes of supporting characters. Writing the story this way, also helped to explain the relationships between the cultures at the time.

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

Although I have focused largely on the historical aspects of this book, it does also have a strong modern supernatural story that binds it all together. There are some interesting ideas presented about the healing of paralysis through gene therapy and the book also explores certain modern issues including misogynistic attitudes in the workplace and sexual harassment.

Thank you for answering my questions, Roberta, and good luck with A Ghost and his Gold. Readers can learn more about Roberta by visiting her author website and blog, and her Facebook and Goodreads pages. You can also follow her on Twitter.

The novel is available online at:

Amazon and Lulu

About Roberta Eaton Cheadle: Robbie Cheadle has published nine books for children and one poetry book. She has branched into writing for adults and young adults and, in order to clearly separate her children’s books from her adult books, is writing for older readers under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle.

Robbie Cheadle’s Sir Chocolate children’s picture books are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions that children can make under adult supervision. Her books for older children also incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Roberta Eaton Cheadle’s supernatural stories combine fabulous paranormal elements with fascinating historical facts.

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

You’ll find a Whole Latte Murder round here

Today Gia Morelli is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Whole Latte Murder, the latest novel in the All-day Breakfast Cafe mystery series.

Welcome, Gia. 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.

I’m Gia Morelli, and I live inside the All-Day Breakfast Café Mystery series. I used to live in New York City and work the breakfast shift in a busy delicatessen, until my ex-husband turned out to be a liar who swindled his clients out of millions of dollars. After the divorce and his trial, I moved to Boggy Creek, Florida to be close to my best friend, Savannah, who helped me open my café and buy a small house in a rural area just outside the Ocala National Forest. Now, I live there with my dog, Thor, my kitten, Klondike, and Savannah, though she hasn’t officially moved in.

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

I definitely control what happens in the story. When my writer tries to deviate from my plan, she doesn’t get very far and usually ends up deleting everything she’s written.

How did you evolve as the main character?

In the first All-Day Breakfast Café Mystery, Scone Cold Killer, I was kind of a mess. I had just gone through a nasty divorce, and I didn’t really trust anyone. That’s what happens when you find out your ex is not only cheating on you, but cheating all of his clients out of millions of dollars. Having lived most of my life in New York City, I had no clue about all the wildlife in Florida, and I was pretty much afraid of everything. Now, I’ve made amazing friends in Boggy Creek and was reminded that there are still good, trustworthy people out there. And I’m growing used to the wildlife, mostly, though snakes and spiders are still a problem.

Do you have any other characters you like sharing the story with? If so, why are you partial to them? I love sharing the story with Savannah. She is my best friend in the world, and I would do anything for her. I also enjoy sharing the story with my new friend, Trevor, who has introduced me to the joys of kayaking in the Florida wilderness. And, of course, Savannah’s cousin, Detective Hunter Quinn, who has become much more than just a friend.

What’s the place like where you find yourself in this story?  The All-Day Breakfast Café sits on Main Street in Boggy Creek, a small town in Central Florida. I have grown to love Boggy Creek, and its residents. In Whole Latte Murder, Savannah disappears while showing a house, and her client is found dead, and everyone in Boggy Creek steps up to search for her.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about you and the book? Whole Latte Murder is the fifth book in the All-Day Breakfast Café Mystery series. The sixth book, Mistletoe Cake Murder, when Savannah and Leo are supposed to get married if we can solve a murder in time for the wedding, is due to release in October.

Thank you so much for having me! I’ve enjoyed visiting.

You’re welcome, Gia. Thank you for answering my questions and good luck to you and your author, Lena Gregory, with Whole Latte Murder, the latest book in the All-Day Breakfast Cafe mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Gia and her author, Lena Gregory by visiting the author’s website and her Facebook, Goodreads, Bookbub, Instagram and Pinterest pages. You can also follow her on Twitter.

The novel is available at the following online retailers:

Amazon    Barnes & Noble      Kobo    Kensington     Apple    Google Play

About Lena Gregory: Lena is the author of the Bay Island Psychic Mysteries, which take place on a small island between the north and south forks of Long Island, New York, and the All-Day Breakfast Café Mysteries, which are set on the outskirts of Florida’s Ocala National Forest.

Lena grew up in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island, but she recently traded in cold, damp, gray winters for the warmth and sunshine of central Florida, where she now lives with her husband, three kids, son-in-law, and four dogs. Her hobbies include spending time with family, reading, and walking. Her love for writing developed when her youngest son was born and didn’t sleep through the night. She works full time as a writer and a freelance editor and is a member of Sisters in Crime.

Posted in Archives, May 2021 | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Murder at Belgrave Square

Today Evelyn Christie is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Murder in Belgrave Square, the latest novel in the Tommy & Evelyn Christie mystery series.

Welcome, Evelyn. 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.

Evelyn Christie here with you today. Murder in Belgrave Square is the 4th book in this series and is set in the spring of 1922. It features me and my husband, Tommy. We are Lord and Lady Northmoor, who ordinarily live in the village of Hessleham in North Yorkshire. If you are interested in where we live, look along the north-east coast of England and find a place called Filey. Hessleham is right near there J  Our previous three cases are all set in and around the village and Tommy’s ancestral home, Hessleham Hall. As well as lots of villagers, family and friends, the previous stories all feature my beloved Gordon Setter dogs. In this story we are in our London home because Tommy’s Aunt Victoria, newly returned from France, wants her daughter Madeleine to have a London Season. Madeleine’s elder sister, Elise, is horribly jealous of her sister. I rather think she would have liked a Season too. Old family friend, Frederick Ryder, is staying with his family. We had just got nicely settled in when my maid found Madeleine’s French boyfriend dead on the back kitchen step. As if that wasn’t shocking enough, a newborn baby was in a basket at his feet. The police are convinced some sort of gambling club is involved, but Tommy and I believe the answer lies closer to home.

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

We allow the writer some control over the story. She starts out with neat outlines, plenty of research, and a good idea of what she will write in each chapter. Then Tommy and I chime in with things she wasn’t expecting. She mutters and mumbles but always finds, towards the end, something she hadn’t planned to write works out very well for her. They attacked me in our last mystery—she had no idea that was going to happen when I went poking around in a coal bunker! In this mystery, I am caring for the abandoned baby as well as trying to unmask a killer. Our writer thinks she has given me too much to cope with and I’m going to struggle—she will find I have a much stronger backbone than she gives me credit for J

How did you evolve as the main character?

In our first mystery, we were plain old Tommy and Evelyn Christie. However, with the death of Tommy’s Uncle Charles, Tommy was elevated to second in line. I don’t want to give away too much information, but when Tommy was arrested for that crime, I simply had to step in and clear his name. Before the war, Tommy worked in the police force and I also worked in the same profession during the war. Afterwards, they no longer wanted policewomen, so solving the murders that seem to happen all around us has been a way to prove to myself I am a good detective despite being a woman!

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

I’m quite partial to my husband, Tommy J As I’ve mentioned, we are a team and solve mysteries together. He can be a little over-protective but, as I point out at the beginning of this story, I rarely have cause to doubt that he absolutely adores me. I’m a very lucky woman. I’ve also mentioned our dogs, who are also characters to me. Especially the very mischievous Davey who has a penchant for stealing items of clothing and making off with them across the lawn at Hessleham Hall! The other human I am incredibly fond of is Aunt Em. In her eighties, she says things that other people would not dare. She is great fun and can usually be found in the drawing room, bossing everyone around while sipping on a gin and tonic—heavy on the gin, light on the tonic!

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

This is the first time I have visited the family home in Belgrave Square. I knew it would be posh, but I wasn’t expecting the house to be quite as grand as it is. Of course, it’s smaller than our main home in Yorkshire, but it seems neater and newer. Maybe, like Aunt Em says, it’s because the furniture in the Belgrave Square house is not covered in dog hair J

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

The book is fast moving with plenty of suspects. Expect a little humor because, of course, Aunt Em is in the house! You will also see friendships and respect between me, Tommy, and our staff. Tommy understands the responsibilities he has as Lord Northmoor, but he hasn’t allowed that to spoil him as a person. This book is slightly different than the others in that we are not in our little village with all our family and friends—and the writer has given me a baby to look after(!)—but it still full of the usual murder, jealousy, love, and quite possibly a bit of blackmail. Readers have suggested the series is: Downton Abbey…with murder and mayhem! And, I must admit, I rather like that description J 

Thank you for answering my questions, Evelyn, and good luck to you and your author, Catherine Coles, with Murder in Belgrave Square, the latest book in the Tommy & Evelyn Christie mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Evelyn and her author, Catherine Coles by visiting the author’s website and her Facebook, Goodreads, and Bookbub pages. You can also follow her on Twitter.

The novel is available online at  Amazon

About Catherine Coles: I’ve always wanted to be an author…or a songwriter…or a nurse…or a teacher…I never have been able to make up my mind. My working career is a testament to this. Over the years, I’ve worked as a legal secretary, a night carer, in a bar while I completed my law degree, a family law practitioner, a childminder, a foster carer, a home carer, a receptionist, facilitating car deliveries for online customers, and a PA/HR Manager. Now I am living my dream as a full-time author. Well…in truth…one of my dreams—a girl should never have only one dream! Catherine lives in the northeast of England where she shares her home with her children and two spoiled dogs who have no idea they are not human!

Posted in May 2021 | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Monkey Bread Business

Today Jolie Tucker is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Monkey Bread Business, the latest novel in the Cast Iron Skillet mystery series.

Welcome, Jolie. 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.

I’m Jolie Tucker and currently I’m in my late twenties. My life is too complicated to write it all in one book. She thinks she will be able to do it in twelve to fourteen books. I’m not so sure about that.

First off, my family is the definition of helicopter family—well, the women are—my bio dad isn’t around unless he needs something. The majority of my life has been sheltered growing up in a small village and knowing everyone around me.

There came a day when darkness creeped into our sun rayed little hamlet and it led to my bestie Ava and I having to crack a case wide open to save my grandma. Since then, more crime continues to funnel through (and I DO mean “funnel” through) our town. For a while I thought it was all random, but recently I’ve found that every single crime is connected and there is a mole in our town. All of these people I thought I knew my entire life is now suspects minus a few I’m choosing to trust. There’s a bigger picture and someone is pulling all the strings.

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

I mean, she THINKS she controls everything. You know that sort—Type A (insert eyeroll here) perfectionist who thinks she’s just brilliant. Sometimes she’ll have me saying the most ridiculous things—but the worst part is that I’ve gotten a bit banged and bruised from time to time. So every once in a while, while she sleeps, I have these little subconscious conversations with her. I’m sure she’s not aware of it and even if she were, it’s too important for her to have all the control. So, I let her believe that.

How did you evolve as the main character?

Okay, well, any therapist—and I have a darn good one named Tabitha who has me journal about my feelings—could tell you that she thinks she’s me. Again, trying to live through me sort of thing. I get it, though. If I were her, I’d feel the exact same way!

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

Ava Martinez. No brainer. My bestie since babies in diapers. She and I co-own Cast Iron Creations and recently we’ve both gotten our PI licenses and started a part-time business with it. Too many things were happening and my main squeeze is a detective—but here’s the thing—he’s great at his job but I’m capable of solving cases on my own and taking care of myself. Mick is great. He has MS and we’ve had some recent hurdles when it flares up, but he is supportive of me. I’m a handful and he knows how to handle me. Which basically means leaving me alone when I need it, trusting me, and allowing me to work through my baggage.

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

Oy. We have a tiny village that we live in with a city nearby. There’s a new mall being built right smack in the middle of the interstate that connects the city to our village. Lots of farmland was up for sale, then came down, only to go back up again (politics—long story) and now we’re seeing urban sprawl but the urbanites are faced with gentrification. Like I said earlier, there’s a bigger picture at play. I just haven’t figured out who is behind it yet. But Ava and I will—and soon.

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

Even though there is some serious things going on, there is lots of delicious foods we enjoy and plenty of cast iron skillet recipes in the back of each book. Also, LOTS of cats in the series. The writer has eight cats and in the last nineteen years she’s rescued nineteen cats of different ages. Every cat appears on the cover of a book in the series.

Thanks for having me here today.

You’re welcome, Jolie, and thank you for answering my questions. Good luck to you and your author, Jolie Rath, with Monkey Bread Business, the latest book in the Cast Iron Skillet mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Jolie and her author, Jodi Rath by visiting the author’s website and her Facebook, Goodreads, Bookbub and Pinterest pages. You can also follow her on Twitter.

The novel is available online at  Amazon 

About Jodi Rath: Moving into her second decade working in education, Jodi Rath has decided to begin a life of crime in her Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series. Her passion for both mysteries and education led her to combine the two to create her business MYS ED, where she splits her time between working as an adjunct for Ohio teachers and creating mischief in her fictional writing. She currently resides in a small, cozy village in Ohio with her husband and her nine cats.

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

Legally Blind Luck

Today James J. Cudney is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Legally Blind Luck, his latest novel in the Braxton Campus mystery series.

Welcome, James. 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.

Legally Blind Luck is the 7th book in the Braxton Campus Mysteries. The series follows all the rules in the cozy mystery sub-genre, but it pushes the limits with more complexity and side stories than the traditional approach. The setting and plots focus on Kellan Ayrwick, a 30-something single father who’s returned to his Pennsylvania hometown and accepted a job teaching at a local college. He comes from a large family, is dating the sheriff, and has many women in his life who try to run it for him, including his mother, grandmother, ex-wife, girlfriend, boss, and some close friends.

In this latest book, Kellan’s uncle somehow got involved with a mysterious African talisman that was cursed by Queen Tessa many centuries ago. Kellan is asked to work with the head of the Art department to ensure the college’s newest exhibit is successful. Unfortunately, a bunch of museum folks and art connoisseurs descend upon Braxton, which also piques the curiosity of an FBI agent Kellan’s met before. One of them ends up dead, and a blind woman is intent on getting a hold of Kellan to tell him a secret about his uncle. Queen Tessa’s curse is causing people to do some strange things, and when it all comes together, Kellan finds himself near death once more. But he does solve the mystery, even if the repercussions for his future are graver than last time.

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

Each book, I pick a different department or building on the campus that becomes the primary focus. I hadn’t done much with the art world, and in the last book, we knew Kellan’s uncle was returning from South Africa to visit his son. I wanted to add something above and beyond the norm, a curse. Even though it’s not real, people tend to believe in these types of things… and their reactions often lead them astray. I created a fictional tribal leader and tied her into some existing characters, then decided to bring in the culture of another country. It’s hard to send Kellan outside the US as a college professor (and still have all his supporting characters help him solve the crime), so I brought the world to him this time.

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

In a very small way, yes. The curse is about a vendetta… a grudge. People can hold them for a very long time. In the most dire of circumstances, it leads to death. Would a curse from 350 years ago truly prompt a person alive today to seek revenge? Yes, if you put the right spin on the curse and what it causes someone else to believe. I can’t say much more, but this plays into people’s impressions of themselves and those they are closest too. Ultimately, there is a lesson here, but readers won’t learn it until the very last chapter.

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

I am not partial these days. There are over 140 characters in the Braxton Campus Mysteries now. Add another 10 for the Christmas novella coming out this fall. Everyone ties back to 10 or 12 core families who founded the area in the past. There is a fine balance to creating a setting that is real but also allows for murder and death. I can’t kill the same family members or make villains of every family, so there are tenuous connections to people who live in Braxton as well as strong bonds by blood. I love that I brought in characters from early books again, people who were casually referred to and had little back story at the time. Now, they are critical to understanding what’s going on in Braxton these days. Take for instance, Jordan Ballantine from Academic Curveball. He was a suspect (and maybe the killer, I won’t say here) in the debut of the series. We have heard little about or from him since that book. Now, his father is around, and I’ve fit him in so easily, I can’t imagine it being any different from the beginning. Lindsey Endicott is another one… we meet his ex-wife and son, only hinted at in the past. Fern has a sister that we meet in this book. So many ways to keep the sense of intimacy within the pages.

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

Details. Reality. Imagination. A small town is nothing but a small town if you can’t create places people want to visit. In Legally Blind Luck, the president’s office (which appeared in past books) now has a name – Prentiss Hall. Ursula has remodelled it since the last book she was in, and now we understand her personality and the way she wants the college to be perceived. The science department built a man-made pond on campus… it serves as the backdrop for a few scenes in this book, but it also creates an atmosphere where the town and campus become familiar over time. I want to live here!

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

Usually, very little. I rely on creativity and imagination. This time, I did research a bit of South Africa’s geography to ensure I lined up with some truths about the location in terms of mountains, sea, and safaris. I had to do a little digging about the differences between the FBI and ICE, when it comes to international issues. And two characters are modelled after people in reality, so I had to find a bunch of descriptions and photos to get the voices and physical characteristics correct.

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

As readers have come to know about this series, I end with a few cliffhangers. Sometimes, they are huge… like in the last book with the Orlando Airport incident. I had to choose when to start this book carefully. If I picked up the moment the last one left off, I’d have to handle a ton of grief, funeral scenes, and pain. Instead, I chose to fast-forward 10 weeks so that characters could be in a reasonably more balanced mood. Death changes people, but you can get through a day without crying at some point. If this were a different series, I could’ve focused on the sad parts… but Braxton is based in humor, in particular Kellan’s sarcastic personality. I’m happy with how it turned out in the end, but I know it will leave some readers concerned that we missed 10 weeks of potential clues and tender moments. That said… be prepared for another whopper of a cliffhanger at the end of Legally Blind Luck.

Thanks for answering my questions, James, and good luck with Legally Blind Luck, the latest book in theBraxton Campus Mystery series.

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

The novel is available online at Amazon.

About James J. Cudney: James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College, an historic but small liberal arts school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with a degree in English literature and minors in Education, Business and Spanish. After college, I accepted a technical writing position for a telecommunications company during Y2K and spent the last ~20 years building a career in technology & business operations in the retail, sports, media, hospitality, and entertainment industries. Throughout those years, I wrote short stories, poems, and various beginnings to the “Great American Novel,” but I was so focused on my career that writing became a hobby. In 2016, I committed to focusing my energies toward reinvigorating a second career in reading, writing, and publishing.

Posted in April 2021, Archives | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Is there Paws for Alarm?

Today Amy Hueston is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Paws for Alarm, her latest novel in the Caninie Confections mystery series.

Welcome, Amy. 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! The series is the Canine Confections mystery series and the central location is a dog bakery on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach. Paws for Concern is the 1st in the series, Paws for Alarm is the 2nd in series and out March 22, 2021 and Paws for Murder will be out in the summer of 2021. It is a clean, cozy mystery meaning, no gore, no naughty words, only good, clean murderous fun.

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

I needed something involving baking and dogs and wa la!  A murder in a dog bakery! I’m a big fan of both pastry and dogs. And twisty mysteries (and thrillers).

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

All dogs deserve love. And you can never eat too many cannoli.

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

A combination of different people and dogs whom I meet. My favorite characters are the not so nice ones. Snippy and witchy. I’m partial to them because I love their confidence, even if maybe they should watch their mouth a little more.

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

I think about the real Palm Beach and how it feels to walk on Worth Avenue. It’s a little magical, Worth Avenue and Palm Beach. Sure, there’s sun and sand and fancy shops and mansions but there’s something indescribable in the air, indefinable. I think on that and then…write.

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

Drive an hour and half south, get off the exit, and park in one of the parking spots running along Worth Avenue.

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

Though I love to read and write twisty psychological thrillers and even horror, I also like to read and write safe, clean, cozy mysteries. They have the twists of the suspense books I love but I always know I don’t have to get too nervous, no physical or psychological damage or darkness will find its way onto the pages. That’s comforting when all you want is to cuddle up with your dog on the couch and disappear into another world.

Thanks so much for having me!

You’re welcome, Amy. Thanks for answering my questions and good luck with Paws for Alarm, the latest book in the Canine Confections Mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Amy and her writing by visiting her 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 – B&N 

About Amy Hueston: Amy writes mini-mysteries for Woman’s World magazine when she isn’t writing mystery and suspense novels. The first 3 books in her Canine Confections mystery series have an abundance of dogs and pastries, two of her favorite things, and will be available in 2021. Amy is also a professional singer who has performed nationally and internationally. A sought-after singer in South Florida, Amy draws on these experiences when writing.

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

The Blind Switch

Today Lyn Farrell is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about The Blind Switch, her first novel in the Rosedale Investigations mystery series.

Welcome, Lyn. 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 Blind Switch” is the first book in a new series called “Rosedale Investigations,” a private investigator practice headed by PD Pascoe, Wayne Nichols and Dory Clarkson as well as young Billy Jo Bradley.

PD Pascoe is a retired detective formerly with the Nashville, PD. Wayne Nichols is also a retired detective. He worked with the Rosedale Sheriff’s office for twenty plus years. Dory Clarkson is an Investigator who also recently retired from the Rosedale Sheriff Office. She worked there more years than she cares to remember. Billy Jo is twenty-one, and before PD hired her and provided her with an apartment, was waitressing, going to community college at night, and living in her car. 

The cases that come to Rosedale Investigations are varied and range from missing persons the police have given up on, infidelity, and theft the clients don’t choose to report to the police.

In the 2nd book in the series “The Blind Split” the team investigates a missing mother and child. The child is finally found in a deserted farmhouse, but the mother seems to have vanished. In the third book in the series, “Blind Sided” they are asked to investigate the provenance of a 100 year old painting.  

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

Years ago I read a book about an adopted girl who finds her birth mother. The mother was by then married and had two more children. She had never told her husband about the first child. The story stayed with me and became the central idea for the first client. Cara Summerfield, who comes to the PI agency in “The Blind Switch,” wants them to find her birth son.     

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

The major theme in the story concerns a young couple, Tracey and Danny, who are struggling to afford to buy a home. Tracey is a beautician. Danny is a thoroughbred racehorse trainer and he gets in trouble with gambling when trying to get enough money together to make a down payment on the house.

I see many young people struggling with rising costs of living today. Many turn to drugs or drink because of the stress. There are always consequences. Danny gets beat up by some thugs who collect gambling debts. I feel sorry for young people who must live on the edge if they don’t have college degrees. And the rising cost of higher education is criminal.  

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

Wayne Nichols, Dory Clarkson and PD Pascoe are characters my daughter Lisa and I created for the Mae December mystery series. We wrote those mysteries together under the penname of Lia Farrell.

Billy Jo Bradley is a new character for this series and I had fun creating her. I gave her a difficult life situation. Her mother recently died of cancer. Her father was never in the picture and in fact Billy Jo doesn’t know who he is. Her only other relative was her mother’s father, Hector, who died recently. Hector served in the Army during the Viet Nam War with PD Pascoe. When he was dying, he contacted PD and asked him to look out for Billy Jo. PD stepped up and found her, offered her a job and a place to live.   

I’m partial to Billy Jo because she’s much like me. I had a tough, poverty-stricken childhood, and am driven to achieve in life in part due to my hard-knocks background. Like Billy Jo, I also have had opportunities knock when I was on the edge. Billy Jo is grateful to PD for what he has done for her and loves him as a grandfather. She enjoys opera and listens to it because it helps her solve problems.

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

The setting for the novel is a small fictional town of Rosedale, Tennessee. It too was created for the Mae December mysteries. All I had to do for this new novel was to create a renovated house for the PI business. I gave Billy Jo an apartment upstairs in the house.

Everyone who writes mysteries is indebted to Agatha Christie. She is the Queen of the “cozy” or small town mystery. Rosedale, Tennessee is much like the little towns in Dame Christie’s mysteries where everyone knows everyone. The major source of information for solving small town crimes is always the “house to house” interviews. Although many times police report to colleagues that nobody saw or heard anything, this is never true. Somebody always knows something. It’s only a matter of tracking down the knowledgeable individual.  

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

I am fortunate to have in my extended family circle several people who are experts in their fields. I have an ER doctor, a high level police officer, a child psychologist, and I worked for years in the medical school where I encountered a wealth of stories.

In addition, I use the internet, although I am very careful to double check what I find. I also read widely, both fiction and non-fiction. And I love the streaming service called “Britbox” that carries all the old British mysteries.

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

“The Blind Switch” is the first traditionally published book I have written on my own without my daughter. It was both fun and challenging and I hope more than anything else that people will enjoy my story.

Thanks for answering my questions, Lyn, and good luck with The Blind Switch, the first book in Rosedale Investigations mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Lyn and her writing by visiting her website and her Facebook page.

The novel is available at the following online retailers:

 Amazon – B&N – Kobo

About Lyn Farrell: Lynda J. Farquhar (penname Lyn Farrell) holds a master’s degree in English and a Ph.D. in Higher Education/Administration from Michigan State University. Prior to her retirement from MSU, she was a professor in the College of Human Medicine where she worked for 30+ years. When she retired, she returned to her first love, writing, and self-published a YA Trilogy, “Tales of the Skygrass Kingdom.” Subsequently, she and her daughter, Lisa Fitzsimmons, wrote a 7-book mystery series, “The Mae December Mysteries,” published by Camel Press under their joint penname, Lia Farrell. Marketing efforts for the Mae December mysteries, as well as much work by Camel on subsidiary rights, deal with Harlequin, have resulted in sales of 22,000+ (to date) for the series. She is now writing a new mystery series, “Rosedale Investigations.” The first is titled, “The Blind Switch” and was released in January 2021.

Posted in April 2021, Archives | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments