You know the old saying – “Where There’s A Will…”

Today Arabella Carpenter is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Where There’s A Will, the latest novel in the Glass Dolphin mystery series.

Welcome, Arabella. 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.

Thank you for asking me. I am one of the main characters in Judy Penz Sheluk’s Glass Dolphin cozy mystery series. The Glass Dolphin is the name of my antiques shop, which is located on historic Main Street in the small town of Lount’s Landing. The town is named after Samuel Lount, a real-life politician who was hanged for treason in the nineteenth century. The first book in the series is The Hanged Man’s Noose (that’s the name of a local pub), followed by A Hole in One (dead body found during a charity golf tournament), and the most recent, which released on Nov. 10, 2020, is Where There’s A Will.

Something that is fun is that Judy Penz Sheluk also writes another series, the Marketville Mysteries. These involve cold cases, though still with a cozy vibe, and the books in the series are Skeletons in the Attic, Past & Present, and A Fool’s Journey. Anyway, I have a minor role in all three books, which is pretty cool, don’t you think?

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

Judy calls herself a pantser, which means she lets the story take her where it takes her. Because of that, I sometimes steer her in a direction she hadn’t been expecting.

How did you evolve as the main character?

I was actually the sidekick in book 1 (Noose), sharing the stage with Emily Garland, a journalist who is now my business partner. In book 2 (A Hole in One), we switched roles. In Where There’s A Will, we share the role of protagonist equally, alternating our points of view. It was great fun doing it that way, because we weren’t always aware of what the other was doing, and that created some problems. What’s a mystery without some problems?

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

Besides Emily, there is my ex-husband, Levon Larroquette, an antiques picker by trade. Everyone seems to think we are perfect for each other, but we’re both too stubborn to admit it. Levon is a major character in all three Glass Dolphin books, and he adds a hint of romance. He’s also drop dead gorgeous. Judy really enjoys writing about Levon, but honestly, some of the situations she puts us in…it’s just not fair!

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

Lount’s Landing is a small town about 90 minutes north of Toronto, Canada. But like most small towns within a commutable distance to a major city, there are signs of development. In fact, in the first book, The Hanged Man’s Noose, a greedy developer came there to build a mega-box store on our historic Main Street. As if we’d let him get away with that.

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

I thought you’d never ask! Here’s the official blurb:

Emily Garland is getting married and looking for the perfect forever home. When the old, and some say haunted, Hadley house comes up for sale, she’s convinced it’s “the one.” The house is also perfect for reality TV star Miles Pemberton and his new series, House Haunters. Emily will fight for her dream home, but Pemberton’s pockets are deeper than Emily’s, and he’ll stretch the rules to get what he wants.

While Pemberton racks up enemies all around Lount’s Landing, Arabella Carpenter, Emily’s partner at the Glass Dolphin antiques shop, has been hired to appraise the contents of the estate, along with her ex-husband, Levon. Could the feuding beneficiaries decide there’s a conflict of interest? Could Pemberton?

Things get even more complicated when Arabella and Levon discover another will hidden inside the house, and with it, a decades-old secret. Can the property stay on the market? And if so, who will make the winning offer: Emily or Miles Pemberton?

Thank you for answering my questions, Arabella, and good luck to you and your author, Judy Penz Sheluk, with Where There’s A Will, the latest book in the Glass Dolphin mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Arabella and her author, Judy Penz Sheluk 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  –   B&N –   Kobo –  Apple

About Judy Penz Sheluk: A former journalist and magazine editor, Judy Penz Sheluk is the author of two mystery series: the Glass Dolphin Mysteries and the Marketville Mysteries. Her short crime fiction appears in several collections, including The Best Laid Plans and Heartbreaks & Half-truths, which she also edited. Judy is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she serves as Chair on the Board of Directors.

Posted in Archives, December 2020 | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Abide with Me

Today Sister Agatha is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Abide with Me, the latest novel in the Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn mystery series.

Welcome, Sister Agatha. 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 live inside a terrific story—where I am both main character and heroine.  I am modest also which anyone who knows me will tell you.

The story is set in North Wales—the most beautiful spot on earth and filled with the best people. Lots of the action takes place either at the Abbey where I live with my Anglican sisters or in the village of Pryderi.

The series so far is three books long and the most recent book, Abide with Me, is my favorite, I have to say.

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

The writer starts off with great intentions, but I usually pull ahead of her. The best writing that she does is when she lets me run with it. I have noticed that sometimes she can hardly keep up!

How did you evolve as the main character?

I was always the main character, but I have grown more complicated with time. For example, I began as a rather dull person but soon the writer discovered my many talents including that I am a crackerjack novelist—as yet unpublished. She also found out that I am a librarian and up to speed with all the latest in library technology.

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

My best friend in the world is Sister Callwen. She is smart, organized and very close to God. She is my better half. I like to think that she sees me as her better half, but I doubt she does.  I am also close to the Reverend Mother. She is a fabulous leader and excellent basketball player. I depend on her to keep me steady.

But my best friend outside of the Abbey is Father Selwyn. He is funny, reverent, kind, and enjoys tea and cakes as much as I do. We’ve been friends since the fourth form.

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

Mostly I am at the Abbey. The Abbey is hundreds of years old and built of stone and old wood and crawling with ivy. It has lovely walkways and gardens and all sorts of nooks and crannies. My favorite spot, my holy of holies, is the attic library.

The abbey is at the top of Church Lane with the village just below. The village is also a favorite place especially The Buttered Crust Tea Shop.

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

I may be a nun and a writer and a novelist, but what I really am is a detective. And if you want a story of detection complete with action and suspense, then you must enter into my world through the pages of this series. You’ll love it!

Thank you for answering my questions, Sister Agatha, and good luck to you and your author, Jane Willan, with Abide with Me, the latest book in the Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Sister Agatha and her author, Jane Willan by visiting the author’s website and her Facebook, Goodreads, and Instagram pages. Readers can also follow her on Twitter.

The novel is available online at AMAZON 

About Jane Willan: Jane wants to live in a world where everyone has time to read their favorite books, drink good coffee, and walk their dog on the beach, but until that can happen she enjoys life as a pastor and writer. When she’s not working on a sermon, or hiking with her husband, Don, you can find her rereading Jane Eyre, binge-watching Downton Abbey, and trying out new ways to avoid exercise.

Posted in December 2020 | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Falling into Magic

Today Elizabeth Pantley is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Falling into Magic, her first novel in the Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic series.

Welcome, Elizabeth. 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.

Falling into Magic is the first book of the Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic series. (Book two will follow in about four months.) The first book tells of our protagonist’s arrival in this very special place. How did she get there? Why was she brought there? And why is someone dangerous targeting her, and are they trying to force her to leave?

Destiny Falls is an enchanted place that you won’t find on any map. It’s a place filled with surprises and mysteries that are uncovered just a bit at a time. It’s a small town, but it’s not, depending on what the citizens need. There’s a magical ferry boat, but I can’t really tell you where it goes – because the destinations change, depending on the journey.

The people of Destiny Falls are much like you and I, but with interesting and occasional aspects that we’d never see in our own world. This makes the community rich with characters and stories that will take many years to tell. 

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

This story idea rolled around in my head for a long time before it made it to paper. It began with just a kernel: What if there was a secret world hiding on the other side of the mirror? What if what we’re seeing isn’t always a reflection of our own place, or our own truth? What if we suddenly found ourselves there? How would we act? What would we do? If it was truly wonderful, would we stay?

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

The general theme is about home and family. What makes a family? How do we know if the place we reside is the home where we are meant to be? In Falling into Magic, our protagonist, Hayden, finds herself thrust into a magical place far removed from her world and everything she has accepted as normal. She learns she has a family that has been hidden from her all her life.

The theme of the story examines how we as human beings can shift and adjust, depending on where we find ourselves. It shows that we can build a place for ourselves wherever we may land.

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

I think that characters have their beginnings in real people we’ve known or met along the way in our lives. And once created, they change and modify into their own self. Eventually, they become very real, and their personalities develop and solidify. Oftentimes, my characters did something, or said something that made me laugh out loud, and I wondered, now, where did that come from?

One of my favourite characters doesn’t even have a name! She is known by her description alone, and she is in some ways exactly what you’d expect her to be, and in others, so far removed from her stereotype it’s hysterical!

The beauty of writing a story like this, is that the characters almost create themselves. Their personalities begin to shine and bring a depth and realism to the book.

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

Destiny Falls is a harbour town located near a mountain and forest. The location was created based on places I know well in the Pacific Northwest. We have a wonderful group of 172 islands called the San Juan Islands that are located between Washington State and Canada. They are known for their amazing natural beauty and variety of small, charming towns. Our family has had many vacations exploring these islands. It was easy to create a magical place based on the charm of these towns and the stunning wilderness of the islands.

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

I often reach out to someone who’s an expert in their field. I have found that people in general are gracious and excited to provide information on their specialty to an author!

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

Once you meet all the characters in this book, and the story takes shape, you’ll find a roller coaster ride of events. Every time you think you’ve figured out the mystery another aspect is uncovered to make you second-guess your hypothesis. It’s fun to wander through the story until the truth is revealed to you.

Thanks for answering my questions, Elizabeth, and good luck with Falling into Magic, the first book in theDestiny Falls Mystery & Magic series.

Readers can learn more about Elizabeth and her writing by visiting her website and her blog, as well as her Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest pages.

The novel is available online at  Amazon

About Elizabeth Pantley: Elizabeth is the international bestselling author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution and twelve other books for parents. Her books have been published in over twenty languages. She lives near Seattle and is the mother of four and nana to one. This is her first work of fiction.

Posted in Archives, November 2020 | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fishing for Trouble

Today Charlie Cooke is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Fishing For Trouble, the latest novel in the Alaskan Diner mystery series.

Welcome, Charlie. 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.

FISHING FOR TROUBLE is the second adventure in The Alaska Diner Mysteries. I’m Charlie Cooke, owner and manager of The Bear Claw Diner, and I can’t seem to avoid getting involved in more hazardous activities than dropping a skillet on my foot OR forgetting to buy new kitchen cloths. Early on, family friend and Alaska State Trooper Cody Graham informally deputized me a couple of friends, one my BFF and inn owner, the other a local journalist. You can see how short-handed he must be! In this second novel in the series, college students who flock to Alaska’s fishing industry for the summer get into more trouble than dorm parties, and one of them loses his life to murder.

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

I’m kind of afraid to go against my writer, since this is her 4th pen name, leading me to believe she’s hiding from the law. Suspicious, don’t you think? So, I don’t argue when she puts me in risky situations, though I might add that it is my life that’s on the line, not hers. She’s really Camille Minichino, sitting in a cozy office in California, not buffeted by snowstorms, never being called on to follow a clue to a murderer. Plus she almost never cooks! Is this at all fair?

How did you evolve as the main character?

I’m lucky enough to be an heiress! Not to a great fortune, or to a royal title, but to a thriving business—a diner that my mom had worked hard to make a success. Elkview, Alaska is on the main drag, you might say, on one of very few roads in the state. We are between the two major cities of Anchorage and Fairbanks, and close to Talkeetna, a jumping off point to Denali National Park. We get tours going in both directions, to or from the Aurora Borealis, and we’re one of the staging areas for rock and ice climbers. When Mom was ready to retire, and hand off both the Bear Claw diner and her orange tabby, Benny (short for Eggs Benedict, the world’s best cat), I gladly stepped in.

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

I’m also lucky enough to be sharing my days with my childhood BFF, Annie Jensen, who, coincidentally, inherited her family inn, just down the road from my diner. My staff is great, also, never minding when I leave them to manage the diner while I traipse off with Annie and Chris, the local reporter, to work on a case for Trooper Graham. I’m still trying to figure out where Chris and I are going, if anywhere, but recently we took it up a notch and had a real date where he took me up in a small plane (he’s a pilot, too) for a scenic tour of our neighborhood.

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

A very small town, so you have to behave, more or less. Tourism is a major industry, keeping both me and Annie busy year round. As I’ve said, the scenery in every direction is breathtaking—mountains, fjords, lakes, glaciers, parks, and wildlife. And it’s a great morning when I wake up to find a herd of elk in my back yard.

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

I’ve enjoyed being featured in “Fishing for Trouble” and in the whole series. So far, my friends and I have been successful in helping our friend Trooper Graham, who has a heavy workload. Once in a while, he worries that we’re putting ourselves in danger, but we have each other and a perfect record of solving our cases! Also, I love seeing my name—that’s CHARLIE (short for Charlotte) COOKE—in print, so if you could post a review, I’d appreciate it!

Thank you for answering my questions, Charlie, and good luck to you and your author, Elizabeth Logan, with Fishing For Trouble, the latest book in the Alaskan Diner mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Charlie and her author, Elizabeth Logan by visiting the author’s website and her Facebook and Goodreads pages.

The novel is available at the following online retailers:

Amazon – B&N  – Kobo – IndieBound 

About Elizabeth Logan: Camille Minichino, who writes as Elizabeth Logan, is turning every aspect of her life into a mystery series. A retired physicist, she’s the author of 28 mystery novels in 5 series, with different pen names. Her next book is “Mousse and Murder,” May 2020, by Elizabeth Logan. She’s also written many short stories and articles. She teaches science at Golden Gate U. in San Francisco and writing workshops around the SF Bay Area.  

Posted in Archives, November 2020 | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Dead of Winter Break

Today Kelly Brakenhoff is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Dead of Winter Break, her latest novel in the Cassandra Sato mystery series.

Welcome, Kelly. 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.

Dead of Winter Break is the third in the Cassandra Sato Mystery Series and takes place between the fall and spring semesters when most of the campus is closed for the holidays.

Cassandra Sato, the smart, witty Morton College administrator, has traded in her designer heels for furry boots and she’s buried under her first Nebraska blizzard. Housebreaking her new dog isn’t going according to plan; neither is pinch hitting as dorm supervisor over the holidays while everyone else enjoys family time or vacation.

Her boss is dead, and the police are calling it a burglary gone wrong. When the killer comes after her, it’s going to take more than Andy Summers, the campus security director with a not-so-secret crush on her, to keep her out of deep trouble.

Once again, the entire college squad is in action, including Meg, Cinda, and Professor Bryant, shoveling through knee-deep suspects, wisecracking their way through this fast-paced, holiday themed whodunit.

Cassandra’s first Christmas in Nebraska could be her last unless her friends help unravel the mystery and housebreak her dog.

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

There’s a kernel of Nebraska uniqueness in each of my stories. My brother-in-law sells seed corn to local farmers and kindly explained the importance of soybean seeds to this city girl. Huge lawsuits in recent years impacted large seed corporations and the trade agreements or tariffs related to international trade of farm goods. If you live in the Midwest for twenty-five years, you pick up some of this stuff by osmosis. Once I did a deep research dive, I realized how important proprietary seeds are to the bottom lines of local farmers and international corporations. Like most people, I was pretty oblivious to how all of that boils down to what’s available on my grocery store shelves and the price of consumer goods. Foreign countries actually send spies to farms to steal the drought and disease resistant seeds and use them in their own countries. It seemed like the perfect motive for murder!

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

In the first two books of the series, Cassandra’s predicament as a fish out of water helped readers relate to her difficulties getting used to her new home in Nebraska. Now that she’s settled in a bit, I threw a few obstacles to disrupt her plan for a quiet, restful winter break between semesters.

Winter in the Midwest isn’t for wimps and Cassandra quickly learns what it feels like to shovel snow off her driveway. She has a new dog, Murphy—her first pet ever—and she’s learning some ASL so she can chat with her Deaf students and colleague, Dr. Bryant. All of these changes push Cassandra to her limits.

By the end of the holidays, Cassandra has to decide the depths of her commitment to her long-term career goals and balancing those with a healthier home life. Can an orphaned dog worm his way into her heart?

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

I’m a pretty concrete thinker. Usually I start with a first name of someone I know, then I add a last name of another person. Then I choose the way someone I’ve seen looks, the way another person talks or walks, and a funny phrase someone else says. I mash all those people together to come up with my characters. Then when I’m writing dialogue, I imagine, “How would so-an-so say that?” Or “How would that person walk into a room?” It helps me visualize the scene and the conversation.

The more books I write in this series, the more I get to know about the background of all the characters. I already was attached to Cassandra and her bestie Meg. In Dead of Winter Break, she spends more time with her quirky friend Cinda and Dr. Bryant.

Dr. Bryant started off as a small character in a few scenes, like an extra on a movie set. Quickly I realized his life experiences are so different than Cassandra’s that she finds him fascinating and wants to know him more.

Bryant has become such an important part of Morton College; I could see him getting his own short story or novel in the future.

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

It helps that I’ve lived in Nebraska for twenty-five years. Real towns and college buildings flash in my head as I write the scenes. I think those details come through in the books. Many readers have told me that they enjoy visiting fictional Morton campus again with each new book and seeing what the characters are up to now.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but for this book I actually took a road trip to a nearby town that figured in the ending scenes. It was a wonderful excuse to drive in the country on a warm summer day, the top down on my Mini Cooper convertible, after being cooped up for months at home because of the pandemic. I took photos of the places I wanted to include in the story so I could envision the scenes better while I wrote them.

It was so much fun, I think I’ll do that again with my next book. When I reach a point where I’m struggling to imagine what comes next, I’ll take a drive to spot locations and see what happens next.

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

Since I’m an extrovert, I like to interview local experts about background information I might need. For Dead of Winter Break, I talked to my brother-in-law who works for a farmers’ cooperative, a global studies college professor who knows about food shortages around the world, and another friend who is Deaf and a pilot because I had some questions about aviation practices in small airports. Talking to someone face to face (or on zoom) is better than simple internet searches because those people give me real stories or a flavor for how it feels to do their job. I think those authentic experiences make their way into the book and make the overall story better.

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

2020 has been quite a year of ups and downs. If you’re looking for a fun, quick escape during the holidays, I hope you’ll pick up a copy of Dead of Winter Break. If you haven’t read the previous books, you’ll still be able to follow along with this story.

Wishing you a peaceful holiday season, good health, and a better 2021. As Cassandra would say, “Mele Kalikimaka and Hauoli Makahiki Hou!”

Thanks for answering my questions, Kelly, and good luck with Dead of Winter Break, the latest book in the Cassandra Sato Mystery series.

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

The novel is available online at Amazon 

About Kelly Brackenhoff: Kelly writes the Cassandra Sato Mystery series including DEATH BY DISSERTATION, a 2020 RONE Award Mystery Finalist, DEAD WEEK, “a diverting whodunit,” (Publishers Weekly), and DEAD OF WINTER BREAK available in November 2020.

Kelly is an American Sign Language Interpreter whose motivation for learning ASL began in high school when she wanted to converse with her deaf friends.  NEVER MIND and FARTS MAKE NOISE, her children’s picture books featuring Duke the Deaf Dog and illustrated by her sister, Theresa Murray, have quickly become popular with children, parents, and educators for promoting inclusive conversations about children with differences. The mother of four young adults and a German Wirehair Pointer, Kelly and her husband call Nebraska home.

Posted in Archives, November 2020 | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Cat Conundrum

Today Mollie Hunt is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Cat Conundrum, her latest novel in the Crazy Cat Lady mystery series.

Welcome, Mollie. 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.

Hello, Dianne. Thanks for having me on today. Cat Conundrum is the latest addition to my Crazy Cat Lady Cozy Mystery Series, featuring Lynley Cannon, a sixty-something cat shelter volunteer who finds more trouble than a cat in catnip. This seventh in the series finds Lynley on the wild Washington coast with her friend, Special Agent Denny Paris. The pair are all set to give a presentation on shelter cats at a prestigious cat summit. Little do they know they will be confronted with not one, not two, not three, but four bizarre murders!

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

Here is the blurb for Cat Conundrum:

A locked room. A dead man. The cat is the only witness, and he isn’t talking.

Doesn’t every author want to pen a locked-room mystery? I sure did. I also wanted to take Lynley to Long Beach, where I personally spend a lot of time writing. I wanted to give her a chance to explore her relationship with Denny, the young humane investigator who saved her life. I wanted to incorporate a gigantic Maine Coon cat. Knowing those details, I sat down and let the story write itself.

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

The fundamental theme to all my Crazy Cat Lady stories is one of kindness and animal advocacy. That may seem odd since the books involve murder, but there is always a happy ending. Like my hero, Lynley Cannon, I am a cat shelter volunteer, and it comes from that place of helping the vulnerable, those who cannot speak for themselves, that motivates everything Lynley does. Whether it’s fostering a lost cat or helping a bullied woman find her voice, Lynley is ready to sacrifice her comfort, and sometimes her safety, for others.

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

For the most part, my characters create themselves. I usually begin with someone I know or have known, but by the time the character starts walking and talking on the page, they have taken on a life of their own. Lynley is my favourite character because she started out as an offshoot of myself. She has since grown her own way, blossoming into the person I would like to be rather than the person I am. I also enjoy Denny Paris, the animal cop, because he brings a police presence into the mix. Frannie Desoto, Lynley’s inimitable best friend is fun to work with, as is Lynley’s teenage granddaughter, Seleia, who is growing up in the series. The most astonishing character has been Carol Mackey, Lynley’s eighty-four-year-old mother. Boy was I surprised when she pulled a gun out of her purse and began shooting at the bad guy! 

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

I follow the advice of another mystery writer, Cara Black. She recommends putting senses, colours, dialog, and action on every page. Red is always a good bet for energizing a scene.

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

Research is the key to a convincing story, even with fiction. If something isn’t believable, it can knock the reader right out of the tale, and they may never come back again. For the most part, I write what I know. Whether on the set of a TV show (Cat Call), at a comic-con (Cosmic Cat), or hanging out at the beach (Cat Conundrum), I have done it myself.

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

Cat Conundrum is for cat-lovers who like clean mysteries with a little bite to them. I include cat tips, tricks, and facts at the beginning of each chapter.

Thanks for answering my questions, Mollie, and good luck with Cat Conundrum, the latest book in theCrazy Cat Lady Mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Mollie and her writing by visiting her blogsite and her Facebook, Goodreads, and Fire Star Author pages.

The novel is available online at  Amazon

About Mollie Hunt: Native Oregonian Mollie Hunt has always had an affinity for cats, so it was a short step for her to become a cat writer. Mollie Hunt writes the award-winning Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery series featuring Lynley Cannon, a sixty-something cat shelter volunteer who finds more trouble than a cat in catnip, and the Cat Seasons sci-fantasy tetralogy where cats save the world. She also pens a bit of cat poetry.

Mollie is a member of the Oregon Writers’ Colony, Sisters in Crime, the Cat Writers’ Association, and NIWA. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and a varying number of cats. Like Lynley, she is a grateful shelter volunteer.

Posted in Archives, November 2020 | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

As Good As Can Be

Today William A Glass, author of the coming of age novel, As Good As Can Be, is visiting Ascroft, eh? to introduce himself and his writing.

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

What prompted you to write about this historical event?

As Good As Can Be is about Dave Knight, a wayward boy who grows up during the 1950s and ‘60s.  He’s an army brat and his father is an alcoholic.  I was prompted to write this story because Dave and I have much in common. 

How closely did you stick to the historical facts? If you used them loosely, how did you decide whether to deviate from them?

My novel is heavily autobiographical.  The names of characters have been changed, time frames have been compressed in some cases, and tedious repetitive scenes were cut.  Some events take place out of order.  Other than that, the only significant deviation from historical facts is that one of the characters dies from her first suicide attempt rather than her last.  This was done to spare the reader from this character’s lengthy decline.

What research did you do for this book?

I used Google to fact-check myself.  For example, to make sure that a song I remembered playing on the radio during an episode was popular at that time.  Other than verifying my memory, little research was necessary as Dave’s life closely parallels mine.

Do you use a mixture of historic figures and invented characters in the novel? Which is more difficult to write? Which do you prefer to write and why?

All the characters in As Good As Can Be are based on real people.  I probably shouldn’t admit that for legal reasons, but I’m not too worried about getting sued.  Regarding invented characters, I truly admire authors who write about imaginary figures in entirely fictional stories.  My next project is going to be along those lines.

In an historical novel you must vividly re-create a place and people in a bygone era. How did you bring the place and people you are writing about to life?

That’s a great question!  My answer is that my life proved to be great fodder for a novel.  I grew up in an out-of-control military family (five wild children, invalid Mom, crazy drunken Dad) and we frequently moved.  My earliest memory is attending kindergarten in the basement of the US embassy in Tehran around 1950.  This story begged to be told and there’s no way I could have failed to bring it to life.  Especially since I was willing to spend ten years and 27 complete rewrites to do it!!

There often seems to be more scope in historical novels for male characters rather than female characters. Do you prefer to write one sex or the other? And, if so, why?

I have no preference for writing female or male characters.  I grew up with three sisters, and while we fought non-stop, the experience was invaluable.  I learned that generalizing about people based on their sex will cost you an appreciation for their complexity and uniqueness as individuals.  That said, As Good As Can Be centers around a boy and his Dad.  While there are many interesting female characters, father and son get the most lines!

Thanks for having me as a guest on Ascroft, eh?  I enjoyed the interview!

You’re welcome, Bill, and good luck with As Good As Can Be.

Readers can learn more about William A Glass and his writing by visiting his website, and his Goodreads page.

William A. Glass will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click here to enter the contest.

For more chances to win, visit the rest of the stops on Charlotte’s tour. Click here.

The novel is available online at Amazon.

About William A Glass: Bill is a retired business executive now living in South Carolina with his wife, Bettina.  She teaches high school German while Bill coaches soccer at a small college.  Their three sons, Alex, Robert, and Gordon, have all graduated from college and moved away to pursue careers. For recreation, Bettina and Bill enjoy hiking and camping out.  Usually, they take their dog, Scout, along.  When the weather permits, Bill commutes to work on his motorcycle. 

Posted in Archives, November 2020 | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Meet the characters in the Mutt Mysteries

Today some of the characters from To Fetch A Villain are visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about the collection of stories in this latest book in the Mutt Mysteries series.

Welcome, folks. 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.

About the Mutt Mysteries:

Old dogs and new tricks abound in To Fetch a Villain, the third installment in the Mutt Mysteries series. This collection of four novellas illustrates why dogs are our best friends and the perfect companions for digging up clues, solving crimes, and bringing villains to justice. Let sleeping dogs lie? Not when the MUTTS are on the case!
RUFF DAY by Jayne Ormerod
Store owner Darby Moore suffers through a “ruff” day when a dead body is discovered in her custom dog house. With her best friend topping the suspect’s list, Darby knows the police are barking up the wrong tree. It’s up to Darby’s Great Dane Mr. Belvedere to channel his inner Scooby-Doo and save the day.
AT YOUR SERVICE by Maria Hudgins
Mystery writer Jessica Chastain is deaf and relies on her service dog Trey who acts as Jessica’s ears. Kim, a Bichon like Trey, is the latest addition to their family. But life is not a walk in the park when someone threatens all they hold dear. Together they take on an unethical breeder and dog-napper, whose bite is worse than his bark.
A SHOT IN THE BARK by Teresa Inge
Dog-loving Catt Ramsey hires an ex-con as her handyman to help with her dog-walking business at the same time a crime wave hits the neighborhood. But it’s Catt who is accused of murder. She enlists the help of family, friends, and her dogs Cagney and Lacey to prove man’s best friend can be crime’s worst enemy.
STRUT YOUR MUTT by Heather Weidner
Sassy PI Delanie Fitzgerald attends the Strut Your Mutt festival, where her business partner’s English bulldog is a finalist in a pampered doggie pageant. The dog’s new-found fame leads to a client with a missing poodle. Delanie and her team put paws to the pavement, sniff out clues, and show the villain that when you lie with the dogs, you wake up with fleas.

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

Heather: I’m Delanie Fitzgerald, and I’m a private investigator from Central Virginia. I own Falcon Investigations with my computer-hacker partner, Duncan Reynolds. And his sidekick, Margaret the English bulldog, hangs out in the office. She’s not that much security, but she’s really good at taking naps and snacking.

Heather’s a plotter who plans out the mysteries, but sometimes, I jump in and take the story in a new direction.

Maria: Maria Hudgins is a good listener and a good observer. She just tells you, in her own words, what me and Kim and Jessie do. She writes it all on a laptop computer she keeps at her house. She lets me read what she’s written before she submits it (whatever that means). Do I get a say? No. I just do what I have to do and trust Maria to tell the story like it really happened.

Jayne: My name is Darby Agnes Moore, and I live inside “Ruff Day”, a story included in To Fetch a Villain, Four Fun “Tails” of Malfeasance and Murder. This is the third installment of the Mutt Mysteries series. Each of the books includes four novellas written by four talented cozy mystery authors. All feature a dog and a mystery. You can read about all of the books at muttmysteries.com.

This is my first appearance in a Mutt Mystery, or any mystery, for that matter. My life was pretty mundane as the sole proprietor of a dog boutique in the small coastal town of Bay Vista, North Carolina. Don’t get me wrong…life was not without challenges, like earning enough money to pay rent every month and meet payroll every week.  Thank goodness Mr. Belvedere, my best sales agent, takes his pay in kibble.  (Mr. Belvedere is my silver Great Dane, by the way.) But I nearly lost my entire business when I stumbled across a dead body. Mr. Belvedere and I teamed up to track down the killer. It turned out to be quite an adventure!  I really hope Jayne invites Mr. Belvedere and me back for more. We had a lot of fun in this story.

Jayne, my writer, puts me in some terrible situations, but it’s up to me to get myself…and my dog…out safely.

Teresa: I am Catt Ramsey, dog walker extraordinaire. I own the Woof-Pack dog walkers in Virginia Beach. I appear in all the Mutt Mysteries books with my dogs Cagney and Lacey, two Yorkshire Terriers who help me solve crime and murder. Oh…and my sister Em and her boyfriend Jonathan Ray appear in each book to help us solve cases. 

 Oh, I get a say! Sometimes my writer tries to steer me in one direction when I am out and about in Virginia Beach trying to solve a murder, but I get my way in the end to catch the villain. 

How did you evolve as the main character?

Heather: I first appeared in Secret Lives and Private Eyes, and there are currently two other books in the series that document my investigations and antics. I tend to get myself in some humorous situations. This is the first time that I’ve appeared in the Mutt Mysteries series.

In this novella, “Strut Your Mutt,” Duncan and Margaret help me to find a show dog who has been dognapped.

Maria: Evolve? I didn’t evolve. I grew up and got sent to a service dog trainer. I know I’m smarter than the average dog so I can handle my job which is helping Jessie and being her ears. Our writer, Maria, says she used to have a Bichon named Hamilton and he looked a lot like me.

Jayne: Sifting through clues and interrogating potential killers in a way they don’t suspect you are on to them is a skill set not possessed by many. I am better than I used to be, but still have some things to learn. It also ignited in me an interest in a career as a Private Investigator. In my free time, of course. Mr. Belvedere and I make a pretty good team. We’re partners in crime-solving.

Teresa: I’ve grown my business throughout each book and have become more business savvy with the Woof-Pack dog walkers. I have more clients now and have hired a dependable staff including my sister Em. 

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

Heather: I share my stories with Duncan Reynolds. He’s a whiz at making computers cough up all kinds of information from the dark web that I don’t have access to. Most of my investigations are centered around interviews, stakeouts, and good old gumshoe research. Duncan’s sidekick is a brown and white log with legs, Margaret, the English bulldog who goes everywhere with him. She hangs out in the office on most days and loves napping and snacking.

Maria: My owner, Jessie, is a great lady. I would do anything for her. My new “sister” Kim has problems, but she grows on you. One thing I’ve learned about Kim. She never gives up. With my help, I think she’ll be okay.

Jayne: If so, why are you partial to them? Yes! My BFF Tianna Platt is with me in this one. She is also a sole proprietor, running the Jamaican Jubilee food truck. She makes the best Jerk Chicken Sammie. We have been best friends since third grade. Well, except for the “lost year,” as Tianna calls it, when she disappeared. I still don’t know all the details. We meet for breakfast every Monday and discuss the highs and lows, the ups and downs, the seemingly insurmountable challenges of being small busines owners in a small town. She isn’t quite as subtle as I am when it comes to solving a murder, but her heart is in the right place.

Teresa: My sister Em. Although we don’t always see eye-to-eye, she loves solving cases as much as I do. She’s a perfect side kick. 

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

Heather: I live in Chesterfield County, Virginia. It’s about thirty miles west of the capital city Richmond. I own my own private investigative business, and my work takes me all around the rural and urban areas of Central Virginia.

Maria: I live in a tall house in Tidewater Virginia. You can see the ocean from the highest windows. I have a nice fenced-in yard to play in. We have lots of birds and squirrels. Sometimes we have to stay inside. Like when we have a hurricane.

Jayne: Bay Vista is a super cute coastal town that relies on tourists needing an escape from the hustle and bustle of big city life. Main Street is lined with shops, like my own Ruff Day Doggie Boutique and Dog Washing. Next door is Mermaid Mania, a gift shop that tilts more toward whimsical and fanciful than coastal. On the other side is Get Lit Bookstore and Wine Bar. It sells literary fiction exclusively, while I’m more of a genre girl, but the wine selection is impressive. Of course, we have our share of marinas and places to rent all manner of water-going vessels. And no coastal town would be complete without a smattering of fishing-excursion kiosks. The Chamber of Commerce counts almost one-hundred small businesses. The big draw, of course, is the thirteen miles of sandy beach with free parking. Right in the center we have a lovely park that borders the beach, which is a popular destination for tourists and residents alike (not getting sandy on your lunch break is my motivation for enjoying a brown-bag lunch there.)

Teresa: Virginia Beach is a tourist area with beautiful beaches, an active boardwalk, great seafood, but lots of mischief. 

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

Heather: The Mutt Mysteries is a collection of our dog-themed novellas. They are cozy mysteries that center around our furry best friends. If you’d like to read more about Delanie, Duncan, and Margaret, check out the Delanie Fitzgerald Mysteries.

Maria: I would just like to remind the readers to be nice to service dogs and remember that they are working so don’t pet them. Also, if you know anyone who is abusing a dog, do something! Only humans can prevent animal abuse.

Jayne: My writer had to explain to me that this is a “cozy” mystery, meaning all the violence happens off stage. So there is nothing scary here, just a fun romp with an amateur sleuth and a big dog. I hope you all enjoy reading it!

Thank you, Dianne, for allowing me to share my story!  Wishing you and your readers good health and good spirits!

Teresa: Keep on the lookout for me, Catt Ramsey, my two dogs Cagney and Lacey, sister Em, and boyfriend Jonathan Ray in future Mutt Mysteries books!

Thank you for answering my questions, everyone, and good luck to you and your authors, Teresa Inge, Jayne Omerod, Maria Hudgins, and Heather Weidner, with To Fetch A Villain, the latest book in the Mutt Mysteries series. Readers can learn more about the series by visiting its website, Facebook and Twitter pages.

The novel is available online at  Amazon 

About the Authors:

Teresa Inge: Teresa Inge grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries. Today, she doesn’t carry a rod like her idol, but she hotrods. Love of reading mysteries and writing professional articles led to writing short fiction and novellas. She is president of Sisters in Crime Mystery by the Sea Chapter and author of short mysteries in Virginia is for Mysteries, 50 Shades of Cabernet, Coastal Crimes: Mysteries by the Sea, and Murder by the Glass.

Website: www.TeresaInge.com

Website and Blog: http://www.teresainge.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/@teresainge7

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/teresa.h.inge

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/teresa.h.inge/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/teresainge

Amazon Authors: https://www.amazon.com/Teresa-Inge/e/B06XGZ7RTG

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/teresainge7/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/teresa-inge-cap-07687820/

BookBub: https://www.blurb.com/user/teresainge?profile_preview=true

AllAuthor: https://allauthor.com/author/teresaingeauthor/

Jayne Ormerod: Jayne Ormerod grew up in a small Ohio town then went on to a small-town Ohio college. Upon earning her degree in accountancy, she became a CIA (that’s not a sexy spy thing, but a Certified Internal Auditor.) She married a naval officer and off they sailed to see the world. After nineteen moves, they, along with their two rescue dogs Tiller and Scout, have settled into a cozy cottage by the sea. Jayne’s publishing credits include two novels, five novellas, and eight short mysteries. A complete list can be found on her website.

Website: www.JayneOrmerod.com

Maria Hudgins: Maria Hudgins is a mystery writer and former teacher of oceanography, biology, earth science and chemistry. She has written six Dotsy Lamb Travel Mysteries, set in Italy, Scotland, The Greek Islands, Switzerland, England, and Turkey. She loves to travel but is currently housebound due to the pandemic. Her love of archaeology has led her to write two Lacy Glass Archaeology Mysteries. Maria has worked on digs on the Isle of Man (neolithic) and in Montana (dinosaurs), and has traveled extensively in Egypt and Turkey, studying ancient sites. She lives in Hampton, Virginia with her snowshoe cat, Lulu.

Website: www.mariahudgins.com

Facebook: Maria Hudgins

Heather Weidner: Heather Weidner writes the Delanie Fitzgerald mystery series set in Virginia (Secret Lives and Private Eyes, The Tulip Shirt Murders, and Glitter, Glam, and Contraband), and her Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries launch October 2021.Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, and Deadly Southern Charm. Her novellas appear in The Mutt Mysteries series.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Sisters in Crime – Chessie, Guppies, International Thriller Writers, and James River Writers. Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers. Through the years, she has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager.

Website and Blog: http://www.heatherweidner.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeatherWeidner1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeatherWeidnerAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heather_mystery_writer/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8121854.Heather_Weidner

Amazon Authors: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HOYR0MQ

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/HeatherBWeidner/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/heather-weidner-0064b233?trk=hp-identity-name

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/heather-weidner-d6430278-c5c9-4b10-b911-340828fc7003

AllAuthor: https://allauthor.com/profile/heatherweidner/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyBjyB0zz-M1DaM-rU1bXGA?view_as=subscriber

Posted in Archives, November 2020, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Would you believe there’s Crime in Cornwall?

Today Claire Barclay is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Crime in Cornwall, the latest novel in the British Book Tour mysteries series.

Welcome, Claire. 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 am Claire Barclay, owner of The British Mystery Book Tours. I take my tourists to the sites of mystery novels in Britain. In Crime in Cornwall we go to Cornwall in the beautiful southwest of England. I’m not a sleuth, but anyone would have been curious about who murdered the Oliver Nott, the author, in my neighbor’s garden. I was burning to know who did it and willing to watch and note who looked suspicious. This is the second book in the series. In the first, I keep my tourists close to home in Hampshire (Hazards in Hampshire)—you’d think that would be safe, but no! Poison was a problem. In the third book, I go to Yorkshire (Perils in Yorkshire), such a beautiful spot, so wild. In the fourth (Danger in Edinburgh) I’m in Edinburgh, the stately city, steeped in a murderous history.

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

I’m a strong personality, if I do say so myself, and I have definite ideas about what I should and should not be doing or saying. The writer guides the plot ,but I get to use my own voice in the dialogue.

How did you evolve as the main character?

I have to admit I seem to be a reserved type of personality—at least others see me that way. But on the inside, I’m adventurous. I started a business of my own—that’s an adventure. My new legacy from my step-father facilitated this, but I’d  travelled a lot, worked in many countries and arrived at my mid-forties reasonably successful and solvent and ready for adventure. Still, I wasn’t prepared for a love affair, and  Detective Inspector Mark Evans, isn’t an easy man. I might not be up for this challenge. 

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

My sister Deidre is a love. She’s nine years younger than me, a rational, organized thinker and a barrister taking on the defense and sometimes the prosecution of murderers. A very smart woman, my sister—and a managing one, sometimes to the point of irritation. I’m partial to her because she loves me and I love her. 

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

Cornwall is a magical place, not just because it is the home of the legendary King Author, but because its very cliffs seem to tell stories of smugglers and romance. Not that the Cornish are romantic. A more practical, sensible people you couldn’t find. They see themselves as independent with remnants of their own language and an accent that takes some concentration to understand—and they have their own flag.  

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

I love taking my tourists to the sties of mystery novels and listening to them talk about the authors of the area, They are so opinionated! It helped that Deidre and my niece Kala came with us to the coast and to Penzance for a few days. Deirdre sorted out some of the disquieting clues that jumped to my attention. Of course, I couldn’t enjoy the tour as much as I wanted to in this book because I had a murderer getting in my way.

Thank you for answering my questions, Claire, and good luck to you and your author, Emma Dakin, with Crime in Cornwall, the latest book in the British Book Tour mysteries series.

Readers can learn more about Claire and her author, Emma Dakin by visiting the author’s website and her Facebook, and Goodreads pages. You can also Join Her Newsletter. She sends out information once a month and you will get a free chapter of a book when you join.

The novel is available at the following online retailers:

 Amazon  – B&N IndieBound

About Emma Dakin: Emma lives in Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. She has over twenty-five trade published books of mystery and adventure for teens and middle-grade children and non-fiction for teens and adults. Her love of the British countryside and villages and her addiction to cozy mysteries now keep her writing about characters who live and work in those villages. She introduces readers to the problems that disturb that idyllic setting.

Posted in Archives, November 2020 | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

What happened where you live during the war?

Have you ever wondered what the area where you live was like during the Second World War?

I like to tell stories sparked by interesting items that catch my attention and I’ve found inspiration in a many different places. Since one of the genres I write is historical fiction, sometimes that’s something I read in an old newspaper or a history text, or maybe something I’ve noticed in the landscape around me. My historical series, The Yankee Years, was inspired by the area where I live in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. The county has a rich and varied wartime history and, after I moved to the area almost two decades ago and learned about this history, I became fascinated by it.

The war was a pivotal point in Northern Ireland’s history and the influx of Allied troops had a major impact on the economy and culture of County Fermanagh. Army camps and Air Force flying-boat bases sprang up, and the population of the county grew until approximately a quarter of the entire population were military personnel. Fermanagh must have been so different from the quiet rural area that I know and imagining this really intrigued me. The events during the war and their impact on the county grabbed my imagination and that’s how my historical saga series was born.

Despite the impact the war had on Fermanagh, there was an interesting dichotomy in the county. The old way of life was disrupted and challenged by the incomers from unfamiliar cultures but, at the same time, fundamental aspects of rural life didn’t change so I can easily imagine what farm life was like at that time as small farms are still very much the same today. The continuity of this way of life through the generations is another feature of the province that fascinates me.

As we mark Remembrance Day today, how much do you know about the wartime history of the place you live? If you delve into it, you may make some amazing discoveries.

And why not dip into a wartime story set in Fermanagh? Allies After All is free here.

Posted in Archives, November 2020 | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment