Meet Professor Molly

Today Professor Molly Barda is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about The Influencer, the latest novel in the Professor Molly mystery series.

Welcome, Professor Molly. 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’ve never heard myself described as living inside a novel, but I have to admit, it’s kind of nice! You see, I’m a literary sort at heart. I earned my Ph.D. from one of the top ten literature and creative writing programs in the country. With that degree, I expected to end up at a leafy campus in a vibrant city, instructing rapt young scholars in the appreciation of literature.

That’s not exactly how things worked out. After a futile year of trying to land a full-time position teaching literature, I decided to broaden my horizons (a polite way of saying, “lower my expectations.”)

My dissertation advisor was crushed when I finally accepted a position in the College of Commerce at remote Mahina State University. He lamented that “teaching a roomful of slack jawed baseball caps how to pad their resumes” was “a grievous waste of my fine critical mind.” Easy for him to say. He had tenure, a pension, and health insurance.

The Influencer is Book 10 of the Professor Molly Mysteries. A lot has happened in all that time. But some things haven’t changed: I still love living in sleepy Mahina, Hawaii; Biology professor Emma Nakamura is still my best friend; and Mahina State University’s powerful Student Retention Office continues to make our lives difficult and our jobs impossible.

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

She lays out the plot points, but I’m the one who tells the story. Yes, I’m aware of the “unreliable narrator” allegations. I just ignore them. I mean, who’s to judge who is reliable and who isn’t? There’s no right or wrong. We all have different points of view, that’s all. (Except Melanie Polewski from grad school. Don’t believe a word she says.)

How did you evolve as the main character?

I was an only child, so I’m kind of used to being the main character. It’s kind of exhausting, to be honest. There are a lot of expectations placed on you (sorry I’m not a “real” doctor, Mom!) In The Nakamura Letters, Emma takes center stage. It’s nice to have a rest now and then. 

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

Emma Nakamura and I make a good team. We’re best friends and we have a lot in common. But unlike me, Emma is fearless. I’m not talking about murders and dead bodies. After you work through solving a few cases you kind of get used to all of that. But I’ve never seen anyone stand up to the Student Retention Office like Emma does. Of course her defiant attitude keeps getting her sent to Mandatory Faculty Development. Which she calls “De-education camp” because as she says, “you come out dumber than when you went in.” She’s been through Mandatory Faculty Development so many times I think she could lead a session herself by now.

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

In The Influencer, my husband Donnie and I have just invested in building a little rental unit on our property. The idea is to save up for baby Francesca’s college fund. We were lucky-or so we thought-to have a well-known social media influencer sign a six-month lease, paid in advance. All my celebrity tenant wants is some privacy and quiet, and you can’t get much quieter than Uakoko Street (especially the side that we live on, next to the cemetery). But now everyone wants to get close to my famous tenant, and things are starting to get weird.

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

You can read the Professor Molly series in any order. If you want to start from the beginning, or just try out the series, you can start with Trust Fall, a free Professor Molly short. It’s also available in audio format!

Thank you for answering my questions, Professor Molly, and good luck to you and your author, Frankie Bow, with The Influencer, the latest book in the Professor Molly mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Professor Molly and her author, Frankie Bow by visiting the author’s website and her Facebook, Goodreads, and Bookbub pages. You can also follow her on Twitter.

The novel is available at the following online retailers:

Amazon     B&N      Rakuten/Kobo      Angus & Robertson      Apple

About Frankie Bow: Like Professor Molly, Frankie Bow teaches at a public university. Unlike her protagonist, she is blessed with delightful students, sane colleagues, and a perfectly nice office chair. She believes if life isn’t fair, at least it can be entertaining. In addition to writing murder mysteries, she publishes in scholarly journals under her real name. Her experience with academic publishing has taught her to take nothing personally.

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

Two books by D. E. Haggerty

Today Izzy is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Where There’s Smoke There’s Arson and Hold the Coffee, the latest books in the Gray-Haired Knitting Detectives mysteries series.

Welcome, Izzy. 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.

Where There’s Smoke There’s Arson is the fourth book in The Gray-Haired Knitting Detectives series. When the craft store burns down with a friend of the knitters inside, the knitters decide it’s suspicious and they simply must investigate. *rolls eyes* Everything is suspicious with this crew. The series now includes five books. In each book, the gray-haired knitters manage to somehow stumble upon a murder they just have to solve.

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

*Snorts* As if we let Dena have any control over what happens.

How did you evolve as the main character?

I started out as the main character in the first book in the series, Murder, Mystery & Dating Mayhem. Then, Dena kind of dropped me for two books. I was still there but for reasons I cannot fathom, I wasn’t the main person. My writer person finally came to her senses and I’m back baby. I’m the main character in this novel and the next one in the series, Hold the Coffee.

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

*Sighs* A whole bunch of knitting grandmas who think they know how to solve crimes. Spoiler alert – they don’t. And a best friend who doesn’t have anything better to do than to make trouble. I sound like I’m whining, but they’re actually tons of fun – if only I could get the grandmas give me my baby back.

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

We’re in a small Oklahoma town where I grew up. And I do mean small. Everyone knows everyone’s business here. This is not always a good thing.

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

They should probably know there isn’t a whole lot of knitting going on despite the series being called the Gray-Haired Knitting Detectives. These knitters are way too busy sticking their noses in other people’s business to get any knitting done.

Thank you for answering my questions, Izzy, and good luck to you and your author, D. E. Haggerty, with Where There’s Smoke There’s Arson and Hold the Coffee, the latest books in the Gray-Haired Knitting Detectives mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Izzy and her author, D. E. Haggerty by visiting the author’s website and her Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, Bookbub, LinkedIn and Pinterest pages. You can also follow her on Twitter.

Where There’s Smoke There’s Arson and Hold the Coffee are available at online at Amazon:

 Amazon  –   Amazon 

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

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

It’s Double or Muffin

Today Merry Grace Wynter is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Double or Muffin, the latest novel in the Merry Muffin mystery series.

Welcome, Merry. 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 Merry Wynter, and I live in the Merry Muffin Mysteries. #7 in the series, Double or Muffin, has just come out on February 23rd, 2021.

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

She thinks she’s in control, but… sometimes things happen. I’ll give you an example; while writing down Double or Muffin (I tell her what to say!) Victoria really thought two people were going to die, but I wasn’t going to let that happen. It’s been happening way too much lately, and I’m just angry enough to put my foot down. Not on my watch, Victoria: not on my watch. So, between me and Becket (the cat) and a couple of friends I won’t mention (read the book!) I made sure it didn’t happen.

She keeps putting me in peril and I always escape, so why shouldn’t others? I can’t say more without spoiling the story!

How did you evolve as the main character?

I’m not going to brag, but I was always going to be the main character. I mean… it’s the Merry Muffin Mysteries. I’m Merry. Who else would it be about? I can’t take all the credit though; I don’t suppose there would even be a series if I hadn’t happened to inherit this magnificent American castle in Western New York State. That and finding bodies (and in the weirdest places to: slumped over in a half bath; in a pretend coffin; at the bottom of a hole on my property!) got me where I am today.

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

There are people who came with me, and people I met when I got here. (‘Here’ being Wynter Castle and the town of Autumn Vale) My friends Pish Lincoln and Shilo Dinnegan came with me, but when I got here I met irascible Doc English who tells me stories of my family, town librarian Hannah who is the very best researcher you could ever find, moody teen Lizzie who makes me laugh unexpectedly, and a host of others. Life (and the books) wouldn’t be the same without them.

And then there’s Virgil Grace… one-time sheriff of our area’s police force, he is now my husband and a private detective. And YUM! He’s hot, if I do say so myself. I am kind of partial to him.

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

You mean, my castle? Well, it’s magnificent… or it’s almost magnificent. When I got here (Bran New Death: Merry Muffin Mystery #1) there was peeling wallpaper, dust everywhere, holes in the landscaping… it needed a lot of work. And money! In the three years since I started fixing it up I’ve discovered that this place, with its turret rooms, rose window, Eastlake furniture, magnificent oak double doors and chef’s kitchen is fabulous. And soon, once we open the performing arts center Pish and I are planning… the world will know about it.

Maybe that’s why we keep getting saddled with weird groups of people: the Legion of Horrible Ladies, a ghosthunting crew, and now an opera singing reality show? I mean… come on. It’s been a wild ride so far and doesn’t seem to be letting up.

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

Me? I’m just an average woman trying to move on with my life, and stuff keeps happening. I’m surrounded by wonderful people, though. I do have that handsome new husband, and a big ginger cat who saves the day in the most unexpected way this time around! When the going gets tough – and murder is always tough! – together, we get it taken care of.

Thank you for answering my questions, Merry, and good luck to you and your author, Victoria Hamilton, with Double or Muffin, the latest book in the Merry Muffin mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Merry and her author, Victoria Hamilton by visiting the author’s website and her Facebook and Instagram pages. You can also follow her on Twitter.

The novel is available at the following online retailers:

 Amazon – B&N – Kobo – Google Play

About Victoria Hamilton: Victoria is the bestselling author of several mystery series including the national bestselling Vintage Kitchen Mysteries and Merry Muffin Mysteries. She does, indeed, collect vintage kitchenware and bake muffins. She drinks tea and coffee on writing days, and wine other times. It doesn’t do to confuse days. She crochets (a little), paints (a little) and reads (a lot). A solitary being, she can be coaxed out of her writing cave for brownies and cat videos.

She started her writing life as Donna Lea Simpson, bestselling author of Regency Romances, paranormal historicals and historical mysteries, and still has a soft spot for the Regency period.

If you Google ‘Victoria Hamilton’, you will find listed first a famous actress who starred as the Queen Mother in the Crown and as Charlotte Brontë in ‘In Search of the Brontës’. That’s not the Victoria who writes mysteries. No, really, it’s not!

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

Haunted Hibiscus

Today Laura Childs is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Haunted Hibiscus, the latest novel in the Tea Shop mystery series.

Welcome, Laura. 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 as well.

Haunted Hibiscus is #22 in my Tea Shop Mystery series with the storyline generally swirling around the Indigo Tea Shop in Charleston, SC. But this is no cutesy cozy series because I make suremy books always open with a shocking surprise. I’ve kicked off first chapters with smash-and-grab robberies, poisoning at a high tea, shootings, art heists, chases on horseback, stabbings, murdered bridegrooms, serial killers, and lots more. I don’t believe in slow build-ups or back story, I just want to drop my reader right into the action, then keep it going with exciting plots, fast pacing, and twists reminiscent of a thriller.

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

I started thinking about haunted houses and how all sorts of schools and civic groups create them as fundraisers. Then I took it one step further and had the rather staid Heritage Society in Charleston sponsor a haunted house that was populated with historical and literary-themed characters. Besides the regular ghouls and goblins, we’re talking Edgar Allan Poe, Sherlock Holmes, the Headless Horseman, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Lady MacBeth, and more. With that cast of characters there had to be a murder, right?

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

The theme underlying all my mysteries is solving a murder and bringing the bad guy (or girl) to justice. Detective Burt Tidwell is one of my ongoing characters, but he’s often shown up by Theodosia (my main character) who is brash, savvy, and has a unique talent for solving mysteries.

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

When I started writing Death by Darjeeling, my first Tea Shop Mystery, I wasn’t sure what kind of characters I wanted. Then I hit upon the idea of a woman who’d left the 24/7 grind of a marketing firm to run a quaint little tea shop. That gave me the idea for Theodosia, my main character. And because she couldn’t do it alone, I developed Drayton, a slightly haughty tea sommelier, and Haley, the young, sassy chef and baker. This is my triad of characters that appears in every book and I pretty much love them like family. They not only entertain my readers, but often surprise and amuse me. When I write, it’s almost like watching a stage play unfold. I see my characters interacting with each other, hear what they’re saying, and then write it all down. I know it sounds strange, but it works!

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

Since all the Tea Shop Mysteries are set in Charleston, SC, I pretty much make Charleston a character as well. This is a 350-year-old city with historic old mansions, narrow brick lanes dating back to the Revolutionary War, haunted cemeteries, and is set on a Peninsula where the Atlantic Ocean comes surging in. Basically, it’s a joy to romanticize this city or make it seem preternaturally spooky. And when I can make my readers feel the damp fog closing in, hear the lonely toot of a tugboat, or worry about footsteps crunching behind them on gravel, I know I’ve done my job.

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

Most of the research I do is primary research. In Haunted Hibiscus I researched Mikhal Tereschenko, an aristocrat who fled the Russian Revolution with diamonds sewn into the lining of his seal coat. This was a real guy, but I stretched the facts and had my murder victim wearing diamond earrings that had been cut by a Parisian jeweler from those original diamonds. Thus, a serious motive for murder.

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

Sure, here’s a quick synopsis: It’s the week before Halloween and teashop owner Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier Drayton attend a “literary themed” haunted house in a dilapidated mansion known as the Gray Ghost. But halfway through their visit, the guest author is found twisting from a third floor window as purple lights cast flickering images. The police and Theodosia’s boyfriend Detective Riley come screaming in, but when Riley goes to the dead girl’s house, he’s shot! A murder and a shooting seem too coincidental for Theodosia who throws herself into her own shadow investigation.

Thank you for answering my questions, Laura, and good luck with Haunted Hibiscus, the latest book in the Tea Shop mystery series.

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

The novel is available at the following online retailers:

Amazon   B&N   Kobo   Google Play   IndieBound

About Laura Childs: Laura is the author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. All have been on the New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly bestseller lists. Recently, Book Riot named her mysteries to their list of “25 of the All Time Best Cozy Mystery Series.” In herprevious life Laura was CEO of her own marketing firm, authored several screenplays, and produced a reality TV show. She is married to Dr. Bob, a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fundraising for various non-profits, and has a Chinese Shar-Pei named Lotus. Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!)

Posted in Archives, March 2021 | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Deadly Darkness

Today Kate Parker is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Deadly Darkness, the latest novel in the Deadly mystery series.

Welcome, Kate. 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.

Deadly Darkness is the sixth in the Deadly Series. In this story, Adam and Olivia finally marry, but their honeymoon quickly becomes a struggle with murders, a missing young woman, and German spies. The Deadly Series follows Olivia from before World War II when she finds she’s now a young widow in need of well-paying employment to this book set on the cusp of war and the next books set in WWII. Along the way, she travels to Nazi Germany to rescue people and discovers German spies in Britain for counterintelligence.

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

A chance spotting in a newspaper article about the first blackout practice over southern England two months before the start of the war. And what goes on in the dark…

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

The theme is about good and bad relationships between parents and children. Doesn’t everyone wonder about that?

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

My characters tend to spring alive and breathing in my brain, which makes it a busy place. I adore Olivia. She’s me, only younger, brighter, braver, and better looking.

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

Lots of research in old newspapers, books, and photos. I love to visit England and wander around museums and along streets to get a feel for the setting of the stories. When I sit in front of my computer, I can shut my eyes and find the place where each scene takes place.

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

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

I had a great deal of fun writing Deadly Darkness and all of the Deadly Series. I hope your readers enjoy Olivia’s adventures.

Thank you for answering my questions, Kate, and good luck with Deadly Darkness, the latest book in the Deadly mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Kate by visiting her website and her Facebook, Bookbub and Goodreads pages.

The novel is available at the following online retailers:

Amazon – B&N – Kobo

About Kate Parker: Kate caught the reading bug early, and the writing bug soon followed. She’s always lived in a house surrounded by books and dust bunnies. After spending a dozen years in North Carolina, she moved to Colorado. The Rocky Mountains are beautiful, but she’d developed a love of wide rivers, warmer and wetter weather, and fast-growing greenery that sent her hurrying back to North Carolina.

Deadly Travel is the fifth book in the Deadly Series, and Kate’s plan is to follow it quickly with Deadly Darkness, both set in 1939 in the days leading up to war. There are at least three more of the Deadly Series coming that will bring the beginning of the war to Olivia’s doorstep. Kate reports that she is having fun creating new stories to entertain readers and chaos to challenge her characters.

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Smothered

Today G.P. Gottlieb is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Smothered, the latest novel in her Whipped and Sipped mystery series.

Welcome. 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.

Smothered is the second book in the Whipped and Sipped Mystery Series. I’ve started writing a third book, in which the story is triggered by a neighborhood fire. The series is set in a fictional Chicago café, similar to the kind I used to spend time in but special because it serves only vegetarian, healthful food. I loved combining two of my passions – for mysteries and food, into this series. I probably spend as much time inventing recipes and perfecting them as I do writing and perfecting my novels. That means there is a lot of tasting required, but luckily, building employees, friends, and my spouse are all kind enough to help!

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

Most people think that city life is the least friendly of all lifestyles, but I live in a building that hosts a book group, a movie group and other events (now all online). We help each other when needed. But we’re in the middle of the city, and we’ve seen ambulances pulling away from the front door, horrible traffic accidents, and bodies pulled up out of the harbour across the street. We see the best of humankind, and sometimes, the worst – people stopping to give money and food, for example, to homeless people sleeping under the bridge next to us. I set this series in the middle of my real life!

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

Alene, my protagonist and her best friend and pastry chef, Ruthie, attempt to create community in the café and neighbourhood. They offer reading groups and knitting circles, they participate in city festivals by hosting big Chicago events like Pride Parade and Lakeview Arts.They donate trays to nearby shelters, and offer coupons to homeless neighbours who can come in for something warm to drink and filling to eat, all the while trying to succeed at a difficult, competitive business. I wanted to write about it because I’m impressed with several socially conscious businesses in the area, and they deserve attention. And there’s another theme in Smothered, but if I told you what it was, it would ruin the story!

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

I create my characters by sitting at the computer and writing. I remember starting with the café itself. I envisioned a counter filled with delightful-looking pastries, cakes, and cookies, and a crimson wall off to the side, covered with art-work and announcements about concerts and lectures. I got a little side-tracked thinking dreaming about what to order that day (I was sitting in a café), but also noticed the people around me – a skinny, very-slow server who kept bursting out in song, a cranky older woman who argued with the barista about how much her drink cost, a younger tatted-up woman who’d have been pretty if not for her angry expression. I loved giving them names, personalities, and backgrounds. I think my favourite Smothered character is Alene’s father, a quick-witted, retired guy who loves quoting aphorisms and has a great attitude despite his health problems.

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

Before the pandemic I used to spend time in cafés. If I was alone, I’d look around at the people and imagine describing them in a story – I’d even give them back stories. Sometimes I’d meet a friend, and we’d have a visit before pulling out our laptops and writing for an hour or so. We were always conscientious about taking up table space, and made sure to keep ordering food or drinks while we were there. I knew for ages that I wanted to set a novel in a café because I love them so much. And although you didn’t ask, I’m partial to almond croissants!

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

A few readers have pointed out to me that my books have more characters in them than a lot of mysteries. That’s because I want my books to illustrate the busy urban reality, the vertical nature of city buildings, the swarms of people we pass on a daily basis – – I know it’s sometimes a challenge to keep all the characters straight, but it’s part of the world that I tried to create.

Thank you for answering my questions, and good luck with Smothered, the latest book in the Whipped and Sipped mystery series.

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

The novel is available online at:

 Amazon – B&N 

About G.P. Gottlieb: She has worked as a musician, a teacher, and an administrator, but she’s happiest when writing recipe-laced murder mysteries. Battered: A Whipped and Sipped Mystery and Smothered: A Whipped and Sipped Mystery take place in the spring and summer of 2019 and a third book in the series will center on a murder that occurs during the city of Chicago’s lockdown in May 2020. G.P. Gottlieb has always experimented in the kitchen and created her delicious vegan cookies and cakes in direct opposition to what she learned in courses at Chicago’s French Pastry School. She is host for New Books in Literature, a podcast channel on the New Books Network, the mother of three grown children, and lives with her husband in a Chicago high-rise that is strikingly similar to the building portrayed in the Whipped and Sipped Mystery series.

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

A Side of Murder

Today Samantha (Sam) Barnes is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about A Side of Murder, the first novel in the Cape Cod Foodie mystery series.

Welcome, Sam. 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 Samantha Barnes (Sam to my friends), and at the moment I’m living inside a novel called A Side of Murder.  I never intended to live in a book that had “murder” in the title.  I just wanted to go back home to Cape Cod and lie low for a bit while my YouTube notoriety died down (long story, two chefs, one of them me, one my ex-husband, both with chefs knives, you get the picture).  Next thing I know, I’m living in this Cape Cod Foodie series and falling over dead bodies right and left.  And then finding out whodunit.  That part’s kind of fun, I have to admit.  And there are other benefits.  There’s my charming hometown of Fair Harbor, population, 6,798. Actually, 6,797.  Now.

But it’s not all murder and mayhem. There’s sailing on Crystal Bay.  And writing restaurant reviews and food features for the Cape Cod Clarion.  What’s not to like about free food?  Unless, of course, it comes with a side of murder…

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

We have our little disagreements, but she’s the boss, you know?  For instance, just because I stand six foot one inch in my stocking feet, she thinks I’m brave.  She sends me out to confront killers!  I mean, what kind of friend does that?  But she also knows my heart is sore, so she has provided me with a love interest in the form of a pretty hot harbor master, Jason Captiva. Unfortunately, Jason and I have some history to work through, so all is not smooth sailing (pun intended).  And she gave me a ginormous puppy, for Pete’s sake. I never wanted a dog.  Or the falling down house that he came with.  And then she goes and writes it in the first person (in other words, AS ME), so it sounds like all this was my big idea!

How did you evolve as the main character?

Well, my writer was once a restaurant reviewer in New York and she’s always had friends in the restaurant business, so she knows food and she knows that world. And she is still a total foodie. But life took her in other (wonderful) directions, and I sometimes think creating yours truly was her way of imagining what the road not taken might have been like.  But equally important, she’s an unapologetic cheerleader for Cape Cod, and she needed someone like me to help her bring paradise to life.

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

Oh, yeah, I have THE BEST other characters in the history of cozies (in my humble opinion).  I have my BFF since we were Minnows together in swimming lessons, Jenny Singleton, who comes with three boys whose names I can never remember so I just call them Thing One, Thing Two and Thing Three.  And there’s my organic farmer buddy, Miles Tanner, who looks exactly like the overgrown five-year-old he is.  If five-year-olds had big, bushy lumberjack beards.

But best of all is my new next door neighbor, Helene Greenberg, a sixty-ish librarian with a mane of silver curls, rings on every finger and a wardrobe that seems to be made entirely of scarves.  I just LOVE Helene.  She has amazing insights into people (and into me, which can be uncomfortable because she also says exactly what she thinks). 

And in defense of the aforementioned ginormous puppy, despite my best efforts, we are now attached at the hip.  And I couldn’t be more grateful.

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

It’s probably easiest to describe Fair Harbor the way I do in the actual book:

Fair Haven, when I was growing up, was very much a small town.  It had grown, of course, since I’d left, but it still maintained its old-fashioned charm, with Nelson’s grocery store, Livingston’s pharmacy, Karen’s Penny Candy, the Shear Beauty hair salon and Taylor’s Department Store all lined up like cheerful soldiers along Main Street.

The town is clustered around the shores of Crystal Bay.  You know how Oprah is always asking people what their one true thing is?  Well, this is my one true thing:  Crystal Bay is the most gloriously beautiful body of water in the world.  On a crisp mid-May morning, dazzled by the sunlight sparkling on its deep blue waters, entranced by the new green mantling its small, uninhabited islands, taking great breaths of the fresh salt breeze, one could be forgiven for thinking that this was what the dawn of the world had looked like.

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

Well, I do think it’s important to point out that even though this is a murder mystery, it’s also very much about food, friends and family.  Cooking for and sharing a meal with people you love is, in my opinion, one of life’s great gifts.  And my writer cannot wait until we can all do that again.

Thank you for answering my questions, Sam, and good luck to you and your author, Amy Pershing, with A Side of Murder, the first book in the Cape Cod Foodie mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Sam and her author, Amy Pershing by visiting the author’s website and her Facebook, Goodreads and Instagram pages.

The novel is available at the following online retailers:

Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Bookshop.org – Books A Million – Indiebound – Target – Hudson Booksellers – Powells

About Amy Pershing: Amy is a lifelong mystery lover and wordsmith who spent every summer of her childhood on Cape Cod. In her previous incarnations she was an assistant editor at Viking Penguin, a restaurant reviewer for Playbill magazine’s Restaurant Reporter, and a journalist at the Rome (Italy) Daily American before eventually going on to lead employee communications at a global bank. A few years ago (with the final college tuition bill paid), she waved goodbye to Wall Street in order to write full time (and spend more time sailing on Cape Cod!). A Side of Murder is the first book in the Cape Cod Foodie mystery series featuring Samantha Barnes, a disgraced but resilient ex-chef and the world’s most reluctant YouTube star. While Sam tries to balance her new job as the local paper’s “Cape Cod Foodie” with her complicated love life, a posse of just-slightly-odd friends, a falling-down house and a ginormous puppy, she also discovers a new talent – a propensity for falling over dead bodies … and for solving crime.

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

The Hiker’s Guide to Murder

Today Jodi Linton is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about The Hiker’s Guide to Murder, the latest novel in the Soutwest Exposure mystery series.

Welcome, Jodi. 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 Hiker’s Guide to Murder is the second book in my Southwest Exposure Mystery Series. The book follows outdoors guide Andie Sullivan after she stumbles on a dead body while on a hike with her brother. In this book, Andie is pitted against her friend, the sheriff, as they race to uncover the truth about the killer. As to the series, it follows Andie, an outdoors guide, in New Mexico and various crime cases as she tries to keep her mountain community and tourist safe.

Where did the idea for the mystery that is central to the story come from? I recently went on a hike with my husband and kids, and before it was over my kids were whining that if we didn’t stop now, they’d die. So, that’s how I got the idea for a hiking murder case. Lol.

Is there a theme or subject that underlies the story? If so, what prompted you to write about it? Proving a person’s worth. I have this tug-of-war between Andie and Sheriff Mars, and in this particular book, I wanted them both to show their value in each other’s life. That neither can survive or do their job without the other. 

How do you create your characters? Do you have favourite ones? If so, why are you partial to them? When I’m thinking about characters, I think about what type of job they’ll have, and from there I create the plot and side characters around them. At the moment, my favourite character is Sheriff Zac Mars. He’s fun to write, with his wit and drive to get Andie to see he’s the only person for her, despite their age difference.

How do you bring to life the place you are writing about? I like to choose places I’ve been or live around to help me bring to life the location. If I’ve visited or even lived in the area, I get a better sense of the location and can describe it.

What research do you do to provide background information to help you write the novel? For the Southwest Exposure Mysteries, I vacation in the area I fictionalized for my series. We normally spend at least three to four trips in the mountains at various times throughout the year.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about the book? It’s an adventurous, whodunnit in the mountains, with a splash of romance. And it has chipmunks.

Thanks for answering my questions, Jodi, and good luck with The Hiker’s Guide to Murder, the latest book in theSouthwest Exposure Mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Jodi and her writing by visiting her website and Jodi’s Book Corner, as well as her Bookbub and Instagram pages. You can also follow her on Twitter.

The novel is available online at Amazon

From Jodi Linton: I’m just a girl from Texas, minus the big hair…and oh, yeah, a horse. My crew consists of two kiddos, one which inherited my makeup addiction, and a husband still living out his garage band dreams, but in our closet next to my shoe collection.

I love to hang out with my readers, discussing books, recipes and just everyday shenanigans. I got started in the romance community, which you might know a few of my books from there. Now, I’m all about the cozies…and the coffee. Yeah, can’t forget that.

I’d love for you to come and join my reader group, Jodi’s Book Corner or come like me on Facebook to discover my books. And chat. Naturally.

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Hiss H for Homicide

Today Nick, the cat, is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Hiss H for Homicide, the latest novel in the Nick and Nora mystery series.

Welcome, Nick. 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.

Nick the cat:  Meow, yes, HISS H FOR HOMICIDE is the fourth in the Nick and Nora mystery series.  My human, Nora Charles is an ex-investigaive reporter who returns to her hometown of Cruz, California, to run her deceased  mother’s sandwich shop.  She adopts me, a tubby tuxedo cat who formerly belonged to a PI who right now is MIA.  I help her solve  mysteries by communicating with her via my favorite toy, Scrabble Tiles. In Hiss H for Homicide Nora and I try to clear Desiree, her mother’s friend and a romance writer, of murdering her writing partner who was going off on her own with a steamy tell-all!

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

Well, the writer thinks she controls it but I have to tell you, once I get started detecting I just cannot be stopped!  Call it feline intuition, meow.

How did you evolve as the main character?

Nora and I both share the spotlight as main characters, but I have to admit I have a bit of an edge. After all, I’m cool, I’m cute, and I’m a cat. What more could anyone ask?

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

I really like Ollie – Oliver Sampson, my former owner’s partner.  He’s what humans refer to as a ‘cool cat’. I also like Chantal, Nora’s bestie. She’s the one who encouraged Nora to adopt me.  I do hate, though, when she wants to try out her new cat collars that she designs on me!  I’m just not a cat who likes to be confined by anything!

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

I am usually the one who figures everything out—it’s that feline intuition, remember—and the ways I communicate my findings to Nora are prevalent throughout the book.

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

Fans have asked for more of this series since Penguin discontinued it in 2016 and four years later, thanks to Beyond the Page, Nick and Nora are back!!!  and, I hope, better than ever.  I hope fans will agree it was worth the wait.

Thank you for answering my questions, Nick, and good luck to you and your author, T.C. LoTempio, with Hiss H for Homicide, the latest book in the Nick and Nora mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Nick and his author, T.C. LoTempio by visiting the author’s website, her Facebook page and Rocco’s blog.

The novel is available at the following online retailers:

 Amazon – B&N – KOBO – Google Play

About T.C. LoTempio: While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic.  She and her cat pen the Nick and Nora mystery series originally from Berkley Prime Crime and now with Beyond the Page Publishing.  They also write the Cat Rescue series from Crooked Lane and the Pet Shop series, originally published by Midnight Ink and continued in 2021 with book two, KILLERS OF A FEATHER, from Beyond the Page.

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

Meet Maizie Albright Star Detective

Today Maizie Albright is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about 18 ½ Disguises, the latest novel in the Maizie Albright Star Detective mystery series.

Welcome, Maizie. 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 novel? As far as I know, I live in Black Pine, Georgia.

I used to live in Hollywood, although we’d moved around whenever Vicki —  my ex-manager/still-mother — wanted new digs, but it was always in the LA area: Hollywood Hills, Beverly Hills, Malibu. But now I live in Black Pine, Georgia, a lake resort town in the North Georgia Mountains. Black Pine was created by rich Southerns and rich carpetbaggers looking for the Gilded Age version of air conditioning — fresh mountain air. The lake came later during the WPA when they also wanted a lake view for their mountain homes and a place to park their baby yachts.

There are still rich people who resort in Black Pine, but now many of them are from Hollywood like me. However, they are here because the industry moved many studios and filming locations to Georgia where the taxes, land, and labor are cheaper and you still get good weather most of the year.

I moved to Black Pine because that’s where I was born and where my father still lives. Also because a nice judge told me I couldn’t stay in California.

Nine months ago, I moved to Georgia and approached Wyatt Nash of Nash Security Solutions about giving me a job. He was the only private investigator in town, and I had ten days to get a job in something that had nothing to do with the entertainment industry. This was also part of my probation by Judge Ellis. I had starred in Julia Pinkerton, Teen Detective when I was younger and loved acting as a detective. Now I wanted the chance to become one as a second career.

That’s where we began. With me asking (begging) Wyatt Nash to hire me. Then me losing the woman our client asked him to watch.

That episode, I mean case, is called 15 Minutes.

Nash and I progressed from there. From mentor-mentee to dating. He refused to date me while we worked together. Fortunately/unfortunately, he lost his business and I now work for someone else.

I’m also a much better investigator now. So much so, I’m on my first independent case. Mainly because I found my murdered friend, a costume designer.  Unfortunately, I had my other friend with me when we found her and she demanded I find this killer before they find her.

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

The only person who’s had control over me was Vicki, my ex-manager/still-mother. To be fair, I was a child actress and she’s the Queen of Negotiations. I’m more like a Princess of Non-Confrontation and as such, easily subject to her.

How did you evolve as the main character?

My ex-therapist Renata and I have worked very hard at my evolution into a self-actualized, self-assured woman. I’m still working on it. Getting out of Hollywood helped. Getting out of my contracts with Vicki really helped, although I still technically work for her. I’d say with each case (now I’m on number 7) I’ve grown as an individual and as an investigator. My relationship with Nash is growing, too.

Also my waist size but that’s because I now live in Georgia and saturated fats are kind of a way of life here.

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

Wyatt Nash of Nash Security Solutions, of course. He’s my original boss and now we’re dating so he still gives me advice and helps me on cases. Lamar, an ex-cop who owns the donut shop that houses Nash Security Solutions, is usually around to give me advice, too. Lamar also gives me donuts and hugs, which I like even better.

My two Black Pine besties, Tiffany and Rhonda, work at LA HAIR, but I see them not only as stylists but as my Black Pine life coaches. They like to “keep it real” which can be painful, but pain is good for the soul, right?

Vicki, my ex-manager/still-mother, is always somewhere nearby. Usually, a whiff of Chanel No. 5 alerts me to her presence because it tends to make my stomach clench.

And I live with my father and his family, including my six-year-old half-sister Remi, so they’re usually around, too. Daddy is the founder and CEO of DeerNose, the hunting apparel company. Unique to the fashion world because the fabric is scented. Scented with deer pee, which makes it even more unique. Unfortunately.

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

The story begins in my old friend, Lorena Cortez’s, adorable bungalow in historic downtown Black Pine. Lorena is a retired costume designer, and when I was in high school, we worked together on the set of Julia Pinkerton, Teen Detective. My friend Rhonda and I walked over from the Queen Anne home next door to bring Lorena to her new charitable foundation’s kick-off event, a masquerade gala.

Unfortunately, Lorena never made it to the gala.

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

I hope they enjoy my seventh case! Thanks so much for having me here!

You’re welcome, and thank you for answering my questions, Maizie. Good luck to you and your author, Larissa Reinhart, with 18 ½ Disguises, the latest book in the Maizie Albright Star Detective mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Maizie and her author, Larissa Reinhart by visiting the author’s website and her Facebook, Goodreads, Bookbub and Pinterest pages.

The novel is available at the following online retailers:

Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Kobo

About Larissa Reinhart: A Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Larissa writes the award-winning Cherry Tucker Mystery, Maizie Albright Star Detective, and Finley Goodhart Crime Caper series. She loves to tell funny stories about women, looking for love (and dead bodies) in all the wrong places.

Larissa, her family, and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit, lived in Nagoya, Japan, but have returned to Peachtree City, Georgia. You can see them on HGTV’s House Hunters International “Living for the Weekend in Nagoya” episode. Larissa loves books, food, and traveling with her family. You can often see her adventures on Instagram (and her little dog, too).

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