Kill Them With Canvas

Chloe Abbington is visiting Ascroft, eh? today to tell us about Kill Them With Canva, the latest novel in the Paint by Murder mystery series.

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

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

Hi! My name is Chloe Abbington and I live in the picture-perfect town called Whisper Cove. My sister Izzie and I run a painting party event business. Of course, that makes sense since all of our family members are artists. We’d be lost and truly unhappy if we didn’t do something with art. Anyway, life doesn’t always turn out like you plan it. I’m the perfect example. My crazy journey took me from college and across the ocean to live like a poor and starving artist in Paris, then back to the states, living in Manhattan and thinking I could make my name as a successful artist by showcasing my work in some posh gallery. Yeah, that didn’t work out at all. Coming full circle to return home and run Paint with a View with my sister turned out to be surprisingly the move that fits me best. It’s a peaceful life with no stress. Wait. Did I say no stress? Murder kind of ruins that mood, doesn’t it?

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

I’m pretty stubborn and opinionated so I’ll argue or spout off with my thoughts on which way the author should take the story. Especially when it comes to relationships. I mean, I had a boyfriend back in Manhattan. He’s a lawyer and very successful. Too successful because he spent most of his time at the office. I felt like something had to change. My issue is how the author tries to keep him in the story, as if his effort to win me back will change my mind. No way. I’ll dig my heels in concrete before that move happens. Now, the detective in town is altogether different. Author, you can drop him into the story whenever you like!

How did you evolve as the main character?  

Take one major breakup, a NYC career goal flop, and a much needed change of scenery. A new chapter in life with all the drama and challenges put the focus on me and how I learned to handle everything that’s been happening.

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

My sister is my bestie. She and I are a year apart in age, and even though our personalities are way different, we cherish the same things—family, loyalty to those we care about, and art. Our craft is a passion we connect to on every level. I definitely would share the story with her. Of course, our parents, all the craft shop owners along Artisan Alley, and most of our friends in Whisper Cove are welcome to take a scene once in a while. After all, we’re a close community. It’s hard to hide what goes on, and we care what happens to each other.

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

Whisper Cove is a touristy town in southwestern New York along the beautiful Chautauqua Lake. We have lots of craft shops on Artisan Alley, including our quaint little cottage where Paint with a View is located on the lakeshore. One very cool attraction is the ferry which can take visitors and their vehicles across the lake to the town on the opposite shore. It’s a fun ride for tourists…unless something tragic happens, but I won’t spoil the story. I’ll let you find out that excitement when you read it! Obviously, this may be a small place but we keep things busy with lots of festivals, like the Hallows Eve celebration coming up soon. All sorts of vendors with activities, games, and food. There’s even a special guest. Like all small towns with their folklore, Whisper Cove has the ghost of Chautauqua Lake, Abigail Bellows, who is known to haunt the town on Hallows Eve. Everyone hopes to get lucky and snap a photo of her rising out of the water! Creepy, right?

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

For all you pet lovers, I have to brag about my pooch Max. He’s twelve pounds of fluffy white fur and with an abundance of energy that keeps me on my toes. No wonder he “digs” in to help me and Izzie solve the murder case. Oh, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he even finds a four-legged friend to pal around with him soon!

Thank you for answering my questions, Chloe, and good luck to you and your author, Bailee Abbott, with Kill Them With Canvas, the latest book in the Paint by Murder mystery series.

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

The novel is available at the following online retailers:

AMAZON      BARNES & NOBLE     KOBO     APPLE BOOKS 

About Bailee Abbott: Bailee Abbott is a native Ohioan who spends her days plotting murder and writing mysteries. She’s a member of Sisters in Crime as well as of International Thriller Writers. Bailee lives with her husband and furry friend Max in the quiet suburbs of Green, Ohio. Bailee also writes the Sierra Pines B&B mystery series under the name Kathryn Long.

Advertisement
Posted in Archives, October 2022 | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Live and Let Grind

Tara Lush is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Live and Let Grind, her latest novel in the Coffee Lover’s Mystery series.

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

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

My book is called LIVE AND LET GRIND, and while it’s the third in the Coffee Lover’s Mystery series, it can be read as a standalone. The series is about a former journalist-turned-barista on a fictional Florida island. She lives with her Shih Tzu named Stanley, and her boyfriend is the island’s police chief. She also has many friends and family members that are quite quirky, as people are in beach communities.

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

The victim in LIVE AND LET GRIND is someone who is an incessant leaf blower. This is based on my real-life experience of trying to focus and write in my office, while literally all my neighbors have their leaf blowers revving and roaring. As you can imagine, this gets quite annoying and breaks my concentration. Everybody in Florida complains about leaf blowers, because they’re so loud and ubiquitous. It’s as if you can’t ever have an hour of peace! So I decided to make the victim, and the crime, centered around someone who died from an exploding leaf blower.

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

The theme is the importance of family, both blood relatives and found family. Before moving back to Devil’s Beach, Lana lived and worked in Miami. And while she found great success there, she also didn’t form many deep relationships. On Devil’s Beach, she learns to let people into her life and to lower her emotional walls. She discovers that it’s actually a wonderful thing to be open to new experiences and say yes to life.

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

My character Lana Lewis is one that I will always love. She’s my first mystery heroine and like me, she’s a former journalist, so I think I’ve imbued her with my deep sense of curiosity. I also adore Stanley the Shih Tzu, probably because he is based off my own Shih Tzu, Gigi!

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

I make it easy: I write about what I know. All my mysteries are set in Florida, and are loosely based on Sanibel Island, which is just off the coast of Southwest Florida. The vibe of the fictional Devil’s Beach is similar to my city — St. Petersburg — and it’s a very laid-back, touristy, Jimmy Buffett kind of place. As I type this I have tears in my eyes because I’m thinking of the real life Sanibel Island, which was destroyed by Hurricane Ian. The west coast of Florida is a special, beautiful place. I’ve lived here for many years and it’s the inspiration for my fiction.

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

For this book and all the Coffee Lover’s series, I did a lot of coffee research — and not just drinking coffee, either! I befriended someone who works for a coffee wholesaler who does a café tour in my city. He takes people around to various coffee shops and explains the ins and outs of various brewing techniques. He became my go-to expert and helped me brainstorm the signature coffee drink in this book, the Orange Blossom Special.

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

If you want to be transported to a beach location with coffee, quirky friends, eccentric island characters and cute puppies, then this is the book for you. Oh, and there’s also murder, of course.

Thanks for answering my questions, Tara, and good luck with Live and Let Grind, the latest book in the Coffee Lover’s Mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Tara and her writing by visiting her website and her Facebook, Goodreads and Instagram pages.

The novel is available at the following online retailers:

Amazon  BARNES AND NOBLE   APPLE   KOBO   INDIEBOUND   GOOGLE PLAY

About Tara Lush: Tara is a Rita Award finalist, an Amtrak writing fellow, and a George C. Polk Award winning journalist. For the past decade, she’s been a reporter with the Associated Press, covering crime, alligators, natural disasters, and politics. She also writes contemporary romance set in tropical locations. A fan of vintage pulp-fiction book covers, Sinatra-era jazz, and 1980s fashion, she lives with her husband and two dogs on the Gulf coast.

Posted in Archives, October 2022 | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Hill to Dye On

Jemma is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about A Hill to Dye On, the latest novel in the Clear Creek mystery series.

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

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

Hi, I’m Jemma. A Hill to Dye On is the second book in the Clear Creek Mysteries. It all started when my grandmother, Mary, begged me to help her. When I arrived, she’d been killed and I inherited her yarn shop. After helping bring her killer to justice, I decided to stay. Things have been quiet for a few months, but now . . . well, we’re thrown into another mess.

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

Let’s just say I like to let Rebecca think she’s in charge. I don’t think she realized quite how stubborn the people of Clear Creek can be, and while she’s dealing with them I can sneak around, leaving enough hints of what I want to do that she thinks it was her idea. Then we’re both happy.

How did you evolve as the main character?

I actually didn’t start out as the main character. Rebecca was trying to tell some other woman’s story. Eventually she realized that I really was the right person to highlight, and I headed to Clear Creek. I just wish I’d arrived to a happier scene.

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

I have a few dear friends in Clear Creek. Kitty, of course — I spent summers with her as I grew up.

Emmilene is a southern belle who moved here recently, and she keeps me laughing with her southernisms.

Granny — well, Granny helped me get into all kinds of trouble when I would visit as a teenager, and she hasn’t stopped.

Then there’s Brandon. There’s a lot of attraction there, but I can’t tell you too much about it because we’re trying really hard to keep our budding relationship a secret.

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

After I made up my mind to stay in Clear Creek and take over the yarn shop, my friend Emmilene stepped forward and started organizing a whole bunch of things. Because of her, the town has a new community center that hosts everything from classes to an open gym.

Running the shop hasn’t been as hard as I’d worried it would be, and business is better than I hoped! I’m also trying to figure out how to keep my travel vlog going at the same time, which is a bit of a handful, but I hate to give it up after spending fifteen years of my life on it.

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

In this book you’ll get the chance to know Kitty better. She finally tells me what happened to turn her from the vibrant girl I remembered into the quiet, timid woman she became. I have a feeling you’re going to be as angry about it as I am.

Thank you for answering my questions, Jemma, and good luck to you and your author, Rebecca McKinnon, with A Hill to Dye On, the latest book in the Clear Creek mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Jemma and her author, Rebecca McKinnon by visiting the author’s website and her Facebook, Goodreads and Instagram pages.

The novel is available online at  Amazon   

About Rebecca McKinnon: Rebecca enjoys playing with her imaginary friends and introducing them to others through her writing. She dreams of living in the middle of nowhere but has been unable to find an acceptable location that wouldn’t require crossing an ocean.

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

Murder Up To Bat

Elizabeth McKenna is visiting Ascroft, eh? today to tell us about Murder Up To Bat, her latest novel in the Front Page Mystery 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.

Murder up to Bat is Book 2 in my Front Page Mystery series. The Great Jewel Robbery (Book 1) introduced readers to Emma and Grace, news reporters who have been friends since college. Emma is a bit wacky and impulsive, while Grace does her best to keep her friend in line. When confronted with a mystery or murder, they rely on their investigative skills to solve it.

In Murder up to Bat, their friend Luke, who owns a gym catering to athletes, is accused of killing the head coach of his travel softball team. Hoping to prove reasonable doubt and free Luke, Emma and Grace zero in on several suspects, including a drug-pushing carnival worker and the assistant softball coaches.

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

My daughters played several sports, including softball. Over the years, I witnessed profanity-laced tantrums from coaches and parents and even police intervention due to threatening behavior. All because an adult took winning a game or a tournament too seriously. It was often embarrassing and sometimes frightening. My story takes the need to win a step further – into murder.

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

One of the themes is the unnecessary pressure we put on our children to win, no matter the cost. My daughters enjoyed sports because they liked to hang out with their friends. Winning a game was a bonus, and losing hurt, but at the end of the day, they remember being with their friends. My youngest played college softball for two years. She said the day she stopped was the best day of college to that point. The pressure was creating so much anxiety that she was miserable. Her coach didn’t understand and called her weak. I thought it was terrible that an authority figure didn’t support my daughter’s decision to put her mental health first.

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

Throughout my books, my main characters have a bit of me in them. Luckily, as a Gemini, I have several personalities to pull from! Other characters come from friends and family. A high school friend recently scolded me because he hasn’t been included in a book yet. Of all my books, Cera and Jake from Cera’s Place are still my favorite characters. I guess I love my “firstborns” the best.

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

The setting for the Front Page Mystery series is the area I have lived in for the past twenty years. I did change a few things to make it easier on the reader, but I used real businesses and town names etc. It’s easier to write what you know.

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

I try to make my stories as accurate as possible, so I’m constantly doing internet searches. For example, having never been arrested, I didn’t know Wisconsin’s procedures or even what a reasonable bail would be for the crime Luke is accused of. So, I read numerous state statutes and law firm web pages to educate myself.

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

Murder up to Bat is a quick read – as is The Great Jewel Robbery (Book 1). If you are new to the series, I encourage you to start with Book 1, though both are standalone stories. For September and October, the ebook version of The Great Jewel Robbery is discounted on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Writing Murder up to Bat was a struggle, and it took me longer than usual to complete it. I started it days before the 2020 pandemic took over our lives. I didn’t write for almost two years with all of the chaos and tragedies. But eventually, I got my groove back, and the story became fun to write as I remembered when my children were young and living with me. Thank you for spending some of your precious time with me, and I hope you enjoy my story.

Thanks for answering my questions, Elizabeth, and good luck with Murder Up To Batl, the latest book in Front Page Mystery series.

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

The novel is available at the following online retailers:

 Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Smashwords

About Elizabeth McKenna: Elizabeth’s love of books reaches back to her childhood, where her tastes ranged from Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys to Stephen King’s horror stories. She had never read a romance novel until her sister gave her the latest bestseller by Nora Roberts. She was hooked from page one (actually, she admits it was the first love scene).

Her novels reflect her mercurial temperament and include historical romances, contemporary romances, cozy mysteries, and dark mysteries. With some being “clean” and some being “naughty,” she has a book for your every mood. Elizabeth lives in Wisconsin with her understanding husband and Sidney, the rescue dog from Tennessee. When she isn’t writing, reading, editing, or walking the dog that never tires, she’s sleeping.

Posted in October 2022 | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Ghost Cat on the Midway

Mollie Hunt is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Ghost Cat on the Midway, her latest novel in the Tenth Life 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.

Ghost Cat on the Midway is the second book in the Tenth Life Cosy Mystery Series featuring septuagenarian Camelia Collins who recently moved from her city home to the small coastal town of Ocean Cove. What she pictured as a quiet retirement is soon disrupted by an unexpected presence. Her property comes with a ghost cat! Thankfully Soji is a gentle if spritely spirit who helps Camelia out of a few fixes, some of which involve murder.

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

As a cat person, I’ve often contemplated the possibility of ghost cats. As I asked around my cat-people friends, I found I wasn’t the only one. A great number had experienced what they considered to be visitations from their felines who had crossed Beyond. I knew I wasn’t the only fiction writer to create a ghost cat character, but once Soji came to me and showed me her potential, I had no choice but to build a story around her.

The mystery for this particular book came to me as ideas always do—bit by bit as I got to know the new characters and their situations. In other words, they tell me what’s going to happen, not the other way around.

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

Unlike my Crazy Cat Lady Series which, with the central character being a cat shelter volunteer, follows the theme of cat rescue and advocacy, the Tenth Life series is blissfully benign. But that in itself is the underlying premise, one of easy reading as a respite in a difficult world.

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

As I mentioned, my characters tend to come to me. They walk, run, jump, leap, or swager into the story and demand my attention. Sometimes they look and act like someone I know or have seen on TV; other times they spring from my imagination, and who am I to say no? The cats tend to be my favourites.

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

As I am the same age as Camelia, I’ve been around a bit. I’ve done some traveling and tend to remember those places with an artist’s eye. Most of Ghost Cat takes place in a small town on the Oregon Coast, an area I’ve toured all my life. Ocean Cove is fictitious, but it could be one of many on that route. I use colour, scent, sound, and touch along with visual descriptions to create a complete picture.

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

Even for the lightest fiction, some research is required. If I don’t know about something, I’ll find out before committing it to the page. Sometimes that entails online work and others I need to go farther afield.

In Ghost Cat on the Midway, one character, 17-year-old Yui Smith, is involved in 4-H and horses. Though I have experience with county fairs, I had to get an expert to help with that subject. Big thanks to Reagen Richey and her mom Kari for the fun and helpful information about 4-H, horse competitions, and horses in general.

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

Thanks for reading, or even thinking about reading my book! It means so much to me to share my stories. Though I would still write them if I were the only person on Earth, there is a special bond between an author and their readers that is as satisfying as petting a purring cat. (Well, almost.)

Thanks to Ascroft eh? for asking thought-provoking questions, as well as for spotlighting me and Ghost Cat on the Midway

Thanks for answering my questions, Mollie, and good luck with Ghost Cat on the Midway, the latest book in the Tenth Life Mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Mollie and her writing by visiting her website and her Facebook, Goodreads, and Instagram pages. Readers can also sign up for her extremely informal newsletter.

The novel is available online at  Amazon

About Mollie Hunt: Cat Writer Mollie Hunt is the award-winning author of two cozy series, the Crazy Cat Lady Mysteries and the Tenth Life Mysteries. Her Cat Seasons Sci-Fantasy Tetralogy features extraordinary cats saving the world. Mollie also pens a bit of cat poetry.

Posted in Archives, September 2022 | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Guilty as Framed

Lois Winston, author of Guilty as Framed, an Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, is visiting Ascroft, eh? today to tell us about weaving the plot of her latest book around the theft of several Rembrandt paintings.

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

I fell in love with the paintings of Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn the first time I walked through the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. From that day on, I spent many hours seated in front of my favorite of his paintings, Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer. I even wrote a paper on the painting my senior year of high school.

Because of my love of Rembrandt’s works, I was devastated when the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum was burglarized in 1990. Three of the thirteen works of art stolen were by Rembrandt, two paintings and an etching. These included his only seascape, “Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee”, a painting that was nearly five-and-a-half-feet tall, and the postage stamp sized “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,” an etching, also known as “Rembrandt ‘Aux Trois Moustaches.”

For years, I followed the investigation, reading articles and newspaper accounts and watching documentaries on the crime, always hoping the stolen works would be found intact and the perpetrators caught. Thirty-two years later, neither has occurred. Most of the people questioned by Boston P.D. and the FBI through the years, including persons of interest, witnesses, and relatives, have since died. To this day, the crime is considered the greatest art theft in history.

For the eleventh book in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery Series, I decided to create a story that would incorporate the actual museum burglary and the missing artworks. This gave me quite a challenge. I had to figure out how I could connect a decades-old museum heist in Boston to my humorous New Jersey-set cozy mystery. I did so by digging into the weeds of the crime and taking some authorial liberties. Many of the facts from the actual case make their way into Guilty as Framed, with names changed to protect the innocent and the not-so-innocent. Although Anastasia doesn’t solve the mystery of what happened to the stolen artworks or who stole them, she does find herself inadvertently drawn into the unsolved crime and as usual, racing to unmask a killer.

Guilty as Framed

An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, Book 11

When an elderly man shows up at the home of reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack, she’s drawn into the unsolved mystery of the greatest art heist in history.

Boston mob boss Cormac Murphy has recently been released from prison. He doesn’t believe Anastasia’s assertion that the man he’s looking for doesn’t live at her address and attempts to muscle his way into her home. His efforts are thwarted by Anastasia’s fiancé Zack Barnes.

A week later, a stolen SUV containing a dead body appears in Anastasia’s driveway. Anastasia believes Murphy is sending her a message. It’s only the first in a series of alarming incidents, including a mugging, a break-in, another murder, and the discovery of a cache of jewelry and an etching from the largest museum burglary in history.

But will Anastasia solve the mystery behind these shocking events before she falls victim to a couple of desperate thugs who will stop at nothing to get what they want?

Thank you for sharing this with us, Lois, and good luck with Guilty as Framed, an Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery.

Readers can learn more about Lois Winston by visiting the author’s website and blog, and her Goodreads, Pinterest and Bookbub pages. Readers can also follow her on Twitter.

The book is available online at the following retailers: 

 Amazon – Nook – Kobo – iBookstore 

About Lois Winston: USA Today and Amazon bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is a former literary agent and an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry. Learn more about Lois and her books at her website www.loiswinston.com where you can also sign up for her newsletter and follow her on various social media sites.

Posted in Archives, September 2022 | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

A Night to Remember

Riley Gordan is visiting Ascroft, eh? today to tell us about A Night to Remember, the latest novel in the Adairsville Heritage Mystery series.

Welcome, Riley. 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 Riley Gordan. I live inside A NIGHT TO REMEMBER, which is book #2 in the Adairsville Heritage Mystery Series. My brother Kirby and I arrived in Adairsville in book #1 to settle our Uncle James’ estate. We soon discovered that Uncle James had not died in an accident but had been murdered. It almost cost Kirby his life, but we were able to expose our uncle’s killer. Now, in book two, after a year of law school, I am back in Adairsville for the summer looking forward to a leisurely vacation with my friend, Trish. Then one of my Sunday School girls is kidnapped. Stumbling upon the abduction, Trish, Connie, and I are pulled headfirst into a search for the girl. We battle a Neanderthal called Houston, confront an old man with a big gun, and find ourselves in lots of dangerous places. Eventually it becomes a matter of murder. That’s when my big brother steps in.    

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

I think the writer intended to exercise complete control over the story, but he soon found himself being led by me and other characters in a different direction than he had planned. He remembered that sometimes the best story is the result of allowing the characters to have their way. This is a book in which the author listened to the characters. The result is a smooth, exciting, and unstrained story in which several characters are allowed to shine.   

How did you evolve as the main character?

In book one, my brother, Kirby, took the lead, causing one reviewer to remark, “I feel like I got to know Kirby, but I want to know Riley.” To a certain degree, A NIGHT TO REMEMBER is my story. It’s not until the second half of the book that Kirby makes his appearance. His presence is strongly felt when he does arrive, but, early on, the reader has opportunity to learn more about me. Some of my weaknesses are apparent, but so are certain strengths of character. I’ve not gotten it all together by the end of the story, but progress is evident. It is my hope that the better you get to know me, the more you will like me.                  

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

A NIGHT TO REMEMBER is overflowing with interesting characters. A good mystery requires an ample number of people. My college friend, Trish, is at my side throughout this adventure with her loyalty, her sense of humor, her paranoia, and her sweetness. She is to me what Bess and George were to Nancy Drew. The story revolves around the beautiful friendship of an old baseball player turned politician and a spunky adolescent who are known around town as “Nate and the Kid.” Getting to know them is a special treat. Then there are Amos and Carol. I can’t forget the two people who are parental stand-ins for both Kirby and me. Carol makes the best soup in town and Amos is one of the wisest people I’ve ever known.      

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

Adairsville, Georgia is a small town of five thousand people nestled in the foothills of North Georgia where the pines, and especially, the oaks stand tall. It is where some super resilient men and women reside as well as where some rather eccentric individuals hang their hats. The movers and shakers gather for breakfast at the Little Rock Café most mornings. It is a place where the best place to go for local news is the barbershop. You will find a better than average number of people in the pews of its several churches on Sunday mornings. History is everywhere and tradition is important to the citizens of the little town. When in Adairsville, my home is a beautiful little apartment in what was once a church building. My brother, Kirby, also has an apartment in the building as Amos and Carol. That building is just one of the treasures left to us by a loving uncle. When I run the streets in the mornings, I’m seeing fewer and fewer people I don’t know.         

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

Kirby and I love being in Adairsville. It’s where our father and his brother James spent their childhood, but Dad became a pastor and lived most of his adult life in the Boston, Massachusetts area. That’s where we called home in our earlier years. It’s been five years now since Dad and Mom went down in that plane crash while returning from a mission trip. Those years have been hard for Kirby and me, but in Adairsville we have discovered a new home and a supportive group of people that has put some stability back into our lives.  

Thank you for answering my questions, Riley, and good luck to you and your authors, Danny and Wanda Pelfrey, with A Night to Remember, the latest book in the Adairsville Heritage Mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Riley and her authors Danny and Wanda Pelfrey by visiting the authors’ website and their Facebook and Goodreads pages. Readers can also follow them on Twitter.

The novel is available at the following online retailers:

Amazon    Barnes & Noble     CrossLink

About Danny and Wanda Pelfrey: The Pelfreys are graduates of Atlanta Christian College (now Point University). Danny earned a masters from Kentucky Christian University. He spent 45 years in the pastorate. Wanda served as a primary Montessori teacher for twenty-four years. They have two daughters and are blessed with five amazing grandchildren.

Wanda’s career as a writer took off shortly after college, when she started writing curriculum and educational aids for a variety of publishers. Her book, MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR CHILD’S TEACHABLE MOMENTS, published by Moody Press went through several printings and brought her a lot of attention and respect as a writer. However, she put her writing career on hold shortly thereafter to become a teacher.

Danny’s interest in writing was fostered by his wife’s love of the craft. He wrote articles for various publications, a newspaper column, and eventually three non-fiction books. Traditional publisher CrossLink released three of the four Davis Morgan Mysteries co-authored by the couple, as well as the first two books in the Adairsville Heritage Mystery series. A NIGHT TO REMEMBER is #2 in the Adairsville Heritage series.

The Pelfreys live in their little Cape Cod cottage in their small north Georgia hometown of Adairsville, Georgia which serves as the setting for their mysteries with a message. They enjoy a life that is often centered around their five grandchildren and their love for putting words on paper.

Posted in Archives, September 2022 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Deadly Traditions: a Christmas Traditions themed mystery anthology

Maxine “Max” Englebright is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas, her story in Deadly Traditions, a Christmas Traditions themed multi-author anthology, and the Ghostly Fashionista series where she usually lives.

Welcome, Max. 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.

Hello, darling! I’m Maxine “Max” Englebright, and I live inside the Ghostly Fashionista series. In fact, I’m the titular character! Isn’t that the elephant’s eyebrows? I died in 1930 and am tethered to my house, which is now a consortium of small businesses. Imagine my delight when Amanda Tucker, a retro fashion designer, moved into the building and was able to see and talk with me! I hadn’t had a friend in decades! And guess what else? She introduced me to books that can be read on a tablet. I can’t touch physical objects, but I can maneuver electrical things and am able to read books and watch videos. I’m having the time of my—well, my afterlife!

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

Amanda usually tells our stories from her point of view, which is fine by me. I have absolute trust that she won’t misrepresent me. But I’m really excited about Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas, which is my story in the DEADLY TRADITIONS anthology. In that story, it’s all about me and a Christmas mystery my family and I solved together when I was younger. It made me nostalgic to look back, but the holidays are good for that, aren’t they?

How did you evolve as the main character?

I’m really not the main character, darling. I know I should be, but our stories could get boring if they were all from my POV. Okay, probably not, but I realize readers want to visit more than one location in a book. For instance, in DESIGNS ON MURDER, the first book in the series, Amanda went all over Abingdon, Virginia, the place where we live. In PERILS AND LACE, she visited (and allowed me to peep in through something called a livestream) a high school where she made costumes for a presentation of Beauty and the Beast. In CHRISTMAS CLOCHES AND CORPSES, we investigated a nursing home; and in BUTTONS AND BLOWS, she made costumes for a Renaissance Faire. We have the best time, even if there is a murder here and there.

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

Oh, I dearly love Amanda’s grandfather, Dave. I call him a silver fox. That phrase wasn’t in my vocabulary until I heard one of the other merchants say it, but it suits Dave. He can also see and hear me. The Tuckers and I have a special connection. I also adore Zoe and Dwight.

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

It’s ever so charming! I’ll ask Gayle (the writer) to send you a photograph of the house on which she based our building. In the first book’s author’s notes, she gives you a bit of history on the house. Plus, Abingdon is filled with historic sites. If you ever go, you should be sure to visit the Barter Theatre, which boasts such illustrious alumni as Gregory Peck and Patricia Neal.

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

Only that I hope they’ll enjoy it! We have so much fun at Designs on You—that’s Amanda’s shop—and we’d love to have them join us.

Thank you for answering my questions, Max, and good luck to you and your author, Gayle Leeson, and all the other authors in Deadly Traditions, the Christmas Traditions themed mystery collection.

Readers can learn more about Max and her author, Gayle Leeson by visiting the author’s website and her Facebook and Pinterest pages. You can also watch her Youtube channel and follow her on Twitter.

The Deadly Traditions anthology is available at the following online retailers:

 Amazon

About Gayle Leeson: Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. Gayle has also written as Amanda Lee. She is currently writing the Kinsey Falls chick-lit/women’s fiction series, the Down South Cafe cozy mystery series, and the Ghostly Fashionista cozy mystery series. Her book KILLER WEDDING CAKE won the Bronze Medal in the 20th Anniversary IPPY Awards. Gayle lives in Southwest Virginia with her family and enjoys hearing from readers.

Posted in Archives, September 2022 | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Photo Finished

Lori Roberts Herbst is visiting Ascroft, eh? today to tell us about Photo Finished, her latest novel in the Callie Cassidy Mystery series.

Welcome, Lori. 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.

Set in Rock Creek Village, Colorado, the Callie Cassidy Mystery series follows a middle-aged former investigative photojournalist. Following a glitch in her career, Callie has moved back to the mountainside town of her youth, along with her golden retriever, Woody. Soon, she realizes she’s done with big-city life, and she begins to settle in, reconnecting with old friends and discovering new ones, like a stray tabby cat she and Woody call Carl. Callie eventually opens a photo gallery—and solves a few murders, of course.

Photo Finished, the fourth book in the series, finds Callie on a girls’ trip to a dude ranch in Mustang, Colorado, to celebrate her best friend Tonya’s upcoming wedding. All she wants is a fun-filled week with her girlfriends. But a town conflict over the ranch property keeps interfering, and when an obnoxious local woman turns up dead, it’ll be up to Callie and her posse to solve the crime.

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

After three books set in Rock Creek Village, I knew I wanted to take Callie someplace new for one installment. Since she and Tonya just emerged from a rough patch in their friendship, it made sense Callie would want to do something special for the bride-to-be. The girls’ week idea enabled me to bring much of the cast to Mustang, too. Though I’m not sure how a dude ranch popped into my head, I knew right away it was perfect. Horses, snakes, trees, and lakes—what a perfect setting for a murder mystery!

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

In each book, I try to weave in a subplot that involves personal growth and relationship growth. Callie is forty-four years old, but she’s devoted the past twenty-five years, almost her entire adult life, to the pursuit of a fast-paced career. It’s left her little time to “find herself.” As skilled as she was professionally, she is a rookie when it comes to gaining insight and maintaining friendships. In this particular book, Callie grapples with the green-eyed monster. The exploration of jealousy seeps into other areas of the plot as well.

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

The creation of characters is a bit magical to me. The people in my books are truly fictional, but sometimes it feels as if there is a real-life cast running around in my subconscious, waiting to be born. Not sure what it says about me, but villains, especially, come to me with a vivid three-dimensionality.

As far as favorites, I love Callie, of course. If I could pluck her off the pages of my books, I’d enjoy having her as a friend, flaws and all. I also have a soft spot for Callie’s parents, Maggie and Butch. Having lost my own parents, their presence evoke a tenderness that makes me feel safe and cared for. And then there’s…oh, for goodness sake, I could add all the regulars. I love them all!

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

The mountains are my happy place. They’re not easily accessible when you live in Texas, so my husband and I travel to Colorado as often as time and budget allow. Our favorite places are Estes Park and Manitou Springs. When we’re there, I try to soak in every detail for later life on the pages of the books.

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

Google has become a writer’s best friend. I’m sometimes slightly concerned that if the police ever suspect me of some dastardly deed, my Google history will provide a treasure trove of evidence! From snake venom to electrocution to how much Ambien it would take to knock a person out, I look guilty of almost any crime.

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

Writing Photo Finished gave me such pleasure—it may have been the most fun I’ve had with a book. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did creating it!

Thanks for answering my questions, Lori, and good luck with Photo Finished, the latest book in the Cassie Cassidy Mystery series.

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

The novel is available online at  Amazon

About Lori Roberts Herbst: Lori writes the Callie Cassidy Mystery series, and has spent much of her life writing, editing, and psychoanalyzing. Through thirty years of teaching journalism, advising newspaper and yearbook staff, instructing budding photographers, and counselling teenagers, she still managed to hang on to a modicum of sanity. Her books have earned first-place CIBA awards in the Murder and Mayhem division. She currently serves as secretary of the Sisters in Crime North Dallas chapter and is a member of the Sisters in Crime Guppies and the Mystery Writers of America.

Posted in September 2022 | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Dewey Decimated

Carrie Singleton is visiting Ascroft, eh? today to tell us about Dewey Decimated, the latest novel in the Haunted Library mystery series.

Welcome, Carrie. 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 Carrie Singleton and I live inside DEWEY DECIMATED, which is the sixth book in the Haunted Library series. I am the head of programs and events at the Clover Ridge Library and my life is filled with adventures and murders. I am the only adult who can see the ghost of Evelyn Havers, a former library aide who helps me solve murders. In DEWEY DECIMATED, the building next to the library in undergoing renovations to become an addition to the library. When the workers break through the connecting wall, the confused ghost of the dead man found in the building’s basement wanders into the library. Evelyn and I have to keep him hidden away so he doesn’t frighten the patrons while we discover who murdered him.

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

I have a say regarding the events of the story. After all, it’s my story and I know what should be happening, right?

How did you evolve as the main character?

I suppose it’s because I was able to see Evelyn, who is kind of the library’s guardian angel. Also, it turns out I’m very good at investigating homicides and finding murderers.

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

Many characters are very dear to me starting with my fiancé, Dylan, who loves me and doesn’t try to stop me from investigating. My best friend Angela who understands me; my great-aunt Harriet and great-uncle Bosco who gave me a home when I felt lost and helped me find my place in Clover Ridge. And Evelyn, who has taught me a lot. And my dad, Jim Singleton, who gave up his crooked life and became an upstanding citizen and the best dad I could ever want.

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

I’m very excited about the new library addition, especially the new stadium-seated auditorium where I plan to present many wonderful programs and performances. I also want to learn more about the ghost, who turns out to be Dylan’s uncle, someone Dylan hasn’t seen in ages.

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

I have to deal with this brash, in-your-face TV investigative reporter who is also investigating the dead man found in the building. Of course she has no idea his ghost is hidden away in the library. But she’s a thorn in my side because she keeps on making digs about our police chief, who happens to be my friend. Even worse, she wants me to join forces with her to solve the murder. Since she has amazing resources and I’m investigating the murder anyway, I just might give in and form the duo she’s after.

Thank you for answering my questions, Carrie, and good luck to you and your author, Allison Brook, with Dewey Decimated, the latest book in the Haunted Library mystery series.

Readers can learn more about Carrie and her author, Allison Brook by visiting the author’s website and her Facebook, Goodreads, and Bookbub pages. Readers can also follow her on Twitter.

The novel is available at the following online retailers:

Amazon      Penguin Random House    B&N    Kobo    Google Play 

About Allison Brook: A former Spanish teacher, Marilyn Levinson writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and novels for kids. Her books have received many accolades. As Allison Brook, she writes the Haunted Library series. DEATH OVERDUE, the first in the series, was an Agatha nominee for Best Contemporary Novel in 2018. Other mysteries include the Golden Age of Mystery Book Club series and the Twin Lakes series.

Her juvenile novel, Rufus and Magic Run Amok, was an International Reading Association-Children’s Book Council Children’s Choice. And Don’t Bring Jeremy was a nominee for six state awards.

Marilyn lives on Long Island, where many of her books take place. She loves traveling, reading, doing crossword puzzles and Sudoku, and chatting on FaceTime with her grandkids.

Posted in Archives, September 2022 | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment