Sunday, March 30, 2014

Congratulations Bettylouise! 
You are the winner of a signed copy of Beverly Allen's

Thank you to everyone who entered! Please continue to visit my blog for more great giveaways, interviews and reviews!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Beverly Allen Interview and Giveaway

Author Beverly Allen was kind enough to stop by and answer a few questions today. And Beverly is giving away a copy of her new book BLOOM AND DOOM scheduled for release on April 1 and available now for pre-order!

As the co-owner of The Rose in Bloom, Audrey Bloom creates magnificent flower arrangements for brides to be. Though helping to plan a wedding can be stressful, it’s nothing compared to the groom turning up dead. 

A designer of eye-catching bridal bouquets—many of them based on the Victorian meanings behind each flower—Audrey Bloom is used to celebrations that end with happily ever after. In fact, every couple she’s worked with is still together, living in wedded bliss. But her perfect record is about to be broken.

Her childhood friend Jenny Whitney has reeled in the most eligible bachelor in Ramble, Virginia, and she’s hired Audrey to design the bouquet. But before Jenny can walk down the aisle clutching her blend of anemone, scabious, and pussy willow (a floral disaster in Audrey’s mind), the groom is found dead—sprinkled with bits of a bouquet. This is bad for business—not to mention for Jenny, who has become the prime suspect. So Audrey decides to do a little digging herself, hoping she won’t be the next Ramble resident pushing up daisies…

For a chance to win a signed copy of BLOOM AND DOOM, enter by using Rafflecopter at the end of the interview.

You can find my review of BLOOM AND DOOM in a past blog posting. 

Note: One thing I didn't touch on with Beverly, (I was having a duh moment I believe) is something that fascinates me. In BLOOM AND DOOM she speaks of the language of flowers and gives the meaning of many. I've included a few examples throughout the interview and you'll find a link to Beverly's Pinterest where she has an extensive list. 

On to the interview and giveaway!

LKBR:  Who or what inspired you to become an author?

BA:  A lot of times you talk to writers, and they say things like, “I wrote my first book when I was three, and I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to write.” Well, that’s not me. I sneaked in the back door.

I have a rather convoluted career history. I graduated from engineering school with a diploma and a distaste for the job. The first things I wrote (except for research papers and some pretty riveting grocery lists) were puppet shows and Christmas programs when my husband was serving as the pastor of a small, country church. When he left that position, I discovered I really missed the writing.

For several months, I played around with fan fiction for Monk. (Remember the TV show Monk? I was nutty for it.)  I was pretty popular, too. I had fans numbering in the literal dozens. I was reading Lee Goldberg’s blog (he wrote the Monk tie-in novels at the time), and I saw this post ranting at fan fiction. The gist was, “If you think you’re so good, why not try something original?”

And it’s not that I thought I was that good. But the idea of trying something original both intrigued and terrified me. So I spent several years learning how to write.

The blue rose is the symbol of mystery

LKBR:  How did you come up with the idea for the Bridal Bouquet Shop Mysteries?

BA:  Berkley has some great cozies. But one thing I didn’t know at the time was that not all of the ideas for their popular cozy series originate with the authors. Sometimes the clever people at Berkley come up with ideas for series they think their readers would like, and then look for the right writer.

I was thrilled when my agent said she’d thought I’d be a good match for this opportunity. And I was delighted when the folks at Berkley read my proposal and agreed.

Lesser Celandine - Joys to come

LKBR:  What appeals to you about writing Cozy mysteries?

BA:  I’m an avid cozy reader. I started with Nancy Drew, moved on to Agatha Christie, and then stopped for a long time. The modern cozy wasn’t really as popular way back then (early 80s)--or at least as easy for me to find. The mysteries I came across in bookstores and libraries were darker.

When I was a junior in high school, two of my classmates were murdered. And for the longest time, the last thing I wanted to read was a gritty, graphic murder mystery. They’re still not my cup of tea. So I read biographies and classics.

I came across more modern cozies years later. And they helped me through a difficult time, when my mother was ill and eventually died of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease.) They’re a great form of escape--leaving a world that’s often cruel and hard. There are quirky characters to meet, an often idyllic small town setting to romp around it, and a challenging puzzle to solve.

Of course, developing the mystery is a challenge I enjoy, but I guess you could say the thing that appeals to me is providing some relief to others who need the escape of a good read. It would please me greatly to know that my book helped someone else through a tough time.

Ginger Blossom - Strength

LKBR:  Who are some of your favorite authors?

BA:  I’m sure to leave some off. Oddly enough, I tend to read historicals and write contemporaries. I’m very fond of Rhys Bowen and Laurie King--in particular her Mary Russell series. And Victoria Thompson and Alan Bradley. In contemporaries, I think Laura Levine’s books are some of the funniest out there. And I’m quite fond of Joanne Fluke, Diane Mott Davidson, Julie Hyzy, and Lilian Jackson Braun. Still love the Monk books, both Lee Goldberg’s and Hy Conrad’s. So many more. And even more in my TBR list.

Pheasant's Eye - Can't forget you, remembrance

LKBR:  Do you have any other series in the works?

BA:  Sort of. I have a series I’d started--in fact the one that drew the interest from my agent. It needs some work, so when I have a break from the Bridal Bouquet Shop books, I’d like to invest a little time on it. I won’t say too much about it, except that it’s sort of a culinary cozy.

Ranunculus - You are radiant with charms

LKBR:  What are three things you would like your readers to know about you?

BA:  1. I know there’s a lot of debate right now about what content and language is acceptable in a cozy. My personal feeling is that many readers are drawn to cozies as an escape from the rougher parts of life, so readers aren’t going to find strong language, grit, or darker elements in my books.

2. I’m pretty easy-going, but not generally an extrovert. I HATE mingling. If you see me at a party, rescue me and engage me in conversation. I enjoy talking with people. But at parties where people are standing around in groups, I have the hardest time introducing myself and talking. I feel like I’m butting in.

3. I have extremely poor facial recognition skills and name recall. Please don’t be hurt if I can’t come up with your name. It’s a family trait, and it’s only getting worse with age. I have to keep a list of my book characters, or I forget them, too. But don’t worry. It’s not senility. Grandma is still going strong at 90. She has a mind like a steel trap. She just rattles off five or six names before she settles on the right one. And she’s been doing that for as long as I can remember.

Balloon Flower - Unchanging love, honesty, and obedience.

LKBR:  Is there anything else you'd like to share?

BA:  No, I think you’ve plumbed the depths of my soul. ;)

Pansy (heartsease) - Thoughts, think of me; you occupy my thoughts

Thank you, Beverly for letting me "plumb". 

Want to learn ever more about Beverly? You can find her....

For more on The language of flowers...
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 17, 2014

Have you ever been to a book signing? They're so much fun! You get to meet a favorite author. Talk to them and ask questions. Interact face to face. 

Have you ever wondered what it might be like from the author's point of view? Well, read on. Author Laura Bradford is going to give you a glimpse. 

The Breath of Air, Reader-Style
By Laura Bradford

The life of a writer can be rather isolating at times. We spend a large amount of each day holed up in front of a computer, creating worlds and characters. While there’s no doubt most of us do it because we love it, it can get a little lonely. There are no co-workers to meet up with for lunch, no water cooler to hang around while talking about last night’s episode of whatever hot show is on at the moment, and not a lot to talk about with our spouse at the end of the day beyond “I wrote.”

So when a book comes out and we get a chance to come out from behind our computers and meet the people who are glad “I wrote,” it’s exciting.

Needless to say, the promise of meeting some of my readers at one of my favorite independent bookstores on Friday night was something I looked forward to all week. 
Before I knew it, I was walking into Aaron’s Bookstore in Lititz, Pennsylvania to find a signing table all ready for me along with a lot of copies of my latest book, SHUNNED AND DANGEROUS, and a candle.

The candle was just in case the power (that had gone off nearly town-wide an hour earlier) didn’t return by the time the signing started…but it did.

I don’t think I was sitting for more than two minutes when the first of many customers came through the door looking, specifically, for me. Some were new faces—people who’d read about my appearance in the Sunday book section and wanted to stop by for a copy. Some were faces I’ve met at previous signings at the store—people who’d given my series a chance the first time around and enjoyed it so much they’ve come back for each subsequent book. Some were faces I’ve met on Facebook—people who found me on the social media site because of my books and have become my friends.

As a writer, we always wonder if what we write is good enough, if readers will like it, if reviewers will like it, if the publisher will be happy, et cetera. We second guess ourselves and our ability at times. But when people seek us out, when they carve out time on a Friday night just to come out and meet us because they love the stories we tell and the worlds we’ve created, it doesn’t get much better than that. 

I love to write, I always have.

But I also love the people who have chosen to take this journey with me. They make it more special and more fulfilling. For that, I am eternally grateful.


Laura Bradford is the best-selling author of The Amish Mysteries. SHUNNED AND DANGEROUS, the third book in the series, released this month. To learn more about Laura, The Amish Mysteries, or the Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries she writes under her pen name, Elizabeth Lynn Casey, visit her website: Or “like” her author page on Facebook.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Book 1 in A Biscuit Bowl Food Truck Mystery series

Release date: April 1, 2014

Zoe Chase always wanted to own her own restaurant—but first, she'll have to serve up a heaping helping of meals on wheels, with a side of mystery…

When she’s once again passed over for a promotion at work, Zoe decides to take the big leap and go for her dream. She quits, gives up her fancy digs, and buys a fixer-upper diner in a shady part of town. To keep above water during the renovation, she buys a used food truck to serve the downtown and waterfront of Mobile, Alabama.

Zoe starts to dish out classic Southern food—but her specialty is her deep-fried biscuit bowls that blow traditional bread bowls away.

After a promising start, things start to go downhill faster than a food truck without brakes. First, someone tries to rob the cash register. Next, Zoe is threatened by the owner of a competing food truck for taking their spot. And when the owner ends up dead inside Zoe’s rolling restaurant, Zoe and her sole employee, Ollie, find themselves hopping out of the frying pan into the fryer. They need to find the real killer, before both of them get burned.

I have wanted to read this book since I first saw the cover of it online. Add the fact that it's written by J. J. Cook, a.k.a. Joyce and Jim Lavene, and I just knew it was going to be great. I was right!

The action starts off very soon into the book and just keeps going. You'll find that just when you think you have something figured out, you're thrown a curve and have to rethink everything. the mystery just keeps growing until the surprising reveal.

Zoe Chase is a very likeable lead character. She did what we have all dreamed of doing. Quit her unsatisfying job to follow her dream. While reading this story, told by Zoe herself, I was so drawn into it that I felt as though I was living it myself. My favorite parts were the ones when Zoe and friends were working in the food truck. As for those friends, the supporting cast of characters were very different in many ways than I have read in other cozies. That only strengthened their appeal. They added a fresh flavor that kept me completely entertained.

And speaking of flavor, you are going to be so hungry for biscuits while ready this! It's a good thing there is a recipe for biscuit bowls included, along with some of their mouth watering fillings!

DEATH ON EAT STREET is the perfect book to kick start the Biscuit Bowl Food Truck Mystery series. It has insured this will be a series that will continue for many years to come!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

And the winner is.....Tiffanee Hill Cordell!!!

Congratualtions to Tiffanee! 
She won a signed copy of LITTLE SHOP OF HOMICIDE by Denise Swanson!

Thank you to all who entered. 

I'm already working on the next giveaway from another great author! So be on the look out!