Wednesday, April 24, 2019


I'm so excited to be a stop on the blog tour for
A Lethal Ladies Mystery Anthology

With stories by the 
Sisters in Crime - Central Virginia
Frances Aylar, Mollie Cox Bryan, Lynn Cahoon, J.A. Chalkley, Stacie Giles, Barb Goffman, Libby Hall, Bradley Harper, Sherry Harris, Maggie King, Kristin Kisska, Samantha McGraw, K.I. Murphy, Genille Swope Parente, Deb Rolfe, Rod Sterling, S.A. Warwick, and Heather Weidner

Edited by Mary Burton and Mary Miley

“Deliciously devious and absolutely delightful, these marvelous stories will keep you captivated! Sweeter than sweet tea on the surface, but with smartly sinister secrets only a true southern writer can provide. What a joy to read!” —Hank Phillippi Ryan best-selling Agatha and Mary Higgins Clark Award winner

"A keep-you-up-all-night collection...perfect plotting by some of today's best mystery writers. Brava!" New York Times Bestselling Author Ellery Adams.

"Pour a glass of sweet tea and settle in on the porch for a fabulous read."  Agatha and Macavity Award Nominee Edith Maxwell.

"This can't-put-it-down collection is...flavored with the oft-eerie ambiance of the South."  USA Today Bestselling Award-winning Author Ellen Byron.

Interview with the authors

LKBR:  Thank you for being here today, authors of Deadly Southern Charm.

SIC-CV: Thank you for having us. We are all members of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, and we each contributed a short story to Deadly Southern Charm. Our authors are: Frances Aylor, Mollie Cox Bryan, Lynn Cahoon, JA Chalkley, Stacie Giles, Barb Goffman, Libby Hall, Bradley Harper, Sherry Harris, Maggie King, Kristin Kisska, Samantha McGraw, KL Murphy, Genilee Swope Parente, Deb Rolfe, Rod Sterling, SE Warwick, and Heather Weidner. Our editors are Mary Burton and Mary Miley.

LKBR: Please tell us a bit about you, and your book/series.

SIC-CVAll stories had to have had a female sleuth and a mystery set in the southern part of the United States.

LKBR: Any hints or spoilers you can give us about your next book?

SIC-CVThis is our chapter’s third mystery anthology. The themes change, but all are full of good mysteries that can be read individually or as a collection.

LKBR: Have you ever written a scene that you loved but had to remove it for the sake of the story?

Frances: A rule of thumb for a murder mystery is that the first murder should occur within the first 50 pages. I’ve had to rearrange or even eliminate scenes to move the murder closer to beginning of the book. 

Heather: In my Delanie Fitzgerald mystery series, I’ve had to take out scenes that didn’t move the story forward. But sometimes, the removed parts give you an idea for a future storyline.

Maggie: For my first Hazel Rose mystery, Murder at the Book Group, my agent demanded that I cut 10,000 words. I didn’t know how I was going to do that, but it turned out to be fairly painless. I put on my ruthless editor cap and slashed several scenes. I tucked any important information from those scenes into other. It really helped the story.

Lynn: In one of my romance novels I got about 10K in and had a fit. Everything was fine. Fine, fine, fine. Except it wasn’t. I stopped writing and thought about the story I wanted to tell. I changed the destination of their flight – and it took off. It became a marriage of convenience story. Because what happens in Vegas, follows you home.

Kristin: Absolutely! I don’t allow myself to edit while I draft a story, so by the time I get around to revising, I find many scenes need to be cut.  I save them all in a separate document, in case I can reuse them later in a different story.

J.A.: Yes, usually because they slow the pace of the story. It’s a balancing act of getting in the necessary information without making it feel like a research report.

Libby:  Yes!  Usually I love it because it has some witty dialogue (I thought), but in the end it did nothing to push the story forward.

LKBR: Have you ever gotten reader’s block? Just find it hard to get into reading because you are so into your writing?

Frances: Never. I love to read and am often reading several books at the same time.

Heather: I do tend to read less when I’m writing. But reading is important, especially for writers. So, I try to turn off the TV and use that time to catch up on my reading.

Genilee: I find it harder to find books that keep my interest since I started writing. I have no patience for badly written or shallow books.

Maggie: Writing does cut down on my reading, but certainly doesn’t block it. I manage to read every day, even if I only have thirty minutes before turning out the light. I have noticed that when I finish an especially good book, it can be hard to get into the next one.

LynnI love listening to books as I drive. That way I keep story in my head all day.  I don’t have a lot of reading time, but I’ve never been blocked or not reading.

Barb:  No, not because of writing. But after my dad died unexpectedly, I found I couldn't concentrate on most things, including reading--even though I usually read every day. It was Louise Penny who saved me. I found I could lose myself in her beloved town of Three Pines and forget my grief for a little while.

Kristin: Yes. When I’m writing a story/novel, I find it hard to read other stories. It’s a good thing I’m in a book club, because it forces me reading at least a dozen books per year.

J.A.: Depending on what I’m working on I might avoid reading so I don’t pick up the author’s voice style. 

Libby: Never – it's almost always the other way around.

LKBR: Are there any magazines/publications that as a writer you subscribe to? Are these or others something readers could also benefit from?

Frances: Since I write financial thrillers, I read The Wall St. Journal and Barron’s. I also like The Economist and Fortune. All of these give me good plot ideas.

Heather: My favorite book about writing is Stephen King’s On Writing. It has lots of good advice that every writer needs to hear at least once.

GenileeI find Writer’s Digest a helpful magazine and web site. I subscribe to Jane Friedman’s newsletter, Electric Speed newsletter, which is crammed with practical advice.

Maggie: Ditto on the value of Writer’s Digest and Jane Friedman’s newsletter. The Writers in Residence weekly blog is full of useful tips and information about writing. As for readers, I recommend the many mystery magazines available in print and ebook versions, such as Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine.

LynnI have to say; I’ve stopped reading a lot of magazines.  Again, lack of time. And I don’t like the short articles some magazines have. I want more in depth versions.  And I agree with Heather – One Writing is the best.

Kristin: While I don’t have a paid subscription, I find two regular blogs to be very helpful both with craft and the business side of writing: “Writer Unboxed” and “Career Authors”

J.A.: I agree with Heather, Stephen King’s On Writing, is a great writer’s book. Goal, Motivation, Conflict by Debra Dixon, is another book I’ve found to be very helpful.

Libby:  Writer’s Digest, and a couple of idea-starter books that people have given me over the years.

LKBR: Is there anything you would give up if you thought it would make you an even better writer?

Frances: I’m trying to cut back on binge watching my favorite TV shows, but I’ve gotten hooked on This is Us and A Million Little Things.

Heather: TV/movie watching – I tend to waste too much time in front of the TV. I DVR the shows I really want to watch, but I use that time for writing.

Genilee: Chocolate. That’s how much I love writing.

Maggie: Facebook

Lynn:  You mean, what have I given up?  Writing takes a lot of my time now because I’m still working a day job. I can’t give up sleep or the day job, so like Heather, I tend to DVR my shows. It’s a reward for hitting my word count goals.

Kristin: Internet is my nemesis. I need it for research and connecting with readers, but it can be such an addictive time-sink.  The struggle is real!

J.A.: Social media is a huge time drain for me, if I’m not careful. Video games are another guilty pleasure. I had to delete all the games off my phone and computer to avoid the temptation.

Libby: TV in the evening.  I get so zoned out that it kills any creativity I have left at the end of the day.

LKBR: Any new projects in the works?

Frances: I’ve almost finished the second book in my Robbie Bradford financial thriller series, which is set in Switzerland. The third book may take place in Egypt, which I just visited. I also do talks to colleges and other groups on money management.

Heather: I’m working on the third mystery in my Delanie Fitzgerald Private Investigator and a new cozy mystery set near Charlottesville, Virginia.

GenileeI started my first solo mystery using some of the same character that appear in the Sister in Crime anthology short story I contributed.

Maggie: I’m working on a short story that I plan to submit to a mystery magazine, and one for the Bouchercon 2019 anthology, Denim, Diamond, and Death. And I’m starting edits/rewrites for Die Laughing, #3 in my Hazel Rose Book Group series.

Lynn: I’m writing the next two books in the Farm-to-Fork series and two more full length Tourist Traps this year. Along with a couple other projects that aren’t public knowledge yet. My fifth Cat Latimer book is releasing in June – SCONED TO DEATH.

BarbI'm editing Crime Travel, an anthology of mystery/crime/time-travel stories, to be published by Wildside Press on December 8th, which is Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day. (Really.) The book will include a short story of mine called "Alex's Choice."

Kristin: In addition to “Unbridled”, I have another short story being released this spring, “Snowbirding” in Malice Domestic’s anthology, Mystery Most Edible. I’m currently writing my third novel, a domestic suspense.

Libby:  I’m working on publishing some of my blogs into a book, and trying to find time to market two completed Sourthern Fiction novels.

LKBR: If you could ask your readers 3 questions, what would they be?

Frances: What makes you keep turning to the next chapter even though it’s late and you have to go to work the next morning? Do you like villains or heroes better? How important to you is it that a book have a happy ending?

Heather: How long have you loved mysteries? What makes you stick with a book? What makes you read past your bedtime?

GenileeWhat takes you out of your own head? Why do you read? What kinds of characters appeal to you?

Maggie: What books did you read as a child? Name 3 of your favorite authors (of any genre). Do you enjoy short stories?

LynnTell me about a time when you were scared. Tell me about a time when you were brave. What authors do you love and why?

J.A.: Do you like clean cut heroes or anti-heroes? Do you like romance in your stories or just the facts, ma’am? What scares you?

Libby:  What is most annoying thing an author can do while you’re reading?  Does a book have to have a happy ending?  How often to you buy repeatedly from an author?

LKBR: Thank you so much for letting us get to know you better!

Thanks so much for letting us visit your blog! 


DEADLY SOUTHERN CHARM is an anthology. This is my review of the book as a whole. Not each story.

Since this book has novellas featured by several of my favorite mystery authors, all members of Sisters in Crime – Southern Virginia, it was a given I was going to read it. I’m very happy that I did!

Containing eighteen short stories, I knew DEADLY SOUTHERN CHARM was going to be hard to put down half way into the second story. I started each new title with the plan that it would be my last until I next picked up the book. You know what they say about best laid-plans? Yeah, well, it turns out this book was more than hard to put down. It was impossible. I ended up reading the entire book straight through.

The authors included are to be commended for packing so much into their short stories. Each tale contained plenty of mystery, mayhem, and twisty, turny plots making each read like a full length novel, and doing so without the feeling of the stories being rushed, which is no small task. Well done.

About the Authors

Frances Aylor, CFA combines her investing experience and love of travel in her financial thrillers. MONEY GRAB is the first in the series.

Mollie Cox Bryan is the author of cookbooks, articles, essays, poetry, and fiction. An Agatha Award nominee, she lives in Central Virginia.

Lynn Cahoon is the NYT and USA Today author of the best-selling Tourist Trap, Cat Latimer and Farm-to-Fork mystery series.

J.A. Chalkley is a native Virginian. She is a writer, retired public safety communications officer, and a member of Sisters in Crime.  

  Stacie Giles lived many places before settling in Virginia where she is returning to ancestral Southern roots, including a grandfather who was a Memphis policeman.

  Barb Goffman has won the Agatha, Macavity, and Silver Falchion awards for her short stories, and is a two-time finalist for US crime-writing awards.

Libby Hall is a communication analyst with a consulting firm in Richmond, Virginia. She is also a blogger, freelance writer, wife, and mother of two.

  Bradley Harper is a retired Army pathologist. Library Journal named his debut novel, A KNIFE IN THE FOG, Debut of the Month for October 2018.

Sherry Harris is the Agatha Award-nominated author of the Sarah Winston Garage Sale mystery series and is the president of Sisters in Crime.

Maggie King penned the Hazel Rose Book Group mysteries. Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries and 50 Shades of Cabernet anthologies.

Kristin Kisska is a member of International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime, and programs chair of the Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia chapter.

Samantha McGraw has a love of mysteries and afternoon tea. She lives in Richmond with her husband and blogs at Tea Cottage Mysteries.

K.L. Murphy is a freelance writer and the author of the Detective Cancini Mysteries. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband, four children, and two dogs.

Genilee Swope Parente has written the romantic mystery The Fate Series with her mother F. Sharon Swope. The two also have several collections of short stories.

Deb Rolfe primarily writes mystery novels. This is her first published short story. She and her husband enjoy life in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  

Ronald Sterling is the author of six books and draws upon his colorful and varied life experience as a U.S. Airman, saloonkeeper, private detective, realtor, and New Jersey mayor. S.A. Warwick, in the last century earned a bachelor’s degree in American Studies. Ever since, she has been trying to decipher the American enigma.

Heather Weidner is the author of the Delanie Fitzgerald Mysteries. She has short stories in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 SHADES OF CABERNET and TO FETCH A THIEF. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and Jack Russell terriers.


  Mary Burton is a New York Times, USA Today and Kindle best-selling author. She is currently working on her latest suspense.

Mary Miley is a historian and writer with 14 nonfiction books and 5 mystery novels to her credit. 



Purchase Links: 

Amazon     Wildside     Wildside eBook 


April 21 – Books, Movies, Reviews. Oh my! – SPOTLIGHT
April 22 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, GUEST POST
April 23 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT
April 24 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 25 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW
April 26 – Laura's Interests – REVIEW
April 27 – I'm All About Books – GUEST POST
April 28 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW, RECIPE
April 29 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 30 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE
May 1 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
May 1 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
May 2 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
May 2 – Literary Gold - SPOTLIGHT
May 3 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE
May 4 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
May 5 – Here's How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT

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  1. Thanks so much for letting us visit the blog today and for the great review!

  2. Thanks, Lisa. I enjoy novellas when I want something quick to read. Happy Wednesday!

  3. Thank you for your review on "DEADLY SOUTHERN CHARM" and for being part of the book tour.

    WOW! So many great authors - it has to be on my TBR list. Can't wait for the opportunity to read it.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  4. Great interview questions, Lisa! I found the authors' answers fascinating.

  5. The interview gave me valuable insight into these authors. Readers need to be open to finding their next favorite author, and reading anthologies like Deadly Southern Charm is a great way to "meet" a variety of authors. I'm with Genilee--once you know and love good writing, you have less patience with not-so-good writing. It's also really wonderful to see new writers you know "up" their game and raise their proficiency. Enjoy the fabulous book tour!

  6. Lisa, thanks so much. I loved your review and appreciate you letting us share our "weighty" thoughts.