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COTT: Anything for a Mystery by Cynthia Hickey

Posted by Julie on February 8, 2016 in Book Review, encouragement, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini |
Stormi is delightful as the accident prone and bumbling wanna be
detective. What she lacks in skill she makes up for in nosiness. Add in the
sexy detective and a slightly nutty family and our lead character has her
hands full.
~Amazon reviewer

 

About the book:
Stormi Nelson, best-selling romance author, moved into her huge Victorian
house in the private community of Oak Meadows Estates. When her agent tells
her that her characters are becoming too cardboard and that she needs to
get out and mingle with people, she comes up with the idea of a
Neighborhood Watch Program. The only problem is … she’s the only member. On
her first night of patrol, she stumbles over a dead body, meets a hunky
detective, who happens to be her neighbor and clearly frustrated with her,
and her mother, sister, niece and nephew arrive to shake up Stormi’s
peaceful life. As she is immersed ever deeper into the mystery surrounding
a neighbor’s murder, she decides to change writing tactics and write a
romantic mystery based on her experiences. What follows is a frolicking
good time as Stormi finds herself the nosiest neighbor of them all. Can she
find the killer before she becomes the next victim?

PURCHASE

A note from the author, Cynthia Hickey:

“Why I Became a Writer”

Funny how this roller-coaster business can tug on someone until it’s either
write or die. A bit dramatic, yes, but that’s how most writers feel.

I started reading at the young age of five and became hooked on words and
stories. Being a shy child, I would make up stories to act out, but it
wasn’t until Junior High when an English teacher assigned a

writing project that I realized how much I loved putting the story to
paper. I began writing short stories in which my younger brother was
featured as the hero, or I’d write a romance featuring me and whatever boy
I had a crush on at the time.

When I turned fifteen, I wrote my first “real story” about terrorists
taking over a high school. Funny how I have now seen that very plot made
into a movie. I couldn’t be stopped after that first “book.” I kept
writing, keeping my stories in a notebook, which I unfortunately lost when
I married and moved out of state. Then, life happened and I didn’t take up
writing again until the age of forty when my children were older and I had
time to devote to it.

In 2007, I published my first cozy mystery, Fudge-Laced Felonies,
with Barbour Publishing and haven’t slowed down since. Forty books later,
and several genres added to the mix, I have no intentions of stopping this
crazy career any time soon. It’s as much a part of me as breathing.

About the author:
Multi-published and Amazon Best-Selling author Cynthia Hickey had three
cozy mysteries and two novellas published through Barbour Publishing. She
had several historical romances release in 2013, 2014, 2015 through
Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents, and has sold half a million copies of her
works. She is active on FB, twitter, and Goodreads, and is a contributor to
Cozy Mystery Magazine blog and Suspense Sisters blog. She and her husband
run the small press, Forget Me Not Romances, which includes some of the
CBA’s well-known authors. She lives in Arizona with her husband, one of
their seven children, two dogs, two cats, three box turtles, and two
Sulcata tortoises. She has seven grandchildren who keep her busy and tell
everyone they know that “Nana is a writer”. Visit her website at
www.cynthiahickey.com

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Book Review: Mermaid Moon by Colleen Coble

Posted by Julie on January 19, 2016 in Book Review, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |
Mermaid Moon by Colleen Coble

Mermaid Moon by Colleen Coble

Book Description

Mallory’s mother died fifteen years ago. But her father’s last words on the phone were unmistakable: “Find . . . mother.”

Shame and confusion have kept Mallory Davis from her home for the last fifteen years, but when her dad mysteriously dies on his mail boat route, she doesn’t have any choice but to go back to Mermaid Point.

Mallory believes her father was murdered and childhood sweetheart Kevin O’Connor, game warden in Downeast Maine, confirms her suspicions. But Kevin is wary of helping Mallory in her search. She broke his heart—and left—without a word, years ago.

When Mallory begins receiving threats on her own life—and her beloved teenage daughter, Haylie—their search intensifies. There’s a tangled web within the supposed murder, and it involves much more than what meets the eye.

As answers begin to fall into place, Mallory realizes her search is about more than finding her father’s killer—it is also about finding herself again . . . and possibly about healing what was broken so long ago with Kevin. She just has to stay alive long enough to put all the pieces together.

Mermaid Moon starts strong with Mallory’s phone call with her dad and the mystery that surrounds his last words to her as he is found dead. Mallory comes back to town after a 15 year absence and right away runs into her first love, game warden Kevin O’Connor.

I loved the mystery and romance but I had trouble staying as invested as I have with her previous books. I think perhaps I was looking for the secondary characters to have a little more depth, especially the daughters. Still, the tension between Kevin and Mallory, added with the mystery of Mallory’s father’s death kept me turning pages.

I think you will turn the pages, too.

To purchase Mermaid Moon, click here.

I received a copy of Mermaid Moon from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Misstep by Deborah Dee Harper

Posted by Julie on September 8, 2015 in Book Review, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

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Road’s End is comprised entirely of senior citizens whose kids have grown and left for greener pastures. Hugh, Melanie, and Bristol (one of the few sane people in town) are faced with a crumbling church in desperate need of repair and renovation, a dwindling congregation of opinionated, ornery senior citizens, and a camel—yes, a camel. And if that’s not enough, the trio and the rest of the Road’s End residents, are soon mired in danger and intrigue when a group of gun-toting drug dealers arrive in town, bent on killing the church handyman, and conspiring to ruin the doggonedest record-breaking blizzard the town has ever seen.

Poor drug dealers.

Is it wrong to call a mystery “fun?” I don’t care. Deborah Dee Harper’s Misstep is a wonderful mystery that is laugh out loud fun to read. There’s Hugh and Melanie, a couple looking for a quiet retirement when they are called to the pastorate. Before they can process the news there’s a chicken. A blizzard. Vandalism at the church. People confessing murders. A camel. Bad guys holding the women hostage. And then there’s the oldest virgin Mary the church has ever seen.

I read this in an evening because Misstep is full of comical characters and a heartwarming story, wrapped in mystery. Deborah has a strong writing voice and an army of strong characters that make Road’s End. I can’t pick a favorite character because they were all rich.

As for the mystery and the Christmas miracle, I never saw any of it coming. I’m pretty good at figuring out mysteries, I’m rarely stumped. This plot twist was brilliant.

To purchase Misstep, click here.

I am one of the authors affiliated with the publisher and received this from Write Integrity Press. However, all thoughts are my own and the only expectation was that I read it and be honest.

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COTT: Plundered Christmas by Susan Lytekk

Posted by Julie on February 9, 2015 in Guest blogger |
Pirate legends, unexpected storms, murder.
Will Jeanine discover the truth before someone else winds up
dead?

 

About Plundered Christmas:

Compelled to spend Christmas on a private island with her father’s future
bride and family, Jeanine learns that Margo Banet is descended from a
pirate queen.

Relatives and friends all have their reasons for attending the
festivities—including the legendary treasure. But when Margo’s nephew winds
up dead and a violent storm cuts them off mainland, Jeanine has to wonder
if they will solve the mystery before someone else dies trying.

About the author:

Susan A. J. Lyttek, author of kids’ comedy, “Guzzy Goofball” and the
“Homeschool Play from Outer Space” and the cozy mystery trilogy by
Harbourlight Books which includes the recent Plundered Christmas, is
a wife and homeschool mother who writes early mornings in the shadow of our
nation’s capital. She also enjoys training up the next generation of
writers online through Write At Home, and by teaching middle and high
school co-op classes. Learn more about her and her projects at sajlyttek.com.
What COTT Voters Had to Say:

–Susan Lyttek, you are an amazing and talented writer.

–Susan, I can’t wait to read your new book!

–Looking forward to reading Plundered Christmas!

–Love Plundered Christmas.

–Susan, your work continues to thrive, all for the Glory of God! I’m proud
to know you, and can’t wait to read this one! A. Montgomery.

–Susan Lyttek, enjoy reading your books.

–I really enjoyed Plundered Christmas–between the character dynamics and
the plot twist I never saw coming–well done!

–Great series by Susan Lyttek!

Chat with Susan:Why do you write the kind of books you do? I homeschooled and am
homeschooling. These are the people I’ve been around for the last seventeen
years. That’s also why I weave history in. Every homeschool resource I know
targets multiple subjects and levels of learning.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your
life?
My goal is for today, whatever day that is, to be the happiest.
It doesn’t always work, especially when I get a piece of bad news or
insufficient sleep, but it’s my goal. I want to live contentedly in what my
Lord hands me each day.

What is your favorite season of the year? Christmas. Hands down.
What’s special about it for you?? I love my heritage and the special
traditions that we have. Every Christmas creates new memories that adds to
the woven tapestry of what it is. I also love celebrating the arrival of
the son of God in human form!

What is something that very few people know about you? I like to
read my Bible in French. C’est vraiment la belle langue!

What three things about you would surprise readers? I have a second
degree black belt in tae kwon do. I like LOUD music. (I’m a quiet person,
so the music thing surprises most people.) I earned a marksman ribbon with
the M-16 when I was in the Air Force.

What can you tell us about your current project? I assume you mean
Plundered Christmas. In this mystery, we need to figure out why the
Banet family has hidden their heritage all these years, in addition to
learning who killed Margo’s nephew. Secrets can poison a family and damage
relationships. As the Talbotts uncover the truth about Anne Bonny/Banet, it
leads to healing for those who accept it.

 

Find more great reads at Clash of the
Titles
!

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Writers: Pens of Mystery Looking for Submissions

Posted by Julie on January 9, 2015 in encouragement, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Writing |

Pens of Mystery

Pix-N-Pens and Write Integrity Press are pleased to announce their newest line of books – Pens of Mystery. We are now accepting submissions for mystery novels between 60,000-90,000 words.

We are open to submissions for a wide range of mysteries, including:

  • Cozies
  • Procedurals
  • Contemporary PIs
  • YA Mysteries

We especially like series of three or more books.

Our books are clean and wholesome, but they can be written with or without a gospel message.
We do not accept horror, paranormal, erotic, or pornographic manuscripts.

Please follow these guidelines for submission:

You may submit your proposals to EITHER (both is not necessary or preferred – we provide two in case of technical difficulty) of the following e-mail addresses. Please replace words in brackets with symbols and delete any spaces:

editor [at] writeintegrity [dot] com
tracyruckman [at] pixnpens [dot] com

In the body of your original e-mail to us, please include

  • A brief cover letter, to introduce yourself and your book.
  • Full word count (using Word’s counter) if the manuscript is complete, or an estimated time of completion and anticipated word count.
  • A short bio.
  • Pitch – 30 words or less.
  • Long blurb – 150-200 words (think back cover blurb).

Then attach to the email in Word format:

  • The FIRST three chapters AND the LAST chapter. If the book has a prologue or epilogue, include those in addition to the required chapters.

Do NOT send full manuscripts unless we request them. Consideration will be given only to packages submitted as requested – full manuscripts that have not been requested will be discarded.

Please follow industry-standard formatting. This means:

  • Pages should have 1″ margins on all sides.
  • Lines should be double-spaced.
  • Font should be Times New Roman, size 12.
  • Use black ink only – do not use color fonts.

We will try to reply promptly to all submissions, but please allow up to 90 days to hear from us. If you haven’t heard from us by that time, please send a brief e-mail inquiry.

We do not accept submissions by snail mail.

Submissions to Pens of Mystery should not include the following:

  • Incest of any kind.
  • Murder of children; child abuse.
  • Vampires, witches, werewolves, paranormals, aliens, future realities, and New Age psychics as protagonists.

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Book Review: The Day She Died by Bill Garrison

Posted by Julie on December 10, 2014 in Book Review, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

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Book Description:

A mystery. In this clean time-travel whodunit, a middle-aged coffee-shop owner always wondered what his life would have been like if he’d stayed in town the day his college fiancee disappeared, the victim of an unsolved crime.

One morning he wakes up 20 years earlier and finds himself a student at the University of Oklahoma again on the day she died. In a journey that takes months, he stumbles over people connected to Kim’s disappearance and puzzles over connecting the dots.

Oddly enough, things are different when he relives sections of his life. For example, as a teen he plays baseball and as an adult he discovers what it’s like to be a Christian pastor, things he never did before.

Can he find some answers about Kim and about his own life? Or prevent Kim’s death? And if he succeeds in changing history, what happens to his wife and kids?

 

I’ll admit, when I learn a book contains time travel, I’m skeptical. Flashback scenes are difficult to write and very few authors do it well. Then when I read that the book is the first from the author, I’m not sure at all.

The Day She Died and Bill Garrison proved me wrong. This time travel mystery and romance is told well, flashbacks and all. I was able to keep track of the characters and the time frame. I loved that I truly didn’t know “the bad person” until the reveal, because I usually guess and am right. The Day She Died was full of surprises but they all made sense for the plot. The author didn’t have to make it work. He told the story well enough he didn’t have to force it.

I also enjoyed the references to the teen and college/young adult years. I was that age then and those were the movies I was going to. The author made these things authentic. I especially appreciate that it’s “clean,” no profanity. Mysteries don’t have to be profane, and I liked that The Day She Died isn’t.

If you’re a mystery and/or romance fan, you’re going to enjoy this story.

To purchase The Day She Died, click here.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

 



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