Happy Book Birthday! DOUBLE STRIKE by Gretchen Archer

GO ALL IN

DOUBLE STRIKEIt’s time to Strike it Rich with Gretchen Archer’s DOUBLE STRIKE. The third book in the USA TODAY bestselling Davis Way Crime Caper Series hits the jackpot with humor, hijinx, and hashtags. Grab your copy today! #SaveWalter

Double Strike is specialfunny, unique, and I love Davis.” - Janet Evanovich

“The exploits, the antics, the trial and tribulation of doing the right thing keeps the story fresh as scene after scene we are guaranteed a fun time with Davis and her friends. #LoveIt #BestOneYet.” – Dru Ann Love, Dru’s Book Musings

“If you’re looking for a light read, this cozy mystery will be perfect. It reads fast, gives you lots of sunny moments, and if you are a part of the current social media movement, this will appeal to you even more. I know #ItDoesForMe.” - Mystery Sequels 

As always, feel free to reach out if you have questions or comments – to the Hen House or Gretchen.  We’d love to hear from you.

Cheers!

Hen House Staff

Take-Out Trouble: WITH VICS YOU GET EGGROLL by Diane Vallere

Vintage Vendetta

WITH VICS YOU GET EGGROLLDoris Day look-alike Madison Night faces a kidnapper, a love triangle, and an abundance of Chinese food in the third Mad for Mod mystery. Ready your chopsticks and come with an empty stomach—WITH VICS YOU GET EGGROLL is a cozy treat hitting shelves April 14, 2015.

Business as usual for mid-century modern interior decorator Madison Night involves a rundown ranch restoration and endorsing a set of retro paint colors. But when an investigation into a string of recent abductions turns up a murder vic, and evidence at the scene links the flirtatious Lt. Tex Allen to the crime, Madison’s priorities shift faster than she can say “Doris Day.”

 Voluntary suspension keeps Tex off the case, and pesky reporter force him to live in his car. Madison’s own life is complicated by the return of her hunky handyman and her new demanding client. She immerses herself in routine, but suspects come out of the freshly-painted woodwork. When seemingly unrelated events lead back to the abductions, she exposes a secondary agenda, a copycat crime, and a vengeful plot to destroy someone she loves.

 As always, feel free to reach out if you have questions or comments – to the Hen House or Diane.  We’d love to hear from you.

 Cheers!

 Hen House Staff

Karin Gillespie stops by the Hen House…

… to chat with us about the release of Bet Your Bottom Dollar!

KARIN GILLESPIECheck out her insights on Southern sass, true friendship, and dollar store shenanigans, and don’t forget to pick up your copy today!

Congratulations on the release of BET YOUR BOTTOM DOLLAR! Are you doing anything special to celebrate?

Thank you! On the day it’s published you will hear the sound of a million champagne bottles popping and I’ve arranged for the Northern lights to put on a special show.

At the beginning of each chapter, you include a hilarious Southern saying or quote. Where do you come up with these, and what is your favorite one that you’ve used?

I collect sayings from church signs or t-shirts or bumper stickers. And yes, I do make some of them up. My favorite is “Don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things.” Also “stop, drop and roll doesn’t work in hell.”

The Bottom Dollar Emporium is so central to the story of BET YOUR BOTTOM DOLLAR that it almost feels like a character. What inspired you to choose a dollar store as the setting for your series? If you could buy one item from the Emporium what would it be?

I love dollar stores because you never know what you’ll find. Anything from an inflatable flamingo to a Bo Bice CD (of American Idol fame) to a pregnancy test. On Pinterest you can all kinds of pages devoted to dollar store finds.

I have a sweet tooth so my item of choice would be candy. The Bottom Dollar Emporium carries a hodgepodge of sweets: Charleston Chews, Chick-O-Sticks and Slo Pokes.

BET YOUR BOTTOM DOLLAROne of the ongoing themes throughout BET YOUR BOTTOM DOLLAR is unconditional love and friendship, especially between the Bottom Dollar Girls, despite their differences. What is it that keeps them so close even through hardship? What do you think makes a good friend?

One of my favorite memes on Facebook is this: Good friends will help you bury a body. Great friends bring their own shovel and don’t ask questions.

Now that’s friendship through hardship.  I’ve always been lucky to have amazing girlfriends of all different ages and that’s reflected in the Bottom Dollar Girls.

 My rules for friendship are simple: Make sure your ears are bigger than your mouth.  Laugh together, forgive easily, and don’t forget the wine!

Your characters are hilarious! Have any personality traits of your characters or events from BET YOUR BOTTOM DOLLAR come from your own life? (Do you have an Attalee constantly giving you a piece of her mind?)

I live in Augusta, Georgia, which is a relatively large city. Twenty years ago I dated a guy from Swainsboro, Georgia, a much smaller town, and I was charmed by the people and the old-fashioned atmosphere. The Bottom Dollar Girl series is a love letter to small Southern towns where they still say, “I swanee” instead of  “I swear,” they hug everyone’s neck, and they still get excited by county fairs and high school football games.

As for the hilarity, I don’t know any Attalees. I think she’s my alter ego. Part of me wants to be a randy smart-ass well into my 80s.

A Downhome Debut!

Happy Release Day!BET YOUR BOTTOM DOLLAR by Karin Gillespie

BET YOUR BOTTOM DOLLARGrab some sweet tea and pull up a chair, because BET YOUR BOTTOM DOLLAR is out today! This hilarious first book in the series follows the Bottom Dollar Girls through Southern drama and delight. It’ll leave you wanting more!

“Use your very last bottom dollar, if you have to. Just BUY THIS BOOK. You will laugh yourself sick and love every minute of it.” —Jill Conner Browne, The Sweet Potato Queen

“What a delight! Bet Your Bottom Dollar is warm and witty, a feast for the heart.” —Jennifer Chiaverini

“A winner of a first novel, filled with Southern-style zingers and funny folks.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

As always, feel free to reach out if you have questions or comments – to the Hen House or Karin.  We’d love to hear from you.

Cheers!

Hen House Staff

Susan O’Brien chats with the Hen House

Susan O'BrienDebut author Susan O’Brien joins us in celebrating the release of her first Nicki Valentine mystery! She takes a minute to talk about P.I. training, her first writer’s conference, and why she loves mysteries.

We love the close-as-sisters dynamic between best friends and neighbors Nicki and Kenna. Do you have your own real-life Kenna, or is her character inspired by a number of people?

Kenna is inspired by many people—all of whom I wish could live next door! Nicki and Kenna have lots in common, but so much about them (from their looks to their outlooks) is different. I love that you said “close-as-sisters.” My sister and I are just as close as Nicki and Kenna.

You went to your first major mystery writers conference this past May when you attended Malice Domestic. How was your experience as a whole, and what was your malice2favorite part of the weekend?

Attending Malice was amazing. Everyone made me feel so at home, and there were many favorite moments. Here’s one of them: Years ago, I entered the first few chapters of FINDING SKY in the Malice grant contest. When I received a letter telling me I didn’t win, I still felt like I’d hit the jackpot. That’s because under the form letter was a handwritten, supportive comment about my writing. At Malice, I got to meet the person who wrote it and tell her how much it meant to me. Her kindness had far greater influence than she probably imagined.

Nicki’s adventures with her two children add so much humor to FINDING SKY. How much do your own children influence the characters of Jack and Sophie (and do you have any favorite stories about them)?

Jack and Sophie aren’t based on my kids, but kids are naturally funny—and parents are natural detectives. One of my favorite examples took place many Decembers ago, when my sweet little boy strolled by with his Santa hat on. Cute, right? But I sensed something was wrong. I followed him to investigate, and from that cheerful, innocent hat, he pulled a bent wire hanger to pick the lock on our storage room door—the room where his unwrapped gifts were hidden! I couldn’t be angry. His M.O. was too funny. Plus, Christmas was saved! [Read more...]

Happy Release Day! FINDING SKY by Susan O’Brien

No one gets on your case like mom…

FINDING SKYSusan O’Brien’s engaging debut perfectly blends mystery and motherhood. Nicki Valentine, P.I. in training, is quick-witted, endearing, and impossible not to root for. Grab your copy and fall in love with FINDING SKY today!

“O’Brien’s engaging cozy debut…The conclusion will leave readers eager for the next installment.” – Publisher’s Weekly

“This debut offers menace without violence, intrigue, and the realistic depiction of a single mother struggling to find an identity outside of motherhood. The hint of romance and element of humor further ensures that this novel will attract a following of cozy-reading fans for the upcoming sequel, Sky High.” – Kings River Life Magazine

As always, feel free to reach out if you have questions or comments – to the Hen House or Susan.  We’d love to hear from you.

Cheers!

Hen House Staff

Henery Press Chats with DANG DEAR DEAD author Nancy G. West

We can’t get enough of Nancy G. West’s Aggie Mundeen humorous mystery series!

FIT TO BE DEADHP: The first book of your series, FIT TO BE DEAD, had us laughing our way right out of the gym. Now book two, DANG NEAR DEAD, takes us to the dude ranch, where there’s no shortage of hilarious mishaps. What gave you the fabulous idea of putting Aggie on a dude ranch?

NGW: At dude ranches, everybody acts like a cowboy whether they’ve ever ridden a horse before or seen a cow before it lands, transformed, on their plate. This makes for colorful friction between wranglers, dudes and sharpshooters. 

HP: Besides Aggie, Sam, and Meredith, there are some terrific supporting characters in DANG NEAR DEAD, including wranglers, ranch hands, and–of course—cowboys. Which of these supporting characters did you have the most fun writing, and what made it enjoyable?DANG NEAR DEAD

NGW: I love them all. Among the women dudes, there’s Jangles, former beauty shop owner:

She fluttered her plump hands, tinkling enough gold to set off metal detectors across the county. She slid over, graceful on espadrilles, her huge bosom bouncing under flimsy fabric, and grabbed our hands. “Isn’t this just the most beautiful place?”

And her former customer, Rhonda Stone, “Stoney” for short:

She gleamed like a drugstore cowboy. Her ranch-style shirt had pearlized buttons down the front and gleaming on pockets and cuffs. She’d stuffed herself into jeans strapped with a tooled leather belt with a shiny turquoise and coral buckle.  She shook our hands like she was pumping a well.

“I told Jangles not to wear those floatin’ hostess pajamas. This is a ranch.  If she gets near brush, she’ll get snagged and leave half herself in the bushes.”
And there’s Mildred Dietert:

“There are bugs on my mattress! I’m sure they bite. How can I possibly sleep on that foul pallet?”

“Get over it, Mildred,” Stoney said. “We’ll knock ’em off your bed.” Stoney turned to us and spiked her thumb toward the agitated woman. “This is Millie Dietert. She’s never been outside Dallas.”

I’ve seen these types of people at ranches. As for cowboys, they can be dumb and bowlegged, tuckered out and paunchy, or lean and incredibly handsome…which adds to the scenery.

HP: From identifying types of snakes to understanding armadillos, DANG NEAR DEAD both educates and entertains. We can’t help but ask—how did you learn all these practical tips about country life?

Nancy on horsebackNGW: I loved horses from age eight to fourteen and wanted my own horse, which I never got. When I discovered boys were more interesting and equally unpredictable, my parents probably wished they’d gotten me a horse. I’ve been to lots of ranches and spent time at a working ranch camp near Flagstaff, Arizona, where I learned enough about armadillos and snakes to avoid both.

HP: We love the ongoing romance and between Aggie and Sam. She writes a newspaper column, he’s a detective, and they end up together at a dude ranch—a combination that makes for some great tension. What challenges did you encounter in writing the scenes with Aggie and Sam in book two, compared with writing the first book of the series?

NGW: In FIT TO BE DEAD, Aggie realizes she loves Sam, but he’s still grieving over a lost family and views Aggie only as a friend. She decides to get his attention by illustrating her talent for investigating crimes. An SAPD detective, Sam is irritated and frustrated—not the response Aggie sought. Despite having to stall his investigation to save her derriere, he begins to admire her unrelenting curiosity and passion for justice and views her in a new light. Aggie knows she’s making progress.

In DANG NEAR DEAD, Aggie thinks vacationing in an idyllic setting, far from crime investigations, will relax Sam so they can get to know each other better. But unexpected crimes add tension, and hazards of outdoor living add humor to their already-dicey relationship. Despite these interruptions, they grow closer with each story. Stay tuned.

 HP: Just thinking about a dude ranch has us craving peach cobbler and BBQ. If you had to pick one, what’s your favorite dish from the chuck wagon?

NGW: Steak grilled outside with the breeze wafting the aroma toward you. Making your own s’mores while you watch the sun set. Hmm…

Saddle Up, Y’all…

Dude Ranch Secrets! DANG NEAR DEAD by Nancy G. West

DANG NEAR DEADGrab a cowboy hat and stomp the dust from your boots, because Nancy G. West’s second book in the Aggie Mundeen mystery series releases today! DANG NEAR DEAD has it all: wranglers, cowboys, snakes and romance. Throw a lasso around your copy today.

“Spiced with up-and-down encounters between Sam and Aggie–she thinks she loves him but is determined to solve the crime despite Sam’s warnings–make Dang Near Dead a satisfying mystery with complex characters and a plot that builds to a satisfying crescendo.” – Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review

“Well-paced and written, there are bursts of humor in this novel which had me roaring with laughter…A great read and highly recommended!” – Diana Hockley, Australian Mystery Novelist and International Reviewer for NetGalley and Kings River Life Magazine

As always, feel free to reach out if you have questions or comments – to the Hen House or Nancy.  We’d love to hear from you.

Cheers!

Hen House Staff

Art Thieves & Adventure

Danger in the City of Love QUICKSAND by Gigi Pandian

QUICKSANDTake a trip to Paris this spring where you’ll find an art thief, a con man, and an ancient treasure. (Along with a page-turning love triangle!) QUICKSAND, the third Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery, has it all. Look for the next big adventure when it releases March 10, 2015!

A thousand-year-old secret room. A sultan’s stolen treasure. A missing French priest. And an invitation to Paris to rekindle an old flame…

Historian Jaya Jones finds herself on the wrong side of the law during an art heist at the Louvre. To redeem herself, she follows clues from an illuminated manuscript that lead from the cobblestone streets of Paris to the quicksand-surrounded fortress of Mont Saint-Michel. With the help of enigmatic Lane Peters and a 90-year-old stage magician, Jaya delves into France’s colonial past in India to clear her name and catch a killer.

As always, feel free to reach out if you have questions or comments – to the Hen House or Gigi.  We’d love to hear from you.

Cheers!

Hen House Staff

A Killer Cropper…

EMBELLISHED TO DEATHTo celebrate the release of Embellished to Death, Christina Freeburn dropped by the Hen House to answer our burning questions about the third Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery! Check out her insight on scrapbooking, family ties, and love triangles, and grab your copy of Embellished to Death today!

Congratulations on the release of Embellished to Death! We’ve heard you’re heading to a cropper’s retreat to celebrate. Any specific activities planned?

Thank you! I’m excited about this book as it takes Faith out of her comfort zone and introduces new people into her life. From September 26-28, I’ll be cropping away and having the book launch for Embellished at the Heavenly Scrapbook Retreats in Flatwoods, WV. Besides holding a special drawing at the retreat for attendees, no real plans yet, but the organizers are still working away. I can’t wait to hear what the theme will be this year. I might even get brave enough to decorate my cropping table!

Embellished to Death takes place at one such cropping weekend. How often do you attend these events? What is the most memorable thing you’ve experienced or witnessed at a cropper’s event?

I usually attend one retreat a year where I stay at a hotel and then two local weekend retreats where I go home every night. I find I get more scrapping done when I’m at a crop then when using my craft room. Less distractions like laundry to vie for my attention.WV Writers Conf me and pink bag

At a weekend retreat I attended over ten years ago, the organizer hired a night security guard to stay in the cropping room as the doors didn’t lock. Some of the tools we use for scrapbooking are expensive (like die cutting machines… whether manual or electronic).  Quite a few of the women were smitten by the attractive security guard. After much begging and pleading, he agree to “flash the ladies” by undoing his bullet resistant vest (the security guard was also a police officer and had just come off of duty… we weren’t that rowdy that he needed protection.) and allowed them a peek at his chest. Someone turned up some music, and a few of the croppers (not me, I swear) asked him to dance. He did decline that request.


Family and the bonds between them are an ever-present theme in the Faith Hunter series. Even when they’re not physically present, Faith’s grandmothers are still an important part of Embellished to Death. How does her relationship with them affect her?

Faith is very family-driven and her grandmothers are the most important part of her life. She believes they sacrificed for her and wants to do the same for them. A lot of the decisions she makes, and most of her worries, stems from wanting to make her grandmothers proud and ensuring no one thinks badly of them because of her actions. She’d do anything for her grandmothers, including putting herself at risk.

Embellished to Death deals with the current issue of identity theft. In your research, did you focus more on the point of view of the thief or the victim? Do you know anyone who has dealt with identity theft personally?

In the beginning of my research, I focused more on the victim and how identity theft affects them. Later, I switched to the thief because the why became just as important as the how a thief would prey on the women at the crop.

WV Writers Conf groupFortunately, no one I personally know has been the victim of an identity thief but for a few years my husband and I worried about it because we were vulnerable to having ours stolen. We were driving back from a family vacation and our van was broken into. The thieves stole our camera, laptop, and other items. We had switched over to a digital camera and had brought the laptop to transfer pictures over if the memory card was full. I had used the laptop to do our taxes and was certain the Turbo Tax software… and all our personal information… was on it. Now, I don’t use our “traveling” computer to do our taxes or store other personal information on.

Now that Faith has finally made her choice between Steve and Ted, is this the end of the love triangle, or is there more to come?

I don’t want to give too much away, but there’s a big game-changer in Embellished that might be change the period on Faith’s decision to a question mark.

Scrapbooking is a big part of your writing and your life. Are you working on a project now? Any fun themes?

Currently, I’m working (still) on a Disney cruise album. Eight of us went on the cruise (one of them a toddler at the time), so hundreds of pictures were taken. It’s taking me some time to get everything into the albums. Yes, this one week-long trip needs two (might even be three) scrapbook albums for all the pages I’m making. I might even have to make a separate album for all the pics I had taken with just me and the characters!

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