Happy Release Week, FATAL BRUSHSTROKE!

FATAL BRUSHSTROKEWhile celebrating the release of her debut cozy mystery, author Sybil Johnson stops by the Hen House to talk about her love for tole painting, her experience with Sisters in Crime, and what’s to come in Rory Anderson’s next mystery.

Like Rory, you also enjoy tole painting. What got you interested (and do you have a photo of your best design)?

I’ve always liked crafts. I learned to embroider in grade school. Over the years, I’ve tried my hand at crocheting, knitting, macrame, counted cross-stitch, tole painting, and scrapbooking.

I started tole painting (or decorative painting as it’s usually called these days) in the early 90s when a group of us at work gathered in a conference room once a week or so, ate lunch, and worked on various projects. The experienced painter in the group taught us newbies the basics. We painted many different designs, starting simple and getting more complex as we gained experience.

Rory and Liz are an entertaining and dynamic duo! Do you have your own partner in crime like Liz?

No one person fills the bill. In my day-to-day life, it’s my husband. At painting conventions, it’s my sister.

You’re a past president of Sisters in Crime LA and a 2011 co-chair of the California Crime Writers Conference. How have those experiences affected you and your writing?

In my six years on the SinC/LA board, I learned a lot about writing and the publishing world. (I wasn’t President for that entire time. I also served as Recording Secretary and VP/Program Director.) Ours is a large and active chapter. The board members, all volunteers, put in long hours and work very, very hard.

Through my involvement in Sisters in Crime, I’ve made a lot of friends, many of who’ve been published authors for years and have very generously taken the time to answer my questions and give me advice. I honestly don’t know where I’d be without them.

Through my position as conference co-chair, I met a lot of people I wouldn’t have otherwise. And I’m using my planning experience to help me plan the fictional painting convention featured in PAINT THE TOWN DEAD.

One of the major story lines in FATAL BRUSHSTROKE deals with the main character, Rory, having birth parents who were arsonists. What drew you to the topic of arson, and what research did you do?

Arson is a crime I’ve always found interesting. Maybe that’s because I find fire very, very scary and fascinating at the same time. It has such power to destroy and is so unpredictable. (I swear I’m not an arsonist! I hate lighting matches. In junior high science class, my lab partner had to light the bunsen burner. To this day, I still won’t light a match.)

To learn about arson and arson investigation, I took an extension course at Cal State Fullerton that dealt with arson investigation and also read a few books on the topic.

What’s next for Rory? (Might there be romance in her future?)

In PAINT THE TOWN DEAD, Rory attends a painting convention where a friend of hers unexpectedly collapses and dies. She feels compelled to investigate when the death is ruled accidental. As for romance…time will tell!

Finally, tell us your favorite mystery novel and what draws you to that particular author and the genre as a whole.

I don’t have an absolute favorite mystery novel, though The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and And Then There Were None, both by Agatha Christie, rank up there. I also really enjoy the Vicky Bliss novels by Elizabeth Peters. As you can tell, I’m drawn to cozy mysteries, though I do read more hard-boiled stuff on occasion. I find cozies comforting. At the end, the crime is solved and order is restored, something that doesn’t always happen in real life.

Happy Book Birthday! FATAL BRUSHSTROKE

Deadly Design!  FATAL BRUSHSTROKE by Sybil Johnson

FATAL BRUSHSTROKEWe’re showcasing a state of the art debut: Sybil Johnson’s FATAL BRUSHSTROKE is out today! Grab your copy of the first Aurora Anderson mystery to experience the arts and crime, killer reputations, and first-rate sleuthing for yourself.

“Rory is definitely a quirky character; she has the ability to draw the readers in so that they want to follow her through adventures. Which is a good thing, because this is the first in a brand new series featuring Rory Anderson.” - Suspense Magazine

“Traditional mystery readers will love this debut author, Sybil Johnson, and her amateur sleuth…Johnson has an assured, steady hand in creating complex plotlines in Fatal Brushstroke. Readers will definitely want to revisit Vista Beach in Aurora’s next outing of investigating.” – Naomi Hirahara, Edgar Award-Winning Author of Murder on Bamboo Lane
As always, feel free to reach out if you have questions or comments – to the Hen House or Sybil.  We’d love to hear from you.
Cheers!

Second Chance Romance

DOLLAR DAZE by Karin Gillespie

Saucy Seniors

DOLLAR DAZEHigh school reunions always spell trouble, but dance card drama is just the beginning in Karin Gillespie’s DOLLAR DAZE. These feisty longtime friends are in for relationship woes and a heartwarming journey (and one scandalous bachelorette bash!). Reunite with the Bottom Dollar Girls when the third book releases May 12, 2015.

Cupid is running rampant in Cayboo Creek, South Carolina, and all the Bottom Dollar Girls have been stuck dizzy with his arrows. When high school heartthrob Brewster Clark returns to town, both Birdie and Mavis are angling for his affections, threatening their long-term friendship.

Ever-so-proper Gracie Tobias meets Rusty the dreamy doctor of her dreams but soon discovers he’s actually a blue-collar duct doctor. Will their wildly different social positions drive a wedge between them? Meanwhile, Elizabeth is trying to put the sizzle back to her marriage. Not even octogenarian Attalee is immune to love’s siren call. She gets engaged to beau Dooley and plans a wild bachelorette party and steamy honeymoon.

Traveling love’s rocky road keeps the Bottom Dollar Girls asking, “Is it ever too late for moons and Junes?” Through much laughter and a few tears the girls discover that the answer is a resounding no.

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

Dive into Mystery with Kait Carson

Henery Press Chats with DEATH BY BLUE WATER author Kait Carson

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe couldn’t wait to get the first-hand scoop from Kait about her research for DEATH BY BLUE WATER, what it’s like to write a book during NaNoWriMo, and underwater adventures in scuba diving.

HP: When we first meet Hayden Kent, she’s diving in the Florida Keys. We love how you set the mood with Hayden’s deliberate use of scuba gear and attention to procedures. What kind of research went into this aspect of DEATH BY BLUE WATER?

KC: The research was all my pleasure. I spent a lot of time making multiple dives in the Florida Keys and especially around Marathon. I often say that I made a bad tradeoff at birth when I abandoned my gills for lungs. I have been diving since the 1970s—gear and procedures were very different then. I believe strongly in dive safety so I wanted to show that in Hayden’s procedures. Even when she bends the scuba rules, she acknowledges the risks.

HP: We’re inspired to hear that you wrote DEATH BY BLUE WATER during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Since we’re smack in the middle of November, what’s your best advice for other writers currently participating in NaNoWriMo?

KC:  Wave to fellow Nanoians! Yes, I’m at it again.

Advice. Easy. Keep writing! Let your characters take charge and don’t try to control the story. NaNo is about words, not plot.  Death by Blue Water started out as a romance called Diving Diva. Somewhere along the way, probably during one of those three a.m. writing marathons, it became clear that Kevin and Hayden were adversaries, and the entire story changed. Yes, I wrote the words for a novel in a month—the editing took longer.

HP: Hayden’s dive starts out calm, but ends with the terrifying discovery of a dead body near sunken wreckage. As a scuba diver yourself, you’ve probably seen some unusual sights below the surface. Tell us about your most interesting (and hopefully less frightening!) diving experience.

KC: Oh, there have been so many. I refer to the most frightening in the book. My first stage went bad on a 120’ dive. Don’t want to repeat that again. Some of the most magical moments I’ve had have been during dives. In Key Largo, on Horseshoe Reef, I had the privilege of watching the mating dance of two Eagle Rays. It was breathtaking, like seeing an underwater ballet. On Crane Reef in Marathon, I turned to my right and saw an entire wall of French Grunts, all facing the same direction, undulating at the same time. It reminded me of a living curtain in an unfelt breeze.

Author photos 009HP: Rumor has it that you and your husband have a unique collection of pets, including a cockatoo, a harlequin macaw, and a bunch of rescue cats. With everything that goes along with caring for animals, plus your job as a paralegal, when do you find time to write?

KC: I think the pets own us! I tend to write when most people sleep! I am a night owl by nature. I will often catch a few hours of sleep, then get up and write for a few hours until sleep overtakes me again. I also set aside one day of the weekend to write. I wish I could write in short spurts, but I can’t, so I need to find stretches, and I need to turn off the social media when I’m writing. It’s so easy to get lost on Facebook!

HP: Besides diving, what’s your favorite thing to do in the Florida Keys?

KC: Well, this is going to sound terrible.  Eat. I love seafood and it is wonderful in the Keys.  So many restaurants are right on the water. You can have a meal and alongside the sea, the bay, or a canal. Instant relaxation.

Thanks for chatting with us, Kait!

Deep Secrets, A Deadly Dive…

Happy Release Day! DEATH BY BLUE WATER by Kait Carson

DEATH BY BLUE WATER

Deep Secrets, A Deadly Dive…

Grab your snorkel and take a deep breath, Kait Carson’s DEATH BY BLUE WATER is a twisting, thrilling mystery that will hold you under until the very last page. Get your copy today!

“Kait Carson’s Florida is dead on in this action-packed mystery! A fresh plot and an intriguing story masterfully woven into a satisfying conclusion.” - Krista Davis, New York Times bestselling author of the Domestic Diva series

“Dive in! This compelling…relentlessly suspenseful deep-sea adventure won’t let you go!” – Hank Phillippi Ryan, Agatha, Anthony, Daphne, and Mary Higgins Clark Award-Winning Author of Truth Be Told

“You get drawn into the action almost as if you are watching it in real time. A great book, highly recommended.” - Any Good Book

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

Cheers!

Hen House Staff

Bouchercon 2014

BOUCHERCON 2014 | Murder at the Beach

bcon14-logo

Henery Press Authors Attending:

Art Taylor,  Annette Dashofy, Diane Vallere, Gigi Pandian, Kendel Lynn, LynDee Walker, Nancy Cole Silverman, Susan M. Boyer, Sybil Johnson, Wendy Tyson

THURSDAY NOV 13

8:30 – 10:30

Susan Boyer, Kendel Lynn, Gigi Pandian, Diane Vallere

Author Speed Dating

1:00 – 2:00

Gigi Pandian

Murder in a Locked Room: Solving the “Perfect” Crime

(Promenade A)

12:30 – 3:30

Susan M. Boyer

Where Do You Like Your Violence? Spilling Blood On Page and Off

(Promenade B)

4:00 – 5:00

Art Taylor

Short But Mighty: The Power and Freedom of the Short Story

(Regency D)

4:00 – 5:00

LynDee Walker

Just The Facts: Journalists Solving Crimes

(Promenade C)

FRIDAY NOV 14

10:00 – 11:00

Diane Vallere

Sassy, Sexy, Smart Female Protagonists

(Regency B)

3:00 – 4:00

Diane Vallere

Craft 4: Cupcake Pincushions

(Shoreline)

4:30 – 5:30

Wendy Tyson

Cute and Sweet, But With a Twist: Cozies With Attitude

(Seaview)

SATURDAY NOV 15

8:30 – 9:30

Sybil Johnson

Add Spice To Your Crafts: Murder With Your Favorite Hobbies

(Shoreline)

8:30 – 9:30

Annette Dashofy

Murder Among the Medical Profession

(Regency A)

10:00 – 11:00

Kendel Lynn

The Fine Art of Murder: Mysteries in the Museum and Art World

(Regency B)

11:30 – 12:30

Diane Vallere

We’ve Got Grit: Traditional to Thriller to True Crime

(Regency C)

12:30 – 1:30

Gigi Pandian

Bouchercon 2014 Anthology Signing

(Promenade 104 Lobby)

1:30 – 2:30

Susan M. Boyer

Plenty of Crime, Y’All: Southern Murder and Mischief

(Promenade C)

Hocus Pocus, Alakazam!

To celebrate the release of THE BULLET CATCH, we caught up with John Gaspard to talk about magic, balancing acts, and the challenges Eli Marks has to face in this thrilling sequel. Grab your copy today!

Congratulations on the release of THE BULLET CATCH! Are you doing anything special to celebrate?

GAspard Book Signing 1We’ll be doing a Launch Party on Nov. 5 at the Once Upon a Crime bookstore here in Minneapolis. The owners, Gary and Pat, are terrific supporters of local authors and great people as well. As part of the festivities, we’ll have live close-up magic, performed by the magician Suzanne. She was named Close-Up Magician of the Year by The Academy of Magical Arts and she is fun and phenomenal.

Eli has to juggle a lot in this book, just like you do in real life. How do you balance life as an author and a filmmaker?

People ask me all the time where I find time (with a full-time job) to also make feature films and write novels. The answer I give is often perceived as glib, but it’s the truth: My wife teaches ballet on Tuesday and Thursday nights, so I simply use those evenings to work on my various projects. You’d be amazed how much you can get done with a few focused hours a week. That’s my secret.

Eli Marks attends his high school reunion in THE BULLET CATCH. What is your most memorable reunion story?

Sadly, the reunions I’ve attended have not been anywhere as action-packed as what Eli experiences – no high school crushes were rekindled, no one was murdered, no panic attacks, no movie stars!

Brazil Book signingIn this book, Eli has to face a crippling fear of heights. What inspired you to add this challenge? Did you do any research into this type of fear and how people deal with it?

I gave that to Eli because it’s something I suddenly started experiencing myself a couple years back and I thought it would be interesting to give those symptoms to Eli as well. I’m a big fan of the mysteries written by the late Dick Francis and he was a master of giving his hero a personal obstacle to overcome that also helped to drive the story. It felt like a good obstacle to give to Eli and I certainly felt like I was in a position to describe how it feels to go through it!

I did research on the condition and found that it’s surprisingly common, with no real understanding of where it comes from. Oddly enough, I did foreshadow Eli’s condition in the first book in the series (The Ambitious Card), with no inkling that I’d be experiencing it myself before I wrote the second book.

THE BULLET CATCHDo you have a favorite magic trick? Favorite magician?

There are a lot of wonderful magicians out there and they’re the ones who really make a trick work. The simplest trick, in the hands of a master, can be a stellar experience.

For me, my favorite magicians are the ones I know: Suzanne, Bill Arnold, Scott Wells, Steve Carlson, Ardan James, Tina Lenert, Derek Hughes, David Parr. I also love watching any and all of them perform.

That being said, if you ever have a chance to see Juan Tamariz perform, run don’t walk. He is flat out phenomenal.

To purchase THE BULLET CATCH, visit these online retailers, or ask for it at your local bookstore.

Amazon Kindle     B&N Nook     Kobo   iTunes    GooglePlay

Amazon Paperback     B&N Paperback

Relationship Rehab BEDSIDE MANNERS by Phoebe Fox

Heart Trouble?

BEDSIDE MANNERSRead this book and call me in the morning. BEDSIDE MANNERS proves that laughter really is the best medicine. The second in the Breakup Doctor series is just what the doctor ordered. Available March 24, 2015!

Brook Ogden’s Breakup Doctor practice is thriving. She’s got so many clients she’s started leading group sessions to accommodate all the broken hearts in Fort Myers. Her radio show and advice column have made her a local celebrity, and her personal life, after some gruesome breakups of her own, is finally back on track: Ben Garrett started out as a revenge date against an ex, but has turned into so much more.

But when sizzling-hot Chip Santana, an old client she once shared a very unprofessional midnight roll in the sand with, comes back into her life asking for her help, Brook can’t say no. While working together on his relationship troubles, the two develop an unlikely friendship—until Chip reveals much more than a therapeutic interest in her.

Brook’s romantic dilemma leads to a professional crisis when her turmoil seeps into her Breakup Doctor practice. Forced into a decision she isn’t sure how to make, she has to choose what it is she really wants—and what she has to sacrifice to get it.

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

Cheers!

Hen House Staff

Happy Release Week, DOUBLE STRIKE!

Gretchen Archer’s bestselling series continues with the third installment, DOUBLE STRIKE. Stay tuned as she talks hair mishaps, hashtags, and book four teasers.

ARCHER picWhen your second Davis Way Crime Caper released earlier this year, the first in the series, DOUBLE WHAMMY, hit the USA TODAY bestsellers list. How did you celebrate such an achievement?

I celebrated by waking everyone up. I have my titles set up on Google and Topsy alerts, and I work ridiculous hours—I’m at my desk every morning by 3:30—so that day I opened my email to the alerts with the subject line reading the usual, alert. Not READ ME NOW, YOU’LL BE SO GLAD YOU DID. A cup of coffee later, I clicked. And when I did, I ran screaming up the stairs at four in the morning with the news, scaring my husband and son to death. They thought the house was on fire. That was the beginning and the end of the celebration, except for a gorgeous graphic from my daughter Laura, who does all my great social media. I posted and tweeted. That’s all.

In DOUBLE STRIKE, Davis has a pretty incredible hair mishap. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to your own hair (purposeful or not)?DOUBLE STRIKE

Oh, good grief, I got extensions. You won’t even believe what a pain extensions are. First, they’re a huge commitment: time, money, and mental health. There are so many things they don’t tell you, including you can never scratch your head. You don’t think about asking, “How am I supposed to scratch my head?” because until you get those crazy things taped to your SCALP, your head has really never itched. I didn’t think to ask. I swear, I came this close to buying one of those metal garden claw things at Target just so I could scratch the itchy things. Another thing they don’t tell you? It takes four hours to dry your hair. FOUR SOLID HOURS. Then there’s the psychological factor. Salons really should screen potential extension clients thoroughly, and include this question: Are you going to be totally freaked out with SOMEONE ELSE’S HAIR ON YOUR HEAD? I had no idea. The next morning I waited until daybreak to text my stylist, Tra, (who gets a special mention in DOUBLE STRIKE, by the way), because I hadn’t slept a wink, and asked, “Is this hair from a dead person? If it is, just tell me now.” He told me where they were from—not a morgue—which went a long way in explaining the expense of it all and why the salon keeps the hair LOCKED IN A VAULT. (Honestly, there are a million things I’d steal before HAIR EXTENSIONS.) The freak factor was HUGE and no one tells you that beforehand. And the biggest thing you just can’t know up front—THEY RANDOMLY FALL OUT OF YOUR HEAD. I am NOT kidding. (“Uh, ma’am?”)(Humiliating.)

Davis has to master the art of hashtags while working as a social media assistant for Strike It Rich. If you had to sum up the book in three hashtags, what would they be? (And what’s your opinion on using them?)

#BananasInEveryBook #MadeItAllUp #Don’tDiscriminate #LoveHashtags

In all of the research (gambling?) you’ve done for your series, have you found a favorite casino? (And are you usually lucky when playing?)

I’d give my favorite casino a mention here, but every time the doorbell rings I’m relieved to see the pizza man, because I know any minute I’m going to be served with a cease-and-desist (writing Davis) from my favorite casino. So instead of naming it and speeding the process along, I’ll speak to casinos in general. I love the Bellagio in Vegas, fountain side. I was married and honeymooned at the Golden Nugget in downtown Vegas. (Some days I get so mad at the Golden Nugget.) Aria in Vegas was a one-time visit for me, because all the circulated air is exceptionally and profoundly vanilla scented. (Sneeze, sneeze.) By far, though, I love Southern casinos the best: New Orleans, Biloxi, Tunica, Shreveport, Cherokee, Immokalee, I love them all. Am I lucky? I’m like every other gambler; there are days when it’s my turn.

We know you won’t give much away, but can we have a sneak peek at what Davis will be up against in book four?

The question I’m exploring in #davis4: How many secrets can Bradley Cole keep?

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

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