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.


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!

Happy Release Week, LOST LEGACY!

Annette3Annette Dashofy stops by the Hen House to celebrate the release of LOST LEGACY, the second in the Zoe Chambers Mystery Series, and chat about launch parties, Pete and Zoe’s future, and her plans to donate royalties to the Alzheimer’s Association.

It’s been less than a year and you’re already releasing the second Zoe Chambers mystery. How crazy is it launching your first two books in the same year? (And is celebrating any different the second time around?)  

Crazy’s a good word for it. It’s been an educational year for sure. Writing, revising, editing, and promoting all at the same time! But I’ve loved every minute of it. As for celebrating the second time, it’s every bit as exciting as the first, but I do have a better sense of what to expect. I hope. The first time I was blindly going along for the ride a great deal of the time. This time I’m trying to steer. A little.

AnnetteSpeaking of celebrating, how did you celebrate LOST LEGACY’s book launch party?  

Once again I’m having my party at Mystery Lovers Bookshop, which is my home away from home. Everyone’s invited. I was debating what to provide in the way of food, and both my husband and my critique buddy requested a cookie tray! Who am I to argue? Especially since this book is dedicated to my dad’s memory and he was a cookie addict. So, yes, there will be cookies. And chocolate wine since that seems to be my signature beverage.

We loved them in CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE, and now Zoe and Pete slowly grow closer in book two. Can we expect more romance between the pair as the series progresses? (Any hints about what’s in book three?)  

While I tend to carefully plot out my mysteries, I really don’t plan ahead for Zoe and Pete’s relationship. That seems to take on a life of its own as I write, and they surprise me every chance they get! I can tell you this much about the third book: it’s a roller coaster ride for both of them with some very HOT highs and some very deep lows.

Zoe has to juggle a murder investigation, a terrifying parental visit, and newly unlocked secrets concerning her deceased father. LOST LEGACY has so many layers of family drama! How much of that comes from your own experiences (or experiences of those close to you)?  Annette2

My family is really normal and—dare I say it?—boring. So Zoe’s family drama is definitely not based on my own experience. However, I’m always fascinated by family dynamics and the way childhood relationships evolve into adult ones. I’ve drawn from a number of friends and acquaintances to get a feel for Zoe’s dysfunctional bond with her mother as well as her continued grief over the loss of her father.

You’re clearly very active in Sisters in Crime. How has being part of such an organization influenced your writing career?  

Oh, my, where to start? I honestly don’t think I’d be published if it weren’t for the guidance and support of SinC. The workshops, retreats, and mentoring they’ve provided have been instrumental in my growth as a writer. The networking opportunities have been fantastic. I’ve made wonderful friends from all over the world through this organization. And I couldn’t ask for a better group of cheerleaders. They’ve been my street team for helping to promote both CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE and LOST LEGACY.

We hear you’ve decided to donate a portion of your royalties from LOST LEGACY to an Alzheimer’s charity. How fitting, considering Pete’s dad has Alzheimer’s. In addition to the story line, what else made you choose that charity specifically?  

I’ve had several family members fall victim to Alzheimer’s, including my dad. I watched him deteriorate from a vital, active robust man into someone who couldn’t even feed himself. It was devastating to watch and I’m sure even more devastating to experience. So writing Harry (Pete’s dad) was a true labor of love. It just made sense to me to take the tribute that extra step and donate a portion of my royalties from the book’s sales to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Murder Takes a Dive…

Deadly Secrets THE DEEP END by Julie Mulhern

THE DEEP ENDA day at the country club turns deadly! We love this vintage look for Julie Mulhern’s THE DEEP END, a compelling humorous mystery set in 1974. Betrayal and blackmail haven’t been this entertaining since the release of Nixon’s secret tapes. So break out the mini-dress, disco ball and your favorite seventies swag, because THE DEEP END  hits shelves on February 17,  2015.

Swimming into the lifeless body of her husband’s mistress tends to ruin a woman’s day, but becoming a murder suspect can ruin her whole life. It’s 1974 and Ellison Russell’s life revolves around her daughter and her art. She’s long since stopped caring about her cheating husband, Henry, and the women with whom he entertains himself. That is, until she becomes a suspect in Madeline Harper’s death.

As the body count approaches par on the seventh hole, Ellison knows she has to catch a killer. But with an interfering mother, an adoring father, a teenage daughter, and a cadre of well-meaning friends demanding her attention, can Ellison find the killer before he finds her?

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


Hen House Staff

CAFÉ CRIMINALE is now on sale in Poland!

Gratulacje, to our very own Terri L. Austin.  In the States, we know this fab mystery as DINERS, DIVES & DEAD ENDS.


Happy Release Day! LOST LEGACY by Annette Dashofy

Small Town Scandal

LOST LEGACYA long-standing family feud and Zoe Chambers’ own family secrets come to light in LOST LEGACY, the follow-up to Annette Dashofy’s bestselling CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE. Grab your copy of the page-turning sequel today!

“Intriguing, with as many twists and turns as the Pennsylvania countryside it’s set it.” — CJ Lyons, New York Times Bestselling Author

“A big-time talent spins a wonderful small-town mystery! Annette Dashofy skillfullly weaves secrets from the past into a surprising, engaging, and entertaining page turner.” — Hank Phillippi Ryan, Mary Higgins Clark, Agatha, and Anthony Award-Winning Author

Lost Legacy has it all: an absorbing plot, compelling characters, haunting echoes from the past, and a protagonist you’re going to love. A must read.” — Don Helin, Award-Winning Author of Secret Assault and Devil’s Den

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

Happy Release Day! WRITES OF PASSAGE

WRITES OF PASSAGE  Edited by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Inspiration for the Writer’s Journey

WriWRITES OF PASSAGEting is one of the most rewarding careers in the world, but also among the most challenging. That’s why we’re thrilled to announce the release of WRITES OF PASSAGE, an inspiring collection of essays from Sisters in Crime, created for writers of all levels. Compiled and edited by bestselling author  (and past SinC president) Hank Phillippi Ryan, WRITES OF PASSAGE offers encouragement and insider tips from fifty-nine authors who’ve been there.

Writes of Passage is the centered book every author needs… Its insightful essays will surprise you and renew you every time you open it, for as long as your writer’s journey continues.” – Laura DiSilverio, 2014 President, Sisters in Crime; Author of the Lefty-Nominated Swift Investigations Series, the Mall Cop Series, and The Reckoning Stones (2015)

Writes of Passage is a magic-box of wise words for those cloudy days. Like a lunch-date with your funniest, kindest friends, this book will remind you that you’re not alone.” – Catriona McPherson, Agatha, Macavity, and Bruce-winning Author of the Dandy Gilver Series and the Anthony-Nominated As She Left It

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


Hen House Staff

Something Wicked This Way Comes…

On With the Show! MACDEATH by Cindy Brown

MACDEATHIt’s opening night for MACDEATH! Aspiring actress and amateur sleuth Ivy Meadows has landed her dream role, but will it turn into a nightmare? Grab a front row seat for Cindy Brown’s first in the series on January 20, 2015!

Like every actor, Ivy Meadows knows that Macbeth is cursed. But she’s finally scored her big break, cast as an acrobatic witch in a circus-themed production of Macbeth in Phoenix, Arizona. And though it may not be Broadway, nothing can dampen her enthusiasm–not her flying cauldron, too-tight leotard, or carrot-wielding dictator of a director.

But when one of the cast dies on opening night, Ivy is sure the seeming accident is “murder most foul” and that she’s the perfect person to solve the crime (after all, she does work part-time in her uncle’s detective agency). Undeterred by a poisoned Big Gulp, the threat of being blackballed, and the suddenly too-real curse, Ivy pursues the truth at the risk of her hard-won career–and her life.

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


Hen House Staff

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