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.

Blogroll: FictionFan’s Book Reviews

The Ambitious Card by John Gaspard

Pure magic…

:D :lol: :D :lol: :D

THE AMBITIOUS CARDWhen magician and skeptic* Eli Marks debunks the spiritualist act of Grey (‘just Grey’) he is unknowingly setting himself up to be chief suspect when Grey turns up murdered. The situation isn’t helped by the fact that the detective in charge of the case is Eli’s ex-wife’s new husband (still with me?) and there’s little love lost between the two men. And when more psychics are bumped off, each being found with a King of Diamonds on them, it seems clear to Detective Hutton that Eli must be involved since this was the card he used in his Ambitious Card routine. So it looks like Eli will have to find the real murderer to get himself off the hook…

This is a hugely entertaining crime novel, packed full of comedy. Sometimes when an author goes for fun, it can be at the expense of plot or characterisation, but not here. Gaspard has created a very likeable protagonist in Eli, who is the first person narrator, and a complete cast of rather eccentric magicians and psychics amongst the victims and suspects. Eli’s relationship with his recently widowed uncle is believable and touching, and the interactions between them add much to the humour and warmth of the book. The plot is complex enough to have kept me guessing to the end but looking back the clues were there, so a ‘fair play’ novel.

John GaspardWhat makes this extra special though is the magic. Eli talks us through various tricks without breaking the code of the magician not to reveal the secrets. This sounds like it might be annoying, but it isn’t – it’s like watching a really good stage magician at work. At one point he plays a trick on a character in a way that allows the reader to play along too – and stunningly he manages to read the reader’s mind! (OK, I did work out how that was done after the event, but it was a ‘Wow!’ moment at the time!) I was amazed to discover from the afterward that Gaspard is not a magician in real life – I was convinced he must be.

I have no idea whether the author intends this to be a standalone or the start of a series, but I really hope it’s the latter. Warm, funny and well plotted – a book to brighten any grey day. Do read it!

*Not my fault – that’s how Americans spell it!

The Ambitious Card trick

NB This book was provided for review by the publisher, Henery Press.

Amazon UK Link
Amazon US Link






Book Release Day!! The Ambitious Card by John Gaspard

John-Gaspard-01-WebJohn Gaspard, author of The Eli Marks Mystery Series, was kind enough to answer a few questions about his film career and the transition from director to mystery writer. The first novel in the series, THE AMBITIOUS CARD, tells the tale of two magicians living in Minneapolis. When one is accused of murder, they must solve the mystery before the curtain comes down on this Midwest magic show.

You are a film producer and director as well as mystery writer. Which film is your most well known?

I’ve made a handful of feature films that are floating around out there. Probably the best known is “Beyond Bob,” which is a romantic-comedy ghost story. It was released on DVD a few years back and can now be found on the Gaiam Network, which is a monthly film subscription service. It’s a charming little movie about love and forgiveness. I’ve heard from people all over the world who have seen it and enjoyed it. My most current movie is called “Ghost Light.” It’s about a group of actors who stay overnight in a theater looking for ghosts. It’s currently on the festival circuit.

Was there any research involved before writing THE AMBITIOUS CARD? Did you do any work as a magician’s apprentice, perhaps?

THE AMBITIOUS CARDThere was a TON of research before I started writing, while I was writing and even after I finished writing. I took several lessons from a professional magician, to learn how to do the title trick (The Ambitious Card) as well as to get a better insight into the life of a working magician. I also have several friends who are magicians and lots of friends who are performers, so I learned a lot from them about what it’s like to do your job on stage in front of an audience. I also went to magic conventions, subscribed to magic magazines, read books on magic and magician biographies, and attended a number of magic lectures to gather insight and ideas. I also did a lot of research into the psychic community, as that’s a big part of the story.

In addition to THE AMBITIOUS CARD, you’ve also published books on low-budget film making and you write a successful blog about the subject as well. How big was the leap from writing on a subject you are very familiar with to mystery fiction?

Not as big as you might think. As a filmmaker, I’ve almost always written my own scripts and I’ve been writing scripts for nearly 40 years (yikes!). So I’m used to telling stories on paper. The benefit of writing the story as a novel, as opposed to a screenplay, was that I never had to worry about how I was going to shoot what I wrote — it was done when I finished writing!

Would you consider screenwriting?

As I mentioned, I’ve written a number of screenplays. I’m not opposed to writing more, but the process of writing a novel is much more complete and satisfying than writing a screenplay — you don’t have to raise money and shoot it when you’re done. You just make it as good as you can and then start the next one. In my case, that’s the next adventure that magician Eli Marks gets himself involved in. It will be called The Bullet Catch.

Could you also give us the title, author, and a few words on what makes this book so special?

The Ambitious Card, by John Gaspard, is a humorous mystery that follows magician Eli Marks as he attempts to keep himself out of jail while solving a series of murders of psychics.

A New Book and a New Look!

Love in the Fleet Series by Heather Ashby

FORGIVE FMN dual email blast 2Anchors aweigh, romance fans, because Heather Ashby’s Love in the Fleet series has been outfitted with two unforgettable new covers! Promising just as much suspense, intrigue, and passion as FORGIVE AND FORGET, FORGET ME NOT makes a big splash with a cover guaranteed to turn those cold ocean waters into a steaming oasis. After your dive into FORGIVE AND FORGET, towel off and grab FORGET ME NOT, slated to hit shores December 3, 2013.

Suffering from Peter Pan Syndrome and survivor guilt, Navy Seahawk pilot and renowned playboy, Brian “Skylark” Crawford, swears he’ll never settle down, unsure he deserves the happiness promised by marriage—besides, there’s too many hot chicks out there to choose from.

War widow and veterinarian, Daisy Schneider, swears to love only animals after her Marine pilot husband is killed in Afghanistan. Although she fills her life with work and volunteer activities, it fails to put a dent in her loneliness—or the guilt that she might have saved her husband.

From one stray cat who serves as matchmaker to a fiery battle with drug runners at sea, the fur flies in Forget Me Not. Will Daisy learn it’s possible to love twice in one lifetime and will Sky learn it’s never too late to grow up?

Visit us on the Henery Press website to find out more. And as always, feel free to reach out if you have questions or comments – to the Hen House or Heather.  We’d love to hear from you.


The Hen House Staff

Blogroll: Kings River Life Magazine

Three Fun Mystery Novels From Henery Press: Review/Giveaway

This week we are featuring three mystery novels from Henery Press, a small press KRL recently discovered. Check out these reviews & maybe you will discover some great new mysteries to enjoy just like we did. Details on how to win a copy of all 3 books at the end of this post. Reviews are of Last Diner Standing: A Rose Strickland Mystery by Terri L. Austin, Still Life in Brunswick Stew: A Cherry Tucker Mystery By Larissa Reinhart, and Double Whammy: A Davis Way Mystery By Gretchen Archer.

Last Diner Standing: A Rose Strickland Mystery By Terri L. Austin

Roselyn “Rose” Strickland knows that no phone call at 3a.m. ever brings good news. However, even she was not prepared for the news that her study partner, Janelle Johnson, was in jail for attempting to kill her ex-husband and was calling to ask Rose to get a good lawyer–and cigarettes to trade with Janelle’s jail mates!

While Rosé is a former rich girl turned diner waitress and long-term college student, her previous experiences with the law put her in contact with her former schoolmate and current high-price attorney, Dane Harker. However, his high fees and firm’s pressure to make a deal force Rose to investigate on her own if she wants to free Janelle in time for her to spend Christmas with her two children, one of whom is a biter.

Luckily, Rose has the help of her best friend and fellow waitress Roxy Block, an anime fan with a hankering for Janelle’s brother and Axton Fuller Graystone, college IT specialist and roomie of a house of potheads. Rose soon learns that Janelle’s ex, AKA “Asshat,” was involved in off-the- books auto mechanic work, chop shops, and strippers–lots of strippers. So there’s no lack of suspects who include jealous dancers, enraged husbands, and IOU’d acquaintances.

As Rose attempts to fit in her investigation with her morning shifts at Ma’s Diner new breakfast service, competition from Rudy’s Roundup Restaurant threatens whatever sanity remains, as Ma Ferguson insists on adding a chicken lunch service that will either bankrupt them or drive them into the grave from exhaustion. The additional discovery of evidence that a hit was placed on Thomas Maxwell Sullivan, the sexy but extremely dangerous crime lord, tests Rose’s loyalties and her priorities.

What elevates this mystery from being just a comical caper novel is that the author creates well-rounded characters with backgrounds which explain their eccentricities, and prevents them from becoming over-the-top comic relief caricatures. Rose is still suffering from the trauma of having killed someone who was a psychotic stalker, and also must contend with her mother’s disapproval and continual disappointment in her daughter’s failure to live up to her potential.

At times it seems that Rose’s friends place an unfair amount of pressure upon her to investigate, yet Rose has made her friends her family and never asks for help for herself. Her stubborn independence, as she attempts to assume control over everything only makes her surprisingly vulnerable as she eventually finds a point where her facade must crack.

While this is an undeniably hilarious and entertaining novel, it always retains at its core an affection for its characters and a sentimental tone. Well-written with a complicated plot and very engaging characters, this second Rose Strickland proves to be entertaining and moving without ever becoming an absurd parody. [Read more...]

Blogroll: evolvedworld.com

Review and Excerpt: Double Whammy by Gretchen Archer


Davis must win this high stakes game before her luck runs out.

Davis Way thinks she’s hit the jackpot when she lands a job as the fifth wheel on an elite security team at the fabulous Bellissimo Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. But once there, she runs straight into her ex-ex husband, a rigged slot machine, her evil twin, and a trail of dead bodies. Davis learns the truth and it does not set her free–in fact, it lands her in the pokey.

Buried under a mistaken identity, unable to seek help from her family, her hot streak runs cold until her landlord Bradley Cole steps in. Make that her landlord, lawyer, and love interest. With his help, Davis must win this high stakes game before her luck runs out.

AVAILABLE as paperback and ebook on Barnes & Noble and Amazon. [Read more...]

Blogroll: Mad Hatter Reads


Larissa Reinhart’s Portrait of a Dead Guy Tour, Review and Giveaway


Portrait of a Dead Guy Tour

I’m so happy to be today’s tour stop on the Portrait of a Dead Guy Tour! Here’s a look at the book plus a chance to enter an awesome giveaway.
Portrait of a Dead Guy

Portrait of a Dead Guy
Series: A Cherry Tucker Mystery #1
Source: Purchased
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5

In Halo, Georgia, folks know Cherry Tucker as big in mouth, small in stature, and able to sketch a portrait faster than kudzu climbs telephone poles — but commissions are scarce. So when the well-heeled Branson family wants to memorialize their murdered son in a coffin portrait, Cherry scrambles to win their patronage from her small town rival.
As the clock ticks toward the deadline, Cherry faces more trouble than just a controversial subject. Between ex-boyfriends, her flaky family, an illegal gambling ring, and outwitting a killer on a spree, Cherry find herself painted into a corner she’ll be lucky to survive.

My Review:

If there’s such a thing as a chick-lit mystery, then Portrait of a Dead Guy fits right in. Cherry Tucker isn’t much of a detective…just a starving artist in small-town Georgia trying to make sure that she gets paid for the commission she worked so hard to get. The more she tries to finish her painting, the deeper Cherry gets sucked into the mystery of who killed one of Halo’s local sons.

Larissa Reinhart’s world building is so vivid that you can practically taste the sweet tea. Growing up in small Southern towns myself, the town and its inhabitants reminded me of my own childhood. It’s true what they say too, when you grow up in a small town, everyone knows everything about you and your family going back multiple generations. And poor Cherry has her own past actions (she’s been known to be a bit boy crazy) to live down. It doesn’t help that she’s a spitfire stuffed into a small packed with plenty of attitude to go around.

All the characters are well developed and filled with quintessential Southern charm (which you might call slight craziness). Throw in plenty of humor, a couple of hot hunks, and more twists and turns than a greased pig and I became an instant fan.

I can’t wait for book #2, Still Life in Brunswick Stew! Fortunately comes out in just a couple weeks-May 21, 2013. You need to make sure that it’s on your TBR too!

Available at:

Amazon Kindle     B&N Nook     Kobo

More about Larissa:

Larissa ReinhartLarissa Reinhart loves small town characters, particularly sassy women with a penchant for trouble. STILL LIFE IN BRUNSWICK STEW (May 2013) is the second in the Cherry Tucker Mystery Series. The first, PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY, is a 2012 Daphne du Maurier finalist, a 2012 The Emily finalist, and a 2011 Dixie Kane Memorial winner. Expect HIJACK IN ABSTRACT and a Cherry Tucker novella in THE HEARTACHE MOTEL out in November and December 2013.
She lives near Atlanta with her minions and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit. Visit her website; her expat blog; or find her chatting with the Little Read Hens on Facebook; at her Facebook page; Twitter; and Goodreads
Larissa Reinhardt’s
Portrait of A Dead Guy
Blog Tour Schedule
4/28- Love in A Book
4/29- Bianca2b
4/29- Fandom Fanatic
4/30- Book Monster Reviews
5/02- Literal Addiction
5/03- Books-n-Kisses
5/04- My Book Addiction
5/06- Mad Hatter Reads
5/07- Salacious Reads
5/08- United by Books
5/09- The Jeep Diva
5/11- Froggarita’s Bookcase

Larissa is giving away the following prizes on her tour:

Grand Prize: (1) $20.00 Visa Gift Card

Runner-Up: (1) eBook of Portrait of a Dead Guy

Blogroll: Mystery Writing is Murder

Using Pinterest for Pinspiration


When I first heard of Pinterest, I wanted to cry. Another social networking site to use, learn, master? Can’t be done. It’s asking too much of me.

I can barely handle Twitter and Goodreads, and I’m not on the Facebook or Google Plus, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, StatWatch. (I made that last one up.) However, someone kindly took the time to show me what Pinterest truly was, and once I figured it out, and how it worked for me, I was hooked.

Pinterest is a way to organize all those beautiful pictures you see every day, from the delicious torte you’d love to make (but never will) to the beach you’d love to visit (and hopefully will). And for us creative types, it’s a visual playground of inspiration. In one weekend, I created boards for different aspects of my protagonist’s world. While Elliott Lisbon comes to life on the printed page, she’s viewed in vibrant color on the Pinterest page. [Read more...]

Blogroll: The Phantom Paragrapher

Are you fans of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum Series?  Looking for something similar?  Look no further with Gretchen Archer’s new series “Davis Way”.


Review: Double Whammy – Book #1 Davis Way Series – May 2013

Davis Way from Pine Apple , yes it’s true has had a knack for getting herself into trouble from evil ex-boyfriends though technically its just the one as she’s married him twice and then she hasn’t had much luck in the job department until now. Davis has landed herself a job working undercover security in a Casino. The job starts off easy until she is told to investigate the Double Whammy machine and find out how a significant somebody is constantly winning the big ones. That somebody turns out though to be none other than her ex-husband Eddie and something very strange is going on as his partner looks alot like Davis in every bit way ? Does Davis have a twin she doesn’t know about ? What will happen though when Davis is framed for murder and the only person who can help her solve it is her landlord Bradley Cole ? A fun-paced story that will have you feeling in parts quite sorry for Davis especially the second half of the book. Double Whammy is a story that all fans of the Stephanie Plum series , Lisa Lutz Spellman Files and Marianne Derecourt’s Tara Sharp series will love.


Blogroll: dru’s book musings

A Day in the Life of Elliott Lisbon by Kendel Lynn

BOARD STIFFThe patio of the Ballantyne Foundation manse overlooks seventy-five acres of lush Sea Pine Island landscape. Majestic oaks draped in Spanish moss mingled with sweet blooming magnolias, winding amongst tennis courts, croquet lawns, formal gardens, and a sparkling pool not ten feet from my chair.

I took a slow drink of lemonade, trying to make my five minute break feel like ten. It had already been a hectic day, though as director of the Ballantyne Foundation, I’d yet to encounter a day that wasn’t.

“Oh, Elli, what am I to do?” Zibby Archibald, the Ballantyne Foundation’s oldest board member, and truly the most interesting, teetered across the patio and plopped into the chair across from me. “Someone stole my piñata. Right from my house!”

I tried to hide my dismay, lest I start a piñata panic. A missing paper party accessory isn’t usually cause for panic, but our Cinco de Mayo celebration was in five hours, and Zibby’s piñata was the showpiece.

“Start at the beginning,” I said as I passed her an icy glass of fresh lemonade.

“I went inside to get my good tweezers. There was a sticky sliver of wood on my sledgehammer and it kept poking my palm. Thought I better pluck it out before I finished beating the hook for the pig’s hat.” [Read more...]

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