Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Happy Homicides 5: The Purrr-fect Crime VBT

The purr-fect way to meet your new favorite author! This collection of traditional mysteries will be like catnip for feline-friendly readers. It’s paw-sitively the best Mother’s Day gift ever. Plus, you can email us to get a FREE Bonus File with recipes and holiday craft ideas. You’ll enjoy stories by these bestselling and award-winning authors: Joanna Campbell Slan, Linda Gordon Hengerer, David Bishop, LouLou Harrington, Neil Plakcy, Teresa Trent, Terry Ambrose, Amy Vansant, Randy Rawls, Christina Freeburn, Wendy Sand Eckel, and Karen Cantwell. For more information, go to

EXCERPT from THE NAMING OF CATS: A Rosalie Hart Mystery by Wendy Sand Eckel

Editor’s Note: The quaint little town of Cardigan on Maryland’s Eastern Shore seemed like the perfect spot for Rosalie Hart to open the Day Lily Café. A flat stretch of land between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, the Eastern Shore is home to crusty watermen, dug-in farmers, and people who are fiercely proud to call it home. Rosalie has enough on her plate running the restaurant. But when her Maine Coon uncovers a mystery, the cat has been let out of the bag.

Chapter 1

“Your cat is up to something,” Tyler said as he walked into my kitchen. I set a steaming cup of coffee next to him and watched as he scrubbed his hands under the faucet.
“I think Sweeney Todd is happy to be outside.” I lifted my coffee mug and blew over the surface to cool it. “This is the first day it hasn’t rained in over a week.”

He dried his hands and turned to face me. “Thanks for the joe.”

Tyler Wells leased the farmland of my new home, Barclay Meadow. It wasn’t really my choice to move here. Three years ago, when my dear Aunt Charlotte bequeathed me this two-hundred-year-old house and the vast land surrounding it, I was happily immersed in my married life in Chevy Chase. But all that changed when my husband of over twenty years pronounced his love for a much younger and blonder version of me.

The sun streamed through the windows, warming the honey wood floors. Tyler and I had fallen into the habit of sharing a cup of coffee every morning before we started our days. I checked the clock. I would be leaving soon to go to the restaurant I recently opened, the Day Lily Café, currently serving breakfast and lunch five days a week in the sleepy little town of Cardigan.

Tyler brushed his sandy blond hair off his forehead. “Sweeney is digging pretty close to the vegetable gardens. You might want to stop him.”

“I’m on it.” I set my coffee down and headed outside.

My shoes squeaked on the grass as I rounded the house. A dense mist rose from the Cardigan River at the end of the sloping lawn. It was a beautiful spring morning on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

I spotted Sweeney by an old Sycamore tree. Its trunk was gnarled and twisted looking like something out of Sleepy Hollow. He was digging furiously at the ground with his front paws.

My adopted Maine Coon cat was originally named Sweetie Pie. But on the first day I brought him home, he slaughtered four goldfinches in under an hour. That’s when Tyler suggested the name change. At the precise moment I started to disagree, Sweeney dropped a fifth lifeless bird on my peep-toe pump.

I knelt down next to him. He had dug so deep almost all nineteen pounds of him were immersed in the hole.

“Hey, what are you . . .” He swiped one paw with a particularly vigorous motion and a clump of dirt launched onto my black skirt. “Sweeney, for goodness sake.” He stopped digging and let out a long, guttural mmrrrow. He pushed back out of the hole and eyed me intently. My stomach tightened with dread. “What have you found, baby?”

Loulou, thanks so much for stopping by. So tell us a little about yourself.
Hi, and thank you so much for hosting me today on Sharing Links and Wisdom. It’s such a pleasure to be here. As for me, I’m a country girl who lives surrounded by birds and flowers and lots of wildlife, which is perfect for me. My husband is a real nature lover, too, so we like to spend our weekends road tripping an hour or two away into the hills of Arkansas and Missouri or just roaming around Oklahoma’s lake country, the area where my mystery series is located. I love this area, with its friendly people, tiny towns and lots of wide open countryside. And I’m always finding great places for dead bodies to show up—fictional ones, of course.

How did you get started writing?
It was organic. Once I hit age ten or eleven and sat still long enough to read a book, my immediate reaction was to begin writing one. But without a lucky move to an active writers’ area in my twenties, where I could learn from publisher authors and critique groups, I doubt I would have ever made the leap into being published.

What was the inspiration for your book?
I write mysteries, but it’s the importance of friends, family and community that inspire me. The cozy series I write has a woman, her mother, and their friends at its core. And I jumped at the chance to write a piece for Happy Homicides 5: The Purrr-fect Crime when I found out it had a release timed for Mother’s Day. And cats. I wanted to explore a new series with a different kind of mother/daughter dynamic, and I had already planned to have a cat and a dog in my new project. Writing this anthology piece allowed me to explore fresh concepts while working in some humor and lots of new relationships.

What’s the one genre you haven’t written in yet that you’d like to?
I’ve written pure romance, and I’ve written pure mystery, but I’ve never written a romantic suspense. That’s a genre I would really enjoy writing. I even had one plotted once upon a time, but the pull of cozies was stronger. I haven’t regretted my choice, but I still hope to squeeze in some romantic suspense along the way.

Are there any genres you won’t read or write in? Why?
I’m laughing here because in high school, purely for pleasure, I read several nonfiction books on troop movements and tank warfare in Northern Africa during World War II. So, no, but there’s practically nothing I won’t read. There will be genres that I never write in, but that’s mainly because a writer has to make choices. There’s just no time to explore everything.

What are you up to right now? Do you have any releases planned, or are you still writing?
All of the above. I was in the process of finalizing the fourth book in my Myrtle Grove Garden Club mysteries when I was invited to participate in this anthology. And I was already planning for my next book to introduce a new cozy series that would be a spin-off from the third book in my Myrtle Grove series. So Happy Homicides 5 was the perfect project at the perfect time. Deadly Purr-suasion, my part of the anthology, is a transition piece between my two series. I’m currently working on the first full book in my new A Little Bit of Magic mystery series. And A Misty Morning Murder, the fourth book in my Myrtle Grove series, should be available for pre-order any day now and released soon after. So, I’m writing, I’m releasing, and I’m very excited about this anthology.

Alright, now for some random, fun questions. Favorite color?
Turquoise. It’s a tough choice because I love color, the brighter the better, but probably half of my wardrobe (and jewelry) is some variation of teal or turquoise, so…

Favorite movie?
It’s a long reach back, but the movie Exodus had a powerful impact on me. I felt touched by magic for a long time after seeing it. History, social impact and Paul Newman—it had it all.

Book that inspired you to become an author?
The Trail Driver by Zane Grey. When I was eleven during summer break, I was in the mood to read, and an old, battered copy had been sitting around the house taunting me through my childhood. When I finished it, I said to myself, “I could write that. Only instead of a man as the hero, it needs to be a woman.” And so I began writing a Western with a female lead. I worked on it through most of high school, and after that, there was no going back.

You have one superpower. What is it?
To fly. I don't want to be a superhero. I just want to fly. I dreamed of flying as a child, and I still remember swooping and swooshing through my neighborhood just above the treetops. It was harder work than you’d think, but I’ll never forget the feeling of looking down on the earth with the wind swirling around me. When I’m awake, I’m scared of heights, but I wouldn’t let that stop me.

You can have dinner with any 3 people, dead, alive, fictitious, etc. Who are they?
Without any hesitation I would pick my parents as the first two. My father has been dead for almost thirty years and my mom for about ten years. Sitting down to dinner with them would be the most wonderful thing I could imagine. And for my third person, I think I would like to have my father’s mother. He was thirteen and the eldest of six children when she died of pneumonia just a few days before Christmas. Her death was followed within a year by the stock market crash and then the Great Depression. We probably wouldn’t get much eating done, but that would certainly be a major family reunion.

Last Question: Which of your characters are you most like and how/why?
Well, I have to keep reminding myself that my main character, Jesse Camden, isn’t me—that she’s a fictional person who just reminds me a lot of myself. Jesse’s kind of a private person who likes to hide her vulnerability. And she’s willing to do what it takes to help a friend, no matter how obnoxious she has to be in the process. She has flaws that I hope I don’t have, and she has strengths that I know I don’t have. She’s her own person, but I’m pretty sure we’d be best friends. We care about the same things, like justice and the defense of the vulnerable, like family and community—and cooking and gardening. We both really like cooking and gardening.

That’s all from me, thanks so much for taking the time to stop by!
Thank you. I’ve really enjoyed visiting with you today. And I would love to see any comments or to answer any questions that your readers have. I’ll be checking back in during the day, so please let me hear from you all. And, again, thank you so much.

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Don't forget to visit the other stops on the tour.

Author Bios and Links:
The authors include Joanna Campbell Slan, Linda Gordon Hengerer, David Bishop, LouLou Harrington, Neil Plakcy, Teresa Trent, Terry Ambrose, Amy Vansant, Randy Rawls, Christina Freeburn, Wendy Sand Eckel, and Karen Cantwell. For more information, go to or visit us on Facebook. To read a free sample, get your free copy of Happy Homicides 2: Crimes of the Heart.

Happy Homicides 5: The Purr-fect Crime IS ON SALE FOR $0.99 DURING THE TOUR. 

In addition, the authors are supplying a bonus gift for readers. They can receive it by sending an email to

Joanna Campbell Slan
RT Reviews has called Joanna Campbell Slan “one of mystery’s rising stars,” and it’s easy to see why. She’s the award-winning and national bestselling author of three mystery series. Her first series, the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery series, was an Agatha Award Finalist, and features ace scrapbooker Kiki Lowenstein. Previous to writing fiction, Joanna penned seven scrapbooking technique books and wrote for Creating Keepsakes, Memory Makers, and PaperKuts. She has taught scrapbooking online, on cruises, and in Europe, as well as here in the US.

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Linda Gordon Hengerer
Linda was a football widow during her first marriage, and she wrote American Football Basics (original title Football Basics) because she thought more women would enjoy football if they understood it. She is also interested in food and wine, and has written an easy guide to food and wine pairings.

New Jersey native turned Florida resident, Linda moved to Vero Beach in 1996. She writes the Beach Tea Shop Mysteries, a cozy mystery series set in an area suspiciously like Vero Beach.

LouLou Harrington
Writer, traveler, and nature enthusiast Loulou Harrington is the author of the Myrtle Grove Garden Club mystery series. Originally a native of northwest Arkansas, Loulou now resides in the Tulsa area and spends frequent weekends wandering among the lakes and foothills of northeastern Oklahoma, the setting of her cozy series and an area she hopes her readers will enjoy as much as she does.

Beginning her career as a romance novelist, she published nine contemporary romances with Harlequin, writing as Ada Steward, before succumbing to the lure of her first love: the mystery novel.

First discovering Nancy Drew as a child and continuing with Miss Marple and Travis McGee as an adult, Loulou learned to appreciate the puzzle and suspense of the mystery combined with the familiar characters and settings of the recurring series. So while she still believes that into each life a little romance should fall, she has come to the opinion that it should trip over at least one dead body along the way.

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Neil Plakcy
Neil Plakcy is the author of the Mahu Investigations, mysteries which take place in Hawaii. They are: Mahu, Mahu Surfer, Mahu Fire, Mahu Vice, Mahu Blood, Mahu Men, Zero Break, Natural Predators and Children of Noah.

His M/M romance novels are, Mi Amor, Love on Site, Love on the Web, Love on Stage, Love on the Pitch, and the Have Body, Will Guard series: Three Wrong Turns in the Desert, Dancing with the Tide, Teach Me Tonight, Olives for the Stranger, The Noblest Vengeance and Finding Freddie Venus.

He has also written the golden retriever mysteries In Dog We Trust, The Kingdom of Dog, Dog Helps Those, Dog Bless You, Whom Dog Hath Joined and Dog Have Mercy.

He is co-editor of Paws & Reflect: A Special Bond Between Man and Dog (Alyson Books, 2006) and editor of many gay erotica anthologies. A journalist, book reviewer and college professor, he is also a frequent contributor to gay anthologies.

Teresa Trent
Teresa Trent writes cozy mysteries that take place in small towns in Texas. She was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee but with her father in the military, didn't stay for long. She's lived all over, but likes to call three states her favorite homes. Colorado, Illinois and of course, Texas.  Being a fan of the Andy Griffith Show and Murder She Wrote she loves creating quirky small towns and colorful characters. She decided to feature a character with Down syndrome in the Pecan Bayou series because after giving birth to her own son with DS, she discovered there were very few people like him in the world of cozy mysteries. If you're wondering which book to start with in the Pecan Bayou Series, start with #1 A Dash of Murder. Many of Teresa's mysteries occur before or during a holiday and A Dash of Murder is her Halloween book.

Website     |     Facebook     |     Twitter

Terry Ambrose
Terry Ambrose started out skip tracing and collecting money from deadbeats and quickly learned that liars come from all walks of life. He never actually stole a car, but sometimes hired big guys with tow trucks and a penchant for working in the dark when “negotiations” failed.

A resident of Southern California, he loves spending time in Hawaii, especially on the Garden Island of Kauai, where he invents lies for others to read. His years of chasing deadbeats taught him many valuable life lessons including—always keep your car in the garage.

Website     |     Facebook     |     Twitter

Amy Vansant
Amy specializes in fun, comedic reads about accident prone, easily distracted women with questionable taste in men. So, autobiographies, mostly.

Amy is the former East Coast Editor of SURFER Magazine but the urge to drive up and down the coast interviewing surfers has long since left her. Currently, she is a nerd and Labradoodle mommy who works at home with her goofy husband.

She loves interacting with fans when the dog isn't laying on top of her, so stop by her blog or Twitter and say hi!

Website     |     Facebook     |     Twitter

Randy Rawls
I'm Randy Rawls, author of mysteries and thrillers. I grew up in northeastern North Carolina, then did a career in the Army. I've been an avid reader all my life and have tried to incorporate what I learned from the best into my writing. While I live in South Florida, my heart resides in Texas. I'd love to hear from you at

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Christina Freeburn 
Reading has been a part of Christina's life since she can remember and soon developed into a love of writing.

Read about her writing process, her hobbies, and the heroines she believes are a self-rescue princess at her blog The Self-Rescue Princess.

Website     |     Facebook     |     Twitter     |     Blog

Wendy Sand Eckel
Degrees in criminology and social work, followed by years of clinical practice, helped WENDY SAND ECKEL explore her fascination with how relationships impact motivation, desire, and inhibition. Combined with her passion for words and meaning, writing mystery is a dream realized. She lives in Maryland where she enjoys family and friends, two cats, and living near the Chesapeake Bay.

Website     |     Facebook     |     Twitter

Karen Cantwell 
Karen's novel, Take the Monkeys and Run was a semi-finalist in the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest (under the original title of Monkeys in My Trees)and has gone on to be a Kindle bestseller on Amazon. She has written three more books in the Barbara Marr Murder Mystery Series: Citizen Insane, Silenced by the Yams, and Saturday Night Cleaver.

When she's not writing, Karen loves gardening and spending time with her family. She is currently working on the release of Keep Me Ghosted, the first book in the new Sophie Rhodes Ghostly Romance Series, as well as beginning the draft of Kiss Me, Tate, part of the upcoming Barbara Marr spin-off, Love in Rustic Woods Series.

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  1. congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

  2. Thank you so much, Emily and sharinglinksandwisdom, for hosting me and the Happy Homicides 5 blog tour today. I enjoyed your questions and look forward to seeing the comments.

  3. Congratulations with the tour and good luck. Thank you for the opportunity to win.

  4. So glad to read about Loulou's inspiration. I'll have to look up that Zane Grey book.

  5. Loved reading the interview. Zane Grey was born in the town I live! (Zanesville, Ohio) Thanks for giveaway!

  6. Great interview, thanks for sharing :)

  7. I loved reading about Loulou's inspiration - it reminded me of heisting my father's Dick Francis books.

  8. Congrats on the new book and good luck on the book tour!

  9. LOVE Cat cozy mysteries, Good luck with the anthology (ordered mine ;) ) Thanks for the chance to win :)