The Watchman of Rothenburg Dies by Adriana Licio – Guest Post and Giveaway

Synopsis:

A holiday is a time to relax, unwind and see the sights. But for two adventurous sexagenarians, the sights have a tendency to include dead bodies.

Etta and Dora, both newly retired teachers, travel from their home in Southern Italy to a fairy-tale German town for their first home swap holiday, delighted by their neighbours’ warm welcome. But the welcome turns sour when the Night Watchman of Rothenburg is brutally murdered while his tour group takes photographs nearby, a halberd buried in his chest and a peculiar iron mask by his side.

When the murderer claims a second victim and the son of their hospitable neighbours becomes the number-one suspect, Etta’s analytical mind goes to work. Why was a shame mask left at the scene of each murder? Is there a clandestine trade going on behind the scenes of apparently upstanding local businesses? And why does every lead take her back to the sinister Devil’s Ale pub and the terrifying gang who lurk within?

Meanwhile, Dora has a puzzle of her own – how can she persuade Etta that a loveably disobedient Basset Hound called Napoleon is now a permanent part of their lives?

◆◆◆ Pack your bags, jump into the backseat of Etta and Dora’s old Fiat 500, and join them on their travels around Europe. There’ll be mystery, murder and mayhem aplenty wherever they go. ◆◆◆

Continue reading

Guest Post from C S Alleyne – Author of Belle Vue

Hi everyone. The kids are back in school and fall is just now visible in the distance (it can’t get here fast enough for my taste). To me that means cooler weather, pumpkin everything, and spooky books! I admit I’ve been reading more paranormal and horror than cozy mystery lately. I’m pleased to welcome paranormal mystery author C S Alleyne to the blog. Her novel Belle Vue comes out today and she will be sharing her inspiration for the book. I’ll be finishing it and posting my review soon so keep an eye out for that, and check the author links below for a chance to read an excerpt for yourself. (Just a note to my cozy readers – this novel is a far cry from cozy!)

Belle Vue by C S Alleyne

Inspiration – that feeling of enthusiasm and the source for new and creative ideas can strike an author in the oddest place. For me, it was my occasional journey past a block of luxury apartments which was converted from the original Leavesden Asylum for Idiots and Imbeciles – a name not to be reckoned with now. As I walked past the main building it stirred my interest and I searched for more information about its history. Finding other pictures of evocative old asylums either in ruins or also converted into residential accommodation, I soon had lots of story ideas and started jotting notes for what would become Belle Vue.

I did a lot of research into Victorian asylums which was a real eye-opener. At the turn of the nineteenth century, England and France combined had only a few hundred individuals in asylums, but by 1900 this number had risen to the hundreds of thousands. This epidemic of madness suddenly gripped Europe and the US too. Records of reasons for admission to an asylum make for fascinating reading – and not a little concern that had any one of us been around then we may just have found ourselves in a new – and unwelcome – address!

These entries have been a source of amusement on the net with such things as ‘novel reading’, ‘tobacco and masturbation’, ‘over study’ and ‘sudden loss of several cows’ listed as causes of mental illness requiring asylum incarceration.

Women in particular were at risk – Maureen Dabbagh‘s 2001 book reveals women were admitted for –

“…laziness, egotism, disappointed love, female disease, mental excitement, cold, snuff, greediness, imaginary female trouble, “gathering in the head,” exposure and quackery, jealousy, religion, asthma, masturbation, and bad habits. Spouses used lunacy laws to rid themselves of their partners and in abducting their children.”

And these were not places you would want to go – local magistrate Godfrey Higgins, who investigated York asylum in 1814 found ‘evidence of wrongdoing on a massive scale: maltreatment of the patients extending to rape and murder; forging of records to hide deaths among the inmates; an extraordinarily widespread use of chains and other forms of mechanical restraint; massive embezzlement of funds; and conditions of utter filth and neglect.’ On one visit he forced his way through a hidden door to expose a tiny room crammed with thirteen elderly ladies, practically naked and covered in their own excrement. Higgins ‘became very sick and could no longer remain in the room.  I vomited.’

So amongst all that, I shouldn’t have been surprised to find that a murder had taken place in the Leavesden Aslyum in 1899 albeit by an outsider and reading about it gave me another idea. Mary Ansell was found guilty of poisoning her sister Caroline who was an inmate in the asylum. She was hanged at St. Alban’s Jail (though in this case there was considerable public pressure for a reprieve as she too was believed to lack ‘mental capacity’). But Mary had taken out an insurance policy on her sister’s life…

As I was mulling over other possible plot lines, my ears pricked up (and sure I would not be alone in this lol!) at the mention of satanic orgies. I heard about the Hellfire Caves in West Wycombe where such practices had taken place and duly paid a visit. The caves, excavated between 1748 and 1752 for Sir Francis Dashwood, were used as a meeting place for his notorious Hellfire Club.

Members included various politically and socially important 18th century figures such as William Hogarth, John Wilkes, Thomas Potter and John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich. Though not believed to have been a member, Benjamin Franklin was a close friend of Dashwood who visited the caves on more than one occasion.

img1  Underground Statue at the Hellfire Caves (Scott Wylie)

According to Horace Walpole, the members’ “practice was rigorously pagan: Bacchus and Venus were the deities to whom they almost publicly sacrificed; and the nymphs and the hogsheads that were laid in against the festivals of this new church, sufficiently informed the neighbourhood of the complexion of those hermits.” Dashwood’s garden at West Wycombe contained numerous statues and shrines to different gods; Daphne and Flora, Priapus and the previously mentioned Venus and Dionysus.

Many rumours of black magic, satanic rituals and orgies were in circulation during the life of the club. Club meetings often included mock rituals, pornographic materials, much drinking, wenching and banqueting. The early 1760s saw the downfall of Dashwood’s exclusive club but its tantalising premise caught my imagination and I decided to incorporate a secret society, orgies and all, into Belle Vue.

So that was my inspiration for the Mephisto Club…

Writers are often advised ‘write what you know’ but given Belle Vue is about murder, satanic orgies and mistreatment in Victorian lunatic asylums I am not putting my hand up to any of these and all down to diligent research of subjects that fascinate me lol!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Not all asylums were as bad as this – Belle Vue simply reflects the conditions of those that were…

About the Author

author

C S Alleyne grew up in Australia and originally trained as a hotel manager in the UK. After several postings in the Caribbean she changed tack and completed her MBA followed several years later by a PhD in Information Systems. She is a management consultant and also lectures in several universities. Belle Vue is her debut novel and in December last year, her novelette, POWEЯ, was published.

LINKS

Excerpt – Read the first 2 chapters here – http://csalleyne.com/excerpt-belle-vue/

Website – http://www.csalleyne.com

Blog – http://csalleyne.com/blog/

Goodreads –
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19806081.C_S_Alleyne

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53318594-belle-vue

Twitter – https://twitter.com/csalleyne

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/csalleyne/

Amazon Author Page US: https://www.amazon.com/C.S.-Alleyne/e/B082P1H49C%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

Amazon Author Page UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1646693116/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1

Universal purchase link – BELLE VUE – http://getbook.at/BelleVue

Universal purchase link – POWEЯ – http://getbook.at/CSPower

Upcoming Release and a Free Short Story from Author Roy Huff

Author Roy Huff has a new release, Seven Rules of Time Travel, coming in July. Read on for more details and deals (including an upcoming FREE ebook) on some of his previous work. Check out the short story “Sand Dunes of Time” below, and feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments. Thank you Roy for sharing with us!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00033]

Synopsis:
Quinn Black is an ordinary New York salesman about to be thrust into the greatest race in human history. After a shocking turn of events, he discovers his current troubles were just the beginning. After numerous failed attempts to rewrite the recent past, Quinn learns the rules of time travel are not what he imagined. After a tragic loss, he enlists the help of an old friend. Together, they rush to fix the unfixable and invent the impossible. As their plight worsens, Quinn discovers all is not what it seems. And his actions could either save the human race or result in its ultimate destruction. Only time will tell if he succeeds. Seven Rules of Time Travel is a fast-paced science fiction thriller. One packed with a roller-coaster of twists and turns, moral challenges, and tempting opportunities that readers will be reliving years after they finish the final page.
dottedline
EvervilleTheFallOfBrackenbone
Synopsis:
Two very different worlds, Easton Falls University and the magical realm of Everville are in dire need of a hero. Owen Sage embarks on an epic journey of monumental proportions to save these worlds all while fighting to keep the world within himself intact. This quest is not for the faint of heart nor is it for the weak of mind—only the bravest will succeed. Discovering the well-kept secret of The Fourth Pillar of Truth is only part of the feat. Owen will have to outwit the ever-powerful villain Governor Jahal and overcome countless other challenges along the way. Amongst all of the dragons, giants and grand chaos, will Owen’s acquired skills and wisdom be enough to save both worlds or will peril be the ultimate fate of all?

dottedline

Continue reading

Through the Nethergate by Roberta Eaton Cheadle – Guest Post & Giveaway

Synopsis:

Margaret, a girl born with second sight, has the unique ability to bring ghosts trapped between Heaven and Hell back to life. When her parents die suddenly, she goes to live with her beloved grandfather, but the cellar of her grandfather’s ancient inn is haunted by an evil spirit of its own.

In the town of Bungay, a black dog wanders the streets, enslaving the ghosts of those who have died unnatural deaths. When Margaret arrives, these phantoms congregate at the inn, hoping she can free them from the clutches of Hugh Bigod, the 12th century ghost who has drawn them away from Heaven’s White Light in his canine guise.

With the help of her grandfather and the spirits she has befriended, Margaret sets out to defeat Hugh Bigod, only to discover he wants to use her for his own ends – to take over Hell itself.

Continue reading

Close Encounters of the Curd Kind by Kirsten Weiss – Guest Post and Giveaway

 


Synopsis: 

The truth is out there…

Way out there.

Susan Witsend, owner of the best little UFO-themed B&B in the Sierras, is absolutely, positively, not going to get involved in another murder case. Not with her small-town sheriff threatening jail time if she interferes in one more investigation.

So when her neighbor is murdered, Susan exerts all her willpower to stay out of the sheriff’s business. But her neighbor’s daughter, Clare, needs Susan’s help. Clare’s been experiencing lost time, a sure sign of alien abduction. Helping Clare is only neighborly… and totally not interfering. Right?

Worse, Clare’s not the only one with UFO issues. Weird lights in the sky, vanishing cows, and little green men are bringing the mountain town of Doyle to the edge of a panic. Can Susan unearth the truth before her town spirals into chaos?

If you like laugh-out-loud mysteries with complicated heroines (and breakfast recipes), you’ll love Close Encounters of the Curd Kind, book 3 in the Wits’ End series of cozy mystery novels. Read this twisty cozy caper today!

Continue reading

Read and Buried by Eva Gates – Guest Post & Giveaway

Synopsis:

Librarian Lucy Richardson unearths a mysterious map dating back to the Civil War. But if she can’t crack its code, she may end up read and buried. 

The Bodie Island Lighthouse Library Classic Novel Book Club is reading Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne while workers dig into the earth to repair the Lighthouse Library’s foundations. The digging halts when Lucy pulls a battered tin box containing a Civil War-era diary from the pit. Tucked inside is a hand-drawn map of the Outer Banks accompanied by a page written in an indecipherable code. 

The library is overrun by people clamoring to see the artifact. Later that night, Lucy and Connor McNeil find the body of historical society member Jeremy Hughes inside the library. Clearly Jeremy was not the only one who broke into the library–the map and the coded page are missing. 

Lucy’s nemesis, Louise Jane McKaughnan, confesses to entering the library after closing to sneak a peek but denies seeing Jeremy–or his killer. When Lucy discovers that fellow-librarian Charlene had a past with Jeremy, she’s forced to do what she vowed not to do–get involved in the case. Meanwhile, the entire library staff and community become obsessed with trying to decode the page. But when the library has a second break in, it becomes clear that someone is determined to solve that code.

Continue reading

A Curio Killing by Mary Ellen Hughes – Guest Post & Giveaway

 

Synopsis: 

Callie finds treble in Keepsake Cove when her ex-boyfriend is framed for murder . . .

Callie Reed is looking forward to her first Keepsake Cove spring festival. But her excitement dims considerably when she learns that her ex-boyfriend, Hank, will be performing with one of the hired country-western bands. Callie vows to keep her distance, but that changes when the band’s manager, Bobby Linville, is found dead, killed with the music box Hank bought at Callie’s shop.

Hank is soon singing a sad tune in a detention center with Callie his only lifeline. Though thoroughly aware of his many faults, she knows violence and murder aren’t in his blood. But that means one of her fellow Keepsake Cove residents must be hiding a dark secret—something Callie desperately needs to uncover.

Continue reading

Silent Night, Deadly Night by Vicki Delany – Guest Post & Giveaway

 

Synopsis:

Residents of Rudolph keep the spirit of Christmas alive year-round—but their joy is threatened when a group of grinches visits the town, in the charming fourth installment of the Year-Round Christmas series. 

It’s the week before Thanksgiving, and Merry Wilkinson, owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, is preparing for a weekend reunion of her mother’s college friends. But when the group of women comes into Merry’s shop, Merry is met with frosty attitudes and cold hearts.

The women argue amongst themselves constantly, and the bickering only intensifies after one of the friends is poisoned. With her father’s role as Santa in danger due to his proximity to the crime, Merry will need to use all of her investigative gifts to wrap this mystery up and save Santa and her favorite holiday.

Continue reading

Guilty as Charred by Devon Delaney – Blog Tour, Giveaway, and Recipe!

Synopsis: 

Sherry Oliveri has attained celebrity status after winning the America’s Good Taste Recipe Contest with her delectable New England Crab Cake Sliders. But now that she’s back home in Connecticut, she’s got to deal with something else fishy . . .

Sherry’s making a guest appearance on a local radio show when the news comes in: Poppy Robinson has been found dead in the town’s community garden. Sherry was supposed to be taking questions about her win in the national cooking competition, but instead the callers start dishing dirt.

Poppy and Sherry were both involved in the vegetable garden, and while Poppy may have been a bit priggish, it wasn’t anything that called for a shovel to the back of the head. There was already trouble brewing, with the owner of the land threatening to renege on their agreement, and this murder has taken tensions to a new level. Now while Sherry’s organizing a Fourth of July cook-off event, she’s also got a murder investigation on her plate . . .

Includes Recipes from Sherry’s Kitchen!

Continue reading

Peach Clobbered by Anna Gerard – Guest Post and Giveaway (ENDED)

 


Synopsis:

What’s black and white and dead all over? Georgia bed and breakfast proprietor Nina Fleet finds out when she comes across a corpse in a penguin costume.

Nina Fleet’s life ought to be as sweet as a Georgia peach. Awarded a tidy sum in her divorce, Nina retired at 41 to a historic Queen Anne house in quaint Cymbeline, GA. But Nina’s barely settled into her new B&B-to-be when a penguin shows up on her porch. Or, at least, a man wearing a penguin suit.

Harry Westcott is making ends meet as an ice cream shop’s mascot and has a letter from his great-aunt, pledging to leave him the house. Too bad that’s not what her will says. Meanwhile, the Sisters of Perpetual Poverty have lost their lease. Real estate developer Gregory Bainbridge intends to turn the convent into a golfing community, so Cymbeline’s mayor persuades Nina to take in the elderly nuns. And then Nina finds the “penguin” again, this time lying in an alley with a kitchen knife in his chest.

A peek under the beak tells Nina it’s not Harry inside the costume, but Bainbridge. What was he doing in Harry’s penguin suit? Was the developer really the intended victim, or did the culprit mean to kill Harry? Whoever is out to stop Harry from contesting the sale of his great-aunt’s house may also be after Nina, so she teams up with him to cage the killer before someone clips her wings in Peach Clobbered, Anna Gerard’s charming first Georgia B&B mystery.

Continue reading