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Guest Blog by Author ERIKA CHASE!

Today we have a guest blog by debut author ERIKA CHASE. 

 

A Killer Read, the first in the Ashton Corners Book Club mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime, comes out Tuesday, April 3 - tomorrow!

 


 

It's the first meeting of the Ashton Corners Mystery Readers and Cheese Straws Society and an intruder is later found dead in his car. When the owner of the mansion which is home to the book club meetings, Molly Mathews, becomes the prime suspect, Lizzie Turner, a reading specialist with the Ashton Corners, AL school board, and fellow book club members turn their talents to sleuthing.

 

Who knew the new police chief would be non other than Lizzie's old unrequited high school flame, Mark Dreyfus? Why is she finding chapters from an anonymous manuscript in her mailbox? And will cheese straws have to be served at every meeting from now on?

 

Lizzie is unrelenting in tracking down the killer, even to the point of putting herself in danger -- from the murderer and the oh-so-alluring police chief.


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Re: Guest Blog by Author ERIKA CHASE!

Erika Chase bio

 

 

Erika writes the Ashton Corners Book Club mysteries for Penguin/Berkley Prime Crime.  In a parallel life Erika Chase is also known as Linda Wiken. A former mystery bookstore owner (Prime Crime Books in Ottawa, ON, Canada), Linda is also a short story writer. She is a member of those dangerous dames, The Ladies' Killing Circle.

 

Her short stories have appeared in the seven Ladies’ Killing Circle anthologies (three of which she co-edited), and in the magazines Mysterious Intent and Over My Dead Body. She has been short-listed for an Arthur Ellis Award, Best Short Story, from Crime Writers of Canada.

 

Before life in the world of mystery, she worked as an advertising copywriter, radio producer, journalist and community education worker.  Besides writing and reading mysteries, her other passion is choral singing and she is a member of two choirs.

 

She shares her house with Keesha and Mojo, her two Siamese cats. Actually, they allow her to live there.

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News, reviews and schmooze by and about Canadian mystery writers.

 

Friday, August 12, 2011

CRIME ON MY MIND

 
And we're off!
Erika Chase is sending book #2 in the Ashton Corners Mystery Book Club series off to the publisher today! Yay! Finally!

Erika & I say 'finally', because the final polishing round can be endless. All writers know what I'm talking about. You go into a section to insert something and suddenly you're re-writing that entire page, then the next. Every time you read the thing, your editing pencil comes out and we know what that leads to. There's never a time when a writer is totally satisfied with her/his work. You just have to say to yourself, "Enough. It's time. Send it off!"

Besides, when the editor returns it for re-writes, you can then go through the same process all over again.

It's a relief to be packaging it up for emailing off. There were a few slow months, round about March, April when I wondered if I'd ever be able to pull it off. Could I actually finish the thing? Would it make sense? Would I have to send back my advance? I went through the same process with the first book. And, there's that famous story about Harlen Coben, I think...his rant and his wife asking if he was at chapter so-and-so, because that's where this always happened. Sorry, my brain is in neutral today. I'm sure someone will correct me with the right name, if this is the wrong one.


I's also a sad day because it's been so much fun. Really it has, even with those two horrid months. I've enjoyed my time in Ashton Corners, Alabama...getting to know Lizzie Turner and the other book club members even better. They're old friends now, you know. And it's hard to leave old friends. Even with that feeling of accomplishment vying for top emotion.

But I won't be away from them for long. Book #3 has to be started because it's due in 9 months. And this is all before Book #1 is even published. Are you still with me? That's right, A Killer Read, the first in the series, is due out in April, 2012.

However, even #3 has to wait awhile -- for two weeks as I'm taking a Blog-oliday! I'll be touring France with my choir and I'm not taking my computer!

So, it's a holiday for readers, too. All guest bloggers have been given a break, with many thanks for all their wise & witty words. But we'll all be back on Monday, Aug. 29th (starting with Mary Jane Maffini). I'm hoping you'll remember to come back to Mystery Maven Canada on that date, also.

We'll start a new season of blogs; I'll start a new manuscript; and Canadian crime writers will all have an amazing year of sales! Thank you readers & commenters. Where have your summer travels taken you?

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Events

DOUBLE BOOK LAUNCH -- April 19, 2012 in Ottawa, ON at the Library & Archives Canada, Room A , 395 Wellington St. Launching Erika Chase's first Ashton Corners Book Club mystery, A KILLER READ and Vicki Delany's 11th mystery, GOLD MOUNTAIN: a Klondike Mystery. 7-9 p.m. Books for sale by Books on Beechwood. Refreshments (chocolates, too!), signings, readings. Free event.  PLUS, we'll be celebrating the Shortlist Announcement by Crime Writers of Canada for the Arthur Ellis Awards!

 

MALICE DOMESTIC  -- April 27-29, 2012 in Bethesda, MD at the Hyatt Regency. Cozy lovers delight in this mystery writers & readers conference. Check the website at http://www.malicedomestic.org

 

FESTIVAL OF MYSTERY -- April 30, 2012 in Oakmont, PA at the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church Hall, 12 Washington Ave. 5:00-8:00 p.m.

www.mysterylovers.com

 

ARTHUR ELLIS AWARDS -- May 31, 2012, the annual awards for the best in the Canadian Crime writing world are given out in Toronto, ON. Details athttp://www.crimewriterscanada.com

 

BLOODY WORDS -- June 1-3, 2012 in Toronto, ON at the Hilton Downtown Toronto. Canadian, American & international crime and mystery writers and readers converge for three days of panels, readings, signings & schmoozing.  For information: http://www.bloodywords2012.com

 

********************

 

CELEBRITY CATS

 

Edam and Brie (aka Mojo and Keesha)

Keesha and Mojo allow me to share a house with them, feed them, and cater to their every whim. If you live with a cat, you know what I mean. They're the inspiration for Brie and Edam in A Killer Read; they have their own methods of 'editing' my work at the keyboard; and they offer unconditional approval.

 

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A Killer Read (Ashton Corners Book Club Mystery Series #1)  

 

A Killer Read (Ashton Corners Book Club Mystery Series #1)

 

 

Overview

For the first meeting of the Ashton Corners Mystery Readers and Cheese Straws Society, six friends gather in Molly Matthews's old Southern mansion-including Lizzie Turner, a reading specialist with a penchant for mysteries. But the mystery book club meeting becomes the scene of an actual murder when a stranger is shot-and nobody knows who the victim is, or how Molly' antique gun came to be used as the murder weapon.

Then Lizzie begins finding mysterious manuscript chapters in her mailbox. As she and the book club members try to read between the lines, Molly surfaces as the next name on the killer's list...

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Excerpt: A KILLER READ

 

            “Well, I can tell ya’ll one thing,” Bob said as he pushed an arm through the sleeve of his khaki army surplus jacket. “I didn’t expect to eat so much at a book club. This bodes well.”

            “I hope you didn’t find that too hard to take,” Lizzie teased. She resisted patting his slightly protruding belly. She’d learned the hard way that it was fine for men, her cousin in particular, to comment on Lizzie’s creeping pounds as she bit into a second mocha truffle but let her mention the words ‘beer belly’ and he was quick to reveal to all at the family reunion the name of her secret schoolgirl crush.

            “I figured the least I could do was uphold my share of the eating. Now, reading this here book could be a different matter.”

            Molly walked over to him. “Don’t tell me y’all are going to try to weasel your way out of this.” She had at least three inches on him when she chose to use it. Like now. “Especially since we all agreed on your suggestion for a name for the book club. Which proves you do actually read once in a while.”

            “That you did, and I think The Ashton Corners Mystery Readers and Cheese Straws Society is a damned fine name, too. No, I’ll read it and weep…but I’ll be back. Night all.”

            “I’ve got an early day in court tomorrow,” Jacob explained as he followed Bob out the door. “Uh, a very tricky case about a pet pig. Only in Ashton Corners.” He shook his head and chuckled. “Thanks for tonight and see ya’ll next month, if not before.” He glanced at Sally-Jo then closed the door.

            The others were gathering their jackets when Bob came barging back in. “I’m afraid there’s been a mishap outside. It’s best if ya’ll wait here until it’s sorted.’

            “What’s happened?” Molly asked.

            “It isn’t Jacob, is it?” Sally-Jo asked, a hint of panic in her voice.

            “No. He’s ok, just staying outside with the car. It’s that stranger.” He looked at Molly. “He’s dead.”

            Molly gasped. “Oh, my Lord. Dead? He should have stayed inside. Was it a heart attack, do you think?”

            “Not unless the bullet in his head precipitated it.”

 

 

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GUEST BLOG BY ERIKA CHASE

 

Today is the day! Up until now, it’s all been prep work, in a manner of speaking. And it’s been an amazing journey from the offer of a 3-book series with Berkley Prime Crime to seeing the first book, A KILLER READ on the bookshelves.

 

A friend of mine manages an independent bookstore in the city and she put it FACE OUT on the shelves the minute it arrived last week. Of course, I ran down to see it. And take pictures. Then, I noticed it in one of the big chains today. Also face out. You cannot imagine the feeling of elation! Well, I’m sure you can, especially if you’re an author or have had any major event happen in your life. Say, the birth of a child; the marriage of a child; gads, even your own wedding!

 

Any book starts as an idea and gathers steam until it becomes a community of characters interacting and, in this case, sleuthing together to set things right. My main character is Lizzie Turner, a reading specialist with the local school board in Ashton Corners (totally a state of my mind), Alabama. Her sleuth-mates are the members of the Ashton Corners Mystery Readers and Cheese Straws Society – I know, a mouthful but there’s a story behind that, too.

 

I started with Lizzie and when she became real to me, I added the others.  Okay, so she’s thirty and I’m, well…past that age. But, I’ve been there!  And she’s a reading specialist, but my niece is in that field, so talk about karma! Her love interest is the guy she had a secret crush on in high school. Been there, too! He’s now the police chief, so you can imagine how helpful she’s trying to be when it comes to solving the murder.

 

The ‘others’ are Molly Mathews, a true Southern lady, in her early seventies, a widow. She’s a philanthropist and supporter of many good causes in the community, opening her antebellum mansion to the Literacy program, at which Lizzie teaches a night class, and now, the book club. Agatha Christie is her literary goddess. Bob Miller has known her since they were pre-school age. He’s the retired chief of police, which serves as an asset when there are a bunch of amateurs sleuthing around, and loves police procedurals. He also loves giving Molly a hard time on occasion.

 

Then we have Sally-Jo Baker. She’s new to town and teaches third grade at the school, which is where Lizzie and she met and became fast friends. Jacob Smith, also a newbie, is Bob’s neighbor and a lawyer. Seems he’s got his eye on Sally-Jo already. But of course, he’s in the book club strictly for the reading.

 

Adding some youth to the mix are Andie Mason, a headstrong sixteen-year-old who Lizzie tutors and actually bribed into joining the book club, figuring it would get her hooked on reading. We’ll see. And then there’s Stephanie Lowe. At nineteen, she’s alone in the world and soon to become a mama. She’s found the right support group in the book club and has some tantalizing reading suggestions for Andie.

 

That’s the gang! They’re unique and complimentary, forging a bond that goes beyond the monthly meetings.

 

I enjoy the fact that it’s a book club sleuthing together. As the former owner of a specialty mystery bookstore, I’ve worked with several book clubs and value all they add to the reading and writing community.  As a member of a book club, I am grateful for the challenges the differing opinions present.

 

Reading is a very personal experience. Not everyone will enjoy the same book and even those who do, often will take away different aspects of it. It’s this collective view that rounds out the writer and the reader. And what could be more fun than finding a body – okay, maybe not so great! – and working through to a solution of the crime?

 

But what’s most important to me in this series are the friendships.  Okay, the mystery comes in a close second. Or maybe they’re equally weighted. There’s also the fact that you can’t keep a good book club down. They’re already working through a second adventure in READ & BURIED, which will be out in November. And you wouldn’t believe what’s happening to them all in the third book! At this stage…it’s a mystery!

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Re: Guest Blog by Author ERIKA CHASE!

Congratulations on your release day, Erika!

 

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Let's help Erika celebrate her release day!

 

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Re: Guest Blog by Author ERIKA CHASE!

Congratulations on your release, Erika -- and on the next two books to follow! What a thrill to see your book everywhere. It sounds like a wonderful read with a great cast of characters. Book clubs are always fun because of the mix of members. Looking forward to reading it and discovering the story behind the cheese straws. :smileyhappy:

 

Pam Callow

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maxcat
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ERIKA CHASE!

Congrats on the release of your new book and another one off to the publisher. I'm going to buy this series as it sounds very interesting. Thanks for your wonderful blog, Erika and good luck with your books.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ERIKA CHASE!


PamelaCallow wrote:

Congratulations on your release, Erika -- and on the next two books to follow! What a thrill to see your book everywhere. It sounds like a wonderful read with a great cast of characters. Book clubs are always fun because of the mix of members. Looking forward to reading it and discovering the story behind the cheese straws. :smileyhappy:

 

Pam Callow


Hi Pam - Looking forward to your new book, too!

 

Tattooed  

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Re: Guest Blog by Author ERIKA CHASE!

Thanks for the good wishes, Daniel. I hope you enjoy reading it. Also, hope you belong to a book club!

 

Erika

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Re: Guest Blog by Author ERIKA CHASE!

Oops, Maxcat! Sorry about that -- must get my brain in gear before answering next time. Thanks again, though!

 

Erika:catvery-happy:

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Re: Guest Blog by Author ERIKA CHASE!

THanks, Pam. That's so great...because I'll be reading your new book, too! Looking forward to it.:smileyhappy:

 

Erika

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Re: Guest Blog by Author ERIKA CHASE!

Hi Erika! Do you have any exciting plans to celebrate your release day?

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Re: Guest Blog by Author ERIKA CHASE!

Welcome Erika: Congratulations on your new release! I will definitely be checking out your series!
Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt
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Re: Guest Blog by Author ERIKA CHASE!

Hi Becke...believe it or not, I'm back at work. Book #3 is due June 1st; just finished edits on #2, READ & BURIED yesterday. No rest for the wicked or the mystery writer!

 

Erika :catvery-happy:

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Thanks, Eadie. I really hope you like it! Good to meet you here. If you're at any of the upcoming conferences I'm attending, please say 'hi'!

 

Erika

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erika50 wrote:

Hi Becke...believe it or not, I'm back at work. Book #3 is due June 1st; just finished edits on #2, READ & BURIED yesterday. No rest for the wicked or the mystery writer!

 

Erika :catvery-happy:


Well, it's exciting to hear your next book is already well on the way, but I'm sorry you didn't have a chance to party tonight!