A Day in the Life with Rowena Flowers by Kay Finch

Black Cat CrossingMy name is Rowena Flowers, and I own the Around the World Cottages in Lavender, Texas. I named each cottage for a city I visited abroad – the Paris cottage, the Barcelona cottage, the Madrid cottage, you get the idea. I make a good living renting out my cottages to Texas Hill Country vacationers, but I’m more than happy for my niece Sabrina Tate to live in one of them full-time. See, Sabrina’s been living in Houston and working at a law firm, but she’s a country girl and a writer at heart. What better place for an aspiring mystery author to create stories than sitting in the lovely Monte Carlo cottage with the sparkling Glidden River right outside her door?

Sabrina’s excited about her new feline friend, and she claims the suspense in her writing has improved with him around so she named him Hitchcock. Too bad not everyone in town believes the cat’s a good-luck charm. Some call him the Bad Luck Cat, which is a bunch of legendary hooey from back in the day. Sabrina’s doing her best to set the superstitious townspeople straight and prove Hitchcock is simply a Black Cat Imageloveable cat.

Charming as our town might be, everything is not wine and roses here in Lavender. You know how there are some people in life who just need a good swat upside the head every now and then? My no-good cousin Bobby Joe Flowers is one of those people. I wasn’t happy when he popped in for a surprise visit, but how was I to know he’d go and get himself killed the same day I walloped him with one of my crutches? Now, instead of asking me to dinner like he usually does, the sheriff is asking me about alibis and such.

So now Sabrina’s busy trying to solve a real-life murder to keep me, her dear Aunt Rowe, from being locked up for the crime. And it turns out Hitchcock the cat is not only a good-luck writer’s charm – he’s a master of sleuthing, too. With their help, I should have nothing to worry about.


You can read more about Aunt Rowe in Black Cat Crossing, the first book in the NEW “Bad Luck Cat” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime.

About Black Cat Crossing

Sabrina has never been the superstitious type. Still, when she moves to Lavender, Texas, to write her first novel and help her Aunt Rowe manage her vacation rental business, Sabrina can’t avoid listening to the rumors that a local black cat is a jinx—especially after the stray in question leads her directly to the scene of a murder.

The deceased turns out to be none other than her Aunt Rowe’s awful cousin Bobby Joe Flowers, a known cheat and womanizer who had no shortage of enemies. The only problem is that Aunt Rowe and Bobby Joe had quarreled just before the cousin turned up dead, leaving Rowe at the top of the long list of suspects. Now it’s up to Sabrina to clear her aunt’s name. Luckily for her, she’s got a new sidekick, Hitchcock the Bad Luck Cat, to help her sniff out clues and stalk a killer before Aunt Rowe winds up the victim of even more misfortune. . .

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Giveaway MugGIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by noon eastern on Tuesday, September 8 for the chance to win this cute Black Cat mug. (US entries only, please.)

About the Author
Kay Finch grew up on a Pennsylvania farm, but after moving to Texas she discovered her favorite vacation spot, the Texas Hill Country, setting of her Bad Luck Cat mystery series. Book one of the series, Black Cat Crossing, will be released in September 2015. Kay lives with her husband, a rescue cat, and two wild and crazy rescue dogs in a Houston suburb. Visit kayfinch.com.

A Day in the Life of Genevieve Martin by Juliet Blackwell

The Paris KeyNot long ago, a typical day in Genevieve Martin’s life changed pretty dramatically. After discovering her husband was having an affair, and then her beloved uncle passed away, Genevieve made an impulsive, life-altering decision: to move to Paris and take over her late uncle’s locksmith shop in the Village Saint Paul, in the 4th arrondisement of Paris.

It was a radical move, and every day Genevieve wonders whether she was crazy for relocating to a foreign country. But then, this being Paris, she usually gets distracted by amazing food or beautiful locales.

In her new home in Paris, Genevieve wakes up and throws open her windows to the cobblestone courtyard that houses a number of neighboring antiques shops. She musters her courage to try to speak French, and greets her neighbors and passersby, many of whom are strolling with fresh flowers or baguettes in hand.

Then Genevieve usually heads out to her favorite boulangerie to buy her own fresh baguettes – and perhaps a pain au chocolat (a mouth-watering chocolate croissant) – from her new Parisian friend, Sylviane. Sylviane complains to Genevieve about her five brothers, none of whom want to go into the family business, which leaves her saddled with the bakery and forever smelling like fresh bread. Not that that’s a bad thing, Genevieve tells her.

Afterward, Genevieve grabs her uncle’s old leather satchel full of locksmithing tools and makes house calls, opening a few locked doors, replacing antique locks, and installing security bars. Genevieve learned her trade at her uncle’s knee when she came to visit him as a teenager, not long after her mother died. For years, back in the US, she bought old locks at thrift stores and practiced opening them as a form of meditation. But now she’s taken over her uncle’s role as neighborhood locksmith, which allows her to peek into ancient stone homes and to get to know her Parisian neighbors.

Lunch is a falafel-stuffed pita from the Rue des Rosiers, or perhaps a sandwich from a cart – though, this being Paris, the simple bread filled with a little butter and ham is scrumptious. She eats in the Place des Vosges, one of the few plazas where people are invited to lounge on the cool lawn –usually in Paris people are asked to keep off the grass. A violinist plays in one corner, taking advantage of the acoustics of the covered walk’s vaulted ceiling. Genevieve likes to think about all the activities that have taken place in this town square over the years; especially the fact that Victor Hugo –-author of the Hunchback of Notre Dame– used to live right here, at apartment number 6.

In the afternoon, Genevieve might make a key for one of the clients who stop by the tiny locksmith shop – no bigger than a closet—on the Rue Saint Paul. Or she might continue the never-ending job of sorting through her uncle and aunt’s things in their little apartment behind the shop. Their daughter, Catharine, is now a therapist on the other side of town, near Montmartre. Catharine rarely comes back to the Village Saint Paul. Genevieve isn’t sure why, but she understands that family dynamics are complex. She’s happy to do her cousin this favor, and enjoys looking through the scraps and papers and antiques.

Finally, in the evening, a handsome Irishman named Killian stops by for something called “apero”—a little drink and snack before dinner. Killian’s a photographer, and if he can talk Genevieve into a little adventure they might well go down to explore the catacombs beneath the streets of Paris, or perhaps to visit an abandoned Chateau in the Loire Valley, just to see what they find.

Because for Genevieve Martin a “Day in the Life” in Paris is always a surprise.

About The Paris Key
An American in Paris navigates her family’s secret past and unlocks her own future, in this emotionally evocative novel by New York Times bestselling author Juliet Blackwell.

As a girl, Genevieve Martin spent the happiest summer of her life in Paris, learning the delicate art of locksmithing at her uncle’s side. But since then, living back in the States, she has become more private, more subdued. She has been an observer of life rather than an active participant, holding herself back from those around her, including her soon-to-be-ex-husband.

Paris never really left Genevieve, and, as her marriage crumbles, she finds herself faced with an incredible opportunity: return to the magical city of her youth to take over her late uncle’s shop. But as she absorbs all that Parisian culture has to offer, she realizes the city also holds secrets about her family that could change her forever, and that locked doors can protect you or imprison you, depending on which side of them you stand.

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GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by noon eastern on Monday, September 7th for your chance to win a print copy of The Paris Key. (US entries only, please.)

About the author
Juliet Blackwell’s latest novel is about a woman who takes over her uncle’s locksmith shop in Paris and discovers family secrets, entitled The Paris Key. Blackwell is the New York Times bestselling Juliet Blackwellauthor of the Witchcraft Mystery series and the Haunted Home Renovation Mystery series. As Hailey Lind, she wrote the Agatha-nominated Art Lover’s Mystery series. A former anthropologist and social worker, Juliet has worked in Mexico, Spain, Cuba, Italy, the Philippines, and France.

Visit her at www.julietblackwell.net, join her on Facebook (JulietBlackwellAuthor) and on Twitter @JulietBlackwell

My Musing ~ The Paris Key by Juliet Blackwell

The Paris KeyThe Paris Key by Juliet Blackwell, published by NAL Trade Paperback Original, September 2015

An American in Paris navigates her family’s secret past and unlocks her own future, in this emotionally evocative novel by New York Times bestselling author Juliet Blackwell.

As a girl, Genevieve Martin spent the happiest summer of her life in Paris, learning the delicate art of locksmithing at her uncle’s side. But since then, living back in the States, she has become more private, more subdued. She has been an observer of life rather than an active participant, holding herself back from those around her, including her soon-to-be-ex-husband.

Paris never really left Genevieve, and, as her marriage crumbles, she finds herself faced with an incredible opportunity: return to the magical city of her youth to take over her late uncle’s shop. But as she absorbs all that Parisian culture has to offer, she realizes the city also holds secrets about her family that could change her forever, and that locked doors can protect you or imprison you, depending on which side of them you stand.

I like it. This is wonderfully-crafted story of a woman’s journey of self-discovery. I enjoyed seeing Paris, one of my favorite international cities, through the eyes of Genevieve and the author. The visualization, the mystery, the drama, the romance, just about everything was perfectly woven into the pages of this narrative that was so heartfelt that it warmed my heart as the book neared its finale. Juliet Blackwell’s treatment of this story left me hungry for more from this talented author.

A Book-Infused Weekend

I had a wonderful 1.5 day weekend first traveling to Columbia by way of Baltimore. Seeing Kristopher, Michael, Sharon and Eleanor at the train station put a smile on my face. Then it was off as we took the scenic view up to Boonsboro, Maryland, home of the Nora Roberts’ Inn BoonsBoro (another bucket list item checked) and shopping in her bookstore, Turn the Page Bookstore (another checked off) and dining in her pizza shop, Vesta. After checking out some of the other stores in Boonsboro, we headed to Terre d’ Ange where we got the grand tour, relaxed and had good conversations. All in a good Saturday.

Sunday was the piece de resistance. . .having a home-cooked breakfast of home fries, fried eggs, toast, bacon, hot chocolate and orange juice to start the day before going to the Willard Hotel (another check off bucket list) for English Tea with Louise Penny. We got to the hotel early and just relaxed. We were looking to see where Ulysses Grant sat while hiding out from people. Eleanor brought me a fascinator (isn’t that a cute word for a headband with a fancy topping?) and I felt like a queen. Kris, Michael, Sharon, Patricia and Eleanor all looked mighty fine as we waited to get our book and enter the room for our tea and to listen to Louise Penny talk. We also saw several members of the Malice Board and as Joni said, it was Malice Domestic, pas duex.

The Menu was: Tea: English Breakfast or Green Tea Passion; Sandwiches: Orange Sesame Chicken Salad, Egg Salad, Smoked Salmon and Cucumber; Scones: Vanilla and Raisin; Pastries: Lemon Meringue Tart, Earl Grey Chocolate Mousse and Hazelnut Cream Puff.

Then Louise entertained us with her writing endeavors as she sold her first book, took Q&A and then we had the book signing. I sometimes don’t know if an author remembers me when I had little contact with them, but as soon as Louise saw who I was, she gave me a big old hug. That was the highlight of my day as well as getting so many compliments on the fascinator. Thank you, Eleanor.

That was my weekend in a shell. A great time was had by all. Until the next time.

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WEEKLY ROUND-UP: No. 87

Weekly Roundup* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

August 31 – September 6, 2015 on dru’s book musings
August 30: Genevieve Martin from “The Paris Key” by Juliet Blackwell
September 1: Rowena Flowers from “Bad Luck Cat” series by Kay Finch
September 2: Leslee Stanton Nix from “Silver Six Crafting” series by Nancy Haddock
September 3: Skye Denison-Boyd from “Scumble River” series by Denise Swanson
September 4: Suzanne Wyatt Richardson from “Lighthouse Library” series by Eva Gates
September 5: Sunshine Merryweather from “Purple Door Detective Agency” series by Joyce and Jim Lavene
September 6: Paulette Palinsky from “Paulette Palinsky Travel” series by Patricia Gulley

August 24 – August 30, 2015, last week on dru’s book musings
– Janice Rogers from “Happy Hoofers” series by Mary McHugh
– Angie Curtis from “Mainely Needlepoint” series by Lea Wait
– Maxie Pierce from “Chili Cook-Off” series by Kylie Logan
– Cliff Sebastian from “Country Cooking School” series by Paige Shelton
– Zula Fae Raines Payne from “Ghostly Southern” series by Tonya Kappes
– Randall Shiffley from “Meg Langslow” series by Donna Andrews
– Sabrina Shaw from “Hard Targets” series by Wendy Byrne

Congratulations to these contest winners –
“The Cat, the Sneak, & the Secret” by Leann Sweeney – Elizabeth T.
“Killer Run” by Lynn Cahoon – Kathleen C.
“Dante’s Dilemma” by Lynne Raimondo – Dorothy H.
“Give ’em Pumpkin to Talk About” by Joyce and Jim Lavene – Rebecca P.
“Delta for Death” by Michele Drier – Amy G.
“The Dollhouse in the Crawlspace” by Ellen Byerrum – Robin C.

Reading Round-Up
——♦ August 2015: 17 books
Year-to-date: 157 books