Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Spinning in Her Grave by Molly MacRae: Guest Author/Giveaway


Spinning in Her Grave (Haunted Yarn Shop Series #3)


 

What’s it like to write a mystery series set in a small town? It’s like having the coolest set of blocks to play with that you can imagine—complete with action figures and accessories! 

For my Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries, I took my blocks and built Blue Plum, Tennessee, borrowing the best parts of my favorite small towns for inspiration. The streets crisscross a creek (with fish) that meanders through town. The courthouse is there, and the library (with real books,) and if my action figures get hungry they can stop by Mel’s on Main, the best café in town (with real pastries in the bakery case—that you can smell!) And then, of course, there’s the fiber and fabric shop called the Weaver’s Cat. It’s in a three-story, antebellum brick row house and it comes with gorgeous yarns, flosses, quilting fabric, needles, notions, spinning, dying, and weaving supplies, and a window seat in the study up in the attic. And I get to play with all of it! 

Kath Rutledge is the main action figure for the series. She’s new in Blue Plum, but getting settled, and she’s playing nicely with her friends. There’s Ardis, her shop manager; Mel, who owns the café; Thea, the librarian; Joe, the fisherman; Joe’s brother Clod, the sheriff’s deputy; Argyle the cat; and Geneva the ghost. Each of their mystery stories comes with an Action Figure & Accessories bonus pack, too. For Spinning in Her Grave, their latest adventure, the bonus pack includes a baker, a piano salesman, working spinning wheels, a bass boat, and a piglet that really squeals. 

In this story, everyone is getting ready for the annual heritage festival called Blue Plum Preserves. Oh—and the bonus pack also includes pavilion tents, a music stage to set up on the courthouse steps, banjos, a high wheel bicycle, and antique rifles. Fun! (Although the rifles are a little disturbing.)

This business of writing a small town mystery takes a love for micro-scale world building and playing with dolls. It takes a love for something else, too—something related to the love for driving little cars around the streets and creating window displays at the Weaver’s Cat. But this goes beyond a love for picking paint for other people’s kitchens or dressing some of the action figures with questionable taste. A key part of writing mysteries is a love for meddling in other peoples’ lives. 

I set Blue Plum up so that it’s just right—add trees, porch swings, a festival on a pretty summer weekend where people are having a good time—and then I start tinkering, tweaking, and tossing problems at them. What if the piano salesman is directing a piece of street theater involving guns? What if he approaches Kath and asks if one of his actors can hide in the Weaver’s Cat and shoot blank rounds from a second-story window? What if she says no, but someone does it anyway, the rounds aren’t blank, and the baker dies? What if Clod, the sheriff’s deputy, still thinks Kath might be interested in him? What if Geneva, the ghost, discovers she’s afraid of ghosts? Do you see what I mean? Why can’t I leave these poor people alone?

People might assume, after reading Spinning in Her Grave, or the first two books in the series, that I spin, dye, weave, or knit regularly and well. Especially knit, because the action figures belonging to TGIF (Thank Goodness It’s Fiber) challenged themselves to knit 1,000 baby hats by the end of the year and they’re always talking about self-striping yarn and other knitter stuff. I do knit, in a rudimentary way, and I’ve done a bit of weaving, spinning, and dyeing. But what I really like to do with knitting needles (or spindles or shuttles or crochet hooks) is poke around in the lives of my action figures, gum up the works, and see what happens. I’m not mean, though, except for killing one or two people in each book. These are cozy mysteries, after all, and I care about my action figures. Even the poor things who do end up dead—bless their hearts.

So, what’s it like to write a mystery series set in a small town? For me, it’s a great way to knit (or spin, weave, or dye) vicariously. It’s a way to indulge my meddling gene safely. And it’s just plain fun.

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Blurb: Kath Rutledge is settling in as the owner of the Weaver’s Cat, a fiber and fabric shop in Blue Plum, Tennessee. But nothing, not even the ghost haunting her shop, prepares her for the mystery that will leave the whole town spinning....

It’s time for Blue Plum’s annual historical festival, and everyone—including Kath and her spunky fiber and needlework group, TGIF—is getting in on the action. Expert spinners are being gathered, and a businessman has approached Kath about using the second-floor windows of her store for part of a reenactment. But the reenactment ends in real-life bloodshed when local baker Reva Louise Snapp is shot—with a bullet from a modern-day gun.

Kath has her theories about who wanted to end Reva Louise’s life. But there’s also talk of a sniper stalking Blue Plum, and Kath’s shop is suspected to be the murderer’s hideout. Now Kath, her TGIF pals, and the gloomy ghost, Geneva, must unravel the mystery quickly, or someone else might be left hanging by a thread....


Molly MacRae, author of the Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery series, including Dyeing Wishes and Last Wool and Testament, was director of the history museum in Jonesborough, Tennessee’s oldest town, and later managed an independent bookstore in Johnson City. Her short stories have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine for more than twenty years, and she has won the Sherwood Anderson Award for Short Fiction.

Giveaway: Leave a comment (don't forget your email address!) by noon EST on March 17, and you will be entered to win a copy of Spinning in Her Grave. U.S. entries only.



49 comments:

  1. I loved the first book.

    kaye.killgore@comcast.net

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  2. This is a new to me series, but I would love to start reading it . The title is awesome ! kathambre@yahoo.com

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    1. Good luck in the giveaway, Kathy! If you don't win, check your local library to see if they have any of the books. If they don't, suggest they get them, then check them out and tell your friends to check them out. Libraries are great that way - spreading the joy, one book and one reader at a time!

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  3. I think I'd like to visit Blue Plum! Sounds like she put a lot of effort into making this small town come alive! Thanks!
    JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Blue Plum has a place in my head and in my heart. I'm glad you like the sound of the place!

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  4. I'm a major paranormal cozy reader. In fact I'm still waiting for another author to finally publish her next haunted book store mystery, and remind her of the fact regularly.

    I'd love to add this book to my home library.

    NoraAdrienne(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Good luck in the giveaway Nora Ardrienne! Ghosts make amazing characters - a lot of fun to write about.

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  5. Book 1 in the series was great - can't wait to see what happens next.
    kkat(dot)edwards(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Glad you like Last Wool and Testament, KKat! Thanks for stopping by today, and good luck with the giveaway!

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  6. I love this series! Would like to win the new book. Are you back in Illinois, Molly? It's supposed to be 68 today!

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    1. Thanks, Tess! I'm still in California, but loving the idea of 68 back home. Enjoy!

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  7. Thank you for sharing what it's like to write a small town mystery, Molly. And for the chance to win Spinning In Her Grave.

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    1. You're welcome, Lisa. Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. Congratulations on your latest release Molly! I love the cover and just know that this is going to be another fabulous book to read.

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  9. Thanks, Kelly! Doesn't Penguin do a great job on covers? I couldn't be happier with mine (and just got a sneak peek at the cover for book 4 - LOVE it!)

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  10. Sounds like a series right up my alley! Can't wait to start reading it.

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  11. This author and series are new to me. Thanks for featuring this title ... I am always in search of more cozies! kateivan (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. I hope you'll try the books and enjoy your trip to Blue Plum, Katherine!

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  12. I just came upon you and your series. I'm going to go buy the first book as I'm always looking for a good mystery. Loved reading about you - thanks for sharing.
    izzybell410@gmail.com

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    1. Thanks, Izzybell! I hope you enjoy your visit to Blue Plum!

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  13. Looking forward to reading this series.

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  14. I love finding new authors to read and Molly MacRae's books are on my list !!!! So looking forward to reading her books!!!!

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    1. Thanks, Missi! I hope you like reading them as much as I enjoy writing them.

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  15. Libby
    What an utterly delightful description of your work! I'm sure it is reflected in the books.
    libbydodd@comcast.net

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    1. And what an utterly nice thing for you to say! Thank you, Libby!

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  16. Entry for Valerie who has been unable to post. valerie_gayle84@hotmail.com

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  17. Entry for Linda who has been unable to post. sunshine808@consolidated.net

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    1. Hey, Linda! Glad to see you made it. Good luck in the giveaway!

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  18. I absolutely adore the ghost in this series.

    Kimberlee
    girllostinabook@hotmail.com
    www.girllostinabook.com

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    1. Thank you, Kimberlee! Before Geneva came along, I had no idea how much fun a ghost character could be.

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  19. oh!!! i need to check this out! i LOVE ghosts! -Crepes.

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    1. Good luck in the giveaway, then Catin!

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  20. Thanks for having me here, today, Melissa and Truffles! What a great audience!

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  21. Mommy LOVES books! And I like reading them with her! So please consider us.
    Thank you.
    (manners count, right?)
    QUINN

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  22. a definite 'add' to my Wish List!!
    thank you for the giveaway!!

    cyn209 at juno dot com

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  23. I wish I could knit but I just have to enjoy others creations. Thank you for the chance to win. griperang at embarqmail dot com

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  24. I love small town mysteries. This one sounds wonderful with great characters. The cover is so pretty. Thanks for having the giveaway.

    ayancey1974(at)gmail(dot)com

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  27. Love walking through yarn shops--haunted?? Love to read your book! Ronnalord@msn.com

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  28. I love reading about places that are haunted! Thank you for the giveaway!
    mittens0831 at aol dot com

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  29. Small towns and sewing and related crafts remind me of my childhood---seems like all the women in town did something with yarn or cloth.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

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  30. I love the sound of this Book. It's got a lot in it that I like...
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

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