Monday, October 6, 2014

Stirring the Plot by Daryl Wood Gerber: Guest Author, Review & Giveaway


Stirring the Plot (Cookbook Nook Series #3)


A WEALTH OF CHARACTERS
By Daryl Wood Gerber aka Avery Aames
Cookbook Nook Mysteries / Cheese Shop Mysteries

Have you ever noticed that in TV shows you can figure out whodunit by who is in the cast? Big-named actors are coming out in droves to appear in popular shows. The moment they come onto the scene, you think to yourself, “Aha! I know who did it.” But then there’s another named actor or actress, and you think, “Whoa, maybe I don’t.” But then two suspects get ruled out, there’s only one named actor left to choose, and yet again, you think, “Aha!”

In books, it’s a whole different story, isn’t it? Mystery authors do their best to play fair. They give you a number of suspects, and they keep leading you down the trail toward the solution. If you haven’t met the characters before the current book, they’re all suspect, aren’t they? Not the protagonist of course. You’re rooting for her. But the wily beautician, the mean grocer, the shady lawyer.

Isn’t that fun?

As a writer, that’s the most interesting part of writing for me. I love creating all these characters. They live in my brain and on the page. Over the course of my career, I’ve had the privilege to create a ton of characters. In fact, I just put a list together with all the names I’ve ever come up with [I can’t give someone in one book the same name as a character in another], and I discovered that for the Cookbook Nook and Cheese Shop mysteries alone (a total of 12 books turned into my editor, to date), I have created over 100 characters. And I’ve written a few suspense and thrillers that have a wealth of characters, too. I know. Yipes, right?! How do I keep them all straight? With charts. But I have to populate books. A mystery with one suspect and one protagonist isn’t much of a mystery. So there I go creating the wily beautician, the mean grocer, the shady lawyer, and more. Good guys and bad guys. By the way, I can’t have suspects continue to live in town after a book because, well, if  you read the next book first, you might know they aren’t suspect, so—author’s privilege—I move them, transfer them, make them disappear. Magic! Which means I have to come up with more “new” characters. Fun!

You know what else is a blast? Hearing from fans that love this character or loathe that one. I adore hearing what my fans think about my protagonist’s love life, too. Should she be with so-and-so? What about the one that got away?

FYI, I could talk for hours about how my characters are not based on real people, yet people still walk away convinced that some are. You might wonder whether my main characters in the Cookbook Nook and Cheese Shop mysteries are thinly veiled versions of myself. As if. They’re young and optimistic. Okay, yes, I am optimistic. Always have been. But I’ve never been as curious as they, nor as daring.

Last but not least, you might wonder where I get my character names. The ether?? Sometimes. I try names out, say them out loud, see if they stick. I’ve been known to change names for characters a lot. Jesse became Jenna (close). Kathleen became Vivian (not even starting with the same letter). I’ve give some characters offbeat names because I love when a name stands out—I can remember them well. However, that can backfire. A few fans have written to tell me a name was too weird. They didn’t like Edsel. Why not? I know an Edsel. They didn’t like Dane, either. Yes, I know a Dane, too. Not everyone can be Tom, Dick, or Harry. But what can you do? I thank my fans and move on.

Now, in closing, here’s a poser: in one of my books, after I changed a character name, one instance of the original name stayed in the book. Oops! I’ve only had one fan tell me so far. I won’t tell you who the character is or in which book, but the first fan to contact me and tell me who and which (before September 30), will win a cute Savor the Mystery mug! I will tell you it was in the first edition of the book and has subsequently been fixed, and I promise to reveal the answer in a future blog. Honestly, I couldn’t believe it when I learned of the mistake. That means my first readers, my editor, my copy editor, and I all missed it!!!

Savor the Mystery and enjoy all the characters you meet as you read.

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Below is a tidbit about STIRRING THE PLOT, the next in my Cookbook Nook mysteries. It comes out September 30!  FYI, though I write a series, each book is a stand-alone and can be read first, even if you haven’t read the others in the series.

Blurb: Halloween in Crystal Cove, California, is a big deal, involving a spooky soiree where the Winsome Witches, a fund-raising group, gather to open up their purse strings and trade superstitions. But party magicians, fortune-tellers, and herbalists are only the beginning of this recipe for disaster….

Jenna Hart has packed The Cookbook Nook chock-full of everything from ghostly texts to witchy potions in anticipation of the annual fund-raiser luncheon. But there’s one unexpected addition to the menu: murder.

When the Head Priestess of the Winsome Witches is found dead under mysterious circumstances, there’s no logical answer and plenty of blame to go around. With her aunt, Vera, unable to call on her ability to foresee the future, Jenna will have to use more than just sleight of hand and a few magic tricks to conjure up the truth….

[This is NOT a paranormal story. It is a traditional cozy mystery.]

Tortie Shorties
Book reviews that are short and sweet...just like Truffles!

I've adored every book in the Cookbook Nook Mystery series, and this one is the best one yet because it's set at Halloween! How absolutely adorable is sweet little kitten Tigger on the cover in his witch hat???

The Winsome Witches have planned a variety of fundraising events, including a haunted tour of various locations in Crystal Cove. The morning after the tour, High Priestess Pearl Thornton is found dead, sprawled face-down across the cold fire pit in her backyard. Tests show she was poisoned, and before long secrets come to the surface that make the friends start questioning how well they really know each other. Red herrings abound but there was one character I was particularly suspicious of, and I ended up being right but the motive was quite a shock!

My favorite new character in this book is Emma, owner of Pet Taxi, a service that shuttles animals to the vet or groomers. I hope she's going to be a regular character in the future.

If you're looking for something to put you in the Halloween spirit look no further than this wonderful book. I'm off to enter Truffles in the Black Cat Parade :)

Giveaway: Leave a comment by noon eastern on Friday, October 10th for your chance to win a paperback copy of Stirring the Plot. (US entries only, please.)

37 comments:

  1. love the cover! love that there is a pet taxi service in the book.. not so thrilled that a Pearl gets killed (that was my grandma's name) but, that won't by any means, keep me from reading it! it looks good!

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  2. BTW Good Luck Truffles! in the black cat parade!

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  3. Terrific post with fun insight into character creation. This is such a wonderful series, and to have this installment set at Halloween is genius--such wonderful fun. I have to say, too, that the cover is one of my all-time favorites.

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  4. I love Halloween themed cozies, especially with cats ! The recipes are a nice bonus too. Thanks for a chance to win a copy ! kathambre@yahoo.com

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  5. So perfect for Halloween; would love to read it, thank you for the chance :)
    jslbrown2009(at)aol(dot)com

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  6. I absolutely love all of her books. Can hardly wait to read Stirring The Plot.

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  7. Can't wait to return to Crystal Cove and read this! Sounds perfect for October. Thanks for the chance to win.

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  8. I love Tigger, in his witch hat, too! Hugs, Truffles!

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  9. A captivating series. Thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  10. I know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover.. but darn it I want to own that book for the cover alone! :)

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  11. I would love to win this book! And I agree it's one of the best covers ever....

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  12. Love the cover and cute kitty on front plus I love this series

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  13. Yous know weez nevew fawt 'bout dat afur, but yous wight. Course weez usually fink da big named actor is da hewo. Hope yous havin' a pawsum day.

    Luv ya'

    Dezi and Lexi

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  14. recipe for disaster….
    sounds intriguing!
    I would love to read this!

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  15. Hi, everyone. Love hearing from you
    And so thrilled you love the cover. Isn't my artist fabulous!!
    Hugs to all
    Daryl aka Avery

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  16. Looking forward to reading this one.

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  17. Love the cover!! Can't wait to read-I've been on the library reserve list for this series forever!!

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  18. I really enjoy these books and the cheese shop series is a favorite TOO! I get so many wonderful recipes from these series! I'm HOOKED!!!

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  19. I think little Tigger is a perfect Halloween cat---orange is the new black.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

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  20. Holiday books always get me so excited for all the upcoming holidays 😃

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  21. Love Daryl's books. I can't wait to read it.

    Kit3247(at)aol(dot)com

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  22. Love this series! Can't wait to read the newest book!

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  23. I've just started reading this book. I'm enjoy it so far. :D
    cb (at) carolbee (dot) com

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  24. Love the cover! The new one sounds like great fun.

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  25. I love both your series. Can't wait to read this one. Would love to win. Fngers crossed! :)

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  26. I love your writing and can't wait to read this one as well.

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  27. Stirring the Plot sounds like the perfect book for Halloween! I am looking forward to reading it.
    myrifraf (at) gmail (dot) com

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  28. Looks like a great Fall Read. Love the cover
    gibsonbk@hiwaay dot net

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  29. Thanks for the chance! I would love to win a copy!

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  30. Great cover....even if I wasn't already a fan, I would want to buy this book based on the cover!

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  31. I love this series.

    kaye.killgore@comcast.net

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  32. Mystery, Halloween and cooking. Some Of My FAVORITE things. Another would be winning a copy of STIRRING THE PLOT!!!.

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  33. Looks like another Great Cozy mystery,

    xzjh04@ gmail.com

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  34. My goodness it looks like I am getting way behind on your great reviews :) This looks like another great one I need to put on my wish list!

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