I’m delighted today to be a part of author Kylie Logan’s Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for CHILI CON CARNAGE, the first installment in her new Chili Cook-Off Mystery series that will be released Oct. 1.
This is going to be a fun tour with lots going on. First, Kylie joins us to answer some questions about her book and her writing, then I’ll share my thoughts on her new book, and last, but not least, Kylie is giving away a copy of her book to a lucky visitor. Please see the end of the post for the giveaway details. I’m also including the other stops on Kylie’s tour so you can have additional chances to win a copy of the book and learn more about it and the author.
Let’s start with a brief synopsis of CHILI CON CARNAGE
Romance is supposed to be the spice of life. But Maxie Pierce is so done with bad relationships . . . well, almost. She just has to get rid of the latest loser, Roberto. Besides, she has more important things to worry about. Her dad, Texas Jack Pierce, king of the chili cook-off circuit, has been missing for nearly six weeks. In his place, she must team up with her irritating half sister, Sylvia, to promote the family business at the Taos Chili Showdown.
But when Maxie discovers Roberto's body in a chef's trailer--only hours after publicly breaking up with him--she suddenly finds she's the one in the spotlight as the police pepper her with questions. Now this Chili Chick needs to kick up the search to catch the real killer and get back to finding her father.
Now Kylie has graciously answered some questions for me.
Mason - CHILI CON CARNAGE is the first installment in the third series you’re writing. Do you write on all three at the same time or do you have a schedule? How do you keep the characters, locations, plots, etc. straight from one book to another?
How do I keep things straight? Not always very well! Actually, I work on only one book at a time. So, for instance, a write a Chili Cook-Off mystery, finish that, start a League of Literary Ladies mystery, etc. One thing I've learned after all the books I've written (the one I'm working on now is #50) is to try and keep track of things like what people look like, where they live, what they like and don't like. I know that sounds like a no-brainer, but it gets to be really hard, especially in a series that's populated by a number of characters. I now have a binder for each series with lists of details, pictures of people who I think look like my story people, etc. It helps keep my head from popping off as I'm writing!
Mason - What inspired this new series and these characters?
Actually, the Chili Cook-Off mysteries kind of happened by accident. I happened to be talking to my agent one day and I mentioned that my husband had won a chili cook-off at his office. "Chili cook-off!" she said. "That would be a great idea for a mystery series." The rest, as they say, is history. As for the characters . . . well, that's always fun! Populating a story can be challenging, and it takes some time to come up with just the right main character. Do you want someone logical who can work his/her way through a mystery? Or someone a little more freethinking? Do you want someone sweet and easy for readers to like? Or someone a little more edgy who readers may not want to be, but sure want to watch? You see what I'm getting at. Lots of decisions to make, especially when it comes to the protagonist.
For the Chili Cook-Off mysteries, I decided on Maxie Pierce, who's a little out there, a woman who was burned by the man she thought she loved and who isn't willing to giver herself heart and soul to another man. Maxie has a bit of circus ringmaster in her, a bit of liar, a bit of showman. She's not book smart, but she's got plenty of street smarts and nobody's going to get the best of her!
Mason - With the book’s release, as you look back what was the biggest surprise that occurred while you were writing the story?
You know, one of the really hard things to do when you write a few different series is to keep each one fresh. All the characters in my League of Literary Ladies series can't sound like my characters in the Button Box mysteries or the Chili Cook-Off mysteries. So the biggest surprise for me is coming up with these people who are different and distinctive, whose voices aren't the same voices in the other books. After all these books, it shouldn't be a surprise, but it still is!
That being said, I think "Chili Con Carnage" was a particular surprise because while Maxie is by no means a clone, she's the closest heroine I've written to Pepper Martin, the PI to the dead who stars in the Pepper Martin mysteries I write as Casey Daniels. I like Maxie. She's sassy and funny, and sometimes, she says things that surprise me. In fact, my copy editor on this book wanted me to edit some of Maxie's opinions. I gave it some careful thought, then decided against it. It's Maxie, I told the copy editor. We have to let the girl have her voice!
Mason - Have you always wanted to write or was there an event that lead you to writing?
I've always been a writer in some form or another. As a kid, I wrote bad stories. I majored in English in college and after graduation, worked as a corporate writer (newsletters, news releases, speeches, etc.) One of the really good things about a job like that is that it teaches you that you can't sit around and wait for the Muse to visit (she's apparently lost my address!). Writing is work and work means deadlines, and when you have deadlines, you sit and write and get the work done.
Mason - Of all the authors (past and present) you enjoy reading, has any one (or more) been an influence in your writing?
That's a tough question because, of course, there isn't just one. But OK . . . choosing one . . . Elizabeth Peters. She writes the Amelia Peabody mysteries as well as a whole bunch of other stuff. She's influenced me because she's shown that you can write smart and funny and intriguing all at the same time.
Mason - What can readers look forward to next from you?
Lots happening! "Chili Con Carnage" is, of course, out in October. Then in December, "Buttoned Up," the fourth Button Box mystery. That one's fun. It's all about voodoo. Then in February, book #2 of the League of Literary Ladies mysteries, "A Tale of Two Biddies." There's more coming, but when I think about it all, my brain overheats so we'll leave it there!
Kylie, thanks for joining us and answering these questions. I’m amazed at the various series you write. I have to admit the Pepper Martin character is one of my favorites and Maxie does make me think of her.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR…
Kylie Logan has loved mysteries since she was a kid. Her dad was a Cleveland Police detective and he introduced her to Sherlock Holmes stories and gave her investigating experience when on his days off, they'd pile into the car and hit the streets to look for stolen cars. When he retired from the force, her dad became head of security for the Cleveland Public Library.
Crooks and books! Kylie comes by her love of mysteries honestly.
Kylie began her career writing historical romance and her book, "Devil's Diamond," was nominated for a RITA award as historical romance of the year by Romance Writers of America. She's also written contemporary romance (as Connie Lane), young adult horror (as Zoe Daniels and Connie Laux) and she writes the popular Pepper Martin mysteries as Casey Daniels.
Kylie is currently writing three different mystery series: the Button Box mysteries (newest book is "Panic Button"), the League of Literary Ladies mysteries ("Mayhem at the Orient Express") and now, the Chili Cook-Off mysteries. She can't pass up an antique shop...there might be buttons in there! She can't put down a classic book . . . even if she already knows the story. And she can't say no to a good bowl of chili. Luckily, her husband is the world's greatest chili maker.
When she's not writing, she's usually with her family and their two dogs, Ernie, an adorable Airedale, and Oscar, a rescued Jack Russell who came for a short-term stay and ten years later, is still around. Kylie says that those of you who have ever met/lived with/had dealings with a Russell will certainly understand how knowing him has increased her propensity for murder. For more on Kylie and her writing, visit her websites: www.kylielogan.com and www.caseydaniels.com
CHILI CON CARNAGE by Kylie Logan
But things go from bad to worse when Maxie finds Roberto’s dead body only hours after publicly breaking up with him. Now she’s in a hot seat and needs some answers before her goose is cooked.
Author Kylie Logan has developed an intriguing cast of characters for this new mystery adventure. The characters are reminders of people you’d see daily. They’re likable and a bit quirky.
The story flows smoothly and at a good pace keeping your attention. The plot is fun to follow as you track down the killer with Maxie and laugh as she maneuvers through her personal life.
The detail descriptions of the area and activities places the reader in the middle of the action. Don’t be surprised when you have a sudden urge for chili while reading.
CHILI CON CARNAGE is a delightful start to a fun new series sure to satisfy your reading appetite.
Chili Con Carnage by Kylie Logan, A Chili Cook-Off Mystery, Berkley Prime Crime, @2013, ISBN: 978-0425262412, Paperback, 304 Pages
FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the publisher as part of the author’s virtual book tour in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
This giveaway is for one copy of CHILI CON CARNAGE and is open to residents of the U.S. only.
To enter the giveaway, please send me an e-mail (email@example.com) with the subject line, “Win Chili Con Carnage.” Your message should include your name and mailing address. The deadline to enter this giveaway for a chance to win a copy of CHILI CON CARNAGE is 8 p.m. (EDT) on Saturday, Oct. 5.
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September 26 – Books Are Life – Vita Libri Review & Giveaway
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October 1 – Mochas, Mysteries and More Review, Guest Post & Giveaway
October 2 – – My Recent Favorite books Review & Giveaway
Thanks so much for joining us today. Are you a fan of chili cook-offs or do you just enjoy a good bowl of chili?