Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Death on Eat Street and a Giveaway

death on eat street small bannerI’m delighted to be participating in author J.J. Cook’s Great Escape Virtual Blog Tour for DEATH ON EAT STREET, the first installment in the new Biscuit Bowl Food Truck Mystery series.

As part of the tour J.J. will be joining us to answer some questions. In addition thanks to J.J., I have one print copy of DEATH ON EAT STREET to giveaway in celebration of this new release. Please see the end of the post for guest details.

Here’s a brief synopsis of this tantalizing new mystery:

        Zoe Chase always wanted to own her own restaurant—but first, she’ll have to serve up a heaping helping of meals on wheels, with a side of mystery. When she’s once again passed over for a promotion at work, Zoe decides to take the big leap and go for her dream. She quits, gives up her fancy digs, and buys a fixer-upper diner in a shady part of town.
        To keep above water during the renovation, she buys a used food truck to serve the downtown and waterfront of Mobile, Alabama. Zoe starts to dish out classic Southern food—but her specialty is her deep-fried biscuit bowls that blow traditional bread bowls away.
        After a promising start, things start to go downhill faster than a food truck without brakes. First, someone tries to rob the cash register. Next, Zoe is threatened by the owner of a competing food truck for taking their spot. And when the owner ends up dead inside Zoe’s rolling restaurant, Zoe and her sole employee, Ollie, find themselves hopping out of the frying pan into the fryer. They need to find the real killer, before both of them get burned.


J.J. Cook writes award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, Joyce and Jim Lavene, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family. 

For more on Joyce and Jim and their writing, visit their website and their blog and connect with them on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

Now for some information about this charming cozy mystery, J.J. graciously answered my questions.

Mason - What are the advantages and disadvantages of writing a book with your spouse?

Probably the biggest advantage to writing with your spouse is always having someone to talk to about what you’re writing. Writers are a notoriously lonely group of people. We wake up early and stay up late thinking about our work in progress. When you’re married to your writing partner, they get up early and stay up late too. They are interested in plot changes and characters flaws, just like you are. It’s hard to find that kind of receptive audience anywhere else, including editors and agents!

The biggest disadvantage is that you have to make everything in the book work for BOTH of you. That can be tough sometimes. We seldom argue over what we’re doing, but we do have vivid discussions. The advantages far outweigh the disadvantages, however. We enjoy working together.

Mason - What type of research was done pertaining to the operation of a food truck and restaurant?

We went out and interviewed some local food truck owners, and shadowed them while they worked. The restaurant part was easy because our son owns a small pizzeria. He clued us in on what happens behind the counter. It also hDeath on Eat Street coverelped understanding the ups and downs of any food business.

Mason - Food is used to comfort, what would be your best comfort meal?

Probably pizza. Or lasagna. We’re not Italian, but our stomachs are!

Mason - Looking back, what was the most surprising thing that you discovered while writing this book?

How fast food truck workers are at preparing food! They really buzz when the crowds show up. It’s amazing what they can do with those tiny kitchen areas. There is some really good, creative, food truck food out there!

Mason - What can readers look forward to next from you?

In May, LETHAL LILY, the seventh Peggy Lee Garden Mystery. In August, HORSES OF CHRISTMAS PAST – the sixth Missing Pieces mystery, and in December, SPELL BOOKED, our first Retired Witches Spellbook Mystery. Under the name Ellie Grant, we have a Christmas pie shop mystery out in November, MURDEROUS MINCE.
Thanks for having us here!

Joyce and Jim, thanks for joining us today. I’m amazed at the various series y’all have going on at once. I can’t image keeping up with all the characters at the same time.

As an added bonus, Joyce and Jim are sharing an excerpt from DEATH ON EAT STREET….

      It hadn’t been more than thirty minutes or so since I’d climbed out of the food truck. How did Terry get there after me? And what was he doing here? Had he followed me back to give me more grief over parking in “his spot” on Dauphin Street?
      “What’s up out here, young ’un?” Ollie came out of the diner, still holding the sword.
      “I don’t know. This is Terry.”
      He nodded. “From the infamous tacky taco truck?”
      “Yes. I don’t know what he’s doing here. I think he may be drunk or something.”
      Ollie bent down and put his hand on Terry’s neck. “I don’t know either, but he ain’t goin’ no place else.”
      “What do you mean? I can call him a taxi or something.”
      “No, Zoe. You don’t get it. The man’s dead. A taxi won’t do him any good now.”
      Dead? That made even less sense to me. Maybe I was too tired to think straight.
      Why was Terry—alive or dead—in my food truck?
      “We gotta hide him somewhere.” Ollie glanced around. “We gotta get rid of him before someone sees him here.”
      “We can’t do that. We should call the police. That’s what you do when you find a dead body.”
      “Oh? ’Cause you’ve got so much experience finding dead people?” He chuckled. “You better believe me, Zoe. You think you got trouble now, tell the police there’s a dead man in your food truck. You’ll be in for a heap more trouble.”
      I knew he was wrong. If something had happened to Terry, regardless of how he got into the Biscuit Bowl, the police needed to be informed. If there was one thing I knew besides cooking, it was the law.
      My mother was one of the most prominent attorneys in Mobile. There was even some talk of her getting a judgeship. She’d fed me the law with my pureed carrots and pears when I was a baby. She’d hoped I was going to follow in her footsteps someday.
      I was kind of a disappointment in that area.
      I took out my cell phone. “I’m sorry, Ollie. I have to call. If you’re worried about being here, you should go to back to the shelter. I can handle this.”
      “I ain’t worried about me, Zoe. It’s you I’m concerned for. What do you think the police will make of you having a dead man in your vehicle?”
      I thought about it. “What can they make of it? I didn’t do anything. Someone must have put him here. Or he climbed in and died. I’ll be fine. Don’t worry.”
      Famous last words.

To know more about Joyce and Jim, their new book, and their writing in general, follow them on their tour by checking out the following blogs. You have a chance of entering a book giveaway at each stop on the tour.

March 31- Psychotic State Book Reviews - Review, Interview
April 1- fundinmental – Review
April 2- fuonlyknew ~ Laura's Ramblins and Reviews - Review
April 3- Brooke Blogs - Review
April 4- Beth's Book Reviews - Review
April 5- Books-n-Kisses - Review, Interview
April 6- Steph The Bookworm - Review
April 7- Deal Sharing Aunt – Review
April 9- Mochas, Mysteries and Meows - Review, Interview
April 10- Community Bookstop - Review
April 11- Queen of All She Reads – Review, Guest Post
April 12- off
April 13- Cozy Up With Kathy - Review, Interview
April 14 – rantin' ravin' and reading - Review, Guest Post
April 15 - Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – Review


This giveaway is for one print copy of DEATH ON EAT STREET. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only. To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and following the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load, so please be patience.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Have you ever eaten from a food truck before? What are your thoughts on food trucks – like, dislike, not sure about, etc.?

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Yes, I have. I had the best burrito from there that I've ever had. It was twice as big and half the price of anywhere else!
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

    1. Carolsue, it's not often that you can find both good food and low prices together. You can't beat that.

  2. That's cool they work so well together. And with the name, you'd think it was just one person.
    Saw a special on food trucks. It's amazing what they can produce.

    1. Alex, when I first saw the name I thought it was only one person too. I'm in awe of two writers working together, but when it's a husband and wife, well that's just super great.

  3. Yes I have eaten from a food truck more than once and they have some of the best food.

    1. Angela, I think a lot of people are surprised at just how good the food is from food trucks. Most expect a cold sandwich and chips, but they do offer great food.

  4. We live in a small city but a food truck has recently started up and it's awesome!
    I'm impressed that J & J can collaborate so well - very cool!!

    1. Jemi, it's good to see food trucks are making their way to smaller cities. The opportunities for the trucks is unlimited.

  5. Joyce and Jim, thanks again for visiting. Your new series is a great combination of the three times readers enjoy - food, mystery and murder. Wish y'all much success.

  6. Mason - Thanks for hosting Joyce and Jim.

    Joyce and Jim - Thanks for letting us go 'behind the scenes.' I respect an author duo who can write a seamless story. I wish you both much success.

  7. I haven't as yet eaten from a food truck, but would enjoy it since many cities have a variety of foods which look delectable. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  8. No I haven't.

  9. I think writing books with my husband would be fun. The advantages definitely outweigh the disadvantages. We've even talked about writing one together or doing a graphic novel.

    Mason, outside of trying to contact the blogger (which I've done before) I don't know why people leave unrelated comments. Or cutesy ones that show they didn't really read the content.

    It's been a while since I won anything from you - maybe I will get lucky.

  10. I love food trucks! Such a awesome way to check new things out! There is a Taco truck by me that has a Brisket taco! So awesome!

  11. I've only eaten at a food truck once, but I know lots of people rave about them. Seems like a great setting for a mystery.

  12. I've never eaten at a food truck. I've never even seen one.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.