Monday, October 27, 2014

The Call of the Highlands {+ Giveaway}

9780425265826_large_Off_KilterI’m thrilled to welcome national bestselling author Hannah Reed back to Thoughts in Progress today to talk about the Highlands where her new book (and series) is set.

In this new series a young writer finds herself swept up in a murder amidst the glens and lochs of the Scottish Highlands. The first installment in the series, OFF KILTER, was released earlier this month. Thanks to the lovely Danielle at Penguin Group, I have a print copy to giveaway. Please see the end of the post for more details.

First a brief synopsis followed by Hannah talking about the ‘Call of the Highlands’ and I’m share my thoughts on this new cozy.

        After the recent death of her mother and the dissolution of her marriage, thirty-something Eden Elliott is seriously in need of a fresh start. At the urging of her best friend, bestselling author Ami Pederson, Eden decides to embark on an open-ended trip to the picturesque village of Glenkillen in the Scottish Highlands, to do some hands-on research for a book of her own. But almost as soon as Eden arrives in the quaint town, she gets caught up in a very real drama…
        The town’s sheep shearer is found murdered—clipped with his own shears—and the locals suspect Vicki MacBride, an outsider whose father’s recent death left her the surprise heir to his lucrative sheep farm. Eden refuses to believe the affable heiress is a murderer, but can she prove that someone is out to frame her new friend before she finds herself on the receiving end of more shear terror? 

Here is some early praise for OFF KILTER:

        “Hannah Reed’s new series will please Scotophiles everywhere…” ~ Miranda James, New York Times bestselling author of the Cat in the Stacks Mysteries.
        “A brilliant mystery, rich in charming characters set against lush depictions of the Scottish village of Glenkillen.” ~ Jenn McKinlay, New York Times bestselling author of the Cupcake Bakery Mysteries and the Library Lover’s Mystery.

Now please give a warm welcome to Hannah. Welcome, Hannah.

It began as ideas often do, with a small spark out of the blue. Most flashes of insight (also known as moments of insane thinking) sputter and die a quick death. As they should. But sometimes one will ignite and take off, and there’s nothing you can do but go along for the ride. That’s what happened with my new Scottish Highlands mystery series. Once those thoughts came alive and were in motion, I wouldn’t have been able to douse them even if I had an ocean of water. They had to be written. 

Mostly, I credit one of my more colorful ancestors, who managed to get thrown out of Scotland in 1685 after his capture and imprisonment in Dunnottar Castle for taking up arms against the king. These days the castle still exists as a ruin, sitting high on a windswept hill beside the sea. This character survived when many didn’t and was shipped to the new world. A real rabble-rouser, that one. Not an uncommon trait in my family line. I believe his adventure was the inspiration for this new series. It fueled my imagination.

And although the weapons have changed in the time that has elapsed between then and now, motives for murder remain the same. 

So back to the present and a wee bit about OFF KILTER.

Romance writer Eden Elliott arrives in the Highlands only to discover that the local sheep shearer has been clipped with his own shears. She better figure out the motive for his murder and the person behind the deed before she finds herself on the receiving end of more shear terror!

I hope you enjoy your romp through the ‘blades’ of the Highland’s slippery slopes. I know I did. 

For more information about the story or about my other tales, visit me at

Hannah, thanks for joining us and sharing this insight into how the story came about. It’s interesting to learn your ancestors were from Scotland and now you’re writing about characters there.

For those who aren’t familiar with Hannah. Let me share a bit of background on her.

Hannah Reed is the pen name of author Deb Baker.
As Deb (her real name) she has authored The Gertie Johnson Backwoods Adventures and The Dolls To Die For Series.

In her youth, Deb dreamed of working as a private investigator or as an undercover cop. So when Deb began writing a new series, the Queen Bee Mysteries, she did something she always wanted to do — she went undercover with an alias! 

Hannah was one of her all-time favorite names. Reed was her great-grandmother’s maiden name. So she put the two together. As it turns out, the author Hannah Reed is much younger than Deb Baker. She’s also more daring, more willing to step right into the midst of any sticky situation, and she’s not afraid to tell it like it is. 

For more information on Hannah/Deb and her writing, visit her website and connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest

My Thoughts ……….

Taking a trip to Scotland without the hassle of packing is just one of the perks of reading author Hannah Reed’s latest release, OFF KILTER.

The author’s eye for detail and rich descriptions places the reader in the beautiful countryside of Scotland with its quaint villages and delightful residents. The characters are well-developed, likable and with personalities readers can relate to. The dialogue and customs draws you in further enhancing the story.

With twists and turns, Reed keeps readers on the edge of their seat in anticipation of the killer’s unveiling. The story flows smoothly and holds your attention. The suspense, mixed with humor and a touch of romance, results in an entertaining read you won’t be able to put down.

Scotland, murder, mystery, and a hint of romance, what’s not to love?

Off Kilter by Hannah Reed, Scottish Highlands Mystery Book #1, Berkley Prime Crime, @2014, ISBN: 978-0425265826, Paperback, 304 Pages 

FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.


This giveaway is for one print copy of OFF KILTER. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end at 12 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 4. 

To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and following the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load, so please be patient. The winner from this giveaway will have 72 hours to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. The email will have ‘Thoughts in Progress Hannah Reed’s Tour’ in the subject line, just so you know what to watch for (in case it goes into your spam folder).

Thanks so much for stopping by during Hannah’s visit. Have you ever been to Scotland or wanted to go? Since shears are used in this story, have you ever tried your hand at sheep shearing? Have a wonderful Monday.

*This post contains affiliate links. a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Sounds great! I love cozy mysteries!

  2. I love the setting and the story sounds so good!

  3. I would love to visit Scotland. No desire to shear a sheep. Bobbipad at

  4. Hi Mason and Hannah - looks to be an interesting story line - and I love the setting of the Scottish Highlands ... and sheep ... cheers Hilary

  5. Sorry your ancestor got kicked out of Scotland, but it does make for a great family tale.
    And your book title is a funny play on words.

  6. What a wonderful setting for a book!

  7. I just love the cover; looks like a fantastic story; thank you for the chance to win

  8. Mason - Thanks for sharing this new series. The Highlands is of course a great setting for a series. And it features a writer? Very neat!

  9. Scotland is on my bucket list.

    lag110 at mchsi dot com

  10. Deb, thanks again for joining us. I so enjoyed my trip to Scotland and can't wait until the next one. Wishing you much success.

    Hi all, thanks so much for stopping by. Hope everyone has a wonderful day.

  11. it's a great setting for a book

  12. Nice cover choice, cute sheep.

  13. No I've never been to Scotland but I would love to go, and no I've never sheared a sheep either, I think the closest I've been to one was a petting zoo.
    I love the cover, it sounds like a great read.

  14. I would enjoy Scotland. Lovely giveaway. Thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  15. On my TBR list...I've GOT to read it!

    patucker54 at aol dot com

  16. I can't wait to read this book as I love books set in Scotland and add a little mystery and that makes it even better.

  17. What an amazing place for a character to start fresh! I like the way she got her pen name, too. Thanks for the chance to win!

  18. Never been to Scotland or sheared a sheep!

  19. The humour in the title/tagline rocks! Sounds like a great story :)

  20. This sounds like the beginning of a good series.


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