Welcome to the Jane Reads stop on the book tour for Heartache Motel!
I have three special guests for you today — the stars of each novella of Heartache Motel.
My first guest is from LynDee Walker's Headlines in High Heels Mystery series. Please welcome intrepid newspaper reporter Nichelle Clarke of the Richmond Telegraph.
Nichelle, what is your favorite brand of shoes? (Ebay doesn’t count - LOL.)
Oh, there are so many! If I go by the numbers in my closet, I think Christian Louboutin just edges out Manolo Blahnik for my favorite designer. It’s like artwork for your feet!
What makes a news story a sexy story? You and Bob use that phrase a lot. (And congrats on the national news scoop!)
Thank you so much! And I guess we do, don’t we? To me, it’s that story that makes your pulse race a little when the scanner starts squawking. The scenes I can’t drive fast enough to get to, the stories I can’t wait to start typing because there’s something about it that’s so compelling (whether that’s intrigue, poignancy, or an angle no one else has had)—those are the sexy stories.
How long have you had Darcy? She sounds adorable! And she was a hero (heroine?) at the Heartache motel!
She was, wasn’t she? Margret sure ended up being a Darcy fan. I’ve had her for almost six years. She is pretty adorable. And sassy. I think she gets that from me.
What did you give Joey for Christmas (or what did you consider giving him)?
I wasn’t aware that Joey and I were on gift-exchanging terms until Christmas Eve, so I didn’t get him anything this year. Oops. Thinking about next year already, though, because, what do you get Mr. Sexy and Mysterious? A tie is the easy answer, but that’s no fun. I have time to ponder, though.
That was some gift Joey gave you! Do you have a picture of them?
Of course! Aren’t they amazing? I still can’t believe he did that. Well, that’s not entirely true: the better I get to know him, the more I can believe it. It was so sweet, and so over the top, and such a surprise. Now that I think about it, that’s a pretty good way to describe Joey.
That is an apt description of Joey. Thank you for visiting Jane Reads today, and letting us get to know you better, Nichelle.
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My next guest is from the Cherry Tucker Mystery series by Larissa Reinhart. Put your hands together, y'all, for Cherry Tucker, portrait artist of Halo, Georgia.
Cherry, you seem a little bored at times by Todd, the tall, blonde and dumb. You keep reminiscing about your old flame Luke, the tall, dark and dimpled. Surely, Luke can’t be a soldier forever. Do you think there’s a chance that those cold embers could be sparked into a hot romance?
Well, Jane, I never say never. And when Luke and I are together, the only cold is the much needed showers. However, I’m going to give Todd a shot. He’s a good guy and has my best interest at heart, except when he’s playing poker. Todd’s like kindling to my embers, whereas Luke’s more like gasoline.
Was it challenging to play your role during the sting, and not give anything away to the marks? If you were given the opportunity to be in another sting operation, would you do it?
The most challenging part of a sting is sitting around, watching folks play poker. I’m more of an action type person, so that was hard for me. But I’d love to do another sting, because I love busting people who take advantage of others.
What did you and Todd give each other for Christmas?
Because he’s got the big poker tourney in Vegas, I think he’s hoping to buy me a gift with his winnings. I’m giving him something a little more personal. That’s free, but not cheap.
My younger daughter is a Fine Arts major, in her Junior year of college. As a graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design, do you have any advice for her? (And by the way, I love how you describe colors using pigment names!)
Thank you! I wish your daughter good luck. My advice to you is to buy her a good coffee maker because art students are notorious for all-nighters with their projects, especially their senior show. My advice to her is to make friends with gallery owners and not paint portraits of dead guys. It just isn’t worth it.
Good suggestions — especially about the dead guys!
Thanks so much for having us on, Jane!
Thank you, Cherry.
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My final guest today is from the Rose Strickland Mystery series by Terri L. Austin. Please give a warm welcome to Rose Strickland, waitress at Ma's Diner in Huntingford, Missouri.
Rose, you say that Henry can bake a mean cookie. His chocolate espresso cookies, and his “soft, gingery bits of yum” that he made with blackstrap molasses, sound scrumptious. Can you share his recipes with the studio audience, or are they “family secrets”?
Well as you know, the closest I get to cooking is a heating up a cup of ramen noodles, but I’ve persuaded Henry to part with his famous gingerbread cookies.
2 c. flour (1 c. all purpose, 1 c. pastry flour)
2 t. baking soda
2 t. ground ginger
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/8 t. ground cloves
½ t. ground nutmeg
¼ softened butter
¼ c. blackstrap molasses
1 c. sugar
1 large egg
1 egg white, beaten
Crystal sugar for coating
Combine flour, baking soda and spices. In a separate bowl, cream butter, molasses and sugar. Beat in the egg and add the dry ingredients.
Cover and chill for at least four hours. Overnight is better.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two cookie sheets. (Henry uses slipmats, because he’s clever like that). Scoop out small bits of dough (about the size of a golf ball) and roll into a ball. Dip each ball into the egg white and place them two inches apart. Sprinkle with the crystal sugar and bake for ten to twelve minutes.
If they turn out as well as Henry’s cookies—you’ll be in heaven.
Please tell Henry thank you for me, for the recipe!
Are you ever tempted to dye your hair blue? Blondes may have more fun, according to the old TV commercials, but Roxy usually seems to have the most fun.
Roxy is in a class by herself. Take one look at her, you’ll see she’s fearless. Roxy does her own hair. It’s a two-step process, which are two steps too many for me! I’ve never been tempted to mess with my hair. I get it trimmed every once in a while at Huntingford Beauty Academy. Some stylists there are better than others, but you know the difference between a good haircut and a bad haircut—a couple of weeks.
Speaking of heroes, Stoner Joe was a hero in Memphis also. He really saved the day (and you tried to make him stay home - tsk, tsk). How surprised were you at his heroics?
I was shocked! I’ve known Joe for almost six years and I never expected that reaction. Most of the time he can’t put together a complete sentence, then out of nowhere, he’s like Superman. But smellier.
What did you give Sullivan for Christmas? (I’ll bet he’s hard to buy for. He never needs anything, because he buys something as soon as he realizes he needs it.)
You’re right. Sullivan has everything, so I went for the cheese factor and bought him a commemorative poker chip featuring Frank Sinatra’s face. It wasn’t very expensive, but it made Sullivan smile. He carries it in his pocket and I catch a glimpse of it every so often.
How appropriate! "The Chairman of the Board" Chip.
What did Sullivan give you?
I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that it could embarrass me.
Ahem. Um. Well. There goes the rest of my questions.
That wraps up my interview with you, Rose.
Thank you so much, Rose, for visiting the Jane Reads studio today. Thanks again to Nichelle and Cherry. I hope all of you have a Very Merry Christmas!
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Heartache Motel, Three Interconnected Mystery Novellas
Elvis has left the building, but he’s forever memorialized at the Heartache Motel. Filled with drag queens, Rock-a-Hula cocktails, and a vibrating velveteen bed, these three novellas tell the tales of three amateur sleuths who spend their holidays at the King’s beloved home.
DINERS KEEPERS, LOSERS WEEPERS by Terri L. Austin
A Rose Strickland Mystery Novella (follows DINER IMPOSSIBLE, #3 in the series)
When Rose and the gang head to Graceland right before Christmas, they get all shook up: the motel is a seedy dump and an Elvis impersonator turns up dead. Rose discovers missing jewels tie into the death and her suspicious mind flips into overdrive, questioning her fellow guests, the staff, and even a cute impersonator who keeps popping up. Will Rose be able to find the murderer and get home by Christmas day? It’s now or never.
QUICK SKETCH by Larissa Reinhart
A Cherry Tucker Mystery Novella (prequel to PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY, #1 in the series)
Sassy Southern artist Cherry Tucker and her poker-loving boyfriend, Todd, pop into Memphis to help Todd’s cousin who’s been hustled out of his savings, right before Christmas. Staying at the shady Heartache Motel, Cherry can’t tell a shill from a mark and fears everyone is playing them for chumps. Cherry and Todd quickly find themselves in a dangerous sting that could send them to the slammer or mark them as pigeons from cons looking for an even bigger score.
DATELINE MEMPHIS by LynDee Walker
A Headlines in High Heels Mystery Novella (follows BURIED LEADS, #2 in the series)
Crime reporter Nichelle Clarke thinks she’s going home for Christmas. But a quick stop at Graceland proves news breaks in the strangest places. When the King’s home gets locked down with Nichelle inside, she chases this headline into the national spotlight—and the thief’s crosshairs. Christmas dreams of blue suede Manolos fade, and all Nichelle wants from Santa is to land the story before the thief cuts off her news feed for good.
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Heartache Motel is a really good, really fun read. I love to read cozy mystery books that are part of a series (and I have this thing about reading them in order). Heartache Motel contains novellas from not one, not two, but three cozy series, and very enjoyable, well-written ones at that.
In some cozies, the sleuths give rather implausible reasons for why they sleuth (and I tend not to stick with those series for very long). Rose, Cherry and Nichelle have legitimate reasons for their investigations, in each of their books and stories, which adds to my enjoyment of their adventures.
The Heartache Motel is in Memphis, Tennessee. Rose, Cherry, and Nichelle are staying there because they've gone to Memphis to tour Graceland, Elvis Presley's home.
The authors collaborated very well as they were writing their own portion of the book. The details of the motel are the same in each novella, so much so that a reader, unfamiliar with the characters, could believe that one author wrote the entire book.
I think it's time for "a little less conversation" and a little more rating of Heartache Motel. "It's now or never" for me to give Heartache Motel Five Kitties, my highest rating. I highly recommend it to fans of cozy mysteries, especially those who are also Elvis fans and those who have already read any of the books about Rose Strickland, Cherry Tucker, and Nichelle Clarke of Headlines in High Heels.
Note: I received a review copy of Heartache Motel from the publisher, with no expectation of a positive review.
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TERRI L. AUSTIN
As a girl, Terri L. Austin thought she’d outgrow dreaming up stories and creating imaginary friends. Instead, she’s made a career of it.
She met her own Prince Charming and together they live in Missouri. She loves to hear from readers!
After seeing Paper Moon as a child, Larissa Reinhart fell in love with stories about confidence capers.
QUICK SKETCH is the Cherry Tucker prequel to PORTRAIT in the mystery anthology THE HEARTACHE MOTEL. HIJACK IN ABSTRACT is the third in the Cherry Tucker Mystery Series from Henery Press, following STILL LIFE IN BRUNSWICK STEW (#2) and PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY (#1), a 2012 Daphne du Maurier finalist.
She lives near Atlanta with her minions and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit.
LynDee Walker grew up in the land of stifling heat and amazing food most people call Texas, and wanted to be Lois Lane from the time she could say the words “press conference.”
An award-winning journalist, she traded cops and deadlines for burp cloths and onesies when her oldest child was born. Writing the Headlines in Heels mysteries gives her the best of both worlds.
LynDee adores her family, her readers, and enchiladas. She often works out tricky plot points while walking off the enchiladas. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she is working on her next novel. Find her at www.lyndeewalker.com.
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