Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dead on Her Feet by Lisa Fernow | Book Blast with Excerpt, Guest Post, and Giveaway

The Blurb

What happens when a dancer violates the tango code?

Tango instructor and chronic rule-breaker Antonia “Ant” Blakeley has no respect for authority. So when a much-hated member of the Atlanta tango community is stabbed in the middle of the dance floor, leaving her troubled nephew Christian first on the list of suspects, the last thing she wants to do is use her tango expertise to help the police work out how someone could have struck the fatal blow, unseen. As someone who has experienced police incompetence first hand, Antonia doesn’t trust them to find the real killer. So she lies to give Christian an alibi, and the coverup begins.

Unfortunately for Ant, former marine Detective Sam Morrow is on the case and he will do whatever it takes to solve the crime. He’s not about to let Antonia hijack his case. As both Ant and Sam investigate (or in Ant’s case, interfere), the two sleuths are about to find out the more antagonistic meaning of “it takes two to tango.”

Dead on her Feet, by Lisa Fernow
Amazon Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: An Antonia Blakeley Tango Mystery, # 1
Publication Date: Jan 6, 2014
 File Size: 907 KB
ISBN-10: 1620151936
ISBN-13: 978-1620151938
Paperback: 280 pages

The Excerpt

“Tango can be about many things — seduction, longing, nostalgia, intimacy, tenderness — you get the picture. Whatever the music and the moment inspires. This song isn’t one we normally dance to, but I happen to think it’s a beautiful piece, especially if you understand the words. It’s called ‘Uno.’ One.” Uno, oh yeah, she thought.

“He gave away his heart to a woman who betrayed him, and now he can’t love the way he used to. That’s life and death stuff.” She was pleased to see Christian nodding, solemnly. “For this exercise I want you to move with whatever emotion inspires you. No partners. Walk around the room in the line of dance, counterclockwise, everyone, remember? Don’t worry about steps, the idea is to get used to feeling the music and transmitting it through your bodies.”

Antonia started the track, savoring the instrumental opening. When Sosa finally started to sing, the yearning in his voice punctured her heart as it never failed to do. The class shuffled around the room, some self-consciously, others with more abandon. One of the Emory students seemed to be channeling Martha Graham, in a good way.

Something out of the corner of her eye caught her attention: a stranger, not that much taller than she was, standing in the doorway. His military bearing, neatly trimmed mustache, and close-cropped sandy hair would have conveyed unyielding strength if it hadn’t been for the fact that his eyes were pale blue and his nose had been broken at least once. He would have been just her type if she were interested in a relationship.

The Guest Post

Jane Reads: Per your bio, you grew up on the classic mysteries of Elizabeth Peters.  How much of Vickie Bliss, Amelia Peabody, and/or Jacqueline Kirby is in Ant?

Lisa: What a great question!  Antonia Blakeley has a lot in common with Amelia Peabody, now that I think about it.  This is quite by accident.  But I am very happy about it.  Amelia Peabody is actually one of my top 13 favorite female sleuths of all time (see below).  

I didn’t set out with any preconceived notions when I started writing my tango mystery, Dead on Her Feet.  The initial spark for the book arose from a real life incident where an interloping, manipulating, scheming woman stole! stole! my tango partner!  But I’m not bitter, because I got to kill her off in my book.  Actually, the victim no longer bears any resemblance to her, which is probably a good thing all around.

Similarly, Antonia came to life over many drafts, and I can’t say exactly how she became who she is today.  But I like her a lot.

So what traits does Antonia “Ant” Blakeley share with Amelia Peabody?

  1. Antonia is right, and everyone else is wrong, regardless of any evidence to the contrary. She has no problem lying to the police, breaking into places she doesn’t belong, and generally horning in on (and sometimes impeding) the murder investigation, because she is supremely confident she’s doing the right thing.
  2. Related to 1. Antonia meddles in everyone else’s business, invited or not. Antonia came by her nickname – Ant - honestly. She’s always industriously working to “fix” her nephew, Christian. What she doesn’t realize is that every action she takes to help him actually places him in greater danger.
  3. Antonia is unaware of her beauty and cut off from her romantic feelings. But for different reasons than Amelia Peabody. Amelia Peabody, in Crocodile on the Sandbank, is simply unfamiliar with the “married state” – and it’s very satisfying to see how she matures through the series. Antonia has led the opposite of a sheltered life. She survives a violent marriage. She walls herself off deliberately from her feelings and rejects any notion of having a man in her life. She retreats into tango, the only safe place for her to express her emotional side.
  4. But, like Amelia, she meets a man who is more than a match for her. Sparks fly. We know how the Peabody / Emerson skirmish, ahem, played out. Time will tell what happens with Antonia Blakeley and Detective Sam Morrow.

I like to think Amelia might have enjoyed getting to know Antonia, had they lived in the same time period.  It would be fun to see how two such strong individuals would behave.

Speaking of behaving, if you want to read about my 13 Female Sleuths Behaving Badly, sign up for my email list on and I’ll send you a free PDF.

The Author

About Lisa Fernow

Lisa Fernow grew up on the classic mysteries of Ngaio Marsh and Elizabeth Peters. Lisa has danced Argentine tango since 1996, studying with such legendary masters as Cacho Dante, Susana Miller, and Brigitta Winkler, as well as other inspiring instructors in Atlanta, Seattle, and Portland. Lisa’s short story,Death of a Tango Dancer was featured in King County Library’s Take Time to Read program. She lives in Seattle, Washington. Dead on Her Feet is the first book in a planned series set in the tango world. Read more at

Visit her on the web at these locations:

The Giveaway

Lisa will be awarding a $30 GC to winner's choice of online bookseller to a randomly drawn winner!

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