Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Ginger Snapped by Gail Oust | Blog Tour with Guest Post and Giveaway

Ginger Snapped by Gail Oust
Series: A Spice Shop Mystery, #5
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Culinary Mystery
Publication Date: December 12, 2017
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1250081261
Kindle ASIN: B071LM71RR
Amazon | B&N | kobo | Google Play | BAM!

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The Blurb

Piper Prescott and Police Chief Wyatt McBride might have gotten off on the wrong foot but, over the past year, their interactions have evolved into a friendship of sorts. And when the body of Shirley Randolph is found floating in a fishing hole, their relationship reaches entirely new territory. 

Shirley, the town's Realtor of the Year, was also Wyatt's suspected romantic interest, and now the residents of Brandywine Creek are speculating that Wyatt is responsible for her death. As the town council moves to suspend the handsome lawman, Piper springs into action to save his reputation and possibly his freedom. She enlists the aid of her BFF, Reba Mae Johnson, along with Wyatt himself, to help solve the puzzle and find Shirley’s real killer. 

Pointing them toward high-powered real estate tactics and possible affairs, the investigation soon becomes personal when Piper's shop, Spice It Up!, is burglarized, and she’s forced off the road late one night, narrowly escaping serious injury. Realizing that she must be close to uncovering the truth, and that the evidence against Wyatt is no longer circumstantial, Piper resorts to drastic measures to prevent a grave miscarriage of justice.

The Guest Post

ARE YOU SERIE-OUS?  The Ups and Downs of Writing a Series

Welcome to my (imaginary) home town.  One of my favorite things about writing a cozy series is creating an entire community.  I’m talking about buildings such Spice It Up!,the opera house, city hall, the names of street and businesses from the pizza parlor to the local watering hole along with a picturesque town square.  Then I get to populate my town with the officials and residents who range from sane to zany.  Like many cozies, my books take place in a small town. Brandywine Creek, Georgia, the setting for my Spice Shop Mysteries, is actually a composite of several small Southern towns, one in which I live and two others I occasionally visit.  Two of these three actually have charming town squares.  As an aside, I came up with the name Brandywine Creek from a billboard along an interstate advertising steak dinners at a local restaurant.


Remember, I mentioned “residents” of my imaginary epicenter of murder and mayhem.  The residents-some might refer to them as characters-are the wheels that make the story go round.  When the time comes that I cease thinking of them as characters and start calling them the “people” in my book, I have a clear picture of them inside my head.  I love imbuing my “people” with the idiosyncrasies we often see in friends and family.  For example, the very prim and proper, Ms. Melly Prescott, loves frilly undies and is a regular shopper at Victoria’s Secret. Flighty Reba Mae Johnson, Piper’s BFF, is really an astute business woman.  Hard as nails cop, Wyatt McBride, harbors a soft spot for a half-feral cat with a ragged ear.  A big plus for me in writing a series is that I get to hang out with a group of folks I love hanging out with.

The two biggest challenges when it comes to writing a series are keeping things fresh and not being redundant.  I’ll address the redundant problem first.  I try to make each book (Ginger Snapped is the fifth in the series) so it can be read as a standalone.  That means I want a reader to be able to pick up one of my books regardless of where it falls in the series and simply enjoy it.  For me, this means not weighing the book down with so much backstory that it slows the pace or, heaven forbid, bores my reader.  On the other hand, I need to supply essential information about the setting and characters to a reader new to the series.  It’s a slippery slope.  A balancing act.  It reminds me a bit of Goldilocks trying to find just the right blend of not too much, not too little.

Keeping things fresh can be worrisome, too.  As a writer, I don’t want to fall into a rut.  I want to sit down at the computer each morning with enthusiasm and feel the spark of creativity.  Returning to those idiosyncrasies, those quirks, I mentioned several paragraphs ago?  Now is the time I shamelessly exploit these tendencies. Sometimes this causes a scene or chapter to take on a life of its own.  

Ever heard of the Cabot Cove Syndrome?  Everyone familiar with the TV series Murder, She Wrote (1984-1996 on CBS) starring Angela Lansbury as amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher?  For those of you who aren’t, every week for twelve years (Yikes!  Twelve years?) Angela/Jessica would discover a dead body in or around her tiny town.  In real life, those homicide statistics would place Cabot Cove at the top of the FBI’s list of most dangerous places to live. Since many cozy mysteries are set in small towns, writers have to be wary of having too many of its upstanding and not so upstanding citizens bumped off on a regular basis.  One way to avoid this trap is killing off the occasional visitor or a character with no true ties to the community.  I need to keep in mind that my imaginary town should be a place that draws people in, not send them fleeing in fear of their lives.
The pros or cons, ups and downs, of writing a series has given me more joy than headaches.  Sadly, Ginger Snapped is the last of my Spice Shop Mysteries.  Would I do another series?  I’ve learned over the course of a lifetime never say never.

The Author

About Gail Oust

Friends often accuse Gail Oust of flunking retirement. While working as a nurse/vascular technologist, Gail penned nine historical romances under the pseudonym Elizabeth Turner for Avon, Pocket, Berkley, and Kensington. It wasn’t until she and her husband retired to South Carolina that inspiration struck for a mystery. 

Hearing the words, “maybe it’s a dead body,” while golfing with friends fired her imagination for the Bunco Babe Mystery series originally published by NAL. In conjunction with Beyond the Page Publishing, the Bunco Babe series has been republished in digital format as the Kate McCall Mysteries complete with new titles and a whole new look. 

 Gail has written five Spice Shop Mysteries for Minotaur/St. Martin’s. Her favorite pastimes are reading, traveling, and hanging out with friends.

Find Gail on the web at

The Giveaway

Follow the tour, to read other Guest Posts, plus Author Interviews and reviews!


January 3 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
January 3 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – COZY WEDNESDAY (REVIEW, GUEST POST)
January 4 – Valerie's Musings – SPOTLIGHT
January 4 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW
January 5 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – INTERVIEW
January 5 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews - REVIEW, GUEST POST WITH RECIPE
January 5 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
January 6 – Laura's Interests – REVIEW
January 6 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW
January 6 – The Montana Bookaholic – SPOTLIGHT
January 7 - Varietats – REVIEW
January 7 - Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
January 8 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT
January 8 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT
January 8 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW
January 9 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST
January 9 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
January 9 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 10 – The Self-Rescue Princess – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
January 10 – Book Babble – REVIEW
January 11 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews - REVIEW
January 11 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW
January 12 – Melina's Book Blog – REVIEW
January 12 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT
January 12 – Community Bookstop -REVIEW

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