Sunday, November 18, 2018

Uncle and Ants by Marc Jedel | Blog Tour with Review, Guest Post and Giveaway

The Blurb

Mysterious attacks. Mischievous nieces. Can a clueless uncle catch a tech-savvy killer … and be home before bedtime?

When a freak accident hospitalizes Marty Golden’s sister and condemns him to babysitter duty, he thinks it’s just another case of hardwired bad luck in Silicon Valley. Until a suspicious murder suggests the mishap was no mere coincidence. Something must be done.

Too bad this quirky, fashion-backward uncle isn’t exactly hero material.

Convinced his sister is in mortal danger, this amateur sleuth follows clues to an oddball array of suspects. Armed with nothing but an eye for detail and powers of self-delusion, Marty tangles with gangsters, a cantankerous school secretary, and a perplexing woman he can’t help but fall for. Glitches in his investigation seem like a piece of cake compared to dinner-prep and bedtime stories with his two precocious, preteen nieces.

Can Marty catch the culprit, save his sister, and get his life back in order before he gets unplugged?

Uncle and Ants is the first novel in a refreshingly modern mystery series set in Silicon Valley. If you like clever humor, sassy side characters, and average Joes facing extraordinary circumstances, then you’ll love this twisty mystery.

Buy Uncle and Ants to login to a fresh, funny mystery today!

Uncle and Ants by Marc Jedel
Series: A Silicon Valley Mystery, #1
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publication Date: October 11, 2018
Publisher: BGM Press
Paperback: 287 pages
ISBN-10: 1732716404
ISBN-13: 978-1732716407
 Add to Goodreads

The Review

I just read an amazing book, y'all — Uncle and Ants by Marc Jedel, the first book in the Silicon Valley Mystery series. Let me tell you a little about it.

Uncle and Ants is set in the not-too-distant future, when the drones are heavy and used for deliveries, unlike "those lightweight, older generation drones that were only good for taking videos and annoying your neighbors." The book, told from the POV of main character Marty Golden, captured my attention right away with the opening paragraph.
Be careful what you wish for when you're ten years old because it just might come true. I've had a complicated relationship with my younger sister Laney since we were kids, but I've never wished her hospitalized from a falling drone.
While Laney is in the hospital, her daughters Skye and Megan will stay at Uncle Marty's apartment. After another incident, Marty suspects that Laney's Monday afternoon auto accident was actually deliberate. He tries to retrace everything she did that day, in hopes of discovering what she found out that made her a target — before they try again.

Marty reports his findings to Sergeant Mace Jackson, the policeman assigned to investigate Laney's accident, just as a good sidekick should. In Marty's mind, anyway, he has become Mace's partner. During Marty's sleuthing, he finds a sidekick of his own, a sidekick with a crazy connection to one of his nieces.

All these goings-on are imaginative, fast-moving, entertaining, and hilarious. Uncle and Ants is such a fun book, and Marty is so funny! The more I read, the more I laughed. Out loud. I started with some quiet chuckles, which soon progressed to chortles. By the time I was two-thirds of the way through, I was guffawing over passages such as when Fernando asks Marty, "Do you want to see my meat?" — and When Megan Met Meghan — and "getting upgraded to a special dining experience."

Here are some examples of Author Marc Jedel's humor and word craft:
• Chalk up another great start to my day. Not only would Laney hear about how Uncle Marty had locked Megan into the office creating a safety hazard, but Mrs. Quarles would tell her that I had fed the girls chocolate milkshakes for breakfast. Unless I figured out how to get their Excused Absence Forms signed, the girls would have to stay late on Monday for detention. And if we couldn't figure out who was after Laney, she could die. Uncle Marty would lose his hero status for sure.

• "Good to meet you. I'm Ernie."
I shook his hand. "You too. I'm Marty."
"Y'all been together for long?" asked Ernie.
I wished I could talk like that. Saying y'all made me feel friendlier, like I was friendly  with an entire auditorium full of people. I couldn't pull off a y'all without getting mocked. If I wanted to use it myself, I'd either need some acting lessons or new friends. Wait, did he ask me a question?

• "You didn't know this was [spoiler], the model?"
"Which model?" I asked. Robots, like R2-D2, had model designations. I didn't realize [spoiler] had them as well.
"The famous underwear model."

All of the characters are believable and well-written. Marty's family and friends are relatable and likable. Marty is an-easy-to-root-for unlikely hero. I wasn't certain whodunit, because Author Marc Jedel kept me guessing. I love the ending — it made me smile. I can't wait to read Book 2 in the Silicon Valley Mysteries, Chutes and Ladder, to find out what happens next!

I recommend Uncle and Ants to all cozy mystery fans, especially those of you who are also fans of ants, uncles, milkshakes, Starbucks, Hawaiian shirts, RULES, models, and Star Trek. I absolutely love Uncle and Ants, and I think you will too. Uncle and Ants by Marc Jedel is hereby awarded the highest rating of Five Kitties!

Five out of five kitties
Note: I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of Uncle and Ants.
All opinions shared are 100% my own.

The Guest Post

How I Write

(aka Where my books hang out before they come to me)

People always ask me how I got the idea for my book. I’m always interested in understanding how other authors get their ideas. Some authors seem to swim in an endless pool of plots and characters, effortlessly plucking out one plot twist or character arc after another until they’ve burned through their keyboard. Those are the lucky authors.

So how does it work for me?

Research. That’s a fancy term for my process. I start by collecting funny anecdotes, interesting people or snatches of overheard conversations. As I go about daily life, I add notes to my phone about what I see. Over the last few years, I’ve noticed that I pay much more attention to my surroundings than I ever did. I also have become more willing to approach strangers and ask them questions. Who’d have expected that the solitary life of a writer would make me more social?

Plot. At some point, I start adding plot ideas. My extensive research into writing clearly highlighted the importance of having a plot. All those other successful authors must be on to something. I try to come up with ideas for problems to throw at Marty (my protagonist), especially ideas hit me on how he’s going to solve the case through his powers of self-delusion, attention to detail, and the inability to leave a coherent voicemail message.

Characters. Once I developed the concept for a few of my regular characters, I find myself wondering how one of them would react to a specific situation or whether I can make life more difficult for them during the course of the book. Having Uncle and Ants take place over the course of just one week was a deliberate approach to force myself to increase the pace and make the characters act and react more often.

Jokes, Dad Jokes, Puns, and Lyrics as Humor. These make me laugh as I’m writing the book. All my humor is spontaneous. Sometimes that spontaneity happened months ago and I wrote it down and sometimes it comes to me as I’m writing. Typically, the use, or misuse, of parts of music lyrics as dialogue hits me on the spot. Same for most of the puns. Fortunately for the readers, my editor is awesome and she removes the humor attempts that don’t make it across the finish line.

Outline. Some writers are ‘pantsers’. This means they fly by the seat of their pants, writing without a detailed plan. Not that they wear pants. Some authors probably do wear pants when they write. That’s kind of a personal question best unasked during an author’s tour.

I outline. I admit to it. If I didn’t, I’d still be trying to figure out how Uncle and Ants would end, or who gets killed. Creating an outline with each scene on one line of a spreadsheet helps me to look at holes, try to spread out when different side characters show up, and make sure the action keeps moving forward at a good clip. Then I go through all my notes and put most of the notes into the relevant scene so I can include all the right amount of humor as well as balance tense vs wacky situations. Once that’s done, there are no more excuses. It’s time for the next stage.

Write and Edit. This part sounds simple — write, edit, repeat.  Eventually magic strikes and it’s finished.

My book, Uncle and Ants: A Silicon Valley Mystery, is a humorous murder mystery. Silicon Valley is not your typical cozy mystery locale and Marty Golden doesn’t fit the normal profile of a mystery protagonist. Despite finding himself thrust into challenging situations, Marty isn’t exactly hero material. He has a wonderful combination of wit, irreverent humor and sarcasm mixed in with nerdy insecurities, absent-mindedness, and fumbling but effective amateur sleuthing skills. With an active inner voice and not a lot of advanced planning, he throws himself into solving problems.

Uncle and Ants: A Silicon Valley Mystery (Book 1) will only remain $0.99 for a short while so be sure to pick it up today at Amazon. For more about the book or author, please visit

The Author

About Marc Jedel

In my family, I was born first — a fact my sister never lets me forget, no matter what milestone age she hits.

For most of my life, I've been inventing stories. Some, especially when I was young, involved my sister as the villain. As my sister's brother for her entire life, I'm highly qualified to tell the tale of the evolving, quirky sibling relationship in Uncle and Ants: A Silicon Valley Mystery.

My writing skills were honed in years of marketing leadership positions in Silicon Valley. While my high-tech marketing roles involved crafting plenty of fiction, we called these marketing collateral, emails, and ads.

My family and friends would tell you that Marty's character isn't much of a stretch of the imagination for me, but I proudly resemble that remark. 

            Find Marc on the web at

The Giveaway

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


November 5 – Mallory Heart's Cozies – REVIEW

November 6 – Babs Book Bistro – GUEST POST

November 6 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 7 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT


November 8 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 9 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 10 – My Reading Journeys - REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 10 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST

November 11 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

November 12 – Readeropolis – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

November 13 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

November 14 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

November 15 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 17 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

November 18 – Jane Reads - REVIEW, GUEST POST

November 18 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

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