Thursday, February 16, 2023

Author Interview & Giveaway ~ STICKS AND STONES AND A BAG OF BONES by Heather Weidner

Sticks and Stones and a Bag of Bones (Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mystery, #1)
by: Heather Weidner
Series: Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mystery
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Release Date: January 17, 2023
Publisher: Level Best Books

When a beat-up suitcase full of bones washes up by the pier, the residents of the quaint resort town of Mermaid Bay are whipped into a hurricane-sized frenzy over the gruesome find in the middle of their Christmas in July festivities. The holly-jolly mood retreats like the tide, with everyone wondering who was in the suitcase.

Christmas shoppe owner, Jade Hicks, wades into the fracas when voodoo dolls and mysterious notes and posters about impending doom start popping up all over town, threatening to destroy the economy of a community that lives and dies by tourist dollars. Then tensions crest when the prickly bookstore owner is found strangled to death with a string of holiday lights.

Jade and her French bulldog Chloe, have to solve the crime before anyone else gets hurt, and her business and the festival are forever tainted.

Sticks and Stones and a Bag of Bones is the first in the Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mysteries cozy series.

Hi Heather. Welcome to Read Your Writes Book Reviews. How are you?
I am great. Thank you so much for featuring me on your site today. I’m excited to be here.

You’re welcome. You are a new to me author. Could you please tell me about yourself?
I’m a C. K. (cop’s kid) who’s loved mysteries since Nancy Drew and Scooby-Doo. I write three series (and another one is under development.) I write the Delanie Fitzgerald Mysteries about a sassy private eye in Richmond, Virginia who gets in way more trouble than I do.

I also write two cozy mystery series, the Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries, set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Jules saves vintage trailers from the scrap heap and upcycles them for glamours camping at her beautiful mountain resort. What could go wrong?

And my newest series is the Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mysteries. It’s a tiny beach community on the coast of Virginia near the historical Triangle of Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown. Jade Hicks, along with her French bulldog Chloe and store mouser, Neville the Devil cat, run a store specializing in all kinds of Christmas decorations.

Please tell me about your Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mystery series and what readers can expect from it.
In STICKS AND STONES AND A BAG OF BONES, the town is hosting its first Christmas in July festivities, and all is going well until a suitcase full of old bones washes up on shore. Then a bunch of ominous notes and voodoo dolls are sent to some of the shop owners. The town is in a panic, and they don’t know whether or not to go forward with all the planned festivities. Then, Jade discovers the prickly bookstore owner dead behind the hot dog stand. She has been strangled with a string of Christmas lights. Jade has to figure out who the killer is before the festival and her business are ruined.

Tell me about some of the characters readers will be introduced to in Sticks and Stones and a Bag of Bones, and the Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mystery series.
Jade Hicks
is a young thirty-something who inherits the Christmas store from her grandmother. She has a fuzzy sidekick, Chloe the French bulldog, who keeps her company. Her aunt Roxanne and the bubbly Peppermint Patti help out the store which is guarded by a tuxedo cat and chief mouser, Neville the Devil cat. Bernie is her part-time handyman, and he also play Santa at the store. The town is full of all kinds of quirky characters in this tiny beach community. And there’s also a sexy sheriff who’s been Jade’s best friend since middle school.

Can you give me a preview of one of your favorite scenes from Sticks and Stones and a Bag of Bones, and why is it a favorite?
I love writing this series. I grew up at the beach, and it’s such a fun place to live and work. (We live in the central part of the state now, and I miss the ocean.)

I had fun writing the opening scene. It’s a perfect beach day, and Jade and Chloe are enjoying their morning walk when a jogger screams. The woman tripps over something in the sand, and it turns out to be a suitcase full of old bones. It’s horrific and fascinating at the same time. The find becomes the talk of the town, and it was fun to come up with all the ideas of what it could be and how it ties into the story’s mystery. (And Jade had to keep Chloe away from the suitcase. She didn’t want to have to wrestle one of the bones from her little dog’s mouth.)

When it comes to writing your stories do you begin writing already knowing who the killer is and why they killed or is it a surprise for you?
I’m a plotter. I outline my stories before I start writing. I usually know who the killer is when I start planning the chapters, but every once in a while, they’ll do something to surprise me. I like to have the theme and the basic theory of the crime before I start.

Thank you so much for your time, Heather.
Thank you so much for letting me stop by and talk about my new series!

Purchase Sticks and Stones and a Bag of Bones from:
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Through the years, Heather Weidner has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager. She writes the Delanie Fitzgerald Mysteries, The Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries, and The Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mysteries.

Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, Deadly Southern Charm, and Murder by the Glass.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Sisters in Crime – Chessie, Guppies, International Thriller Writers, and James River Writers.

Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.

Places to find Heather Weidner:

You can follow the Sticks and Stones and a Bag of Bones Blog Tour here.

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