Friday, June 24, 2016

"Come, Bitter Poison" by Monica Knightley

Come, Bitter Poison
(A Stratford Upon Avondale Mystery Book 2)
by Monica Knightley

Come, Bitter Poison is the second book in the Stratford Upon Avondale Mystery series by Monica Knightley. Also available: Alas, She Drowned (only $0.99).

Come, Bitter Poison is currently on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Sexy film star. Long-held secrets. Murder by poison.
When international stage and film star Miles Elliot comes to Stratford Upon Avondale to play Macbeth, Maggie O’Flynn is thrilled. He’s been her actor crush for years. But when Miles ends up at the center of a murder investigation Maggie finds herself slipping back into the role of amateur sleuth. Before long many of her friends become suspects in not just one murder, but two. Maggie must discover who’s poisoning people associated with the Shakespeare Festival before one of her friends gets slapped with a murder charge. And she must do so while dodging paparazzi that are stalking her due to a supposed love affair she’s having with Miles Elliot.
With a bit of Shakespeare, copious amounts of tea, and a faux-English setting to rival anything the real England has to offer, Come, Bitter Poison is the second book in the Stratford Upon Avondale Mystery series. Though part of a series, Come, Bitter Poison can be read and enjoyed as a standalone. Lovers of cozy mysteries will find a cozy home in Stratford Upon Avondale

Click below to read an excerpt.

Praise for the Book
"Loved the second book in this excellent new cozy mystery series! Once again you are drawn into the village of Stratford Upon Avondale and the lives of its residents! While the village is charming and quaint murder and personal entanglements bring excitement and intrigue creating a perfect blend to keep the reader engaged! Can't wait for the next book of Maggie O'Flynn's adventures! I highly recommend this series!" ~ Book Fan
"Am enjoying this new series and hope the next book is not far off ! Cup of tea in the afternoon and the glass of wine for the evening read. Life is good with a great book like this that doesn't take a month long commitment." ~ kristine lozano
"Another great story of sleuth Maggie investigating "who done it." Hard to put down book that flows nicely. I love this series and look forward to the next one!" ~ Linda N
"I found this book to be entertaining and fun to read. Good Book to read while idling on the beach. I'm looking forward to the next Stratford upon Avondale Mystery." ~ Nancy Bunch
"I enjoyed reading all about Maggie and her adventures. She is quite the character but I think she needs another boyfriend." ~ Linda Cole

Guest Post by the Author
Creating a World and its Characters
Thank you, Lynda, for hosting me today! I’m very excited to be here!
Though I call Portland, Oregon, home, I’ve recently found a second home in Stratford Upon Avondale. It has everything an Anglophile like myself could ask for, from a village that looks like it was lifted straight out of England despite being thousands of miles from English soil, to a twee tea room and a Shakespeare Festival. Then there are the inhabitants. Kind. Generous. Quirky.
And occasionally murderous.
The fact that this place exists only in my imagination isn’t a problem. I’ve spent a lot of time in Stratford since creating it for my cozy mystery series. I knew when I decided to write a series that the setting would have to be a place in which I’d be happy to wile away many an hour. And the characters that would inhabit it would need to be people I’d want as friends. Except, perhaps, for the murderers. As I created the world of Stratford and its characters, I had so much fun, there was no doubt that this series could last a good long time.
I knew as I created Stratford that, while I wanted it to be as English as possible, I didn’t want it to be set in the real England. I didn’t want to make any mistakes that people who know and love and live in England would be able to find. Though I’ve been on many wonderful trips to England and have been to just about every region of the country, I know I can’t carry off an entire series set there without making some glaring mistakes. Safer to make it a delightful fictional village in an American western state.
A village like Woodstock, in Oxfordshire, perhaps. In 2010 my husband and I took our two adult sons, the eldest’s girlfriend (now wife), and her cousin to spend Christmas in Woodstock. Some of Woodstock made its way into Stratford, especially the tea room, the bookshop, and the Star Inn pub.
And now that I’m writing book three in the series, the characters do feel like friends. My protagonist, Maggie O’Flynn, is my favorite character I’ve ever created. Being an ex-nun turned steamy romance writer and tea room owner is a bit of a paradox. And it lends itself well to interesting story lines and twists. She’s confident, intelligent, and kind, yet sassy and a bit single-minded. I have a dear friend who was a nun for many years, and there are certain aspects of Maggie’s personality that were inspired by this friend.
Maggie’s best friend and sidekick is the brash spitfire, Gina Mattucci. Gina is from New Jersey and harbors a belief that she is an expert on the mob (she isn’t, unless having Sunday dinner with her Italian grandparents counts), thereby knowing all there is to know about the criminal mind (she doesn’t).
Maggie has two men in her life, though she might not admit it. Nate Larimer is the man she longs for. He owns the bookshop next door to her tea room and she knows he’s the right man for her. Darius Thulani is the man she occasionally flirts with. He’s an actor with the festival and is sexy in a way that both attracts Maggie and frightens her. Incidentally, I must thank the British actor, Idris Elba, for inspiring the Darius character.
Among the rest of the cast of characters are a few that require shout-outs. Bed and Breakfast owner Ruth Williams is someone I would love to know, and if you read my other post on this tour you will discover that I might have actually met her. Steve Talbott is the gregarious, generous pub owner and manager we all wish ran our local establishments. Rob Butler is the police officer you wish were just around the corner if you found yourself needing the police. And Sarah Vachon is the elderly, energetic, sassy, Dr. Who Tardis-earring-wearing neighbor I wish lived next door.
I’m settling into Stratford Upon Avondale very nicely. And now it’s time to go make a cuppa tea. If only Ruth could join me.

About the Author
Monica Knightley began creating compelling characters and stories at the age of three, when she had a plethora of imaginary friends, all with complete backstories. Today any characters that come knocking on the door of her imagination find themselves in one of her mysteries, young adult novels, or paranormal romances.
When not fueling her reading addiction or writing her next book, Monica loves to travel with her husband - especially to England. A bit of England seems to make its way into most of her books. Must haves include a perfectly steeped cup of tea, and a good, bold red wine. She lives in Portland, Oregon where the frequent rainy weather is perfect for curling up with a good book and a cup of tea.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.