Saturday, February 11, 2017

"The Connecticut Corpse Caper" by Tyler Colins

The Connecticut Corpse Caper
(A Triple Threat Mystery Book 1)
by Tyler Collins

The Connecticut Corpse Caper is the first in the Triple Threat Mystery series. Author Tyler Colins stops by today for an interview and to share an excerpt from the book. You can also read my review and enter our exclusive giveaway for a chance to win one of five ebook copies. Also available: Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie? and Coco's Nuts, which will be featured over the next couple of months.

The antics of seven inheritance recipients during a week-long stay at a Connecticut estate are detailed by protagonist Jill Jocasta Fonne. The will of her aunt stipulates that if anyone leaves early, his or her share will be divided among those remaining. As it happens, one does leave - permanently - when he dies just hours after arrival. Guests and staff alike have secrets to share as Jill and her colleagues, Rey and Linda, discover when they step out of their chosen professions into the roles of amateur sleuths. But are these secrets the reasons that bodies start appearing and disappearing? Others soon join in the sleuthing, and the bumbling and stumbling - and mayhem - begin.

The cry we all expected to burst from Prunella’s lips didn’t; she was too busy gaping. She stood near his head, her face drawn, while Linda was situated by his feet, her expression grim. Amber candlelight lent an eerie feel to the surreal scene.
“He’s dead?” Rey.
“As the proverbial doornail,” Linda replied.
“How can you tell?”
“He has a Furi Rachel Ray seven-inch offset bread knife in his heart.”
“Uh. Right.”
“One of us better get Gnarly,” I suggested softly.
“Who?” Aunt Mat appeared bemused.
“That old geezer Lewis had sent over.”
“That would be Ulysses Abbott,” she said, her gaze remaining on Percival, as if anticipating that any second he might yank the blade from his chest and shout, “Ha ha, gotcha!”
“Maybe we all better go,” Linda advised. “This is way too Ten Little Indians.”
“Little Brown Jug” resounded down the hallway.
“Fred’s here,” I announced.
Rey shot an elbow into my ribs. “Will you stop with Fred the Ghost? He’s a figment of your imagination.”
“In a pig’s eye!”
“No one else has seen him-"
“He’s real Reynalda! Can’t you hear him?” I motioned the hallway.
“Ladies!” our aunt called, playing referee. “That’s Ulysses. He loves nineteenth-century folk songs. Ulysses? We’re in the back, by the laundry room.”
Heavy footfalls came our way. A flashlight beam preceded his entry.
“Yes Mrs. Moone? I just -- oh.” He looked at Percival and frowned. “Is he . . . ?”
“As the proverbial doornail.”
He exhaled loudly and pulled a cell phone from the breast pocket of his wrinkled shirt. “Sheriff Lewis is not going to like this one iota. I’m up shit’s creek -- in a cracked canoe.”
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

My Review
Jill Fonne, a meteorologist and wannabe investigative reporter, visits the estate of her deceased aunt, Mathilda Raine Moone, in Connecticut. Jill is one of several people invited to stay in the "haunted" mansion for a week, in order to receive their share of the inheritance. If any of them leaves early, their share will go to those remaining. Then the bodies start dropping. Who will be next? And what is the killer's real motive?
The author dedicates this book to those who enjoy old-school whodunits. And what a great job she does! She uses her impressive vocabulary and clever metaphors and similes to create a creepy, yet humorous, opening scene that sets the tone and mood for the rest of the book. With a friendly ghost, strangely themed dinners, numerous dead bodies, secret passages, and a cast of eccentric characters with complex backstories, this book will keep you amused and guessing, from beginning to end.
When Jill states, "Let’s not get any crazy notions about quitting our day jobs and becoming private investigators," you know that's exactly what will happen. Keep an eye out for the next adventure featuring Jill, Rey, and Linda - Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie? - in which they begin their careers as PIs in Hawaii.

Interview With the Author
Tyler Colins joins me today to discuss her book, The Connecticut Corpse Caper, the first in the Triple Threat Mystery series.
For what age group do you recommend your book? 
I'd say late teens to adults.
What sparked the idea for this book?
I loved reading mysteries and watching old mystery/haunted-house movies. Still do. One day, I decided I’d write an "homage" to both. The gals (Jill, Rey, and Linda) took on lives of their own and The Connecticut Corpse Caper became an inspiration for the Triple Threat series.
Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
The idea for the novel came first. In this case: what shenanigans might pull the three main female characters into the bizarre goings-on at a "haunted" Connecticut mansion?
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
Probably getting the characters down pat, i.e., giving them all distinct personalities.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I hope it a) evokes some fond memories of old-time mystery movies and novels, and b) prompts a few smiles.
It certainly did that for me! How long did it take you to write this book?
With a full-time job and Mom to take care of, as well as a few rounds of editing, about two years, give or take.
What is your writing routine?
I try to write 60-90 minutes a day ... and, if I’m not writing, then I’m editing.
How did you get your book published?
I went with Smashwords, as I’d heard good things about it. Later, after some researching, I also went with Amazon/Kindle, PublishDrive, and StreetLib. (I’m still learning the ins and outs of self-publishing ebooks.) Early on in my writing career, I’d tried the agent route, but found that as difficult to navigate as the publishing one. Publishers usually won’t take on a writer unless he/she has an agent and agents, well, they appear to have chocka-block full rosters. 
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Keep writing and editing, and then edit some more. Make sure your manuscript is as crisp and clean as possible. If your grammar ain’t that good, have someone edit your work. Find an impartial person to review your final product (family and friends are probably not the best sources as they will "love" your stuff). If you want to e-publish, check out all viable sources. If you want to go the traditional route, submit to both agents and publishers, but first make sure to check credentials and submission requirements. And, above all, keep at it. Never get discouraged. Believe in your craft and yourself.
Great advice! What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I don’t have much "me" time as I take care of my mother in addition to working full-time. Any extra time I have is spent writing/editing or researching.
Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
As an only child, I had to make my own fun. So, guess how my love for writing came about? <LOL> I also enjoyed drawing. I was alone a lot, but never lonely.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
Loved it! Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Trixie Belden, and the Dana Girls were my favorites.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I was about 12. I always enjoyed writing, but my English teacher commented on my writing ability to the class and that provided a much-needed confidence boost. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
I’d say certain authors’ talents for telling tales inspired me. I’m not in the same league as Rand or Bradbury, Lee or (more currently) Kellerman, or Fairstein, but they have all certainly motivated me to write/create.
Do you hear from your readers much?
I haven’t as yet, but I’m still attempting to get myself out there. I’ve only set up a couple of author profiles and I’m currently researching about book promotions, reviews, and how to market oneself as a writer. It’s a lot of work (!) – and, to confess, rather daunting. But I will get there, of this I have no doubt.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I have sequels to The Connecticut Corpse Caper (Can You Hula Like Hilo Hattie? and Coco's Nuts) and a work-in-progress on Write On; every week, I add a chapter to Odd Woman Out. I intend to set up a second blog in the next two months, probably related to my ebooks and the journey involved in getting to this stage, but I’m still tossing about that idea, as well as a couple others.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by today, Tyler. Best of luck with your future projects.
Thanks very much.

About the Author
Tyler Colins was born in Toronto, Canada, and has worn several professional hats - promotion assistant, ESL teacher, editor, technical and fiction/script writer. She has always held a love for America; it has been her dream to reside there since the beautiful Stars & Stripes caught her eye at age of five. As an only child born to older parents from lands far away, Imagination served as a playmate for many years. "She" inspired Ty to become a writer, but it was only recently that Inspiration nudged her to get out in the world and promote herself and the first three mysteries in the Triple Threat Mystery series.

Enter our exclusive giveaway for a chance to win one of five ebook copies of The Connecticut Corpse Caper by Tyler Colins (gifted via Smashwords).