Thursday, August 8, 2019

"Rest, Relax, Run for Your Life" by Katherine H. Brown

Rest, Relax, Run for Your Life
(Ooey Gooey Bakery Mystery Book 1)
by Katherine H. Brown

Rest, Relax, Run for Your Life (Ooey Gooey Bakery Mystery Book 1) by Katherine H. Brown

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Rest, Relax, Run for Your Life is currently on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Piper and Samantha are in heaven. Well, close. After winning a contest to raise the most money for human trafficking awareness and prevention, Piper and Sam are rewarded with a long weekend at the O Heavenly Day Spa. When mysterious notes start appearing everywhere, things get uncomfortable. When spa treatments go awry it is starting to get dangerous. A threatening message in Piper’s closet convinces Piper and Sam that they have to find out who is behind all of these disasters before someone gets hurt. Is it Broussard the stuffy concierge? Gladys, the sweet old lady who decided to join them for the weekend? When the smoke alarms go off and the spa erupts into panic, the chaos separates the friends and Piper stumbles into trouble. Will her friends be able to help her in time?

“Sam. Hey Sam!” I called out. “Sam, why is the news crew outside?”
My business partner and best friend, Samantha Lowe, poked her head out of the supply closet. She had been tucked away in that closet doing inventory since we arrived an hour ago. “What?” she asked. With her light brown hair pulled up in a sleek ponytail, the bottom half which she recently dyed a vibrant red, was very visible today, making me smile.
Samantha Lowe’s only rebellious streak against her snobby, picture-perfect parents was the rainbow of colors she continuously displayed in her hair, changing it every few months, ever since she went away to college four years ago. Her parents were constantly disappointed that she showed no signs of outgrowing that phase.
Thanks to an impromptu girls’ day at the hair salon yesterday, I am also sporting a more colorful look today; much more colorful than usual for me, at least.
Me? I’m Piper. I’m messy buns, cargo pants, and chocolate chip cookies for breakfast. I wouldn’t call myself a tomboy, but I’ve never been a high heel and makeup kind of girl either.
My own dark brown, shoulder-length, wavy locks were typically drab in comparison to Sam’s flashy hair, which never bothered me in the least. However, Sam had begged me all day yesterday to join in on her hair appointment and do something “to bring a little fun” to my hair. I finally agreed to think about getting highlights, to which she gave a massive roll of her eyes and began purposefully muttering about “a complete lack of imagination” under her breath, but loud enough for me to hear.
On a whim, more as a prank on Sam than anything else, I got in the chair and asked the hairstylist to color the ends of my hair both silver and a pastel turquoise. I thought after I freaked out Sam that I could have the ends trimmed off in favor of a short hairstyle.
Sam had been speechless when the stylist unveiled my new look. Considering the minimal amount of times that I’ve witnessed Sam speechless, I grimaced, and turned toward the mirror preparing myself for the worst, pangs of regret already tightening my stomach. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was gorgeous! “Oh. My. Gosh.” At last, Sam managed to break free of the shock and stepped forward to run her fingers through my hair, lifting it to get a better look. “I am completely jealous, Piper. It looks amazing on you.”
Giving my head a little shake to snap out of the memory, I pointed at the large white van with KDOP Channel 17 News plastered on the side of it. The van had parallel parked at the curb directly in front of our store. While we watched, a lanky teen fumbled with unloading the camera equipment while Missy Sims, the local anchor, sprayed clouds of hairspray on her already perfectly springy curls.
Missy was busy snapping a barrage of orders, pointing all over the place, her hands waving frantically in the air, I think she even stomped her foot once. Nodding to Missy, scrambling to and from the van with all of the equipment, the pale-faced teen quickly began setting up the camera on the sidewalk right in front of our door. Sam and I shared a puzzled look. Closing the pocket knife that I had been using to open boxes of new kitchen utensils, I slipped it into my pocket, wiped the cardboard dust from the white and blue marble countertops, and grabbed Sam to head outside to investigate.
“Samantha Lowe and Piper Rivers?” Missy asked, jutting the microphone toward me the moment the door swung open.
“I’m Piper, and this is Samantha” I confirmed. “What’s going on here?” I wiped sweaty palms on my jeans. Having a camera pointing at our doorway before 7 AM made me more than a little nervous and, I’ll admit, a bit abrupt; I couldn’t imagine what this might be about.
Samantha, the picture of politeness as always, inquired smoothly, “What can we help you with this morning?”
Completely ignoring Sam, Missy turned to the camera boy, whose name was Pete according to his badge, and made a “rolling” motion with her finger. A small, red light blinked to life on the camera and Missy immediately jumped into her spiel, a wide smile plastered onto her face. “Good morning to all of you early risers. I’m here today with Samantha Lowe and Piper Rivers, the owners of the Ooey Gooey Goodness Bakery, and winners of the four-day spa stay at O Heavenly Day Spay.”
My mouth dropped open in disbelief.
The O Heavenly Day Spa! We won?!
Sandy Shores Evangelical Church was the largest church in our beachfront town of Seashell Bay. In fact, the church was so massive that there was an entire campus complete with child-care programs, primary school and, of course, the spa. The spa operated as a spiritual retreat center for both members and numerous women’s groups statewide. Often one set of dormitories at the spa was opened to domestic abuse victims or single mothers; they were given jobs and use of the facilities. It was Sandy Shores Church who sponsored the contest and put up the prize for the Breaking Chains fundraiser, to encourage community members to partner with them in broader ministry opportunities. They donated several weeks a year free of charge to victims of crimes and trafficking or women struggling to get back on their feet after the death of a spouse or divorce.
The spa also accepted paying appointments from members and non-members, as well. Samantha’s mother, for one, had weekly appointments booked for months in advance.
Missy turned back to us while I was still processing everything. Samantha nudged me and I slammed my open mouth shut. “What an honor,” Samantha placed a hand over her heart and launched into speech mode – a necessary skill as a part of her prestigious family. Did I mention they are one of the original five founding families of Seashell Bay? Or that her father is the mayor? Thankfully, when Samantha spoke she was always genuine; my friend has a heart of gold. “I’m so pleased we were able to come together with local businesses and community members to raise funds and awareness for prevention of such horrific practices…”
I tuned out the conversation, nodding and smiling, knowing Samantha had it covered. I still couldn’t believe we won. I thought back to the day the contest had been announced.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“Don’t let the YA label put you off. If you enjoy a light mystery, you’ll enjoy Piper’s story. And the goodies of the Ooey Gooey Bakery? Just thinking about them could add pounds.” ~ Christa Reads and Writes
“I really enjoyed it! I loved the characters and the plot. The suspense was very well done. The writing was good and the story was immersive. This is definitely an author I’ll read again.” ~ Donise Sheppard
“This was awesome read. I loved all the interesting characters that keep me reading. The storyline will put you in with all the twist and turns.” ~ Lynne Moody
“Love this book! very humorous and suspenseful at the same time. Can't wait until the next book comes out. Glad I discovered this author.” ~ Dianna Parker
“I really enjoyed reading this cozy. It wasn't your typical "solve a murder" cozy, but instead was a mystery about who was trying to harm the main character. The characters are fun and there were a few scenes that had me laughing.” ~ RachaelB

Guest Post by the Author
My Writing Journey
Hello, everyone! My name is Katherine Brown. I am the author of the Ooey Gooey Bakery Mystery series for teens and adults, as well as writer of several children’s short chapter books. A little more about me? Blue Bell Chocolate Chip ice cream is my absolute favorite and, if I could spend every single day laying in a chair at the beach reading, that would be my idea of the most relaxing life ever.
Like you often hear, yes, I always wanted to be a writer. As a seven or eight-year-old, I would staple together cut up paper between cardboard and make my own “books” in which I scribbled very short stories. My first published book, Kindergarten Teachers are Witches from the School is Scary kid’s series, was actually a revision of a story that I began writing one summer when I was elementary school age. Now, I had no idea what I was doing at the time of publishing that little story, but people enjoyed it anyway; since then, I’ve continued to learn and grow as a writer.
This past year, I was blessed to be able to come home and write full time because my husband believes in my passion and my desire to turn writing into my career rather than my hobby. Books two through four of the Ooey Gooey Bakery Mystery series have all been written within the last six months thanks to that decision and the time now available to me for writing. On top of that, I now get to pick my daughter up from school every day and set my own work schedule if things come up that need attention.
Coming home to write wasn’t all sunshine and roses. For the first month, I agonized in guilt about “not having a real job” and not contributing to our family income. I’ve always worked in a corporate environment, getting to work early, achieving big goals, finishing all tasks. To now have the freedom to decide when I worked but also where I worked (do I go to the kitchen, outside, a desk … choices that didn’t involve a cubicle wall!) was also intimidating. Since no person was giving me a quota, I felt like I wasn’t pushing myself hard enough or accomplishing enough. I thought that, if I weren’t creating at least one book a month, my husband would be disappointed or regret agreeing for me to stay home and work. But that was all my own anxiety. When I told my husband that I was attempting to write a book each month, his jaw dropped. He couldn’t believe it, and he definitely didn’t expect or demand it. His only concern was that I do what I love and be happy. Yes … I am that lucky!
After the second month of being at home, a routine finally developed. I stopped telling myself I wasn’t good enough. And, I have gotten a few first drafts done in my month time limit. But when I miss that self-imposed deadline, I relax. I let it go, problem solve the plot or whatever is holding me up, and I keep going. I also learned to take a break. After I finish a first draft, I give myself a few days of mental recess where I read or work outside or catch up on some of the business side of things rather than the creative side. It is a pretty good balance that takes the pressure off and enhances my creativity when I do sit back down to begin the next book or story.
Now you know more about me than probably either one of us expected! Before I go, I’ll say that I hope you enjoy the Ooey Gooey Bakery Mystery series if you decide to try them out. The character I most relate to is Piper though I’ve enjoyed writing each of them immensely. If you have a favorite, be sure to email and tell me!

About the Author
Katherine H. Brown
Katherine Brown is a Texas girl, a lover of books, and a weaver of words. Her first official publication was of two children’s books in 2017, which has now grown into five books of the School is Scary series; however, she likes to think her career as a writer started when she sold her parents newsletters of articles about school and poetry for fifty cents per copy as a pre-teen. Married to a wonderful husband and mom of a smart, spunky stepdaughter, Katherine enjoys spending time with family and reading as many new books as she can get her hands on. She has also written the YA Ooey Gooey Bakery Mystery series.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of two ebook copies of Rest, Relax, Run for Your Life by Katherine H. Brown.

Amazon (Kindle Unlimited)

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