Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Spotlight/Book Giveaway/Guest Post: Keeping Mum by Alyse Carlson

About the Book

Genre: Cozy Mystery, #3 in A Garden Society Mystery Series
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Release Date: March 2014

Synopsis from Goodreads...

Roanoke, Virginia, is home to some of the country’s most exquisite gardens, and it’s Camellia Harris’s job to promote them. But when a political fundraiser turns deadly, everyone’s a candidate for murder...

Cam and her best friend, Annie, are planning a gala for a local Senate candidate—a murder mystery themed silent auction where the guests bid on who will be the night’s "victim.” Coordinating a beautiful display of fall flowers and planning the perfect fake crime is hard enough, but with a guest list that is a "who’s who” of the Roanoke elite, Cam has her hands full navigating the egos and grudges of her high society guests.

When local financial tycoon Derrick Windermere is found dead next to a shattered pot of chrysanthemums, the night’s fun and games quickly turn serious. Half the guests had good reason to want Windermere dead, but only one is suspiciously missing in action—Annie’s father. Now Cam will not only have to figure out which partygoer is a killer, but find her friend’s father before all their reputations end up dragged through the mud...

Author Guest Post

What's A Little Murder Among Friends?

Camellia Harris, my sleuth in The Garden Society Mysteries set in Roanoke, Virginia, has a sidekick, as is the tradition in Cozy Mysteries, but Cam has a little sumpin sumpin that I haven't seen much of, so I thought I'd talk a bit about the TEAM. Each of Cam's friends has a role that has propelled the sleuthing forward... or hindered it... depending on the book and the preconceptions of that particular character in that particular situation.

The overall dynamic though, is FUN. So I wanted to give you all a mini-intro to the “Fearless Foursome”

Cam: Cam Harris is a practical, hard-working girl. She fell in love with gardening as a child because her mother was an avid gardener, and professionally, she has gone into public relations, so she feels extremely lucky to be working managing public relations for the Roanoke Garden Society (of which her deceased mother was a founding member). Cam's primary character flaw is also her greatest professional asset—she tends to spin things into the best light, so the lines of truth are just a little bit fuzzy—but she is a loyal friend and family member, and she is smart and willing to do what is necessary when those she loves inevitably find themselves in trouble.

Annie: Some serious, practical people really NEED someone in their life who is sort of goofy, willing to push the boundaries, and who just urges them to laugh more and take life a little less seriously. For Cam, this is Annie. Cam and Annie have been best friends since middle school and Annie is the Yin to Cam's Yang. They are outwardly opposite, but fit together perfectly as friends. Cam likes to plan. Annie improvises. Cam is tidy, Annie is a tornado. Cam generally follows the rules and Annie has burned the rulebook. She doesn't endorse such nonsense.

Rob: is Cam's long-time boyfriend. He is a sports reporter, but of late he has managed to get the scoop on a couple murder stories. Cam and Rob met at a Young Media Professionals meeting (in fact more details to this story appear in this book), and Rob and Cam have a fair bit in common. They are both driven and ambitious, both have the 'snoop bug' (or they wouldn't have gone into their fields) and they both enjoy figuring out a puzzle. The place they come into conflict is that Cam has a vested interest in the story flattering her client, where Rob's interest is always in the truth. As a sports reporter, Rob is also an athlete, though only for fun these days, but his speed and agility have not gone amiss in this series.

Jake: Joaquin Moreno, or Jake, was originally just a teammate of Rob's on their city league baseball team, but as a police officer, during the first murder Cam encountered, he ended up a helpful friend or foil, depending on the moment, and in the end he was Annie's boyfriend, so he's been integrated into the group. Of the group, Jake most often plays Cam's foil, as he doesn't like the amateurs sleuthing, but he has good resources when he can be convinced, and Annie knows how to convince him to help now and then. Besides that, Cam acknowledges that Jake is good for Annie—he cares about her and is good to her, providing some much-needed grounding.

The Joys and Challenges of Sleuthing by Committee

I think with this many players involved, it has opened up doors for VARIETY in sources and clues. Both Rob and Jake have legitimate sources because of their careers, and Annie, the sneak, can sometimes get her hands on information she really shouldn't have, which leaves Cam to ask questions, but gives her some other tools in her box, too. It also means more can be communicated through dialog, which I enjoy [especially the Cam/Annie dialog—that stuff is a hoot to write].

On the other hand it also provides some challenges in 'directing' [wait, did he know that yet?] and figuring out ways to make sure everyone is informed without repeating the story three times.

Overall though, I hope this set of characters is one that most readers can say, “I'd really like to hang out with these guys for a while.” I know I would, though honestly, Annie channels my online persona and two people together with that inability to behave are surely asking for trouble.

Keeping Mum is the third book in The Garden Society Cozy Mystery Series: Cam and Annie are simultaneously roped into organizing a political fundraiser, so Annie suggests they have fun with it and hold a murder mystery supper. There is nothing that could go wrong with that... but when someone other than the intended victim turns up dead and an important guest goes missing, they have some sleuthing to do.

Alyse Carlson is the pen name for Hart Johnson. Alyse writes books from her bathtub. A social scientist by day, Hart spends her evenings plotting grand conspiracies and murdering people on paper. You can learn more about her at her blog:


Now you can win a paperback copy of Keeping Mum by Alyse Carlson? Thanks to Berkley, I have one paperback to giveaway to one lucky winner.

Just a few simple rules...

1) You must fill out the rafflecopter form below.

2) Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old

3) US Residents Only

4) For an one extra entry: Tweet about this giveaway.

5) For an one extra entry: Leave a comment for the author.

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited.

The giveaway begins on March 12th (midnight est) and ends on March 19th (midnight est).

The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter. The winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond, otherwise a new winner will be chosen. I will announce the winner here on my blog.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I you are going big with the tours this week :)

  2. I've loved Begonia Bribe and can't wait to read this one!

  3. Sounds intriguing and interesting. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. Sounds like a great group of characters.

  5. I really enjoyed the first two books in this series, and am looking forward to this one.

  6. This sounds like a great book series. I love reading books like this.

  7. This looks like a fun cozy. I like the gardening theme. Thanks for the giveaway.
    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

  8. Sounds like a fantastic book. Looking forward to reading it. Thank you for the chance of this giveaway.


  9. Love the sound of the book.


  10. Flowers and cozies--two of my favorite things!!

  11. Sounds like a good read, I didn't realize that it's a series, I'll have to go check out the first. Thanks for the chance to win.

  12. I enjoy this series it has a fun background.

  13. This series looks great! I love the covers.

  14. I've read one of the other books in the series and really enjoyed it. I'd love to win this copy and add it to my home library collection.

  15. Looking forward to seeing how Cam's group handles this story! Thanks!

  16. I loved the 1st book of the series!!!
    have to start the 2nd one soon, so I can read this one!!
    thank you for the giveaway!!

  17. I went to college near Roanoke, at RU. I'll have to read this just for the trip down memory and to see what places I can recognize.

  18. Great series. Eager to read the latest. Thanks for writing them.

  19. A must read; i hope I get a chance to read it :)

  20. Sounds like a really great book. I love the setting and the pretty cover. Thanks for having the giveaway.

  21. I'm so glad I found this website! I love these kinds of books! I hope I win this one!
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

  22. This sounds good! I'd love to read it! Thank you for the giveaway!

  23. I haven't heard of this I have to go find the first one!!

  24. As a gardener, I just love this series. Keep the good books coming.

  25. This sounds like a really good book.


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