SPOTLIGHT ON BUZZ GUEST VERONICA CLINE BARTON @VClinebarton Y’ALL! AUTHOR OF MY AMERICAN ALMOST ROYAL COUSIN SERIES! LET’S GENERATE A BUZZ!
Today my BUZZ GUEST is VERONICA CLINE BARTON author of MY AMERICAN ALMOST ROYAL COUSIN series!
Book one is called THE CROWN FOR CASTLEWOOD MANOR.
Here’s the blurb!
The English ancestral manor of Cherrywood Hall is ready to compete for selection in an upcoming British TV period drama series: the grounds are manicured, the mansion is polished, and the servants are poised. American heiress Gemma Lancaster Phillips has crossed the pond to help her cousin defeat the three other stately homes vying for the prize.
What Gemma doesn’t realize is that this competition is life or death, and someone is taking that challenge literally. The occupants of one home are killed in an automobile accident, and murder becomes a frequent occurrence at the other locations. Who is behind the mayhem? Selection would be a major coup for both the estate and the community. At first the other contestants seem to be likely suspects, but no one is quite certain as the tragedies continue. Could it even be Emma’s beloved cousin Evan, the surviving heir to the Lancaster fortune, or Kyle, his best friend and estate manager? With the Royal family in attendance at each event, the puzzle becomes a crucial one for Scotland Yard, and they enlist Gemma’s help to solve the mystery.
When the competition’s winner is announced on New Year’s Eve, will Gemma’s future be forever tied to her ancestral past?
Book two in the series is called CAST, CREW, & CARNAGE; THE FILMING OF CASTLEWOOD MANOR.
Here’s the blurb!
American heiress Gemma Lancaster Phillips, PhD, can tell you that owning and running a large estate is much less glamorous than it sounds. Her ancestral home of Cherrywood Hall is stunning, but Gemma knows how much hard work her cousin, Lord Evan Lancaster, and his estate manager, Kyle Williams, put into maintaining the sprawling location.
Castlewood Manor, on the other hand, is all the glamour with none of the grit. The period drama television series is set to film in Cherrywood Hall and bring millions of pounds into the local community. The only problem is that someone wants to see the production shut down permanently and is willing to kill for it! Gemma isn’t about to let a murderer run rampant through the halls of her family’s estate. When Scotland Yard’s own Chief Inspector Marquot solicits her advice, she once again enlists the help of Evan and Kyle to catch the culprit.
Egotistical actors, a royal it-girl, rival estate owners, and even a family ghost spring up to help or hinder Gemma on her quest for the truth. Will it be enough to show Gemma just what kind of evil has been brought to Cherrywood Hall?
Here we are at the ‘Normal’ and ‘Not so normal’ Question Spots.
‘Normal’ Question Spot.
1. What genre do you write in?
My genre is cozy mystery and suspense---British theme with an American twist (Kind of on trend now with the upcoming #RoyalWedding. I am a royal loving, American Anglophile, despite being a card-carrying, proud member of the D.A.R.)
2. What do you love about it?
There’s something about the quaint British countryside and a good old-fashioned murder mystery---who knew that the combination of these two seemingly opposites would attract? I love how an unassuming British setting steeped in tradition and manners, can house so many ne’er-do-wells performing dastardly deeds. I love it when the story instantly transports me to the quaint villages or cold, clammy castle rooms, letting me watch as the mysteries unfold, fortified with the never-ending cups of hot tea, or sips of sherry. I feel at home in these type stories and appreciate the ‘cozy’ nature of the crimes---we can see all the real-life guts and gore we want on any given day. I prefer the ‘cozy’ crime scene---bad things happen without the grizzly details.
3. Do you have a book inspiration story to share with us?
I do. My writing career started with the end of my beloved Downton Abbey. For six seasons, every Sunday night I’d be glued to the television. In addition to the regular series, I watched the Manners of Downton, the Weddings of Downton, and the real-life specials highlighting the owners (Lord and Lady Carnarvon) of Highclere Castle, that served as the set location for Downton Abbey, and their newfound fame. When the end of season six came, I was devastated---what would I do now? Recently retired, I had toyed with the idea of writing for some time, the end of Downton triggered my start engine. I homed in on the real-life owners of Highclere and how Downton had changed their lives. Would you let a TV period drama series be filmed on your estate? I kept toying with this question, and soon the subject of my cozy book series was born---the filming of fictional television series Castlewood Manor on the estate of Cherrywood Hall, with fun characters (heiresses, aristocrats, royals, actors, meddling mothers, an ancestral ghost, villagers) mysteries and mayhem, and a little romance thrown in.
4. What are you working on now?
I have a few WIPs. I am learning the art of tweeting, Instagram-ing and facebook-ing---I’m a newbie to social media platforms despite having been in software sales for 20+ years (Note: do not follow my learning path on this one!). I’ve also just started my blog, which is very exciting---it gives me a weekly channel to air my opinions on a number of topics, some writing oriented, and some that come from who knows where---I try and keep things up-beat and fun. I am most excited on beginning the third book of my series. My American heiress Gemma Lancaster Phillips and her crew are leaving the hallowed halls of Cherrywood Hall and coming to America for some Castlewood Manor premiers and award events. Expect lots of glitz and glamor, sprinkled with cozy mur-dahs and mayhem as they travel across the U.S. Will love continue to bloom between Gemma and Cherrywood Hall estate manager Kyle Williams once they cross the pond? Stay tuned…
5. You went snorkeling between the tectonic plates at the Silfra Fissure. What was that awesome adventure like?
My husband Bruce and I are blessed to live in southern CA, where it is perpetually sunny and in the 70s. I crave seasonal changes and love cold weather (really cold). We tend to travel in January and February so that I get a chance to wear my beloved boots. This year I turned 60 in January, and we went to Iceland. I had seen a picture on Pinterest of a scuba suited brave heart, hands out reached, touching the sides of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates in clear blue water. I was captivated, and after much begging and researching, my husband and I found ourselves suiting up in the snow (long johns, dry suit, wet suit) and soon entering the crystal-clear labyrinth waters of the Silfra Fissure. It was 22 degrees F air temp, and 35 degrees F water temp, and one of the most awesome things I’ve ever done. The Silfra Fissure is listed in the top 10 areas of the world for snorkeling (and the only place you can snorkel between 2 tectonic plates), the crystal-clear fissure water travels for 35 years from a melting glacier that flows into the fissure. Bucket list check and a great cold facial!
Veronica in her dry suit wetsuit in Iceland all set for snorkeling. Look at the twinkle in her eyes.
Veronica on her sixtieth birthday. Awesome pic!
‘Not so Normal’ Question Spot
1. If you could invite any 5 people (i.e. cartoon character; famous person; rock band; poet; artist; living or dead) for a meal together, who would they be?
I would love to invite Agatha Christie, Coco Chanel, Queen Elizabeth II, Nigella Lawson and Marie Curie to a cooking class/dinner. Nigella would guide our culinary adventure with her sultry voice; Agatha would keep us in stitches with the stories behind the stories,(and some inside scoop on Hercule); Coco would tell us all the latest trends of fashion and style (and what she thinks of the latest crop of children of celebrities models); QE II would let down her crown and tell us all about the things she’s seen as the world’s longest living monarch (with LOTS of eye rolls); Marie would give us the scoop on being a genius female scientist in a man’s world (things haven’t changed that much unfortunately). I would sit and stare, mouth open, hoping not to drool, and try to absorb all their collective wisdom. P.S. If Nigella was not available, I would try and enlist Nina Romano or BraveHeartBraveSoul from the Twitterverse---these writers can cook! You should see some of the recipes and dishes they post, yum---either of them would be a great addition to my fictional cooking class/dinner party I’m sure!
2. If you were an ‘American Almost-Royal’, what would your title be?
Just as Princess Diana wanted to be the Queen of People’s Hearts, I’d like to be the American Almost-Royal Queen of Cozy Mystery Reader’s Minds (ok, I’d settle for Almost-Royal Marchioness if I can’t be queen, I know there are many talented authors out there…)
3. What does your castle look like?
My fictional Cherrywood Hall is a grand red brick and limestone manor house with four turrets on each corner, sitting on the cliffs overlooking the North Sea. There are 151 rooms in Cherrywood Hall and counting---one never knows when a mysterious hidden room will show up. Many of the rooms are still decorated in shades of blue, ancestral Aunt Pippa’s (and now family ghost) favorite color. One of the favorite gathering spots for my characters is the conservatory, a large room that spans the length of the castle, with marble floors, exotic plants and a 30-foot waterfall that spills into a reflecting pool. Hidden behind the falls is a boulder door, which opens to an iridescent blue tiled swimming pool---a magical place to swim under the stars or find floating bodies…
4. You have a mystery to solve. Picking characters from all the mysteries you’ve ever read or watched who are the people on your team?
I would pick Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, whose woolly-headed insights would surely help solve any mystery; M.C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin, her head strong approach has no fear (and I have a soft spot for menopausal women); Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher, because I want to borrow her clothes as she leads our pack of mystery solvers with her golden gun; Rhys Bowen’s Lady Georgiana Rannoch/aka Georgie, her kindness and manners should be a lesson for us all---almost royally speaking; and finally, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, brilliant, a bit arrogant (I would love to see him smile in the company of these women who would give him a run for his money (actually, I think Miss Marple would de-throne him 😊)
Love your answers! And thank you so much for sharing your snorkeling adventure with us. Awesome pics!
YOU CAN REACH VERONICA AT:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/VClinebarton @VClinebarton
LET'S GENERATE A BUZZ! Authors, artists and poets if you would like to be a BUZZ GUEST on ‘FAE AND WITCHES AND GHOSTS—OH MY!’ please DM me on Twitter https://twitter.com/kay_latour or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kaylatour/
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Kay Latour -> Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Author of WITCH ON PAROLE series.