FEATURED AUTHOR: T.C. WESCOTT
ABOUT THE BOOK
Twas the week before Christmas and all through the village, the night settled in over swirling-smoke chimneys; the air was alive with pine and holly, with sugar and cinnamon and cider, by golly!
Along snowy lanes and through shadows it crept, past windows behind which each villager slept, where sleeping dogs lie and cats rest a’purring.
Tonight, in Christmas Village, a killer is stirring.
Welcome to Christmas Village, a magical hamlet where even in December the roses hold their luster and bees buzz among the bluebells. You’re just in time for the week-long Christmas Festival, and nowhere is Christmas celebrated with such unrestrained merriment as the village which bears its name. Mayor Cobblestone and Sheriff Fell will be somewhere nearby, doing all they can to make sure you’re safe during your stay.
Provided you haven’t booked a room at Plum Cottage.
Nestled betwixt an opulent garden with meandering footpaths and an ancient grove of plum trees, Rose Willoughby’s boarding house is plum-full with lodgers. There are no vacancies, but just wait. Soon there will be one…and another…and another.
Presently lodging at the cottage are: the juggler, the acrobat, the magician, the psychic, the strongman, the manager, and the pretty assistant. In town as festival entertainment they’ve each brought their own bag of tricks. And a closet full of skeletons.
When the entertainers begin dying in inexplicable ways, some villagers believe a beast from old village lore is the culprit. The sheriff knows better, but he’s just as helpless to catch the invisible killer as are the town folk with their eyes to the sky in search of a flying creature. But our mysterious murderer hasn’t counted on yet another lodger coming to the cottage: Maribel Claus.
Short as a stump, round as a wheel, sweet as a candy cane, and a sharp as a whip, Maribel loves a good puzzle. But has she finally met her match at Plum Cottage?
Can you figure out whodunit before Maribel does? If you’re up to the challenge, here’s your first clue—the key to unlocking the secret of the murderer’s identity lies in figuring out how the murders were committed. Good luck!
If you’re looking for a fun, baffling read that’s cozier and more mysterious than the usual fare, replete with diagrams of the murder scenes and a one-of-a-kind BOOK GROUP CHALLENGE, then Slay Bells is the perfect gift to buy yourself this Christmas.
Title: Slay Bells
Author’s name: T.C. Wescott
Genre: Cozy mystery
Series: A Christmas Village Mystery, book 1
Publisher: Better Mousetrap Books (November 24, 2018)
Print length: 273 pages
On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours
LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT WITH T.C. WESCOTT
A few of your favorite things: Christmas, Halloween, fresh air, history, my dogs, cats, and ferret!
Things you need to throw out: Old clothes, but I’ll donate them instead.
Things you need in order to write: My computer and a comfortable seat.
Things that hamper your writing: An uncomfortable seat and an uncooperative computer. And sometimes the TV. I struggle between wanting the background noise and getting sucked into a program.
Things you love about writing: The creative process. Challenging myself. And those rare moments when I write a line that dives a little deeper into the emotional pool.
Things you hate about writing: Editing and proofreading. Ugh. A necessary evil but it’s the opposite of fun. And it keeps me from writing!
Easiest thing about being a writer: Reading back what you have written and realizing it was better than you thought. That never gets old.
Hardest thing about being a writer: The fact that it’s a solitary vocation and by virtue of that you are taken away from everyone and everything else.
Things you love about where you live: Pretty much anything I could need or want is within two miles of my home. If you read my Running Store Mystery books I’m describing the town in which I live, except that I change the names of the businesses. Living in one of the top-rated small towns in America means I don’t have to tax my imagination at all to conjure up the small-town vibe and can instead put my ‘little gray cells’ towards the matters of murder and mystery.
Things that make you want to move: Tornadoes. I haven’t personally seen one yet, but at least once a year I have to crouch at the bottom of my stairwell while listening to sirens go off.
Things you never want to run out of: Ideas! And readers. What good is an idea without someone to share it with?
Things you wish you’d never bought: The elliptical machine in my living room that murdered my legs and now serves as the clunkiest coat rack you’ve ever seen.
Words that describe you: Ambitious, creative, sweet, compassionate, obnoxious.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: Distracted.
Favorite foods: Spaghetti, Rib eye steak, BBQ ribs, mac & cheese.
Things that make you want to throw up: Raw fish, raw beef, sauerkraut.
Favorite music: KISS, Sarah McLachlan, Warrant, Jim Croce. Don’t judge!
Music that make your ears bleed: 90% of Top 40 songs from the past several years.
Favorite beverage: Water!
Something that gives you a pickle face: Lemonade made by someone who’s never made lemonade before.
Favorite smell: A garden in the spring.
Something that makes you hold your nose: My ferret’s little surprise packages.
Something you’re really good at: Playing guitar.
Something you’re really bad at: I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler.
Something you wish you could do: Draw, paint, sing.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: Learning is never a bad thing!
Something you like to do: Aside from write? Reading always tops the list.
Something you wish you’d never done: I went with the lowest bidder on a bathroom remodel. Went an entire month with no bathtub. Always go with a middle-range bid!
People you consider as heroes: Those who leave a field better than when they found it. Take it seriously, learn to do it well, and do your best to do it better than others. And encourage others to do the same along the way.
People with a big L on their foreheads: Hypocrisy is always obvious. If you talk the talk you should walk the walk, or else risk waking one morning with the dreaded scarlet ‘L’ on your forehead.
Last best thing you ate: Rib eye steak at Outback!
Last thing you regret eating: Blue cheese wedge salad at Outback.
Things you’d walk a mile for: Exercise, to vote, and to get food for my pets.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: Big spiders, housework, corrections from my editor!
Things you always put in your books: Murders, humor, life.
Things you never put in your books: Swear words, sex, gory descriptions.
Favorite genre: Classic mystery from the 1920s to 1960s.
Books you would ban: Books hurriedly written, with not even a modicum of proofreading, and uploaded to Amazon with generic covers and with the mistaken notion that readers aren’t savvy.
Favorite things to do: Write, read, walk beside the lake and along a wooded path, visit old and even abandoned buildings, and, of course, pet animals!
Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: Proofreading another writer’s work. I don’t envy my own editor!
Best thing you’ve ever done: Take the plunge into writing longform works.
Biggest mistake: Not starting my writing career in my 20s when I first got the bug.
The last thing you did for the first time: I flew on an airplane by myself this year! Yeah, I know, like I’m 10 or something. But it was a first for me.
Something you’ll never do again: Buy cheap shoes!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
T.C. Wescott was born in Missouri but has lived in Oklahoma most of his life. Like pretty much every author who has ever breathed, he is an avid reader. His favorites are classic mysteries from the Golden Age, as well as just before or just after that period (which is widely considered the period between the two World Wars). His first mystery novel, Running from Scissors, was published in July 2018 and will be the first of at least three books in the Running Store Mystery series.
The Christmas Village Mystery series will launch in November of the same year with the debut title Slay Bells. The formula for his books is simple - mixing the classic, traditional detective fiction standards with all the trappings of the modern cozy mystery.
Wescott is also (under his full name) the author of two award-winning non-fiction books as well as a slew of essays and articles.
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