Friday, August 4, 2017

All Signs Point to Murder by Connie di Marco Excerpt, Giveaway & Interview

All Signs Point to Murder by Connie di Marco

All Signs Point to Murder

by Connie di Marco

on Tour July 23 - August 23, 2017


All Signs Point to Murder by Connie di Marco
Rob Ramer was the perfect husband until he committed the ultimate family faux pas — he shot his sister-in-law to death. Believing himself under attack by an intruder in his home, he fired back. But when evidence is discovered that Rob’s wife, Brooke, was plotting his murder, Brooke is charged with conspiracy in her sister’s death. Geneva, a third sister, is desperate for answers and seeks the help of her friend, San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti. Geneva’s lost one sister and now it seems she’ll lose the other. Was this a murder plot or just a terrible accident? Julia vows to find the answer in the stars.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Paranormal
Published by: Midnight Ink
Publication Date: August 2017
Number of Pages:336
ISBN: 0738751073 (ISBN13: 9780738751078)
Series: A Zodiac Mystery, 2 | Each is a Stand Alone Mystery
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | IndieBound  | Goodreads 

Read an excerpt:

The building on Guerrero was a once proud Victorian with bow front windows. It had since been broken up into six small units and fallen into disrepair. I drove around the block several times before I managed to find a parking spot a few doors down. The shops on the main street were long closed and the streets deserted. I shivered and let the car heater run another minute to warm up before I left the comfort of my little metal box. There was something about this chore that made my stomach go into knots. Rummaging through a dead woman’s possessions was bad enough, but what if I found something that implicated Moira in a crime? Should I remove it and risk the police finding out?
I climbed out of the car, careful to lock it and approached the long stairway leading to the front door. The wind had died down and now fog danced around the streetlights. It was eerily quiet. No lights shone from any of the windows. I hoped all the residents were safely tucked up in their beds by now. I climbed the cracked granite stairs to the entrance. The weathered door stood ajar, listing slightly on its hinges. I grasped the handle and twisted it, but the lock mechanism was out of commission. Inside, a bare overhead light bulb hung from a chain. It cast a meager glow down the long corridor, cannibalized from a once grand entryway. The hallway smelled of dirty cat litter, moldy vegetables and cigarette smoke. I followed the corridor to the end, and stopped at the last door on the right.
I slipped the key into the lock. It offered no resistance. The door opened immediately. Had it not been locked? I caught a slight scuffling sound and cringed. I hoped no furry long-tailed creatures were waiting inside for me. I reached around the doorway and felt along the wall. My fingers hit the switch. A rusting chandelier with two bulbs missing illuminated the one large room that was both Moira’s living room and bedroom. I tested the key with the door open, locking and then unlocking it. Now I felt the resistance. The door had definitely been unlocked. I stepped inside and shut it behind me, making sure the lock was secure. Was it possible someone had been here before me and left without locking the door? Or had Moira simply been careless?
I had to make sure I was alone in the apartment. There were no hiding places in this sparsely furnished room. I checked under the bed just to be sure and opened the closet, terrified that someone or something might jump out at me. The closet was narrow, filled with a jumble of clothing, half on the floor. I walked into the kitchenette and spotted a doorway that led to the back stairs and the yard. I tested the handle on the door. Locked. I checked the space between the refrigerator and the wall, and then the shower stall in the bathroom. I was alone. I had been holding my breath and finally let it out in a great sigh.
I started with the drawers in the kitchen and checked the counter, looking for any notes with names or phone numbers. There was nothing. The kitchen was surprisingly clean, as if Moira had never used the room. Inside the refrigerator were a few condiments, a half-eaten unwrapped apple and a loaf of whole wheat bread. I quickly rummaged through the drawers and the freezer to make sure there were no bundles of cash disguised as frozen meat.
The main room housed a collection of hand-me-downs and broken furniture, ripped curtains and piles of clothing in various spots around the floor. Had she really lived like this? I heaved up the mattress, first on one side and then the other, making sure nothing was hidden between it and the box spring. Under the bed, I spotted only dust bunnies. I pulled open each of the bureau drawers, checked their contents and pulled them all the way out to make sure nothing was behind them. I opened a small drawer in the bedside stand. Amid a loose pile of clutter was a dark blue velvet box embossed with the letter “R” in cursive gold script. Could this be from Rochecault? I was fairly certain it was. Rochecault is an infamously expensive jeweler on Maiden Lane downtown. How could Moira have shopped there? Was this what Geneva had meant when she said her sister seemed to have a lot of money to spend?
I opened the box and gasped. An amazing bracelet heavy with blue stones in varying colors rested inside. The setting had the slightly matte industrial sheen of platinum. Moira couldn’t possibly have afforded this. Shoving the box into a side pocket of my purse, I decided I was definitely not leaving this for the police to find, and slid the drawer shut.
I scanned the room. Moira hadn’t been much of a housekeeper and it didn’t appear as if there were many hiding spots. I headed for the desk, a rickety affair with two drawers and a monitor on top. I clicked on the hard drive and waited a moment. The monitor came to life and asked for a password. It would take someone much more talented than I to unearth its secrets. Under a jumble of papers and unopened bills, my eye caught a small black notebook. This looked promising. Perhaps it was an address book that would give us all of Moira’s contacts. I dropped my purse on the floor and reached for the book. A searing pain shot through my skull. Blinded, I fell to the floor.
Excerpt from All Signs Point to Murder by Connie di Marco. Copyright © 2017 by Connie di Marco. Reproduced with permission from Connie di Marco. All rights reserved.
Connie di Marco

Author Bio:

Connie di Marco is the author of the Zodiac Mysteries from Midnight Ink, featuring San Francisco astrologer, Julia Bonatti. The first in the series, The Madness of Mercury, was released in June 2016 and the second, All Signs Point to Murder, available for pre-order now, will be released on August 8, 2017.
Writing as Connie Archer, she is also the national bestselling author of the Soup Lover’s Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime. Some of her favorite recipes can be found in The Cozy Cookbook and The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. Connie is a member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.


1.     When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

The funny thing is, I honestly never imagined I would be a writer, even though I’ve always been a huge mystery and thriller fan.  That genre was always my first choice in picking out a book.  I’m not sure exactly what spurred me to even think about writing a mystery, but one day I decided to try.  My goal was to write one mystery and hopefully have it traditionally published.  If someone had told me then that a few years later I would have written eight books in two different series, I would have laughed and said that’s not even possible. 

2.     How long does it take you to write a book?

The first book I wrote took a couple of years, but I had no pressure to finish.  I just plugged away at it whenever I had time.  I didn’t expect it would be easy, but it was a lot harder than I thought it would be.  Because of my agent, I was offered an opportunity to submit sample chapters for the Soup Lover’s Mysteries, which I wrote as Connie Archer.  I felt connected to that series right away because I do love to make soup and I’m from New England originally, so Vermont and New England as a whole is very familiar to me.  No one was more surprised than I when my publisher offered a contract for three books.  The scary part was that I only had eight months between books, so I worked at it every second I had.  There was no time to waste.  I finished each book in six months, which gave me a month to give it to trusted readers and hear their comments and a last month to make any changes or revisions before I had to turn it in. 

3.     What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

I like to write at night from about nine o’clock on.  The house is quieter then and even if I’m tired, somehow it feels like a more peaceful time.  I can concentrate better.  Of course I also work several hours every day on weekends.

4.     What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I’m not sure I have any quirks.  I don’t know.  I do need silence.  I can’t possibly concentrate with chatter or noise or music around me.  There are people who can write on a laptop in a busy coffee shop, but I’m definitely not one of them. 

When I’m working out a story I like to “see” it, so I use different colored post-it notes and spread them all out on a big table or whiteboard.  One color is for the main plot in a chronological fashion, another for a subplot that intertwines or is related to the main plot.  Another for red herrings and another for spots where clues can be dropped.  Once I have that all worked out, I convert it to a written outline. 

I have a tote bag that was a conference giveaway and it has an Agatha Christie quote on it.  Agatha said, “Oh, dear, I never realized what a terrible lot of explaining one has to do in a murder!”  That quote always makes me laugh and it’s good to remember how many details and threads have to be wound up in a mystery, so my little post-it notes really help.

5.     How do books get published?

Well, of course now, self-publishing is so easy.  And the stigma that used to be attached to that is disappearing, but it is a lot of work.  The writer has to be very organized, it’s just like running a small one-person business.  To be traditionally published, whether with one of the big five or one of the smaller publishing houses, it’s best to have an agent.  And finding an agent can be a long process.  Other than that, writers can pitch their books to acquiring editors at conferences and hope there’s an interest. 

6.     Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

From all sorts of places.  News stories, true crime stories, just about anything that captures my imagination.  Truth is often stranger than fiction.  I remember reading about a boy who had been kidnapped by his grandparents.  The boy’s father had died, the mother was trying to get back on her feet and find a job and allowed the boy’s grandparents (parents of the boy’s father) to take care of the little boy during this time period.  The grandparents then refused to give him back to his mother.  The mother was forced to go to court to regain custody and on the day of the hearing, the grandparents, who had drained all their bank accounts, disappeared with the boy.

Many years later, the mother’s husband (she had remarried by then) had a friend in law enforcement who ran the boy’s social security number and he was found in a neighboring state.  The peculiar thing about this story is that the boy did not want to reconnect with his mother.  Very sad, but I think he had been brainwashed by his grandparents.  I believe the authorities were planning to bring charges against the grandparents.  That was the news story that gave me the basic idea for the plot of Ladle to the Grave, the fourth book in the Soup Lover’s Mysteries.

The first book in the Zodiac Mysteries, The Madness of Mercury, was inspired by the Jim Jones years in San Francisco.  I was living there at the time and I thought inventing a similar evil preacher would be an interesting way to create a backdrop against which the real mystery could take place.  Julia writes an astrological advice column for the Chronicle and one day she receives a letter from a woman who’s very worried about her mother.  Her mother has joined a “church,” a church that requires the woman to sign over her home and her life savings.  Julia speaks out against this religious cult and consequently becomes a target of the preacher and his followers.  She’s forced to leave her apartment and winds up in the midst of a different murder plot. 

7.     What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I forget.  LOL!  No seriously, I have very little time if I’m writing.  But I like to refinish old furniture.  In fact, I have several projects now that I want to work on.  It’s fun to do, hard on the hands, and slow going, but I really enjoy doing something manual, something totally different, and away from the computer. 

8.     What does your family think of your writing?

My family has been wonderful and very supportive.  I always thank them in the acknowledgment page of every book for their patience in living with a woman who’s always thinking about ways to kill people. 

9.  How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I’ve written eight books.  Five in the Soup Lover’s Mysteries:  A Spoonful of Murder, A Broth of Betrayal, A Roux of Revenge, Ladle to the Grave and A Clue in the Stew.  I’ve written three so far in the Zodiac Mysteries:  The Madness of Mercury, All Signs Point to Murder (the current book) and I’ve completed the third book, which I’ve tentatively titled Tail of the Dragon.  I’m hoping my publisher likes that title and keeps it. 

I don’t know if I can name just one that’s my favorite book.  That’s sort of like asking which child do you love more, you know?  I love all of them, because each one was a long labor of love.  There were books that just flowed and books that were such a struggle, I wasn’t sure I could make them work.  But maybe the harder a book is to write and work out all the details, the longer it stays in my consciousness.  Right now, I’m working on a novella for the Zodiac Mysteries which will be set before the beginning of the series and when I finish that, I plan to start roughing out the fourth book in this series.  So maybe it’s fair to say the book you love most is the one you’re currently writing. 

10.  Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

I think the most important thing is to get out of your own way and let ideas flow.  To turn off the critical editor in your head and just keep going.  Some stories may take the form of short stories or novellas or full length novels.  A writer doesn’t always know how a story will turn out, but I think every story dictates its own organic structure. 

I recently read a book by a writer friend, Writing from Inside Out by Dennis Palumbo.  It’s a wonderful book that deals with, not working through all the obstacles we put in our own way, but confronting them and using them.  Dennis quotes Pablo Casals in that book.  Of course Casals was talking about music, but he said, “Learn the notes, then forget about ‘em.”  In other words, keep going and finish your project, there’ll be plenty of time to re-write, revise and edit later.  And work on something you find intriguing or inspiring.  A story that really touches your heart. 

11.   Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I do.  Sometimes it’s a Facebook message or an email and I’ve been very blessed that people take the time to send a message and let me know they really enjoyed a story.  That’s the most heartwarming thing ever.  Believe me, it makes the months of writing worth it!

12.  Do you like to create books for adults?

Well, crime novels, even cozies are geared more for adults or young adults, or I guess what they now call “new adult.”  I think it would be really fun to write a children’s book, and maybe someday I’ll be inspired to do that. 

13.   What do you think makes a good story?

I think the most important thing is a character or situation that the reader can identify with.  A story that really grabs the reader emotionally.  Plot and structure, and well-drawn characters are important in a mystery or thriller, as well as twists and turns, but for me personally, if I don’t feel an emotional connection to a story, it’s just not as exciting. 

14.   As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I wanted to be a ballerina, a spy and an actress in that order.

15.   What would you like my readers to know?

I hope readers have a chance to meet Julia and all the characters in her world and really enjoy the adventures in each story.  Julia’s a woman who was dealt a tough blow when her fiancé was killed in a hit and run accident, but she’s strong and she’s built a new life for herself.  She uses her talents to help others and solves crimes along the way too. 

Catch Up With Connie di Marco On: Website , Goodreads , Twitter , & Facebook !


Tour Participants:

Visit the other tour stops for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, features, & giveaways!  


This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Connie di Marco. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Gift Card AND 2 winners of one (1) eBook copy of All Signs Point to Murder. The giveaway begins on July 21 and runs through August 24, 2017.
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  1. I love that quote from Agatha Christie! Post kind of girl! I would be lost without them!

    1. Oh me too! My brain would go south without post it's! Thanks for stopping by Cheryl!

  2. Thanks so much for hosting and interviewing me today! It's great to be visiting with you again!

  3. Thanks for your writing tips and I find that starting with a conflict or exciting part grabs the reader.

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