Cozy mystery lovers, my latest novel, #TagMe for Murder, is out in the world! Book Two in the Trending Topic Mysteries launched on April 25th, right in time for me to celebrate its release at the Malice Domestic conference.
But the celebrations didn’t end there.
I just wrapped up a book blog tour with Great Escapes (a blog tour service that I highly recommend), as well as a special release edition of The Bookish Hour. My co-host, J.C. Kenney, and I partied with our live audience, chatting about our new books while hosting some fun online trivia. You can watch the episode to see what we’re all about at The Bookish Hour.
While I will probably be celebrating #TagMe for Murder’s release for a long time to come, I have a special treat for you today. I’ve included an excerpt from the book showcasing one of my favorite moments between social media influencer Coco Cline and her bestie, Jasper Hastings.
#TagMe for Murder
Sarah E. Burr
– An Excerpt from Chapter Five –
“Yeah, but your corkscrew wasn’t found shoved into his neck, now, was it?”
I winced at the blunt imagery. “I’m sure once Hudson, Charlotte, and I tell the police you didn’t even take your party favor with you, that will be the end of it.” Oh, the irony. I’d used my boyfriend’s unwelcomed logical explanation to smooth over the situation. “But when the deets about Larry’s death get leaked, you might want to prepare for a boatload of press that could affect Divulge.”
Jasper waved a hand aside. “Please. What’s the golden rule?”
We said it together. “No publicity is bad publicity.”
Our in-sync delivery elicited only a half-hearted laugh from Jasper. His blasé attitude about the whole situation had suddenly evaporated.
I leaned forward in my seat. “What’s wrong?”
“Well, if clearing my name relies solely on you guys saying I left without my corkscrew, we might have a problem.” Jasper scratched his head. “You see, I hit up Vine on my way home from Dover to see if you all were still there.”
My heart somersaulted. “Um, why didn’t you just text?”
“I stupidly decided to install that new, huge software update on my cell during the car ride back. It was on an infuriating load screen for hours.” He shuddered. Jasper was never without his iPhone. He clutched it in his palm as we spoke. Being without it for even a few minutes drove him up a wall. “Since I couldn’t message you, I opted to stop by Vine.”
I didn’t like where this was going. “We left around ten. Charlotte and I had to be up early for work.”
Jasper nodded. “I ran into Andre, and he told me you guys left to get your beauty sleep. He then reminded me to pick up my corkscrew because I mentioned that I hadn’t had a chance to grab it. Since there was no point in hanging around the party without you, I swung by the souvenir table on my way out.” An annoyed frown grew on Jasper’s face. “I couldn’t find one with my name on it. I checked every corkscrew left. Mine wasn’t there.” He sighed. “But I didn’t bother telling Andre. He was too busy schmoozing some folks who reeked of Crestview privilege. So, I just pretended to take a corkscrew and split.”
The implications of Jasper’s polite actions rained down on me. “Oh no.” His statement made anything Hudson, Charlotte, and I could tell the police irrelevant. Any investigator with half a brain could poke holes in Jasper’s story. Of course, he wouldn’t admit to picking up the party favor if he’d used it to kill his onerous neighbor, especially after said neighbor had threatened his media empire.
It was my turn to rub my eyes, not with weariness but with building tension. “Maybe someone else can confirm that you actually didn’t grab a souvenir.”
Jasper sighed as he rose from his chair and shuffled into the open-concept kitchen. “I doubt it. By the time I returned to the party, everyone was thoroughly sloshed on grapes.”
I joined him at the counter as he toasted two slices of bread. I waited until he was done slathering apricot jam on his breakfast before continuing with my questions. “So, you bailed on us to drive up to Dover last night?”
“I told you. I had a meeting,” Jasper mumbled through a crunchy mouthful.
I stared at him for a beat. “You’ve mentioned that much. Who was it with?”
He wrinkled his nose. “Why does it matter?”
I drummed my fingers anxiously on the countertop. “Well, for one, they might be your alibi.”
Jasper shook his head. “I’m sure once I talk to the police, everything will be fine. You’re getting way ahead of yourself, Coco.” He eyed me curiously. “It’s like you want me to be a suspect or something.”
“What? Are you insane?”
He rolled his eyes. “No. But that squeaky denial voice makes me think you actually might be.” His sly expression morphed into a grin. “You want a reason to stick your nose into Larry’s death, don’t you? Like you did with Stacy’s murder?” He tsked as he wiggled a finger in front of my nose. “You’re a murder mystery addict looking for a fix.”
I puffed my chest out defensively. “I only got caught up in Stacy’s murder because the chief tried to pin the crime on my clients.”
Jasper’s groomed eyebrows shot up, but he wisely held his tongue.
“This is totally different,” I pressed onward. “I was there at the beach. I saw Gavin’s reaction to the corkscrew.” My sea-foam gaze pinned Jasper in his place. “The police are going to follow the evidence. What if all the evidence conveniently points to you?”
My best friend’s confidence deflated right before me as confusion settled across his features. “You think someone is trying to frame me?”
Uh oh, looks like Coco’s bestie Jasper is in some hot water! Will Coco be able to clear his name before his reputation plummets? Find out in #TagMe for Murder, where mystery is always trending.
I do have a question for you, dear reader. If you could be an “influencer,” what hobby/craft/idea/lifestyle would you want to highlight?
I'm trying me best to be a book influencer. Not sure what else I'd try to be an influencer for.
Well, as long as I am dreaming about being an influencer, I'll choose to be one who encourages people to engage in giving equal political voice to all individuals (thereby taking political power away from politicians entrenched through gerrymandering and corporations that currently have all the rights of individuals and none of the responsibilities). Stepping off influencer soapbox now.
This pulled me right in! If I could be an influencer? Hum, tough question. Lifestyle, I think, with an emphasis on kindness and gratitude!
Mark, Kait, and Jim, what great ways to influence people. When I think about this question, I always bounce back and forth about the areas I'd focus on (book promo tips, writing, books, candles), but at the end of the day, I think I'd have the most success showing off my dog, Eevee, and all the ways we spoil her!
I have to admit the entire concept of "influencer" escapes me. I guess I'm too set in my ways.
I remember once musing about why some advertising doesn't target certain segments of the population. My husband pointed out "The next time I buy a car, I am going to buy a gray Toyota Corolla with heated seats. There's no reason to aim any car advertising in my direction."
I do try to be open to new concepts, so every once in a while I pay attention to an influencer, but I'm unlikely to want to either follow or emulate one.
Following on Kait's comment, how about the Golden Rule? Promote other's books as you would have others promote your own.
Maybe it's the librarian-bookseller-mom-granny in me. I love introducing people to books and authors that are new to them.
Congratulations on the new book, Sarah. Off I go to share your post.
Congratulations, Sarah!! I think I'd want to highlight things that make people happy, this way I'd never get tired of doing it.
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