We're celebrating the release of CHALK LINES AND LIPSTICK by Ophelia London! Check out the excerpt and giveaway below!
Title: CHALK LINES AND LIPSTICK by Ophelia London
Age group: Adult
Genre: Cozy Mystery/Romantic Comedy
Publisher: Gemma Halliday
Scheduled to release: August 11, 2015
Maren Colepepper thought she had it all: a career at a fashion magazine, a successful boyfriend, and a glamorous New York lifestyle. She thought wrong. When her glamorous life suddenly goes belly up, Maren finds herself forced to take the only job she can find at a small town newspaper in the tiny northern California hometown she fled ten years ago.
While Maren expected her new job in no-wheres-ville to kill her with boredom, She never expected to be front row to a shooting on her very first day! Worse yet, Maren is knocked unconscious at the scene, and when she comes to, the body has gone missing and she's been scooped by another reporter. Talk about a bad first impression. Now Maren is hot on the trail of the story of a lifetime, involving a shady lumber mill and the foresting of old-growth redwoods—a ginormous crime in her neck of the woods! Between her suddenly flirty new editor, her supremely hot new neighbor, and a lovably meddling family, Maren find small town life anything but boring. But if she can't find the shooter before he strikes again, it may even become deadly!
Writing about Home
Hi gang! I’m here to talk about the weather. But hold up, I promise it won’t be boring…
My newest novel, Chalk Lines & Lipstick, has caused me some self-inflicted pressure. Not only am I taking a break from writing romance to try my hand at a cozy mystery (eek!), but it’s also set in my hometown of Eureka, California. Which—just like my main character, Maren—I moved away from right after graduation from high school. Go Loggers!
Funny how a lot of what I think I remember about growing up in Eureka is either slightly incorrect or straight up wrong. The biggest example is the weather. When I was a teenager, my friends and I wanted nothing more than to be tan, so laying out was the end all, be all of our existence. According to my recollection, on the days it happened to not be raining, it was foggy. Which was obviously a huge hindrance to getting tan.
When I decided to set my cozy mystery in Eureka, I knew the weather memories from my youth would play a big part, while also adding loads of mysterious atmosphere with lots of dark and misty corners for my main characters to make out—I mean, solve mysteries! But as I researched my beloved hometown, I learned that, yes, the Eureka winters are plenty wet, but summers—though the temperature rarely reaches above 80 degrees—are clear and sunny. Say what?
So yes, in Chalk Lines & Lipstick, I took a bit of poetic license when I describe Eureka as perpetually rainy, foggy and soggy. But I also feature some of the most breath-taking scenery you’ll ever lay eyes on: The oh-so picturesque Pacific ocean, shockingly-bright and colorful rhododendron bushes, and of course our claim to fame: the towering redwood trees. There may not be a lot of sun, but I dare you to not fall in love with Eureka…or re-fall in love, just like me.
“‘I won’t allow any white, unrefined sugar in my house,’ Katie continued. ‘My children won’t touch it, which is wonderful because it absolutely dulls the hair, ruins the complexions, not to mention what it does to the shape of your body.’ She broke off, and seemed to be studying my face and hair. Evidently, my appearance was evidence of the evils of sugar.”
“It wasn’t a face-to-face breakup. While I was at work getting the ax, he emptied his one dresser drawer and left a note on the back of a Chinese takeout menu.”
“I’d appreciate it if you didn’t mention my mother while you’re touching me there.”
I don’t often read cozy mysteries and for the life of me I don’t know why - I found Chalk Lines and Lipstick to be a light and easy read and nice change of pace from my usual fare. Maren Colepepper is a bit of a contradiction, but then again, most of us are. She is snoopy, witty, and ambitious, yet she is also somewhat naïve, easily distracted, resistant to warnings and directives, and allows an old high school “mean girl” to continue to bully her. I liked and cared for Maren, although I also found her a bit frustrating. I felt for her, she was humiliated and ashamed after a quick series of personal losses and forced to return to her hometown with her head down and broke, but there were also times when I wanted to give her a smack to the back of the head with my trusty kindle. The writing was humorous, easy to follow, and written from Maren’s personal POV. The plot was interesting, relevant, and realistic, although the story seemed to circle and kept me guessing with mixed messages as to whether her talented lipped neighbor was going to be a white hat good guy, or bad black hatter. The humor and writing are tame enough for my elderly mother’s book club, yet also entertained and held my attention.
About the Author:
USA Today bestselling author Ophelia London was born and raised among the redwood trees in beautiful northern California. Once she was fully educated, she decided to settle in Florida, but her car broke down in Texas and she’s lived in Dallas ever since. A cupcake and treadmill aficionado (obviously those things are connected), she spends her time watching arthouse movies and impossibly trashy TV, while living vicariously through the characters in the books she writes.
Ophelia is the author of DEFINITELY, MAYBE IN LOVE; ABBY ROAD and CROSSING ABBY ROAD; the Perfect Kisses series including: FALLING FOR HER SOLDIER, PLAYING AT LOVE, SPEAKING OF LOVE, and MAKING WAVES; and the upcoming AIMEE AND THE HEARTTHROB for Entangled’s Teen Crush. Visit her at www.ophelialondon.com, but don’t call when The Vampire Diaries (or Dawson’s Creek) is on.
Twitter: @ophelia_london : Facebook : Website : Pinterest : Goodreads