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Thursday, December 26, 2013

On Tour: Bitter Pill by Stacey Kade - Q&A & Excerpt

Stacey Kade is now on tour with CLP Book Tours with her book, Bitter Pill. Please visit her tour page for more blog stops and a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card, a signed copy of Bitter Pill (US/CA only) or an eBook copy of The Ghost of Goth by Stacey Kade!

Bitter Pill 
by Stacey Kade

Genre: Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publication: October 2013
Connect: Facebook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads | Blog
Buy the Book: Amazon
The truth is a bitter pill...

Rennie Harlow is having a bad year. She had a handsome husband, a good job, and a renovated condo in Chicago. Now, thanks to one "exotically beautiful" paralegal, she’s divorced, faking her way through a writing career, and living above her hypochondriac mother's garage back in Morrisville, the small town she couldn't leave fast enough at eighteen. On top of all of that, she just found Doc Hallacy, the local pharmacist, dead behind his counter. And the worst part is, he's the third body she’s stumbled across this year.

Jake Bristol has lived in Morrisville his whole life. A former bad boy turned sheriff, he doesn’t believe it’s just Rennie’s luck or timing that’s the problem. He thinks she’s too nosy for her own good. The last thing he needs is her messing around with his murder investigation so that she can freelance for the Morrisville Gazette. But as they both delve deeper into Doc's death, they find that things don't add up. This isn't a robbery gone wrong or the work of a desperate junkie. Someone has a secret they're killing to keep. The only question is—who's next?
Q&A with Stacey Kade

1. Please introduce yourself and your book.
Hi! I'm Stacey Kade. I'm here today to talk about Bitter Pill, which is my amateur sleuth chicklit mystery. Rennie Harlow is kind of my grown-up version of Nancy Drew, only her life isn't nearly as picture perfect and pulled together.

After a horrible divorce, Rennie fled back to the small town where she grew up, to find new direction and to live over her mother's garage. (Well, the "live over her mother's garage" was more just a by-product of moving home than an active choice.) Now she's in love with someone she can't really have, and she keeps stumbling over dead bodies and getting pulled into the ensuing investigations, quite unintentionally.

2. What inspired you to write this book?
This is the only book out of all mine that was inspired by a dream, believe it or not. I woke up from a nap with the phrase, "Pharmacists know all our dirty secrets," floating through my brain. Combine that with homesickness for the small town where I lived in grade school, and that was the start of Bitter Pill. It's so weird, I know. :)

3. Grade your book. How many stars out of a perfect score of 5 stars? Please give the reason too.
Hmmm. You know, I don't think an author can ever satisfactorily judge his/her own book. We're too inclined to judge our work both too harshly and not harshly enough. There's no possibility for an objective perspective. So, I'm going to leave it up to the readers to decide.

4. Is there something you can be uniquely proud of?
In general, you mean? I make really good Christmas cookies. From scratch. I can also quote damn near all of the 1984 movie, Ghostbusters. Tell me that's not a marketable skill.

5. What are you working on right now?
Right now, I'm working on first pass pages for The Hunt, which is the second book in my young adult Project Paper Doll series.

6. Please say something to your readers?
Thank you for reading! :) I love telling stories and appreciate every opportunity you give me to spin a tale and try to entertain you. 

Bristol rubbed his face wearily, then stared at me, his warm brown eyes too intense. “How do you get yourself into this? The first person found on the scene is usually a viable suspect for the murder. But not in this town, not with you.” 
“I can’t help it, it just happens.” I tried not to sound too plaintive. 
“No, Rennie, lightning strikes just happen.” He shook his head with a tight smile. “You are a walking disaster.”
Stung, I shoved the thermos lid back at him, sloshing coffee onto the leather interior, and jabbed my car keys into the ignition. “Screw you, Bristol.”
He sighed. “Rennie…”
“What?” I jerked the gearshift into reverse.
He started to say something then shook his head. “I’m going to need you to come in to make an official statement.”
“Not till this afternoon.” I lifted my chin defiantly, daring him to challenge me. “I have to get home to explain to my mother that she’ll have to wait for her prescription and then I’ve got an interview with Gloria Lottich.”
“Fine. We’ve already got your prints on file, so we can rule out anything you touched.” His mouth tightened and he hesitated for the slightest of seconds. “We’re going to need your shirt.”
“What? Why?” I looked down at myself and saw, for the first time, a splotch of blood shaped like a tear drop on the stomach of my pale blue t-shirt.
“Crime lab will want to make sure that’s Doc’s blood and not the killer’s.”
I swallowed hard, struggling against the urge to pluck the fabric away from my skin. “So, I’m just supposed to drive home topless? This is Morrisville. There are laws about how long Christmas decorations can stay up. You’re telling me there are no ordinances about half-naked driving?” I asked, discomfort setting my tone a little too close to rude.
He walked back to his squad car, tossing out the remains of the coffee in the thermos lid on the way. He returned with a paper bag and a bright blue bundle of fabric. The fabric, a t-shirt, he handed to me, while he held onto the bag.
I put the car back into park and unfolded the t-shirt. The front had a small patch of writing over the left side in the shape of star. Morrisville Sheriff’s Office, it read. Interdepartmental Softball League. I flipped it over to look at the back. Bristol 17.
“Your softball shirt?” I asked. God help me, despite the circumstances, I loved the idea of his name on my back, his shirt against my skin. Bad, Rennie. Bad, bad.
He shrugged. “Unless you have a better idea.”
I shook my head. He stood and turned his back toward the window, blocking the view from the side of the car. That helped, but it didn’t keep anyone from looking through the windshield. I sighed. Oh, well, what little I had, they were welcome to see. Besides, Deputy Sheffey appeared to be occupied with taking notes anyway, and the first curiosity-seekers on the scene had their attention focused on the pharmacy door, now blocked off with crime tape.
I yanked the bloodied shirt off over my head, silently thanking whatever voice of caution in my brain had urged me to wear proper undergarments this morning. Much to my chagrin, bras were more wishful thinking on my part than a strict necessity. However, it would have been nice if the voice of caution had also recommended a little more time on my hair this morning—I could feel it standing up in messy spikes, like a blonde tumbleweed on top of my head. Very attractive.
I thrust my arms through Bristol’s t-shirt. The familiar smell of him, the clean scent of his clothing, surrounded me. I tugged the rest of the shirt down into place, loving the feel of it against my skin even as I knew it was wrong. After all, Bristol’s shirt smelled good, like him, because it had been recently launderedby his wife, Margene.
Without thinking, I bumped his arm with the back of my hand to let him know I’d completed my wardrobe change. As usual, he’d rolled his shirt sleeves up, revealing tanned and strong forearms. I jolted slightly at the warmth of his skin against mine, and my heart flipped up and twisted in my chest, like a paper cutout on a string in the breeze.
Bristol turned around and opened the paper bag. I dropped my bloodied shirt inside.
“So, how’s Margene?” I asked Bristol, as I always did when I started having trouble remembering he was married.
His face closed down, like he’d shut some internal door against me. “Fine.” He didn’t really sound surprised at the strange conversation twist I’d thrown him. “Getting ready for the Garden Show.” He closed up the top of the bag with precise, crisp folds in the paper.
“Right,” I said. Margene had been more than happy to settle into her role of Mrs. Sheriff, second only to Mrs. Mayor, Gloria Lottich. Margene and I’d also gone to school together, although she was a couple years younger than me. She’d moved to town in the seventh grade when her father took a job at the propane factory. By her junior year in high school, she’d worked her way up from trailer trash to co-captain of the varsity cheerleading team, second only to Laura Brown. Apparently, Margene’s ambition had limits. Word was, she’d caught wind of Jake’s upwardly mobile plans as soon as he’d returned to town from the Army and she’d trapped him with her reportedly magnificent thighs. Chelsea was born barely inside of wedlock, and then all Margene had to do was sit back and wait while Jake’s star kept rising.
“And Chelsea?” I asked.
“Finishing fifth grade in a couple weeks.” He frowned at me, highlighting those marvelous wrinkles near his eyes.
Time to change the subject again. “What about Max?” I asked.
“Max,” he repeated with a frown.
“Yeah. Editor of the Gazette, nosiest human being alive?” I waited for some flicker of recognition from Bristol and got a grim nod. “He’s going to want details for a story. Time of death, potential motives, the weapon…”
Bristol frowned. “I don’t want to share any of that information with the public just yet. Incidentally, I think you’re right about the cane being the murder weapon.” His eyes dropped to the phone in my lap. “I don’t want that part in the paper, got it?” He rubbed his face, the stubble on his chin making a rasping sound against his hand. “I’d rather not have anything in the paper just yet.”
I shook my head. “Max is sitting right over there.” I pointed at the Gazette office. “It’s not like he can’t see it for himself. You know him, he’ll print something. Better he get most of the facts from a reliable source.”
“You run all of it past me before anything hits the printer,” he said.
I made an exasperated sound. “We’ve been through this before. I get the lecture from you about responsible media. Then I turn around and get the freedom of the press speech from Max.” I glowered at him. “I should put the two of you in a room together and let you duke it out.”
Bristol’s mouth twitched upward in a smile. “Wouldn’t be fair.”
“Why not?”
“Max could convince a snake to go vegetarian. I just have a gun.”
I pretended to consider his words. “True enough. I guess my money’s still safe on Max.”
“Oh, ha, ha.” 
I smiled at him reluctantly. “I’ll see you this afternoon.”

Author Bio:

As a former award-winning corporate copywriter, Stacey Kade has written about everything from backhoe loaders to breast pumps. But she prefers to make things up instead. She's the author of two YA series from Hyperion: The Ghost and the Goth trilogy (The Ghost and the Goth, Queen of the Dead, and Body & Soul) and Project Paper Doll trilogy (The Rules, The Hunt, Book 3 TBD).

Stacey lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Greg, and their two retired racing greyhounds, Tall Walker (Walker) and SheWearsThePants (Pansy).

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