Welcome to my stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Sleigh Bell Tower: Murder at the Campus Holiday Gala (Braxton Campus Mysteries). Stop by each blog on the tour for interviews, guest posts, spotlights, reviews and more!
Sleigh Bell Tower: Murder at the Campus Holiday Gala (Braxton Campus Mysteries)
by James J. Cudney
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Sleigh Bell Tower: Murder at the Campus Holiday Gala (Braxton Campus Mysteries)
8th in Series
Setting – Pennsylvania
Publisher : Next Chapter (December 20, 2021)
Hardcover : 276 pages
Paperback : 276 pages
When Bell Towers decides to build their newest boutique hotel in Wharton County, Braxton establishes a hospitality program as part of their university expansion. Despite the Ingram and Lynch family ties to prominent citizens, a dispute over the proposed landsite pits citizens against each other.
One takes matters into their own hands and slays the hotel magnate during the campus holiday party. As the list of suspects increases, long-lost family members are anxious to keep their secrets from being revealed, complicating Sheriff Montague’s ability to determine the murderer’s true motive. Even Kellan is forced to cast doubt on his friends and colleagues when it becomes obvious someone he knows committed the ultimate crime.
April and Kellan are also celebrating their first Christmas and Hanukkah together, exchanging gifts based on the classic Twelve Days of Christmas song. While they trim the tree, light the menorah, and experience all the traditional holiday festivities with the kids, Nana D delivers her sarcastic brand of humor and endlessly tortures the town. Among Eleanor’s surprise news, Augie’s new girlfriend, and Myriam’s hilarious demands, Kellan’s dealing with unexpected holiday drama.
The poor guy simply wants to spend the merry season with his family before he’s forced to trek to Scotland to fulfill his promise to the late Constance Garibaldi. What kind of quest has the psychic sent him on now?
Sleigh Bell Tower Book Excerpt: Nana D Strikes Again!
“What a lush! Code blue, we’ve located a live one in need of a personality transplant. Preferably not a boozy Debbie Downer next time. Should I hire Triple A (AAA) to tidy up another of your infamous disasters, Kellan?” hollered a shrill voice behind me, a voice I knew all too well—one that stiffened my spine like reinforced steel and jabbed my brain with an ice pick.
“Is this the kind of maniacal hullabaloo you moaned about last week when you suggested our family intentionally embarrassed you?” After removing my glasses, I buried my face in both hands and sighed melodramatically, ill-equipped for the imminent torture. A cascade of my dark blond hair splayed across the table, reminding me that a trip to the barber was desperately in order. I should’ve prepared for my grandmother’s onslaught, given today was Friday the thirteenth. At least Nat King Cole’s treasured Yuletide classics crooning through the surround-sound speakers and the pristine evergreen wreaths hanging from the restaurant’s ceiling promised an upbeat and jolly afternoon.
“Yep. Usually it’s your parents, but they’re off gallivanting in London. Who knows if they’ll ever return home!” The boisterous septuagenarian whacked the back of my noggin with her gargantuan straw handbag and plopped her five-foot, less than one-hundred-pound body in the chair opposite me. A myriad of scents—Chanel Number 5, spiced peppermint tea, and freshly baked gingerbread cookies—suddenly enveloped me in a coma-like haze. Nana D proudly wore her favorite power suit, a green wool throwback to the forties, and shiny white pumps bedazzled with festive red bows. Between the outfit and her comical henna-rinsed hair, she resembled a child’s walking, talking Christmas present that unfortunately lacked an accessible off button.
I stared, uncertain what magical words prevented another head-rearranging smack, praying she was merely a grotesque figment of my imagination. Upon summoning the strength to respond, I barely blurted out a reluctant greeting before another disturbance entered our wackadoodle fighting ring.
With impressive timing, Karen Stoddard, the charming yet high-maintenance proprietress of Simply Stoddard, one of Braxton’s elegant eateries on the banks of the Finnulia River, strolled past our table and hummed vociferously to the jaunty tunes. “Good tidings, Mayor. You look positively dashing in your classic, and might I add… holiday appropriate… couture. Why has Kellan sadly forgotten to lean into the jubilant spirit?”
“I’m not wearing that ugly Christmas sweater she sent me. There’s nothing wrong with khakis and a black button-down shirt. Are you saying my outfit doesn’t meet your criteria for unrestrained merriment? How utterly inconsiderate and offensive,” I teased in a mocking tone à la an uptight society matron. “Besides, Christmas colors do zip for my pale complexion, so I stuck with a traditional wardrobe.”
About James J. Cudney
James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College, an historic but small liberal arts school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with a degree in English literature and minors in Education, Business and Spanish. After college, I accepted a technical writing position for a telecommunications company during Y2K and spent the last ~20 years building a career in technology & business operations in the retail, sports, media, hospitality, and entertainment industries. Throughout those years, I wrote short stories, poems, and various beginnings to the “Great American Novel,” but I was so focused on my career that writing became a hobby. In 2016, I committed to focusing my energies toward reinvigorating a second career in reading, writing, and publishing.
Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, mind, and body. At some points, it was just a few poems or short stories; at others, it was full length novels and stories. My current focus is family drama fiction, cozy mystery novels, and suspense thrillers. I conjure characters and plots that I feel must be unwound. I think of situations people find themselves in and feel compelled to tell the story. It’s usually a convoluted plot with many surprise twists and turns. I feel it necessary to take that ride all over the course. My character is easily pictured in my head. I know what he is going to encounter or what she will feel. But I need to use the right words to make it clear.
Reader & Reviewer
Reading has also never left my side. Whether it was children’s books, young adult novels, college textbooks, biographies, or my ultimate love, fiction, it’s ever present in my day. I read two books per week and I’m on a quest to update every book I’ve ever read on Goodreads, write up a review, and post it on all my sites and platforms.
Blogger & Thinker
I have combined my passions into a single platform where I share reviews, write a blog and publish tons of content: TRUTH. I started my 365 Daily Challenge, where I post about a word that has some meaning to me and converse with everyone about life. There is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice, and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dogs have had weekly segments called “Ryder’s Rants” or “Baxter’s Barks,” where they complain about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real. And that’s why they are me.
Genealogist & Researcher
I love history and research, finding myself often reaching back into the past to understand why someone made the choice he or she did and what were the subsequent consequences. I enjoy studying the activities and culture from hundreds of years ago to trace the roots and find the puzzle of my own history. I wish I could watch my ancestors from a secret place to learn how they interacted with others, and maybe I’ll comprehend why I do things the way I do.
Enter the giveaway
Sleigh Bell Tower TOUR PARTICIPANTS
Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW, RECIPE
Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW
Cozy Up WIth Kathy – GUEST POST
FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW
Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
Christy’s Cozy Corners – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
Brianne’s Book Reviews – REVIEW
Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
ebook addicts – SPOTLIGHT
fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT
Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
The Book’s the Thing – SPOTLIGHT
Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
Diane Reviews Books – CHARACTER GUEST POST
BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT
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