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Guest Ellen Byron plus #giveaway

Edith/Maddie from north of Boston in the middle of June, happily writing and gardening her brains out.

And also super happy to present my dear friend, the talented and hilarious Agatha-Award-WINNING Ellen Byron with Bayou Book Thief, her brand-new first book in the Vintage Cookbook Mysteries. I can’t wait to dive into this series! One lucky commenter will win a copy of the book.

Here’s the blurb:

Twenty-eight-year-old widow Ricki James leaves Los Angeles to start a new life in her birthplace of New Orleans after her showboating actor husband perishes doing a stupid internet stunt. Ricki’s career dream comes true when she joins the quirky staff of Bon Vee Culinary House Museum, the spectacular former Garden District home of late bon vivant Genevieve “Vee” Charbonnet. Ricki is excited about turning her avocation – collecting vintage cookbooks – into a vocation by launching the museum’s gift shop, Miss Vee’s Vintage Cookbooks and Kitchenware. Then she discovers that a trunk of donated vintage cookbooks doesn’t contain books – it holds the body of a cantankerous Bon Vee employee who was fired after being exposed as a book thief.

The skills Ricky has developed ferreting out hidden vintage treasures come in handy for investigations. But both her business and Bon Vee could wind up as deadstock when Ricki’s past as curator of a billionaire’s first edition collection comes back to haunt her. Will Miss Vee’s Vintage Cookbooks and Kitchenware be a success… or a recipe for disaster?

Let Me Entertain You

Contrary to my ubiquitous presence on social media, I’m not comfortable tooting my own horn. Yet with so much of book promotion falling on the author’s shoulders these days, toot I must. To counteract my discomfort, I figured out a way to go all in with my promotional efforts by calling them exactly what they are: shameless shilling.

The idea to go with blatant honesty came to me when I was trying to figure out how to engage readers in the pre-order campaign for A Cajun Christmas Killing, my third Cajun Country Mystery. After joking I was one step away from wearing a sandwich board to herald the book’s release, an image appeared to me.

And thus my Shameless Shilling Campaigns were born.

The goal with each (relentless) marketing campaign is to entertain rather than annoy. I figured the best way to accomplish this is to let my potential readers in on the joke. Given my background in comedy, I have very few boundaries and even less shame. The upside of this is I have no problem making myself the foil of the campaigns, like when I turned a photo from a past New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival into a Shameless Shill. I even gave myself a tiara in this one…

No one is safe from my efforts, as my husband found out when I asked-told him I’d love to use a wedding photo from our 1994 New York wedding reception as part of the campaign for Here Comes the Body, the first book in my Catering Hall Mysteries, which I write under the pen name “Maria DiRico.” How could he say no when the series is literally set at the venue where the reception was held? (Spoiler alert: he couldn’t.)

My daughter’s Halloween costumes – with her permission, of course – offered wonderfully punny possibilities for the Murder in the Bayou Boneyard campaign.

I faced a dilemma when I had to promote a second Christmas-themed mystery, this one for the Catering Hall series. I couldn’t repeat myself… Or could I???

Sometimes the themes come easily, but sometimes they don’t. With the campaign for Bayou Book Thief, I suddenly had my first case of shameless shilling-block. I struggled to find a catchy angle that would both amuse and intrigue readers. In an act of desperation, I turned to my Bitmoji app – which rewarded me with so many cheesy kitchen-related avatars I was able to create six graphics instead of my usual four. Here’s one of them:

I hope readers get as much of a kick from following my campaigns as I get from creating them. If not, well… I don’t have another release until 2023, so enjoy the break!

Readers, what kind of author promotion works best for you?

I’ll send one lucky commenter a copy of the new book!

Ellen’s Cajun Country Mysteries have won multiple Agatha Awards for Best Contemporary Novel and multiple Lefty Awards for Best Humorous Mystery. Bayou Book Thief will be the first book in her new Vintage Cookbook Mysteries. She also writes the Catering Hall Mystery series under the name Maria DiRico. 

Ellen is an award-winning playwright, and non-award-winning TV writer of comedies like Wings, Just Shoot Me, and Fairly Odd Parents. She has written over two hundred articles for national magazines but considers her most impressive credit working as a cater-waiter for Martha Stewart. She blogs with Chicks on the Case, is a lifetime member of the Writers Guild of America, serves on the national board for Mystery Writers of America, and will be the 2023 Left Coast Crime Toastmaster. Please visit her at

PURCHASE LINK: Bayou Book Thief by Ellen Byron: 9780593437612 | Books

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