Monday, December 8, 2014

The Clock Strikes Midnight Blog Tour! (+$50 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: The Clock Strikes Midnight
Author: Joan C. Curtis
Series: N/A
Pages: 359
Date Published: November 25th, 2014
Publisher:  Muse It Up Publishing
Format: Kindle
Source:Goddess Fish Blog Tours

The Clock Strikes Midnight is a race against time in a quest for revenge and atonement. This is a story about hate, love, betrayal and forgiveness. If you found out you had only 3 months to live, what would you do? That’s the question Janie Knox faces in this fast-paced mystery full of uncertainty and tension that will surprise you until the very last page. Hiding behind the fa├žade of a normal life, Janie keeps her family secrets tucked inside a broken heart. Everything changes on the day she learns she’s going to die. With the clock ticking and her time running out, she rushes to finish what she couldn’t do when she was 17—destroy her mother’s killer. But she can’t do it alone.

Janie returns to her childhood home to elicit help from her sister. She faces more than she bargained for when she discovers her sister’s life in shambles. Meanwhile her mother’s convicted killer, her stepfather, recently released from prison, blackmails the sisters and plots to extract millions from the state in retribution. New revelations challenge Janie’s resolve, but she refuses to allow either time or her enemies to her stop her from uncovering the truth she’s held captive for over 20 years.
~Guest Post!~
What’s it Take To Write a Mystery: Take This Quiz
Today, Joan is going to help you find your inner author, how fabulous! I've always wondered about writing mystery so let's see how I do! Take it away Joan! 
What's it take to write a mystery? Do you think you can do it? Take this quiz and find out
True False
1. Everything I know about mysteries I've learned from Law and Order.
2. Blood and gore must be in all mystery-writing for it to be any good.
3. Sitting down to write a mystery is easy because all you need is a dead body and a detective.
4 . I've never read a mystery I didn't like
5.  Whenever I read mysteries, I never try to work out whodunit.
If you answered True to any of these questions, you will probably have trouble writing mysteries.
Number 1:  Law and Order is a wonderful television show, but it does not tell you everything you need to know about writing crime fiction. You will need to do a lot more reading and research. The laws in New York City are quite different than in other communities. Furthermore, a television show cannot go into the detail you will need as a mystery-writer. Your policeman/detective will have to know many things that you cannot gleam from any television series.
Number 2: Yes, some mysteries are full of blood and gore. But, there are many mysteries, the cozies for example, that refrain from all the bloody details. The violence is done "off stage." Readers can surmise the blood and gore without having to live and breathe it. In The Clock Strikes Midnight murder and mayhem are described but not with such vivid precision as to sicken the reader.
Number 3: Good mysteries require more than a dead body and a detective. In fact the more characters (both the victims, their families, and others) that populate the story help maintain the reader's interest. Indeed a good mystery series has to have a strong series character, such as a detective or policeman or ammeter sleuth. Many times, however, it's the secondary characters that keep the mystery interesting. For example Melrose Plant in the Martha Grimes series. Melrose isn't the only interesting character that reappears in her stories. There are others, each with their own idiosyncrasies.
Number 4: If you've never read a mystery you didn't like, you're not a discerning reader. Writers are discerning readers. They read everything, including mysteries they do not like. The reasons for not liking the mystery could be anything--poor writing, violation of point-of-view, too much violence, too little violence, not believable, too predictable. In order to become a mystery writer, you must read with an eye toward learning. When you read something you don't like, you can't just put it aside and say, "I didn't like that book." Instead, you must determine what you didn't like so you can learn not to repeat the error.
Number 5: Writer's of mystery are always trying to solve the puzzle. That's why they write mysteries! If you tend to be a person who likes to go along with the story without piecing together the clues and uncovering the killer, you are probably not cut out to write mystery.
But, you are a great mystery reader!

So, how about it, what might you add to the quiz for determining if you're a mystery writer?
~Try an Excerpt!~
“Daddy, when I get my kitty, can I name him Davy?” she had asked, yanking Marlene’s Davy Crockett mug full of M&M’s from her grasp.

The colorful candy spilled all over the backseat of the car.

“Mama, tell Janie to—”

“Janie, behave,” Daddy said, admonishing her for an instant with his eyes from the rearview mirror.

“Malcolm, look out—!” Mom screamed.

Janie slammed into Marlene. Pain. The world tumbled topsy-turvy. The mug flew across the interior of the car, colors of the rainbow falling all around her.

Then, everything went black.

When she opened her eyes, Mom’s blood-streaked face rose in front of her out of the darkness.

“Wrap your arms around my neck, honey.” Mom lifted her from the wreckage.

Janie clutched her doll by the dress while the rain beat her curly hair flat.

Marlene stood on the side of the road.

“Try to walk,” Mom said, toppling her from her arms.

Her head pounded and blood trickled down her leg. She leaned on her good leg and limped in the direction of her sister.

“Mama, where’s Daddy?” Marlene asked between sobs.

Mom took Marlene’s hand and yanked her forward with Janie in tow.

Marlene lurched back toward the smashed Oldsmobile with smoke billowing from its hood and a big tree lying across the roof. The Davy Crockett mug lay shattered by the back tire.

“Daddy! We can’t leave Daddy!” Marlene yelled, picking up pieces of the broken glass.

They had left Daddy that day and piled into an old Chevy pick-up truck with a bashed in headlamp, belonging to a man with carrot-red hair. Mom pushed them inside the truck and ordered the man to get help. But by then it was too late for Daddy.

It was too late for all of them.
~Meet Joan!~ 
Joan Curtis authored four business books published by Praeger Press. She is also published numerous stories, including
• Butterflies in a Strawberry Jar, Sea Oats Review, Winter, 2004
• A Memoir Of A Friend, Chicken Soup for the Working Woman’s Soul, 2003 and Flint River Review, 1996
• Jacque’s Story in From Eulogy to Joy, 2002
• The Roommate, Whispering Willow Mystery Magazine, April 1997
• A Special Sort of Stubbornness, Reader’s Digest, March 1997,
• My Father’s Final Gift, Reader Digest, November 1994

Her first place writing awards include : Best mystery manuscript in the Malice Domestic Grants competition, best proposal for a nonfiction piece in the Harriette Austin competition, and best story, Butterflies in a Strawberry Jar in the Cassell Network of Freelance Writer’s Association.

Other Books:
Hire Smart and Keep ‘Em: How to Interview Strategically Using POINT, Praeger Press, an imprint of ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara, CA 2012.

The New Handshake: Sales Meets Social Media, Praeger Press, 2010, an imprint of ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara, CA

Managing Sticky Situations at Work: Communication Secrets for Success in the Workplace, 2009, Praeger Press, an imprint of ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara, CA.

Strategic Interviewing: Skills for Savvy Executives, 2000 published by Quorum Books, Greenwood Press.

“I write about characters who remind me of myself at times and my sister at times, but never fully so. My stories are told from a woman’s point of view. Characters drive my writing and my reading.”

Having grown up in the South with a mother from Westchester County New York, Joan has a unique take on blending the southern traditions with the eye of a northerner.  She spent most of her childhood in North Carolina and now resides in Georgia.





MuseItUp Publishing Author’s page: -
One randomly drawn commenter will win a $50 Amazon giftcard! 


  1. A great Guest Post. I could never write a mystery, but I do love to read them.

  2. Hi Mary and Lisa, thanks for stopping by on this blog tour. Writing mysteries is hard, but I have to say great fun. We, mystery writers, never know what's around the corner.

    Thanks for hosting me today Andra! Great blog!

  3. Great post. The best part of a mystery is trying to solve the puzzle. Love the excerpt.
    H Greenis - The Natasha Saga

  4. Love the quiz! No bragging - I got all the right answers :)

  5. OK, James D. You've gotta write a mystery! Good for you.

  6. I enjoyed the excerpt and looking forward to reading the book. I haven't read this author and looking forward to reading some of her work.
    Happy Holidays,

    1. Thanks Beautiful Disaster... Hope my book isn't a beautiful disaster :-)

  7. Joan-Very clever test for being a mystery writer. The puzzle's the thing! I love to read (and write) mysteries to see if I can solve it before the end of the book. But I love a mystery when I am surprised by the ending, AND it all makes sense. Your excerpt was delicious! Best wishes!!

    1. Hey JQ. If you read the clock, let me know if you were surprised by the end. :-)

  8. Thanks for the excerpt and giveaway

  9. Great quiz. The excerpt was pretty depressing....

  10. The quiz was fun and different from other book news. Thanks!