TOUR: A Fright to the Death, with guest post by Dawn Eastman (and a giveaway!)

April 8, 2015 Blog Tours, Book Reviews 41 ★★★★

TOUR: A Fright to the Death, with guest post by Dawn Eastman (and a giveaway!)

TOUR: A Fright to the Death, with guest post by Dawn Eastman (and a giveaway!)A Fright to the Death by Dawn Eastman
Series: Family Fortune Mystery #3
Published by Berkley on 4/07/15
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Format: Paperback
Source: the publisher
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Also in this series: Be Careful What You Witch For, An Unhappy Medium
Also by this author: Be Careful What You Witch For, An Unhappy Medium

From the author of Be Careful What You Witch For, here is the newest Family Fortune Mystery, starring former cop Clyde Fortune, who—snowbound with her kooky family in a creepy castle—is climbing the walls and combing the halls, looking for a cold-blooded killer…

After their flight to Mexico is cancelled, Clyde and her detective boyfriend, Mac, end up snowed in with their families at a supposedly haunted hotel. Clyde’s tarot card reading mother, Rose, is making dire predictions for the weekend, and self-proclaimed pet psychic Aunt Vi is enchanted by the legend of the hotel’s ghost—until the power goes out and a body turns up.

With a hotel full of stranded suspects, Clyde will have to draw on all her skills—both the police ones she’d rather forget and the psychic ones she’d rather ignore—to solve the bone-chilling mystery before someone else gets iced…

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

Guest Post: Knitting a Novel

by Dawn Eastman

Knitting keeps me sane and calm. I get cranky if I don’t have a project going. I’ve never analyzed my knitting addiction beyond recognizing that I’m a “process” knitter more than a “product” knitter. Certainly, a cute sweater or beautiful beaded scarf will turn my head, but I don’t really care that much about what I’m making. It’s all about the act of knitting.

I used to write that way as well. When I wrote just for myself, I could go off on tangents or start something new whenever I felt like it. Unlike my knitting, my writing doesn’t benefit from this free-form attitude. When I began writing for publication, I realized that I had to become a product writer or I would never finish anything.

There are similarities between finishing a large knitting project like a lace shawl or a sweater and a large writing project like a novel. The writing comes easier for me if I remember to apply my knitting rules to my writing project.

Rule 1: A little bit every day adds up. I love to knit; so every day I spend some time working on whatever is on my needles. I don’t even think about it, it’s just something I do. Every. Day.  When I get frustrated that my writing isn’t moving forward at lightning speed, I remind myself of this important fact. Usually, I knit a few rounds while I consider my options.

Rule 2: Practice makes you better. New knitters are sometimes frustrated that their knitting is uneven, or stitches get dropped, or that it takes a long time to make a simple scarf. Knitting looks easy, especially when the piece is finished, but there is a learning curve. Writing also looks easy, particularly when you are fully engaged in reading the story. In fact, I was initially surprised at just how hard it is. Crafting a piece of writing that appeals to others is a bit like moving from scarves to sweaters. A scarf will fit anyone and is fairly easy to finish. A sweater requires more consideration of the wearer, and an attention to details like shaping and size. But the more you practice the easier it gets.

Rule 3: Sometimes the only way to fix a problem is to rip back. My mind wanders, or I misread the instructions and repeat the mistake for many rows, or I realize I prefer a technique that is different from the one in the pattern. I don’t mind ripping out work that isn’t up to my standards. I like to knit and if I have to re-knit a sleeve, that just means I get to enjoy knitting that sweater for a little while longer. I am working on bringing this attitude to my writing. Sometimes many words need to be cut. I know that it will make the story stronger, but I haven’t yet developed the friendly relationship to the delete key that I have to re-winding a ball of yarn.

I had so much fun writing A Fright to the Death, which is the third book in the Family Fortune Mystery Series. My protagonist is not a knitter, but she finds herself stuck in a haunted castle with a group of knitters. They attempt to teach her to knit, they have a yarn-bombing contest, and when a murder occurs, they turn to knitting to keep their worries at bay.

I’d love to hear about your craft or hobby of choice in the comments below!


Lark: Knitting is one of the things that keeps me sane, too! Especially when my daughter was hospitalized for a month, about 9 years ago. I don’t know how I would have coped without it!



A Fright to the Death has a lot going for it! Besides the psychic aspect of the series, which is always a lot of fun, this book takes place in a Victorian “castle” hotel of the sort I’ve always wanted to stay in – and there’s a knitter’s conference going on at the same time. That hits four of my interests right there – knitting, mystery, Victorian architecture, and a touch of the paranormal. Small wonder that I jumped on the chance to do this tour!

When Clyde and Mac’s beach vacation is derailed by a storm and a cancelled flight, they detour to Carlisle Castle, the aforementioned hotel. By the time they get there, the snow is bad enough that they’re stuck – even when they discover that Clyde’s eccentric (and psychic) mother and aunt and Mac’s mother are there for a knitting workshop. Some romantic vactation, huh? Matters get worse when one of the inn’s owners is found dead. With the hotel completely snowed in and the power and phones out due to the storm, Mac (a police detective) and Clyde (also a policewoman but currently on leave) are forced to investigate on their own.

Clyde (short for Clytemnestra, and who can blame her for insisting on the nickname?!) is the main character and first-person narrator. I really like the character development across the series, as Clyde slowly comes to terms with her over-the-top family and her own psychic gifts. The fact that she was a policewoman before going on long-term leave means that she has both the nose and the skills to investigate crimes, something that is not always true of cozy heroines. I also love the growing romance between Clyde and Mac, Crystal Haven’s official homicide detective. Mac doesn’t like having Clyde involved as (technically) a civilian, but he also appreciates her background and skills. He’s pretty opposed to the psychic stuff in the beginning, but by this book he seems to be softening a little.

The snowstorm gives the mystery a Christie-esque “locked room” quality, limiting the suspects and placing them under pressure at the same time. The plot unfolds well; there are several suspects, each with a motive, and as Clyde and Mac dig deeper, more motives and suspects keep coming to light. Having their family members in the hotel only complicates matters, especially since Aunt Vi is determined to take an active part in the investigation – pendulum divining and all! Meanwhile, the knitters are increasingly nervous about being stuck in a hotel with a murderer. I particularly enjoyed all the knitting references – especially the ongoing yarn bombing. I’ve always wanted to attend a several-day-long knitting workshop, so this added an extra fillip of fun to my reading pleasure!

A Fright to the Death is the third book in the Family Fortune series, but if you’re new to the series, I don’t think you’ll have much trouble jumping in here. On the other hand, if you prefer to read them in order, it shouldn’t take you long to catch up – they’re quick, fun reads that will keep you turning the pages. I recommend them to all cozy mystery lovers.


NOTE: I interviewed Dawn Eastman last summer when she toured her second book, Be Careful What You Witch For. She gave a great interview – you can check it out by clicking here!



Thanks to the publisher, I have a paperback copy to give away! (Sorry – the publisher says US addresses only!)

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About Dawn Eastman

When I was ten years old, my two favorite things were climbing trees and reading. As a bonus, I discovered if I combined the two, I could hide from my mother when she wanted me to clean my room. Nancy Drew and I spent many afternoons solving crimes and avoiding chores. Eventually, I moved on to Hercule Poirot, Sherlock Holmes, and Stephanie Plum. I improved my housework-dodging ploys.

After many years in Michigan, I now live in Iowa with my husband, son and daughter. When I’m not writing or chauffeuring kids, I keep busy catering to the whims of a bossy bichon-shih tzu mix who wants to rule the world.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Cruisin' Thru the Cozies 2015

41 Responses to “TOUR: A Fright to the Death, with guest post by Dawn Eastman (and a giveaway!)”

    • Dawn Eastman

      You make such cute things! Can’t wait to see the embroidery.

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Machine embroidery always looks so wonderful! I sigh over the machines when I see them for sale – but I do so little sewing these days that I can’t really justify it. I’m glad you enjoy the series and I hope you like this book as much as I did!

  1. Sally Schmidt

    My favorite hobby is reading. It relaxes me, cheers me up, gives me adventure without danger. Love it.

    • Dawn Eastman

      I agree! Sometimes I listen to books on audible while I knit. Best of both worlds…

      Thank you for stopping by today.


    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Reading tops my list too, Sally! No matter how bad things are, I can always escape into a book for a bit – and when things are going well (which they are most of the time), it’s a lovely mini-vacation!

  2. Janel F

    My hobbies include reading and surfing the internet for new things to read. 😉

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Well, you’ve come to the right place! I love reading book blogs and finding new titles to try, but my TBR list has just exploded since I started blogging and following other book blogs.

  3. peggy clayton

    I have a few one is reading,crocheting pot holders,blankets and dishrags and knitting i have knitted blankets for all my adult kids when they were young and also for my grandkids. All of these hobbies take me out of my sometimes painful world as i am disabled to relaxing and forgetting once and awhile what i go thru.

    • Dawn Eastman

      I’m sorry to hear about your difficulties, but I’m glad you have so many ways to deal with them. I think that kind of crafting can be a great stress reliever. And, as you say, can help you forget your troubles for a while.

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Both reading and crafting are great for taking one out of oneself. And I’m impressed – you knitted blankets? Plural? That’s a lot of knitting! I tend to stick to smaller projects (I’m rather fond of knitting socks!)

  4. Terri Crossley

    Thanks for the chance! I love to paint! If I am stressed a good book or just sitting out in my screen room painting calms me down! I loved the first two books in this series and can’t wait to read this one!

    • Dawn Eastman

      I like to paint as well! I don’t manage to do it often enough. Good for you for making the time for it. I hope you enjoy the third book!

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I am just in awe of people who can draw or paint! And I’m sure if you enjoyed the first two books, you’ll love this one, too. 🙂

      • Dawn Eastman

        Oops! Something happened to my comment. You can increase your chances by checking out some of the other stops! Hopefully, one of them will be the lucky one for you. 🙂

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Well, it’s a random draw, but some of the other tour stops have giveaways, too, so check them out and enter there as well!

  5. holdenj

    I really like stamping. It’s creative, but I don’t have to always be good at it, like I imagine knitting to be! Plus, the end result it usually cards, and I enjoy sending unexpected mail to far flung friends.

    • Dawn Eastman

      I’ve seen some beautiful stamps. I have never tried it, though. It is great to receive paper mail in these days of digital everything!

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Stamping looks like so much fun! And I miss getting actual real mail (as opposed to junk mail), so I’m sure your friends appreciate those special cards!

  6. Dawn Eastman

    Thank you for hosting today! I love the picture of the knitted book – it’s perfect.


  7. Rita @ View From My Home

    I wish I could knit! I guess I can take lessons somewhere if I see it offered because I don’t think you can learn that adequately online. I tried crocheting, bought a whole bunch of supplies, but I’m not good at changing rows so my rows come out uneven 🙁

    For my relaxation I read–plain and simple– whatever I’m in the mood for. It helps if I cuddle with one of my dogs or cats on the couch when I do it. I love the covers on all your books!! I’ve had several Shih Tzus in my life, and still have an older one now… a very bossy, stubborn one at that. Congrats on your book tour and much success.
    Rita @ View From My Home recently posted…Weekly Wrap-Up: 4/11/15 – 4/12/15My Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Cuddling pets is a great way to relax! And you can check with your local yarn shop – they often run classes on knitting.

    • Dawn Eastman

      I’m so glad you enjoy the series! My dog is a bichon-shih tzu mix and he is extremely bossy. I’d love to read and cuddle with him, but he’s jealous of books, knitting, laptops, or anything that slows down the petting. 🙂

  1. Death in a creepy castle ~ A Fright To The Death ~ Cozy Review and Giveaway | fuonlyknew

    […] A Fright to the Death has a lot going for it! Besides the psychic aspect of the series, which is always a lot of fun, this book takes place in a Victorian “castle” hotel of the sort I’ve always wanted to stay in – and there’s a knitter’s conference going on at the same time. That hits four of my interests right there – knitting, mystery, Victorian architecture, and a touch of the paranormal. Small wonder that I jumped on the chance to do this tour! ~The Bookwyrm’s Hoard […]