Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Welcome, Julie Howard

Thank you, Jennifer, for hosting me on your blog today! I’m excited because I get to write about four things I love – writing, the beach, dogs, and ice cream. These all come together with my latest book, Sea Salt Lavender for Aphrodite, which releases today.
Inspiration comes easy for me. The slightest hint of a story is all I need. Last year, my publisher announced they were seeking stories for a series called One Scoop or Two. All stories needed to be set near a beach and all needed to have ice cream involved, particularly in the title. That was all it took for my imagination to take over.
The plot came to me within ten minutes. I knew I wanted to write a light murder mystery set on a beach boardwalk. The ice cream flavor would be sea salt lavender, inspired by a friend’s lavender farm. And what’s a cozy mystery without a dog? My canine of choice is a white standard poodle named Aphrodite, who has equal doses of hauteur and cool self-assurance. 
The main character is Rosella Rivers, who has left her job as a pastry chef to launch her ice cream food truck business at the beach boardwalk. Then an acquaintance is murdered… I raced through my initial outline, scribbling notes to myself about various characters. 
This is my sixth novel with The Wild Rose Press, but the first time I’ve attempted writing from two points of view. The chapters alternate between Rosella and Detective Mark Pruitt, who has been assigned to solve the murder, and becomes more than a bit infatuated with the cute ice cream vendor. I enjoyed writing from a male point of view and bringing in a fresh perspective to the story.
I hope you enjoy!

Sea-Salt Lavender for Aphrodite

Tagline: A case of murder with sweet complications

Rosella Rivers enjoys the perfect life, loving her new ice cream food truck business featuring exotic flavors. But her beach view parking space is not so lovable when she finds an acquaintance stabbed to death in the boardwalk bathroom.
Detective Mark Pruitt knows murder is bad for small-town Olympus Bay. He must find the suspect before he strikes again. When he first sets eyes on Rosella, the only witness, he is smitten. However, there's no time for romance when danger lurks. 
Together he and the lovely ice cream maker must discover the killer before he turns his sight on Rosella.

The echo of a drip-drip-drip resonated from within. Rosella glanced around, wishing a man would pass by, someone she could send inside on her behalf. On this side of the structure, though, the beachfront was hidden from view and the building backed by sand dunes. Unless someone needed to use the facilities, they wouldn’t approach. 


A distant chime from the town clock made her heart sink. Ten a.m. Opening time. She had to get back to her truck. A fresh round of anxious yips sounded. She 
scooted to the corner of the building and peeked toward 
her truck. Aphrodite stood at attention, straining at the 
leash. The dog barked twice at spotting her and renewed efforts to break free of the tether.
She returned to the doorway. “Mick, I’m just going 
to step inside since I’m a little bit worried, just to make sure you’re okay. Let me know if I shouldn’t come in.” No response sounded. “All right, coming in.”
The odor hit her first. Heavy, sweet, sickening. Then her eyes registered the scene. Mick lay face down in the middle of the tile floor, a steady stream of deep red blood winding its way toward a drain. 

Julie Howard is the author of the best-selling Wild Crime and Spirited Quest series. She is a former journalist and editor who has covered topics ranging from crime to cowboy poetry. Now she edits an online anthology, Potato Soup Journal, and spends many delightful hours writing her books.

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  1. Great post, Julie! Wishing you all the best with the book!

  2. Dogs make the best secondary characters and often times add that extra spark to the story. All the best with your new release, Julie! Love this cover!

  3. Nice job, Jules. Good luck.
    Kat Henry Doran

  4. What a unique title for your book--which sounds dandy--but that excerpt leaves one hanging!!! ;) Best of luck !

  5. Intriguing premise for a story. Love your unusual title as well.