July 27, 2016

Rave Reviews for Murder on Moonshine Hill–5Stars!!


Click to Pre-Order on Amazon

Releases 8/23 but Pre-Order today on Amazon and B&N.


Murder on Moonshine Hill, the second amateur detective Jenna Scali murder mystery by Joan Curtis is another fantastic, fast paced mystery.  I love murder mysteries and this is one of the very best I’ve read. You won’t want to put it down.  Jenna finds herself at an Inn in the North Carolina Mountains.  Jenna’s relationship with an estranged childhood friend and the tangled web it weaves finds you not wanting to put the book down.  You won’t know “who did it” until you get to the end.  I got very involved in the characters, just like I did while reading the first Jenna Scali mystery, e-Murderer.  Jenna living in Athens with her two cats strikes a special relationship with her character for me.  I live in Atlanta, GA, have two cats, and am in Athens on a regular basis. If you haven’t read e-Murderer, don’t miss out.  It’s a must read too!

Reviewed by Karla MacKenna

Jenna receives an invitation to a wedding … the bride, Marcy, used to be her best friend, but that was 10 years ago.  There has been no other contact. Dragging her friend, Quentin, she bites the bullet and goes.  She’s still smarting from the way Marcy treated her and she thinks she will use this opportunity to find out why her friend turned against her.

Arriving at their destination, Marcy sees a lot of people from her past which stirs up a lot of memories both good and bad.  She did not expect to find a dead body.

The wedding is cancelled. But then the police arrest Marcy. Jenna does what Jenna does best … sticks her nose where it doesn’t belong, putting her life in danger.

Not overly suspenseful, but a really good mystery, it’s a fast easy read.  I read it in 2 sittings.  I love all the characters.  I have never seen so many dysfunctional people all in one place at one time.

There is Marcy who breaks down and tells Jenna how abusive her intended is, Tom.  There is Tom’s mother, who doesn’t seem to like Tom. There is cousin Clayton, who doesn’t seem to like Tom.  The ex-boyfriend makes an appearance and he doesn’t like Tom, either.

There is Jenna’s mother and aunt … both a little on the ditzy side.  Marcy’s mother and her husband and her father and his trophy wife add to the long list of suspects, especially as the trophy wife and intended groom were having an affair.

It’s a book also filled with humor … which appears sporadically throughout.  I found myself chuckling out loud.  This one just hit all the right buttons for me.

I do recommend that e-Murderer be read first.  There are several references to the events of the first book. I’m keeping fingers crossed that there will be further adventures for Jenna and her friends. She’s an intriguing character.

Many thanks to the author who provided a digital copy in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

Reviewed by Linda Strong of Strong Book Reviews.

5 Stars

Once again I am glued to my couch by one of Joan C. Curtis’ enthralling mysteries; unable to put down Murder on Moonshine Hill. I so enjoyed the antics Jenna Scali got herself into within the pages of the first book in the series, e-Murderer, I was intrigued to find out what trouble a friend’s wedding and murder would create for her. I didn’t want to stop reading.

The way Joan describes the characters, the scenery, and the entire setting, let alone the placement of twist and turns, clues, and potential suspects, is riveting. I tried to solve the mystery most of the way through, yet once again, she got the better of me with a surprise ending.

I have grown to really enjoy Jenna, her BFF Quentin, and her gentle copper crush, Rich, so much; I definitely would love to experience them again.

Reviewed by Bernadette Boas, Ball of Fire, Inc.

Murder on Moonshine Hill by Joan C. Curtis is an interesting story in the murder and mystery genres, featuring powerful characters and a gripping plot, a story of how far a girl will go to find justice for her best friend. Ata wedding, someone gets murdered and Jenna’s friend is arrested.

Jenna wants to learn the truth so she takes matters into her own hands. Her investigation will lead her to the real murderer, but does she have what it takes to face such an evil? There are very interesting things about this story, and I have to avoid the temptation of spoiling the fun for readers by revealing too much about the plot.

Murder on Moonshine Hill is a gripping, well-written story. I loved the prose and the engaging, plot-driven dialogue. Jenna is one of those protagonists readers want to follow in a series; well-developed with areas where readers want to be part of their progress. There is something very dangerous and attractive about her, her uncanny curiosity, and how it plays out in the entire story is fascinating. I loved the cast of characters, the conflict and how it creates a sense of suspense. The plot is fast paced, and readers can’t tell where Joan C. Curtis is leading them. I admire the author’s originality when it comes to plot and characterization, and won’t hesitate to recommend this one for any reader looking for something fun, surprisingly entertaining, and engaging. Joan C. Curtis is now one of those writers I will be watching closely.

Reviewed by Christian Sia Reader’s Favorite

Set against the idyllic mountains of North Carolina, Murder on Moonshine Hill is a powerful entry in the Jenna Scali Mystery series by Joan C. Curtis, a tale of murder and a woman’s courage to seek justice. Jenna expects anything unwelcoming the moment she chooses to attend her friend’s wedding, but when someone gets murdered at the wedding, one has to find out how it happened, why it happened, and who made it happen.

Jenna might have said it was just one of those bad days, but her friend is behind bars and the killer could be walking free. Find out what happens when she decides to discover the truth.

Very suspenseful and laced with mystery, Murder on Moonshine Hill is one of those books that will set readers’ hearts racing, with a carefully conceived and well-executed plot and a cast of dazzling characters. JoanC. Curtis is a genius when it comes to building conflict and she knows how to weave beautiful literary elements into a fast-paced plot – such as suspense, tight and engaging writing, a great sense of mystery, and characters that wholly grab the reader’s interest. The writing is focused and the author did a great job with point of view. One of the things that made me enjoy this book a lot is that the author limits herself to relevant pressing issues, so the reader doesn’t have to wade through a maze of things to get inside the story. The characters are irresistibly attractive and Jenna stands out as a strong and well-realized protagonist. Focused writing with compelling characters make Murder on protagonist. Focused writing with compelling characters make Murder on Moonshine Hill a great success in the murder and mystery genre.

Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers’ Favorite

Murder on Moonshine Hill: Jenna Scali Book 2 (A Jenna Scali Mystery) by Joan C. Curtis is a murder mystery that follows Jenna as she reluctantly attends an old friend’s wedding. Jenna and Marcy used to be best friends, but fell out after a tragic incident that affected them both. This left them unable to continue their friendship to the same degree, and then they drifted apart. There was some bad feeling between them that grew as the years passed … until Jenna receives an invitation to Marcy’s wedding. The invitation contains a cryptic message that results in Jenna feeling obliged to attend. When she arrives, she discovers an array of characters and relationships, and a mysterious death – or rather murder – leads toMarcy being the prime suspect and Jenna fearing for her own safety.

This is a classic whodunit. The characters are very well developed and the author, Joan Curtis, goes to great lengths to describe each person and their relationships with the ‘cast,’ whether by blood or more tenuous. The plot is intricate and there are motives galore which draw the reader in to try to solve the case. The setting is well described and believable and if there isn’t a Moonshine Inn in real life, perhaps there should be. The twist at the end is unexpected and the ending is satisfying and complete. The character of Jenna is likeable and well developed so that the reader empathizes with her as the protagonist. This well thought out mystery will keep the reader wondering to the very end.

Reviewed by Jane Finch for Readers’ Favorite

Pre-Order your own copy on Amazon and Barnes&Noble.

Quentin talks about Murder on Moonshine Hill


Pre-Order by clicking here for just $2.99

The second book in the Jenna Scali series is now ready for Pre-Order. Let’s spend a little time with Jenna’s BFF Quentin Pearson to get the inside scoop about this new book.

A secluded mountain wedding turns deadly when murder interrupts the festivities.

JC: What made you decide to go to the wedding with Jenna?

Quentin: She didn’t fancy going. She and the bride go way back. They knew each other growing up. But some bad business happened back then and Jenna wasn’t keen to go. I suggested it might be good for her to get away. Then, I had this sudden idea, why don’t I go with her.

JC: How did she respond to that suggestion?

Quentin: At first she said no because she was determined not to go. But, later she decided it might be a lark. After everything that happened, I’m really glad I went.

JC: I know you can’t tell us about what happened, but how about telling us about the place, Moonshine Hill.

Quentin: It’s quite magical, like a movie set.

Charming. The guest rooms are small and the bathrooms smaller. I couldn’t go in mine and sit with the door open. But, the porches and views are amazing. And this place was surrounded by mountain trails around seven fresh water springs.

JC: How far from the nearest town were you?

Quentin: Moonshine Hill is in the mountains of North Carolina between Asheville and Waynesville. The closest town is a tiny mountain village called Sylva. Quite the charming place. Full of antique stores and quaint cafes. Moonshine Hill is also close to Western North Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC.

JC: Y’all went there in the spring, right? What are the mountains like then?

Quentin: Green is the best word. Everything is greened out in such awesome shades. The woods around the inn were thick and shaded. There were also beautiful flowers, rhododendron, locust, wisteria and much more. Green mixed with the flowers made it a great time to be there. Not like the autumn, but special.

JC: And the weather was warm?

Quentin: Jenna complained about being cold most of the time. It was jumper weather, or as you Yanks say, sweater weather. Not as warm as we expected, but great for morning jogs. Jenna and I went out jogging a couple of times with several of the guests.

JC: Indeed it sounds idyllic. Why was Jenna so reluctant to go?

Click to order Book 1 in the Jenna Scali mystery series

Click to order Book 1 in the Jenna Scali mystery series

Quentin: I can’t tell you much without ruining the story. But what I can say is Jenna’s friend, Marcy Hawthorne, the bride-to-be, came loaded with secrets. None of us realized how much she was hiding until it was too late. Jenna suspected her friend was up to bad business because that was her style. After what Jenna went through last year, you know, with the e-Murderer, she was reluctant to get tangled up with Marcy.

JC: But, she went and she got good and tangled up, right?

Quentin: Good job I was there. I helped her stay out of danger. Well, I tried to anyway. I promised Detective Rich I’d watch out for her, but she’s a stubborn thing when she thinks a friend is in danger. That’s one thing I love about Jenna–her devotion to her friends.

JC: Tell us about some of the guests.

Quentin: Marcy, of course, the bride. Her mum and stepdad, the O’Conners. They were nice enough. The stepdad a bit obnoxious, but otherwise okay. Then there were Marcy’s dad and stepmum. I won’t go into much about them except to say the stepmum was quite a looker. Marcy’s ex-lover, Jimmy, showed up to cause trouble and that he did. Her Aunt Bertha came and stayed inebriated most of the time. Then there was the groom, Tom Slade–handsome and rich. His mother was there along with his cousin and fiancee. Finally, Jenna’s mum came because she’s a pal of Tom Slade’s mum.

JC: That’s quite a cast of characters.

Quentin: I left out the minister and his wife. The groom’s body guard. And, of course, we had the inn staff. That’s the lot of them, I believe.

JC: So, Quentin, if you could tell our readers why they might enjoy this book, what might you say?

Quentin: It’s your typical wedding with warring parents and stepparents. But, what makes the book a fun read is the place, Moonshine Hill, with all its beauty and intrigue as well as the unfolding secrets around those quirky characters. My role in the story added to the fun.

JC: I’m sure it did. Thanks for stopping by. We are all looking forward to reading the second Jenna Scali mystery when its released on August 23. Meantime, readers can pre-order the book today for just $2.99.

If you haven’t read book 1 in this series, check out the book trailer for the e-Murderer. Quentin appears with Jenna in both books.


How do you know when you’re done?

Artists tell me it’s hard to know when a painting is finished. One told me that if she works on a painting for too long, she ruins it. This reminds me of my writing. I tweak and tweak and then tweak some more. Was it better before the last tweak or after the first tweak? Am I tweaking too much? One reader says, “You need more information about the main character” or “We need to know more about where the people live.” Another says, “You tell us too much in the first few pages.” or “Cut that statement of place because it’s distracting.”

Geez. How do I know when I'm done?

Geez. How do I know when I’m done?

This is where I want to throw up my hands and shout, “Help!” How do you know when you’re done? When do you need to leave what you’ve written alone?

Here are some tips I’ve found helpful:

Include enough to balance opinions. If you get mixed messages, you get to choose. For example, if someone says, they love the character’s name and another says they hate the character’s name, you can decide. But if everyone says they hate the character’s name, it’s time to toss that name out.

Work on other things. Pay attention to your husband and kids whom you’ve ignored while working on this masterpiece. Then go back. A clean perspective will give you lots of information. I’m always amazed when I’m stumped on the daily crossword, when I walk away from it and come back, everything falls into place.

If everything in you is fighting the criticism, you may be too close to judge. Find someone you trust to read the scene. Someone who hasn’t read it before. If that person says what others are saying and what you’re rebelling against, give up and do it. Okay, if you’re Stephen King or Mary Higgins Clark, you can do whatever you want and the readers will come. But, for us small-time, every day writers, we must listen to our readers even if we’re trying something revolutionary.

If you were a teacher, what grade would you give this work. If you give it anything below a B-, you’re not done.

These are a few of my tips for trying to figure out when I’m done. What tips do you have?

Be on the look out for my newest book (which is done!), coming out in September. Murder on Moonshine Hill is the second in the Jenna Scali series. Here’s a taste:

When Jenna decides to go to a friend’s wedding, she expects to dredge up old secrets and old hurts, and she expects to see people from her past, but she doesn’t expect to stumble on a dead body. 

Jenna’s friend is arrested. The wedding is cancelled. And Jenna’s tendency to stick her nose where it shouldn’t be leads her into the path of the killer. 

Set in the serene mountains of North Carolina Murder on Moonshine Hill is filled with suspense, humor, and a quirky cast of supporting characters.


Interview with Jenna Scali about Murder on Moonshine Hill

We are excited to welcome Jenna Scali to our blog today. Some of you may know her as the star of the new mystery series that began with the e-Murderer. If you read that book, you learned a lot about Jenna. You know that she’s 28 years old, has two cats, is divorced and is working on her PhD in criminal psychology. You also know that her best friend is Quentin Person, a gay history professor who teaches belly dancing on the side. I won’t give too much away since some of you may not have read the e-Murderer yet. Today, we’re going to be talking about Jenna’s new adventure Murder at Moonshine Hill. This is the story about when

Thank you for joining us today. Tell us a little about what we can expect when we read Murder on Moonshine Hill.

If you enjoyed some of my friends in e-Murderer, you’ll love all the characters in Murder on Moonshine Hill. For one thing, Quentin plays a much more dominant role in this book. He’s definitely my go-to man. I hang out with him and we both toss out ideas about what might be happening.

Can you tell us what the book is about?

You’ll find out in the opening pages that someone is murdered. But we don’t know who. Later, you’ll learn that my friend from high school, Marcy Hawthorne, is getting married in a nice little mountain inn. It sounds like the perfect place for a wedding. But, as it turns out, it’s also the perfect place for a murder.

How is it that Quentin goes to the wedding with you.

I really didn’t want to go to this wedding because Marcy and I had a great falling out. She didn’t come to my wedding and I haven’t heard from her in ten years. Nothing. So, why should I go to her wedding. But then something happens (don’t want to give too much away) that peak my curiosity and I decide to go. Quentin begs me to take him with me. He loves the mountains and it’s Spring Break. So, he comes along.

Blue Ridge Parkway Mountains Sunset over Spring Rhododendron Flowers Blooms scenic Appalachians near Asheville NC

Blue Ridge Parkway Mountains Sunset over Spring Rhododendron Flowers Blooms scenic Appalachians near Asheville NC

Do we meet new characters in this story?

OMG! Yes. Lots of new people. You’ll meet all the wedding guests as well as Marcy and her prospective husband. Also, my mother is very much in this story. She’s running around causing all kinds of havoc in her matching pumps and purses. Furthermore you’ll meet Marcy’s parents who are both divorced. They bring their new spouses. It’s the typical wedding crowd full of people with love/hate relationships.

Do we get to see Starr again in this book?

Starr couldn’t come to the wedding with me. She had to stay back and hold down the fort in Dr. Bingham’s office. But, there are plenty of other characters that should keep you entertained and maybe Starr will turn up again in the next book.

Tell us about this place Moonshine Hill?

The Moonshine Hill Inn is a beautiful spot in the mountains of North Carolina. We are going in the spring so the weather is perfect, if a little chilly. It is secluded without televisions or cell phone service. This part of the world used to be well-known for making moonshine whisky. That’s how Moonshine Hill got its name. But now it’s more popular with hikers and sports enthusiasts. I’m a reluctant runner, as my readers know. Quentin drags me out to run with him. but most of the time, I’d rather sleep in.

Jenna, thank you for introducing us to this newest adventure. Here’s the blurb for Murder at Moonshine Hill

Who invited murder and mayhem to the wedding?

When Jenna decides to go to this wedding, she expects to dredge up old secrets and old hurts and she expects to see people from her past, but she doesn’t expect to stumble on a dead body.

Jenna’s friend is arrested. The wedding is cancelled. And Jenna’s tendency to stick her nose where it shouldn’t be leads her into the path of the killer.

Set in the serene mountains of North Carolina Murder on Moonshine Hill is filled with suspense, humor, and a quirky cast of supporting characters.

Look for the release in the Spring or Summer of 2016. Now under contract with MuseItUp Publishing.

If you’re curious about the eMurderer, check out this book trailer.