Tag Archives: blog giveaway

Sherlock Holmes & the Red-Headed League: A Guest Post by K.B. Owen

I’m so excited to welcome mystery writer, K.B. Owen, to The Happiness Project today! She is on a whirlwind blog tour promoting her newest book, Unseemly Pursuits, and I asked her to stop by Wisconsin for some midwestern hospitality, and she obliged. *curtsy*
Since she knows redheads are some of the greatest people ever, she’s sharing some tidbits of history about Sherlock Holmes and “The Red-Headed League”.
There’s also a swag-a-licious giveaway at the end of the post, so be sure to leave a comment and you could win!
The floor is yours, Madam.
*****

KB OwenK.B. Owen taught college English at universities in Connecticut and Washington, DC and holds a doctorate in 19th century British literature. A long-time mystery lover, she drew upon her teaching experiences to create her amateur sleuth, Professor Concordia Wells.

Unseemly Pursuits is the second book of the series. The first book, Dangerous and Unseemly, was published in early 2013.

K.B. currently lives in Virginia with her husband and sons, and is busily planning the lady professor’s next adventure.

*****

Many fans of the Sherlock Holmes stories consider “The Red-Headed League” to be one of their favorites. The story was published in The Strand Magazine’s August 1891 issue, and later collected in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892).

red01Illustrated by Sidney Paget, 1891. Wikimedia Commons.

A brief synopsis:

A red-haired businessman, Jabez Wilson, consults Holmes about a curious incident. There had been an advertisement in the paper by an organization calling itself the “Red-Headed League” looking for red-headed male candidates to fill a well-paying position with light work. Wilson had won the job, and began earning a handsome salary for basically “busy” work, copying the encyclopedia during daytime hours. Since Wilson’s own shop mostly operated in the evenings, with his assistant on hand to take care of anything that came up while Wilson was gone, the red-headed man considered it a happy arrangement. But abruptly one morning, Wilson found a sign stating that the League was “dissolved.” Reluctant to let go of a good thing, Wilson comes to Holmes to solve the mystery.

Holmes and Watson are amused, and Holmes’ curiosity is piqued. He agrees to investigate.

*SPOILER ALERT*

Holmes eventually deduces that Wilson’s assistant, John Clay, has been digging through the basement wall of Wilson’s shop into the bank vault next door. Clay had thought up the “red-headed league” scheme as a way to keep Wilson away during the day while he and his cohorts did their digging. When the work was completed and they were making final preparations to break into the vault, Clay dissolved the league. Holmes, Watson, Wilson and the police wait in the bank vault for the criminals, and nab them when they come through.

red02Illustrated by Sidney Paget, 1891. Wikimedia Commons.

If you’d like to read this story online for free through Project Gutenberg, click on the link below and scroll down to the middle of the page to “Adventure II.”

The Red-Headed League

An outlandish story, yes? Ah, but wait: in 1874 (15 years before Doyle’s story was published), a New York bank experienced a similar incident – without the red-headed part – where crooks attempted to tunnel into the vault. Below is an excerpted account from the New York Times, regarding the scheme of bank robber John Clare (very close to the name Doyle selected for his criminal) and the sharp policemen who thwarted him:

red03red04red05

For the rest of the article on the sentencing, and how Clare was eventually captured, click here: New York Times

In my searches, I have yet to find evidence that Conan Doyle based “The Red-Headed League” on any bank robbery incident, but the coincidence is interesting nonetheless.

Are you a Sherlock Holmes fan? If so, what is your favorite story?

Jess, thanks so much for having me! It was really fun. 😉

Thanks for teaching us about the Red-Headed League! Maybe I’ll start one of my own…

*****

Now the for book info!

A deadly secret that won’t stay buried…

UnseemlyPursuitsCover 266x400It is the fall of 1896, and Miss Concordia Wells is hip-deep in the usual tumult of a lady professor’s life: classes, clubs, student pranks, and the unending drama generated by the girls she lives with on campus.  Complicating this normality is the new Lady Principal, whom the students have nicknamed “the Ogre.”  The woman seems bent on making Concordia’s life miserable.

And then there’s the exotic spirit medium, Madame Durand, who has befriended Concordia’s mother and has started a “Spirit Club” on campus.  Madame’s prognostications of doom are at first only mildly irritating – until events take a sobering turn.  An ancient Egyptian amulet donated to the college mysteriously disappears, the donor is found murdered, and his daughter – Concordia’s best friend – confesses to killing him.

Desperate for answers, Concordia unravels a 20-year-old secret, closely guarded by men now dead.  But such secrets can be dangerous for the daughters left behind, including Concordia herself.  Can she make sense of the mystery that has bound together their fates, before it’s too late?

Where to buy Unseemly Pursuits:

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Unseemly-Pursuits-Concordia-Wells-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00H3JVSYI

Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Unseemly-Pursuits-Concordia-Mystery-Volume/dp/0991236807/

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/unseemly-pursuits-k-b-owen-kb-owen/1117562781

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/384345

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/unseemly-pursuits

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/unseemly-pursuits-concordia/id775422084?mt=11&uo=4

I so want to read this book!

*****

SwagKitDuring K.B.’s Unseemly Pursuits book tour, which goes through the first week of March, there’s a giveaway at each blog stop (including here!). The winner, randomly drawn from the commenters at each stop, will get a free ebook copy of Unseemly Pursuits. At the end of the tour, she’ll hold another random drawing from among the ebook winners for the final prize: a special Concordia Wells series swag package! It includes customized mug, keychain, JellyBelly mini-tin, and signed paperback copies of the first two mysteries: Dangerous and Unseemly and Unseemly Pursuits. You can read, sip your coffee, and snack on candy in unseemly style. Check the sidebar on the home page of kbowenmysteries.com for the full tour schedule and other info.

Announcing the Halloween Costume Contest Winner

Thank you to everyone who participated in my Halloween Costume Contest! I had sooo much fun seeing your costumes! We had everything from Bigfoot to Unicorns, 80’s Punk Rocker to Madonna and Child! You sure are a clever bunch!

Had you come Trick-or-Treating at our house last night, you’d have met this…

Wonder Woman and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle

Wonder Woman and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle

But, there can be only one! And this year’s Costume Contest winner is…

Diana Beebe!!!

Diana’s costumes are positively purr-fect!

Be sure to check out Diana’s fabulous fantasy blog – Mermaids Don’t Do Windows!

Congratulations Diana! Thanks for Trick-or-Treating with me!

Behold your ghoulish bounty!

SAMSUNG+ a book of your choice and chance to guest post!

How did you each of you celebrate All Hallow’s Eve? What was your favorite costume you saw?

Halloween Party and Costume Contest

Halloween CollageIt’s no secret I love Halloween.

Like. Really. Love. Halloween.

It’s a good thing my honey loves Halloween too! Every year Joe and I collect more Halloween decorations.

He continues to scare the crap out of me by hiding more spiders around the house. (I don’t do spiders.)

I continue to buy Halloween movies for us to watch each night.

You never know what you might find at our house!

Skeleton

We also love to dress up.

Sometimes our costumes go together…

Who ya gonna call? … GHOSTBUSTERS!

It was Mrs. Peacock in the Billiard Room with the Wrench!

It was Mrs. Peacock in the Billiard Room with the Wrench!

Sometimes, they don’t…

I bet the real Dolly Parton never had to deal with zombies.

I bet the real Dolly Parton never had to deal with zombies.

This year we coordinated! Joe’s band, TUGG, decided to dress up as The Wizard of Oz, and all the ladies agreed to play along too.

Behold…OZ!

Wizard of Oz Cast

Pretty spectacular, isn’t it? I must say, we did have fun.

Wizard of Oz Collage

Maybe too much fun…

Witches Duel

Ok, definitely too much fun! (But look what I made on Pixlr, I mean this just screams to be made into a bookmark!)

Wizard of Oz - Glinda Bubble

I want to see YOUR Halloween spirit!

HALLOWEEN COSTUME CONTEST

Submit your favorite Halloween costume photo here, or on Facebook, by Thursday, October 31st, Midnight.

One lucky winner will be selected in a random drawing to win the following:

  • DVD copy of John Carpenter’s Halloween – in honor of this month’s Original Vs. Remake series
  • A Book from my Bookshelf to Yours – multiple titles to choose from!
  • A Guest Post Featured on The Happiness Project, or One on Your Blog Written by Me
  • A Plethora of Halloween and Fall Goodies

*Bonus entries can be made by sharing this post! Tweet or share on Facebook for additional chances to win! 

What are you waiting for?

Trick-or-Treat!

wicked party 1

Summer Reading Recommendations and Book Giveaway

I cannot believe summer is half over already! Where did it go?

I love that summer is really the only season dedicated to book lovers. Sure winter months are good for cozying up indoors with a great read, but it’s the summer months that magazines and newspapers devote to reading. Maybe it’s because sunning yourself on a sandy beach with blue waves and a great book is one of the ultimate vacation dreams!

So in honor of summer, I’m sharing a few of my favorite summer reads with you!

But wait, there’s more!

I decided it’s time to another giveaway! And adding new books to my shelf, means sorting through the old ones. So I’m hosting a book giveaway where the winner gets to select a title of their choice from my bookshelf to their own!

Keep reading to find out how you can win!

Summer Reading Recommendations

Where’d You Go Bernadette

Bernadette Fox was once a famous architect. Time has passed and Bernadette’s life has taken a drastic turn toward Hermitville. As she begrudgingly plans a trip to Antarctica (a promise to her daughter), everything begins to change. Told from the point of view of e-mails, parent/teacher newsletters, landscaping agreements, and FBI files, Bernadette’s daughter, Bee, tries to solve the mystery of her mother’s mysterious disappearance.

The author, Maria Semple, previously worked as a writer on the TV shows Mad About You, Ellen, and Arrested Development. Needless to say, this book will make you laugh out loud, and it has one of my favorite ensemble casts of characters all in one book!

Belle Weather: Mostly Sunny With a Chance of Scattered Hissy Fits

A collection of satirical essays told by a southern charmer herself, Celia Rivenbark, Belle Weather made me wish to be her neighbor! I wanted to hang out with the woman who attempted to make pancakes in the shape of Miley Cyrus for her daughter’s friends. She also stands up for Britney Spears, desperate housewives everywhere, and American Girl Dolls.

Look, the woman is hysterically funny. Read this book!

Bonus: The audio book is read by the author and I thought hearing her tell her stories made them all the funnier!

Grayson

Read this one last summer with the library’s book club and loved it! A memoir by Lynne Cox, Grayson recounts the nearly unbelievable story of Cox’s swim practice one morning when she was just a teenager. Feeling a change in the ocean currents, followed by several schools of fish, Cox realized that something big was following her. What it turned out to be was a baby gray whale!

The whale had been separated from its mother, and if left alone, could be picked off by a predator or not make the migration south on its own. Lynne stayed in the water with the whale, searching for his mother.

Firelands

I’m in LOVE with Piper Bayard’s post-apocalyptic book, Firelands! This book is so cool! She’s webbed together this awesome world where religions are mixed and the people are divided. The Josephites control the food, unless…

Archer, our protagonist, just may be gutsy enough – and completely in over her head – to start a war that could take down the Josephites and feed her people forever.

The Ruth Valley Missing

Everyone in the town of Ruth Valley creeps me out!!! Amber West writes a great thriller about a girl who leaves New York and moves to the small town of Ruth Valley.

She quickly realizes that something about the town is off. Who does she trust? And when people start going missing, how far will she go for the truth? And can she solve the mystery before she too becomes one of the missing?

*****

What’s on your summer reading list?

Leave a summer book you love in the comments and be entered for a chance to win a free book off my bookshelf! Tweet this post and be entered an additional TWO times!

As always, happy reading!

*****

Just a few titles to peak your interest!  😉

%d bloggers like this: