Checkered Crime by Tonya Kappes – Guest Post + Giveaway

Checkered Crime by Tonya Kappes

From outhouses to an old 1950’s Belvedere. . .where in the world did these two items, which have nothing to do with each other, get on the front cover of my latest novel, CHECKERED CRIME?


Good question!

From ideas to the page. . .

I write by the seat of my pants. Not literally, but really—I don’t plot before I sit down, but I do think a lot.

Writing is definitely a job that is solitary. It’s just me and my made up world all day long. And just like in a regular job, whether it be a desk job, teacher, or stay at home mom, I have to make the commitment every single day to show up at my job—bring my fictitious world out of my head and on the page.

Since I write murder, it’s a little different than a novel in a different genre. I have to know the ending and the whodunit and the why before I even type a word on the page. This is when I scour crime scene interviews, reasons people are murdered, motives, news stories and zany ways to kill people.

Checkered Crime is the first novel in my latest mystery series, A Laurel London Mystery, and I knew there had to be a hook besides a mob guy kills because things didn’t go his way. So the “what-if” game starts.

I tape a big sheet of white paper on the wall in my office and I make bullet points of the what if’s with the answers. I’m leaving the answers out here because I don’t want to give away any of the fun details of the novel. You are going to have to buy and read the book for all the fun!

*What if the mob guy was missing a finger? Why is he missing a finger? How can I use that in the murder or the crime?
*What is unique about my heroine? What is her quirk? What if she lost her job and needed an old beater car? What if the car is yellow? What if the mob guy thought it was a taxi? What if he hired her to be his driver? OMG! What if the FBI is watching him? The FBI guy jumps in her car and forces her to work for the FBI…then she’d be working for both sides?
*What is in it for the heroine?
*What is the crime? Why is the crime so important that it needs to be solved?

This game goes on and on. I talk to myself and put the quirkiest answers next to the question. It may or may not make it into the book, but my ideas start to flow and the plot begins to take place.

This is when I sit down and begin to write the first draft or the “bones” of the novel. It takes me about one month, sitting butt in chair, and eight hour days to get it finished. After this draft is complete, I go back through the draft and add in all the little quirky or funny parts since I inject humor into the story. This is how I put the “meat on the bones.” The story deepens. My characters deepen and come to life. The dialogue tags take shape and the story begins to form into a solid novel.

This process takes me two – three weeks. After that, I will print out the novel and read it out loud, taking me another week. Here I begin to change around scenes or add more storyline or details.

This is the last before I send it off to my editor for the first round of edits. This is a back and forth process until it’s ready for my beta readers. With the feedback, I complete the novel for one last round of edits before it’s sent out into the world for readers.

Jump on over and buy CHECKERED CRIME. Keep in mind my writing process as you read and see if you can picture me adding the layers to the story line. Happy reading!!

About Checkered Crime by Tonya Kappes

Laurel London is one tough cookie. Orphaned and with one heckuva checkered past, she’s grown street smart and no one is going to tell her different, even if it means getting tangled up with the wrong side of the law. After terrorizing Walnut Grove, Kentucky all her adolescent life, she’s back and she’s ready to go on the up and up. Make something of herself. Prove the citizens of Walnut Grove wrong and make them admit she’s somebody.

But when mobster Trigger Finger Tony Cardozza jumps in the back of Laurel London’s car mistaking it for a taxi, she’s up to her ears in no good.

Recently fired and checkbook in the red, when Trigger offers to pay Laurel large wads of cash to drive him where he needs to go and keep her mouth shut, she’s all in. That is, until FBI agent Jax Jackson jumps in the back of Laurel London’s car threatening to take her to jail for her past crimes if she doesn’t cooperate with the FBI by going undercover to help bring down the mob.

Laurel finds herself battling the past and good vs evil and she’s not sure which is more deadly.

About Tonya Kappes

tonyak“Full of wit, humor and colorful characters, Tonya Kappes delivers a fun, fast-paced story that will leave you hooked!” Bestselling Author, Jane Porter
“A GHOSTLY UNDERTAKING is hauntingly good read with authentic Southern charm.” -Heather Webber Author Heather Webber
“Tonya Kappes strings together the perfect blend of family, friends, and fun.” Author Misa Ramirez

USA Today Bestselling Author, Tonya Kappes writes humorous cozy mystery and women’s fiction that involves quirky characters in quirky situations. Not only have her novels made the USA Today bestsellers list, but they are an Amazon Top 100 author, Amazon Movers and Shakers, and International bestsellers., the first novel in the Olivia Davis Mystery Series, is a double finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards in the Mystery and Humorous Categories.

Carpe Bead ‘em is 2012 winner in Amazon’s eFestival of Words in the Women’s Fiction Category.

A Charming Crime, the first novel in the Magical Cures, is the 2013 eFestival of Words in the Fantasy Category Winner.

A New Tradition the Indie Romance Convention 2013 novella of the year.

When not being the princess, queen, and jester of her family of three teenage boys, an adoring husband, and three fury kids, she travels to various writing groups as guest speaker on “How to Market and Promote Your Novels Effectively,” where she is known as a marketing guru.

Become a member of Tonya’s STREET TEAM! It’s a gathering place of readers who love Tonya Kappes novels and Tonya gives away monthly prizes! To sign up for Tonya’s STREET TEAM, newsletter, view book trailer, and upcoming news, check out Tonya’s website,

And be sure to stalk her on Facebook and Twitter!

Also by Tonya Kappes:

Carpe Bead ‘em

The Perfect Ten Box Set

An Olivia Davis Paranormal Mystery
Color Me a Crime
Color Me Love Short Story

Bluegrass Romance Series
Grooming Mr. Right

Grandberry Falls Series
The Ladybug Jinx
Happy New Life
A Superstitious Christmas
Never Tell Your Dreams

A Divorced Diva Mystery Series
A Bead of Doubt Short Story
Strung Out To Die
Crimped to Death

A Magical Cures Mystery
A Charming Crime
A Charming Cure
A Charming Potion Short Story
A Charming Wish
A Charming Spell
A Charming Magic

Beyond the Grave Series
A Ghostly Undertaking

A Laurel London Mystery
Checkered Crime

Small Town Romance Short Story Series
A New Tradition
The Dare Me Date

The Tricked-Out Toolbox~Promotional and Marketing Tools Every Writer Needs

You can purchase her novels at:
Barnes & Noble
Createspace (print)
Google Books

10246708_10203698663005627_6267384665749218149_nI was lucky enough to meet the beautiful, sweet and fun Tonya Kappes in April this year at the Barbara Vey Readers Luncheon. It is awesome to meet one of your favorite authors and discover they’re just as awesome in person as you hoped. 🙂 Tonya not only writes great stories, she is an all-around great person. I love connecting with her on social media and being a part of her awesome Street Team! Tonya interacts with her fans and really makes you a part of her book world. Love her!

Tonya is offering an autographed copy of Checkered Crime for a giveaway!! Woohoo! 🙂 Leave a comment on this post for your chance to win. 😉 Tonya is the Queen of Book Swag and fun giveaways! A winner will be randomly chosen with around 6/12/2014 and notified via email.


104 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I love Tonya Kappes! She is awesome! This book sounds wonderful. Thank you for this opportunity. 🙂

  2. Ooh, I love Tonya!! Please throw my name in for a chance to win!

    Kellijo23 @ gmail . com

  3. Tonya, Always a thrill when one of your books come out. Looking forward to reading Checkered Crime.

  4. Tonya Kappes is my new favorite Author. I have read almost all her books and I can’t wait to read Checkered Crime!

  5. I love reading about how you write. Always interesting to hear the thought process around a book.

    thank you.

  6. Had such an amazing time meeting you at BookCon. Your booth with Nancy was my first stop and many few in between. From everyone I met that day you and Nancy were the most friendliest.

    1. Yaritza!! You have no idea what it means to me to be able to meet my “friends” in person!! It is so humbling and I’m so grateful beyond words.

      1. It is pretty awesome. I love to be able to interact with the authors that I love to read and interact on Facebook. Very glad that even though it was packed at the convention I got too meet two amazing authors.

  7. Hi Tonya!

    It’s so sweet of you to offer this chance to all us. I Love your books. Thanks again!

    1. Hi, Marsha! YAY! I love Whispering Falls and June Heal too! Be sure to LIKE my author page on Amazon so you can get updates on new Charming novels! HINT….look for one around winter!

  8. Thanks for the chance to win one of your books. You make being on a street team a lot of fun. I just wish you would come to Vegas. I would love to meet you too.

  9. I came under Tonya’s “spell” when we met at the Cincy Author Event where I snagged a copy of “A Ghostly Undertaking.” Best of luck with your latest book and I hope to win a copy. 🙂

  10. Hi Tonya!! I just love your books and love being on your “street team”. Thank you for the giveaway, I would love to have a signed book my you.

    1. Hey girl! I’m blushing. All of you are too kind. I do LOVE having my street team! We are a small reading gang and I LOVE that!! xo

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