Thursday, May 24, 2018

Unringing the Bell by Judy Higgins - Virtual Tour and Giveaway

Unringing the Bell
by Judy Higgins


GENRE: Mystery



In the small town of Goose Bend, Pennsylvania, people don't forget. Especially something as sensational as 12-year-old Jacob Gillis burning down the town. Nineteen years later, Jacob returns, hoping for redemption. Instead, he finds himself entangled in a murder investigation. The prosecutor, taking advantage of Jacob's involvement with the victim's beautiful sister-in-law, threatens Jacob with loss of career and reputation if he doesn't play by his rules. Only by outwitting the prosecutor can Jacob save his future.



When Jacob Gillis was twelve years old, he burned down the town of Goose Bend, Pennsylvania. The fire didn’t actually consume the entire town – only two blocks of the four-block business section went up in flames – but when the folks in Goose Bend spoke of the incident, they persisted in saying that Jacob Gillis, abetted by his friend Charlie Garrett, burned down the town.

Jacob watched Laskey walk back to the Sequoia, his limp barely detectable, and for the thousandth time he wondered why his friend kept what had happened to his foot a secret. But there were some places Laskey didn’t go – formidable Laskey with his gruff manner and hard-muscled body. He was a private person and sometimes a grizzly bear, but he had a goose-down heart which he tried like heck to hide. But Jacob knew.

Laskey grasped the arms of his chair and pushed his feet hard against the floor to contain himself. For a brief moment, the thought had rushed through his head that a jail term for assaulting a DA would be worth enduring for the pleasure of smashing Inglehook’s head against his desk.

Laskey squared his shoulders, turned around, and looked Jacob in the eyes. “Don’t get yourself in a mess, Jake. Extrication isn’t always possible.” He started for the door.
“Give back the painting,” he called over his shoulder. “And Jake,” he paused and twisted around. “Don’t ever mistake pretty wrappings for the quality of the gift inside.”



1.     What group did you hang out with in high school?

I always liked the active kids who were up for action and adventure. No sitting around for me! I wanted to be with the group who was first in the swimming pool, or raring to go on a hike or play baseball. Sometimes, I also spent time with the group who hung out in the science lab after school. We made slides for biology class or worked on demonstrations for physics.

2.     What are you passionate about these days?

People who can’t afford to eat. Elephants. Tennis.
I spent about a year interviewing people who came to my church for the once-a-month free lunch we offered for the indigent, writing their stories in a blog. Every story was different and it was an education for me. Previously, I’d thought that most people who wanted a job could get a job. I had no idea of the many, many reasons why they couldn’t. In all the people I interviewed, there was maybe one who was taking advantage of the system. I’d have to write a book to cover all the issues. Anyone interested in some of these stories can check them out at

Then there are the elephants. Sometimes it looks as though they have more compassion than some humans. Two books that are great reads are Life, Love, and Elephants by Dame Daphne Sheldrick and Elephant Man by Vicki Croke. If you were ever in doubt about the intelligence of elephants, the stories in these two books should banish your doubts.

Tennis saves me! It’s my exercise; it’s a social activity four times a week (I’ve made a whole bunch of incredible friends on the court); and it’s a stress reliever. A few whack, whack, whacks at the ball gets rid of a lot of writer-induced frustration. And I love watching Federer play, as well as Nadal. I will be very sad when they retire. 

3.     If you had to do your journey to getting published all over again, what would you do differently?

I lucked out with my first book, The Lady. It was named a finalist in the 2012 Amazon Break-out Novel Contest, so getting agents to look at it wasn’t a problem. Winning a prize also gave me the confidence to keep going, and has made the whole publishing process a lot easier.

4.     EBook or print? And why?

I’m not sure why there should have to be a choice. Books should be in every from available! And that includes audio-books. Nat Jones, a Charleston, SC actor has made an audiobook of Unringing the Bell. When I listened to his read of the first two chapters, I felt the most excitement I’d felt in a long time (since winning the award for The Lady). Having an actor read what you’ve written is a truly amazing experience. The Lady has also just come out as an audiobook. Also, a movie producer has shown a bit of interest in The Lady. THAT will be beyond amazing if it happens. I’ve picked out the cast: Julia Roberts, Diane Lane, Holly Hunter, Queen Latifa, Brad Pitt. Wow!

5.     What is your favorite scene in this book?

A friend of mine told me a story about what happened at his senior prom. I loved the story so much that I incorporated it into Unringing the Bell. I won’t tell you what happened, but the tension that still exists in the book thirteen years after the prom was the driving factor for the relationship between my protagonist, Jacob Gillis, and the beautiful sister-in-law of the murder victim. The issue is resolved in the very last scene. I still get a kick out of reading that scene.

I also especially like the chapters in the book where Aunt Zuela (Dr. Zuela Hay, distinguished professor of Shakespeare) is part of the action. She’s zany, funny, outspoken, and unpredictable. My agent told me she was “too far out” and that I had to tone her down. He was unconvinced by my reply that she was based on an actual person, so I reluctantly made her less zany. I think he was probably right. But “too far out” or not, I had fun with her. 

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Judy Higgins was born in South Georgia where she grew up playing baseball, reading, and taking piano lessons. To pay for her lessons, she raised chickens and sold eggs to neighbors. She attended Mercer University for two years, and then Baylor University from which she graduated with a BA in German. She received her MA in German literature from The University of Michigan. After teaching German for several years, Judy decided to become a librarian and earned an MA in Library Science at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania.
Judy’s life took an exciting turn when she left her teaching job in Pennsylvania to be Head of Library at the Learning Center School of Qatar Foundation. She lived in Qatar for eight years, enjoying the experience of living in a different culture and traveling to exotic places during every vacation. Recently, she returned to the United States and lives in Lexington, KY. Judy has two children, Julia and Stephen, two children-in-law, Jim and Erin, and four grandchildren: Kyle, Jon, Karina, and Addy.

Judy’s first book, The Lady, was a finalist in the 2012 Amazon Break-out Novel Award. The first two novels of her Bucks County Mysteries, Unringing the Bell and Bride of the Wind are available March 1, 2018. The series is set in an imaginary small town in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Call me Mara, the story of Ruth and Naomi, is scheduled for publication in March, 2019.

In addition to writing, Judy’s passions include travel, tennis, elephants, and playing the piano.

Amazon author page URL:  



One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to visit the other blogs on the tour.

March 1: Christine Young
March 6Edgars's Books
March 8XoXo Book Blog
March 13Sharing Links and Wisdom
March 15Stormy Nights Reviewing and Bloggin'
March 20It's Raining Books
March 22Let me Tell you a Story
March 27A Chick Who Reads
March 29Unabridged Andra's - review
April 3BooksChatter
April 5Read Your Writes Book Reviews
April 10Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews
April 12The Reading Addict
April 17The Avid Reader
April 19Queen of All She Reads
April 24The Mystery Section
April 26Author C.A.Milson
May 1Fabulous and Brunette
May 3Two Crazy Ladies Love Romance
May 8Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
May 10Harlie's Books
May 15Hope. Dreams. Life... Love
May 17Jazzy Book Reviews
May 22La libreria di Beppe
May 24Mixed Book Bag
May 29Musings From An Addicted Reader
May 31Readeropolis
June 5Locks, Hooks and Books - review
June 7Sapphyria's Books
June 12Long and Short Reviews


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Unknown said...

I enjoyed getting to know your book and thanks for the chance to win :)

James Robert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James Robert said...

Congrats on the tour and I appreciate the book description and the great giveaway as well. Love the tours, I get to find books and share with my sisters and now my twin daughters who all love to read. We have found some amazing books for everyone. So, thank you!

JC Jones said...

Enjoyed the excerpt and the interview. Thanks for being here today.

Bernie Wallace said...

Thanks for hosting the giveaway. Congrats on the book tour. Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

Victoria Alexander said...

Great interview, thanks for sharing!

kim hansen said...

nice interview, sounds good.

Bernie Wallace said...

Do you have any ideas for your next book? Bernie Wallace BWallace1980@hotmail(d0t)com

Rita Wray said...

I liked the excerpt.

Nikolina said...

Shared on G+ to help spread the word, good luck with the book tour! 🦋