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Monday, May 1, 2023

Blog Tour- BETRAYAL BY THE BOOK by Michael D. Beil With An Excerpt & #Giveaway! @PixelandInkBks@HolidayHouseBks @RockstarBkTours

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the BETRAYAL BY THE BOOK by Michael D. Beil Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!


About the Book:

Title: BETRAYAL BY THE BOOK (The Swallowtail Legacy #2)

Author: Michael D. Beil

Pub. Date: April 18, 2023

Publisher: Pixel+Ink

Formats: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook

Pages: 336

Find it: Goodreadshttps://books2read.com/BETRAYAL-BY-THE-BOOK

A writer’s conference brings twelve-year-old Lark’s favorite writer—and a suspicious death—to Swallowtail Island, in the second book in this middle grade mystery series by an Edgar Award-nominated author.

Swallowtail Island is hosting the Swallowtales Writer’s Conference. Lark's ecstatic to be chosen as a “page” for her favorite author, Ann E. Keyhart.
But they say you should never meet your idols. When Keyhart arrives with her personal assistant in tow, she is nothing but a terror. And within a few hours, the assistant is dead! But the explanation isn't sitting well. Not when lots of people had reasons to want to be rid of Keyhart, and especially not after it’s revealed the assistant recently completed a hot new novel and the file's vanished from her computer.
Then Lark finds out the assistant had a bird—the match to the one she found hidden in her mom’s book—and she needs answers. It looks like Swallowtail Island still has secrets to reveal, and Lark’s going to uncover them.
A gripping new chapter in the Swallowtail Legacy series, Mike D. Beil spins another clever clue hunt that seamlessly slips in alongside the best classics of middle grade mystery.






ann e. keyheart stands in the front hall of the Captain’s Cottage, her mouth still hanging open from the blood-chilling scream that brought me sprinting the seventy-eight yards back to her door. Not to brag, but if the 78-yard dash was a thing, I would have totally broken the world record. It’s even more impressive when you add these details: it is after ten o’clock at night, the path is poorly lit, and I’m weighed down by the five pounds of plaster cast that’s holding my broken right arm in place.

Whathappenedareyouokay?” I say between breaths while I push the door wide open and barge inside. Captain Edward Cheevers’s dark, intense eyes stare down disapprovingly at Keyheart from his portrait on the wall.

“Dead,” she says in a voice that lacks any emotion. “She’s dead.”

You know, I’d better stop here, because I’m getting ahead of myself. If you understand soccer, what I need to do is back pass to the goalie and reset. So, let’s back up a few hours so I can explain exactly why I was seventy-eight yards away from the Captain’s Cottage, on the dark path between it and the Islander Hotel, at the very moment that my favorite author discovered a dead body on her living room floor.





there is nothing unusual about the way the day starts. Pip, my ten-year-old sister, is the first one awake, galumphing down the stairs and out to the barn to feed and say good morning to Tinker, her horse. Our stepfather, Thomas, is next, making coffee and ransacking the refrigerator for eggs and milk, when I make my appearance.

“G’morning, Lark. Perfect timing. Can you make up pancake batter with one arm? Good. Great. Bacon or sausage?”

“Bacon,” I say, pouring the mix into a bowl and reading the directions.

Fifteen minutes later, as I’m flipping the last batch of pancakes, his three boys—my stepbrothers Blake, Nate, and Jack—stumble in, one zombie after the other, drawn to the smell of frying bacon.

Pip, as usual, chatters almost nonstop through breakfast, sharing stories of the previous day’s UNBELIEVABLE and FANTASTIC adventures with Tinker, and outlining her (and Tinker’s) plans for the new day. The rest of us nod or grunt occasionally so she doesn’t think we’re ignoring her. In our crazy, mixed-up family of six, Pip is the only true “morning person.” After I’ve had my orange juice (in my favorite vintage Judy Jetson glass) and a stack of pancakes, though, I come to life.

It’s a big day—another in a series, it seems—for me. It’s the opening day of Swallowtales, Swallowtail Island’s annual book festival, which promises to pack every hotel and B&B on the island with wannabe writers of every age. Two hundred aspiring writers are coming to take classes and to “workshop” their books, stories, and poems with other writers. It’s also an opportunity to meet and discuss their work with publishers, agents, editors, and a handful of bestselling authors.

What does all this have to do with Meadowlark Elizabeth Heron-Finch, you ask? That’s easy: Nadine Pritchard, the famous writer who was my mom’s best friend when they were kids, just happens to be on the board of directors of Swallowtales. Right after we arrived on the island in June, she hired me to be her assistant, and together we solved the seventy-five-year-old mystery of her grandfather’s murder. Along the way, we also stirred up a hornet’s nest involving the wealthy and important (on Swallowtail Island, at least) Cheever family and a few hundred acres of extremely valuable real estate.

When Nadine first asked if I wanted to be a page, which is sort of an assistant to one of the bigshot authors or other VIPs, I was less than enthusiastic, until I saw the list of authors.

“Can I be her page?” I asked, pointing at the name “Ann E. Keyheart.”

“Ann Keyheart? Really? Why?” Nadine seemed surprised.

“She’s, like, my favorite author. I’ve read The Somewhere Girls a million times. I know, it’s not like me at all. All that teen drama. And you know, the really big secret that they all promise never to reveal. So cheesy. I usually hate that stuff, but I can’t help it. It’s so…good. Have you read it?”

Nadine shook her head. “No, but I know of it. I visited a girls’ school in New York last year to talk about my books, and I’m pretty sure every girl there was reading it. Tough competition for a nonfiction book about the civil war in Somalia.”

“Have you ever met her? Ann Keyheart, I mean.”

“No. I understand that she used to be a Swallowtales regular, but stopped coming a few years back when her career really took off. We hadn’t even asked her this year, figuring it would be a no, but then her people reached out to us a few weeks ago. Said she wanted to do it, and didn’t even care about the money. She’d do it for free. Kinda hard to say no to that. You really want to be her page?”

“Uh-huh. Yeah. I mean, she’s not crazy or anything, right?”

“Well, speaking as a writer, I think all writers are at least a little crazy. But if you want the job, you’ve got it.”

It is the boys’ turn to clean up after breakfast, and I have a half hour to kill before heading to the Islander Hotel for my first duties as an official Swallowtales page, so I return some texts. It wasn’t until the second week of August that we made the family decision to stay on Swallowtail Island, and ever since I told all my old friends back in Connecticut, they have been freaking out. They can’t believe that I am choosing to live on a tiny island in Lake Erie—with a year-round population of about two thousand, with no cars, and in Ohio, for goodness’ sake. I might as well be moving to the moon as far as they’re concerned. And now, with less than two weeks of summer vacation left, they’re bombarding me with texts about how horrible my life is going to be. I have to give them credit for doing their research, at least. Thanks to them, I know that the average size of the graduating class at Swallowtail Island High School is forty-five, and that the soccer team hasn’t won a game in more than two years. And that sometimes grocery stores run out of food because the lake is frozen and the ferry can’t get to Port Clinton.

“Hey, listen to this,” says Thomas, pointing to something in the Swallowtail Citizen that had arrived the day before. “It’s a letter to the editor.”

I roll my eyes at him. “So?”

I know, I know. What can I say? I’m twelve, I’m an orphan, and I live on an island. In Ohio. And sometimes the voice in my head (my mom’s) telling me to be nice is too late for me to stop myself. At this point, though, Thomas knows me well enough not to take it personally.

“Trust me, you’ll be interested,” he says. “Some woman who read about you in last week’s paper. Roseann Flaherty.”

It’s true. After Nadine and I solved her grandfather’s murder and found Captain Edward Cheever’s missing will—a will that, among other things, might make Pip and me the owners of about three hundred acres of valuable land on Swallowtail Island—the Citizen ran a big story about me. Now, before you start thinking I’m famous or something, you need to know that the Swallowtail Citizen is not exactly the New York Times.

“Does she want to buy some land, or is she offering to sell it for me?” It’s a legitimate question. When word got out about the will and the land, we had to stop answering the phone because we were getting so many calls from real estate agents.

“It sounds to me like she’s writing about the book you’re looking for—the one from the English bookstore.”

I sit up straight in my chair. Now Thomas has my undivided attention. Right after we arrived at the Roost, our house on Swallowtail Island, I found a tree swallow (Iridoprocne bicolor, to be precise) made of silver, along with a copy of The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens that had belonged to my mom. Strangely, the pages were cut out in the center of the book to make a secret nesting place for the bird. Inside the front cover was a stamp from Crackenthorp Books in London, so I wrote to them to see if they knew anything about the bird. A few weeks later, I got a response from Mr. Archibald Crackenthorp, who wrote that he didn’t know anything about the bird, but that a second Dickens book, Little Dorrit, had also been sent by his father to the same address around 1940.

When the guy was interviewing me for the story in the Citizen, he was kidding around at the end of his visit, calling me Nancy Drew and asking me about my next case. All I’d said was that I was looking for a book with a cutout for a little carved bird—that I’d heard there was a book like that somewhere on the island, and I was going to try to find it. I didn’t say why, or how I’d heard about it, or anything about already having one like it.

“I told you you’d be interested,” Thomas says as I read over his shoulder.

“What does she say?”

Thomas continues: “Apparently your story triggered a memory of seeing a book with a bird hidden inside, like what you said you were looking for. She thinks that the bird was tan or brown all over, like a wren or a sparrow. It would have been around nineteen seventy-six, when she was in the fourth grade. A classmate brought it in for show-and-tell.”

“Does she say anything about the book? The title?” I ask. “Or the name of the girl who brought it in?”

“Uh, let me see. She doesn’t remember the girl’s name…the family moved off the island sometime afterward, but she remembers that the girl lived in a big house on Buckeye Street.

yellow house.”

“There’re no yellow houses there,” I say. I cut across Buckeye on my bike on my way into town all the time and I would have noticed a yellow house.

“It’s been forty plus years. Houses change colors. Change in all things is sweet, according to Aristotle.” He looks closely at me, waiting for the inevitable eye roll, but I deny him the chance to be right. “Anyway, it’s a clue, which is more than you had ten minutes ago.”

Maybe it’s a clue. Maybe not.”

“But you’re going to look into it.”

“Well, in the words of Larkus Maximus, duhhh.”

The job of a Swallowtales page is not complicated. In our training sessions, the organizers stressed a few key things. Number one, chauffeur the VIP from the ferry dock and help out with the check-in process. Deliver the information packet containing class rosters, schedules, invitations, and tickets. Then a quick tour of the Islander Hotel, where most of them are staying, and where all the classes and workshops will be held. We all received training on the photocopy machine and how to get VIPs connected to the Wi-Fi and a printer if they want. After that we’re basically “on call,” a text message away from whatever they want, whether it’s a cup of coffee, a ride into town on one of the hotel’s golf carts, or twenty copies of a handout for their class. “Be there if they need you, and stay the heck out of the way if they don’t” we were told.

I’m supposed to meet Keyheart at the ferry dock, where she’s due to arrive on the Niagara at eleven o’clock. Dressed in the official page uniform of khaki shorts and a peach-colored polo with the Swallowtales logo embroidered on the front, I take the keys to one of the hotel’s electric golf carts and drive to the lighthouse at the point. As I skid to a stop a few steps from the water’s edge, the Niagara has just passed the outer channel markers and is heading for the red buoy that’s no more than fifty yards from where I sit. From there, it has a straight shot to the dock, but I have plenty of time to get there. Once it reaches shore, there are lines to be made fast, ramps to be lowered, and gates to be opened before anyone can disembark.


The starboard railing is lined with passengers pointing at the lighthouse and, of course, capturing the moment of their arrival on Swallowtail Island on their phones. As the Niagara slips past me, a lone woman is standing in the shadows at the stern, leaning nonchalantly against the railing as if she’s made the trip a million times. I think to myself, Must be an islander—definitely not a tourist. Then, while I’m reaching down to turn the key in the golf cart, she glances over her shoulder and casually tosses something overboard. I can’t see what it is, but my brain registers a flash of black and white stripes, exactly like the ones on a can of CoffLEI, a coffee-flavored soda made on Put-in-Bay. (Its short for Coffee of the Lake Erie Islands, in case you’re wondering.) Whatever it was, it really ticks me off, because, geez, there are trash cans and recycling bins all over the stupid ferry. Before I’m able to get a decent look at this Neanderthal, though, she disappears into the crowd along the rail. Annoyed, I step on the accelerator and kick up some gravel as I spin the cart around and head for the road to the ferry dock.

By the time the Niagara is tied up and passengers have begun to disembark, I have parked the golf cart in the lot and I’m standing outside the terminal holding up a sign that reads: A. KEYHEART. I know what she looks like, although I’ve been warned by more than one person that the author photo in all her books is several years old and “definitely Photoshopped.” Passengers file past me, some making the expected jokes (“If I say I’m A. Keyheart, will you take me to my hotel?”) but still no Keyheart. Finally, as I’m about to give up, a young woman clambers down the ramp, spots me, and waves. She’s lugging three large suitcases and has a full pack strapped to her back.

“Hello! Thank you! I was worried you’d already gone,” she says. She points to the sign. “That’s me.”

I’m not so sure; she looks like a college kid. I know they can do wonderful things with cosmetic surgery these days, but this is ridiculous. I look at the sign, then back at her. “Uh…are you sure…I’m waiting for the author, um, Ann Keyheart.”

“Yeah, I know. I’m her P.A.”


“Personal assistant. Didi.”

“Oh. Right.” This is the first I’ve heard about an assistant, personal or otherwise. “I’m Lark, your, er, Ms. Keyheart’s page for the week. I’m so sorry. I wasn’t expecting…” I take one of the suitcases from her and stack it on the back of the cart.

“No problem,” she says, pushing her sunglasses up and turning to take in the view of town from the dock. Her free hand goes to her mouth, but not before a quiet “oh” slips out, and her lovely green eyes turn watery.

“Are you…okay?” I ask.

She shakes her head quickly, as if to break out of a trance, and covers her eyes with her sunglasses. “Yeah. Good. Okay. I just…oh, there she is. Finally.”

A woman in a lime-green linen pantsuit appears at the top of the ramp, stopping to pose as if she’s waiting for the press to greet her on the red carpet at the Oscars. Her big moment is ruined, though, when a gust of wind takes her hat, and after a brief, swirling flight, deposits it in the harbor.

“Oh! My hat! No! That’s from Harrods! Didi! Hurry!”

I run toward the ferry, thinking that I might be able to rescue the hat if I can find a boat hook, but it is not to be: the wake from a passing boat washes over it and it sinks before my eyes.

Annnddd there it goes,” says Didi. “Right to the bottom. Like the Titanic. I hope that’s not an omen for the week.”

“After I drop you off at the hotel, maybe I can come back and look for it,” I say.

Didi shakes her head. “Don’t worry about it. In fifteen minutes, she won’t even remember that she had a hat. Harrods my butt. Marshalls, more likely.”

Keyheart, barely five feet tall in her matching green espadrilles, slowly makes her way down the ramp, all the while staring sadly at the spot where the hat disappeared. I get my first good look at her, and mentally compare the woman before me with the younger, thinner, redder-haired, and somehow, but most definitely, taller person in the photograph that I was so familiar with.

“Hi, Ms. Keyheart, I’m Lark,” I say, holding out my (cast-free) left hand, which she leaves hanging for a long second before giving it a quick shake. “Your page for the week. I just want to say how happy I am to be able to—”

You’re my…oh, that’s just perfect. A one-armed page. Are you even old enough to drive that thing?” she asks, pointing at the hotel golf cart.

“Yes, ma’am. Don’t worry about my arm. And you only have to be twelve to drive golf carts on the island.”

“Good grief. I’m being chauffeured by a child. A child with a pituitary problem, apparently,” she adds, backing up a step so she can take in all sixty-eight and a half inches of me. “Are your parents in the circus?”

Didi buries her face in her hands. “Actually, they’re dead,” I say, smiling sweetly. “But they were both tall.”

O-kayyy. On that note…Maybe we should get going,” Didi says, guiding Keyheart into the seat next to me while she climbs into the back seat.

I press down on the accelerator and off we go, with Keyheart holding on for dear life and wondering aloud about the lack of seat belts.

When I pull up outside the hotel lobby, I say, “We need to stop here to get you checked in, and then I’ll take you to your cottage.”

In addition to the main building, which has forty-eight rooms, the Islander Hotel has half a dozen “private cottages” for very special guests. Although she offered her services for free for the week, Keyheart had requested the Captain’s Cottage, the newest and most luxurious of the bunch, with a deck that extends well out over the lake. It is named for Captain Edward Cheever, the famous sea captain—yes, the same one whose long-lost will I found, and whose land Pip and I might now own. His name and face are pretty much everywhere on Swallowtail Island.

“I’ll take care of it,” Didi says to Keyheart. “Can I have my phone back?”

Keyheart makes a face, sucking in a deep breath. “Oh. Riiight. Your phone.”

“What?” says Didi. “Where is…no! You didn’t.”

Keyheart nods. “I’m afraid I did. I’m really, really sorry. I made my call, and then, I don’t know what happened. One second I was holding it, and the next…”

“Did you leave it on the boat?” Didi asks. She starts to climb back aboard the cart. “Maybe we can get back before it leaves. Come on!”

I’m ready to make the drive back to the dock, but Keyheart is shaking her head. “It’s not on the boat. I…it went over. The side. Ker-plunk.”

No. No, no, no!” Didi repeats. “How did you…that phone is my life. What am I supposed to…how can I even do my job?”

“Let’s not be melodramatic, dear,” Keyheart says, and I cringe, knowing how I would respond to somebody telling me not to be melodramatic. ...

About Michael D. Beil:

In a time not long after the fifth extinction event, Edgar Award-nominated author Michael D. Beil came of age on the shores of Pymatuning Lake, where the ducks walk on the fish. (Look it up. Seriously.) He is the author of the Red Blazer Girls series, Summer at Forsaken Lake, Lantern Sam and the Blue Streak Bandits, and Agents of the Glass: A New Recruit. For reasons that can't be disclosed until September 28, 2041, he now lives somewhere in Portugal with his wife and their two white cats, Bruno and Maisie. He still gets carsick if he has to ride in the back seat for long and feels a little guilty that he doesn't keep a journal. For more on the author and his books, visit him online at www.michaeldbeil.com.

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon


Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a finished copy of BETRAYAL BY THE BOOK, US Only.

Ends May 16th, midnight EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:


Cara North

Excerpt/IG Post


Two Chicks on Books

Excerpt/IG Post


The Chirpy Bookaholic

Excerpt/IG Post


A Backwards Story



YA Books Central

Excerpt/IG Post (when available)


A Dream Within A Dream




IG Review


The Momma Spot



#BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog

Excerpt/IG Post


A Blue Box Full of Books

IG Feature

Week Two:



IG Review



IG Review


Two Points of Interest




IG Review


Lifestyle of Me




Review/IG Post



IG Review



TikTok Spotlight



Review/IG Post


Country Mamas With Kids

Review/IG Post

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