Sep 132017
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am thrilled to have Dorothy St. James stop by for a visit to tell us about her new series!

The Making of a Chocolate Murder
by Dorothy St. James

When I was writing Flowerbed of State (the first book in the White House Gardener Mystery Series) way, way back in 2010, the idea for a mystery series set in a chocolate shop started dancing around in the back of my mind. Why? Because I luuuv chocolate and, you know, you can’t write a book without research!

I knew there were already several popular bakeshop and chocolate shop mystery novels being published, so I wanted to make sure mine was a new and different twist on the theme. So I did some research—yummy research.

Did you know that if a chocolate bar doesn’t state the percent chocolate it contains, it’s not really considered chocolate? Did you also know that there are three main varieties of chocolate beans being commercially grown, but the most flavorful bean is hard to grow and even harder to find in the stores? And did you know even though the cacao bean originates in South America, most of the world’s chocolate production occurs in Africa under some questionable labor practices?

I didn’t know any of that until I started my yummy research. And those facts gave me an idea. My fictional chocolate shop wouldn’t simply create truffles and bonbons. It would be what is called a bean-to-bar chocolate shop. And it would use the most flavorful and rarest cacao bean in the world to create a chocolate that few in the world have ever tasted. Think of it this way. The chocolate you can buy in the stores could be compared with the perfectly round, watery tomatoes grown on large farms. The rare chocolates sold in the Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery Series are like heirloom tomatoes that are bursting with so many flavors it makes your tongue happy.

Now that I knew what kind of chocolate I wanted in my mystery series, I needed to decide where to put this special chocolate shop of my imagination. After thinking it over, there was really only one place the Chocolate Box could be—Folly Beach, South Carolina. That’s the quirky seaside town where I’ve lived for the past twenty years. Folly Beach is perhaps too quirky, so I decided invent a toned-down fictional town for the mystery series. Camilla Beach is a beach town that hasn’t yet been redeveloped into a tourist town. The residents who live on the small island treat each other like family. (Sometimes that’s a good thing. Sometimes that’s not.)

And there had to be a dog. I based Stella, the feisty papillon in the book, on Iona my best girl and a dog I miss with all my heart. I was so, so pleased when my publisher (Crooked Lane Books) used a photograph of my Iona to create the drawing of Stella on the cover of the book.

Finally, I had to come up with a murder. Of course the method of the murder in this first book had to involve some kind of chocolate. But that part was easy. And the rest…? Well, you’ll have to read the book to know how it turns out.

And that’s how a new series was born. I hope you enjoy this special book.

Are you hungry yet? I’m running a contest on my website (http://www.dorothystjames.com/contest.html) where I’m giving away a chocolate bar made using one of the rarest cacao beans in the world. The contest is open until September 30, 2017.
Good luck!

~Dorothy

Thank you Dorothy for visiting today!! 


Asking for Truffle: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
Brand New Series
Setting – South Carolina
Crooked Lane Books (September 12, 2017)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683312918
Kindle ASIN: B06XW8GW16

 

 

When Charity Penn receives a letter saying she won a trip to Camellia Beach, South Carolina complete with free cooking lessons at the town’s seaside chocolate shop, The Chocolate Box, she’s immediately skeptical. She never entered any contest. Her former prep school friend offers to look into the phony prize―only to end up drowned in a vat of chocolate.

Struck with guilt, Penn heads to the southern beach town to investigate why he was killed. But as wary as she is of the locals, she finds herself lured into their eccentric vibe, letting her defenses melt away and even learning the art of crafting delicious chocolates. That is, until delight turns bittersweet as she steps straight into the midst of a deadly plot to destroy the seaside town. Now, only Penn’s quick thinking and a mysterious cask of rare chocolate can save the town she’s learning to love.

Includes Recipes

Dollycas’s Thoughts

As soon as I saw this cover pop up on Facebook I knew I needed to read this book! Look at those truffles and the cute puppy.

Ms. St. James starts us out just up the highway from where I am sitting here in Wisconsin, when Charity Penn (Penn) learns she has won a trip to Camellia Beach, South Carolina and The Chocolate Box. Thinking is has to be some kind of scam she doesn’t get too excited. Then a friend, Skinny McGee, says he is going to be in South Carolina area and tells her he will check the place out. After a phone call from Skinny gets cut off and she learns he was found later dead in vat of chocolate, she has no choice but to venture south to find out what happened. She is not welcomed with opened arms by everyone but the ladies at The Chocolate Box are sure happy to see her. But there is something very wrong in Camellia Beach, in addition to the death of her friend, and Penn is not heading back to Madison until she gets to the bottom of it.

I really enjoyed this story. Penn reminds me a little bit of myself, we both have the “waiting for the other shoe to drop” mentality. She has kind of closed herself off due to her upbringing making her very independent but hard for people to get to know. She is clearly an individual that has a deep hurt that has affected her for a long time.  Still she hops on a plane to a place unknown to her to find out why her friend was killed. Everyone in the town was sketchy from police chief, to the local lawyer, and even the ladies at the chocolate shop were hiding something. Her skeptical nature serves her well in this town.  I appreciated the character development throughout the story while still allowing room for the characters to continue to grow over the course of the series.

The plot itself has several twists giving several viable suspects but I was on the right track early on. I always say, first books in a cozy mystery series are a heavy lift because the author not only has to introduce the main character and the people around them but give us a mystery that clicks with the readers and engages them to come back for future books. The author did that here with an extra twist in the plot away for the murder/s. Something that the reader is unsure about until almost the very end of the story. While the murder was solved she left other questions I need answered. I am definitely excited for the next installment.

Learning about the cacao beans, where they come from and how to work with them was super interesting too. The candy descriptions had be drooling and craving chocolate.

Oh and just a little heads up –  that cute little puppy on the cover is a feisty little creature known to bite even her owner. 🙂  She also has to deal with another animal in this story and when it was introduced I could have fallen out my chair laughing.

This series is off to a great start and I am excited to see what happens next.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About The Author

Mystery author Dorothy St. James was born in New York but raised in South Carolina. For the past 20+ years, she made her home on an artsy island community in South Carolina with her husband. Though writing has always been a passion for her, she pursued an undergraduate degree in Wildlife Biology and a graduate degree in Public Administration and Urban Planning. She put her educational experience to use, having worked in all branches and all levels of government including local, regional, state, and federal. She even spent time during college working for a non-profit environmental watchdog organization.

Switching from government service and community planning to fiction writing wasn’t as big of a change as some might think. Her government work was all about the stories of the people and the places where they live. As an urban planner, Dorothy loved telling the stories of the people she met. And from that, her desire to tell the tales that were so alive in her heart grew until she could not ignore it any longer. In 2001, she took a leap of faith and pursued her dream of writing fiction full-time.

* Dorothy St. James is the alter-ego of award-winning multi-published author, Dorothy McFalls. She enjoys writing in several different genres. Her works have been nominated for many awards including: Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, Reviewers International Organization Award, National Reader’s Choice Award, CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Award, and The Romance Reviews Today Perfect 10! Award. Reviewers have called her work: “amazing”, “perfect”, “filled with emotion”, and “lined with danger.”

~From Amazon

Find out more about Dorothy and her books on her webpage here.


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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sep 062017
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so excited to have my friend Sally Goldenbaum drop by for a visit today!
Her new book Murder Wears Mittens was released last Tuesday by Kensington!

One of my favorite things about the excitement that surrounds a book release is the chance to spend time right here in Dollycas’s cozy corner. Thank you for inviting me back. I love spending time with you.

A Sense of Place

One of the things I enjoy most about writing is the challenge of creating a sense of place. Helping readers step into a world in which they can feel and taste and hear and see everything that surrounds the characters. At least that’s my goal.

This August I spent many hours walking the shores of Cape Ann, where the fictitious town of Sea Harbor is now so firmly rooted in my imagination that I see it at every turn. But as I walked around, I realized I was taking more credit than I deserved for creating the town. It isn’t my imagination alone that has helped me achieve that sense of place that I covet. It’s the place itself.

It’s Cape Ann and its small towns—Essex, Manchester-by-the-sea, Rockport—and the city of Gloucester. Some of you have visited the area, and even spotted places you’ve read about in the mysteries. Which gave me the idea of a tour—checking out places that have inspired me while writing the seaside mystery books. I hope you fall in love with the place, just as I have.

First, for some basics: Izzy’s yarn shop, Harry’s Deli, The Book Store and Ocean’s Edge Restaurant—oh, and Jake’s Gull Tavern. They are all on Harbor Road, Sea Harbor’s active main street inspired by those of Cape Ann’s towns.  (Well, Gloucester’s main street doesn’t look exactly like the photo on the right anymore, but I loved the 1875 photo of it. I’m sure some of the original buildings are still there, but like Izzy’s yarn shop, spruced up a bit. The photo on the left is a main street in Manchester by the Sea, which has the same corner park and big tree as does Sea Harbor.)

In Murder Wears Mittens, a Laundromat on Harbor Road becomes important when Cass finds children’s clothing mixed up with her own. The next day she summons Izzy, Nell and Birdie to meet at their favorite brunch place to talk about the young boy she saw fleeing with only half his laundry load.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This restaurant, Annabelle’s Sweet Petunia, was inspired by Sugar Magnolias, located on Gloucester’s Main Street. You can see why the knitters like it so much, right? The omelets definitely provide brainpower, or so Cass claims.

The boy’s left-behind clothes lead the knitters to two children and to a missing mom, and from there they become deeply involved in the mysterious death of a reclusive Sea Harbor woman somehow tied to this familya—a family they quickly become attached to. Birdie’s enormous home, built on a bluff overlooking the town harbor, becomes a quiet place for them to meet and gather clues.  (I often walk by this East Gloucester home—I hope the owners don’t mind me claiming it for Birdie.)

Another spot that I/the knitters love to visit is the Ocean’s Edge Restaurant. It’s where they often meet with friends and where many clues have fallen into place. The restaurant is inspired by a Gloucester hotel, the Beauport, a beautiful place on the edge of the harbor with a firepit-warmed deck where one can watch the sun set.  And sometimes (at the Ocean’s Edge Restaurant), observant diners spot suspicious exchanges between staff and visitors, words and actions that linger dangerously and may help move an investigation along.

There are so many more real places that feature in the lives of Nell, Izzy, Cass, and Birdie. The Canary Cove Art Colony, for one, is the baby sister, inspired by Gloucester’s Rocky Neck Art Colony, one of the oldest continuing working art colonies in the United States. There’s Nell’s neighborhood and the yacht club, the beaches the women walk as they try to figure out life—and death.

And, of course, there’s Izzy’s Yarn Shop, a place that centers the seaside knitters’ spirits and minds and souls. A place that is the result of dozens of wonderful shops I’ve visited everywhere we travel. A place the knitters call home.

Hopefully, this small glance at the seaside knitters’ environs will look familiar, and you will paint them even more brightly with your own imaginations.

Thank you for stopping by. And I hope you enjoy Murder Wears Mittens. I’d love to hear from you.
Happy reading,
Sally

Thank you Sally for being here today!! 

Murder Wears Mittens (Seaside Knitters Society)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Kensington (August 29, 2017)
Hardcover: 272 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496711021
E-Book ASIN: B01MSVCTH9

 

 

As autumn washes over coastal Sea Harbor, Massachusetts, the Seaside Knitters anticipate a relaxing off-season. But when murder shatters the peace, the craftiest bunch in town must unravel a killer’s deadly scheme . . .

After retrieving fresh lobster nets from a local Laundromat, Cass Halloran rushes to attend a last-minute gathering with her knitting circle. But Cass can’t stop worrying about the lonely boy seen hanging around the dryers, and the school uniform he left behind in a hurry. When the ladies return the lost clothing the next day, they find the child and his younger sister alone, seemingly abandoned by their mother . . .

The knitters intend to facilitate a family reunion, not investigate a crime. But the death of Dolores Cardozo, a recluse from the edge of town, throws the group for a loop. Especially when the missing mother and one of their own become tied to the victim’s hidden fortune—and her murder . . .

Before scandalous secrets break bonds and rumors tear Sea Harbor apart, the Seaside Knitters need to string together the truth about Dolores—while preventing a greedy murderer from making another move!

  • Includes a knitting pattern *
Dollycas’s Thoughts

This is one of my very favorite series. Now it has been reborn as Seaside Knitters Society Series by Kensington Publishing. For fans of this series it picks up right where Murder at Lambswool Farm (Seaside Knitters Mystery) leaves off.  For those just discovering this fabulous group of characters there is a cast list at the beginning of the book, don’t panic by the long list, the author gives plenty of detail throughout the story so you can get to know the characters easily.

If I could I would pack my bags today and move to Sea Harbor, Massachusetts. The residents are smart and fun and generous. They are always willing to give a helping hand, a little advice, a warm hug and a full belly. Their dinners on the deck will make you swoon. They will also be sure you have all the sweaters, scarves and mittens you need.

Case in point;  Cass Halloran is at the laundromat when she finds some unusual items in her dryer. She is surprised when a young boy hurries in, pulls some things out of her dryer and quickly rides off on his bicycle. She tries to catch up but can’t. Then she finds a school uniform just like she used to wear that the boy had left behind. She just can’t get the child out of her mind,  with a little help she finds out his name and where he lives. She along with her friends Izzy, Nell, and Birdie go to return the uniform only to find the boy and his sister alone, no sign of their mother. While trying to track down the woman they also find themselves investigating another death. A recluse, Dolores Cardozo, is found dead in her home and the children’s mother could be involved. So now in addition to knitting mittens for charity they are going to have to knit together all the clues to solve this murder.

The Seaside Knitters, Izzy, Nell, Cass and Birdie, along with their spouses, significant others, kids and friends are some of the best characters right now in cozy literature. Over the years the group has grown because as a whole and they are all so welcoming. Knitting may have brought them together in the beginning but it is their friendships that have stood the test of time. They are realistic, engaging, with hearts as big as all outdoors. Such a fine group of people. With each book I feel as I am returning to visit old lifelong friends.

These character’s lives would make a great women’s fiction story on their own but Ms. Goldenbaum knits and purls them right into a fantastic mystery. Dolores Cardozo mostly kept to herself. Few people knew her by name, they would see her walking on the beach but didn’t really know much about her. Now that she has gone and named Birdie executor of her will, plus the news that she may have been murdered by the mother of the children that Cass has become attached to sends this story in a very interesting direction. The plot is thought out and so well written. I was invested in the new characters just as much as those that have warmed my heart in 11 previous books. I needed to know how things would turn out. The ending was surprising and so satisfying.

This is a story of friendship first and foremost but the mystery is top-notch. I try to slow down and savor my visits to Sea Harbor but find that impossible because I need to solve the crime right along with the Seaside Knitters. I have enjoyed every story but hate to say good-bye after the final page. Same time, next year…..can’t wait.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Sally Goldenbaum was born on the shores of Lake Michigan, in Manitowoc, WI, to a homemaker mother and a ship-building father. Although she now lives in landlocked Prairie Village, KS, her longing for lakes and the sea is satisfied in part by writing the USA Today bestselling Seaside Knitters Mystery series, set on Cape Ann, MA. She is a sometime philosophy teacher, a knitter, and an editor, and the author of more than thirty novels. Her fictional knitting friends are teaching her the intricacies of women’s friendship, the mysteries of small-town living, and the very best way to pick up dropped stitches on a lacy knit shawl. Murder Wears Mittens is the first book in the Seaside Knitters Society series. A continuation of the Seaside Knitters Mystery Series.

Follow Sally

Webpage

Twitter    Facebook 


Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Aug 302017
 

I am so happy to have Sadie drop my for a visit today! 

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A Moment with Sadie Hartwell

Thanks for helping me celebrate the release of A KNIT BEFORE DYING. In this book, Josie gets to solve two mysteries—one cold case and one right next door to Miss Marple Knits. But she doesn’t do it alone. She needs the help of her sidekicks Lorna, Helen, Evelyn, and Mitch. Even her crusty old great-uncle Eb and his canine companion Jethro play a part in bringing a killer—or killers—to justice this time.

Just like Josie needs some assistance, writers do too. I think there’s a perception that writers work in a solitary attic room somewhere, slaving away over their computers (or parchments, if you want to be even more fanciful) while adoring servants bring them trays of food, then emerge blinking, haggard, and in need of a shower only when the manuscript is completed. It’s true that writing can be a solitary business. After all, I’m the only one who can actually write Josie’s stories the way I write them and I’m the only who can put words on the page (or into the computer).

But for me, and for every other writer I know, writing is also a collaborative process. I am beyond blessed to have a large, supportive group of writer friends whom I trust without reservation. We write in different genres (women’s fiction, romance, young adult) but are always available to each other to brainstorm, work out plot problems, lift each other’s spirits when we get discouraged, and celebrate our victories, no matter the size. A few times a year, we go away on retreat together (one of us—not me, unfortunately—has a beautiful ski house that she is generous enough to let us use). We collaborate, commiserate, and work. And every one of us would agree that our friendship/partnership makes us better writers and better people.

I hope each of your has a tribe—whether it’s a big group like mine or a single friend you can always count on. If you’re so inclined, pop over to my author page and tell me about your people. And if you get the chance to read A KNIT BEFORE DYING, I’d love to hear what you think about that too! Hugs, and thanks for stopping by.

~Sadie


A Knit before Dying (A Tangled Web Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Kensington (August 29, 2017)
Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1617737206
E-Book ASIN: B01CMGW66U

A new business might add some much-needed charm to downtown Dorset Falls—and draw tourists to Josie’s yarn shop. But when someone gets murdered, a close-knit community could come undone . . .

Shop owner Josie Blair is finally settling into the pace of living in Dorset Falls, Connecticut. Between running Miss Marple Knits, jumpstarting a blog, and handcrafting items with the help of her knitting pals, Josie’s too preoccupied to worry about her past in New York. And thanks to Lyndon and Harry, the owners of the brand-new antique shop next door, she has another project in her midst—repurposing a box of vintage crocheted doilies adorned with the most curious needlework . . .

But before Josie can formally welcome her neighbors, she discovers Lyndon on the floor of his shop stabbed to death by a rusty old pair of sheep shears. Police have pinned Harry as the killer, but Josie isn’t so sure. Now, she’s lacing up for another homicide investigation—and no eyelet or stitch can go unexamined, lest she herself becomes ensnared in the criminal’s deadly design . . .

INCLUDES ORIGINAL KNITTING PATTERNS!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I have been anxiously awaiting the release of this book.

This second installment takes us back to Dorset Falls where Josie is getting more comfortable running Miss Marple Knits even though she still has knot learned how to knit a stitch. She and Uncle Eb are also getting used to living together, him creating his “thingamajigs” and she making sure he eats and taking care of the house. She also has new tenants in the store next to hers. Lyndon Bailey is opening an antique store. His partner Harry Oglethorpe will be on the road searching for more items to sell.

While welcoming Lyndon she notices a box of vintage doilies. She doesn’t know what she’ll do with them yet but she can’t resist especially at the price Lyndon is asking.

But before any other customers can gaze at his treasures Josie finds Lyndon dead the next day. A pair of sheep shears protruding from his chest. His partner, Harry, has arrived in town just in time to become the police’s prime suspect. Josie disagrees and quickly finds herself tangled up in another murder investigation.

The characters I loved are all back in this one. Josie, a smart and determined woman is an wonderful leading lady. Her Uncle Eb plays a major prank on his neighbor Roy, and Mitch is there to help Josie get to the bottom of it. Their relationship also takes a small step in the right direction in a surprising and absolutely perfect way.

The author has added some interesting new characters as well. Harry trying to prove his innocence. Lyndon’s niece, Taylor arrives in town with a television producer claiming to be her uncle’s heir.  We also learn about Bea Ryder, the woman who made the doilies. She disappeared from town many years ago and the case is still open.

Ms. Hartwell blends a old mystery with a new one and cleverly draws the reader into both. I was so impressed with how she connected everything together while giving us so many delightful twists. Life around Dorset Falls in knit right into the mysteries too. I found this book very hard to put down and would have read it all in one night had I not needed to get a little sleep.

The story contains enough of a backstory and would read well all on its own, but I recommend reading Yarned and Dangerous too!

I totally enjoyed my return trip to Dorset Falls. The characters are so engaging and the mysteries were quite a test to solve.  Maybe by the next visit Josie may have learned to knit and maybe even purl. I hope we don’t have to wait too long.

 

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About The Author –

Sadie Hartwell grew up near the Canadian border in northern New York State, where it’s cold, dark, and snowy almost half the year—a perfect environment for nurturing a simultaneous love of mystery fiction and needlework. She attended St. Lawrence University, graduating with a degree in history, and has worked as a waitress, handbag designer/manufacturer, paralegal, and copy editor before turning to writing full time. Now she gets to play with yarn and make up stories whenever she wants, and wishes everyone had a job as much fun as hers.

Webpage     Twitter – @SadieHartwell    Facebook

Purchase Links

Amazon  B&N  kobo  GooglePlay

Sadie also writes the Greek to Me Mysteries as Susannah Hardy.

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

August 28 – Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf – INTERVIEW
August 29 – Becky’s Bookcase – REVIEW
August 30 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – COZY WEDNESDAY
August 31 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW
August 31 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW
September 1 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT
September 2 – Community Bookstop – SPOTLIGHT
September 3 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT  
September 4 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW
September 4 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
September 5 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
September 6 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, GUEST POST
September 6 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW
September 7 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
September 8 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
September 8 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW
September 9 – The Power of Words – REVIEW
September 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, GUEST POST

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Aug 232017
 


I am so happy to welcome Jean Flowers aka Camille Minichino to Escape With Dollycas today!!
Her new book was released on July 25!

Reading in Order, or Not
(Guest Post provided by publicist.)
 

My newest series, the Postmistress Mysteries, debuted in November 2015 with DEATH TAKES PRIORITY, followed by CANCELLED BY MURDER. The third in the series, ADDRESSED TO KILL is now out (July 2017).

Here’s a question I know I’ll be getting at bookstores and other events: Can I read this one without reading the first and second?

I’ve never understood why some think reading in order is important in a series. I imagine these readers at a party, being introduced to someone new, discussing shared experiences, really hitting it off.

“Let’s be friends,” the new person says.

“Sorry,” says the in-order reader. “We can’t be friends because I didn’t know you as an infant. I don’t know your full life story, your parents, et cetera.”

The way it usually works in real-life friendship is that you can start it at any age, with people of any age. As the relationship grows, each person’s backstory is revealed, not necessarily in chronological order.

It’s the same for me with characters in a book. If I happen upon book four of a series and it looks interesting, I’ll read it, then decide if I want to know more about the protagonist—what brought her to this point, what other adventures she’s had, what she’s learned from them. I’ll then pick up either earlier or later books, depending on what’s available.

Of course, it’s different for a trilogy or other format where the story is deliberately set up in a certain order and the last line in book one connects to the first line in book two. Even then, a “prequel” might be introduced to reveal pre-prehistory.

It’s also sometimes different for tv shows, where it’s hard to understand an episode unless you’ve seen the “previously on”s.

But each book in a mystery series should stand on its own, with relatable characters and a story that has a satisfying conclusion. If you’ve started with book five of a series and have no idea about the motivation of a character, or if you feel you’re missing something, it’s the author’s fault. Every book should be a standalone.

Many people, especially writers, read the ending of a book before they finish, wanting to know how the author leads up to the denouement. Talk about reading out of order!

As a more or less reasonable segue: I once received a nasty email from a reader, railing at me for a casual remark in one of my books, that revealed the ending to “Murder on the Orient Express.” The person called me “thoughtless,” and guilty of “ruining the experience” of reading the 75-year-old Agatha Christie classic.

At what point does it become okay to discuss an ending? Or to tell a reader of the second book in a series what happens in the fourth?

Do high school students not know ahead of time that Romeo and Juliet die at the end (oops, spoiler)? Do adult film fans not know that Anthony Hopkins’s mother’s corpse is in the house on the hill? That Ilse chooses her husband over Rick?

I’d better close before I get another nasty SPOILER! email.

~Jean (Camille)

Thank you Camille for visiting today!!


Addressed to Kill (A Postmistress Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Release Date – July 25, 2017
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425279120
Kindle ASIN: B01M8PU7NR

Love is in the air for postmaster Cassie Miller and the residents of North Ashcot, Massachusetts. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and the town is gearing up for a special dinner dance at the senior center. With the local musical group performing at the dance displaced from their regular practice location, Cassie is all too happy to host them during off-hours at the post office.

But not everything is coming up roses. When one of the musicians, Dennis Somerville, is found shot in his home, rumors swirl over who might have wanted him dead. Cassie must determine if there is a link between a string of recent break-ins and Dennis’s murder before another victim winds up with more than a broken heart.

About the Author

Camille received her Ph.D. in physics from Fordham University, New York City. She is currently on the faculty of Golden Gate University, San Francisco and teaches writing throughout the Bay Area. Camille is Past President and a member of NorCal Mystery Writers of America, NorCal Sisters in Crime, and the California Writers Club.

Camille has published over 20 novels and many short stories and nonfiction articles.

As Camille Minichino, she’s published Periodic Table Mysteries, featuring retired physicist GLORIA LAMERINO.

As Margaret Grace, she writes the Miniature Mysteries, featuring miniaturist GERALDINE PORTER and her 11-year-old granddaughter, Maddie. The 9th in the series, MATRIMONY IN MINIATURE was released in September 2016.

As Ada Madison, she’s published the Professor Sophie Knowles Mysteries, featuring college professor SOPHIE KNOWLES.

As Jean Flowers, Camille writes The Postmistress Mysteries. The third in the series, ADDRESSED TO KILL, will be released in July 2017.

A stand-alone, KILLER IN THE CLOISTER, is available on Kindle and CreateSpace.

The nonfiction book, HOW TO LIVE WITH AN ENGINEER, is available on Kindle and Createspace. Contact: camille@minichino.com


Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.

Leave a comment for the author for 5 Bonus Entries.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End September 6, 2017 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Aug 202017
 

I am filling in for another blogger today.

Family Can Be Complicated

 

Family is Murder offers food for thought with a thrill… An entertaining and fast read, making you want to read more.”
–In a Small Compass

Family can be a place of unconditional love and a safe haven from the rest of the world. On the flipside to that, it can violent, broken, or nonexistent. No matter where you are on the spectrum, family is complicated.

For Sara McKinley, she was given up for adoption as a baby. At least she struck it lucky with her loving adoptive family and a mother and father who might as well be blood. But still, she would love to meet her birth mother. It’s never been something she’s avidly pursued so as not to hurt the woman and man who raised her, though. But in Family is Murder things get complicated when a woman shows up claiming to be her birth mother.

Sara is eager to believe her, while her husband, Sean, is skeptical. After all, there’s a lot on the line. Not only his wife’s hurt feelings if this woman’s a liar, but the billions they’d inherited.

But when a dead body turns up soon after Sara’s supposed mother takes off without so much as a good-bye, Sean and Sara both start to question the truth. They could have very well welcomed a killer into their home…

Carolyn Arnold


Family is Murder (McKinley Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Hibbert & Stiles Publishing Inc. (July 6, 2014)
Paperback: 128 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1988064475
Kindle ASIN: B00LLLG28Q

If only there was someone to clean up this mess…

Sean and Sara McKinley put out an ad for a maid, never expecting Sara’s birth mother to apply. Or at least that’s who the woman is claiming to be. While Sean is suspicious of the woman’s true identity and her motives, Sara opens her heart to the woman. But when a dead body turns up soon after Sara’s supposed mother takes off without so much as a goodbye, they both must question the truth.

Could they have welcomed a killer into their home without even knowing it?

Available in e-book and paperback.
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple iBooks | Kobo | Google

For more retailer links visit: http://carolynarnold.net/family-is-murder.

About the McKinley Mysteries:

Romance. Humor. Murder. Are you looking for a murder mystery without all the graphic violence and foul language? Something that you can enjoy in an afternoon and walk away feeling good about afterward? How about a dash of humor and romance? If so, meet former detectives Sean and Sara McKinley. When a billionaire leaves them all his money, they no longer have to work, but they find themselves sticking to what they’re good at—solving murders. Undercover, off the books, and around the world, they’ll get to the bottom of things…and romance it up along the way.

This is the perfect book series for fans of Hart to HartCastleColomboMonkRockford FilesPsych, and Magnum PI.

About the Author

Carolyn Arnold is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series and has written nearly thirty books. Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark, POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Connect with CAROLYN ARNOLD Online:
Website | Twitter | Facebook

And don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter for up-to-date information on release and special offers at http://carolynarnold.net/newsletters.


Tour Participants

August 14 – T’s Stuff – INTERVIEW, REVIEW – The Day Job Is Murder
August 14 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT – The Day Job Is Murder
August 14 – The Layaway Dragon – REVIEW – The Day Job Is Murder
August 15 – Must Read Faster – GUEST POST – Book 1 – The Day Job Is Murder
August 15 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT – Vacation Is Murder
August 15 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST – Book 2 – Vacation Is Murder
August 15 – Books, Dreams, Life – REVIEW – The Day Job Is Murder
August 16 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT – Money Is Murder
August 16  – Readsalot – SPOTLIGHT – Valentine’s Day Is Murder
August 16 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT – Series, GUEST POST – Book 3 – Money Is Murder
August 16 Books, Dreams, Life – REVIEW – Vacation Is Murder
August 17 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT –  Skiing Is Murder
August 17 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT – Politics Is Murder
August 17 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW – The Day Job Is Murder
August 17 – Books, Dreams, Life – REVIEW – Money Is Murder
August 18 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT – Family Is Murder
August 18 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW – Shopping Is Murder
August 18 –Books, Dreams, Life – REVIEW – Politics Is Murder
August 19 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST – Book 4 – Politics Is Murder
August 19 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT – Books 1-5
August 19 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW – The Day Job Is Murder
August 19 – Books, Dreams, Life – REVIEW – Family Is Murder
August 20 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW – Christmas Is Murder
August 20 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT -Blogger’s Choice
August 20 –Community Bookstop – REVIEW – Vacation Is Murder
August 20 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Family Is Murder – GUEST POST – Book 5 – Family Is Murder
August 20 – Cozy Up With Kathy – SPOTLIGHT
August 20 –Books, Dreams, Life – REVIEW – Shopping Is Murder
August 21 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW – The Day Job Is Murder
August 21 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT – Shopping Is Murder
August 21 –Community Bookstop – REVIEW – Money Is Murder
August 21 –Books, Dreams, Life – REVIEW – Christmas Is Murder
August 22 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT – Christmas Is Murder
August 22 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – REVIEW – The Day Job Is Murder
August 22- Community Bookstop – REVIEW – Politics Is Murder
August 22- StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST – Book 6 – Shopping Is Murder
August 22 – Books, Dreams, Life – REVIEW – Valentine’s Day Is Murder
August 23 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT – Valentine’s Day Is Murder
August 23 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW – Money Is Murder
August 23 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW – Family Is Murder
August 23 – Valerie’s Musings – GUEST POST – Book 7 – Christmas Is Murder
August 23 –Books, Dreams, Life – REVIEW – Coffee Is Murder
August 24 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT – Coffee Is Murder
August 24 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW – Shopping Is Murder
August 24 –Community Bookstop – REVIEW – Shopping Is Murder
August 24 – Books, Dreams, Life – REVIEW – Skiing Is Murder
August 25 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT – Skiing Is Murder
August 25 – Bea’s Book Nook – REVIEW – The Day Job Is Murder
August 25 –Community Bookstop – REVIEW – Valentine’s Day Is Murder
August 26 – Sleuth Cafe – GUEST POST – Book 8 – Valentine’s Day Is Murder
August 26 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, SPOTLIGHT – Books 1-3
August 26 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW – Coffee Is Murder
August 26 –Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT – Books 5 – 11
August 27 – Brooke Blogs– REVIEW, SPOTLIGHT – Book 4 – 5
August 27 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW – Skiing Is Murder
August 28 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, SPOTLIGHT – Books 6-7 – GUEST POST – Book 9 – Coffee Is Murder
August 28 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT – Blogger’s Choice
August 28 – Laura’s Interests – GUEST POST – Book 10 – Skiing Is Murder  

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Aug 162017
 


I am so happy to have Victoria stop by for a visit today!
Muffin to Fear was released July 25, 2017!

Do You Believe in Ghosts?
By: Victoria Hamilton
(Guest Post provided by publicist.)

There has been, lately, a proliferation of ghost, paranormal and haunting shows on TV, shows like Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, Ghost Brothers, Paranormal Survivor and many more. It’s a sub-genre of reality programming that can be summed up by saying the crews go looking for proof of haunting at a home, inn or public building and generally find ‘unexplained’ noises, voices and shadows.

I’m fascinated by the TV shows. I’m open minded to the supernatural; my feeling is that we know so little of what is actually possible with energy, the human spirit and the natural world. Who knows if the energy in our bodies is released by death and allowed to inhabit the world? On these shows they often sort the paranormal guests into categories like ‘residual haunting’, where the activity is just like a psychic imprint of things that happened in the past, ‘intelligent haunting’, which is spirits that are still among the living, and ‘poltergeist activity’, that is, commotion that occurs because of energy built up by human activity. It’s all very interesting.

But Muffin to Fear is not really about ghost hunting. As always, what interests me is human interaction among the living. So that was the premise of my novel and what started me on this plot line; these ghost hunting reality TV crews, like any work group, must have their share of tensions and infighting, cliques and quarrels.

Merry’s best male friend, Pish Lincoln, invites the Haunt Hunt crew to check out Merry’s Wynter Castle, much to Merry’s chagrin. She comes back from her honeymoon to find the castle infested with TV folk. But there is more infighting and intrigue going on than hunting for haunts, and, inevitably, there is murder.

Full disclosure; I think that most ‘hauntings’ likely have logical explanations, but in truth, I don’t know for sure. So… I had a lot of fun writing about fake mediums and hunting ghosts with EMF readers and DVR cameras, but I still wonder, how many people believe in ghosts? And if you believe in them, what do you think they are?

~Victoria

Muffin to Fear
(A Merry Muffin Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (July 25, 2017)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425282595
Kindle ASIN: B01MXHV4KT

In the latest from the national bestselling author of Much Ado About Muffin, newlywed baker Merry Wynter has some unwanted guests looking for ghosts at Wynter Castle…

While Merry is distracted by her quickly planned marriage to Virgil Grace and a blissful honeymoon in New York, her friend Pish invites the ghost-hunting crew from the TV show Haunt Hunt to investigate Merry’s home, Wynter Castle. Merry soon discovers that not only is the crew out of sync, there are so many feuds and squabbles, it’s a miracle they get a show produced at all.

It all goes from bad to worse when the show’s psychics claim to have contact with people murdered on Merry’s property. When two cast members are found dead, Merry and Virgil must figure out who’s picking off the Haunt Hunt team before their hard-earned happily ever after is cut short.

INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES!

About Victoria Hamilton:

Victoria Hamilton is the national bestselling author of two bestselling series, the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries and Merry Muffin Mysteries. She is also the bestselling author of Regency and historical romance as Donna Lea Simpson.

Victoria loves to cook and collects vintage kitchen paraphernalia, teacups and teapots, and almost anything that catches her fancy! She loves to read, especially mystery novels, and enjoys good tea and cheap wine, the company of friends, and has a newfound appreciation for opera. She enjoys crocheting and beading, but a good book can tempt her away from almost anything… except writing!

Website    Facebook         Merry Muffin Mysteries Facebook Page           Pinterest        Twitter


Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.

Leave a comment for the author for 5 Bonus Entries.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads
for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest
for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End August 30, 2017 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Aug 092017
 


I always get excited when Julianne stops by for a visit!
Her new book Chime and Punishment was released last week!

FOR THE LOVE OF CLOCKS
by Julianne Holmes
(Guest Post provided by publicist.)

Whenever I explain the premise of my clock shop series—that Ruth Clagan is part of a clock making family who owns a shop in the Berkshires—most people smile, and then they tell me about a clock in their family. Everyone has a clock in their family, I’ve discovered.

For me, it is a mantle clock. I inherited it from my grandmother—a Telechron electric clock that looks a bit like a Seth Thomas. It likely dates from the 50’s, isn’t worth a fortune, but means the world to me. Of course, given the work I’ve done on these books, I am looking for a traditional clock that I must wind.

For some people, longcase clocks are passed down from generation to generation. Keeping them running can be a challenge, especially if they haven’t been moved carefully or maintained over time. Clockmakers will come in and do a house call to determine what the best course of treatment is for the clock. Now, folks trusted in the craft are few, and I’ve heard stories of people inviting clockmakers to travel or traveling to them for a consult.

Over the course of writing these books, I have fallen a bit in love with Banjo clocks. Simon Willard invented these here in Massachusetts, and patented them in 1802. They continue to be made today. The clock is shaped like a banjo, with a square case on the bottom that can be clear, or can be painted decoratively. Then there are the Seth Thomas miniatures. I spent a day in the American Clock and Watch museum, and these beauties stopped me in my tracks. Made of different types of wood, different shapes. I can easily see becoming obsessed with them.

I’m sure that there are family banjo clocks, or mantel clocks, or miniatures, or carriage clocks, or others that have been passed on from generation to generation. Do they still work? Hopefully yes, though many could use a good cleaning. While doing my research, and talking to Dave Roberts of the Clockfolk of New England, I’ve come to realize a few things about clock repair. First, that it is a craft that takes years to learn. Second, repair means different things to different people. For some folks, to hold value, that means painstaking authentic repair. For others, it means doing what it takes to get the clock working. The repair may cost more than the value of the clock, but that’s the third thing I’ve learned. Clocks own a place in people’s hearts, and that is priceless.

Do you have a family clock that has been passed down? Does a clock have a place in your memories?

~Julianne


Chime and Punishment (A Clock Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
A Berkley Prime Mystery (August 1, 2017)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425275542
Kindle ASIN: B01MRK5HU7

 

 

Expert clockmaker Ruth Clagan has another murder on her hands in the third Clock Shop Mystery from the author of Clock and Dagger.

Years ago, the serenity of picturesque Orchard, Massachusetts, was shattered by a fire that destroyed the town’s beloved clock tower. Ruth inherited the dream of repairing it from her late grandfather. Now that she’s returned home to run his clock shop, the Cog & Sprocket, she’s determined to make it happen, despite wrenches that are being thrown into the works by her least favorite person, town manager Kim Gray.

A crowd of residents and visitors are excited to see the progress of the tower at a fund-raiser for the campaign, until Kim is found crushed under the tower’s bell, putting an end to all the fun. The list of suspects is so long it could be read around the clock, and it includes some of Ruth’s nearest and dearest.

Time’s a-wastin’ as Ruth tries to solve another murder in her beloved Orchard while keeping the gears clicking on her dream project.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This series started with Ruth Clagan coming home to run her late grandfather’s clock shop and grew into her wanting to fulfill his dream of repairing the town’s clock tower. In Chime and Punishment his dream is so close to coming true. Her friends and the residents of Orchard, Massachusetts are attending a fundraiser to complete the task but the gears get all mucked up when the town manager gets her bell rung permanently. Ruth knows to make her grandfather’s and now her dream come true she has to find the killer. Time is of the essence, she doesn’t want anyone else getting clocked.

This is another top notch mystery for Julianne Holmes. I was excited to find out Kim was the victim this time, she has been a real pain in the backsides of almost every in Orchard and that means plenty of suspects. The story kept a nice pace as the clues were dropped and Ruth’s investigation continued. The twists had me all over the place when is came to who actually did the deed. I was surprised when the killer was revealed.

I have grown to love these characters over these three books. The business owners and those that work at the clock shop are very well written and have grown since out first meeting. I have more than one favorite.

The location, both the Cog & Sprocket and the town of Orchard was clearly envisioned in my mind. The clock tower and it’s building remind me of a place in my home town very much. I was thrilled by the whole premise of this series. People working to restore a piece of history was very heartwarming, aside from the murders, of course.

A captivating addition to this series. I think I like this one best of all.

If you haven’t clocked time with this series yet, start at the beginning and enjoy.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author
Julianne Holmes writes the Clock Shop Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime. The first in the series, the Agatha nominated Just Killing Time, debuted in October 2015. Clock and Dagger was released in August 2016, and Chime and Punishment was released August 1, 2017. As J.A. Hennrikus, her Theater Cop series will debut in the fall of 2017 with A Christmas Peril. She has short stories in three Level Best anthologies, Thin Ice, Dead Calm and Blood Moon. She is on the board of Sisters in Crime, and is a member of MWA and Sisters in Crime New England. She is on Twitter (@JulieHennrikus), Instagram (@jahenn), Pinterest, and Facebook. She blogs with the Wicked Cozy AuthorsLive to Write/Write to Live, and is on Killer Characters on the 20th of each month. You can find out more about Julianne Holmes on her webpage here.

Coming Soon From This Author


Thanks to the publisher I have 2 copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.

Leave a comment for the author for 5 Bonus Entries.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End August 23, 2017 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Jul 182017
 

I am filling in for another blogger today but hoe to read and review this book soon.

Too Many Women in the Room
by Joanne Guidoccio

Too Many Women in the Room (A Gilda Greco Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
The Wild Rose Press, Inc (May 19, 2017)
252 Pages
E-Book ASIN: B06XXNPRXS

When Gilda Greco invites her closest friends to a VIP dinner, she plans to share David Korba’s signature dishes and launch their joint venture—Xenia, an innovative Greek restaurant near Sudbury, Ontario.

Unknown to Gilda, David has also invited Michael Taylor, a lecherous photographer who has throughout the past three decades managed to annoy all the women in the room. One woman follows Michael to a deserted field for his midnight run and stabs him in the jugular.

Gilda’s life is awash with complications as she wrestles with a certain detective’s commitment issues and growing doubts about her risky investment in Xenia. Frustrated, Gilda launches her own investigation and uncovers decades-old secrets and resentments that have festered until they explode into untimely death. Can Gilda outwit a killer bent on killing again?

In Praise of Handwriting

For decades, I eschewed cursive handwriting in favor of keyboarding and printing. That’s right—printing. After several students had complained about my illegible board work, I switched to printing on the blackboard and inputted almost everything else onto digital devices. I did sign report cards, checks, and other legal documents, taking extra care with my penmanship.

Since retiring, I’ve rediscovered the benefits of expressing my ideas the old-fashioned way. I have Julia Cameron to thank for that epiphany. A fan of Julia’s books, among them The Artist’s Way and The Prosperous Heart, I found myself incorporating Morning Pages into my daily regimen. At first skeptical, it didn’t take me long to realize the wisdom of her logic: “When we write by hand, we go slowly enough to record out thoughts with accuracy. On a computer, we whiz along, dashing our thoughts to the page.”

Other benefits of handwriting include…

Better Cognitive Skills

Writing longhand stimulates the Reticular Activating System (RAS) in our brains. The RAS acts as a filter, giving more importance to the information being processed. Also, writing in cursive script enables us to use both parts of our brain. Writing in small letters boosts left brain (analytical) activity that improves attention to detail. Large writing and sweeping doodles stimulate the creative right brain and also provide stress-busting benefits.

Fewer Distractions

Unless we are super-disciplined, it’s almost impossible not to succumb to the many distractions that exist on the World Wide Web: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, video games…Each year, the list gets longer. Sitting with pen and paper allows us to write with more laser precision. It may appear slower, but we are able to identify more relationships between ideas and come up with creative solutions.

Improved Writing

 Many famous writers prefer to write by hand. Novelist Truman Capote refused to use a typewriter while writing his first draft. In an interview, he commented: “I write my first version in longhand (pencil).Then I do a complete revision, also in longhand.

Susan Sontag, American writer, film-maker, teacher, and political activist, also preferred the analog method. In a 1995 interview with the Paris Review, she said: “I write with a felt-tip pen, or sometimes a pencil, on yellow or white legal pads, that fetish of American writers. I like the slowness of writing by hand.

A 2009 study from the University of Washington supported these preferences for longhand writing: “Elementary school students who wrote essays with a pen not only wrote more than their keyboard-tapping peers, but they also wrote faster and in more complete sentences.”

About The Author

In 2008, Joanne took advantage of early retirement and decided to launch a second career that would tap into her creative side and utilize her well-honed organizational skills. Slowly, a writing practice emerged. Her articles and book reviews were published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories. A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne writes cozy mysteries, paranormal romance, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.

Where to find Joanne…

Website          Twitter          Facebook           LinkedIn           Pinterest    Goodreads

Purchase Links

Amazon (US) Amazon (Canada):  
Kobo   Indigo:   
The Wild Rose Press   Barnes & Noble

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

July 10 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
July 11 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 12 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 13 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT  
July 14 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – INTERVIEW
July 15 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW
July 16 – Island Confidential – GUEST POST
July 17 – Jane Reads – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
July 18 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, GUEST POST
July 19 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT
July 20 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT
July 21 – Varietats2010 – REVIEW, GUEST POST
July 22 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT
July 23 – Valerie’s Musings – INTERVIEW

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Jul 162017
 

I am filling in for another blogger today but I hope to read and review this story very soon!

Engaged in Trouble
by Jenny B. Jones

Funny and fast-fast paced, this is a great cozy.
~The Book’s the Thing

Engaged in Trouble was a super fun and quirky cozy mystery!
The story/plot fast paced full of twists and turns and surprises that kept this reader captivated from the very beginning.
~My Reading Journeys

This book is a combo of chick lit and cozy mystery. Humor is spread throughout the book with mystery and a touch of romance. It’s a quick read with “laugh-out-loud” fun.
~Socrates’ Book Reviews…

Sylvie and Frannie might be two of my favorite characters ever.
~Bubby at Bubble Bath Books

Paisley was really funny, down to earth, and relate-able. Beau was a great character also. I enjoyed his sense of humor and he brought a level of mystery to the book in addition to the murder mystery.
~Bookworm Cafe

A perfect combination of chick lit rom-com (with enough heat) and cozy mystery, perfect for all small town genre readers.
~Laura’s Interests

Engaged in Trouble … smart, Southern, and sassy. I’ve found a new favorite author in Jenny B. Jones, one who captivates me with her storytelling, characterization, and lyrical writing.
~The Power of Words

Engaged in Trouble (An Enchanted Events Mystery Book 1)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Sweet Pea Productions (March 30, 2017)
Paperback: 368 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0998109800
E-Book ASIN: B06XX5VT7J

When a washed-up pop star inherits a wedding planning business, it’s all bouquets and bliss until a bride turns up dead.

Paisley Sutton shot to stardom as a teenage rock sensation, but ten years later that star has fizzled out, just like her bank account. When she unexpectedly inherits her aunt’s wedding planning business, Paisley leaves the glamour of Los Angeles for a charming small town in Arkansas. Thinking she’ll arrive in Sugar Creek and liquidate the moldly property, Paisley’s shocked to find Enchanted Events has experienced a major makeover and is now the place for brides. She’s got two months to keep Enchanted Events afloat if she wants to sell and rekindle her music career with the profits.

Paisley’s tossed into a world of vows and venues, but her most difficult challenge comes in the form of one demanding bride. When this Bridezilla’s found facedown in her cake, all fingers point to Paisley as the prime murder suspect. And she does not look good in prison orange.

This former pop princess will need the help of her gun-toting, ex-CIA grandmother and her handsome neighbor, Beau Hudson, to unravel the mystery and clear her good name. As she and her unruly posse dig into Bridezilla’s life, she discovers the woman had a long list of enemies. The closer Paisley gets to the truth, the more her own life is in danger.

Love is in the air this wedding season, but before Paisley can help the ladies of Sugar Creek say, “I do,” she’s got to unveil a killer. Or find herself the next target.

Engaged in Trouble is the first book in the long-awaited Enchanted Events cozy mystery series by award-winning author Jenny B. Jones. If you like laugh-out-loud adventures, small-town romance, unforgettable, sassy characters, and a mystery to keep you guessing, then you’ll love this new page-turning series.

 

I’m Paisley Sutton, former pop star of the hit girl band Electric Femmes and now star of the drama that’s become my life. Let me catch you up to date really quickly. I’m broke. I had to temporarily leave my beloved Los Angeles to move back to Sugar Creek, Arkansas, and my new neighbor? My old nemesis Beau Hudson. Let’s take a peek at when I first see Beau again—after many years of some blessed time apart.

I pulled up to a darkened house and briefly rested my head on the steering wheel in the quiet of the night.

Six weeks.

I had to stay in this town six weeks.

There had to be a way around that. To get what I wanted and return to L.A. before my beloved city had forgotten me. But the terms of the will, something I’d read at least twenty times, stated that I had to keep my great-aunt’s business afloat for two months, then I was welcome to sell. The business itself wouldn’t be worth a dime, but the old building in the growing downtown area would bring in some much-needed cash.

Yanking a suitcase from the backseat, I slammed the car door shut and heaved the best of my belongings toward a gray two-story with black shutters and enough Victorian charm to have personality, but not intimidate. Sylvie owned a handful of rent houses in Sugar Creek, and this one boasted two side-by-side front doors. I tried the key I’d finally gotten in both doors, but to no avail. Seriously? I just wanted a bed, to slip beneath cool sheets and let my worry-ridden head drift into a fluffy pillow.

Leaving my bags, I walked around the back of the house, using my phone for a flashlight. Crickets chattered and mosquitoes rudely buzzed their welcome in my ear. I tripped on a step to the back deck, but climbed on up, only to be faced, yet again, with two doors. The key refused to fit in one door, but the weathered door on the left opened with no effort at all. I could practically feel the cool, crisp sheets already.

My flashlight illuminated a small kitchen with granite countertops, white cabinets, and a dining set tucked into a nook. The hardwood floor beneath my feet creaked as I stepped into the room and—

A large shadow flickered a millisecond before five hundred pounds of solid bulk slammed into my body and threw me to the ground.

Lightning exploded in my head as it hit the floor, and my scream pierced the air. I kicked and struggled, desperate to get this intruder off me, while panic overrode any rational thought. I’d taken a self-defense class years ago, but I couldn’t recall a single move. Still screaming, I kicked wildly and tried to use my nails to claw this person’s face, but he took my hands captive.

“Get off me!” I yelled. “My husband’s in the car! He has a gun!”

The intruder stilled. With one large hand still wrapped around both my wrists, he reached for my dropped phone and shined the light right in my face. My galloping heartbeat couldn’t drown out the loud sigh from the person hovering over me.

“Husband, huh?” A deep voice said. “Maybe we should wait for him.”

Oh, geez.

I was pretty sure I knew that voice.

My attacker released my hands and rolled to his feet, the light revealing one familiar face.

“Beau Hudson.” My volume escalated with each word.  “What in the name of all that’s holy are you doing in my house?”

“You’re in my house, Paisley Sutton.” He flicked on the light, illuminating a tableau I would forever call The Time I Faced Death and Didn’t Wet Myself.

“This is my grandmother’s home, and I have the keys to it.” I pulled myself to a seated position, my skull throbbing.

This interloper was my childhood best friend’s brother.  His hair was the color of toffee, and those eyes, blue as sea glass. Back in the day, just to look upon him made a girl want to write poetry and compromise every moral she had. None of that had changed. He’d been the hero of the Sugar Creek football team years ago, before picking up his high school diploma and heading off to the Army. He was tall and trim, his body contoured with muscles he clearly still maintained since his military days. I only spoke to his sister about once a year, but she always gave me a Beau update. I knew he’d come back to Sugar Creek within the last few years, lucky to be alive, yet as his sister put it, “Not quite the same.”

Beau had been the older, mature fourteen to my twelve. After sharing a plate of macaroni and fried chicken, he’d kissed me at a church social, then ran back to school to tell everyone it had been a slobbery disaster.

He took a knee beside me, and I scooted away.

“Let me see your head.” His voice was as gruff as the scraggly beard on his face. I’d just been attacked by a lumberjack. “Quit squirming.” He reached out a hand and traced it over my cheek, my temple, his eyes intense on my face. “I could’ve hurt you.”

My skin tingled beneath his touch. “You did hurt me.”

His hand began an inspective crawl into my hairline. “I mean I could’ve killed you.”

I rubbed my aching shoulder. “I was two seconds from ruining your life with a well-placed knee to your squishy parts, so I don’t think so.” Though my pulse had yet to return to normal. I tried to shrug out of Beau’s grip, but he wasn’t having it. “I’m okay.”

Those blue eyes still on mine, Beau’s fingers slowly slid through my hair to the back of my head. “Does this hurt?”

“I. . .I think I’ll live.”

His gaze darkened. “You want to tell me what you’re doing in my house?”

“It’s my grandmother’s house, and I’m living here for a few months.” Good heavens, his fingers were magic. “So I think I’m the one who should be asking the questions.”

He gave that gusty sigh again. “So you’re the new neighbor Sylvie was so cagey about.”

I frowned, certain I had the right address. “Neighbor?”

“The house is two units. The back door you came in? It’s mine. I assume you’re living in the other half.”  

I slapped away his hands and attempted to stand.

“Easy.” One strong arm curled around my waist. “We should probably get you to the E.R. Have someone look at your head.”

I was related to Sylvie. We were used to people suggesting we have our head’s examined. “I’m fine. I just want to get to my side and sleep. Apparently Sylvie gave me the wrong keys.” Probably on purpose.

“I can get you in there.”

“Is this going to involve brute force as well?”

Brow furrowed, Beau gave my form another assessing look before walking away, a slight limp marring his gait. He returned shortly holding a silver key. “Let’s get your bags.”

A few minutes later I stood behind him as he opened the door, carrying three bags like they were no heavier than my purse.

He took a few steps inside. “Welcome home.”

I stood in the doorway, my feet unable to carry me any further.

Welcome home.

This town had been home. Before I got plucked from a high school choir competition to round out a girls’ band. Before I traveled the world and lived large. Before life said, “Never mind!” and kicked me off the train of success.

“I hope you’re not waiting for me to carry you over the threshold,” Beau said, interrupting my maudlin thoughts.

“You’d do anything to cop a feel.” I mustered up a smile.

“Paisley?”

“Yes?”

“It’sgoing to be okay.”

About The Author

Award-winning, best-selling author Jenny B. Jones writes romance, cozies, and YA with sass and Southern charm. Since she has very little free time, Jenny believes in spending her spare hours in meaningful, intellectual pursuits, such as eating ice cream, watching puppy videos, and reading celebrity gossip. She lives in the beautiful state of Arkansas and has worked in public education for half of forever.  She loves bluegrass, a good laugh, and strong tea. She adores hearing from readers.

Author sites and social media:

Webpage: www.JennyBJones.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/jennybjones/
Twitter: @jenbjones

Instagram: @JennyBJonesAuthor
Good Reads: www.goodreads.com/JennyBJones

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

July 10 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
July 10 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW
July 11 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
July 11 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW
July 12 – Bubble Bath Books – REVIEW
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July 13 – Bookworm Cafe –  REVIEW, GUEST POST
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July 17 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
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Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Jul 122017
 


I love it when Peg Cochran drops by for a visit!

The Mysteries of the Writing Process
By Peg Cochran

(Guest Post Provided by Publicist)

Readers have expressed an interest in the “writing process.” Each writer’s process is probably as unique as his or her fingerprints, but this is mine.

For my mystery series, I already have some characters in place—protagonist, detective and other regular cast members. But what I need is a victim and a murderer! I start with the victim—the person can seem like the last person anyone would want to murder or they can be very unlikeable. But whichever way I go, I need to surround them with characters who have specific reasons for wanting them dead.

To come up with the victim, motive and suspects, I usually “think out loud” on paper. On the computer—writing longhand always ends up making my shoulder hurt because I tend to grip the pen too tightly! Always have.

I write down all my thoughts just as they occur to me—no censoring my thoughts or backspacing to erase them. Here is an example from my notes—some plot musings that never made it into the book…or at least not that book!

He’s receiving stolen goods—saffron or caviar or something. Why would he be a victim? Maybe this isn’t the real reason he’s killed. Just another red herring. Maybe the goods are meant to be passed to someone else and he double crosses them. He’s a partner with somebody. Or someone paid him to move the goods and he steals them instead. Has to be someone local.

It’s probably hard to believe, but those ramblings eventually coalesce into a plot!

I try to outline…I want to outline…but often I am so excited to get started on the story that I don’t. I don’t sail off blindly though, I have to have my “plot points” – what happens at the end of the first act, at the midpoint (big dramatic happening that changes everything), end of second act, black moment (all is lost!) and the ending.

At some point, I end up with a completed book! And it seems like a miracle each time!

~Peg

About The Author

Mystery writing lets Peg indulge her curiosity under the guise of “work” (aka research). As a kid, she read the entire set of children’s encyclopedias her parents gave her and has been known to read the dictionary. She put pen to paper at age seven when she wrote plays and forced her cousins to perform them at Christmas dinner. She switched to mysteries when she discovered the perfect hiding place for a body down the street from her house.

When she’s not writing, she spends her time reading, cooking, spoiling her granddaughter and checking her book’s stats on Amazon.

A former Jersey girl, Peg now resides in Michigan with her husband and Westhighland white terrier, Reg. She is the author of the Sweet Nothings Lingerie series (written as Meg London), the Gourmet De-Lite series, the Lucille series and now the Cranberry Cove series. Her newest series, the Farmer’s Daughter, debuted with No Farm, No Foul in September 2016. Sowed to Death is available now.





Written as Meg London

Just Click on Covers to order from Amazon. 


Sowed to Death (Farmer’s Daughter Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in the Series
Setting – Michigan
Berkley (July 4, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425282038
Kindle ASIN: B01M22OR6W

 

 

The county fair is the highlight of the year for the small town of Lovett, Michigan—especially for food-and-lifestyle blogger Shelby McDonald, who writes as the Farmer’s Daughter. She’s submitting jams and jellies she’s created from the produce she grows at Love Blossom Farm in hopes of harvesting a blue ribbon.

But the townspeople get more than just the excitement of hayrides, tractor pulls, and cotton candy when Shelby’s neighbor and volunteer fireman, Jake Taylor, extricates the body of Zeke Barnstable instead of a dummy during a demonstration of the Jaws of Life. The fact that Jake and Zeke were known to be at odds plants suspicion in the minds of the police. As evidence against Jake grows, Shelby knows she has to plow through the clues to weed out the true killer and save her friend.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

You just can’t go wrong with a book by Peg Cochran. I have read almost all of them and doing my best to catch up on those I have missed.

In Sowed to Death  farmer/blogger Shelby McDonald is getting ready for the county fair. She is entering her jams and jellies and her son is participating in the an horse riding event. Both are hoping to come home with blue ribbons. The firemen are also demonstrating the Jaws of Life, something I am very familiar with as it was that device the extracted me from my van after my accident.  Their demonstration takes a foul turn when it is discovered that there is a real body in the car, not the dummy the firefighters had placed there. The body turns out to be Zeke Barnstable. Because Shelby’s neighbor, Jake, is a fireman and he and Zeke had a disagreement the police decide he is the prime suspect. Shelby knows she is going to dig up every suspect she can to prove her friend’s innocence even if that puts her in the line of fire.

This was a delightful read. These characters are people I would be friends with in real life. Shelby is a single mom raising 2 children but she has help from her deceased husband’s brother and several other friends, including fireman Jake. Two men that what to be as close to Shelby as possible but understand she is still getting over her husband’s death. I also love that she is a blogger and the way the author includes her posts right along with the story allowing Shelby to communicate directly with us, her “readers”.

The story really flows well and Shelby’s children, Billy and Amelia, play crucial roles in the mystery. One makes a dreadful discovery and one is danger as the story climaxes. As a mom, I would have totally freaked out and Shelby does but she turns into one hell of a fighter.

I enjoy the way Ms. Cochran writes. She is very descriptive making the story easy to visualize without going to far. She lets her characters continue to evolve naturally and realistically.  The mystery is filled plenty of twists and has not only drama/action but humor and a bit of romance too. Everything I love about cozy mysteries is found within these pages. A Must Read!!

Dollycas

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