Feb 082017
 


I am so happy to welcome Loretta Ross to Escape With Dollycas!
Her new book was just released today!

The first thing I’d like to say is thank you, to Lori Caswell, for inviting me to write a guest post for her blog.

Last September, a little over a month after my fiftieth birthday, I did something I’d never done before and, indeed, something I had never imagined I’d ever do.

I rode on an airplane.

I’m a wild woman, I know.

As mystery readers, you may be aware of Bouchercon, also known as the World Mystery Convention. It’s held in a different city every autumn. In 2015 I attended my first ever B-Con (as it’s affectionately known) in Raleigh, North Carolina. To get there, I drove by myself for two days. On the way down I had to pass through the Great Smoky Mountains, which are absolutely gorgeous and scared the ever-loving hell out of me.

I love mountains when they’re on a jigsaw puzzle or a picture postcard. When they’re climbing under the wheels of my car, at sixty-five miles an hour, with a mini-van crowding me  to my left, tractor-trailers boxing me in, and fiery death  a few feet off the right shoulder and several hundred yards straight down–not so much. It turns out that, under certain circumstances, I’m moderately afraid of heights.

I’m also moderately claustrophobic, which made it a really unpleasant surprise when I finally came down out of the mountains and there were tunnels. And then more mountains. And then more tunnels.

On my way back I was determined to miss the whole “oh-my-God-I’m-going-to-fall-off-the-mountain-oh-my-God-the-mountain’s-going-to-fall-on-me” experience.

It turns out Google maps isn’t so hot at showing elevation. Also, not all those roads are as clearly marked as you’d expect them to be. I wound up lost in the Appalachians.

And there was a tunnel, too. Under Tennessee.

So this year, I was determined not to drive, even though I still wanted to go.

When I was a girl, growing up in the middle of nowhere and spending most of my summers alone with my imaginary literary friends, I used to lie in the field beside my house and look up at the sky. I’d watch the planes going over and wonder about the people in them, but it had never seemed possible that that privileged class of adventurers could someday include me.

My initial plan was to take the train to NOLA. I’ve never been on a train either and it seemed romantic and less likely to fall out of the sky. Unfortunately, from where I live in west-central Missouri, the most direct train route to New Orleans goes through Chicago, takes almost an entire 24-hour day, and involves a 4AM bus transfer in St. Louis. So I womanned up and booked plane tickets both ways.

The first thing people told me about flying was to be early. Be really early. Figure out what early is, and then get there well before that. Expect long lines and delays and hassles at security. So naturally, I planned carefully and then procrastinated so much that I was still packing at midnight the night before I was supposed to leave.

The time on my boarding pass said 10:05 AM and I live a good two-and-a-half hours from the airport so I set my alarm for 4 AM and finally went to sleep.

For a given value of sleep. I tossed. I turned. I worried and fretted and I didn’t actually fall asleep until about 3:45. When the alarm went off, I was so exhausted I couldn’t keep my eyes open and convinced myself I could sleep for just another half hour and I’d be fine.

By the time I finally got up it was almost six. I kissed the cats, made sure they had plenty of food and water, and headed out. I made it as far as Clinton, the town nearest me, before I got light-headed. I’d been so fixated on the coming trip that I’d forgotten to eat the day before.

So, I stopped for a quick breakfast, then topped off the gas tank, and then finally hit the highway. By this point it was nearly seven.

Yeah, I wasn’t at all freaking out by this point. (I might be lying.) Also, did I mention the rain? And the fog?

By the time I got to Kansas City, it was pouring rain, fog was rising off the pavement, and I had managed to land right in the middle of the morning rush hour. And then I took the wrong exit. And then I got caught in a construction zone. And then I couldn’t find the place I’d reserved parking.

At a quarter to ten I was driving around in circles in front of the terminal, lost and frantic and practically hysterical. At 9:57 I stumbled across economy parking.

A shuttle appeared as if by magic, I was the last passenger they picked up, and they took me directly to my terminal. There was no line at security and I had time to buy a bottle of water and sit down before they called my flight.

And I flew. I climbed in a big, metal box with a bunch of strangers, packed in like pomegranate seeds, and the ground dropped away beneath us and we sailed off through the sky to New Orleans. And, perhaps it’s silly, but I looked out the window at the countryside passing by and I thought of a little girl in a field.

And I cried a little.

~Loretta

What a great story!! I am so glad you made it right on time! Thank you so much for visiting today! 

Death & the Gravedigger’s Angel
(An Auction Block Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Missouri
Midnight Ink (February 8, 2017)
Paperback: 264 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738750415
Kindle ASIN: B01FOR0YXQ
Shop Indie Bookstores

 

Death & Wren Bid on Answers to the Mysteries of Love and War

When former army medic Tony Dozier is accused of killing a member of the hate group that disrupted his wife’s funeral, the prosecution charges premeditated murder and the defense claims temporary insanity. Former marine Death Bogart and auctioneer Wren Morgan think there’s more to the story.

They’re both led to the long-abandoned Hadleigh House, where Wren begins preparing the contents for auction but ends up ap- praising the story behind an antique sketchbook. As Wren uncovers the century-old tale of a World War I soldier and his angel, Death finds a set of truths that will change…or end…their lives.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I love this series! Morgan is working at Hadleigh House, an old abandoned mansion, to inventory the furnishings and other contents for auction. She finds an old sketchbook that is truly a treasure. It seems to tell a story from World War I about a soldier and his angel. Meanwhile Tony Dozier, an army vet is arrested for killing a man that was protesting his wife’s funeral. Wren and Death (Dee-th) “it’s a family name” Bogart meet the man and know right away he didn’t kill anyone. Death also has PTSD and knows that is what the vet is dealing with. Maybe the sketchbook can help explain the vet’s confusion and lead them to the real killer.

Three books and we are still peeling back the layers on these characters. They continue to grow closer and deal with each other’s battles. They are falling in love but still have barriers up so as to not cause each other pain, both physically and emotionally. The author seems to understand that their healing is a process, not something that can be fleshed out in a hurry but revealed over time. For me as a reader that draws me to these characters in a major way.

The setting this time was quite interesting. A big old house, a cemetery, and a camp for wounded veterans are all located close together but getting to the house is difficult because there is only a walking path until a bridge car be rebuilt for vehicles. The picture on the cover depicts things very well.

The theme of the story is very current, there is a group, the Church of the Army of Christ (CAC), a militant hate group, they protest around the area. This group disrupted the Dozier funeral because Tony’s wife was a Muslim. She and Tony were the only survivors of an attack in Afghanistan only to get back to the states and have her killed by a drunk driver. Tony dealing with the tragedy he witnessed overseas as a medic combined with his wife’s tragic death has left him just a shell of a man. The author wrote this book long before the current administration was sworn in but she clearly saw the degree of hatred during the election and she tackled that and the plight of veterans so well in this story.

As for the mystery, it wasn’t exactly complex but it wasn’t straight forward either. I knew who didn’t do it, just as Morgan and Death did, so I was really tuned in to all the others I viewed as suspects. I just had a feeling and surprisingly I turned out to be right, but it played out in a really scary, edge of your seat way.

The topics may seem heavy for a cozy mystery but Ms. Ross adds the humor, romance and character building in a way to keep it all balanced. I was very happy with the last chapter set up to take us into the next Death and Morgan story. It is going to be hard to wait a year to have it in my hands.

If this is a new series for you I really recommend you start with Death & the Redheaded Woman, then Death & the Brewmaster’s Widow, before you read this story. These are rich characters you will enjoy more if you meet them from the beginning. 

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

LORETTA

About The Author

Loretta Ross is a writer and historian who lives and works in rural Missouri. She is an alumna of Cottey College and holds a BA in archaeology from the University of Missouri – Columbia. She has loved mysteries since she first learned to read. Death and the Redheaded Woman will be her first published novel.

Website         Blog           Facebook
GoodReads         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.

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Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
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Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.

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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.”

Feb 012017
 


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am excited to welcome Cheryl F. Taylor to Escape With Dollycas!

Several years ago we took a family a vacation in Canada where we spent a day in an Amethyst Mine and brought home several nice rough pieces. Not sure where all the kids pieces ended up but my piece is still on my dresser today. Since Amethyst is the official stone of Wednesday it seems fitting to have Cheryl here today to tell us about herself and Stone’s Gem and Murder featuring her main character, Amethyst Stone.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time the last week or so, considering my escape habits in preparation for writing this blog post, and I have come to the realization that I’m a mental escape artist. Like so many, when I delve into a book, I can become so totally immersed that when I stop reading, I may find myself looking around, trying to figure out why what I’m seeing or hearing isn’t what I expect. A recent case in point came about when I was reading an apocalyptic book involving an EMP (an electromagnetic pulse for those uninitiated). When I took a break from reading, I’d find myself wandering around the house wondering why the lights were turning on. Hadn’t all the electricity been knocked out? You see, totally buried in my reading.

Unfortunately for me (or maybe fortunately, you be the judge) my escapism has taken on a whole new dimension since I became an author. When I started writing my first book, Gone to Ground (which I like to call a ‘cozy apocalpyse’), I had entered a period in my life where I was frustrated with all the people moving into my rural community, throwing litter along the trails, breaking glass all over the ground, and running me off the road while I was riding my horses. I started mentally telling myself a story where there weren’t as many people. Why weren’t there as many people? My mind had to come up with a reason, and soon that reason got written down and I had a book. In the meantime I found myself riding my horses farther afield, and looking toward the mountains, wondering when (not even if, but when) I should pack up and head out. I had to fight the urge to stockpile food and supplies and wondered if I should head for the middle of the Bradshaw Mountains, or over west of Prescott, Arizona where most of the book takes place. Luckily for me, after that book was finished my brain started returning gradually to normal (or what passes for normal for me.) I have to admit, however, that I left part of myself in that world, and my saddle is still ready.

Noticing this tendency, I started to wonder where a story starts, and does it start in the same place for everyone. Does someone have to have to have inclinations in a certain direction for the book to be able to take them the rest of the way, or are some books able to kidnap a person’s mind whether they want to go or not. Both scenarios are likely true.

For several years ago I was determined to return to Michigan where I grew up, and to start a trout farm. I thought maybe I’d retire from the traditional “rat race.” I started looking into the possibility but it just wasn’t feasible, and I eventually realized that I liked being able to ride my horses year round. The trout farm daydream eventually faded, and I contented myself to living in Arizona. The next thing I know, I find myself writing Up North Murder and the main character inherits a trout farm located on a lake very similar to one I’ve always wanted. Old daydreams came to life in those words, and even though I’d decided I’d remain in Arizona, I suddenly found myself back on the internet, searching for trout farms for sale in northern Michigan. There was a spiral: the daydream inspired the book which inspired the daydream. I’m hoping that this spiral continues, carrying me through the next books in the series. I still think I’d like a trout farm.

The problem as I see it is that at times these urges become so strong it’s hard to resist them. My mental escapes decide to kidnap my body. When I wrote Stone’s Gems and Murder I was initially inspired by a rock shop in my area. It’s one of my favorite places to escape to physically, if I have limited time and can’t go hiking or riding.

However, when mines entered the picture, problems arose. I’ve always liked abandoned mines, although I’ve been pretty careful around them. Most in my area are vertical shafts and I can’t reasonably explore them, so I’ve contented myself with wishful thinking. With the writing of the Rock Shop Mysteries, however, that desire took on a life of its own (and yes, I’ve been on the internet looking for abandoned mines for sale and if I found one I could afford, I’d probably pack up the horses and head out.) I can’t describe how badly I want to be underground in a mine… or how many new rocks I’ve added to my collection as I’ve worked on this series. See, my imagination has kidnapped my body (and my bank account). I’m even on the waiting list to go to an amethyst mine in April, and a secret turquoise mine as soon as possible… and when I go, I’m sure those trips will inspire new daydreams, which will then result in more books… and adventures, both mental and physical.

I readily admit I’ve had many of these same urges while reading, but they are not as intense and don’t last as long… at least for most of the books. I’ve wondered if that’s because it starts as someone else’s dream, or just because reading a book is quicker than writing one. Of course, there was the time that reading a book on adventure kayaking inspired a solo trip down the Verde River, which nearly resulted in my drowning, but that’s for a future book. I’d better get out my drybags and life preserver.

Now, if only I could find a trout farm with a secret abandoned turquoise mine, out in the middle of the Arizona rangeland with no neighbors for twenty miles around life would be perfect.

~Cheryl

Thank you Cheryl for visiting today. I am excited to share your book with my readers! 

Stone’s Gems and Murder:
A Rock Shop Cozy Mystery

1st in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Arizona
CT Communications (December 7, 2016)
Paperback: 238 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0998212210
Kindle ASIN: B01MXX7RWK

 

 

Amethyst Stone has come home to take care of her father’s rock shop, Stone’s Gems and Minerals, while her father, Nick, recovers from a broken leg. It’s not long, however, before things go awry, as the her father’s assistant is murdered, and Amy is suspect number one.

Amy and her new assistant, Jackson Wolf, have to unravel the tangled clues to find out who killed Carl, and why, as well as protect the shop itself from the Copper Springs town council which would like to see it condemned.

As Amy and Jackson dig deeper, they realize that there is a lot more going on than it appears on the surface, and multiple people have a reason to want Carl out of the way. They just have to figure out who actually did it before they become the killer’s next victims.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Nick Stone runs Stone’s Gems and Minerals, (a rock shop). One day he takes a tumble off a ladder leaving him unable to run his shop. His daughter, Amethyst (Amy), has come home to fill in while he recovers and goes through some rehab. She is a little nervous about her father’s assistant at the store, she doesn’t really know much about him, but when the man is found murdered, in her dad’s store, she becomes prime suspect. Something is going on that has to connect these two occurrences and Amy and her new friend/employee Jackson Wolf are going to dig for the details to figure out what that is become someone else is hurt or killed.

What a fantastic start for this series! Ms. Taylor sets the scene by describing the rock shop in vivid detail. I could easily picture the organized chaos Nick Stone had created. He is the only one that understands his system and could lay his hands on a specific pieces in an instant. As the story goes on those descriptions continue to bring the rest of this very interesting building to life.

The author has also created characters that the reader wants to get to know better, Nick, his wife Crystal, Amy, who also has a brother named Jasper Onyx Stone and a sister named Opal Jewel Stone Amethyst’s middle name is Gem. We also meet Jackson Wolf and he is a man both Amy and I want to know better. Amy is a smart main character and teaming up with Jackson makes her even stronger. Their easy banter in very entertaining. She tries to keep some of the drama from her dad as he recovers and it was so mice to see that he totally trusted his daughter to handle things with the exception of selling anything from a certain area without his okay. 🙂 He has some pieces he just doesn’t want to sell at any price.

As Amy and Jackson sift through the clues and untangle the twists a jewel of a mystery evolves. I thought I had it all figured out but the ending caught me by surprise and the way it all came together was unique.

Cheryl Taylor just happened to find me online and reached out to tell me about her books. Being self published it is sometimes hard to get the word out about your books. I am so glad she found me and after reading this one I can’t wait to read more of her stories.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Note – I will be spotlighting another one of Cheryl’s books on Saturday. After reading this one I have to squeeze it into my reading schedule some time soon. 

 About The Author

Cheryl Taylor was raised in northeastern Michigan and pursued a degree in agriculture communications from Michigan State University. In 1986, Taylor moved to Arizona where she worked in publishing and advertising in the livestock industry, then eventually moving into teaching in 1998 after receiving a masters in education from Northern Arizona University.

Gone to Ground” is Taylor’s first book and explores how an apocalyptic event might look in the Arizona ranch land. “Breaking Free,” a sequel to “Gone to Ground” is currently in the works.

In addition, Taylor is working on several cozy mystery series, including the Up North Michigan series, which takes place on a trout farm in the northeastern part of the state where she was raised, and the Rock Shop mystery series, which takes place in northern Arizona.

Taylor currently resides in northern Arizona with her family of horses, cattle, dogs and birds.


Thanks to the author I have 1 signed copy of the book
along with a special gift.

(not the exact ones, but representative)

 

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old with a 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 Cheryl 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 February 15, 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.”

Jan 252017
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am so happy to have Kristi Abbott visit with us today!

kristi abbott from FBGuest Post by Kristi Abbott
(Post provided by publicist)

There was a time in my life when I had a terrific memory. I mean, seriously terrific. I could quote poems, rattle off telephone numbers, remember what day I was supposed to go to the dentist, and was never at a loss for a name to go with a face.

I don’t remember precisely when it changed (ha!). Some time in my thirties, I think. That was when I started carrying a purse-sized calendar into which I’d write notes, clip party invites for the kids, and jot down flight information. Now of course all that is on my phone and/or my computer calendar. None of this, however, prepared me for writing a series.

There’s so much to keep track of! Names, places, relationships, hair colors, town history, streets, ages, cars! It’s hard enough for me to keep track of all of them in a stand alone book, but to remember them over the course of several books? As Tony Soprano would say, “Fuhgeddaboudit.” I know other people have more complicated series than I do. Heck. I’ve had a more complicated series than this one where I had to keep up with whatever rules I was making up for a paranormal world on top of all those names and places and appearances. Still, it’s been a challenge!

I’ve heard other authors talk about keeping a “series bible.” I really like the idea. First of all, it makes it all sound so important. I mean, a bible! Wow! Second, it would be nice to have something to flip through when I needed to remember one of those little details that are so easy to forget. What street is her friend’s house on? Did that guy have brown hair or gray? When was the lighthouse constructed?

That would require me to actually keep track of those details and, this might sound nuts in the middle of a blog post about how I can’t remember anything anymore, I always think what I’m writing is important enough that I’ll remember it. I seem to have forgotten that I won’t . . .

Enter the copywriter. In case you aren’t familiar, sometime after the revisions are finished and the line edits are done but before publication, we authors receive our copy-edited manuscripts. Someone else, not the editor who plucked you from the slush pile or from the bouquet of manuscripts presented by your agent, goes through the manuscript with a fine-tooth comb looking for grammatical errors, continuity problems, and plain old logic goofs. That is that person’s job. That human being is paid to go through the pages you’ve been slaving over and point out every tiny error you’ve made.

It’s not my favorite phase. Of all the phases of a manuscript’s production, it’s the one most likely to send me crawling back into bed with a box of tissues and the cat. It requires greater ego strength than I possess on even a good day, and yet it must be endured. One very good thing comes with the copyedited manuscript, though. Generally, there’s a list attached. A long beautiful list of all the names and places with a few little details added in.

Ta da! A bible. Or at least the basis for one. Those lists — and the copywriters who create them — have saved my life and sanity more than once. So with the marked up manuscript that is going to make me feel like an idiot comes my salvation.

Funny how life works, isn’t it?

~Kristi

Pop Goes the Murder
(A Popcorn Shop Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Ohio
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (January 3, 2017)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425280928
Kindle ASIN: B01E4WAGEO

 

 

Despite Rebecca Anderson’s best efforts to distance herself from her ex-husband, the guy keeps popping up. When Antoine offers to feature her breakfast bars and popcorn fudge on his popular cooking show, she suspects he’s once again trying to butter her up—but the TV exposure for her gourmet popcorn shop, POPS, is too good to turn down.

Things take a shocking turn when the crew comes to Grand Lake to film in her shop, and Rebecca discovers Antoine’s assistant electrocuted in a hotel bathtub. Now the police want Antoine to come clean. Her ex may be a pain, but he’s no killer. So Rebecca decides to bag the real culprit. If she isn’t careful, however, she may be the next one getting burned.

INCLUDES POPCORN RELATED RECIPES!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

In this second installment of this fun series Rebecca’s ex-husband is in town to film a piece for his television show featuring her shop, POPS. She knows she needs publicity to grow her customer base but being summoned to go over details again with his assistant has her a little fired up. But when she arrives and finds the assistant dead she is shocked  – which also happens to be the victim’s cause of death. Just as shocking is that the police think her ex is the killer. He has his faults but there is no way he would have killed anyone. Rebecca pops herself right into the middle of the investigate to prove his innocence. This makes her brother-in-law, Sheriff Dan Cooper, a little hot under the collar.

Rebecca Anderson is a strong protagonist but for me her pregnant sister stole her thunder just a little bit this time. She is due very soon and anyone that has been pregnant or around someone pregnant knows those last couple weeks are stressful and an emotional time for the mom to be. She expects her sister and husband to be at her beck and call even when someone has just been murdered. She wants her sister to leave the investigation to the police/her husband and to stay away from her ex-husband. She wants her husband to do his job but remember his family could increase at any moment. It is all very humorous and something easy to identify with. Great one liners, loved it.

Rebecca also has a very lovable canine companion, a very smart one. She has a great friendship with her brother-in-law, trying at times, but a strong bond. She seems to be getting more comfortable with her decision to buy her shop and her life in Ohio. I hope she continues to move forward and we see less of her ex.

The plot has a nice flow. I did figure out the real killer early in the story, but the book had other things happening that held my interest to the very last page.

This story popped for me in several ways. A strong addition to this series. I am excited for the next book.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can find out more about Kristi on her webpage here. Like her on Facebook.  Follow her on Twitter.  Contact her here with recipes ?

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 Kristi 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 February 8, 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.”

 

 

 

Jan 182017
 

It is my absolute pleasure to Welcome Cleo Coyle back to Escape With Dollycas today!

DEAD COLD BREW AND NEWS FROM CLEO COYLE

Marc and I are excited to be visiting with you today. Special thanks to Dollycas for giving us this chance to tell you about our new Coffeehouse Mystery—and what we’re working on for the future.

It’s official. After 15 books, our amateur sleuth, coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi, finally becomes engaged to her boyfriend, NYPD Detective Mike Quinn. Our readers have been waiting for this moment for years. In Dead Cold Brew, it happens at last.

Unfortunately, the vintage coffee diamonds Mike slips on Clare’s finger open a Pandora’s box to a cold case murder that occurred sixty years before.

This chilling homicide took place in a stateroom of the SS Andrea Doria, a luxurious Italian ocean liner that tragically sank off the coast of Nantucket in 1956.

On board that ship was a gifted Italian artisan named Gus Campana, the jewelry designer who created Clare’s engagement ring. When Clare finds Gus poisoned behind his West Village workshop, she won’t rest until she uncovers who may have done it and why. Her search uncovers a decades-old family scandal, a charming jewel thief, a shocking inheritance, and a deadly adversary.

Best of all, Dead Cold Brew is embedded with twists, turns, and wonderful secrets about New York City that we’ve discovered over the years—from an exclusive room in the legendary 21 Club, to the underbelly of the city’s Diamond District, to a hidden train platform beneath the Waldorf-Astoria.

 

THE RECIPES!

Food is always a fun part of our Coffeehouse Mysteries, and we’ve included some of our favorite recipes in the appendix of Dead Cold Brew. A few were even inspired by Clare’s visit to New York’s famous 21 Club, a Prohibition-era restaurant that still serves movie stars and presidents. See descriptions and photos of these recipes and many more in our Free Recipe Guide. Print it out, and you have an instant, illustrated recipe section for your book.

Click here for our Free Recipe Guide.

 

If you are new to our Coffeehouse Mystery series, don’t hesitate to pick up Dead Cold Brew. Marc and I always strive to give new readers enough background to enjoy every book in our series as a stand-alone. And if you like it, you have 15 more in the series to enjoy.

Click here for a Free Checklist of all 16 Coffeehouse Mystery titles.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR CLEO COYLE?

For those of you wondering what’s next for Clare (and Cleo), we’re pleased to announce that we’ve already begun development on our 17th Coffeehouse Mystery with our longtime publisher, Berkley of Penguin Random House.

We’re also finishing up a new entry in our Haunted Bookshop Mystery series with Berkley, and we’ll be releasing fun, little excerpts from the book in our coming newsletters. The truth is we haven’t published a new Haunted Bookshop Mystery for several years—frankly, the reasons were personal (deaths in our families and health issues). Life happens, as they say, and it happens for writers too. We sincerely thank our readers and our publisher for their patience with us.

We assure you all, however, the “spirit” was always with us—and still is! We love Jack Shepard, our PI Ghost, and the young New England widow who runs the bookshop he haunts (both of whom we created way back in 2003) and we look forward to getting the unlikely duo back to work on perplexing criminal cases. The 6th title in the series, The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller, is scheduled for release next year. To learn more about our second mystery series, originally published under the name Alice Kimberly, visit the Haunted Bookshop page of our website by clicking here.

For a Free Checklist of Haunted Bookshop Mystery titles, click here.

Until we see you again, we hope you enjoy the books we’ve published thus far. We hope you’ll support our ongoing work by buying Dead Cold Brew—or borrowing it from your local library. We also hope you’ll stay in touch because we love to share new recipes, fun info, and videos on our website, Facebook page, and in our newsletters. May you always read with joy!

To keep in touch with us…

Visit our website: www.CoffeehouseMystery.com

Friend us on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/CleoCoyle

Follow us on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/CleoCoyle

Sign up for our newsletter here.

ARE YOU READY?

Watch Our New Coffeehouse Video!

About This Author

CLEO COYLE is the pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini.  CLEO COYLE grew up in a small town near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After earning scholarships to study writing at Carnegie Mellon and American Universities, she began her career as a cub reporter for The New York Times. Now an author of popular fiction and New York Times bestselling media tie-in writer, Cleo lives and works in New York, where she collaborates with her husband (also a bestselling author) to pen the Coffeehouse Mysteries for Penguin Random House. Together Cleo and her husband also write the Haunted Bookshop Mysteries, originally published under the name Alice Kimberly. When not haunting coffeehouses, hunting ghosts, or rescuing stray cats, Cleo and Marc are bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for NBC, Lucasfilm, Disney, Fox, Imagine, and MGM. In their spare time they cook like crazy and drink a lot of java. You can learn more about Cleo, her husband, and the books they write by visiting www.CoffeehouseMystery.com.

dead-cold-brew-large-banner640

 

dead-cold-brew
Dead Cold Brew
(A Coffeehouse Mystery)
16th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – New York
Publisher: Berkley (January 10, 2017)
Hardcover: 368 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425276112
E-Book ASIN: B01CZCW3BO
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Synopsis

From Cleo Coyle, the New York Times bestselling author of Dead to the Last Drop, comes a gripping new entry in the “highly satisfying”* Coffeehouse Mystery series. (*Publishers Weekly)

THE PERFECT PROPOSAL LEADS TO A CHILLING COLD CASE…

Coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi sheds tears of joy when her NYPD detective boyfriend surprises her with an engagement ring. But her bridal bliss is put on hold when a chilling mystery brings a wave of deadly danger to those she holds dear…

After everything Clare and Mike have been through, they deserve a little bit of happily ever after. So when Mike decides to put a ring on Clare’s finger, Clare’s eccentric octogenarian employer is there to help. She donates the perfect coffee-colored diamonds to include in the setting and the name of a world-famous jeweler who happens to be an old family friend. But while the engagement is steeped in perfection, the celebration is not long lived.

First, a grim-faced attorney interrupts their party with a mysterious letter bequeathing a strange, hidden treasure to Clare’s daughter. Next, the renowned jeweler who designed Clare’s ring is found poisoned in his shop. Both events appear to be connected to a cold case murder involving a sunken ship, an Italian curse, a suspiciously charming jewel thief, and a shocking family secret. With deadly trouble brewing, Clare must track down clues in some of New York’s most secret places before an old vendetta starts producing fresh corpses.

With recipes to die for, including how to make cold-brew coffee at home!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This series just keeps getting better and better!

In this installment the authors take us back in time to connect a present mystery to a very old mystery.  A jeweler is found unconscious and a letter is delivered that brings family secrets to light. What does a sunken ship and a precious jewel that supposedly went down with it have to do with the happenings today? All this just as Mike finally pops to question to Clare.  Congratulations are definitely in order but first Clare is on the trail trying to determine what it all means before more people end up dead.

Dead Cold Brew is the 16th installment in this long running series and it is still brewing at a fevered pitch. These characters are so strong, current and real. The drama starts with  an event that could be ripped from real life headlines. There is a sniper gunning down cops, thankfully only wounding them, but Mike’s unit is one of the group’s being targeted. Clare is also working with her ex Matt find on who targeted his godfather after he is found poisoned in his home. Clare fears the cases may be related.

The story is very fast paced, so many things are happening but these authors are pros, the drama does not overwhelm the reader.  We are drawn in a clues are solved and twists take us in different directions. I loved the way the history of Matt’s family is integral the the story. Clare is so close to her ex mother in law and the woman has been so generous to Clare it was wonderful to get some of her back story. There is also part of the story the reminds me of my son and that made the book extra special for me. All this together makes this an extremely hard book to put down.

I now have a new book that is my favorite in this series.

The special thing is that the authors give us plenty of details so no matter whether you have read this series from the start, or missed a couple in the middle or if this is your first time visiting with Clare and her friends you won’t be lost or feel like you have missed something. I can’t promise that you won’t want to go back and read this series from the start after reading this one. In fact I am almost positive you will. I think you will love these characters and want to read everything that you can about them.

Oh and don’t forget the recipes. The fantastic recipes.

Brew yourself a nice cup of coffee and sit back and enjoy Dead Cold Brew!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

My first Paradise Rating of 2017!

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PLUS

Thanks to the publisher I have 1 Hardcover 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 Cleo for 5 Bonus Entries.

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Contest Will End February 1, 2017 at 11:59 PM CST
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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.”

Jan 112017
 

I am so excited to Welcome Gail back to Escape With Dollycas today! 

 

FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS

Or, maybe for whom the clock ticks, would be more appropriate when discussing the dreaded “D” word.   Every writer dreams of having a book contract, but with every contract comes a deadline.  I tend to believe that the “dead” part of deadline is significant.  Deadlines are sneaky devils.  They lull you into a false sense of complacency when they’re six, nine, or twelve months away.  You think you have all the time in the world to whip your story into submission.  While in this state of bliss, you take occasional days off to have a little fun, entertain out of town guests, or just goof off.  You might agree to speaking engagements, attend a writers conference or two, or even volunteer to moderate a panel.  No worry, you tell yourself, you have plenty of time.  You have everything under control.

Bam!  Then it hits you.  A closer look at the calendar reveals the deadline you thought tame is about to pounce and bite your head off.  Your focus narrows so all you can see is the darn computer screen and the stupid cursor with its incessant blinking.  You transform into a frantic Captain Hook chased by the crocodile who swallowed a ticking clock.  No more play dates with friends.  You wonder if they’ll forget your name but not for long because you have plot points to ponder.  Meals become haphazard and you’re grateful your husband likes egg sandwiches and gas station pizza.  You desperately need a hair cut but your hairdresser tends to be chatty and you can’t spare the time.  A manicure is on the horizon, too, but that only occurs when your long fingernails keep hitting keys you never intended.  There are chapters to write; pages to polish.  Your world dwindles until there is only “The Book.”   Then, miraculously, its finished.  You hit the SEND button, and your manuscript flies through cyberspace to land on the desk of your editor in publisherville.

Now it’s time to celebrate, time to toast your success, get caught up on sleep, renew acquaintances, and cook elaborate meals.  And, strange as it may sound, it’s time to wish for another deadline.

~Gail

Curried Away: A Spice Shop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Georgia

Minotaur Books (December 13, 2016)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1250081254
E-Book ASIN: B01G1J80H8
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Synopsis

Piper Prescott, proprietor of Spice It Up!, has persuaded Doug Winters, the mild-mannered vet she’s been dating, to demonstrate Indian cuisine at her shop. But before Doug’s presentation of classic chicken curry is completed, Ned Feeney, local handyman, bursts in with news of a murder.

Sandy Granger, the director of a local production of Steel Magnolias, was found strangled in the third-floor balcony of the Brandywine Creek Opera House. Sandy, it seems, had not endeared herself to cast or crew. Complaints about her ran the gamut from her management style to her lack of people skills. Everyone connected with the production falls under suspicion, including Piper Prescott’s BFF, Reba Mae Johnson, who made it well known how unhappy she is that she was cut from the cast.

When the spotlight for the dastardly deed shines on Reba Mae, Piper rushes to her friend’s defense. Who among Sandy’s detractors was angry enough to wrap a silk scarf around her neck—and pull tight? Will Piper succeed in solving the case before she becomes the killer’s encore performance? And will she ever learn just how to prepare the perfect curry?

Dollycas Thoughts

This 4th installment of Gail Oust’s Spice Shop Mysteries finds the town in rehearsals for a production of Steel Magnolias. The director, Sandy Grainger, is pretty demanding and most of the cast and crew is ready to quit. When she tells them they will be rehearsing over the Thanksgiving weekend everyone was upset. But when she cut Reba Mae Johnson from the cast Reba Mae doesn’t hold back and really tells Sandy off in front of everyone. So when the overbearing director is found dead, Reba Mae is the prime suspect. Piper quickly goes into sleuth mode to prove her friend’s innocence and catch the real killer.

I have enjoyed this series from the start. All my favorite characters are back and there is plenty of drama over and above the murder mystery. Several characters are evolving in new and unexpected directions. One was very expected but I am so happy with the way the author is handling the whole situation.

As for the murder, there are so many suspects, we find Piper and Chief McBride get a pretty testy with each other. The town is also up in arms when the killer is not caught immediately. The sales of pepper spray increase and several woman demand Piper to convince the chief to hold a self-defense class. He has the investigation to conduct and tries to get out of holding the class by scheduling it at a time when thinks no one will show up. He was in for a big surprise. Guess who becomes his demonstration partner?

As always this author cooks us up a tasty mystery that I am pleased to recommend highly. I am not a big fan of curry, but I really loved this story.

There is some information about curry in the back of the book along with recipes for Spicy Chicken Curry, Cranberry Nut Mini Muffins and Gingerbread.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

gail

About The Author

Friends often accuse Gail Oust of flunking retirement.  While working as a nurse/vascular technologist, Gail penned nine historical romances under the pseudonym Elizabeth Turner for Avon, Pocket, Berkley, and Kensington.  It wasn’t until she and her husband retired to South Carolina that inspiration struck for a mystery.  Hearing the words, “maybe it’s a dead body,” while golfing with friends fired her imagination for the Bunco Babe Mystery series originally published by NAL.  In conjunction with Beyond the Page Publishing, the Bunco Babe series has  been republished in digital format as the Kate McCall Mysteries complete with new titles and a whole new look.  Gail is currently writing the Spice Shop Mysteries for Minotaur/St. Martin’s.  When she isn’t reading, writing, or sleeping, she can usually be found on the golf course or hanging out with friends.

Author Links
Links:  Webpage – www.gailoust.comGail Oust Author on Facebook, and Goodreads.

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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.”

Jan 052017
 

I love it when Sofie drops by for a visit!
She is also starting her Great Escapes Book Tour today.
You can find the schedule in the sidebar. 

Angelic Banana Bread
by Sofie Ryan

 

In the Second Chance Cat mysteries you can always count on three things when it comes to those senior sleuths known as the Angels. One, they’re actually pretty good detectives. Two, they drink gallons of tea. And three, a cup of tea tastes better with a little something sweet on the side—at least according to Rose Jackson. Rose is often the source of those sweet treats, anything from oatmeal cookies to cinnamon coffeecake to her popular banana bread.

Ingredients:

1 cup of mashed bananas

⅓ cup butter or margarine

⅔ cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 ¾ cups flour

1 ¼ teaspoons cream of tartar

¾ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

Instructions:

Grease a loaf pan. Preheat oven to 350° F.

Cream the butter, sugar and eggs until light and fluffy. Whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Add alternately with the mashed bananas to the creamed ingredients. Mix well.

Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in the pan then remove and cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy!
~Sofie

Sounds Yummy!


Telling Tails (Second Chance Cat Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Maine
Publisher: Berkley (January 3, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1101991206
E-Book ASIN: B01E4WAHRA
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Synopsis

The New York Times bestselling author of A Whisker of Trouble returns as secondhand shop owner Sarah Grayson and her rescue cat, Elvis, get caught up in a case of she said, she said….

When Sarah Grayson opened a secondhand shop in the quaint town of North Harbor, Maine, she was expecting peace and quiet. Then she was adopted by a rescue cat named Elvis and a kooky trio of senior sleuths known as Charlotte’s Angels. Now she has nine lives worth of excitement…

Sarah’s friend and employee Rose is delivering a customer’s purchase when the quick errand becomes a deadly escapade. Rose arrives just in time to see the customer murdered by his wife, but before she can call the police, she is knocked out cold. When she wakes up, no one believes her, especially after the woman claims her husband is very much alive and has left her for someone else—and has a text message and empty bank account to prove it.

Despite her convincing story, Sarah is sure something is fishy—and it’s not Elvis’s kitty treats. Sarah, Elvis, and the Angels are determined to unravel this mysterious yarn, before the feral killer pounces again…

About The Author

Sofie Ryan/Sofie Kelly is the pseudonym of author and mixed-media artist, Darlene Ryan. Sofie/Darlene lives on the east coast with her husband and daughter. In her spare time she practices Wu style tai chi and likes to prowl around thrift stores. And she admits to having a small crush on Matt Lauer.

Webpage


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Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy 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.

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something you like here and become a follower.

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Contest Will End January 19, 2017 at 11:59 PM CST
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and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Dec 142016
 

I am so happy to welcome Paty Jager back
to Escape With Dollycas!

Her latest mystery, Yuletide Slaying was released on October 31. Set at Christmas time, you can put this mystery on your holiday reading list.

 

My name is Sheba, I’m a Newfoundland, border collie, and no one seems to know what else, not even my veterinarian. But my owner, Shandra Higheagle, loves me even when I drool and knock over things due to my large size and clumsiness.

Her boyfriend, Detective Greer, thinks it’s funny that a dog my size is scared of loud noises and greets everyone by rolling on to my back and showing my belly. I think he shouldn’t be judging me when he appears to be afraid of Crazy Lil, the woman who works for my owner and takes care of me when Shandra is away. I like Lil, even if she does carry that worthless cat around her neck.

Shandra has had dreams since her Nez Perce grandmother died. Mostly they are clues to the murders that have been happening around her lately. I’m there to keep her company when she has these dreams. My large furry body seems to be her favorite thing to hug when she wakes from the dreams. Unless Ryan is there. Then I don’t get invited up on the bed. If he didn’t make Shandra so happy, I’d be chewing up his shoes and burying his boots in the snow.

I was excited when Shandra volunteered me to pull a sleigh full of presents for foster kids in the county Christmas parade in Huckleberry. I looked good in the red harness and pulling the red sleigh. Ryan’s nieces and nephews gave me lots of attention as I waited for Santa to arrive and lead me.

The old car in front of me made a sound like a gun, and I bolted down the street. I couldn’t move fast enough to get away from that noise. I was panting so loud I didn’t hear anything and blindly ran down the streets and through alleys. One alley had two men fighting. The smell of blood stopped me, and one man fell into the sleigh. The other man stabbed at me. I heard Shandra call my name and ran as fast as I could toward her.

I’m as good at telling stories as my creator. To find out what happens to me and who the body is, you’ll have to pick up Paty Jager’s latest book, Yuletide Slaying.  I’m on the cover and have a bigger role in this book than any of the other in the series.

Yuletide Slaying (Shandra Higheagle Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Windtree Press (October 31, 2016)
Paperback: 242 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1944973254
E-Book ASIN: B01M9HPI7F

Family, Revenge, Murder

When Shandra Higheagle’s dog brings her a dead body in a sleigh full of presents, her world is turned upside down. The man is a John Doe and within twenty-four hours another body is found.

Detective Ryan Greer receives a call that has them both looking over their shoulders. A vengeful brother of a gang member who died in a gang war is out for Ryan’s blood. Shandra’s dreams and Ryan’s fellow officers may not be enough to keep them alive to share Christmas.

Buy Links:  Amazon / Nook / Apple / KoboWindtree Press

 

About The  Author

Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 25+ novels and over a dozen novellas and short stories of murder mystery, western romance, and action adventure.  This is what Mysteries Etc says about her Shandra Higheagle mystery series: “Mystery, romance, small town, and Native American heritage combine to make a compelling read.”

All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Paty and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. Riding horses and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.

blog / websiteFacebook / Paty’s Posse / Goodreads / Twitter / Pinterest

Find more of Paty’s books on Amazon here.
DOUBLE DUPLICITY is FREE at Amazon!

Thanks to the author I am giving away an e-copy of Yuletide Slaying!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

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

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Contest Will End December 28, 2016 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

Dec 132016
 

what-fresh-smell-large-banner640

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00061]

What Fresh Smell (Marissa Scott Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Self-Published (August 9, 2016)
Paperback: 164 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1535456913
E-Book ASIN: B01IYX5V3A
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Synopsis

There’s Murder in River City – Daycare that is.

When Marissa learns that a teacher at the daycare center has been murdered, she comes to the realization that she really didn’t know much about the people who worked there, especially the murdered woman. She’ll now have to manage her son, her mother, her mother’s Scottish terrier, and an ex-boyfriend as she tries to hunt down the people behind a robbery ring and the person who killed a daycare teacher. If she’s not careful, she might meet the same fate.

So what is next for Marissa?

I get asked a lot about where the character and the series are going. I have two works for her in mind. The first is another short story, which will be set on Black Friday. I can’t imagine working on the busiest retail day of the year and also trying to solve a murder mystery, but Marissa will certainly give it a try. So far the dead body of a customer has been found in a shopping cart pushed to the wall by the crowds.

The other is the fourth novel in the series. I haven’t titled it yet. I tend to find the right title when the book is finished or nearly complete. The premise for this book will be a bit different, since one of the trends of the last 10 years is the death of the traditional shopping mall. The malls were really at the height of their popularity during the 1990s and early 2000s. Today, at least in Cincinnati where I live, the trend is toward more outdoor malls which are designed more like a village or strip malls. So Marissa is going to take a transfer to one of these stores, one that has been set up as a discount store selling off last year’s products and fashions.

There will also be some changes in the dynamics between the characters. People grow and their relationships either progress with them or fade away. So we’ll be meeting some new characters as well as not seeing as much of others.

The first three books all had a focus of how the crimes affected Marissa, but in this new book, the focus will be on Gavin instead. We’ll learn more about this man and find that he’s more complicated than originally thought. He’s going to be accused of killing an unarmed man in the line of duty, though he swears that the man had a weapon. Marissa’s task – once she decides that she believes him – will be to find out what happened to the gun and why.

With the other series that I write, the US Grant mysteries are on a hiatus of a sort. They take 15-18 months to write with the necessary research, so it takes an enormous effort compared to a mystery that occurs in the current time at a familiar place.

I am still working on biographies, which also expend a significant effort. Each biography is a work of love and time; I typically spend 5 years on each one. It’s akin to inviting a stranger to stay in your house and your life for the next 60 months. I take my time in finding the right people to write about. Currently, I’m telling the story of the two men who wrote as Ellery Queen while I prep my proposal for the next biography.

~Jeffrey

jeff_new

Jeffrey Marks is a long-time mystery fan and freelancer.  After numerous mystery author profiles, he chose to chronicle the short but full life of mystery writer Craig Rice.

That biography (Who Was That Lady?) encouraged him to write mystery fiction. His works include Atomic Renaissance: Women Mystery Writers of the 1940s/1950s, and a biography of mystery author and critic Anthony Boucher entitled Anthony Boucher. It was nominated for an Agatha and fittingly, won an Anthony. He won a Malice Domestic Grant for The Scent of Murder, which has spurred the Marissa Scott series. What Fresh Smell is the third novel in the series.

His work has won a number of awards including the Barnes and Noble Prize and he was nominated for a Maxwell award (DWAA), an Edgar (MWA), three Agathas (Malice Domestic), two Macavity awards, and three Anthony awards (Bouchercon). Today, he writes from his home in Cincinnati, which he shares with his spouse and three dogs.

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Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Dec 072016
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am thrilled to have Laura Childs drop by today! 

laura childs from facebookHi Everyone,

I am delighted to be spending Cozy Wednesday here at Escape with Dollycas. EGG DROP DEAD is book seven of my New York Times best-selling Cackleberry Club mysteries set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. Have you already met Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, owners of the Cackleberry Club, a farm-to-table café? If so, you know eggs are the morning specialty and the cozy cafe offers a Book Nook, loaded with interesting reads, and a Knitting Nest filled with colorful skeins of yarn along with piles of quilt squares.  If the yarn beckons, all are welcome to join Petra’s Hooked on Knitting class to learn how to create soft and warm shawls, afghans and the like.  It is a homey place but trouble sometimes has a way of finding the ladies, even as they plan their gala Halloween celebration.

egg-drop-deadAfter picking up her elegant witch costume made of smooth black silk and scalloped black lace, Suzanne was looking forward to a nice visit with her dairy supplier, mild-mannered Mike Mullen. His quiet farm is always a nice break from the hectic kitchen at the Cackleberry Club. But when Suzanne arrived at the dairy farm to pick up wheels of cheese, she heard urgent moaning coming from the barn. With barely a foot inside the door, she instantly realizes that, late as it is, the cows are moaning because they haven’t been milked. Then she discovers the reason why. Mike’s mangled body is lying dead on the barn floor.

As word of the murder spreads through Kindred, Petra and Toni urge Suzanne to try to find out who killed poor Mike, known to everyone as a kind and well-liked man. And as Petra reminds Suzanne, “Next to Sheriff  Doogie, you’re the one with all the smarts in this town.” And Toni chimes in, “… she means investigational smarts.”

With business booming at the Cackleberry Club, investigating Mike’s murder might lead to more trouble than Suzanne can handle. In a brief space of time, she is juggling multiple suspects, a busy restaurant, tea parties, and a raucous Halloween celebration. All the while Suzanne maintains her good humor and manages to keep her romance with the town doctor sizzling.  With so much going on, it’s loads of fun to hang around the Cackleberry Club. And when you reach the end of the story, I promise that you will want to make the recipes in the back of EGG DROP DEAD again and again.

~Laura

egg-drop-dead
Egg Drop Dead (A Cackleberry Club Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – Midwest (Minnesota)
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (December 6, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425281703
E-Book ASIN: B01CZCW4MW
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In Laura Childs’s New York Times bestselling mystery series, Suzanne, Petra, and Toni—co-owners of the Cackleberry Club café—are back to track down another bad egg…
 
Maintaining good personal relationships with their suppliers is one of the secrets of the Cackleberry Club café’s success, so Suzanne doesn’t mind going out to Mike Mullen’s dairy farm to pick up some wheels of cheese. She’s looking forward to a nice visit with the mild-mannered farmer before heading back to their hectic kitchen.

But when she arrives, Mike’s nowhere to be found. The moaning of his cows leads her to look in the barn, where she discovers a bloodcurdling sight—the farmer’s dead body. Apparently not everyone was as fond of Mike Mullen as the Cackleberry Club.

Churning with grief and outrage, Suzanne, Petra, and Toni vow to find the farmer’s murderer—but as they get closer to the truth, the desperate killer gets whipped into a frenzy and plans to put the squeeze on them…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

“Welcome to Kindred and The Cackleberry Club. You hosts are Suzanne, Petra and Toni. Pull up a stool, check out today’s specials, feel free to visit the Book Nook and the Knitting Nest. We hope you enjoy your visit.” That’s the friendly greeting I would expect to receive from these three fantastic characters. Business partners, friends, family. These ladies are part of a tight knit community. It is almost Halloween when the town is shocked by another murder. Suzanne finds dairy farmer Mike Mullen killed in a very brutal way and she is not going to rest until she finds the killer. The sheriff tries to keep her from butting in but he knows she is going to do it anyway. Oh and I can’t forget to mention, she is supposed to be planning her wedding…

I love this series. I love these characters. I love this town. Laura Childs has created such a treat for cozy readers. This is the 7th book in the series and each time I start one it feels like I am visiting a bunch of good friends. It really has the small town feeling that I am very familiar with. Everyone seems to genuinely care about their friends and neighbors, making it very difficult to pinpoint the suspects and the guilty party. With her signature twists, that I know now to expect, she scrambled my theories more than once. The main plot is clever and creative. All the subplots blend in nicely. There are moments of uncertainty and anticipation tempered by some humor and romance.

Junior’s wild ideas always make me chuckle but I feel bad for Toni at the same time. She loves the guy but no matter how old he is, he is never going to be the strong, dependable man she is looking for. Petra continues to amaze me with her kitchen creations and how she keeps up with everything going on around her. Sam is ready for his big wedding day but Suzanne has way too much going on around her to concentrate on any plans. She always seems to be going a mile a minute in different directions. He loves her for the way she is and is happy for any time they get to spend together.

This is a truly entertaining read. It’s not too late for anyone to “drop” in on this series. Start with this one, the first one or any in between. They are all egg-cellent cozies! And yes, there are recipes!

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of  the Tea Shop Mysteries, the Scrapbooking Mysteries, and 7 Cackleberry Club Mysteries. On July 5 she released Little Girl Gone, the first book in her Afton Tangler Thriller Series written as Gerry Schmitt. In her previous life she was CEO of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to Dr. Bob, a professor of Chinese art history, enjoys travel, and has two Shar-Pei dogs.

Find Laura’s Tea Shop and Scrapbooking Mysteries on Amazon too!

GIVEAWAY

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 Laura 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 December 21, 2016 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.

 

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.”

Nov 302016
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am over the moon excited to have Vicki Delany visit today! 

vicki-delany

Is There a Grinch in Christmas Town?

By Vicki Delany

(Post provided by publicist.)

If I were to describe the cozy mysteries I write in one word it would be fun.

I have a lot of fun writing them, and I hope readers have a lot of fun reading them.

I particularly enjoyed creating the town of Rudolph, New York, self-described as America’s Christmas Town.  The town of Rudolph is all about Christmas, 365 days of the year. And thus, so are the inhabitants of the town.  Non-Christmas lovers don’t last long in Rudolph.

Rudolph sits on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, not far from Rochester.  The perfect location for a winter-wonderland atmosphere.

we-wish-you-a-murderous-christmasNow that I had my town, so I had to fill it with something.  Mrs. Claus’s Treasures sells everything you need for decorating your home, as well as toys and jewelry, and many of the goods are locally made.  Victoria’s Bake Shoppe is famous for its gingerbread.  There’s Candy Cane Sweets, the North Pole Ice Cream Parlour, The Elves Lunchbox, Cranberries Coffee Bar, Touch of Holly Restaurant, The Yuletide Inn, the Carolers Motel. The possibilities are endless.  (Looking at this list it seems as though the residents and visitors to Rudolph like to eat a lot.)

Then we need people.  Merry Wilkinson is the owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures.  Merry’s father, Noel, is the town’s Santa Claus. Merry knows her dad isn’t really Santa, but sometimes she does wonder how he knows what people want before they so much as say so.  Merry’s best friend, Vicky, owns the bakery.

As the second book in the series, We Wish You A Murderous Christmas, begins Christmas Town itself might be in danger. The owner of the popular Yuletide Inn has suffered a heart attack and his son Gord has arrived to take over the business. Before long the townsfolk start noticing men in construction boots studying blueprints at the Inn’s famous gardens, and other men in ties and business suits browsing binders stuffed full of legal documents over lunch.

And, to make matters worse, Gord discontinues Vicky Casey and Victoria’s Bake Shoppe as his bread and dessert supplier!  He is, he tells her, “implementing efficiencies.”

The whole town is in an uproar and things are looking bad. But they are get a lot worse when Gord is  murdered and the police’s chief suspect is none other than the town’s official Santa Claus, Noel Wilkinson.

Can Merry Wilkinson and the residents of Rudolph solve the murder and save the reputation of their town as the place to find that real Christmas magic?

~Vicki

we-wish-you-a-murderous-christmas
We Wish You a Murderous Christmas
(A Year-Round Christmas Mystery)

Cozy Mystery

2nd in Series
Setting – New York
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (November 1, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Cover Illustration by Julia Green
Cover Design by Sarah Oberrender
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425280812
E-Book ASIN: B01BK0WS8U
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A Grinch is spoiling the holiday cheer and causing fear in the latest from the author of Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen

It’s Christmastime three hundred sixty-five days a year in Rudolph, New York, and as Christmas Day approaches, shop owner Merry Wilkinson is enjoying a rare evening off at the Yuletide Inn when she runs into owners Grace and Jack Olsen. With Jack’s health failing, Merry is relieved to hear that his son Gord will be taking over the day-to-day running of the Inn.

But then Gord reveals that his new plans have no room for Christmas at the Inn, and Merry and the other shopkeepers start to fret about the effect a bland franchise hotel could have on their livelihoods.

When Gord is found stabbed to death, there’s an entire town of potential suspects—and it’s up to Merry to find whoever brought homicide home for the holidays…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Again the wonderful cover drew me right into this book and the story held me tight.

Merry Wilkinson, owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, and the rest of the town of Rudolph is getting ready for Christmas. The Yuletide Inn is a popular place to gather and Merry’s parents are best friends with  the owners, Grace and Jack Olsen. After having dinner together Jack is rushed to the hospital for what looks to be a heart attack. With Jack out of commission for awhile and it being the busiest time of year, his son Gord and his wife come to Rudolph to help. But Gord is not happy just running the hotel. He has big plans that will not only change things at the inn but could change things for all of Rudolph. When Gord it found dead, there are plenty of suspects, even Santa Claus. Merry wants Christmas to shine without a murder overshadowing everyone’s festivities so sets out to catch this Grinch herself.

I love this town and I love these characters.

I want to visit Rudolph right now. What a special place to celebrate the holidays.

Vicki Delany’s characters are so well developed they leap right off the pages and into your heart. Her dad, former mayor, and resident Santa Claus leads the town in a special way. Everyone loves him and wants to work with him to keep the town a happy place even when there is a murderer on the loose. I should say everyone, but the current mayor. She does get her nose out of joint when people defer to him instead of her. With daughter’s named Merry, Eve, and Carol, there is no doubting Noel Wilkerson loves Christmas. Guess when his birthday is?  One of the characters, Jackie, Merry’s employee, is a bit Scrooge-ish, in the way she treats Merry, but Merry does leave her on her own quite a bit as she sleuths out the killer.

Delany balances the Christmas theme with a magnificent mystery. With pretzel like twists and turns the reader is really kept on their stocking footed toes.  I was so surprised at who the culprit actually was, I had no inkling at all. Love, love, love when that happens.

The author also adds just the right amount of romantic and humorous elements to the story.

This story checks all my cozy boxes and having it set at Christmas time in a wondrous Christmas village/town puts it over the top from A Perfect Escape to Paradise. Thank you Vicki Delaney, you have kicked started my Christmas Season in a grand way!

paradise 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most varied and prolific crime writers. Most recently, she is the author of the Year Round Christmas cozy mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime and (writing under the pen name of Eva Gates) the Lighthouse Library mysteries also from Berkley. Find out more about Vicki Delany on her webpage here


New Series Coming in March from Crooked Lane Books


Written as Eva Gates

GIVEAWAY
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 Vicki 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 December 14, 2016 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.”

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