Mar 222017
 


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am so happy to welcome Laura Bradford back to Escape With Dollycas today!

Dessert: The Best Therapist of All
By Laura Bradford
Author of The Silence of the Flans

(Guest Post provided by publicist.)

I love treats.

In fact, with the lone exception of a really odd period during my early childhood when I didn’t like (*gasp*) candy, I can say edible treats have been my go-to during all sorts of moments in my life. It’s become such a given that I actually equate certain treats with specific needs/issues/moods, ala Pavlov’s Dog.

On days when snow cancels school in our district, I like warm, fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies. With a big glass of milk…

When I’m in the final throes of a deadline, I reach for a bowl of candy corn and a box of Milk Duds. Not the healthiest thing, I know, but it gets me through…

When I’m low energy (whether physically or mentally), I have a hankering for brownies…

If I’m under the weather, I like hot chocolate and a piece of chocolate…

The moment the Christmas tree comes out, I’m envisioning white chocolate mousse pastry puffs and fudge…

Yeah, yeah, I know dessert isn’t the healthiest part of the day, but smiling is pretty important, right?

So, when I’m asked how I came up with the idea for the Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries, it was really just right there in front of me the whole time. Because, when you think about it, sometimes when you’re blue or tired or stressed or heartbroken or low on motivation or angrier than you’ve ever been in your life, the quickest way to turn things around is with a treat. Does the treat fix those things on its own? Probably not. But, at least for me, it puts that all important smile on my face that does, invariably, lead to things turning around. And that’s the ultimate goal, isn’t it?

I have no doubt that if Winnie Johnson (my main character) and her Emergency Dessert Squad were here in my town, I’d be a loyal (read: reward card carrying) customer and she’d be on my speed dial.

I might even be willing to help her solve a murder or two.

~Laura
Thank you Laura for visiting today!

The Silence of the Flans
(An Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Ohio
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Release Date – March 7, 2017
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425280904
E-Book ASIN: B01H17UCGG

 

 

Baker Winnie Johnson does her best work when the heat is on. As owner of the Emergency Dessert Squad, she has a deft touch in the kitchen and a soft spot for lost causes. So when her business professor beau, Jay Morgan, expresses misgivings over having to fail one of his fourth-year students, Winnie cooks up a sweet solution.

She’ll offer an extra credit opportunity in exchange for a little help with her growing business. But when her protégé’s first dessert delivery poisons a student journalist, the publicity threatens to burn Winnie’s business to a crisp. Now the entrepreneur-turned-detective must uncover the ingredients behind a recipe for murder before she crumbles under pressure…

RECIPES INCLUDED

About The Author

Laura is the national bestselling author of several mystery series, including the Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries, the Amish Mysteries, the Jenkins & Burns Mysteries, and the brand new Tobi Tobias Mysteries. She is a former Agatha Award nominee, and the recipient of an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award in romance. When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys making memories with her family, baking, and being an advocate for those living with Multiple Sclerosis.

To learn more, visit her website: www.laurabradford.com, or hang out with her on Facebook at:  https://www.facebook.com/laurabradfordauthor/?fref=ts. She can also be found occasionally tweeting at: @Bradfordauthor.

 

Also by Laura Bradford

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Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Mar 182017
 

I am so happy to welcome Kelly Lane to Escape With Dollycas today!
Her latest Olive Grove Mystery was released March 7!

Favorite Scenes from COLD PRESSED MURDER
By Kelly Lane
(Post provided by publicist.)

 

I’ve been asked several times to name my favorite scene in the cozy mystery COLD PRESSED MURDER, book two in Berkley Prime Crime’s OLIVE GROVE MYSTERY series. The story is based around scandal-ridden PR maven Eva Knox and her family at their Georgia olive plantation. And as many times as I’ve been asked to name just one favorite scene, I’ve not yet been able to answer.

I suppose, that’s because naming my favorite scene would be like choosing one of my children over all the others. I can’t do that! Truth be told, there are many scenes in the book that I could call “favorite.”

Fun Smack Talk

For example, I’m always a sucker for any scene with Eva’s nemesis, real estate agent Debi Dicer … she’s just so smug and nasty! Given that Debi loves to talk smack, rubbing Eva’s nose in the fact that Debi’s now seriously dating Eva’s ex-fiancé, Sheriff Buck Tanner, it’s fun to hear in my head what Debi has to say. And I always look forward to Eva’s comebacks. The scenes practically write themselves.

Sister Cross-talk Leads to Drama

When we were looking for ways to lower my word count for the book (I was mere 30,000 words over my limit … ha!) my wonderful editor, Bethany Blair, suggested that I cut the Palatable Pecan restaurant scenes featuring Eva, her two sisters, and friend Precious Darling. However, one of those scenes is a favorite of mine, and in the end, I saved the entire restaurant segment and elected to cut another thread instead.

The restaurant scene with the four women seated at the table is important to the storyline, offering both backstory and set-up for important events to come. Moreover, my favorite part about the scene is the way the women interact with one another as they cross-talk at the dinner table while unexpected drama unfolds. The play between lofty Daphne and flippant Pep was especially fun to write. Pep always cracks me up.

Suspenseful Roadside Scene

Another favorite scene occurs after Eva’s altercation with the sheriff at the Palatable Pecan restaurant. She huffs out of the restaurant and stomps toward home along a deserted country road, in the dark and danger of night.

Because I wrote the story in the first person, there aren’t many opportunities for suspense. However, this scene offered that opportunity. And I took it. Interestingly, it was one of the easiest and quickest scenes to write in the book. And we used it in bookseller promotions.

Heartthrob’s Wit and Humor Offers Contrast

Then there’s the scene with Eva and heartthrob Ian Collier in his HUMMER. Seductive Ian always seems so composed and controlled. And he has a keen Scottish wit and dry humor—an interesting contrast with Eva, who is always in some sort of emotional dither when she finds herself with Ian. And what woman wouldn’t be, with Ian’s killer good looks and mysterious demeanor!
Short Scene Was Last-minute Addition

Likewise, there’s an intriguing night scene with Ian in Eva’s cottage. And it’s obvious that Ian and Eva have some sort of powerful “thing” for one another. Of course, when Ian shows up in the middle of the night at her bedside, Eva is surprised and totally smitten with her hunky neighbor, along with being just a bit mortified by her own appearance. Of course, Ian doesn’t disappoint!

Like Eva’s roadside episode, this was another scene that took relatively no time at all to write. And interestingly, it was a late addition to the story after my editor said she missed Ian in this book after I cut his storyline to accommodate my word count issues (no worries, Ian’s dropped thread is all back in book three)! Anyway, after the big cut, I wrote this short scene to give editor Bethany her Ian fix. And as it turns out, it gives the whole story a lift. I’m so glad Bethany mentioned missing Ian, and that I thought to add the short scene in the very last editing round! There’s a kind of dreamy, fantastical quality about many of Ian’s scenes. This is definitely one of my favorites.

Characters Act Like Magnets

Okay, so if you twisted my arm, and I really had to tell you my very favorite scene, it would most likely be the scene when Buck, Eva and Eva’s dog Dolly are in the backseat of Buck’s SUV, deep in the woods off an old logging trail. For both Buck and Eva, this scene is all about how complicated their lives suddenly have become after rediscovering one another just months earlier, without ever having found “closure” to their ruined relationship eighteen years earlier.

As the two grapple with issues of the past, struggle to define new ground, and unravel secrets, they can’t seem to stop switching back and forth between thinking with their heads and acting with their hearts … or maybe it’s not their hearts at all. Maybe it’s just remembering and reliving the way they once were together, long ago, before life got so complicated. Such a confusing mix of old and new emotions!

When I wrote this scene, I could almost feel Buck’s rugged and warm presence next to me. Remembering some awkward, confused, intimate moments from my own past—trust me, it happened all too often, the awkward, confused moments, that is <eye roll>—I tried to infuse those feelings into Eva’s narrative.

And like so many moments between Eva and Buck, throughout the scene, they’ve got that magnet thing going on … first the magnets are turned so that they oppose one another. Then in a spit second, they’re turned to attract one another. Then they turn again …

And that’s all I’m going to say about that!

~Kelly

Thank you Kelly so much for visiting today. I will be reading and reviewing Cold Pressed Murder soon. 

Cold Pressed Murder (An Olive Grove Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Georgia
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (March 7, 2017)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425277232
Kindle ASIN: B01CZCW4CW

Eva Knox and her quirky Southern family are back in the second in the “intriguing”* culinary mystery series.
 
It’s the pits for the attendees of the annual Farm Family Fare in Abundance, Georgia, when olive oil farmer Eva Knox finds herself in the middle of a murder case…
 
Eva and the residents of Knox Plantation are oozing with excitement over the activities planned for the Farm Family Fare. The weekend event consists of two days of tours, exhibitions, music, tastings, and, most important, cooking demonstrations with celebrity chefs from the Chow Network. The enthusiasm, however, begins to dribble away after one of the star chefs goes missing—and is later found dead in the back of a refrigerated truck.

The scandal gets messier after the police discover that Eva’s sister Daphne spent the night with the victim right before he died, making her the prime suspect for his murder. It’s up to Eva, with the help of her other sister, Pep, and her best friend, Precious, to track down the real killer before Daphne finds herself squeezed into handcuffs…

INCLUDES RECIPES!

About The Author

Kelly Lane lives on a farm near Charlottesville, Virginia. In addition to her work as editor and “slush pile reader” for a prominent literary agent, she has penned as a copywriter, journalist, and worked as a business writer, editor, and public relations consultant for Fortune 500 companies. Set on an olive plantation in Southern Georgia, ONE FOOT IN THE GROVE and COLD PRESSED MURDER are the first two books in Kelly Lane’s OLIVE GROVE MYSTERY series published by Berkley Prime Crime. Each book includes original recipes inspired by dishes in the story.

Find out more about Kelly Lane at her webpage here


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Mar 112017
 


I am so happy to have Linda here for a visit today!

I love this picture of Linda!

 

Roux the Day
By Linda Wiken

(Post provided by publicist.)

Ask me how much fun it is to kill people and to eat fab food! But believe me, it is not for the feint of heart. We can all handle the murder part because what’s a cozy mystery without some (off screen) bloodshed?  But writing a culinary mystery adds another ingredient – food stress. Believe me.

It’s great fun plotting a new book. By the time I started this second one in the Dinner Club Mysteries, Roux the Day, the characters were my old friends. The task is finding ways to make sure readers feel that way too, while knowing these characters must face challenges that will in some way change them or the way they look at the world. Without losing the friendship of readers.

The setting, Half Moon Bay, a quaint village-like community in Burlington, VT remains the same for each book. Although this time the body is found at a fundraising Casino Boat event, miles from shore, cruising on Champlain Lake. The victim is TV personality Miranda Myers and her co-emcee, Connor Mac, shares a past and an argument with her. Now he’s disappeared and tops the suspect list, with J.J. a close second. It’s up to J.J. and fellow foodies, the Culinary Capers Dinner Club, to find him, and the real killer.

Nothing goes better with a mystery than a touch of romance and I find that Private Investigator Ty Devine is just the guy to provide it.  The friction between Ty and J.J. is as much attraction as contrariness. Of course, other characters need some of this, too…so stay tuned.

Now, back to that other ingredient. Unless the writer of culinary mysteries possesses a high metabolism, weight gain is assured. How could it not be, with all those tempting cookbooks filled with enticing photos; those recipes that need to be tested and which appear at the end of each book; and, don’t forget the occasional snacking while thinking up food descriptions. Yum.

For an added treat, the cookbook chosen by the Culinary Capers Dinner Club in Roux the Day is the Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. And, three of the recipes – from Sara Paretsky, Lisa King, and Cathy Pickens — are reprinted, with permission, at the back of Roux the Day.

So, grab your favorite comfort food and curl up with Roux the Day. Food and a mystery – an unbeatable recipe for pleasure.

~Linda

Thank you Linda for stopping by today!


Roux the Day (A Dinner Club Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Vermont
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Release Date – March 7, 2017
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425278222
Kindle ASIN: B01KGZVQK6

In the latest mystery from the author of Toasting Up Trouble, the Culinary Capers dinner club is back in business when a charity casino event makes a real killing…

Event planner Jennifer “J.J.” Tanner is planning a cruise ship casino night—and she’s really going overboard. She even arranged for radio DJ Connor Mac and TV personality Miranda Myers to help the good times roll. But the party comes to a screeching halt when Miranda is found dead on the main deck…

With a boatload of suspects, the police focus in on J.J., who, though recently linked with Connor, never knew he was once engaged—to Miranda. With Half Moon Bay’s gossip mill running full tilt, J.J. turns to her fellow dinner club members to help fish for clues and keep herself out of hot water…

INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES

I will be reviewing this one soon! 

About The Author

Linda Wiken is a former mystery bookstore owner and a short story writer. The first in her new Dinner Club Mystery series, TOASTING UP TROUBLE, debuts in July, 2016. In a parallel life writes the Ashton Corners Book Club Mysteries, as Erika Chase. She is a member of those dangerous dames, The Ladies’ Killing Circle. She has been short-listed for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel, and an Arthur Ellis Award, Best Short Story, from Crime Writers of Canada. She admits to a passion for choral singing, chocolate and Siamese cats!

Written  as Erika Chase


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.

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

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Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Mar 092017
 

Purr M For Murder
by T.C. LoTempio

Starting Out as a Writer – Five Things You Should Know
by Toni LoTempio

One thing I hear a lot from new writers is what to expect, particularly if they are lucky enough to land an agent and even luckier to get offered a publishing contract.  Here are some points every writer should know:

#1: Writing is a job, like anything else, and requires commitment.  Whether you’re lucky enough to do it full time, or juggle it with a day job, you’re going to be at that computer at odd hours,on weekends,holidays, etc,  what with deadlines, edits, etc.  Your family and friends won’t understand deadlines or edits or why you seem to be glued to that chair and can’t make Aunt Louise’s 45th wedding anniversary party, but if you want to be successful, it’s vital you invest the time to make it so.  Sadly, the books don’t write themselves – they require time, patience and commitment.

#2: Whether you are traditionally or self-published, I can’t stress enough the importance of online presence.  In order for people to want to buy your book, they’ve got to know who you are and what you have to offer.  Get on Facebook, Twitter,Pinterest, LinkedIn, anywhere you can. Start a blog and begin to grow an audience.  Establish yourself as a writer/author with a good, solid fanbase.  Sales are the bottom line in publishing, and the only way to get sales is to entrench yourself with a solid fanbase. (Kind of like Kirstie Alley on Dancing with the Stars) J

#3:   Also in conjunction with #2 – Promotion is a dirty word, but it’s got to be done.  There’s a fine line between promotion and overkill, so be careful.   Grow your presence, don’t use Facebook, Twitter or your blog solely to self-promote your books.  Make Promotion a part of your online presence, rather than the focal point, or you may lose followers. Readers want to know something about you – your likes,dislikes, etc. It makes you “real” to them.  Out of these online “friendships” grow loyal followers!

#4:   Think before you post. You have opinions, sure, but don’t post anything on any social network about topics that are sure to anger someone. You don’t want to lose readers because you support a different Presidential candidate or on opposite sides of a timely issue, like birth control.  It’s just simpler to keep your views out of the public eye and keep a low profile.

#5:  If you haven’t already, grow a thick skin.  When you put your work out there, it’s only natural some will love it and others will hate it,and still others wont’ care one way or the other.  You’ll get glowing reviews and you’ll get others so bad you’ll want to crawl in a hole and pull it in after you.  Just remember – you can please some of the people some of the time, but not all of them all the time. Different tastes are what make up a world – just live and let live and get concentrating on your next book!

~Toni

Purr M for Murder: A Cat Rescue Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – North Carolina
Crooked Lane Books (March 14, 2017)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683310921
Kindle ASIN: B01N6P3WYP

Sydney McCall left behind an ex-fiancé and a New York advertising job to return home to Deer Park, North Carolina and help her sister, Kat, run the local animal shelter, Friendly Paws. Determined to save the shelter from financial trouble, Sydney and Kat organize a cat café fundraising event at a local coffee shop. Things are looking up until their landlord, Trowbridge Littleton, threatens to shut down the event. When Sydney drops by his art gallery to make peace, she finds Kat–along with Littleton’s dead body.

Local homicide detective Will Worthington–who just happens to be Sydney’s old high school crush–is highly suspicious of the sisters’ involvement. Desperate to clear their names from the suspect list, Sydney pounces on the investigation. With the help of one of the shelter cats, a savvy orange tabby named Toby, Sydney begins poking her nose into other local businesses whose owners may have benefited from Littleton’s death–until the killer notices she’s pawing a little too closely at the truth.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Purr M for Murder is a marvelous start for this new series!

Sydney McCall has come back to Deer Park to help her sister Kat do some major fundraising and promotion for the local animal shelter. Almost everyone is happy about their first scheduled fundraising event. Trowbridge Littleton is making a major fuss and wants the whole thing shutdown. You would think since he is their landlord he would be supportive. The girls make a plan to meet with him and try to convince him the project is a great idea. When Syd arrives at his gallery the next morning she finds Kat already there. She also finds their landlord dead.

Syd gets another surprise when the police show up. One of the detectives is Will Worthington, is her old high school crush. She is not sure if this is a good or a bad thing because his partner clearly thinks the sisters, specifically Kat, is the prime suspect. So with a little assistance of that darling cat on the cover Sydney is pawing around trying to find plenty of alternative suspects and save her sister but she is also putting herself in danger.

I loved everything about this story.  Friendly Paws Animal Shelter , a no-kill shelter, not only has friendly animals but friendly owners and volunteers. Their idea of bringing adoptable cats to a friend’s coffee shop for a pop up event sounds like so much fun. The entire town with the exception of Trowbridge Littleton seems to embrace the idea. But we find he is not a favorite with the community. There are many that are not too upset or surprised that the man is dead. The author gives us an abundance of suspects including his wife, his business partner and all of his tenants. Each character is unique and very enjoyable. They are all believable and the dialogue is spot on.

Now let me tell you about Toby. A handsome orange tabby who is a bit of a wanderer. Kat believes he is searching for his purrfect human companion and she thinks that may be Sydney. His wandering is a bit mysterious as he shows up in some unusual places. By the end of the story we see what a truly fantastic feline he is and if he does find his furr-ever home.

The pace of this book is quick. The mystery is well written and has several surprising twists taking us to a very exciting ending. There are some romantic sparks and funny scenes too. Add in the frisky felines and cuddly canines and you have a cozy mystery the will have you meowing for more. I can’t wait for the next book in this series!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author…..

While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic.  She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – the first volume, MEOW IF ITS MURDER, debuted Dec. 2, 2014. Followed by #2, CLAWS FOR ALARM.   #3, CRIME AND CATNIP, was released in December. She, Rocco and Maxx make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at www.tclotempio.net and www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com

Where to find them:

ROCCO’s blog      Website     Facebook 

Twitter: @RoccoBlogger

Purchase Link:

Amazon  B&N 
Also by T C. LoTempio

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March 8 – Girl Lost In a Book – REVIEW
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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.”

Mar 082017
 


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday.
I am thrilled to welcome back Laura Childs today!
Fetch yourself a cup of tea and enjoy her post.

 

Lori, I am thrilled to be visiting you and all your mystery-minded friends. Pekoe Most Poison, the eighteenth book in the Tea Shop Mystery series was finally released yesterday and I can’t wait for everyone to read it.

Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop along with her tea sommelier and dear friend, Drayton, have been invited to what promises to be one of the highlights of the social season.

Socially prominent Doreen “Dolly” Briggs is a generous supporter of the Heritage Society, a combination of museum and historical society that is very close to Drayton’s heart. So he is delighted when he and Theodosia are invited to Dolly’s “rat tea” a re-enactment of the teas society matrons held decades ago to enhance the awareness of the overwhelming need to rid Charleston of pesky vermin.

When Theodosia and Drayton arrive, the door is opened by someone dressed quite formally in blue velvet waistcoat and shiny black boots, a delightful look except that the outfit is topped with a white velvet rat head. In spite of the lovely table décor of flowers and candlelight, the fact that all the servers are wearing rat heads above their fancy dress outfits takes a bit of getting used to for the guests, but soon the party is in full swing.

Before Dolly introduces her husband Beau to say a few words she requests a fresh pot of Beaus’s favorite Orange Pekoe tea and directs the server, a white headed rat wearing pink livery, to place the teapot on a warmer. As the server reaches in, his arm brushes against a tapered candle which sways and falls, setting a centerpiece ablaze. Fortunately the always quick-witted Theodosia grabs the nearest pot of tea and tosses it, dousing the flames.

The crowd settles down and Beau begins to speak when suddenly he stammers and collapses to the floor. Within a few moments he dies right before everyone’s eyes. And speaking of eyes, even in the midst of calamity, Theodosia notices that the new detective on the case, Pete Riley, has charming blue eyes and a personality to match.

Dolly Briggs is determined to find out exactly what happened to her husband and she has decided that Theodosia, with her fabled reputation for amateur sleuthing, can get the job done. And with Dolly’s donations to Drayton’s beloved Heritage Society at stake, Theodosia agrees to investigate, although Detective Riley may decide she is more of a distraction than a help.

Pekoe Most Poison is a captivating guilty pleasure with a plot that moves at a thriller pace and crescendos to a swift and satisfying finale.

 Much love,

Laura Childs

Thank you Laura for stopping by for a visit today! 

Pekoe Most Poison (A Tea Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
18th in Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (March 7, 2017)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425281680
Kindle – ASIN: B01KGZVXTK

Synopsis

In the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs, Theodosia Browning attends a “Rat Tea,” where the mice will play…at murder.

When Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning is invited by Doreen Briggs, one of Charleston’s most prominent hostesses, to a “Rat Tea,” she is understandably intrigued. As servers dressed in rodent costumes and wearing white gloves offer elegant finger sandwiches and fine teas, Theo learns these parties date back to early twentieth-century Charleston, where the cream of society would sponsor so-called rat teas to promote city rodent control and better public health.

But this party goes from odd to chaotic when a fire starts at one of the tables and Doreen’s entrepreneur husband suddenly goes into convulsions and drops dead. Has his favorite orange pekoe tea been poisoned? Theo smells a rat.

The distraught Doreen soon engages Theo to pursue a discreet inquiry into who might have murdered her husband. As Theo and her tea sommelier review the guest list for suspects, they soon find themselves drawn into a dangerous game of cat and mouse…

INCLUDES RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS

About The Author

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fund raising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:

The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

Laura’s Links:  Webpage – Facebook 

GIVEAWAY
Thanks to the people at Penguin 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.
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Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Mar 062017
 

Pressed to Death
by Kirsten Weiss

Wine and Spirits
By Kirsten Weiss

As a California girl, it seemed natural to set my Paranormal Museum series in wine country. The entire state is wine country, and some of the lesser known spots are – for me at least – the most fun to visit.

They’re also often more affordable than wine tasting in Napa and Sonoma.

However, what I didn’t realize when I started the series, which was conceived as a cozy mystery with “light” paranormal elements, was how the wine culture would take over. Maybe it’s because I know too many people in small California towns whose social life revolves around wineries, wine club members treating the tasting rooms as regular hangouts. And then there’s all the wine talk – the legs on a glass of red wine, the brix, the aromas, even the label collectors. Wine labels must be registered with and approved by the state, so creating a wine label is a much bigger deal than, say creating a book cover.

There’s just a certain magic to a bottle of wine – the alchemical transformation of grape juice into something more. Add to that the mystery of what you’re getting when you uncork that dark bottle. Each harvest and winery produces different flavors, even though the same grape vines are in play.

And weirdly, the older the grape vine, the better the wine seems to become. The grape vines in the Lodi area survived Prohibition, the farmers switching from delivering their grapes to wineries to shipping to home vintners (which was legal during Prohibition). So the region has some marvelous ancient vine Zins with complex flavors.

In Pressed to Death, the action centers around a wine harvest and rival wineries. I had more fun than I should have researching ways to sabotage a winery. In Italy, someone who opened the taps on the massive wine vats and ruined hundreds of thousands of dollars of wine, pouring it onto the floor.

But since harvest time is close to Halloween, there are spirits in the mix as well. In Pressed to Death, a haunted wine press and a century’s old mystery tangle with a modern-day murder. But never fear, no one is actually pressed to death. This is a cozy mystery after all.

Be sure to stop by my website and sign up for the Paranormal Museum’s FREE 5-day Fortune Telling course here:

~Kirsten

 

Pressed to Death (A Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum Mystery)
2nd in Series
Publisher: Midnight Ink (March 8, 2017)
Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738750316
Kindle ASIN: B01FOR0Z7G

Paranormal museum owner Maddie Kosloski thinks she has the perfect paranormal exhibit for the harvest festival—a haunted grape press. But when she’s accused of stealing the press, and her accuser is found murdered, all eyes turn to Maddie.

Maddie knows well the perils of amateur sleuthing and is reluctant to get involved. But her mother insists she investigate. Does her mom have a secret agenda? Or is she somehow connected to the murder?

Facing down danger and her own over-active imagination, Maddie must unearth the killer before she becomes the next ghost to haunt her museum.

KIRSTEN WEISS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kirsten Weiss grew up in San Mateo, California. After getting her MBA, she joined the Peace Corps, starting an international career that took her around the fringes of the defunct USSR and into the Afghan war zone. Her experiences abroad not only gave her glimpses into the darker side of human nature, but also sparked an interest in the effects of mysticism and mythology, and how both are woven into our daily lives.

She writes paranormal mystery and suspense, blending her experiences and imagination to create vivid worlds of magic and mayhem.

Kirsten has never met a dessert she didn’t like, and her guilty pleasures are watching ghost Whisperer re-runs and drinking good wine.

Author Links
Follow her on Twitter @KirstenWeiss, or on her Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/metaphysicaldetective or at her blog at http://kirstenweiss.com
Purchase Links: Amazon  B&N 

Find more books by Kirsten Weiss here.
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Tour Participants

March 6 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW
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Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Mar 012017
 


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am excited to welcome Fran back to Escape with Dollycas!

 

Playing with Words by Fran Stewart 
Guest Post Provided By Publicist

What do I do and where do I go when I want to escape any sort of humdrum? Not that my life is humdrum at all. I can always find something to intrigue me, amuse me, or inspire me. But there are those times when I want to veg out, and I find myself playing with words. Writers do that sort of thing. A lot. At least, this writer does.

Several years ago, for instance, I meant to type the word centimeter, but it came out sentimeter. That made me think about sentiment, sensation, sensible, and so on. At the time I was planning to drive 150 miles to pick up my first beehive.

But anyway, sent words led to scent words, which led to the following list, which I put together later while I sat outside one morning on the back deck next to my two hives, sipping tea, and listening to the songs of my 42,000 tiny yellow and brown-striped girlfriends. Talk about escaping somewhere? I was in heaven, even while I gleefully misspelled each one of these key words:

Scentence: the bedrock of a writer, the way odors are the bedrock of a beehive;

Scentient: really, really smart about figuring things out by paying attention to what they smell like;

Scentillate: the action of making bees curious by wearing a particular perfume;

Scentiment: the warm feeling I get when I recall my dad’s Old Spice aftershave, hoping the bees would have liked it if they could have met him;

Scentimeter: what a worker bee uses to distinguish her hive mates from outsiders;

Scentinal: the guard bee who uses that scentimeter to decide whether or not an incoming bee can be admitted to the hive;

Scentry: another name for the guard bee I just mentioned;

Scentsation: the excitement in the hive when an incoming forager proclaims a new abundant source of nectar and pollen;

Scentsibility: what inspired Jane Austen to write as she sat among the beehives in her family’s garden;

Scententious: what bees and writers shouldn’t “bee.”

Two Scents Worth: what I enjoy putting into conversations and enjoy hearing from others as well. Feel free to put your two scents’ worth into a comment below!

Then I went onto other bee-related words and came up with:

Nectar-grination: flying all around the place to find some flowers that have enough nectar to be interesting.

Queenification: the process of eliminating a weak queen and producing a new one.

Beebreadify: To bring bee bread (a rich mixture of pollen and various liquids) down from the storage cells and feed it to the baby bees.

Cleansi-depoopifi-dumpification: Taking the queen’s waste products away from her and depositing them outside the hive.

Scrubba-dubba-da-deck: What Frannie will have to do next summer after a lot of cleansidepoopifidumpification has been going on.

I ended up using some of the words in both of these lists in the beekeeping blog I wrote for a couple of years, so if you’ve seen them before, please understand I thought they were too good not to be recycled. In the meantime, I continue to play with words every chance I get.

~Fran

Thank you Fran for dropping by today! 

 

A Wee Homicide in the Hotel
(A ScotShop Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Vermont
A Berkley Prime Mystery
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Release Date – February 7, 2017
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425270332
ASIN: B01E4WAGIU
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The national bestselling author of A Wee Dose of Death returns to Hamelin, Vermont, where Peggy Winn, owner of a Scottish-themed shop, is spectator to caber tossing, sword dancing, and just a spot of murder…
 
Hamelin is overflowing with tourists enjoying the Scottish-themed games—and most of them are donning tartans from Peggy Winn’s ScotShop. And her fourteenth-century ghostly companion, Dirk, has been indispensable, keeping an eye out for shoplifters and matching customers’ family names to their clan plaid.

Adding to the chaos is Big Willie, a longtime champion of the games, but not everyone is happy to have him in town. So when he misses the first event of the weekend, Peggy senses something is awry. After Willie is discovered dead in his hotel room, the victim of a bagpipe-related crime, Peggy decides it’s up to her and Dirk to suss out a murderer.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Nothing puts a damper on a festival quicker that a murder especially when  it is a long time champion of the Hamelin Highland Festival that is found dead in his hotel room. Peggy was just getting to know the man and finding his body was so traumatic. She starts her own investigation with her handsome ghost’s assistance. To add to the excitement the town in crawling  with Secret Service. It appears the President wants drop in for a visit.

This story has a slow build as we get to know some new characters, especially Big Willie, the former champion who is killed and his Scottie Silla. Big Willie’s body is found about halfway into the story and the pace picks up considerably. There are two plots that converge along with another subplot to keep us turning those pages.

Ms. Stewart brings humor to this story with Peggy still explaining current time expressions and things to Dirk as he struggles with the ways of modern times. She does trust him more to go off by himself and they are learning to work together. She keeps his speech and its patterns true to his Scottish 14th century time. This was a bit frustrating for me in the first book but now it is natural for me to read. I can even hear the lilt in his voice. The author also tells a bit of the story from Scottie Silla’s point of view. Touched my heart as a pet mourned the lost of her companion.

As always the majority of the story takes place in or close by to out protag’s ScotShop. I can picture the store very clearly in my mind. Peggy also has a tent selling ties and scarves at the festival. I need to give a little shout out to Jessie Reisch for the amazing cover art for this book. Those two adorable Scotties with the festival grounds take me right into the story.

These characters have warmed my heart. Cozy lovers will love Peggy and Dirk. I suggest reading the series in order though so you don’t miss a minute.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Fran is the author of fourteen books, including the Biscuit McKee mystery series and the ScotShop mysteries, as well as A SLAYING SONG TONIGHT and FROM THE TIP OF MY PEN: a workbook for writers. When she isn’t writing or otherwise playing/working with words, she loves to read, sing, knit, garden, put jigsaw puzzles together, and volunteer in her grandchildren’s school library. She lives and writes quietly beside a creek on the other side of Hog Mountain, Georgia, after having moved repeatedly from her birth through her fourth decade. The small fictional towns she writes about embody the hometown she always wanted—except for the murders.

To find out more about Fran Stewart and her books on her webpage here

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.

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

Leave A Comment for Fran Stewart for 5 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 March 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.”

Feb 222017
 


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am excited to have Krista Davis drop by today!
Her new book Mission Impawsible was released February 7!

Dating with Pets

(Post provided by publicist)

Let’s face it, dating is tough. I know I’m not the queen of bad dates, but I have had my share.

Like the guy who took me to a fast food place, paid with coupons, and stared at my tray like there was something he coveted. My coupon! I have no problem with saving money. But when he told me how he was avoiding payment of his personal property taxes, I was appalled. He took being frugal to an illegal level! Definitely not the guy for me.

A matchmaking event is going on in MISSION IMPAWSIBLE. It’s a little different because people are invited to bring their furry friends with them to help them make matches. Believe it or not, there’s a certain logic to that. How many times have you struck up a conversation with a total stranger because of his or her dog or cat? Animals help break the ice and give us something to talk about.

As I was writing, I began to wonder what attracts us to our mates. It turns out that it’s quite complex. The second we meet someone, all kinds of things start happening in our brains. Not only are we consciously assessing them, but our brains are taking in all kinds of information of which we’re not aware. For instance, we’re smelling them! The scents of potential mates are being processed by our brains.

Animal lovers have additional hurdles to cross. In a survey by Rover.com, 61% of respondents said they would end a relationship because of a pet. There’s no way I would give up one of my furry friends, so I understand that completely. A guy who didn’t love dogs and cats would be out of contention immediately!

And it gets worse. 45% of people spend more money on their pets than on their partners! We cat and dog people are truly devoted. But that’s not news to us, is it?

So maybe having a matchmaking event with dogs and cats isn’t such a bad idea. Not only can Fluffy and Fido assess potential partners (a few well placed hisses and growls, perhaps?) but their people would know they were meeting others who share their passion for their pets.
~Krista

 


Mission Impawsible
(A Paws & Claws Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Virginia
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Release Date – (February 7, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1101988565
Kindle ASIN: B01FEY5DQC
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Murder Most Howl comes the fourth Paws & Claws mystery…

In the pet-friendly town of Wagtail, Virginia, there’s no love lost when Holly Miller meets her match in a murderer…
 
Holly and her grandmother, Oma, are working their tails off to prepare the Sugar Maple Inn for an upcoming matchmaking event for pet owners. While Holly has no interest in pairing up, Oma plans on playing Cupid and finding someone to warm her reluctant granddaughter’s heart.

Unfortunately, one man Holly does meet is cold—dead cold—and he has a personal letter from Oma in his pocket. As suspicion is cast over the inn’s guests, Holly—with the help of her furry friends, Trixie the Jack Russell and Twinkletoes the cat—must fetch the real killer, or she may soon have a date in court.

Delicious recipes for owners and pets included!  

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The Sugar Maple Inn is hosting a matchmaking event – Animals Attraction, for pet owners. They have brought in their own matchmaker to pair up couples based on a very pet based questionnaire.

 Where you cat or dog sleeps says much about you and who your mate should be.

As if running the event isn’t enough to keep Holly on her toes, her grandmother has secretly filled out a form for her. Her ex surprises her by showing up too. No, they were not matched together. 🙂 But while out walking with her match Trixie, her Jack Russell terrier, sniffs out another body. A man that just happens to have a personal letter in his pocket a letter from her grandmother. So while Wagtail is overflowing with cats, dogs, and the people who love them trying to find Mr. or Ms. Right, there is also a murderer on the loose. Hopefully the police with Holly’s “help” will catch them soon so some of the couples can begin their happily ever afters.

I want to move to Wagtail as soon as possible. Yes, they have had a little crime wave of late but it sounds like the purrfect place to me. Restaurants, stores, hotels all allow pets to come right in with their people. The restaurants even have special pet menus. Krista Davis has created a wonderful place.

There are several new characters introduced as The Sugar Maple Inn’s guests arrive and each of them is accompanied by their pet or one loaned to them by the local, If The Dog Fits program. Not everyone is there to be matched up though, there are 2 moms spying on their daughters to make sure they make good matches. This makes for some funny moments until their daughters find out. The pets also bring their own type of humor to the story. Whether human, canine, or feline, the characters are so well written and unique. It was a pleasure to meet or revisit each and every one.

As for the mystery, I was drawn in immediately and it was pretty complicated too. I was totally in the dark until the final reveal. I had theories but they were all debunked as new clues were uncovered. This is how I love my cozies, the ones that keep you guessing from start to finish. Ms. Davis is a wonderful storyteller.

Love and murder is in the air in Wagtail, Virginia and I recommend you read all about it as soon as possible!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author 

New York Times Bestselling author Krista Davis writes the Paws and Claws Mysteries set on fictional Wagtail Mountain, a resort where people vacation with their pets. Her 4th Paws and Claws Mystery is MISSION IMPAWSIBLE, which releases on February 7th. Krista also writes the Domestic Diva Mysteries. Like her characters, Krista has a soft spot for cats, dogs, and sweets. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with three dogs and two cats.

Webpage  Facebook   Pinterest

Mystery Lovers Kitchen    Twitter    Killer Characters

Not a Creature Was Purring (A Paws & Claws Mystery)
Coming November 7, 2017.

GIVEAWAY
 Thanks to the people at Penguin 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.

Leave a comment for Krista for 5 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 March 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.”

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
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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  mailing address.

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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.”

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.”

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