Mar 272015
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to a Special Edition of Cozy Wednesday!

This post was supposed to appear on March 18.
I loved this book and am so glad to have Diana here for a visit.

diana

Q and A with Diana Orgain

What am I working on/writing?
I am working on the second book in my Reality TV series (A SECOND CHANCE FOR MURDER) which be released next spring. The first book in the series; A First Date with Death: A Love or Money Mystery is available now. Here’s the awesome blurb that those wickedly talented copywriters at Berkley came up with:

When broken-hearted Georgia Thornton goes looking for romance on reality TV, she has nothing to lose. Apart from a good man, a cash prize, and maybe her life.

What was Georgia thinking? Sure, some cad ditched her at the altar, but can she really find love on TV? Her best friend—and producer of the reality show Love or Money—thinks so. Ten men. Ten adventure-filled dates. What can go wrong? For starters, a faulty bungee cord that hurls Georgia’s first date into a tragic spiral off the Golden Gate Bridge.

Just as unexpected: he’s replaced by Paul Sanders, Georgia’s former fiancé. But the cop isn’t looking for a TV gig. Suspecting that the lover’s leap was no accident, Paul’s going undercover. When another bachelor gets a fatal kiss-off, the reality is that someone has killer new plans for the show—and for Georgia herself. Now, under the threat of permanent cancellation, Georgia fears that the only man on the set she can trust is the one man she just can’t count on…

FIRST DATE WITH DEATHHow does my writing/work differ from others in its genre?
I have a M.F.A in playwriting and one of my favorite professors used to say, “No laughter for the playwright, no laughter for the audience. No tears for the playwright, no tears for the audience.” What I took that to mean was that the journey on the page had to be real for me with real emotions otherwise, there’s no way that an audience (or reader) will get that emotional journey. That’s what writing is all about for me. A way to share myself on the page with others. Growing up, my dad would always quote Hemingway, “There is no friend as loyal as a book.” That’s my goal with writing: I want my books to be a friends to my readers, to be there in their time or need, or when they need a distraction or just a laugh.

Why do I write what I do?
Growing up I devoured Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Agatha Christie and Mary Higgins Clark – I love a great whodunit and if you add a little suspense in there all the better. The tagline for writing is “Come in the for cozy- stay for the thrill of it!”

How does my writing process work?
I do every process imaginable. When one isn’t working I move to the next. Right now I’m on a long-hand writing kick. I LOVE filing my notebook with my characters – it flows so easily – the tricky part is converting it into text, but for the wonders of technology- I hear the iPad has a great app for that. Sometimes I use voice dictation (especially when I get tired of typing up my hand written notes). But usually, mostly I sit (or stand – I have one of those convertible desks) and power through my first draft on the keyboard. I like to write all the way through the draft before editing, but sometimes, I have to go and fix things before I move forward.

About the Author
Diana Orgain is the author of the Maternal Instincts Mysteries and coauthor of Gilt Trip with Laura Childs in the New York Times bestselling Scrapbooking Mysteries. She holds a B.A and M.F.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University with a minor in acting. Diana has acted professionally both on stage and in national commercials. She’s written several plays, which were produced at San Francisco State University, GreenHouse Productions, and PlayGround. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and three children. Visit her at www.dianaorgain.com.

FIRST DATE WITH DEATHFIRST DATE WITH DEATH
Series: A Love or Money Mystery (Book 1)
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Setting: California
Release Date: March 3, 2015
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Bill Bruning
Cover Design by Danielle Abbiate
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425271681
E-Book ASIN: B00LMGK49I
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When brokenhearted Georgia Thornton goes looking for romance on reality TV, she has nothing to lose—apart from a good man, a cash prize, and maybe her life…

What was Georgia thinking? Sure, some cad ditched her at the altar, but can she really find love on TV? Her best friend—and producer of the reality show Love or Money—thinks so. Ten men. Ten adventure-filled dates. What can go wrong? For starters, a faulty bungee cord that hurls Georgia’s first date into a tragic spiral off the Golden Gate Bridge.

He’s replaced by Paul Sanders, Georgia’s former fiancé. But the cop isn’t looking for a TV gig. Suspecting that the lover’s leap was no accident, Paul’s going undercover. When another bachelor gets a fatal kiss-off, the reality is that someone has killer new plans for the show—and for Georgia herself. Now, under the threat of permanent cancellation, Georgia fears that the only man on the set she can trust is the one man she just can’t count on…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Fans of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette this is the cozy for you. It has an added twist, not all the contestants are searching for love, half of them are trying to win money. Things start to go wrong on the very first date and one of the suitors is killed. Not everyone believes it was an accident and that brings Georgia’s former love to the show, he is a cop and he is going undercover. Then another bachelor dies and and reality television gets even more real as the show must go on. Georgia doesn’t know who to trust but she knows she must find the killer before the final glass of champagne is poured.

I loved this story and I am really interested in seeing how the author continues this series. Georgia was the bachelorette and her turn on Love or Money is complete. I really liked her spunk. She is smart and courageous enough to put herself on national television to find love and track down a killer too.

This story flows really well. The characters are fleshed out and easy to picture and get to know. I found myself rooting for more than one of the bachelors and not only following the clues to find out the killer but who was in it for love and who was in it just for the money.

I really enjoy where Diana Orgain takes us in this story. Not your typical theme for a cozy mystery, it is new and fresh and a lot of fun to read. I am anxiously awaiting the next installment to see where she takes us next.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

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.

Following the new Google+ Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Fan Page
will earn you 3 Bonus Entries.

Leave a comment for Diana 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 April 10, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners 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.”

Mar 252015
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640
Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am trying really hard playing catch up but am
behind in my reading so I thought today it would be fun just to do a giveaway!!

In the USA Today bestselling Needlecraft Mysteries, Betsy Devonshire, owner of the Crewel World needlework shop, knows how to untangle even the most knotty of mysteries. But a soggy murder case might have Betsy in over her head…

Even though running Crewel World keeps Betsy plenty busy, a little extra cash on the side doesn’t hurt. So when the local senior complex, Watered Silk, asks her to teach a class on the tricky punch needle technique, Betsy jumps at the opportunity to win over some new customers.

Unfortunately, the business that Betsy drums up is not of the needlework variety. A young woman is found floating in Watered Silk’s therapy pool, and Betsy’s sleuthing skills are immediately called upon to figure out who drowned her. But the list of suspects is more twisted than any Betsy has encountered before. The young woman had three lovers—each with a motive for the murder.

It’s up to Betsy to sort out the snarl of romantic entanglements and find a killer, or the wrong man is bound to get pinned for a crime he didn’t commit…

FREE EMBROIDERY PATTERN INCLUDED

GIVEAWAY
I have 2 paperback 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.

Following the new Google+ Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Fan Page
will earn you 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 April 8, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners 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

Mar 142015
 

night of the white buffalo
Night of the White Buffalo
(A Wind River Mystery)

18th in Series
A Berkley Prime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425264652
E-Book ASIN: B00IOE3NG2
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New York Times bestselling author Margaret Coel returns to the Wind River Reservation with Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden and Father John O’Malley investigating a mystery overshadowed by a mythological miracle…

A mysterious penitent confesses to murder, and then flees the confessional before Father John can identify him. Two months later, Vicky discovers rancher Dennis Carey shot dead in his truck along Blue Sky Highway. With the tragic news comes the exposure of an astonishing secret: the most sacred creature in Native American mythology, a white buffalo calf, was recently born on Carey’s ranch.

The miraculous animal draws a flood of pilgrims to the reservation, frustrating Vicky and Father John’s already difficult investigation as they try to unravel the strange events surrounding both Carey’s murder and the recent disappearances of three cowboys from his ranch.

It could be coincidence, given a cowboy’s nomadic life, but Vicky doesn’t believe in coincidences. And at the back of Father John’s mind is the voice from the man in the confessional: I killed a man…

About This Author

Margaret Coel is the author of four nonfiction books and many articles on the people and places of the American West. Her work has won national and regional awards. Her first John O’Malley mystery, The Eagle Catcher, was a national bestseller, garnering excellent reviews from the Denver Post, Tony Hillerman, Jean Hager, Loren D. Estleman, Stephen White, Earlene Fowler, Ann Ripley and other top writers in the field. A native of Colorado, she resides in Boulder. Find out more on her webpage here.


GIVEAWAYI have one Hardcover 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.

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

Following the new Google+ Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Fan Page
will earn you 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 March 28, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners 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

Mar 092015
 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

This great meme is hosted by Sheila at
Book Journey”.
It’s a great way to start the week and
find out what other bloggers are reading.
My To-Be-Read pile has grown to an
unbelievable number thanks to this meme.

Happy Monday Everyone!

FINISHED

Flamenco, Flan, and Fatalities (A Happy Hoofers Mystery Book 2)

Release Date: February 24, 2015
The Flamencos, Flan and Fatalities Great Escapes Book Tour stops here on Friday!
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Flash and Dazzle

Release Date: November 5, 2013
For Review
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Deadlines: A Written to Death Mystery (Written to Death Mysteries Book 1)

Release Date: October 31, 2014
E. Hepner will be my guest for Cozy Wednesday next week!
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The Mad Catter (Whales and Tails Mystery Book 2)

Release Date: February 1, 2015
For Review
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ON DECK THIS WEEK

Dying for a Cupcake: A Devereaux’s Dime Store Mystery


Release Date: March 3, 2015
Denise is my Special Guest this Friday!
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The Stranger

Release Date: March 24, 2015
For Review
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A First Date with Death (A Love or Money Mystery)

Release Date: March 3, 2015
Diana will be my guest next week for Cozy Wednesday!
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escape

Click Here To See All My Current Giveaways!!

Happy Reading!!!
Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Mar 042015
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so happy that Laura Bradford is visiting today. Shunned and Dangerous made my Best Reads of 2014 list, Hearse and Buggy won the Best New Cozy Series Ribbon in 2012, and I gave Assaulted Pretzel 5 Starfish too! I love this series!!

buggy1 - laura

The Chill That Started It All
By Laura Bradford

Nineteen years ago, Sadie Lehman simply up and disappeared during her Rumspringa in the Amish community of Heavenly, Pennsylvania. Led to believe her daughter had gotten caught up in the English world by the girl’s peers, Waneta clung to hope that one day Sadie would come back.

Yet while Waneta prayed for a reunion, Sadie’s friends hoped for something very different—that Sadie’s body would never be discovered.

It’s funny how an entire story can grow from just one thought, but that’s exactly how the plot for Suspendered Sentence (the 4th book in my Amish Mysteries) was born—on that very premise I just shared with you.

And from that one thought, came consternation (how could Sadie’s friends say nothing for nineteen long years?), anger (Waneta was left to hope for something that would never be!), a quest for answers (how did Sadie die?), and a desire for justice (for Sadie, for Waneta, and for…well, I’ll let you read the book to find that out).

I love it when a plot line fires me up the way this one did. I love the way my research of the law for this particular crime left me stunned. And I love the way those two emotions came together into a story that ends up affecting the lives of so many people in Heavenly. In fact, it’s safe to say, that some lives in this quiet, picturesque community will never be the same.

Because of a secret…

A secret that didn’t need to be kept…

A secret that ultimately cost someone their life, and another person their wife

Honestly, I’m getting goose bumps just thinking about this story all over again. So if you’ve been waiting to try one of my Amish Mysteries, I hope you give Suspendered Sentence a try.  If you’re already a fan of the series, then fasten your cozy seatbelt and enjoy the ride!

~Laura

 About This Author

Laura Bradford is the national bestselling author of the Amish Mysteries. The fourth book in the series, Suspendered Sentence, just released. You can learn more about Laura and her books by visiting her website: www.laurabradford.com.  Laura is also on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/laurabradfordauthor, and occasionally tweets @bradfordauthor.

cover suspendered sentence
Suspendered Sentence
(An Amish Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Pensylvania
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (March 3, 2015)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher
Cover Design by Sarah Oberrender
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425273029
E-Book ASIN: B00LMGK6L4
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

The national bestselling author of Shunned and Dangerous returns to the Amish community of Heavenly, Pennsylvania, where shop owner Claire Weatherly has come to appreciate a simpler, more peaceful way of life. But dark secrets are about to complicate things—and lead to murder…

After the Stoltzfus barn catches fire, Claire is awed by the response of the community. Hundreds of Amish men gather together to raise a new barn for the family in a matter of days. But in the midst of the work, a human skeleton is unearthed. Found with the remains is half of a friendship bracelet last seen on Sadie Lehman, an Amish teen long believed to have left her strict upbringing for the allure of English ways.

Now Detective Jakob Fisher—once a member of the Amish community himself—is determined to solve the young woman’s murder. With Claire’s help, he must dig into the past and bring to light long-buried secrets—secrets that someone is willing to kill to protect…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Laura Bradford continues top herself again and again.

In this story Clare is awed by the Amish community as the all turn out to replace a barn in just a few days. I am in awe of the way Bradford makes these characters so real, so genuine, so inspiring and heartwarming. The Amish community is rocked when a the remains of a girl are found. You can’t help grieving for her parents. Claire and Jakob try so hard to figure out what happened and it takes them right into the heart of the community that has shunned Jakob.

The author continues to go delve into a culture most people don’t know much about and she does it in almost a loving way. Like her character Claire she is looking in from the outside and her fascination shines through each and every page.

Like all of her stories the mystery is thought out and well plotted. The reader almost hangs on every word. The twists this time are take a very troubling path and to me were heart wrenching. My emotions ran the gambit. That to me that is the true determination of a great story.  I was moved by this story and it will stick with me.

In addition to the main plot there is also a subplot where Jakob and Claire are exploring or starting more of a romantic relationship. I was delighted by this.

Suspendered Sentence can be read as a stand alone by why deprive yourself from the reading this fantastic series from the start. This one will be on my Best Reads of 2015 list like Shunned and Dangerous was a Best Read last year. Every book in this series is outstanding!

 paradise5 STARFISH5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

GIVEAWAYBecause Mary is the Fan of the Month she gets a copy of this book!

I have my review copy yet to giveaway!

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.

Following the new Google+ Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Fan Page
will earn you 3 Bonus Entries.

Leave a comment for Laura 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 18, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners 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.”

Mar 032015
 

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY 2014

New Release Tuesday – February 2015

These wonderful books are available today
wherever fine books are sold.
Click on the book covers below to order from Amazon.com

Suspendered Sentence (An Amish Mystery)

Laura Bradford will be here tomorrow for Cozy Wednesday!
She is also touring with Great Escapes!

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Dying For a Cupcake: A Devereaux’s Dime Store Mystery

Denise will be my Special Guest March 13!
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Denise also had a Romance Novel come out yesterday!
Good Girl Overboard

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A First Date with Death (A Love or Money Mystery)

Diana Orgain will Be my guest for Cozy Wednesday on March 18!
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Ladle to the Grave (A Soup Lover’s Mystery)

Connie Archer will be my Special Guest on March 20!
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How to Catch a Cat (Cats and Curios Mystery)

Rebecca M. Hale will be my Cozy Wednesday guest on March 25!
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More Books Out Today!

Out March 10 and touring with Great Escapes Book Tours!
Quicksand (A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery) (Volume 3)

The Icing on the Corpse (A Pawsitively Organic Mystery)

Release Date – March 31
Great Escapes Tour starts March 9!!

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Out Later This Month!

I am an Amazon Associate so purchases made at Amazon.com originating from my
blog earn me a small commission which I use for giveaway prizes.

HAPPY READING EVERYONE!!

 

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Feb 282015
 

murder ties the knot
Murder Ties the Knot
(Haunted Souvenir Shop)

4th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Florida
Release Date – March 3, 2015
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425279243
E-Book ASIN: B00LMGLYGA
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A Haunted Souvenir Shop Mystery from the author of Murder Sends a Postcard–featuring Down-Home Dinner Menus.

It’s winter in Keyhole Bay, Florida, and while the tourist trade is slow, souvenir shop owner Glory Martine is busy with her best friend’s wedding. But between managing preparations, the bride’s in-laws, and a haunted parrot named Bluebeard, Glory makes plans to catch a killer.

As her friends Karen and Riley approach their wedding day, Glory could use a break from the nuptial madness. She takes a peaceful drive to Alabama’s piney woods to pick up the wedding quilt she ordered from a supplier. But the supplier, Beth, has disappeared along with the quilt and her husband, Everett.

Glory learns that two men were found murdered near Beth and Everett’s home and that the couple is wanted for questioning. Believing they are innocent, Glory convinces them to cooperate with authorities. But when they’re thrown in jail, Glory vows to catch the real killer before one happy couple walks down the aisle and another gets sent up the river.

About this Author

Christy Fifield is pseudonym for Christy Evans.

Christy Evans is a mystery pseudonym used by northwest writer Christina F. York.

Chris/Christy also writes under other names, including her own and Christy Fifield, depending on the genre and series. Chris has never met a genre she doesn’t like, and has published mystery, romance, adventure, fantasy and science fiction.

Mystery has always been her favorite though, since her great uncle introduced her to the “Perry Mason” books when she was a child. She read each new book as he finished with it and passed it on. The die was cast, she either had to become a lawyer, or a mystery writer. As fate would have it, mystery writer won.

Chris lives on Oregon’s Pacific shore with her writer-husband J. Steven York and two cats, Oz, and “Bad Agent” Sydney T. Cat.

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the people at Penguin 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.

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

Following the new Google+ Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Fan Page
will earn you 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 March 14, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners 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

Feb 272015
 

special guest blueI am thrilled to welcome Sheila Connolly to Escape With Dollycas today!
The 3rd County Cork Mystery came out this month and
I was so ready to visit Maura and her Irish Pub!

sheila connolly

I’m amazed to find that I’ve been writing for 14 years now, although I didn’t have a published book to hold until 2008. I had no idea what I was doing when I started writing—I just jumped in. But I always knew I wanted to write about Ireland.

The second book I ever completed was a sweet romance set in West Cork. I hadn’t even dabbled in mystery at that point, but it was the setting that came first: a small pub in a small town on the coast in a far corner of the country. The real place was called Connolly’s. It must have been fate, right?

I found it by accident the first time my family and I traveled to Ireland, mainly looking for where my father’s family had come from. We allowed all of one week for that trip, and part of that was spent in Dublin, so we moved fast. I had done enough research to know that my father’s father’s family had come from someplace north of a village called Leap (which it’s pronounced “lep”—it got its name from O’Donovan’s Leap, where one of the head men of the village escaped pursuing Englishmen by urging his horse to leap over a small river there. He and his horse survived, and the village got its name.)

buried in a bog

We rented a car and pulled into the village (one street, population 210) in the pouring rain, late in the afternoon. We hadn’t made reservations, but we found a B&B with a room, and ate dinner at the local hotel. And when we made our way to the main road the next (sunny!) morning, there was the pub, across the road. Of course we went over and introduced ourselves, and I’ve been going back ever since.

In Buried In a Bog, the first book in the County Cork series, I used the setting of the pub and the town, and then dipped into all the genealogy I’d done on my own family. Then I threw in a body. Where better to solve mysteries than in a pub, where everyone stops in to talk at one time or another? But there’s one problem with writing murder mysteries set in Ireland: there are very few murders. Worse, for most of those that happen, the local police (or gardai in Irish) have a pretty good idea who did the deed. Not a lot of detective work needed!

ScandalActually, Buried In a Bog involves two murders: one that took place a long ago, and a mugging gone wrong in the present—but they’re connected. The second book, Scandal in Skibbereen, brings an American curator to the corner of the country hunting for a lost painting she isn’t even sure exists, and someone dies. Related? It’s not clear, but it was events in the past that led to the truth about the present death.

AN EARLY WAKEThe third book, An Early Wake, is about music in the pub. When most people say “music” and “Ireland” in the same breath, they’re thinking about the traditional style, the Clancy Brothers and the like, with tin whistles and fiddles. But there’s more to it than that—think about U2 or the Cranberries or more recently, Glen Hansard (who wrote the Academy Award winning song Falling Slowly from Once). Irish music lives on in the modern world—and in West Cork, a lot of it happened at Connolly’s (and, yes, Glen Hansard played there). It’s hard to believe when you look at the place, which has all of two rooms that hold (legally) only 200 people, but it was a major attraction up until the last decade, and people still remember.

And that’s what I wanted to capture in An Early Wake. How did that happen, at that time and in that place? How did the word get out, before the Internet? My protagonist Maura Donovan is struggling to figure out a way to keep the pub she’s inherited in the black, so she lets herself be persuaded to try a night of music bringing together some of the players who’d performed there in the past, because local people who remember the old glory days promise her it can happen again. Unfortunately, one of the former performers dies. And once again, the police have to look at the past and the present to understand the death.

There is always a temptation to write about Ireland as though it is all about men in tweed caps with a foaming pint of Guinness in one hand, spinning stories for friends and tourists alike with a charming brogue, with rainbows overhead and sheep frolicking in the very green meadows. I won’t say that’s not true—now and then. But Ireland is both a modern country (with very real modern problems) and a place with long memories of a less than happy past. I try to weave these together in a way that makes the place come alive, in more than one dimension. So I go and I sit in pubs and I listen, and I talk to strangers, and stories drop into my lap. There’s a bit of magic there.

That’s what I fell in love with, the first time I saw Ireland. That’s why I keep going back, and why I write this series.

~Sheila

Find out all about Sheila and her books on her webpage here.

AN EARLY WAKEAn Early Wake
(A County Cork Mystery)

3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Ireland
Release Date: February 3, 2015
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Daniel Craig
Cover Design by Judith Lagerman
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425252536
E- Book ASIN: B00LMGK6LY
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Pub owner Maura Donovan may have Irish kin, but she doesn’t seem to have the luck of the Irish. Who could have foreseen that bringing live music back to Sullivan’s Pub would lead to a dead musician?

Summer is ending in County Cork, Ireland, and with it the tourist season. Expat Maura Donovan is determined to keep Sullivan’s Pub in the black as the days grow shorter—but how? When she hears that the place was once a hot spot for Irish musicians who’d come play in the back room, she wonders if bringing back live music might be Sullivan’s salvation.

As word gets out, legendary musicians begin to appear at the pub, and the first impromptu jam session brings in scores of music lovers. But things hit a sour note when Maura finds a dead musician in the back room the next morning. With a slew of potential suspects, it’s going to take more than a pint and a good think to force a murderer to face the music.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

With this 3rd installment Maura realizes she has just been going through the motions of owning her pub. She doesn’t know if she is going to be able to keep it open now that the tourists are gone. She voices her concerns to her friend Bridget who assures her things will work out. When a college student comes around telling her the pub was a place musicians used to come just to “jam” she is totally taken by surprise. But Billy, resident historian and storyteller confirms it to be true and even gets word out that musicians are again welcome and they really start to show up she realizes Bridget was right. Then one of the musicians dead in the back room. Maura realizes the music may have died with him.

The author took a different approach to this mystery. There was so much discussion and build up of the music and musicians from years gone by that I suddenly realized that I was 100 pages into the story and we didn’t have a murder yet. I was caught up in the history so that wasn’t a bad thing, just unusual for a cozy mystery. In fact I was prepared for the murder to be more of a subplot which I feel it turned out to be. Maura’s journey was the main plot, life running the pub she inherited, her relationships with Billy, Mick, Rose, Bridget, Jimmy and Sean. Is there more romance ahead? and with who?, and realizing she is starting to finally be accepted by the people of Leap. I enjoyed this.

There was the drama of the dead musician and finding out why he died and excitement as things played out but to me it wrapped up pretty quickly.

I do love these characters and was quite surprised by the direction the author is taking some of them. I am sad that I have to wait a year to find out what happens. She teases us nicely at the end so wait we will, until out next trip to County Cork.

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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.

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Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
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Contest Will End March 13, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
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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 252015
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am so happy to have former Wisconsinite Mary Ellen Hughes drop by for a visit!

Mary Ellen Hughes author pic

My Ten Favorite Things about Writing License to Dill

Starting a new series is always exciting, but it’s also plenty of hard, intensive work. There’s so many decisions to make, such as where to set it, who your characters will be, their relationships, and so on, which is what I went through with The Pickled Piper, book #1 of my Pickled and Preserved mystery series. After careful thought, I chose upstate New York as my setting and named my fictional town Cloverdale. I sent my twenty-nine year old principal character, Piper Lamb, there from Albany after she ended her going-nowhere engagement. And I put Piper’s Aunt Judy and Uncle Frank on a nearby farm, gave Piper a great assistant for her pickling shop, and introduced Piper to Will, a handsome Christmas tree farmer. So all the important decisions were made with book #1.

Book #2, License to Dill, by comparison, turned out to be a breeze. Everything was set up and ready to go! All I needed to do was write the mystery (“all” she added, laughingly). But having already done the ground work, I could now relax and focus on the plot, which became the first of my…

Ten Favorite Things About Writing License to Dill :
1. My characters, after a couple of weeks of rest, were super-eager for action. They practically snatched the pages from me to get back to work.

2. Piper and her new boyfriend, Will, had progressed beyond the awkward getting-to-know-you stage and were pretty happy and comfortable with each other.

3. Of course, I couldn’t let that continue, so I brought Piper’s ex-fiancé, Scott, back from his travels, and he decided to settle in Cloverdale. (Uh-oh.)

4. I imported an entire soccer team of handsome young men from Italy to challenge Cloverdale’s All-Stars, which meant writing exciting soccer scenes. I now understand the game much better!

5. The Italian team’s coach and manager occasionally spoke Italian. With the help of a Italian-born friend, I learned several useful Italian phrases and sometimes found myself writing with an Italian accent!

6. Since a dill field figures importantly in the murder, I learned—and shared in the book—quite a bit about growing and using fresh dill. I could practically smell that wonderful weed as I typed.

7. Since Piper makes all the pickles and preserves for her shop herself (with the help of her assistant, Amy), I kept various pickles on hand, because writing pickling scenes was sure to bring on a craving.

8. Piper spends plenty of time with her Aunt Judy and Uncle Frank at their farm. Whenever Piper drove up, Jack, their mixed-breed dog went crazy with excitement. I, unfortunately, am allergic to dogs, but I could enjoy petting Jack vicariously through Piper—with no sneezes!

9. While looking into the murder, Piper meets several people in the Cloverdale area with new-to-me occupations. I particularly loved writing about the chainsaw sculptor and will have to seriously consider bringing him back some day.

10. After spending months with Piper and all the people of Cloverdale in The Pickled Piper, I became pretty fond of them. (Well, most of them. There was, after all, a murderer in the mix.) But writing License to Dill was like going to a reunion—lots of fun getting reacquainted with everyone. But I do hope they’ve forgiven me by now for what I’ve put them through…

~Mary Ellen

About The Author

Mary Ellen Hughes is the author of the Craft Corner mystery series – WREATH OF DECEPTION, STRING OF LIES, and PAPER-THIN ALIBI – as well as the Maggie Olenski mysteries – RESORT TO MURDER and A TASTE OF DEATH.

She has also authored several short stories, including THE WOMAN ON THE TRAIN, and short mysteries included in the Chesapeake Crimes and Tales from the Backlist anthologies.

A transplanted Wisconsinite, Mary Ellen now lives in Maryland where she is excited to be working on her new Pickled and Preserved mystery series beginning with THE PICKLED PIPER.

license to dillLicense to Dill
(Pickled and Preserved Mystery)

2nd Book in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – New York
Release Date: February 3, 2015
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Chris O’Leary
Cover Design by Karen Oberrender
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425262467
E-Book ASIN: B00NUMIDHC
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Piper Lamb knows how to make fruits and vegetables keep for months. Unfortunately, it’s the people around her who are expiring too soon…

After her fiancé left her, Piper came to Cloverdale to rebuild her life and open up her shop, Piper’s Picklings, to sell pickles and preserves. When her ex decides to drop in for a visit—just as things are heating up between her and a local Christmas tree farmer—Piper finds herself in a jam.

But there are other visitors to worry about…

An Italian soccer team is set to play the Cloverdale All-Stars in an exhibition game. Their manager, Raffaele Conti, was a bitter rival of Piper’s dill supplier, local farmer Gerald Standley. After Conti is found dead in Standley’s field, Piper must work to clear Gerald’s name and find out who relished killing Raffaele before the town is soured by another death.

INCLUDES RECIPES!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I knew that darn Scott was going to be trouble when he appeared in Cloverdale at the end of The Pickled Piper and he is sticking around too, renting an office just down the street from Piper’s store. Piper does her best to fully explain to him their relationship is over, but Scott does not give up. Thankfully Will is a patient man but Scott just keeps popping up everywhere, even at the exhibition soccer game where he wedges himself into the seat closest to Piper. When the manager of the Italian team is killed he even tries to help Piper catch the killer. Piper truly has herself in a pickle as she tries to clear her friend’s name and make it clear to Scott she has moved on.

I love Piper, she is really making herself at home in Cloverdale. She still visits her Uncle Frank and Aunt Judy often but is branching out making new friends and her relationship with Will was moving at a nice pace. She made me laugh out loud several times and caused me to worry about her too as she finds herself in more than a bit of trouble.

Mary Ellen Hughes has given readers a nice treat by adding a few hunky Italian soccer players to the story. The way she tied this into the whole plot is very interesting and gives us a barrel full of suspects.

The story has a wonderful mystery, fun characters, a nice romantic subplot and the perfect amount of humor. I am already looking forward to my next visit to Cloverdale!!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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.

Following the new Google+ Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Fan Page
will earn you 3 Bonus Entries.

Leave a comment for Mary Ellen 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 11, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners 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 212015
 

INSPECTOR SPECTER
Inspector Specter
(A Haunted Guesthouse Mystery)

6th in Series
Paranormal Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Release Date: December 2, 2014
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425269268
E-Book ASIN: B00JJXV3H8
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Just when she thought she’d seen everything…

Detective Lieutenant Anita McElone is one of Harbor Haven’s finest. She’s also a hard-boiled ghost skeptic. So when she shows up on the doorstep of Alison Kerby’s Haunted Guesthouse to ask for supernatural help in solving the murder of her former partner, it’s hard to tell which woman is more flabbergasted. But McElone is dead serious, so Alison promises to help in any way she can—even asking her resident ghosts, Paul and Maxie, for help with the case.

As Paul’s spirit source reveals some troubling information about the deceased detective, Alison wrestles with what to tell McElone. First, though, she has to find her…because the lieutenant has suddenly disappeared.

Find out about E.J. and E.J.’s books here.


GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the people at Penguin 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.

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

Following the new Google+ Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Fan Page
will earn you 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 March 7, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners 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