Mar 172017
 


On Flashback Fridays I will share with you the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.


Grilled For Murder (A Country Store Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Indiana
Kensington (May 31, 2016)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1617739279
Kindle ASIN: B01501H4MK

 

 

Robbie Jordan may have had reservations about the murder victim, but she still needs to turn up the heat on a killer if she wants to keep her new restaurant open for business…

In the charming small town of , Robbie has transformed a rundown country store into the runaway hit Pans ‘N Pancakes. But the most popular destination for miles around can also invite trouble. Erica Shermer may be the widow of handsome local lawyer Jim Shermer’s brother, but she doesn’t appear to be in mourning. At a homecoming party held in Robbie’s store, Erica is alternately obnoxious and flirtatious–even batting her eyelashes at Jim. When Erica turns up dead in the store the next morning, apparently clobbered with cookware, the police suspect Robbie’s friend Phil, who closed up after the party. To clear Phil and calm her customers, Robbie needs to step out from behind the counter and find the real killer in short order…

Includes Recipes for You to Try!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It is getting close to Christmastime in South Lick, Indiana. Robbie Jordan has a welcome home party booked at Pans ‘N Pancakes before she can start decorating.  Erica Shermer is back in South Lick after the death of her husband, but she sure doesn’t seem to be grieving. I completely understand we all grieve in our own way but flirting with her departed husband’s brother and every other man in the room seems just a bit off. When Robbie finds Erica’s very dead body spread out on the floor next to the pickle barrel the next morning she knows right away there could be plenty of suspects. She just never imagined the police would hone in on her friend Phil. It is up to her to find the clues that will send them in another direction or Christmas in South Lick will be far from Merry.

This second installment to this series was a very fast read for me. Ms. Day’s well crafted mystery drew me right in and didn’t let go.

I really like Robbie Jordan and the place she has created with Pans ‘N Pancakes. A gathering place for the community and great comfort cooking too. Robbie is quick and smart and so friendly. She can easily question several people with simple conversation over breakfast. She also passes along what she knows to the police, although she is putting herself in the line of fire when the real murderer sees she is getting to close to the truth. I enjoyed the dialogue between the characters and the bit Indiana – ish way of speaking added a true local feeling.

This mystery moves along at a good clip. Several twists had me truly wondering if the person I wanted to be the guilty party would actually be the guilty party. You will have to read the story to see if I was right.

There was some unexpected drama on the romantic front too. I am anxious to see how it continues to play out in future stories, regarding both parties.

Grilled For Murder is a down home kind of cozy with colorful characters, a comfortable setting and a fun mystery.

I do suggest starting with Flipped for Murder, but the author gives plenty of detail if you start with this one. The 3rd book in the series When the Grits Hit the Fan will be released March 28. I have added it to my reading schedule. 

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Maddie Day is a talented amateur chef and holds a PhD in linguistics from Indiana University. An Agatha Award-nominated author, she is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America and also writes award-winning short crime fiction. She lives with her beau and three cats in Massachusetts.

As Edith Maxwell, she write the Local Foods Mysteries (Kensington Publishing) and the Quaker Midwife Mysteries (Midnight Ink).

You can find all Maddie’s/Edith’s identities at www.edithmaxwell.com. She blogs every week day with the other Wicked Cozy Authors at wickedcozyauthors.com. Look for her as Edith M. Maxwell and Maddie Day on Facebook and @edithmaxwell and @maddiedayauthor on Twitter.


I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy of this book.
Book will be sent directly from Amazon.

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.

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
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Contest Will End March 31, 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.”

Nov 042015
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640
Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am so happy to have Maddie Day 🙂 stop by!

Maxwell

What Makes Flipped for Murder a Cozy?

Thanks for having me over for Cozy Wednesday, Lori! I’m delighted to launch a new Country Store cozy mystery series with Flipped for Murder.  (Yes, I am also Maddie Day.)

So what puts this book, and this series, into the cozy subgenre? So often cozies are defined by what they aren’t: not noir, not dark. Not explicitly violent or sexual. Not laden with obscenities. Cozies, as well as most other “traditional” mysteries, have a village or enclosed setting plus an amateur sleuth with a personal stake in solving the crime. She isn’t paid to do the work of unraveling a mystery, unlike a police officer, FBI agent, or private detective.

flipped for murderCozies are often associated with crafts usually done by women – knitting, quilting, weaving. Most have a lighter tone than other traditional amateur-sleuth mysteries. Lots have recipes at the end, or sprinkled throughout. Many have a hint of romance. Light or not, recipes or not, I agree with Barbara Ross that the most important aspect of cozy mysteries is that justice is done at the end. The world of the village is put to rights again – except for the victim and the villain, of course.

So let’s see where my series fits in. Not noir and no overt violence or sex? Check. A budding romance? Yes. Non-offensive language: of course. Definitely village-based: fictional South Lick has a downtown with Robbie’s country store restaurant, a library, a hardware store, the bank, and some shops, but not much else. And an amateur sleuth – do you know any other chef-carpenters who find murderers? In  Flipped for Murder, Robbie Jordan’s own cheesy biscuit was found stuffed in the mouth of the murder victim, with whom Robbie had had public disagreements. So Robbie has a strong motive to solve the case before she herself lands in jail. Oh, and there are recipes…but no crafts other than cooking. Robbie being a puzzle master doesn’t quite count as a craft.

At the end, justice is definitely served, and all is right in the village – until the next murder, at least. But there are different flavors of cozy mysteries. Several reviews of Flipped for Murder confirm that this isn’t a too-cute-by-half cozy. Several have mentioned that I paint a portrait of real people, not overly eccentric or quirky characters. For this I am grateful – because that was what I was aiming for.

Readers: What do you look for in a cozy? What makes you put one down before you’ve finished reading it? And do you use the recipes in foodie cozies like mine or ignore them?

~Maddie

About The Author

Agatha-nominated and national best-selling author Edith Maxwell writes the Local Foods Mysteries and the Quaker Midwife Mysteries, the Country Store Mysteries (as Maddie Day), and the Lauren Rousseau Mysteries (as Tace Baker), as well as award-winning short crime fiction. Maxwell lives north of Boston with her beau and three cats, and blogs with the other Wicked Cozy Authors. You can also find her at www.edithmaxwell.com, @edithmaxwell, and on Facebook.

Find More Books on her Amazon Author Page.

flipped for murder

Flipped For Murder (Country Store Mystery)
Brand New Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Indiana
Kensington (October 27, 2015)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1617739255
E-Book ASIN: B00TE7O9HK
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

 

Blurb: Flipped for Murder, the first book in the Country Store Mysteries series, was released October 27. The series features Robbie Jordan and Pans ‘N Pancakes, her country store restaurant in fictional South Lick, Indiana. When she remodels the store full of antique cookware and turns it into a local breakfast and lunch establishment, she doesn’t plan to have murder on the menu. But small-town secrets and bitter rivalries put sand in the batter and before Robbie knows it, her new life is a lot more complicated than she had expected.

Everyone in town shows up for the grand re-opening of the store, but when the mayor’s disagreeable assistant is found dead, Robbie realizes that not all press is good press. With all eyes on her, she’ll have to summon her puzzle-solving skills to clear her name, unscramble the town’s darkest secrets, and track down a cold-blooded killer–before she’s the next to die…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Maddie Day has given this series a fine start.

Robbie Jordan is a woman of many talents, business owner, cook, carpenter, and now amateur sleuth. She opens her country store/restaurant with a fabulous turnout only the whole thing put into jeopardy when someone kills the witchy assistant to the mayor and sets up Robbie to take the fall. She doesn’t “flip” out but she does her best to flatten the killer and ride her bike off into the sunset. Not quite how it happens though 🙂

I liked Robbie at lot. She is fair and hardworking and smart. She really is determined to make her business a success. One thing she is going to have to do is hire more help especially if sleuthing is added to the menu.

The other characters we meet in South Lick are very engaging as well. Next to Robbie I would say her employee, Danna would be my favorite character. I think we have just scratched the surface on all of the characters but Danna is the one I am excited to see more of. She gets her nerve up to put someone in their place in this story and I wanted to jump right into the pages to give her a “high five”. The mayor is a bit over the top but I think Robbie will learn how to handle her.

Day gives us a compelling mystery and an intriguing subplot too. The victim wasn’t like by many so there were plenty of suspects. Robbie did find herself in some hair-raising situations that were pretty intense and made the paging fly. There was just a touch of romance that I anxious to see what develops.

There are recipes in the back of the book and a sneak peak of the next book in the series Grilled For Murder out May 31, 2016. Can’t wait to return to South Lick, Indiana!

 

 a perfect escape5 STARFISHDollycasGIVEAWAYThe author is giving a copy of
Flipped For Murder away
and I am giving away my Advance Reader Copy too!

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 Maddie 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 November 18, 2015 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.”

Oct 282015
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am always excited when Kate Collins comes to visit!!
Florist Grump was just released yesterday!

 

kate collins

SO LET IT BE WRITTEN:
WHEN MY MYSTERY GOT REAL

By Kate Collins

Eighteen books ago, I had just finished writing MUM’S THE WORD and was seeking a plot for the second book in the Flower Shop Mystery series. I had a title, SLAY IT WITH FLOWERS, and a general idea, but needed a big plot twist to make it all happen.

In steps my hairdresser and her colleagues, who, while I was having my hair cut, complained about men using their parking lot and then scurrying across to the business next door. The sign out front of this business said KINGS SPA, with the word MASSAGES and a telephone number underneath. There was no other advertising, and the building, an old white wooden house, had butcher paper covering the windows. Suspicious, you say? Oh, it gets better.

florist grumpThe hairdressers’ lament had prompted one of their clients to go next door to make an appointment. She was told by an unfriendly Chinese receptionist that women were not welcome. At a massage parlor? Seriously?

Then there were the masseuses, a group of Chinese women in tight silk dresses, who would come to the beauty salon to buy hair products. They didn’t speak. They would point to a product and toss money onto the counter from a thick wad they carried in their, well, you know.

Being a crusader for justice through my character Abby Knight, I suggested ways to stop the men from using the salon’s parking lot. Snap their photos and license plates and hang them in the big front windows. Call the Chief of Police. Write letters to the Mayor.  I even volunteered to stand across the street with a camera.

And then the proverbial light bulb went off. I had my plot twist! Would my feisty, redheaded sleuth Abby Knight NOT get involved if such a thing were happening in her hometown? Of course not. Her last name isn’t Knight for no reason. So my mantra became: What Would Abby Do? And in my book, she did it, resulting in this shady business, called EMPEROR’S SPA, to be raided. Naturally, this didn’t happen without peril to Abby, but that’s why we all love Marco.

A month after SLAY IT WITH FLOWERS was released, the police in my hometown raided KINGS SPA, rounding up a group that was part of a Chinese prostitution ring working out of Chicago. Naturally, I had to boast that my story had helped bring light to the situation. Whether it really did is something I’ll always wonder.

What would you have done if you’d discovered such a situation in your hometown? Would you shrug your shoulders and hope someone else did something, or are you the type that would do something? In other words, are you an Abby Knight?

~Kate

About The Author

Kate Collins is the author of the national best-selling Flower Shop Mystery series and historical romance novels. For her mystery plots, Kate draws upon her own love of flowers and intrigue, and an intimate knowledge of life in a small college town. She states firmly for the benefit of all who live near her that none of the zany characters that populate the fictional town of New Chapel are based on people she knows. Honest. Find out more about Kate on her webpage here.

Kate’s Historical Romance Novels

Coming APRIL 2016

florisst grumpFlorist Grump:
A Flower Shop Mystery

17th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Indiana
An Obsidian Mystery
New American Library
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451473431
E-Book ASIN: B00S75OKBA
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

From the New York Times bestselling author of A Root Awakening, feisty florist Abby Knight is back with another knotty murder to solve in the next Flower Shop Mystery…

Life in Bloom

Stopping to smell the roses should be a must for flower shop owner Abby Knight, but stress has turned her into a major grump. While their house is under construction, Abby and her new husband, Marco, are living with her parents, who are driving her nuts. Not to mention that everyone has babies on the brain, with her cousin Jillian’s bundle of joy popping up in every conversation, and Marco’s mother dropping hints that she expects a new sprout from Abby and her son—as soon as possible!

But things get even thornier after a flashy former banker pushes up daisies. With a beloved window washer the prime suspect in the murder, other New Chapel shop owners rally around Abby and Marco to prove his innocence. With Abby’s energy wilting, she has to be on high alert—or she and Marco may not live to see their new home…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Abby Knight Salvare is one grumpy florist these days but frankly I can see her point. Moving into your parents house as an adult no matter how temporary can cause some major drama. You’re an adult and have lived on your own and suddenly your parents are treating like a teenager wanting to know what time you will be home and tracking you down when you stay out until what they consider is too late. When you are investigating a murder that can have dire consequences. Jillian is not handling motherhood well and she expects Abby to drop everything and help. Pretty hard to do when Bloomers is so busy they may have to hire more help, Down the Hatch is packed almost every night and Salvare Detective Agency has a new case. Abby’s mom also has a new project that she wants Abby to help her with. If I was Abby I would be grumpy too and probably pulling my hair out.

So much happens in this story and I enjoyed every minute of it. Kate Collins has rolled up her sleeves and has topped herself. This series has always been one of my true favorites. I anxiously await each new story and I am always delighted with the story. This one is my new favorite in the series.

We have watched Abby and Marco’s love blossom and now they are married and will soon have a brand new home. The talk about babies has already begun but not by Abby and Marco but all their friends and family. These characters are some of the best in the cozy mystery world right now. They are all people I wish I could meet in real life.

Ms. Collins also creates fantastic and believable story-lines.  The subplots flow flawlessly amid the main plot. Again she has given readers a book they will bot be able to stop reading once they start. The problem is I didn’t want the story to end. It seems my visits to New Chapel are just way too short. Thankfully Moss Hysteria comes out April 5, 2016. That’s not too long to wait 🙂 well it is but that’s the way it has to be.

a perfect escape5 STARFISHDollycas

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 Kate 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 November 11, 2015 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.”

Sep 232015
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

It is my pleasure to welcome Sheila Webster Boneham back to Escape With Dollycas!
Her new book
Shepherd’s Crook, comes out October 6!

 

Life into Fiction

By Sheila Webster Boneham

 

Boneham_Sheila_and_JayMy Animals in Focus Mysteries are, of course, fiction. I made up the stories, and I made up the characters. Still, many elements of the books are based on experience, my own and other people’s. Like most writers, I gather material constantly and just about anything I hear or learn or see is fodder for my imagination if it helps the story (although I do change the names unless I have permission!).

Sometimes I use my own life stories. In Shepherd’s Crook, for instance, Janet MacPhail has a run in with a “speaker-phone boor” at a coffee house. We’ve all had encounters with those guys, right? I certainly did a couple of year ago, and when I asked the guy in the booth behind me to turn off his speaker phone, he told me to “stick it.” I just wish I’d been as quick on the uptake as Janet is in the book!

Shepherds Crook_300dpiJanet, is a fifty-something professional photographer whose career focuses (sorry, couldn’t help myself) mostly on animals. She is also an avid participant in sports and other activities with her dog, Jay, and—yes!—her cat, Leo. Many of their adventures are based on my own experience competing, volunteering, and hanging out with my dogs, and playing with my cats. (Maybe one of these days I’ll follow Janet’s lead and have an agility cat!)

The first book in the series, Drop Dead on Recall, opens with Janet and Jay at an obedience trial. I’ve competed in obedience with my own six Australian Shepherds and three Labrador Retrievers, and drew on my triumphs, goofs, disappointments, and overall enjoyment of sharing the sport with my dogs. Here’s the real-life Jay performing the “retrieve over high jump” in open obedience competition.

jayhighjump500

In The Money Bird, Janet and Jay spend a lot of time hanging out with friend Tom Saunders and his black Lab, Drake, at a retriever field-training sessions. Although I never competed in hunt tests or field trials with my Labs, I did a fair amount of training with Raja and Annie—and with my Aussie, Jay, who was a terrific retriever! That’s Annie going after a bumper (a cylindrical training device made of canvas, foam, or plastic).

annieswim

The sport of agility, both canine and feline, is front and center in Catwalk, although (as in all of the books) Janet and Tom take the dogs to obedience, tracking, and field-training sessions as well. Most of the dog-sport enthusiasts I know train in at least two, and often four or five, different sports with their dogs, so Janet’s devotion to her hobby is not unusual. As I said, I haven’t yet trained a cat for feline agility, but one of these days….

agilitycat200

In three of the books—Drop Dead on Recall, Catwalk, and now Shepherd’s Crook—Jay is called on to use his tracking skills to help find a lost soul of one species or another. Most people think of search-and-rescue or police and military dogs when they think of tracking, but tracking is also a sport in which dogs can earn titles from the American Kennel Club and other organizations. I’ve done some tracking with several of my dogs, including my current Lab, Lily, who started tracking at eight weeks of age and earned her Tracking Dog title at a year old. Here she is finding a “lost” glove at twelve weeks.

12wkstrack3

Not all of Janet’s—or my—activities with animals are competitive. In the books, Janet has had Jay and Leo certified as therapy animals, and they make volunteer visits to the library and other venues. I have also taken a number of my certified dogs to hospitals, schools, libraries, nursing homes, and shelters over the years, and I was at one time a tester and evaluator for one of the certifying organizations. Here’s the real Jay’s mother, Sage, during a visit with special needs children.

sagekiss

Other people who “play with animals” also have great stories, of course. I’ve been known to use anecdotes I’ve heard or read on the Internet—modifed of course—to build scenes. And sometimes, I ask my friends and fans to send me their funniest or most inspiring or most unusual stories. When I was working on Shepherd’s Crook, for instance, I needed some funny herding-trial tales. My friend Corey Norman, who I know

in real life from the many Michigan dog shows I’ve shown in, sent me a hilarious “killer sheep” story that I used in the book, with Janet standing (sort of!) for Corey. Another funny scene in the book involving a young Border Collie’s first encounter with sheep came from April Bruce. By the way, that’s another of April’s lovely BCs on the cover of Drop Dead on Recall. Here’s my first Aussie, Teddy, taking a breather after a herding lesson.

shepherd's crook

Not all the life-to-fiction scenes in my books involve animals, of course. Janet (and I) do some things without the critters in tow! In Shepherd’s Crook, there’s not only the “jerk in the coffee-house” scene, but the “shopping for a dress for the wedding” scene, which follows pretty closely my own experience as a forty-ish bride meeting a twenty-ish sales clerk. In fact, quite a few events in the books have to do with Janet’s age, which we boomers know is not an obstacle to an active! But that’s another story.

~Sheila

Shepherds Crook_300dpiShepherd’s Crook
(An Animals in Focus Mystery)

Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Indiana
Midnight Ink (October 8, 2015)
Trade Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738744872
E-Book ASIN: B015CZD176
goodreads-badge-add-plus

 

 

 

Animal photographer Janet MacPhail has just arrived at a sheepherding competition with her Australian Shepherd, Jay, when she learns that two-dozen sheep have disappeared. Police think the animals have wandered off, but Janet is convinced they’ve been stolen.

Janet knows she should leave the snooping to the police while she attends to her own problems—new living arrangements, her mom’s wedding plans, puppy and kitten antics, and extremists bent on keeping people from having pets. But when a livestock handler turns up dead, the police and a pair of thugs pay Janet way more attention than she likes. Setting out to find answers, Janet puts herself in the killer’s crosshairs.

About The Author 

Sheila Webster Boneham is the author of the Animals in Focus Mystery series. Drop Dead on Recall, the first in the series, won the Dog Writers Association of America Award in Fiction, Mystery, or Humor. She is also the author of 17 nonfiction books, six of which have won major awards from the Dog Writers Association of America and the Cat Writers Association. For the past two decades Boneham has been showing her Australian Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers in various canine sports. She has also bred top-winning Aussies, and founded rescue groups for Aussies and Labs. Boneham holds a doctorate in folklore from Indiana University and resides in Wilmington, N.C. For more information, go to www.SheilaBoneham.com ,  www.facebook.com/sheilawrites, or writersandotheranimals.blogspot.com/

GIVEAWAY

Sheila is giving away 1 copy of 1 of her books!
Winner’s Choice and Format
Print Copy Available for U.S. Addresses Only
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 Sheila 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 October 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

Feb 112015
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

My guest today is the fabulous Kate Collins!

kate collins

CREATIVITY ON THE RUN, ER, WALK

By Kate Collins

Brains are fascinating organs. They’re the original computers, processing whatever they take in and spitting it out when you need it – hopefully. They’re inventive, too, making up all kinds of stories to amuse, soothe, or scare us out of a night’s sleep. For me that inventiveness started at a very young age when I was certain my chest of drawers turned into a big hairy gorilla at night. I also convinced the neighbor kids that a monster lived in the crawlspace of our house. That backfired on me, however, because I told the story so often I came to believe it and wouldn’t go anywhere near that part of the house. There’s a price to be paid for being too creative.

root awakeningRecently I read an article* about how brains function better and are less prone to dementia when the body is exercised. What especially caught my attention was the paragraph that said exercise boosts creativity and helps a person come up with new solutions to problems. As a mystery writer, my ears perked up. I’m constantly solving problems, mostly of my own making, but still, sometimes I back a character into a corner and then have to figure a way out of it.

When that happens, when I’m staring at the words on my monitor and nothing is coming, I have to escape. For me that means taking a walk and letting the wayward scene play in my head like a movie and allowing my characters to talk about what’s happening. It also means that if you see me out walking and my lips are moving, pay no attention. I’m just working out their dialogue.

I wasn’t surprised, therefore, when I read in the article that researchers at Stanford University found that walking can increase creativity up to sixty percent. I’ll vouch for that! Even a casual stroll around the house or office can be beneficial, anything to step away from the words – or lack thereof – on the computer screen.

According to the researchers: “Four experiments demonstrate that walking boosts creative ideation in real time and shortly after… Walking opens up the free flow of ideas, and it is a simple and robust solution to the goals of increasing creativity and increasing physical activity.”

So it’s a win-win situation. Creativity goes up, calories burn off, blood circulates, muscles pump, and those feel-good endorphins rise. When I sit back down again, the ideas are there and so are my characters, waiting with a big “Welcome back, Kate. Let’s get this mystery solved.”

~Kate

Kate Collins is a New York Times bestselling author of the popular and long-running Flower Shop Mystery series. A Root Awakening, #16 in the series, is a February, 2015 release. Read about Kate’s mysteries, historical romances, and children’s anthologies at www.katecollinsbooks.com

*Source: www.Mercola.com (1-23-2015) “The Remarkable Effects of Exercise on Cognition and Brain Cell Regeneration.”

root awakeningA Root Awakening:
A Flower Shop Mystery

16th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Indiana
An Obsidian Mystery
An Imprint of New American Library
Published by The Penguin Group
Release Date: February 3, 2015
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451415516
E-Book ASIN: B00LMGK55Q
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Abby Knight’s marriage may be in full bloom, but house hunting is no bed of roses in latest novel in the New York Times bestselling Flower Shop Mystery series…

Now that they’ve tied the knot, flower shop owner Abby Knight and her husband, Marco, want to put down roots. When it comes to picking a house, Marco can’t wait to get his hands dirty, while Abby isn’t ready for a fixer-upper. But conflict really sprouts when they’re checking out a dilapidated Victorian and watch a construction worker take a life-threatening tumble.

Since witnesses claim the man shouted for help, suggesting that the fall was no accident, the victim’s flamboyant wife hires Marco to find the person responsible. Meanwhile, Abby keeps secret from Marco her own investigation into the home’s inhabitants, a family whose off-kilter behavior has aroused her suspicions. If only Abby’s very pregnant cousin, Jillian, will stop distracting Abby with false labor pains, she can conclude her own inquiries before Marco finds out…and her case blossoms into a disaster.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

House hunting can be fun but most times it is pretty daunting. Buying a house is a huge decision and Marco and Abby are not exactly on the same page as to the type of house they want. Marco is okay with a fixer upper but Abby knows with them both owning businesses and a private investigating company they are not going to have much time for fixing anything up. But she is willing to look. They arrive to check out a Victorian that is already receiving a bit of a facelift just in time to see one of the workers fall many feet from his ladder to the ground. It looks like an accident but the victim’s wife hires Marco and Abby to investigate. Abby also thinks there is something off about the people renting the house and her brain just can’t let it go so she does a little investigating on her own.

Not sure what their next move is regarding finding a home a very pregnant comes to the rescue and offers to find them the perfect place to purchase. The trick will be finding it before she actually really truly goes into labor and has the baby. Hilarity ensues!

This is the 16th book in this series. That should tell you something right there. This is an excellent series and Kate Collins is a wonderful storyteller. She continues to keep these character fresh and their adventures colorful and entertaining. They are definitely blooming in the place she has planted them.

As someone who has worked on a construction crew the man falling from the ladder sent extra chills through my entire body. Those Victorian homes are tall, my first thought was where was his safety harness but then I quickly became enthralled in the mystery. Did he just lose his balance or was he really pushed? Why? and Who? and was he going to survive? Abby and Marco seem to be getting nowhere in their investigation.

This was one of those books I just couldn’t put down. I knew what Abby was thinking but the author twisted it in a way I didn’t see coming at all. An extraordinary WHODUNIT!

I am a huge fan of this author and I anxiously await each installment and am never disappointed, in fact she always exceeds my expectations. We have already learned #17 is called Florist Grump and it hits stores in November! I truly can’t wait!

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.

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5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End February 25, 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.”

Sep 172014
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so excited to welcome Janis Thornton to Escape With Dollycas today!
Her book Dust Bunnies and Dead Bodies (An Elmwood Confidential Cozy Mystery)
will be released on October 15 and she will be touring with
Great Escapes Book Tours October 15 – 30!!

Janis author photo2Find Your Great Escape and Zen Happens

There are those who contend that pinning thoughts to paper (or computer screen!) is a lonely job requiring solitude and serenity, without distractions or outside pressures. When it’s just you, your thoughts, and your writing tools, Zen happens.

Or does it?

When I’m by myself at home with noise-producing devices turned off, my muse tends to go AWOL and random thoughts start running amok. Should I make my bed? How about the stack of dishes in the kitchen sink? Have I checked Facebook in the last hour?

DustBunniesDeadBodies4Needless to say, little writing gets done.

For me, Zen tends to happen under circumstances that are counter to prevailing beliefs. I have found no better escape for writing than being in the middle of unbridled activity, and nothing has helped me hone the ability to tune out distractions and focus on the writing more than my years as a newspaper reporter and editor. Thanks to that experience, I’m at my creative and productive best when I’m:

• Beside a persistently ringing telephone
• On deadline
• In a crowded newsroom
• Against all odds
• Under the scrutiny of an impatient boss
• Over a warm Coke
• Amid a chorus of cursing co-workers

I’ve always drawn energy and inspiration from crowds. As an anonymous spectator with no ties to the activities swirling around me, I am free to withdraw deep into my own head, where I can explore notions, ideas, plots, and funny little paths that reveal themselves under no other circumstances.

As contemporary author/activist Cory Doctorow once said, “Write even when the world is chaotic. You don’t need a cigarette, silence, music, a comfortable chair or inner peace to write. You just need ten minutes and a writing implement.”

When you find your ideal great escape, I urge you to relish it, make it work for you, and go there whenever you must. Conversely, don’t lose sight that your great escape has absolutely nothing to do with what surrounds you.

It’s all about what lies within.


Crystal Cropper, the protagonist for my mystery, Dust Bunnies and Dead Bodies (due out October 15 from Cup of Tea Books), has a background much like mine. Crystal is the Baby Boomer-age newspaper editor for the Elmwood Gazette. She loves her job and refuses to buckle under the pressure of the chaos that constantly swirls around her. Nor does she let it stop the power of her mighty pen to expose the perpetrators of corruption that percolates inches below the surface of Elmwood’s Arcadian veneer.

Crystal has a nose for news and a penchant for sticking it into places that smell like the leftovers in the back of her fridge. Fortunately for her, what her nose doesn’t sniff out, her best confidential informant — 80-year-old cleaning lady Gertie Tyroo — sweeps her way. Too bad Gertie’s latest hot tip has landed her in a coma, courtesy of an unknown assailant.

Now Crystal must follow the trail of dirt and gossip right to the doorsteps of several prominent local families to solve a decades-old murder and the disappearance of a young boy . . .

About This Author
Janis Thornton is a freelance writer, personal historian, and award-winning journalist. She is the author of two local history books, Images of America: Tipton County and Images of America: Frankfort. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, the Indiana Writers Center, Association of Personal Historians, and the Midwest Writers Workshop Planning Committee. She lives in a small, Indiana town not unlike Elmwood. Dust Bunnies and Dead Bodies is her debut novel.

Author Links
Website: www.janis-thornton.com
Blog: www.janis-thornton.com/blog
Facebook: www.facebook.com/janis.thornton.96
Twitter: www.twitter.com/JanisThornton
Amazon author page: www.amazon.com/-/e/B00E5UTSFY

DustBunniesDeadBodies4Dust Bunnies and Dead Bodies
(An Elmwood Confidential Cozy Mystery)

New Cozy Series
Published by Cup of Tea Books
An Imprint of PageSpring Publishing (October 15, 2014)
E-Book File Size: 3659 KB
Print Length: 286 pages
ASIN: B00N34T6XM
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When it comes to murder, forget the butler . . . it’s the housekeeper who knows where the bodies are buried.

Small-town newspaper editor Crystal Cropper never takes “no” for an answer, hates to be called a “senior citizen,” and uses the power of her pen to expose corruption in her small town.

Cleaning lady Gertie has a knack for sweeping skeletons out of closets—which makes her one of Crystal’s best informants. But Gertie’s latest hot tip has landed her in a coma, courtesy of an unknown assailant.

Now Crystal must follow the trail of dirt and gossip right to the doorsteps of several prominent local families to solve a decade-old murder and the disappearance of a young boy . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

In this debut novel Janis Thornton hits all the cozy mystery marks:

  • Small town – Elmwood, Indiana
  • Engaging characters – Crystal Cropper is a strong protagonist with a nose for news and the ability to stick that nose where it doesn’t belong to solve matters that should be left to the police.
  • Quirky characters – Gertie is both quirky and engaging.  She may work as a cleaning lady but she has a whole slew of secrets. Virl, the local law, and Bud owner of Bud’s Roadside Diner also fit the bill.
  • Plenty of suspects –  You bet, this story has quite a few.
  • A plot with twists and turns – This mystery is full of surprises and a couple of shocking moments.
  • A bit of humor – The dialogue and interactions between Crystal and  Virl and with Gertie and other characters is wonderful and full of humor. Crystal is a woman who speaks her mind and her mouth doesn’t have much of a filter.
  • No gory violence or foul language – this story pushes the envelope with this as there is a bit of swearing and the violence gets close but I didn’t think crossed the line. The ending was absolutely thrilling.

This story was so much fun to read. I can’t believe it is Janis Thornton’s debut novel. I am excited to see where she takes these characters next!

just you and a friend4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

 

I have one Kindle e-copy to give away!

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 Commnt For Janis 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 October 1, 2014 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.”

Sep 102014
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!!

I am so excited to welcome Sheila Webster Boneham back to Escape With Dollycas!!

When we originally set up this date the book was set to be released this month.
The new release date is October 8, 2014.

SheilaJayKiss200

Writing Serious Issues in Fun(ny) Mysteries

In my mysteries, dogs and cats and other animals are vital characters. After all, the series isn’t called Animals in Focus for nothing. Each book in the series finds 50-something animal photographer Janet MacPhail participating in a different “animal activity”—a type of competitive event, or noncompetitive sport, or non-sporting activity such as pet-assisted therapy–and each mystery hinges on an issue that just might inspire murder and mayhem.malcombface

I’ve spent many years deep in the world of animals. Purebred, mixed breed, rescued, responsibly bred—I love them all. And honestly, I like the vast majority of people involved with dogs and cats in all those arenas. If I’ve learned anything, it is that no serious issue is simple, and that there are good, responsible people involved in all parts of the “animal world.” There are also some of the others.

Just as they do in real life, serious issues can create major problems for cozy writers in a genre that discourages “nittygrittyness.” So one of the challenges I face is balance: how do I balance some really tough realities with the conventions of the cozy?

In the first book, Drop Dead on Recall (2012) we meet Janet and her Australian Shepherd Jay at a canine obedience trial. When a nationally ranked l competitor keels over, Janet, Jay, and their very important feline family member Leo find themselves embroiled in a series of murders that seem to be linked to breeder ethics (or lack thereof) and cut-throat competitiveness.

In The Money Bird (2013) Janet has her lens focused on retrievers training for AKC retrieving tests, especially the handsome Drake and his almost-as-handsome person, Tom Saunders. When Drake retrieves something unexpected at a practice session, Janet quickly finds herself face-to-face with illegal trafficking in endangered tropical birds, a very nasty business that is all to common and lucrative in the real world.

Catwalk, available now for pre-order, takes Janet and Leo to their first competitive event—feline agility! Janet competes with her dog, Jay, in the canine version, and figures fair is fair. Besides, Leo loves “playing” agility, so why not? The book also drops Janet into the controversial and emotional politics of feral cat colonies and trap-neuter-release programs, and environmentally destructive land development.

So what are the challenges of writing “issues” into entertainment? First, readers of “cozies” have certain expectations:

1. Murder and allusions to sex are fine; graphic details are not.
2. Adult humans may be killed; children and animals may be threatened, but can’t be harmed. (And why would I want to?)
3. Serious issues may be presented and may underlie motives, but they shouldn’t be the main focus.

Knowing these “rules” is helpful in some ways, restrictive in others. After all, I’m writing about creatures and issues that stir intense emotions in me as well as in my readers, and it isn’t always easy to stifle myself. Many authors face this problem in fiction, where characters and story (plot, if you prefer) are the real focus. So how do we strike a balance? Not all of us do – I’m sure we’ve all read books in which the author’s passion for a cause overshadowed everything else. If you’re like me, you may have quit reading, especially when I pick up a book mostly for entertainment and escape. I do read serious books, but I go into them knowing what to expect. Most of us don’t like to be bludgeoned when we’re reading for fun.

On the other hand, I do like to learn new things and want to live consciously. More than one novel has teased me into digging deeper into an issue that I didn’t know much about. I hope I’m striking that balance in my own fiction.

 

I would love to hear what you think. In fact, if you leave a comment, I will put your name in the hopper to win one of my mysteries—winner’s choice.
 
 

Would you like a chance to name one of the new animals? Check out my Catwalk pre-order contest to name a kitten or puppy at http://writersandotheranimals.blogspot.com/2014/09/help-name-mystery-kitten-and-puppy.html
~Sheila

About This Author

Sheila Webster Boneham writes the Animals in Focus mystery series. Drop Dead on Recall, the first book in the series, won the 2013 Maxwell Award for Fiction from the Dog Writers Association of America and was an NBC Petside Best Ten Dog Book of 2012. Sheila is also the author of 17 nonfiction books, six of which have won major awards from the Dog Writers Association of America and the Cat Writers Association.

For the past two decades Boneham has been showing her Australian Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers in various canine sports. She has bred top-winning Aussies, and founded rescue groups for Aussies and Labs. Boneham holds a doctorate in folklore from Indiana University, an MFA Stonecoast/University of Southern Maine, and resides in Wilmington, N.C. Sheila writes literary nonfiction and poetry as well, and teaches writing. You can keep up with Sheila’s latest news at www.sheilaboneham.com and www.facebook.com/sheilawrites, learn more about animal-oriented writing—with some of your favorite authors!—at her Writers & Other Animals blog at www.writersandotheraniamls.blogspot.com.

Catwalk_NewCatwalk
(An Animals in Focus Mystery)

3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Published by MIDNIGHT INK (October 8, 2014)
Trade Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738734880
E-Book Link will be up soon!
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Agility can be murder for cats, dogs, and people!

Animal photographer Janet MacPhail is training for her cat Leo’s first feline agility trial when she gets a frantic call about a “kidnapping.” When Janet and her Australian Shepherd Jay set out to track down the missing party, they quickly find themselves drawn into the volatile politics of feral cat colonies and endangered wetlands.

Janet is crazy busy trying to keep up with her mom’s nursing-home romance, her own relationship with Tom, and upcoming agility trials with Jay and Leo. But the discovery of a body on the canine competition course stops the participants dead in their tracks—and sets Janet on the trail of a killer.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Again Sheila Webster Boneham has crafted a wonderful story with a great whodunit. She also includes just the right amount of humor and romance. The mystery is so well plotted and will keep you guessing right up until the end.

This time kitties join the puppies in the adventure!! Leo is quite a cat. He is training just like the dogs do for agility trials and I am very impressed with his talents. Our cats were very agile when traveling as high as possible around the house but the only time they rushed anywhere was to the kitchen when they heard the can opener.

Jay is quite a dog as well with a very good sniffer. He comes in very handy when trying to find lost kittens or to track down a killer.

I like Janet MacPhail more with each story. I enjoy the pace that her relationship with Tom is progressing. They are an older couple who are used to being on their own and their lifestyles are starting to mesh together perfectly. Janet’s mother also plays a key role in this story and that really put a smile on my face.  The realistic characters are what makes these stories really shine.

The other thing I look forward to in these stories is that we learn something too. This time is was about a capture, neuter, release program for feral cats. We also learned a bit about conservation and areas that need to be preserved for birds and wild animals to thrive and survive.

If you love animals, and who wouldn’t, you have to read this series.  They can all be read as stand alones  but treat yourself to all three captivating mysteries. You will be glad you did.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Leave a Comment For Sheila.
You could win a book!!

 

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 062014
 

throw in the trowel
Throw in the Trowel:
A Flower Shop Mystery

Cozy Mystery
15th in Series
An Obsidian Mystery (February 4, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451415509
E-Book File Size: 1018 KB
ASIN: B00DYX9KEC
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I’m used to buried bulbs, not buried bodies…

The couple that sleuths together…

Abby Knight Salvare and her husband Marco have just returned from their honeymoon. Things went well at the flower shop while they were gone except for some minor adjustments that can be fixed with just a little time.  Marco’s Down The Hatch bar was not so lucky. A clogged drain led to the basement floor being torn up and a very interesting discovery. A skeleton.  It may be from a man who went missing back in the 1970’s. With the local police wrapped up in a current case Abby and Marco decide to solve the cold case themselves. But the deeper the dig the realize the murderer is still in the area and is desperate enough to bury them right where he did the first body.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I just can’t believe this is the 15th book in this series. I look forward to each and every one. They are always fresh and entertaining but comfortable like a pair of slippers. It is like visiting old friends.

I love the characters. While Abby is definitely my favorite character, Marco’s mom Francesca is runner up because she reminds me so much of my own mother. Grace and Lottie are wonderful. Marco makes my heart beat a little faster. Maureen “Mad Mo” Knight and her craft projects continue to make me laugh out loud. Jillian is in dire need of a psych evaluation. And I can’t forget Seedy, the dog Abby rescued from the pound. He has become the new flower shop mascot.

Kate Collins has created quite a mystery this time. It had me guessing right up until the end and I was on the edge of my seat as it all came together. Wow, that was close!!!

If you are a cozy lover you probably are already a fan of Kate Collins’ work. If you are new to Kate this is a perfect book to start with but I guarantee you are going to want to read all the others.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About Kate Collins

Kate Collins is the author of the national best-selling Flower Shop Mystery series. Her books have made the New York Times Extended Bestseller List, Barnes & Noble best-seller lists, the Independent Booksellers lists, as well as lists in Australia and England. All of Kate’s mysteries are available in print, digital, and large-print editions both in the U.S. and in the UK. Kate’s historical romances are also available in digital format at Amazon, B&N, and other e-book sellers. For more information visit Kate at: www.katecollinsbooks.com. Kate loves for fans to visit her on her Facebook page, too.

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

Sep 182013
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday
and to this stop on The Money Bird Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour!

great escape tour banner THE MONEY BIRD large new640

 

Dogs and Cats and Murder, Oh My! 

By Sheila Webster Boneham

SheilaJayKiss200Novelists are often asked whether the characters in our books are “real.” My answer is an unequivocal, uh, well, sort of. What I mean is that, at least in my case, I do not portray any one real person in any one character, but the only source of inspiration I have is my experience with real people. Or animals. Yes! The animals! The animals in my Animals in Focus mysteries are also based on real dogs, cats, and other critters. Some of them—like Jay, the protagdog of the series, are pretty close to the real Jay in my life. Others…well, let me tell you about the animals in my new release, The Money Bird. We’ll start with the furry characters who share accidental sleuth Janet MacPhail’s home and heart—Jay and Leo.

Jay is, as I said, based largely on my own Australian Shepherd, Jay. My Jay was born into my hands in October 1998, and left us for the Rainbow Bridge a little shy of 14. He came from an accomplished family. His parents were champions and his mama also had obedience titles and was a certified therapy dog, as was her son. Jay’s sister Zoe and brother Clark were champions and accomplished agility dogs, and Zoe also competed in obedience. Jay’s story is a little complicated, but the short version is that when he was 4 years old, the people who took him home at 9 weeks decided they didn’t want him. We took him back, grossly overweight, under socialized and untrained. A year later, Jay was the high scoring obedience dog in my dog club, a feat he repeated the following year. He was a lovely guy, smart as can be (great sleuth material!), and gentle enough to work with kids as a library reading dog and to be trusted with tiny baby kittens. Fictional Jay has a few behaviors borrowed from some of my other Aussies, but his basic personality is our sweet Jay, and everything he does in the books really happened with one of my own dogs or an Aussie I know.

the money bird septemberLeo, orange tabby extraordinaire, is Janet’s feline companion. I have had two handsome orange tabbies, Malcolm and Leo, in my own life, as well as a host of other cats—George, Teddy, Fred, Simon, Snoopy, Annie, Jean-Luc, Kitty, Mary, a feral we called Gypsy and her son Bob (because he was Born Out Back), and the many cats I played with as a shelter volunteer. Janet’s Leo is mostly Malcolm and Leo, I guess, with a huge helping of George, who was a big, handsome tuxedo cat we had when I was a kid. Like Malcolm, George, and Leo, Janet’s Leo loves dogs, especially his Jay and the newcomer, Drake.

Drake came into the scene with Tom Saunders, and Janet considers them both to be pretty handsome catches. Tom’s an anthropologist and Drake is a Labrador Retriever, both interesting breeds. Jay and Leo approve of them both, so Janet figures they’re good guys. Drake is based on my own Labs, especially Raja. He was my first Lab, a big chocolate field-bred Lab. There are traces, too, of my two yellow girls, Annie and Lily. I’ve never had a black Lab myself, but Drake is black, and since Janet is a professional photographer, she loves the challenge of getting good photos of the big black dog. In The Money Bird,  we find Drake (and his retriever friends—and the intrepid, versatile Jay!) practicing for retriever titles. And then he finds something….

But back to the retrievers. Because the club includes all kinds of retrievers, the training sessions where things start to happen include not only Labrador Retrievers, but Golden, Chesapeake, Curly-coated, Flat-coated, and Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers as well. The more’s the merrier with retrievers, and as the saying goes, there’s nothing friendlier than a wet dog!

Two of the other retrievers in the book are based on real dogs who aren’t my own. When I was working on The Money Bird, I pitched an idea to two organizations whose causes I strongly support: let’s team up to raffle off guest parts for two dogs—one for each group’s winner—in my second Animals in Focus Mystery.

rajamalcolmThe first group to hold its raffle was LABMED,  an Internet-based non-profit organization created to distribute financial aid to injured or ill rescued Labrador Retrievers around the country, giving them a second chance at adoption and love from a permanent family. Since The Money Bird  spotlights retriever training, and since character Tom Saunders is sidekick to black Lab Drake, LABMED was a natural choice. (Besides, I’ve had Labs in my life since 1988, founded Labrador Retriever Rescue of Indiana, Inc., in 1993, and wrote the award-winning Simple Guide to Labrador Retrievers, so how could I not support Labby dabbies?)

lennenLABMED made $200 on the raffle, which went to help with medical expenses for a rescued Lab. The winner of the LABMED raffle, seen here with his owner Diana Holman, was Lennen, a ten-year-old rescued boy who was turned in by his owners. They had kept him out in the backyard all his life. Aside from having landed in heaven with Diana, her six other Labs, and a comfy indoor couch to sleep on, Lennen also landed an important part in The Money Bird. Sadly, Lennen went to the Rainbow Bridge a few months ago, but he lives on in his fictional role—a heroic one, at that!—and I’m sure he is smiling at us from the Bridge.

The second raffle was sponsored by Canine Health Events, a diverse gathering of dog lovers from across the country who are dedicated to improving the lives and health of dogs. Using normal dog events, they raise money for canine health research both through entry fees and additional fund-raisers, such as raffles, auctions, and sponsorships. They held the main part of the raffle online, with additional sales and their drawing at their big agility trial on June 8, 2012. I’m delighted to say that CHE raised $2,000 with this raffle, all of which went to support research on canine health issues.

Pilot_smileThe winner of the CHE raffle was Pilot, whose official name is MACH3 V-NATCH Gaylans Gallopin’Jet Pilot CDX JH FTC WC VCX ADHF CCA CGC PS1. According to owner and competition partner Stephanie Schmitter, Pilot “is a very athletic and versatile golden retriever.” That should be obvious from his titles! (For the unitiated, he is a Master Agility Champion three times over and has additional titles in agility, obedience and field, with a lifetime ranking of #66 for Golden Retrievers in AKC agility). Stephanie says, “He loves field work and will retrieve on land or in water until you make him stop,” all of which made him perfect for The Money Bird.

Stephanie writes, “Pilot will retrieve just about anything and is very helpful in picking things up around the house, including any shoes left around as well as his food bowl when he is finished eating.  But the thing he loves most in life is a tennis ball.  Although he is 8 years old, he acts like a puppy when he sees a tennis ball. And he loves to carry 2 balls at a time!” Ah, gotta love a Golden!

Have you ever seen a better smile than the one on Pilot’s mug? You can read more about Pilot and see some shots of him in action here.

I’d like to thank EVERYONE who entered these raffles, because in my book—the big book of life—you’re all winners for supporting such worthwhile causes and having faith in my new mysteries, too. And Lori, thank you for having me here today—and for all that your do for authors and writers.

The Money Bird is now available from all the usual suspects, or you can order your personally autographed copy from Pomegranate_Books .

~Sheila

About Sheila Webster Boneham

Sheila Webster Boneham is the author of 17 nonfiction books, six of which have won major awards from the Dog Writers Association of America and the Cat Writers Association. She is also the author of Drop Dead on Recall, the first in the Animals in Focus Mystery series. For the past two decades Boneham has been showing her Australian Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers in various canine sports. She has also bred top-winning Aussies, and founded rescue groups for Aussies and Labs. Boneham holds a doctorate in folklore and MFA in creative writing, and resides in Wilmington, N.C., with her husband Roger, Lily, their yellow Lab, and Sunny, their Golden Retriever.

Links:

Website & Blog: http://www.sheilaboneham.com

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/sheilawrites

Amazon:  http://amazon.com/author/sheilaboneham

the money bird september
The Money Bird
(An Animals in Focus Mystery)

2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Midnight Ink (September 8, 2013)
An Imprint of Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.
Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738734873
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Janet MacPhail, is a photographer that sees much more through the lens than just her subjects. Trouble just seems to follow her. On a simple trip to Twisted Lake to take some pictures of Labrador Retriever Drake she is very surprised when he fetches a blood-soaked bag holding an exotic feather and a torn one-hundred-dollar bill instead of his usual decoy. Then one of her photography students is found dead after calling Janet about seeing a strange bird at the lake. Add to this a mysterious retreat center near the lake and Janet sure all these things are connected. She and her Australian Shepherd Jay along with Tom and his Labrador Retriever Drake are on the case. Hopefully they can figure everything out before the criminal flies the coop.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sheila Webster Boneham is quite a storyteller. She plots a wonderful mystery, fills it with fantastic characters – both 2 legged and 4 legged – adds a bunch of humor, a touch of romance and she teaches us too! In this story we learned about tropical birds and the lengths people with go to smuggle them into this country.  We also learn how well our dogs can be trained and how they will do anything for the human family members.

I really like Janet. She is talented and uses her photography to get close to the suspects. It also puts her in some precarious places. Her assignment at a local veterinary clinic ends up costing her dearly. It also had me laughing out loud.  She also has a lot going on in her life besides the current mystery. Her mother is in a nursing home suffering with Alzheimer’s and Janet seems to lose a bit more of the most important woman in her life everyday. Her neighbor is dealing with health issues too but is keeping everything a secret from Janet. Tom may want more out of their relationship than she is ready for but maybe it is time to move forward. The author keeps all the characters believable and real.

This is a very engaging story especially for animal lovers.  It can be read as a stand alone but I suggest reading Drop Dead on Recall first. Both stories will leave you barking for more!!

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

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Check out the rest of the stops!
Tour Participants
September 2 – Shelley’s Book Case Review & Interview
September 3 – rantin’ ravin’ and reading Review & Guest Post
September 4 –A Blue Million Books Interview
September 5 – Omnimystery Interview
September 6 – Mochas, Mysteries and More Review & Guest Post
September 9 – Kaisy Daisy’s Corner Review
September 10 – Melina’s Book Blog Review & Guest Post
September 11 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews Review & Guest Post
September 12 – readalot Review
September 15 – Brooke Blogs Review
September 17 – THE SELF-TAUGHT COOK Review
September 18 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Review & Guest Post
September 19 – Musings and Ramblings Guest Post
September 20 – A Chick Who Reads Review

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

Aug 082013
 

special guest blueI am super excited to Welcome Kate Collins to Escape With Dollycas Today!

The Flower Shop Mysteries always put a big smile on my face and this time Dollycas even made the Praise Page so this girl was chair dancing!!

Follow Your Bliss

By Kate Collins

katecollinsI almost titled this, “Paralyzed by Fear”, but that sounded too negative, and I want this to be a positively uplifting blog.  Just so you know, I’m using the word bliss to reference what makes us happy in life, what makes us want to get up in the morning, what fulfills us as human beings.

Stalled careers are a big problem among writers both published and unpublished. I’ve met people who want to be published, who have the ability to write, but can’t bring themselves to send their work out to a publishing house for fear of rejection. I’ve met talented musicians and artists with the same problem. The only thing keeping them from achieving their bliss is fear. They are afraid to trust their talent. They’re afraid of how bad rejection will feel. They’re afraid they’ll be humiliated. Ask successful writers/artists/musicians about those fears and they will tell you they had to let go of them or they never would have made it.

Seed No Evil coverBeing out in the public as much as I am, I encounter so many people who are stuck in a cloud of fear and negativity — from stalled careers, money troubles, relationship issues, parenting problems, and on and on. But then I see others who have had the same or worse tribulations and still found ways to find their bliss. I’ve heard unbelievably touching stories of people who’ve come from some of the worst conditions in the world – impoverished villages in Africa, dangerous ghettos, prisons—who made their dreams happen against all odds. Their secret was that they never stopped believing in themselves. 

Believing in yourself gives you the power to achieve. Letting fear take hold keeps you from achieving. You have to ignore fear, push it aside, and say to yourself, “I want to do this. I will do this. If I get rejected, that doesn’t mean I failed. It means I have to do better. I will learn from this and try again.” That’s what I call success. After all, what is the worst that can happen? You may discover that your talent lies elsewhere. But how will you know unless you try?  As in a quote I read recently, failure isn’t trying and not succeeding, failure is not trying at all.

Write down your goals on a piece of paper and post them where you can see them. Meditate or pray about them every day. If your gut is telling you to go for it, if a little whisper in your mind is saying, “Write that book!” or “Get that song published,” don’t ignore it. Those gut feelings, or whispers, are coming from a higher power. Listen. Let go of your fears and seek your bliss.

Sunset in Key WestIf you haven’t found your bliss, what fears are holding you back?

 ~Kate

Kate, this is inspirational and just what I needed to read today 🙂 Lori

About Kate Collins

Kate Collins is the author of the national best-selling Flower Shop Mystery series. Her latest mystery, SEED NO EVIL, #14 in the series, hits the shelves on August 6, 2013.Her books have made the New York Times Extended Bestseller List, Barnes & Noble best-seller lists, the Independent Booksellers lists, as well as lists in Australia and England. All of Kate’s mysteries are available in print, digital, and large-print editions both in the U.S. and in the UK. Kate’s historical romances are also available in digital format at Amazon, B&N, and other e-book sellers. For more information visit Kate at: www.katecollinsbooks.com. Kate loves for fans to visit her on her Facebook page, too. www.facebook.com/authorkatecollins/

 

Seed No Evil coverSeed No Evil:
A Flower Shop Mystery

14th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Obsidian (August 6, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451415493
E-Book File Size: 569 KB
ASIN: B009GSFZTI
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It’s finally time to say, “I do!” As long as I can keep my mom
out of jail long enough to get her to the ceremony….

With her wedding just 2 weeks away the last thing Abby Knight needs is for anything else to go wrong. The cooler in her shop is leaking all over the floor and she knows it will be an expensive part that needs to be fixed, her glands are swollen and it looks like she is getting a rash, her preggers cousin is “rehearsing her pregnancy”, Marco is acting distant and the actual place to hold the ceremony is still up in the air. Enough already!!!

But then Abby’s mother finds a dead body. Abby was so excited when her mother started working at the animal shelter. It gave her something to do besides create the “masterpieces” Abby had to try to sell in her store. Why did she have to be the one to find the director of the Protecting Animal Rights charity killed suspiciously in one of the cages? The woman trying to save animals from being euthanized has someone put her lights out permanently and Abby’s mother is the main suspect.

Abby just doesn’t have time for this, but she and Marco are going to find the real killer so her mother can be at their wedding, wherever it takes place, and not behind bars!!

Dollycas’s Thoughts
This is one of the best cozy mystery series being published today!!

I love everything about this series. It has a strong cast of characters and it is set in a place that could be my hometown or many hometowns throughout the country. I can see myself having my morning tea with Grace at Blossoms while Abby is in the back filling orders, lunch at Down The Hatch and bumping into Francesca, Lottie and even Jillian while out running my own errands. I can even see myself at the animal shelter rescuing a puppy or kitten. I have done it several times in the past. I may even adopt a very special canine like Seedy. He is a very important part of this story.

Kate Collins writes these characters in such a way that they can’t but help work your way right into your heart. She puts them in what could be very real situations with all the twists and turns necessary to root out the real culprit making the pages just fly.

Snappy dialogue, a clever mystery, the perfect amount of humor and a wonderfully happy ending. I have called more than one book my favorite of this series. To Catch a Leaf was my favorite book out of almost 200 that I read  in 2011, but Collins has topped herself with this one. This is definitely the best one!! yet……

If this series is new to you the author does give you enough depth to be able to read this one as a stand alone but I recommend you start at the beginning. These books are like a beautiful fragrant floral bouquet and each stem deserves to be thoroughly enjoyed one at a time.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


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.

Leave a comment for Kate 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 August 22, 2013 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.”

readalattechallenge_zps01d248d02013where are you reading

Facials Can Be Fatal (A Bad Hair Day Mystery) by Nancy J. CohenBuy Now
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