Sep 112013
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!!

I am so excited to have Barbara Ross here today! 

Her new book Clammed Up is sure to be a hit with all over you!!

The Alpha and the Omega: Continuing Characters in Series

barbfordollycasLori, thanks so much for having me for Cozy Wednesday.

 It’s an interesting time for me as an author. On September 1, I handed in the manuscript for Boiled Over,  the second book in my Maine Clambake Mystery series. And on September 3, Clammed Up,  the first book in the series was released.

 As you can imagine, it’s been an interesting time. In fact, as I switched on September 2, from writing to promotion mode, my mother-in-law said, “It seems like all summer it’s been Boiled Over, and now it’s Clammed Up !

Boiled Over is my first time writing a second book in a series. So it got me wondering, how do people feel about continuing characters? Not the main characters, but the other people who populate the book?

 I admit to being a full-out series fan. Nothing makes me happier than finding a book I love and then discovering there are four or six or ten more to read in the series. Once I’m caught up, and have to wait a full year for the next one (as I just did with Louise Penny), it kills me.

17239894Part of the reason I love series is because of the way characters and settings can develop over time. I’m a huge fan of Ruth Rendell’s Wexford series. I love the way Kingsmarkham, the town where her Chief Inspector Reg Wexford works, evolves from being a small market town the first book, From Doon to Death (1964) to an ever growing suburban city in the latest books. And how along the way, Wexford has to deal with increasingly complex, modern issues of race, immigration, and environmental activism—not to mention the baffling personal lives of his grown daughters. (The latest book in the series, No Man’s Nightingale is out in the UK, but won’t be here until November. I am trying to restrain myself from ordering it from Amazon UK.)

I get invested in the secondary characters, too. I spent a long time reading every Rendell short story I could get my hands on, because I was convinced there was a story in which Wexford’s faithful no. 2, Detective Mike Burden’s first wife dies. It turns out, she dies off stage. But reading all those stories was great, because it brought back my childhood love of short fiction and got me writing my own. Now I’m a co-editor of an annual short crime fiction anthology for Level Best Books. www.levelbestbooks.com

But I have to confess, there are some series I’ve given up because the author couldn’t seem to let go of a single secondary character. So every last person from the first book gets pulled into the second book and so on, until by the fourth book, I’m thinking, “Who are all these people and why does the author think I care about them?”’

maineclambakefordollycas

 In Boiled Over, I tried to use the “bar story” principle. Pretend you’re meeting an old friend for a drink, the kind of friend you can not see for years and then pick the conversation right up where you left off. You say to her, “You wouldn’t believe what happened to me!” As you tell the tale, you introduce her to all the people she needs to know about for the story, plus a few other people who were really important in your life at the time and were giving advice, and so on. You don’t tell her what happened to every person you’ve met since you last saw her. The other people in your life are presumably going about their business, and may show up in another bar story some other time, but we don’t have to talk about them now.

Plus, some readers don’t get to read the series in order. (I love to read in order, but I’ll go out of order in a pinch.) So if you have someone who was a suspect in the first book wandering through the next one, doesn’t that give it away?

How do you feel about series characters? Less is more, or the more the merrier? Let me know, because I have to start Book 3 next week!

~Barbara

 Thank you Barbara for dropping by today! I think a great group of core characters visited by new characters each book is great but then the twist after a few books when one of those core characters gets in trouble always adds to the suspense too!  I am sure my readers will help you tackle this question too!

About This Author
Barbara Ross’ novel Clammed Up, first in a new series of Maine Clambake Mysteries, will be published by Kensington in September 2013. Barbara and her husband own the former Seafarer Inn at the head of the harbor in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. From her perch on the Seafarer’s wide front porch, Barbara’s had a chance to observe the quirks of life in a small resort town, along with the stunning harbor views. Barbara and Bill no longer run the inn as a Bed & Breakfast. Barbara is notoriously not a morning person. They considered a Bed-and-Get-Your-Own-Damn-Breakfast, but there didn’t seem to be much of a market.

Barbara is the 2013 co-chair of The New England Crime Bake. She is a co-editor/co-publisher at Level Best Books, which produces an award-winning anthology of crime and mystery stories by New England authors every November. Barbara also blogs with a wonderful group of Maine mystery authors at Maine Crime Writers.

Barbara’s first mystery novel, The Death of an Ambitious Woman, was published by Five Star/Gale/Cengage in August, 2010. In her former life, Barbara was a co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of two successful start-ups in educational technology. When they aren’t in Boothbay, she and her husband live in Somerville, MA.

17239894
Clammed Up
(A Maine Clambake Mystery)

Brand New Series
Cozy Mystery
Kensington Publishing Group (September 3, 2013)
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758286857
E-Book File Size: 551 KB
ASIN: B00C6BFTZ2

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Summer has come to Busman’s Harbor, Maine, and tourists are lining up for a taste of authentic New England seafood, courtesy of the Snowden Family Clambake Company. But there’s something sinister on the boil this season. A killer has crashed a wedding party, adding mystery to the menu at the worst possible moment. . .

Julia Snowden returned to her hometown to rescue her family’s struggling clambake business–not to solve crimes. But that was before a catered wedding on picturesque Morrow Island turned into a reception for murder. When the best man’s corpse is found hanging from the grand staircase in the Snowden family mansion, Julia must put the chowder pot on the back burner and join the search for the killer. And with suspicion falling on her old crush, Chris Durand, the recipe for saving her business and salvaging her love life might be one and the same. .

Dollycas’s Thoughts
A delightful debut that has me hungry for more!!!

The story is set in a beautiful part of this country and every bit of it was clear in my mind’s eye. From the island to the ferry trip to the town of Busman’s Harbor. Sounds like a great place to vacation.

Julia’s homecoming being marred by murder is awful but this girl is up for the challenge. She uses skills she has learned while away to whittle down the suspects and it isn’t easy. She makes mistakes. She is scared and worried about losing her family business and is so real and credible. It is so easy to identify with her which makes her a great protagonist.

The supporting cast is strong as well. I personally wanted to take on Sonny. He had just given up and if Julia would not have come back the business would have been history, but his support of Julia was truly lacking. Family drama! I love it! This is a group of characters that will surprise you. Ross has filled this Clambake Mystery with plenty of red herrings!

It seems Julia and Livvie’s dad had put together a wonderful business. There will be some changes going forward but I know the family will come out on top and the clambakes will be even more popular. I am ready to buy my ticket today. Boiled Over (A Maine Clambake Mystery) will be served up May 6, 2014!

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

I am giving away my Advance Copy
and the author is giving away a published copy!

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 Barbara 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 September 25, 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.”

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May 212013
 

Mr. Tea and the Traveling Teacups

Mr. Tea and the Traveling Teacup: A Madeline’s Teahouse Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Cozy Cat Press (September 29, 2012)
Trade Paperback: 234 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0988194328
E-Book File Size: 355 KB
ASIN: B009HCX7HK

After the death of their mother, sisters Terry and Karen Sutter, turn their childhood home into a tea house. It’s a dream come true, but the dream begins to resemble a nightmare when teacups start crashing to the floor in the middle of the night. Could the tea house be haunted? There’s a list of possible ghostly candidates: the prior owner who is rumored to have left behind a buried treasure, two spinster neighbors who disappeared without a trace over forty years ago, or perhaps it is Terry and Karen’s own mother trying to communicate with them. Karen, the older sister, thinks running a haunted tea house might be fun, until the sisters come home one night to find the attic stairs covered in a trail of what appears to be blood. Is it a ghost or is it a warning? The tea house’s new mascot, a psychic macaw, may provide some unexpected clues, but the sisters will encounter many more surprises before they solve this mystery.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This was a great debut and a fun read. 

All the characters are easy to identify with and they are an eclectic bunch. Karen and Terry have taken on a major endeavor but they are up to the task. What a wonderful tribute to their mother.  Aunt Rose and Uncle Harry are true gems watching over the girls and butting in every chance they get.  Detective Greg Mullins and his partner Tom are two hunks that add just the perfect amount of romantic tension. But there were two stars for me that both added humor. Mrs. Dinkle has a little problem everyone can hear but her and Mr. Tea, the macaw the could be psychic, has some terrific comments for anyone that come near or just enters the room. 

Coming home is always hard but these girls are welcomed with open arms. Their mother’s friends become some of their best customers. I love these senior characters.

The author has laid a nice foundation for future installments.  Will romance bloom? What will come out of Mr. Teas mouth next? Who will be the next victim? Are there still ghosts lurking about? I am not so patiently waiting for Stansfield’s next story. 

just you and a friend

4 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

LESLIE MATTHEWS STANSFIELD is the author of  Mr. Tea and the Traveling Teacup , the first book in the Madeline’s Teahouse series.  She is the author of a previous book on the town she lives in. She grew up in Delmar, New York, and credits her friends with developing her imagination. Leslie is a graduate of University of Hartford and recently received her  Masters’ degree from the University of Phoenix in Educational Leadership.  She is a math tutor in a public school as well as the Christian Education Director of her church.  She is currently working on her second book in the Madeline’s Teahouse series.  She has four children and eight grandchildren and lives in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.

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

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May 152013
 

cozy wednesday

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am excited to welcome Karen here today!!

km_headshot

Write what you (would like to) know

Write what you know. I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard that saying about as often as “Please pass the salt.” (Maybe more, come to think of it. Perhaps we could stand to work on dinnertime etiquette.)

To my mind (and with apologies to Mr. Twain), if we all wrote what we knew the literary landscape would be awfully dull. There would be no Lord of the Rings. There would be no Miss Marple. The entire realm of science fiction and fantasy would be nonexistent. And all murder mysteries would be penned by people wearing orange jumpsuits.

For years, I did write what I knew. In the spiral-bound notebooks that littered my apartment (and, eventually, house), I wrote about the papers I didn’t want to write. I wrote about pancakes. I wrote about how much I couldn’t wait for summer to end. I even wrote about the science experiment I did in seventh grade. But it dawned on me at some point (somewhere around notebook #63, if I recall), that writing what I knew was not particularly interesting. It also occurred to me that if I was interested in writing fiction, it might benefit me to venture beyond the familiar (a.k.a. fairly boring, at least in my case).

brush with deathWhen I began the Gray Whale Inn Mysteries ten years ago, although I’d spent summers on an island in Newfoundland, I had only been to Maine one time. I had never killed anyone. And I would never be confused with a domestic goddess, much less the type of person who could successfully run a quaint inn. But one May evening, as I sat in my Austin ranch with two small children and no hope of escape to cooler climes in sight, I started imagining what life would be like… if.

If, instead of living in Central Austin, I lived on a small island in Maine. If, in the place of filling baby bottles, I woke up every morning and baked muffins and strata for interesting guests. If I could smell beach roses on my afternoon walks and fall asleep to the sound of the ocean lapping at the rocks.

And if, of course, my neighbors started dropping like flies.

Ever since that time, I’ve been happily writing what I’d like to know. I’ve researched embezzling, poisonous plants, werewolves, magic spells, ghosts, shipwrecks, rumrunners, the Underground Railroad, and countless other fascinating subjects, most of which happily found a home on Cranberry Island. (Except the werewolves and magic spells. That’s another trilogy.) But I’m so glad I ignored that old adage. Because every time I pick up a pen (or, these days, the laptop), I get to escape to an alternate reality, where the scenery is fabulous, the characters are old friends, and I never know what might happen next.

I know I’m not the only one who gets to live different lives through writing – and reading. What about you? What fascinates you when you go to the bookstore – or when you sit down to write?

~Karen

About This Author
Karen is the author of the Gray Whale Inn mystery series (the first of which, Murder on the Rocks, was nominated for an Agatha award for Best First Novel) and the Tales of an Urban Werewolf trilogy, featuring reluctant werewolf Sophie Garou.

When she’s not toting children to or from activities, teaching writing classes, or hitting the Hike and Bike trail, you can often find Karen at her local coffee house working on her next book. She lives in Austin with her husband, two children, and a house rabbit named Bunny.

Find out more about Karen by visiting her webpage here.

And Follow her on:
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brush with death

Brush with Death
(The Gray Whale Inn Mysteries)

5th in Series
Cozy Mystery
MIDNIGHT INK (May 8, 2013)
An Imprint of Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.
Trade Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738734590
E-Book File Size: 837 KB
ASIN: B00C5H32NI

Winter on Cranberry Island should be a time for Natalie to relax but her niece is preparing to show her paintings at an art show, her future mother-in-law is coming to visit and she has just received a foreclosure notice for the Inn. Then she finds her niece’s mentor dead and when she realizes he really didn’t commit suicide she puts herself right in the line of fire as she tries to uncover the truth.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

After just losing our house to foreclosure this one started out hitting a little close to home but as I continued to read Natalie’s circumstances were totally different than ours so I was able to get right past it and enjoy the splendor of Cranberry Island and its residents. But the financial woes of another character did break my heart.

The mystery had more than a few twists and kept me enthralled to the final page. John was away from the island when the murder occurred so Natalie was sleuthing on her own. Gwen was dealing with conflicting advice from Natalie and the gallery owner while trying to deal with her mentor’s death. John’s mother grew by leaps and bounds for me in this installment. Plus Natalie’s way with food and her ability to just whip something up had me drooling.

The author pulls us right into the story. We can feel the frigid air and the freezing water, smell the muffins baking and picture Gwen’s masterpieces with such ease. If this is a new series for you start at the beginning with Murder on the Rocks but if you are like me you have been waiting for this installment you will devour this story.  Karen MacInerney has exceeded my expectations. I can’t wait to return to Cranberry Island again soon.

a perfect escape
5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Would you like to win a copy of this wonderful book?

Thanks to the people at Midnight Ink
I have 1 copy to giveaway!!

U.S. Residents
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 Karen for 5 Bonus Entries !

What fascinates you when you go to the bookstore – or when you sit down to write?

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

Contest Will End May 29, 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.”

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Feb 282013
 

just for fun 2013The reason I started the Just For Fun Challenge was because of books like Berried to the Hilt. I read the first three Gray Whale Mysteries and picked up #4 and placed it on my To-Be-Read Bookshelf and then review books overwhelmed my books to be read for pure pleasure. When I saw that Book #5 in this series, Brush with Death was being released in May I quickly moved this book to the top of the stack.

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Berried to the Hilt
(The Gray Whale Inn Mysteries)

4th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Midnight Ink (November 8, 2010)
An Imprint of Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.
Cover Design by Donna Burch
Trade Paperback: 278 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738719665
E-Book File Size: 1707 KB
ASIN: B0045I6CRI

Berried to the Hilt (Gray Whale Inn Mystery, #4)
Cranberry Island is full of excitement. A sunken ship has been found off the coast. Could it be a pirate ship? The Black Marguerite belong to one of the most notorious pirates of the 17th century is said to have vanished without a trace. Or is it the Myra Barton, the ship of island sea captain Jonah Selfridge? It doesn’t take long and the island is crawling with treasure hunters and marine archaeologists. Natalie Barnes is happy because it’s great for business. The Gray Whale Inn only had one booked guest before the ship was found. 

Then a body is found floating near the wreck and it’s one of Natalie’s new guests. She finds herself immersed in the world of pirates and sunken treasure. Will her snooping lead her to the killer? Or will she end up a guest down in Davy Jones locker?

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I love this series. I jumped right in and read the whole thing in one sitting.

This is another series that adds a little history to the mix of the mystery. In the last installment a 150 year old skeleton was found in a lighthouse. This time it’s pirates, sunken treasure and a ghost ship. That gives so much depth to the story.

The characters are so relate-able, friends you would love to sit down and visit with. Plus who would not like to “escape” for a couple of weeks to Cranberry Island. It sounds like a glorious relaxing place, sans the murders, of course. Then there is the food, oh the food. My only complaint is that samples are not served with this story because everything sounds so delicious. But the author does include recipes!!

Karen MacInerney writes a well crafted mystery for those of us who love the cozies. I can’t wait to get my hands on Brush with Death. It hits bookstores on May 8th.

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author
Karen is the author of the Gray Whale Inn mystery series (the first of which, Murder on the Rocks, was nominated for an Agatha award for Best First Novel) and the Tales of an Urban Werewolf trilogy, featuring reluctant werewolf Sophie Garou.

When she’s not toting children to or from activities, teaching writing classes, or hitting the Hike and Bike trail, you can often find Karen at her local coffee house working on her next book. She lives in Austin with her husband, two children, and a house rabbit named Bunny.

To Find out more about Karen and her books visit her website here.

This book was from my private collection.

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Feb 192013
 

town in a pumpkin bash

Town in a Pumpkin Bash (CANDY HOLLIDAY MYSTERY)
4th in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (February 5, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Teresa Fasolino
Cover Design by Diane Kolsky
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425251881
E-Book File Size: 576 KB
ASIN: B009NY412C

Town in a Pumpkin Bash

In the quaint seaside village of Cape Willington, Maine, Candy Holliday has a mostly idyllic life, tending to the Blueberry Acres farm she runs with her father and occasionally stepping in to solve a murder or two…

Autumn in Cape Willington means the annual Pumpkin Bash. Candy Holliday and Maggie Tremont decide to make a little extra money from their farm stand by adding a haunted hayride through a pumpkin patch. When they discover a real dead body among the fake tombstones Candy’s side job becomes a full time investigation. But in her effort to catch the killer she may unearth some long buried secrets. Maybe all those skeletons in the residents closets are not all Halloween decorations.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
These stories are all unique has they all take place during a Cape Willington event like the Annual Pumpkin Bash. The whole town is transformed by the festivities. Carved pumpkins line the street, costume parties, a biggest pumpkin contest, and even a bus tour of the local cemeteries. 

Candy’s birthday also falls on Halloween and everyone pulls together to try to surprise her. The day will end up having more than it’s share of surprises.

Candy Holliday is smart and super observant, the perfect amateur sleuth. Her newspaper skills and resources help unearth some crucial information to tie things together. She ends up visiting a few cemeteries herself as she tracks down clues. 

Every sleuth needs a sidekick and Maggie fits the bill perfectly. Candy also has her dad and his friends to help out in a pinch. 

What I really love about this series is that each installment connects with the last. There is a lot more to the story of the history between Pruitt’s and the Porter-Sykes families and each book gives up another piece to that evolving puzzle. For that reason I recommend reading the books in order.

Town in a Pumpkin Bash is a wonderful entertaining mystery I highly recommend. It’s the perfect time for you to visit Cape Willington. 

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

B.B. Haywood has a fantastic webpage. Be sure to check it out here.

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

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Sep 052012
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so excited that Jennie is here today. Hubby and I used to be quite the Do-It-Yourselfers. We extensively remodeled 2 of our houses and even worked as home builders for awhile. In fact Mr. Dollycas with the help of friends and family built the house we live in today. Even with one side paralyzed I took great pleasure in doing the several coats required to stain and finish most of the interior trim and doors. So when I read about the tasks and projects Derek and Avery take on it just gives me a comfy feeling. Thankfully we have not come across any dead bodies but it wouldn’t be a cozy mystery with one or two of those popping up unexpectedly. Jennie is one of the masters of the cozy mystery genre and in this installment she had excited about one of the settings as well as the story. I will let her tell you all about it.

Hi Jennie!

Hi Everyone!

When Lori emailed last week to remind me that I’d promised to write a blog post for the release of Wall-to-Wall Dead,she happened to remark on the church in the book where a couple of the scenes take place. A high school friend of Derek’s is getting married, and the wedding takes place in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland, Maine.

The rest of the book takes place in Waterfield, which is a small fictitious – or fictional; I can’t keep those straight – town about forty five minutes north of Portland by car. You take Interstate 295 north, you get off at the Brunswick exit, you pass through Brunswick and keep going for twenty minutes or so, and you’ll end up in Waterfield. Just as soon as you pass Barnham College and the entrance to the snobby Wellhaven development.

No, it isn’t really there. That’s just where I chose to put it back in 2007, when I had a map of New England pinned to the wall, a blindfold on, and a dart in my hand, trying to figure out where to set this new mystery series I was starting to write.

Obviously New England is a real place. Maine is a real state. Portland is a real city. Brunswick is a real town, and so is Boothbay Harbor, on the other side of Waterfield. Waterfield isn’t. Rowanberry Island, which featured prominently in book 4, Mortar and Murder, and which crops up again in the prologue to Wall to Wall Dead, isn’t either.

I chose to make Waterfield fictitious for a couple of different reasons. The first one is that I’ve never actually been to Maine, and although I can write with a certain degree of accuracy about the landscape there – it’s a lot like Norway, where I grew up – it would be a lot harder to describe an actual town I’d never been to. One grove of pine trees looks much like another, and one craggy coast is a lot like the next one. But if I picked a real town, sooner or later I’d hear from someone who’d been there that I’d put the Starbucks on the wrong corner or the elementary school on the wrong street. Going fictional was a lot easier; I could just build the town I wanted from the ground up.

The other reason is that once you use something real in your book – be it person, place, or thing – you’d better be sure you speak nicely about it. If you don’t, someone will come get you. And when you’re writing about murder and mayhem, it’s safer to keep things fictitious. Less chance that someone will sue you.

So I made Waterfield fictitious, but put it in a real place in the real world. In a way, if everything around it is real, it becomes real too, by default. I’ve had people ask me whether it’s actually there. And no, it isn’t. Boothbay Harbor is there. Brunswick is there. I-295 to Portland is there. And the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is there. It really does have a tower that’s 204 feet tall, where on a clear day you can see the mountains of New Hampshire on one side and the bay on the other. It does have Franz Mayer Bavarian stained glass windows and Stations of the Cross in Venetian glass mosaic. And if I lived in Portland and didn’t already have a husband, it would be where I’d want to be married too.

So what do you think? Do you have a preference when you read? Do you like real places you’ve been – or might go – to, or places made up from whole cloth in the author’s mind? Or some sort of combination? Have you ever visited a place you read about in a book because the author made it so vivid you just had to see it for yourself? And if you could pick a fictitious place and go hang out for a while, which place would you pick and why?

~Jennie

I love the combination of real and fictitious. I have to say after Jennie told me the cathedral was real I had to do a search on the internet because I just had to see if the picture in my mind from Jennie’s words matched the real thing. It was amazing how she took me there in the story. I wished I could visit there in person. I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone but after you read the book check out this site to see the pictures. Let me know what you think.

About Jennie Bentley

New York Times bestselling author Jennie Bentley writes the Do It Yourself home renovation mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime. As Jenna Bennett, she writes a variety of romance – from contemporary to futuristic and from paranormal to suspense – for Entangled Publishing. She also writes and publishes the bestselling Cutthroat Business Mysteries for her own gratification. Her most recent release is Wall-to-Wall Dead (A Do-It-Yourself Mystery), the 6th in the series.

Find Her on Facebook here.
Here on Twitter.
On Her Website Here.

Wall-to-Wall Dead (A Do-It-Yourself Mystery)
6th in the Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (September 4, 2012)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cozy Mystery
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages ISBN-13: 978-0425255568
Cover Illustration by Jennifer Taylor/Paperdog Studio
Cover Design by Rita Frangie

Wall-to-Wall Dead (A Do-It-Yourself Mystery, #6)

Derek and Avery are fixing up a cute little condo in Waterfield, Maine. It reminds Avery of her tiny apartment in Manhattan. She hopes to use some “tricks of the trade” that she has learned to make the small condo into a place with a more open feeling. It should be a quick job and a fast sale as the need the money as they wait for the right buyer to come along for the huge project they had just completed.

The only drawback to the project is the little old lady in the downstairs condo. She watches every move every resident of the building makes from her perch in front of her window. Hilda loves to snoop and keep track of everything happening outside her window.

When Hilda is missing from her window for a whole day Avery gets suspicious.  She convinces Derek to break open the door so they can make sure she is all right. It is then they find that the busybody is now a dead body. While most people think she has died of natural causes Avery thinks there is more to the story. No one seems sad that Hilda is gone. Some residents are even happy. Maybe the old lady had some dirt on one of the residents, a secret they didn’t want to get out. Could anyone have a secret worth killing for? Avery is determined to find out by doing a little snooping of her own.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Checking in with Derek and Avery is like getting together with old friends. I love to see what they are up to and their projects never fail to spark some DIY ideas for around the house.

Every small town and most apartment buildings have someone who could be called a busybody but Hilda is a busybody extraordinaire. In my synopsis I called her seat in front of her window her “perch”, that is so fitting because she seemed to me like an ornery old bird. Too bad her snooping got her into so much trouble.

Jennie Bentley is one of the master writers of the cozy mystery genre. She has created characters we care about and she has a plethora of ideas for having trouble find them. The stories are fun and full of suspects which keeps the reading guessing. This one fooled me right to the end.

The setting in part of this book took us to the  Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland, Maine. After reading about this wonderful building I had to find out if it was a real place. It is! Jennie’s words had formed a picture in my mind.  All I can say is her words took me there and the pictures confirmed that this cathedral really is an awesome place. The best books help us to escape and travel without ever leaving home. This one did that for me!! I know Waterfield is a fictional place but the author has painted it so clearly in our minds that we can escape there in each installment without any need to physical pictures.  From Barnham College to Waterfield Inn. You can travel around Waterfield with ease and be drawn right into the lives of its residents from the seat of your cozy chair.

Wall-to-Wall Dead is a wonderful cozy mystery and a perfect escape.

 

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Thanks to the people at Penguin
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!

U.S. and CANADIAN RESIDENTS
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 Jennie for 5 Bonus Entries !

If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End September 19, 2012 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.”

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Jun 082012
 

2012 self published mystery

Firefly Beach
Published by CreateSpace

Firefly Beach

Beth is having a terrible time. Her 40th birthday is quickly approaching, her mother died the previous December from a heart attack, right before Christmas, and her husband asked her for a divorce in January.

The divorce was finalized in May, her husband moved out months ago. Beth was boxing up her things to move to an apartment when she came across several paintings. Paintings she had done when she was a junior in high school. She had planned to go to an art college in Boston, maybe moving to a small town in the northeast and painting the rocky coastlines and lighthouses. Sometime her senior year these dreams were forgotten and she went to the University of New Mexico to study economics. She met her husband, got her MBA and moved up the corporate ladder.

There really was nothing keeping her in New Mexico. Is it too late to follow her dreams? She grabs an old atlas, closes her eyes, aims for the east coast and she lands on Virginia Point, Maine. A small town with a population of just over 1500. She spends a couple of days on the internet and finds a cottage to rent. Then she sets off for Maine.

She wants to just be alone and paint but something mysterious changes her plans. The spirit of Firefly Beach takes her on an adventure.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I sat down with this book one night last week. I planned to read just a few chapters before bed. The next thing I knew it was just past 1 a.m. and I had finished the book. The book had me in a trance, time had passed but was actually hours seemed like minutes. I had been tired but don’t recall yawning one time. I finished the book and felt refreshed. Yes the clock said go to sleep but my mind was still wrapped up in this story.

Meira’s writing has almost a tranquil lyrical flow. The characters are extremely engaging, the mystery creative and the setting idyllic. If you could read a painting this is the story it would tell. The whole story is absolutely magical.

Beth is on a journey, an emotional journey. The people she finds in her path are quirky, lovable, flawed and real. Her character evolves as do all of the others.

I write all about “Escaping Into A Good Book”. This is a book that is beyond the perfect escape. Book your passage now, this is a trip you will not want to miss. This book should be on everyone’s summer reading list. Escape into Firefly Beach.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

The author is giving away 1 copy of this wonderful book!!
U.S.  RESIDENTS
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.If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.Contest Will End June 22, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here.

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

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May 172012
 

The Big Kitty
(A Sunny & Shadow Mystery)

Brand New Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery

The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Tony Mauro
Cover Design by George Long

Meet Sunny Coolidge, a New York journalist who has returned home to Kittery Harbor, Maine, to take care of her father after his heart attack.  She finds work at the local travel agency for Ollie Barnstable a.k.a “Ollie the Barnacle”” but she hopes it is temporary and that she will be able to land a job at a local newspaper.

She is surprised one day when Ada Spuance, the eldery woman everyone calls “the cat lady” comes into the office and asks Sunny to help her find a winning lottery ticket. Sunny is not sure the winning ticket even exists but agrees to help Ada search her cat filled home.  She thinks there may be a story she can write for the paper to impress the editor enough to hire her.

Sunny arrives to begin her search and she has a “Shadow”, a stray tomcat has followed her right up to the house. When there is no answer at the front door they stroll around to the back of the house and find an open entrance to the basement. Her investigative nature pushes her forward and she discovers poor Ada Spuance dead at the bottom of the stairs.

Did her fall have something to do with the lottery ticket? Was it an accident or MURDER? With her tomcat sidekick Sunny is going to find out.  “Following the trail of the purrloined ticket” Sunny and her feline friend better be careful or the made find their very own tickets punched.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sunny made some interesting decisions which made this a very interesting mystery. I may not have agreed with her actions but they set in action quite a chain of events. Shadow’s inquisitive nature also drove this story. They are purr-fect partners.

It had several humorous moments, but the ladies of the neighborhood, especially one special lady, sneaking rich, sweet and “unhealthy” food to Sunny’s dad really made me giggle.

This is a light hearted romp with plenty of suspects in a quirky little town. It is a great start to a series that shows much promise.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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

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Feb 082012
 


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday. I am so excited to welcome B.B. Haywood to Escape With Dollycas. Which means that I am really welcoming 2 wonderful authors today. You see B.B. Haywood is the pseudonym used by co-writers Bob and Beth Feeman. I have not seen this widely published nor have I ever seen a picture of this cozy writing duo. So let’s just keep it between all of us. Add to the mystery a bit. They do have a brand new website, so be sure to check that out after you read their wonderful post.

Welcome B.B.!!! or Beth and Bob ;)

Hi Lori,

The Harrowing Life of a Mystery Series Heroine
by B.B. Haywood

One of the great parts about being a mystery writer is that you get to explore the reactions and behaviors of normal people in incredibly abnormal situations. This is especially true of a cozy mystery featuring an amateur sleuth. In fact, the more harrowing the situation for the heroine, the more fun it is to write, and hopefully read.

Consider, for example, Candy Holliday of Cape Willington, Maine. Candy is just your everyday blueberry farmer, dealing with all the ho-hum details of everyday life. But over the past two years, a string of seemingly unconnected murders have put her at the center of attention, and prompted her to do things she never thought herself capable of doing as she seeks to unravel the mysteries that have cropped up in her little town. She’s faced all kinds of dangers, and she’s always risen to the occasion, no matter what comes her way, sometimes exhibiting a bravery she never knew she had.

For instance, in Town In a Blueberry Jam, the first book in the series, Candy found herself hunting down a red-handled hammer (a murder weapon), dodging bullets, and facing a crazed murderer on the Widow’s Walk atop the Pruitt Opera House—in a driving rain, no less. (We writers do like to pile on the complications—no sense making it too easy for the heroine.) But with the help of her best friend, Maggie Tremont, Candy stood her ground and won the day.

And in Town In a Lobster Stew, she faced a similar danger atop the English Point Lighthouse, this time in a thick fog. (Candy seems to prefer adverse weather conditions when confronting villains.) And again, she exhibited great skill and bravery in staying alive and helping to capture the murderer.

It doesn’t get any easier for Candy in the third book in the series, Town in a Wild Moose Chase, which was released yesterday. And yes, there is a moose in this book—a rare white moose, in fact. And strangely enough, the moose helps Candy solve the mystery, which involves a very crafty villain. Will Candy find herself in danger once again? Undoubtedly. Will she win out in the end and capture the villain?

Well, in this one, the answer is both “yes” and “no.” Because there’s more to the story than meets the eye. In this book, as they say, the plot thickens—a lot! But whatever’s going on around town, you can rest assured that Candy Holliday is on the case, and that she’ll eventually figure it out—even if she has to put herself in danger to do so.

And in this and coming books, Candy will have her hands full trying to figure out what’s going on while running the blueberry farm with her father.

And that, in a nutshell, is what makes cozy mysteries so much fun to read—and write!

************

Thank you so much for visiting with us today!!  I hope you will come back when the next Candy Holliday story is released. 


Town in a Wild Moose Chase (CANDY HOLLIDAY MYSTERY)
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Published by The Penguin Group
3rd in the Series
Available Now!

It’s time for the Annual Moose Fest in Cape Willington featuring a Sleigh and Sled parade, an ice sculpting exhibition, and the Moose Fest Ball. Candy again is in the center of the action covering things for the local newspaper but her mind is filled with things Solomon Hatch has told her. He claims he saw a dead body in the woods behind her blueberry farm. As if that is not enough, a mysterious white moose is showing up in the strangest places. How do all of these things fit together? You can be sure Candy will figure it out.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Life is never dull in the quaint seaside village of Cape Willington, Maine. As was said in the guest post above, the plot in this story really thickens and Candy is right in the thick of things. She is a very strong, savvy, smart protagonist. She has really grown in this series and I have grown to love her. But I am so jealous of her. We once took a vacation to Canada and the only moose we saw were on the moose crossing signs and Candy not only has a moose in her woods, but a white moose. We should have went to Maine!

The team of B.B. Haywood have written another captivating cozy sure to be enjoyed by all cozy lovers. These books are unique in that they all feature yearly events in Cape Willington. I hope they have many, many, more events planned to keep Candy busy for several stories. The title for the next book, Town in Pumpkin Bash already has my mouth watering and mind anxiously awaiting its release next year.


Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

I have a very special giveaway planned today.
Is this a new series for you?
Well I have one gently read complete set of all three books to giveaway.

If you are a fan of this series I am also offering 2 copies of
Town in a Wild Moose Chase (CANDY HOLLIDAY MYSTERY) too!

Just Fill Out The Form Below!
U.S. and CANADIAN RESIDENTS
You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

***Remember GFC is going away March 1, 2012
so be sure you are following in a different way if you want to
continue to follow Escape With Dollycas.

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

If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End February 22, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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