I am so happy to welcome Melissa here today! When her last book A Custom-Fit Crime back in July she was busy with a huge home remodel and couldn’t drop by. This time she is not only here for Cozy Wednesday she is also touring with Great Escapes Book Tours. You can check out the tour here.
My two book series take place in hot states. The Lola Cruz mysteries take place in Sacramento, California, and A Magical Dressmaking mystery series takes place in the fictional town of Bliss, Texas. Both are cities where you can fry an egg on the sidewalk in the summer and freeze your toes off in the winter.
When we moved to Texas from the Sacramento valley nearly six years ago, we’d been here six months and it snowed! On Christmas Eve, no less. It was magical. We’d never lived where it snowed, and while North Texas isn’t known for its snow, we’ve gotten a good dusting almost every year. This year, we’ve had four or five snow days (some of them ice days) and we still love every single one of them.
Recently, on a snow day and when I was procrastinating, I ended up looking up quotes about snow. “To appreciate the beauty of a snow flake, it is necessary to stand out in the cold.” I have no idea who said this, or what inspired it. At first glance I agreed with the statement. Yes, absolutely, you have to be outside catching snowflakes to really see their beauty.
But then I remembered a children’s book I have (a Caldecott winner) called Snowflake Bentley. It is the true story of a man who spent his life photographing snowflakes. It’s a fabulous book and one we read every holiday season (even now that my kids are older).
If I tried to turn this quote about snow into one about writing, it would read something like: To appreciate the beauty of a book, it is necessary to go through the (sometimes excruciating) process with the writer.
But I don’t agree with that at all! As a reader, I can absolutely appreciate the beauty of a book without having personally struggled with the plot, the revisions, the character development, or any of the other myriad challenges faced in the book-writing process. In fact, the best books are like a gentle snow where the words and plot and characters flow together so seamlessly that before long the whole landscape is dusted in white and fairly sparkles. I can curl up and enjoy a book like this, getting lost in the magic that an author created. That’s an amazingly beautiful experience.
Isn’t it the same with a snowstorm? Do I really have to stand out in the cold to know that no snowflake is identical, to realize that snowflakes are C.O.L.D., to take in the beauty of a flurry of snowflakes? No! I can stand at my window and know the truth about snowflakes, and appreciate their beauty (while staying warm).
Now, if I choose to go outside in the snow, my experience will be different (as it was when we all bundled up and went out to build tiny snow people and tried to sled that first year in North Texas–it wasn’t that much snow!). I’d find a different kind of beauty. It’s like being Snowflake Bentley and wanting MORE than the beauty of the storm. He wanted to take the storm apart and look at the pieces. That’s what writers do when they craft their books. We take one snowflake at a time and piece them together into a sparkling landscape of white. Our hope is that readers will appreciate the beauty of the flurry and not be able to pick apart the plot, or see it as only pieces of a whole. It’s my hope with every book I write that I’ve created a landscape that a reader can and will get lost in.
So, what do you think? Do you have to be outside in the cold to really appreciate a snowflake?
About Melissa Bourbon
Melissa Bourbon, who sometimes answers to her Latina-by-marriage name Misa Ramirez, gave up teaching middle and high school kids in Northern California to write full-time amidst horses and Longhorns in North Texas. She fantasizes about spending summers writing in quaint, cozy locales, has a love/hate relationship with yoga and chocolate, is devoted to her family, and can’t believe she’s lucky enough to be living the life of her dreams.
She is the Marketing Director with Entangled Publishing, is the author of the Lola Cruz Mystery series with St. Martin’s Minotaur and Entangled Publishing, and A Magical Dressmaking Mystery series with NAL. She also has written two romantic suspense novels, a light paranormal romance, and is the co-author of The Tricked-out Toolbox, a practical marketing guide for authors.
Connect with Melissa
Facebook: Author Misa Ramirez/Melissa Bourbon
Goodreads: Misa Ramirez / Melissa Bourbon
A Killing Notion:
A Magical Dressmaking Mystery (Magical Dressmaking Mysteries)
5th in Series
An Obsidian Mystery (April 1, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
E-Book File Size: 1819 KB
Amazon ASIN: B00F9EZBXS
B&N ISBN-13: 9781101602744
It’s homecoming time in Bliss, Texas and the girls are working on their mums. Like everything in Texas these mums are big!! Harlow Jane Cassidy, owner of Buttons & Bows, is not only helping with the mums, she is making several homecoming dresses. Gracie has decided to make her own dress. Then when Gracie’s date for the dance is accused of murder Harlow realizes Gracie is going need much more than help with her dress. Harlow needs to patch together the clues and clear the boys name before the whole homecoming celebration is ruined.
First things first I had to do a little investigating into the Texas size mums, we don’t have anything like it to my knowledge here in Wisconsin. I found some pictures of them on The Style Sisters blog. Why these girls would want to cover up these beautiful dresses or wear this kind of thing around their neck all day is beyond me but it seems to be quite the tradition.
Now Melissa has crafted quite a mystery while her characters were crafting their mums. Gracie has grown up so fast and this story really zones in on her character. Her boyfriend is not only struggling with his father’s death, he is also the cops prime suspect.
This story has a very interesting twist that I started to put together just a bit ahead of Harlow and then another huge twist at the end that took me completely by surprise.
This is one of my favorite series as I too come from a background full of seamstresses and before my accident sewing and crafting were the way I spent all of my free time. I love all the characters and the way all their charms work. MeeMaw continues to make her presence known and she just tickles my heart.
As soon as I finish a Melissa Bourbon story I always want more. These are characters I truly hate to leave behind as I wait for my next trip to Bliss. This is a wonderful series, start at the beginning and sit back and curl up with some great cozy mysteries.
Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
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Leave a comment for Melissa for 5 Bonus Entries !
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Contest Will End April 16, 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.
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.”