Cozy Wednesday with Mary Ellen Hughes – Author of Licensed to Dill – Giveaway too!

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

Mary Ellen Hughes author pic

My Ten Favorite Things about Writing License to Dill

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~Mary Ellen

About The Author

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

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

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

license to dillLicense to Dill
(Pickled and Preserved Mystery)

2nd Book in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – New York
Release Date: February 3, 2015
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Chris O’Leary
Cover Design by Karen Oberrender
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425262467

Piper Lamb knows how to make fruits and vegetables keep for months. Unfortunately, it’s the people around her who are expiring too soon…

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

But there are other visitors to worry about…

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


Dollycas’s Thoughts

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

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

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

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

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

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Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
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will earn you 3 Bonus Entries.

Leave a comment for Mary Ellen for 5 Bonus Entries.

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Contest Will End March 11, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By
Winners 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.”

40 thoughts on “Cozy Wednesday with Mary Ellen Hughes – Author of Licensed to Dill – Giveaway too!

  1. License to Dill sounds like a great cozy, and the cover is cute . I am looking forward to learning more about Cloverdale and the people. Thank you for the giveaway. 🙂

  2. I read the first book (you say pickles and I’m there) and loved it. I can’t wait to continue on although I admit that I’m sure that I will have a hard time reading about Scott, on the phone in the last book he irritated me, I know in person that he’ll really get under my skin, LOL.
    Thanks for the chance to win and congrats on the release.

  3. I like the idea for the book. My neighbors are amazing at growing vegetables and fruit and canning them. Of course, any books with a dog on the cover I will pick up. Looks like a great read.

  4. Good morning Mary Ellen,

    I own a copy of “The Pickled Piper” and enjoyed it very much. I’m looking forward to reading this new book in the series and of course my enjoyment would would be even greater if I won a copy of this book, 😉

  5. This is why I love cozy mysteries. Fun characters, fun settings and the mystery. Thank you for another great read. Congratulations on your latest release!

  6. Enjoyed Mary Ellen’s comments. I have made both pickles and dilly beans, so think I’d enjoy seeing what Piper is up to! Thanks and congrats on the new title!

  7. Congratulations on your new release! License to Dill sounds like a fun mystery. Love the cover too.

  8. congrats to Mary Ellen!!
    a ‘must-read’ for me!!!
    thank you for the giveaway…….

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