Jan 192018
 

Murder at Fantasia Fair: A Provincetown
by Jeannette de Beauvoir

About the Book

Murder at Fantasia Fair: A Provincetown Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
HomePort Press (September 28, 2017)
Paperback: 282 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0999245125
E-Book ASIN: B075ZY26XQ

Wedding coordinator Sydney Riley never thought she’d get caught up in a murder investigation, but she became an amateur sleuth when her boss was killed during Bear Week. Now she’s back, this time as the Race Point Inn hosts Provincetown’s venerable transgender event, Fantasia Fair… and murder is once again an uninvited guest!

It’s all hands on deck at the inn as visitors arrive for the week-long event and Sydney helps coordinator Rachel Parsons organize the occasion. Guest Elizabeth Gonzalez is attending with her spouse, Bob, who–as Angela–is taking a bold first step into a whole new existence. Angela, Elizabeth, and Sydney learn the ropes and politics from other guests, some of whom have attended annually for more than forty years.

But the next day, Sydney’s detective friend summons her to one of the town beaches where Angela’s body has been found–with a knife in her back, a knife stolen from Adrienne, the Race Point Inn’s diva chef.

Fair organizers and attendees try and carry on as Provincetown is overrun with police, press, and rampant speculation. Sydney, her boyfriend Ali, her friend Mirela, her boss Glenn, and a host of Fantasia Fair participants scramble to find out who killed Angela–and why–before the killer strikes again.

Guest Post

Why Should You Read Murder at Fantasia Fair?

So here’s the thing.

Cozy mysteries are as much about context as they are about plot. We read mysteries that teach us about quilting, or the antiques business, or cooking. We read mysteries set on dude ranches, in quaint Vermont villages or Southern mansions, at ski resorts. Part of the attraction is curiosity—mystery readers tend to wonder about other people’s lives and are eager to learn something new (everything I know about knitting, for example, I got from the Tangled Web mystery series by Sadie Hartwell).

Part of the attraction, though, is that these venues and contexts offer a glimpse into—and temporary membership in—a certain community.

That’s the idea behind my Provincetown mystery series: I started with the concept of introducing readers to that community before I even got around to ideas for specific plots. I created my protagonist, Sydney Riley, intentionally to be a guide to take readers into this community. Sydney knows everyone and travels in lots of different circles, but she’s a step removed from them all, which makes her both observer and participant—exactly what any good guide should be!

And there are a plethora of circles in P’town, as we affectionately call it! First inhabited by the Wampanoag tribe, it was the first landfall of the Mayflower and later grew into a Yankee and then a Portuguese whaling capital and fishing center. Discovered by bohemians, intellectuals, and artists soon after the start of World War One, Provincetown is the birthplace of American theatre and the oldest continuously operating art colony in North America. And finally tourism became its major industry as people from all walks of life flock to its inns, beaches, museums, dunes, and more, while from the 1960s on it’s been known as a premier gay resort.

The town celebrates all these layers of inhabitants and visitors through “theme weeks,” when every community within the larger community has a chance to shine. And that was what piqued my interest, because each of these communities is packed with stories, with interesting people, with possibilities for adventure and even mayhem. There are weeks for women, weeks for sailing, weeks for families, weeks for gay men… schooner races and Portuguese cooking and a carnival parade. This place was made for mysteries!

So why did I write Murder at Fantasia Fair, a book that deals with a pretty specific community, the transgender and cross-dressing community? I’m not transgender myself, and I expect that most of my readers aren’t, either. So why should you care? Why should you read it?

First of all, you should read it for the same reasons we read about knitting clubs and birdwatchers and psychics and cruise ships: because this is a community that most of us don’t know anything about, and it’s fun to learn something new. And also, this is a community that’s been in the news a lot lately—and it’s bound to stay front and center, with Chelsea Manning running for elected office—and isn’t it easier to learn about an issue via fiction than it is to read dreary news stories?

Mostly, though, you should read it because it’s a great story with a protagonist who combines sarcasm with astute observations and occasionally even breaks your heart a little. It’s a story that could take place in any community at any time, and that’s the bottom line: that we’re more alike than we’re different.

So please do read Murder at Fantasia Fair. And let me know what you think!

~Jeannette

About the Author

Jeannette de Beauvoir grew up in Angers, France, but has lived in the United States since her twenties. (No, she’s not going to say how long ago that was!) She spends most of her time inside her own head, which is great for writing, though possibly not so much for her social life. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or traveling… to inspire her writing. The author of a number of mystery and historical novels, de Beauvoir’s work has appeared in 15 countries and has been translated into 12 languages. Midwest Review called her Martine LeDuc Montréal series “riveting (…) demonstrating her total mastery of the mystery/suspense genre.” She coaches and edits individual writers, teaches writing online and on Cape Cod, and is currently writing a Provincetown Theme Week cozy mystery series featuring female sleuth Sydney Riley. More at JeannettedeBeauvoir.com

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Tour Participants

January 12 – Valerie’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

January 13 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

January 14 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

January 15 – The Book’s the Thing  – SPOTLIGHT

January 16 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 17 – Island Confidential – GUEST POST

January 18 – Bea’s Book Nook – REVIEW

January 19 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST

January 20 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 21 – A Holland Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST

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Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Jan 172018
 

 
Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am so happy to have Winnie Archer drop by for a visit!

Guest Post
by Winnie Archer

 

I think the absolute best part about being a writer is knowing that your characters have connected with someone. I get “fan” email (for lack of a better term) fairly consistently relating to the different series I write. Every once in a while, they say something like:

I love your books. Keep writing them! I do want to point out that there is an inconsistency between X and Y, and you really should consider XYZ…

The first time I received such an email, I was taken aback, but then I thought about it. Even if this person was being critical, she had liked my book enough to care. And that was pretty amazing to me–a teacher, a mom, a wife, a daughter… just an ordinary person-turned-writer.

The very best moments are when I receive emails asking when the next book is coming out in one of my series, or telling me that reading one of my books is like being with old friends. I never realized just how much that would mean to me until I received the first such message. I began writing because I had a character (Lola Cruz) that was in my head. I wrote that very first book for me. That was fifteen years ago. Just a few days ago, I opened an email from someone who’d read the three Lola Cruz books. She wondered if/when there would be another one in the series. She just loved Lola! The happy byproduct of my writing was understanding that the books I’d written for myself connected with other people in a way I’d never anticipated.

Lola Cruz; Harlow Cassidy; Ivy Culpepper. These three heroines in my respective series are so alive in my head. Their families; their communities; their friends: they are all part of me. They all come from me. And they resonate with readers, which is truly amazing.

Although I miss the people and the series I’m not currently working on (Lola Cruz and Harlow Cassidy), the deeper I get into Ivy Culpepper and the seaside community of Santa Sofia (the Bread Shop Mysteries), the happier I am. Being in Yeast of Eden with Olaya Solis and Penelope Branford, rekindling romance with Miguel Baptista, and being part of a family again with her father, brother, and old friend, Emmaline Davis…it’s like pot roast. Warm and comforting and…home.

Finding a connection to what you read is incredible. I hope it happens for each of you!

Happy reading.

Winnie Archer

 

Thank you so much, Winnie, for stopping by today!


Crust No One (A Bread Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – California
Kensington (December 26, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496707741
Kindle ASIN: B06XZ7TQXR

 

 

Business is booming at Yeast of Eden. But with a deadly mystery taking over the seaside town of Santa Sofia, the Mexican bread shop can’t possibly leaven a killer’s appetite . . .

For once, Ivy Culpepper feels fulfilled. An apprenticeship at Yeast of Eden has opened her world to time-honored baking techniques under owner Olaya Solis’s guidance—as well as the freshest small-town gossip, courtesy of chatty regulars known as the Blackbird Ladies. Ivy even begins accepting that she and restaurateur Miguel Baptista may never again rekindle their romance—despite the undeniable tension between them . . .

But she’s tied to Miguel again when his trusted produce supplier goes missing. Old Hank Riviera’s financial troubles would make anyone consider running away forever. And with his relationship woes, there are plenty of people who might want to see Hank disappear. As Ivy, with the help of her octogenarian sidekick, turns to the loose-lipped Blackbird Ladies for leads, she soon finds herself caught in a web of lies stickier than a batch of Olaya’s popular pastries . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts
We return to Santa Sofia for the Winter Wonderland Festival. Ivy is getting set to help Olaya do all the baking but before she can she learns a man has gone missing. Hank Riviera delivers his produce to several local businesses including Miguel Baptista’s family restaurant. Ivy was there to talk about a photography opportunity but that is forgotten as soon as they get the news that Hank has missed deliveries and can’t be found. She and Miguel along with a group of customers from Yeast of Eden, who Ivy lovingly named the Blackbird Ladies, start an investigation to find the missing vendor. Where their investigation leads them surprises everyone.

Ms. Archer has written another fantastic mystery. Ivy grew so much in the first book in this series and she really seems very comfortable now in her life even though the tension between she and Miguel continues.  The supporting characters are very well developed too. I felt like I was reconnecting with old friends. The new characters introduced were unique and interesting.

The mystery itself developed and at a nice pace throughout the book. Twists galore took the story in a very unexpected direction. The author does an excellent job of dropping clues like breadcrumbs until we have not one but two “aha” moments.  Even Deputy Sheriff Emmaline Davis was surprised.

Winter in Santa Sofia, not quite winter in Wisconsin, but no matter where you live it is the perfect time to visit Yeast of Eden for a tasty treat. Doesn’t that cover just make you crave bread, rolls, and every other doughy product you can think of?

I enjoyed every minute of this story. I don’t want to spoil anything, but this mystery unfolds a little differently than most cozy mysteries. I was engaged from page 1. The real-life moments, Em moving in with Billy, Ivy trying to find more photography work, customers in the bread shop, the baking, all tied into the plot seamlessly.  I loved it!

I can’t wait for the next book in this series! The Walking Bread comes out September 25, 2018.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

The indefatigable Winnie Archer is a middle school teacher by day and a writer by night. Born in a beach town in California, she now lives in an inspiring century-old house in North Texas and loves being surrounded by real-life history. She fantasizes about spending summers writing in quaint, cozy locales, has a love/hate relationship with both yoga and chocolate, adores pumpkin spice lattes, is devoted to her five kids and husband, and can’t believe she’s lucky enough to be living the life of her dreams. Visit her online at WinnieArcher.com.

Written as Melissa Bourbon

Written as Misa Ramirez


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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.”

Jan 102018
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am always happy when Laura Bradford drops by for a visit! 

First Suspend, Then Fun

By Laura Bradford

Author of Dial M For Mousse,
an Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery

When you write a cozy mystery you have certain aspects you must adhere to, not the least of which is the whole small-town/amateur sleuth backdrop. In and of itself, basing a story in a small town provides lots of background fodder—gossip, connections, fights, secrets, etc.  But when it comes to the mystery component and the fact that murder must happen in this small town again and again (and again), you need your readers to be willing to suspend reality to an extent. Still, just as they need to accept the fact that ten murders have happened in quaint little Nowheresville, Ohio in as many (or less) years, you, as the writer, must make your sleuth’s reason for getting involved believable. Because really, why is the average-Joe bookseller going to keep putting herself in harm’s way to solve yet another murder?

It’s that challenge that I find particularly fun about writing a cozy mystery. I like seeing how the main murder plot can draw my main character toward it, rather than away from it like most normal people would go.

Just by the very nature of my Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries, my main character, Winnie Johnson, is on the go—delivering her emergency themed desserts to college dorm rooms, businesses, personal residences, and even local politicians. So the potential for her to stumble across something out of the ordinary is higher than, say, a bookseller who stays in one place. But even if she comes across a body, there has to be a reason she’d want to get involved rather than just go home, detox with a hunk of chocolate, and let the local cops do their job.

In Éclair and Present Danger, the debut book in the series, grief propels Winnie to get involved when her elderly neighbor is murdered.

In The Silence of the Flans, book #2 in the series, desperation propels Winnie to get involved when the victim dies while eating one of her desserts.

And in Dial M for Mousse, the latest book in the series, anger propels Winnie to get involved when a routine delivery is manipulated into an alibi for murder.

So while it may be hard to fathom stumbling across dead bodies on a routine basis, everyone, on some level, knows grief…and desperation…and anger. And as long as we can identify on some level, suspending reality for our small town backdrop isn’t all that difficult. In fact, it’s actually kind of fun…

~Laura

Thank you for visiting today, Laura!


Dial M for Mousse (An Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Ohio
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (January 2, 2018)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425281253
Kindle ASIN: B06Y573L55

 

 

Murder takes the cake in an irresistible Emergency Dessert Squad mystery from the national bestselling author of The Silence of the Flans.

The Emergency Dessert Squad business is booming, with owner and baker Winnie Johnson working overtime to satisfy the emergency cravings of Silver Lake, Ohio. Her latest order, a plate of motivational desserts for an artists’ retreat, is just what she needs to keep her mind off her own relationship woes.

But Winnie’s problems seem like trifles when she discovers the body of retreat owner Sally Dearfield mere inches away from five oh-so-eccentric and viable suspects. Now, this baking detective must uncover the inspiration behind Sally’s murder before another creative genius is iced.

RECIPES INCLUDED

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Winnie’s business continues to grow. With all her friend’s help, she creates delectable desserts to rescue her customers from things like a bad breakup, loss of a job, and anything else you can imagine. In this story, she has been asked to bake up motivational treats for a group of artists with different talents at a local retreat. After she delivers the goodies she goes to tell the owner and finds her dead on the floor with all the artists standing nearby. The police immediately suspect foul play and Winnie has a dessert connection with all the viable suspects which lands her right in the middle of another murder investigation.

The author has created a very unique theme for this series. After the expenses of having a bakery in a storefront became beyond what Winnie could afford she started a home-based business and uses an old ambulance she inherited to deliver her desserts to her customers. The treats even arrive on a stretcher complete with icing IV’s. She also inherited a cat that goes along for each delivery.

The characters are all very well developed. Most of Winnie’s friends are senior citizens and she has a real bond with them. They along with her best friend Renee are her taste testers and her confidants. Renee is also Winnie’s only employee.  Her romantic relationship with a local college professor, who she met when making a delivery to him, is a little murky. His teenage daughter does not like her father giving anyone else attention and she has done everything she can to break them up.

I thought solving the murder this time would be easy as we knew from the start there were only five suspects, but it turned out to be very complex. None were very forthcoming and all appeared to be hiding something. Winnie didn’t give up though and I really enjoyed following each little hint and clue right along with her.

The clever theme of this series, interesting characters, and a very imaginative plot kept this reader very entertained. All the dessert talk and descriptions made my mouth water. I loved the names Winnie gave her goodies.

A fun read that stands on its own but the series is better served if you start at the beginning.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Laura Bradford is the national bestselling author of many mystery series, including the Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries, the Amish Mysteries, and the brand new Tobi Tobias Mysteries. Her first women’s fiction novel, Portrait of a Sister, will release in June 2018. When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys making memories with her family, baking, and being an advocate for those living with Multiple Sclerosis.

To learn more, visit her website: www.laurabradford.com, or hang out with her on Facebook. She can also be found occasionally tweeting at @Bradfordauthor.

 

Also by Laura Bradford

Click here for more books by Laura Bradford.

Click Here for books written as Elizabeth Lynn Casey.


Thanks to the publisher 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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Leave a comment for the author for 5 Bonus Entries.

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Contest Will End January 24, 2018, at 11:59 PM CST
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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.”

Dec 202017
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so happy to welcome Clover Tate to Escape With Dollycas!


Guest Post
by Clover Tate
(Provided by publicist.)

Readers sometimes tilt their heads at me and ask, “How much of you is Emmy Adler?”

Emmy is the heroine of my kite shop mysteries, including the second in the series, Live and Let Fly. Emmy is in her early 30s, an artist-kitemaker, and a bit confused about her romantic life. Since the series is written in Emmy’s point of view, it’s natural for readers to wonder how similar we are. Am I like her? Not a bit! And, yet, of course, I am.

First for the “not a bit” part. Without getting specific, I’m, well, a bit older than Emmy. I’ve never crafted a kite. I live in a city, not a tiny beach town like Rock Point. While Emmy has Bear, an Australian Shepherd, I have two cats. Unlike Emmy, my romantic life is firmly under control.

At the same time, Emmy and I have a lot in common. First is our shared sense of humor. Emmy wouldn’t have parents who take part in a Watergate reenactment club if it didn’t crack me up. Emmy laughs at it, too, and she, like I, think it’s hilarious that the National Bloodhound reporter in Live and Let Fly is named Nicky Byrd the third, and that the murder victim, Jasmine Normand, was on a reality TV dating safari show called Bag That Babe.

Plus, Emmy and I also both like food. I didn’t intend it to happen, but when Emmy fetches a cup of coffee or a tuna melt at her best friend Avery’s café, the Brew House, we both luxuriate in its fragrance and taste. I know authors who dread that their characters have to eat from time to time, but I enjoy describing meals, from Rock Point’s Tidal Basin’s glass of pinot noir to its sautéed morel mushrooms and salmon steak.

Finally, Emmy and I both share a soft spot for misfits. While in Live and Let Fly the rest of the town dismisses cranky Marcus Salek as just another sourpuss, Emmy recognizes the hurt beneath his sarcasm. She’s also willing to understand the eloquent but clumsy Nicky Byrd as someone needing direction for his talent.

I feel that way, too. It’s the offbeat people around me who have inspired me to break off from corporate America. I can’t help but embrace dreamers and explorers, and I guess that’s why I write mysteries and why quirky folks will always earn a central place in what I write.

Really, the best people are just a hair off kilter. Emmy is, and so am I. Maybe you are, too?

~Clover

Thank you, Clover, so much for visiting today!


Live and Let Fly (A Kite Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Oregon
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
An Imprint of Penguin Random House
Release Date – December 5, 2017
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425283554
Kindle ASIN: B06XK3ZS7Z

 

 

Kite shop owner Emmy Adler becomes the prime suspect in a murder investigation that could send her dreams crashing to the ground…

With summer drawing to a close in Rock Point, Oregon, Emmy Adler hopes to beat the seasonal drop in business by winning the annual kite festival. What better way to garner publicity for the handmade kites sold in her shop, Strings Attached? In the days leading up to the festival, Emmy’s ambitions are soaring. Even an argument with reality TV star and contest judge Jasmine Normand can’t bring her down. But when Jasmine is found dead the morning after their altercation, Emmy’s no longer flying high.

When the police open an investigation into Jasmine’s death and deem it a murder, Emmy falls under suspicion. With a national tabloid reporter convinced that she is guilty and business at her shop at a standstill, Emmy has to trade kite making for crime solving—or find all of her ambitions blown off course.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

The song from Mary Poppins “Let’s Go Fly A Kite” started playing in my head as soon as I saw this book cover. But kite flying is not all fun and games in Rock Point, Oregon, especially when Emmy is getting ready for the annual kite festival. Her shop’s future could depend on whether she wins or loses. A celebrity has been brought in to judge the event but she and Emmy get off to a terrible start with an argument in front of in front of a bunch of people. When the judge is killed soon after she becomes a prime suspect. She may have information to clear herself but a member of the paparazzi is not letting her off the hook. To save Strings Attached? she is really going to have to fly around to prove her innocence or all her dreams may go “Up, Up, and Away”.

I really enjoyed my literary trip to Rock Point. Kites in the air, waves crashing on the beach, the wind in my hair and murder to solve.

As in Blown Away, the first book in this series, the story starts out at a good clip. Emmy’s sister Sunny drops in for an unexpected and what could be a lengthy visit, and she has not informed her parents where she is. If Emmy keeps Sunny’s whereabouts a secret from her mom she knows it is going to come back and bite her, but she is too stressed out about the kite she is creating to enter in the festival and all the tourists coming to town. I admire Emmy’s patience with her sister. I wanted to jump into the pages more than once and pummel the girl myself.

Avery’s busy too at the Brew House, so Sunny moving in is no big deal for her.  Emmy has gotten close to Jack Sullivan, the owner of the other kit store in town. They are competing against each other in the Best Kite division, and she is looking forward to taking him down. 🙂 Other characters from book one have returned, including a certain Australian Shepherd,  and we are introduced to a few new ones too, Hollywood types and the entourage that follows them. All were highly entertaining.

Midway through the story, the pace levels out just a bit but then as the clues start to fall into place and the suspect/s start to feel the pressure the pace heats up again. My pages were flying. The plot was well thought through with surprising twists. The subplots were interesting and I am excited about the next book to see some of them continue.

I love that Emmy creates one-of-kind kites. I was really into sewing and quilting before my accident and she uses several techniques I am very familiar with. It is nice to read about something I used to love to do so much. The author described it all so well. I could almost feel like it was my hand pushing the needle through the fabric. The colors described were so bright and appealing too.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Clover Tate is a former congressional investigator and the author of the Kite Shop Mysteries, including Blown Away and Live and Let Fly.


Coming in September 2018

Thanks to the publisher 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.
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Click the Like Button at the bottom of this post for a Bonus Entry.

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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.”

Dec 132017
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am thrilled to have Nancy Haddock back for another visit today! 

Inspector Gadget?
by Nancy Haddock
(Guest Post Provided by Publicist)

 

Hello, Readers! Thank you for stopping by, and many thanks to my hostess for having me here!

Last year I came out of the closet. The office supply closet to be exact. The one filled with more sticky notes, colored paper clips, and file folders than I’ll use in my lifetime. Yes, I have a fatal attraction to office supplies.

Now I’m ready to admit I also have a gadget fixation, and it’s the mountain of catalogues I still get at this time of year that reminded me of my little addiction.

Sigh.

I imagine most of us have bought our fair share of gadgets. After all, they’re everywhere! Does the phrase “as see on TV” ring a bell? Perhaps a cute owl kitchen timer bell?

A gadget is “a small mechanical or electronic device or tool, especially an ingenious or novel one.” Synonyms include appliance, implement, tool, utensil, contraption, machine, device, and gismo. By this definition, gismos come in every size—small, medium, large and humongous!

I’ve purchased gadgets to assist in-house cleaning from floors to ceilings. Wet and dry mops, a baseboard duster, hand dusters with some sort of static-cling technology in the pads. Pet hair removers, vacuums, bathroom scrubbers, extendable dusters to reach ceiling fans and whisk away ceiling cobwebs those itty-bitty “corner” spiders make. Ack! Stop the cleaning gadget madness!

Other gadgets make mealtime preparations easy … and even fun! Pause to remember those commercials in which the excited announcer’s voice touts the latest and greatest way to slice, dice and make Julienne fries! What the announcer doesn’t tell you is that the leverage and sheer force needed to slice, dice and julienne is equivalent to 500 pounds per square inch. Your average giant bodybuilder might pull off this kind of kitchen magic, but I can’t.

Naturally, the gadgets I especially love our office and computer gadgets. Storage units for the aforementioned office supplies, and USB hubs. A small external hard drive suitable for travel, and the ever-popular flash drives. Power surge protectors, one with battery backup power. The only gizmo I’ve yet to find is someone thing or system that will truly organize and hide the jumbled jungle of power cords for my desktop computer, printer, etc.

Whether for indoors or out, whether for spring, summer, autumn, or winter, we have gadgets for every season and every reason.

But wait? Do we really have all the tools, gizmos, and gadgets we need? I don’t, and I have a list of what I’d like to see invented. Here are my top contenders.

  1. A whole-house dust and vacuum system. I’m not talking about the robotic vacuums on the market. I want to flip a switch and magically have all the dust and pet hair sucked out of the house. All that stuff tucks into your wall spaces to further insulate your home!
  2. A Jetsons-type Rosie the Robot maid to wipe up hubby’s kitchen spills as soon as they happen. Which is, coincidentally, every time he goes to the kitchen. If Rosie is a no-go, how about a battalion of housekeeping brownies or faeries who’d keep my home immaculate?
  3. A doodad that will draw the words straight out of my brain when I’m writing and transfer them to the monitor. Of course, seeing as my thoughts tend to bounce all over the place at times, I’d be editing for months on end, but, hey, at least the story would be out there. In the raw, but in black on white.

There you have it. My secret love-hate of all things gadgetry. Do you have a favorite gismo that makes life easier? A do-hickey that was a dud and didn’t work for you at all? A gadget you wish you had? I’d love to hear your best, your worst, and your wished-for, so let me have them!

~Nancy

Thank you, Nancy, so much for stopping by today! 

 

A Crime of Poison (A Silver Six Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Arkansas
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (December 5, 2017)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425275740
Kindle ASIN: B06XK2YCWP

 

 

The Silver Six are known for their arts and crafts—but they’re about to be tested in the art of catching a crafty killer.

It’s early October, time for the Fall Folk Art Festival and Bake Sale in Lilyvale, Arkansas. Every business along the town square will benefit from the event, including the craft store run by Leslee Stanton Nix—aka Nixy—and the Silver Six, a group of retirees. In charge of making the festival go smoothly, Nixy is confident that it will be a success.

But things become knotty when local troublemaker Cornell Lewis is found dead with a plate of Snickerdoodles from the bake sale. Two members of the Silver Six are accused of cooking up a murder plot, but Nixy knows that the cookies weren’t literally to die for. With time running out, Nixy and company must catch the actual killer…before the Silver Six find their number permanently reduced to four.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We arrive in Lilyvale, Arkansas, just in time for the Fall Folk Art Festival and Bake Sale and for Cornell Lewis’ return. The man left town several years ago and many were happy about his departure. Those same people are upset about his return especially when he stops by The Handcraft Emporium. He leaves after a little fracas with the Silver Six. When the man is later found dead in his car in what looks like a case of anaphylactic shock. With Detective Eric Shoar sidelined because of his close relationship with Nixy and the Silver Six, Detective Charleen Vogelmen takes over the case and she quickly zeros in on Maisie and Aster, and their bake sale cookies found in the victim’s car.  Nixy with some assistance from Eleanor starts her own investigation keeping Eric in the loop hoping he’ll pass whatever she discovers on to Charleen. Maybe she can find other suspects for the detective to focus on and prevent her friends from baking in the big house.

I have loved the Silver Six since we met them in the first book of this series, Basket Case. They are an interesting group brought all together under one roof for a variety of reasons. I wish I had half their energy. They are always on the go and when someone messes with one of them or two as in this story, look out, because, they will not take it lying down. They are a family and they all care about Nixy. The author has created a wonderful cast of characters. I would love to meet them in real life and maybe become one of the group.

The plot was very interesting as we found how many people he was actually connected to in Lilyvale. Eleanor was a real asset as she and Nixy reached out to new people every day that could have the motive to kill the man. I enjoyed the process they took to narrow down the suspects and the way all of the Silver Six was involved in one way or another. I loved their meeting complete with a “murder board”. The story flowed so well and the mystery was nicely plotted The final reveal and the manner of poisoning was surprising. I was so happy because I had the person still on my own suspect list.

Nancy Haddock has written a fun series, they have all been “perfect escapes” for me. I recommend starting at the beginning for maximum enjoyment but this book read well all its own too.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Nancy Haddock is an award-winning and national bestselling cozy mystery author. Basket Case is her first book in the Silver Six Crafting Mystery series with Berkley Prime Crime, and the second book, Paint the Town Dead, is a Sept. 2016 release. Nancy draws on historic wealth, southern culture, and the plain old quirkiness of places and people for her books. She lives with her husband and rescue dog Baron.

Visit Nancy on her Webpage, Facebook and GoodReads.

GIVEAWAYThanks to the publisher 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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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.”

Dec 062017
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so happy to have Gayle drop by for a visit today! 

Time Traveling –A/K/A Going Through Your Recipe Box
by Gayle Leeson
(Post provided by publicist.)

 

One of the many things I’ve enjoyed about writing the Down South Café series is looking for the recipes to include. With the first book, in particular, I reached out to my readers and received many wonderful suggestions and, sometimes, the stories that went along with the recipes. My own little white and yellow recipe box is filled with stories. Granted, some cards in the box are merely recipes, but other are echoes from the past.

I look at my recipe for turkey dressing and smile because I can remember my grandmother’s words when I asked her for the recipe—you’re afraid I’ll die and you won’t know how to make this—and our shared laughter. Fortunately for me, she didn’t die until many years later…and for the first Thanksgiving afterward, I couldn’t stomach the thought of eating that beloved dressing. Now when I see that recipe card, I smile, remembering all the Thanksgiving Days I stood by her side and helped her determine if the mixture had enough sage before I ran back to the living room to catch another glimpse of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

“I’m gonna be a Rockette one day, Grandmother,” I’d say, returning to the kitchen to show her how I could kick.

“You will be if you want to be, angel,” she’d say, never once pointing out that Rockettes were tall, skinny, and coordinated, all features I still lack to this day.

I received a wedding invitation from our neighbor—itsy bitsy Laken, who was just ten years old last week, wasn’t she? and five the week before that? Okay, so it only seems that way. Anyway, enclosed with the invitation was a recipe card and a request to share a favorite recipe with the couple. What a wonderful idea. Not only do guests share a recipe, but it’s in the guest’s own handwriting and, most likely, filled with memories.

~Gayle

Thank you so much for visiting today, Gayle!


Honey-Baked Homicide (A Down South Café Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Virginia
Berkley (December 5, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1101990827
E-Book ASIN: B06XJM6VGH

 

 

The owner of a delightful Southern café tastes the sharp sting of suspicion in this delectable comfort food mystery . . .

It’s fall in Winter Garden, Virginia, and business at Amy Flowers’ Down South Café has never been better. So when struggling beekeeper Stuart Landon asks Amy to sell some of his honey, she’s happy to help. The jars of honey are a sweet success, but their partnership is cut short when Amy discovers Landon’s body outside the café early one morning.

As Amy tries to figure out who could possibly have wanted to harm the unassuming beekeeper, she discovers an ever-expanding list of suspects—and they’re all buzzing mad. She’ll have to use all of her skills—and her Southern charm—to find her way out of this sticky situation…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Fall in Winter Garden, a perfect time to visit the Down South Café. Amy Flowers has just made a honey of a deal with beekeeper Stu Landon to sell his honey and use it in her recipes. The first batch was selling quickly so she went to visit him in hopes of a few more jars to sell. She arrived to find Stu upset with his neighbor for using a pesticide on his crops that is killing his bees. Amy leaves with the promise of a delivery of more jars in the morning and Stu ready to face off with his neighbor.

When she arrives at the café the next day, Stu is there waiting for her in his truck. When she walks up to his truck she notices something is wrong and when she opens the door to help him she realizes she is too late, the man is dead and it wasn’t from natural causes. The town is soon abuzz about his death and she can’t believe the long list of suspects. It is going to take some sweet skills to catch the killer and Amy finds herself right in the middle of another murder investigation.

The author has created a unique band of characters. Amy Flowers has a huge heart, she always wants to help people so she is in the perfect business.  The Down South Café has its daily regulars like Dilly and Homer, but people like Stu, Chad Thomas, and Mr. Dougherty from Ives Oil and Gas are new visitors. Stu has lived near town for many years, but he keeps to himself so people don’t know too much about him. Chad Thomas is Stu’s neighbor and he brings his wife to the cafe for the very first time. Mr. Dougherty is in town on business and has been using the café as his place to meet with people. We also meet Stuart’s children and nephew after his death. Their interactions with Amy at the café are complicated. All the other characters we have come to love have returned in this installment too.

The murder mystery is complex and unfolds at a steady pace with plenty of drama. Amy becomes the center of attention for two characters wrath and she handles it much better than I would.  I found myself drawn to the most obvious suspect and was surprised when the final twist blew my entire thought process out of the water.

Gayle Leeson has written a honey of a mystery and I “bee-lieve” it is the best one so far in this series. She also includes several recipes to whet your appetite. The descriptions within the story had my stomach growling.

Southern charm, fabulous characters, and a fantastic mystery come together for a great read. It can be read on its own, but I suggest you read all three in order to get to know these characters.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


About the Author

Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. I also write as Amanda Lee. As Gayle Trent, I write the Daphne Martin Cake Mystery series and the Myrtle Crumb Mystery series. As Amanda Lee, I write the Embroidery Mystery series.

The cake decorating series features a heroine who is starting her life over in Southwest Virginia after a nasty divorce. The heroine, Daphne, has returned to her hometown of Brea Ridge to open a cake baking and decorating business and is wrestling with the question of whether or not one can go home again. She enjoys spending time with her sister, nephew, and niece, but she and her mother have a complicated relationship that isn’t always pleasant. Daphne has also reconnected with her high school sweetheart and is pursuing a rekindled romance while desperately trying to put her past behind her.

Kerry Vincent, Hall of Fame Sugar Artist, Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show Director, and Television Personality says the series is “a must read for cake bakers and anyone who has ever spent creative time in the kitchen!”

Says Dean Koontz, #1 New York Times bestselling author, “One day I found myself happily reading . . . mysteries by Gayle Trent. If she can win me over . . . she’s got a great future.”

The Embroidery Mystery series features a heroine who recently moved to the Oregon coast to open an embroidery specialty shop. Marcy Singer left her home in San Francisco, along with the humiliation of being left at the altar, in order to move to Tallulah Falls and realize her dream of owning her own shop. She takes along her faithful companion, a one-year-old Irish wolfhound named Angus O’Ruff. She makes many new friends in Tallulah Falls, but she also makes a few enemies. Thankfully, her best friend Sadie MacKenzie and her husband Blake run the coffeehouse right down the street from Marcy’s shop, the Seven-Year Stitch; and Detective Ted Nash always has her back.

Publishers Weekly says, “Fans of the genre will take kindly to Marcy, her Irish wolfhound, Angus O’Ruff, and Tallulah Falls. This is a fast, pleasant read with prose full of pop culture references and, of course, sharp needlework puns.”

Pat Cooper of RT Book Reviews says, “If her debut here is any indication, Lee’s new series is going to be fun, spunky and educational. She smoothly interweaves plot with her character’s personality and charm, while dropping tantalizing hints of stitching projects and their history. Marcy Singer is young, fun, sharp and likable. Readers will be looking forward to her future adventures.” (RT Book Reviews nominated The Quick and the Thread for a 2010 Book Reviewers’ Choice Award in the Amateur Sleuth category)

I live in Virginia with my family, which includes her own “Angus” who is not an Irish wolfhound but a Great Pyrenees who provides plenty of inspiration for the character of Mr. O’Ruff. I’m having a blast writing this new series!

Webpage      Facebook      Twitter     Pinterest    Instagram

Purchase Links:

Writing as Gayle Trent



Writing as Amanda Lee



Just click on covers for more book information or to order from Amazon.GIVEAWAY

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Be sure to check out the giveaway on the Great Escapes Book Tour!!
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 292017
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am thrilled to have Vicki Delany stop by for a visit today! 

The Fun of Creating a Whole New Town

By Vicki Delany
(Post provided by Publicist)

What power we writers have. We can create whole towns, populate them with only the people we want, we can play with their minds, and think: What’s the worst thing that could happen to this person at this time.

And then do it!

Case in point: my Year Round Christmas Series from Berkley. When I was tossing around the idea of a Christmas-theme-shop book, the first thing I had to consider was if it would be a shop in a nice, typical town. Or in a town totally dedicated to Christmas.

It didn’t take long to decide on the latter, and Rudolph, New York was born. In Rudolph, they love Christmas so much they celebrate it all year round.

Now, I had my town, so I had to fill it with something.  Mrs. Claus’s Treasures sells everything you need for decorating your home, as well as toys and jewelry, and many of the goods are locally made.  Victoria’s Bake Shoppe is famous for its gingerbread.  There’s Candy Cane Sweets, the North Pole Ice Cream Parlour, The Elves Lunchbox, Cranberries Coffee Bar, Touch of Holly Restaurant, The Yuletide Inn, the Carolers Motel. The possibilities are endless.  (Looking at this list it seems as though the residents and visitors to Rudolph like to eat a lot.)

Then we need people.  Merry Wilkinson is the owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures.  Merry’s father, Noel, is the town’s, Santa Claus. Merry knows her dad isn’t really Santa, but sometimes she does wonder how he knows what people want before they so much as say so.  Merry’s best friend, Vicky, owns the bakery.

The fondest wish of the residents of Rudolph is to be known officially as America’s Christmas Town. But they have tough competition from the likes of Snowflake, Arizona or North Pole, Alaska.  In the first book of the series, Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen, they’re delighted when a reporter from an international travel magazine arrives to do a feature he is going to title “America’s Christmas Town”.

Delight changes to something else when the reporter dies from eating a poisoned gingerbread cookie baked at Victoria’s Bake Shoppe. And rivals from a nearby town begin to whisper the worst: Christmas Town or Horrorville?

Can Merry Wilkinson and the residents of Rudolph solve the murder and save the reputation of their town as the place to find that real Christmas magic?

In the third book, Hark the Herald Angels Slay, it’s July and time for Santa’s annual vacation at the lake, and the town organizes a boat parade to greet him. But Merry Wilkinson, playing Mrs. Claus, has forgotten the basket of candy canes at the shop and hurries back to get them. Where she finds that someone has used a Christmas tree decoration with evil intent.

I’ve had great fun creating Rudolph and it’s inhabitants, and I hope you enjoy reading about their adventures.

~Vicki

Thank you so much for being my guest today, Vicki! 

 

 


Hark the Herald Angels Slay (A Year-Round Christmas Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – New York
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (November 28, 2017)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425280829
Kindle ASIN: B06XFFNS2M

 

The town of Rudolph, New York, has the Christmas spirit all year long—but when homicide heats up a summer holiday, it’s up to shop owner Merry Wilkinson to wrap up the case.

In Rudolph, Christmas in July heralds Santa’s arrival by boat to begin his summer vacation at the lake, and Merry Wilkinson, the owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, is looking forward to a busy weekend. But she’s caught off guard when her ex-fiancé, Max Folger, unexpectedly arrives with a team from a lifestyle magazine wanting to do a feature on the July festivities.

It’s clear that Max’s visit has less to do with business and more to do with winning back Merry’s heart. Merry has too much on her plate to deal with an old flame, but when Max is found strangled to death in Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, she must find out who wanted him dead—and stop a killer from ruining the summer holiday cheer.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I love this series sooooo much!

This time Santa is on his summer holiday at the beach in Rudolph. It’s Christmas in July and the town celebrates it up big. A magazine has even sent a crew to cover the event, the publication Merry used to work for, meaning her ex Max Folger is in Rudolph. She quickly sees he is there to try to win her back and using the promotion of the celebration to do it. When his current fiancé arrives in Rudolph she is not happy. Her mind should be on finalizing their wedding plans not him on a date with Merry.

Merry has too much on her plate to worry about the sparing couple. Santa is due to arrive by boat soon and she is his Mrs.Claus. She never expected the scene she found back at Mrs. Claus’s Treasures after the parade. Max dead and her assistant missing. The last thing Rudolph needs is another murder! Could Jackie have killed Max and gone into hiding? Things will not be merry until the killer is caught.

Rudolph is full of Christmas spirit in December, in July, and all the other months of the year too. It is also the perfect setting for this cozy mystery series. The author takes us on a real journey around town with her words. There may not be any snow this time but the town is decked out in all it’s holiday trimmings. Just stepping into Mrs. Claus’s Treasures is so much fun. I enjoy the way Merry’s dad, Noel, rearranges the stock every time he comes into the store. I had a vivid picture in my mind as he moves the table settings from a focal point in the store to showcase more Christmas ornaments instead. Merry tries to get him to leave things alone but lets him do whatever he wants. He is Santa after all.

As you can see the setting feeds right in me telling you about these extraordinary characters. The relationship Merry has with her father is absolutely joyous, and they both know how to handle her mother. Jackie is unique in that she is so good with the customers but she has what I would call a strained relationship with her boss, Merry. Woodworker Alan Anderson is back too, working as Santa’s elf and trying to find time to actually go on a real date with Merry. All the characters we meet in Rudolph are entertaining but some are not entirely likable. The crew from the magazine brings all the drama to the story. It starts and ends with them.

I think the mystery in this story was the best one in this series. A murder and a missing person and a bunch of out of towners that had their own agendas. It was complex and Merry seemed to be drawn right into it no matter how hard she tried to leave it to the police. The pace of the story had a slow build that leads to a surprising conclusion that did make sense but the actual killer was never on my radar.

This is a fabulous series, book 1, Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen, was a perfect escape, and book 2, We Wish You a Murderous Christmas, made my Best Reads List in 2016, This one will find a place on my Best Rests of 2017. For maximum enjoyment, I suggest to start at the beginning, but if you are feeling ready for some warmer temps this Christmas season, escape to Christmas in July in Rudolph. It will warm you right up!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most varied and prolific crime writers. Most recently, she is the author of the Year Round Christmas cozy mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime and (writing under the pen name of Eva Gates) the Lighthouse Library mysteries also from Berkley and the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mysteries for Crooked Lane Books. Find out more about Vicki Delany on her webpage here.

 

From Crooked Lane Books
Written as Eva Gates

GIVEAWAY
Thanks to the publisher 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.

Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.

Leave a comment for Vicki for 5 Bonus Entries.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

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Contest Will End December 13, 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 282017
 


I am so happy so have Julie visit today.
Her new book The Discombobulated Decipherers was released November 21!


Guest Post

It was always easy for me to have my babies. During my pregnancies I felt wonderful and my labor, all three times, was short, from three hours down to barely one hour with my last child. I occasionally compare writing a book to my months of pregnancy. When writing and creating  characters and plots I amble along smoothly, just like my pregnancies.

For me in a way, writing a book is a little like having a baby, although the birth of a book can take anywhere from a few months to as long as you want. When the book is finished you have a new baby, a new creation and then… the hard work begins.

After your human baby is born there are sleepless nights and trying to figure out how to be a parent to this new beautiful human. After a book is written there are sleepless nights with editing and editing and editing. Once you feel your creation is growing into the book it should be and sent off to the publisher, a writer needs to nurture that book, spread the word and brag about it the same as you brag about that human child as he or she grows and spreads their wings and becomes a full-blown adult.

My new book is here. The Discombobulated Decipherers, the second book in the Brilliant, Minnesota series, grew in my mind and was put into words over a nine-month span of time. The storyline which takes place in fictional Brilliant, Minnesota, finds the Penderghast Puzzle Protectors disbanded and Jezabelle and Lizzy moving on to a new career as owners of the Brilliant Bistro. The seeds were planted and just as we do not know what to expect when we find we are adding a new addition to our family, the storyline took off with a life of its own surprising this author with its characteristics.

Ernest the Elf is mistaken for a frozen statue in the square just when Brilliant is celebrating their Christmas Pageant with tourists coming from near and far for the celebration. Jezabelle and her neighbors as the Penderghast Puzzle Protectors thought they had solved the only puzzle the founding fathers of Brilliant had left before they disappeared, never to be heard from again. Their disappearance in itself is a puzzle. Ernest’s death leaves clues that all still is not as it seems in Brilliant. Since police chief Hank Hardy issued an order disbanding the Penderghast Puzzle Protectors, Jezabelle and her neighbors decide to change their name and become the Discombobulated Decipherers without Hank’s knowledge. It leads them to a Christmas story they didn’t expect.

The surprise story characteristic I didn’t expect from this book birth was giving importance to a minor character from the first book in the series. Snoop Steckle decided on his own that he would make the life of this book memorable.

I hope you take the time to meet my new baby, The Discombobulated Deciphers. And while you are reading I hope you remember that I am in the tough stage of nurturing my new child, feeding the media, growing the brand and expanding the series so it grows into a healthy family member of this series. Who knows what will happen in the next nine months before my next book baby is born.

~Julie

Thank you so much Julie for stopping by!


The Discombobulated Decipherers: A Brilliant, Minnesota Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Self Published (November 21, 2017)
Print Length: 195 pages
ASIN: B076Z3YFYQ

It’s Christmas in Brilliant, Minnesota, and Brilliant is known for its glitzy Christmas traditions. A world-renowned Christmas pageant, the town square decked out with Santa’s Village and a live nativity scene bring visitors to Brilliant each year. Just as the tourists arrive, Jezabelle Jingle and her mystery writer friend, Miranda, find the body of Ernest the elf dead and wrapped in a bundle of Christmas lights in the town square. Is Ernest part of a new holiday puzzle the Discombobulated Decipherers need to solve? Or is dead Ernest part of a bigger plot? Will Jezabelle decipher the clues so Brilliant can celebrate Christmas in peace? Or will Jezabelle be the next gift-wrapped box under the village tree?

About the Author

As human beings, we are always a work in progress. From birth to death we live, hurt, laugh, cry, feel, and with all of those emotions we grow as people, as family members, and as friends. I am a dreamer and feel blessed to have the opportunity in my writing to pass those dreams on to others. I believe you are never too old to dream and to turn those dreams into a creative endeavor. I live in rural Minnesota and I am a wife, mother, and grandmother.

I have worn many hats throughout my lifetime such as working as a waitress, nursing home activities, office manager and finally computer repair person eventually owning my own computer repair business. I never forgot my love of writing and quit my computer business in 2012 after signing a contract with Cozy Cat Press for Granny Hooks A Crook, the first book in my Fuchsia, Minnesota Series.

Adding four more books to the Fuchsia Series, adding a new Brilliant, Minnesota Series and writing a column for local newspapers feeds my writing creativity.

I also dabble a bit in watercolor painting and hope to eventually add pictures to my children’s book series, Granny’s In Trouble.

Oh, and did I tell you I like to be a little bit silly.

Author Links:

Website    Facebook     Twitter     Instagram     Pinterest    Amazon    Sprinkled Notes Blog    Goodreads

Merchandise from my books:

Purchase Link – Amazon


Julie is giving 2 Kindle copies of her new book away!

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old

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.

2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Leave a comment for the author for 5 Bonus Entries.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads 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 December 12, 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

Julie will be touring The Discombobulated Decipherers with Great Escapes in December!!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

 

Nov 222017
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I love this series and am so excited to have Sheila drop by for a visit today!

A Late Frost
(Orchard Mystery #11, Berkley)
(Guest post provided by publicist)

It is truly surprising how many murders seem to take place in small towns, as Meg Corey finds out when she moves to rural western Massachusetts. Downsized out of her Boston banking job, she thinks she’s going to renovate and sell a colonial house her mother inherited, then get back to her “real” life as a financial analyst.

A couple of years later she finds herself married to neighbor Seth Chapin and managing her own orchard. And getting involved in too many murder investigations.

In A Late Frost, it’s winter in Granford, and there’s not much to do in the orchard. Monica Whitman has recently retired to town with her husband, and she’s eager to get involved in her new community, so she suggests that the town create a new festival called Winterfare in the slow season. The event is everything she had hoped, but unfortunately she doesn’t live long enough to enjoy her success: she dies that night. Was it a suspicious death, or simply bad luck?

Meg hardly knew the woman, but when police find no obvious cause for Monica’s death, suspicions flare. The only way Meg can find to help is to learn more about Monica and her past from Monica’s husband, and the results are surprising.

~Sheila

Thank you Sheila for visiting today!


A Late Frost (An Orchard Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
11th in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (November 7, 2017)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425275832
Kindle ASIN: B06WGNPM43

 

 

The usually quiet town of Granford, Massachusetts, is even drowsier during the colder months. But this year it’s in for a jolt when Monica Whitman moves into town. She’s a dynamo who wants to make friends fast in her new home, and she throws herself into community activities. Meg Corey, now Chapin after her marriage to Seth Chapin, is intrigued by the new arrival, who has already sold the town board on a new, fun way to bring in visitors during the off-season: WinterFare, which will feature local foods (such as Meg’s apples) and crafts, as well as entertainment.

Tragically, Monica falls ill and dies after the event in what looks like a case of food poisoning. When all the food served at WinterFare has been tested, including Meg’s apples, it becomes clear that there’s a more sinister explanation to the older woman’s sudden demise.

Meg’s investigation uncovers a bushel of potential suspects, one of whom is rotten to the core.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Winter in Granford leaves Meg Corey with a lot of time on her hands. Seth doesn’t have a major job at the moment either.  You would be able to think these newlyweds would be able to enjoy an extended honeymoon, especially after all the chaos they went through with her parents and the dead handyman. Instead a new resident, Monica Whitman, has moved to Granford and has a fun idea to bring tourists to town during the colder months, WinterFare. With Seth on the town council, he plays a major role and Meg has a booth selling apples. This first year it is more about bringing the community together. But it may be the last year because Monica is rushed to the hospital and later dies. It looks like a case of food poisoning, meaning Meg could be a suspect. Anyone who sold/served food at the event is in the same boat. Meg is working closely with Art Preston, the chief of police, to pare down the list and try to figure out who killed this enthusiastic newcomer.

Sheila Connolly brings almost all the old characters back. Bree has taken a new job in Australia, so Meg needs to hire a new manager. Her mentor, Christopher has someone he thinks is perfect for the job. At their first meeting, Meg isn’t too sure. Larry is not a people person, but he knows his apples. Speaking of a people person, Monica Whitman is one, she talks a mile a minute, and has all sorts of ideas but she doesn’t live long enough for us to really get to know her better. After her death we meet her husband, Douglas, a quiet man with monumental challenges. These new characters are as well written as the regulars.

I really enjoy the normal daily life of Seth and Meg. Their relationship is so comfortable. Figuring out about how to handle taxes now that they are married and both with successful businesses. Deciding what to do with Seth’s family home now that he has moved in with Meg. Children in the future. . . maybe? I enjoyed the friendship that they have with Art. He wasn’t in charge of the investigation but he trusted their thoughts and theories, even going beyond his authority to get answers.

The mystery was top-notch and could have played out several ways. Ms. Connolly shocked me with the ending. It made perfect sense but my thinking was never drawn to the person for one instant.

This is a marvelous mystery series. I have enjoyed every visit to Granford and can’t wait to return. This next apple season is going to be very interesting.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

 

About the Author

Sheila Connolly, Anthony and Agatha Award–nominated and New York Times bestselling author, writes mystery series set in Philadelphia (the Museum Mysteries), rural Massachusetts (the Orchard Mysteries), and Ireland (the County Cork Mysteries), as well as a paranormal romance series (the Relatively Dead series). She will introduce a new Victorian Village series set in Maryland in 2018. In addition, her short stories have appeared in multiple anthologies. Formerly a professional genealogist, she lives in Massachusetts, surrounded by many, many departed ancestors, with her husband and three cats, and owns a cottage in West Cork in Ireland, where her father’s family came from.

Author Links

Website Facebook Twitter

GIVEAWAY
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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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 172017
 


This is a very special Flashback Friday.
This is one of my favorite series!
The mass market paperback of The Chocolate Bunny Brouhaha was released this month
and JoAnna Carl has dropped by for a visit.

Guest Post By JoAnna Carl
(Provided by Publicist)

Now and then I get an invitation to speak, and I nearly always pick the topic “Fun with Research.”

That’s because I think research is truly important to the mystery story, and because I always have fun doing it. Especially doing research about chocolate.

The part about research being important to the mystery story is easy to see. If the clues and the background in a mystery are not accurate, the whole thing becomes unbelievable, and nobody wants to read it.

The part about research being fun results from of my usual method of finding things out. I just ask somebody. I find somebody who knows and ask them. Talking to people is always fun.

I’ve never had anybody refuse to answer a question. I’ll admit that I often pick the subjects for clues in my books because I know someone who will help me out.

This research method led to the creation of the Chocoholic books. An editor asked me to write a proposal for a cozy, and the coziest background I could think of was chocolate. Besides, I just happened to have a daughter who was working for a chocolate company. Duh? Who else can you call at ten o’clock at night and ask the melting point of chocolate?

The editor also liked the idea. Then one problem arose. The Chocoholic books were classified as “Culinary” mysteries, and Culinary mysteries usually have recipes. But my editor and I thought the type of high quality chocolate in the books was not ideal for the typical household cook. The editor suggested “Lore” instead – interesting facts about chocolate.

And when it came to writing the “Lore” parts of the Chocoholic books – well, my talented and practical daughter wasn’t going to cut it even if she was in the chocolate business. I had to find somebody with more authority than a bright and intelligent young woman who was basically a business manager. (If this seems familiar, it’s because my detective, Lee Woodyard, through sixteen books has held a job similar to the one my daughter had in those days. As a fictional character, by the way, Lee is not a lot like that particularly daughter, except that they’re both awfully nice people.)

So for Lore research I found I had to read books. I didn’t mind that. It gives me an excuse to learn about one of my favorite topics: chocolate. Its history and science are fascinating.

The Spanish explored the New World looking for gold, for example, but chocolate may have eventually been a more valuable find.

Of course, in those days the chocolate bar had not been invented. Chocolate was only a drink. One tale that I find interesting is that in Spain young women began to have their maids bring them chocolate during mass, since drinking it was recommended to fight feelings of weakness. (We all know how weak a young girl can feel in church.) When a priest who opposed this practice died under mysterious circumstances, scandal ensued.

Now there’s a motive I definitely couldn’t think of on my own.

And for years churchmen argued over whether chocolate was a food or a drink. Could it be drunk during Lent?

Another religious group involved with chocolate was the Quakers. A bunch of English businessmen, all Quakers, supported early efforts to mechanize the manufacture of chocolate and were prominent in its manufacture and sale. They demanded a high moral code for their industry, even insisting on good treatment for workers in the tropical countries where chocolate was grown. Today’s Fair Trade movement probably thinks it came up with something new, but those Quaker businessmen had the same basic idea.

In England, one of the group, Cadbury’s, even established a model town to house its workers. Interestingly, Milton Hershey did the same thing during the next century in Pennsylvania. Who would have thought that chocolate could be linked to a social conscience?

A lot of the people of chocolate history are fascinating, from the Marquis de Sade to Forrest Mars. Cardinal Richelieu is even sometimes given credit for introducing chocolate to France. Yes, that was the guy who according to the novelist Dumas gave so much trouble to Anne of Austria and the Three Musketeers. The cardinal supposedly drank chocolate for medicinal reasons.

The science of chocolate has an interesting history as well. For several centuries chocolate was promoted as a medicine or an aid to good health.

Even today chocolate has been cited as being good for lowering blood pressure, for example. As for the sugar that often accompanies chocolate – well, it gets a different report.

Joe and Teresa Graedon, who write The Peoples Pharmacy column carried by many newspapers, offer a pamphlet on the health benefits and threats of chocolate – including recipes – that even a scientific dummy like me can understand.

For the history of chocolate my main source is The True History of Chocolate by Sophie D. Coe and Michael D. Coe.

But researching chocolate is fascinating to me, and not just because I’m an absolute freak for the stuff. Writing about it gives me a built-in excuse to visit any chocolate shop I pass. There’s the one in Washington D.C. where I first saw chocolate-covered bacon. There’s the chocolate garden in Michigan, with chocolate-colored plants. There’s the store in Lawton, Oklahoma, that stocks every kind of old-fashioned chocolate bar. And I get a specialty catalog that even offers Walnettos. You have to be old – like me – to remember Walnettos. They’re not chocolate, but still good. And they take me right back to my childhood.

I may have to quit writing and go buy myself a Cherry Mash.

Yum, yum!

~Joanna

Thank you JoAnna for visiting today!

I reviewed the hardcover version of this book last year.

the-chocolate-bunny-brouhaha
The Chocolate Bunny Brouhaha
(Chocoholic Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
16th in Series
Setting – Michigan
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Published by Berkley (November 1, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Hardcover: 240 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451473820
E-Book ASIN: B01BK0SQEU
goodreads-badge-add-plusShop Indie Bookstores

 

From the national bestselling author of The Chocolate Falcon Fraud comes an Easter candy caper featuring chocolatiers Lee Woodyard and her Aunt Nettie, and a killer who’s hopping mad…

The approach of Easter means a rush of business at TenHuis Chocolade, and Lee  and her Aunt Nettie need all the help they can get to make their famous chocolate bunnies. Unfortunately, new hire Bunny Birdsong is a clutzy basketcase dropping everything she picks up. But to Lee’s surprise, she’s a whiz with computers and fixing the store’s website so they decide to keep her.

However, Bunny receives a few visitors they could do without: her soon to be ex-husband Beau, his wealthy aunt Abigail, and his new girlfriend and her brother all descend on the shop one day and have a bitter argument. Lee hopes they can find a peaceful way to settle their dispute and not bring any more trouble to TenHuis. But when Abigail’s body is discovered in the vacant store next door, it’s clear to Lee there’s a bad egg in her midst. Now she’s on the hunt to find out who it is…

Includes tasty chocolate trivia! 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

It’s all about the BUNNIES! TenHuis Chocolade is getting ready for Easter with plenty of bunnies on order. The also have a Bunny on the staff, Bunny Birdsong. She seems to be an accident looking for a place to happen, but she does have her talents and Lee finally finds out what those are. Both are surprised when her ex’s aunt shows up at the shop, soon followed by the ex himself with his new girlfriend. A little drama in the sales area that Lee quickly tries to handle. When the aunt becomes the latest murder victim in Warner Pier it isn’t good for “anybunny”. Disruption in the shop has everyone on edge and Bunny on the top of the suspect list means Lee has a basket full of trouble. She is hopping into the investigation to find the real killer so everyone can get back to making all those tasty holiday chocolates we all love.

This is a perfect “EGGSCAPE”. My senses skipped right over Christmas to spring and Easter the minute I started reading. The expansion of TenHuis Chocolade continues with just a little pause for the police to collect their evidence. Lee and her Aunt Nettie are doing their best to keep all the workers and employees focused on their jobs while they and Police Chief Hogan focus on the murder.

JoAnna Carl’s stories never disappoint. I jump right in and they brighten my day. I love the characters, I love the setting and I love the chocolate! Don’t let the number of pages in this book fool you. It is a fantastic cozy mystery that will have you laughing out loud and then on the edge of your seat. So well written and plotted precisely, it has an excellent flow. Family, romance, humor, mystery, everything in the right proportions. Ms. Carl tells a top-notch story. I also enjoy the trivia she includes throughout the book.

Think this series is too far along to jump into, it’s not. The author gives you enough detail without revealing or spoiling anything from previous books in the series. Try one and you are going to want to read them all. You just may want to have some chocolate in the house because this book will have you craving a truffle or 2.

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To find out more about JoAnna Carl visit her webpage here.

GIVEAWAY
Thank to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away! 

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US 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.

Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.

Leave a comment for JoAnna and earn 5 Bonus Entries!

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
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will Ends December 1, 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.”

Another Man's Poison (A Jersey Girl Cozy Mystery) by Jo-Ann Lamon Reccoppa Buy Today!
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