Jan 262019

Picture Not Perfect (The Not So Reluctant Detectives)
by D.E. Haggerty

I am excited to welcome Dena Haggerty back to Escape With Dollycas today!

How the cover for Picture Not Perfect Was Born

by D.E. Haggerty


As Picture Not Perfect is book 2 of the Not So Reluctant Detectives series, I thought the cover would be a snap to develop. In order to ensure readers recognize individual books in a series, the covers for each book in the series should be consistent. Sounds easy, right? Not so much. The development started out well enough. We kept the background the same as the previous book Finders, Not Keepers. We also re-used the library card in the corner, which features my name and the series name. Unfortunately, that’s not enough for a cover.

The style for the title itself was easy. Well, at least it was easy after I finally figured out what to name the book. Naming novels is not easy, let me tell you. But that’s a story for a different day. I wanted to use a font that hinted towards the premise of the book and was reminiscent of the title – namely that a picture isn’t always correctly (aka perfectly) telling a story. I started researching fonts that resemble shattering. Within a few moments, I found the shattering glass font used on the cover. Luckily, my designer liked it as well.

So now I had the title, the background, and my name with the series name. Those elements a cover does not make. Unfortunately. At this point you’re probably wondering why I’m this deeply involved in designing the cover. Isn’t that what cover designers are for? Yeah, sure, if you can afford one. My husband, who has self-taught himself graphic design, is the one who actually puts my thoughts into an actual cover. And while he’s awesome at putting my ideas onto paper …er… computer file, coming up with a conceptual design is not his area of expertise. Although to be completely honest, he’s willing to take a stab at it. I’m the one who may be a tiny bit hesitant.

I went back to the actual novel itself as I feel it’s important for the cover to hint at what the book is about (not just some hot guy to drool over). The heroine of Picture Not Perfect is harassed by the police as they believe she was stalked by the murder victim. The theme of stalking comes back again and again in the novel. A-ha, I thought, I can incorporate something about stalking in the cover. My excitement lagged after spending hours going through stock photos of stalking pictures. I couldn’t find what I wanted, but my idea was now firmly developed. I wanted a picture of my heroine, Melanie, being stalked. This is when my designed really shined. He took my idea and developed it into a cover, which was a relief as I was about to tear my hair out!

And that’s how the cover for Picture Not Perfect came to life.

~D. E. Haggerty

Thank you Dena for visiting today. 

Keep reading to find out more about Picture Not Perfect.


About the Book


Picture Not Perfect (The Not So Reluctant Detectives)
Cozy Mystery/Romance/Humor
2nd in Series
Self Published (January 21, 2019)
Print Length: 230 pages

A picture tells a story. But is it the truth?

When the police find pictures of Melanie hanging up at her murdered colleague’s house, they’re convinced he was stalking her. Maybe she even killed him. Melanie was not being stalked! And she certainly didn’t kill her supposed stalker – as if. But Mel – always up for a bit of drama – jumps at the chance to go search for the real killer. When Mel’s ex-boyfriend, Owen, discovers her plans, he pulls out all the stops to ensure she’s safe and to win her back. No matter what happens with the murder investigation, he’s not letting her go. With the police setting their sights on Mel, he may need to jeopardize his own career on the police force to protect her.

Will Mel find the real killer before the detectives arrest her for murder?

Praise for Picture Not Perfect (The Not So Reluctant Detectives)
by D.E. Haggerty

Picture Not Perfect was a page-turner. I couldn’t help but enjoy the second chance at love
~My Reading Journeys

About the Author

I grew up reading everything I could get my grubby hands on, from my mom’s Harlequin romances to Nancy Drew, to Little Women. When I wasn’t flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although on the odd occasion I did manage to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic before returning to the law. But practicing law really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out running a B&B wasn’t my thing either. I polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic before following the husband to Istanbul where I decided to give the whole writer-thing a go. But ten years was too many to stay away from my adopted home. I packed up again and moved to The Hague where, in between tennis matches and failing to save the world, I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book.

Picture Not Perfect is my fourteenth novel.

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Also by this Author

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January 22 – Mythical Books – GUEST POST
January 23 – Babs Book Bistro – CHARACTER GUEST POST
January 24 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 25 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
January 26 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT  
January 27 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
January 28 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – CHARACTER GUEST POST
January 29 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 29 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
January 30 – Books Direct – REVIEW, GUEST POST
January 31 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 1 –Christa Reads and Writes – GUEST POST
February 2 – Readeropolis – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
February 3 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
February 3 – Laura`s Interests – SPOTLIGHT

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Jan 122019

I am excited to welcome Frances Metzman to Escape With Dollycas today!

Hi Frances,

  1. What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

 I believe I’ve gone the distance to develop my characters as much as the plot. It’s important to reveal my character’s upbringing as well as how they get through the hurdles and conflicts in their particular situation. How do they resolve overwhelming issues? What choices do they make and how does it reflect on their upbringing. How do they handle resolution and look to the future.

  1. What’s next on the horizon for you?

I have a sequel in progress to The Cha-Cha Babes of Pelican Way and an outline of a 3rd book.

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Formally, I was a sculptor and a social worker. I always wanted to write and 30 years – ago set out to do just that. But I knew structure was of the utmost importance. So, my quest included conferences, workshops, writing groups, individual lessons and wherever I could seek out information. They were given in tidbits, slivers or nonexistent. It was frustrating. I then devised my own standards of basic writing structure by piecing it together and lots of reading. I live by that framework and can manipulate the structure now without losing balance in writing. I liken it to the abstract painter who actually knows realistic work prior to experimenting. I teach that structure and occasionally meet resistance. Nonetheless, I will never divert and water it down.

  1. What are three things most people don’t know about you?

I hike/walk a lot, entertain to look like complex but try to use one pot, AND, I wanted to be a furniture maker but it won’t happen in this life.

  1. What is the first book you remember reading?

See Dick and Jane. I remember elements that were shocking to me. The dad going to work in a suit and briefcase, Mom kissing her children goodbye and conversations between parent and children – I came from a family of 5 children.

  1. What are you reading now?

The Gentleman from Moscow, Ian McEwan– Saturday, Alice Munro-Dear Life, Anne Tyler-St. Maybe, (I’m not always up-to-date)

  1. What made you decide you want to write?

I’m pretty sure it started as a healing process to re-arrange history and establish a resolution with my mother which I didn’t do in real life. Writing gave me the opportunity to manage the chaos in life so that conflicts are resolved and inner depths are examined. The process actually did help in my real life. 

  1. Do you have a special place you like to write?

I do. I write in my office.

  1. Do you write at the same day every day?

I try to write from 10 AM till 5 or 6 PM. If I start later in the day I try to work later – that is if my brain hasn’t gone numb.

  1. Where do the ideas for your books come from?

I think much of my ideas come from researching white collar crime. I read those types of crime in newspapers and from those who I have known.

  1. What books have most inspired you?

I think Cynthia Ozick for plotting and characterization early on and I admire Ian McEwan very much for his fastidious researching and characterization.

  1. Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Editing especially cutting my best pages.

  1. What do you think makes a good story?

 I believe in plotting even in literary books where there is a sense of a story. We have had stories – beginning, middle and ending from the earliest times of our lives. It doesn’t have to be obvious. It can be very subtle, even in literary books, but there nonetheless. Call me old-fashioned, it’s okay. Also, character development is equally if not more important.

  1. Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

That’s tough. Maybe a bit of them all, but Celia perhaps a tad more than others.

  1. Why did you pick your particular genre?

I’ve mentioned my fascination with white collar crimes committed by people I’ve known who are economically comfortable. Also, my need to bring about order and understand why people behave the way they do.

Thank you, Frances, for visiting today!


About the Book

The Cha-Cha Babes of Pelican Way
Cozy Mystery
Wild River Consulting & Publishing, LLC (June 21, 2018)
Paperback: 506 pages
ISBN-10: 9781941948064
ISBN-13: 978-1941948064
Digital ASIN: B07CV2GP9Z

Would you move a dead body for the sake of your best friend? Ask cha-cha babe Celia Ewing, a sixty-five-year-old widow who has just settled into Boca Pelicano Palms, the Florida retirement community of her dreams. When Celia’s best friend Marcy calls her and their friend Deb for help in the middle of the night, they find a naked Marcy trapped under the body of her beau, the community’s board president, Melvin. And he’s dead. The three friends secretly move Melvin back to his apartment setting off a chain of events that will threaten to tear their community apart and send them to jail. Melvin is one of a number of residents who are dying under suspicious circumstances; and soon Celia becomes an amateur sleuth in an attempt to identify what she suspects is a serial murderer.

Filled with humorous, witty observations about retirement communities, the realities of getting older, and the promise of new love, the Cha-Cha Babes of Pelican Way celebrates the deep bonds of female friendships, the desire for companionship at any age, and shows us that it’s never too late to learn how to cha-cha through life.

About the Author


Frances Metzman, a graduate of Moore College of Art and a Masters degree from the University of Pennsylvania, co-authored a novel, Ugly Cookies, by Pella Press. Her short story collection, The Hungry Heart: Stories, was published by Wilderness House Press, February 1, 2012. In 2009 she won a nomination for a Dzanc Books award, “Best of the Web.” In addition to publishing numerous (25) short stories in various literary journals, she has a novel published by Wild River Books, 2018, The Cha-Cha Babes of Pelican Way. Her teaching credits include Adjunct professor at Rosemont College to graduate school, Temple University at OLLI (creative writing and memoir). Other writing workshops, memoir/creative writing, have been given at universities and colleges such as Bryn Mawr, Penn State, Delaware, University of Pennsylvania, Widener, etc. As fiction editor for a literary journal, Schuylkill Valley Journal, she selects and edits the submissions. Many articles, essays, and stories she writes deal with aspects of society that influences relationships for all ages, including the mature set (sometimes tongue in cheek). Many articles are dedicated to improving attitudes toward the mature folks and address myths about “age appropriate” thinking.

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Praise for The Cha-Cha Babes of Pelican Way
by Frances Metzman

What a page-turner. Honestly once I got into the story it was hard to put down!
~My Reading Journeys

This heartwarming cozy mystery is surprising uplifting; it certainly raised my spirits.
~Mallory Heart’s Cozies

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January 7 – Books, Dreams, Life – SPOTLIGHT
January 7 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
January 8 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 8 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT
January 9 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
January 9 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
January 10 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
January 11 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT  
January 12 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 13 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
January 13 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 14 – Handcrafted Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 15 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
January 16 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST
January 17 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 18 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
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Jan 092019

I am thrilled to welcome Tracy Weber back to Escape With Dollycas
for the first Cozy Wednesday of 2019! 

She is sharing news and wants our input!

Hi Everyone,

I have to admit, the launch of my sixth Downward Dog Mystery is bittersweet.  I’m delighted in every way possible with Murder Likes It Hot.  The cover is fantastic, I’ve wanted to use the title forever, and Kate finally finds the maturity and contentment I always hoped she would.  Plus, I got to name two characters—rats, no less!—after two of my favorite people, Ed and Lonnie.

But even as I celebrate the birth of my newest written child, I’m preparing to say goodbye to the series, at least for now.

I was about to start the final revisions of Murder Likes It Hot when I received some surprising news: My publisher, Midnight Ink, is closing its doors this summer.  To be honest, I’m luckier than many of my Inker brothers and sisters.  Since I was at the end of my second three-book contract, I was well aware that this might be the final installment of the series. So I closed with an ending meant to satisfy readers. No cliffhangers here! 😉

Readers who have read the entire series know how much Kate has changed since her beard-phobic, commitment-averse, serenity-impaired beginning.  She’s still not a perfect yogi, and she struggles to live up to her ideals every day. But Bella, her German shepherd sidekick, has mellowed her. Michael, her partner, has given her stability. And finding justice for a half-dozen murder victims has helped her discover her life’s purpose. I hope my readers will cheer her on and miss her antics as much as I will.

Many of my readers have asked me, what will happen next, both for my writing career and for Kate?

Answer? I honestly don’t know.

My agent is trying to get the rights back to earlier books in the series. If she’s successful, I’ll self-publish them and—if there’s enough reader interest—get started writing Book 7 in the series.  If not, I have an idea for a new series that I plan to start working on soon.

My life lately has been filled with change. Last year I sold my yoga studio, Whole Life Yoga. This past December, I graduated from the Northwest School of Canine Studies.  I’m a third of the way through a certificate program in applied animal behavior at the University of Washington.  Why wouldn’t my new interests find their way to a new series?

I think it would be a total kick to write a series starring an animal behaviorist, and Rainbow, a new character introduced in Murder Likes It Hot, would be a fabulous sleuth. She’s whispering story ideas in my ear, just like Kate did eight years ago.  The question is, should I write them down?

So, dear readers, what do you think?  Is this an end, or simply a new beginning?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

And don’t forget to give Murder Likes It Hot a read.  I hope you love it!


Thank you, Tracy, for visiting today. I am very excited about where your future may take you. 

Now let me give you my thoughts on Murder Likes It Hot.

Murder Likes It Hot (A Downward Dog Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Washington State
Midnight Ink (January 8, 2019)
Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 0738750697
ISBN-13: 978-0738750699
Kindle ASIN: B07HL1HPJ5

Yogini and amateur sleuth Kate Davidson will need more than Warrior Pose to solve a murder and help homeless teens

Newly married yoga instructor Kate Davidson feels stuck in low-energy limbo, despite her high-energy life. She’s trying to conceive a child, keep her studio afloat now that the ultra-cheap Some Like It Hot Yoga studio has opened across the street, and start a yoga program at a local resource center for homeless youth.

When a center employee is found dead, Kate sets aside her fertility and financial woes to delve into the world of teenage homelessness. While digging for clues with her German shepherd Bella, Kate discovers that family can be formed by bonds stronger than shared DNA, and she must defend it at all costs.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Kate and Michael’s wedded bliss is facing a tough time. They both want a child so much but have been unable to conceive and fertility treatments are so expensive. Add to that, there is a new yoga studio opening up right across the street from Kate’s studio, so she is worried about keeping her clients and her classes full. She has been asked to teach yoga at a local youth center that gives homeless teens a place to spend their days and to get help and education to get them off the streets. She accepts to add some extra cash to their baby fund.

After only 2 classes the director of the center is killed and one of her teenage students is the prime suspect. Kate has only just met the girl and knows just a snippet of the home life she ran away from, but a killer, there is just no way. With a little bit of help from best friend Rene and hubby Michael, Kate sets out to uncover the real killer.

Deep breaths, this story is more than a cozy mystery. It is an emotional story not only for our amateur sleuth but a teenager who goes by the name of Rainbow.

Tracy Weber really took a hold of my heart with this story just like she did the last. (If you have read Pre-Meditated Murder, you absolutely must.) Her recurring characters were already fleshed out and real, yet with each new installment, I grow to love them even more. They face real everyday problems just like you and me or people we all know, and then they add murder to the mix. German shepherd Bella always is a shining star no matter what her people are dealing with too.

This time Weber also introduces readers to some incredible new characters.  The homeless teens and the staff at the center and even two unusual pets. These characters, flawed and complex, are very well written and easily draw us in.

Kate throws herself into this mystery not only to solve it but to try to take her mind off her personal situations. The author really twists things up to not only drop the clues necessary but also showing us a side of Kate we are not used to seeing. I was totally captured by this story from the first page to the last.

I was reaching for the tissues at the superb ending. An ending not only for this book but probably the series. I feel these characters have been left in a good place, but my fingers are crossed that it will not be the last we see of them.

I have loved this series from the beginning. The books really need to be read in order to see the journey Kate has taken over the entire series. I highly recommend each and every one.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Read my review of Pre-Meditated Murder here

Tracy Weber is a certified yoga therapist, the director of Whole Life Yoga Teacher Training, and the author of the award-winning Downward Dog Mysteries series.  She loves sharing her passions for yoga and animals in any way possible.

Tracy and her husband Marc live in Seattle with their precocious German shepherd, Ana. When she’s not writing, Tracy spends her time teaching yoga, trying to corral Ana, and sipping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house.

For more information on Tracy’s writing, visit her author website: http://TracyWeberAuthor.com/.

Thanks to the author I have 1 copy to give away!

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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 122018

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so excited to have Debra H. Goldstein drop by for a visit!

Writers – Creatures of Habit or Not? by Debra H. Goldstein

Writers often claim to be creatures of habit. Their habits may be tied to the means of writing – on a computer, legal pad with special pens, or via dictation; the location where the writing takes place – at the beach, the mountains, in a dark room, or in a room with wide open windows; and, whether there is absolute silence or blaring music. Some writers, the planners, can’t produce a word until every nuance of a piece is outlined while others, known as pantsters, write strictly from the seat of their pants. I wish I could tell you that I am a creature of habit, but I’m not. I write like I cook. Differently, every time even if I am recreating the same dish.

One would think as a former litigator and judge, my writing habits would be unimaginative. That I would outline every word and idea, much like Jeffrey Deaver does. I outlined the beginning and ending of my first book, 2012 IPPY award-winning Maze in Blue, a mystery set on the University of Michigan in the 1970’s, but the middle flowed, like magic, through my fingers to the keys of a computer sitting on a desk in my home office. I attributed my writing to the character’s voices leading me through their story. The only thing necessary for the words to pour out of me was playing the soundtracks from 1776 and They’re Playing Our Song repetitively in the background.

The same songs and physical location didn’t work for my second book. To write Should Have Played Poker: a Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg Players Mystery, I took my laptop and sat in an oversized chair in my living room. Century old furniture, which once belonged to my parents or grandparents, interspersed with modern cherry wood floors and an orange, gold, and blue carpet brought me a sense of peace that allowed me to bring new life to the characters from a short story published in 2010. I occasionally played folk songs and soft rock hits from the 60’s and 70’s, but for the most part, I wrote and rewrote in silence. It was the ambiance of the room that enabled me to find and contrast the voices of the Sunshine Village Retirement Home Mah Jongg players with the twenty-nine-year-old corporate attorney protagonist and her former lover, the detective assigned to her murdered mother’s case.

One Taste Too Many represents a hybrid of the habits that produced my first two books. Because the book is set in the present and the protagonist, Sarah Blair, is a twin, I drew on my experience as a mother of twins when I outlined the basic story premise. Unlike Poker, that I wrote and edited only on a laptop, One Taste Too Many was drafted and revised in two locations. For the first version, I sat in an easy chair in my bedroom with my laptop perched on my knees. When I finished the draft, I mailed it to myself and revised it upstairs in my office on my stand-alone computer. In both locations, I kept the score from Frozen playing constantly. Why Frozen for a book set in a small Southern town? I don’t know, but it worked. The music kept me typing at a nice even clip with a sunny disposition.

The other motivational trick I used for One Taste Too Many was keeping a picture of a friend’s Siamese cat where I could always see it. Growing up, we had dogs, but I knew bonding with a cat was different. That’s why I reached out to my friend and she was so helpful, I modeled RahRah after her cat, Suri. As you can see from the cover, RahRah and I successfully bonded.

For some, being a creature of habit is the only means to write. For me, a willingness to try different techniques and practices is what stimulates the muse and helps me avoid stale ruts. What about you? What does it take to prompt you to write effectively?


Thank you, Debra, for visiting today!

Now keep reading for my thought about One Taste Too Many.

One Taste Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery)
by Debra H. Goldstein


About the Book

One Taste Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Kensington (December 18, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496719476
ISBN-13: 978-1496719478

For culinary challenged Sarah Blair, there’s only one thing scarier than cooking from scratch—murder!

Married at eighteen, divorced at twenty‑eight, Sarah Blair reluctantly swaps her luxury lifestyle for a cramped studio apartment and a law firm receptionist job in the tired hometown she never left. With nothing much to show for the last decade but her feisty Siamese cat, RahRah, and some clumsy domestic skills, she’s the polar opposite of her bubbly twin, Emily—an ambitious chef determined to take her culinary ambitions to the top at a local gourmet restaurant . . .

Sarah knew starting over would be messy. But things fall apart completely when her ex drops dead, seemingly poisoned by Emily’s award-winning rhubarb crisp. Now, with RahRah wanted by the woman who broke up her marriage and Emily wanted by the police for murder, Sarah needs to figure out the right recipe to crack the case before time runs out. Unfortunately, for a gal whose idea of good china is floral paper plates, catching the real killer and living to tell about it could mean facing a fate worse than death—being in the kitchen!

Includes quick and easy recipes!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sarah and Emily Blair are twins and as different as night and day. Emily is a fabulous chef with plans to make it to the top of her field. Sarah married young and divorced 10 years later. She is starting over and has taken a receptionist job at a local law office and lives in a studio apartment with her cat, RahRah.

The restaurant where Emily works has a booth at the Food Expo and the staff will be giving demonstrations and sharing tasty treats. Emily will be making her special rhubarb crisp.

But tragedy strikes when Sarah’s ex is found dead at the convention center before the event even begins. Covered in rhubarb, it is quickly determined he was poisoned, by Emily! Also, with his death, it seems Sarah’s cat RahRah no longer belongs to her. A chef that works with Emily has laid claim to the feline.

As someone that hates to cook, Sarah knows she needs to hang around the expo to try to catch the real killer, even if it means filling in for her talented sister. That is if the killer doesn’t get to her first. She also needs to find a way to keep her cat.

This series is off to a stellar start and I am head over heels with the wonderful cat, RahRah. The cat was rescued during Hurricane Katrina my Sarah’s ex-mother-in-law who loved Sarah, so of course, she took the cat when the woman passed away. Her ex left out some key details about his mother’s will. Now, with him dead the secrets are revealed. Let’s just say he was a first-class a**, and I was happy he was the first victim. Yes, first, because the killing didn’t stop with him.

Ms. Goldstein has created a pair of sisters, twins, that are truly each other’s half. They are smart and fun. Best friends that take care of each other. Sarah is an interesting protagonist. I hope she continues to team up with her sister. I believe we have barely scratched the surface on when the author can take these sisters.

The story has a little bit more of an edge than a typical cozy but doesn’t go too far. It is exciting and fresh with plenty of twists and corkscrew turns. The author drops in the clues with such precision. I was up in the air about the killer right up until the big reveal. Someone on my radar but not at the top of my list. The motives were unclear until all the last clues slid into place.

This was a very entertaining story. A great mystery with characters I want to visit again. I am excited to see where the author takes this series. This one was A Perfect Escape!

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About the Author


Judge Debra H. Goldstein’s new Sarah Blair cozy mystery series debuts from Kensington Press with One Taste Too Many. She also is the author of Should Have Played Poker: a Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg Players Mystery and the 2012 IPPY Award-winning Maze in Blue. Besides novels, Debra writes short stories. Her short story, The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine (May/June 2017) is an Agatha Award Short Story Nominee. In addition to being the Sisters in Crime Guppy President, Debra serves on the national Sisters in Crime board and is Vice-President of the Southeast Region of Mystery Writers of America.

Website    Blog    Facebook    Twitter @DebraHGoldstein      GoodReads

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Praise for One Taste Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery)
by Debra H. Goldstein

ONE TASTE TOO MANY is a “different,” slightly edgy, cozy from an author with extensive knowledge of legal procedure.
~Mallory Heart’s Cozies

This one was a fun ride. A few twists that will keep you turning the pages may be a little slower to keep up.
~My Reading Journeys

What a fun engaging start to a new series!
~Cozy Up With Kathy

I kept changing who I suspected but when the real murderer is revealed, I was shocked! I did not see that one coming at all.
~Storeybook Reviews

The story was well-written and enjoyable to read.

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December 3 – Book Babble – SPOTLIGHT
December 3 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
December 4 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW, GUEST POST  
December 5 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 6 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
December 6 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
December 7 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW
December 7 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 8 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 8 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT
December 9 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 9 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 10 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
December 10 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
December 11 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
December 11 –A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 12 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW, GUEST POST
December 12 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, GUEST POST 
December 13 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 13 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT
December 14 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
December 14 – Cinnamon, Sugar and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW, RECIPE
December 15 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – REVIEW
December 15 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW
December 16 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
December 16 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST

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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 082018

Pineapple Upside Down Murder
(The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series)

by Jodi Rath


Hi Everyone,

I’m so excited to be a part of Escape With Dollycas Into a Good Book blog tour! Writing my first fictional book has been an amazing journey and this is the PERFECT way to end it as I move into writing book two of The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series, Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Murder. I have found that the writing community is one the most gracious and helpful communities out there. I should know as I’ve worked in Advertising, Communications (writing speeches for local city CEO’s), Vice President of a Credit Union, insurance, and now my 21st year in education—which I LOVE with a passion! I have to say all of my years in different fields have all contributed and helped me to be able to run the business I run today. So, even though some of those jobs were jobs I did not enjoy, I learned a lot and was able to take all of those lessons and apply them to what I do today! I wouldn’t change anything at all because I am thrilled with where I am right now!

Writing this series was so much fun, I feel like I’m friends with all my characters. I don’t know if that is normal or not? LOL! There will be fourteen books in this series and I have some overarching themes that will develop as the series continues that I’m very excited about! One of them deals with family and close friends and the paradox that exists with love/hate relationships: how we all navigate through that. My protagonist, Jolie Tucker, always says, “Why is it my family can push my buttons so easily? Oh, yeah, they installed them!” SO TRUE! I love my family to death, but no one can rile me up faster than them. BUT if anyone says one bad thing about them, WATCH OUT!


Thank you, Jodi, for visiting today!

Read on to find out all about Jodi’s book, Pineapple Upside Down Murder!


About the Book

Pineapple Upside Down Murder (The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
MYS ED llc (November 23, 2018)
Print Length: 130 pages

Introducing Jolie Tucker, an introverted yet passionate restaurant co-owner of Cast Iron Creations, who, at her best friend Ava’s request, steps out of her comfort zone which leads her into the shade of a killer in the small, cozy village of Leavensport, Ohio. The victim is the villages beloved Ellie Siler who runs the village sweet spot, Chocolate Capers. Jolie finds her grandma Opal is a prime suspect and goes on a search for answers only to find out that her families secret recipes may not belong to the Tucker family at all. Jolie’s job, family, and livelihood are all on the line. The answers are assuredly lethal.

Praise for Pineapple Upside Down Murder (The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series)
by Jodi Rath

With a quirky population of characters who have known each other for many years, this small town cozy is full of surprises.
~Laura’s Interests


About the Author

Moving into her second decade working in education, Jodi Rath has decided to begin a life of crime in her The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series. Her passion for both mysteries and education led her to combine the two to create her business MYS ED, where she splits her time between working as an adjunct for Ohio teachers and creating mischief in her fictional writing. She currently resides in a small, cozy village in Ohio with her husband and her seven cats.

Author Links:  Webpage FB Author Page: Author Jodi Rath  Twitter @jodirath

Goodreads   Bookbub    Pinterest

Purchase Links:

   All other e-platforms

Thanks to the author I have 1 e-copy to giveaway! 

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December 6 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 6 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
December 7 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 7 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
December 8 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 8 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY
December 9 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, RECIPE
December 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 11 –Valerie’s Musings – GUEST POST
December 12 – Handcrafted Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
December 13 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST
December 14 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW
December 15 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT
December 16 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 16 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW, GUEST POST
December 17 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW
December 18 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 18 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
December 19 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

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Nov 212018

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so happy to have Terry Ambrose stop by today as part of his Great Escapes Book Tour! 

Photos and Writing
by Terry Ambrose

If you’re “of a certain age,” you probably remember your family having friends over on a Saturday night to share photos of the most recent family vacation. In our house, I was the one who took hundreds of 35mm slides and then proudly showed off an endless array of shots from wherever we’d been. In the age of digital photography, we’ve moved those Saturday night get-togethers online. The nice thing about social media for a viewer is you only have to actually look at as many (or few) photos as you want.

Some photographers seem to have a knack for creating the wow factor. Whether their subject is as mind-boggling as the Milky Way or as basic as a slice of apple pie, I’m always amazed at how they get those wow-factor shots.

I love the blue hour — that point where the sky is still blue and the stars are just starting to come out. None in this photo, but not bad for a first attempt at a long exposure.

One of the things I love about photography is how it forces you to look differently at the world. Whether the photo is of food, people, or a sunset, composition is critical to ensuring that particular creation isn’t just another ho-hum series of bit and bytes.

When we visited San Clemente in January, we were lucky enough to catch the sunset.

I’ve spent three decades practicing the craft of writing, and during that time I let my photography skills lie dormant. Two years ago I decided to fix that, so I bought a new camera and began taking photos of many different things. Only recently did I realize my main interest was light, not necessarily any type of subject. It probably should have been more obvious to me that I was a light junkie, because I always seem to be on a quest to find new and different ways to paint the picture of light for readers.

What I’ve come to realize recently is that the common thread in my favorite photos is how the light plays in the scene. Describing this in words may not make tremendous sense, but perhaps a few examples will make it clear. I still consider myself a newbie at night and light photography, but I hope you enjoy these photos (and don’t fall asleep on the couch watching them!).


Thank you, Terry, for visiting today!

The Killer Christmas Sweater Club (A Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mystery)
by Terry Ambrose

About the Book

The Killer Christmas Sweater Club (A Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – California
Publisher: Satori
Print Length: 342 pages
Digital ASIN: B07H27NCP4

All ten-year-old Alexandra Atwood wants for Christmas is to get her dad and the B&B’s cook Marquetta under the mistletoe. After all, how can they get married if they don’t kiss first?

When murder strikes in Seaside Cove, bed-and-breakfast owner Rick Atwood is asked to help find the killer. But this will not be an easy case to crack. Not only did the killer contaminate the crime scene, but there are suspects all over town. And they all received the same Christmas sweater from the victim.

Alex hears rumors about the murder and decides that since she’s on Christmas break, she has time for a little multitasking. She launches her own investigation even as she continues her efforts to get her dad and Marquetta together.

Just when Rick thinks he’s identified all the suspects, he discovers a new one—his estranged wife. With the days until Christmas ticking down, Rick feels pressured from all sides. He needs to solve the case. He needs to send his wife back to New York. But the one thing he doesn’t need is for his daughter to be one step ahead of him and the cops.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

First I must say, that cover is gorgeous!! Every cover in this series has been beautiful and inviting.

We arrive back at the Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast right before Christmas. Rick and Marquetta discover boxes of decorations in the attic including a Christmas train, Captain Jack and her father had a lot of fun with. Ten-year-old Alex is focused on moving her dad’s relationship along. She enlists a little help to hang some mistletoe, now she just needs to get them under it at the same time.

Rick’s focus is on the latest murder. While at The Crooked Mast for an Ugly Sweater Contest, Deputy Cunningham arrives sans ugly sweater to ask for Rick’s help. Local lawyer, Thorne Waldorf has been murdered. He just happened to send out a bunch of ugly sweaters to certain people he has wronged. The sweaters included an apology of sorts but Rick thinks the killer is among those who received Thorne’s gifts. Word around the party shows people were not happy with the man for several reasons. Even Alex hears some interesting stories. The one thing Rick never expected was for Alex’s mother to be in town, involved with Thorne Waldorf, and on the suspect list.

Christmas is right around the corner so this case needs to be wrapped up as fast as possible. He knows Alex wants to help and maybe with guidance from Marquetta that is possible. He just hopes he figures out whodunit before she does.

These characters quickly found their way into my heart right away in book 1, A Treasure To Die For. It is a joy to visit them for the holidays. I am almost as invested in Rick and Marquetta’s relationship as Alex.  Alex is a phenomenal character, she is smart and thinks well are her feet for someone so young. Rick struggles to be sure he is giving her the best life he can and with Marquetta’s help, he truly is. Having her mother arrive back on the scene in this story could have gone many ways but the way it plays out shows just how good of job he is doing.

If you haven’t read previous books in this series, Marguetta gave Alex a journal as soon as she arrived at the B&B. The story goes back and forth between Rick’s point of view and Alex’s along with her journal. Seeing a 10-year-olds perspective to the crime and her theories is so much fun. Her efforts to bring the two most important people in her life together had me smiling ear to ear.

Mr. Ambrose delivers another extraordinary mystery. Multifaceted with plenty of suspects made this a hard one to solve. It was all twisted up until a key clue was solved and all the pieces fell into place. I was totally surprised when all was revealed.

The author sets a wonderful scene too. I can imagine the B&B in all its finery right down to the train village, the lights on the stairway, the wreath, the mistletoe, and all of the ugly sweaters too. A real treasure of a story to get you into the Christmas spirit.

I loved this story and I just can’t get enough of these characters. I can’t wait for my next visit!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Check out my review of A Treasure To Die For here and Clues in the Sand here.


About the Author

Terry Ambrose is a former skip tracer who tracked down deadbeats for a living. He’s long since turned his talents to writing mysteries and thrillers. Several of his books have been award finalists and in 2014 his thriller, “Con Game,” won the San Diego Book Awards for Best Action-Thriller. He likes cool photography, funny mysteries, and finding the oddest things while walking on the beach.

Author Links:   Website   Facebook   Goodreads

Praise for The Killer Christmas Sweater Club (A Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast Mystery)
by Terry Ambrose

Another 5 stars for Terry Ambrose and the Seaside Cove B&B Mystery Series. I am really enjoying this series and all the characters.
~My Reading Journeys

The Killer Christmas Sweater Club is a fun cozy mystery with a great Christmas theme.
~The Power of Words

The Killer Christmas Sweater Club is a charming story. There are engaging characters, a quaint setting and Christmas merriment . . . (it) can easily be read by a younger audience . . . (and it) has a heartwarming ending that will have you smiling.
~The Avid Reader

I am completely smitten with everything about this mystery book, and if Hallmark is looking for a cozy mystery to turn into their next best-selling series of films, look no further!
~My Devotional Thoughts

What an adorable Christmas cozy mystery . . .Great for cozy fans.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

Purchase Link – Amazon

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops.
November 9 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW  
November 9 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
November 10 – The Montana Bookaholic – CHARACTER GUEST POST
November 11 – My Devotional Thoughts – REVIEW 
November 12 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT
November 13 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
November 13 – The Power of Words – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
November 13 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
November 14 – Babs Book Bistro – GUEST POST
November 14 –  A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
November 15 – The Avid Reader  – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
November 15 – That’s What She’s Reading – SPOTLIGHT
November 16 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT
November 17 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
November 17 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
November 18 – Laura’s Interests – CHARACTER GUEST POST
November 18 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT
November 19 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
November 19 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
November 20 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
November 20 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT  
November 21 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, GUEST POST
November 21 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

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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 142018

I am keeping everyone in California devastated by the tragic wildfires in my thoughts and prayers.

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am pleased to welcome Kate Carlisle back to Escape With Dollycas! 

Distorted Reality by Kate Carlisle

Say Cheese!

There’s no such thing as reality TV.

Let me repeat that: There is no such thing as reality TV.

The camera, by its very nature, distorts reality. It starts when we’re very young when our parents tell us to smile for the camera. We manipulate our muscles obediently, even if the sparkle doesn’t quite reach our eyes. We “say cheese” to get our mouth into proper position.

Look back at the fauxtographs from your childhood, and you’ll see what I mean. There’s something both engaging and heartwarming about the genuine smile of a child. And something disturbing when it’s evident that the smile is forced.

Before becoming a writer, I worked for many years in TV production on so-called reality shows. Time and again, I witnessed a change come over the on-camera talent the moment that filming began. The changes were subtle sometimes, but there. Almost everyone instinctively stands a little bit straighter, tries to sound a bit more intelligent/less casual—and frequently less profane.

We clean up our language and clean up our acts because we’re aware of being watched. . . and judged.

I thought it would be really interesting to play with this concept in my latest Fixer-Upper Mystery, A Wrench in the Works. Contractor Shannon Hammer is known around Lighthouse Cove as an expert on home renovation—but her little sister Chloe’s skills are famous all across the nation. Chloe is one of the stars of Makeover Madness, a home renovation show. She and her crew have descended on Lighthouse Cove to film a few episodes.

And to stir up some trouble.

When you’re reading A Wrench in the Works, pay attention to how characters change when the cameras start rolling. No one acts like a murderer while the klieg lights are on. Behind-the-scenes is another story altogether.


Lights! Camera! Homicide! Contractor Shannon Hammer must sift through the suspects when a popular TV show comes to Lighthouse Cove and brings murder with it…

Shannon Hammer’s younger sister Chloe left Lighthouse Cove after high school to make it big in Hollywood. And she did it! Chloe is the co-host of a popular home repair show on the Home Builders Network. Now, after ten years, she has returned to their quaint, coastal hometown to film several shows featuring her sister Shannon, along with some special mini-segments on Victorian style and design.

But Shannon quickly realizes that things are not exactly blissful in TV land. Bree, the executive producer of the show, has a knack for stirring up sticky situations and when she’s found dead, Chloe and the entire crew are under suspicion. During the investigation, Shannon, her thriller-writer boyfriend Mac, and their crime-solving friends unearth the real reason Chloe left home. Is that ten-year-old secret connected to Bree’s death? And can Shannon track down the real killer before her beloved sister becomes the next victim?

Do you agree that most people behave differently when they know they’re on camera? Why or why not? Do you have any fun examples to support your position?


Thank you, Kate, for stopping by! 

Keep reading for my review of A Wrench In The Works. 

A Wrench in the Works (A Fixer-Upper Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – California
Berkley (November 6, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 0399586482
ISBN-13: 978-0399586484
Kindle ASIN: B079R3XMKZ

The synopsis is included in the guest post above.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The television cameras have arrived in Lighthouse Cove along with Shannon’s sister Chloe. She is the co-host of a home renovating show, Makeover Madness, and is thrilled to be taping back in her hometown. Shannon also gets in on the fun by making some guest appearances. The hammer comes down on all the fun though before they even start filming. Executive producer Bree is found dead in the house chosen for the big makeover and the whole crew including Chloe are now suspects. Even Shannon saw with her own eyes the way Bree always through a major wrench in the productions. But then a real estate agent from Lighthouse Cove is found dead, again at the makeover house and the suspect pool widens. What is really scary is that Chloe could be the next victim. Shannon, Mac, and their friends are nailing down every clue to keep her safe and catch the killer.

The author has created characters that are very likable and realistic. Both Shannon and Chloe grew up working construction with their dad and know their way around a job site and every tool in the box. Determined women but Chloe hasn’t been back to Lighthouse Cove since she left for Hollywood. We learn along with Shannon the secret that has kept Chloe away all these years. I really enjoyed this subplot woven throughout the mystery as we see so much evolve for Chloe.  Shannon is so proud of her sister and her accomplishments. Their strong bond is heartwarming. The relationship between Mac and Shannon is getting more comfortable too. He really is a great boyfriend. He understands Shannon and her need to jump into these murder mysteries and is happy to help her in any way he can. The supporting cast is captivating too and made me feel like I was visiting old friends.

The backdrop of Lighthouse Cove, oceanside and all the old Victorian homes is a perfect setting for this series. Big enough to handle all the dead bodies, small enough to allow our amateur sleuth to nose her way into the investigation. I truly enjoy all the descriptions of the homes. The makeover house had so much wrong with it, novices would think the only answer would be to tear it down, but in the hands of Shannon, Chloe, and their teams you know they are going to turn it into a real jewel.

The mystery is well plotted and written. All the drama brought by the television people along with the added drama of some current Lighthouse Cove residents flows together to bring a story that sets a very nimble pace. There is always something happening, a twist, a turn, a curve, that diverts attention or sends everything in another direction. It is impossible not to totally be pulled into this story. I did solve the mystery just a little bit before Shannon but the entire story was totally entertaining.

This story does read well on its own. I always recommend reading the series in order for maximum enjoyment. The movies are great too but could never replace these wonderful stories.

Picturesque setting, terrific characters, and a delightful mystery. A Perfect Escape for all cozy lovers.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


Read more about Kate and the Fixer-Upper Mysteries at www.KateCarlisle.com!

You can read my reviews of previous books in this series by clicking the links below.
A High End Finish
This Old Homicide
Crowned and Moldering
Deck the Hallways
Eaves of Destruction
Also by Kate Carlisle

Coming June 4, 2019


Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away. 

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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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.”

Oct 102018

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am always thrilled to have Kathleen Ernst drop by for a visit.

Immigrant Stories
by Kathleen Ernst

People sometimes ask why I so often write about 19th-century immigrants.  My fascination began in the 1980s when I worked at an outdoor ethnic museum called Old World Wisconsin. The museum features over 50 historic structures which have been moved to the site and restored.  Working as an interpreter and curator there provided tantalizing glimpses into the lives of some of the state’s first Yankee and European immigrants.

An even stronger motivation is simply my ever-growing admiration for the everyday people who made the monumental decision to leave everything familiar and gamble on a new life in Wisconsin.  I created the Chloe Ellefson Mysteries to give myself the opportunity to share some of what I’ve discovered.  Chloe is a curator at Old World Wisconsin, and as the series progresses, she visits other special historic sites and museums.  Different books have featured different ethnic groups.

In the ninth book, The Lacemaker’s Secret, Chloe travels to northeast Wisconsin. She’s been hired to create a furnishings plan for a Belgian-American farm being restored at Heritage Hill State Historical Park in Green Bay.  She’s on the hunt for insight into the lives of Belgian immigrants (and after discovering a body in an old brick bake oven, she’s soon on the hunt for a killer as well).

I knew little about the Belgians’ experience before beginning research for this book.  The immigrants, most of whom arrived in the 1850s, faced a brutal struggle to turn old-growth forest into farmland.  A devastating cholera epidemic swept through the settlements.  And in 1871, what is remembered locally as The Great Fire (which burned simultaneously with the Peshtigo Fire across the bay) blazed through many of the Belgian communities.  Over two hundred people died; over five thousand lost everything they owned.

But the Belgian immigrants’ story is not defined by tragedy.  It’s defined by strength and persistence, by faith and courage.  Today many of their descendants still live in northeast Wisconsin because their ancestors did not give up or give in.  I find that inspiring.

So does Chloe Ellefson in The Lacemaker’s Secret.  I hope that readers do as well.


Thank you, Kathleen, for being my guest today! 

Now let me give you my thoughts on The Lace Maker’s Secret.

The Lace Maker’s Secret (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
9th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin/Belguim
Midnight Ink (October 8, 2018)
Paperback: 408 pages
ISBN-10: 0738753548
ISBN-13: 978-0738753546
Kindle ASIN: B0795R5H4C

Greed, Uncertainty, and Death Get Tangled in the Mystery of a Rare Piece of Belgian Lace

Curator Chloe Ellefson needs distraction from the unsettling family secret she’s just learned. It doesn’t help that her boyfriend, Roelke McKenna, has been troubled for weeks and won’t say why. Chloe hopes a consulting job at Green Bay’s Heritage Hill Historical Park, where an old Belgian-American farmhouse is being restored, will be a relaxing escape.

Instead she discovers a body in a century-old bake oven.

Chloe’s research suggests that a rare and valuable piece of lace made its way to nearby Door County, Wisconsin, with the earliest Belgian settlers. More importantly, someone is desperate to find it. Inspired by a courageous Belgian woman who survived cholera, famine, and the Great Fire, Chloe must untangle clues to reveal secrets old and new . . . before the killer strikes again.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This installment of this wonderful series takes Chloe Ellefson on the road to Green Bay’s Heritage Hill Historical Park. They are restoring a historic Belgian-American farmhouse and have asked her to consult on its furnishings. She recently learned some upsetting news about her family and something is definitely bothering her boyfriend. Roelke McKenna, so maybe a week away, doing the thing she loves will do them both some good. She is meeting a woman there who she has worked with in the past. The woman is a lace expert and she has been told a valuable piece of lace is part of Heritage Hill’s collection. Both women are excited to learn about the lace and its origins.

It is winter in Wisconsin and driving north Chloe encounters some slippery conditions. Just before she reaches the B&B where she will be staying she notices a summer kitchen building right off the road.  She pulls over quickly to check the place out, but she makes a grisly discovery. A dead body has been stuffed into the old bake oven. This is not the way she planned to start her week. The death has nothing to do with her. Maybe she can leave everything to the police and just do what she came to Green Bay to do. But she knows that is not going to happen, she is going to find herself right in the middle of another investigation and her favorite police officer is many miles away.

I know when I pick up a book by Kathleen Ernst I am in for a delightful read. This book was no exception. I have spent my whole life in Wisconsin and every time I read a book by this wonderful author I still learn something new. I knew the basics of the historical events that take place in this story but her fictional telling of the time period resonates and makes the time, place, and people come alive.

The historical part of the story begins in Belguim in 1848 when 12-year-old Seraphine Moreau’s father dies and she and her twin sister, Octavie are taken by their uncle to a convent school in Bruges.  She leaves her friend Jean-Paul Lejeune behind but he doesn’t forget her, he visits her and the convent often and they pledge their love to each other. While at the convent both Seraphine and Octavie learn to make the beautiful bobbin Belgian lace. In 1854, Jean-Paul returns to ask Seraphine to be his wife and travel with him to America where there are new opportunities for farmers. The story then follows their lives in Wisconsin and joins together with the current story which is set in the 1980’s.

Again, Ernst really shows her storytelling chops by marrying these two time periods together seamlessly. Both time periods feature strong women in Chloe and Seraphine and even Octavie who remains in Belguim. We see through the letters to her sister what is happening across the Atlantic. Seraphine and the immigrants struggle to just survive at times was both heartbreaking and inspirational, the perseverance shown throughout their lives was remarkable. Chloe shows her strength time and time again and she strives the find the truth even while putting herself in danger.

In Chloe’s timeframe, I always need to remind myself, 1980’s, no cell phones, no easy access to the internet, no text messages. I love the nightly phone calls between Chloe and Roelke, the calling collect, and reversing the charges. Something the current generation of kids and young adults will never know. For them, both parts of this story would be historical. I know Ms. Ernst’s books would be a great way for them to learn about history. She makes it personal and her stories stick with her readers. Her stories are well-researched but fictional so she does juggle the dates sometimes to fit her narrative while still giving an accurate picture of the things her characters endure.

I do love that the stories in this series take place in actual destinations near where I live. As my grandchildren get older these are places I would love to take them. According to their website, “Heritage Hill has earned a reputation as a jewel of the Midwest for guests from within the area and those visiting the community.” I really thank the author for bringing this treasure to my attention.

The Lacemaker’s Secret is a fantastic story filled with characters that are truly believable. They will draw readers deep into their lives. The theme of Belgian lace and the setting in Wisconsin really shows the author’s love of the history of our state. This was an amazing read!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

The last book in this series also received a Paradise Rating.
Check out my review of Mining for Justice here.

About the Author

Kathleen Ernst is a social historian, educator, and author. Her Chloe Ellefson mysteries reflect the decade she spent as a curator at a large outdoor museum, and feature historic sites in the Upper Midwest.  Library Journal says, “Ernst keeps getting better with each entry in this fascinating series.” Kathleen has also written many mysteries for young readers.  Honors for her work include a LOVEY Award and Agatha and Edgar nominations.  Kathleen lives and writes in Wisconsin.
Webpage Facebook – Blog 

Thanks to the author I have 1 copy to give away!
The 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.

Leave a comment for the author for 5 Bonus Entries.

Sign up for Kathleen’s Mailing List for 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 End October 24, 2018, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Sep 222018

Past & Present: A Marketville Mystery
by Judy Penz Sheluk

I am so happy to welcome Judy Penz Sheluk to Escape With Dollycas today!

Guest Post 

Public Speaking: How I went from petrified to panelist

by Judy Penz Sheluk


My earliest memory of public speaking goes back to the eighth grade when I stood in front of the class and mumbled my way through a dry dissertation on Sir Isaac Newton. Years later, I’d think, I should have brought an apple, tossed it in the air, let it hit me in the head… that would’ve got their attention, but alas, I wasn’t nearly that inventive. The end result was a deadly dull presentation that had my teacher and fellow students falling asleep in their seats—or even worse, feeling sorry for me—and a fear of public speaking that carried on for decades.

It didn’t matter, for a long time. And then in 2015, my debut novel, The Hanged Man’s Noose, was published. I was invited to be part of a two-author event at a local library. Of course, I went—I couldn’t pass up the opportunity because I was terrified, could I?

The other author, whose fantasy novel about an aboriginal child fascinated by wolves, was up first. He spoke eloquently, read like an actor flawlessly reciting his lines, and basically had the audience (thankfully small) in the palm of his very capable hands. Later I’d find out he did presentations as part of his day job, but I didn’t know that then. Shades of Sir Isaac Newton came flooding back to me and I all but begged the librarian who had arranged the event to read for me.

She did. Badly. I left that day determined to do my own reading the next time I had an opportunity. After all, I couldn’t do a worse job than the librarian. Could I?

Next up, Bouchercon Raleigh 2015. My first Bouchercon. My first novel. My first panel. Knowing that the American Guest of Honor, Tom Franklin, was also on the panel only served to frighten me all the more. I was pacing the hall outside my hotel room, trying to summon up the courage to go to the conference room, when another author walked by. I’ll never know why she stopped to talk to me. Maybe it was because I was green around the gills, or maybe because I looked desperate for a friendly face. Whatever the reason, her random act of kindness changed my life. Because she told me the one thing I hadn’t considered: No one wants you to fail. The audience is rooting for you. They want you to succeed.

The panel, about writing stories set in small towns, went reasonably well. I wasn’t perfect, but as I answered the moderator’s questions, I found myself gradually gaining confidence.

Since then, I’ve been the guest author at a few library events and regional clubs/groups and managed to read from my book each time (see sidebar for tips). I’ve also been a panelist at Malice Domestic, twice, in 2016 and 2017.

My last conference appearance was at Bouchercon Toronto in October 2017, where I was assigned to moderate a panel of esteemed reviewers. Consider this line-up: Margaret Cannon (Globe & Mail), Erica Ruth Neubauer (Publisher’s Weekly), Steve Steinbock (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine), Marsali Taylor (UK reviewer) and Andrew Gulli (The Strand). Instead of being petrified, I looked at it as the incredible opportunity that it was: A chance to meet some amazing reviewers, and hopefully, make a good impression. Besides, this panel wasn’t about me, the moderator, it was about the panelists. That’s who people were coming to see. Remembering that made it easier.

Was I perfect? No. Would I do some things differently? Yes. But I left that panel proud of how far I’d come. And sometimes, that’s enough.


Photo: Judy (purple and black sweaters) with other members of Crime Writers of Canada at the Ontario Library Super Conference, Toronto. Judy acted as emcee and introduced each author, and also spoke about her latest release.

About the Book

Past & Present: A Marketville Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Superior Shores Press (September 21, 2018)
Paperback: 232 pages
ISBN-10: 0995000735
ISBN-13: 978-0995000735
Digital ASIN: B07FYZ6HPF

Sometimes the past reaches out to the present…

It’s been thirteen months since Calamity (Callie) Barnstable inherited a house in Marketville under the condition that she search for the person who murdered her mother thirty years earlier. She solves the mystery, but what next? Unemployment? Another nine-to-five job in Toronto?

Callie decides to set down roots in Marketville, take the skills and knowledge she acquired over the past year, and start her own business: Past & Present Investigations.

It’s not long before Callie and her new business partner, best friend Chantelle Marchand, get their first client: a woman who wants to find out everything she can about her grandmother, Anneliese Prei, and how she came to a “bad end” in 1956. It sounds like a perfect first assignment. Except for one thing: Anneliese’s past winds its way into Callie’s present, and not in a manner anyone—least of all Callie—could have predicted.

About the Author

Judy Penz Sheluk is the author of two mystery series: The Glass Dolphin Mysteries (THE HANGED MAN’S NOOSE and A HOLE IN ONE) and The Marketville Mysteries (SKELETONS IN THE ATTIC). Judy’s short crime fiction appears is several collections. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she currently serves on the Board of Directors as the Regional Representative for Toronto/Southern Ontario. Find Judy on her website/blog at www.judypenzsheluk.com, where she interviews and showcases the works of other authors and blogs about the writing life.

Author Links

Website – FacebookTwitterAmazonGoodReadsPinterest Publisher

Purchase Links


TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Check out all the stops on this tour. Two bloggers are hosting giveaways! 
September 21 – Community Bookstop – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY
September 22 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST
September 23 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
September 24 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
September 24 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
September 25 – Babs Book Bistro – RECIPE POST
September 25 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
September 26 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
September 27 – Mysteries with Character – CHARACTER GUEST POST
September 27 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 28 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
September 28 – The Montana Bookaholic – GUEST POST
September 29 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
September 30 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 1 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
October 1 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
October 2 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW
October 2 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW  
October 3 – Books Direct – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
October 3 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
October 4 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST



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Sep 192018

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so excited to have Cleo Coyle drop by for a visit!

Why We Made Our Ghost Reappear

By Cleo Coyle

“Jack and Pen are a terrific duo who prove that love can transcend anything.”

—The Mystery Reader

For nearly ten years, fans of our Haunted Bookshop Mysteries told us how much they missed our stories. Emails, messages, comments on posts implored us to bring our series back. We expected this outcry to die down, but it never did, which is why we returned to writing it.

Look for our brand new Haunted Bookshop Mystery, The Ghost, and the Bogus Bestseller, to be released next week by our longtime publisher. We dedicated it to our readers, who waited almost a decade for Jack to come back. And who is Jack? If you’re new to our series, he’s the first (of five) reasons fans say they love our books…


Haunted Bookshop Mysteries by Cleo Coyle



A tough PI from the mean streets of New York, Jack lived on the rougher side of life. His death (in 1949) was no picnic, either. Gunned down while pursuing a lead in a murder case, he was left with a hardened outlook, especially when it came to judging people and their motives. Despite his troubled spirit, Jack has a wicked sense of humor, and he can’t help cracking wise about the absurdities of our modern life—from paying for water in a bottle to staring half the day at a little glowing screen.


Penelope McClure – Haunted Bookshop Mysteries by Cleo Coyle

#2 THE PRIM BOOKSELLER: Penelope McClure

A young widow with a little boy, Penelope Thornton-McClure once believed in spirits, until a series of tragic losses took her faith away. Slowly, Jack Shepard is restoring that faith, and though Pen often bristles at the ghost’s retro male attitude, she’s encouraged by the strangest irony of all—the ghost’s belief in her. Whether Jack is an actual apparition or the vivid imaginings of a stressed and lonely widow, the surly, wise-cracking gumshoe is Pen’s daily companion and a handy advisor when big-city crimes come to Pen’s small town.




#3 QUINDICOTT: The Quaint Rhode Island Town

Readers love spending time in Penelope’s charming hometown. Quindicott may be less posh than nearby Newport, but its residents are proud of its revived Cranberry Street business district and renowned Victorian B&B. Fresh ocean air, amazing seafood, and a neighborly community make it one of the area’s most pleasant places to live—even if you happen to be dead.



The “Quibblers” are a cast of quirky characters who make up the local Quindicott Business Owners Association. They meet regularly in Penelope’s charming old bookshop (guarded by Pen’s cat Bookmark). There’s Fiona Finch, the fastidious co-owner of Finch Inn, who has a penchant for True Crime books and “happening to overhear” conversations between guests. Seymour, the outspoken mailman who moonlights as an ice cream truck driver, collects vintage pulp fiction, and lives in a haunted mansion. And there are plenty of other colorful characters who Pen dearly loves—and the ghost barely tolerates.

#5 THE MURDER MYSTERIES: Twisty Plots to Die For

The entertaining murder mystery storylines of our Haunted Bookshop series have kept readers happily turning pages for years. Join our prim bookseller as she teams up with her hardboiled ghost to catch cunning killers. Each book can be read as a stand-alone or in order. The six titles are…

The Ghost and Mrs. McClure

The Ghost and the Dead Deb

The Ghost and the Dead Man’s Library

The Ghost and the Femme Fatale

The Ghost and the Haunted Mansion

And our newest release…

The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller




CLEO COYLE is a pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Both are New York Times bestselling authors of the Coffeehouse Mysteries, now celebrating fifteen years in print and three starred reviews. Alice and Marc are also bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for Lucasfilm, NBC, Fox, Disney, Imagine, and MGM. They live and work in New York City, where they write independently and together, including the beloved Haunted Bookshop Mysteries.

Visit Cleo’s website: HauntedBookshopMysteries.com
Subscribe to her free E-newsletter
Follow Cleo on Facebook and Twitter
Follow Jack Shepard (The Ghost) on his Facebook Page

Thank you so much for visiting today!! 

Now let me give you my thoughts on The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller.

The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller (Haunted Bookshop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Rhode Island
Berkley (September 25, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 0425237451
ISBN-13: 978-0425237458
Kindle ASIN: B078VX9SNF

Penelope Thornton-McClure and her bookshop’s ghost-in-residence Jack Shepard are back on a new case in this delightful paranormal mystery from New York Times bestselling author Cleo Coyle.

A big bestseller leads to small town trouble.

Bookshop owner Penelope Thornton-McClure didn’t believe in ghosts, until she was haunted by the hard-boiled spirit of 1940s private investigator Jack Shepard. Now Jack is back on the job, and Pen is eternally grateful…

After an elegant new customer has a breakdown in her shop, Penelope suspects there is something bogus behind the biggest bestseller of the year. This popular potboiler is so hot that folks in her tiny Rhode Island town are dying to read it–literally. First one customer turns up dead, followed by another mysterious fatality connected to the book, which Pen discovers is more than just fiction. Now, with the help of her gumshoe ghost, Pen must solve the real-life cold case behind the bogus bestseller before the killer closes the book on her.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Jack and Pen fans Rejoice! This series is back with a brand new mystery! New readers Rejoice! The authors have written this mystery in a way that you can jump right in with this new mystery and feel right at home. 

Penelope Thornton-McClure got more than she bargained for in her bookshop, but now that she has gotten to know Private Eye Jack Shepard she wouldn’t have it any other way. You see, Jack is a ghost from the 1940’s, killed in the shop in 1947, and he has saved her more than once. Together they have solved quite a few mysteries too.

A new book has just been released and it has been flying off the shelves. When a well to do customer falls apart in the store after a peek at the book jacket, Pen becomes concerned. That and the woman ran out of the store without paying for the book. When Pen tracks her down she makes a horrible discovery, the woman is dead and was killed not long before Pen’s arrival. The police say suicide but Pen doesn’t think so. There is a whole lot more about this bestseller than the story within the pages and with Jack’s help Pen is going find out what it is, even if it means making contact with a killer.

I was so excited to hear this series was returning. Book #5, The Ghost in the Haunted Mansion was released in 2008. Ten years later our patience has been rewarded. Don’t worry if you have forgotten details about the characters or if this is a new series to you. The characters are all introduced like this is the first book in the series. They are some incredible characters too. Jack, Pen, Aunt Sadie, co-owner of the bookstore, mailman Seymour, and Bookmark, the cat,  are all back.

The author’s style of writing really set a scene and give readers a  delightful mystery. Well-written and well-plotted the story is full of twists and turns that make the book very hard to put down.  I really love the trips back in time Jack takes Pen on via her dreams. She and readers get to see how one of his old cases played out and helps her see clues to the current mystery.

These authors never fail to give readers an impressive mystery. I was so excited to start reading this book but was sad to see it end. I am so happy to have reconnected with these characters and truly hope we do not have to wait 10 years to visit Quindicott again.

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Also by this Author


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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.”

A Body on Fitzgerald's Bluff - Seaview Cottages Cozy Mystery #1 by Anna Celeste Burke Order Your Copy Today!
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