Posted in 2021 Reviews Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Mystery Bones Murders (Frankie Shep Suspense Novellas) by Karen Randau #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


Mystery Bones Murders:
A gripping story of love, deceit, and redemption
(Frankie Shep Suspense Novellas) by Karen Randau

 

My Positive Change From COVID-19
by Karen Randau

When I was a kid and visited my dad’s parents, I never could figure out who were all those ginger-haired people who hung out there all the time. Sure, I knew their names, and their last name didn’t match mine or my grandparents. The whole family of five had a carrot top, and young me thought it was really strange.

After I joined a genealogy website, I learned those were relatives on my grandmother’s side—a tiny bit of Viking in me to explain how someone with a quiet, gentle spirit can write murder mysteries and thrillers. Or maybe it explains why I love Celtic music so much. Who knows?

But as a result of my new discovery (and the explanation of why my dark hair had a red tint until recently), I’ve wanted to go to Ireland. I had heritage to discover, after all. I wanted to witness the country’s green rolling hills, rugged seaside cliffs, and windswept rock formations. Experience the lively culture. Visit some of the 30,000 castles. Sip some Irish whiskey (did you know only whisky from Scotland, Canada, and Japan isn’t spelled with an “e” in it?).

The Emerald Isle (made up of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom) is known for its friendly people, lively atmosphere, and lots of festivals. I wanted to go to one of their world-famous festivals.

Since the days of the Celts, Ireland has had a strong tradition of storytelling, and I hear the people love to chat for hours on end. It’s no wonder there are so many famous writers from Ireland. In fact, there’s a whole museum in Dublin dedicated to Irish writers!

Writers like James Joyce (best known for his book, Ulysses, but also the author of a collection of short stories about life in Dublin), the witty and fun Oscar Wilde, the poet W.B Yeats, Bram Stoker (famous for Dracula), Jonathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels), and many more.

In that tradition, there’s an annual international writers’ festival in Dublin that I’ve wanted to attend, but the cost of both the festival and travel was prohibitive. That is, until COVID-19 took everything virtual. While I didn’t get hands-on experience with a tiny bit of my heritage, I went to Ireland virtually to attend the excellent 2020 writers’ festival.

In fact, I attended several writers’ conferences virtually—so many that I never would have been able to afford it if everything hadn’t been locked down. And as an introvert, there was less stress attending virtually than trying to network amongst strangers (I’m so not into that).

So, there you go. I like to find the positive in every negative, and attending the Dublin International Writers’ Festival virtually was my positive that happened because of the COVID-19 lockdowns.

I hope you’ve experienced at least one positive from this negative pandemic. If not, I hope you’ll look for one.

And if you’re still hunkering down (or not), I hope you’ll enjoy my new novella about a feisty ginger-haired woman named Frankie who in Mystery Bones Murders digs deep down inside to finally overcome unimaginable heartbreak through love and redemption.

 

About Mystery Bones Murders


Mystery Bones Murders (Frankie Shep Suspense Novellas)
Mystery – Thriller
1st in Series
Setting – Wyoming
Independently Published (November 30, 2020)
Print length: 131 pages
ASIN: B08PDGPJT6

Frankie Shep is still mourning the deaths of her husband and young son when she finds a bone in the far corner of her Wyoming cattle ranch.

 

Excited to think she may have discovered an ancient Native American village, she takes the bone to a lifelong friend who is now a forensic anthropologist on contract with her county.

 

After a cursory inspection, he turns a blood-chilling stare at Frankie. The bone isn’t ancient. Worse, the victim could be the remains of Frankie’s mother. She disappeared from her own bed more than a decade ago.

 

And now her retired father is missing.

 

As Frankie digs deeper, she discovers the terrifying truth that a serial killer is using her land to bury his victims, all members of her family and inner circle.

 

And now he’s watching her.

 

Mystery Bones Murders is a story of love, heart-wrenching deception, and finding redemption.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Frankie Shep has isolated herself following the recent deaths of her husband and son and her mother’s disappearance several years ago.. She is only close to the family that helps her work the ranch.

There were several Native American villages in the area and when she finds a human bone by a tree in a corner of the ranch she thinks she thinks she may have found evidence of one. But a forensic anthropologist friend tells her the bone is not old enough to have come from a Native American. He believes it could belong to her mother. With that revelation, she knows she needs to contact her father but he is not answering his cell phone and is not where he was supposed to be. She then learns that there were 3 bodies buried under that tree. She also feels like she is being watched. Could a serial killer still be in the area?

______

Something unusual happened when I started this book. A few pages into the story I started to hear background music in my head. It ebbed and flowed with what was happening on the page, reached a high crescendo when the killer was revealed and the story wrapped up with a classic Law & Order, dun-dun. The story had a real movie or episodic television feel.

Ms. Randau introduces her readers to a relatively small cast of characters but with plenty of options for suspects. I really felt for Frankie as she had an overload of sorrow before the story even started. To deal with it all and things she encountered within these pages we know she is a strong woman. The other characters play important parts in her life. There may even be a little romance in her future.

At just 131 pages this was a fast read made even faster by the author’s writing style and the suspense that unfolded. It was impossible to put down.

Mystery Bones Murder is an entertaining novella with an engaging protagonist you want to root for. As this is just book one in this series I am very interested to see where she takes Frankie next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent 

About Karen Randau

Karen Randau authors fast-paced stories with intricate plots, lots of action, and a dash of romance told from the point of view of a female amateur sleuth. Mystery Bones Murders is her sixth book and the first book in a new series of novellas. She lives in the mountains of Arizona with her multi-generational family.

Author Links – 

Webpage  Facebook  Twitter  Goodreads  BookBub

Purchase Links – Amazon 

Also by Karen Randau

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Great Escapes Praise for Mystery Bones Murders:
A gripping story of love, deceit, and redemption
(Frankie Shep Suspense Novellas) by Karen Randau

The pace of the story is perfect, with just enough suspense from page to page that you don’t want to put the book down. I liked that Frankie searched for clues but was smart enough to call in the police when things were out of her depth.
~Storeybook Reviews

Although the fast-paced tale does feature an abundance of corpses, it’s (thankfully) not the stuff that nightmares are made of – making for a short, lightweight thriller with many a twist along the way.
~Cassidy’s Bookshelves

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
January 18 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
January 19 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 20 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST
January 21 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
January 22 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
January 23 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
January 24 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
January 25 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
January 26 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, GUEST POST
January 27 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 28 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
January 29 – I Read What You Write – CHARACTER GUEST POST
January 29 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
January 30 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
January 31 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

 

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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.”

Posted in Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts

Asbury High and the MisTaken Identities: Asbury High Series by Kelly Brady Channick #GuestPost – Great Escapes Book Tour

Asbury High and the MisTaken Identities: Asbury High Series
by Kelly Brady Channick

 

 I am excited to welcome Kelly Brady Channick
to Escape With Dollycas today!

 

WHAT IS YOUR WRITING STYLE LIKE AND WHAT CAN READERS EXPECT?

                For my Asbury High series, my writing is pretty light-hearted. I like to keep readers entertained with some humor sprinkled throughout while hiding clues to the story among the humor.

                To be honest, when I wrote my seven-part Asbury High series, I outlined each chapter and made sure to sprinkle Easter Eggs all over. Thus, in the first two books in the series, there are some scenes that may seem unnecessary, such as dialogue or background character descriptions.

                However, as the series progresses readers realize that a harmless conversation in the gang’s favorite restaurant (Brady’s) may have seemed boring or not needed, only to realize it held the key to the mystery in a later book.

                Basically, I’m a fan of the slow burn. Not too slow though, because I’m not trying to write a book that puts readers to sleep. However, I also have read too many series that starts off with a bang or get to the hook too fast, and then the remainder of the book or series just seems drawn out. Ergo, as the series continues, and the reader gets to know the characters more intimately, the action increases, as well as the pace of the mysteries.

                With me, readers can expect to get fully immersed in the small, seaside town of Asbury, and really develop a relationship with the town and its people. This series was meant to be one where readers will find at least one character they connect to, and (I hope), one where they fall for some of my tricks and are surprised at each book’s ending. I love a good twist—after all, what mystery is good without one?

About Asbury High and the MisTaken Identities

Asbury High and the MisTaken Identities: Asbury High Series
Young Adult Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Publisher: Purple Milk Publishing (September 12, 2020)
Paperback: 269 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1734307351
Digital ASIN: B08H2HYF9Z

With the official reopening of Brady’s and their sophomore year beginning, Maddie, Cornelious, Carly and Pilot are ready to shift their focus back to high school. Unfortunately, a month into the new school year many Asburyans find their bank accounts depleted, with no hint of foul play. Even the bank tellers insist that each withdrawal was done in person, with proper identification supplied and correct responses given to security questions.

 

Pilot, excited at the possibility of working with a cyber-crime, urges the gang to dive in—only to discover there are no traces of wrongdoing online either. Instantly intrigued, the gang decides to investigate the case before their own family’s accounts get hit.

 

However, with their successful sports teams, the continued growth and organization of the Pitbulls, possible new relationships blooming, dating and unrealized jealousies coming to the surface, the teenage sleuths find themselves more distracted than ever. After piecing together some clues, they wonder if someone in Asbury High is to blame for yet another crime.

 

Can Asbury’s favorite foursome figure out who is to blame before Asbury itself goes bankrupt?

 

Asbury High and the MisTaken Identities is the third book in an enticing young adult cozy mystery series that fans of Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys and Scooby Doo will love.

About Kelly Brady Channick

 

For as long as she could remember, Kelly Brady Channick loved making up stories and leaving her listeners/readers on the edge of their seats.

Perhaps that’s why she always managed to talk herself out of trouble…

After graduating from NJ’s own Ocean City High School, Kelly accepted a basketball scholarship to Holy Family University, in Philadelphia. As a lifelong athlete, Kelly understands the importance of teamwork and overcoming adversity, something she hopes translates into her books.

Before writing page-turners, she taught first, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grade — like a dessert menu, she simply had to test them all out. But her favorite job is the one she’s now doing full time: writing. Kelly loves to craft whodunit mysteries, leading readers through various twists and turns filled with red-herrings, hidden clues, and more peculiar characters than a reality show.

Kelly lives in South Jersey with her handsome husband, energetic baby boy, two cookie-stealing dogs, and an awfully smart cat.

Author Links –  GOODREADS – FACEBOOK  – INSTAGRAM: @KellyBradyChannick

WEBSITE -for anyone who signs up for my email list on my website, they will receive the first six chapters of the previous book (book 2) for free

Purchase Link – Amazon 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Great Escapes Praise for Asbury High and the MisTaken Identities: Asbury High Series
by Kelly Brady Channick

This was another fun visit to Asbury with Maddie, Cornelious, Pilot and Carly . . . They are realistic teens (except maybe the rich part) who play sports, are cheerleaders, attend book club and Pilot is a computer geek. The mystery is embedded into the characters’ stories . . . I continue to recommend this series to teens (12 and up), especially if they enjoy a good mystery.
~Carla Loves To Read

Ms. Channick deserves this five-star rating along with a recommendation to anyone that loves Scooby-Doo and reading about teenage sleuths to give this series a chance. I loved it from the very beginning.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

 

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
December 2 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 3 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
December 4 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
December 5 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
December 6 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
December 7 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST
December 8 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT WITH RECIPE
December 9 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 10 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – SPOTLIGHT 
December 11 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 11 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
December 12 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST
December 13 – Off 
December 14 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT
December 15 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts

Abide With Me: A Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn Mystery by Special Guest Jane Willan – #GuestPost / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @Jane_Willan

Abide With Me: A Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn Mystery
by Jane Willan

I am excited to have Jane Willan visit today as
part of her Great Escapes Book Tour!

Who Needs an Office When You Have a Perfectly Good Closet?

I moved into the walk-in closet in our bedroom last month and I love it. COVID meant my husband and I were home together all day and although our marriage survived, my writing productivity (if it can be called that), did not. He took over my small office in the house (on my urging, I thought it would serve his needs and I wanted a change of venue. And I’m a great wife). I began to look around the house for my perfect new writing spot. I never found it.

The dining room was too close to the kitchen (snacking is as essential to my creative process as scrivener). The living room had a couch which screamed nap. The spare bedroom worked for a while, but it felt, well, too spare. Since it was summer, I set up at a table on the deck. Perfect. Unless it was sunny, gray, hot, chilly, windy, or rained.

            I rented an office. To my surprise, all you have to do is google “need to get out of the house” and co-working offices appear. I quickly found that I could rent a desk in a room with a bunch of other people who couldn’t work near their kitchen, couch, or husband.  The coffee was free, the staff very pleasant, and the whole place had very strict COVID regulations. I loved my new office. I left the house every day early in the morning, worked steadily at my lovely worktable (white with a lumbar supporting chair), free wi-fi, endless coffee). Spacious, pleasant, others cheerfully working alongside me.

            And then, after six weeks of writing bliss, the office closed due to COVID.

            I moved home.

I was in such grief over my office, I didn’t even have the heart to google “help! My husband is in my office.”  Then one day, I had an epiphany. The walk-in closet in the bedroom. Distraction-free (no windows), a long enough walk from the kitchen that I had time along the way to reconsider my life choices, and if it weren’t for the shoes, clothes, coats, and my wedding dress in a plastic dry cleaner bag—the space was perfect.

            I emptied it out. A coat of paint and some tiny house decorating tips later and I had a fabulous writing space. Judge for yourself and tell me what you think!

About Abide With Me 

Abide With Me: A Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Amazon White Glove (November 17, 2020)
Number of Pages – 300
Digital ASIN: B08NCT19K1

Change is afoot at Gwenafwy Abbey. Ten new nuns from a convent in Los Angeles join the community of Anglican sisters bringing energy, youthful enthusiasm, and more electronic equipment than Sister Agatha could have imagined. The arrival of the new nuns brings something else to the Abbey—a bit of unexpected notoriety. Claire Pennoyer, an ambitious young reporter for The Church Times, interviews the new sisters for a feature story. Murder is the last thing on anyone’s mind when Claire is found dead on the beach, her mobile phone in the sand. A tragic death, says Constable Barnes. A selfie gone bad. Meanwhile, Sister Agatha is unconvinced and puts on her detective’s hat, only to find herself in the midst of a tangled murder mystery. Her suspect list includes everyone from the new sisters to Reverend Mother to the beloved archbishop of Wales. Time is running out as Sister Agatha uncovers a shocking reality. Will she reveal the truth hidden in an ancient document before it is too late?

About Jane Willan

 

Jane Willan wants to live in a world where everyone has time to read their favorite books, drink good coffee, and walk their dog on the beach, but until that can happen she enjoys life as a pastor and writer. When she’s not working on a sermon, or hiking with her husband, Don, you can find her rereading Jane Eyre, binge-watching Downton Abbey, and trying out new ways to avoid exercise.

Author Links

Website – Facebook – Twitter – Instagram –  Goodreads

Purchase Links – AMAZON 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
December 1 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
December 2 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 3 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST
December 4 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 5 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
December 5 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST
December 6 – Literary Gold– CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 6 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 7 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 7 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
December 8 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
December 9 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – GUEST POST
December 10 – Cozy Up WIth Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 11 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW
December 11 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 12 – The Cozy Pages – REVIEW
December 13 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
December 14 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

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Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Posted in Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts

Asbury High and the Parcels of Poison: Asbury High YA Cozy Mystery by Kelly Brady Channick – #GuestPost – Great Escapes Book Tour

Asbury High and the Parcels of Poison:
Asbury High YA Cozy Mystery Series
by Kelly Brady Channick

About Asbury High and the Parcels of Poison

Asbury High and the Parcels of Poison: Asbury High YA Cozy Mystery
Young Adult Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Publisher: Purple Milk Publishing (May 24, 2020)
Paperback: 269 pages
ISBN-10: 1734307323
ISBN-13: 978-1734307320
Digital ASIN: B088F1W592

Asbury’s fearless foursome is back!

 

Is their favorite hangout to blame for recent food poisonings? Or is there something more sinister at work?

 

After an unprecedented first year of high school, the gang is ready for a relaxing summer vacation, although in Asbury, that may be easier said than done. This summer, the Food Network is running a summer special highlighting local hot spots, Carly, Maddie, Pilot and Cornelious are psyched to have the world’s best restaurant featured—their very own Brady’s! In fact, Maddie can almost forget that her arch-nemesis, Alexis Johnson, will also be on TV for winning the logo design for Caulfield’s Candies… almost.

 

However, after patrons start falling ill, shoobies and locals alike point the finger at Brady’s and rumors of food poisoning. When Brady’s threatens to close its doors, Pilot realizes his mother’s job is in jeopardy, as well as his future in Asbury. With the aid of Cornelious’ wealthy cousin Dane, who spends every summer with the quartet, the gang is once again thrust into an investigation. Unfortunately, they find themselves thwarted by both the local police (who believe their recent success was due to luck, rather than skill), and Cornelious’ father, who has decided to run for Mayor of Asbury and cautions his son on the need to maintain a spotless public image.

 

With a new pancake house on the boardwalk, Mainlanders invading their beaches, and the Pitbulls sneaking around and terrorizing shoobies (as usual), there’s no shortage of suspects. But can they solve the case before the summer, and Brady’s, are finished?

If you could only eat one meal for life,
what would it be?

If I could only eat one meal for life, anyone who knows me would probably say I would choose cookies. However, I also know that cookies—although the most amazingly delicious dessert ever created—does not constitute as a true meal. Therefore, taking this question seriously, I would have to choose a steak dinner. However, I am quite picky when it comes to my steak, as anyone could attest. Not only would the steak have to be a Prime Rib bone-in cut, but there must be no pink on the inside. I’m not saying I like it burned or overcooked, just medium-well sits perfect with me. Also, by choosing a steak dinner, I get the delicious option of choosing some tasty side dishes. Of course, I would choose garlic-mashed potatoes. The mashed potatoes also have to be done a particular way (this is my only meal for life, right? It better be perfect!😊) Anyway, I am not someone who enjoys the potato skin in my mashed, so they would have to be peeled and tossed away. Also, I like it creamy with no chunks in sight! Yum! The other side I would choose, would be buttery string beans. The string beans wouldn’t have to be too particular, I tend to like any type of string beans. And finally, to top everything off, I would need to finish with a tall glass of cold, whole milk.

~Kelly

About Kelly Brady Channick

For as long as she could remember, Kelly Brady Channick loved making up stories and leaving her listeners/readers on the edge of their seats.

Perhaps that’s why she always managed to talk herself out of trouble…

After graduating from NJ’s own Ocean City High School, Kelly accepted a basketball scholarship to Holy Family University, in Philadelphia. As a lifelong athlete, Kelly understands the importance of teamwork and overcoming adversity, something she hopes translates into her books.

Before writing page-turners, she taught first, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grade — like a dessert menu, she simply had to test them all out. But her favorite job is the one she’s now doing full time: writing. Kelly loves to craft whodunit mysteries, leading readers through various twists and turns filled with red-herrings, hidden clues, and more peculiar characters than a reality show.

Kelly lives in South Jersey with her handsome husband, energetic baby boy, two cookie-stealing dogs, and an awfully smart cat.

 

Author Links

GOODREADS  – FACEBOOK  – WEBSITE –

INSTAGRAM@KellyBradyChannick

Purchase Link – Amazon 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
August 31 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
August 31 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW
September 1 – I Read What You Write – CHARACTER GUEST POST
September 1 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 2 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 3 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW
September 4 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST
September 5 – The Book Decoder – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 6 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
September 7 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST
September 8 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
September 9 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
September 10 – Jane Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST
September 11 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
September 13 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

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Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Posted in 2020 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Barbara Monajem – Author of Lady Rosamund and the Poison Pen: A Rosie and McBrae Mystery – Great Escapes Book Tour – #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so happy to welcome Barbara Monajem to Escape With Dollycas today!


Tracking Down a Poison Pen
by Barbara Monajem

 

If you lived two hundred years ago and someone sent you poison pen letters, how would you go about identifying your anonymous letter writer?

Lady Rosamund Phipps had to do this in Lady Rosamund and the Poison Pen. She didn’t know why she was receiving the horrid letters, but each one was more menacing than the last. She had to find out who was sending them, and why.

The first clue was the handwriting – but it was all in capitals, which makes it much harder to recognize than normal cursive. Not much of a clue, unfortunately.

The second clue was the postmark. Yes, they had postmarks in England in 1811 – and quite a bit earlier, actually. Unfortunately, the postmark also proved far less useful than she (and I) hoped. By the time of the Regency, all London mail went through the Chief Post Office in Lombard Street. That wasn’t much help to Lady Rosamund, since London was and is a big city, and she knew many people there, some of whom disliked her.

Her third clue was the paper the poison pen used. Paper was expensive back then. Made from linen and cotton rags, it was sold in various sizes and quantities. The letters Lady Rosamund received were written on foolscap. This was not the well-known foolscap of not so long ago (which we now call legal size), but 16.5 x 13.25 inches. Since paper was too costly to waste, it was often cut it into half and quarter sheets, so as to use only as much as was needed. People also crossed and re-crossed their letters—in other words, they wrote on top of what they had already written, but in the opposite direction, and even diagonally. It’s unbelievably hard to read, at least to modern eyes, but it certainly goes to show how expensive both paper and postage were at the time.

Lady Rosamund’s horrid correspondent wasn’t the thrifty sort. He (or she) used a half-sheet of foolscap for a single nasty sentence! Was she (or he) a wealthy person who could afford wastage? Or a servant who enjoyed wasting an unpleasant employer’s paper? Or some other possibility that Lady Rosamund didn’t think of?

The fourth clue was the seal. Since there were no envelopes yet, letters were folded and sealed. Sealing wax was melted with a wax jack or a bougie box, both of which held long coils of wax, of which a small amount could be melted at a time. Sticks of sealing wax were also available. A blob of melted wax would be dropped onto the folded letter and pressed flat with a seal. Instead of the usual red, the anonymous letters were sealed in black, which was used for mourning. A poison pen letter was bad enough, but worse when sealed in a color that hinted of death.

The design on the seal itself was more promising. Often seals would have a family crest or some other method of identifying the sender. The seal the poison pen used was very strange indeed – it looked like a cow with a shaggy coat. At last, a good, solid clue. The unusual seal gave Lady Rosamund the start she needed to track down the poison pen.

Thank you Barbara for visiting today! 

 

About Lady Rosamund and the Poison Pen:
A Rosie and McBrae Mystery


Lady Rosamund and the Poison Pen: A Rosie and McBrae Mystery
Historical Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Level Best Books (April 21, 2020)
Paperback: 244 pages
ISBN-10: 1947915274
ISBN-13: 978-1947915275
Digital ASIN: B087BBLLNL

Lady Rosamund Phipps, daughter of an earl, has a secret. Well, more than one. Such as the fact that she’s so uninterested in sex that she married a man who promised to leave her alone and stick to his mistress. And a secret only her family knows—the mortifying compulsion to check things over and over. Society condemns people like her to asylums. But when she discovers the dead body of a footman on the stairs, everything she’s tried to hide for years may be spilled out in broad daylight.

 

First the anonymous caricaturist, Corvus, implicates Lady Rosamund in a series of scandalous prints. Worse, though, are the poison pen letters that indicate someone knows the shameful secret of her compulsions. She cannot do detective work on her own without seeming odder than she already is, but she has no choice if she is to unmask both Corvus and the poison pen.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Lady Rosamund Phipps has herself wrapped up in a sticky wicket. Her footman either fell or was pushed to his death in her home, an anonymous caricaturist is posting outrageous prints featuring her, her family and friends, and someone is sending her threatening letter in hopes to send her over the edge.

Lady Rosamund is a willful, independent woman who knows what she wants and will go to great lengths to get it. She also has a severe case of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder although not yet in the mainstream at the time of this story. The malady is serious because she could be locked away easily. She is in a marriage of convenience which is perfectly fine with her. She and her husband support each other and attend important events as he desires a political career. Her husband also has a mistress, Rosie’s best friend but she is fine with that too. Her mother does come into their home to address the perception of the drawings on her family and basically curtails most of Rosie’s visits, teas, and parties, even making her stay home and eat invalid rations. Her brother also makes an appearance trying to get to go to the country until things settle down We also met several members of the class and the staff. All the characters are cleverly written.

This is a unique story as Rosie tries to chase down clues to the poison pen letter and the drawings. She doesn’t focus too much on the footman at first. She gets help from some unusual people that kept the story moving along and fresh. I did hone in the caricaturist very early in the story. A historical cozy Regency mystery with a twist. There are some adult themes. The author used her words beautifully in setting each scene taking readers right there with her. I was surprised by the ending and a little heartbroken.

Lady Rosamund and the Poison Pen is really the story of a woman’s journey with 3 mysteries blended together. While not my typical read I did enjoy this one very much and look forward to reading more by this author.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About Barbara Monjem

Winner of the Holt Medallion, Maggie, Daphne du Maurier, Reviewer’s Choice and Epic awards, Barbara Monajem wrote her first story at eight years old about apple tree gnomes. She published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young. When they grew up, she turned to writing for adults, first the Bayou Gavotte paranormal mysteries and then Regency romances with intrepid heroines and long-suffering heroes (or vice versa). Some of her Regencies have magic in them and some don’t (except for the magic of love, which is in every story she writes).

Barbara loves to cook, especially soups, and is an avid reader. There are only two items on her bucket list: to make asparagus pudding and succeed at knitting socks. She’ll manage the first but doubts she’ll ever accomplish the second. This is not a bid for immortality but merely the dismal truth. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.

Author Links – Website      Facebook    Twitter    Goodreads
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TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
June 1 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
June 2 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
June 2 – T’s Stuff – SPOTLIGHT
June 3 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
June 4 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
June 4 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
June 5 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
June 5 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
June 6 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
June 7 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
June 8 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
June 9 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
June 10 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
June 10 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, GUEST POST
June 11 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
June 12 – Diane Reviews Books – 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.”

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Nearly Departed (An Eve Appel Mystery) by Lesley A. Diehl #GuestPost / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Nearly Departed (An Eve Appel Mystery)
by Lesley A. Diehl


I am pleased to welcome author Lesley Diehl to Escape With Dollycas today!

Hi Lesley,

It’s Not About Murder

 By Lesley A. Diehl

 

Cozy mysteries usually contain one or two or perhaps more murders, but they’re about more than murder. In fact, murder isn’t really what draws us to the mystery. It’s discovering who the killer is and why the murder was committed that is the intriguing puzzle presented to the reader. But solving the mystery is about more than identifying the perpetrator.

Murder sets the stage for disrupting life as the protagonist, her close friends and family and a community experience it. Whether the person murdered is someone important to the protagonist or a victim she isn’t acquainted with, the protagonist’s involvement in finding the killer is intimate to her relationships and to how she sees herself. While the mystery behind the murder makes for the structure of the sleuthing, how the protagonist goes about discovering necessary truths behind other characters’ behaviors and their impulses and provides the story with its unique flavor.

For cozy writers and readers, solving crimes is uninteresting unless we understand and like the protagonist. If we are reading for criminal and forensic details or legal nuances, our choice would be legal thrillers or police procedurals, not cozy mysteries. Cozy mystery readers want to share sleuthing with someone who may have an interesting life and career, but not necessarily one in law. Instead, we prefer to see someone like us who is able to match wits with a killer and tease out truth from lies, the life we might choose if we had the opportunity or if someone asked for our help. Miss Marple is the prototypic cozy mystery sleuth, older, wise, brilliant and imbedded in the life of her village, just the kind of woman who dwells in my fantasy life and who beckons me to come with her as she uncovers the killer. There’s much to learn from the cozy protagonist that doesn’t require a special degree or training, just a keen mind and an unfettered curiosity, qualities the reader brings to the book.

What the protagonist provides to the community is more than the identity of the murderer. She delivers the village from disorder. Not only does the protagonist grow and change as a result of her quest, but so do the characters that play key parts in her search. Clues become more than pieces of a puzzle; they can be lies told, lies covered up, truths revealed, and new relationships established. The original order of village life before the murder is never reestablished and what the pursuit of the killer does is to make it impossible for life to go back. Instead, the journey in the book puts everyone under the microscope. The result is life reinvented, usually in a better way.

The killer may be as important to the mystery as is the protagonist. In some ways the story is directed by the killer who leaves clues to his/her identity as well as false leads implicating the innocent. While the identity of the guilty remains unknown throughout, the protagonist and the reader come to know the individual intimately through the killer’s history, interaction with the victim and relationships with others. Understanding motive is significant to both the protagonist and the reader. If the story ended not knowing who did it, the reader would be disappointed, but the reader wants more than the face of the killer. The reader along with the protagonist needs to know why the killer did it. Establishing motive is often the final piece of the puzzle.

Like all good mysteries the cozy mystery is about putting together puzzle pieces that seem in the beginning of the tale to be irrelevant. The fragments come together when the protagonist discovers the important aspects of the lives of the characters in the story, their personal histories, their needs, desires, weaknesses and obsessions, what they have hidden and what they have lied about. The cozy mystery is only tangentially about murder. It’s really a jigsaw puzzle, the pieces of which are found in the psychology of the characters who make up the story.

Thank you, Lesley, for visiting today! 

 

About Nearly Departed 


Nearly Departed (An Eve Appel Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Publisher: Epicenter Press (January 14, 2020)
Print Length: 180 pages
Digital ASIN: B083G9GDJY

Tired of sitting surveillance on insurance fraud, apprentice PI Eve Appel Egret gets her first big case, one where the outcome is important and personal. Eve’s best friend Madeleine has few relatives, so her Uncle Shamus is special, but someone is determined to kill him and has tried several times. Eve is certain she can identify who is after him, but this time she may have taken on more than even our self-confident Eve can handle. Coping with a growing toddler and a teenager, devoting time to the consignment shop and finding someone who can go undercover in a sexual harassment case all vie for Eve’s attention. Eve knows she cannot fail Madeleine. This is more than her favorite uncle’s life. His death would mean devastating loss for Madeleine and call into question Eve’s commitment as a friend and her ability as a PI.

 

About Lesley Diehl

Cows, Lesley learned as a child growing up on a farm, have a twisted sense of humor. They chased her when she went to the field to herd them in for milking, and one ate the lovely red mitten her grandmother knitted for her. Determining that agriculture wasn’t her career path, she took a job as a stripper, book cover stripper for a publishing company, that is. Now after many years as a college professor and university administrator, she has returned to the world of books and uses her country roots and her training to concoct stories designed to make people laugh in the face of murder. “A good chuckle,” says Lesley,” keeps us emotionally well-oiled long into our old age.”

Author Links – Website – Blog – Facebook – Facebook Author Page – GoodReads – 

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May 11 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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May 14 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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All We Buried: A Sheriff Bet Rivers Mystery by Elena Taylor – #AuthorGuestPost / #Giveaway @Elena_TaylorAut

All We Buried: A Sheriff Bet Rivers Mystery
by Elena Taylor

About All We Buried


All We Buried: A Sheriff Bet Rivers Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (April 7, 2020)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1643852914
ISBN-13: 978-1643852911
Digital ASIN: B07RQH353V

For fans of Julia Keller and Sheena Kamal, All We Buried disturbs the long-sleeping secrets of a small Washington State mountain town.

 

Interim sheriff Elizabeth “Bet” Rivers has always had one repeat nightmare: a shadowy figure throwing a suspicious object into her hometown lake in Collier, Washington. For the longest time, she chalked it up to an overactive imagination as a kid. Then the report arrives. In the woods of the Cascade mountain range, right in her jurisdiction, a body floats to the surface of Lake Collier. When the body is extricated and revealed, no one can identify Jane Doe. But someone must know the woman, so why aren’t they coming forward?

 

Bet has been sitting as the interim sheriff of this tiny town in the ill-fitting shoes of her late father and predecessor. With the nightmare on her heels, Bet decided to build a life for herself in Los Angeles, but now it’s time to confront the tragic history of Collier. The more she learns, the more Bet realizes she doesn’t know the townspeople of Collier as well as she thought, and nothing can prepare her for what she is about to discover.

 


I am thrilled to host Elena and this guest post today!! 

A Crime Writer’s Take on Character Development and Grey’s Anatomy

 

I watch a lot of crime dramas on television. From the terrific adaptations of British novels to the long-running Law & Order, I enjoy a lot of the shows the reflect the genre I write in.

But I also watch the medical shows from St. Elsewhere to ER to Grey’s Anatomy.

For both genres, I fully realize I’m watching fiction. I know DNA doesn’t come back in an hour, that Crime Scene Technicians don’t chase suspects, and that interns can’t break protocol over and over and still continue working at their hospital, or even staying out of jail.

But it’s so much fun and the characters matter, so I suspend my disbelief and relish the drama.

So why am I bothered by a character choice on a recent episode of Grey’s Anatomy?

The simple answer? Creating unrealistic situations in a fictional context can be forgiven, but I’m not sure creating an unrealistic aspect of character development can.

When I teach writing workshops about character development, I often say “characters can—and should—surprise us, but those surprises should still be in character.”

In other words, after a character has done something I don’t expect, I should be able to look back and say, “of course that’s how they behaved. The clues are all there that this is what they would do.”

This might include the lengths that they would go to achieve something or their unwillingness to break an ethical rule. It could cover their ability to overcome a fear or their inability to help a friend.

What it can’t do, is reverse the forward development of a character that we’ve watched for sixteen years into a less ethical character. Because that makes the character a lie and that, dear reader, is unforgivable.

The internet exploded with comments about the exit of Justin Chambers’ character, Alex Karev from Grey’s Anatomy’s sixteenth season.

The loss of the character is understandable. Actors are human beings with complex lives. Chambers moved on for whatever reason and his character’s absence had to be dealt with, but the decision made by the show’s writers on how to do that may have missed the mark.

Here’s the scenario for those of you who don’t watch Grey’s Anatomy.

Alex started as a total jerk.

Throughout the first season, he became less of a jerk.

Over the next decade and a half, he continued to develop and evolve and became a thoughtful, conscientious, loving adult.

He ended the series as a total jerk.

See the problem there?

In mid-November, Alex Karev disappeared from the show. No explanation. Just vanished.

His wife, Jo, worried. She called. She emailed. She panicked. She mourned. She suffered. She got no response.

Then on March 5, all of Alex’s closest friends got letters explaining his disappearance.

Letters.

He leaves his wife over a letter.

The letters describe how he reconnected with his first wife and learned they had two children together, which she’d birthed five years ago through embryos they’d created during her cancer treatment.

Ignoring all of the potential plot problems with that scenario, let’s go back to the fundamental problem with character development.

Alex left his wife—the woman who grew up in the foster system just as Alex did, who finally overcame her fear of trusting another human being through her time with Alex—through a letter.

After letting her wonder for months where he was and why he walked out.

This is beyond cruel. It’s epic in its cruelty. It’s also bizarre in its cruelty. It’s more than just “who does that?” It’s why, why, why would Alex Karev do that?

There is NOTHING in his character development to back up that kind of behavior. Even at Alex’s worst, even when he behaved like a jerk, he was never cruel.

There are no clues in place to justify this kind of action on his part.

Will this kill Grey’s Anatomy? Probably not. It’s a wildly successful show and Meredith Grey remains alive and well and she’s the main character. But there’s an emotional impact here that may matter more to fans, even if they keep watching.

A lot of longtime viewers feel duped.

It takes away some of the pleasure of feeling like we “know” these characters. That our investment in years of watching the show, sometimes following characters we didn’t care for and scenarios we found tedious just to stay with a program for which we felt intense loyalty, has been cheapened.

Alex Karev didn’t just leave his wife, or his person, Meredith, or the hospital he was trying to save. He left his fans.

And we didn’t even get a letter.

~Elena

Oh, Girl, I so, agree, I was steaming over this for days! 

About the Author

CREDIT MARK PERLSTEIN

Elena Taylor spent several years working in theater as a playwright, director, designer, and educator before turning her storytelling skills to fiction. Her first series, the Eddie Shoes Mysteries, written under the name Elena Hartwell, introduced a quirky mother/daughter crime-fighting duo. With All We Buried, Elena returns to her dramatic roots and brings readers a much more serious and atmospheric novel. Located in her beloved Washington State, Elena uses her connection to the environment to produce a forbidding story of small-town secrets and things that won’t stay buried. Elena is also a senior editor with Allegory Editing, a developmental editing house, where she works one-on-one with writers to shape and polish manuscripts, short stories, and plays. If you’d like to work with Elena, visit www.allegoryediting.com.When she’s not writing or coaching writing, her favorite place to be is at the farm with her horses, Jasper and Radar, or at her home, on the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River in North Bend, Washington, with her husband, their dog, Polar, and their cats, Coal Train and Cocoa. Elena holds a B.A. from the University of San Diego, a M.Ed. from the University of Washington, Tacoma, and a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia.

Author Links

Website –  Blog – Facebook –  Twitter – Goodreads  – Instagram

Purchase Links:

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Written as Elena Hartwell

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Great Escapes Praise for All We Buried: A Sheriff Bet Rivers Mystery
by Elena Taylor

I absolutely loved All We Buried: A Sheriff Bet Rivers Mystery! If you love a good suspenseful mystery, you’ll love it too!
~CHRISTY’S COZY CORNERS

I haven’t read Elena Taylor before but after being thoroughly captivated by Bet Rivers, this is definitely not the last!
~TBR Book Blog

All We Buried by Elena Taylor was an exciting tale of mystery, crime, and carrying a family legacy.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

The story was well thought out, executed and gripping, I loved the small town setting and the characters and can’t wait to read from this series and author.
~eBook addicts

Taylor skillfully sets the pace to allow us to become acquainted with the town, the people, and the deep-rooted mysteries coming to the surface. A fabulous read from start to finish!
~Reading Is My SuperPower

A twisty little thriller set in the dark environs of Washington state with a lake that is so dead that fish can’t even live there.
~Diane Reviews Books

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

April 7 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
April 7 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
April 8 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 8 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
April 9 – The Power of Words – REVIEW
April 9 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
April 10 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW
April 10 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 11 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 11 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
April 12 – TBR Book Blog – REVIEW
April 13 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
April 13 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER GUEST POST
April 14 – eBook addicts – REVIEW
April 14 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 15 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT
April 15 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
April 16 – The Book Diva’s Reads – GUEST POST
April 16 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT
April 17 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
April 18 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
April 18 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST  
April 19 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW
April 19 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST
April 20 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Guest Posts Spotlights

Why Me?: Chimeras, Conundrums, and Dead Goldfish by Charlotte Stuart – #CharacterGuestPost – Great Escapes Book Tour @quirkymysteries

Why Me?: Chimeras, Conundrums, and Dead Goldfish
by Charlotte Stuart

Marina Pets

by Bryn Baczek, responsible pet owner

I admit it, I never thought I would become attached to a cat, especially not to a cantankerous, orange creature with the ability to manipulate me like no human, not even my mother, has ever been able to do. (Although my mother never gives up trying.) I met Macavity at an animal shelter. I was there with a friend who was looking for a cat. When his two different colored eyes gazed into my two different colored eyes, I couldn’t resist adopting him. Or maybe he adopted me, I’m not sure which.

He’s a handsome animal, his orange fur accented with dark swirls on both sides of his body like he’s been tie-dyed. I named him Macavity for the T.S. Eliot poem, not aware of how fitting the name might be. My Macavity may not be quite as fiendish as the one in Eliot’s poem, but he is a true mystery cat: He’s broken every human law, he breaks the law of gravity.

If Macavity could talk he would probably tell you that I get what I deserve from him. I frequently run out of his favorite foods. I often move my sailboat, his home, around within the marina. Sometimes I even take off and sail – or motor – to other places. The reason these things are significant is that Macavity likes routine and consistency. I’m quite certain he would have preferred a stay-at-home owner who shopped on the same day every week, got up and went to bed at the same time every day, and who perhaps had a fenced back yard instead of a marina community that is constantly changing.

On the other hand, Macavity and I have developed a complementary relationship. I provide food and shelter and he occasionally deigns to let me fawn over him. But when I say something to him like, “Speak up – cat got your tongue,” he immediately lets me know that I’ve crossed the wordplay line. Even given the limited facial muscles of the feline, he manages to communicate a look of disdain. And he sometimes goes on walkabout just to emphasize that he is the one in control.

I do have another pet in addition to Macavity. It’s a goldfish with multiple lives. That is, it’s a goldfish that looks exactly like previous goldfish I’ve had. The original fish was a gift from a person I used to consider a friend. I wouldn’t have cared when it died, the first time, but my niece Emma had just named it Bubbles. Emma is five years old, and, as her aunt, I don’t think it should fall to me to tell her about death and how pets will come and go over her lifetime. That’s why I now own Bubbles IV, although I don’t call out his lineage in front of Emma.

The question that plagues me is why my goldfish keep dying. Granted, one was dispatched by a murderer trying to warn me off of an investigation, but the others died on their own. I’ve tried everything to keep them alive. My current theory is that they are near death when I purchase them. Or maybe, when it comes to goldfish, I just have bad karma.

Anyway, I wanted to share something about myself with you, my readers, and I think what pets someone has and how they treat them tells you a lot about who they are. Although please don’t think I’m a pushover because I let Macavity be the alpha in our relationship. And remember that I do try to keep my goldfish alive. I even buy them miniature decorations like arches and pirate chests to jazz up their limited living space. And each time one dies I say a few words as I commit their golden bodies to the shallow waters of the lake. I even fantasize that as they hit the cold water they come back to life and swim off. That’s the kind of optimistic and caring person I am.

About Why Me?:
Chimeras, Conundrums, and Dead Goldfish


Why Me?: Chimeras, Conundrums, and Dead Goldfish
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Taylor and Seale Publishing LLC (November 18, 2019)
Paperback: 255 pages
ISBN-10: 1950613321
ISBN-13: 978-1950613328
Digital Print Length: 194 pages
ASIN: B083JN3TK8

In ancient Greece, the chimera was a bad omen. In WHY ME?, it’s a motive for murder. Bryn Baczek, a Seattle consultant, is vacationing in Scotland, hiking alone in a downpour, surrounded by midges, when she sees a body at the bottom of a ravine. Before she can return to the scene with the mountain rescue team, the body disappears. She learns that he was a scientist and that his laptop containing his cutting-edge research has disappeared. Rumors that Bryn has the laptop make her a target.

About Charlotte Stuart

In a world filled with uncertainty and too little chocolate, Charlotte Stuart, PhD, has taught college courses in communication, gone commercial fishing in Alaska, and was the VP of HR and Training for a large credit union. Her current passion is for writing lighthearted mysteries with a pinch of adventure and a dollop of humor. She is the VP for the Puget Sound Sisters in Crime. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys watching herons, eagles, seals and other sea life from her Vashon Island home office.

Social Media Links:   Website   –   Twitter – Facebook  –   Goodreads

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Great Escapes Praise for Why Me?: Chimeras, Conundrums, and Dead Goldfish
by Charlotte Stuart

Full of fascinating characters, crafty clues, and a few unexpected twists that make it a great read for cozy mystery fans. I really liked it so I give it 4/5 stars.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

Why Me?: Chimeras, Conundrums, and Dead Goldfish is another fun and crazy cozy mystery from Charlotte Stuart. I love the way Charlotte Stuart writes her main characters. I embrace them as my friends right away.
~CHRISTY’S COZY CORNERS

Why Me? was quite a crazy, funny, cozy mystery! . . . I absolutely loved this story, that characters were funny, likeable and engaging and the twists that were thrown in to throw you off were done well,
~EBook addicts

This is a delightful and quirky new mystery and it will definitely keep you on your toes.
~Storeybook Reviews

 

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
April 1 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
April 2 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
April 2 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
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April 3 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
April 4 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
April 5 – Diane Reviews Books – GUEST POST
April 5 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW
April 6 – EBook addicts – REVIEW
April 6 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 7 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 7 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
April 8 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
April 9 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST
April 9 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT
April 10 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
April 11 – T’s stuff – SPOTLIGHT
April 12 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT
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Die Die Blackbird (A Piney Woods Mystery) by Teresa Trent #GuestPost / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Die Die Blackbird (A Piney Woods Mystery)
by Teresa Trent

I am excited to welcome Teresa Trent back to Escape With Dollycas today!

Hi Everyone,

Like many of you, I read a lot of cozy mysteries. One thing that amazes me is all of the different places and times these mysteries take place. I recently read Egg Drop Dead by Vivien Chien that took place around a Chinese restaurant. Right now, I’m reading one that takes place in snowy Alaska. Last month I read A View to a Kilt that took place in Moosetookalook, Maine. Then you can head south to Louisiana for one of Sandra Bretting‘s mysteries in the historic houses of Louisiana, or up to Chicago for V.M. Burns character who runs a bookstore and spends time with her mother’s assisted living crowd. Like Doctor Seuss says, Oh, the places you will go! Each one of these locales brings with it the world of their sleuth, whether it be a knitting shop or someone working in the Congress like in Colleen Shogan‘s books.  And don’t forget about cozy historical mysteries. I’ve recently read several that use the backdrop of a regency romance, but instead of focusing on the viscount kissing the heroine, he helps her solve a mystery.

The secret of the cozy mystery is there is a close-knit group of friends and family, whether the main character is living in a big city or small one. They are often funny and caring, and they face everyday problems we all experience, except for murder, thank God.

I love that about these books. When I’m not writing mysteries, I’m a full-time caretaker for my son with Down syndrome. He’s been in the hospital for pneumonia three or four times now, and he is medically fragile. That can be a lot to deal with day-to-day. I think that’s why I enjoy writing my two mystery series, Piney Woods, and Pecan Bayou. Some days you just need to escape to Mayberry.

In Die Die Blackbird, Nora is a co-owner of the historic Tunie Hotel, and this time she’s checking in paranormal investigators Jack and Daisy Foley. They have her front desk clerk, Dominic Fazio, over the moon, being an amateur investigator himself.  Not only that, but they knock heads with Grace Howe, the leader of the Piney Woods quilting group, who doesn’t react well to having to share meeting rooms that were supposed to be for the quilters.  Jack and Daisy are attempting to speak to the ghost of Sam Houston to find out where the missing gold from the Battle of Santa Anna might be hidden. They think Sam visited a lady of the evening in Piney Woods, and if they can’t get Sam on the line, maybe they’ll get her.

Do you have a favorite cozy mystery locale? Please share it in the comments below.

~Teresa

Thank you for visiting today, Teresa!

About Die Die Blackbird


Die Die Blackbird (A Piney Woods Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Publisher: Camel Press (January 14, 2020)
Paperback: 210 pages
ISBN-10: 1603818480
ISBN-13: 978-1603818483
Digital Print Length: 159 pages
ASIN: B0842YC8ZF

Nora Alexander is finding her job exciting as she welcomes paranormal investigators Jack and Daisy Foley to the Tunie Hotel. They are trying to contact the ghost of Sam Houston not only for their internet production but because it is reported there is a stash of Santa Anna’s gold hidden somewhere. They are operating on the theory that Sam Houston visited a lady of the evening in Piney Woods and locate Red Ruth Inn where a parking lot now stands. Not only do these two stir the spirit world, but they also bother some of the town’s most established citizens including the town’s quilting group who doesn’t appreciate their overtaking of the hotel with ghost hunting equipment.

 

When a townsperson is murdered with suspected ties to the local gang, The Alamo Runners, Nora finds herself wanting to protect his wife and daughter all the while getting cryptic messages from beyond. Jack and Daisy aren’t the only ones with a connection to the other side.

 

About Teresa Trent

Teresa Trent writes cozy mysteries that take place in small towns in Texas. The Piney Woods Series came to be because her older brother worked in the hotel industry for over twenty years and would relate all the things and people he had experienced. Because Teresa loves history and a little bit of the paranormal, the Tunie Hotel was born! Teresa is also the author of the Pecan Bayou Cozy Mystery Series.

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Great Escapes Praise for Die Die Blackbird (A Piney Woods Mystery)
by Teresa Trent

I enjoyed the plot in Die Die Blackbird because it involves a paranormal investigating team of husband and wife . . . These Texans won’t take no guff about their beloved Sam.
~CHRISTY’S COZY CORNERS

Die Die Blackbird by Teresa Trent has a well-plotted mystery, fabulous characters, and a sweet little town setting. I enjoy the humor the author adds to the plot and the family connections.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

A great addition to an adorable cozy series set in a small town in Texas. . . . a fun read full of quirky characters, lots of clues, and small town charm. Great for fans of cozies.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

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Posted in 2020 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts New Release Challenge Purrfect Reading Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge What's In A Name Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Jennifer J. Chow – Author of Mimi Lee Gets a Clue (A Sassy Cat Mystery) #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway @JenJChow

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am thrilled to welcome Jennifer J. Chow back to Escape With Dollycas!

Living in La La Land
By Jennifer J. Chow
Guest Post Provided by Publicist

            I’d never planned on living in Los Angeles. However, I ended up moving here in order to get my master’s degree at UCLA. At the time, I figured I’d flee the traffic-heavy, smog-infested area right after completing my required two years of study. Well, fast forward a few years, and I’d stayed put.

I ended up working in the area and had gotten married by then, so I chose to settle down. I started re-evaluating my initial (and sometimes faulty) impressions of Los Angeles and found many silver linings to staying.

Here are my top five fact vs. fiction insights:

    1. Lotsa traffic. Okay, this perception is true. I personally experienced the slow crawl of cars leaving downtown Los Angeles and trailing behind others’ taillights on the congested freeway. However, as a local, I’ve now discovered sneaky ways to bypass the traffic. I often switch to local roads to speed up my traveling. Also, by knowing the traffic patterns, I pick more optimal times for driving to avoid getting stuck.
    2. Smog city. Los Angeles is known for its air pollution. We do have unclean air, but at least on the American Lung Association’s website, we’re not number one for particle pollution—that distinction goes to the Central Valley. We are, though, tops for having high ozone levels. However, we’re aware of the problem, and officials are trying to brainstorm innovative solutions to improve the air quality here. As an aside, I actually appreciate how the smog creates prettier sunsets—those gorgeous reds and oranges are amazing to behold.
    3. Baywatch bodies. When I first got to L.A., I remember seeing (and hearing) advertisements about how I could create a more improved version of myself, whether by eating vitamins, exercising, or undergoing surgery. This fixation on appearance confounded me, but I thought, “Maybe it’s because we’re so close to Hollywood.” While I have seen some knockouts in L.A., what I’ve noticed more is the diversity of the people who live here. There are different ages, ethnicities, and body types, and I love this variety. Bonus: There’s a huge array of delicious cuisines to choose from because of the vast number of cultures represented in the area.
    4. Natural disasters. Yes, we’re prone to earthquakes (and it is common that people sometimes barely blink at a tremor, as depicted in A. Story—a movie others made me watch when I first arrived in Los Angeles). Beyond the disasters, though, we also have access to natural marvels. There are rugged mountains and verdant forests to the north, plus golden sand and glistening waves to the west. Even the stark beauty of the desert is nearby, like at Joshua Tree National Park.
    5. Hollywood glitz. In grad school, my roommate oohed over how she’d seen the ponytail of a celebrity. I’ve also known coworkers who would haunt Pink’s Hot Dogs just to get a glimpse of somebody famous. And out-of-town friends do enjoy purchasing a Star Map and spying on celebrity homes. I myself enjoyed the excitement of a red carpet event one time—okay, so I was only within googling distance. However, I have rubbed shoulders with a few better-known figures and up-and-coming creative individuals. What I appreciate about meeting them isn’t their glamour but their artistry and perseverance. I connect with them since I’m also pursuing my own passion of writing.

I hope both the fabulous and quirky atmosphere of Los Angeles comes through in my newest novel, Mimi Lee Gets a Clue. The first in the new Sassy Cat mystery series, it features an L.A. pet groomer whose dream career gets disrupted when she becomes a suspect in the murder of a dog breeder. But with the help of her snarky cat and a dreamy lawyer neighbor, maybe she can get back to living the LA dream and running her store, Hollywoof.

So, even if you can’t come and visit L.A., perhaps you can do some virtual traveling through my book. Wishing you lots of happy reading!

~Jennifer

Thank you, Jennifer, for visiting today!

Now let me give you my thoughts on Mimi Lee Gets A Clue


Mimi Lee Gets a Clue (A Sassy Cat Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – California
Publisher: Berkley (March 10, 2020)
Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1984804995
ISBN-13: 978-1984804990
Kindle – ASIN: B07VG4QTFQ

Mimi Lee is in over her head. There’s her new Los Angeles pet grooming shop to run, her matchmaking mother to thwart, her talking cat Marshmallow to tend to—oh, and the murder of a local breeder to solve…now if only Mimi hadn’t landed herself on top of the suspect list.

 

Mimi Lee hoped to give Los Angeles animal lovers something to talk about with her pet grooming shop, Hollywoof. She never imagined that the first cat she said hello to would talk back or be quite so, well, catty—especially about those disastrous dates Mimi’s mother keeps setting up.

 

When Marshmallow exposes local breeder Russ Nolan for mistreating Chihuahuas, Mimi steals some of her cat’s attitude to tell Russ off. The next day the police show up at Hollywoof. Russ has been found dead, and Mimi’s shouting match with him has secured her top billing as the main suspect.

 

Hoping to clear her name and save the pups Russ left behind, Mimi enlists help from her dreamy lawyer neighbor Josh. But even with Josh on board, it’ll take Mimi and Marshmallow a lot of sleuthing and more than a little sass to get back to the pet-grooming life—and off the murder scene.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Los Angeles has a new place to take your pets for grooming. Hollywoof is operated by Mimi Lee and she just hopes she gets enough customers to keep her business afloat.

The first day her sister drops by with a surprise, a fluffy white Persian cat with big blue eyes. Mimi does prefer dogs but she can’t say no. The cat is soon named Marshmallow, a name he clearly doesn’t like and let’s er know in a surprising way.

Mimi is single but her mother has a plan for that. Mimi plays along for the most part because she has other concerns. Several customers are bringing in Chihuahuas from various services and she notices they all have health issues. When she learns that all came from the same local breeder she decides to investigate. She gets into a war of words with the man, witnessed by one of his neighbors.  Mimi then reports the breeder to the proper authorities for violations. When a Police Detective Brown shows up a Hollywoof he is not there to talk about the mistreatment of animals. He is there to question her about the breeder’s murder. What!

In efforts to clear her name, Mimi starts rubbing elbows with her client’s well-to-do owners and she hires a lawyer, Josh, an easy on the eyes neighbor, she met while doing laundry. Marshmallow also becomes a key member of the investigation team.

______

I love Marshmallow! Haven’t you always wanted to know what your pet is thinking? The author created this fun character and explains how he learned everything he knows. So lighthearted and funny.

We get to know Mimi Lee pretty well in this first book of the series. She is petite, smart, mid-twenties, but you can tell she has led a bit of a sheltered life due to her upbringing. Her mother is Asian American and her father is caucasian. He’s pretty laid back. She is all in both her daughter’s business or forces one daughter, Mimi, the eldest to interfere in the younger sister’s business. Sometimes this goes unbelievably too far. Mimi has opened a new business without much of a plan and is running it with a seat of the pant’s attitude. Thankfully, she grows over the course of this book and so does her business.  Her mother’s efforts to find Mimi find a man are pretty comical though. The family dynamics are interesting.

I really enjoyed this fresh take for an amateur sleuth team, not your typical Sherlock and Watson.  The mystery was very well done and exceeded my expectations for the first book in a series. The actual detective on the case seemed to be glued to his initial thought even when Mimi tried to give me details she had uncovered. Breeders like the one in this story are a hot topic these days and Ms. Chow gives it a fantastic fictional spin. She plots a twisted up mystery to find who killed the awful man responsible for the poor puppies. Mimi got her clue well before I did. I was very entertained following along with her to clear her name and get justice for the lovable pooches and find them fur-ever homes.

Mimi Lee Gets A Clue gives readers an intriguing mystery with plenty of suspects and twists. I am curious to see how all the characters develop more. Mimi is more Nancy Drew than Jessica Fletcher, meaning she doesn’t have the sage experience needed the help solve complex mysteries, but her youth brings a real freshness to the cozy mystery genre. The rest of the characters need to be more fleshed out to support her and get readers engaged and invested in their lives. For me, Sassy Cat Marshmallow stole the show!

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About the Author

Jennifer J. Chow grew up reading Garfield comics and adores creating sassy kit lit. She also writes the Winston Wong mysteries, which feature a regular meowing cat. Her other Asian American novels include Dragonfly Dreams (a Teen Vogue pick) and The 228 Legacy.

She’s involved in Crime Writers of Color, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime. Like her on Facebook and Follow her on GoodReads and Twitter. Connect on Instagram @jenjchow

Coming November 10, 2020

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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.”