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Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers – A Jules Keene Glamping Mystery by Heather Weidner #AuthorInterview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @HeatherWeidner1

Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers A Jules Keene Glamping Mystery
by Heather Weidner

I am very disappointed that my reading calendar was full so I can’t review this book right now but am happy to have Heather Weidner return to Escape With Dollycas for another interview.

Hi Heather.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m Heather Weidner, and I write the Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries and the Delanie Fitzgerald Mysteries. By day, I’m an IT manager, and I live with my husband and a pair of crazy Jack Russell Terriers in Central Virginia.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Surprisingly, a lot of research goes into writing mysteries. I want to make sure that I get the details right. For this series, I did a lot of background research on vintage trailers and tiny houses. I am fascinated by both, and they give Jules an opportunity to show off her decorating skills as she themes each to add to her resort.

Do you ever suffer from Writer’s Block?

Sometimes, but I do a detailed outline for each book, and that helps me as I’m writing. I have an idea of what goes in each chapter. It also helps me not to get bogged down or stuck in the book’s saggy middle. (It also makes it easier when I write the book’s synopsis.)

What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?

Writing is a lot of work. If you want to be published, you need to be persistent. Make sure that you put the time in to learn your craft and genre, build your author platform (website, email list, social sites), and build relationships.

When you are not writing what do you like to do?

I love to read and kayak at the reservoir near my home. I also love to travel and see new sites. I live in Virginia, so there are so many daytrips to see the sights and taste some amazing food.

How has the COVID pandemic affected you and you’re writing?

It has been a crazy time, but it has also been productive for me. At the beginning when we switched to work-from-home, I committed my daily commute time and lunch to writing (about 2 to 2.5 hours a day). I finished 4 novels, 1 novella, and 2 short stories.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

I would love to go to Scotland and Ireland with a stop on the way back in Iceland. I’ve been working on my family’s genealogy over the years, and I would like to see where my ancestors came from. Hopefully, we’ll get to travel again soon.

What is next on the horizon for you?

I have finished the next two books in the Jules Keene Glamping series, Film Crews and Rendezvous (October 2022), and Christmas Lights and Cat Fights (October 2023). I’m working on a new series set in a beach community, and the fourth Delanie Fitzgerald mystery should be out next year.

Thank you Heather for visiting today! I hope to read Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers soon.


About Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers

Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers – A Jules Keene Glamping Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Level Best Books (October 19, 2021)
Digital – ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09GGBFWT5

There is nothing like finding a dead body, clad only in red satin thong, on your property to jolt you from a quiet routine. Jules Keene, owner of the posh Fern Valley Camping Resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is thrust into the world of the Dark Web when one of her guests, Ira Perkins, is found murdered in the woods near her vintage trailers. Jules quickly discovers that the man who claimed to be on a writing retreat was not what he seemed, and someone will go to any length to find what he left at her resort. Jules, along with her Jack Russell Terrier sidekick Bijou, has to put the rest of the missing pieces of a blackmailing scheme together before her business is ruined.


Jules’s resort, set in the heart of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains near Charlottesville in the quaint town of Fern Valley, offers guests a unique vacation in refurbished and upcycled vintage trailers. Hoping to expand her offerings, she partners with her maintenance/security guy to create a village of tiny houses, the latest home DIY craze, but a second murder of a reporter interrupts Jules’s expansion plans. Curiosity gets the best of her, and she steps up her sleuthing to find out what Ira Perkins was really doing and what he hid at her resort.


More About Heather Weidner


Through the years, Heather Weidner has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager. Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers is the first in her cozy mystery series, the Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries. She also writes the Delanie Fitzgerald mystery series set in Virginia (Secret Lives and Private Eyes, The Tulip Shirt Murders, and Glitter, Glam, and Contraband).

Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, Deadly Southern Charm, and Murder by the Glass, and her novellas appear in The Mutt Mysteries series.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Sisters in Crime – Chessie, Guppies, International Thriller Writers, and James River Writers.

Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.

Author Links

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Purchase Link – Amazon – 

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Stitch, Bake, Die! (An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery) by Lois Winston #AuthorInterview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tours

Stitch, Bake, Die! (An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery)
by Lois Winston


I am excited to welcome Lois Winston back to Escape with Dollycas today!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

After graduating art school, I worked as a layout artist for John Wanamaker, the first U.S. department store (sadly no longer in existence). After my first son was born, I began freelancing, designing for craft and needlework magazines, craft book publishers, and craft kit manufacturers. Eventually, the writing bug bit me. My first published novel, Talk Gertie to Me, debuted in 2006, followed by Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception.

One day my agent spoke with an editor who was looking for a crafting-themed cozy mystery series. Knowing my background, my agent decided I’d be the perfect person to write such a series. That was the beginning of the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries. The first book, Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun, came out in 2011. Stitch, Bake, Die!, is the tenth book in the series. There are also three companion novellas.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

This really depends on the theme of the book. Having worked in the consumer crafts industry for decades, I relied on many of my own experiences to creating Anastasia. As a women’s magazine crafts editor, she and I have had similar work experiences—minus the dead bodies, of course!

I also didn’t have to go far when creating Anastasia’s communist mother-in-law as I, too, had a communist mother-in-law. Her personality inspired Anastasia’s mother-in-law Lucille.

When my plots involve legal, medical, or law enforcement issues, I have a network of contacts I consult to make sure my ideas are feasible and my facts are correct. However, stories I heard growing up provide fodder for the Mafia characters in my books. My grandfather was captain of the largest county police force in New Jersey and responsible for putting away quite a few well-known gangsters back in his day. I also went to school with the sons and daughters of various “families.”

Beyond all that, I’m a news junkie and many real-life crimes have inspired quite a few plots and subplots in my books.

Do you ever suffer from Writer’s Block?

I have in the past, especially when life has hit me with a whammy. I’ve found that sometimes it’s okay to give yourself permission not to write. We all need a break at times. Forcing yourself to write at these times isn’t always the best approach, but every writer is different. You need to learn what works best for you in these situations.

What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?

Write! Too many people talk about “someday” writing a book, but “someday” always seems off in the future. I’ve also known writers who spent years polishing the first three chapters of a book to submit to agents and editors but either never finished the book or didn’t devote the same care to the remainder of the manuscript. If you really want to get published, you need to work toward that goal.

When you are not writing what do you like to do?

Up until a few months ago, when my husband and I relocated to Tennessee, I’d go to a Broadway show or NYC museum. The theater and museums were my happy places. But it’s a long commute from Nashville to Manhattan. Once this pandemic is finally gone from our lives, I’m going to have to find something to take their place.

How has the COVID pandemic affected you and you’re writing.

The pandemic has curtailed most of my activities. Although vaccinated, I’m still leery of being around large groups of people. We moved to Tennessee to be closer to family. I have grandchildren here who are too young to be vaccinated, and I don’t want to inadvertently expose them to the virus because I’ve somehow been infected and am asymptomatic. So I stay in my writing cave as much as possible.

One thing I’ve decided to do, though, is not address the pandemic in my books. People read cozies to escape the real world. I’ll leave pandemic fiction to the dystopian, thriller, suspense, and literary authors.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

At this point I’d just like to be able to travel safely anywhere. First up would be a trip to California to visit my older son and his family. We haven’t been out to see them in nearly three years.

What is next on the horizon for you?

I’m already percolating the next Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery. I’ve dropped a few breadcrumbs in Stitch, Bake, Die! Readers should look for the eleventh book in the series a year from now.

Thank you Lois for visiting today!


About Stitch, Bake, Die

Stitch, Bake, Die! (An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
10th in Series
Setting – New Jersey
Independently Published (October 4, 2021)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 218 pages

With massive debt, a communist mother-in-law, a Shakespeare-quoting parrot, and a photojournalist boyfriend who may or may not be a spy, crafts editor Anastasia Pollack already juggles too much in her life. So she’s not thrilled when her magazine volunteers her to present workshops and judge a needlework contest at the inaugural conference of the NJ chapter of the Stitch and Bake Society, a national organization of retired professional women. At least her best friend and cooking editor Cloris McWerther has also been roped into similar duties for the culinary side of the 3-day event taking place on the grounds of the exclusive Beckwith Chateau Country Club.


Marlene Beckwith, wife of the multi-millionaire pharmaceutical magnate and country club owner, is both the chapter president and conference chairperson. The only thing greater than her ego is her sense of entitlement. She hates to lose at anything and fully expects to win both the needlework and baking competitions.


When Anastasia and Cloris arrive at the conference, they discover cash bribes in their registration packets. The Society members, few of whom are fans of Marlene, stick up for the accused and instead suggest that Marlene orchestrated the bribes to eliminate her stiffest competition.


The next morning when Marlene is found dead, Anastasia questions whether she really died peacefully in her sleep. After Marlene’s husband immediately has her cremated, Anastasia once again finds herself back in reluctant amateur sleuth mode.


With the help of Cloris, Marlene’s personal assistant Rhetta, and a laptop someone will stop at nothing to find, Anastasia soon unravels evidence of insurance scams, medical fraud, an opioid ring, long-buried family secrets, and too many possible suspects. And that’s before she not only stumbles over the body of yet another member of the Stitch and Bake Society but also finds Rhetta unconscious.

Can Anastasia piece together the various clues before she becomes the killer’s next target?

Crafting tips included.

More About Lois Winston


USA Today and Amazon bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is a former literary agent and an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry.

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Kindle – Nook – Kobo  – Apple Books 

Paperback – Amazon

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Swindler’s Revenge: A Karina Cardinal Mystery by Ellen Butler #AuthorInterview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Swindler’s Revenge: A Karina Cardinal Mystery
by Ellen Butler

I am happy to welcome Ellen Butler to Escape With Dollycas today! 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I write in a couple of genres—Mystery, romance, and historical fiction. My first novel was published in 2014, and Swindler’s Revenge will be my 11th book. I’m a book junkie, probably like many of you, and have far too many in my TBR list. I was able to whittle that list a bit during COVID but replenished and am again overwhelmed by all the books on my Kindle and lying around my house.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

There is always a fair amount of research, because each of my novels tends to be inspired by something in real life. For instance, Isabella’s Painting was inspired by the 1990 art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Swindler’s Revenge was inspired by a case that an FBI agent told me about. At the end of all my Karina Cardinal novels, I tell the reader a little about the real-life inspiration in my Author’s Note. Probably the longest amount of time I spent researching for a book was for The Brass Compass, my WWII spy novel.

Do you ever suffer from Writer’s Block?

Yes. I have to step away from a project when that happens and eventually my subconscious figures it out.

What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?

Join a writer’s club! Here is why:

  • To meet like-minded people. Writing is a very solitary profession, meeting other writers is invaluable.
  • You will gain perspectives from other published writers and learn the pitfalls and advantages to different writing and publishing options.
  • You can find a mentor or critique group that will help you be the best writer you can be.

When you are not writing what do you like to do?

I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and traveling.

How has the COVID pandemic affected you and your writing?

Initially, when the world shut down, I was very stressed and dealing with the anxiety of uncertainty, and not thinking creatively. I was in edits for Pharaoh’s Forgery and had just finished a short story, which was for the best, because I wasn’t ready to begin a new book. The kids were home ALL THE TIME, and I simply couldn’t get my head into the game. It really took me awhile to get Swindler’s Revenge going.

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?

My husband and I had a 2-week anniversary trip planned to Ireland which we had to cancel due to COVID. I am ready to go, and I think I’d like to place a novel there.

What is next on the horizon for you?

I’m working on a sequel to my historical spy fiction, The Brass Compass. The first novel took place during WWII, and I’m placing the second one in the 50s during the Cold War.

Thank you Ellen for visiting today.

Keep reading to learn all about Ellen’s new book.

About Swindler’s Revenge


Swindler’s Revenge: A Karina Cardinal Mystery
Cozy Mystery/Women’s Adventure Fiction
5th in Series
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Power to the Pen (September 1, 2021)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 228 pages
ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0924YKM7H

There are no softball cases in the FBI…especially when an agent gets dirty.


Karina Cardinal’s Saturday starts out with a bang, and it’s not the home renovation marathon she’s watching on HGTV. It’s the FBI banging on her door, hunting for a fugitive. As if she could easily hide one in her modest condo. Especially one named Mike Finnegan.


The two of them called it splitsville a couple months ago, but Mike? Take a $1.2 million bribe? No and no and no. No matter how much damning evidence the feds claim to have. When a mysterious burner phone shows up in her pocket, Karina has no doubt who dropped it there. Mike is deep undercover and so far off-grid, he needs help to figure out who’s framing him—and why.


Classic Karina, she jumps in with both feet, ignoring the dangers. The trouble with leaping before you look? You can land in a world of dirt. And when an old enemy starts playing hardball, you can end up six feet under it.

International bestselling and award-winning author Ellen Butler presents book five in the Karina Cardinal mystery series! Fans of Elizabeth Peters and Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum will adore this gripping mystery adventure.

About Ellen Butler 

Ellen Butler is the international bestselling author of the Karina Cardinal mystery series and award-winning historical suspense, The Brass Compass. Fans who enjoy the suspense of Melinda Leigh and the humor of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum will fall in love with Butler’s Karina Cardinal.  Her experiences working on Capitol Hill and at a medical association in Washington, D.C. inspired the mystery-action series. The Brass Compass has won multiple awards for historical fiction and is compared to such bestselling novels as Kristen Hannah’s The Nightingale. Ellen lives with her family in the suburbs of Washington, DC.

You can find Ellen at:

Website ~

Facebook ~

Twitter ~ @EButlerBooks


Goodreads ~

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An Untidy Affair: A David Blaise Mystery by MB Dabney #AuthorInterview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @mbdabney27

An Untidy Affair: A David Blaise Mystery
by MB Dabney

I am so happy to welcome MB Dabney
to Escapes With Dollycas today!

Hi MB, 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a native Hoosier, born, raised and educated in Indiana, and a retired journalist. During a 20-year portion of my career, I worked in Philadelphia, where, among other things, I covered the 1985 police bombing of the MOVE compound in West Philly. Because of my background as a reporter, I’m most comfortable writing in third-person, although I have won professional awards for editorial writing, which are in first-person, plural.

I wrote the first draft of a Star Trek novel in the mid-80s – I really love Star Trek – and throughout the 90s and early 2000s dabbled with writing a thriller. But I didn’t really focus on writing fiction until about 15 years ago and it was because I wanted a new writing challenge. The first major challenge of An Untidy Affair is that it’s in first-person. That was considerably out of my comfort zone. The next major challenge I faced with Affair was that I completed the first draft in 18 days during National Novel Writing Month. So, as it turns out, my years of deadline writing for United Press International and later for the Associated Press, in addition to two daily newspapers, came in handy.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I tend to generally follow some advice I read by Stephen King, and that is in fiction, if you don’t know something, make it up. Research is very important but if you stay close to your main interests, there are fewer things you have to research. I read lots of murder and crime fiction and thrillers, so that’s mainly what I write. I also rarely write the major portion of a novel in a location I haven’t lived in or visited extensively.

Through attending conferences and networking, I know lots of people who, for example, specialize in areas I am unfamiliar with, such as poisons or strangulation. So, when needed, I can consult with them on those areas. And lastly, there is the Internet. With what you can learn from the Internet, you can write a credible novel set in contemporary Indianapolis, or in the Old West, or 1760s London, or on Mars.

For a variety of health reasons that caused me to delay research for the novel I intended to write, I didn’t decide to write Affair until a week before I started writing it. So, I didn’t have time for much research before I started. It’s why it’s set in Philadelphia in the mid-1980s and involved MOVE. I was there at the time and covered it. What little research I did do was during the writing to confirm things I wasn’t sure I remembered correctly.

 Do you ever suffer from Writer’s Block?

Sometimes, if I don’t know enough about the story before I start writing it, or don’t understand how to get to the end. But with a novel that’s only happened once. Generally, when I get to a stumbling block and struggle with it for a while, I realize I’m boring the reader – me. And if I’m boring me, I will bore other readers. So, I simplify whatever I’m writing to one or two sentences and move on.

But another handy trick I use is to stir things up. There was a point in one of my upcoming novels when I didn’t know what to do next with my protag. So, one night as he was about to enter this apartment, I had him attacked by someone who jumped out of the bushes, and was wearing a clown mask and carrying a knife. Scary, right? Being attacked by a clown. But it opened up lots of possibilities.

Or, when I feel a block coming on, I might write a scene in which someone walks into a room holding a loaded gun. Nothing shakes things up in fiction, or in real life, more than someone walking in with a gun. Whether the person is there with good intentions or not – and the people in the scene won’t exactly know that when the person walks in – the gun changes the dynamic.

If you suffer from a writer’s block, write something surprising and dramatic. It will help get you off your butt. And you can always delete it later.

What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?

Don’t give up once you start writing, continue to develop your craft and learn about the industry. Network with published writers and learn from them. Chatting with other authors over cocktails at a conference is a major source of knowledge and inspiration, as much so as merely attending the conference. Join a critique group and take the advice that is the most useful for you and disregard the rest. And never, ever give up hope.

When you are not writing what do you like to do?

I like to read. I enjoy walking and playing tennis, though I haven’t found much time for tennis lately. I still have – but don’t use, of course – the wooden racket I first learned tennis with nearly 60 years ago. I love watching Star Trek, and I love auto racing, especially Formula 1 and Indycar. I attend the Indianapolis 500 every year, and other races when possible. And lastly, I love to travel.

How has the COVID pandemic affected you and you’re writing?

The greatest impact is in not meeting with other writers in person. My critique group meets over Zoom but it’s not the same as in person. And just last week while I was on vacation, the organizer of a regional crime writers conference called me to say that the conference scheduled for October is postponed until April. And I hope I can still attend. (Read below.)

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?

I came up with an answer to this question but before I wrote it down I asked my wife what she thought.  She said Fiji, which, amazingly enough, was exactly what I was thinking. Years before we retired, we started socking away money in a travel account, so we have funds for traveling once the country and the world are more open to it. But due to the distance and the expense, I doubt we will ever visit Fiji, though I’d love to. The sandy beaches and clear blue water seem so attractive and beckoning.

We had a trip to China planned for October/November 2020 that was postponed and then planned to go to Rome in March 2021. I would have arrived in Rome on my 70th birthday. But that trip was postponed until next March/April. And I hope it doesn’t conflict with the conference I mentioned above.

What is next on the horizon for you?

I am working on a prequel to Affair and plan to deliver it to my editor by the end of the year. If I’ve made sufficient progress on the prequel by late-October, I will write a novel in November during National Novel Writing Month. And, most likely, it will be the racing story I intended to write just before I wrote Affair.

Thank you, MB for stopping by today. 

Please keep reading to learn about MB’s book.

About An Untidy Affair

An Untidy Affair: A David Blaise Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Per Bastet Publications LLC (June 25, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 280 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1942166761
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1942166764
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B097YPJYWN

Struggling Philadelphia private eye David Blaise gets two routine but unrelated cases on the same day in May 1985 – the day city police firebombed the MOVE house, which killed 11 people and destroyed an entire neighborhood. When Blaise starts following a cheating husband and searching for a missing person who may not actually be missing, he also discovers his cases may be related, and that he is being followed. When his tail is murdered, implicating the P-I, Blaise must find the true killer before he is literally buried alive.

About MB Dabney

MB Dabney is an award-winning journalist whose writing has appeared in numerous local and national publications, such as Indianapolis Monthly, NUVO, Ebony magazine, Black, the Indianapolis Recorder, and the Indianapolis Business Journal. A native of Indianapolis, Michael spent decades as a reporter working at Business Week magazine, United Press International and the Associated Press, the Indianapolis Star, and The Philadelphia Tribune, the nation’s oldest continuously published Black newspaper, where he won awards for editorial writing. He has co-edited two anthologies — Decades of Dirt: Murder, Mystery and Mayhem from the Crossroads of Crime; and MURDER 20/20 — and has published numerous short mystery stories, including Miss Hattie Mae’s Secret (Decades of Dirt) , Callipygian (The Fine Art of Murder), and Killing Santa Claus (Homicide for the Holidays). An Untidy Affair is his first novel.·         The father of two adult daughters, Michael lives in Indianapolis with his wife, Angela.

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Great Escapes Praise for An Untidy Affair: A David Blaise Mystery
by MB Dabney

This is a new author for me but I must say his writing style is highly enjoyable . . . a great read as the clues keep you guessing at every turn while you are being immersed in a time that really comes to life on the page.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

Blaise is streetwise with an innate understanding of human nature yet he is socially awkward, single-minded to a fault, and beautifully damaged. The book is peopled with wonderfully vivid archetype characters that could, but definitely do not come across as cliche.
~I Read What You Write!

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The Spirit Woman of Locklear Mountain by Elaine Faber #AuthorInterview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

The Spirit Woman of Locklear Mountain
by Elaine Faber

It is my pleasure to have Elaine visit Escape With Dollycas today!

Welcome, Elaine.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a published author of nine books. The Spirit Woman of Lockleer Mountain is my latest. It is unlike my previous two series of cozy cat mysteries and humorous WWII historical fiction. The mysterious Spirit Woman character has added a paranormal element to this mystery/adventure.

What are you reading now?

I have enjoyed Elizabeth Peters historical fiction set in late 1800s, early 1900s Egypt. Im currently re-reading Crocodile on the Sandbar, the first in her Egypt series.  

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

I started to write a womens fiction with a divorced single mother, but when she arrived at a Lake resort, she met a cat that took over the story. It quickly became a cozy cat mystery with Black Cat narrating part of the story as he helps her solve a mystery. It became my first published novel, Black Cats Legacy.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

I have a vivid imagination and a love of humorous mystery. Once the characters are created, they lead me through the plot and take me in directions I had no intention of pursuing. Even I am surprised at some of their antics, comments, and behavior. It makes for an enjoyable adventure for me as a writer as well as for my potential readers.

What do you think makes a good story?

Characters the reader can identify with, humorous dialogue, a realistic plot, unlike some we see on television. A brisk beginning, mysteries and clues, and a satisfying end. And a story isnt a story if there isnt a cat in it! All my stories have cats to some extent.

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

I think I identify with my cat characters as they mimic human behavior and thoughts (with the limitation of being cats). I also think there is some Mrs. Odboddy in me; the elderly sleuth from my WWII series. (Her uninhibited mouth and adventurous spirit, for instance.) Lou and Nate from Spirit Woman novel are much younger than me. With the addition of the Spirit Woman, the story differs from my previous 8 novels. Of course, theres a cat. The mountain lion plays a major role in the plot. 

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

The characters are clearly real people with the exception of the Spirit Woman. There is a question as to her reality, or is she a figment of the communities imagination? The premise of the story is to answer that question. Real, or imaginary, what is she trying to tell the characters; even as helps the community deal with their problems? I believe the mystery of the Spirit Woman sets this story apart from other cozy mysteries.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

I have the fourth WWII historical fiction Mrs. Odboddy novel completed. The sequel to Spirit Woman is also completed. I expect this next year to be fine-tuning these two books for publication in late 2021-2022.

Thank you Elaine for stopping by.

Keep reading to get the details of Elaine’s new book.


About The Spirit Woman of Locklear Mountain

The Spirit Woman of Locklear Mountain
Paranormal Mystery
1st book in 2 book series
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Elk Grove Publications (December 27, 2020)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 252 pages
ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08RG27CNL

There are sightings of a woman and a mountain lion near Lockleer Mountain, seen at moments of crisis. Is she the legendary Native American’s Spirit Woman, sent to protect the community? Nate is convinced his sister, missing for three months, and surely suffering from amnesia, is the elusive woman. He fears she will not survive the coming winter months, living wild in the wood with a mountain lion.


While Deputy Nate Darling pursues a relationship with Lou Shoemaker, he and Sheriff Peabody pursue a drug dealer, selling to the youth at the Native American reservation. Things are even more complicated by civil unrest regarding the government’s secret plans to build a mysterious facility, a big box store, and a housing tract close to Lockleer Mountain, threatening the livelihood of the local merchants.


Is there any hope that the Spirit Woman, real or imaginary, can bring harmony to the troubled community? Will Nate be able to apprehend the drug dealer, locate his missing sister, maintain his budding romance, and guarantee the financial future of Lockleer Mountain?


More About Elaine Faber


Elaine Faber lives in Elk Grove with her husband and four feline companions. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Cat Writers Association, and Northern California Publishers and Authors. Her short stories have appeared in national magazines, have won multiple awards in various contests, and are in at least 16 anthologies. She leads a local writer’s critique group.

Elaine’s ‘Mrs. Odboddy’ mystery series has won annual awards with Northern California Publishers and Authors. Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary, and All Things Cat, an anthology of cat stories, won Cat Writers’ Association 2018 and 2019 Certificates of Excellence.

Elaine enjoys speaking at author venues sharing highlights of her novels and her writing experience. She is currently working on two fiction novels to be published in 2021 and 2022.

Website and Blog:   

Purchase Link – Amazon

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Ghost Daughter (The Alice MacDonald Greer Mysteries) by Helen Currie Foster #Interview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Ghost Daughter (The Alice MacDonald Greer Mysteries)
by Helen Currie Foster

I am so happy to welcome
Helen Currie Foster to Escape With Dollycas today!

Hi Helen,

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I love to read. Compulsively! I used to climb up the backyard elm tree and hide on a branch to read. Jobwise, I taught English, then practiced law for thirty years—litigation and regulatory (environmental) law. My family’s from Texas—lots of cousins, two brothers, one sister. My husband and I dragged our two kids from Michigan to Hawaii to Alabama and now back to Texas. I live and write north of Dripping Springs, Texas, in the Hill Country. I love family gatherings, grandkids, Hill Country plants and animals, Austin Shakespeare, hiking in Colorado, all sorts of music…

What are three things most people dont know about you?

I’ve got three burros. They show up about five p.m. hoping for carrots.

In college, I sang with an a cappella group.

I’m taking lessons in boogie-woogie piano from Austin genius Floyd Domino.

What is the first book you remember reading?

The Book of Knowledge.” I woke up early one morning—the house was quiet—and I held the book open, and suddenly the letters all fell into place. I ran to wake my mother: “I can read the book of “KNOW-ledge!”––pronouncing it to rhyme with “no…” I guess I’d never heard the word pronounced before.

What are you reading now?

Rereading Reginald Hill’s Arms and the Women. I love Reginald Hill’s Dalziel & Pascoe mystery series. In this one, Pascoe’s wife Ellie is front and center. Also Mom Genes by science writer Abigail Tucker; it’s full of potential plots. Thomas Cahill’s Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea. He’s so certain in his opinions! About to start Elisabeth McKetta’s She Never Told Me About the Ocean.

What books have most inspired you?

Dorothy Sayers, all the way! I reread some of her mysteries every year, inspired by her deft wit (about Bunter the valet: “and if he was somewhat lavish in the matter of butter…”). Other inspirations: Ngaio Marsh, Sara Paretzky, Reginald Hill (like Picasso, he never takes the same road twice). I admire Patrick O’Brian – the man can set a scene in one long vivid sentence. My kids have also read all the Sayers mysteries and all of Patrick O’Brian and quote their favorites with hilarity (“Jack! You have debauched my sloth!”).  I also admire Dorothy Dunnett’s historical novel series (The Niccolo books and the Lymond Chronicles). They’re beautifully written, complex and rich in historic detail, and, in my view, each series is actually one long mystery with the murderer revealed only in the last volume. Dunnett also wrote the clever “Dolly” mystery series.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

My dad, though a scholar, loved those lurid paperbacks of the fifties; his pockets frequently held an Erle Stanley Gardner or Ellery Queen, and I still have his original Dorothy Sayers paperbacks (oh those covers!). I devoured Nancy Drew and loved Sherlock Holmes. So I always believed that if I ever wrote a book, it would have to be a mystery.

Do you have a special place where you like to write?

Yes. On trains and buses! Something about jiggling along with a view out the window is conducive to writing, even if the letters get out of order. When no train or bus is available, I sigh and march off to the small desk in the corner of the living room.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

I wish I knew. Some swim up from dreams at night. Some come from legal issues, like the wind farm lease project in Ghost Cave. Sometimes a friend tells a tale that sparks a plot, like about a couple who decided to leave their estate to their grandchildren and discovered their kids were outraged. Exploring has led to several plots: visiting prehistoric rock art on the Devil’s River with an anthropologist friend (Ghost Cave), judging a chili cook-off (Ghost Next Door), watching cowboy action shooting matches west of Blanco (Ghost Cat). But some ideas? They just pop up!

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Making language both rich and readable. I always hope the dialogue rings true.

What do you think makes a good story?

A battle of wits! The protagonist must face a wily opponent determined to hide the truth.

And a battle of courage! Despite fear, despite tough odds, the protagonist musters the courage to confront danger. And despite the underlying crimes–some comedy, please, some irony!

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

Hmm. Alice’s thought process reminds me of mine. She’s also a bit of an introvert. And she deeply loves the Hill Country.

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

The courtroom and legal controversies add an extra dimension. So does the Hill Country setting, with its cliffs and springs and its salty, independent characters.

Whats next on the horizon for you?

Book 8 of the Alice MacDonald Greer Mystery series!

Thank you so much Helen for visiting today! 

Keep reading to learn about Helen’s latest mystery!


About Ghost Daughter

Ghost Daughter (The Alice MacDonald Greer Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Stuart’s Creek Press, LLC (June 15, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 342 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1732722919
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1732722910

Coffee Creek lawyer Alice MacDonald Greer knows a dangerous client secret when she hears one—especially when it disappoints impatient heirs.


Wealthy widow Ellie Windom asks Alice to help change her will, revealing she’s found her long-lost daughter, and hinting at valuable hidden art in Santa Fe. But there’s trouble with Ellie’s warring sons.


When Ellie is found dead at her ranch, her skull cracked—and a horse in the house—police can’t find a murder weapon and the obvious suspects all have alibis.


Determined to carry out Ellie’s final wishes, Alice races to find the hidden art, eluding intruders and carjackers. But who are the thieves trying to beat her to the hidden art? Is the art a treasure or a clever forgery? Is Ellie’s death connected to the murderous attacks on a lover from long ago?


The search sends Alice and her companions road-racing up Santa Fe mountains, fending off attackers in Austin, and escaping across the Texas Hill Country…rewarded occasionally with some delicious barbecue.

More About Helen Currie Foster

Helen Currie Foster lives and writes north of Dripping Springs, Texas, in Texas Hill Country, supervised by three burros. She’s deeply curious, more every day, about human history and prehistory and how, uninvited, the past keeps crashing the party. In each of her Ghost mystery novels, small town lawyer Alice Macdonald Greer must unravel a murder with its roots in the past…long ago.

[If more is needed] Foster earned her BA from Wellesley College, MA from the University of Texas, and JD from the University of Michigan where she grew fascinated with dirt and water law. After practicing environmental law and regulatory litigation for thirty years, she found the character Alice had suddenly appeared in her life. She’s active with Austin Shakespeare and Heart of Texas Sisters in Crime.

Author Links:
Website Facebook Amazon GoodReads Twitter 

Purchase Link – Amazon Paperback –  Kindle

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Great Escapes Praise for Ghost Daughter (The Alice MacDonald Greer Mysteries)
by Helen Currie Foster

Alice is a fantastic character that is super easy to relate to. Made for quite the fun read. I really liked it so I give it 4/5 stars.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

Ghost Daughter by Helen Currie Foster is a complex mystery with a layered plot and likable, proficient characters. The setting – from Texas to New Mexico – adds to the realistic feel of the story, and all of the well-placed red herrings and clever twists keep you guessing.
~Reading Is My SuperPower

This is an amazing, sometimes jaw-dropping, mystery-adventure in which the heroine, Texas lawyer Alice Greer, risks life and limb to fulfill the last wishes of her friend Ellie . . . I enjoyed Ghost Daughter so much, that I’m seriously considering buying the previous six “Ghost” books in the Alice MacDonald Greer series! FIVE STARS
~Here’s How It Happened

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Zombies for Everyone: A Jenna Sutton Supernatural Cozy Mystery by Kimberly Wylie #Interview / #Giveaway

Zombies for Everyone: A Jenna Sutton Supernatural Cozy Mystery
by Kimberly Wylie

I am pleased to welcome Kimberly Wylie to Escape With Dollycas today!

Hi Kimberly

What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?

My top ten favorite books are (in no particular order):

What book do you think everyone should read?

I don’t think there’s one book everyone should read. That’s the beauty of books. They’re like ice cream. There’s no one “best” flavor. Some people love the simplicity and pureness of vanilla. Others want unique flavor concoctions like blueberry-caramel cheesecake.

How long have you been writing?

Professionally, I’ve been writing for over twenty years. During that time, I rarely had time to write what I wanted to write. I’ve only spent the last couple of years actually devoting small chunks of time to my inner muse. She is very happy to finally be free.

Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?

In writing, there are two types of authors often referred to—pantsers and plotters. Pantsers let their inner muse take full control of their story. They have no set story arc. Their stories develop organically. Plotters, on the other hand, work from a carefully crafted outline. They have predefined characters, with predefined character goals. You’ll find debates Internet-wide about which is better.

I, personally, am a hybrid of the two. I have an idea of my story arc. From my cozies, I have specifically clues in my brain that I know need to be brought to light. However, as I write, I let some of it happen organically. This includes the appearance of characters. Betsy and Tom were two characters that my inner muse brought to life as I wrote.

What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?

I rarely do research before I begin writing a book. Instead, I research as I go. For Zombies for Everyone, I did a lot of research on voodoo to be able to build it into my world as the catalyst for the first zombie. Before I started writing, I wasn’t sure if I was going to touch on zombie history, but it felt like it was needed to further immerse the reader in the Jenna Sutton reality.

Do you see writing as a career?

Writing has been my career for the last twenty-plus years. Regretfully, to make a living writing, I was forced to write simply what others wanted written. Sometimes it was interesting. A lot of times it was not. But it paid the bills and sent my kids to college. Now, I see writing as a creative outlet that soothes my soul. The word ‘career,’ to me, means a focus on making money. I want my writing to be about the stories I tell, whether they sell or not.

What do you think about the current publishing market?

This is such an exciting time to be in publishing. Print on demand has opened up publishing to millions of authors whose works would’ve never seen the light of day even a decade ago. This is both a blessing and a curse.

Although this has allowed many, many excellent writers to bring their stories to life, it also has meant there are many books now published that really should’ve had a bit more vetting (and editing) before they came to market. It has also meant a lot more competition for all books.

Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?

I don’t know any fiction writer who isn’t an avid reader. I think we love stories, first and foremost. If we’re not telling them, we want to be told one.

My favorite genre depends on my mood. In fact, I usually go through spurts of reading a specific genre. Right now, perhaps not surprisingly, I’ve been reading quite a few cozy mysteries. I love paranormal cozies, but also have been devouring regular cozies as well. This is not a new genre though for me. I love Agatha Christie, who I would argue is the queen of cozies, before there was the term ‘cozy.’

Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?

I write one book at a time. Although I have a long list of books/book concepts I want to work on. If an idea for one of those books comes to mind, I will take a few minutes and jot notes down.

Thank you Kimberly for visiting today!

Keep reading to learn about Kimberly’s book. 

About Zombies for Everyone

Zombies for Everyone: A Jenna Sutton Supernatural Cozy Mystery
Young Adult Paranormal Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Cypress Canyon Publishing (June 30, 2021)
Paperback: 184 pages
ISBN-13: 979-8741616895
Digital ASIN: B096NSXPXQ

Jenna Sutton is nothing like the iconic vampire slayer of TV fame.


She’s the antithesis of a cheerleader. She’s not peppy. And she sucks at gymnastics. She has nothing in common with the fictional Buffy, other than being blonde and in high school…


Oh, and occasionally she kills vampires for a living as well as other things that go bump in the night.


Following an attack on an English teacher at a nearby school, it becomes clear this wasn’t an ordinary coyote bite. The gray-green Lichtenberg-like webbing of streaks making their way up Ms. Pruett’s arm can mean only one thing—zombies.


But this isn’t a normal zombie attack. The victims seem to be hand-picked.


Can Jenna complete her investigation without the school administrators figuring out she’s actually a high school student from another school? Will Jenna be able to find out who’s behind these attacks before a full-scale zombie outbreak overtakes the town? And, perhaps most importantly…


Why did her best friend kiss her after all of these years?


More About Kimberly Wylie


Kimberly Wylie loves to write books about murder, mystery and mayhem.

Kimberly has been a full-time freelance writer and editor for more than twenty years. She has worked for both large publishing houses and small, boutique publishers, as well as magazines, Fortune 500 companies, and hundreds of private clients. When people asked her, “What do you write?” Her standard answer was always, “Whatever pays.”

For the last two years, Kimberly has focused on finally writing what she wants to write. During COVID, she published an award winning cookbook—The Ambergris Caye COVID Relief Cookbook. This book was featured in Forbes, won a Gourmand International award, and helped provide more than 20,000 meals to the residents of the island of Ambergris Caye, Belize. She’s also recently published a children’s picture book—Carl the Misunderstood Crocodile—and is donating profits to a local wildlife conservation and rescue group. Zombies for Everyone: A Jenna Sutton Supernatural Cozy Mystery is Kimberly’s first foray into her favorite genre—Cozies!

When not writing, you can find Kimberly enjoying the sunshine, the beach or the reef, from her home on Ambergris Caye. She lives there with her husband and the best English Cream Golden Retriever in the world—Coco.

Author Links


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70% Dark Intentions (Bean to Bar Mysteries) by Amber Royer #AuthorInterview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

70% Dark Intentions (Bean to Bar Mysteries)
by Amber Royer

I am very happy to welcome Amber Royer back to Escape With Dollycas!

Hi Amber,

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hi!   I live in McKinney, Texas.(Just north of Dallas).  My husband and I are coming up on our 25th anniversary.  I grew up in Southeast Texas, a ferry ride away from Galveston, where my bean to bar mysteries are set.   I have been teaching creative writing for over a decade now.  I love working with new students because I love getting to know new story worlds and characters, and see how these change as they are refined.  I was a librarian before I became an author coach, so books have always played a part in my life.

I am a nut when it comes to linguistics, and have built grammatical rules for several of the languages in my science fiction.  I am a language learner in both Spanish and Japanese.  I read/write enough Japanese to pass the practice test for the JLPT 5 (easiest level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test), though I’ve not taken the official exam.

I am an avid herb gardener, and I love to cook.  I even have a cookbook that combines these two passions – There are Herbs in My Chocolate.  I gave the cooking style developed in that cookbook to Carmen, the employee Felicity just promoted to official pastry chef at the beginning of 70% Dark Intentions.  Now that we are beginning to be able to entertain again, I am looking forward to the opportunity to make cupcakes for people again.

What are three things most people dont know about you?

I’m adopted.  I’m working on the manuscript for the Bean to Bar Mysteries NO. 3, and I’ve uncovered that one of my characters is also adopted.  You will get to know a bit about that character in 70% Dark Intentions – though he has no idea yet that he’s adopted.

I’m left-handed.  They say people who are left-handed are supposed to have talent with visual arts and beautiful handwriting.  Well . . . my handwriting is awful.  It was so bad in high school that my teachers asked me to type instead (which explains why I type basically as fast as I can think).  I can read cursive, but I never completely learned how to write it.

I am surprisingly good at Beat Sabre (a VR game where you have Star-Wars style light sabers that you use to hit floating squares to the beat of music.  Kind of a cross between slashing at the squares and banging on the drums.)  I took years of dance classes when I was a kid.  So I guess now they’re not going to waste. LOL.

What is the first book you remember reading?

The first thing I can remember reading is Where the Wild Things Are.  It was probably read TO me, as opposed to me reading it myself, but it was the first one that made an impression.  This book exemplifies the Hero’s Journey – could there be any stronger call to adventure?  Or a character more changed by the experience?  Is it any wonder I fell in love with books?

What are you reading now?

I am just finishing up Assault and Pepper by Leslie Budewitz.  I was hooked when I found out it was about a spice shop.  And when I saw it was set in Seattle, I knew there would be coffee.  And coffee is one of my favorite things.  (Bonus: I was interviewed last year by Erin Andrews of Indi Chocolate, who has a shop in Pike’s Place Market, where Pepper has her fictional shop.  It has been cool seeing that space brought to life in the story.  You can catch the Virtual Chocolate Salon re-watch at: ).

Next up on my TBR list is The Plot is Murder by VM Burns.  I am a total sucker for anything that feels like it is going to be a bit meta, and from the blurb, it feels like this book is going to have a UHF-esque imagination dovetailing into reality kind of vibe.

As far as nonfiction, I’m just getting into Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat.  I want to get through the book before I watch the Netflix docuseries.  I love cookbooks that explore principles (my favorite cookbook ever is Ratio by Michael Ruhlman) and this one promises to take the concept in-depth.

What books have most inspired you?

I still think Treasure Island is a beautiful example of how to tell a story without wasting anything.  It is a big influence on how I think about putting together the different elements of storytelling.

But this time I want to talk a bit about Jane Austen.  (Felicity, my protagonist in the Bean to Bar Mysteries, is an Austen fan.  Go figure.  In Book 2, Felicity forms a friendship with another character in part because they both appreciate Austen.)  It is often said that story is character, and I believe that this is true.  Austen is a master of psychologically examining her characters, which is why these stories endure and get adapted in different formats.  Trends in structure have changed since Austen’s day (compare the book version of Emma, where the big climactic scene with Knightley takes place over 100 pages from the end, versus the more recent movie versions, where that scene comes at the end) but the way the characters are drawn as people – and the characteristics inside those psychological profiles that make us viscerally feel the romantic chemistry between her leads – doesn’t change.  Austin is probably more of an influence on my writing than I realize, since no matter what kind of story I try to tell, my characters all wind up with awkward/complex friendships and compelling love interests.

Mysteries that have inspired me include:

Agatha Christie’s Poirot novels.

Dorothy Gilman’s Mrs. Pollifax series

Lillian Jackson Braun’s The Cat Who series.

Dorothy Cannell’s Ellie Haskell series.

Diane Mott Davidson’s Goldie Bear series.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

I’ve always loved reading them.  I feel like all fiction has an element of puzzle to it, as we figure out the plot along with the characters.  Mysteries to me are the most direct expression of this, which is why I think as a reader, it is so easy to get caught up in them.  But they are anything but direct to write.  You have to get to know the characters so well that you can see how each one of the possible suspects COULD have an element of darkness inside that would allow that individual to be a murderer – while at the same time making all the innocent ones likable enough that readers are okay with them showing back up in the next book.  The plot has to be logical, and yet surprising.  When I was a teenager, one of my first attempts at writing a novel was about half of a mystery manuscript.  I just didn’t have the writing skill at the time to pull it off.  But that convinced me for a long time that I COULDN’T write a mystery.

It wasn’t until I’d written a lot of other things that I took another stab at writing a mystery. (Pun mostly intended.)   Felicity was a character who demanded to be written.  She’s inspired in part by a number of different chocolate makers I’d met while researching and marketing the Chocoverse books.  But a lot of her is also me, getting to talk about a fictionalized version of the area where I grew up and food that I love.  The mysteries she finds herself involved in serve as a vehicle for Felicity moving towards understanding herself and what she wants in life.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

I write on my laptop, so I’m more of a will-travel-for-inspiration kind of writer than having any one set place.  (I’ll write in the back seat of a moving car, since the glare of a laptop   Over the past year, I’ve been more or less grounded, so most of my writing has taken place in my living room.  I LOVE writing in coffee shops, though.  (And I hope to get to start doing that again soon!)  I used to meet up with some other writers at this little boba tea and ramen place, and I miss that vibe. I’m one of those people who has to have a bit of noise in the background to get anything done.  I have a desk in our home office, but it faces a blank wall.  Basically, I only use it if I am working on a project where I can bounce ideas off my husband, or if I’m doing something via Zoom, so there are other people virtually hanging out with me.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

Writers are observers.  We take in elements of the world, and sometimes these memories can rattle around for years before they show up in a project.  I love the ocean and the beach, so writing about this setting is a no-brainer.  Galveston wildlife shows up in 70% Dark Intentions, and growing up, I visited Sea Rim State Park (on the mainland, not far from Galveston) and Galveston State Park a number of times.  There are alligator observation stations in both, and this inspires part of the story.  Sometimes you see something and it sparks an idea immediately.  But sometimes it’s a combination of both.  Another wildlife element that shows up in this book is the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle.  When we visited Galveston to film some clips for the Book 1 trailer, we came across a number of the Turtles About Town sculptures – which highlight these endangered turtles, and their nesting on the island.  This came together in my mind with a visit Jake and I took about a decade and a half ago to a turtle sanctuary in Acapulco, where we got to see baby turtles awaiting release back into the ocean.  This sparked another way wildlife shows up in the plot of this story.

When I build characters, I usually start with a name and a few details, and I write a little from that person’s point of view.  Once I feel like I know a character well enough, I do a character interview and find out what they want out of the story, what they’re afraid of and what they value.  I don’t intentionally model characters on real people, although I’m sure traits from people I know show up in my fictional people.  I have had friends assume they are certain people in my stories, and I can sometimes see why they might think that, even though this was not intentional.  When I envision a project, I usually do picture one of my friends who would particularly enjoy it.   I’ve borrowed those friends’ names – with permission, of course – for the protagonists of some of my stories.

Writers are often told to write what they know, or to write what they want to understand.  Ind that’s true.  My story ideas are a mix, really, of things I know, things I want to know, things I’d love to tell my friends and cool things I uncover while living life.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

My biggest challenge is still narrowing the story down to a reasonable word count.  There are so many aspects to any story, and particularly to cozy mysteries – which have tons of support characters and suspects and a whole community to explore, not to mention possible love interests.  It’s hard to narrow it down to just the characters who are relevant to the current installment of the story, and to focus subplots so that they don’t overtake the main plot.

What do you think makes a good story?

Story is about people and conflict.  Most often that means people in conflict with each other.  And there has to be something at stake in the conflict that both characters want desperately – and that is weighty enough to be worth a reader’s time.  That what draws us in and keeps us reading.  A GREAT story changes the characters along the way, so that the events of the story shakes them to their core and changes who they are and how they look at life.

There also needs to be an element of uncertainty.  If we can easily guess the outcome of a story early on, there’s no puzzles to figure out.  If it’s obvious who wins and how, we can’t worry for the characters – or with them.

For a cozy mystery, the character also needs a reason to solve the particular murder at the heart of your story.  Maybe she cares about the person suspected, or is suspected herself, or somehow her reputation or her business is at stake.  In most cozies, the protagonist isn’t solving the mystery as part of her job.  So you need to manufacture a reason.  If the sleuth has nothing at risk, we won’t believe that she cares so much about solving a murder, when there are other people on hand with catching killers in their job descriptions.  This time, I dealt with this by attaching the disappearance of one of Felicity’s employees to the events surrounding the murder.  And I’m having Felicity try to resist getting involved – even though the people in her life assume that having solved one murder that happened on her premises, she’s bound to investigate this second one.

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

I think all my characters have a little of me in them – even the bad guys.  Demographically, Felicity is most like me.  I gave her a Cajun side to her background, because I wanted to get to pepper the series with food references and flavors of my childhood.  Felicity has a good heart, and she genuinely feels bad when she makes mistakes while investigating.  And like me, she loves books and reading and a good cup of coffee.  But unlike me, she’s good at chemistry, and has a medical background, while I was too squeamish to even do my own experiments in high school biology.  Which makes her strong and cool in a crisis, whereas I tend to go into panic mode.

Psychologically, I’m more like Autumn Ellis, Felicity’s best friend.  Autumn is a former mystery writer, who wanted to be a poet since she was a little girl.  She and Felicity met in eighth grade, when they were both doing UIL Poetry competitions.  She’s more intuitive than logical.  She speaks her mind – sometimes without regard for the consequences.  And like me, she’s an extrovert who works from home, which means she needs routines for social interaction – and she gets terribly excited when she gets invited to a party.

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

My protagonist is a bean to bar craft chocolate maker, with ties to the chocolate making world.  Between books, she travels to work with farmers growing cacao in different countries – and elements of that wanderlust come home with her and show up in the books.

The Bean to Bar Mysteries boarder on the more actiony side of cozy, with one of Felicity’s love interests being a former bodyguard.  And in this one, one of Felicity’s employees goes missing at the same time as the murder.  70% Dark Intentions deals directly with the fallout of the first book in the series, where after being threatened by the murderer, someone in Felicity’s life has developed issues with self-confidence.

There is also a focus on character development for Felicity herself, as she continues to cope with the grief in her backstory that brought her home in the first place – and the fact that her friends’ lives keep changing around her.

Whats next on the horizon for you?

I’m already drafting Bean to Bar Mysteries No. 3: Out of Temper.  Book 1 dealt with the Gulf Coast’s tempestuous weather, and Book 2 deals with Galveston’s wildlife.  Book 3 is going to bring in elements from Galveston’s cruise ship terminals.  Which means a lot of the characters from the first two books are going to get to go on a little boat ride, when Felicity gets invited to do chocolate making demos and tastings on board a cruise.

I’m also working on a manuscript involving time travel and Impressionist art.

Thank you Amber for visiting today!

Keep reading to learn about Amber’s new book! 

About 70% Dark Intentions

70% Dark Intentions (Bean to Bar Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Publisher – Golden Tip Press (July 20, 2021)
Paperback: 266 pages
ISBN-10: 1952854105
ISBN-13: 978-1952854101
Digital ASIN : B091KMVY8P

Felicity Koerber’s bean to bar chocolate shop on Galveston’s historic Strand is bringing in plenty of customers – in part due to the notoriety of the recent murder of one of her assistants, which she managed to solve. Things seem to be taking a turn for the better. Her new assistant, Mateo, even gets along with Carmen, the shop’s barista turned pastry chef. Felicity thinks she’s learning to cope with change – right up until one of her friends gets engaged. Everyone’s expecting her to ask Logan, her former bodyguard, to be her plus one. But even the thought of asking out someone else still makes her feel disloyal to her late husband’s memory — so maybe she hasn’t moved on from her husband’s death as much as she thought.


Felicity isn’t planning to contact Logan any time soon. Only, Felicity finds ANOTHER body right outside her shop – making it two murders at Greetings and Felicitations in as many months. That night, Mateo disappears, leaving Felicity to take care of his pet octopus. The police believe that Mateo committed the murder, but Felicity is convinced that, despite the mounting evidence, something more is going on, and Mateo may actually be in trouble.


When Logan assumes that he’s going to help Felicity investigate, she realizes she’s going to have to spend time with him – whether she’s ready to really talk to him or not. Can Felicity find out what happened to Mateo, unmask a killer, and throw an engagement party all at the same time?


More About Amber Royer

Amber Royer writes the CHOCOVERSE comic telenovela-style foodie-inspired space opera series, and the BEAN TO BAR MYSTERIES. She is also the author of STORY LIKE A JOURNALIST: A WORKBOOK FOR NOVELISTS, which boils down her writing knowledge into an actionable plan involving over 100 worksheets to build a comprehensive story plan for your novel. She blogs about creative writing techniques and all things chocolate at She also teaches creative writing for both UT Arlington Continuing Education and Writing Workshops Dallas. If you are very nice to her, she might make you cupcakes.

Author Links

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July 12 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST
July 12 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
July 13 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
July 13 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 14 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST
July 15 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, EXCERPT  
July 15 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 16 – CelticLady Reviews – SPOTLIGHT 
July 17 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
July 18 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 19 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
July 20 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
July 20 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 21 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
July 22 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST
July 22 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
July 23 – ebook addicts – REVIEW
July 24 – My Journey Back – CHARACTER GUEST POST  
July 25 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Great Escapes Book Tours Interviews

#Author Interview – Charlotte Stuart – Author of Who, Me? Fog Bows, Fraud and Aphrodite #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Who, Me? Fog Bows, Fraud and Aphrodite
by Charlotte Stuart

I am so happy to have Charlotte Stuart drop by today!

Hi Charlotte,

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’ve done a variety of things to make a living, from being a flight attendant to commercial salmon fishing. The job I enjoyed the most was as a management consultant. I did individual and group assessments, leadership training, and strategic planning. I like to analyze and categorize and solve problems. That’s why I recently put together a matrix on the five sub-genres of humorous mysteries. You can check out the two-part sessions on YouTube: A Reader’s Guide to Choosing Humorous Mysteries.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I enjoy research. How much time I spend depends on the theme related to the motivation for murder. For Why Me? Chimeras, Conundrums and Dead Goldfish, the first book in the Macavity & Me Mysteries, I did a lot of reading about illegal trafficking in human organs, chimera research, and laws governing chimera research in different countries. It was both fascinating and a bit scary. I already had a lot of background about fraud in nonprofits, but I still did a fair amount of reading for Who Me? Also, I just completed a Police Academy course for civilians and have been attending webinars on all things sinister, like poison and weaponry and blood splatter patterns. I like to be as accurate as possible.

Do you ever suffer from Writer’s Block?

There are times when the ideas flow better than others. But I’ve always liked the process of writing. I even enjoyed working on my PhD dissertation. And I survived several years writing a column on leadership for a business journal. If I’m suffering from brain fog, I take a break, preferably going for a walk in the woods.

What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?

I know this sounds cliché, but don’t let rejection get you down. One of the things I’ve researched is authors writing about getting rejected. Some authors are blessed with quick and easy success, but most suffer from a string of rejections along the way. If you aren’t having luck finding an agent or a publisher, consider self-publishing. I self-published a book to use in my consulting business before self-publishing was popular. Currently, I know a number of successful authors who wouldn’t do it any other way. Just go for it.

When you are not writing what do you like to do?

I walk every day for exercise and pleasure, mostly on trails, sometimes on the beach. I also like kayaking and swimming. I’m a water and woods person. And I enjoy meeting with friends over coffee.

How has the COVID pandemic affected you and your writing?

I feel guilty for enjoying myself while others were going through difficult times. I was pleased to have plenty of time to write, places to walk, and a husband I like being with. And for me, Zooming was a good option, both professionally and personally. In some ways, it’s going to be hard to go back to dealing with ferry schedules, traffic and crowds.

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?

If I could be teleported to places instead of having to take public transportation, I would begin by visiting the ruins at Machu Picchu, stopping in the Australian outback for a quick look around, going for a hike in the Canary Islands, and having dinner in an Italian hill village with a view of a valley filled with olive trees. Seeing new places in person engages all five senses. You can touch the stone walls, smell the foliage, feel the ground underfoot. But sometimes returning to a place you’ve already been is worthwhile. I can almost taste the antipasto and smell the fettuccine con Carciofi we had in a tiny family restaurant in Italy—

What is next on the horizon for you?

I’ve started three series, so it’s mainly a question of which book to work on next. The third in my Discount Detective series will be coming out on November 2nd, so I’ll definitely be spending some time getting the word out about Shopping Can Be Deadly (A Discount Detective Mystery).

Thank you, Charlotte for visiting today!

Keep reading to find out about Charlotte’s new book. 

About Who, Me?
Fog Bows, Fraud and Aphrodite 

Who, Me? Fog Bows, Fraud and Aphrodite
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Taylor & Seale Publishing
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 236 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1950613704
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1950613700
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B097D67XKS

A heated argument on a nearby boat followed by a loud splash . . .


Who, Me? Fog Bows, Fraud and Aphrodite is a mystery set in an urban boating community in Seattle. Bryn Baczek lives on a sailboat in a small marina with her cat, Macavity, and a series of short-lived goldfish. When a neighbor she doesn’t like becomes the prime suspect in a murder investigation, she reluctantly seeks evidence to prove him innocent. She ends up being threatened by the victim’s abusive boyfriend, betrayed by a close friend, and can’t resist using subterfuge to enter a secured building to search the victim’s office. Although she shares what she learns with a charming detective, she is one step ahead of the police in identifying the murderer . . . a step that puts her in a dangerous face-to-face confrontation.


More About Charlotte Stuart


In a world filled with uncertainty and too little chocolate, Charlotte Stuart, PhD, has taught college courses in speech communication, was a management consultant and a VP of HR, and has enjoyed time spent sailing and commercial salmon fishing in Alaska. Her current passion is for writing mysteries with a dollop of adventure and a smattering of humor. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys watching herons, eagles, seals and other sea life from her Vashon Island home office.

Author Links

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Purchase Links – Amazon

Also by Charlotte Stuart

Coming November 2, 2021

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please check out every stop. 
June 28 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
June 29 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
June 30 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 1 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST
July 2 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
July 3 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
July 4 – OFF
July 5 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
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July 7 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW, GUEST POST
July 8 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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July 10 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
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The Corpse with the Iron Will (The Cait Morgan Mysteries) by Cathy Ace #AuthorInterview -Great Escapes Book Tour

The Corpse with the Iron Will (The Cait Morgan Mysteries)
by Cathy Ace

I am thrilled to welcome Cathy Ace to Escape With Dollycas today!

Hi Cathy,

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

 First of all, (a lot of people ask me this) yes, Cathy Ace is my real name – my birth name, in any case. I’m Welsh, having been born and raised in Swansea, and I migrated to Canada aged forty. I now live half-way up a little mountain in a rural area in the southwestern corner of British Columbia.


What are three things most people dont know about you?

 Hmmm, maybe they hadn’t guessed that I’m Welsh? Or, if they knew that, maybe they didn’t know my husband is also Welsh – so we keep our Swansea accents alive, despite the fact we’re both Canadian now.

I’m a natural optimist – which helps a great deal if you’re a writer, because you have to believe the planets will all align to allow your next book to be published, and sell.

I live by the maxim: “Don’t dream it, be it” (which is stolen from Dr. Frankenfurter in The Rocky Horror Show)

 What is the first book you remember reading?

 This is impossible to answer, because I read so much, and so fast, when I was little, that all the Enid BlytonFamous Five” and “Secret Seven” books roll themselves up into one adventure-filled ball. I vividly recall the cover-art for Nancy Drew books, and I’m pretty sure the first Agatha Christie I read was “Death in the Clouds” – which, again, I recall for the wonderful cover-art by the artist Tom Adams – but I could be wrong about that. I do have a copy of a book called “Little John Little” on my shelves, which I recall was bedtime reading when I was very small, so possibly that?

 What are you reading now?

 A bit of a confession here – I’m actually reading one of my own books! I wrote The Corpse with the Golden Nose in 2012, and it was published in 2013, which feels like a very long time ago. It was the second Cait Morgan Mystery, and there are characters in it who will make an appearance in the planned eleventh book in the series, which I am currently plotting (see more below). I knew I had to go back to them before I could write about them again, and I am therefore rereading that book. It’s a weird experience – I can hardly believe I wrote it, and there are bits I painfully wish I could rewrite, and bits which fill me with delight, and pride.

 What books have most inspired you?

Every book I have ever read has inspired me, in some way or another, but – since you’re asking me to be specific – I’ll plump for the works of William Shakespeare and the works of Agatha Christie.

 What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

 I’ve always read mysteries, and I cannot imagine writing anything else. Each book I write is a book I’d like to read, and I’m a complete dyed-in-the-wool mystery reader, so that’s my thing, and I’ll stick to it.

 Do you have a special place you like to write?

 I have an office, and writing is my work, so I tend to write there. However, for a few years I wrote at the dining table, and I have been known to spend time in the summer out on the back deck, enjoying the fresh air as I edit – but I can’t write there, just edit. No idea why! Wherever I am I need silence to be able to write. My most productive hours are between about 9pm and 2am, so – fortunately – that’s naturally a pretty quiet time, though the owls, bats, and coyotes keep me company.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

This is one of those annoying answers, because it’s honestly, “It depends”! I might hear or see something that makes me think, “What a great way to kill someone!”, or I might be struck by a situation or an encounter when I think “What a great reason to want someone dead!”. Once there’s the germ of a starting point, that’s when the hard work of crafting a complex plot begins, and I enjoy thinking through the details of a plot as I work on our acreage, or do a spot of DIY.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

For me, the entire process of writing involves much more than sitting at a keyboard – I think of it as including all the plotting, researching, outlining, and then writing and editing, too. Of the overall process, what I dislike most is editing. For me, the first draft is the most fun, because I’m trying to get the movie I’ve already seen in my head onto the page in such a way that the reader can see that same movie, without the words getting in the way.

What do you think makes a good story?

A good story is like a good piece of music: there are only so many notes to play with, but it’s the unique voice of the composer that makes the music what it is. In the same way that I’m drawn to the works of certain composers, I’m drawn to the works of certain writers – no matter what sub-genre they are writing in (Note: I honestly only read crime). Thus, whilst I need a story to “work” overall, for me it’s the voice that draws me in, and – ultimately – satisfies me.

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

Unquestionably, Cait Morgan. She’s Welsh, an immigrant to Canada, over-indulgent, judgmental, a bit bossy, and has a soft heart (but an acid internal voice).

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

I think this comes back to the point I made earlier – voice. The Cait Morgan Mysteries are traditional, Christie-style mysteries: they always feature a closed circle of suspects, play fair with the clues, and deliver red herrings, with a final denouement and comeuppances for the baddies. In other words, they deliver against the expectations of those who enjoy that “shape” of mystery, and I think that’s important (it is for me, as a reader, anyway). But I write them, with my voice, in my head (which is Cait’s voice, of course, and these books are written in the first person) so they are unique to me in that respect. In all honesty, it would only be others who could tell you how my voice differs from that of other authors; I’m not clever enough to do that.

 Whats next on the horizon for you?

As I mentioned, I’m plotting the eleventh Cait Morgan Mystery at the moment. I know where it’s set, who the main players are, the basics of what happens to whom, and the how and why of that – but I’m not quite ready to announce the title or the publication date, yet. I’m a detailed planner – I have no idea how anyone begins to write a book until they’ve already outlined the entire thing not only in their head but on paper, too – so I have to work out all the twists, turns, and details before I can be sure this story will end up being the next book. There will be an eleventh Cait Morgan Mystery, but this might not be the story I tell; I hope it is, because I really want to take folks to the location, which is fantastic – but it’s too early for me to be certain.

Thank you, Cathy, so much for visiting today!

Keep reading to learn about Cathy’s new book!

About The Corpse With The Iron Will

The Corpse with the Iron Will (The Cait Morgan Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
10th in Series
Publisher: Four Tails Publishing Ltd. (June 3, 2021)
Number of Pages: 325
Digital ASIN: B08YRQP569

Welsh criminal psychologist and globetrotting sleuth, Cait Morgan, and her retired-cop husband Bud Anderson, are enjoying some well-deserved peace and quiet at home, in moody, mountainous British Columbia. The sudden death of a neighbor is a significant loss for them both, so Cait’s honored when Gordy Krantz’s “unusual” will requests that she eulogize him at his memorial.


However, delving into the dead man’s background becomes a pressing priority when a puzzling theft, and some surprising discoveries, put our favourite sleuths on high alert. Might someone living in their seemingly tight-knit – and certainly off-beat – rural community have wanted their neighbor dead? And if so, are more people they know at risk?


The tenth Cait Morgan Mystery from Bony Blithe Award-winning author Cathy Ace, The Corpse with the Iron Will, forces Cait and Bud to use the skills they’ve honed tackling cases around the world to unmask a killer who’s too close to home for comfort!

More About Cathy Ace


Cathy Ace was born and raised in Swansea, Wales, then migrated to Canada aged 40. Having traveled the world (for business and pleasure) for decades, Cathy put her knowledge of the cultures, history, art, and food she encountered to good use in the Cait Morgan Mysteries – a series of traditional whodunits featuring a globetrotting Welsh Canadian professor of criminal psychology. These books have been optioned by Free@LastTV (Agatha Raisin). Ace also writes the #1 Amazon bestselling WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries, featuring four female PIs (one is Welsh, one Irish, one Scottish, one English). They tackle quirky, quintessentially British cases from a Welsh stately home in the rolling countryside of the Wye Valley. Her standalone tale of psychological suspense, The Wrong Boy, also became an amazon #1 bestseller, and is due to become a bilingual TV mini series. Cathy lives on five rural acres in British Columbia, where her ever-supportive husband ensures she’s able to work full-time as an author, and enjoy her other great passion – gardening. She’s been shortlisted for the Bony Blithe Award three times in four years, winning in 2015, has won an IPPY Award, and was shortlisted for an IBA Award and an Arthur Ellis Award.

Author Links:    Website    Facebook     Twitter: @AceCathy    GoodReads   Instagram

Purchase Links – AmazonKobo

Also by Cathy Ace

June 7 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – CHARACTER GUEST POST
June 7 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
June 8 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST
June 8 – My Journey Back the Journey Back – CHARACTER GUEST POST
June 9 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
June 9 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
June 10 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
June 10 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
June 10 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
June 11 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
June 11 – Nadaness In Motion – REVIEW
June 12 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
June 12 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
June 12 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
June 13 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
June 13 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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