Posted in Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Interviews

All That Shines (Glitter Bay Mysteries) by Diane Bator #Interview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @dibator


All That Shines (Glitter Bay Mysteries)
by Diane Bator

I am so happy to welcome Diane Bator to Escape With Dollycas today!

Hi Diane, 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a writer, playwright, and mom who works in theatre by day and writes every chance I get. I have four mystery series Im currently working on: Wild Blue Mysteries, Gilda Wright Mysteries, Glitter Bay Mysteries, and Sugarwood Mysteries.

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

I am a mom to three young men and two cats.

Ive written one play and am working on a second one.

I have also written a couple of fantasy novels that I have yet to publish.

What is the first book you remember reading?

I remember having lots of Little Golden books as a kid. Aside from every Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew mystery I could get my hands on, I read a Sidney Sheldon novel, I think it was The Other Side of Midnight, that I was totally absorbed in until the ending. Someone had torn out the last few pages and I was livid!!

What are you reading now?

Kenora Reinvented by a Canadian author Hyacinthe M. Miller who I got to meet right before lockdown last year.

What books have most inspired you?

I grew up on the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, but Ive read so many books that Ive thought I could do this! such as Lillian Braun Jacksons The Cat Who books and Janet Evanovichs Stephanie Plum series. I loved their styles and the humor.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

Ive always loved to read them but never actually thought about writing them until I took part in a contest called Mystery in Ink put on by a small publisher in North Bay, Ontario. We had to use a murder mystery party game and write 10 chapters, each from the perspective of a different character. I loved it! And I won! My very first published book was that little novella called Murder on Manitou, which I plan to re-release one day soon. I was hooked!

Do you have a special place you like to write?

I used to love to write in a local coffee shop but I have written practically everywhere! Trying to write with three kids around, I learned to summon the muse wherever I stopped for a minute. Even while I was cooking dinner!

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

Anywhere and everywhere. Ive had ideas come from dreams, from conversations, from seeing photographs or memes, you name it. My latest play idea hit me while I walked from my office ten feet down the hall to my living room. I had it outlined fifteen minutes later. It doesnt always happen that fast, but when inspiration hits it can be like a runaway train!

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Im great with getting the story going but sometimes figuring out whodunit can be a bit tricky. Other times, Ill know the ending and have to work backward. For me, there is no formula. The story comes as it comes. I think my biggest challenge is in the details of bringing the setting to life. I enjoy writing dialogue which makes playwriting so much fun for me as well.

What do you think makes a good story?

To me what makes a good story are strong characters, a few great plot twists, and that the story is believable. I once read a book where the bad guy had his leg nearly bitten off by an alligator, yet he got back up and chased after the hero. A good story should draw a reader in and not let them go until the end.

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

I know its cliché, but theres always a bit of the author in every character, especially our protagonists. I most relate to two of my main characters:  Gilda in my Gilda Wright Mysteries and Sage Miller in the Glitter Bay series. Both have had heartbreak and struggles, yet they dont roll over and give up. In each book, Gilda finds a little more of the inner strength she needs to recreate her life, which is something Ive had to do over the past few years.

Meanwhile in All That Shines, Sage is slowly discovering that she has a lot more to offer the world than she knows. Thanks to her sister and her new best friend, shes becoming more confident and empowered. As for me, Im becoming more confident in my books and my writing ability and trusting in my dreams.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

The great thing about writing is that there is always another book! Im currently editing a whole new mystery for a whole new series. Ive also written my first play. Since I work in a professional theatre, theres a good chance Ill be able to have it workshopped and possibly even performed. Fingers crossed!

Thank you, Diane, for visiting today.

Keep reading to find out all about Diane’s new book.

About All That Shines


All That Shines (Glitter Bay Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Publisher: BWL Publishing Inc. (March 1, 2021)
Print Length: 250 pages
Digital ASIN: B08W2J3LBQ

When Sage Miller’s sister Laken decides to host a fashion show as a grand opening for the new location of Vintage Sage, she’s not amused. Even less so when she discovers her sister hired a Hollywood fashion designer to help. Not only does the designer show up in the middle of renovations, but he drags along his protégé.

 

Then she finds Sebastian Hayward III, dead in her store.

 

Suddenly it seems half of Los Angeles—all unwelcome guests from Laken’s past—appear in Vintage Sage seeking something Sebastian had in his possession. Sage has to deal with renovations, a fashion show, and a murder before she and Laken come unglued.

 

More About Diane Bator

Diane Bator is the author of several mystery novels—and series. She’s a member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime Toronto, International Thriller Writers and the Writers Union of Canada. When she’s not writing, she works in a small, professional theatre which will one day be subjected to immortality in a whole new series.

Author Links 

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BWL Publishing Inc   Amazon Author Page  

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Also by this Author


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TOUR PARTICIPANTS 
March 22 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
March 22 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
March 22 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
March 23 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST
March 23 – Literary Gold – REVIEW
March 23 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST
March 24 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 24 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT
March 25 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST
March 25 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
March 25 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
March 26 – I Read What You Write  – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 27 – Ms. Cat’s Honest World – REVIEW
March 27 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
March 27 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 28 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 28 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

 

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Posted in Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Interviews

The Disappearance of Emily (Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic Series) by Elizabeth Pantley #Interview /Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


The Disappearance of Emily
(Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic Series)
by Elizabeth Pantley


I am so happy to welcome Elizabeth Pantley to Escape with Dollycas today!

Hi Elizabeth, 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’ve written parenting books for the past twenty years, but always had fictional stories rolling around in the back of my head. My wish was to someday write fiction – and now I am!

What are three things most people dont know about you?

My favorite vacation spot is Disneyland! I take my mom there every year and the two of us have a we’re-kids-again week. Obviously we didn’t get to go in 2020 – so I guess that means we can go twice once they open back up again, right?

My kids all hike, camp, and climb. Last year they took me out to climb my first mountain – and I loved it!

I used to be a darn good skier. But now, I don’t like to be cold, so I rarely ski.

What is the first book you remember reading?

I’ve always been a voracious reader! Some of my childhood favorites were the Boxcar Children, Black Beauty, Chronicles of Narnia, and The Secret Garden.

What are you reading now?

I’m always reading three or four books at a time, and I’ll pick one depending on my mood! Currently, it’s Give up the Ghost by Jane Hinchey, Bridgerton The Duke and I by Julia Quinn, and Magic & Misfits by Annabel Chase.

What books have most inspired you?

I read The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino in college and discovered it really wasn’t about sales at all, but about believing in yourself and your goals. It’s a small book with big impact.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?
I love reading cozy mysteries! I enjoy the puzzle of the story without the gore, fear, or details of thrillers. It suited my story-telling style.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

As long as I have a cup of tea and my laptop, I can write anywhere. My surroundings fade away and I see my story unfold in my mind – almost like a movie.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

Real-life, the newspaper, books I’ve read, dreams. All of it merges once I’ve got a plotline and begin to let the story swirl around in my head.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?
The sales, marketing, and bookkeeping! It would be fun just to write, write, write, but the business end must be handled, too!

What do you think makes a good story?
Interesting characters, world-building of a place I’d love to visit, with a touch of humor and fun. And of course, a happy ending.

Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?
I’d like to think I’m like my adventurous main character, Hayden, or her quirky sidekick cat, Latifa! However, in reality, I’m probably more like the grande dame of the family, Eleanor. Always serious, in control, making lists, and running things.

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

Destiny Falls is a fascinating, enchanted place filled with quirky characters. The stories have a deeper intrigue that goes far beyond the murder. It’s an experience and an adventure as much as it is a mystery.

Whats next on the horizon for you?

I’m deep into writing the next book in the series: The Ghost Camper’s Tall Tales. I’m having an absolute blast with the new ghost character!

Thank you so much for visiting today, Elizabeth.

Keep reading to find out about Elizabeth’s new book!

About The Disappearance of Emily

The Disappearance of Emily (Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic Series)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Independently Published (March 15, 2021)
Number of Pages 250
Digital ASIN: B08MDZDQY7

Hayden has settled into her alternate, magical new home of Destiny Falls. She’s learning about the people here and the enchanted place, but something is amiss. When too many things occur to call them coincidences, all signs point to the mysterious disappearance of her mother – way back when Hayden was just two days old. Could it be connected to the mysterious ferry? Can she identify and eliminate the threat before another person in her life is stolen away?

More About Elizabeth Pantley

Elizabeth Pantley is the internationally bestselling author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution and twelve other books for parents. Her books have been published in over twenty languages. She lives near Seattle and is the mother of four and nana to one. This is her first work of fiction.

Author Links –  Website   – Facebook  – Instagram   –  Pinterest  –  Blog 

Purchase Links

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Great Escapes Praise for The Disappearance of Emily
(Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic Series)
by Elizabeth Pantley

The growing family connections, the friendships, and the beautiful setting lured me in and the mysterious secrets yet to be uncovered make me eager for the next installment.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

The Disappearance of Emily is a clean cozy mystery filled with magic and mystery. You will be enchanted with the wonderful, sometimes mysterious characters. And, most of all, you’ll be swept away by the mesmerizing town of Destiny Falls.
~Christy’s Cozy Corners

The book is quite interesting. There is a murder, a kidnapping, and lots of family bonding. I’m not quite sure how I feel about the various characters other than I must feel as Hayden does – not entirely sure about who to trust.
~Literary Gold

I felt like this book expanded my knowledge about Destiny Falls and the Caldwell family but it also left me with a few more questions than answers so I can’t wait for the third book to discover more about this little town.
~Storeybook Reviews

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
March 15 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
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March 17 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
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March 18 – Novels Alive -GUEST POST
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March 22 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT
March 23 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST
March 23 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
March 24 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT
March 24 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
March 25 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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Posted in Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Interviews

KittyKai’s Easter Mystery: A Cobble Cove Story by Debbie De Louise #Interview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


KittyKai’s Easter Mystery: A Cobble Cove Story
by Debbie De Louise

Hi Debbie! Welcome to Escape With Dollycas.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a librarian at a public library and the author of the Cobble Cove cozy mystery series that currently has 5 full-length books and 4 short eBooks including my new release, KittyKai’s Easter Mystery that is on blog tour. I’ve also written 5 other books including a paranormal romance and 3 standalone mysteries.

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

I don’t do research before I write. I do it during the writing and editing process. I use Google and other online sites and interview experts in the fields that I’m researching.

Do you ever suffer from Writer’s Block?

Not often. I usually have more ideas than I have time to write. The only time I run into trouble is if I’m in the middle of a novel and get stuck. If I take a break and work on something else, I’m usually able to deal with it and finish the book.

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

I would tell them that they have a lot of choices and need to decide if they want to pursue a writing career or just have their book published. Then I tell them, once they make that decision, they need to research publishers and publishing methods. I tell them it wouldn’t hurt to do some market research, start a blog, and spread the word to friends, family, co-workers, and social media followers.

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

I enjoy reading but am finding I have less time to do that when I’m writing and promoting my work. I also like to walk and do exercise videos. I’m a cat lover and have 3 cats who I enjoy playing with. I also like to binge watch shows with my husband.

How has the COVID pandemic affected you and your writing?

I think it’s affected everyone, no matter what you do. I miss attending writing events, conferences, and book signings in-person, but I am enjoying some of the virtual opportunities. I have attended more writing and library conferences this year than I ever have because there’s no need to travel. There are pluses and minuses to virtual events, but I’m glad that they are available.

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

My family was planning a trip to Colorado before the pandemic, so I hope we can go there once things are safe. However, we’ve also talked about traveling to Italy. I’d love to do that one day, too.

What is next on the horizon for you?

I have a time-travel thriller releasing soon. I don’t yet have the date, but Time’s Relative already has a cover and should be out this spring.

Thank you for stopping by today!

Keep read to get the details on Debbie’s new book!

About KittyKai’s Easter Mystery


KittyKai’s Easter Mystery: A Cobble Cove Story
Cozy Mystery Story
4th in Story Series
Publisher: Solstice Publishing
Number of Pages ~55

During an Easter egg hunt at the Cobble Inn, a ring is found on the grounds by Alicia’s daughter, Carol. When the sheriff has it examined, he discovers it belonged to him and Gilly’s neighbor, Gretchen Miller, who disappeared the month before. An investigation leads to the discovery of Mrs. Miller’s body buried on the site of the inn’s new construction.

 

As Alicia and Gilly set out to solve this new mystery despite their husbands’ discouragement, Sneaky and Kittykai, the library and inn cats, secretly lend them a paw.

 

More About Debbie De Louise

 

Debbie De Louise is an award-winning author and a reference librarian at a public library on Long Island. She is a member of Sisters-in-Crime, International Thriller Writers, the Long Island Authors Group, and the Cat Writers’ Association. Her novels include the five books and four stories of the Cobble Cove cozy mystery series, a comedy novella, When Jack Trumps Ace, a paranormal romance, Cloudy Rainbow, and the standalone mysteries; Reason to Die, Sea Scope, and Memory Makers. Her latest book, Pet Posts: The Cat Chats is a non-fiction pet book. She lives on Long Island with her husband, daughter, and three cats.

Debbie’s stories and poetry also appear in the Red Penguin Collection anthologies, What Lies Beyond, ‘Tis the Season, Stand Out: The Best of the Red Penguin Collection, Volume 1, and A Heart Full of Love. Her poems are also featured in the Nassau County Voices In Verse 2020 anthology and the 2020 Bards Annual.

Author Links

Facebook     Twitter     Goodreads     Amazon Author Page      Instagram      Linkedin   Bookbub    Pinterest    Debbie’s Character’s Chat Group    Website/Blog/Newsletter Sign-Up    Sneaky the Library Cat’s blog     All Author

Purchase Link – Amazon

Find more books by this author here.
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TOUR PARTICIPANTS
March 22 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW, GUEST POST
March 22 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 23 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW
March 23 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 24 – Maureen’s Musing – REVIEW
March 24 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 25 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 25 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
March 26 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
March 26 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
March 27 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 27 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
March 28 – Literary Gold – REVIEW
March 28 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT

 

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Rest, Relax, Run for Your Life (Ooey Gooey Bakery Mystery) by Katherine H. Brown #Spotlight / #Giveaway / #AuthorInterview – Great Escapes Book Tour


Rest, Relax, Run for Your Life (Ooey Gooey Bakery Mystery)
by Katherine H. Brown

 

Hi Katherine. Welcome to Escape With Dollycas.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hello! I’m a wife, mom, stepmom, and Texas author. I love to read so many genres, though I write cozy mystery, clean romance, and some children’s / middle grade. I constantly have WAY too many ideas and works in progress, so this year I’m trying to focus on completing one thing at a time and being more efficient with my writing. I love brownie batter and ice cream, tea, and reading at the beach.

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

I often think of a whole random scene to a book that I hadn’t even thought about writing. (Never something convenient like the scene I’m stuck on for a book I’m actually in the middle of.)

I will eat almost half of the brownie batter before I ever put it in the pan to bake. Every time.

I really, really wish I was able to draw or sketch even slightly decent so that I could illustrate some of the books I’m writing for my baby girl.

What is the first book you remember reading?

I remember lots of Dr. Seuss books being read to me. I also remember checking out The Wishing Tree from our local library when I was a very little kid. Little Golden Books are also a vivid memory.

What are you reading now?

I just finished Manners & Monsters, I’m using A Visitors Guide to Victorian England for research, and I’m slowly reading the Mother Daughter Book Club series with my oldest daughter.

What books have most inspired you?

Honestly, I think a love of reading and escaping into someone else’s life is what inspires me. I can’t name one specific book.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

My brain is always concocting murder and getaway plots or making up motives for random people in regular life, plus an enjoyment of reading mysteries, so those two things led me to decide that was the most fitting genre to begin my writing career with.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

When on vacation, I love to write early in the morning on the beach when very few people are out yet. For ordinary days, I have an eleven-month-old so writing at this point takes place very quietly in my bedroom during her naptime as I keep a close eye on the baby monitor and hope she sleeps a long time each day. 😉

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

I would have to say most of the plot ideas come from just some overactive area in my imagination. I don’t think any of my mysteries were spurred by something in life. Some of the characters may pick up little traits of people I know or of other characters that I’ve absolutely been drawn to.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Besides the new time crunch factor in my life, I find that as do many authors, I struggle a lot with self-doubt and comparison. I love so many of the books that I read, that I always fear mine don’t measure up, even when I get compliments or good reviews on them. I must say it is also easy for me to become engrossed in the character’s day to day life, so I have to watch out for that when I’m writing descriptions.

What do you think makes a good story?

I think a good story is made up of characters that you either want to be or meet, and a journey that keeps you guessing.

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

Piper, the main character in my Ooey Gooey Bakery mystery series is probably most like me, even down to the pocket knife that she carries. I’ve been known to have a knife on my person, even if I have to clip it to my bra when wearing a dress.

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

For one thing, I integrated some factual information about human trafficking awareness and reporting into the backmatter of my books because it is such an evil practice that hasn’t always been recognized as occurring in areas all over the world, including our own country and states.

Another thing that may make my books a little different is that while the mystery wraps up in each book, there is sometimes a relationship cliffhanger for the characters.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

I’m excited to be writing a historical cozy mystery for the holidays later this year, as well as beginning to venture somewhat into clean romance (that whole engrossed in the character’s lives made me want to see how I feel about writing something where the mystery isn’t the main focus).

I also have a bit of a different standalone mystery novel that I’m working on that involves a librarian and Ireland. It is going to be great if I can shove out my self-doubt and get really digging into it next month as is my plan.

The third book in my Adventures of Gladys cozy mystery series is also in the works.

Did I mention sometimes I want to do way too many projects at one time, considering how short naptime writing is every day? Wish me luck!!!

Thank you for stopping by today!

Keep read to get the details on Katherine’s new book!

About Rest, Relax, Run for Your Life


Rest, Relax, Run for Your Life (Ooey Gooey Bakery Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Katherine Brown Books
Original: March 1, 2019; Re-edited and released Jan 2021
Paperback: 280 pages
ISBN-10: 1733725806
ISBN-13: 978-1733725804
Digital ASIN: B07P1P5N2K

Two best friends & a bakery!

 

Piper and Samantha are in heaven. Well, close. More like a long weekend at the O Heavenly Day Spa.

 

A few mysterious notes start appearing everywhere, things get uncomfortable. As spa treatments go awry things get dangerous. A threatening message convinces Piper and Sam that they have to find out who is behind all of these disasters. When the smoke alarms go off and the spa erupts into panic, the chaos separates the friends and Piper stumbles into trouble. Will someone help her before it is too late?

 

More About Katherine Brown

Katherine H. Brown is a Texas author with a love of reading and chocolate chip ice cream. Book lover and weaver of words, Katherine always has several projects going at one time but is most recently occupied with a new baby born in April 2020. Katherine loves to hear from readers and often gets input from them through newsletter polls to help choose character names or book titles.

Author Links

Amazon   Facebook    Website    Instagram    GoodReads  BookBub

Purchase Links

Audiobook

Ebook / Paperback / KU 

Box set books 1- 4

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS
March 22 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
March 22 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
March 23 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
March 23 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 24 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST
March 24 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 25 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
March 25 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 25 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 26 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 26 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
March 27 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
March 27 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
March 28 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST
March 28 – Wickedly Romance – CHARACTER GUEST POST
March 29 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
March 29 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
March 30 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST
March 30 – Novels Alive – REVIEW
March 30 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Interviews

Special Guest – Dianne Ascroft – Author of The Heritage Heist (Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries) #Interview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


The Heritage Heist (Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries)
by Dianne Ascroft

I am so happy to welcome Dianne Ascroft
to Escape With Dollycas today!

Hi Dianne,

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hello everyone. I’m Dianne Ascroft. I grew up in Toronto, Canada, and moved to Britain three decades ago. I’ve been gradually downsizing from city to town to countryside until I’m now settled on a farm in rural Northern Ireland with my husband and an assortment of strong-willed animals. I enjoy the outdoors so when the household chores are completed (my least favourite part of life) and I’m not writing, I go for long walks and also spend time with our cat. For many years, we had a pair of goats as companions until the last one died several years ago. Now our constant companion is our tortoiseshell cat (yes, one of the cats in my cozy mystery series is modeled on her).

I wrote historical fiction, often with an Irish connection, for several years before veering off into cozy mysteries. The Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries series is a joy for me to write. Writing stories set in my homeland Canada has been a nostalgic journey for me and I enjoy every minute of it.

What are three things most people dont know about you?

For approximately two decades, I played the Scottish bagpipes and loved playing and competing with a pipe band in parades and piping contests in Canada, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

I’m the only right-handed person in my family.

I can’t ride a bicycle.

What is the first book you remember reading?

Dick and Jane grade-school readers. Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham also stands out vividly in my mind.

What are you reading now?

I always have a ‘stack’ of books waiting on my Kindle but the one I’m currently reading is Last Night with Tokyo Rose by Alexa Kang. I like to read a mix of cozy mystery and historical fiction, as well as the odd contemporary fiction in between.

What books have most inspired you?

There are loads of books that I could name, but I really admire Diana Gabaldon’s storytelling skill and her ability to interweave stories that unfold over several books. I’m also inspired by Laura Bradford’s ability to write compelling mystery plots and the way Leighann Dobbs weaves a believable magic world and engaging characters into her stories.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

For several years I wrote Second World War fiction, set in Northern Ireland. Then a couple of years ago I decided to have a change of pace. I had an idea for a mystery series and I knew a small town in Canada that would be the perfect setting for it. I think that part of the enjoyment of reading a cozy mystery is losing oneself in a pleasing setting. So, I fictionalized the small town that I knew as Fenwater and the first novel in the Century Cottage Cozy Mystery series evolved from there. I wanted to create a place that beckons readers to step in and stay a while, and characters that readers would remember. Cozy mysteries allow me to explore the characters and the place, as well as the mystery at the heart of the story.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

I do much of my writing at a desk in the corner of the spare bedroom in my house but my favourite place to write is at the dining room table, often with a cup of tea on the table beside me, and our cat draped across my knee (or sitting beside me tapping my leg with her paw). My husband is next door in the living room so, if he misses me, he can pop his head through the doorway to reassure himself that I’m still there. There’s a small window on the wall opposite and a patio door beside me so the room is bright and cheery. But, since they look out onto the side lawn and the farmyard respectively, the view doesn’t distract me – unless, of course, a hare hops through the farmyard and stops to glance around, or a cow escapes from a field and comes wandering over for a nosy at me through the patio door (both have really happened).

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

The seeds that sow the ideas for my cozy mysteries come from many different places: incidents that happen to me, random thoughts that cross my mind and bits of trivia that catch my attention So far in this series, each story has been linked to a beautiful, cherished historic object: a watch that survived the sinking of the Titanic, a rare Haida Indian carving, a cameo brooch, and in this novel, an antique quilt. I’ve been a keen patchwork quilter since I was a teenager so when I stumbled across information about the tradition of wholecloth quilting in the Scottish Borders region, where the original settlers of my fictional town Fenwater came from, I had to weave it into the plot of The Heritage Heist. In the Scottish Borders town Hawick, their wholecloth quilts have a ‘broken heart’ and thistle motif. In this design, the stitching never meets at the top of the heart to complete the shape. I modelled the antique quilt in The Heritage Heist on this design. My character Lois is wowed by the exquisite workmanship in the beautiful counterpane when she first sees it and she keenly feels its loss when it’s stolen. She is even more perturbed when one of her friends becomes the prime suspect in the theft of the cherished textile.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Probably the most difficult aspect of the process for me is deciding what the theme of the story is and how the plot has to develop to reflect this. I spend time thinking about a new story and jot down my ideas before I begin to construct the plot. Once I have a list of ideas and information about the characters and the events in the story, I try to pull them together into a coherent plot. The theme then blends into the background but guides the development of the plot. As I pull the plot together, I check to be sure the story flows in a believable way and each character’s actions and the reasons behind them make sense. As I write the story, I frequently refer back to my plot outline to be sure it is still on course.

What do you think makes a good story?

I think a story needs to be compelling, one that will matter to the characters and the reader. This doesn’t mean that it has to be a larger-than-life blockbuster that includes a huge cast of characters and many flashy settings. It can be set in a small place with characters that live relatively ordinary lives. But there must be a significant problem or conflict for them to solve, and events must drive relentlessly forward until the problem or conflict is resolved. As well as the underlying problem or conflict, the characters in the book need to touch readers’ hearts and make readers want to root for them.

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

Lois Stone, the main character in the Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries series, is very like me in many ways. After years of doing detailed historical research for my previous books, I wanted to write stories that wouldn’t involve a huge amount of research. So, as I created Lois, I deliberately added some of my own likes and dislikes to her personality. That made it very easy for me to bring her to life. Lois and I have had different experiences but there’s more of me in her than in any other character I’ve ever created.

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

I would describe my cozy mystery stories as heartwarming with a hint of history. For me, it’s important that the characters and place both appeal to the reader. I usually focus on characters that are people readers might meet and the kinds of places that everyone knows. The world of powerful corporations or the rich and famous isn’t for me. I don’t want to write larger-than-life places or people – just ones I hope readers will connect with. My goal is to warm readers’ hearts and put smiles on their faces. My mysteries have tension and drama, but perhaps in a more understated way than some other books do.

Also, I guess it goes back to my beginnings as a historical fiction author, but I can’t help throwing historical elements into my stories. Objects that have been stolen in the novels and novellas in this series include an artifact from the Titanic, a rare Haida Indian carving, and an antique wholecloth quilt. And in Out of Options, the prequel novella to the series, the story is set in a community divided over whether to continue to uphold their ‘dry’ status almost a century after the town voted to ban the sale of alcohol.

Whats next on the horizon for you?

The next novel in the Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries series, of course. I had an idea for Book 3 in the series recently and I’m busy sketching out the plot for the book. It will soon be fleshed out enough for me to start writing. The novel will be available later this year.

Thank you Dianne for stopping by today. 

More About Dianne Ascroft 

 

Dianne Ascroft writes the Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries, set in rural Canada, and The Yankee Years historical sagas, set in WWII Northern Ireland. She has a passion for Ireland and Canada, past and present. An ex-pat Canadian, Dianne lives on a small farm with her husband and an assortment of strong-willed animals.

Her previous fiction works include An Unbidden Visitor (a tale inspired by Fermanagh’s famous Coonian ghost); Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves: A Collection of Short Stories (contemporary tales), and a historical novel, Hitler and Mars Bars, which explores Operation Shamrock, a little known Irish Red Cross humanitarian endeavour.

Author Links

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Twitter: @DianneAscroft

 

About The Heritage Heist


The Heritage Heist (Century Cottage Cozy Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Publisher: Independently Published (December 15, 2020)
Paperback: 278 pages
ISBN-13: 979-8581502389
Digital ASIN: B08QMHW6DD

A fall fair, a cornered craftsman, an heirloom heist. When an antique quilt that is a cherished part of Fenwater’s past disappears from the market before her town’s fall fair, it’s up to Lois to resolve the quilt quandary.

 

Middle-aged widow Lois is enjoying her second season in her new town and her century house, away from the dangers of big city life in Toronto. She can’t wait to experience her first old-fashioned fall fair, complete with hot apple cider. But when the local market is burgled, her enthusiasm for the upcoming festival plummets. During the break-in one of the security guards is badly injured and an antique quilt, on loan from the museum, vanishes. Her friend, Bruce, designed and built the display case and has one of only two keys to secure it. That makes him a prime suspect in the theft. Lois won’t let Bruce’s reputation, nor the trust his customers have in the bespoke furniture maker, be damaged by the allegation. She’s determined to piece the clues together to find the quilt, clear Bruce’s name and save a piece of Fenwater’s history.

 

And so begins a week of deepening friendships, hot apple cider, calico cats, backseat shenanigans, hazy housemates, and few puzzle pieces to work with, set against the backdrop of a rustic market building amidst stately stone architecture, the crackle of flames in the hearth, a blaze of colour on leafy residential streets and the scintillating scent of cinnamon.

 

The Century Cottage Cozy Mystery series is set in rural Ontario, Canada during the early 1980s.

 

A tale for fans of Cindy Bell, Leighann Dobbs, Dianne Harman and Kathi Daley.

Purchase Links:



US:  Amazon 

For other countries

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS
February 10 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
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February 20 – Literary Gold – REVIEW
February 21 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
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Posted in 2021 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Interviews New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Jodi Linton – Author of The Hiker’s Guide To Murder – #Interview | #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @JodiLinton1

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so happy to welcome Jodi Linton
to Escape With Dollycas today!


The Hiker’s Guide To Murder (A Southwest Exposure Mystery)
by Jodi Linton


Hi Jodi,

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I live in Texas with my husband, two kids, one dog, and two cats. When I’m not writing my next cozy mystery, I’m working the day job at the family business my husband and I run together.

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

Give me a recipe and I’ll cook it. I love to cook, and try new foods.

I recently discovered my love for home decoration. Since we’ve been staying home, because of 2020 and 2021, we started to remodel our house, and I realized I really do a décor taste. Lol. I’ve enjoyed putting various styles together to find my own.

And third, I’ve traveled to several countries before I was married. My hope is once it’s safe to travel again, I can take my husband to see some of the countries I visited in my youth.

What is the first book you remember reading?

R.L Stein books.

What are you reading now?

I just finished It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time by Kyle Scott. It was my first time reading her, and I adored it. Her dialogue is so witty and sharp, and fast.

What books have most inspired you?

Sookie Stackhouse books and Stephanie Plum. After reading both series, I knew I had an itch to write my own mystery series.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

I started out in romance. I sold my first series back in 2014. It was a mystery, that after the sell, I beefed up the romance in edits. I guess I’ve always enjoyed writing a book with a case as the plotline.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

Not really. I have an office set up in my bedroom.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

Life. Travels. My latest series, A Southwest Exposure Mystery Series, I gathered my ideas from our regular family trips to Red River, New Mexico and Salida Colorado. We went rafting, mountain bike riding, hiking, and even fed chipmunks in a ghost town. The only thing we didn’t find was a dead body like my heroine, Andie Sullivan. Thank goodness.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

The whole thing. I’m not kidding. I’m writing my 12th book, and each book has its own challenges. Sometimes it’s that little imposter syndrome voice echoing in my ear. Other times, it’s finding time to write as well as do mom duties and day work stuff.

What do you think makes a good story?

For me, it’s the character’s relationship and dialogue. I’m big on dialogue. – You are going to like my review 🙂

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

Andie Sullivan. I protect the people in my circle, but also strive to be the best person I can be for myself, and make sure I’m fulfilled in life as much as my kids are. I’m also quiet nosy. So, I’d probably make a good cozy mystery sleuth.

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

They’re set in a unique setting, open with action, and I try to blend my case plot with a romantic arc so the reader roots for both outcomes. Having written romance for so many years, the romantic angle is ingrained in me, and I knew I wanted a strong romance plot to play second fiddle to the mystery solving. I felt it grounded the characters in reality.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

Writing book three in A Southwest Exposure Mystery Series, RAIDERS OF THE CAMPSITE.

Thank you so much, Jodi, for visiting today. 

More About Jodi Linton

Hey Y’all,

I’m just a girl from Texas, minus the big hair…and oh, yeah, a horse. My crew consists of two kiddos, one which inherited my makeup addiction, and a husband still living out his garage band dreams, but in our closet next to my shoe collection.

I love to hang out with my readers, discussing books, recipes, and just everyday shenanigans. I got started in the romance community, which you might know a few of my books from there. Now, I’m all about the cozies…and the coffee. Yeah, can’t forget that.

I’d love for you to come and join my reader group, Jodi’s Book Corner, or come like me on Facebook to discover my books. And chat. Naturally.

Author Links 

Facebook     Website   Twitter    BookBub

Youtube   Instagram  Jodi’s Book Corner   Newsletter

About The Hiker’s Guide to Murder


The Hiker’s Guide To Murder (A Southwest Exposure Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – New Mexico
Independently Published (February 1, 2021)
Print length: ~200 pages
Digital ASIN: B08D28ZCMB

Hiking the Kindling National Forest is a birthday tradition for the Sullivan siblings—pitching camp, roasting s’mores… a dead body? Not exactly the fun party outdoor guide Andie Sullivan planned for her brother, Kyle. Welp.

 

When the body is identified as a local who worked at the parks department, Andie decides to put her clue-solving skills to use. Winter tourism is at stake, and if word gets out that Bushwhack has another killer on the loose, she can kiss that sweet revenue goodbye.

 

Easier said than done. Meanwhile, Sheriff Zac Mars is neck and neck with her on uncovering clues, proving solving the latest murder in town is harder than powering through a mountain bike tour on an energy bar breakfast. Racing against the clock, Andie must uncover evidence to make her mountain community safe for ski bunnies. But as one new plot twist turns into another dead body, Andie learns not everyone likes meddling civilian sleuths. If she’s not fast enough, the killer may find her before she finds them.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Andie Sullivan and her brother Kyle hike the Kindling National Forest every year for Kyle’s birthday. A day for just the two of them usually. This year three people truly is a crowd especially when the third person is dead. The woman found in a cave was an employee of the Parks Department and her death could really affect Andie’s bottom line. Sullivan’s Adventure Company depends on tourists coming to Bushwack and dead bodies tend to deter their visits to the area.

So Andie starts some sleuthing on her own much to the dismay of Sheriff Zac Mars. Despite their age difference and the fact that Andie used to babysit Zac, you could cut the romantic tension with a knife. He knows she is not going to back away from the case so they make a friendly wager as to who will solve the case first. Then Andie finds another body and realizes she could be next. She may have taken her last hike.


After reading The Killer Outdoors I couldn’t wait to return to Bushwhack, New Mexico to see how Andie was fairing and what kind of adventure she, Zac, and Kyle would take us on next. I definitely wasn’t disappointed.

I really enjoy these characters. Andie is such a strong protagonist. She is independent and smart with a drive to succeed in her business and in life. She isn’t sure about starting a relationship with Zac but he is making it very clear that he wants to be more than friends. She feels the attraction, she just needs to be sure she isn’t making a mistake. Of course, Kyle isn’t shy about adding his two cents. And neither is Vivian, Andie’s friend who is always up for a little amateur sleuthing.  Ms. Linton has created a splendid cast of characters. Their relationships feel natural and the dialogue is superior.

The author also treats her readers to another fast-paced mystery. Trailing along with Andie was so much fun. I was totally caught up in trying to solve the mystery. I thought I was on the right track but then came that twist that jumbled by thinking and made perfect sense. The second book in the series, the second time I was surprised at the reveal.

What I really liked was the romantic vibes between Zac and Andie blended effortlessly with the mystery bringing some comedy to several situations while never detracting from the main story.  Sometimes it is hard to hit that balance but Ms. Linton does it very well.

Great characters and a first-rate story. I read The Hiker’s Guide To Murder incredibly fast, all in one sitting. I never once thought of putting it down. I am very excited about the continuation of this series. Raiders Of The Campsite hits shelves April 13. 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Read my review of The Killer Outdoors here.


Purchase Link – Amazon –

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Great Escapes for The Hiker’s Guide To Murder (A Southwest Exposure Mystery)
by Jodi Linton

I enjoyed the plot. It was a fun ride along with Andie as she looked for clues and annoyed the Sheriff.
~My Reading Journeys

This was a quick and easy read with a fun storyline. I loved the interaction between the characters. Once I started reading, I had a difficult time putting the book down.
~Literary Gold

A light, quick read good for around a campfire or safe in your own home.
~Laura’s Interests

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
February 8 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
February 8 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
February 9 – I’m All About Books– SPOTLIGHT
February 10 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 10 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
February 11 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
February 12 – Literary Gold – REVIEW
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February 13 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 14 – I Read What You Write – SPOTLIGHT
February 15 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
February 15 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
February 16 – Here’s How It Happened – GUEST POST
February 17 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW  
February 17 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – SPOTLIGHT
February 18 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
February 19 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 19 – Celticlady’s 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 2021 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Finish The Series Challenge Giveaways Interviews New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Alexis Morgan – Author of Death by Intermission (An Abby McCree Mystery) #Interview / #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @Alexis_Morgan @KensingtonBooks

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am so happy to welcome Alexis Morgan
to Escape With Dollycas today!

Hi Alexis,

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up near St. Louis and attended college there. My husband and I decided we would like to live near the mountains and jumped at the chance when a job offer made it possible for us to move to the Pacific Northwest. That where we’ve made our home for the past forty-plus years. I’ve published close to fifty

books, novellas, and short stories across different varieties of romances and most recently I’ve been writing cozy mysteries.

What are three things most people dont know about you?

I’ve always been interested in dinosaurs and once took my family all the way to Bozeman, Montana, to visit the paleontology museum there.

When I was in high school, I got to interview movie director Otto Preminger (Exodus, Anatomy of a Murder) for my school paper.

My favorite musical is The Lion King.

What is the first book you remember reading?

I’m sure I read other books before this one, but I loved BLACK BEAUTY and read it numerous times when I was a young reader.

What are you reading now?

Molly Harper’s ALWAYS BE MY BANSHEE.

What books have most inspired you?

I read across multiple genres and have learned a lot from a wide variety of authors. Early in my career, Linda Howard’s MIDNIGHT RAINBOW brought into sharp focus what kind of heroes I wanted to write in my own books. In WRITTEN IN RED, Anne Bishop amazes me with her complex world building. It makes me more conscious of how the setting in my books needs to be three dimensional and real enough to thoroughly ground the reader in the story.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

I’ve always loved reading mysteries—Agatha Christie, Mary Roberts Rinehart, Dick Francis, Ellis Peters, and so many more. I found myself wanting to create my own amateur sleuth and watch her adventures solving murders.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

Yes, I love to write in my office especially since I need to have music on to concentrate. I go into my office close the door, and crank up the volume while I get lost in the flow of whatever story I’m working on.

 Where do the ideas for your books come from?

Most often, my stories start with a specific image and the story spins out from there. For example, my newest release, DEATH BY INTERMISSION, all started with me “seeing” someone sitting on a lawn chair just inside the tree line in a park. He appears to have simply dozed off, but he’s actually a murder victim. From that single image, I had to figure what he was doing there in the first place and who would have risked killing him in such a public place.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

I think threading in all the clues, red herrings, and possible suspects in just the right mix to draw the reader along for the ride without revealing too much too soon.

What do you think makes a good story?

For me, it’s all the elements in the story that come together to make me as the reader really care about the characters and what happens to them. I can always tell I’m reading a great book when I reach the end and I really wish I could spend more time in that world and with the people in it.

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

I’d like to think there’s a little of me in Abby McCree, the amateur sleuth in my cozy series. While I don’t really want to solve murders myself, I like how she does her best to take care of the people she cares about. I also love her relationship with Zeke, her mastiff-mix roommate. He’s loosely based on the two bulldogs in my life.

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

Since moving to Snowberry Creek, Abby McCree gets drawn into serving on various committees and community projects around town. This allows me to have Abby encounter people from all different walks of life—the quilting guild, the veterans group, bikers, bar owners, local police, homicide detectives, etc.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

The fifth Abby McCree Mystery, DEATH BY THE FINISH LINE, will be out later this year. In the meantime, I’m working on possible new adventures for Abby to see what other kind of trouble she can get into.

More About Alexis Morgan

Alexis Morgan is the USA Today bestselling author of over forty-five novels, novellas, and short stories that span a variety of genres: American West historicals (as Pat Pritchard); paranormal and fantasy romances; contemporary romances; and cozy mysteries. A RITA® Award-finalist, Alexis Morgan is a member of RWA and Sisters in Crime. She lives in Washington State and can be found online at AlexisMorgan.com.

Author Links –Website –  Facebook – Twitter –   Blog

About Death by Intermission 


Death by Intermission (An Abby McCree Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Publisher: Kensington (January 26, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1496731255
ISBN-13: 978-1496731258
Digital ASIN: B087Z9CVW8

Abby McCree spends a summer showing family films under the stars—only to end the season with an unexpected slasher flick . . .

 

Ushered once again onto another committee by the mayor of Snowberry Creek, Washington, Abby is tasked with keeping the box office receipts of the town’s Movies in the Park nights. Cut to the director’s chair from where she’s suddenly organizing the summer’s last feature. From the opening scene through the final credits, Abby feels she’s earned nominations for best volunteer, best movie date with her tenant Tripp Blackston—and best daughter for ignoring her mother Phoebe’s own movie date with Owen Quinn.

 

Unfortunately, Abby and the others are treated to a post-credits scene: the body of local insurance agent Mitchell Anders. This discovery is followed by a plot twist revealing that the murder weapon comes from Owen’s food truck. With her mother’s boyfriend suspected of murder, Abby starts her own investigation determined to shine a spotlight on the real killer . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Abby McCree finds herself in charge of another Snowberry Creek event. This time it’s a family film in the park. Everyone seems to have enjoyed the movie, especially Abby who took in the movie with Tripp Blackston, and Abby’s mother, Phoebe who attended the show with her new boyfriend, restauranteur, and food truck owner, Owen Quinn but they didn’t watch most of the movie because they were making out like teenagers and making Abby cringe.

When the movie was over and the park cleared out Abby, Phoebe, Tripp, and Owen took on the tasks of putting equipment and tables away and picking up any litter left behind. They also found a man who appears to have had too many adult beverages and is sleeping it off. But as Abby gets closer she realizes the man isn’t sleeping, he’s dead. He is identified as Mitchell Anders, the new insurance agent in town, and we quickly learn that he has been stabbed. Stabbed with a chef knife belonging to Owen.  Abby doesn’t know much about Owen but when her mother asks her to help clear his name she can’t say no. She also sees the tension between Phoebe and police chief Gage Logan so to keep the peace she needs to get involved. Hopefully, she isn’t making a huge mistake.


The characters I have come to love return, and they are joined by Abby’s mother Phoebe visiting from Seattle, Owen Quinn, who has come to town to open a restaurant and food truck, and his employee, Jada. Abby and Tripp’s relationship is moving along nicely. I love the two of them together but her mother doesn’t. In fact, her mother found issue with almost everything Abby did and all of her friends. She was a cantankerous woman throughout most of the story and Abby really did try to keep her cool but finally blew. I found Abby’s reactions to be very realistic. Her mother’s attitude and actions were a little over the top but the relationship challenges did add a unique slant to the book. Again the lovable mastiff Zeke stole my heart.

The mystery was very well constructed. Owen is holding something back and there are a wide variety of clues that open up the suspect pool. One glaring clue was found in an intriguing place and when discovered broke the case wide open. I really enjoyed this twist and the manner in which it was handled. The way all the subplots entwined with the main plot really kept those pages turning.

Death by Intermission is a superb addition to this series. Ms. Morgan knows how to give her readers a stellar mystery to solve laced with a nice amount of humor and the perfect amount of romance. She has placed her characters in an interesting small town that always has an event or two for them to get believably involved in.

I was smiling as the book drew to a close. I can’t wait to see what these characters are up to next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Death by Committee here
and Death by Jack-o-Lantern here and Death by Auction here


Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N –  Kobo – GooglePlay  –  IndieBound 

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Great Escapes Parise for Death by Intermission (An Abby McCree Mystery)
by Alexis Morgan

The combination of the murder mystery, the family dynamics, and small town interactions keep the story moving and the reader engaged. Cozy mystery fans will not be disappointed with this one.
~Christa Reads and Writes

I liked the protagonist and her approach to the crime. Dialogue felt realistic. Her motivation for investigating was also believable.
~Mysteries With Character

Intelligent, well-developed characters, a smart well-plotted mystery, a spark of romance, a sweet big dog, and laugh out loud moments make DEATH BY INTERMISSION a fantastic book that shouldn’t be missed.
~Cozy Up With Kathy

This was a fun, fast-paced cozy mystery. I liked the small-town setting, the characters (especially Abby and her boyfriend/tenant, Tripp), and her lovable, protective Mastiff dog, Zeke.
~View from the Birdhouse

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
February 1 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
February 1 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 2 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 2 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW
February 2 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 3 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
February 3 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – GUEST POST
February 4 – Mysteries with Character – REVIEW
February 4 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
February 5 – Cozy Up WIth Kathy – REVIEW
February 5 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW
February 5 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
February 6 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
February 7 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
February 8 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
February 8 – I Read What You Write – SPOTLIGHT
February 9 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – GUEST POST
February 9 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 10 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
February 10 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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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 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Interviews Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Marc Jedel – Author of fISh OUt of WaTER – An Ozarks Lake Mystery #AuthorInterview / #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am delighted to welcome Marc Jedel to Escapes With Dollycas today!


Hi Marc, 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

After years of working in high-tech marketing, I decided to try writing novels. I figured I had plenty of experience crafting fiction. It was just called emails, ads, and marketing collateral in my day job. Like my character, Marty, in the Silicon Valley Mystery series, I now live in Silicon Valley, work in high-tech, and enjoy bad puns. Like my characters Jonas and Elizabeth, in the Ozarks Lake Mystery series, I grew up in the South and spent plenty of time in and around Arkansas.

What are three things most people dont know about you?

1) Played professional soccer while completing my year as a Rhodes Scholar,

2) Nominated for both Pulitzer and Nobel prizes for my previous novels,

3) Likes to make up answers when asked questions for which he doesn’t have a good response. LOL, Good one.

What is the first book you remember reading?

I’d have to say it’s a tie between Go Dog Go and The Cat in the Hat. This might also explain my love for puns and entertaining word choices. What’s not to love about a story that has great wordplay and shows off awesome party hats?

What are you reading now?

I’m reading a variety of cozy mysteries to catch up on what’s popular as I try to avoid reading them while I’m in the middle of writing one. I tend to bounce back and forth between cozies, sci-fi, non-fiction history, and fantasy books.

What books have most inspired you?

I wasn’t originally planning to write mysteries. However, a few years ago, I picked up my wife’s copy of a Janet Evanovich novel. She got mad when I didn’t return it until I’d finished. My wife that is, not Janet. Janet would probably be happy because I’ve purchased a number of her other books and even consulted her How I Write book when I started my first book. I wouldn’t even mind if Janet decided to tell all her readers that they should try my books too (in case you’re reading this, Hi Janet!) Since then, I’ve read many other mysteries and cozy mysteries and enjoy the good ones for a light, humorous read.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

I’ve wanted to write a book since I was young. For the longest time, it seemed I couldn’t come up with a good plot. Yet, my writing research clearly demonstrated that having a plot is critical to a book’s success.

One day, I received this awesome birthday drawing from my nieces. And my kids, or nieces, or one of our friends’ kids had done some crazy things. Probably all of the above. One thing led to another and the idea formed to loosely base a mystery with a self-absorbed, fashion-backward software engineer, his sister, and his nieces on my life. It’s clearly fiction. I mean, I’m not a software engineer.

With my novel, Fish Out of Water, I started a completely different series with very different characters, different humor, and different style of sleuthing. This seemed to be a way to keep things fresh for me and my readers. But I’ll continue writing stories in both series.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

I guess my “special place” would be in front of my computer. I have been known to jot down ideas, fragments of conversations, and funny lines on my phone. Typically I write at a sit-stand desk with an extra wide monitor. The original concept was I would have my writing open on one side of the display and my notes or outline on the other. All too often, it seems like the writing is on one side but the other side has my internet browser or email open and distracting me.

 

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

Most of the ideas came initially from some strange news article that I stumble across. Unfortunately, I can’t explain this because these often wind up serving as inspiration for the ending of the story. For Fish Out of Water, I wanted to write a more typical cozy mystery but illustrate the different perspectives of someone new to an area versus someone who grew up there. As my wife had grandparents who owned a small ranch in Arkansas and I spent time in and around Arkansas growing up, I thought it would be interesting to show both sides.

 

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Figuring out new, interesting, and plausible ways to kill someone is actually way more challenging than one might think. Especially when you’re trying to do it in such a way that an amateur detective can figure it out without involving any help from the police and I don’t want the readers to guess whodunnit. I’m very gratified when readers tell me they couldn’t guess who was the killer and why until the reveal. Yet all this requires some very unusual internet searches. I’m just glad no law enforcement officer has knocked on my door yet to ask why I was looking up something unusual.

What do you think makes a good story?

1) Great characters that people will care about. 2) Interesting plot that excites them to turn the pages faster. 3) Reasonable actions. I hate stories where the entire thing could be resolved if only the characters would call each other or ask someone an obvious question.

 

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

Marty Golden, my protagonist in the Silicon Valley Mystery series, is the most like me. Family and friends would tell you that he isn’t much of a stretch of the imagination for me to write, but I’m comfortable with that. Of course, Marty is the younger, funnier, cooler, and more handsome version of myself that I imagine I see in the mirror each morning. But Elizabeth and Jonas Trout in Fish Out of Water also have a disturbing number of similarities to me. I don’t know that I could write a first-person point-of-view novel and not have at least some resemblance to the protagonist.

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

I’ve become bored by cozies where the protagonist runs a bakery, bookstore, or bed & breakfast and this supposedly amateur sleuth gets extensive help from the police. So I made sure my characters don’t work with the police and have different jobs. Having both a male and female protagonist with different point-of-view chapters in Fish Out of Water also allows me to show very different takes on suspects and other characters and go to different places.

My Silicon Valley Mystery series is especially unique with its male protagonist who’s not particularly competent, nor especially brave, as the amateur sleuth. Setting it in Silicon Valley is also unusual for cozies but worked well. Despite finding himself thrust into challenging situations, Marty isn’t exactly hero material. He has a wonderful combination of wit, irreverent humor, and sarcasm mixed in with nerdy insecurities, absent-mindedness, and fumbling but effective amateur sleuthing skills. He’s got an active inner voice and doesn’t do a lot of advance planning. Instead, he throws himself into solving problems. Sometimes, he even succeeds.

Whats next on the horizon for you?

I’m continuing to write in both series. My next two books will be book 2 in the Ozarks Lake Mystery series, titled: Swimming with the Fishes, and I’m also working on book 5 in the Silicon Valley Mystery series, titled: Huh? Why? and Punch (say it aloud fast a few times). More novels in both series are planned.

Thank you Marc for visiting today! I loved your answers!

More About Marc Jedel

 

For most of my life, I’ve been inventing stories. Living in many places around the United States, including a lot of time in the South, has given me a particularly keen appreciation for those who feel like a “fish out of water” sometimes.

My writing skills were honed in years of marketing leadership positions in Silicon Valley. While my high tech marketing roles involved crafting plenty of fiction, we called these marketing collateral, emails and ads.

The publication of my first novel, Uncle and Ants in the Silicon Valley Mystery series, gave me permission to claim “author” as my job. And achieving Amazon Best Seller status gave me even better adjectives to use in front of “author.” This has led to way more interesting discussions than answering “marketing.”

Telling the stories in the Ozarks Lake Mystery series has given me an enjoyable opportunity to spend time with characters that somewhat resemble people I’ve known. Writing alternating chapters from the perspective of each spouse of the newlywed Trout couple allowed me to experience multiple personalities without getting a visit from mental health professionals.

Author Links – Website    BookBub     FaceBook     LinkedIn    GoodReads 

About fISh OUt of WaTER


fISh OUt of WaTER – An Ozarks Lake Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Arkansas
Publisher: BGM Press (January 8, 2021)
Number of Pages: 275

A small-town homicide. A community swamped in secrets. Can married amateur sleuths bait and capture the killer before the truth slips away?

 

Elizabeth Trout had escaped her rural Arkansas hometown. Compelled to sort through her deceased grandmother’s belongings, she and her new husband Jonas make an unexpected trip to the family ranch. But when the property manager turns up dead, Elizabeth is rocked when her ex-boyfriend-turned-deputy arrests her for the murder.

 

With incriminating evidence and the sheriff convinced he’s got the right suspect, Elizabeth and Jonas must fish for clues on their own. But with a multitude of potential culprits and her husband’s contrasting personality, Elizabeth fears she may be left dangling on the hook for a crime she didn’t commit.

 

Can these newlyweds net the real killer before Elizabeth is jailed for murder?

 

Fish Out of Water is the charming first book in the Ozarks Lake Mystery series. If you like quirky characters, clever twists and turns, and puzzling whodunits, then you’ll love Marc Jedel’s humorous tale.

Buy Fish Out of Water to reel in a slippery catch today!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Elizabeth and Jonas Trout have traveled from Portland to her home town of Jenkins, Arkansas to deal with her inheritance from her grandmother. Along with her mother, a local doctor, they are sorting through furniture. artwork, photographs, and more to get ready for an estate sale and future sale of her grandmother’s home. Before they can even get started on the project Elizabeth is arrested by her former boyfriend, for the murder of Duncan Fowler. Fowler was a schoolteacher, and property manager hired to help Elizabeth’s grandmother with her ranch. Elizabeth did have a public altercation with the man over some property damage but she didn’t kill the man. The Sheriff thinks he has more than enough evidence to convict her of the crime so it’s time for the Trout’s to do a little fishing for some better suspects. There are not many secrets in this little town but they reel in a whopper that should catch the real killer and land them behind bars.


The Trout’s are a very likable couple with excellent taste in dogs and their names. The puppy on the cover looks just like our recently deceased dog and we have named our new 10-week old pup, Daisy Mae, so you know the canine character immediately stole my heart. Elizabeth’s mom is a doctor and sometimes the medical examiner. She seems to be in non-stop motion tending to her patients or another cause. Because of Elizabeth’s arrest, she can’t have anything to do with the body but that doesn’t mean she can’t get information to clear her child’s name. The victim, Duncan Fowler had a lot of irons in the fire and at one point or another, it seemed like the entire town of Jenkins had a reason to kill the man. I enjoyed the small-town atmosphere and all the residents we met in this first Ozarks Lake Mystery. The characters developed nicely over the course of the story but there is plenty of room for growth as the series continues.

Keeping with the fishy theme, the mystery was filled with red herrings. The Trouts needed a huge net to hold all the suspects and patience as they tried to weed out those with a motive but clearly not the killer. With some nice twists, I was in the dark as to who the guilty party was until near the very end. I did figure out some other aspects as to how the story would play out though. One part didn’t completely fall into place by the end of this story but probably will in the next installment. The ending was exciting and surprising as all the clues fell into place.

This is the first book I have read by Marc Jedel after seeing so many wonderful reviews of his Silicon Valley Mysteries. What always caught my attention was his liberal use of humor so I jumped at the chance to read and review Fish Out of Water. I was thrilled to see his sense of humor shined in this book as well. He also filled this story with plenty of Southern charm.

Fish Out of Water was a delightful whodunit with truly engaging characters and a complicated mystery that I found to be completely entertaining. I am anxious to read the next book in this series, Swimming with the Fishes, I have also added all the Silicon Valley Mysteries to my wish list.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Purchase Links: Amazon

Also by Marc Jedel


TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops.
February 1 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
February 1 – My Journey Back – CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 2 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
February 2 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 3 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW   
February 3 – FUONLYKNEW – REVIEW
February 4 – Literary Gold  – CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 4 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 5 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT
February 5 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT
February 6 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST
February 7 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 8 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
February 8 – Adventures Of A Travelers Wife – GUEST POST
February 9 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 10 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 11 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
February 12 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST
February 13 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 14 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

 

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

Posted in Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Interviews

Grand Openings Can Be Murder (Bean to Bar Mysteries) by Amber Royer #AuthorInterview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @amber_royer


Grand Openings Can Be Murder (Bean to Bar Mysteries)
by Amber Royer

I am excited to welcome Amber Royer to Escape With Dollycas today!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m Amber Royer, author of the Bean to Bar Mysteries.  I’m also the author of the Chocoverse space opera trilogy, and the choc-centric cookbook There are Herbs in My Chocolate.  I fell into this whole chocolate thing by accident, when the local herb society I participated in asked me to do a presentation combining culinary herbs and chocolate.  Since chocolate has become my schtick, I’ve embraced it.  I’ve visited cacao plantations and craft chocolate factories, tried my hand at making chocolate in my kitchen, and started growing cacao trees indoors at my husband’s office (the tallest of our trees is now as tall as I am).   I’ve been a creative writing coach/writing instructor for going on a decade and a half.  I teach adult novelists, and aspiring teen writers.  My philosophy about books and writing is that you should go in with a plan, and understand the structure and desired meaning of what you are going to write, viewing fiction in a similar way to how a journalist approaches a news assignment: plan first, write second.  I started developing worksheets to use with my classes, and recently compiled those into a workbook: Story Like a Journalist.  I live just north of Dallas, where we have two excellent bean to bar chocolate companies, and a TON of chocolatiers, bakeries and restaurants that specialize in chocolate desserts.

What are three things most people dont know about you?

1—I enjoy flying stunt kites.

2—I’m left-handed.  (Just like the Man in Black in the Princess Bride.)

3—I have zero sense of direction and once made a map for someone that came out upside down.

What is the first book you remember reading?

Ramona Quimbly Age 8.  I know I participated in my local library’s summer reading program from a very early age, and I probably read picture books before that, but Ramona was the first one that made a real impact and made me want to read the rest of the related works.  I actually look like Ramona at that age, as she is drawn on some of the covers.  I loved her world, with Henry and Beezus and Ribsy.  It felt like discovering a whole group of friends.  Which, honestly, lays a pretty good groundwork for writing a cozy mystery, since they usually have a large cast of your protagonist’s friends, family and workmates that make up the community the book is set in.  And you hope the reader comes to think of them as friends.

What are you reading now?

The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan.  I did a bit of research on how other authors are incorporating chocolate in their manuscripts before this year’s – virtual – Dallas Chocolate Festival, where I did an informal chocolate book meetup.  This one sounded so interesting I bought it.  There are two storylines, one in the present and the other in 1972, and both play out in Paris, centering around a chocolate shop and a lost love.  I just got to the point in the story where the modern-day protagonist has traveled from England to France and starts working at the chocolate shop.  She is realizing she’s going to be mopping floors, not designing recipes.  So far, it’s a fun read.

I always include at least hints of a romantic subplot in my own work (even the science fiction), so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I like stories that focus on friendships and romantic relationships.

What books have most inspired you?

Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island has always been a big influence on my overall writing style.  There’s the whole thing about adventure and plot twists, counterpointed by character relationships.  I love the dynamic created between Jim and Silver, who are on opposite sides, and yet emotionally are what the other is missing.  Silver’s the father figure Jim lost, and Jim represents the honor Silver wishes he could get back.  Another thing I love about Treasure Island is how nothing is ever wasted.  Every bit of foreshadowing comes back up, in unexpected and important ways.

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 found mysteries intriguing.  Some of my earliest literary influences were Hank the Cowdog and Encyclopedia Brown, and I never outgrew my enjoyment of that sense of adventure and puzzle solving.  I read a lot of cozies starting in my teens, and I’m also a fan of shows like Psych and Monk.  I devoured the BBC Agatha Raisin miniseries the minute I got my hands on the box set.

There are even some mystery-influenced elements to the plot of the Chocoverse books.

At the same time, I kind of fell into taking on the project: I do monthly presentations as the discussion leader for my writer’s group (the idea is to funnel people into taking my writing classes).  One of the presentation topics the group voted for was How to Write a Mystery Plot/Subplot.  So I did a bit of research, and found out there’s a standard for the emotional beats in a mystery.  And then a couple of months later, I had a coaching client who wanted help with the plot structure for his mystery.  Between the two projects, I got an itch to try my hand at a mystery myself, even though it was a departure from what I’ve written previously.

Mysteries are about justice and restoring order to the world.  In a way, they are the very essence of story.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

I write on my laptop, so my writing location is mobile.  Before COVID, I did a lot of writing in public spaces.  Sadly, at least one of the coffee shops I used to frequent has closed.

The writing group I lead, Saturday Night Write, used to meet for in-person write-ins at a local ramen and bubble tea place.  This year, we’ve been doing our write-ins over Zoom.  It’s good to at least see people’s faces.  And I invested in a home cappuccino machine, so I’m not missing out on my creativity fuel.  I am, however, missing the chicken karaage.  I could make it myself – but not and still get a writing session done.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

The basic idea for all my books come from something I’ve learned or observed, combined with a series of What If questions.

There’s a good deal in Grand Openings Can Be Murder dealing with social media.  I have a love/hate relationship with my own social media, and I wanted a context in which to think about it.  So then I started asking what if’s about it.

The idea behind Felicity herself was a bit more straightforward.  I’d written a science fiction trilogy relating to chocolate, and in the course of researching and publicizing those books, I’d met a lot of craft chocolate makers and seen the passion behind what they do.  (Trust me, nobody gets into the bean to bar chocolate business to make a quick buck.)  I was at an event where I had paired with a local chocolatier to talk about food writing at a local writer’s group festival.  I made the offhand comment that there were cozy mysteries with chocolatiers, and ones showing chocolate making as a magical process – but nobody had done an honest-to-goodness craft chocolate maker, the kind who would go to origin to work with specific farmers in order to create a superior product.

After I went home, I thought about my favorite Toni Morrison quote: “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”  Grand Openings Can Be Murder was the book I desperately wanted to read.  Therefore, I had to write it.

When I did the Chocoverse books, I borrowed one of my best friend’s last name for my character, Bo Benitez, and another of my friends decided the character Chestla encapsulated her.  But I have another close friend who is more about Burn Notice than Guardians of the Galaxy.  I asked her if I could borrow her last name for Felicity Koerber.  When she said she was delighted by the idea, I started thinking about writing the book my friend would want to read, too.  So while Felicity’s got this whole Cajun aspect to her (like me), she’s a huge Jane Austen fan, like my friend (who used to be a bookseller).

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

The hardest part for me is getting the story down to a reasonable wordcount.  My sci-fi novels come in at 130 -140 thousand words a pop – and I had to cut around 20K out of each one to get them there.  Grand Openings Can Be Murder is my first cozy mystery, and I went into it knowing the word count expectations for the genre – approximately half of one of my sci-fi novels.  Despite having an outline, I still had to cut several scenes in order to get it into the right range.

What do you think makes a good story?

A good story is driven by uncertainty.  If we believe we’ve figured out your plot ten pages in, we lose interest in reading – even if our guesses aren’t correct.  Which means that If you’re planning to fool us with a red herring or an obvious suspect, you still have to leave a level of doubt.  Without doubt, there’s no suspense.  There needs to be questions and little mysteries for us to figure out along with your characters in every chapter of the book – while never meandering away from your main conflict.  The minute you give us a stretch of manuscript without a conflict where the outcome is in question – well, that’s the kiss of death.

But in order for this uncertainty to matter to us, we have to be attached to your characters – and that doesn’t come automatically. The characters in a good story need to be fighting to achieve their goals.  Readers love an underdog, and we love people working hard to achieve great things despite improbable odds.  In a mystery, this means clues can’t just be handed to them.  They have to earn every bit of information, every big revelation, so that we can feel like we are earning the information as we read along with them.  This is one reason why I decided to write a cozy.  My amateur sleuth is a chocolate maker.  While she has a logical mind, she’s never solved a mystery before, and she doesn’t automatically know how to go about it.

Attachment also comes from the characters themselves being appealing – or at least sympathetic.  Because if bad things are happening to characters we don’t like, we probably won’t care enough to keep reading.

The last element you need for us to care about your story is for the events in it to be of a significant magnitude.  And we need a hint of that magnitude right away.  If the biggest thing at stake in the first two chapters of a book is whether or not the character gets the cheese sandwich she wants for lunch, we’re not likely to get to chapter three, even if there’s a murder in the sandwich shop.  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.  I tried to tackle this head on by having the murder victim be one of Felicity’s employees, and having her suspected.

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?

I have a chocolate maker who is concerned with working with farmers at origin for a protagonist – which allows for a wider scope of interests and secondary characters and a different feel than the other chocolate-themed culinary cozies I’ve read.  And rather than coming home broke and recently jobless as many recent cozy mystery heroines seem to do, Felicity is coming home to start a new venture by choice, because she’s passionate about it.  But more importantly than her occupation – Felicity is a widow.  A lot of recent cozies have been over-the-top with the humor.  Felicity is a somewhat more subdued character, because she is protagging from within her grief – and using the story to find a way forward.  There’s humor, but it’s a bit more subtle.  And a great deal of this story is about reinvention and self-discovery.

Felicity is also winding up connected to characters who come from a different world than she’s comfortable with.  Especially Logan, who used to be a bodyguard and has tragedy in his past.  He feels like he stepped in out of a different kind of story, and he’s going to bring in different type of conflicts as the series progresses and Felicity has to decide what she wants life to be.  There are hints of this already in the first book.

Whats next on the horizon for you?

I just finished the first draft of the second book in the Bean to Bar Mysteries, and I’ve already outlined several more.  So look forward to more adventures with Felicity, Logan, Arlo and the rest.

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

 

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 www.amberroyer.com. 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

Website   Instagram     Facebook     Youtube    Twitter      Amazon Author Page     Goodreads

About Grand Openings Can Be Murder 

Grand Openings Can Be Murder (Bean to Bar Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Golden Tip Press (February 2, 2021)
Paperback: 266 pages
ISBN-10: 1952854083
ISBN-13: 978-1952854088
Digital ASIN: B08JLFHD7N

Felicity Koerber has had a rough year. She’s moving back to Galveston Island and opening a bean to bar chocolate factory, fulfilling a dream she and her late husband, Kevin, had shared. Craft chocolate means a chance to travel the world, meeting with farmers and bringing back beans she can turn into little blocks of happiness, right close to home and family.

 

She thinks trouble has walked into her carefully re-built world when puddle-jump pilot Logan Hanlon shows up at her grand opening to order custom chocolates. Then one of her employees drops dead at the party, and Felicity’s one-who-got-away ex-boyfriend – who’s now a cop – thinks Felicity is a suspect. As the murder victim’s life becomes more and more of a mystery, Felicity realizes that if she’s going to clear her name in time to save her business, she might need Logan’s help. Though she’s not sure if she’s ready to let anyone into her life – even if it is to protect her from being the killer’s next victim. For Felicity, Galveston is all about history, and a love-hate relationship with the ocean, which keeps threatening to deliver another hurricane – right into the middle of her investigation. Can she figure it out before all the clues get washed away?

 

Purchase Links

Amazon –  Barnes and Noble –  Kobo – Apple Books – Indie Bookshop

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops.
January 20 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
January 20 – My Journey Back – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
January 21 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 21 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
January 22 – Brooke Blogs – RECIPE WITH SPOTLIGHT
January 22 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
January 23 – I Read What You Write – CHARACTER GUEST POST
January 23 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
January 24 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 25 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
January 26 – Celticlady’s Review – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
January 27 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST
January 27 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 28 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST
January 29 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 30 – Diane Reviews Books – GUEST POST
January 30 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
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Pursuit of the Truth (West Investigations) by K.D. Richards #AuthorInterview / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @kiadwrites


Pursuit of the Truth (West Investigations)
by K.D. Richards


I am so happy K.D. took time out of her busy day to
answer my questions!


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born and raised just outside of Washington, D.C. Although I’ve always written and enjoyed writing, I took a different path career-wise right out of school and earned a law degree. A job opportunity for my husband gave us the opportunity to move to the Toronto area where he is from so after working as an attorney and legal instructor for fifteen years we made the move to Canada and now spend summers and school breaks in the U.S. Of course, not recently due to the pandemic but I’m looking forward to getting back to the DC area this year.

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

  1. I took up playing violin at age 38. I’m horrible but I do love it and recently my son said “I actually recognize that song” so I must be getting better!
  2. I met one of my best friends in kindergarten and nearly forty years later we still text or talk almost every day.
  3. I prefer sour foods over sweets.

What is the first book you remember reading?

Green Eggs and Ham. I LOVED that book as a child and still have it memorized.

What are you reading now?

I’m just getting started reading They Never Learn by Layne Fargo. I’m only 10% in but it’s really good.

What books have most inspired you?

I’ve always liked mysteries. My mother bought a bunch of those 5-minute mystery books and I always devoured them.  One of my absolute favorite books to this day is The Westing Game by Ellen Raskins. I think it’s the first book I read with a real twist that made me immediately go back and start reading again to catch all the things I’d missed the first time.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

I think it would be The Westing Game and possibly the movie Clue. I watched that movie dozens of times as a teen. I’m naturally curious, some might even go so far as to say nosy! I want to know why things happened and what motivates people. And being a lawyer I do like to see the bad guy be brought to justice.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

I do have an office but I’ve also learned to write wherever and whenever. Especially when I worked outside the home, I’d write on the train during my commute. Dictate scenes to Siri while waiting to pick up my sons. If I waited for the perfect time and place, I’d have never completed a manuscript.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

That is an awesome question and I wish I knew. For Pursuit of the Truth, I just knew I wanted to write a story about a woman that owned a hotel, had been through a series of recent hardships, and had a crush on the head of hotel security. I’m a plotter so for the rest of the story I sit down and simply daydream about what could happen until I find something I like.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Revisions and editing! I’m usually so excited about a story when I’m writing the first draft, that’s where everything is new to me. By the second and third time through I’m thinking “not this again”! Of course the revision and editing stages are where the story really is so I power through. It’s all worth it in the end.

What do you think makes a good story?

Of course interesting, complex, believable, characters and a good juicy plot are necessary. But I do think “good” is subjective. I know we’ve all read books that got amazing reviews but just we just don’t connect with them.

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

Well, there are a lot of strong women in my family so I try to write strong women as well. Nadia Shelton, the heroine, in Pursuit of the Truth is a little like me in that as a child I did want to own a hotel and I lived in New York City years ago. But I think all of the ladies in the West Investigations series are great.

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

Pursuit of the Truth is a romantic suspense so the story does focus mostly on the romance and mystery but it is also a story about a family. The theme of the entire series is actually family. The four West brothers have taken over the private investigations firm that their father started and that changes their relationship toward each other and creates tensions between them. Nadia is also dealing with family issues in Pursuit of the Truth. I think seeing the characters dealing with relationships other than the core romantic relationship in their lives adds depth and complexity.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

Books two and three in the West Investigations series! Look for them in Fall/Winter 2021.

K. D. Richards is the pseudonym for Kia Dennis. Kia was born and raised in the Maryland suburbs just outside of Washington, D.C. A writer since a young age, after college she earned a law degree and worked as an attorney and legal instructor for fifteen years but never stopped writing fiction. She currently lives in the Toronto area with her husband and two sons. Sign up for her newsletter at kdrichardsbooks.com and follow her on Twitter @kiadwrites

Author Links:   Website    Facebook   Instagram    Amazon   Goodreads:

About The Pursuit of the Truth


Pursuit of the Truth (West Investigations)
Romantic Suspense
1st in Series
Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue (January 26, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
ISBN-10: 1335401539
ISBN-13: 978-1335401533
Digital ASIN: B08CSRDVWK

His skills can keep her safe

 

Her secrets could get them killed…

 

Security expert Ryan West’s worst fears come to life when hotel CEO Nadia Shelton is pushed in front of a taxi and nearly killed. Someone will do whatever it takes to find the brother Nadia thought was dead, and the only way Ryan can protect her as they uncover the truth is to stay strictly professional. But the sparks igniting between them are nearly impossible to ignore.

 

From Harlequin Intrigue: Seek thrills. Solve crimes. Justice served.

Purchase Links:

AmazonKoboHarlequinB&N

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops.
January 25 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
January 26 – Bea’s Book Nook – REVIEW
January 27 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST
January 28 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
January 28 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 29 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 30 – The Book Diva’s Reads – GUEST POST
January 31 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 1 – I Read What You Write -GUEST POST
February 2 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 3 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – REVIEW
February 4 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
February 5 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW
February 6 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW
February 7 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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