Posted in Cozy Wednesday Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2013

Special Thursday Edition – Cozy Wednesday with Author Liz Lipperman (Giveaway too!)

cozy wednesday

Welcome to a Special Thursday Edition of Cozy Wednesday!

Liz is one of the busiest authors I know so I am delighted that she can
still squeeze in a visit to Escape With Dollycas.

At deskWow! It seems like only yesterday I was a guest with Dollycas to promote book two of my Clueless Cook series from Berkley. How time flies! Here I am, again hocking another book – – or two – – or three.

Yep, you heard me right. Now that I have your attention I wanted to tell you a funny story about my research for Murder for the Halibut, the latest in the series that released last week. When I decided to send my heroine, Jordan, on a cruise to judge a culinary contest, I knew I needed to do some investigating to get it right. Sure, I’ve been on cruises before – – love them, in fact – – but I’ve never paid enough attention to detail to write about them. (BTW, you can get a seven-day cruise out of Galveston for a little over 300 bucks in February or March.murder for the halibut

Anyway, the first thing I had to do was get the crazy characters from the Empire Apartments on the ship with her – – orders from my editor! With that figured out, I started the actual research.

You guessed it. Hubby and I took the seven-day cruise from Miami to the Western Caribbean islands. On the day we boarded the ship, I marched right down to the main desk and announced that I was a writer and that I needed to interview the head chef and the head of security. The lady looked at me as if I had three heads. It seems you have to schedule stuff like that months in advance, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get to talk to someone.

Well, anyone who knows me already suspects I didn’t take no for an answer. On our first day at sea, there was a cooking demonstration in the main lobby, and several of the chefs were there. When it was over, I made my way to the head honcho, introduced myself, and basically asked if he wanted to help me write a book. Of course, that drew a crowd of interested chefs, all foreigners, mind you, and it was decided we would all meet the next morning in the coffee shop.

Cruise (27)

When I rounded the corner and saw four of them, all in their white starched uniforms and gigantic hats waiting for me, I nearly died. I introduced myself again, told them the name of my book and the basic plot, and voila!  Before long I had all four of them chiming in with ways to kill someone using food on a cruise ship. I can’t even begin to describe the faces of the other passengers who couldn’t help overhearing as they sipped their cappuccinos. With enough material to get me started, I thanked the chefs profusely and left with a lot of great ideas to work with.

I never thought any more about it and concentrated on taking notes about the islands so I could include them in my story. On Friday night, our last night at sea, there was another huge cooking demonstration in the main theater, and hubby and I went. When it was over, one of the chefs came up to me and asked if I would meet him in an hour at the coffee shop. I figured he’d thought of another angle for my plot. Imagine my surprise when he was waiting for me with the typed recipe for Grilled Halibut Caribbean Style with the killer ingredient added. I nearly kissed the man.

Although he gave me his e-mail address, I haven’t received an answer back from him yet. I don’t know whether the e-mail is wrong or he’s ignoring me. I would like him to know that I acknowledged him in the front of the book and would love to send him a copy so he could see his own personal recipe included in the back.

All in all, we had a great time and I would do it again in a New York minute. Oh, what we sometimes have to do in the name of research!

And those other books I mentioned earlier—I have a romantic suspense titled SHATTERED DREAMS releasing in March and the first book of A Dead Sister Talking Mystery titled Heard it Through the Grapevine debuts in May from Midnight Ink. Pardon this shameless plug.

So tell me, have you ever been on a cruise, and if not, where would your dream cruise take you?

~Liz

So jealous, I have never been on a cruise but hope to someday! 

About This Author

Liz Lipperman started writing many years ago, even before she retired from the medical field. Wasting many years thinking she was a romance writer but always having to deal with the pesky villains who kept popping up in all her stories, she finally gave up and decided since she read mysteries and obviously wrote them, why fight it? She now calls what she writes Romantic Mystery (RM) since there is always a hunky hero and a lot of flirting. In October of 2011, the first book of her Clueless Cook cozy mystery series, Liver Let Die, debuted from Berkley Prime Crime. Since then she has published two more. The latest, Murder for the Halibut, released this month. The first book of her new series from Midnight Ink will debut in May. She writes her cozies under her real name and her mainstream mysteries as Lizbeth Lipperman so that her cozy readers will know the books written under this name are not G rated.

She lives north of Dallas with her HS sweetheart hubby. When she’s not writing, she spends her time doting on her four wonderful grandchildren. She loves hearing from readers.

murder for the halibut

Murder for the Halibut
(A Clueless Cook Mystery)

3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (December 31, 2012)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425251829
E-Book File Size: 624 KB
ASIN: B0095ZMK1I
Cover Illustration by Ben Perini
Cover Design by Laura K. Corless

Murder for the Halibut (A Clueless Cook Mystery, #3)

A sports writing job would have been the perfect catch for Jordan McAllister, but in Ranchero, Texas, all she could reel in was the food column. Though she may not know her way around a kitchen, she has no trouble finding herself in a kettle of fish…

Tempted by the offer of a free Caribbean cruise, Jordan accepts a spot as a judge in a week-long big-time cooking competition aboard the Carnation Queen. She just better hope no one finds out that her famous palate is far from refined.

But there are bigger fish to fry when arrogant chef Stefano Mancini falls face first into his signature halibut dish during the first event. While evidence suggests that the handsome Italian chef’s death was an accident, Jordan thinks otherwise. But she’ll have to keep her wits about her—and the sea sickness pills handy—if she’s going to solve this one…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This third installment of the Clueless Cooks Mystery is the best one yet. We escape to the Caribbean on a cruise with fantastic food, the characters we have grown to love, and culinary mystery that will keep you entertained from the first page to the last. This story is absolutely hilarious. Caution: Do not eat or drink anything while you are reading about the appetizer portion of the competition.  I will be sending my laundry bill to the author 🙂

As one of the worst cooks ever and a very picky eater I identify with Jordan very easily. Of course I am extremely jealous because I have never been on a cruise but hopefully someday I will be able to cross that off my bucket list.

Famous chef George Christakis, on the cruise to judge the cooking competition, quickly became by favorite character. Classy guy. Down to earth. Maybe he’ll visit Jordan in Texas someday.

Liz Lipperman has served up cozy worthy of 3 Michelin Stars or 5 Dollycas Starfish!!! Get ready to board the Carnation Queen and set off on an exciting adventure with Murder for the Halibut. Bon Voyage!!!

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Thanks to the people at Penguin
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!

U.S. and CANADIAN RESIDENTS
You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking The Escape With Dollycas Facebook Fan Page.

Leave a comment for Liz for 5 Bonus Entries !

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End January 24, 2013 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

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

Posted in Giveaways Reviews 2013 Wisconsin Author

Spotlight: Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini with Review and Giveaway

mrs. lincolns dressmaker

Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker
Historical Fiction
Dutton (January 15, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Hardcover: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0525953616
E-Book File Size: 716 KB
ASIN: B008BM4NFC

Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker

This story tells of the friendship between Mary Todd Lincoln and her seamstress, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Keckley. Lizzie, a slave who bought the way out of slavery for both herself and her son did so using her sewing talents. She went on to sew for some of the elite woman in Washington D.C. When Mrs. Lincoln moved to The White House she chose Lizzie over many applicants to be her her personal “modiste,” responsible not only for creating the First Lady’s gowns, but also for dressing Mrs. Lincoln in the beautiful attire she created for the first lady. Their friendship quickly evolved and she became part of the fabric of the Lincoln White House. She was there to see Mary through the loss of her son and the assassination of her husband.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Chiaverini has written an in depth look at an important time in history from the women’s point of view as only she can. It is well researched and flows smoothly into the reader’s heart and mind. This being her first novel away from her characters in the Elm Creek Series there were a bit of growing pains in places. She is writing about real people and tries to keep all the facts straight even though the book is fiction which can be extremely difficult. Readers should know this is not a quilting or a quilter’s story but Lizzie does create a quilt from the scraps leftover from her creations for Mrs. Lincoln. This is a very small part of this novel.

The author has a reputation of writing strong woman and Elizabeth Keckley is one strong woman. She definitely went above and beyond for Mrs. Lincoln. Chiaverini has captured her excellently and it is easy to forget Lizzie was a real person. Her insight into Mary Todd Lincoln was enlightening as well. Reading stories like this one are superb ways to learn more about the people the history texts forget about or only mention in passing. 

This book is everything I expect a Jennifer Chiaverini novel. Wonderful characters in a fascinating time and exciting places.  Fans of historical fiction will absolutely love this book. I sure did!! I can’t wait to read her next novel due out in October. The Spymistress features Elizabeth Van Lew, a Union loyalist who was a spy for General Grant.

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

 

A CONVERSATION WITH

JENNIFER CHIAVERINI

AUTHOR OF

Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker

Picture by Steven Garfinkel
Picture by Steven Garfinkel

Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker chronicles the friendship between First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln and Elizabeth Keckley, who was born a slave and earned her freedom through her skill with a needle. What brought this story to your attention, and how did it inspire your first stand-alone historical novel?

More than a decade ago, I was researching antebellum and Civil War era quilts for my fourth novel when I discovered a photograph of an antique masterpiece. Arranged in the medallion style, with appliquéd eagles, embroidered flowers, meticulously-pieced hexagons, and deep red fringe, the quilt was the work of a gifted needleworker, its striking beauty unmarred by the shattered silk and broken threads that gave evidence to its age. The caption noted that the quilt had been sewn from scraps of Mary Todd Lincoln’s gowns by her dressmaker and confidante, a former slave named Elizabeth Keckley. I marveled at the compelling story those brief lines suggested—a courageous woman’s rise from slavery to freedom, an improbable friendship that ignored the era’s sharp distinctions of class and race, the confidences shared between a loyal dressmaker and a controversial, divisive First Lady. What I would give, I thought, to have been present as Elizabeth Keckley measured Mary Lincoln for a new gown, to overhear their conversations on topics significant and ordinary, to observe the Lincoln White House from such an intimate perspective. From that moment, my interest in their remarkable friendship was captivated, and it never really waned.

Readers may be surprised to learn that Elizabeth Keckley was not only an accomplished modiste and businesswoman, but also a published author. Was meeting a historical figure through her own words different than encountering her via more distant historical sources?

A few years after I learned about the Mary Todd Lincoln Quilt, I was researching a Civil War novel set on the Pennsylvania home front when I realized that many of my secondary sources cited the same work—Behind the Scenes, or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House, a memoir published in 1868 by Elizabeth Keckley. Struck by the familiar name, I immediately found a reprint and plunged into her story, which told of her harrowing years as a slave, her difficult struggle for freedom, and her ascendance as the most popular dressmaker of Washington’s social elite, including the new president’s wife. Sewing in the Lincoln family’s chambers within the White House, dressing Mrs. Lincoln for balls and receptions, Keckley observed Abraham and Mary Lincoln in their most private, unguarded moments, and with them she witnessed some of the most glorious and most tragic events in the nation’s history. Reading the story of her life in her own words made her experiences more immediate and more compelling, and for a long time afterward, I longed to delve more deeply into Elizabeth Keckley’s history, to learn about the woman she was beyond her friendship with Mary Lincoln, to discover what had happened after the closing passages of her memoir, and to uncover the details of everyday life in wartime Washington she had omitted.

President Lincoln is often characterized by his calm, thoughtful, and wise demeanor. The same, however, can’t be said for Mrs. Lincoln. In Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, you paint a picture of a complex, yet fascinating woman with mood swings and emotional outbursts but who also possesses a strong and confident presence.  Can you describe your insights on her character? Why is she such an intriguing person, not just in your book but also in history?

Despite the volumes of historical and psychological research devoted to Mary Lincoln, she remains an enigma. She was the first wife of a US president to be called First Lady, and she was then and remains to this day one of the most controversial. Regrettably, descriptions of her tend to fall into the extremes of caricature: She is either portrayed as an unstable, shrill, vicious, corrupt shrew who made President Lincoln utterly miserable, or as a devoted wife and mother and a brilliant, shrewd, political helpmeet whose reputation was savaged by biased male historians. As a friend and confidante who observed Mary Lincoln closely in moments of triumph as well as tragedy, Elizabeth Keckley knew her as a real woman, full of flaws and virtues and surprises like any other. It was this far more nuanced woman that Elizabeth Keckley depicted in the pages of her memoir, and since Elizabeth Keckley is my narrator, I shaped the character of Mary Lincoln according to her perceptions.

Mrs. Lincoln chose Elizabeth Keckley first for her superior dressmaking skills; later for her confidence and friendship. Despite differences in temperament, status, and race, each woman made profound sacrifices for her country. Was it shared experience that cemented their bond?

Shared experiences certainly strengthened their bond, and for as long as their relationship endured, it was, for the most part, mutually beneficial. Mary Lincoln provided Elizabeth Keckley with opportunities for social and economic advancement she probably could not have even imagined during her years as a slave, while Elizabeth offered Mary the loyal, steadfast friendship she craved but had always found so elusive. But Mary assumed that the faithful Elizabeth would keep their shared experiences confidential. Loyalty meant everything to Mary, which is why their friendship could not survive the publication of Elizabeth’s memoir. Elizabeth claimed to have written her memoir in part to place Mary “in a better light before the world,” but since she was determined to write the truth, her portrayal was often unflattering. As publication day approached, Elizabeth worried that she might be criticized for revealing too much about the private lives of President Lincoln and the First Lady. “I have been prompted by the purest motive,” she defended herself in the book’s preface. “A breach of trust—if breach it can be called—of this kind is always excusable.” Understandably, Mary did not agree, and her sense of betrayal was so profound that she abruptly severed ties with the woman she had once considered her “best and kindest friend.” For the rest of her life, she rebuffed Elizabeth’s attempts to reconcile.

History has a way of offering its lessons in the way of recognizable trends and patterns. Elizabeth Keckley’s story was largely lost to history, yet it has recently been restored, through efforts to restore her gravesite, and now your novel. What do you regard as her legacy? 

Certainly her writing is a significant part of her legacy. Despite the vitriol of her critics and Robert Lincoln’s efforts to rid the world of Behind the Scenes, Elizabeth Keckley’s memoir, so denounced in its time, is today respected for its invaluable insights into the Lincoln White House. The influence she had upon President Lincoln—not in any official role of advisor, but rather through her presence and conversation, making him better aware of the needs of the African-American community—and how it might have informed his opinions and thus guided his policy decisions is another. Another part of her legacy—perhaps impossible to measure—springs from her role as a teacher, not only in her later years, when she worked as a domestic arts instructor at Wilberforce University, but also and especially when she taught sewing, reading, and other important skills to the former slaves living in Washington’s overcrowded refugee camps. She helped countless numbers of women gain the skills and knowledge they needed to build better lives for themselves and their families in the new world of freedom.

Entertainment Weekly has recently described President Lincoln as “having a moment.” Steven Spielberg’s acclaimed film Lincoln has renewed interest in this renowned figure in American history. From your experience in writing about him and his era, what has brought his Presidency back into cultural consideration?

Although interest certainly has escalated recently, Abraham Lincoln has always loomed large in the American imagination, perhaps because his story is so quintessentially American—from humble beginnings, through hard work and perseverance, he rose to success and renown. His tragic assassination just as the dawn of peace rose above the horizon only enhances his legend, because we will forever wonder what might have been, what else he would have accomplished had he lived. He consistently ranks at or near the top in national surveys rating the presidents on their greatness, their achievements, their leadership, and even those who disagree with his methods acknowledge that he saw the country through its most serious national crisis. The story of his presidency is especially relevant today, as the United States grapples with many of the same issues President Lincoln faced—matters of race, of the gulf between socioeconomic classes, of the role of government and the presidency, and of the challenge of fostering democracy in a nation of deeply divided citizens.

Your New York Times bestselling Elm Creek Quilts series has frequently drawn on history to great acclaim, and your passion for the American people, their struggles and triumphs, shines through. What is it about the antebellum and Civil War eras, especially, that intrigues you as a writer?

The antebellum and Civil War eras were a tumultuous and transformative time for our nation, showing the best and worst of humanity in stark contrast. Looking back, we discover great moral failings alongside true heroism in the struggle for justice, equality, and freedom. My personal heroes are people who face adversity with moral courage and dignity, whose hunger for justice and compassion for others lead them to stand up for what is right even at great risk to themselves. My favorite characters to write about either possess similar qualities, or are given the opportunity to summon up these qualities and do what is right but fall short. What slavery, the Underground Railroad, secession, and the Civil War say about our country—that we are capable of both great moral failings and tremendous goodness—resonates strongly even today, perhaps especially today, and as a creative person, I am drawn to explore and try to understand that conflict.

What is your next work of fiction? Can readers expect to meet another remarkable yet little known figure from America’s past?

My next novel, The Spymistress (Dutton, October 2013), will explore the suspenseful, clandestine life of Elizabeth Van Lew, a Union loyalist who was General Grant’s most valuable spy in her native Richmond, Virginia, the Confederate capital during the tumultuous years of the Civil War.

I loved this book and would really like to add it to my Keeper Shelf
but I am going to share it with one lucky person.
Thank you to the people a Dutton for this copy!
The book hits shelves in exactly one week
so this is going to be a quick giveaway
so if you haven’t won the copy you can rush out and purchase the book!

YOU MUST BE A FOLLOWER OF THIS BLOG TO ENTER!

There will be no Bonus Entries to give everyone a fair chance.

CONTEST ENDS SUNDAY NIGHT JANUARY 13 AT 11:59 P.M. CST
Winner will be notified by email and will be posted in the sidebar of this blog.
Good Luck Everyone!!

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

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

Posted in Reviews 2013

Review: Hot Button by Kylie Logan

I had to read this to catch up on this series because Kylie Logan is coming to visit. She will be here on January 16 for Cozy Wednesday!!

hot button

Hot Button (Button Box Mystery)
2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (June 5, 2012)
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 292 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425251355
Cover Illustration by Jennifer Taylor
Cover Design by Annette Fiore Defax
E-Book File Size: 497 KB
ASIN: B0072NWIRQ

Hot Button

Button collector Josie Giancola has a sharp eye for detail, and a love for keeping things together. But when a murder interrupts her button business, she’s always ready to snap into action…

Josie is the chairwoman of an international button conference and she has hit the ground running – Picking up the key-note speaker at the airport, welcoming collectors, attending events and just trying to stay ahead of the next problem. She isn’t happy at first when her ex-husband shows up but when the guest of honor is found dead and his historic button is missing she is thankful he’s around. Detective Nevin Riley wants her help with the investigation and she can’t do that and handle the conference details too. She quickly appoints her ex as her assistant to handle things while she is tracking down clues. Who knew one man could have so many enemies? She has to act fast – before she becomes history herself.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Another wonderful mystery from Kylie Logan!

I love the history woven throughout this mystery. A part of history I never learned in school. Did you know Geronimo sold buttons from his shirts? What a treasure for a button collector!

Logan gives us quite a set of quirky characters in the button conference attendees from the former chairwoman to the pompous guest of honor. I was not surprised he ended up dead. Josie again is the strong woman, other women would have crumbled under all the problems she encountered without the dead body. Thankfully Kaz was on his best behavior most of the time and her “maybe boyfriend” Nevin is starting to step up.

Twists keep us guessing and as the clues evolve the culprit becomes clear. Kylie Logan has created another mystery cozy fans will enjoy.

just you and a friend

4 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To Find Out More About Kylie Logan check out my post from the last time she paid us a visit here.

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 Reviews 2013

Review: Dead on Ice by Lauren Carr

DEAN ON ICE

Dead on Ice:
A Lovers In Crime Mystery

1st in Series
Mystery
Acorn Book Services (September 10, 2012)
Paperback: 234 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0985726737
E-Book File Size: 1463 KB
ASIN: B0091I2IH0

Dead on Ice

This is the first book in a series featuring Hancock County Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Thornton and Pennsylvania State Police homicide detective Cameron Gates.

When a group of people get together to clean out the home of a long time resident they barely escape with their lives. Someone had planted a bomb in the house that was discovered just seconds before it blew. While investigating the explosion an old freezer was found in the basement almost unscathed. The contents were very surprising – a body. A body that is connected to another murder committed back in 1978. It is up to Joshua and Cameron to find out sort out the clues and determine just who put this body on ice.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This is my first book by the this author and have learned these characters were introduced in one of her other series.  Cameron’s cat who happens to look just like a skunk is her full time ride along partner. Irving adds a bit of humor to what could have been a very heavy story.  The story has the expected twists and turns and there are several possible suspects. These people have a lot of secrets that made the ending a bit of a surprise.

There is plenty of room for these characters to grow and evolve as the series moves forward. The jurisdictional issues were a bit confusing at first and the characters cross city, county and state lines throughout the story. Who was in charge or lead the investigation continued to swap back and forth as Joshua was building his case and Cameron was trying to solve hers. I look forward to seeing how this is dealt with in future installments. I am also anxious to see how Joshua’s and Cameron’s relationship goes forward. There could be many trials and tribulations as they try to move forward as the careers will continue to get in the way.

Lauren Carr will be an author I will continue to watch. She has set up a solid foundation for her new series.

still at the beach but not as tranquil

3 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

To find out more about Lauren Carr visit her web page here.

//

Amazon.com Widgets

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 Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Reviews 2013

Cozy Wednesday With Author Julie Hyzy (Giveaway too!)

cozy wednesday

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am excited today to have Julie Hyzy drop by for a short Q & A. I will also share my review of
Fonduing Fathers (A White House Chef Mystery).
 I just love it when Julie comes to visit!!

Hi Julie!

Hi Everyone! 

julie hyzy

1. What is the best thing about writing a series set at The White House?
When I was a kid, history class was boring. I didn’t care what year a war started or when treaties were signed. Today, I find history fascinating. I particularly enjoy U.S. history and especially love learning anything to do with the White House. Writing these books has encouraged me to learn more about the residence and its families than any class ever could. By placing Ollie in the heart of the home, I’m wrapped in all its glory and magnificence. Researching has become a true joy.

2. What is the worst thing about writing a set at The White House?
By far, the worst thing is that I can’t just run into the president’s home and take a look around whenever I feel like it. Visiting the White House is a big deal and there are a bunch of hoops to jump through before you’re allowed in. Even then, no purse, no pen, no paper, no camera. And most of the building is off-limits. I want to see everything, including secret little spots no one knows about. I’d love it if I could spend hours there, wandering anywhere I pleased.

3. When did you know that you wanted to become an author?
I’d have to say at about age six. I started writing my first books back then. I guess I just always wanted to tell stories. Even as I grew and became an adult, the desire to become an author never left. I was determined to be the youngest published author anywhere, and I decided I’d hit it big by the time I was eleven. That didn’t happen, of course. But I never gave up.

4. What are you reading for fun right now?
As much as I love cozy mysteries, I try not to read them when I’m writing one of my own. I’ve got two books I’m reading for fun right now: The Fiery Cross (Outlander) by Diana Gabaldon, and my youngest daughter’s first novel, a dystopian YA adventure. It’s pretty good!

5. If money was no object and you could escape to anywhere in the world to write where would you go and what do you think the book would be about?
Europe, I think. All over the continent. I was there, once, a couple of years ago and I found it incredibly beautiful and rich with history. I have family in Luxembourg and that country is – though small – amazing. I loved every moment there, and in Italy, and in France, especially along the Normandy coast. My guess is that I’d write about an American in Europe who stumbles over a dead body and needs to rely on her amateur sleuthing skills to save the day. Pretty original there, huh?

Thanks Julie for giving us a little peek at the author behind the stories.

About Julie Hyzy
Anthony and Barry Award winner Julie Hyzy is theNew York Times bestselling author of the White House Chef Mystery series featuring the intrepid Olivia (Ollie) Paras, and the Manor House Mystery series featuring mansion curator Grace Wheaton. Want to know more check out Julie’s webpage.

fonduingfathers

Fonduing Fathers
(A White House Chef Mystery)

6th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (December 31, 2012)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Ben Perini
Cover Design by Annette Fiore Defex
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425251812
E-Book: ASIN: B0095ZMOZU
590 KB

      Fonduing Fathers (A White House Chef Mystery, #6)

White House executive chef Olivia Paras has enough on her plate. But after gaining new information about her father’s death, the First Family isn’t the only family Olivia is concerned about…

A trip home for Ollie changes everything she knew about her father. Her mother reveals that he was actually dishonorably discharged from the army. He went on to work for a dietary supplement company but was brutally murdered because someone thought he was selling corporate secrets. This doesn’t fit anything she knew about her father and she knew there had to be more to his story. With Gav’s help she is determined get to the truth even if it threatens national security.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I have to admit that when I first saw this title I had a completely different idea in my head about where this story was headed. Something more to do with Washington or Jefferson. I am so glad I was wrong. This story was amazing!!

Delving into Ollie’s past was a real treat for the mind and soul. Let’s face it fathers and daughters have a bond. Our fathers are our first super heroes. So when Ollie finds out there was part of his life that she knew nothing about – a monumental part of his life – it makes sense she would move heaven and earth to get to the truth. And she almost does.

We are also treated to a closer peek into President Hyden’s relationship with his son Josh. Josh dreams are being chef. The President has other dreams for his son. Ollie smooths the ruffled feathers to make both happy knowing the young man will have plenty of time to explore all his future options. Josh is a awesome kid and ends up playing a very pivotal role in this story.

July Hyzy topped herself with this story. She had me totally immersed into Ollie’s life with some laugh out loud moments and times I was on the edge of my seat. An outstanding mystery! A must read!! You will want to give your own father a big hug. I have sent a virtual one to heaven myself.

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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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 Reviews 2013

Review: India Black and the Rajah’s Ruby by Carol K. Carr

india black and the rajah ruby

India Black and the Rajah’s Ruby
(Madam of Espionage Mysteries .5)
Berkley (December 31, 2012)
E-Book
File Size: 306 KB
ASIN: B007P7HX4M

India Black goes undercover in this short story that is a prequel to the rest of stories.

India is working for Mother Moore and she has become to favorite to many gents. When one of her favorites asks for her assistance she just can’t turn him down. She accompanies him on a week long trip to the country where he will meet with a wealthy American. He hopes India’s special talents will get him to agree the the business deal he has in mind.   She is surprised to learn the American is in possession of the Rajah’s Ruby. She is even more surprised when the ruby disappears at the same time as her favorite gent.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I love this series and really enjoyed this novella that gives us more of India’s background and how she came to be the madam of Lotus House.  India Black is a unique character and Carol Carr fleshes her out for us wonderfully.  Before this series I was not much of a fan of historical mysteries but this author writes in a way that takes us right there in the moment. The last installment of this series, India Black and the Widow of Windsor, made by Best of 2011 list for a very good reason. All of these stories are excellent.

If this series is new to you this is the perfect time to read it. Start with this short story and then continue with India Black and India Black and the Widow of Windsor. India Black and the Shadows of Anarchy hits stores February 5, 2013. You will not be disappointed.

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Find out more about Carol K. Carr here.

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Amazon.com WidgetsDisclosure 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.”