Posted in 2021 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Swimming with the Fishes: An Ozarks Lake Mystery by Marc Jedel #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

It is my pleasure to feature
Swimming with the Fishes today.

Swimming with the Fishes: An Ozarks Lake Mystery
by Marc Jedel

About Swimming with the Fishes


Swimming with the Fishes: An Ozarks Lake Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Arkansas
Publisher: BGM Press
Number of Pages: 220

She’s settling into a new life. But when a fishing trip totally capsizes, can she get a friend off the hook for murder?

 

Elizabeth Trout still feels awkward being back home. Discovering a BFF from her raucous high-school days has become the perfect mom is as weird as staying with her mother while awaiting construction of her new home. But she’s shaken to her core when her newlywed husband and beloved dog are nearly blown out of the water in a dockside explosion which leaves another woman dead … and her bestie is arrested for the crime.

 

To clear her friend, Elizabeth and her spouse set out to reel in a killer by sifting through the murky depths of small town drama. But between missing money, ominous strangers, and a shady ex-husband, these amateur sleuths net more motives than they can handle.

 

Can this dynamic detective duo dig up an answer before the big one gets away?

 

Swimming with the Fishes is the sensational second book in the Ozarks Lake Mystery series. If you like clever couples, delightful lakeside settings, and a rollicking good time, then you’ll love Marc Jedel’s hilarious whodunit.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Elizabeth and Jonas Trout have decided to stay in Jenkins, Arkansas. Jonas is finishing up the school year as a substitute teacher and Elizabeth is still trying to adjust to being back home. They are still living with her mom but a house of their own is under construction on the property Elizabeth inherited.

Jonas finds himself out on the lake in the early morning with the mayor of Jenkins and the high school principal trying to enjoy the peace and quiet but that is impossible with his present company. His dog Daisy was supposed to be along too but was not a fan of being in the boat so she is lying on the dock waiting for Jonas to return. As the men head back into the dock he notices Daisy is up, alert, and growling. He can’t see anyone, except maybe a “shadowy figure” nearby but something has upset the pup. Soon Daisy is diving into the water and Jonas dives in after her. Then a “fiery blast” with “a burst of blinding light, noise, and heat” occurs just as Jonas raises his head out of the water. The principal was hit by debris as the mayor brought the boat in. Looking down the dock they see what is left of another boat and a body near the captain’s seat.

The police quickly arrest one of Elizabeth’s friends and she doesn’t hesitate in pulling out the stops to clear her name. Can she and Jonas reel in the real killer or will they be caught by the killer themselves?


So much happens within these pages, an explosion, a dead body, missing money, a reunion, some sketchy gentlemen, a Bean Festival complete with Outhouse Races, and Elizabeth coming home with a child. My head was spinning with all the drama and I enjoyed the wild ride.

Jenkins is filled with the requisite quirky characters you usually find in a cozy mystery in abundance. Elizabeth is trying to reconnect with friends and Jonas is getting to know many of the residents. All the characters are cleverly written and we find them in several humorous situations. Elizabeth is truly tested as she tries to help her friend in any way she can even if it means traveling into some truly uncharted waters.

There are two mysteries to solve and Elizabeth is sure they are connected. There were several twists and turns and I was sometimes confused as to the significance of some of the clues but I really loved the way everything played out and the takedown that occurred.

It may have just been me but I didn’t find this story to be as funny as other books by this author but he sure did write a story that kept me on my toes and totally entertained.

Swimming with the Fishes has some great amateur sleuths in Jonas and Elizabeth. They may get sidetracked and stumble into some answers to their questions but they don’t give up. Daisy holds a special place in my heart too. I am excited to see what the author has in store for this wonderful threesome next.



Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Marc Jedel

Marc Jedel writes humorous murder mysteries. He credits his years of marketing leadership positions in Silicon Valley for honing his writing skills and sense of humor. While his high-tech marketing roles involved crafting plenty of fiction, these were just called emails, ads, and marketing collateral.

For most of Marc’s life, he’s been inventing stories. As he’s gotten older, he’s encountered more funny and odd people and situations. This has made it even easier for him to write what he knows and make up the rest. It’s a skill that’s served him well, both as an author and marketer.

The publication of Marc’s first novel, UNCLE AND ANTS, gave him permission to claim “author” as his job. This leads to much more interesting conversations with people than answering, “marketing.” Becoming an Amazon best-selling author has only made him more insufferable.

Like his characters Jonas and Elizabeth from the Ozarks Lake Mystery series, Marc grew up in the South and spent plenty of time in and around Arkansas. Like his character, Marty from the Silicon Valley Mystery series, Marc now lives in Silicon Valley, works in high-tech, and enjoys bad puns. Along with all his protagonists, Marc too has a dog, although his is neurotic, sweet, and small, with little appreciation for Marc’s humor.

Visit his website, marcjedel.com, for free chapters of novels, special offers, and more.

Author Links

Website: www.marcjedel.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/MarcJedel.Author

BookBub: http://www.bookbub.com/profile/marc-jedel

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18403497.Marc_Jedel

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/mjedel/

Blog: www.marcjedel.com/blog

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Marc-Jedel/e/B07H7MVKJL

• Purchase Links: Amazon

Great Escapes Praise for Swimming with the Fishes: An Ozarks Lake Mystery
by Marc Jedel

Swimming with the Fishes is another hilarious, well-plotted cozy mystery from Marc Jedel.
~Christy’s Cozy Corners

I enjoyed the reveal, as it was not dangerous to anyone and the police arrived just at the right time. This feels like a fun series that brings us good mysteries, great secondary characters and two wonderful sleuths in Elizabeth and Jason.
~Carla Loves To Read

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
September 8 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
September 8 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST
September 9 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST
September 9 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
September 10 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
September 11 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
September 11 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
September 12 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
September 12 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
September 13 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST
September 13 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 14 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
September 15 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
September 15 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
September 16 – Novels Alive – REVIEW
September 16 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 17 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
September 18 – My Journey Back the Journey Back – CHARACTER GUEST POST
September 19 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 19 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST
September 20 – Reading Is My SuperPower – SPOTLIGHT
September 21 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here to Find Details and Sign Up Today!


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

 

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here to Find Details and Sign Up Today!


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 2020 Reviews Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Much Ado in Maggody (The Arly Hanks Mysteries) by Joan Hess #Review / #Giveaway

On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.


Much Ado in Maggody (The Arly Hanks Mysteries)
Humorous Mystery (Explicit Language)
2nd in Series
Setting – Arkansas
Publisher: MysteriousPress.com/Open Road;
Reprint edition (June 7, 2016)
Originally Published January 1, 1989
Paperback: 208 pages
ISBN-10: 0312029527
ISBN-13: 978-0312029524
Kindle ASIN: B01ENRHKVC

A hilarious police procedural set in the strangest town in the Ozarks, where whip-smart sheriff Arly Hanks does everything she can to keep the peace.

 

Nothing ever happens in Maggody, Arkansas, population 755. Aside from handling the occasional barroom brawl or exploding still, Chief of Police Arly Hanks spends her days sipping coffee and squashing flies. She returned to Maggody two years ago, licking her wounds after a bad Manhattan divorce, and she fell backward into the role of sheriff. From Hizzoner the Moron—also know as Jim Bob Buchanon, the pettily corrupt mayor—to Ruby Bee Hanks—Arly’s mother and the town’s foremost gossip—the people of Maggody are all crazy in their own ways, and that craziness is about to turn deadly.

 

When Joanna Mae Nookim returns to work after giving birth, the bank manager bumps her down to minimum wage as punishment for taking time off. It’s outrageous, but there’s nothing Arly can do. But when the bank burns to the ground and the head teller is found dead, Maggody threatens to burst into an all-out revolution for the sake of women’s rights.

 

Fans of comic mysteries have known for years that no small town is quite like Maggody. With its wild cast of characters and its no-nonsense female detective, Much Ado in Maggody is evidence of master of cozy mysteries Joan Hess at her best.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Back in Maggody where mayhem is in rare form. Joanna Mae Nookim returns to her job at the bank after having a baby to find she has been demoted and been replaced by a wet behind the ears Brandon Bernswallow. Well, she is not going to take it sitting down. Arly can’t help her but tells her she may be able to get a lawyer to take her case, which she does. Soon there is a protest march and a crowd of women set up for the long haul in the parking lot across the street. But then someone sets fire to the bank and Brandon Bernswallow is found dead inside creating Much Ado in Maggody! Can Arly get to the bottom of it or will mayhem reign?


I have continued to read this series for the pure comic delight. The explicit language still gives me a cringe or two, but I can set that aside when a few sentences later I am laughing my head off. I have to remind myself this book was originally released back in 1989, but equal rights for women is still a current topic although we have come a long way.

Maggody is full of quirky characters and Arly has her hands full as the men and women of the town face-off over the way Joanna Mae Nookim was treated at the bank. It opens up a whole can of worms as the wives in town decide their husbands could be treating them better too. All the characters are colorful but stereotypical in many ways. That said, they are funny.

Again, the murder mystery part of the story is pretty simplistic but entertaining. Some will classify this story as a cozy mystery, and the mystery is set up the way, the f-bombs and other explicit language take it out of that genre for me. If you love funny stories and are not offended by the language you will enjoy this book and series. I will be grabbing the next book in the series when I need to get carried away by the humor and craziness only found in Maggody.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About the Author

I was sad to learn while researching this series that the author passed away in November 2017. Joan Hess was an American mystery writer, a member of Sisters in Crime, and a former president of the American Crime Writers League. She wrote two popular mystery series: The Claire Malloy Mysteries and The Maggody Mysteries (also called The Arly Hanks Mysteries), and has contributed to multiple anthologies and book series, including Crosswinds, Deadly Allies, Malice Domestic, Sisters in Crime, and The Year’s 25 Finest Crime and Mystery Stories. She also wrote the Theo Bloomer mystery series, under the pseudonym Joan Hadley.


I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy!
It will be sent directly from Amazon.
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

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

Contest Will End December 25, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

*This book was from my private collection.

Posted in 2020 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Mischief in Maggody (The Arly Hanks Mysteries) by Joan Hess #Review / #Giveaway


On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.


Mischief in Maggody (The Arly Hanks Mysteries)
Humorous Mystery (Explicit Language)
2nd in Series
Setting – Arkansas
Originally Released (June 4, 1991)
Publisher: MysteriousPress.com/Open Road; Reprint Edition (October 17, 2017)
Paperback: 300 pages
ISBN-10: 1504047656
ISBN-13: 978-1504047654
Kindle ASIN: B01N9V7LNK

When a woman is shot in a cannabis patch, Arly Hanks must restore order to her Ozarks community, in this sharp-witted mystery by an Agatha Award–winning author.

 

When small-town police chief Arly Hanks returns to Maggody, Arkansas, after vacation, she finds the population has risen to a booming 802. Among the newbies: Madame Celeste, the psychic who’s holding locals in thrall with her predictions of doom; a handsome new high school guidance counselor; and a gaggle of mantra-chanting hippies who have turned the old general store into the source for cosmic harmony. Unfortunately, life in Maggody is anything but harmonious.

 

Robin Buchanon—a member of Maggody’s most abundant family—has been murdered. The moonshiner, prostitute, and mother of four foul-mouthed little bad seeds was found shot to death in a booby-trapped marijuana field. Assuming the weed harvesters are sending a message to trespassers, Arly decides to hold vigil and set her own trap. But when another, seemingly unrelated, murder catches Arly off-guard, even Madame Celeste can’t predict where this case is headed.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Maggody, Arkansas is growing, all the way up to a total of 802 now, and Arly Hanks as the chief of police is in charge of keeping the peace and everyone safe and it isn’t easy. Right now she has a murder on her hands and four difficult children and 1 infant to place. Before long another murder takes place and Arly truly has her hands full.

____

After reading the first book in this series I knew to expect the explicit language and scenes so that shock factor was gone. That made it easier to just get into the story.

The colorful characters we met in Malice in Maggody are back and are joined by a few new quirky characters. I still feel they are all still very basic and have plenty of room for development. There was a young man that clearly stole the story. Hammet Buchanon has a mouth on him, swearing and no filter, he definitely will tell you what he thinks. His antics will have you in stitches.

The mystery was an easy solve for me but the story was still very entertaining and a nice light escape. So much so I read the 3rd book in the series soon after finishing this one and I will post my review soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About the Author

I was sad to learn while researching this series that the author passed away in November 2017. Joan Hess was an American mystery writer, a member of Sisters in Crime, and a former president of the American Crime Writers League. She wrote two popular mystery series: The Claire Malloy Mysteries and The Maggody Mysteries (also called The Arly Hanks Mysteries), and has contributed to multiple anthologies and book series, including: Crosswinds, Deadly Allies, Malice Domestic, Sisters in Crime, and The Year’s 25 Finest Crime and Mystery Stories. She also wrote the Theo Bloomer mystery series, under the pseudonym Joan Hadley.


I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy!
It will be sent directly from Amazon.
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

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

Contest Will End November 6, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

*This book was from my private collection.

Posted in 2020 Reviews E-Book Challenge Great Escapes Book Tours Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Little Tea by Claire Fullerton #Review – Great Escapes Book Tour

Little Tea
by Claire Fullerton

About Little Tea


Little Tea
Southern Fiction
Setting – Arkansas
Publisher: Firefly Southern Fiction (April 28, 2020)
Paperback: 252 pages
ISBN-10: 1645262596
ISBN-13: 978-1645262596
Digital ASIN: B0817J667Y

Southern Culture … Old Friendships … Family Tragedy

 

One phone call from Renny to come home and “see about” the capricious Ava and Celia Wakefield decides to overlook her distressful past in the name of friendship.

 

For three reflective days at Renny’s lake house in Heber Springs, Arkansas, the three childhood friends reunite and examine life, love, marriage, and the ties that bind, even though Celia’s personal story has yet to be healed. When the past arrives at the lake house door in the form of her old boyfriend, Celia must revisit the life she’d tried to outrun.

 

As her idyllic coming of age alongside her best friend, Little Tea, on her family’s ancestral grounds in bucolic Como, Mississippi unfolds, Celia realizes there is no better place to accept her own story than in this circle of friends who have remained beside her throughout the years. Theirs is a friendship that can talk any life sorrow into a comic tragedy, and now that the racial divide in the Deep South has evolved, Celia wonders if friendship can triumph over history.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Now with the passing of Congressman John Lewis, acclaimed civil rights leader, was the perfect time for me to read this book. Celia and Little Tea grew up as close as sisters in a time, the 1980s, when some people still believe in segregation, including some in Celia’s family. But these girls had such a strong bond that couldn’t be broken.

In present time, Celia gets together with her other childhood friends Ava and Renny at Renny’s lake house because Ava is having a personal crisis. What evolves Is 3 days discussing life, marriage, choices made, regrets, and triumphs. Celia realizes she still has many things in her life she has avoided and needs to deal with before she can move on.

Ms. Fullerton has written a beautiful, compelling Southern story that grabbed me from the start. The book moves back and forth between the ’80s and present-day with ease. The author has a wonderfully descriptive writing style that brings not only the characters to life but the setting. The characters are strong and develop more within the pages. The settings at times are haunting and other times soothing. This book tells a story rich in history and friendship. It is an emotional story filled with family drama, addiction, depression, love, hate, and more that has stuck with me since I read the final word.

The journey Celia, Ava, and Renny take over the course of the weekend goes beyond what I first imagined was going to happen.  Little Tea is a treasure to be savored. This is the first Claire Fullerton novel I have read but it definitely will not be my last.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Claire Fullerton

Claire Fullerton hails from Memphis, TN. and now lives in Malibu, CA. with her husband and 3 German shepherds. She is the author of Mourning Dove, a coming of age, Southern family saga set in 1970’s Memphis. Mourning Dove is a five-time award winner, including the Literary Classics Words on Wings for Book of the Year, and the Ippy Award silver medal in regional fiction ( Southeast.) Claire is also the author of Dancing to an Irish Reel, a Kindle Book Review and Readers’ Favorite award winner that is set on the west coast of Ireland, where she once lived. Claire’s first novel is a paranormal mystery set in two time periods titled, A Portal in Time, set in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. She is a contributor to the book, A Southern Season with her novella, Through an Autumn Window, set at a Memphis funeral ( because something always goes wrong at a Southern funeral.) Little Tea is Claire’s 4th novel and is set in the Deep South. It is the story of the bonds of female friendship, healing the past, and outdated racial relations. Little Tea is the August selection of the Pulpwood Queens, a Faulkner Society finalist in the William Wisdom international competition, and on the short list of the Chanticleer Review’s Somerset award. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Literary.

Author Links

Website Instagram – 

Purchase Link – Amazon 

Also by Claire Fullerton

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
August 3 – Literary Gold – GUEST POST
August 3 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
August 4 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
August 4 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW
August 5 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
August 5 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – REVIEW
August 5 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
August 6 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW  
August 6 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
August 7 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTEVIEW
August 7 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW
August 7 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
August 8 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
August 8 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW
August 8 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – GUEST POST
August 8 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
August 9 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
August 9 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews– REVIEW, GUEST POST
August 10 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
August 10 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!


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 Challenges Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Malice in Maggody (The Arly Hanks Mysteries) by Joan Hess #Review / #Giveaway


On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.


Malice in Maggody (The Arly Hanks Mysteries)
Humorous Mystery (Explicit Language)
1st in Series
Setting – Arkansas
Originally Released (February 5, 1991)
MysteriousPress.com/Open Road – Reprint edition (February 14, 2017)
Print Length: 260 pages
Kindle ASIN: B01N4RHNLC

After a crossbow killing at a cheap roadside motel, Ozarks police chief Arly Hanks finds herself investigating her first murder case.

Her marriage over and career gone bust, Arly Hanks flees Manhattan for her hometown: Maggody, Arkansas. In a town this size, nothing much ever happens, so Arly figures she’s safe as the town’s first female chief of police—until the husband of one of the local barmaids escapes from state prison and heads for town. And that’s not all. An EPA official with ties to polluting the local fishing hole has suddenly vanished off the face of the earth.

As if two manhunts aren’t enough to contend with, a body has been discovered at the pay-by-the-hour Flamingo Motel, shot clean through the neck with an arrow. For some reason, Maggody’s residents—all 755 of them—have gone tight-lipped, stonewalling Arly’s investigations, and Arly hasn’t a soul to trust but her half-wit deputy. Now, as Maggody’s finest, she’ll have to show a little muscle and a lot of cunning to curtail the inhospitable mountain malice that’s overtaken her town. And she’ll have to watch her own back every step of the way.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Arly Hanks returns to Maggody, Arkansas, population 755, after her career and marriage blows up and lands the job of Chief of Police. The crime in Maggody is virtually non-existent and writing traffic tickets is the major concern. But then a prison escape puts everyone on guard. The man who escaped is the husband of Jaylee Withers, a barmaid at Ruby Dee’s Bar and Grill. The residents of Maggody are also dealing with the EPA who has given the go-ahead for a sewage treatment plant that will feed into the beloved Boone Creek. The man sent to get all the I’s dotted and the T’s crossed made it to town but hasn’t been seen since.

So the crime rate in Maggody has taken a huge spike with two manhunts. But that’s not all … Arly now has to add a murder to her list when a body outside the pay-by-the-hour Flamingo Motel and she isn’t getting any help anyone in town, not even her mother. Thankfully Arly isn’t on her own and I don’t mean her Barney Fife deputy, she gets a much-needed assist from the State Police even though she isn’t happy to accept it.

___

This book is listed on many sites as a “cozy mystery” so I was completely caught off guard when the first line of the book is “It’s sh*t – pure and simple sh*t, no matter what they call it in those g*ddamn reports” (asterisks added by me.) While the language may be authentic and I have no problem with that language in almost any other genre, I just don’t believe it should be found in a cozy mystery.  I did keep reading and did enjoy the book but I refuse to classify it as a cozy mystery.

Joan Hess has created larger than life characters and placed them in a quirky small town. Almost everyone we meet is hiding something or keeping a secret or involved in nefarious activities and sometimes all three. While I found most of them to be pretty stereotypical and could be offensive to some readers I did find them entertaining.

The mystery plotlines were interesting even with readers knowing many things Arly didn’t. The story was well-plotted and the final reveal was surprising but made perfect sense. The author leans heavily on humor and some scenes were pretty hilarious.

Colorful characters in a Southern small-town, Malice in Maggody was an unusual and stirring mystery. I do plan to read more of this series.

One note: I think formatting this book for digital devices made transitions hard to follow at times. Storyline transitions were blurred due to the flow of the text. Spaces for setting changes or time changes within the chapters would be appreciated.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

I was sad to learn while researching this series that the author passed away in November 2017. Joan Hess was an American mystery writer, a member of Sisters in Crime, and a former president of the American Crime Writers League. She wrote two popular mystery series: The Claire Malloy Mysteries and The Maggody Mysteries (also called The Arly Hanks Mysteries), and has contributed to multiple anthologies and book series, including: Crosswinds, Deadly Allies, Malice Domestic, Sisters in Crime, and The Year’s 25 Finest Crime and Mystery Stories. She also wrote the Theo Bloomer mystery series, under the pseudonym Joan Hadley.


I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy!
It will be sent directly from Amazon.
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

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

Contest Will End November 1, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

*This book was from my private collection.

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Flashback Friday Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2017 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Nancy Haddock – Author of A Crime of Poison – #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway – @BerkleyMystery

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am thrilled to have Nancy Haddock back for another visit today! 

Inspector Gadget?
by Nancy Haddock
(Guest Post Provided by Publicist)

 

Hello, Readers! Thank you for stopping by, and many thanks to my hostess for having me here!

Last year I came out of the closet. The office supply closet to be exact. The one filled with more sticky notes, colored paper clips, and file folders than I’ll use in my lifetime. Yes, I have a fatal attraction to office supplies.

Now I’m ready to admit I also have a gadget fixation, and it’s the mountain of catalogues I still get at this time of year that reminded me of my little addiction.

Sigh.

I imagine most of us have bought our fair share of gadgets. After all, they’re everywhere! Does the phrase “as see on TV” ring a bell? Perhaps a cute owl kitchen timer bell?

A gadget is “a small mechanical or electronic device or tool, especially an ingenious or novel one.” Synonyms include appliance, implement, tool, utensil, contraption, machine, device, and gismo. By this definition, gismos come in every size—small, medium, large and humongous!

I’ve purchased gadgets to assist in-house cleaning from floors to ceilings. Wet and dry mops, a baseboard duster, hand dusters with some sort of static-cling technology in the pads. Pet hair removers, vacuums, bathroom scrubbers, extendable dusters to reach ceiling fans and whisk away ceiling cobwebs those itty-bitty “corner” spiders make. Ack! Stop the cleaning gadget madness!

Other gadgets make mealtime preparations easy … and even fun! Pause to remember those commercials in which the excited announcer’s voice touts the latest and greatest way to slice, dice and make Julienne fries! What the announcer doesn’t tell you is that the leverage and sheer force needed to slice, dice and julienne is equivalent to 500 pounds per square inch. Your average giant bodybuilder might pull off this kind of kitchen magic, but I can’t.

Naturally, the gadgets I especially love our office and computer gadgets. Storage units for the aforementioned office supplies, and USB hubs. A small external hard drive suitable for travel, and the ever-popular flash drives. Power surge protectors, one with battery backup power. The only gizmo I’ve yet to find is someone thing or system that will truly organize and hide the jumbled jungle of power cords for my desktop computer, printer, etc.

Whether for indoors or out, whether for spring, summer, autumn, or winter, we have gadgets for every season and every reason.

But wait? Do we really have all the tools, gizmos, and gadgets we need? I don’t, and I have a list of what I’d like to see invented. Here are my top contenders.

  1. A whole-house dust and vacuum system. I’m not talking about the robotic vacuums on the market. I want to flip a switch and magically have all the dust and pet hair sucked out of the house. All that stuff tucks into your wall spaces to further insulate your home!
  2. A Jetsons-type Rosie the Robot maid to wipe up hubby’s kitchen spills as soon as they happen. Which is, coincidentally, every time he goes to the kitchen. If Rosie is a no-go, how about a battalion of housekeeping brownies or faeries who’d keep my home immaculate?
  3. A doodad that will draw the words straight out of my brain when I’m writing and transfer them to the monitor. Of course, seeing as my thoughts tend to bounce all over the place at times, I’d be editing for months on end, but, hey, at least the story would be out there. In the raw, but in black on white.

There you have it. My secret love-hate of all things gadgetry. Do you have a favorite gismo that makes life easier? A do-hickey that was a dud and didn’t work for you at all? A gadget you wish you had? I’d love to hear your best, your worst, and your wished-for, so let me have them!

~Nancy

Thank you, Nancy, so much for stopping by today! 

 

A Crime of Poison (A Silver Six Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Arkansas
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (December 5, 2017)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425275740
Kindle ASIN: B06XK2YCWP

 

 

The Silver Six are known for their arts and crafts—but they’re about to be tested in the art of catching a crafty killer.

It’s early October, time for the Fall Folk Art Festival and Bake Sale in Lilyvale, Arkansas. Every business along the town square will benefit from the event, including the craft store run by Leslee Stanton Nix—aka Nixy—and the Silver Six, a group of retirees. In charge of making the festival go smoothly, Nixy is confident that it will be a success.

But things become knotty when local troublemaker Cornell Lewis is found dead with a plate of Snickerdoodles from the bake sale. Two members of the Silver Six are accused of cooking up a murder plot, but Nixy knows that the cookies weren’t literally to die for. With time running out, Nixy and company must catch the actual killer…before the Silver Six find their number permanently reduced to four.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We arrive in Lilyvale, Arkansas, just in time for the Fall Folk Art Festival and Bake Sale and for Cornell Lewis’ return. The man left town several years ago and many were happy about his departure. Those same people are upset about his return especially when he stops by The Handcraft Emporium. He leaves after a little fracas with the Silver Six. When the man is later found dead in his car in what looks like a case of anaphylactic shock. With Detective Eric Shoar sidelined because of his close relationship with Nixy and the Silver Six, Detective Charleen Vogelmen takes over the case and she quickly zeros in on Maisie and Aster, and their bake sale cookies found in the victim’s car.  Nixy with some assistance from Eleanor starts her own investigation keeping Eric in the loop hoping he’ll pass whatever she discovers on to Charleen. Maybe she can find other suspects for the detective to focus on and prevent her friends from baking in the big house.

I have loved the Silver Six since we met them in the first book of this series, Basket Case. They are an interesting group brought all together under one roof for a variety of reasons. I wish I had half their energy. They are always on the go and when someone messes with one of them or two as in this story, look out, because, they will not take it lying down. They are a family and they all care about Nixy. The author has created a wonderful cast of characters. I would love to meet them in real life and maybe become one of the group.

The plot was very interesting as we found how many people he was actually connected to in Lilyvale. Eleanor was a real asset as she and Nixy reached out to new people every day that could have the motive to kill the man. I enjoyed the process they took to narrow down the suspects and the way all of the Silver Six was involved in one way or another. I loved their meeting complete with a “murder board”. The story flowed so well and the mystery was nicely plotted The final reveal and the manner of poisoning was surprising. I was so happy because I had the person still on my own suspect list.

Nancy Haddock has written a fun series, they have all been “perfect escapes” for me. I recommend starting at the beginning for maximum enjoyment but this book read well all its own too.

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Nancy Haddock is an award-winning and national bestselling cozy mystery author. Basket Case is her first book in the Silver Six Crafting Mystery series with Berkley Prime Crime, and the second book, Paint the Town Dead, is a Sept. 2016 release. Nancy draws on historic wealth, southern culture, and the plain old quirkiness of places and people for her books. She lives with her husband and rescue dog Baron.

Visit Nancy on her Webpage, Facebook and GoodReads.

GIVEAWAYThanks to the publisher I have 2 copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.

Leave a comment for Nancy for 5 Bonus Entries.

Sign up for Nancy’s Newsletter!

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End December 27, 2017, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Crafty Cozy Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2016 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Nancy Haddock – Author of Paint the Town Dead – Guest Post/ #Review / #Giveaway

cozy wednesday 2013 640
Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
So excited to welcome Nancy Haddock back to Escape With Dollycas!

Nancy Haddock Low Res 2015

 

Out of the (Supply) Closet

(Post received from publicist)

Hello. My name is Nancy Haddock, and I have an office supply problem.

What’s that got to do with writing, you ask? Read on, dear hearts.

I’d like to trace my addiction to my children’s school days. Yes, folks, there was a time when open-all-night stores did not exist. Once too often, my children informed me they needed a particular kind of folder, poster board, or pen at 11 pm. When every retailer had closed.

While I managed not to go “Mommy Dearest” on my munchkins, I did retaliate by binge shopping school supply sales. I had four or more folders in every color. With and without pockets, with and without brads. I had lined paper, plain paper, graph paper, and yes, even carbon paper for those pesky tracing projects.

paint-the-town-deadI bought spiral notebooks in every conceivable color, some with pockets, some 3- and 5- subject thick. I mastered the art of stacking 3-ring binders, again in multiple colors, and naturally in multiple thicknesses from ½ inch to 3 inches.

Need poster board in any color of the rainbow? Crayons? Art pencils? Black, blue, red, or green ink pens? I’m telling you, I had all that and more. Tape, liquid and stick glue, display boards, sticky notes, and the ever popular rulers. It got to the point where other mothers would call me in a panic for a supply fix. While I refrained from meeting them under a bridge to pass off the goods, I had to keep mum so their children would believe their parents were magical.

I’m getting to the writing part.

So there I am with a walk-in closet, a wall of floor to ceiling built-in shelves, all dedicated to school supplies. But wait. I can use some of these dandy items! The folders work just as well for my works-in-progress notes as they do for my kiddo’s school papers. The pens, pencils, binders are, of course, useful for my writing needs. If the children can’t use the yuck-yellow poster board, I’ll overlook the color and use it for a visualization board.

And don’t get me started on the sticky notes and index cards! There’s a whole sticky note story I’m almost embarrassed to share.

basket case

Fast forward to the kids being in college. So maybe I’m not hoarding poster board any longer, but the habit of buying—and over-buying—school supplies is established. Except now I call them office supplies.

I mean, really. Can a writer have too many notebooks? The multi-subject kind are great for notetaking at local conferences. They keep the topics nicely separated, don’t you know. Then there are the single-subject spirals so useful for travel because they are lighter and less bulky. Naturally, we can’t forget the small notebooks, suitable for tucking into one’s purse and keeping in the car.

Then there is printer paper. Come on. Office supply stores run sales on cases every week. They need me to have oodles. And who can pick up plain white paper without adding at least a few packages of color paper—and hanging folders to color code one’s files. I my favorite shades and add them to the pile in the closet. With the coordinating file tabs, thank you very much.

Now we fast forward again. I’m moving from Texas to Florida, and I have to pack everything in about two months. Yikes! Sure we were having a giant garage/ estate sale to unload a huge amount of stuff, but my writer friends come to the rescue. They get first dibs on my treasures. Some took the books I could part with (yes, I had to be sedated for that), and they also had first shot at the office supplies.

The first friend who showed up still had young children at home. I donated bags of school supplies to her. The second friend who came by shook her head and I swear she was ready to call the men in white coats on me. But, hey, everything went to a good home.

Okay, I kept a lot of the sticky notes. I kept so many that years later my daughter called for a favor. She had begun landing art department jobs in the TV and film industry, and she needed inspiration for a writer’s office. She asked me to take photos of my writing space. Which was pretty much papered with sticky notes. And it still is.

So I have a problem. At least I don’t need a whole closet for my stash anymore. Just a few dozen drawers.

Thanks for your kind attention and understanding. I have to dash off now. It’s school supply sales time again!

~Nancy

paint-the-town-dead

Paint the Town Dead (A Silver Six Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Arkansas
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (September 6, 2016)
Cover Illustration by Ann Wertheim
Cover Design by Diana Kolsky
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425275733
E-Book ASIN: B015DLUR2G
goodreads-badge-add-plusShop Indie Bookstores

 

From the national bestselling author of Basket Case comes the second mystery starring the crafty and cantankerous Silver Six.
 
Leslee Stanton Nix—aka “Nixy”—thought moving to small-town Lilyvale, Arkansas, would be about as thrilling as watching paint dry. But keeping up with her retired Aunt Sherry and her troublemaking housemates—collectively known as the Silver Six—has proven to be as exciting as it is exasperating.

To kick off the grand opening of their craft shop, the Handcraft Emporium, Nixy and the Silver Six invite Doralee Gordon to teach a gourd painting class. Doralee’s spirit gets squashed when her ex-husband crashes the class with his new fiancée, but things really get messy when the bride-to-be later turns up dead. Now it’s up to Nixy and the Silver Six to use their melons to find the killer—before someone else gets painted out of the picture…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The Handcraft Emporium is all ready to open and The Silver Six, Ms. Sherry, Dwight Aloysius Baxter, Maisie Holcomb and her sister Aster Parsons, Eleanor Wainwright and Fred Fishner. With Nixy’s help have several classes planned to draw in the customers. The first class is a gourd painting class and they invite Doralee Gordon to show off her talents. Things get a little heated when Doralee’s ex shows up with his sister and fiancée, to take the class and try to make Doralee very uncomfortable.  When the fiancée is found dead the next day and Doralee becomes a suspect The Silver Six are all excited to solve another crime. This may not be good for Nixy’s new relationship with Detective Eric Shoar, but the man seems to have the patience of a saint.

Nancy Haddock has written a wonderful mystery the immediately draws the reader in. I was surprised by the title change. The teaser chapter in the last book, Basket Case, said it was to be GOODBYE GOURDEOUS, while Paint the Town Dead works, I liked the first title better. The cover is GOURDEOUS and the mystery is delightful. Several twists and moments that had me giggle and a couple that has me laughing out loud. This story was a real treat.

I enjoy every one of these characters, they continue to surprise and make us see age is just a number. They are continually on the go.  I wish I had half their energy. They do get their noses out of joint when they think Nixy and Eric are investigating without them. But the things are quickly back in place.

As for the new characters, Kim, the fiancée, is a greedy little witch trying to reel in husband #3. The perfect victim and the deeper the Six dug the more suspects they found. I almost felt sorry for Ernie, the ex, almost!. We also have T.C. and Amber, a dog and a cat, that were found in the alley behind the emporium. They quickly worm their way into everyone’s hearts, including mine.

This story checks all the cozy boxes, unique small town, colorful characters, an intriguing mystery to solve, a bit of romance and a bunch of humor.

As the temps get cooler, snuggle up in a blanket and get comfy with this cozy.

perfect 2016

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Nancy Haddock is an award-winning and national bestselling cozy mystery author. Basket Case is her first book in the Silver Six Crafting Mystery series with Berkley Prime Crime, and the second book, Paint the Town Dead, is a Sept. 2016 release. Nancy draws on historic wealth, southern culture, and the plain old quirkiness of places and people for her books. She lives with her husband and rescue dog Baron.

Visit Nancy on her Webpage, Facebook and GoodReads.

GIVEAWAYThanks to the publisher I have 2 copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.

Leave a comment for Nancy for 5 Bonus Entries.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End September 28, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2015 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Nancy Haddock – Author of Basket Case – Giveaway too!

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
Today’s author, Nancy Haddock, brings us a brand new series!

 

Nancy Haddock Low Res 2015

The Devil is in the Details …
And so is the Delight!

Hello, and thank you for having me! It’s a pleasure to be here!

I’m Nancy Haddock writing the new Silver Six Crafting mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime. The first book in the series, Basket Case, came out on September 1. Today I want to share one of the aspects of writing that I love: Research.

Okay, I usually love research. I’m not so enamored when I’m in the middle of editing a scene and find I’ve forgotten to dig up some specific piece of information I absolutely need. And it’s two o’clock in the blessed morning. At that time of night, do you think the tidbit I need to know is to be found on the Internet? Grrr, argh! No it is not.

Now, I do fully admit that I’m juuust a touch challenged when it comes to plugging the magic combination of words into Google. Thankfully I’m improving and/ or I get lucky, but my secret weapon is to simply phone experts. Might as well put unlimited calling to work for me, right? Besides, I get a wealth of tidbits in speaking with people that I’d never find online.

I also admit I’m a little obsessive when it comes to getting facts 100% correct. I once phoned a local national monument park multiple times and talked with multiple park rangers to get definitive answers to two very simple questions. It cracked me up to get different answers from the rangers—and, yes, drove me a bit nuts, too.

The same thing happened when I researched precisely what an Arkansas county coroner does and doesn’t do at a crime scene—for that matter, what a corner does and doesn’t do in general. I didn’t need the particulars to write an eye-witness description in the book. I needed to understand the processes so my detective could outline the basics to the heroine. This happens to me a lot. I must have a clear idea of how things work in order to write about them.

Thank goodness so many amazing people are willing to share their time and expertise to patiently answer writer questions!

For my new Silver Six Crafting mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime, I researched fun topics online, by phone, and in person. I live in St. Augustine, Florida where we’re fortunate to have several farmer’s markets each week—markets that feature produce, various ready-to-eat foods, and a wide range of crafts from jewelry making to carving. We also have at least two sizable, juried art and craft events each year. The artisans at the markets and the large fairs are wonderful about explaining how they create their work and allowing the public to take photos.Basket Case 75.1 KB

In Basket Case, the youngest character in the cast is Nixy, a woman in her late twenties who works in a Houston art gallery and must go to Arkansas to check in on her aunt. Again, living in St. Augustine proved a boon for my research because there are at least 27 galleries just in the general downtown and uptown area—roughly four square miles!

In other aspects of research for Basket Case, I delved into the differences between art and crafts, and studied the history of folk art. I found it amazing that some arts are sub categorized, a notable example being textile art. I lost track of the number of subcategories, but batik, needlework of all kinds, and weaving were on the list.

So I’m writing about art. I suppose that begs the question: Am I artsy or crafty? Yes and no. Unlike my Silver Six ladies, I don’t basket weave, carve, or make my own herbal lotions and potions. I do occasionally torture a canvas with brushes and acrylic paints. In the past I needlepointed and crocheted, and I’ve hung onto yarn and needles just in case I find more hours in the day to use them again.

How about you? Are you artsy or crafty? What kinds of projects do you most enjoy? What is the most unusual project you’ve done?

Whatever your creative outlets, I hope you’ll enjoy reading about the Silver Six when Basket Case comes to a retailer near you!

~Nancy

About the Author

Nancy Haddock is an award-winning and national bestselling author of mystery romance who now writes cozy mystery. Basket Case, the first book in the Silver Six Crafting mysteries, will be released in Sept. 2015 with Berkley Prime Crime. Her earlier books, also with Berkley, are La Vida Vampire, Last Vampire Standing, and Always The Vampire, feature Cesca, aka Gidget with fangs, and are set in Haddock’s current hometown, St. Augustine, FL. Nancy draws on historic wealth, southern culture, and the plain old quirkiness of places for her books. She lives with her husband and rescue dog Baron.

Visit Nancy on her Webpage, Facebook and GoodReads.

Basket Case 75.1 KBBasket Case
(A Silver Six Mystery)

1st in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Arkansas
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Cover Illustration by Ann Wertheim
Cover Design by Diana Kolsky
The Berkley Publishing Group (September 1, 2015)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425275726
E-Book ASIN: B00SI0268I
goodreads-badge-add-plusShop Indie Bookstores

 

First in a crafty new cozy mystery series from national bestselling author Nancy Haddock!

There isn’t much crime in Lilyvale, Arkansas, but local authorities have their hands full with Ms. Sherry Mae Stanton Cutler and her housemates—a crafty group of retirees who’ve dubbed themselves the Silver Six. But when Sherry Mae’s niece, Nixy, arrives to keep them in line, Lilyvale also plays host to a killer.

When Leslee Stanton “Nixy” Nix gets the latest call from Lilyvale detective Eric Shoar, she knows it means trouble. There’s been another kitchen explosion at her Aunt Sherry’s farmhouse, and the dreamy-voiced detective has had enough. If Nixy doesn’t check on her aunt in person, the Silver Six could become wards of the court. But the trouble Nixy finds in Lilyvale is not at all what she expects.

The seniors are hosting a folk art festival at the farmhouse, featuring Sherry’s hand-woven baskets, when land developer Jill Elsman arrives to bully Nixy’s aunt into selling the property. When Jill is later found dead in the cemetery, Sherry is suspected of weaving a murder plot, and it’s up to Nixy and the Silver Six to untangle the truth.

Recipes and crafting tip included!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Leslee Stanton “Nixy” Nix arrives in Lilyvale for a quick trip to find out what is happening with her aunt, Ms. Sherry Mae Stanton Cutler,  and her housemates (The Silver Six) but the stay gets extended when a land developer is found dead and Ms. Sherry is a prime suspect.

Nancy Haddock introduces us to Nixy and the Silver Six, Ms. Sherry, Dwight Aloysius Baxter, Maisie Holcomb and her sister Aster Parsons, Eleanor Wainwright and Fred Fishner. A group of crafty seniors that all live together in Ms. Sherry’s farmhouse. They all have their strengths and weaknesses but stand by each other no matter what. Even during a murder investigation. She does an excellent job of of giving the reader time to get to know them all before the main mystery begins and I really appreciate that.

But when “Hellspawn”(love this nickname) Jill Elsman is killed and Nixy starts to dig into her background and investigate her business we soon have several suspects and the story’s pace picks up. Then we are caught up in solving the mystery right along with Nixy. Detective Eric Shoar at times wishes he never called the nosy niece to town but she seems to be growing on him.

I love the Silver Six and would love to be friends with them in real life. The entire community of Lilydale sounds like a great group of people. It is nice to see just a glimmer of romance on the horizon for Nixy.

I truly enjoyed my first visit to Lilyvale from the folk art festival to the beautiful town itself. Haddock has laid a great foundation for this series and given us a great mystery to boot. She also tempts us with a preview of GOODBYE GOURDEOUS, the next book in the series, and a craft tip and recipes too. What a fantastic start!

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Following the new Google+ Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Fan Page
will earn you 3 Bonus Entries.

Leave a comment for Nancy for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End September 16, 2015 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.”