Posted in Cozy Wednesday Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2012

Cozy Wednesday with Author Lorraine Bartlett (Giveaway too!)


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

Today’s guest is a Shining Star among cozy authors with her Victoria Square Mysteries, The Jeff Resnick Mysteries written as L.L. Bartlett and The Booktown Mysteries written as Lorna Barrett. I am so happy she could take time out of her busy days to write her guest post for me, but today she is off on vacation so she can’t answer your comments or questions, she may have one of the other Cozy Chicks stop by.  She certainly deserves a vacation and I hope she is having a wonderful time. I am sure she will check out the comments when she returns.

Wedding Bell Blues

“Always a bridesmaid … never a bride.”

Well, I can’t say that phrase describes me. I was a bridesmaid twice before I took the big step myself.

The first time I was 19 and “stood up” at my older brother’s wedding, one of five or six bridesmaids with a Butterick pattern dress. (It was a “rainbow” wedding. Every bridesmaid had a different color dress. Mine was green. Ick.) The second time, I was 24 and stood up for a friend (at first she’d tried to foist the guy on me because he read lots of books and so did I. That didn’t work and they’re still happily married today.) It was a small bridal party (a maid of honor and me), but the dress was much nicer.

In my latest novel, The Walled Flower (Victoria Square Mystery), my protagonist, Katie Bonner, is asked to be the maid of honor for one of the merchants on Victoria Square. Actually, she’s kind of coerced into the job and soon finds out she was second (or third, or maybe even fourth) choice–and mainly because (with just a littler alteration), she’s the right size for the (rather hideous) dress.

The timing couldn’t be worse. Katie has less than two weeks to find a new apartment before she ends up living in her car. She must referee on-going disputes with her vendors at Artisans Alley on Victoria Square, and, oh yes–solve two (or is it three?) murders, one of which occurred more than two decades before.

With so much on her plate, Katie must prioritize–and putting Jordon almonds in little net bags is not on the top of her list of things to do. Especially when the usually meek and mild bride becomes Bridezilla!

Will Katie find a new home?

Will she solve the murder(s)?

Will she actually let herself be seen in publish in that backless, purple bridesmaid dress?

I hope you’ll check out The Walled Flower to see.
———————————————
You can find Lorraine at her website(s–yes, she has three!)
http://lornabarrett.com/
http://www.LorraineBartlett.com
— or her blog http://www.LLBartlett.typepad.com — but she hopes you’ll find her at your favorite bookstore.

The Walled Flower (Victoria Square Mystery)
The Berkley Publishing Company
Published by The Penguin Group
A Victoria Square Mystery
2nd in the Series
Cover Illustration by Chris Beatrice
Cover Design by Annette Fiore Defex

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Lorraine gave a wonderful synopsis above of this fantastic story that has Katie running in circles and eating way too much pizza but by the time I finished reading the book I was craving cinnamon rolls. 

The characters in this series are so much fun, even if one or two of them may be murderers.  Katie has faced so much already losing her husband, then her business partner is murdered and she finds herself the sole owner of Artisans Alley putting here dreams of owning a B&B firmly out of reach. She has grown into the job wonderfully, handling the vendors with a caring touch but firmly enough so they know who’s is charge. Her relationship with Andy continues to evolve.  They just need to figure out to spend more time together.  We also get to know Edie, Rose and Vance better in this installment.  I love that Vance’s son has a part to play in this multifaceted story.

Bartlett is an expert at telling a cozy mystery. A true shining star!! She breathes life into every character and pens a mystery full of twists and turns in a beautiful setting that keeps us engrossed from the first word until the last. Definitely another bestseller!!!!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have
2 copies of this awesome book to giveaway
so be sure to fill out the form below to enter!!

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.

***Remember GFC is going away March 1, 2012
so be sure you are following in a different way if you want to
continue to follow Escape With Dollycas.

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

If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End February 29, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted 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 Guest Posts Thoughts

A BOOK COVER IS SO MUCH MORE THAN A COVER FOR A BOOK! —- Artist Teresa Fasolino Guest Posts

This is a reprint of one my posts over at Dollycas’s Thoughts. It originally appeared on June 9, 2011. It is one of my favorite posts and I wanted to be sure it was part of the history that came along with me to Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book. It also explains to new readers why I give credit to the artists and designers when I review a book.

Today’s book covers are absolutely gorgeous, the seem like works of art that should be framed and hung on walls to be enjoyed every day!!

This year I have started to give credit to the wonderful Cover Artists if they are listed in the book, but my interest kept growing and growing so I decided to contact an artist to see how a book cover was created.  Teresa Fasolino was that artist and she gracefully agreed to Guest Post here today to share the process with us.

Welcome Teresa

**********************************************************

Thanks Lori,

As an illustrator for so many Cozy Mysteries it is a real treat to learn that readers notice and appreciate the paintings on the covers of their favorite books and that your readers are interested in the process by which a book gets it’s cover. In a nutshell here’s the process of creating a painting for a Mystery Book Jacket.

 

The cover conference stage: When a new mystery manuscript arrives at the desk of an editor it’s “Conferenced” at a Cover Conference meeting where the editors divide up the lists of new manuscripts among the art directors. The editor discusses the new manuscript with the art director pointing out important scenes, clues and mystery elements. The suggestions along with a synopsis are passed on to the artist with the manuscript to help them understand what’s important to depict on the cover. It’s the art director who matches up the illustrator with the mystery series. I have heard of a new author asking for my work when shown past covers by different artists. I personally like to read the whole manuscript for imagery, settings and pictorial detail that are so important to get the feeling and texture of the story just right. Once in a while I might be given just a few chapters or important passages but prefer having the whole manuscript.

 

The sketch stage: After reading the story while underlining important passages the next stage of the process for the illustrator is to create and submit a sketch. I usually submit one sketch, but there could be two sketches submitted or one sketch with some variation in placement of the elements. This stage involves taking reference photos and gathering reference to draw and paint from. The sketch or sketches are submitted to the art director for comment. The art director shows the sketch to the editor for approval. This is the stage where any revisions to the sketch would be made including any need for more “bleed” or space for type.

 

The finish stage: Once the revisions have been made it’s on to the finish, which for me usually means a couple of weeks of work as my oil paintings are labor intensive with lots of “Cozy” details. There is only one piece of finished art. The art directors at Berkley usually work around my drawing to set a design for the series, which will then be followed for the rest of its life. Sometimes there is a separate designer in- house who works on designing the type but it is the Art Director who sets the look of the series. Finally the finished painting is turned in and must be approved. There are usually no revisions at this stage since any problems were caught in the sketch stage where changes are much easier to make.

 

Who knows what E Books will do to Book Jacket Illustration so far the computer age has not been kind to print and those of us who work in print media. The future is up to your readers.

 

Hope this is illuminating. By the way the art directors, editors and the authors at Berkley Prime Crime are very professional and so easy to work with. Mystery authors seem to be a delightful group and very appreciative of the cover art, some have honored me by mentioning my name and work in the acknowledgments.

 

Teresa

******************************************************
Here is just a small example of Teresa’s Fabulous Work!!
!Sentenced to Death (A Booktown Mystery)The Diva Paints the Town (A Domestic Diva Mystery)The Intrigue at Highbury: Or, Emma's Match (Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mysteries)(PATIENCE, PRINCESS CATHERINE) BY Meyer, Carolyn ( AUTHOR )paperback{Patience, Princess Catherine} on 01 Jan, 2009Bookmarked For Death (Booktown Mystery Series)The Diva Haunts the House (A Domestic Diva Mystery)The Deception at Lyme: Or, The Peril of Persuasion (Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mysteries)The Tainted Snuff Box (Beau Brummell Mysteries)Chapter & Hearse (A Booktown Mystery)The Diva Takes the CakeThe Matters at Mansfield: Or, The Crawford Affair (Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mysteries)The Lion of St. Mark (The Venetians, Book 1)Doomed Queen Anne: A Young Royals BookBookplate Special (A Booktown Mystery)The Diva Cooks a Goose (A Domestic Diva Mystery)Pride and Prescience: Or, A Truth Universally AcknowledgedThe Long Quiche Goodbye (CHEESE SHOP MYSTERY)Lost and Fondue (CHEESE SHOP MYSTERY)Wreath of Deception (A Craft Corner Mystery)String of Lies (A Craft Corner Mystery)

She also designs stamps.

So I wasn’t far off.  I would love one of Teresa’s paintings to hang on my wall any time. They are very beautiful and I will continue to give credit where credit is due.  Don’t get me wrong I know we buy the books to read but with covers as awesome as these these books should just leap off the shelves and into our hands.  The next time you start a new book take a good look at the page the lists the copyright, most paperback books list the Cover Illustrator and Cover Designer.  Hardcover books show the information on the book jacket.  We have come a long way from when I started reading when the covers were just solid colors with the Title and the Author shown.

Thank you so much Teresa for bringing us into the world of an illustrator, I look forward to all the covers in your future.

Would you like to see more of Teresa’s work?  Check out http://newborngroup.com/html/fasolino.html  


Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cozy Wednesday Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2012

Special Edition of Cozy Wednesday With Author Avery Aames (Giveaway too!)

Say Cheese!!!! I am so thrilled  Avery Aames is visiting today. You know how we love our cheese in Wisconsin! Avery writes the Cheese Shop Mysteries and besides the wonderful mystery I just love all the cheese information and recipes. Today I am sharing a virtual tray with Wisconsin made Linderkranz cheese, some dried apricots and a little rye bread. (My dad was a Borden’s milkman for years and this cheese used to be a treat at our house.) I am sure Charlotte, the star of this series, would know the perfect wine to go with this yummy cheese, but around here a nice dark beer is our usual complimenting beverage. Please help yourselves and relax and enjoy Avery’s post.

Welcome Avery!

Thank you, Lori, for inviting me to talk about the third in A Cheese Shop Mystery, Clobbered by Camembert.

I know this might sound cheese-y, but I’m truly thrilled to write about cheese. I have a love affair with it. I didn’t. Before writing this series, I had tasted the usual suspects: Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Swiss. But then I started to do research, and I’ve fallen head-over-heels with cheeses with names like: Délice de Bourgogne and Hook’s Five-Year Cheddar and Abbaye de Bellocq. Aren’t these heavenly and unusual names?

It’s such a joy to write about food. I love to cook, to explore. I blog about food on Mystery Lovers Kitchen with a number of other foodie authors, and we have so much fun.

Often people ask if my protagonist, Charlotte, a cheese shop owner, is like me. Actually, the answer is yes. She’s much younger and single (for now), but like me, she’s impulsive, caring, and a fixer by nature. She can’t stand on the sidelines. She has to dig in and make things right. It gets her in trouble [It often gets me in trouble, too]. I don’t like to see the underdog suffer. And I really care about my community: my family, my friends, my city and country. Would I ever be a cheesemonger? I’m not sure about that. I think running a business would be so difficult. You have to consider the customers, the purchasing, the state of the store, taxes, disability insurance, and so much more. My hat goes off to people who continue to start new businesses in this country to make our economy hum. I did consider owning a restaurant at one time. I wanted to have a diner, like the Country Kitchen across the street from Fromagerie Bessette (The Cheese Shop). I would have loved to serve up grilled cheese sandwiches and burgers and shakes, with delicious homemade pies, homemade ice cream, and cheesecakes for dessert. Yum! Can you tell I like food? And I would have demanded that the wait staff dance in the aisles! Heck, I would have joined them.

Many of my CHEESE SHOP MYSTERY readers ask if I have tasted all the cheeses that I mention in the books. I have tasted over 200 cheeses in the past year and a half and intend to taste another 200 in the year to come. I also have a real-life cheesemonger, Marcella and her feline foodie, Spaulding Gray, that give me fabulous suggestions! [I recently shared an Italian Meatball recipe on her site. Mounded with cheese. Divine.]

Research is so much fun. It’s been one of the true delights of my life going into various cheese shops and asking for a sliver of something new or buying a unique cheese online and offering it at a party. A recent discovery was Rush Creek Reserve, from Oregon. Talk about melt-in-your-mouth. Set out at room temperature, it’s a paste that simply scoops out of its bark-bound crust. Delish!

As for mysteries, I’ve been a mystery fan for as long as I can remember. As a girl, I read all of the Nancy Drew stories and Agatha Christie novels. And now I read many of the current foodie mysteries from wonderful authors, such as, Krista Davis, Cleo Coyle, Julie Hyzy, and so many more!

I hope you all enjoy Clobbered by Camembert and I would love to hear your feedback!

You can read more about the book and the series on my website: http://www.averyaames.com,
or Facebook http://www.facebook.com/averyaames.
And I’m always thrilled to hear from my writing and reading friends on twitter! http://www.twitter.com/averyaames.

About This Author
Avery Aames is the Agatha award wining, nationally bestselling author of The Cheese Shop Mystery series, which launched in 2010 with The Long Quiche Goodbye. The latest Cheese Shop Mystery is Clobbered by Camembert (CHEESE SHOP MYSTERY #3).  The Cheese Shop Mystery series follows cheese shop owner Charlotte Bessette as she dishes up tasty morsels of goodness while solving the murders that threaten to the peace and charm of the quaint fictional town of Providence, Ohio.
BUY LINK:
http://www.averyaames.com/book_sellers.html

WEBSITE:
http://www.averyaames.com

BLOGS:
http://www.mysteryloverskitchen.com
http://killercharacters.com

Clobbered by Camembert (CHEESE SHOP MYSTERY)
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
A Cheese Shop Mystery
3rd in the Series
Cover Illustration by Teresa Fasolino
Cover Design by Annette Fiore Defex


Charlotte Bessette—proprietor of Le Petit Fromagerie, affectionately known in Providence, Ohio, as the Cheese Shop—is busy setting up her tent for the town’s Winter Wonderland faire, where she’ll offer fine wines and scrumptious cheeses. In the midst of the preparations, Charlotte meets an old friend of her mother, Kaitlyn Clydesdale, who has come back to Providence with plans to start a new honeybee farm.When Kaitlyn is found dead in the cottage of Charlotte’s assistant Rebecca, suspicion falls on Rebecca’s boyfriend, a honeybee farmer himself. Charlotte knows this beekeeper wouldn’t hurt a fly, so she decides to find the real killer. While the town buzzes with gossip, can Charlotte catch the culprit without getting stung herself?

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Charlotte Bessette is a wonderful strong woman, raised by her grandparents. Her parents were killed in an accident when Charlotte was just a toddler. She has had more than a few bumps already in life but emerges from each them even stronger. She also has a huge heart which means it is hard for her to say “no” to anyone which sometimes leads her to yet another bump in the road. The trouble is lately this bumps have been dead bodies or live ones she just wishes would leave her alone. Rebecca is quite demanding of Charlotte in this installment but then again her boyfriend is being accused of murder. You can’t help but love these characters.

As you can see from the cover of the book illustrated by Teresa Fasolino, the setting is gorgeous. The Winter Wonderland Faire sounds like an awesome event, the food, the ice sculptures, the choir, the author puts you right there, you may even shiver from the cold weather as the snow starts to gently fall.

Avery also sculpts a wonderful winter mystery. New characters come to town shedding some light on the past and also with big ideas that could mean major changes to Providence making many upset as they learn the details. But who would commit murder? We are kept guessing until the very end.

The setting may be winter but that makes this is a perfect cozy to curl up in front of the fire to read. Don’t forgot to pour a glass of wine and make a little cheesy snack. The story will have you craving both.


Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have
3 copies of this awesome book to giveaway
so be sure to fill out the form below to enter!!

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.

***Remember GFC is going away March 1, 2012
so be sure you are following in a different way if you want to
continue to follow Escape With Dollycas.

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

If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End February 23, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted 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 Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Literary Escapes Reviews 2012

Cozy Wednesday with Author B.B. Haywood (Giveaway too!)


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday. I am so excited to welcome B.B. Haywood to Escape With Dollycas. Which means that I am really welcoming 2 wonderful authors today. You see B.B. Haywood is the pseudonym used by co-writers Bob and Beth Feeman. I have not seen this widely published nor have I ever seen a picture of this cozy writing duo. So let’s just keep it between all of us. Add to the mystery a bit. They do have a brand new website, so be sure to check that out after you read their wonderful post.

Welcome B.B.!!! or Beth and Bob 😉

Hi Lori,

The Harrowing Life of a Mystery Series Heroine
by B.B. Haywood

One of the great parts about being a mystery writer is that you get to explore the reactions and behaviors of normal people in incredibly abnormal situations. This is especially true of a cozy mystery featuring an amateur sleuth. In fact, the more harrowing the situation for the heroine, the more fun it is to write, and hopefully read.

Consider, for example, Candy Holliday of Cape Willington, Maine. Candy is just your everyday blueberry farmer, dealing with all the ho-hum details of everyday life. But over the past two years, a string of seemingly unconnected murders have put her at the center of attention, and prompted her to do things she never thought herself capable of doing as she seeks to unravel the mysteries that have cropped up in her little town. She’s faced all kinds of dangers, and she’s always risen to the occasion, no matter what comes her way, sometimes exhibiting a bravery she never knew she had.

For instance, in Town In a Blueberry Jam, the first book in the series, Candy found herself hunting down a red-handled hammer (a murder weapon), dodging bullets, and facing a crazed murderer on the Widow’s Walk atop the Pruitt Opera House—in a driving rain, no less. (We writers do like to pile on the complications—no sense making it too easy for the heroine.) But with the help of her best friend, Maggie Tremont, Candy stood her ground and won the day.

And in Town In a Lobster Stew, she faced a similar danger atop the English Point Lighthouse, this time in a thick fog. (Candy seems to prefer adverse weather conditions when confronting villains.) And again, she exhibited great skill and bravery in staying alive and helping to capture the murderer.

It doesn’t get any easier for Candy in the third book in the series, Town in a Wild Moose Chase, which was released yesterday. And yes, there is a moose in this book—a rare white moose, in fact. And strangely enough, the moose helps Candy solve the mystery, which involves a very crafty villain. Will Candy find herself in danger once again? Undoubtedly. Will she win out in the end and capture the villain?

Well, in this one, the answer is both “yes” and “no.” Because there’s more to the story than meets the eye. In this book, as they say, the plot thickens—a lot! But whatever’s going on around town, you can rest assured that Candy Holliday is on the case, and that she’ll eventually figure it out—even if she has to put herself in danger to do so.

And in this and coming books, Candy will have her hands full trying to figure out what’s going on while running the blueberry farm with her father.

And that, in a nutshell, is what makes cozy mysteries so much fun to read—and write!

************

Thank you so much for visiting with us today!!  I hope you will come back when the next Candy Holliday story is released. 


Town in a Wild Moose Chase (CANDY HOLLIDAY MYSTERY)
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Published by The Penguin Group
3rd in the Series
Available Now!

It’s time for the Annual Moose Fest in Cape Willington featuring a Sleigh and Sled parade, an ice sculpting exhibition, and the Moose Fest Ball. Candy again is in the center of the action covering things for the local newspaper but her mind is filled with things Solomon Hatch has told her. He claims he saw a dead body in the woods behind her blueberry farm. As if that is not enough, a mysterious white moose is showing up in the strangest places. How do all of these things fit together? You can be sure Candy will figure it out.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Life is never dull in the quaint seaside village of Cape Willington, Maine. As was said in the guest post above, the plot in this story really thickens and Candy is right in the thick of things. She is a very strong, savvy, smart protagonist. She has really grown in this series and I have grown to love her. But I am so jealous of her. We once took a vacation to Canada and the only moose we saw were on the moose crossing signs and Candy not only has a moose in her woods, but a white moose. We should have went to Maine!

The team of B.B. Haywood have written another captivating cozy sure to be enjoyed by all cozy lovers. These books are unique in that they all feature yearly events in Cape Willington. I hope they have many, many, more events planned to keep Candy busy for several stories. The title for the next book, Town in Pumpkin Bash already has my mouth watering and mind anxiously awaiting its release next year.


Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

I have a very special giveaway planned today.
Is this a new series for you?
Well I have one gently read complete set of all three books to giveaway.

If you are a fan of this series I am also offering 2 copies of
Town in a Wild Moose Chase (CANDY HOLLIDAY MYSTERY) too!

Just Fill Out The Form Below!
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.

***Remember GFC is going away March 1, 2012
so be sure you are following in a different way if you want to
continue to follow Escape With Dollycas.

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

If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End February 22, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted 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 Literary Escapes Reviews 2012

Buried in a Book by Lucy Arlington

Buried in a Book (A Novel Idea Mystery)
Brand New Series!!

The Berkley Publishing Group
Publish by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Julia Green
Cover Design by Lesley Worrell
Release Date: February 7, 2012

Meet Lila Wilkens, former newspaper journalist and the newest employee of A Novel Idea. She is a 45 year old intern, but she not only accepts the position because she really needs the job, but also because it is a thriving business in the Utopian town of Inspiration Valley, North Carolina.  Lily is an avid reader and can imagine no job better than getting paid to read.

Her first day is quite eventful as she meets her eccentric coworkers, receives a huge stack of query letters to review, and is assigned an extremely small desk. Of course none of that compares to finding a dead body in the waiting room. Even more amazing is that none of her new coworkers seem the least bit concerned that a man died in their office. Most of them just continue on with their day leaving Lila to handle the aftermath including the police.

The journalist in Lila can’t believe that this man died at A Novel Idea randomly so using skills from her previous job she is determined who killed this man and why.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
First things first, I want Lila’s job, I wouldn’t even mind dealing with the dead body. Being paid to read story ideas and novels would be absolutely awesome. Doing it in a place like Inspiration Valley would be caramel on top of my latte!

Lucy Arlington has a winner with this debut. Readers will love to read about the beginning of the publishing process with a murder or two wrapped in a great mystery. The setting is a place everyone will want to visit, from the coffee cafe to the sandwich shoppe. I want to jump right into the cover of the book and tool around the cobblestone streets on my bright yellow scooter.

Lila is quick to make friends, some friendlier than others, her mother is has a unique gift, her son Trey needs a little redirection that the changes in Lila’s life will help create.  We are just starting to get to know all the characters and I am very anxious to see where the author takes them.

A first-rate whodunit all cozy fans will enjoy!!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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 Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cozy Wednesday Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Literary Escapes Reviews 2012

File M for Murder by Miranda James


This book caught me a little off guard because of its release date. Usually all my cozies are released on the first Tuesday of the month and this one came out yesterday, the last Tuesday of the month. I am sure the publisher’s know what they are doing, but it messed with my routine 🙂 so I didn’t ask Miranda to guest post today, but we can have fun just the same because File M for Murder just like the other two Cats In The Stacks Mysteries it is another purr-fect escape!!

File M for Murder
A Cat In The Stacks Mystery
3rd book in the Series


A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Dan Craig
Cover Design by Lesley Worrell
Available Now!


This series features Charlie Harris who has returned home to Athena, Mississippi to work as a librarian. He also has a sidekick that goes almost everywhere he goes, a rescued Maine coon cat named Diesel. Diesel is happy to don a harness and leash and travel around town with Charlie. Most of the people of Athena have adjusted to this huge cat and realize how friendly he is, they always have pats and treats ready for Diesel.

In File M for Murder, Charlie is surprised when his daughter, Laura, returns home from Hollywood to fill in for another professor at the local college. Charlie, Sean and Diesel are thrilled to have her home.

He then learns that her old boyfriend, Connor Lawton, a playwright,  is also at the college as a writer-in-residence, working on his new play and helped her get the job. Charlie in not at all impressed with the man who is just plain rude. Connor is also followed to Athena by an old girlfriend who believes she is the only woman good enough for Connor.

Before the sharp tongued writer can finish his play he is murdered and Charlie’s daughter becomes the prime suspect. Charlie and Diesel are on the case. He soon finds many other viable suspects but can he find the real killer before any of his family or friends end up filed under M for murder.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Yes, Diesel is one of the shining stars of this series. His meows, warbles, chirrups, and head bumps are priceless. He is so in tune to human’s feelings. If you are a cat person like me you will truly understand. But without Charlie there is no story so together they make a great team of shining stars. We also know that Charlie is not the only human who talks to their pets like they understand exactly what we are saying. I know Azalea is shaking her head at me.

This story touched my heart because of the relationship Charlie has with his daughter. I found myself missing the talks I used to have with my dad. Like Charlie, he was there for me through thick and thin until his death, although he definitely was not a cat person. 🙂 Charlie was definitely Laura’s hero in this story, just like a dad should be. James creates a wonderful family dynamic that reaches out to Justin and Stewart, Charlie’s boarders. All the characters are strong, real and jump right off the page.

This mystery was complex and following the tidbits and putting them all together was very entertaining. It will change the way you look at your local librarian because contrary to what we think we can’t find everything we need to know on the internet. Sometimes we need to dig a little deeper and go through those old musty files, especially when trying to solve a murder, be it a new one or a very old one.

File M for Murder is full of Southern Charm and the residents of Athena will work their way right into your heart, especially one huge Maine coon cat! Love ya Diesel! 

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

For the giveaway today I am giving my gently read copy of

File M for Murder (Cat in the Stacks Mystery)

plus 2 BRAND NEW COPIES FROM PENGUIN!!

Just Fill Out The Form Below!
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.

***Remember GFC is going away March 1, 2012
so be sure you are following in a different way if you want to
continue to follow Escape With Dollycas.

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

If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End February 15, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted 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 Cozy Wednesday Cruisin Thru Cozies Guest Posts Reviews 2012

Cozy Wednesday With Author Nancy Cohen (Giveaway Too!)

I have been anxiously awaiting the release of the next Bad Hair Day Mystery so I was thrilled when I connected with Nancy and she sent me an advanced copy. She also made my day when she said she would stop by here for a Cozy Wednesday visit, so today is definitely a Very Good Hair Day!!!

Welcome Nancy!!

Thanks Lori, I am happy to be here.

Weddings and Murder by Nancy J. Cohen

Weddings always make Marla Shore shed a tear of joy, and that goes for me too. Even if I don’t know the couple, I’ll get choked up seeing the veiled bride in her ivory gown facing the altar alongside her groom. During Kate and William’s royal spectacle, I was glued to the TV. So it comes as no surprise that I had to write a wedding story.

Shear Murder, the tenth book in my Bad Hair Day mystery series, finds hairdresser Marla Shore as a bridesmaid at her friend Jill’s ceremony. Things go terribly wrong when Marla finds the matron of honor—Jill’s sister—dead under the cake table.

What is it about weddings that can bring out the worst in people? Is it that their passions are aroused? That they’re reminded of their own disappointments? That their envy of the happy couple’s joy drives them to despair? Certainly, weddings are a popular setting for murder mysteries, often becoming the theme for an entire series.

Since it’s been thirty-five years since my own nuptials, I had to update my knowledge about current customs. Bridal wear, music, flowers, party favors, catering menus, ceremonial and religious details, all of these were necessary to research. I was amazed at the size of this industry. At 2.5 million weddings a year, it fuels a forty billion dollar business. Magazines are devoted to bridal wear and advice on all aspects of this exciting day in a woman’s life. Bridal boutiques offer everything from gowns and shoes to evening bags and tiaras. The selection of bridal dresses itself is staggering. No wonder planning a wedding is the subject of every girl’s dreams.

Flowers may be only one aspect, but they play an important role in my mystery. Marla, wishing to question Jill’s florist, pretends she’s scouting decorators for a friend. The florist seats her down in his shop and shows her some albums.

“Here are some pictures of the most common bouquet styles.” He pulled another book from the stack and flicked open the pages to a classic all-white collection. “The round nosegay is always popular. People used these back in the fourteenth century to mask odors. That’s where the nosegay got its name. Get it? Nose?” He giggled.


“I see.” What she saw was that he made her lose concentration. If she didn’t focus their conversation, she’d never get out of there.

“If your friend chooses to wear a formal gown, I’d suggest this cascade bouquet.” He showed her another picture. “Or for a more contemporary design, we can do wonders with calla lilies, orchids and anthuriums. These can be simple but sophisticated.”

“How about candles, like at Jill’s wedding?” she said in a desperate attempt to steer the conversation.

“At the ceremony, she can have flowers alone, or flowers plus candlelight. We have lots of options for the dinner tables, depending on the look she wants. Also, I can suggest colors for the table linens and chairs. It would help if your friend brings in swatches from the bridal dresses.”

Mute, Marla merely nodded.

“We can do gifts, too. You know, for the bridal party, as well as small remembrances for the wedding guests.” He twirled his hand in the air. “It depends on how elaborate your friend cares to go. Who’s doing the cake? We can scatter rose petals on the cake table, or we could use orchids, my favorite.”

Ah, there’s the opening she needed. “Speaking of wedding cakes, I’m wondering where Jill and Arnie bought their cake knife. Was it from a gift shop or did you supply it?”

“Arnie gave the knife to me beforehand. I brought it in my van along with everything else.”

“So you placed it on the table beside the cake, before the ceremony even started?”

“My dear, I finished doing the ballroom before the bride even arrived.”

<><><>

The sad thing is the bride might have the most beautiful bouquet at her ceremony, but she has to toss it at the reception. Then she’s off to her honeymoon and never sees the gorgeous flower arrangement again. According to my wedding photos, I had a cascade bouquet with white roses and carnations. What kind of flowers did you have at your wedding? Centerpieces alone can be an expensive proposition or a place to save money toward catering instead. With so many details to manage, it’s no surprise the happy woman often turns into bridezilla. And other than funerals and bar mitzvahs, this may be the only time extended relatives draw together. Who knows what dangerous secrets some of them might be hiding? With hidden passions at bay, weddings are perfect settings for murder mysteries.
<><><>

Shear Murder
Weddings always make Marla Shore shed a tear of joy, and she’s elated to attend her friend Jill’s reception. Marla’s own nuptials are weeks away, and she’s busy following her frenetic to-do list. Her plans go awry when she discovers Jill’s matron of honor dead under the cake table, a knife embedded in her chest. Lots of folks aren’t sorry to see Torrie go, especially since the bride’s sister knew their deepest secrets. But when suspicion falls upon Jill, Marla wonders if her dear friend is truly innocent. She’d better untangle the snarl of suspects and iron out the clues before the killer highlights her as the next victim.

BUY NOW

Follow Nancy on her Social Networks:
Website
Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads

Nancy writes romance novels too! Here’s a direct link to that page of her web site.

Leave a comment during Nancy’s blog tour and enter to win a set of Paua shell jewelry and a signed copy of Shear Murder.
Nancy will announce the winner.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Shear Murder (Five Star Mystery Series)
A Bad Hair Mystery
10th in the Series


This whole series has been a lot of fun.

In this installment, Marla not only does hair for a wedding, but is a bridesmaid and finally a bride. At crunch time for her own wedding plans she is also trying to solve a murder. Marla takes multitasking to a whole new level. Dalton really understands her need to be in the middle of things and his daughter Brianna has a great relationship with Marla. I am so happy this new family is coming together.

The family dynamics at work in both Marla’s case and Jill and Torrie’s are very entertaining. Marla knows just how to handle her own relatives and her future in-laws. Torrie’s family and friends are so dysfunctional the suspects in her death are many and when the culprit was revealed this reader was quite surprised.

This is an ideal cozy mystery full of murder, mayhem, humor and romance. It is so fast paced you will read it in one sitting, just as I did. This book is definitely the perfect book to “escape into” this winter, it will warm you right up!


Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author
Nancy J. Cohen is an award-winning author who writes romance and mysteries. Her popular Bad Hair Day series features hairdresser Marla Shore, who solves crimes with wit and style under the sultry Florida sun. Several titles in this series have made the IMBA bestseller list, while Nancy’s imaginative sci-fi romances have garnered rave reviews. Her latest book, and tenth in her mystery series, is Shear Murder from Five Star. Active in the writing community and a featured speaker at libraries and conferences, Nancy is listed in Contemporary Authors, Poets & Writers, and Who’s Who in U.S. Writers, Editors, & Poets.

Posted in Literary Escapes Reviews 2012

Murder Grins and Bears It by Deb Baker

Murder Grins and Bears It: A Gertie Johnson Murder Mystery
Print

Murder Grins and Bears It : A Gertie Johnson Murder Mystery
Kindle

A Gertie Johnson Mystery
2nd book in the Series

It’s Bear Season is Yooper Country!! That is Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the bears aren’t the only thing being hunted. A game warden is murdered right under Little Donny’s tree stand and Little Donny is no where to be found. Gertie is upset, her son, the sheriff, is wasting time trying to catch her driving without a license when he should be trying to catch a killer and find Little Donny. Does she have to do everything herself?!

Dollycas’s Thoughts
This story will leave your sides aching from laughter!!

Gertie is an absolute gem!! Driving all over God’s creation without a license, tramping through the woods, questioning suspects who answer the door with sawed off shotguns, she does it all. She is quite a woman and you don’t want to mess with her. You never knows what she is going to pull out of that handbag. The woman is fearless!!!

In addition to Gertie there is man-hungry Cora Mae, Carl who is willing to coat himself in chicken grease to bag a bear, Grandma Johnson who just loves to cook and good ole’ Blaze who is just trying to his job. Add in a few more wacky friends and relatives, a dead body or two, and you are in for a wild ride courtesy of Deb Baker’s vast imagination.

I have loved everything I have read by this awesome author! A master storyteller!! KUDOS DEB!!!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


This book was from my personal collection.

Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Guest Posts Literary Escapes Reviews 2012 What's In A Name Challenge

Cozy Wednesday with Author Hannah Reed (Giveaway too!)

One of the first things I learned when I started blogging was that Hannah Reed and her alter ego Deb Baker are from Wisconsin. I quickly reached out to her and she was the very first author to guest post on Dollycas’s Thoughts. Since then I have become huge fan. I am so happy she is here today to tell us about the next Queen Bee Mystery.

Welcome Hannah!

Hi Everyone!

“Write What You Know,” the writing coaches tell us.

But I wanted to write mysteries, and I didn’t know a single thing about killing – I’m not a murderess, or in law enforcement, or a medical examiner. I don’t have a degree in criminal law, and I certainly am not acquainted with any serial killers, so interviewing bad guys was out. The victims weren’t talking, either (obviously).

After a lot of internal debate over my lack of qualifications, I decided to really write what I knew. And what I had experience with was small town Wisconsin. Plus, I’d married into a family business, and let me tell you, that turned out to be quite an awakening.

I also realized early on that I love sassy, unusual characters and fun romps and delving into family dynamics, all mixed with a twinkle of the outrageous and a bit of humor.

Enter Story Fischer, living in her hometown of Moraine, Wisconsin, a novice beekeeper, owner of The Wild Clover, the only local grocery store. Add an overbearing mother, a sister and cousin who work at the store, and a snoopy neighbor. Whip in a hot cop with a K-9 partner, plenty of gossip going around, and the dark side of human nature. Ta da. A winning recipe for murder and mayhem.

Book 3 in the series, Plan Bee, came out early this month. Appropriately titled, since when was the last time Plan A really worked? Never, that’s when.

Hope you enjoy it.

~Hannah

Thanks Hannah for stopping by.

About This Author
Hannah Reed is the pen name of author Deb Baker.

As Deb (her real name) she has authored The Gertie Johnson Backwoods Adventures and The Dolls To Die For Series.

In her youth, Deb dreamed of working as a private investigator or as an undercover cop. So when Deb began writing a new series, the Queen Bee mysteries, she did something she always wanted to do — she went undercover with an alias!

Hannah was one of her all-time favorite names. Reed was her great-grandmother’s maiden name. So she put the two together.

As it turns out, the author Hannah Reed is much younger than Deb Baker. She’s also more daring, more willing to step right into the midst of any sticky situation, and she’s not afraid to tell it like it is.

As Deb says, “Look out! When Hannah’s around, big trouble is sure to follow.”

To find out more check out her web page.

*******************

If you love the Queen Bee Mysteries, you will love Yooper Mysteries too. Stop by tomorrow when I tell you all about Murder Grins and Bears It. The second book in the Yooper series.

*******************


Plan Bee (A Queen Bee Mystery)
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery

A Queen Bee Mystery
3rd in the Series
Cover Illustration by Trish Cramblet
Cover Design by Judith Langerman

It’s time for the Harmony Festival in Moraine, Wisconsin. All the shopkeepers are setting up outdoor displays, there will be a parade and even a Honey Queen. Story is none to happy with this year’s queen but there are other things for her to worry about, like a 12 year old whose is experimenting creating explosives, her mother’s new boyfriend and an out-of-towner trying to reap the benefits of the home town festival.

Then there’s that darn disappearing body, she tripped over it in the cemetery, but by the time help arrives the body is gone. It then turns up in a most unusual spot and when his identity is revealed Story realizes there are even more things she needs to worry about. The search for the truth “bee-comes” very interesting and danger could “bee” lurking around every corner.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I love this series.

Hannah Reed definitely writes what she knows. She crafts an wonderful intelligent cozy mystery without a flaw. The characters are all unique and absolutely extraordinary. Each and every one will make a beeline right into your heart, even the characters we love to hate. I grow to love each one a little more with every page in this wonderful series. They never fail to put a smile on my face.

Mystery and mayhem are blended together to give us a honey of a story for our minds to enjoy. Reed is definitely the Queen Bee when it comes to cozy mystery.


Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have
2 copies of this awesome book to giveaway
so be sure to fill out the form below to enter!!

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.

***Remember GFC is going away March 1, 2012
so be sure you are following in a different way if you want to
continue to follow Escape With Dollycas.

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

If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End February 1, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted 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 Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cozy Wednesday Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways Literary Escapes Reviews 2012

Cozy Wednesday With Author Lucy Burdette (Giveaway too!)

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I saw the cover of Lucy’s An Appetite For Murder: A Key West Food Critic Mystery and knew I was going to love it. The idea of escaping to Key West during a cold Wisconsin winter sounded like a grand idea. Plus the cat on the cover resembles my Sherlock 🙂

I was so excited that Lucy agreed to be a guest here. I had read her other series and enjoyed them so much. I am so happy she is back with a new series and here today to tell us a little bit about it.

Hi Lucy!

Many thanks to Lori for inviting me to talk about my brand new Key West food critic mystery, An Appetite For Murder, written by Lucy Burdette (formerly known as Roberta Isleib.) I’m truly thrilled to be joining the ranks of other culinary mystery writers, including the renowned Diane Mott Davidson. (I have to brag a little–her blurb is on the front cover of my new book!) So I thought it would be fun to talk a little about food, glorious food, as they sang in Oliver!


This is the launch of my third mystery series, but the first one focused on food. (Although any readers of the advice column mysteries will remember that the main character, Dr. Rebecca Butterman, was an excellent cook.) It’s such a pleasure to write about things I love–and food is certainly one of them. I love to eat, to read about new recipes, to cook, to eat out in restaurants, to read about food in both memoirs and fiction. This series has given me license to do all that with a vengeance! My husband likes to tease that “Isleib” means “is stomach” in German. His other fictionalized translation for my family name is “large lunch followed by a restful nap.” No telling what he’ll make up for Burdette…

Anyway, I don’t think I’d like to be a food critic in real life–when I go out to eat, I like to choose what I feel like eating, not what I think other folks want to hear about. And there are places where I’d draw lines that my character Hayley Snow, cannot. For instance, tentacles. Raw fish and meat. Slimy things. Like that:). That said, all the restaurants in the book really exist in Key West and I’ve had wonderful meals in each of them. The only fictionalized establishment is the one Hayley visits in Miami Beach. I suppose if she’s going to start writing bad reviews or if someone is actually poisoned in a future book in a restaurant, I’ll have to do more inventing.

One of the first readers of An Appetite For Murder commented on the way I have chosen to lead off each of the chapters with a quote about food, chefs, or eating. Finding the quotes was so, so much fun. I started with more standard citations that would be familiar to many people, for example Miss Piggy’s famous “don’t eat more than you can lift.” But then the more I read, the more possibilities I found so I could tailor the quote to fit the action and the characters in each chapter–foreshadow what’s to come in many cases. And I came across gems like this one from Dwight Garner: “It is possible to imagine him having a small meal of minor critics for breakfast, as if they were kippers…

I so hope you all enjoy An Appetite For Murder –would love to hear your feedback!

You can read more about the book and the series on my website: http://www.lucyburdette.com, or Facebook http://www.facebook.com/lucyburdette. And I’m always happy to see my writing and reading friends on twitter! http://www.twitter.com/lucyburdette

~Lucy

Thank you so much for being here today. Don’t you just love Miss Piggy!!!

An Appetite For Murder: A Key West Food Critic Mystery
Obsidian
Published by New American Library
A Division of The Penguin Group
A Brand New Series
A Key West Food Critic Mystery

Available Now

Haley Snow leaves New Jersey to follow the man of her dreams to Key West, Florida. Things don’t go as planned when Hayley learns she’s not the only woman in his life. She is determined to stay in Key West and since her entire life has revolved around food, cooking it, eating it, and writing about it, she decides to apply to be the food critic for a brand new magazine. Sounds good until Hayley learns her new boss would be the other woman in her ex-boyfriend’s life. Things get crazy when the police show up at her door to question her about a murder. The other woman is dead and Haley’s career as a food critic could be over before it has even begun.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Key West – Paradise – The perfect setting!! for mystery and mayhem!!!

Lucy Burdette weaves us through the streets of this small island, a popular tourist spot, and a place loved by both Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams. Key West’s culinary influences and offerings are as diverse as its population. Hayley has a variety of eateries to critique.

I have absolutely fallen for this character. I want to be this character. Even with the suspicion of being a murderer. She lives in a beautiful place, has wonderful friends and even lives on a boat. Her days are filled with eating yummy food, visits with chefs, a cat herder, a tarot card reader and did I mention she lives on a boat!

The mystery is divine, it is perfectly paced and the ending is a surprise. I have an appetite for much more from Lucy Burnette and the awesome life of Hayley Snow. This is very delicious debut of what will definitely be a delectable series.


Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have
2 copies of this wonderful book to giveaway
so be sure to fill out the form below to enter!!

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.

***Remember GFC is going away March 1, 2012
so be sure you are following in a different way if you want to
continue to follow Escape With Dollycas.

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

If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End January 25, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted 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.”