Oct 032019
 

Two Bites Too Many
(A Sarah Blair Mystery)
by Debra H. Goldstein

I am so excited to welcome Debra Goldstein to Escape With Dollycas today!

My Favorite Shirt Has a Tear
by Debra H. Goldstein

 

My favorite shirt has a tear.

The minute the dryer buzzed, I stopped what I was doing and went to retrieve my shirt, so it wouldn’t wrinkle. I pulled it out, shook it, hung it, and saw the pinprick sized hole at the edge of the pocket. Perhaps it was a spot? No, a hole going all the way through the fabric at a location that makes patching or simply wearing it again in public impossible.

What will I do?

I wear that shirt when I don’t feel up to par, when I think the weather is going to be cold, when I write and things aren’t working, or when it is one of those days. It is my comfort shirt. Oversized, blue-green and white plaid, with sleeves that stay rolled up because it has little buttons and tabs to keep them in place, it would never be mistaken as high fashion. My shirt serves only two purposes:  it keeps me covered and makes me feel secure.

My writing is like my shirt. I write comfort books and short stories. Hopefully, readers feel embraced by the wealth of my words and for a moment forget whatever troubles them in the real world. Whether my tale is dark or light, the goal is for the plot, setting, and characters to wrap the reader in a manner that shuts out any other thoughts.

In One Taste Too Many and Two Bites Too Many, the first books in my new Sarah Blair cozy mystery series from Kensington, I address one of my biggest fears – being in the kitchen. As Sarah struggles to avoid making anything from scratch, I express her fears and actions in a fun way that readers can either identify with or laugh at. Whether a reader goes the extra step of making one of the recipes, like Jell-O in a Can, or is engaged by the charms of RahRah, Sarah’s Siamese cat, there should be a momentary sense of enjoyment. The language I use may not be highfaluting, but it always is understandable. Consequently, like my shirt, the purpose of this series is to provide comfort to readers.

Time changes everything. Hopefully, each of my written works has improved. It is an inevitable evolution, comparable to life. Tomorrow, I’ll mourn the loss of my shirt, but I’ll buy another. It will be different, but I bet in the long run it will be just as comfortable. My series won’t be the same as other ones you’ve tried and liked, but I’m hoping you discover, as I will with my new shirt, that different can entertain you and cover you with the security of joy.

Have you ever found giving up something old has led you to something you liked even better?

 

Thank you, Debra, for visiting today!

Okay folks, keep reading for my thoughts about Two Bites Too Many. 

About Two Bites Too Many


Two Bites Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Alabama
Kensington (September 24, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 1496719484
ISBN-13: 978-1496719485
Digital ASIN: B07MB4779P

Far from a domestic goddess, Sarah Blair would rather catch bad guys than slave over a hot stove. But when a dangerous murder boils over in Wheaton, Alabama, catching the killer means leaving her comfort zone . . .

Things are finally looking up for Sarah Blair following her unsavory divorce. Settled into a cozy carriage house with her sassy Siamese cat, RahRah, she has somehow managed to hang on to her modest law firm receptionist job and—if befriending flea-bitten strays at the local animal shelter counts—lead a thriving social life. For once, Sarah almost has it together more than her enterprising twin, Emily, a professional chef whose efforts to open a gourmet restaurant have hit a real dead end.

When the president of the town bank and city council is murdered after icing Emily’s business plans, all eyes are on the one person who left the scene with blood on her hands—the twins sharp-tongued mother, Maybelle. Determined to get her mom off the hook ASAP, Sarah must collect the ingredients of a deadly crime to bring the true culprit to justice. But as neighbors turn against her family, can she pare down the suspects before another victim lands on the chopping block?

Includes quick and easy recipes!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sarah Blair doesn’t have to work but she enjoys her job at the law firm and is happy living in the carriage house with her cat RahRah. Her sister Emily along with Marcus have big plans for not just one restaurant but two! The one lost to a fire and one in the “big house” that Sarah inherited. When the bank turns down their loan request her the girl’s mother Maybelle drags Sarah to the bank to hash it out with the president of the bank. Apparently Sarah’s healthy bank account will remind the man who is dealing with.  Promising he’ll look over the paperwork, Sarah heads to a meeting but Maybelle has other plans. She waits a short time and then returns to the president’s office where instead of getting the answer she wanted she finds the man dead. She then finds herself the police’s prime suspect.

Sarah is surprised by how quickly people believe her mother is a murderer. Emily has her hands full working at a local hotel until she can get her restaurants open. Sarah is busy with a fundraiser too but knows she needs to help lawyer Harlan do everything she can to keep Maybelle out of jail.

___________

There is a lot happening in Wheaton, Alabama and Sarah Blair seems to be caught up in all of it. She can do many things now that she has received her inheritance but for right now she is content working for Harlan, helping her sister and staying involved with things around town, like the fundraiser. She and Emily are best friends, the yin to the other’s yang. Maybelle knows just how to push their buttons, but we see a different side of her this time. Emily is very driven and Sarah is still finding her way. The core characters are evolving at a realistic pace.  We learn more about Sarah’s neighbor George this time and because of that, we meet some new characters. Employees of the bank are also introduced. The author does an excellent job giving us characters to root for and those that could be villains/suspects. RahRah again stole my heart.

I did enjoy the way Ms. Goldstein sets the scene. The bank, the hotel, the carriage house and everything in between were all described so well. I could easily envision each place.

The mystery was murky for me but I latched onto the killer pretty early on. I just didn’t know the details of their motive until it was all laid out for me. There were several red herrings though that could have diverted my thinking but I held strong. Mini mysteries that eventually tied together to the murder were very interesting and pressed me to realize I was on the right track. The ending was pretty exciting.

Debra H. Goldstein has again given readers a fun and entertaining mystery filled with characters I wish I could know in person. Comfortable cozies, both books in this series so far have been Perfect Escapes. Once I started reading they were virtually impossible to put down.  Two Bites Too Many has whet my appetite for book #3. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of One Taste Too Many here.

About Debra H. Goldstein 

Judge Debra H. Goldstein is the author of Two Bites Too Many, as well as One Taste Too Many, the first of Kensington’s new Sarah Blair cozy mystery series. She also wrote Should Have Played Poker and IPPY Award-winning Maze in Blue. Her short stories, including Anthony and Agatha nominated “The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place,” have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies including Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Black Cat Mystery Magazine, and Mystery Weekly. Debra serves on the national boards of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America and is president of the Southeast Chapter of MWA and past president of SinC’s Guppy Chapter.

Author Links

Website    Blog    Facebook    Linked In

Twitter @DebraHGoldstein    GoodReads

Purchase Links

Amazon  B&N  Kobo  Google Play 

Praise for Two Bites Too Many
(A Sarah Blair Mystery)
by Debra H. Goldstein

This was a good cozy mystery with all the things I enjoy about this genre: small town, great atmosphere, good food, animals, multi-age characters, a bit of romance, an interesting crime, and a great sleuth.
~Carla Loves To Read

Two Bites Too Many allows its readers to fall into a completely different, tightly-bound family for a few hours. And who doesn’t want to do that? Highly recommended for cozy fans.
~Diane Reviews Books

I have enjoyed this cozy series that is set in a small town and around the catering/restaurant that Sarah’s twin sister owns and operates.
~My Reading Journeys

What an adorable cozy this is! . . . Full of characters you can both hate and love mixed with surprises and good times. Makes for a great read that you won’t want to put down.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews


Thanks to the author I have 1 copy to give away!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US 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.
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If you share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End October 7, 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

 

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops! 

September 23 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
September 24 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT – Reading Is My SuperPower
September 24 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
September 25 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
September 25 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
September 26 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
September 26 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 27 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
September 27 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST
September 28 – Laura’s Interests – CHARACTER GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY
September 29 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 30 – My Journey Back-The Journey Back – CHARACTER GUEST POST
October 1 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 1 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
October 2 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, RECIPE
October 2 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
October 3 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY
October 3 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY  
October 4 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY
October 5 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
October 6 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

 

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

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Dec 122018
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so excited to have Debra H. Goldstein drop by for a visit!

Writers – Creatures of Habit or Not? by Debra H. Goldstein

Writers often claim to be creatures of habit. Their habits may be tied to the means of writing – on a computer, legal pad with special pens, or via dictation; the location where the writing takes place – at the beach, the mountains, in a dark room, or in a room with wide open windows; and, whether there is absolute silence or blaring music. Some writers, the planners, can’t produce a word until every nuance of a piece is outlined while others, known as pantsters, write strictly from the seat of their pants. I wish I could tell you that I am a creature of habit, but I’m not. I write like I cook. Differently, every time even if I am recreating the same dish.

One would think as a former litigator and judge, my writing habits would be unimaginative. That I would outline every word and idea, much like Jeffrey Deaver does. I outlined the beginning and ending of my first book, 2012 IPPY award-winning Maze in Blue, a mystery set on the University of Michigan in the 1970’s, but the middle flowed, like magic, through my fingers to the keys of a computer sitting on a desk in my home office. I attributed my writing to the character’s voices leading me through their story. The only thing necessary for the words to pour out of me was playing the soundtracks from 1776 and They’re Playing Our Song repetitively in the background.

The same songs and physical location didn’t work for my second book. To write Should Have Played Poker: a Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg Players Mystery, I took my laptop and sat in an oversized chair in my living room. Century old furniture, which once belonged to my parents or grandparents, interspersed with modern cherry wood floors and an orange, gold, and blue carpet brought me a sense of peace that allowed me to bring new life to the characters from a short story published in 2010. I occasionally played folk songs and soft rock hits from the 60’s and 70’s, but for the most part, I wrote and rewrote in silence. It was the ambiance of the room that enabled me to find and contrast the voices of the Sunshine Village Retirement Home Mah Jongg players with the twenty-nine-year-old corporate attorney protagonist and her former lover, the detective assigned to her murdered mother’s case.

One Taste Too Many represents a hybrid of the habits that produced my first two books. Because the book is set in the present and the protagonist, Sarah Blair, is a twin, I drew on my experience as a mother of twins when I outlined the basic story premise. Unlike Poker, that I wrote and edited only on a laptop, One Taste Too Many was drafted and revised in two locations. For the first version, I sat in an easy chair in my bedroom with my laptop perched on my knees. When I finished the draft, I mailed it to myself and revised it upstairs in my office on my stand-alone computer. In both locations, I kept the score from Frozen playing constantly. Why Frozen for a book set in a small Southern town? I don’t know, but it worked. The music kept me typing at a nice even clip with a sunny disposition.

The other motivational trick I used for One Taste Too Many was keeping a picture of a friend’s Siamese cat where I could always see it. Growing up, we had dogs, but I knew bonding with a cat was different. That’s why I reached out to my friend and she was so helpful, I modeled RahRah after her cat, Suri. As you can see from the cover, RahRah and I successfully bonded.

For some, being a creature of habit is the only means to write. For me, a willingness to try different techniques and practices is what stimulates the muse and helps me avoid stale ruts. What about you? What does it take to prompt you to write effectively?

~Debra

Thank you, Debra, for visiting today!

Now keep reading for my thought about One Taste Too Many.

One Taste Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery)
by Debra H. Goldstein

 

About the Book


One Taste Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Kensington (December 18, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496719476
ISBN-13: 978-1496719478
Digital ASIN: B07CDCZXLP

For culinary challenged Sarah Blair, there’s only one thing scarier than cooking from scratch—murder!

Married at eighteen, divorced at twenty‑eight, Sarah Blair reluctantly swaps her luxury lifestyle for a cramped studio apartment and a law firm receptionist job in the tired hometown she never left. With nothing much to show for the last decade but her feisty Siamese cat, RahRah, and some clumsy domestic skills, she’s the polar opposite of her bubbly twin, Emily—an ambitious chef determined to take her culinary ambitions to the top at a local gourmet restaurant . . .

Sarah knew starting over would be messy. But things fall apart completely when her ex drops dead, seemingly poisoned by Emily’s award-winning rhubarb crisp. Now, with RahRah wanted by the woman who broke up her marriage and Emily wanted by the police for murder, Sarah needs to figure out the right recipe to crack the case before time runs out. Unfortunately, for a gal whose idea of good china is floral paper plates, catching the real killer and living to tell about it could mean facing a fate worse than death—being in the kitchen!

Includes quick and easy recipes!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sarah and Emily Blair are twins and as different as night and day. Emily is a fabulous chef with plans to make it to the top of her field. Sarah married young and divorced 10 years later. She is starting over and has taken a receptionist job at a local law office and lives in a studio apartment with her cat, RahRah.

The restaurant where Emily works has a booth at the Food Expo and the staff will be giving demonstrations and sharing tasty treats. Emily will be making her special rhubarb crisp.

But tragedy strikes when Sarah’s ex is found dead at the convention center before the event even begins. Covered in rhubarb, it is quickly determined he was poisoned, by Emily! Also, with his death, it seems Sarah’s cat RahRah no longer belongs to her. A chef that works with Emily has laid claim to the feline.

As someone that hates to cook, Sarah knows she needs to hang around the expo to try to catch the real killer, even if it means filling in for her talented sister. That is if the killer doesn’t get to her first. She also needs to find a way to keep her cat.

This series is off to a stellar start and I am head over heels with the wonderful cat, RahRah. The cat was rescued during Hurricane Katrina my Sarah’s ex-mother-in-law who loved Sarah, so of course, she took the cat when the woman passed away. Her ex left out some key details about his mother’s will. Now, with him dead the secrets are revealed. Let’s just say he was a first-class a**, and I was happy he was the first victim. Yes, first, because the killing didn’t stop with him.

Ms. Goldstein has created a pair of sisters, twins, that are truly each other’s half. They are smart and fun. Best friends that take care of each other. Sarah is an interesting protagonist. I hope she continues to team up with her sister. I believe we have barely scratched the surface on when the author can take these sisters.

The story has a little bit more of an edge than a typical cozy but doesn’t go too far. It is exciting and fresh with plenty of twists and corkscrew turns. The author drops in the clues with such precision. I was up in the air about the killer right up until the big reveal. Someone on my radar but not at the top of my list. The motives were unclear until all the last clues slid into place.

This was a very entertaining story. A great mystery with characters I want to visit again. I am excited to see where the author takes this series. This one was A Perfect Escape!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

 

About the Author

 

Judge Debra H. Goldstein’s new Sarah Blair cozy mystery series debuts from Kensington Press with One Taste Too Many. She also is the author of Should Have Played Poker: a Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg Players Mystery and the 2012 IPPY Award-winning Maze in Blue. Besides novels, Debra writes short stories. Her short story, The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine (May/June 2017) is an Agatha Award Short Story Nominee. In addition to being the Sisters in Crime Guppy President, Debra serves on the national Sisters in Crime board and is Vice-President of the Southeast Region of Mystery Writers of America.

Website    Blog    Facebook    Twitter @DebraHGoldstein      GoodReads

Purchase Links

Amazon  B&N  Kobo  Google Play 

Praise for One Taste Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery)
by Debra H. Goldstein

ONE TASTE TOO MANY is a “different,” slightly edgy, cozy from an author with extensive knowledge of legal procedure.
~Mallory Heart’s Cozies

This one was a fun ride. A few twists that will keep you turning the pages may be a little slower to keep up.
~My Reading Journeys

What a fun engaging start to a new series!
~Cozy Up With Kathy

I kept changing who I suspected but when the real murderer is revealed, I was shocked! I did not see that one coming at all.
~Storeybook Reviews

The story was well-written and enjoyable to read.

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS
December 3 – Book Babble – SPOTLIGHT
December 3 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
December 4 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW, GUEST POST  
December 5 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 6 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
December 6 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
December 7 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW
December 7 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 8 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 8 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT
December 9 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 9 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 10 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
December 10 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
December 11 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
December 11 –A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 12 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW, GUEST POST
December 12 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, GUEST POST 
December 13 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 13 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT
December 14 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
December 14 – Cinnamon, Sugar and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW, RECIPE
December 15 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – REVIEW
December 15 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW
December 16 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
December 16 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST

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

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