Sep 202018
 

My heart goes out to the people of South Carolina and all states that have suffered the loss of life and damage due to Hurricane Florence.

In Cold Chocolate: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery
by Dorothy St. James

 

About the Book


In Cold Chocolate: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – South Carolina
Crooked Lane Books (September 11, 2018)
Hardcover: 350 Pages
ISBN-10: 1683317432
ISBN-13: 978-1683317432
Digital ASIN: B078M3N9TC

In Dorothy St. James’s third delectable Southern Chocolate Shop mystery, a new batch of chocolate and troubles of the heart cause a string of disasters for the Chocolate Box’s new owner, Charity Penn.

The vintage seaside town of Camellia Beach, South Carolina seems like the perfect place for romance with its quiet beach and its decadent chocolate shop that serves the world’s richest dark chocolates. The Chocolate Box’s owner, Charity Penn, falls even further under the island’s moonlit spell as she joins Althea Bays and the rest of the turtle watch team to witness a new generation of baby sea turtles hatch and make their way into the wide ocean.

Before the babies arrive, gunshots ring out in the night. Cassidy Jones, the local Casanova, is found dead in the sand with his lover Jody Dalton—the same woman who has vowed to destroy the Chocolate Box—holding the gun. It’s an obvious crime of passion, or so everyone believes. But when Jody’s young son pleads with Penn to bring his mother back to him, she can’t say no. She dives headfirst into a chocolate swirl of truth and lies, and must pick through an assortment of likely (and sometimes unsavory) suspects before it’s too late for Penn and for those she loves.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Bullets! Missing turtle eggs! Missing chocolate turtles! The quiet seaside town of Camellia Beach, South Carolina is having a crime wave. A local man is dead and someone is stealing sea turtle eggs from the nests on the beach, and Sea Salt Chocolate Turtles are disappearing almost right before Charity Penn’s eyes from her shop. Jody Dalton has accused Penn of lying to get The Chocolate Box Sweet Shop and taunts her almost daily about it, but when she is arrested for Cassidy Jones murder Penn just can’t believe it. Then Jody’s young son begs Penn to help get his mother out of jail. She finds herself quickly promising that she will do just that. There is nothing sweet about the point Penn finds herself in. There are several suspects in addition to Jody, but Penn needs to be careful or she may end up the killer’s next victim.

Penn has so much on her plate in this third Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery. Penn has found her mother, but the family has opened up yet another lawsuit to try to take The Chocolate Shop away from her. The shop is busy so she needs to hire more help and she is still trying diligently to learn all she can about making luscious chocolate treats. She has started observing with the sea turtle watch team her friend Althea Bays is in charge of. Her relationship with Harley, Jody’s ex, is starting to move in a new direction. And on top of all that she has told Harley and Jody’s son, she will get his mom out of jail before school starts next week.

I really enjoy how all the recurring characters not only grow from book to book but within the pages of this story. Penn is getting comfortable in Camellia Beach and is meeting new people and making friends. She is still struggling with the chocolate making but the woman does not give up. She has a great core of support when any sort o trouble arrives, but she is learning to stand up for herself much better when her family tries to take her shop away. She learns something in this story that shakes and bends her but doesn’t break her.

The author has written a dynamic story with a couple of mysteries swirled together with family drama. I really like the way all the subplots flowed together with the main plot almost effortlessly. This seaside mystery does have its share of red herrings and diversions that keep us readers on our toes. Penn seems to hone in on one individual but my mind kept pulling me in another direction. In my mind, the answer really depended on if the mysteries are separate or connected. The family battle over Penn’s inheritance gets a new twist that made me dislike members of that family even more. The ending left me surprised and wondering how I was going to wait the approximately 6 months until the next book comes out. 🙂

It was fun learning about the sea turtles and the great lengths people go to to protect their eggs and the species.

Oh and the chocolate! I have learned to have some nearby while reading this series. It doesn’t come close to what Penn and Bertie create for The Chocolate Box, but it takes care of my cravings.

Ms. St. James has penned another delectable treat for her readers to enjoy.  I hope she writes the next one fast!

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About the Author

Mystery author Dorothy St. James was raised in South Carolina. She makes her home on the outskirts of Charleston, South Carolina with her husband, a neurotic dog, and a fluffy cat. Though writing has always been a passion for her, she pursued an undergraduate degree in Wildlife Biology and a graduate degree in Public Administration and Urban Planning. She put her educational experience to use, having worked in all branches and all levels of government including local, regional, state, and federal. She even spent time during college working for a non-profit environmental watchdog organization.

Switching from government service and community planning to fiction writing wasn’t as big of a change as some might think. Her government work was all about the stories of the people and the places where they live. As an urban planner, Dorothy loved telling the stories of the people she met. And from that, her desire to tell the tales that were so alive in her heart grew until she could not ignore it any longer. In 2001, she took a leap of faith and pursued her dream of writing fiction full-time.

* Dorothy St. James is the alter-ego of award-winning multi-published author, Dorothy McFalls. She enjoys writing in several different genres. Her works have been nominated for many awards including Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, Reviewers International Organization Award, National Reader’s Choice Award, CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Award, and The Romance Reviews Today Perfect 10! Award. Reviewers have called her work: “amazing”, “perfect”, “filled with emotion”, and “lined with danger.”

Author Links

Website: www.dorothystjames.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/dorothystjames

Twitter: www.twitter.com/dorothymcfalls

Purchase Links

Indie Bound    Amazon      Kobo      Google Play      Barnes & Noble      BookBub


Praise for In Cold Chocolate: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery
by Dorothy St. James

This was a fun end-of-summer read. I enjoy these Southern Chocolate Shop mysteries a lot.
~Valerie’s Musings

The conflict was tantalizing. I was on the edge of my seat while I was turning through the last quarter of the book. St James threw down and didn’t hold back and I loved every second of it.
~Writing Pearls

This series gets better with every book!! The mix of chocolate and mystery is a combination that I find hard to resist.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

The atmospheric and multilayered In Cold Chocolate is an impressive, compelling, and engrossing read. It not only fulfilled all my expectations for an enjoyable cozy read but took everything several steps higher.
~The Power of Words

Author Dorothy St. James really tugs the heartstrings of readers in this very special South Carolina Lowcountry cozy mystery.
~Mallory Heart’s Cozies

. . . this has Southern Charm and Midwestern tenacity in abundance and I want more!
~A Wytch’s Book Review Blog

Another delicious 5-star dangerous investigation.
~Laura’s Interests

 

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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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Mar 222018
 

Playing With Bonbon Fire: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery
by Dorothy St. James


Playing With Bonbon Fire: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (March 13, 2018)
Hardcover: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683314684
Digital ASIN: B074MBXLWX

 

 

Chocoholic Charity Penn must smoke out the killer to stop her newly inherited beachside chocolate shop from going up in flames in Dorothy St. James’ decadent follow-up to Asking for Truffle.

Chocolate shop owner Charity Penn is finally settling into life in the quirky South Carolina seaside town of Camellia Beach cooking up chocolate treats. She’s even helped organize the town’s lively beach music festival which has brought rollicking crowds eager to dance the Carolina Shag. That is until one of the band’s lead singers is found dead beside a beach bonfire.

While also trying to balance the amorous attention of music star Bixby Lewis, in town for the festival, and her quest to perfect a new hot flavored bonbon, Charity dives into the investigation. Though it’s more spice than sugar when she discovers a threatening note, comes across decades of age-old secrets, and Bixby comes into the line of fire when a gas grill explodes on the deck of a beachfront house.

Now Charity must turn up the heat and catch the killer before her chance melts away in Playing With Bonbon Fire, the delightful second Southern Chocolate Shop mystery served up just right for fans of JoAnna Carl and Joanne Fluke.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Camellia Beach is going to be filled with music and people as the Beach Music Festival begins. Thanks to a little help from her half-sister Tina, Penn is able to book the famous Bixby Lewis to be the headliner of the festival. The event is also going to mean The Chocolate Box is going to have tons of customers. She is still learning to make the perfect bonbon, but with Bertie’s help, they will have enough chocolate treats to serve the masses.

But the first night of the festival brings tragedy. A body is found in the bonfire and Penn can’t help but jump right into the investigation. She is also helping Bixby with a stalker, trying to keep her business open after several freaky occurrences, plus she is dealing with a lawsuit over ownership of The Chocolate Box and oh, she also wants to create her own special spicy hot bonbon while trying to find her birth mother.

We are getting to know these characters better and Penn is opening up more in this story. She is making friends and getting involved in the happenings in Camellia Beach. But top on her list is finding her mother and proving that the chocolate shop left to her should be solely hers. I don’t know how any person could handle everything that she had to deal with in this short time span. Thankfully she had her friends and her sister to lean on and step in while she was running all over town chasing down leads and trying to keep the festival on track.

The author really blends two mysteries together in this book. A murder mystery and the search for Penn’s mother. They coexist very naturally together. Both have surprising twists. The main mystery, the murder, had many topsy-turvy turns. There was so much going on and I was not sure how the whole plot was going to come together, but when we reached the end, it all did.

I usually read a book like this over 2 evenings, but I was having a very hard time putting this book down the first night. Finally, my body made the decision for me, when I could no longer keep my eyes open. I hated having to work the next day because I would have rather been reading, but I escaped back into it before supper was even on the table. The ending was surprising and not what I was expecting at all. Fantastic storytelling by this author.

I can’t forget to mention the bonbons, the truffles and all the other goodies for sale at The Chocolate Box. You may want to have some chocolate on hand while reading this story because the descriptions will have you drooling.

I enjoyed everything about this story. Dorothy St. James has packed these pages full of mystery, drama, action, and chocolate. I am excited for the continuation of this series.

Your Great Escapes Travel Agent

About the Author

Mystery author Dorothy St. James was born in New York but raised in South Carolina. She makes her home on an artsy island community in South Carolina with her husband, a neurotic dog, and fluffy cat. Though writing has always been a passion for her, she pursued an undergraduate degree in Wildlife Biology and a graduate degree in Public Administration and Urban Planning. She put her educational experience to use, having worked in all branches and all levels of government including local, regional, state, and federal. She even spent time during college working for a non-profit environmental watchdog organization.

Switching from government service and community planning to fiction writing wasn’t as big of a change as some might think. Her government work was all about the stories of the people and the places where they live. As an urban planner, Dorothy loved telling the stories of the people she met. And from that, her desire to tell the tales that were so alive in her heart grew until she could not ignore it any longer. In 2001, she took a leap of faith and pursued her dream of writing fiction full-time.

Known for the White House Gardener Mystery series, Dorothy is going back to her roots and setting a mystery series in a Southern beach town much like the one she’s called home for the past 20 years. The Southern Chocolate Shop Mysteries combine her love of fine chocolates, quirky Southern charm, with a dash of danger.

* Dorothy St. James is the alter-ego of the award-winning multi-published author, Dorothy McFalls. She enjoys writing in several different genres. Her works have been nominated for many awards including Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, Reviewers International Organization Award, National Reader’s Choice Award, CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Award, and The Romance Reviews Today Perfect 10! Award. Reviewers have called her work: “amazing”, “perfect”, “filled with emotion”, and “lined with danger.”

Author Links

Website   Facebook    Twitter

Purchase Links

Indie Bound Amazon Kobo Google Play Barnes & Noble

Praise for Playing With Bonbon Fire: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery
by Dorothy St. James

A good plot, with just enough twists and turns to keep me guessing, PLAYING WITH BONBON FIRE, was a quick, enjoyable read.
~Lisa Ks Book Reviews

Swirls of complications at every step as Penn tries to build a life and business for herself and understand her beginnings.
~Laura’s Interests

I was loving the emotional depths that this book took and the mystery itself was more involved than most as well. I think that all chocolate lovers should read this book/series and the cozy mystery fans in general.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

This book has really made an impression on me. It’s getting harder and harder to find books as well done as this one.
~Writing Pearls

This story had plenty of unique characters that readers will enjoy. It was as though you were truly visiting a festival, allowing yourself to people watch.
~Bibliophile Reviews

A story to be savored and enjoyed like a fine piece of chocolate. Playing with Bonbon Fire is sure to leave you craving more from this hit series by Dorothy St. James.
~A Cozy Experience

Even when all the chocolate has been eaten (oh, woe is me!), this delicious story will tickle and tempt your tastebuds! There is enough sugar to make this a sweet story, but not so much that it becomes cloying. Bonbon Fire is just right.
~Back Porchervations

Dorothy St. James is an amazingly talented author who paints a picture of a town and characters so well that you get lost in the story, only fully emerging upon turning the last page.
~The Montana Bookaholic

The town is filled with fun and quirky characters that care of each other and help solve the mystery in their own unique way.
~My Reading Journeys

I loved the story and I didn’t want to see it end. . . My advice is to get a copy and get comfy. The story is a page-turner and one you will not forget.
~Texas Book-aholic

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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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Sep 132017
 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am thrilled to have Dorothy St. James stop by for a visit to tell us about her new series!

The Making of a Chocolate Murder
by Dorothy St. James

When I was writing Flowerbed of State (the first book in the White House Gardener Mystery Series) way, way back in 2010, the idea for a mystery series set in a chocolate shop started dancing around in the back of my mind. Why? Because I luuuv chocolate and, you know, you can’t write a book without research!

I knew there were already several popular bakeshop and chocolate shop mystery novels being published, so I wanted to make sure mine was a new and different twist on the theme. So I did some research—yummy research.

Did you know that if a chocolate bar doesn’t state the percent chocolate it contains, it’s not really considered chocolate? Did you also know that there are three main varieties of chocolate beans being commercially grown, but the most flavorful bean is hard to grow and even harder to find in the stores? And did you know even though the cacao bean originates in South America, most of the world’s chocolate production occurs in Africa under some questionable labor practices?

I didn’t know any of that until I started my yummy research. And those facts gave me an idea. My fictional chocolate shop wouldn’t simply create truffles and bonbons. It would be what is called a bean-to-bar chocolate shop. And it would use the most flavorful and rarest cacao bean in the world to create a chocolate that few in the world have ever tasted. Think of it this way. The chocolate you can buy in the stores could be compared with the perfectly round, watery tomatoes grown on large farms. The rare chocolates sold in the Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery Series are like heirloom tomatoes that are bursting with so many flavors it makes your tongue happy.

Now that I knew what kind of chocolate I wanted in my mystery series, I needed to decide where to put this special chocolate shop of my imagination. After thinking it over, there was really only one place the Chocolate Box could be—Folly Beach, South Carolina. That’s the quirky seaside town where I’ve lived for the past twenty years. Folly Beach is perhaps too quirky, so I decided invent a toned-down fictional town for the mystery series. Camilla Beach is a beach town that hasn’t yet been redeveloped into a tourist town. The residents who live on the small island treat each other like family. (Sometimes that’s a good thing. Sometimes that’s not.)

And there had to be a dog. I based Stella, the feisty papillon in the book, on Iona my best girl and a dog I miss with all my heart. I was so, so pleased when my publisher (Crooked Lane Books) used a photograph of my Iona to create the drawing of Stella on the cover of the book.

Finally, I had to come up with a murder. Of course the method of the murder in this first book had to involve some kind of chocolate. But that part was easy. And the rest…? Well, you’ll have to read the book to know how it turns out.

And that’s how a new series was born. I hope you enjoy this special book.

Are you hungry yet? I’m running a contest on my website (http://www.dorothystjames.com/contest.html) where I’m giving away a chocolate bar made using one of the rarest cacao beans in the world. The contest is open until September 30, 2017.
Good luck!

~Dorothy

Thank you Dorothy for visiting today!! 


Asking for Truffle: A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery
Cozy Mystery
Brand New Series
Setting – South Carolina
Crooked Lane Books (September 12, 2017)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683312918
Kindle ASIN: B06XW8GW16

 

 

When Charity Penn receives a letter saying she won a trip to Camellia Beach, South Carolina complete with free cooking lessons at the town’s seaside chocolate shop, The Chocolate Box, she’s immediately skeptical. She never entered any contest. Her former prep school friend offers to look into the phony prize―only to end up drowned in a vat of chocolate.

Struck with guilt, Penn heads to the southern beach town to investigate why he was killed. But as wary as she is of the locals, she finds herself lured into their eccentric vibe, letting her defenses melt away and even learning the art of crafting delicious chocolates. That is, until delight turns bittersweet as she steps straight into the midst of a deadly plot to destroy the seaside town. Now, only Penn’s quick thinking and a mysterious cask of rare chocolate can save the town she’s learning to love.

Includes Recipes

Dollycas’s Thoughts

As soon as I saw this cover pop up on Facebook I knew I needed to read this book! Look at those truffles and the cute puppy.

Ms. St. James starts us out just up the highway from where I am sitting here in Wisconsin, when Charity Penn (Penn) learns she has won a trip to Camellia Beach, South Carolina and The Chocolate Box. Thinking is has to be some kind of scam she doesn’t get too excited. Then a friend, Skinny McGee, says he is going to be in South Carolina area and tells her he will check the place out. After a phone call from Skinny gets cut off and she learns he was found later dead in vat of chocolate, she has no choice but to venture south to find out what happened. She is not welcomed with opened arms by everyone but the ladies at The Chocolate Box are sure happy to see her. But there is something very wrong in Camellia Beach, in addition to the death of her friend, and Penn is not heading back to Madison until she gets to the bottom of it.

I really enjoyed this story. Penn reminds me a little bit of myself, we both have the “waiting for the other shoe to drop” mentality. She has kind of closed herself off due to her upbringing making her very independent but hard for people to get to know. She is clearly an individual that has a deep hurt that has affected her for a long time.  Still she hops on a plane to a place unknown to her to find out why her friend was killed. Everyone in the town was sketchy from police chief, to the local lawyer, and even the ladies at the chocolate shop were hiding something. Her skeptical nature serves her well in this town.  I appreciated the character development throughout the story while still allowing room for the characters to continue to grow over the course of the series.

The plot itself has several twists giving several viable suspects but I was on the right track early on. I always say, first books in a cozy mystery series are a heavy lift because the author not only has to introduce the main character and the people around them but give us a mystery that clicks with the readers and engages them to come back for future books. The author did that here with an extra twist in the plot away for the murder/s. Something that the reader is unsure about until almost the very end of the story. While the murder was solved she left other questions I need answered. I am definitely excited for the next installment.

Learning about the cacao beans, where they come from and how to work with them was super interesting too. The candy descriptions had be drooling and craving chocolate.

Oh and just a little heads up –  that cute little puppy on the cover is a feisty little creature known to bite even her owner. 🙂  She also has to deal with another animal in this story and when it was introduced I could have fallen out my chair laughing.

This series is off to a great start and I am excited to see what happens next.

Dollycas

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About The Author

Mystery author Dorothy St. James was born in New York but raised in South Carolina. For the past 20+ years, she made her home on an artsy island community in South Carolina with her husband. Though writing has always been a passion for her, she pursued an undergraduate degree in Wildlife Biology and a graduate degree in Public Administration and Urban Planning. She put her educational experience to use, having worked in all branches and all levels of government including local, regional, state, and federal. She even spent time during college working for a non-profit environmental watchdog organization.

Switching from government service and community planning to fiction writing wasn’t as big of a change as some might think. Her government work was all about the stories of the people and the places where they live. As an urban planner, Dorothy loved telling the stories of the people she met. And from that, her desire to tell the tales that were so alive in her heart grew until she could not ignore it any longer. In 2001, she took a leap of faith and pursued her dream of writing fiction full-time.

* Dorothy St. James is the alter-ego of award-winning multi-published author, Dorothy McFalls. She enjoys writing in several different genres. Her works have been nominated for many awards including: Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, Reviewers International Organization Award, National Reader’s Choice Award, CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Award, and The Romance Reviews Today Perfect 10! Award. Reviewers have called her work: “amazing”, “perfect”, “filled with emotion”, and “lined with danger.”

~From Amazon

Find out more about Dorothy and her books on her webpage here.


I am giving away my signed Advance Review Copy!
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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.”

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Apr 102013
 

cozy wednesdayWelcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am so excited to Welcome Dorothy here today!

548841_10151226608363164_645395551_n april

Oh, the things a cozy mystery author must do! Oh, the hardships! 

harvest

While conducting research for my White House Gardener Mystery series, not only did I spend several seasons visiting D.C. and the White House gardens to make sure that I soaked up the atmosphere and the feel for the area…

lafayette 003 (Small)

I also, lurked through the D.C. parks—sometimes at 4:30 in the morning—so I could act out in my mind the murders that take place in the books.

However, the biggest sacrifice for these books has happened…not in D.C. …not in my garden… but in my kitchen!

For the past several years my tiny house has been turned into a makeshift plant laboratory. While writing the first book in the White House Gardener Mystery series, Flowerbed of State, the kitchen counters were covered with pots of pineapple tops as I tested the best way to sprout the top of the pineapple. This also meant that every time I found myself at the grocery store, I was picking up a new pineapple to work with. And as a consequence, my husband and I ate scores of pineapples that year.

photo

This past year while researching Oak and Dagger, the third and latest book in the White House Gardener Mystery series (and this year’s release), I wanted to do another kitchen-to-garden section at the end of the book. Instead of pineapples, I had the brilliant idea to include instructions on how to grow the tops of carrots and the bottoms of onions. Of course, I couldn’t include the instructions until I tested and determined the best ways to grow the carrots and onions.

Once again, my kitchen was transformed into a garden laboratory.

First, I grew carrots in the garden just for this purpose.

photo1

Thankfully, my husband didn’t mind when I gave him the task of eating the bottoms of the carrots.

I then placed the carrot tops in various glasses and set them on every available windowsill and counter space I could find. I repeated the process until I was satisfied that the carrots would sprout and grow for even someone with the brownest of brown thumbs.

photo4

Grow the Tops of Your Carrots

This is a quick and fun gardening project that anyone can do. When you are preparing your fresh carrots, cut off the top of the carrot (about a half-inch will do). Remove all but a few small leaves from the top.

Fill a glass or bowl with water. Set the carrot in the water so that it is partially submerged.

Place the glass or bowl in a sunny window. Change the water every few days. In a few weeks the carrot will sprout roots and new leaves will grow.

Plant the rooted carrot in a pot or in your garden.

You won’t grow new carrots from the plants, but swallowtail butterflies will enjoy feeding off the nectar from the flowers.

* * * * *

The same time that the “Great Carrot Experiment” was going on, I also experimented with sprouting the bottoms of my onions—the part of the onion that has those scraggly roots. And these onion bottoms, given time and attention, will produce new onions! Here’s what I learned:

* * * * *

Grow the Bottoms of Your Onions

Did you know you can grow a new onion from just the bottom part with the roots? Well, you can! Here’s a fun gardening project to try.

Cut off the bottom of your onion, the part with the dried roots. Leave about an inch to an inch and a half of onion with the roots.

Allow to dry for a couple of days in a well-ventilated area. This will allow it to form a callus and help prevent it from rotting.

You can get the roots started by soaking in water for a few days. (It’s fun to watch.) Or if you’re impatient plant the onion root-side down in a pot, burying it about a half-inch deep pot, or you can even plant it directly in the ground. Within a few weeks the onion will sprout.

* * * * *

Who knew that writing adventures for my plucky White House organic gardener, Casey Calhoun, would also send me on new and challenging adventures? I sure didn’t! It’s rarely a dull moment for this author. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

~Dorothy

About This Author

White House Garden 2 025 dorothy st. jamesDorothy St. James is the pseudonym for author Dorothy McFalls. As St. James she writes the White House Gardener Mystery series. (Book 1 — Flowerbed of State, May 2011), (Book 2 — The Scarlet Pepper, April 2012), and (Book 3 — Oak and Dagger, April 2013). Dorothy is a master gardener who loves puttering around in her garden and trying out new techniques.

You can find Dorothy at her website: www.DorothyStJames.com, on Facebook: www.facebook.com/dorothystjames, or on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DorothyStJames

548841_10151226608363164_645395551_n april

Oak and Dagger
(A White House Gardener Mystery)

3rd in Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (April 2, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher
Cover Design by Olivia Andreas
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425252031
E-Book File Size: 868 KB
ASIN: B0099CVVQC

Oak and Dagger (A White House Gardener Mystery #3)

 

A simple tree planting leads to chaos at The White House. A schematic is missing from the Grounds Office and a set of important papers has also disappeared from the Curator’s Office. The gardeners are getting blamed for both. On top of that Casey is getting death threats, the First Dog is digging holes all over the South lawn and the First Lady’s sister is creating her own havoc.

Then the curator is found dead is a secluded garden and all the evidence points at Gordon Sims, the chief gardener. Casey just has to clear his name. When she learns all the chaos and the murder could have something to do with a two hundred year old treasure she realizes she must move fast before the killer strikes again….

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Casey Calhoun is a smart spunky protagonist and she is not afraid to get her hands dirty or stand out in the pouring rain to track down the killer. I am happy her relationship with Special Agent Jack Turner is moving forward. We also learn a bit more about Casey’s past.

There was so much happening in the installment that the pages were flying. The First Lady has her hands full with her twin boys and while her sister is supposed to be there to help she seems to have an agenda all her own. The decorator hired to create the nursery has much more interest in being out in the gardens instead in the space he is responsible for decorating. Jack is acting strange and seems to stand Casey up a lot. Gordon is in the hospital and Casey and Lorenzo have to work together and they never see eye to eye. The assistant curator is a strange little man who just happens to have rented the apartment below Casey.

Dolley Madison was important to this story. In fact the book starts with a quote from the famous First Lady: “And now, dear sister, I must leave this house or the retreating army will make me a prisoner in it by filling up the road I am directed to take.” Each subsequent chapter starts with a First Lady quote and I really enjoyed all of them.

Hang on tight! This story is a wild ride! I loved it!
a perfect escape
5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Would you like to win a copy of this wonderful book?

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

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

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

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

CLICK FOR ENTRY FORM

photo5PLUS DOROTHY ST. JAMES IS
ADDING A VERY SPECIAL GIVEAWAY ALL HER OWN

A White House Gift Packet
that includes:

  • a hand dyed indigo book cover
  • an official White House Historical Association bookmark
  • and an autographed copy of Flowerbed of State

Just leave a comment for Dorothy to enter!!

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

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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Apr 112012
 


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!!


Many years ago our family went on a fantastic vacation that included a few days in Washington D.C. The area is so beautiful and until that trip I only knew about The Rose Garden at The White House. There are many gardens including the vegetable garden started by Mrs. Obama which I believe was the author’s inspiration for The Scarlet Pepper.

Dorothy St. James’ White House Garden Mysteries take us right on the grounds of The White House and inside the internal workings of The White House and its staff especially the grounds crew. She is here today to take us on a little tour. If you are like me you will be wanting to plan a trip to the capital as soon as possible.

Welcome Dorothy!!

Hi Everyone!

What’s with all these writers penning series that aren’t set in their hometown? Aren’t you supposed to write what you know? This was a question that was asked of me not that long ago. It’s a good question. Why do we set our books where we do?

I’m sure every author has a different—and very personal—answer for that question. But I think all of those answers can be boiled down to one similar thought: We love the places we write about.


Naturally, my White House Gardener Mystery series had to be set in Washington, D.C. But I didn’t have to write about the White House when I call the Lowcountry of South Carolina home. A beautiful place steeped with history and thick with pluff mud. I feel blessed to live here!

And yet, I did choose to write about D.C. because (quite simply) I love the city. I love its multicultural roots. I love the free museums. I love its energy. D.C. is a vibrant place to visit and rich with inspiration for mystery novels. You don’t hear anyone complaining that there’s a shortage of scandal or intrigue in our nation’s capital.


On April 3, 2012, The Scarlet Pepper, the second book in the White House Gardener Mystery series, was released. In it, Casey Calhoun, the White House’s organic gardener is up to her elbows in dirt as she works on the First Lady’s Kitchen Garden.

When someone starts tampering with the garden and a hard-nosed investigative reporter is found dead, Casey realizes that the next thing buried in the dirt might just be her…

To help me research this book, I took several trips to visit the White House Kitchen Garden.

Unlike the lottery ticket system if you want to attend the White House Easter Egg Roll, or having to contact your Congressman if you wish to take a White House tour, twice a year the White House opens its gardens to the public. For free! And no advance ticket required!

 

Just pick up your tickets from the National Park Service’s visitor center located adjacent to the White House.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once we passed through security and the fabled iron gates, we had the freedom to wander through the South Lawn. White House gardeners and volunteers stationed at various points throughout the tour patiently answered all of my questions.

The Secret Service agents, present in full force because the First Family was in residence, answered my questions about the different types of guns they carried, their responsibilities and the best place to eat breakfast.

 

 

The White House gardens have three seasonal displays. The first three books in the White House Gardener Mystery series celebrates each season: Flowerbed of State: SPRING, The Scarlet Pepper: SUMMER, and the upcoming Oak and Dagger: FALL.

 

Volunteers work in the kitchen garden, a 1,500 square foot raised bed garden plot.

 

Details for Spring and Fall Tours: Garden tours are free, visit www.whitehouse.gov for information about upcoming garden tours. The website posts dates for the tours approximately a month in advance. In the past, tours have occurred the third weekend in April and October. Bring plenty of film and a notebook to jot down hints and tips you’ll pick up from the volunteer docents.

 

In the meantime, I invite you to let Casey Calhoun give you an insider’s tour of the White House and its grounds in The Scarlet Pepper and take a mini-vacation.

~Dorothy

To find out more about Dorothy and her books check out her website at www.dorothystjames.com

the scarlet pepper

The Scarlet Pepper
(A White House Gardener Mystery)

2nd in the Series

Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher
Cover Design by Olivia Andreas

Casey Calhoun works at The White House as the assistant gardener. In this installment we are focused on the First Lady’s Kitchen Garden. It hasn’t been classified as an “organic garden” yet, but Casey is using organic procedures as they work toward that goal. There are rumors running rampant in the media about the garden. It is being said that Casey is replacing plants to make it seem that the plants are growing faster than they actually are and that the ground is full of lead making the vegetables grown there dangerous to eat. Casey thinks it is funny that with all the issues the nation is facing the vegetable garden is such a high priority with the press.

There definitely is something going on in the garden as red peppers are popping up where green peppers are supposed to be and cabbage is growing where lettuce was planted. Casey is very confused when in addition to the different plants the garden is being vandalized during the night.

Then an investigative reporter is found dead with Casey’s name in his notes. She doesn’t haven’t much time to dig into all the details as the first harvest of the garden is right around the corner and it is going to be another big press event. There is much more going than a few garden incidents. Someone seems to think Casey is the key and knows who the killer is, she is having one close call after another. She’d better hurry up and figure out what’s going on or she may find herself planted right between the eggplant and cauliflower.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

When I reviewed Flowerbed of State I said couldn’t wait for the next Casey Calhoun story and it was well worth the wait. Who knew a little kitchen garden for The White House and a pesky reporter could cause so much trouble?  Its got all the makings of a fabulous mystery especially in the hands of this author.

I love a strong female protagonist and Casey fits the bill. If the Secret Service Training Sessions don’t make her want to quit her job there is no way a murderer running around the gardens is going to either. She is right in the dirt with this one. I loved it!!!!

St. James writes a fast paced cozy mystery with more twists than all the varieties of bell peppers. Toss together a little humor, romance, a pregnant first lady, and some  Secret Service Agents with some unpredictable volunteers, an organic garden expert, a few secrets and a dead body and you are in for a bountiful feast for your reading pleasure.

This cozy gets my highest recommendation, a perfect escape, and it should be in your in your hot little hands as you prepare your own gardens. Definitely a must “seed” story!!!

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Would you like to win a copy of this awesome book?
Thanks to the people at Berkley Prime Crime
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!

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

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

Leave a comment for Dorothy for 5 Bonus Entries !

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

Contest Will End April 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.”

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