Jan 272015
 

special guest blue

Melissa-Bourbon-Ramirez-_2

Aprons!
by Melissa Bourbon

I’ve learned so much about aprons in the past year. They are the central sewing theme in A Seamless Murder, and I loved finding out more about this fantastic American tradition.

I’ve become fascinated with aprons, in fact. I have about 4 hanging from hooks in my kitchen now, my daughter almost always wears one when she helps me cook, my sons love to don them and joke around in the kitchen, and I have my favorites that I wear—for special occasions and for everyday use.

SEAMLESS MURDERThere’s something about wearing an apron that changes the way I feel at that moment. I think it’s the same for a great piece of clothing, but with an apron, you can easily change your mood or a facet of your personality for a period of time. Wearing certain aprons in my collection make me smile. Others make me feel like a more serious cook. And still others can take the fun out of cooking and make it feel like more of a chore.

One thing I love about writing is that I get to explore subjects that are interesting to me. I get to immerse myself in new topics. And my interests often guide the direction or themes of my books. This time around it was aprons.

I’d love to hear about your relationship with aprons. Do you wear them? Love them? Have no use for them? As I said, I love them, so I’m really curious to hear what others think of them.

**

On another note, my mom, a masterful sewist, made a bunch of aprons for me as I wrote A Seamless Murder. They don’t all correspond to the book’s aprons, but a few are pretty close. And I’m giving some of them away via my newsletter! I’m so excited, because I know there are other apron lovers out there.

If you’re an apron-lover… or if you don’t know your personal thoughts about aprons but are curious to find out, join my newsletter and you can enter to win!

Happy reading!

Melissa

Sign up for Melissa’s newsletter

To find out more about Melissa Bourbon and her books visit her webpage here.

SEAMLESS MURDERA Seamless Murder:
A Magical Dressmaking Mystery

Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting: Texas
An Obsidian Mystery (January 6, 2015)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451417213
E-Book ASIN: B00KWG9JP4
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With a needle and thread, Harlow Jane Cassidy is capable of magic. Her neighbors in Bliss, Texas, on the other hand, are capable of murder….

Any garment Harlow stitches together has the power to grant the deepest desire of whomever wears it. So when she’s asked to sew aprons for a local women’s group, Harlow must get to know each member. First up is Delta Lee Mobley, who doesn’t care much for Harlow’s family—or anyone else in Bliss, for that matter. Granting Delta’s greatest wish could only lead to trouble….

But trouble finds Delta all the same. The day after Harlow delivers her apron, Delta’s body is discovered in the cemetery. It seems one of the townsfolk harbored ill will toward one of their own. Harlow’s sleuthing skills are a cut above the rest, and with a few magical tricks up her sleeve, she is determined to cuff this killer once and for all.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Making aprons for a woman’s group should be an easy task for most seamstresses but because of Harlow Jane Cassidy’s magical gift of granting the wearer’s deepest desire she needs to really get to know her customers. Delta Mobley is the head of the group and also Harlow’s next door neighbor but sharing a property line doesn’t mean you know or even like the people next door. There has been a little feud going on between the Cassidy and Mobley families for years, maybe making Delta an apron will be the first step to the families being more neighborly.

The apron gets made but before any real change between the families can happen Delta’s body is found in an open grave in the local cemetery. Harlow quickly finds out her family is not the only one who had problems with Delta. The suspects soon become many including her own family and the ladies in the woman’s group. Harlow believes by using a little bit of magic and asking the right questions she may be able to stitch together the clues and catch the killer before anyone else life is cut short.

These characters never fail to draw me into their story and I always learn a little something too. In this installment a local woman’s group is planning a progressive dinner when each course is served at a different member’s home. I have been to a couple of these events and they were fun and very interesting. In my case I always met new people and some became good friends. In this case the ladies in the group and their husbands all know each other and split up into comfortable groups.  That left Harlow and Will as the outsiders of the group and they were focused more on finding a killer rather than making friends. They also planned to do a little snooping so one had to cover for the other.  Like I said these events can be interesting.

Meeting all these new characters was entertaining. I hope some of them return in future stories. But my favorites are still Harlow, her mother whose gift makes gardens bloom and grass grow, her goat whispering grandmother and my most favorite of all Meemaw, who has her own special gift of getting just what she wants. Meemaw sets us up with one heck of a cliffhanger!

The author was able to show us Delta was a very complex woman and a woman that had changed of late. She did have a unique way of communicating with her family. Some people hold things in and bottle them up, some vent things very well. Delta form of communicating was sweet sometimes but left me thinking that if she was a “venter” or a woman that voiced her opinions wrong or right she may not have died.

Melissa Bourbon sews together another wonderful mystery that keeps us on pins and needles until all the clues are pieced together. A little sewing mixed with a little sleuthing always makes for happy reading.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

GIVEAWAY

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

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

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

Leave a comment for Melissa for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End February 10, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

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

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Apr 022014
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640

I am so happy to welcome Melissa here today! When her last book A Custom-Fit Crime back in July she was busy with a huge home remodel and couldn’t drop by. This time she is not only here for Cozy Wednesday she is also touring with Great Escapes Book Tours. You can check out the tour here.

Welcome Melissa!

Melissa-Bourbon-Ramirez-_2The Beauty of a Snow Flake

 

My two book series take place in hot states. The Lola Cruz mysteries take place in Sacramento, California, and A Magical Dressmaking mystery series takes place in the fictional town of Bliss, Texas. Both are cities where you can fry an egg on the sidewalk in the summer and freeze your toes off in the winter.

When we moved to Texas from the Sacramento valley nearly six years ago, we’d been here six months and it snowed!  On Christmas Eve, no less.  It was magical. We’d never lived where it snowed, and while North Texas isn’t known for its snow, we’ve gotten a good dusting almost every year. This year, we’ve had four or five snow days (some of them ice days) and we still love every single one of them.

killing_notionThat first Christmas Eve, we were awestruck by the storm, the falling snow, the breathtaking beauty of it all.  It was fabulous to see, and we fully appreciated the beauty of each snowflake that fell.

Recently, on a snow day and when I was procrastinating, I ended up looking up quotes about snow. “To appreciate the beauty of a snow flake, it is necessary to stand out in the cold.”  I have no idea who said this, or what inspired it.  At first glance I agreed with the statement. Yes, absolutely, you have to be outside catching snowflakes to really see their beauty.

 

But then I remembered a children’s book I have (a Caldecott winner) called Snowflake Bentley.  It is the true story of a man who spent his life photographing snowflakes.  It’s a fabulous book and one we read every holiday season (even now that my kids are older).

If I tried to turn this quote about snow into one about writing, it would read something like: To appreciate the beauty of a book, it is necessary to go through the (sometimes excruciating) process with the writer.

But I don’t agree with that at all!  As a reader, I can absolutely appreciate the beauty of a book without having personally struggled with the plot, the revisions, the character development, or any of the other myriad challenges faced in the book-writing process.  In fact, the best bsnowflakes-908726-mooks are like a gentle snow where the words and plot and characters flow together so seamlessly that before long the whole landscape is dusted in white and fairly sparkles.  I can curl up and enjoy a book like this, getting lost in the magic that an author created.  That’s an amazingly beautiful experience.

Isn’t it the same with a snowstorm?  Do I really have to stand out in the cold to know that no snowflake is identical, to realize that snowflakes are C.O.L.D., to take in the beauty of a flurry of snowflakes?  No!  I can stand at my window and know the truth about snowflakes, and appreciate their beauty (while staying warm).

Now, if I choose to go outside in the snow, my experience will be different (as it was when we all bundled up and went out to build tiny snow people and tried to sled that first year in North Texas–it wasn’t that much snow!).  I’d find a different kind of beauty.  It’s like being Snowflake Bentley and wanting MORE than the beauty of the storm.  He wanted to take the storm apart and look at the pieces.  That’s what writers do when they craft their books. We take one snowflake at a time and piece them together into a sparkling landscape of white.  Our hope is that readers will appreciate the beauty of the flurry and not be able to pick apart the plot, or see it as only pieces of a whole.  It’s my hope with every book I write that I’ve created a landscape that a reader can and will get lost in.

So, what do you think?  Do you have to be outside in the cold to really appreciate a snowflake?

~ Melissa

About Melissa Bourbon

Melissa Bourbon, who sometimes answers to her Latina-by-marriage name Misa Ramirez, gave up teaching middle and high school kids in Northern California to write full-time amidst horses and Longhorns in North Texas.  She fantasizes about spending summers writing in quaint, cozy locales, has a love/hate relationship with yoga and chocolate, is devoted to her family, and can’t believe she’s lucky enough to be living the life of her dreams.

She is the Marketing Director with Entangled Publishing, is the author of the Lola Cruz Mystery series with St. Martin’s Minotaur and Entangled Publishing, and A Magical Dressmaking Mystery series with NAL. She also has written two romantic suspense novels, a light paranormal romance, and is the co-author of The Tricked-out Toolbox, a practical marketing guide for authors.

Connect with Melissa

Website: MelissaBourbon.com

Facebook: Author Misa Ramirez/Melissa Bourbon

Twitter: @MelissaBourbon

Goodreads: Misa Ramirez / Melissa Bourbon

killing_notionA Killing Notion:
A Magical Dressmaking Mystery (Magical Dressmaking Mysteries)

5th in Series
Cozy Mystery
An Obsidian Mystery (April 1, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451417206
E-Book File Size: 1819 KB
Amazon ASIN: B00F9EZBXS
B&N ISBN-13: 9781101602744
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It’s homecoming time in Bliss, Texas and the girls are working on their mums. Like everything in Texas these mums are big!! Harlow Jane Cassidy, owner of Buttons & Bows, is not only helping with the mums, she is making several homecoming dresses. Gracie has decided to make her own dress. Then when Gracie’s date for the dance is accused of murder Harlow realizes Gracie is going need much more than help with her dress. Harlow needs to patch together the clues and clear the boys name before the whole homecoming celebration is ruined.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

First things first I had to do a little investigating into the Texas size mums, we don’t have anything like it to my knowledge here in Wisconsin. I found some pictures of them on The Style Sisters blog. Why these girls would want to cover up these beautiful dresses or wear this kind of thing around their neck all day is beyond me but it seems to be quite the tradition.

Now Melissa has crafted quite a mystery while her characters were crafting their mums. Gracie has grown up so fast and this story really zones in on her character. Her boyfriend is not only struggling with his father’s death, he is also the cops prime suspect.

This story has a very interesting twist that I started to put together just a bit ahead of Harlow and then another huge twist at the end that took me completely by surprise.

This is one of my favorite series as I too come from a background full of seamstresses and before my accident sewing and crafting were the way I spent all of my free time. I love all the characters and the way all their charms work. MeeMaw continues to make her presence known and she just tickles my heart.

As soon as I finish a Melissa Bourbon story I always want more. These are characters I truly hate to leave behind as I wait for my next trip to Bliss. This is a wonderful series, start at the beginning and sit back and curl up with some great cozy mysteries.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

a Rafflecopter giveaway

PLUS

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Leave a comment for Melissa for 5 Bonus Entries !

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

Contest Will End April 16, 2014 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

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

 

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Jul 032013
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640

 

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I thought the graphic for this feature needed an update to match my beachy theme.
I hope this one will make you want to cozy up with a good book too!

I am thrilled to welcome Melissa here today but she is swamped with a fabulous home remodel and the guest post didn’t come together. Custom-Fit Crime is a great addition to this series! Be sure to enter the giveaway!

a custom fit crimeA Custom-Fit Crime:
A Magical Dressmaking Mystery

4th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Obsidian (July 2, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback 320 pages
ISBN-13 978-0451417190
E-Book File Size: 694 KB
ASIN: B0099D4RHG
goodreads-badge-add-plus-d700d4d3e3c0b346066731ac07b7fe47

 

 

Harlow Jane Cassidy has her hands full planning and making the dresses for her mother’s wedding, her old friend Orphie has come to visit and one of her biggest dreams in coming true – her designs are going to be featured in big time magazine spread. She has things under control until a rival fashion designer dies in her shop, Buttons & Bows. Then a near miss shows Orphie may also be in danger.

Harlow has no choice but to untangle the clues and find a killer if she has any hope of saving her friend, the wedding and her business. She is going to need more than her charm to save the day this time!

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I grew up in a family of seamstresses so this series is one of my favorites. I was thrilled to see Harlow getting some recognition for her creations. Harlow, her mom, and MeeMaw just touch my heart stirring up fond memories of my own family.

Bourbon has created magical characters and Button & Bows is a dressmaker’s dream shop. She stitches them together with an enchanting mystery sure to please all cozy lovers.

In this installment Orphie comes to town with her own share of troubles. Harlow’s mother, like all Cassidy women, is STUBBORN, especially when it comes to her daughter, and it puts the wedding in jeopardy. Gracie is having some trouble adjusting to her charm. All this plus some snooty designers and their snotty models show up from out of town for a photo shoot and all heck beaks loose. Hold on tight, this Custom-Fit Crime will have you on pins and needles from the first page to the last.

a perfect escape
5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author

Melissa Bourbon, who sometimes answers to her Latina-by-marriage name Misa Ramirez, gave up teaching middle and high school kids in Northern California to write full-time amidst horses and Longhorns in North Texas. She fantasizes about spending summers writing in quaint, cozy locales, has a love/hate relationship with yoga and chocolate, is devoted to her family, and can’t believe she’s lucky enough to be living the life of her dreams.

She is the marketing director at Entangled Publishing, is the author of the Lola Cruz Mystery series with St. Martin’s Minotaur and Entangled Publishing (Bare-Naked Lola (A Lola Cruz Mystery)is available now), The Magical Dressmaking Mystery series with NAL, is the co-author of The Tricked-out Toolbox with Tonya Kappes, and has two romantic suspense novels.

Find out more on her website here.

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

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

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

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

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

Leave a comment for Melissa for 5 Bonus Entries !

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

Contest Will End July 17, 2013 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

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

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Feb 222012
 


When I read the first book in this series Pleating for MercyI definitely felt the magic. Not only was it a wonderful debut to this series but it brought back some wonderful memories for me of my mother and grandmother who were exceptional seamstresses. I knew I had to invite Melissa to stop by here when her next book was released. A Fitting End: A Magical Dressmaking Mystery (A Dressmaker’s Mystery) was released on February 7 and Melissa is here today!! (Grandma, you would love these stories, no need to rattle the pipes, I know you can hear me ;))

Welcome Melissa!

Thanks Lori!
“Every small town has their traditions. Bliss, Texas, is no exception. We have your typical holiday parades and summer concerts, sure. But the big deal on the annual town calendar in Bliss is the Margaret Moffette Lea Pageant and Ball. Or The Margaret Festival, as the locals call it. The event used to be one of the dividing lines between the haves and the have nots in our small town. If you weren’t a Margaret, you were a have not.

I was never a Margaret.”

So begins A Fitting End, book 2 in the Magical Dressmaking Mystery series. Although there is no such thing as the Margaret Moffette Lea Pageant and Ball, there is something similar. It’s Washington’s birthday celebration down in Laredo, Texas. The girls are called Marthas, in honor of Martha Washington. It’s a mutli-day event filled with food, music, and the culminating pageant.

Oh my gosh! The second I read about this event in Laredo, I knew… I KNEW I had to use the idea and bring it up to Bliss, Texas. I love infusing history and real events into my stories-Harlow Jane Cassidy is a descendant of Butch Cassidy, after all– so I had to research and make my pageant as authentic as possible.

So who is Margaret? She was the wife of Sam Houston, one of Texas’s favorite sons, the perfect bridge to the debutante festival I wanted to create. The girls in A Fitting End are called Margarets, and Harlow spends some time learning how to make these extravagant gowns.

The research for the festival was so interesting! $20,000 gowns (or sometimes more!); girls put on the atelier’s list as a baby so they will have a dress made; a bridge ceremony with the sister city in Mexico. There’s more, of course, but I can’t give away too much. Suffice it to say that the Margarets and the whole pageant, as well as gowns from Harlow’s grandmother’s girlhood in Bliss and the stories they tell, are at the center of the story.

To me, one of the best things about writing is weaving these threads of history into the story and creating something brand new, layered, and interesting. I’d love to hear your thoughts. What are some of your favorite cozy mystery hooks?

Come on over to my website and share what you think! I’m running a sweepstakes for a chance to win an eReader! Hope to see you there, and thank you, Lori, for hosting me today!

~Melissa

Your are so welcome!! I hope you stop by often!!

Connect with Melissa!

melissabourbon.com

On Facebook

Melissa Bourbon Ramirez on Twitter

Misa Ramirez on Twitter

On Goodreads

Email

About This Author
Melissa Bourbon, who sometimes answers to her Latina-by-marriage name Misa Ramirez, is the marketing director at Entangled Publishing and is the author of the Lola Cruz mystery series: Living the Vida Lola and Hasta la Vista, Lola! from Thomas Dunne Books / St. Martin’s Minotaur, Bare-Naked Lola form Entangled Publishing (April 2012), and A Dressmaker’s Mystery series for NAL (Pleating for Mercy, 2011, A Fitting End, 2012, Deadly Patterns, 2012). She also has two romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Curse and A Deadly Sacrifice, and is the co-author of The Tricked-out Toolbox: Promotion and Marketing Tools Every Writer Needs, all to be released in 2012/2013.

A former middle and high school teacher, this blonde-haired, green-eyed, proud to be Latina-by-Marriage girl loves following Lola and Harlow on their many adventures. Whether it’s contemplating belly button piercings, visiting nudist resorts, or hanging out with seamstresses, she’s always up for the challenge. Melissa has two middle grade series for girls in development, is published in Woman’s World Magazine and Romance Writers Report, and GLOW Magazine, and has a children’s book published. She fantasizes about spending summers writing in quaint, cozy locales, has a love/hate relationship with yoga and chocolate, is devoted to her family, and can’t believe she’s lucky enough to be living the life of her dreams.


A Fitting End: A Magical Dressmaking Mystery (A Dressmaker’s Mystery)
Obsidian
Published by New American Library
A Division Penguin Group
2nd in Series

As Melissa told you above the pageant is the center of the story but every cozy needs a murder to solve and in this case it’s the local golf pro who has been very busy in addition to giving golf lessons. So Harlow finds herself wrapped up in another mystery. I don’t want to give too much away either 🙂

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Melissa Bourbon has created some fascinating characters in this series. Yes, the Cassidy women are “charmed” but they are also charming, delightful and funny. Harlow stitches a little magic into each of her creations which leads to some very surprising revelations. Reading this story was pure joy.

There is a part when a huge piece of furniture is being moved, I had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard. The men is this series can be equally charming but are completely in the dark about what is really happening around them. This just adds to the fun.

A wonderful cozy carefully sewn together with love. The relationship between all these woman including MeeMaw’s ghostly interruptions make this a true must read. Bliss, Texas is full of magic, making this story a perfect escape. 


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!!

Plus 1 set of both books

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.

Leave a comment for Melissa for 5 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End March 7, 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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