Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, mystery, Review on November 22, 2017

Synopsis

With seasonal crowds flocking to its sandy beaches, lively downtown shops, and the Berry Basket, a berry emporium with something for everyone, the lakeshore village of Oriole Point is ripe for summer fun—and murder.
 
Much has changed for Marlee Jacob since she returned to Oriole Point, Michigan, three years ago. Between running the Berry Basket, dodging local gossip, and whipping up strawberry muffins, smoothies, and margaritas to celebrate the town’s first annual Strawberry Moon Bash, the twenty-nine-year-old hardly has time for her fiancé, let alone grim memories of her old life in New York . . .

But unfortunately for Marlee, Oriole Point is muddled with secrets of its own. First her friend Natasha disappears after an ominous dream. Next the seediest man in town threatens to crush her business. Then an unknown person nearly kills her on the night of the Bash. When she discovers a dead body while searching for Natasha, Marlee realizes she’ll have to foil a killer’s plot herself—before the past permanently stains her future.

Review

New cozy series that has a berry theme (yum!) and set in Michigan what could possibly be wrong with that? Nothing!

I think this series has some great potential! The small town with close knit neighbors, possible love triangle, berries (if there is food I already like it) and intrigue.

Fair warning, the murder doesn’t happen until about 1/3 of the way into the book. I kept waiting for someone to end up dead but was surprised it took that long. But once it did you understand why because the scene needed to be set. Thankfully it was a character I didn’t like so I was glad to see him gone.

Marlee does a lot of pushing and prodding to get to the bottom of the murder because she believes she was the first target and was just lucky that she was fished out of the lake in time. She is on the right path and it is very surprising (to me) who is revealed as the killer because the author does a great job of playing down all of the suspects.

There is a lot of information presented at the beginning of the book and some of it takes time before it is truly explained. This did leave me a little confused until the whole story was revealed.

Then there is the fiance, Ryan. While he sounds nice, things are revealed about him that makes me wonder how long he is going to be the fiance. His attitude and thought process would not have worked with me and he would have been in the dust. Plus if he so allergic to bees, why does he not carry an epi-pen? Seems kinda odd especially considering his career field!

I still enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read the next book.

We give this 4 paws up.

 

The next book in this series is Blackberry Burial so watch for it in the next few days as I will be giving away the first 2 books in this series!

About the Author

Sharon Farrow is the latest pen name of award winning author Sharon Pisacreta. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Sharon has been a freelance writer since her twenties. Published in mystery, fantasy, and romance, Sharon currently writes The Berry Basket cozy mystery series, which debuted October 2016 with Dying For Strawberries. She is also one half of the writing team D.E. Ireland, who co-author the Agatha nominated Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins mysteries.

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on November 21, 2017

Etched in Tears (A Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Kensington (November 28, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496711755
E-Book ASIN: B06XFHHZJQ

When a famous glass artist is murdered at his own exhibit, deadly secrets are put on display, and it’s up to glass shop owner Savannah Webb to see through a killer’s cover.

Celebrated glass artist Dennis Lansing is returning to St. Petersburg, Florida, for an exhibit at the world-renowned Salvador Dali Museum. His unique style of embedding document images in his art is at the vanguard of contemporary glasswork. But as Savannah’s first boyfriend and a former apprentice to her father, Dennis’s return home has her reflecting on the past—a trip down memory lane that takes a dark turn when Dennis is found murdered at the museum with an old reference letter from her father in his pocket. A search through her father’s records sheds new light on Dennis’s history, but it seems his present life wasn’t so transparent either. Now, with a gallery of suspects to consider, it’s up to Savannah to figure out who fits the mold of a murderer.

Hudson BooksellersBAM * IndieBound

About the Author

CHERYL HOLLENCheryl Hollen now writes full-time after she left an engineering career of designing and building military flight simulators in amazing countries such as England, Wales, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, and India. Fulfilling the dream of a lifetime, she combines her love of writing with a passion for creating glass art. In the small glass studio behind her house in St. Petersburg, Florida, Cheryl and her husband design, create, and produce fused glass, stained glass, and painted glass artworks.

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Posted in Cozy, excerpt, Giveaway, mystery on November 21, 2017

Death at the Midnight Dragonfly
Argent Ocean Publishing (November 10, 2017)
Paperback: 216 pages

Synopsis

On the fourth day of Christmas,
In Mercy, Mississippi….

Four suspects lying,
Three sleuths a sleuthing
Two clues a hiding
And a very, very dead body.

It’s the Christmas season in Mercy, Mississippi. But things are far from jolly.

For Vlad Templeton the sleepy little town where he spent his childhood provides the perfect place to conduct his state funded sleep study. But when the local bank manager, who was participating in the study, is found dead on his doorstep, is it a set up…or is Vlad somehow involved?

But, when someone makes an attempt on Lily Gayle’s and Dixie’s life, the two realize they better move fast….or they might end up sleeping forever.

Excerpt

Bah Humbug. I thought to myself as I stood in the chilly December air of downtown Mercy later that evening. Across the parking lot, in the old train depot building, party goers dressed in their Christmas best gathered in groups beyond the un-curtained windows.

Folks must have already been into the Christmas punch based on the animated conversations that appeared to be going on inside. Big smiles. Arms waving. Oops! I saw a splash of the punch swish over the side of a cup being waved around and splash onto the reindeer sweater of Marlene from the newspaper. Marlene screamed, jumped back and slammed into someone I couldn’t see from my angle. She looked to be apologizing pretty hard to whoever it was.

I sighed, wishing I felt more animated about attending the Mistletoe Magic Extravaganza, as the annual Mercy Christmas Party was called.

But I just didn’t seem to be in the Christmas spirit. I’d had a very busy couple of months with dressmaking. Everything from Renaissance to Old South for women belonging to various historical groups wanting new dresses for their own Christmas celebrations. Maybe that had made my personal Christmas cheer go out the window because I seemed to be over the whole merry and bright thing even though Christmas wouldn’t be here for two more weeks.

Why, I hadn’t even put up my Christmas tree or stockings. And forget about any seasonal display on my big front porch. A shocking state of affairs according to my best friend, Dixie. She’d been over to the house just yesterday complaining about my lack of enthusiasm. I’d poo-poo’d her words, but deep down, I knew she was right.

And now, here I was, lurking outside the annual town Christmas party in a decidedly non-merry state of mind. The party was pretty much a command performance though. I kicked the tire of a truck in frustration. The only effect it had was to scuff the toe of my brand new leather boots.

I sighed again. Maybe a cup, or two, of Miss Edna’s special recipe Christmas punch might set me up right for the party. Good thing this was an adults only party and those who didn’t care for alcohol in the punch brought their own drinks. Funny how traditions come about in small towns.

However, Miss Edna came with Miss Edna’s punch. And ever since she’d worked with Dixie and me a few weeks ago to help solve the mystery of who killed Luxen Natolovich up at the Midnight Dragonfly Inn, and who killed the wolf man before that, she bout near drove me crazy wondering when our next ‘case’ would come along.

Personally I thought she was grieving over her old flame and how everything had come out about his life that prevented him from asking her to marry him all those years ago. I considered myself lucky that she hadn’t brought any of that stuff up again at the breakfast this morning. Guess she got distracted by the information about Vlad and his sleep study.

Oh, Lordy. Would Vlad be here at the party? I sure as shootin’ didn’t want my first meeting with him after all these years to be in full view of most of the town.

About the Author

Susan calls McNairy County, TN her home ground even though she has moved away. It was here, at Bethel Springs Junior High School that she began her writing career with two friends. They formed their own little writers group that was so secret they were the only ones who knew it existed. She still has some of the stories they wrote carefully preserved in a loose leaf binder and tucked away for safety.

She has worked in retail management, briefly for the Census Bureau and for many years in the investment/insurance industry in the regulatory compliance arena. All of which are left brain activities. So she exercises her right brain activity with reading and writing…just to keep both sides even.

Reading has been a passion since she was very young. As a toddler, her mother read to her from her ‘baby books’ and her Mother tells a story about her holding one of them upsidedown and ‘reading’ by repeating the story verbatim from memory.

Susan writes mysteries set in the big city of Memphis, TN and the fictional small town of Mercy, Mississippi.

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Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, Monday, mystery, paranormal, Review on November 20, 2017

That Olde White Magick (An Abracadabra Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Lyrical Underground (November 7, 2017)
Paperback: 240 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1516100583
E-Book ASIN: B06X3TLCLH

It’s time to work her crime-solving magic again . . .

Kailyn Wilde enjoys running her shop, Abracadabra, in the quaint New York hamlet of New Camel, where she lives with her six cats. Her family’s been here for centuries, and she’d like to keep up the tradition. But the place may never be the same if a big hotel gets built, so she does her civic duty and attends a town meeting along with her aunt Tilly . . . and Merlin. Yes, that Merlin—though he gets introduced to folks as her “distant English cousin.” The wizard is pretty grumpy about being transported here, but there are things about the modern world he doesn’t mind—like pizza.

Kailyn was prepared for a heated debate about the hotel, but she wasn’t expecting murder. When Tilly finds the body of a board member outside the schoolhouse, Kailyn doesn’t want any suspicion cast on the wrong person. She plans to crack this case, even if she has to talk to every living soul in town—plus a few departed ones . . .

Review

I think what I like the best about this series so far is Merlin – a sorcerer from the past that somehow ended up in today’s world and seeing how he handles new experiences each day. But all of the characters are interesting and all interact well with each other….even the killer until (s)he is caught red handed! The author does a good job of narrowing down the suspects for the reader, but even then I didn’t suspect the killer until it was revealed.

You don’t have to believe in magick to enjoy these books but I find that aspect intriguing. I’m not sure if I believe in it or not, but I am always open to discovering new things. If nothing else it makes for enjoyable reading.

Since this is the 2nd in the series, I would recommend reading book 1 first. It helps set up some of the back story and the relationship with various characters. You could read this but you might feel a little lost when it comes to the various relationships

We give it 4 paws up

About the Author

Sharon describes her writing career as having two stages. Back in the dark ages, before computers were in every household, she had three paranormal books published. The first one was condensed by Redbook Magazine, the first paperback original they ever condensed. Then life brought her an unexpected challenge, by the name of breast cancer. After treatment she and her oncologist started a not-for-profit to provide information and peer support to breast cancer patients. With the organization up and running, she returned to her first love – writing. This time around she’s been writing cozy mysteries with a paranormal twist. That Olde White Magick is the second book in her Abracadabra Mysteries.

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on November 18, 2017

 

A Fatal Collection (A Keepsake Cove Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Maryland
Midnight Ink (November 8, 2017)
Paperback: 264 pages

Synopsis

Callie Reed makes a long overdue visit to her aunt Melodie, who lives in a fairy-tale cottage in quaint Keepsake Cove, home to a bevy of unique collectible shops on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Just as they’re beginning to reconnect, Callie discovers her aunt’s body on the floor of her music box shop. Grief-stricken, Callie finds she can’t accept Melodie’s death being called accidental. How could her strong and healthy aunt take such a fatal fall? And why was she there in the middle of the night?

As Callie searches for the truth, signs seem to come from her late aunt through a favorite music box, urging Callie on. Or are they warnings? If Callie isn’t careful, she could meet a similar deadly fate amid Melodie’s collection.

Guest Post

Creating Characters

Mary Ellen Hughes

“Am I in your book?” Friends ask me that, looking hopeful, worried, or a combination of the two. They’re assuming my characters must be people I know, that I’ve simply changed the names and maybe hair color. But no, I don’t do that.

That’s not to say they’re not in my books, but never all in one piece. That makes me sound like one of those killers who scatters body parts in various places. But what I mean is that I’ll mix and match traits from people I know or who I’ve run into. Maybe even a few actors, though probably not the glamorous ones who wouldn’t blend in with my small town characters all that well.

For example, in one of my earlier books, A Taste of Death, one of my minor characters was a bit of a town busybody. Not terribly likeable for many people, so I certainly wouldn’t want a friend to think she’d been portrayed as one. But I made her the size and shape of a woman I saw often, a checker at our local supermarket. But I darkened her hair and gave her shoe button eyes, which I’d noticed on another woman who seemed particularly alert—the kind of trait a busybody would have, right?

But my supermarket checker was very reserved, not the personality I needed. So I livened up my character and, remembering the greeting I often heard from a friend (a very nice lady), I had her sing out, “helloooo!” whenever she spotted someone whose brain she wanted to pick. This, unlike my reaction with my friend, caused other characters to cringe and want to run. I’m pretty sure my friend or the other two ladies never recognized the parts of themselves I scavenged from them, though I still think of them all when I reread those scenes.

Why not use the whole person? Some writers do, and it works for them. Many will auction off a character for a future book at a mystery convention and use the buyer’s name and characteristics. I admire those who can work with it, but I find it too limiting. Even with the permission of the person, if I thought a scene called for that character to say or do something not very bright or somewhat embarrassing, I’d probably hold back and end up with a nice, but not very interesting, character.

Do I ever put myself in my characters? My family members claim they see me there, sometimes, so I guess I do, though never consciously. My main characters have always been younger, prettier, smarter, etc. etc., so if I’m in them at all it’s as a kind of wishful thinking. And I wouldn’t want to find myself in some of the jams I’ve put them in.

Callie Reed, the protagonist in A Fatal Collection, gets herself in trouble when she closes in on her aunt’s murderer, but manages to keep a cool head through it all. More so than I probably would in the same situation. Callie’s also only twenty-nine, single, and has a cute, upturned nose, none of which describes me. I’m not entirely sure who I scavenged her from to make the whole Callie, but seeing her gradually take form, from just a name to a real (to me) person was exciting, as are all the characters I’ve written. An author, I’ve discovered, works a little bit like a sculptor, shaping and molding, sanding down or adding color until the “person” is just right. The advantage we have over the sculptor is that our creation then moves and talks, and sometimes runs in different directions than we originally planned. But that part is the fun of it all.

You think an author is totally in control of the characters she’s created or the stories she writes? Sometimes we’re just as surprised as you are.

About the Author

Mary Ellen Hughes is the bestselling author of the Pickled and Preserved Mysteries (Penguin), the Craft Corner Mysteries, and the Maggie Olenski Mysteries, along with several short stories. A Fatal Collection is her debut with Midnight Ink. A Wisconsin native, she has lived most of her adult life in Maryland, where she’s set many of her stories.

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on November 16, 2017

Murder by the Barrel (A Libby Sarjeant Murder Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
18th in Series
Accent Press Ltd (October 5, 2017)
Paperback: 320 pages

Synopsis

A new title in the popular cosy crime series by bestselling author Lesley Cookman

When the sleepy village of Steeple Martin announces its first beer festival, the locals are excited. Beer, sun and music, what could possibly go wrong?

But when an unexpected death shakes the village, it’s up to Libby Sarjeant to solve the puzzle.

Was it just another rock star death or is there something more sinister afoot?

About the Author

Lesley started writing almost as soon as she could read, and filled many exercise books with pony stories until she was old enough to go out with boys. Since she’s been grown up, following a varied career as a model, air stewardess and disc jockey, she’s written short fiction and features for a variety of magazines, achieved an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Wales, taught writing for both Kent Adult Education and the WEA and edited the first Sexy Shorts collection of short stories from Accent Press in aid of the Breast Cancer Campaign.  The Libby Sarjeant series is published by Accent Press, who also publish her book, How to Write a Pantomime, with a foreword by Roy Hudd.   Lesley is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Society of Authors and the Crime Writers’ Association.

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November 13 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST

November 13 – Valerie’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

November 14 – Varietats – REVIEW

November 14 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

November 15 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW

November 15 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

November 16 – Deal Sharing Aunt – SPOTLIGHT

November 16 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 17 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – REVIEW

November 18 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

November 19 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, Monday, mystery, Review on November 13, 2017

Canal Days Calamity (A Dog Days Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Midnight Ink (November 8, 2017)
Paperback: 240 pages

Synopsis

Cameron Cripps-Hayman is taken aback when she stumbles upon another murdered neighbor, this time behind her sister’s shop, Dog Diggity. The timing couldn’t be worse, as there’s only a week left before the store’s grand opening during Canal Days, the biggest festival of the year.

When the police arrest her handyman, Cameron knows they’ve got the wrong suspect, so the Metamora Action Agency sets their sights on cracking the case. With one solved murder under their belts, how hard could a second be?

With a flood warning and a murderer on the loose threatening the start of Canal Days, can Cameron and her crew save the town’s annual dog and pony show from being canceled?

Review

I remember reading the first book and thinking this was going to be a good series…and I was right! The second book was a little better than the first (in my opinion), the characters a little more fleshed out and a continuing story line with Cam, her husband Ben, her sister Monica, her stepdaughter Mia and a few other wacky characters.

Part of what I like about this book are all the dogs…but in this particular book there is Mike the Duck that steals the spotlight. I think he is trying to become a part of the pack!

There is murder, romance and even some fortune telling! And let’s not forget the dog treat recipes at the end of the book. I must try these sometime for my dog, I know she would love them.

I also really liked that after the mystery was solved there was quite a bit more that happened in relation to Canal Days and the town. Sometimes books stop soon after the mystery is solved but this one tied up some loose ends.

We give it 4 paws up.

jamie-blairAbout the Author

Jamie Blair (Ohio) is the award-winning author of young adult and romance books, including Leap of Faith (Simon & Schuster, 2013) and Lost to Me.

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November 8 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

November 9 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

November 9 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

November 10 – T’s Stuff – SPOTLIGHT

November 10 – Mythical Books – GUEST POST

November 11 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

November 11 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

November 12 – The Montana Bookaholic – SPOTLIGHT

November 13 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

November 13 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

November 13 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

November 14 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 14 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – SPOTLIGHT

November 15 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

November 16 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 16 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

November 17 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

November 17 – Books a Plenty Book Review – REVIEW

November 18 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

November 18 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 19 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

November 19 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 20 – Valerie’s Musings – INTERVIEW

November 21 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on November 12, 2017

King Harald’s Snow Job (King Harald Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Conger Road Press (August 1, 2017)
Paperback: 302 pages

Synopsis

It’s early December and Andy Skyberg is itching to blow town for a weekend of holiday cheer with old friends—including a date with an attractive divorcée who thinks he’s hot.

But first, Aunt Bev needs a teensy bit of help. She’s managing the Girls’ Weekend Out event at the Beaver Tail Resort and could use some extra muscle. Andy figures he can spare a few hours before hitting the road.

Mother Nature, though, has other plans. A giant blizzard makes an unexpected turn. Andy and his pooch King Harald find themselves snowbound—in a hotel full of hard-partying women, stranded travelers, a hockey team, a man-eating novelist, a belligerent blogger, and one violent, devious jewel thief.

Before you know it, man and mutt are up to their noses in another case. It’s a winter wonderland of fast-paced fun and merry madness, as the sleuthing duo dig out from King Harald’s Snow Job.

Guest Post

Blizzard Buddies

In my newest mystery, my human and doggy sleuths find themselves snowbound at a luxury resort when a powerful blizzard makes an unexpected turn and socks them in. As they investigate a jewelry theft and assault in the resort, outside the snow is going sideways and piling up inch-by-inch and dangerous wind chills set in. Roads are closed and no one is going anywhere for a while.

Anyone who’s lived in a northern climate—as I have all my life—knows what it’s like when a foot or two of snow comes blasting in. With modern weather reporting, we have enough advance warning to gas up the snow blower, pull out the roof rake, and buy enough food to feed a Super Bowl party. As the white stuff comes down, and keeps coming, a certain resentment arises in one’s breast. How dare Mother Nature keep me away from the symphony concert tonight! Doesn’t she know I have important things to do?

But watching the billions of flakes (probably a lot more, actually) coat everything in white is a bit like taking a natural tranquilizer—it slows your tempo and induces calm. You accept that there’s nothing you can do until the storm winds down. It’s a great time for popcorn and a double feature. Or a cozy-reading marathon. Or whipping up a feast. Or yakking on the phone with friends.

Actually, my favorite part comes when the action’s over and weather radar’s big blue blob has moved on east. Then I get to sally forth with my orange plastic shovel (I prefer plastic; snow slides off easier) and commiserate with the folks I call my “blizzard buddies.” Some of them are neighbors I rarely see, so we get to catch up a little. Others just like to chew the fat, as we stand leaning on our shovels. I have fond memories of good post-blizzard chats with neighbors now long gone.

I especially remember the guy down at the south end of our alley, where I would trudge to clear the alley mouth. (That’s where you are most apt to get stuck in snow, transitioning from alley to street.) We talked about all kinds of stuff, from the work we were doing to his days in the navy back in WWII. I still kind of miss him. Funny thing was, though, après-blizzard was the only time I talked with him. Otherwise, it was just a wave driving by.

A good blizzard—however inconvenient—is much like Robert Frost’s celebrated fence that makes good neighbors. It brings us closer together, with a mutual cause, for at least a day. And unlike things like hurricanes and tornadoes and floods, it’s not likely to kill you, unless you take foolish risks.

And a big ol’ blizzard makes a great conversation piece that lasts a lifetime. I mean, did I ever tell you about the Great Halloween Blizzard of ’91? I went out and measured 34 inches in my backyard. It took days to shovel all that white stuff. Why, we were stuck in the house so long that…

About the Author

RichardAudryRichard Audry is the pen name of D. R. Martin. As Richard Audry, he is the author of the King Harald Canine Cozy mystery series and the Mary MacDougall historical mystery series. Under his own name he has written the Johnny Graphic middle-grade ghost adventure series, the Marta Hjelm mystery, Smoking Ruin, and two books of literary commentary: Travis McGee & Me; and Four Science Fiction Masters.

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November 1 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – COZY WEDNESDAY

November 2 –  Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 3 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW

November 4 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST

November 5 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

November 6 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

November 6 –  Queen of All She Reads  – SPOTLIGHT

November 6 –  View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

November 7 – Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf – REVIEW

November 7 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

November 8 – FUONLYKNEW – REVIEW

November 8 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT

November 9 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

November 10 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

November 11 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

November 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on November 12, 2017

Much Ado About Murder: A Shakespeare in the Catskills Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (November 7, 2017)
Hardcover 265 Pages

Synopsis

Costume designer Charlotte Fairfax has another murder on her hands as she prepares for the latest performance of the Catskills Shakespeare Theater Company, Much Ado About Nothing. The company’s steady growth enables them to cast star British actress Audrey Ashley, who arrives on scene to play the lead role of Beatrice. But things immediately get more complicated when Audrey insists the company replace the current director with new, up and coming British director Edmund Albright.

Edmund plans to change the popular romantic comedy, which alienates several people associated with the production. And the list of people he upsets only grows: the laid off former director, the hotel owner’s secretary, and even Audrey herself. Just as Edmund’s plans are about to come to fruition, his body is discovered on his sofa, holding a gun in his hand. His death is quickly ruled a suicide but Charlotte thinks otherwise. Why would Edmund, on the brink of greatness, kill himself? And in such an American way?

With a whole cast of characters to investigate, Charlotte is determined to unmask each one before it’s final curtain call on the whole production in award-winning author Elizabeth J. Duncan’s third Shakespeare in the Catskills mystery, Much Ado About Murder.

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Guest Post

How Charlotte Fairfax and the Catskills Shakespeare Company came to be

The germ of the idea for Charlotte Fairfax, costume designer/amateur sleuth in the Shakespeare in the Catskills series, came when I was dog walking in Toronto with my friend Marlene. Occasionally we spotted a friendly-looking, middle-aged woman walking a little terrier, and Marlene pointed her out to me.

“That’s Sandra,” Marlene said. “She used to work in the costume department at Stratford.” That’s Stratford, Ontario, Canada, not Stratford Upon Avon, England, but never find. The Stratford Festival in Ontario mounts a season of fine Shakespeare plays every summer.

A woman who works in classical theatre, in costume design. Hmm. Now that’s an intriguing idea for a main character, I thought.  Fabrics? Interesting. Shakespeare? Bottomless. And she’d be at the heart of the theatre company, creatively involved, able to go anywhere, talk to anyone, and yet she’s in the background. Not quite invisible, and not quite front and centre, as an actress would be. Just there.

I pictured this character in her workroom, fitting a costume on an arrogant actor, while he completely ignored her. Or offering a bit of comfort to an unhappy actress, and slipping in a few pointed questions alongside the tea and sympathy.

What you’re looking for in a protagonist is a deep well from which to draw, and a compelling assortment of possibilities that all come together to excite you as an author. If they don’t, this character probably isn’t going anywhere.

I was excited about this character, and wanted to work with her, but had no projects where I could use her, and didn’t even have a name for her. But I made a few notes, and then tucked her away, knowing that her time would likely come. The great thing with writers is that few ideas are ever wasted.

And then, a couple of years later, Crooked Lane Books was looking for a new series, and I was invited to pitch a few ideas. I offered several concepts, including a proposed series that would feature a costume designer in the Shakespeare theatre in Stratford, Ontario.

Crooked Lane liked the costume designer, liked the Shakespeare, but suggested that the series be set in the Catskills. When I did a little research, and realized how revitalized and up and coming the Catskills are, the setting turned out to be perfect.

So I fleshed out my costume designer. She’s English, and began her career with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford Upon Avon.  She’s in her early forties. She’s smart and attractive. I like her. And finally, I gave her a name. I decided to call her Charlotte Fairfax. It just seemed to suit her.

So if you’ve ever wondered where authors get their ideas, sometimes it all starts with a friend pointing out a woman across the street walking her small dog.

Unfortunately, Sandra moved away before any of the Shakespeare in the Catskills books were published, and I never got the chance to thank her for being the inspiration for the amateur sleuth in my new series.

But as a little tribute, Charlotte Fairfax has a small dog, and if you visit Jacob’s Grand Hotel in upstate New York, home of the Catskills Shakespeare Company, you may just catch a glimpse of the two of them. If you do, be sure to give them a little wave.

 

About the Author

Elizabeth J Duncan is the author of two mystery series – Shakespeare in the Catskills and the Penny Brannigan mystery series set in North Wales. She is a two-time winner of the Bloody Words Award for Canada’s best light mystery and lives in Toronto.

Website * Facebook * Twitter

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Check out the other blogs on this tour

November 2 –  Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 3 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

November 4 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

November 5 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

November 6 – Valerie’s Musings – INTERVIEW

November 7 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

November 8 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

November 9 – Bea’s Book Nook – REVIEW

November 10 – The Montana Bookaholic – CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 11 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

November 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

November 13 – Varietats –  GUEST POST

November 13 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

November 14 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 14 – A Holland Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 15 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on November 11, 2017

Of Spice and Men: A Pancake House Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Alibi (November 7, 2017)
Print Length 280 pages

Synopsis

Lights. Camera. Murder? Wildwood Cove’s star turn is soured by a sneaky killer in this delicious cozy mystery from the USA Today bestselling author of The Crêpes of Wrath.

Bonus content: includes original recipes inspired by the Flip Side Pancake House menu!

With a Hollywood film crew in town to shoot a remake of the horror classic The Perishing, the residents of Wildwood Cove are all abuzz. Even Marley McKinney, owner of The Flip Side Pancake House, can overlook the fact that the lead actress, Alyssa Jayde, happens to be an old flame of her boyfriend. After all, the crew loves Marley’s crêpes—so much so that Christine, the head makeup artist, invites her onset for a behind-the-scenes tour. But when Marley arrives, the special-effects trailer is on fire . . . with Christine inside.

The cops quickly rule Christine’s death a murder, and Alyssa a suspect. Marley’s boyfriend insists that the actress is innocent, but when Marley sticks her nose into the complicated lives of The Perishing’s cast and crew, she discovers more questions than answers. It seems that everyone has a hidden agenda—and a plausible motive. And as the horror spills over from the silver screen, Marley gets a funny feeling that she may be the killer’s next victim.

Sarah Fox’s addictive Pancake House Mysteries can be enjoyed together or à la carte:
THE CRÊPES OF WRATH | FOR WHOM THE BREAD ROLLS | OF SPICE AND MEN

Guest Post

The Pancake House Mysteries follow the adventures of Marley McKinney, amateur sleuth and owner of The Flip Side pancake house in the seaside town of Wildwood Cove, Washington. Marley searches for clues and solves murders while serving meals and chatting with customers. The Flip Side’s chef, Ivan Kaminski, is a wizard in the kitchen, and diners have a long list of delicious breakfast foods to choose from whenever they come in for a meal. While I have several favorite dishes from The Flip Side’s menu, the following are my top four.

Maple Pecan Sticky Rolls

When Ivan added these to The Flip Side’s menu, they were an instant hit. Deliciously gooey with an incredible blend of cinnamon, maple, and pecans, Marley has serious trouble resisting these sticky rolls whenever a batch comes out of Ivan’s oven, and I can’t blame her one bit.

Strawberry Vanilla Pancakes

I have to make these at least once each year during strawberry season. The flavors of the fresh strawberries and vanilla blend perfectly together. Delicious with or without maple syrup, I will happily eat these pancakes for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Pumpkin Waffles

These waffles are a fall favorite of mine, although I’ve been known to indulge in them at other times of year as well. They have just the right amount of pumpkin flavor and when topped with maple syrup they’re absolutely scrumptious. I probably eat these waffles for dinner as often as I do for breakfast. At The Flip Side, pumpkin waffles are a popular seasonal item, available from the beginning of October into December.

Pumpkin Pie Crêpes

This is probably my all-time favorite item from The Flip Side’s menu. Another seasonal item, these crêpes keep the customers coming back for more and more and more. I love to eat these crêpes for brunch or dessert, but they can be enjoyed as a sweet breakfast as well. Topped with whipped cream, The Flip Side’s pumpkin pie crêpes are absolutely heavenly.

If you’d like to enjoy these delicious breakfast foods, the recipes for The Flip Side’s strawberry vanilla pancakes and maple pecan sticky rolls can be found in the second Pancake House Mystery, For Whom the Bread Rolls. The recipes for pumpkin waffles and pumpkin pie crêpes can be found in the third and latest book in the series, Of Spice and Men.

About the Author

Sarah Fox was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she developed a love for mysteries at a young age. When not writing novels or working as a legal writer, she is often reading her way through a stack of books or spending time outdoors with her English Springer Spaniel.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

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Check out the other blogs on this tour

November 6 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

November 6 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

November 7 – A Blue Million Books  – INTERVIEW

November 8 – T’s Stuff – SPOTLIGHT

November 8 – Book Babble – REVIEW

November 9 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 9 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

November 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

November 10 – Reading Reality – REVIEW

November 11 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

November 11 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

November 12 – Varietats – REVIEW

November 12 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

November 13 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

November 13 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

November 14 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

November 14 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

November 15 – Writing Pearls – REVIEW

November 15 – deal sharing aunt – INTERVIEW

November 16 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

November 16 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW

November 17 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

November 18 – Bookworm Cafe – REVIEW, GUEST POST

November 19 – Carole’s Book Corner – REVIEW

November 19 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

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