Posted in Blog Tour, Excerpt

Spotlight, Blog Tour, and Excerpt for Copper Waters, A New Zealand Cottage Mystery by Marlene Bell

Copper Waters: A New Zealand Cottage Mystery
(Annalisse Series)
by Marlene Bell

About Copper Waters

Copper Waters: A New Zealand Cottage Mystery (Annalisse Series)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – New Zealand – South Island
Ewephoric Publishing (October 7, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 342 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0999539493
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0999539491
Digital Print Length ‏ : ‎ 280 pages

A rural New Zealand vacation turns poisonous.

Antiquities expert Annalisse Drury and tycoon Alec Zavos are at an impasse in their relationship when Alec refuses to clear up a paternity issue with an ex-lover.

Frustrated with his avoidance when their future is at stake, Annalisse accepts an invitation from an acquaintance to fly to New Zealand—hoping to escape the recent turbulence in her life.

But even Annalisse’s cottage idyll on the family sheep farm isn’t immune to intrigue.

Alec sends a mutual friend and detective, Bill Drake, to follow her, and a local resident who accompanies them from the Christchurch airport dies mysteriously soon after. A second violent death finds Annalisse and Bill at odds with the official investigations.

The local police want to close both cases as quickly as possible—without unearthing the town’s dirty secrets.

As she and Bill pursue their own leads at serious cost, the dual mysteries force Annalisse to question everything she thought she knew about family ties, politics, and the art of small-town betrayal.


“Nothing’s sinking in.” I pass the note to Alec and prepare myself. “Would you mind reading it aloud?”

“She and Ethan traveled together.” He gazes at me.

“Okay, we’d considered that.”

“Kate has business to conclude in New Zealand before she returns to New York. She asks me not to mention this to you until she arrives in the States but didn’t give a reason. Kate says she’ll meet you in person when she’s ready.”

“Seriously? Where does she plan to live? With me in Greenwich? The Goshen farm could be sold by now. Does she mention Jeremy finding her another place?”

Alec scans the page randomly. “No, she didn’t.”

I scratch my scalp and shake my head. “Then my sheep station trip to New Zealand is perfect timing. I have to leave now and see if I can catch her before she skips out. Ethan must know where Kate is. If it’s all the same, we’ll hang on to the tickets for our April trip, and I’ll buy my own way for this flight.” Tugging at my sweatshirt with clammy hands, I take the note from Alec and sail it into the flames, watching paper crinkle and burn on the log.

He steps forward, his chiseled profile gawking at the fire in disbelief.

“Were you ever going to tell me about Kate’s message?” A sob chokes my windpipe. “If it weren’t for Ethan’s invite, I doubt that we’d be talking about Kate.”

“Babe, I thought by staying neutral…” He twists his lips and looks at his shoes. “Seeing your reaction now; it was a mistake not to tell you.”

“That totally blows.” I ball my hands into fists. “More like you were afraid that I’d run down there to find her.” I’m mad enough to send smoke signals, so I take slower, calming breaths.

“If I’d told you… Yeah, I worried you’d run off. The ordeal in Italy, then Peter Gregory terrorizing you, and Helga has had barely enough time to settle around here. Your safety doesn’t include encouraging you to hop on a plane to another country so soon after a trauma like that. Waiting for Kate’s return felt right to me. At some point, I hope you’ll see things from my side. Kate put me in the middle, but it’s you I worry about.”

Willing myself to relax, I take his hand to get him to focus on me instead of the floor. “I know that.”

Peter Gregory, an old coworker from my past job at another gallery, is responsible for a young woman’s murder in Lecce, near the Mediterranean Sea on Italy’s eastern shore. Alec and I went to Southern Italy for a working vacation that spun us into solving more than one homicide in order for Alec to sell his dad’s Signorile Corporation, a sports car company.

“After a shower, I’ll give your mom a call from the car on the way home. I might have trouble getting a flight out on the spur of the moment, but if I do, I hope you’ll help me.”

“Anna, we should discuss this.” He catches my wrist. “I’d like to go along. Say the word, and I’m on that plane with you. Allow what’s happened with Kate to simmer. You might feel differently in the morning.”

Grasping Kate’s locket beneath my shirt, I slide the chain over my head and cup Alec’s hand, dropping the necklace there.

“Hold on to my locket while I’m gone. It’s the most precious thing I own. That way, you’ll know I’m coming back to you.” On my tiptoes, our salty kiss calls a loneliness— In a flash, two people are about to have a hemisphere drifting between them from outside influences that want to manipulate us. “Gen will be here to see Noah in a few hours, and you have him until Sunday. Let me go, Alec, and please wait for me at Brookehaven. I have to make this trip by myself. If there’s the slightest chance that Kate’s with Ethan or he knows where she is, I have to go. I’ve already lost precious time.” I start for the drawing room doors and remember something left undone. “Oh, and sorry for the sticky mess in your stable office.”

In a dead run, I’m biting a quivering lip. On the way to Alec’s bedroom suite, I send Chase a text to hold Ethan’s box and note for me at the gallery. True to form, Kate shoves us all out of our comfort zones, where I’m certain to find a disaster waiting for me to book a ticket to New Zealand in a mad rush.

About Marlene M. Bell


Marlene M. Bell is an eclectic mystery writer, artist, photographer, and she raises sheep on a ranch in wooded East Texas with her husband, Gregg.

Marlene’s Annalisse series boasts numerous honors including the Independent Press Award for Best Mystery (Spent Identity,) and FAPA— Florida Author’s President’s Gold Award for two other installments, (Stolen Obsession and Scattered Legacy.) Her mysteries with a touch of romantic suspense are found at her websites or at online retail outlets.

She also offers the first of her children’s picture books, Mia and Nattie: One Great Team! Based on true events from the Bell’s ranch. The simple text and illustrations are a touching tribute of compassion and love between a little girl and her lamb.

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Posted in Reviews

Review of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

****4 stars

Spoiler Alert: This Review contains some spoilers

The main character, Cussy Mary Carter, also known as “Bluet,” lives in Troublesome Creek, Kentucky in 1936. She is one of the last of a line of blue-skinned people who existed then. This well-researched book follows Cussy as she joins the Pack Horse Librarians to deliver books and reading material throughout the town. Her father, a coal miner and widower, wants her to find a husband and uses a courting candle to attract one. Unfortunately, the man who asks for her hand abuses her and dies during a fit of anger. Because her husband was influential in the town, her “pa” makes a deal with the doctor who comes to their home to hide the body. In exchange, he allows the doctor to examine and test Cussy hoping to find out the cause of Cussy’s blue color and to correct it.

When the cause is determined to be a genetic condition and the doctor treats Cussy with a cure that makes her white, the medicine makes her sick and only lasts a day for each dose. Her father wants her to stop taking it, but she refuses, believing that it will change people’s opinion of her and that the side effects will resolve in time.

As Cussy continues her work bringing books to the townsfolk on her mule, she is pleased when people greet her and look forward to her arrival. Most of the people she serves are sickly and very poor. A young boy who she becomes close to dies from starvation despite her attempts to bring him what little food she can manage.

Two women in charge of the library project consider her “colored” and treat her as below them even when she takes the medicine that makes her white. Besides her book patrons and father, the only other person who views her as an equal is a newcomer to town named Jackson Lovett.

After a young woman, one of her book patrons, dies following childbirth and asks her to take the baby, Cussy discovers that her father has been killed in a mining accident. The day he left, he lit another courting candle. Lovett is the man who responds to it, declares his love for Cussy, and asks her to marry him even though she no longer takes the medicine for her skin condition and has a baby daughter.

On her wedding day, after the ceremony, the sheriff and a group of his supporters put Lovett in jail for marrying Cussy because of a law banning interracial marriages. The doctor tries to persuade them that Cussy is white but suffers a genetic condition that makes her skin appear blue.

The book doesn’t have the happiest of endings and is a sad story, which is why I didn’t give it 5 stars. Readers who enjoy less depressing tales might not find it to their taste. However, it’s an interesting novel based on true historical facts, and the author has written a sequel called The Book Woman’s Daughter.


Posted in Freebies and Special Offers, retirement

Retirement, Book, and Personal Updates

It’s been a crazy May. We celebrated my birthday and my husband’s, the one-year anniversary of the loss of my Stripey cat, had a garage sale at our house, and found a new home in South Carolina.

I wrote a blog post from Stripey’s point of view up on Rainbow Bridge about the year he’s been away from us. You can read it here:

Our garage sale was a lot of work, but we were able to get rid of many of our items that we hope found a good new home.

We recently came home from a second house-hunting trip to Charlotte, North Carolina, but also visited South Carolina where we found a home at the Edgewater Community that features a golf course, lake, clubhouses, a pool, and 70 activities a month arranged by an activity director. They are also opening a restaurant by the golf course. While we aren’t as close to stores and other places, the home prices are reasonable, and we’re an hour from Charlotte. My daughter will have an apartment upstairs, and we’ll finally have more than one bathroom and a dining room. We will also have a screened-in porch for the cats, an office for my husband, and a sitting room for me.




We’re still going to be on Long Island for a bit because they’re building our home which takes approximately 9-11 months. This is our lot.

My book news is that I’ve finished and submitted my third Buttercup Bend cozy mystery, The Case of the Llama Raising Librarian, to my publisher. I’m still waiting on the cover and an editor, but I hope the book will be published this summer.

For Memorial Day, there’s a 99-cent sale at Apple Books for three of my mysteries: Sea Scope, Memory Makers, and The Case of the Cat Crazy Lady, Buttercup Bend #1.

My June newsletter will be out before Memorial Day. New subscribers are eligible for special giveaways. You can subscribe at


Posted in Blog Tour, Spotlight

Spotlight and Blog Tour for Earl Grey and Shallow Graves, a Waterwheel Cafe Mystery by Victoria Tait

Earl Grey and Shallow Graves: A British Cozy Murder Mystery with a Female Sleuth
(A Waterwheel Cafe Mystery) by Victoria Tait

About Earl Grey and Shallow Graves

Earl Grey and Shallow Graves:
A British Cozy Murder Mystery with a Female Sleuth
(A Waterwheel Cafe Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – England
Kanga Press (May 19, 2023)
Number of Pages c. 240
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0BXQL5YS5
GoodReads Link Coming Soon

A 30-year-old skeleton. A missing girl. Can a community police officer read the tea leaves or will a deadly secret remain buried for ever?

Sergeant Keya Varma is delighted with her new part-time role as the Cotswolds’ Rural Engagement Officer. She’s also fulfilling her dream of opening a small neighbourhood café. But she gets herself into a stew with renovation works when builders unearth a young girl’s remains.

While Keya and her police colleagues gain ground reviewing the unsolved disappearance of a local girl, her brief taste of success turns to dust when a friend is found dead at her tea shop. Confusion over identities threatens to bury the investigation and our junior police officer is worried that justice won’t be served.

Can Keya dig into the mystery and uncover the real culprit?

Earl Grey and Shallow Graves is the first book in The Waterwheel Café series. If you’ve enjoyed the Dotty Sayers Antique Mystery series, then you’ll love meeting some of your favourite characters and making new friends in Victoria Tait’s intriguing British cozy mystery.

Buy Earl Grey and Shallow Graves and unearth a killer today!

About Victoria Tait

I was born and raised in Yorkshire, UK, and never expected to travel the world. I’ve drawn on my experiences following my military husband to write cozy murder mystery books with vivid and evocative settings. My determined female sleuths are joined by colourful but realistic teams of helpers, and you’ll experience surprises, humour, and sometimes, a tug on your heartstrings.

I hope you enjoyed Keya’s first book. Why not join her and her friends as they solve more mysteries in my Dotty Sayers Antique Mystery series, also based in the Cotswolds. Visit

Do you like tea, cakes and books? Then why not join our TeaCozy Club for regular news and updates, and receive your free book gift at

Who doesn’t like tea, cake, and a slice of murder?

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Posted in Uncategorized

A Dozen Garage Sale Tips

This past Mother’s Day weekend, I had a garage sale at my house. From my experience, I’m sharing some tips that might help you if you’re planning your own sale.

  1. Limit the days and hours of your sale. We had our sale over 3 days, Fri/Sat/Sun on Mother’s Day weekend from 9-6. It was exhausting. The best day of the sale was the first day,Friday. The worse day was Sunday. I would recommend either a one or two-day sale, no more than six hours a day considering that it takes time to set up and take down each day.
  2. Have Plenty of help on Hand. My husband, daughter, and two teens helped me. Besides moving things in and out of the garage and setting up displays, people are needed to take shifts at the table and to greet customers and process payments. Items need to be marked with prices and replaced when they sell.
  3. Advertise in papers, on social media, and with signs and posters. I placed an ad in the local paper and promoted the event on my Facebook page and on a local Facebook group. My daughter made signs she put up around the neighborhood. I also put up a poster at church. I had one person come in response to the Facebook ad and the photos I ran with it of the items available. However, most of the people who came to the sale were walking the neighborhood and just saw the stuff outside.
  4. Check the weather report. We were lucky that we had no rain during the 3-days of our sale. But you might want to schedule a rain date for your garage sale. Also, if it’s sunny or even partly cloudy, you should apply sunscreen. My husband got sunburn because he didn’t.
  5. Record all transactions and payments. Taking a suggestion from a book about garage sales, we used a fanny pack to hold our cash and change. We recorded the amount we started with and then each transaction – what was purchased and what it cost. We tallied the figures up each day and then the grand total at the end. We then checked it against what was left in the fanny pack.
  6. Take Breaks and assign shifts. Be sure to take rest breaks to eat and nap if necessary. Since I’m a morning person, I took the morning shift and my daughter took the afternoon shift.
  7. Have bags and packing material nearby. We had bags available for people to help carry their purchases. However, we could’ve used tissue paper and other packing material. We improvised with newspaper for the delicate items.
  8. Group items by categories and in sets. We displayed our holiday items, baby and children’s toys, books, and other items together and kept the more expensive items near our checkout table. Items that came in sets such as ornaments were sold together.  
  9. Don’t expect to make money. Considering the amount of time and effort, you shouldn’t expect much of a profit. Your goal should be to get rid of unwanted items and hope they find a new home where they can be used.
  10. Learn what’s “hot” from each purchase. As you sell items, observe which ones seem to be more popular. For instance, we almost sold out of my daughter’s crochet yarn, needles, and craft items. We also did well with gardening items. Books and magazines were the least popular items, and we also didn’t sell many stuffed animals or baby items. We didn’t have any tools to sell, but we had requests for them.
  11. Have fun. While there’s a lot of hard work in organizing and holding a garage sale, there’s the opportunity to meet neighbors and see friends. I had a nice surprise when an old friend who I had reconnected with on Facebook but hadn’t seen in years dropped by.
  12. Don’t regret what you sell. I found it hard to part with some things, even though I didn’t have much use for them. But two sales, in particular, made me realize that it was worth it. A young girl with her mother chose the mermaid doll my daughter had loved when she was a child. The doll was in excellent condition. I was happy to see the girl walking around hugging the doll. I was also happy that a patron I knew from the library took home one of my cat tunnels. Afterwards, she shared with me a photo of her cat in the tunnel.
Posted in Blog Tour, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for A Novel Disguise by Samantha Hastings


A Novel Disguise (A Lady Librarian Mystery)
by Samantha Larsen

About A Novel Disguise

A Novel Disguise (A Lady Librarian Mystery)
Historical Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Imaginary English village, 1784
Crooked Lane Books (May 16, 2023)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1639103465
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1639103461
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0B9WJ8FFT

When Miss Tiffany Woodall assumes the identity of her half-brother after his death, she realizes she isn’t the only one with a secret to hide in this historical series debut, perfect for fans of Deanna Raybourn and Sherry Thomas.

1784 London.Miss Tiffany Woodall didn’t murder her half-brother, but she did bury him in the back garden so that she could keep her cottage. Now, the confirmed spinster has to pretend to be Uriah and fulfill his duties as the Duke of Beaufort’s librarian while searching Astwell Palace for Uriah’s missing diamond pin, the only thing of value they own. Her ruse is almost up when she is discovered by Mr. Samir Lathrop, the local bookseller, who tries to save her from drowning while she’s actually just washing up in a lake after burying her brother.

Her plan is going by the book, until the rector proposes marriage and she starts to develop feelings for Mr. Lathrop. But when her childhood friend, Tess, comes to visit, Tiffany quickly realizes her secret isn’t the only one hidden within these walls. The body of a servant is found, along with a collection of stolen items, and someone else grows mysteriously ill. Can Tiffany solve these mysteries without her own disguise being discovered? If not, she’ll lose her cottage and possibly her life.


10 Facts About Crime in 1784 England That Are to Die For—Literally

By Samantha Hastings

  1. There were over 200 hanging offenses.

In 1800, Jane Austen’s aunt, Mrs. Jane Leigh Perrot, was accused of shoplifting lace and could have been sentenced to death if she’d been found guilty. After a six-hour trial, Mrs. Perrot was found innocent. Stealing something worth more than five shillings from a shop was a hanging offense. Other offenses included: impersonating an army veteran, sodomy, sheep stealing, murder, damaging Westminster Bridge, and many more.

  1. Trials only lasted one day.

The first criminal trial to last longer than one day was in 1792. Until 1848, the suspect was assumed to be guilty and the police magistrate’s job was to prove it with evidence and witness testimony. They did not look for proof of the suspect’s possible innocence and neighbors were encouraged to ‘inform’ on each other. If the person was found guilty, the informer could collect a part the fines.

  1. Executions happened within two days of conviction.

In 1784 England, you’d better pray that the local jury got their verdict right and that the judge sentenced you correctly, because justice was swift and death swifter. Both men and women were hung. However, the judges and juries were always men. Women had very few rights under the law. Before the age of one and twenty, women were assumed to be their father’s property. If a daughter’s purse was stolen, the father was the victim of the crime. The What-not, or Ladies Handbook of 1859 explains that all a woman “has or expects to have becomes virtually the property of the man she has accepted as husband.”

  1. You could wait months for your trial in the country.

In London, trials and sentencing happened quickly, but in the country, a prisoner could wait for almost a year for an assizes judge to arrive in the county for the trial. That’s a long time to be in the local jail and there was no remuneration in the unlikely event you were found to be innocent.

  1. Aristocrats could be sentenced to death.

Peers definitely had more legal privileges than the common man; and women even fewer. However, if an aristocrat was found guilty of murder, they could be hung. Duels among gentlemen of quality (the aristocratic class) were usually not considered murder until the 1840s; after then, you would have to travel to the continent to duel.

  1. You couldn’t testify at your own trial.

At trials, the accused was not allowed to speak in their own defense until 1898. Daniel Pool explains in What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dicken’s Knew that the accused could not see ‘the written record of evidence” against themselves until 1839. Not even your lawyer in a felony case was permitted to give a speech to the jury, nor to cross-examine witnesses.

  1. Executions were considered entertainment.

A hanging could draw crowds of thousands. The executions of a husband and wife, who were murderers, drew over thirty thousand people in 1849. Public executions did not end until 1868. In A Novel Disguise, the scaffold is built in the main square and most of the village turns up to see the trial and the subsequent hangings.

  1. You were punished after your death.

Following the execution, the criminal’s body was either given to a surgeon to dissect, or hung in chains in a gibbet, usually at a cross roads. A gibbet was an iron cage to hold the decaying body. This was the practice until 1832. One of the reasons behind this macabre practice was that showing the skeleton of a criminal was thought to deter others from committing crimes.

  1. There was no formal police force in small towns.

In 1750, John and Henry Fielding founded the Bow Street Runners in London, but they were more private detectives than a formal police force. There was “the watch” that had existed since Charles II’s reign (1660-1685). They shouted the time and the weather. The watch also patrolled the streets with a noise-making clacker, cutlass, truncheon, and lantern.

  1. Country constables weren’t paid.

In the country, the constable was chosen yearly by the local justice of the peace, like Mr. Samir Lathrop in A Novel Disguise. It was not a paid position. The constable’s duties were to keep the peace and apprehend wrong-doers. They typically had another job or profession. Mr. Lathrop owns a bookshop. In 1829, London began having full-time and salaried constables; and not until 1856 for the countryside. The original police force was located at Scotland Yard and had over 3,000 men who wore tall stiff hats that could be used to stand on to peer over fences. A very useful feature!

Enjoy a 18th century murder trial with an assizes judge and a local jury of twelve men in A Novel Disguise by Samantha Larsen.

About Samantha Larsen

Samantha Hastings met her husband in a turkey sandwich line. They live in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she spends most of her time reading, eating popcorn, having tea parties, and chasing her four kids. She has degrees from Brigham Young University, the University of North Texas, and the University of Reading (UK). She’s the author of: The Last Word, The Invention of Sophie Carter, A Royal Christmas Quandary, The Girl with the Golden Eyes, Jane Austen Trivia, The Duchess Contract, Secret of the Sonnets, The Marquess and the Runaway Lady, and A Novel Disguise. She also writes cozy murder mysteries under Samantha Larsen.

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Spotlight and Blog Tour for The Ghost Goes to the Dogs , A Haunted Bookshop Mystery by Cleo Coyle

The Ghost Goes to the Dogs (Haunted Bookshop Mystery)
by Cleo Coyle

About The Ghost Goes to the Dogs

The Ghost Goes to the Dogs (Haunted Bookshop Mystery)
Paranormal Cozy Mystery
9th in Series
Setting -‎ Rhode Island
Berkley (May 2, 2023)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0425255492
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0425255490
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0B8GC8YHT

A stray dog leads bookseller Penelope McClure and her gumshoe ghost on a chase for a cunning criminal in this brand-new entry in the “UTTERLY CHARMING” (Mystery Scene) Haunted Bookshop Mysteries from New York Times bestselling author Cleo Coyle.

Pet Mystery Week brings brisk business to Penelope’s Rhode Island bookshop, but a real mystery comes barking at her door when a lost dog turns up in a panic. Pen and her son Spencer follow the furry fugitive to a wooded area where the dog’s owner lies unconscious. Mrs. Cunningham is a warm-hearted widow who volunteers at the animal shelter and runs Buy the Book’s pet lovers book club. Why would anyone shoot such a sweet soul?

The police believe it’s an accident, a shot by a careless deer hunter, but Pen remains skeptical. To straighten out this doggone mess, she whistles for the ghost of PI Jack Shepard, an expert in hounding as well as haunting. Jack has a dog story of his own, a case from the 1940s that may help Pen sniff out clues to her present predicament. Yet even with Jack’s hard-boiled help, Pen may not be able to stop the killer from striking again or letting this whole case go to the dogs…

About the Author

CLEO COYLE is a pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Both are New York Times-bestselling authors of the long-running Coffeehouse Mysteries and Haunted Bookshop Mysteries, now celebrating nearly 20 years in print. With more than one million books sold, their work has been honored with starred reviews and multiple best-of-year list selections by reviewers. Alice and Marc are also bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for Lucasfilm, NBC, Fox, Disney, Imagine, Toho, and MGM. They live and work in New York City, where they write independently and together.

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May 12 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

May 12 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

May 13 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

May 13 – The Editing Pen – REVIEW

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Spotlight and Blog Tour for Poaching is Puzzling: A Cookbook Nook Mystery by Daryl Wood Gerber

Poaching Is Puzzling: A Cookbook Nook Mystery
by Daryl Wood Gerber

About Poaching is Puzzling

Poaching Is Puzzling: A Cookbook Nook Mystery
Cozy Mystery
12th in Series
Setting – California
Beyond the Page Publishing (April 25, 2023)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 264 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1960511149
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1960511140
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0C1HDCTC6

In the cutthroat world of crossword solvers, Jenna Hart will have to decipher some puzzling clues to catch a killer . . .

The annual crossword puzzle contest has drawn contestants from near and far to Crystal Cove, and Jenna watches in amazement as puzzle-themed books fly off the shelves at the Cookbook Nook. Her aunt Vera is putting up a sizable cash prize, and no one is more surprised than Jenna to discover there’s bad blood between Vera and the prominent puzzle constructor who’s acting as master of ceremonies. And when the puzzle guru has his throat slit while he’s out hiking, the police instantly peg Aunt Vera as the culprit.

Jenna can’t stand by and watch her aunt take the fall. It’s been clear since the victim arrived that he had contentious relationships with a number of the contestants—even going so far as to steal puzzles from some of them and claim them as his own—and Jenna’s certain one of them is the killer. Trading puzzle solving for crime solving, she sorts through the convoluted clues and cryptic suspects, hoping to nab the guilty party before they decide she’s a problem they’ll solve with another murder.

Includes mouthwatering recipes!

About Daryl Wood Gerber

Agatha Award–winning and nationally bestselling author Daryl Wood Gerber is the author of the Cookbook Nook Mysteries, the Fairy Garden Mysteries, the French Bistro Mysteries, the Cheese Shop Mysteries (as Avery Aames), the Aspen Adams Novels of Suspense, and two other stand-alone suspense thrillers. Little known facts about Daryl are that she’s jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, has hitchhiked around Ireland by herself, and has appeared on an episode of Murder, She Wrote. She loves to read, cook, and golf, and has a frisky Goldendoodle named Sparky who keeps her in line!

Author Links


Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKobo


April 25 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

April 26 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

April 26 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW

April 27 – Angel’s Guilty Pleasures – SPOTLIGHT

April 27 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

April 28 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT

April 29 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

April 29 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 30 – Indie Author Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 1 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee – SPOTLIGHT

May 2 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

May 2 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR GUEST POST

May 3 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

May 3 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 4 – StoreyBook Reviews – AUTHOR GUEST POST

May 5 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

May 6 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT


May 8 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

May 8 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT
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Spotlight and Blog Tour for Red Hot Murder, A Charlie Kingsley Mystery by Michele Pariza Wacek

Red Hot Murder (Charlie Kingsley Mysteries)
by Michele Pariza Wacek

About Red Hot Murder

Red Hot Murder (Charlie Kingsley Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Love-Based Publishing (April 25, 2023)
Digital – 200-250 pages

Charlie Kingsley’s tea customers have two things in common:

They rave about her teas.

AND they have a knack for attracting trouble.

There’s never been a connection between the two … until now.

One night, one of Charlie’s customers passes out, only to wake up to her fiancé dead in her home and no memory of what happened the night before.

But one thing she DOES remember is drinking a cup of Charlie’s tea.

Charlie knows it wasn’t the tea, but everyone else is suddenly blaming her, so she has no choice but to get to the bottom of this mysterious death.

About Michele Pariza Wacek

A USA Today Bestselling, award-winning author, Michele taught herself to read at 3 years old because she wanted to write stories so badly. It took some time (and some detours) but now she does spend much of her time writing stories. Mystery stories, to be exact. They’re clean and twisty, and range from psychological thrillers to cozies, with a dash of romance and supernatural thrown into the mix. If that wasn’t enough, she posts lots of fun things on her blog, including short stories, puzzles, recipes and more, at

Michele grew up in Wisconsin, (hence why all her books take place there), and still visits regularly, but she herself escaped the cold and now lives in the mountains of Prescott, Arizona with her husband and southern squirrel hunter Cassie.

When she’s not writing, she’s usually reading, hanging out with her dog, or watching the Food Network and imagining she’s an awesome cook. (Spoiler alert, she’s not. Luckily for the whole family, Mr. PW is in charge of the cooking.)

Author Links

Website –
Facebook –
Linked In
Twitter –
Instagram –
Bookbub –

Purchase Link – Amazon


April 25 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW

April 26 – Jane Reads – AUTHOR GUEST POST

April 27 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

April 28 – Baroness Book Trove – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

April 29 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee – SPOTLIGHT


April 30 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 1 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 1 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT

May 2 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

May 3 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

May 4 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

May 5 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

May 6 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

May 7 – Indie Author Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 8 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

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Posted in Reviews

Review of Launch Pad: The Countdown to Publishing Your Book by Stephanie Larkin and Grace Sammon

Launch Pad: The Countdown to Publishing Your Book

*****5 stars

The second book of a 3-part series on writing, publishing, and marketing, Launch Pad: The Countdown to Publishing Your Book, features helpful advice for aspiring as well as published authors shared by professionals in the field. Included in this book are chapters addressing topics from working with editors, publishers, and illustrators to finding an agent to treating your writing as a business and much more.

The foreword is written by Zibby Owens, who relates her experience of publishing her memoir after 18 years. Now the publisher of Zibby Books, she is also the host of the award-winning daily podcast, Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books, in which she’s interviewed more than 1300 authors. Her advice to writers: “You only need one editor, one publisher, to fall in love with your story or to see your potential . . . . So don’t give up until you find the right the company.”

Grace Sammon, the co-editor of this book, wrote the chapter on working with publishers and also provided the Afterward. It was Grace’s idea to create this series by collaborating with Stephanie Larkin, the CEO of Red Penguin Books. About this addition to the series, she writes, “We wrote this book to help make your world change, to help your book become real.”

“Own it! You are a Business!” is the chapter written by co-editor, Stephanie Larkin. Drawing upon her experience as publisher of Red Penguin Books, Stephanie discusses how debut authors need to adjust their expectations regarding becoming famous and making tons of money. She explains how royalties are calculated and paid, discusses Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited Program, book pricing, and other important publishing topics. She also outlines several other methods for authors to make money besides from their writing. These include speaking engagements, classes and workshops, and bulk sales. Her final piece of advice, “As you embark upon your publishing journey, remember that monetizing your book is a marathon – not a sprint – and that by exploring various options, you can find a way to enjoy the journey . . . and hopefully some profits as well!”

I recommend this book for the wealth of information it provides. It’s published in a handy Kindle edition on Amazon: The first book, Launch Pad: The Countdown to Writing Your Book, is also available, and the final volume in the series, Launch Pad: The Countdown to Marketing Your Book, comes out in June.