I sponsor a contest in my newsletter each month. For March, in honor of  spring, I asked my subscribers to answer the question, “What books are on your spring reading list?” Below are some of the responses. If you want to comment with your own list, please do. If you’d like to subscribe to my newsletter, sign up before April 2nd. to be notified of the next contest. You can sign up at https://debbiedelouise.com or send your email to me at debbiewriter@yahoo.com, and I can add you to the list.

Check out these books on my subscriber’s Spring Reading List (I’m happy to see that two of my Cobble Cove mystery books are included):

Rasberry Danish Murder by Joanne Fluke.

The Woman in the Water by Charles Finch

Death Sits Down to Dinner by Tessa Arlen


What’s on your Spring TBR?




Happy Spring to my Readers. 45+ Book Suggestions for Your TBR

Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Cozy Mystery

Author Spotlight of Laura Childs for Plum Tea Crazy Blog Tour

I’m pleased to have Gerry Schmidt writing as bestselling author Laura Childs of Minneapolis here to speak about her writing and new release, Plum Tea Crazy that is on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas Into a Good Book.

Gerry Schmitt, who writes under the pen name Laura Childs is now adding two more series that are harder-edged Wednesday February 26, 2014 in Plymouth. (Pioneer Press: Jean Pieri)

Welcome, Gerry. Please tell us how long you’ve been published and what titles and/or series you’ve been published with and if you have any self-published titles?

I’ve been published with Berkley Prime Crime (PRH) for 17 years. I write three different cozy mystery series – the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbooking Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. I’ve written forty-two books in all and most have been on the New York Times bestseller list as well as the Publisher’s Weekly and USA Today bestsellers lists.

Very impressive. Can you please tell us about your series and any upcoming releases you have planned?

All of my books are cozy mysteries, with three hardcover books due out in 2018. Plum Tea Crazy (Tea Shop) published on March 6, Glitter Bomb (Scrapbook) will be out in October, and Eggs on Ice will be out in December.

Plum Tea Crazy Book Description:

As tea shop owner Theodosia is viewing Charleston Harbor’s Gaslights and Galleons Parade from the widow’s walk of a nearby mansion, a local banker tumbles over the narrow railing and plunges to his death. But this tragic accident turns sinister when Theodosia discovers that the victim was actually shot with a crossbow. From New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs, Plum Tea Crazy delivers a gripping, realistic murder, a raft of quirky suspects, and a good dose of humor and tea lore. With pacing that moves like a thriller, it’s one of the reasons Book Riot named the Tea Shop Mysteries to their list of “25 of the All Time Best Cozy Mystery Series.”

Sounds like another bestseller to me.

Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?

My goal as a cozy author is to always amuse, entertain, and create a calm, almost uplifting experience, for my reader. I also love to intersperse tidbits about antiques, fashion, and tea lore, as well as recipes.

You seem to have done a wonderful job meeting your goal. I’m sure readers love all the little extras that you include.

What type of reader are you hoping to attract?  Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?

My readers tend to be female, although I receive many emails from male fans. And because my books are of the cozy genre – a kinder, gentler mystery – I like to say they are g-rated. Good for girls to grandmas.

As a cozy author myself, I find that a perfect description for the genre.

What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?

My advice to would-be authors is two-fold. One, pay attention to the genres that are selling today. Publishers tend to be copy cats, so if domestic thrillers are red hot, that’s probably what they’re looking to buy. And two, realize that this is a business. If and when you manage to get published, the work has only just begun. You’re the one who has to go out there and market your book. I always look at my work as a 60/40 proposition – sixty percent writing, forty percent promotion.

That’s quite interesting. It’s so true that many new writers don’t realize that getting published is only the beginning of the work they need to do. Since I’m not yet published with a large publisher, I find that I spend a higher percentage of my time on marketing than writing, but I hope to balance that out one day soon.

What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?

Luckily, no challenges in getting published. Mystery great Mary Higgins Clark was gracious enough to help me find an agent and a publisher!

Wow! Maybe I should ask her to help me. (only kidding) but it definitely is difficult finding an agent these days, and it’s so true that networking with other authors is beneficial.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I don’t belong to writing groups because I believe in keeping all my ideas and concepts to myself. In my former life, I was CEO of a major ad agency for twenty years. Never in that time did I ever share my ideas/concepts with my competitors!

A good practice.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

When I’m not writing I try to spend as much time as I can relaxing at a beach house in Carmel, CA and going to rock concerts (Sixties and Seventies groups).


What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?

The best thing about being an author is walking into a bookstore and seeing forty-plus titles on the shelves. My least favorite thing is the fairly solitary lifestyle.

Seeing all those copies of your books must be a thrill. I hope to experience that one day myself. Although being an author can be solitary, it’s nice that the Internet allows us to be in touch with fellow authors and our readers worldwide.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I love cozy mysteries because I’ve been able to stretch the genre by quite a bit. My cozies have become a kind of hybrid – what I now call a “thrillzy.” This means my cozies are still based on traditional cozy values and guidelines (amateur sleuth, no gratuitous violence, etc.) but I’ve imbued them with the action and pace of a thriller. That means scenes that include car chases, bodies tumbling in the surf, drones shooting down hot air balloons, rogue killers, alligators, haunted cemeteries, the supernatural, and even a food truck chase.

That’s an interesting comment. For my first cozy, A Stone’s Throw, I considered it romantic suspense and had no intention of creating a series out of it. Then readers began reviewing it as a cozy, and I liked the characters so much that I decided to continue their story. Three books later, I’m still writing about the folks in Cobble Cove.

I’ve seen how cozies can be “stretched” as you said. I even believe my standalone mystery, Reason to Die, that’s coming out soon might be considered what you termed a “thrillzy.”

Can you share a short excerpt from your latest title or upcoming release?

Excerpt from Plum Tea Crazy, my newest Tea Shop Mystery:

     “Someone’s fallen!” a woman screamed.

     Theodosia spun quickly and peered over the edge of the roof. Off to her right, twirling head over tea kettle, a man hurtled down the sloped, slate roof of Timothy’s house as if he were zipping down a child’s slide.

     “Help!” the falling man cried as he flailed and fought for hand holds. His pleading, anguished note pierced the darkness. Pierced Theodosia’s heart as well.

     “Dear Lord!” Theodosia cried. She hoped the poor man would find something, anything, to break his fall.

     “This is dreadful,” Drayton said with a sharp intake of breath.

     They watched helplessly as the man flopped and tumbled, then landed in a deep V that formed one of the eaves in the expansive roof. His arms flew out, beating wildly, as his fingers scrabbled desperately to find something to grasp. But he was moving too fast to completely arrest his fall and immediately catapulted down another few feet, heading for a decorative balcony. The man floundered again, making a grab for a balustrade to halt his terrible descent. His fingers grazed it by a mere inch. Then his body torqued grotesquely as he banged his forehead against the top of a stone window pediment and a thin mist sprayed out in slow motion. Blood.

Now I see what you mean by thrillzy. That’s an excellent example.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Find me at www.laurachilds.com or on Facebook at Laura Childs Author


Laura Childs is the USA Today and New York Times bestselling author of the Scrapbooking Mysteries, Tea Shop Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. Recently, Book Riot named the Tea Shop Mysteries to their list of “25 of the All Time Best Cozy Mystery Series.” In her previous life Laura was CEO of her own marketing firm, authored several screenplays, and produced a reality TV show. She is married to Dr. Bob, a professor of Chinese art history, enjoys travel, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Thank you. It was truly a pleasure speaking with you. Best wishes on your new release and blog tour.

Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Lethal in Old Lace, a Consignment Shop Mystery, by Duffy Brown

This post was contributed by author Duffy Brown. Her cozy mystery, Lethal in Old Lace, is currently on tour with Dollycas Escape into a Good Book


Hi, it’s Regan Summerside from Duffy Brown’s Consignment Shop mysteries and I have to tell you that spring in Savannah is like no other…except this year it’s not all for the good. The Abbott sisters are accused of murder!

I ask you, how could two little old ladies who were once school teachers in a Catholic school of all places and now retired and supplement their income as professional mourners for the best funerals in all Savannah be accused of murder!

Okay, they might have been swindled by that no good Willie Fishbine who doesn’t have a decent bone in his body but to think the sisters did the deed when there are so many others out there who could have done it is plum nuts.

What about Willie’s daughter? She’s the one prancing around with that younger guy. She’s the one who’s had so much plastic surgery it’s hard to tell where her chin ends and her boobs start. And what about Anna and Bella? They want to get their aging and oh-so-rich husbands in Sleepy Pines they are more than willing to kill off a few residents to make room. I see them going in old Willie in a heartbeat.

Auntie KiKi is beside herself with worry that Annie Fritz and Elsie Abbott will go to jail for a crime they didn’t commit. In fact Auntie KiKi has made up a new martini recipe called Get Out of Jail Free. I’m giving it all to you in case you find yourself in such a mess…or in a rousing game of Monopoly.

Wish me luck on finding the real killer. Over and out from Savannah.

Auntie KiKi’s Get Out Of Jail Free Martini

(delish with or without booze)

1 tablespoon finely grated orange chocolate

1 teaspoon sugar

2 orange slices

1/2 cup premium chocolate ice cream, at room temperature for 5 minutes

1 ounce orange vodka (or fresh squeeze orange juice)

Gently stir together the chocolate and sugar and put it on a plate. Run an orange slice around the rim of a chilled martini glass and dip the rim in the chocolate/sugar mix to coat.

Add the ice cream and vodka to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into the prepared glass and garnish with the remaining orange slice.

Posted in Cozy Mysteries, Guest Post, New Releases

Guest Post by Rita Moreau, Author of The Russian and Aunt Sophia

It’s my pleasure to feature a guest post by author Rita Moreau whose new release, The Russian and Aunt Sophia, is currently on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

One question my readers always ask me is “How do you write a novel?” I usually respond, “You write a novel one page at a time.”

When writing The Russian & Aunt Sophia I did not start out to write a novella. I actually had a 50,000 plus word manuscript about the time I decided to enter the 2017 ScreenCraft Cinematic Short Story Contest.  The entry could not exceed 20,000 words.  It was challenging to take a 50,000 word manuscript and trim it down to less than 20,000 words. But in the process I learned to let go of words.  It was very painful. A lot like downsizing from a house you have lived in most of your life. You have to let go of your grandmother’s china because it won’t fit in your new home and to your surprise no one in the family wants your grandmother’s china. It hurts and if you have that mindset and you are a writer it is painful to let go of those words you cherish but you have no choice if you want to write fiction in today’s market.

Last year I found a new editor when I decided to re-edit my first three novels. Live and learn is part of the life of an indie author.  I have learned quite a bit about the craft of writing through the process of re-editing my first three novels and working with my new editor.  One thing was I tend to write way too much backstory or in other words TMI. Readers get bored and will not finish a book if the plot does not move along and they stop reading and do not finish the novel or worse leave a negative review.

I also learned that my readers don’t need to be spoon fed because they are an intelligent group of individuals not children.  After I entered the ScreenCraft competition my editor suggested publishing it as a novella. So I did and hence The Russian & Aunt Sophia became a novella.

Two of my favorite characters Sister Hildegard and Sister Matilda return in The Russian and Aunt Sophia.  I hope my readers enjoy the book as much as I did writing it. Here’s a short scene:

“I heard a horn honking and turning to look, I saw Sister Matilda driving a big SUV with Sister Hildegard riding shotgun. I grabbed my carry-on bag and jumped into the back seat. Like most airports today loading and unloading means you take a flying leap as the car picking you up passes by.

“Who does this SUV belong to?”

“A friend of Ernie’s,” Sister Matilda said.

“It has diplomatic plates.”

“He’s in the CIA,” Sister Matilda said, “according to your Aunt Anna.”

“Yes,” Sister Hildegard spoke now, “but a lot of good that does picking someone up at the airport. No way would the airport cops let us park and wait. We’ve been circling the airport for a good half hour.”

“You didn’t park in the cell phone lot?”

“We forgot our cell phone,” Sister Hildegard said looking sternly at Sister Matilda who made the sign of the cross. “So, we’ve been driving in a loop.  Your plane was late,” Sister Hildegard said.

“You don’t need a cell phone to park in the cell phone lot,” I said prompting Sister Hildegard to give Sister Matilda an even sterner look. Sister Matilda was a walking encyclopedia of information. She apparently missed this one.”

The Russian & Aunt Sophia was chosen as a Quarter-Finalist in the 2017 SCREENCRAFT Cinematic Short Story Contest.

“The Russian & Aunt Sophia is a very unique and delightfully quirky tale of mystery and murder.  The locations are vivid and fun, the characters are engaging, and the plot is very solid and effective. The Russian & Aunt Sophia would work immensely well as a cinematic adaptation.”  SCREENCRAFT

Check out the Amazon Kindle Countdown for the novella and 1st book of the series here: 


Posted in Blog Tour, Cozy Mystery

Spotlight and Giveaway for new Cozy Mystery, Playing with Bonbon Fire, by Dorothy St. James

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

About the Book

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author

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

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

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

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

Author Links

Website: www.dorothystjames.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/dorothystjames

Twitter: www.twitter.com/dorothymcfalls

Purchase Links

Indie Bound



Google Play

Barnes & Noble

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Cozy Mystery

Author Spotlight of Tonya Kappes, author of Six Feet Under, a Kenni Lowry Mystery

I’m pleased to have author Tonya Kappes from Crestview Hills, Kentucky here to speak about her writing and new release, Six Feet Under, which is on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

Welcome, Tonya. Please tell us how long you’ve been published and what titles and/or series you write.

I’ve been published for nine years. My publishers include Henery Press, HarperCollins, William Morrow, and Crooked Lane. I’ve self published over twenty novels.

That sounds like quite a productive career.

Tell us a little bit about your books — if you write a series, any upcoming releases or your current work-in-progress.

I’m a cozy mystery author. All of my books are set in the south in the great Bluegrass state of Kentucky. They are funny with globs of southern charm. Six Feet Under is the fourth book in a ten book deal with Henery Press.


A paranormal cozy mystery

Kenni Lowry Mystery Series

Book 4

Too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth. And let me tell you, this broth is in trouble. Get ready for a Southern showdown.

The residents of Cottonwood, Kentucky are sent into a tizzy when the Culinary Channel comes to town to film an episode of Southern Home Cookin’ with celebrity chef Frank Von Lee.

Especially Sheriff Kenni Lowry.

Her mama’s award-winning chicken pot pie is what brought Frank to town, and they don’t make hair in the South bigger than her mama’s ego after the news.

When Frank Von Lee is found dead from food poisoning and the most likely culprit is Mama’s chicken pot pie, Kenni’s poppa, the former sheriff, comes back from the Great Beyond to assist in the investigation.

But nothing’s prepared Kenni for such a personal tie to a case, and she finds herself pushing the limits of the laws she’s sworn to protect.

This book’s so delicious it’ll make your mouth water and leave you hankerin’ for more.

Sounds like a great book.

Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?

My only goal as a writer is to write the next book. I stay on a written plan to accomplish my daily writing word count that helps me get there. My WHY as a writer is much different than my goal. My WHY is to write a fun book that helps the reader escape from their daily life.

Excellent goals, and it looks like you’ve been achieving them.

What type of reader are you hoping to attract?  Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?

I attract readers who love cozy mystery with some fun and quirky characters.

Yes, quirky characters are a main draw for cozy readers. I like to think the residents of my Cobble Cove fit that bill, too.

What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?

Write every day.

Good advice. I believe that writing is like anything else you wish to master, you have to keep at it to make it a habit.

What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?

I first published with self publishing and when it was just not considered cool to do. I just blocked out all the noise and continued down my side of the street and I’ve not done so bad for myself.

I self-published my first book and then became published with Indie publishers. I’m still trying to break into larger publishers with an agent, but I’m very happy with what I’ve accomplished so far and am hopeful I will reach my ultimate goals. In the meantime, I’m learning a lot and am very thankful for the support of other authors and my publisher.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I have four boys in college…no time for hobbies! I’m all family all the time.

Wow! I only have a teenage daughter. I have no idea how you do it with four kids.

What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?

I love it all. I love writing and getting into my character’s heads and I love meeting with readers at my annual Two Dames on a Mystery Train event where I rent a different train somewhere in the USA.

The mystery train event sounds awesome. I admire authors like you who are able to think outside the box to find such creative ways to interact with readers.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I like how the setting and the secondary characters are just as important as the mystery.

I agree. Setting and characters are very important in cozies. I love creating characters and seeing them grow from book to book in my series.

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you or your books?

If they have a hankerin’ to find out more, just check out my website. You can sign up for my newsletter there and also connect with me on social media.

Facebook at Author Tonya Kappes:  https://www.facebook.com/authortonyakappes

Kappes Krew Street Team





Thank you so much, Tonya, and best wishes on your new release and blog tour.



Posted in A Stone's Throw, Cozy Mystery, Freebies and Special Offers, Solstice Publishing

Celebrate the Book Birthday of My First Cozy Mystery with a Free e-Copy

The first book of my Cobble Cove cozy mystery is free on Monday, March 5; Tuesday, March 6; and Wednesday March 7. You can get it here on those days: myBook.to/Stonesthrow2

If you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, all my eBooks are free. check them out on my author page: Author.to/DebbieDeLouise

Widowed librarian Alicia Fairmont needs answers…

After her husband is killed in a hit and run accident, Alicia travels upstate to his hometown of Cobble Cove, New York. She hopes to locate his estranged family and shed light on his mysterious past. Anticipating staying only a weekend, her visit is extended when she accepts a job at the town’s library.

Secrets stretch decades into the past…

Assisted by handsome newspaper publisher and aspiring novelist, John McKinney, Alicia discovers a connection between her absent in-laws and a secret John’s father has kept for over sixty years. Her investigation is interrupted when she receives word her house has burned and arson is suspected, sending her rushing back to Long Island, accompanied by John.

Back in Cobble Cove, cryptic clues are uncovered…

When Alicia returns, she finds a strange diary, confiscated letters, and a digital audio device containing a recording made the day her husband was killed. Anonymous notes warn Alicia to leave town, but she can’t turn her back on the mystery—or her attraction to John. As the pieces fall into place, evidence points to John’s involvement in her husband’s accident. The past and present threaten to collide, and Alicia confronts her fears…

Has she fallen in love with her husband’s killer?