Posted in Guest Post, New Releases

Recipe Guest Post by Tina Kashian, author of Stabbed in the Baklava, A Kebab Kitchen Mystery

First, I’d like to thank Ruff Drafts for inviting me as a guest today to celebrate the release of Stabbed in the Baklava. The second book in my Kebab Kitchen Mystery series features a Mediterranean restaurant at the Jersey Shore. I grew up in the restaurant business. My Armenian parents owned a restaurant not far from the shore for thirty years. I worked almost every job, from rolling silverware in napkins, to hostessing, to waitressing. So, setting my Kebab Kitchen mysteries at a Mediterranean restaurant at the Jersey Shore was a natural fit for me. I also love coming up with fun cozy titles that involve a pun on food!

I’d like to share my family’s recipe for baklava. It’s the perfect dessert and the perfect time to share for the release of Stabbed in the Baklava. In the book, Kebab Kitchen is hired to cater a high-society wedding at the Jersey Shore and baklava, along with wedding cake, is served for dessert. I attended my cousin’s wedding where baklava was on the table, along with special M&M’s with the couple’s initials for a nice touch (see picture). Here’s my recipe:

1½ cups sugar

1 cup water

1 teaspoon lemon juice

3 cups finely chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1½ cups clarified butter

1 pound phyllo dough (9-x-14-inch sheets)

Combine walnuts, cinnamon, and ¼ cup sugar in a small bowl and set aside. This is the walnut filling, Melt butter and coat a 14-x-10-inch baking pan. Layer 7 sheets of phyllo dough in the pan, buttering each sheet with a pastry brush. Spread half of the walnut filling evenly over top. Layer another 7 sheets of phyllo dough in the pan, buttering each sheet. Spread the remaining walnut filling evenly over top. Cover with the remaining sheets of dough, buttering each sheet. Bake in preheated 325-degree oven for 40 minutes. Cool baklava before cutting it.

Simple Sugar Syrup: Boil together 1¼ cups sugar and 1 cup water for 10 minutes. Stir often until sugar dissolves in water. Add 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Turn off flame and set syrup aside to cool. Pour cooled syrup on your baklava and enjoy.

Thanks for having me!

Here’s a quick blurb of Stabbed in the Baklava:

 Lucy Berberian has taken over her family’s Mediterranean restaurant on the Jersey Shore after an unsatisfying stint at a Philadelphia law firm. It’s great to be back in her old beach town, even if she’s turning into a seasoned sleuth.

Catering a high-society wedding should bring in some big income for Kebab Kitchen—and raise its profile too. But it’s not exactly good publicity when the best man winds up skewered like a shish kebab. Worse yet, Lucy’s ex, Azad—who’s the restaurant’s new head chef—is the prime suspect. But she doesn’t give a fig what the cops think. He may have killer looks, but he’s no murderer. She just needs to prove his innocence, before he has to go on the lamb . . .

Recipes included! “A delectable read.”

—Bestselling author Shelley Freydont


Barnes & Noble:


Google Books:


Tina Kashian is an attorney and a former mechanical engineer whose love of reading for pleasure helped her get through years of academia. She is the author of the Kebab Kitchen Mediterranean cozy mystery series. Tina spent her childhood summers at the Jersey shore building sandcastles, boogie boarding, and riding the boardwalk Ferris wheel. She also grew up in the restaurant business, as her Armenian parents owned a restaurant for thirty years. Tina still lives in New Jersey with her supportive husband and two young daughters. Please visit her website at to join her newsletter, receive delicious recipes, enter contests, and more!

You can also connect with Tina at:





Posted in Author Spotlight, New Releases, Solstice Publishing

Author Spotlight of KateMarie Collins, Author of Guarding Williams, book 3 of the Waystation Guardians Series

I’m pleased to have author KateMarie Collins, a suburban Seattle resident, here to speak about her writing and new release, Guarding William. KateMarie also happens to be the Chief Operating Officer of Solstice Publishing.

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

I just released my 21st title, ‘Guarding William’ – book 3 in The Waystation Guardians series. All of my titles are through Solstice Publishing.

Guarding William:

Amber has a roommate. William’s curious, kind, and intelligent. He’s also gorgeous

Wanting to do something to help him connect his past life with now, she takes him back to Toulouse, France. Where he was born over 900 years ago.

What starts as an impulsive vacation becomes something far more sinister.

The full moon is coming again. Amber must be back to do her job as Guardian. Will she make it in time?

And what if that means leaving behind the man she’s starting to love?

Congratulations, KateMarie! Your new book sounds incredible. As you know, I also publish with Solstice Publishing. They’re wonderful! Can you please tell us how long you’ve been working as Chief Operating Officer and how you came to be in that position?

I’ve been with the company for 5 1/2 years, started about a year after my first book came out. Melissa Miller, the CEO, emailed me a job offer out of the blue. I asked her once why she offered me the job. She said it was because I was “real” online and knew I wouldn’t tell her what she wanted to hear, but what she needed to hear.

What a great story. Tell us a little bit about your books — what genre you write, if you write a series, any upcoming releases or your current work-in-progress. If you have an upcoming release, please specify the release date.

I write fantasy! Everything from high/dark/epic to urban. I love exploring the different subgenres. I have a few series out. Most recently, I’ve been concentrating on The Waystation Guardians. I didn’t expect the first book, ‘Guarding Charon’, to morph into a series but it has. The second book, ‘Guarding Amber’, was released in January of 2018. ‘Guarding William’ came out in August of 2018. And I’m plotting out the 4th book now.

Excellent. I also like writing in different subgenres and different genres, as well. My mystery series features cozy books, but I also have a standalone thriller, Reason to Die. In addition, my latest Solstice book, Cloudy Rainbow, is a paranormal romance.

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 is to not just entertain readers, but to grow as an author. I always want the next book to be better than the last. I believe that books should challenge readers to think about what’s possible. For both the characters and themselves.

Nice goals. I feel the same.

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

I’m always hoping to get a reader who is wanting to ask why characters do what they do. Most of mine have motivations that I know but don’t always get conveyed on the page. I put them through some interesting situations, but there’s always a reason why.

I like to read books that make me think and question and try to write those, too.

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

Be ready to do the work! Being published isn’t a get rich quick scheme. It takes a lot of time and effort, especially if you’re new to the job. Don’t play at being a diva, be willing to take criticism, and do the work.

I never realized until I was published how much work for little monetary reward was involved in writing, but it pays off if you persist and build a following. Like you, I’m working on that.

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

I was raised in an environment where creativity wasn’t encouraged. I was told by everyone from teachers to my parents that I’d never be good enough…someone else would get the shot….so it wasn’t even worth trying. By the time I started high school, I thought my talent was nothing more than an ability to b.s. my way through an essay on a test. The biggest struggle for me was getting the courage to share that first story, and then submit it to publishers. What drove me was not wanting my children to grow up with the same mindset I’d had. The best way to teach them that the risk was worth taking was for them to watch me do it.

Interesting. I’m lucky that my parents and teachers all supported my interest and talent in writing. I’m glad you were able to overcome those initial challenges.

Have you taken any writing or publishing classes? If so, please provide information about them and if you feel they helped you further your professional skills.

I took a creative writing course through our city’s parks and recreation department for about a year. And I also participated in an online writing group. Both taught me how to look objectively at my work and accept criticism with an eye of how to improve things.

I believe writing courses are helpful. I took several online Gale publishing courses and attend a writing workshop at my library. I also just became involved in an online critique group with Sisters-in-Crime.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I’m a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, and spend weekends recreating the middle ages. I’m also a huge movie buff. Star Wars is my fandom of choice.

My daughter loves to attend Renaissance Fairs, and I find them fun, too.

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

Most has to be the feeling of accomplishment I get with each new release. It’s a constant reminder that I am so much more than what people around me gave me credit for as a child. Toughest is the constant promotion. It’s hard to get on Twitter and stay positive when sales are down. But I do it, because that’s part of the job.

I think social media marketing and in person promotion are the hardest challenges for authors.

Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc. so readers can connect with you.

Amazon Author page:

Twitter:  @DaughterHauk


My blog:

Thanks so much for the interview, KateMarie, and best of luck on your new release and series.

Posted in New Releases, Romances, Solstice Publishing

Announcing My New Paranormal Romance: “Cloudy Rainbow”


Paranormal Romance

eBook & Kindle Unlimited:

This revised edition celebrates the 10th anniversary of my first published novel. Dedicated to my mom who recently passed away, Cloudy Rainbow is a story of love, loss, and love regained through the power of hope and the mysteries of faith.

When you lose a loved one, whether it’s a relative, friend, or precious pet, you wonder where that special soul has gone and if you will ever see him or her again. For Dulcie Mills, Long Island computer programmer, the answer may lie between a virtual world and the real one, between the past and the present, between dreams and reality.

Unable to get over her fiancée’s death and facing the impending loss of her 15-year-old cat, Dulcie escapes to a virtual world. When Dulcie’s best friend accepts a job from a clairvoyant who offers predictions regarding Dulcie’s dead fiancée and Dulcie becomes attracted to an online stranger, history begins to repeat itself in ways that are both promising and terrifying. What Dulcie discovers through a virtual séance may mean the only chance she has left for love or death itself.

Addressing topics of reincarnation and soul transfer in similar ways as Greg Iles’ Sleep No More and Nora Roberts’ Midnight Bayou, Cloudy Rainbow features an interesting mix of technology and the paranormal and will also appeal to cat lovers.


Dulcie took a seat in the tapestry covered armchair, while Valerie sat on the couch next to a white lump of fur that had to be Coronet, the nine-hundred-lives kitty. The lump rolled over when she sat, but Valerie just patted it a few times and nestled next to it.

“Well, then.” Mrs. Hanover took the matching chair on the other side of the room. “I know you, but you don’t know me yet. I’m Marjorie Hanover, but you can call me Marge. You, too, Val. I’ve been meaning to tell you to stop being so formal. I’ve always loved art and had an opportunity to collect nice pieces when my husband was alive, and we traveled the world. Since he passed, and I’m not sure when he’ll be back, I’ve bided my time here, but it has been a bit lonely.”

Now it was Dulcie’s turn to roll her eyes at Valerie. How could she have gotten her involved in this insanity?

“I realize you gals have a lot to do, so I’ll make this short,” Marge continued. “I’m a clairvoyant, but I don’t tell too many people about my power. I was surprised to learn I had this gift when I was ten years old and my dog Rudolph died. I had a dream the night before that he was hit by a car. I tried to tell my parents, but it was too late. Luckily, he came back as my cat Priscilla several years later. I knew there was no way we would be separated forever…but getting back to my point.”

Dulcie was on the edge of her chair with her fingers on the cell phone in her pants pocket.

Marge turned to face her directly. “This trip you are shortly going on will be the most important one of your life, my dear. I had to tell you that, so I asked Val to bring you over.”

“I see.” Dulcie’s voice was a bit too high, but Marge didn’t seem to notice. She was using all the phony fortunetelling tricks of false mediums, telling people they were going on a trip, guessing their names, etc., although there had to be explanations for all of it. Dulcie would play along. “What about romance?”

“Oh, that’s part of it, if you want it to be.” Now she was reaching. “Are you sure you girls wouldn’t like anything to drink or eat?”

Valerie saved her from making another excuse. “We really can’t stay long, Mrs. H., I mean Marge, but thank you.”

“I get the hint.”

Marge stood up from her seat and turned her back. Dulcie feared she’d go to the kitchen for that sharp butcher knife, but the woman was smiling when she turned back with those unnaturally bright teeth that had to be false. “I’ll see you tomorrow night then, Valerie. I have this Renoir you must see. Nice meeting you, Dulcie, dear.”

They had almost escaped and were inches from the front door when Marge, coming up behind them, added, “So sorry about your cat, Dulcie. I know how special he is to you.”

Author Bio

Debbie De Louise is an award-winning author and a reference librarian at a public library on Long Island. She is a member of International Thriller Writers, Sisters-in-Crime, the Long Island Authors Group, and the Cat Writer’s Association. She has a BA in English and an MLS in Library Science from Long Island University. Her novels include the three books of the Cobble Cove cozy mystery series published by Solstice Publishing: A Stone’s Throw, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, and Written in Stone. Debbie has also published a romantic comedy novella featuring a jewel heist caper, When Jack Trumps Ace, a standalone mystery, Reason to Die, and has written articles and short stories for several anthologies of various genres. She lives on Long Island with her husband Anthony; daughter Holly; and Cat Stripey.

Social Media Links




Amazon Author Page:

Website/Blog/Newsletter Sign-Up:

Sneaky the Library Cat’s blog:

Cobble Cove Character Chat Facebook Group:

Posted in Cozy Mysteries, New Releases

Spotlight for Sherlock Holmes and the Missing Diva by Gemma Halliday and Kelly Rey

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Disappearing Diva (Marty Hudson Mysteries)
by Gemma Halliday & Kelly Rey

About the Book

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Disappearing Diva
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Gemma Halliday Publishing (August 14, 2018)
Print Length: 316 pages

From #1 Kindle & New York Times bestselling author Gemma Halliday and USA Today bestselling author Kelly Rey comes a story about Sherlock Holmes, two savvy female detectives, and one chance to catch a killer and the hot Dr. Watson at the same time…

If there’s one thing Martha “Marty” Hudson can’t say no to, it’s her best friend Irene Adler. So when Irene’s little white lie about a fake detective named Sherlock Holmes turns into a real case from an actual paying client, Marty is all in. But their simple missing person case takes a deadly turn when the missing “person” ends up being a missing corpse.

Rebecca Lowery was an opera singer in life and, according to her sister, who hires the famous detective to find her, a diva with capital D. When her body goes missing after a supposedly accidental fall, Marty & Irene can think of several people who might want the diva to disappear permanently—especially if her missing body is actually hiding evidence of her murder. Is it the boyfriend with a temper and a shady record, the jealous understudy who’s now stealing the show, the creepy undertaker with possible ties to the underworld, or the estranged sister herself who now inherits everything?

Marty and Irene aim to find out, even while trying to keep cool around the hot ME, Dr. Watson, and dodging questions from the Irregulars blogger, Wiggins, about the mysterious man behind the name Sherlock Holmes. Will the ladies be able to pull this one off? Or are they in over their heads…and possibly about to take their own final bows?

About the Author

Gemma Halliday is the New York Times, USA Today & #1 Kindle bestselling author of the High Heels Mysteries, the Hollywood Headlines Mysteries, the Jamie Bond Mysteries, the Tahoe Tessie Mysteries, the Marty Hudson Mysteries, and several other works. Gemma’s books have received numerous awards, including a Golden Heart, two National Reader’s Choice awards, a RONE award, and three RITA nominations. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her boyfriend, Jackson Stein, who writes vampire thrillers, and their four children, who are adorably distracting on a daily basis.

Author Links



Purchase Links

Amazon B & N iBooks Kobo Smashwords


August 15 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST

August 15 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

August 16 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

August 16 – The Book Diva’s Reads – GUEST POST

August 17 – Nadaness In Motion – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

August 17 – T’s Stuff – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 17 – Rosepoint Publishing – SPOTLIGHT

August 18 – Readeropolis – CHARACTER INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY

August 18 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 19 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

August 19 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST

August 20 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW

August 20 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

August 21 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

August 21 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 22 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 22 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY

August 23 – The Cozy Pages – REVIEW

August 23 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT


August 24 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!


Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Cozy Mystery

Author Spotlight of Janice Peacock, Author of To Bead or Not to Bead, A Glass Bead Mystery

I’m pleased to have author Janice Peacock from Lafayette, California here to speak about her writing and new release, To Bead or Not to Beadthat is on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

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

I originally self-published High Strung, the first book in the Glass Bead Mystery Series in 2014.  Then I found a publisher called Booktrope that republished High Strung, and then published the second book in the series, A Bead in the Hand. The following year Booktrope went out of business and returned the rights to the books to me. I decided at that point to return to self-publishing. In 2016 I republished my first two books.  In 2017 I published the third book in the Glass Bead Mystery Series—Off the Beadin’ Path and just last month published to Bead or Not to Bead.

Congratulations! I applaud your persistence. I just signed the 4th book of my Cobble Cove mystery series. I published the first book with another publisher before I sold the second to Solstice, and I’ve been publishing with them ever since. They’ve been in business more than a decade now. I’m lucky to have found them, but I know that other authors like yourself are doing well publishing on their own.

Tell us a little bit about your books.

I’m currently writing the cozy Glass Bead Mystery Series.  Its main character is a glass beadmaker, which is an unusual profession.  (I am also a glass beadmaker, writing what I know, which is a good thing.) Jax lives in Seattle next door to her wacky neighbor Val who always has something funny going on in her life.  In the latest book, Val is trying new diets—the Werewolf Diet is my favorite.  Jax’s best friend Tessa also lives in Seattle and together they stumble across a few murders which they must solve to clear the names of either themselves or their friends.  Add to the mix a stern detective who just might have the hots for Jax, and a cast of quirky craft-loving characters, plot twists, and a catnip addicted cat, and you pretty much have the basics of what my books are about.

My most recent book, To Bead or Not to Bead, was released on June 29.  I’ve received a lot of positive feedback, I’m happy to report. Readers can learn more about my new book, and all the rest of the books in the series at

Sounds like a fun and interesting series. I have an interest in glassblowing, although I have no experience with it. My main character is a librarian like I am, and there’s also a cat in my books.

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?

At this point I am shifting gears and starting to write a new series.  I have a draft of the first book, but it needs quite a bit of work before it will be ready for publication.  It’s a bit too early to talk much about that series. I can tell you it will be in the cozy mystery genre and won’t have anything to do with beads.

As for other goals, up until now I’ve been releasing a book a year.  I’d like to increase my productivity and plan to try some new methods for getting my manuscripts ready for publication so I can release more frequently.  I’ve never been a writer who outlines their plots meticulously.  I’m going to try that out and see how it improves my books and the process of writing them.  I’m also interested in speech recognition and dictation for writing, though, so far, I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around that one.

Great goals. I also don’t plot thoroughly and am hoping to give that a shot by taking an online mystery course being given by Sisters-in-Crime in September. Besides my Cobble Cove series, I also like to write standalone mysteries and have written the first book of another cozy series; but, as you know, publishing takes time especially when you work full-time.

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

I think the ideal reader is, of course, cozy mystery readers.  I also think that people who like crafts in general will enjoy my mysteries, and especially those who like to work with beads.  That being said, I’ve found that many people who aren’t crafty have enjoyed the intriguing plots, the fun characters, the fast pace, and the relationships between the Jax and her friends in the series.

You have a good target audience. I also believe that characters are important to books especially cozies.

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

For writers who are trying to figure out what publishing route to pursue, I think that self-publishing is a terrific way to go if you are willing to learn the technical skills needed to create the books yourself.  If you’ve spent a lot of time working with computers in your day job, you can probably have the skills to self-publish.  If you don’t have those skills, you can hire someone to do that work for you.  If you really, really want a publisher, I recommend a smaller publishing house who will give you more attention than one of the large publishing houses.  By small publishing houses, I do not mean a vanity press, but simply a smaller company that puts out few books each year, has a small staff, and will not have a name like Random House. Avoid any publisher who wants money up front to publish your book—that is a sure sign you’ve stumbled upon a vanity press or some a scam.

I agree about good small publishers. I’m very happy with mine, but I still hope to publish with a large publisher one day. I self-published once, paid someone to do it, but I don’t think I’d go that route again. It’s great that authors have so many options to publish today, though.

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

I was given some pretty bad advice when I first got started.  It was recommended to me that I should self publish my first book and when it became wildly popular I could then find a publisher for my second novel.  Sounds like a good plan, right?  Unfortunately, this advice does not apply to series.  Very few publishing houses want to publish the second book in a series, especially if the first book has been self-published.  I was fortunate to find a publisher, Booktrope, that was willing to republish my first book and then publish my second book.  That was great until they went belly up. So, I think if I did this all again, I would have probably stayed with self-publishing and not gone with a publisher.  That being said, I learned a great deal from working with a publisher and met a nice group of people in the industry with whom I am still in touch with today.

I agree that working with a publisher does help you make contacts and network with other authors.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I belong to Sisters in Crime. We have a local group that is quite active, with many presentations coming to the bay area each year. In fact this week we have a special event where we’ll learn about chocolate—think about how many chocolate-oriented mysteries there are. I’m sure it will be inspiring. I also belong to Mystery Writers of America, which also has many great programs presented in my area.   A couple of months ago Jeffrey Deaver spoke to us about his writing process, and that was very eye-opening and educational.

That sounds wonderful. I’m also a member of Sisters in Crime. Unfortunately, my local chapter is no longer active, but I’ve joined their online guppies group and am working with critique partners there.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I like to make glass bead in my torch and also make large cast class sculptures. There are videos about how I make these things on my YouTube Channel ( I like to garden (hint regarding the next series). I like to make quilts though every time I finish one I promise I’ll never make another because of the amount of time they take to complete.  Then, the next time I’m in a fabric store, my head swirls with creative ideas about what I could do with all of the gorgeous fabrics.  Oh, and I should have probably started by saying I like to read.  I love to read cozy mysteries, however when I am hip-deep in writing I often read non-fiction so that I don’t have to think about too many plots at the same time.

You certainly sound like you have great hobbies and are very artistic. I have to check out your YouTube channel. I also find it hard to read while I write, but I still do but at a much slower rate.

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

I love writing the first draft—that is so exhilarating.  Even the second draft is fun, as I start to see the plot and subplots come into focus.  The challenge for me is the tenth draft where I am working on all the picky things that are easy to gloss over in the earlier drafts.  The juggling of all the different aspects of my job as a self published author is also a challenge. Not only do I have to write the very best book that I can, but I need to work with an editor, work with a cover designer, format my books for publication, send out newsletters, update my website, maintain a social media presence, setup public speaking engagements and book signings, and the list goes on.  It’s a lot of juggling, but I love it.

I feel the same and also enjoy it. Although my publisher does the formatting and cover design, I still work with an editor and have to promote my books online and at author appearances.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

Since I love to read cozy mysteries, I love to write them.  If I am going to spend months working on a story, I need to love writing it and that means I need to love reading it over and over as I hone it.  One thing I like about cozy mysteries is that it is often an opportunity to learn something new about a craft or hobby I am unfamiliar with. Also, they are a great escape from the stressors of everyday life.

Very true. I always let my books sit after I finish them (good time to send them to a beta reader). But when I pick them up again, I’m relieved that I look forward to reading the story again.

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

Here’s an excerpt from To Bead or Not to Bead in which Jax, the main character, is talking with her neighbor Val.  Val, who is Iowa’s former Miss Junior Pork Shop Queen, is a notoriously bad cook and also loves science fiction.

“Hello, sweet cheeks!” Val said, her faux-leopard clad arms

cradling an oval tureen of soup. “I was hoping you would be home. I have a lot of this soup, and tomorrow’s a full moon, so I’ve got to get it out of my house before I eat it.”

“What? Why?” I asked as Val barged past me and placed the bowl on my kitchen table.

“Didn’t I tell you? I’m on the Werewolf Diet! I’m a teensy-weensy too voluptuous for my Princess Leia costume. I refuse to wear Spanx, so I’m going to drop a couple of quick pounds.” This was news to me. Val had never once mentioned the word “diet” to me, but it certainly wasn’t the first time she’d mentioned werewolves.

“Werewolf Diet? Sounds drastic. Do you have to get bitten by a werewolf to be on the diet? Because if you do it may take some time to find one in Seattle. If you go out to Forks on the Olympic Peninsula, you’d likely find some werewolves.”

“I’ve got news for you, darling, Twilight is fiction, so we won’t find any werewolves out there. But see, this diet, it’s all about the phase of the moon. When there’s a full moon, I can only drink clear liquids, and that’s tomorrow. So, I have to remove all the tempting food from my house. I sent all the cookies home with Rudy.”

Dammit. I would have taken those cookies off her hands, no problem.

“Thanks for the soup. It looks yummy.” I grabbed a ladle, spoons, and bowls from the kitchen and brought them to the table.

“It’s cream of potato,” she said, ladling the soup into the bowls.

I sampled the soup. Holy moly! I’d never tasted so much garlic in my life.

“Wow! There’s a lot of garlic in this,” I said as I choked a little.

“I added a few extra cloves because I adore garlic. Since I don’t have a boyfriend right now, I don’t have to worry about kissing anyone with stinky breath. Oh—but maybe you shouldn’t have too much if you going out with Zachary tonight.”

“Nope. He called to say he was busy with an investigation. It

wasn’t one of our better conversations.”

“I’m  sorry  sweetums,  you  know  he’s  not  always  the  best communicator when he’s stressed, and neither are you. I’m sure you two will work it out.”

Sweat beaded on my forehead as I ate a few more spoonfuls. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to finish the bowl. I grabbed the sourdough from the counter and cut a slice for each of us. “Here you go, this will be nice with the soup.” I hoped the bread would counteract the garlic.

“Um, Val? You know with all this garlic, I’m not sure you’re going to find a single werewolf to hang out with tomorrow,” I said, teasing her.

“Oh, but you’re wrong!” Val shook her head from side to side, as her red curls bounced right along with her.

“I’m wrong about the werewolves? You’re actually going to hang out with some tomorrow during the full moon?”

“Werewolves don’t care about garlic. It’s vampires who don’t like garlic! What I’ve heard is that werewolves love garlic because it makes their coat nice and shiny.”

I decided it was time to move on. When Val got going on her strange topics, she could go on for hours.

That’s wonderful! Thanks for sharing it, Janice.

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

My books have a lot of humor in them.  Much more than your average cozy mystery.  I don’t think that always comes across in the blurbs about the books, and that’s one thing I’m working on.  I encourage readers to read more than just the first book in the Glass Bead Mystery Series.  High Strung was the first book I’d ever written, and I can honestly say I’ve become a better writer over the last several years.

I feel I’ve improved with each book, too. Humor is a great addition to a cozy mystery. I try to add some to mine.

Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc. so readers may connect with you.

Newsletter sign up: (Occasional, non-spammy) (Please like my page.) (I love Pinterest!) (I am not very active on Twitter.)

Thanks so much for chatting with me, Janice, and best wishes on your new release and your new series.

Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Cozy Mystery

Author Spotlight of Libby Klein, Author of Midnight Snacks are Murder (a Poppy McAllister Mystery)

I’m pleased to have author Libby Klein from Loudoun County, Virginia here to speak about her writing and new release, Midnight Snacks are Murder that is on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

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

My first book was Class Reunions Are Murder and it was released February 2018 through Kensington Publishing. Midnight Snacks Are Murder, the second in the series, was releasesd on July 31, 2018.

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

My humorous cozy series takes place in Cape May, NJ where I grew up, and revolves around Poppy McAllister. She’s a plus sized red head in her early forties who’s recently returned to her home town with her black smoke Persian, Figaro who’s a few fries short of a happy meal. She has the full-time responsibility of keeping Figaro and her elderly Aunt Ginny out of trouble. Restaurant Weeks Are Murder will come out next March and I’m currently writing the fourth book in the series.

Sounds great. I love Cape May. I visited there once with my husband and hope to go again one day. I also love cats and feature them in my books, too, so I think I would enjoy your series.

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 professional goals are to grow as a writer and improve my style and storytelling abilities. My personal goals are to make my readers fall in love with Poppy, Aunt Ginny, and Figaro and laugh their butts off while reading about their antics. I want to bring joy to every reader who picks up one of my books. It’s my dream to one day be nominated for an Agatha. I’m willing to beg.

Nice goals. I wish you luck.

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

Readers who enjoy a light hearted, humorous cozy will especially love the Poppy McAllister Mysteries. Bonus points if you like a side of romance with your sleuthing. Themes in my series include being a plus sized gal in a skinny beach town and living with an autoimmune disease that requires you to be gluten and dairy free. If you’re on the paleo diet or like to bake gluten free goodies, you’ll love the recipes at the end of my books.

Interesting. Most readers enjoy recipes in cozies, and I think most people like some humor and a bit of romance in their books.

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

Read well. Keep writing. Join a critique group of serious writers. Grow a thicker skin. Follow Manuscript Wish List online. Don’t ever give up.

I agree and am doing those things right now.

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

I wanted to cry over every rejection letter. After a few piled up I thought I had made a horrible mistake and wasted years of my life. I considered setting my manuscript on fire.

Wow! I bet your glad you’re didn’t. I know how you felt, though. I’ve had similar moments of doubt about my writing, too.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I belong to Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

I’m also a member of Sisters in Crime and belong to their Guppie Chapter even though I’m already published. I’m still hoping to find an agent and publish with a larger publisher one day.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

My favorite hobbies are things I can do while drinking coffee. I love reading, baking and travel.  I love hanging out with friends and laughing for hours.

Sounds like hobbies your are quite enjoyable.

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

I love writing. And I love when a reader sends me a note telling me they enjoyed my book and that it meant a lot to them. The toughest part about being an author are negative reviews. I’ve been very fortunate that I haven’t had many, but the couple I’ve had still sting. I find it very challenging trying to juggle writing my current piece of work while promoting books that have been released.

I agree and relate to all of that completely.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I love writing about a small town like Cape May where the characters all know entirely too much about each other and the situations are so often hilarious. I appreciate that cozy mysteries avoid graphic language, violence, and sex. You can read a cozy mystery with your grandmother and not be uncomfortable.

That’s so true.

Can you share a short excerpt from your latest title?

This is the first page of Midnight Snacks Are Murder

Chapter 1

            Mischief and Mayhem were running amuck in South Jersey. Mischief, or as I called her, Aunt Ginny was on the warpath flanked by her first in command, Mayhem, also known as my black smoke Persian, Figaro the instigator. Today their battleground was the kitchen and the enemy was knee deep in the hoopla installing pearl gray cabinets and black and silver granite counter tops.

            Aunt Ginny barked out orders like Patton leading the allied forces through France. “If any one of you puts so much as a single scratch on my Romba cuckoo clock there will be hell to pay! My first husband Lovell brought that home from Germany in 1945. It’s survived three wars, a fire, and Hurricane Sandy. I’ll be darned if its going down because of a slipshod kitchen remodel.”

            I’d been stranded in Cape May with my eighty-ish great aunt ever since I was lured up here to attend my twenty-fifth high school reunion a few weeks ago and was voted most likely to kill a cheerleader. I’d never wanted to return to the birthplace of my most painful memories, but after spending the past few weeks reuniting with old friends, enemies, and lovers, I’d come to accept that Cape May had a certain charm. One that I’d call “better than a sharp stick in the eye.”  I’d been away long enough to forget that Aunt Ginny teetered on the edge of crazy. Long enough not to know about a recent plot to stuff her away in a nursing home. So long that I was the only McAllister left to inherit the Victorian Manor. Now it was my job to look after this rickety old rattletrap… and the house. With two red-heads under the same roof, and one of them having just bought a wakeboard on, I think twenty years in the women’s prison would have been easier.

Very nice.

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

I love connecting with my readers, so be sure to send me a note, friend me on Facebook, follow Figaro on Twitter. And I love to visit book clubs! They’re so much fun!

I’ll share that message for you.

Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc. and include some book cover graphics and author photos if possible.


Cozy Mystery Crew –

Goodreads –

Bookbub –

Twitter –

Website –

Pinterest –

Instagram –

Amazon –

Thanks so much, Libby. I enjoyed chatting with you and wish you all the best on your new release and future books of your fun cozy mystery series. I’m also including the link to your rafflecopter for those who would like to enter your giveaway:

Posted in Cozy Mysteries, New Releases, Spotlight

Spotlight for Murder She Reported by Peg Cochran

Murder, She Reported

Cozy Mystery (Historical)
Setting – New York
Alibi (July 31, 2018)
Print Length – 230 Pages
Digital ASIN: B0776JSR44

Manhattan, 1938. Tired of being trapped in the gilded cage of her family’s expectations, Elizabeth Adams has done what no self-respecting socialite would think to do: She’s gotten herself a job. Although Elizabeth’s dream is to one day see her photographs on the front page of the Daily Trumpet, for now she’s working her way up as the newsroom’s gal Friday.

But fetching coffee isn’t exactly her idea of fun. So when veteran reporter Ralph Kaminsky needs a photographer to fill in for a last-minute assignment, Elizabeth jumps at the chance. At the Waldorf Hotel, Elizabeth is tasked with tracking down the season’s “It girl,” Gloria DeWitt, who will be making her society debut. Working her own connections to New York’s upper crust, Elizabeth manages to land an exclusive interview with Gloria.

Then Gloria’s stepmother is shot dead in a Waldorf bathroom, placing Elizabeth at the scene of a headline-worthy scandal: “Murder of a Society Dame.” Now Elizabeth will have to get the scoop on the killer before her good name gets dragged through the gossip columns—or worse. . . .

About the Author

Mystery writing lets Peg indulge her curiosity under the guise of “work” (aka research). As a kid, she read the entire set of children’s encyclopedias her parents gave her and has been known to read the dictionary. She put pen to paper at age seven when she wrote plays and forced her cousins to perform them at Christmas dinner. She switched to mysteries when she discovered the perfect hiding place for a body down the street from her house.

When she’s not writing, she spends her time reading, cooking, spoiling her granddaughter and checking her books’ stats on Amazon.

A former Jersey girl, Peg now resides in Michigan with her husband and Westhighland white terrier, Reg. She is the author of the Sweet Nothings Lingerie series (written as Meg London), the Gourmet De-Lite series, the Lucille series, the Cranberry Cove series,   and the Farmer’s Daughter series.

Author Links:

Website –

Newsletter Sign Up –

Facebook –

Twitter –

GoodReads –

BookBub –

Purchase Links:

Amazon B&N   Kobo   Google Play  BookBub 


July 30 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

July 30 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

July 31 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

July 31 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW

August 1 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

August 1 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

August 2 – Reading Is My SuperPower – SPOTLIGHT

August 2 – Bibliophile Reviews – INTERVIEW

August 3 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW

August 3 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW

August 4 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

August 4 – MJB Reviewers – INTERVIEW

August 5 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

August 6 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

August 7 – Mysteries with Character – INTERVIEW

August 7 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 8 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 8 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

August 9 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

August 10 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

August 11 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

August 11 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

August 12 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Posted in Cozy Mysteries, New Releases

Spotlight for Death on the Menu by Lucy Burdette (A Key West Food Critic Mystery)

Death on the Menu: A Key West Food Critic Mystery
by Lucy Burdette

About the Book

Death on the Menu: A Key West Food Critic Mystery
Cozy Mystery
8th in Series
Crooked Lane Books (August 7, 2018)
Hardcover: 295 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683317463
Digital ASIN: B078MBKH95

When a killer strikes just before flan time, beloved food critic Hayley Snow is forced to sniff out the killer before someone else bites the dust.

Hayley Snow, fiery food critic for Key Zest magazine, has just landed a ticket to one of the most prestigious events in Key West: a high-brow three-day conference at the Harry Truman Little White House. Even though she’ll be working the event helping her mother’s fledgling catering business, there’s plenty of spicy gossip to go around. But just before her mother’s decadent flan is put to the test, Key West’s most prized possession, Hemingway’s Nobel prize gold medal for The Old Man and the Sea, is discovered stolen from its case.

Unsavory suspicions point to Gabriel, a family friend and one of the new busboys working the event, who mysteriously goes missing moments later. Anxious to clear his name, Gabriel’s family enlists Hayley to help find him, but right as they begin their search, his body is found stabbed to death in the storeroom.

Hayley has no shortage of suspects to interrogate and very little time before the killer adds another victim to the menu in national bestselling author Lucy Burdette’s delectable eighth Key West Food Critic mystery, Death on the Menu.

About the Author

Courtesy Carol Tedesco

Clinical psychologist Lucy Burdette (aka Roberta Isleib) has published 16 mysteries, including the latest in the Key West food critic series, DEATH ON THE MENU (Crooked Lane Books, August 2018.) Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America and a past president of Sisters in Crime. She blogs at Jungle Red Writers and shares her love for food with the culinary writers at Mystery Lovers Kitchen She lives in Madison CT and Key West FL. Read more at

Author Links:






Purchase Links:

Amazon B&N IndieBound BookBub Kobo


August 1 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

August 1 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 2 – Mystery Lovers Kitchen – RECIPE

August 2 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 2 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 3 – Killer Characters – CHARACTER GUEST POST

August 3 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

August 4 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

August 4 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

August 5 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 6 – Map Your Mystery – INTERVIEW

August 6 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW

August 6 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

August 7 – Jungle Red Writers – GUEST POST

August 7 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – RECIPE, REVIEW

August 7 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

August 8 – The Conscious Cat – GUEST POST

August 8 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

August 9 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

August 9 – Mystery Lovers Kitchen #2 – RECIPE

August 10 – Wicked Cozy Authors – GUEST POST

August 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

August 11 – Book Babble – REVIEW

August 12 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

August 13 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

August 13 – Mallory Heart Reviews – REVIEW

August 14 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

August 14 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 15 – Fabulous Florida Writers – GUEST POST

August 15 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

August 15 – Varietats – REVIEW

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for The Scent of Waikiki and A Trouble in Paradise Mystery by Terry Ambrose

This post was contributed by author Terry Ambrose. His new cozy mystery, The Scent of Waikii, is currently on tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

The Big Island of Hawaii — more than just one volcano

I’m so happy to be here today! Thanks for having me as your guest. The McKenna Mystery series is set in Hawaii, which is getting a lot of attention right now due to Kilauea’s ongoing eruption. In addition to the volcano, however, there are other parts of the Big Island people never hear about. I’ve been fortunate to have been there several times and have photos from those trips, so let me take you on a little virtual tour of the Big Island of Hawaii.

We’ll begin our journey on the north end of the island at Waipio Bay. While staying in the upcountry, which is less than an hour away, we drove to the scenic point at end of the road, where the beauty of the Pacific Ocean seems to stretch on forever.

As we leave the upcountry and it’s cattle ranches, we travel through miles of rolling hills. At this point, we were ten to fifteen miles from the coast and could easily forget we were on an island. The peak in the background is Mauna Kea, one of the island’s five volcanos. As Kilauea is doing today, Mauna Kea wrought its share of devastation. While the last eruption of Mauna Kea was between 4,000 and 6,000 years ago, the threat of another eruption is still considered moderate.

If we continue south, we pass through Kona and the many coffee plantations to a place where volcanic devastation can be seen very clearly. At Naalehu, there is a lookout that provides an explanation of the various lava flows and when they occurred. The lava field pictured here is from a Mauna Loa eruption in 1907.

Continuing south, we arrive at the southernmost point in the United States. Here, the average annual temperature is nearly eighty degrees and the area receives almost fifty inches of rain. But looking out over the lava, you’d never know there’s so much rain. This is a popular spot for fishing and for diving from the rocks.

Our journey around the Big Island takes us east to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where the terrain ranges from lush rainforest to solid rock. One of the easy sights to see is the Thurston Lava Tube, where the entrance is overgrown and an excellent example of how eventually even rock can serve as the home to a wide variety of flora.

If we continue our journey and head east through Hilo and then north, we’ll find ourselves in more lush backcountry. Here there are small housing developments, ranches, and farms. As you can see, some of the neighbors can be quite inquisitive. We met these guys at a house we rented for a week. While they didn’t stop by to visit each day, they did drop in periodically. Fortunately, there’s a fence that keeps them from wandering too far afield.

The last stop on our tour is nearly where we started. This is near the little village of Lapahoehoe. I first heard about Lapahoehoe from a friend who told me it was a “must see.” They were right. The waters here are stunning, the landscaping more shades of green than you can imagine, and the trade winds a constant delight. It’s hard to believe that on April 1, 1946 a schoolhouse in Lapahoehoe was inundated by a tsunami that killed twenty students and four teachers. At the park, a monument stands to commemorate the loss.

So, now you know the Big Island of Hawaii is more than just one volcano. Nobody knows how long Kilauea will continue to spew lava and ash. There may be more violent events in store, or the activity may simply subside. Only time will tell.

* * *
Don’t forget to try your luck in the Rafflecopter for this book tour:

Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Knot My Sister’s Keeper, a Quilting Mystery, by Mary Marks

This post was contributed by author Mary Marks. Her cozy mystery, Knot My Sister’s Keeper, is currently on tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

I’m often asked if the characters in my books are based on real people. The simple answer is yes and no. Martha is totally a younger me, except I don’t stumble across real dead bodies.

When I create a new character, I like to have an image in my head of what that person might look like. Sometimes I may actually know somebody who inspires that character, so I’ll think of their image when I write. With a clear picture in mind, I can then extrapolate how they might think or act in a given situation.

Here’s one example. The husband of a good friend is a retired sheriff’s deputy. At six feet tall with white hair and mustache, his was the image I had in my head when I created the character of LAPD Homicide Detective Arlo Beavers. However, the resemblance ends there. The fictional Arlo is somewhat of a ladies’ man, whereas my friend’s spouse is a devoted husband. I simply used my imagination to give Arlo different traits for the stories.

Martha’s best friend, Lucy Mondello, was inspired by my late sister-in-law: a tall, slender red-head who never went out without matching clothes and perfect makeup. She also peppered her speech with clichés and finger quote, just like Lucy. Although the fictional Lucy’s life is very different than the real life of the woman who inspired her, writing about Lucy makes me feel close to my sister-in-law, who was always a dear friend.

In Something’s Knot Kosher, I introduce a new character, Jazz Fletcher. I wanted him to be talented, attractive, successful and gay. The real person who immediately came to mind was a famous fashion icon and television personality, who embodies all the traits I was looking for in my new character. I admire the man tremendously, and in real life I’d aspire to be his best friend. I wanted the reader to feel the same way about Jazz.

Other times, a character might be inspired by a certain type of person. We’ve all known people who like to gossip—I had one in my own neighborhood who used to patrol the streets every day looking for juicy information. Her behavior inspired the character of Martha’s neighbor, Sonia Spiegelman, a yenta and head of the Neighborhood Watch. In my stories, Sonia organizes a nighttime patrol called the Eyes of Encino. They keep a log of any unusual activity, much like the real gossip, who kept that information in her head.

The character of Crusher, aka Yossi Levy, was inspired by two learned rabbis I know, who have physical characteristics similar to Crusher’s. Although it was fun to imagine either of my rabbi friends riding a Harley, the fictional Yossi’s behavior, his job and his personality are made up strictly from my imagination.

And finally, I sometimes get secret satisfaction from creating villainous characters who are inspired by scoundrels I’ve known in real life. What I can’t do in actuality I can do through fiction: expose them or kill them off.

I’m always looking for inspiration for characters and their names. On a recent trip, I visited Daisy, a tiny town in Northeast Washington state. Now don’t you think the name Daisy Washington is perfect for a character in one of my stories?

You can connect with Mary at her website  or on Facebook:

Enter the blog tour’s rafflecopter here: