Posted in Reviews

Review of It Ends at Midnight by Harriet Tyce

*Note: This book was an advanced reader’s copy from Net Galley. It will be published on February 21, 2023, and is available for pre-order on Amazon at

*****5 stars

This was a hard book to put down.. I loved the way the author didn’t reveal the victims until the end of the story and how she featured triple twists to wrap up things. I didn’t guess who-done-it or who the victims were, which is a rarity for me.

This book starts on New Year’s Eve in Scotland (hogmanay as it’s called there). Two people, a man and a woman, are found impaled on fence stakes outside a house at which a party has taken place. Readers are priivvy to the dying thoughts of the victims throughout the book as it alternates from that time backwards.

Sylvie, a lawyer, is the main character. When she learns her best friend, Tess, has an inoperable brain tumor, she agrees to inform Tess’ husband and also help Tess locate a childhood friend whom Tess wants to make amends with for something they both did to her back in their school days.

As the plot moves forward to New Year’s Eve when Tess plans to renew her vows with her husband at a house where Sylvie’s boyfriend, a caterer, will be arranging the food, Sylvie has flashbacks to the event she’s tried to erase from her mind for twenty years.

The title of the book is appropriate, as the final scenes of the story take place as New Year’s Eve turns into New Year’s Day. My only criticism of the book is that the characters aren’t too likable, but the ending more than makes up for that. I recommend this to fans of Gone Girl and other dark fiction tales.

Posted in retirement

Debbie’s Retirement Life: Week 1, Day 8: 12/30/22

This is the second entry in my retirement column. If you missed the first, you can still read it here.

My first week of retirement after Christmas was quiet. December 24 and 25 were very cold days. We had temperatures in the single digits on Christmas Eve. We didn’t go out because my husband wasn’t feeling well, although he didn’t have COVID or the flu., so it was just the three of us and our cats celebrating the holiday at home.

My daughter made a delicious lasagna that we’re still eating because she froze some. 

Since Tuesday, I’ve had a very stuffy nose but no temperature, and my home test is negative. I think it’s a head cold. I also didn’t go to lunch with my friends as I’d planned because one of them had COVID and is still recovering. We’re rescheduling for later in the month.

Retirement life is an adjustment. A gift I received for Christmas was a To Do Planner, that will be useful with my Google calendar and help me keep a schedule.



I’ve registered for several virtual library exercise classes hosted by my library and others. I’m hoping to start a new book after New Year’s, but I decided to take a week of rest and enjoy my new freedom. The only work I did these last seven days was organize my desk. I can finally see the top of it that was once covered in papers and other items. I’m sorry I didn’t get a before shot, but here’s the after shot.

I’m still working on my writing files and hope to finish cleaning them out and sorting them by next week. There were some interesting articles and letters in the folders, some going back to the 1990’s. I came across my original Cat Writers’ Association’s application letter from 1995. For privacy, I’ve omitted the return address.

Since I’m always searching for pens, I went through the mugs of pens on my desk and threw out the ones that didn’t work. Amazingly, most of them did. There were even cat and llama-shaped pens and a Nancy Pearl action figure to remind me of my library days. The llama pen will come in handy, inspiring me to write my next cozy mystery, The Case of the Llama Raising Librarian.”

While I was cleaning, my cat, Hermione, found the extra space on my desk and took it as an invitation to jump on it and knock down items.

With my extra time this week, I caught up on my book and magazine reading, took cat naps with my cats, and walked to the library to wish everyone a Happy New Year. I also spent some time adding jewelry to my new jewelry box that I purchased with my retirement gift card. It has lots of space for my earrings, necklaces, rings, and bracelets and looks very nice on my bureau.

Yesterday, my daughter and I made chocolate banana muffins and bread. She’s also on an organizing kick and showed me how to use the No Waste app to keep an inventory of items we have in the pantry and refrigerator, so we don’t buy duplicate groceries or forget to buy something we run out of.

Next week, I’ll be starting a few of the virtual exercise classes I registered for and updating the bio and information on my website and social media. I’ll also be sending out my January author newsletter that will contain character naming and survey contests for readers, as well as a list of my 12 favorite books this past year. To subscribe to Debbie’s Drafts, fill out the form at Have a great New Year!

Posted in Reviews

Review of The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer

*Note: This book was an advanced reader’s copy from Net Galley. It will be published on May 30, 2023, and is available for pre-order on Amazon at


The reclusive and very rich children’s book author, Jack Masterson, is writing again after a long dry spell. On his private island, Clock Island, named for his book series, he’s devised a contest for four adults who once ran away from home to visit him. The prize is the only copy of his new book, valued at six figures. One of these people, Lucy, a teacher’s assistant, desperately wants to win the contest, so she can afford to foster a young boy and eventually adopt him.

When Lucy arrives on the island and meets the other contestants, she also meets Masterson’s book illustrator with whom she becomes attracted. The contest involves several difficult puzzles. Lucy starts out ahead by solving the first but then falls behind. The only way she can win is to solve the last puzzle.

What I liked about this book was the backstory about the author and illustrator as well as that of Lucy and her young friend. The writing was enchanting with touches of fantasy and whimsy that reflected the best quality of children’s books in an adult novel. I recommend this read to those who enjoy a sweet story and a happy but not necessarily obvious ending.

Posted in retirement

Debbie’s Retirement Life: Day 1: 12/23/22

This is my first blog post about my retirement, which starts today. I’ll be posting updates weekly for a while and then probably on a monthly basis. Yesterday was my last day working full time as a librarian at the Hicksville Public Library. There was a party for me at 3 pm, the usual afternoon break time. My co-workers and two retirees, my previous director and fellow librarian, gathered downstairs in our Community Room that was decorated with balloons and a poster to celebrate my last day. There was also my favorite Black Forest cake, delicious pastries, a card signed by everyone, and several thoughtful gifts.

One question asked at my party was what I was going to do tomorrow. I said that I would wrap Christmas gifts, and I intend to do that. But the real question is, what am I going to do now that I’m retired? I already agreed to do some substitute work for the library as needed and have registered for several virtual library exercise programs. Here is the list I’ve composed of some things I hope to do now that I have the time. These are not necessarily in priority order:

  1. Take virtual library classes and programs and also in-person classes. (I’ve already registered for some and hope to attend the in-person book club in January)
  2. Take writing courses and attend webinars (I’m receiving a Christmas gift of a Writer’s Digest University online course about landing a book deal).
  3. Declutter my house to prepare for my family’s move out of state (I’ve already started this, but I’ll be doing it on a more regular basis. My desk area needs to be cleared asap).
  4. Update website and social media (It’s hard to keep these current when you work full time).
  5. Go through starred Email (I have a habit of starring email and never getting back to reading/dealing with it)
  6. Start Buttercup Bend #3 and plan my future writing (I have an ongoing list of writing projects).
  7. Make a household schedule (Now that I’m home, I’ll be able to do chores at more convenient times).
  8. Read (I have a huge digital TBR list on my Kindle app)
  9. Volunteer at church (I’ve been letting this slide for a long time, and I want to be more involved)
  10. Research ways to save and earn extra money. (This is important when you’re on a fixed income).
  11. Spend more time with friends (although I’m leaving, it won’t be for a while. I already have a lunch planned with some friends next week).
  12. Spend more time with my family, including my cats (This should be at the top of the list).

There are probably many other things I’ll find to do with my extra time, but I need time to relax and enjoy my retirement, too. It’s good to be busy, but it’s also good to take a break. I think I deserve one after 32 years of full-time work.

I look forward to sharing my retirement updates on this blog. If anyone reading this is retired and has some suggestions or experiences they’d like to share, please do.

Posted in Blog Tour, Interview

Author Interview of Leah Dobrinska and blog tour for her new release, Death Checked Out

It’s my pleasure to welcome author Leah Dobrinska from Wisconsin to Ruff Drafts.

Hi, Leah. Please tell us how long you’ve been published and what titles and/or series you’ve published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.

I’ve been a published author for two years. I independently published my debut small town romance novel, Love at On Deck Café, in 2021. I published the second and third books in that series, Good To Be Home and Together With Together With You, earlier in 2022. Readers describe the Mapleton novels as heartwarming, exploding with charm, and full of the best sort of Hallmark love stories. Self-publishing was a humbling and transformative experience, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I learned so much and loved having complete control over the process. I hired professionals to help me along the way, including editors and a top notch cover designer, and I built a small following of devoted readers who are not afraid to shout from the rooftops about my books. I’m so grateful for the experience, and I love being an indie author.

I also love that I found a home with a publishing house for my debut cozy mystery, Death Checked Out. Getting to tap into the expertise and knowledge of the industry professionals at Level Best Books and having them back my cozy mystery series has been wonderful and a huge stepping stone for my career. I have a three book contract for the Larkspur Library Mysteries, so at least two more stories of Greta and the gang are forthcoming!

Congratulations! Tell us a little bit about your books — 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.

Death Checked Out is the first book in the Larkspur Library Mystery series. It’s a library-focused cozy mystery set in a lakeside town in the Wisconsin Northwoods that’s perfect for fans of Jenn McKinlay’s Library Lovers mysteries and Holly Danvers’s Lakeside Library mysteries. In Death Checked Out, we meet Greta, a glass-half-full kind of girl. She’s the library director in Larkspur, and she copes with the hard things in life with consummate cheerfulness. Unfortunately, her positive outlook takes a hit when murder darkens the idyllic streets of Larkspur, and not only does she find the dead body but she becomes a suspect in the murder investigation. With her librarian co-workers, the community, and her lawyer mom, Greta sets to work to clear her name and close the book on the murder before she’s checked out for good.

Death Checked Out is the first book in the Larkspur Library series. At the moment, it’s a three book series, but I’m always open to writing more! The next two books will publish in December 2023 and December 2024.

For fans of my small town romance novels, I hope to return to Mapleton in 2023, as well. I also have another series up my sleeve that I can’t wait to share in the New Year! It’s in a new genre to me, one that I’ve very excited about breaking into…*cough* rom-com *cough*.

Your series sound wonderful. I also write a cozy mystery series featuring a librarian in the small, fictional town of Cobble Cove, New York. My Cobble Cove series has six books and also features a library cat. I also started a new series featuring the co-owner of a pet rescue center. I just released the second book of that series and hope to start the third after the holidays. I’ve also written a rom com, but I prefer cozies and standalone mysteries. My books are published by two Indie publishers, Solstice Publishing and Next Chapter Publishing. I’m still seeking an agent and to publish with a larger publisher one day. I’ll be working toward that goal after I retire in a few days. I wish you luck and happy holidays!

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?

This is such a great question. It’s my greatest hope that with my books I’m putting something good, true, and beautiful into the world. I use that as my compass, but in short, I hope my stories spread a little joy!

In the next few years, I want to establish myself as a cozy mystery author, not only with the release of Death Checked Out this month but also with the two upcoming books in the series. I’d love to keep the Larkspur Library series going as long as readers want to keep checking it out. Pun fully intended!

I have another cozy mystery series that I’m very excited about running with, as well. The first book is written, but my goal will be to take it through several rounds of edits until it hits all the right notes. Once it’s ready, I’d like to take that out on submission to try to find a publishing house for it. That’ll take a lot of work, a lot of synopsis writing (and re-writing!), and a lot of waiting.

Alongside my cozy mystery efforts, I hope to continue to pursue my career as an indie romance author. Breaking into the rom-com genre is a big goal of mine, and to do so—and to juggle the multiple projects I seem to always find myself in the midst of—I have to set reasonable word count goals and deadlines for myself along the way.

Those sound like great goals. I also have many projects in mind for 2023 and beyond and am also planning a move next year, so I have to prioritize all these ideas and, like you, juggle multiple projects.

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

I’m hoping to attract readers who appreciate down-to-earth characters and quaint, charming settings. My books are happy and fun, so readers looking to be entertained and escape to beautiful fictional worlds are my target. I market my romance novels as being like Hallmark movies with a little less cringe…and I say that as a devoted Hallmark movie fan. I also love the Hallmark Mystery Channel, and I like to think that my cozies reflect that sort of style, as well. So, fans of the Hallmark Channel, I’ve got you covered!

People tell me that my books would also make great Hallmark Mysteries.

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

First of all, keep writing! Writing is like a muscle. It’ll get stronger the more and more you work it out. It’s like anything. The more you write, the more confident you’ll be, and the better you’ll get.

Second of all, be a reader! Read books in and out of the genre you’re writing. I have learned so much from other authors, and I find myself constantly inspired by and in awe of the creative outputs of those around me. I look up to so many authors, and I’ve learned more about the craft of writing from reading actual works of fiction than I have from reading books on the craft of writing.

Finally, never forget that the world needs your story, and no one but you can tell it. It’s easy to get sucked in to the comparison game and constantly be looking around to see what others are doing and how they’re doing it. While in some cases it’s great to learn from and be inspired by others, don’t lose sight of your unique voice and the story you have to share.

I couldn’t have answered that better. I agree completely with everything you said, especially the importance of reading that helps authors learn from others. As a retiring librarian, I’ve had the opportunity to read a variety of genres and both popular and Indie authors.

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

The greatest struggle for me on the path to publication was self-doubt. There’s a lot of waiting and wondering when you’re querying agents and again when you’re out on submission. It’s easy to let the inner critic get a little too loud and to start questioning whether what I’ve written is any good at all.

So very true.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I’m a member of the International Thriller Writers Association, and I try to participate in my local library writing events and the UntitledTown writing group in the Green Bay area.

Nice. I’m also a member of International Thriller Writers and also Sisters-in-Crime and the Cat Writers’ Association.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

Shocking no one, I’d say that my favorite hobby outside of writing is reading. I’m a member of two book clubs, and I look forward to them all month. I also love running for exercise, and I’m a huge music fan. I have a particular soft spot for Taylor Swift and have been known to spout off her lyrics whenever they apply. When given a blank space, you’d be surprised at how frequently I can work them into a conversation.

Funny. I’m a big reader, too. I like to exercise, but my knees are now preventing me from running. I do low impact aerobics and walking. I also adore my two cats and enjoy playing with them.

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

My favorite thing about being an author is creating something that spreads joy. It follows then, that I love interacting with readers. My author newsletter is one of my favorite things. I love getting responses from subscribers and being able to interact and chat with them about all things books, writing, and life.

Let’s see. Challenges! I’d say the toughest challenge I face as an author is that writing isn’t my full-time gig. I’m a stay-at-home mom to four lovely and precocious little ones. They are my first priority, and getting to be at home with them is a great gift to me. It also sometime provides a unique hurdle to my writing efforts. Because I can’t always be writing. I get asked a lot How do you balance it all? The short answer is, I don’t. Something usually falls through the cracks, and something always has to give. I struggle with the guilt of not being able to be everything to everyone all the time, both on the mom side of things and on the author side of things. I’m always working to strike a balance!

I hear you. That is also a big challenge to me. Even though my daughter is an adult now, my full-time job made writing time difficult to find. Now that I’m retiring, I can devote myself more fully to it and to my family.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

When I was little, I wanted to be Nancy Drew. I find myself feeling that way about all the heroines in the cozy mysteries I read, and in those that I write. I love the idea of crafting an amateur sleuth that readers can relate to, see themselves in, and root for. I also have to say that cozy mystery settings are my favorite thing to develop. Give me all the small town drama, local shops, and gorgeous locales. That, and the puns! I live for the puns!

Lol. I feel the same way about cozies. I love developing quirky characters and fun mysteries.

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

Death Checked Out

Four months ago, when Greta first met Franklin, he hadn’t given her the time of day. He had opened the door on her first visit only to shut it in her face before she could so much as say, “Hi, my name is…” But Greta was not to be deterred. She’d kept at him, and slowly, he warmed to her presence, especially when she offered to courier library books directly to him.

What could she say, she was not above bribing her way into someone’s good graces with the promise of books.

After a few seconds, the rough sound of wheels rolling across wood floor reached Greta’s ears, and she turned as the door swung inward. Franklin sat in his wheelchair a couple feet inside the entryway, but the smile she had ready for him died on her lips.

Franklin’s eyes blazed with disgust and his voice was as frosty as a Wisconsin winter. “I understand what you’re asking, but you don’t seem to understand what I’m telling you!”

Great excerpt. Thanks for sharing it.

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

I’d just like to say thank you! Of all the books you could read, I’m so grateful you’ve chosen to give mine some of your time. I hope my books make you smile. If you do enjoy them, please be generous with your stars and leave an online review. Nothing helps an author keep writing more than positive momentum in the form of hearing their books resonate with a reader.

I love interacting with fellow book lovers, so please don’t be shy. Sign up to receive my newsletter so we can email each month. Find me on Instagram or Facebook. I like to have fun with social media, and I hope you’ll join in!


Amazon Author Page:

Barnes & Noble Author Page:






Thanks for the great interview, Leah, and I wish you the best on your new series and forthcoming cozies and Rom coms.


Death Checked Out: A Larkspur Library Mystery
by Leah Dobrinska

About Death Checked Out

Death Checked Out: A Larkspur Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Level Best Books (December 6, 2022)
Number of Pages ~300
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0BHJJ1QRT

She’s used to checking out books. A death? Not so much.

Greta Plank, resident librarian in the small, lakeside town of Larkspur, Wisconsin, prefers her rose-tinted glasses extra rosy, thank you very much. Ever since a family tragedy landed her in Larkspur, she’s kept a happy-or-bust outlook. But Greta’s cheery resolve takes a hit when she finds the town recluse dead at the base of the stairs leading from his deck to the lake. What she assumes is a terrible accident Greta soon learns is something more sinister, and to make matters worse, new-to-town Detective Mark McHenry cites her as not only his primary source for the case, but his top suspect.

To clear her name and return to life as she knew it before the murder, Greta decides to do some clue cataloging of her own. After all, she’s got her master’s degree in library science with an emphasis in research methodology…how hard could a criminal investigation be? With the help of her fellow librarians and her lawyer mom, Greta begins checking out the pages of the murder, uncovering details about the recluse’s rare book collection and Larkspur’s real estate market as she tries to understand why anyone would have authored his death.

But with friends and neighbors stacking up as both victims and suspects, Greta must cross-reference the facts and put a hold on her idyllic worldview if she wants to get the full story without paying the fine of her life.

About Leah Dobrinska

Leah Dobrinska is the author of the Larkspur Library Mysteries, a cozy mystery series set in the Wisconsin Northwoods, and the Mapleton novels, a series of standalone small town romances. She earned her degree in English Literature from UW-Madison and has since worked as a freelance writer, editor, and content marketer. As a kid, she hoped to grow up to be either Nancy Drew or Elizabeth Bennet. Now, she fulfills that dream by writing mysteries and love stories. Death Checked Out is her debut cozy mystery.

A sucker for a good sentence, a happy ending, and the smell of books—both old and new—Leah lives out her very own happily ever after in a small Wisconsin town with her husband and their gaggle of kids. When she’s not writing, handing out snacks, or visiting local parks, Leah enjoys reading and running. Find out more about Leah, join her newsletter community, and connect with her through her website,

Author Links



Amazon Author Page:






Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N

Death Checked Out Purchase link (Barnes & Noble): Coming soon!


December 12 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW, EXCERPT

December 12 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 12 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

December 13 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT

December 13 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 14 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 14 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 15 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

December 15 – Elza Reads – REVIEW

December 16 – Novels Alive – REVIEW

December 16 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT


December 17 – I’m Into Books – SPOTLIGHT

December 18 – Guatemala Paula Loves to Read – REVIEW

December 18 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT

December 19 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

December 19 – Jane Reads – AUTHOR GUEST POST

December 20 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – AUTHOR GUEST POST

December 20 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

December 21 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

December 21 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

December 22 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 22 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 23 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 23 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Blog Tour, Cozy Mystery, New Releases, Spotlight

Spotlight and Blog Tour for Roast Date: A Barks & Beans Cozy Mystery by Heather Day Gilbert

Roast Date (Barks & Beans Cafe Cozy Mystery)
by Heather Day Gilbert

About Roast Date

Roast Date (Barks & Beans Cafe Cozy Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – West Virginia
WoodHaven Press (December 20, 2022)
Number of Pages ~250
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09Z8NYHX9

BOOK SEVEN in the bestselling BARKS & BEANS CAFE cozy mystery series!!

Welcome to the Barks & Beans Cafe, a quaint place where folks pet shelter dogs while enjoying a cup of java…and where murder sometimes pays a visit.

After much cajoling, Macy gives in to her neighbor, Vera, and agrees to come to her book club’s Christmas party so she can share about the cafe. While public speaking isn’t Macy’s thing, she wants to brighten Vera’s lonely holiday season…and she can sell a little house blend on the side.

When a lively book discussion spirals into a public roast of the mayor—who happens to be sitting in their midst—things get uncomfortable. Soon afterward, the mayor shows up dead in Vera’s bathroom, and no amount of gingerbread cookies or eggnog can restore Vera to the club’s good graces. ‘Tis the season for Macy to find the murderer, or else Vera might be taking a long winter’s nap in a jail cell.

Join siblings Macy and Bo Hatfield as they sniff out crimes in their hometown…with plenty of dogs along for the ride! The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series features a small town, an amateur sleuth, and no swearing or graphic scenes.

The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series in order:
Book 1: No Filter
Book 2: Iced Over
Book 3: Fair Trade
Book 4: Spilled Milk
Book 5: Trouble Brewing
Book 6: Cold Drip
Book 7: Roast Date

About Heather Day Gilbert

Award-winning novelist Heather Day Gilbert enjoys writing mysteries and Viking historicals. She brings authentic family relationships to the page, and she particularly delights in heroines who take a stand to protect those they love. Avid readers say Heather’s realistic characters—no matter what century—feel like best friends. When she’s not plotting stories, this native West Virginian can often be found hanging out with her husband and four children, playing video games, or reading Agatha Christie novels.

Author Links






Purchase Link – Amazon


December 19 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 19 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

December 19 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

December 20 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW


December 20 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 20 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

December 21 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW

December 21 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 21 – Lady Hawkeye – AUTHOR GUEST POST

December 21 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 22 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 22 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

December 22 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

December 22 – The Mystery Section – SPOTLIGHT

December 23 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

December 23 – The Book Diva’s Reads – AUTHOR GUEST POST

December 23 – I’m Into Books – SPOTLIGHT

December 23 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in author news, events, Freebies and Special Offers

Happy Holidays! Open for Free Gifts and Party Invitations

I hope you’re all enjoying your holidays. For a cozy mystery with a seasonal twist, pick up a free copy of Murder Unwrapped ( for yourself or someone on your gift list. My new release, The Case of the Parrot Loving Professor, Buttercup Bend #2, is on blog tour through December 18. You can catch up on any of the stops prior to that to read excerpts, spotlights, reviews, and guest posts and also enter the giveaway until the end of the tour. Check it out here:

Join me on Friday, December 16 at 7 pm EST for a cozy holiday takeover event on the Cozy Mystery Party Facebook page,
There’ll be giveaways and prizes.

Readers from the Long Island/NY area, join me on Saturday, December 17, at the Broadway Commons in Hicksville where I’ll have a table by the escalators near Ikea. I’ll be autographing books and giving away gifts.

Last but not least, listen to my holiday story, “Catnapped for Christmas” narrated purrfectly by Donnie Lansdale.

I wish you all a happy and healthy holiday and New Year.

Posted in author news

A Personal Post: A Prequel to my Retirement

Other than my new book releases and promotions, I haven’t been sharing any personal posts. Now that I’m retiring and will have more time, I’d like to do that. I’m writing this a week before my retirement on December 22.

Like a book, I feel like I’m beginning a new chapter. I’ve been thinking about my goals and how I want to spend my “golden years.” I’m not retiring in my 70’s or later. I’m not yet 65, but I’ve worked for 32 years as a librarian and feel it’s time to leave my full-time job.Since 1990, I’ve worked at the Hicksville Public Library as a reference librarian. I have mixed memories about my experience – some fond, some not so fond. The fond ones include the friends I’ve made among the staff and meeting my husband when he worked there as a computer instructor. A few staff members, many who are retired now, attended the wedding. My daughter practically grew up in the library, first attending programs as an infant and later as a child and young adult. I’ve worked under five directors and seen several renovations and changes to the building and its collections. I’ve celebrated special occasions and sadder times with my co-workers. A part of me will always live there, although I plan to move with my family to another state next year.

I recognize in younger librarians the enthusiasm I felt when I first began my career. The field is very different now. Computers and eBooks have changed reference services. Yet, helping people locate the information they seek for enrichment, pleasure, and knowledge is still a goal of the profession.While I was working, I managed to write sixteen novels. over thirty short stories, and several articles for pet magazines. It wasn’t easy. I wrote in the morning before work. My husband and daughter were incredibly supportive, but I felt that spreading myself between work, writing, and family resulted in shortchanging all three as well as myself. Now that my daughter is in college and an adult, I want to spend more time with her before she leaves to follow her own dreams. I also want to finish all those book ideas that I haven’t had time to complete and better myself as an author through workshops, conferences, and writing groups. I’m still seeking an agent and intend to pursue that goal more intently.I won’t be basking in the sun and sleeping all day after I retire. I’ll still rise early, write, and keep to a routine that, while flexible, will be productive. I’ll share my experience on this blog in a new column called “Debbie’s Retirement Life.” I’ve always believed that it’s true that when one door closes, another opens. I want to find out what’s on the other side of that door and plan to share what I find with you.

Posted in Cozy Mystery, Paranormal, Reviews

Review of the Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone by Audrey Burges

*Note: This book was an advanced reader’s copy from Net Galley. It will be published on January 24, 2023, and is available for order on Amazon at

****4 stars

If you’ve ever had a dollhouse or been enchanted by miniatures as I have, you would enjoy this book about Myra Malone who inherits a dollhouse she calls a mansion after her grandmother dies in a car crash in which Myra is severely injured and deformed. Myra becomes a recluse, but a friend helps her find meaning to her life by sharing her hobby of miniatures on social media where she gains worldwide fans including a man across the country whose house has an eerie similarity to the rooms of her “mansion.”

I found this story charming, and I liked the paranormal element. However, I felt some of the loose ends weren’t tied up as well as I’d hoped. If you’re a fan of miniatures and sweet love stories with a supernatural theme, you’ll enjoy this book.

Posted in Blog Tour, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Sleuthing in Stilettos by Debra Sennefelder

Sleuthing in Stilettos (A Resale Boutique Mystery)
by Debra Sennefelder

About Sleuthing in Stilettos

Sleuthing in Stilettos (A Resale Boutique Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Lucky Cove, NY
Lyrical Underground (December 6, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 256 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1516111044
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1516111046
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09VCWFVRQ

Kelly Quinn, owner of a high-end consignment shop, is a booster for her Long Island town’s small businesses—but now a store owner’s murder has brought big trouble . . .

Locals in Lucky Cove seem to harbor hostility toward Miranda Farrell, proprietor of a new shoe store. Nevertheless, Kelly invites her along to a Chamber of Commerce meeting. But soon afterward, Miranda’s body is found in her shop, with Kelly’s uncle—who’s had multiple public arguments with her—standing nearby. Could her uncle really have committed murder over a business dispute? Or is Miranda’s death related to her late husband’s long-ago embezzlement case?

Kelly feels compelled to investigate, despite her detective boyfriend’s objections—not to mention her commitment to promoting Small Business Saturday. But her effort to pump up sales may fall flat. After her presentation to the committee is sabotaged, the Chamber gives her the boot—and tongues start wagging. Now she has to do some fancy footwork to find the killer . . .


How This Author Juggles Holidays and Book Releases by Debra Sennefelder

This is an exciting time of the year as well as a hectic time. We’ve just come off Thanksgiving and are now throttling full speed toward Christmas. And just for a little added stress (and joy!) I have a book release this month. I am so grateful for having a story I love, SLEUTHING IN STILETTOS, released out into the world. But with that gratitude comes a sense of overwhelm by all the things that need to be done.

This isn’t the first time I’ve faced this situation, so I’ve devised a coping mechanism. It’s my tried and true, the one reliable action I can take to keep me on course and out of that dreaded feeling of drowning in a pile of to-do lists. It’s being organized. And today, I’m sharing five tips with you that have helped me.

Create the lists. 

Don’t try and rely on your memory for all the things you need to do. Lists are so much better. You don’t need anything fancy. A notebook or pad will do. I like to do a brain dump of everything I need to do. Then, I sort those items. So, I’ll have a list for cooking, one for gifts, one for decorating, and one for promoting my new release!

Keep it all together.

How often have you sat down to wrap gifts only to find you don’t have the tape dispenser? Well, it has happened to me too many times to count, so now I keep all my holiday supplies together in a portable caddy. I can carry it from room to room and wrap all the gifts without having to hunt down the scissors. I also use this trick to keep all my holiday baking organized. 

Mark the date.

With so much going on between the holidays and my book release (plus writing a new book and planning the release of an upcoming book in June 2023), there are a lot of dates to remember. I use my Erin Condren planner daily. Still, this time of the year, I create a special holiday calendar to keep track of all the events we’ll be attending between Halloween and New Year. I simply use a blank monthly spread from my Google calendar. It’s not fancy, but it’s functional. 

Plan to eat.

Food is front and center for all the holidays. I’ve learned that menu planning keeps me from having to make a last-minute drive to the supermarket or stress over what to bring to a holiday party. When I menu plan, I include every event I have been invited to, such as a potluck, a cookie exchange, or a simple wine and cheese get-together. If you have children, don’t forget to include their social events. Next, I do a brain dump of all recipes I can make and the ingredients I need to buy. Then I can plan accordingly based on the date when I need to make the dish and when the ingredients go on sale at my local supermarkets.

Lights, tinsel, and decorate.

Decorating is one of the most fun things to do during the holiday season. But it can be stressful too. What I’ve learned over the years is to start early. For me, that’s Black Friday. I don’t shop (I know, Kelly Quinn is gasping right now at that statement), and instead, I turn on a Hallmark Christmas movie and bring up all the bins of decorations. This is one of the things I have marked on my holiday calendar. By tackling the decorations early and dedicating a block of time to the process, I have the whole month of December to enjoy all the festive décor.

I hope my five quick tips will be helpful to you this month. Because while I enjoy a fun holiday movie, I really love curling up with my pup, Connie, on the sofa with a cup of hot chocolate and a book. I think you do too. So getting ahead of some of the tasks we have to do this time of the year gives us a little more reading time.

I hope you’ll add SLEUTHING IN STILETTOS to your reading list. It’s a fun read (I know, I’m a little biased), and it’s one of my favorite Resale Boutique stories. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me on social media or through my website.

Before you go, I’d love to know your tips for dealing with this busy holiday season. So please leave your tip in the comments section below.

About Debra Sennefelder

Debra Sennefelder is an avid reader who reads across a range of genres, but mystery fiction is her obsession. Her interest in people and relationships is channeled into her novels against a backdrop of crime and mystery.

Her first novel, THE UNINVITED CORPSE (A Food Blogger mystery) was published in 2018. When she’s not reading, she enjoys cooking and baking and as a former food blogger, she is constantly taking photographs of her food. Yeah, she’s that person.

Born and raised in New York City, where she majored in her hobby of fashion buying, she now lives and writes in Connecticut with her family. She worked in retail and publishing before becoming a full-time author. Her writing companion is her adorable and slightly spoiled Shih Tzu, Connie.

Author Links


Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKobo


December 5 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT

December 5 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT

December 6 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 6 – Jane Reads – AUTHOR GUEST POST

December 7 – StoreyBook Reviews – AUTHOR GUEST POST

December 7 – I’m Into Books – SPOTLIGHT

December 8 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 8 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

December 9 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

December 9 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT


December 11 –The Book Decoder – REVIEW

December 12 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR GUEST POST

December 12 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

December 13 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

December 13 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

December 14 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT

December 14 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

December 15 – Novels Alive – REVIEW

December 15 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 16 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 17 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 18 – The Mystery of Writing – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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