Posted in Cozy Mysteries, Guest Post, New Releases

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Who does this SUV belong to?”

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

“It has diplomatic plates.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Cozy Mysteries, Freebies and Special Offers

Mega Giveaway Ends February 5 and Check Out an Excerpt to my Upcoming New Mystery

Enter the #cozy #mystery giveaway to win 40+ eBooks including my first Cobble Cove mystery. Contest ends February 5. Good luck!

Coming soon, my new standalone #mystery, Reason to Die. Special thanks to my newsletter subscribers who submitted some of the character names Lisa Diaz Meyer Kathy LeJeune, Lisa C. La Rochelle-Davis, and Jeri Dickinson. If you don’t subscribe to Debbie’s Drafts, my monthly author newsletter, sign up at or send your email address to me at, and I will add you to the list. The newsletter comes out on the first of each month and includes my author news, excerpts, a prize contest and more.

Someone is strangling disabled people in the small town of Baxter, Connecticut. Detective Courtney Lang and her ex-partner and ex-lover, wheelchair-bound Bill Thompson, are paired up again and put in charge of the investigation. During the course of their search, Courtney uncovers information that points toward a connection between the murders and an unsolved series of muggings by a masked man, the same man who shot and disabled Bill a year ago on the night he proposed marriage to her.

Complicating matters for Courtney is her guilt about Thompson’s shooting, her affair with her new partner, Mark Farrell, and her unresolved feelings over the deaths of her mother and sister who perished in a fire while she was away from home.

As the deaths accrue and the “Handicapped Strangler” as the killer is coined by the press continues to rampage the town adding victims of different ages, sex, and disabilities to the murder count, Courtney discovers a clue that could crack open the case but may put her and Bill’s life in jeopardy.

Posted in Cozy Mysteries, Freebies and Special Offers

Tis the Season for Gifts and Parties – Check out my Holiday Specials for This Week

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, the next few weeks online and in stores will be devoted to sales, special offers, and holiday events including Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and #givingTuesday. Authors such as myself seek to make their books appealing as gifts and to attract readers by sponsoring giveaways and other special holiday deals. This week I am hosting an Amazon giveaway, a 99 cent deal on each book of my Cobble Cove mystery series, and a Facebook holiday party with 12 other authors at which books and other gifts will be won by guests. I am also taking over at another Facebook party where I’ll be offering some additional prizes. Read on for all my specials.

My latest Cobble Cove mystery, Written in Stone, is part of an Amazon giveaway for a free paperback edition. US residents only. To participate in the giveaway, follow the instructions in this link.

Alicia McKinney is confused . . . .

Was the strange email her husband received from the fictional detective in their mystery series a threat? Did the killer mistake the woman shot in the library for Alicia or the victim’s twin sister?

Cat vs. Dog . . .

After Sneaky goes missing from the library, will he turn up before a young girl becomes ill with worry over his disappearance? And will he return in time to outsmart Fido by being first to find the perpetrator’s smoking gun?

Alicia is worried . . .

While waiting for the killer’s next move, Alicia has other concerns. An old flame of John’s is in town and her friend, Gilly, has adopted the role of Miss Marple to aid her sheriff boyfriend in his investigation.

When all clues point to one of her co-workers, Alicia joins Gilly in searching for the answers to the mystery.

Will they survive . . . .

or is their ending written in stone?

I am offering all 3 ebooks of my Cobble Cove mystery series for 99 cents each (Less than $3 for all 3). Offer good only on December 1, 2, and 3.

On Friday, December 1, my character cat, Sneaky and I along with 12 other authors are hosting a Cozy Holiday Paw-ty on Facebook from 2 to 9 pm EST. For information and to RSVP, visit this link:

On Saturday, December 2, I will be taking over at the 12 Slays of Christmas Boxed Set Extravaganza from 7 to 8 pm EST.  Check out this event at:

I hope you all enjoy the holiday season and take advantage of my special offers. Thank you for your interest in my books. I am busy working on several new titles for the New Year.

Posted in Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Contest, Cozy Mysteries, Freebies and Special Offers, Short Story

Holiday News, a Contest, and Gift to Readers

auroraholidayhopI hope you are all enjoying this holiday season. I wanted to share with you a few updates. If you haven’t participated in the Aurora Holiday Hop in which 100 authors including myself are giving away prizes, you should do so before it ends today, December 18. You can find the details on the post on my Facebook author page at The main hop page is located at

coming-soon-written-in-stoneI also have some good news to share with those who have read or would like to read my Cobble Cove Mystery series. Following A Stone’s Throw and Between a Rock and a Hard Place, I have completed the first draft of a third book that I hope to call Written in Stone. I will be sure to include more news about this new mystery and some excerpts as it gets closer to a release date. The best way to keep updated about all my author news is through my twice monthly newsletter which you can subscribe to at by filling out the pop-up form. I also feature a  monthly prize contest for my subscribers.

celebrating-christmas-001As a holiday present to those of you who have not yet read my second mystery or would like to give it as a gift to someone, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, will be free on on Tuesday, December 20 and Wednesday, December 21. I also have a Christmas story for only 99 cents that features the Cobble Cove characters. Celebrating Christmas with my Characters.

I am also up for Best Author of the Year. If you’ve enjoyed this blog, my newsletter, and/or my books and would have a moment to vote in the next few days, please visit the polls at I truly appreciate your support.

The final piece of news is that I have just created a Facebook group that will be hosted by one of the Cobble Cove characters each month. The host will answer questions about their role in the mysteries and anything people would like to ask about the books excluding spoilers. The host will also offer a contest or giveaway and may post some interesting trivia about themselves and/or the series. The current host until January is Alicia, the main character. Even while she is host, readers are welcome to post questions to any of the characters. For more information, to post a question, and to join the group, please visit the Cobble Cove Character Chat at

cobblecovehcaracterchatThe Cobble Cove characters and I wish you and your families a very happy and healthy holiday.




Posted in Authors, Books, Cozy Chat, Cozy Mysteries

Cozy Chat with Charmain Zimmerman Brackett


960228_320375644759739_1401603587_nIt’s my pleasure to have cozy mystery author, Charmain Zimmerman Brackett for a cozy chat today.

Hi, Charmain. Thanks for joining us on Cozy Chat. Have a seat and help yourself to some tea while we talk.

Thank you, Debbie. 

Can you please give us some information about your books or current series?

I have two books in Grace’s Augusta Mystery Series. The first is Murder Under the Magnolias and the second, which is being released today, October 27, is Murder En Pointe.

The series takes place in my hometown of Augusta, Ga. In the first book, I thought about a special event that happens the first week of every April. There’s a prestigious golf tournament here, and it brings in a lot of visitors from all over the globe. I began to surmise what else might be taking place in my cozy town during this tournament. Anywhere there’s lots of money flowing, there’s bound to be a variety of vices as well, and that led me to plot out a murder on the fringes of the tournament.

charmainscoverMurder En Pointe is about a Russian ballet troupe visiting Augusta when the star ballerina is killed. I have three adult children who spent a lot of time dancing. Two of my adult daughters teach ballet, and both my youngest daughter and my son plan to audition as dancers for cruise lines. Since it’s been an important part of all of our lives, I wanted to integrate it into a book. I also have an idea formulating on book three.

Those sound wonderful. It’s always helpful to use real life experiences to generate ideas for a book. Would you like to share an excerpt from your new release?

Yes, Thank you, Debbie. Here’s one from Murder En Pointe:

I walked around and listened.

 Silence – an eerie silence, at that.

 I seemed to be alone, but for some reason, I felt like someone was watching me. I felt a shiver down my spine. I’d never heard of a phantom at this theater. I felt the urge to get out of there as fast as I could. I wanted to run.

I put my hand on the door handle and paused as I felt another shiver. That urge to run was even stronger. I knocked on the door and waited. Despite the feeling of dread, I opened the door, and what I saw as I entered the dressing room shocked me. I saw a woman lying on her back on the floor. It was Aleksandra. Wearing a beautiful, silk, Asian-inspired robe, the same leotard and tights from earlier, and a pair of pink pointe shoes on her feet, she lay motionless.

I stepped back and paused for what seemed like an eternity. Of course, it was probably only a few seconds. I couldn’t scream, but my heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest. When I finally got my bearings, I placed the flowers on the makeup counter in front of the wall of mirrors and then stared into the reflection. There was something written in Russian in red lipstick on one of the dressing room mirrors. Another mirror was broken and several of the light bulbs that surrounded it were broken as well. Bloodied glass shards lay on the counter and pulverized purple eye shadow glittered on the floor. Several containers littered the carpet as though Aleksandra had entered a massive struggle right before her violent end.

I noticed a second pair of pointe shoes beside her. Saturated in blood, the shoes’ ribbons were laced around her neck, and orchid blossoms were scattered atop her still body. There was blood on her hands, which were resting by her side. It was odd. It didn’t seem like a natural position. My own hands started shaking as I took it all in. I felt dizzy. Where was my phone? I rummaged through my purse until I found it. Speed dial 2 for my husband.

“Hey, baby. I was just getting ready to call you,” I heard Drew on the other end of the call.

I continued to stare.

“Grace? Are you there?”

“Drew” was all I could say.

“What’s wrong?”

“Could you come to the dressing rooms at the Bell?”

The words seemed to be stuck in my throat. I tried to clear it.

“What’s the matter, Grace?”

“I think there’s been another murder.”

“I’m on my way.”

Do you write any other genres than cozies?

Yes. I’ve written three YA science fiction fantasy books (The Key of Elyon, Elyon’s Cipher and Elyon’s Light), two illustrated children’s books (Little Pearl’s Circus World, which won the 2015 Georgia Author of the Year Award in children’s literature, and Nutcrackers and Pirates: A Boy’s Journey into Dance),  an inspirational contemporary fiction stand-alone (Fixed in the Tempest),and the Victoria James’ cozy mystery novella series, which has six stories in it. The first in the Victoria James’ series is Murder at Twin Oaks.

My debut novel, The Key of Elyon, won the 2014 Yerby Award for Fiction at the Augusta Literary Festival.

Nice. You seem talented in many genres.

How did you get started in writing?

I don’t remember when I first started writing. I think I always have. I wrote some for both my high school and college newspapers. When I was in college, people automatically assumed that I would be a teacher because my major was English. I had a huge fear of speaking in front of people or even talking to people I didn’t know. I knew I couldn’t stand in front of a group of students on a daily basis. This fear led me to a career in journalism. The irony was that while I could hide in a crowd, I still had to talk to people I didn’t know.

Very interesting. I, too, worked on my college newspaper where I won a journalism award. I also was an English major and didn’t want to be a teacher. I became a librarian instead. I also dislike speaking in front of groups, but I’m beginning to get more comfortable with it as I’ve been doing author talks at libraries.

What are your hobbies besides writing?

I hope this doesn’t come across as rude or arrogant, but writing has never been a hobby. It’s the only career I’ve ever known. I have written for newspapers and magazines since I graduated college nearly 30 years ago.

As for hobbies, I started doing community theater in 2006 as a way to combat my fear of being in front of people. I’ve been in several plays and loved every minute of it. My favorite role was Glinda the Good in the Wizard of Oz, and yes, I got to fly in a bubble. It was amazing.

The Wizard of Oz was one of my favorite movies, and I also read all of the Oz books. Like you, I’ve written for newspapers and magazines. My first articles were about cats when I joined the Cat Writer’s Association, and I am still a member today.

Is there anything else you’d like readers of this blog to know about you and/or your books?

I consider myself to be a Southern writer. I’m from the South, and my characters are from the South. But I don’t want my characters to come across as caricatures who explode with “Southern sounding sayings” all the time. While they may say these things, it’s not designed to be cutesy. It’s part of who they are. My characters are based on real people with real feelings and complex personalities.

I think those types of characters are the best because they are more realistic to readers who can identify with them. I, too, am a character-oriented writer.

Can you please list your social media links and book links?

Thanks so much. I’ve enjoyed having you on Cozy Chat, Charmain. Best wishes to you on your new release and future books.



Posted in Authors, Books, Cozy Chat, Cozy Mysteries, Dogs

Cozy Chat with Kassandra Lamb

cozycatpicImage00005My  cozy chat guest today is Kassandra Lamb about her  Marcia and Buddy cozy mystery series.

Hi, Kassandra. Thanks for joining us on Cozy Chat. Have a seat and help yourself to some tea while we talk.

Can you tell us a little bit about the Marcia and Buddy series? What gave you the idea for it?

I’m a retired psychotherapist and all of my books have psychological themes. I have another series that has 8 books and 4 novellas in it. I was starting to run low on ideas and inspiration for that series (although I will always love those characters). Then I read an article about service dogs for PTSD sufferers and I thought that would make a great series, with a protagonist who trains these dogs for combat veterans with PTSD.

Developing Marcia’s character has been challenging. She’s a thirty-something divorcee with a bit of snark in her personality, and yet she is dedicated to her dogs and to helping her veteran clients. And that’s how she ends up getting sucked into the messes in their lives.

ToKillALabrador PROMO FINALIn Book 1, To Kill A Labrador, Marcia (pronounced Mar-see-a, not Marsha) is called in to dog-sit Buddy, a Black Labrador who was the first dog she trained. His owner, a former Marine, has been arrested for murdering his wife. Marcia ends up trying to clear him and almost gets herself and Buddy killed in the process.

Book 2, Arsenic and Young Lacy is about to be released. It’s available now for preorder for $1.99  until 9/5/16. Book 1 in the series is currently on sale for $0.99 through 9/3. (Both are regularly $3.99)

That’s terrific, Kassandra. I’m a librarian and so is the protagonist in my Cobble Cove mystery series. I also like to get into the minds of my characters, and in my upcoming standalone, I deal a lot with psychological issues. I have to admit, though, that I’m a cat lover. However, I do have a dog as well  a cat in both “A Stone’s Throw” and its sequel, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” that is coming out this fall.

What are you currently working on? Do you have a new release planned soon? If so, please provide details about it. Is it part of the series or the start of something else or a standalone?

ArsenicAndYoungLacy FINALI just finished Arsenic and Young Lacy (Book 2). It’s now available for preorder. Here’s the blurb:

Sweet, adorable Lacy has stolen Marcia Banks’ heart, but money is tight. Like it or not, the service dog trainer needs to complete the human phase of the training and deliver the dog to her new owner in order to get paid. But the ex-Army nurse-client turns out to be a challenging trainee. On top of her existing neuroses–which go beyond the psychological damage from a sexual assault during her second tour in Afghanistan–the veteran is now being stalked.

When Marcia  receives a bizarre warning to stay away from her client and Lacy is also caught in the stalker’s malicious orbit, Sheriff Will Haines steps in to investigate. Marcia finds this both endearing and annoying, especially when he expects her to stay on the sidelines. The training fee would make her solvent again, but how can she put her dogs at risk?

Maybe Marcia should be more worried about herself since the stalker has decided to pay her off in a very different way.

Sounds wonderful. There’s a stalker in “Between a Rock and a Hard Place,” although the stalker is not central to the plot.

Do you write any other genres than cozies?

I only write mysteries but I do write in several subgenres. Some of my books would qualify as romantic suspense and I’ve even written a thriller.

But recently I’ve really gotten into cozies. They’re fun to write!

Yes, cozies are fun to both read and write. I had originally considered “A Stone’s Throw” to be romantic suspense, but my reviewers considered it a cozy, and so I wrote another even cozier than the first. My upcoming book is going to be quite different.  I consider it a psychological thriller.

How did you get started in writing?

I’ve always loved to write. I wrote professional articles and edited a newsletter during my career as a psychotherapist. I even enjoyed writing test questions when I was teaching college, something most professors hate.

But becoming a published author of fiction seemed like an unreachable dream when I was younger. I had a manuscript going, but I could never seem to get past the fifth chapter. I just kept rewriting the beginning of the story.

Then when I retired, I finally started working on that manuscript in earnest, and once I got rolling, there was no stopping me.               

I still sit back in wonder occasionally and contemplate the turn my life has taken. Dreams really can come true if you work at it.

Nice story. I also edited my college paper and graduate school newsletter. I agree completely that dreams are attainable if you don’t give up on them.

Do you have any advice to other authors about writing cozies or writing in general?

Never give up on your dream. Keep writing, taking classes, learning your craft. Eventually, your words will find an audience. And it’s never too late. I published my first book at age 59.

That’s inspiring. Although I wrote articles since I was in my 30’s, I didn’t publish my first book until I was in my 40’s, and, although I’m not retired yet, I’m just really getting going now in my 50’s.

What are your hobbies besides writing?

Reading mostly, and on Fridays, I act like the retiree I’m supposed to be. I go to the local senior center and play cards.

Those are both good ways to relax.

Is there anything else you’d like readers of this blog to know about you and/or your books?

My stories are definitely character-driven. I love creating “people” (maybe I have a touch of a God complex 😉 ) and I try to make my characters interesting and realistic. I get good feedback about them from readers, so I must be fairly successful most of the time.

I also write character-driven stories.

Can you please share with us the buy links for your books and your social media links?

BUY LINKS for To Kill A Labrador







BUY LINKS for Arsenic and Young Lacy















Thanks so much for chatting with me today, Kassandra, and best of luck to you on your current and future books.



Posted in Authors, Books, Cats, Cozies, Cozy Chat, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery, Cozy Series

Cozy Chat with Dianne Harman

cozycatpicToday, I have the pleasure of chatting with Dianne Harman about her High Desert cozy mystery series.

Hi, Dianne. Thanks for joining us. Have a seat and help yourself to some tea while we talk.


HDCS_1Can you tell us a little bit about your series? What gave you the idea for it?

My husband’s uncle lived in a compound with three other artists in the high desert outside of Palm Springs, California. We visited him several times, and I was always charmed by the four homes which surrounded a central courtyard. It had a large tree filled with twinkling lights, and it stayed with me. I was an art and antique appraiser prior to becoming an author, and it was a natural to combine the two. I love food and dogs, so they found their way in as well. One of the people who lives in the compound has a food truck, the antique appraiser has a black Labrador retriever who wears pink booties, and I have a recipe section in all of my books.

Very nice. Books always seem more realistic when authors base them on their own experiences and knowledge. My book, A Stone’s Throw, features a librarian like me and a cat and dog. I’m a pet lover, especially of cats, and the Siamese in the book is based on my 16-year old cat, Oliver.

Do you have any advice to other authors about writing cozies or writing in general?

Just do it! You don’t need one more class, one more critique group, one more anything. You learn as you go, and believe me, the more you write, the more you’ll learn.

I agree. Even though writing classes and groups can be helpful, experience is the best teacher.

What are you currently working on?

I launched a new series this week, the Jack Trout Cozy Mystery Series. One of my books in the Cedar Bay Cozy Mystery Series is about an English guide being murdered while fishing in Cuba. My husband and I were fortunate enough to go to Cuba recently with Jack, who is a fishing guide. People responded so favorably to Jack and his wife, Carola, that I decided to do a series about them and fishing different places. Murdered in Argentina, released July 18th, is based on a trip we recently took with them to Chile and Argentina. I fell in love with a small little town, San Martin de Los Andes, and decided to base the book there.

That sounds terrific. Best of luck with that. I’m sure there will be a lot of interest from your readers.

Do you write any other genres than cozies?

I wrote the Coyote Series, three psychological thrillers, prior to writing cozy mysteries.

Interesting. I just finished a psychological thriller tentatively titled “Sea Scope” that I hope to publish next year. My sequel to “A Stone’s Throw” will hopefully be out soon, as well, and I have a great idea for a pet cozy series that I’d like to start. 

Can you tell me how you got started in writing?

My husband and I were attending a wedding in Palm Springs, California. It was October and the temperature was 107. The air conditioning was so quiet that I happened to make the comment “Wouldn’t it be wild if someone put a ‘feel good drug’ in the air conditioner and everyone felt good all the time?” My husband looked at me and said the words that started a whole new career for me, “Why don’t you write a book about it?” And so I did.

What a great story.

What are your hobbies besides writing?

I love to cook, and I love to read. Plus, you’ll always find at least one dog in our household, often more than that!

Pets are great additions to a home. They really become part of the family. I have one daughter, but my two male cats are almost like baby sons to me.

Is there anything else you’d like readers of this blog to know about you and/or your books?

I’m just so grateful that readers have consistently made my books best sellers. This was something that was never planned when the word “retirement” came up, but I love every minute of it!

I can imagine what a great feeling that is, Diane. I’m just starting to build my writing business although I’ve been writing for a long time. I hope to be as successful as you. It takes a lot of time and effort, but it’s worth it to know there are people reading and enjoying your books. I hope I can also make it a full-time career when I retire in ten years or so.

Can you share some links with us of your social media sites and Amazon page?

Web Site
Twitter: @DianneDHarman

Thanks so much. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you. Best of luck on your new series and forthcoming books.