Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Herbs and Homicide, An Faierie Apothecary Cozy Mystery by Astoria Wright


Pantser, Plotter, Story Spotter

One of the first questions people think of when asking writers about their process is whether the author is a pantser or a plotter. In other words, do you write by the seat of your pants (a pantser) or follow outlines to plot out your novel (plotter)? This question was the first one I asked myself when I thought about seriously making writing a career.

When I started writing stories for fun in third grade, I was a pantser because, well, I don’t know any third-graders who are plotters. My pantser days lasted right up until after college when I would just write short stories, poems, and little scenes that would come into my mind. Nothing was planned and certainly not outlined. When I finally did start writing longer novels in my free time as an adult, I was definitely still a pantser, even though I’d never heard of the term.

I got to about page 30 on seven books, (five science fiction, one fantasy, and one children’s book), but it was more like 40 pages if you counted out of context excerpts of scenes I had yet to weave into the stories. I’m glad I did that. I wrote when I felt a powerful urge to question “what if” or when I let my imagination run wild and realized there’s a story there.

I still keep a journal by my bedside, purely for writing whatever my mind thinks up. I think being a panster is, for me, the purest form of writing because it takes the reigns off the imagination and lets it run free to chase stories and roll around in poetry. That freedom allows me to see stories everywhere in daily life. One case in point is how I began writing The Faerie Apothecary Mysteries.

The series started one rainy day when I was out shopping. As soon as the rain died down, I hurried to my car only to stop at a curious sight sitting by my car tire. There, amidst the pavement of the parking lot was a part of a branch, presumably from a tree that had been injured by the windy circumstances.

Typically, I, like every other person I know, would not have thought twice about a twig, except that this one was eerily reminiscent of a person. In reality, the warped wood was just a branched twig or might have even been two of them bundled together to trick the eye. I wouldn’t know, I didn’t actually pick it up.

To a writer always in search of a story, though, it was the universe using a stick to point me in the direction of a story. The sign couldn’t have been clearer if a raven perched itself on my windshield to harass me with a recitation of “nevermores.”

There was a story in this broken branch, and it was one about faeries. What other diminutive, yet humanlike creature could suddenly become a wooden figure? And what if the rainy weather hadn’t been a storm at all, but a faerie fight between pixies?

I had been on a cozy mystery kick for a while, enjoying the genre as a reader and wanting to write such a mystery since almost the very first cozy I’d read.  I didn’t know at the time how this would fit into a cozy mystery, but I wrote the tree-branch inspired scene before any other book details emerged. Over the next few weeks, probably a month overall, my mystery-fueled mind mixed together a cozy series combining the fae and murder mysteries.

The pixie fight eventually became a scene in Chaos in the Countryside. While I did create an outline for both Chaos in the Countryside and Herbs and Homicide, I do allow myself to veer off of the outline if my imagination is leading me down a different path. This happens almost every time, and I hear similar things from other writers.

That’s probably why authors have identified a third kind writer: Plotsers. Plotsers do both, writing by the seat of their pants and planning at the same time. It’s my theory that all writers are plotsers, it’s just a matter of to what degree they plot or not.

Pantser, plotter, or plotser, I think the number one thing to be is a story-spotter. Stories are happening everywhere and everywhen. It’s up to the storytellers to find them.

Herbs and Homicide (The Faerie Apothecary Cozy Mystery)
by Astoria Wright

About the Book

Herbs and Homicide (The Faerie Apothecary Cozy Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Novelwright Mysteries (September 27, 2018)
Paperback: 217 pages
ISBN-10: 1949453030
ISBN-13: 978-1949453034
ASIN: B07HR4D74K

Looking for a unique paranormal cozy mystery series that’s lighthearted and fun?

Settle into the cozy countryside of Moss Hill, where house-elves rent rooms, sprites live in gardens, a leprechaun is the best tailor in town, and a half-elf/half human named Carissa Shea owns a pharmacy known as The Seelie Tree Apothecary shop. Life couldn’t be more idyllic for Cari, but healing humans and fae folk proves challenging at times, especially when secrets unfold in The Faerie Apothecary Mysteries.

About Book 1: Herbs and Homicide
In the small town of Moss Hill, customers of all kinds visit Carissa Shea’s Seelie Tree Apothecary Shop. That includes tall and short, young and old, human and faerie. Being half-elf/half-human herself, Carissa personally knows and cares for them all. So, when a grumpy brownie, a type of house faerie, named Miss Morgan dies in her shop, Carissa is devastated. As she learns more about her customer’s death, she realizes Miss Morgan might have been the only thing standing between the Seelie, faeries of light and goodness, and the Unseelie, faeries of darkness and evil. On top of it all, the Sidhe guard, protector of all fae residents, rule it a murder and name Carissa as a suspect! Now she must prove her innocence and find the real culprit before it’s too late – not just for her but for all of Moss Hill.

About the Author

Astoria Wright is the author of The Faerie Apothecary Mysteries, including the bestselling prequel novella Chaos in the Countryside. Intrigued by myths and inspired by cozy mystery writers before her, Astoria tries to combine two worlds with human and faerie neighbors trying to solve puzzling crimes on the fictional island of Moss Hill. She’s also a poet, which shows in the Moss Hill poetry anthology “written” by the characters in the series. Her goal is to bring Moss Hill to life in her stories, because who doesn’t wish we lived in a town with magical faeries as neighbors?

  • Author Links

Website: www.astoriawright.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Astoria-Wright-2119028461648435/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AstoriaWright

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18477858.Astoria_Wright

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Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for The Puppy Who Knew Too Much, a Dog Club Mystery by V.M. Burns


The Smelly Truth About Red Herrings

Before I started reading mysteries, I thought a herring was just a fish. Which of course, it is, but mysteries, especially cozy mysteries have a lot of herrings, in particular, red herrings. I’ve read a lot of mysteries over the years, but I have yet to read a mystery involving fish, especially herrings. I had to wonder, what’s the connection between herrings and mysteries? And, why are they called red herrings?

I’m not a fish lover, so I turned to Google for answers. I learned a lot about herring, too much. Don’t panic, I won’t burden you with the details. In fact, I will scale things back to prevent herring overload, by pointing out two facts. First, herring have a very strong scent (not a selling feature in my book, but to each his own). Second, herring are in the same family as Sardines (which might relate back to the first point now that I think about it). That’s pretty much all we need to know at this point. Although, I still had one other question. While, I saw a lot of pictures of herring (Atlantic herring, Pacific herring, Araucanian herring, etc), none of these were red. So, why do we call them “red herring?” Further digging provided that answer. When the herring are smoked and salted, they turn a brownish red color (who knew).

Now, let’s recap what we know. Herring is a fish which has a strong scent and turns a reddish color when smoked and salted. Yet, I still need to understand why these fish became associated with mysteries. Herring, specifically the red ones, are a big deal to the mystery enthusiasts. To the cozy mystery lover, a red herring means a lot more than a smoked fish. In mysteries, red herrings are false clues intended to challenge the reader and to divert them away from the real clues. So, why are these false clues called red herrings?

According to Wikipedia, the idiom “red herring” originated from an English journalist, William Cobbett, in 1807. As the story goes, a young Cobbett claimed to have used red herrings to train hounds to track. Apparently, he used the strong scented fish to lay a false trail for the hounds. Mystery solved. A couple hundred years later, mystery authors are still using red herrings to lay false trails and throw readers off the scent.

The Puppy Who Knew Too Much
(A Dog Club Mystery)
by V.M. Burns

About the Book


The Puppy Who Knew Too Much (A Dog Club Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Lyrical Underground (February 12, 2019)
Paperback: 190 pages
ISBN-10: 1516107918
ISBN-13: 978-1516107919
Digital ASIN: B07D233MVK

Lilly Echosby and her toy poodle Aggie find a fresh start in Chattanooga, Tennessee, spoiled by the scent of murder . . .

Having solved the shooting death of her cheating husband, Lilly’s left behind the drama of Lighthouse Dunes, Indiana, to start over in the hometown of her best friend, Scarlett “Dixie” Jefferson. As she gets settled in her new rented house, Lilly gives Aggie, short for Agatha Christie, her own fresh start by enrolling her in the Eastern Tennessee Dog Club, where Dixie is a trainer.

But drama seems to hound Lilly like a persistent stray. Her cranky new neighbor appears unfamiliar with Southern hospitality and complains that Aggie barks too much and digs up his prized tulips. But what the poodle actually unearths is the buried body of a mysterious man who claimed ownership of the lost golden retriever Lilly recently rescued. Now it’s up to Lilly and Dixie to try to muzzle another murderer . . .

About the Author

V.M. Burns was born in Northwestern Indiana and spent many years in Southwestern Michigan on the Lake Michigan shoreline. She is a lover of dogs, British historic cozies, and scones with clotted cream. After many years in the Midwest, she went in search of milder winters and currently lives in Eastern Tennessee with her poodles. Her debut novel, The Plot is Murder was nominated for a 2017 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime. Readers can learn more by visiting her website at vmburns.com

Author Links:

Website: http://www.vmburns.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vmburnsbooks/

Twitter: @vmburns

Purchase Links – AmazonBarnes & NobleIndieBound: – Books-A-MillionKobo

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Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for The Gun Also Rises, A Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery, by Sherry Harris


Of Cats and Characters

Hmmm, a Steinbeck reference to start a post about the cats at the Hemingway House in Key West, Florida and how they are like writing a character.

Last year as I was writing The Gun Also Rises I had a chance to visit Key West. High on my list of things to do was visit the Hemingway House because in The Gun Also Rises Sarah Winston discovers lost Hemingway manuscripts in her client’s attic in Ellington, Massachusetts. (For the real story of how the manuscripts were lost visit http://www.thehemingwayproject.com/2018/08/22/hadley-talks-about-the-lost-manuscripts/ )

One of the many fascinating things about the Hemingway house is the cats. There are around forty to fifty polydactyl, or six-toed cats, living on the property. (You can read more about them here: https://www.hemingwayhome.com/cats/ ). As I roamed around the house I snapped pictures of them and thought about how much cats and characters in mysteries  have in common.

Sleuths like the Hemingway cats should be unique. When I first started writing the Sarah Winston Garage Sale mysteries, I thought a lot about how to make Sarah different. Although she’s recently divorced and hurt when her ex is accused of murder, she doesn’t believe he could have done it, so she sets out to clear his name. Her garage sale business is unique, and it allows her a look into her clients lives that not many protagonists get. Before her divorce she lived on an Air Force base which gives her a different perspective on life. And since her ex is the chief of police of Ellington, she doesn’t have any law enforcement allies so solving things is that much harder.

Sleuths have to be observant. Sarah’s bargain hunting has taught her to find a treasure that others have overlooked. It helps her solve mysteries by noticing behaviors or comments that doesn’t fit in with the story everyone else believes to be true.

Sleuths have to know how to mingle with a crowd. Sarah’s life as a military wife gave her lots of skills for meeting and talking to new people. With all the moves and always starting over from scratch at each new location Sarah can fit in no matter the situation.

Sleuths have to know when to take a break. Even a people person like Sarah sometimes needs to get away. When she’s stressed heading to a garage sale or going antiquing distracts her from her problems. If she can’t do that she loves to take a walk at Sleepy Hollow cemetery to visit the graves of authors like Louisa May Alcott and Nathaniel Hawthorne. The peaceful setting, the quiet, and the historical setting refreshes her soul.

And finally, sleuths have to be entertaining. No one wants to read about a boring main character. The protagonist has to be the center of attention. Since I write in first person, readers always see things from Sarah’s perspective. Sarah isn’t originally from New England and she delights in the way people pronounce things, their accents, and the different terms for familiar objects like calling shopping carts “carriages.”

Thanks so much for having me!

It was a pleasure, Sherry. Thanks for that charming post, and best wishes on your new release. I’m sharing information on your blog tour below.

The Gun Also Rises
(A Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery)
by Sherry Harris

About the Book

The Gun Also Rises (A Sarah W. Garage Sale Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Kensington (January 29, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1496716965
ISBN-13: 978-1496716965
Digital ASIN: B07CWF942Q

TO RECOVER A PRICELESS MANUSCRIPT . . .

A wealthy widow has asked Sarah Winston to sell her massive collection of mysteries through her garage sale business. While sorting through piles of books stashed in the woman’s attic, Sarah is amazed to discover a case of lost Hemingway stories, stolen from a train in Paris back in 1922. How did they end up in Belle Winthrop Granville’s attic in Ellington, Massachusetts, almost one hundred years later?

WILL SARAH HAVE TO PAY WITH HER LIFE?

Before Sarah can get any answers, Belle is assaulted, the case is stolen, a maid is killed, and Sarah herself is dodging bullets. And when rumors spread that Belle has a limited edition of The Sun Also Rises in her house, Sarah is soon mixed up with a mobster, the fanatical League of Literary Treasure Hunters, and a hard-to-read rare book dealer. With someone willing to kill for the Hemingway, Sarah has to race to catch the culprit—or the bell may toll for her . . .

About the Author

Agatha Award-nominated author, Sherry Harris, started bargain hunting in second grade at her best friend’s yard sale. She honed her bartering skills as she moved around the country while her husband served in the Air Force. Sherry uses her love of garage sales, her life as a military spouse, and her time living in Massachusetts as inspiration for the Sarah Winston Garage Sale series.

Author Links

Webpage – https://sherryharrisauthor.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/sherry.n.harris.1

Twitter – https://twitter.com/SHarrisAuthor

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6208827.Sherry_Harris

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/snhgrad/

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKoboGoogle Play IndieBound

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January 28 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

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January 29 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

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January 30 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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January 31 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

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February 1 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST

February 1 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW

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Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Botched 4 Murder, a Sophie Kimball Mystery, by J. C. Eaton

Writing From Our Dreams Won’t Work

By Ann I. Goldfarb and James E. Clapp, writing as J. C. Eaton

It sounded so easy when author Stephanie Meyer of TWILIGHT fame said she got the vampire love affair idea from one of her dreams. Oh…if only it were that easy. Maybe her dreams are orderly and sequential. Maybe her characters are well developed and believable, even if they drift by in a Nano-second of sleep. But we can’t rely on REM sleep to provide us with any of the fodder needed to craft a novel.

It’s not that we don’t dream. We dream all right, but it’s a hodgepodge of weird images, unrelenting obstacles, endless frustration, and the occasional disgustingly gross vision that inevitably wakes one of us up in a cold sweat.

Jim’s dreams usually involve being chased by bears, tigers, or as of late, javelina. Packs of flesh-eating javelina. Maybe it’s because we now live in Arizona and not upstate New York. This would work wonders if we wrote horror novels, but we’re cozy mystery authors and somehow, the thought of one of our characters in a fight-or-flight situation just doesn’t do it.

Occasionally Jim has dreams of being pursued by a hive of bees or wasps. Only these killer insects are the size of mice and have teeth. Again, nothing usable as far as our novels are concerned.

Ann’s dreams are no help either. Last night she dreamt she was getting her hair done, but when she leaned back into the sink at the salon, the hairdresser yelled, “Wait a minute! There’s a cockroach in there!” She woke up shaking her head. Then she turned on the light by her night table and shook the pillow just to be safe.

“It’s the cats’ fault,” Jim said as Ann searched the bed looking for any signs of insects.  “You let them sleep in the bed with us. They walk across our heads at all hours of the night. No wonder you thought bugs were crawling around.”

Then, Ann’s parking lot dream. (This is actually a variation of the same dream she’s had for years. The one where you reach a goal, only to have someone or something take it away or prevent you from getting there. We think there’s a psychological term for this type of dream but we’ll be darned if we know what it is). Anyway, the parking lot dream is absolutely no help as far as plot and characters are concerned for one of our novels.

In Ann’s version, she tries to park her car but every time she gets into a parking space, a man in a long black trench coat stops her and tells her she can’t park there. We think this is a result of living in Arizona, as well. Most of the parking spaces are marked “Golf cart only,” “Take-out food only,” or “Expectant mothers only.” Nope, nope, and definitely, nope.

Maybe our dreams lack the fortitude of Stephanie Meyer’s dreams because we have too many unfinished things “hanging over our heads.” Like our taxes. And now, with the new tax plan, it’s even more of a conundrum.  Needless to say, we had to face the grim reality – we’ve got to write our novels the same way we always do – by the seat of our pants with the occasional outlines, plot revisions, and character development. Unless of course, we decide to switch genres. Then, those pesky javelina and parking lot men in trench coats might just appear.

NOTE: Our posts tend to be tongue-and-cheek, so don’t take us too seriously.

Here’s the info on the authors’ blog tour and rafflecopter giveaway:

Botched 4 Murder (Sophie Kimball Mystery)
by J.C. Eaton

About the Book


Botched 4 Murder (Sophie Kimball Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Kensington (December 18, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1496719883
ISBN-13: 978-1496719881
Digital ASIN: B07C9WK1J8

Bowled over . . .

Sophie “Phee” Kimball is getting dragged into the drama again at her mom’s Arizona retirement community. A new board member wants to get rid of two golf courses and replace them with eco-friendly parks, and some of the residents are pretty teed off about it. On top of that, her mother’s book club friend Myrna is being pushed out of the bocce league. These seniors are serious about winning, and Myrna’s dragging them down. She’s so bad at bocce, in fact, that when a community mem.ber’s dead body is discovered while Myrna’s practicing for a tournament, she assumes it was one of her own errant balls that killed the woman.

But before Myrna can be tossed off the bocce court and into criminal court, the police find an arrow in the victim’s neck. It looks like this was no accident—and Phee and her investigator boyfriend Marshall will have to team up to bounce a killer into the slammer . . .

About the Authors

Ann I. Goldfarb

New York native Ann I. Goldfarb spent most of her life in education, first as a classroom teacher and later as a middle school principal and professional staff developer. Writing as J. C. Eaton, along with her husband, James Clapp, she has authored the Sophie Kimball Mysteries (Kensington) set for release in June 2017. In addition, Ann has nine published YA time travel mysteries under her own name. Visit the websites at www.jceatonauthor.com and www.timetravelmysteries.com

James E. Clapp

When James E. Clapp retired as the tasting room manager for a large upstate New York winery, he never imagined he’d be co-authoring cozy mysteries with his wife, Ann I. Goldfarb. His first novel, Booked 4 Murder (Kensington) is set for release in June 2017. Non-fiction in the form of informational brochures and workshop materials treating the winery industry were his forte along with an extensive background and experience in construction that started with his service in the U.S. Navy and included vocational school classroom teaching.

Visit their website at www.jceatonauthor.com and Like and Follow on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JCEatonauthor/

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January 16 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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January 18 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

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January 20 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

January 20 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT –

January 20 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 21 – Here’s How It Happened – CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 21 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 21 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 22 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

January 22 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

January 22 – Reading Is My SuperPower – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

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Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for the Cha-Cha Babes of Pelican Way by Frances Metzman


IS THERE LITTLE COMMUNICATION IN YOUR ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP? by Frances Metzman

Does your partner listen attentively to what you say? Does he/she remember important issues you discussed the day after? Do they ask pertinent questions about your issues? Do they ask how they can be of help or if they should keep a distance? If you say you want input, do you get it or a shrug and waning attention. It’s important to watch and see if your partner tends to say no to every request you make without seeming to mull it over or ask more questions about it.

How about this important issue — does he/she do their domestic tasks without nagging to get them done? If you don’t live together and you make dinner does your romantic interest help with cleanup? Is that person watching sports or favorite TV programs more than talking to you? If more time is spent with buddies or girlfriends as a regular habit rather than with you, you might want to deal with that. If you complain do you get called a nag or too controlling and seething anger?

It’s important to introduce your partner, after a reasonable amount of time, to your family. Are they reluctant or do it grudgingly? If family is important to you it’s possibly a deep conflicting situation. When you are out with your lover’s friends and it’s all comfortable that’s fine, but if out with your friends and tensions rise, then ask why. If your answer is there’s no common ground or some other issue and no compromise in sight, look very carefully at these red flags. Does your partner demand that you fit into a traditional gender role without any leeway for an equal exchange and it disturbs you? Time to question the relationship.

A good way to avoid a lot of misconceptions is that once you feel committed to a person try to set up, verbally or written, with both parties, what likes and dislikes you both have. If that person is unwilling to make any compromises and it’s important to you, it might spell trouble ahead. It’s very important to know upfront how each of you functions, feels, thinks and behaves. Know what you can negotiate and what you can’t. Listen carefully to your partner and expect the same.

And if you decide to keep all problems under wraps until you get married, thinking you can make changes then? Think again. Good chance you will not change that person and it is unfair to spring it on them after signing that certificate when you have tolerated annoying habits during the courtship. Use your brain as well as your heart to clear a path to a great relationship.

Check out the author’s blog tour and rafflecopter giveaway.

The Cha-Cha Babes of Pelican Way
by Frances Metzman

About the Book

The Cha-Cha Babes of Pelican Way
Cozy Mystery
Wild River Consulting & Publishing, LLC (June 21, 2018)
Paperback: 506 pages
ISBN-10: 9781941948064
ISBN-13: 978-1941948064
Digital ASIN: B07CV2GP9Z

Would you move a dead body for the sake of your best friend? Ask cha-cha babe Celia Ewing, a sixty-five-year-old widow who has just settled into Boca Pelicano Palms, the Florida retirement community of her dreams. When Celia’s best friend Marcy calls her and their friend Deb for help in the middle of the night, they find a naked Marcy trapped under the body of her beau, the community’s board president, Melvin. And he’s dead. The three friends secretly move Melvin back to his apartment setting off a chain of events that will threaten to tear their community apart and send them to jail. Melvin is one of a number of residents who are dying under suspicious circumstances; and soon Celia becomes an amateur sleuth in an attempt to identify what she suspects is a serial murderer.

Filled with humorous, witty observations about retirement communities, the realities of getting older, and the promise of new love, the Cha-Cha Babes of Pelican Way celebrates the deep bonds of female friendships, the desire for companionship at any age, and shows us that it’s never too late to learn how to cha-cha through life.

About the Author

Frances Metzman, a graduate of Moore College of Art and a Masters degree from the University of Pennsylvania, co-authored a novel, Ugly Cookies, by Pella Press. Her short story collection, The Hungry Heart: Stories, was published by Wilderness House Press, February 1, 2012. In 2009 she won a nomination for a Dzanc Books award, “Best of the Web.” In addition to publishing numerous (25) short stories in various literary journals, she has a novel published by Wild River Books, 2018, The Cha-Cha Babes of Pelican Way. Her teaching credits include Adjunct professor at Rosemont College to graduate school, Temple University at OLLI (creative writing and memoir). Other writing workshops, memoir/creative writing, have been given at universities and colleges such as Bryn Mawr, Penn State, Delaware, University of Pennsylvania, Widener, etc. As fiction editor for a literary journal, Schuylkill Valley Journal, she selects and edits the submissions. Many articles, essays, and stories she writes deal with aspects of society that influences relationships for all ages, including the mature set (sometimes tongue in cheek). Many articles are dedicated to improving attitudes toward the mature folks and address myths about “age appropriate” thinking.

Author Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/FranWrites

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/FranMetzmanWrittenWork/

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5871334.Frances_Metzman

FrancesMetzman.com

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Guest Post and Blog Tour Gown with the Wind by Stephanie Blackmoore

“Why Weddings?”by Stephanie Blackmoore

I’m often asked why I picked wedding planning as the theme for my cozy series. Some readers assume I was or currently am employed as a wedding planner. However, I was an attorney and a law librarian before I began writing mysteries. The only wedding I’ve ever planned was my own. Yet it was a happy choice to create a character who began her career as an attorney and segued into wedding planning and owning a bed and breakfast when serendipity struck and she inherited a crumbling mansion.

Weddings are such emotional affairs! Even the most smoothly planned wedding has a few hiccups, moments of stress, conflict, and heightened anticipation. Tensions can run high when two people decide to formally join their families and incorporate different traditions and choices for their big day. Weddings are usually family affairs, and a chance for couples and family members to reflect on their dearest-held wishes, hopes, and dreams. The nexus of strong emotions, the conflicts involved in making decisions about a wedding, and reflection upon family traditions seemed like a theme that would provide ample fodder for a cozy mystery series.

A surprising revelation that often strikes my main character, Mallory Shepard, is the strong overlap in the skills she used from her days as an attorney with those she employs in her current profession as a wedding planner. Mallory has to persuade bridezillas and momzillas to compromise, mediate between clashing family members’ disparate wishes, and negotiate the best contracts for her business. And to top it all off, Mallory often gets to use the research skills she honed as an attorney to guide her in her unofficial role as amateur sleuth.

I also love exploring family expectations, conflicts, and secrets in my cozy mystery series. The backdrop of a wedding helps me weave these considerations into a tapestry of tension, character growth, and surprises. I also love to plan parties from the safe confines of my desk! I am a bit of an introvert in real life, but through my series, I get to dream up elaborate weddings and parties down to the last detail. I enjoy cooking, and focusing on weddings as my theme allows me to craft fun themed menus and confections. I’ve put my protagonist through her paces more than once by having her create new wedding plans overnight. I think that’s in part because the details are so fun to plan!

Gown with the Wind (A Wedding Planner Mystery)
by Stephanie Blackmoore\

About the Book


Gown with the Wind (A Wedding Planner Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Kensington (December 18, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1496717511
ISBN-13: 978-1496717511
Digital ASIN: B07BV3K4N8

Professional wedding planner Mallory Shepard knows her job is challenging under any circumstances. But when the groom is your ex and someone invites murder, there may never be another tomorrow . . .

Mallory’s fine—really—handling the wedding arrangements for her ex, Keith. But his fiancée, Becca, has at the last minute decided to switch from a Japanese-cherry-blossom theme to a Gone with the Wind theme. She wants to honor her ailing grandmother, who owns an impressive collection of GWTW memorabilia—and who is fiercely at odds with the groom’s mother over the nuptial plans.

But among other complications, Becca gets into a fight with an old childhood rival over a replica Scarlett O’Hara wedding gown. She wins the dress—but soon becomes a murder suspect when the other woman is found dead in Becca’s swimming pool. And it’s up to Mallory to solve the mystery behind this unhappy occasion, before a different kind of civil war breaks out . . .

About the Author

A native Pittsburgher, Stephanie Blackmoore now lives in Missouri, with her husband, son and two-spirited cats. She was an attorney in Pittsburgh and a librarian in Florida before becoming a writer. Stephanie is a fan of everything black-and-yellow. She is hard at work on her next Wedding Planner mystery. Connect with Stephanie at the links below.

Social Media Links: Website Facebook Twitter

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Recipe Post and Spotlight for Steamed Open: A Maine Clambake Mystery by Barbara Ross

Steamed Open (A Maine Clambake Mystery)
by Barbara Ross

About the Book


Steamed Open (A Maine Clambake Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Kensington (December 18, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1496717945
ISBN-13: 978-1496717948
Digital ASIN: B07BV3RCDG

It’s summertime in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, and the clamming is easy—or it was until a mysterious new neighbor blocks access to the beach, cutting off the Snowden Family Clambake’s supply. Julia Snowden is just one of many townspeople angered by Bartholomew Frick’s decision. But which one of them was angry enough to kill?

Beachcombers, lighthouse buffs, and clammers are outraged after Frick puts up a gate in front of his newly inherited mansion. When Julia urges him to reconsider, she’s the last to see him alive—except the person who stabs him in the neck with a clam rake. As she pores through a long list of suspects, Julia meets disgruntled employees, rival heirs, and a pair of tourists determined to visit every lighthouse in America. They all have secrets, and Julia will have to work fast to expose the guilty party—or see this season’s clam harvest dry up for good.

About the Author


Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries. The first book in the series, Clammed Up was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel, the RT Book Reviews, Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Amateur Sleuth and was a finalist for the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. She is co-editor/co-publisher of Level Best Books, which produces anthologies of crime stories by New England authors. She writes at her home overlooking the harbor in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. Barbara blogs with the Wicked Cozy Authors and Maine Crime Writers. Readers can visit her website at MaineClambakeMysteries.com.

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Ma’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake Recipe

 Ingredients

 For the cake

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 stick of butter, softened (1 quarter pound)

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 pint sour cream

For the “topping”

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Using a mixer, mix the ingredients for the cake until smooth and integrated.

Using your fingers, mix the “topping” ingredients.

Pour one half of the cake mixture into a greased tube pan. Sprinkle one half of the “topping” over it. Pour in the rest of the cake mixture. Sprinkle the rest of the “topping” over the top.

Bake for 35 minutes.

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