Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Cozy Mystery

Author Spotlight of Charlie Donlea, Author of Don’t Believe It

I’m pleased to have authorCharlie Donlea here from Chicago, Illinois, to speak about his writing and new novel, Don’t Believe It, which is on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas Into a Good Book.

How long have you been published? What titles and/or series have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.

I broke into publishing in 2016 with my first novel Summit Lake, and followed with The Girl Who Was Taken the next year. Both novels were international bestsellers. Don’t Believe It is my third novel

All of my books have been published by Kensington Publishing.

Prior to Summit Lake, I wrote three full-length manuscripts that were rejected by more than 100 agents and publishers.  

Impressive. You’re an example of the determination that all writers need to succeed.

Tell us a little bit about your books.

Don’t Believe It will be released late May 2018 and can be pre-ordered now. It follows a true crime documentary filmmaker who produces a hit television series that chronicles the details of a gruesome crime from ten years ago. What starts out as a careful retelling of a haunting story turns into a race for the truth, and some chilling discoveries along the way.

Sounds intriguing.

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?

I’ve been on a book-a-year pace for the past three years, with my fourth book due to be released in the summer of 2019. My goal is to keep churning out thrillers at the same pace. I plan to reach that goal by putting my butt in a chair, and my fingers on the keyboard in order to beat my deadlines.

Good plan.

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

Thriller and suspense readers. Readers who like to read fast-paced stories with great twists, and surprise endings.

Sounds like some of the readers I’d like to reach with my standalone mysteries that are not part of my cozy series.

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

Don’t listen to the naysayers. If you concentrate on how difficult it is to break in, you likely won’t. Pick out a few of your favorite (and successful) authors, and study their careers. Remember, before they had any success in publishing they were trying to break in just like you.

For me, that writer is John Grisham. He tells a story of going to a bookstore as an aspiring writer, looking at all the books on the shelves, and wondering what he’d need to do to stand out from all the other writers. I’d say he figured it out pretty well.

Excellent advice. As a librarian, I’m well aware of how long it took many well-known authors to become big names. Your example is inspiring.

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

Lots of rejection. I wrote three manuscripts that were rejected by more than 100 agents and editors before I broke in.

I’ve been querying two unpublished manuscripts right now and haven’t sent those many out yet but have had my share of rejections.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I belong to Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers.

But as far as writing groups, I’ve always been a solo writer. I have never been part of any critique groups.

I’m also a member of International Thriller Writers as well as Sisters-in-Crime. I’d love to join Mystery Writers of America but am not yet eligible. I agree with you that critique groups aren’t for everyone. Our library has a writer’s group, but it focuses on writing lessons rather than critiques.

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

First drafts are my greatest challenge. And I’m sure my writing deadlines are causing cardiovascular issues.

It’s important to pace yourself, although I know that’s hard to do. I work full-time, so I have to limit my writing time but still write every day.

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

Thanks so much for the interview, Charlie, and best wishes on the blog tour and your new release.

Join the Rafflecopter for the blog tour here:




Posted in Blog Tour, Cover Reveal, Cozy Mystery

Announcing Cover Reveal and Blog Tour for The Golden Pawn by L.A. Chandlar

The Gold Pawn

November 1936. Mayor La Guardia’s political future buckles under a missing person case in New York City. Simultaneously, Lane unravels devastating secrets in the outskirts of Detroit. As two crimes converge, judging friends from enemies can be a dangerous game . . .

Finally summoning the courage to face the past, Lane Sanders breaks away from her busy job at City Hall to confront childhood nightmares in Rochester, Michigan. An unknown assailant left Lane with scattered memories after viciously murdering her parents. However, one memory of a dazzling solid gold pawn piece remains—and with it lies a startling connection between the midwestern tragedy and a current mystery haunting the Big Apple . . .

Meanwhile, fears climb in Manhattan after the disappearance of a respected banker and family friend threatens the crippled financial industry and the pristine reputation of Lane’s virtuous boss, Mayor Fiorello “Fio” La Guardia. Fio’s fight to restore order leads him into more trouble as he meets a familiar foe intent on ending his mayoral term—and his life . . .

Guided by overseas telegrams from the man she loves and painful memories, only Lane can silence old ghosts and derail present-day schemes. But when the investigation awakens a darker side of her own nature, will she and New York City’s most prominent movers and shakers still forge ahead into a prosperous new age . . . or is history doomed to repeat itself?

Ready . . .


Set. . .



Coming September 25 from Kensington Books!

Pre-order your copy today!

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About the Author

L .A. Chandlar is the author of the Art Deco Mystery Series with Kensington Publishing featuring Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and a fresh take on the innovation and liveliness of 1930s New York City. Her debut novel, The Silver Gun released August 29, 2017, and the sequel, The Gold Pawn, will release September 25th, 2018. Laurie has been living and writing in New York City for 16 years and has been speaking for a wide variety of audiences for over 20 years including a women’s group with the United Nations. Her talks range from NYC history, the psychology of creativity, and the history of holiday traditions. Laurie has also worked in PR for General Motors, writes and fund-raises for a global nonprofit is the mother of two boys, and has toured the nation managing a rock band.

Author Links

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Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Cozy Mystery

Author Spotlight of Vikki Walton, Author of Chicken Culprit, First of the Backyard Farming Mysteries


I’m pleased to have author Vikki Walton from Colorado Springs here to speak about her writing and new release, the first of her Backyard Farmland cozy mystery series, Chicken Culprit,  which is on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas Into a Good Book.

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

I published my first book in 2017. My first book is nonfiction. Work Quilting: Piece Together Diverse Income Streams; Live an Insanely Awesome Life. My first fiction book is Chicken Culprit which is the first in a series of backyard farming mysteries.

They both sound interesting. Tell us more about them.

My cozy mystery, Chicken Culprit, was released on March 1, 2018. The second book in the series is a WIP and is anticipated to come out late fall. I also have a women’s travel book I expect to release in April/May.

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?

I love teaching and helping others. I do this through classes as well as through writing. I expect to continue that trend. Right now I have four mysteries in the “chain,” three nonfiction books and one novel. In the next few years I hope to help 1) people start doing the work they love and living the life of their dreams, and 2) write a good mystery series that people enjoy. Finally 3) I want to be a small cog in raising the status of self-publishing.

Those are worthy goals.

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

My readers are primarily women and that is to whom I write. Work Quilting is for those who need some vocational and lifestyle guidance. My cozy mystery will appeal to those who enjoy the genre, small town life, and the aspects of backyard farming.

It seems you have your target audience well defined.

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

Write, write, write. b) Develop a thick skin and join a critique group. c) Read, read, read in your genre as well as outside your genre. d) Edit, edit, edit. Hire an editor. e) Know it will take longer and cost more than you think. f) Know that not everyone will like your writing. It’s okay. Move on. g) Call yourself a writer when you meet others. h) Celebrate milestones. i) Publish your work. j) Repeat.

Good advice.

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

I think the biggest struggle for any writer is wondering if they’re a decent writer. For me I came to the conclusion and contentment that I write simple stories in simple language. I won’t win any awards for my literary prose or my extensive lexicon. All I care is that people can easily read my book and enjoy it. So I can’t compare myself to anyone else. The second thing was making the time to write. My first mystery came about because my daughter had to write a novel in a month. To help her I wrote the draft of my mystery at the same time. This year I’ll be housesitting in Mexico and my focus is going to be getting the rough draft of the second book in the series complete.

My readers also tell me my books are easy to read, and I’m glad they find them so. I don’t believe cozies should be difficult to comprehend. They are more about characters and their interaction with one another and the mysteries in their plots.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

Yes, I’ve been involved in local ones and started one when I lived in Texas. I’m also a member of Sisters in Crime.

I, too, am a member of that group. I’ve interviewed many other authors who are members also.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

Probably way too many to list here but I’ll go with my favorites which are travel, gardening and hiking. I love to travel and have a travel site for women ( I’m a certified permaculture designer and a suburban homesteader so my yard is all food forest guilds and gardens along with chickens. I’m also a bee guardian. I love walking and hiking and Colorado is perfect for getting outdoors. As for interests, there’s not much that doesn’t interest me to some extent and I’m a lifelong learner.

Wonderful. You have many varied interests which I’m sure helps you in your writing.

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

There’s just something about holding your book in your hand and thinking “I did this.” Writing is hard work, editing harder, publishing still harder and marketing excruciating. The best part is visualizing the story, the worst part is all the rest.

LOL. I totally agree. You’ve summed up my feelings and, I believe of other authors, very well.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

Cozies have always been my favorite genre. I like how authors all create fun stories around specific themes whether that is a craft, a setting, animals or other theme. I wanted to create a theme around backyard farming and my interests. I didn’t realize that it would be so fun for me to create this world. I want to go visit there!

I share that feeling, too. I’d love to travel to Cobble Cove and spend time on Cove Point or in the Cobble Cove Library and town shops.

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

Anne yawned and stretched her hands over her head. She unlocked the kitchen window, taking in a deep breath of crisp Colorado air and sighed loudly. No longer would she have to deal with divorce lawyers or Duke. She could finally live her life as she saw fit.

Anne surveyed her domain. Even though boxes cluttered every available space, it didn’t matter to her. What she cared about was that it was all hers. While the work ahead might seem daunting, the prospect of transforming the old Victorian house didn’t deter Anne.

She poured herself a cup of coffee, both hands cradling the mug, before deciding to drink it out on the back porch. Rays of sunshine had risen about the copse at the back of her property, and its golden warmth welcomed the day. Raising the mug to her mouth, Anne took a much-needed sip of the hot morning brew.

“Stop! Stop!” A woman’s voice carried over from the other yard.

Anne sloshed coffee onto her chambray shirt. “Shoot!” She set her cup down on the railing. The liquid turning cold began seeping onto her skin.

“Stop!” The piercing scream came again.

Nice excerpt. Thank you.

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

Authors are real people We hope you like our books and are honored when you write us a glowing review. We also understand that our stories or writing style may not be your cup of tea. If that’s the case, please shoot me an email and I’ll see if its something I need to consider changing in my book or doing in the next book. If I don’t like a book I won’t post a one, two or three star review. It has to be something that has a lot of issues for me to do that.

That’s an important message to readers.

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




Twitter:  @workquilter

Pinterest: Havensteader and girlswantago

Amazon Author Page:


It’s been great chatting with you, Vikki. Best of luck with your series and future releases. I’m including a link to your rafflecopter for those who wish to enter:

Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Cozy Mystery

Author Spotlight of Judy Penz Sheluk, Author of A Hole in One, the 2nd Glass Dolphin Mystery

I’m pleased to have author Judy Penz Sheluk here from Ontario, Canada, to speak about her writing and new release, the second of her Glass Dolphin cozy mystery series, A Hole in One,  which is on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas Into a Good Book.

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

I have two mystery series: the Glass Dolphin Mysteries and the Marketville Mysteries. My debut novel was THE HANGED MAN’S NOOSE, book #1 in the Glass Dolphin series, and it was released July 2015 by Barking Rain Press (BRP), a small, but MWA approved, publisher based out of Vancouver, Washington. The second book in the series, A HOLE IN ONE, was released on March 6, 2018.

Imajin Books originally released the first book in the Marketville Mystery series in August 2016. It was re-released by BRP in December 2018. The sequel should be out Fall 2018. All my BRP titles are available in trade paperback and all eBook formats (Kindle, Kobo, Nook, iTunes, Google Play).

I have one self-published collection of three short stories, titled LIVE FREE OR TRI, which is available in print and Kindle only.

NOOSE, SKELETONS and LIVE FREE are also available in audiobook on Audible, Amazon and iTunes. I self-published the audiobook versions of those books using ACX, and hired a different narrator for each book. I hope to publish A HOLE IN ONE in audio later this year, but there’s a lot involved, so we’ll see.

Sounds like you have a lot going on. Congratulations on your new release and upcoming titles.

Tell us a little bit about your series.

The Glass Dolphin Mysteries take place in the fictional town of Lount’s Landing, Ontario, which is very loosely based on Holland Landing, where I lived for many years…and I do mean loosely based! The Glass Dolphin is an antiques shop on the town’s historic Main Street. The main characters include Arabella Carpenter and Emily Garland (co-owners of the Glass Dolphin) and Levon Larroquette, Arabella’s ex-husband, who is an antiques picker. Let’s just say Arabella and Levon have a complicated relationship. I classify the Glass Dolphin Mysteries as “Amateur Sleuth with an Edge.” There’s the requisite small town, no overt sex, violence or bad language, but there is also no cats, crafts, or cookie recipes, and the plot is a bit more complicated than a traditional cozy. The second book in the series, A HOLE IN ONE, was just released March 2018, and I’m currently writing book three in the series. In my head, it’s always been a three-book series, and I know how and where I want to leave my characters. But things could change!

The Marketville Mysteries take place in Marketville, a fictionalized version of Newmarket, Ontario, the town immediately south of Holland Landing. Again, great liberties were taken. Unlike the Glass Dolphin series, which is told in third person, alternating points of view, the Marketville series is told entirely in first person by the protagonist, Calamity (Callie) Barnstable.  SKELETONS IN THE ATTIC is what I’d consider a slow-burn mystery suspense. The basic premise is Callie inherits a house from her father with the condition she finds out who murdered her mother 30 years before. A house she didn’t know existed, and a mother she thought had up and left when Callie was six for the “mailman or some other male equivalent). The sequel should be released Fall 2018 and I’m just starting to mull over ideas for book three.

They all sound great.

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?

I recently read a quote by Flannery O’Connor that really resonated with me: “If I quit now I will soon go back to where I started. And when I started, I was desperate to get to where I am now.” Now, I’ve never thought of quitting – writing is in my DNA—but sometimes we forget to celebrate how far we’ve come, instead choosing to focus on where we want to be. I’m not saying I don’t have a long-term vision, but I don’t want that vision to spoil the journey or the celebration. Besides, I’m terribly superstitious. If I tell you, maybe it won’t come true.

Those are very interesting points, and I think important for writers to consider.

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

My books don’t contain bad language (there is the occasional hell or bastard, but nothing stronger), sex or violence, so they really can be read by anyone. That said, there isn’t a lot of romance, so if you crave a good romantic yarn, my books probably wouldn’t be for you. Mind you, A HOLE IN ONE does have more romantic elements than my other two books!

Most mystery readers like a bit of romance but nothing that overshadows the mystery.

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

I always quote Agatha Christie when I’m asked this question: “There was a moment when I changed from an amateur to a professional. I assumed the burden of a profession, which is to write even when you don’t want to, don’t much like what you’re writing, and aren’t writing particularly well.”

I see you like quotes, and you choose good ones. Great advice from a mystery master.

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

Rejection. I mistakenly thought my solid reputation as a journalist (since 2003) and the Senior Editor of New England Antiques Journal (, since 2007) would pave the way to a publishing deal, but neither of those things mattered. I spent a lot of time looking for agents and publishers, and had my heart broken more than once. I wrote about my experience quite honestly on my blog in January 2015. Here’s a link:

I really identified with your post, as I’m sure other authors will when they read it. I’m in the querying process now for a new cozy mystery; and, although I don’t believe I’ve made any beginner mistakes and have built up a social media presence, I hated writing the synopsis and couldn’t get it down to 1 or 2 pages, but I did the best I could and am hoping for good news soon.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I belong to writing associations – Sisters in Crime (International, Guppies, Toronto), International Thriller Writers, Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where I serve on the Board of Directors. I’m a big believer in joining associations for the knowledge and networking. But I’ve never belonged to writing group, where I’d meet x times a month or year and read something I’d written. Until I’m ready to go full-ond “Beta-reader” I’m a very private writer.

You belong to two of my groups – Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers. I also belong to my local Long Island Authors Group and the Cat Writer’s Association. I participate in a writing group at my library, as well.  I agree that associations are important for exactly the benefits you mentioned.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

Judy’s Dog, Leroy Jethro “Gibbs”

In the summer, I enjoy golfing and belong to two ladies leagues. I love to walk, and I have a 2 ½ year-old Golden Retriever, Gibbs, who helps me in that pursuit. I used to run marathons (26.2 miles) and half-marathons 13.1 miles), but now I’m more of a three-mile, three times a week kind of runner. And I’m an avid reader. I set my Goodreads reading challenge to 30 books this year, and I’m already three books ahead of schedule.

It’s important for authors to keep up their own reading. I also read because I’m a librarian and order the fiction books for our collection and write a monthly staff picks review. I also enjoy walking, although I don’t have a dog. I’ve never gotten into running, but I’m sure it’s great excercise after sitting hours writing at the computer.

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

It’s quite cathartic to take a negative experience and exorcise it. In LIVE FREE OR TRI, for example, there’s a short story called LIVE FREE OR DIE. The experience in that book is directly culled from something that happened to me as a young woman. Let’s just say “Jack” may still be alive somewhere…but not in my story!

Challenges – sometimes the words just don’t flow. Or you spend a week or more writing and one day you realize – “this isn’t going to work.” And it’s DELETE and start over. That’s tough. And marketing and promotion, which is time consuming and often exhausting, because you’re putting yourself “out there.” But it’s all part of being a writer and I feel very blessed to say, “this is what I do for a living.”

Very true.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

Cozies are fair in a world that isn’t always fair. That’s comforting to me.

I believe it’s comforting to cozy readers, too, and is part of the attraction of the genre.

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


Levon smiled, the full-on one he tended to keep in reserve, and Arabella felt something tug inside of her. She had heard quite enough about Gilly Germaine and how amazing she was. It wasn’t as if she was jealous, exactly, more like she felt Levon slipping away from her little by little. They might not be married any longer, but she never stopping thinking of him as a friend, someone who knew her and loved her, blemishes and all. Since Gilly had arrived on the scene, Levon had become more and more distant. This past month he’d been all but absent. Today was the first time they’d spoken in two weeks.

It didn’t help that she’d recently split up with Aaron Beecham. For a small town cop, he seemed to be on duty more than off.

“I should get going,” Levon said, interrupting her thoughts. “Gilly is relying on me.”

I’m sure she is. “I better get going as well. We’re starting on number two.”

“Just remember not to hit the ball until the shotgun sounds.”

“Gilly’s using an actual shotgun? I thought everyone used sirens or horns these days.”

Levon laughed. “Gilly’s as much of a stickler for research as you are. She thought it would be more authentic if she used a shotgun, too. You of all people should appreciate that, Arabella. After all, isn’t that your motto? Authenticity matters?”

It was, but Arabella didn’t like it that Gilly had adopted the same motto.

She didn’t like it one bit.

Great exerpt. Thanks for sharing.

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

If you’re in a book club, I’d be happy to mail bookmarks to your club, and I’m also happy to answer questions from your book club if you select one of my books. Contact me at judy at judypenzsheluk dot com and we can sort it out.

That’s a nice offer.

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

Social Media Links


Facebook Author:




Buy Links for A HOLE IN ONE:


Barnes & Noble:


Google Play:


Barking Rain Press: – 1473022241950-de2dbbf6-9e98

Thanks, Judy, and best wishes on your blog tour, your new release, and upcoming books. For those who would like to enter the your blog tour’s rafflecopter, here’s the link:



Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Cozy Mystery

Author Spotlight of Janet Finsilver, Author of Murder at the Mushroom Festival, a Kelly Jackson Mystery

I’m pleased to have author Janet Finsilver from the San Francisco Bay area here to speak about her writing and new release, Murder at the Mushroom Festival that is on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.

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

I write the Kelly Jackson mystery series and am with the Kensington Publishing Corporation. My first book came out in October 2015. The books are Murder at Redwood Cove, Murder at the Mansion, Murder at the Fortune Teller’s Table, and Murder at the Mushroom Festival. I haven’t done any self-publishing.

Interesting titles. Tell us a bit about them.

They are cozy mysteries set on the coast of northern California. My protagonist, Kelly Jackson, was raised on a Wyoming ranch and some of her background is woven into the stories. She works with a crime-solving group of senior citizens, the Silver Sentinels.

My latest book, Murder at the Mushroom Festival, releases April 17, 2018. I’m currently working on the fifth book tentatively titled Murder at the Marina.

A group of senior citizen sleuths is a great concept for a cozy mystery series.

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

I want to keep the community and people “alive” that I’ve created. I feel they are wonderful role models in many ways as well as a delight to be around. I also like being able to share with people the many ways dogs contribute to our lives. The animals make a world of difference to people who have a myriad of issues to overcome.

I agree with you and feel that all animals do that to some degree. While I like dogs, I’m more of a cat person, but I feature both animals in my Cobble Cove mystery series that includes Sneaky, the library Siamese cat and Fido, the golden retriever.

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

People who like a good whodunit and don’t want graphic violence. Learning something new interests them.

As a cozy mystery author myself and a librarian, I believe that’s what attracts cozy readers to this genre.

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

Love writing and keep at it.

Excellent advice and one all authors need to heed.

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

It’s very difficult to get an agent or a publisher. It’s frustrating when they say don’t contact us, we’ll contact you, and you wait months to hear from them.

I relate to that. I was lucky to land my current publisher and one prior to that, but I’m still querying agents. It’s a very long process and one that requires a lot of patience and persistence.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I belong to Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and the California Writer’s Club. Most importantly I work with an amazing critique group of writers who are dear and cherished friends. Staci McLaughlin, Carole Price, Ann Parker, and Penny Warner are members and are published authors.

I’m also a member of Sisters in Crime and a local Long Island author’s group as well as International Thriller Writers and the Cat Writer’s Association. Your critique group must be very helpful.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I love my dogs. I’m starting to work with my young Rhodesian ridgeback in agility.

If you’re interested, I’d love to feature either one of your dog characters or your own dog on my pet character’s blog where Sneaky, the cat posts interviews.

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

I love the new world, the people, and the animals that have become part of my life. What I like the least and is the toughest challenge, is carving out the time to write.

Time is an issue for most writers.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I like creating a “safe” world for readers. You know your favorite characters will come back time after time. They might get a bit roughed up, but they will always be there. I want give people a good plot without having to use graphic violence.

That’s what I strive for, as well. I don’t like reading about violence or explicit sex myself, so I don’t feature it in my writing.

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

From Murder at the Mushroom Festival

Deputy Stanton left and Tommy got down on the floor and began petting Fred. He stopped and looked at me. “Miss Kelly, I forgot to tell you. There’s something under the windshield wiper of the truck.”

“Thanks for telling me.” Puzzled, I left to check it out.

As I approached the vehicle, I could see a white envelope on the windshield. I pulled it out. It was soggy…probably from last night’s fog. I opened it carefully so as not to rip the wet paper.

Cut out letters had been glued haphazardly. “Stop asking questions or you’ll be stopped.”


To the point.

I didn’t play poker, but I knew someone had just upped the ante…


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

They all have dogs with special abilities. Fred, a basset hound in Murder at Redwood Cove, was trained to detect cancer. Jack and Jill, two beagles, sniff out bedbugs and termites in Murder at the Mansion. Princess is a retired hearing-assistance dog in Murder at the Fortune Teller’s Table. She’s a tan Chihuahua who wears jeweled collars and pretty coats! Murder at the Mushroom Festival introduces Max. He’s a trained diabetic alert dog that looks like a goldendoodle. These aren’t dog books, but the animals contribute to the story.

Each book has a festival in it. The fictitious town in my series, Redwood Cove, is based on Mendocino, California. This is in the heart of the wine country in northern California. Events are ongoing throughout the year.

One of your dog characters would make a perfect guest for Sneaky’s blog. Great idea about setting each book during a festival.

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

Thanks for a great interview, Janet, and best of luck with your blog tour, new release, and future books.

Here’s a link to your blog tour’s rafflecopter for those who would like to enter:

I was honored to be the first stop on your tour. The rest of the tour schedule is below: 

April 16 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 17 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

April 18 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

April 19 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

April 19 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

April 20 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 21 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

April 22 – Community Bookstop – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 23 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 23 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

April 24 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

April 24 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST

April 25 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

April 26 – Varietats – SPOTLIGHT

April 27 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 28 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

April 29 – Mysteries with Character – REVIEW

April 30 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW

Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for a Three Strikes, You’re Dead by Elena Hartwell

This post was contributed by author Elena Hartwell. Her cozy mystery, Three Strikes You’re Dead, is currently on tour with Dollycas Escape into a Good Book

What Murder Can Teach Us

By Elena Hartwell

As a mystery writer, I spend a lot of time thinking about some of the worst crimes one human being can do to another. And yet, my series is funny. That’s something I also think about from time to time. Is it okay to write about murder and make people laugh at the same time? Or the flip side, is it okay to write graphic descriptions of violence for the purpose of entertainment?

I think the answer is yes to both, because writing about murder can teach us something valuable in our own lives. We just have to know as readers what we can handle.

First off, the human mind loves a puzzle. A great deal of the pleasure we derive from reading mysteries, is to figure out the “whodunit” alongside the protagonist. We love to discover how the pieces fit together, the tidbits strung out in a series of clues we find along the way. Reading mysteries keeps our minds active and engaged.

Second, awful things do happen to people. Violence is a part of the human experience and to ignore it wouldn’t make it go away. In fact, there’s something to be said for experiencing the damage a violent crime does to people within the context of fiction, because it may create empathy for us when those events happen in the real world.

Third, laughter really is the best medicine. That cliché exists because it’s true. We know that laughing lowers stress, has been proven to boost your immune system, and might even make us live longer. Regardless of the genre a reader enjoys, humor can improve the reading experience, and perhaps even the reader’s health.

Most importantly, reading can open our minds. It allows us access to places we’ve never been. The location of a story can show a reader a part of the country or the world they have never visited. Characters from different ethnicities, races, and backgrounds can help us expand our appreciation for people who look different than us. Relating to a character and then facing danger with them, can make us more thoughtful and compassionate in our daily lives.

Murder mysteries, indeed, any genre, are about more than just the primary storyline. The best mysteries are written with complex characters involved in complicated personal lives, which are entwined with their sleuthing. Whether a character grapples with an aging parent or their own aging, a messy love life or the terror of starting a new relationship, readers can find themselves reflected in those challenges.

Mysteries are never solely about a crime. They are about the intricacies of living, something that everyone experiences. Botched relationships, troubled teenagers, drug addictions, poverty, all of these and more are explored by the mystery writer. The whys behind acts of violence might be demystified, giving us insight into bad behavior and acknowledging humanity in those who break the law.

We are also able to see justice work as it should. One of the lovely things we experience reading about crime and criminals is to know the bad guy is going to get caught, whether at the end of a book or the end of a series. A crime in the real world doesn’t always get solved. There’s something intensely satisfying about knowing that for the length of one book, everything will work out in the end. It can give us a renewed sense of balance in the world.

That isn’t to say there aren’t certain writers whose books are too graphic for me. Even some authors I admire tremendously, I have to be careful when I read their work. For example, I might not read them when I’m home alone or if I’ve had a bad day. It’s good to know how much you can handle with regards to graphic sex and violence. The good news is, the mystery genre is filled with writers across the spectrum. From the sweet, light cozy, with no graphic sex or violence, to the dark and twisted accounts of serial killers, with detailed descriptions of their acts, there’s a little something for everyone. The rise in popularity with psychological suspense is adding a new twist on the mystery genre. A number of those books may not have a murder at all, but be fraught with the psychological damage one person can do to another. Often equally chilling.

I think most of us have a sense of what we do and do not like. Personally, I don’t care who gets killed as long as the dog lives. I know a number of readers who won’t read about violence to children. The beautiful part about a book is you can always put it down and pick up another one.

And the good news is, there are plenty of us out there who want to take you through the puzzle and at the same time make you laugh. Perfect for those nights you want to be able to go to sleep without leaving the lights on.

About the Author


After twenty years in the theater, Elena Hartwell turned her dramatic skills to fiction. Her first novel, One Dead, Two to Go introduces Eddie Shoes, private eye. Called “the most fun detective since Richard Castle stumbled into the 12th precinct,” by author Peter Clines. I’DTale Magazine stated, “this quirky combination of a mother-daughter reunion turned crime-fighting duo will captivate readers.”

In addition to her work as a novelist, Elena teaches playwriting at Bellevue College and tours the country to lead writing workshops.

When she’s not writing or teaching, her favorite place to be is at the farm with her horses, Jasper and Radar, or at her home, on the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River in North Bend, Washington, with her husband, their dog, Polar, and their trio of cats, Jackson, Coal Train, and Luna, aka, “the other cat upstairs.” Elena holds a B.A. from the University of San Diego, a M.Ed. from the University of Washington, Tacoma, and a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia.


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April 1 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

April 1 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW


April 3 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 3 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST

April 4 – Books Direct – GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY

April 5 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

April 6 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

April 6 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST

April 7 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

April 8 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST



April 11 – The Ninja Librarian – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

April 12 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

April 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

April 13 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW

April 14 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, INTERVIEW


Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Deadly Reception by Karen Randau

This post was contributed by author Karen Randau. Her cozy mystery, Deadly Reception, is currently on tour with Escape with Dollycas Escape into a Good Book. 

My Imaginary Movie

By Karen Randau

Someone asked who I would cast for the characters in the movie version of my new book, Deadly Reception, one of the seven novellas in the Tawnee Mountain Mystery multi-author series. Each is a standalone book in which we authors take the characters from our own series to a posh New Jersey resort. Naturally, something happens, and we solve a mystery.

My series is the Rim Country Mysteries, which now includes Deadly Deceit (2016), Deadly Inheritance (2017), and Deadly Choices (2017). Deadly Payload is due out later this year.

Here is how I could cast the movie version of Deadly Reception.

Rita: Protagonist and First Person Narrator

The narrator of my books is Rita Avery, wife of Detective Cliff Avery. She’s a middle-aged mother of two and grandmother of one, and she picked up some serious fighting skills from her late husband. Jared was a Marine who facilitated Family Fight Night every Friday. He was one of fourteen people who died in Deadly Deceit at the hands of a gunman in the movie theater of the fictional, picturesque mountain town of Rim Vista, Arizona.

In the four books with Rita as the protagonist and first-person narrator, she has morphed from a shallow person who cares more about designer clothes than her neighbors, to a budding private investigator partnering with her husband to solve nail-biting mysteries. She’s committed to her friends and family, including the dog named Hope who stayed with her through a near death experience in Deadly Choices.

In my imaginary movie, I’d choose Ashley Judd to play Rita. I enjoyed her as Tris’ mom in the Divergent trilogy, especially when she surprised Tris with her ability to fight like a warrior. Like Rita.

Cliff: The Love of Rita’s Life

In Deadly Inheritance, Rita got a second chance at love. She married the detective who investigated the shooting that took her first husband.

Detective Cliff Avery is a manly man, who, with his late wife, patrolled Arizona’s Tonto National Forest as a wilderness ranger. When she died from a bear attack, Cliff joined the Rim Vista police department and met Rita twenty years later.

In my imaginary movie, I’d choose David Boreanaz to play Cliff. Like Cliff, this actor’s character of Agent Seeley Booth on the TV series Bones and Jason Hayes in SEAL Team is tall and handsome and has a heightened sense of patriotism, enjoys a good joke, has experienced tragedy, doesn’t always follow the rules, and loves deeply and passionately.

Zoe: The Bride-to-be

Zoe is the reason Rita’s family goes to New Jersey in Deadly Reception. She is Rita’s daughter and was collateral damage in Deadly Deceit. She took a year off from Northern Arizona University to recover from the incident that left her with one less toe. When she went back, she met her fiancé Josh. They’ve been inseparable ever since. In Deadly Reception, both Zoe and Josh are fresh university graduates starting their new life together in a rather … unique way.

Josh’s frail grandfather was unable to travel to Arizona for a wedding, so both families took the wedding to him. His colorful life as a mob enforcer made him one of Rita’s first suspects in the murder she and Cliff help local law enforcement solve.

In my imaginary movie, I’d cast blond-haired, green-eyed, athletic Hayden Panettiere to play Zoe; Ansel Elgort as Josh; and the 1960s heartthrob Frankie Valli as the frail grandfather.

Willow and Zelda: The Mothers

Willow is Rita’s mother. Zelda is the eccentric aunt who raised Cliff after his father beat the three-year-old’s mother to death.

Like others in Rita’s life, her mother Willow led a secret life. A California native who raised Rita in San Diego, Willow was a vegetarian hippy the last time Rita saw her more than two decades ago. Willow claimed to retreat to a nudist artist commune after Rita’s father died. In Deadly Choices, Willow comes for a visit sounding more like a Texan than a Californian.

In my imaginary movie, I’d choose Sissy Spacek for the part of Willow. A beautiful Texan in her 60s, Spacek has portrayed strong female characters but now takes on more motherly roles.

Cliff’s Aunt Zelda has done her share of deception. She’s an aging, overweight social worker who dances to the beat of her own drum. She claims to be from Texas … until the truth was uncovered in Deadly Inheritance. That’s when Cliff discovered that Zelda manufactured a life story that she thought would protect Cliff from a man who reared the monster who murdered her sister.

Because she’s a fellow eccentric in nature, I would choose Roseanne Barr to play Zelda in my imaginary movie.

I hope my cast entices you to read all my books!

About the Author

Karen Randau recently retired from an international humanitarian aid organization where she worked in marketing communications for nearly three decades.

Her Rim Country Mysteries series currently has three novels: DEADLY DECEIT, about a woman whose husband was one of fourteen people killed in a movie theater shooting; DEADLY INHERITANCE, about the same woman who has remarried and gets locked in a Viking burial cave with a lit stick of dynamite while honeymooning in Scotland; and DEADLY CHOICES, about the same woman finding the mother she hasn’t seen in twenty-five years, only to discover a devastating secret. Her fourth book, DEADLY RECEPTION, is part of the multi-author Tawnee Mountain Mystery series of novellas and features the same character unraveling the mystery of why there was a torso in her closet when she check into a posh New Jersey resort.

Karen enjoys spending time with her grown children, playing with her dog, and hiking with her husband.