Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Lethal in Old Lace, a Consignment Shop Mystery, by Duffy Brown

This post was contributed by author Duffy Brown. Her cozy mystery, Lethal in Old Lace, is currently on tour with Dollycas Escape into a Good Book


Hi, it’s Regan Summerside from Duffy Brown’s Consignment Shop mysteries and I have to tell you that spring in Savannah is like no other…except this year it’s not all for the good. The Abbott sisters are accused of murder!

I ask you, how could two little old ladies who were once school teachers in a Catholic school of all places and now retired and supplement their income as professional mourners for the best funerals in all Savannah be accused of murder!

Okay, they might have been swindled by that no good Willie Fishbine who doesn’t have a decent bone in his body but to think the sisters did the deed when there are so many others out there who could have done it is plum nuts.

What about Willie’s daughter? She’s the one prancing around with that younger guy. She’s the one who’s had so much plastic surgery it’s hard to tell where her chin ends and her boobs start. And what about Anna and Bella? They want to get their aging and oh-so-rich husbands in Sleepy Pines they are more than willing to kill off a few residents to make room. I see them going in old Willie in a heartbeat.

Auntie KiKi is beside herself with worry that Annie Fritz and Elsie Abbott will go to jail for a crime they didn’t commit. In fact Auntie KiKi has made up a new martini recipe called Get Out of Jail Free. I’m giving it all to you in case you find yourself in such a mess…or in a rousing game of Monopoly.

Wish me luck on finding the real killer. Over and out from Savannah.

Auntie KiKi’s Get Out Of Jail Free Martini

(delish with or without booze)

1 tablespoon finely grated orange chocolate

1 teaspoon sugar

2 orange slices

1/2 cup premium chocolate ice cream, at room temperature for 5 minutes

1 ounce orange vodka (or fresh squeeze orange juice)

Gently stir together the chocolate and sugar and put it on a plate. Run an orange slice around the rim of a chilled martini glass and dip the rim in the chocolate/sugar mix to coat.

Add the ice cream and vodka to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into the prepared glass and garnish with the remaining orange slice.

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 Mystery, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for a Well-Timed Murder by Tracee de Hahn

This post was contributed by author Tracee de Hahn. Her cozy mystery, A Well-Timed Murder is currently on tour with Dollycas Escape into a Good Book

Ready for a trip to a foreign place? In A Well-Timed Murder, we journey to Switzerland, spending time at an idyllic boarding school and at a glamorous watch and jewelry expo in the city of Basel. Following in Inspector Agnes Lüthi’s footsteps, we also travel to the traditional heart of watchmaking country, La Chaux-de-Fonds, and visit the home and factory of a well-regarded watchmaking family.

Agnes Lüthi might have been born in Switzerland, but she shares an appreciation for the country’s traditional architecture with every armchair tourist, thinking more kindly of her in-laws because of their charming chalet. Who wouldn’t appreciate the dark-beamed ceilings and warm fires on a cold day, and the balconies lined with flower boxes that bloom all summer?

SWITZERLAND – MARCH 09: Swiss Federal Railways poster; ?Blick vom Kursaal? (View from the Kursaal) showing customers on a cafe verandah with mountains in the background. Artwork by E von Kager. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)

A Well-Timed Murder was the perfect opportunity to showcase Switzerland. A little bit of tradition with a dash of modern thrown in. When renowned watchmaker Guy Chavanon dies he leaves behind a modern factory designed to look like it was built in the Renaissance, and an early 20th century house that reflected the “new” modern look of that period – complete with sleek terraces that resembled promenades on ocean liners. Typical Swiss appreciation for the old and the new.

A journey across Switzerland wouldn’t be complete without a trip to a boarding school. I’ve visited my husband’s boarding school in Gruyère many times, soaking in the atmosphere with all the appreciation of an outsider. The school in A Well-Timed Murder was based on his, with a large chalet serving as administration building and dormitories for some of the students. Newer buildings are bracingly modern – smooth concrete, large plate glass widows and highly polished wood accents. I added a few touches to my school, including a poison garden based on the one found at Alnwick Castle in England. Mine is tucked away in the kitchen garden. Why a poison garden? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

Boarding school is the perfect place to introduce characters from across the globe. French and English may be the official school languages but the accents range far and wide and many secret conversations take place in languages understood by only a few.

Basel’s watch and jewelry show, called Baselworld, serves as an introduction to Swiss industry: sleek, glamorous, and international. While the show lasts only one week of the year, during that time it is the most dazzling high end shopping street in the world. Take the best of Zürich, Paris, New York, or Tokyo and bring them together: that’s Baselworld. Need a new tiara? Choose from antique models or have one designed according to your specifications. Looking for a watch? You’ll have to be more precise. Do you need it to function down to the depths of the ocean and while flying to the moon? Or do you want to impress your friends with the number of precious stones on the watch face? Want a dial that is only visible when a hidden button is pressed and the enameled butterfly wings open? You will find all of these, and more, at the show.

During Agnes’s journey across Switzerland in A Well-Timed Murder you’ll see the diversity of the people, catch a glimpse of their customs – including food – and enjoy a ringside seat as Agnes hunts for a killer.

Enter the rafflecopter for A Well-Timed Murder’s blog tour:

Posted in Guest Post, Solstice Publishing

Guest Post by Author Leah Hamrick

It’s my pleasure to feature the following guest post by my fellow Solstice Publishing author, Leah Hamrick, who shares some information about herself and her writing.

Hello, everyone! My name is Leah Hamrick, and I’m the author of Frost on my Pillow, numerous short stories of all genres…amongst other unpublished novels that I have yet to grace the world with. (He-he)

I live in Michigan with my husband, daughter, and plethora or turtles, fish, and a spoiled tree frog named Sticky.

I decided to start writing one day because I was bored… yes, I had nothing better to do than sit at the computer all day and type off of this nonsense that was spilling out of my little mind.

 Well, I’m going to tell you about my novel, Frost on my Pillow, book one of the Fire Bringer series.

The story is about a girl named Lyla Hall who lives an abusive life in her home, the Summer Solstice. Everyone in her little town is blessed with the ability to use Fire.

After she gets beat for the last time by her stupid step-dad, she makes a run for it, leaving her home, the only place she has ever known, behind.

She then finds herself in the real world, Toledo Ohio.

A young man named Rylan finds her and takes her into his home for her safety.

When she starts school, she finds a book about her kind in her new school’s library, and she steals it. When she finally gets around to reading it, she discovers that her necklace holds the power to end the world if fallen into the wrong hands.

When she meets Ethan Killman, an Ice Bringer, things are going to change… forever.

 Demons start harassing them, and they will stop at nothing to get the necklace and the power it holds.

 When secrets from the ones she loves come out, nothing will ever be the same again.

I know that is a bad description, but me trying to explain something? Yeah, right. You’d get a better explanation from a dog watching you throw away that cheese wrapper… I mean, I am so bad at descriptions that it’s a struggle for me to even get a blurb put together that even tells the reader half of what they will be reading…

Okay, I’ve taken up enough of your time… maybe you will join Lyla and Ethan in their adventures…?

Thank you♥

Posted in Guest Post

Guest Post: Finding the Time to Write with a Busy Schedule by K.A. Meng

It’s my pleasure to feature a guest post by fellow author, K.A. Meng on a very difficult topic – Finding time to write with a busy schedule. As an author who also works a full-time day job (and some nights and weekends), I look forward to K.A.’s tips. Here they are:

                profile1Thank you for letting me take over your blog today. It’s been a great pleasure to be a part of the Solstice Author Winter Blog Tour. I want to talk today about finding the time to write with a busy schedule, but I’ll start by telling everyone about myself first. You can see how crazy my schedule it.

My name is K. A. Meng. I live in the frozen tundra of North Dakota with my teenage son and our two cats and two dogs. I write paranormal, urban fantasy, mysteries, and sci fi. Sometimes I add in a hint of romance to the stories. I work full time as an administrative assistant.

My job is from Monday thru Friday from 8 am to 5 pm. When I get off work, I have (if I’m lucky) thirty minutes to myself before my son is demanding food or the dogs want to go for a walk. Yes, my shelties want to walk until it reaches a certain temperature then they stop whining, usually way under zero degrees F. Between working, having a son, pets, owning a home, and trying to market my book, I don’t have a lot of time to write.

The first thing you need to do is squeeze your writing in whenever you can. One of the first books I wrote took me ten months to write. I won’t speak to much about it since I need to edit it. I’ll jump into my third novel, I’ve written which took about six months. It happens to be published.

superior-species-001My first published novel, Superior Species is though Solstice Publishing – Solstice Shadows. You can find it here:


Superior Species is about a girl named Ivory Ames. She has caught the attention of four gorgeous guys. At Los Roshano University this isn’t normal, even when all the upperclassmen have perfect physiques, flawless complexions, and hypnotic looks. That’s not even the weirdest part. The town has a strict sunset curfew because of wild animals attacking.

To keep her friends and herself safe, Ivory must figure out the truth behind the town’s mysteries before it’s too late.

To find the time to write, you need to want to write. Find your motivation. The Superior Species book series sprang to life after I asked myself, “What would I do if I met a monster?” I asked this question after the sudden rise in popular vampire and werewolf novels in which they made the monsters into something not scary at all. I do enjoy those type of novels, but I grew up on where you shouldn’t befriend the beasts. They are scary and want to kill you. You should run away. Of course, I’m asked this a lot:

                But the monsters are still good-looking in your novel how can they be scary?

My character Ivory Ames will explain it soon best. A white tiger is beautiful, but that doesn’t mean she wants to for a pet. They are dangerous and could kill you without warning.

I’m pleased to announce my second novel in the Superior Species world will be released this year by Solstice Publishing – Solstice Shadows. I wrote it in four months. I don’t have a release date since it is under editing. If you want to know when it will be released keep checking out my website,, and scroll down to the Books section where I’ll post anything coming out soon. I plan for a lot this year.

The third novel in Superior Species, I wrote it in two and a half months. As you can see, I’ve been getting faster and faster at completing novels sooner. I wrote this one during NaNoWriMo in November 2016. For those who don’t know, its National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write 50,000 words in one month. You should check it out. I pushed myself to write 60,000 words this time and will from now on. My novels tend to be longer so I set a bigger goal. You should join and find people on there to talk to. Support helps when you want to write. I tell everyone I am not available for the month of November. If I’m lucky, people will listen.

Another good way to gain words is doing word sprints. They are easy to do. Set a time frame with someone and write. It’s a good way to challenge yourself to get more words done. You can find people on twitter under #wordsprints. You can ask your writing friends or find me on facebook at and send me a message. I’ll let you know if I can or not. I will be on in November to write again. July is camp NaNoWriMo. I may be writing then I don’ know. My plan is to be on for June doing my own NaNoWriMo.

One big thing that has helped me write more is set a goal. My current one is small, 1,000 words a day. I do this by writing at my break for work, one hour a day Monday thru Friday. And at night. I write in 250 word sprints. I start supper or help my kid by telling him what to cook while I write. Eat. Write. Do a chore. Write. Do another chore. Write. And before I know it my goal is met. Most nights I write more and on the weekends a heck of a lot more. Think of it like this in 20 days, I have a short story done.

I hope some of these tips will help you. If you want to know more about me, you can find me on here:

Website –

Facebook Author Page –

Twitter –

Blog –

Instagram –

Thank you for having me. -K.A.

Posted in Guest Post, Solstice Publishing

Guest Post by Author Geoff Nelder

Today, in my continuing support of the Solstice Publishing Winter Blog Tour, I have author Geoff Nelder here to talk about his writing experience and how he knew he wanted to become a writer.

Oops, there I go again, barging in on someone else’s blog, grasping for an unsuspecting new audience. No one is more demanding than Mrs. N. in more ways than two and this piece is inspired by one of her more painful questions.

chaosofmokii-1Writers’ Delusions by Geoff Nelder

This is the question Mrs. Nelder stabbed me with when she once peeped over my shoulder at my list of story rejections being three times longer than the acceptances.

W”hat on Earth made you think you could be a writer?”

Answer: I didn’t  know I was okay at writing until a teacher made me stand in front of the class and stumble through an essay I’d scribbled. A silly tale about a red squirrel scrambling on the gnarled boughs of the village’s oldest oak tree, stealing an acorn from a tree spirit to bury under a pupil’s desk. Imagine my surprise when every kid sneaked a peep under their desk.

Yes, those words held power and I liked it. Through my teens, I wrote jokes. Sold some to British comedians and my first was published in a magazine in 1969. At university, I became a co-editor of the rag-mag, a dreadful collection of very funny, awful smutty and politically-incorrect gags. We’d gather in the bar and brainstorm until the beer ran out. That was nearly half a century ago and I still see those jokes. Uncredited, no royalties. It was for charities then, still is. During that time I studied geography, mathematics. and literature. Struck dumb, me, when the lecturer read out loud William Langland’s Vision of a Fair Field full of Folk. This is a wondrous sample of that early medieval poem:

‘In a somer sesoun, whan softe was the sonne,
I shope me into shroudes, as I a shep were,
In abite as an heremite, unholy of werkes,
Wente forth in the world wondres to here,
And saw many selles and selcouthe thynges.
Ac on a May mornyng on Malverne hulles
Me biful for to slepe, for werynesse of walkyng;’

malverns2I learnt it by heart, while hiking on those actual Malvern Hills, a short bike ride from my house. I took my son on those hills a few years ago and the ‘sonne’ softly warmed our backs. I learnt the energy in words of sensual Show. Engaging the reader via all their five senses in every story. I read the great writers and they all do it. Even those science fiction and thriller books that the literati often overlook. Consider these two words from Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle: ‘She gave him a perfumed hug.’ You know which two words. Did you experience that hug? You were there, right?

After graduating, twice, I taught high school where writing lies takes over. Not really, but all teachers have to write masses of words. We talk about a target of 2000 words a day on our novels but teachers often achieve that when writing lesson notes, worksheets and above all, end-of-term reports. Most teachers hate that but writerly ones love it. It gives us the opportunity to be creative with an otherwise tedious activity. (assuming the school isn’t using computerized multi-guess reporting). One of my favourites: ‘The dawn of legibility in John’s writing revealed his utter incapacity to spell.’ Such chores honed my writing decades ago.

Not that I’ve stopped learning the craft. I’m with Pablo Casals – the famous cellist on why he continued to practise at 90: ‘Because I think I’m making progress.’

I remain fascinated enough by gnarled oak trees and squirrels to write them into my stories. This 2017 year sees publication of my ‘Girl in a Wandering Wood’ in The Horror Zine. I’d overheard the phrase wandering wood and thought what if a wood actually wandered? So, a botanist is trapped in a copse, animated by a spirit trying to stop her escaping. A squirrel helps her out, kind of. The same squirrel I wrote about in 1957.

A sample flash story. First published in Bobbing Around:  (2004)Vol 3 No.6  A newsletter by psychiatrist Dr Bob Rich.

Nothing Upstairs

By Geoff Nelder         

He should take advantage of the perspective from the top floor of a bus. Forrister’s car lingered in Foley’s Vehicular Care Centre for its annual medical but he had to put in a work appearance.

Green vinyl seats as opposed to his red leather but not bad. His nose expected sour milk odours—a foolish bias, so his eyebrows arched with surprise as fresh air slapped his face from the open top windows. Even so, those reasons for individual travel, cocooned in his Ford, came to him—personal space, sublime solitude listening to opera. He sought the least offensive fellow traveller. The beard looked normal enough: its owner gazing through a demisted circle on the window as London glided past.

An uncomfortable moment passed as Forrister obliged the window-side occupant to move a corner of his coat and shuffle up. In his car, Forrister would by now have tuned into Classic FM talking back, unheard, to the presenter, so he turned to his companion.

“Cold, today.”

No response. Could be his new friend had defective hearing but more likely incredulous anyone had the temerity to strike up a conversation. Twenty minutes before disembarking—he had to give it another shot.

“Hey, there’s Putney Cinema. Don’t go in Screen Three, it’s squeezed in between One and Two—you only hear the other two films and at the same time!”



“For—is that all?” Beard conversed all right but in gibberish and to the window. Suddenly, Forrister’s head received a blow from behind as a robust woman thrust her elbow over the seat.

She treated Forrister to a cloud of gardenia fragrance.

“Grooten?” She barked. Beard turned, looked at her and nodded.

What? He hadn’t appreciated the rapidity of language development since he last used public transport. Contorted out of recognition. Forrister couldn’t participate. The woman had slumped back into her seat and the beard brushed again at the condensation. Forrister had to try again.

“Full today then,” Forrister said, sketching a wave at the one empty seat.


Then: “Jaffa. Man…”

“I have an orange. Would you like a piece?”

Before the Beard could reply, the elbow dented Forrister’s head again.

“Grooten?” she asked. He shook. She re-slumped.

Dejected, Forrister re-bagged the orange, stood and weaved his way to the winding stairs, three stops early. Before the descent he glanced back.

The woman took Forrister’s seat. Beard took an ear-piece out of his left ear.

And shared the cricket.

About the Author

Geoff Nelder is a professional liar, badass editor, and fiction competition judge. He was awarded Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society for his research into air pollution and microclimates and used his students as unpaid researchers to discover urban heat islands in Yorkshire towns and villages. He taught now-out-of-date Geography and IT to the ungrateful alive but escaped on his bike to write.

His publications include science fiction novels Exit, Pursued by Bee and the ARIA trilogy; and thrillers: Escaping Reality, and Hot Air. Many of his short stories have found homes in mags such as The Horror Zine, Perihelion, Ether Books, Encounters, Jimston Journal, Delivered, Screaming Dreams and many anthologies such as Monk Punk, Science Fiction Writers’ Sampler (with Gregory Benford and David Brin), Twisted Tails, and Zombified.

His non-fiction include books on climate and he co-wrote How to Win Short Story Competitions.

Latest is an experimental science fiction short story, The Chaos of Mokii, published as an ebook by Solstice Publishing at


Where can we buy the books?

Geoff’s UK Amazon author page

And for US readers

How can we follow you on Facebook?

Twitter Handle?  @geoffnelder

GoodReads? As Geoff Nelder


Are there any other sites we should know about?

That’s it, thanks for reaching this far, if you did. May the rest of your life be deliriously wicked in the best possible way.

Posted in Authors, Guest Post, Solstice Publishing

Guest Post by Author Christopher Davis

It’s my pleasure to share the following guest post by my fellow Solstice Publishing author, Christopher Davis.

Good Morning and thank you for having me.

I’ve two novels on tap so far for 2017—one short and one full length—and both will be published by the good folks at Solstice publishing.

41oqgurj9ql-2Walking to Babylon—the first up and released February 2nd—is the longer version of a story that I wrote for the Multiple Myeloma Research charity anthology Paladins. My story in the anthology was titled Low and Outside and as you could guess takes both its title and story line from the game of baseball, as the story is told over a couple of beers at a farm team game in Las Vegas.

The collection was published in England and is stocked with some of the best indie crime writers on the scene today from both sides of the pond. Paladins was put together for a crime writer friend—Craig Furchtenicht and his wife—Henrietta—who at the time—was fighting a valiant battle against Multiple Myeloma. She has since lost that battle and writing the longer story was my way of remembering the smiles posted from a hospital room on Facebook as she struggled to keep those of us writers participating, in the game.

Walking to Babylon is not for the faint of heart as it follows a pair of unlikely Vegas mob types—Sammy Soriano and Tommy Two Guns Viglierchio—as they grow up busting balls for the old man.

 Vigleirchio has cancer and Soriano knows it, but there is really nothing that he can do except be a friend. After a hard life of drug use, fast living and even faster women, Viglierchio chooses to end it all one night in the desert outside of Las Vegas under a silver summer moon.

15380474_992590437512238_5384982518763232614_nAin’t No Law in California is a much longer post-apocalyptic, western that has lived on the hard drive of my computer for six or seven years. The original story was slated to be a traditional western and written as three stories, in the hope of gaining the attention of the shorter e-book publishers of the time.

After two complete re-writes and another in first person, I scrapped the idea and the story took on a more SCI-FI, Steam-Punk, Dystopian feel. A couple of folks read through it—after having read the original version—and it seemed that the Dan Bardwell series of odd westerns would get off the ground.

An untitled follow up is nearly complete and both are written as traditional as can be with the exception that they take place a hundred and fifty years in the future after a nuclear war has nearly wiped humanity out.

Walking to Babylon was just released on the 2nd of February and Ain’t No Law in California is making the various rounds of editing and should be out before spring and available through Amazon or Solstice Publishing?


Christopher Davis is a central California native and grandfather of three rambunctious little ones. When not tending herd, he can be found trying his hand at writing Crime, Western and Horror fiction. Chris lives with his wife and a little dog that has nearly lost his mind.

Find out more at