Posted in Blog Tour, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Sticks and Stones and a Bag of Bones by Heather Weidner

Sticks and Stones and a Bag of Bones: A Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mystery
by Heather Weidner

About Sticks and Stones and a Bag of Bones

Sticks and Stones and a Bag of Bones:
A Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mystery

Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Virginia
Level Best Books (January 17, 2023)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 277 pages
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0BS9ZN3DG
GoodReads Link – Coming Soon

When a beat-up suitcase full of bones washes up by the pier, the residents of the quaint resort town of Mermaid Bay are whipped into a hurricane-sized frenzy over the gruesome find in the middle of their Christmas in July festivities. The holly jolly mood retreats like the tide with everyone wondering who was in the suitcase.

Christmas shoppe owner, Jade Hicks, wades into the fracas when voodoo dolls and mysterious notes and posters about impending doom start popping up all over town, threatening to destroy the economy of a community that lives and dies by tourist dollars. Then tensions crest when the prickly bookstore owner is found strangled to death with a string of holiday lights.

Jade and her French bulldog Chloe, have to solve the crime before anyone else gets hurt and her business and the festival are forever tainted.
Sticks and Stones and a Bag of Bones is the first in the Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mysteries cozy series.

Six Things I Learned from My Dogs

By Heather Weidner, Author of STICKS AND STONES AND A BAG OF BONES

All of my cozy mysteries have fuzzy sidekicks. In my latest, STICKS AND STONES AND A BAG OF BONES, Chloe, the French Bulldog helps Jade Hicks run her Christmas Shoppe. Chloe thinks she’s in charge, but Neville, the Devil Cat, the store’s mouser knows better.

My husband and I share our house with a pair of Jack Russell Terriers, Disney and Riley. Life at my house is always an adventure. The Pair of Jacks have two settings, warp speed or sleep.

Here’s what I’ve learned from my fuzzy friends…

  1. Live in the now. Today is what’s important. The past and future don’t matter as much.
  2. Play hard. Life can’t be all work. Everything is a game to a Jack.
  3. Nap when you need to. You need to recharge every once in a while.
  4. Don’t waste a beautiful day inside. Go outside and have fun.
  5. Bark if you need to, but not too much.
  6. Wag and make friends. Relationships are important.

Sticks and Stones and a Bag of Bones is the first in the Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mysteries cozy series. Jade and the gang will also appear in Twinkle Twinkle Au Revoir (2024) and A Tisket A Tasket, Not Another Casket (2025).

Disney Dog

Riley “helping” with the editing

Chloe, the French Bulldog

Neville the Devil Cat

About Heather Weidner

Through the years, Heather Weidner has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager. She writes the Delanie Fitzgerald Mysteries, The Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries, and The Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mysteries.

Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, Deadly Southern Charm, and Murder by the Glass.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Sisters in Crime – Chessie, Guppies, International Thriller Writers, and James River Writers.

Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.

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February 15 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 15 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 16 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW, AUTHOR GUEST POST

February 16 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 17 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

February 17 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

February 17 – Novels Alive – REVIEW


February 18 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 19 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 20 – I’m Into Books – REVIEW, RECIPE

February 21 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR GUEST POST

February 22 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW

February 23 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – CHARACTER GUEST POST

February 24 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

February 25 – The Book Decoder – AUTHOR GUEST POST

February 25 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 26 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee – SPOTLIGHT

February 27 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

February 28 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

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

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

About Sleuthing in Stilettos

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

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

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

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


How This Author Juggles Holidays and Book Releases by Debra Sennefelder

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

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

Create the lists. 

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

Keep it all together.

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

Mark the date.

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

Plan to eat.

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

Lights, tinsel, and decorate.

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

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

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

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

About Debra Sennefelder

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

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

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

Author Links


Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKobo


December 5 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT

December 5 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT

December 6 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 6 – Jane Reads – AUTHOR GUEST POST

December 7 – StoreyBook Reviews – AUTHOR GUEST POST

December 7 – I’m Into Books – SPOTLIGHT

December 8 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 8 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

December 9 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

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


December 11 –The Book Decoder – REVIEW

December 12 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR GUEST POST

December 12 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

December 13 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

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

December 14 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT

December 14 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

December 15 – Novels Alive – REVIEW

December 15 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 16 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 17 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 18 – The Mystery of Writing – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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Guest Post and Blog Tour for Cowboys and Chaos, A Magical Book Club Mystery by Elizabeth Pantley


Cowboys and Chaos: Magical Mystery Book Club
by Elizabeth Pantley

About Cowboys and Chaos

Cowboys and Chaos: Magical Mystery Book Club
Paranormal Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Current Day AND the Wild West in the 1880s
Better Beginnings, Inc. (November 20, 2022)
Number of Pages: 250
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0BB1HS7XL

This is no ordinary book club! When the group chooses a book, they are whisked away from reality to find themselves totally immersed in the story. The characters, the setting, and the murder all come to life. In order to exit the book, they’ll need to solve the mystery and reach The End.

This time, the club chooses a mystery that takes place in a quaint western town – in the old Wild West. That sounds like great fun, until they arrive in the dusty old town in the Arizona desert, among cowboys and saloons. They discover that the outhouse isn’t the worse thing about this trip.

The good news is that Paige, Glo, Zell, Frank, and the other members of the club discover plenty of surprises here, and they have a great time visiting a piece of history. They’ll get to live through many exciting moments as they unravel this cozy mystery story.

GUEST POST by Elizabeth Pantley

Little Known Secrets of the Wild West

My newest book is set in the Wild West of the 1800s. Although the story is fiction, I like to include as many accurate details as possible to keep the story real for my readers. While researching this era, I discovered many funny or odd things about the old West. Here are a few.

Hollywood Gets it Wrong

There’s the REAL Wild West and the Hollywood version of the Wild West, and they are often very different. All the leading men in Westerns are handsome, clean-shaven, neat, and well-spoken. In the real Wild West, being a cowboy was dirty work. They were often toothless, messy, dirty, and very, very hairy. No cowboy in the 1800s shaved every morning, and they often bathed only a few times a year! They likely had just a few years of schooling, so while smart when it came to rounding up cattle, they weren’t great at conversation.

Cowboys didn’t wear Cowboy Hats

Well, they were cowboys, and they wore hats, but those hats looked very different from today’s cowboy hats. In the 1800s men wore short-brimmed bowler and Derby style hats. These didn’t protect them from the desert sun, so eventually the pioneers created newer hats patterned after the Mexican vaqueros’ sombrero. Cowboy hats as we know them today weren’t born until 1865, and weren’t common until many years later.

Gunslingers didn’t fill the Town

Most men in the wild west were farmers who worked the plows and tended the farm animals. Certainly there were gunslingers, but they were the minority. Men didn’t roam the town wearing pistols. Street violence, hired guns, and quickdraw gunfights were rare.

Brothels were Commonplace

Most towns had a cathouse, and no one cared. These were a normal aspect of life in a place where men outnumbered women by huge percentages. Parlor house owners were often some of the wealthy in town and used some of their funds for the benefit of the community.

Few Gun Owners were Crack Shots

Ammunition was very expensive, so very few gun owners were skilled. They couldn’t afford to practice.

The Hollywood Wild West is More Fun

The real Wild West was filled with hard work, disease, and struggle. The Hollywood Wild West is fascinating and exciting. Guess which Wild West appears in Cowboys and Chaos?

About Elizabeth Pantley

Elizabeth Pantley says that writing her two Mystery and Magic book series is the most fun she’s ever had at work. Fans of her work say her joy is evident through the engaging stories she tells. Elizabeth is also the internationally bestselling author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution and twelve other books for parents. Her books have been published in over twenty languages. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, a beautiful inspiration for her enchanted worlds.

I’m wild about Elizabeth’s new series and can’t wait to read this book. Check out my previous posts about her first two Magical Mystery Book Club books: Book 1: and Book 2:

You can also read an interview of Frank, the cat on this blog:

You can also read about her Destiny Falls Magic and Mystery series in these blog posts:,

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November 30 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 30 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 1 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 1 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 2 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

December 2 – Guatemala Paula Loves to Read – REVIEW

December 3 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT


December 4 – Cozy Up WIth Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 5 – Elza Reads – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 6 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

December 7 – Angel’s Guilty Pleasures – SPOTLIGHT

December 7 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT

December 8 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR GUEST POST

December 9 – ebook addicts – REVIEW

December 10 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT

December 10 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW

December 11 – I’m Into Books – SPOTLIGHT

December 12 – The Mystery of Writing – AUTHOR GUEST POST

December 13 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR GUEST POST


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6 Ways Reading Books Can Help You Discover Your Purpose in Life by Maggie Bloom

Reading books plays a significant role in modeling you into a better person. Reading expands your niche of knowledge on various life circumstances. As a reader, you learn new ideas and develop a deeper understanding of handling challenges. Books can also offer therapeutic benefits. Continue reading the article to learn about six ways reading books can help you discover your purpose in life.

1.  Reading Books Help you Develop Problem-Solving Skills

Enriching and enhancing your life largely depends on finding your purpose. When you develop a culture of reading books, it refines your intelligence levels. Depending on the types of books you love reading, you gain a proper approach to challenging situations over time. Insightful books will impact problem-solving skills necessary for everyday life. It is easy to learn and depict how a character in a book solves problems. It inspires you to develop a positive approach to any difficult situation.

Ideally, reading books improves your analytical thinking capacity. This means you can identify a problem and figure out a suitable solution within a short time. Regular reading of books boosts your brain’s functionality. It helps children to develop high-level cognitive skills through brain stimulation.

2.  Books Allow You to Learn Practical Life Insights

Reading about a character enriches you with secondary life experiences. You get an excellent opportunity to visualize the situations described by a character, after which you can now relate the situation to real-world happenings. Reading from a vast collection of books gives you real-life insights into understanding others. Extensive reading allows you to develop critical thinking skills necessary for everyday activities. Through fiction, you create a clear understanding of the present life situations.

3.  Improved Vocabulary

You’ll probably encounter new words that build your vocabulary list when you read books. Reading books gives you a contextual understanding of new words, which is the most effective way to develop your capacity for new words. This is different from memorizing new words, which can prove ineffective.

Once you’ve built a strong vocabulary for a given period, your communication skills are also improved. While reading, research the meaning of new words and understand their meaning in the context used.

4.  Books Offer Tips And Tricks More so If They’re Self-Help Books

Self-help books guide you on how to set life goals and how to achieve them. Since most of these books are authored by life coaches or therapists, you get inspired by the recommendations shared by them. These books can guide you on how to correctly interpret your understanding of the questions asked by the author. Through takeaways, self-help books acquaint you with tools to better yourself

Some of the tips you can gain from reading self-help books include:

  • Confidence
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Tidiness

Beware of self-proclaimed authors with fake self-help books, so always take your time and pick the right self-help book that will meet your interests.

5.  Fictions And Biography Help You Develop Empathy

Reading through books builds better emotional intelligence for proper empathy. When you read books on relationships, you can digest how a character reached a decision. Fictions and biographies have the best ways to improve your emotional intelligence.

Generally, having a strong sense of empathy is essential when dealing with real-life relationship issues. You can quickly develop an independent opinion on a given circumstance and help your partner, friend, or family member navigate through such difficult moments.

6.  Books Improve Mental Health

Reading books nourishes your mental health with a sense of calmness which is significant for your mental health. Picking your favorite book to read gives you a therapeutic feeling, lowering your heart rate and thus easing the tension within your muscles. Additionally, reading books provides a healthy escape, taking you into a world of fiction, which relaxes your mind.

Reading books can help maintain your mental health, especially if you are an introvert. Through books, you can quickly delve deeper into your innermost being. You get to meditate and visualize your dreams and how far you should push to realize the goals.

Generally, reading favorite books has a significant impact on your overall well-being. Books provide an opportunity to develop critical life problem-solving skills. Self-help books nourish your mental health with skills to handle sensitive and dynamic situations. Lastly, books are a better and cheaper source of psychologists. They provide therapeutic services.

Author Bio: Maggie graduated from Utah Valley University with a degree in communication and writing. In her spare time, she loves to dance, read, and bake. She also enjoys traveling and scouting out new brunch locations.

Posted in Cozy Mystery, Guest Post

Guest Post and Blog Tour for Vampire and Villains, a Magical Book Club Mystery by Elizabeth Pantley

Vampires and Villains: The Magical Mystery Book Club
by Elizabeth Pantley

About Vampires and Villains

Vampires and Villains: The Magical Mystery Book Club
Paranormal Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Independently Published (September 1, 2022)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 219 pages
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0B3WN3Z9M

Paige and her joyful Aunt Glo have learned that the home they inherited comes with a magical library. They put together a book club group of loveable kooks to explore the magic.

They’ve recovered from their first book journey, and they all agree on their next book which takes place on a cruise ship bound for Hawaii. Problem is, they were so excited about the cruising idea that they didn’t read the entire blurb on the back of the book. (“It was entirely too long,” explains Zell.) Once on the ship, they meet a charming and likable man who blends seamlessly into their motley group. Too bad they don’t know why he’s so scarce during the day but shows up to join them every evening for dinner, drinks, and a show. When a dead body shows up on board, their new friend is labeled a suspect. Can they help him out by finding the real murderer? Or is he the real murderer? The book club will need to solve the case to get off the ship, out of the book, and back to their home.


Why You Should Try a New Genre
By Elizabeth Pantley
Author of Magical Mystery Book Club series

We all have our favorite kinds of books to read. Our favorite places to read, and our favorite times to read. Those things make us happy. They feel comfortable. They don’t require any real effort on our part. But sometimes, it’s fun, exciting, and even exhilarating to step out of your box and try something new.

A New Genre

It’s easy to get into a pattern of picking books that fit your favorite themes and styles. Often, we just automatically go to the themes we enjoy most. I like witchy cozy mysteries, and there are so many of them to choose from. I could read one a day and never run out of books!

One day, I got an offer from a friend to read her new cozy mystery – no witches involved. The story featured …. a baking competition, no magic included!  The characters were funny and fresh. The story took me in a different direction than my usual reads. And I had a really great time! Now I’ve learned that I can have more than one favorite kind of story as a go-to when choosing my next read.

A New Reading Place

I read while curled up on my sofa with a cup of tea, and then every night when I get into bed propped up on pillows. Of course, I’ll always read in those two places, because I love them! Ever since I downloaded books onto my phone, I’ve found a million new places to read! Okay, not a million, but plenty! If I’m in a long line at the grocery store, I open my book and sneak in a chapter. Waiting room at the doctor’s office? Read! At a football game? Hah. Yeah. Read! Bored with dinner conversation – Read! (Okay, don’t tell anybody that one, since the book is hiding on my lap…)

I’ve also learned that listening to audiobooks opens a whole new world of loving books. Now, when I’m cooking, I can listen to a story. When I’m taking a long drive, I can be entertained instead of annoyed. I even listened to an audiobook during minor foot surgery! It took my attention away from the doctor and into a fantasy world of fun.

Opening your mind to new kinds of books and new places and ways to read can revitalize your reading life in a very pleasant way.


About Elizabeth Pantley

Elizabeth Pantley says that writing the Destiny Falls Mystery and Magic book series is the most fun she’s ever had at work. Fans of the series say her joy is evident through the stories she tells. Elizabeth is also the internationally bestselling author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution and twelve other books for parents. Her books have been published in over twenty languages. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, the beautiful inspiration for the enchanted Destiny Falls world.

Author Links

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September 1 – Baroness Book Trove – REVIEW

September 1 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

September 2 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

September 2 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 3 – Angel’s Guilty Pleasures – SPOTLIGHT

September 4 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW


September 6 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST

September 7 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST

September 7 – fundinmental – REVIEW

September 8 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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

September 10 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 11 – Nadaness In Motion – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 12 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT

September 13 – eBook Addicts – REVIEW

September 14 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT

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Posted in Guest Post, Reading

Guest Post: 6 Creative Ways to Encourage Your Kids to Start Reading by Samantha Higgins

6 Creative Ways to Encourage Your Kids to Start Reading

by Samantha Higgins

If you are interested in developing your child’s literacy skills, you may want to consider creative ways they will enjoy reading. Children need various opportunities to practice and enjoy their newfound talent to develop strong reading skills and a love for reading.

Some parents prefer explicit teaching methods, while others believe that allowing kids to explore independently is the best way to encourage them. Whatever method you believe is best for your child, these six strategies should help increase their excitement for books. Discussed below are some creative ways to encourage the kids to start reading.

1. Use Books You Love

When it comes to encouraging your child to develop a love for reading, nothing is more important than the books you choose to read with them. The best way to introduce children to reading is through using books you love.

While it’s always a good idea for parents and teachers alike to familiarize themselves with excellent children’s literature, it’s vital that you also make sure that what you’re reading with your young reader is age-appropriate. Your child will learn to love reading if you let them choose their books.

2. Begin a Reading Challenge

Another fun way to get kids excited about reading is by creating a challenge. Let them create a list of their favorite books and pick a book from that list to read with them each day. After reading the book, ask your child about their favorite part or character.

Did they like it when so-and-so got in trouble? Did they think this character was funny? Consider having your child rate their book from one to five stars after each reading session. You may also reward them with a small reward for their effort, like a piece of candy or some extra time to play video games.

3. Check a Book Before You Purchase It

When purchasing books for your child, remember to check them out in bookstores or borrow them from the library before you purchase. Some children find it difficult to read books that are too advanced for them, so by finding out how much your child can read and comparing it with the age range of their book, you can make sure they’ll be able to manage their reading level.

Also, check whether it is on the children’s banned books list. Books may get banned for various reasons, like cursing and inappropriate illustrations. Others may have pictures that may be violent, frightening, or too explicit. Purchasing an interesting book for your child is one of the best ways to encourage your child to read.

4. Make Reading Fun

The best way to ensure your child will want to read is by having fun with it. Make reading a game and let them pick the game they will participate in while they are doing it. Make a game out of reading a book by giving your child a prize each time they finish one. If you have several children, you can have them play a game where they compete to get the most books read during their free time.

Another great way to make reading more fun is by making up stories together. If your child has a book about pirates, you can make up a story about the pirate who stole a treasure map from another pirate. This will be far more fun than the book and encourage your child to read more.

5. Read With Them

When initiating reading time, start small by simply reading aloud with your child every night before bedtime. Reading aloud with your child every night is a great way to show them how much you love reading.

The more you read to your child, the more interested they will be in reading. You’ll also find that this can help children fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, as reading releases feel-good hormones into the body while they read.

6. Let Them Read Anywhere

Another great way to encourage your kids to read more is by letting them carry a book around with them wherever they go. If they like to play in the sandbox, let them read in the sandbox.

If they like to go out for a walk, let them carry a book with them and read it while you’re walking. This will encourage your child to read, play outside more often, and get fresh air. Look for small books that fit in their pockets and are light enough to carry around.


To encourage children to read, you’ll want to pick a series of books they will love. Use these tips to create an environment that allows your child to enjoy reading as much as possible.

Samantha Higgins is a professional writer with a passion for research, observation, and innovation. She is nurturing a growing family of twin boys in Portland, Oregon with her husband. She loves kayaking and reading creative non-fiction.

Posted in Blog Tour, Guest Post

Blog Tour and Guest Post for Fragrance of Death, A Sally Solari Mystery by Leslie Karst

The Fragrance of Death (A Sally Solari Mystery)
by Leslie Karst

About The Fragrance of Death

The Fragrance of Death (A Sally Solari Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – California
Severn House; Main edition (August 2, 2022)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 224 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1448309034
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1448309030
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09V878YNB

Restaurateur Sally Solari has a nose for trouble, but when her sense of smell goes missing, it’s not just her career on the line . . . it’s her life.

Restaurateur Sally Solari is a champion, both in the kitchen and on the case, but after getting mixed up in one too many murders, she’s noticed her nonna’s friends have now taken to crossing themselves when they see her in the street. Adding to her woes, a sinus infection has knocked out her sense of smell, making cooking on the hot line difficult, indeed. Nevertheless, Sally is determined to stay out of trouble and focus on her work.

But then her old acquaintance Neil Lerici is murdered at the annual Santa Cruz Artichoke Cook-Off, and her powers of investigation are called into action once more. Could Neil have been killed by the local restaurant owner who took his winning spot at the competition? Or maybe by one of his siblings, who were desperate to sell the family farm to a real estate developer?

Sally plunges headfirst into the case, risking alienating everyone she knows – including the dapper Detective Vargas, who finds her sleuthing both infuriating and endearing. And soon it’s not only her restaurant and tentative new relationship that are on the line – it’s her life . . .

The Fragrance of Death is a non-stop fun cozy mystery that will keep your mind buzzing and your mouth watering, and contains a selection of delicious recipes to cook at home.

Guest Post: Stop and Smell the Coffee—If You Can

The Fragrance of Death, the brand new book in my Sally Solari culinary mystery series, opens with a horror story. Or at least that’s how it feels to Sally, who wakes up on page one to discover she’s completely lost her sense of smell. And I mean completely: not even the stink of a thousand cloves of garlic would be enough to set her olfactory nerves alight.

Since Sally is the owner and sous chef at Gauguin, a trendy French-Polynesian eatery in Santa Cruz, California, having no sense of smell—which translates to having no sense of taste, either—spells disaster for her as a restaurateur. Not to mention as a human being, because there’s nothing she loves more than the flavor of a roast chicken scented with tarragon and butter, or the fragrance of a vine-ripened peach served atop a dollop of raspberry-spiked crème fraîche.

And to make matters even worse, this is the day she’s competing in the annual artichoke cook-off—at which she’d vowed to best her beloved but highly competitive father, who owns Solari’s, a traditional Italian seafood place out on the town’s historic fisherman’s wharf. How on earth can Sally be expected to prepare Artichoke Salad with Lemon Aïoli for two hundred people with no ability to smell or taste a thing?

You may suspect that this plot device is based on the plight of the myriad people who lost their sense of smell as a result of Covid. But no. It was actually inspired by personal experience, something completely unrelated to the pandemic. For I suffered through my own horror story when, some years back, after having a particularly vicious sinus infection, I thought I’d recovered—only to wake up one morning unable to smell a thing.

It’s an exceedingly bizarre experience to brew your morning pot of coffee and then suddenly realize you can’t detect any aroma whatsoever from those beans you’re grinding. And then to bite into the half a hamburger you’ve reheated for breakfast and have your tastebuds register nothing whatsoever—even after you douse the thing with a tablespoon of of Sriracha sauce. (Which is exactly what happened to me that dire morning.)

And then to have my ENT inform me that my sense of smell may never ever return? That it all depended on whether or not the nerves regenerated on their own? Horror of horrors!

I almost balked at throwing such a horrendous experience at my protagonist. After four books, I’d grown quite fond of her, and it seemed somehow, well…mean to saddle her with such a plight. But it is a murder mystery, after all, so I figured she could take it. Sally is a tough gal.

And, after all, my sense of smell did thank goodness eventually return—though not for six long, miserable and excruciating weeks. But you’ll just have to read the book to see what happens with Sally….

About Leslie Karst

Leslie Karst is the author of the Lefty Award-nominated Sally Solari culinary mystery series. The daughter of a law professor and a potter, she waited tables and sang in a new wave rock band before deciding she was ready for “real” job and ending up at Stanford Law School. It was during her career as a research and appellate attorney in Santa Cruz, California, that Leslie rediscovered her youthful passion for food and cooking and once more returned to school—this time to earn a degree in culinary arts.

Now retired from the law, Leslie spends her time cooking, cycling, gardening, singing alto in her local community chorus, and of course writing. She and her wife and their Jack Russell mix split their time between Santa Cruz and Hilo, Hawai‘i.

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Guest Post and Spotlight for The Dead Betray None (A Viscount Ware Mystery) by J.L. Buck

The Dead Betray None (A Viscount Ware Mystery)

Genre: Historical (Regency) Mystery

Author: JL Buck

An aristocratic spy and a highborn lady cross paths over a dead body.

1811 England seethes with discontent. A self-indulgent prince regent sits on the throne of a country at war with France, on the brink of war with America, and facing growing rebellion at home.

Lucien, Viscount Ware, recently home after four years on the Continent as a spy for England, finds life in the haute ton tedious. He secretly agrees to handle a few delicate matters for the Crown’s private spy unit at Whitehall. A housebreaking at a country houseparty seems a strange assignment until he discovers that a French cipher, the key to Napoleon’s war codes, was among the stolen items. As he follows its trail to London’s notorious rookeries and into its glittering ballrooms, he faces a growing threat of treachery from more than one direction.

Lady Anne Ashburn missed her London season while caring for her invalid mother in the north country. A new nurse allows her to visit relatives, where she becomes embroiled in a blackmail plot. To avoid a terrible scandal, she goes to London to face down the scoundrel threatening her family.

The night of the elegant Christmastide Ball, Lucien finds Lady Anne standing over a corpse. What happens after that—the risks they take, the intrusion of a notorious crime lord, society gossip, and good intentions gone awry—sends them spiraling into danger and potential disaster for England’s war effort.

An ever-twisting plot sure to keep you turning the pages.

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GUEST POST; Anything for a Bet!

One of the enjoyable things about writing historical fiction is the interesting tidbits of history you discover during research. One such item was the cricket match at Ball Pond in October 1811.

The Regency period in England was gambling mad. Some men—and women—would bet on anything from the outcome of a sporting event to whether a courtship would last or how long it would take a snake to cross the road.

On this particular occasion—defying society’s belief at the time that women were too delicate for sports—a 500 guinea bet (approx. $17,000 in today’s market) led to the first recorded match of two all-women cricket teams. The match between Hampshire and Surrey counties lasted three days with Hampshire finally winning by fifteen notches. Referred to as a “bawdy” event (see a sketch of the match for sale), the gentlemen organizers immediately arranged for a rematch!

About the Author:

J L Buck began writing full-time after she retired from a legal career with the Juvenile Court System. Over the next few years, she published sixteen urban fantasy/paranormal novels under the pen name of Ally Shields. In 2019, she decided to fulfill a childhood wish to write mysteries, chose a period in history that fascinated her—and began work on the Viscount Ware Mystery series set in Regency England.

Ms. Buck lives in the Midwest with Latte, a mischievous Siamese cat, who attempts to co-author her writing by taking over the keyboard. When not writing or running two blogs, J L Buck enjoys her eight grandchildren (and a great-grandson), reading (preferably on a sunny deck), travel (USA and abroad), and binge-watching any sub-genre of mystery shows.

She can be contacted through her website, her Ally Shields fantasy website, or other social media


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I Read What You Write!

Meet the Characters from The Case of the Cat Crazy Lady
By Debbie De Louise

Instead of a blurb, excerpt, or a plot synopsis, character profiles are a great way to introduce readers to a book. Here are some of the characters from The Case of the Cat Crazy Lady: Buttercup Bend Mystery #1. I hope you enjoy meeting them.

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Cathy Carter is the main character of The Case of the Cat Crazy Lady. She lives in Buttercup Bend which is a lovely small town in the Catskills of upstate New York with her grandmother, Florence and Siamese cat, Oliver. She co-owns a pet cemetery, Rainbow Gardens, and rescue center, Rainbow Rescues, with her brother, Doug, who lives next door with his pregnant wife, Becky. She and Doug are orphans. They lost their parents five years ago in a car accident. Cathy was injured in the accident and…

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Guest Post and Blog Tour for Valued for Murder: A Dotty Sayers Antique Mystery by Victoria Tait

Valued for Murder: A British Cozy Murder Mystery
(A Dotty Sayers Antique Mystery) by Victoria Tait

About Valued for Murder

Valued for Murder: A British Cozy Murder Mystery
(A Dotty Sayers Antique Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Kanga Press (June 10, 2022)
Number of Pages c. 240
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09TRXWWNG

An antiques show. A dead diva. For an amateur sleuth the truth is not always crystal clear.

Dotty Sayers is enjoying her job in a Cotswold auction house. When she’s offered a place on an antiques TV show, she nervously agrees to a makeover and is surprised by the admiring glances she receives. Working on set at a historic country hotel, she realises all that glitters is not gold when at the bottom of the circular staircase, one of the experts is found dead.

Was the death accidental or something shadier? Dotty promises to leave the investigation to the police, but as this amateur sleuth appraises the dead woman’s estate, she can’t help unveiling clues. But when she returns from viewing a priceless sculpture, and finds her British blue cat missing, she knows that life does not imitate art.

Can Dotty tell a fake from the real deal and identify the killer?

Guest Post – Antique Television Shows

The death in Valued for Murder occurs during the filming of a fictitious antique TV show, The Antique Tour, when a celebrity expert is killed.  A potentially priceless bronze sculpture, which is brought to the show by a member of the public, is also featured in the story.

Before I started writing the Dotty Sayers Antique Mystery series, I re-watched the 1980s British show, Lovejoy, about a loveable rogue and shady antiques dealer who was always out for a quick buck.  However, his conscience usually got the better of him, and as he had a talent for discovering hidden treasures, he always extricated himself and his friends from whatever scrape they were in.

My advanced readers have enjoyed the antique show setting.  In the UK, the number of shows relating to antiques, auctions, and associated themes, such as architectural restoration, have steadily increased.  The original programme, The Antiques Roadshow, is popular in both the US and the UK, as I believe, is Antiques Roadtrip.

So why are these shows so popular?  People love a rags to riches story and the dream that an object gathering dust in their garage or attic is worth a fortune.  This concept is one of the themes in Valued for Murder.

Many people have an object which has been handed down as a family heirloom, which they are very attached to.  Seeing similar people with similar items on the television creates an emotional link and brings them back to watch the program each week.

As viewers, we love watching the reaction of the owners to the valuation of their items, but we also enjoy the personal stories behind objects.

The shows have also helped the antique industry, particularly in jewellery, with members of the public becoming aware of the wide range of antique jewellery, much of which is affordable, and they seek it out to buy.

There are also reports that despite of the pandemic, or maybe because of it, there is rising interest period pieces over modern equivalents and that vintage pieces and family heirlooms are making a comeback.  The trend for upcycling is leading people to repurpose items they didn’t think worth keeping into something useful or fun.

Shows in the UK such as Bargain Hunt are popular, as everyone likes the chance of buying a piece and selling it at auction for a profit.  And if they make a loss, it doesn’t matter as they are spending someone else’s money!

Antique fairs are increasing in popularity and the customers who visit are more knowledgeable than ever before.  While some are looking for a bargain, to make a profit, I would caution that it is best to buy items you like and want to live with.

And if you think you have an item of value or interest you’d like to take to a show?  Look up the relevant show’s website and find out what you need to do.  Antiques Roadshow, for instance, is only allowing visitors who have applied for tickets, although this is free to do.

I hope you enjoy Valued for Murder and future episodes of your favourite antique shows.

About Victoria Tait

I was born and raised in Yorkshire, UK, and never expected to travel the world. But I fell for an Army Officer, and I’ve followed him from Northern Ireland, up to the Scottish Highlands, across to Africa and the Kenyan Savannah, back to the British Cotswolds, and we are now living in Sarajevo, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Southern Europe.

I never expected to be an author, but all this moving is not ideal for holding down a job. Instead, I’ve taken the experiences of the places I’ve lived to write vivid and evocative cozy mystery books with determined female sleuths.

I have two fast-growing teenage boys, and together we’ve learnt to ski on the Bosnian mountains. I also enjoy horse riding, mountain biking and I’ve started running as a way to improve my physical fitness, mental wellbeing and shed some excess pounds.

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