Posted in Blog Tour, Cozy Mystery, New Releases

Recipe for Creamy Chocolate Sauce or Icing G.F.V. with Spotlight for Smothered: A Whipped and Sipped Mystery by G.P. Gottlieb

Smothered: A Whipped and Sipped Mystery
by G. P. Gottlieb

About Smothered

Smothered: A Whipped and Sipped Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Publisher: D. X. Varos, Ltd. (February 16, 2021)
Paperback: 258 pages
ISBN-10: 1941072879
ISBN-13: 978-1941072875
Digital ASIN: B08HX7TWNH

Alene Baron doesn’t go looking for mysteries, they find her. When the highly disliked owner of a business neighboring the Whipped and Sipped Cafe turns up dead, the list of potential suspects is pretty long, including all of the members of his quarrelsome family. Missing wills, convenient accidents, and enough red herring to feed the lunch crowd spice up this tantalizing tale. As always, while pondering the evidence, Alene also comes up with creative vegan dishes to serve her customers and share with you.

Check out this delicious recipe.

Creamy Chocolate Sauce or Icing G.F. V.

1 ¼ cup water

1 small baked sweet potato (with skin)

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 TBSP decaf or coffee powder or crystals

1 tsp cinnamon

½ cup maple syrup

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

¼ tsp salt


  1. Replace ¼ cup of water with a liquor
  2. Replace at least ¼ cup of water with any kind of milk
  3. Add a whole peeled orange
  4. Add ¼ brown sugar for a sweeter frosting or sauce
  • Place ingredients in a high-powered blender and turn on the ‘soup’ setting. The heat will temper the chocolate, which will turn shiny. It should be smooth enough to pour or spread.
  • If you don’t have a soup setting, use your blender to mix everything until completely smooth, pour into a microwave-safe container, then zap in the microwave for one minute. Stir, zap another 30 seconds, and stir again until the sauce is a little steamy and silky looking.
  • If you want a sweeter sauce, consider one of the options above.
  • After a night in the refrigerator, the sauce will be thicker, more like a ganache. Zap it again if you need it to be easily spreadable.
  • Use it to frost a cake, or dip strawberries, or enjoy teaspoonfuls of it all week (if it lasts that long) knowing that it is definitely healthful!

About G. P. Gottlieb

G.P. Gottlieb has worked as a musician, a teacher, and an administrator, but she’s happiest when writing recipe-laced murder mysteries. Battered: A Whipped and Sipped Mystery and Smothered: A Whipped and Sipped Mystery take place in the spring and summer of 2019 and a third book in the series will center on a murder that occurs during the city of Chicago’s lockdown in May 2020. G.P. Gottlieb has always experimented in the kitchen and created her delicious vegan cookies and cakes in direct opposition to what she learned in courses at Chicago’s French Pastry School. She is host for New Books in Literature, a podcast channel on the New Books Network, the mother of three grown children, and lives with her husband in a Chicago high-rise that is strikingly similar to the building portrayed in the Whipped and Sipped Mystery series.

Author Links


Facebook Author Page

Facebook Personal Page




Purchase Links – AmazonB&N

a Rafflecopter giveaway


February 15 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

February 15 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

February 16 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 16 – ebook addicts – SPOTLIGHT

February 17 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST

February 18 – I Read What You Write – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

February 19 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

February 20 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 20 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

February 21 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

February 21 – Literary Gold – REVIEW

February 22 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 23 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 24 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

February 25 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

February 26 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 26 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

February 27 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

February 27 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

February 28 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Posted in Blog Tour, Freebies and Special Offers, New Releases

March New Releases, Blog Tour, and Sales

As February comes to a close, I have some exciting news for my readers. My Cobble Cove story, KittyKai’s Easter Mystery, will release on March 5 with a blog tour running March 22 to 28.

Here’s the tour schedule if you’d like to follow along and enter the giveaway.

March 22 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW, GUEST POST

March 22 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 23 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW

March 23 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 24 – Maureen’s Musing – REVIEW

March 24 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 25 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 25 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW


March 26 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

March 27 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 27 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

March 28 – Literary Gold – REVIEW

March 28 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT

For an exclusive excerpt from this book, subscribe to my author’s newsletter, Debbie’s Drafts, by filling out the pop-up form at or send your email address to me to at, and I’ll subscribe you.

I’ve also had a story accepted in an upcoming anthology for Red Penguin Collections. My story, “Growing Up in the Summer of 1971,” will appear in The Roaring ’20’s: A Decade of Stories.

In March, I also have two books on sale. The Spanish translation of my silver-medal award-winning psychological mystery, Sea Scope (Vista Al Mar), will be on sale through March 4 and my medical mystery, Memory Makers, will be on sale from March 23 to March 27. Both will cost only 99 cents for the eBook versions.







I’ll also be publishing a time-travel thriller, Time’s Relative, with Next Chapter Publishing. I have already signed a contract with them and will start the editing process shortly.

If you’d like to connect with me on any of my social media sites, you can find them all at this link:

Posted in Author Spotlight, Cozy Mystery, New Releases

Interview with Author Toni LoTempio and Spotlight for her New Release, Hiss “H” for Homicide

Author Toni LoTempio, writing as T.C. LoTempio is here with me today on Ruff Drafts to talk about her writing and new cozy mystery. Toni hairs from Phoenix, Arizona.

Welcome, Toni. 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’ve been traditionally published since December 2014 with the first Nick and Nora mystery. Before that I self published several paranormal suspense books under Toni LoTempio. 

With Penguin/Random House, the Nick and Nora Mysteries, first three: Meow if it’s Murder, Claws for Alarm, Crime and Catnip. With Beyond the Page: Hiss H for Homicide

With Crooked Lane:  Cat Rescue mysteries: Purr M for Murder, Death by a Whisker

With Midnight Ink:  Pet Shop Mystery #1, Meow is the Time for Murder; with Beyond the Page, Pet Shop Mystery #2, Killers of a Feather (due out late 2021)

That’s quite a writing history.

Tell us a little bit about your books — if you write a series, any upcoming releases or your current work-in-progress. If you have an upcoming release, please specify the release date.

The Nick and Nora mysteries are about Nora Charles, an ex-investigative reporter, and her tuxedo cat, Nick, who stumble into and solve mysteries kind of like the original Nick and Nora Charles, only without the martinis and Asta LOL.  The latest release in this series is Hiss H for Homicide, where Nick and Nora try to clear her  mother’s friend, a romance writer, of the murder of her ex-partner.  Book 5, Murder Faux Paws, will be out in 2022.

The Pet Shop Mysteries feature Crishell “Shell” McMillan as an ex-actress turned pet shop owner. She also solves mysteries with the aid of her cats, Purrday, a one-eyed Persian and Kahlua, a Siamese, and her ex-costar, Gary Presser.  Book two, Killers of a Feather, out later this year, deals with Shell trying to clear her friend Rita of the murder of a man who supposedly swindled her and her husband years ago.

Those all sound interesting. 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?

My primary goal as a writer is to entertain, which I hope my books do. In the next few years I would like to reach my goal of twelve Nick and Nora mysteries.  Good sales will  help  me accomplish that goal.

I hope you luck with that. What type of reader are you hoping to attract?  Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?

Anyone who enjoys a good cozy mystery, along the lines of Murder She Wrote, and who loves animals, especially cats, would probably enjoy my books!

I’m sure I would like them, as I also write a cozy mystery, the Cobble Cove Mysteries, featuring Sneaky the Library Cat.

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

Keep trying, don’t give up.  Make rejection your friend and learn from it, because in the  beginning you’ll hear that word a lot!

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

I actually started out writing horror, but switched to mysteries when I was told that unless you were Stephen King there was no market for horror.  I had ten years of rejections from publishers and agents before I finally got my agent and my first traditional publishing contract. In the meantime, I did self-publish paranormal suspense.

How inspiring. I’ve been writing and publishing with Indie publishers for 5 years now and am still seeking an agent.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

Are there any other hobbies and interests LOL.  I would say I enjoy reading and I’m also a big Gray’s Anatomy fan.

Reading is always a good hobby for a writer to have as well as watching a popular TV show.

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

I like having the freedom to create characters and worlds, and hopefully people enjoy them.  Toughest challenge:  Selling something in today’s market.

I think most writers feel the same way.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I like the small town flavor, the fact that the blood and gore is kept off-page.  Sometimes I feel too much is a turn off for the reader.

I definitely agree with that. Besides not being excessively gory, cozy mysteries also don’t feature explicit sex scenes or bad language.

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

I could hear the chimes echo eerily through the house, but no one came to the door. Nick suddenly let out a sharp meow. Next thing I knew, he’d hopped down from the railing and started to trot around the house. I hesitated only briefly and then hurried after him. Around the side of the house was a wall comprised of glass doors. Nick paused before it, his tail sticking straight out in back of him. I walked over to the doors and saw that one was slightly ajar. Nick turned and looked at me expectantly.

“Oh, no.” I shook my head. “That’s breaking and entering, buddy. We can’t just barge in here.”

Nick turned his back on me, and before I could do more than blink, he’d miraculously managed to squeeze his plump body through the opening.

“Great,” I muttered. Well, I couldn’t just abandon him. I walked over to the door and gave it a tentative push. It swung back, and I stepped inside.

The house was deceptive. It was definitely larger than it appeared, which might have been part of its charm and could account for Marlene’s decision to acquire the rental. As I moved cautiously around, poking my head into rooms filled with antique trappings and silk-covered sofas definitely too fragile to sit on, I realized why most people had been loath to rent it. Who wanted to live in a museum? I kept on meandering, calling out Marlene’s name, but only a thick silence answered me.

Nick was sitting in front of the circular staircase, tail wrapped around his paws. “Come on,” I said. “She’s not here. We’ll come back another time.”


With that, he uncurled his tail and scooted up the staircase. At the top landing he paused and looked back at me as if to say: What’s keeping you, human?

“I should leave you here,” I muttered, but my niggling sense of curiosity won out over my better judgment and I climbed the staircase, the sound of my heels muffled by the expensive carpeting that covered the stairs. A wide hallway extended itself on either side of me, and no sign of my tubby tuxedo. “Nick,” I hissed. “Where are you, you devil?”

No response, so I moved over toward the right side and opened the first door, which appeared to be a bedroom, and a holy mess. The bedclothes had been stripped from the massive canopied king-sized bed and thrown in a ball in its center. Drawers were pulled out of the cherrywood highboy and dresser and hung limply, their contents strewn helter-skelter around the room. A high-backed chair was overturned in the middle of the floor, and the closet door was half open. I could see dresses hanging half off hangers, and a half-open suitcase was propped up against the interior.

“Oh my God,” I cried. It certainly looked as if someone had been searching for something. A thief, perhaps? A chill ran down my spine at my next thought: Could he still be here? Had Marlene possibly caught him in the act? I stepped back into the hallway, uncertain what my next move should be.


The cry came from the left, so I moved in that direction. I saw Nick, squatting before a door at the end of the hallway; he looked up, saw me, and ducked inside. I hurried down the hall and peered into the darkened room. It was set up as an office, boasting a small cherrywood desk, file cabinet, and a laptop square in the desk’s center. “Nick,” I hissed. “Where are you?”


“I hear you, Nick, but I can’t see you. This room is too dark to spot a cat that’s mostly black.”

I felt along the wall and finally my fingers touched a light switch. I flicked it on, illuminating a table lamp that cast a rosy glow through the room—and highlighted the colorless face of the woman slumped on the floor just to the left of the desk. I sucked in my breath.

Even though I’d never met her in person, I’d seen enough pictures on the inside covers of her books to know the woman framed in the circle of dim light was Marlene McCambridge—and she looked to be stone-cold dead.

Great excerpt. Thanks for sharing.

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

The Return of Nick and Nora has been a long time coming…I hope fans will agree it was worth the wait.

It took me two years to write the 5th Cobble Cove mystery because I was writing standalones in between, but I also wrote some Cobble Cove short ebooks in between. I think fans like authors to write books in the series as fast as possible, but they understand that isn’t always possible. It also may bring you new fans for the first in the series.

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

Thanks so much, Toni. I’m featuring your blog tour and giveaway below. Best wishes on your new release.

Hiss H for Homicide (A Nick and Nora Mystery)
by T. C. LoTempio

About Hiss H For Homicide

Hiss H for Homicide (A Nick and Nora Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series – 1st with this publisher
Publisher: Beyond the Page Publishing (February 9, 2021)
Paperback: 224 pages
ISBN-10: 1950461947
ISBN-13: 978-1950461943
Digital ASIN: B08QW7Z25S

Nick and Nora are back in a tantalizing new mystery that’s far more dangerous than a game of cat and mouse . . .
Never one to turn away from a challenge—even when it goes against her better judgment—Nora Charles can hardly say no when an old friend of her mother’s comes to town seeking her help. The author of steamy romances has learned that her writing partner is severing their relationship and threatening to reveal dark and dirty secrets in a tell-all, and she pleads with Nora to intervene. Reluctantly agreeing to help, Nora pays a visit to the writing partner, ready to make her case—right up until the moment she discovers the woman’s lifeless body.

With the police convinced that Nora’s friend is the culprit, she and Nick begin delving into the dead woman’s past and her provocative tell-all. It soon becomes apparent that the woman had a knack for digging up dirt and wasn’t shy about exposing skeletons in closets, and before long Nora has a seemingly endless list of suspects who were at risk of having their darkest secrets revealed. With a police force intent on throwing the book at Nora’s friend and time running out, she and Nick must outwit a dangerous killer before they take their own secrets to the grave . . .

About T. C. LoTempio

While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic. She and her cat pen the Nick and Nora mystery series originally from Berkley Prime Crime and now with Beyond the Page Publishing. They also write the Cat Rescue series from Crooked Lane and the Pet Shop series, originally published by Midnight Ink and continued in 2021 with book two, KILLERS OF A FEATHER, from Beyond the Page. Catch up with them at ROCCO’s blog, or her website,

Author Links

ROCCO’s blog:



Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKOBOGoogle Play

a Rafflecopter giveaway


February 8 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

February 9 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 9 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT

February 10 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – CHARACTER GUEST POST

February 10 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 11 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – GUEST POST. INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY

February 12 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

February 12 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW


February 14 – Cozy Up WIth Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 15 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

February 16 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

February 16 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY

February 17 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 18 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW

February 19 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

February 20 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

February 21 – Diane Reviews Books – GUEST POST, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Posted in Cozy Mystery, New Releases, Spotlight

Spotlight for One Poison Pie: A Kitchen Witch Mystery by Lynn Cahoon

One Poison Pie (Kitchen Witch Mysteries)
by Lynn Cahoon

About One Poison Pie

One Poison Pie (Kitchen Witch Mysteries) by Lynn Cahoon
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Kensington (January 26, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
ISBN-10: 1496730313
ISBN-13: 978-1496730312
Digital ASIN: B087YNC1B6

In the first in New York Times bestselling author Lynn Cahoon’s Kitchen Witch series, Mia Malone is starting over in Magic Springs, Idaho—where murder is on the menu . . .

What’s a kitchen witch to do when her almost-fiancé leaves her suddenly single and unemployed? For Mia Malone, the answer’s simple: move to her grandmother’s quirky Idaho hometown, where magic is an open secret and witches and warlocks are (mostly) welcome. With a new gourmet dinner delivery business—and a touch of magic in her recipes—Mia’s hopes are high. Even when her ex’s little sister, Christina, arrives looking for a place to stay, Mia takes it in stride.

But her first catering job takes a distasteful turn when her client’s body is found, stabbed and stuffed under the head table. Mia’s shocked to learn that she’s a suspect—and even more so when she realizes she’s next on a killer’s list. With Christina, along with Mia’s meddling grandma, in the mix, she’ll have to find out which of the town’s eccentric residents has an appetite for murder…before this fresh start comes to a sticky end. . . .

Includes Recipes!

About Lynn Cahoon

Lynn Cahoon is the author of the NYT and USA Today best-selling Tourist Trap cozy mystery series. She also pens the Cat Latimer series, the Farm to Fork series, and the Kitchen Witch series. Small town setting, big time fun with a bit of murder to keep it interesting. Romance novels are published under the pen name, Lynn Collins. She lives in a small river town like Mark Twain with her husband and three fur kids..

Author Links

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKoboGoogle Play

a Rafflecopter giveaway


February 1 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

February 1 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

February 2 – Literary Gold – REVIEW

February 2 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

February 3 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

February 3 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

February 4 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 4 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

February 5 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

February 5 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

February 5 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST

February 6 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – GUEST POST

February 6 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, EXCERPT

February 7 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW

February 7 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

February 8 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

February 8 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW


February 9 – Novels Alive – REVIEW

February 10 – Wickedly Romance – REVIEW, EXCERPT

February 10 – Eskimo Princess Book Reviews -SPOTLIGHT

February 11 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

February 11 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, RECIPE

February 12 – Cozy Up WIth Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 12 – Kaisy Daisy’s Corner – SPOTLIGHT

February 13 – Nadaness In Motion – REVIEW

February 13 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

February 14 – Christa Reads and Writes – SPOTLIGHT

February 14 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

February 15 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

February 15 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Posted in Dogs, New Releases, Spotlight

Spotlight for How to Train Your Hooman: A Field Guide by Finn the Dog and Gwen Romack

Rescue dog shares his best tips for training ‘hoomans’ in hilarious new book 

From the author of the beloved series, The Finn Chronicles, comes a new book that will make a wonderful gift for your Valentine, Mother’s Day or any dog-lover in your life.

Finn’s description starts,Dog friends, do you feel like your hoomans aren’t giving you the five-star service you deserve? This guide is for all the dogs out there wishing your hoomans would serve you better. Improve your standard of living today with How to Train your Hooman, a field guide. Pawket-sized for doggos on the go and in the field and chock-full of proven strategies for getting your hooman to do what you want when you want it! This handy guide covers things like getting off on the right paw with your new hooman, a hooman user’s guide, sleeping arrangements, appropriate training strategies, retaliation techniques, and more!”

Using the same sarcastic wit from his other books, Finn shares all he’s learned from training his difficult but lovable rescue hoomans in this irreverent and hilarious training guide. If you’ve ever been owned by a dog, you’ll relate to this book, laugh like crazy and be captivated by its charms.

Even the illustrations are funny! Here’s an example from his chapter on getting your “hooman” to provide effective “walkies”

Get it now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or through most indie bookstores. You can also order a custom pawtographed copy on Finn’s website.

This would make a lovely gift for the spring holidays! You can also follow Finn on his social media to keep the fun going!

About the Author:

This is Finn and Gwen’s third book together. Finn’s dutiful transcriber, Gwen Romack (aka The Squishy One), is a Maryland native and proud Delaware resident, avid dog lover, and rescue volunteer. Gwen and her husband Evan (aka The Hairy One) initially agreed to foster Finn to work on some behavior issues and get him ready for a furever family. She began posting Finn’s weekly updates on social media as a way to help prospective adopters fall in love with Finn. But it became clear pretty quickly that Finn was already home. The posts had become so popular that she decided to continue sharing Finn’s view of life as a dog rescuing his difficult hoomans. When her corporate job as an ethics, compliance and anti-corruption officer was eliminated in the early days of the COVID pandemic, Gwen decided it was time to develop Finn’s funny updates into books for everyone to enjoy.

Since the first book, The Finn Chronicles: Year One, was published in July 2020, Finn has brought laughter and joy to fans in the US, UK, Canada, Germany, Australia, Argentina, Cambodia, the Philippines, Brazil and even the Swiss Alps. The Finn Chronicles: Year Two followed shortly after and both books reached best-seller status and hot new release status on Amazon’s charts. His fans also enjoy his daily antics through social media.

As Finn’s popularity grew and the books took off, Finn’s fans started asking for more. Finn’s latest book is a “How to Train Your Hooman, a field guide” for dogs everywhere trying to train and manage their hoomans. It’s full of proven strategies and techniques for wrangling hoomans to do what dogs want! Anyone who’s ever been owned by a dog will relate and laugh out loud.

Finn and Gwen also spend time volunteering in schools by offering interactive and engaging Zoom guest-teaching sessions. The students learn about developing a character’s persona, inspirational child authors, how to write and publish a book, how to do a wiggle-butt dance break, and more. Learn more at:  and

Also available by Finn and Gwen, the two books in The Finn Chronicles series.

Purchase Link:

Purchase Link:

Posted in Blog Tour, Interview, New Releases

Interview of V.M. Burns and Spotlight for her new release, A Tourist’s Guide to Murder

I’d like to welcome V. M. Burns (Valerie Burns) from Chattanooga, Tennessee to Ruff Drafts.

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

My first book, The Plot is Murder was published in 2017. I have 3 series:

Mystery Bookshop Mystery Series, Kensington

  The Plot is Murder, November 2017

  Read Herring Hunt, April 2018

  The Novel Art of Murder, November 2018

  Wed, Read, & Dead, April 2019

  Bookmarked for Murder, November 2019

  A Tourist’s Guide to Murder, January 2020


RJ Franklin Mystery Series, Camel Press

  Travellin’ Shoes, July 2018

  Motherless Child, September 2019

  Steal Away, October 2020


A Dog Club Mystery Series, Lyrical

  In the Dog House, August 2018

  The Puppy Who Knew Too Much, February 2019

  Bark if it’s Murder, August 2019

  Paw and Order, August 2020

  Sit, Stay, Slay, December 2020

Congratulations! That’s quite a list.  Tell us a little bit about your books —  any upcoming releases or your current work-in-progress.

I write cozy mysteries. My Mystery Bookshop Mystery Series is set in Southwestern Michigan on the shores of Lake Michigan. The protagonist, Samantha Washington was a high school English teacher who dreamed of quitting her job and opening a mystery bookshop. After her husband dies, she sells her house and takes the insurance money and follows their shared dream. However, owning a mystery bookshop wasn’t Sam’s only dream. She also dreamed of writing British historic cozy mysteries. This series is unique in that it features two mysteries in each book. Readers get to solve the contemporary mystery Sam is living through, and the British historic cozy that she is writing.

That sounds great. I’m also a cozy mystery writer of the Cobble Cove mystery series featuring a librarian and a library cat, but I also write standalones and other genres.

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?

As a writer, I want to create entertaining, well-written mysteries that readers will enjoy. I’m not perfect and I’m constantly working to improve my craft and become a better writer. One of the best things that I have done to achieve my goal was getting my Masters in Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA. The program helped me tremendously, but I know that I have much more to learn. So, I continue to take seminars, workshops, and courses to learn as much as I can. I read books on craft, as well as mysteries by other authors. Finally, I challenge myself in various ways to stretch and try new techniques. I hope to get better with each book I write.

Those are excellent goals. I agree that as writers, we need to keep learning, writing, and improving.

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

I think readers who like puzzles will enjoy cozy mysteries. Basically, that’s what cozy mysteries are. The reader is reading a story. Throughout the story, the author is dropping clues to help solve the puzzle to figure out whodunit. The author is also leaving red herrings (false clues) which may throw you off track. It’s up to the reader to put the pieces together and figure out whodunit by the end of the book. Cozy mysteries are considered “clean mysteries,” with no sex, bad words, and no graphic violence. Therefore, they appeal to people from all age groups.

Very true. Cozies have a wide audience.

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

Keep writing and don’t give up. Getting published rarely happens quickly. The road to publication is long, bumpy, and filled with potholes, roadblocks, dead ends, and detours. However, if you stay the course and don’t give up, then you will reach the end.

Perfect advice. Writers need to be persistent and a little stubborn to reach their goals. I’m still trying to find an agent as I continue to write and publish books and stories.

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

I think the biggest challenge I faced before I was published was in figuring out the publishing maze. Most publishers won’t accept manuscripts which aren’t submitted by an agent. Finding an agent can be like you’re on the quest to find the Holy Grail. Each agent wants something different (ie 10 pages and a synopsis, first 3 chapters, first 50 pages, first 50 pages and a plot summary, etc.). After you navigate the maze and send the query, then the waiting game starts. It can take months before you receive a rejection with no idea why. It was a long process for me, but perseverance paid off in the end.

I’ve experienced that myself and am still hoping my perseverance pays off with signing for an agent in the future.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I’m a member of Mystery Writers of America, Crime Writers of Color, International Thriller Writers, and Sisters in Crime.

Great groups. I’m also a member of International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

As you might guess from my book covers, I’m heavily involved with dogs. When I was younger, I used to compete with my poodles (Coco and Cash) in canine obedience and agility. Both of my dogs were registered with Therapy Dogs International and made monthly visits to nursing homes and hospitals. I also enjoy baking and eating. And, I love reading cozy mysteries.

That’s nice that your dogs are therapy dogs. My parents had poodles when I was young, and they also had German Shepherds when I was growing up along with lots of cats, my favorite pets. I currently have 3 cats whom I’ve featured in my writing. I enjoy including both cats and dogs in my books and stories.

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

I love writing, but there are a lot of components to being an author which don’t involve writing and there doesn’t seem to be a guide on how or what to do. My biggest challenge is in staying on top of my social media feeds. I struggle with how to engage with readers on Twitter and Instagram (and all of the other forms of social media). However, I believe you can teach an old dog new tricks, so I’m working on it.

LOL. You’re right on target with that. Working full time as a librarian, I find it difficult to juggle all the non-writing parts of being an author and still have time to write, but I think I’m getting a handle on it by prioritizing duties and keeping a strict calendar.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

I love reading cozies and as a writer, I enjoy creating them. I love putting clues and red herrings together and trying to weave a plot that will (hopefully) entertain and intrigue the reader.

It’s true that it’s beneficial to write what you know and what you enjoy reading because that will be attractive to readers who like the same types of stories.

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

“Attention.” I clinked my knife against my glass. “Attention.” Unfortunately, no one listened, and the chatter got louder rather than softer.

My sister Jenna Rutherford leaned close and whispered into my ear, “Does the phrase ‘herding cats’ mean anything to you?”

I glanced down the table. My boyfriend, Frank Patterson, had reserved space for us in the upper level of his restaurant. Initially, I attributed the upper area seating to the fact that it was Friday night and the lower level of the restaurant and bar was full, so he was providing us space in the not-quite-open-to-the-public section to give us a quiet place to dine. However, after watching and listening, I suspected the seating arrangements had more to do with preserving the sanity of his paying customers.

Thanks for sharing an interesting excerpt. Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you or your books?

When an author is traditionally published, they don’t have control over many aspects of the publishing process (eg book prices, release dates, alternate formats). Most of those decisions are made by the publisher, not the author. However, I have been pleased that my publisher, Kensington Press, has made all of the books in my Mystery Bookshop series available in large print and all of the books in the Dog Club series are available in audiobook format. Making books available in multiple formats is more than a personal preference or convenience. It is vitally important for visually impaired book lovers to have access to books.

Those are good points. I currently publish with two Indie publishers who publish my books in various formats from eBook and paperbacks to large type, audio, and hardcover.

Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc.






Thanks so much for the interview, Valerie. I’m sharing your new release’s blog tour and giveaway below.

A Tourist’s Guide to Murder (Mystery Bookshop)
by V.M. Burns

About A Tourist’s Guide to Murder

A Tourist’s Guide to Murder (Mystery Bookshop)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Publisher: Kensington (January 26, 2021)
Paperback: 256 pages
ISBN-10: 1496728955
ISBN-13: 978-1496728951]
Digital ASIN: B087YRY1S4

While visiting the land of Miss Marple and Sherlock Holmes, bookstore owner and amateur sleuth Samantha Washington finds herself on a tragical mystery tour . . .

Sam joins Nana Jo and her Shady Acres Retirement Village friends Irma, Dorothy, and Ruby Mae on a weeklong trip to London, England, to experience the Peabody Mystery Lovers Tour. The chance to see the sights and walk the streets that inspired Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle is a dream come true for Sam—and a perfect way to celebrate her new publishing contract as a mystery author.

But between visits to Jack the Ripper’s Whitechapel district and 221B Baker Street, Major Horace Peabody is found dead, supposedly of natural causes. Despite his employer’s unfortunate demise, the tour guide insists on keeping calm and carrying on—until another tourist on their trip also dies under mysterious circumstances. Now it’s up to Sam and the Shady Acres ladies to mix and mingle among their fellow mystery lovers, find a motive, and turn up a murderer . . .

About V.M. Burns

V.M. (Valerie) Burns was born and raised in the Midwestern United States. She currently resides in the warmer region of the country in East Tennessee with her two poodles. Valerie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Dog Writers of America, Crime Writers of Color, International Thriller Writers, and Sisters in Crime. Valerie is the author of the RJ Franklin Mysteries, the Dog Club Mysteries, and the Agatha Award-nominated Mystery Bookshop Mystery series.

Author Links







Purchase Links

AppleAmazonGoogleKoboNookBAMBookshop.orgHudson BooksellersIndieBoundTarget

a Rafflecopter giveaway


January 21 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

January 21 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

January 21 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

January 22 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW, GUEST POST

January 22 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

January 22 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

January 23 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 23 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 24 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW

January 24 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT

January 25 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW, GUEST POST


January 25 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

January 26 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT

January 26 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW

January 27 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 27 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 27 – Island Confidential – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 28 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW

January 28 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

January 29 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW

January 29 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

January 29 – Books to the Ceiling – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

January 30 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 30 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 31 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 31 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

January 31 – My Journey Back – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Posted in Blog Tour, Cozy Mystery, New Releases

Spotlight, Blog Tour, and Giveaway for Grand Openings Can Be Murder, A Bean to Bar Mystery by Amber Royer

Grand Openings Can Be Murder (Bean to Bar Mysteries)
by Amber Royer

About Grand Openings Can Be Murder

Grand Openings Can Be Murder (Bean to Bar Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Golden Tip Press (February 2, 2021)
Paperback: 266 pages
ISBN-10: 1952854083
ISBN-13: 978-1952854088
Digital ASIN: B08JLFHD7N

Felicity Koerber has had a rough year. She’s moving back to Galveston Island and opening a bean to bar chocolate factory, fulfilling a dream she and her late husband, Kevin, had shared. Craft chocolate means a chance to travel the world, meeting with farmers and bringing back beans she can turn into little blocks of happiness, right close to home and family.

She thinks trouble has walked into her carefully re-built world when puddle-jump pilot Logan Hanlon shows up at her grand opening to order custom chocolates. Then one of her employees drops dead at the party, and Felicity’s one-who-got-away ex-boyfriend – who’s now a cop – thinks Felicity is a suspect. As the murder victim’s life becomes more and more of a mystery, Felicity realizes that if she’s going to clear her name in time to save her business, she might need Logan’s help. Though she’s not sure if she’s ready to let anyone into her life – even if it is to protect her from being the killer’s next victim. For Felicity, Galveston is all about history, and a love-hate relationship with the ocean, which keeps threatening to deliver another hurricane – right into the middle of her investigation. Can she figure it out before all the clues get washed away?

About Amber Royer

Amber Royer writes the CHOCOVERSE comic telenovela-style foodie-inspired space opera series, and the BEAN TO BAR MYSTERIES. She is also the author of STORY LIKE A JOURNALIST: A WORKBOOK FOR NOVELISTS, which boils down her writing knowledge into an actionable plan involving over 100 worksheets to build a comprehensive story plan for your novel. She blogs about creative writing techniques and all things chocolate at She also teaches creative writing for both UT Arlington Continuing Education and Writing Workshops Dallas. If you are very nice to her, she might make you cupcakes.

Author Links







Amazon Author Page:


Purchase Links
AmazonBarnes and NobleKoboApple BooksIndie Bookshop

a Rafflecopter giveaway


January 20 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

January 20 – My Journey Back – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

January 21 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 21 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

January 22 – Brooke Blogs – RECIPE WITH SPOTLIGHT

January 22 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

January 23 – I Read What You Write – CHARACTER GUEST POST


January 24 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 25 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

January 26 – Celticlady’s Review – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

January 27 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 27 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 28 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST

January 29 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 30 – Diane Reviews Books – GUEST POST

January 30 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

January 31 – Maureen’s Musings – RECIPE WITH SPOTLIGHT

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Posted in Cozy Mystery, New Releases, Reviews

Review of Bait and Witch, A Witch Way Librarian Mystery by Angela M. Sanders

*****5 star Review

The first of the new Witch Way Librarian paranormal cozy mystery series by Angela M. Sanders is a treat for bibliophiles and those who enjoy cozies featuring witches, cats, and libraries. The main character, Josie, doesn’t know she’s a witch until she runs away from a dangerous situation to a small town in Oregon. Accepting a job as a librarian at the Wilfred Library, she discovers that books and a black cat named Rodney respond to her in magical ways. As Josie is caught up in a murder investigation and the possibility that she may lose her new job when the library is replaced by a community center, she becomes attracted to a man who may be a killer and the cause of the library’s sale. Strange things continue to happen to her that culminate in her learning the truth about herself and Sam Wilfred. I found this a fun read full of charm, magic, and surprises and look forward to the next book in the series.

Read my interview with Rodney the cat when I featured this book’s blog tour on my library cat’s blog.

Posted in holidays, New Releases

Happy Holidays and Wishes for a Better New Year

This has been a tough year. As some of you know, I lost a long-time friend and a sweet, elderly homebound patron to COVID. I know some of you have also lost friends, relatives, and co-workers. We’ve all also lost many other things — group gatherings, family events, businesses that have closed, etc. Hope is on the horizon in the form of a vaccine, but it may take a while before the effects are evident. In the meantime, we hope and pray that 2021 is better.

Although we’ve lost a lot, we have gained some things. We’ve gained knowledge of how to connect online through programs such as Zoom, we’ve found ways to occupy ourselves during lockdown and make the most of a bad situation. Personally, I’ve been lucky that my husband, daughter, and I have stayed safe. I’ve published 3 books this year, Memory Makers, No Gravestone Unturned (Cobble Cove #5), and Pet Posts: The Cat Chats.

My short science fiction stories, “The Felindae Mission” and “Mirror Image” appeared in the Red Penguin Collection, What Lies Below.

I had 3 poems published in anthologies: “Window Cats” in the 2020 Nassau County Voices in Verse; “Poetry Contest” in the 2020 Bard’s Annual; and “Advent” in the Tis the Seasons anthology published by Red Penguin Books.

In 2020, I also won two awards – the Cat Writers’ Association’s Muse Medallion for my eBook, Sneaky’s Christmas Mystery (on sale for 99 cents through the end of December), and a 5-star silver medal from Readers Favorite for my psychological mystery, Sea Scope

One thing that has kept me sane through these difficult times has been my family, pets, and the support of fellow authors and readers. I wish you all a happy and healthy holiday and much brighter days in the New Year.



Posted in Blog Tour, New Releases, Reviews

New Ebook and $20 Giveaway

I’m proud to announce that Pet Posts: The Cat Chats , is now available in Ebook as well as paperback and is free for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers. This cat book features full-color photos and stories narrated by two of my current felines and two who have passed to the Rainbow Bridge. The “tails” that are told are informative about health topics ranging from feline diabetes, asthma, hyperthyroidism, and more. There are also short stories, a poem, and links to articles and blogs about cats. If you or someone on your holiday list is a cat lover, this is a purr-fect book.

Pet Posts is also on blog tour until December 23rd with a $20 giveaway. The tour can be followed from the host blog, Silver Dagger Book Tours.

Here is the review from Our Town Book Reviews:

Not just an enjoyable book or collection of cat articles to read but also an informative read.

This book is also well-written and well put together. Although it contains a lot of information about cat illnesses and the treatment of them, as well as cat behaviors, it flows like a story. Never dry and what I’ll call “academic”. To make this happen the author has written some of the chapters or articles with the POV being one of the cats.

This book could be titled All About Cats. However, there must be 100 books with that title. So “Pet Posts” is fine, but it is the everything you need to know about cats book. From appetite loss and illness to the best snuggly beds. All told to you by a cat. What more expertise could you get?

Debbie De Louise has many books published. Many have cats in them, some fictional and some not but all have excellent reviews.

Don’t miss this book that makes a great gift for you or a cat lover on your holiday list. The eBook is free on KindleUnlimited and less than $5 for the eBook. The paperback is also now on sale for $1 less.