Drawing Conclusions by Deidre Verne – Guest Post and Review


great escape tour banner large drawing conclusions640

FTC Disclosure:  I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Drawing Conclusions
by Deidre Verne

Drawing ConclusionsDrawing Conclusions
(A Sketch in Crime Mystery)

Paperback: 312 pages
Publisher: MIDNIGHT INK (February 8, 2015)
ISBN-13: 978-0738741314



Cece dumpster dives her way through this suspense-filled murder mystery…

Cece Prentice is a most unusual young woman. Heiress to a large fortune thanks to her doctor father, who is the head of a genome company on Long Island, Cece is also a freegan—ecologically-minded and socially conscious. If that happens to include dumpster diving for half an old hamburger, previously started by someone she has never met, then so be it.

Cece would still be going about her ordinary, albeit weird, life had her beloved twin brother Teddy not been murdered. Drawn into the police investigation, CeCe uses her sketching abilities and knowledge of her father’s company to provide Detective DeRosa with the clues he needs to ferret out what happened to Teddy. But she soon realizes that this mystery is much more complicated than she ever imagined.


About This Author

Deirdre Verne (Scarsdale, NY) is a college professor and an active college blogger. A writer for the millennium crowd, Deirdre’s interest in green living inspired her to create an off-the-grid character who Dumpster dives her way though a suspense-filled mystery series. A member of Sisters in Crime, Deirdre’s short stories appear in all three New York chapter anthologies – Murder New York Style, Murder New York Style: Fresh Slices and Family Matters.


Author Links (web page)



Purchase Links
Amazon  B&N


Tour Participants

February 8 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Interview

February 9 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review, Giveaway

February 10 – Brooke Blogs – Guest Post, Giveaway

February 11 – Omnimystery News – Interview 

February 12 – 3 Partners in Shopping,Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – Guest Post, Giveaway

February 13 – readalot – Review, Giveaway

February 14 – Lori’s Reading Corner – Guest Post 

February 15 – Booklady’s Booknotes – Review, Guest Post

February 16 – A Blue Million Books – Interview, Giveaway

February 17 – Kelly P’s Blog – Guest Post

February 18 – LibriAmoriMiei – Review, Giveaway

February 19 – Chloe Gets A Clue – Interview

February 20 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Review, Giveaway 

February 21 – deal sharing aunt – InterviewD


It is my pleasure to welcome Deidre to the blog today.

Balancing Family and Writing

I have a full-time job, a family and I write mystery novels. In the beginning of my writing career I was able to work out elaborate plots in my head. It seemed like the perfect solution for a working mom with an interest and passion for writing. I could make dinner, change the bedding and drive to work while developing story lines in my head. That worked for a few years until I realized that I would actually have to transfer my comprehensive fantasy world onto paper if I wanted to be a published author. Saying you have a great idea for a book is one thing, but writing it out is, well, nearly impossible if you can’t find the time.

I’ve learned to carry my writer’s notebook with me everywhere I go on the outside chance I’ll be able to write. I’ve got it open now but I have to admit, I’m slightly distracted. Christina Aguilar’s ‘Genie in a Bottle’ is blasting, a neon-light show is flooding the room, and the sole of my shoe is stuck on something questionable.

I’m in a bowling alley, by the way. It’s one o’clock in the afternoon. I’ve left work early to entertain and supervise my kids and their friends on a random school holiday. It appears, like a dozen other moms, that I’m not the only one who had this idea. As a result, very few bowlers are over three feet tall, and I haven’t seen a single game score over twenty. The kid in the chair behind me just put his head down for a nap.

It occurred to me that I may be nuts. There is no credible way to balance all of the responsibilities I’ve got going. But wait, I did finish one book, and I’ve got a second manuscript near completion. While I’ve been sitting at lane eighteen, I’ve sketched out ten blog post ideas. The balancing act hasn’t been pretty, but I’ve made progress. And that kid napping behind me? He just woke up…..and vomited!

Can I deal with these distractions? You bet I can. In fact, the writing keeps me focused. It forces me to set goals and be efficient with my time. Turns out, that writing pad was a good investment!

 Thanks Deidre! I, for one am very glad you found a way to balance everything and finish that first book. I’m especially glad to hear that the next book is almost complete. I can’t wait to read it.

My thoughts: I love it when I discover a new series at the beginning. I really enjoyed this book. I have to be honest though, I wasn’t too sure about the fact that CeCe is a dumpster diving freegan. I’ve run across freegans before in other books. Not that I’m germaphobe, but the thought of dumpster diving always just gives me the willies. I don’t know how police investigators manage to do it when they are investigating a case, much less how anyone does it by choice.  I know, I need to be more open minded. One of the things I liked about Drawing Conclusions is that it actually gives the reader more information about the freegan lifestyle. I felt a bit more enlightened after reading the book.

But what I liked most about the book were all the twists and turns. I love a mystery that keeps me on my toes. I also enjoy being able to solve puzzlers myself. It’s especially enjoyable when I can solve a puzzler or two and still be surprised.  Deirdre certainly has a talent for plot twists.

I also really liked CeCe. She seems like a very complex character. I’m intrigued by her talent for capturing faces and her ability to handle discovering her family and life are not what she thought it was.

This is a great new series. I can’t wait for the next installment. If you only add one new series to your reading stack this year, I highly recommend you add this one.

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Posted by on February 15, 2015 in Uncategorized


Chaotic Goddess Books ‘N Bloggers Swap Reveal



I was very lucky to be paired with Karen of The Well Read Pirate Queen for the Chaotic Goddess Swaps’ Books & Bloggers Swap!  It’s scary how similar our tastes in books are.  We both love cozy mysteries and young adult/middle grade reads.

If you’ve never done one of these swaps, this is how, it works.  Each blogger is paired with another.  Participants agree to  ship 3 books : 1 that we love, 1 that was on our partners wishlist, and 1 that we want to read but haven’t. Shopping for Karen was so much fun because we have such incredible similar reading tastes! Also fortunately for me, the swap took place during my school’s book fair at B&N, which was kicked off with a book signing by my author friend Darby Karchut, author of the Finn MaCullen series. I was able to snag some autographed copies to fit the “book I loved” category. Ok, one of the books n her wish list also fit that category so it was a double win for me.

Karen sent me an awesome package. Not only did she send me books, but cute little extras that went with the theme of the books. The book from my wish list is Meet Your Baker by Ellie Alexnaderwhich was paired with cute little cupcake clips. The book she loved was Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen, the first in a series that has been on my radar for some time now. She paired it with some delicious chocolate. And the book she’s always wanted to read is Snow Way Out by Christine Husom, which she paired with some adorable snowflake cupcake liners. I can’t wait to start reading.

Book Swap


Posted by on February 4, 2015 in Uncategorized


Gilt By Association by Karen Rose Smith – Guest Post and Review

It is my pleasure to welcome Karen Rose Smith, author of the Caprice De Luca mysteries to the blog today.

great escape tour banner large gilt by association 640

The Best Places to Visit in my Cozy Town 

by Karen Rose Smith


Since my sleuth Caprice loves animals and takes in strays, PERKY PAWS is one of her favorite businesses in Kismet to shop in. The shop is animal friendly. The front case carries an assortment of biscuits: peanut butter nuggets, gingerman-sized ginger biscuits, pumpkin biscuits, and cheese and bacon biscuits. Colorful dog cookies also decorate the case and are adorned with yogurt icing. Her pup, Lady, notices them, too, and stands at the case as if she expects one to jump out at her and she could eat it. At PERKY PAWS, Caprice can pick up anything she needs from a kitty bed to good food for her furry friends to eat.


The BLUE MOON GRILLE holds memories for Caprice. She shared a romantic date there with Dr. Seth Randolph. The line for seating sometimes stretches through its reception area on the first floor of an arts and crafts mall and practically out the front door. Stairs lead to the second floor dining area and the deck outside. Chatter in the main dining room is loud sometimes around the bar but there is a gas fireplace that makes it cozy on wintry nights. Sliding glass doors open to the outside deck. There is always a vase of wildflowers on the tables. Black wrought iron chairs with rounded backs have cushy cushions tied to the backs and the seats. The glass-topped tables hold white placemats, silverware and crystal. The outside deck is lovely on a moonlit night. The night Seth and Caprice have dinner there, Seth arranges for a guitarist to play Caprice’s favorite music from the 60’s and 70’s. The restaurant is especially known for its huge soft pretzels with crab and cheese topping.


The De Lucas are Catholic and Caprice’s faith is important to her. They attend Mass and other services at St. Francis of Assisi Church. Behind the church there is a garden with a statue of St. Francis of Assisi, who is considered the patron saint and protector of animals. Caprice’s admiration for St. Francis must play a part in her love for animals. Her sister calls her a “stray magnet” and she finds homes for the strays she takes in. When Caprice needs to think through a situation, she sometimes sits in the St. Francis garden. The statue always has seasonal flowers planted around it from daffodils and hyacinths in spring, to geraniums in summer to mums in the fall. It’s a peaceful and relaxing spot with a cement bench that fits three.


Caprice is a retro girl. Her house was built in the 1950’s. She has decorated her house with 1950’s furniture and 1960’s colors. Her Nana Celia collected Fostoria crystal through the years and handed it down to Caprice’s mom. Caprice often uses antiques in house stagings. One of her favorite shops to peruse–from furniture to antique jewelry is OLDER AND BETTER owned by Isaac Hobbs. Isaac often gives Caprice important gossip and information about collectibles that helps her solve murder cases. In his shop she can weave in and out of primitive cupboards, pie safes, and hand carved rockers.


ALL ABOUT YOU is a unique dress shop opened by Caprice’s good friend Roz Winslow. In the first book of the series STAGED TO DEATH, Roz was a suspect in her husband’s murder investigation. Once all the dust settled, she decided to use her fashion sense to open a store where all women (not just those who are a size 2) can find fashions they like. In book 3, GILT BY ASSOCIATION, Caprice finds a forties style fuchsia dress for the Valentine’s Day dance.

All About You is located in what Kismet residents called Restoration Row. It is a street of row houses in an old section of town. Officially a developer named the street Bristol Row when his company refurbished the houses, sand blasting brick, refacing the fronts, putting siding over clapboard, adding black shutters, and making the street respectable once again. Roz rented one of the houses for All About You.

The store has an unusual layout, with two stories and separate rooms for specific types of fashions. The back entrance has an inside stairway with a chair lift for anyone disabled who wants to shop there. There is a ramp out back, too, for the first floor, and limited parking. Roz has gone to a lot of trouble to make this boutique exactly the way she wanted with women shoppers in mind.

You can read more about Caprice, her family and her penchant for solving murders in the Caprice De Luca Home-stager Mystery series—STAGED TO DEATH – December 2013, DEADLY DECOR – June 2014, and GILT BY ASSOCIATION – February 2015, DRAPE EXPECTATIONS – August 2015, all published by Kensington Books.

 Meet the author

Award winning and best-selling author, Karen Rose Smith’s plots are all about emotion. She began writing in her early teens when she listened to music and created stories to accompany the songs. An only child, she spent a lot of time in her imagination and with books–Nancy Drew, Zane Gray, The Black Stallion and Anne of Green Gables. She dreamed of brothers and sisters and a big family like her mother and father came from. This is the root of her plotlines that include small communities and family relationships as part of everyday living. Residing in Pennsylvania with her husband and four rescued cats, she welcomes interaction with readers on Facebook at KarenRoseSmithBooks, on Twitter @karenrosesmith and through her website

Karen, thank you so much for joining us today. I loved learning more about Kismet. It certainly sounds like some place I would like to visit.

Gilt By Association

by Karen Rose Smith

Gilt By Association Mech.inddGilt by Association
(A Caprice DeLuca Mystery)

• Series: A Caprice DeLuca Mystery
• Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
• Publisher: Kensington (January 27, 2015)
• ISBN-13: 978-0758284884





Between training her new puppy, helping her sister with her baby, and searching for the perfect vintage dress for Kismet’s Valentine’s Day dance, home-stager Caprice De Luca has a lot on her to-do list.  But she’s never too busy to do a little staging, and she’s looking forward to thawing February’s frozen real estate market with her Hearts and Flowers Open House.  Her client Louise Downing’s romantically decorated home practically staged itself.  But when Louise is found murdered, Caprice is forced to turn her attention from sweethearts to suspects.  And as the truth comes out in stages, she discovers that Louise had more secrets than a box of chocolate truffles…



About This Author

Award winning and best-selling author, Karen Rose Smith’s plots are all about emotion. She began writing in her early teens when she listened to music and created stories to accompany the songs. An only child, she spent a lot of time in her imagination and with books–Nancy Drew, Zane Gray, The Black Stallion and Anne of Green Gables. She dreamed of brothers and sisters and a big family like her mother and father came from. This is the root of her plotlines that include small communities and family relationships as part of everyday living. Residing in Pennsylvania with her husband and four rescued cats, she welcomes interaction with readers on social media.



Author Links:







My thoughts: I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This is my first visit to Kismet and my first introduction to Caprice and her family/friends. This is the third book in the series, yet it is easy to follow along without having read the previous books.  However, I’m sure that like me, you will want to go back and read the first two books if you have not done so already.  I’d like to learn a bit more about Caprice’s family and her relationships with Grant and Dr. Seth.

Gilt by Association is an engaging read.  There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you on your toes.  I love that Caprice is an animal lover and is in to vintage/retro style. The love theme Caprice is incorporating in to the home staging makes this a great February read. If you are looking for a good solid cozy mystery read, then I recommend you read Gilt by Association. And you might want to join me in checking out the first two books in the series:  Staged to Death and Deadly Decor.

If you would like to win a print copy of this book, visit the Great Escapes Tour Page for a chance to win.



Posted by on February 1, 2015 in Uncategorized


Review: As Gouda As Dead by Avery Aames

FTC Disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Author & Illustrator

gouda as deadAs Gouda as Dead

Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley (February 3, 2015)
ISBN-13: 978-0425273319




Someone is cheesed off . . .

Providence, Ohio, is celebrating Valentine’s Day with weeklong events, including lovers’ baskets with heart-shaped cheeses at Fromagerie Bessette. Charlotte Bessette is celebrating by finally walking down the aisle with the man of her dreams, handsome artisanal cheese farmer, Jordan Pace. But when a beloved bar owner is discovered murdered on Jordan’s farm, he believes they should reschedule their wedding given the grim turn of events.

Charlotte is heartsick over the postponement. This killer crossed the wrong woman. No one, but no one, is ruining her wedding plans!

My Thoughts:

First let me apologize for the lateness of this review. I had planned to post this on Tuesday when I posted Avery’s guest post. But the electrician came out to connect of the hot tub and we were out of electricity for quite a while and then WordPress went wonky on me. So I thought I would try to post it from school, but they are doing something to the district internet. For most of the week it’s been freezing and other weird things. It’s been working ok for the last half hour so I’m quickly trying to post while I have the chance.

I’m sure I mentioned on Tuesday that this is one of my favorite cozy mystery series. I am just thrilled to be a part of the blog tour. When people ask me for mystery recommendations, Avery’s books are one of the top five series I recommend.

As Gouda As Dead is a wonderfully written mystery that will keep the reader engaged until the end. I love Charlotte because she is so down to earth and sensible. She’s the kind of person I would love to have a friend. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that she owns a cheese shop. Except reading about all that cheese sure does make me hungry, but it also gives me ideas for new cheeses to try.

With love in the air all over Providence, this is an excellent read for February. Jordan leaving little notes for Charlotte has inspired me to do the same for my husband (Shh! Don’t tell him. I want it to be a surprise.)

I especially enjoyed reading about all of Charlotte’s friends and family. I love the twins! I’ve been doing some heavy reading for work and have only had a handful of enjoyable reads in the last few months. Reading As Gouda As Dead was a nice break from all the “required reading.” It felt like going home.

As I said, this series one that I recommend often, even to my mystery loving friend who can’t stand cheese. (Can you believe such a person exists?)   If you are looking for a good enjoyable mystery, then this is one you don’t want to miss.

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Posted by on January 29, 2015 in Uncategorized


Blog Tour: As Gouda As Dead by Avery Aames – Review, Recipe & Giveaway


It is my extreme pleasure to welcome Avery Aames to the blog today. Avery is one of my all time favorite cozy mystery authors and her Cheese Shop Mysteries top my list of favorite series.  I love the new book, As Gouda As Dead.  A full review will be posted later today.  In the mean time, Avery has a wonderful recipe to share with us.  You can also win a copy of her latest book by commenting on today’s post by February 1st (be sure to leave some way for me to contact you) and by visiting the The Great Escapes Tour Page for a chance at a grand prize.  Now for Avery’s delicious recipe.


Want to make your Valentine (or yourself) a delicious breakfast? My brain is focused on Valentine’s Day because in the newest Cheese Shop Mystery, AS GOUDA AS DEAD, the town is celebrating with a Lovers Trail event. Cheese tasting, wine tasting, chocolate tasting. Yum! But man and woman do not live on these alone. So how about pancakes…with cheese?

My grandmother used to make the best pancakes and waffles. I remember how light they were. I also remember sitting at the dining table, a roll cart with the griddle on it standing beside my grandmother. While we ate scrambled eggs and bacon, she would make the sweets. She served them with warm syrup—never cold, heaven forbid!

Where does the cheese fit in? The pancakes are already hot; the warm syrup would enhance the heat. All you have to do is place a thin slice of the Gouda on each stack of pancakes and decorate with figs. Of course, if you’re not a fig lover, you could always adorn with strawberries or other favorite fruit!


(Serves 2)


Pancake Mix [Use grandmother’s pancake recipe below]




4 ounces Gouda cheese, cut into 12-16 very thin slices

4 ounces maple syrup

4-6 figs, stems removed, and then sliced



Make the pancake mix according to directions.

Warm the maple syrup by heating a pot filled with water. Set the syrup carafe into the boiling water. Turn off the heat.

Heat griddle to 400 degrees. Put 12-16 dollops of pancake mix on the griddle. Cook to desired color of golden brown. Flip. Top each with a piece of Gouda cheese. Cook until the underside of the pancake is desired color of golden brown.

Set the pancakes on two plates. Top with sliced figs. Drizzle with warm maple syrup.


Grandmother’s Pancake Recipe 


1 ½ cups flour

3 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoons sugar

1 ¼ cups milk

1 egg

4 tablespoons butter, melted



Mix together the milk, egg, salt, baking powder, sugar, and butter. Blend in the flour until smooth.

Heat a frying pan or griddle over medium heat. Pour about ¼ cup pancake mix, using large spoon or ladle, onto the griddle. Let pancake heat to warm brown and flip with a spatula. Brown the other side. Serve hot. 

*Note this recipe is not gluten-free. To make it gluten-free, substitute 1 ½ cups gluten-free flour of your choice and keep the rest of the ingredients the same.


As Gouda as Dead

by Avery Aames

This story had so many things I love...
~Brooke Blogs 

gouda as deadAs Gouda as Dead

Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley (February 3, 2015)
ISBN-13: 978-0425273319




Someone is cheesed off . . .

Providence, Ohio, is celebrating Valentine’s Day with weeklong events, including lovers’ baskets with heart-shaped cheeses at Fromagerie Bessette. Charlotte Bessette is celebrating by finally walking down the aisle with the man of her dreams, handsome artisanal cheese farmer, Jordan Pace. But when a beloved bar owner is discovered murdered on Jordan’s farm, he believes they should reschedule their wedding given the grim turn of events.

Charlotte is heartsick over the postponement. This killer crossed the wrong woman. No one, but no one, is ruining her wedding plans!


Daryl Wood Gerber 0218 100dpi


About This Author

As AVERY AAMES, she pens the Agatha Award-winning, nationally bestselling Cheese Shop Mystery series featuring a cheese shop owner amateur sleuth, set in the fictional town of Providence, Ohio. 

As DARYL WOOD GERBER writes the nationally bestselling Cookbook Nook Mystery series featuring a cookbook store owner who is an avid reader and admitted foodie, set on the coast of California. 

Daryl’s short stories have been nominated for the Agatha, Anthony, and other awards. Fun tidbit: as an actress, Daryl has appeared in “Murder, She Wrote” and more.

Author Links

Visit Daryl or Avery

“They” blog on as well as




Twitter: @AveryAames @DarylWoodGerber


Daryl Wood Gerber

Avery Aames

Purchase Links 
B&N Book Depository

Tour Participants

January 26 – Brooke Blogs – Review, Recipe, Giveaway

January 27 – Booklady’s Booknotes – Review, Recipe, Giveaway

January 28 – fuonlyknew – Review, Recipe, Giveaway

January 29 – Michele Lynn Seigfried’s Blog – Review, Recipe, Giveaway

January 30 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review, Recipe, Giveaway

January 31 – Griperang’s Bookmarks – Review, Recipe, Giveaway

February 1 – Traveling With T – Review, Recipe, Giveaway


As Gouda as Dead
by Avery Aames

Say Cheese!

As part of her Great Escapes Book Tour
Avery Aames is including an
I Love A Mystery Secret Code Game!

Here’s how it works:
1 – Collect the Secret Code Word at each of Avery Aames Escape Blog Tour stops.
Check out Avery’s delicious recipe on Each Blog Stop
to collect the Secret Word for that stop.

2 – At the end of Avery’s blog tour, put the words together and
form the Secret Code Sentence.

Then Click Here and insert the Secret Code Sentence in the form with your name, email address and mailing address.

3. One Lucky Winner will receive a Fabulous Prize Package including an autographed copy as As Gouda As Dead, an I love A Mystery Tote and fun swag!

4. 10 Runner’s Up will receive a
Cheese Shop/Cookbook Nook kitchen jar opener and recipe cards.

All winners will be randomly selected from all entries submitted.

Winners will be contacted via email and the prize will be sent to the address you provided on the form.

Have fun and get searching!


I LOVE A MYSTERY SECRET CODE GAME: The 2nd of the 7 words in Avery’s I Love A Mystery Secret Code Contest is




Posted by on January 27, 2015 in Uncategorized


Review: Twisted Threads by Lea Wait





FTC Disclosure:  I received an advanced e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 


 Twisted Threads

Twisted Threads
(A Mainely Needlepoint Mystery)

Series: A Mainely Needlepoint Mystery
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Kensington (January 6, 2015)
ISBN-13: 978-1617730047




After leaving a decade ago, Angie Curtis has been called back to Harbor Haven by her grandmother, who raised her following her troubled mother’s disappearance when she was a child. Her mother has been found, and now the question of her whereabouts has sadly become the mystery of her murder.

The bright spot in Angie’s homecoming is reuniting with her grandmother, who has started her own needlepointing business with a group called Mainely Needlepointers. But when a shady business associate of the stitchers dies suddenly under suspicious circumstances, Gram and Angie become suspects. As Angie starts to weave together clues, she discovers that this new murder may have ties to her own mother’s cold case.


About This Author

Lea Wait lives on the coast of Maine. A fourth generation antique dealer, and author of the Agatha-nominated Shadows Antique Print mystery series, she loves all things antiques and Maine, and she’s learning to do needlepoint. She also writes historical novels for young people set in nineteenth-century Maine. Lea adopted her four daughters when she was single; she’s now the grandmother of eight, and married to artist Bob Thomas.

Author Link

Purchase Links
Amazon B&N Book Depository



My Thoughts:  I’ve been a fan of Lea’s Antique Print mysteries for some time, so I was excited to learn that she has a new series.

I like this new series as much the other one. I especially like the  characters. It could be because of Angie’s relationship with her grandmother – stories involving grandmothers and granddaughters have a special place in my heart.   Angie’s efforts to solve two mysteries at once and to help her grandmother will keep readers engaged until the end. This series is certainly one I will be adding to my “Always Pick Up A Copy” list.


Posted by on January 22, 2015 in Uncategorized


Kelly’s Koffee Shop – Dianne Harman – Guest Post and Giveaway.

great escape button160great escape tour banner large kelly's koffee shop640

Kelly’s Koffee Shop

by Dianne Harman

  • Series:A Cedar Bay Cozy Mystery

  • Paperback:152 pages

  • Publisher:CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 8, 2014)

  • ISBN-13:978-1503015630

Goodreads Summary:  Kelly pulled into the harbor parking lot next to the pier and noticed that Amber’s car wasn’t in its usual place and there was no sign of her. She was usually standing at the door of Kelly’s Koffee Shop, waiting for Kelly to open up. Wonder what that’s all about, she thought. 

The local residents of Cedar Bay come to Kelly’s Koffee Shop for breakfast, lunch, and lots of gossip. Kelly serves it all up as she works to solve the murder of the high school Homecoming Queen. The townspeople can’t believe what has happened in their sleepy little Oregon seaside town. She identifies five prime suspects, but which one did it? 

Follow Kelly, her boxer dog, Rebel, and her boyfriend, Mike, the county sheriff, as they try to determine who the killer is in a murder that’s shocked the town. 

It is my pleasure to welcome author Dianne Harman to the blog today.

I’m often asked why I set the Cedar Bay Cozy Mystery series in Cedar Bay, Oregon, when I live in Southern California, why I had the protagonist, Kelly Conners, own a coffee shop, and if Rebel, Lucky, and Lady are based on real dogs. Valid questions!

I’ve traveled up and down the Oregon coast several times. Our son and daughter-in-law live in Seattle, so when we drive to see them, that’s the route we use. I’ve always been captured by the beauty of the Oregon coast because it’s so different from sprawling urban Southern California coasts. There’s something about the fog and rainy atmosphere that speaks “cozy mystery” to me. The forests I’ve seen on the drives became a part of the series, particularly the second book, Murder at Jade Cove. And Jade Cove – that’s loosely based on a wonderful remembrance of traveling along the California Big Sur coast on a motorhome trip when our children were young. There is a beach called Jade Beach in Big Sur and we searched for jade on it. It was so much fun and I still remember the joy the children experienced when we actually found some jade!

As far as Kelly’s Koffee Shop, although it exists only in my mind, it’s become quite real to me. Several of the beach cities in Northern California and Oregon have restaurants located on the docks jutting out into the water. I wanted to create a small town restaurant where the patrons and the owner all knew one another. Since I love to cook, it was also a vehicle for me to be able to talk about favorite family recipes and incorporate them into the stories. I envision the coffee shop as a meeting place where people freely gossip about what’s going on and each other, and certainly looking for the latest tidbit when a murder’s occurred in the town. Over the years, I’ve always enjoyed books that had actual recipes in them, so I decided to put recipes in my books – and they are all from my kitchen!

The dogs? Rebel is based on a boxer I had for many years. He truly was a guard dog. I’m convinced that I was the person he’d been put on the earth to guard and protect. He always placed himself between me and whoever I was talking to. When he was lying down, the rear of his body was always towards me and his face away from me, just checking out who might be coming in the room or what danger might lurk there! When he came in the house from outside, the first thing he did was run from room to room to find me. Once he found me, he was fine. My husband and I had to say farewell to him this year. His time had come, but it sure wasn’t easy. It’s been several months now and last week we bought a new little boxer puppy who will be joining us on Valentine’s Day – fitting I think! Her picture is below and we’ve already named her Kelly for Kelly’s Koffee Shop.

Lucky and Lady, the yellow Labrador retrievers who join the series in Murder at Jade Cove, are loosely based on dogs my son and daughter-in-law have. They have three labs and I love the easygoing breed. Although none of the characters, events, or settings are based on real things, certainly bits and pieces of my life show up with tweaks here and there!

Thanks so much for having me on your blog today and as promised, here’s the photo of Kelly, the highly anticipated new addition to the Harman family!


Thanks Diane for joining us today. It was nice to learn where you got the inspiration for you series. And Kelly, the boxer – she’s just adorable. I just want to hug her.

We have an e-copy of Kelly’s Koffee Shop for one lucky reader today. Just leave a comment for Dianne by midnight January 30th for a chance to win.  Be sure to include your e-reader format and a way for me to contact you.


Posted by on January 19, 2015 in Uncategorized


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