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Saturday, December 15, 2018

Christmas Countdown: The Ornament Keeper

Eva Marie Everson is the bestselling, multiple award-winning author of both fiction and nonfiction. She is the president of Word Weavers International and the director of Florida Christian Writers Conference and the North Georgia Christian Writers Conference.

Eva Marie is a popular speaker at writers conferences and women's groups across the United States.

Award-winning author Eva Marie Everson wraps up a Christmas story of hope, love, and forgiveness just in time for the holidays. 

The Ornament Keeper, a contemporary Christmas novella, features Felicia and Jackson Morgan who are spending their first Christmas apart after twenty years of marriage. But a lifetime of gifted ornaments helps Felicia piece together the story of their marriage and the one mistake of unforgiveness she made before they said, “I do.” 

Can these memory-filled ornaments reunite this family before Christmas? Only time will tell.

Q&A With the Author:

1.  Describe yourself in 50 words or less. I'm southern born and bred and proud of it. I live in Florida and have since 1993 (I say you have to go north to get south of here). I am the president of Word Weavers International, director of two conferences, managing editor of Firefly Southern Fiction. I have nearly 40 books in print. But what I'm proudest of is my family--my husband and kids and grandkids. And our dog. I love traveling to new places (well, I hate traveling, but love being there). I'm a serious coffee consumer and enjoy hiking.

2. What do you love most in the world?
 Besides God--my family.

3. What inspired you to become an Author? 
When I was about 12 I read a really good book.

4. What is your favorite Winter / Holiday tradition? 
That's hard. There are several: Putting up the trees and other decorations. Going to church services and singing Christmas songs. I also treasure going "back home" for the Christmas Eve service in my home church.

5. What is your trick for getting past writer's block? And what advice do you have for other authors who are struggling to tell their story? 
Just write. My most common advice is "vomit it up now … clean it up later." When I get stuck, I usually read a good book or watch a good movie. Within minutes I'm back at it!

6. Now that we've gotten to know each other, tell me a story. It can be long or short. From your childhood or last week. Funny, sad, or somewhere in between. Just make sure it's yours. What's your story?
My mother had three things on her bucket list--going to Disney World was one of them. I lived in Orlando for quite a few years before she told me and then, shortly after, I won two all-day/all-parks passes. I called her immediately and said, "Make plans to come down. I've got passes for us to go to Disney!"

We made plans for her to come a few months later, in October, when the weather here wouldn't be so miserable. We also planned to go on a weekday when the parks were less crowded. I asked her which park she wanted to visit first; she chose Hollywood Studios. We left early that morning, arriving just as the park opened.

"Let's head straight for the back of the park," I told her. "Most people start at the front, but if we go straight to the back and work our way forward, we'll miss a lot of the crowds."

Mother agreed. Our first stop was watching an outdoor display of how stunt cars work in films. Mother, at 72, sat up like a 5-year-old. She clapped and cheered and, after one of the stunts, yelled, "Do it again!" We left there and happened up on a parade. Again, Mother clapped, her smile broad. She watched the dancers; I watched her childlike spirit coming through.

We spent the entire day at Hollywood Studios, laughing and giggling like children. Mother especially enjoyed the production of Beauty and the Beast, which was the only thing we "waited" on. But, as Mother declared, "It was worth every minute of the wait."

We ate a delectable lunch around noon and, around 4:00, we stopped for a slice of cake and a cup of coffee at The Brown Derby. There, I told her about the time I ate lunch at The Brown Derby in the real Hollywood, California. What I remember most about that time was the talking. The laughing. The heading out to do it all again.

We never went to another park. We decided to, instead, enjoy every minute we had there. No rushing. Just being. We didn't arrive back to my home until late … late … late that night. We were exhausted, happy, and Mother had a photo of herself with Fantasia Mickey. I don't know which one of them was cuter.

Mother still had two other bucket list items: flying in a plane and riding a horse. I took care of the first and was planning other for her 75th birthday, which was in November 2010. But in May of that year, as she and I prepared for a writers conference banquet, Mother collapsed in my arms and, a week later, she moved from this world to her new address with Jesus.

I'll always treasure that day with my mother at Disney's Hollywood Studios. When I miss her most, I take myself back to that day and remember her laughter. I picture her sitting so straight and tall, watching the stunt cars and clapping. I see her "dancing" to the music of the parades. I remember her delight at meeting Mickey.

No regrets.

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Saturday, December 8, 2018

Countdown to Christmas: Eleanor and the Christmas Carol Fudge

Tamara Passey, author of the The Christmas Tree Keeper: A Novel, was born and raised in Massachusetts around a large family, one that has served as inspiration for most of her writing. She loves most creative endeavors and when she isn’t writing or re-writing, you can find her baking or cross-stitching or walking–though not all at the same time. She lives with her husband and children in Arizona.

~ Amazon ~

Welcome to the books of 
Christmas Past, Present and Future.

Eleanor is saving her grandmother's fudge business but is becoming like Scrooge in the process. 

The consultant she hires to help is a friend from high school who hasn't given up his secret crush for her. 

Will the Christmas spirit melt her heart or will she miss out on the love of her life?

Q&A With the Author:

1.  Describe yourself in
50 words or less.
I like to create stories with words. In between writing projects, I like
to paint pictures. I’m a self-taught cook and a self-taught author. I like art
museums and gardens. I read eclectically. Memoir, historical, classics, young
adult. I love to go on adventures with my family.

2. What do you love most in the
world? My family and simple joys like autumn leaves and apple pie.

3. What inspired you to become an
Author? So many good books.

4. What is your favorite Winter /
Holiday tradition? Attending an annual concert and lights display with

5. What is your trick for getting
past writer's block? And what advice do you have for other authors who are
struggling to tell their story? My trick is a non-negotiable deadline—like
a holiday. That keeps me in my chair and writing as much as possible. For
authors struggling—when you are tired, learn to rest, not quit. In the words of
Julie Berry, remember when life is hard, writing is the antidote.

6. Now that we've gotten to know
each other, tell me a story. It can be long or short. From your childhood or
last week. Funny, sad, or somewhere in between. Just make sure it's yours.
What's your story?

How about a poem that tells a story?

Raising Daughters
They need you and need you and need you
Until they don't
Because you've taught them well and
Shown them the way and
Given them all you have
Your heart and your soul and your favorite flat iron.
They thank you, they hug you, and they leave you
In one motion
They are off and you wouldn't have it any other way
This is why you carried them, why you fed them, and why you held their
So one day
They could let go
And live their beautiful life.

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Thursday, December 6, 2018

Slay Bells

Slay Bells (A Christmas Village Mystery)
by T.C. Wescott

About the Book

Slay Bells (A Christmas Village Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
Brand New Series
Better Mousetrap Books (November 23, 2018)
Print Length: 273 pages
Digital ASIN: B07HGG7ZFR

‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the village, the night settled in over swirling-smoke chimneys; the air was alive with pine and holly, with sugar and cinnamon and cider, by golly!
Along snowy lanes and through shadows it crept, past windows behind which each villager slept, where sleeping dogs lie and cats rest a’purring—
Tonight, in Christmas Village, a killer is stirring.
Welcome to Christmas Village, a magical hamlet where even in December the roses hold their luster and bees buzz among the bluebells. You’re just in time for the week-long Christmas Festival, and nowhere is Christmas celebrated with such unrestrained merriment as the village which bears its name. Mayor Cobblestone and Sheriff Fell will be somewhere nearby, doing all they can to make sure you’re safe during your stay.
Provided you haven’t booked a room at Plum Cottage.
Nestled betwixt an opulent garden with meandering footpaths and an ancient grove of plum trees, Rose Willoughby’s boarding house is plum-full with lodgers. There are no vacancies, but just wait. Soon there will be one…and another…and another.
Presently lodging at the cottage are: the juggler, the acrobat, the magician, the psychic, the strongman, the manager, and the pretty assistant. In town as festival entertainment they’ve each brought their own bag of tricks. And a closetful of skeletons.
When the entertainers begin dying in inexplicable ways, some villagers believe a beast from old village lore is the culprit. The sheriff knows better, but he’s just as helpless to catch the invisible killer as are the town folk with their eyes to the sky in search of a flying creature. But our mysterious murderer hasn’t counted on yet another lodger coming to the cottage: Maribel Claus.
Short as a stump, round as a wheel, sweet as a candy cane, and a sharp as a whip, Maribel loves a good puzzle. But has she finally met her match at Plum Cottage?
Can you figure out whodunit before Maribel does? If you’re up to the challenge, here’s your first clue—the key to unlocking the secret of the murderer’s identity lies in figuring out how the murders were committed. Good luck!

What I Thought:

This one was a little different for than what I normally read.  While it was enjoyable, it was a bit on the whimsical side.  It is set in a very charming village, whose inhabitants are equally as charming.  The visitors to Christmas Village and Plum Cottage are all on the eccentric side as they are a group a performers in town for the annual Christmas Festival.  The leader of the troupe is killed, his body found on top of a hill with no footprints leading to or from the body.  When Rose, the owner of Plum Cottage, is injured her friend, Maribel Claus steps in to help and gets drawn in to help find the mysterious killer.  I struggled a little with this one at first, but once I got into it and got used to the authors writing style it went along better.  Like I mentioned, I enjoyed meeting the residents of Christmas Village, they were enchanting and kept me entertained with their antics.  I thought the plot of the book was a little different, but at times that can be good as it gives something new to enjoy.  I enjoy reading cozies set during Christmas time and this one, though a little different was enjoyable.  The mystery was intriguing and kept me guessing till the reveal.

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

About the Author

T.C. Wescott was born in Missouri but has lived in Oklahoma most of his life. Like pretty much every author who has ever breathed, he is an avid reader. His favorites are classic mysteries from the Golden Age, as well as just before or just after that period (which is widely considered the period between the two World Wars). His first mystery novel, Running from Scissors, was published in July 2018 and will be the first of at least three books in the Running Store Mystery series.
The Christmas Village Mystery series will launch in November of the same year with the debut title Slay Bells. The formula for his books is simple - mixing the classic, traditional detective fiction standards with all the trappings of the modern cozy mystery.
Wescott is also (under another name) the author of two award-winning non-fiction books as well as a slew of essays and articles.
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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

A Midwinter's Tail

A Midwinter's Tail (Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery)
by Bethany Blake

About the Book

A Midwinter's Tail (Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Kensington (November 27, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496717333
ISBN-13: 978-1496717337
Digital ASIN: B07B7C8XQY

To bark or not to bark . . .

Professional pet sitter Daphne Templeton loves the holidays in Sylvan Creek, Pennsylvania. And nothing gets her into the spirit more than the town’s annual Bark the Halls Ball. The whole community will be there to wag their tails, especially this year’s special guest—Celeste “CeeCee” French, founder of a national chain of pet care franchises, who’s returning home to announce plans for a bright new flagship store.

But not everyone’s celebrating CeeCee’s homecoming. Daphne’s friend Moxie Bloom, owner of Spa and Paw, a unique salon for people and their pets, has plenty to growl about. So when CeeCee is found face down under Sylvan Creek's town Christmas tree, stabbed with a distinctive pair of professional-grade pet shears, suspicion lands squarely on Moxie. Despite Daphne’s promises to Detective Jonathan Black, she quickly reprises her role as amateur sleuth. Ably assisted by her basset hound sidekick, Socrates, she must hurry to prove her friend’s innocence before a killer barks again . . .

Includes recipes for homemade pet treats!

What I Thought:

This is the fourth installment of the Lucky Paws Pet Sitting Mystery Series, and it was just as good as the other three.  It is Christmas time in Sylvan Creek and Daphne is getting ready for the annual Bark the Halls Ball.  Things get sticky, when the owner of a chain of pet care franchises comes back to town with a huge announcement, and she happens to be an old schoolmate of Daphne and her friend, Moxie.  When CeeCee, the owner of the pet franchise, is found stabbed with a set of pet shears under the town Christmas tree, Daphne has to put on her sleuth hat and solve another crime, and this time, her bff, Moxie, is the main suspect.  This series is filled with great characters who are all well developed and all around good people.  The setting is picturesque, and with it being Christmastime makes it even more so.  The plot was well thought out and there were many red herrings that threw me off as to who the killer could be.  I was left guessing till the very end and was a little surprised by the ending.  I look forward to more in this series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

About the Author

Bethany Blake lives in a small, quaint town in Pennsylvania with her husband and three daughters. When she’s not writing or riding horses, she’s wrangling a menagerie of furry family members that includes a nervous pit bull, a fearsome feline, a blind goldfish, and an attack cardinal named Robert. Like Daphne Templeton, the heroine of her Lucky Paws Mysteries, Bethany holds a Ph.D. and operates a pet sitting business called Barkley’s Premium Pet Care.

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·  Moxie Bloom might’ve been caught off guard by the unexpected appearance of an imperious and wealthy, not to mention impeccably dressed and perfectly coiffed, high school bully, who wasn’t supposed to arrive in Sylvan Creek before the Bark the Halls ball, according to Moxie’s rumor mill. Yet I had to give my best friend credit for grace under pressure when CeeCee French rudely brought up cheating with Moxie's old boyfriend - a topic that most people would’ve been ashamed to mention.

        “How have you been, Celeste?” Moxie asked politely, her voice level but her chin high. She wisely ignored CeeCee’s reference to Mike Cavanaugh, whom Moxie certainly did remember. She forced a smile, trying hard to be kind. “It’s been a long time.”

        CeeCee took a moment to coolly survey the lobby, her angular jaw jutting as she absently stroked her poodle with long, red-tipped fingers. Her toes, encased in sharply pointed, distinctive crimson shoes that contrasted with her black, form-fitting shift, tapped the thick carpet, as if she was already impatient with the whole affair. I supposed that I should’ve been awed by our multi-millionaire classmate, but, to be honest, I couldn’t muster more than mild curiosity and a bit of disappointment to learn that she was still arrogant, and, let’s face it, mean.

“Yes, it has been a while,” CeeCee finally agreed, again looking Moxie and me up and down, her cool gaze taking in Moxie’s vintage outfit and my old barn jacket. “And I find that nothing’s changed.” The corners of her lips twisted upward, and she got a knowing, almost secretive gleam in her dark eyes. “At least, nothing’s changed... yet.”


Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The Body in the Attic

The Body in the Attic
by Judi Lynn

About the Book

The Body in the Attic
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Lyrical Underground (November 27, 2018)
Paperback: 218 pages
ISBN-10: 1516108396
ISBN-13: 978-1516108398
Digital Print Length: 280 pages
ASIN: B07B741L6N

Welcome to River Bluffs, Indiana, a cozy small town populated with charming homes, close-knit families, and the occasional deadly secret . . .
House-flipper Jazzi Zanders and her cousin Jerod have found their latest project. The property, formerly owned by the late Cal Juniper, is filled with debris that must be cleared before the real renovation begins. But a trip to the attic reveals something more disturbing than forgotten garbage—a skeleton wearing a locket and rings that Jazzi recognizes . . .
Tests confirm that the bones belong to Jazzi’s aunt Lynda, who everyone assumed moved to New York years ago after breaking up with Cal. Soon enough, the whole family is involved, sifting through memories and rumors as they try to piece together what really happened to Lynda—and the baby she gave up for adoption. In between investigating and remodeling, Jazzi is falling for the old house’s charms—and for her gorgeous contractor, Ansel. But with surprises lurking in every nook and cranny, a killer might be waiting to demolish her dreams for good . . .

What I Thought:

This is the first book by Judi Lynn that I have read and I will have to say, it was pretty interesting.  Jazzi and her cousin are house flippers and their latest project turns up a skeleton that has very close ties to Jazzi. I enjoyed the dynamics of this story, both family and friend.  It was well written and the plot was believable.  I like how the story unfolded and the main character was great.  I enjoyed the setting of this story, that of a small, close-knit town.  Though there is deception lurking in the town, it still seemed like a good place to settle down.  I thought this was a great mystery as it kept me guessing till the very end.

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

About the Author

Judi Lynn received a Master’s Degree from Indiana University as an elementary school teacher after attending the IPFW campus. She taught 1st, 2nd, and 4th grades for six years before having her two daughters. She loves gardening, cooking and trying new recipes.
Readers can visit her website at and her blog

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Tandem Demise Blast

Tandem Demise: A Cycle Path Mystery
by Duffy Brown

About the Book

Tandem Demise: A Cycle Path Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Independently Published (October 28, 2018)
Paperback: 298 pages
ISBN-10: 1729374786
ISBN-13: 978-1729374788
Kindle ASIN: B07JRB373X

Smugglers on the hunt, a police chief on the run, lost loot and a dead wedding planner have the Mackinac Island regulars riding in circles
After solving two murders, bike shop owner Evie Bloomfield thought life on Mackinac Island would settle into boredom until she finds out Nate Sutter, island police chief and once-upon-a-time under cover cop is on the run. Some badass guys from Nate’s Detroit days think he stole money from them in a champagne smuggling operation and now they’re headed to the island to get their loot. Evie is determined to help Nate because he’s a good cop, Nate is determined to keep interfering Evie and island locals out of harms way, and the crooks are determined to get their money.
To add to the island’s problems there’s a dead guy on the dock and the new wedding planner is more interested in playing bedroom bingo than ordering bridal bouquets.
With the help of Fiona, Evie’s BFF and local newspaper editor, Evie is determined to prove Nate innocent, figure out how champagne smuggling, bodies on the dock and a bad wedding planner are tied together and not wind up taking a long walk off a short pier herself.

About the Author

Duffy Brown loves anything with a mystery. While others girls dreamed of dating Brad Pitt, Duffy longed to take Sherlock Holmes to the prom. She is a National Bestselling author and now conjures up who-done-it stories of her very own. She has two series the Consignment Shop Mysteries set in Savannah along with rescue pup Bruce Willis and the Cycle Path Mysteries set on Mackinac Island with judgmental cats Cleveland and Bambino.
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Monday, December 3, 2018

Christmas Countdown: Spirit of Christmas Blast

Lauraine Henderson lives with her husband, dog and cat on 68 acres of woodland 40 miles north of Portland, Oregon. After growing up in Oregon, they moved their family of three children to Utah. From there they moved to Hawaii and Arizona, finally coming back to Oregon in 2015. Their three children, two girls and a boy are all grown and live across the United States. 

After being a professional bookkeeper for over twenty years, she turned her hobby of writing into her first published novel in 2016. She loves to write inspirational romance and romantic comedy and hopes her readers will be both entertained and uplifted by her stories. When she’s not writing, she’s working her way through online university, loves to paint (watercolors, oils, and acrylics), sew, knit, crochet, make beaded jewelry, and read (of course!).

George Stone can’t wait for the Christmas season to be over and his employees, especially his executive assistant, Kathryn Gleason, focused once again on their work. When a missing report requires George to stop in at Kathryn’s parents’ home the day before Christmas Eve, he ends up as an unexpected guest. Between the haunting journals of his late grandfather and the unsettling dream of an unhappy future, George is swept away by the magic of Kathryn’s charm and her family’s love. 

Will the Spirit of Christmas show George the happiness he’s missing and will Kathryn’s warmth and beauty melt his cold heart?

Q&A With the Author:

1. Describe yourself in 50 words or less. Writer of romance, painter of children and close-focus flowers, sewer of clothing, knitter of scarves, beaded jewelry maker, avid reader, online college freshman at BYU-I, former bookkeeper, certified scuba diver, mother of three (2 girls and 1 boy), wife for 33 years.

2. What do you love most in the world? I love to share others’ accomplishments and celebrate with them. Most of the time, I do this for my family, especially my children. I love to be a part of someone else’s happiness.

3. What inspired you to become an Author? It’s the old story of having an idea rattling around in your head until you take the time to write it down. The more I wrote, the more scenes came to me until, years later, I had the makings of a novel. From that point on, the stories just kept coming.

4. What is your favorite Winter/Holiday tradition? In our family, we draw names in October and create a homemade gift for that person. We exchange the homemade gifts on Christmas Eve, after a formal dinner and Christmas program. Throughout the years, everyone in the family has come to agree that the best part of Christmas is the homemade gift they give.

5. What is your trick for getting past writer’s block? And what advice do you have for other authors who are struggling to tell their story? This is tricky because everyone approaches writing from different directions. When I have writer’s block, I need to walk away from my work for a while. Sometimes it takes days. Sometimes it takes weeks before new ideas strike and I can work on that piece again. In the meantime, I usually work on something else or read a lot. Advice? Well, like most other writers will say, just write. Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect. Write until you run out of words and then wait and write more when more words come. Read a lot. I find when I read really good authors, I can hear my own story in my head and it’s easier to write it down. Keep a notebook handy and write whenever you feel inspired.

6. Tell a story. When my husband and I moved to Arizona, we bought a house in a sub-division about twenty miles out of town. Surrounding our half-built community, there were multiple dirt trails designed for ATV enthusiasts. We purchased two Honda four-wheel ATVs and frequently hopped on the wheelers for short excursions into the surrounding desert landscape. My husband fashioned a large shelf across the back of one of the wheelers so our dog could sit and enjoy the ride when he tired of running beside us.
On one excursion, we were following the dry canals—built for flash floods--through the neighborhood. During the course of the summer, wind had blown tumbleweeds into the canals and because the plants were fraught with prickly thorns, we carefully avoided them.
Approaching a large patch of tumbleweed, my husband (who was always in the lead because the dog would howl if he wasn’t first), ran his wheeler up the side of the canal embankment and down on the other side of the tumbleweeds. I was using a new type of throttle attachment that day and as I attempted to follow him, I pulled on the throttle too hard. The wheeler shot out from under me, crested the embankment and landed on top of the other side from where we started.
I landed smack dab in the middle of the tumbleweed pile! If it hadn’t been for the dog barking, I’m not sure how soon my husband would have noticed that I had stopped following him. When he finally came up beside me, I was still lying face-first, spitting the dirt from my mouth, and trying to catch my breath. I was pretty sure I hadn’t broken anything, but the difficulty I had breathing worried my husband and he gently helped me to turn over. Except, turning over meant I was now sitting in the bushes of thorns! Struggling to stand, breath, and stop shaking from the experience, he carefully worked all the thorns off my backside.

It took weeks before I could breathe normally again and I have a residual lump on my thigh. Everyone needs a good wheeler story…

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