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Friday, January 30, 2015

As Gouda as Dead by Avery Aames, Review, Giveaway, Recipe, and Scavenger Game

As 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!
What I Thought:

Another great installment in the Cheese Shop Mysteries.  I have just recently started visiting the town of Providence, Oh, and all of it's quirky inhabitants, and this is fast becoming one of my favorite series.  This one kept my interest and kept me guessing.  There were so many possible suspects, but Charlotte would not give up, she is determined to marry Jordan and find out who killed her friends.  It is also around Valentine's day in Providence so there is a lot of love in the air too.  Warning, don't read this book when hungry, because all the information about all the yummy cheeses will have your mouth watering!  Great job Avery.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.



Bacon cheddar grilled cheese


I enjoy visiting cheese shops or browsing the cheese section of my local market and finding new cheeses. Yes, sometimes it’s for research so I can write with authenticity when I’m creating another Cheese Shop mystery, like AS GOUDA AS DEAD, but sometimes it’s just for fun!


I had never heard of UnieKaas Robusto cheese, but on one of my visits, the cheese monger swore by it, so I bought it. UnieKaas is a group in The Netherlands that makes Parrano cheese, a cow’s milk cheese. While regular Parrano is aged for about five to six months, the Robusto is aged for nine months. It had a nutty flavor and a beautiful gold-toned color; it melted like a dream. If you can’t find it, I have made this grilled cheese using other cow milk cheeses, as well. A favorite is replacement is Gouda!






(serves 2)


4 strips of bacon, cooked crisply

4 ounces Cheddar cheese

2 ounces UnieKaas Robusto (or other cow milk cheese)

Guacamole (recipe to follow)

4 slices bread

2 tablespoons butter




Cook the bacon as crisply as you prefer. [I make mine in the microwave, cooking on high for about 4 minutes.] Drain on paper towels.


Prepare the guacamole, according to recipe below. *If you can’t get guacamoles in your store at this time of year, try using a frozen brand, thawed.


Butter the bread on one side.  Heat a griddle on medium.  Lay all four pieces of bread on the griddle, butter-side down.  Layer with cheese and guacamole on one side and cheese and bacon on the other.


Cook the half-sandwiches until the cheese melts.  Stack the two sides together and cover with a lid or piece of foil to finish the melting process.


**If you’re doing this on a panini grill, put the whole sandwich together and onto the grill. Cook 4 minutes total.


Slice in a diagnonal and serve warm. Say cheese!


*Note: Because of the guacamole, this is a hard sandwich to slice.  Prepare to get messy.







1 avocado

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon sour cream

Dash of white pepper

Dash of Worcestershire sauce




A trick for peeling the avocado.  Slice in half, remove pit.  Using a spoon, scoop out the contents.


Put avocado and other ingredients in a bowl.  Whip together.  Cover tightly to prevent air from getting to the guacamole until you are ready to use


I LOVE A MYSTERY SECRET CODE GAME: The 5th of the 7 words in Avery’s I Love A Mystery Secret Code Contest is
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!
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


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

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Cover Reveal A Dish Best Served Cold by Rosie Genova

Here is the cover reveal for Rosie's next book in the Italian Kitchen Mysteries, A Dish Best Served Cold. 


The national bestselling author of The Wedding Soup Murder returns to the Jersey Shore where a killer is stirring up trouble during a hurricane…

At the Casa Lido, the end of summer means a party, and hit whodunit writer Victoria “Vic” Rienzi and her family are cooking like crazy for the restaurant’s seventieth anniversary celebration. As they chop onions and garlic, old family friend Pete Petrocelli stops by, saying he knows something that would make for a good mystery novel. Curious, Vic asks Nonna to elaborate on Pete’s claim and learns of a relative who mysteriously disappeared back in Italy…

The night of the party brings a crowd—and a full throttle hurricane. When the storm finally passes, everyone thinks they’re in the clear—until the first casualty is found, and it’s Pete. Remembering his visit, Vic isn’t certain Pete’s death was an accident and decides to dig deeper into his story. What she finds is meatier than Nonna’s sauce… 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Ignite Your Books

Ignite Your Book is THE place for readers and authors to get amazing deals on fantastic eBooks!

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Here are our participating blogs. Thank you so much for posting!

Library of Clean Reads

Essentially Italian

The World As I See It

Man of La Book

Back Porchervations


Deal Sharing Aunt

View From the Birdhouse

Celtic Lady's Reviews

Celiticlady's Book Recommendation


Storeybook Reviews


JBronder Book Reviews

Katie's Clean Book Collection

Bound 4 Escape

Bound 2 Escape 

Pinky's Favorite Reads

One Frugal Girl

Story Matters

This That and the Other Thing

DeDa Studios

Nighttime Reading Center

So, I Read This Book Today

A Madison Mom

A Bit Bookish

Pure Jonel: Confessions of a Bibliophile

Sincerely Stacie 

Lovely Reads

WOrkS of FiCTioN

Words and Peace

Coffee, Books & Art


Svetlana's Reads and Views

Clean Romance Reviews 

Seaside Book Nook

Mary's Cup of Tea

Rockin' Book Reviews

Melina's Book Blog

Chronicles...An Avid Reader and Indie Author

Working Mommy Journal

BlueRose's Heart

2 Kids and Tired Books 

Bookroom Reviews

Life With Katie

My Love for Reading Keeps Growing

Girl With Camera


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Kelly's Koffee Shop by Dianne Harman, Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway

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  Kelly’s Koffee Shop (A Cedar Bay Cozy Mystery) (Volume 1)
  • Series: A Cedar Bay Cozy Mystery
  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 8, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1503015630
  • goodreads-badge-add-plus

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.
Kelly’s Coffee Shop is a mouth-watering cozy mystery with recipes.

What I Thought:

This was a very quick read that kept my attention from the time I started it till I put it down.  This is a book you could finish easily in one setting.  It had a great plot and the conclusion came together very well.  This book kept me guessing and I had no idea how it would end and was totally surprised.  I say great job Dianne, I look forward to reading more about Kelly and the town of Cedar Bay.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.


About This Author
Dianne lives in Huntington Beach, California with her husband Tom, a former California State Senator, and is a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post.

Her other books are available below:

Amazon: Blue Coyote Motel http://amzn.toSO8uIj
Amazon: Tea Party Teddy 
Amazon: Coyote in Provence
Amazon: Tea Party Teddy’s Legacy
Amazon: Cornered Coyote
Amazon: Coyote Series

Author Links
Facebook Author Page:!/AuthorDianneHarman
Contributor: Huffington Post
 Web Site
Twitter: @DianneDHarman
Purchase Link

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Guest Post:

People are always asking me why I decided to write a cozy mystery, since my three books in the Coyote Series were in the genres of mystery and suspense. Very simply, II wanted to write something that would allow me to focus on two of my passions: food and dogs. I’ve been fortunate to attend cooking schools throughout the world and have had a lot of dogs over the years. A cozy mystery seemed like the best way to combine these two things, although I’m told there’s a lot of food in most of my books, particularly Coyote in Provence. 


Another question I’m frequently asked is why the setting is of a coffee shop. I love to cook and having a protagonist who owned a coffee shop was a natural. I also have read some books where recipes are included and I decided to do that. These are my recipes or family recipes, all tested and cooked by me! As far as Rebel, the dog in the book, I suppose it was a chance for me to pay homage to a boxer of mine who we had to say goodbye to this year by the name of Rebel. The dog in the book is very similar to mine, but my husband is not based on Mike!


Several people have told me that changing genres would be a very risky thing to do, particularly since books in the Coyote Series had been best-selling award winners. They strongly suggested that I use a pen name. I vacillated for over a year about writing in this genre. The interesting thing is that the book practically wrote itself. We were on a vacation and I jotted down some notes in bed one morning while I drank coffee. I started to write it the day after I returned and three weeks later it was on Amazon and has been a phenomenal success. At the moment it’s the #1 bestseller in Cozy Mysteries – both in culinary and animals. I’m doing a Happy Dance every day!


I never started out to write a series, it just happened. Toward the end of Kelly’s I started thinking about the next book, Murder at Jade Cove, which was published a few weeks ago, and is presently the #2 bestseller in Cozy Mysteries – both in culinary and animals, right behind Kelly’s Koffee Shop! Last week I published the third in the series, White Cloud Retreat, and it’s already a Hot New Release and in the top four of culinary and animals. I’m in the middle of the final editing of the fourth in the series, Murder and Marriage, and I expect it to be out in a few weeks. I’ve never had so much fun! The characters are telling me what to write, so I’m reading a novel while I’m writing it. As to where this will all lead, I have no idea. We’re getting a little boxer puppy on Valentine’s Day. Who knows? Maybe the puppy will spark a series!

Thank you very much for having me as a guest. A few months ago I never thought I’d publish a cozy mystery. Who knows what the future holds?

Friday, January 23, 2015

One Garish Ghost and Blueberry Peach Jam by Jennifer Fischetto, Review and Giveaway


One Garish Ghost & Blueberry Peach Jam
(Dead by the Numbers Mysteries) (Volume 1)

Paperback: 218 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 24, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-1502961587

From National Bestselling author Jennifer Fischetto comes a hauntingly humorous new series…
Gianna Mancini has chatted with ghosts most of her life. It’s never affected her much. Until now. The latest ghost in Gianna’s family-centric, boy-complicated, job-depleted world is Emma Tinsdale, a woman Gianna despises. Wanting Emma out of her apartment and her orbit, Gianna chooses to help her move on, but she doesn’t expect to come across poisonous jam, a vengeful cop, or a group of friendly clowns. When a relative is framed for Emma’s death, Gianna must dig deeper and faster to find out what really happened that fatal night on the beach. With help from her sister, her cop brother, and her ex-boyfriend, Julian, she gets close to figuring out the truth. But when the killer closes in, Gianna better watch her step unless she wants to become the latest member of the dearly departed.

What I Thought:

It has been a while since a book has caused me to lose sleep, but this one did.  I thought when I started it that I wasn't going to really like it, but, wow, once I got to reading it, I just couldn't put it down.  I had to find out what was going to happen.  This book had a lot of laugh-out-loud moments in it.   There is also a lot going on and it keeps you guessing till the end.  Gianna and her family could be pretty funny at times.  Also, Gianna has a special, gift, she can see and talk to ghosts.  That is gets her into some scrapes, but also helps her get out of some scrapes.  I am so looking forward to the next book in this series, as this one left off with a sort-of cliff hanger.  Great job Jennifer.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

About This Author
Jennifer Fischetto is the National Bestselling Author of the Jamie Bond Mysteries. Unbreakable Bond, her adult debut novel, has received a National Reader’s Choice award nomination. She writes dead bodies for ages 13 to six-feet-under. When not writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, singing (off-key), and watching an obscene amount of TV. She also adores trees, thunderstorms, and horror movies—the scarier the better. She lives in Western Mass with her family and is currently working on her next project.

Author Links

Purchase Links
Amazon B&N


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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Murder Out of Tune by Lesley Cookman, Review, Guest Post, Giveaway

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Murder Out of Tune
by Lesley Cookman

murder out of tuneMurder Out of Tune – A Libby Sarjeant Murder Mystery
• Cozy Mystery – 270 pages
• Publisher: Accent Press (September 30, 2014)


The fourteenth book in the Libby Sarjeant series of British murder mysteries which features a retired actress as the female sleuth and are based in the picturesque village of Steeple Martin.
 A member of a local ukulele group is found dead in Steeple Martin’s churchyard. Libby’s first reaction is relief that the victim isn’t anyone she knows. She and the usual suspects have other things to occupy them as they are gearing up for a Christmas concert and pantomime in the Oast Theatre but when Libby’s cousin gets romantically involved with a man in whom the police are taking an interest, she can’t help asking a few questions – and getting into trouble…

What I Thought:
I really liked the setting of this book, as I love reading about the English countryside.  This is a book that is filled with quirky characters who dialogue had me laughing at times.  I sometimes found myself drifting, though, while I was reading this book, but it turned out okay.  I wasn't aware some many people were interested in playing the ukulele.  This was the first Libby Sarjeant book that I have experienced, but I may visit her again. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.


About This Author
A former actor, model and freelance journalist, Lesley Cookman lives on the Kent coast in the UK, has four musicians as children, two small grandchildren and two cats, Lady Godiva and Gloria. All 14 of her Libby Sarjeant books have reached number one in their genre charts on Amazon UK.


Guest post


First of all, thank you for asking me to be a guest on your blog. I’m a British author, and I write very English cosy mysteries, the genre which I was told for years was dead in the water. However, I became aware (this is before widespread internet) that there were quite a lot being published on the other side of the Atlantic. Luckily, my publisher approached me and bought the first book in the Libby Sarjeant series when it was only a couple of chapters long. It was the incentive I needed to finish the book, especially when she said she wanted a series.


I had written for money for thirty years, as a free lance journalist and script writer, and I found having to complete a book on spec soul destroying. So off we went with Murder In Steeple Martin, in print only, of course. It was a few years before widespread ebooks.


Subsequently, Libby has taken over my life. I write two books a year, and last year, I also wrote two short stories, one for inclusion in an anthology and the other a stand-alone for Christmas, Murder At Mallowan Manor.


I am always thinking of new series to write – my children want me to write a 1960s set series and my preference is for the 1930s. I’d certainly be glad to hear what other people think. 1930s English country town, think Mapp and Lucia with murders!


Once again, thank you for having me, and I do hope you enjoy the books.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Broken Bonds by Karen Harper, Review and Giveaway


About the Book:
Three very different sisters…
          Three desirable, dangerous men…
          Three endangered lives…
THE COLD CREEK TRILOGY is set in Appalachia in a small town where the enemy is us.
Haunted by the past…

Title: Broken Bonds
Author: Karen Harper
Publisher: MIRA
Pages: 384
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Format: Hardback, Paperback, Kindle
Purchase at AMAZON
Haunted by the past…
Cold Creek is a place with a dark history, especially for the Lockwoods. Now adults, the three Lockwood sisters are still recovering from the events that led to the destruction of their family when they were children. Determined to move forward, Tess and Kate are making fresh starts, ready to put bad—even deadly—memories to rest and settle happily in the small but booming town. And they're hoping their older sister, Charlene, can do the same.
Char is back in town seeking comfort as she figures out her next move. A social worker used to difficult situations, she soon runs afoul of some locals who think she's sticking her nose where it doesn't belong. She's certain something sinister is being covered up, and when she witnesses Matt Rowan being run off the road, she knows she's right.
Working together, Matt and Char figure uncovering the truth will be dangerous, but living in Cold Creek won't be safe for any of them until its secrets are revealed.

What I Thought:

This is the third book in the Cold Creek series, and I haven't had time to read the first two in the series yet, so I will admit, I was a little lost.  I think this series needs to be read in order to make sense.  It is set in the Appalachia's of Ohio, which you don't really see a lot about, maybe the Appalachia's of Kentucky and West Virginia.  I think the author really grasped how Appalachia really is, and told a believable account of the area.  This book had action in it from the very beginning, so it keeps you on the edge of your seat.  It also had the right amount of romance.  The only problem I had is that I wish I had read the first two in the series first, maybe it would have made more sense as the author referred back to things that had happened in the previous books. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.


About the Author
A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Karen Harper is a former college English instructor (The Ohio State University) and high school literature and writing teacher. A lifelong Ohioan, Karen and her husband Don divide their time between the midwest and the southeast, both locations she has used in her books. Besides her American settings, Karen loves the British Isles, where her Scottish and English roots run deep, and where she has set many of her historical Tudor-era mysteries and her historical novels about real and dynamic British women. Karen's books have been published in many foreign languages and she won the Mary Higgins Clark Award for 2005. Karen has given numerous talks to readers and writers across the county.
Her latest book is the romantic suspense, Broken Bonds, the third book in the Cold Creek Trilogy.
For More Information


Karen Harper is giving away 10 sets of the Cold Creek Trilogy!

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As she made the next sharp turn, Char gasped. A white truck with Lake Azure, Inc. painted on its side was tipped nearly off the cliff, right where the school bus stopped for the kids who lived above. She’d heard a horn honk long and loud a few minutes earlier. Maybe the truck missed the last turn and spun out, since its rear, not its front, was dangling over the edge, propped up by two trees. No other vehicle was nearby to help.
She put her emergency blinkers on and pulled as close to the cliff face as she could. She jumped down from her truck and ran across the road toward the truck. A man was inside!
“What should I do?” she shouted, her voice shrill. It sounded like a stupid question. She had to get the man out of his truck before it crashed over the edge.
The bitter, strong wind ripped at her hair and jacket. What if a blast of air tipped him off? Or maybe even if he moved. She’d swear the two tree trunks that held his truck were shaking as hard as she was.
She could hear the engine was still running. The driver opened an automatic window.
“A guy in a truck shoved me off,” he shouted. “Meant to. I don’t have any traction. I’m afraid if I shift my weight or open a door to jump out, I’ll send it over.”
The fact someone had done this on purpose stunned her. What was going on? If her cell phone worked up here, she’d call her brother-in-law, the county sheriff, for help, but she was on her own. It wouldn’t help to go back up for help from Elinor and Penny.
“Don’t move until I get something you can hang on to if the truck goes. I have some jump ropes I can tie together. Those trees are shaky.”
I’m shaky. Hurry!”
She ran to her truck and knotted together the three jump ropes she had, tying square knots because she knew they would hold. But she’d never be able to balance the man’s weight if the truck went over the edge.
“I’ve got ropes here, but I’ll have to tie the end to a tree. I don’t dare drive close enough to you to tie it to my truck. It would never stretch that far.”
She knotted it around the trunk of a pine tree that looked sturdy enough, though that almost took the length of one rope. This wasn’t going to work.
A grinding sound, then a crunch reverberated as the truck seemed to jerk once then settled closer to the cliff edge.
“Now or never!” he shouted and opened his door fast.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Kill Em with Cayenne by Gail Oust, Review and Guest Post



2nd in Series Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books (December 16, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-1250011053
A brand new finger-lickin’ good mystery featuring small-town Georgia spice shop owner Piper Prescott, a smart and spunky amateur sleuth…
Spices are flying off the shelves of Spice It Up!, and Piper Prescott couldn’t be happier. It’s that time of year again—time for the annual Brandywine Creek Barbecue Festival. Soon contestants and BBQ aficionados from all over the Southeast will converge on the town. Many of Brandywine Creek’s citizens plan to participate in the week-long festivities and are busily concocting savory rubs and sassy sauces. Among the locals vying for the grand prize are Becca Dapkins and Maybelle Humphries. The women have been arch enemies ever since Buzz Oliver dumped Maybelle after a thirteen-year courtship and started seeing Becca.
When Becca’s body is found near one of the festival booths, bludgeoned by a brisket, Maybelle becomes one of Chief Wyatt McBride’s top suspects. Determined to help clear her friend’s name, Piper begins her own investigation, much to McBride’s consternation. As the festival draws closer, will Piper and Reba Mae be able to find the real killer and clear Maybelle’s name? Will Piper make it to the annual shag contest with Doug Winters, the mild-mannered vet she’s been seeing? And, who will win the BBQ cook-off?
What I Thought!
I really enjoy this series and I think this book was better than the first.  I love the setting and the quirky characters that Gail has created.  This was a fast paced book that kept me turning the pages.  Piper sure does have some close calls, but she is bound and determined to prove that her friend is innocent.  There were also some laugh out loud moments in this book.  This is one that really kept me guessing till the very end.  Great job Gail, can't wait for more.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

About This Author
Friends accuse Gail Oust of flunking retirement.  While working as a nurse/vascular technologist, Gail penned nine historical romances under the pseudonym of Elizabeth Turner.  It wasn’t until after she and her husband retired to South Carolina that inspiration struck for a mystery.  Hearing the words “maybe it’s a dead body” while golfing with friends fired her imagination for the Bunco Babe Mystery series published by NAL.  Gail is currently writing the Spice Shop Mysteries published by Minotaur/St. Martin’s Press.  Kill ‘em with Cayenne, the second in the series, was released December 2014.  Her interests include reading, travel, golf, and spending time with friends and family.
Links:, Gail Oust Author on Facebook, and Goodreads.
Purchase Links
Amazon B&N Book Depository


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Guest Post


Years ago—pre everyone-has-a-cell-phone era—I called a repairman to fix my washing machine.  In the course of his service call, the man asked to use my phone to call his office.  While on hold, he happened to glance around my office and read the titles of the books on a  nearby shelf.  Titles such as Malicious Intent, Deadly Doses, and Armed and Dangerous.   “Ma’am,” he said, clearing his throat rather nervously, “exactly what type of work do you do?”  “I’m a writer,” I explained to his obvious relief.  “I need these for research.”

Before I started writing mysteries, I wrote historical romance under the pseudonym of Elizabeth Turner.  In my last two historicals, I introduced a mystery element, but the bulk of my research dealt with things such as period clothing, timelines of history, and regional history.  I had an entire shelf devoted to dictionaries and almanacs to give my work verisimilitude.  I even own, and often referred to, a set of Encyclopedia Britannica published in 1890.   Most of my research was performed the old fashioned way via books I could hold in my hand.

Many changes have occurred through the years.  Not only in the type of books I write—cozies—but in the way I do research.  While methods may have changed, the necessity for research remains constant.  When it comes to writing mysteries, today’s readers are a savvy bunch thanks to a plethora of crime shows such as CSI, Law and Order, and newsmagazines Dateline, 48 Hours, and 20/20.   Readers aren’t easily misled and are quick to note any discrepancies.   DNA, blood spatter, and gunshot residue are familiar terms.

I confess that I still own an assortment of books dealing with everything from poisonous plants to textbooks on forensics.  Although my sleuth is an amateur, I’m a professional.  I try hard to keep the details as accurate as possible.  A lot of my research these days is done on the Internet.  Google and I have become BFFs.  I try to fact check my information from several sources for accuracy.  I shamelessly avail myself of the expertise of friends and acquaintances.  I’m fortunate to have friends who were in law enforcement and are always happy and willing to answer oddball questions.  Once in response to one of my questions, a friend  and former Detroit detective, came over and fired off a round in my backyard—much to the consternation of my husband--to demonstrate a point.  Recently during my annual checkup, my doctor who knows I’m a writer volunteered several great suggestions on how to kill a person—provided I withheld my source. 

Unlike revisions (which I detest) I actually enjoy research.  Quite often research doesn’t deal with murder and mayhem but with fun things.  Research for my Shop Shop Mysteries has increased my understanding and appreciation for spices that I took for granted.  For example, I always assumed allspice was a blend of various spices therefore the name--allspice.  In fact, allspice is a berry discovered by Columbus in the Caribbean and at the time thought to be pepper.  Kill ‘em with Cayenne takes place around Brandywine Creek’s Annual Barbecue Festival.   Chili peppers, I learned, carry a wide, wide range of heat.  Hot, hotter, and hottest. It was fun having Piper advise contestants on how to Spice It Up! from the milder ancho to the little firecrackers called piquin.  Read and learn, I always say—and enjoy the journey.