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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Ladle to the Grave by Connie Archer, Review and Guest Post

Ladle to the Grave
(A Soup Lover’s Mystery)
4th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley (March 3, 2015)
ISBN-13: 978-0425273111

By the Spoonful is Snowflake, Vermont’s most popular soup shop, but owner Lucky Jamieson doesn’t have any time to enjoy her success—she’s too busy trying to keep a lid on false accusations against her loved ones…
It’s almost May, and some of the local ladies have organized a pagan celebration in the woods to welcome spring. But the evening goes terribly wrong when one of the attendees winds up dead, apparently poisoned by an herbal concoction prepared by Lucky’s grandfather, Jack.
Lucky’s sure her grandfather could not have made such a tragic mistake. But before she can clear him of suspicion, her best friend, Sophie, is diverted from planning her wedding to By the Spoonful chef Sage DuBois when she finds a dead man floating in the creek on her property. Now it’s up to Lucky to get both Sophie and Jack out of hot water before a killer stirs up more trouble…

What I Thought!

I literally could not put this book down.  It kept my interest from the beginning to the end.  I could not wait to find out what all was going on in this book.  And there were several different "mysteries" happening in this book.  Who was responsible for Agnes' death, who was the body Sophie and Lucky found, what is the deal with Lucky's mom's pictures, wow there was so much going on!  If you love a book that grabs you and keeps you interested, that has a lot of twists and turns, then this is the book for you.  I can't wait to go back and read the other books in this series.

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

About This Author
Connie Archer is the national bestselling author of the Soup Lover’s Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime.
A Spoonful of Murder, []
A Broth of Betrayal [] and
A Roux of Revenge []
are set in the imaginary village of Snowflake, Vermont.
The fourth book in the series,
Ladle to the Grave, [] will be released on March 3, 2015.

Twitter:  @SnowflakeVT

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Guest Post

Ladle to the Grave
A local woman is poisoned at a pagan ritual in the woods and Lucky Jamieson’s grandfather Jack, who provided the herbs for the gathering, is suspected of making a terrible mistake.  But when a dead man is found floating in a creek just outside of town, his face unrecognizable, Lucky is certain both deaths are murder.  Can she find the connection and clear her grandfather’s name before more victims fall prey to a killer? 
Readers often ask where writers’ ideas for plots come from.  Most will say they come from many different avenues – from the “what if” of a casual observation, from dreams, from suspicions, but one of the best sources of plot ideas is the news.  Believe me, it’s stranger than fiction! 

These sight and sound bytes on the web are designed to compel you to click your mouse and read more.  Some are horrifying, some appalling and some stories are just plain weird.  In most true crime or forensic file cases, the “why” of a crime has a very simple explanation.  Often that motive is drug or alcohol fueled, but they’re a good jumping off spot for a crime story.  Here’s a few that have caught my eye lately.  The names have been changed (or deleted) to protect the innocent (as they used to say on Dragnet): 
An unethical and abusive debt collector is now in debt himself after being sued by a woman he harrassed mercilessly for an unpaid debt of $350.  The collection agent called at all hours, texted sometimes fifteen times a day, with threatening and personally insulting messages.  The harassment didn’t stop even after the debt was paid.  Driven to the brink, the victim finally hired an attorney and learned that her rights had been violated.  She sued the agency and the debt collector for violating federal law in using abusive collection tactics. 
How to spin this story for a crime novel?  What if – the collection agent were a stalker or a serial killer and not working for a debt collection agency at all? 
A soap opera actor in Los Angeles, walking with his girlfriend to bring food from their Thanksgiving feast to a neighbor was run down by two men in a car.  The men then jumped out of their car and proceeded to attack the actor.  The suspects were charged with assault with a deadly weapon.  The actor survived and said he couldn’t wait to visit his family in Georgia for a respite . . .
Speaking of Georgia . . .
A nine year old boy went missing In Georgia four years ago.  He was found alive, hidden behind a false panel in a closet of his father’s garage.  His mother had never given up searching for the boy and neither had the police.  The boy, now 13, was able to call his mother who led police to the home of her ex-husband.  The father of the boy is now in prison charged with false imprisonment, cruelty to a child and obstruction of justice. 
Now that’s a pretty disgusting and appalling crime, but what if there was a reason for hiding the boy?  What if, he was hidden for his own safety?  What if the dad was protecting him from becoming a guinea pig in a government program for psychic children?  What if the father never knew the boy had been hidden in the garage by his current wife? 
Here’s another -- A former Colorado police officer was recently arrested for the murder of his wife, whose death had been ruled a suicide three years before.  The officer shot his wife with a 9mm gun during an argument after a New Year’s Eve party at their home.  He then called 911 and reported that his wife had shot herself.  The case was eventually reopened because of allegations from witnesses.  Hello?  Even though the Colorado police claim there was no preferential treatment given to the obvious suspect, it really doesn’t sound like they did their job, particularly since the wife’s family had always claimed their daughter’s death was murder. 
Now what if . . . the police officer’s mistress shot the wife and he tried to cover up the crime by claiming suicide?  And it turned out he really wasn’t guilty at all. 
Then there’s the nurse in Lugo, Italy who is believed to have killed 38 patients because they or their families annoyed her.  The crimes weren’t uncovered until one woman died after a routine hospital visit and potassium chloride was discovered during the autopsy.  But what really alerted the authorities was a coworker’s statement that the nurse always requested her picture to be taken with the recently deceased corpses.  She had posted many more similar photos on line.   Hmmm . . . what took them so long???
So there you have it.  I couldn’t make this stuff up.  The crimes in Snowflake, Vermont aren’t nearly as bizarre but with only 950 souls in the village, there’s still lots of fodder for plots in the Soup Lover’s Mystery series.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Shattered Vows Excerpt

Shattered Vows
by Linda LaRoque
A mother, confronted with her husband’s infidelity, must decide whether to help raise his child or end her marriage.
Annie and Stuart Rayburn have loved each other since high school. Their life is idyllic until their baby dies of SIDS, and Annie falls into a deep depression. Months of therapy help her recover, and they look forward to another child sometime in their future.
Despite his own grief Stuart tries to comfort Annie, yet when he reaches for her in the night, his advances are rebuffed. In a moment of weakness, he turns to another woman. Stu learns his night of infidelity produced a baby girl. The mother died in a car crash, and her will gives Stu custody.
Stu can’t deny the child is his, and he’s determined to raise her. He begs Annie’s forgiveness. Hurt and angry, Annie must face her demons, decide if she can forgive Stu, and love the innocent child, or divorce him and move on without the only man she’s likely to love.
EXCERPT (Exclusive Excerpt):
Backing out of the drive, he took a last look at the home he and Annie had shared. They'd felt so much joy in buying the place when they moved here from Texas. It had been their dream home—tri-level with modern, sleek lines, the blond brick house spread over a large lot. Over time they'd made updates, but kept true to the 1950s style. Annie insisted on modern turquoise appliances in the kitchen and as much Danish Modern and Eames style furniture as they could afford. The low sleek lines and bright colors enhanced the Frank Lloyd Wright style architecture.
He drove out of the exclusive subdivision and onto the highway leading to the Interstate and the row of motels with large signs to attract travelers. It would be easy to go to the casino and stay in one of the rooms there, but he didn't want the staff asking questions.  He pulled into a Holiday Inn and checked into a suite. "I'll need a baby bed for tomorrow night."
"Yes, sir. Do you have any idea how long you'll be with us?"
"At least a week."
"Very good, sir. A hot breakfast buffet is served between six-thirty and ten o’clock every morning." The desk clerk handed Stewart his paperwork and a key card. "Let us know if you need anything."

AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Linda LaRoque is a Texas girl, but the first time she got on a horse, it tossed her in the road dislocating her right shoulder. Forty years passed before she got on another, but it was older, slower, and she was wiser. Plus, her students looked on and it was important to save face.
A retired teacher who loves West Texas, its flora and fauna, and its people, Linda’s stories paint pictures of life, love, and learning set against the raw landscape of ranches and rural communities in Texas and the Midwest. She is a member of RWA, her local chapter of HOTRWA, NTRWA and Texas Mountain Trail Writers.
Linda writes contemporary western romances, time travel romances and futuristic romances. Shattered Vows is her first Inspiration Women's fiction.
Visit Linda at these locations.  
Linda’s Amazon Page
Buy Links for Shattered Vows:
Amazon Kindle
Amazon Trade
Barnes and Noble
Other Books by Linda LaRoque
Contemporary Westerns
Forever Faithful
Investment of the Heart
When the Ocotillo Bloom
Born in Ice
Time Travel
The Turquoise Legacy
My Heart Will Find Yours
Flames on the Sky
A Way Back
Desires of the Heart
A Law of Her Own
A Marshal of Her Own
A Love of Her Own
Birdie’s Nest
A Time of Their Own (A collection of three time travels
set in Prairie Texas—A Law of Her Own, A Marshal of Her Own, and A Love of His Own.)

 Linda will be awarding three individual prizes to randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour:
1st prize—sterling charm bracelet with baby theme and a handmade wooden jewelry box
2nd prize—a handmade wooden shawl pin and an ecopy of Shattered Vows
3rd prize—an ecopy of Shattered Vows

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Please visit the other stops on this tour: 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Flamenco, Flan, and Fatalities by Mary McHugh

Flamenco, Flan, and Fatalities
(A Happy Hoofers Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Publisher: Kensington (February 24, 2015)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1617733611

Murder is nothing to tap at. . .
The high-kicking Happy Hoofers–Tina, Janice, Pat, Mary Louise, and Gini–have been booked to flaunt their fabulous flamenco footwork on a luxury train ride through northern Spain. But when a blowhard talk show host is found deader than four-day-old flan–with Gini as suspect numero uno–the feisty friends waste no time stepping into their sleuthing shoes to protect one of their own.
The dynamite dancers will have to step up their game before a clever killer brings the curtain down on one of them . . . for good!
Includes Photo Tips And Tasty Recipes
What I Thought!
Boy the Happy Hoofers sure get themselves into some trouble when they are abroad entertaining.  This time, they are on a train in Spain.  Gini tells the story this time.  I enjoyed this book a little better than I did the first Happy Hoofer mystery.  There were a lot of twists and turns in this book that kept me guessing.  There is even some romance in this book for all the romance fans out there.  This was a fast read than kept my attention from start to finish.  I look forward to the next adventure of the Happy Hoofers, they are going to France next time!
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

About This Author
Mary McHugh graduated from Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, with a B.A. in English Literature and studied at the Sorbonne in Paris. She is the author of nineteen nonfiction books and two novels. She was a contributing editor for Cosmopolitan, an articles editor at Woman’s World, Travel Holiday, and Bridal Guide, and has written articles for The New York Times, Good Housekeeping and Family Circle.
She loves to tap dance and to travel -two passions that inspired her to write the Happy Hoofers series.
She lives in the New York area. Visit her at

Author Links
Purchase Links
Amazon     B&N    Book Depository    Kobo    Google Play

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Gooseberry Island by Steven Manchester

January 6, 2015
They met at the worst possible moment...or maybe it was just in time. David McClain was about to go to war and Lindsey Wood was there at his going-away party, capturing his heart when falling for a woman was the last thing on his mind. While David was serving his country, he stayed in close contact with Lindsey. But war changes a person, and when he came home very little had the same meaning that it had before – including the romance that had sustained him. Was love truly unconquerable, or would it prove to be just another battlefield casualty?

Gooseberry Island is the most nuanced, dramatic, and romantic novel yet from a writer whose ability to plumb the depths of human emotion knows few peers.

What I Thought:

Steven Manchester has been compared to Nicholas Sparks, but he has his own unique style of writing.  One that makes you feel like you know the characters that he writes about on a one-on-one basis.  This book touches on a subject that is too prevalent in today's society, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Steven did a really good job writing about this subject.  This is a charming story that will touch anyone's heart, a love story that almost wasn't.

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

Steven Manchester

Steven Manchester is the author of the #1 bestsellers, Twelve Months and The Rockin' Chair. He is also the author of the award-winning novel, Goodnight, Brian, as well as the critically-acclaimed novels, Pressed Pennies and Gooseberry Island. He has also written A Christmas Wish (Kindle exclusive), Wilbur Avenue (novelette), Just in Time (novelette) and The Thursday Night Club (novella), while his work has appeared on NBC's Today Show, CBS's The Early Show, CNN's American Morning and BET's Nightly News. Three of Steven's short stories were selected "101 Best" for Chicken Soup for the Soul series. When not spending time with his beautiful wife, Paula, or their four children, this Massachusetts author is promoting his works or writing. Visit:


Friday, February 13, 2015

Death of a Beauty Queen by Barbara Jean Coast, Review and Guest Post

Death of a Beauty Queen: A Poppy Cove Mystery
(Poppy Cove Mystery Series Book 2)

Paperback: 220 pages
Publisher: Cozy Cat Press (May 9, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-1939816436
E-Book File Size: 353 KB
It’s the 1950’s in Santa Lucia, California, and the height of the social season. Time for the new Miss Santa Lucia, Nora Burbank, to display her loveliness at a high society fashion show produced by the city’s own fashionistas–Margot and Daphne, owners of Poppy Cove, the most elegant and “in” little dress shop in the county.
Nora steals the show in her designer gown and custom-made necklace created by local jeweler Isaac Mendelson, and used on the sly by his apprentice son-in-law, Efrem Goldberg. At the conclusion of the show, the young queen is allowed to keep her dress and a replica of the necklace for her own. But Monday morning, Efrem arrives in a panic at Poppy Cove to beg Margot and Daphne’s assistance in tracking down the real necklace, which he believes was inadvertently switched for the replica backstage. The girls get involved in Efrem’s dilemma and try to help him before Isaac’s any the wiser. But before that can happen, Miss Santa Lucia is found dead in her bed and the necklace is missing.
Who killed Nora Burbank? Is it someone jealous of her new royal position and all of its perks? Or did she just happen to be in the way when a thief attempted to steal her diamond-studded necklace? Did Nora have the real or the fake necklace, and how much did the thief and murderer know about it? But, of course, before the girls can find the killer, they’ll have to create several beautiful ensembles, calm numerous irate clients, and flirt with their ever-so-attentive boyfriends, before solving this mystery.
What I Thought!
I enjoyed going back to Poppy Cove in the 1950's.  It is a more relaxed pace, unlike today.  The setting is charming, the main characters are too.  But they sure do have a lot of problems at their dress shop.  This time they are outfitting  a beauty queen for a fashion show.  They end up having to look for a priceless, lost necklace and also end up looking for a killer.  This is a well written book, that will keep you entertained as you try to figure out "who-dun-it". 
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

About These Authors
 Barbara Jean Coast is the pen name of authors Andrea Taylor and Heather Shkuratoff, both of whom reside in Kelowna, BC, Canada.  Barbara Jean, however, is a resident of Santa Lucia, California (eerily similar to Santa Barbara), where she enjoys long lunches, cocktail parties, fancy dinner dates with attractive and attentive gentlemen.  Her interests include Alfred Hitchcock movies, reading Carolyn Keene, music by popular musicians, such Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett, shopping for new dresses, attending society events and always looking fabulous in kitten heels.  DEATH OF A BEAUTY QUEEN is her second novel in the Poppy Cove Mystery Series.

Andrea Taylor

Andrea always imagined herself being a supersleuth girl detective and writing adventurous stories, full of mystery and intrigue since she was old enough to hold a pencil.  She resides in Kelowna, BC, Canada, where she writes under the pen name of Barbara Jean Coast with her co-author friend, Heather Shkuratoff, and travels often to California to further develop the stories and escapades of the Poppy Cove Mystery Series.  Andrea has also published freelance articles about fashion, current events, and childcare, and is currently blogging on WordPress about creativity and poetry, as well as researching for her own literary novels.

Heather Shkuratoff

As an avid mystery reader, Heather joined lifelong friend Andrea Taylor to create the Poppy Cove Mystery Series, written under the pen name of Barbara Jean Coast.  Growing up in a family of talented crafters and sewers, Heather developed her own skills to become a dressmaker and designer, which helps to give rich detail and character to their stories.  She lives in Kelowna, BC, Canada, but spends much time in California, researching for the novels and doing her best to live like Barbara Jean.
Author Links
Facebook: &
Amazon Kindle: Death of a Beauty Queen: A Poppy Cove Mystery (Poppy Cove Mystery Series Book 2) – Kindle edition by Barbara Jean Coast. Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle eBooks @
Smashwords: Smashwords – Death of a Beauty Queen – a book by Barbara Jean Coast
B&N, Nook:

Guest Post:

Barbara Jean’s Dating Tips for 50’s Glamour Girls

Hi there, Melina and the rest of the guys and dolls!  It’s such an honor to be a guest on MELINA’S BOOK BLOG.  Today we’re going to share with you some tidbits of wisdom from Barbara Jean Coast to help you navigate the waters out there.  The following tips are from our latest Poppy Cove Mystery — DEATH OF A BEAUTY QUEEN.  Hope they help, or at least entertain you!

· Out on a first date? Order the most expensive item on the menu, whether you like it or not. Watch his reaction – if he smiles, frowns or flinches, that’ll tell you if want to encourage further affections from said man.

· It’s okay to be a girl who kisses, but just don’t be one who tells. Even the best of the girls did and still do; they just knew how to keep their lips sealed. A grown woman should be allowed to get to know a man who she feels is worthy of her time.

· Know your fragrances and the purpose of wearing them. Youth Dew and Chanel No. 5 are appropriate for the initial How do you do? phase. Save Emeraude and Tabu for the intimate How did you do that? phase.

· Be a good sport. Surprise dating events add spice to a stale relationship. Fix a fancy meal on a Wednesday, go bowling in a ball gown or pick up the check. He’ll be flattered!

· Speaking of flattering, he doesn’t always have to be right, but every now and then, let him think he is. Be confident in your own mind that you know the truth of your own brilliance!

· Ready to move on to greener pastures? Take him to a swell party with plenty of people. Get him a drink, get him lost in a crowd, preferably of well girdled and well-coiffed women and get into your own swing of things.

· Beware of falsies, fake eyelashes and other accoutrements, especially early on in the relationships. Test drive the padding, glues and heel heights around home and a trusty friend or two. Better for mishaps to happen in the privacy of your own home instead of out in public – a flying bust enhancer or spider-like eyelash trail down your cheek could scare away a potential keeper.

· A little harmless flirting never hurt anyone. Give yourself a sway in your step by winking at a construction worker today. Who knows, it may inspire him to get the building done on time and under budget!

· Always have him be the first to call back after the date. If he takes too long, call him ‘by accident’ (oops, wrong number, giggle and hang up). This action does not count, as it was in error. If by the third time he does not respond, take another dip into the gene pool.

· Still not sure what you want in a man? Play the field! Try dating men with different interests and backgrounds. Doctors, teachers, artists, musicians, accountants – have a little fun with them all. Remember, you can’t change them no matter how hard you try, but you can have a ball attempting it all the same.

Thank you for having us on your blog, Melina.  You’re always welcome in Santa Lucia.


Barbara Jean

Aka Andrea Taylor and Heather Shkuratoff

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Case of the Jewel Covered Cat Statues by Cathy Elliott

About the book:
Buckley and Bogey, Cat Detectives, find their next big case with the Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Agency to be their most complicated ever! It all starts when someone hides a mysterious package in their Mom's antique store --- in the middle of the night! Of course, the boys find it, and put it in a nice, safe place, until they can open it . . . and, find the rightful owner. But that's when a whole bunch of suspicious people show up in St. Gertrude, and every single one of them seems to be after that package! Holy Catnip! Plus, everything happens just when a priceless, jeweled statue collection goes on display at the St. Gertrude Museum. Missing from that collection are two jewel covered cat statues that disappeared almost a hundred and fifty years ago.

But soon Buckley and Bogey wonder how long those statues will stay missing. Because this is one case that really keeps them on their paws! From a trip to the Museum, and to an old church for the Blessing of the Animals; and from dinosaurs to diamonds, they end up dodging shady suspects the whole time. It sure helps to have their friends with them, especially when the bad guys make a beeline for boys. That's because it becomes very clear, very quick --- the priceless cat statues aren't the only cats those crooks are after! Holy Mackerel!

Purchase a copy: 

What I Thought:
Holy Catnip! this was a very entertaining book.  Maybe this is what my cats do at night when they don't sleep, solve crimes of missing statues.  This was a very cute book that any cat lover will enjoy.  Buckley and  Bogey are two very shrewd cats.  I love how they solved this crime.  Holy Mackerel, snatch this book up, it is free on Amazon!

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

About the author: Cindy Vincent was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and has lived all around the US and Canada. She holds an M.A.Ed, and is the creator of the Mysteries by Vincent murder mystery party games and the Daisy Diamond Detective Series games for girls. She is also the award-winning author of the Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Caper books, the Daisy Diamond Detective book series, and the Cats are Part of His Kingdom, Too: 33 Daily Devotions to Understanding God's Love. She lives with her husband and the real, live Buckley and Bogey, who run surveillance on her house each and every night.

Find Cindy, Buckley, and Bogey online: website

Case Jewel Covered Cat Statues Cindy Vincent

A Stitch in Crime by Cathy Elliott

About Quilts of Love: Quilts tell stories of love and loss, hope and faith, tradition and new beginnings. The Quilts of Love series focuses on the women who quilted all of these things into their family histories. A new book releases each month and features contemporary and historical romances as well as women's fiction and the occasional light mystery. You will be drawn into the endearing characters of this series and be touched by their stories.

About the book: 

Thea's first quilt show is coming apart at the seams!
Thea James has accepted an assignment as co-chairperson for Larkindale's first quilt show extravaganza. Juggling the new assignment with running her antique business, she's already feeling frayed when things start to unravel.
Mary-Alice Wentworth, a much-loved town matriarch, respected quilt judge, and Thea's dear friend, is covertly conked on the head during the kick-off Quilt Show Soiree, throwing suspicion on her guests. It also appears that a valuable diamond brooch has been stolen during the attack. The family is furious. But is it because of their mugged mother or the missing diamonds?
When a renowned textile expert goes MIA and the famous Wentworth heritage quilt disappears, Larkindale's reputation as a tourist haven is at risk. Thea attempts to piece the mystery together and save the town's investment in the quilt show before Mary-Alice is attacked again . . . with far worse results.

Learn more about this book and the series at the Quilts of Love website.

What I Thought:

I really enjoyed this book.  I don't always enjoy all of the Quilts of Love books but this one kept my attention throughout.  It had a lot of action and I liked that the mystery wasn't a murder but the loss of a quilt.  I liked the character of Thea and thought that the setting of this book was very charming.  This book really kept me guessing all the was through and I was totally thrown off by who did the "crime".  I really like when a book keeps me guessing.

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

About the Author: 

Author and speaker Cathy Elliot nourishes her night-owl habit by creating cozy mysteries and more on her trusty laptop in Anderson, California. Like the protagonist in her new mystery, Cathy is an avid quilter. Besides collecting (too much) cool fabric, she also enjoys hunting for antique treasures.

Connect with Cathy online: website, Facebook

Stitch in Crime Cathy Elliott

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Community Affairs by Michele Lyn Seigfried--Guest Post

great escape tour banner large community affairs640

Cummunity Affairs
Community Affairs
(Jersey Shore Mystery Series Book 3)

File Size: 2293 KB
Print Length: 217 pages

A tale of kidnapping, murder, and neighbors you’d like to kidnap and murder…
 Bonnie Fattori is a sexy, sassy, Italian Princess living in New Jersey. She’s loving life with a rich husband, beachfront living, and a promotion at work—until a new neighbor, Lyla Spratt, is determined to destroy her happiness.
 After several run-ins with the unstable woman next door, Bonnie starts to suspect a connection between her new neighbor and the untimely death of a local resident, Polly Pitcher. She recruits her good friend Chelsey to help figure out if her suspicions are correct.
As the neighbors go head-to-head in a hilarious battle, Lyla is pushed to the brink of insanity. The more unhinged Lyla becomes, the more Bonnie’s life and the safety of her family are at risk. Can Bonnie find out what really happened to Polly Pitcher before it’s too late? A perfect read for those who like laugh-out-loud humor in their mysteries!
Seigfried photo
About This Author
 Michele Lynn Seigfried is an award-winning novelist, children’s book author/illustrator and public speaker who was born and raised in New Jersey. In her mystery novels, she draws from her personal expertise in the area of municipal government, in which she has served for over 16 years in two different municipalities. She holds a B.A. in communication from the College of New Jersey with a minor in art. She obtained the Master Municipal Clerk certification from the International Institute of Municipal Clerks in 2010. She also holds the Registered Municipal Clerk certification and Certified Municipal Registrar Certifications from the State of New Jersey.  In combining her love of writing with art, Michele began writing and illustrating children’s picture books in 2013.
Michele is a member of Sisters in Crime, Sisters in Crime – Central Jersey, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, New Jersey Author’s Network, International Institute of Municipal Clerks, Central Jersey Registrar’s Association, Municipal Clerk’s Association of New Jersey, and the Municipal Clerk’s Association of Mercer County, where she is currently President. She also serves on the New Jersey League of Municipalities’ Legislative Committee.
Michele is available for public speaking engagements such as book talks, seminars, readings, panel discussions, and other author events. Contact her for more information.
Author Links:
Purchase Link:

Follow this link to enter the Raffle copter Giveaway:  Escape with Dollycas

Guest Post:

20 Tips to Edit a Novel

By Michele Lynn Seigfried


Writing is hard. Editing is even harder. The brain has a funny way of working. When you read what you’ve written yourself, your brain seems to fill in details, correct spellings and punctuation, and add words which aren’t actually there. It’s difficult to proof your own work. But editing goes beyond proofreading. So how can you fix your work to be the best it can be? Here are a few tips!


1.      Run spell check/grammar check. Sounds simple enough, but many people forget to take this first step. While not foolproof, having a computer check your work is a start, and you may find simple typos that need correcting this way.

2.      Read your book out loud. You may feel silly doing this, but reading your work out loud to yourself can help you find misspellings!

3.      Read from the end to the beginning. This is difficult and tedious, but, when you read from end to beginning, you interrupt the flow, and your brain is much less likely to fill in words that aren’t there, or that are misspelled.

4.      Have friends of yours read it. As I mentioned, it is difficult to proof your own work. Having an extra set of eyes or two will result in finding all those pesky errors! You can give them credit in your novel for helping and friends usually don’t ask for payment!

5.      Search for words you’ve used too much. All of us have words we use frequently. Sometimes that is okay in dialog, to give the character a trademark and make them memorable—think “Yo, Adrian.” But repeating words in the narrative may be annoying to the reader. I once read a book where everyone “shook their head.” They never said, “No.” They never said, “Never.” He shook his head. She shook her head. I was shaking my head in annoyance. Do a computer search for words you find yourself using frequently, like “also” or “but”.

6.      Watch out for he said, she said. I mean that literally. Do you write “he said” to indicate who is talking after each person who speaks? Sometimes it is not necessary. Especially when two people are having a conversation. When it is necessary, consider using different verb. Shouted, screamed, whispered, mumbled, yelled, barked, or roared. Also consider changing your sentences. Instead of “I need my coffee, now,” Michele said, you could write Michele grabbed her mug. “I need my coffee now.” Readers would still know Michele was talking.

7.      Leave time to let your work rest. If you can put it aside for a month or so, you will forget some of what you’ve written and you will be looking at it with fresh eyes. It is easier to fine tune your work with fresh eyes.

8.      Double check character dialogue. Would the old, rich lady speak the same way as the stubborn teenager? How would an angry character speak? How would the Harvard graduate speak vs. the high school dropout? Make sure your dialogue is true to your character.

9.      Review your entire manuscript only paying attention to punctuation. I often type faster than my mind is thinking. I can’t tell you how many end quotes I’ve left off of sentences! Search for periods, commas, and apostrophes. Are there question marks at the end of a question?

10.  Replace adverbs with strong verbs. She crept down the hall instead of She walked softly down the hall. The dog bounded into the kitchen instead of The dog moved swiftly into the kitchen. The light blazed in the distance instead of The light was brightly shining in the distance.

11.  Look for redundancies. Did you explain twice or three times that the character lives in a three-story apartment building? It’s okay to remind readers about details they may have forgotten, but try to avoid saying the same exact thing over and over. Writing, Mario lives in a three-story apartment building, in one sentence is fine. Perhaps another sentence in a later chapter could be, The door to Mario’s apartment wouldn’t open. And yet another chapter could reveal, Mario didn’t realize that his apartment lease was about to expire. All three sentences remind the reader of Mario’s living situation, but none of the sentences sound alike.

12.  Scan your book for unnecessary words. It was square in shape. Obviously, square is a shape. Why not just say it was square? Its appearance was shiny. The word appearance is unnecessary. It was yellow in color. You don’t want to make your readers feel like you are talking down to them—they know yellow is a color!

13.  Remove obvious statements. The sun was shining. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Do you need both of these sentences in the same paragraph? I had a migraine. It was the worst type of headache. Readers may think you being condescending with such an obvious explanation.

14.  Check your facts. Do the ages fit correctly into the story? I once made a character’s mother 96 years old. My editor pointed out that if the character was 30-something, then a 96-year-old mother would have been past her prime for having children, and would make her unrealistic. Mental head slap. How about the facts about the location of the plot? I recently read a book that talked about the pelicans in New Jersey. I’ve lived in Jersey for nearly 44 years, and have yet to see a pelican this far north of Florida! I also read a book that mentioned how the IRS was going after the homeowners for property taxes. Most people are aware that the IRS doesn’t assess property taxes and that the local Tax Assessor doesn’t work for the IRS.

15.  Pay attention to your time lines. It’s easy to forget what day of the week and what month you’re writing about. Take a blank calendar and fill in a timeline of what’s happening. It’s easier to keep track that way and to correct any inconsistencies prior to publication.

16.  Are your characters consistent? Keep character sheets for each of your characters and double check their behavior, dialogue and appearance when you are finished writing your manuscript. Did the character start with blonde hair and end up a brunette by accident? Did they have blue eyes at the beginning of the book and green at the end? Did they start out rich and end up poor without reason? Does your main character talk like your sidekick? Checking these items that can easily be forgotten will make your characters and your writing more realistic.

17.  Watch your formatting. Do a find a replace for two spaces, and change those to one space. I realize that those of us who grew up pre-computers were always taught, “Two spaces after every sentence!” But as technology evolved, the correct way to format a novel is one space after sentences. Look for mistakes like having two tabs where one should be. Make sure your font and size is all the same.

18.  Check your grammar. The internet is a good resource for finding a correct definition or spelling. Alright or all right? Regardless or irregardless? I.e. or e.g.? Lay down or lie down? Affect or effect? Underway or under way? Handy work or handiwork? Your or you’re? Altogether or all together? Council or counsel? You get the idea!

19.  Still feel like you need help? Hire a professional editor. One that comes with good references. It’s expensive, but it’s well worth it to find those errors you wouldn’t necessarily find yourself.

20.  Check and recheck. Don’t think just because you checked it once, that your manuscript is perfect. Don’t assume that because you had a professional look it over that there won’t be errors remaining. Read your book as many times as you can stand. Before the editor, after the editor, after your friends read it. Even the best books out there have multiple versions, due to the authors needing to correct issues.