Blog

Uncategorized

Here’s Heather Weidner

I’m excited to have Heather back, and she’s going to share about her new book, STICKS AND STONES AND A BAG OF BONES. Isn’t that a catchy title?

Heather took time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions.

Why did you decide to write a new series?

I have always loved cozy mysteries, and I have so many ideas for sleuths and adventures (and murder and mayhem). I have two series with Level Best Books, the Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries and the Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mysteries. My sleuths have fun jobs that I think about sometimes. Jules owns a camping resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She has restored vintage trailers for the ultimate glamping experience for her guests. She and her boyfriend, the hunky Jake Evans, added a village of tiny houses, themed for famous writers, to the resort for additional glamorous camping experiences.

Jade Hicks owns a Christmas store in the quaint beach community of Mermaid Bay. I grew up in Virginia Beach, and I always loved the Christmas stores that catered to the tourists. Christmas is my favorite holiday, and shopping for ornaments is always a must when we’re on vacation.

Tell us about your new sleuth. What is her career? Why did she decide to solve a murder? My latest mystery is STICKS AND STONES AND A BAG OF BONES. Jade works really hard to keep her Christmas shop that she inherited from her grandmother solvent in the tiny beach town of Mermaid Bay. She had no intention of sleuthing. She’s too busy with the shop and its online business. But one morning, she and her rollie pollie French bulldog Chloe bump into what washed up on shore, a suitcase full of bones. And it happened on the day that the town’s Christmas in July festival is set to kickoff. The town’s grapevine goes into overdrive, and everyone is concerned about the ominous message. Then local business owners start to get targeted messages and creepy warning posters pop up in front of all the businesses. Panic sets in when the town’s prickly bookstore owner ends up dead behind the hot dog stand. She’s been strangled with a string of Christmas lights. All eyes turn toward Jade and her store, and she becomes determined to solve the mystery before it kills her business.

Jade will appear next in TWINKLE, TWINKLE AU REVOIR and A TISKET A TASKET, NOT ANOTHER CASKET.

How long have you been writing? How many books do you release every year? How long does it take you to write a book?

I’ve been writing since the seventh grade. (I wrote the Adventures of Share-a-lot Bones for my 7th grade English class.) I have loved mysteries since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. (Plus, my dad was a police officer, and I thought everyone talked about murder and mayhem at the dinner table.)

I usually have 2-3 publications a year. One novel from each series comes out, and then I’ve been fortunate enough to have some articles and short stories published in anthologies.

Right now, I can write 2 to 3 cozy novels a year. When I started, it took me 5 years to write the first book, and another 2 to get it published. I worked on my writing and found that if I write every day with word count goals, I can finish a first draft in 5-6 weeks. (Now there’s lots of editing and revising after that.)

When the pandemic took over all of our lives, my company let us work from home full-time. I promised that I would use my commute time (about 2 hours a day with traffic) and my lunch hour to write and edit. I was amazed that I was able to write 3 novels during each of those years just by committing to a 3-hour a day schedule.

Thank you so much for letting me share my cozy mysteries with your readers. Both series have pet sidekicks like your fabulous series. The glamping series, features Bijou, the Jack Russell Terrier, and Chloe the French bulldog teases her arch-nemesis, Neville the Devil Cat, at ‘Tis the Season, the Christmas Shoppe.

Heather, thank you for sharing. It’s been fun!

More about Heather:

Through the years, Heather Weidner has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager. She writes the Delanie Fitzgerald mystery series, the Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries, and the Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mysteries, all set in Virginia.

Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, Deadly Southern Charm, and Murder by the Glass, and her novellas appear in The Mutt Mysteries series.

Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.

 Social Media Links

Website and Blog: http://www.heatherweidner.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeatherWeidner1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeatherWeidnerAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heather_mystery_writer/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8121854.Heather_Weidner

Amazon Authors: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HOYR0MQ

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/HeatherBWeidner/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/heather-weidner-0064b233?trk=hp-identity-name

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/heather-weidner-d6430278-c5c9-4b10-b911-340828fc7003

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@heather_weidner_author?lang=en

Book Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Sticks-Stones-Bag-Bones-Christmas-ebook/dp/B0BS9ZN3DG

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1685122000

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/shop/heatherweidner

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1685122000

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/shop/heatherweidner

Uncategorized

Hidden Treasures

Walking around downtown Charleston, you’ll find yourself on cobblestone streets and surrounded by history. You’ll probably see horse-drawn carriages as you walk around the French Quarter and the Battery.

We started out early on a January morning. It was a quiet morning, but as the temperature warmed up, more people showed up.

There are museums, shops, restaurants, and historic homes you can tour. But on this particular Saturday, we decided to explore on our own.

Homes have beautiful doors, and there are a wide variety of walls and fences. Many porches run along the side of the house to catch the best breeze. Yards are hidden behind pretty gates. There was a hush in the air the morning we walked. Many homes have window flower boxes. Everywhere you look, there’s something beautiful to see.

I hope you are able to enjoy the beauty of the area where you live, or come visit Charleston! It’s never disappointed me.

Uncategorized

Polish Pottery Gallery in Charleston

In anticipation of the fifth book of A Low Country Dog Walker Mystery series, I plan to share some fun things about Charleston, South Carolina.

This week, I’d like to introduce you to Polish Pottery Gallery. From the moment I walked inside, the beauty took my breath away. There were so many appealing patterns, but there were also unique pieces too.

For instance, Polish pottery soup bowls. These bowls were first made in World War II at a pottery factory in Boleslawiec. Back then there was little food available. Men and women tied these soup bowls to their clothes, and if soup became available they could scoop it up in their soup bowl then drink right out of the bowl. Today the bowls are pretty and functional.

There was also an odd shaped cup with two holes in the bottom. I asked the lady working about it. You place the cup over a small bowl or large mug. Line the top cup with a filter and add coffee and pour hot water over it.

There were plates, bowls, mugs, and serving dishes. It was such a unique find on King Street. If you can’t make it to Charleston, but you’re interested in seeing more, they have a website. https://www.polishpotterygalleryofcharleston.com/

I hope you enjoyed stepping into one of many amazing shops you’ll find if you visit the Low Country!

Uncategorized

A Sale and A Peek at My New Cover

Happy New Year. December was super busy for me, as I’m sure it was for you. I hope you had a good month.

Let’s begin the year with an ebook sale on Bite the Dust. It’s available between now and January 15, 2023 for $0.99 wherever you like to buy your ebooks.

And I promised to begin revealing the cover for A Killer Unleashed. Here we go.

I’ll share the full cover reveal next week.

Here’s a quick look into the busy days of December.

Yes, we’re expecting two granddaughters anytime this next week. We’re so blessed.

No, we didn’t get a new puppy. Heinz went to doggy heaven in August, and our hearts are tender to every dog we come across. This is Luna, and she’s eight weeks old.

I hope 2023 is a wonderful year of blessings for you.

Uncategorized

Thanksgiving Fun

Family, friends, food, and football are a few things we think about when it comes to Thanksgiving.

Today, I wanted to share some fun Thanksgiving trivia with you. Do you know what President Calvin Coolidge received as a Thanksgiving gift one year? It was a racoon in 1926. Vinnie Joyce from Mississippi sent a live racoon to be served as Thanksgiving dinner. Thanksfully President Coolidge took a liking to the furry critter that he made it a pet and named her Rebecca.

Do you know what food the colonists and Native Americans did NOT have at the first Thanksgiving? Turkey.

Thomas Jefferson refused to declare Thanksgiving a holiday.

I also discovered only male turkeys gobble. Female turkeys cackle.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I want to let you know I’m thankful for all of you!

Uncategorized

Leah Dobrinska

I met Leah Dobrinska at agency Zoom meetings, and we became friends. Leah is the author of the Larkspur Library Mysteries, a cozy mystery series set in the Wisconsin Northwoods, and the Mapleton novels, a series of standalone small town romances.
She earned her degree in English Literature from UW-Madison and has since worked as a
freelance writer, editor, and content marketer. As a kid, she hoped to grow up to be either Nancy
Drew or Elizabeth Bennet. Now, she fulfills that dream by writing mysteries and love stories.
Death Checked Out is her debut cozy mystery.
A sucker for a good sentence, a happy ending, and the smell of books—both old and new—Leah
lives out her very own happily ever after in a small Wisconsin town with her husband and their
gaggle of kids. When she’s not writing, handing out snacks, or visiting local parks, Leah enjoys
reading and running. Find out more about Leah, join her newsletter community, and connect
with her through her website, leahdobrinska.com.

Leah gave me to opportunity to read Death Checked Out, and it’s a hit. I believe you’ll enjoy it too.

Enough from me, I want you to get to know Leah.

It’s cozy mystery season, y’all! I know, I know, technically I could make an argument that every season is cozy mystery season, but I don’t know, there’s something about this time of year that makes me want to curl up in front of the fire with a warm cuppa and get lost within the pages of cozy mystery.

Actually, it was this time of year three years ago that I was struck with a desire to pen my own cozy mystery. I had recently finished writing several romance manuscripts and I was itching to try something new. My family and I had returned from an end-of-the-summer visit to a small, northern Wisconsin town where my husband’s aunt and uncle own a cabin on a lake.

While cruising the lake on a pontoon boat, we came around the corner of this little cove and I spotted a tiny log cabin nestled up and in the trees. I said right out loud, “That’s the perfect setting for a mystery novel.”

When I got home, the idea wouldn’t leave me alone. So I decided to write it.

Truth be told, I didn’t think anyone else would ever read it. This was a creative exercise meant just for me. I grew up on Nancy Drew. The tales of the daring, strawberry blonde teenage girl sleuth are woven into the fabric of my childhood. She made me into the reader I am, so it wasn’t surprising to me that, eventually, I’d write a mystery.

I deemed my draft the little mystery that could because I kept chug, chug, chugging along with it. I had no idea what I was doing, having never written in the genre before. I did plot the entirety of the story using the Save The Cat beats, and then I simply told the story that came to me.

It took me a while, but the bones of my first cozy mysterysolidified. Nine months later, on a whim, I decided to query literary agents. After some heavy revisions, one took me on (thanks, Dawn!), and now in less than a month, the little mystery that could will hit shelves.

I am at once excited and terrified to be jumping from the comfort of the romance genre to this new terrain of the mystery genre. Fortunately, mystery authors and readers alike have welcomed me with open arms. I’ve had authors willingly take my uncorrected proof, read it, and provide me with amazing blurbs. I’ve had readers sharing my cover art and drumming up interest for my book. What a gift this cozy community is!

I can’t wait for the world to read the cozy mystery that could, now officially titled Death Checked Out. It’s releasing on December 6, 2022, and you can preorder it now.

Here’s what you’ll find within these cozy pages:

  • A trio of friends (my own small nod to Nancy, Bess, and George!)
  • A library hook
  • A Northwoods, lakeside town setting
  • A quirky cast of neighbors and side characters
  • A cat named Biff
  • A lot of humor
  • A disgruntled detective
  • A touch of romance (…maybe?!)
  • A fast-paced mystery

I hope you’ll give it a try, along with any of the other amazing mysteries releasing this fall and winter.

Some that are on my TBR list include:

The Plot and the Pendulum by Jenn McKinlay

Too Much To Candle by Sarah E. Burr

A Christmas Candy Killing by Christina Romeril

Film Crews and Rendezvous by Heather Weidner

What are you reading this November and December?

Friends, here are some links to get to know Leah better.

Websitehttps://leahdobrinska.com/

Newsletterhttps://leahdobrinska.com/newsletter

Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.to/3zB9eeg

Death Checked Out Purchase link (Amazon)https://amzn.to/3T4XK9n

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/whatleahwrote

Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/whatleahwrote/

TikTokhttps://www.tiktok.com/@whatleahwrote

BookBubhttps://www.bookbub.com/authors/leah-dobrinska

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/leahdobrinska

Uncategorized

Heather Weidner’s Fuzzy Coworkers

Hi friends, get prepared for your hearts to melt as Heather shares with us today.

We share our house with two crazy Jack Russell Terriers. They are our companions, friends, squirrel-chasers, snack-sharers, and since the pandemic, they’ve been my fuzzy coworkers. They work really hard to alert us to every walker, biker, and delivery driver.

Like Jackie, I love animals. Pets are an integral part of our lives, and it’s natural that they would have key roles in my stories. My stories are full of furry sidekicks. Below are my pups, Riley and Disney (the brains of the operation).

Bijou, the spunky Jack Russell Terrier, in the Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries, is based on my JRT Disney. She’s friendly and full of energy, a perfect ambassador for Jules’s glamping resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Disney was thrilled to be the cover model for the latest mystery, too.

DISNEY DOG

Margaret Thatcher Reynolds is a tubby English bulldog who is the sidekick of Delanie’s partner Duncan in the Delanie Fitzgerald Mysteries. Margaret, the brown and white log with legs, is a four-legged sleuth, and she helped solve the mystery of “what is that sound in the ceiling” in Glitter, Glam, and Contraband. She spends most of her days snacking and snoozing in the private eye’s office.

MARGARET THE WONDER DOG

My new series, launching in January 2023, is the Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mysteries, set in the quaint beach community of Mermaid Bay. Proprietor Jade Hicks shares her house and her business with Chloe, a rollie-pollie white French bulldog. Chloe, like Bijou, is a greeter and ambassador for Jade’s store.

CHLOE THE FRENCHIE

I wrote some novellas for the Mutt Mysteries series. They contain a Jack Russell Terrier who helps solve the crime in “Diggin’ up Dirt” in To Fetch a Thief, and Margaret the Wonder Dog gets a starring role in “Strut Your Mutt” in To Fetch a Killer.

“The Fast and the Furriest” and “Wags to Riches” feature Oliver the Rottweiler. He’s the Director of Security at the Amelia Racetrack, and he helps owner, Cassidy Green, solve several crimes in To Fetch a Scoundrel and To Fetch a Villain.

OLIVER, DIRECTOR OF SECURITY

Our pets are our family, best friends, and loyal companions. They hold a cherished place in our homes and hearts. And I always make sure that my novels feature a sleuth and faithful companion with four paws and a wet nose.

Biography

Through the years, Heather Weidner has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager. Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers is the first in her cozy mystery series, the Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries. She also writes the Delanie Fitzgerald mystery series set in Virginia.

Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, Deadly Southern Charm, and Murder by the Glass, and her novellas appear in The Mutt Mysteries series.

Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.

 Social Media Links

Website and Blog: http://www.heatherweidner.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeatherWeidner1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeatherWeidnerAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heather_mystery_writer/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8121854.Heather_Weidner

Amazon Authors: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HOYR0MQ

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/HeatherBWeidner/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/heather-weidner-0064b233?trk=hp-identity-name

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/heather-weidner-d6430278-c5c9-4b10-b911-340828fc7003

Book Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1685122000

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BHLSYBZ9?ref_=pe_3052080_276849420

Barnes and Noble: Film Crews and Rendezvous: A Jules Keene Glamping Mystery by Heather Weidner, Paperback | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com)

Booshop.org: https://bookshop.org/shop/heatherweidner

Fantastic Fiction: Film Crews and Rendezvous (Jules Keene Glamping Mystery, book 2) by Heather Weidner (fantasticfiction.com)

Scribd: Film Crews and Rendezvous by Heather Weidner – Ebook | Scribd

Book Summary

Hollywood has come to Fern Valley, and the one stoplight town may never be the same. Everyone wants to get in on the act.

The crew from the wildly popular, fan favorite, Fatal Impressions, takes over Jules Keene’s glamping resort, and they bring a lot of offscreen drama and baggage that doesn’t include the scads of costumes, props, and crowds that descend on the bucolic resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Added security, hundreds of calls from hopeful extras, and some demanding divas keep Jules’s team hopping.

When the show’s prickly head writer ends up dead under the L. Frank Baum tiny house in what looks like a staged murder scene with a kitschy homage to the Wizard of Oz, Jules has to figure out who would want the writer dead. Then while they are still reeling from the first murder, the popular publicist gets lost after a long night at the local honky-tonk and winds up strangled. Jules needs to solve both crimes before filming is canceled, and her business is ruined.

Heather, congratulations on Film Crews and Rendezvous: A Jules Keene Glamping Mystery! Thanks for spending time with us today. It’s been fun!

Uncategorized

Here’s Kim Davis and a Halloween Treat

Kim and I have not met in person, yet. But I still consider her a friend, and I’m excited to have her with us today.

Cake Popped Off by Kim Davis

Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Jackie! I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my Halloween-themed book, Cake Popped Off, which is now on sale, with your followers! While I’m not a fan of ghoulish and horror-filled Halloween activities and movies, I do enjoy the cutesier aspect of the holiday. From creative costumes (especially those worn by little kids) to the candies (fun-sized Snickers are my fav) to Halloween-themed food (mummy dogs, anyone?), I’m pulled in and ready to trick-or-treat.

Each of the books I write in the Cupcake Catering Mystery series has several recipes included to fit the theme of the book. In Cake Popped Off, I’ve included recipes that are perfect for Halloween parties or pre-trick-or-treating gatherings. I had a blast researching ideas online and creating dishes to fit the Halloween theme. Included in Cake Popped Off are recipes for Bloodshot Deviled Egg Eyes, Double Dip Jack-O’-Lantern, Graveyard Taco Dip, Chicken Cordon-Boo Casserole, Yummy Mummy Calzones, Poison Apple Cupcakes, Smashed Pumpkin Cupcakes, and more. And, of course, with a title like Cake Popped Off (courtesy of my fellow blogger Lisa Ks Book Reviews) I knew I had to include a recipe for “spirited” adults only cake pops—Poison Apple Cake Pops to be exact—which might have been used as a murder weapon.

If you’d like the recipe for the Poison Apple Cupcakes, hop over to my blog for a printable copy: https://cinnamonsugarandalittlebitofmurder.com/poison-apple-cocktail-cupcakes/

When it came time for my cover designer to go to work on the cover, we found we couldn’t find cake pops on stock photo sites that would readily work. So, I remade the cake pops from my book recipe, photographed them, and my cover designer used those instead. But what I thought really made the cover cute, is my grand-puppy, Piper, with her witch’s hat. Piper also shares a role in the story with my protagonist, Emory, as she tries to find out who killed the Bavarian barmaid.

Happy Halloween, everyone! And as a special treat, Cake Popped Off is on sale through October 31st.

What it’s about:

Cupcake caterer Emory Martinez is hosting a Halloween bash alongside her octogenarian employer, Tillie. With guests dressed in elaborate costumes, the band is rocking, the cocktails are flowing, and tempers are flaring when the hired Bavarian Barmaid tries to hook a rich, hapless husband. Except one of her targets happens to be Emory’s brother-in-law, which bodes ill for his pregnant wife. When Emory tracks down the distraught barmaid, instead of finding the young woman in tears, she finds her dead. Can she explain to the new detective on the scene why the Bavarian Barmaid was murdered in Emory’s bathtub with Emory’s Poison Apple Cake Pops stuffed into her mouth?

With an angry pregnant sister to contend with, she promises to clear her brother-in-law’s name. As Emory starts asking questions and tracking down the identity of the costumed guests, she finds reasons to suspect her brother-in-law has been hiding a guilty secret. Her search leads her to a web of blackmail and betrayal amongst the posh setting of the local country club crowd. Can Emory sift through the lies she’s being told and find the killer? She’ll need to step up her investigation before another victim is sent to the great pumpkin patch in the sky.

Thanks so much for sharing with us, Kim.

Friends, here are the purchase links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3gfWCx0

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/3UTESMC

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3SNvcBf

Rakuten Kobo: https://bit.ly/3CnKtn8

Uncategorized

Christina Romeril’s Back with Favorite Holiday Traditions

This is the time of year when I’m more excited about Christmas than a kid on Christmas Eve. I’m eyeing up the boxes with the decorations in them and making holiday baking lists. I’ll have the house decorated by November first. This is not something I get from my parents. Growing up we didn’t decorate until after the first week of December. In those couple weeks before Christmas my mother did a bit of holiday baking and bought festive chocolates and candies. Every Sunday in December we would light the candles on the advent wreath as well.

My parents are both from Germany and so we had lots of German traditions in our holiday celebrations, one of my favorites was the advent calendar. We always had one hanging in the kitchen with chocolates in it and another that just had pictures behind each window. My brother and I had to alternate which calendar window we got to open each day, so we only got a chocolate every other day. Oh, the hardships.

I have four children so we had more than one advent calendar in the house, though I do recall them having to share a bit too. These days I have multiple advent calendars. There is a giant fabric one from Pottery Barn Kids hanging on the front door. I fill each pocket with something for either my husband or I, or something we can do for or give to others. There is a wooden one in the kitchen with little drawers that I fill with special chocolates. In the hall we have a quilted one I made years ago. On the kitchen counter there is also one where you move the old fashioned truck each day. And finally, in my office I have a paper one just like when I was little with the pictures behind each window. That one brings back so many nostalgic memories.

My love of Christmas is what sparked my decision to set my debut cozy mystery, A Christmas Candy Killing, during the holidays. Identical twin sisters, Alex and Hanna, also sport a German heritage. Quite the coincidence, eh? They also have a love of decorating and there are lots of descriptions in the book to get you into the holiday mood. There’s enough talk about chocolate in the book to keep you drooling to the end. You will want to stock up on your favorite chocolate treats before you sit down to read. I’d love to know what Christmas traditions you celebrate at Christmas. Catch up with me on one of my socials. Until then Merry Murder.

Thanks so much for sharing your Christmas traditions.

 You can find Christina on Facebook and Instagram@ChristinaRomerilWriter as well as at www.christinaromeril.com.