BLOG TOUR – As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles – REVIEW

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Welcome! Today I’m hosting a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles, the fifth in the Food Lovers’ Village Mystery series by Leslie Budewitz.

About the Book

As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles (A Food Lovers’ Village Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Midnight Ink (June 8, 2018)
Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738752419
Digital ASIN: B075W25FNF

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKobo

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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Synopsis

Erin is one smart cookie, but can she keep the holiday spirit—and herself—alive till Christmas?

In Jewel Bay, all is merry and bright. At Murphy’s Mercantile, AKA the Merc, manager Erin Murphy is ringing in the holiday season with food, drink, and a new friend: Merrily Thornton. A local girl gone wrong, Merrily has turned her life around. But her parents have publicly shunned her, and they nurse a bitterness that chills Erin.

When Merrily goes missing and her boss discovers he’s been robbed, fingers point to Merrily—until she’s found dead, a string of lights around her neck. The clues and danger snowball from there. Can Erin nab the killer—and keep herself in one piece—in time for a special Christmas Eve?

Includes delicious recipes!

Review – 4 out of 5 stars

I enjoyed this latest installment in the Food Lovers’ Village mysteries. It’s always fun to return to Jewel Bay and visit the characters there and this book was no exception!

It’s Christmas and this year is extra special because Erin and Adam are getting married on Christmas Eve!

Our victim, Merrily, seemed like a sweet girl. It’s too bad she and Erin won’t be able to be friends. But alas, someone has to be the victim.

The plot was great and kept me guessing. I wondered about the villain, but I was never sure until it was revealed!

I do wish there’d been a little more about the wedding, but all in all it was another fun adventure in Jewel Bay!

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About the Author

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. She lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician, and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model, and avid bird-watcher.

Connect with her on her website, http://www.LeslieBudewitz.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter

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BLOG TOUR – The Spook in the Stacks – REVIEW

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Welcome! Today I’m hosting a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for The Spook in the Stacks, the fourth book in the Lighthouse Library Mystery series by Eva Gates aka Vicki Delany. I was so excited for this book to come out! After the series was cancelled, there was seemingly very little hope, but Ms. Delany was able to get the rights to the series from the old publisher and found a new home with Crooked Lane publishers! I’ve been looking forward to this one since she made the announcement over a year ago!

About the Book

The Spook in the Stacks: A Lighthouse Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Crooked Lane Books (June 12, 2018)
Hardcover: 250 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683315803
Digital ASIN: B075QJ59PX

Purchase Links: AmazonB&NKobo

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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Synopsis

Halloween in North Carolina’s Outer Banks becomes seriously tricky when librarian Lucy Richardson stumbles across something extra unusual in the rare books section: a dead body.

Wealthy businessman Jay Ruddle is considering donating his extensive collection of North Carolina historical documents to the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library, but the competition for the collection is fierce. Unfortunately, while the library is hosting a lecture on ghostly legends, Jay becomes one of the dearly departed in the rare books section. Now, it’s up to Lucy Richardson and her fellow librarians to bone up on their detective skills and discover who is responsible for this wicked Halloween homicide.

Meanwhile, very strange things are happening at the library―haunted horses are materializing in the marsh, the lights seem to have an eerie life of their own, and the tiny crew of a model ship appears to move around when no one is watching. Is Lucy at her wit’s end? Or can it be that the Bodie Island Lighthouse really is haunted?

With The Legend of Sleepy Hollow on everyone’s minds and ghoulish gossip on everyone’s lips, Lucy will need to separate the clues from the boos if she wants to crack this case without losing her head in The Spook in the Stacks, the delightful fourth in national bestseller Eva Gates’ Lighthouse Library mysteries.

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Review – 4.5 out of 5 stars

This installment of the Lighthouse Library Mystery series was worth the wait! It was wonderful.

I love the main characters anyway. They’re all very well-developed and well-rounded. It’s like reading about old friends each time I pick up one of these books. I love cozy mysteries, but there are only a handful of series that I will re-read. This series is one of them!

The plot this time around was great. There were plenty of red herrings to keep you guessing about who the villain really was. I did not figure it out ahead of time this time around, which is great. It’s always more fun when I do not figure out who is the villain!

If you wish to read this series, I suggest starting with the first book in the series, By Book or By CrookYou can read any of the books by themselves but the interpersonal relationships will make more sense if you start from the beginning!

Check out this and the rest of the Lighthouse Library Mystery series and enjoy!

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About the Author

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. She has written more than twenty-five books: clever cozies to Gothic thrillers to gritty police procedurals, to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy. She is currently writing three cozy mystery series: the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series for Crooked Lane, the Year Round Christmas mysteries for Penguin Random House and, under the pen name of Eva Gates, the Lighthouse Library series, for Crooked Lane Books.

Vicki lives and writes in bucolic Prince Edward County, Ontario. She is the past president of the Crime Writers of Canada. Her work has been nominated for the Derringer, the Bony Blithe, the Ontario Library Association Golden Oak, and the Arthur Ellis Awards.

Visit Vicki at www.vickidelany.com. On Facebook at www.facebook.com/evagatesauthor. Twitter @vickidelany @evagatesauthor

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BLOG TOUR – A Deadly Eclair – GUEST POST & REVIEW

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Welcome!!! Today I’m hosting a spot on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for the paperback release of A Deadly Eclair by Daryl Wood Gerber, the first in the French Bistro Mystery series. It’s a great book! Daryl Wood Gerber has written a guest post for us today and then you’ll find my review underneath, along with the information about the book and the Rafflecopter Giveaway!

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Guest Post – Daryl Wood Gerber

Hi, all! I’m so happy to be on the Great Escapes Tour. I’d like to share some of my favorite recipes from A Deadly Éclair, the 1st French Bistro Mystery. It came out in  hardcover in November, but I’m excited to say it’s out in trade paperback as of June 12. Yay!  And the second in the series, A Soufflé of Suspicion, comes out July 10!

Well, this is one of my favorite cookies recipes. Madeleines – just the name is pretty. It’s simple to make yet so elegant because of the cookie’s shape. Perfect for afternoon tea. Do you love a nice cuppa?  When I read, I do. Making these cookies does require a madeleine pan. I purchased one online at Amazon that worked beautifully.

 Why am I sharing two versions of this recipe? Because one is a gluten-free version, and I like my fellow celiacs to enjoy as much as they can. Not surprisingly, that set of cookies turned out as moist and delicious as the regular version; however, one of the tricks to keeping them that way is to individually wrap the cookies in plastic wrap and store in a sealed bag or canister.

Note:   Good quality honey matters! Cardamom has its own unique flavor, so you’ll want to use it if you can. If you don’t have it in stock, don’t despair. You can mix equal parts cinnamon and nutmeg to enhance the cookie flavor.

Enjoy the recipe, and please tell a friend about A Deadly Éclair and the giveaway for this tour!

Madeleines

Orange Cardamom Madeleines
(Makes 12)

For the cookies:

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon good-quality honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs

For the glaze:

  • ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • Brush molds of a madeleine pan with butter; set aside.
  • Make the batter: Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat, and stir in honey and vanilla. Let cool 10 minutes.
  • In a small bowl whisk flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt; set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees, setting the rack in the center.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together sugar and eggs. Gently fold in the flour mixture until combined. Add the butter mixture and fold until combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared madeleine pan, filling each mold halfway. Tap pan on work surface to eliminate air bubbles. If necessary, use moistened fingers to press the batter into the mold.
  • Bake until cookies have puffed and the edges are golden, 7 to 8 minutes.
  • Transfer the madeleine pan to a wire rack; let the cookies cool slightly. Unmold the cookies onto a rack, and let cool completely.

Make the orange glaze:

  • In a small bowl, stir together sugar and orange zest and juice until the glaze is smooth and thick. Using a small pastry brush, paint the ridged side of each cookie with the glaze. Let set 15 minutes.

Cookies can be stored in a single layer in an airtight container up to 3 days.

Orange Cardamom Madeleines
Gluten-free Version
(Makes 12)

For the cookies:

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon good-quality honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup sweet rice flour (or a gluten-free blend you enjoy)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum

 

For the glaze:

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • Brush molds of a madeleine pan with butter; set aside.
  • Make the batter: Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat, and stir in honey and vanilla. Let cool 10 minutes.
  • In a small bowl whisk gluten-free flour, baking powder, cardamom, salt, and xanthan gum; set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees, setting the rack in the center.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together sugar and eggs. Gently fold in the gluten-free flour mixture until combined. Add the butter mixture and fold until combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared madeleine pan, filling each mold halfway. Tap pan on work surface to eliminate air bubbles. If necessary, use moistened fingers to press the batter into the mold.
  • Bake until cookies have puffed and the edges are golden, 7 to 8 minutes.
  • Transfer the madeleine pan to a wire rack; let the cookies cool slightly. Unmold the cookies onto a rack, and let cool completely.

Make the orange glaze:

  • In a small bowl, stir together sugar and orange zest and juice until the glaze is smooth and thick. Using a small pastry brush, paint the ridged side of each cookie with the glaze. Let set 15 minutes.

Cookies can be stored in a single layer in an airtight container up to 3 days.

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About the Book

A Deadly Éclair: A French Bistro Mystery
Cozy Mystery
New Series
Crooked Lane Books (June 12, 2018)
Paperback: 368 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683316046
Kindle ASIN: B06XWDWRLF

Purchase Links: AmazonB&NKobo

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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Synopsis

It’s always been Mimi Rousseau’s dream to open her own bistro, but it seems beyond her grasp since she’s been chased back home to Nouvelle Vie in Napa Valley by her late husband’s tremendous debt. Until her best friend Jorianne James introduces her to entrepreneur Bryan Baker who invests in promising prospects. Now, working the bistro and inn until she’s able to pay it off and call it her own, Mimi is throwing the inn’s first wedding ever.

The wedding will be the talk of the town, as famous talk show host Angelica Edmonton, daughter of Bryan’s half-brother, Edison, has chosen the inn as her perfect venue. Anxious, Mimi is sure things are going to turn south, especially when Edison gets drunk and rowdy at the out-of-towners’ dinner, but by the evening, things begin to look up again. That is until six AM rolls around, and Bryan is found dead at the bistro with an éclair stuffed in his mouth. And the fingers point at Mimi, whose entire loan is forgiven in Bryan’s will.

Now it’s up to Mimi to clear her name and get to the bottom of things before the killer turns up the heat again in A Deadly Éclair, the scrumptious series debut by Agatha Award-winning author Daryl Wood Gerber.

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Review

I think this is a great start to the series and I enjoyed it. I did have a little trouble getting into it, but once it caught my attention, I couldn’t put it down.

Our main character, Mimi, is great. She’s well-rounded, complex, and fun to read about. Her sidekicks, Heather, Jo, and Raymond are all great too. In fact, I almost like Heather and Raymond more than Mimi. Almost. 🙂

The setting descriptions were great, which I’ve come to expect from this author. She usually has a good balance of details and leaving some things to the imagination. I’m totally in love with the fact that the inn and gardens are based on Monet’s house in Giverny. Visiting Giverny is on my bucket list of “someday I’ll get there”. 🙂

The plot line was well done and well-written. I didn’t know who the villain was until very close to when they revealed it, which is always great in a mystery! I like mysteries that keep me guessing. 🙂

I really enjoyed this book. It didn’t quite have enough sparkle and pizzazz to put it over the top into a 5 star book, and it did take me a bit to get into it, but it’s a solid 4 out of 5 stars and I definitely recommend it for those who love cozies and/or other books by Daryl Wood Gerber! Enjoy it!

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About the Author

Agatha Award-winning Daryl Wood Gerber is best known for her nationally bestselling Cookbook Nook Mysteries and CHEESE SHOP MYSTERIES, which she pens as Avery Aames. She will soon debut the new French Bistro Mysteries. Daryl also writes stand-alone suspense: DAYS OF SECRETS and GIRL ON THE RUN. Fun tidbit: as an actress, Daryl appeared in “Murder, She Wrote.” She loves to cook, and she has a frisky Goldendoodle named Sparky who keeps her in line!

Author Links

Visit Daryl or Avery at www.darylwoodgerber.com.

Daryl’s Blog Avery’s Blog Mystery Lover’s Kitchen Killer Characters

Facebook: Daryl Avery Twitter: @AveryAames @DarylWoodGerber

Goodreads: Daryl Wood Gerber Avery Aames

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BLOG TOUR – Confound It – GUEST POST

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Welcome! Today I’m hosting a spot on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Confound It, the fifth in the Dreamwalker Mystery series. I’m happy to be featuring a guest post by the author, Maggie Toussaint!  Information about the book, including purchase links and a Rafflecopter giveaway will be under the guest post.

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Guest Post – Maggie Toussaint

Feuding Neighbors
By Maggie Toussaint

Have you ever wondered why some people don’t get along? Where I grew up in the country, we knew everyone for miles around. We helped each other when times were tough, we celebrated each other’s joys.

Neighbors in today’s crowded world often seem less neighborly. With more people in less space, conflicts abound. The same is true in my newest Dreamwalker Mystery, Confound It. When the call comes in about a victim at the house fire, my female sleuth Baxley Powell accompanies the sheriff to the scene.

Bartow Road has few houses on it, but the two neighbors at the end of the road have a history of disagreement. You see, the victim’s pot-bellied pigs are smart as can be. Petunia learned how to open a doorknob at an early age, thereby giving her and her buddy, Patches, an opportunity to venture outside alone.

Once free of supervision, the pigs followed their excellent noses next door and up on the porch where a very large sack of premium dog food was stored. After they ate their fill, the pigs waddled home.

Neighbor Ricky Dixon is furious about the trespassing and theft of dog food. He paid extra for primo dog food for his champion hounds. This violation of his personal property is completely unacceptable. Even though the victim’s son replaces the food, Dixon can’t rein in his anger. He’s so mad he calls the cops.

Now the woman’s dead and her pigs are missing. Baxley and the sheriff must figure out how angry Dixon truly is. Mad enough to stomp around and swear like a sailor or mad enough to take matters into his own hands. If he went into a killing rage, he’s suspect numero uno.

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About the Book


Confound It (A Dreamwalker Mystery)

Paranormal Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Camel Press (June 1, 2018)
Paperback: 248 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1603815956
Digital ASIN: B07CX4FWHP

Purchase Links: AmazonB&NKobo
Rafflecopter Giveaway

Synopsis

While hosting out-of-town guests at her Georgia home, Dreamwalker Baxley Powell is called upon to help investigate a suspicious fire. One of her guests, close friend and fellow dreamwalker Deputy Sam Mayes, accompanies her to the scene.

A meth cook is dead, and when Baxley visits her beyond the Veil of Life, she determines that the woman was murdered. Baxley pities Mandy Patterson, a single mother with aspirations for her teenage son Doodle. Unconcerned about the death of a criminal, the authorities pursue the drug-supply chain angle. Baxley worries about Doodle and vows to find out who killed his mother.

As the case grows more baffling, Baxley struggles against her attraction to Sam. Although her husband is missing and declared dead, she does not feel free to love again until she is sure of his fate.

Two suspects have the strongest motive, but Baxley has reason to believe they are pawns in a deeper game. And unless she can stop them, the world will never be the same.

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About the Author

Southern author Maggie Toussaint writes mystery, suspense, and dystopian fiction. Her work won the Silver Falchion Award for best mystery, the Readers’ Choice Award, and the EPIC Award. She’s published seventeen novels as well as several short stories and novellas. The next book in her paranormal mystery series, Dadgummit, releases August 2017. Maggie serves on the national board for Mystery Writers of America, is President of Southeast Mystery Writers of America, and is Co-VP of Low Country Sisters In Crime. Visit her at www.maggietoussaint.com.

Embedded links:

Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Goodreads | LinkedIn | Pinterest | Booklover’s Bench | Amazon Author Central | Bookbub | Website

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BLOG TOUR – Father Figure – REVIEW

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Good afternoon!! Today I’m super excited to be bringing you a stop on the Reads & Reels Book Tour for Father Figure by James J. Cudney!  As with his first book, Watching Glass Shatter, Jay has brought us another masterpiece!

About the Book

Father Figure Cover

Father Figure – James J. Cudney
Publisher: Creativia
Publication Date: April 2, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Drama

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Purchase Links: Amazon

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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Synopsis

Between the fast-paced New York City, a rural Mississippi town, and a charming Pennsylvania college campus filled with secrets, two young girls learn the consequences of growing up too quickly. Struggling to survive in a claustrophobic, unforgiving world, they embark on a journey to overcome all the pain, disappointment, and horror of their experiences.

Amalia Graeme, abused by her mother for most of her life, longs to escape her desolate hometown, connect with others, and fall in love. Contemplating an impending loss of innocence and conflicting feelings between her boyfriend and the dangerous attraction she’s developed for an older man, Amalia suffers devastating, life-altering tragedies. No matter where she turns, someone or something always steals her hope of finding happiness, protection, and love.

Brianna Porter, a sassy yet angst-ridden teenager raised in New York City, yearns to determine her life’s true purpose, conquer her fear of abandonment, and interpret an intimidating desire for her best friend, Shanelle. All the confusion stems from desperately needing to find the father whom her mother refuses to reveal, but an unexpected discovery of a journal leads Brianna to a shocking revelation about her missing parent. Unfortunately, by casting the net to find him, she’s unleashed a tragic history that was meant to stay buried and might now completely change everyone’s futures.

Through alternating chapters set two decades apart, each girl’s plight unfolds revealing the parallels between their lives and the subsequent collision that is bound to happen. In an emotional story filled with mystery, romance, and suspense, fate intervenes forcing someone to make a dreadful decision that will leave permanent scars.

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Review – 5 out of 5 stars

Jay has come up with another masterpiece in Father Figure. I had the privilege to be a part of the Beta Readers team for this book and have loved it from the beginning. All the polishing and editing it has received have just made it that much better!

Our main characters are phenomenal. They’re complex, they’re well-written and well-developed. Jay successfully makes you feel deeply for each character. You want them to all be happy at the end! Even though life doesn’t always end up that way, you still want it for these characters.

The subject matter in this book is a little more difficult to read dealing with some serious abuse and other life-altering experiences. Jay tackles these subjects head-on and doesn’t balk or tiptoe around them. The result is a gritty, yet realistic portrait of life.

I don’t always enjoy alternating chapters, but I did in this instance. It helped to take a break from the horrible life Amalia has and intersperse it with the more bubbly, happier Brianna.

I also really love the cover of this book. There’s a lot of symbolism on it. The more you read the book and really look at the cover, the more you’ll understand!

I highly recommend this book, though I do include a trigger warning for those with abusive histories. It’s still magnificent and if you can read it, I highly recommend you do!

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About the Author

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James is my given name; most call me Jay. I grew up on Long Island and currently live in New York City, but I’ve traveled all across the US (and various parts of the world). After college, I spent 15 years working in technology and business operations in the sports, entertainment and media industries. Although I enjoyed my job, I left in 2016 to focus on my passion: telling stories and connecting people through words. My debut novel is ‘Watching Glass Shatter,’ a contemporary fiction family drama with elements of mystery, suspense, humor and romance. To see samples or receive news from my current and upcoming books, please subscribe with your email address at my website: https://jamesjcudney.com

What do I do outside of writing: I’m an avid genealogist (discovered 2K family members going back about 250 years) and cook (I find it so hard to follow a recipe). I love to read; between Goodreads and my blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, I have over 500 book reviews which will give you a full flavor for my voice and style. On my blog, I started the 365 Daily Challenge, where I post a word each day that has some meaning to me, then converse with everyone about life. There is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dog has a weekly segment called “Ryder’s Rants” where he complains about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real and show how I live every day.

A bit of humor: Everything doubles as something else when you live in NYC. For me, it’s the dining room, my favorite space in the apartment, where more than just my cooking is on display! As I look out the windows onto a 12th floor terrace, various parts of nature (trees, bushes, flowers, bugs & animals) inspire me to write. Ryder, my 10-year old shiba inu, usually lies on my feet, growling when I shift positions too many times or when I forget to share my food! Although he’s only 20 pounds, he’s quite strong and pushy. But how else can you pen the best story possible without these things by your side?

Blog | James J. Cudney | Amazon| Twitter

Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Goodreads | LinkedIn

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