Thursday, November 5, 2020

Let's Have A Cozy Day



HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Alrighty then. It’s now 8:08 on Wednesday, and by the time this post goes up early Thursday morning, who knows where we’ll all be. But we might as well stay cozy.



Before we introduce today's special guest, remember yesterday, we decided to focus on beauty a bit? Well, whoo, as a result, darling FOR Gigi Norwood sent flowers....



and fab FOR Judy Singer sent some, too!




Photos  of flowers, I mean, from Gigi’s garden and Judy’s birthday. Let’s hope this is simply the beginning of the celebration.  Thank you SO much!


And we can also celebrate the books we love, right? That's why we are also so happy to welcome the wonderful Becky Clark. Who, brave woman,  had the,  um, experience of launching a new book in a pandemic and on election day.  SO let’s celebrate her with applause and cheers!  

(And additions to our TBR piles. See below for a GIVEAWAY!) 


Cozy Quirks



by Becky Clark

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that people love to read cozy mysteries because of the quirky places they’re set and the all-too-human—and therefore often wacky—characters that inhabit them.




Yes, of course, cozy readers appreciate the lack of sex and violence throughout, and the vindication of seeing the villain get well-deserved comeuppance at the end, but there’s just something so satisfying about those quirks that make you want to live with those people in those places.




I’d love to hang out in Ellen Byron’s fictional Pelican, Louisiana where her voodoo priestess is treated with the same respect as the town’s priest. Wouldn’t it have been fun to go to Cynthia Kuhn’s Stonedale University with its stodgy outer layer covering up some crackling fun secrets? I’m trying to figure out how to plan a vacation that includes a week at Catriona McPherson’s Last Ditch Motel, another week on the 29th floor of Gretchen Archer’s Bellissimo Resort and Casino with Davis Way and her band of merry miscreants, and a final week in Libby Klein’s Cape May, NJ to see what kind of shenanigans Aunt Ginny and I could get into.






If you’ve read any of those books—or a zillion others—you’ve been immersed in some quirky places, the hallmark of a fun cozy.






When I was in the very early stages of sketching out PUZZLING INK (the first in my Crossword Mysteries which just launched November 3rd … squee!), I was lamenting all of its deficiencies, as one does, to my dear friend and sounding board, the delightful and clever Cynthia Kuhn, of the previously mentioned Lila Maclean academic mysteries. She listened while I whined, then gave me one of her trademark pffts and a wave of her hand. “You just haven’t sprinkled the cozy dust on it yet.”




She was absolutely right.




By the time I sprinkled my cozy dust, the fictional town of Chestnut Station, Colorado—out on the eastern plains—was ready for its quirky close-up.




For one thing, there’s not a chestnut tree to be found anywhere near town, but in the 1950s some mystery artist began erecting chestnut statues all over the place in the dead of night. One particularly productive summer saw more than thirty chestnut statues installed at intersections throughout town; quite remarkable, since there were only about twice that many streets. In the years since, many more had materialized depicting raw chestnuts, shelled chestnuts, chestnuts fuzzy from the tree, and, of course, roasting on an open fire. Made of wood, metal, clay. Large, medium, and small. Loud and proud, hidden and demure. Earth tones and neon. You name it, there was one like it somewhere in town.




The townspeople costume the statues for every holiday—real and imagined—and in FATAL SOLUTIONS, book #3 out next year, we find out why.




Chestnut Station also has town dogs, owned by no one and everyone, each of whom has staked out some real estate of their own. Jethro the bloodhound, for instance, sleeps all day in front of the diner where amateur sleuth/crossword constructor/waitress Quinn Carr works. When they unlock the door, he’s there to perform his security sweep, checking every nook and cranny until he gives the all-clear at the kitchen where he accepts his payment, two strips of crispy bacon.




The other fixture of the Chestnut Diner is a group of elderly men, the Retireds. They spend much of their day hanging out at their favorite table, seeing and being seen, teasing, reminiscing, complaining. There’s literal Herman who seems like he’s hearing everything, no matter how mundane, for the very first time. Gregarious Bob who used to be on the stage and has a story for every situation, or at least thinks he does. Lonely Larry, who is completely gray (except for his hair, which is red) and needs company like an astronaut needs air. Silas is the resident comedian, always ready with a bad joke he’s told a thousand times. And Wilbur their cranky ring-leader, whose every word sounds like it tumbled around a cement mixer first. They give Quinn grief all day, every day.




Luckily Quinn has respite at her parents’ house where her mother Georgeanne loves to bustle around the kitchen. Unfortunately, “bustling” doesn’t always translate to “delicious,” no matter how hard she tries. Everything she makes is technically edible, but only in the broadest sense of the word.




Take her oatmeal, for example.




She’d been making it for her husband Dan’s breakfast every day for thirty-some years. In the beginning it was normal oatmeal, like most people ate. But over the years, Georgeanne increasingly expressed her creativity through her cooking. These days, Dan’s oatmeal was virtually unrecognizable, buried under layers of dried and fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, roasted chickpeas, basil, and tarragon. The pièce de résistance, however, was the artfully arranged spoonful of dill pickle relish on top. This flourish was added after Georgeanne heard a Japanese chef extol the virtues of “eating with your eyes,” something Quinn desperately wanted to learn, if it meant she needn’t use her mouth.




These quirky characters and places—even the food—enrich Quinn’s life and form the backdrop for her sleuthing. I mean, without being fueled by some of her mother’s cumin cupcakes with miso frosting, how could Quinn manage to construct those subliminal crossword clues to deliver that well-deserved comeuppance?




While I have my share of quirkiness in real life, none of it is quite as eccentric as the people, pets, and places that inhabit my fictional world.




Which is exactly the reason I like to visit there.




Readers, what about you? Where are your favorite armchair vacations? Which fictional worlds do you yearn to visit? Are there any places you know better than your actual town? Characters you like better than your actual people? Comment and get a chance to win a digital copy of Puzzling Ink!




HANK: You had me with puzzles! I love to do the NY Times Sunday puzzle, it’s such a treat when I finish it! And what a treat to have some smiles this morning!



AND! An e-book of PUZZLING INK to one lucky commenter!




Award-winning author Becky Clark is
the seventh of eight kids, which explains both her insatiable need for attention and her atrocious table manners. She likes to read funny books so it felt natural to write them too. She surrounds herself with quirky people and pets who end up as characters in her books. Readers say her books are “fast and thoroughly entertaining” with “witty humor and tight writing” and “humor laced with engaging characters” so you should “grab a cocktail and enjoy the ride.” Subscribe to her mailing list to apply to be part of her Review Crew and read her books before they’re published. She writes the Dunne Diehl novels, the Mystery Writers Mysteries, and the Crossword Puzzle Mysterie
s.




Becky’s website …. https://beckyclarkbooks.com/




Join Becky’s private group on Facebook … https://www.facebook.com/groups/beckysbookbuddies




Follow Becky at BookBub ... https://www.bookbub.com/profile/becky-clark




Follow Becky on Amazon … https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B004NQO14I


and at Goodreads … https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4730815.Becky_Clark

121 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Becky, on your newest book. [I think Jethro has the right idea . . . two pieces of bacon sounds like a perfect way to start the day.] I’m looking forward to meeting the folks of Chestnut Station . . . .

    Where would I like to hang out? In Jenn’s Briar Creek Library or in Hayley Snow’s kitchen in Key West . . . .

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    1. Yes, Key West! SOUnds great...and Lucy is on the way right now!

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    2. Thanks so much, Joan! Key West has been on my bucket list for ages. So far I've only been there fictionally ... let's remedy that soon, eh??

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  2. If I can go back to books I started reading as a kid, there's Trixie Belden and Sleepside on the Hudson. I love those characters and would gladly spend hours visiting in real life. Because they are real, no matter what anyone might say. I know just how the town is situated and how the character's homes are laid out....

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    1. Oh, what a fun idea! I still have some Trixies--I'll go look at them today!

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    2. Mark, you made me remember how much I loved to go zipping around in Nancy Drew's roadster! I didn't really even know what that was, but it looked fun in the illustrations!

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    3. Exactly! Whatever it was, it sounded cool.

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  3. I would love to return to Manderly or to the Jamaica Inn. I've never been to either - although the Jamaica Inn is a real place - but they live in my mind.

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    1. Yikes.before the fire. You know, I've never read Jamaica Inn. Should I still?

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    2. Hi Kait! I don't know the Jamaica Inn either, but I'm in! When do we leave?

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  4. I couldn't read the ends of most of the lines today, so there's one place I'd like to go...

    Yes, Haley's Key West. Shetland. Miller's Kill. Gemma and Duncan's London. But I'd want the characters to be there, too!

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    1. Oh, what a delightful post, now that I can read it! I can't wait to dive into this book, Becky.

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    2. Sometimes Blogger does not cooperate. Welcome to the world, right?

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    3. Thanks so much, Edith! (And thanks to Hank for working her techie magic!) And you're right, Edith, I'd like some—not all—but some of the characters with me on our travels. Wouldn't it be a HOOT to hang out with Vera Stanhope as she travels around that gorgeous country in the ancient Land Rover?

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  5. I'd love to have breakfast and lunch at Pans N' Pancakes in South Lick, Indiana. (Edith's Country Store Mysteries)

    I'd love to have one of those great roast beef sandwiches from The Lyme House in Minneapolis. (Ellen Hart's Jane Lawless series)

    I'd love to visit Sheila Connolly's Ireland to raise a pint (even though I don't really drink) with Maura Donovan at her pub. Or have some brown bread with Siobhan O'Sullivan in Kilbane (Carlene O'Connor's Irish Village series).

    Peruse the stacks at The Cracked Spine in Scotland (Paige Shelton's Scottish Bookshop series).

    There's lots of places that seem like they might be fun to visit (assuming I'm not the victim of whatever murder pops up during my stay). Although, I'm not nearly brave enough to visit Cabot Cove. You just know I'd be the dead guy there.

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    1. You would be welcome, Jay, and I'll meet you at Maura's pub.

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    2. Edith, that's a plan for sure! I hope Robbie is serving that apple themed dessert from a couple books back on the day I visit. Though I'm not going to get into an eating contest with Buck.

      And Slainte for that pint with Maura.

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    3. Cabot Cove! We could make a horror movie of it!

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    4. LOL, Jay! You can plan my vacations any time! I can't imagine any better travel partners than you, Edith, and Hank. I'd feel safer going to Cabot Cove with a posse, anyway.

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  6. You’re so right ... setting is a crucial ingredient in so many mysteries ... starting w St Mary Meade - congratulation Becky- chestnut station sounds like an ideal destination

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    1. Or Narnia. Or Lyra's London, where we could all see our daemons.

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    2. Oh, yes, Lyra's London! I wonder what our daemons are? That would be a fun post.

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    3. Thanks, Hallie! But if you get tired of Chestnut Station, you can just hop on the highway and be in Denver in an hour or so.

      I'm not a fan of seeing my daemons ... do I have to??

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    4. It would, Debs! I have thought about it way too much....
      And oh, In the Lyra books, daemons are a good thing! xx

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    5. Oh. Well, that's different. [Just call me Becky Rosannadanna!]

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  7. Hank, these flowers are gorgeous!

    Becky, welcome to Jungle Reds! It was great to see you and Ellen Byron at Author Connections last March just before the shutdown.

    There are many beautiful places that I travel to through reading. Traveling to Scotland through Alexander McCall Smith's books. Walking in Fitzroy Square with Maisie Dobbs. Going on an adventure with Lady Georgie in London / Scottish Highlands. Flying with Harry Potter.

    Diana

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    1. TOTALLY anywhere Lady Georgie goes. Or Oxford with Morse!

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    2. Thanks so much, Diana. Doesn't San Diego seem like a million years ago?? And we were all just willy-nilly sticking our hands into those cookie tupperwares and sitting so close on that couch ... oy vey!

      I haven't read much of Alexander McCall Smith's Scotland stuff, but I'd forgotten how much I loved traveling to Botswana with him and Mma Precious Ramotswe. Might be time to visit again!

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    3. Becky, yes and as far as I know, no one from that conference got sick! Whew!

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    4. Diana, actually uber-fan Grace from Ottawa got the virus at LCC and was in quarantine in her (small) apartment for a couple of months!

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  8. Thanks for introducing us to Chestnut Station, Becky, and congratulations on your new series. The setting and the characters are what make a book the place I want to spend time. Though Quinn is as close as I'm likely to get to any crossword puzzles!

    Thanks to a couple of comments in yesterday's post, I'm on my way to Denmark and The Little Cafe in Copenhagen. Reading is the best way to travel these days...

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    1. I'm enjoying the little cafe, Amanda. Hope you do, too.

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    2. Thanks so much, and how true, Amanda ... plus it's so much cheaper to travel that way. No maid service, of course, but I do get to sleep in my own bed.

      Quinn doesn't mind if you don't like crosswords, and it's okay by me too. Consider them bonus features to the books. If you like them, they add an extra fun layer, but if you don't, you can totally ignore them like you would the commentary of the third assistant cinematographer at the end of a movie.

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  9. Not to be a copycat or anything, but I would love to go to all the places with all the characters that Edith said. Oh and Lake Tahoe and hang out with Street and Spot and Owen. Oops, almost forgot Three Pines with all of those wonderful characters - and their food!

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    1. Three Pines. Imagine how crowded that would be if it were real!

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    2. Ohmygosh, Judi! Three Pines ... how could I have forgotten Three Pines! Let's go and sit on that bench for awhile!

      (And I hear you about the copycat thing ... I'm tagging along with EVERYONE whether they like it or not!)

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  10. Oh dear! I will fix the formatting! Sometimes blogger just goes crazy…

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    1. Hope you can be successful at that, Hank! Becky's post appears too good to miss the last half of so many sentences! I'll check back later.

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    2. Hank, thanks! I thought it was my computer acting up.

      xoxo

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    3. Oh, good, it's he technology. I thought it was my lack of sleep when I shuffled over here at 2am. I didn't think I was that far gone yet.

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    4. Hank to the rescue ... and all before I even woke up here in beautiful Colorado this morning. You guys would NOT believe the color of the sky this morning! The bluiest of all the blue you've ever seen in your life.

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  11. Gigi, thank you for the roses and Hank, thank you for posting them. A fragment of a song or a poem in the brain, “I’ll bring you hope, when hope is hard to find, and a rose in the winter time.”

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    1. Oh, I'm so glad you like Maggie and the Snow Witch. The song/hymn "Come Sing a Song With Me" is lovely. I hadn't heard it before, but was able to Google the lyrics. Thank you for sharing that with me.

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    2. Like a bridge over troubled waters...

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    3. I have Hamilton lyrics floating through my brain the last few days. "And when our children tell our story, they'll tell the story of tonight." ... "Raise a glass to freedom, something they can never take away" ... "Forgiveness, can you imagine?" ... "And Peggy."

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  12. My list of fictional places is way too long to write. Others have mentioned most of them.

    Congratulations, Becky!

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    1. Thanks, Liz! I was just telling a librarian the other day how much I hate it when an interviewer asks me for my favorite books or authors. My mind goes blank trying to pick just a few. Now I'll have to add settings to my list of dreaded questions!

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    2. SO true. Why is that always impossible???

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    3. And they ask it ALL THE TIME!! I think they just like seeing me squirm.

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  13. p.s. I already read an advanced copy of your Puzzling Ink book. Loved it. Readers are in for a treat!

    Diana

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    1. Diana! How fantastic! Thank you for saying that. It's always so nerve-wracking, waiting to see if anyone else will love your book as much as you hoped they would. And it's very gratifying when they tell you they do. It lets me release the breath I've been holding for so many months!

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  14. Becky! You're one of the littles--I'm one of the middles (of eight kids, that is!)

    Quirky chestnut art?? I'll be reading this series for clues to the artist and I love the village dogs. Have you ever watched the movie Red Dog? Red Dog was a famous community-belonging dog in Australia. Congrats on the first book!

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    1. Hi Flora! I'm so little, it's like I was raised in an entirely different family! As you say that, it makes me realize we didn't really have any middles. I mean, technically, yes, but #s 1-5 were born one per year. Skip 3 years, #6. Skip 3 years, me. Skip 5 years, #8. I bet you had to do a lot of babysitting, though.

      I just googled Red Dog and now it's on my list of movies to watch! (I'm a dog person, could you tell?)

      Thanks for the recommendation AND the kind words!

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  15. Congratulations on your new release! After reading Martin Walker's books about the Dordogne in SW France, I'm fired up for a visit.

    With two Cape Cod stories in different anthologies about to hit the world, I'm compelled to write more.

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    1. Oh, yes, with the charming and debonair Martin Walker himself giving us all the tour!

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    2. Thanks, Margaret! You guys had me at France and debonair! I'll grab the wine and eclairs ...

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  16. Thank you for the exquisite flowers, Gigi, Judy and Hank! Most of my real ones have fizzled out by this time of year, so it's lovely to get a shot of eye candy.

    Hope you can fix the formatting! I'm so intrigued by the idea of mysteriously appearing statues. Of chestnuts? We have a Chinese chestnut in our front yard, and I'm very familiar with the fuzzy variety. This year we had a small crop, but last year the ground was covered with them. And they're more spiny than fuzzy, actually. How squirrels avoid serious physical damage to open them for the nuts is a mystery.

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    1. Oh, places. Three Pines, but not in the winter. Key West with Hayley Snow. Aspen Meadows with Goldie Bear Schulz.

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    2. Yes, thankyou, Hank for posting the flower photos. It gave me a nice little project yesterday for a bit. Anything to take my mind off...

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    3. You're very welcome, Karen. I was happy to contribute.

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    4. LOVE the flowers! And Karen, chestnuts. Yuck. (My step-father and I had a huge argument, (sixty years ago I bet!,) over roasted chestnuts with my sister and me one Thanksgiving. We absolutely refused to eat them, and got in big trouble. SUCH a memory.

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    5. Same here, Karen ... my garden loses its fizz in August. We do get some autumn bulbs that are pretty, but everything's confused this year because we got a freeze in October, and now it's back up to the mid-70s for a couple of weeks now. Crazy.

      I've actually been to the "real" Aspen Meadows, in summer and winter. The winter visits would be made much better if Goldie was there!

      Hank, your chestnut story made me laugh! I lived in England for a while and I was fixated on buying some roasted chestnuts from a London street vendor. When I finally found one I was so excited! And then I ate one.

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  17. Yes, formatting fixed! Ish. Sometimes this software just decides to go crazy, and --its boring to describe, but sometimes you have to really battle it.

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  18. I enjoy doing crossword puzzles

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    1. Yes. It's so much fun to find the key. xxx

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    2. That makes me happy to hear, Sandy! One thing I keep forgetting to say is that all the puzzles from the books (and extras) are on my website, available for download. The solutions are on a different page, though, so you won't inadvertently see any answers, but they're there if you need them. I wrote a blog post about how I construct a puzzle and the finished product ended up much harder than I expected. If you're up for a challenge .....

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  19. Becky, welcome to JRW and congratulations on the release of Puzzling Ink. I am sure you will always remember the date this book came out, and I hope there will be reasons to fondly remember the date! My husband is the Crossword fanatic, but he'll invite me over to finish off a puzzling puzzle together, and it's always a fun, silly time.

    This winter, I'll head down to Key West for dinner with my very good friend, Hayley and maybe Miss Gloria, too. Hayley can mix the cocktails, she always has a special concoction at hand. I think I'd like to visit Briar Creek this summer, it's only an hour from here, and I'd like to tour the Thumb Islands on one of Sully's boats. Maybe later in the summer, I'll drop in on Merri Folger on Martha's Vineyard for a weekend. I have some friends I could stay with while I'm there.

    The next weekend, I think I'll head up to Miller's Kill. Maybe I'll meet some cousins for lunch at Peaches in Albany then possibly stay at Lake George for a night on the way up there. As long as I'm going, I guess I'll bring Clare and Russ's baby a new book, possibly Make Way For Ducklings.

    Then I'll plan for a trip to London where I'll drop in at Portobello Road and spend a little money on a new hat at Mim's Whims. Before I leave London, I want to tour the areas that Gemma and Duncan frequent in their daily lives and take photos of their police stations. Lastly, I'd like to visit the Dorchester to see if they would give me a tour of the suites so I can picture the one that was Kaz's back in WWII when he and Billy Boyle stayed there any time they were in London.

    Afterwards, I suppose I'll slip across the the Channel to Paris and see what kind of mischief Hugo Marston, the head of security at the US Embassy is into these days. Then home. Following that, I'll plan my next trip to the west coast, possibly starting in Seattle, and see if Martha Whitaker made it back from Minnesota yet.

    All this for the cost of a subscription to Kindle.

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    1. That's a fun itinerary, Judy! Thank you for sharing your beautiful birthday flowers with us!

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    2. That sounds like a perfect journey! (I am with VI in Chicago right now...)

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    3. Thanks so much, Judy, and yes, keeping my fingers crossed that it will ALL be a fond memory! I was glad to have scheduled a 24-hour virtual launch party that day. Kept me busy and my mind occupied.

      But so would a fantastic trip like yours! If I promise to behave can I tag along?

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    4. Gig, pleasure! I was so surprised with the flowers on Saturday and they all still look lovely.

      Yes, Debs, I think you'd be a super travel companion and we'll get to know Becky much better if we are all going together! Oh and Becky, please don't worry about behavior. I'll be as good as I can be, and I'm sure Debs will be a good influence on us. LOL

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  20. Congratulations, Becky. You might feel like you're battling headwinds to get your book noticed this week, but I'll bet people will jump on it like a life raft in uncharted waters! I know I'l be downloading it. I love crosswords and quirky public art, and I've driven US 287 from Denver to Dallas, so I know those eastern Colorado plains. Although, I've got to warn you, if I lived in Chestnut Station, those dogs would have a home. I've been taking in strays since I was twelve.

    There are so many fictional places I like to escape to. Like many of you, I'd be heading down to Key West, to hang with Hayley and Ms. Gloria once hurricane season is over. I'd love to go on a rural Pennsylvania trail ride with Zoe Chambers, and say hello to Pete Adams, too. (Hoping I could stay on the horse and not need any of Zoe's paramedic skills!) And if I ever got over the pond, I'd for sure want to meet up with Duncan and Gemma, although I'd probably go all fan-girl shy and just wind up talking ballet with Toby.

    Thank you, Judy, for sharing your lovely birthday flowers with us. And thank you, Hank, for letting Maggie and the Snow Witch have their 15 minutes of fame. Have a great day, everybody!

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    1. Maggie and the Snow Witch. I DO hope you are writing that children's book!

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    2. Thanks oodles, Gigi. I will say it ALWAYS feels like I'm battling headwinds to get books noticed regardless of when they launch, but this one feels a bit different. My launch was 12 hours in my reader group on facebook alternating with 12 hours in Cozy Mystery Crew, a group fan page on facebook. I think people are really craving cozies these days and really enjoyed having something else to focus on besides politics on election day. It felt like a good old-fashioned coffee klatch/slumber party. I'm still recovering!

      Oh, and don't you worry about Jethro and the other town dogs. They are well cared for, but they've realized the advantages of making the rounds of caregivers. They get to choose which comfy bed to sleep in all night, and nobody knows just how many dinners they've already had!

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    3. Gigi, the roses are stunning. Mine always were consumed by beetles before I got to enjoy them. Then the bush died and Irwin dug it out and said, "NO more rose bushes." Alas.

      BTW, I'd meet you in PA for the trail ride with Zoe. How hard can it be to fit in another destination?

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  21. Fast and short this morning. Looks like I can travel with Margaret to France. Do you speak French, Margaret? I don't, though I can be very apologetic for only speaking English. I'd like to hang out in Izzy's yarn shop in Sea Harbor too.

    Becky, your group of gentlemen reminds me of the group my step father had a weekly lunch with. They called themselves Bums In The Park. A group of retired military officers that met to debate the world or rehash their past. If course that title got the niece in a bit of trouble at school. Teacher thought it wasn't a good way to identify people, she did sort of back off when it was explained that the Buns that named themselves, not my niece being disrespectful.

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    1. That's a great name and I'd LOVE to be a fly on the wall—or the park bench—listening in! The Retireds are all kind of iterations of my dad and older folks I've known. They seem universal, though. My daughter managed a large apartment complex and she had a group she referred to as the "Mail Gang" who'd sit in the lobby and wait for the mail to come every day. They'd get there earlier and earlier until they were there having fun and chatting most of the day. Unfortunately, it was right outside her office so she didn't always get a lot of work done! She thought I'd modeled them after her group, but so many people have told me about the groups they've known.

      I think in a future book I might need to insert a woman into the mix and see what happens....

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    2. I think there was a retired admiral that joined them a couple times, she most certainly was not a man!

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  22. Congratulations, Becky, on your book! It sounds like great fun and I'll be downloading it. Love your quirky cover, too!

    Everybody has mentioned so many of my favorite fictional places. I'd go to Key West with Hayley, and Scottsdale for some of Melanie and Angie's cupcakes. Diana Bishop's Oxford, Hugo Marston's Paris. Rebus's Edinburgh. Books really do take us around the world, don't they?

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    1. Thanks, Deborah! I'm glad you like the cover, because I just love it. As you know, we don't have much control over the final product, but Kensington was happy for input. I was able to give them suggestions of covers I loved and hated to kind of set the stage, and then they ask for comments along the way. I just got a draft of the cover for book #2 PUNNING WITH SCISSORS and the first thing I noticed was that Quinn was wearing a bulky sweater even though it's set in summer. In fact, there's a scene where she almost gets heat stroke so my editor was happy I pointed that out!

      Can you imagine how small the lives are for people who don't read? Unless they're really rich, they don't get to go anywhere!

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  23. And Happy Birthday, Gigi!!! And thanks for the lovely roses! They really cheered me up first thing this morning.

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    1. Thank you, Deb. Looking forward to that Champagne tomorrow.

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  24. It sounds like I'll be crossing paths with a lot of you! Many, many places to visit in Great Britain. Somewhere I'll catch up with Richard Jury and Melrose Plant. Maybe in their favorite pub in Long Piddleton. Tradd Street in Charleston, S.C. is also calling. As is Deadwood, S.D. and Ann Charles' gang there. Lane Winslow and Inspector Darling in Nelson, B.C. Lucie Montgomery in northern Virginia's wine country. Virtue Falls, Washington state. Too many destinations to list!

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    1. I remember traveling somewhere in real life and turned a corner and there was one of my neighbors! It was quite a jolt, actually, because you feel like you're in some special, magical world and then—BAM—you're jolted back to the real world. We'll need to share our itineraries with each other. We can certainly meet up in the pub, but not by surprise!

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  25. Now that's a town with an origin story! I love it. Congratulations on your release, Becky! Cozies really are the healing elixir we all need.

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    1. Thanks, Jenn! And you're absolutely right. But I've also been finding healing elixir in my wine glass lately. The other kind is probably better for me, though!

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  26. I have a dream house, if I could have one, in my head. It has a huge library and a few hidden passageways. It has to be a farm and it never snows.

    I love Jethro. I just hope the town dogs have a place to go in inclement weather.

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    1. They absolutely have their pick of several places. But they *are* Colorado dogs and therefore quite hardy!

      I did have one reader not thrilled about how much Jethro drools. What can I say, he's a bloodhound. Drool is his jam. But just like we virtually visit all these towns, we only virtually get any of that slobber on us!

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  27. This sounds like a really fun town to "visit".

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    1. You should stop by, Libby! Maybe have a bite at the Chestnut Diner, dress up a statue, feed Jethro some bacon...

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  28. I am in snowy Vermont today and it looks like I will be on the upper east coast for this delightfully, clean boxset I am reading. I love to travel via recliner to places I rarely or never have been. That is one of the best parts of reading Cozy Mystery genre books! Besides, I can more relate with fictional characters because I have met many of them throughout my 59 years of life. I can hardly wait to find what all is doing on in Colorado with Quinn, the Retired group, and her "puzzling" murder scenarios.

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    1. Welcome, Teddi! A perfect day for a cozy blog!

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    2. Hi Teddi ... you should leave snowy Vermont and head to summertime in Colorado instead. A little bit hot, but there's plenty of iced tea already brewed in the diner!

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    1. Sad but true. I have chocolate cupcakes.

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    2. HAPPY BIRTHDAY GIGI!!!!! YAAAYYYYY! We are so pleased you were born!

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    3. Happy Cake Day, Gigi! I hope it's delicious in every possible way!

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    4. Happy birthday, fellow Scorpio!

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  30. Gigi, I haven't been on Facebook much yet today, they usually tell you when friends have birthdays. OH, Happy Birthday, to you!!!!

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  31. Shalom Friends. (Just a note, I couldn’t get to the links from inside the blog post. I had to copy and paste the urls directly into my browser. Not sure if it is always like this.)

    If I like a book, I’ll usually give it four stars. In these books, I would love to spend time with the characters and walk around the locale.

    If I really like a book, I will generally give it five stars. This means that I would love to be any or most of the characters (unless they are the villains) in the book. In TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, I would have loved being Calpurnia, who has to scold Scout for shaming her dinner guest who asks for maple syrup to put on his roast beef.

    Ever since I read THE PHYSICIAN by Noah Gordon, I have tried to match my own ambition to that of the protagonist, Rob Cole. To be a doctor, in a time when there is no such thing.

    I subscribed to your website, Becky. Having not read too many “cozy’s”, I look forward to reading some of your writings.

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    1. Hi David! Thanks for subscribing. The basic definition of a cozy is that it's a lighter mystery with an amateur sleuth, usually set in a small town or enclave, any sex or violence is offstage, and the secondary characters are quirky and fun to be around. I hope you come to love cozies as much as I do!

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    2. Thank you, David, for your persistence! xoxo

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  32. Amanda Le Rougetel ... you're the winner of the Puzzling Ink ebook! Email me at Becky@BeckyClarkBooks.com and we'll make it happen. Congrats!

    And thanks to everyone for making my time as an honorary Jungle Red so much fun!

    Happy Reading, everyone!

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  33. The book, setting and characters sound terrific. I'm looking forward to reading!

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    1. Thanks so much, Peggy! If you join my mailing list ASAP, maybe you'll win one of the ebooks I'll be giving away there!

      https://beckyclarkbooks.com/

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