Browse Author by Debra Sennefelder
Book Reviews

How To Write A Book Review For Your Favorite Author

There’s a funny meme on social media that says Feed an Author – Write a Book Review. It’s not only amusing, but it’s also true. Authors need book reviews for several reasons. Reviews help us gain visibility among readers, they can introduce us to new readers, they can help readers decide if the book is right for them. The bottom line, reviews can help with sales, which makes our publishers very happy.

In today’s world, we are time-crunched and over-scheduled, which means sometimes we barely have enough time in our days to read, let alone write a review. It can seem daunting. For many of us, we haven’t written about a book since back we were kids writing book reports. BTW, I loved those! There was a competition in the fourth grade of who read the most books and wrote the most reports. I beat out Elvis and won. Sorry, I digressed. Back to the topic at hand. Actually, maybe it wasn’t a total digression. The more reports I wrote, the better I got, and that can be the case with writing book reviews. The more you do, the better you’ll get, and the easier it’ll be for you.

Now, I’m sure you’ve seen reviews on Amazon that rival the length of the book that’s being discussed. You don’t have to do that. So, if that’s what has been holding you back from writing a review, there’s no need to worry any longer. Then you’ve seen a review that’s barely one full sentence, and that review wasn’t beneficial to you as a reader. Well, there’s a nice medium where you can help support your favorite author and let other readers know what you enjoyed most about the book. And, yes, what you may have liked least about the book. I’m not going to lie; I love it when readers praise my books, but it’s essential to be honest with your review. Honesty is the best book review policy.

So, are you thinking writing reviews is something you could do? If so, continue on reading, and I’ll work you through step-by-step, and there’s also a printable you can download so you can write your reviews.

We’re going to use a fictional book titled Cozy Mystery at Breakfast. It’s the third book in the Main Street Diner series featuring an unemployed chef who has returned to her hometown and is now cooking at her aunt’s diner. In this book, Eva is working with a town resident who is organizing a pancake breakfast, and she’s murdered, her body found during the event.

What is the title of the book? The author’s name? The genre? You got this!

Next, the headline. Now, this isn’t necessary, but you can use this section if it’s offered to you to write something catchy and succinct about the book. Examples:

Great installment in this series.

A good read.

Another incredible story from Jane Doe.

You get the idea.

Now you’ll write a summary of the book. This can be a few sentences or a few paragraphs. It’s up to you. Just be sure not to include spoilers when writing the summary.

Reviews should include something about the story. Time period, location, theme are examples. Then you’ll want to add your personal thoughts about the story. How did the book make you feel? Uplifted, happy – why? Disappointed – why? Is it your top pick read for the year – why? Was it a page-turner -why? Or, (horrors) you couldn’t finish reading it – why? Whatever you share, give some specific examples. Where were the areas that shone, or you found lacking? Examples are in the plot, character development, pacing, dialogue (too much or too little), etc.

What were the two or three aspects of the book that stood out to you? This would be nice to include with your review, but not necessary.

Conclusion. Keep it short and sweet.

For Cozy Mystery at Breakfast, it can be something like this: It’s a great series with a fun main character set in a warm-hearted small Midwest town.

See, nothing too complicated.

Rating the book. You’ll decide how many stars to give. I would just suggest being kind with the rating and the entire review.

Okay, we’re done! Are you ready to tackle your first review? Great! I have a worksheet for you to help you organize your review before you publish it online.

Go forth and review! 🙂

Here’s the worksheet link:

BookReviewWorksheetPDF

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Coffee & Chat, Kitchen Snapshots

Callie’s Kitchen Mysteries Cookbook

Culinary-themed cozy mysteries are a long-time favorite among readers. This is something I’m very excited about since I write a culinary-themed series. One of the perks of reading these books is that they almost always include recipes along with a smartly plotted mystery. Every now and again, an author of this type of series will branch out beyond the novel and write a companion cookbook. That’s exactly what Jenny Kales has done with her Callie’s Kitchen Mystery series.

There are four books currently in the mystery series, which is set in a fictional town in Wisconsin and features a Greek-American owner of an eatery, Callie’s Kitchen. In the cookbook, Callie’s Kitchen Mysteries Cookbook, some of the most popular recipes from the series are included along with never-before published recipes. In total there are 47 of Greek with a mid-western twist recipes for you to whip up.

Because of the twist on what are traditional Greek recipes, I think they have a broader appeal to home cooks who normally wouldn’t venture out into international cuisine. As I read through the recipes, I found them to be uncomplicated, a nice balance of flavors and included ingredients easily accessible. As I cooked through the recipes I found myself having more than one helping.

The recipes range from appetizers to beverages to salads to main dishes and of course, desserts. Jenny has you covered for any time of the day you want to add some Greek flair to your cooking. The only thing I was disappointed in was the absence of photographs. So, I decided to provide you with some. These are the recipes I’ve made so far from the cookbook. Ready to be inspired?

On a Sunday afternoon I made a Greek Olive Oil Cake. It was supposed to be a lazy afternoon but instead I found myself running unplanned errands so rather than make the glaze that’s included with the recipe, I dusted powered sugar over the cake. The moist texture of this cake is divine. This cake will be made again.

On a weeknight I wanted to make a side dish for our steaks and I decided on the Greek Roasted Lemon Potatoes. Adding the lemon and oregano was a new twist to my tried-and-true roasted potatoes. The verdict? My husband gave them a thumbs up so it looks like these potatoes will be a regular side going forward.

Now for what led me to the treadmill ASAP. Blueberry Greek Yogurt Scones. Need I say more? Delish. These scones are packed with flavor and they are tender. But be warned, You’ll be tempted to reach for a second one. Trust me, I know from experience.

I’ve enjoyed this cookbook as much as I have enjoyed reading the mystery series and it’s certainly going to be cooked from often. Now as much as I love this cookbook, I do have one teeny-tiny complaint. Okay, not really a complaint but something I did miss in the book and that was photographs. I know we all love photos of food in our cookbooks but please don’t let that stop you from checking out this cookbook because you’ll love the recipes and you can snap a few of your own photos. If you do, be sure to share them and tag Jenny.

Happy Cooking,

Debra

Cook’s Notes:

I didn’t have Greek olive oil in my pantry but now it’s going to be a staple. Here’s a similar olive oil to what I purchased. For the Greek Olive Oil cake I used my trusty bundt pan. Here’s a similar one if you need to add one to your kitchen.
Uncategorized

Silenced In Sequins – The First Chapter

Well, talk about being overwhelmed! In a good way. 🙂 I asked you, my reader, to add SILENCED IN SEQUINS to your to-be read shelf over at Goodreads. You did and now SILENCED IN SEQUINS has been added to over 1,400 shelves! Way more than I initially expected. So I thought I’d share the first chapter with you. Let you have an sneak peek.

It’s the holiday time in Lucky Cove, NY. Kelly Quinn is getting in the flow of things as the owner of a consignment shop and she’s just landed an amazing consignment from a reality television star. Things are looking up. Until things start heading south with her and her boutique right smack in the middle of all the drama. Reality divas, conniving producer and a long buried secret of her grandmother’s that jeopardizes her new life.

As a thank you for helping this writer out, I’m sharing the first chapter with you. I hope you enjoy it. 🙂

Chapter One

 

It’s so beautiful.

It wasn’t every day a gal from Lucky Cove, New York, was in the presence of a Gucci dress.

When Kelly Quinn first laid eyes on the halter-neckline black cocktail dress, her breath caught. The body-conscious garment was expertly constructed, and its faux tortoiseshell ring at the back of the neck was elegant.

She swiped the dress one last time with a lint roller to prepare for its photo session. She then gave the dress a gentle tug, and it draped perfectly on the mannequin.

Exquisite.

Of course it was. It was an authentic Gucci cocktail dress that would’ve cost her a month’s rent back in New York City. Now it was consigned to her boutique, the Lucky Cove Resale Boutique, for sale.

She set the lint roller down and picked up her camera and snapped a flurry of photographs. She wanted shots from all angles of the dress, including a close-up of the Made in Italy label.

The windfall of the Gucci dress, plus seven other designer garments consigned last week, prompted her to give herself a crash course in not only photography but also how to set up an account on MineNowYours.com, a mega resale website where she could sell the dresses and earn a decent commission.

The “oh my god, finally a designer dress” moment she’d been dreaming of since taking over the business had come to a grinding halt when she checked the label. The dress was a size two. All the dresses were a size two. In the two months she’d been running the boutique, she’d learned the number of customers who frequented the store that were a size two were few.

She did her best to hide her disappointment. She seriously couldn’t believe she was looking at a Gucci and feeling disappointed. It made no sense to her. The consignor, Wendy Johnson, couldn’t help if she was a svelte size two, thanks to her excessive exercising, constant dieting, and many trips to New York’s premier plastic surgeon.

Kelly didn’t know such intimate details of the lives of her other consignment clients. But every week her new employee, Breena Collins, gave her updates on Wendy’s life, thanks to the latest episode of Long Island Ladies.

In some office building in midtown Manhattan, a group of television people got together and whipped up a reality show about a half-dozen spoiled, pampered, and wealthy housewives on Long Island.

How could it not be a hit?

Long Island had it all—mansions, expensive toys like yachts, endless stretches of beach, and the biggest playground for the most wealthy, the Hamptons.

Lucky Cove was tucked along the coast and attracted weary summer weekenders from the city looking for a charming main street, quiet roads, and a stretch of undisturbed beach. The quaintness of the town was what Long Island getaways used to be for city dwellers. Before the rise of cell phone videos, selfies gone wild, and reality television.

Kelly had enough drama in her life, thank you very much. So when the fashion gods gave her the designer dresses she’d been praying for she, needed to laser focus and decide how she’d sell the garments for the best price. She couldn’t get sidetracked by Wendy’s detailed description of each dress.

Yes, it was lovely that Wendy’s personal shopper at Bergdorf Goodman knew her tastes. It was spectacular that her husband made reservations at the most exclusive restaurant on the island. And how grand it was that she wore one of the dresses the night she tossed a drink into the face of a fellow Long Island Lady.

None of which affected the price of the dress. The labels dictated the price, followed by the condition of the garment. Hence, Kelly’s eagle eye as she inspected each one.

Kelly knew designer fashions, thanks to her previous job as an assistant fashion buyer. What she didn’t know was how to authenticate designer items, and if she wanted to pursue designer fashions and accessories, she needed to learn how to spot the fakes. She couldn’t hope to consign and sell a Hermès bag if she couldn’t prove beyond any doubt that it was the real deal.

Not too many designer items were coming into the boutique at the moment, but she hoped to change that, and with these new acquisitions, she could be actively consigning luxury items soon.

Kelly set down her camera. She turned the mannequin to get photographs of the back of the dress. She smoothed the dress one more time and picked up her camera.

She yawned.

Between setting up the Mine Now Yours account and sending out newsletters, there was Thanksgiving, and last night she’d stayed way too late at her sister’s house and eaten way too much. She yawned again. It seemed the turkey coma carried over to the next day.

Up an hour earlier than normal, she wanted to photograph all the cocktail dresses before she opened the boutique. Black Friday for brick-and-mortar stores wasn’t what it used to be, but she had no idea of what the day looked like for a consignment shop.

As her granny used to say, “You live and learn.”

The advice wasn’t very reassuring, but it was all she had at the moment.

She bought advertising in local newspapers; pulled out every visual display trick she’d learned in fashion school and at Bishop’s and dressed up the window; and e-mailed her anemic mailing list. She then said a prayer to the fashion gods.

“Hey, what are you doing?” Breena Collins appeared in the doorway holding a tray of coffees and pastries from Doug’s Variety Store, where she also worked part-time.

Kelly lowered her camera and turned toward Breena’s voice, then stared at the sight of her friend and coworker. She was still getting used to her former high-school classmate’s bright new hair color.

The petite redhead bustled into the photography studio. It sounded so much more professional than it was.

On a tight budget, Kelly had purchased three umbrella lights online and a vintage floor vinyl backdrop to make the photos look as good as possible. Yes, the dresses were designer, and while they didn’t carry their four-figure price tags any longer, they wouldn’t be cheap either.

“I wish I could afford one of her dresses. It would be so cool to own a dress from Wendy Johnson.”

Kelly arched an eyebrow. She wondered just how much weight Wendy’s named carried. While she couldn’t reveal the consignor when she put the items up for sale, maybe someone would recognize the floral, sleeveless Zac Posen dress from the infamous drink-toss-in-the-face episode of LIL, everyone’s shorthand for Long Island Ladies.

“Too bad we don’t have a layaway plan, huh?” Kelly set her camera down on the small round table, where she had collected a basket of tools of the trade—lint roller, binder clips, seam ripper, and small scissors. She took a coffee from the tray.

Breena nodded. “How was your Thanksgiving?”

“Good. Caroline’s fiancé was there with his family.” It was the first holiday Kelly had spent with her estranged sister in years. After a tragic accident ten years earlier, Kelly and her sister had drifted apart. The divide between them got wider and deeper, to the point where they eventually just became little more than acquaintances. The bright side to Kelly’s unforeseen inheritance was the chance to rebuild her relationship with Caroline.

“Good to hear. My parents had a houseful too. I’d like to know when my adult brothers will grow up.” Breena set the tray on the table and then drifted to the rolling rack, where the rest of Wendy Johnson’s consigned dresses hung.

“I don’t think they ever grow up.” Kelly took a drink of coffee. Unofficially, the autumn season was over, and all things were turning festive. Doug’s Variety Store now served its annual Holly Jolly coffee brew. The aroma was robust, and hints of cinnamon and nutmeg mingled together in every sip.

Breena pulled a sequined gown from the rack and dashed over to the narrow full-length mirror. She held it up against herself and gazed at her reflection.

“Va va boom!” She had the full bust to work the deep V-neck of the gown. In fact, she had all the right curves to work the dress. What Breena didn’t have was the height. Wendy Johnson was at least five-feet-seven, give an inch or two.

“I don’t remember her wearing this dress on the show.” Breena spun around, still holding the dress against her body, and faced Kelly. “I love it. I can see me entering the party now; all eyes turn on me as I strut in, leaving all the guys drooling.”

“Yes, they would be.” Kelly walked to Breena and held out her hand. “How about envisioning yourself straightening up the displays?”

Breena frowned. “Buzzkill.” She handed the dress to Kelly, swooped up the tray of coffee and pastries, and dashed out of the photography studio.

Kelly extended her arm to look at the dress. It wasn’t designer like the other dresses. Actually, it looked more prom than posh. While it wouldn’t fetch a high three-figure price, it would sell fast if she priced it right. She gathered the other hanging dresses, along with the silver-sequined gown, and hauled them out to the sales counter, where she attached price tags. She’d come back for the Gucci dress. She still had to figure out its price.

Kelly carried an armful of Wendy’s dresses out of the photo studio. Pepper Donovan, not only a longtime employee of the boutique but also Kelly’s grandmother’s best friend, stood behind the counter, reviewing the weekend’s marketing plan.

Kelly realized putting together an official marketing plan was a bit fussy for a small consignment shop, but the document helped her stay organized and focused. She had a lot to juggle. She was gaining inventory, tackling minor remodeling in the upstairs apartment where she now lived, working the sales floor, and writing articles for the fashion website BudgetChic.com.

As she approached the counter, Pepper lifted her chin and, over her reading glasses, gave Kelly the “Pepper glare.” Kelly had been on the receiving end of that look since the day she took over the business and implemented her changes.

One change Kelly made had her butting heads with Pepper for days. When Kelly’s granny converted the first floor of her colonial-style house into a retail shop, she was working on a shoestring budget, so she didn’t have money to take down walls, resulting in a choppy layout for her shop. Over time, she got the funds for an addition to sell home accents, which Kelly liquidated, due to the low turnover of the merchandise, expanding the accessory and shoe inventory into that space. Pepper had fought to keep the home accents but eventually saw Kelly’s vision.

Her acceptance of the changes wasn’t limited to the shop. She’d given herself a makeover a few weeks earlier. Pepper’s color-treated, shoulder-length blond hair was styled in soft waves, and she’d expertly applied a smoky eye and added just the right amount of rose-colored gloss to her thinning lips. For what would hopefully be a busy day, she chose a pair of olive-colored velvet pants and a white button-down shirt topped with a cream pullover sweater. Peeking out from under the collar of the shirt was a sparkly necklace. Pepper managed to make all the right fashion choices for a woman in her mid-sixties. She looked neither too young nor too desperate to hang onto her youth. She just looked great.

Except for the Pepper glare.

“What? It’s only one page.” Kelly dropped the dresses onto the counter. The mini snowmen lined up along the counter didn’t escape her notice. On Wednesday afternoon, there had been mini pumpkins. She was impressed with how quickly Pepper had changed out the decorations and how serious she was about holiday themes.

“Seems a little formal, don’t you think?” Pepper sorted through the dresses. “Are these in the computer?”

Kelly nodded. One of her first tasks was to update the inventory system. Granny and Pepper had been manually tracking inventory. Over the past few years, the system had become too chaotic to manage, and it left Kelly with a big mess. She sourced a new inventory system and had it installed in time for the kickoff of the busiest shopping season of the year.

Well, she hoped it was the busiest shopping season for consignment stores because she needed an infusion of cash to keep the business afloat.

“Yes, they’ve been added to the inventory. Can you print out the price tags and put these dresses out on the floor? I think this silvery sequin dress should be on a mannequin. There’s a pair of shoes and clutch I think will look great with the dress.”

“Okay. I’ll take care of that now while you unlock the door. It’s time to open.” Pepper shifted over to the new computer that had been added to the sales counter area and preceded to print out the price tags.

Kelly passed Breena, who was busy refolding a stack of sweaters. Her stride to the front door was purposeful. She’d been looking forward to Black Friday for weeks. Back in the city, the day was a blur of activity. She’d spent as much time as she could on the sales floor at Bishop’s to help out the staff.

She unlocked the door and flipped over the closed sign to open while wondering if she’d get the same rush of excitement from her own clothing boutique this Black Friday.

She pulled open the door and greeted the woman standing out in the cold. Their first customer of the day.

“Good morning. Welcome to the Lucky Cove Resale Boutique.” Kelly stepped aside, and the customer entered.

Throughout the day, business was steady, but not the retail frenzy she was accustomed to. With both Breena and Pepper working, she could duck into the staff room, a combination kitchen, break room, and office, and work on a new article for Budget Chic. Her editor had assigned her the topic of holiday looks under a hundred dollars. The article was due in less than a week. No pressure.

The first draft of the article was complete, with three inspirational outfits and links to budget-friendly websites when Liv Moretti appeared at the back door with lunch.

“How’s business?” Liv set the tray of sandwiches and chips on the counter by the sink. She’d texted earlier and said she’d stop by because she needed a break from her family’s bakery. Kelly had asked if she’d pick up some food at the deli. She wanted to treat Pepper and Breena to lunch since they’d worked hard getting the boutique ready for Black Friday.

Kelly couldn’t believe it was lunchtime already. Where had the morning gone?

“Steady.” Kelly eyed the bag of chips. Given her overeating yesterday and her need to wear leggings because of their elastic waistband, maybe she should pass on the chips. “How’s it going at the bakery?”

Kelly stretched. After a week of moving all the merchandise and displays in what used to be the dining room in order to paint, sitting too long hunched over her laptop made her feel stiff. She’d love to go to a Pilates session; it always worked out her kinks, but the only studio in town was owned by her uncle’s third wife, Summer. So she’d keep her kinks.

“Quiet, which is a good thing after the craziness of Wednesday. I’m officially sick of pumpkin pie.” Liv picked up a wrapped sandwich and a bag of chips and walked to Kelly’s desk. Her lip twitched. “Not really. I love pumpkin pie. It’s just that we baked so many of them. Now it’s on to Christmas cookies.”

Kelly took her sandwich and chips. “Thank you.”

“No problem. It’s nice to get out for a bit. Are you working on your article for Budget Chic?”

Before Kelly could respond, the door to the staff room swung open, and Breena burst in.

“Oh. My. God. You won’t believe who just bought a dress! She was right here! And me too! I was here when she was here!” Breena’s words were rushed, and her arms flailed.

“Wow. Calm down.” Kelly stood and walked over to her employee. “Who was here?”

“Yeah, who has you so flustered?” Liv moved back to the counter. “When you get a grip, your lunch is here.”

Liv plucked out her sandwich and a bag of chips, which earned her a sideways look from Kelly. Liv worked in a bakery and had enjoyed a large Italian Thanksgiving the day before and thought nothing of eating chips. More proof that life wasn’t fair.

“Diana Delacourte!” Breena shared after taking a deep breath.

Kelly and Liv shared a look and both asked, “Who?”

Breena rolled her eyes. “You two really don’t watch Long Island Ladies? She’s one of them. Or she was. The show fired her.”

Kelly didn’t care if Diana Delacourte was on television. What she cared about was the fact that she had purchased a dress and might have clothing to consign.

“What dress did she buy?” Liv asked, but before Breena could answer, Pepper appeared at the doorway.

“Great. Lunch is here. I’m starving. But it’ll have to wait. A bunch of customers just came through the front door. I need some help out there.” With that, Pepper disappeared.

Kelly’s mood brightened. Maybe her marketing blitz was paying off.

“Do you mind putting our sandwiches in the fridge?’ she asked Liv.

“No. Go on. I’ll finish my lunch before heading back to the bakery. I see you have a new magazine here.” She patted the glossy edition.

“Enjoy. And thanks again.” Kelly walked out of the staff room with Breena.

“Don’t forget, I’m picking you up tomorrow night for the party,” Liv called out.

And just as fast as Kelly’s mood had brightened, it dimmed.

Her uncle Ralph’s annual holiday party was always held on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving, and since she was back in Lucky Cove, she had no good excuse not to attend.

“Fancy schmancy,” Breena cooed.

“Not really.” As Kelly urged Breena forward, she glanced over her shoulder at Liv.

“I know what you’re thinking, Kell, and no, you can’t get out of the party. You’ve already RSVP’d, and do you really want to deal with Summer? You know how she gets.” Liv smiled and then picked up the magazine, flipped it open, and munched on a chip.

Kelly hated it when her best friend was right. If she bailed on the party, Summer would never let her hear the end of it. She stepped into the main sales area of the boutique and accepted the cold, hard fact that, while coming back home had its share of bright spots, there were also her uncle and aunt.

She glanced at the cocktail dresses Pepper had hung up earlier. Maybe there was a bright side to the party. She had a shimmering gold dress she’d gotten at a sample sale before losing her job at Bishop’s, and it would be perfect to wear to her uncle’s party.

Anyone who was anyone would attend the party, and those “anyones” had closets she’d love to get inside. She could fit a stack of business cards into her clutch.

Her mood brightened again.

The party could be fun. She’d have a little champagne and a few appetizers and network with the posh society of Lucky Cove. What could go wrong?

Resale Boutique Mysteries, Writing

The Making of Kelly Quinn

The countdown has begun to the release of SILENCED IN SEQUINS, book two in the Resale Boutique Mystery series featuring fashionista-turned-amateur sleuth Kelly Quinn. She’s a hoot to write and I’m so grateful that somehow, someway the nugget of her character graced me one day allowing me to create (in my opinion) a fun, multi-dimensional, strong female character.

 

One question I get a lot is how stories and characters come to me. Sometimes a story idea hits me as a character goes looking for a missing dog and then finds the dog’s owner dead –murdered. Sometimes a character idea hits me like I want to write about a food blogger. Whatever the first spark of an idea, I think about all the what if’s and build a plot and populating the story with characters.

My plan was to submit the short story to an anthology.

For the Resale Boutique Mystery series, Kelly came to me several years ago when I wrote a short-story on a snowy weekend. Back then Kelly had a different name and was tracking down a missing dog only to discover the dog’s owner dead – murdered. Five-thousand words later I typed THE END and sent it off to my critique partner. My plan was to submit the short story to an anthology. After polishing the manuscript, I emailed it off and waited. And I waited some more. Then the email came and I kind of wished I was still waiting. It was a very polite rejection.

Yes, the rejection was disappointing, but I was busy with work and writing a romantic suspense novel so I dusted myself off and moved on. The short story remained in a file on my computer and in the summer of 2017 I pulled out the short story and revamped it for a proposal to send to my editor at Kensington for a new cozy series.

Kelly got her new name and a new career and then the devastating news her beloved grandmother had died. She then found out she inherited the tired, old consignment shop she spent so much time in as a child before leaving Lucky Cove to attend fashion school in New York City. I continued plotting the story and filling Lucky Cove with its residents.

First up is Pepper Donovan. She’s been the only employee at the Lucky Cove Consignment shop for over twenty years. She worked side-by-side with Kelly’s grandmother and they became the closest of friends. Pepper is having a hard time understanding why Kelly wants to change things in the store.

There’s Kelly’s uncle, Ralph Blake. He was named the executor of the estate by his mother. Ralph expected to inherit the shop, which sits on prime real estate in Lucky Cove and would sell for a very nice sum. Lucky Cove is a quaint Long Island town that’s not as flashy as the Hamptons but still draws very wealthy and successful Manhattanites during the summer months.

We also meet Ralph’s most-recent wife, Summer. She’s a model-turned-Pilates studio owner and can’t understand why her adopted hometown needs a thrift store.

Writing Kelly was a fun departure from writing Hope Early.

Luckily Kelly has her best friend, Liv Moretti, to lean on when things get out-of-control when Kelly is dragged into a murder investigation which begins with a psychic claiming one garment in the shop was worn during a murder. Word spreads quickly in Lucky Cove and business, which wasn’t good to begin with, plunges.

Writing Kelly was a fun departure from writing Hope Early, the protagonist in my Food Blogger Mystery series. She’s in her mid-twenties, whereas Hope is in her thirties. She doesn’t have the comforting support of her family like Hope has and returning to her hometown was the last thing she ever thought she would do whereas Hope always knew she’d be back in the place where she started. What they share is having their careers derailed, humiliating firings and a deep-seated need to seek justice for those who can’t. Oh, and one more thing, they each have a very cute guy that they heart. 🙂

Thank you for spending a few minutes with me today. While you wait for SILENCED IN SEQUINS to be released, MURDER WEARS A LITTLE BLACK DRESS is available and would be a fun cozy read this month if you haven’t read it yet. 🙂

Baking

My 20 Must-Haves For My Fall Baking Pantry

I’m waiting on fall. With temps at or above 80 degrees (even up to 90) I’m growing impatient.  Hear that, Mother Nature? Baking pumpkin bread while wearing flip-flops is just wrong. Well, except for you who live down south. But here in New England? It’s not normal. Though, while I’m waiting on fall to arrive I can take a moment to review my pantry and make sure I’m well stocked.

There’s nothing more depressing than having a spur-of-the-moment urge to bake something and find that I’m missing one or two ingredients. Either I’d have to run out to the store or get excited about baking something else. And this fall, I don’t have the time for last-minute trips to the grocery store. Not with a book coming out and two manuscript deadlines back-to-back coming up real soon.

Okay, so here’s my list. Give it a look over and let me know if there is anything you have in your Fall Baking pantry that I’m missing. 🙂

Twenty Must-Haves For My Fall Baking Pantry

  1. Flours: Unbleached All-purpose flour, Whole-Wheat flour, Cake flour, Oat flour, Gluten-free flour

  2. Baking Powder

  3. Baking Soda

  4. Sugars: White granulated sugar, powered sugar, brown sugar (light and dark), raw sugar

  5. Unsweetened cocoa powder

  6. Evaporated Milk & Sweet Condensed Milk

  7. Pure Vanilla extract

  8. Dried fruit: Raisins, cherries, apricots, dates

  9. Spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cardamom, cloves, vanilla bean

  10. Maple syrup

  11. Honey

  12. Molasses

  13. Corn syrup

  14. Cornstarch

  15. Unflavored gelatin

  16. Nuts: almonds, pecans, walnuts

  17. Baking chocolate: unsweetened, bittersweet, milk chocolate, white chocolate

  18. Unflavored gelatin

  19. Nuts: almonds, pecans, walnuts

  20. Canned pumpkin (many, many cans)

Now that the list is all taken care of, I thought I’d share a snippet of THREE WIDOWS AND A CORPSE, the third book in the Food Blogger Mystery series. While participating on a town scavenger hunt, food blogger Hope Early finds one thing not on her scavenger list – a dead body. And what follows with three women claiming to be the dead man’s wife has Hope smack in the middle of a murder investigation and possibly the next target of a vengeful murderer.

Hope and her team have arrived at the Avery Bistro with their hunt list in hand. While her team heads inside the restaurant, something catches Hope’s attention to the back of the parking lot and she’s drawn away from her team – Claire, Drew and Jane. What she finds is a very dead man.

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Happy Baking!!!

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Debra Sennefelder is an avid reader who reads across a range of genres, but mystery fiction is her obsession. She’s the author of the Food Blogger Mystery series and the Resale Boutique Mystery series. Her interest in people and relationships is channeled into her novels against a backdrop of crime and mystery. Born and raised in New York City, where she majored in her hobby of fashion buying, she now lives and writes in Connecticut with her family. She’s worked in retail and publishing before becoming a full-time author. Her writing companion is her adorable and slightly spoiled Shih-Tzu, Connie.