"All the best stories in the world are but one story in reality -- the story of escape. It is the only thing which interests us all and at all times, how to escape."
--Author Christopher Benson



Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cozy Wednesday - Welcome Amanda Lee

If you are a follower of this blog you know I love Cozy Mysteries!! This year I hope to have at least one cozy author guest post here each month at Dollycas's Thoughts. The post will also include a giveaway! The post will usually be on the Wednesday right after New Release Tuesday, but I am trying to leave Wednesdays open for guest posts so that I can work around the author's busy schedules.  Don't worry if there is not a guest post the Wednesdays will then be filled with a Book Review and maybe even a Giveaway. You know I love surprises!

Today I am thrilled to welcome Amanda Lee.   Her book STITCH ME DEADLY was released yesterday.  You will find my full review after her Guest Post, but I LOVED!!!!! this book.  

Welcome Amanda or should I say Gayle, I'll let her explain.


First off, let me assure you that I don’t have multiple personalities. I just have a multi-dimensional personality. I write a cake decorating mystery series as Gayle Trent; I write an embroidery mystery series as Amanda Lee; and both my main characters blog—sometimes even interviewing Gayle Trent! But it’s still all me. In fact, a reviewer on Amazon (J. Weinberg) said: LOL! I was going to come on here and write about the similarities to this book and those of Gayle Trent. One Google search later and I find out that Amanda Lee and Gayle Trent are actually the same person!

When my agent asked me if I’d be interested in writing an embroidery mystery series, I said, “Of course!” After all, the research would be better for my waistline (if not for my pin-pricked fingers) than the cake decorating series, right?

I’ve always loved needlecrafts, so the series was a good excuse to blow the dust off my cross-stitch books and to also learn some new techniques. (Unfortunately, it hasn’t been enough of an incentive to finish the horses-coming-out-of-the-ocean cross-stitch project I started soooo long ago. I’m talking years here, but it’s really, really HARD! And yet, I don’t have the heart to simply toss it out. I’m planning to finish it someday…maybe. Did I mention it’s HARD?)

Anyway, since beginning the embroidery mystery series, I’ve reconnected with candlewick, cross-stitch, needlepoint, and redwork. I’ve learned ribbon embroidery, and I’m learning other types of embroidery (satin stitches, beading, etc.). And I’ve tried hardanger. I laboriously completed a “hardanger for kids” project—even though I think I missed some stitches—and, although it’s pretty, I doubt I’ll try another. (Please refer to previous paragraph where you’ll see that I tend to give up on things that are really, really hard.)

I’ve also learned that perfection is not a necessity. Sometimes “good enough” truly is good enough. When I was trying to cross-stitch on a tote bag without a cross-stitch grid and it turned out wonky, a huge purple flower appliqué came to my rescue. And the tote bag is cute. (http://www.gayletrent.com/2011/01/sew-deadly-issue-21/). No one who hadn’t seen the pattern would know there was supposed to be a rabbit in place of the flower. (In my defense, there is a partial rabbit beneath the huge purple flower.)

If you enjoy cross-stitch, please see my embroidery patterns page at http://www.gayletrent.com/books/embroidery-patterns/.

Please also visit “Marcy’s Shop” 
where you can find embroidery retailers and free projects (hint: hover your mouse all around the red chair where there are four free project sites). You can also learn about the Oregon coast and Irish wolfhounds, go to my Facebook page, and use Petfinder to adopt a pet!

Thank you so much for your encouragement and support! And, thank you, Lori, for allowing me to be a part of your spectacular blog!
Thank you for the lovely compliment and for spending some time with us today.  I love your website and blog!

Your Cake Decorating Series sounds tasty and entertaining too.  I have included Links to all 4 books below so all my readers can check them out.


An Obsidian Mystery
A Division of Penguin Publishing
An Embroidery Mystery
2nd in Series

  • ISBN-10: 0451232518
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451232519

Marcy and her Irish wolfhound, Angus are making themselves right at home in Tallulah Falls, Oregon.  She loves running the Seven Year Stitch, making new friends and reconnecting with her old friend Sadie.

Things are going well until an elderly woman comes to the shop to ask for Marcy's help and shows her a wonderful, antique, embroidery sampler.  Before she can tell Marcy anything about the sampler she dies suddenly of an apparent heart attack, right there in one of the chairs in the "sit and stitch" area of the store.

It doesn't take long for the authorities to find out the elderly woman, Mrs. Ralston's, heart attack was caused by a very unnatural cause. She had been murdered.  Marcy thinks the sampler holds the key to who and why this nice, sweet woman was killed.  She also finds out a very tangled web of clues must be sorted out to solve this crime.

Marcy has such a big heart, she can rarely say "no" to anyone and her character is wonderfully written as are all the other characters in this series.  I feel like an invisible person perched in the "sit and stitch" area watching this story unraveling before my eyes.

Every small town has a place like the Seven Year Stitch, a place where the local people go to catch up on gossip and find out what's happening with their friends, foes and neighbors. It may not be an embroidery store, maybe a local garage, tavern, coffee shop or bookstore, but a true gathering place. That is what makes this series and this book so relate-able. 

This story was a pure delight for me to read, making my brain work to untangle the mystery right along with Marcy.  Holding my breath as she figures it out and putting herself in danger. Pages turning fast and furious to the very end.  

While these stories have a needlework theme, set in a beautiful town, they are for anyone who enjoys a good mystery.  A story that touches all of your senses, from the feel of the floss and yarn, the view of the Oregon coast, the smell and the taste of the goodies from MacKenzies' Mochas, the sounds of the falling rain, it also engages your mind with the cleverly written mystery.  This is a book that should definitely be on everyone's must read list.

Be sure to check out the links above.  Gayle's web page and blog are fantastic.  The pictures of the cakes are amazing as are the needlework patterns and pictures.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Obsidian, a Division of Penguin Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Kristin said...

Hi Gayle: I haven't read any of your books yet, but I look forward to reading both series. While I don't do any needlework, I love learning about different hobbies. For the cake decorating mystery series - do you do cake decorating yourself?

Dolly - I love the idea of having a new cozy author post on your blog each month! I love reading cozy mysteries, too and will look forward to this feature each month!

Gayle said...

Hi, Kristin: I do some cake decorating, but I'm not very good at it! My daughter and I took a Wilton cake decorating class a few months before I wrote Murder Takes the Cake. We had a lot of fun, and we both learned quite a bit. And we came away with a greater appreciation for what the pros do! :)

Dolly, thank you so much for your wonderful review! It's the first review of Stitch Me Deadly that I've seen, and your post made my day!!!

Tina said...

Hi Gayle,I tried to win a book on your Facebook party yesterday but I didn't win so Maybe I can win one here..

dollycas aka Lori said...

Thank you, I am really excited about this feature!!

Good luck!

and Gayle,
I appreciate you taking time to be here today. It is easy to write a review about a wonderful book!

Erin said...

I love the Marcy Singer series. Can't wait to read Murder takes the cake also.

Lilk13 said...

Hi Gayle,
I've just started reading cozy mysteries and found that I really love them. I agree, sometimes we all give up on things that are really hard, and in my opinion the only one that knows there is a mistake is the maker.

Dolly, once again you've out done yourself. I love your site.

Karen / lilk13

Lilk's Reading Library

Gayle said...

Thank you, Karen! :)

Amy said...

Gayle, I think it's fantastic that you turned two hobbies you really enjoy into mystery series. I've always heard the idea to "write what you know" and I think this is a great way to do that.
I enjoy cozy mysteries and love the covers of yours. I always love that there is an Irish Wolfhound, Angus, in Stitch Me Deadly! Lori has raved about them, too, so I cannot wait to read some.

Thank you Gayle & Lori for this wonderful giveaway!

I'm off to visit your blog and website!
~ Amy

dollycas aka Lori said...

Thank you to everyone for stopping by and showing Gayle some love!!! Please pass the word she is here today!!! This series is so good, I am thrilled Gayle could be here today.

Carol M said...

This series sounds really good! I used to do some cross-stitching and now you've gotten me thinking about doing it again! lol

Gigi Ann said...

This sounds like a great series to read. I do love a cozy mystery read. My crafty thing I do is crocheting, so like crafty mystery books of all kinds.

Cozy in Texas said...

These sound like my kind of reads. I'm adding them to my list. Thanks for the great review.
Added my name to the follower list.

Steve Capell said...

Hi Gayle

I love mystery novels and after reading this review I am hooked ... maybe not by latch hook but by wanting to know why anyone would want to kill an elderly lady. This sounds like a great novel.

Jodi Webb said...


I love your books because I can totally picture myself being Marcy!


~Laurie~ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
~Laurie~ said...

How cool to write an embroidery mystery! I am a quilter and I also enjoy stitching - I've never heard of an embroidery mystery - I am definitely intrigued :)

Marilyn said...

I just received a book through Paper Back Swap, found your card and became your newest follower! Didn't leave a comment for your guest because this section was below the entry and of course I didn't look down far enough.

The books sound like ones I will enjoy, so I'll be looking for them. Thanks for sharing ♥♫