"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, May 11, 2011

Cozy Wednesday With Author Avery Aames (Includes Giveaway)

Avery Aames just won an Agatha Award for Best First Novel for the first book in the Cheese Shop Mystery Series, The Long Quiche Goodbye. The second book in the series, Lost and Fondue was released last Tuesday. Avery blogs at Mystery Lovers Kitchen- a blog for foodies who love mysteries. And some of her characters show up on the blog, Killer Characters.com.  As you will read below she is an extremely busy woman and I am so happy that she took time out of that busy life to spend a day here at Dollycas's Thoughts. Plus to make things extra special she is even going to tempt our taste buds. 

Welcome Avery!!
Thanks Lori, I am happy to be here and all of you enjoy my post.

Making Time
By Avery Aames

Have you run out of time? For yourself, for your family, for your loved ones? How do we get everything done in this world—a world rife with traffic and lines and waiting on hold on the telephone and waiting in doctors/ offices for appointments—and still find time for ourselves?

Time to meditate. Time to reflect. Time to enjoy and smell the roses (the coffee, the cheese).

It takes work; it takes planning. Who has time to plan?

Here’s my fifty-cent philosophy on this, and mind you, I’m only just beginning at my age to understand that time is fleeting and we must…MUST…find the time.

Start a to-do list. It’s like a bucket list but it’s immediate. Now prioritize that list. What do you need to get done right now? Within a week? Within a month? What can you set aside for a month from now, for two months…for forever?

Now pick the top three items and do them today. That’s it. No more. Just those three. How many are left on that list? Sixty? It’ll take you 20 days. Thirty? It’ll take you 10 days. Can you breathe easier? Not yet. Where are those darned roses (coffee, cheese) when you need them? Go now, find them and drink in the scent. Slowly. Savor it!

As a recently published author, I found myself immediately behind in my schedule. There was so much to do and so little time. I started to hyperventilate. Truly. I exercised, but the feeling wouldn’t leave. I went to a doctor, got my back adjusted, stretched, but still couldn’t breathe well. When I realized my tension was all because I wasn’t finding enough hours in the day to do everything I needed to get done, I realized I needed to drop some of those commitments. I like to be perfect in everything. It’s a curse sometimes. I feel like I should be “able” to be superhuman and whip around this earth solving puzzles, writing about crime, all while attending to the needs of myself, my family, my pets. With a smile! And in my down time, I should be able to write at least another story plus a short story, do all the PR work required, and submit, submit, submit. Oh, yes, and read all of my friends’ books, too.

Doesn’t the agenda make you hyperventilate just reading it?

So, starting a month ago, I made a commitment to myself to slow down. To breathe deeply. To realize that everything does NOT have to get done today. I make an extra cup of coffee or tea; I pet my dog; I trim my roses; I kiss my husband. One thing at a time. I can’t sip the coffee, pet the dog, kiss my honey, and trim all at once. I can’t. So how can I expect my brain to do all the other functions I’d like “at once.” Impossible.
For one who believes in the impossible (an entirely different blog), impossible is a hard concept around which to wrap my mind, but I try.

What has you stressed in your life? Can you handle it a bit at a time? Hand it over to someone else to manage? Let it go completely?

What is your fun? What do you do in your down time?

This post was so timely for me.  As many of you may remember I ended up in the hospital last month with a case of acute respiratory distress that may have been brought on by stress.  I was a lot like Avery, trying to do everything, but I am going to make the same commitment she did to slow down and take time to enjoy life.  

Starting with enjoying a couple of Avery's recipes. I am going to just give you the links because they are super easy to print out from Avery's Web Page and there are many more recipes there and more, like trailers for her books, a video on how to make fondue, and other fun stuff!
Cover Illustration
by Teresa Fasolino
Cover Design
by Annette Fiore Defex

A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
A Division of The Penguin Group

A Cheese Shop Mystery
2nd in the Series
Available Now
ISBN-10: 0425241580
ISBN-13: 978-0425241585

Charlotte Bessette and her cousin Matthew are partners in The Fromagerie Bessette or The Cheese Shop as it known to the locals. Charlotte handles the cheese shop and Matthew a former sommelier, runs the wine annex. They have been hired to cater a fundraiser for their friend Meredith at an abandoned winery that Meredith hopes to turn into a college campus. Not everyone in town is happy about this as the winery has been the source of some wild stories including hidden treasure and buried bodies.

The fundraiser is going well, people enjoying yummy fondue and wine and next on the agenda is a scavenger hunt that will send people running throughout the winery looking for certain objects.  It is a lot of fun until something that wasn't on the list is found in the wine cellar, a dead body.  The body is identified quickly as one of the artists that had come to paint the winery.  He is also the boyfriend of Meredith's niece, Quinn.  She quickly becomes the prime suspect as they had been witnessed have a little tiff during the party. 

Soon they are many amateur sleuths including Charlotte trying to free Quinn and find the real killer.  As Charlotte gets closer to the truth the killer turns up the heat and Charlotte may find herself fermenting in the wine cellar.

This story is a mystery within a mystery and almost every character seems to have a secret.  I started this book and couldn't put it down and while some of the mysteries were solved and many of the secrets saw the light of day, they are still more that when the book ended I was almost "bleu". The author dropped a few crumbs of fine French bread by revealing a snippet of the next book in the series Clobbered by Camembert but I was left hungry for some more fine morsels like a slice Humboldt Fog or a Porcupine or just one more secret uncovered.

This story are superbly written, I know why her work was recognized with an Agatha Award.  She sets each scene perfectly and develops each character at a perfect pace, even though I want to know more about Jordan and Jacky right now!  Avery delivers a tasty treat that engages all our senses, you can almost taste the cheeses.  She includes recipes too so we will be able to taste the daily specials from The Cheese Shop.  I had "escaped" to Providence, Ohio, for a short time and can't wait to make return trip very soon.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can also order LOST AND FONDUE here: http://www.averyaames.com/book_sellers.html

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from The Berkley Publishing Group, 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.”  


Steve Capell said...

This book sounds interesting! Thanks for your review.


Unknown said...

Looks like a great book! Wonderful interview.

PoCoKat said...

Avery I enjoyed the first book and am looking forward to this one!!!

Liz V. said...

Enjoyed Long Quiche Goodbye and looking forward to sequels. Thanks for chance to have Lost and Fondue. Loved goat-cheese fondue recipe on Mystery Lovers' Kitchen.

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Steve, Donna, lovely to see you here.

PocoKat and Liz V, glad you enjoyed the first. Hope you enjoy reading Lost and Fondue, as well.

Lori, thank you for such a terrific review. I get so much pleasure out of hearing from readers. It makes all the blood, sweat and tears of writing a book worthwhile. (Yes, even cozy writers "suffer" for their art - LOL).

Best to all and say cheese!


Harbinger said...

I finished Lost and Fondue last night and can't wait for the next one!

I really enjoyed the review and, especially loved what you wrote about taking time for yourself. It's something I think we all need to be reminded of periodically.

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Harbingerdc, you are a fast reader! But I guess so many of you are. Thank you for your thoughts. Yes, in this "speedy" world, we need to know when to take a moment. Not always easy to do. :)

Hugs, Avery

Tore923 said...

Thanks for the giveaway. Your books sounds great. Tore923@aol.com

Literary Chanteuse said...

This is a wonderful giveaway! Avery this sounds delighful and I love the title! Thanks!


Carol M said...

I'd love to read this book. I love murder mysteries! :)

mamabunny13 said...

Hi Avery! I can't wait to read the Cheese Shop Mystery Series. I love the titles and I just know I'm going to love the stories inside! Thank you :)

mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Tore, Margaret, Carol and Connie, so good to "meet" you! I love mysteries, too. Go figure! LOL



cyn209 said...

congrats on Lost & Fondue!!!! i can' wait to read it!!!
thank you for the giveaway!!!!


Pamela Keener said...

OMG Girlfriend I feel your pain. I have a hoarders, not quite that bad but still, basement and I have convinced myself if I put one hours work/day in it I will take back my basement. My problem is I know I won't stop at an hour but I must or I will get overwhelmed.
Love & Hugs,

Stacie said...

I loved your first book & can't wait to read Lost & Fondue. It was helpful reading your philosophy (which was worth a lot more than 50 cents). Too often we get caught up in everything & never take the time to just enjoy every moment, big & small. I fully intend to start today & make my list. Thanks for reminding me to stop & enjoy my down time. Congratulations on your Agatha Award. You mostly definitely deserved it :)


Kari Lee Townsend said...

Great post, Avery, and so true. I am trying to do the same thing. Finish deadlines, promote, tackle tasks...breathe! Eeek, it gets insane.

I am reading The Long Quiche Goodbye right now and loving it. Can't wait to read Lost in Fondue. Great review by the way :-)

Good luck to you.

Avery Aames said...

Cyn, Pamela, Stacie, and Kari Lee, So good to see you. Love that some of you are reading the first in the series. And I'm so thrilled that a few words about taking time can mean so much to so many. I'm a list person. And I diligently (gleefully) cross off items on the list when accomplished. Lists helps me breathe. Now...where did I put that *&^%%&^&* list. LOL


samantha35 said...

Long quiche goodbye was my favorite cozy of 2010- cant wait to read your new book!

Carol N Wong said...

Congratulations on your Agatha Award! It just proves that they agree with us that you are the best. I did something similiar to what you did at work. There was another benefit to scheduling the work-people appreciate knowing when you are going to work on it.

Keep Stress free!!! This means all of you.


Tina said...

Avery...we love your books and want you to be around for a long time, so please please take care of yourself. We can wait that extra little time for you to take it easy.

cyn209 said...

Congrats & GoodLuck, Avery, on Lost & Fondue!!!
it's been on my ToBeReadList!!!
thank you for the giveaway!!


Unknown said...

Hi Avery, sounds like a really good book. Those recipes have my mouth watering!

Thanks for the giveaway,
onebookshy at yahoo dot com

B Stef said...

Excellent suspense ahead? sounds like it, Avery! a well planned and executed bit of intrigue - looking forward to the escape!