Thankful for…Social Media — Welcome Guest Mary Lee Ashford

Welcome, Mary Lee. I met Mary Lee at a Guppie lunch at Malice Domestic. (Guppies are the internet chapter of Sisters in Crime and it stands for the great unpublished.) Mary Lee is from Iowa and so am I so we immediately had something in common. And then in the way of small world things, I found out she knew the husband of a sorority sister of mine. I love how the world works. Mary Lee joins us to talk about her brand, spanking new series Sugar and Spice Mystery series. And don’t you just love the title — Game of Scones!

Thankful for…social media!

Now, you’re probably wondering if I punctuated that title correctly. Did I maybe mean for that to be a question mark? Am I actually thankful for social media? You bet.

It’s hard to remember a time before it, when we relied on emails, phone calls, or (gasp) letters to connect with each other. Don’t get me wrong, those are still great ways to connect. And I’m not so naïve that I don’t see all the issues with social media. I’ll admit things have gotten a little crazy out there.

But let’s leave the dark side out for a minute and think about the bright side of social media. Without it I believe we wouldn’t have the opportunity to connect with each other in the same way.

On Facebook, I keep in touch with family in Florida, Texas, and Scotland, and some that are just across town. I’ve connected with readers in Ireland and Australia, and many other places across the country, people who I’m certain I never would have had the chance to “meet” otherwise. I look forward to morning post check-ins from several friends and worry if I don’t hear from them. It’s a bit like an old-fashioned conversation over the fence each day.  If we lived in the same area, I’m pretty sure we’d be great friends, but

Pinterest is my go-to for creative ideas and I follow several people with similar interests. I fell in love with scones (and toasted tea cakes) when my son and daughter-in-law lived in England. As I worked on the first book in the Sugar and Spice Mysteries, Game of Scones, I was able to collect some fabulous scone recipes from others who share that love. Then when I moved on to book two, Risky Biscuits, guess what? That’s right, tons of biscuit recipes! In addition to scones and biscuits, my boards include Vintage Cookbooks & Recipes, Do-Overs (Things Re-Imagined, and, of course, Book Love.

Twitter is often my litmus test for what’s happening in the world…or at least in my corner of the world. I mostly follow people who are interested in books, recipes, and creativity. The #amreading hashtag is great for thoughts on what to read next. Also, I’ll confess that I’m fascinated with the “what’s trending” feed.  Sometimes it’s important stuff and sometimes it’s cute cat videos, but I guess it’s that writer’s curiosity in me wondering what has people engaged on any given day.

I’ve just begun dipping my toes into the Instagram world and I’m really enjoying the visual nature of that forum. So many gorgeous settings, amazing book covers, and fun posts. My favorites are travel posts or post from events. I get to vicariously enjoy that trip to Spain or that mystery conference I couldn’t fit into my schedule.

Readers: What about you? Are you thankful for social media? Do you have a favorite social media community? And, if so, what is it that you love about it? Mary Lee is giving away a copy of The Game of Scones and a copy of a Cozy Food cookbook with recipes from various authors to someone who leaves a comment.


In addition to writing the Sugar and Spice series for Kensington Books, Mary Lee also writes as half of the writing team of Sparkle Abbey. She is the founding president of Sisters in Crime – Iowa and a current board member of the Mystery Writers of America Midwest chapter, as well as a member of Novelists, Inc., Romance Writers of America, Kiss of Death the RWA Mystery Suspense chapter, Sisters in Crime, and the SinC Internet group, Guppies. Her delights are encouraging other writers, reading and enjoying her family, especially her six grandchildren.

More info here:


Game of Scones is the first book in the Sugar & Spice Mysteries. It comes out December 4th and is currently available to pre-order.

Here’s a little bit about it:

After losing her job as food editor at a glossy magazine, Rosetta Sugarbaker Calloway—aka “Sugar” to her friends—isn’t sweet on accepting defeat and crawling back to her gossipy southern hometown. So when she has an opportunity to launch a community cookbook business with blue-ribbon baker Dixie Spicer in peaceful St. Ignatius, Iowa, she jumps at the chance to start over from scratch . . .

But as Sugar assembles recipes for the local centennial celebration, it’s not long before she’s up to her oven mitts in explosive threats, too-hot-to-handle scandals, and a dead body belonging to the moody matriarch of the town’s first family. With suspicions running wild, Sugar and Spice must solve the murder before someone innocent takes the heat—and the real culprit gathers enough ingredients to strike again.

Pre-Order Links:


Barnes and Noble


71 Thoughts

  1. I mainly use Facebook as my go-to social media site. I don’t do Twitter or Instagram. In addition to keeping up with friends and family, I love the cozy mystery communities on FB. I have been introduced to great, new authors that I probably never would have known about with FB. I also love being able to connect and interact with some of my favorite authors.

  2. I’m a FB user and started because it made sharing family news with a geographically diverse family easier. Of course, the next generation is all about Instagram, and I’m not connected there. Nor am I on the other platforms. But social media does provide a great connection mode.

  3. Yes, keeping in touch with family is the main reason for using FB. I use Pinterest for storing recipes and following some blogs,etc.

  4. I only use Facebook to keep up with family and friends. I also love that you can like an author’s page, communicate with them and hear about their next book or what they are working on. Getting book recommendations from different sites and finding new authors is also a plus!

  5. I feel the same about social media, Mary Lee! Except I don’t dip into twitter much. Congratulations on the new series. Game of Scones sounds awesome.

  6. My main go to for social media is Facebook. I love the message part and chat with distant friends often on it. It also helps me keep up with author’s whose books I love to read as well as a way to be introduced to new to me authors. Hubby has a Facebook page that we share our photographs on which is cool too. Honestly, I use Twitter and Pinterest mostly when called to for contest or to save something specific for later use like a recipe or book recommendation. I’m not on Instagram at all. Just don’t seem to have time to add another venue.

    WOW! Awesome giveaway with not only a copy of “The Game of Scones” abut also a copy of a Cozy Food cookbook. The “Game of Scones” sounds absolutely wonderful. A book I’d definitely love the opportunity to read. Love to bake so you know would for sure love a copy of the cookbook. Thank you for the wonderful chance to win both!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  7. Although I have a Pinterest account, I seldom use it. I am web servant for several Quaker sites, some on Facebook, and follow many authors on FB, all of which posts seriously eat into my reading time for books. My bedside ARC stack is seriously depleted (except for the one paperback whose author requires that I read the ebook of the first book of the series before I start the paperback ARC of book 2), so if I win, you’re most likely to get a review within a week of delivery (hint, hint).

  8. I have a Twitter account, even though I rarely Tweet, so I can follow friends and authors! Same for my Instagram. I do love Pinterst and must limit myself on the amount of time I spend on it! Facebook is my main social media go to. I have made friends with people in Australia, New Zealand, England and many here in America. I love writing letters, yet there would never have been the opportunity to have so many wonderful people in my life without social media! It can be overwhelming at times, what with the world news and opinions on it. Those are times I pick and choose what I look at.
    Those scones look so good! What a hard job it must have been to research those recipes for scones and biscuits!
    Thank you for the generous giveaway!

    1. Deb – That’s me as well. Though it can be overwhelming at times, I try to focus on the wonderful folks I’ve met that I never would have had the chance to meet otherwise. Yes, a tough job on the scone & biscuit research…but somebody’s got to do it! LOL

  9. Vintage cookbooks are a new passion. I have a 1935 Fannie Farmer with fun ads in the back few pages. The copyright page is a treasure: it lists the # of copies printed for each version. Just read “Fannie in the Kitchen” to my lunch bunch at local elementary school and bthey loved learning about a real cookbook author!

    1. Yes, I agree. So interesting! I’ll have to check out “Fannie in the Kitchen.” In the series, Sugar, my main character, is gifted with a copy of The Mary Frances Cookbook.” Have you heard of it? I managed to track down a copy – copyright 1912.

      1. No, haven’t heard of the Mary Francis Cookbook. Will have to check used bookstores. Found Fannie book at the Antiquarian Book sale in St. Petersburg FL. My fav finds we’re children’s classics, esp. mini Beatrix Potter pb ones in tiny zip lock bags.

  10. I love Facebook. I have connected with wonderful people, who are also great Authors!
    If it wasn’t for the social media. I would be missing out on all the awesome books I have and the ones I want to buy!🥰

  11. I like FB for learning about Cozy Mysteries & authors. I try not to post too many personal items unless it relates to what I deem are good causes or encouragement to friends & family.

    1. FB is great for connecting with books and people. In some cases (like Sherry Harris) we connected first in person and the FB allowed us to keep in contact. In other instances, I met the person for the first ime on FB. Thanks for stopping by!

  12. I love Facebook & the cozy mystery group of friends that I have made over the last 3 years.

    1. Hello, Doward. ~*~*~ waving Great to see you here! We’ve connected before as my part of Sparkle Abbey identify. That is the best part – connecting with new friends – and especially those that share a love of cozy mysteries!

  13. I use social media for a lot of different parts of my world, and am exploring Instagram. I find it challenging, because I don’t think visually. But I also find the reach extraordinary.

    Welcome to the blog, and congratulations on the new series!

  14. Welcome to the Wickeds, Mary Lee. I love fb for news from family and friends. Since I work alone, being able to keep up with old friends, my former colleagues and far-flung family members has been a boon to me.

  15. I mostly use Facebook and Instagram. I like using them to keep up with family and friends and authors that I read. Love my little 10 month old niece’s Instagram page and the blog posts her mom, my brother’s girlfriend, writes.

  16. I’m quite active on Facebook and Twitter, well more Facebook than Twitter. I posted what I’ve reviewed on Pinterest, but that’s all the time I spend there.

    And I’m half way through this book, and I’m enjoying it!

  17. Sorry, I’m a Grinch when it comes to social media. I don’t “do” any of them. I spend way too much time at the computer as it is. I’m a regular participant on a common interest forum, the Wicked’s wonderful blog, a neighborhood forum and emails. And I just don’t trust them. Too many horror stories. I’m content and I have plenty of ways to keep in touch with those people who are important to me. Bah, humbug! 🙂

  18. Instagram & Pinterest are my favorite, mostly because I like looking at others’ pictures.

  19. Welcome, Mary Lee. You’ll have a Wicked good time here. I absolutely LOVE the title (I’d read all the Song of Ice and Fire books long before the TV show was even a gleam in a producer’s eye, and I’m pre-ordering my copy as soon as I finish writing this post.

    I spent a good portion of yesterday contemplating and sharing the things for which I’m thankful. They were mostly individuals who’ve enriched my life (and in some cases actually made it possible), but one of the things I specifically included was The Wickeds. I’ve really come to love and cherish this group of writers and readers and look forward to it each and every morning.

    However Social Media was NOT on my list of things for which I’m thankful. (Actually, I suppose The Wickeds itself counts as Social Media, if you’re being expansive, but I’m obstinately not choosing to be expansive, so THERE!) I’m on LinkedIn because it’s necessary for me to be there in my real (non-mystery) life, but I’d really rather not be. I keep getting invitations from total strangers to add them to my network of contacts. Why would I? I don’t know you. I don’t even WANT to know you!

    Goodness, that last paragraph made me sound curmudgeonly enough to rival Ebeneezer Scrooge. Hopefully, if you know me or even have read my posts here you’ll know that’s not so. AND PLEASE STOP ROLLING YOUR EYES! Let me explain how I came to feel this way about Social Media.

    I had a brief … VERY brief … fling with Facebook about ten years ago. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, so I joined and created a rather minimal profile. Within fifteen minutes, I had communications from multiple family members from multiple “factions” asking me to Friend them and inviting me to read all their posts. Evidently not only was I expected to read their posts I was expected to respond glowingly to the photo of the new couch they’d just posted or the exciting photo spread of their family dinner at Sizzler last night. (Actually, if it had been photos of the family members, I’d probably have caved, but this was photos of the FOOD. At SIZZLER. Really?) I quickly realized that I was on a pathway to disaster, deleted my Facebook account, and sent emails to everyone who’d demanded “Friending” that my boss had insisted that none of us be on Facebook for security reasons, and that ended that.

    As for other Social Media platforms, I haven’t found anything that would entice me. Instagram? I don’t take photos that would interest anyone other than the two or three people I’ve probably already shown them to in person. Pinterest from the little I know about it seems craft-focused, and that really isn’t an interest of mine. Twitter? The hysterical laughter you’re hearing is the notion of being able to limit myself to 140 characters. I have trouble with 1400 characters. As you can tell from this post.

    A few parenthetical notes. First, although I’m hopeless at lying in person, I’m fabulous at it in print. By the way (a parenthetical note to my parenthetical note), although I will never be able to successfully be able to play a game of poker, if you’re as bad a liar as I am and you are faced with a situation where the consequences of lying would be dire (either for you or the person to whom you’re lying) – for example someone shows you their new puppy and it’s a dead ringer for the most recent winner in the Ugly Dog Contest – just about the only solution I’ve found is to tell the absolute truth, but in a way that makes the other person sure you don’t mean it. For this you must do sarcasm well. I do.

    Second parenthetical note, I’ve written about my family and it’s multiple warring factions here previously, but if you haven’t seen those posts, suffice it to say that if you look up dysfunctional in Webster’s New World Dictionary, you’ll find a group photo of my family. So I should have known better that to have jumped on Facebook.

    Final parenthetical note. I honestly do think that posting on Social Media, Facebook in particular, can actually be dangerous. Far too many people blithely post information about upcoming vacations, their children’s daily routines, and other personal information that bad actors could use to do them harm in one way or another. It’s sad but true that we live in a far more dangerous and complicated world than existed when I was growing up (at which time practically nobody in the land was safe from buffalo). (I stole that last joke from Dorothy Parker. If you’re going to steal, do so only from the best.)

    1. Oh, a soul mate! I never felt bad about my feelings toward social media, but I feel even better now. Especially since my new soul mate is you whom I admire greatly. And I had the same experience with Facebook many years ago. I unjoined quickly!

      1. Ginny, that was a very sweet thing to say and I appreciate it. And the hoops Facebook puts you through when you want to delete your account is something else we can share!

      2. Complete with threats of never being able to access FB again, etc. Made me all the happier to “unjoin”.

    2. Oh my, Lee. I am SO laughing. And also, so stealing the Dorothy Parker joke. I work in IT in my day job and you’re absolutely right – it’s a dangerous world out there and we need to be careful what we share. I do, though, still love the connections I’ve made.

      1. Hi Mary Lee,

        You mean the fabulous royalties and advances you receive from your writing doesn’t allow you to lead the Lives of the Rich and Famous? Normally I wouldn’t feel a need to explain that my last sentence was Irony, but in our current political climate, I’ve concluded that Irony is dead.

        I too work in IT(these days for myself rather than a company … which just means that you have 20 bosses instead of one). It’s really interesting that the subjects of both our writings are SO distant from the world of IT. Maybe someday someone will come up with a cozy set in the IT environment, but it’s not going to be me. One of my characters is an IT whiz (which I think is today’s deus ex machina whichI use to get myself out of the plot corners I regularly paint myself into), but that’s as close as I get.

    3. Lee, the irony was appreciated and the need to call it out understood. It’s a wild environment out there today in the world on online words. If only those fabulous advances and royalties put me in such a tax bracket!

      As far as the IT cozy…I suppose it’s possible but probably not by me.

  20. I love Instagram! I can quickly share my art there, get inspired by other creative souls, and keep tabs on family and friends.

  21. Mia, you’ll have to send me your Instagram info. (Just pop by my website and drop me an email.) I follow several artists and though I have absolutely no talent in that area myself, I love it! You’re right – it’s a way to be inspired.

  22. I enjoy Facebook and chatting with other book lovers. Lots of fun to comment on things.

  23. I do enjoy Facebook but am not on any other social media platforms. I love the cozy mystery groups – being able to find out about new and existing series is great, and I also really love that I can let the authors know how much I enjoy their books. Thanks for the double giveaway!

  24. I go on facebook just about every day so I guess that makes it my favorite— probably because I find it the easiest of the social media to use. I have made contact with many old school friends and made many new friends that I would love too meet in person.

  25. When I retired I got on Facebook and I love it. I can keep in touch with family, friends and authors and authors’ blogs. I did have to unfriend a former co-worker who shared about 30 things for 3 days. I don’t want to scroll through mostly inspirational stuff to get to more personal posts. Not that I don’t appreciate cute animals or inspiring stories but keep it down to less than 10 a day. I never post about what I do until I’m home.

  26. I am thankful for social media. I am housebound and get to interact with other people learn about authors and books.

  27. I mostly use Facebook, it’s the one I’m most comfortable with. I also like Pinterest and like the different boards and posts. Twitter and Instagram I haven’t quite figured out yet.

  28. Facebook helps me to keep in contact with family, especially the ones who live outside of the USA.

  29. Mary Lee, congrats on the new series! You always have such fun titles! I adore Downton Tabby — but Risky Biscuits is cracking me up!

  30. I love Facebook because I have learned so much about art and books by following various groups and sites on it. It is a good feeling to know that there are so many folks who appreciate the same things that I do.

  31. I used to go more for the Facebook but since I met Bookstagram, I am all the time tuned in IG. Thanks for the chance =)

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