A Wicked Welcome to Nancy Coco **plus a giveaway**

by Julie, gaining inspiration by changing location for a few days

I’m delighted to welcome Nancy Coco to the blog today! Nancy has as many names as I do, and today we’re celebrating the release of her latest Candy-Coated Mystery, Have Yourself a Fudgy Little Christmas. Welcome back Nancy!

Someone in a recent book talk didn’t know that Mackinac Island is a real place. Mackinac Island is also the setting for my USA Today Bestselling Candy-coated mystery series. It is indeed a real place nestled in the straits where Lake Michigan meets Lake Huron.  The natives called it the big turtle and it was an important post in the war of 1812. There are two forts on the island that was held by Americans until the British overran them, then returned to the USA after the war ended. It is a lovely island that takes you back in time to the Victorian era where everyone gets around by foot, bike, or horse and carriage. The wealthy would come to spend the summer and get out of the big cities of Chicago and Detroit. Their homes, called cottages, are gorgeous Victorian painted ladies and Main Street is filled with shops and the smell of fudge, popcorn and ice cream.

Mackinac Island is considered the fudge capital of the world and even if you can’t visit you can order fudge online from any of their shops.

My protagonist, Allie McMurphy, owns a small hotel and fudge shop on Main street. Motor vehicles have been banned from the island, which gives it a lazy pre-automobile feel. There are two ways to reach the island, by ferry and by airplane. Most people ferry in and spend the day, but it’s a real treat if you get to stay on the island overnight. Everything goes soft and quiet and people light bon fires and roast marshmallows and drink hot cocoa. The sounds of the lake lapping against the shore fill the air as the horses all return to the stables to rest.

I try to get there as often as possible to research such places as the Butterfly House where I set a murder amid the beautiful exotic butterflies, and the police and fire station on Market street where my main detective and EMT’s hang out. I discovered a new coffee shop on market that is featured in Have Yourself a Fudgy Little Christmas. Winters on Mackinac are cold, snowy and small town. The shops all close in October for the season and the summer houses are winter proofed. About 300 people remain on the island year round. Children take snow mobiles to school and only the grocery store and a few bars on Main street remain open.

The ferry’s run on a modified schedule until the straits freeze over than everyone moves by plane until the ice freezes thick enough to hold the weight of a snowmobile and rider. Then brave souls will snowmobile across the ice bridge to the upper or lower peninsula.

There was an old movie filmed there called “Somewhere in Time” with Christopher Reeves that highlights the romance of the place.

My mother grew up nearby and so it’s a family vacation place for us. I thought it was the perfect place to set a mystery series. There are so many tourists coming and going and small town rivals and festivals, a state park and lovely scenery to add color and flavor to the series.  

In Have Yourself a Fudgy Little Christmas, Allie sets her mind to wintering on the island and enjoying the Christmas festivities when a mysterious note takes her to a dead woman and family secrets that rock the island.

Do you vacation in the winter? Where is your favorite spot? Sun or snow? Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Have Yourself a Fudgy Little Christmas.

About Nancy:

Nancy J Parra AKA Nancy Coco AKA Nell Hampton is the author of over 30 published novels which include five mystery series: The Oregon Honey-comb Mystery Series (Kensington), The Candy-Coated Mysteries (Kensington), The Kensington Palace Mystery Series (Crooked Lane), The Wine Country Tours Mystery Series (Crooked Lane) The Gluten-free Baker’s Treat Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime), and The Perfect Proposal Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime).  Her writing has been called witty and her protagonists plucky by reviewers around the world.  Nancy is a member of Sisters in Crime and loves to hear from readers.  Here’s a link to her website.

About the Book:

All Allie wants for Christmas is for renovations to be finished on the Historic McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop so she can move back home for the holidays. But for now she’s staying in her friend Frances’s apartment, busily baking batches of holiday fudge. After someone leaves a mysterious note on the door to meet up, the curious fudge maker goes to the rendezvous with her bichonpoo, Mal—only to discover a woman facedown in a snowdrift. With her dying breath, the woman gasps, “Frances.” The police suspect she named her killer, but Allie knows that’s impossible. She needs to wrap up this case before the trail runs cold—and give her friend the gift of freedom this Christmas season . . .

46 Thoughts

  1. Welcome back, Nancy! I’ve always wanted to go there and agree it’s a perfect setting for a cozy series! Question: what do they do (in real life) about building new houses or shops? Digging foundations, putting in water lines, heavy thing like that would be really, really hard without motorized vehicles.

    1. Great question, Edith! They do their best to use horse and wagon. It’s really interesting!

  2. Congrats on the new book! This is a great series! Nothing can top the Midwest with it’s summer time beauty. One of my favorite places to visit is Door County, WI. It’s a gorgeous place and so amazing to dunk your toes right in Lake Michigan. Great little shops, restaurants and hiking trails to keep us occupied. Definitely worth the two hour drive from my hometown in Wisconsin!

  3. I actually have heard of Mackinac. It sounds wonderful. I do vacation in the winter (we went to Killington, VT back in January), but unless I can spend the entire time in front of a fire, I think Mackinac would be too cold for me!

  4. We also vacation where it is warm. It’s either the Caribbean or Thailand so far. We do have a cruise booked for Hawaii in 2022 for our 15th anniversary. Hopefully the virus will be just a bad memory by then. My husband and I both grew up in New England and we have had enough of snow. We now live in Florida on a permanent vacation as my husband was offered early retirement. We are less than 2 miles from the beach. Thank you for this chance! pgenest57(at)aol(dot)com

  5. We have never really taken a vacation in the winter because of the hazards of driving the highways to get there that are so unpredictable in the winter. We did take one trip to Arizona for our friend’s 80th birthday bash and along the way home we stopped overnight at the Grand Canyon. LOVED IT! It had snowed and was a glorious sight to see. Wood burning fireplace in the cabin was nice too. We have always wanted to take a trip to Yellowstone in the winter, but as of yet, it’s always just been a dream.

    Can’t wait for the opportunity to read “Have Yourself a Fudgy Little Christmas”, which is most definitely on my TBR list. Thank you for the chance to win a copy!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  6. Good morning Nancy!
    I have been to Mackinac Island! My husband and I went there last year for our 44th wedding Anniversary. It was absolutely amazing!! There Fudge is delicious too!
    I love reading all that you shared about how and why you wrote this book . Definitely brings back wonderful memories!
    Congratulations on your new book! I will be looking for this series for sure! So neat that this cozy mystery book is told at Mackinac Island. As you can tell I’m a little excited about it . I could go on and on about it. Lol!!
    I would love to win Have yourself a Fudgy Little Christmas!!! I love the book cover too! Thank you for the chance to win this great giveaway!!!
    Have a wonderful day!!!

    1. Hi Sherry, I’m always excited to hear from people who have been to Mackinac. It’s such a lovely place.

  7. Our family enjoys snowy weather and we have such delightful memories of living in WY and the winters there…and as the locals say, “Their one day of summer!” These days we don’t travel at all, but most years we like to travel in October and go to CO. I have always wanted to go to Mackinac Island and have encouraged my good friend who lives in the Midwest and loves to bike with her family to go there. I even bought them a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle of Mackinac Island as incentive. Traveling by books fills my days, but I did not know about your series. I learn about such great authors here at The Wicked’s!

    1. Hi Judy, Colorado is my second favorite place to go! I love hiking the foothills and trails.

  8. Congratulations on the new release, Nancy! Mackinac Island is on my list of places to visit, but I haven’t made it there yet. A shame, really, since I live in Central Indiana and could make the drive in a day. Perhaps next year.
    I vacation in the winter sometimes. When I do, I head south to get away from the cold!

  9. I’m afraid the only traveling I do is in the books I read. Mackinac Island sounds like a wonderful place to visit.

  10. Thanks for the chance to win your book. It looks like a fun book. My favorite time to vacation is while school is in session, so there’s not so many people to contend with. Somewhere warm is my choice.

    Carol Deegan

  11. I definitely prefer vacationing in the sun. But it’s warm where I live, so there’s no need to go anywhere for that. Congrats on your latest release!

  12. It’s so great to see you here, Nancy!!!! I grew up hearing about MacKinac Island but haven’t ever been there. It sounds magical. I usually go to my mom’s house over Christmas to get a break from the cold.

  13. Welcome back, Nancy! I would love to go to MacKinac Island someday. My husband and I spend January through March in Key West. It’s not actually a vacation–we just move our whole operation south–but it sure is great.

  14. Most of my travel is to visit family or friends, when I vacation it’s generally in warm weather.

  15. Congratulations on the new book – it sounds delightful. As soon as I saw Mackinac Island, Somewhere in Time sprang to mind. I’ve never been to the real island, so the move (TV Movie?) is my touchstone. A visit is on my bucket list.

    My husband and I are backwards people. Winter vacations in winter – we love to ski, and summer vacations in summer – we are also scuba divers. The variety known as warm weather wimps!

  16. I went to MacKinac Island when I was 3 (67 years ago!). I sure don’t remember much, but I’m told I nearly drowned when I decided I could walk on water and went to meet my daddy coming in on a rowboat. I would love to go back and not try to be Jesus this time.

    The series sounds delicious and I would love to win your latest!

  17. I love this series and can’t wait to read the new book. MacKinac Island is on my travel bucket list, but I would want to visit before it gets really cold. In my younger days, I vacationed in winter — to Colorado for skiing. Now I really don’t like being in the cold and snow, so if I do take a winter vacation, I stay here in Texas.

  18. My favorite Winter spot to vacation is Frankenmuth Michigan! Thanks for the chance to win the book.

  19. I will have to check out your books. Somewhere in Time is one of my very favorite movies. I’ve always wondered where it was filmed. Beautiful place. Thanks.

  20. Other than trips home for the holidays, I don’t vacation in the winter. (No need to include me in the giveaway.)

  21. We go to Florida before the holidays to get some warm weather and sunshine before winter takes over here.

  22. Good Morning, we don’t vacation in the winter at all. Someday though, I think it would really be alot of fun to go and stay in the mountains in a cabin during the winter. This book sounds like a great read, and I really love the book cover. Have a Great weekend and stay safe.

  23. I don’t go on vacation, though I sure think how nice it would be on those really cold days. I do like a gentle snowfall, not so much trying to get to work in a blizzard. My aunt in Arizona used to call about how cold it was there- it got down into the 70s and they had to get out winter coats and turn on the heat! Once she said it was in the 60s there, here in Iowa we’d had a week straight of -30s, not counting wind chill. She laughed and said maybe 60 wasn’t so bad. She passed last year, won’t be the same without the winter weather debate.

  24. Hi Nancy. How lucky you are to get to spend time on Mackinac Island! My husband and I were fortunate to be able to spend an overnight there years ago. We just had to stay at the Grand Hotel as that is where Somewhere in Time was filmed. The hotel staff wheeled a small tv set into our room so we could watch, again, Somewhere in Time on a DVD. So you can guess at least how long ago this must have been. I loved that movie which was one of the reasons for our visiting the island. We live in Massachusetts so it was a trip for us. I still remember all the fudge shops! What a great idea for a mystery. I can just picture it. As for vacationing, we tend to stay local in the summer, but when we can, we go somewhere warm for a quick trip in the winter. Thank you for bringing that long ago trip back to us.

  25. I always wanted to go where there is lots of snow. I live in East Texas so it would be a nice change. Thanks for the chance.

  26. I have visited Mackinaw several times when we lived in Gaylord, MI. I long to go back. I have read every one of your Candy Coated Mystery books. I enjoy the various fudge recipes but I have yet to make any. I love Allie’s spirit and love of family and tradition. Please keep Allie going!
    In the last book I did read an excerpt from your new mystery series based in Oregon.
    Thank you for entertaining us!

  27. I usually take vacations during the Spring and Fall. This is one of my favorite series. Being from Michigan I have been to Mackinac Island several times and revisit it when I read this series. I can picture the Island and smell the fudge in the air.

  28. We used to vacation in the fall to Cheybogan, Michigan in the fall. We would come up in October to see the leaves. We have a friend who owns a cottage there. We also have taken vacations to West Virginia in the summer. I am now disabled so we do not travel. I have marvelous memories of the time we were able to travel. Thank you for the opportunity.

  29. Love Mackinac Island!! Spent my honeymoon there and have been there several more times.

  30. Congrats on your new book. I love this cover. Never been there but for sure my husband and I have been talking about. it. We vacation in the fall when it is starting to cool off a little
    quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

  31. Congrats on your new book! Fall and Winter are my favorite times of year so I don’t go anywhere during these months. I just love to stay home and enjoy the snow.

  32. My spot has always been Las Vegas. It’s fun no matter what time of day or night and year round. But, now that I am retired, the money is kind of tight so I don’t go as often. So, instead I head to San Diego.

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