Hi all! Today the Wickeds host author Dorothy Howell, who is here to introduce Seams Like Murder, the first book in her new Sewing Studio Mystery series, which was released last Tuesday in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook formats. A large print edition is coming later. Dorothy is currently running a giving away. For instructions on how to enter, see below.
Take it away, Dorothy!
Construct a whole new town???
Here’s a shout out and a big thank-you to Barb, our host!
Lots of things must come together when launching a new series. When I came up with my oh-so great idea of writing Seams Like Murder, the launch book of the Sewing Studio Mystery series, the pieces fell into place pretty easily. Whew!
In the story, Abbey Chandler retreats to the small town where she spent idyllic childhood summers with her aunt. To fill her time there—and after she’s a suspect in a murder and her car is towed to the crime lab—Abbey gets involved with a charity project making pillowcase dresses for girls in Africa. Since I’ve been involved with that project myself for several years—I’ve made and donated over 1,000 dresses so far—it seemed like a natural fit for the story.
But what about the town itself? It was integral to the plot—almost like a character in the story. I thought of places I’d visited and looked online for something suitable, and finally decided I’d have to make one up myself. Thus, the town of Hideaway Grove was born.
I had such fun constructing this imaginary town. It’s small and quaint, a mecca for tourists with its antique stores, art galleries, and specialty shops. All the houses are cute cottages surrounded by picket fences and lots of flowers. I decided the town’s founder had been a birdwatcher so most everything has a bird theme. The streets are Hummingbird Lane, Dove Drive, Hawk Avenue, and the businesses are Birdie’s Gifts and Gadgets, and Flight of Flowers florist.
I spent my early years living near a small town in Virginia where you always ran into someone you knew, stopped and chatted, and waved to the merchants inside the stores. Then I ended up living in Los Angeles where you don’t even make eye contact with people on the street.
In Seams Like Murder, Abbie, too, lived in Los Angeles before retreating to Hideaway Grove. She loved her childhood summers there with her aunt. After her life falls apart in L.A. she’s desperate for the peace and quiet of a small town. Even after she ends up involved in a murder, she tries her best to reconnect with the town. But when the opportunity arises to return to the big city, will she stay, or go?
Readers: What do you think? Do you prefer living in a small town or a big city?
I have a giveaway for Seams in progress on my DorothyHowellNovels.com website. Here’s the link: https://dorothyhowellnovels.com/contest.html
About the book
Abbey Chandler and her fellow sewing circle members live in the quaint, touristy town of Hideaway Cove. Abbey Chandler needs a new start and a place to escape, so Hideaway Grove, where she spent her childhood summers, seems like a perfect choice. Once there, she takes up a rewarding new hobby—but also gets tangled up in a hit-and-run homicide…
Abbey has barely arrived in the quaint, quiet town of Hideaway Grove before things turn from blissful to bloody—as the new librarian is mowed down by a car. The only witness on the scene isn’t much help, aside from handing Abbey the bag of books dropped by the victim. Even worse, the sheriff’s office seizes Abbey’s car because of a suspicious dent in the right front fender.
While she waits for the problem to be sorted out, Abbey is drawn into a charity sewing project—even though she can’t tell a bobbin from a seam ripper. Before she knows it, she’s graduating from pillowcase dresses to aprons, setting up a studio in a back room of her aunt’s bakery, and making plans to participate in the upcoming craft fair.
But through it all, she keeps looking for patterns and possible conflicts in the late librarian’s personal, professional, and romantic life. Then a shocking discovery sends her in a new direction, and as the truth begins to unspool, she’s got a notion about who’s guilty…
Dorothy Howell is the USA Today bestselling author of 48 novels in the mystery and romance genres. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages with millions sold worldwide.
Dorothy writes the Sewing Studio mystery series, as well as the Hollis Brannigan personal shopper series, and the Haley Randolph and Dana Mackenzie series. She writes historical romance novels under her pen name Judith Stacy.
Dorothy lives with her family in Los Angeles.
Visit Dorothy Howell Novels on Facebook.
Visit her web site www.DorothyHowellNovels.com
Congratulations on your book release.
Thank you so much, Dru!
Kudos on your latest book, Dorothy! I prefer the small town over the large (e.g., Chicago, Dallas, and London). We enjoy “loft living in the country” in a converted 1906 building on Main Street, a one-of-a-kind escape from the hustle of big-city life.
I absolutely love older homes! Sounds like a dream!
Love the sound of your birds town!! I prefer small towns to live in and read about. Also, wonderful work with your pillowcase dresses, I’d never heard of it. They are so cute!
I love small towns, too. Thanks so much for the compliment!
For us, it’s strictly small town all the way. I’ve no desire to live in a huge town. Our last home was in a town with a population of around 10,000. When we decided to build our forever home, we picked a place we often loved to vacation in located in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. We are the country seat and we only have a population of around 2,600. Even with that few, we bought a small acreage outside the city limits for more elbow room. 🙂
Congratulations on the recent release of “Seams Like Murder”! It sounds like a marvelous read and is on my TBR list. I can’t wait for the opportunity to dive in reading it. Great cover too!
2clowns at arkansas dot net
Congratulations on your new release! Love the book cover! I prefer small towns all the way! Love small community closeness.
Thanks so much for the chance!
I prefer to live in a small town.
Congratulations on your new series! I prefer living in a small town.
Welcome to the blog! I really enjoyed your Haley Randolph series. While I always imagine I’d like to live in a small town, I’d miss the conveniences of living in a city.
CONGRATULATIONS on your new, cozy series Dorothy! I am so glad that Barb invited you to share about you and your new release. Now I can do research about you and read Seams Like Murder…even better if I won it :-). I now life on a ranch in the mountains of San Diego after living in large cities (including the infamous LA), and much prefer a rural setting where you can admire nature and have a soundtrack of birds singing, plus get to know the locals, who say “Hello” and start up a conversation even if you never saw them before. Never miss an opportunity to really delight in nature. I love cozies, and only read cozies, so your new book will be in my TBR stack for sure. May you be blessed with more and more wonderful ideas to write about and share with us eager readers!!! luis at ole dot travel
Neither. We’ve lived in both. We now live in the outskirts of a medium size city and love it. We have all the conveniences (great hospital, decent shopping, plenty of activities available), but don’t have the traffic, pollution, or a whole lot of crime. Small towns are quaint (tho’ not the one we lived in), but the lack of conveniences and the gossip are not worth the trade out. Big cities can be fun when one is young, but a hassle when one gets old.
I’ve always lived in the same tiny rural town, and half of my life it was way out in the country besides, so I don’t think I could get used to a big city.
I was born and raised in a big city and then lived in smaller cities. I am fascinated by stories of small town living and imagine myself living in a place where everyone knows everyone. I am sure there are drawbacks, like everyone knowing your business, but I am still intrigued by it.
Congrats on the book! I’ve lived in increasingly smaller towns as I age and we just bought a getaway house in an even smaller town. I like visiting cities, but I don’t want to live so close to my neighbor.
I prefer medium sized towns. I like what I need to be within easy driving distance (not always possible in a small town), but I also don’t want to deal with the crowding and traffic of a large town.
Congratulations, and welcome to the blog! I live in a small city and much prefer it to any big city.
I live in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and my Sister lives in a small town in Michigan. I prefer living in a small town. Maybe one day…
Sounds like a wonderful new series! I learned to sew as a teenager from my mother & seamstress grandmother & used to sew a lot. I made most of my maternity clothing & sewed a lot for my young son, these days I’m more likely to be knitting.
I love the quiet & charm of country living as well as the social & cultural opportunities of city living, so split the difference & have a house in a suburban neighborhood – a transit ride to the city & car ride to the country!
Thank you. I enjoy reading about small towns. I live in the city. I am intrigued about small town living. Thank you for sharing. God bless you.
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