On this blog, author Leanne (Willetts) Dyck reviews books, shares her short stories, offers online author readings, and comments on her author journey. Leanne writes for adults and children. Her long-term goal (five years) is to be published by a large, established publishing house. Her short goal (one year) is to earn one million page views for this blog. Please help nurture this blog by visiting and sharing.
Guest Post Barbara Jean Coast, author of the Poppy Cove Mystery Series
The Poppy Cove Mystery Series is set in 1950's - 60's Santa Lucia, California, a fictional town loosely based on Santa Barbara. The two main characters, Daphne Huntington-Smythe, a born and bred fun-loving California blonde is the accessories buyer and Margot Williams, a recent arrival with a contemplative nature, custom designs the store's apparel. Both in their mid 20's, run and own their two and a half year old atelier Poppy Cove in the centre of town, where Poppy Lane and Cove Street meet, catering to a host of colourful customers.
Blurb: It’s the 1950’s in Santa Lucia, California,
and the height of the social season.Time for the new Miss Santa Lucia, Nora
Burbank, to display her loveliness at a high society fashion show produced by
the city’s own fashionistas--Margot and Daphne, owners of Poppy Cove, the most
elegant and “in” little dress shop in the county.
Nora steals the show in her designer gown and
custom-made necklace created by local jeweler Isaac Mendelson, and used on the
sly by his apprentice son-in-law, Efrem Goldberg. At the conclusion of the show,
the young queen isallowed to keep her dress and a replica of the necklace for her
own. But Monday morning, Efrem arrives in a panic at Poppy Cove to beg Margot
and Daphne’s assistance in tracking down the real necklace, which he believes
was inadvertently switched for the replica backstage. The girls get involved in
Efrem’s dilemma and try to help him before Isaac’s any the wiser. But before
that can happen, Miss Santa Lucia is found dead in her bed and the necklace is
Who killed Nora Burbank?Is it someone jealous
of her new royal position and all of its perks?Or did she just happen
to be in the way when a thief attempted to steal her diamond-studded necklace?
Did Nora have the real or the fake necklace, and how much did the thief and
murderer know about it? But, of course, before the girls can find the
killer, they’ll have to create several beautiful ensembles, calm numerous irate
clients, and flirt with their ever-so-attentive boyfriends, before solving this
The second of the series has just been released – DEATH OF A BEAUTY QUEEN. Miss Santa Lucia, Nora Burbank, appears in the fall fashion show wearing a show stopping beautiful formal gown from Poppy Cove and a diamond necklace from a local jeweller. Poor Nora meets a surprising demise one night shortly thereafter and the gems are also missing. Motives abound – is the tragic murder over her title, beauty, or the diamonds?
It’s the follow-up to STRANGLED BY SILK, which
begins at the opening ceremony of the new Stearns Academy, an exclusive girls'
boarding school, founded by the town doyenne Constance Stearns-Montgomery, who
is nowhere to be seen, until the silk scarf tangled in the rose bushes leads to
her strangled body. Cozy Cat Press publishes the series. The stories themselves
are character driven, revealing the lives and secrets of the residents, how they
evolve, change and what they've lived through, rounded out with the Poppy Cove
creations and daily workings of the town, with a little murder and mayhem tossed
in the mix.
Our names are Andrea Taylor and Heather Shkuratoff. We’ve been the best of friends since
childhood and currently reside in Kelowna, British Columbia. We spend a great deal of time in the Santa
Barbara area, which inspired our tales.
We've had a lot of people asking us about what it's like to collaborate
and work together, who contributes what, how do you combine two perspectives to
make one cohesive story that flows well and makes sense.
We talk. Out
loud. A lot. Sometimes at the same time. We laugh. A lot. We find that as we
bounce around ideas, a new direction comes into view with a plot twist, and a
new scene develops. Usually when one of
us gets stuck, the other spurs on a new situation and it switches all the
time. On the whole, we share the vision
for the concept of our series of stories.
We both individually have a great love and passion for the place, the
time, the social aspects, the clothes, the community we're creating. Work shared is work halved and we're
discovering sometimes when one of us gets an idea of a group of character
traits, mannerisms, attitudes, appearance and runs with it, it becomes one of
our beloved characters. Another time
someone else will see in their mind's eye an ensemble that begs to be described
or a situation that must be explored with our fine Santa Lucians. A town gets built, weather and climate
described, plot formed. It gets written
out, honed and then incorporated in the story, tossed or set aside for a later
The pen name Barbara Jean Coast became this terrific
reflection of the time and place. Once
it popped out, it had to stay. She's a
social butterfly, a flirty throwback party girl, fun loving and delightful,
without a care in the world. To her,
every problem can be solved with a wink and a smile, all while wearing kitten
heels and sipping a cocktail with a fine young man.
Having this lovely alter ego take charge of the
process helps us keep focused on telling the tales, living life, not worrying
about the small growing steps and stumbles.
Whenever we get too caught up, stressed out or too serious about the
whole darn thing, we stop, look at each other and say, "What would Barbara
Jean do?" Then we have a good
laugh at ourselves, relax, take a deep breath, maybe pour a glass of wine or
two and put our feet up, all the while counting the blessings for the great
lives we already do have.