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Guest blog by author DENISE SWANSON!

Denise Swanson, an extremely prolific author, wrote a guest blog for us awhile back:

 

http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/Mystery/Guest-blog-by-author-DENISE-SWANSON/m-p/885914/highli...

 

Most of you are probably familiar with her SCUMBLE RIVER mysteries. Now Denise has added a new series tied in with DEVEREAUX'S DIME STORE. The first book in this series comes out soon!

 

 

Little Shop of Homicide
A Devereaux's Dime Store Mystery
featuring Devereaux Sinclair

 

March 2012 from Obsidian, a division of Penguin


When Devereaux Sinclair, owner of Devereaux's Dime Store and Gift Baskets, is accused of murder by champagne bottle and high heel shoe, she needs to find the real killer before a cop with a score to settle turns her store in a Little Shop of Horrors and puts her out of business for good.



DÉBUT OF THE MONTH
VERDICT:
 "Veteran author Swanson . . . débuts a spunky new heroine with a Missouri stubborn streak . . . slightly zany, multigenerational take on small-town mores."
— Library Journal, Mystery Reviews, March 1, 2012

 

Denise Swanson

Denise Swanson - New York Times Best-Selling Author
 (Photo by David Stybr)

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Re: Guest blog by author DENISE SWANSON!

[ Edited ]

 

 

Denise Swanson

Denise Swanson, The New York Times best-selling author of the Scumble River Mystery series, began writing after coming face-to-face with evil. She quickly decided she would rather write about villains than encounter them in her daily life. She was also shocked to discover that getting a book published was nearly as difficult as vanquishing scoundrels. Little Shop of Homicide is the début book of her new Devereaux's Dime Store Mystery series featuring Devereaux Sinclair, the happy new owner of the old-fashioned shop in Shadow Bend, a small town near Kansas City, Missouri. But if Devereaux doesn't focus on finding the killer of her ex's fiancée, this five-and-dime owner may find herself serving twenty-five to life...

Denise was nominated for RT Magazine's Career Achievement Award. Her fellow nominees included Sue Grafton and Janet Evanovich. She has spoken at hundreds of library events and other civic organizations. She has also been interviewed on radio and TV.

Her continuing Scumble River Mystery series is set in Scumble River, a fictional small town in Illinois, and features Skye Denison, a full-figured school psychologist-sleuth who is torn between a handsome police chief and an urbane coroner. All of her books are in multiple printings and many have featured in the Barnes & Noble Mass-Market Mystery, IMBA and BookScan Best-Sellers lists. They have also been BookSense 76 Picks and Top Picks for RT Magazine, as well as nominated for the Agatha Award, the Mary Higgins Clark Award, and the Reviewers Choice Award. The most recent three books, Murder of a Wedding Belle, Murder of a Bookstore Babe and Murder of a Creped Suzette, débuted on The New York Times Best-Sellers List!

 

 

Denise Swanson lives in Illinois with her husband, classical composer David Stybr ( http://www.DeniseSwanson.com/Stybr ), and their cool black cat Boomerang. Unlike her protagonist Skye, Denise realizes she can never really move very far from her hometown. But several times a year she and Dave sneak away for a little adventure.

 

David Stybr & Denise Swanson

Check out Denise's website here: http://www.deniseswanson.com/

 

 

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Re: Guest blog by author DENISE SWANSON!

   Book 1 - July 2000:
Murder of a Small-Town Honey
     Book 2 - April 2001:
Murder of a Sweet Old Lady
     Book 3 - April 2002:
Murder of a Sleeping Beauty
     Book 4 - April 2003:
Murder of a Snake in the Grass
     Book 5 - November 2003:
Murder of a Barbie and Ken
     Book 6 - July 2004:
Murder of a Pink Elephant
     Book 7 - July 2005:
Murder of a Smart Cookie
     Book 8 - August 2006:
Murder of a Real Bad Boy
     Book 9 - April 2007:
Murder of a Botoxed Blonde
     Book 10 - April 2008:
Murder of a Chocolate-Covered Cherry
     Book 11 - April 2009:
Murder of a Royal Pain
     Book 12 - April 2010:
Murder of a Wedding Belle
     Book 13 - March 2011:
Murder of a Bookstore Babe
     Book 14 - October 2011:
Murder of a Creped Suzette
Book 15 - coming September 2012: Murder of the Cat's Meow
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Re: Guest blog by author DENISE SWANSON!

Little Shop of Homicide (Devereaux Dime Store Mystery Series #1)  

 

Little Shop of Homicide (Devereaux Dime Store Mystery Series #1)

 

Overview

 

Dev Sinclair is the happy new owner of the old-fashioned shop in her small Missouri town. But if she doesn't focus on finding the killer of her ex's fiancée, this five-and-dime owner may find herself serving twenty-five to life...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest blog by author DENISE SWANSON!

Long Gone, but Not Forgotten

 

by Denise Swanson

 

                Like a lot of writers, I look to my own experiences for inspiration. Often I’m inspired by something that has just recently happened to me, but other times, I draw from my past. For my new series, the Devereaux’s Dime Store mysteries, the setting came from my childhood. I grew up in the small Illinois town of Coal City. Its population was a smidge over three thousand, which meant there wasn’t a lot to do or very many places to do it, but my favorite spot, by far, was Hornsby’s Dime Store.

                The metal spinner rack full of paperbacks was always my first stop. I spent nearly all my allowance and babysitting money on books from those shelves. And I still remember the thrill of buying my first “grown up” novel at age thirteen. It was a Harlequin romance called Palace of the Peacocks by Violet Winspear. I credit my desire to write to that spinner rack.

                And because of that, in Little Shop of Homicide, the first book in my new series, the sleuth, Devereaux Sinclair, who creates gift baskets as a part of her store’s service, always places just the right book as the basket’s centerpiece. Since she designs both regular and spicy baskets, the books range from Norman Rockwell's Spirit of America to the Kama Sutra.

                Another part of Hornsby’s that fascinated me was the craft aisle. The colorful yarns and threads and flosses were so gorgeous that even though I didn’t knit, needlepoint, or crochet, I was a frequent browser. Devereaux goes one better at her store and has a crafting alcove where the local groups such as Blood, Sweat and Shears and the Knittie Gritties hold their meetings.

                While my childhood store didn’t have either a soda fountain or a candy case, I gave my fictional dime store both. The idea of sitting on a stool at a marble counter and eating a hand dipped hot fudge sundae or selecting a homemade chocolate of the month made my mouth water, and I couldn’t resist allowing Devereaux and her customers that pleasure.

                Besides being the only place in town that you could buy a lot of items, Hornsby’s was also a gathering place for socializing. After school, the kids would hang out by the comic and magazine racks. Many first flirtations took place in that aisle. But since Devereaux’s Dime Store takes place in the modern world, she added Wi-Fi to attract the teenagers in her town (Shadow Bend, Missouri).

                In fact, one of the things I enjoyed most about writing Little Shop of Homicide was the juxtaposition of nostalgia and the twenty-first century. Dev is a thoroughly modern woman who loves technology, but also enjoys the simpler times that a true dime store represents. She worked for several years in the hardnosed field of investments before buying and renovating Shadow Bend’s dime store in order to spend more time with her aging grandmother.

                However, like all good things, there’s always a catch. For Dev it’s the fact that her father went to prison for vehicular manslaughter (and was suspected of embezzling from the bank) when she was a teenager, and no one in the town can ever forget her family history. Then there’s another strike against her when it’s discovered that the owner of the investment firm she worked for was running a Ponzi scheme. But the last straw is when her high school boyfriend’s fiancée is murdered. That’s when the past really rears its ugly head.

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Re: Guest blog by author DENISE SWANSON!

 

Denise - I grew up in Illinois but wasn't familiar with Coal City. I looked up the history:

 

http://www.coalcity-il.com/history/

 

 

 

 


The History of Coal City

By Kim Sipple


In 1820, Peter Lansett, a Canadian trader, was just one of the few that populated the soon to be Coal City area. Lansett collected coal from the ground and sold it to local blacksmiths and farmers, who formerly burned ears of corn for heat and energy. The more effective coal provided an economic boost for growth. 

Mines started opening and towns developed around the mines. These towns included 1854 Gardner, 1858 Braceville, 1898 South Wilmington, 1875 Coal City, Clark City, Braidwood, Harrisonville, Sufferville, East Brooklyn, Central City, Godley, Richmond, Sandtown, Ramsey, Carbon Hill, Eileen, Torino, and Diamond. Miners lived within walking distance of the mines. In 1875 coal mine No. 3 was the first mine to sink, 1879 No. 4 sunk. 

Coal City was incorporated in August 17, 1881 with a population of 900. The first Coal City Village Officials included President James Short; Village Clerk Henry Reese; Marshal Samuel Humter; Treasurer W.S. Kay; and Trustees John Brown, Montgomery Sharp, William Lindell, William Campbell, and William Homan. 

Other small businesses started to develop during this time, including Coal City's first two buildings, the Coalfield Hotel, and Charles Fisher's Store. Coal mines owned company stores that supplied for the miners, these stores included shoes, groceries, dry goods, and meats. These purchases were then subtracted from the miners' paychecks. 

The population fluctuated as old mines closed and new mines opened. As miners moved ghost towns developed. 

In 1883, the Diamond Mine disaster occurred. 74 men and boys were killed. The miners that were digging at the bottom of one of the shafts hit a water table and water started rushing into the shaft. Within minutes the mine had flooded, trapping these men underground. 

Strip mine, operations began in 1928. Dirt piled outside mine openings, as mining moved more of the landscape was destroyed. Now, these mounds of earth are filled with water and wildlife, forming man made lakes. 

The Opera House was opened during 1920's and 1930's. The building still stands today. The Coliseum was open during the late 1920's and 1940's. The Coliseum held Saturday night dances with the local Barney Faletti Orchestra. Unfortunately The Coliseum burned in 1970. 

In the 1940's the Doodlebug, a Santa Fe line traveled from Peoria then would stop in Chillicothe, Streator, Mazon, and then Coal City between 10:30 and 11:00. From there the Doodlebug would travel to Joliet, then up to Chicago. 

November 6, 1984 Coal City and Eileen residents voted to annex Eileen into Coal City, 

Coal City has grown and developed over the last 180 years. In 2000, it had a population of 3,900. Coal City's community includes the following churches Assumption Catholic Church, Christian Life Assembly of Life, First Baptist Church, New Hope Presbyterian Church, United Methodist Church and Religious Education Center. Coal City also has several organizations including Athletic Boosters, Coal City Area Baseball and Softball, Coal City Boy Scouts Troop #466, Coal City Girl Scouts, Coal City Lions Club, GFWC IL Junioretts Club, GFWC Junior Womens Club, Grundy County Senior Citizens Council, Music Boosters, and 4-H Club. 


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Re: Guest blog by author DENISE SWANSON!

I grew up in Elk Grove Village, which is pretty big now but wasn't when I lived there. Back then, I also bought books and penny candy at a dime store - the Ben Franklin. I blogged about it here:

 

http://familytreethyme.blogspot.com/2010/07/ben-and-me-traveling-back-through-time.html

 

Did any of the rest of you grow up with stores like the one in Denise's new series?

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Re: Guest blog by author DENISE SWANSON!

[ Edited ]

becke_davis wrote:

I grew up in Elk Grove Village, which is pretty big now but wasn't when I lived there. Back then, I also bought books and penny candy at a dime store - the Ben Franklin. I blogged about it here:

 

http://familytreethyme.blogspot.com/2010/07/ben-and-me-traveling-back-through-time.html

 

Did any of the rest of you grow up with stores like the one in Denise's new series?


Welcome Denise:

 

I've read MURDER OF A SMALL-TOWN HONEY awhile ago and really enjoyed it. I do have a copy of MURDER OF A BOOKSTORE BABE in my TBR pile and I hope to get to it soon. Your new series looks very interesting and I will have to check it out.

 

In answer to Becke's question: When I was young I lived in Northeast Philadelphia. We had Zeft's Pharmacy which had fountain sodas and ice cream. My dad would send me there to buy his newspaper and my friend and I would get ice cream sodas while picking up my dad's newspaper. My favorite was vanilla soda with mint chocolate chip ice cream. They also had penny candy and sold the same things a 5 and 10 would sell.

 

In 1985, my husband and I moved to Perkasie, Bucks County. In my home town of Perkasie, we had Lesher's 5 and 10. It was an old-tyme 5 and 10 with wooden floors, but this is what happened in 1988 - check this out:

 

http://www.pennridge.org/p/p-fire88.html

 

The kids who started the fire were in my daughter's 6th grade class. The man who owned the 5 and 10 was sued because he sold the kids lighters!

Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt
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Re: Guest blog by author DENISE SWANSON!


eadieburke wrote:

becke_davis wrote:

I grew up in Elk Grove Village, which is pretty big now but wasn't when I lived there. Back then, I also bought books and penny candy at a dime store - the Ben Franklin. I blogged about it here:

 

http://familytreethyme.blogspot.com/2010/07/ben-and-me-traveling-back-through-time.html

 

Did any of the rest of you grow up with stores like the one in Denise's new series?


Welcome Denise:

 

I've read MURDER OF A SMALL-TOWN HONEY awhile ago and really enjoyed it. I do have a copy of MURDER OF A BOOKSTORE BABE in my TBR pile and I hope to get to it soon. Your new series looks very interesting and I will have to check it out.

 

In answer to Becke's question: When I was young I lived in Northeast Philadelphia. We had Zeft's Pharmacy which had fountain sodas and ice cream. My dad would send me there to buy his newspaper and my friend and I would get ice cream sodas while picking up my dad's newspaper. My favorite was vanilla soda with mint chocolate chip ice cream. They also had penny candy and sold the same things a 5 and 10 would sell.

 

In 1985, my husband and I moved to Perkasie, Bucks County. In my home town of Perkasie, we had Lesher's 5 and 10. It was an old-tyme 5 and 10 with wooden floors, but this is what happened in 1988 - check this out:

 

http://www.pennridge.org/p/p-fire88.html

 

The kids who started the fire were in my daughter's 6th grade class. The man who owned the 5 and 10 was sued because he sold the kids lighters!


Good grief, Eadie - how awful!

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maxcat
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Re: Guest blog by author DENISE SWANSON!

I also grew up in NE PA. We had an old fashion drug store across from us and a penny candy store up the street. I sometimes wonder what happened to these stores as I don't go back to PA since my mom died in 2005.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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Re: Guest blog by author DENISE SWANSON!


becke_davis wrote:

eadieburke wrote:

becke_davis wrote:

I grew up in Elk Grove Village, which is pretty big now but wasn't when I lived there. Back then, I also bought books and penny candy at a dime store - the Ben Franklin. I blogged about it here:

 

http://familytreethyme.blogspot.com/2010/07/ben-and-me-traveling-back-through-time.html

 

Did any of the rest of you grow up with stores like the one in Denise's new series?


Welcome Denise:

 

I've read MURDER OF A SMALL-TOWN HONEY awhile ago and really enjoyed it. I do have a copy of MURDER OF A BOOKSTORE BABE in my TBR pile and I hope to get to it soon. Your new series looks very interesting and I will have to check it out.

 

In answer to Becke's question: When I was young I lived in Northeast Philadelphia. We had Zeft's Pharmacy which had fountain sodas and ice cream. My dad would send me there to buy his newspaper and my friend and I would get ice cream sodas while picking up my dad's newspaper. My favorite was vanilla soda with mint chocolate chip ice cream. They also had penny candy and sold the same things a 5 and 10 would sell.

 

In 1985, my husband and I moved to Perkasie, Bucks County. In my home town of Perkasie, we had Lesher's 5 and 10. It was an old-tyme 5 and 10 with wooden floors, but this is what happened in 1988 - check this out:

 

http://www.pennridge.org/p/p-fire88.html

 

The kids who started the fire were in my daughter's 6th grade class. The man who owned the 5 and 10 was sued because he sold the kids lighters!


Good grief, Eadie - how awful!


Thank God nobody died in the Perkasie fire but maybe a good end to Denise's series could be a murdered body found in the fire of the 5 and 10. LOL

Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt
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Re: Guest blog by author DENISE SWANSON!


maxcat wrote:

I also grew up in NE PA. We had an old fashion drug store across from us and a penny candy store up the street. I sometimes wonder what happened to these stores as I don't go back to PA since my mom died in 2005.


Remember when Woolworth's used to be sort of a drugstore?

 

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Re: Guest blog by author DENISE SWANSON!

Thanks for the article on Coal City!

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DeniseSwansonIL
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Re: Guest blog by author DENISE SWANSON!

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed Small-Town Honey. Bookstore Babe is one of my favorites, so hope you like it too.

 

Interesting about the fire. Maybe I can use that for Dev's Dime Store sometime.

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Re: Guest blog by author DENISE SWANSON!

I hope those stores are still there. It was a sad, sad day when my hometown lost the dime store.

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Re: Guest blog by author DENISE SWANSON!


DeniseSwansonIL wrote:

I hope those stores are still there. It was a sad, sad day when my hometown lost the dime store.


It always makes me sad to see local stores close.

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Re: Guest blog by author DENISE SWANSON!

Hey Denise

 

I saw the new book and hope to see you Sunday!  Congrats on the new series.

 

I grew up in Bloomington, IL with the old downtown-SS Kresge, Woolworths, Monkey Wards....

Kresge and Woolworths had the fountain area where you could get a hand dipped milk shake, malt, cherry coke (and chocolate coke) before they were popular.  45's were a dollar (yes-records), and racks of "dime store" books.

 

J

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
- Eleanor Roosevelt

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Re: Guest blog by author DENISE SWANSON!

Hi J,

 

I definitely remember 45s. My first was the Last Train to Clarksville by the Monkeys! See you Sunday!

 

Denise

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Re: Guest blog by author DENISE SWANSON!


DeniseSwansonIL wrote:

Hi J,

 

I definitely remember 45s. My first was the Last Train to Clarksville by the Monkeys! See you Sunday!

 

Denise


So sad about Davy Jones...

 

My first 45 was The Twist by Chubby Checker. My first album (33 1/3 rpm) was by Annette Funnicello!