Monday, May 6, 2013

Blog Tour: Bowled Over by Victoria Hamilton (Spotlight, Guest Post and Giveaway! )


Vintage kitchenware and cookbook collector Jaymie Leighton has been estranged from her high school best friend Kathy Cooper since they were teenagers, but she never knew what turned Kathy against her. After fireworks at a Fourth of July picnic, Jaymie discovers the body of her former friend in the park. On the ground nearby is Jaymie’s own Depression-era glass bowl, broken in two.

With her fingerprints all over the bowl and a troubled history with the victim, Jaymie suddenly finds herself at the top of the list of suspects. Did the killer intend to frame her for the murder? If so, she is ready to mix it up, because solving crimes is vintage Jaymie Leighton…

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Guest Blog Post

Destination: Queensville Michigan.

I get asked fairly often about the unique setting for my Vintage Kitchen Mystery series, Queensville Michigan. In fact, I had one astute reader guess (pretty much exactly) what towns along the St. Clair River I had based Queensville on. She was right on! This told me how important setting is to other readers, as well as myself.

Haven’t you ever wanted to move to one of the towns in your favorite series? I mean, in spite of the horrible crime wave? They do all suffer from what is known as the Cabot Cove syndrome, named after Jessica Fletcher and her small town of Cabot Cove, where anyone who visited seemed to get bumped off.

I welcomed the opportunity to create the perfect small town, and had a lot of fun creating Queensville Michigan, where the big event every year is the Tea With The Queen – a kind of reenactment with Queen Victoria and her court - on the Canadian Victoria Day holiday weekend. 

So let me tell you my criteria for a great cozy setting.

First, the town needs to be small enough to be intimate but big enough to invite outsiders. I don’t like to be specific, but this means thousands of residents rather than hundreds. I would not visit Maggody, Arkansas (the setting of Joan Hess’s hilarious Maggody series) because that would mean I had a 1/700 chance of being murdered in some weird way by someone possibly named Buchanon! Those odds are too darned high.

Second, I want stuff to be going on! No stagnant, boring town, please. Queensville has the Tea With The Queen event in May, and in July the Glorious Fourth celebrations complete with a sailing race that is part of a larger regatta. There is a fall festival, and Dickens Days leading up to Christmas. Of course, all of these events are methods of bringing new folks into town, people who could be murdered or murderers… LOL.

Third, I want the town to be inhabited by interesting folk. The formidable Mrs. Bellwood, who plays Queen Victoria every year, and Trip Findley, the lively octogenarian who is every lady’s favorite escort, and Valetta Nibley, the full-time pharmacist, part-time snoop, who is Jaymie’s colleague in crime detection all make for an interesting town of quirky characters. I love these people, and they live in my mind as real as if they were… well… real.

Fourth, though, is believability. Quirky is one thing; insanely out-of-whack is another. There may be one or two true whackadoodles in Queensville, but most of the ‘characters’ are just a bubble off center.

So… what do you think makes an interesting setting for a cozy mystery? And what kind of characters make you smile? I’m always interested to hear what readers think!

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About the Author

Victoria Hamilton is the pseudonym for author Donna Lea Simpson. As Victoria she writes the bestselling Vintage Kitchen Mystery series (Book 1 – A Deadly Grind – May 2012) and the upcoming Merry Muffin Mysteries, also from Berkley (Book 1 – Bran New Death – September 3rd, 2013)  Victoria loves cooking and collecting vintage kitchen utensils, as well as reading and writing mysteries. Check out her webpage for all the latest: and find her on Facebook at:   

Victoria Hamilton is a nationally bestselling romance and mystery novelist with over twenty titles published in the last ten years. An early love for the novels of Jane Austen and Agatha Christie was a portent of things to come; Victoria believes that a dash of mystery adds piquancy to a romantic tale, and a hint of romance adds humanity to a mystery story. Besides writing romance and mystery novels and reading the same, Victoria has a long list of passions: cats and tea, cooking and vintage cookware, cross-stitching and watercolor painting among them. Karaoke offers her the chance to warble Dionne Warwick tunes, and nature is a constant source of comfort and inspiration. A long walk is her favorite exercise, and a fruity merlot is her drink of choice when the tea is all gone. Donna lives in Canada.
The best writing advice, Victoria believes, comes from the letters of Jane Austen. The author wrote, in an October 26th, 1813 letter to her sister, Cassandra, “I am not at all in a humor for writing; I must write on till I am.”


Check it out here.


  1. Thanks for posting this.This is awesome!!

  2. Love to hear about the world building for the town...I love books in which the towns become like extra characters!

  3. Thank you for hosting this giveaway!

  4. Thanks, all... hope you enjoy Bowled Over even half as much as I enjoyed writing it!


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