Friday, May 28, 2021

Dear Abby - Summer Break! and Vintage Dachshunds From Calling All Girls Magazine


Dear Friends,

It is time for my Summer break again! I love this time of year -- extra time for walks in the sunshine and leisurely naps.  

I wanted to share a few 1950's - 1960's Calling All Girls magazine covers for you. Every one of them features a dachshund having Summer fun!  This dachshund helps her person with gardening.  She even has a little cart to hold the plants.

This picture is also from 1958 and this is my idea of Summer fun - relaxing on a hammock. Ahh!

The dachshund in this 1959 picture helps paint a picture. (That water looks refreshing to drink!)

This picture is from 1961. I'm so glad my Momma doesn't climb trees and leave me on the ground!

This looks like fun -- a dachshund enjoys some Summer fun under a water hose that is working like a sprinkler. (1963)

From 1965, a dachshund enjoys life by a swimming pool.

Do you have big Summer plans, or just a nice, relaxing Summer ahead?  I hope your Summertime is fun. I look forward to catching up with you in September!


Abby xoxoxo

Book Spotlight and Giveaway - Four Cuts Too Many (A Sarah Blair Mystery) by Debra H. Goldstein

Book Synopsis

Sarah Blair gets an education in slicing and dicing when someone in culinary school serves up a main corpse in Wheaton, Alabama . . .  

Between working as a law firm receptionist, reluctantly pitching in as co-owner of her twin sister’s restaurant, and caretaking for her regal Siamese RahRah and rescue dog Fluffy, Sarah has no time to enjoy life’s finer things. Divorced and sort-of dating, she’s considering going back to school. But as a somewhat competent sleuth, Sarah’s more suited for criminal justice than learning how many ways she can burn a meal. 

Although she wouldn’t mind learning some knife skills from her sous chef, Grace Winston. An adjunct instructor who teaches cutlery expertise in cooking college, Grace is considering accepting an executive chef’s position offered by Jane Clark, Sarah’s business rival—and her late ex-husband’s lover.  But Grace’s future lands in hot water when the school’s director is found dead with one of her knives in his back. To clear her friend’s name, Sarah must sharpen her own skills at uncovering an elusive killer . . .  

Includes quick and easy recipes!

Author Bio

Judge Debra H. Goldstein writes Kensington’s Sarah Blair mystery series (Three Treats Too Many, Two Bites Too Many, One Taste Too Many). She also authored Should Have Played Poker and IPPY Award-winning Maze in Blue. Her short stories have been named Agatha, Anthony, Derringer finalists. Debra serves on the national boards of Mystery Writers of America and is president of SEMWA. She previously was on Sisters in Crime’s national board and president of SinC’s Guppy Chapter.

Find out more about Debra and sign up for her newsletter at Follow her on Twitter (@DebraHGoldstein), Bookbub (, and Facebook (

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Friday, May 21, 2021

Dear Abby - Videos Abby Likes: Dachshund Puppy Learns to Skateboard

Dear Friends,

I hope you have had a good week!  My post today is short and sweet.  I was on Youtube and found a video of a dachshund named Knox learning to skateboard! He is still a puppy and his person gives him a treat every time she says "skate" and he moves the skateboard along.  He is so smart! He scoots the board along and gets lots of treats.

I have my Momma trained the same way about pet steps. There are some little carpeted steps by my bed. I know how to go up and down them but I only choose to do so when there are treats involved.  Momma puts little kibble bites on the steps and says "good girl" as I step up or down and eat them.

When there are no treats involved it is way too much trouble to use those steps!  I wonder if there are any other dogs out there who have found the same?

Here is Knox skateboarding:

Have a great day!  Talk to you again next week.


Abby xoxoxo


Book Review and Giveaway - Beyond a Reasonable Donut (A Deputy Donut Mystery) by Ginger Bolton

My Review

Beyond a Reasonable Donut is a cozy mystery set in Wisconsin. Emily is a young widow who owns a coffeehouse named Deputy Donut. When she and her assistant are working a donut concession at a traveling carnival, they unexpectedly become involved with a number of seedy characters ... and end up working to solve a murder back in town.

I wanted to read this book because I enjoy foodie cozies, and the carnival setting sounded very appealing. I have not read the previous books in this series. It took me a few chapters to learn the characters and their relationships, but after I did I thoroughly enjoyed this book as a standalone.

Emily is a very likable protagonist. She is tenatively romantically interested in a local detective, Brent, but she plays amateur detective herself to solve a complex murder with lots of suspects. She puts herself in jeopardy a couple of times, but I was cheering for her to solve the mystery.

The author did a good job with setting the small town scene. I felt like I had visited Fallingbrook from all the charming descriptions. I especially enjoyed the latter part of the book set at a resort with old fashioned cabins and lodge.

There is a storyline about a mysterious antique locket with an old photo and a coded message. I found that particularly intriguing and it pleased my inner Nancy Drew.

Beyond a Reasonable Donut was lots of fun to read. I hope to catch up with more books in this series in the future. I recommend this cozy mystery for fans of food mysteries (yes, there are recipes in the back of the book!), small town settings, and lots of cozy charm.

Book Synopsis

Selling her corn fritters at a carnival, Deputy Donut CafĂ© owner Emily Westhill faces off against a murderer who doesn’t play fair . . .  

Emily and her assistant, Nina, are looking forward to manning the Deputy Donut tent at the Faker’s Dozen Carnival in Fallingbrook, Wisconsin—a festival held on Friday the thirteenth to celebrate good and bad luck. But Emily has barely dropped the corn fritters in oil when bad luck boils up. First, their bucket of confectioner’s sugar disappears—and then while a mime creates a distraction, a magician robs their cash register.  

After the carnival, their misfortune continues. Emily discovers that someone has broken into artist Nina’s loft and vandalized a large painting in progress with the bucket of stolen sugar, which is now on the head of the mime, who seems to have been suffocated. Emily would bet Nina was the intended victim, but the cops think Nina silenced the mime. Now Emily must catch the killer white-handed—before someone else kicks the bucket . . .

Author Bio

Ginger Bolton writes the Deputy Donut mystery series—coffee, donuts, cops, danger, and one curious cat. The first four books in the series are SURVIVAL OF THE FRITTERS, GOODBYE CRULLER WORLD, JEALOUSY FILLED DONUTS, and the latest, BOSTON SCREAM MURDER. JEALOUSY FILLED DONUTS was chosen as the Woman’s World Best New Cozy Mystery of the week and was named as one of Dollycas’s Best Reads of 2019. BEYOND A REASONABLE DONUT will be on store shelves May 25, 2021. When Ginger isn’t writing or reading, she’s crocheting, knitting, sewing, or generally causing trouble. She’s also fond of donuts and coffee. As Janet Bolin, Ginger wrote the Threadville Mysteries—murder and mayhem in a village of crafty shops.

Author Links

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Book Spotlight and Giveaway - The Body in the Beaver Pond: A Keri Isles Event Planner Mystery by Cathy Perkins

Book Synopsis

Even an event planner doesn’t plan on murder . . .   

Keri Isles desperately needs to sell the Christmas Tree farm her cheating, rotten ex convinced his buddy, the judge, to saddle her with in the divorce settlement. Stuck in the Cascade Mountains, she’s lost her Seattle-based job and local job prospects are as scarce as internet service. When she finds the arrogant professor in charge of the local archeology dig floating face down in her beaver pond, however, unloading the property becomes secondary to staying out of prison.  

A savvy—and scheming—attorney may be able to keep her head above water, but the personal price of his retainer may be too high. It’s up to Keri to use her mad networking skills and deploy a team of archaeology students, a bad boy photographer, and assorted eccentric neighbors to find the killer and clear her name.

Author Bio

Cathy Perkins’s suspense writing lurks behind a financial day-job, where she learned firsthand the camouflage, hide-in-plain-sight skills employed by her villains. A member of Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers, she has coordinated conferences, contests and debut author programs, and is a contributing editor for The Big Thrill. When not writing, she can be found doing battle with the beavers over the pond height or setting off on another travel adventure. Born and raised in South Carolina, she now lives in Washington with her husband, children, several dogs and the resident deer herd.

Author Links

Social Media


Facebook Page      

Twitter            @cperkinswrites

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Friday, May 14, 2021

Dear Abby - Videos That Abby Likes: Ollie the Rescued Otter

Dear Friends,

I hope all is well in your corner of the world.  It has been chilly here all over again, which is mostly okay with me, since I like to snuggle into blankets.

I'm dreaming about summer and warm weather, though ... and I have been thinking about otters. My Momma loves otters and I have discovered I like videos of them too. I found one that I recally enjoyed. It tells the story of Ollie the otter. He was orphaned as a baby and rescued by Seal Rescue Ireland. They bottle fed him and introduced him to the water. Eventually he made another young otter friend, too, named Lulu. Ollie's story is told in this short video - and it makes me very happy.

Meet Ollie the otter here:

I hope you have a wonderful day! I will visit here a couple more weeks before summer break, so please come back next week.


Abby xoxoxo 


Book Spotlight and Excerpt - The Stepsisters by Susan Mallery

Book Synopsis

Once upon a time, when her dad married Sage’s mom, Daisy was thrilled to get a bright and shiny new sister. But Sage was beautiful and popular, everything Daisy was not, and she made sure Daisy knew it.

Sage didn’t have Daisy’s smarts—she had to go back a grade to enroll in the fancy rich-kid school. So she used her popularity as a weapon, putting Daisy down to elevate herself. After the divorce, the stepsisters’ rivalry continued until the final, improbable straw:  Daisy married Sage’s first love, and Sage fled California.

Eighteen years, two kids and one troubled marriage later, Daisy never expects—or wants—to see Sage again. But when the little sister they have in common needs them both, they put aside their differences to care for Cassidy. As long-buried truths are revealed, no one is more surprised than they when friendship blossoms.

Their fragile truce is threatened by one careless act that could have devastating consequences. They could turn their backs on each other again…or they could learn to forgive once and for all and finally become true sisters of the heart.

Purchase Links

MIRA | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


After making arrangements to have her car picked up and taken to the service department at the dealership, Daisy checked on Krissa one more time before heading to the op­posite end of the second floor. The master suite was large, en­compassing several rooms, including a study she used as her home office, along with his-and-her bathrooms and closets.

She grabbed jeans, a T-shirt, fresh underwear and a bra be­fore heading into her bathroom. She pinned up her hair and then stepped into the steamy shower.

Alone for the first time all day, she allowed herself to think about Jordan. At some point she was going to have to let him know that now Krissa was sick. He was, after all, their father.

Bitterness welled up inside of her. Yes, he was their father and he was also the man who had walked out on his wife and kids two days ago, with no warning. She’d finished her shift, gone to her locker and had found a text from him saying that he was going to be moving out for a few days. Just like that. No conversation, no explanation, just him gone.

She’d been stunned, hurt, outraged and scared. Fortunately outrage had won, allowing her to hold it all together. Because while he’d been in a hotel somewhere, she was left with everything else, including letting their kids know their father was gone.

She’d told him it was unfair to scare them with what was happening. He’d agreed and they’d decided to tell Ben and Krissa that he was away at a conference. But that excuse would only last for so long, she thought as she stepped out of the shower and grabbed a towel. At some point she and Jordan were going to have to talk about what was happening in their marriage. Easier said than done considering she didn’t know herself.

Oh, sure they fought from time to time and for the past few weeks, he’d seemed quiet. And lately they’d both been busy and hadn’t had much time for each other, but that was normal. Life got in the way, then they worked on fixing the problem. Only Jordan didn’t seem interested in fixing so much as going for the dramatic gesture.

As she dressed, she tried to figure out what he was thinking. Resentment kept clouding her judgment, making her want to grab him by his shirtfront and shake some sense into him. Given that she wasn’t especially strong and that he was a good eight inches taller, the odds of that happening seemed unlikely.

She slipped on flats, then grabbed her phone. She should let the school know she was keeping—

I’m moving into an extended-stay hotel later today so it’s easier for me to have the kids over while we figure out what’s going on with us.

She stared at the text. Fury overtook outrage. “No you didn’t.”

She hit the call button and waited, knowing there was a better than even chance he wouldn’t pick up. The phone rang and rang. She wasn’t sure if he was avoiding her or with a pa­tient. She was about to hang up when he answered.

“You got my text,” Jordan said by way of greeting.

“Yes, I did. Really? Is this how you wanted to tell me what was happening? By text? You couldn’t face me in person or call? Let me answer the damned question. What’s going on with us is you left. You just walked out with no warning, leav­ing me to pick up the pieces. Has it occurred to you that your inability to communicate might be part of the reason we’re having problems in the first place?”

“Why do you always get like this?”

The unfair statement nearly left her speechless. “You moved into a hotel. You didn’t talk to me, you texted me. When I tried calling, you wouldn’t pick up. I still don’t know why you left. It was supposed to be for a few days. Now you tell me, again by text, that you’re checking into a long-term-stay hotel. Not that we’ve talked about anything. You’re just gone. And you want to know why I get like this?”

“I can’t talk to you when you’re unreasonable.”

Anger built up inside of her, accompanied by a big dose of fear. Because somehow that was always what happened—no matter how things started, he found a way to shut her down. If she shrieked back at him, which she wanted to do, she was proving his point. What was the right response?

Author Bio

No.1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming, humorous novels about the relationships that define our lives – family, friendship, romance. She’s known for putting nuanced characters in emotional situations that surprise readers to laughter. Beloved by millions, her books have been translated into 28 languages. Susan lives in Washington with her husband, two cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur.

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Friday, May 7, 2021

Dear Abby - Videos Abby Likes - Dachshunds, Hedgehog, and Parrot

Dear Friends,

I hope you are having a good week! We have had lots of rain here again - which means extra time on Youtube for me. I found a new favorite video there. It's super short but it has a lot going on!

The video features two dachshunds (one is in more of the video than the other) and their hedgehog friend and parrot friend. The dachshunds and parrot watch the hedgehog take a bath in the sink. Then the hedgehog climbs back and forth underneath the piebald dachshund's tummy. I bet that tickles! (By the way, piebald dachshunds are white dachshunds with spots like a beagle.) Then - this is my favorite part! - the parrot gives a treat to the dachshund! They are such good friends. Of course, the parrot then thinks it is okay to walk on the dachshund's face! I don't like that part of the video.

Here is the link for you to enjoy:

I hope you liked seeing these unlikely friends together too! Since I only meet dogs and cats on my walks, I am always especially interested in videos of dogs with friends who are different animals.

Have a good day! Thanks for your visit.


Abby xoxoxo

Book Spotlight and Giveway - The Cotillion Brigade by Glen Craney

Book Synopsis

Georgia burns.
Sherman’s Yankees are closing in.
Will the women of LaGrange run or fight?

Based on the true story of the celebrated Nancy Hart Rifles, The Cotillion Brigade is a sweeping epic of the Civil War’s ravages on family and love, the resilient bonds of sisterhood amid devastation, and the miracle of reconciliation between bitter enemies.

“Gone With The Wind meets A League Of Their Own.”

1856. Sixteen-year-old Nannie Colquitt Hill makes her debut in the antebellum society of the Chattahoochee River plantations. A thousand miles to the north, a Wisconsin farm boy, Hugh LaGrange, joins an Abolitionist crusade to ban slavery in Bleeding Kansas.

Five years later, secession and total war against the homefronts of Dixie hurl them toward a confrontation unrivaled in American history.

Nannie defies the traditions of Southern gentility by forming a women’s militia and drilling it four long years to prepare for battle. With their men dead, wounded, or retreating with the Confederate armies, only Captain Nannie and her Fighting Nancies stand between their beloved homes and the Yankee torches.

Hardened into a slashing Union cavalry colonel, Hugh duels Rebel generals Joseph Wheeler and Nathan Bedford Forrest across Tennessee and Alabama. As the war churns to a bloody climax, he is ordered to drive a burning stake deep into the heart of the Confederacy.

Yet one Georgia town—which by mocking coincidence bears Hugh’s last name—stands defiant in his path.

Read the remarkable story of the Southern women who formed America’s most famous female militia and the Union officer whose life they changed forever.

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

Author Bio

A graduate of Indiana University School of Law and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, Glen Craney practiced trial law before joining the Washington, D.C. press corps to write about national politics and the Iran-contra trial for Congressional Quarterly magazine. In 1996, the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences awarded him the Nicholl Fellowship prize for best new screenwriting. His debut historical novel, The Fire and the Light, was named Best New Fiction by the National Indie Excellence Awards. He is a three-time Finalist/Honorable Mention winner of Foreword Magazine’s Book-of-the-Year and a Chaucer Award winner for Historical Fiction. His books have taken readers to Occitania during the Albigensian Crusade, the Scotland of Robert Bruce, Portugal during the Age of Discovery, the trenches of France during World War I, the battlefields of the Civil War, and the American Hoovervilles of the Great Depression. He lives in Malibu, California, and has served as president of the Southern California Chapter of the Historical Novel Society.

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We have ten eBooks of The Cotillion Brigade by Glen Craney up for grabs!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on May 14th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The Cotillion Brigade


Book Spotlight and Giveaway - Murder in Belgrave Square: A 1920s cozy mystery (A Tommy & Evelyn Christie Mystery) by Catherine Coles

Book Synopsis

Tommy & Evelyn Christie were hoping for a break from solving murders when they agreed to host Aunt Victoria and her daughters, Madeleine and Elise at their London home in Belgrave Square.  

Recently widowed Victoria has returned from France for the London Season and to mend bridges with her estranged family. 

None of them were prepared for the doubly shocking sight of a newborn baby and a dead body on the back doorstep of their imposing London residence.  

Tommy & Evelyn face a race against time to solve the murder and the mystery of the abandoned baby before cousin Madeleine’s London Season is ruined.

Author Bio

About Catherine: I’ve always wanted to be an author…or a songwriter…or a nurse…or a teacher…I never have been able to make up my mind J My working career is a testament to this. Over the years, I’ve worked as a legal secretary, a night carer, in a bar while I completed my law degree, a family law practitioner, a childminder, a foster carer, a home carer, a receptionist, facilitating car deliveries for online customers, and a PA/HR Manager. Now I am living my dream as a full-time author. Well…in truth…one of my dreams—a girl should never have only one dream! Catherine lives in the northeast of England where she shares her home with her children and two spoiled dogs who have no idea they are not human!

Author Links


Purchase Link – Amazon


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