Tag Archives: Gayle Trent

A day in the life of Amy Flowers by Gayle Leeson

Hi, lovely Dru! And Dru’s lovely readers! Dru asked me to stop by and give you guys a look into my day. Well, don’t get too excited—I live in a small rural Virginia town called Winter Garden, and not a lot happens here. . .well, unless you count the murders.

So, I try to get up in time to linger over a cup of coffee and a light breakfast before I open the Down South Café. Sometimes I can do it, and other times I hit the snooze button a bajillion times and then have to run around getting ready like a lunatic. But don’t think I don’t have my priorities straight, though. I might have to race out of the house wearing two, hopefully, well-aimed swipes of mascara and my wet hair pulled back in a ponytail, but Rory—my terrier—and Princess Eloise—Mom’s cat—are always fed and cared for before I leave the house.

I live in a small house a stone’s throw from where my mom lives with Aunt Bess. Aunt Bess is actually Great Aunt Elizabeth, but she’s always been Aunt Bess to us. Mom’s house belonged to my grandparents, and my grandmother left it to Mom when she passed. Aunt Bess had come to stay with Nana a few years after Pop died, so now she lives there with Mom. It’s great having her and Mom living so close. I enjoy my independence, but it’s nice to know people who love you are right up the hill if you need them.

I open the Down South Café at seven a.m., so I try to be there between six-thirty and a quarter ‘til in order to make sure everything is tidy, to get the coffee started, and to begin breakfast prep. Just about every morning, our first customer is Dilly Boyd. Dilly brings a smile and, usually, a tidbit of gossip, and she always leaves with a biscuit for the raccoon who lives in the woods behind her house.

The other patron we have that you could almost set your watch by is Homer Pickens. Homer comes in each day at 10:30 for a sausage biscuit and a cup of coffee. And, each day, Homer has a new hero with a quote or two that usually applies to whatever is going on in Winter Garden.

The Down South Café closes at three p.m., so after cleaning up, I usually go home and crash on the sofa with Rory for a little while. Sometimes he and I look through our cookbooks to come up with a new dish to try, and other times we either nap or watch TV.

Lately, in the evenings, I’ve enjoyed hanging out with Deputy Ryan Hall when he isn’t working or I don’t have plans with my friends. Ryan and I have been dating for nearly two months now. Who’d have thought I’d be dating a man who once investigated me for the murder of my former boss?

I’ve started selling honey from Stu Landon’s farm on consignment at the café. Drop in and get a jar. You won’t be disappointed!

You can read more about Amy in Honey-Baked Homicide, the third book in the “Down South Café” mystery series.

The owner of a delightful Southern café tastes the sharp sting of suspicion in this delectable comfort food mystery . . .

It’s fall in Winter Garden, Virginia, and business at Amy Flowers’ Down South Café has never been better. So when struggling beekeeper Stuart Landon asks Amy to sell some of his honey, she’s happy to help. The jars of honey are a sweet success, but their partnership is cut short when Amy discovers Landon’s body outside the café early one morning.

As Amy tries to figure out who could possibly have wanted to harm the unassuming beekeeper, she discovers an ever-expanding list of suspects—and they’re all buzzing mad. She’ll have to use all of her skills—and her Southern charm—to find her way out of this sticky situation. . .

Buy Link

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Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Honey-Baked Homicide. U.S. entries only, please. The giveaway ends December 7, 2017. Good luck everyone!

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About the author
Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. I also write as Amanda Lee. As Gayle Trent, I write the Daphne Martin Cake Mystery series and the Myrtle Crumb Mystery series. As Amanda Lee, I write the Embroidery Mystery series. I live in Virginia with my family, which includes my own “Angus” who is not an Irish wolfhound but a Great Pyrenees who provides plenty of inspiration for the character of Mr. O’Ruff. I’m having a blast writing this new series!

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ The Calamity Café by Gayle Leeson

The Calamity Café by Gayle Leeson is the first book in the NEW “Down South Café” mystery series. Publisher: Penguin Random House, June 2016

The Calamity CafeAspiring chef and small-town Virginia native Amy Flowers is ready to open her own café offering old-fashioned Southern food. But her dream may go up in smoke when someone kills the competition.

Tired of waiting tables at Lou’s Joint, Amy Flowers doesn’t just quit—she offers to buy the place from her bully of a boss, so she can finally open the café of her dreams. Amy can’t wait to serve the kind of Southern, down-home treats and dishes that her grandmother always loved to the kooky cast of regulars at the restaurant. She knows her comfort food will be the talk of the sweet, small town of Winter Garden, Virginia.

At first Lou Lou refuses to sell, but when she seems ready to make a deal, she tells Amy to come see her. Showing up at the eatery ready to negotiate, Amy is shocked to find her former employer murdered. As the prime suspect, Amy will have to clear her name by serving up the real killer—and with Lou Lou’s stack of enemies, that’s a tall order.

This fresh new drama was well-written with a comfortable tone and a nice even pacing that quickly became a page turner as I had to know what happens next. The author did a great job in presenting the suspects and all the facts that gave way to clues that took me closer to the identity of the killer with some interesting twists that enhanced the telling of this tale. I like how the author set up the mystery making it enticingly appealing with a charismatic cast of characters, engaging dialogue and that small-town feel that made me fall in love with the residents of Winter Garden, Virginia, from Homer to Aunt Bess to Dilly to name a few. This was a very enjoyable read and a welcome addition to the cozy genre and I look forward to more adventures with Amy and her friends in this delightfully charming debut series.

Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent

Blog Tour With Daphne Martin by Gayle Trent

Killer Wedding CakeYum! Smell that chocolate pound cake baking! It’s a tier of my wedding cake. The cake is going to be five tiers, and I’m alternating layers of chocolate and vanilla pound cake. You see, my niece and nephew, Leslie and Lucas—they’re twins, you know—absolutely love chocolate. Then again, who doesn’t, right? But that’s why my kitchen smells like chocolate today.

Yesterday, the house smelled like vanilla cake combined with chocolate chip cookies. I made the cookies for the Save-A-Buck. Since the grocery store doesn’t have a bakery, I supply cakes, cookies, brownies, and sometimes pies for the store to sell on consignment.

Given the bakery items I sell at the Save-A-Buck as well as my regular cake orders, you can understand how vital my oven is to my livelihood and what a panic I was in when it stopped working the other day. Fortunately, I was able to use my neighbor Myra’s oven—and later my sister’s oven—to get my required baking done. And I was also lucky that the problem was just the heating element—a relatively inexpensive and simple fix.

Having the oven break down would be a stressor for any baker. But I’m not known for doing anything halfway. Why have simply one stressor when you can pile those things up like falling dominoes and steamroll straight toward a total meltdown?

Prior to the oven quitting on me, my sister and two friends staged a wedding cake intervention to force me into finally choosing a design I felt both Ben—my groom-to-be—and I would enjoy. Granted, he’d left all the wedding plans up to me while he planned the honeymoon, but I wanted him to be happy with everything.

The intervention party and I had chosen the “perfect cake,” and I was eager to get started on it after making some brownies for the Save-A-Buck. That’s when I realized my oven wasn’t working. I took the brownies to Myra’s house, came back home, and found my previously-incarcerated ex-husband standing in my kitchen. I realize that stress and anxiety is common for brides, but this is getting ridiculous!

You can read more about Daphne in Killer Wedding Cake, the fifth book in the “Daphne Martin” mystery series, published by Grace Abraham. The first book in the series is Battered to Death.

About Killer Wedding Cake

Daphne Martin’s wedding to Ben Jacobs is only a couple of weeks away. An award-winning cake decorator, Daphne is busy designing their wedding cake. Her twin nephew and niece, Lucas and Leslie, are excited about being in the wedding party. And Daphne’s brother-in-law Jason is planning a bachelor party for Ben. Everything is going beautifully until Daphne’s ex-husband Todd shows up. Just released from prison after serving a sentence based on his shooting a gun at Daphne, Todd comes to Brea Ridge to profess his undying love for her.

Despite Daphne’s attempts to make Todd leave town, he insists on hanging around to reconnect with people he used to know. When he’s found murdered, Daphne finds herself at the center of the investigation. Now she must track down Todd’s killer before she becomes the next victim. Can she still make it to the church on time?

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GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on August 21 for the chance to win a kindle version of Killer Wedding Cake. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected.

About the author
Gayle Trent (and pseudonym Amanda Lee) writes the Daphne Martin Cake Decorating series and the GayleTEmbroidery Mystery series. The cake decorating series features a heroine who is starting her life over in Southwest Virginia after a nasty divorce. The Embroidery Mystery series features a heroine who recently moved to the Oregon coast to open an embroidery specialty shop. You can visit Gayle at www.gayletrent.com, on Facebook, on Twitter or on Pinterest.