Monday, January 5, 2015

Cozy Mystery Blog Tour: Author Guest Post, Review & Giveaway: A Seamless Murder (A Magical Dressmaking Series) by Melissa Bourbon

With a needle and thread, Harlow Jane Cassidy is capable of magic. Her neighbors in Bliss, Texas, on the other hand, are capable of murder....

Any garment Harlow stitches together has the power to grant the deepest desire of whomever wears it. So when she’s asked to sew aprons for a local women’s group, Harlow must get to know each member. First up is Delta Lee Mobley, who doesn’t care much for Harlow’s family—or anyone else in Bliss, for that matter. Granting Delta’s greatest wish could only lead to trouble....

But trouble finds Delta all the same. The day after Harlow delivers her apron, Delta’s body is discovered in the cemetery. It seems one of the townsfolk harbored ill will toward one of their own. Harlow’s sleuthing skills are a cut above the rest, and with a few magical tricks up her sleeve, she is determined to cuff this killer once and for all.

I was in elementary school when my mother taught me to sew. The first big project I made completely on my own, a dress, was hard, definitely, but I am nothing if not dogged and focused when I put my mind to something. The pattern had the option of using two coordinating fabrics which I decided to attempt. I made the whole thing from scrap pieces from my mother’s ample collection.  I worked for hours and hours on that dress, even adding buttons up the straight skirt. I was so proud of myself, but what I remember most is how proud my mom was. That was the beginning of a lifelong love of sewing.

Sewing is, in some ways, a lost art.  I’m teaching my daughter.  She went to a fashion camp this summer.  She doesn’t love sewing (it’s hard work, after all), but thanks to Project Runway, there seems to be a renewed interest in fashion, in general, and she has an interest in it. 

But attention spans are different now from when I was a kid, and it’s so easy to go into a store and buy something nice at a fairly reasonable price.  So, why sew?

I asked myself this question as I came up with and wrote Pleating for Mercy, the first Magical Dressmaking mystery. It’s so exciting that A Seamless Murder, book 6 in the series, is now out!  What is it about sewing and fashion that inspires my character, Harlow Jane Cassidy (a descendent of Butch Cassidy)?  What is it about sewing and fashion that inspires anyone who has a love for this craft?

For Harlow, it’s about the creativity, the art, and the heritage of hand sewing in her family.  I have that in my family, as well.  Generation upon generation of women have sewn, quilted, embroidered, and knitted.  It’s a legacy, and that’s something infused in Harlow’s fictional DNA.  

One of the best parts of writing this series is that I get to research fabrics, fashion, style, and accessories. This time around, with A Seamless Murder, I got to buy apron patterns, books on the history of aprons, and, along with my mom’s help, we made a slew of aprons. I’ll be giving a few away at the end of the month via my newsletter and I can’t wait!

I don’t have much time to actually sew, but I get to write about sewing machines, technique, and notions. And I get to peruse bridal magazines, and anything else that strikes my sewing fancy. It may not be the same as sitting down at my Pfaff® and creating a color-blocked dress or a quilted tote, but it works. For now.

So tell me, are there any sewers out there?  Any quilters, knitters, or crocheters?  What is your take on sewing for today’s generation of girls (and boys) as compared to what it was in the past?  

Melissa Bourbon, who sometimes answers to her Latina-by-marriage name Misa Ramirez, is a middle school teacher by day, and a writer by night. She lives lives in an inspiring century old house in North Texas and loves being surrounded by real-life history.  She fantasizes about spending summers writing in quaint, cozy locales, has a love/hate relationship with yoga and chocolate, is devoted to her family, and can’t believe she’s lucky enough to be living the life of her dreams.

She is the author of the Lola Cruz Mystery series, as well as A Magical Dressmaking Mystery series. She also has written two romantic suspense novels, a light paranormal romance, and is the co-author of The Tricked-out Toolbox, a practical marketing guide for authors.

Another terrific story by Melissa Bourbon! I just love paranormal cozies. They always make for such interesting story lines.  And this one is no exception.  From the start, Harlow is her usual charming (yes, that's intended) self, asked to make aprons for a local women's group. Getting to know these ladies will aid her in making the perfect aprons.  But when one of the ladies turns up dead, Harlow has to do a little digging and will put her sleuthing skills to good use, and help solve the crime.

This book was fun. It had everything I've come to love of this series.  It had a great mystery, a variety of colorful characters and a wonderful heroine.  Harlow has become a favorite of mine amongst the cozy women, and I'm looking forward to visiting with her again soon! :)

Rating: 4.5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All conclusions reached are my own.

Thanks to the awesome ladies at Penguin, I have 1 copy of A Seamless Murder by Melissa Bourbon to give away to one of my lucky readers! Just enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win, and be sure to keep checking back for more awesome giveaways!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Karen B said...

This sounds like a wonderful series! I started sewing doll clothes by hand and graduated to my own clothes in the 50s/60s and then to kids clothes. My favorite wedding gift was a sewing machine.

Jeanetta said...

The book sounds great! Thank you for the giveaway. :)

Donna E said...

Mother leaned to sew when I started school [over 60 yrs ago]. Her mother could sew and could even make her own patterns. But mother didn't learn from her, but from a neighbor. Mother always said she didn't like to sew, but she did a lot of it. And she would buy good material and would take great pains to do things right. I think I could have almost worn my clothes inside out, she did such a meticulous job.
I did learn to sew from her. And over the years, I made some clothes for my children, a dress or two for myself, costumes, and a few other projects. But it always took so long, and has never been a fulfilling activity. And, yes, today it is easier, and not so expensive, just to buy clothes. It's also getting harder and harder to find material, notions, etc.
Several ladies in our church quilt, and I've often thought I might like to try that. I have 2 sewing machines -- including my Mother's Elna -- but neither are working well if at all right now. Maybe, I'll just read about sewing, and sleuthing, instead. :)
[PS -I don't tweet]

Grandma Cootie said...

I learned to crochet and embroider (mostly pillowcases) but the sewing gene seemed to pass me by. My grandmother did intricate crocheting and would create a pattern and then sew the item. I think my mother could sew anything. She made clothes for my sister and me, Halloween costumes . . . and later made matching blouses for my daughters and me and matching shirts for my husband and son. And we still have the crocheted afghans she made.

I don't see a lot of sewing happening with today's generation, but my granddaughter seems to have gotten that gene. She is so creative, she can imagine something from nothing or take something that exists and repurpose it.

Grandma Cootie said...

Oops, forgot to say that it was the aprons that made me think of all this. My mother came for Craft Hour when I was in 5th grade and taught us all to make aprons. Of course at that time it was all girls doing the sewing and the boys were being taught something boys were supposed to do.

Katreader said...

I don't sew, per se...nothing wearable. I do hand sew hammocks and tubes for my pet rats. I bought a sewing machine (it's green and has Hello Kitty on it) but my mom borrowed it years ago and neither of us can find the instructions. My mom never sewed either. As an adult I learned to knit-but I only did straight things...using just a garter stitch. I always wanted to learn to quilt. Some day I hope to make a quilt of my old t-shirts.

Cat B. said...

Thank you for the chance!

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