Monday, March 12, 2018


I'm excited to be a stop on the 
#GreatEscapesBookTour for author
Dorothy St. James
and her new book
Book 2 in the Southern Chocolate Shop Mysteries

Chocoholic Charity Penn must smoke out the killer to stop her newly inherited beachside chocolate shop from going up in flames in Dorothy St. James’ decadent follow-up to Asking for Truffle.

Chocolate shop owner Charity Penn is finally settling into life in the quirky South Carolina seaside town of Camellia Beach cooking up chocolate treats. She’s even helped organize the town’s lively beach music festival which has brought rollicking crowds eager to dance the Carolina shag. That is, until one of the band’s lead singers is found dead beside a beach bonfire.

While also trying to balance the amorous attention of music star Bixby Lewis, in town for the festival, and her quest to perfect a new hot flavored bonbon, Charity dives into the investigation. Though it’s more spice than sugar when she discovers a threatening note, comes across decades of age-old secrets, and Bixby comes into the line of fire when a gas grill explodes on the deck of a beachfront house.

Now Charity must turn up the heat and catch the killer before her chance melts away in Playing With Bonbon Fire, the delightful second Southern Chocolate Shop mystery served up just right for fans of JoAnna Carl and Joanne Fluke.
LKBR:  Thank you for being here today, Dorothy!

Dorothy St. James: Thank YOU. I’m thrilled to be here talking about my latest mystery novel. I cannot wait for everyone to read it.

LKBR: Please tell us a bit about PLAYING WITH BONBON FIRE.

Dorothy St. James: Playing with Bonbon Fire is the second book in the Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery series, and my favorite so far. Chocolate shop owner, Charity Penn is cooking up chocolate treats while trying to keep everyone in the quirky seaside town of Camellia Beach safe. A threatening note, a dead musician, and decades of secrets put the town's first beach music festival and its band members in grave danger.

With help from her meddling half-sister and a new flavor of chocolate sweets to ignite the senses, Penn follows the shifting tide of evidence to uncover a forty-year-old secret.

LKBR: How did you come up with the concept for the Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery series? How about the idea for this installment? 

Dorothy St. James: The idea for this series came to me while I was writing the White House Gardener Mystery series. Don’t get me wrong, I love gardening. But while writing those books, I was envying the authors who got to eat sweets and call it research. Wow! I wanted to do that!

I love chocolate. I was living in an artsy beach island town at the time. This was a town that I’d long wanted to feature in a book. Merging my two loves, my hometown and chocolate seemed like a natural fit. I changed the name of the town to Camellia Beach to protect the innocent. Small tourist towns generally don’t like books where people are routinely being murdered. Go figure.

LKBR: Do you have a favorite character in the Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery series?

Dorothy St. James: My first inclination is to say that I love all my characters equally. Aren’t we supposed to say that? But I can’t say that. There’s a little papillon dog, Stella, in the series that tugs on my heartstrings. She’s feisty and bitey and loud. I love coming up with new ways for Stella to make trouble for my main character, Penn.

Stella is based on my own papillon, Iona. Iona was like Stella in some ways. But I loved that girl like I’d loved no other. I lost Iona to cancer while writing the first book in the series. Crooked Lane Books helped me honor her memory by making sure the papillon on the cover of the books looks like Iona.

LKBR: In your writing, have you ever used experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Dorothy St. James: I write fiction, so heck yeah, nearly every word in my books are based on people I know and experiences I’ve had. In this series that is set in a fictionalized town where I’d lived for twenty years, I’ve mined all sorts of memories to add to the books. It’s been great fun!
I’ve also based a few characters in this series on some people in my life who have created big-time problems for me in the real world. (No, I haven’t killed them in the books. I’m not that blood-thirsty.) This is the first time that I’ve done that. Surprisingly, these characters, while loosely based on real people, take on lives of their own. They’re doing and saying things that surprise me.
 They might even find a way to redeem themselves. Now that would be something!

LKBR: When you’re in the process of writing/creating a book, do you use a computer, typewriter, dictate, or use pen to paper?
Dorothy St. James: I always type the book directly into a computer. I like the ability to write and rewrite and rewrite a sentence without making a huge mess. That said, I always write my synopsis and plan out scenes longhand in a notebook that I keep open and ready whenever I’m writing on the computer.

LKBR: What does your family think about your writing? How important is their support?

Dorothy St. James: I’m lucky. My husband is one of my biggest supporters. He’s also an artist, so he totally gets how the artistic process can involve stomping around the house in frustration for days on end. He’ll often remind me that I’ll work through whatever trouble I’m facing on the page.

My oldest sister and mother came to nearly every event I held for the release of the first book in the series. Seeing them in the audience was a wonderful feeling.

My four-year-old daughter, however, has told me several times, “Stop talking about your books.” She’d rather talk about Wild Kratts or Paw Patrol. But she does enjoy playing “mystery” and looking for clues. So I think, in time, she’ll become a fan.

LKBR: Who/What inspired you to write your first book?  

Dorothy St. James: I think I was born wanting to write books. Perhaps I was a frustrated author in a past life. From my earliest memories I was writing and creating books for others to read. They were awful. But I didn’t care. I enjoyed sharing my stories with others. It was something I wanted to continue to do all of my life.

It took several years after college, however, to gather the courage chase the dream of getting my stories published. I was literally shaking when I told my co-workers that I wanted to write fiction. I think sometimes when the dream is so big and so dear it seems easier to keep it tucked away in the “dream” category than to risk failure.

I’m glad I finally found the courage (with the help of my family) to finally chase after the dream I’d held close to my heart my entire life.

LKBR: What was one of the most surprising thing(s) you learned when trying to get your first book published?

Dorothy St. James: Getting a book published by a major publisher can be hard. It takes work. It takes learning new skills. And it takes a heap of luck. Some people might find immediate success. Others, like me, might have to work and write and write some more for years before finding their place in the publishing world.

After my first book came out, I learned another one of life’s hard lessons. Having a book you wrote sitting on a bookstore shelf doesn’t change your life. You’re still the same person with the same quirks and same insecurities. You still have to fold that pile of laundry.

LKBR: What book are you reading?

Dorothy St. James: Oh my goodness, where do I start? I have several books that I’m reading right now with several more waiting in the wings. Don’t we all? I did just finish Curses, Boiled Again by Shari Randall. It was a fun read! I highly recommend it.

LKBR: Do you have any advice for aspiring cozy writers?

Dorothy St. James: My best advice for someone starting out is to treat your writing journey as an adventure. You don’t know where you’ll end up. Surprising things will happen along the way. And the people you’ll meet in the writing world are some of the best people in the world. It’s the connections with other readers and writers that is the real payoff to writing novels.

LKBR: Where can readers go to learn more about you and your books?

Dorothy St. James: I invite everyone to come visit me and chat. You can find me at:

To be kept up to date about upcoming releases, follow me at:

LKBR: Thank you, so much, Dorothy, for letting us get to know you better!

Dorothy St. James: Thank you, Lisa, for inviting me. I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with you about my love of writing and reading mysteries.


Winners will be chosen after March 24
at the end of the tour

1 lucky reader will win a this amazing
chocolate prize package!

USA only

Enter using the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post.

This giveaway is through Great Escape Book Tours, not Lisa Ks Book Reviews.


A cozy mystery with chocolate in it? There was no way I was going to pass up this book. And, I’m so happy I didn’t!

Along with all the wonderful chocolate talk, and the yummy recipes at the back of this book, PLAYING WITH BONBON FIRE was a well thought out story, with interesting characters.

The main murder mystery in the story is not the only mystery you’ll find between the pages of this tale. Protagonist Charity Penn has an ongoing mystery of her own. She doesn’t know who her birth mother is. Charity’s back story makes for some poignant reading.

A good plot, with just enough twists and turns to keep me guessing, PLAYING WITH BONBON FIRE, was a quick, enjoyable read.

Mystery author Dorothy St. James was born in New York but raised in South Carolina. She makes her home on an artsy island community in South Carolina with her husband, a neurotic dog, and fluffy cat. Though writing has always been a passion for her, she pursued an undergraduate degree in Wildlife Biology and a graduate degree in Public Administration and Urban Planning. She put her educational experience to use, having worked in all branches and all levels of government including local, regional, state, and federal. She even spent time during college working for a non-profit environmental watchdog organization.

Switching from government service and community planning to fiction writing wasn't as big of a change as some might think. Her government work was all about the stories of the people and the places where they live. As an urban planner, Dorothy loved telling the stories of the people she met. And from that, her desire to tell the tales that were so alive in her heart grew until she could not ignore it any longer. In 2001, she took a leap of faith and pursued her dream of writing fiction full-time.

Known for the White House Gardener Mystery series, Dorothy is going back to her roots and setting a mystery series in a Southern beach town much like the one she’s called home for the past 20 years. The Southern Chocolate Shop Mysteries combine her love of fine chocolates, quirky Southern charm, with a dash of danger.

* Dorothy St. James is the alter-ego of the award-winning multi-published author, Dorothy McFalls. She enjoys writing in several different genres. Her works have been nominated for many awards including Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award, Reviewers International Organization Award, National Reader's Choice Award, CataRomance Reviewers' Choice Award, and The Romance Reviews Today Perfect 10! Award. Reviewers have called her work: "amazing", "perfect", "filled with emotion", and "lined with danger."

Author Links Website: 
 Purchase Links


March 11 – Babs Book Bistro – GUEST POST
March 11 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
March 11 – La libreria di Beppe – SPOTLIGHT
March 12 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
March 12 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews - REVIEW, INTERVIEW
March 13 – Laura's Interests – REVIEW
March 13 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW
March 13 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT
March 14 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
March 14 – Writing Pearls – REVIEW
March 14 – Sapphyria's Books - SPOTLIGHT
March 15 – Queen of All She Reads - REVIEW
March 15 – A Cozy Experience – REVIEW
March 16 – StoreyBook Reviews - CHARACTER GUEST POST
March 16 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW
March 17 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW
March 17 – The Self-Rescue Princess – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
March 18 – A Holland Reads - CHARACTER GUEST POST
March 18 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
March 18 – T's Stuff – SPOTLIGHT
March 19 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT
March 19 – Jane Reads - CHARACTER GUEST POST
March 20 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST
March 20 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW
March 20 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
March 21 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews - SPOTLIGHT
March 21 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW
March 22 – Valerie's Musings - REVIEW, INTERVIEW
March 22 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
March 23 – Melina's Book Blog – REVIEW
March 23 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST
March 24 – The Book's the Thing – REVIEW
March 24 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
March 24 – Ms. Cat's Honest World – SPOTLIGHT

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  1. Thank you for your review on "PLAYING WITH BONBON FIRE" by Dorothy St. James and for being part of the book tour.

    Like you, I can't think of a better combination than a cozy and chocolate. Enjoyed the interview. I always love learning more about an author as well as the book.

    I'd love the opportunity to read this book and have it on my TBR list for sure.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  2. Thanks, Lisa. I enjoyed the interview and learning about Dorothy and this series. Happy Monday!

  3. Sounds like a fun book! Thanks for the great review and interview!

  4. Being courted by a music star cannot be at all pleasant for our heroine!

  5. Book looks really good. Thanks for the chance at the giveaway!
    Faithdcreech at gmail dot com