Thursday, February 6, 2014

Beewitched, Dreams Coming True, Plus A Giveaway

Note: The winner of this giveaway is Carol M. Congratulations Carol and thanks to all that entered.

I’m thrilled to welcome author Hannah Reed here today to talk about her latest release, BEEWITCHED, the fifth installment in her Queen Bee Mystery series.

Thanks to Hannah and the lovely Danielle at Penguin Group, I have a print copy of BEEWITCHED to giveaway to a lucky visitor to Thoughts in Progress. Please see the end of the post for the details.

As part of the tour, Hannah is joining us to talk about ‘Dream Really Can Come True’ and I’ll share my thoughts on this delightful cozy mystery. First, here’s a brief synopsis of BEEWITCHED:

        Beekeeper Story Fischer has stocked the shelves of her market, The Wild Clover, in preparation for the influx of produce-crazy tourists about to invade Moraine, Wisconsin. In fact, with the apple cider and caramel apple stand on Main Street and the corn maze out at Country Delight Farm, the whole town is ready for the swarm.
        But when a self-proclaimed witch moves into town, the neighbors are all abuzz with questions. Is the quirky newcomer a good witch or a bad one? Story thinks Dyanna Crane is perfectly nice, albeit a little eccentric. But after an entire coven shows up for a new moon ritual—and one of the witches ends up dead in the corn maze—Story must comb through both fact and fiction, before anyone else is murdered under the cover of magic...

Now here’s Hannah to talk about ‘Dreams Really Can Come True.’

I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to work for Berkley Prime Crime. The New York publisher excels at publishing theme-based mystery series with wonderful covers, and I wanted to be part of their family. Luckily, I had an agent at the time. We brainstormed.

“A wine series?” I suggested, mainly because I absolutely love wine, and the research would be such fun.

“Berkley already did one,” she told me. “How about a fairy godmother protagonist?”

“Uh…sorry, but I don’t know a thing about fairy godmothers. What else do you have?”

She was one smart agent. “What do you like?” she asked. “You know, what are your passions?”

I thought about that then answered, “Animals, flowers, anything having to do with being outdoors, cooking.” I paused. So did she. We both knew that the bookshelves were brimming with cats and dogs and culinary series, and there probably wasn’t any room for more.

“Birding?” I suggested.

“Already done.”

Well, where the heck was I going to fit in?

“How about a craft? Do you do an unusual craft?” she asked. “All the most popular ones are already contracted, so it would have to be really original.”

I shook my head, feeling pretty defeated. 

But my agent wasn’t a quitter. “I’ve always thought,” she said, infusing the sentence with magic, “that a beekeeping series could work.”
That was it! I’d been reading about the plight of the 9780425261613_medium_Beewitchedhoneybee. I could show the cozy reading world that there was a vast difference between a sweet little honeybee and a nasty old yellow jacket. Plus, the concept had all the ingredients that I love - animals, flowers, honey (as in cooking), and I could write in lots of nature. It was so me!

Excited, I wrote up three chapters and an outline. Story Fischer and her hometown of Moraine, Wisconsin came to life. Along with a grocery store she owns and an interfering mother, a snoopy woman living next door, a hot cop who rides a Harley, and a K-9 police dog (see, I managed to get that dog in there, too). 

Berkley came back with a contract offer to write three books in the Queen Bee series. I had been accepted into the family. 

BEEWITCHED is book five in the series. If you haven’t been introduced to beekeeper Story Fischer yet, you can start wherever you like, because each can stand alone. Welcome to my dream come true.

Hannah, thanks so much for joining us and sharing how the Queen Bee series came about. I know I’ve learned some interesting facts about bees and honey from your series.

Now here’s some interesting facts about Hannah.

Hannah Reed is really the pen name of author Deb Baker.

As Deb (her real name) she has authored The Gertie Johnson Backwoods Adventures and The Dolls To Die For Series. 

In her youth, Deb dreamed of working as a private investigator or as an undercover cop. So when Deb began writing a new series, the Queen Bee mysteries, she did something she always wanted to do -- she went undercover with an alias! Hannah was one of her all-time favorite names. Reed was her great-grandmother’s maiden name. So she put the two together. 

As it turns out, the author Hannah Reed is much younger than Deb Baker. She’s also more daring, more willing to step right into the midst of any sticky situation, and she’s not afraid to tell it like it is. 

As Deb says, “Look out! When Hannah’s around, big trouble is sure to follow.”

For more information on Hannah/Deb, visit her website for the Queen Bee series and for Deb Baker.

Time to share my thoughts on this fun murder mystery and then tell you about the giveaway.

BEEWITCHED by Hannah Reed

A character’s continuing development is one of the interesting aspects of following a series. Protagonist Story Fischer in author Hannah Reed’s Queen Bee Mystery series is one such character.

In BEEWITCHED, the latest installment in the series, Reed continues to evolve Story giving readers new glimpses into her character and psychic not seen before. At the same time, new readers aren’t left in the dark lacking information from prior escapades.

Life is going along fairly smoothly for Story when a new neighbor moves into her ex-husband’s house next door. Story finds Dyanna Crane nice although a bit different since she’s a self-proclaimed witch. Meanwhile Story’s other neighbor, Patty, believes Dyanna already has Story under a spell.

The whole town is abuzz waiting on the produce-crazy tourists to come. Story is all prepared at her grocery store, The Wild Clover, and with her honey stock from her swarm of bees. What the town isn’t ready for is Dyanna’s entire coven showing up for a new moon ritual. 

When one of the witches is found dead in the corn maze out at Country Delight Farm, it’s up to Story to find the killer and calm the situation. Story has to discover what the real motive behind the killing was – magic or revenge.

Reed’s characters are well-developed, likable and realistic. The interaction of the friends and family members is typical and portrays real issues readers can relate to. The secondary characters are amusing and add depth to the story.

BEEWITCHED moves at a steady pace holding the reader’s attention from beginning to end. Reed smoothly blends suspense and intrigue with moments of romance while adding just the right amount of humor for a well-balanced story. There are twists and turns with a few surprises along the way.

In addition, the story is filled with vivid and comprehensive information about bees, their activities and honey producing, but doesn’t overwhelm the plot. Reed also expertly portrays the small town atmosphere and the closeness of those living there.

BEEWITCHED is a charming cozy murder mystery that will keep you guessing who the killer really is and have you laughing at the antics of Story and her friends.

Beewitched by Hannah Reed, A Queen Bee Mystery Book #5, Berkley Prime Crime, @2014, ISBN: 978-0425261613, Paperback, 304 Pages 

FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.


This giveaway is for one print copy of BEEWITCHED and is open to residents of the U.S. only.

Entry for this giveaway is going to be a bit different than what I usually do. I’ve been told comment-related giveaways might work better. This time to enter the contest, just answer the question below in the comments. Be sure to include a valid email address with your comment, if one is not available in your profile.

If you wish not to be entered in the contest, just say ‘Not entering’ and then comment all you’d like. I don’t want to discourage someone from commenting just because they don’t want to enter the contest.

The deadline for entering the contest will be 8 p.m. (EST) on Saturday, Feb. 15. The winner will be selected by Random.Org and I will notify the winner by email with the subject line ‘Thoughts in Progress Beewitched Tour.’ The winner will have 72 hours to respond to the email with their mailing information. If there isn’t a response in 72 hours, a new winner will be selected.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Answer the following question for a chance to win a copy of BEEWITCHED: “Have you ever tried your hand at beekeeping or know someone who has?”

(BTW, if you’d like an extra entry in the contest, tweet about the giveaway and/or Hannah’s visit and leave a separate comment with the link to the tweet.) Thanks!


  1. I have never tried or known someone who tried beekeeping but I use honey in my tea and in many recipes.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

  2. I have never tried beekeeping I would be afraid I would get stung. Thank you for the chance to win.

    griperang at embarqmail dot com

  3. I have shared on twitter -

    griperang at embarqmail dot com

  4. Beekeeping! Now that is really original. There's always a fresh idea if you dig deep enough.

  5. Hannah, thanks again for joining us. You make beekeeping very tempting to try. Wishing you much success.

  6. Mason - Thanks for hosting Hannah/Deb.

    Hannah/Deb - Thanks fore sharing the story of how you came to be a part of the Berkley Crime group. It's a nice reminder that things really can work out. I wish you much continued success.

  7. Thanks for having me, Mason, and Margot, persistence is the key. Never give up.

  8. I have never been involved with bee keeping. I think it is interesting though.

    lag110 at mchsi dot com

  9. Sounds like a great series, and a great book! Even though I'd need a supply of epi pens if I were around bees on a daily basis.

  10. My father in law, husband and son have had bee hives. Great honey. They did give up on bees. Very hard work.

  11. I have never done beekeeping but I have read about this and it sounds fascinating. thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  12. Beekeeping is not something which I know much about but this series sounds lovely. thanks. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  13. No, to both but I would love to read this. I enjoy mysteries with humor!
    mittens0831 at aol dot com


    mittens0831 at aol dot com

  15. My cousin keeps bees. I have a bee-phobic child so it really isn't an option.

  16. I have never tried beekeeping. However, I love honey and the recipes at the back of the books.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.