Sunday, May 6, 2018

Our Secrets to Series Longevity by Cleo Coyle, Author of 17 Coffeehouse Mysteries + #Giveaway


(Mason's Memo: Hi all, just wanted to let everyone know who the winner is for this wonderful giveaway. The winner was randomly chosen from the comments by Cleo. Join me in giving a huge CONGRATULATIONS to Rupal Desai. Here's the winning comment:

      I messaged you a few years ago on FB to tell you how much your books meant to me. That holds true today. This one was absolutely amazing. Thank you for bringing Clare into my life. I met her when I was 14 and nearly 10 years later, she’s helped me grow every step of the way. And I’m getting married! -Rupal)

I am always thrilled to welcome author Cleo Coyle back to Thoughts in Progress. It means there’s a new Coffeehouse mystery to savor and a chance for you to win an awesome giveaway.

But first, I can’t welcome Cleo (husband and wife team Marc and Alice) to Thoughts without saying an enormous THANKS to Alice for her encouragements when I first thought of entering the world of blogging. In fact, she was the first person to tell me I should be blogging. Thanks for introducing me to a wonderful world of people, Alice.

Now, please join me in giving a huge welcome to Cleo as we learn a bit about how this amazing series continues to grow and entertain us. Welcome, Cleo.

Longevity is a tricky prospect in this “hit-it-and-quit-it” culture. Keeping our Coffeehouse Mystery series going for 15 years and 17 titles at a traditional publisher has been no easy feat. My husband and I could write an entire book about our journey and what we’ve learned—but for the space of this post on Mason’s wonderful blog, we’ll narrow it down to a few Thoughts (in Progress).

In our experience, the first sercret to series longevity is serving the reader new ideas about old friends. While the core personality traits of our characters remain consistent (which is vital), the relationships they have with each other change and evolve over time. With every book, we also try to bring fresh “dishy” details to the storytelling table, giving readers something new to learn or understand about the characters they’ve come to think of as close friends. What made Mike Quinn become a cop? How did Clare and her ex-husband first meet? Why does the elegant octogenairan owner of the Village Blend know what it’s like to be arrested and thrown in jail?

Another secret to a long-running series is keeping things real. We’re writing fiction, of course. When we say “real,” we’re talking about a solid grounding in believability. And, by the way, achieving that feeling of fictional people, places, and events being “real” applies whether you’re writing about a corner café or a galaxy far, far away—as any SF or fantasy writer will tell you!

Our readers often ask us to write faster. It’s a beautiful compliment, but writing with authenticity and authority takes time—and we always take that time. We write and rewrite until we feel that vital grounding of believability is present, until the dialog crackles, characters are well-defined, and a compelling storyline comes alive.

Finally, no matter what sort of fiction we end up spinning, we always begin with research into a world of facts. For our latest Coffeehouse Mystery, Shot in the Dark, Marc and I researched dozens of topics—from designer drugs to French sandwiches; from the Groovy Murders of 1967 to Jimi Hendrix’s favorite foods. The actual birth of the book, however, began with a single factoid, a simple point of information we discovered about New York’s café and restaurant scene.

As managers of these establishments will tell you, mobile phone dating has become a big contributor to their bottom lines. When we learned that, we knew our fictional Village Blend coffeehouse would be no different.

Consequently, we decided to show our readers what would happen when the modern “dating app” craze descended on our landmark coffeehouse. The story we came up with is a fun and fast-paced piece of crime fiction—and, by design, it goes beyond fiction, giving readers real food for thought about the impact of technology on our culture, our relationships, and ourselves.

How we specifically developed the book’s multilayered plot with its twists, turns, and surprises would take a dozen more blog posts to explain, so we’ll stop here and simply say, thank you for reading this post today—and thanks especially to the wonderful Mason Canyon for hosting us.

If you’re new to our Coffeehouse Mysteries, don’t hesitate to pick up Shot in the Dark. All our books can be read as standalone stories; and, if you like one, you’ll have 16 more to enjoy.

As for our series’ longevity, we’re as excited as ever to continue this journey with our characters and our readers. (Another secret to keeping things fresh, real, and alive—find the joy in writing every book.) Now that Shot is published, we’re at work on finding that joy in our 18th Coffeehouse Mystery, coming in 2019.

The Coffeehouse Mysteries Book Trailer


CHECKLIST OF TITLES (Books in Order):

http://www.coffeehousemystery.com/userfiles/file/Coffeehouse-Mysteries-in-Order-Cleo-Coyle.pdf

Click here to download a free title checklist (like above) with mini summaries of all 17 of Cleo Coyle’s bestselling Coffeehouse Mysteries and her 6 Haunted Bookshop Mysteries.


Alice Alfonsi and Marc Cerasini, aka Cleo Coyle
CLEO COYLE is a pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Both are New York Times bestselling authors of the Coffeehouse Mysteries, now celebrating fifteen years in print, multiple starred reviews, and the thrill of being featured as a Jeopardy question. Alice has worked as a journalist in Washington, D.C., and New York City, and has written popular fiction for adults and children. A former magazine editor, Marc has authored espionage thrillers and nonfiction for adults and children. Alice and Marc are also bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for Lucasfilm, NBC, Fox, Disney, Imagine, and MGM. They live and work in New York City, where they write independently and together, including the popular Haunted Bookshop Mysteries. Look for a brand-new entry in their Haunted Bookshop Mysteries this October: The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller
Visit their website at www.coffeehousemystery.com.

CLEO’S NEWSLETTER: Fun contests, bonus recipes, book news, and videos. To sign up, simply write an e-mail that says “sign me up” and send it to CoffeehouseMystery@gmail(dot)com

You can also friend or follow Cleo on Facebook as well as Twitter and Pinterest


CLEO COYLE’S PRIZE PACKAGE GIVEAWAY


* An autographed copy of SHOT IN THE DARK in its beautiful hardcover first edition.
* An autographed set of Cleo Coyle’s collectible recipe cards.
* A sturdy, canvas Coffeehouse Mystery tote bag with a favorite saying of Clare’s octogenarian employer, Madame: “Survive everything. And do it with style.” And…
* A beautiful porcelain Gimme Coffee cup and saucer, make in Italy

Cleo, thanks so much for visiting with us today and sharing this insight into the longevity of this fascinating series. The fact that the characters seem like old friends is just one of the many reason I can’t wait for the next installment as soon as I finish the newest release. I have also learned so much about coffee from Clare and the gang, not to mention the tasty treats that are shared.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today and visiting with Cleo. What do you think about longevity in a series? What keeps you going back to a series book after book?

265 comments:

  1. Huge thanks to the three of you.
    Characters who grow (in congruent ways) keep me coming back. And we all need old friends...

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    1. First, we must sincerely thank Mason for being so gracious...

      Mason - You have been supportive of our work from the very beginning, and we can't thank you enough for that. It's such a pleasure to visit you again at your beautiful blog. Cheers to you, and may we all have many creative and productive years ahead!

      ~ Cleo

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    2. Elephant’s Child – Thank you for the kind comment. Recurring characters are old friends to writers, too—or, at least, they should be!

      In our experience, new characters are about defining as much as discovery. With old ones, the work is more about mining and revelation—and we’re always excited to dig down to another layer on a character to find new stories to tell.

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  2. I appreciate believably, keeps me coming back for more :)
    jslbrown2009 at aol dot com

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    1. Lisa – We agree. And while good drama conveys universal ideas with relatable characters and situations, it doesn’t preclude highly fanciful narratives. A story can be believable and moving no matter how unconventional (or even crazy) the premise may seem. Case in point: Franz Kafka’s Gregor Samsa woke up in bed one day as a giant bug, but Kafka wrote Gregor in such a way that any human reader can relate to him.

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  3. All of these are great ideas for keeping a series going over the 'long haul.' Thanks for sharing the wisdom, and thanks, Mason, for hosting!

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    1. Thank you so much, Margot. As a writer yourself, you know the challenges ahead of anyone who puts pen to paper (or fingers to keyboards). There are good years and bad years but never a year when we don’t learn something new, which makes every year an exciting one--and as good a reason as any for continuing the journey.

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  4. Believability. When that disappears in a series so do I as a reader1

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    1. Well put. Of course, we agree. That’s why the first step for us when starting any new book is seeing our characters as real, conveying believable emotions and human exchanges--while entertaining our readers.

      As we mentioned in our comment to Lisa, believable fiction doesn’t preclude imaginative plot turns or a wildly crazy premise. Tolkien never would have written The Hobbit if that were the case. There would be no Harry or Katniss. Anything is possible in fiction--if the writer creates characters from the inside out and tells the tale in a convincing way.

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  5. It does have to be real and relatable no matter what the setting.
    Congratulations on a long running series.

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    1. Alex – You write SF, we write humorous mystery, but our challenges are identical. Make the reader believe in your world and characters--regardless of gravity. (Hey, no groaning. Puns are our business, too. :))



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  6. Well, for my interest in continuing reading a series, they are correct in what they list. It is what keeps the stories fresh and interesting for me as a reader. And I do value believability.

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  7. A wonderful series means meaningful plots and characters who are unforgettable and captivating.

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  8. An authentic series has to have several important components. Great storylines, convincing portrayal of the characters and I will return for the next book for sure.

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    1. We agree, petite, thanks for the comment!

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  9. Interesting characters and engaging stories keep me coming back to a series. Good writing that pull you in and make you feel like you are a part of the story.

    wfnren at aol dot com

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    1. Key ingredients for sure. Thank you, Wendy!

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  10. Technology has really changed the way we deal with people, that's for sure. That was a good idea to capitalize on it.

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    1. We often explore timely subjects by introducing them into our Coffeehouse world. We wonder how our characters would deal with certain subject matter or changes in the culture. The result (we hope) is an entertaining story with elements that also provide some food for thought after the last page is turned.

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  11. One of my very favorite series. You definitely have a knack for bringing us back familiar characters, introducing new ones, and creating compelling story lines! I love revisiting the Village Blend, along with Clare, Mike, Matt, Madame, and the VB staff. I look forward to finding out where the ongoing stories are headed, and see what new venture VB is involved in. Thanks for the great article and giveaway!

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    1. We're thrilled to know that you're enjoying our work. Thank you, Amanda!

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  12. The characters and intriguing storylines. mcastor07@gmail.com

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  13. What a great interview. It’s amazing how much the two of you do! I will always impatiently wait for your next book, and yet not complain. And yes, i do try some of your recipes. i have built a loving library, and like the man says “if you build it, they will come!” The books keep coming!

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  14. I love that this series keeps going. Each book brings new information on characters and places. The story lines are always fresh. I would love to be a fly on the wall when these two authors are bounding ideas back and forth. They are the best!
    bobntoni@aol.com

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    1. Toni - Thank you so much for the kind words. Your fly-on-the-wall comment is hilarious. We sometimes record idea sessions. Perhaps, in the future, we'll share a few of those recordings with readers to let you in on the process. That might be fun. In the meantime, we hope you'll keep reading and keep in touch!

      Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      www.CleoCoyleRecipes.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter
      Friend or Follow Cleo Coyle on Facebook



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  15. Love the characters .Always glad to here what is going on in their lives in each book .
    The books are fictional but you always talk about different place in NY now and in the past . I enjoy that also .
    Thank you for continuing the series . I enjoyed your post .
    Nancyhallenbeck@gmail.com

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    1. Thank you, Nancy, and we appreciate your note about enjoying the setting. We love New York. It's a constantly changing city that never stops supplying inspiring ideas.

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      www.CleoCoyleRecipes.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter
      Friend or Follow Cleo Coyle on Facebook

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  16. Great post! And I always look forward to the newsletter.
    For me, in a long-running series the characters need to be consistent but change and grow, as you have done with them in the coffeehouse mysteries. There are a couple of others series I loved at the beginning but stopped reading; 18+ years in and the characters are exactly the same as they were in the beginning. Not interesting or realistic.
    I also need to like the characters, even if I don't always like what they do. That's what keeps me coming back to a series - even if I don't particularly care for one book, I'm invested in the overall storyline and the characters to want to know what happens next.
    sallycootie@gmail.com

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    1. Certainly, not every author will agree with our approach. For our purposes, however, we believe allowing characters to evolve over time adds more depth to the characters and their stories. We're glad to know you're enjoying our work. Thank you!

      ~ Cleo
      Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      www.CleoCoyleRecipes.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter
      Friend or Follow Cleo Coyle on Facebook

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  17. Characters change and grow as the series progresses with story lines that are always engaging.

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  18. I love this series! The characters, the coffeehouse, the storyline, it all makes me grab the next one in the series!
    Thank you for th giveaway!

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  19. It's not been quite 2 years since I discovered cozies so I've not really even had the time to dig into some series like I've wanted to but I'm always impressed when I see that a series has been around as long as the Coffeehouse Mysteries. What keeps me coming back to a series is the characters--I just have to see what they get into next! The writing, the setting, the mystery itself, all those things add to making me want more of a series. Thank you for the giveaway! barbie17(at)gmail(dot)com

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  20. I like longevity in a series because I've gotten to know the people in the books and want to know what's going in their exciting lives.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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  21. Characters that we know and love (with a few we know and dislike) contribute to longevity. Delectable recipes such as those included in each Coffeehouse mystery are an added longevity bonus!!

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    1. Thank you, Cheryl. Since the Coffeehouse Mysteries are also culinary mysteries, we'll always do our best to give you some good food along with good food for thought!

      ~ Cleo
      Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      www.CleoCoyleRecipes.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter
      Friend or Follow Cleo Coyle on Facebook

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  22. What a great post... I love the magic they have worked up in this series! To me, the longevity that they have created is fantabulous. They create an environment that is familiar and comforting and make you want to continue to be in that environment. It's almost like walking into Cheers and hearing everybody scream "Norm"! I can't wait for more books and the growth that I see in the characters :) The recipes are a totally awesome bonus & so much fun ;)
    Cheers,
    Kelly Braun

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    1. Thank you, Kelly, we couldn't be more delighted to know you're enjoying our characters and world so much. Cheers for the "Cheers" comparison, too, that's a great compliment.

      ~ Cleo
      Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      www.CleoCoyleRecipes.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter
      Friend or Follow Cleo Coyle on Facebook

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  23. I like longevity in a series because the characters seem like old friends. I haven’t read this series yet, but I plan on starting.

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    1. Thank you, Cecilia, our Village Blend characters are ready to welcome you. ;)

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  24. As long as the stories stay interesting I don't mind long series. Sometimes you just don't want to say goodbye to the characters! mbradeen@yahoo.com

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  25. I love these books . What keeps me coming back is the each book is as good or better than the last. If you can keep the characters alive and interesting I would read book 100.

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    1. "Book 100" - now there's an inspiring goal. Thank you, Mrs. Nina!

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  26. What keeps me coming back is a feeling of shared history with the characters. They are like old friends. I do read one-off mysteries but prefer series because each new book reminds me of what happened in the previous books. I also love seeing relationships evolve, especially Clare and Mike's in this series, as well as Matteo's ongoing relationship issues. rachelkb at gmail dot com

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    1. Thank you so much for your thoughts, Rachel. We've truly enjoyed evolving those relationships in the series, and we're looking forward to seeing how they'll withstand future challenges. It makes the process more interesting for us to know that nothing is a given and anything can happen.

      ~ Cleo
      Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      www.CleoCoyleRecipes.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter
      Friend or Follow Cleo Coyle on Facebook

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  27. Quality writing and believable situations will have me coming back time and time again. :) A good cup of coffee helps. Grins!

    Congratulations on all of the accolades! They are well deserved.

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  28. I return to a series when there are likeable characters in various situations. The murder is part of their lives not the focus of the book. I also appreciate the author being consistent with past details. Cheers (at) MarjimManor (dot) com.

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  29. I not only like the characters and the mysteries but I enjoy learning new facts about coffee. Dbahn@iw.net

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    1. Thank you, Dianne. With coffee playing such an important part in our main character's life, it makes sense you'll learn a thing or two as you read her stories.

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  30. I love coffee and I like reading about it even better. This is a great series.
    patti(dot)s@comcast(dot)net

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  31. "What do you think about longevity in a series? What keeps you going back to a series book after book?" I enjoy great writing and characters, and humor!

    jsmith[delete brackets]3may[delete brackets]2011

    [at symbol]

    yahoo[dot]com

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  32. Congratulations on book #17! When I started the Coffeehouse Mystery Series I think there was 10 books out. I read one after another until I was all caught up. It truly is my favorite mystery series!

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    1. What a beautiful comment, thank you!

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  33. Great character interaction, a touch of romance and a good mystery. Kuzlin at aol.com

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  34. I love the way your characters seem so real and deal with real life situations- they come alive. This is a favorite series of mine. jcook22@yahoo.com

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    1. Thank you so much for the kind comment. We'll do our best to see that you continue to enjoy the series for years to come.

      ~ Cleo
      Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      www.CleoCoyleRecipes.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter
      Friend or Follow Cleo Coyle on Facebook

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  35. Continuity. If I read something that I remember differently from a previous book it drives me crazy!

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  36. I love the Coffeehouse series! I am never disappointed...always well-written and enjoyable! I'm also stoked about the new book in the Haunted Bookshop series! mommawyant [at] redplanethobbies [dot] com

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    1. We're excited about the new Haunted Bookshop Mystery, too. Thank you for the kind comment, Juli, we're so pleased to know that you're enjoying our work.

      ~ Cleo
      Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      www.CleoCoyleRecipes.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter
      Friend or Follow Cleo Coyle on Facebook


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  37. You guys have done an excellant job of keeping the series believable and current. Keep up the good work! I hope for many more books!��

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    1. Thank you, Morghan, we appreciate that. We're now writing book #18. If fate is kind, and the readers wish to keep reading, we're happy to keep writing. :)

      ~ Cleo
      Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      www.CleoCoyleRecipes.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter
      Friend or Follow Cleo Coyle on Facebook

      Delete
  38. The Coffeehouse series are AMAZING!!! I always get so excited when a new book is about to come out and I also love all the delicious recipes that are included.
    I hope you continue to write many many more books!

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    1. Thank you, Tina, what a lovely comment. We appreciate it!

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  39. I like to see some of the same characters who develop further in their lives and realistically age and change, even if it means they die or are killed off.

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  40. The reason that I keep returning to these books are the characters and their development and relationships with each other. The characters feel like friends to me! The mysteries are always interesting and seem 'believable'.

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    1. Thank you, Alicia, we appreciate your thoughts on the series and especially appreciate your enthusiasm about the characters. We're so pleased to know they feel like friends. That is a wonderful compliment, and we don't take that relationship lightly. We'll do our best to keep that friendship going for as long as we're able.

      ~ Cleo
      Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      www.CleoCoyleRecipes.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter
      Friend or Follow Cleo Coyle on Facebook

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  41. Thank you for a wonderful series. Whether a coffee house or a little corner cafe these are the best and today places to find people. Thanks so much for the giveaway and congrats on your newest book.

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  42. I messaged you a few years ago on FB to tell you how much your books meant to me. That holds true today. This one was absolutely amazing. Thank you for bringing Clare into my life. I met her when I was 14 and nearly 10 years later, she’s helped me grow every step of the way. And I’m getting married! -Rupal

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    1. Rupal - What a beautiful comment, thank you! We could not be more honored to know that our character Clare has meant so much to you. Please know that Marc and I (and Clare and all of her Village Blend crew) wish you the warmest congratulations on your wedding. May your married life be filled with love and joy.

      ~ Cleo

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  43. Thanks for such an entertaining series & giveaway. doward1952(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. You're very welcome, Doward, thank you for the kind comment!

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  44. I enjoy watching the development of the relationships between the characters. Whether is Claire and Mike, Joy and Franco, or Matt and Brianna. Their interactions and dialogue feels real and true to character. Add in the quirky secondary cast, the descriptive food recipes, the tidbits of city history and its simple the perfect combination to keep me coming back book after book.

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    1. Thank you for the kind comment, Judith, that's great feedback. We'll continue to do our best to keep you coming back!

      ~ Cleo

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  45. The relationships are believable. Things only remain unresolved for a reasonable amount of time. I absolutely love this series and recipes and hope it continues on forevrr!!!

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    1. So do we! :) Thank you so much for the nice words.

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  46. I have read all the coffee house mysteries, can't wait to read this one.
    Lou81

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  47. I can't say enough about my top 2 fav loves...coffee and mystery books! Not much could be better than sitting down in a quiet moment with both. Thanks to this and all the coffee series books I'm well prepared. The recipes are great too. All I can say is yum!

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  48. I've followed this series since the beginning
    and my anticipation is always rewarded when
    the next installment comes out. Keep
    up the good work - lots of people are
    looking forward to what you write.
    Happy Mother's Day
    txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Cheers for the lovely encouragement, Mary!

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  49. These stories are something that I can relate to...I feel that I know these characters. The mysteries are fun, the food delectable. Thanks for all the enjoyment!

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    1. You're very welcome, Sharon, and thank you for the kind comment!

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  50. What keeps me coming back to a good series are the characters, the home setting and a great mystery. In this series, coffee caught my attention and after the first one I was hooked! Dianeherr(at)cox(dot)net

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    1. Thank you, Diane, we'll do our best to keep the coffee hot and the stories fresh. :)

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  51. Each book is fresh and a delight to read. The characters feel like family, and you never get tired of family (usually!). I have re-read the books in the Coffeehouse Mysteries just because I need a dose of Clare Cosi and the Coffeehouse gang ~

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    1. Celia - A beautiful comment, thank you, and we're so pleased to know that you enjoy our books enough to re-read them . That makes our day.

      ~ Cleo

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  52. I keep coming back for the "world of my own" as lots of little details tie to real details/experiences in my life (fortunately none of them having to do with murder!) Every time I read and reread a Coffeehouse Mystery, I get to visit my alter-life and connect with old friends. In a way, I've grown with Clair over the course. Now I have to know: what about French Sandwiches? Thank you Alice and Mark for your long-loved works of fabulous fiction! And thanks Mason for this great post!
    Jstone29@rocketmail.com

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    1. That's a wonderful way of looking at a favorite long-running series--as your alter-life. Perfect. As for the French sandwiches, you'll see the result of that research when you read SHOT IN THE DARK. :) Thank you for the comment. We appreciate it, and we hope you'll continue to enjoy our books for years to come.

      ~ Cleo

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  53. I love this series. Ive enjoyed how the characters have grown over time. Still need to try a recipe by hand.

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    1. Thank you, Brad. Lots of recipes to choose from, so we hope you'll not only read with joy but eat with joy, too. See the link below for even more possibilities...

      www.CleoCoyleRecipes.com



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  54. I can hardly wait to read your latest! As soon as I finish the one I'm reading I begin waiting (impatiently - ha ha) for your next book to come out.

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    1. Thank you, Pam, we appreciate your reader patience--and we'll always strive to make the wait worth it. :)

      ~ Cleo

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  55. love reading series so I hope this one hangs around your creative mind for a long time. what keeps me coming back are character development, plots that weave in and out of the books, a cliff-hanger or two. thanks

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  56. I absolutely love this series! I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a great mystery. It takes true talent to write a series this long, and to keep going. I can’t wait for the next installment!!!

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    1. Cheers for your kind words, that is a great compliment.

      ~ Cleo

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  57. I have read evert single book in the coffee house mystery series, including this new one! Can’t wait for more! I’ve enjoyed following the well developed characters and feel as though they are friends.

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    1. It's wonderful to read those words--that you feel our characters are your friends. We'll do our best to see you always feel that way. Thank you!

      ~ Cleo

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  58. Keep writing! I love your characters and the plot twists you keep giving us.

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  59. I love series books. I get so caught up in the characters and I wait patiently for the next book to come out. I really enjoy your books. (jozywails@gmail.com)

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  60. I like a long series since I get to really know and understand the characters. It is like visiting an old friend.
    jwisley(at)aol(dot)com

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  61. I'm not sure if it's the stories or the recipes that keep me coming back, because they're both hands down the best!

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  62. I love the characters and the fun they provide. And I love that the new book came out in May--my birthday month. What a treat! The recipes are fantastic. What a great way to get a cookbook--with a fun story that keeps me coming back for more.

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  63. I like longevity in a series. I just like to read...period.

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  64. I go to the next book in a series if the characters are believable. Not just their personalities, but the interaction within the story. Once I've read two or three, they become my friends and I want to see what's happening with them. Sometimes, its hard to wait for the next installment!

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  65. Love a series that the characters grow over time. The coffee house series is exactly that, the characters feel like old friends and I look forward to reading each new adventure.

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  66. I'm in the midst of reading #AShotInTheDark & loving it! Reading in bed last night got lost in time in this book- what a great way to relax and unwind! Then I saw it was almost 2 AM! Thanks for all the wonderful & Creative stories you produce and share!#CoffeeHouseMysteries LOVE!

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  67. It's the closeness with the characters that make me come back for more. It makes me feel like I am right there with them.

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  68. I always feel I know the gang at VB, and would be hanging out there-a LOT! Always enjoy these books, and buy them in hard cover, so to win this would be AMAZEBALLS! Long time reader and fan of this series.

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  69. I love series like The Coffeehouse mysteries because the characters become so lifelike and so relatable. It must be difficult as an author to introduce new aspects of a character that build on what has already been established. It shows what care they take with their storyline that this series has endured so long! Love it!

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  70. I really enjoy this series. The characters draw you in and feel like old friends. I love the recipes as well. When I finish a book, I look forward to the next one coming!

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  71. I've enjoyed this series. Wish I had the Village Blend near me! THANKS!

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  72. I love that you have so many books in this series and that old friends continue in the various books in the series. Many series by other authors have three books in them. Seventeen is amazing!!!

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  73. I love your series, I think the main component that is important to keep me coming back is great characters. Your characters are believable, likeable and people I would want to know. The second component that is important is an interesting, credible story line. Your series have characters and situations that feels more like reality than fiction. Thanks for making a great series that I continue to look forward to.

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  74. When I find a series I like then longevity is a positive. I am always sad when one of my favorite series ends. And I keep coming back because these, and other, characters feel like family and I'm nosy and want to know everything going on in their lives!

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  75. I have read all the Coffeehouse books and I stumbled upon the series over 10 years ago. It brings me joy when a new book is out and sadness when I finish it.

    The books bring me joy as I totally enjoy mysteries (NCIS, CSI, Elementary) but I enjoy reading and trying to figure out who done it before the ending. Every book I am surprised by the end BUT all the clues were there.

    The other part that draws me to the series and these amazing writers, is ever since my 8 children were little I live on coffee and completely enjoy going to coffeehouses. When they were all small my escape was a walk to our local Starbuck's for a cup of coffee and a few minutes to hear myself think. With this tradition there are now 7 coffee drinkers. Our youngest just graduated yesterday from college and he turned 22 today; he is not a coffee drinker ... yet ... - Mother's Day :)

    Lastly, I live in Upstate NY and love visiting NYC ... these writers and this series is my favorite of all the series I have read.

    Have a great day and thank you for being a part of my escape over the last decade.

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  76. The longer the better. May the series never end. It is hard to lose those characters who have become like friends.

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  77. I have enjoyed this series and keep getting each and every book. They are fresh and fun each time, thank you for continuing to love writing them for all!

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  78. I’ve loved every book in the series and look forward to seeing what new adventures and interesting places will be in the next one. Love all the great coffee knowledge,too! I appreciate my morning espresso all the more l.

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  80. I love this series so much, and can't wait to read the next one. As far as the longevity of the series, I feel like with every new book, I'm getting together in the coffee house with some old friends with whom I enjoy catching up. As a former New Yorker, the authenticity and familiarity of the setting makes it feel as if I am taking a trip into 'the city'. Keep these books coming, please!

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  81. Cleo is my one and only favorite mystery writer. So excited to see you guys have a new book out. Can't wait to read it!!!

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    2. The above message is mine. I'm so lost, lol

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  82. I go back to a series if I really like the characters and their story. Watching them grow and change is fun to watch, even if I do not agree with their choice.

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  83. I recently started this series and LOVE it! As for longevity in a series, it's desireable as long as the stories are compelling and there are likable characters.

    Thanks for the great giveaway!

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  84. I look forward to every book in series. I love the adventures that you have.

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  85. Oh, my...I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of Shot in the Dark. Best of all though is hearing that this series CONTINUES!!! Love it.

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  86. There are some series that you hope never end. The Coffeehouse Mysteries is one of them. The books never get boring. The characters are so well-written, they are like old friends. There isn't another cozy series like this. I have enjoyed seeing backstory on Clare and Matteo's relationship and how they have both grown and Clare's new relationship with her cop. Madame and the Village Blend are like many old New York establishments that keep surviving changing times, horrific events, downturned economies, and unfortunate circumstances. They come out stronger and continue on. I haven't had a chance to try all of the recipes, but whenever I try a new coffee, I wonder if I'll read about something similar in an upcoming book. You guys do seem like real aficionados of coffee blends. lol

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  87. This series actually introduced me to the world of coffee. I became so intrigued that I bought a coffeemaker with the grinder built in so I could have freshly ground coffee whenever the mood strikes. I guess the espresso machine will be next. Thanks for creating such fun characters and keeping them interesting.

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  88. Love the series. thanks for keeping it real. I love learning about coffee and the characters!

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  89. I'm not a coffee drinker, but I really enjoy your books and have learned a lot about coffee. Your characters are wonderful and well written. I'm already looking forward to next year's book. Keep up the good work.

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  90. I've loved all 16 of the books in the series and am starting #17 tonite. Your characters are so well developed and realistic. I'm not a coffee drinker but love my tea and brew 2-3 cups a day. My youngest child LOVES her coffee and has an complicated pot to grind and brew her coffee. I've encouraged her to read your books as she now lives and works in NYC.

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  91. I love the characters and look forward to seeing how they've progressed. I love coffee and I live in NYC right near the Joe's on 23rd Street and 9th Avenue. I love the West Village. The books are very accurate in their depictions of NYC.

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  92. I love this series! I feel like I know the characters so well. I can’t wait for each book to see what my “friends” are up to now! Thank you for the great books! Nancy

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  93. I adore this series! I found it while working in a used bookstore and have followed Clare’s adventures ever since. Plus, I get such additional joy from the recipes and all the knowledge built into these books. Thank you both for writing and sharing your gifts with us!

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  94. Love the characters and the recipes. As to writing faster, take your time. The suspense will keep as asking for more.

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  95. Thank you for all you do for your fans. I'm taking my 1st trip to NYC in November. I hope it will be as exciting and fun as your books.

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  96. When I can relate to a character.Another reason is a sense of place.I like a place to be a character in the book.The place can be somewhere completely different from here,all the better actually.

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  97. The story needs to be true to life. No jumping the shark so to speak. Unless it’s fantasy! I immerse myself into the story. If I start to go, “Huh?” I’m out.

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  98. Great article. I love series with well developed characters who grow and learn as the series progresses. I also need believability.
    Congrats on your new book.
    I have been wanting to try your series for some time. I love my coffee. Thanks for the chance.

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  99. I love seeing how the characters evolve and since I listened to most of the series, it feels like I am really there.

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  100. This series keeps me coming back for more. When I don’t have time to read the book version, the audiobooks are just as amazing!

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  101. I love this series and I absolutely agree that Marc and Alice keep the stories and the characters fresh. I always enjoy my visits to the Village Blend with Claire and the gang. Please keep writing, and we'll keep reading!

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  102. I can't get enough of coffeehouse mysteries. Love them!!!!

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  103. So happy the new book is here!! Love the series and the recipes are fantastic.

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  104. Hoping 3rd time is the charm and my comment posts! Congratulations on Shot in the Dark. Love the series. Have read every book

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  105. I love the Coffeehouse Mysteries! For me to keep coming back I need characters I can relate to and get behind throughout the story. I also need characters to grow and evolve as the series progresses. When the characters don’t grow, the series starts to feel flat and repetitive. Can’t wait to read this new mystery!

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  106. I love the information about coffee of course, but I really like the series because each story is unique. This is not just the same "old same old" but with new names. Each story moves the characters along.Thanks

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  107. The characters, what they are experiencing, and being able to almost smell the coffee in the coffeehouse while reading the books keeps me coming back for more. Thank you for the great storytelling.

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  108. I look for a well written plot, interesting characters that change as time goes on, and developing, changing relationships. kotowskehelen(at)gmail(dot)com

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  109. I couldn’t agree more, people are always evolving and I love that you do this so believably and genuinely in your series! Every time I pick up a book you’ve penned I feel like I’m visiting with old friends. Your characters are delightful and the moment a new book comes out I know I’m going to get lost in a perfectly crafted story! Thank you for working so hard & diligently to allow readers like me to escape into another world year after year, I appreciate what you do to bring so much joy to others!

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  110. Over a series, the characters must change and grown. Good character development is what does it for me. What that happens over a series, the next book is eagerly awaited like a visit with an old friend.

    harbingerdc(at)gmail(dot)com

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  111. I wait patiently for your newest book - I love them and think they are great reads

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  112. The characters and interesting storylines keep me coming back.

    Kit3247(at)aol(dot)com

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  113. I simply love this series! So down to earth and yet so well-written; and it's fun to get lost in!

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  114. I love coming back to characters that I've gotten to know through several books. When you open the book and start in on the story, it's like catching up with an old friend that you haven't spoken to in a while. :)

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  115. What a unique idea of a husband and wife team. Me too on the characters keep me going back for more from an author, but also the feel of place.

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  116. My whole family loves coffee. I love these books and the recipes. I also appreciate the fact that these books are not full of graphic scenes (violent or sexual) and foul language. Just an enjoyable storyline with great characters.

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  117. I love reading the series because we have watched each character mature and grow. I enjoy reading about what is next, around the corner, or how things will be dealt with. The characters are believable and real. You just can't wait for the next adventure!!

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  118. I have loved your Cosi series from the first 'sip'! I agree with Valerie - your characters ARE real. And I love them like family.

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  119. I have been with Clare since the beginning...I love the womens relationships. I feel as if I know these characters, and could easily cast a movie.

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  120. The Coffeehouse series has been an all-time favorite since I read book 1. I have enjoyed this series so much that I have bought books for friends and told every reader friend I know to get one book as I knew they'd want to read all the others once they did. And it is quite true that many of the people I introduced to this series are as hooked on it as I am.

    The characters are very authentic and being believable is what makes you get attached to them and the stories as well. I can't ever thank Cleo and Marc enough for the hours of enjoyment with my reading and the association I feel that I have with the, especially their thoughtful and kindness. It has been so wonderful to know that authors care about their readers and their lives.

    I will be a fan for as long as I am here on Earth and I surely plan that they will write for many more years to give me this wonderful entertainment.

    I'd like to take this time to thank them for their research and their creative minds to bring such fabulous stories to me and so many others. I spread the word with everyone as I know that once they read one book it won't be their last and that makes me so delighted for the friend and for the authors to be gaining new readers.
    I just enjoy sharing something that makes me so happy myself.
    Congratulations to you both and just know my sincerity and love for your the coffee thrill I get just reading each book once and many times twice as I never want to miss one little thing!!!

    Sincerely
    Cynthia B.

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  121. Love these books! Just finishing Shot in the Dark and can't wait for the next one. Thanks so much for the wonderful books.

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  122. So excited to hear about the new book! Love the Coffeehouse series!

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  123. LOVE the Coffeehouse series! I preordered the audio and got it as soon as it was out!!! Already listened to it!!! Loved it! Can't wait for the next one and the wedding!!!

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  124. The coffee house mysteries feature very believable characters who are extremely engaging. A very enjoyable series.

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  125. Characters that are fun and relatable. I love this series!

    valleyreader(at)gmail(dot)com

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  126. Love it. Because hate losing some characters to quick.

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  127. Reading a Coffeehouse Mystery is like visiting an old friend. Thanks for keeping up with the writing! I can't wait to enjoy this new one!

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  128. Relatable, evolving characters and relationships. Clever mysteries and delicious recipes. Love the series.

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  129. I just love the Coffeehouse mysteries. For me, I love the great mysteries and the characters. I'm always excited for a new book to find out what new adventures the characters will have. For this series, it's always fun to check out the new recipes and to try them out on my friends and family.
    scarletbegonia5858(at)gmail(dot)com

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  130. I have not read this series yet, but keep hearing about it. I need to give it try. The thing that keeps me coming back to a series is the characters. They have to be someone I would want to be friends with in real life and I want to make sure everything is going to be okay in the end.
    clarksrfun at gmail dot com
    Wendy Clark

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  131. I really enjoy this series! Clare is such a genuine character and I love Matteo, the baristas and the beautiful coffee house!

    javajunky711@yahoo.com

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  132. I love series that are able to remain fresh, as the Coffeehouse Mysteries certainly do! I've gotten behind in this wonderful series and really MUST catch up!

    cozyupwithkathy @ gmail dot com

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  134. Just dropping in to thank everyone for taking the time to comment on our post. Thanks especially to our Coffeehouse Mystery readers for the support you've shown us for going on 15 years. We wouldn't be here without you.

    Mason - Thank you so much for hosting us. It's always a pleasure to visit with you. Cheers for the kindness you've shown us--and for all you do for readers and writers!

    ~ Cleo
    Coffeehouse Mystery.com

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  135. I love reading series books especially cozy mysteries with recipes to drool over. With a series, you know what to expect in general unless a new character shows up with flaws, strengths and conflicts with others to resolve.

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  136. I have not read this series but would love too. They look really good.
    faithdcreech at gmail dot com

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