Guest Post with Giveaway ~ Cheddar Off Dead by Julia Buckley


Why I Love A Christmas Setting


Many of my books are set in the fall, since that seems like a good place to start a series, but I do love setting a book at the Christmas holiday because there is so much imagery to be found in the sensory pleasures of the season. There are few readers who don’t have special Christmas memories that few well-chosen words might help to elicit (Snowfall? Sleighbells? Fairy Lights? Fir tree? Pine-scented? Gold paper? You get the idea).

There are two other reasons, though, that the Christmas season is special to me. I was born around Christmas, and so was my oldest son. My birthday occurs five days after Christmas (not quite a New Year’s baby), and my son was due on the same date. Fate had him arriving early, on December 23rd, just seven days before my thirtieth birthday.  In our household, then, December is a big month filled with festivity and planned parties and family gatherings.

Perhaps it’s this focus on all things December that made me think of setting Lilah Drake’s next adventure in the same sort of holiday chaos that we often experience. At the holidays we find ourselves sorting through requests and invitations from work, family, friends, and neighbors.  Our calendars fill up quickly and we try to steal moments to bake cookies, send cards, hang garlands and put up trees. Amidst this merry mayhem, it’s hard to imagine that anything terrible would happen. For this reason, it’s really the perfect backdrop for a mystery: the crime ends up feeling surreal.

Lilah Drake, who now prepares food at the best catering company in town, still makes food for her secret clients, and is busy with Christmas orders. She’s far too busy for any distractions in her life, yet distractions come along anyway. Like the old hard-boiled detectives, Lilah doesn’t go looking for trouble—trouble finds her.

CHEDDAR OFF DEAD is a Christmas-themed mystery with holiday recipes at the end, but it is also a crime novel, and Lilah is getting better at sniffing out clues.  Check her out on September 6th, and get your first taste of Christmas!

Ian at age 1

Guest post provided by the publisher.

post-divider rightcheddarSeries: An Undercover Dish Mystery (Book 2)
Publisher: Berkley (September 6, 2016)
Genre: Cozy Mystery
ISBN-10: 0425275965
ISBN-13: 978-0425275962
Buy: Amazon, Kindle, IndieBound, The Book Depository


Caterer and cook Lilah Drake is up to her elbows in deadly trouble in the latest mystery from the author of The Big Chili…

The Christmas holidays are one of Lilah’s favorite times of the year, filled with friends, family, and, of course, tons of food orders for her covered dish clients. But Lilah’s Yuletide cheer ends when she sees a most Grinch-like crime: the murder of a Santa in a school parking lot.
It turns out the deceased Kris Kringle was a complicated tangle of naughty and nice, with a long list of people who might have wanted him dead. And whoever did the deed wants to make sure that Lilah keeps quiet. Now, Lilah will have to team up with her former fling, Detective Jay Parker, to unwrap the mysteries of a deadly Christmas killer and stay alive long enough to ring in the New Year…

post-divider leftThanks to the publisher, I have one (1) copy of Cheddar Off Dead to give away.

Giveaway open to residents of the US only.
Giveaway ends on September 18th

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winner will have 48 hours from the time of notification to confirm their win or another winner will be chosen.

post-divider right

juliaJulia Buckley is a Chicago-area writer. Her first mystery, THE DARK BACKWARD, was published in 2006; since then she has published the Madeline Mann mysteries and the first in the Teddy Thurber series on Kindle.

Buckley is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and Romance Writers of America, as well as the Chicago Writers Association. She blogs about writing and mysteries at Mysterious Musings, where she has interviewed almost 200 other mystery writers about their work.

She teaches high school English and enjoys reading, playing Words With Friends on Facebook, and spending time with her husband and two sons, as well as their menagerie of animals.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads


Undercover Dish Mysteries




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  1. Jeanie Jackson says:

    The Christmas season and mysteries are the perfect combination to me.  While it is no longer the busy season that it was when I was younger, the memories are magnificent.  When we reached high school my parents decided that we had to start scheduling our family activties first!  Of course that didn't work because there were school and organization activties that we had not control over so the school calendar became the beginning of our holiday schedule otherwise our family might have gotten lost in the rush.  So Thanksgiving weekend, after we decorated the tree, we began the task of comparing and plotting and planning.    No, no baking on the 12th, because we have 18 dozen cookies due for our Bible class visits to the elderly and who wants to bake and wash that many dishes so close together.  Early Christmas with one set of grandparents is on the 22, so all the shopping and the cooking for that vist has to be done by the 21.  Ok, now I have the 17th open, you too!  Great.  One day down and three to go!  What fun.  Hot chocolate, cookies that Mother baked while we were at school, and planning family time.  Yes.  A lovely weekend.  (PS  I got married on Thanksgivng weekend.  It seemed the time to start a new family tradition.

  2. Ferne E. Knauss says:

    I love reading stories with the setting at Christmas time as it is my favorite holiday time of the year. Although I am no longer teaching, I still work full-time and try my very best to save as much vacation time for year-end as possible so that I can enjoy the time at home with family and friends. And each night, I can read as long as I wish without worry of the alarm in the morning. 😉 One of my treasured childhood memories is racing down the steps to the living room on Christmas morning to discover the location of the new book that Santa had left for me. It was only wrapped in curly cue ribbon so that I could delight on seeing the title and beautiful cover. I would leave it wrapped in ribbons and just savor the delight that once again Santa had selected a new title or new author of a book not yet read. To this day, my Mother and I still exchange one gift bag that is now filled to the brim with new books and of course we always pick books not only that we want to give to each other but also books we have not yet read. It's amazing that we do not duplicate each other's selections.

  3. Dona Kutska says:

    Christmas is great theme for a mystery!

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