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🌟 Please join me in welcoming author Dahlia Donovan to Stories That Make You Smile. Dahlia is here today celebrating the release of her fabulous new cozy mystery, Poisoned Primrose, the first in her Motts Cold Case Mystery series. She has brought along a nice giveaway, an exciting excerpt, and took the time to sit down with us and tell us a bit about the evolution of her story!🌟
Poisoned Primrose by Dahlia Donovan
“The quintessential cosy and a fun story to throw yourself into.”
Series: Motts Cold Case Mystery (Book #1)
Publisher: Tangled Tree Publishing
Cover Artist: BookSmith Design
Release Date: July 25, 2020
Length: Novel / 50,168 words / 186 pages
Pairing / Genre: M/F, M/M, F/F, Cozy Mystery, asexual, bisexual, gay, lesbian, straight, friendship, anxiety, autistic characters, multicultural, ensemble cast, pets
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Meet Motts and the quirky cast of characters in her world. Poisoned Primrose is a quintessential cosy British mystery and an all-round fun story to throw yourself into.
Autistic, asexual, and almost forty, Pineapple “Motts” Mottley flees London with her cat and turtle to a quaint cottage in Cornwall. She craves the peace of life in a small village. The dead body buried in her garden isn’t quite what she had in mind, though.
Unable to resist her curiosity, she falls directly into a mess of trouble and runs head-first into the attractive detective inspector, Teo Herceg. She tries to balance her business with the investigation, but as the killer focuses on her, staying alive becomes trickier than advanced origami.
Will Motts survive the onslaught of murderously bad luck?
Can she solve the mystery before it all spins out of control and off a cliff?
A cat, a turtle, and a Pineapple walk into a cottage…. That’s it. That’s the punch line of my life choices.
“Well, here we are.” Motts closed the solid wooden front door to her new cottage, leaning back against it and releasing a pent-up sigh. She opened her bluish-grey eyes to stare at all the boxes, plastic bins, and bags. “Bugger. You’ve no one to blame but yourself for this, Pineapple Mottley.”
Pineapple Meg Mottley had been so named because her mother had craved nothing but the tropical fruit during her one and only pregnancy. There’d only been one issue. No one ever called her Pineapple; her uncle had nicknamed her Motts as an infant, and it stuck.
The plaintive cry came from behind one of the boxes. Motts moved quickly to lift up her precious cat. Cactus was a tortoiseshell Sphynx cat; she’d found the poor dear at a shelter and fallen head-over-sneakers in love. He buried his head in her shoulder-length brown hair, purring his little heart out.
She stroked the suede-like downy fuzz covering his wrinkly body. “What are we going to do about this mess? Want to help me unpack? No?”
What have I gotten myself into?
When her auntie Daisy had passed away, Motts had taken the inherited cottage as a sign. London had always been overwhelming to her senses. Polperro was a much quieter place with a slower pace suited for her autistic needs.
She loved Polperro. Her parents were both originally from Cornwall. A lot of her family lived in the area, as did her ex-girlfriend.
Despite having spent many a holiday with family at the cottage, Motts found herself overwhelmed by the sudden change. This was a terrible idea. I should’ve sold the house. I am such a silly fool.
Take a few deep breaths.
Match Cactus’s purring.
You’re going to be okay.
“Ahh!” She jumped when a rapid knocking on the door jolted her. “For goodness sake.”
“Motts? You okay?”
She spun around and yanked the door open to find the welcome sight of her ex-girlfriend, Pravina Griffin, and Vina’s twin brother, Nish. “I’m….”
How do I finish the sentence?
In the middle of the biggest mistake I’ve ever made?
Just slightly overcome by irrational fear?
Nish moved forward to take Cactus from her arms while Vina led her inside. “Amma is bringing over supper. She wanted to let the sambar simmer a little longer. She even made your favourite kind of rice.”
The Griffin twins took after their Tamil mother, Leena, who’d been a Bollywood star before falling in love with Cadan Griffin, a Cornish-Indian cricket player. They’d settled in Polperro to run a coffee shop and bakery. Griffin Brews had been around for thirty-plus years, and now their children managed it, allowing their parents to retire early.
Leena and Cadan had welcomed Motts with open arms even before she’d briefly dated their daughter. Motts and Vina had realised over the years that their close bond felt more like that of siblings. They’d dumped each other but remained the best of friends, where they’d started in the first place.
“Let’s talk about something less daunting than unpacking. How goes the dating life? Did you fill out a dating profile on the site I emailed you?” Vina plucked Moss, Motts’s turtle, out of his travel terrarium. “Well?”
“No, I didn’t. There’s no box to check for asexual, biromantic autistic.” Motts gently took Moss to return her to a safer place. “No touching the turtle.”
☆ Guest Post ☆
About two years ago or so, the name Pineapple Mottley came to me. I had a vision of this character in a cottage in Cornwall. She was autistic, asexual, and dealing with perimenopause. She was me if I had a picturesque house on a hill above Polperro and any skill at all with papercraft.
But I had five stories to write before I could even think about who and why Pineapple ‘Motts’ Mottley had popped into my mind.
While working on those other stories, I built out Motts’s world. Her family. Her best friends. I knew she was bi-romantic, and her ex-girlfriend was one of her closest friends.
Without spoiling the story for you, I knew the mystery revolved around a body in the garden. Motts had moved into a new village and cottage. So, where else would it be found?
The villain started out as one person, but while wrapping up the outline, I changed my mind. It added a depth to the mystery. Motts’s story has been all about layers.
When I put pen to paper to write Poisoned Primrose for National Novel Writing Month in 2019, I never imagined what an absolute joy Motts would be. Her story flowed easier than any novel has for me ever. It was almost magical.
My greatest hope with Poisoned Primrose is that the joy I had in writing it shows on the page.
Meet the Author
Dahlia Donovan wrote her first romance series after a crazy dream about shifters and damsels in distress. She prefers irreverent humour and unconventional characters. An autistic and occasional hermit, her life wouldn’t be complete without her husband and her massive collection of books and video games.
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