featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Friday, April 18, 2014


Lynn Cahoon makes a return visit today to tell us about her latest book. A multi-published author, Lynn has written for the Chicken Soup anthologies, some of the confessional magazines, and had short stories published in Women’s World in addition to writing contemporary romance and mystery. Learn more about her and her books at her website

I’m a sucker for tourist stops. There’s just something about a store selling regional items along with the road trip necessities like a clean bathroom or a passable cup of coffee. 
Driving cross-country with no agenda in mind, I love stopping at those spots off the highway. Places where you can get a pink felt cowboy hat for less than ten dollars or a variety of souvenir spoons for display. (Yes, I do have a collection.)

A few years ago, I took a freedom trip to see my sister on spring break. I was in the middle of a divorce and trying to re-invent myself as an individual instead of the half of a couple I’d been for close to twenty years. During the day, I drove to local tourist spots, enjoying the weather and the scenery. At night I’d come back for dinner with my sister and brother-in-law and talk about my day.

Several times I found entire towns that had one function – to cater to tourists. Small craft houses where local artists sold their designs. From glass blowing, to country crafts, soap makers, and even landscape artists, each house on the main street focused on one skill.

As I walked through the towns, I wondered about the people behind the sales counter. Were they residents of the town? Did they live upstairs over the shop? Was the woman who sold the homemade fudge the same person who made the delight?

I loved the small town feel and uniqueness of each shop. Not a Target or Lowes on the street. Not even a McDonald’s. Now, there’s nothing wrong with any of those stores; don’t get me wrong. I went to Target today. But on vacation I want something different from my day-to-day life.

Guidebook to Murder was based on my personal fantasy about living in one of these tourist towns.

Today, I live near a touristy river town. We visit the flea market in the summer, walking through the many booths, then grab lunch in one of the many restaurants located on the deck overlooking the river. A mini vacation stop.

I always buy something to add to my souvenir collection. I love coffee mugs right now.

What’s your favorite souvenir to collect? 

Guidebook to Murder
In the gentle coastal town of South Cove, California, all Jill Gardner wants is to keep her store--Coffee, Books, and More--open and running. So why is she caught up in the business of murder?

When Jill's elderly friend, Miss Emily, calls in a fit of pique, she already knows the city council is trying to force Emily to sell her dilapidated old house. But Emily's gumption goes for naught when she dies unexpectedly and leaves the house to Jill--along with all of her problems. . .and her enemies. Convinced her friend was murdered, Jill is finding the list of suspects longer than the list of repairs needed on the house. But Jill is determined to uncover the culprit--especially if it gets her closer to South Cove's finest, Detective Greg King. Problem is, the killer knows she's on the case--and is determined to close the book on Jill permanently.


Lynn Cahoon said...

Thanks for having me over!

StephanieQueen said...

Sounds like a fun series, Lynn! And a great fantasy come true!
Stephanie Queen

Megan Kelly said...

I collect odd salt and pepper shakers. Shhh--don't tell anyone. I tend to get every S&P people see, but I like unique ones. That's not touristy exactly, but every town like that has an antiques store or two. Enjoying GTM.

Angela Adams said...

Hi, Lynn,

I collect bookmarkers! Enjoyed your post and wishing you all the best with your book!!

Lynn Cahoon said...

Hi Stephanie - thanks for stopping in.

Megan, we need to hit the Grafton flea market - they had great ones last month.

Angela - bookmarkers? I love bookmarks. :)

Pat Browning said...

I love small quirky towns, too. I have moved so often my souvenirs were all given away or sold at garage sales, but I usually collected small, useful items like coasters. However, I also also brought home a stuffed camel, a jungle blow gun and a full set of gumbo dishes.

Love your book cover. The book sounds like fun and I just downloaded it.

Lynn Cahoon said...

A jungle blow gun? Not your usual souvenir. :) Enjoy Guidebook!

NOTE - the publisher or Amazon or someone DROPPED the price to $1.99 so get your copy now before it moves back up. :)

marja said...

I collect music boxes, among other things. Terrific post, and the book sounds like something I'd really enjoy. Great idea for a series!
Marja McGraw

Lynn Cahoon said...

Marja - Music boxes sound like an amazing collection.