GRAND OPENINGS CAN BE MURDER
Bean to Bar Mysteries Book 1
Categories: Cozy Mystery / Women Sleuth / Romance
Publisher: Golden Tip Press
Date of Publication: February 2, 2021
Number of Pages: 266 pages
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Felicity Koerber has had a rough year. She’s moving back to Galveston Island and opening a bean to bar chocolate factory, fulfilling a dream she and her late husband, Kevin, had shared. Craft chocolate means a chance to travel the world, meeting with farmers and bringing back beans she can turn into little blocks of happiness, right close to home and family. She thinks trouble has walked into her carefully re-built world when puddle-jump pilot Logan Hanlon shows up at her grand opening to order custom chocolates. Then one of her employees drops dead at the party, and Felicity’s one-who-got-away ex-boyfriend – who’s now a cop – thinks Felicity is a suspect.
As the murder victim’s life becomes more and more of a mystery, Felicity realizes that if she’s going to clear her name in time to save her business, she might need Logan’s help. Though she’s not sure if she’s ready to let anyone into her life – even if it is to protect her from being the killer’s next victim. For Felicity, Galveston is all about history, and a love-hate relationship with the ocean, which keeps threatening to deliver another hurricane – right into the middle of her investigation. Can she figure it out before all the clues get washed away? FIRST IN A NEW SERIES!
Amber Royer’s TOP TEN LIST of reasons coffee is cool!
In Grand Openings Can Be Murder, my protagonist Felicity is a coffee lover who’s recently had to switch to decaf – mostly. Her shop, Greetings and Felicitations, sells bean to bar chocolate that Felicity produces on site. And she incorporates locally roasted coffee into several of the truffles she carries in the shop. Plus, her assistant Carmen runs a coffee station that does coffee beverages to order – from hazelnut lattes to dirty horchata (horchata dosed with coffee).
Here are my top ten reasons coffee is cool!
1. Mental and physical benefits.
Research has shown that coffee can provide a temporary increase in memory capabilities – and over the long term can help prevent cognitive decline. It will help you focus – and make you more creative. Research suggests that moderate amounts of coffee can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. The brew is packed with potent antioxidants. Not everyone can drink coffee safely, though, or cannot handle large quantities of it. If coffee is not completely off the menu, even decaf provides some health benefits.
2. Coffee roasting is an art.
Coffee roasters import green coffee beans from around the world. The beans’ flavor will vary based on growing conditions (including rainfall and elevation) and specific characteristics of the plants the farmers chose to grow. Roasters have to bring out the best qualities of each individual variety of beans they buy. Sometimes they blend bean varieties to create a more palatable brew. Roasters time the roast to bring out specific flavor profiles – especially manipulating the amount of acidity. Some roasters are going for smooth, easy to drink brew, while others produce coffee that tastes like lemon has been added.
3. Pairs great with chocolate.
Coffee enhances the flavors in cholate. Next time you make a chocolate cake, consider replacing some of the liquid in the recipe with strong brewed coffee. You won’t taste coffee – it will just seem more chocolaty. And chocolate can take a coffee beverage to a whole other level. I’ve seen craft chocolate makers who partner with local coffee roasters, and the products of both businesses benefit. Both coffee and chocolate contain tannins (also found in tea and wine) that have to be tamed by roasting.
4. Fosters social interaction.
Coffee shops have been used for centuries as places to gather for intellectual discussions, art performances, writing sessions, reading time, or simply to socialize. And there’s a time-honored tradition of inviting a friend over for a cup. Even during COVID, people are having socially distanced Zoom coffee klatsches.
5. Latte foam can be an art form.
Have you ever gotten a latte with a heart or a flower design poured into it? Baristas can create that kind of free-form design simply by the way they pour in the foam and steamed milk. It takes a lot of practice, but really good foam artists can create complex pictures, using just a spoon and a toothpick. There’s a barista in South Korea who pours foam over cold coffee and paints full-color recreations of classic paintings. You can follow him on Instagram at @leekangbin91.
Affogato is somewhere between a dessert and a beverage. You take a scoop of vanilla ice cream or gelato, and you drown it with a shot of espresso. Then you eat it as fast as you can before the coffee melts all the ice cream. The word Affogato literally means “drowned” in Italian. But coffee culture is a fluid thing around the globe – as exemplified by Brazilian Affogato, which is traditionally served with fruit ice cream. Mexican affogato involves brown sugar, spices, and orange.
7. Provides a comforting routine.
When you’re stressed, setting a routine can help you feel more in control. And taking time for self-care – such as having a daily cup of coffee in a quiet spot — can help you step away from your problems, even if just for a few minutes. Many people find the smell, taste, and warmth of coffee comforting.
8. Iced Coffee.
I live in Texas, where summertime is beyond hot. Drinking a hot beverage is one way to cool yourself down (by increasing your core temperature, you sweat more, which cools you off). But if you can’t bear the thought of that, coffee tastes good iced too. Chill strong coffee before icing it, rather than pouring hot coffee over ice (which will dilute the brew).
9. Coffee connects you to cultures around the globe.
You can try out recipes from around the world to see how different people enjoy their coffee. Some may be a bit more adventurous – coffee over cheese curds, anyone? – but you never know if you will find your new favorite way to take your brew. Seriously – I once had two Vietnamese coffees in the same day, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so productive in my entire life. You can also collect different styles of coffee pots, coffee cups, brewing systems and coffee accessories.
Here’s a quick roundup I found to get you started: https://www.insider.com/different-ways-people-drink-coffee-around-the-world-2016-7
10. Coffee has a fascinating history.
There are a number of legends about who first discovered coffee. One of the most popular claims that a goat herder in Ethiopia noticed that his goats were extra energetic after munching on coffee cherries. Coffee cultivation started in the Arabian peninsula and spread into Persia, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey by the sixteenth century – where even then, it was drunk in public coffee houses. From there, coffee took a complicated journey to become a commodity grown and consumed in so many parts of the globe.
PRAISE FOR GRAND OPENINGS CAN BE MURDER:
“With as many unpredictable twists and turns as the hurricane approaching Galveston, Grand Openings Can Be Murder is an intriguing cozy mystery set in a new chocolate shop along the island’s historic Strand. Readers will love learning about the bean-to-bar chocolate-making process while the store’s owner, Felicity, pursues truth, justice, and the perfect chocolate bar.”Diane Kelly, Award-winning author of the Death & Taxes, Paw Enforcement, House Flipper, and Busted mystery series
Amber Royer writes the CHOCOVERSE comic telenovela-style foodie-inspired space opera series, and the BEAN TO BAR MYSTERIES. She is also the author of STORY LIKE A JOURNALIST: A WORKBOOK FOR NOVELISTS, which boils down her writing knowledge into an actionable plan involving over 100 worksheets to build a comprehensive story plan for your novel. She blogs about creative writing technique and all things chocolate at www.amberroyer.com. She also teaches creative writing for both UT Arlington Continuing Education and Writing Workshops Dallas. If you are very nice to her, she might make you cupcakes
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|2/9/21||Excerpt||Texas Book Lover|
|2/9/21||BONUS Guest Post||Hall Ways Blog|
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|2/10/21||Top Ten||That’s What She’s Reading|
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|2/14/21||Author Interview||Rebecca R. Cahill, Author|
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|2/18/21||Review||It’s Not All Gravy|
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