Good day, my bookish peeps. I’ve traveled to more than 25 states here in the US (and working on visiting more). I’m not a huge fan of living in small towns (I enjoy all of the cultural options found in larger cities/towns), but there’s nothing quite like the scenery found in cities and towns around the great lakes. I’m incredibly honored to welcome back to the blog, Valerie Burns (aka VM Burns), author of Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder. Ms. Burns will be sharing her thoughts on a coastal Michigan town that’s the setting in her latest series. I hope you’ll enjoy learning more about this fictional town and perhaps grab a copy of Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder so you can visit as an armchair traveler. Thank you, Ms. Burns, for joining us today. The blog is now all yours.
Where in the World is New Bison, Michigan?
by Valerie Burns
My new Baker Street Mystery series is set in the town of New Bison, Michigan. Never heard of it? That’s because it doesn’t exist. New Bison is a fictional town that I created based on the city of New Buffalo, Michigan. What’s special about New Buffalo? And, why use a fictional town?
New Buffalo is a small, quaint town, located 70 miles east of downtown Chicago at the mouth of the Galien River on Michigan’s west coast just north of the Indiana border. It’s also right on the Lake Michigan shoreline.
The state of Michigan is known for a lot of things, Motown Music, motor city, and home of one of the five great lakes, Lake Michigan. Over the years, the state has experienced its share of economic booms and busts. Many towns around Southwestern Michigan were once home to industries that supported Detroit’s automotive industry. However, as manufacturing migrated from the Midwest to the South and abroad, Michigan’s economy suffered. The state, and particularly Southwestern Michigan, was forced to reinvent itself. Home to one of the five great lakes and more than 129 lighthouses (44 of which are on Lake Michigan), Michigan exploited its natural resources (Pure Michigan if you’ve seen the commercials). Also important to the regional marketing is the fact that only forty nautical miles separate New Buffalo, Michigan from downtown Chicago. That’s 70 miles if you’re traveling by land. Lake Michigan, beaches, and small historic towns make Southwestern Michigan appealing, especially for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the Windy City. Lake Front property in Southwestern Michigan was also considerably less expensive than in Chicago, another point in Michigan’s favor.
Of the five great lakes, Lake Michigan is the second largest when it comes to volume, but the only one of the five that is entirely within the United States. Lake Michigan isn’t the cleanest of the Great Lakes, but clarity isn’t always a great thing when it comes to fish. Decades ago, the murky waters of Lake Michigan weren’t very appealing for swimming and kayaking, but the marine life thrived, and Lake Michigan enjoyed a robust $7-billion-dollar fishing industry. Concerted efforts to clean Lake Michigan and the emergence of invasive mussels which remove green algae (the base of the food chain), has devastated the lake’s marine life. Today, the shores of Lake Michigan have crystal clear water, clean sandy beaches, and quaint lighthouses, but the effects of the clean water on the fishing industry is yet to be determined.
When looking for a location for my new cozy, I felt New Buffalo was perfect. So, why did I change the name? I changed the name from New Buffalo to New Bison because I write murder mysteries. People will die here. The last thing I want for the town of New Buffalo, is to be avoided as dangerous. Although, there are no guarantees. Even Cabot Cove, Maine is a fictional city, the UK Daily Mail still labeled it as “The most dangerous place on earth…” (https://bit.ly/3zDrlPi). Cabot Cove, home to fictional author and amateur sleuth, Jessica Fletcher, had more than its share of murders, despite the lovely New England charm. Anyone familiar with Southwestern Michigan will recognize that New Bison is based on New Buffalo. I hope readers will be intrigued by descriptions of the quaint downtown, sandy beaches, beautiful Lake Michigan sunsets, and friendly locals. Pick up a copy of my new Baker Street Mystery, Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder, and get acquainted with New Bison, Michigan.
Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder (A Baker Street Mystery)
by Valerie Burns
About Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder
Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder (A Baker Street Mystery)
1st in Series
Setting – Michigan
Kensington Cozies (August 30, 2022)
Paperback : 272 pages
ISBN-10 : 1496738225
ISBN-13 : 978-1496738226
Digital ASIN : B09MZTN6YC
In this delectable new cozy mystery series, social media maven Maddy Montgomery’s perfectly ’grammable life has come undone, and she’s #StartingOver in a tiny town with one giant problem—a killer on the loose . . .
When Maddy Montgomery’s groom is a no-show to their livestream wedding, it’s a disaster that no amount of filtering can fix. But a surprise inheritance offers a chance to regroup and rebrand—as long as Maddy is willing to live in her late, great-aunt Octavia’s house in New Bison, Michigan, for a year, running her bakery and caring for a 250-pound English mastiff named Baby.
Maddy doesn’t bake, and her Louboutins aren’t made for walking giant dogs around Lake Michigan, but the locals are friendly and the scenery is beautiful. With help from her aunt’s loyal friends, aka the Baker Street Irregulars, Maddy feels ready to tackle any challenge, including Octavia’s award-winning cake recipes. That is, until New Bison’s mayor is fatally stabbed, and Maddy’s fingerprints are found on the knife . . .
Something strange is going on in New Bison. It seems Aunt Octavia had her suspicions, too. But Maddy’s going to need a whole lot more than a trending hashtag to save her reputation—and her life.
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About Valerie Burns
Valerie (V. M.) Burns is the author of the Mystery Bookshop Mystery series. Her first book, The Plot is Murder, was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Debut Novel. She is the author of the Dog Club Mystery Series, the RJ Franklin Mysteries, a three-time finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, and an Edgar Award-nominated short story. Her newest series, Baker Street Mysteries, will release later this year, and her Pet Detective Mystery series will release in 2023. Valerie is on the board of Sisters in Crime and the Southeastern Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. She is also a member of Dog Writers of America, Crime Writers of Color, and International Thriller Writers. She is a manager for a Fortune 100 company and a mentor in the Writing Popular Fiction Program at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA. Born and raised in northwestern Indiana, Valerie currently lives in the southeastern United States with her two poodles. Readers can visit her website at vmburns.com.
August 22 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
August 22 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT
August 23 – The Mystery Section – GUEST POST
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August 24 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
August 24 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
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August 25 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
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August 27 – The Book Diva’s Reads – GUEST POST
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August 30 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
August 30 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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