About Cheryl Russell

#writer. Adjunct professor. Reader.

Review-Assaulted Caramel: An Amish Candy Shop Mystery #1 by Amanda Flower

Assaulted Caramel

Book Info

Title: Assaulted Caramel

Series: Book One in the Amish Candy Shop series

Author: Amanda Flower

Published by: Kensington Books. Mass market edition. 329 pages.

Genre: Fiction, Cozy Mystery

The Book-Assaulted Caramel

Baily King lives in New York City and is up for promotion to head chocolatier at world famous JP Chocolates. But she returns home to Harvest, Ohio, a fictional town set in Ohio’s Amish country, when she receives word from her grandmother, Clara King, that Bailey’s grandfather, Jebediah King, is in poor health. Baily, though not Amish herself, is close to her Amish grandparents, especially her grandfather. He is the reason she is a chocolatier; as co-owner of Swissmen’s Sweets candy shop with her grandmother, Bailey learned about candy-making during summers spent in Ohio.

But what was initially planned as a short visit home turns into a murder investigation when Baily finds Tyson Colton, a greedy developer who had been unsuccessfully pressuring Jebediah King to sell his shop, dead in Swissmen’s Sweets kitchen with Jeb King’s candy knife buried in Colton’s chest.

Bailey can’t leave Harvest; the sheriff considers her a prime suspect in Colton’s murder. His order to stay puts her promotion at JP Chocolates at risk since she may not be back in New York City in time for the announcement. Also, the continual stress isn’t good for her grandfather’s health, so Bailey decides to help, in her own way, the sheriff department’s investigation. As a result, she keeps running into Deputy Aiden Brody and must constantly remind herself Eric Sharp, a well-known chef back in New York, is her boyfriend.

Assaulted Caramel is the first book in award-winning author Amanda Flower’s latest series, the Amish Candy Shop mysteries. Assaulted Caramel is a cozy mystery with plenty of red herrings to keep a reader guessing and humor to keep the chuckles coming throughout the book. I’m not a cozy mystery fan, unless it is one of Flower’s books, then I can’t get my hands on the latest book fast enough. Chapter One of the next book in the series, Lethal Licorice, is included at the end of Assaulted Caramel.

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WIP Wednesday

WIP-Chapter 4

This has been a tough week writing-wise, but when Tuesday morning came around, I wrote, instead of tending to the mass of grading that should’ve been done and returned days ago. I found I couldn’t let the writing go, a good thing, and the 52–week challenge is a big reason for my butt-in-chair, get something written accomplishment. (Not to say they were good words, but at least they were words. Revision will take place at a later date.)

Synopsis-thus far

This chapter flips back to 1806, six years after Joshua and his then-pregnant wife arrive in the backwater village of Buck’s Eye. Joshua, a Revolutionary War veteran, plans to settle on the land grant he’s received as payment for his service.

Snippet-Chapter Four

(This is still fairly rough and needs more work. The goal with the challenge is to get this book done.)

“Have you seen my girls?” he asked a few people on the fringes of the crowd. When they shook their heads, he dropped to the ground and pulled on his boots. As he stood, a dog shambled up to the crowd, from the path that led to the Sweet Water river.

The girls had been after him to get them a puppy; the shopkeeper’s mutt had given birth and he was giving away the puppies to anyone who would take them. Joshua had refused, not wanting another responsibility in his life when he struggled to meet the ones he had.

Joshua slapped his leg. “Come here, boy,” he said. A bit of red tangled in the dog’s matted fur had caught his eye. He worked it free and his legs began to shake as he held it up.

“What is it?” Joshua heard someone ask. His tight throat held his words captive.

“It’s a ribbon,” one of the women said, coming forward to take it from Joshua. He held it tight, refusing to give it to her. “It belongs to Mary,” she said. Mary was well-known in the village for her love of red, and several of the women had parted with their own scraps, forgoing the color red in their rugs and quilts, to make the motherless girl with a drunk for a father, happy. “But it was tangled in the dog’s fur.”

“The dog that just came up from the river,” said a man. “Speech needs to wait.”

Joshua, jolted into sobriety, struck out for the river, gripping the ribbon. “Mary!”

WIP-Wednesday-New Character

New character

I’m toying with adding another character to my WIP. This character isn’t totally new; she is an intricate part of the novel already. What I am adding are chapters in her point of view.

I’m not writing linear at this point; just whatever is coming to mind. I don’t know if these chapters will survive a revision, so there isn’t any particular reason for adding these new chapters here.


Sam nodded. “Probably an appropriate reaction,” he said. “You’ve not been exactly honest with her in the past.”

“I don’t need reminded,” I replied. Sam had driven me across the state to the hospital where Terri and Chelsea were patients and Kyle’s body rested in the morgue. The emotional strain of the drive, of not knowing, had led to non-stop talking on my part. With no filter in place, I told Sam things I hadn’t told anyone, not even Terri.

“She never knew her father,” I’d said.

“What?” Sam had asked, straining to see the unfamiliar road in the dark.

“Terri. She never knew her father,” I had replied. “I moved away when I found out I was pregnant and told people my husband had died in a car accident.”

He looked over at me and then back out the windshield. “Why did you keep it from her and why are you telling me now?”

“I don’t know,” I said, wiping at my eyes with the back of my hand. “I kept to the lie I told everyone else and it was fine because I knew I wouldn’t be moving back to Buck’s Eye.”

“Until your parents got sick,” he said. The beams shot out into the darkness, revealing a road curving sharply left.

“Her senior year in high school,” I replied. “She was initially fascinated with the quirkiness of Buck’s Eye, but didn’t understand why I tried to keep her from having anything to do with the place. The tension between us was almost unbearable, but I withstood it to keep my secret.”


WIP-Weather as portals, allowing time to slip past itself

WIP-Weather as portalsWeather’s influence

The weather in Sweetwater County, as well as surrounding areas, pushed and pulled at the intersections of past and present, molding them according to time and temperature. Hot summer days, when the air shimmered above the pavement stretched the separation between the two, thinning out the separation. Past and present leaked over into each other more often in the summer. Coupled with the longer summer days meant more time for either side to get into mischief.

Days where the fog stalled on it’s return to the sky were the worst. Gray, misty, fog-shrouded November days with their cold drizzle seem to be most active, as though one era thought the weather had to be better on the other side of the cloudy veil.

But today, November’s weather was either a distant memory or something you remembered with fondness. The heat shimmered off of the roads, the sidewalks, and especially the blacktopped parking lots at the edge of the annual Buck’s Eye Festival. This hot muggy weather of this July day held the promise of afternoon thunderstorms and opportunities for residents of both past and present to slip past each other in the hopes the weather would be cooler on the other side of time.


I’m posting snippets of my current work-in-progress, or at least what may make my current work-in-progress. All WIP posts are rough drafts, which means they will undergo revision(s) in the not-to-distant future.


My writing for this story is a mashup between magical realism, local history and imagination allowed to explore where it wants to go. I like taking the history I’m familiar with and giving it a fictional twist to allow me more freedom to write my stories. As a result, I’m not quite sure what the end result will be; but I am having fun writing it.