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  • Writer's pictureAuthor Darci Hannah

Celebrating "Murder" with Donuts!

Happy launch day!

Welcome to my blog. As some of you might be aware, today is a big day for me. Today MURDER AT THE BEACON BAKESHOP has officially been released into the world. I feel like a proud yet nervous mother. I also feel a bit like my main character, Lindsey Bakewell, throwing open the doors of her newly renovated lighthouse bakery and declaring, “The Beacon Bakeshop is open for business!”

I'm so excited to share this little mystery with the world because, like my Very Cherry Mystery Series, this new series is near and dear to my heart as well. I wanted to find a fun setting for the novel, and this time I knew that I wanted to write a series set in my home state of Michigan. But where? Michigan has so many charming lakeside towns to visit, I knew that it would be hard to narrow the field. But I was up for the task. With little encouragement, I convinced my husband to get in the car and explore Michigan with me. That was the fun part. Each adorable town we visited naturally required a stop at the local bakery for a cup of coffee and a treat. I also had a map of all the lighthouses along the way. This is because ever since I wrote THE EXILE OF SARA STEVENSON, my motto's been, I BREAK FOR LIGHTHOUSES!

View from the Point Betsy Lighthouse

Oh yes, I dragged my husband up the narrow, circular steps of quite a few of Michigan's finest lighthouses. But the one that really grabbed my attention was the Point Betsy Lighthouse in Frankfort. It's one of the prettiest lighthouses I've ever seen. The moment I climbed up to the lantern room and looked out the windows, I knew I had found the perfect setting for a cozy mystery. Flanking the coastline to the north were the dramatic, desolate cliffs of the Sleeping Bear Dunes in the distance. To the south there was a little beach, and beyond that the town of Frankfort. The lighthouse itself was large, with white painted brick and a gabled red roof. No need to look further. I was sold!

Ron in front of his bakery

I had my perfect setting, and that was when I knew I wanted to write about a bakery. Not only did I have experience eating baked goods, but thanks to my younger brother, Ron, I actually worked in a bakery. That was because when we were in our late twenties, Ron decided to buy a bakery on a whim and try his hand at running it. That was a long time ago. The "Ron's Bakery Adventure" only lasted two years, but those memories have stuck with me. Through Ron I had gotten a glimpse of what it was like to actually run a bakery. I was never an "official" employee, but he was my brother and I would come and help him out whenever he was in a pinch. Baking on a professional scale is hard work. I sometimes wondered why he did it-- why he put himself through all the long hours and tiring physical work. But then I realized he did it for his customers. Ron had loyal customers. They loved everything he baked, but they also loved him. That kind of joy makes the job worth it. And that's why I wanted to write about a bakery in a lighthouse.

Ron's donuts!

When I started writing Murder at the Beacon Bakeshop, I would call Ron and pick his brain. "Remember when you owned the bakery? Do you still have your donut recipe?"

Ron, having long since moved past his donut-making days, would say, "Are you kidding? And even if I did it wouldn't make sense. It was for hundreds of donuts, not a dozen."

We'd then reminisce about the bakery and end up laughing at something else just as ridiculous as owning a bakery--like me writing about a lighthouse bakery!

My donuts!

While it may be true that the Beacon Bakeshop is a fictional bakery, I like to think that it could happen. Someone could renovate an old lighthouse and be adventurous enough to put a bakery in it. Until that happens, you might want to make some of the Beacon Bakeshop's specialty donuts at home. In fact, if you’re planning on picking up this fun cozy mystery (and I really hope that you are!) you’re going to be reading a lot about donuts. You might even start craving donuts. That’s why I made the above donut video for you. By the time you come to the end of this book and you hit the recipe section, my hope is that you’ll dive right in and make yourself a big ol’ batch of donuts. Yes, making donuts is messy, but the joy on the faces of your family and friends when they try one will be worth it.

Purchase your copy of MURDER AT THE BEACON BAKESHOP here!

The donut recipe shown in the video is in the back of the book. Here's a recipe for a yummy donut glaze (not in the book) that will turn an ordinary raised donut into one to rival a Krispy Kreme!

Best donut glaze:

2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

1/4 cup milk

1/4 light corn syrup

Mix together in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Dip raised donuts into warm glaze and let dry on cooling racks until set. Enjoy!

A special note of thanks: I'd like to thank my brother Randy for providing me with the footage of our brother's bakery that I used to generate the above photos. And to our younger brother Ron, who left us too soon, thanks for the love, laughter, and the donuts. I dedicate this series to you, brother. See you at the Beacon.



*** Please leave comments below to enter my book giveaway! The winner will be picked on March 6th.

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