Thursday, January 21, 2016

Tea and the Art of Giving


By: Sophie Taylor
Title: The Grim Steeper
Series: Teapot Collector Mysteries
Author: Amanda Cooper (Victoria Hamilton)
Website: Victoria Hamilton Mysteries

My grandmother - Nana to me - taught me that giving benefits the giver as much or more as the givee. She has always given tea parties for groups that help the less fortunate, hosted fundraisers, and she donates baked goods to shelters and low income groups. But I've learned that you have to make time for giving. When I had a restaurant in New York (In Fashion) I was so busy I'd fly through my day, blind to everything but the next meeting I had to take, or the next crisis I needed to avert.

But I wasn't fulfilled; not really. I loved what I did, but it left me feeling hollow.

One morning I was coming in super early; it was January, and the sun hadn't even crawled out of hiding yet. When I came down the alley to the restaurant backdoor, I heard rustling. The sound was too substantial to be a rodent, unless the rat was about six foot one. I shone my pocket flashlight and blinking back at me was a street guy I had seen many times before. If I didn't know he was harmless I probably would have gone into full hustle mode and scuttled inside. But Eddie, as I only ever knew him, was a gentle soul who played the guitar and fed the pigeons.

I knew someone was raiding our Dumpster at night, and didn't much care who, as long as they didn't make too much of a mess. But finding out it was him - gentle, music loving Eddie - jarred something loose in my soul. Long story short, I invited him in for coffee and leftover brioche in the staff break room. We had a long conversation and I learned all about his past, that he was a music teacher once, but lost his job because of addiction. He was clean for the moment, and trying to get back to life as he knew it before.

It brought me down to reality; how much was I actually living? Or was I just putting one foot in front of the other? He left with a bag of goodies for himself, his homeless friends, and the squirrels and birds in the park. But he left me with a wake up call. That afternoon I took a walk, and that evening I went home at a reasonable hour and slept.

When a crisis occurred in my life recently, I thought of Eddie again and made a decision I will never regret, though others may think I'm nuts and giving up a lot. Sometimes people think you're going backwards, when in truth you're just going back to the point where you went off the rails, and heading down a different path, one better suited to take you where you want to go. That's where I am now.

Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever made a decision to go backwards a bit, (quit a job or relationship, moved, taken a break) because you knew it was right for you?

~::~

To learn more, read The Grim Steeper:

The national bestselling author of Shadow of a Spout invites readers back to the Finger Lakes town of Gracious Grove for more tea and murder...

Mid-October in the charming Finger Lakes town of Gracious Grove means it’s time for the annual Fall Fling Townwide Tea Party. The highlight of the festivities is a roaming tea-tasting, which includes a stop at Auntie Rose’s Victorian Tea House. Sophie Taylor would like to share her enjoyment of the event with her sort-of boyfriend, English teacher Jason Murphy, but Jason’s dean has accused him of falsifying grades to help an athlete at the local college. Steamed and stressed, Jason shows up the night of the party with bags under his eyes.

But the dean shows up under Sophie’s Japanese Maple later that night, murdered, and now Jason is suspected of far worse than fudging grade reports. It’s up to Sophie, her Nana, and their friends the Silver Spouts to pore over the clues to find out who really decided to teach the dean a lesson.

~::~

GIVEAWAY!

Comment here to enter to win: 1 signed copy of The Grim Steeper, a book tote, a vintage teacup, some Auntie Rose's Tea-riffic Tea, and a bookmark!

Canadian and US addresses only.

Comment by Midnight tonight (January 21st).


137 comments:

  1. The Grim Steeper sounds like a great cozy mystery read. Thank you for the giveaway.
    myrifraf(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is a new series for me and they sound delightful. I will have to get the first one and check them out. Thanks for the chance to win. poohwine1217@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. My mother collected tea cups and displayed them in a shadow box. I declined her offer of them (small house and 3 boys) so my SIL has them. Seeing your giveaway has brought back many fond memories! Thank you.
    kpbarnett1941[at]aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. This series sounds wonderful! I love the quaintness of teapots and have several. Also, this is a new series for me and I'm looking forward to reading it. Thank you for the chance to win! Laurie K. laur2008@att.net

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am going to order this book for my library. Love the cover.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Can't wait to read this one. Thanks for the chance to win. Dnrocker@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. I liked the story about Eddie. I wonder whatever happened to him.
    I have not read the series but its a must in my ever growing TBR pile .
    Love tea but haven't started collecting tea ware.... Yet. Need to find a place to store the stuff and out of reach of my kitty. Though I got room for a few cups and pots right now.
    Thanks for the chance.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Looking forward to the latest book. Good luck to all😊.
    gingermom25@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love this series , and what a wonderful giveaway ! kathambre@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. That tea cup is so pretty! And I can't wait to read the new book.
    cherlynn1@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. Can't wait to read this new one. Yes I have had to go backwards. We decided a few years back to move from our house we owned to a one bedroom apartment. I still have room for my books.
    lhxp73@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. This looks good. Hope to win. Thank you. rachaelabrams317@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. My grandmother helped develop my love of tea. I am happy at what I do, but I think some think I have gone backward, career wise. Thanks for the chance to win!
    JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  14. Great sounding series. Vintage tea cups brings back memories of my granny. She collected. Beautiful cover. Like the cat on the table. They sure like to take over don't they. Have had cats for decades. Have had only one who did not know what "No" meant. Willful little girl. Would very much like to win and get an early start on this series. It really looks like a great one. want to find out about Eddie and what happens to him. Della at deepotter@peoplepc.com Thank you for this chance a what looks like a great series and the tote bag to carry it with me in.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I received a collection of teacups handed down from husbands aunt as a wedding present many moons ago. Would live to win this book as it sounds great. Pp92596 at outlook dot com

    ReplyDelete
  16. Congratulations, Victoria on The Grim Steeper! Can't wait to read it! Love following you on FB and your newsletter. Looking forward to plot twists and lots of cozy murder fun.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Looking forward to the book. Love cozy mysteries.thanks for your books, Lois Rotella.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I am a teapot and teacup collector and can't wait to read this series!! I can totally relate to going backwards...my husband and I just downsized substantially and continue to be committed to only surrounding ourselves with things, activities and people that are most important to us and bring us joy. That includes books by our favorite authors, tea and time spent with family, friends and helping in our community. This book and series sounds wonderful! I love everything Victoria writes so I'm sure this is fabulous too! Would love to win! Thank you for the opportunity!! Pucsbride13@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  19. Congratulations on your release! I haven't started this series yet, but after reading about Eddie, my interest is definitely piqued!
    Anne
    mysandycat@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  20. This is a wonderful giveaway, thank you for the opportunity to win! It's some of my most favourite things, cozy mysteries, tea and tea cups.. I have a few tea cups and saucers that I inherited, they were my great grandmother's (I was named after her) This would be so awesome to win, nothing better than cozying up with a great mystery, and a nice hot cup of tea :) Thank you again for the chance to win!

    ReplyDelete
  21. This sounds like a great book and what a great giveaway. I adore cozy mysteries. I cannot get enough of them. It would be wonderful to win this.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Sounds like it would be a really good read!!!

    ReplyDelete
  23. These clever titles get me every time. Yes, I've had to start over - maybe going back a bit in the process. It's not easy, but makes life worthwhile. hharra(at) bsu (dot)edu

    ReplyDelete
  24. I collected teacups as a little girl. Heaven knows what my mother did with them. I would very much like to win your giveaway. Time to start a new series.

    ReplyDelete
  25. This snippet has my interest piqued. I am going to go try it out! Thanks for the preview lisacat00@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  26. What an amazing chance to win! Hope Lady Luck smiles on me. One knows you can NEVER have too many cozy mysteries, tea cups, and tote bags!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Love the books & blog! Grim Steeper sounds like a fun read :) Thanks for hosting the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  28. This book is on my wish list! What a beautiful giveaway! Thank you for the chance!
    karen(dot)kenyon(at)rogers(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  29. I love tea and your books, a great twosome

    ReplyDelete
  30. Wonderful giveaway! I've stepped back from a career path and gone a different way, and it was one of the best things I've ever done. lkleback@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  31. I can't wait to read this book, Thanks for this chance. Linda May lindamay4852@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  32. Oh my gosh! We must be distant relatives or something...I love cats, tea, & mysteries! Definitely have to check out more of your works. Thank you for the opportunity. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  33. Ut oh...was I supposed to leave my email? Just in case:
    UkiMama3@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  34. Love this series and tea! Looking forward to this book.
    Becky Prazak
    rjprazak6@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  35. The Grim Steeper sounds like a great cozy mystery. Thank you for the chance to win this awesome giveaway.
    peggyhyndman(at)att(dot)net

    ReplyDelete
  36. I adore this series. And what a lovely giveaway. Thank you for the chance!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Yes I have "started over" and though it was a little slow going at times, I am a much happier and fulfilled person because of it. Thank you for sharing this. It's encouraging. The cup is beautiful and I can't wait to read this book it sounds like a wonderful read! I hope I win. ;) bubs(dot)girl(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  38. I so enjoy all your books they have really helped me get back into reading.I have trouble putting them down to go to bed, I tell myself I am only going to read to the end of the page next thing I know I have read two or more chapters.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I can't wait to read this book. Thank you for the chance to win.
    angelbear19662000@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  40. Thanks for this wonderful feature and lovely giveaway. Tee has always been my favorite drink all year and all day long. Soothing and perfect. Congratulations and best wishes. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  41. I love the title! Congrats on a new book!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Thank you for the chance to win. I would love to win this as this series is one of my favorites. I have been counting down until the new books is released.
    Frauenb@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  43. This series and the story sounds captivating and very special. What a beautiful giveaway which suits me to a tea. Many thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  44. Started over? Going backwards? Family and friends thought so, and in retrospect, I did, too. My first teaching job in L.A., a long way from where I grew up, was quite the experience and one I'll be grateful for, but I quit and returned home taking a very low paying job at a private school. All that education, a job I wanted, but I took a job with no chance for advancement... It did, however, lead me to finally go back into public education in a district I'd always wanted to work, near family, friends, and I would meet the man who I would marry. Two steps back to take different track put me "on track!" kat8762@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  45. Thank you for the opportunity to win!!!
    littleone
    AT shaw
    DOT ca

    ReplyDelete
  46. We love having tea here at our house, my kids and I. This cup would be great for my son to drink from. He likes leaves. Thas for the giveaway! SherylHbooth@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  47. Many years ago yes and it has worked out real good.

    ReplyDelete
  48. My new series to read. Thanks for the chance to win.skyjax02 at yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  49. I will definitely be adding The Grim Steeper (Love that title) to the others in this series.
    This giveaway is wonderful. I'm a hot tea drinker so you know I'm excited. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  50. I love tea and have always wanted to visit a tea room. Thanks so much for the review and the giveaway. robeader53@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  51. The Grim Steeper has piqued my interest. Thank you for such a great giveaway opportunity. I have taken many different roads on my life journey: forward, backward and unexpected curves. I love the ride.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Love the cover. Sounds like a lot of people may relate to this story.
    jawdance@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  53. Sounds like a great book and wonderful giveaway mama2bulls@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  54. Thank you for the chance!
    jenne.turner@unt.edu

    ReplyDelete
  55. Donna E @ The Cottage MagpieJanuary 21, 2016 at 11:36 AM

    So excited to read the next book in this series! Love tea, tea cups and this series!! Thank you for the opportunity to win these lovely gifts and for another great cozy read! ~ Donna E.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Great cover and title, and what a life lesson in the post. We so often think we have to have the most, biggest, fastest, work the hardest. Need daily reminders to step back and realize that sometimes the best choice is the one of saying, no, not now. Thanks for the great giveaway
    sallycootie@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  57. I love the title. It evokes so many imaginings about the story line that it incites eagerness to read it.
    The cover is perfect with its peaceful appearance and with the title hovering above the table with just a bit of menace while the enigmatic cat looks squarely at the viewer.
    Thank you for offering the giveaway.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Sounds great. I can't wait to read it.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Totally love any mystery with tea involvement. Add chocolate and I am in heaven.

    ReplyDelete
  60. What a lovely story--and giveaway. That teacup would look wonderful in the antique china cabinet I inherited from my grandmother.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  61. My grandmother, mother and aunts collected tea cups for years. This past November when I visited my sister in Michigan I brought home a cup and saucer from that was my mother's and it is very special to me now. I am addicted to cozy mysteries and so looking forward to reading The Grim Steeper while sipping tea in my deceased Mother's tea cup and saucer.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Ohhhh...can't wait to read. Could you please write a little faster?

    ReplyDelete
  63. Yeah!!! I have been drinking a lot of tea lately, it is my go to when I am sick. A good book and tea what a perfect combination for this weather. Thank you for the chance!!! saracarver07@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  64. Looks like a great read along with my Hibiscus Tea and a scone!

    ReplyDelete
  65. Sounds like a good read and looks like a lovely tea cup.
    libbydodd at comcast dot net

    ReplyDelete
  66. I am very excited to read The Grim Steeper - I love cozy mysteries!

    ReplyDelete
  67. What a superb prize package and fun book!

    ReplyDelete
  68. Since I am a tea drinker, I need to have this book in my hands so I can curl up with this book!

    ReplyDelete
  69. I love the title - The Grim Steeper" -- can't wait to read it.

    ReplyDelete
  70. I received 4 of your books for Christmas this year and I really love the Teapot Collector series. I had already read the Vintage Kitchen ones. I am looking forward to reading The Grim Steeper. dr(dot)oldsmobile(at)icloud(dot)com.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Backwards can be a good thing. It would be even better if I could erase. Bobbipad@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  72. I would appreciate winning. suefoster109@netzero.net

    ReplyDelete
  73. I'm looking forward to your latest story. I've enjoyed the series. thank you..mbquilts4@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  74. I have the first in the series and would like more. I like black tea, but not green tea or chai. Great prize. I also like the Himalayan cat on the book cover.
    catbooks72(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  75. Great series. Looking forward to reading this one.

    ReplyDelete
  76. What an awesome, creative title. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

    ReplyDelete
  77. Great series! Eager for this new one to arrive. What's not to love about mystery, murder, tea and cats?

    ReplyDelete
  78. I love the title & the cover is just awesome! I follow Victoria on Pinterest and really like seeing the tea cups & such that she's pinned. Thank you for the chance to win.
    Sandy in So.Cali

    ReplyDelete
  79. I love your title selection and the fact it is set around a tea room and tea makes it even better. Thanks for the lovely giveaway. The tea cup is beautiful. robeader53@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  80. Thank you for the giveaway opportunity!

    ReplyDelete
  81. I can't wait to read the latest in the series. I'll sit in the kitchen with my Brown Betty full and enjoy your book and my cup of tea.

    ReplyDelete
  82. Oh boy a new book it looks like a book i would get comfortable with this cool book and sit and read all day. I love mysterys. I also love books and to read them.

    ReplyDelete
  83. would love to win. the teacup would look great with my teapot collection.

    ReplyDelete
  84. Oh boy a new book it looks like a book i would get comfortable with this cool book and sit and read all day. I love mysterys. I also love books and to read them.

    ReplyDelete
  85. Sounds wonderful. Thank you for this chance.

    ReplyDelete
  86. Awesome giveaway. Thanks for the chance

    ReplyDelete
  87. OH! A total package of wonderfullness!!! <3 Kind of you to share! Keeping my feet crossed, hands and fingers are usually holding a book! :)

    ReplyDelete
  88. Sherry in Carrollton, TexasJanuary 21, 2016 at 6:59 PM

    I collect Hall teapots, plus a small collection of China teacups. Love reading anything "tea" related. I have your books and would love to win this new one!

    ReplyDelete
  89. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  90. I really enjoy this series and can't wait to read The Grim Steeper! Thanks for this great giveaway. cking78503@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  91. I also love collecting tea cups! And, I love this series, too! Hc6275@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  92. Yes, I have left jobs that weren't right, places that didn't seem right and a boyfriend that didn't seem right...on that one, at least I was wrong. We ended up together,(even though I moved almost 2,000 miles away, and celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary in December.

    ReplyDelete
  93. Have I ever gone backwards? Not that I can think of. But I have seen others do that, some it's worked out for, some who should have tried something different. My mom for instance left a job at a drugstore for an office job. When the owner sold his business, rather than looking for another office job right off the bat, she went back to that drugstore (different branch, but the person in charge had switched to the second branch and they were glad to be working together again). Mama did eventually get another office job, but while some things at the drugstore were sometimes rough, my mom was happier there than at that last office job, and there were many times I wished she would just have gone back.

    Thanks for the chance to win what I'm sure will be a great new addition to a great series.

    robbfan141729@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  94. My daughters love to have tea parties with my mom. I would love to win this to give to them! jlshadden (at) live (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  95. What a wonderful series this is. And a great giveaway, too.

    ReplyDelete
  96. What a great give away ... love every item, especially the tea cup and the book!!!! Brenda Logan

    ReplyDelete
  97. I've taken a few steps backward more than once in regard to pay-but each time to a more fulfilling and happier me!

    cozyupwithkathy @ gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  98. The book sounds wonderful and I love tea cups...the red one you have on the right side looks like the red toile I collect...although the gift one is a beauty too...thanks you for the contest...
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  99. Yes, I remember a time in my life when quitting my job, even though I did not have another one lined up, and even though it was the job I'd wanted so badly for a long time, was the best thing to do. It was such a relief that it did not feel like a backward step, and everything did work out in the end. This series sounds like a lot of fun. Thank you for the giveaway! rencw@verizon.net

    ReplyDelete
  100. Love to snuggle up with a good book and a nice cup of tea.

    ReplyDelete
  101. Love tea! Enjoy this series and can't wait to read the latest book in the series. Great giveaway, thanks.
    diannekc8@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  102. When I was diagnosed with m/s I was still working and living in Indy. I ended up taking a step backwards and moving back home to Nashville. I am in the home I grew up in, living with my older parents and my older brother and his wife. I am so happy things turned out the way they did. What a great giveaway. kayt18(at)comcast(dot)net

    ReplyDelete
  103. Another great book for a series I love. Awesome giveaway.

    ReplyDelete
  104. Looks good. I put it on my wish list. I love tea and looks like a great series.

    ReplyDelete
  105. The only time I took a big step back was ending a marriage to a man who I married when I was sixteen and he often beat me.Three little boys and scared to death I knew I had to end it and it was hard but it was a start to a better life. Enjoy the Teapot books and Sophia spoke some wise things. Ruth Nixonruthenixon@sbcglobal.net

    ReplyDelete
  106. I must win please. I need some new tea, a cup, and a great book to read. Yes, I'm very needy today, it's been cold and my brain has some freeze affecting it. Thanks so much for the giveaway. kphans08@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  107. These prizes sound wonderful. I would love to win.
    Thereadmaster@me.com

    ReplyDelete
  108. I have gone backwards and often sideways instead of forward, I need the variety. I once quit a perfectly decent job to go back to college, and then never worked in my Degree specialty. Sigh.

    kaye dot killgore at comcast dot net

    ReplyDelete
  109. I don't know that quitting a job is moving backwards...I do know, I once went back to try and live in an old neighborhood..and it had changed SO much...made me sad..got out of there and been moving forward since!
    the3beersus@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  110. We recently moved back home to the home that I grew up in. It is a very rural area. No big box stores within a hundred miles. Definitely a different way of life than what we had been living. Sometimes it is hard. But most times it is so much quieter...

    ElaineE246 at msn dot com

    ReplyDelete
  111. I made a move years ago that sent me backwards but it ended up this is where we are supposed to be. I love your books, thanks for this awesome giveaway!
    Lisa
    hseaside5@aim.com

    ReplyDelete
  112. wondering if I'm before or after midnight ;) the book sounds great... and I'm loving the cup!!!!! <3

    ReplyDelete
  113. Yes, I changed jobs and it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I love this series!! servedogmom@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  114. I love this series. Happy to see a new one

    ReplyDelete
  115. Just arrived in my email so not sure if I'm too late. This is a wonderful series. I can't wait to read this one. doward1952@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  116. This series is new to me and it sounds great. The giveaway is wonderful. Thank you for the chance!
    moonbay7399@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  117. I'm fortunate enough to be a twin (the strange one)my sister is the Professor at a local University and I'm the skydiver, hang glider, scuba diver, hot air balloon chase crew, barista and trader at brokerage firm. I've had many more jobs and no I've never been fired but I've realized life is to short to just sit in one place for my whole life and not experience it. Now as I'm older I can look back and enjoy the memories. I have a collection of tea cups that were my grandmothers and we all choose our favorite to use (yes we use them!) Reading now lets me vicariously enjoy the things I don't get to do. Keep them coming.

    ReplyDelete
  118. I have a collection of my Moms teapots and cups so I ADORE this series.My Mum was English so I grew up with teas and proper cuppa etiquette. I just took the largest step back and it was amazing, I moved back to a lovely place I lived before. I am so blessed. This series is just fabulous.

    ReplyDelete
  119. Forgot email seascapelife at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  120. Love the cover ! It sounds like a great read , can't wait. I live the tea cup , cats and the bag is perfect. Thank you for the chance.
    joytheforgottenone@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  121. And... we have a winner who I have already emailed. As stated in the blog, the cutoff was Midnight last night. Thanks for entering everyone!

    ReplyDelete
  122. The teapot collector's mysteries have become my FAVORITE cozies! Not only thematically engaging, but the writing is stellar. YAY!!!!!! Excited!

    ReplyDelete
  123. I am really looking forward to reading this book along with my cuppa. Haven't read this series yet but am going to start right now with the first book....

    ReplyDelete
  124. Missed this one, still looking forward to reading the books...

    ReplyDelete
  125. I so love cozy mysteries. Would love to win this giveaway.thanks so much.Darn I didnt get the email till today 22nd

    ReplyDelete
  126. I would love to read this series. I inherited all my Mom's teapots and have added a few to them. Thank you for the chance! b5sycop@nefcom.net

    ReplyDelete
  127. There is nothing better to read than a good cozy and this one sounds like a winner. One of the best things in life is tea and I'd sure love to have that beautiful tea cup

    ReplyDelete
  128. I love cozy mysteries! Thank you for the chance!

    ReplyDelete
  129. I love to drink my tea while reading! Thanks for the chance!!!

    ReplyDelete