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Spilling the Tea
by Lucy Leaf, Advice Columnist

My name is Lucy Leaf. As I’m sure you all know, my sister, Betsy Bean, had a wildly successful advice column for a coffee company. However, I noticed one significant problem. Her column is all about coffee (and probably way too much focus on Irish cream).

Now, I have no problems with coffee, mind you. But there is no cup of coffee that can compare to a cup of tea, which is why it’s the most popular beverage in the world, after water, of course. Not surprising, considering how a good, strong brew can turn anyone’s day around and even has health benefits. However, I am not here to change you all into tea lovers. I just want to share what’s been brewing in the back of my head. It’s been “oolong” time since I’ve written for an audience, and of course, no one can “matcha” Betsy’s way with words, but I’m going to give it a try and hopefully add some varie-tea to this column. So sit back, grab a cup of your favorite tea, and let’s get started!

Email your questions to: LUCY LEAF.

Drive-thru coffee in the time of quarantine.

Dear Lucy, I’ve been feeling very sad recently. I’ve been making myself coffee every morning, but I’m starting to really miss my morning Starbucks trip ...
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The page vs. screen conundrum.

Dear Lucy: My partner always wants to watch television while I'm enjoying the next book on my TBR shelf. How can I share the appreciation ...
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Raining Cats and Cats

Dear Lucy: I’ve got a stack of new urban fantasy books to read, but my cat keeps climbing on my tea table, then leaping onto ...
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Basic Phrases These Days Are So Boujee.

Dear Lucy: I was invited to a reader's group to spill the tea. What the heck and why would I ruin their tablecloth on purpose?  ...
Read More

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What makes a cozy mystery?

  • An amateur sleuth. A protagonist who could be me or you, just a regular person.
  • A small-town setting. Community is key here. A local area where we can get to know the village or town citizens and take a visit to an interesting location. And inhale the aroma of freshly baked cinnamon scones from the main character’s kitchen… yum.
  • No graphic sex or violence. Sure, there’s a dead body somewhere, but the focus is on the clues and suspects, not the gore. And romance? The protagonist can have a partner or romantic interest, but it’s just not the main focus or plot of the story. Give us red herrings, misdirection, twists and turns, and more puzzles to solve!
  • A cozy mystery is typically part of a series. We love to get to know the characters and follow them from one book to the next. I’m fond of themed cozies. Tea shop settings, coffee shop settings, British villages, and protagonists with interesting day jobs.
  • Examples: I love these cozy authors! Cleo Coyle, Laura Childs, Molly MacRae, C.A. Larmer, Deborah Garner, Julie Seedorf, M.C. Beaton, Kate Kingsbury, Sandra Balzo, Cindy Brown

We all know about the monsters that lurk under the bed and in the closet, but there are many other fears that children face every day. Blending bedtime chills and humor, this clever monster story shows how the power of imagination can help conquer fears, whether it is that terrifying creature under the bed, loud noises, spooky shadows, or the unknown in the dark.

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