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Monday, July 7, 2014

Chez Stinky by Susan C. Daffron (Author Guest Post / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Chez Stinky by Author Susan C. Daffron!

Author Guest Post

Stranger than Fiction
By: Susan C. Daffron

Mark Twain once said, "Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't." Like most people, I tend to remember things that strike me as funny or interesting. A few elements in my novel Chez Stinky are based on places that exist or real experiences I've had. Here are a couple of examples that were memorable enough make it into my novel.

In one scene, the main character Kat Stevens and her friend Maria are seeking "nightlife" in the small town of Alpine Grove. They don't meet with much success. But they do meet a local lawyer named Larry, who explains the sign above one of the dive bars on the main street of town.

Maria, Larry, and Kat stood outside the bar, each silently evaluating whether or not to enter the establishment. Kat looked over at Larry. “Mystic Moon Soloan? Okay, I give. What’s a soloan?”

Larry shrugged. “It’s supposed to be saloon. The story goes that the guys who made the sign had a few too many beers and mixed up the letters. No one ever got around to fixing it. If you walk around to the other side, it’s spelled correctly there.”

Kat and Maria walked down the street past the door to look at the other side of the sign. Sure enough, Larry was right. Spelling obviously wasn’t a big priority in Alpine Grove.

The story of the Saloan is loosely based on a bar in the small town where I live called the Tam o’Shanter or “The Tervan.” The misspelling of "tavern" has been in place for decades, and now it's part of the local lore.

Another scene that is based on reality appears at the beginning of the book. Kat is a technical writer, and she needs to discuss the details and deadlines of a major editing project she has just been given. Instead of answering her questions, her boss Mark evades the issue and says:

“I’ve been thinking about gingko lately. It’s an herb, you know. Do you think it makes me smarter? I’ve been taking it and I think I’m getting smarter. What do you think?”

Kat replies:

“Well, Mark, I’m not sure. You seem the same to me. If you start getting dumber, should I let you know?"

This exchange similar to a real conversation I had. Many years ago, I was a technical writer and my boss asked me almost the same question when I had come into his office to talk about the raise he had promised me. It was not one of the high points of my writing career.

So if you're wondering where authors get ideas, now you know. The answer is everywhere.

About The Author

Susan Daffron is the author of one novel and 14 nonfiction books, including several about pet care and animal rescue. She lives in a small town in northern Idaho and shares her life with her husband, two dogs and a cat--the last three, all "rescues." Her latest book, Chez Stinky ( is the first of a series of romantic comedy novels that will feature the small town of Alpine Grove.

When she's not writing novels, Susan works as the president of Logical Expressions, Inc., a book and software publishing based company in Sandpoint, Idaho. You can read more about her at her website


Book Review

Chez Stinky by Susan C. Daffron
Book 1: An Alpine Grove Romantic Comedy Series
Publisher: Magic Fur Press
Publication Date: July 18, 2013
Format: Paperback - 298 pages
             Kindle - 446 KB
ISBN: 978-1610380195
Genre: Romantic Comedy

BUY THE BOOK: Chez Stinky

BUY THE SERIES: An Alpine Grove Romantic Comedy
Book 1: Chez Stinky
Book 2: Fuzzy Logic

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

Kat Stevens is a slightly insecure, mostly bored technical writer who likes her cat a lot more than her boss. She hasn't laid eyes on her great aunt Abigail since she was eight, so she's stumped when she inherits Abigail's house in the small hamlet of Alpine Grove.

Kat's uncomplicated life gets decidedly less so when she discovers the inheritance comes with some hairy conditions: four dogs and five cats that her aunt wanted her to love as her own. Of course, the house smells like a barn--with a touch of antique skunk--and, naturally, has serious roof issues. And that's before the three-legged cat gets stuck in the wall and the shower goes kablooey.

When Kat meets Joel, an unemployed techie type with no love lost for his sister, Kat looks past his obvious flaws, given his timely and desirable skill set: a talent for fixing things (and his own tools). 

Despite out-of-control dogs, cat fights, dust dinosaurs, massive spiders and an old grizzled hippie passed out in the yard, Kat discovers the tranquility of the forests of Alpine Grove starting to seep into her soul.

And why she can't she stop thinking about Joel?

Book Excerpt:

This is part of the scene where the main character, Kat, is at work in her office and gets a phone call letting her know she has inherited a house in the small town of Alpine Grove.


“My name is Larry Lowell and I’m a lawyer in the town of Alpine Grove. I’m afraid I have some bad news.”

Kat nodded. How could this day possibly get any worse? “What news?”

“Your great-aunt Abigail has died. I’m very sorry for your loss.”

“Aunt Abigail? Really?” Kat flashed on a memory of a thin white-haired woman wearing a floppy peasant skirt. “Wow, I haven’t seen her in years and I think my mother lost track of her. What happened?”

Larry cleared his throat and said quietly, “I’m not entirely sure of the precise details, but I know she was ill. She was an ‘unusual’ person, but smart and funny, even right before she passed away. I talked to her just a few weeks ago. She came into my office to talk about her estate.”

Kat raised her eyebrows, “Her estate?”

“Yes, you are named the principal beneficiary of her estate. You have inherited all of her assets up here in Alpine Grove.”

“Assets? What exactly do you mean by assets?”

Larry cleared his throat again. “She has a home up here, but it’s not in the greatest shape at the moment. With a little TLC, you could fix it up. However, there are a few stipulations, as well.”

What was this? Twenty Questions? Getting information out of this guy could take a while. Fortunately, as a technical writer, Kat had years of practice extracting information from recalcitrant people.

“Mr. Lowell, what exactly do you mean by ‘stipulations’?”

“It seems, Ms. Stevens, that there are some animals residing on the property. Abigail loved her babies, as she called them, and she wanted to make sure that they would be well taken care of after she was gone. She remembered that you love animals, and that’s why she wanted you to be their new mom as she would say.”

Their mom? This guy had to be kidding. Maternal she definitely was not. “So Mr. Lowell, what type of animals are we talking about here? I mean, I don’t know anything about cows or chickens or ducks or anything. I have one cat and I live in a 950-square-foot apartment.”

“Please call me Larry. We’ll probably be talking to each other a lot over the next few weeks. It would be best if we could meet in person. Would you like to set up a time to talk about this matter and go over the details?”

“Okay Larry. You can call me Kat. So how many animals are we talking about?”

“Abigail had four dogs and a number of cats. When I went to the property, I don’t think I actually saw them all, so I’m not entirely sure. But we think at least five cats. Abigail left detailed descriptions of the animals, but people had a habit of dumping stray cats out at her place when they no longer could take care of them, so I may have missed some outside barn cats.”

Once he finally spit it out, Larry could share some serious facts. After digesting the lawyer’s information dump for a moment, finally Kat said, “I think you’re right. We should talk about this in person. Could you give me directions?”

Larry related how to get to his office in Alpine Grove and agreed to meet Kat on Saturday afternoon. They would then drive out to the property. He promised to explain the rest of the details when they met.

Kat hung up the phone and stared blankly at her Half Dome poster again. Her quiet and slightly boring life was about to get a lot more complicated.

My Book Review:

Technical writer Kat Stevens' quiet and slightly boring life is about to get a lot more complicated ...

In Chez Stinky, the debut novel and first book in the Alpine Grove Romantic Comedy series, author Susan C. Daffron weaves a lighthearted and entertaining story that is sure to tickle the reader's funny bone.

The story follows the trials and tribulations of Kat Stevens when her ordinary life takes a strange turn in direction when she inherits her late Great Aunt Abigail's decrepit house in the small town of Alpine Grove, and a motley crew of four dogs and five cats. But there are stipulations to the inheritance: she has to move permanently into the house and she has to keep all the animals. When Kat receives word that her apartment complex has been sold, and the new owners are converting the apartment units into condominiums, she quits her job and moves to Alpine Grove determined to make Chez Stinky her new home. With a ranshackle house full of animals; a sexy unemployed Aeronautic engineer and self-proclaimed nerdy techie neighbor named Joel Ross; and a variety of dramatic and comedic roadblocks in her way to receiving her inheritance, can Kat restart her life in Alpine Grove?

Chez Stinky was such a fun read, the author does a wonderful job of weaving an entertaining tale that has a good mixture of comedy, drama, mystery and romance. The reader is easily drawn into the story as they follow the humorous trials and tribulations that Kat encounters in Alpine Grove. The motley crew of lovable animals provide a touch of added comedy to the story with their individual personalities and crazy antics, the reader will easily find themselves laughing out loud as they turn the pages. There are enough interesting twists and turns that will keep the reader's interest throughout the story. As an animal lover and proud owner of three dogs, I found myself smiling, snickering, and easily relating to the mayhem and crazy situations that Kat found herself in with her adopted fur babies. Add in a lighthearted sweet romance; family drama and mystery; a quirky cast of friends and townspeople; and a young woman's journey of self-discovery, and you have a delightful story that will leave you wanting more.

I look forward to returning to Alpine Grove and catching up with Kat, Joel, and the memorable animals in Fuzzy Logic, the second book in the Alpine Grove Romantic Comedy series.


Contest Giveaway

Win A $35 Amazon Gift Card

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Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

June 9 – Relatively Yours – Guest Post & Excerpt
June 10 – Fiction Dreams – Guest Post
June 11 – Reading in Black and White– Review & Excerpt 
June 12 – Chick Lit Club Connect – Guest Post
June 13 – Storm Goddess Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt
June 17 – Novel Escapes – Q&A
June 19 – Samantha March – Q&A& Excerpt
June 20 – Melissa’s Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – Guest Post
June 24 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review & Guest Post
June 26 – Chick Lit Plus – Review
June 27 – Two Children and a Migraine – Guest Post 
June 27 - Two Children and a Migraine - Excerpt
June 27 – Two Children and a Migraine – Review
July 1 – Ski-Wee’s Book Corner – Excerpt
July 2 - BookSuburbia – Excerpt
July 3 – Steph the Bookworm – Review
July 7 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt


  1. Thanks for closing out the tour!

    1. Thank you for the opportunity to host the virtual book tour event.

  2. Thank you for participating in my tour and taking the time to read and review the book!

    1. Hi Susan! I loved reading Chez Stinky and just downloaded Fuzzy Logic so I can revisit everyone in Alpine Grove. Thank you for the opportunity to host your virtual book tour event. :)