Guest Post (and a Giveaway!): Heather Day Gilbert & Shade Grown

Posted January 14, 2024 by meezcarrie in Author Interview, contemporary, cozy mystery, giveaway, Heather Day Gilbert, mystery/suspense / 11 Comments

Heather Day Gilbert guest post

Please join me in welcoming the fabulous Heather Day Gilbert to the blog today to share about the real life setting for her Barks & Beans Cafe Mysteries, including the newest installment Shade Grown!

Shade Grown by Heather Day GilbertSHADE GROWN by Heather Day Gilbert
Barks & Beans Cafe Cozy Mystery #8

GENRE: Cozy Mystery (Clean)
PUBLISHER: WoodHaven Press
RELEASE DATE: December 11, 2023
PAGES: 192

Welcome to the Barks & Beans Cafe, a quaint place where folks pet shelter dogs while enjoying a cup of java…and where murder sometimes pays a visit.

During Lewisburg’s popular summer home and garden tour, Macy and her brother Bo discover new aspects of their hometown’s history. One of the last homes they visit features a lush commemorative shade garden marking where a Civil War soldier’s bones were buried. As Macy pauses to admire a bed of blue hostas, she glimpses a shadowy shape lying beneath the dinner-plate leaves. It turns out to be the body of famed movie star Cody Franklin, who’d purchased the garden house as a quiet country retreat.

Back at the cafe, Macy speaks with Cody’s distraught sister, who lets slip that she’s afraid her brother’s killer will target her next. Macy’s heart goes out to the bereaved sibling, and she agrees to speak with Cody’s local acquaintances in hopes she’ll uncover some helpful backstory.

But someone powerful is lurking behind the scenes, and Macy has to zoom in on the killer before everything fades to black.

Join siblings Macy and Bo Hatfield as they sniff out crimes in their hometown…with plenty of dogs along for the ride! The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series features a small town, an amateur sleuth, and no swearing or graphic scenes.


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Shade Grown book review

lewisburg, west virginia

by Heather Day Gilbert, author of Shade Grown

Today, I wanted to share a little about the real small town that’s the setting for my 8-book Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series.

Each book in the series incorporates actual settings from Lewisburg, West Virginia, which has been voted “America’s coolest small town” by Budget Travel in 2011. As a West Virginia native myself, I love visiting Lewisburg and doing on-the-site research for this series.

For instance, Book 3 (FAIR TRADE) is set at the State Fair of West Virginia. Book 4 (SPILLED MILK) is set at the Fall Giant Flea Market and Antique Show. Book 5 (TROUBLE BREWING) features the real story of the Greenbrier ghost. Book 6 (COLD DRIP) is set in the caverns of Lewisburg. If you’ve read book 7 (ROAST DATE), you know there’s a winter carriage ride at the very end that’s rather romantic, if I do say so myself. 😉

And in each book, you’ll find plenty of other West Virginia locales such as The Greenbrier Resort, Carnegie Hall in Lewisburg, as well as many others.

Book 8, SHADE GROWN, features the Lewisburg Home and Garden Tour that my husband and I were privileged to enjoy a couple of years ago. I’ve taken so many photos of Lewisburg homes during our visits there, because there’s such an eclectic mix of styles. The tour allows visitors to go inside homes and to walk through beautifully kept gardens.


My curiosity was heightened when we toured a huge house a California-based couple was working on renovating themselves. I started asking myself “what if?“, and I came up with the concept of a Hollywood movie star who is in the process of renovating a house in Lewisburg…only to wind up dead on his own grounds. That’s the premise behind SHADE GROWN.

I’ll share some photos of the small town my husband and I often visit on our date nights. If you haven’t visited Lewisburg, West Virginia, I hope you can do some at some point! And, until then, you can read the Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series and enjoy the feeling of vicariously “visiting” the town!

HEATHER DAY GILBERT, an RWA Daphne du Maurier Award-winning author and 2-time ECPA Christy Award finalist, enjoys writing contemporary mysteries with unpredictable twists, much like the Agatha Christie books she read growing up. Her novels feature small towns, family relationships, and women who aren’t afraid to protect those they love. Find out more at

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What about you? What makes you want to read Shade Grown by Heather Day Gilbert?

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11 responses to “Guest Post (and a Giveaway!): Heather Day Gilbert & Shade Grown

  1. Debra

    I love series set in real places and all the opportunities to use events and local sites. And Heather’s writing makes this series so popular to read and promote!

  2. Donna L. Baker

    I love this whole series. I’ve read or pre-ordered them all. The characters are totally believable and since I live near Lewisburg myself, I can picture the settings in my mind very easily. Best of all, the books are well written and can stand alone if you haven’t read the others in the series. By the way, I am a dog lover so Coal is a welcomed addition to the story lines.

  3. Roxanne C.

    I enjoyed reading how the author got the idea for this particular story of the series. It sounds like an entertaining mystery.

  4. Carol Gilbert

    Heather you have truly captured the things you love and included them in this series. I love to catchup with the characters and the mystery that goes with the murder. Looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

  5. Wade Martin

    Heather is a great author who never disappoints! As a Virginian, I love reading about the state to my west!

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