•        “I hate Auckland traffic. It took us almost an hour from the onramp to the Harbour Bridge.” Steffie slams down her small designer hard case suitcase. Anne can’t help but think that the clothes inside must […]

    • Melanie, this is wonderful. The names remind me of Loriot, the set up of the scene reminds me a bit of ’Dinner for One’ but in the end you create your very own murder mystery dinner. It is incredibly well done! I really can’t say more. I have just a few niggles, easy to correct (see email).

    • Oh, I’m looking around for Hercule Poirot to knock at the front door!
      This reads so well!!
      Great job!!

  • Part 2
    [not sure what recipe yet]
    Anne double checks that she has everything packed: Letters. Check! Character sheets. Check! Decoration. Check! Recipes. Check! Vial of poison. Check!

    She weighs up the pair of […]

    • The plot thickens.
      What does Corinna mean saying she knows what Anne is about?
      Corinna is the newcomer, if I’m correct?
      What is a duffle coat?
      A little more description of the weekend accommodations would be nice.
      Looking forward to the next episode when the rest of the ladies arrive.
      Wonder how the murder mystery game will be received?

  • Chapter 3
    [Recipe: Bienenstich / Beesting cake]

    Note: As was correctly pointed out, I forgot to include recipes in last week’s chapters. Last week’s chapters will now be part of Chapter 2. If I break the book int […]

    • Good scenes depicting the tension in the family.
      Wondering why Anne tolerates the insults instead of standing up for herself.
      Does this story take place shortly after WWII?
      And why is Kyle being so rude?
      And the comment about Maureen being ‘sweet’ on Kyle is interesting.

      Most cozies which I read a lot of, include the recipes or the craft tips after the story in a separate section. Interesting that you will include it with the chapter. As you say, that puts a lot of pressure on each chapter to have a cake or some such confectionary.

    • Hi Melanie, the scenes are really well done. I enjoyed them the first time and I do again.
      About the recipes: I see the recipes as simply a slice of German culture. And that might just be a nice experience for all non-Germans. These recipes are part of the story, as the women are a Kaffeekränzchen and it refers to the book’s title.
      However, if it gets too much for you, then change it. You could also Use just a picture of the food with the German and English name (pic might be a good idea anyway, recipe or not). If readers want to find out more they can always google the recipe. That might actually be better anyway, as readers might otherwise hold you accountable if their recipe doesn’t work out… Just an idea.
      If I remember Alan’s family correctly then I believe you have reworked their characterizations a bit – I like it!
      I absolutely love the murder mystery. From beginning to end.

  • Hi Georgiana. Thanks for asking. I’m fine. Life is hectic at the moment. I’ve overcommitted on my translation work (also with deadlines attached), my day job. I’m working my way through the backlog and will catch up with comments soon. My scene(s) are probably a still a few days away.

  • Hi Marilyn,
    If I were Tomi I wouldn’t be able to wait till after dinner to ask Ray about the murder.
    I’m trying to get my head around what the population of Wisteria is. A lot of the people seem to know each other, so I am thinking a small town. But not many people seem to have known the deceased dentist well. I figured out that Texas wisteria…[Read more]

  • Chapter 3
        Scene 1:
        The year is 1936. You are at Ramsbottom Manor, the stately home of Lord and Lady Ramsbottom. Tonight, there is a formal dinner to       welcome long-lost cousin Adelaide.
       Everybo […]

    • You did a great job on the rewrite, Melanie. There’s very little to critique. I read through this like a breeze. There’s only one thing: I think you need to make a structural decision about the beginnings of your chapters. Do you want to keep the recipe idea? As you started two of the chapters with recipes, you’ve set a pattern. But you didn’t keep it here. Personally, I didn’t need the recipes (loved the first draft without them) but since your book is called Kaffeeklatsch, and the women do talk about food often (Moms, right?), the recipes might be a good way of introducing some German culture.

    • Intriguing.
      Sounds like Anne is planning a murder mystery dinner activity for Friday night?
      Sounds like Anton has a bit of a problem, just a wild guess….child endangerment either from the deceased father (how did he die?) or from the overprotective mother?
      Wondering how Julia supports herself and her son since the apartment seems sparse and even the cheese is not good quality. Also, how will she come up with the money for the weekend away?
      Interesting that they don’t seem to be concerned about going away with a woman whom they have just met and whose lifestyle seems foreign to their lives.
      I do have a question…did anyone ask Ian why he went to wait by the car in the last chapter on the beach? The sentence that caught my attention was: “ The only thing different had been that he had to wait, tired, by the car for everyone to finish playing at the beach.
      Good writing….you have me roped in.

  • Hi Marylin,

    The first paragraph sets the scene nicely. I start to sweat just reading it. I imagine this scene being read in the voice of Kathy Bates, although she it from Tennessee (just looked it up). This scene gives me a ‘Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Café’ vibe. A book I read 30 years ago.
    You must excuse my lack of knowledge of…[Read more]

  • Victorian refers more to the style of the facade. It’s quite an ecclectic mix of architectural styles on Queen Street.
    Thanks for pointing out the wrong usage, of peaking/peeking. Although, the tower is quite tall.

  • This is a nice reprieve from the action-packed last two weeks. I am glad Notorious Jillian and Mark D. were able to appease their suspicious landllady. The bath time seems more realistic this time, allowing the reader to relax with Jillian.
    I’m curious how they will answer the question at the end.

  • Now, I have my wild theories about what is going on here, but they will probably turn out all wrong like last year.
    I had to laugh at the incorrectly cut sandwiches. The perfume matching Sheryl’s scent is quite the ‘coincidence’.
    This scene has so much sensory detail. It’s interesting how the potential for sensory description expands when taking…[Read more]

  • I miss snow so much!
    This scene is delightful. The joy of fresh snow. What I was expecting to get a mention is the urgency to free walkways of snow by 7 am, in case somebody slips. My parents are obsessed with that.
    I had to giggle at the German obsession for appropriate clothing and footwear. And I remember the gloves caveat well.
    I’m still a…[Read more]

  • Sylvie
    It is easy to find your way to the Auckland city centre. Just drive towards the Sky Tower. Sylvie knows from a brochure she picked up at the airport that the Sky Tower is the most distinctive landmark in […]

    • Hi Melanie, Oh, I love that uncle! That letter to the lawyer, brilliant! I have a feeling we will find out more, can’t wait! And I like how Sylvie handles the situation with Mr. Durham. Very unusual for a young woman. Your description of Queen Street was extremely well done, I was right on the spot, seeing, hearing, smelling. Because you’re so good at this, I was a bit surprised to read that Sylvie enjoyed driving through the suburbs but you didn’t tell me why. What does she see? Maybe fill in a bit more in the rewrite?
      Found one little typo: “She opens the heavy wooden floor” – I think that should be “door”? Can’t wait for the next scene.

    • Oh this is mysterious!

      I really enjoyed the drive into the city and Sylvia’s musings. i find the young lawyer rude and very unproffessional!

      But the writing is excellent. I hate waiting a week to find out what happens next!

      A couple of notes:

      “From there she sees the tower peaking through between houses”(peeking here i think)

      . “She stops in front of a Victorian house which is dwarfed, sandwiched between two towering blocks of mirrored glass in steel frames. She opens the heavy wooden floor and walks across the mosaic-tiled floor towards the elevator.” An elevator in a Victorian? is it taller than three floors? I’m interested in this building!

      Great scene!

      • Victorian refers more to the style of the facade. It’s quite an ecclectic mix of architectural styles on Queen Street.
        Thanks for pointing out the wrong usage, of peaking/peeking. Although, the tower is quite tall.

        • Sounds very cool. Will have to try to visit someday!

          • Hi Georgiana. Thanks for asking. I’m fine. Life is hectic at the moment. I’ve overcommitted on my translation work (also with deadlines attached), my day job. I’m working my way through the backlog and will catch up with comments soon. My scene(s) are probably a still a few days away.

    • Construction dust and armpits. Yep! So accurate. Excellent use of sensory detail at the start. I love, too, how the lawyer repeatedly looks at his watchless wrist. Classic. It captures his urgency and awkwardness in an amusing way. As the reader, it made me laugh. If I were Sylvie, I’d want to slap him.

      Although I question if a lawyer would so readily read something to a person who cannot see it, I can see that he would do so merely to get rid of her. (His lack of judgement, however, will see him remain a junior partner forever.)

      I love the letter. It build mystery, it’s humorous, and it adds to the uncle’s personality. Great job!

    • This whole story has been very entertaining so far. I love it. The uncle sounds like quite the character. I hope he hasn’t died after all. Sylvie seems very cool and collected in this scene, a bit older than her actually years probably, whereas the lawyer comes across as rather strange: first he doesn’t recognise a person he spent quite some time with just a few days ago, then he tries to get rid of her. I wonder why the uncle didn’t want the heirs to read the letter. I couldn’t find any information in there that needs to be kept from the heirs. I wonder if Sylvie will find her uncle’s stash of cash 😉

    • Everything ok Melanie? Missed your characters this week!

  • Chapter 2
    [recipe: Spotted dick (with a twist)]
    (Notes:Changing Linus to Malte, as I know a Linus with a vegan mother in real life. I meant to go to this beach prior to
    the rewrite to check whether I got the […]

    • Hi Melanie. This was quite an interesting meetup for the group! Your descriptions of the characters are so vivid – I can in my mind see Steffie realigning the blankets! (Don’t we just all know a Steffie! 😀 ).
      Corinne is quite the character! You’ve done a great job of showing how she doesn’t fit in to the group. I can just imagine the mom’s expressions when her three kids dropped off their clothes. 😀
      The Ian incident was a great way of highlighting the relationships between the characters, and I think you’ve portrayed Anne’s panic well.
      At one point I thought you spelled Jana wrong, but then it seemed like you changed it to Lana? Perhaps you are still trying out both.
      I was a little puzzled about “ice block.” I guess it is either a New Zealand or German way of referring to an icicle/ice-lolly; perhaps you can drop a little more detail about it, such as describing its shape or stick, so the reader knows what it is right away.
      Well done! 😉

    • Hi Melanie,
      As usual, a pleasure to read. The meeting of the coffee group is nice and easy until Ian goes missing. The way the women react says a lot about them. It’s a great way to show us the dynamics of the group. And, of course, it’s a great foreshadowing of the group’s meeting, when someone else goes missing.
      Some issues with names: Jana/Lana and Serenity/Serena.
      I like the way you insert characterization into the story, you give little vignettes for each character which makes them all so relatable, even if you don’t like them. For example, Jana, whom I don’t like, but that’s because I know a Jana exactly like that!
      On the whole, good rewrite, with some excellent hilarious bits, and only  few things to address. Sent more detailed comments by email.

    • Great tension escalating as the moments go by and no one can find Ian.
      Wondering why Steffie never has the group over to her house?
      Is it the mess that is created…or something else?
      I enjoy the way you describe each mother with their helicopter mom tendencies.
      I could not stand to be part of such a group.
      Mind you, having raised four rambunctious children, I get it….but why bother trying to socialize them if you oversee and correct every breath they take?
      I’m wondering if a chapter is coming where they all take sides and verbally attack one another?
      Still having a problem remembering all the names….but as it goes along it will become easier. Maybe I need to have a directory, grouping them each into families?
      Just me….I’m sure most people will just follow along….perhaps because the names are a bit foreign is another reason I’m having difficulty.
      I’m enjoying the story, nevertheless. 🙂

  • Green Bay is a smallish suburb (about 5000 people) of Auckland. There really used to be a German coffee group, when I moved here.
    I used to run a creative writing group ‘Green Bay Writers’. I got a lot of inquiries on facebook from Wisconsin from people who wanted to join. I told them it’s a bit of a commute but worth it, but none of them ever…[Read more]

  • Hi Becky,
    I’m glad I am finally catching up on the beginning of the story. I only started reading it a few weeks in last year. The connection between the sisters feels strong already. The description of the house makes it feel like a home.

    P.S. I think you should keep the Larry storyline. For an extra layer of story.

  • Well, this went quickly from Househunters International to CSI Charmouth. I have been rudely moved from the comfort of my armchair to the edge of my seat. And I must say, I love it. Suddenly we are in the thick of a thriller.
    Colin is an interesting character. He must be important in the village, the way the policemen react.
    Maybe this is just…[Read more]

  • Hi Susanne, I went to a Kindergarten run by nuns. You are really describing a lot of my childhood. And you are right Play-doh tastes disgusting when compared to home-made playdough.
    I like how Bettina automatically speaks English when addressing another child. This shows how strongly she is connected to Morgan.
    I just wonder if there is too…[Read more]

  • The first part of the scene is perfection. Especially the part about body and mind being roommates. You are a master of allegory and metaphor.
    I think I mentioned Annaliese being a closet teenager before.She also has the art of manipualtion down pretty well.
    I wonder, if she really manages to fool the would women, or if she just thinks she does.…[Read more]

  • Hi Marilyn,
    Thank you for your comments. The story has elements of a cosy mystery. It is not graphic or violent, but the characters will be faced with some tough decisions and I cannot guareantee a happy ending.
    You will find that Julia is very protective of Anton, so he is always at the forefront of her thoughts.
    You are right about the local…[Read more]

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