@inBrakenVille @dollycas ~ Guest Post Tour/#Giveaway ~ Death by Dissertation by Kelly Brakenhoff


About The Book


Death by Dissertation (Cassandra Sato)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Nebraska
Emerald Prairie Press (April 17, 2019)
Paperback: 355 pages
ISBN-10: 1733742409
ISBN-13: 978-1733742405
Digital ASIN: B07PKRD658


Ambitious Cassandra Sato traded her life in Hawai’i for a dream position as Student Affairs VP at Morton College in tiny Carson, Nebraska. She expected the Midwestern church casseroles, land-locked cornfields, and face-freezing winters would be her biggest challenges, but it’s her job that’s rapidly becoming a nightmare.

A deaf student is dead and the investigation reveals a complicated trail of connections between campus food service, a local farmer’s beef, and the science lab’s cancer research. Together with her few allies, Cassandra must protect the students caught up in the entanglement.

Dealing with homesickness, vandalism, and a stalker, Cassandra is trapped in a public relations disaster that could cost her job, or more. No one said college was easy.

Purchase Links

Amazon   ~ June 22 – 30 – Just $0.99!!



I can only think of two long-term series where I’ve read every single book in the series, some of them twice.

I’m not talking about Harry Potter, here. Or Lord of the Rings, or the Hunger Games. Those ended after several volumes (or seven in the case of Harry Potter).

Sherri Shepherd as Lula, Katherine Heigl as Stephanie Plum, and Ryan Michelle Bathe as Jackie in “One for the Money.” 2012

No, I’m talking about Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series that starts with One for the Money. Twisted Twenty-six comes out this fall. Or Sue Grafton’s alphabet series that sadly ended on Y is for Yesterday with the author’s death in 2017. Or Robert Parker’s 40 Spenser novels.

What makes a series popular and enduring year after year? Even though we love our heroes and heroines, a great sidekick keeps readers coming back for more.

In my favorite mystery series, the main character’s best friends serve multiple purposes. Sometimes they show up in times of trouble like Nancy Drew’s pals Bess and George. Others are loyal to a fault like Samwise Gamgee is to Frodo.

A great best friend can make a good story better, whether as comic relief or to get our hero out of a tight spot. Boston Private Eye Spenser had Hawk who was his alter ego. Spenser had the white knight moral code, but when a bad guy needed to disappear, boom—there was Hawk with his own form of justice. When the shooting stopped, the two exchanged humorous banter.

My favorite duo is Stephanie Plum and Lula. At first Stephanie judges Lula for her clothing choices and whatever diet she’s following that ends in a trip to Cluck in a Bucket. Later stories show Lula teaching Stephanie how it feels to live in her part of town, or survive on her minimum wage job. Lula has skills that Stephanie finds valuable, and best of all Lula’s car never gets blown up.

Not every story has a best friend. Readers have to work harder to guess why the main character does what they do by looking for clues in their actions alone. Sue Grafton’s character Kinsey Millhone—although mostly a loner—had her landlord, Henry Pitts to bake her bread and pick up her mail when she went out of town. And would we ever fully recognize what an arrogant loner Sherlock Holmes was without Watson’s selfless nobility?

The sidekick shows the reader aspects of the main character we wouldn’t see except through the eyes of a friend. Harry Potter in the first book is not always a nice kid. Granted, he grew up shunned by his adopted family and slept in a cupboard, but some of his prickliness was just his personality. Ron was always tripping over his tongue and saying something he later regretted. The truly awesome Hermione is the reason we stick around for later books. She always solves the puzzle, studies harder than anyone else, and instinctively knows the right thing to do.

Most heroes/heroines wouldn’t survive more than a couple of books without buddies. If readers see the same formula time and again, we get bored. When we learn about all the family and friends, we become more invested in what happens to the whole community. We look forward to visiting that fictional place year after year, like a vacation.

When I began my Cassandra Sato mystery series, before I wrote one word on the page, I thought about all my favorite authors and series. Cassandra’s BFF Meg is sassy, and readers have told me their relationship reminds them of their own best friends. A good best friend can finish your sentences for you, and tells you the truth even when you don’t want to hear it. Don’t we all wish for a friend like that?

Like visiting Harry Potter world at Universal Studios, as readers we want to be immersed in a fantasy land where we become part of the friend group.

What are your favorite series? What’s the most books you have read by one author? Why do you like it so much there?

About The Author


Kelly Brakenhoff is an American Sign Language Interpreter whose motivation for learning ASL began in high school when she wanted to converse with her deaf friends. As an American Sign Language Interpreter with more than twenty years of experience, Kelly’s worked in college classrooms for fifteen different majors. From traipsing across muddy farm fields to stomach-churning medical procedures, and stage interpreting for famous figures, Kelly’s community interpreting interactions number in the thousands. Unfortunately, once she’s stepped away from the job, she usually forgets 90% of what happened. Which helps her keep confidential information safe, but also makes it really hard to grocery shop for more than 5 items without a written list.

Kelly wants to live in a world filled with peace, love, and joy, where people who can hear learn enough sign language to include deaf people in everyday conversations and work. Where every deaf child has early access to language and books with characters like them, and dark chocolate is cheap and plentiful.

When she’s not interpreting or writing, you can find Kelly cheering for her favorite Husker teams or training for half-marathons because she really likes dessert.

Her first mystery, Death by Dissertation, released April 22, 2019.

Author Links

Website – http://kellybrakenhoff.com/

Amazon – Https://amazon.com/author/kellybrakenhoff

Twitter-  https://twitter.com/inBrakenVille
Instagram –  @kellybrak



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2 thoughts on “@inBrakenVille @dollycas ~ Guest Post Tour/#Giveaway ~ Death by Dissertation by Kelly Brakenhoff

  1. Hi Jody! Thank you for featuring my guest post and book Death by Dissertation for the Great Escapes book tour on June 27th. I really appreciate your time and support. Have a great weekend! Kelly

  2. Sounds like a heap of bad luck. I’m sure she’ll find a way through the maze.

    Have a fabulous day, Jody. Love you bunches. ♥